DT 26161 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 26161

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26161

Hints and tips by Libellule

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BD Rating – Difficulty ** Enjoyment ***

Some of you will love this, for example on CluedUp at the moment it is showing 5 stars and 5 smiles, but I thought at times it was a bit clumsy. We have some weird surface readings at times, the abbreviation for son turns up three times, the cryptic definitions are only barely cryptic, and the use of final or first letters in clues is spread throughout the crossword.

If you want to see the answers all you have to do us highlight the space between the curly brackets. If you have an opinion on this crossword, please share it with us.


1. Leaves half of silt in warehouses (8)
{DEPOSITS} – 26d starts the same way and is also the definition but here it has a different meaning, take two letters (half of) from SILT and put them in DEPOTS (warehouses) for a word that means to put or set something down.

5. Son caught monkey after effort initially to run away (6)
{ESCAPE} – Another word for evade or elude is constructed by taking the first letter (initially) of E(ffort) and then follow it with S (son), C (caught) and APE (monkey).

9. Faithful travellers (8)
{PILGRIMS} – I assume this is meant to be a cryptic definition, but anybody who has read the Canterbury Tales for example will spot this one a mile away.

10. Vinyl record’s crackling still (6)
{STATIC} – And this double definition too.

12. Fix his tables when broken (9)
{ESTABLISH} – An anagram (when broken) of HIS TABLES means to settle or fix.

13. Boy and father returned to confess (5)
{ADMIT} – I am not wild about this, but once you have the checking letters its easy enough to spot the boys name. Reverse (returned) TIM (boy) and DA (father).

14. Exercises with energy on board American ship (4)
{USES} – Put E (energy) into the common abbreviation for a United States Ship.

16. Recorded tit horribly getting caught by another bird (7)
{WRITTEN} – The definition here is “recorded”, as in a letter, book or an article for example. Put an anagram (horribly) of TIT inside (caught) WREN (another bird).

19. Freshwater fish — a brown? I get corrected (7)
{RAINBOW} – An anagram (corrected) of A BROWN I will give you another type of trout, not brown.

21. Round of applause for worker (4)
{HAND} – Another simple double definition.

24. Country some reach in Asia (5)
{CHINA} – A large asian country can be found hidden in the words “reach in Asia”.

25. Where little ones may be planted in the morning? (9)
{NURSERIES} – Another nice easy cryptic definition, somewhere you can put your children during the day and a place where young plants are grown.

27. Reveal highly attractive dress (6)
{OUTFIT} – OUT (reveal) and FIT (attractive).

28. Certain pressure before I vote is wrong (8)
{POSITIVE} – The symbol for pressure followed by an anagram (wrong) of I VOTE IS produces a word that can mean beyond possibility of doubt.

29. In front of son, Ballesteros, holding driver finally, puts the ball into play (6)
{SERVES} – Put the shortened first name of a famous Spanish golfer, Senor Ballesteros, in front of S (son) and then around the last letter (finally) of (drive)R and you have a word that describes how you would start playing points in tennis.

30. View coppers fighting with head of thugs (8)
{PROSPECT} – An anagram (fighting) of COPPERS and the first letter (head) of T(hugs) is a view, sight, or field of view.


1. Plunged Heads of Department into poverty preceding economic downturn (6)
{DIPPED} – The important words in this clue are “Heads of”, now take the first letters (heads) of the words that follow and you have another word for going down or sinking.

2. Stories about international airmen (6)
{PILOTS} – PLOTS (stories) is placed around I (international) for a person who operates the controls of an aircraft etc.

3. Wash small cheeky boy round back of ear (5)
{SCRUB} – A word used for cleaning something vigourously is made up from S (small) and CUB (cheeky boy) is placed around the last letter (back of) (ea)R.

4. Guts shown by Mum getting involved in matches (7)
{TUMMIES} – Guts in this case refer to stomachs, put an anagram (getting involved) of MUM inside (in) TIES (matches).

6. It’s out in a strange place (9)
{SITUATION} – An anagram (strange) of ITS OUT IN A is a location, place or condition.

7. A terrorist at first invites shots (8)
{ATTEMPTS} – A, and the first letter (at first) of T(errorist) followed by TEMPTS (invites), gives us another word for the definition – shots, here used in the sense for example of “have a shot at goal”.

8. Times quoting E-lister initially on the front — sensational! (8)
{EXCITING} – Although uncovering the answer for the definition of sensational isn’t difficult the clue is a little strange. Take X (times as in multiplication), followed by CITING (quoting) and then place the first letter (initially) of E(-lister) in front. What is an “E-lister”? I can’t find it in Chambers, but an educated guess suggests it’s supposed to be someone who compiles lists of things for websites.

