DT 26954 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 26954

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26954

A full review by crypticsue

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

Having turned to the back page of the paper expecting to solve a  Cephas puzzle, it was doubly disappointing to find that the puzzle was on the inside of the back page again, and that the crossword was a  lacklustre  puzzle  from the ‘occasional Saturday Mysteron’ (as opposed to the regular Saturday Mysteron who alternates with Cephas).   


There was a discussion on Tuesday about difficulty ratings.   I rattled through most of this in about 1.5* time and then spent a long time finishing off three clues, hence the  3.5 *  difficulty rating.    I didn’t have a great deal of fun solving this puzzle and regret that it hasn’t grown on me while typing 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.


7a Wear diamonds suspended (3,2,3)
PUT ON ICE – A phrase meaning to suspend or put in abeyance sounds like one might decide to wear one’s diamonds, ice being a slang term for diamonds or other precious stones.

9a Take off when clubs close (6)
ASCEND –  Take off or rise up  – AS (when) C (the abbreviation for the card suit – clubs) and END (close).

10a Splendid police officer, British (6)
SUPERB –  SUPER (Police SUPERintendent) plus B (British).

11a Support the whole number on the wagon (8)
TEETOTAL –  And another charade –  TEE (support for a golf ball) plus TOTAL (the whole number).

12a End argument for as opposed to against (4,10)
GOAL DIFFERENCE –  The first word of this solution held me up for ages – do you think it would have helped if I followed football??    GOAL (end) and DIFFERENCE (argument) – apparently it is something to do with separating teams in the football league.

15a Tease groom (4)
COMB – A double definition – To tease out wool or to groom using a comb.

17a Female mislaying teeth cleaner (5)
FLOSS –  a strand used to clean teeth –  F (female) and LOSS (mislaying).

19a Swim in river with slippery fish (4)
REEL –  To swim or whirl in a dizzy manner – R (river) plus EEL (slippery fish).

20a Fixed pole in ground 23 years ago (14)
CONSTANTINOPLE  – Having been to 23a, you think this would have been obvious to me, but no,  Mr CS and I spent an unnecessary amount of time trying to remember  what happened in 1989!  The former  (years ago) name of Istanbul is formed by CONSTANT (fixed) and an anagram (ground) of POLE IN, although strictly speaking the IN isn’t ground, just the POLE – yes I do know that it has to be like that to make the clue read as a correct sentence.

23a A Butlins rebuilt in Turkish city (8)
ISTANBUL – A (rebuilt) anagram of A BUTLINS.

25a Chitty put in by English leader of team (6)
DOCKET – Don’t hear much of either a chitty or a docket these days – DOCK (put in to a harbour) followed by E (English) and T (the ‘leader’ of Team).

27a One in game, more cramped (6)
POKIER – Insert I (one) into the game of POKER.

28a A clash between boxers, a scrap that’s up in the air? (8)
DOGFIGHT –  A fight between (boxer) dogs or a fight between fighter aircraft, especially at close quarters.



1d Express disapproval over usherette’s top and skirt (4)
TUTU – A ballet dancer’s skirt is obtained from  TUT (express disapproval) and U (the top of Usherette).

2d Live around centre of Toronto, so prosper (2,4)
DO WELL –  Insert the middle (centre) letter of TorOnto into DWELL (live) and split the result 2,4.

3d Proceeded north in rain (4)
WENT –  To get a simpler way of saying proceeded, just insert N (north) into WET (rain).

4d Rush job (6)
CAREER – Double definition – a rush or progress through one’s job or profession.

5d Check on board earlier ship (8)
SCHOONER –  Insert CH (check in chess) into SOONER (earlier) to get a swift sailing ship.

6d Novelist from East Sussex town, bowled over breaking record (4,6)
ANNA SEWELL – the lady who brought us Black Beauty  – Insert into (breaking) ANNAL (historical record) a reversal of the East Sussex town of LEWES, splitting the result 4,6.

8d Popular barrister to sum up (2,5)
IN BRIEF – IN (popular) plus BRIEF (slang term for a barrister).

13d Working party required from time to time (2,8)
ON OCCASION –  ON (working) plus OCCASION (party).

14d Pack animal climbing over partition finally escaped (5)
FLOWN –  Reverse (climbing) the WOLF (which lives in a pack) and follow (over) with the final letter of partitioN.

16d Disraeli, perhaps, in difficult situation occupying African country (8)
BENJAMIN –   Insert a JAM (difficult situation) into the African country of BENIN to get the male Christian given to (perhaps [for example] ) Mr Disraeli.

18d Knees-up after part of leg is found on excavating expedition (7)
SHINDIG – A knees-up or lively celebration  –  SHIN (part of leg) and DIG (archaeological expedition).

21d Thanks Eisteddfod winner for tunic (6)
TABARD –   A sleeveless tunic – TA (thanks) and BARD (a poet whose work has won a competition at an Eisteddfod).

22d Soldiers concealed round about plant (6)
ORCHID –  OR (Other Ranks, soldiers) C ( circa, about) and HID (concealed).

24d Cover over open-air pool (4)
LIDO – LID (cover) plus O (over in cricket).

26d Italian novelist taking in hard copy (4)
ECHO –  Insert (taking in) H for Hard into the surname of the Italian novelist, Umberto ECO.

Let’s hope I have more fun both solving and reviewing next Saturday’s puzzle.