DT 26831 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 26831

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26831

Hints and tips by pommers

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BD Rating – Difficulty ** Enjoyment ****

Hola from the Vega Baja.  Today we have the usual fine stuff from Jay but I’m not sure how to rate it for difficulty. I solved it well within 2* time, so that’s what I’ve gone for, but while writing the review I started to think that there’s some tricky stuff in here so 3* may be more realistic. Please let me know what you think!

The clues I like most are in blue and the answers can be seen by highlighting the space between the curly brackets. Please leave a comment telling us what you thought. You can also add your assessment by selecting from one to five stars at the bottom of the post.


1a           Unpleasant food found on most of the ring road (12)
{THOROUGHFARE} – The well disguised definition here is ‘road’. Start with TH (most of THe) and then O (ring). After this (found on) you need a word which can mean unpleasant or uncomfortable (5) and another word for food (4).   A tricky one to start with and one of my last in. I needed all but the last checker before the penny dropped.

9a           Shortly finding barrister after case of intimidation (2,5)
{IN BRIEF} – A phrase meaning shortly, as in using few words, is a colloquial term for a barrister placed after IN (case of IntimidatioN).

10a         Talk nonsense — pressure to cause irritation (7)
{PRATTLE} – P(ressure) followed by a word meaning cause irritation or to disconcert give a word meaning to talk nonsense.

11a         Poor toolmaker ignoring a king’s instruction to musician (7)
{TREMOLO} – This musical term is an anagram (poor) of TOOLM(ak)ER (ignoring A King).

12a         Professional impression is met without the writer (7)
{DENTIST} – A medical professional is made up of an impression, like the one on my car’s rear bumper, followed by IS MET (from the clue) but without the ME (without the writer, i.e. ME).  Not easy to explain so I hope that made sense!

13a         Flowers grow inside sheds, oddly (5)
{ROSES} – These flowers are RO (gROw inside) followed by the alternate letters (oddly) of sheds.

14a         Show indecision seeing redevelopment of local site (9)
{OSCILLATE} – A word meaning to show indecision or switch from one thing to another is a anagram (redevelopment of) LOCAL SITE.

16a         Fishes for a pound a second, clutching heart! (9)
{ALBACORES} – To get these fishes you need A (from the clue), an abbreviation for pound (weight), A (from the clue again) and S(econd).  Into this you need to insert (clutching) a word for heart as in central part.  It’s also a class of sailing dinghy – cue boat photo, not had one for a while!

19a         Heath Robinson’s pulse? (5)
{THROB} – A word meaning pulse is hidden in Heath Robinson. If you’re not sure how this works read the clue as meaning “Pulse of heath robinson” and ignore the capitalisation.

21a         Substitute for modesty? (7)
{RESERVE} – Double definition. A word meaning substitute, in a football team perhaps, also means modesty.

23a         Confessed before atmosphere turned, getting drink (7)
{SANGRIA} – This Spanish drink is made from a slang term for confessed to the police followed by reversal (turned) of what the atmosphere is made of.  I quite like this stuff and our local barman has a splendid recipe!

24a         Main source of nourishment? (7)
{SEAFOOD} – Cryptic definition of edible stuff from the ocean.

25a         American English sailor with the French may be of service (7)
{USEABLE} – One of those where you build the answer as you read though the clue. Start with an abbreviation for American, then E(nglish), the usual sailor and finally the French definite article and you get a word meaning may be of service or useful.

26a         Altogether a British duty to be dressed? (8,4)
{BIRTHDAY SUIT} – Altogether, in the sense of having no clothes, is the definition and it’s an anagram (to be dressed) of A BRITISH DUTY.  Well, you didn’t think I would be able to resist the temptation did you?!


1d           Proposes to swallow first of the pills (7)
{TABLETS} – Take a word for proposes, a motion in a debate perhaps, and insert (to swallow) a T (first of The) and you get some pills.

2d           Nothing in sumo wrestling is threatening (7)
{OMINOUS} – A word for threatening is an anagram (wrestling) of O (nothing) and IN SUMO.  Don’t think I’ve come across wrestling as an anagram indicator before but I quite like it!

3d           Not well and not working — show embarrassment (3-6)
{OFF COLOUR} – A phrase meaning slightly unwell is a word for not working, as in not turned on, followed by a word for show embarrassment or blush.

