DT 26921 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 26921

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26921

Hints and tips by pommers

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

Hola from the Vega Baja.  Today we have the Wednesday Wizard with his slightly trickier than usual hat on! Some very clever stuff and very enjoyable as the pennies dropped but not quite the “Stinker” as predicted yesterday! There again, you may all disagree with my assessment, wouldn’t be the first time! Won’t mention the weather apart from to say it did rain here yesterday morning – for a whole hour!

As usual the clues I like best are in blue. 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           Pair with time to make rhyme (7)
{COUPLET} – Take another word for a pair and add T(ime) and you get a word for the rhyming bits of a poem or song.  This is about 3 weeks running that the first across clue has gone straight in!  Heading for a fall methinks!

5a           Damned fortunate! (7)
{BLESSED} – Double definition.  A word that is a euphemism for ‘Damned’ also means fortunate or smiled upon by the Gods.

9a           Works out price on a hundred and makes an approach (7)
{ACCOSTS} – This is a word meaning makes an approach or stops, and speaks to (a person). Start with A (from the clue) followed by C (hundred) and follow with (on) a word describing what an accountant does when he works out the price that should be charged for a product or service.

10a         Friendly sailor in a four-minute race? (7)
{AMIABLE} – To get a word meaning friendly you need to insert one of the usual sailors into A (from the clue) followed by a distance expected to be run in four minutes, ever since Sir Roger Bannister first did it on the 6th May 1954.  Most of the very friendly sailors in my old yacht club couldn’t run 400m in four minutes. In my case actually running 400m sounds a bit unlikely!

11a         Condemns senescent criminal (9)
{SENTENCES} – What the judge does to a convicted person is an anagram (criminal) of SENESCENT.

12a         Does better netting river fishes (5)
{CARPS} – Take a word for ‘does better than’ and insert (netting) R(iver) and you get some freshwater fish.  Always thought these fish were like sheep – plural the same as the singular.

13a         Parent disheartened by call in cellar (5)
(CRYPT} – A cellar, under a church perhaps, is made from a call or exclamation followed by PT (P(aren)T disheartened).

15a         Smooth — having one for a bird on the beach (9)
(SANDPIPER) – To get this bird, which feeds along the shoreline, you need to think of a word for “to smooth”, before painting perhaps, and replace the A with an I (I (one) for A).  Not sure this quite works as there are two A’s in the smooth and there’s no indication of which should be replaced, although it’s fairly obvious – just being picky!

17a         Style of song sung by the ferryman? (4,5)
{SOUL MUSIC} – A cryptic definition of what might have been sung by Charon the ferryman who transported the spirits of the dead across the river Styx to Hades.

19a         Shoes may be so if spiked (5)
{LACED} – Double definition. Some shoes are this and so is a drink if it’s spiked with something.  Velcro is a lot easier!

22a         Mock food (5)
{SCOFF} – Another double definition.  Don’t blame me, it’s in the BRB as a noun meaning food or a meal.

23a         Disgusted at USA need for change (9)
{NAUSEATED} – A word for disgusted is an anagram (for change) of AT USA NEED.  Won’t bother with a picture for this one!

25a         Cause trouble by investing it in quartz (7)
{AGITATE} – A word meaning cause trouble or stir up is formed by inserting (investing) IT in a type of quartz.

26a         A bit of a breather? (7)
{NOSTRIL} – Cryptic definition of part of your nose (breather).

27a         Artilleryman loses head in city convent (7)
{NUNNERY} – Take an artilleryman (or Arsenal footballer) and remove the first letter (loses head) and then insert (in) into the abbreviation for an American city and you get another word for a convent.  BD would probably like the thought of the Arsenal footballers being beheaded!

28a         A couple of days in faculty mostly depresses (7)
{SADDENS} – A (from the clue) and DD (couple of D(ays)) inserted into a word for a faculty without the last letter (mostly) gives a word for depresses or dejects.


1d           Form One initially chose a literary masterpiece (7)
{CLASSIC} – Another word for form, as in a school, followed by I (one) and C (initially Chose) gives a literary masterpiece.

2d           A French prison on the outskirts of Nancy — that’s weird (7)
{UNCANNY} – Definition is weird.  Start with the French indefinite article, then a slang term for a prison (slightly American I think) and follow with NY (outskirts of NancY).

3d           Yarn from the west of Long Island? (5)
{LISLE} – This yarn or fabric is a charade of L (west of Long) and another word for an island, such as the one where the TT races are held.

4d           Trials of newly-designed cassettes (4,5)
{TEST CASES} – These trials are an anagram (newly designed) of CASSETTES.

