DT 26946 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 26946

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26946

Hints and tips by pommers

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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

Hola from the Vega Baja.  I found this puzzle to be very enjoyable, perhaps because I solved it this morning instead of in the middle of last night!.  There are quite a few penny-drop moments and some clever cluing so definitely a 4* for me.  It should have been only 2* difficulty but on first pass I confidently put in two answers for across clues that later turned out to be wrong, which of course held me up for some time with the downs!  Quite a bit of chemistry included, surely that couldn’t have been done on purpose!
I thought it might be RayT’s turn today but now I’m not sure. There is one Queen reference but it’s a bit short on innuendo. Perhaps he’ll drop by and let us know.

Definitions are underlined in the clues

As usual, the one’s 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           Current, cool or hot (11)
{FASHIONABLE} – This triple definition is an example of how the English language is designed to confuse foreigners! The answer is a word meaning current, as in ‘in vogue’ and both cool and hot (antonyms) are colloquial terms for it.  I once had a young French girl as my Marketing Assistant (Virginie) who told me, in a very exasperated voice, that “English is a language specifically designed to confuse foreigners”. That was when she’d worked out that there are about eight different ways to pronounce the letters OUGH. It was a visit to LOUGHborOUGH that set her off!

9a           ‘Smooth Criminal’ about one’s point of no return (7)
{RUBICON} – Crossing this was certainly the point of no return for Julius Caesar!  You need a word (3) that could mean to smooth, with a piece of sandpaper perhaps, and a slang word for a criminal. Put them around an I (about one).   The yacht I’m on in the photo in my bio-info is called this – here it is!

10a         Finish cooking meat in iron container (6)
{FLAMBE} – this is something done to finish off the cooking of some dishes, Steak Diane for example. Place some meat inside (in) the chemical symbol for Iron.

12a         Teaches education provided, say, by school head (7)
{EDIFIES} – A word meaning teaches or educates is made from ED(ucation), another word for provided (2), the abbreviation for id est (say) and an S (School head).  Isn’t ‘say’ usually used to clue EG rather than this?

13a         Side following a Labour leader (7)
{LATERAL} – A word for side is another word for following or after followed by A (from the clue) and an L (Labour leader).

14a         For refrigeration, element often needed initially (5)
{FREON} – This is actually the DuPont brand name for CFC’s (chlorofluorocarbons), the gas used in fridges. It’s made up from the first letter (initially) of every other word in the clue.  I don’t think this stuff is used any more because of the greenhouse effect.

15a         A box with domestic sweetener (9)
{ASPARTAME} – An artificial sweetener is a charade of A (from the clue), a word meaning to box, in a ring, and a word for domestic, as in not wild.  I confidently put SACCHARIN in here!  Well, it sort of works! SAC = container (box) and a CHAR is a domestic servant so a box with domestic = SAC + CHAR IN.  D’oh and double D’oh!

17a         US President to resolve reforms (9)
{ROOSEVELT} – A US President (there have been two with this name, 26th and 32nd) is an anagram (reforms) of TO RESOLVE.  Nice surface!

20a         Sits on horse, sired unnaturally (5)
{RIDES} – An anagram (unnaturally) of SIRED is what you do when you sit on a horse.  Actually, what I do when I sit on a horse is FALL OFF! Pommette’s a good rider though!

22a         He is one, and I too! (7)
{ELEMENT} – He and I  are both chemical symbols for examples of these.  The necessary capitalisation of the H is cunningly disguised by putting it as the first word.  This was the other that I confidently got wrong – I put in PRONOUN, which works perfectly if you have no checkers! Lovely clue but a tricky little rascal!

24a         Cold’s terrible gripping senior citizen (7)
{OLDSTER} – This elderly person is hidden in (gripping) colds terrible.

25a         Ass perhaps, Shakespearean character (6)
{BOTTOM} – Ass is a slang term for this part of your body which is also the name of a character in Shakespeare’s ‘Midsummer Night’s Dream’, the guy that went round wearing an asses head!

26a         The compiler’s connected to a certain degree (7)
{MEASURE} – How the compiler may refer to himself followed by A (from the clue) and a word for certain gives a degree, as in how much.

27a         Trespass as sin, a term including murder (11)
{ASSASSINATE} – Murder is hidden in (including) trespass as sin a term.  Worthy of Virgilius – the master of the hidden word!  Pretty clever hiding an 11 letter answer in a 33 letter clue!


2d           Sale of uranium in warfare (7)
{AUCTION} – Put the symbol for Uranium into a word for a battle (warfare) and you get a type of sale.

3d           Ship’s  crew with fish for warm hold? (9)
{HANDSHAKE} – A collective word for the crew of a ship followed by a fish gives a friendly ( warm) hold.

