DT26891 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
View closed comments 


Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26891

Hints and tips by pommers

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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

Hola from the Vega Baja where the weather continues to be the weather, been told off for mentioning it so I won’t!.   Well, I loved this puzzle from the Wednesday Wizard – tricky enough not to be a write-in but solvable with a bit of preservation.  Maybe some of you might give it 4* for difficulty and some only 2* – be interesting to see the comments.

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           An  urge to see bad speller lose head (4)
{ITCH} –  This is an urge and it’s a person who casts bad spells without her first letter (lose head).  I won’t mention that pommette’s mum is here at the moment. . .

3a           Small amount of vintage wine set before doctor (5)
{CRUMB} – A small amount is a premier class of wine placed before one of the usual abbreviations for a doctor.

6a           Bread and sugar (4)
{LOAF} – This is bread and it’s also how sugar was originally produced.      From Wiki – “A sugarloaf was the traditional form in which refined sugar was produced and sold until the late 19th century when granulated and cube sugars were introduced. A tall cone with a rounded top was the end product of a process that saw the dark molasses-rich raw sugar, which had been imported from sugar cane growing regions such as the Caribbean and Brazil, refined into white sugar.” – One lives and learns!

8a           Line beyond which investments yield nothing? (5,2,2,6)
{POINT OF NO RETURN} – A cryptic definition of when investments don’t give any further gain. It’s also the line that, if you pass it, is where you have no retreat or comeback.  It’s also what you get to when you first mention to BD that you wouldn’t mind having a go at a blog or two – now look what’s happened to me!

9a           A fellow’s first short, short and sweet (6)
{AFTERS} – A (from the clue) and F (Fellows’s first) followed by a word for short or curt without it’s last letter (short) gives a colloquial word for a sweet or dessert.  Sorry, I think that hint might be just as confusing as the clue!

10a         Make economies, and ditch engineers first (8)
{RETRENCH} – To make economies is the definition. You need a ditch and the put the usual engineers at the front.

11a         Their changes add years of tradition (8)
{HERITAGE} – A word for tradition is an anagram (changes) of THEIR followed by years or a long time.

13a         Murmuring ‘Money holds nothing before golf!’ (6)
{COOING} – This is the murmuring I’m told you do in your girlfriend’s ear (but pommette doesn’t remember!) Take a word for a small piece of loose change, insert O (holds nothing) and add a G(olf) to the end.

15a         The way chestnut, say, is straddled by heartless sergeant (6)
{STREET} – This is a bit of a reverse clue! ‘The way’ is often clued to give us ST but in this case it’s the definition. Take what a chestnut  is an example of and straddle it with S(ergean)T (heartless) and you’ll get the way!

17a         Ship that is carrying good things to wear (8)
{LINGERIE} – A passenger ship followed by the abbreviation for ‘that is’ with G(ood) inserted (carrying) gives a bit of something to wear – cue photo!

19a         Sustenance allowed during Lent? (4,4)
{FAST FOOD} – Cryptic definition of something you might be allowed to eat during Lent or Ramadan for that matter.

21a         Things produced on strike back up management, finally (6)
{OUTPUT} – The things produced by a factory are made from a word for what you are if you’re on strike, followed by PU (back UP) and T (managemenT finally)

22a         Lose case — too much worried by example of 9 (9,6)
{CHOCOLATE MOUSSE} – You really need to have solved 9a for this to be obvious but an example of 9a is an anagram (worried) of LOSE CASE TOO MUCH.   If you haven’t got 9a and spot the anagram then it will give you 9a – that’s what happened to me!

23a         Stone circle, white, not quite complete (4)
{OPAL} – This is a semi precious stone. The letter that looks like a circle followed by a word for white or lacking in colour but lacking its last letter (not quite complete)..

24a         Fear being late, drinking last of beer (5)
{DREAD} – This fear is a word for late, as in not living, with an R (last of beeR) inserted (drinking ).   Story of my life!

25a         One who succeeds by getting musical composition broadcast (4)
{HEIR} – The person who succeeds to your estate sounds like (broadcast) a musical composition or song.


1d           Accuses exercises after one man starts and feels pain (9)
{IMPEACHES} – To get a word for accuses (a President perhaps) you need to start with the usual abbreviation for physical exercise and place it after  I (one) and M (Man starts) and put a word meaning to feel pain on the end.  That’s one of those that’s easier to solve than to hint! This is my third attempt and probably as good as it gets!

2d           Animal races covered by Herald (7)
{CRITTER} – An American term for an animal is the herald your town had in the middle ages with last week’s Isle of Man motorbike races inserted.