11. Demonstrate in what manner to carry son (4)
{SHOW} – Another word for explaining something by practical means, is put together using HOW (in what manner) preceded by (to carry) S (son). That’s the third time the setter has used this abbreviation.

15. One keeps a low profile in the main, perhaps (9)
{SUBMARINE} – A cryptic definition of a sort of a submersible vessel.

17. They are often taken on field trips (8)
{TRACTORS} – Another cryptic definition this time of an agricultural vehicle.

18. One entering church? (8)
{MINISTER} – A hoary old all-in-one chestnut. Put I (one) inside MINSTER (church).

20. Fellow in kitchen grabs a little sleep (4)
{WINK} – 40 of these can be found hidden in the clue between the words “fellow in kitchen”.

21. Port from bar drunk in 60 minutes (7)
{HARBOUR} – An anagram (drunk) of BAR is placed inside another word for 60 minutes for a shelter for ships for example.

22. Daughter with four fish to share (6)
{DIVIDE} – D (daughter) followed by the roman numeral for four, and then an orfe (Leuciscus idus) which is a type of fish gives another word for sharing or distributing something. Here’s a link to that fish.

23. View snake twisting etc (6)
{ASPECT} – Cleopatra’s poisonous snake and an anagram (twisting) of etc produces a word that means “a view in a specific direction”.

26. Leaves building site around ten (5)
{EXITS} – An anagram (building) of SITE around X (the roman numeral for ten).

72 comments on “DT 26161

  1. I failed on 17d and 27a – I have no idea why but 17d is not the greatest CD. I enjoyed the rest of it in the main but did notice a few sons kicking about. I quite enjoyed 4d.
    Thanks for the review

    1. Co-incidence as they were the last two to go in with me too.
      I quite liked 3d 18d and 25ac but on the whole it was a bit mundane.
      I also thought a wasted opportunity with 8 down….a clumsy clue for an obvious answer…

  2. I didn’t see the cryptic part of 18d until I read the blog; full of the standard tricks, but nothing novel. As yesterday, a gentle solve, which is what a lot of people probably want.

    Harry Shipley

  3. Enjoyable enough although I thought 7d starting with ‘a terrorist’ was gilding the lily a bit as it was not really needed and from the blog it is not there as a diversion.
    It gets Thursday out of the way I suppose

  4. One more point 27a does Chambers have the word ‘fit’ as highly attractive ?, I thought iy was slang innit

  5. Pleasant to solve without being taxing. Favorite clues were 27a and 4d. Many thanks for the blog and thanks to the setter for the puzzle.

  6. Interesting comments. I found 3/4 quite straightforward and enjoyable but the bottom left corner I found very tricky and 29a completly foxed me, just couldn’t work out this clue at all. Must admit too that some of the answers were completed then the clues worked out (sorry dave!) On the whole enjoyable but bit samy for my liking in the most part. I think 3* is about right.

      1. Libellule

        Barrie was referring to a comment that I made a couple of weeks ago. To correct any misunderstanding, I was referring to people who guess the answers and don’t bother to work out why. I often guess and then work it out afterwards.

  7. I have just realised that I did my first blog contribution to this site on February 13th 2009. So it looks as if I have been doing this for just about one whole year!

    1. Happy Approx Blogday and thanks for all the help! – I guess its the nearest day to the year.

  8. I agree with most of the comments, so far.

    18d. I often find these all-in-one clues unsatisfactory. I feel as though there’s something missing and am not always sure what is wanted until I get some of the checked letters.

    Libellule, your explanationof 5a is incomplete. You don’t mention the C for caught.

  9. A crossword I liked on the whole, glad to see I’m not in a minority with17d, 27a and 29a being last to go in, with a little help from the blog for 17d, I was going along the lines of cricket but just couldn’t get there! liked 15d, 23a, i also liked 18d, clues like 24a whilst obvious are imprtant for us CC so that we get on with other more difficult linking clues, I think we all do a bit of guesswork sometimes Barrie as long as we work it out afterwards, it helps us to learn :) glad you enjoyed

  10. Liked this one but still have two to do – 1d and 9a – I suspect I will kick myself once inspiration kicks in. Currently persisting with it with a cup of tea and a jaffa cake.

  11. Again agree with above comments – in particular I thought 15d a poor CD, 17d even worse – I had crocuses initially which threw me on 27a. Also, isn’t “in the morning” both incorrect and superfluous?

