DT 26898 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 26898

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26898

Hints and tips by Big Dave

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

Love him or hate him, Ray T is back today! As usual there are two difficulty ratings, the first for those that love him and the second for the rest.

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    Grannie, a nan possibly old inside? (12)
{NONAGENARIAN} – an anagram (possibly) of GRANNIE A NAN with O(ld) inside gives someone loosely described by the whole clue

8a    ‘Inception’ filming location (5)
{ONSET} – this word meaning inception or beginning could, if split (2,3), describe a filming location

9a    Put up again in bedroom, perhaps (9)
{REPAPERED} – this verb means put up again on the wall of a bedroom or other room – well done if you got this without most or all of the checking letters; I thought the clue was a bit weak

11a    Politicians dropping Socialist leader by Tory leader’s account (9)
{STATEMENT} – take a general word for politicians (9), drop the second S (Socialist leader) and add a T (Tory leader) to get this account

12a    River trade missing Test (5)
{INDUS} – to get this Asian river drop TRY (test) from the end of a word meaning trade

13a    Rulers incorporating one metre units (9)
{REGIMENTS} – put these rulers who are invested with interim authority around I (one) and M(etre) to get these units of soldiers

16a    He makes interest, saving endless readies initially (5)
{MISER} – this person who hoards money comes from the initial letters of five words in the clue

18a    ‘Bond’ feature with adult content (5)
{CHAIN} – a bond or fetter is created by putting a facial feature around (with … content) A(dult)

19a    Deceive girl, almost fashionable model (9)
{MISINFORM} – to get this verb meaning to deceive run together most of a word for a young girl, a two-letter word meaning fashionable and a model or shape

20a    At home, United in exercise process (5)
{INPUT}- a two-letter word meaning at home is followed by U(nited) inside some exercises to get this process

22a    Scot free, the man with bizarre character outside (9)
{HEBRIDEAN} – this Scot from islands off the north west coast is derived from a verb meaning to free with the male pronoun and a bizarre chap outside

25a    Grandma’s remote, sadly getting very short measure (9)
{NANOMETRE} – a three-letter word for a Grandma is followed by an anagram (sadly) of REMOTE to get a short measure which is 10−9 of the metric standard length

26a    Hawk catching river fish (5)
{TROUT} – put a verb meaning to hawk or sell around (catching) R(iver) to get this fish

27a    Herds turn to stampeding mass in bad weather (12)
{THUNDERSTORM} – an anagram (stampeding) of HERDS TURN TO followed by M(ass) gives this bad weather


1d    Lost again, disorientated, provoking homesickness (9)
{NOSTALGIA} – an anagram (disorientated) of LOST AGAIN gives a word for homesickness

2d    Part of gunpowder in gun, it recoils (5)
{NITRE} – an ingredient in gunpowder id hidden inside the clue

3d    Devour pig’s tail in blood (5)
{GORGE} – this verb meaning to devour is created by putting the final letter (tail) of piG inside some blood

4d    They could be relatively helpful (9)
{NEPOTISTS} – a cryptic definition of people who show undue favouritism to their relatives

5d    Mechanic concerned with pilot circling end of airstrip (9)
{REPAIRMAN} – this mechanic who is skilled in fixing appliances is derived by putting a two-letter word meaning concerned and a pilot around (circling) the final letter (end) of airstriP

6d    Tart and redhead embraced by tart (5)
{ACRID} – to get this adjective meaning tart put the initial letter (head) of Red inside a different adjective meaning tart

7d    Criminal disturbance around street assembly (12)
{CONSTRUCTION} – put a three-letter word for a criminal and a disturbance around ST(reet) to get this assembly or fabrication

10d    Discern corrupt indirect aims (12)
{DISCRIMINATE} – this verb meaning to discern or tell apart is an anagram (corrupt) of INDIRECT AIMS

14d    ‘Little Boy’? No, a smaller, older explosive device (9)
{MINUTEMAN} – an adjective meaning very little is followed by an “older” boy to get this three-stage intercontinental ballistic missile

15d    Nabokov’s first with the empty novel ‘Lolita’ (9)
{NYMPHETTE} – the initial letter (first) of Nabokov is followed by an anagram (novel) of THE EMPTY to get a Lolita, a young girl who acts in a sexually provocative manner – the word Lolita came from the eponymous character in the famous novel by Vladimir Nabokov

