DT 26850 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
View closed comments 

DT 26850

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26850

Hints and tips by Big Dave

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ****

There’s little to be feared in today’s puzzle from Ray T as long as you ignore the surface readings and seek out the definitions.

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    Workman’s top ass to raise extremes of excitement! (6,6)
{DONKEY JACKET} – this top worn by many workmen comes from a charade of an ass, a verb meaning to raise, as in to raise a car in order to mend a puncture, and the outside letters (extremes) of ExcitemenT

9a    Fork bit eating bad blood orange (9)
{TANGERINE} – put one of the prongs of a fork around a word meaning bad blood to get this small mandarin orange

10a    Beak accepts old form of execution (5)
{NOOSE} – put the facial feature for which beak is slang around O(ld) to get a form of execution

11a    Spouting platitude? (6)
{SAYING} – a double definition – spouting or speaking and a platitude or proverb

12a    Piercing Spartacus initially with spear (8)
{STRIDENT} – to get this adjective meaning piercing start with the initial letter of Spartacus and add a three-pronged spear

13a    Star opening with busty model (6)
{SAMPLE} – the initial letter (opening) of Star is followed by an adjective meaning busty or well-endowed to get this model or specimen

15a    Revered devout taking religious education by Catholic (8)
{PRECIOUS} – to get this adjective meaning revered or treasured put an adjective meaning devout around the abbreviation of Religious Education and C(atholic)

18a    Junk shop? (8)
{SHIPYARD} – an iffy (as indicated by the question mark) cryptic definition of somewhere that junks or other sailing vessels might be constructed

19a    Worries about small pet (6)
{CARESS} – put some worries around S(mall) to get a verb meaning to pet or fondle

21a    Perhaps travel in time (8)
{INTERVAL} – an anagram (perhaps) of TRAVEL IN gives a period of time

23a    Unsophisticated French left (6)
{GAUCHE} – a double definition – unsophisticated or the French for left, often seen preceded by Rive for the left bank of the Seine

26a    Figure United’s lost badly creating despair (5)
{GRIEF} – an anagram (badly) of FIG(U)RE without the U (United’s lost) gives despair or suffering

27a    Fantastic bird taking time (9)
{STARTLING} – this adjective meaning fantastic or unexpected is derived by putting a common British bird around T(ime)

28a    Wife has terrible stew dish (5,7)
{WELSH RAREBIT} – W(ife) is followed by an anagram (stew) of HAS TERRIBLE to get this dish which is popular in Mary’s home country


1d    Dislikes of French when facing exams (7)
{DETESTS} – this verb meaning dislikes comes from a charade of the French for “of” and some exams

2d    Mug from hotel in New York (5)
{NINNY} – to get this mug or fool put a hotel inside the abbreviation for New York

3d    Always consort with Eastern bird on top (9)
{ETERNALLY} – to get this adverb meaning always start with a consort or partner and precede it (on top in a down clue) with E(astern) and that ubiquitous seabird

4d    Can be sickly after onset of jaundice (4)
{JAIL} – a can or prison is derived by putting a verb meaning be sickly after the initial letter (onset) of Jaundice

5d    Being cute with rare wiggles (8)
{CREATURE} – this being is an anagram (wiggles) of CUTE with RARE

6d    Sense of weariness from Sarkozy? (5)
{ENNUI} – this topical reference is a cryptic definition of an originally French (from Sarkozy) word for a sense of weariness or boredom

7d    Head of foreign state English already settled (8)
{FOREGONE} – a charade of the initial letter (head) of F(oreign), a US state and E(nglish) gives a word meaning already settled, as in a conclusion that is inevitable

8d    Novel hero half lost on middle of Yorkshire moors (6)
{HEATHS} – drop (lost) the second half from the hero of Emily Brontë’s novel, set in the Yorkshire moors, Wuthering Heights and then add the middle letter of YorkShire to get these moors

ARVE Error: need id and provider

14d    Under sea, flog, keeping one in hold (8)
{MAINTAIN} – after (under in a down clue) another word for the sea put a word meaning to flog around (keeping) I (one) to get a verb meaning to hold

16d    Daily show on Queen personality (9)
{CHARACTER} – a charade of a daily cleaner (4), a show or performance (3) and the cypher for Elizabeth Regina (Queen) gives personality or nature

