DT 26889 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 26889

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26889

Hints and tips by Libellule

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BD Rating – Difficulty ** Enjoyment ***

It took significantly longer to write the explanations in than it did to do the crossword. Still good fun though, but I was probably helped by a liberal sprinkling of clues I am sure some of you will have seen before.

You can find the answer by highlighting the space between the curly brackets.


1. Tree yielding fir cone (7)
{CONIFER} – An anagram (yielding) of FIR CONE reveals an old chestnut.

5. Sea-mist represented by painter (7)
{MATISSE} – Another anagram (represented) of SEA-MIST is French painter and sculptor, also a leading figure of fauvism.

9. Practice gives us time (5)
{USAGE} – A word that means usual or accepted practice is constructed from US and a period of history for example.

10. After study I will have fireplace to blacken (9)
{DENIGRATE} – After DEN (study) add an I and another word for a fireplace for a word that means to disparage or defame.

11. Underwriter? (10)
{SUBSCRIBER} – A word that could imply someone who always writes underneath something else is someone who contracts to receive and pay for a service or a certain number of issues of a publication.

12. Too wrapped up in local society (4)
{ALSO} – A word that means in addition or besides is hidden between the two words local and society.

14. Routine arrangements for trippers (12)
{CHOREOGRAPHY} – Trippers in this context are meant to be dancers and the routine arrangements refer to the composition of dance steps.

18. Insured vehicle — it went west (7,5)
{COVERED WAGON} – A large vehicle covered with a canvas top, used by American pioneers…

21. A wrong to right (4)
{TORT} – TO and RT (right).

22. Shop Irishman is opening, with Republic’s backing (10)
{PATISSERIE} – A bakery specialising in pastries can be built up from an informal name for an Irishman, IS and then the Gaelic name for Ireland’S reversed.

25. When beaches are mainly covered (4,5)
{HIGH TIDES} – When the sea reaches its maximum level.

26. Children found in argument (5)
{ISSUE} – Double definition. Offspring or an objection or complaint.

27. Force to hang about and stop working (7)
{SUSPEND} – To hang from above or to cause to stop for a period.

28. Proceeds, thanks to royalty (7)
{TAKINGS} – Income gained from selling something is made up from TA (thanks) and male sovereigns.


1. Fish, for example, that comes with greens (6)
{COURSE} – Double definition. A part of a meal and a place where you might find greens, tees, fairways and golfers.

2. Close — doubly close in fact (6)
{NEARBY} – A word that means not far away or close at hand when split (4 and 2) means the same thing.

3. Cor, blow me! (6,4)
{FRENCH HORN} – A type of brass wind instrument.

4. They have a central meeting place (5)
{RADII} – Straight lines that join a centre of a circle to any point on the circumference.

5. Maine’s not to be confused with this state (9)
{MINNESOTA} – An anagram (to be confused) of MAINES NOT is the 32nd state of the USA.

6. Thermal insulation units for clothes (4)
{TOGS} – Double definition, units of thermal resistance used to measure insulation or an informal word for clothing.

7. Runs slap into traffic jams (5-3)
{SNARL-UPS} – An anagram (into) of RUNS SLAP.

8. See this to agree when in confrontation (3,2,3)
{EYE TO EYE} – This phrase when preceded with see means to agree, if preceded by when it can mean a disagreement.

13. Witchcraft (10)
{BROOMSTICK} – What a witch might ride on.

15. Obviously guilty, having a fistful of diamonds? (3-6)
{RED-HANDED} – A term that means caught in the act, could also refer to a card player having a collection of diamonds or hearts.

16. Stops for drinks (8)
{SCOTCHES} – A word that means to putting an abrupt end to something could also be a round of whiskys.

17. Means by which woman ascended with change of gears (8)
{AVERAGES} – Reverse a female name then add an anagram (change) of GEARS to get positions located midway between extremes.

19. You must go there if you get time (6)
{PRISON} – Time is used here in the sense of being locked up after being found guilty of a crime.

20. Parts always carried by sea-going vessel (6)
{SEVERS} – Put SS around a word that means at all times to get another word that means divides or separates.

23. Small picture of popular group (5)
{INSET} – A small picture placed inside a larger one could if split (2,3) describe a trendy crowd.

24. It becomes inflamed by the lash (4)
{STYE} – An inflammation of the eyelid.

The Quick crossword pun: {marshal} + {heart} = {martial art}

34 comments on “DT 26889

  1. A nice gentle start to the week. A few that went in straight away, and a few that required a little thought.
    Thanks to Rufus, and to Libellule.

  2. Yep enjoyed this one, the nice thing about old chestnuts is that to a relatively new setter they aren’t .

    Thanks to Libelulle for review and to Rufus for a good start to the week.

    I really liked 22a.

