DT 26961 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 26961

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26961

Hints and tips by Libellule

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BD Rating – Difficulty ** Enjoyment ***

A typical Rufus start to the week that took me slightly longer than normal, although I don’t know why.

You can reveal the answer by highlighting the space between the curly brackets. Alternatively if you are using an i-thingy you might want to read the relevant FAQ.


1. Orders cat’s diet to be changed (8)
{DICTATES} – An anagram (to be changed) of CATS DIET.

6. Original spares may be few and far between (6)
{SPARSE} – An anagram (original) of SPARES.

9. A naturally talented spinner (6)
{SPIDER} – A creature that’s adept at making webs.

10 .Outstanding feature of country spot (8)
{LANDMARK} – A prominent feature for example could also be a charade of a particular region followed by a visible impression or blemish.

11. Quartz watch that doesn’t look for real? (5,3)
{GLASS EYE} – Is also an artificial replacement for an organ of sight.

12. Union left gets in extremely easily (6)
{EQUITY} – Put a word that means depart inside (gets in) the outer letters (extremely) of EasilY to get the actors’ trade union.

13. Horse-racing is fun for Cambridge college? (5,2,5)
{SPORT OF KINGS} – What you are looking for here is a term that describes flat racing or steeplechasing that could also describe a pastime that takes place at a college.

16. Flat-finding agencies (6,6)
{SPIRIT LEVELS} – Are also devices used by builders etc to establish whether something is flat.

19. Told untruth about street being in the directory (6)
{LISTED} – Place a word for telling falsehoods around (about) ST (street).

21. Was persuasive as Venus de Milo? (8)
{DISARMED} – A word that means overcoming someone’s suspicion or hostility for example, could also be an attempt to describe the limbs that are missing from this famous statue.

23. Secured routine job and set about it (8)
{ANCHORED} – Place AND around (about) a routine or duty or task to get a word that means to hold fast, usually associated with ships.

24. Colour likely to run (6)
{YELLOW} – A colour between orange and green is also an informal word that means to be cowardly or afraid.

25. Promise to uncle, perhaps (6)
{PLEDGE} – A word that can mean to deposit something as security (e.g. pawn, note that uncle is a slang term for a pawnbroker).

26. Joy, Sue, Pearl, Dotty (8)
{PLEASURE} – An anagram (dotty) of SUE and PEARL


2. Urges can be deceptively simple (6)
{IMPELS} – An anagram (deceptively) of SIMPLE

3. They take their turns at sea (5)
{TIDES} – The periodic rise and fall of sea level caused by the gravitational pull of the sun and moon.

4. Dressed and made to leave the house (6,3)
{TURNED OUT} – A phrase that means dressed well or smartly could also describe what happens if you were evicted or forced to leave your home.

5. Able to pay up five pound in notes, perhaps (7)
{SOLVENT} – Place a reversed (up) V (five) and L (pound) inside an anagram (perhaps) of NOTES.

6. Sign sick note for char (5)
{SINGE} – An anagram (sick) of SIGN plus E (note).

7. Troops will impound our weapons (9)
{ARMOURIES} – Place a word that describes large bodies of soldiers around OUR to get the sort of places where you might store weapons.

8. General plans great changes, inscribed in pen (8)
{STRATEGY} – An anagram (changes) of GREAT inside (inscribed in) a pig pen.

13. Scored, but retired from the field (9)
{SCRATCHED} – A double definition, to have made a thin cut or mark on something, or to withdraw from a contest.

14. There’s no set way to win such races (9)
{FREESTYLE} – A swimming event in which the contestants may choose any stroke. (The crawl usually).

15. I plan too haphazardly but it’s a matter of choice (8)
{OPTIONAL} – An anagram (haphazardly) of I PLAN TOO.

17. Arrived and finished in a higher position? (5,2)
{ENDED UP} – Came to a place, or ascended (perhaps).

18. It’s awfully rude to make a digression (6)
{DETOUR} – An anagram (its awfully) of RUDE TO.

20. Strain of a grave commitment? (5)
{DIRGE} – A funeral hymn or lament.

22. Posh vehicle for baker’s deliveries? (5)
{ROLLS} – A prestigious luxury car could also be small loaves of bread.

The Quick crossword pun: {height} + {reason} = {high treason}

57 comments on “DT 26961

  1. Good morning Libelulle from a very misty West Wales, hopefully when the mist clears the sun will come out!! I also found this a bit tricky today although when I finished I couldn’t really say why, fav clues today 26a,16a and 6d, got stupidly stuck on 6a as I just didn’t see ‘original’ as an anagram indicator, not keen on 13a and needed your help for that one, not keen on 25a either, thanks for hints and help Libeluule :-) a two to three star for me today

  2. Another delightful puzzle for a Monday that was a real 26a to solve. Favourites were all in the acrosses with 11a, 12a, 16a and the four women of 26a. Thanks Rufus and Libellule

  3. Thank you Rufus, most enjoyable – liked all the anagrams ! Thought 12a a bit clever with “left” lurking to confuse. Thank you Libellule for your review.

