DT 26838 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 26838

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26838

Hints and tips by Big Dave

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BD Rating – Difficulty **/***Enjoyment ****

This puzzle is not by Ray T (that’s for Brian and Co.). I’m fibbing (that’s for everyone else)!

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    Dictatorial leader of French facing awkward situation (6)
{DESPOT} – this dictatorial leader comes from a charade of the French for “of” and an awkward situation

5a    A cold urn boiling? (8)
{CAULDRON} – an anagram (boiling) of A COLD URN gives a vessel loosely defined by the whole of this &Lit clue

9a    Does up semi with dens or otherwise (10)
{MODERNISES} – a verb meaning does up or brings up-to-date is an anagram (otherwise) of SEMI with DENS OR

10a    Nude with well-developed body… (4)
{BUFF} – a double definition – nude, often preceded by “in the”, and having attractively well-developed muscles

11a    …in classy bar, it excites hedonist (8)
{SYBARITE} – hidden inside the clue is this Ancient Greek hedonist

12a    Return of Queen with fellow Prince? (6)
{REGENT} – reverse the Queen’s cypher and add a fellow to get a Prince invested with interim sovereign authority

13a    Dole collected by end of line (4)
{METE} – this verb meaning to dole is a charade of a verb meaning collected together and the final letter (end) of linE

15a    Compiler’s clue taking time for cheat (8)
{IMPOSTER} – start with the usual crosswordese for “the compiler is” and then add a clue or question into which T(ime) has been inserted (taking) to get this cheat

18a    Kept woman by force on motorway (8)
{MISTRESS} – this kept woman is derived from force or emphasis preceded by the notation for the London-Leeds motorway

19a    Part of church primate to embrace Sabbath (4)
{APSE} – to get this part of a church start with a primate (no, not the Archbishop!) and put it around (to embrace) S(abbath)

21a    Broadside from one stuck in traffic (6)
{TIRADE} – this broadside or outburst is created by inserting I (one) inside (stuck in) a word meaning traffic

23a    Old country, so I heard, abroad (8)
{RHODESIA} – this former name for an African colony is an anagram (abroad) of SO I HEARD – the anagram fodder makes this look as if there is a homophone lurking!

25a    Sweetheart seen on pole, naked (4)
{BARE} – put the middle letter (heart) of swEet after a pole to get another word for naked

26a    Resonant? It could be (10)
{STENTORIAN} – this anagram (could be) of RESONANT IT is defined by the whole of this &Lit clue

27a    Blokes keep score in mind (8)
{MENTALLY} – a charade of some blokes and a verb meaning to keep score gives an adverb meaning in the mind

28a    Cover includes wide brief (6)
{LAWYER} – put a cover or coating around W(ide) to get this brief in the legal profession


2d    English lad clutching new jet (5)
{EBONY} – E(nglish) and a lad around (clutching) N(ew) give an adjective meaning jet-black

3d    Frequent bar imbibing endless beer (9)
{PREVALENT} – to get this adjective meaning frequent put a verb meaning to bar around (imbibing) a beer without its final letter (endless)

4d    After fault, catch up for game (6)
{TENNIS} – a fault and a word meaning catch are both reversed (up in a down clue) to get this game

5d    Operation corrects my guise, perhaps (8,7)
{COSMETIC SURGERY} – this elective operation is an anagram (perhaps) of CORRECTS MY GUISE

6d    Takes off some excess parts, nude, rising (8)
{UNSTRAPS} – this verb meaning takes off, a bra or belt perhaps, is hidden (some) and reversed (rising in a down clue) inside the clue

7d    Correct errors from young lady, posh and grand (5)
{DEBUG} – this verb meaning to correct errors in a computer program is built up from a young lady in her “coming out” season, a single letter for posh and G(rand)

8d    Criminals among American car parts (9)
{OFFENDERS} – these criminals come from a charade of a two-letter word meaning among and some American car parts

14d    Kill time with ‘Alien’ flicks (9)
{ELIMINATE} – this verb meaning to kill is an anagram ()flicks of TIME with ALIEN

16d    One’s repulsive to birds (9)
{SCARECROW} – a cryptic definition of Worzel Gummidge

17d    Cancellation of show containing empty rows (8)
{REVERSAL} – this cancellation or annulment is derived by putting a verb meaning to show around R(ow)S without the internal letters (empty)

20d    Worldly Tory leader with virtuous exterior (6)
{MORTAL} – an adjective meaning worldly or earthly is created by inserting the initial letter (leader) of Tory inside (with … exterior) an adjective meaning virtuous

22d    Middle Eastern state’s first stop (5)
{AVERT} – the middle letter of EasTern is preceded by (first) a verb meaning to state to get a verb meaning to stop or prevent

24d    Idiotic, naive and not educated initially (5)
{INANE} – the initial letters of the first five words of the clue give an adjective defined by the whole of this, our third, &Lit clue

A little bit of Ray’s signature innuendo – and another visit from Her Majesty!

