DT 26860 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 26860

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26860

Hints and tips by crypticsue

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BD Rating – Difficulty ** Enjoyment **

Firstly thank you to Gazza who cleverly noticed that if I had chosen yesterday from one of two options for my lovely walk, then I must still have a day off today and therefore  suggested that I might like to undergo the scary experience of an on-the-day blog once again.   

Thank you to the Tuesday Mysteron for  one of those crosswords where starting with the downs would have paid dividends, but in the end was completed in a straightforward time.   I have awarded ** for difficulty because it took me a little longer to ‘see’ the wordplay of a couple of clues.  

If you highlight the space between the curly brackets you cab reveal the answer.


1a           Seaside treat best to eat cold (4-3)
{CHOC-ICE}  Insert (eat) C for cold into a synonym for  best treat or something worth choosing to get a frozen treat that would be horrible if melted at the seaside or anywhere else for that matter!

5a           Strange dog is running round Oxford University (7)
{CURIOUS}   Strange, rare or unusual – follow a worthless dog of low breed with IS  (from the clue) into which are inserted the initials of Oxford University.

9a           Polished end of table leg with tan liquid (7)
{ELEGANT} Refined and polished in style –  Follow the last letter (end) of tablE with LEG from the clue and then an anagram (liquid) of TAN. 

10a         Standard metal in rake (7)
{ROUTINE}  An adjective meaning standard or ordinary is obtained by inserting a metal into a debauched or dissolute person, a rake.

11a         Cameron drinking ice tea mixed with a bit of elderberry for a spell of calm (9)
{PEACETIME}  A period of calm, particularly when there is no war.   Take the initials  of the position currently held by Mr Cameron, insert (drinking) a mixed anagram of ICE TEA, and then finish with the first letter (a bit of) Elderberry.   Anyone else spend time trying to fit ‘Dave’ into this one?!

12a         Blackadder finally trapped by silly plan (5)
{DRAFT}  A preliminary plan or version of something – simply insert the final letter of Blackadder into an adjective meaning silly or weak-minded.

13a         Back in nurseries to order plants (5)
{ROOTS} Hidden and reversed (back in) nurserieS TO ORder is another way of saying plants firmly  in the earth.

15a         Harmony by one on instrument (9)
{ACCORDION}   A charade of a synonym for harmony or agreement followed by I (one) and ON from the clue produces a musical instrument with folding bellows and a keyboard.

17a         Soldier on manoeuvres peers around at all times (9)
{PERSEVERE}  To soldier on is something every crossword solver should do (but did Mary try to fit in her  alterantive spelling?) –  an anagram (manoeuvres) of PEERS with an adverb meaning at all times, eternally, inserted.

19a         Unfortunately sat in the middle of dad’s food (5)
{PASTA}  Another anagram to be inserted into another word  – this time SAT is rearranged (unfortunately) into a childish or familiar word for father to produce shaped food items  produced from durum wheat.

22a         Attack on television (5)
{ONSET} A violent attack or assault –  ON (from the clue) and a way of referring to a television.

23a         Distinguished achaeologist’s excavation in field disturbed no Liberal (9)
{DIGNIFIED}  Distinguished or calmly self-controlled.   Follow an archaeologist’s excavation with an anagram (disturbed) of IN FIE[L]D, having first removed the L (no Liberal).

25a         Old bird beginning to move in tree top (7)
{EXTREME}  The definition here is top, of the highest degree).   Follow the way one might refer to a previous girlfriend (old bird) with TREE (from the clue) into which has been inserted the first letter (beginning) of Move.

26a         Maiden wriggling toes in water (7)
{MOISTEN}   Water or make wet – M (maiden overs in cricket) followed by an anagram (wriggling) of TOES IN.

27a         Happy with a smaller amount in sack (7)
{BLESSED} An adjective meaning happy –   Sack in this case means an informal term for the piece of furniture in which you sleep (3) into which should be inserted a comparative adjective meaning a smaller amount than.

28a         One who’s chosen no wealth: ultimate in abstinence (7)
{NOMINEE}   Someone chosen to act on behalf of another person – NO (from the clue) plus a synonym for wealth or a rich source and then finished by the last (ultimate) letter of abstinence.


1d           Climber and sycophant will be seen by the Queen (7)
{CREEPER}  A plant or type of bird that climbs up walls etc – a sycophant or crawling unpleasant person followed by the cipher of the current Queen.

2d           Herb for e.g. an omelette? In part (7)
{OREGANO}   Hidden (in part) inside f OR EG AN Omelette is a herb that one might use in an omelette but I would probably put it into Spaghetti Bolognese.

