DT 26843 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 26843

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26843

Hints and tips by pommers

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty *Enjoyment ***

Hola from the Vega Baja.  I don’ t think anyone will be needing these hints today! This is by far the gentlest of all the Jay puzzles that I’ve blogged, easily my fasted solve, but quite enjoyable for all that. For once you don’t need to start with the downs! I got all but two of the across clues on first pass, (although I did get one wrong, d’oh!).  Maybe I was just on good form and you’ll all disagree. It will be interesting to hear your views.

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           Turn to person of importance making a comeback (5)
{PIVOT} – To get a word meaning turn or swivel you need to start with TO (from the clue) and follow with an abbreviation for a person of importance and then reverse the whole lot (making a comeback).  First clue read and first in. I always like it when I get 1a straight away!

4a           Reserves unlikely retail outlet (9)
{BOOKSTALL} – A type of retail outlet is a charade of a word meaning reserves, a table in a restaurant perhaps, and a word for unlikely , as in an unlikely story.

9a           Scoop in which soldiers replace former lover wanting to be alone (9)
{RECLUSIVE} – This is a word describing someone who wants to be alone.  Start with a scoop, in a newspaper perhaps, and replace the usual former lover with some soldiers.

10a         Regularly taunt poor person providing instruction (5)
{TUTOR} – A person who provides instruction is made from the alternate letters (regularly) of taunt poor.

11a         Runs circuits in case of extreme deterioration in health (7)
{RELAPSE} – A deterioration in health is formed from R(uns) followed by EE (case of ExtremE) with some circuits of a race track inserted (in).

12a         Constricted by muscular affliction? (7)
{CRAMPED} – Double definition. A word meaning constricted also describes how a muscle might be after some strenuous exercise.

13a         Ask for strangely inactive account to be deleted (6)
{INVITE} – A word meaning ask for is an anagram (strangely) of INACTIVE but with the AC removed (account to be deleted).

15a         All ready to go away, and well-informed — and broke down! (6,2)
{PACKED UP} – Something you did before you were ready to go away on holiday (6) followed by a word meaning well-informed on a subject (2) gives a colloquial term for broke down.  This was my only slip-up in this puzzle. On first pass I put IN as the second part which caused a bit of a problem with 16d, d’oh!

18a         Vessel crossing river shows flag (8)
{STREAMER} – Take a type of seagoing vessel and insert R(iver) (crossing) and you’ll get a type of long thin flag.  Is this a bit of a chestnut?

20a         Unsuccessful gambler chasing source of cash getting nearer (6)
{CLOSER} – An unsuccessful gambler placed after (chasing) a C (source of Cash) gives a word meaning nearer.

23a         Area of church making gambler change sides, finally (7)
{CHANCEL} – Take another word for a gambler, or someone who takes risks, and change the final R to an L (change sides, R(ight) to L(eft)) to get the part of a church where you find the altar, sanctuary, and choir.

24a         One’s expectations initially after a cat spray (7)
{ATOMISE} – Definition is to spray.  Start with IS (ones) and an E ((Expectations initially) and place them after A (from the clue) and a male cat.

26a         Means of controlling rinse cycles (5)
{REINS} – These means of controlling a horse are an anagram (cycles) of RINSE.

27a         Overwhelming victory for transparency by nation (9)
{LANDSLIDE} – To get this overwhelming election victory you need another word for nation or country and after it (by) place a transparency, in the sense of a photograph. Last in. For some reason the penny just wouldn’t drop until I had all the checkers!

28a         Suspect everybody returned in term as planned (5,1,3)
{SMELL A RAT} – A phrase meaning to suspect is a word for everybody reversed and then inserted (returned in) into an anagram (as planned) of TERM AS and then split (5,1,3).

29a         Almost keen to embrace Lincoln’s first symbol of America (5)
{EAGLE} – The symbol of the USA is a word for keen without its last letter (almost) placed around (to embrace) L (Lincoln’s first).


1d           Pictures of, say, Liverpool river as it develops (9)
{PORTRAITS} – Nothing to do with the river Mersey!  Pictures of a person are what Liverpool is an example of followed by R(iver) and then an anagram (develops) of AS IT.

2d           Loud salvo calculated to conceal it (5)
{VOCAL} – A word meaning loud, as in talks a lot, is hidden (to conceal it) in salvo calculated.

3d           Announce utter chaos surrounding elected member (7)
{TRUMPET} – A word meaning announce is an anagram (chaos) of UTTER placed around (surrounding) the usual elected member.

4d           Singles may offer these as well, it’s said (1-5)
{B SIDES} – You get these on the back of a single record. It’s also a homophone (it’s said) of a word meaning as well.

