DT 26857 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 26857

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26857

Hints and tips by Digby

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty ***/****Enjoyment ***

A bit of a re-shuffle in Bloggingland, unfortunately caused by Tilsit being detained at the NHS’s pleasure, affords me another turn in the Hot Seat.  My first effort at blogging – back in the balmy days of January – was a Giovanni puzzle. I commented then that “We have a nicely balanced puzzle today from Giovanni. A good mix of difficulty and clue construction (including a couple of “old chestnuts”) that should please everyone”. Déjà vu all over again?

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.


7a           South American country fellow crossing Austria behind soldier (8)
{PARAGUAY} To find this country wrap (crossing) a synonym for fellow around A(ustria) preceded by a member of the Regiment that jumps out of serviceable aircraft

9a           Fruit drinks including pop devoid of content (6)
{APPLES} Another wrap-around – take a word for beers and insert (including) P(o)P to get these fruit.

10a         Area in the grip of maniac recently (4)
{ACRE} Hidden in the middle of the last 2 words of the clue

11a         It’s great new street — result of one making long-term plan (10)
{STRATEGIST} An anagram (new) of the initial 2 words followed by ST(reet) derives this forward thinker

12a         Moister bread? (6)
{DAMPER} Double definition, the second being a flat cake of flour and water

14a         Famous inventor was in debt and shouted (8)
{BELLOWED} The Scotsman credited for inventing the telephone………….

15a         Tax row in which artist suffers setback (6)
{TARIFF} Take another word for a minor quarrel and insert the standard abbreviation for artist reversed (setback) to reveal this tax, or duty

17a         Like an astronaut made fun of (4,2)
{SENT UP} What happens when an astronaut is launched also describes being made fun of, or parodied

20a         Humourless-looking model, I have to create an image (8)
{POSITIVE} An adjective meaning humourless-looking, usually followed by -faced, is followed by a verb meaning to model or pose and then the standard abbreviation for I HAVE to derive this print, in which the colours are not reversed

22a         Restaurant offerings the man discovered in East Anglian town (6)
{DISHES} Insert the male 3rd person pronoun into this town (what would compilers do without it?) to find a general term for what is served in restaurants

23a         Returning soldiers will be having an undesired effect (10)
{BACKFIRING} I look to all you clever bloggers out there for your advice on this clue. Either I’m missing something, or it’s a somewhat iffy double definition of soldiers shooting the wrong way and a malfunctioning car

24a         Swelling fruit, soft from one end to the other (4)
{LUMP} A word for a swelling is derived from a well-known fruit  with its first letter (P=soft) moved to last

25a         Human being ethical about trade primarily (6)
{MORTAL} A synonym for ethical with T(rade) inserted (about) produces something that all we humans are

26a         Feature of car that may arouse gent’s ire (8)
{STEERING} Something basic to a car, typically powered, is an anagram (aroused) of the last two words (Be my guest, Pommers)


1d           Diagram produced by graduate of building design with skill (3,5)
{BAR CHART} This method of showing statistics is made up from a Bachelor of Architecture (abbreviated, 5) and a synonym for skill (3)  (BD assures me that the first “word” is in the BRB)

2d           Hollow Conservative greeting (4)
{CAVE} Take C and the Latin for hail to find this hollow in a rock-face

3d           Treasurer making sort of appeal in regional accent (6)
{BURSAR} This school treasurer is derived from a soft regional accent (John Arlott’s voice had this quality – well, we haven’t had any cricket clues today) with SA (sex appeal) inside

4d           French fortress to keep wet in hot conditions, bad inside (8)
{BASTILLE} Celebrated on July 14th, this fortress is built from a something you do to a roast (5) with a word meaning poorly inside

5d           I get lost and I start to panic terribly and flap (10)
{EPIGLOTTIS} This flap is used in the act of swallowing, and is an anagram (terribly) of I GET LOST, I and P(anic)