3d           Cost after top of ivy’s hacked off (5)
{IRATEThe one where I knew the answer but why….?  The definition is hacked off or very cross and it is simply a case of following I ( after top of ivy) with a noun meaning a fixed price or cost.

4d           Extra ice mixed with first of tequilas for free (9)
{EXTRICATE}  To free from entanglements –   An anagram (mixed) of EXTRA ICE plus T (the first of tequila)

5d           Swear by remedy when taking in sun (5)
{CURSE} Inserting S for sun into a remedy or course of treatment produces a verb meaning to swear or blaspheme.

6d           Stumble after cycle — it takes one back to the start (5,4)
{ROUND TRIP}  A trip to a place and back again – follow a cycle or recurring series of events with a stumble or catch of the foot.

7d           Paper folding in spring almost a first for Murdoch (7)
{ORIGAMI}   The Japanese art of paper folding – Insert A (from the clue) and M (the first letter of Murdoch) into  almost all of a noun meaning the first existence of anything or source.   Almost is the instruction to leave off the last letter of this word.

8d           Pacify pet in French (7)
{SWEETEN} To pacify or make agreeable –  pet in the sense of delightful followed by the French word for in.

14d         We see past wild flowers (5,4)
{SWEET PEA}  The flower of the moment  in crosswordland is an anagram (wild) of WE SEE PAST.

16d         Left in church, my gran’s upset reverend (9)
{CLERGYMAN} A reverend or ordained minister of the church –  Insert L (left) into the initials by which the Church of England is known and then follow the result with an anagram (upset) of MY GRAN.

17d         Saw dog held by lead (7)
{PROVERB}  A saw or saying – insert a name that might be given to one’s pet dog into the chemical symbol for lead.

18d         Routine about to secure prize (7)
{ROSETTE} A badge made of ribbon awarded as a prize – insert into a routine or mechanical performance (4) a verb meaning to secure or embed.

20d         Chap in nets turned up and bowled over (7)
{SMITTEN}  Bowled over or affected by feelings (usually of a romantic nature).  NETS (from the clue) into which is inserted a diminutive boy’s name, the result then reversed (turned up).

21d         Desperate fellow put in stake at a steady pace (7)
{ANDANTE} A musical term meaning moving with slow moderate expression –  Insert the desperate fellow from the Dandy comic into a fixed stake put down by a poker player.

23d         Fear King’s inside slaughtered (5)
{DREAD} Fear or great awe – insert R (Rex, King) into what you would be if you had been slaughtered.

24d         Dialect I’d picked up in the Isle of Man (5)
{IDIOM}  A dialect or particular mode of expression –  reverse ID (picked up) into the letters by which the Isle of Man is known.

No special favourites in this puzzle for me today.   Quite a few where part of the solution was a word in the clue and others where you needed to ‘take a letter and add it to…’   17a did make me smile as that word always makes me think of Mary.    I will be interested to see what others thought.

The Quick crossword pun: {HARES} + {TILES} = {HAIR STYLES}

64 comments on “DT 26860

  1. Thanks to the setter for an enjoyable and untaxing crossword and to Cryptisue for the entertaining review. I see you have used my old Desperate Dan character in a picture clue, I still can’t get it back and am stuck with the computer generated thing.

  2. An enjoyable puzzle to start the day. Mary should appreciate 17a. Thanks setter and of course Crypticsue :)

  3. Excellent start to the week (sorry, I don’t count Bank Hoildays as a week day). First run through of the across clues yielded five answers, but luckily the downs came to the rescue. I thought 17D was a particularly good clue, just the type I like to see.
    Am busy trying to get rid of my 14Ds a the moment, they seem to totally take over the garden last year and were pulling the netting off the wall. Tried planting raspberries instead but the don’t appear to be doing anything, result is that I have a large patch of garden with nothing but sticks in it!

    1. I could be completely wrong but if your 14d’s are taking over the garden then they probably aren’t 14d’s after all!! They are annuals although they do self seed. There is a very strongly growing perennial kind which doesn’t smell and is a bit of a thug – I suspect that is what you have.

      1. That’s the bugger, we quite like the smelly ones, but the ones we had just took over (they’re still called 14D though). Nearly did myself a mischief trying to dig them out, the root ball weighs about 2 stone!

        1. They’re called perennial or everlasting peas but not sweet! Same family though. When our very much loved ginger cat died, aged 20, several years ago my sister sent me some white everlasting pea seeds to plant where we buried him – what she’d forgotten was that he’d been piddling everywhere for the last few weeks of his life!! It always made us laugh.

