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DT 26992

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26992

Hints and tips by Libellule

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty *** Enjoyment ***

Quote from grumpy old man, “a few too many first/starts and close/ends for my taste”. However I did find this pretty tricky for a Tuesday. Last one in was 11a, if anyone has a better explanation for this please feel free to add your comments to the blog.

Highlight the space between the curly brackets to show the answer.


1. Rush second spicy dish (6)
{SCURRY} –Take S (second) and then add a spicy dish of Indian origin.

4. Uncommonly brave taking Latin oral (6)
{VERBAL} – An anagram (uncommonly) of BRAVE with L (Latin) added.

8. Jokes about youth leader in room in party clothes (4,4)
{GLAD RAGS} – Place a four letter word for jokes around LAD (youth) and the first letter (leader) of room.

10. Endless money in old gaming house (6)
{CASINO} – Remove (endless) the final letter of the definition in 3d and then add IN and O (old).

11. Top complete/incomplete? (4)
{STAR} – The definition is top, remove the last letter (incomplete) from a word that means utter or extreme. (We think).

12. Male prison, dreadfully cold (10)
{IMPERSONAL} – An anagram (dreadfully) of MALE PRISON.

13. Railway buff instructs one at the wheel? (12)
{TRAINSPOTTER} – Someone who watches locomotives and notes their numbers could also be someone who (6,6) shows someone how to make plates, jugs, vases etc.

16. Set about sailor after showing characteristic restraint (12)
{STRAITJACKET} – The definition is a form of restraint. Place SET around a term for a characteristic feature or quality and then add a four letter word for a sailor.

20. Legendary female reportedly produced song from ‘West Side Story’, nervously at first (4,6)
{MAID MARIAN} – This legendary female is Robin Hood’s other half. A word that sounds (reportedly) like MADE (produced), then a song from West Side Story about Bernardo’s sister, and finally the first letter of nervously.

21. Taken initially from large amount in bag (4)
{SACK} – Take a word for a large amount and then remove the initial letter of taken to get a type of bag.

22. Closed trunk as well (2,4)
{TO BOOT} – A word that means closed or fastened (like a door), is followed by the English variant of the word that describes a cars trunk to get a phrase that means in addition or besides.

23. Nato reorganisation unlikely, but don’t mention it (3,2,3)
{NOT AT ALL} – An anagram (reorganisation) of NATO is then followed by a word that means improbable to believe.

24. Character vandalised tea urn (6)
{NATURE} – An anagram (vandalised) of TEA URN.

25. Original piece of cotton fabric in drawer? (6)
{CRAYON} – A stick of coloured wax or chalk for example is the first (original) letter of cotton and a type of synthetic textile.


1. Royalist abroad, living alone (8)
{SOLITARY} – An anagram (abroad) of ROYALIST.

2. In the process of looting, with place being abandoned (5)
{UNDER} – Remove (abandoned) PL (place) from a word that means to seize wrongfully by force.

3. Cash in study is dipped into by European (7)
{READIES} – A word for available money, is another word for study followed by IS with E (European) inside.

5. Former winner, it’s believed, maintains pressure — and that’s not all (7)
{EXCERPT} – A passage or segment taken from a larger work is EX (former), a word that describes a horse bound to win a race with P (pressure) inside.

6. See man in charge bagging runs (9)
{BISHOPRIC} – The definition is See, Take the religious man found on a chess board, then add IC (in charge) and place R (runs) between the two.

7. Secure a posh carriage (6)
{LANDAU} – LAND (secure), A and a single letter used to describe the upper class.

9. Son winning place, in theory (11)
{SUPPOSITION} – S (son) UP (winning) and a place or location.

14. Batting team dismissed, comprehensively (6,3)
{INSIDE OUT} – The batting team is the IN SIDE, and if they have been dismissed, then they are OUT.

15. Enter provisionally one name below writer (6,2)
{PENCIL IN} – Add I (one) N (name) to a writing instrument.

17. Clergyman’s written about a source of nuclear energy (7)
{REACTOR} – Place A inside another word for a cleric.

18. Caretaker to start to repaint after New Year’s Day? (7)
{JANITOR} – A person who looks after the maintenance of a building can be constructed from TO, the first (start) letter of repaint placed after JAN I (Jan 1st).

19. Colour of satellite orbiting area close to Jupiter (6)
{MAROON} – Definition is a colour, take the Earth’s satellite and place A (area) and the final (close) letter of Jupiter inside it.

21. Guy eating a Malaysian dish (5)
{SATAY} – Think of a guy, as in the sort of guy that holds up a tent and then add an A to get a dish of spiced meat dipped in a peanut sauce.

The Quick crossword pun: {trussed] + {ease} = {trustees}

69 comments on “DT 26992

  1. I also had the fifth letter of 11a as ‘K’.
    No real complaints about the puzzle, but not one of my favourites.
    2*/2.5* for me. Thanks to setter, and to Libellule.

  2. Agree 11a is a bit odd.
    Didn’t have too much difficulty with this one.

    Thanks for the review and to the setter.

