DT 26979 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 26979

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26979

Hints and tips by Libellule

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty ** Enjoyment ****

I guess I was in a good mood this morning (despite the strong winds we are having at the moment), as I really enjoyed this one. Rufus doing what he does best! What did you think?

If you are struggling to work out the answer from the hint just highlight the space between the curly brackets.


1. A married woman in the country (7)
{AMERICA} – A from the clue followed by M (married) and a girls name is also the United States.

5. Gives the call-sign (7)
{BECKONS} – To summons with a gesture.

9. Funny to see a number walk like sailors (5)
{DROLL} – D (Roman numeral for 500) and to move with an undulating motion produces a word that means amusingly odd or comical.

10. Today’s most popular writer? (9)
{BALLPOINT} – Hint, its not a goose quill or a fountain pen.

11. Legal compulsion to be a suitor? (5,5)
{COURT ORDER} – An order issued by a judge that requires a person to do or refrain from doing something could also be an instruction to start a relationship.

12. Travel authority needed as one’s in Virginia (4)
{VISA} – IS (one’s) inside the code for Virginia.

14. Well-known bowler in scarf, perhaps, gets a duck (7,5)
{FRANCIS DRAKE} – A famous bowler on Plymouth Hoe is an anagram (perhaps) of IN SCARF followed by a male duck.

18. Strange thing, gin and bitters, for celebrated singers (12)
{NIGHTINGALES} – An anagram (strange) of THING and GIN plus another word for beers are songbirds.

21. Women’s Aid initially provided for homeless child (4)
{WAIF} – WA (Womens Aid initially) and a two letter word that means “on condition that”.

22. Amazed as mum refused to work (10)
{DUMBSTRUCK} – Mum is used in this context to mean silent, then follow this with a word that means withdrew your labour to get a word that means temporarily deprived of speech through shock or surprise.

25. There’s not much to say for having it (9)
{RETICENCE} – The trait of being uncommunicative…

26. Wines blended for strength (5)
{SINEW} – an anagram (blended) of WINES.

27. Spouse to join a bridge player (7)
{PARTNER} – One of a couple in a relationship (e.g. wife) or one of a pair of players (e.g. bridge).

28. Itinerant craftsman? (7)
{MARINER} – A more formal word for a seaman.


1. One habitually taking things did wrong in law (6)
{ADDICT} – Like heroin, cocaine etc. – an anagram (wrong) of DID inside a law

2. Big racial issue? (6)
{EXODUS} – As per Moses and the departure of the Israelites from Egypt.

3. I will repeat: ‘That’s ignorant!’ (10)
{ILLITERATE} – ILL (I will) and a word that means to say or do again.

4. A shade of caution (5)
{AMBER} – Not red or green.

5. One hoping to become a winner on points (9)
{BALLERINA} – Points here are the tips of the toes of a pair of shoes a particular kind of dancer might wear.

6. Headland under which one may shelter (4)
{CAPE} – Double definition, a point of land projecting into the sea, for example, or a sleeveless outer garment worn over the shoulders.

7. First love in a girl is moving (8)
{ORIGINAL} – O and an (is moving) anagram of IN A GIRL.

8. Feeling fed-up? (8)
{SATIATED} – Supplied (especially fed) to satisfaction.

13. He pays the price of publicity (10)
{ADVERTISER} – In the sense that they are spending money to proclaim the quality or advantages of their goods and services in an effort to increase sales.

15. Haricot bean, for example, not for a starter (3-6)
{NON-RUNNER} – Its not another type of bean, and its also horse that doesn’t start a race.

16. Second doctor takes in present to work — a plant (8)
{SNOWDROP} – S (second) DR (doctor), with a three letter word that means at the present time placed inside, and then add OP (work) onto the end to produce a spring flower.

17. Silver on recent issue, sparkling (8)
{AGLITTER} –AG (silver) plus a word that describes multiple offspring produced at one birth.

19. Give up and go to bed (4,2)
{TURN IN} – To hand over, or get ready to go to sleep.

20. Joint holder (6)
{SKEWER} – A long pin for holding meat in position while its being cooked.

23. Fish seems to be right in the light (5)
{BREAM} – Put R (right) inside a ray or shaft of light for a type of fish.

24. Examination of what verse should do? (4)
{SCAN} – A word that means to examine closely, can also describes the metrical pattern of poetry.