4d           Kill almost everybody showing guts (5)
{OFFAL} – A slang term for kill , not ICE this time but another one, followed by the usual everybody but without the last letter (almost) gives a word for guts or internal organs.

5d           Publicity likely over Queen arranger (7)
{ADAPTER} – An abbreviation for a piece of publicity followed by a word which can mean likely, in the sense of ‘he’s likely to do it’, placed before (over in a down clue)  the usual Queen gives an arranger.

6d           Left European peninsula for African country (7)
{LIBERIA} – L(eft) followed by the European peninsula where I live gives a west African country.  Bit of a chestnut but the surface works quite well!

7d           Military comrades fear missing a redeployment (5,6)
{ARMED FORCES} – The military are an anagram (redeployment) of COMRADES FE(a)R – missing A.  This was the one that showed me my error in 22a – no P in the fodder!

8d           Make stink up and fib about Government (6)
{OBLIGE} – Make as in to make someone do something.  Start with the stink that your friends won’t tell you about and reverse it (up in a down clue). Follow with another word for a fib placed around a G (head of Government).

11d         See letter reproduced in daily newspapers once here (5,6)
{FLEET STREET} – This is the place that newspapers used to come from. It’s an anagram (reproduced) of SEE LETTER placed inside the abbreviation for a daily newspaper (which carries good crosswords!).

16d         He may tramp alone, endlessly going around (9)
{PATROLMAN} –  This chap who might walk around alone is an anagram (going around) of TRAMP ALON(e) – endlessly.  Not sure how much of this clue was intended as the definition. It might be just the first three or four words but I think the whole thing fits quite well as these guys usually do go round and round the same beat.

18d         Demanding America supports old foreign leader (7)
{ONEROUS} – A word for demanding or burdensome is US (America) placed after (supporting in a down clue) O(ld) and a famous Roman Emperor who was bit of a pyromaniac.

19d         Fantastic woman‘s plump for artist (7)
{ELECTRA} – This woman from Greek mythology (she was the daughter of Agamemnon) is a word for plump for, as in choose, followed by the usual artist.

20d         Help up in rave full of ecstasy? (7)
{RADIANT} – An adjective describing someone full of ecstasy, (happiness not the drug!) is a word for help reversed (up in a down clue) and inserted (in) into a rave or tirade.

21d         Hard to embrace alien deviation (6)
{DETOUR} –To get this deviation from an intended route you need a word for hard or gloomy and insert (embrace) the alien from the Spielberg film.

23d         Issue raised on front of Sunday paper (5)
{TIMES} – A daily newspaper is made from a word for issue or discharge reversed (raised in a down clue) and followed by an S (front of Sunday)

A lot of blue today but stand-out favourites are 22a and 27a.

The Quick crossword pun: {hole} + {jut} + {hung} = {hold your tongue}

89 comments on “DT 26946

  1. I really did not enjoy this one. Some clue were very easy but many seemed very contrived and tenuous. Took a long time to get started.

  2. I think it is a Ray T given the Queen and the quick crossword too.

    Not his best I thought but still good stuff, 3*/3* for me.

    Clue of the day was 22 but haven’t I seen this same clue or one very similar recently in The Telegraph.

    thanks to both.


      1. Thanks, the first was the one i was thinking of How did you search for them? I’m assuming you dont keep your own personal database of every clue ever?!

      2. How did you manage to post the above in 8 minutes? There must be masses of past clues beginning with ‘He’ and plenty with the answer ‘e******’. Or do you have a phenomenal memory?

        1. There is an option at the top of the page to ‘search this site’
          If you type in certain words such as Helium Element, you can see for yourself what comes back.

          1. Ah, you’ve given the game away Jezza – there was me thinking that Dave had a phenomenal memory!

          2. Thanks for that. Despite being a frequent visitor I’d never noticed the search box. I think the preponderance of ads on lesser sites makes me subconsciously ignore the right hand column.

  3. A glance at today’s Quick crossword strongly suggests that Ray T is today’s setter.

    For those who were looking for the online Chambers dictionary, I received this message from Chambers Word Lovers

    “The Chambers website is currently moving to http://www.chambers.co.uk – as a result we are experiencing some problems with the word wizard and daily sudoku functions. These will be up and running by Monday at the latest, thank you all for your patience.”

    1. Thank you Dave, I was wondering where it had gone. I really miss it, can’t find anything online comparable. Have amended my bookmark.

  4. No real problems in this one. Last one in was 1a, and I was not convinced at the time for the middle few letters of 5d as a synonym for ‘likely’, but I suppose it does work.
    I enjoyed it; thanks to RayT, and to Pommers for the review.

  5. A slow start but it gradually fell into place. I solved 7d before I got to 22a & it had me puzzled for awhile because I thought it should start with “P” . Overall very enjoyable. Thanks to setter & to Pommers for the explanations.

