DT 26904 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 26904

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26904

Hints and tips by Big Dave

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ****

Certainly not by Ray T, but probably by the other Thursday nemesis, this puzzle is fairly easy if you can think out-of-the-box. The rest will probably think it’s very difficult. You have been warned!

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           Good rule to start with: go gently with lovemaking in cafe (6,5)
{GREASY SPOON} – G(ood) is followed by the initial letter (start) of Rule, an interjection meaning go gently and an archaic word for lovemaking or courtship to get this derogatory word for a cheap café

9a           Content to show lethal young predator (5)
{OWLET} – hidden inside (content) the clue is this young predator

10a         One’s advance to embrace sailor left anchored (9)
{IMMOVABLE} – change one is into the abbreviated form for the first person, follow it with advance or progress and put this around a two-letter abbreviation for a sailor and L(eft) to get an adjective meaning anchored or fixed

11a         No one’s in the ‘ouse? That’s disgusting (7)
{NOISOME} – start with NO, I (one) and the S from ‘S then add another word for a house, also with the leading H dropped, to get an adjective meaning disgusting

12a         Sample American beer with this? (5,3)
{TASTE BUD} – a charade of a verb meaning to sample and a brand of Americqn beer gives what might be used to sample the beer

14a         Taxman getting it in angry tirade is a nuisance (8)
{IRRITANT} – today’s setter is not the only one who is several years out of date – it’s been HMRC (Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs) since 18th April 2005 – so this should be “old taxman”, which is followed by IT inside an angry tirade to get this nuisance

15a         Clapton first to last a lyricist (4)
{RICE} – start with the first name of guitarist Clapton, move the first letter to the end and the result is the surname of Lloyd Webber’s lyricist partner – a clue which strongly suggests the name of the setter to regular solvers!

17a         Incomplete design on metal in blue (7)
{SKETCHY} – this adjective meaning incomplete is derived by putting a verb meaning to create a design on metal inside a shade of blue

19a         Intermittently flaunt gold front tooth (4)
{FANG} – the odd letters () of FlAuNt followed by the initial letter (front) of Gold gives this tooth

20a         Rumbling initially in stomach anticipating rice cooked in spice (8)
{TURMERIC} – put the initial letter of Rumbling inside a colloquial word for the stomach and then add (anticipating) an anagram (cooked) of RICE to get this spice, much used in Big Dave’s Kitchen

21a         Bon vivant Mafia boss in armed hold-up (8)
{HEDONIST} – to get this bon vivant, defined by the ODE as “a person who believes that the pursuit of pleasure is the most important thing in life”, put a Mafia boss inside an armed hold-up

23a         Wine’s bouquet and catch of the day making something worth tucking into (7)
{NOSEBAG} – the bouquet of a wine is combined with a word that describes the total catch during a day’s shooting to get something that is worth tucking into, especially if you are a horse

25a         Weird to dig up end of school yard (9)
{UNEARTHLY} – this adjective meaning weird is built up from a verb meaning to dig up, the final letter (end) of schooL and Y(ard)

26a         Something to hold one’s gaze in revival of ‘Uncle Vanya’? (5)
{NAVEL} – someone mighty stare at this if it were his own! – it is hidden and reversed (revival) inside the clue

27a         Bring to light East wanting America’s impartiality (11)
{DISINTEREST} – a verb meaning to bring to light or dig up is followed by E(A)ST without (wanting) the A(merica) to get impartiality


2d           Odd start and finish to ballerina’s dance (5)
{RUMBA} – a word meaning odd is followed by the initial and final letters (start and finish) of BallerinA to get this lively Afro-Cuban dance

3d           A Pole’s half-mile champion (7)
{APOSTLE} – the A from the clue is followed by a pole or stake and the second half of miLE to get this champion or supporter of a cause

4d           The old hard core work for annual publication (8)
{YEARBOOK} – an old word for the is followed by the middle (core) of hARd and a work of literature to get this annual publication

5d           Last vestiges of tornado: warm drizzle and rain forecast (4)
{OMEN} – the final letters (last vestiges) of four words in the clue give a forecast or portent

6d           No power without a peerage (8)
{NOBILITY} – combine NO with a word meaning power without its initial A to get the peerage

7d           Complicated rectal op a beauty (9)
{CLEOPATRA} – an anagram (complicated) of RECTAL OP A gives this Egyptian beauty

8d           It could be box on top of table blocking slender source of illumination (6,5)
{STREET LIGHT} – put the type of plant of which box is an example and the initial letter (top) of Table inside a word meaning slender to get this source of illumination found by the road

12d         Ominous review of rent and heating (11)
{THREATENING} – this adjective meaning ominous comes from an anagram ()review of RENT and HEATING

13d         Decrease tatty edges on church’s pair of pictures (7)
{DIPTYCH} – run together a verb meaning to decrease or sink, the outside letters (edges) of TattY and CH(urch) to get this pair of pictures, especially an altarpiece, on two hinged wooden panels which may be closed like a book

16d         Blimey! Got up around four and eating away (9)
{CORROSIVE} – start with an interjection like blimey! – then add a word meaning got up around the Roman numerals for four to get an adjective meaning eating away

17d         Biased like William Hague, say, and anything but black and white (8)
{SKEWBALD} – a charade of an adjective meaning biased and with a hairstyle like that of William Hague gives a horse marked in white and any other colour except black – if it was black and white it would be in today’s Toughie!

