DT 26993 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
View closed comments 

DT 26993

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26993

Hints and tips by scchua

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ***

A 2* (or perhaps under) in difficulty, with a 3* for enjoyment, with some interestingly cryptic definitions and indicators smoothly fitting into the surfaces.  Thanks to setter. Definitions are underlined in the clues. “[xxx]” denotes a synonym or equivalent of “xxx”.

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.


7    Make the most of saying one’s right of course (8)

{MAXIMISE} : A saying of a general truth + Roman numeral for “one” + ‘S + rightmost letter of “course”.

9    Pasta nut (6)

{NOODLE} : Double defn: 2nd: Like “nut”, another slang word for the head.

10    Responsibility — it’s our treat! (4)

{ONUS} : What we’d say if we were giving someone a treat (2,2).

11    A crust for father’s endeavour following promotion? (4,6)

{PUFF PASTRY} : {A short form of address for “father” + ‘S + [endeavour] } placed after(following) [an exaggerated praise; promotion].

Answer: A food item.

12    Some said I put savings back, being daft (6)

{STUPID} : Hidden in(Some) and reversal of(back) “said I put savings”.

14    Backing tabloid, captures awards (8)

{GARLANDS} : Reversal of(backing) [a tabloid newspaper] + [obtains; captures, eg. when you go fishing].


15    The old old chap? A farmer in times gone by (6)

{YEOMAN} : An archaic word for “the” (it has an interesting etymology) + abbrev. for “old” + [chap; person of the male sex].

17    A year in ghetto’s refuge (6)

{ASYLUM} : A + {abbrev. for “year” contained in [ghetto]}.

20    Programme chosen to include the Spanish steps (8)

{ECHELONS} : Anagram of(programme) CHOSEN containing(to include) the Spanish word for “the”.

Answer: The steps, figuratively, or levels in an organisation.

22    Meal of mushy peas in empty restaurant (6)

{REPAST} : Anagram of(mushy) PEAS contained in “restaurant” minus all its inside letters(empty).

23    Little girl gets second testimonial to give out (10)

{DISTRIBUTE} : A shortened girl’s name + abbrev. for “second” + [a testimonial; a compliment].

24    Small container routed through west of Liverpool (4)

{VIAL} : [routed through; by way of] + west-most letter of “Liverpool”.

25    Prime Minister rejecting fish after a case of treatment (6)

{ATTLEE} : Reversal of(rejecting) [slippery fish] placed after {A + the 2 enclosing letters of(the case or casing of) “treatment”}.

Answer:  Past British Prime Minister.

26    Illegal occupant, short and stocky, they’re regularly chasing (8)

{SQUATTER} : 1st, 3rd, and 5th letters of(regularly) “they’re” placed after(chasing) [short and stocky, like Maradona].


1    Anchor showing unusual stamina, say — finally (8)

{MAINSTAY} : Anagram of(unusual) STAMINA + the last letter of(finally) “say”.

2    Works, lacking time for paintings (4)

{OILS} : [works hard and long] minus(lacking) abbrev. for “time”.

Answer: Paintings done in a certain type of medium.

3    Went quickly, getting bitten (6)

{NIPPED} : Double defn: 1st: Informal term for darted away.

4    Fires half of main agents protecting king (8)

{INSPIRES}2 letters of(half of) “main” + [secret agents] containing(protecting) abbrev. for Rex(Latin for “king”).

Answer:  Fires in a figurative sense.

5    Fish batter covering last of chips is rubbish (10)

{CODSWALLOP} : {[common food fish] + [batter; beat severely]} containing covering) the last letter of “chips”.

Answer:  Now, where have I very recently seen this as an answer?

6    Legendarily careless cook‘s adder flan partly sent back (6)

{ALFRED} : Hidden in(partly) and reversal of(sent back) “adder flan”.  An amusing surface, of somewhat curious culinary taste.  Reference to the legend of the old king who let some cakes (not adder flan) burn when he was supposed to be watching them.

8    Guy perhaps having topless challenge eating fruit (6)

{EFFIGY} : [to challenge; be disobedient] minus its initial letter(topless) containing(eating) [a pear-shaped fruit].

