DT 26879 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 26879

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26879

Hints and tips by pommers

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ****

Hola from the Vega Baja.  The usual excellent stuff to brighten up an already bright and sunny Wednesday morning! Maybe I’m just in a good mood today but I really enjoyed this puzzle even though it didn’t last long. As is often the case with a Jay puzzle it’s probably better to start with the downs – on first pass through I got 5 of the acrosses but then 12 of the downs and for once the two long anagrams fell quickly!

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           A bit of life needed in new nationalist art exhibit (12)
{INSTALLATION} – This is a term for a genre of three dimensional modern art and it’s an anagram (new) of NATIONALIST with an L (bit of Life) inserted. First in which is amazing as it’s a long anagram!

9a           Misguided, and not wanting to smile (3-4)
{OFF BEAM} – A colloquial phrase meaning misguided or inaccurate sounds as though you might be against a smile. It also sounds as though you’ve taken a dislike to one of my favourite Toughie setters!

10a         Economic aid rackets having backing of the heart (7)
{CARDIAC} – A word meaning to do with the heart is hidden backwards (having backing) in economic aid rackets.

11a         Flyer’s dressed as bride! (7)
{SEABIRD} – This flyer is an anagram (dressed) of AS BRIDE.

12a         Smart support worker after start of engagement (7)
{ELEGANT} – After an E (start of Engagement) put a support and then one of the usual workers to get a word meaning smart, as in well dressed perhaps.

13a         Born by doctors’ first and last requirements (5)
{NEEDS} – These requirements are formed from a word of French origin for born followed by DS (DoctorS’ first and last).

14a         Ground-breaking result of election? (9)
{LANDSLIDE} – Double definition. A term meaning that the ground has literally broken is also a possible result of an election.

16a         Novel act to hurt an assassin (3-6)
{CUT THROAT} – An assassin is an anagram (novel) of ACT TO HURT.

19a         Greeting accepted by oddly shabby European in India (5)
{SAHIB} – An informal way of saying hello placed inside the alternate letters (oddly) of shabby gives a European in India during the time of British rule.

21a         Fought back, and sat on work (7)
{OPPOSED} – A word meaning fought back or resisted is the usual abbreviation for a musical work followed by a word meaning sat, for an artist perhaps.

23a         Drink one before church and fix date (4,3)
{ICED TEA} – To get this refreshing drink you need to start with I (one), then the abbreviation for the Church of England, follow with an anagram (fix) of DATE and then split the result (4,3).  Can’t say I like the stuff much but I’ve been told it’s nice with a drop of scotch!

24a         Unpleasant task surrounding a line in hymn (7)
{CHORALE} – A slow and stately hymn is an unpleasant or onerous task placed around A (from the clue) and L(ine).

25a         Promoting unrest, dismissing leader’s version (7)
{EDITION} – This is a version of a book or newspaper and it’s a word meaning promotiing unrest or revolution without its first letter (dismissing leader).

26a         Occasional purpose capturing so-called white ant with no tail (12)
{INTERMITTENT} – Take a word for a purpose or aim (6) and insert (capturing) an insect known as a  white ant without its last letter (with no tail) and you get a word for occasional or off-and-on.


1d           Exaggerate being delayed supporting popular head of finance (7)
{INFLATE} – To get a word for exaggerate or blow up you need a word for delayed or overdue and place it after (supporting in a down clue) the usual word for popular and an F (head of Finance).

2d           Taxonomic group that’s found in glasses (7)
{SPECIES} – A more common term for a taxonomic group is the usual abbreviation for ‘that is’ placed in the sort of glasses which I need to be able to see properly. Actually I have contact lenses instead of glasses but I’m sure you get the picture.

3d           Battleships docked with sick old animal (9)
{ARMADILLO} – This is a South American animal with an armoured body. Start with a load of battleships, as Philip II of Spain sent against England in 1588, and remove the last letter (docked) and follow with a word for sick and then O(ld).

