DT 26939

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26939

Hints and tips by Big Dave

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ****

In case you are confused, I have swapped days with Pommers. Just to further confuse you, Pommers has swapped with Gazza for this week only, so it will be Gazza tomorrow. If you’re still with me, this is a fairly gentle puzzle from Jay, who consistently hits the bull’s-eye with regard to the standard expected of a back-page puzzle, even though it is probably not on the back page today!

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    Something worn around house that’s good for density in carpeting (8,4)
{DRESSING GOWN} – to get this item of clothing usually only worn around the house, start with a phrasal noun meaning a carpeting or reprimand and put a G(ood) in place of the D(ensity)

9a    Natural phenomenon that’s split a party? (7)
{TORNADO} – this natural phenomenon comes from a verb meaning split, the A from the clue and a party

10a    A network in dispute (2,5)
{AT ISSUE} – the A from the clue is followed by a network, as in a network of lies, to get phrase meaning in dispute

11a    Absurd — initially in-patient denies infections of the ear (7)
{IDIOTIC} – this adjective meaning absurd comes from the initial letters of three words in the clue followed by an adjective meaning of the ear

12a    The world of scholars made ridiculous with expert coverage (7)
{ACADEME} – to get the world of scholars put an anagram (ridiculous) of MADE inside (with … coverage) an expert

13a    Daughter on border gets nicked (5)
{EDGED} – put D(aughter) after a border to get a verb meaning nicked, as in he nicked the ball to first slip

14a    Mater’s off with mother’s capital! (9)
{AMSTERDAM} – an anagram (off) of MATER’S with a mother gives this European capital

16a    Drink making engineers more alert? (9)
{REFRESHER} – this drink comes from a charade of the Engineer’s regiment and an adjective meaning more alert – I’m not keen on clues where the answer and the wordplay come from the same root

19a    Bill’s back working as conductor’s aid (5)
{BATON} – reverse a restaurant bill and add a two-letter word meaning working to get this aid for a conductor

21a    Parrot flies off pinching one from John Lennon, perhaps (7)
{AIRPORT} – an anagram (flies off) of PARROT is placed around (pinching) I (one) to get this complex of which Liverpool’s John Lennon is an example (perhaps)

23a    There’s nothing fine in yobbo, causing concern (7)
{LOOKOUT} – put O (nothing) and a two-letter word meaning fine or all right inside a yobbo to get a concern or responsibility

24a    Not willing to answer unless back with wives inside (7)
{EVASIVE} – this adjective meaning not willing to answer, an essential quality for a politician, comes from a word meaning unless or except for reversed (back) followed by the internal letters (inside) of wIVEs

25a    Music getting free plays within company (7)
{CALYPSO} – to get this West Indian music put an anagram (free) of PLAYS inside CO(mpany)

26a    Authorises notice found in bars (12)
{COUNTERSIGNS} – to get this verb meaning authorises put a notice inside some bars or worktops


1d    Having the courage to adopt girl’s last pet (7)
{DARLING} – put an adjective meaning having the courage around (to adopt) the final letter (last) of girL to get a pet or sweetheart

2d    Demanded and got accurate wingers from England (7)
{EXACTED} – this verb meaning demanded is derived from an adjective meaning accurate followed by the external letters of (wingers from) EnglanD

3d    Laggard finally leaves blue train (9)
{SLOWCOACH} – to get this laggard start with the final letter of leaveS, follow it with an adjective meaning blue or depressed and a verb meaning to train someone

4d    Many a laboratory cages such an animal (5)
{NYALA} – hidden inside the clue (cages) is this large S African antelope

5d    Expression as I’m welcomed by good people (7)
{GRIMACE} – to get this facial expression put I’M inside G(ood) and a people or tribe

6d    Part of capital investment ultimately put into restructure of Sweden (4,3)
{WEST-END} – this part of the capital of the UK is derived by putting the final letter (ultimately) of investmenT inside an anagram (restructure) of SWEDEN

7d    Scab caused by blow wave (13)
{STRIKEBREAKER} – this scab or person who works during an industrial dispute comes from a charade of a blow and a large wave

8d    Resolution to discourage people crossing motorway (13)
{DETERMINATION} – to get this resolution or willpower put a verb meaning to discourage and a people or country around (crossing) a motorway that runs from London to Leeds

15d    Marries outside Sumerian city, in religious garments (9)
{SURPLICES} – put a colloquial word for marries around Crosswordland’s favourite Sumerian city to get these religious garments

