DT 26868

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26868

Hints and tips by Big Dave

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ***

A pleasant but not very taxing puzzle today.

I’ve made a few changes to the site in order to try and speed up the page load time – all statistical widgets can be found on the Statistics page and other widgets have been selected to only occur on certain pages. There’s also an events widget that links to up and coming events like the Sloggers & Betters meeting in London on 30th May.

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    Cite question before election with leader deposed (5)
{QUOTE} – this verb meaning to cite is derived from QU(estion) followed by an election without the initial V (with leader deposed)

4a    Loathsome quality in lecturer detained by eccentric genius and son (8)
{UGLINESS} – this loathsome quality is constructed by putting a L(ecturer) inside (detained by) an anagram (eccentric) of GENIUS and S(on)

10a    Friendly fellow found in a story (7)
{AFFABLE} – to get this adjective meaning friendly put F(ellow) inside the A from the clue and a story

11a    Foolish mistake made in road to Tyneside? (7)
{ASININE} – an adjective meaning foolish is derived by putting a deadly mistake inside the designation for a major trunk road and the area where Tyneside can be found

12a    Bank not imposing a charge first to last (4)
{REEF} – to get this bank or ridge start with a word meaning not imposing a charge and move the first letter to the last

13a    Sanction in a European country church disowned (5)
{AGREE} – to get this verb meaning to sanction start with the A from the clue and add a European country from which the Church of England has been dropped (disowned)

14a    Pass around ball for fan (4)
{COOL} – put a mountain pass around the letter shaped like a ball to get a verb meaning to fan

17a    Animal that none moved — source of pride to a people? (8,6)
{NATIONAL ANTHEM} – an anagram (moved) of ANIMAL THAT NONE gives a tune that is a source of pride to a people

19a    Miscreant moved wrongly signs in text (8,6)
{INVERTED COMMAS} – an anagram (wrongly) of MISCREANT MOVED gives ‘signs’ used in text

22a    Attendant’s element in book (4)
{PAGE} – a double definition – an attendant and an element in a book

23a         Malicious bachelor exiting — creating a nasty sensation? (5)
{ITCHY} – start with an adjective meaning malicious or spiteful and drop (exiting) the initial B(achelor) to get a word meaning affected by a nasty sensation

24a         Correct woman missing hospital (4)
{EDIT} – this verb meaning to correct or amend is derived by dropping (missing) the final H(ospital) from a woman’s name

27a         Surprised expression shown by gentleman harbouring a criminal at sea (7)
{CORSAIR} – start with an exclamation indicating surprise and then add the title afforded to a gentleman around (harbouring) A to get a seaborne criminal

28a         Celebratory time in Florida, say, with figure getting about (7)
{FESTIVE} – this adjective meaning celebratory is derived from the time zone used in Florida inside (getting about) a cardinal number

29a         Settle around region in the Arab world? (4,4)
{NEAR EAST} – put a word meaning to settle around a region to get the area covering a lot of the Arab world

30a         Remove from roster a sentry (5)
{ERASE} – this verb meaning to remove is hidden inside the clue


1d           Artist with conservationists below feature of college is part of a circle (8)
{QUADRANT} – put the usual two-letter abbreviation of an artist and the two-letter abbreviation of the organisation that conserves old estates after a feature of a college to get this part of a circle.

2d           Unusual description of sick policeman? (7)
{OFFBEAT} – split this adjective meaning unusual as (3,4) and it could, at a pinch, describe a sick policeman

3d           Island hotel bankrupted? Not entirely (4)
{ELBA} – this island to which Napoleon was originally exiled is hidden inside (not entirely) the clue

5d           Serious measure requiring change in unpopular work period (9,5)
{GRAVEYARD SHIFT} – a charade of an adjective meaning serious, a measure of length and a change of direction gives this unpopular work period

6d           Sacred bird is in the same place first (4)
{IBIS} – this sacred bird which was worshipped by the ancient Egyptians is derived from the IS from the clue preceded by a two-letter abbreviation of the Latin for in the same place

7d           Model European with religious book (7)
{EPITOME} – this model or example comes from a charade of E(uropean), a two-letter adjective meaning religious and a large book

8d           In New York, fine snappily-dressed person (5)
{SWELL} – this adjective meaning fine in the USA is also a snappily dressed person

9d           Legislative official arrests magnate in trouble (8-2-4)
{SERGEANT-AT-ARMS} –  this official of a legislative assembly whose duty includes maintaining order and security is an anagram (in trouble) of ARRESTS MAGNATE