4d           Enticement including cold cash (5)
{LUCRE} – This word for money is an enticement or bait with C(old) inserted (including).

5d           Sailor understands objectives (7)
{TARGETS} – Definition is objectives. Split the answer (3,4) and you get a phrase which means the sailor understands or catches on.

6d           Folding paper in the morning, covered by source, mainly (7)
{ORIGAMI} – The Japanese art of paper folding is formed by inserting (covered by) the usual term for morning into a word for source without its last letter (mainly).

7d           Relative invested in hotplates of the best quality — that or nothing (7,6)
{HOBSONS CHOICE} – This is an option that doesn’t exist, it’s that or nothing. Start with some hotplates, on a cooker perhaps, and insert (invested in) a male relative to get the first word. The second word is a synonym of best quality.

8d           Unfortunately, a ban restricts people unable to concentrate (13)
{SCATTERBRAINS} – These people who can’t concentrate are an anagram (unfortunately) of A BAN RESTRICTS.

15d         Head, accepting haircut, went inside for food (9)
{NUTRIMENT} – This is a term for food or nourishment. Take a slang term for your head and insert (accepting) a haircut and EN (wENt inside).

17d         Heartless Tory pariah getting nothing working in storm (7)
{TYPHOON} – Heartless here means remove the central letters. So, T(or)Y P(aria)H followed by O (nothing) and a word for working gives a violent storm or hurricane.

18d         Prisoner as he got shot? (7)
{HOSTAGE} – This prisoner who might be held for ransom is an anagram (shot) of AS HE GOT.

19d         Set out to cause annoyance, lacking in creativity (7)
{STERILE} – A word for lacking creativity or unproductive, is an anagram (out) of SET followed by a word meaning to annoy.

20d         Dispatch note? (3,4)
{HIT LIST} – Cryptic definition. This is a sort of note you might give to the assassin in 16a to tell him exactly which people you want dispatched.

22d         Soldiers trapped by mother’s ambition (5)
{DREAM} – Martin Luther King famously said he had this sort of ambition. It’s some of the usual soldiers inserted (trapped by) into a horse’s mother.

I liked all the ones in blue but favourites are 10a and 20d.

The Quick crossword pun: {Juno} + {wart} + {Amin} = {d’you know what I mean}

44 comments on “DT 26879

  1. Lovely puzzle today. Nothing contentious I would have said middle of the road for difficulty, so ** / *** and **** for enjoyment.

    Particularly enjoyed 15d and 22d.

    I know some people always start with 1a and work through all the clues before going back and some people start with the down clues. I tend to pick a clue at random in the middle of one of the lists and when I put an answer in I work round that answer. First in was 16a (for no logical reason) that lead me to 3d and so on. Interested to know how anyone else starts.

    Last in 25a also a nice clue. Regards to all.

    1. Morning Nigel

      I always start at 1a and read through all the accross clues and then the downs. It makes sure I don’t miss one and gets the “gimmes” in quickly. I then go to the part of the grid where I have the most checkers in place.

      1. Very methodical. Perhaps I’m a bit odd!

        Your way probably makes for a quicker time but I never rush. If I stop enjoying it I try not to trudge through, better to do something else then come back. No problems today though it all seemed to flow in nicely.

        1. I only work that way on back page puzzles. For Toughies I go through in order until I get one and then work around that.

    2. I tend to adopt the random approach like you do, starting wherever my eyes fall on the grid. I try and avoid working systematically through the clues, only because it adds to mental pressure if I cannot solve 1a, or 2a, or 3a at first glance.

      1. I don’t do much thinking on first pass. It’s just a very quick skim through to see what jumps out at me. Like 1a today. Read the clue, thought “anagram” and was about to move on when the answer occurred to me – check it fits the fodder and hey presto!

        1. I am a read the scrosses and then the downs sort of solver. Always have been and always will be even if like today it doesn’t help much!

