DT 26856 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
View closed comments 

DT 26856

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26856

Hints and tips by Big Dave

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ****

As this is definitely not one of Ray T’s puzzles, the sporting and music references (and the slightly harder-than-usual Quick crossword) suggest that Petitjean is today’s setter. Let’s hope he chooses today to leave his second comment on the blog, then we’ll know for sure.

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    Sporting achievement at the heart of Madrid team (12)
{RECREATIONAL} – this adjective meaning sporting is derived by putting an achievement or invention inside the name of a famous Madrid football team

9a    In France source of happiness is right to vote (9)
{FRANCHISE} – start with FRANCE and then put the initial letter (source) of Happiness and IS inside to get the right to vote

10a    A good look round South African capital (5)
{LAGOS} – start with the A from the clue and G(ood), put them inside a two-letter word for look and then add S(outh) to get the chief city of Nigeria, which was replaced as capital in 1991 by Abuja – a bit of careless clueing (and editing) there!

11a    Austrian capital’s change of leadership and tone (6)
{SIENNA} – start with the capital of Austria and change the initial letter (change of leadership) to get a tone or colour – and the first name of a grossly over-rated “celebrity”

12a    Legendary American greeting unexpected thaw within Alaska’s borders (8)
{HIAWATHA} – this legendary American, popularised by a poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, is derived from a two-letter greeting followed by an anagram (unexpected) of THAW inside the outer letters (borders) of AlaskA

13a    French museum opening (6)
{LOUVRE} – this famous French museum is also an slatted opening

15a    Worker eating cold ham left sauce (8)
{BÉCHAMEL} – put that other worker insect around C(old) and HAM and then add L(eft) to get a rich white sauce, traditionally flavoured with onion and herbs and sometimes enriched with cream

18a    Superior plastic or stiff paper? (4,4)
{GOLD CARD} – a superior piece of plastic available only to customers in the higher-income bracket comes from the colour for which “or” is the heraldic term and some stiff paper

19a    Give a kick to Tottenham man’s leg (4,2)
{SPUR ON} – this phrasal verb meaning to give a kick to is a charade of A nickname for a footballer playing for Tottenham and the leg side in cricket

21a    Rich drunkard reported to have debts (8)
{LUSCIOUS} – this adjective meaning rich or appetising is derived from what sounds like a drunkard followed by the usual Crosswordland debts

23a    Touch inattentive with the French nowhere to be found (6)
{CARESS} – this touch or stroke is derived by dropping (with … nowhere to be found) LE (the in French) from an adjective meaning inattentive

26a    The ultimate opening episode (5)
{EVENT} – a charade of the final letter (ultimate) of thE and an opening or aperture gives an episode or occasion

27a    One Parisian in outbreak of bad acne is plenty (9)
{ABUNDANCE} – put the French (Parisian) for one inside an anagram (outbreak) of BAD ACNE gives an adjective meaning plenty

28a    Street performance rearranged in back garden (12)
{BREAKDANCING} – this performance by a street entertainer comes from an anagram (rearranged) of IN BACK GARDEN


1d           Liberal America first to support judge’s veto (7)
{REFUSAL} – start with L(iberal) and precede it with the three-letter abbreviation for America and then all of that precedes (supports in a down clue) the judge of a football or boxing match to get a veto

2d           Gangsters once discussed crack (5)
{CRAZE} – what sounds like a family of former East End gangsters led by Ronnie, Reggie and, to a lesser extent, their elder brother Charlie is actually a crack in, for example, pottery

3d           Odd, Clapton covering ‘Cocaine’ initially before ‘Money’ (9)
{ECCENTRIC} – this adjective meaning odd or unconventionalis built up from the first name of guitarist Clapton around (covering) the initial letter of Cocaine and some American money

4d           Healthy prune (4)
{TRIM} – a double definition – healthy or fit and a verb meaning to prune

5d           Biased? Crooked? Indeed so (3-5)
{ONE-SIDED} – an adjective meaning biased could also mean crooked or uneven is an anagram (crooked) of INDEED SO

6d           Gleaming silver base (5)
{AGLOW} – this word meaning gleaming is a charade of the chemical symbol for silver and an adjective meaning base or vulgar

7d           Get grime out with this kitchen aid (3,5)
{EGG TIMER} – an anagram (out) of GET GRIME gives a kitchen aid

8d           Idiot anticipating trouble leading to attack (6)
{ASSAIL} – an idiot precedes (anticipating) a verb meaning to trouble to get a verb meaning to attack

14d         Not of architectural interest? Not in the book (8)
{UNLISTED} – this adjective tells you that a building is not regarded as being of architectural interest and can also mean it is not in a book

16d         Short flight, with possible danger, and land in Kent? (3-6)
{HOP GARDEN} – a short flight (3) is followed by an anagram (possible) of DANGER to give an area in Kent