6d           Wasting time, let’s observe tenant (6)
{LESSEE} Remove (wasting) the T from LET’S, add a synonym of observe = a type of tenant

8d           Language of a lad brought up outside Rugby (6)
{YORUBA} Nicely misleading, for this is rugby as in sport. Take a synonym for A LAD, reverse it (brought up) and wrap this (outside) the abbreviation for the 15-a-side game to derive this language, spoken in West Africa. My “New Word of the Day”

13d         Fussy person not half — devil to get changed yet (10)
{PERNICKETY} A synonym for fussy is constructed from the first half of person, the nickname of the devil and an anagram (changed) of yet

16d         Female with formality and with frostiness (8)
{FRIGIDLY} F(emale) plus a synonym for stiffly produce a word meaning “with frostiness”

18d         Denim top manufactured somewhere in Italy (8)
{PIEDMONT} This region of Italy is an anagram (manufactured) of the initial two words of the clue

19d         Buried under food shop is American composer (6)
{DELIUS} Take the abbreviations for a food shop (cold cuts & olives?) followed by (buried under in a down clue) America to derive this English-born composer (though he doesn’t sound it)

21d         Old cad leading soldiers — one to stir them into action? (6)
{ORATOR} O(ld), a synonym of a cad, or rotter, followed by a term for the non-officer section of troops and we get someone who might deliver fighting words to them before battle

22d         Weapon spelling peril — good for ousting any number (6)
{DAGGER} Start with a word meaning peril and swap (ousting) the N (any number) for another G(ood)

24d         Scottish landlord, heartless and fat (4)
{LARD} This landlord (of the Manor) loses his middle letter to become fat

My thanks to Big Dave for staying up late and solving this – I was a bit short of time this morning, so needed a kick-start. Overall I thought that The Don has given us a challenging end to the week – 3, gusting 4, stars. What do you think?

The Quick crossword pun: {kneader} + {rest} = {need a rest}

64 comments on “DT 26857

  1. Slow start to this one, but eventually it all fell into place.
    23 a caused me problems, but nothing else fitted.
    The rest was enjoyable.
    Thanks to locum reviewer and to setter.

    Another miserable day in Kent, sailing plans on hold for a while.

  2. A couple at the end to think about (including 23a). I read it as if the soldiers had returned, they would be BACK(from)FIRING ??
    Thanks to Giovanni, and to Digby.

    Back to finish the last handful in the toughie, which I am finding tricky in places, but good fun.

    1. Thanks for your input Jezza – maybe The Don will grace us with a visit and confirm your analysis.

      1. Slightly differently to Jezza’s interpretation, I read it as soldiers back to firing again after a rest, so back firing (again).

  3. Yes – a ***/*** with 12A and 8D new to me, but enjoyable, lots of electronic help (lists of kinds of bread!) but hints not required today.

  4. Not one of the Don’s best I feel :-( 23A didn’t seem to make too much sense to me, but I did enjoy 4D, 5D and 13D. Didn’t help that I wrote the answer to 15A in he space for 12A – held me up for quite a while (particularly trying to think of ANY word ending S_F !
    Not actually raining here in our part of the world (yet), but apparently we’re back to frosts at night – must be a bank holiday in the offing.

    1. meant to say that I’ve never heard of 8D, but it was the only answer possible (why do I get the feeling there will be moans about this one ?)

  5. ***/*** From me too. 23a had Back-biting at first, but couldn’t make sense of it. Also struggled with 3d – couldn’t decide between Bursar and Purser. Plumped for the former but need the explanation (burr is new to me!). 8d was a bit obscure but easy to work out. Thanks to all.

    1. You’re obviously not an old cricket fan then Nigel. John Arlott’s voice could only be described as a burr, a combination of his Hampshire upbringing and several bottles of Claret.

