DT 26892 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 26892

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26892

Hints and tips by Big Dave

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

This very enjoyable puzzle is possibly compiled by the “other” setter (i.e. not Ray T) who frequently uses musical and motoring references in his clues, but I’m not sure.  Perhaps he will confirm or deny this later!  I solved this in two-star time, but if you don’t know the marques used for Lotus cars it might take a little longer.

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    Boring loveless marriage coming pointedly to an end (10)
{UNINSPIRED} – to get this adjective meaning boring start with five-letter word for a marriage, drop the O (loveless) and then add an adjective meaning pointedly to an end, like a church steeple

6a    Opening taking the edge off occasion (4)
{VENT} – this opening is derived by dropping the initial E (taking the edge off) from an occasion

9a    Not entirely Draconian cut (5)
{SEVER} – most of (not entirely) a word meaning Draconian gives a verb meaning to cut

10a    A mean rib I cooked in this French contraption (4-5)
{BAIN-MARIE} – an anagram (cooked) of A MEAN RIB I gives this French contraption which is a vessel of hot or boiling water into which another vessel is placed in order to cook slowly

12a    Nurse’s nouveau riche second husband (7)
{CHERISH} – a verb meaning to nurse is derived from an anagram (nouveau) of RICHE followed by S(econd) and H(usband)

13a    Fifty at church? There must be a catch (5)
{LATCH} – string together the Roman numeral for fifty, AT and CH(urch) to get a catch

15a    Pan lack of strong leadership in range of job-related aptitudes (7)
{SKILLET} – another cooking vessel is generated from a range of job-related aptitudes (5,3) from which the second S (Strong leadership) has been removed (lack of)

17a    Guy fixing broken pen — about time with sheep outside (4,3)
{TENT PEG} – to get something used to fix a guy rope put an anagram (broken) of PEN around (about) T(ime) and put it all inside (with … outside) a sheep in its second year

19a    Run through 20% of repertoire with Electric Light Orchestra very loud (4,3)
{REEL OFF} – to get this phrasal verb meaning to run through start with the first 20% of Repertoire, add the abbreviation of the Electric Light Orchestra and end with the musical notation for very loud

21a    Swear key in attaché case is standard (7)
{AVERAGE} – start with a word meaning to swear or state then add a musical key inside the outside letters (case) of AttachÉ to get a word meaning standard

22a    Reactionary Conservative institute having dig at Left’s thinking (5)
{LOGIC} – reverse (reactionary) a charade of C(onservative),  I(nstitute), a two-letter word meaning having a dig at and L(eft) to get this thinking

24a    Word formed literally via cryptic answer to Machiavellian iffy anagram eventually (7)
{ACRONYM} – this  word formed from the initial letters or syllables of other words is to be found in the final letters (eventually) of seven words in the clue

27a    Iconic Italian biscuit (9)
{GARIBALDI} – this iconic Italian, credited with playing aa key role in the establishment of a united kingdom of Italy, gave his name to a type of biscuit with a layer of currants

28a    Majestic Elgar composition (5)
{REGAL} – this adjective meaning majestic is an anagram (composition) of ELGAR

29a    Fume with free perks only now and then (4)
{REEK} – this fume or smell comes from the even letters (only now and then) of two words in the clue

30a    Free? Then go see round new tourist attraction (10)
{STONEHENGE} – put an anagram (free, which certainly deserves the question mark) of THEN GO SEE around N(ew) to get this tourist attraction on Salisbury Plain


1d      Island’s unexpectedly busiest but not best time (4)
(UIST} – this Scottish island is derived from an anagram (unexpectedly) of (B)USI(EST) without the letters of BEST followed by T(ime)

2d      Full of ideas until change of heart gets you swearing (9)
{INVECTIVE} – take an adjective meaning full of ideas, change the middle letter () from N to C and the result is some swearing

3d      Gush with Frenchman on the phone (5)
{SURGE} – this verb meaning to gush sounds like (on the phone) the first name of many Frenchmen, such as Jane Birkin’s partner

ARVE Error: need id and provider

4d      Integrated home constructed (2-5)
{IN-BUILT} – this word meaning integrated is a charade of a two-letter word meaning home and a word meaning constructed

5d      It’s about the opening of European Parliament’s first term (7)
{EPITHET} – put IT around THE and then precede it with E(uropean) and the initial letter (first) of Parliament to get a term or expression

7d      Somewhat uppity character getting the bird (5)
{EGRET} – hidden inside (somewhat) the clue and reversed (uppity in a down clue) is this white heron

8d      Environmentalist’s huge regret resolved (4-6)
{TREE-HUGGER} – this slightly derogatory term for an environmentalist is an anagram (resolved) of HUGE REGRET