5d           Finished article in bed: ‘What Not to Wear!’ (8)
{OVERCOAT} – An article of clothing which you certainly wouldn’t wear in bed is made from a word meaning finished followed by a child’s bed with an indefinite article inserted.  I can’t help thinking I may be missing something here!

6d           Disappointment resulting from poor bet in bed (7)
{SETBACK} – This disappointment is an anagram (poor) of BET placed inside a slang term for your bed. Strange, we had gamblers in two consecutive across clues and now beds in consecutive downs!

7d           A new suggestion on poems in Australia for example (9)
{ANTIPODES} – What Australia is. It’s A (from the clue), N(ew), a suggestion or clue (3) and some poems.

8d           Attracted by endless plum wine, for example (5)
{LURED} – A word meaning attracted or tempted is LU (endless pLUm) followed by a type of wine.

14d         Flexible, but nasty having to accept variable rates (9)
{VERSATILE} – To get a word for flexible you need a word for nasty and insert (to accept) an anagram (variable) of RATES.

16d         Carry on through cut on energy (9)
{PERSEVERE} – Start with a preposition meaning through or by and follow with a word meaning cut off and then E(nergy) to get a word meaning to carry on or continue.

17d         Vault across bull without protection of mobile phone (8)
{CELLULAR} – This word describes a mobile phone. It’s a vault which might be under a building placed around (across) UL (bULl without protection).

19d         A small capacity left to cover America’s charge (7)
{ACCUSAL} – Definition is charge, in the sense of a charge in a court of law.  Take A (from the clue) and a small capacity or volume and L(eft) and place them around (to cover) America.

21d         A cursory examination appears evasive, superficially (4-3)
{LOOK-SEE} – A phrase meaning a cursory or quick examination is a word for appears or seems followed by EE (EvasivE superficially).

22d         Tree legislation turns head (6)
{WALNUT} – A type of tree is some legislation reversed (turns) followed by a slang term for your head.

23d         Pack diamonds into vehicles (5)
{CARDS} – You need this pack to play bridge. Take some road vehicles and inserts D(iamonds).

25d         Some basic ingredients in cakes? (5)
{ICING} – Something you find on a cake is hidden (some) in basic ingredients.

I quite liked all the ones in blue but I don’t have a stand-out favourite today, how about you?
In case anyone’s interested the two across clues I missed on first pass were 23a and 27a

The Quick crossword pun: {creek} + {eaters} = {cricketers}

128 comments on “DT 26843

  1. Morning pommers
    I liked this one today – a very pleasant start to the day! My stand-out favourite is 4d.
    Thanks to Jay, and to pommers.

  2. Very strange puzzle for me, initial scan garnered 5 answers, then hit brick wall.
    Sorted out a few domestic bits and pieces, returned to puzzle and the rest of the answers went in like lightning.
    Thanks to Ray for an enjoyable puzzle.
    Pommers thanks for hints.

  3. Agreed fairly straightforward although top half was easier than bottom for me.

    A mixed bag of clues I thught. Liked some more than others.

    Thanks to both.

  4. Enjoyable puzzle – thanks to Jay and Pommers.
    I wondered whether we were meant to read “What not” in 5d cryptically as whatnot (i.e. something or other).

      1. That was my take on it skempie but I did have the feeling that there might be a bit more to it. Perhaps Gazza’s right but who knows?

  5. On first run through I have done just four pommers, I think I will leave it and come back later, I was expecting at least a three star for difficulty :-)

    1. Couldn’t agree more, how can this possibly rate 1 star for difficulty, for me a 3 star possible a 2 but go for a 3 because some of the clues are very tricky ie 1d, 9a (where does the scoop come in), 27a (the transparency was very misleading) and 25d which should say on rather than in.

      1. scoop is an exclusive Brian , soldiers replace former lover, i.e. RE for soldiers replace EX for former lover to gie ‘reclusive’, yes I agree about 25d it’s this ‘in’ thing again

      2. Hi Brian

        It’s quite simple, it’s 1* becauseI have a time span for each star rating and this was solved well within the 1* maximum. Maybe it’s just me being on good form but when you get all but two of the across clues cold the downs then just fill themselves in. Never solved a DT puzzle faster :grin:

        Tend to agree about 25d but it works for me as the answer was so obvious, specially when you have the first and last letters.

        1. Last time I will mention the DT’s rating but today they rate this as a 5* for difficulty and this 5* hasn’t changed all day.
          But it had no psychological effect on me!

