DT 26867

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26867

Hints and tips by pommers

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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

Hola from the Vega Baja on a delightful sunny morning.  In my opinion Jay’s on top form this morning and I really enjoyed this puzzle.  Some excellent clues but enough ‘gimmes’ to get you going. For reasons unknown I found the SW corner to be the tricky bit so I’ll be interested to see if you agree.

The clues I like most are in blue and the answers can be seen by highlighting the space between the curly brackets. 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           One’s heart’s a prisoner to it (7)
{RIBCAGE} – A cryptic definition of the part of your skeleton within which your heart is located. This was my first in but I wasn’t sure until I had the downs!

5a           Very descriptive of poor/rich gap (7)
{GRAPHIC} – A word meaning very descriptive is an anagram (poor) of RICH GAP.  Well concealed anagram, it took a moment or two for the penny to drop.

9a           Read about Mephistopheles rash (4-5)
{DARE DEVIL} – A phrase meaning rash or adventurous is an anagram (about) of READ followed by what Mephistopheles is one of the many names for.

10a         Reject incentive point (5)
{SPURN} – An incentive followed by one of the points of the compass gives a word meaning reject with contempt.

11a         A way into church offering social status (5)
{CASTE} – A word for social status is made by A (from the clue) and a way or road inserted (into) into one the abbreviations for Church.

12a         Oven-cooked grouse dish (5,4)
{ROAST BEEF} – This dish, which you traditionally have for Sunday lunch, sounds as though it’s describing an oven-cooked grouse or complaint

13a         Something needed for drying out after freak accidents (9)
{DESICCANT} – Something which absorbs moisture is an anagram (freak) of ACCIDENTS. Sometimes it helps to have been a chemist as we used this stuff frequently, usually phosphorous pentoxide.

16a         Position of professor is key capital growth (5)
{CHAIR} – The position of a professor is one of the musical keys followed by something which grows on your head (capital growth).

17a         Careless broadcast shows needs (5)
{LACKS} – This word for needs is a homophone (broadcast) of a word meaning careless or negligent.

18a         Partner’s bone dry, if troubled (9)
{BOYFRIEND} – A girl’s partner is an anagram (troubled) of BONE DRY IF.

20a         Hope game has primarily got something for devotees (6,3)
{PRAYER RUG} – A hope followed by the abbreviation of a 15-a-side game and G (primarily Got) gives something used by devotees of a religion founded in the Middle East.  I always thought these things were referred to as mats!

23a         Garment or skirt for stage? (5)
{APRON} – Double definition. A protective garment is also a word for the edge (skirt) of a stage which projects beyond the curtain.

25a         Ring, and yearn to express a view (5)
{OPINE} – O (ring) followed by a word for yearn or long gives a word meaning express a view.

26a         Creative and popular opening given, with no limits (9)
{INVENTIVE} – This word meaning creative is a charade of the usual crosswordland word for popular (2), an opening or outlet and IVE (gIVEn with no limits).

27a         Shade’s a bit circumspect, really (7)
{SPECTRE} – This shade or phantom is hidden (a bit) in circumspect really.

28a         Cards on the table? Heard why party is in part of garden (3-4)
{LAY DOWN} – To get this phrase which can mean to lay your cards on the table you need the letter which sounds like (heard) why and the usual party and insert them (is in) into the green part of your garden and then split the result (3,4).


1d           Concentrated but looking embarrassed, cued poorly (7)
{REDUCED} – A culinary term for concentrated is the usual word for embarrassed followed by an anagram (poorly) of CUED.

2d           Pubs incorporating new buildings for storage (5)
{BARNS} – N(ew) contained by (incorporating) some pubs gives some storage buildings on a farm.

3d           Interviews nude, as ice dancing! (9)
{AUDIENCES} – Some interviews, which you might have with the Queen, are an anagram (dancing) of NUDE AS ICE.  Conjures up a strange mental image but I will resist the photo opportunity for the sake of decorum! Anyway, not sure I can find any nude piccies of Torvill and Dean!

4d           Always catching lake fish when young (5)
{ELVER} – Insert (catching) L(ake) into a word for always and you get a young eel.