  4. Yes I was looking to include Dave for a while in 11a. Especially enjoyed 17d but had trouble for a while with 1a. When the penny eventually dropped it gave me the lead in to my last entry which was 3d although I didn’t particularly like this one! Did I recall seeing 14d fairly recently?

    1. 14d was with us last Saturday, albeit in the singular, 21d was in the Sunday puzzle on 29 April too.

  5. I am sorry to buck the trend, but I did not particularly enjoy this one. As Crypticsue points out, I thought there were too many clues where part of the answer featured in the clue. Thanks to setter, and to CS.

    I did however enjoy the toughie today.

  6. Pretty standard fare I think today. Nothing contentious so I go with a **/***. 1a was last in – like 7d and 10a I had the answer first and then worked out the reasoning.

    All in all not to bad considering my beloved Rovers were relegated last night!

  7. 1a. I think “choice” is a synonym for “best”. The definition being “seaside treat, which is confusing, as I don’t see why the answer should be specifically a seaside treat?

    1. It is too – I did solve this and write my notes on the grid very early this morning – which is no excuse but I offer it anyway.

  8. What a nice puzzle this was. It would be nice to find out why Mysteron is. I also tried this theory where I started with the downs (as advocated by CS) and with the last of the downs(as advocated by Mary) and, inexplicably, it works. It defies logic

  9. I agree that the downs held the key for this one today, then the answers slotted in quite easily. I got held up on the SW corner for a while, but once the penny dropped I think 17d was my favourite clue. I needed the hints to explain a couple of my answers so thanks to Cripticsue for you help.

  10. When we do not know who the setter is we assume Mysteron. How do we know that a committee has not been used or a number of setters working together. In which case Mysterons

  11. I thought this a potpourri of good and not so good clues today. Favourite was 11a and 20d. Like Jackie I needed Crypticsue’s hints to explain a couple of answers. ***/*** Thanks to ? setter and Crypticsue

  12. Hate it when everybody says straight forward and easy and I’m struggling.
    Thanks to CS for review, needed the hints today, and on going through them it was in fact straightforward. Wavelength not tuned in properly.
    Thanks to compiler for a tester.

  13. Sailed through it …until the SW corner and then my brain stopped! had lunch and then all went well……. now deciding what to do on a cold grey day here in canterbury :( Thanks for the clues CS! Hope its brighter your way?

    1. Only 9 miles away so it is just as cold and grey here although it is brightening up a bit (what my Yorkshire granny would have called ‘taking up’ over towards Thanet so there may be hope. Definitely picked the right day for our lovely walk round Wye on the North Downs and Stour Valley Ways. Sunshine, lovely bluebells and huge swathes of cowslips too. I imagine the sun will return when I am back at work tomorrow :(

  14. I agree that starting with the down clues would have made things much easier. I needed the hints to explain a few today – 25a, thought that the “ex” was the “old” so couldn’t find the “bird” which was a bit stupid – also 7d and I wasn’t terrible sure about 18d either. I was slow with 23a because I thought the definition was a “distinguished archaelogist” and I don’t know any! Got there in the end with that one.
    I enjoyed this – probably nearer to a 3* for difficulty for me. I liked 17 and 19a and 1 and 16d. Inevitably I also liked 14d and my favourite of all, once I got the blasted cricket out of my head, was 20d. With thanks to whoever and CS.

    1. Enjoyed this, gave it 2.5 * and ***quite a logical crossword with a wide variety of types of clues.Some were easier to find the answer to than the means of arriving at it! eg7d and 18d.I liked 20d too- my last solve.Thought all along that ‘nets’were turned up-especially wnen i got the ‘n’.but did’nt twig that the ‘chap’was also inverted,.

  15. Bit of a curate’s egg IMHO. Too many clues with half the answer in there and I don’t like clues like 20d where you need a 3 letter boys name, there must be hundreds of them, so you have to guess the answer and then reverse solve it.
    Agree starting with the downs would have helped – on first pass we only got 4 of the acrosses but then 13 of the downs!

    Anyway, at least I’m back in the warmth now – couldn’t believe how cold the UK was last week.

    Thanks to the setter and to CS – nice to see you on a weekday puzzle.

    1. You really mistimed your visit, didn’t you. Not raining today, yet, and much warmer – 17C.

      1. I presume you mean minus 17° because that’s what it feels like here in West Bridgford

        1. 12C in East Kent and warmer outside than in – Mr CS is being mean with the heating oil again!

      2. 27C this afternoon and not a cloud in the sky :grin: Got my shorts on – not a pretty sight :lol:

        Whenever I back to the UK the Good Lord seems to provide lousy weather to remind me of why I moved to Spain!