Answer: An example of which is a Guy, which is named after the English religious monarchist, and which is commemoratively burned in November.

13    Scheme and lie about rocket, for example (10)

{PROJECTILE} : [a scheme; an undertaking] + anagram of(about) LIE.

Answer:  An example of which is a rocket.

16    Spray from a cat is here inside (8)

{ATOMISER} : A + [a male cat] + IS + the inner letters of(inside) “here”.  Believe me, if there’s a cat’s spray inside, you want to be outside.

18    Young lady admits gate money errors (8)

{MISTAKES} : [an unmarried young (perhaps) lady] containing(admits) [money for entry to an event, collected, figuratively, and sometimes literally at the gate].

19    Points of contention in numbers (6)

{ISSUES} : Double defn: 2nd: The different editions of a periodical, eg. back numbers of the DT.

21    Feature on head of this zoo losing specs for material (6)

{CHINTZ} : A facial feature + initial letter of(head of) “this” + “zoo” minus(losing) letters that look like a pair of spectacles.

Answer: Material which has lent its name to describe something cheap and gaudy.

22    Primate‘s right hand suppressing potential uses (6)

{RHESUS} : Abbrev. for “right hand” placed above(suppressing, in a down clue) anagram of(potential) “uses”.

Answer: Commonly used in medical and biological health-related research.

24    Run checks on opening of Olympic bar (4)

{VETO} : [to run checks; look over] + initial letter(opening) of “Olympic”.

The Quick crossword pun: {flew} + {seize} = {floozies}

87 comments on “DT 26993

  1. Found this one a bit harder than most Wednesdays and really good fun. At least a 3* for difficulty and 4* for fun. And it’s a PANGRAM. The top line is also a girl’s name. Guess it was a deliberate NINA. There is also a little Nina in the SE bottom corner, perhaps for those who find it tough going. Lots of favourites but will pick out 5d, 6d, 8d and 21d. Thanks Jay and Scchua.

    1. Thanks for pointing out the pangram and NINA; as is usual, I missed out on these; though that didn’t affect the solving nor the enjoyment. Perhaps Jay will enlighten us on the significance of the top row.

      1. Sorry but the NINA bit eludes me, hope i’m not alone-please explain.scored it ***/*** today and thought the clues were good and varied,quite a lot of thought required but most enjoyable.thanks to setter.

          1. A Nina is when the letters accross or down or even right round the crossword actually spell something and make sense, in this case the top line spells a girls name, I’m not sure what Nina stands for, I’m sure someone does though :-)

            1. I think sometimes it can be to do with a theme of a crossword but I could be wrong, I don’t think it applies to todays though

              1. Just a thought… it could be to do with the name of the person who first came up with the idea of a NINA

                1. There was a setter with a daughter called Nina who always put her name in one of his crosswords. This led to all hidden messages being called a Nina.

      1. A pangram is a puzzle that contains all the letters of the alphabet – I have to say that, having just looked, I can’t find it in Chambers. I’m sure it must be there somewhere – must have missed it or looked it up in the wrong bit. Perhaps it’s time for me to go to bed!!

  2. Definitely a trickier Jay than recent Wednesdays but the usual entertainment. And I spotted both the Pangram and the Nina so I must be more awake than I thought. 3*/3* for me too. Thanks to Jay and scchua.

    MynoT is following his usualtheme – you will QUite QUickly become QUeasy but once you get over that, it is relatively straightforward for a Toughie.

  3. So after two easy days for me I did get my comeuppance. Found this quite tough. I also found a number of the clues a bit contrived so not my favourite.

    Thanks to both.


      1. I discovered the gap in the explanation and was correcting it when your comment came in, which I couldn’t see until I had finished updating. Thanks crypticsue for responding.

  4. Morning scchua, thank goodness the hints are early today, I needed a lot of help finishing this and would give it a 3 star plus for difficulty and 1 star for enjoyment, one clue only that I liked was 10a, good luck everyone, not one for me today, thanks to scchua for coming to the rescue :-)

  5. Oh well, spotted the pangram but missed the nina as usual! One of these days I’ll remember to look for such things :smile:

    Enjoyable but relatively benign so I thought scchua was about right with 2*/3*.