4d           Looked amazed seeing good copy on bottom of bed (5)
{GAPED} – G(ood) followed by a word for copy and D (bottom of beD) gives a word for looked amazed.

5d           Soft soap or other toiletry item (7)
{FLANNEL} – Double definition of soft soap or flattery and a toiletry item you might use with the soft soap in the bathroom.

6d           Viewer partly drinking son’s wine (7)
{RETSINA} – This type of wine is part of your eye (viewer partly) with S(on) inserted (drinking).  It’s also an anagram of NASTIER which just about sums it up!

7d           Award given for plum hybrid (8,5)
{VICTORIA CROSS} – A type of plum followed by another word for hybrid gives an award given for extreme valour on a battlefield.

8d           Showing the effects of exposure we lost heart, defeated (7-6)
{WEATHER BEATEN} – A phrase meaning showing the effects of exposure. Start with WE (from the clue) and then an anagram (lost) of HEART and then a word meaning defeated.  I used to look a bit like this in the days when I did a lot of sailing!

15d         Analysis of unusual duty applied to bags (4,5)
{CASE STUDY} – Take some bags, which you might pack for a holiday, and an anagram (unusual) of DUTY and split the result (4,5) to get an analysis.

17d         Rice or herb mainly covering rug (7)
{BASMATI} – An Indian type of rice is made from a herb without its last letter (mainly) with another word for rug inserted (covering).

18d         Complain — or start taxing parking area (7)
{CARPORT} – This is a cover you might park under. Start with a word for complain and follow with OR (from the clue) and T (start Taxing).

19d         Thousand-kilogramme gold cover for car (7)
{TONNEAU} – This is another cover to do with vehicles, this time for an open top car. It’s what a thousand kilogrammes is followed by the chemical symbol for gold.

20d         Gunners on Rome’s river returning for a snack (7)
{RAREBIT} – This snack is the usual gunners (not the Arsenal – think military) and a reversal (returning) of the river which flows through Rome.

22d         Terminated objective journalist (5)
{ENDED} – A word meaning terminated is an objective or aim followed by the usual journalist.  What would setters do without him?

I like all the ones in blue but favourite is 26a.

The Quick crossword pun: {solace} + {sitter} = {solicitor}

68 comments on “DT 26831

  1. The usual Jay joy. Having started with the down clues (where Jay invariably is more lenient), this fell into place very quickly. Agree with your vote for 26a as the top clue.

    Thanks to Jay for the crossword and to Pommers for the review.

  2. Thought it not too tough – finished it within the length of my bath which is the standard measure for me – and very enjoyable. 26a for me too and enhanced by the clue.

      1. I do it on an iPad. It adds a frisson of excitement but I have managed to avoid dropping it in so far!

  3. Thanks jay and pommers.
    Very enjoyable, some clever constructions, of which 18a is a new word for me.

  4. Despair as initial scan only yielded only one answer, sorted out the anagrams, and it then fell into place quite neatly. 3* for me.

    16a, raced those in the 70s in Findhorn Bay.

    Thanks Jay for an enjoyable puzzle and to Pommers for review.

    1. Findhorn – what a magic place! Been going up north for about 25 years and always had to visit Findhorn – the views from the beach, either north or south, are just amazing. One of my best quick watercolour sketches is the Moray Firth from Findhorn beach. Ah – nostalgia!

  5. I liked this one today. I did make life difficult for myself by entering ‘SEAWEED’ for 24a, which caused some head scratching for a while on 18d.
    Thanks to Jay, and to pommers.

    1. 24a – As “Plankton” didn’t fit, I then went for “Seaweed” – finally arrived at the right answer.

  6. Hola pommers from a decidedly chilly and wet West Wales, how is it possible for the temperature to plummage from 20+ to 4 degrees!!! Thanks for the early blog I have a feeling my grandson might hog my computer for the rest of the day! A three star for me as I found parts difficult, particularly 1a, I love sangria too :-) , I thought 13a clever but my favourite was 7d today, I thought the readings of 17d and 16a made no sense at all, at least not to me
    I thought 26a was clever because I read it wrong and wondered how birthday suit could mean ‘to be dressed’ !! Off to put the heating on brrr and I’ve got a wedding on Saturday, I think the trousers ensemble rather than the dress in this weather :-(

    1. Hi Mary

      Both Libellule and I have the advantage of being an hour ahead of BST so an early blog is no problem. Sorry about the weather – it’s very pleasant here :grin:

      1. Here in West Bridgford it’s snowing sideways at the moment with a lazy wind! Most unpleasant and does not bode well for the Easter weekend.

