DT 26949 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 26949

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26949

Hints and tips by Libellule

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BD Rating – Difficulty ** Enjoyment ***

Normal service has been resumed for me today, and we have a fairly typical, although slightly more challenging Rufus crossword to contend with. I particularly liked 19a, which was the last one in and raised a smile as I twigged the answer.

You can find the answer hidden bwtween the curly brackets.

1. Insufficiently emphasise how one may be tense? (5,6)
{UNDER STRESS} – These two words could describe what was happening if you were suffering from a period of pressure or strain, or it could also mean that you didn’t place enough force on a word or phrase.

9. One might aid camper that’s collapsed (9)
{PARAMEDIC} – An anagram (that’s collapsed) of AID CAMPER.

10. A place to see pigeons in the air (5)
{ALOFT} – A and a coop where pigeons are kept produces a word that means a higher place or up above.

11. Some offer is questionable, being rather suggestive (6)
{RISQUE} – A word that means verging upon impropriety can be found hidden between the words “offer is questionable”.

12. Applaud actor’s role — but on reflection, it’s rubbish (8)
{CLAPTRAP} – Another word for applaud is followed by a reversed (on reflection) role a person may have in a film or play to produce a word for nonsense or twaddle.

13. Season well (6)
{SPRING} – Double definition, one of the four seasons, or a source of water.

15. He comes in to wait, finally (2,3,3)
{AT THE END} – Put HE inside another word meaning to serve or assist, definition is finally.

18. Damaged document put inside another (8)
{DEFORMED} – A word that means disfigured or misshapen can be made by putting a word for a printed document typically one with spaces in which to insert facts or answers, inside a formal signed and witnessed legal document.

19. An ABC-man, say? (6)
{SAILOR} – The AB is the same one that appears in 26a, and what does C sound like?

21. Lime and cats affected plant (8)
{CLEMATIS} – An anagram (affected) of LIME and CATS is also a climbing plant.

23. RAF cooks getting help making chicken (6)
{AFRAID} – An anagram (cooks) of RAF is followed a another word that means to give support or relief to. The definition chicken is used in the context here of “being scared”.

26. Sailor a short distance nearer the stern (5)
{ABAFT} – A word that means towards the stern, can be made up from a typical word for a sailor and A and then an abbreviation for twelve inches.

27. Double description of a batman? (2,7)
{IN SERVICE} – How a, you might describe a servant, and b, the fact that this type of servant is a member of the armed forces.

28. Protects men’s involvement in minor setback (11)
{CONTRETEMPS} – An anagram (involvement) of PROTECTS MEN.


1. Court officials chaired on high (7)
{UMPIRE} – The sort of court official you might see at Wimbledon for example.

2. It’s played up or down (5)
{DARTS} –A shortened term for a famous violin when reversed is also a typical pub game.

3. Suspect messenger is one craftily dodging duty (3,6)
{RUM RUNNER} – A bootlegger or person illegally transporting alcoholic drinks is also be a charade of a word meaning questionable and another word for a courier.

4. We hear it’s bound to be a current variation (4)
{TIDE} – A word that sounds (we hear) like TIED (bound) is also the periodic variation in sea level.

5. Let a case get out of hand and snowball (8)
{ESCALATE} – An anagram (get out of hand) of LET A CASE.

6. It’s impressive, even when made of rubber (5)
{STAMP} – A device used to mark (something) with an official impress, seal, or device for example.

7. Writer’s block? (7)
{NOTEPAD} – What a writer might use to write on.

8. One should admit when one is depressed (8)
{DOORBELL} – You might use this to ask for a door to be opened.

14. Firm, lean sort of fighting man (8)
{RIFLEMAN} – An anagram (sort) of FIRM LEAN.

16. Incautious way the staff leave school assembly? (4-5)
{HEAD-FIRST} – A phrase that means without thinking could also be how all the teachers follow after the chief teacher of a school.