      I remember him commentating at a local pro-celeb cricket match when he burred ‘Ladies and Gentlemen, Mr Ian Botham is now coming in to bat, I suggest you keep a very close eye on the ball’ Ian Botham hit the first ball straight into the crowd and hit a man right between the eyes. Once he had been patched up, consoled by the batsmen and fielders and then carted off to the nearby hospital for a check up, Arlott came back on the microphone with ‘Ladies and Gentlemen, I didn’t mean quite that close’

      1. As you may have noticed from the new hovercard facility football is my sport. Good story though.

        I wavered from Burr to Purr and back again because most of the women in Blackburn purr sweet word to me now and again, well actually most of them are just catty!

  6. Enjoyable, difficult in parts, 8d a new one and had to look it up, 12a had me back to scouting for boys! :-) 23a is mystifying and in the Quick crossword 1d looks like a error, the site only accepts an x for the last letter of the last word never heard of KKKlax

    1. Just a note on the quickie, what did you get for 10A Part of the eye U_E_ ? The only two parts of the eye with 4 letters are IRIS and LENS.

      1. try uvea part of the eye that contains the iris. Off to have cataracts removed next week been boning up lol

        1. must have missed that in school! having done biology, human biology and zoology for a year!!!!! never came across that word

        2. Thanks for that, still never heard of it though (Incidentally, did a goggle on it and it comes up with a diagram, clicked on the diagram and its STILL not mentioned, grrrrr.

      2. I wasted three letter hints and still couldn’t finish it! (THE KKK clue that is!)

        1. My wife knew it, mind you she was a doctor. I must confess that she was surprised to see the word in a Quick Crossword. I had no idea.

  7. I didn’t think this was as much fun as the last few Fridays for some reason. Needed the hint for 20. Otherwise probably 3* for me.

    Happy bank holiday weekend to all, let’s hope the weather improves…

  8. Good morning Digby, nice to see you again :-) , I struggled with a few of these today and as I have to go out shortly I was glad of your help, I hate having to leave a crossword unfinished, I also needed lots of help from my ‘usual friends’ so a three star at least for me today, also don’t ‘see’ 23a! not heard of 8d and 3d worthy of a toughie clue? fav clue today 14a, weather dull but not raining……..yet! Perservation required in abundance today :-D

    1. Also 1d, digby are we saying ‘Barch’ is a word? If not where does the ‘rch’ come into it?

      1. BArch is a Bachelor of Architecture

        I’d never heard of it, but it’s in the BRB

  9. 23a If a soldier turns and “backfires” then the undesirable effect may be that he shoots his own troops? Just a thought.

    1. Could it be that returning soldiers are the ones who ‘fire back’ once they have been fired at? Hence – backfiring. So ‘returning soldiers will be’ is one definition and ‘having an undesirable effect’ is another.

      1. Yes I think it probably is a double definition Tilly, as you say one definition is ‘returning soldiers will be’ and the other ‘having an undesirable effect’

        1. Soldiers do indeed ‘return fire’ when fired upon-or should do! but ‘backfiring does not in my view really fit,lots of poetic licence required required here.The undesirable effect is fine and obviously provides the double definition.Still***/**** today for me,as ifelt quite pleased when i’d finished it;some difficult clues,but enougheasy ones to provide’strategic letters.

  10. Probably 3* for difficulty and 4* for enjoyment for me today. I whizzed through about three quarters of it and then ground to a complete halt for quite a while. As most others have already said 8d is a new word but possible to work out from the clue. I had trouble with 20a. I thought that 7, 11 and 14a and 5 and 13d were dead clever.
    I don’t see why 23a is a problem – I’d assumed that soldiers returning shots were “backfiring” and if you do something that seems a good idea at the time and it all goes a bit wrong then it backfires on you – particularly in the case of a practical joke that doesn’t quite work.
    Anyway, thanks to Giovanni and Digby.
    Cold, grey and chilly in Oxford. :sad:

  11. I didn’t have any real trouble today apart from being pushed for time. No problem with 23a – soldiers returning (to the front) will be back (in the trenches) firing. The cryptic definition is “Returning soldiers will be” .
    Thanks to Digby and to Giovanni

    1. Hi Gnomey,
      OK, I accept your logic, but I still don’t think that it’s one of G’s better efforts.

  12. Is it me but weren’t a lot of these clues in a recent puzzle? Steering, lard, acre and apples

    1. You may well be correct, bits x 2.
      But then I suppose there is a finite number of words available, particularly when they have to fit a specific pattern.

