DT 26897 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 26897

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26897

Hints and tips by pommers

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BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

Hola from the Vega Baja.  I quite enjoyed this puzzle but I know some of you will disagree. There seems to be more than the usual fiddling about with first and/or last letters and bits of words. I’m not sure why but my favourite TV character is hidden in the grid! Can’t see anything else but I usually miss these things so there might well be something there.

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           Heartless type in trade war struggling to stand still (5,5)
{TREAD WATER} –  Definition is stand still and it’s an anagram (struggling) of TRADE WAR and T(yp)E (heartless).  First in! I always feel better on a blogging day when 1a goes straight in!

6a           Bound to drink over weekend (4)
{SKIP} – Another word for a bound or jump is formed from a word for drink (slowly) placed around (over) a K (weeK end).   As far as I’m concerned this clue is merely a statement of fact!

10a         Frown, seeing son’s first hoodie (5)
{SCOWL} – S (Son’s first) followed by another word for a hood gives a frown.

11a         No charge — a free moorage here! (9)
{ANCHORAGE} – A place where you can moor a boat, usually for free, is an anagram (free) of NO CHARGE A.  Personally I think the word ‘mooring’ would read better but that’s just being picky!

12a         and 13a: Physical discomfort, with father at home during a board game (5,3,5)
{ACHES AND PAINS} – To get this physical discomfort you need A (from the clue) and a board game (5). Into it insert (during) another word for with, the usual father and the usual crosswordland word for home or at home. Then split it all (5,3,5).  I made heavy weather of this one as I didn’t read the enumeration and was trying to get an answer that was (8,5), D’OH!

13a         See 12

15a         Have search parties start to sweep (7)
{POSSESS} – A word meaning to have or to own is some search parties with an S (start to Sweep)

17a         Almost ruined front of racing car’s aerodynamic fixture (7)
{SPOILER} – This aerodynamic feature found on a car is a word meaning ruined without its last letter (almost) and then an R (front of Racing).

19a         Survived, and guaranteed to have daughter for Christmas at last (7)
{ENDURED} – Definition is survived. Take a word meaning guaranteed and replace the S with a D (Daughter for ChristmaS at last).

21a         Provides lubrication for gear casing and relaxes (7)
{GREASES} – A word meaning provides lubrication is GR ( GeaR casing) followed by a word meaning relaxes.

22a         Mayhem created by poor chav full of love (5)
{HAVOC} – This mayhem is an anagram (poor) of CHAV with O (love) inserted (full of).

24a         South American writers cope without policeman’s tension (8)
{SUSPENSE} – A word for tension or anxiety is made from S(outh), the 2 letter abbreviation for American, some of the usual writers and an E (copE without policeman (cop)).  Never seen that wordplay before – quite clever I thought.

27a         Running over a dune is an effort (9)
{ENDEAVOUR} – This effort is an anagram (running) of OVER A DUNE.

28a         Some worried about the end of another walrus (5)
{MORSE} – This is another word for a walrus, which I’d never come across before, but fortunately the clue is quite clear and it follows 27a which may make it more obvious!  It’s an anagram (worried) of SOME with an R (end of anotheR) inserted (about).

29a         Go round (4)
{SHOT} – Double definition. A go, as in an attempt, is also a round, as in a piece of ammunition. Last in! For some reason the penny got stuck for a while!

30a         Time up in church, say! (5,5)
{CLOCK TOWER} – A cryptic definition of where you might find the time high up in a building, possibly a church.


1d           International trial? (4)
{TEST} – Double definition. An international cricket or rugby match is also a trial.  I suppose this could also be read as a cryptic definition as one of these matches could be described as an International Trial.

2d           Drove out former soldiers caught on wrong side (9)
{EXORCISED} – A word meaning drove out, evil spirits perhaps, is the usual prefix for former, some soldiers (not officers), C(aught) and then an anagram (wrong) of SIDE.

3d           Cancel, with victory for ET’s research (5)
{DELVE} – To get a word meaning research or look into you need a word for cancel or remove and replace ET with a V (Victory for ET).

4d           Down-to-earth beings, motorists accept tax on empty roads (7)
{AVATARS} – Definition is down-to-earth beings. The word is now commonly used for something different but its original meaning is the manifestation of a deity, notably Vishnu, in human or animal form. Start with a motorist’s organistation and insert a tax. Then follow with RS (empty RoadS).

5d           Makes secret scene changes to include party on the way up (7)
{ENCODES} – A word meaning makes secret, a message perhaps, is an anagram (changes) of SCENE with a reversal (on the way up in a down clue) of the usual party inserted (to include).

7d           Colour of vehicle crucial, according to reports (5)
{KHAKI} – This colour sounds like (according to reports) a road vehicle and a word meaning crucial.  Not usually keen on homophone clues but I think this one works quite well.

8d           Coerce journalists to rebel, supporting United (10)
{PRESSURISE} – Start with a collective noun for journalists and follow with U(nited) and then (supporting) a verb meaning to get up in rebellion and you get a word meaning coerce.

