DT 26844 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 26844

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26844

Hints and tips by Big Dave

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BD Rating – Difficulty *Enjoyment **

Today’s Cryptic puzzle took me less time to complete than the “Quick” crossword. Old hands should zoom through this one, recognising a number of old chestnuts along the way.

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    Part, we hear, by counter is protection for car? (7)
{ROLLBAR} – start with what sounds like a part in a play and add a counter across which liquor or food is served and the result is something that protects the occupants if a car overturns

5a    Key friend retaining four books (7)
{PIVOTAL} – an adjective meaning key or important is derived by putting a friend around the Roman numerals for four and some books in the Bible

9a    Mean type occupied by exam, sanctimonious sort (9)
{MORALISER} – put a mean type of person around (occupied by) a verbal exam to get a sanctimonious sort of person

10a    City left with nothing (5)
{PORTO} – this European city is a charade of the nautical term for left and O (nothing)

11a    Private comment is part of bias I detected (5)
{ASIDE} – a private comment is hidden inside (part of) the clue

12a    Abode about to get sinkage (subscription cancelled) (9)
{RESIDENCE} – this abode or dwelling comes from one of the usual two-letter words for about followed by signage without the initial four letters (SUBScription cancelled)

13a    Deft clue I misjudged? It’s misleading (9)
{DECEITFUL} – an anagram (misjudged) of DEFT CLUE I gives an adjective meaning misleading or dishonest

16a    Suit for social venues (5)
{CLUBS} – a double definition – a suit of playing cards and some social venues

17a    Home around North trailed by a creature (5)
{PANDA} – put a slang word for a home around N(orth) and add the A from the clue to get a creature that can only mate for about two days in every year – presumably the female has a headache for the rest of the year!

18a    Fashionable gallery incorporating largely well-funded complex (9)
{INTRICATE} – put a two-letter word for fashionable and a well-known gallery founded by a sugar tycoon (not Lord Sugar!) around most of word meaning well-funded to get an adjective meaning complex

20a    Digital sketch? (9)
{THUMBNAIL} – a not-very-cryptic definition of a small sketch

23a    Combined number in queue lacking leader (2,3)
{IN ONE} – this phrasal adjective meaning combined or as a single unit is generated by putting the two-letter abbreviation of number inside a queue without its initial letter (lacking leader)

25a    Lift from compere entertaining one (5)
{HOIST} – to get this lift put a compere around (entertaining) I (one)

26a    Some tableware? I’ve rest ordered with note (9)
{SERVIETTE} – this item of tableware comes from an anagram (ordered) of I’VE REST followed by the seventh note of the scale in sol-fa notation

27a    Writer, one accepting start of nasty punishment (7)
{PENANCE} – start with a writing implement and then add a playing card with a value of one around (accepting) the initial letter (start) of Nasty to get this punishment

28a    English rambler’s second to enter exposed gorge (7)
{OVEREAT} – put E(nglish) and the second letter of rAmbler inside (to enter) an adjective meaning exposed to get a verb meaning to gorge


1d    Criminal activity shown by a male in posh car with support (3-4)
{RAM-RAID} – this criminal activity is derived by putting A and M(ale) inside the two-letter abbreviation for a posh car and then adding some support

2d    Illness troubled girl around university (5)
{LURGI} – this illness (dreaded by the Goons!) comes from an anagram (troubled) of GIRL around U(niversity)

3d    Short song about Irish woman, one on stage? (9)
{BALLERINA} – put most of (short) a slow sentimental song around an Irish first name to get this dancer performing on stage

4d    One coming out of retirement for flight in part (5)
{RISER} – a double definition – someone getting up in the morning and part of a flight of stairs

5d    Cheese placed around cooked roast close to grill (4,5)
{PORT SALUT} – this mild cheese originally made at a Trappist monastery is derived by putting a word meaning placed around an anagram (cooked) of ROAST and the final letter of (close to) grilL

6d    Very ace sink promoted in flat (5)
{VAPID} – V(ery) and A(ce) are followed by a verb meaning to sink which is reversed (promoted) to get an adjective meaning flat or insipid (rather like 5 down!)

