DT 26885 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 26885

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26885

Hints and tips by Falcon

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

Greetings from Ottawa where we are just emerging from a spell of cool, wet weather (much like Britain, I gather) into a hopefully prolonged period of more seasonable weather.

Today, we have a typical offering from Jay with plenty of requirements to select specified letters (first, last, inner, outer, odd, even) from words, but no substitution (X for Y) type clue.

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 who has faith in agent lives for conversion! (10)
{EVANGELIST} –     an anagram (for conversion) of AGENT LIVES is someone who not only has faith but delights in spreading it around

6a    Roll up in coat, and leave at the outset (4)
{FURL} – a command that one might hear in a nautical setting is a charade of the type of coat frowned upon by PETA activists followed by the initial (at the outset) letter of L(eave)

9a    People annexed by Spain (Castille) (5)
{INCAS} – an indigenous Peruvian people is hidden in the final two words of the clue

10a    Panics, pinching sailor’s biscuits (9)
{FLAPJACKS} – flustered states wrapped around one of the common names for a sailor produces a thick biscuit made with oats and syrup; it took me a long while to twig to this one, as this word means pancakes in North America – and the syrup goes on them, not in them

12a    Cat that’s a slow mover’s worst nightmare? (13)
{TORTOISESHELL} – this cat with a mottled orange and creamy-brown coat if split (8’1,4) might be an intensely frightful experience for a slow-moving reptile

14a    List in reportedly expensive vessel (8)
{DECANTER} – a tilting position consumed by a woodland ruminant (one that sounds expensive) becomes a vessel from which one might serve a fine red wine

15a    Almost tolerate the last letter — with a bit of poetry (6)
{STANZA} – this verse of poetry is composed of a synonym for tolerate missing its last letter (almost) to which is appended the last letter of the alphabet followed by the first (given to us in the clue)

17a    Revenue for the writer on popular company (6)
{INCOME} – earnings are produced by placing a pronoun the setter might objectively use to describe himself after (on) another word for popular and an abbreviation for company

19a    Totally unworried about a heartless official in game (8)
{CAREFREE} – a charade of (1) an abbreviation used to indicate approximation in dates, (2) A from the clue and (3) a game official missing the middle letter would describe someone someone having no responsibilities

21a    Direction in which new cocktail is stirred? (13)
{ANTICLOCKWISE} – this direction of rotation is an anagram (stirred) of NEW COCKTAIL IS

24a    A new leaf — if it becomes a branch (9)
{AFFILIATE} – this branch of a business enterprise is A (from the clue) followed by an anagram (new) of LEAF IF IT

25a    King Charles II’s lover’s ring (5)
{KNELL} – it is the toll of the bell for the K(ing) and the English actress who was his mistress

26a    Part of church article rejecting second sight (4)
{APSE} – a recess in a church is constructed from an indefinite article followed by the reversal of a faculty, that if you possessed it, would obviate the need for you to read these hints

27a    Made to feel dense — is it so bad without love? (10)
{SENSITISED} – the definition here is made to feel and the solution is an anagram (bad) of DENSE IS IT S(o) where the O has been removed (without love) from the anagram fodder


1d    Retire from former sources of income and tips (4)
{EXIT} – a verb denoting to leave a place is a word sum of an old flame and the initial letters of I(ncome) and T(ips)

2d    A cynic with no source of pride practising self-denial (7)
{ASCETIC} – an adjective meaning characterized by abstinence from physical pleasure and comfort is formed from A (from the clue) and a doubter from which the initial letter of P(ride) has been removed

3d    Incredibly large after finishing off bag of fine food (13)
{GASTRONOMICAL} – an adjective that might be used to describe something related to fine food is concocted from the final letter of (ba)G plus another adjective used to characterise something of cosmic proportions

4d    Oddly effete, accepted by mistress, and unconsumed (8)
{LEFTOVER} – the odd letters of E(f)F(e)T(e) when embraced by King Charles II’s paramour from 25a produce uneaten food that serves as a culture for mould at the back of the refrigerator

