DT 26874

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26874

Hints and tips by Digby

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment **

A glance at the Quickie, and the regal reference in 3d, confirms that we have a Ray T to tackle today. Maybe I was expecting a bit more by way of penny-drop and tee-hee moments, but I found it more workmanlike and stolid that some of Ray T’s recent offerings.

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           Shock vote for right then opposition leader winning (11)
{ELECTROCUTE} This verb involving a fatal dose of current is built up a synonym for vote (5), R(ight), O(pposition) and how someone with a winning smile might be termed

10a         Worked up seeing classy pin-up embracing pole (5)
{UPSET} Start with the standard abbreviation for classy, then insert (embracing) S (pole) in a kind of pin-up (as in Playboy)

11a         Group deny act is rubbish (9)
{SYNDICATE} Today’s first anagram (rubbish) of the middle 3 words derives a group – often connected with horse-racing

12a         Sailor posted around globe for soaking (9)
{ABSORBENT} Start with the short version of Able Seaman, then insert (around) a type of sphere in a word meaning posted – as in a letter. The answer is something that soaks up liquid, but I’m not sure that the clue quite works for me?

13a         Water finally put on cheese plant (5)
{BRIER} Take a variety of French cheese and add (wate)R to get a variety  heath-plant

14a         One’s prosecuted and released (6)
{ISSUED} I’S + prosecuted derives a verb meaning sent out, or published

16a         Assume name nearly everyone cursed (8)
{INFERNAL} A synonym for assume (5) followed by N(ame) and nearly AL(l) results in an adjective meaning hellish

18a         Depressed after fellow came out (8)
{FLOWERED} After F(ellow) add a word meaning  moved down, and we find what blossoms did in the Spring

20a         The French try to get fashionable (6)
{LATEST} “The” (French) + try, as in trial

23a         Individual doing little except relax initially (5)
{IDLER} No doubt my peers will correct me, but I think this is a semi all-in-one clue. The initial letters of the first 5 words create the answer

24a         Painter pretentiously about to clarify (9)
{INTERPRET} The answer is hidden in the first 2 words

26a         Terribly eager to finish race? (9)
{GENOCIDAL} A cryptic definition of a word that might describe Idi Amin, Slobodan Milosevic and others of that ilk

27a         Eaten by Mexican, a choice dish (5)
{NACHO} This Mexican dish is hidden (eaten) in the clue

28a         About time to embrace cocky blokes for stimulation (11)
{REFRESHMENT} Start with the abbreviation for about, and end with T(ime). Then insert (embrace) how you might describe cocky blokes (5,3) to derive this restorative, post-exertion drink


2d           Goes over catalogues (5)
{LISTS} Double definition – what a ship does when turning and, for example, shopping …..

3d           Caught old band covering Queen set (7)
{COTERIE} Build this set (which might attend the Queen) from C(aught) O(ld) and a verb meaning to band-together, around (covering) Her cypher

4d           Shoots unedited film scenes (6)
{RUSHES} Another double definition, with a synonym for shoots, as in hurries, and the first, un-edited prints of a movie scene

5d           Regular criminals beat time (8)
{CONSTANT} The standard abbreviation for convicts is followed by a synonym for beat (as in a hide) and T(ime)

6d           Provider of digital protection? (7)
{THIMBLE} Cryptic definition of something a sewer might use

7d           Political extremists enact ruling if wrong (7,6)
{LUNATIC FRINGE} This element, espousing extreme or fanatical views, is an anagram (wrong) of the previous 3 words

8d           Artist on ball capturing single light (8)
{RADIANCE} Take our standard artist and then a synonym for ball (as in a social gathering) around (capturing) I to produce this luminescence

9d           Garage to stop Reliant rattling… (6,7)
{PETROL STATION} A rather nice anagram (rattling) of the middle 3 words produces somewhere one takes the car. Recently doing so cost me more than my first set of wheels. Visions of the Trotter’s 3-wheeler?

