DT 26997 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 26997

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26997

Hints and tips by Libellule

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty ** Enjoyment ***

Bonjour from a very soggy solver south of the Loire, we had the sort of rain that the UK has been receiving this summer, some 50+mm yesterday. Anyway at least I now have some sunshine and the crossword to cheer me up.

By highlighting the space between the curly brackets you can reveal the answer.


1. Clean motor off to get set for a rally? (5,5)
{MONTE CARLO} – An anagram (off) of CLEAN MOTOR produces a car rally organised by the Automobile Club de Monaco.

9. It produces high sound if turned up (2-2)
{HI FI} – A word that sounds like HIGH is followed by a reversed (turned up) IF.

10. The greatest amount of pride? (5,5)
{LIONS SHARE} – A phrase that means the “biggest part of something” could also refer to how much a certain big cat might get.

11. Office workers go to a Scottish island (6)
{STAFFA} – The site of Fingal’s cave is constructed from a group of people employed bya company for example and the A.

12. Methods intended to avoid betting slips? (7)
{SYSTEMS} – Mechanisms for placing bets that mean you shouldn’t lose.

15. One’s young and in form (7)
{LEVERET} – Form can also mean the resting place of a hare.

16. Many wager on the return of this ship (5)
{SLOOP} – Reverse (return) an organised gambling fund to get a single masted sailing boat.

17. A girl is after one, right? (4)
{IRIS} – I (one) R (right) and then IS.

18. African menagerie’s toilet, say? (4)
{ZULU} – An African that sounds like ZOO LOO.

19. Exhaust advice on employment of umbrellas (3,2)
{USE UP} – A phrase that means to consume completely might be how you would tell people to deploy their brollies when it rained.

21. Rude and very Scottish sort of hut (7)
{UNCOUTH} – A Scottish word for very or extremely is followed by an anagram (sort) of HUT.

22. Tragically be match for a Shakespearean hero (7)
{MACBETH} – An anagram (tragically) of BE MATCH.

24. Gold glow of chestnut (6)
{AUBURN} – A reddish brown colour can be made up from AU (gold) and another word for being on fire.

27. The tears we shed for a loved one (10)
{SWEETHEART} – An anagram (shed) of THE TEARS WE.

28. Make an impression as an artist (4)
{ETCH} – To cut into the surface of something for example.

29. I tell tutor about one spreading rubbish (6,4)
{LITTER LOUT} – An anagram (about) of I TELL TUTOR.


2. Party rising in power in old Scandinavia (4)
{ODIN} – A reversed (rising) two letter word for a party is followed by IN. Definition “power in old Scandinavia”.

3. Money box of very poor quality? (6)
{TINPOT} – A word that means cheap or worthless, is a three letter slang term for money followed by another word for a round container.

4. Regular habits and duties (7)
{CUSTOMS} – A word that describes regular practices could also be used to describe taxes on imports and exports.

5. Old Spanish coin about a pound (4)
{REAL} – RE (about) A L (pound).

6. The easiest dance to learn? (3-4)
{ONE-STEP} – A ballroom dance, that allegedly according to the setter only consists of a single foot movement.

7. It’s more fun tussling in adversity (10)
{MISFORTUNE} – An anagram (tussling) of ITS MORE FUN.

8. A money-making contact (5,5)
{MIDAS TOUCH} – A phrase that refers to the ability to make large amounts of money is attributed to a legendary king of Phrygia who turned everything he handled into gold.

12. Let us admit becoming excited (10)
{STIMULATED} – An anagram (becoming) of LET US ADMIT.

13. Return to a fairground attraction? (10)
{SWITCHBACK} – Another word for a roller coaster which if split (6,4) could also mean return.

14. Cut Sophia Loren’s initials on a tree (5)
{SLASH} – SL and a tree of the genus Fraxinus.

15. A substitute for healing, perhaps (5)
{LOCUM} – A term for a doctor who takes the place of another for a period of time.

19. Pan, you sound unusually silent (7)
{UTENSIL} – A letter that sounds like YOU and an anagram (unusually) of SILENT.

20. Handy place for a painter to mix his colours (7)
{PALETTE} – A board with a hole for the thumb which an artist would mix his colours and hold while painting.

23. Just happened to be wicked (6)
{BEFELL} – A word that means to come to pass or happen can be made up from BE and an archaic word for cruel or terrible.