5d    Creatures from the deep lagoons outside (5)
{SEALS} – these animals which are favourites at zoos and circuses are a charade of a body of water that may be poetically referred to as the deep and the outside letters of L(agoon)S

7d    A French family eating some finally — but it’s dirty (7)
{UNCLEAN} – we start not with a French family, but with a French article and follow that with a Scottish family embracing the final letter of (som)E to get an adjective meaning soiled

8d    Item underpriced in a seller’s do, perhaps (4,6)
{LOSS LEADER} – an anagram (perhaps) of A SELLERS DO is an article of merchandise that a shopkeeper advertises at an attractive price to entice you into his premises in the hope that you will also purchase other items with a higher markup while you are there

11d    The right thing to be done with mere parking fine? (4,3,6)
{JUST THE TICKET} – a phrase that expresses the idea that something is exactly what you were looking for is the sum of words meaning nothing more than and a notice of a parking violation

13d    African city total is a pair of graduates (5,5)
{ADDIS ABABA} – a city that is the home of the African Union and described by Wikipedia as “the political capital of Africa” is built from (1) a verb meaning total, (2) IS (from the clue), (3) A (again, from the clue), and (4) a couple of arts graduates.

16d    Bench may be not as stern initially (8)
{BACKLESS} – to get an adjective that describes what a bench may be, take an adverb denoting to a smaller extent (not as) and precede it (initially) by a synonym for stern or rear; if – like me – you’re having difficulty coming to grips with the usage of “not as”, try this example “After considerable cogitation on the matter, I’m not as confused”

18d    Devices that stop Conservative and Unionist members of the upper classes (3-4)
{CUT-OFFS} – devices that shut off the flow of water, electricity, etc. are a charade of C(onservative) and U(nionist) and a slangy term for upper-class and usually smartly dressed persons – who likely wouldn’t be wearing shorts made by hacking the legs off of jeans

20d    Queen wears rocks and jackets (7)
{REEFERS} – today the Queen is not wearing diamonds but rather the type of rocks on which ships founder (a recent incident involving a certain Italian cruise ship captain comes to mind); moreover, one would hardly expect to see her wearing one of these jackets whose design is influenced by British naval uniforms

22d    Speak for traitor held in empty office (5)
{ORATE} – a verb meaning to make a pompous or lengthy speech is a slang term for a disloyal individual trapped between the outer letters of O(ffic)E

23d    Vehicle entered in sales ledger (4)
{SLED} – a conveyance for travelling on snow is hidden in the last two words of the clue

This puzzle was definitely more fun to solve than it was to review. After completing the review, I had rated it at three stars for enjoyment. However, after looking it over to pick out my favourite clues, I concluded that my initial assessment had been too harsh. I do find it difficult to cleverly explain the process of selecting particular letters from words – and  40% of the clues today involved some variation on this device.

My favourite clue is 12a which was one of the last ones to be solved (being utterly unfamiliar with the different types of cats). Others that I enjoyed include 1a, 21a,24a, and 25a.

The Quick crossword pun: {lay} + {safe} + {hair} = {laissez-faire}

78 comments on “DT 26885

  1. Good morning Falcon and thanks for the blog, I was convinced this was going to be a pangram today when the z and j went in and was busy looing for an answer with q in it! however I think we are missing a q and a y? a two star for me today although I did need clarification of 8d not having heard this before and had put ‘less loader’ in!!! Two favourite clues for me today, loved 12a and 25a, today I have a whole day to myself unfortunately I am car less and stuck! I could always catch a bus as we have a bus stop just across the road and I have a free bus pass but I hate buses something to do with memories of school trips and being sick!!

  2. Thought at first glance that this was going to be a Toughie but it all fell nicely into place. Enjoyed this one with some clever clues (14a, 15a & particularly 12a).
    Never considered a flapjack a biscuit but Chambers agrees so I defer to the higher authority.
    Thx to Jay for a superpuzzle and to Falcon for explaining 5d.

    1. I wouldn’t call flapjacks biscuits either – a biscuit, to me anyway, is crisp, whereas flapjacks are very gooey – I’d never dare to give my flapjacks to my Mum who has false teeth – she’d never be able to speak again! On the other hand …….. :grin:

      1. My flapjacks turn out different every time – sometimes sticky, sometimes crunchy. If I can keep Señor Nora from eating them all too quickly, the crunchy ones become sticky too.