  6. Like roger it took me a long time to get started. Then I completed about half and gave up in desperation.
    Following a break and a coffee I restarted and finished it without Pommers help. But I confess to much use of my electronic helper.
    So it’s a 4* for difficulty for me and 3* for enjoyment.
    Thanks as usual to the setter whoever it may be, Pommers and,of course, BD.

  7. If any of you have a bit of spare time and fancy another puzzle I can strongly recommend today’s Toughie and also the Brendan (Virgilius) in the Grauniad. Neither are very hard but both very entertaining :grin: I solved both faster than I did this one, but then I didn’t put in wrong answers on first pass!

  8. Loved this one, bet it was a Ray T. 22a gave us a few problems even though we did remember seeing something like it before.
    Thanks RayT and Pommers.

      1. I did read the hint from Pommers, CS, but I didn’t really understand it. I seem to have lost any previous comments. What were the numbers?

        1. No, nothing from Mary yet. I should think that, having been in hospital for quite a long time, she’ll need a while at home before she even knows who she is again.
          Hope she’s OK. Just in case she’s reading this :smile: to you, Mary!

  9. Average sort of Ray T for me. I did like 22a and 25a and I thought the pun was wonderful. Thanks to Ray and Pommers too.

    The Toughie takes the same time to solve as an average Rufus so everyone should have a go as what it lacks in difficulty, it makes up for in entertainment. I can also recommend Brendan (the Sunday setter Virgilius) in the Graun, and the Mudd (Paul/Dada) in the FT. All in all a great day for crosswords and I have a gazza to test too :) :)

  10. 13a. I thought that this clue was a bit weak. Did we work out who the setter was? Surely not RayT

    1. Almost certainly RayT, which means it’s probably going to be Petitjean next week. Hmm, now where did I put my “Slightly Mad Hat”? :grin:

  11. Sounds as if I’m the only one to have found this really difficult – there’s quite a lot of other stuff going on around here at the moment so I’m probably not concentrating very well. I did enjoy it but maybe not quite as much as is usual for a Ray T – he’s mislaid his naughty hat!
    I was in the pronoun club which messed up the bottom left corner and I couldn’t do 1a for ages. 27a was SO well hidden that, to me anyway, it was invisible – I missed the other hidden one (24a) for quite a while too. Altogether not my greatest day for solving a crossword.
    I did like lots of the clues – 17 and 25a and 3, 7 and 23d.
    With thanks to Ray T and Pommers.

  12. 4* and 3* respectively for me but many thanks to Pommers without whose hints I would not have finished

  13. Thank you Pommers for your review – hints not needed – and really enjoyed the battle today ! New words for me at 14a and 15a.

    Notice that you have adopted the Scchua underline, which is helpful.

    1. Yesterday everyone seemed to think the underlining was a good idea!

      14a is actually a brand name but it’s in common use like HOOVER for any vacuum cleaner or PYREX for any make of borosilicate glass.

  14. I’m with Jezza on finishing last at 1a. There were a few clues along the way that caused the ink to stop flowing but an enjoyable solve. Thanks to RayT and to pommers.

    1. Can’t remember if 1a was actually the last one I filled in but I certainly needed all the checkers before the penny finally dropped on how the clue works. Funny though, it was the first clue I read and I thought of the answer straight away from the first word but discarded it because I couldn’t see what cool and hot had to do with it, D’oh!

      1. 1a was my last one too.
        And, going back to Loughborough in the hint for 1a, the best pronunciation I ever heard was from an Aussie and it was “Loogabarooga”! :grin:

        1. Re Loughborough.

          A friend walking in Warwick was asked for directions by some American tourists in a car. They were heading for Low-Ghee-Ba-Row-Ghee, apparently…

  15. This one put up a fight for me – not helped by assuming the answer to 1a was In + temperate= intemperate. Made all the down clues on the top line impossible :)

    Thanks to RayT(??) and Pommers

  16. Gotta go out for a couple of hours now, so in view of the conversation above, can anyone come up with 8 pronunciations of OUGH? See y’all later.

                  1. All right then, I will try PLOUGH and LOUGH, pronounced as loch, although I work with a lady with that surname, who says luff!

      1. Has anyone come across the made-up word ghoti which was invented to illustrate the absurdities of English pronunciation?
        You’re supposed to pronounce the ‘gh’ as in rough, the ‘o’ as in women and the ‘ti’ as in nation.

    1. Could someone explain to these antipodeans just how Loughborough should be pronounced. We have no idea!!!

      1. Hi Kiwis

        I’m not good at phonetics but I’ll have a go.

        The first OUGH is prononced as UFF, as in tough, and the second as in Borough – so read it as Luffborough.

