DT 26168 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 26168 (Hints)

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 28168 (Hints)

Big Dave’s Saturday Crossword Club

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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.

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”. Where the hint describes a construct as “usual” this means that more help can be found in The Usual Suspects, which gives a number of the elements commonly used in the wordplay. Another useful page is Wolves in Sheep’s Clothing, which features words with meanings that are not always immediately obvious.

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

Some hints follow.


1a    Hector, perhaps, and mount threat to computer (6,5)
The nationality of, for example (perhaps), Hector followed by a mount or steed

10a    Digs rough land over with spades (5)
These digs or accommodation are derived by reversing (over) some rough land and adding S(pades)

12a    Adjective maybe for one who’s come up the hard way (9)
Two definitions – the second being someone who had to successfully compete in preliminary rounds in order to play in the main competition

13a    Rewrite thesis initially unconvincing (5)
The initial letter of T[hesis] followed by an adjective meaning unconvincing or feeble

14a    English racing venue not top-class course (6)
E(nglish) followed by a National Hunt racing venue without the two letters that indicate top-class gives a course of a meal

16a    Jump on vessel as ultimate act (4,4)
Split the answer as jump (5) and a vessel (3)

18a    Men work after time needing a snack (8)
These men are our usual non-commissioned soldiers, follow them with a verb meaning to work the land, precede them with T(ime) and then finally add the A from the clue

24a    Person in crowd scene merges with performer being a fan (9)
Take a person in a crowd scene of a film and a performer, perhaps in the same scene; the first word ends with the initial letter of the second so “merge” both words by dropping one of these letters

28a    Near ancient doddery oldster (11)
An anagram (doddery) of NEAR ANCIENT


2d    German assent in support of port wine (5)
The German for “yes” preceded by (in support of) a South American port

3d    What some prefer with whisky that’s served in the bar (7)
Split this as (4,3) to get what some philistines prefer with their whisky – the bar in question is more Inn of Court than pub!

4d    Drink — one containing egg and mother’s ruin (6)
The shortened form of an egg-based drink followed by the drink known colloquially as “mother’s ruin”

6d    Second mad person having tea break (7)
S(econd) followed by a mad person who organised a tea party (no, it’s not Sarah Palin)

7d    Jet-setter who gets discount to go regularly to abide in France getting two-thirds off (8,5)
A verb meaning to go regularly to the same place followed by a verb meaning to abide or remain inside the first one-third (getting two-thirds off) of FR[ance]

9d    What could make her date distraught (6-7)
An anagram, indicated by the first word of the answer, of the second word of the answer could make HER DATE

17d    Do a bunk from exam with maximum speed (8)
Split as (4,4) this could mean to do a bunk from an exam

25d    Chinese gang on a Pacific land (5)
A Chinese gang is followed by the A from the clue

The Crossword Club is now open.

Could new readers please read the Welcome post and the FAQ before posting comments or asking questions about the site.

As this is a Prize crossword, please don’t put any ANSWERS, whether WHOLE, PARTIAL or INCORRECT, or any ALTERNATIVE CLUES in your comment. If in doubt, leave it out!

Please read these instructions carefully. Offending comments may be redacted or, in extreme cases, deleted.

The Quick Crossword pun: hide+rowlocks=hydraulics

76 comments on “DT 26168 (Hints)

  1. 2.5*/3.5*. I thought this was a very enjoyable puzzle with a good range of different clue types and excellent surfaces. I have however docked half a star for enjoyment relating to 7d. There are two ways of spelling the second word, but the answer as a complete phrase always uses one of those spellings and that particular spelling is not clued by the wordplay.

    Lots to like here, and my top two were 3d & 9d.

    Many thanks to Mr Ron and to BD.

        1. I did wonder about that, but I checked two relevant US websites and both spelt the phrase in question the correct way. :wink:

          1. If you take the two words together, that’s how most, if not all, of the discount program(me)s seem to be spelled here. I do wonder if Google adapts depending on the source of the IP provider.

            1. Believe it does as it usually corrects my spelling to US as that is where I am, and I have to re enter if I want to put UK spelling…

  2. I started thinking this was going to be tricky but after a slow start proceeded at a good pace. A very enjoyable puzzle overall. Thanks to setter and to Big Dave for the hints.