  3. Early start for me today,boiled egg,soldiers and off to work.Scored today’s offering ***/**** as some difficult clues.Was’nt sure about 11a,rightly assumed the answer was ‘top’ derived from a word meaning complete with the final letter missing’ ( ie incomplere )not convinced by Libellule’s explanation; anyway the rest were fine and an enjoyable start.

  4. I agree with above. Pretty straight forward apart from 11a which I kept coming back to. Still not sure what the longer word is. Apart from that I would agree with **/*** and ***.some nice clues 16a and 20a among them. Many thanks.

  5. Hmm, maybe the insomnia helped. I had this finished before 2am and it was probably my fastest ever solve by some margin, I was actually moaning to myself that it didn’t last long enough, maybe because I wanted it to help pass the time.

    I had it as a */***. Each to their own I guess, and no doubt I will get my comeuppance later in the week.

    Thanks to both

  6. Very enjoyable for me. Best clue was 14d. 11a is a funny one, hence the comments, but if ‘k’ represents incomplete what does complete represent?

    1. Top = STAR, complete = STARK as in “stark raving bonkers”, now remove the K (incomplete).

  7. I thought this was good and really enjoyed it very much – didn’t find it tricky once I got myself onto the right wave length. Probably 2* for difficulty (apart from 11a which, along with everyone else it would seem, I didn’t really understand) and 4* for enjoyment. I also didn’t quite get the first little bit of 22a. I took a while to unravel 16a.
    Some good clues – 13 and 20a and 2, 9, 18 and 21d. Also, unusually for me, I not only liked but understood 14d – must be learning!
    With thanks to Mr Ron and Libellule.
    Cold, but sunny and dry in Oxford – off up the garden.

      1. Thanks Jezza – very tempting to have a go at the Toughie but will probably keep it as a reward for later when I’ve achieved something in the garden!

        1. Thanks CS and Qix – the non-tough Toughies are, in general, the only kind that I stand much of a hope with – will look forward to having a go later! As for the Prize Puzzle this month . . . :roll: Just CAN’T do it at all!

          1. I won’t tell you again!! Nor will 2 Kiwis, leave it on the Kitchen table and keep cogitating….

            1. Thanks andy and Franco – I will leave it on the kitchen table and keep trying from time to time. Even forgetting the crossword problems our kitchen table isn’t exactly without its own – newspapers, post, toast crumbs, an 18 year old cat . . .

          2. Kath,

            1. The Prize Puzzle – the preamble helped me.
            2. Whenever the “experts” say “Have a go at the Toughie” – I always fail miserably. Today is no exception!

            1. Franco, Take a fresh guard, and attack the bowling!
              A couple of “Z” words, and two well-known battles should get you going.

              1. Nice to see you again, Digby!

                I’m still plodding on…occasionally getting the odd single! My progress is Boycott-esque!

                (My spelling of Shit-Tzu let me down badly!)

  8. Sorry in advance to Stan but I thought this particularly straightforward for a Tuesday but enjoyable too. Thanks to Mr Ron and Libellule too.

    The Toughie isn’t that tough, but as usual with a Dada puzzle is very entertaining.

  9. Apart from 11a, last in and which I agree is a bit “iffy”, I really enjoyed this puzzle.

    2*/4* from me and I would have been well inside 1* time apart from dithering over 11a across before clicking the submit button.

    Many thanks to Mr Ron and Libellule.

    Agree with others that the Dada Toughie is well worth a look.

    1. Happy Valencia Day!

      It took me two sessions to complete this – challenging and enjoyable, especially with the temperature about 30 today. Señor Nora has even had a dip in the pool – unheard of in previous Octobers! I’m not that brave, but then neither had I run 18km by way of Valencia half marathon training. I did the cryptic and exercised my brain instead.

      1. Hi Nora, and the same to you!

        What’s up with the weather this year? Never known temps over 30C in October before. We’ll probably have to pay the bill in January :sad:

        Off for a bike ride now – I’m afraid a half marathon would be half a marathon beyond me :grin:

  10. I enjoyed this crossword from our mystery setter and could not see any difficulties wit 11a, the only one that held me up slightly was 22a which gave me my duh moment. Thanks to the setter and to Libellule for the excellent review.

    1. Yes – I dithered about 22a for a while – couldn’t make sense of the first bit. I suppose people say “Could someone push the door to” don’t they? (My Dad would have said “Could someone put the wood in the hole”!)

  11. 11a is the sort of clue that Myops often uses in the Wee Stinker.

    Other than that a decent and enjoyable puzzle.

    Thanks to the setter and Libellule.

  12. Hi Libelulle, a two to three star for me today, thanks for the hints, needed to understand two in particular, 11a and 22a and whilst I can understand 11a, just, I cannot equate ‘closed’ with ‘to’ ? If a door is pushed to, it is closed but ‘to’ on it’s own is surely not a synonym for ‘closed’??
    However apart from that, I did enjoy todays crossword,with lots of favourite clues, 13a,14d, being the favourites
    Thanks once again for the explainations Libelulle but would appreciate further comment on 22a?

