DT 26981

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26981

Hints and tips by Big Dave

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ****

Scchua is otherwise engaged today, but will be tackling Giovanni on Friday. A puzzle that was a joy to 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.


1a    Biscuits and scrambled eggs in turn (6,4)
{GINGER NUTS} – an anagram (scrambled) of EGGS IN TURN

6a    Dessert‘s no good (4)
{DUFF} – a double definition

10a    Fish is no good in beer (5)
{ANGLE} – to fish as a verb: the abbreviation of No Good inside a beer

11a    Bribe a substitute? (9)
{SWEETENER} – a double definition: the second one is a substitute for sugar

12a    Winner has one in front of a queen (8)
{VICTORIA} – a charade of another word for a winner, I (one) and the A from the clue

13a    The best swot welcomes start of exams (5)
{CREAM} – a verb meaning to swot around (welcomes) the initial letter (start) of Exams

15a    Licence charge about right — act married! (7)
{FREEDOM} – a three-letter word for a charge or cost around R(ight) followed by a verb meaning to act and M(arried)

17a    People who can absorb information are parasites (7)
{SPONGES} – another double definition

19a    Goes to a restaurant in castle at Southport (4,3)
{EATS OUT} – hidden inside the clue

21a    Biscuit from Madeira, say, on vessel with clipped prow (7)
{OATCAKE} – the type of baked item of which Madeira is an example (say) preceded by a vessel without (clipped) its initial letter (prow)

22a    Misses sleep on board ship (5)
{SKIPS} – a word meaning sleep inside (on board) Crosswordland’s usual ship

24a    Quietly cut down by soldiers, having got ready (8)
{PREPARED} – the musical symbol for quietly followed by a verb meaning cut down itself preceded by some soldiers

27a    Place trap to upset this! (5-4)
{APPLE-CART} – an anagram (to upset) of PLACE TRAP: the definition is something that is proverbially upset – this type of clue is a semi-all-in-one as part of the clue is not included in the wordplay

28a    Cut around the base of horn and grind (5)
{GNASH} – a cut around the final letter (base) of horN: the definition is to grind one’s teeth

29a    Put back smooth tailless fish (4)
{EELS} – reverse (put back) an adjective meaning smooth without its final K (tailless)

30a    Hamlet, for example, gets mainly faithful worker to skive (4,6)
{PLAY TRUANT} – the kind of entertainment of which Hamlet is an example followed by most of an adjective meaning faithful and a worker insect


1d    Animal from Indian state east of Gujarat (4)
{GOAT} – an Indian state followed by the final (east / right) letter of GujaraT – this state is actually east of Gujarat, a nice touch

2d    Careless in short nightdress — not without love (9)
{NEGLIGENT] – a nightdress without its final letter (short) followed by N(O)T without the O (love)

3d    Authority with no power to wield (5)
{EXERT} – start with an authority on a given subject and drop the P(ower)

4d    Lad getting up on time with strange remedy (7)
{NOSTRUM} – reverse a male offspring (lad) and add T(ime) and an adjective meaning strange

5d    Flipping good service in the best digital coverage (7)
{TOECAPS} – reverse (flipping) a good service in tennis inside a word meaning the best: the definition is coverage for the digits in the feet

7d    Heartily pull and eat leg bones (5)
{ULNAE} – the middle letters (heartily) of four words in the clue

8d    The arsonist’s foe ties farmer in knots (4-6)
{FIRE-MASTER} – an anagram (in knots) of TIES FARMER

9d    Continue to resist project (5,3)
{STICK OUT} – a double definition: the second one means to protrude

14d    Pudding? Own cheeky alcoholic preparation (10)
{AFTERSHAVE} – a charade of another word for a pudding or dessert and a verb meaning to own: this alcoholic preparation is used on the cheeks

16d    Act on gold measure threshold (8)
{DOORSTEP} – a charade of a verb meaning to act, the heraldic term for gold and a measure or process

18d    A distraught mate held in unfinished prison camp in part of America (9)
{GUATEMALA} – the A from the clue and an anagram (distraught) of MATE inside (held in) most of (unfinished) a Soviet prison camp

20d    Betters suffer trapped wind here on board! (7)
{TOPSAIL} – a charade of verbs meaning betters and to suffer: the definition is something that traps the wind on a boat

21d    Brazenly finished those without stockings — lady gets disheartened (7)
{OVERTLY} – a four-letter word meaning finished followed by T(hose) without the hose (stockings) and L(ad)Y without her inner letters (gets disheartened)

23d    Drive leaves member in poor lie (5)
{IMPEL} – the usual politician (member) inside an anagram (poor) of LIE

25d    Irritation comes from linking of exchange rates (5)
{ANGER} – hidden (linking) inside the clue

26d    Bill‘s child (4)
{CHIT} – the final double definition – the second one has come up before so I hope you all remember it!

