DT 26881 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 26881

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26881

Hints and tips by Big Dave

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment **

I’m still knackered for my excesses of the last couple of days, so in many ways I was grateful that I was able to complete this puzzle quickly while still half-asleep.  To be fair it fits the brief for a back-page puzzle but without causing me to get the blue highlighter out.  I started top left and worked steadily through, none of the clues requiring more than a second glance.  Many thanks to Gazza for standing in for me yesterday.

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           Beast with personality is going with the upwardly mobile classes (11)
{CATEGORISES} – a charade of a domestic animal, a three-letter word for personality and a verb meaning is going up gives a verb meaning classes or classifies – the use of “is going with the upwardly mobile” for “is going up” is a bit clunky

7a           Caretaker has rubbish taken back after start of year (7)
{JANITOR} – this caretaker is derived by reversing some rubbish and putting the date of the first day of the year before it

8a           Fellow permitted to make flower arrangement (7)
{CHAPLET} – a charade of a fellow and a verb meaning permitted gives this flower arrangement

10a         Altering peculiar shape (8)
{TRIANGLE} – an anagram (peculiar) of ALTERING gives a geometric shape

11a         Son to take science (not Phys.!) and English — that’s the plan (6)
{SCHEME} – start with S(on) and add the abbreviated form of another science (not Physics) and E(nglish) to get a plan

13a         Element in domestic appliance (4)
{IRON} – a jaded double definition

14a         Bad effects maybe following a school period? (10)
{AFTERMATHS} – these bad effects could be split (5,5) to indicate following a school period

16a         Be so strict about care of new mum etc. (10)
{OBSTETRICS} – an anagram ()about of BE SO STRICT gives the medical term for the care of a new mum during pregnancy and childbirth

18a         One may have gone to pot (4)
{USER} – this person is one who may be smoking cannabis (pot)

21a         Company with home front that’s weak (6)
{INFIRM} – put a four-letter word for a company or business after a word meaning home to get an adjective meaning weak or frail

22a         The bloke’s in a den — it’s tacky (8)
{ADHESIVE} – put a hyphenated word meaning the bloke’s (the bloke is) inside the A from the clue and a den or place of iniquity to get a word meaning something that is tacky or sticky

24a         There’s elegance about this writer’s (7)
{GRIMACE} – put a word meaning elegance around “this writer’s / this writer is (1’1) to get a contorted expression

25a         Fish-like creature to hit hunted victim (7)
{LAMPREY} – this primitive fish-like vertebrate comes from a charade of a verb meaning to hit and a hunted victim

26a         Restore mall that’s broken up — using this finally? (5-6)
{STEAM-ROLLER} – an anagram (that’s broken up) of RESTORE MALL gives something that might be used to repair a road


1d           Income changes over time — not much money here though (7)
{CENTIMO} – put an anagram (changes) of INCOME around (over) T(ime) to get a small amount of foreign money

2d           Model turns up hugging brown giants (6)
{TITANS} – reverse (turns up in a down clue) a verb meaning to model or pose around (hugging) a shade of brown to get these giants

3d           Exceptionally large car to carry Democrat who lived in White House? (6,4)
{GERALD FORD} – put an anagram (exceptionally) of LARGE and a make of car around (to carry) D(emocrat) to get a former occupant of the White House

4d           Food from recipe with something from freezer? (4)
{RICE} – this food is derived from R(ecipe) and something from the freezer

5d           Request from one wanting to be frisked? I’ve no explanation! (6,2)
{SEARCH ME} – this request from someone wanting to be frisked means I have no explanation

6d           Chemical that could be abused — therefore litres must have outlet (7)
{SOLVENT} – this chemical, when followed by abuse, is self-intoxication by inhaling the fumes given off by various adhesives – a word meaning therefore is followed by L(itres) and an outlet