The Quick crossword pun: {recoup} + {orate} = {recuperate}

68 comments on “DT 26979

  1. 3*/3* for me. Thought it a fairly typical Monday. Struggling to see what is “cryptic” about 5a?

    No real favourites. Thanks to both.


        1. It’s a typical Rufus CD clue.

          Some might find these clues “not cryptic enough”, but that’s easy enough to say once you know the answer.

          For “call-sign” Chambers has: “A combination of letters and numbers, identifying a particular ship, aircraft, transmitter, etc”

          The surface is intended to suggest that meaning, rather than the answer, which is a more subtle interpretation of what’s in the clue. The clue is not easy to solve without checking letters, IMO, in common with a few others in this puzzle. Rather than a problem, I think of this type of clue as one of Rufus’ great strengths.

          One person’s “barely cryptic clue” will have another person cursing their own failure to see what eventually becomes clear. These clues are accessible to all, but not necessarily so straightforward that they provide no challenge.

  2. Pleasant introduction to the week. Favourites for me being 5d and 22a. Last in was 2d, had Econut in my mind for some strange reason until penny dropped. Thanx to Compiler and to Libellue for hints which I didn’t need today but I always read to confirm my reasoning.

  3. Agreed with the Wozza rating. A real curates egg. The bottom half was tough but fair, the top half was I thought awful! How are you supposed to get AM from a married? Still don’t see the meaning of winner in a ballerina? (Got this because of en point). Why sign for beckons. Sorry thought the top half was horrid! Thx to Libellule for he answers but would have liked some more explanations.

    1. Hi Brian, 5d it’s just a play on winning on points I think, 1a is a then ‘m’ which is an accepted abbreviation for married

  4. I found the bottom half fairly straightforward, but the top half took a little longer.
    Not one of my favourite Rufus puzzles I am sorry to say. 3*/2* for me.
    Thanks to Rufus, and to Libellule.

    1. I agree – bottom half went in easily, top half, especially NW corner, was not so easy. Most of the answers were obvious, but getting some to “fit” the clues was a bit of a stretch – 5d for example. Either an off day for me or an off day for Rufus. Thanks to R and L.

  5. Good morning Libelulle from a dull wet West Wales, I agree with Jezza, once again not my favourite Rufus puzzle, I needed your help on a few today, one favourite clue today 11a, thanks for hints Libelulle :-)

                  1. Yes – it’s not so bad here now. Stopped raining and a little bit sunny but the wind that I think most of the country has had for a while has now arrived.

  6. I agree with Brian – I cannot see what the answer to 5d has anything to do with being a winner, although got the answer from “on points”. 5d was last in for me – I just couldn’t see it. Thanks to Rufus and Libellule for a gentle start to Monday morning.

  7. Like Brian, I don’t see what being a winner has anything to do with 5d but got the answer from “on points”. 2d was last in for me – I just couldn’t get it. Thanks to Rufus and Libellule for a gentle start to Monday. And apologies if this appears twice because my first post didn’t appear so I’ve repeated it!!

  8. This brightened an otherwise thunderous morning in sunny Switzerland. My only problem was getting 15d wrong, which made locating the famous bowler impossible. Oh, well! I liked the clues, especially 22a. So thanks to Rufus, merci to Libellule and I hope Mary’s cold is better soon. :-)

  9. Thank you Rufus and Libellule for your review. Enjoyed 14a and 18a. Put the answers in for 9a and 2d without being sure – on the basis that they couldn’t be anything else. So needed Libellule’s review to explain ! Always nice to start the week with a success – downhill from here !

  10. I go with a ** and *** today.

    Not a bad start to the week but one or two clues seem a bit too straight forward – 5a, 27a, and 28a for example and ‘winner’ in 5d seems a bit of a stretch but 14a and 18a made up for it.

    Last in was 2d, a bit of a tricky one I thought.

    Many thanks to all

  11. I agree a very entertaining monday romp and **/****.One of those crosswords where you think you know the answer and then confirm it from the clue!.Did’nt know the verse bit of 24d, thanks Libellule , where in my education did i miss out the metrical feet?, it always reoccurs in one form or another in crosswords-a bit like heraldry.

    1. My favourite limerick:

      There was a young man from Japan
      Who wrote verses that never would scan
      His friends said “Whoa”
      Your verses don’t go
      But he said I like to get as many words into the last line as I possibly can

      1. Yes – one of my favourites too. The version that I know is slightly different

        There was a young girl from Japan
        Whose poetry never would scan
        When I told her so
        She replied “Yes I know
        But my problem is that I have to get as many words into the last line as I possibly can”.