    2. I found the same Mary, only 3 clues for me on the first run, but as I persevered the answers fell in to place although I did find some of the clues rather strange and difficult to understand and only got them from the checking letters. Thanks to Jay and Pommers, whose hints I found helpful

  6. Good morning Pommers,
    Why do you normally advise starting on the downs? Does it make it easier to do

    1. Hi Collywobs
      It’s agreed by Gnomey, Crypticsue and I that it’s our experience that Jay’s down clues always seem easier than his across ones. No idea why it should be that way! I once asked him about it but he said it wasn’t done on purpose so it remains something of a mystery..

            1. I always start with the down ones collywobs but from the bottom up! Not helping today though :-)

                1. Well collywobs, my brother who has been doing these for about 40years more than me, always starts with the down clues and has always worked oan the assumption that if the setter was working from the top by the time he got to the last one at the bottom he would be running out of ideas and it would be fairly easy clue, maybe it was so back then I don’t know, I doubt it very much now, but I do always start with the last down clue if possible :-D

  7. Very enjoyable fare today. At first I thought it was going to be a doddle with the first 4 or 5 clues going in like nobody’s business, then came to a grinding halt until I got to the downs. NW held me up for a tad and had be wondering about the initial letter of 4A until it clicked. I wouldn’t be surprised if there were complaints about 4D though, if people can complain about musicians from 20 years ago (who are now available on CD, etc) then why shouldn’t they complain about a recording medium from 20 years ago. Hey ho.

  8. like most solvers enjoyed today;s offering, **/***, got a bit stuck in the NE corner,struggled with 4d before i got 4a-both good clues. i think i,ll go and play some 78’s from the 50’s!

  9. Another fun puzzle from Jay and 4d was my favourite as well. Today, at least, looking at the first run through all clues there wasn’t any real difference between the across and the downs. Thanks to pommers and to Jay as well.

  10. Hola once again pommers, I’m afraid I found this really tough today, some clues I thought worthy of a toughie, eg 21d and a few others, I thought 5d was straight forward what you would not wear in bed, 4a I got stuck on the TA bit for reserves! fav clues 26a and 4d although I do agree, not everyone is going to know what a ‘B’ side is, for me lots of perservation, help from my friends and help from yourself pommers made this a 3 to 4 star for me today for difficulty, now what about the reading of 17d then, how would you use your mobile phone for protection whilst vaulting a bull!? please keep all answers clean :-) Thanks for help pommers, def needed it today, I put it down to a bad head (no fault of my own, I might add)

    1. Sorry about the head Mary :sad:
      It’s horses for courses again I guess. I really think I broke my all-time DT solving record on this one, definitely my fastest ever solve for the blog! Must have got on Jay’s wavelength.

  11. I enjoyed this, lots of variety and a bit of head-scratching, but nicely fair. Would say 2* difficulty for me.

  12. Enjoyable – slightly faster than usual for a Jay but then I didn’t have to wait for the downs to write stuff in – 4d is my favourite too. Thanks to Jay for a nice start to Wednesday morning and to Pommers for the hints. My tip to him would be that if you have a choice of two two-letter words which might fit in a clue like 15a, don’t put the second bit in until you have done the down clue!

    The Giovanni Toughie is Wednesday ish. The highlight of today’s puzzles for me in Paul in the Guardian. Am now off to try the Times Championship Qualifier puzzle

    1. Thanks for the tip CS. That’s what I usually do but the correct answer didn’t occur to me (until I spotted 16d) so I was sure I was right, D’OH!
      Agree about the Paul – splendid stuff, as usual from my favourite setter :grin: , and not too tricky.

  13. Just an enquiry – why don’t people click the star rating at the bottom of the post to show what the thought of the puzzle? Only 2 so far today and one of them is me and I think the other was Jezza.

    1. I did – and I think I gave it 5* for enjoyment, because I walked out of Costa Coffee in a considerably better mood than when I went in :)

    2. I always click the star rating – can’t remember ever clicking on less than three though! :smile:

        1. What do you mean? OK – just been back up to the top to look so now understand! I meant that I’ve never clicked on less than 3* – I’m assuming that this “star rating” is enjoyment level – if it isn’t then what is it?

  14. Very enjoyable. Agree with 4d being the best. Seemed to solve this one really quickly (with a little help from the missus). So */*** from us. Thanks to Jay and Pommers. If you haven’t worn an overcoat in bed, don’t knock it! :)

    1. when we were young we alwways had them on the bed especially in winter, I remember having ‘army coats’ on the beds!!

      1. Not to mention gettting dressed under the bedclothes as it was too cold to get out of bed until you had, with proper frost on the windows and so forth.