5d           Crows? Lots flying over the top of roof (5)
{BRAGS} – Definition is crows, as in shows off or boasts.  A slang term for lots is placed around (flying over) an R (top of Roof).

6d           Cooked pies with firm friend of bishop (9)
{EPISCOPAL} – A word meaning “of a bishop” is made from an anagram (cooked) of PIES followed by the usual firm and a friend.

7d           Recover from awful bore drowning in drink (5,2)
{SOBER UP} – A sort of all-in-one.  To recover from a lot of drink is an anagram (awful) of BORE inserted (drowning in) a word meaning to drink.

8d           Bedroom furniture required by thespian? (7)
{DRESSER} – Double definition. A person who helps an actor backstage is also a piece of bedroom furniture.

14d         Stitch up after prison term for specified period (4,5)
{TIME FRAME} – This is a period in which something should be done.  First word is a slang term for a period in prison followed by a word for “stitch up” as in get someone convicted for something they didn’t do.

16d         Criticise acts on the radio — such dreamy pieces (9)
{NOCTURNES} – Homophone (on the radio). These dreamy pieces of music, often for the piano, sound like a word for criticise followed by one for acts or performances.

17d         Keep up! Mark supports American uprising (7)
{SUSTAIN} – Definition is keep up, as in continue.  Start with the abbreviation for American but reverse it (uprising) and follow with (supports in a down clue) a word for the mark I get on my shirt after I’ve been eating spaghetti Bolognese.

18d         Ideal tent pinched by posh Scotsman (7)
{UTOPIAN} – Take the usual crosswordland single letter for posh and a common Scottish man’s name and insert (pinched by) a circus tent and you’ll get a word for ideal or perfect.

20d         Group pressure finally follows erotic display (7)
{COTERIE} – This group or clique is E (pressurE finally) placed after (follows) an anagram (display) of EROTIC.

21d         Does daughter sidle off after dinner starts? (7)
{DIDDLES} – Definition is does, as in cons or swindles.  Start with an anagram (off) of D(aughter) and SIDLE and place it after a D (Dinner starts).  Nicely concealed definition!

23d         Wanting attention, Edward invested in foreign currency on the rise (5)
{NEEDY} – A word meaning wanting attention is EDward inserted (invested) in the Japanese currency reversed (on the rise in a down clue).

24d         Relaxed when lying in grass (topless) (5)
{EASED} – A synonym for when inserted into a grass without it’s first letter (topless) gives a word for relaxed.  I can be quite restrained when it comes to photos – sorry chaps!

This lot were a lot more difficult to hint than they were to solve and there’s a distinct lack of photo opportunities, but with a bit of lateral thinking I got a car and the gratuitous girl and one for the ladies!
My favourites were  5a and 26a but what do you think?

The Quick crossword pun: {France} + {cyst} + {rake} = {Francis Drake}

59 comments on “DT 26921

  1. Just after 0600CEST now and the cats are asking for their breakfast so I’m off to bed (I’ll feed them first) :grin:

    See y’all later.

    1. i’m going to join your insomniac party a day later, got to go to court tomorrow to give evidence against the “****” who smashed Thabo. Whatever the outcome Thabo gone, and i’m going to have to reenact what happened, oh deep joy, deep joy. I hope it’s a RayT , sorry Brian, tomorrow, might just need spirits lifting

  2. Slightly worried about your insomnia Pommers but at least it gives me the chance to make the first real comment of the day.

    I have to disagree with you in that I thought this was the easiest Jay ever. 1* for me, but I will agree with your 4* fun. I too thought the plural of the fish in 12a was the same as the singular. Thanks for the blog.

    On to the Toughie now, and then the other puzzles.

    Have a good day.

  3. A 2* for me today but a very enjoyable start to the day. Thanks to setter & to Pommers for the explanations.

  4. 2*/4* for me. Thanks to Jay, and to pommers.

    No time for the toughie today; I’m being dragged around Madame Tussauds! I’ll have to look at it tomorrow.

  5. Found this one quite straight forward except for a hang up bottom right which resolved itself after a cup of coffee.

    Thanks Pommers for review, imaginative leap from shoes to basque.

    Thanks to Jay for fun puzzle.

    School has broken up so my quiet mornings solving, or not, puzzles will now be replaced by chores various involving paint brushes and ladders.

  6. Really enjoyed today’s effort, not easy but very fair with some clever clues such as 5a and 22a. My personal favourite was 15a. My thx to the setter for providing a pleasent hour on this miserable morning. Is it ever going to stop? My thoughts go out to those people who have been flooded out by this dreadful summer. Having happened to me once, I know just how dreadful an experience it is.

