DT 26996 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 26996 (Hints)

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26996 (Hints)

Big Dave’s Crossword Club

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There’s still time to enter this month’s Prize crossword.

As is usual for the weekend prize crosswords, an assortment of clues, including some of the more difficult ones, have been selected and hints provided for them.

Don’t forget that you can give your assessment of the puzzle. Five stars if you thought it was great, one if you hated it, four, three or two if it was somewhere in between.

Could new readers please read the Welcome post before asking questions about the site.

Most of the terms used in these hints are explained in the Glossary and examples are available by clicking on the entry under “See also”.

A full review of this puzzle will be published after the closing date for submissions.


1a           Cutter was turning jade first (7)
SAW  is reversed (turning) after a jade or sorry-looking horse

14a         Common freedom enjoyed by Dusty (3-2-3-4)
An adjective meaning common is cryptically defined as the freedom enjoyed by Dusty, the flour-maker

18a         The royal couple in grand flirtation (12)
A charade of the abbreviated first name of our Queen’s consort, a conjunction, the Queen’s cypher (together making the Royal couple),  the IN from the clue and finally G(rand)

27a         Lugubrious donkey’s slightly rearranged hideous thing (7)
Start with AA Milne’s lugubrious donkey and the S from ‘S and slightly rearrange the letters – about as close as you can get to an indirect anagram

28a         Trap for criminals set by volunteers, getting a nibble (7)
A trap set for criminals, as popularised in the film starring Paul Newman and Robert Redford, preceded (set) by our volunteer soldiers


1d           The woman’s promiscuous — not a minority view (6)
The female possessive pronoun (the woman’s) followed by an adjective meaning promiscuous without the A

7d           Directed a chartered accountant to make cutback in universities (8)
Start with a charade of a verb meaning directed or pointed, the A from the clue and a chartered accountant then reverse the lot (to make cutback)

19d         Something valuable in one’s house (6)
A charade of a three-letter word for something valuable followed by the IN from the clue and I (one) gives one of the houses of the celestial sphere in astrology

20d         Police leader once detaining first of race horses (6)
The stage name of Gordon Matthew Thomas Sumner, formerly lead singer of the group The Police, around (detaining) the initial letter (first) of Race gives a number of horses, usually racehorses

24d         Decline old pudding (4)
A decline or drop followed by O(ld)

The Crossword Club is now open.  Feel free to leave comments.

Please don’t put whole or partial answers or alternative clues in your comment, else they may be censored!

The Quick crossword pun: {welt} + {await} = {welterweight}

Testing new spoiler facility (just hover over the spoiler graphics):

The Quick crossword pun:








113 comments on “DT 26996 (Hints)

    1. Don’t give up Brian, that’s how I felt but with perservation and lots of ‘help from my friends’ I managed all but 1d, which I had Daves help for

        1. Finished now but found it jolly hard going. Still don’t quite understand the reference to Dusty. The only one that springs to mind is Springfield! Thought 20d had some nice misdirection.

  1. Not too hard, but challenging enough to interest. Liked 4d, 18a, 22a,27a. Don’t understand 26a at all! Thanks to compiler and to BD for 19d hint, which I’m embarrassed to have needed.

    1. Hi njm for 26a if you take every other letter out of ‘alluring air’ what do you get? I’m not sure where the ‘rejected bit comes into it though!

  2. Good morning Dave, thanks for hints I needed 1d, I couldn’t see that for ages and yes I agree 27a has to be an indirect anagram!! I found this quite tough today but liked quite a few clues, 2d, 11a, 16d, 18a, 19d and 22a, however who on earth is ‘Dusty’ , is that what flour makers were called, or is it from the childrens programme?

    1. Mary there is a childrens theme today and this as a character from Candlewick Green! Think children for 27a, 12a, and sort of for 24d and teenager for 20d

      1. 20d for teenager, I don’t think so. Most teenagers today would have no idea who Gordon Sumner was. However, 5a would be relevant to today’s teenagers.

            1. I’m not joking and who is ‘Police’ and I’m not looking him up because I’m now suspecting that he may be a member of some tuneless, noisy pop group

                1. This is my favourite track on this superb Eva Cassidy album.
                  I like *****’s version too but I prefer this one.