Another puzzle that does exactly what it should do – provide painless entertainment.

The Quick crossword pun: {coarse} + {ticks} + {odour} = {caustic soda}



  1. Mike in Amble
    Posted September 26, 2012 at 11:07 am | Permalink

    I struggled with this a little but nevertheless thoroughly enjoyed it. Lots of amusing clues but fav. definitely 14d. Thanks setter and BD

  2. 2Kiwis
    Posted September 26, 2012 at 11:07 am | Permalink

    Thoroughly enjoyable puzzle with lots of tasty nibbles to be found. About 3* difficulty for us. Favourites were 30a, 14d and 21d. Thanks Jay and BD.

  3. Brian
    Posted September 26, 2012 at 11:14 am | Permalink

    Beyond me how this very tricky puzzle can be a two star, it’s a least a 3/4 if only for 21d and 26d both of which were so cryptic as to be untrue. How are sponges parasites? Spongers are parasites. Managed to finish with help but with very little enjoyment.

    • Domus
      Posted September 26, 2012 at 11:41 am | Permalink

      Agree with your every word. 3* at least for difficulty. 2* is nonsense (with respect, Dave)

      • Collywobbles
        Posted September 26, 2012 at 5:20 pm | Permalink

        Totally agree Brian. Some clues were very difficult. Definitely 3/4*.

        • Posted September 26, 2012 at 6:13 pm | Permalink

          Sorry, but the hardest clue for me, and the last in, was the plum duff – because the word is not often seen on its own. Most of the rest were of the kind where you read the clue and insert the answer. Beware if I do give 4 stars to a puzzle!

          • Sweet William
            Posted September 26, 2012 at 6:16 pm | Permalink

            That would make it 8 stars on my conversion table !

          • Collywobbles
            Posted September 26, 2012 at 6:27 pm | Permalink

            Point taken Dave. I had to refer to your hints for Plum Duff and many others. Some of the clues were very difficult for me to understand. I did not think that this was a very good crossword and I look forward to tomorrows’ with hope

            • Posted September 26, 2012 at 6:29 pm | Permalink

              You could well be right – odds on it’ll be Ray T!!!

              • Collywobbles
                Posted September 26, 2012 at 8:06 pm | Permalink

                Oh no! Don’t tell Brian

              • Kath
                Posted September 26, 2012 at 10:15 pm | Permalink

                I do hope so! Who will be doing the blog? I’m wondering if it could be Gazza as everything seems a bit upside down this week – Ray T plus Gazza could prove to be a lethal/interesting combination with lots of picture possibilities! :grin:

                • Posted September 26, 2012 at 10:20 pm | Permalink


                  The schedule can be seen here:


                  Changes to the regular schedule are in orange, but clicking on an entry will tell you who is blogging the puzzle

                  • Kath
                    Posted September 26, 2012 at 10:24 pm | Permalink

                    Thanks – never get as far as looking at that. Pommers plus Ray T could be pretty interesting too!

                    • Qix
                      Posted September 27, 2012 at 12:51 am | Permalink

                      Thursday’s is definitely a Ray T.

                  • Posted September 27, 2012 at 9:59 am | Permalink

                    It appears that Pommers is away, so the blog may be a little late tomorrow!

    • mary
      Posted September 26, 2012 at 12:30 pm | Permalink

      A sponge is a parasite Brian so …

  4. Only fools
    Posted September 26, 2012 at 11:18 am | Permalink

    Thank goodness a much more enjoyable test than of late .

    ***\**** for me

  5. Jezza
    Posted September 26, 2012 at 11:18 am | Permalink

    I presume this was by Jay today. I found this a little trickier than normal for a Wednesday, but great fun. 3*/4* from me.
    Thanks to setter, and to BD.

  6. Wozza
    Posted September 26, 2012 at 11:20 am | Permalink

    The hateful insomnia meant I had finished this by 5am – thank goodness for the electronic edition in the dark hours.

    At the time I found it quite tough but looking back now It doesn’t seem too hard. Anyway! I managed it without clues (I was wondering where Schuua was today as he has usually posted by then) but did need to consort to the BRB so 3*/4* for me with 1a and 14d my favourites out of many clever clues.

    I enjoyed this more than I normally enjoy Jay’s puzzles. I assume this was one of his. There was a bit less letter substitution than usual i thought.

    Thanks to both.


  7. Brenda Reding
    Posted September 26, 2012 at 11:23 am | Permalink

    Lots of good clues here and fun to do — thanks to setter and BD. Hard to pick a favourite, however I think 21D deserves a mention along with 7D

  8. axe
    Posted September 26, 2012 at 11:29 am | Permalink

    Found today’s offering so much easier than yesterday, breezed through with only scant reference to my Bradford’s
    ( I have just even successfully completed the Toughie. ) What a difference a day makes.
    Many thanks to BD and the setter.