        1. In that case perhaps you could give us a bit of warning before you come over again so that we all know not to plan anything that is too weather dependent. . PLEASE tell me that you’re not coming the first weekend of June – we have between 30 and 40 people for a barbecue!

          1. No plans to spoil your Summer! Next trip probably Oct or Nov depending on the aged parent, getting cheap flights and possibly a ‘Sloggers and Betters’. Let you all know as soon as I know.

          2. I always take good weather to north Northumberland when I visit. I think my mother’s neighbour thinks I’m some sort of weather witch!

            I really really struggled with this crossword. I wonder why when everybody else seemed ti find it fairly straightforward?

        2. If anyone knows as to the possibilty of delivering an e-punch on Mikes nose please advise!!! 27c , sigh, feels more like 27f here

            1. tee hee, it absolutely poured overnight, but today so far just cloudy with very occasional glimpses, of that long forgotten sun. Hope Pomette is ok and your fat cats, my dogs are fed up with the mud and wet, more so the fact they have to be washed before racing to their respective food bowls and settees!!

              1. Pommette fine and the cat’s are now fatTER cats! You fully recovered now? Hope so, and give the dogs a packet of crisps from me. Going to bed now as on blogging duty tomorrow and I’m a bit out of practice – today’s was first for a while so you can expect 5* rating for a 2* puzzle :grin:

                1. Pommers Yes thank you all recovered, at long last,and the dogs saying thanks btw!! fatTER , is that possible?

                  1. You need to see them – and they don’t get fed that much! Must be the old lady next door slipping them the odd morsel or six!

  16. Did finish it without hints but quite a few were almost guesswork so needed hints for explanations, so thank you CS for that. Don’t like 1a – can’t see that choice is either treat or eat – and why seaside anyway?? Liked 10a and 6d – hope Mary got 17a? Not my most favourite puzzle, some good, some bad, some iffy, I though,t but thanks for the brain workout anyway!

  17. Thanks to the setter & to Crypticsue for the review & hints. I think Mary’s clue should be 17a, not 17d. Perhaps it could be both :-) Quite enjoyed today’s, some nice clues. First in was 2d, last was 13a. Favourites were 5a & 21d, had an image of Desperate Dan conducting an orchestra. Brightening up in Central London.

      1. Don’t know where she is today – don’t think she mentioned going AWOL. Is it tonight you go to the dancing – if so, I hope that you enjoy it and look forward to hearing about it.

      2. Hi sue, so sorry to have missed you, I started this fairly early on Tuesday but had to go out before I finished and then life once more got in the way and I didn’t get round to getting back to it if you see what I mean, really annoying, well done you, on your first ‘on the spot blogging’ (I think it’s your first) and though I was tempted at 17a unfortunately it didn’t fit!! :-D

        1. I missed you Mary. I have done several on the day blogs before although this was my first Tuesday one. My first one was the Bank Holiday Monday at the end of May 2010 which seems a very long time ago now. Now back at work and having so much time finding the top of my desk under all the stuff I have been left to do I wish I had taken more time off.

          1. As I said last week, ‘seive’ synonym for my memory! What’s this about dancing?

            1. My friend and I are going to the theatre tonight to see VIncent and Flavia from Strictly in their Midnight Tango Show. To say we were excited, would be an understatement.

              1. Brilliant, they are fantastic dancers, we saw them as part of the ‘strictly’ tour, when they came to Cardiff, have a great time :-D

    1. There was a stage when I was working my way through the across clues that I did wonder if I would be the same. Luckily the downs came to my rescue.

    2. Finally finished with the EXTENSIVE help from Sues excellent clues. For me this was a dreadful xword mainly because I detest part anagrams. I found it very difficult and not enjoyable at all. Sorry but that is how I feel.

      1. I agree completely, Brian. I managed less than half, despite staring at it for ages. Looking forward to better things tomorrow.

  18. PS -For those who don’t do the ‘toughie ‘very often-including myself -try today’s ,as it is on a par with this crossword for a change!

  19. Hello; I haven’t been doing the crossword lately as I have been fighting monsters with Link – but I really enjoyed this; needed a bit of a pointer in the SW corner, but that all adds to the challenge! Well done Mysteron and CS!

  20. Good to hear some others found SW corner a challenge. I needed some help here for which thanks Crypticsue. Rest was fairly straightforward and fun. Sunny Sussex evening here, glass of wine in the garden beckons.

  21. I didn’t enjoy solving this one – I thought some of the clues were extremely poor.
    No special favourites!

  22. Derek, I have to disagree. I thought this was a great crossword and 17d was the best clue. Very enjoyable.

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