7d           Dumping one boy in the course of travelling by air! (11)
{JETTISONING} – to get this verb meaning dumping cargo by throwing it overboard is created by putting I (one) and a male offspring inside (in the course of) a verb meaning travelling by air

9d           Business operation in which branches will be reduced (4,7)
{TREE SURGERY} – a cryptic definition of the business of trimming branches

12d         Police primarily lenient, about rogue’s minor offence (10)
{PECCADILLO} – put an anagram (sloppy) of POLICE L (primarily Lenient) around a rogue to get a minor offence

15d         Go down when caged by judicial decision (8)
{DECREASE} – a verb meaning to go down or reduce in size is created by putting a two-letter word for when inside (caged by) a judicial decision

17d         Sentimental folk in dirty homes, including old female (7)
{SOFTIES} – to get these sentimental folk put dirty homes for pigs around (including) O(ld) and F(emale)

19d         Just the sort of agitator to create a storm in a teacup? (7)
{STIRRER} – someone who creates agitation could also create a storm in a teacup

20d         Skin’s burning up — pain in Nice (6)
{DERMAL} – to get this adjective meaning of the skin (skin’s) reverse an adjective meaning burning, perhaps from too much exposure to the sun, and follow it with the French (in Nice) for a pain

23d         When there’s no holiday in winter months (4)
{TERM} – a part of the school year that is squeezed in between the holidays is hidden inside the rest of the clue

The earlier downs will be here soon.

I think BigBoab’s “workmanlike” is the best description of this puzzle.  Regular solvers will have spotted many of the constructs like JAN I ( and watch out for DEC I – it’s bound to come up some time) and the “triangle” anagram fairly quickly, but I suppose they look good if you have never seen them before.

Giovanni was at the recent S&B meeting.  Here’s a recent comment that he left on another blog (you know the one – it’s full of crossword snobs who like to talk about anagrinds and inserticators!), wearing his Pasquale hat:

“Thanks all for your feedback, as ever — and especially for staying on message (unlike another blog we won’t mention with triple-figure contributions).”

I thought he was referring to us, but apparently it was the Guardian Crossword site (see his comment below).  Perhaps you can still let him know that this is a friendly, happy place where you can discuss any subject you like, apart from answers to prize puzzles, as long as you don’t use bad language or are libellous.  And that’s why we have more page views (over 300,000 last month alone, and well over 6,000,000 since the blog began) and more comments (over 80,000 in total)

The Quick crossword pun: {backer} + {lariat} = {baccalaureate}

87 comments on “DT 26881

  1. I thought this was a very pleasant crossword and not too difficult – maybe the clues suited me?

    So 2* and 3* for me. I’d never had a difficulty rating lower then the hinter before this week and now it’s happened twice. Is this a breakthrough or just a fluke. No doubt ignominy will follow.

    Happy jubilee weekend to all.


      1. oh dear. well could you make it 3 or 4* anyway, just to make me feel better – lol

    1. Dave I agree with Wozza, ***/*** some enjoyable moments especially 1A and 10A but my favourite was 14A.

      PS: I hate all ‘yukspeak’ especially phrases like ‘on message’ – perhaps that can be incorporated into a clue very soon! (Some names’ egos agree with my ideas? (2,7)) Giovanni – no offence intended, wish I had the brains to be a compiler ;-)

  2. Well, I’m new to cryptics and this blog, Monday I did very well (day 1) today I am drowning in a sea of woe!

  3. Oh dear — misunderstanding! I was actually referring to another blog that dealt with Pasquale puzzles, not this one. Maybe BD ( sorry our mreeting was of necessity brief!) you could get this message into your introduction. On the whole, I’d call your lot pretty civilised ( and yes even friendly mostly!).

    1. Oh dear, I hope you weren’t offended when the DT put one of your fiendish ones on the back page a while back and several of us got a bit dispirited. I have learned so much from your puzzles (and your book). Thank you.