17d    Confused mess made by extreme right in the past (7)
{FARRAGO} – this confused mess comes from a charade of an adjective meaning extreme, R(ight) and an adverb meaning in the past

18d    Gradual deterioration, but no-one hurting on the way up (7)
{EROSION} – this gradual deterioration is derived from NO, I (one) and an adjective meaning hurting all reversed (on the way up in a down clue)

19d    Run and kick supporter (7)
{BOOTLEG} – this verb meaning to run or smuggle illicit alcohol comes from a charade of a verb meaning to kick and a table supporter

20d    Store designed to accommodate leading actors’ groups (7)
{TROUPES} – put an anagram (designed) of STORE around (to accommodate) a word meaning leading or in front to get these groups of actors

22d    A word of comfort in further education? (5)
{THERE} – this word that can be used to comfort someone is hidden inside the clue

I always enjoy Wednesday’s puzzles, this was no exception.

The Quick crossword pun: {shawl} + {heave} = {shore leave}


  1. crypticsue
    Posted August 8, 2012 at 11:13 am | Permalink

    It isn’t on the back page :( but once I found it, I had no trouble at all solving this lovely Wednesday Jay. Probably because the assorted relatives who try and ‘help’ are heavily involved in tying coconuts, bananas and pineapples to various trees in the garden in order to confuse the great nieces and nephews when they arrive later. It is definitely not peaceful in the country this week :D

    Thanks to BD and Jay Not sure about a favourite but the biggest d’oh came from ‘John Lennon’.

    The Toughie takes a while to get on the wavelength but turns out to be typical Excalibur. Paul (Dada) is in the Graun :)

    • Kath
      Posted August 8, 2012 at 11:59 am | Permalink

      If I were a great niece I think I’d be very confused by coconuts, bananas and pineapples hanging in the trees! Assume this is your big family camping do – good luck. Hope it all goes well and that the weather is nice to you! :smile:

    • Nora
      Posted August 8, 2012 at 4:39 pm | Permalink

      I’ve flown from John Lennon, but this will still one of my last ones in. I wonder how many other people were thinking along ‘imagine’ lines! Nice crossword – done in one sitting with just a few flicks through my lovely Thesaurus.

  2. Jezza
    Posted August 8, 2012 at 11:16 am | Permalink

    Jay can always be relied upon to set a consistently good puzzle, and today is no exception. Very enjoyable; thanks to him, and to BD for the review. 2*/4* from me.

  3. 2Kiwis
    Posted August 8, 2012 at 11:19 am | Permalink

    Agree with **** for enjoyment. The four long words around the border went in easily for us giving lots of entry points. Thanks Jay and BD

  4. Brenda Reding
    Posted August 8, 2012 at 11:53 am | Permalink

    I don’t know why but I did not enjoy this one, in fact I found it a bit tedious and was glad when it was finished. No special favourites, altogether a no-no for me. Thanks to Jay and B.D. and I.m sorry for not enjoying it more!

  5. Kath
    Posted August 8, 2012 at 11:55 am | Permalink

    Really enjoyable. I started off thinking that it was going to be a very straightforward puzzle but came to a total full stop in bottom left corner, not helped by being very slow to get the long one across the bottom. “John Lennon” took me ages. Because of all that it’s probably nearer 3* for difficulty for me and at least 4* for enjoyment.
    Favourites include 11 and 14a and 2 (thought it was going to be something to do with football) 4, 7, 8 and 22d.
    With thanks to Jay and BD.

    • Nora
      Posted August 8, 2012 at 4:40 pm | Permalink

      Bottom left was my last corner as well, but a very satisfying puzzle with some lovely clues.

      • Kath
        Posted August 8, 2012 at 4:46 pm | Permalink

        Bottom left wasn’t just my last one in – it took ages, much longer than the whole of the rest of the puzzle.

  6. Domus
    Posted August 8, 2012 at 12:04 pm | Permalink

    You have left “wingers” out from 2d. 3* difficulty for me.

    • Posted August 8, 2012 at 12:18 pm | Permalink


      forgot to hold Ctrl while dragging and dropping (again)!

  7. Beaver
    Posted August 8, 2012 at 12:52 pm | Permalink

    Looked harder at fIrst glance than it was when a few answers went in,i agree **/****,very logical clues, easy to know what you’re looking for ,. Mr Lennon especially as i’m off on hols shorlly,all seem to agree very enjoyable
    The cats looking bigger than ever, the sitter from next door is in for a shock!

