DT 26943 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 26943

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26943

Hints and tips by Big Dave

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ****

Libellule is having a well-earned break this week, giving me another opportunity to enjoy a Rufus puzzle. The usual mix of clues with a couple of barely cryptic definitions thrown in for good measure. While not particularly difficult, I did find myself smiling while writing the review.

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    Monday’s issue is said to be so attractive (4,2,4)
{FAIR OF FACE} – Monday’s child (issue) is proverbially said to be attractive

9a    Bait and line cast on river (4)
{LURE} – to get this bait or enticement L(ine) is followed by a river in North Yorkshire

10a    Rival to study before exam — an exemplary worker (10)
{CONTESTANT} – this rival comes from a charade of a three-letter verb meaning to study, an exam and a worker insect

11a    Hard getting permit to worship (6)
{HALLOW} – H(ard) is followed by a verb meaning to permit to get a verb meaning to worship

12a    Needle without an eye? (7)
{OBELISK} – a cryptic definition of the type of needle associated with Cleopatra

15a    He enters office uninvited (7)
{USURPER} – a cryptic definition of a person who illegally takes the place of someone in a position of power

16a    It may be perfect (5)
{TENSE} – perfect is an example (may be) of this form of a verb which distinguishes when an action or state of being occurs or exists

17a    Withdrawing of 101 meeting points (4)
{FOCI} – OF is reversed (withdrawing) and then followed by the Roman numerals for 101 to get these points where lines meet

18a    Small number backed Church in the old days (4)
{ONCE} – reverse (backed) the two-letter abbreviation for number and follow it with the Church of England to get a word meaning in the old days

19a    Chase around pines (5)
{ACHES} – an anagram (around) of CHASE gives a verb meaning pines or longs

21a    Open at lunch breaks (7)
{UNLATCH} – this verb meaning to open comes from an anagram (breaks) of AT LUNCH

22a    Stretches between bends (7)
{REACHES} – a cryptic definition of stretches or sections of rivers situated between bends

24a    Score is two-love (6)
{TWENTY} – score is another name for this number which is represented by a two followed by a zero (love)

27a    Sort of lady we hate to precede (4,3,3)
{LEAD THE WAY} – an anagram (sort) of LADY WE HATE gives a phrase meaning to precede

28a    Lift and cut (4)
{NICK} – a double definition – to lift or steal and a cut or notch

29a    Take to heart? (10)
{CENTRALISE} – a cryptic definition of a verb meaning to bring things together in one place


2d    A donkey almost berserk (4)
{AMOK} – the A from the clue is followed by almost all of another name for a donkey to get a word meaning berserk, which is usually preceded by the word “run”

3d    Sell or tell (6)
{RETAIL} – a double definition – to sell in a shop or to tell or narrate a story

4d    Right-wing extremist is twisting facts around (7)
{FASCIST} – this right-wing extremist is derived from IS with an anagram (twisting) of FACTS around it

5d    A Frenchman meets a hospital nurse from China, originally (4)
{AMAH} – the first A from the clue, the abbreviated form of address for a Frenchman, the second A from the clue and H(ospital) spell out an Asian word for a nurse, used a lot by expat Brits, which is actually derived from a Portuguese word

6d    Appear very interested, then, to change employment (7)
{ENTHUSE} – to get this word meaning to appear to be very interested an anagram (to change) of THEN is followed by employment

7d    Soften the blow? (4,1,5)
{PULL A PUNCH} – a cryptic definition of a phrase meaning to soften a blow by putting less than one’s full force into delivering it

8d    Essential employees in the security business? (3,7)
{KEY WORKERS} – these essential employees could conceivably be working in the security business

12d    Not up to par playing on the green — embarrassing! (3-7)
{OFF-PUTTING} – a charade of an adjective meaning not up to par and playing a golf shot on the green gives this hyphenated word meaning embarrassing

13d    Official title of great merit? (10)
{EXCELLENCY} – a double definition – the title accorded to people of high rank and a word meaning great merit

14d    Incomplete sauce boat (5)
{KETCH} – drop the final two letters (incomplete) from some tomato sauce to get a boat