5d           Bravery from support structure protecting everybody (9)
{GALLANTRY} – A word for everybody contained by (protecting) a support structure, for a travelling crane perhaps, gives some bravery.

6d           A useful quality when hardened (5)
{ASSET} – A useful quality is a charade of other words for ‘when’ (2) and ‘hardened’ (3).

7d           Resident’s final check on bingo call (9)
{HOUSEMATE} – This is a resident who shares your home. It’s what you shout when you get the last number on a bingo card followed by (on) the final check in a game of chess. 

8d           Italy invested in grant for such a tree (7)
{CONIFER} – The IVR code for Italy inserted (invested in) a word meaning to grant or bestow gives a type of evergreen tree.

14d         Agents trapped by criminal lies to a well-connected person (9)
{SOCIALITE} – To get a well-connected person you need to insert (trapped by) the American spies or agents into an anagram (criminal) of LIES TO. I could see the anagram of LIES but spent some time trying to do something with SPIES for agents as it gives the correct number of letters! Took a while for the penny to drop that TO is also part of the anagram fodder, D’OH!

15d         Drunken binge — rue a pickled vegetable! (9)
{AUBERGINE} – An anagram (drunken or pickled – take your pick) of BINGE A RUE gives a purple vegetable. Not sure about this clue as it seems to have two anagram indicators, neither of which bring anything else to the clue apart from the surface reading. Perhaps you have a better idea?

16d         Some left? Yes, of course (9)
{CERTAINLY} – This is a word you might say instead of using the phrase “of course”.  It’s a word meaning some, as in “some people may doubt this” followed by L(eft) and Y(es).  This is one of those where the answer is fairly obvious but hinting isn’t easy. Many thanks to crypticsue for unravelling the wordplay!

17d         Better protected by circuits in computers (7)
{LAPTOPS} – A word for better or cap inserted (protected by) some circuits of a race track gives some portable computers.

19d         Mafia boss contains endless craving in prison (7)
{DUNGEON} – Take the title of Vito Corleone in The Godfather and insert (contains) a word for a craving but without its first and last letters (endless) and you get a prison, often found underground.

21d         Incident in village’s last outlet (5)
{EVENT} – E (villagE’s last) followed by an outlet or opening gives an incident. We had this outlet or opening in 26a!

22d         Collapsed on top of lump hammer (5)
{GAVEL} – A word for collapsed or yielded followed by L (top of Lump) gives the sort of hammer used by a judge or auctioneer.

24d         Animal that’s right at home in house (5)
{RHINO} – To get this endangered animal you need to start with R(ight) and follow with the usual word for at home inserted (in) into an abbreviation of house.  I quite like this one as the animal certainly wouldn’t be at home in your house! Conjures up another rather startling mental mage.

I like all the ones in blue but favourites are 16d and 24d.

The Quick crossword pun: {sews} + {wheat} = {so sweet}


  1. Wozza
    Posted May 16, 2012 at 10:34 am | Permalink

    I thought it was easier than that having started with the downs which went in quickly. However I have to say I didn’t like it that much (unlike most Wednesdays).

    There were too many convoluted clues for my taste. Someone said recently on this board that a good clue should read as though it could be part of a normal sentence. I agree with that and there weren’t many there today. I cite 16a and 3d of two particularly meaningless examples amongst many.

    2*/2* for me

    Thanks Pommers.

  2. njm
    Posted May 16, 2012 at 10:36 am | Permalink

    Like yesterday, this puzzle took me longer than I expected given how difficult it appeared. Got stuck in the SW corner, but all fell into place once 14d was done. 3*/4* for me.

    Thanks to compiler for an excellent start to the day.

  3. Jezza
    Posted May 16, 2012 at 10:38 am | Permalink

    A most enjoyable puzzle today. I thought the wordplay to 7d was the wrong way round (a down clue).
    Thanks to Jay, and to pommers.

    • Jezza
      Posted May 16, 2012 at 11:57 am | Permalink

      Or am I wrong about 7d? As it is a down clue, the wording looks like the answer should in fact be MATE(on)HOUSE.