  3. I was grateful for the explanation for 18a, Dave, because I had the right answer but couldn’t understand why. Does ‘**’ warrant a place in your ‘Usual Suspects’ section as I’ve seen it explained here before and, to my shame, had forgotten about it? Otherwise, I thought it was a most enjoyable puzzle where everything else fell into place fairly quickly.

    1. It does warrant a place in the ‘Usual Suspects’ section which is why it’s been there for quite a while! [I’ve slightly modified the hint to reflect this.]

      1. And now I’ve found it! It’s highly likely that I won’t ever forget it again, Dave.

  4. Not on this setter’s wavelength today.

    Needed all of the hints bar one…and then quite a bit of head-scratching.

    Just not my cup of tea, so I’ll make myself a real one instead.

    Thanks to the setter and to Big Dave.

  5. Nice mixture thanks to setter BD for explanation of 18a.
    2*/3* for me with 9d favourite like clues where I have the answer then “doh I see it now”.

    For BD said lady isn’t listed in Tea Party membersip -nor even on Donald Trump’s invite list I see. Back to a hockey mum I guess.

    1. Strewth, The Donald and the hockey mum in one breath? Doesn’t bear thinking about!

  6. I quite enjoyed this one. 9D was my pick. I was hoping for a hint for 27A. I have the correct answer (I checked) but I just don’t get it. Thanks BD and setter.

  7. No real dramas in this entertaining Saturday puzzle. A couple of head-scratchers, notably 7 down for reasons mentioned above, but otherwise plain sailing. I suspect that 9 down will prove to be an overall favourite.

    2.5*/3.5* with thanks to the weekend Mysteron and BD.

  8. Started this over breakfast and ground to a halt. Went off and did other stuff and came back to it. Much easier at the second attempt. Heard of 1a but not in the context of the clue. Thank you setter and BD.

  9. I’m with Ora Meringue again today….wonder if Brian will join us. I’ll put the kettle on! Thanks BD☕️

    1. I almost joined you, but went back to it in the end, and I did manage t finish with much electronic help.

  10. I thought that for a Saturday this was a good challenge! As has been said, lots of different types of clues, all do-able with a bit of thought. 6d was my favourite and overall I think 3/3*.
    Thanks to Mr Ron and to BD for his hints.

  11. Mixed fortunes for me. Clever puzzle. Thanks setter. Thanks BD. I did work out 18a. Did not like the spelling of the second word in 7d but my recollection was that this was US spelling. Got 9d after much thought but still do not entirely get why even after looking at the hint. Last two in were 6 and 3d. I have to confess I got 3d wrong by convincing myself that possibly the only other word which would fit was right. I shall look forward to further comments – not many yet.

    1. I think 9d could be rewritten as something along the lines of “**********************”. My feeling is “what could make” is less than concise in this instance.

      1. Welcome to the blog Bob

        Please read the request at the bottom of the post. Alternative clues should be aired on Friday’s full review.

  12. I found this decidedly tricky, almost gave up at one point, but got my gizmo out instead and persevered. I got there in the end, don’t know how. It took me way too long to solve some clues, e.g. 1a, that were so obvious.
    As I don’t know how I arrived at 7d, I had enough letters that it just wrote itself in, many thanks to BD for the enlightenment.
    Indeed, I join in choosing 9d as fave.
    Thanks to setter and to BD for the hints.

  13. Thoroughly enjoyable today , 3d made me laugh out loud , possible my all time favourite clue ,
    Thank you to BD for your on going entertainment .

    1. You’ve lengthened your alias since your last visit in 2013 so this needed moderation. Both varieties of the alias should work from now on.

  14. Hello 7 down is driving me mad, would anyone be kind enough to give me a clue please? Many thanks in advance

    1. Welcome Joan.

      Not only has BD already provided a hint for 7d but there’s also been quite a lot of discussion about the clue in the comments today.

  15. Was no where near the server’s wavelength and needed BD’s hints, but not the reveal, for several clues. I was equally adrift yesterday. I just think that I’ve cracked this cryptic crossword business and then I’m back to scratching my head. The blog is a fantastic aide, thanks, BD.