    Thanks to Jay and scchua.

  6. For some reason I found this a bit easier than some of Jay’s – 2* difficulty and 4* for enjoyment from me – maybe I was just lucky today.
    Having got several of the more unusual letters I was on the lookout for it being a pangram – something I hardly ever notice – then forgot about it until I was having a bit of a battle with 7a – my last one. Then I remembered and realised that I hadn’t got an X.
    I always love his clues like 5d – I think we had ‘gobbledegook’ (might have had a Y in the middle instead) a little while ago. I was a bit slow with 9a – I know it is pasta but I associate it more with Asian food.
    Lots of favourites today – 7, 11 and 20a and 5, 13 and 16d.
    With thanks to Jay and Scchua.

  7. Did not like this very much. Hate clues like “s is a rightmost letter of course” as in 1A and “L is west of liverpool” This seems a new form of cryptic construction that I haven’t come across before. Is this a new setter?

    Thanks Schuua – I needed a bit of explanation today!

    1. Not a new setter Patsy Ann. Jay has been in the Wednesday slot since before I started blogging, and that’s about 18 months ago.

      He also appears in the FT as ORENSE.

      1. Jay has been settintg crosswords since the 1990s, and had his 500th DT puzzle published last year. He also sets in the Herald (as JEM) and, I believe, the Yorkshire Post.

        This type of clue construction is not new at all.

        1. There does seem to be more and more of it though Qix? I agree with Patsy Ann, I don’t like this type of clue much

          1. I am afraid to say much as I got my head bitten off by qix on friday last, over a similar comment

            1. I think you may have misinterpreted something. Heads don’t get bitten off around here very often – in general everyone is pretty benign and tolerant. :smile:

              1. Not sure pommette would describe me as “pretty benign and tolerant” – you’ve obviously not come across me when I’m wearing my “Grumpy Old Man” hat, which I am at the moment as I have a stinking “Code id the dose” :sad:

                Don’t think I’ve ever bitten anyone’s head off though, at least not on here. :grin:

                1. I think a stinking cold is a pretty good excuse for grumpiness. Poor you – hope that you feel better soon. :smile:

                  1. Thankyou Kath. Getting better now. Probably be OK tomorrow, which is pretty good as I’m in the blogging chair!

              2. I’m sorry, una, if you felt that I intended decapitation in my response to you on Friday. Of course, you are free to like or dislike any clue. However to the suggest that the setter “couldn’t be bothered to write proper cryptic clues” was, I thought, extremely unfair. Dislike clues by all means, but that sounded more like an insult than anything else. Your opinion is as valuable as anyone else’s, but I felt that I ought to respond to the second part of your comment. Please don’t feel that you will be criticised simply for not liking a particular clue, or style of clue.

                In relation to first/last letter indicators, DS MacNutt, in his seminal book “Ximenes on the Art of the Crossword”, discusses these devices at some length, and it’s pretty clear that they were in pretty regular use in 1966, when the book was written. It’s probably 30+ years since I started solving cryptic crosswords, and I can’t remember a time when first and last letter indicators weren’t used. Indication and manipulation of letters is fundamental to clue-writing, and as long as that is done fairly, I can’t see anything wrong with it, although, of course, one can’t please all of the people all of the time.

                As I mentioned in the other thread, the Times crossword is one possible refuge for those who don’t like first/last letters to be used in that way.

                1. thank you for replying, but it was the suggestion that I change my reading habits that caused offence

                  1. I really didn’t mean it in that way. From what you said, I just thought that you might prefer the clue-style of the TImes. It was supposed to have been a constructive comment, but I’m sorry if it seemed otherwise.

                    1. i perused Shuchismita Upadhyays helpful introduction to cryptic crosswords and I now realise my earlier remarks were really very ignorant.Apologies.

        2. Completely forgot Jay’s 500th! I was due to blog it but was otherwise engaged that day, d’oh :sad: July 11th 2011 I think.

