DT 26999 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 26999

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26999

Hints and tips by scchua

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ***

Quite straightforward, so a 1.5-2* in difficulty, with a 3* for enjoyment. 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.

1    Stop believer adopting son (6)

{DESIST} : [a believer in a god, from the Latin] containing(adopting) abbrev. for “son”.

4    When to make an illegal copy of such a letter (8)

{ASPIRATE} : [at the same time, as in “when you look away”] + [to make an illegal copy of, nowadays of video, software, etc.].

Answer: A type of letter that Cockneys are reputed to find hard to articulate.

10    Cry, seeing potential partner wrapped in fleece (4,1,4)

{SHED A TEAR} : [a potential partner that you might go out with] contained in(wrapped in) [to fleece, ie. to remove fleece from sheep, say]

11    Picture that is printed on exterior of magazine (5)

{IMAGE} : abbrev. for Latin for “that is” containing(printed on exterior of) short form of “magazine”.

12    Won’t he gossip about moving? (2,3,2)

{ON THE GO} : Hidden in(… about) “won’t he gossip “.

Answer: Always busy; moving about.

13    Candidate free of explosive energy? (7)

{NOMINEE} : [free of; not there] + [an explosive anti-personnel weapon] + abbrev. for “energy”, especially in physics.

14    Girl who’s almost conventional? (5)

{NORMA} : [conventional; not offbeat] minus its last letter(almost).

15    Award a medal for dress? (8)

{DECORATE} : Double defn: 1st: To award a medal, especially to a military man; and 2nd: To adorn; to dress up.

18    Resist unfinished bedding, though free (8)

{BUCKSHEE} : [to resist eg. a trend] + [bedding, between the plural of which you might find (or get) action, or it might only be a cocktail] minus its last letter(unfinished).

Answer: British slang for “free of charge” (derived from the Persian word for a gratuity – not exactly free then?).


20    Sentimental start after letter from Athens (5)

{MUSHY} : [to give a start; to recoil as in fear or surprise] placed after the 12th letter of the Greek alphabet.

23    Plain Vichy water by factory with no name (7)

{PLATEAU} : what the locals would call water from the springs of Vichy, France placed after(by) [a factory; machinery in general] minus(with no) abbrev. for “name”.

25    In France no way work is constant (3-4)

{NON-STOP} : French word for “no” (remember de Gaulle?) + abbrev. for [a way; a thoroughfare] + abbrev. for a piece of musical work.

26    Put a coat on and look around west of London (5)

{GLAZE} : [to look at steadily or intently, as lovers might do of each other] containing(around) the west-most letter of “London”.

Answer: To put a coat on eg. porcelain.

27    Greeting workers with fish (9)

{HANDSHAKE} : [usually manual workers] + [type of food fish].

28    Written study for disposal of batteries with no lead (8)

{TREATISE} : Anagram of(disposal of) “batteries” minus its initial letter(with no lead).

29    Dearie me! The French are barracking (6)

{HECKLE} : [dearie me!; an exclamation of surprise, as a euphemism for “hell”!] + French for “the” (the French are getting quite a lot of mention today).


1    Get off on smut, worried after I’d returned (8)

{DISMOUNT} : Anagram of(worried) ON SMUT placed after reversal of(returned) I’D.

Answer: Literally get off and down from a personal means of transport.

2    Garment for person feeling the heat? (7)

{SWEATER} : Cryptic defn: What you could call a person feeling the heat and therefore perspiring.

3    Trip out for king supporting women in new palaces (9)

{SPACEWALK} : Abbrev. for “king”, as in chess notation placed below(supporting, in a down clue) {abbrev. for “women” contained in anagram of(new) “palaces”}.

5    Bound to get strange glance in seasonal brush-up? (6-8)

{SPRING CLEANING} : [bound, like jumpers do] plus(to get) anagram of(strange) GLANCE IN.

6    Expression from endless fool getting married (5)

{IDIOM} : [a fool; every village has one they say] minus its last letter(endless) plus(getting) abbrev. for “married”.