    1. Just keep ‘perservating’, to quote Mary who was a very ‘first word of seven down’ commenter when I joined up so many years ago.
      You can’t reveal an answer on Saturdays and Sundays because they’re both prize puzzles.
      Good luck and keep going. :smile:

  16. Got there in the end thanks to Big Dave’s hints, with 12a being last in. Clue for 7d was a bit convoluted for me bit I guessed the answer and bunged it in. Whatever works…

  17. Blimey – I thought that was quite tricky – not sure if it really was or if it was just that I was out of routine and a bit too hot.
    Didn’t start this one until late afternoon – have cut grass, weeded veggie patches, done lots of watering and made a massive onion tart to take up to Nottingham where I’m going tomorrow to celebrate my little great-niece’s second birthday.
    I did my usual – read all the clues through quickly and put in anything that is instantly obvious – got all the way down to 20a before an answer went in.
    I didn’t know the computer bit of 1a so that took an age.
    I won’t bore you all with the machinations of everything else apart from 3d – having alternate letters in the only word that sprang to mind was an invasive climbing plant that smells lovely – no, I won’t go to the naughty corner, – that was clearly not right – husband took one look, didn’t even read the clue and got the answer.
    I thought that was difficult – OK – it’s a prize puzzle – it’s supposed to be – I’m not complaining at all – just a comment.
    I thought that there were some really good clues – difficult to pick any in particular but I’ll have to go with 3 and 9d.
    With thanks to today’s setter and to BD for all the hints.

    1. What a selection of “tricky” and “easier” Saturday’s! I nearly put the same answer in for 3d – there were so many bung ins, I thought “why not?”

      1. All I can say really is, “Oh dear” as far as 3d is concerned. Whatever, as they say. :smile:

    2. I’m with you both on 3d. I did put the other possible one in. I convinced myself it was right due to Google giving me the name of a Whisky Bar and something which can be added to whisky. Annoyed with myself as had thought of the addition to whisky (disapproved of by some) and then forgot about it again. Very clever although I do not agree that bar = the answer. Agree with you about 9d. Think I now get where the first word comes from. Enjoy your day in Nottingham. Weather looking good through my bedroom window.

  18. One of the easier Saturdays we’ve had of late, I thought. Last in 3d and 10ac. The former I’ve seen a couple of times before but it still trips me up every time.

  19. ‘one of the easier’ ?? I thought it was a stinker! But then I’m only a novice – needed your hints for 17 and 18. ‘our usual men’ ??!

    1. Leveret,read the hint again for 18a and you will see what sort of men are being talked about. Then if you go into the menu on the site and look up ‘usual suspects’ you will understand the clue. If the hint has ‘usual’ in it, then you will always find it there. As a novice myself it is very helpful.

  20. My first crossword for most of a week, owing to a delightful sojourn on the Isola dei Pescatori on Lake Maggiore. Not a particularly difficult puzzle, but quite pleasing in its way. I liked 14a. Thanks to the setter, and of course Big Dave.

  21. I managed last week’s and the Saturday before without any help, but found this one difficult and had to get four hints from BD. It took me ages to get 9d, even after looking at the hint. I still haven’t done 21d and as there is no help for this one, I assume it is not considered to be a difficult one? Thanks BD and Setter.

    1. I’m with you about 21d. I have an answer but why? I’ve looked at it all ends up and I still can’t really make sense of it. You can all call me thick if you like . . .

        1. Oh good! :smile: I still don’t get 21d i.e. I have an answer but still don’t understand it.

    2. 21d requires you to put A from the clue into a market trader to produce a type of ship. Both the trader and the ship probably aren’t as well known as they used to be but once you know them, file them away in the memory as they are bound to turn up again one day.

      1. :roll: to quote BD, “If you can’t explain your answer it’s probably wrong”. My 21d was wrong! Stupid, dim, spank my legs and oh dear! Now I get it.

  22. BD does say “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”. So omission is not a gauge of relative difficulty I supposed. Winning the pen should require some answers to be “all your own work”.
    Anyone ever won one by the way? I spent more on stamps than the pen would be worth so gave up.

    1. The wording that you reproduced above was carefully chosen to avoid, as you rightly suggest, implying that omission indicates that the clue is easy.

