DT 26855 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 26855

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26855

Hints and tips by Falcon

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BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

Greetings from Ottawa where April showers are extending into May. Pommers is traveling and apparently somewhat cut off from the Internet. However, I am sure he is closely following – and no doubt concerned by – the recent play of United. As for my sports obsession, the Ottawa Senators have already been knocked out of the hockey playoffs here in North America.

Apparently I get the honour of piloting the new blog site on its maiden run. Let’s hope I fare better than the captain of the Titanic.

Today we have a puzzle that is easily recognizable as a Jay creation. It did take me a bit of time to get started. However, once I had established a beachhead, I was able to make steady progress.

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 Passing around legal document or script (11)
{HANDWRITING} – the operation of transferring an object from one person to another when placed around a type of legal document creates the process of producing letters using pen or pencil.

10a Gather there’s a service (5)
{AMASS} – a charade of A (from the clue) and a ceremony celebrated in some churches leads to a verb meaning collect.

11a Thorough beating means transferring allegiance (5-4)
{GOING-OVER} – a colloquial term for a thorough beating could also describe what a spy is doing when he becomes a double agent.

12a Christian’s first technique has precedence (9)
{METHODIST} – first, we start with a synonym for technique and follow that with an abbreviated ordinal number indicating leadership to get an adherent of a branch of Christianity (one that I’m quite sure does not celebrate 10a).

13a Attempted shifting resistance to the right, worn out (5)
{TIRED} – take a five-letter word meaning attempted, then shift the R(esistance) one position to the right to obtain the solution, a synonym for worn out (as Big Dave likely is after retooling the web site).

14a Chap returning holding friend’s petroleum jelly (6)
{NAPALM} – an adult male reversed (returning) around a mate forms the kind of petroleum jelly used with devastating effect by American forces in Vietnam.

16a One of Garibaldi’s dithers indecisively crossing river (3,5)
{RED SHIRT} – an anagram (indecisively) of dithers surrounds R(iver) to give us a follower of an Italian revolutionary patriot.

18a Rep sleeps outside, full of booze — wow! (8)
{SALESMAN} – someone who flogs goods for a living is made up of the outside letters of S(leep)S placed around a type of drink that one might imbibe at their local pub (an expression that is probably redundant in Britain) and followed by a non gender neutral exclamation of amazement.

20a Pretty self-contained initially, and somehow nice (6)
{SCENIC} – a synonym for picturesque is constructed from the initial letters of S(elf)-C(ontained) followed by an anagram (somehow) of NICE.

23a Hate having a house briefly in Britain (5)
{ABHOR} – a word meaning to dislike intensely is a charade, the first element of which is A (from the clue) and the second element is formed by placing a short form (briefly) of house in an abbreviation for Britain.

24a The osprey flies as if by magic (3,6)
{HEY PRESTO} – having successfully anagrammed THE OSPREY, the magician may conclude his performance with this expression.

26a Scandal about wreck being a bargain (4,5)
{DIRT CHEAP} – a charade of the sort of news beloved by the tabloids, an abbreviation used to denote an inexact date, and an old and poorly working automobile could be used to describe a price that is as inexpensive as the soil beneath our feet.

27a Disheartened fool has finished early and done a bunk (5)
{FLOWN} – a word meaning escaped is created by discarding the inside letters (disheartened) of F(oo)L and appending a word meaning possesses (has) from which the last letter has been deleted (finished early).

28a Jumper for European royal outside strongroom (4-7)
{POLE-VAULTER} – this high-flying athlete starts with a resident of a Baltic country, ends with the current head of the Commonwealth Realms and in the middle holds the place where a bank stores its money.


2d Instruction to stop book on a saint (5)
{AVAST} – a command that might be issued by Long John Silver is formed from another name for the King James Bible followed by A (from the clue) and a short saint.

3d Plunder piled so high (7)
{DESPOIL} – a word meaning to violently remove valuable possessions from is also an anagram (high) of PILED SO.

4d Get back to area in African river flowing North (6)
{REGAIN} – we get a term meaning to reach a position again by reversing (flowing North in a down clue) a river in NW Africa and inserting A(rea) into it.

5d Shirt and tie designed for time of one’s life (8)
{THIRTIES} – apparently this decade, an anagram (designed) of SHIRT and TIE, constitutes the time of one’s life – although popular wisdom would have have it that life only begins at the end of this period.