17d    Secure rubbish in excess ends up here? (9)
{STOREROOM} – start with a verb meaning to secure a boat, add some rubbish inside the outer letters (end) of ExcesS then reverse the lot (up in a down clue) to get somewhere the rubbish could be secured

21d    Slug a mixture of drinks (5)
{PUNCH} – a double definition – to slug or hit and a mixture of drinks, often served at the start of a party

23d    Thank Queen covering live opening… (5)
{BLESS} – this verb meaning to thank is derived from the nickname of Queen Elizabeth I around (covering) the initial letter (opening) of Live

24d    …keen on catching Queen opening (5)
{INTRO} – put a verb meaning keen on around (catching) the Latin abbreviation for Queen to get this opening passage of a piece of popular music

While there is only mild innuendo today, the signature Queen references are there!

The Quick crossword pun: {age} + {hewed} = {Hey Jude}

149 comments on “DT 26898

  1. Well I generally love him but not today so much. I got all the answers but needed your explanations for a couple.

    My main gripe was the relative lack of humour and innuendo we expect from Ray T. 2 weeks ago was simply superb but I thought this was a bit more pedestrian – sorry!

    3*/2* for me

    Thanks for the puzzle and the review.


      1. Now, look Dave, I usually like the Friday puzzle so do you think I could do the Toughie today

          1. Right, now, what am I going to do today? You have given the puzzle 4* and I can’t do that

            1. If you never try then you will never be able to do them. Try cribbing the acrosses or the downs and then having a go at the rest

                1. good luck collywobs, let us know how you get on :-)
                  but you can’t crib yet, the blog’s not up

                    1. The Dada toughie isn’t his toughest, and has lots of clues that should get you started.

                  1. Just to keep you in the picture, Mary, I’ve done all of the North part with help only on 11a

                    1. really well done, collywobs, I am impressed, are you going to perservate with the rest of it?

  2. Standard RayT stuff and none the worse for it, reasonably difficult in parts and reasonably simple in others. My thanks to RayT and to BD for the review.

  3. Not the most exciting of puzzles, and I thought 9a was fairly poor unless I am missing something. 3* on both counts from me.
    Thanks to RayT, and to BD for the review.

    The toughie is not overly difficult for those with time on their hands.

    1. I agree with you and Big Dave on 9a – it just was not good enough. It was the last one in for me and the first hint I looked at because I was sure that I was overlooking some some inner meaning.

  4. Morning Dave, it took me ages to get started on this one, eventually starting with one down, I needed your hints to get 23d, mainly because I spelt metre wrong in 25a!! having got 17d, there was no way I could understand how I got it, so thanks for that, I agree about 9a and have been wondering as Jezza, if I was missing something here?
    A three star at least for me today but a workable puzzle for myself with plenty of perservation and ‘help’
    Once again this week no real favourite and nothing that made me smile :-(
    On the subject of smiling Mrs Browns Boys really made me laugh out loud this week (it takes a lot to do that) :-D

    1. Never heard of “Mrs Brown’s Boys” or “True Love”. Am I missing something, or are they both things that are better off being missed?

        1. I really am having a very confusing day today – now I don’t know who to listen to – BD or Mary?

      1. Depends on your sense of humour for Mrs Browns Boys, Kath, I never thought it was my cup of tea, but it really does get me laughing and ‘True Love’ is more a ‘girly thing’ than a mans

        1. I’m with you Mary, I really like Mrs Browns Boys. Not sure I share your taste in literature though

              1. Now you really shouldn’t judge eXternal, if you haven’t read it and I wouldn’t expect you to have :-) ? , apart from being a little risque the storyline is really good, I am on book three of the trilogy at the moment, definitely not one for the gentlemen on this site :-D and ladies only if you are broad minded :-)

                    1. I’m not BD but do remember you saying that you were reading something that I’d never heard of …..

  5. I really struggled on this and was about to give up (by that I mean solving it under my own steam and without any electronic aids) but then a couple dropped and that gave me the impetus to get most of the rest and so quite pleased. Agree re 9.