17d         Announcement of tea met with laughter and excitement (8)
{BROUHAHA} – what sounds like a four-letter word meaning some tea is followed by some laughter to give some excitement

18d         Fade left with iron to centre of fairway? In his dreams! (6)
{GOLFER} – a short word meaning to fade is followed by L(eft), the chemical symbol for iron and the middle letter (centre) of faiRway to give someone who dreams of hitting the centre of the fairway with an iron

20d         Saved money with bent teen’s goods (4,3)
{NEST EGG} – some money put aside for a rainy day comes from an anagram (bent) of TEEN’S and two gs (goods)

22d         Popular half-sister in Bury (5)
{INTER} – a two-letter word for popular followed by the second half of sisTER gives a verb meaning to bury

24d         Boredom an element in umpteen nuisances (5)
{ENNUI} this boredom is hidden inside (an element in) the rest of the clue

25d         Calamari — tip not included — for a pound (4)
{QUID} – drop the initial S (tip not included) from another name for calamari to get a slang word for the pound (sterling)

Sorry for the delays, but Pommers and Pommete popped in for refreshments en route from Cornwall to Cheshire!

The Quick crossword pun: {warren} + {piece} = {War and Peace}

104 comments on “DT 26856

  1. Great crossword, especially liked 17a , 21a and 15a I’d have thought 28a was two words, clued as a single word in newspaper. Thanks to the setter (Petitjean?) and BD for the review. The quick crossword had me stumped for ages.

  2. 1a took me a while for the penny to drop but a nice clue. Not sure about 4d. Works with prune but healthy? 2d last in I always seem to struggle with sound like’ clues. A couple of well disguised anagrams. Nudged towards another ***/**** for me. Many thanks.

  3. A couple to think about in the top left; 1a today and yesterday had me scratching my head!
    Favourite clue 2d.
    Thanks to setter, and to BD.

    I doubt the toughie will cause too many problems today considering the ongoing theme by MynoT!

      1. Ah – was about to ask what the ongoing theme was but I think you’ve answered that one!

  4. For some reason have had to fill in my computordetails again-anyway gave it **/**** today, did the right half quickly then slowed up;sw corner more slowly then, slower still for the nw corner-probably because i struggled with 1a.Thanks for explaining the’or’ bit of 15a some clever cluesw today.

  5. Enjoyed what I’ve done but am stuck on 2d, 18d and 16d! have to go out for a while, will come back to it later, thought it wasn’t RayT, no queen and the readings generally make sense :-) see you later

    1. For 16d think of what Kent is famous for (possible danger might indicate an anagram)

          1. Indeed, and the grandson of Denis Compton currently plays for Somerset (and doing very well also)

            1. We’ve got Stuart Broad, son of Chris, playing for Notts although I think he may be struggling at the moment over in mancland.

              1. He’d be struggling down here in Somerset big time, but he might have a bit more luck if he were to bring flippers, snorkel and goggles.

  6. I always worry when I see Petitjean’s name at the top of a review but this wan’t too bad at all. Thanks to he & to BD for the review.

    Now to see if the new site recognises me…

  7. At last a Thursday Ican enjoy. Great xword, lots of lovely clues. My favs include 1a (of course), 15a and 12a. All it needed was some cricket references to make it perfect :-)
    Many thanks to the setter for the a very enjoyable puzzle and for the DT crossword editor for taking pity on a Thursday player.

    1. I think you’ll find 19A is a cricket reference, otherwise there would be no need for ‘leg’ in the clue

  8. Wonderful puzzle today, on first read through I had a feeling it was going to be a tad on the tricksy side, next thing I knew, I’d finished it and was left wanting for more. Favourites today 28A and 17D.

    Its not often I comment about the Toughie (normally sit around last thing at night dabbling in it) but have to say it was probably the easiest I’ve seen provided the rather long anagrams can be solved.

  9. I really enjoyed this one although, for me anyway, it was more of a 3* for difficulty. I didn’t completely understand 18a until I read the hint and I still don’t understand what I have for 18d – perhaps it’s wrong! I thought that there were lots of good clues – 12, 15 and 28a and 2, 6 and 14d. My favourite was 28a. Not very keen on 4d – healthy – don’t quite understand that bit. With thanks to Petitjean, or if not, then whoever set the crossword, and to BD.

    1. 18D fade – Go, left – l, iron – Fe, middle of fairway – r (golfer dreams of landing in the middle of fairway)

  10. Appeared tricky at first read but then the right hand side went straight in. Last one in was 2d, so obvious when the penny dropped. Thanks to BD for the review.

  11. Cracking crossword, just right for me some nice anagrams and good word play. Really enjoyed it.
    Thanks to BD for review.
    Thanks to setter for a good start to this miserable dank day in Canterbury.