    1. The office dictionary (sadly not Chambers) has TO meaning ‘closed, especially of a door’.

        1. Chambers has:

          “adverb: In or into a required or fixed position, contact, closed or fastened condition”

    2. Mary,

      Its a valid construct, however as Gazza says, its the sort of thing you might expect to see in a Toughie, but does it work for a “back pager”?

    3. Sorry all – just posted a comment about 22a further up before getting this far. MUST learn to read all comments so that I don’t just repeat what others have already said! :oops:

    4. In Yorkshire you would often hear the phrase “Ey up lad! Shut to!” which referred to a request to kindly close the door as there is an unwelcome draught blowing in from outside. This was more common in those 2 up n 2 down terraced houses (one of which I had as my first house) where you stepped straight in from the street..

          1. My dad used to say we’re you born in a barn. I always thought that he would know better than me.

  13. I was once approached by an elderly lady whilst taking a coffee break at work. She saw me puzzling over the back pager and asked if I thought that the Tuesday offerings were more difficult than the rest of the week’s crosswords. Ever since then I have mostly found this to be true. However today’s was quite un-Tuesdayish although I must say I struggled a bit with 11a too. Very enjoyable when all said and done but, like the blogger said earlier, I shall pay for it later in the week. xxx/xxxx for me

  14. I thought that was good fun to-day probably because I finished it with no help and fairly quickly for me.
    Last one in was 11a ,had the correct word but could only explain it to myself as star meaning top and
    start as incomplete (i.e the start of something as opposed to all of it). Thanks to Mr. Ron & Libellule.

    1. Brian this one is realy well within your capabilities, even if a few of the clues need perservating over :-)

  15. This may seem a little controversial, but I just couldn’t justify 11a. :-)

    otherwise straightforward enough, and I’ve even done the Toughie! Hoorah that it isn’t Monday!

  16. Finished – and found it rather easier to get started than yesterday’s. But again had some answers which needed confirmation in Libellule’s review – in particular 21a. Embarassed to say that I could do with further help please anyone !! I have the answer correctly but cannot get the wordplay !

    Lovely day here again on N Norfolk Coast. We sometimes wonder why we live in S Lancs. A look in the local estate agent’s window quickly confirms the reason !

    Thanks to setter and Libellule.

    1. Hi William

      The large amount might be of chips on a roulette table and you need to take out the T to leave a bag, of coal maybe.

        1. And the problem with this “Take a word for a large amount and then remove the initial letter of taken to get a type of bag” was?

          1. The way it was written? Now if it had been written as above… ;-) , just couldn’t think of the word even when I had the answer! You are quite right of course Libelulle, it shouldn’t have been a problem at all :-)

            1. Mary, if you’re referring to my hint above I would never have put that in the blog – it gives the game away far too easily. I would have written something like Libellule did, which I thought a fine hint within the spirit of this blog. It shows the clue construction and points you in the right direction without giving the answer away.

            2. Hi both, no I think we have crossed wires here, I was referring to the actual clue itself, and I thought it didn’t really matter in a weekday puzzlw just in prize puzzles, if you actually say the word?

              1. Mary,
                Its possible that we have crossed wires :-)
                However, just to clarify there are a couple of points here, when we blog the crossword we try to explain the clue and provide hints that allow another prospective solver to work out the answer. If we need to explain the hint/answer explicitly as a reply to a comment because the hint wasn’t enough for someone, then a comment like S(T)ACK works fine, but ONLY on non prize puzzle days. :-)

                1. Yes, thank you Libelulle, that’s why I know I won’t end up in the naughty corner on weekdays ;-)

  17. Thanks to Mr Ron & Libellule for the review & hints. Enjoyed this one a lot, would say 3*/4* 11a put it into 3″ difficulty. Started with 1a, finished with 11a, favourites were 13&25a & 6&14d. Lovely day in Central London. Off to try the Toughie.

  18. All went within my time except 6d.
    I spent too long trying to think of a latin named diocese eg Cantab, with the letters already there.
    When the penny dropped ,it could be heard in China.
    Thanks setter and Lubellule

  19. Good evening. I actually found this rather easy although I did fail to get 6d as I was convinced “boss” was involved. BAH!.

  20. We are always amazed that the same clues that we find most puzzling are found to be so for most. Makes it hard to be original with late comments. 11a and 21a the last to justify. Time about 2* for us, 3* for fun.
    Thanks Mr Ron and Libellule.

    1. Doesn’t matter 2 Kiwis, more worrying for me is when I miss the blindingly obvious, usually on a Sunday when tackling Virgilius, he’s just too good for me, especially his trademark hidden words. Agree with your ratings and add thanks to Libellule and Mr Ron

  21. 11a was driving me stark raving bonkers until I checked out the comments here. Thought it must be star for top, but couldn’t think what the shortened word was. Now, as Nigel said, the penny drops. Thanks to Mr Ron for providing an excellent puzzle – with a bit of a toughie clue for me – and to Libellule and everyone else for setting me straight.

  22. still continue to believe that i am improving, which means I got a certain portion , lets not get too detailed, and not usually by the process suggested by the big dave

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