  4. I found this one incredibly easy and, for once, didn’t need any hints. Thank you Rufus for a nice easy start to the week’s crosswords puzzles.

  5. Must have been on just the right wavelength today, which is unusual for me with a Rufus puzzle. Think I might have broken my all-time DT solving record :grin: Got all but two of the acrosses (12 and 16) on first pass, well i actually got the answer to16a but didn’t put it in as ESTATE AGENTS also fits – perhaps one of Rufus’ not-so-cryptic cryptic definitions I thought!

    A fun puzzle and much enjoyed. Favourites 12a, 16a and 7d.

    Thanks to Rufus and Libellule.

    P.S. The Rufus in the Grauniad is pretty good too and a tad trickier than this one.

    1. I also thought about “estate agents” for 16a – the only thing that stopped me was the fact that I didn’t think anyone would use the word “agencies” in a clue and then have the word “agents” as part of the answer.

      1. Agreed, but the possibility was there so neither went in, although I favoured what turned out to be the right answer you never know with Rufus!

  6. I stupidly put ‘tossed’ for the first word in 4 d – because you toss leaves to dress them in a salad. Soon realised my mistake when there was only word for that old chestnut of 9a!

    An enjoyable start to the week. Lovely sunshine on the Wirral – just in time for the return to school!

  7. I thought that most of this was straightforward but got a bit held up with 13 and 16a and 14d. I tried to make 13a an anagram of “horse-racing” – please don’t anyone ask why – it seems that I can’t even count today! Lots of anagrams and I always like them so probably agree with the ratings for difficulty and enjoyment.
    I liked 9, 24 and 26a and 5 and 22d.
    Thanks to Rufus and Libellule.
    Beautiful day in Oxford – blue sky and sun but with a definite Autumn feel about it. :smile: Need to cut grass. :sad:

  8. A lovely puzzle from Rufus, and a joy to solve! Difficulty ** but enjoyment too many stars to type in here, loved it! Favourites all of them, I can’t find one disappointment. Thank you Rufus and Libellule

  9. Agree with a**/*** ,although i admit i struggled a bit with the NE corner, wanted to put scarce in for 6a,until i twigged the anagram, also point to point for 13a until this penny dropped . Never mind all part of the fun, liked 12a and16a, good start to the week -thanks to setter.

  10. A nice easy(ish) start to the week with a couple of lovely red herrings. Like Pommers, I also had estate agents in mind, but held back for the same reasons as Kath. 26a was fave today. Thanks to Rufus and Libellule.

  11. Some nice clues in this one today. It took me a little longer than normal to complete, perhaps due to a dull head this morning. Thanks to Rufus, and to Libellule.

  12. Lovely stuff to brighten up the first day back in the office for 9 days :( Took me a minute smidge longer than usual too – it seemed to fill up from the bottom to the top. Disagree with Pommers as I found the Graun Rufus a tad easier.

    Thanks to Rufus and Libellule too from a lovely sunny East Kent.

  13. And I was doing so well! Two days of sunshine in Birmingham must have affected me though, because quite bizarrely I put Longmynd in for 10a… caused all sorts of problems!

    Many thanks to Rufus for an excellent “Monday” puzzle and Libellule for showing me the error of my ways.

  14. I agree with Libellule that this was a typical Rufus that took a little longer. I did finish last night before lights out but only because that was a little later as today is a holiday here. Last in was 12a – I think I must have come up with at least half a dozen ways of reading the clue, and, for some reason, even with all the check letters it was not immediately obvious. Favourites were 13d, 16a, and, especially, 26a – what a neat way of setting up an anagram.

  15. Took a while for grey matter to kick in. 20d possibly the best but did like 26a, a classic rufus clue!

  16. Thanks to Rufus and to Libellule for the usual enjoyable if untaxing crossword and the usual exemplary review.

  17. Dear All,

    Thank you all so very much. I consider myself a beginner with the DT cryptic crossword despite the fact that I have been doing it for years. Some days (but not often) I can finish it. Most days I cannot. And then there are some days where I cannot even get started.

    I have been “lurking” on this site for a few months now……..And now my skills are improving.

    Thanks to everyone for all the time spent on this site. I am and will continue to log on from time to time.

    I may even make some comments from time to time. However being in the presence of greatness, I will probably stay hidden in the corners.