    3. I’m the same as CS – just read through all the across clues and then all the downs and put in only the ones that jump out at me instantly – then the rest (of which there are usually quite a few!) are done (or not, as the case may be) completely at random.

    4. Occasionally, (mainly on RayT days) I will just read the clues looking at the surface readings – hopefully finding some Laughs, Jokes & Double-entendres.

      Normally, I just start from 1a and as soon I solve the first one I work around that! (Doesn’t every one?)

      I believe that Mary starts with the last down clue presuming that the setter has got a bit tired by then? :grin:

    5. Hi Nigel, I start at the top of the Acrosses and if I don’t get one I go to the start of the downs, and if I don’t get one I go back to the Acrosses, ( next one below) & so on, but if I get an answer I abandon the system, then go out with the checkers.

  2. Morning pommers,

    I agree with your assessment of 2*/4*. Enjoyable and gentle fun!
    I think you have a little typo in your hint to 26a – the synonym for purpose is 6 letters.

    Thanks to Jay, and to pommers.

    1. Morning and thanks Jezza – typo now sorted. Doesn’t matter how many times you proof read your own stuff there’s always something gets through :grin:

      1. I would imagine that with the amount of time and effort you all put into these reviews, it is almost inevitable something minor will slip through the net :)

  3. Like Pommers, I always do a quick read through, across and then down, to fill in the easy ones and provide some starting points for all the others. I’d never previously heard of the art genre in 1A – but we live and learn. Generally found this one not too difficult, but tackled it earlier than usual today – perhaps before the events of the day made my brain too 15D. I always try to complete the crossword before looking at this blog, rather than using the hints to help solve clues I’m stuck on, but I do find the hints invaluable for explaining what I should have seen in some of the clues, despite having filled in the correct answers. The pain of those “now I understand …. ” moments can be exquisite. Keep up the good work.

  4. Slightly trickier Jay this morning but I did enjoy myself. Thanks to Jay and Pommers too.

    I know I am not supposed to comment about the Toughie here but am off in a minute to catch a train to London for the S&B (I will admit that I am going to do a little bit of retail therapy too!) It is Tough but has some smiles along the way, including 1a.

    ‘See’ you all tomorrow.

  5. Good fun crossword, thanks Jay. I too tend to start with 1a and then follow all the across clues before attacking the downs. This is normally with my morning cup of coffee and then try to fill in the blanks at lunch. 19a was a new word for me but was guessable with the extra letters.

  6. Good fun crossword frm Jay as always, thanks to him and to pommers for the review.

  7. A good crossword, as always on Wednesdays. I found this a bit trickier than usual but am a bit 8d at the moment as we have loads of people here for the weekend, and about 40 for a barbecue on Sunday evening so trying to do about a million things at once.
    I wasn’t helped by being very slow to get the four long answers round the outside – plus I wanted, for no good reason, to make 8d “featherbrains” and having thought of that couldn’t think of anything else – dim!! I got there in the end without needing the hints.
    My favourites include 9, 10 and 19a and 7, 19 and 20d.
    Thanks to Jay and pommers – what a horrible picture of termites!! We have a plague of maybugs at the moment and don’t care for them much either!

  8. On the whole a good run out today, just stymied by 24a, thought chorale was a group of singers, yet another of the seemingly interminable religeous clues. Did like 25a and 3d.

  9. Sorry to say I’m a dissenting voice on this one.

    I had to (first time for ages) highlight the answer to 9A as I had this down as probably OFF FORM

    I’ve never heard of the expression that the answer proved to be.

    I also thought 20D was ho hum too.

    Too many 19D answers for me to do anything but award this a **/*

  10. Suited me fine today and i agee with **/****,nice variety of clues with nothing impossible.I tend to look at 1a first ,assuming ‘the right grid’ If nothing comes to mind ,then i switch to another corner and if successful try other interlinked clues-probably explains why i often complete a distinct ‘half’ first, either top or bottom, or right or left!.