11d    MG catching Lotus before second of Mercedes in mix-up (7)
{MELANGE} – put MG around one of the Lotus marques and add the second letter of MErcedes to get a mix-up

14d    Rot galore rehashed about Sun reader of 21 Down, etc (10)
{ASTROLOGER} – start with an anagram (rehashed) of ROT GALORE and put it around (about) S(un) to get someone who reads 21 down, etc. in order to, allegedly, predict the future

16d    Pride member displayed in avoidance of praline centre in second of two chocolate bars (4,3)
{LION CUB} – this junior member of a pride is derived from two types of chocolate bars, the second of them missing the middle letter of praLine

18d    Shot mating pair — missing one grouse (9)
{PTARMIGAN} – an anagram (shot) of MATING PA(I)R without one of the Is (missing one) gives this game bird

20d    Fixed rent for cosy accommodation (7)
{FLATLET} – split this as (4,3) and it could be a fixed or set rent – it’s actually some cosy accommodation

21d    Cusp of Aquarius rising fortuitously? Or Gemini? Or Libra? (3,4)
{AIR SIGN} – the initial letter (cusp) of Aquarius followed by an anagram (fortuitously) rising gives a member of the group consisting of Aquarius, Gemini and Libra

23d    Stuff oneself with Cheddar or similar (5)
{GORGE} – this verb meaning to stuff oneself is also the name of a geographical feature to be found at Cheddar

25d    Bearing up in overwrought Ronnie’s embrace (5)
{NORTH} – this bearing or compass point is hidden (embrace)and reversed (up) inside two words in the clue

26d    Unhappy adult (4)
{BLUE} – a double definition – unhappy or down and a type of adult movie

Well I enjoyed it even if some of the wordplay needed a bit of thought.

The Quick crossword pun: {sue} + {per} + {fishy} + {alley} = {superficially}

85 comments on “DT 26892

  1. I thought this one was very good. A fairly gentle puzzle, although I had never heard of 1d (fortunately the wordplay got me to the correct answer).

    Thanks to setter and to BD.

      1. I agree with Mary. The top left hand corner was very difficult. And I didn’t enjoy the rest of the crossword today.

  2. Well I really can’t believe it, morning Dave I ‘m not sure what I thought of this, I think it was made over difficult by the wordplay some of which made no sense at all, yes it was workable with extreme perservation and all the help going on my part, did I enjoy it? I really don’t know, strange puzzle IMHO and worthy of a toughie, this is where the psychological bit comes in for me, if it was a toughie I wouldn’t have perservated with it! Luckily I knew the lotus car involved but there were other things I didn’t know like 18d and 1d , although I did manage without the blog today it took me ages!! Fav clue 13a, I think, not sure if its very clever or too simple :-) Be interesting to see other opinions today maybe it’s just me! A definite 4* for me today, off to read blog now :-) Thanks Dave

    1. I agree with Marys’ 4*.However, I don’t believe that it is RayT because I could do it. I also agree with Mary in that some of the clues are over complicated and, perhaps, unnecessarily so

      1. As I’ve said many times before, if the quick crossword doesn’t have single-word clues and single-word answers, then the back-page puzzle is not by Ray T (very occasionally a clue may be altered by the editor and have more than one word).

          1. I think what Dave is saying collywobs is, that on the day RayT does the cryptic, he also does the ‘quick crossword’ and all the answers and clues are usually single words, this is an indicator that the cryptic is by him too, if like me you don’t get the paper, then you probably don’t get to see the quick crossword

    2. I have found that many of the clues could be resolved from the definition and that the following dialogue of the clue is overcomplicated and somewhat spoils the crossword (I hope that it is not RayT but Mysterion)

      1. Its not RayT today collywobs, that’s why I said bring back RayT because I found this one really hard today :-)

        1. Don’t bring back RayT, Mary, because I can’t do his crosswords (and I have really tried). In fact, following Cripticsue’s comment yesterday I was all ready to do one today

      2. I find the overcomplicated clues put me off. Several times lately I have said “why do I bother because these just frustrate me”. I do persevere but find I am not enjoying the crosswords as much as I used to.

  3. IMHO & for what it’s worth Ray T is the man, closely followed by Virgilius, Rufus and Cephas. The answer to 11d used to be part of the Rowntree’s factory in York when I were a lad and it’s where all of the chocolate mixes were made. The smell when it was being prepared used to hang over the city for days…

  4. I thought this one was taking me longer than usual to sort out but was surprised to find that it was solved in about 2.5* difficulty time. I enjoyed myself too and will be interested to see what the ‘usual suspects’ have to say – hopefully not too many 1a 26d 5d’s :D Thanks to the Mysteron and BD too.