15d    He finds seats for us above the woman (5)
{USHER} – this person who escorts you to your seat comes from a charade of US and (above in a down clue) a female pronoun

19d    Bill and Cyril spilt paint, maybe? (7)
{ACRYLIC} – a an abbreviation for a bill is followed by an anagram (spilt) of CYRIL gives a type (maybe) of paint

20d    Politician’s chosen — a Tory, partly towards the right (7)
{SENATOR} – this politician is hidden (partly), but not reversed (towards the right), inside the clue

23d    Rice, for example, that’s eaten for breakfast (6)
{CEREAL} – rice is an example of this class of food, some of which are frequently eaten for breakfast

25d    Repair that’s right inside and wrong outside (4)
{DARN} – this repair in a garment is derived from R(ight) with an anagram (wrong) of AND outside

26d    Permit that’ll get you across a mountain (4)
{PASS} – a double definition – a permit and a route across a range of mountains

There are a few changes this week. Pommers is reviewing tomorrow’s puzzle and we have a new blogger joining us on Wednesday, then it’s Pommers in his new regular slot on Thursday and Gazza, as usual, on Friday.

The Quick crossword pun: {sheikh} + {spear} = {Shakespeare}

63 comments on “DT 26943

  1. Relatively straighforward today with hesitancy over 5d. Needed to wait for the blog to confirm my thoughts so many thanks for putting me out of my misery. At least I can go do a few jobs now and recover a little from last nights Olympics closing ceremony.

  2. Finished this one over coffee, smiling all the way, and then looking for more thought we would try our first Toughie cos we can now. Printed out the latest which was last Friday’s and struggled mightily to do about half before conceding Elgar 1 – 2Kiwis 0. Glad to see that it was a hard one!!!!
    By the way. Congratulations on all your medals. We felt pretty chuffed with our haul of 13, with 5 of them Gold. Best for many years for New Zealand. It took much shouting at the TV by us to achieve this.
    Thanks Rufus and BD

    1. If that was your first go at a Toughie I think it’s amazing that you got ANY! I only started having a go at Toughies fairly recently – I almost never finish them and those that I have managed to finish have usually been given only 2* for difficulty. I don’t dare even look on Fridays – and if it’s an Elgar Friday I go and lie in a darkened room – so well done to you, 2Kiwis!

  3. Thought this was going to be a challenge, 25 mins and three answers! So went away, did some work and came back to find everything fell nicely into place. Best clue for me was 17a,v clever.

  4. The normal gentle, enjoyable start to the week. I had the wrong letter at the end of 13d (which I was unaware of until reading the review), otherwise tickety-boo. Thanks to Rufus, and to BD.

    1. Same answer as Jezza on 13d – annoying really, should have got it right but easy to be happy and not double check.

  5. I whizzed my way through this one pretty fast, for me, and then got myself into all kinds of trouble in the bottom left corner – now that I have finished it I really can’t see how that happened, but it did!! I dithered about 12d for a while as I wasn’t very sure that it was a synonym for embarrassing so that held me up. I couldn’t see 17a for ages either.
    I enjoyed this – possibly closer to 3* for me because of the pig’s ear that I made of some of it.
    Favourites include 24 and 29a and 4, 7 and 25d.
    With thanks to BD and Rufus.

  6. Thanks to Rufus, and to Big Dave for the review & hints. Nice start to the week, fairly straightforward, but a few made me think. Started with 1a, finished with 5d, new word for me, had to check in Chambers to see if I was right. Favourite was 13a. Shan’t know what to do, without the Olympics :-)

  7. 1* difficulty but 4* fun – like BD, I found lots to smile about. I particualrly liked 25d. Thanks to Rufus and to BD too.

    Fans of Rufus will be delighted to know that his puzzle in the Graun is equally straightforward.

    1. I’m worried, about my growing crossword addiction :-) I just finished the Graun, but printed it before I read your comment !

      1. I know what you mean – my addiction is getting worse too!! I blame BD’s brilliant blog!! :grin:

        1. Some time ago Gazza suggested that I could be a founder member of ” Cruciverbalists Anonymous”!.

  8. Slow start due to Olympic hangover, but then enjoyed the puzzle. Thank you setter.

    Got all the answers in but then had to check the dictionary for 5d.