  8. Just goes to show: I’ve been doing this paper’s cryptic for well over forty years, and still get stumped occasionally. Got there eventually – with a little help – and a great deal of enjoyment. Thank you Scchua and RayT.

  9. Lovely crossword from Jay though I did miss the nina, very enjoyable fare. Many thanks to Jay and to scchua for the very entertaining review.

  10. Need help with 7a, anyone please? Also still stumped by the nina- am I looking for jay in there somewhere? If so must have a couple of clues wrong :(

    1. “saying” + I + S + E to mean “make the most of”.

      The “saying” word isn’t proverb, or adage, it’s the other one.

      Does it help if I remind you of the inventor of the first self-powered machine gun?

    2. Don’t know what the time difference is between here and where Scchua lives but must be roughly middle of night so will have a go at explaining. The word you want means ‘make the most of’. You need a five letter word for a ‘saying’ followed by ‘is’ from the ‘one’s’ in the clue followed by ‘e’ from the right side of ‘course’.

    3. PS the nina is a girl’s name and comes from the sticky-uppy bits along the top of the crossword!

  11. Thank you Jay – most enjoyable and Scchua for your review. For a change this week I didn’t need to look up the hints to explain how I had come across the right answer ! Weather in Norfolk still wonderful compared with home !

  12. I found that tough today and needed too much help to enjoy it,although I can see the clues are very clever. I usually enjoy Jay’s puzzles but I guess I just wasn’t on his wavelength today. Thanks Scchua,
    needed you today.

  13. Thanks Jay and scchua.
    Very enjoyable, limbering up for RayT’s toughie tomorrow?
    Hope so.

    1. Well petitjean is the Toughie setter so perhaps the odds are against a double-whammy of his. I think perhaps that there may be one or more setters filing in on thursdays sometimes (did we have a Shamus recently?)
      In any case I share your hopes!

    2. Unless I’ve lost a week, which is possible, I think we had Ray T last Thursday so probably not. I also think that he was the week before too.

          1. How brave – 5 AND 6 only exist with pm as far as I’m concerned. Even 7 is pushing it!! Really can’t do mornings – especially at this time of year. :sad:

  14. I started this at lunch as I am glued to the latest Iain.M.Banks that I have pre-ordered. This meant that I struggled on the last few and was grateful to the blog for a couple of explanations. Thanks to Scchua and to Jay for the entertainment.

      1. That’s the badger!. It is a tad shorter than ‘Surface Detail’ but I am thoroughly enjoying it. I pre-ordered in July when picking up some Philip K Dick works from Waterstones. They called me on Friday and I picked it up Sunday.
        Some very amusing stuff in there – bordering on the Sublime ;-)

        1. Put the book down and get on with your review – you don’t want to miss the train in the morning :D

          1. Fear not!. All locked and loaded. I’m just finishing my tea and then will be hitting the train station.

          1. Excession and Use of Weapons in particular are stunning although I thought that Surface Detail was very good as well. I am a Banks nut in both genre and non-genre roles.

    1. off topic, in my last bi-monthly foray to Glasgow found a book in a charity shop called Foreign Country, the life of L P Hartley. Fletton Tower where he grew up is about 500 metres from where I now live, must get down to reading the biography properly. Hope it’s easier reading than one of his books I read “the shrimp and the anenome”, heavy heavy going imho

  15. 2star for difficulty, you must be joking, at least a four star. Managed two answers, absolutely dreadful.

  16. Thanks to the setter & to scchua for the review & hints. I found this really tricky, but got there in the end. 3*/4* for me. Started with 1d, finished with 22d, Favourites were 11&20a, new anagram indicator, programme, and & 21d. Penny drop moment on 5d. More like this please. Lovely weather today in Central London, back to rain tomorrow.

  17. Really struggled with today’s puzzle and resorted to Scchua’s hints with 14 still to go. :-( I’m with Brian on this one. 3* for me. Thank you Scchua and RayT.

  18. Came to this one late and actually bought the newspaper as was offline. Wish I’d saved my £1.20 as I fared very badly and in the end gave up. My crossword chum has also struggled with this one. Way way too hard for my competence.

Comments are closed.