15d         A set having little weight in study (5)
{DOZEN} – this set of twelve is derived by putting the abbreviation of a small weight inside a study

16d         Chair is briefly fixed by hammer, say (5)
{STOOL} – this three-legged chair is derived from the abbreviated form of IS followed by, for example (say), a hammer

18d         Wear ties incorrectly in a kind of way (2,2,4)
{AS IT WERE} – an anagram (incorrectly) of WEAR TIES gives a phrase meaning in a kind of way

20d         Province associated with Spice Girl, say, and a country (7)
{NIGERIA} – a charade of a province of the UK, the first name of Ginger Spice and the A from the clue gives this African country

21d         Wine and nuts I consumed in time (7)
{MADEIRA} – to get this rich fortified white wine start with an adjective meaning nuts or crazy and follow it with I inside a period of time

22d         Type of muscle associated with a Northern nut (5)
{PECAN} – an abbreviation of a type of muscle in the chest is followed by the A from the clue and N(orthern) to get a type of nut

25d         Jogger’s first set of exercises includes a source of light relief? (4)
{JAPE} – the initial letter (first of Jogger and a set of Physical Exercises are placed around the A from the clue to get a source of light relief

26d         By the sound of it, section in church in cut-off location (4)
{ISLE} – what sounds like the side division of a church or similar building, generally separated off by pillars, is actually a location that is surrounded by water

Well, I found it easy to solve!

The Quick crossword pun: {Moss} + {key} + {tow} = {mosquito}



  1. mary
    Posted May 17, 2012 at 11:19 am | Permalink

    I’m finding this very taxing today Dave!!

    • mary
      Posted May 17, 2012 at 11:21 am | Permalink

      I was convinced 8d was Dandy, it’s obviously not!

      • Posted May 17, 2012 at 11:23 am | Permalink

        It’s a word that Americans use to mean fine.

        • mary
          Posted May 17, 2012 at 11:27 am | Permalink

          Thats why I thought it was dandy

          • mary
            Posted May 17, 2012 at 11:29 am | Permalink

            I must have 14a wrong!

            • mary
              Posted May 17, 2012 at 11:31 am | Permalink

              ok so Goby ‘go by’ was wrong got 8d and 14a now

              • mary
                Posted May 17, 2012 at 11:32 am | Permalink

                I think ‘dandy’ fits 8d don’t you?

                • Jezza
                  Posted May 17, 2012 at 11:36 am | Permalink

                  Hi Mary
                  I suppose ‘dandy’ fits both of the definitions, but none of the checking letters :)

                  • mary
                    Posted May 17, 2012 at 11:39 am | Permalink

                    Yes that’s why I got stuck on the three across ones jezza, I was convinced it had to be dandy!

                • Jackie
                  Posted May 17, 2012 at 11:38 am | Permalink

                  Hi Mary, I think 8d should have been ‘natty’ NY for New York, but I couldn’t justify the ‘att’!

                  • mary
                    Posted May 17, 2012 at 11:40 am | Permalink


                  • Kath
                    Posted May 17, 2012 at 11:53 am | Permalink

                    Me too, for ages!!

    • Posted May 17, 2012 at 11:22 am | Permalink

      Perservation is the key to success!

      • mary
        Posted May 17, 2012 at 11:26 am | Permalink

        Perservation isn’t helping me get the five I’m stuck on so far :-D

        • Kath
          Posted May 17, 2012 at 11:56 am | Permalink

          I had to perservate for a very long time – ended up with one that I really couldn’t do, mainly because, now that I’ve read the across hints, I had a down answer wrong!

          • Collywobbles
            Posted May 17, 2012 at 3:00 pm | Permalink

            I found many of the clues, or answers, a bit simplistic

  2. mary
    Posted May 17, 2012 at 11:38 am | Permalink

    Have to go out in a moment, so thanks for hints so far today Dave, not my favourite puzzle, I din’t like a lot of the wordplay and struggled through it rather than enjoyed it, however I did have two favourite clues 2d and 5d, still stuck on three in bottom SW corner again, did anyone else put ‘dandy’ at 8d, it completely threw me for 14a!!
    I have 10 minutes to work those three out, grrrr

  3. Wayne
    Posted May 17, 2012 at 11:38 am | Permalink

    Sorry, but disagree with your rating “not very taxing”. I found this hard work and was only able to get into it via the anagrams. 23a had me head scratching for ages. Not my favourite xword but will probably find myself in the minority.
    Thanx to Compiler and to BD for the blog.