18d         Taps skill to make barrow (8)
{HANDCART} – start with what’s on the top of a pair of taps (1,3,1) and add skill to get a barrow

19d         Fellow Nationalist replacing Liberal in Northern Ireland — joker! (7)
{FUNSTER} – the second lesson today for our setter – six out of nine is not 100% – start with F(ellow) and then put N(ationalist) instead of (replacing) the L(iberal) in the area of Ireland which contains nine counties, six of which form Northern Ireland, to get this joker

22d         Lies in wait wanting first of kids’ pets (5)
{SULKS} – start with a verb meaning lies in wait, drop the initial letter (first) of Kids and the result is these pets or moods

24d         Backbone and intestines (4)
{GUTS} – a fairly simple double definition

Apologies for the delays – I’ve been struggling for time this week as we have a guest staying with us and I had to take him to Cheltenham station this morning so he could catch a train to Plymouth.

The Quick crossword pun: {goal} + {Dee} + {lox} = {Goldilocks}

63 comments on “DT 26904

  1. I liked this one very much and the accompanying quickie was a stimulating start to the day. Thanks setter and BD

  2. 3* difficulty. and 5* enjoyment from me. If every puzzle was like this, I would be a happy man.
    The last handful took as long to complete as the rest of the puzzle. Last one in (with a big penny drop) was 18d.
    Thanks to setter, and to BD.

    The toughie is good fun too, and not overly tricky either.

  3. I just need 22 down and 25 across. Can anyone give me a hint please?
    Thank you for your welcome.

  4. Thoroughly enjoyable, thanks to the setter (who is it?) and to BD. liked among many 20 and 21 12a , the toughie is of similar nature. Good job there’s golf and Tennis on TV or I’d have nothing to do !

  5. A nice puzzle for today. Some of the surface readings were excellent, in my humble opinion. Favourite for me was 7d, a most horrific picture is put before your minds eye and this leads to something quite the opposite

  6. I liked this – as you said, it requires a slightly different thought process. One of my faves for a while. Thanks to setter and BD.

  7. I really enjoyed this – it took me a while to get onto the right wave length and so found it very difficult to begin with but then got going.
    I have a couple that I don’t quite understand – 14a and 8d – so will wait for the rest of the hints.
    25a took me a long time – I kept trying to make it an anagram. I didn’t know the 13d word but DID know the one for three pictures so guessed and looked up. 18d also took ages until I remembered an answer in the Sunday puzzle which gave me the idea.
    So many good clues that it’s tricky trying to pick any in particular – perhaps 19 and 20a and 2, 6 and 17d.
    With thanks to whoever was responsible for this one and to BD.

    1. 14a, taxman = Inland Revenue with IT from the clue inside a 4 letter word for a tirade.
      Without giving the answer i’m struggling to parse 8d!

      1. It isn’t a prize puzzle so how about

        Insert into a word meaning slender or delicately built, something you might find in a forest, of which box is an example and then split 6, 5.

        1. Much better than I was going to put! It’ll be years before I could ever attempt to blog a complete puzzle

      2. Thanks andy and CS – I had completely the wrong letters for the taxman which gave me too many of one letter and not enough of another!! :roll:
        I’m still in a bit of a muddle with 8d – think that I’m having a rather dim day. I seem to have got a spare T!!

      3. Ignore the second bit of previous comment – I assume that what the box is an example of is on top of T(able). Oh dear – back to cutting grass – very hot and steamy here today.

  8. Very enjoyable. I had come up with the answer for 22d but couldn’t see why – I hadn’t seen “pet” used as a mood before. Thank you very much.

    1. I’m with you Susie, had it but didn’t know pet as a mood. Thoroughly enjoyed though and thanks to Dave and mystery setter. Hot and bothered in the country, time for a cold one in the garden.

  9. I enjoyed this one very much and would go with BD’s ratings. My top favourite has to be 26a. Thanks to Petitjean (if you) and whoever else (if not) and to BD for the explanations.

    The Elkamere Toughie is him in fluffy mode – still quite a lot to think about, especially in the top half, but very enjoyable.

    Anyone who is after a much gentler puzzle (it took me about the same time as a Rufus) should have a look at the FT (available on line).

    Oh and I nearly forgot, Happy Birthday Prolixic :)

    1. Yes – Happy Birthday Prolixic! I hope the weather is better with you than here in West Bridgford. We have the Olympic Torch coming through this afternoon and we have just had a monsoon type downpour of Biblical proportions complete with all of the special light & sound effects. Awesome !

      I’m enjoying this so far & thanks to you CS I’m storing away FT & Guardian crosswords for my upcoming sojourn in a lodge up in Yorkshire where we’ll be lucky to get hot & cold running electricity.

  10. Many thanks to the setter and to BD, a very enjoyable and at times fairly tricky crossword.

  11. There was me, psyched up into thinking it was RayT!
    Enjoyable and challenging, perhaps too many one letter elements in the answers.

