DT 26916 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 26916

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26916

Hints and tips by Big Dave

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ***

One of the easier Thursday puzzles. This one has lots of fragments in the wordplay which, for me, narrows it down to a setter more usually seen on Tuesdays. What do you think?

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    Pick foreign article penned by dissenting group (6)
{SELECT} – this verb meaning to pick is derived by putting the Spanish definite article inside (penned by) a dissenting group

4a    Lift vase that’s broken in celebration (8)
{FESTIVAL} – an anagram (broken) of LIFT VASE gives a celebration

8a    At university, well-protected area gets maintenance (6)
{UPKEEP} – a charade of a two-letter word meaning at university and a well-protected area inside a castle gives maintenance

9a    Worthy deal negotiated and managed with millions involved (8)
{ALDERMAN} – this local worthy is derived from an anagram (negotiated) of DEAL followed by a verb meaning managed with M(illions) inserted (involved)

10a    Haste shown in inspector’s area? (8)
{DISPATCH} – this word meaning haste comes from a charade of the abbreviation for an inspector in the CID, the S from ‘S and an area

11a    Director’s prompt in legal case (6)
{ACTION} – a double definition – a director’s prompt to start filming and a legal case

12a    Old man in Ireland boarding posh car, one needed to get rid of faults? (8)
{REPAIRER} – put a two-letter word for old man or father inside the Gaelic name for Ireland and then put the lot inside the two-letter abbreviation for a posh car to get someone needed to get rid of faults

13a    The writer and singer bringing out new dazzling phenomenon (6)
{METEOR} – start with the first person objective pronoun and add a singer without (bringing out) the N(ew) to get a dazzling phenomenon

15a    Function badly with loanee initially restrained by bailiff’s order? (4,2)
{PLAY UP} – this phrasal verb meaning to function badly put the initial letter of Loanee inside (restrained by) an order from a bailiff (3,2)

18a    Share I had in nightclub — and without acrimony originally (8)
{DIVIDEND} – this share or bonus is derived by putting the abbreviated form of I had inside a derogatory term for a nightclub then appending (A)ND without the initial letter (originally) of Acrimony

20a    Bloke’s one that spouts noisily (6)
{GEEZER} – this bloke sounds like (noisily) something that spouts hot water

21a    Be on friendly terms with graduate having a great time after game (3,5)
{RUB ALONG} – this phrasal verb meaning to be on friendly terms with is derived by putting a graduate and an adjective meaning a great amount of time after a team game

23a    Unsuccessful person on board, one tackled by furious voter (8)
{ABORTIVE} – to get this adjective meaning unsuccessful start with a sailor (person on board) and then add I (one) inside (tackled by) an anagram (furious) of VOTER

24a    Stir up a conflict endlessly with old mayor in familiar way? (6)
{AWAKEN} – this verb meaning to stir up or rouse comes from a charade of the A from the clue, a conflict without its final letter (endlessly) and the familiar term for the previous Mayor of London

25a    Cheapskate wig that strangely has onset of dandruff (8)
{TIGHTWAD} – to get this cheapskate start with an anagram (strangely) of WIG THAT and then add the initial letter (onset) of Dandruff

26a    Singer’s three titles being recorded (6)
{TREBLE} – a double definition – a singer and the result of winning three titles


1d           Army group with sergeant initially on square (5)
{SQUAD} – to get this small group of soldiers start with the initial letter of sergeant and add a square which is usually surrounded by buildings on all four sides

2d           Old English place toured by female model (9)
{EXEMPLARY} – start with the usual two-letter abbreviation for old and E(nglish) then add the abbreviation for PL(ace) inside the forename of one of our favourite contributors to get an adjective meaning model or ideal

3d           Note among trips abroad course guide? (7)
{TIPSTER} – put the seventh note of the scale in sol-fa notation inside (among) an anagram (abroad) of TRIPS to get a guide on the racecourse

4d           Achievement by that man, radical devotee, over start of round robin? (9,6)
{FEATHERED FRIEND} – an achievement is followed by the third person pronoun (that man), a radical socialist and a devotee into which the initial letter (start) of Round is inserted (over) to get what the kind of creature of which the robin is an example (indicated by the question mark)

5d           Male is mounted carrying expensive weapon (7)
{SIDEARM} – reverse (mounted in a down clue) M(ile) IS around (carrying) an adjective meaning expensive to get this weapon

6d           Sucker who shows a lust for life’s essential? (7)
{VAMPIRE} – a cryptic definition of a mythical bloodsucking creature