  11. I thought it nicely fun and middling challenging, about right. Thanks Jay and pommers

  12. Couldn’t get to this till afternoon, solved in personal best time, so maybe I’m not a morning person.
    Really enjoyed the puzzle, thanks Jay.
    Thanks for review Pommers, hints not needed :)

  13. I’m in the ***/**** bracket today. Many excellent clues, to many in fact to pick a personal best. Very enjoyable so thanx to Compiler and thanx also to Pommers for his review. Spent some time wandering around the garden reciting the first three answers to the ‘Quickie’ before the penny dropped, excellent .

  14. Very good all-round challenge.
    TVM P & J
    The Quickie-pun was wonderfully awful, I thought!

  15. Nice challenge.
    Thanks Jay and Pommers.
    Perhaps, ‘Landslide’ needs a holiday.
    Been rather busy lately.

  16. Hello,

    I have just found this site after googling a whole question from the Daily Telegraphs cryptic crossword. I have always wondered how these puzzles were done and now i’m hoping that with a little help from this site I will be able to tackle them. Thank you for putting this site together. Liam, London

    1. Hi Liam – welcome to the blog. You sound just the sort of solver that the blog was set up to help, so I hope that you’ll be a regular visitor and commenter.

    2. Hi Liam, this site taught and continues to teach me on a daily basis, so much, keep posting and don’t be afraid to ask a question, plenty of people here will answer you and in a non patronising way.

    3. All I can do is echo what andy has already said – a totally BRILLIANT site! So much so that I will, yet again, take this opportunity to thank all the stars who make it so wonderful.
      :smile: to you all!

    4. Hi Liam – welcome from me too. It’s a post like your’s that makes the whole thing worthwhile. :smile:

    1. Hi Andy,

      I liked 7d as a clue but it was a bit of a bugger to hint without using the second word of the answer! My first attempt was ” a choice that doesn’t exist” and then I realized I’d have to do a rethink! The trials of a blogger, but it adds to the entertainment :grin:

    2. re 7d, easy to enter, could I parse as well as you a resounding NO, . Peterborough has just had the most torrential downpour, as I was walking the pooches, but at least the humidity has dropped. Say Hi to Pommette please

  17. Cracker today, though I couldn’t get cousin out of my mind for the relative in 7d, duh!

    Thanks to all

  18. Very quite on here today – was it something I said or have you all been to the Sloggers and Betters?

    Going to bed now as it’s getting on for midnight here and I need my beauty sleep more than most!

    BTW, won the quiz tonight – 2 weeks in a row :grin:

    1. Just got back from the S&B! Heno was there as well as CS, BD and Tilsit. A fun Jay puzzle wth a bit to chew over. I didn’t manage the Toughie (apart from a few) and ditto the Times today as was frightfully busy. Nina’s puzzle for the S&B at the ‘Town of Ramsgate’ in Wapping was a fun slog (until you got the theme) – more of which anon.
      THanks to Pommers for the review and Jay for the puzzle.

    2. I couldn’t go to S & B alas and alack . Thabo and the new recruits say hi, Presuming Mary is still away in her new motorhomethingy, Oooh, its nothing you said, but rest you need, in abundnce, awaits e-punch.

  19. Thanks to Jay and Pommers for the review and hints. Great picture of a paper dragon. Actually solved this at Sloggers and Betters, with a hint from Crypticsue to get the last one, which was 2d. Also met Giovanni who later told me I was taking a long time over it. Can’t argue with that :-) Nice to see Gnomethang, Big Dave his sister, and Tilsit, as well as some other Crossword luminaries. Great evening! Good puzzle, favourite was 9a.

  20. hi u all. I have been doing these crosswords for the past one year in Kenya in the Nation newspaper tho we get them about one month late. i can say me and my friend are doin just as good if not better judging by your comments, considering the geographical and socio-historical differences

    1. Hi ranking – welcome to the blog. We do get comments from other people in Kenya from time to time. I look forward to more comments from you.

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