15d         …start to service engine cover with frown (8)
{SCOWLING} Start to S(ervice) and the flap that covers the engine (of old cars and aircraft) derive a noun, or adjective, involving wrinkling ones brows

17d       Get fiercer puzzle (8) (on line)

17d      Get more demented say, seeing puzzle (8) (newspaper version)

{BEWILDER} Descriptive of “get fiercer” = puzzle, or perplex

19d         Endless tears over a red inflammation (7)
{EARACHE} Remove the ends of tEARs followed by (over) A  and the SOP clueing for a communist, produce this pain in the head

21d         Briefly America’s ally inside NATO, perhaps (7)
{ACRONYM} The shortened version of AMerica, with a synonym for ally inside, derives a word of which NATO, BOGOF, TLA are examples (perhaps)

22d         Stands high on board ship (6)
{STALLS} Inside (on board) the standard ship, place a word meaning lofty to derive somewhere to keep, for example, horses

25d         Scouting about company with new leader (5)
{RECON} “About” abbreviation + COmpany + N(ew) = a term describing the military term for a scouting mission

A couple of clues that I really liked, but several that didn’t inspire me. No complaints, however – still way beyond anything to which I might aspire!

The Quick crossword pun: {THUG} + {AIMS} + {SUP} = {The Game’s Up}


  1. Jezza
    Posted May 24, 2012 at 10:14 am | Permalink

    This one took me fractionally longer than normal for a RayT puzzle. I spent a while trying to parse 10a, and I was undecided as to whether it was P(ole) inside SET (pin-up), but perhaps yours works better!

    Thanks to RayT and to Digby.

    • Digby
      Posted May 24, 2012 at 10:18 am | Permalink

      Morning Jezza – always open to alternative thoughts.
      Let’s see what our friends “out there” think.

      • spindrift
        Posted May 24, 2012 at 10:42 am | Permalink

        I think your version works better plus it gives a chance to insert one of those gratuitous pictures again.

        Thanks Digby & Ray T

      • Heno
        Posted May 24, 2012 at 5:23 pm | Permalink

        I prefer Digby’s version.

  2. Franny
    Posted May 24, 2012 at 10:17 am | Permalink

    Sorry, I’m not on the wavelength at all today. Could only do about six and even the hints weren’t much help. How on earth do you get ‘genocidal’ from 26a? Anyway, thanks to Ray T) and I hope I’m more with you next time) and to Digby. Now back to babysitting. :-(

    • Digby
      Posted May 24, 2012 at 10:40 am | Permalink

      Hi Franny, If you pop back from your baby-sitting duties I’ll be happy to offer further help with any clues or hints that are still troubling you.
      As to 26a, all I can add is that the clue cryptically describes people, like Idi Amin, who are hell-bent on the deliberate and systematic destruction, in whole or in part, of an ethnic, racial, religious, or national group.

    • Posted May 24, 2012 at 11:03 am | Permalink

      I quite like this clue. It’s one of those you see or not not as the case may be

      Look at it as someone that is terrible and wants (is eager) to exterminate (finish) a race (of people)

    • Kath
      Posted May 24, 2012 at 4:09 pm | Permalink

      I thought this was pretty difficult too, Franny. Enjoy the baby sitting – am really envious – neither of our daughters has babes yet – we’re just about the only ones amongst all our friends who aren’t grand parents! :sad:

  3. DavidR
    Posted May 24, 2012 at 10:29 am | Permalink

    I didn’t really enjoy this. Found it difficult and started to lose interest after 12a (the definition doesn’t work for me), so resorted to the hints. I will now go and enjoy the sunshine and stop being so grumpy. Thanks to setter and to Digby for the excellent blog.

    • Posted May 24, 2012 at 10:57 am | Permalink

      I agree. For soaking to = absorbent is a bit of a stretch but the clue is actually very well constructed.

