DT 26903 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 26903

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26903

Hints and tips by pommers

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

Hola from the Vega Baja.   On the night shift again! Been out to dinner with some friends and got home at exactly 0100CEST so the puzzle had just come on line and it seemed rude to ignore it!  Glad I didn’t as I really enjoyed it as an after dinner treat (if  I’d gone to bed at that time I would have been very grumpy in the morning)!  Maybe it’s the post prandial brandy but I thought one or two of the clues were a bit tricky but overall not too hard, maybe only 2* for most of you but it was just into 3* time for me.  Nice spread of clue types today though so that added to the fun.

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           Filming spectators in range (8,7)
{SHOOTING GALLERY} – This range is a place you might practise with a gun at a fairground. First word means filming, as in photographing, and the second is the spectators in a theatre perhaps.  First in – happy bunny again (2 weeks running)!

9a           Unfashionable players in Coventry? (7)
{OUTCAST} – Someone sent to Coventry would be this and it’s a charade of a word for unfashionable followed by the usual players, as in actors.

10a         Quietly admit to be lacking depth (7)
{SHALLOW} – A way of telling someone to be quiet (2) followed by a word meaning admit or permit gives a word describing something lacking depth.

11a         I’m ready to face university with no preparation (9)
{IMPROMPTU} – IM (from the clue), a word meaning ready or on time and then a U(niversity) is a word describing something done without preparation or rehearsal.

12a         One attached to back language (5)
{HINDI} – Add (attached) an I (one) to a word for back or rear and you get an Asian language.

13a         Analysed shift duties before start of day (7)
{STUDIED} – A word meaning analysed is an anagram (shift) of DUTIES followed by D (start of Day).

15a         Impression created by becoming topless (7)
{ETCHING} – This impression is a word for becoming, as in attractive, without its first letter (topless).  I’ll resist the photo opportunity for the sake of decorum!

17a         Stops in abandoned side streets (7)
{DESISTS} – A word meaning stops is an anagram (abandoned) of SIDE followed by the usual abbreviation for streets (remember it’s plural). Obviously Jay has never been to Moss Side in Manchester otherwise he would know this is something you would never do, if you wanted to keep the alloy wheels on your car, simply stopping at red traffic lights is risky!!

19a         Circle line putting man on beat (7)
{TANGENT} – A line which just touches a circle is a word for a man placed after (on) a word for beat.

21a         Spread of a mould, starting in alimentary canal (5)
{GAMUT} – This is the spread of something.  You need A (from the clue) and M (Mould starting) and place them in a common word for your alimentary canal.

23a         Tiger, say, in most of answers providing copy (9)
{REPLICATE} –  Not sure how to explain this one, but here goes!  Think of another word for ‘answers’ and remove the final S. Now insert what a tiger is a large example of (say) and you’ll get a word meaning copy.  Hope that made some sort of sense!

25a         Accessory for a formal suit with new cut around top of neck (7)
{ADJUNCT} – Another one a bit complicated!  This accessory or addition is formed from A (from the clue), a 2 letter abbreviation for a formal suit, worn by men at posh functions, and then an anagram (new) of CUT placed around N (top of Neck).  Why does Jay do this to me? I’m sure his clues used to be easier to explain! Or is it the post-prandial brandy?

26a         Marina utilised for keeping molluscs (7)
{NAUTILI} – These molluscs are hidden (keeping) in marina utilised.

27a         Traumatic, seeing poor heart being broken (5-10)
{EARTH SHATTERING} – This is another way of describing something traumatic.  It’s an anagram (poor) of HEART followed by a word meaning being broken or smashed.


1d           Accounts for ‘Independent’ stocked by retail establishments (7)
{STORIES} –Take another word for retail establishments or shops and insert an I(ndependant). You’ll get a word meaning accounts or tales.

2d           Working with volunteers, parking freely available (2,3)
{ON TAP} – A charade of a word for working, the usual volunteers and P(arking) gives a phrase meaning freely available.

3d           Things going to pot see a stoic panicking (3-6)
{TEA COSIES} – These things that keep your pot of morning drink warm are an anagram (panicking) of SEE A STOIC.  Sorry to those who drink coffee in the morning but I’m sure you’ll get my drift!

4d           Where one may write comment on pied-à-terre? (4-3)
{NOTE PAD} – This is something on which you might write something. It’s a word for a comment followed by a slang term for an apartment or pied-a-terre.

5d           Get user free, giving thumbs-up perhaps? (7)
{GESTURE} – An anagram (free) of GET USER is something of which a thumbs -up or a V-sign would be an example.

6d           Include in schedule a charge for drain (5)
{LEACH} – To drain is hidden (include) in schedule a charge.

7d           Wild rose, for example, on worker in queue (9)
{EGLANTINE} – A wild rose, which I only ever come across in crosswords, is formed from the usual abbreviation of  ‘for example’ followed by the usual worker inserted into a slightly American word for a queue.

8d           Yes, canvas shelter is wide open (7)
{YAWNING} – Y(es) and a canvas cover gives a word for wide open or gaping.

