DT 26350 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 26350

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26350

Hints and tips by Libellule

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BD Rating – Difficulty ** Enjoyment ***

The usual Monday fun from Rufus. But I don’t expect many of you will need the hints!

You can see the answer by highlighting the space between the curly brackets.


1. A ring that can work wonders (5,6)
{MAGIC CIRCLE} – This ring happens to be a group of illusionists, Rufus is also a member.

9. Distribution coming to an end? (6,3)
{GIVING OUT} – A double definition.

10. Small pigs with tip of noses embedded in furrows (5)
{RUNTS} – Another term for the smallest piglets in litters is constructed from the first letter (tip) of noses placed inside sunken tracks or grooves.

11. Napping, the general is swallowed by snake (6)
{ASLEEP} – Put a famous Confederate General inside Cleopatra’s snake for a state of rest.

12. Said the expert to the officer — ‘It’s etiquette’ (8)
{PROTOCOL} – Two abbreviated words one for professional and the other an army officer are joined together by TO, definition – ‘It’s etiquette’.

13. States differ — so do these (6)
{TASTES} –An anagram (differ) of STATES.

15. Eleven taken singly (3,2,3)
{ONE BY ONE} – 1 after another.

18. Where strain results in parting (4,4)
{WEAK LINK} – Where a chain would typically break, if it was going to break.

19. Winning smash volley (6)
{LOVELY} – An anagram (smash) of VOLLEY. Winning here is used in the sense of attractive or charming.

21. Yet more get involved after midnight with this subject (8)
{GEOMETRY} – An anagram (get involved) of YET MORE is placed after the middle letter of night for a branch of mathematics.

23. Stroke in boat-race, for example (6)
{HYPHEN} – Is the middle character found in boat race.

26. Helps beast in distress (5)
{ABETS} – An anagram (in distress) of BEAST.

27. Run away twice? Not this soldier! (6,3)
{DESERT RAT} – The nickname of a soldier from the 7th Armoured Division who fought in North Africa during the Second World War.

28. What a musician should do before playing it (11)
{MASTERPIECE} – A word that describes an outstanding piece of music, if split (6,5) would also describe what you would expect a musician to do while learning it.


1. Traveller of note getting allowance (7)
{MIGRANT} – The third note in the tonic sol-fa scale, is followed by something that is given for someone that moves from one place to another.

2. Paid a pound for a hammer (5)
{GAVEL} – A word meaning made a present of, followed by L (a pound), is an auctioneer’s hammer.

3. Fish gone astray in the fisherman’s basket (6,3)
{CONGER EEL} – An anagram (astray) of GONE is placed inside CREEL (a fisherman’s basket) for a type of fish.

4. Press in or out (4)
{IRON} – A simple anagram (out) of IN OR.

5. Creating trouble working in the kitchen (8)
{CATERING} – Another anagram (trouble), this time of CREATING.

6. Regret there’s no head-start for the flier (5)
{EGRET} – Remove the first letter (no head-start) from regret.

7. To break up requires courage (7)
{RESOLVE} – A double definition. One meaning to cause to go into a solution, the other meaning determination or purpose.

8. A tale of love in a decent novel (8)
{ANECDOTE} – Put O (love) inside an anagram (novel) of A DECENT is typically a short account of an interesting or humorous incident.

14. Main source of strength for a nation (3,5)
{SEA POWER} – In our case, the Royal Navy.

16. Bird catcher’s practical joke (5-4)
{BOOBY-TRAP} – A tropical gannet, and a contrivance for catching things could also be a balloon full of water balanced above a door in order to fall on the person who opens it.

17. Enters uninvited and is turned away (8)
{INTRUDES} – An anagram (away) of IS TURNED.

18. Bird dog will do it when happy (7)
{WAGTAIL} – A bird of the genus Motacilla.

20. Major currency of China (7)
{YANGTZE} – The major currency in this clue is also a crossword flower (river).

22. Course of poems in translation (5)
{EPSOM} – An anagram (in translation) of POEMS is also a racecourse in Surrey.

24. We hear husky is used to pull transport (5)
{HORSE} – A sounds like clue (we hear) refers to an animal (not a dog) that would normally pull a cart.