                1. Nice tune. My wife tells me his name is *****. Now, he was quite good on his own, in fact, very good

                    1. It makes me cry too, but not as much as the one with the wonderful harmonica bit – can’t remember what it’s called – ?”The State of my Heart” – or something like that.

      2. That’s it Rod I couldn’t think of Candlewick Green, lots of older references today then, not really fair to younger solvers?

            1. My youngest sister was a huge Camberwick Green and Trumpton fan when a very small child so we had to watch it too.

    2. The character in Camberwick Green has that name because, as Colmce says, it’s common practise to call all people with that particular surname Dusty – and those with a surname of Rhodes as well!

      [OK it’s Windy, but I’ve never watched it!]

  3. Lots of fun, today. Some head-scratching too, making the most enjoyable crossword of the week INMO, liked 11, 18 and 27A, 1, 4 16 and 20D. With thanks to setter and BD.

  4. Not too taxing today and lots of fun. A really good puzzle for me. thanks to setter & to Big Dave for the hints which were not needed today.

    1. Well said, Bifield! My sentiments entirely. I particularly liked 18a which probably made a lot of people smile.

  5. Really enjoyed this puzzle and most of it fell into place with a little thought, struggling to see the connection between jade and 1a.

    Why I spent so long on 26a is a mystery as it is so clearly telegraphed in the clue…doh.

    Lots of fun and wit, thanks to the setter.

    Thanks BD for the hints though not needed today, I will submit with a clear conscience!

    Top tip from the workshop; read the clues out loud, it really helps, it is however more than irritating to ones partner.

  6. Great puzzle, happily a bit harder than usual Saturday offing (or is that offering)
    Took too long to get 18a.
    Thanks setter and BD

  7. It seems to me that there are two possible answers to 12a. One is slightly coarse, but that has not stopped setters in the past, and refers to the watering of a generality of wild plants by the incontinent; while the other is a member of the grass family which is found in wet areas.

  8. Colmce having commented without sobbing, I feel I can safely say that I found this straightforward but very enjoyable. Must be the mood I am in today but I liked 12a and 18a too. Thanks to the setter (a Mr Ron, I think) and to BD too.

    Off to bake a ginger cake, for the freezer rather than the Naughty Corner, so I hope everyone behaves today.

  9. I liked this one which I thought was a bit trickier than usual and more like what a Prize Crossword should be.
    I think that BD meant Robert Redford rather than Steve McQueen in the 28a film.

  10. I didn’t think that Steve Mcqueen was in ,***** – no naughty step for me today. I think it was Paul Newman

    1. Look up lugubrious in the dictionary!

      Wikipedia says of the AA Milne character “He is generally characterized as a pessimistic, gloomy, depressed, anhedonic, old grey stuffed donkey”.

        1. We were brought up on the Pooh books, as were our children. I’m not even very sure that they were necessarily children’s books as they were so funny to read that the adults could enjoy them too.

    2. Good morning Mary. I think that ****** was sad and depressed in AA Milnes books (I’m still off the naughty step until the ginger cake gets there)

      1. Sorry, Collywobbles, I have just licked the bowl and if the cake is as good as the mixture, I am afraid it will be far too good for naughty people! I do have some lemon drizzle in the freezer, whic\h Mr CS says it is not as drizzly as it ought to be. Perhaps I should defrost that as it looks as though I won’t be the only naughty person in the corner today.

        1. Hi CS, I’m feeling particularly naughty today but I havn’t broken the rules yet, other than to irritate BD, and that doesn’t count

  11. Could someone please explain 4. I must be a bit daft as no one else seems to have had a problem with it – I can see the answer but can’t work out why. Otherwise some really good clues.

    1. Hi Sarah – welcome to the blog.

      4d Island where boat crew changes direction at the start (5)
      Begin with the number of rowers in a boat crew and change the first letter from one compass point (direction) to the opposite one.

      1. Thanks Gazza, both for the welcome and the explanation – still a lot to learn about this Criptic lark but enjoying hugely!

  12. I loved this one – it’s taken me AGES. I thought that it was a quite a lot more difficult than a normal Saturday – the top left corner took me the longest.
    I needed the hint to explain 18a. The clue for 2d describes the muntjacs in our garden very well! :sad:
    So many really good clues that it’s difficult to pick any in particular – maybe 12a and 1 and 13d. My absolute favourite, even if it is an indirect anagram, was 27a.
    With thanks to Mr Ron and BD.