        It was finding that the OUGH appeared twice in the same word, but with different pronunciations (for no apparant reason) that set young Virginie off on her rant! She’s quite a ‘fiery’ person but very pretty, especially when angry! Brain the size of a planet though – she was born and brought up in Le Mans until age 18 with parents who didn’t speak a word of English ( I met them once) but she then went and got herself a first class honours degree in chemistry from an English University – how clever is that? And OK, I’ve got a ‘soft spot’ for her :grin:

        1. Thanks for that. We have similar murder of Maori place names by tourists in campervans. Off for our morning walk along the beach now.

  17. Found this a bit tough, needed help after halfway, still haven’t got 1 and 3 after clues, didn’t help having anagram of fear missing for 7! ****\*** for me.

  18. Ref our extraordinary language I once picked up a foreign hitch hiker who was tring to get to a place called ‘Loogabarroga’. This turned out to be Loughborough.

  19. Thought this was extremely difficult. Needed lots of help. Still don’t get 1a or 11d. Didn’t enjoy this one in any way shape or form.

    1. 11d is an anagram of see letter and FT (financial times), and the newspapers used to be located at this address.

      1a was my last word in, and I thought this was an odd clue. I can see it, but I don’t like it!

  20. A nice one with which to return home from a 12-day, airport and hassle free, dry and sunny trip around GB.
    Which included passing through, and near, several places whose pronunciation we would no doubt have murdered.
    Spotted the 22a theme from recent experience, so 8 & 19d were the last to go.
    Thanks to Ray T & Pommers (on a Thursday?)

    1. Everyone’s been playing musical chairs! I’m now even more confused than usual! :smile: Glad you’ve had a good holiday.

    2. Hi Digby – long time no see!

      thursday’s now my regular slot, but as Kath said there’s been a fair amount of musical chairs while you’ve been away!

        1. Far as I know! We’ve got a new guy for Wednesdays. Called Scchua and a regular on 225 – he did yesterday.

  21. Thanks to the setter, and to Pommers for the review and hints. Managed it all except 1a, I realised it was a triple definition, I was only thinking “temperature”, so i had to look up the answer. Well done to the setter, I was completely thrown ! Nice puzzle, favourites were 12,22,27a, the latter being a great hidden word, and 3&16d. Very enjoyable. Penny drop moment with 25a confirms it as a ray T for me.

  22. It now appears the are NINE ways of prononcing OUGH! :grin: Virginie missed HICOUGH but she did come up with LOUGH, as in LOUGH NEAGH – a bit Irish perhaps!

    Well done all!

  23. Going down the bar for a pre-pizza beer or two and a go at the Mudd (Dada/Paul) in today’s FT. Backa later, quite when will depend on how much of a fight Mudd puts up :smile:

  24. Setter here…

    ‘Muchas gracias’ to pommers for the analysis, and to all who left a comment.


    1. Evening Ray and thanks for a very enjoyable puzzle.
      Just one question – 16d, did you intend the whole clue to be the definition?

      1. Yes, it was intended to be an ‘all-in-one’, but it’s for you and the other solvers to decide if it works or not!


        1. I thought it was excellent, that’s why I underlined the whole clue as the definition – then I started wondering! Sorry to have doubted you!

  25. Crypticsue’s reply to my comment #25 was quite correct! Mudd didn’t put up much of a fight but was very enjoyable. One of those puzzles that I finished with a big grin and a slight sense of disappointment that there were no more clues to solve!

    Also had a go at yesterday’s Aardvark (Osmosis) – now that’s a different kettle of worms – as Virginie once said :lol:

  26. Underlining or highlighting the definition is a great idea and I hope that it will be adopted by all of our excellent reviewers. It is certainly helpful to us beginners, because we can focus immediately on the definition and have a second go without ‘cheating’ and reading the rest of the solution!

    1. Hi Bazzer

      I will certainly continue but it’s a personal choice whether the others do so. Personally I thought it made writing the review a tad easier because it’s not absolutely necessary to give the definition in the hint – that’s already been done.

  27. Re comment #2 on this page – it might have been ‘ can of fish’.

    Off to bed now – the afternoon’s vino collapso has caught up :grin:

  28. Hullo from the Pacific Coast.
    Lots of blind alleys in this one, so took longer than it should have done to complete, lots of fun though.

    Thanks to Pommers and compiler.

    1. Hi Colmce – Pacific coast? Where are you? Not San Fransisco by any chance – love the place!

  29. Although completing this pretty tricky puzzle in bed as usual without help afforded a degree of self satisfaction, for me it lacked that certain something. Must agree with Roger’s verdict of “contrived” and “tenuous”, to which I would add “overclinical” and “humourless”. Probably I’m being a bit too harsh. Perhaps I’m becoming a grumpy old man!

  30. Pretty straightforward puzzle.
    15a was a new word for me – got it electronically and checked it in the BRB!
    One is never too old to learn!

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