    • mary
      Posted May 17, 2012 at 11:40 am | Permalink

      I’m with you Wayne

    • Brian
      Posted May 17, 2012 at 3:56 pm | Permalink

      With you all the way on that. Def not my favourite puzzle, very difficult.
      Thought 16d was the worst clue for a long time. No favourites indeed no pleasent clues at all for me today.

      • Domus
        Posted May 17, 2012 at 7:42 pm | Permalink

        Me too

  4. Jackie
    Posted May 17, 2012 at 11:41 am | Permalink

    Can’t say I agree with ‘not very taxing’ either. Most of it went in quite smoothly, I am still stuck on a few, but will struggle on for a while longer. SE corner holding me up, as well as being convinced that 8d should begin with N and end in Y!

  5. mary
    Posted May 17, 2012 at 11:44 am | Permalink

    Don’t know if its down to anything you’ve done Dave but my blog is working normally again :-D

    • Posted May 17, 2012 at 11:47 am | Permalink

      I’ve moved a lot of the sidebar widgets around – whether or not that is the explanation I have no idea, but IE is notorious for disliking things that other browsers can handle.

      • mary
        Posted May 17, 2012 at 11:50 am | Permalink


      • Brian
        Posted May 17, 2012 at 3:57 pm | Permalink

        Works very well on the iPad.

  6. Jezza
    Posted May 17, 2012 at 11:46 am | Permalink

    This one grew on me as I worked through it. No particular favourites, but there were a few constructs I liked.
    Thanks to setter (could it be Petitjean?), and to BD for the notes.

    The toughie today is gentle as toughies go, although a couple in the top right held me up for a while.

  7. mary
    Posted May 17, 2012 at 11:48 am | Permalink

    Thanks for those last few Dave, I can now enjoy lunch without thinking about them :-) I didn’t know time zone for Florida

    • Digby
      Posted May 17, 2012 at 3:15 pm | Permalink

      Hi Mary, E(astern) S(tandard) T(ime) covers most of the east coast of ths USA.
      Have you polished off the missing answers yet – I got held up by a few, but some serious perservation got there in the end!!

      • mary
        Posted May 17, 2012 at 3:50 pm | Permalink

        Hi Digby, yes managed to do them before I went out :-) , Perservating really does help doesn’t it!

  8. Colmce
    Posted May 17, 2012 at 11:55 am | Permalink

    Not taxing!!! Well it taxed me, Didn’t seem to flow at all, had to solve this in three stabs, punctuated with a bit of gardening.
    ( got to get the garden tidy or I’m not allowed to go sailing this Weekend!).
    8d, as others natty first in which did slow me down a bit,did like the big anagrams though, without them I’d have been totally sunk.

    Thanks BD for review, and to compiler who ensured the lawn got done.

  9. Kath
    Posted May 17, 2012 at 12:07 pm | Permalink

    I am with all of those who found this difficult – 2* for difficulty – you MUST be joking, BD! Pretty much 4* for me today!
    This has taken me ages and I ended up with 19a which I just couldn’t get – having read the hint I now realise that I’ve got 20d wrong – I had “Algeria” so second letter of 19a was an “A” which totally screwed it up. I’d convinced myself that it was some unknown (to me, anyway) printing term, probably in Latin! I also managed to convince myself that it was going to be a pangram – wrong AGAIN!
    All started off very well and then, having done about half, I just ground to a complete halt. Oh dear – not a good day for me.
    Favourite clue was 5d – even that wasn’t plain sailing as I thought to begin with that it was an anagram. With thanks (I think!) to the setter and to BD.

    • Wayne
      Posted May 17, 2012 at 1:30 pm | Permalink

      With you on 5d Kath, it really read like an anagram to me, not until I got 19a (an anagram) that I realised that I had been led astray, clever clueing.

      • mary
        Posted May 17, 2012 at 3:51 pm | Permalink

        Yes me too

  10. crypticsue
    Posted May 17, 2012 at 12:36 pm | Permalink

    Don’t worry Dave, I will be on your side- I found this one both gentle and enjoyable. Lots of nice clues and a very nice start to Thursday morning. Thanks to BD and the Mystery One too.

    The Toughie isn’t the hardest Toughie but it is great fun. Do have a go and see if you end up with as many dots by clues you like as I did.

