DT 26120 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 26120

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26120

Hints and tips by Libellule

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BD Rating – Difficulty *** Enjoyment ****

A bit of a cornery grid, too many cryptic definitions, how does 9a work, is 16d cryptic? Bah humbug! In general an enjoyable Christmas themed crossword, what more can you ask for. According to a comment made by J, this is one of Rufus’ crosswords, but many thanks to J. for all of the crosswords he has set this year.

I would also like to take this opportunity to wish all of the Telegraph setters, the readers of this blog, and the bloggers a very merry Christmas and a happy New Year.


1. Christmas morning? Quietly scarper (6)
{DECAMP} – DEC (December) AM (morning) and P (quietly).

4. Where Cinderella goes at end of panto, away on coach (3-5)
{OFF-STAGE} – Cryptic definition, how Cinderella might leave an elevated platform used for acting on.

9. Lucky things to find in crackers? (6)
{CHARMS} – Cryptic definition, not something you would normally associate with the contents of a cracker, but this is a normal synonym for talismans or amulets. Anybody got a better explanation?

10. Big copper’s ex gets to greet under the mistletoe (8)
{OSCULATE} – A word meaning to kiss is made up of OS (outsize – big) CU (copper) and LATE (ex).

12. Carried away — like a Christmas present will be, we hear (4)
{RAPT} – Sounds like (we hear) WRAPPED is another word for entranced.

13. A paper decoration from China (5)
{CHAIN} – An anagram (from) of CHINA is a paper decoration.

14. Party includes a number in religious group (4)
{SECT} – Place C (roman number for 100) inside (includes) SET (party).

17. Trio with stable bearings (5,4,3)
{THREE WISE MEN} – Cryptic definition. They followed a star to bring gifts for the baby Jesus.

20. Doesn’t come in to say the carollers are ready? (5,7)
{WAITS OUTSIDE} – Double definition, we have seen another word for carollers a few times already and the word is WAITS and if they were ready they would be OUTSIDE your door.

23. He points to the three French birds (4)
{HENS} – HE, plus N (north) and S (south), both compass points.

24. Just an unknown feature on the tree (5)
{FAIRY} – FAIR (just) and Y (unknown).

25. The highlight of the Nativity (4)
{STAR} – Cryptic definition, the high light and the guiding light for the three wise men.

28. Christmas present drawer (8)
{REINDEER} – Cryptic definition, they pull Santa’s sleigh.

29. Crease in party clothes (3-3)
{DOG-EAR} – DO (party) and GEAR (clothes) is a fold at the corner of a page in a book.

30. Made a mess but switched on new tree, finally decorated (8)
{LITTERED} – LIT (switched on), plus an anagram (new) of TREE, and the last (finally) letter of (decorate)D is what happens if you strew rubbish around.

31. Pantomime character off course (6)
{CRUSOE} – An anagram (off) of COURSE gives us a character from a novel by Daniel Defoe, who also happens to be a pantomime character.


1. Give one an order — to put up the ornaments? (8)
{DECORATE} – Double definition, to paint or put up the Christmas decorations or to honour with a badge or medal.

2. Wine in the first Christmas baskets (8)
{CHAMPERS} – The first letter of C(hristmas) and HAMPERS (baskets) is an informal word for champagne.

3. Silent act usually added to end of panto (4)
{MIME} – Just add the necessary letters to the end of panto to make the full word and you have an act without words, that relies on movement or expression etc to convey its meaning.

5. Happy directors provide Christmas fare (7,5)
{FESTIVE BOARD} – FESTIVE (happy) BOARD (directors). I assume this refers to a Christmas spread, but a search on google also seems to show that this is some kind of Masonic refreshment ritual as well.

6. Make a hit unexpectedly by sending up crackers (4)
{STUN} – Reverse (sending up) NUTS (crackers).

7. Come to life in an all-night party (6)
{AWAKEN} – The all night party referred to here is a WAKE and this needs to be placed in AN for another word for arouse.