17d    A state? A right state! (8)
{ARKANSAS} – to get this US state start with the A from the clue and R(ight) and add a different US state

18d    Hangs faction on board ship (6)
{SWINGS} – this verb meaning hangs is derived by putting a faction of a political party inside (on board) the usual abbreviation for a ship

20d    Sweetheart in delicate embrace shows dexterity (7)
{SLEIGHT} – put the middle letter (heart) of swEet inside a word meaning delicate to get this dexterity that is often demonstrated by conjurors

22d    Stir if leak reveals loot (5)
{RIFLE} – hidden inside (reveals) the clue is a verb meaning to loot

24d    Uphill struggle of Conservative member (5)
{CLIMB} – this uphill struggle comes from C(onservative) followed by a member or body part

ARVE Error: need id and provider

25d    Couple starts to play around in relationship (4)
{PAIR} – this couple comes from the initial letters (starts) of the last four words in the clue

At least I enjoyed this half of today’s pair of puzzles.

The Quick crossword pun: {met} + {alley} + {cur} = {Metallica}

ARVE Error: need id and provider

80 comments on “DT 26850

  1. Oh I wish that comment were true. Five of us have now tried and we cant even start it. Glad it’s not just me that finds his puzzles totally impenetrable.

    1. I’ve now had a chance to go through the answers and I think my problem is that I am taking his clues too literally. I.e. 10a, a noose is not a form of execution it’s the instrument used in hanging which is the form of execution and 15a, nowhere in my copy of Chambers does revered mean precious. I also always fail to spot his anagram indicators and with no phrases it can’t find a way in. I’ll keep trying but it is getting a bit wearing.

      1. Keep trying Brian, it’ll be worth it in the end. With regards to 10a, you are right about taking the clues too literally, because you could say a form of execution could be referred to as ” the noose “. Or abbreviated to just ‘ noose ‘.

    2. I am doing this puzzle late because of committments, and I will not be able to do todays 4* crossword, and I find that I agree with Brian. I find that it is very difficult to get into the puzzle and many of the clues are a bit abstruse. I am inclined to set it aside and wait for the (always enjoyable) Saturday puzzle but as it is 2* I should be able to finish it so I will press on

      1. I have finished the puzzle with a lot of help from BD and I have found that, when you see the answer, the outcome is obvious but, without that insight, the clues are very abstruse. I won’t do a Ray T puzzle again, please come back Rufus

  2. Not too easy today, but again, very solvable. I liked the way 8D used the wordplay to direct me to the right novel although I thought the person in question was the baddie rather than the hero (must admit that I have never read the book, but this is the impression I’ve always got). I thought 15A was a superb clue, one of the best I have seen in a while.

    Plenty of scope for some interesting pictures here, even for the quickie pun for a change.

  3. Morning all. Thanks to Ray T and BD for another good job. Nothing contentious again today. **/*** difficulty and **** enjoyment from me. Last in was 23a (bit rusty on the old French). A real Doh moment when the penny dropped for 14d, not helped by me wanting to put Stella in for 13a. (waits in anticipation for the picture!). Got 9a not quite sure why until I read the hints – Was sure there was an anagram in there somewhere. 1a, 18a, 8d favourites. Many Thanks.

  4. I’ve been away, but now I’m back. Have been feeling rather out of practice so far this week, but actually managed to do this one today — with a little bit of help from Chambers, though I started off thinking it was impossible. Could only do the downs first, and it helped to know American geography and French.
    Many thanks to Ray T and to B Dave for the commentary. :-)

  5. A couple of clues I had to sweat over today, which was quite appropriate seeing as I took it to the sauna with me this morning.
    My last in was 8d – I couldn’t get ‘BERTHS’ out of my head.

    Thanks to RayT and to BD for the notes.

    1. Hi Franny I didn’t know this was you :-D try putting Franny in the box below the comment box, the first line is your email, then in the next box put Franny it worked for me yesterday

      1. Thanks, Mary, I knew you’d help. The thing is, there is no box under the comments box. Just here there are things where I can log out or change my wordpress account, and a couple of boxes about email. What to do? :-(

  6. Started slowly, a bit tricky but enjoyable, thanks BD and RayT, knew it was he, there’s a ‘beam’ in the quickie

  7. RayT took pity on us today and gave an easy one. So many good clues as usual with my favourites 13 and 18a. Also liked 7 8 15 and 28. Thanks Ray for making a lousy day a bit brighter.