      As far as winning is concerned, Dennis has won two pens which he brought to one of the S&B meetings to show me. I’m sure others have also won. Personally I never enter – and I have a very nice Lamy fountain pen that I use nearly every day anyway.

    2. I very rarely enter but when I did I once one a consolation prize which was a pen (not fountain) and a notepad. I read my name in the paper before the prize arrived when I was looking at the Courts & Social page. A friend of mine in Conrwall has won several times including first prize of a Mont Blanc pen. Years ago I once entered the Observer prize crossword and won.

    3. Labrador -you can scan or photograph and email your answer, so no need to post
      I found 7d somewhat tedious, and hard to justify, and held up the NW corner, 10a was a tricky one. Liked 18 and 24a. Also 9 longwinded but was the only answer.
      I have sent in answer weekly for 3 years but won only a notebook….Thanks BD for confirming answers esp 10a, and setter -how do some know it’s Mr Ron?

      1. Mr Ron is a blog joke. It started with any unknown setter being a Mysteron (as in Captain Scarlet) and morphed into Mr Ron.

      2. Thanks Badger I would have to buy a scanner & I use my mobile phone as just that – a phone I carry round. I never win raffle prizes, or newspaper Comps.. Solving the thing is the objective anyway those that win get a nice bonus glad bloggers are among them.

        I agree about 7d; never seen the second word spelt in a way that would fit the clue. I’m skeptical that things are being spelled more & more as our cousins do. Pity the DT crossword seems to be contributing to the trend

  23. Phew, that was a tough one (glad I am not alone) and I needed considerable help. Nevertheless I enjoyed every minute of the struggle. – such clever clues. Thank you so much Mysteron and BD. ****/****.

  24. I liked this one very much. Good range of clues, nothing too obscure and plenty of smiles along the way. 12a floated my boat (on which I sit, moored up in Gas St Basin amid Saturday night revellers) with 9d mentioned in dispatches. Thanks to the setter and, as ever, BD 2*/4*

  25. I think I’ve got 9d, but don’t understand the hint at all. Is there a typo in it? Seems like there is a word or two missing. All the others are great (as ever!), so could someone give me a hint for the 9d hint as it doesn’t make any sense to me!

    1. Welcome to the blog Steve

      There’s nothing wrong with the hint for 9d. If you have the correct answer then read the hint again carefully. If you still don’t understand it all will be revealed on Friday.

      1. I didn’t think it necessary, but just in case I have clarified that the two words involved are those in the answer not the clue.

      2. Ok, I’ve got it now! That’s a new type of clue to me (not been doing this long!), so I’ll look out for those in future.


    2. I think I have finally understood the hint. Steve M – if I am right I would describe it as a cryptic hint but I do not know whether there is a proper name for this sort of clue. I would not (dare) argue with Big Dave that there is nothing wrong with the hint but giving a hint without giving away the answer must be nearly impossible in this situation.

      1. 9d – the proper name for this sort of clue is a “reverse anagram” – not to be confused with an “indirect anagram”..

        Why one is allowed and the other completely verboten will always remain a mystery to me.

        However, the rules are the rules! What rules?

  26. Loved most of it, but didn’t like the rest.
    1a appears clumsy, don’t like 17d either, or 7d…
    Most of them are very good though so 3d, 12a, 9d & 14a makes it a **/***

    Thanks to all as ever

  27. Much too difficult for me.
    Even BD’s excellent hints didn’t help. I have no idea what goes in Whisky apart from **** or **** !!
    On a very bad run at the moment.

    1. Please don’t mention anything that is not given in the clue.

      With this one, try concentrating on the definition rather than the wordplay.

  28. I did this sporadically over the weekend, finally finishing it in bed last night and I thought it was excellent! It was much more challenging than the usual Saturday Prize, with one or two clues thwarting me for hours. 9d. is a brilliant clue and requires a fair bit of lateral thinking before the penny drops. 3*/4*

  29. Have to say that was a superb crossword, even though it was way to difficult for me without the hints.
    Thanks to BD and the setter.

  30. Wednesday and just finished but without reference to BD’s clues. Just goes to show his wisdom in asking for reservation on part of xworders!

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