      2. One of my two favourite limericks, both of which subvert the form,
        the other being
        There was a young man from Saint Bees,
        Who was stung on the neck bya a wasp
        When asked if it hurt
        He said “Not a bit”
        It can do it again if it likes.

      3. I have a book at home which I think is called ‘The Limerick’ by G.Legman. It has a green cover to it.
        Very amusing, but not suitable for those of a prudish nature!

      4. There is an “old” man called Rufus
        He always leaves me totally clueless
        I’ve now got 1 down
        So now I’ve no frown
        But what are the answers to all the bloody others?

  12. An enjoyable Monday puzzle. Have a slight quibble about 1a. The answer was pretty obvious but didn’t want to write it in as it is not strictly speaking a country on its own. Favourite was the bowler in 14a. Thanks Rufus and Libellule

    1. I recall FredTrueman moaning, as was his want , that the last bowler to be knighted was 14a! whearas ‘sir’ batsmen were legion.

        1. Sorry to be late responding. Have had a night’s sleep since writing the comment. I do believe that you are correct about one of our national sporting heroes.

  13. I had trouble with the top right corner – all of it, to the point that I was wondering if I had got 4d wrong. Definitely a 3* for difficulty for me today.
    Started off badly by putting “tonguetie” for 25a! :oops: I was a bit doubtful so only put it in lightly and changed it pretty quickly.
    I liked 14 and 18a and 7 and 8d. My favourite was 22d.
    With thanks to Rufus and Libellule.
    Wet and beastly in Oxford.

  14. It’s a bit blowy over here today as well, libellule and I am struggling with the crossword although I have only just started. I’d give 3* at first glance but, we will see, as my wife frequently tells me

  15. 1*/3*** for me here in very dark, exceedingly rainy East Kent. Like Kath, I did like 22a, it would take my lot a while to notice and then they would definitely be 22a :)

    I can recommend the Brendan (Virgilius) in the Graun – one of his easier themed puzzles.

  16. Too many clues where the answer leapt out at me but I was looking for something ‘deeper’. For example, 5. Where is the cryptic in that? I did like 15 and 22 though.

  17. Usual Monday fare from Rufus and none the worse for it, very enjoyable without stretching the “little grey cells”. Thanks to Rufus and to Libellule.

  18. Thought it was a fair puzzle. Nothing too contentious. Last one for me was 2d. Ended up going through the whole alphabet on the second letter. Nearly gave up before I got to X!

    FWIW: I think 5d is perfectly sane. Would tend to agree on the 2/4 rating.

    1. http://bigdave44.com/faq/#setters explains all. Basically its Rufus on Mondays, a choice of one of two or more Mysterons on Tuesdays, Jay on Wednesdays, Mysterons on Thursday, Giovanni on Friday, Cephas alternating with Mysteron(s) on Saturday and Virgilius on Sunday.

        1. How? I have just started going through my prize books. I’m really enjoying them and, so far, have done three. One of the things that I’m trying to do (apart from the crosswords) is work out who the setter is. I know that I can spot a Ray T from a mile away but I’m less good on identifying the others. Giovanni – religious, cricket, music. Jay and Virgilius lots of swapping one letter for another. Beyond that I get a bit stuck. Any help, anyone?

  19. Thanks to Rufus & Libellule. Needed a few hints, got stuck in the NW corner. Good Monday fare. Favourite was 14a. Finally made it back through the downpours, it took 6 & half hours, whereas going up only took 4& a half in dry weather.

  20. Like the 2Kiwis and others, 14a was my favourite. Here I am in New York, and I STILL didn’t get 1a!!! Bottom half went in quickly, but I jammed up completely on the top half, although I did get 5d, which seems like a perfectly fair clue to me. Thanks to all. A nice sunny day today in the Big Apple.

    1. 1a. A married woman in the country (7)

      A (from the clue) + M (abbreviation for married) + ERICA (woman) = AMERICA (country)

      According to the ODE:


      • A land mass of the western hemisphere consisting of the continents of North and South America joined by the Isthmus of Panama.

      • Used as a name for the United States

  21. Very enjoyable fare from Rufus.
    Faves were :14a & 5d.

    Weather still sunny here in NL but with a strong southerly wind – the heating came on in my apartment today for the first time since the springtime!

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