25. Note the amphibian is adroit (4)
{DEFT} – D (musical note) and a three letter word for an immature newt.

26. Some favour Dutch as a language (4)
{URDU} – An Asian language can be found hidden between the words favour and Dutch.

The Quick crossword pun:








great relief


Today I am trialling a new spoiler facility.  Just hover over the spoiler graphic to reveal the text below.  Please let me know if this works on all platforms, particularly when using the poorly written, non-compliant iPhone and iPad browsers

58 comments on “DT 26997

  1. An easy but enjoyable solve this morning. The perfect start for a damp dull Monday morning. Thanks to setter and to Libellule for the review.

  2. We found this one a little more challenging than most Mondays. Perhaps the unusual grid with its 8 double unches had some involvement. 15a had us scratching our heads for a while until we sorted out what a form is. Favourites from a bunch of very good clues were 18a and 15a for the new word.
    Thanks Rufus and Libellule

  3. I thought this was very good; probably my favourite Rufus puzzle for some time.
    Many thanks to setter, and to Libellule.

  4. A beautiful sunny morning up here in Northumberland. A pleasant but not too taxing crossword to start the week. Fav. clue 15a. Thanks setter and Libellule.

  5. Well, I never knew that.
    So ‘form’ is a resting place.
    Well I never!
    Put leveret in because it is a youngster and because it fitted.
    Thanks Rufus, enjoyable, and Libellule (pity no saucy graphics)

    1. As per Hrothgar – didn’t know “form” was a resting place, though leveret was a young hare.

      1. Have a look at the Quick crossword pun. If it is working then each of the words will be overwritten with “Spoiler” in red which disappears when you hover over it.

        1. If it ain’t broke … ?

          Obviously an IT man … there’s always some improvement somewhere!

          Best left alone! IMHO.

          (Works on some Browsers, but not others (IE8 – for example!)

          1. BTW it works on IE9 and has been reported as working on IE8. IE is “broke” anyway, if it didn’t have the name Microsoft associated with it no-one would touch it with a bargepole.

  6. Customary gentle start to the week.
    All done and dusted with no problems.

    Thanks to Libellule and Rufus.

  7. Perhaps a record time for me – strange how the brain works or, too often these days, doesn’t. Never come across that Scottish word for ‘very’ before.
    Thanks to Libellule and setter.

  8. Good morning Libelulle and welcome to the wet world! As you say at least you have some sunshine now, I found this a very different Rufus crossword today with not all the clues reading as well as is normal for a Rufus (IMHO) of course
    I was well on the way to putting little liar in at 29a not having read the clue properly! some very clever clues as usual my favourite of all being 18a which was the last to go in, I remember 15a from primary school where a list of where animals lived was drummed into us!

    1. My favourite was 18a as well, Mary. I wonder if we share the same lavatorial sense of humour.

  9. Hmm, I seem to be in a minority, but I didn’t enjoy this. I did finish without the clues but only because I couldn’t think what else would fit in a few cases. I could have done without the obscure Scottish phrases, amphibians and hares.

    Thanks to both.


    1. Ditto
      Easy but obscure in parts I would say.
      I really cant see the point of using such words. My life is not enhanced one jot or tittle, except for the fact that I’ve now looked up J & T and found that explanation v interesting.
      So overall then not a complete dead loss. And no I don’t think its anything to do with extinct band leaders

  10. Hmmm, 2 clues I filled in correctly but didn’t really know.
    13a Did I just miss out on a part of my youth or is this a very old term?
    23d Fell – archaic term, I thought I was old, clearly not old or wise enough!

    Thank you for your help – have now been on the net and looked everything up.

  11. From the number of times they come up, I should keep a list of Scottish islands to hand, as I always need to double-check. 11A was a fairly obvious solution, but I’d never heard of the place – we live and learn. Struggled a bit with 25D, until I remembered that ‘note’ doesn’t always mean ‘re’ and 17A caused some head scratching, despite the very clear clueing. 18A made me smile, but I didn’t believe there was such a word as ‘unco’ (21A) until I looked it up.

  12. Feeling a bit under the weather today. Not sure if that’s why I felt this was a little trickier than a 2*. Quite enjoyable though. *** and *** from me. Many thanks to all.