3d           Source of irony in angry worker’s breakfast? (9)
{CROISSANT} – To get something you might eat for breakfast you need a word for angry and the usual worker and insert I (souce of Irony).

4d           Be disconcerting to a Parisian, never being wrong (7)
{UNNERVE} – To be disconcerting is the French indefinite article (A Parisian) followed by an anagram (being wrong) of NEVER.

5d           Sailors in revolutionary vessel destroyed by fire (5)
{BURNT} – Take the abbreviation for the service in which sailors serve and place it in a reversed vessel (where you might find bran at a fete) and you’ll get a word meaning destroyed by fire.

6d           Those mile runs — makes you supple! (9)
{LITHESOME} – A word meaning supple is an anagram (runs) of THOSE MILE.

7d           A supporter welcomes almost affluent continental (7)
{AFRICAN} – Definition is continental, this time a resident of the ‘dark’ continent. Start with A (from the clue) and follow with a supporter, of a football team perhaps, and the insert a word for affluent without its last letter (almost).

12d         Translate Latin ‘cedi’ to yield ‘the very same’ (9)
{IDENTICAL} – A word for the very same is an anagram (translate) of LATIN CEDI

13d         Prisoner with record of French uprising modified behaviour (9)
{CONFORMED} – If you modified your behaviour to go along with everyone else you might be said to have done this. It’s a charade of the usual prisoner, a word for a (criminal) record and the French for OF reversed (uprising).

14d         Big support for stars (5,4)
{GREAT BEAR} – Cryptic definition of a constellation.

16d         Outlet serving hot pears stewed with no end of sugar? (3,4)
{TEA SHOP} – This is an outlet where you might enjoy a pleasant afternoon. It’s also an anagram (stewed) of HOT PEARS but without the R (no end of sugaR).

17d         Party girl dunking digestive vacantly in coffee (7)
{LADETTE} – Definition is party girl. Take a type of white coffee and insert (dunking) D(igestiv)E (vacantly).

18d         Sally’s fencing skill? (7)
{RIPOSTE} – Double definition. Can’t think of much else to say about this one!

20d         Looked on girl’s love, expecting doubt initially (5)
{OGLED} – This word meaning looked is the first letters (initially) of the other words in the clue.

Not sure of a stand out favourite here but it might be 6a for its simplicity – what do you think?

The Quick crossword pun: {hit} + {chief} + {eat} = {itchy feet}

77 comments on “DT26891

  1. Morning pommers

    Probably a 2 star for me today. No particular favourites, but enjoyable nevertheless.
    Thanks to Jay, and to pommers for the review.

  2. For me, the perfect balance between easy and hard – with humour thrown in. What a pleasant pastime crosswords can be.

  3. Good morning pommers, did I hear you mention pommettes mother in connection with one of the clues???????? A very workable crossword IMHO i.e. almost all of the clues could be worked out by following the wordplay, doable with a little perservation, nothing exciting but a sense of satisfaction on finishing, a three star for me today, fav clues 19a and 2d, last one in 8a, I just couldn’t ‘see’ it! maybe having cheater in at 2d at first didn’t help! Gratias pommers for once again an entertaining blog :-D

  4. If I was picky and of course I’m not I would say that in 3a ‘cru’ as pommers says is a premier wine but not necessarily a vntage one?

    1. Agree with you Mary but I think a lot of today’s clues were a bit askew. Didn’t enjoy this one very much.

  5. Kath is probably out with her hosepipe today, the ban has been lifted, we didn’t need one here!

  6. Morning Pommers from sunny Kent where the temperature is soaring into double figures and the hose pipe ban is being lifted tomorrow.

    Very enjoyable and with thought doable, a good puzzle.

    Thanks for review, needed to explain 2d…doh.

    Thanks to setter.

    1. Apparently Colmce although the ban is not officially lifted til tomorrow, people caught using one today will not be prosecuted!!!

  7. Re 6a We have a SugarLoaf mountain in Wales, part of the Black Mountains, it’s Welsh name is Pen-Y-Fal, for those who may be interested it is almost 2000ft high and actually owned by the National Trust

  8. Not sure where else to ask this, so forgive me if I’m intruding … Will the Chambers Dictionary 12th edition app at £4.99 give me all that the big red book offers?

      1. Thanks Mary. Does anybody have it / can vouch for it? I usually hate paying for apps, but this is well cheaper and much greener than the real thing.

    1. I have the app and it does seem to be pretty comprehensive, but as I don’t have the paper version can’t be 100% certain, I find it very useful, listts homophones and for example defined 17d today which my other dictionarys didn’t. Well worth £4.99 IMHO.