8. Puts up the tree in secret, perhaps (6)
{ERECTS} – An anagram (perhaps) of SECRET means to put something upright.

11. Revises match arranged for today (9,3)
{CHRISTMAS EVE} – An anagram (arranged) of REVISES MATCH, is indeed today.

15. Kind of ribbon used for decorations (5)
{MEDAL} – Cryptic definition, the sort of decoration awarded for valour.

16. How a snowman finally loses form? (5)
{MELTS} – Cryptic definition (barely), when the temperature rises what happens to the snowman?

18. Lethargic and disorganised on a present shopping trip? (8)
{LISTLESS} – Cryptic definition, how you might feel if you forgot your shopping list.

19. Where to find a bird for Christmas (4,4)
{PEAR TREE} – Cryptic definition, where you would find a partridge according to the song.

21. Sung or spoken at church, a work like the Messiah (6)
{CHORAL} – CH (church) and ORAL (sung or spoken) is something sung by a chorus or a choir. Hallelujah!

22. Join up tinsel that’s come to pieces (6)
{ENLIST} – An anagram (come to pieces) of TINSEL is another word for enrol.

26. Do nothing like Jack in pantomime (4)
{IDLE} – A character from Dick Whittington is also another word for “do nothing”.

27. Winter coat, perhaps (4)
{HOAR} – Cryptic definition, a white or greyish-white covering of frost.

11 comments on “DT 26120

  1. According to J, Rufus set today’s treat. Polished this off in the wee hours of this morning whilst my better half watched Wallender. Enjoyable start to Christmas Eve. Off out with two manic boys now.

  2. Thanks for the blog Libellule, now you can relax off duty and have a few hot toddys.
    I am climbing into a bottle for the next few days and I suggest you all do the same,
    See you all on the flip side
    Merry whatsisname and Bonne Anne


  3. I enjoyed this very much and did it quite quickly, though I got stuck on the last few words, 5d (of course!) and 29a, and needed your guidance. The seasonal theme was fun and my favourites were 20a and 18d, which is just how I feel!

    Best wishes to all :-)

  4. Excellent puzzle, really enjoyed it and learned 2 new words OSCULATE to kiss and WAITS for carollers, will look this up in my new Chambers assuming Santa comes through!

  5. Merry Christmas all!

    It is already Christmas here in Australia (we’re into the wee small hours of Christmas morning).

    I found this Christmas-themed puzzle good fun to solve. I liked 17a, 20a and 18d.

    Thanks once again to Rufus for his puzzles this year – Merry Christmas!

    Merry Christmas also to Libellule, Big Dave, Tilsit, Gazza, Peter Biddlecombe, Anax, Rishi and to all those who read and enjoy this wonderful website.

  6. Merry Christmas one and all. An enjoyable puzzle. Will see you all in the near year – off to watch some cricket in South Africa. Season’s greetings.

  7. Found 9d s bit dodgy, 10a was a runaway favourite – I knew the word from my Latin days.

    Thanks for the review and continued Seasons Greetings!

  8. An enjoyable puzzle with a few testing clues. Liked 20a and 18d. I had to laugh at 5d as it is indeed a Masonic term and was the first clue that I got.
    By the way am I the only one who can’t access the site via either Internet Explorer or Mozilla Firefox for the past 2 weeks? Can’t work out what is going on so I’m reduced to the execrable web browser that is AOL….
    Happy Xmas to everyone.

    1. Randombloke

      I had heard that the “faux snow” could cause problems, but I have checked it successfully over the last two or three days using the latest versions of Firefox 3.5.6, Internet Explorer 8.0, Safari 4.0.4, Opera 10.10, and Google Chrome

  9. I only got round to doing this this morning having been away at my daughter’s for Christmas.
    Quite a good puzzle once you remembered the song about the Days of Christmas!
    Partridge in a Pear Tree etc. (some opine that the pear tree is the French perdrix)
    We do not get the Boxing Day DT – likewise we never get Easter Monday issue – so I’ll miss 26121.

    Seasonal greetings to all participants of crosswording!

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