    • Kath
      Posted August 8, 2012 at 3:24 pm | Permalink

      In my fairly extensive experience of pregnant cats it’s quite a long time between noticing that they’re getting a bit fat and the arrival of kittens! Good luck, have a good holiday. Good luck to the sitter from next door too!

  8. BigBoab
    Posted August 8, 2012 at 1:34 pm | Permalink

    Good fun without any particular difficulty. Thanks to Jay for a lovely crossword and to BD for the excellent review.

  9. Vanessa
    Posted August 8, 2012 at 1:54 pm | Permalink

    I actually took a while to get started on this one. Brain seemed a little addled! Thoroughly enjoyed it when I did.

    • gazza
      Posted August 8, 2012 at 2:28 pm | Permalink

      Hi Vanessa – welcome to the blog.

  10. Hilary Power
    Posted August 8, 2012 at 2:04 pm | Permalink

    Fairly gentle? FAIRLY GENTLE??????
    I have two words in and cannot get going.
    Even on a Thursday i usually do better than that!
    Here to get a clue or two and then get back to it.
    Fairly gentle? PAH!

    • Senf
      Posted August 8, 2012 at 2:51 pm | Permalink

      Same for me – just coul not get on the same wavelength. Oh well, there are good days, and then there are not so good days. Optimistically (always) hoping for a really good day tomorrow.

    • Hilary Power
      Posted August 8, 2012 at 5:34 pm | Permalink

      Ah yes – 17d always makes me think of that silly little man in that silly little party whose name is Nigel….

      • Posted August 8, 2012 at 5:36 pm | Permalink

        Are you sure you don’t mean Ed?

      • Captain Beefheart
        Posted August 8, 2012 at 9:15 pm | Permalink

        Aren’t they all silly little men Hilary?

  11. William Geddes
    Posted August 8, 2012 at 2:17 pm | Permalink

    The answer to 21A brings back to mind this true story. .

    A few football seasons back Liverpool were languishing at second to bottom of the Premier League.

    The slogan under John Lennon 21A is ‘only sky above us’. Someone had written in graffiti as an addition ‘only West Ham below’. Wonbderful!

    • Captain Beefheart
      Posted August 8, 2012 at 9:16 pm | Permalink

      Typical scouse humour William and very funny.

  12. Brian
    Posted August 8, 2012 at 2:36 pm | Permalink

    No real problems today I thought and some nice clues such as 25a and 3d. Not sure if 1a fully works, bit of a leap of faith to substitute the g for a d. All in all I found it enjoyable. My thx to BD for explaining 1a and 24a.

  13. William Geddes
    Posted August 8, 2012 at 2:36 pm | Permalink

    I’d have to say if this is a ** then I am the Pope’s grandaughter. Lots and lots to think about and very entertaining but as a bare minimum a *** and more like a ***/**** for me.

    There are some vg clues but the real issue for elevating the difficulty is the degree of ambiguity of the main clue.

    As example – network-tissue; carpeting – dressing down; causing concer – lookout!; and john Lennon is in the realms of the distinctly esoteric let’s be honest about it.

    7D is surely hyphenated and 22D is good but def requires 3 star lateral thinking.

    • William Geddes
      Posted August 8, 2012 at 2:41 pm | Permalink

      Oh and is 14A a capital City? I thought it was The Hague

      • albatross
        Posted August 8, 2012 at 3:11 pm | Permalink

        So did I until a a couple of weeks ago when Sky broadcast a cricket match from there and the introductory graphics named Amsterdam. I looked it up and found Amsterdam is the capital, The Hague is the seat of government.

  14. spindrift
    Posted August 8, 2012 at 3:14 pm | Permalink

    Apropos nothing: Yorkshire has more Olympic medals than Australia and Japan. Away the lads!

    • Nora
      Posted August 8, 2012 at 4:43 pm | Permalink

      Do you mean ‘howay the lads’? If so it’s a Geordie expression, nothing to do with Yorkshire!

      • Captain Beefheart
        Posted August 8, 2012 at 9:35 pm | Permalink

        Ey up lass I remember when I were a lad. . .m edals we used to dream of medals. Anyway I digress well done to all of them.