      • DavidR
        Posted May 24, 2012 at 11:27 am | Permalink

        Absolutely, can’t fault the construction/surface.

  4. Posted May 24, 2012 at 10:53 am | Permalink

    Really enjoyed most of today’s offering. Thought it was going to be a ** difficulty until I came to 22d. Spent almost as long on this part than the rest put together. 26a went in fairly early on then I wanted stacks for 22d. Checked my Chambers and 26a had to end in ‘al’ not ‘ic’ and realised my mistake. Still wasn’t 100% sure I had this right though. Can’t argue much with ***/** ratings.Thanks to all.

  5. Prolixic
    Posted May 24, 2012 at 11:21 am | Permalink

    I thought this was trickier than usual but just as much fun. 4* enjoyment for 26a alone!

    Anyone who enjoys Notabilis Toughies will be in seventh heaven today :)

  6. Up The Creek
    Posted May 24, 2012 at 11:30 am | Permalink

    Sunshine, sunshade and RayT. What more could you want. Lovely puzzle as usual and I particularly enjoyed 17 and 28.

  7. Domus
    Posted May 24, 2012 at 11:47 am | Permalink

    Really tough but finished it without help; but always nice to know this blog is there in case of desperation.

  8. Patsyann
    Posted May 24, 2012 at 11:49 am | Permalink

    17d has a different clue in the paper edition – “Get more demented say, seeing puzzle” Why do they make these changes?

    After my usual solving time I had filled in just 7 answers. Never heard of 25d. There should have been an indication that 24a was a hidden word. I would give this 4 star for difficulty, but as Digby says – way beyond anything I could do!

    • Jezza
      Posted May 24, 2012 at 11:56 am | Permalink

      Hi Patsyann

      Re 24a, ‘about’ is the containment indicator.

  9. Kath
    Posted May 24, 2012 at 12:00 pm | Permalink

    I’ve found this difficult. I eventually managed to finish it but needed the hints to explain 15d – never heard of “cowling” except as something to do with monks and chimneys! I also spent a long time trying to make 25d “recce”, as I’ve never met “recon” before.
    Very enjoyable as Ray T puzzles always are for me. Favourites include 1, 13, 18 and 20a and 9, 17, 19 and 21d.
    With thanks to Ray T and Digby.

  10. Posted May 24, 2012 at 12:52 pm | Permalink

    Blue sky, verdant lush Cheshire countryside to enjoy with my black labrador , Charlie and a cracking crossword to come home to – it doesn’t get much better! Just the right blend of difficulty and misdirection – I’d give it **** for enjoyment.

  11. BigBoab
    Posted May 24, 2012 at 1:17 pm | Permalink

    I am with Bridge-nut here, I thoroughly enjoyed this crossword and would give it 3*/4*, thanks to RayT and to Digby.

  12. beaver
    Posted May 24, 2012 at 1:25 pm | Permalink

    Found it difficult today particularly sw corner so give it ****/**. thought 12a was a dodgy definition and like Kath never heard of recon-what is this’short ‘for? are, just thougrt of reconnaissance or reconnoitre maybe ,anyway it’s a nice day,thinking all done with,a pint beckons.

    • Digby
      Posted May 24, 2012 at 1:29 pm | Permalink

      Hi Beaver, From Wikipedia:
      Reconnaissance – often referred to as recce (British & Commonwealth) or recon (USA)

  13. pommers
    Posted May 24, 2012 at 1:34 pm | Permalink

    Hi Digby, have to say I agree with your introductory comments! This did seem to lack sparkle which is most unusual for a RayT puzzle. Hey ho, I suppose even a master can have an off day :smile:

    26a was about as near as it got to raising a smile. Had it been me today I would have given it 2**/2**.

    Thanks to RayT and to Digby, but where was the pet picture? :grin:

    P.S. Having done the Toughie I now know who is the current custodian of Vlad’s impaling boots – the ones with the sharpened tungsten spikes and depleted uranium studs!