          1. Boy am I ever glad I grew up in Canada!!! It was cold outside but warm inside – yes we were spoiled. I remember the first year I was in England (1970) I was colder than I had ever been in Canada.

            1. we only had heat in one room Lea and at Christmas we lit the fire in the ‘front room’ and after dinner let the fire go out in the back room!!

    2. In Feb 1983 we went to stay with my sister and brother-in-law (now ex, although I still call him my brother-in-law – I didn’t divorce him – he’s lovely!) in Sheffield. Our two daughters who were 5 and 3 had chicken-pox so weren’t feeling very well. We slept in their unheated attic in a not very big bed – the bedroom had a washbasin with a dripping tap in it – by the morning both poorly daughters were in the MIDDLE of the bed with each of us on the far sides with no bedding at all and there were icicles coming out of the tap!

  15. Thanks to Jay and to Pommers, a reasonable, if untaxing crossword, quite enjoyable.

  16. Many thanks Pommers for the always excellent review, and to all for the comments. I’m afraid I can take no credit for the super 4d, nor for 5d, both of which were changed for differing reasons.
    Don’t seem to be able to post as “Jay” any more. Something to do with WordPress/gravatar

      1. Somehow I found my cricket bat.

        Mary, I hope you find your little dog! I’m sure it’s possible! But…how????

        WordPress! Please, try to find Mary’s little dog! Grrrrrrhhhhhh!

        1. Dave found it once and I have got it on DIY COW but can’t seem to be able to use it here as you say Grrrrrrrrrrrrrh! How did you find your cricket bat?

    1. Hi Jay, or is the new handle permanent?
      Thanks for the entertainment. I have to ask though, what were the original clues for 4d and 5d?

      1. The answer for 4d was changed. I originally had “Blimey”. 5d was “Finished article in bed…. wearing this?”

              1. Neither do I, I think Jay meant that the answer was changed for some reason so the clue was re-written. Don’t see why it would be changed but I do like gnomey’s effort above :smile:

            1. Not obvious to me until I read pommers comment gnomey but I ‘see’ it now, I think it’s really good :-D

            2. Would you believe it! a fruit at heart.. but on the outside, swings both ways, rumour has it! (6)

              I’ll get me coat!

              1. Absolutely great although it’s taken me for ever to understand the first and last letters of your clue. I was about to ask when it came to me – I’m SO glad that I didn’t ask! :oops:

  17. It’s a horrible cold grey day here today, heating on full blast, must be nice where Kath is she must be in the garden :-)

    1. Don’t want to gloat (much) but it’s 23C here and sunny :grin: Just been sat in the street having a beer and a couple of tapas for lunch.

      1. I think I’m going to come and live in your part of the world! sounds just right, my brother and sister in law are off shortly in their motorhome for five weeks in France and Spain

          1. We will be getting it this Friday hopefully and will practice in this country this year but next year who knows :-D

                  1. And we are very close to where you get off the ferry ,possibly too early for a sangria but a morning coffee could be just the ticket. That is ,of course,unless you were driving through France!!

                    1. which ferry Annidrum, we have been a couple of times on the Portsmouth to Bilbao but I’m not sure that is running now? Is it the Plymouth to Santander, we stayed in a beautiful little place that we found by accident called Castro de Urdiales (think the spelling may be wrong!) we liked it so much we went back again

      1. I think you mean me franco with my new Aussie handle?? yes very windy here too and rain not far away

    2. … you must be having a laugh, Mary – it’s been chucking it down almost all day in Oxford, apart from the odd few minutes. Terrible sulking collie! Drought? Someone send a lifeboat!!

  18. Well that was a puzzle of two halves for me. Took me ages to get on Jay’s wave length today so would put it at higher than 1 star based on that. Once I did get on the right ideas they came faster. I liked 4d.
    Cast my vote when it showed 2 votes and it still shows 2 so the “counting mechanism” isn’t working right!
    Thanks to Jay and to Pommers – although I don’t think we should talk to you Pommers with nice weather like that. We are getting much needed rain but who said we like it!!!

  19. Truth to tell Lea we could do with some rain big time! Been a very dry Winter and things aint looking good for the Summer. We don’t get hosepipe bans here but if water’s low it just gets turned off for long periods and they put up the price to discourage use!

    1. We could send you plenty from Cantabria, Pommers. It’s been chucking it down here for practically the whole month of April,so far. And it’s cold. :sad:

      1. A few days rain would be welcome but you can keep the cold – we don’t do cold in Alicante, well, not in April anyway!

  20. I thought I was going to romp through this to-day, as I got 3/4 done fairly quickly but 4d got me and couldn’t see 4a as I could only see 4d starting with A. Just didn’t think of that kind of single. Enjoyable puzzle though. Thanks to Jay & Pommers.