        1. ian check the fifteen squared blog via links above, the arachne guardian today. posts 14, 18, 25. hope of help.

          1. Andy. Thanks. In fact I’d already taken the plunge and splashed out £4.99 on the dictionary. It looks amazing and well worth the money. Feeling quite pleased with myself now.

  9. Def a 4 star today for difficulty to me. Needed lots of help with this one. The bottom wasnt too bad but the top half was very tricky. Don’t quite understand why 17a is good to wear but the picture was nice! Not sure if one could describe a riposte as a skill, surely it’s a type of move but that’s being very picky. Many thx to Pommers without whom I would have struggled to even start.

    1. Hi Brian

      17a is just ‘things to wear’. The word good gives you the G to insert into the ship.

    2. Hi Brian almost didnt recognise you, 17a is a ‘liner’ with’ ie’ for ‘that is’ and the ‘g’ from good inside, the definition is ‘things to wear’

  10. I really enjoyed today’s crossword and think that could even be a record time for me. It seemed to fall into place nicely. Thought it had a French theme to start with which helped.
    Although I enjoyed 3a it is not technically right. A vintage would relate to a particular harvest or year whereas Cru is related to the “Terroir” – a far more complicated term to translate but in a nutshell is what it says on the tin and defines the potential of the wine based on the aspect of the land.

    1. Hi Chamrider
      You (and Mary at #4) are correct about 3a but I think we can cut Jay a bit of slack on this one as it reads so well :grin: Thanks for the explanation.

      1. Ah yes – sorry Mary, didn’t see that you had made the same point! I only mentioned it as I have such a passion for French wine (well all wine tbh but living in France, it is all that is available!) The clue did read very well though so happy to let Jay off the hook – I always look forward to his puzzles – right on my wavelength.

        1. 3a – Cru – The BRB doesn’t go into so much detail. Simply:-

          (Fr) n a vineyard or group of vineyards; a vintage.

          But, as Colmce says …..who cares after the second bottle?

  11. A very nice Jay to start a splendid sunny morning in East Kent. I did think after I wrote in the first three solutions that it was going to be a ‘write it all in as you go’ day but I soon slowed. Thanks to Jay for the fun and Pommers for the equally entertaining blog. 2*/4* for me

    The NW Corner of the toughie puts up a fight but it is well worth ago.

    Anyone liking a bit of risque fun with their crossword should try the superb Arachne in the Guardian.

      1. Printed the Arachne this morning but haven’t had time to even give it a glance due to the visitor! After those two recommendations I’ll try to find the time! Love Arachne puzzles!

        1. P.S. The ‘lose head’ bit of 1a is becoming more attractive by the hour :lol: Really must go to bed now, G’night.

            1. Not had a chance today – did the Shamus Toughie instead – but it’s in the file for when we next have a couple of days at the apartment. Always take some entertainment and this sounds just the job! Have to do it ‘cold’ there though as no BRB or internet (unless I’m blogging when pommette will allow use of the dongle).

  12. Greetings from a sunny Heavenly Henfield – make the most of it, I hear.
    Enjoyed this canter through crosswordland, and agree with Pommer’s rating – maybe 3.5* for enjoyment if I was being picky, but it’s too nice a day.
    Tennis ahoy!

    1. Hi Digby – you playing or watching Queens on the box like me? Andy’s second on I think.

      1. Playing – but not at Queens!!
        Not a great fan of the porridge person, or his mum !!

        1. Digby – please don’t mention ‘Mum’ at the moment! Tearing hair

          I see Andy wasn’t really ‘playing’ at Queens either :grin:

    2. Heavenly Henfield? We’ve got Betty Windsor visiting the city today and it is positively Baltic outside! The poor old lady must be sick to the back teeth of this summer and is probably contemplating making contact with Pommers to see if he and Pommette can put her and Phil up for a week at his gaff.

      Oh yes – the crossword was only challenging in places but thanks go to setter and to Pommers for the review.

      1. Isn’t there more than one Henfield, I think there’s one in Gloucestershire and one in Sussex any more………….which do you live in?

        1. BN5 – and it’s still very sunny, if a trifle windy.
          Luckily Henfield was built on relatively high ground, which kept our heads above the surrounding floods in West Sussex.

  13. It seems that I’m one of the few to have found this difficult – I thought it was a really good and very enjoyable crossword but it’s taken me ages. I managed 4 acrosses and 5 downs on the first read through, then did a few more and came to a complete full stop. Tried for a bit longer, walked round the garden to see what the muntjacs have taken a fancy to now, hung the washing out and THEN finished it. It’s one of those that seemed, to me, difficult at the time and now I can’t see why.
    I thought there were lots of good clues – I really liked 1a (anyone who is a bad speller should lose his/her head as far as I’m concerned!) and 17d – several others too, but I’d better stop now – have already spent a very long time on “crossword stuff” today!
    With thanks to Jay and pommers.