9d           A way to get out from dive after aerobatic manoeuvre (8)
{LOOPHOLE} – An aerobatic manoeuvre followed by a dive, as in a not very nice place, gives you a way out, of a contract perhaps.

14d         Struck dumb by the lack of deliveries (10)
{SPEECHLESS} – Double definition. To be struck dumb, in surprise perhaps, could also mean there has been a lack of delivery, as in verbal communication.

16d         Person working for union, or curate in trouble (8)
{EUROCRAT} – A person working for the European Union is an anagram (in trouble) of OR CURATE.

18d         Limit regulation covering two streets and road, oddly (4,5)
{LAST STRAW} – This is the limit which broke the camel’s back! Start with a regulation and insert (covering) two of the abbreviation of street and RA (RoAd oddly).

20d         Strip of French polish mostly ruined (7)
{DESPOIL} – A word meaning to strip or plunder is the French word for ‘of’ followed by an anagram (ruined) of POLIS(h) (mostly).

21d         Talk on sources of toxins raging in colitis of the stomach (7)
{GASTRIC} – Definition is ‘of the stomach’. Take a word for talk or gossip (3) and follow with the first letters (sources of) the next four words of the clue.

23d         Recording of Monroe divorce rejected (5)
{VIDEO} – This recording is hidden in Monroe divorce but it’s backwards (rejected).

25d         Tourist in Cornwall team regularly encountered (5)
{EMMET} – This Cornish word for a tourist is EM (tEaM regularly) followed by a word meaning encountered or came across.

26d         Sort of dam that’s strange, unfinished! (4)
{WEIR} – A sort of dam is a synonym for strange without its last letter (unfinished).

Quite a few nice clues today but favourites are 6a and 11a.

The Quick crossword pun: {tomb} + (ore} + {roam} + {awning} = {tomorrow morning}

55 comments on “DT 26897

  1. I liked this one more the further I got into it. I made one rash error putting SPIN for 29a, but as soon as I saw 23d I realised my mistake. The walrus for a new one to me!
    Thanks to Jay, and to pommers for the notes.

    Now for Micawber – I hope it’s as good as his previous ones.

        1. And me ….. and I still couldn’t get it when I had the other letters in – thanks Pommers.

        1. My last one in as well Kath – did you here the clang when the penny finally came unstuck :grin:

        2. I hope “what” rather than “stupid”, because 29A was my last one too…

          … and I was on my university rifle team for all three years, doh!

  2. Yep, really enjoyed this one, glad you gave it three stars diff. as it took some time to unravel.

    The Morse and codes theme seems to rear it’s head every now and then, I used to think that Colin Dexter was the setter given Morse’s obsession with the Times puzzle, subsequent reading would seem to contradict that.

    Anyway thanks for the review and to the setter for a testing puzzle.

  3. I got on very well with this setter’s clue structures. 7D made me laugh by way of its creativity, 24A was even better.

  4. Morning pommers can’t say I got on very well with this, it must be me this week, I haven’t found any too easy so far or indeed have I liked them much :-( putting ‘turn’ for 29a and ‘last order’ for 18d didn’t help my efforts much!! Once again no real favourite, thanks for blog pomers at least a three star for me, if today is the nicest day of the month, I dread tot hink what the rest will be like, still at least it’s dry and the clouds are white!!

    1. I really don’t like crosswords where you use bits and pieces of words and then have to change them round etc.

    2. It’s dry here too, at the moment. Need to cut grass while I have the chance but lawn mower is in the hospital for poorly lawn mowers which means that I’m going to have to attempt to use our enormous, ancient and very heavy, not to mention unpredictable, Flymo! :sad: Back later, assuming I manage to keep all my fingers and toes!

    3. Mary, makes a real change for me to like a puzzle that you struggled with. :-)
      Enjoy the sun, my friend has just returned early from a caravanning holiday in Wales with tales of rain of biblical proportions.

  5. I found this the trickiest Jay to get started on for a long time. Even moving to the downs didn’t help! Eventually light began to dawn but for a back page puzzle this was at least 3.5 difficulty for me. Some interesting stuff in amongst the add a bit take a bit away clues, including the new name for a walrus. Thanks to Jay and Pommers too.

    The Micawber is as usual terrific stuff, as is the Paul in the Graun.

  6. Excellent fare.
    Thanks Jay and pommers for the review.
    *** if not one more.
    Nice warm up for Ray T? tomorrow?

  7. I enjoyed this – it certainly had some tricky bits. It took me ages to understand 3d and I needed the hint to explain 23d – I always miss the “inside and reversed” thingies and the setters always seem to manage to make them even more difficult by having bits on different lines. I’ve never heard of the walrus but, because it was next to “Endeavour” I guessed and looked it up – my favourite TV character too. Also, on the same subject, I think the “Clock Tower” was one of the very earliest Morse episodes – might even have been the first. I didn’t know the 17a word – another guess and look up.
    Favourites include 22 and 27a and 7 and 9d – also, inevitably, 27 and 28a!
    With thanks to Jay and pommers.