  13. Finished this in record time, despite usual argument with my Scottish husband about whether “unco” is a real word!

  14. The usual enjoyable start to Monday morning. I particuarly liked the ‘zoo loo’. Thanks to Rufus and Libellule.

    Spoiler doesn’t work in Internet Explorer (and before BD starts, I have to use IE because that’s what the default work internet is).

      1. I am only a small cog in a large organisation so… :( Interestingly when I hover my mouse over the pun words, the red ‘spoiler’ words disappear!

      2. zoo loo fave, unco I must have seen but agree slightly odd for a Monday. Spoiler works in IE8 (work). Thanks Libellule and Rufus

    1. When a hare or its baby are in a form, they are extremely difficult to spot. My friend and I were gleaning onions from a farmer’s field and we only noticed the hidden hare when bending down to get a particularly nice looking onion. Her cairn terrier had walked right past it! Once of our best ‘walking moments’.

      1. I had the opposite experience with a baby hare and our collie when she was really young – not good, especially for the hare. :sad:

  15. Usual nice Rufus start to the week, not particularly challenging but highly enjoyable. The word “unco” which appears to have caused a little consternation amongst the Sassenachs is used regularly here in Fife and can be found in the Sunday Post strips of “Oor Wullie and the Broons”.

  16. Nice crossword but I got one wrong. I put in NEWT for 25d which did not make a lot of sense when I thought about it. Favourite clue was 18a and last one in was 2d. Thanks to Libellule and Rufus.

  17. Like others, I needed the hints to explain “leveret” & “unco”. Thanks to M. Libellule.

    Unusually, there is no second attempt to try a Rufus in today’s Guardian. But, for duffers like myself, I can recommend the Quiptic by Orlando in the same organ!

    1. Rufus appears as Dante in today’s FT (available free on line) – Rufus fans will enjoy it.

      I also recommend both the Quiptic and BDs review of it.

  18. Late today – been doing other things so I’m quite glad that this was a straightforward Monday puzzle. I agree with the ratings.
    While I was doing it I thought there were more anagrams than usual but have just counted – probably not. I think I’ve heard of ‘unco’ but am pretty sure that I haven’t met ‘fell’ before – that was my last one. I spent a little while trying to make 29a another word for a ‘gossip’. It was a fairly animal orientated crossword.
    My absolute favourite was 18a. I also liked 13 and 26d.
    Thanks to Rufus and Libellule.

  19. Unco hard for a Monday, I think – at least 3 stars for me.

    I had thought that unco came from “uncommon” or “uncommonly”, but the dictionaries seem to suggest “uncouth” as the origin. Can anyone expand on this?

    The new spoiler facility (next week, go-faster stripes and a jacked-up rear end?) works fine in IE8 (I’m at work, it’s not in my top three choices for a browser…). Of course, highlighting the area also works :-)

    Thanks to Libellule and Rufus.

    1. I’ll try it out on tomorrow’s Toughie and see how it goes. It may be better than the present method for mobile users. If it’s not then it’s back to the drawing board.

  20. Thoroughly enjoyable Rufus puzzle, as always and thanks to Libellule for the hints which I needed to use so as to finish(bright sunshine here today although the tramontane is just getting up)

  21. Zipped through this one – last in was 1a that I took a ridiculous amount of time to solve. 1* but enjoyable.

  22. Late start due to tedious drive home from Norwich – but nice to sit down and enjoy the Rufus puzzle – thank you. Not too taxing thank goodness. Thank you Libellule for your review. Got the Scottish Island right this time – no problems !

  23. Thanks to Rufus & Libellule for the review & hints. Found this ok, but got stuck in the NE corner. Needed a few hints to finish. 3*/2* for me. Hadn’t heard of11a, missed the homophone in 18a. Couldn’t see 8d. Mixed weather today in Central London.

  24. this was a wonderful crossword for me today,got almost everything without hints!I never of switchbacks.I loved all the anagrams, and he who fixes the car clock helped with monte carlo.thought 10 very clever. Thanks Rufuf and Libellule

  25. The new spoiler works better on my iPad. Currently The easiest way to read the spoiler is to press, and wait for ‘define’ to appear.

    Which is a pain for a two or more word answer.

    This new one, well all I have to do is tap it.

  26. I had 15d as ‘Hokum’, which perhaps reveals a certain degree of cynicism about the medical profession.

    Many thanks to Rufus and Libellule. I was initially slightly confused at seeing none of the usual pix, but only lots of dratted words instead. :-)

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