25. Is the French description of Britain (4)
{ISLE} – IS followed by the masculine form of French for “the”.

32 comments on “DT 26350

  1. I completed this in my fastest time ever (and I am usually pretty fast). Will be interesting to see if anyone is in the CC today. Great fun clues but 24d is my favourite. Thanks Rufus and Libellule.

    1. Sue – The CC is surprisingly quiet today. I thought that Mary was back in town, and would have popped in for a chat by now!

  2. I did this quite fast today and without any major trouble, although I couldn’t do 18a for a little while. I’ve never heard of the bird kind of booby before. Favourite clues today are 23a and 3d, even though 3d’s are really nasty things and will have your finger off in about two seconds – when mackerel fishing in Pembrokeshire we were always told to throw your line overboard if you caught one!

    1. Believe it or not Kath, John McCrirrock the racing tipster uses ‘Booby’ as the nickname for his wife !

    2. 18a caught me out for a while. I had “hair line” which seemed to fit nicely with both “where strain results” (as in “hair line fracture”) and “parting” (of the hair on the head). 14d and 18d sorted me out, though.

      23a was the last to go in. I don’t think I would have got that without the hint.

  3. The top half went in very easily, with smile after smile, but some of the lower half went in much less easily with frown after frown. Got completely stuck on 18a and 23a – and still couldn’t see 23a with the hint in front of me!

    A delight, with thanks to Rufus and Libellule.

  4. I didn’t find it as easy as all that! Maybe it was The Monday morning fog. Fine puzzle nonetheless.
    Thanks to Libellule and Rufus.

  5. I’m with Gnomethang on this puzzle. Unlike the usual Monday offering from Rufus this took some getting into and needed several runs through before the first answers went in.
    Hints not needed in the end but still not sure where twice and rat fit into 27a.
    Thanks to Rufus and Libellule.

    1. The two parts of the answer mean the same thing (so you are saying it twice) think about what the second word is said to do to a sinking ship.

    2. Hi Pete. The “twice” in the clue is because you needed two synonyms for “run away” – for the second, think sinking ships.

    3. Pete,
      Run away twice – DESERT (To abandon – a military post, for example) and RAT (a person who deserts his friends or associates)

  6. Thanks Rufus, I quite enjoy the nice gentle start to the week that you give us, long may it continue. I liked 23a and 28a both of which made me smile. Thanks Libellule for the review.

  7. Many thanks to Rufus for the crossword. I raced through this until the final two clues which took as long as the rest of the puzzle put together!

  8. Standard fare from Rufus, but an enjoyable kick-off to a new week, as always. 16d was a problem as I initially had the middle word of 15a as “on”, then “to” before finally finding the correct little word!

  9. Thanks Libellule and Dan for your explanations. I understand it now but a bit over cryptic for me even though I got the correct answer!
    One of the joys of this blog is when people help with explanations like this.
    Thanks again.

  10. A lot of things on my mind at the moment but completed it without too much trouble, so it must be not too taxing. Quite enjoyed it, unlike the last two toughies.

  11. As with Saturday managed to finish fairly quickly with a little help I have to admit from the Word Wizard.

    Just my level after a day’s work – thanks to Rufus and Libellule.

    Loved 18d – was almost the last to go in.

  12. The usual pleasant start to the week from Rufus.
    I liked 23a, 3d & 18d. Consider that the clue to 5d should end in a question mark and from the viewpoint of pronunciation I think 24d is pathetic.

  13. As a newbie, I’m still getting used to different types of clues; e.g. 21A with its use of midnight for the g, and 20D using currency to mean river – very good! And I’m glad I’m not the only one who wondered what ‘twice’ was doing in 27A – thanks for explaining this. But the ones that caught me out were 1D (had not idea what to do with ‘of note’) and 18A – didn’t like that clue very much, it felt a bit wayward. Favourites were 19A (nice turn of phrase), 28A (ditto) but best of all 23A. I look forward to the day when I spot answers like ‘hyphen’ hiding there within seconds.

  14. SimienXword,
    Nice of you to drop by and comment. Can I assume that you are doing this a few months behind somewhere else other than the UK?

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