    1. Not on your own Kath, it wasn’t easy for me and I had to work my way slowly through it, with the bottom being completed before having even one in the top half!

  14. Enjoyable crossword with a good mixture of clues. Just under 2 on the blacksheepometer.

    As soon as done I headed for the blog with high hopes for the pictorial clue to 17A. Splendid.

  15. Having already got the first letter of 1a, I could see the answer and the wordplay, but couldn’t work out what first letter I should have dropped, having got suckered into thinking about what to call people who can’t spell … Very clever clue for an evil lady with mystic powers.

  16. I’m with Domus on this one – not so hard but a lovely solve. Thanks to Jay and to pommers for the review!

  17. Pretty straightforward fare today!
    Faves : 3a, 9a, 22a, 25a, 2d, 13d, 17d & 18d.

    Weather in NL is very summery.

  18. Bonjour Pommers,

    From sunny Languedoc. In 18d I got yhe c lue but I don’t understand how Sally gets into it. Can you help?

    1. CW – How about this from http://www.ask.com/wiki/Riposte:

      “In fencing, the riposte (French for “retort”) is an offensive action with the intent of hitting one’s opponent, made by the fencer who has just parried an attack.

      In everyday language, a riposte is synonymous with a retort and describes a quick and witty reply to an argument or an insult.”

      Together with this from http://www.ask.com/wiki/Sally:

      “Sally (military), an attack by the defenders of a town or fortress under siege against a besieging force.”

      Sort of makes sense.

      1. Many thanks Senf for the clear answer. I’ve finished now, without having to use Pommers hints which is quite good for me, if it is 3*, and I believe that it is. Just one final thing. Do you know the significance of ‘first’ in 9a?

        1. First indicates that you require the first letter of F(ellow).
          A F(ellow) TERS(e)

          1. Just occurred to me that the clue doesn’t really need the word FIRST as F is an accepted abbreviation for Fellow.

  19. A thoroughly enjoyable Xword with some difficulties but a great deal of interest. Thanks to Pommers for the hints which I did use to understand how I got one or two clues and many thanks to the Wednesday Wizard (is that RayT?)

  20. Who is the Wednesday Wizard?
    Thoroughly enjoyable.
    Some very nifty clues..
    If Jay, is he softening us up for Ray T tomorrow?
    If Ray T slightly letting us off this week. :)
    Thanks J and R anyway, and pommers.

    1. The Wednesday setter is normally Jay (Jeremy Mutch).
      RayT tends to set on a thursday, although not every thursday. His puzzles tend to feature one word answers, and normally include a reference to the Queen.

        1. Ray T was last Thursday so you should give tomorrows a try – it may not be him and if it is him you should still try and not be defeated before you even look at it.

              1. and self-belief that one of your answers is correct, even if you have never heard of it, and it is not in Chambers.

      1. ps. If you Double Click on the photo you will be able to put “faces” to the mystery names!

        Many Thanks to all of them! Clever B****rds! :wink:

    1. Nice to ‘see; you Nubian – have been missing you. Hope Mrs N is well too?

      1. Thanks Sue, have been moving house, traumatic adventure, not to be recommended on a regular basis. First time in 24 years, downsized and now embarrassed with riches.

  21. That’s more like it – a traditional sort of crossword – enjoyable. More than I can say for the Toughie

  22. Couldn’t see 25a still don’t like ‘sound like’ clues. Was looking forward to 17a as soon as I got the answer. Stop start busy day for me ***/*** some good clues especially the anagrams. Regds to all.

  23. Thanks to the setter, and to Pommers for an excellent review & hints. I thought a 2* for difficulty & 4* for enjoyment. Perhaps I was in the zone, but it was quite a quick solve for me after having to do an emergency defrost on the fridge-freezer. Started with 1a, finished with 17d. Favourites were 9a, 2,14d, with a penny-drop moment on 20d. Quite a pleasant day in Central London, but the forecast is grim.

  24. Struggled with this one today. Got very few first, second and third time round but it slowly gave way. Unlike some, it was the bottom left I had trouble with rather than the top. Got there in the end, though.

  25. This just came out in today’s paper (New Zealand here). Got it all fairly quickly except for 9A. A little too obscure even for me. I don’t like having to resort to your page but sometimes I have to :) first comment here too by the way :)

Comments are closed.