17. Point to publication that’s revolting (8)
{SEDITION} – A word for insurrection or rebellion is constructed from S (South – a point) and another word for an issue of work, for example a book or a newspaper.

18. State customs require travellers to do so (7)
{DECLARE} – To state emphatically or authoritatively to affirm. Also to make a full statement of dutiable goods, for example.

20. Remedy may be to change gear (7)
{REDRESS} – A word that means to set right, remedy or rectify could also describe what happens if you re-clothe yourself.

22. Athenian garret (5)
{ATTIC} – A word that means relating to, or characteristic of ancient Athens is also a story or room directly below the roof of a building.

24. In principle, ring after eleven in the morning (5)
{AXIOM} – Place O (ring) after the Roman numerals for eleven inside an abbreviation for the morning to get an established rule, principle, or law.

25. Once-powerful Russian arts organisation (4)
{TSAR} – An anagram (organisation) of ARTS.

The Quick crossword pun: {chock} + {elate} = {chocolate}

42 comments on “DT 26949

  1. I enjoyed this one very much today, especially 19a, which was my last one in!
    Thanks to Rufus and to Libellule.

    1. Have to agree with all of that. 19a was the last in and stand out favourite for us too. Thanks Rufus and Libellule.

  2. Excellent puzzle this morning. Lots of smile moments. Last two in (and fav.) were 8d and 19a. Thanks setter and Libellule.

  3. Very enjoyable – particularly liked 2d and 8d.

    Me also last in with 19a. Could not see it at all – so tried the well trodden path, and read the clue out loud to Mrs SW……………and immediately saw the answer !

    Thank you Rufus and Libellule for your review.

  4. If it were not for 19a and 26a I would give this five star for enjoyment but those two were not nice. Probably those alone for me makes this a three star for difficulty. Pity because they for me rather spoiled an otherwise excellent puzzle.

  5. Loved it! Super crossword today, hard to find a fav. clue amongst so many but I think 15 and 23A are worthy of mention as are 7, 17 and 24D. Thanks to Rufus and Libellule

  6. Hated 19a, could not even see it when using electronic cheat. Otherwise a nice gentle puzzle.

  7. Is there a more elegant setter?
    19a brilliant.
    All the ingredients of an excellent puzzle.
    Many thanks Rufus and Libellule

  8. I agree with Brian that 19a and 26a were bereft but the rest of the puzzle was up to Rufus’ high standard, and none the less for that, and many thanks to Libellule whose excellent hints I did need to use once or twice

  9. 19a made this slightly trickier than usual but I did laugh when the d’oh moment finally came. Thanks very much to Rufus for an excellent start to a muggy day and to Libellule for the explanations.

  10. A great Rufus start to the week. All but 19a (on reading the other comments – no surprise there) completed before lights out last night – just could not see it without Libellule’s help.

  11. Blimey, doesn’t 19A divide opinion! I quite liked it myself, but it was 18D which was last in after a mighty struggle (well, YOU try parsing it once you’re convinced that Deleware is the state, so…).

    Thanks to L&R :-)

  12. I also found this a relatively straightforward and enjoyable puzzle, except for 19a – the correct answer was actually the first word that crossed my mind, but I couldn’t parse it, so I tried several others, then gave up and read the hint. I groaned! Favourites were 8 & 16d which both made me smile. Thanks to Libellule and Rufus.

  13. Didnt like 19a, probably because I couldnt get the answer, even with the hint. ( My pad does not show the answer in the brackets, why is that?) I could’nt get 8 down either (the grammar doesnt fit for me). If Id have got either one I probably would have got the other. Its interesting how there are always clumps of unsolved clues. Anyway, the rest were almost too easy so therefore enjoyment 2 star. Didnt particularly like Rum Runner either. Whats a Rum Runner when he/she is at home.