    I had Hibernian fior 22 although I couldn’t understand why. I also had sprat for 26 which was a reasonable answer. To hawk is to spit on the ground around R gives sprat. Those two conspired to make 17 and 24 impossible for me to solve even with help!

    1. Funnily enough I considered spat for hawk in 26a, but by then I had T as the initial letter. I’m sure Anax used this once.

        1. Don’t understand – do you mean the answer was “spat”? If so, how did the handbags get into it? Or am I being dim? :sad:

            1. I am starting to see you in a whole new light, Jezza. Underage drinking revelations at the weekend (I refuse to believe you were born when you said you were) and now fighting with/round your handbag :D

              1. I must have had an easy life… as for the ‘handbags’ it conjures up images of Vic and Bob on Shooting Stars :)

            2. Thanks Jezza – occasionally (thankfully only VERY occasionally) I bump into someone who has a enormous Rhodesian Ridgeback which always goes for our little collie. The owner always says “It’s only handbags” – I’ve never known what she’s on about – now I do!! I have to say it does look like a bit more than a MINOR altercation!!

  6. Oh dear!! Now I’m confused – I love Ray T which puts me in the 3* camp but I found this difficult so I’m in the 4* one – really don’t know where I belong today. Either way I enjoyed it but found it a bit lacking in rudeness, for one of his crosswords anyway.
    I finished this without needing the hints apart from an explanation for 17d which I couldn’t unravel on my own. I’ve never heard of 14d so had to look it up. 22a took me for ever and so did 23d – was trying to fit “ER” into it somewhere.
    I liked 18 and 27a and 4 and 6d.
    With thanks to Ray T and BD.

  7. The only thing I can see in 9a is that the first 7 letters can go either way but then where does the bedroom come in or the ‘ed’ at the end?

    1. The bedroom is just one example of a room where this activity can be undertaken. The ED shows it is a past participle – put up again.

        1. Good question. I think not, I saw it as just a description of the process of redecorating one’s bedroom, although given that I have been trying to persuade Mr CS tthat we ought to do so for many a long year, I am not sure I am the best person to ask :D

    2. I spent a while trying to make 9a an anagram of “in bedroom” but discovered fairly quickly that it wasn’t going to work.

  8. I don’t see what the difficulty level has to do with loving or hating Ray T puzzles. The enjoyment factor yes, but the difficulty rating depends on how quickly you are able to get on his wavelength. It took me a while to get going today and at one point I did consider leaving it as I knew we would have a treat with the Toughie. However, I perservated and finished in my usual time for a Ray T, which is slightly longer than other setters, so 3.5 difficulty for me. Some nice clues in there, including 6d which was I thought an original way of cluing that chestnut. 3.5* fun for me too, thank you Ray and BD.

    The Toughie only takes a smidge longer to solve than this and is very entertaining so do give it a go, you may surprise yourself.

  9. Glanced at the print out early doors and saw the Queen references so I knew we were in for a Ray T.

    Loved it – if he could publish them in a book then my week away in July without access to the interweb and miles from the nearest shop may be bearable.

    Ta muchly to Ray & to BD

    1. I took the Daily Telegraph Book of Holiday Crosswords away last year which worked well at keeping the withdrawal symptoms at bay.

        1. I agree Mary. I have a DT cryptic paperback from years ago but it just does not feel right especially when the answers are all at the back. I suppose I could print off the next 2 weeks worth of puzzles and not look at them until I’m away. Yeah, right, like that’s going to happen.

          1. My brother does that in reverse spindrift, whenever he is away he prints off the crosswords from the time he was away before, if you see what I mean?

  10. Dave….you are spot-on about Mrs. Brown’s Boys…..it is puerile rubbish…..trust me…I know. Anyhow…..today’s Toughie was one of those I liked……I could finish it!! As for the other one…….if at first you don’t succeed…try, try……then give up….it aint worth it…..heh heh!

    1. Did you ever watch the Catherine Tate show Joe, now the old Granny as one of the many characters she portrays really makes me laugh too

  11. Just about to have a go at this over a bite of lunch but not sure if the brain will work properly – it’s now 37C and rising according to Alicante airport weather centre, phew :grin:

    P.S. Can recommend the Dada Toughie!