  9. Kath
    Posted September 26, 2012 at 11:38 am | Permalink

    I have to confess that, although I thought this was a good puzzle and enjoyed it very much, I’ve found some of it quite difficult so at least a 3* for me today and at least a 4* for enjoyment.
    I didn’t help myself at all by putting “stand out” for 9d which made 13a virtually impossible until I realised what I’d done. I couldn’t do 21a for ages – I know that Madeira is a kind of wine, an island and a river – ALWAYS forget that it’s a cake as well! 17a and 5 and 18d also caused a bit of grief for me – not my best day really!
    Lots of great clues – 1 and 6a and 1, 14, 21 and 26d. My favourite was 7d – brilliant but took for ever!
    With thanks to Jay and BD.

  10. gnomethang
    Posted September 26, 2012 at 11:47 am | Permalink

    I’m with Jezza on the 3/4 rating – there were a few to trip me up but a great puzzle to finish. Thanks to Jay and to BD

  11. venetiajames
    Posted September 26, 2012 at 11:49 am | Permalink

    I was so excited to finish yesterday’s totally without help or hints, I thought I’d cracked it…..until today’s. Back to the beginner’s slope.
    I like 30a and 16d – I could so those two easily!! Struggled alot though.
    Thank you setter and especially BD for loads of help.

  12. Wayne
    Posted September 26, 2012 at 11:50 am | Permalink

    Very enjoyable but a bit tricky today. Best clue for me was 7d closely followed by 5d and 21d. Rate it as ***/****
    Thanx to Compiler and to BD for his hints which although I didn’t need today I always read for verification.

  13. Beaver
    Posted September 26, 2012 at 11:54 am | Permalink

    Thought it was quite difficult today, score it ***/*****- very enjoyable but took longer than usual.Did’nt help when i spelt 30a wrongly-or rather misinterpreted the clue as i had all of true and the nt from most of the worker to give ‘truent’-which messed up 18d with an e at the end instead of a ! I also tried to solve 18d using ‘stalag’ and ‘states’ as part of America.Never mind,on with the motley.Thanks Dave for the ‘heartily’bit of 7d, as i could’nt quite get the wordplay.

  14. crypticsue
    Posted September 26, 2012 at 12:33 pm | Permalink

    Definitely 2*/4* for me. It didn’t even require one to start with the Downs. Thanks to Jay for a lovely straightforward start to my Wednesday solving and to BD for the hints. I particularly liked 6a as Mr CS and I were only discuss the plum version of this the other day (he was remembering school dinners back in the dark ages).

    The Toughie has a nice gettable theme but definitely fits into the Toughie description.

    • mary
      Posted September 26, 2012 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

      so what is 6a sue never heard of it?

      • crypticsue
        Posted September 26, 2012 at 12:42 pm | Permalink

        A steamed pudding with dried fruit and spices – not quite a Christmas pudding, but that sort of thing. I am probably going to regret typing this but similar to a Spotted Dick too. A cheap way of filling up the family as it has a suety ‘dough’ and dried fruit and spices mixed in and then steamed.

        • mary
          Posted September 26, 2012 at 1:15 pm | Permalink

          sounds lovely mmmm, thanks sue

          • Posted September 26, 2012 at 1:55 pm | Permalink

            If you’ve never had plum duff you have never lived!

            • andy
              Posted September 26, 2012 at 8:39 pm | Permalink

              My no longer here sadly Grandma made the best ever, twenty years later with closed eyes I can still taste it… and she made it on a baby belling!!

  15. mary
    Posted September 26, 2012 at 12:35 pm | Permalink

    Good afternoon Dave, I found this a little easier than yesterday but still needed your help to explain a few, eg 6a, what kind of dessert is that? never heard of it, a three star for me today, with help from my usual friends and yourself needed, haveing ‘repel’ at 23d didn’t help that corner!
    Fav clues today 19a and 26d
    Thanks Dave for hints and help

    • mary
      Posted September 26, 2012 at 12:36 pm | Permalink

      All this talk of buscuits, cakes, desserts etc has made me quite hungry, off to eat :-)

  16. eXternal
    Posted September 26, 2012 at 12:58 pm | Permalink

    Setter with a sweet tooth today. 12,13,17. Lovely puzzle

    • Kath
      Posted September 26, 2012 at 4:06 pm | Permalink

      What about 1a too!

  17. Sweet William
    Posted September 26, 2012 at 1:11 pm | Permalink

    Managed to finish without hints – but took me a long time. Thanks to setter and BD for your review. Read all the comments yesterday about difficulty – concluding that it is after all subjective and a ** rating by the experts means a lot more than that for me ! I think the higher handicap solvers like me need a conversion table – perhaps a Cryptic Sue ** is **** for me ! Enjoyed the hard work today – once a few answers went in, it started to make sense, but found it difficult to get going.