    1. Withdraw last comment, on reflection, there weren’t, just an impression of..

  12. Ditto the above – an amusing puzzles with a few tricky little devils to round up at the end. Thanks to the setter and to BD.

  13. Very enjoyable, and 17D is a new word for me too.

    Pedantic note: Northern Ireland is not the same as the referenced province of Ireland, which is made up of all six counties of N.I. plus three from the Republic…

  14. Really enjoyed this one, with some very clever, but solvable clues, that almost nudged it into Toughie-level.
    1a, 4d, 18d and 22d were all well-crafted and nicely mis-leading.
    Thanks to setter & chauffeur!

  15. PS Also had a spot of trouble with 22d – couldn’t get something to do with “lurks” out of my head for a while.

    Happy birthday to Prolixic. :smile:

  16. Thanks to Mysteron and BD for a very entertaining puzzle. I couldn’t help wondering whether the juxtaposition of disgusting in 11a and the American beer in the following clue was deliberate (certainly a sentiment that I would agree with). :D

  17. My friend has just shown me his copy of the DT, my only comment, boy am I glad I bought the graundiad today.

    1. If you can get on line, Brian, please try the Finance Times crossword – it is a lovely friendly crossword.

  18. Have completed but don’t understand the reasoning behind 4d and 18d. Look forward to the remaining hints to put me wise. Thanx to Compiler and BD.

        1. it’s come up before, the first time I too totally missed it, one for the memory bank

  19. Aaaagh! I just logged on to see the explanation for 18d. Good puzzle. Thanks to all involved today.

  20. I really enjoyed this one even though I couldn’t get 17. I thought bald, fixated on piebald and never heard of skewbald!

    Particularly liked 1, 17 and 18 made me chuckle.

    Which is more than can be said for the weather…9am dark as night and then the heavens opened, then the deluge from off the farm track surrounding the house…and now it’s all gone and the sun is shining.

  21. Solved this while watching Andy Murray on the box.

    Today’s faves : 1a, 12a, 20a, 26a, 4d, 8d, 17d & 18d.

    Thought 22d rather contrived!

    Back to the box.

      1. Today’s faves : 1a, 12a, 20a, 26a, 4d, 8d, 17d & 18d.

        Second attempt to send comment

      2. Thanks Gazza – my PC is beginning to give up the ghost : when I get home from The Var in August I’ll get a new model.

  22. Quite tricky in my view and a collection of ‘unusual’ clues.Had the ‘solutions’, but needed the blog for a couple of explanations-thanks,Probably a good ***/****.Easily the hardest of the week so far.Friday used to be the’tester’ but of late it has bee Thursday

  23. Thanks to the setter & to Big Dave for the review & hints. I am enjoying this immensely, still 3 short. Going outside to do some more glossing. Back later. See what Dave meant about thinking outside the box, I’ve had my mad hat on all afternoon :-)

      1. Couldn’t get the last three, needed hints for 10a, just couldn’t see it. 17d never heard of it. 27a couldn’t see it. Favourites were 12,15,20a & 8,18d. Very entertaining puzzle. more like this please. Back to Germany Italy.

  24. Well, I managed to finish it without any help from BD. But did I enjoy it? No. It all seemed a bit odd to me, so it’s a 4* for difficulty and a 2 * for enjoyment. Sorry, Mr or Mrs or Ms Setter

    1. Boring, repetitious, nonconstructive comments are discouraged on here.

      Please could you choose another id in order to avoid confusion with one of our regular bloggers (although I don’t think anyone will think that these comments were made by her).

      1. I had a little think and I don’t think in all my forty-two years of crossword solving I have ever applied those words to any crossword ever.

        And yes, please do change your id.

  25. Started late and just half way through it. Not looking at clues yet though may have to. Fab crossword so far and IMHO harder than Ray T. Thanks to setter and BD.

  26. Really good fun, thank you setter and BD. Agree with comments re 11a and 12a juxtaposition. We in Peterborough seem to have missed the promised storms. Spindrift the torch arrives here on Tuesday next week.

  27. Many thanks to our setter (presumably PJ) for a cracker of a crossword. Probably 2 1/2 * difficulty but 4 * enjoyment. Thanks also to BD for the review.

    Thanks for the birthday greetings. Had a nice meal but the service was directly proportionate to my age!

  28. Half done before work the rest done whilst being distracted by the football. Got 10a but needed the explanation, many thanks. 18d was favourite, can’t help thinking I’ve seen it before though. *** and *** (only because I’m shattered – physically and mentally -sorry setter I’m sure it’s not your fault really).

  29. Not sent you a comment for some time as not many problems recently. However all change on this one. Can’t believe most people found it reasonably straightforward. For me it was the most difficult one for a long time. Only answered about half the clues then gave up completely. On looking at the solutions this morning my reaction to most of them was “Well I’d never have got that in a month of Sundays.” Clearly never got on the setter’s wavelength. Don’t know if I ever could! Big Dave gave it ** but said some might struggle. I’m one of the “some!” And usually I’m pretty good at thinking out of the box.

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