    Thanks for the blog – and happy blogging birthday!

    1. Mike,
      Re. “in the morning” you are probably right, but I expect the setter is trying to indicate that dropping off the little ones is usually done before people go to work, and therefore takes place – usually – in the morning.

  12. Libellule – I agree – “in the morning” is, I think, quite clever and is entirely appropriate in the clue.

      1. Oook ook ook. Having navigated L Space he says both are synonyms for mimicking. Another banana for the Librarian, please!

    1. Patsyann,
      Technically speaking you are correct. But in this case Chambers currently shows the word “an ape” for monkey, and then when checking ape you find “a monkey”. So if the setter was following Chambers rather than the strict definitions of primates you can understand the mistake.

  13. Thought it was average today although it took me half an hour to do… filled up a bit of time whilst I sit indoors watching the snow in Canterbury:( I can now understand why someone set up a group on Facebook called ‘2010 the year we got fed up with snow’ !

  14. Patsyann your comment prompted me to do some research – I got confused! I am good on cricket fielding positions though.

  15. Why ‘E-lister’? Prsumably any word sarting with ‘e’ would suit: ‘Times quoting expert initially …’ Am I missing something?

    1. Droopyh,
      Re E-lister, I have no idea, and nobody has come forward to explain it. So why the setter used this specific word I do not know. I took a guess at what it might mean, but I can’t find the meaning of it in any dictionary I own.

      1. An A-lister is a top celebrity, so presumably an E-lister is someone who might just make it on to Celebrity Big Brother. :D

        1. …… as opposed to a B-lister, which is what you get on your finger from doing too many crosswords!!

          1. ” ‘E’s ‘ere all week everyone!”
            A recent Private Eye cartoon had a nightclub with two doors marked “Plebs” and “Clebs”

    2. Presumably the surface reading is a little dig at the Times Newspaper (though still awkward) and the kind of thing it might have as its frontcover headline. An E-lister is a very minor celebrity (although the term Z-lister is more common) but since E-lister is so uncommon neither the surface or the intended joke seem to work particularly well here!

  16. I’m obviously getting the hang of some of the clues, but still didn’t get far without the electronic friends.

    Puzzled by 10a and 21a: what is the connection between ‘static’ and ‘vinyl records’, please and where is the worker in ‘hand’? Also 20d: what indicates it’s a container clue (is that the right type?)?

    Couldn’t do 8d and couldn’t see 15d or 17d, even with all the checking letter in place! Totally foxed by 29a as I didn’t his first name and wasn’t going to look it up and assumed the ‘ball’ was a golf ball. Didn’t know ‘cub’ could mean ‘cheeky boy’ and wondered where the ‘u’ came from as I assumed the c came for ‘cheeky’. Is ‘cheeky boy’ the sort of thing one can look up in Mary’s dictionary?

    1. When you play a record and it “crackles” its static electiricity that causes it – another word for being still is static. Hence a double definition.
      A round of applause can be called a hand, and another word for a manual worker is hand. Another double definition.
      If you look up cub in Chambers, you get a number of definitions, including “a rude or cheeky young boy or girl”

        1. Maybe because of nostalgia and the memories that came flooding back, but 10a was my fav clue by a long way and the one that brought the biggest smile to my face !

      1. In a variation of the Perrin manouvre, I used tippex on the square below 3d so that I could put in “shrimp”.

      2. If we are being very pedantic, the scratching on records isn’t static, it is surface hiss. Static is what you here on an AM radio set, caused by random electrical discharges creating radio waves which are picked up by the receiver.

            1. andy B,
              Technically you are correct, the crackles are actually caused by dust particles. However records do also collect static. Not that this makes the clue any more difficult.

    2. Newbie

      So many questions!

      If you ever played vinyl records you would know all about the clicks from static.

      A hand is a worker especially in a factory or on a ship (Chambers)

      20d is a hidden word – the first three words “grab”, i.e. hold, the definition

      Chambers Crossword Dictionary has bub, cub, kid, lad, son and tad under three-letter words for boy – BTW Bradford’s Crossword Solver’s Dictionary also has all of these and is probably a better bet if you were to buy only one of these books.

    3. Thanks. My mind was stuck on ‘bee’ and ‘ant’ for worker, factory hand is pretty obvious. It could be 20+ years since I played a vinyl record; mine must have been good ones! Didn’t click with ‘still’ at all. Still lots to learn …

      1. Newbie, i would still be lost without my little electronic friend, as long as once you get the answer, you understand it and not just put in in without doing so

    1. Digby

      Starting this Saturday we will be having alternative puzzles here on the blog. The first one will be Anax’s recent Independent puzzle, by kind permission of Mike Hutchinson (Eimi), the Crossword Editor. The following week we have a brand-new themed, blocked puzzle from Prolixic. Others are in the pipeline, more news later.