    1. Here in West Bridgford we’re in semi darkness and I’m working with the lights on. Just waiting for the skies to open and for it to persist down. Better duck Pommers as I can see a few e-slaps & e-punches heading your way…

  12. Great puzzle, as usual, from Ray T.
    Thanks, and BD for the review.
    9a – even before I got more of the linking letters, REPAPERED immediately popped up from my subconscious.
    Funny that.

  13. Can someone please put me out of my misery and tell me if 9a has anything at all to do with the first seven letters being a palindrome?

    1. No. It’s a mildly cryptic clue where you’re meant to think that put up again means provided with accommodation once more.

    1. Someone from one of the Scottish islands – the male pronoun followed the name of an exceptionally irritating Rowan Atkinson character into which is inserted a word meaning to do away with or free (3)

      1. Sorry CS – as usual you beat me to it! :smile: I can’t bear that Rowan Atkinson character.

        1. I can never understand how someone who was so brilliant as Blackadder can be so unfunny as Bean. This is the same man who had the audience in stitches when reading the school register.

    2. The definition is a Scot from the islands. You need two letters for “the man” then a four letter odd character (I think must be Rowan Atkinson) with a three letter word meaning “free of” in the middle. Sorry – that sounds as clear as mud!!

        1. Brian, I know you could have done more than that! You probably just weren’t in the right frame of mind, never mind Giovanni tomorrow :-)

          1. Believe me I did try but his clues are impenetrable and I get really annoyed that he alone of all the setters will not use phrases which I always enjoy.

  14. I haven’t had a chance to comment all week but thought I would say that this was a good one – I enjoyed it and got off to a good start by getting 1a and 1d straight off. Did take a bit of extra time with some of the others though – 17d held me up for a while. Enjoyed the two Queen references.

    Thanks to Ray T and to BD.

    BTW I have realised I know nothing about TV programmes – all the conversations above are way over my head. Don’t know Catherine Tate; not heard of True Love and have never seen Mrs Browns Boys. I gather I am not missing anything though. As for Rowan Atkinson – no thank you.

    1. What about Miranda? Lea, have you seen that, she is so funny …………waiting for everyone to say the opposite :-D, love her ;-)

      1. I group Miranda with Victoria Wood, Sarah Millican and a whole genre of women who are silly not funny. To my mind, nobody since Spike Milligan has managed to be both silly and funny.

        The only really funny women, for me, are Jo Brand, Shappi Khorsandi and Rita Rudner.

        1. I like the first group you mentioned Dave, not so much Sarah Milican though but not the second

        2. Whilst I would agree about smoe of Victoria’s more recent stuff on TV, I do like some of her old stuff and have seen her live. Haven’t laughed so much before or since.

      1. Don’t know, but I think from the number of comments here today it must be raining almost everywhere and we’re all feeling cooped up – I certainly am although will have to take “Her Ladyship” for a short out in a minute.

            1. sorted, invasion of grandsons last night explains all, for some reason they muted my computer!! Grrr! thanks once again Dave

  15. ***/**** for me,enought anagrams to get a few important ‘helpers’ in,wanted to put –bolts on 27a,which caused a problem with the intersecting down clues-till i worked out the correct answer also struggled with 23d until i put in the alternative spelling of 25a nothings straightforward these days!

    1. I too had bolts at the end of 27a which held me up but also spelt the end of 25a meter which played havoc with 23d!

    2. Please could you put your id in lower case – the use of capital letters is the Internet equivalent of shouting.

      The answer to 25a is not the “alternative” spelling, it is the correct one. The other spelling comes from those ghastly Americans who have bastardised our language.

  16. Enjoyable but I’m in the 4*/4* camp! Finished the Dada faster than this one! Maybe it is the heat frying the brain :grin: Went through the acrosses and only got 2 but the downs came to the rescue. Favourite was 4d.

    Thanks to RayT and BD

    1. Yes – exactly the same – only two across answers to begin with and then a few more with the downs. Have almost finished toughie – stuck on four, all in bottom right corner. Will give up fairly soon, I think.
      STOP telling us about the heat!! :smile:

  17. Pleased to see a RayT on another wild and wet Thursday. Not much innuendo today, except for 6 but still some fine clues of which I thought 23 was the best as it was last in and gave me a aaaaagh moment. Also enjoyed 1a 4 5 6 14 17 21 and 24. Ray uses so many different types of clue which always keeps them interesting.