        I seem to be completing the cryptics more easily these days, but lack the courage to move up to the Toughie, except on days when lots of bloggers say it’s not too challenging. What a wimp! Shame there isn’t a level in between.

  3. I thought this was a really clever puzzle and enjoyed it very much – my only problem was that it was almost too clever for me! Will wait to see what everyone else thinks – maybe it’s just me! :sad: It’s taken a really long time – at least a 3* for difficulty but 4/5* for enjoyment.
    12 and 21a and 16d were the ones that I really thought I was never to going to do. Oh, and 8d – and probably a few more!
    Lots of great clues including 10 and 25a and 3 and 11d – best of all, for me anyway, 12a.
    With thanks to Jay and Falcon.

  4. Morning Falcon, guess it’s still pretty early where you are.

    Bit late getting to this for reasons which will become clear but thoroughly enjoyed it. I’d give it 2*/4*. Favourite was 12a but lots of other good stuff!

    Many thanks to Jay and Falcon.

    P.S. Very quite on here this morning! Wonder where everyone is?

    1. Hi Pommers,

      As for the level of difficulty, it was a three star effort for me but I figured that those living in Britain (or having British roots) would probably find it a bit easier. There were a few words that either are not used here or have different meanings. For example, I am not at all familiar with a reefer jacket. Furthermore, not only does the word biscuit have a different meaning here, our flapjacks apparently bear no resemblance to British flapjacks.

      1. Was it Churchill who said something like “Two peoples seperated by a common language” :lol:

      2. Flapjacks are more like an American pancake in North America, although nothing like a pancake in England. I can’t think of anything that compares.

        1. Oh dear! another term that means something different here than in England. But then, the definition of pancake seems to vary even within Britain. From what I can gather, English pancakes are quite similar to crêpes. North American pancakes are more like Scottish or Welsh pancakes. In North America, flapjack is just another name for a pancake, one which seems to be favoured by cowboys (or, perhaps, just by the screenwriters of Hollywood westerns). In parts of the US, pancakes are also known as hotcakes or griddlecakes. Pancakes here are too thick to roll up and are served flat, often in a stack, and topped with butter and syrup. In Canada, the topping of choice is maple syrup. Pancakes also often have fruit (in particular, blueberries or chunks of apple) either cooked in them or served on top. Wikipedia has an interesting article that elaborates on the differences in pancakes around the world.

          1. Born in America, went to schools in 14 countries, .now resident in Peterborough UK not the one near to Toronto (after working in Africa for ten years). Pancakes v crepes, usually v normally. Love solving these , but could I parse – cap truly doffed Falcon

          2. Thanks for the rundown on pancakes Falcon. Born in the UK, living in Chicago for 40 years, and having once worked at the Canadian Consulate my favorites are the ones shown in the Wikipedia picture with lots of good Canadian maple syrup on them of course:)

  5. Cold, windy sunny and showery here today , typical, I think I will sit in the motorhome and read a book and pretend I am somewhere nice, maybe I’ll have some sandwiches too :-)

    1. Mary – with a book you can always pretend you are wherever the book is based and forget where you are.

      1. That’s a lovely thought Lea :-) but not sure I want to be locked in Tower of London!

        1. I will agree with you there – the one I am reading is in warmth – in the Middle East – so that could be a good one!!

            1. I got warmth :grin: It’s 35C here this afternoon and it’s still only the beginning of June – doesn’t bode well for july/August!

              1. I agree. I hope it’s going to cool down. I tend to read books about cold places when the weather gets really hot. It’s quite a challenge to think cool by reading about the Antarctic when it’s in the high 30s, but mind over matter as they say.

  6. Probably quiet because we are all back at work :( I would agree with Falcon’s star ratings today and thank you to him for the review too. Thanks to Jay as well – I particularly liked 12a.