    • Digby
      Posted May 24, 2012 at 1:46 pm | Permalink

      pommers – I thought that Gazza might like to add an illustration for 10a
      Equally, please feel free to provide an additional visual clue to 15d

      • pommers
        Posted May 24, 2012 at 3:40 pm | Permalink

        Sorry Digby, best I could find for 15d!

    • Jezza
      Posted May 24, 2012 at 1:50 pm | Permalink

      Hi pommers

      Glad it wasn’t just me who found the toughie hard. I finished it, but nearly threw the towel in at one point!

      • andy
        Posted May 24, 2012 at 1:56 pm | Permalink

        2 to go and I might just do that!

  14. pommers
    Posted May 24, 2012 at 1:44 pm | Permalink

    Hi again Digby

    Re 23a. Individual doing little except relax initially (5)

    Maybe I’m wrong but I think this is a full-blown &Lit rather than a semi. If you take out the fodder and then the indicator there’s nothing left. The definition is “Individual doing little except relax” which is also the fodder.

    That and 26a were my two favs today.

    • Digby
      Posted May 24, 2012 at 1:49 pm | Permalink

      I’ll take your word for it pommers.
      Categorizing clues is clearly not my forte – I’ll leave it to the expert cruciverbalists!

      • pommers
        Posted May 24, 2012 at 3:05 pm | Permalink

        Well, don’t count on me then :grin: It’s just that in the crossword guide on this blog an &lit is described as just that. If you take out the fodder and the indicator and there’s nowt left it’s an &Lit.

  15. nubian
    Posted May 24, 2012 at 1:56 pm | Permalink

    Another nice crossword today, must be the weather or something but I’m enjoying these the last few days.
    Thanks Digby & Ray T

  16. William Geddes
    Posted May 24, 2012 at 2:07 pm | Permalink

    Today was a poo crossword!

    • Kath
      Posted May 24, 2012 at 2:17 pm | Permalink

      I don’t think that your comment is constructive criticism!

      • William Geddes
        Posted May 24, 2012 at 3:21 pm | Permalink

        Kath – you have a point but sometimes hard-nosed ‘this is rubbish’ type critique achieves its own ends. And in its own way becomes constructive.

        • Wayne
          Posted May 24, 2012 at 10:09 pm | Permalink

          Hi WG, I think your initial comment was meant to say ‘poor’. I do agree with your comment that as a paying customer you/we are entitled to make an honest comment.. Nothing wrong with letting the Compiler know ones true feelings rather than hedge around it with platitudes. I’m in your court today, thought the offering was very poor indeed.

  17. William Geddes
    Posted May 24, 2012 at 2:32 pm | Permalink

    I had this down as 4* for difficulty and half a star for enjoyment. Really irritated by some clues but in particular 10a. I could come up with a better clue for UPSET if I was an 18 year old with a hangover from a night out on Olde Englande fortified wine or Armadillo sherry. Ray T – get a grip man.

  18. St George
    Posted May 24, 2012 at 3:05 pm | Permalink

    I found this particulrly difficult (****/*****), I don’t seem to be on the same wavelength as Ray T, so not very enjoyable for me (**). Whilst I don’t think that the description ‘poo’ is fitting 10A is awful. Thanks Pommers, and one of these days Ray T……….

    • pommers
      Posted May 24, 2012 at 3:06 pm | Permalink

      Hi St George

      It was Digby today – I was yesterday.

    • Posted May 24, 2012 at 5:18 pm | Permalink

      I think it was meant to say “poor”, but if i edit it your comment will look a bit strange!

      • Kath
        Posted May 24, 2012 at 10:36 pm | Permalink

        You mean that you wish I had kept my big trap shut, again! :smile: Or maybe I do!!

  19. William Geddes
    Posted May 24, 2012 at 3:33 pm | Permalink

    Let me be more frank. I pay for this. If I don’t like it I will say so. I am a customer.