  7. Thanks Pommers, now this was a very good puzzle for me. 2* for difficulty but 3*/4* for enjoyment. And best of all leaves plenty of time for pre holiday gardening. Did need help with 5 down, how easy that was with the hint.

  8. Excellent, thanks Jay and Pommers. Got held up on 17a convinced it was either rock or even Roxy ….. Bryan Ferry (man) lol

  9. For me, an enjoyable puzzle. Nice concise clues with good surface readings. Entertaining, which so many, sadly, are not.

  10. I also thought Roxy Music even though I started by thinking of Charon and then getting no further. Felt ridiculous when I saw how I’d missed it! Got 27 across without knowing why so thanks for your explanation.

  11. I have been looking in to this blog now for a month or two when I have needed a little prompt. I am grateful to all the contributors and enjoy the comments and finding out what others find easy or difficult. Being a teacher (chemistry) I am now on our short break and felt I had a moment to make my own input; I enjoyed todays puzzle which I found relatively straightforward, and I also thought of Roxy Music! Maybe an age thing? Gym later then toughie! Thanks again!

  12. Is anybody having trouble getting the Xwsord up on the website or is it just me?

  13. Very enjoyable crossword – fairly straightforward until I got snarled up in the bottom left corner but not for too long. I was very slow to get the first word of 17a and the second word of 14d. Still managed to get the “swap one for a” the wrong way round with 15a so ended up with “smooth” instead of a “bird on the beach” – you missed a chance for a different picture there, pommers!! Not sure about having an 8d in the bedroom – ours is in the kitchen.
    Lots of favourites today so will just pick out a few of them – 5, 19 and 26a and 5, 7 and 21d. Best of all 16d.
    With thanks to Jay and pommers.

    1. Hi kath

      Agree about 8d, probably more common in kitchens.

      I must be slipping as the photo opportunity in 15a never even occurred tyo me, D’oh! Thought 19a was one of my better attempts though :grin:

      1. Pommers, your image for 19a is almost as good as the clue itself! Is there such a thing as an entire set of graphic clues?

  14. Liked this a lot – 3*/4* for me. Lovely elegant clues and a hard but fair challenge. 26a clue of the day for me.

    Thanks to P & J.


    ps no email notification of the posting today for the first time in ages.

    1. Afternoon Wozza

      Glad to see we are of one mind again :smile: The rest all seem to think it a star easier than us!

      1. So does that mean I’m getting better or you’re getting worse :-)

        FYI my difficulty ratings as a guideline as:
        1* – complete faster than average – no access to dictionary or internet needed
        2* – complete in average time – no access to dictionary or internet needed
        3* – takes longer than average -may need access to dictionary/internet to answer clues.
        4* – Over 50% complete but need help from the clues on here to finish off
        5* – Don’t even get half way

        1. Blimey – that all sounds very organised. Does that mean you time yourself? I have to confess that when I say a crossword is a number of stars for difficulty it’s only based on how I feel about it when (if) I’ve finished it.

          Do you all really time yourselves?

          1. It’s the management consultant in me!

            I don’t time precisely – just a feel for how long my bath lasts :-)

            1. I can’t believe anyone REALLY does the crossword in the bath! The mental picture makes me laugh!! :grin: And anyway how doesn’t the paper go all soggy?

          2. The only time ever time myself is on blogging days. I usually base the star rating on my time but sometimes with a bit of adjustment if there’s a lot of anagrams which I’m the worlds worst at unravelling.

  15. Quite a few kick-myself moments today, when the penny finally dropped on some of the clues – but very enjoyable all round. I particularly liked 7d, which I thought was very clever.

  16. Very enjoyable and straightforward crossword from Jay and a very entertaining review, thanks to Jay and to pommers.

  17. I agree about the plural in 12a. Does this herald the possibility of SHEEPS, DEERS, and, dare I say it, CANNONS?

  18. The BRB doesn’t give any plural of 12a but Collins lists the plural as both with and without the S.

    1. The ODE has plural as ‘same as singular’ for carp. Isn’t English weird? – two harps sounds fine but two carps seems wrong.

    2. Just to muddy the waters still further I’ve got this from the OED

      Forms: Also ME–16 carpe. Pl. unchanged, formerly carps.

      Wish all these guys would make up their minds!

    3. I took the reading of the clue as the definition was “does better” which makes the answer work well.

      And, I can’t see what type of shoes the model in 19a is wearing!

  19. I would go with ** and *** today. 18d is straight forward enough but does anyone refer to a tent as a top, surely it should be big-top? Minor quibble. Many thanks to all.