    The Toughie is a toughie but is worth having a go, even if you can’t get it all without the review ‘becoming clear’ :D

    1. the hints are up above Audrey but basically you are looking for a word for practising self denial, take ‘a’ from the clue and then add a word for someone who is a cynic but remove the ‘p’ from it, i.e. no source of pride, which is more or less what falcon says in his hints

    2. to get the answer from the hints above just click on the space in the brackets :-)

    3. This was one of the last for me too. Use the a from the clue and then look for a doubting person to follow but drop the P

      1. Thoroughly enjoyed this crossword today. Was stuck on 25a and needed help which then allowed me to get 20d – although that was only a guess. I only know them from my Uni days and not as jackets! Work was rained off today so able to complete this in the warmth of my home :)
        Thanks to Jay and Falcon.

  7. Just finished it and enjoyed it. Have had a very busy couple of weeks and have only managed a few puzzles and no comments. Downloaded the NTSPP by Gazza but haven’t even had a chance to start it – will do so today though.

    Enjoyed this and learned something new – always thought it was a “lost leader” so couldn’t resolve it until I twigged with the anagram.

    I liked 12a – thought it was a clever clue. Thanks to Jay and thanks for the review Falcon.

    1. I downloaded Gazza’s NTSPP too – it took me ages to get one answer but then got going (a bit) and have now done most of the bottom half – top half remains completely empty! :sad: If the weather forecast is right (thunder and heavy rain this afternoon) will carry on “perservating” before heading for the hints.

  8. Completed all but two clues last night (2d and 14a), which was a pleasant surprise for a Wednesday edition, so I agree with Falcon’s assessment. Just got 2d with the help of Bill Gates thesaurus. I am going to try and hang on to get 14a without looking at the help above, we shall see.

    1. Got it! It’s been a while since I completed a Wednesday puzzle unassisted (except for Bill Gates). Now it’s back to the new monthly prize puzzle!

  9. I’m afraid I didn;t enjoy this one today, I thought the majority of the clues were way too easy and one or two (i.e. anagrams like 21a ) have no place in a supposedly quality crossword. I apologise to the setter and to anyone else who may be offended by these remarks but you can’t please all of the peope all of the time. My thanks to Falcon for a very enjoyable review.

      1. Oh good! I’m glad someone asked that – I nearly did. I thought it was clever too!

      2. Franco, there is nothing wrong with the anagram apart from its simplicity, I asked the little girl two doors away to solve it and it took her about 20 seconds, she is 9yrs old, I rest my case. I did apologise if my remarks offended anyone and now reiterate that, it is all a matter of opinion.

  10. I finished writing the review last night (my time) early enough to allow me to throw in a few illustrations. However, for some unknown reason, the titles that I applied to the pictures (the text that appears when you ‘mouse over’ them) persistently kept vanishing whenever I saved the review (although I see that Big Dave seems to have been able to make this feature work).

    Here are a few notes on the illustrations. It was a real dilemma choosing a PETA spokesperson from the dozens of gorgeous women who have graced their ad campaigns – but the search was certainly enjoyable. In the end, I thought a suitable choice would be Canadian actress Pamela Anderson. I also learned the difference between a tortoiseshell cat and a calico cat. The picture of Nell Gwyn is from an engraving that hung over the desk of Samuel Pepys in the British Admiralty offices. The picture of the reefer jacket jumped out at me from a screen full of pictures on Google Images. However, it may not have been the jacket that caught my eye! The final image, of dog sledding in the Canadian Yukon, I think nicely complements the opening image of snow falling on Ms. Anderson.

    1. I thought your illustrations showed signs of you having borrowed the ‘Gazza Guide to Illustrating Blogs’ :D

    2. The illustrations were excellent – agree with CS (all except for my favourite which was the dog sledding). It reminded me of when I was young and living in the Yukon and what fun we had. Thank you.

        1. Well I’ve been in London now for the greater majority of my life but I’m originally from Canada and my father was in the forces so we moved around a lot (including Germany). When I did my travelling I went to Australia and New Zealand via the far east so yes I’ve been around a bit but happy to stay here (even if the weather is wet).

  11. Left with 19A 16D and 20D, and convinced I was in the process of completing a pangram, i was looking for a q and a y to fit in (GRRR). Eventually twigged and limped home. Thanks Falcon and Jay.