The Quick crossword pun: {bar} + {dared} + {hay} = {bad hair day}

51 comments on “DT 26838

  1. Fun fun fun. Really enjoyed this one, quite tricksy in places, but solvable. Some clever clues and nice big anagrams, etc and some nice (long missed) words for answers, so nice to see 11A, 14A, 26A again. I particularly enjoyed 5D and 23A is today’s fave rave – reminds me of a cricket match I once attended with a couple sitting close to us discussing the cricket, he in a pin stripe suit, her looking as if she’d just left India during the time of the Raj. He asks ‘This chap Hick, who did he use to play for?’ She replies ‘Rhodesia’ and after a pause adds ‘Southern’. I found this quintessentially English.

  2. A nice start to the day. Thanks to RayT for a most enjoyable puzzle, and to BD for the review.

    I quite liked the toughie too, which is not particularly tough, very pleasant to solve, and has a theme to it as well.

  3. 26a was a runaway favourite followed by the other &Lit. A good fun crossword (again!). Thanks RayT and BD. I was wondering on the train what would happen if another Thursday setter did a RayT style puzzle. I reckon we might still spot the difference.

  4. Another nice puzzle from RayT. Many great moments as usual with 5d and 26 best. Now to the garden which has had to wait today.

  5. It took me a while to get into this one today but I did enjoy myself once the cryptic grey matter had woken up. I liked 5a, 5d and 24d. Thanks to Ray for the fun and Bd for the explanations.

    My recommendation for the toughie would say the same as Jezza above if he hadn’t already said it. Fans of Virgilius might like to know that his alter ego has a very nice, if tricky, themed puzzle in the Guardian for which you will need your chapeau.

  6. Nice crossword and good fun, just a few too many anagrams for my taste. Many thanks to RayT and BD.

  7. What a delight after yesterday, which had me completely stuck. After that treat, the weeding awaits – but I enjoy that too so a good day all round!

  8. Afternoon Dave, Is it just me or did the clues at 5a, 26a and particularly 24d just seem to be half a clue, I know you have said they are &lit, but to me they are not complete, in 24 across the definition is ‘idiotic’ but then the compiler goes on to use the ‘i’ again as part of the word play I thought this wasn’t allowed? the same happens in 26a where ‘Resonant’ is the definition but it is used again as part of the wordplay, 5a just doesn’t have a definition
    The clues are easily solvable but I thought this wasn’t allowed
    Apart from that a normal RayT for me, hard going but doable with lots of perservation, a three star for me today, good luck everyone from a bright sunny but cold West Wales :-)

      1. Thanks for that Dave, I can see it applies to 5a and 26a but not 24a, I know it’s probably me (well it is me) but I just don’t ‘see’ it as one

    1. Surely, there is no ‘allowed’ or ‘disallowed’?
      If there were, that is, just wordplay on one, identifiable word, it would be all too simple.
      Including ‘near’ words, adds to the spice and enjoyment of solving.

      1. I think there are some kinds of clues that are “frowned on” in an “ordinary” crossword ie not a toughie. I do understand what Mary is saying but will leave it to someone far more knowledgeable (just had to check the spelling of that before I dared to write it on this site!) rather than say any more! I know that someone will fill in all the gaps ….. :smile:

  9. That was fun! Thanks to RayT and BD. I can’t help feeling that some other reviewers would have made more of the picture opportunities in 10A and 25A…

    BD, a small typo; your explanation of 15A is excellent, but you didn’t follow your own insertion instruction.

  10. I enjoyed this very much – thought it was quite tricky in places so 3* for difficulty for me. I don’t think that I’ve heard of the second definition in 10a before and was held up by trying to make 8d an “American car” around “con”, the definition being “parts” – oh dear!! Was also very slow with 22d and, as usual, missed the “first letters” bit of 24d although the answer was obvious. 13a was my last one. Favourites include 10 and 11a (because of how the two clues read together, mainly) 23 and 27a and 5 and 20d.
    With thanks to Ray T and BD – I liked your introduction, BD! :grin:
    Chilly and sunny(ish) in Oxford – more gardening – might dare to look at the toughie a bit later.

      1. Thanks CS – that’s just what I’ll do! Pouring with rain here – just back from VERY soggy doggy walk and now feel completely justified in doing another crossword – even I won’t garden in this!

      2. Latish now so hope that you read this – done it, almost!! Have a couple of gaps and a few for which I need the explanations – will look after supper. Thanks for pointing me in this direction. :smile: I now have another “do-able” one from today to store up for tomorrow when, I assume, it will be untouchable by the likes of me!

