DT 26036 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 26036

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26036

Hints and tips by Libellule

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BD Rating – Difficulty *** Enjoyment ***

A peculiar crossword today, with a mixture of clues, some good, some average. some bad, and one that would be better off in a quick crossword, even if it looks like a deliberate double bluff. If you have anything further to add, please leave a comment.


2. Weapon used to dump the girlfriend? (5-7)
{FLAME THROWER} – We start with an attempted cryptic definition where FLAME could be the girlfriend (Chambers states “love or its object, especially in the phrase an old flame), and THROWER could be used for dump. Unfortunately this doesn’t work for me I am afraid.

8. Long-legged bird with no tail makes champion (4)
{HERO} – The long legged bird is a HERON, now remove the N (tail) for a person who is noted for their feats of courage or nobility of purpose.

9. Ship’s doctor tried initially, cutting heart (8)
{CORVETTE} – The definition for this clue is ship. CORE (heart) has VET (doctor) T (tried initially) placed inside (cutting).

10. Pay for degree students’ game (8 )
{FOOTBALL} – FOOT (pay for), BA (Bachelor of Arts degree), LL (students, ie. learners).

11. Views a wife as rock (6)
{SEESAW} – SEES (views) A W (wife) for a word that can mean to move back and forth or up and down, but is also something you would see in a playground.

12. Principal sets up computers (10)
{MAINFRAMES} – MAIN (principal) FRAMES (sets up) are large, often powerful computers.

13. Wife once ate like a bird, noisily, to be pregnant (6)
{EXPECT} – EX (wife once) PECT sounds like (noisily) PECKED (ate like a bird). Just to be picky, can you use noisily as a “sounds like”? Also isn’t this normally used in progressive tenses as in eg. “My wife is expecting again”?

16. Quoted from note pinched by detectives (5)
{CITED} – TE (from tonic sol-fa, the seventh note) placed inside (pinched?) CID (detectives) is to quote or refer to.

17. Recovered from putting time into short film role (4,2)
{CAME TO} – Put T (time) into CAMEO (short film role) for another phrase meaning to wake up.

18. How a satellite’s transport could be affected? (10)
{MOONSTRUCK} – A better cryptic definition, MOON’S (satellite) TRUCK (transport) means to behave as if you are mentally affected by the moon, like a lunatic for example.

21. A word of greeting, and leaves mostly in the morning (6)
{SALAAM} – Leaves is SALAD, now remove the D (mostly) and then add AM (in the morning) for a Muslim greeting.

23. A principled lecturer failed in hearing about exam (8 )
{MORALIST} – ORAL (exam) is placed inside (about) MIST a word that sounds (in hearing) like MISSED (failed).

24. Criminal had a nice spread (8)
{HACIENDA} – An anagram (criminal?) of HAD A NICE is a large estate or plantation usually found in Spanish speaking countries.

25. Relative finding pleasure trip started late (4)
{AUNT} – The pleasure trip is a JAUNT, now remove the J (started late) to find the sister of one’s father or mother or the wife of one’s uncle.

26. Reckons Catherine runs from such a cool performer (6,6)
{FIGURE SKATER} – You would find this “cool performer” on an ice rink, FIGURES (reckons), KATE (Catherine) and R (runs).


1. Place vacated, with luck, before a game (6)
{PELOTA} – PLACE needs to be emptied (vacated) so you are left with just PE then add LOT (luck) and an A is a Basque or Spanish game played in a court with a ball and a wickerwork racket.

2. Blessed with a lot of money — about a ton! (9)
{FORTUNATE} – A lot of money is a FORTUNE, now add (about) A T (ton) is another word for lucky or blessed.

3. Liaison with a French blonde? (6)
{AFFAIR} – A romantic intrigue is made up from A F (French) and FAIR (blonde).

4. What’s the point! (11,4)

5. Ran to protect fool, being worried (8 )
{HARASSED} – ASS (fool) is placed within (protected) HARED (ran) gives a word meaning to irritate or torment persistently.

6. Fat on beef stew regularly vanishing (5)
{OBESE} – You need to remove (vanishing) the even letters (regularly) from O(n) B(e)E(f) S(t)E(w) to leave the answer behind.

7. Admission of charm (8 )
{ENTRANCE} – a double definition, where this could be a door for example or you could also be filled with delight.

14. The wheels of justice? (6,3)
{PATROL CAR} – How many of you had to reach for the tippex, after working out 18a, but is this is really a cryptic definition?

15. Queen serving up hock to a revolutionary Iran (8 )
{MAHARANI} – A HAM (hock) reversed (serving up) followed by an anagram (revolutionary) of IRAN is the word used to describe a wife or widow of a maharaja or a woman with the rank of a maharaja.

