DT 26039 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 26039

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26039

Hints and tips by Big Dave

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BD Rating – Difficulty *** Enjoyment ***

Yet another relatively easy puzzle from Rufus to get the week off to a good start.

Big Dave Towers seems strangely empty today as the 3-litre Capri Ghia that we have owned for the last 23 years, 15 of which it spent motionless in the carport, went off to a new home yesterday.

Capri Ghia

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.


1a Unfriendly country, we hear (6)
{CHILLY} – this word meaning unfriendly sounds like Chile (country, we hear) – we start with one of those old chestnuts that a lot of you have probably seen before

4a Favour desert scenery (8)
{BACKDROP} – a charade of BACK (favour / support) and DROP (desert) gives a type of scenery

9a Famous London columnist (6)
{NELSON} – a typical Rufus-style cryptic definition of Lord NELSON

10a Couple hired to make jewellery (8)
{BRACELET} – this charade of BRACE (couple) and LET (hired) making n item of jewellery has excellent surface reading

12a Chance to gambol, but not noisily (4)
{RISK} – take (F)RISK (to gambol), remove the F (not noisily / loud / Forte) and you have a word meaning a chance

13a Money belt (5)
{POUND} – a double definition

14a Their occupants make a row in church (4)
{PEWS} – a cryptic definition of a row of PEWS, with an unfortunate secondary interpretation concerning the vocal ability of those sitting in them

17a Threaten with acid? It may result in inevitable fatality (7,5)
{CERTAIN DEATH} – an anagram (may result in) of THREATEN and ACID gives an inevitable fatality

20a He may have stacks of work to do (7,5)
{CHIMNEY SWEEP} – a cryptic definition of the person who SWEEPs CHIMNEYs

23a Some returned in carriage (4)
{TRAP} – take PART, a synonym for some, and reverse it (returned) to get a carriage pulled by a pony

24a Barrels used for target practice (5)
{BUTTS} – the second part of this double definition is a place for archery or shooting practice

Bart:”Hello can I speak to a Mr.Butts? First name Seymore”.

Moe:”Uh Seymore Butts. hey everybody I want a Seymore Butts”!

Bart;”Ha ha ha ha ha”.

25a Issue forth abundantly (4)
{WELL} – a double definition

28a A personal representation (8)
{PORTRAIT} – a cryptic definition of this type of picture

29a As a sun resort it’s capital (6)
{NASSAU} – an anagram (resort) of AS A SUN gives the capital of the Bahamas

30a The Spanish, say, take time out to find a deputy (8)
{DELEGATE} – put EL (the in Spanish) and EG (for example / say) inside (take … out) DATE (time) to get a deputy

31a Has it a piercing eye? Just the opposite (6)
{NEEDLE} – a cryptic definition of this item where it is the point that is piercing, not the eye


1d Reduce length of one spade, for example (8)
{CONTRACT} – a double definition that might puzzle anyone who has never played Contract Bridge (one spade is a bid)

2d Your ills may turn out to be imaginary (8)
{ILLUSORY} – an anagram (may turn out to be) of YOUR ILLS gives a word meaning imaginary

3d Part of fingerprint seen — the game’s up! (4)
{LOOP} – this part of a fingerprint (LOOPs and whorls) comes from reversing (up, as this is a down clue) POOL, as in the game

5d Plans to give scope to people in the arts (12)
{ARRANGEMENTS} – these plans come from RANGE (scope) and MEN (people) inside ARTS

6d Football action gives us a thrill (4)
{KICK} – a double definition that should b self-explanatory

7d End of investment that helps the poor (6)
{RELIEF} – this double definition plays on the alternative meaning of an investment as a military blockade (we saw this in ST 2499)

8d Chemical evidence of cannabis smoking? (6)
(POTASH} – the cryptic part of this definition refers to the ASH left from smoking POT (cannabis)

11d An unconscious pedestrian (12)
{SOMNAMBULIST} – a cryptic definition of a sleepwalker

15d Hide away sound currency (5)
{CACHE} – this word meaning to hide away sounds like CASH

16d Good man has novel to hide away (5)
{STASH} – another word meaning to hide away, but this one combines ST (Saint / good man) and an anagram (novel) of HAS

18d Let out or let out again (8)
{RELEASE} – a simple but clever double definition