    1. Bob,
      Which part of the hint is confusing you?
      A rum runner is: “A bootlegger or person illegally transporting alcoholic drinks”

      1. I was probably cross because I could not “c” the answer. Actually I’ve changed my mind. Its a good clue. Thanks for replying.

    2. The reason you can’t see the answers on iPads and similar devices is because the manufacturers are fobbing you off with an inferior and non-compliant browser.

      Have you read the FAQ?


      1. Thanks Dave
        I put my Tab in ipad mode and expanded the screen and there in white letters were the clues. So thats good.

  14. A very pleasant offering on the hottest day of the year here in Bavaria, too hot even for the shady garden.
    Thanks to Libellule and Rufus.

  15. Super puzzle today,learnt some words and found it very enjoyable working out the word play. Favourite was 8d ! .Thanks to Libellule and Rufus.

  16. Lovely crossword for a commute to work. I had to assume that 26 was a real word, having ever heard of it, and apart from that there was (unusually for me) just one I couldn’t get despite all the crossing letters – 19a of course. Put me among those who thought it an awful clue.

  17. Being a relative beginner, and reading the above comments re 19a – it might seem that the definition of a good / bad clue depends on the individual’s ability to solve it ???……!!

    1. Well put, SW.
      Meat & Poison!!
      I thought that all 28 clues were fair, and fully up to Rufus’s high benchmark.

      1. Digby, don’t know whether you ever attempt the Guardian Rufus on Monday, but today……

        …21a – Flier, who used to serve in the navy (4)

        (A sad day today – no more Test Cricket this summer :sad:)

        1. Your comment went into moderation because you gave your email address @hotmail.com instead of @hotmail.co.uk. I’ve amended it for you.

  18. No time at all for everything other than 8d and 19a!
    Considering I was in the RN for 30 years 19a should have been a doddle. My other half will forever refer to me as the ABC man now!! Deep joy!
    Lovely crossword and thanks to both.

  19. Thanks to Rufus & Libellule for the review & hints. Superb start to the week. 2&8d took me longer than the rest of the puzzle, which left me with 19a, but had to use the hint. Great clue nevertheless. Favourites were 2&8d and 19&26a. Well played South Africa, England had a go, but finished a creditable second.

  20. A theme has developed here re 19a – I did not get it – rather vague? 8d was rather nice as was 24d. Had “volt” for 4d which I also think works well. Very enjoyable. Well done The Proteas.

  21. Lovely crossword today, just the right mix of simpler and harder clues. And in the great 19a debate, it was last in for me too, but I didn’t like it. Shouldn’t it have been AB2C?

    Thanks to Rufus and Libullule

    1. A sailor is an AB, but also what sounds like a C-man (seaman). I thought it was brilliant.

      1. Ditto,
        I love off the wall clues like this … you really do have to think outside the box.

      2. You and me both, Gazza, and, surprisingly, a minority.
        Rufus at his best, in my humble opinion.

        1. I think I’ve got the answer to my question ( comment 18 ) !

          I was fortunate – just looking at 19a was a complete blank, but as soon as I read the clue out loud to Mrs SW the answer was quite apparent. I thought it was a very clever clue and was surprised that it attracted so much adverse criticism.

  22. A first comment from a new(ish) reader (although I’ve been tackling DT crosswords for 40 years with mixed success). I usually do well on Mondays and raced through everything today … except 19a! Still didn’t get it even after using the help!
    Thanks to all concerned for an entertaining and helpful website.

    1. Hi Chris – welcome to the blog. Now that you’ve introduced yourself I hope we’ll hear more from you.

  23. Strangely got 19a instantly. Think it was because I said the clue slowly and c-man swung it. Other than that, starting to enjoy cryptic crosswords.

    1. 19a across remained a gap until this morning when I saw the explanation. I’m in the 50/50 camp as I’m not totally convinced but apart from that it was thoroughly enjoyable as was Rufus’s offering over in the Grauniad. Many thanks to he & to L for the review. Now I wonder what today’s Toughie is going to be like…

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