  4. So, we have the possibility of 1*, 2*, 3* and 4*. Well, I can’t finish 3* or 4* on my own and I’ve finished this one so it must be 1* or 2*.
    Your comments, BD, on friendliness and the abaility to discuss any subject is well taken. This is a super site for crossword solvers

    1. I should have given it **/*** as I finished it by myself as well! I need hints for 3* ones. Mind you my wife says I need hints for a lot of things…

  5. I really enjoyed this – I thought that bits of it were quite tricky but think this is probably just a reflection of how scrambled my brain is at the moment with lots to do!
    I was terribly slow with the four long answers and, when I did manage to do 7d, I put one “T” and two “S” – NOT helpful! :roll: I’ve never met 8a before.
    Favourites include 14, 16 and 26a and 1, 3, 5, 9 and 17d.
    With thanks (and happy birthday wishes for tomorrow) to Giovanni and “hope you recover soon” wishes to BD!
    Off to do more useful “stuff” now.

  6. PS I agree that this is a very friendly, helpful and chatty place to be. When I first started commenting a couple of years ago I asked if I could say something (can’t remember what) and BD’s response was “Anything is fine as long as it’s not bad language or libel” so perhaps we should add those two things to the “answers in prize crosswords” that can’t be mentioned!

    1. I too have found this site to be an inspiration. For example a year ago I could probably only do the Tuesday Toughie but now, with the aid of the tips I’ve picked up and the odd sneak look at some of the answers for the more esoteric clues, I do it every day.

      More power to BD’s right arm I say, especially if he’s in pole position at the bar.

      I am looking forward to the new prize puzzle tomorrow. Do you think it’s a replacement for the NTSPP or can we be greedy and ask for both?

      1. You can be greedy!

        There’s a super NTSPP by Gazza at noon, following the Prize Puzzle at 8:00am.

        No half measures here!

        1. Now I’ve got to break the news to Mrs S not to plan anything on a Saturday from now and that, Yes it is essential that I take my lap top on holiday!

          1. The new prize one is only monthly so for three Saturdays each month she can plan things for the morning only.

            1. What’s the “new prize crossword” on Saturday? Is it in addition to the normal “prize crossword”? If so, good news for the Paper Readers – BOGOF?

              1. Pop down to Specsavers Franco and then go back up to the top of the blog and click the home tab and then read the announcement right at the very top.

        2. Oh good! I think I’ve only done a couple of gazza’s puzzles but I do remember really loving them – lots of laughs I also seem to remember! :grin:

  7. Got off to a good start last night, then the Guinness kicked in and I slowed right down. After I had “stared” at it for a long time, last one in before I stopped for the evening was 14a, which I thought was one of the best clues in a long time. Still 8 left to solve, probably with some help from BD. So, thanks in advance.

  8. I’m with Kath on this. Today wasn’t a particularly good day for me with regard to this. I enjoyed it but had to work at it – which I suppose adds to the enjoyment!

  9. Don’t know what went wrong with us today! Solved this in probably our record time for a Giovanni puzzle – all except 15d. Stared at this for about 10 mins before the penny finally dropped. I knew it was AS (when) inserted into (caged by) a judicial decision with the definition being ‘go down’ but could I see it? Even wrote the AS in so I had _E_R_ASE and still it wouldn’t come – blind or stupid, you can take your pick :grin: One of the easier clues in the puzzle!

    Many thanks to Giovanni and Big Dave – hope you recover soon :grin:

    BTW, on a diffrent subject altogether we had a new satellite dish fitted today so we now have telly again – been without since about last November and pommette was getting very twitchy with Wimbledon and the Olympics coming up :lol:

  10. Very pleasant crossword from the Friday Maestro. Despite the difficulty rating above, I thought it was quite challenging but as always very fair. Even learnt a new word 8a, had to google it. Not one I had come across before. Thx to Giovanni for an excellent puzzle. Thx to to BD for the hints even tho for once I didn’t need them.