  12. Very nice puzzle – particularly 12a.
    i must be getting better as I didn’t find it too bad :)

  13. Enjoyed solving this one – some of the fodder was slanted to mislead (what I call red-herring clues)!

    Faves : 14a, 24a, 26a, 27a, 4d, 8d, 16d & 20d.

    Back to Eurosport to follow Roland Garros – I switched it off when screecher Sharapova was on!

    After a rainy night and this morning we are back to summery sunshine and blue sky.

    1. Careful Derek, I get an e-punch from Andy whenever I mention nice weather! Fortunately I’ve learned to e-duck :grin:

      1. I presume that e stands for Europe!
        According to the DT the euro is going down the drain but I don’t believe it so there we are.
        Any how – back to Andy Murray on the box.

    2. I think you had both better e-duck – all this talk of good weather and here I am trying to cut grass and dodging ENORMOUS rain drops! :roll:

  14. Great graphics.
    That actually was a clue answer some time ago.
    Great puzzle, some clever diversions.
    Last in 6a.
    Often hear ‘unfurl’ seldom ‘furl’
    Many thanks Jay and Falcon

  15. Penny has dropped on 2d now couldn’t think of any doubter but Thomas at first . Thanks for the help finished now – yeah!

  16. What a delightful crossword (and what fine pictures Falcon chose!).

    My favourites were 12A and 25A (last one in) , and the Quick Crossword pun was great too :-)

    Thanks to Jay and Falcon, and commiserations to those who, like me, are cold and wet on this June day.

  17. Uniformly very good with more than a smattering of really excellent clues and no dross!
    Totally enjoyable Wednesday fare from Jay.
    Favourite was 25a.
    Thanks to the setter.

  18. What a nice puzzle. Many thanks to Jay and to Falcon Whose hints were useful for reference

  19. Really enjoyed that and only needed hints for one – 5d – which really annoyed me as I had thought of that answer but didn’t put it in as couldn’t see “why” – doh! Did it in one sitting too, which is unusual for me – just had to sit down after a VERY wet round of golf! Are we ever going to get any summer – well, I know we had a few days, but will it reappear? Think 12a was favourite (conjures up such a comical mental image!) but liked 17a too. Thanks to setter and Falcon for hints.

  20. Another fine Jay puzzle – Mr consistent I think!. THanks to him and to Falcon for the usual accomplished review.

  21. I enjoyed this puzzle not least because it’s the first one I’ve finished without a nudge. Which probably confirms the view of the person who said it was far too easy and not worthy of serious crossworders. Much encouraged by others comments however. Marge

    1. Hey Marge, don’t decry yourself! It was maybe a bit on the gentle side but it took me into 2* time so it can’t have been all that easy! it was certainly worthy of a mid-week DT back page so well done to you!

    2. Marge,

      Many Congratulations!

      Don’t listen to those who say “a very untaxing” crossword etc, etc! Just enjoy the crossword!

      (Why does he say it every day?)

    3. Marge, hello, this was 3 * for me , please come and “see ” us again, it’s all subjective

    4. Agree with all the rest of them! I certainly didn’t find this one easy at all so well done! :smile:

    5. Thanks all for encouraging comments. Am slowly getting to grips with crossword conventions which is making it somewhat less than an all day puzzle! Which is a relief. At least the next days puzzle is not arriving before I ‘finish’ the previous. Hope u all get this reply as its arriving when you’ll all be engrossed with ‘tomorrow’s’ puzzle. I often don’t get the paper till lunchtime or later so you’re all mostly done before i even get started. We have been away however so yesterday’s paper delivered to hotel room door. Heaven. Tea and telegraph before breakfast!

      1. We watch out for all comments – someone from Kenya often posts on puzzles over a month old as the syndicated version takes a while to get there.

  22. Thanks to Jay and Falcon for the review and hints. Quite enjoyed this one, got beaten by 24a, I had alfalfate! Just invented a new word :-) & 14a, didn’t know cant was list. Favourite was 3d. Typical Flaming June in Central London, please can we have a decent Summer for once?

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