  3. A few head scratchers but overall a pleasant start to the week. Thanks to Rufus & to Libellule for the review.

  4. A nice start to the week. Not too taxing and a nice rattle through.
    Thanks to Libellule and setter.

  5. Good morning Libelulle, not one of my favourite Rufus puzzles and I had to have your help to solve and understand a couple, 25a hardly cryptic? Perhaps I just wasn’t in the right frame of mind due to being out early to take dogs to vet, so a two to three star for me today, with fav clues 1a and 28a , quite a nice day here again today although parts of Wales have suffered terribly due to flooding at the weekend amazingly we have stayed dry!

    1. Mary,
      I guess with 25a that Rufus is playing with the word main in the sense of largely and as an ocean.

      1. Oh now how stupid I feel, I’m just not with it today, I should have seen that! Thanks Libelulle :-)

  6. Gently start to the week I agree. 14a last in – I kept wanting it to have something to do with maps! ** and *** from me. Many Thanks.

    1. I’m with you on the maps – my first thought was chartography, which fitted the checking letters.

      1. I had similar thoughts with that one, although I kept thinking of cartography, which obviously didn’t fit. 3d stumped me for a while, and only when I got that one I managed 22a. Still not entirely sure I understand 3d…

    2. Needed a little more help than usual for a Monday; thanks to L for that, 3 acrosses and 4 downs left when I “gave up” last night. Best clue was 22a. For 14a, I thought of everything except dancing! Should reach 38 deg C in The Republic of Texas today

  7. Really enjoyed this one esp 13d which made me laugh out loud. Lots and lots of super clues today. Many thx to the setter and to Libellule tho I didn’t need help for once.

  8. I thought I was on for a world record time for this very enjoyable Rufus puzzle until I ended up staring at 14a. D’oh indeed. Thanks to Rufus for a very nice start to the week and to Libellule for the hints and explanations.

  9. That was fun! Lots of very pleasing clues, and I’m not going to say how long I stared at 7D before I realised it was an anagram…

  10. A very gentle start to the week by Rufus but a couple of extremely good clues, I loved 14a and 13d. Thanks Rufus and thanks also to Libellule for the review.

  11. I did most of this one quite quickly, for me, and then completely ground to a halt with 14a and 7d (missed the anagram indicator for that one.) The bottom left corner would have been much easier if I hadn’t put the answer to 28a in the space for 27a! :roll:
    My favourites include 22 and 28a and 3 and 15d – I loved 13d.
    With thanks to Rufus and Libellule.
    Absolutely chucking it down in Oxford and 11C – SURELY they’ll lift the hosepipe ban soon. My wellies have sprung a leak. :sad:

  12. Nice crossword today. The problem area for me was the northwest corner, despite the fact that 1a was first in. I liked 13d and 3d (even though that one was late going in – a real penny-dropper) but thought 22a was the best. Didn’t think of a card suit in relation to 15d until I saw the hint (thanks, Libellule), although the answer went in quite early on.

  13. Agree with almost everyone else, 13d was a LOL moment when solved. Doesn’t matter how many times 1a comes up, I still marvel that conifer is an anagram of fir cone. Amazing! Not so much an old chestnut as an old evergreen! Rufus has a real gift in writing clues that make sense – surface reading? Also loved 12a and 19d for this reason. Superb!

  14. Back from a three day monsoon inwales -what fun! Anyway gave the top half *** and the bottom half **, with a *** for enjoyment.NW corner tricky,especially the ‘cor’ bit, till i remembered a cor englais , and then it was apparent.Best clue 14a,thought it was an anagram to start with! Stuck on 13 till the mother in law called , her friends are calling roundcontemplating a game of Quiditch.

  15. Thanks to Rufus & Libellule for the review and hints. Enjoyed it, just right for a Monday. Probably my fastest solve. Favourites were 1 & 3d, the latter being very appropriate for the game at 5pm :-) Just managed to do a temporary repair on a leaking roof, roll on Summer.

  16. A word for GAZZA, if he’s tuned in. Apologies for not getting back to you yesterday after your helping me with my final clue; thank you. The reason was an urgent order from high command to start up the barbecue (yes, it was a lovely day here in West Cumbria), and it is not wise to keep Mrs B waiting; tends to spoil the evening!
    After a full day’s work on my hobby (joinery – garden furniture/bird feeders etc), I shall now have a crack at today’s.

  17. Well, that didn’t take too long. Very pleasant restful start to the week. Favourite was 11a, very witty. Having spent my entire career in commercial insurance, it lured me in quite the wrong direction.
    Thanks to Rufus and Libellule.

  18. A nice stroll today – last in 14a. Pleased to get it done and generally angst-free. Thanks to the setter as normal. And a point for England too!

  19. Although I got 3d my school French was not up to understanding it,so thanks for the explanations! Enjoyed this one – like others, some went in quickly and others had me scratching my head for far too long – i.e. 16d, which I should have got as it happens to be my favourite tipple! Nice start to the week – pity I needed the lights and heating on to be comfortable doing it in the middle of the afternoon!!! Are we going to get any summer, please?

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