    1. You must be seeing something we can’t as, as far as my contact lens assisted eyesight can tell, there aren’t any hints up yet to thank him for :D

  11. Thanks to Giovanni. This was a ***/*** for me.

    Held up by 20d – I convinced myself that “….. – pain in Nice” had to be something to do with bread! Zut, alors!

  12. Can somebody please help me with 18a? I have *s*r.

    Would it be impudent to ask about the nature of the exertions, Dave?

  13. Really enjoyed this one today, initial scan produced 2 answers, but then I ground out a few more and it all fell into place, wavelength tuning. Particularly liked the big answers. 8a added to my everyday vocabulary

    Hints and tips not needed today.

    Thanks to setter for a firm but fair puzzle

  14. Yes, I go with everyone else today17d and 20d last in. Struggled a little this morning following a heady night in the pub with one of the Olympic Torches. Great evening though. Thanks to all.

  15. You can tell this is a friendly place as this is comment #39 and the hints haven’t even come up yet :smile:

    1. What I find interesting is that no-one has needed any help yet – Gnome’s Law worked for Nora.

      Just off out for an early walk as the sky here is starting to look as though rain might be with us fairly soon. Will be back to see if there are any hints for the back pager or even the blog for Vlad’s nice Toughie.

      1. Tilsit got home even later than me last night – and he had to go out to buy a new monitor this morning as his old one had expired.

        Expect the Toughie blog no earlier than 4:00pm

          1. Don’t ask me! Haven’t looked at the Toughie today but pommette’s going to the physioterrorist at 1700CEST so I may have a go while she’s out.

          2. 12d seems to be the most troublesome one. Any help gratefully appreciated. Although I see that BD has posted the across hints, and the downs are not far off (as of posting thios comment).

            1. its an anagram of police containing a 3 letter word for a bounder plus the initial letter (L)enient – primarily

              1. Thanks andy and pommers. I had got the anagram part (but wasn’t completely sure) and just did not get the popular synonym for rogue. Last night’s Guinness must still be in play. All complete now.

            2. Sorry Senf, thought you were referring to the Toughie blog expected at 1600.

              12d in this one is a minor offence. It’s an anagram (sloppy) of POLICE and L (primarily Lenient ) placed around one of the usual rogues or bounders.

  16. **/***,Some nice varied clues,struggled with the wordplay for12d till the proverbial penny dropped,read 26a wrong- mail instead of mall- which made the anagram a tad difficult i’m always doing this,might need new glasses! Anyway enjoyed it and am ready for the ‘festivities.Saw the queen in a red outfit (and phil) last week as her car passed as it came towards me, just the other side of a rounderbout exiting chester zoo- i did the royal wave at my car window but i don’t think she recognised me,i’ll stick to crosswords.

  17. I seem to be the only one today who found this difficult. I only managed to struggle through about half the clues before having to resort to the hints, but I did enjoy the ones I did and there were none that made me grind my teeth. So thanks to Giovanni and BD. :-)

    1. Franny – I didn’t find that I was on the right wavelength today either as I can usually get lots on first run through but today I only had two strraight off and then had to really think about some of the others. I agree it was enjoyable though.
      Thanks to G and BD

    2. I also struggled a bit, needed the hints again. Thanks BD. My favourite was 7d.
      By the way loved yesterday’s quickie juno what Amin! Didn’t have time yesterday to comment.

  18. I think that this is the best site for information and entertainment. Although I don’t always have time to comment (especially lately) I do enjoy reading the comments and chuckling to myself. The variety of people and subjects makes it very entertaining so thanks to all.

  19. 10a – Altering peculiar shape(8)

    Very surprised to see how many words can be made from an anagram of “Altering”. I missed the shape originally, but got there in the end.

      1. I can only get 4 Pommers – what am I missing?

    1. 10a is even trickier if you (for that read I) decided, to begin with, that “altering” was the anagram indicator – I’m not sure that very much can be made out of “peculiar”! Oh dear!!!