    1. Welcome to the blog Tim.

      There’s really no need to stay hidden. Feedback from people like yourself is valuable to the bloggers and the other solvers alike.

      1. Tim C,
        Welcome to the blog, and thanks for the comment, its comments like “I have been “lurking” on this site for a few months now……..And now my skills are improving.” that makes the blogging worthwhile. I am not so sure I understand the reference to “being in the presence of greatness”.

        1. “…being in the presence of greatness”.

          Maybe Tim C is referring to NTSPP – 132 ?

          25d – Hail, mighty cruciverbalist, he’s no beginner (3)

        2. Come now, don’t be modest about the greatness.

          People like you pick up the puzzle, solve it, write up clues on how to solve it and then post it all here.

          Meanwhile I am still struggling with the first clue. I will get there eventually……I hope

          1. Just keep going, Tim C. People here are absolutely wonderful – helpful, knowledgeable, friendly, experienced at solving crosswords and, above all, totally non-judgemental so that even if you’re having a dim day no-one makes things worse by making you feel stupid! Keep commenting. :smile:

          2. ditto what BD, Libellule and Kath say, you can be assured that if you have a d’oh moment you won’t have been the only one, welcome.

  18. Took quite a while for pennies to start dropping but, when they did, they fell fairly rapidly! Enjoyed that tremendously. Needed hints to explain 12a though why I couldn’t “see” it is beyond me. Particularly liked 23a – just thought it very clever wordplay. Thank you Rufus and Libellule.

  19. Reading Tim C’s comments has given me the courage to write myself. I have lurked for some time and am in exactly the same position as he is, and have learnt a lot from looking at this site. I rarely manage to complete a crossword without help but am improving. I like the anagrams because I can do them! Thank you all.

      1. Except a good electronic dictionary, and occasionally some chemical help!

        I’m still in awe of the four ladies today.

      2. And a welcome from me too. I agree with BD that there is no substitute for practice but this blog certainly speeds up the learning process. Yet another opportunity for me to say thank you to all concerned. :smile: to all of you.

    1. Does everyone who posts a comment on this blog get 15 minutes to make corrections, additions etc. Or is it just me? :wink:

      1. This facility started a couple of months or so ago when Big Dave changed the hosting of the website.
        It should be the same for everyone.

        1. With self-hosting I found that there were thousands of plug-ins available and picked out some of the best. This facility is provided by “WP Ajax Edit Comments”.

        2. My sarcasm seems to have been totally missed!

          Just a comment on William Geddes’s misspelling of “could” and his opportunity to correct it!

          Naughty Corner – only open at weekends!

          Pedants’ Corner – open from Monday to Friday!

          1. Not totally! I did have the naughty thought of correcting William’s post and putting a spelling error in yours :grin:

  20. As usual from Rufus, lovely Monday puzzle; a real 26a to solve. Thanks to him and libellule.

    1. You are on the naughty step Mark – the site has a rule that we mustn’t say how long it took to solve the crossword.

        1. Well… I AM a naughty boy!…didn’t know that was the rule. Still a personal best though. Oh, the EXCITEMENT of it all………

  21. Usual pleasant start to the week from Rufus.
    Faves were : 11a, 13a, 16a, 21a, 5d, 8d, 14d & 20d.

    Now back to the box to watch Flushing Meadows!

    Lamb chops and veg with Aussie red tonight then Dutch strawbs + cream!

    I have not been blogging for a while because of the US Open but I always solve the cryptic daily.

  22. Excellent crossword and most enjoyable. Many thanks to Rufus for crafting it and to Libellule for the few hints that I had to look up

  23. 12a, sure it was “CLINCH”. L (left), gets in extremely easily i.e CINCH. Clinch being a sort of union! Then regretted jumping in too quickly and making the corner slow, I would not admit to myself that I could be wrong. How wrong!

  24. Late on duty today as is usual in the summer but had to comment on 16 which I thought was wonderful. Also liked 9 11 12 and 26.

  25. Thanks to Rufus & Libellule, a nice start to the week, first in was 1a, last in was 21a which I had to look up, favourite was 11a. Like a lovely summer’s day in central London, but hotter :-)

  26. Found this decidedly tricky, at least a three star for me esp as I have never heard the term uncle for pawnbroker before. Not much fun I’m afraid.

  27. A great gallop for hubby Ian and me today, until we reached 12a and 8d, and then our horse refused. A few more mental circuits, coming at the fence from a different angle, and the penny *clunked*. Good fun puzzle. Faves were 24a (love Rufus’ word play) and 26a. If you are wondering why we are posting this so late, we always do the previous day’s puzzle over our porridge the next day!

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