6d Denies Newcastle entrances! (7)
{NEGATES} – Take the geographic coordinates for Newcastle and add the types of entrances one would find in fences to get a term meaning to deny the existence of something. The exclamation mark is a flag that we should be a bit creative as we solve this clue, and the wordplay works best when taken as a whole. Thus “Newcastle entrances” would be “(2,4)”.

7d Unusually classy and main tax shelter (6,7)
{CAYMAN ISLANDS} – an anagram (unusually) of CLASSY AND MAIN points to a well-known Caribbean haven from the taxman.

8d To maintain one’s up and working is a form of therapy (8)
{AVERSION} – a word meaning to state firmly and positively is followd by a reversal of the possessive form of the Roman numeral for one (I’S) and a short word denoting operational to get a form of behaviour therapy that aims to eliminate an undesirable habit or a compulsive form of behaviour by repeatedly linking it with an unpleasant stimulus.

9d Believe story, obtaining financial terms (6,7)
{CREDIT ACCOUNT} – a financial arrangement with a shop that allows one to purchase goods while deferring payment to a future date could also indicate that you find someone’s description of an event to be truthful.

15d Fish magazine turned up with great effort (8)
{PILCHARD} – reverse (turn up in a down clue) the type of magazine found in a firearm and add an adverb meaning achieved with difficulty to get a a small edible fish of the herring family.

17d Money just for material (8)
{CASHMERE} – combine some coins or banknotes and an adjective meaning nothing more than to produce a fabric made from a type of very fine soft wool from a long-haired Asian goat.

19d Teacher ducks covering chemistry classes originally, getting wind (7)
{SIROCCO} – a form of address for a teacher followed by a couple of very poor cricket scores around the initial letters (originally) of C(hemistry) C(lasses) leads to a dry hot dusty wind blowing in from North Africa.

21d Exercising caution seeing English in vehicle loaded to capacity (7)
{CAREFUL} – placing E(nglish) into a term for a vehicle loaded to capacity produces an adjective indicating that one is taking measures to avoid harm or damage.

22d Problem seeing the writer’s work on one article (6)
{MYOPIA} – a health condition that might take you to your optometrist is formed from a possessive pronominal self-reference by the setter, a short work by a composer, a low value Roman numeral and a very small indefinite article.

25d Deposit of mineral aggregate beneath street (5)
{STORE} – a verb meaning to put aside for future use is produced by placing the output of a mine after (beneath in a down clue) a short street.

I thought that today’s puzzle was full of solid, well-constructed clues exhibiting a uniformly high standard. No clue stood head and shoulders above the rest – nor were there any real stinkers. I will tip my hat to 24a as it mentions my fine, feathered friend, the osprey.

The Quick crossword pun: {balm} + {aides} = {barmaids}

66 comments on “DT 26855

      1. Thanks Dave, my early/late visit was purely accidental. I didn’t even know the site had moved until I found myself on the Old site :-) Good luck with the new one, I hope all goes well.

  1. Welcome to the new blog, morning to Falcon BD et al.

    A typical Jay this morning – definitely had to start with the downs but a very enjoyable time was had sorting it. Thanks to Jay for the brain waking up and to Falcon for the explanations.

    Can’t give a Toughie tip yet as I haven’t started it but as it is a Micawber it is bound to be a thing of great joy.

  2. Here we go again, I thought this one far easier than yesterday’s (dopy words outstanding). Just goes to show that we are not all alike :-).
    Some really clever clues like 13a and 17d. Never heard of 16a until I googled Garibaldi and still a bit uncertain about the second half of 8d. Overall a really enjoyable puzzle, my thx to Jay for the xword and to Falcon for the explanation of some of the clues.

    1. I agree, easier than yesterday – finished last night, although on the first pass only solved one clue and thought it was going to be really difficult. But after that just steady progress until 28a was the last one in. No help required for a change.

  3. Last one in today was 1a – I was a little bit slow in spotting the ‘legal document’.
    A pleasant puzzle; I didn’t like 21d, but I suppose there are plenty of words that end with ‘ful’.
    Thanks to Jay, and to Falcon for the review.

    And now for the toughie – gazza will be happy!