      • mary
        Posted May 16, 2012 at 12:01 pm | Permalink

        Yes, I think you are right Jezza but then again I often look at things the wrong way round!

      • pommers
        Posted May 16, 2012 at 12:18 pm | Permalink

        Hi Jezza
        You may be right. I did wonder about this but decided not to open the can of worms. I can only guess that the clue was originally written as an across.

        • Jezza
          Posted May 16, 2012 at 12:24 pm | Permalink

          Hi pommers
          That was my thought as well; that the clue might have been written as an across.
          A minor quibble in an otherwise very good puzzle! :)

          • beaver
            Posted May 16, 2012 at 5:12 pm | Permalink

            ***/*** Re 7d, did’nt think too deeply about the chicken and egg situation as i had the H from 5a-but now you,ve got me thinking! – took me ages to get the check part-wanted to put wife-then the doh moment came.Had the solution to 17a but struggled for the cryptic bit when the penny dropped-i was being too complicated thinking of lackadaisical with bits omitted.Never mind enjoyed it and think i deserve a pint.

      • Libellule
        Posted May 16, 2012 at 5:37 pm | Permalink

        On for me works both ways – before or after….

  4. Brian
    Posted May 16, 2012 at 10:40 am | Permalink

    Tough today, needed some electronic help and my thanks to Pommers for explaining 8d and 20a. best clue forme was 12a but mention. In dispatches to 13a and 1a. Still a little unsure about 20a, hope – prayer? Hmmm! Overall an enjoyable puzzle that certainly taxed my little grey cells.

    • pommers
      Posted May 16, 2012 at 10:47 am | Permalink

      Hi Brian

      re 20a, this one’s from Collins online so I can copy and paste it

      slang a chance or hope ⇒ “she doesn’t have a prayer of getting married “

  5. Franny
    Posted May 16, 2012 at 10:42 am | Permalink

    Hola, Pommers, and I am fully in agreement with you today. My first in was 9a, as it took a while for 1a’s penny to drop. I also got stuck in the SW corner and needed help to get me out of it. Didn’t see the anagram at 14d, which was my last in, and thought that 28a should have been “saw why party etc.” rather than ‘heard’ until I read your explanations. So many thanks to you for those and to Jay for the fun. Now I’m going to walk my rhino. :-)

  6. AnnB
    Posted May 16, 2012 at 10:47 am | Permalink

    Bit tricky but got there in the end.Cheers & thanks all

  7. Skempie
    Posted May 16, 2012 at 11:02 am | Permalink

    Morning Each. Quite enjoyable today, but like Pommers, found the SW corner a bit tricky – possibly because I wasn’t too happy with some of the wording (for the 3 years I was in Saudi, I never heard of a prayer rug) and took me a while to realise why 14D was correct.
    Must admit though, I liked 12A and it is nice to see words such as 13A and 15D making an appearance. Looks like i have to go and do MORE work in the garden today (got a few repair jobbies on plants damaged by yesterday’s hail, grrrrr)

  8. mary
    Posted May 16, 2012 at 11:04 am | Permalink

    Hola pommers and thanks for the blog, I also got stuck in SW corner, needing help with 20a and 14d, a;so needed your explaination for 19d, just couldn’t see the word ?unge?, !!
    a two to three star for me today but not as enjoyable as yesterdays, fav clue 5a

  9. Skempie
    Posted May 16, 2012 at 11:04 am | Permalink

    (Oh, and that’s “jobbies” as in small jobs, not “jobbies” as in Billy Connolly’s definition.

    • pommers
      Posted May 16, 2012 at 11:24 am | Permalink

      Should hope so too – thought you might have been giving your rhino the run of the garden :grin:

  10. bifield
    Posted May 16, 2012 at 11:20 am | Permalink

    A bit tricky in places but finally finished. I also had trouble in the SW corner. Although quite enjoyable I could not get a good flow & found myself jumping all over the place. Thanks to setter & to Pommers for the hints.