  18. phercott
    Posted September 26, 2012 at 1:15 pm | Permalink

    Proper crossword, as crosswords ought to be. No gimmicks, no themes, no ludicrous (compiler-has-had-electronic-aid) words No nonsense. Just a nice little challenge

  19. Qix
    Posted September 26, 2012 at 1:18 pm | Permalink

    Very nice puzzle, with lots of biscuits and cake to keep one going, too.

  20. Captain Duff
    Posted September 26, 2012 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

    Very enjoyable offering from Jay today. Completed over a cup of coffee (large cup – sipped very slowly). Would have been **/**** but I seem to have got one wrong. I thought 3d was ELECT (authority with no power – as in President Elect for instance) – but then elect to mean the same as wield was always a bit of a stretch. So it ended ***/****. Thanks to BD for sorting out 3d for me.

  21. Posted September 26, 2012 at 1:59 pm | Permalink

    Disturbed night sleep did not help today. Nothing contentious and nothing too difficult but I thought it was a little trickier in places than yesterday. Last in was 29a – the answer was fairly obvious but the sleek wordplay took a bit of figuring out! *** and *** from me. Regards to all

  22. Roger
    Posted September 26, 2012 at 3:47 pm | Permalink

    Really enjoyable puzzle. Favourites were 14, 16 and 21.

  23. Little Dave
    Posted September 26, 2012 at 5:52 pm | Permalink

    Really enjoyed this and must confess I did rattle it off quite quickly. Last in was 5d which was also my favourite. Very enjoyable distraction from the daily commute.

  24. Ian
    Posted September 26, 2012 at 6:29 pm | Permalink

    Couple of picture opportunities missed Big Dave – negligee with no stockings,etc. Oh, I think you also missed a star off your difficulty rating. Glad I’m not the only one to think so. Very enjoyable though, so tvm all.

    • Posted September 26, 2012 at 6:31 pm | Permalink

      I’ve had a busy day today, but it’s never too late!

  25. Hrothgar
    Posted September 26, 2012 at 6:38 pm | Permalink

    Left with six to get after my usual time, eventually got but far too much staring at!!
    So a 3* for me.
    Good solid clues though.
    Thanks setter and BD

  26. Derek
    Posted September 26, 2012 at 8:39 pm | Permalink

    An enjoyable puzzle.
    Faves : 1a, 21a, 30a, 4d, 7d & 18d.
    12a occurred elsewhere recently!

    • andy
      Posted September 26, 2012 at 8:54 pm | Permalink

      Hi Derek, any new wine choices and menu plans? I miss your hints and tips

    • Kath
      Posted September 26, 2012 at 10:20 pm | Permalink

      12a was part of another clue with something that is a bit like X – being a bit cryptic here as I think it just could have been one of the prize crosswords at the weekend – have no intention of going to the naughty corner at this stage in the week – everyone will have gone and all the cake will have been eaten!!

  27. andy
    Posted September 26, 2012 at 8:46 pm | Permalink

    I’m with the 3* 4* fraternity, really enjoyed this, thanks Jay (if twas he) and BD

  28. Chris in Milton Keynes
    Posted September 26, 2012 at 9:41 pm | Permalink

    Hi Dave, I was amused to see your comment about “read the clue and see the answer” today. That is usually my situation re Monday offerings. Today for me it was “read the clue, think ?, think again, think ??, look at your hint, and think ???”. Clearly I’m on a very different wavelength today, could not get anywhere, don’t know why. Anyway many thanks to setter and yourself.

    • Posted September 26, 2012 at 9:45 pm | Permalink

      I think familiarity with Jay’s style of clues helps a lot. Ask Pommers!

  29. Terryfromslough
    Posted September 26, 2012 at 10:34 pm | Permalink

    Any ex RAF solvers may still use, as I plead guilty to, the expression Duff Gen !!!

  30. Heno
    Posted September 27, 2012 at 12:28 am | Permalink

    Thanks to the setter & to Big Dave for the review & hints. Found this very difficult, was 11 short, got 3 from the hints & had to look up 8. Favourites were 30a & 1&20d.

  31. Stoic Stan
    Posted September 28, 2012 at 1:53 am | Permalink

    Really cross with myself today so much 25 and 28ing of teeth. A really good puzzle with lots of tasty clues, but gave up with 15 to go. Thanks to BD who helped put me back in a good mood as a put the answers in and realised my silly mistakes. Clearly I have to practice Jay’s more. As usual I also really enjoy reading everyone’s blogs. There seem to be some names I don’t recognise, so maybe this puzzle provoked more interest than usual. Feeling hungry now after all the mouthwatering across answers – including 12 and 22, in case you hadn’t noticed (but not so much 29a).