      1. Oh dear, just as i begin to think i’m getting somewhere things change! or should i be of the attitude’ bring it on’ :)

          1. Oh good, thanks Dave, I like options, what exactly do you do at your ‘quarterly meetings’ Dave?

            1. Mary,
              gazza described BD’s visit as “researching the latest developments in crossword theory” but I think he rather carelessly forgot to put very heavy quotation marks round the phrase! :mrgreen:

            2. Apart from being thoroughly good company and consuming copious quantities of alcohol he is very good recruiting officer for the blog “persuading” people to contribute!

        1. Mary: Bring it on!.
          Anax’ puzzle last Indy had some great stuff in it and I am sure that Prolixic’s offering will be good for all ;-)

          1. What the Gnome is alluding to is that he kindly took my crossword for a test drive to iron out some of the harsh nodosities and illegal anfractuosities in the first draft (none of which words are in the puzzle but were once used by my teachers to describe my English prose!).

            Rest assured that when I was setting it, I had in mind that it should be accessible to all levels of solvers on the blog so it contains a range of clues from the easy to the more difficult.

            1. will look forward to it prolixic, the Dolphin and the Gnome are certainly two of our more intelligent species, never heard of those two words but as far as i can see they mean knotty windings!! I am sure your crossword will have none of those :)

  17. I’ve not yet had time to read the review nor comments, so apologise if these points have been made elsewhere.
    Is “cheeky” really necessary in 3d, I thought boy = cub to be quite adequate.
    18d Have come across this one several times in past.
    Enjoyed 29a, sporting themes always get my vote, and also found 17d amusing.
    Overall quite acceptable although relatively straightforward.

  18. I’ve also not yet had time to read the review nor comments, so apologise if these points have been made elsewhere.

    I did not like 9a (not cryptic?), 1d (not fit for purpose), 7d (Clue would be fine without first two words), 8d (answer is obvious with a few cross letters but I have no idea why).

    I quite liked 15d and especially 18d.

  19. Due to weather conditions paper late – brain does not work after 7:30 am and completely lost the plot – gave up!

  20. I thought that this puzzle was average – got along with it rather quickly so shall have to do the toughie tonight!
    I agree with many of the comments that there was a lot of repetition in the clues – e.g. s for son – also 22d & 30a were suspiciously similar. I liked 16a, 19a, 25a & 29a. Also 4d &16d.

    Mary : I see that you got 29a – I wondered as you don’t like cricket terms if golf would upset you? Although it was mxed golf and tennis!

    I am doing a bit of research on the term E-lister – so far no bon!

    1. Hi Derek, no i was ok with that, i like most sports, have played quite a bit of golf, never played tennis , badminton was my favourite but cricket , apart from playing tip and run with my brothers when i was young i know virtually nothing about although since doing these crosswords i know more now :)

  21. Also suffered with 17d and 27a. Had trackers and entail, best I could come up with. Whilst I understand the answers especially 27a, still think 17d was poor. Did enjoy 9a and 25a.

  22. Scrub was not difficult. What was difficult was trying to find a reason for puuting it in. Cheeky boy – (che)rub? First letters-almost- but not quite. Its got to be that so put it in.
    Not a very clever clue.

  23. Had to be the easiest for months – I normally take an age to finish the puzzle but this was done in under 10 minutes. Must have had some brain food the night before.

  24. Thank you Big Dave; I’ve only just started doing the Telegraph crossword, so I need a bit of help with some of the clues at the moment!

    1. Hi Rachel – welcome to the blog. Our main aim is to help people improve their solving capability, so I hope you’ll stay with us, and that we’ll get more comments from you.

  25. Libelulle – I rather think an “E-lister” is more likely a person well down the celebrity pecking order, below ‘A’, ‘B’ ‘C’ and ‘D’

    And while we are on the subject of unfathomable descriptions, where does your monicker come from? ‘Libel’ with something else?

    1. Andy B,
      Thats a new phrase for me, and something I couldn’t find in Chambers. It seems we got a few comments suggesting that this was indeed the meaning.
      Re. my monicker, if you look carefully at my avatar you wiil notice that it is in fact a dragonfly. Libellule is french for dragonfly. I chose it because a, I live in France, and b, because there is a nature reserve not far from where I live that has many species.

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