  4. Good morning Falcon and thanks for hints and explanations, a three star+ for me today, I enjoyed this one, nearly all the clues read nicely and are ‘workable’ fav clue today 24a,
    I am hoping my dog comes along with me now the new site is up and running, we will see in just a moment!

    1. Yes there she is :-) . I needed to read through a few of your hints just to make sure I had understood them, the weather has been really sunny since about 2pm yesterday but has clouded over now, ah well it is May after all!!!!
      Good luck with the new blog Dave :-)

  5. Morning All!. Thanks for the review to a fine Jay puzzle, Falcon. Glad the posting experience went well – I’m doing similar for Friday.
    Thanks to Jay for the fun as well.

  6. ***/*** for me as well. Favourite was 7D, wish I needed to live in a tax shelter!

  7. Enjoyable crossword, to many good clues to mention them all. Thanks Jay and Falcon. Good luck with the new site Dave

  8. Been giggling at 28a, old chestnut………..question to man carrying a very long piece of wood ‘Are you a …. ……. ‘? answer ‘Yes, from Warsaw, how did you know I am called Walter’?

  9. Not too many problems today. No real aah moments. All the clues were OK but none stood out. Hope for RayT tomorrow.

  10. Pretty straightforward 2/3*’s for me. Same as Brian, I found this one much easier than yesterday. Thanks to compiler and Falcon.

  11. I really enjoyed this one. First in was 6d and last 4d. Favourite clues were 1a, 14a, 24a, 4d, 15d, 22d. Good luck to BD on the new site and thanks to Falcon and Jay. ***/**** from me. Although I have just got my second cold of the year I am in a happy mood as ERNIE has just told me I have won £500. Virtual beer anyone?

    1. Well done with the PBs – the biggest win I have had in the last 8 years is £50!

      1. Thanks Jezza – for me, up to now it’s just been the £25 prizes – so it was a nice surprise.,

        1. Well done CD only ever had £25 and that was years ago, never mind the sun is out and it is really warm :-D

    2. Nice one!. A VIRTUAL beer you say, when sites like buymeabeer.com exist?!

  12. All fairly straight forward today – favourites were 1a and 14a. Last in was 2d – had to check on that one. Thanks as always for puzzle and hints.

  13. Many thanks to Jay for a very enjoyable and not too difficult crossword this morning, and to Falcon for the excellent review.

  14. As with a few others, I found this easier than yesterday’s. It was my first unaided complete for a few days :-) A very enjoyable puzzle – thank you Jay and Falcon.

    I’m trying to spot the differences on the new site. All in all, I and can’t see much (perhaps this comments box has changed – but can’t think how it looked before?) which I think is a good thing as the old site seemed pretty good to me.

  15. Definitely should have remembered to start with the down clues – didn’t manage many of the across ones to start with. 3* about right for me – a few took me far longer than they should have done. 28a took me ages and was the last one in and I didn’t do much better with 18a or 5d. Favourites include 1, 13 and 24a and 8 and 19d. With thanks to Jay and Falcon – obviously a day of birds!!
    This little box that I’ve written in looks different – now let’s see if it’ll let me send what I’ve written!

  16. New site looking good. This is a ***/**** from me some very nice clues18a and 28a, although last in were my favourites. Many Thanks All.

  17. Welcome to the new site!!! Just finished the crossword which was very enjoyable and not too tough :)

  18. Enjoyed this very much and finished it despite holding myself up for quite some time in the north west, due to putting in shalt at 2d. After that, 1a and 12a went in nicely. Favourite clue 1a.

  19. Having initially thought I couldn’t get even ONE answer I stuck at it – in two sittings – and have finally finished without any help whatsoever – not even of my usual electronic kind – so am feeling very pleaased with myself. Thank you Jay for a lovely puzzle and Falcon for the very clear explanations – I needed a couple, for instance I had got 4d but couldn’t quite see why!! SO obvious when explained.

  20. Nice puzzle as usual from Jay and certainly helps to start on the down clues. I wasn’t sure if 14a was correct & needed an explanation for 16a. A **/*** for me today. Had rather a late night as we went to see a symphony orchestra,a rock band and 4 powerful singers playing the music of Queen. Absolutely fantastic!! :smile: :smile:
    PS Thanks to Jay & Falcon.