7    Opposing a profit on site, oddly (7)

{AGAINST} : A + [a profit] placed above(on, in a down clue) the 1st and 3rd letters(oddly) of “site”.

8    Old film with Queen in West Country city (6)

{EXETER} : [prefix for old; formerly] + favourite film title of setters (remember “phone home”?) plus (with) abbrev. for Elizabeth Regina, the Queen.

9    Support ideas causing change of heart (6,8)

{SECOND THOUGHTS} : [to support, eg. a motion] + [ideas in your head].

16    Remember soldiers and dresses before church (9)

{REMINISCE} : abbrev. for engineer-soldiers in the British military + [dresses first popular in the 60s] placed before abbrev. for the Church of England.

17    Fitted lens from storm centre on gun (8)

{EYEPIECE} : [centre of a storm especially a tornado or cyclone, an area with low pressure and relative calm] placed above(on, in a down clue) [a gun, often heard in the underworld].

19    Not knowing some run a war economically (7)

{UNAWARE} : Hidden in(some) run a war economically.

21    Disappointment of some tennis support (7)

{SETBACK} : [one of the divisions, in order to keep score, of a tennis match] + [to support].

22    Peg rings regularly in place (6)

{SPIGOT} : 2nd and 4th letters of(regularly) “rings” contained in [a place; a location]

24    Stand before court (5)

{ERECT} : [poetic form of “before”]+ abbrev. for “court”.

Answer: To raise and set in a vertical position; to stand.

The Quick crossword pun:








77 comments on “DT 26999

  1. Another high quality puzzle for us to enjoy. Agree with the ratings. Last in and favourite for us was 4a.
    Thanks Jay and Scchua.

  2. Ratings seem fair. Nothing wrong with it but no great pleasure either. Looking forward to some laugh out loud moments tomorrow hopefully.



        1. I seem to be making a real pig’s ear of everything today – my previous comment on the name spelling was meant to have gone with my other comment! :roll:

  3. I took longer than usual for a Jay so I would give it 2.75* difficulty, although I can’t put my finger on why. Thanks to Jay and scchua.

    Although the Toughie is an Elkamere, apart from a few tricky clues, I would say that he might have borrowed the slippers!

    Sadly, I now have to start work :( or I would be moving on to Brendan (Virgilius) in today’s Guardian.

  4. I very much enjoyed this puzzle, it had a nice ‘fresh’ feel to it. 2*/4* for me.
    Many thanks to Jay, and to scchua.

  5. Very enjoyable, first run through had me worried but 27a got me underway and everything then fell nicely into place ending with that tricky top right corner. Still not totally convinced by 4a but loved 18a and 17d, clever! My sort of crossword. Many Thx to Jay.
    PS still struggling with Sccha clues, sorry.

  6. The first 80% was very enjoyable…..then I got stuck. Nothing unusual there then! Overall I really enjoyed this puzzle. The 20% hard bit was all worked out with the help of this Blog. Thanks scchua for your help.

    Nice day here today but bad weather is soon to come. Where am I? “Andy’s top trimmed by half a blade from French resort” should help you find me. Answers on a postcard! lol

  7. Honestly I did not enjoy this at all, I found the clues clumsy and difficult to understand but did like 23A — actually there are quite a lot I like but it took much longer than usual , looking at it now I don’t really know why! No, definitely not a good day for me. Thanks to Jay and Sccha. Brian, I have to agree with you — I find Sccha’s hints more difficult than the clues, sorry Sccha

    1. Welcome to the blog Phil

      Could you try it again please – I added some caching to try and solve the site’s “out of memory” problems and have now excluded mobile pages from the cache.

  8. Hi schuua and thanks for hints from which I see I worked out 20a the wrong way! I took it as ‘mush’ for start, as in starting a dog team, followed by ‘y’ !! No real like clue today except perhaps 28a, this took me ages to get into, so for me a t least a three star today

    1. Liked the ‘mush’ bit but don’t know where the ‘y’ came from! Remember a clue in an old crossword which was Amundsem’s starter for the day-whoch of course was ‘mush’
      My best of the week so far and agree with**/****,Lots of good clues

      1. Hi Beaver somewhere in my mind ‘y’ in French is greek e or vice versa can’t quite remember!!

  9. After all the discussions on hidden word indicators yesterday, we find ‘about’ and ‘some’ today – with two hidden words in the same crossword. I enjoyed this one, but didn’t find it too taxing (apart from 4A) – so thanks to Jay and Scchua.