    The Toughie is a toughie but give it a go, you may suprise yourselves.

    1. It’s an island Joe, take ‘best’ off busiest you are left with ‘usi’ make an anagram of this indicated by ‘unexpectedly’ then add ‘t’ from time on the end, I’d never heard of it!

        1. I think it also gets a regular mention or used to, on the Shipping Forecast. Pommers would know I expect.

                1. You’re probably right – I don’t really know why I thought youist – it just seemed familiar.

          1. Hi Spindrift

            The bit of the shipping forecast you’re thinking of is probably North and South Utsire, located off the southern end of Norway. Uist I’ve occasionally heard on the inshore waters forecast but it’s not a regular as far as I remember. But it’s been about 10 years since I sailed in the UK so things may have changed!

              1. Correct on the pronunciation but the weather there usually sounded horrendous! I seem to remember if we had F6 forecast for the Irish Sea it would be ‘F8 increasing F9’ in South Utsire! Not the place for a small yacht – by small I mean anything less than 50ft!

  5. I thought this was tricky and I’m not quite sure whether I enjoyed it or not. I did think that lots of the clues had so many words that it was difficult to find what you were actually after, if that makes sense. I have finished it but, although it’s probably taken me about the same time as usual, I only got several of my answers because of the checking letters and because they fit the clue but I can’t explain how it’s all put together – will wait for the rest of the hints. If my 3d is right I’m not sure that I would have thought of a Frenchman.
    I did like (and understand!) 10, 13, 19 and 27a and 2, 18 and 26a.
    With thanks to the setter and BD.

    1. Hi Kath, mostly my sentiments on todays puzzle too, 3d if the second letter was an ‘e’ it would be a Frenchmans name, I think ‘on the phone’ is a homophone indicator but it doesn’t work for me!

    2. 3d – what about the Frenchman who sang that naughty song ‘Je t’aime, moi no plus’

    3. OK CS and Mary – I give in, but only a bit!! I still think that it’s more of a Russian name – having said that I could be, and probably am, completely wrong!!
      Yes – I remember the song – I think that the BBC banned it! :smile:

        1. Possibly – but whatever I’m thinking of it’s wrong! That really makes a change!! Oh dear!!

            1. Been a bit flip about the M-i-L I guess but the ‘witch’ joke goes back many years to when she used to arrive at our house at a weekend and I’d say something along the lines of “broomstick’s running OK then?” – taken in good part and a bit of a long-standing joke at the time. Bit different now but I’m not going there on a public forum. Reading between your lines sometimes I think you may well have similar problems.

  6. Enjoyed this one even if some of the clues were very convoluted!

    No prizes for guessing how I would have illustrated 11d had I been doing the blog :grin:

    Favourites 11d, and 27a.

    Thanks to mysteron and BD.

  7. Thanks to the Mysteron & to Big Dave for the review & hints. I thoroughly enjoyed it, some great clues. Started with 1d, finished with 7d ( hope It’s correct). Favourites were 24& 30a and 11,16& 23d. Just waiting for the rain in Central London, hoping the roof holds out!

    1. Hi Mary / Heno – 7d, its a hidden reversal (uppity?) within the third and foutrh words.

        1. So did I for quite a while, not so easy to spot when the words aren’t “next” to each other on the same line

  8. I agree with everybody who said the clues were overcomplicated. Come back, Ray, indeed – or anybody. I haven’t even bothered finishing the crossword. Not because I found it particularly difficult. Just not worth wasting my time

  9. Yes, i agree the clues were a little long winded, and being a shooting man helped with18d.I found myself thinking what the answer was, and then fitting it to the long clues-which is somewhat ‘volte face’ ,to match the french influence in the clues!
    Having said that,once started ,it fell into place and i gave it **/***, once bought a TVR instead of an Elan,the electrics were a bit dodgy ,but at least the head gasket did’nt blow-jeunesse doree days indeed.

  10. This took me longer than my usual time.
    Serge/Surge last to go in in spite of getting the ‘on the ‘phne indicator straightaway.
    Some, I thought, tricky clues.
    I say ****
    Thanks setter and BD.
    So looking forward to Ray T
    (No disrespects whatsoever to today’s setter) :)

  11. At least a four star for difficulty, found it very tricky. What has 3d to do with phone and still don’t get the MG. clue. I take my hat off to anyone who can unpick 24a. Def not my favourite puzzle but at least it’s not my nemesis.

    1. Hi Brian
      24a if you take the last letters of the words following ‘literally’ up to and including ‘anagram’ you get your answer
      3d on the phone is a homophone indicator
      11d if you put ‘elan’ inside MG before the second letter in Mercedes you get you answer

  12. I agree with all those who say overcomplicated and convoluted. I found it easy-ish but not very enjoyable.

  13. Oh good – my last “don’t understand where that comes from although the answer is clear” has now been sorted out by BD’s explanation – 16d. Another thing I don’t know anything about, along with most sports, is chocolate bars!