  20. Very enjoyable – probably because I found myself able to do it, which is something of a rarity lately!! Hope it’s the puzzles getting tougher and not me getting stupider? Needed hints for one only – and that was 12a as, like others, was convinced you couldn’t plural this so couldn’t think what it could be! Learn something every day, obviously. Thank you Pommers for the hints. **/*** for me.

  21. **/ **** , was on the right wavelength.Like Nigel above wondered about ‘top’ but i suppose if you have a big top ( like Pommers illustration to 19a) you can have any size, liked17a but must admit that’rock’was the first type of music to come to mind-would be very appropriate to the type of music the lorelei sang- sorry ,i digress.

  22. I agree with Pommers . 3* for me .I was held up in the bottom left corner ,as I had “rock” in 17a thinking of Bryan Ferry !! Also couldn’t think of the second word for 14d. Some really good clues as usual from Jay and my thanks Pommers. I needed you to-day!! :smile:

  23. Have not left a comment for a year or so – but really enjoyed today’s puzzle – especially 17a – still log in every day just to read the comments and sometimes the clues and answers! Thanks to all setters, contributors and Big Dave!

  24. Like Jezza 2* 4*, usual fun from Jay, (hopefully?). Thanks Pommers for your witty dissection.

    1. Welcome to the blog Lily

      BRB is a term often used on this blog for the Big Red Book – also known as Chambers Dictionary!

  25. Thanks to Jay & to Pommers for the review and hints. I enjoyed it but got stuck in the SW corner, needed to look at four hints to finish. favourites were 4 & 18d, and the picture for 19a :-) Pouring with rain in Central London, so I’m painting inside today.

  26. Just on board after phone problems! Still on a maximum 4 the week, first time ever. Thought it was a **\**. May fall to pieces today as am going to the oval, and lots of nesties on the menu!

  27. Ah! Thanks Dave! And thanks for the blog in general – I come here often but hadn’t posted before now. Keep up the good work!

  28. Sorry, I’m a bit late wit Bonjour,

    Voici le programme des soirées du mois d’août :

    JEUDI 9 et VENDREDI 10 AOÛT 2012

    Les réservations doivent se faire uniquement par téléphone,

    permanence de 17h30 à 19h30 sauf le dimanche.

    TEL: 04. 67. 39. 24. 92 OU 06. 62. 70. 94. 70

    IMPORTANT ! Les réservations par internet ou sur le répondeur téléphonique ne seront pas enregistrées.

    Cliquez ICI pour télécharger le Programme RECTO
    Cliquez ICI pour télécharger le Prgramme VERSO
    Cette invitation est strictement personnelle.

    Les soirées de Saint Adrien ne s’adressent pas à un jeune public, il n’y a pas de tarif enfant.


    Daniel et Françoise

    Le viticulteur de la soirée:

    Domaine De Pierre – Belle

    Laguna – Fernandez & Fils

    34290 Lieuran lès Béziers


    ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

    PS: Le 1er et 2 septembre de 14h à 19h, le jardin de Saint Adrien sera le théâtre de deux très belles après midi sur le thême des années 1900.


    Vous recevrez un mail avec le déroulement de ces après-midi.
    I agree with you Pommers that the plural of Carp is Carp . Otherwise a good and enjoyable puzzle

    ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

    Le Jardin de St-Adrien fait partie du réseau des « Sites d’exception en Languedoc » !

    Donnez du sens à vos visites http://www.sitesdexception.fr
    h one. Iagree with you Poalmmers that the plur

  29. Didn’t read all of the comments so may have missed it. Since when did the Dresser move out of the kitchen/dining room to the bedroom? ane grass is not always a weed!
    Apart from these gripes I loved 22A SCOFF, 25A AGITATE, 26A NOSTRIL, 27A NUNNERY & 17D SUSTAIN;

    1. Hi Bernard
      As for dresser I tend to agree but apparantly its a word for a deessing table, which would be in the bedroom.
      Agree that grass isn’t always a weed both are slang terms for cannabis.

      Gonna stop this name changing as I forget to change back – d’oh!

      1. Hello artificial fibre! OK fair do’s with dresser (always a dressing table chez nous and not to be confused with our Welsh dresser). To be pedantic the clue reads “a” grass and not just “grass” where there are several different types.)

        1. Actually the crossword clue just reads GRASS. It’s my hint which says A GRASS. Don’t know what happened there as I thought I’d written “another word for grass” but it’s all gone missing except for the A! Very wierd!

          Sorry, always in a bit of a rush to get the blog done and proof-reading never was my strong suit :grin:

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