  11. beaver
    Posted May 17, 2012 at 12:58 pm | Permalink

    About a ***/*** for me today.For some reason found the ‘top half easy and the’ bottom half’ hard.Had the solution to28a but ran through several none too convincing word plays to justify the answer involving f-ie-v(say= ie with the v(roman numeral) in to give F—ive around t for time =F–tive.ES=eastern state finally giving the answer. It did occur that the figure could be FIVE but some how never thought EST in five.-thanks Dave for the blog! Bit the same with 22a as had the attendant answer with the’ element’ silver( Ag) in PE-could’nt equate PE with ‘book’-again thanks Dave for the explanation.

  12. BigBoab
    Posted May 17, 2012 at 1:05 pm | Permalink

    Totally agree with Crypticsue and BD, untaxing but reasonablyenjoyable. Agree with Sue re todays toughie from Giovanni, great fun but definitely doable. Thanks to the setter and to BD for the blog.

  13. Patsyann
    Posted May 17, 2012 at 2:11 pm | Permalink

    Dave-23A you have given a 6 letter word for a 5 letter answer! The B needs dropping!

    Enjoyed this one but needed help on 2 clues.

  14. St George
    Posted May 17, 2012 at 2:28 pm | Permalink

    Four to five* for me I’m afraid. Really struggled but had very little sleep last night, my 10 month old daughter insisted I work the 5D :-) .

  15. pommers
    Posted May 17, 2012 at 2:39 pm | Permalink

    Well I completely agree with Big Dave’s comment of pleasant but not very taxing :grin:

    On first pass pommette and I got 10 of the acrosses and all but one of the downs. Then we just filled in the missing bits – didn’t take us long but was quite fun while it lasted.

    The only slight hold-up was the parsing of 28a where we had the answer but it took a while to see that ‘time’ was a time zone not just the T, D’oh!

    Many thanks to the setter and BD.

  16. Brian
    Posted May 17, 2012 at 4:00 pm | Permalink

    By the look of it, today’s puzzle is the experts vs the rest with the rest very much in the majority. Not my favourite at all.

    • Heno
      Posted May 17, 2012 at 5:59 pm | Permalink

      Hi Brian, I must say that the bottom half seemed much more difficult than the top.

    • Kath
      Posted May 17, 2012 at 10:35 pm | Permalink

      Brian – I very rarely agree with you but today I do! Definitely the experts versus the “also rans”! :smile:

  17. Heno
    Posted May 17, 2012 at 5:54 pm | Permalink

    Thanks to the setter and to Big Dave for the review & hints. Hooray ! My first unaided completion this week, which helped my enjoyment. Started with 1d, finished with 16d. favourite was 22d, made me laugh. had to check the wordplay for 21d,28a & 16d, “s” a shortened form of “is”, that’s a new one on me :-) Obvious really ! Did some more painting outside today, test match not rained off yet at Lords, amazing. Off to run the squash tournament again, roll on Finals night on Saturday week.

  18. Derek
    Posted May 17, 2012 at 6:27 pm | Permalink

    A pleasant solve today.
    Liked : 11a, 12a, 28a, 29a, 1d, 5d, 20d & 22d.

    Toughie this evening!

  19. Annidrum
    Posted May 17, 2012 at 7:15 pm | Permalink

    I’m in the “found it quite hard camp” today. Left it and got on better when I went back but messed up the SE because I had 21d wrong. I, too ,was held up thinking 5d was as anagram .

  20. CS
    Posted May 17, 2012 at 7:55 pm | Permalink

    Boringly obscure; e.g. – why should we deduce L from “lecturer” in 4a

    • Posted May 17, 2012 at 8:09 pm | Permalink

      In the same way that you deduce S(mall), L(ong), A(rea), etc. – because they are all abbreviations supported by Chambers.

    • Posted May 17, 2012 at 8:10 pm | Permalink

      It would help if you posted as a different alias to avoid being confused with Crypticsue, whose name is frequently abbreviated to CS,

  21. Posted May 17, 2012 at 7:56 pm | Permalink

    I found this more difficult than the last two days. ***+ / ***. Must say 5d made me smile. Took me ages to get 19a for no obvious reason. 15d last in 12 = a set? Must remember that next time I buy a set of eggs from the local farmer! Otherwise very good. Regards to all.

  22. Arthur Dent
    Posted May 17, 2012 at 10:02 pm | Permalink

    I actually found this very difficult. I got about 3/4 unaided, but I fell into all the traps – showing my inexperience I guess…

    I too had natty for 8d. I also had Algeria for 20d and I would never have got 16d (“s” an abbreviation of “is”?) without help…

    I would never have thought of “reef” as a synonym for “bank” (though I accept that it is listed), and I could have sat there until the End of the Universe before I realised that “set” was dozen (or that “den” was “study” for that matter – bit American for me).