  14. I found this to be a very enjoyable puzzle to solve – I had to wait to comment as have been defragmenting my C disc as the PC is becoming inordinately slow – I’ll have to dump a lot of old programmes stored on it to speed it up!

    Faves : 10a, 17a, 24a, 27a, 3d, 5d, 16d & 21d.

    Re 17a – I always thought of the guy as a rope and not the peg!
    Re 16d – I could not understand the reference to chocolate bars but elucidated the answer from the rest of the fodder! I have probably been expatriate too long!

    My geographic memory of GB is still good as I lived and worked in many parts of the mainland – so 23d was easy (not a cheese!).

    Steak, frites and beans with a drop of Menetou-Salon rouge for dinner.

    Groetjes allemaal.

  15. Best puzzle of the week by a country mile – taxing in part and a good work-out. I failed to get 1d although I did work out what to do – never heard of the place! Really enjoyed it.

  16. Didn’t enjoy that one little bit – over-complicated and too convoluted I thought (in fact, a bit 1a?!) I’m not moaning because I couldn’t finish it – I’m having a bitch because even when I did get the elusive answers (from the hints) I didn’t think they were particularly clever – i.e. 26d – “unhappy” maybe, but “adult”? come on! And 16d was pretty weak, wasn’t it? And somewhat exclusive if you don’t happen to be “into” chocolate bars! Not my favourite – sorry Setter! but thank you BD for the hints and I am impressed by your solving time!

  17. Solved this with a bit of difficulty, agree that some of the clues were rather busy in content.

    Still quite enjoyable and for me a tester so. 3* diff.

    Uist is a well known Hebridean island, well it is to me, originally I come from a few miles south of there! It does not feature as a “name” on the Shipping Forecast.

    Whoops manners, thanks BD for review and to setter for the puzzle.

  18. It did indeed look harder than it was and I suspect I know the setter as well. All good fun today. Thanks to BD and to the setter.

  19. This did take me slightly longer than usual, mainly because i I wasn’t convinced about 17a, until I thought about what fixes a guy, d’oh and double d’oh. Thanks to BD and I suspect petitjean but probably wrong on that, whoever, thanks to setter

  20. Surface readings: Could anyone, please, explain 24a & 16d?

    Makes me more appreciative of the clues from Rufus, Virgilius , RayT ….et alia!!

    1. Hi Franco – BD has explained both of these far better than I could even attempt to do. I also needed his hints to explain where the answers came from. Very tricky, I thought.

    2. Hi Franco

      Re 24a – Word formed literally via cryptic answer to Machiavellian iffy anagram eventually (7)

      You know by now that ‘initially’ means first letters so try ‘enventually’ as a last letter indicator. Then you will see that the word made ‘literally’ is the last letters of the other words in the clue!

      Re 16d – Pride member displayed in avoidance of praline centre in second of two chocolate bars (4,3)

      The answer is a member of a pride (a small member) and it’s two chocolate bars (Lion and Club) with the L removed from the second one. Remove the L indicated by ‘avoidance of praLine centre’

        1. Fair comment, but it was the obvious gobbledegook that made both clues so simple to solve – about 10 seconds between them! Pommette got one and I got the other in no time at all. What else could the clues be apart from mechanical manipulation and so clearly no clever wordplay involved. Don’t mind clues like that as they give an ‘in’ to the puzzle.

        2. BD! You are right as normal! My question about the surface readings was intended to be sarcastically rhetorical – or with an answer of “No, Idea!”

          However, thanks to Kath & pommers for explaining the wordplay – which was pretty obvious to me.

          Just a personal preference – I think that each clue should make some sort of sense when you read it as a straight sentence. Don’t like the “gobbledegook” ones.

          What’s the ruling from on high about this sort of clue?

          1. I agree that 24a is pure gobbledegook but I think that you can make a case for 16d telling the story of a member (of a slimming club, perhaps) who took pride in refusing a particularly calorie-heavy piece of chocolate, having already eaten one bar. :D

  21. Hi Dave – great illustrations for 11d – even I wouldn’t have gone that far! The Elan is the iconic Lotus and apparantly when the Japanese engineers at Mazda designed the MX-3 (now the MX-5 much beloved of pommette) they spent millions trying to get the thing to sound just like the Elan! – succeeded admirably IMHO :grin: . Ask Libelulle as his wife has had two, pommette only managed one.!

      1. Gnomey, stop it! You’ll have me falling off my chair – I have had more than a few tonight :lol:

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