      1. I thought it should be cloudy not drizzly… Canterbury is rarely this wet!! :( Enjoyed the puzzle though struggled with prunes!

        1. I can feel the need for a Canterbury meeting coming on… there must be more than just 3 of us!

          1. I think there must a few others hiding somewhere!!! I rarely comment( not witty enough on paper!)… but I’ always there!! :)

  12. I thought this was an excellent crossword. Thanks to all.

    BTW I am no longer getting an email notification of when the hints are published. Do I need to do something or is this no longer happening with the new site?



    1. You need to re-subscribe. Look for “Email Subscription” in the right-hand panel.

  13. I knew as I solved it that Brian would like this one as it seemed to me to have lots of ‘old favourites’ in it which seems to be the sor tof crossword he likes. Didn’t take me long to solve and unless I am mistaken appears to be a pangram. Thanks to Petitjean (if it is you) and BD too.

    The Toughie doesn’t take any longer than this to solve once you see the theme.

          1. Pangram? I’m also missing a “J” and a “Y”.

            Have I gone wrong? Or maybe a visit to Specsavers is in order?

  14. A good fun puzzle today – really enjoyed working out the answers – I must have been on setters wavelength which always helps. Favourites must be 12a, 27a, 18d and 25d, but lot of others were good too. I think I’ve got 2d, but will have to wait for the rest of the hints just to check it out. Thanks to mystery setter and BD for the hints

    1. Re 2d – the definition is ‘crack’, and is a homophone (once discussed) of a notorious couple of gangsters who wrecked havoc across London in the 1960s.

      1. Wrecked or wreaked? I don’t think I’d ever have wanted to meet them and certainly not if they go around wrecking havoc – seriously hard geezers! Incidentally, the landlady of a pub I once worked in referred to them as Roggie and Rennie, I’ve thought of them that way ever since.

  15. Enjoyed today, some little beauties, ie 2d, 18a & 18d.

    Just the right level of nastiness to feel a sense of achievement when it’s all done.

    Thanks to the setter for this one, & Big Dave for a great site.

  16. Very reasonable crossword, a few wee posers but overall not too difficult. Thanks to the setter and to BD. As previously mentioned, todays toughie is a bit of a dawdle with far too many anagrams.

    1. If you use your sky.com email address then Desperate Dan might make a return!

  17. has something happened to the formatting of this site? My smartphone doesn’t like it at all. Perhaps its not a smart as it thought, after all….

    1. I’ve just installed a plugin for mobiles, so please try iy again. I’ve changed the blog title to “Big Dave’s Mobile Crossword Blog” so you will know if you are on the new option.

      One downside of this is that the iPhone reader option has disappeared.

      Let me know if this is better or worse.

      1. Wow! that’s Brilliant! I can read it without my Glasses now Thanks, and for the daily hints too.

        1. it all looks OK on my Samsung Galaxy Gll turbo diesel all wheel drive mobile

      2. Yes – the new mobile site is great – much easier to navigate and read.

        BTW- I’m trying a different e-mail address in an attempt to sneak through your ‘spam filter’ (which I think has gobbled up another one of my posts – perhaps it is smart enough to judge the quality of the contributions)! Let’s see if this one manages to get through.

        [This one cleared the spam filter but had to be moderated because it’s a previously unknown email address. Gazza]

        1. Gazza “un-spammed” your other comment. I really don’t know what you did to upset the filter – it has a mind of its own.

        1. You’re asking me? I thought that most mobiles found it automatically. If you say what type of phone you are using then someone else may be able to help.

          1. I must be being particularly dense about this. If anyone can help – I have a BlackBerry. Thanks.

            1. The writeup for the mobile theme says:

              “WPtouch automatically transforms your WordPress website into an application-like theme, complete with ajax loading articles and effects when viewed from the most popular mobile web browsing devices like the iPhone, iPod touch, Android mobile devices, Palm Pre/Pixi and BlackBerry OS6 mobile devices.”

            2. And I found this in the FAQ

              “Well, what if my users don’t like it and want to see my regular site?

              “There’s a theme switch in the footer area of WPtouch for your visitors to easily switch between the WPtouch view and your site’s regular appearance.

              “We even automatically put a little snippet of code into your current desktop theme which will be shown only to iPhone, iPod touch, Android or BlackBerry touch mobile device visitors, giving them control to switch between the two themes easily.”

              1. My Nokia C7 sticks with your regular site.

                Works fine. Developers shun apps for Nokia.

  18. What a great crossword. My favourite for some time.

    On my first pass through I thought I was never going to make it, but gradually they all fell into place. 1a and 3d favourites. Final one was 17d. A new word for me which need some ‘googling’ to help confirm it was a real word.