  13. Finished. A bit late today. Thoroughly enjoyable puzzle for me. With thanks to Mystereon for setting a good puzzle and to BD for the caustic comments and help with some of the clues. Best clue was 18a
    Sorry CS I won’t be needing the cake this week, I’ve been too good

  14. Very enjoyable!
    Never come across that meaning of jade but the answer was fairly obvious.
    Favs 18a, 27a and 20d.

    Thanks to Mr Ron and BD.

    Now off to Barcelona for a couple of days sightseeing so see y’all again next Wednesday.

  15. 5* for enjoyment! Not too difficult but needed a nudge from BD for 1d.

    18a – :lol:

    Mr Crossword Editor, more of the same, please!

    1. Completely agree Franco. Would love to see more like this, especially on a weekday when I more regularly solve.

  16. I thought this was absolutely excellent and just the right challenge for me. Does anybody know who the compiler is.



  17. Thanks to the setter & to Big Dave for the hints. Enjoyed this a lot, was just the right level of difficulty. Still can’t get 7d, even though I’ve read the hint. Any help would be welcome. Favourites were 14a & 18a. Off to St Alban’s for a beer.

    1. Heno, 7d – do you really expect anyone to provide a better hint than BD. (I was tempted, but thankfully refrained)

        1. Off to St Alban’s for a beer.

          That’s a long way to go for a beer from Central London! Or is that the name of your local?

  18. Loved this today .Not too taxing but the top left corner was last bit completed . 18a made me laugh out loud. :smile:

  19. Snatching time when available to look at the puzzle – just finished, and used some hints to progress. Staying with friends makes it tricky ! and not wishing to be rude ! Are Saturday’s puzzles getting harder ? Thanks to setter and BD for hints which helped,

  20. Got sooo far this morning! 13d really causing me grief. Especially annoying as daughter is in Kansas, so might be thinking too literally. Any help appreciated!

  21. Got the DT at the last minute before closing time today as a result of heavy rainfall all day.
    Faves : 18a & 13d.

    Summer is definitely over – the CV (central heating) has been coming on the last few days!!

    1. 2d Herbivore eating everything that’s green (6)

      Just put a herbivore around (eating) a word meaning everything to get an adjective meaning green or inexperienced.

  22. Not to happy about 1d, but apart from that pretty straightforward. No outstanding clue(s) for me, pretty mundane. Rate it as */**.
    Thanx to all as usual.

  23. All very good except 1d. Despite all checking letters had to resort to Franklin. NW corner definitely the hardest. Interesting puzzle. Do not recognise the setter,

  24. Started this watching my son play football from the touch-line. Slightly distracted but got it done over a cup of tea! 18a is rather nice. I agree, marginally harder than usual. Enjoy the sun folks – beautiful in east Herts.

  25. Enjoyed the puzzle today. Got an answer for 16d – but no reason for it – help please? Looking good herein Northants today – golf beckons with my two sons.

    1. 16d What’s fallen out from small sack (8)
      The abbreviation for small is followed by a verb to sack or loot.

  26. Boy o boy, I have found this significantly harder than some weeks. I did not join the party until this morning and I’ve still got 5a,10a, 22a and 25a to go along with half of 5d, 6d and 23d.

    As ever thanks to BD for the hints, most gratefully received and also to all who have previously commented, my progress would have been far less without both! 27a made me smile.

    Nudges would be most welcome to give me a fighting chance of finishing, thanks in advance :-)

    1. Do not despair.

      5a what you might call knaves (particularly in a pack of cards) with A from the clue and the abbreviation for son inserted – definition fool
      10a Enter uninvited Insert into a type of cut (4) an abbreviation for a detective and the two letters which mean artist
      22a split 2, 8 it means dressed like a priest. The whole word is something that might give you a profit.
      25a an anagram of SEAT IN BAR gives you someone who probably wouldn’t be in one.
      5d Keep thinking!!
      6d two abbreviations
      23d remove the first letter (headless) from a word meaning feel sorry and you get a type of bird

      1. Many thanks CS, all now finished, Gnomey’s law struck and I completed a couple before your reply. I thought I was getting better at cryptics but on todays performance, I cannot possibly claim that :D

  27. Found this quite hard going! Thanks a lot for19d,helped me to finish.Chuckled over18a.Daughter helped me with2d.
    Best wishes to all.

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