7d    Sailor, six-footer, with tricky haul ignoring hot venomous type (9)
{TARANTULA} – a three-letter sailor is followed by an insect (six-footer) and an anagram (tricky) of (H)AUL without (ignoring) the H(ot) to get a venomous type of spider

8d    Battalion (Essex) conscripting one with pride (7)
{LIONESS} – hidden inside (conscripting) the clue is one of a pride of wild cats

14d    Nine court assembled for ancient officer (9)
{CENTURION} – an anagram (assembled) of NINE COURT for ancient officer in the Roman army

15d    Fine staple food with a lot of advantage included in dish (9)
{FRICASSEE} – start with F(ine) and then put a staple food around most (a lot) of an advantage or benefit to get a dish of fowl, rabbit, etc. cut into pieces and served in a sauce

16d    Condemn credit given by one located in corrupt cities (9)
{CRITICISE} – this verb meaning to condemn or pan is derived from CR(edit) followed by I (one) inside (located in) an anagram (corrupt) of CITIES

17d    Temporary repair in plot of land on high? (5-2)
{PATCH UP} – this phrasal verb meaning to affect a temporary repair comes from a charade of a plot of land and a word meaning on high

19d    Day before break for summit (7)
{EVEREST} – a charade of the day before a festival or notable event and a break or pause gives this summit in the Himalayas

21d    Stick in message from cricket captain refusing to declare? (5)
{BATON} – if this stick is split as (3,2) it could be a message from a cricket captain refusing to declare the innings closed

22d    Line followed by legendary vessel in a slow movement (5)
{LARGO} – L(ine) is followed by Jason’s legendary vessel to get a musical term for a slow movement

24d    Fantastic section in bout remembered (5)
{OUTRÉ} – this adjective meaning fantastic or unconventional is hidden inside (section in) the clue

This should leave plenty of time to try today’s Toughie – it’s by Elkamere wearing his “Anax light” hat!

The Quick crossword pun: {belle} + {wringer} = {bellringer}

71 comments on “DT 26844

  1. Didn’t enjoy this much I’m afraid. Quite simple and found many of the clues a bit flat and some a bit clumsy, 21d probably being as good as it for for me. 1*/1.5*

  2. Quite and easy solve, but quite enjoyable as well. At first I was going to query the spelling of 2D (and I can almost envisage a raft of complaints about this from people who ‘have never heard of a 20 year old comic set up’) but on checking found at least 4 spellings of said complaint. I thought 5A was particularly clever.

    1. Surely a lot more than 20 years Skempie? I think I was listening to the radio programme at least 40 years ago!

      1. According to Chambers the show was on from 1949 to 1960. If you missed it then you could get a full re-enactment at school the following day!

        1. can stll get a full re-enactment here from time to time BD. Incidentally, I come from a Naval family and the word passed into Naval slang and from there into general everyday use at my old school – it could nearly get you off dreaded double Geog !

    2. I don’t understand, are you talking about 2d? My clue in the paper reads “Illness troubled girl around university “.

      1. heno – people are refering to the ‘Goon Show’ which came up in Big Dave’s hint which starts with: “this illness (dreaded by the Goons!)”

        1. Thanks Simo, I should have read the hints. Believe it or not, I’m a Goon’s fan, but didn’t know that the dreaded 2d came from them :-)

  3. Surface reading of 6d was nonsense. Not the most enjoyable of puzzles. Thanks to BD for comments – though I doubt anyone will have needed them to-day. I’m suffering from the dreaded 2d to-day with a heavy cold, so maybe that’s making me a bit grumpy!

  4. That was much better for me than yesterday’s where I struggled through it. Today felt relatively straightforward. A few went in quickly but it then took me a while to fully understand how the clue had worked (e.g. what ‘flight’ was referring to in 4d) – which I don’t find quite as satisfying as seeing it all in one go. No clues really jumped out – but 1d, 5a and 18a probably the pick of the bunch. I’ll go for */**** as I’m still getting huge pleasure in getting through a crossword unaided.
    And today’s performance has helped overcome the dent to my ego when, on turning to yesterday’s hints, I discovered the puzzle was cruelly described as so easy: “I don’t think anyone will be needing these hints today!”!