14d         Sugar worried — not good with former PM and stars (4,5)
{URSA MAJOR} – A constellation ,which I think we had recently, is an anagram (worried) of SU(g)AR (not Good) followed by the former PM who succeeded the ‘Iron Lady’.

16d         Set up argument against human form (9)
{CONFIGURE} – A word for against, as in not pro, followed by a term describing the human form or body shape means to set up – a computer system perhaps.

17d         Reduce the value of French class (7)
{DEGRADE} – A charade of the French word for ‘of’ and a word for class or quality gives a word for reduce.

18d         Time spent in gaol as part of course (7)
{STRETCH} – The length of you time in gaol could also describe the straight parts of a racecourse.

19d         Hairpiece that’s best on granny, say (7)
{TOPKNOT} – This hairpiece is a charade of a word for best and what a ‘granny’ is an example of (say).

20d         Pouring, though appearing to have time for start (7)
{TEEMING} – Pouring with rain, not uncommon this year apparently!  It’s a word for appearing but the first letter is changed to a T (T(ime) for start).

22d         Fish smell with no origin (5)
{TENCH} – Take a horrible smell and remove the first letter (with no origin) and you get a bottom-feeding freshwater fish.

24d         Excuse corrupt Bali island (5)
{ALIBI} – This excuse is an anagram (corrupt) of BALI followed by I(sland).

Lacking photo opportunities today, unless my imagination has deserted me, but I did manage a girl, a boat and Rafa for the ladies!
Not sure about favourite but I think it might just be 27a. What do you think?

The Quick crossword pun: {cell} + {bide} + {hate} = {sell-by date}

66 comments on “DT 26903

  1. I am actually doing a night shift, and this puzzle passed the time nicely during the quieter moments. I seem to be on the right wavelength and look forward to the Wednesday crossword. Thanks to Jay and to Pommers. It did cross my mind when reading the clues, if we’d get a pic for 15a!

      1. Oh, I don’t know! Pommette rather likes Rafa so it’s best to keep the peace sometimes :grin:

            1. THE best player of all time IMHO. Federer has set the modern benchmark and Djokovic is bloody good but Rafa is only 26 years old and with a record like that? What’s to come over the next few years? I think he’s awesome – an assassin on court who never knows when to give in.

          1. He’s a young man from Mallorca that I find seriously attractive.
            Just need to persuade him that he likes older women – and then I’d abandon pommers like a shot.

            PS Deffo the best player of all time.

            1. OK, so he’s got a load of money but what else has he got that I haven’t? Ah, I can’t play tennis :grin:

  2. Nice one, good mix.
    Last in 26a – took too long to spot it!
    Brain works better early am
    Thanks Jay and pommers

  3. Too hard for me again – having a bad week. Never heard of the plant. Thanks to both.

  4. Morning Pommers – nice start to the day from Jay No particular favourites just a nice 2*/3* crossword so thanks to Jay and you too, especially for the tasteful topless pic.

    Can’t give a Toughie tip yet as I haven’t started it but I will email you with the quick pun in a min.

    1. My toughie tip is that I found it really dificult but of the two fellow bloggers I emailed to see if it was just me, one said it was me and the other Beam so it will be interesting to see what others thought in due course.

      1. You can all call me a chicken if you like but it sounds as if today could be a good one for me to steer well clear of the Toughie!! As I’m sure everyone knows by now, I love his back page puzzles but usually find his Toughies difficult even when others don’t.

        1. Today’s Toughie seems to have divided opinions over its toughness much more than usual. Personally I found it a shade easier than yesterday’s Busman, possibly helped by the absence of anagrams which are not my favourite type of clue. It has got a sprinkling of Beam’s usual innuendos. So, give it a go, Kath – you may be surprised!

  5. Pleasant crossword. No favourites but I didn’t like 14d. I can imagine it must be hard to get good surface readings on every clue.

  6. Thanks to jay & Pommers for the review & hints. Found this very straightforward, quite enjoyable, no real problems. Started with 2d, finished with 16d. Favourite was 21a. Blogging early as the roofers have started. Hope it keeps dry in Central London. Thanks to Big Dave, I got the back-pager email this morning.

  7. This really was a crossword of two halves, the top I found very enjoyable, the bottom far less so. Now i see what suit has to do with adjunct in 25a and the molluscs in 26a are new to me so I have learnt something today. But there we are, finished by 9.30 so must be a two star at least for me. Thx to the setter and for the explanations in the clues.

    1. A plea- as it is the eve of my Thursday nemesis the dreaded Ray T, can anyone recommend another paper for thursdays with a reasonable crossword. I am so fed up with his puzzles that I think it best if I go elsewhere for one day and stop frustrating myself and boring everyone else on the blog.

      1. Hi Brian, you could try the Guardian, the puzzles are free online. Please don’t give up on Ray T, if you can crack it, it would be a feather in your cap !