  21. Just noticed your picture at 17d pommers surely the mobile phone is being used as protection, that’s why we can’t see it :-D

    1. I think you might need more than a mobile as protection from those horns – and it’s only a small bull! My eyes are now watering :lol:

  22. The one to Santander ,Mary, which is a very beautiful city. Yes, Castro Urdiales is also lovely but absolutely bursting at the seams. :smile:

    1. Do you live in Santander? We found Castro completely by accident, about ten years ago and stayed at that lovely hotel on the front

  23. I didn’t start the crossword until quite late and wondered if I would find it difficult because of being totally out of routine – I didn’t! The three that did their best to cause a bit of trouble were 4, (both of them) and 1d. I also had to think about how to spell 16d properly – have got used to spelling it “improperly” – I blame Mary for that!! Don’t think that I’ve ever seen “cycles” as an anagram indicator before. We’ve had the answer to 28a recently but can’t remember the clue. Favourites include 9 and 26a and 1 and 4d. With thanks to Jay and Pommers.
    Rained all day here – I’m not complaining yet – never thought that I’d be pleased to hear the grass making squelchy noises!! :smile:

  24. Thanks to Jay & Pommers for the review & hints. Would agree with Pommers star rating, but enjoyable nonetheless. Thought of Mary when I got 16d. Favourites were 4d & 23a. Last in was 17d, which strangely, I parsed wrongly before seeing Pommers picture. I thought it was an anagram of cleared around ull.

  25. Thanks to all for the entertainment today. Got the “woman Hitler” (anag) (6-2-3) staying here this week so the diversion was much appreciated. Off to the quiz now but maybe pop back in later this evening.

    1. … that’s smart, but not very nice! Have you told pomette – or “woman Hitler”? When are you and Jezza going to start setting the NTSPP? Perhaps you could set one between you to start off with. :smile:

      1. I’m sure we could come up with something over a period of time (and a few bottles/cases of vino)…..

        1. Hmmm – never thought of that. Not sure I’m up to it really. Dissecting someone else’s clues is one thing but setting one’s own?
          When gnomey put up his clue for BLIMEY I thought of the fruit inside but couldn’t think of a way to clue the BY round the outside – Jezza did that brilliantly! I don’t think he would need my help :grin:

  26. Very enjoyable last in was 17d which was my favourite. Thanks for the review and to the setter.

  27. I never get to look at comments till the train home (I’m an iPad person) and by then most of my comments have usually been made by others more eloquent than me, hence my irregular appearance on this site. But today I’m compelled to add that while today’s puzzle was high in enjoyment (and they almost always are) I found it trickier than yesterday’s, which I cruised through. SW corner was last in and i needed your help, for which much thanks.

    1. Hi Horatio
      Don’t worry if you agree with others, just say so! Nobody else seems worried about repeating previous comments! Glad to have been of assistence :smile:

    2. Hi Horatio
      Don’t worry if you agree with others, just say so! Nobody else seems worried about repeating previous comments!

      Sorry, couldn’t resist

  28. As predicted yesterday, it was back to earth with a bump today. And it felt like a solid bump after I read at the top of the review “I don’t think anyone will be needing these hints today!”.
    After a slow start, lots then fell into place (as for others – 4d favourite clue) until I was stuck with 5 to go. Two finally solved, but I needed the hints for the last three (in SE corner). On the plus side: no electronic aids until needing the hints at the end, and anagrams solved without writing the letters out (my extra little challenge). Hopefully tomorrow will bring me more success. Thanks to the setter – and for the review. I guess without the hard days the good days wouldn’t feel as good!

  29. What a HUGE number of comments for a mid-week, non-controversial, crossword. Must be the weather!! Is everyone feeling as cooped-up as I am? :sad: Not that I’m complaining, yet, about the rain!!

  30. A rather quickly solved puzzle from Jay.
    Best likes : 24a, 28a, 4d & 17d.

    Pommers – when my wife was alive, we used to go to Alicante quite a lot and much of the close-by coastal area. I personally prefer the Rioja in Spain.

    1. Hi Derek – I’m coming to the conclusion that the Spanish only export the dodgy Rioja and keep the good stuff for themselves. That’s why it’s better in Spain!

  31. Nuff said, methinks. Just got to the puzzle after a hectic day of presentations and practice (tennis).
    Enjoyed this pleasant challenge. Cheers J & P – sweet dreams.

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