  8. This one clicked for me and, part from 7D (couldn’t HOME out of my head) knocked it off in 30 minutes and so quite chuffed.

  9. First scan revealed zero answers, penny dropped on 1d and 23a and it all fell into place after that but a bit of a grind.
    Do compilers eat lots of savoury snacks as 28a seems to rear it’s head quite frequently?
    Still very enjoyable, thanks to BD for the review and to Ray T.

    1. In a little tea room in Tenby they make the most delicious Welsh Rarebit, not just your ordinary cheese on toast, if any of you are ever in Tenby I thoroughly recommend it, yummy delicious, off to pub now for a snack with an old friend, back later :-)

  10. Morning Dave and thanks for the blog, I didn’t need the hints today but did need My ‘other help’ for the top half
    How can anyone say this was a good crossword, the readings of lots of the clues made no sense at all eg 9a and 14d! Yes it was on the easier side of a RayT crossword as far as solving was concerned but come on…….., I did however like 8d and 17d, I too nearly went down the ‘berths’ road for 8d and put pester in at first for 19a, knowing it really wasn’t right! why do we need ’embrace’ in 20a, apart from the fact the clue doesn’t read without it?
    Comment box still a bit tempermental but not as bad as yesterday

    1. As far as 20d is concerned I think the “E” is being “embraced” by a word meaning “delicate” – ie “in delicate embrace”. :smile:

  11. ***/**** For me today,very enjoyable,virtually every solve needed a bit of thinking but no unheard of words.liked 8d, very clever(last clue solved) for some reason did the left side first, all the answers were reasonable once you knew what you were looking for- which is as it should be. Thanks to RayT and Big D for the blog visuals-is 13a real?,as my grandad used to say’many have too much but none enough!’

  12. Liked the puzzle today, not too hard and enjoyable. Also surprised to see that Ed Milliband wears a donkey jacket?!

  13. Took my usual moment to get on Ray’s wavelength and then it all sorted itself out in about 3* time. Very enjoyable thank you Ray and thanks to BD too.

    If you want a tough challenge today I should try the Guardian, Independent or FT.

    1. I’m surprised that you think today’s Grauniad is tough, I found it easier (quicker) than Ray T’s .
      Both very enjoyable though.

      1. I always give what I call my ‘Toughie tip’ where I indicate how I found the day’s Toughie. I didn’t say I found todays Grauniad tough…. I was just comparing its difficulty with today’s toughie!

  14. Got the DT earlier today so solved this one quickly.
    Liked : 1a, 5a, 18a, 5d, 7d & 17d.

  15. I always love Ray T’s puzzles, just in case I haven’t said that recently, and today’s was as good as ever, I thought. I was held up by 14d (couldn’t get “med” out of my head for the first three letters) and consequently was also slow to get 18a. Apart from those two I didn’t have many problems. I’ve got red blobs by SO many clues that I think there are too many to write all of my favourites down – will have to go for just a couple of them – the question is which ones – 5, 6 and 8d. With thanks to Ray T and BD.

  16. Two on the blacksheepometer today which would have been one had I not decided with a eureka moment that 19a was BOATYARD

    I once asked a friend who was the Captain of an oil tanker what the difference was between a boat and a ship? His reply is a good one – you can put a boat on a ship but not a ship on a boat.

    1. I went down the boatyard route as well, the junks I’ve seen are definitely more boats than ships but . . .

      A submariner would say there are only two types of vessel – submarines and targets :lol:

  17. Thanks to Ray T & Big Dave for the review & hints. Would agree with 2* for difficulty & 4 * for enjoyment. Pleased that Big Dave took the bait for the picture opportunity for 13a :-) I liked 12a, 7& 8d, but stand out favourite was 1a, which made me laugh out loud. Raining one minute then the Sun’s out the next in Central London.