    The only one I didn’t like was 18d as the clue seemed to give it away without needing to unravel it. Perhaps it only seemed that way because I foolishly own a set of ‘rusting’ clubs and I am one of those dreaming of such a shot.

    PS: BD, I think you need to fix the ending on your ‘reveal’ answer for 27a.

  19. Well, I never thought I’d be able to do a Petitjean puzzle, but this was most encouraging. First time through I only had five words, but then it all fell into place and I enjoyed it very much. There were lots of excellent clues, but my favourites were 12a and 17d. As for 10a, I noticed much later that it is an anagram of the first letters of the first three words plus South Africa — but that was not made clear.
    However, many thanks to Petitjean, if it was he, and to Big Dave for the explanations. Now, am I going to get in to the blog? :-)

    1. Oh good, i’m on. Very enjoyable Xword today, got stuck on 23a and had to resort to BD hints, thanx for that BD. Best for me were 17d and 1a in that order. Found the quickie “tuff”.
      Thanx to Compiler and to BD as usual.

  20. Couldn’t get 1, 2 or 4 and thought it was going to be one of those dreadful Thursdays so was pleasantly surprised when most of rest fell into place. On the subject of 1a, is that a fair synonym. Lots of things are 1a but are not sporting.

  21. A Pettijean, you’re kidding! Far too doable for this old fogey. Great though ,although last one in was 18d and spent a lot of time on 18a. Oh to be so lucky as to have one of them! A **/*** for me today and thanks to Pettijean? & BD. :smile:

  22. 5d is excellent. “Crooked” also shows that “Indeed so” is an anagram

    1. Welcome to the blog Hec

      I messed that one up – more haste less speed!

  23. This was a fun puzzle that I had pegged as a petitjean production for the reasons BD pointed out (food, music and funny accents spring to mind!). Thanks to BD and to the setter.

  24. Now, I’m really confused. I seem to be on a mobile website, but it’s the old URL. Anyway thanks to Petitjean? Also to Big Dave for the review & hints. Enjoyed this, didn’t seem too difficult, but couldn’t get 2d, never heard of it in this context before, but worth remembering. Favourites were 1a & 17d. Still cold and miserable in Central London.

    1. The blog is now fully transferred across to the bigdave44.com address. I had to wait for the domain transfer, which I could’t initiate until Wednesday morning. 24 hours for a .com transfer is excellent – it can take up to a week. BTW bigdave44.co.uk is currently redirected to bigdave44.com.

  25. BD, I didn’t get my e.mail notification today. Has something gone wrong?

    1. Geoff,
      Your comment needed moderation because you’re no longer wobbling. Both aliases should work now.
      You may need to re-subscribe – look for “Email Subscription” in the right-hand column.

      1. Hi Gazza & Big Dave,

        I’ve just subscribed to receive emails in the right hand column, but the buttons down below the ” post comment” button, seem to link to the old WordPress site.
        Also the Name, Email & Website boxes are not remembering my details.

        1. Geoff,
          I’m not the best person to ask, but if you’re currently shown as logged in I’d try logging out, then enter a comment (which should give you the chance to enter the alias and email address that you want to use.).

  26. Enjoyed this today but would not have got 2d without the hint, thanks Dave, although I eventually got 16d I don’t understand it? is a hop garden land in Kent???

    1. Yes it is Mary, it’s where they grow all the hops most of which go to making beer (I am very pleased to say)

  27. Lovely puzzle to-day – didn’t do quite as well as yesterday, but completed all except two without hints – should have got 2d but, for some reason (probably fading little grey cells!) had “crane” in mind which, of course, didn’t make sense! Also didn’t get 29a though again, should have! Thanks BD for help and explanations. (Also had to enter contact details again)

  28. A hectic day at the orifice meant a late start with today’s challenge.
    Probably resulatant brain-fade, but I found it quite difficult (even had to resort to the hints for 2d)
    Nice to see The Compiler unmask himself.
    Thanks to him and Squire Dave – and congratulations on the relatively seamless domain tarnsfer – no mean feat, believe me.

  29. Great crossword. Some excellent clues – 18a, 3d and 17d my favourites. Managed this one before the coffee cup emptied but then it was in a bucket! Could not find site until later on this afternoon but I see, from a couple of comments above, that I have to re-subscribe. **/**** from a damp, grey Guildford. Thanks to BD and setter.

  30. Thoroughly enjoyable.
    Thanks setter and BD for review.
    Last in 26d – I always react negatively to “fish”clues.

    1. 25d – (S)quid – I was hoping that BD was going to repeat his “sick squid” joke that was previously published on fifteensquared.

      Is it a “fish”? More like a “cephalopod”

  31. Not a criticism….just an observation… personally I preferred the “Recent Comments” box as it was before.

    Simply…”Moniker and puzzle number”…….

    ….rather than “Avatar – Moniker – and then the first few words of the comment……..

Comments are closed.