7d           Name favoured by Greek in principal Soviet city (9)
{LENINGRAD} – put N(ame), a two-letter word meaning favoured and GR(eek) inside an adjective meaning principal or chief to get the name by which St Petersburg was known from 1924-91 – the obsolete city name is indicated by the adjective Soviet (thanks Wozza)

12d         Distasteful salesman with wobbly gut trapping relative (9)
{REPUGNANT} – to get this adjective meaning distasteful  start with the three-letter abbreviation for a salesman then add an anagram (wobbly) of GUT around (trapping) an elderly female relative

14d         View a lad represented after time to show natural phenomenon (5,4)
{TIDAL WAVE} – an anagram (re-presented) of VIEW A LAD preceded by T(ime) gives this natural phenomenon

16d         A medal worn by the Spanish for an eternity? (7)
{AGELONG} – put the A from the clue and a slang word for a medal around (worn by) the Spanish definite article to get an adjective meaning for an eternity

17d         VIP we disrupted when touring old city in range (7)
{PURVIEW} – put an anagram (disrupted) of VIP WE around (touring) Crosswordland’s favourite old city to get a range or scope

19d         Bright worker after six with leading pair of brothers (7)
{VIBRANT} – this adjective meaning bright is derived by putting a worker insect after the Roman numerals for six and the first two letters (leading pair) of BRothers

22d         Actor Richard entertaining Northern type (5)
{GENRE} – put the surname of an actor called Richard around (entertaining) N(orthern) to get a  type or kind

The usual suspects won’t be able to gripe about this Thursday’s puzzle!

The Quick crossword pun: {parley} + {meant} = {parliament}

65 comments on “DT 26916

  1. I probably would have given this one 1* difficulty, if I had not spent a while on 23a, which was my last one in.
    Thanks to setter (not one of the usual Thursday compilers) and to BD for the write-up.

    1. In contrast I found this much much harder than yesterday. 3*/3* for me.

      Thanks to both.

          1. I thought it was a real little piglet (ie difficult) – perhaps you and I are not related after all! I struggled with this one, and it fought back! :sad:

      1. My problem with 4d is that the clue is meaningless as a surface reading unless I’m missing something.

        25 stands out for me – it sort of makes sense as a sentence, it’s witty and it’s a tight clue. As a general rule I find the shorter the clue the more elegant and the more work the compiler must have put into it.

          1. Poor Surface Readings! I agree, Mary! Just too many words in the clues!

            (I’ve also finally given up on the Toughie – for the most part, the clues just don’t make any sense at all!)

            It makes me realise how clever Rufus is to keep it all so simple – yet, for me, also so very difficult!

            1. That’s why I love Rufus, very clever without trying to be too clever if you see what I mean?

  2. Thanks to the setter and to BD, whilst I completed this in about the same time as usual, I did find it quite tricky in places and quite good fun.

  3. Morning Dave, because of the fragmented wordplay I found this one at least a three star, is there such a word as ‘loanee’? I thought it was going to be a pangram but the setter obviously couldn’t fit a ‘J’ in , once again I went the wrong way round in 20a, I really should know better by now, I have a question mark by 2d because I can’t really see how I’ve got it! Oh, I see now – ‘pl’ for place? with me around it :-) !
    Thanks for blog Dave will read your downs later, I actually do have a favourite today 22d, just because it’s the kind of clue I like

  4. I thought it was very difficult today, even though I did finish by 9 am, but I did start earlier than normal. So it’s a 3*/2* for me I’m afraid.
    It’s stopped raining for a few minutes here the Chilterns. But we are off the Scotland for a holiday tomorrow. Does it rain in Scotland as well?

        1. Snorkel and flippers could be useful too … and perhaps a wet suit while you’re at it.

  5. This didn’t provide the degree of challenge that I expect on a Thursday. One station stop and a brief halt at signals, and it was done. As a benefit, I now know more about ratio flash photography than I did at breakfast.

  6. Not very difficult but a bit of fun over the lunchtime crumpets! No real favourite but I did like the long down clue in the middle.

    Thanks to the setter and BD.

    PS The Toughie is tough and very heavily themed! Worth a go though.

    1. Re the toughie, I put 21d in straight away, and then decided against going any further. I think a little specialist knowledge is required for this one, or am I wrong ?

      1. I thought the Toughie was great. A bit of checking was required to validate some of the answers but they’re all gettable from the wordplay and some of the clues are really witty.