      • spindrift
        Posted August 9, 2012 at 8:28 am | Permalink

        Nora, I think you’ll find that the expression is not confined to the NE & was shouted regularly when I attended Bootham Crescent (now the Kit Kat stadium or something) back in the 70s.

        • Captain Beefheart
          Posted August 9, 2012 at 8:16 pm | Permalink

          Time for a break.

  15. Heno
    Posted August 8, 2012 at 3:24 pm | Permalink

    Thanks to Jay, and to Big dave for the review & hints. An enjoyable puzzle from Jay, had me beaten on 15&19d, needed the hints for those. Favourites were 7d & 26a. Will be blogging from GBBF tomorrow.

  16. Annidrum
    Posted August 8, 2012 at 4:08 pm | Permalink

    I was slow to get started on this but once I got started most of it fell into place nicely but got held up on the left hand bottom corner & last one in was 28a. ***/**** for me . Thanks to Jay & BD.

  17. The Buffer
    Posted August 8, 2012 at 5:06 pm | Permalink

    Excellent puzzle today and favourite clue, by a margin, was 22d. Think about somebody tackling this for the first time, they would have gawped at it for hours! I also thought 21a was sort of clever. **/**** for me.
    Thanks to Jay for a great puzzle and BD; although I didn’t need you today.

  18. Cherry Steve
    Posted August 8, 2012 at 5:52 pm | Permalink

    I think this drifted into ***\*** territory, needed help with 23and 20. 4 is a splendid ‘run-through’. Nice to see variation of the usual ‘ancient city’ for ‘ur’. Lack of doddle anagrams, but still very do-able. Now for the ** tuffy!

  19. Little Dave
    Posted August 8, 2012 at 9:10 pm | Permalink

    Great. 1a my favourite.

  20. Captain Beefheart
    Posted August 8, 2012 at 9:29 pm | Permalink

    Another enjoyable puzzle. On a roll this week solved all three so far, musht be shome mistale surely (ed).
    I was unable to parse one across but it fitted with the rest so thanks for the explanation BD. It was my favourite clue 3*. Also parsed good people as those in a state of holiness, though I see that your reading of the clue is more accurate.
    Looking forward to Thursday’s puzzle.

  21. Jerome
    Posted August 8, 2012 at 9:53 pm | Permalink

    I don’t know about anyone else, but not only is the crossword no longer on the back page (massively annoying to turn the page on a windy train platform), it also seems to be getting harder. I’m still reeling from yesterdays nightmare and then today struggled again. To many specialist terms or knowledge required for my liking recently. Samuel’s teacher? Offertory box, surplices? I’ve been resorting to the “quick” crossword recently and am even struggling to finish that. Maybe the olympics is turning my brain to mush. Maybe I’ll start getting The Times instead for an easier crossword…

    • Kath
      Posted August 8, 2012 at 10:10 pm | Permalink

      I don’t very often do the quick crossword – sometimes have a go if someone says that the pun is good. I often find them trickier than the cryptic. Maybe the brain will work better when it’s not full of Olympics!

    • stanXYZ
      Posted August 8, 2012 at 10:22 pm | Permalink

      If you are unable to find a bit of shelter in which to fold your Daily Telegraph correctly, I very much doubt that you will be able to solve the Times Crossword!

      • Jerome
        Posted August 10, 2012 at 7:05 am | Permalink

        You are very funny. Obviously I am the only person in the world irritated by the crossword moving off the back page.

  22. Kath
    Posted August 8, 2012 at 10:16 pm | Permalink

    BD – Yesterday when you were trying to explain who was doing what and when in the way of blogging this week you said that you were hoping there might be a new guest blogger on Wednesdays and to watch this space. I have never put a bet on anything (OK – I’ve led a sheltered life) but I could be persuaded to put some money on who it might be!! To me there is one very obvious candidate!

    • stanXYZ
      Posted August 8, 2012 at 10:26 pm | Permalink

      What day is it today? Suffering from Olympic Fatigue!

      • Kath
        Posted August 8, 2012 at 10:34 pm | Permalink

        Me too – have absolutely no idea what day it is today! Muntjacs still eating everything in sight – think one of them is pregnant! :sad: Yet more problems!

        • stanXYZ
          Posted August 8, 2012 at 10:41 pm | Permalink

          Is it possible for muntjacs to have twins? How cute! Some new nice fawns! :grin:

          • Kath
            Posted August 9, 2012 at 11:23 am | Permalink