    1. I still don’t see how “about” is a hidden word indicator. I was initially looking for an anagram.

      1. ‘about’ in this sense is a preposition meaning ‘surrounding’, as is
        She wore a garland of flowers about her neck, or there was a fence about the garden.

  10. Thank you Jay, very enjoyable, particularly 12 a with hidden words. Thanks Scchua for the review – but I am afraid that I am all at sea with the hint for 4a. I know that in Eastenders people greet each other with “Or white den, or white den” but I need some help with the Cockney theme ?? !!

    1. Thanks Mary. I thought that “….Cockneys are reputed to find ‘ard to articulate” would have been too much of a giveaway.

  11. G’day all. Back from a splendid 3 days in Barca with distinctly sore feet and achy legs! Not walked so much in years but the “Bus Touristico” is very good and saves the legs a bit :grin:

    Now to try this one and do a bit of catch-up on the ones I’ve missed.

    BTW, either Big Dave was busking in Barcelona on Monday or he has a double – spooky :lol:

  12. My husband & I ( I sound like the queen ), find it easier to work Sccuah’s hints out after we’ve solved the crossword. Sorry Sccuah, I think it’s all the brackets.

  13. Enjoyed this very much today. I would put it in the middle for difficulty and more for enjoyment. ** or *** and **** from me. Is a mini a dress or a skirt? Thought there might have been a picture to clarify! Regd to all.

    1. I think that a mini is a dress OR a skirt – it’s the length, or lack of it, that’s important. :smile:

      1. On second thoughts perhaps whether it’s a dress or a skirt is a bit irrelevant to the chaps round here – the picture is the important thing! :roll:

  14. I thought today’s puzzle was impossible. Despite staring at it for 45 minutes and coming back to it with a refreshed mind for another 30 minutes, my sum total of entries is 4!

    Is it me? So, I give it 10 for difficulty and 0 for enjoyment.

    1. I don’t think it’s you, or at least not JUST you. I found it difficult too but I did enjoy it. We seem to be in the minority today.

    2. I didn’t find it an easy puzzle and it took me ages to get started, I wouldn’t have finished it without my usual ‘help’

  15. I’ve battled with this one – I thought it was good but really quite difficult – verging on a 4* for me, and the same for enjoyment.
    I only managed three across answers on first read through – should have started with the downs which were slightly more productive. I eventually managed the right side but was much slower with the left.
    I missed the 12a in the middle bit for quite a long time. 26a would have been easier if I was better with east and west – I’m a girl and I can’t help it, not much better with left and right!! I can’t really see why I found this difficult now that I’ve finished it.
    I liked 4, 20 and 25a and 1 and 9d. Favourite was 18a.
    With thanks to Jay and Shccua.

    1. Pommette and I only got 3 of the across clues on first pass but then the downs came to the rescue! Happens all the time with Jay puzzles – ask CS and gnomey.

    2. Thanks Kath. I don’t feel quite so useless. And will tomorrow be my nemesis: is it RayT’s turn?

  16. As a new crossworder in my seventies I really enjoy the hints in the blog and the chat from others and I would like to say a big thank you to all concerned.
    My query is one about crossword etiquette and what is just ‘Not Done’.
    I assume it is all right to check that a word actually exists in a dictionary, but what about using a thesaurus or books with lists of flowers, cities etc in order of the number of letters? I have also seen advertised electronic gadgets which help with anagrams and suggestions for words with only some letters known.
    Are they completely beyond the pale?
    Obviously using the blog is OK but what about these other things?
    I started because of a lifelong friend who has done the Telegraph crossword for as long as I can remember. On holiday he never seems to seek any assistance other than an occasional glance in a dictionary. He helped me greatly with some basic cryptic conventions, but when I asked him these other questions, although he smiled sympathetically, I felt I had just passed the port the wrong way during a mess dinner.
    So what’s OK and what’s not in crosswording?
    Puzzled Puzzler

    1. Hi Erl – welcome to the blog.
      The main purpose of crosswords is to provide enjoyment, so my advice is to use whatever tools and assistance you need to maximise your enjoyment.