  21. Really enjoyed todays puzzle, thanks to Jay, as usual some laughs along the way and for me moderately testing.
    Thanks Falcon for the review, not needed today :)

    1. Oh and well done to BD for a successful migration, usually these events are accompanied by wailing and the gnashing of teeth.

  22. Afternoon peeps. Here we are in Cornwall – sunny at last after 4 days of yukky rain.
    After a few trials and tribulations of getting pommers logged in last night we’re now on the new site. Well done BD – it seems to be working okay!
    Sorry about the playoffs Falcon – and yes our lads played like a bunch of wallies on Monday. All to lose now.

    Question is, what will my avatar be?

      1. Hope the sunshine lasts pommette, it is lovely here today too :-D, we are all happy, you have ‘flossie’, I have ‘pepsi’ and heno has his chicken :-)

            1. Argus by Wishbone Ash. A very old album I’m afraid, but still as good today as it was ?? years ago.

              1. Wishbone Ash now there’s a blast from the past! Had forgotten all about them :-)

                  1. Yes, I go to see them regularly at The Cheese and Grain in Frome.

                    Interestingly, when I worked in Saudi, I was with a company called Arabian Geopphysical And
                    Surveying (ARGAS for short) and was contracted to them by a firm called ARGUS. Everybody thought I worked for a certain high street retailer.

  23. BD, not sure if it is me, my computer or the new site – but my posts no-longer seem to make it through to the blog. Also, the space for my e-mail address now seems to be filled with a scroll bar! Teething problems – or user error?

    1. Very strange!

      I had to fish both of your comments out of the spam filter. I’m not sure what “crime” you committed.

  24. Late on parade today, for some strange reason, my company decided that perhaps I should actually have to do some work in order to earn my money, how dare they :frown:

    Fairly typical Jay today, hard acrosses on the first run through, but all fell into place once a few of the downs appeared.Enjoyed 14A -I love the smell of Napalm in the morning.

  25. Really enjoyed this puzzle today. 6d I like cos, as a Geordie, the first 2 letters are a dialect word for “no”. Is Falcon a Geordie? or is this just happenstance? Hope this new site lets me post. Thanks setter and falcon.

    1. No, Mike, I’m not a Geordie. I’m actually a native-born Canadian. I had no idea about the Geordie dialect word for “no”. When you mentioned it, I thought maybe it might play a part in the wordplay. However, after careful review, I don’t see how it would factor in. It may just be an interesting coincidence.

  26. Pleased to see all appears to be working well. Will look at the crossword this evening.

  27. Thanks to Jay and Falcon. I enjoyed this one, luckily got the right answer to 16a as it was an anagram, but I thought it was a type of biscuit :-) Penultimate one in was 1a, last one was 22d. favourites were 22d & 13a. While I thought the last part of 18a was a bit tenuous, but it still seemed to work. Be glad when the warmer weather descends on Central London. Off to run the Squash Tournament again. Managed to blog before midnight for once !

    1. Heno,

      Re: “I thought the last part of 18a was a bit tenuous …”

      Check out Canadian singer Shania Twain singing Man! I Feel Like a Woman and it may seem a bit less tenuous. The gentlemen can enjoy the Wow! factor of Shania’s performance while the ladies focus on the backup band.

  28. Enjoyed this one from Jay.

    Likes : 12a, 14a, 16a, 28a, 2d, 5d, 17d & 22d.

    Gone cold again over here in NL – thick morning mist that was slow to evaporate.

    Meat and two veg tonight with a drop of Chinon. Strawbs after.

  29. Hey Presto – the new site works……as if by magic!

    Nice to see that everyone has found their cats and dogs (and Chickens ??)

    Thanks to Falcon for a very entertaining review – I’m a great fan of Ice Hockey – love the fights!

    1. Like the old vaudeville joke “I went to the fights last night – and a hockey game broke out!”.

  30. Like Brian, I found this easier going than yesterday, thankfully, and can’t complain about the clues that I did not solve (2d, 11a).
    By the way, there was a message recently asking that commenters do not post anonymously – quite agree, and must apologise because I’ve been an offender a couple of times because I normally post from my Blackberry which automatically fills in my details but my new computer does not and I have hit “send” before noticing. Will try to avoid doing so in future.
    Thanks for the blog and to the setter.

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