    Also put the answer in for 25d but had to check BD hint to find out why it was right !
    Thought it was rather a clever clue. Thank you BD for your explanation.

    1. I remember 5 down from a visit to Tanzania 36 years ago! As well as the mandatory houseboy, my brother-in-law had a shambaboy to do the gardening and an askari (soldier) to guard the house at night.

      A good askari was one who didn’t keep you awake by snoring! The logistics were simple – if you employed one then your house would not be burgled because the burglars would not want the askari to lose his job, so they would find their pickings elsewhere.

  9. A straight from the brainer one for me – no books, tools or reference books needed. On the rare occasions I manage this IT’S ALWAYS ** FOF DIFFICULTY!! – always a bit crestfallen (after my initial euphoria) when this happens, but I live in hope……..

  10. I give this * or **/**** – once again a nice gentle start to the week. Took some time to get going, but finished it last night before the (tape-delayed) end of the closing ceremony which started just before 7:30pm Texas time and finished around 10:00pm. I did not see Sir Paul MacCartney so I think NBC did some editing (again) – best part was Eric Idle!

    1. Paul wasn’t there – the Who did the final bit. Roger Daltrey had trouble with the ‘stuttering’ bits in My Generation but apart from that…!

      1. Thanks CS. I wasn’t sure if NBC had been up to its editing tricks again. In the opening ceremony the “Abide With Me” memorial was replaced by an interview with Michael Phelps – go figure!

        1. Trust me – they did you a favour. When this country has wonderful singers like Kathryn Jenkins, why on earth pick Emeli Sandé. Then to make things worse she was given two more slots in the closing ceremony.

          1. Emile who? Never herd of her and don’t want to hear of her again. I don’t think that her slippers matched her frock

    2. I agree about Eric Idle being the highlight. Up to that point it was one rubbish act after another. Whoever thought that Russell Brand should appear at all, let alone be allowed to wreck a Beatles song, should be lined up against a wall and summarily shot.

      1. I should add that although I like Madness, the acoustics totally ruined their act. It was, however, interesting to watch Posh Spice pretending to sing – it’s a good job she didn’t succeed.

        1. The Who all the way for me!! Thought the whole thing was really uplifting, even though I hadn’t heard of a couple of the acts!

          Back to the Crossword….. still don’t really get 24a

          1. Nana,

            A score is a term for a group of twenty items – 20 is also Two (2) Love (0).
            BTW nicely blogged BD, and I will echo Sue’s comments, the Rufus in the Grauniad is on a par with this one.

      2. Ditto on Russell Brand – I just don’t understand how he has managed to achieve “celebrity” status.

        1. I laughed at yesterday mornings Matt cartoon and then wondered whether he had been privy to the secrets of the show when they wheeled out that large cannon!

          1. To all paper readers who never get further than the crossword! Today’s paper (p.21) has the full Olympics collection of Matt cartoons – from June 2007 until yesterday!

            My favourite: August 9 – the showjumping one. :lol:

            Glad that Sir Paul wasn’t allowed to ruin “Hey Jude” yet again! (yeah! I know he wrote it, but…)

            1. That it was one page I’ve saved for posterity, intend to frame it for a smallest room, along with the Hogarths. Can’t decide between August 7 which BD posted here, or August 9. All of them are superb

        2. It was great to see real celebrities like Sir Mohamed Farah and Dame Jessica Ennis, not forgetting Sir Bradley Wiggins, during the Games – people who have achieved that status through hard work, talent and real achievement

  11. I am finding this puzzle quite hard and I can normally tune in to Rufus. However, keep going

  12. The usual splendid Monday fare – untaxing but raised a grin or two :grin:
    Last in was 17a, for some reason the penny took a while to drop! Not sure of a favourite but i did like 12a.
    Thanks to Rufus and BD.

  13. This was a funny puzzle for me. I found it difficult to get in to but once I got a couple of important clues the rest fell into place like ninepins. Many thanks Rufus for a very enjoyable crossword

    1. and thanks to BD who helped with 5d and 17a, neither of which I had heard of before

        1. not a word i’ve come across very often though, in fairness, and i did have to double check it Collywobbles. Really must study the 4 letter words in my crossword dictionaries, the polite ones obviously

  14. Just started doing the crossword again after 10 years off.
    Brilliant blog, great worldwide interest and great hints just when you need them.
    10/10 to you all.

