DT 26900 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 26900

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26900

A full review by gnomethang

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

Morning All! My apologies for the delayed review of last Saturday’s prize puzzle. A scheduled office meeting was extendeed into a local hostelry and then to a curry house. The keener eyed among you will have noticed that I am a bit light in the ‘Downs’ department. These will be up shortly.
Anyhoo, we had a great puzzle last Saturday in my opinion; a good degree of difficulty and some fine clues.

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           Material from forecaster easily deluded one (10)
SEERSUCKER – A material for clothing is a charade of SEER (forecaster) and SUCKER (one who is easily deluded.

6a           Special forces will absorb pressure in healthy places (4)
SPAS – P for Pressure inside the Special Air Service (special forces) gives water based health farms.

10a         This outcast returns to drive back (5)
LEPER – A bit tricky to tell which is the definition and which is reversed but the ‘This’ at the front just shades it. Reverse REPEL (‘to drive back’ returns) to get the diseased social outcast.

11a         King Edward on horseback apparently to take flight (9)
SKEDDADLE – A bit cheeky this one. Take K(ing) and ED (for Edward) and place them in the SADDLE (On horseback!). This gives an informal word meaning to take flight or run away.

12a         A diner’s chewed fish (7)
SARDINE – An anagram (appropriately indicated by ‘chewed’) of A DINERS gives a fish.

13a         Sort of bowler hat of staff by London suburb (7)
SPINNER – A nice lift and separate required here to split bowler and hat. The definition is ‘Sort of Bowler’ on the cricket pitch. Take the starting letter (hat – the thing at the top) os Staff then add PINNER – A NW London suburb.

14a         Scoring tends to be messed up by these inferior players (6,6)
SECOND STRING – The SECOND STRINGS are deemed to be inferior to the First Violins (at least they are in second place). Mess up the letters of SCORING TENDS. Another clue with a good consistent surface reading.

18a         Leading politician from France taking on consumption with little hesitation (5-7)
FRONT BENCHER – A member of the Cabinet or Shadow Cabinet sits on the Front Bench in the Houses of Parliament. Take FRENCH (simply ‘from France’) then include ON and TB for consumption/tuberculosis and finally add the common little hesitation –ER.

21a         Heartless Scot to strain some porridge (7)
STRETCH – Some porridge as in a prison term being the definition. Remove the insides (heartless) of ScoT and then add RETCH – to strain as in vomiting.

23a         An investigator in charge to limit tax (4-3)
RATE-CAP – Place A TEC (short for detective) inside the RAP (charge/rap sheet) to find a method of limiting council tax.

24a         He could be trained by NASA tutor (9)
ASTRONAUT – An appropriate surface reading  although the ‘by’ is only really there to improve this. An anagram (trained) of NASA TUTOR leads to the spaceman who may be so trained.

25a         Spooky European lake (5)
EERIE – A chestnutty one this. E for European and ERIE, a famous crosswording lake, gives spooky or eldritch.

26a         Bridge player, champ, taking in one of his opponents (4)
EAST – One of the names of a bridge player (North, South, EASTt and West). Start with EAT (champ as e.g. horses do) and inside place S(outh), one of the opposing players to East).

27a         Kind of daily independent chart (10)
CHARITABLE – The short definition of ‘Kind’ is tricky to spot at the start. A daily is a cleaner, one who does or a CHAR. Then add I for Independent and TABLE for chart.


1d           Special cat in prominent story (6)
SPLASH – A prominent headline story that is splashed on the front page of a newspaper. Start with the abbreviation for special – SP (also this can be just S) and then add LASH, a whip or cat (o’ nine tails).

2d           Legislator in Ireland’s realm (6)
EMPIRE – Place an MP (parliamentarian or legislator) inside EIRE (The republic of Ireland). The definition in ‘realm’.

3d           Avionics tester deployed source of fuel (7,7)
SERVICE STATION – An anagram (deployed) of AVIONICS TESTER is your local petrol station.

4d           Dish with crust covering small part (9)
CASSEROLE – A generic stew cooked in an oven. Place S (for small) inside a CASE or crust and then add ROLE for part.

5d           Short form of rugby fails to start with equal chance (5)
EVENS – One form of Rugby is the short format seven a side (Rugby SEVENS). Remove the first letter (failing to start to get a word for a 50/50 equal chance bet for example.

7d           Cadet pin moulded by purist (8)
PEDANTIC – Not sure about this one. A purist would be a pedant whereas the answer is an adjective. Mould the letters of CADET PIN.

8d           Cheap way to travel always used in acting profession (8)
STEERAGE -STEERAGE are the cheap tickets on a ship (historically at least). Take EER (a poetic form of always/ever) and put it inside STAGE, a euphemism for the acting profession.

9d           Tom, Dick or Harry entertains them crazily (3,2,3,6)
MAN IN THE STREET – Another anagram, this time of ENTERTAINS THEM (indicated by ‘crazily’). The man in the street is also known as any old Tom, Dick or Harry.

15d         He does painting etc, 20th-century art style, Art Nouveau, and alternative (9)
DECORATOR – Not an artist but a tosher of walls (although most are more skilled than that!). A charade of DECO (Art Deco is a modern art movement) then an anagram of ART (nouveau) and finally OR, the alternative. Excellent arty surface reading.

16d         Start coach out of spectators’ sight (3-5)
OFF-STAGE – Another charade of the OFF (start, colloquially) and STAGE for coach leads to the place in a theatre that the audience/spectators cannot see.

17d         He spoke philosophically of very dilapidated cars (8)
SOCRATES – A famous Greek Philosopher. SO for Very and then CRATES, old cars or bangers.

19d         Beetle sacred to some, namely Egyptian etc (6)
SCARAB – SC is  the two-letter abbreviation of the Latin word silicet for namely “It is permitted to know”  and then add the type of person of which an Egyptian is an example, an ARAB. We are talking, of course, of the sacred dung beetle.

20d         A bishop perhaps for every one (6)
APIECE – A bishop on a chess board is one of the pieces hence A PIECE. Put together this also means for every one/per capita.

22d         Moor yacht — that was his hobby (5)
HEATH – I will leave you with BD’s hint of the day: “This moor is also the surname of the former Prime Minister whose hobby was yachting”

Thanks to the setter for a fine puzzle – I am back on Sunday reviews for the next two weeks. See you all then!




3 comments on “DT 26900

  1. Found this trickier than yesterday”s.By the way,is the word broadcasted correct English as used in a recent xword?C’sue,I am awed by your quick times in the Times xwords,I find them pretty tough and they take me ages,what’s your secret?

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