  8. Didn’t like today’s, only about half of it made sense to me.
    Thanks Pommers for all the hints.
    For me a 4* for difficulty and 1* for enjoyment.
    Come to think of it, that sums up my morning game of golf – difficult and not enjoyable

  9. It just goes to show how people’s brains work differently. I found today’s much easier than any other this week and can tick off another puzzle solved unaided :) I find with Jay you can solve the answer through logic without knowledge which suits me very well!!

  10. Thanks to Jay for an enjoyable crossword, a few too many anagrams for my liking but also a few excellent clues. Thanks also to pommers for the picture of a very drab colour which brightened my morning. ( Oh, and the very entertaining review ).

  11. 29a – also put in ‘turn’ originally, but changed it to ‘spin’, after filling in 14d. Couldn’t make 23d work with ‘v*d*i’, but then finally realised the wordplay in the clue and everything fell into place. 24a was my favourite, although I missed seeing the clever way to get the last letter.

  12. What a fun crossword!! I really enjoyed that as it was not too easy and a lot of the clues were so clever. Whilst I managed it without help..I needed your explanation of 20d and 29a… all So obvious now! I also put spin as my answer for 29a! Never heard of that walrus or the cornish vistor so have learnt something today :) Back out to combat the weeds… spent 2 hours already mowing and sweeping/ early in the morning to try and avoid the heat. Its so sunny and blue!!!!!!

  13. ***/****Very clever, and i agree lots of fun.Managed to complete it without even recognising the Morse connection! must have celebrated the win too much. Had a row with next doors cat- and it won-anybody got any plasters?

  14. Hi – a quick query re today’s Quick Crossword
    The answer to 2d is ‘abnegate’ I think, but to make it fit with ‘awning’ in 10a it has to be spelt ‘abnigate’.
    However I can’t find any reference to an alternative spelling for ‘abnegate’
    – Or am i missing something??

      1. Thanks all – I never though of “abdicate” !
        Digby – 22a is “lazing”

          1. It is now 11pm and I still cannot get the Quick 20 down – Reluctant (6) So far I think I have A?I?S? Any help is welcomed!

            1. Hi Ian and welcome to the blog if you’re a new poster.

              Haven’t done the quick but the answer looks to me like it might be AVERSE which means one of your other answers is wrong.

    1. I don’t think Edward VIII abnegated in 1936 – perhaps you should try another word

  15. Once you get used to Jay’s style and little foibles his puzzles seem to get a bit easier, but no less enjoyable.
    Needed your clue to explain 29a, and thanks for the nice shade of khaki, Pommers.

  16. Enjoyed solving this one – feeling much better today as was off colour yesterday!
    Faves : 1a, 12 & 13a, 24a, 30a, 4d, 7d, 9d & 18d.

    Making initial preparations for going down to the Var next month. My son is already there.

  17. Just had another look at the picture for 11a. It isn’t Moelfre. I think it’s Beaumaris Bay with the pier in the background and you can just see the Great Orme on the horizon to the right of the yacht.

    BTW, it isn’t Firenze but it sure looks like the same model – a ‘Fulmar’ from Westerly Yachts

  18. A very nice puzzle – I had spin for 29a at first too!. THanks to Jay and to Pommers for the blog.

  19. Thought at first I was going to struggle but found the bottom half was the way in and everything fell nicely into place. By far and way the best clue for me was 7d which made me smile. Thx to Pommers for explaining 3d, just couldn’t see the cancel bit.
    Overall a very good puzzle.

  20. Well, I am going to buck the trend because I finished a Wednesday puzzle unassisted – so */** for difficulty, and I agree on **** for enjoyment. Seemed to be one or two oldies but goodies – 7d for example (but that descritpion is not a reference to the picture above!). Morse as an alternative for walrus was new to me, but having worked out the anagram, it seemed to be an apt description of the good inspector in the picture above. Thanks to setter and Pommers.

  21. Enjoyed this puzzle so thanks to setter and Pommers for the hints. I did feel that 6a was weak and 3d a bit complicated for my simple mind.

    Pommers, what does ‘OR’ stand for in 2d

  22. Excellent puzzle. Many good clues – I especially liked 12a, 2d, 7d and 8d. Like some others I did not realise that Morse was a walrus. I also liked the link with 27a and 28a. I personally enjoy the mind twisting clues of bits of words, letters transposed etc. **/**** Many thanks to Jay and Pommers.

  23. Thanks to Jay & Pommers for the review & hints. Needed 3 to finish. I put in leap for 6a,so couldn’t get 7d. Also stuck on 16d even though I had the anagram fodder. 29a last in also needed the hint. Quite enjoyed it, but found it difficult. Favourites were 11a & 25d. Lovely day in Central London, longest day tomorrow, be able to see the rain late :-) Morse was new for me, but I got it from the wordplay.

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