  15. Holas from the Mar Menor. Arrived to sweltering temperatures and an equally warm welcome from Pommers. Sitting outside for dinner in balmy conditions.

    Many thanks to Rufus for the crossword and Tilsit for the review.

    1. BTW, weather now looking a couple of degrees hotter for Weds and Thurs than on the forecast I left you! Take care in the sun, we don’t need any more hospital cases!.

      1. Definitely don’t need any more hospital cases – talking of which, any more news from Mary, BD?

        1. From facebook:

          “Hi Dave actually bought a paper and did the crossword today whilst still waiting…….actually managed it without any ‘help’ but it didn’t seem very Rufus like!”

          She is still in hospital and hoping to have her “procedure” tomorrow. That’s all I know.

        2. The hospital case was last year. Some nutters who stayed at our place plastered their 8 year old son with factor 30 and then let him spend about 3 hours in the pool without ever thinking of a re-application. Result was 3rd degree burns across his shoulders and a night in hospital! Then he was banned from taking his T-shirt off for the rest of the holiday – what a mess! On a scale of 0-16 the UV index here hasn’t dropped below 14 during the afternoon for about 5 weeks – the Sun is very nice but IT IS THE ENEMY – IT CAN KILL! Hope Prolixic reads this, although I did warn him!

          May have got this not quite right but tha Aussies have a phrase – SLIP, SLAP, SLOP =- SLIP on a T-shirt, SLAP on a hat and SLOP on the suncream. They know a thing or two about the dangers of UV (and sailing)!

            1. So perhaps I’m not as daft as Thinkle Peep – according to Spooner! (thought about that for a potential screen name!).

  16. I found this not as enjoyable as the usual Monday puzzle, needed help with two or three. Too many short clues, or uninteresting clues, 23d for example, what’s that about! C’mon rufus, pull your finger out!

    1. Don’t see a problem with 23d. Just an example of one of Rufus’ not very cryptic definitions, or double definition if you prefer!.

  17. Just have to hope that Prolixic doesn’t post a ‘cryptic’ critique of our apartment (I have been warned!). I had to do the turnaround on my own as pommette is in the UK (again) so I hope I came up to standard. Don’t know if Prolixic plays golf but he’s currently situated a five minute walk from the first tee on what is universally acclaimed as the best golf course in Murcia :grin: (sorry BD – delete if you think that was an advert!).

  18. I too cogitated for more than necessary on the “twenty” so a 2 ** for me and a **** enjoyment. Grrr 27a exactly sums up my reaction at Edinburgh on way back from Glasgow, A Hycainth Bouquet replica audibly asked about the hygiene of taking dogs on a train repeatedly to other passengers but not to me, I nearly unmuzzled them so they would lick her into apoplexy….Thanks to Rufus and BD as ever

    1. You have to muzzle dogs in the UK nowadays? Sad, if that’s the case. Should have let them have their way with her – or perhaps if they don’t shower regularly . . .?

      1. You don’t, I only muzzle them on a train to try to deter stupid people from thinking I am not in control because they are quite large. So many dog owners who are not is what makes me sad, People dragged along by staffies or any other breed just do not understand alpha or how to walk the dog comfortably. rant over!

        1. I remember pommette’s mum’s Border Collie – Ralph (don’t ask, but to do with the US equivalent of the Aussie ‘chunder’!). He was the biggest Border I’ve ever seen in my life but was very well trained – but, by his size, a bit alarming to those that didn’t know him. BTW, there’s a nasty little terrier in this village that really ought to be on a dangerous dogs list (or shot) – seriously aggressive!

          1. Tee Hee, one of the smallest dogs in Peterborough , yappy chihuahua thing called Pepe, is banned from my local called Charters because his drunken owner let him off the lead in the beer garden and he took a nice chunk from a childs foot. Actually I felt for Pepe, a 3 year old chavlet waving quite large sticks at your face might just make you go on the defensive….

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