        1. You may have done it before..like me; The telegraph accidentally posted it under adifferent date April 5th alongside the one that should have been there (26832). I was looking back to find a crossword I had missed and found this one. It was only when I needed help that I looked at the crossword number to find it was 26857 and the blog had only got to 26850!! So I have had to wait for today to finish it!

  13. Have finished it but didn’t think it as enjoyable as some this week and needed electronic help a bit, but not hints for once. I also thought 23a a bit “iffy” and I didn’t much like 1d, 3d or 21d either! Probably just being picky. Liked 4d, 7a and 20a. Thank you for explanations Digby.

  14. One of The Don’s easier puzzles.
    Liked : 14a, 20a, 23a, 1d, 4d, 8d, 16d & 18d.

    One or two old chestnuts in it!

    Weather here is a bit iffy!

  15. I see that the hints were posted at 10am, but I’ve only just appeared on the web site for me, and I have been looking – not sure why, and probably wouldn’t understand if the explanation is too technical, but just thought I would mention it.

    Several clues needed explanations for me today, even thought I had the correct answers – 4d and 23a in particular.

    A couple of favourites 14a and 13d. The whole thing took slightly longer than usual, not sure why. Thanks for the hints, I will now go back and read others comments.

    1. The blog disappeared for a while this afternoon. Only explanation I can give – hope its not too technical.

      1. Mea Culpa, I believe!
        I have been suitably chastised by HWMBO for failing to exit Edit mode on the blog, and thereby causing your interruption to service.
        There’s such a lot to learn doing this job, but don’t let it put off anyone having a go – BD is very patient and forgiving!

        1. Digby my cap is well and truly doffed that you even attempt to do this job, solving is one thing, explaining the answers so succintly (sic)is something I can only aspire to. Cheers

        2. You did a great job, as do all the other bloggers! Where would we be without you all? Actually I can answer my own question – we would be completely lost! Thanks to everyone. :smile:

  16. I must have been on fire today as I finished the puzzle, without help, by midmorning. I will probably be suitably punished when I tackle the Toughie!

    1. Jill,
      Your comment needed moderation because you’ve changed your alias. Both should work from now on.

      1. Thank you gazza. I was having problems posting with the original alias – my fault I’m sure>

  17. My view on 23a is simple.
    I couldn’t solve it, so I don’t like it.

    Selfish but simple logic.

    p.s., “It is I LeClerc” as he used to say on ‘Allo ‘Allo.

    Lostboy here with a new name and a new avatar.
    But still the same old view on having A Toughie On Monday.
    (ATOM- You know it makes sense.)

  18. Ah Giovanni back to his very best. Late comment today as I finished before the Blog was up then we went to Greys Court country house for the day, super place!
    Learnt that Damper was a type of bread and that Yoruba is a language. Best clue for me def 12a but no bad clues today, all 1st class.

  19. Couldn’t get on earlier as the page had done a bunk. Superb crossword from Giovanni and a very entertaining review from Digby, many thanks to both.

  20. Thoroughly enjoyable wiith some very clever clues. My favourite of the week.

  21. Not my favourite Xword by a long chalk today. Thought 20a and 23a were very poor and was 8d really neccessary ? Still I guess you can’t please all of the people all of the time. Best bit for me was the Review from Digby, thank you for that.

  22. Backfiring isn’t in the BRB as such, just backfire? – or is my edition too old??

    1. Hi Pookie – not sure about that as I don’t own one!
      In it or not, I’m still feel that the clue was not up to The Don’s usual high standard.

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