      2. Thx chaps, I’ll give the Grauniad at try, had it up to here with the Ray T ones, just don’t need that degree of hassle

            1. So can I because it’s difficult to get into it. I tend not to do them althou I did finish last weeks’ remarkably

            1. I thought it was a bit of a wierd experience! After about as long as I’ll bother with a non-DT puzzle I’d come to the conclusion that it was unsolveable (done about half) but then the penny suddenly dropped on the linked clues, and then everything fell into place with a great sigh of satisfaction :grin: What a penny-drop moment -loved it, and like you, it put me back to normal after the Toughie.

              Love Brendan/Virgilius puzzles.

  8. Lot of early risers this morning :-) Lovely crossword, one of those I was sorry to finish wanting more, knowing full well I’ll be sitting staring at the toughie for hours to little avail. Thanks Jay favs 11, 21, 26, didn’t we have an 8d last week, and thanks Pommers, you old stop out late you :-)

  9. What a delight – nice clues that all popped into place. Thanks boys, for crossword and blog. Sx

  10. I don’t know what has happened to my brain! It must be the heat here, in Italy, the temperature has been between 92 and 98 for the past week, day and night, too hot for me and I found this very difficult. Apart from 1A which came to mind as I read it I have really had to think — took ages even to get 13A , a simple anagram but I couldn’t see it! and I needed Pommers help to finish! Terrible state of affairs, whatever next?
    Right, I’ve had my moan. Favourites for me 23, 25A, 4and 19D. Thanks to Jay and Pommers, the latter necessary today,without your lucid hints I’d still be looking at 19A!

  11. All agreed a pleasant little interlude**/*** for me, i did’nt think of removing F to get 15a-i simply thought that the’impression’ was created by removing the surface of the wood/lino etc to give the solution.Don’t you think Rafa looks a bit fat!

  12. Very pleasant crossword today from Jay, many thanks to him and of course to pommers for a most entertaining review.

  13. What a lot of early birds today!
    I found this very straightforward – something that I rarely say! I had far more trouble with the quickie.
    I liked 15, 21, 26 (new word for me) and 27a and 4 and 19d.
    With thanks to Jay and pommers.

        1. Been out for dinner with some friends! Gone native so don’t eat in a Spanish restaurant until about 2230 so finally got home at 0100. Puzzle had just appeared on the website and it was far too hot for sleep (until the aircon had had a while). Did the puzzle, did the blog and then went to click the ‘save post’ button but for some reason I clicked the ‘publish’ one instead! Done it once before :grin:

  14. There are usually one or two I can’t get in the sense that I write in the solution but have no idea why. Normally I just wait for the next day. Today I could not work out 16d. Con something.
    Ah “Configure” why didnt I think of that. – Its probably best to leave it and go back. The answer then is obvious.
    Thanks to this blog.

  15. Bonjour. Finished. Thanks to Jay and Pommers. I thought that 23a and 25 a were overly complicated and, although I got the clues, I had to refer to Pommers for the rationale.

  16. Knocked this one off while watching SW16.

    Today’s faves : 15a, 23a, 25a, 27a, 3d, 7d, 14d & 19d.

    Back to the tennis.

  17. Not going to quiz tonight. Now off to local to watch Spain v Portugal – bit of a local derby around here and reminiscent of England v Scotland games. Should be good fun :grin:

    See y’all later.

  18. Didn’t have a car when I was at uni in Manchester Pommers, so walked to my favourite chippy in Moss Side after a few pints at the Whitworth! Thanks to you for the excellent blog, and to all for the comments

    1. and thanks for a Wednesday plus, cheers Jay, dragged the naut*** from the memory banks but really well pitched otherwise. thanks to Pommers too

    2. Hi Jay – you ever go to the ‘Plaza cafe’ on Upper Brook Street? Rotted my alimentary canal in there on their biryani (hot sauce) many a time. Remember the Whitworth well. I was at UMIST from 1971 – 1976 so did we overlap? I read chemistry. You remember the ‘Alex’ in Moss side, now demolished? You could buy anything in there from a Kalashnikov automatic rifle to a state of the art stereo, so long as you didn’t mind waiting a day or so while they went out to nick it :grin: Happy days!

      BTW – very nice puzzle for an after dinner treat – who needs chocolate mints?

    3. The Plaza! – only thing open after midnight, and I seem to recall meal for 2 for less than 5 bob, so I just preceded you (I left in 1970). Don’t think I ever went to the “Alex”. Did go to the pub next to the old BBC studios in the church

  19. Not teeming with pleasure
    But not yawning with boredom
    A stretch at times for sure
    But do-able and done!

  20. I found this harder than the Jay puzzles of late. The top flew in but struggled with the bottom half. Maybe because I had 1 eye on the Footie which has been less than inspiring. Thanks Jay & Pommers.

    1. But the right result :grin: At least the locals are happy – can you hear the car horns? Hate penalty shootouts because one team loses rather than the other winning.

    1. There’s some help in the FAQ, but it depends on which mobile. Those who write the software for the browsers on mobiles seem to have their own idea of how to interpret html protocol.

  21. I really enjoyed this one but 19A was my favourite. As an ex-Londoner the reference to the Circle Line was also a tangent in its own right!

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