        1. That’s a good enough recommendation. I’ll pick it up again and have a look this afternoon.

      2. More like encyclopaedic knowledge! I got the theme from the second across clue that mentioned a Golden anniversay and then put in 21d. Fortunately the theme is one of my favourites and I knew what today is the anniversary of – heard it mentioned on the radio yesterday.

    2. Knowing who the setter was and the relevant anniversary, I had correctly guessed the theme even before turning to the crossword – i know Petitjean would not be able to resist the opportunity. Having Neil McCormick’s article on page 23 of the paper helped too.

  7. Just me then? I’ve finished now and enjoyed it but I found it REALLY difficult – at least a 4* for me. It’s ages since a back page puzzle has taken as long as this one did. I still can’t see how 4 and 7d work so will wait for the down hints.
    My last one was 23a. So many took a long time to get an answer, and then to understand why, that I’d be here all day if I wrote them all down so I’ll just concentrate on the ones that I really liked – 11a and 6 and 12d.
    Thanks to the setter (are people thinking that he also set today’s Toughie) and BD.

      1. Oh – I don’t normally find his puzzles as difficult as I found this one – maybe I’m just having a dim/off day! :sad:

      1. Sorry andy – should have replied and said thanks a long time ago.
        Hope you and your dogs are OK.

        1. oh don’t be daft. We are fine, no arguments on East Coast mainline this weekend, just Cuth and Cynth and me up to Glasgow. Thabo’s sister lives there, it’s going to be strange.

    1. Not just you Kath. This was no fun at all. I needed lots of help – thanks BD. When BD (or any of the others) has to write a short essay to explain the clue (eg 4d), I consider that a sign of degree of convolutedness.

      1. I just didn’t look far enough with 4d – saw feather – thought “feather in the cap” for achievement and then full stop – no further thought. My fault completely. Not my day today although I did actually enjoy this one. Are we all allowed to have bad crossword days?

  8. I would give this 1.25* difficulty but I did enjoy myself so would agree with Dave’s 3* for enjoyment. Thanks to setter and blogger too.

    The Toughie is a brillilant (but tough) celebration of a particular Golden Jubilee being marked today.

    The Matt cartooon earned me some very funny looks when I laughed out loud outside the paper shop this morning :D

      1. Ditto. A snorter!
        Matt always picks the most apposite ideas. i was staring at the Shard when I read this.

  9. Dave re 7d, I think that pehaps the obsolescence may have been indicated by the use of the word Soviet rather than Russian.


  10. I would give it a ***/** as its the hardest of the week so far for me-SW corner anyway. i think i probably had a bad hair day like Kath. I agree with Crypticsue, i think Matt has been in great form of late.
    Anyway so fed up with the weather that i booked a holiday in Sciathos town crossword by the pool with ice cold beer -bliss

  11. Just don’t see the 2 star difficulty, for me a four star at least, very tricky indeed.
    Still can’t see 22d. No fun at all for me I’m afraid, far too tough.

    1. There is an american film star, with a name 4 letters long, whose first name is Richard. Add the usual abbreviation for north and you get another word for type ( or grouping)

    2. You need the surname of the actor who starred in Pretty Woman opposite Julia Roberts and include and N for northern. The resulting word gives a word meaning “type” as in types of literature.

  12. Enjoyed this.
    Especially 4d, brilliant.
    23a was mainly an anagram, which, IMHO, made it a relatively easy clue.
    Perhaps Ray T could give us a jolt tomorrow?
    Thanks setter and BD.

  13. Took me ages to see 6d – I suspect I am the only one not to see it straight away. I got too many answers and then worked back the unravelling. Prefer it when the unravelling leads to the answer. Still one or two nice clues. **/*** form me.

    1. Wettest June for 100 years. Just hope it improves in August. I have three generations of family coming to camp in the garden

      1. CS – be warned – I’ll email you – don’t want to bore everyone else TOO much ….

    2. Don’t even START me …………… ! :sad: :sad:
      There was a letter in the paper recently (yesterday or the day before, but this week anyway) saying that the summers of 1812 and 1912 were dreadful and the person who wrote it said the he/she (can’t remember) was going to write a letter to his/her grandchildren (or further down) advising them to go abroad for their holiday in 2112!

  14. Needed BD for 2 clues – 23a and 2d – which I couldn’t get at all though perfectly obvious once realised! Found this easier than previous days but perhaps I was just in a better “crossword frame of mind” – who knows? Loved 4d when I finally got it even though I see what others are saying about the surface reading. Didn’t much like 26a but who am I to be picky?!

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