16. Start business trading right for name (8)
{COMMENCE} – take a word for business COMMERCE and then replace (trading) the R (right) for N (name), and you should have another word for begin.

19. Arts programme on Italian channel (6)
{STRAIT} – An anagram (programme) of ARTS placed on IT (Italian).

20. Where gamblers find answer in tossing coins (6)
{CASINO} – Another anagram (tossing) of COINS and A (answer) for a gambling establishment.

22. Farewell that’s sort of cast in gold? (5)
{ADIEU} – DIE (cast) is placed in AU (gold) for another word for goodbye.

19 comments on “DT 26036

  1. Didn’t particularly enjoy this. Not many of the clues got me excited.

    I agree with regard to 13a, but thought that 2a was OK. It is what you would use to “throw” or “dump” your flame.

    1. I’m with you bigboab – had to look for that one. Didn’t like this xword at all – can’t say I enjoyed any of the clues. Agree with 4d – what is the point.

  2. This was not too bad and there was nothing too taxing in it. I too reached for the tippex on 14d. There is an allusion to the phrase “The wheels of justice grind exceeding slow” and I think it just about works as a cryptic clue.

    On 8a I originally arrived at WADE, former tennis champion, from WADE[R]. Ho-hum.

    Have to say that 2a was my favourite.

  3. I have reservations about a number of the clues, including:

    Police / Patrol Car needed a better clue (not just to avoid the ambiguity).

    Arts programme = STRA ? Programme definitely does not work as an anagram indicator.

    1. Dave,
      Re. programme, I thought the same, but gave some the definition some leeway – if you consider “programme” as programme in a computer sense…. i.e. to prepare a program for (a computer, etc)

      1. I think that it is a mistake to use synonyms of anagram indicators to indicate anagrams, and suspect that this one says broadcast = programme so it can be used instead. I just can’t see any other way in which programme can mean to rearrange.

  4. Sounds like a lot of solvers got out of the wrong side of bed today. Luckily for me I had a three hour commute for a meeting and this killed the time nicely. 2a made me smile – nay chuckle. I really enjoyed this overall (particularly as I finished it).

  5. I agree with Phil. I thought 2a was quite good and gave me a wry smile also. I thought this puzzle was OK and I enjoyed solving most of it.

    I learned a new usage for the word “hock” – ham or pork.

    Libellule, as always, thank you for a great review.

  6. Thanks all for the feedback so far, an interesting mixture of comments, proving that once again that when it comes to cryptic crosswords, everybody has a different opinion. However In terms of 2a, I do like cryptic definitions to have a bit more spark than a damp squib… (have I been spoilt becuase I used to review Fridays? anyway thats my 2c/2p). Note when I reviewed the crossword, I said that we had a mixed bag of clues, but that doesn’t necessarily make the crossword generically bad. I did give it three stars for both difficulty and entertainment.

    1. I think a few of the blogs have been a bit harsh as for me quite a few clues were at least interesting (eg 18a) if not particularly clever. *** for difficulty and enjoyment is about right IMO. Not keen on ‘criminal’ as an anagram indicator

  7. I liked 9a today, it took some construction work and a sense of achievement when done. Thanks for your tips Libellule

  8. Bit of a miserable effort today I thought and certainly criminal does not work for me as an anagram indicator!
    Could somebody explain to me what vanishing has to do with 6d? Got the answer but still not clear.

    1. Barrie
      6d. Vanishing means that you have to remove (vanish) the even (regularly) letters of oN bEeF sTeW, leaving the odd letters to spell out the answer.

  9. Unusually for me another day out, and that’s two on the trot, but probably the last for some time now!! I had a brief look at the grid whilst eating breakfast, but mind was on go-slow so I only managed to answer about a quarter of the clues. Then armed with a pint of real ale at lunchtime it all became so much clearer and I was able to finish.!! ;O)
    Thanks for explanation ref 23 across .. I had the answer, but for some odd reason was linking ORAL(aural) to “hearing” so was unable to fully see the wordplay.
    I thought it was fairly enjoyable, certainly better than some that have gone before, and I found 13 across quite amusing without originally picking up on your doubts about the clueing.

  10. Wey Hey! Completed bar two clues, so we quite enjoyed this! Our favourites were 2a and 11a. Roll on Friday, we are raring to go…

  11. Nothing wrong with ‘programme’ to mean an anagram. If I can see it you should be able to Big Dave! It implies moving things around – and to say program and programme are different words is very picky. We just happen to have adopted the American spelling for a specific meaning. Computer programming was originally spelled ‘programme’ in this country.

    1. If I hadn’t seen it, I couldn’t have commented on it!

      I have been programming computers for over 40 years, and never thought of it as “moving things around” and I don’t think that it was suggested that program and programme were different words.

      We will just have to agree to differ.

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