    1. VERY frustrating weather in Oxford too. Sun comes out – I go into the garden – five minutes later torrential rain – I go back inside and by the time I’ve taken my wellies off the sun is out again!! I give up! :sad:

        1. In the boxes below the comment box: the first is your email, the second is your name, the third is your gravatar, try putting: http//gravatar.com/ and the name of your gravatar, to see if your chicken comes back

  18. Started quickly, then ground to a halt for the last few, so hints v welcome esp for 15a and 7d (kept thinking potentate). I also had boatyard for 18a.The girl in the picture for 13a surely qualifies for reduction on the NHS. Favourite clue 23a. Perhaps Ed Miliband is copying michael Foot at the Cenotaph. I had dinner jacket first of all.

  19. I found it quite tough today without my Mate to give me a hand. Started with 9a and finished with 8d which was being held up by taking too long to get 10a and 15a. For all that I thought it was a very good crossword but agree with Mary (aka Pebsib1) that the surface reading of some clues were a bit daft. Clues I thought very good were 1a and 7d. ***/*** Many thanks to RT & BD. PS I’ve spotted some blue sky!

  20. Not my cup of tea today, just couldn’t get into it. Tomorrow’s another day. Thanx to Compiler and BD as usual.

    1. Forgive me for hopping in here Wayne, but just wanted to say “my sentiments exactly”!!

  21. First time I’ve joined in the conversation. I enjoyed both this and the Toughie today. Nice short pithy clues. Hate long rambling ones

  22. Like wading through treacle. So many iffy synonyms. A trident, for example, is not a spear.

    1. Glad you said that GA – it was my thought as well but, to be honest, I was so relieved to get the anser I was too idle to be pedantic and look up the definition of trident! I will go and do so this minute.

      1. Ooops! yes it is – “a three-pronged spear”, courtesy of Chambers. Apologies to Ray T (grovel, grovel)

        1. I think your average soldier in the ancient world who expected to be equipped with a spear – an efficient weapon because it concentrated all its force in a single point – would have been very upset to have been given a trident – which wastefully distributed its force across three points. That’s why no army ever issued its soldiers with tridents. They are totally different things, as soldiers who used spears would have pointed out when their commander insisted “But Chambers says they’re the same”.

          1. I would think that a 3 pronged spear might be very useful to other people when they want to kill/maim/disable for future accrual e.g. a fast moving fish or two. I think that in the Venn Diagram of things a trident is in the intersection of the group A (Spears) and B(Forks)> Just my opinion!

            1. Nice comment Gnomethang, I think you’ve summed it up perfectly. I remember Venn diagrams from school.

  23. Finally back how but did manage time to do this one earlier during a beer break. Fortunately didn’t take long but very enjoyable. I wonder if Ray wrote 26a after we got beat 6-1 by City last Autumn :grin:

    Many thanks to RayT and BD

  24. Somewhat of a struggle, just not in sync with Ray T. I could only get 4 of the Acrosses and 6 of the Downs before I had to resort to BD’s help; but i didn’t have to look at any of the answers (small blessing). Really liked 1a and 17d.

  25. I enjoyed this to-day & found 3/4 of it easy but was held up by the last few. Last one in for me was 14d ,favourites 1a &20a. Thanks to Ray T & BD . :smile:

  26. Needed to get my head into this today, after a visit to the physiotherapist, swiftly followed by the dentist; where’s that G and T? If ever a Junk was built in an 18a I’ll eat my hat. Not even a boatyard, I shouldn’t think; I think they knock ’em together on the beach!
    Thanks to Ray T and BD.

  27. Thank you BD and RayT. Today has been my first day without either casts, crutches and whatever else i’ve needed to prop me up. Slightly damp but just done a six mile walk with all three dogs unaided, thank you all for your kind comments since February.

  28. Thanks to RatT for an enjoyable if untaxing crossword and to BD for the review and especially the xxsample.

  29. As BD says this is an enjoyable puzzle “as long as you ignore the surface readings”. I’m not quite sure what’s happened to Ray T recently but several of the surface readings (1a, 9a, 14d and 22d) seemed pretty awful to me.

    1. Hi Gazza,
      I can just about live with 1a, but agree that the other 3 readings are a tad flaky.
      To which I would add 18a, as it is factually misleading.

    2. A very disappointing crossword from RayT – normally his surface readings are very smooth. The term “utter tripe” springs to mind!

Comments are closed.