19d Acclaim new papal practice (8)
{APPLAUSE} – a synonym for acclaim is an anagram (new) of PAPAL followed by USE (practice)

21d Dull-witted type taken in by boss (6)
{STUPID} – this word meaning dull-witted comes from PI (pie / printer’s type confusedly mixed) inside STUD (boss) – thanks to Gazza for pre-empting this one

22d Hardy, no; evergreen, yes (6)
{LAUREL} – not Oliver Hardy, but Stan LAUREL – and also an evergreen bush

26d Key equipment in a sailing vessel (4)
{BRIG} – combine B (musical key) and RIG (equipment) to get a sailing vessel

27d Club for those who like a bit of spice (4)
{MACE} – a double definition of this club that was famously wielded by Michael (now Lord) Heseltine which is also the name of a type of spice

Please remember that you can still enjoy and savour an easy puzzle – and that easy for some of us is doable for others.  Monday’s Telegraph puzzle is the one recommended by many as being the best cryptic puzzle for beginners.

30 comments on “DT 26039

  1. Hi Big Dave, The old Capri eh , that used to be “The car you always promised yourself” in the advert wasn’t it ?
    Not keen on todays 21d don’t get type being **
    Also didn’t like 30a couldn’t find the spanish in it
    Fav was 17a,

    1. Thanks Gazza, There used to be a pub in Newcastle called ‘The Printer’s Pie’ I always thought it was somewhere they had lunch as it was near the ‘Evening Chronicle’ newspaper offices. silly me

  2. Well we liked it, although didn’t really get the reason behind 24a. Favourite clue today 9a.Sorry about your loss, BD – Hotlips wants to know ‘was it purple’?

  3. Nana,
    Its a double def. as BD says… where it can mean (according to Chambers)
    a, a large cask of varying capacity
    b, a mark or mound for archery or shooting practice
    (plus others)

    1. I am going to be perverse, and admit that I enjoyed this a lot…. 22d isn’t difficult but it reads very well, and raised a smile, one of a number of clues in the puzzle that managed to achieve this. Merci beaucoup Rufus :-)

  4. Enjoyed that – favourite was 18d and 21d, Off to the south coast for a few days so may not get any done. See you at the end of the week.

  5. not a good start to the week, my head was elsewhere. after reading the hints i felt pretty 21d. here’s looking forward to tomorrow

  6. Have to agree with Edi not a good start for me as well, one of those days where things seem 10 times harder than they actually are. Totally blind to the spanish clue in 30ac but i did like 22d.

  7. Sorry you have lost your wheels BD … I can imagine it was an awesome drive at one time!
    Quite enjoyable today, although initially thrown by 25across … as Bradford’s doesn’t show the answer as a simile for abundantly.
    Thought both 14a and 11d amusing, and 31a quite clever.

    1. She’s gone to a good home, and will be having a facelift (no, not Mrs BD but the car!). Even after 15 years off the road she still started and was driven away.

          1. You had this icon standing in your drive for 15 years, doing nothing! Did you also have the furry dice in the windscreen?

            By the way, my favourite clue was 22d.

      1. Back in my car crazy days bought a new Capri 3 litre and was done twice for speeding in the first two days before the garage discovered it had a Cortina speedometer link incorrectly fitted at the factory which read 20% too low. The court let me off! Loved the car but didn’t like today’s crossword which, unlike the Capri, I just couldn’t get going.

  8. I enjoyed the morning train journey with this puzzle. There were lots of good clues. Even the two more obscure usages in 7d and 21d did not prevent the crossword being completed as it was clear what the answers were supposed to be. I’m grateful for the hints to see why the answers are correct. I’d never come across PI or RELIEF in these contexts.

    I think 22d was today’s favourite for me.

  9. I was sorry to sell my A reg 2lt Capri. Drove it for 18 yrs. Kids at school said it wasn’t an old womans car! Wasn’t easy to park in town and supermarkets and beginning to rust. A Cotswold farmer bought it. Dont see any around now.

  10. Like everyone else 22d was enough to put a smile on my face but it seems unlike everyone else I thought 9a was way too simplistic and not worthy of the compiler

  11. What a tricky puzzle – was not tuned in, far too busy and brain consequently frazzled. Need a good night’s sleep zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

  12. I think this was an excellent puzzle having just picked up the stray clues. Sorry about your loss BD – weren’t you tempted to give her a facelift yourself? You could have relived the glory days…..

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