    • mary
      Posted May 16, 2012 at 11:44 am | Permalink

      Yes I was a bit all over the place too bifeld, must be the traveller in us :-)

  11. Kath
    Posted May 16, 2012 at 12:08 pm | Permalink

    I thought that this was a bit tricky for a Wednesday – finally finished but needed the hints to explain a few – thanks pommers. I couldn’t work out why 16d was what it was and with 20a I thought that “hope” was “pray” which left me with a couple of spare letters – also have only heard of prayer mat rather than rug. Had a bit of trouble unravelling 19d too. I spent a while trying to think if there was a word for the / between rich and poor in 5a – that was stupid!
    All very enjoyable – favourites include 1 and 13a and 24d – best of all, I thought, was 12a.
    With thanks to Jay and pommers.

  12. crypticsue
    Posted May 16, 2012 at 12:35 pm | Permalink

    Definitely tricky in places but the usual enjoyment, thanks to Jay and Pommers too.

    The Beam Toughie is really tough but worth a fight. Like yesterday’s two crosswords, there is another case of the same solution appearing in both puzzles.

  13. William Geddes
    Posted May 16, 2012 at 12:55 pm | Permalink

    Is there a mobile phone friendly version of the site?

    It’s all gone a bit chests northwards since you changed (from wordpress?)

    • julian of ec4
      Posted May 16, 2012 at 1:15 pm | Permalink

      I’d noticed that the android version had ‘a few little problems’ too.. shame but I guess we can’t have everything…

      • William Geddes
        Posted May 16, 2012 at 2:06 pm | Permalink

        I’m on the old blackberry Used to be far far easier

  14. Colmce
    Posted May 16, 2012 at 1:13 pm | Permalink

    Afternoon Pommers from a sunny but brisk day in Dover.
    Thanks for the review, not needed for answers but some of the parsing passed me by.

    Thanks to Jay for a nicely testing puzzle, with quite a few doh…moments.

    • pommers
      Posted May 16, 2012 at 1:35 pm | Permalink

      Sounds like a nice day for a sail :grin:

  15. BigBoab
    Posted May 16, 2012 at 1:21 pm | Permalink

    Thank to Jay for an interesting puzzle and to Pommers for an entertaining review.

  16. Donk
    Posted May 16, 2012 at 1:36 pm | Permalink

    Enjoyed this puzzle – some good starters and certainly a few head-scratchers! Favourite clues 5a, 7d and 24d. I read 7d as meaning MATE tacked on the end of HOUSE, which I think is fine – although this does mean that in a down-clue, “on” can mean both above and below!

  17. Jackie
    Posted May 16, 2012 at 1:59 pm | Permalink

    Another puzzle which I enjoyed this morning, but unlike others, I got stuck on the NW corner. The downs were definitely a better starting point too. I needed help to explain a couple of my answers – in particular 14d, I hadn’t included TO in my anagram either. No real favourites today, but thanks as always to Jay and Pommers for all their hard work.

  18. MikeT
    Posted May 16, 2012 at 2:12 pm | Permalink

    I’m glad I’m not the only one who’s been having trouble finishing the SW corner lately, but 16D stumped me for quite a while, until I concentrated on the word “some”.

    • pommers
      Posted May 16, 2012 at 2:44 pm | Permalink

      I cheated and asked crypticsue for a pointer on that one in order to save time. Knew the answer but was having trouble parsing it. :oops:

      Well, I did have a blog to complete and didn’t want to keep you all waiting :grin:

  19. Chris
    Posted May 16, 2012 at 2:15 pm | Permalink

    16a !!!!!
    Clues like this make it all seem worthwhile …

  20. Posted May 16, 2012 at 2:34 pm | Permalink

    Took slightly longer than yesterday. Very enjoyable. *** and **** from me. Many thanks.

  21. PJ
    Posted May 16, 2012 at 2:42 pm | Permalink

    For all those who haven’t walked their rhinos yet, the Telegraph ran a story about Rupert the rhino on 19 November, 2006, with a photo:
    There’s an even more dramatic one at:
    Thanks as always for a great blog.