        I’ve just received the DVD box set of Game of Thrones so that’s me hidden in the study for a few days. Winter’s coming…

          1. That’s where I picked it up from. I mean my Granddad not yours obviously. Other phrases were “to be as full as a brazen beast” or “to be rigwelted” – both used to describe the feeling after a big Sunday Roast washed down with several pints of John Smith’s Best.

          2. I work on the edge of Birmingham and “lazy wind” is still in common use here – especially today!

          3. I first heard of the “lazy wind” on my first and only visit to Norwich. “It be a ‘lazy wind’ – it doesn’t go round you, it goes straight through you”

  7. I score it 2.5*/***Some easy clues to help with the hard ones.Like Jezza ,toyed with seeweed but did’nt really think it was’food’ thought i believe the Welsh eat it!
    Don’t think i’ve heard of the16a fish,but the clue was logical and provided the answer,enjoyed the solve-back to work.

    1. Hi beaver, lava bread is a traditional Welsh dish made from a certain type of seaweed, I’ve never tried it personally, it’s supposed to be quite a delicacy and apparently delicious fried with bacon, lots of market stalls sell it especially in the Swansea/Mumbles area about 20 miles from here

  8. Thanks to Jay for a lovely wee crossword and to Pommers for the lovely wee picture ( and the review ).

  9. TV programme occupying grandson at the moment so have computer back, later I am ‘looking forward to’ watching Street Dance Two in the cinema in 3D :-)

  10. I thought this was going to be a lot harder than it was. Started slowly then broke out into a gallop (alright canter). Just finished coffee before crossword. Favourite clues 1a, 26a and 7d. **/*** from me. Tried sea fishing for the first time on Saturday, loved it, caught lots of pollock but no 16a. :)

  11. As usual the downs fell into place quicker than the acrosses and I would give this 1.5* difficulty. 3* entertainment thank you Jay and Pommers too.

    The Toughie is doable (left hand side first) and I didn’t need to borrow Gnomey’s mad hat either :)

  12. Bit late today. Had a routine hospital appointment and got back to find the BbloodyT had taken down my telegraph pole, so have been waiting for them to put it back and reconnect me all morning.

    Usual excellent fare from Jay today with some serious thinking required at times (especially when Seaweed was entered – Mary, its delicious, you should try it)(can also get it at some Chinese restaurants, deep fried in sugar).

    I thought 7D (thanks fro the photo of a very brave man Pommers) and 15D were very good clues today, but my favourite has to be 25A.

    1. I was convinced ‘seaweed’ was correct! Not only do I like the taste of it, but so do quite a few marine creatures as well.

    2. Chinese seaweed is nice but it’s actually fried cabbage or bok choy. I suppose it sounds better on the menu than ‘Fried Greens’.

  13. Found this tough but fair. Not quite sure exactly what an albacore is. Best cluesf
    For me were def 7d and 6d.

  14. What a lovely crossword today – really enjoyed it. I didn’t find it difficult but very few across answers went in to begin with – WHEN will I remember to start with the downs on Wednesdays – probably never as I’ll have forgotten by next week!! I didn’t fall in to the “seaweed” trap but did wonder about “figleaf” for 21a – that could have made things a bit tricky! SO many good clues – 1, 13 and 26a and 7, 8 and 20d. With thanks to Jay and Pommers.
    Might just have a quick peep at the toughie later ….

    1. PS We finally had quite a lot of rain yesterday – not enough but considerably better than nothing – it’s chilly but I’m not going to complain about wet or cold for some time yet!

        1. Glad I’m not the only mug! I’m really not going to complain, yet, as the garden already looks SO much happier. :smile:

  15. I would agree with Pommers and Prolixic’s assessment. A slowish start but a rapid finish and a great def at 26a. Thanks to Jay and to Pommers.

  16. Woohoo, a new personal best time! Favourite was 26A, not just because of the picture (but she does have a lovely


    Thanks to Jay and Pommers.