        1. Well done Kath I knew you would get on well with it. The Teleglraph Puzzles Toughie setters list hasn’t been updated for a week but I have a strong inkling that tomorrow might be tougher than the rest of the week’s offerings :D

            1. I have the link on my ‘favouties’ and when I click on that, it is stuck at Firefly from last week. I will reset it from your link above. Having just read ‘inkles’ in your post, I have checked in Chambers and apparently one can inkle on one’s way to an inkling. I think it must be time for an early night!

            2. “Exactement?” – “Au contraire?” – I presume you solved today’s Brendan/Virgilius in the Grauniad? Dumas? :lol:

              If it’s Elgar tomorrow – include me out!

          1. :sad: … it looks as if I might not dare to even look at toughie tomorrow! That’s fine – have not looked at today’s yet and you all say that it’s “do-able” so, if time permits, will have a go at that one tomorrow. Thanks for encouragement, CS!

  11. Really splendid stuff, even if a bit on the gentle side! Can’t decide on a favourite but it’s either 26a or 24d, I like &lits when they work properly :grin:

    Thanks to RayT and Big Dave.

  12. Found this one quite hard, had to take three runs at it, but got there in the end, with the exception of 13a, the little words cause me grief.
    Thanks for hints and tips, quite a few today where I got the right answer for the wrong reasons.
    Thanks to RayT for a very enjoyable puzzle.
    Agree with CS, today’s Bernard is great fun, au revoir, à bientôt.

  13. What exactly does “&Lits” mean? I got the answers – am just intrigued by the term. Nice puzzle – didn’t exactly sail through it and needed a bit of electronic help, but much enjoyed. Also didn’t know the second meaning of 10a – 13a was last in. Thanks to setter and BD.

  14. Thanks to Ray T & Big Dave for the hints and review. Usual good stuff from the Maestro, enjoyed it very much, a bit tricky in places. Managed to drag up 26a from the depths of my mind. Favourites were 8a and 3d. Last in was 22d. Showery in Central London.

  15. Amazingly ,for me, found this quite easy to-day with only a couple of peeks at the BRB. and thought it very enjoyable. Thanks to Ray T & BD. :smile:

    1. Finished with a great deal of help but with zero enjoyment. Also what has mortal got to do with worldly or am I missing something. Chambers does not give that definition from either way. And since when did flicks mean an anagram or is this something Ray T uses? Still don’t understand the dots linking two clues (10 & 12), what has buff got to do with sybarite? Sorry I am trying to like Ray T puzzles but they just don’t seem any fun at all.

      1. Hi Brian, I don’t think the two clues are linked, I’m not sure what the dots are about really, there are lots and lots of words that indicate an anagram, some better than others, must admit it isn’t in my anagram list but lots of them aren’t, I am with you though on ‘mortal’ and ‘worldly’ :-)

        1. Most people seem to really enjoy RayT crosswords, I must admit for myself they are usually hard work and I’m just glad to finish them, having said that I love Rufus crosswords, on Mondays and others find them hard to get into, so there we go :-D

          1. For what it’s worth I used to hate Thursday’s cos of Ray T. I just couldn’t get on his wavelength. Used to moan a lot about it…..but kept trying and trying and trying and I still find I can’t get on his wavelength :-) …..actually fibbing here. It eventually came. Not saying I find his puzzles easy, but they are structured very cleverly and I now thoroughly enjoy them.
            If you can understand Big Dave’s explanations to the clueing, you’re half way there. Just keep at it Brian, it will come.

            1. With regard to Ray T’s puzzles. Has anyone noticed how few words he uses in his clueing? Must be very difficult to have so much white space!

              The main reason that I don’t like the Toughies – is that many of them seem to have very long convoluted clues with little or no surface reading.

              The other reason is that I cannot do them.

      2. Brian,

        1. “Worldly” is the first entry for “mortal” in Chambers Thesaurus.
        2. The Dots or Ellipses do not necessarily link the solutions of the two clues involved. Beware of all punctuation that the setter uses – it’s often there just to mislead the solver.
        3. “flicks” – Hmmmm – tend to agree with you!

          1. I can’t see a problem with Worldly for Mortal since it defines the realm of Man (i.e. the world) as opposed to the realm of the gods (the aether or your heaven of choice). This Mortal Coil etc.

      3. Seems perfectly obvious to me – a nude would excite a sybarite.
        Excellent clues, Ray T.

  16. Not a hard puzzle to solve – a little on the bare side!
    Liked : 10a, 13a, 15a, 26a, 3d, 7d, 9d & 17d.

    Weather over here definitely better at the moment – the Monday drizzle has awakened the trees now greener.

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