  18. Enjoyed this one with the exception of 9a. Favourite clue was 5d. ***/*** (would have been***/**** if 9a had been better). Many thanks to BD and RT

  19. Struggled with Ray T today, filling in only two answers on the first read-through. It slowly all came together however and whilst my answers were right for 17d and 22a (the last two in) this was from the letters there, rather than the wordplay in the clues – which I didn’t get until I read Big Dave’s explanations.

  20. Not altogether enamoured with this one today.

    9A was poor and not many penny drop moments really.

    Right from the off I had 26A as SPRAT. I’m fairly sure to hawk is also to spit but as the tense was wrong I only got this easy one towards the end. Doh.

  21. I was just thinking, I’m really glad I got out of the ‘clueless club’ when I did, as there doesn’t seem to be anyone there these days, often though I think I belong back there :-)

    1. Mary, I fondly remember climbing out of the CC into the JO (just out)CC about the time you formed it. Seems a lifetime ago. Nowadays I sit firmly comfortably in the FED club (finish every day), largely thanks to this blog.

  22. Thanks to Ray T for the puzzle & to Big Dave for the review & hints. I thoroughly was struggling with 10 answers missing, but they all fell into place. Agree with Big Dave about 9a, but overall, a nice puzzle. Started with 1a,finished with 11a. Favourites were 6,7,14,15d.,with great misdirecrion in 23d not using er or r for Queen. Gale force winds due in Central London tomorrow, hope the roof is still there for them to fix next week ;-)

  23. Great, wasted £1.20 on the Telegraph again. Next Thursday I’m putting it into the charity box by the til in my local newsagent rather than buying the paper, and I’m going to read a book on the commute into work instead.

  24. I must have a perverse mind, 9a was first one in; unusual though the clue was. Sorry I can’t enter the conversation on television programs, I gave up watching some years ago and don’t miss it.
    Rain and wind most of the day here in W.Cumbria but now settled to wall-to-wall grey.
    Not my favourite today but thanks to Ray T and BD all the same.

  25. What an active site today. It must be the dismal weather. Found today’s crossword hard going and thanks BD for the hints. I’ll see it as a real triumph the first time I complete a Thursday puzzle unaided. And BD you wouldn’t like Mrs Brown’s Boys. I always affect disdain when it is on in my house but just now and again I can’t help but laugh.

  26. Evening all. As always, thanks to BD for the analysis, and to all for your many comments.


  27. I found today’s RayT far more difficult than usual and it seemed to lack the usual sparkle, wit and smut! He set a very high standard in his previous offering!

    Today’s the Summer Solstice – the nights are drawing in – how depressing!!!!

    1. We shouldn’t start to think about “the nights drawing in” – how many people (apart from me) say, on 21st December, “It’ll be getting lighter in the evenings soon”?! If you think about, it in one month’s time it will still be as light in the evenings as it was on 21st May. It’s a long way to go until things take a nose dive! :smile:

  28. I can’t figure a way to read the 16a clue that makes sense. Does “readies” mean something in the U.K.?

    1. Readies is an informal way of saying that you have enough ready cash. So in this case, the person in the solution would be hiding away his ‘readies’.

  29. What a lot of comments for mid week – perhaps a combination of a Ray T crossword and really shit weather across the whole country – who knows? I have certainly enjoyed reading all the comments – they have kept me happy on an otherwise pretty miserable grey day. Shall we all keep our fingers crossed for a little bit of sun tomorrow? I have not watched the weather forecast yet …..

  30. I have never seen so many comments even for a prize crossword. Well done Ray T. Did this on train to and from Nottingham/Wolverhampton.(Don’t ask!). I agreed with 9d comments in the main. Thinking again and seeing one comment I think it was perhaps too subtle for the majority of us.Put up/bedroom/accommodate. Bedroom perhaps – I guess gives us the clue that this activity could take place in any room. Like others – I tried everything before getting it. Like most I had most trouble with 25d. I also had the wrong spelling of 25a and all I could fit in was Boris!

      1. Many times, but usually on Saturday’s Hints. Four other weekday puzzles have more comments than this – the record being 237 for DT 26778, a rare appearance on the back page for Elgar

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