    2. Welcome to the blog Erl

      My opinion is very simple – you set your own personal targets and your own rules. The vast majority of solvers do it for fun. Beating the clock might add to that fun, doing it without electronic aids might be more satisfying to you, but the worst option of all is to stare at a partially completed grid because of self-imposed rules.

      1. ditto too! welcome Erl, to me using any dictionaries, thesaurus or tinterweb is fine, just be able to work out why the clue and answer work. I can’t always so this blog is invaluable, we all have D’oh moments, me more than most!

    3. Welcome from me too Erl

      I agree with Big Dave and Gazza. There’s no rules! While I feel a greater sense of satisfaction when I solve a puzzle unaided (and always try way that first) I’d much rather get a bit of help instead of leaving the puzzle unfinished. The 3 tools I use when desperate are the Big Red Book, the Chambers Crossword Dictionary and Collins on-line dictionary, which has a pretty good thesaurus, and is quicker than thumbing through a book.

      I reckon it’s like driving a car without using the clutch – it can be done but it ain’t much fun.

    4. I agree with all the above comments. There are no rules… just enjoy.

      (Unless you enter the Times Crossword Championship.)

      1. Excellent question, Erl.
        I prefer self-flagellation.
        I will only check in a dictionary to see if my constructed word exists.
        Otherwise, just me and the grid.

    5. I agree with all except Hrothgar.
      Crosswords are for fun. Some people say that looking things up, wherever that might be, is cheating but I don’t think you can really cheat yourself.
      Good luck, and enjoy the puzzles. :smile:

    6. I consider it to be “All is fair in love and war”. To me this is war so I look for as much assistance as possible. Then, when all else fails, I look at this blog.

  17. Really enjoyed this. Loved 20a and 3d, 18a and 9d.
    For 4a I had ‘time’ as EST (Eastern Standard Time), then an ‘I’ for ‘illegal’, then for ‘copy’ the word ‘MATE’ – rather a loose association, I thought. ESTIMATE – if it arrives by post, just about works.
    Then I checked the real answer :-)

  18. thanks to the setter and to scchua for the review & hints. Was 2*/4* for me, I really enjoyed it. Had to look at the blog for 4&20a, I got the answers, but couldn’t parse them. Started with 1d, finished with 18a. Favourites were 12&20a, the latter was used a lot by the older generation when I first joined the GPO. Weather a bit squally this afternoon in Central London.

  19. Thanks to you all. How sensible.
    I’ll no longer feel guilty about using whatever help I need.. You’re so right. To be stuck half way ends the enjoyment. Often with help with one long clue, away I go on my own steam and enjoy my crosswording ( is that a real word?!) in the garden or the pub. I feel tons better already.
    One day I might even crack it all on my own. Watch this space. Many thanks again for your welcome and reassurance. I don’t feel such a nerd now.

  20. I picked this up at lunch an scrathced my head for a bit but it all came together – there was again some very good misdirection in the clues.. I think a 2/3 is about right for me. Thanks to Scchua and to Jay for the puzzle.

  21. good puzzle, followed crypticsues (i cant find the apostophe ) advice and do too badly.thanks to Jay and Scchua.

    1. Jay’s puzzles are reliably of good quality, and they’re excellent for learning about solving techniques.

      Glad to hear that I didn’t scare you away!

      BTW – on UK keyboards, the apostrophe is usually on the same key as “@”, or you can hold down the ALT key and press 64 on the numeric keypad (if you’re not using a laptop).

        1. Apologies – that key code should have been ALT+0146. The one I gave was actually for the @ character.


          1. didn’t you notice that I used it? Did you scare me away ? No! But I did spend a few days thinking about your remarks.
            which were probably quite fair, on reflection.but i would never be disloyal to the DT

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