  5. I never time myself but I think I probably did this one more quickly than I’ve ever done a cryptic. I enjoyed it – my only complaint is that I’ve now finished it, and it’s raining! I also had to check the spelling of 2d – don’t think I’ve ever written it before but wanted to put a Y at the end. As BD said in his hint, I think 1a is protection for the people IN the car rather than for the car! Lots of good clues – 5, 10, 13 and 18a and 21d. With thanks to the setter and BD.

    1. Hi Kath
      If the rain’s keeping you out of the garden I can recommend today’s Toughie. It’s by Elkamere and it’s relatively accessable for one of his and quite a bit of fun :smile:

      1. Thanks pommers – might have a go later – the only bit of your comment that puts me off is the relatively accessible “for one of his” bit!! How brave do I need to be feeling? Have just managed to persuade our ancient printer to behave itself and am doing reasonable well with the Guardian cryptic from yesterday.

        1. Thanks both – not doing too badly. Will carry on later. I have a strong feeling that I’m going to need some hints .. !

  6. Probably the quickest ever solve of a DT puzzle. No complaints, but not much sparkle! Thanks to setter, and to BD.

  7. Nice and easy today, not a lot of brain power needed. Favourite clue 5a. I held myself up by trying to start the answer to 1a with ‘Bu’ without really reading the clue which wasn’t very clever.

    The Toughie is quite friendly today – well, the LHS is, just about to tackle the RHS. Thanks to setter and BD.

  8. I agree with the comments above I would rate as 1* and 4* also. Marginally easier that yesterday and just as enjoyable. No contentious clues and some very enjoyable ones, especially 23a and 7d. My minor gripe with this puzzle is, as Patsyann states, that the surface reading of too many clues makes no sense at all. 14a what is a Nine court? 17a Home around North.. 12a? 6d What is a very ace sink? Very minor gripe over. Still a very enjoyable crossword. Many thanks to the setter and BD.

    1. I don’t think it is a minor gripe. Clues should read as if they could be an everyday part of conversation and the best will read so elegantly that the solver is distracted by the picture they portray and fairly deceived. Agree with you on the surfaces, although 14d is intended to be read ‘nine (which the) court….’, I think.

      1. Yes, I obviously agree. 14d would make more sense if it was: played court nine for… Perhaps.

  9. This one was pretty straightforward, even for me.
    Agree with the comments about some of the clues/ surfaces, some decidedly dodgy.
    For about the last 10 days we have been fed fairly straight forward puzzles, either I am becoming competent…unlikely, or it’s the calm before the storm!
    Thanks to setter and to BD for review.

  10. I am definitely in the ‘old hand’ ‘very straightforward’ ‘chestnutty’ enjoyable camp but given the day I have today, I didn’t mind at all starting with this one.

    The Toughie is great too. I have been smiling at some of the clues all through a very boring meeting this morning.

  11. Gutted, I thought I’d fought my way through a 2-3 star here, but after reading everyone’s comments and your rating BD, I’m left deflated :-). Thanks setter and BD.

    1. Don’t be deflated. I sometimes think the ratings edge towards the lower end of the scale. There are often 1* and 2* ratings but it’s very rare fro a puzzle to get 5*. For me this was a 1* difficulty puzzle because the surface reading of many clues lead to only one possible way to unravel. Chin up.

  12. Well, I didnt find it that easy. In fact I struggled with 23a. Hence the reason for visiting this site. I don’t really like the explanation, but there we are. Yesterday was enjoyable for me and indeed so was today. I do think there is too much carping about the quality of the clues. Why do people bother to visit this excellent site if they can do the crossward so easily. Is it “look at me”.

    1. Personally I visit this site (more than any other) because there seem to be so many like minded people here. But I also believe the setters get the benefit of our feedback. It can only be a good thing in my view. I have to agree with your point that this is an excellent site.

      1. And the Setters often comment themselves, Rufus and Jay have this week and if RayT was setting today he would also thank everyone for the feedback.