      1. Don’t worry Kath, you are not alone! Pommette and I went down that route for a couple of mins too :sad:

  20. I wonder how many others got the word Lamp – to hit and then spent a whole half hour trying to work out why REY was a hunted victim doh!

    1. There have been items on this fish on the TV twice at least this week so it ust wrote itself in.

  21. Nice puzzle, good workout, usual high standard. nuss said. Ta to B Dave and Gio

  22. Spent most of the afternoon watching the tennis from Paris – because I can :lol:

    Now to tackle Elgar – I may be some time :grin:

  23. Easiest one for me this week. Perhaps my brain was wilting in the 90 degree heat we had at the beginning of the week when we lost air conditioning due to “a small tree growing in the control panel strainer”. They even sent a picture to prove it. Anyway outside temp is 50 degrees today and my brain is functioning again. Didn’t need the hints but it is always nice to know they are there BD, and thanks to the setter for an enjoyable puzzle.

  24. Easiest this week for me too though I haven’t really been able to concentrate of them due to other “stuff”. But finished to-days without hints though thanks for them BD as read through just to make sure! Now I must have a look at yesterday’s because there were a couple I couldn’t get and, looking at the answers in to-day’s paper, I don’t understand them at all, so no wonder I couldn’t get them!

  25. Thanks to Giovanni and to Big Dave for the review and hints. I really enjoyed this one, very high quality. Started with 2d, finished with 22a. Favourites were 1, 7 , 14acrosses. Bit cloudy today in Central London, but ok for more house painting. Early start tomorrow got a train trip to York.

  26. Lovely puzzle, thanks Giovanni and BD.
    Got stuck for longer, much longer, than my usual time on 22a and the down one, dermal.
    Pennies dropped eventually.
    Why are the ones you can’t get straightaway always together?

      1. Correct! I always seem to end up with 2 two I can’t do and they always seem to intersect on what would be the most useful checking letter! Solving them has added a star to my difficulty rating on many a Wednesday puzzle.

  27. Many thanks to G and BD, liked 16a, did know 8a but from when or where have no recollection, and guilty as charged re 7d, i did look up the number of t and s

  28. Hi BD, you really do need to learn how to handle your alcohol and late nights. Your review today was a ‘might’ untidy to say the least. Hope you have a quiet, alcohol free, night tonight and your blog resumes some degree of normality tomorrow.
    Reference the xword, I found it ***/*** with a ‘toss up’ between 7d and 14a for the best clue(s). Thanx to the Compiler but not to the Reviewer for aforementioned reasons.

  29. Seems my first comment didn’t register for some reason. I suggested that BD should regulate his alcohol consumption/late nights as his Review today was somewhat ‘untidy’ to say the least. As for the xword I found it ***/*** with a ‘toss up’ between 7d and 14a as favourite clues. Not that impressed with the ‘Quickie’ pun. Look forward to tomorrow where hopefully we can expect “normal service to resume”

    1. Whoops, seems my first comment has appeared, thankfully the comments in both were similar if not word for word.

    2. Given the proportion of his time that BD devotes to this blog for the benefit of us all, I think to complain when he has a very rare day/night off to enjoy himself with fellow bloggers and very nice setters, more than a little unkind.

    3. Wayne, that comment is not really very fair.
      BD has regularly produced a daily review of the DT puzzle for a few years now. This site is a ” labour of love” and not a paid job -.OK, today was a bit iffy (for well known reasons) and maybe he should have asked for a bit of help, but cut the guy some slack – you want to do it? If not then please keep such thoughts to yourself.

    4. Oh for heavens sake – BD and the rest of the bloggers do a FANTASTIC job.
      If you can’t recognise this Wayne then perhaps this isn’t the place for you. :(
      Go to the 15 squared site where you will find intellectual snobs who can’t lighten up and enjoy life!

      BD – hope you had a wonderful evening and enjoyed your curry! :)

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