    • pommers
      Posted May 16, 2012 at 3:18 pm | Permalink

      Hearty Laugh

  22. St George
    Posted May 16, 2012 at 3:15 pm | Permalink

    A bit difficult for me and required your assistance. Never heard of a shade in this context but should have got it from the clue I suppose.Thanks for the help Pommers.

  23. Jaydubs
    Posted May 16, 2012 at 3:59 pm | Permalink

    Re 15d, I have a recipe for pickled answer, so maybe just setter being mischievous?

    • gazza
      Posted May 16, 2012 at 4:10 pm | Permalink

      Hi Jaydubs – welcome to the blog.

    • pommers
      Posted May 16, 2012 at 4:18 pm | Permalink

      Hi Jaydubs, and welcome from me too.

      The thought occurred to me that pickled aubergines are commonly available in Spain and Jay lived here for some/certain years, so . . . maybe that’s it! The surface is great though. You ever tried a few gherkins or similar after a load of beer? You certainly rue it the next morning :lol:

      I tried the pickled wotsits once and they’re crap, unlike the other Spanish favourite – tomato jam – which is great :grin:

  24. Persona Non Grata
    Posted May 16, 2012 at 4:05 pm | Permalink

    Fair to middling for both entertainment and difficulty today.

    15d – Pommers, according to Jamie Oliver aubergines can be pickled – so maybe there is only one anagram indicator – “Drunken”. But what is the significance of the exclamation mark? Pukka!

    • pommers
      Posted May 16, 2012 at 4:19 pm | Permalink

      See reply to Jaydubs above. Perhaps that might explain the exclamation mark.

  25. Addicted
    Posted May 16, 2012 at 5:48 pm | Permalink

    Been absent for a while – house guest last week who, fortunately, detected a bug in my computer so machine has since been in hospital but patient returned safe and healthy to-day!
    Had a struggle with this one – particularly SW corner too (glad to read Pommers found that tricky too!) and needed hints to finish so many thanks for those Pommers and Jay for the puzzle.

    • pommers
      Posted May 16, 2012 at 8:00 pm | Permalink

      Hi Addicted and welcome back.

      Strange about the SW corner! Several people have agreed it was the tricky bit but once you know the answers they’re all pretty clear and very fair clues so what’s the problem?
      What held me up was wasting a lot of time with SPIES for agents when I hadn’t twigged that the TO was part of the anagram fodder. Note to self – read clues more carefully . How stupid was that? What’s the definiton? ‘TO a well connected person’? Don’t think so, so what’s TO bringing to the party, apart from being part of the fodder?
      Sometimes you can’t see the wood for the trees :grin: Makes crosswords interesting :lol:

  26. Little Dave
    Posted May 16, 2012 at 8:59 pm | Permalink

    Great puzzle favourite being 28a. 1a also nice. Liked it!

  27. Volepod
    Posted May 16, 2012 at 10:47 pm | Permalink

    Re 24 d Rhino is the plural form of rhinoceros sol the clue should be plural too

    • gazza
      Posted May 16, 2012 at 11:25 pm | Permalink

      Hi Volepod – welcome to the blog.
      I’m not sure where you got that information from but it’s not supported by Chambers.

  28. Heno
    Posted May 17, 2012 at 9:13 am | Permalink

    Thanks to Jay & Pommers for the review & hints. Agreed that it was a good puzzle, I started with 5a & finished with 27a, the SW corner the last few to go in. Needed the hints for 28a, had Low down at one stage. Had to check the wordplay for 16d. Late blogging due to the Squash Tournament. Weather fantastic yesterday in Central London, actually managed to do some housepainting!

  29. Heno
    Posted May 17, 2012 at 9:25 am | Permalink

    Favourite was 1a.

  30. Small Dave
    Posted May 17, 2012 at 10:11 am | Permalink

    1a was my last entry, yet it’s so simple once the penny drops. In common with Pommers I’d only heard of 20a referred to as a mat. However, googled it and apparently both terms are used. I’ll have to start doing the crossword in the morning instead of in bed at night, because by the time I post a comment everyone else has moved on.

  31. Collywobbles
    Posted May 17, 2012 at 11:21 am | Permalink

    Good puzzle but one or two clues I found a bit abstruse