    2. I agree about this being an excellent site. I don’t feel that anyone who comments regularly is saying “Look at me” at all – it’s just nice to hear how other people have got on with a crossword. No-one is really carping about the quality of the clues – they are just making valid points – lots can be learnt from the very experienced solvers.

      1. I totally agree with your comments Kath. It’s an excellent web site, and it can be very reassuring to know that others are struggling if I’m having an off day!!

    3. Another reason for visiting is to check if anyone has any problems with anything and to lend a guiding hand if that’s the case.

    4. Bob, the vast majority do not come to this site to brag. They come here to learn & discuss, and see how others are getting on, and have a chat while doing so.

      1. Exactly :-) the help from better solvers is invaluable, the discussions are amusing and friendly and I for one would never have been managing to finish any of the crosswords if I hadn’t ‘found’ it and got a very warm welcome almost three years ago now :-), I don’t think anyone actually brags on the site, it is firmly discouraged

        1. Invaluable site.
          …..’and having direct access, more or less, to the setters is terrific.
          Thanks to all concerned.

  13. Thanks to the setter & Big Dave for the hints and review. Agree with Big Dave that it was easy apart from 5d which I’d never heard of. Like winter in Central London.

  14. */**, almost as quick as this mornings soft boiled egg! long time since i heard of the’ dreaded lurgi’on the steam radio.Setting-
    Tea house of the August moon,Eccles ‘how do we get in Seagoon’? Knock 365 times. Eccles–KKKKKetc(365)-door opens, excuse me young sir,is this the tea house of the August moon?-No,next door!. Memories

  15. Well I’m really sorry to disagree with most people today, I know I had to leave it on half to go to a funeral, but I really found it quite difficult in parts, a two to three star for me today, I thought lots of the readings made no sense whatsoever eg 6d, 14d, 17d,26a, t name a few, one clue I did like was 13a, no not one for me today sorry setter
    Thanks for the hints Dave I used a few of them to finish the top half

        1. The vegetarian Mr CS is very fond of the cheese. The dish at 15d has been in many many a cryptic – I know because I struggle to spell it every time!!

      1. Hi Mary and henostat – you’re not missing much with the cheese. It’s a bit like VERY slightly cheesey flavoured rubber! :smile:

        1. Improves a bit when cooked…. :) Mr CS just likes cheese of all varieties, which is very handy for me.

  16. One of the easier DT cryptics. Like many I thought that some of the surface readings were a bit “clunky”. However, thanks to the setter!

    Just off to the kitchen – Fricassée De Poulet avec sauce au fromage!

      1. Two easy ways:

        1. Look the word up using Google and then cut-and-paste – touché
        2. Hold the Alt key and type 130 with the numeric keypad – é

  17. I suppose I enjoy any crossword really whether I can complete them or not,and found this one fairly straightforward but didn’t like all the clues.I really disliked 8d & struggled with 5d until I remembered the name of the cheese.

  18. Knocked this one off rapidly but agree BD it is rather chestnutty!
    Likes : 12a, 20a, 28a, 3d, 7d & 15d.

    Very mixed weather here today after a couple of days of drizzly rain which was good for the trees – it began cloudy then altered to sunshine with puffy cumulus clouds heading north (southerly wind at long last!) then a violent hailstorm!!! – back to sun now.

  19. Spent a lot of time today on trains so really good to have a puzzle like this that had lots of ways in. I agree with some other commenters that some clues were weak, like 23a and 6d, and still not sure I get 8d, but just grateful for a puzzle that was so, mainly, approachable.

    1. 8d is one of those “in the middle of the clue” types but heavily disguised by the brackets – a lioness looks after a pride of lions.

  20. Strood to Gravesend (the train used to stop at Higham). I have to agree in this case that it was a straight through puzzle for anyone who regularly solves the DT but it is still useful to have puzzles that are on the easier side. I would agree on the comments regarding surface reading though ; 7d simply – ahem – telegraphs the answer upon reading the first two words and the definition at the end.
    Thanks to the setter and to BD.

  21. Took about the same time to solve this crossword as yesterday – fairly quickly. Clues I found were of a mixed bag, some good, some not so and some very contrived. */** from me. Thanks to setter and BD

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