    Nevertheless I enjoyed what I managed to complete and am still enjoying my voyage of discovery.

    Thanks to the setter and to DB for the (essential) hints and explanations…

    • Kath
      Posted May 17, 2012 at 10:40 pm | Permalink

      Den is worth remembering for study – if it’s not den than it is quite often read! Hope that you carry on enjoying your voyage!

      • crypticsue
        Posted May 17, 2012 at 10:41 pm | Permalink

        Don’t forget ‘con’ too.

  23. Captain Duff
    Posted May 18, 2012 at 12:11 am | Permalink

    A tricky puzzle today for us. Came back to it again this evening and slowly got them all solved. Thank you BD for your explanation of 6d as we didn’t know where IB came from. ***/***. Thanks also to the compiler for a good test

  24. pommers
    Posted May 18, 2012 at 1:18 am | Permalink

    This has been an interesting day as the only people who seem to think this was an easy puzzle are BD, crypticsue and myself! Everyone else who’s posted seems to think it was tricky. Is it really a case of “experts vs the rest”? There was wordplay in this puzzle that is fairly obvious to those of experience but a bit tricky perhaps if you haven’t seen it before, that’s all I can say.

    I’m no great expert, as you will know if you’ve read my blogs, so don’t include meI I must have just been in the zone today.

    If it’s any use here’s an example of how it went:-

    10a Friendly fellow found in a story (7)
    Pommette read out the clue and as soon as she said the word “friendly” I thought AMIABLE. She got to the end of the clue and said it was 7 letters so it fits, great! Parse it – easy! Fellow = M(ale), insert into A (from the clue) followed by IABLE for story. Oops, that don’t work, but the “ABLE” bit has given it away – FABLE = story! Got it! Insert F for Fellow and you get AFFABLE. Done, move on! The whole process probably took 10 seconds at most..

    Don’t know if this is any use to anyone, or even of interest, but that’s how my “cryptic” brain works! Lets me down a lot of the time but not today :grin:

    • pommers
      Posted May 18, 2012 at 1:31 am | Permalink

      Sorry BigBoab, missed you off the “found it easy” list – does that mean you’re an expert? :grin:

  25. Weekend Wanda
    Posted May 18, 2012 at 7:34 am | Permalink

    I was in the middle with this one. Not easy but good word play. Possible to get the answers without the hints. One of those where I felt on the right wave length and flashes of realisation. Lived 5d. Not so fond of repetitive ‘A from the clue’. For that reason had 25d pencilled in. 2d first three letters obvious but had to resort to Chambers for the rest. Got 16d although did not see why at first. Shall now remember” ‘s ” as short for ” is “. But I would describe this as a seat rather than a chair. SW last in , in common with others. Thank for the satisfaction!

  26. Mr Bump
    Posted May 18, 2012 at 8:59 am | Permalink

    I thought this was very tough today, and not very enjoyable, though I did like 27a! Thanks for the hints which I confess I used a fair bit!

  27. Pookie
    Posted May 18, 2012 at 9:55 am | Permalink

    Solved all four so far this week and thought this was the hardest – liked the long anagrams – I seem to be able to spot these somehow, but also wated time looking for the anag in 5d.

    On a point of detail – why is P E a book in 22a?

    • Posted May 18, 2012 at 10:06 am | Permalink

      It isn’t. It’s a double definition, not wordplay for Ag inside PE. A page is an element in a book.

    • Arthur Dent
      Posted May 18, 2012 at 10:10 am | Permalink

      My take on 22a was (bearing in mind that I am firmly in the “NOT and expert” camp) that a “page” can be both an attendant (as in a “pageboy”) and “an element in a book” (ie a page is a bit of a book). I think the “element” as in periodic table was a misdirection…

      I could be wrong…

  28. weekend wanda
    Posted May 18, 2012 at 10:05 am | Permalink

    Pookie – it isn’t. Page = attendant and also is in a book. I am not sure why “element” is necessary unless to confuse as, like others, I thought ag (silver) was the element.

    • Jezza
      Posted May 18, 2012 at 10:09 am | Permalink

      Element in this context means a component of, or part of. In other words a page is part of (an element in) a book.

  29. Pookie
    Posted May 18, 2012 at 10:16 am | Permalink

    Thanks – being a chemical engineer a long time ago – I couldnt get Ag for silver out of my head