    (BTW Pommers, the quick pun is plural…)

  17. An unheard of and never previously recorded half on the blacksheepometer.

    Perhaps I was just in ‘the zone’ but they all flowed enjoyably with the trickier ones guessed at and then worked out.

    Only one need for the dictionary (easy to guess which!).

    Well, talking about things flowing enjoyably I’m off to toughiesville and more adventures in the magical land of Mouton Noir

      1. Both spellings are ok. But does anyone use this word in normal conversation ?

  18. Thanks to the setter & to Pommers for the review & hints. Managed this ok, but had to think on a few. Favourites were 16& 19a and 7& 20d. 12a made me laugh because it was the last clue I did before being called in for my temporary crown. Overcast here in Central London, it’s getting ready for Easter :-)

  19. Nice one today, smiled at a couple of answers. Liked 23a, 26a and 6d.

    Never heard of albacores !

  20. The weather here has suddenly gone really quite chilly and we’re having a major “Tormenta” – love that word which means thunderstorm. Cats not too happy about it though :grin:

        1. If you mean me rather than Mary, we had rain for the first time for ages on Monday evening and some last night too but as my late mother-in-law would have said ‘ not enough to put in your eye’. Most of the ground is very dry and already has cracks in it. The hosepipe ban starts tomorrow which isn’t going to help the veg patch much, but it might mean I only have one ton of courgettes to deal with later in the year rather than two :D

  21. Had my bi-annual visit to 12a this afternoon for check up and descaling so collected the DT later than usual.

    Liked : 1a (first one in), 12a, 16a, 26a, 7d, 8d, 15d & 19d.

    Also like the Spanish and Greek drinks – i.e. to drink! Re the Greek one it is often said that only the Greeks developed the taste for it but I find it excellent with shellfish especially in sunny Hellas!

    Weather here is dull and chilly.

    Liver, bacon and tomatoes tonight with a spot of Lussac – St.-Émilion then fruit.

    1. That’s dinner tomorrow sorted Derek, Liver and Bacon mashed potatoes and onion gravy. In this cold weather…perfect! Agree with the hellas comment, similar to Ouzo never tastes as good as when I am with my mum and her friends in Athens or various islands. You bring a bottle back to your country and somehow…. it stays in the cupboard

  22. Found this tough to start with (forgot the “Wednesday down clues first” bit!) and did it from bottom up again – last in being 1a! First in was 14a – usually need anagrams to get me off to a kick start – so kind of went round clockwise from there. Great puzzle – really enjoyed it. Thanks for hints Pommers – needed them for some explanations – partic 13a as “had” it but couldn’t see why – doh! Thanks to Jay also.

    1. Next Tuesday perhaps SOMEBODY needs to give a bit of a wake up to all others, saying that we should start with the downs tomorrow? I really enjoyed this one too.

  23. Tough to get started, now finished. I didn’t know the wheeze about doing the down clues first, will try to remember next time.
    It is my first part of 26a today, but freezing cold here so wouldn’t dream of not wearing the second part of 26a.

    Thanks for the hints, but with my feminist hat on i would have preferred to have seen the picture for 12a labelled as simply “dentist “. There are more female than male dental students now, also medical students.

    Particularly liked 17d and 20d.

  24. Feeling really vexed and mad at not being able to do what sounds like an enjoyable puzzle today because I have not been able to access the puzzles since Sunday. According to the site my subscription (annual subscription renewed Dec.2011) has expired!!! Have telephoned DT (from Spain) Mon. Tues. Wed. & still nothing has happened. However,got my crossword fix from The Guardian (free) and am inclined to think ” why pay 40euros when I can get that one free”
    Happy Easter to all. :mad:

    1. Poor you – how annoying but Happy Easter to you too. :smile:
      What’s the scary face at the end of your comment?

  25. Being a dinosaur, I can’t imagine not picking my DT out of the box every morning but, I have to confess, I have to MAKE myself turn all the pages and read at least all the headlines over breakfast, before turning with glee to the back page!!!!!!!!!

    1. Exactly the same except we can no longer have a paper delivered so I pick it up on the way home from morning dog walk.

  26. Loved this one! So many well-constructed clues but 26a is my favourite: brilliant! I even managed to get 16a and 19d, both words I’ve never heard of, from the wordplay which is what makes cryptic crosswords for me. Many thanks to the setter and reviewer.

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