    • Digby
      Posted May 24, 2012 at 4:00 pm | Permalink

      It’s fair to say that Big Dave welcomes – even encourages – all kinds of comments, including those of a provocative nature.
      As long as they don’t stray into the realms of personal abuse – which your’s doesn’t – and provided that any counter-argument is afforded similar respect, then the more the merrier, I say.

      • William Geddes
        Posted May 24, 2012 at 5:42 pm | Permalink

        I’m taking that as approval – or is my nead as thick as my skin?

  20. Brian
    Posted May 24, 2012 at 4:03 pm | Permalink

    Oh dear normality has returned, managed one answer!,

  21. Grumpy Andrew
    Posted May 24, 2012 at 4:36 pm | Permalink

    William Geddes and Brian, me too. Made very little headway and didn’t get much fun from those clues that I did solve.

  22. phercott
    Posted May 24, 2012 at 4:56 pm | Permalink

    in 10a, I didn’t think much of having two ups in the clue (worked up, pin-up) and one in the solution (Upset)

  23. Hrothgar
    Posted May 24, 2012 at 5:06 pm | Permalink

    Bit of a slog.
    Beyond my normal time.
    Always enjoy Ray T’s.
    Got there unaided, last in 15d.
    Convinced it was something-line.
    Silly me.
    Thanks Ray T and Digby.

  24. Heno
    Posted May 24, 2012 at 5:20 pm | Permalink

    Thanks to Ray T & to Digby for the review and hints. Enjoyed this one, but found it very difficult. Was 10 short at one point, but a bit of preservation brought me to 3 short. Needed hints for 26a, 17& 21d. Favourites were 1a & 15d. Clear blue sky in Central London, cor what a scorcher :-)

  25. Persona Non Grata
    Posted May 24, 2012 at 5:33 pm | Permalink

    More difficult that usual and also less naughtiness from RayT today – not a Double Entendre in sight.

    But, there are some great clues in there – 26a & 9d – to name but two.

    Thanks to RayT and (who is it today? Ah! Yes!) Digby!

  26. Collywobbles
    Posted May 24, 2012 at 6:00 pm | Permalink

    I always seem to struggle with Ray T puzzles. I find them difficult to break in to. I have been puzzling over this one most of the day, on and off, and I am now referring to the hints heavily. For which, Digby, thanks very much.

  27. Derek
    Posted May 24, 2012 at 6:02 pm | Permalink

    A quick solve! Several anagrams.
    Faves : 1a, 18a, 26a, 28a, 4d, 15d, 19d & 21d.

  28. RayT
    Posted May 24, 2012 at 6:05 pm | Permalink

    Many thanks to Digby for the review, and to everybody who commented. I’m happy that most of you enjoyed it…


    • Digby
      Posted May 24, 2012 at 9:53 pm | Permalink

      Hi Ray – thanks for dropping in.
      Several generalisations come to mind, primarily one to do with pleasing / people / most / time……

      • RayT
        Posted May 24, 2012 at 10:24 pm | Permalink


  29. Bemused
    Posted May 24, 2012 at 7:38 pm | Permalink

    Bit of a west-side story today, as in I got stuck over there until I worked out the anagram for 7d, then the rest fell into place. 19d made me chuckle, and I thought 26a was clever – misled me for quite a while until I realised the whole clue was a definition. And I agree re 12a – the definition is a little loose.
    Quite enjoyable nonetheless.

  30. Bemused
    Posted May 24, 2012 at 11:46 pm | Permalink

    Bit of a west-side story for me today: found the majority fairly straightforward but got stuck on that side until I cracked the anagram in 7d. 19d gave me a chuckle, and I thought 26a was a great clue: it misled me for a while until I realised the whole of it was the definition. I agree that the definition for 12a was a bit of a stretch, though the subsidiary part was ok.