DT 26534 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
View closed comments 

DT 26534 (Hints)

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26534 (Hints)

Big Dave’s Saturday Crossword Club

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

As is usual for the weekend prize crosswords, I will select a few of the better clues and provide hints for them.

Don’t forget that you can give your assessment of the puzzle. Five stars if you thought it was great, one if you hated it, four, three or two if it was somewhere in between.

Could new readers please read the Welcome post before asking questions about the site.

Most of the terms used in these hints are explained in the Glossary and examples are available by clicking on the entry under “See also”.

A full review of this puzzle will be published after the closing date for submissions.


1a    Brush off Arctic bear (4-8)
A hyphenated word meaning to brush off or rebuff is a charade of Arctic or wintry and to bear or accept

9a    Coat one lost — it’s found on the sea (4)
… the one that gets lost is an ACE

15a    To do with a couple of intellectuals being undecided (2,3,5)
The first word is a trap for the unwary! – this phrase meaning undecided or wavering is built up from a word meaning to do with, a couple and some intellectuals

20a    Colourful plot for ‘The Good Life’ (3,2,5)
This colourful plot can be found in the garden – as a phrase it means a good or comfortable life

28a    Motorist’s point of no return? (3,2,3,4)
A cryptic definition of the point beyond which a motorist can’t go


2d    Branch not on fire (8)
This branch is a charade of “not on” and to fire a gun

3d    Detail! (4)
… read this as de-tail

7d    Rear supporter on the brink of a fight? (8,4)
A cryptic definition of somewhere to sit and watch a boxing match at close quarters

17d    Artist removing label for lady (8)
An associate member of Crosswordland’s usual academy of fine arts is followed by an anagram (removing) of label to get a lady’s name

25d    Vertigo returns to show up prince of opera (4)
Hidden inside the first two words of the clue is the eponymous prince from an opera by Borodin

The Crossword Club opens at 10.00am. Feel free to leave comments.

Please don’t put whole or partial answers or alternative clues in your comment, else they may be censored!

The Quick crossword pun: {cons} + {stab} + {bawl} = {constable}

79 comments on “DT 26534 (Hints)

  1. The first word in 15a caught me too. Overall not too bad today, I was scratching my head on a few (including Detail!). Thanks to the settter and BD

      1. 15a… me too!! I’m pleased to say that I’ve made better progress today than I did last weekend and 4d has appeared recently if I’m not mistaken.

        1. Yup, same here. Stupidly, really. I even thought “hmm, dodgy clue” as I was putting it in. Didn’t occur to me it was dodgy solving until I saw the tip. Very bad!

  2. Found this a little harder than some Sat crosswords. Needed the BD hint for 20a to finish – no time to ponder any further – a lot to do today! I fell into the trap re the first word of 15a. Liked 7d. Also liked 22d, but it took me a while to see the significance of the last two letters. Have a good weekend all.

  3. One or two to think about. 9a was infuriating; I knew the answer, but never considered the ‘ace’!
    Thanks to setter, and to BD.

  4. Typical fare for a Saturday. No stand out clues although 3d “stumped” me for a while…15a threw me as well to start with but then 11d became quite obvious…thanks to the setter & BD for the hints

  5. All too straightforward today. A tougher challenge at Eastertide was expected!

    Cannot see anybody struggling today.


    1. But at least we’ve got the NTSPP to look forward to then tomorrow we’ve got the usual challenge from Virgilius. On top of that the sun is shining, the beer fridge is fully stocked & the BBQ is on stand by…so life isn’t that bad is it?

      1. Sun is hiding in Oswestry, the beer fridge is empty till tomorrow (Easter Sunday) and duck does not BBQ! Wife is Russian Orthodox so this week’s Lent has been fierce!!! Ah thought the noise was the dishwasher but alas it was my stomach!

        1. Yoshik – I know how you feel !! Mrs Digby is a staunch Roman Catholic. If it’s breast, take the skin off and cook it like a steak.

  6. Average Saturday fare, which hasn’t exactly inspired me to 3d the lawn, or weed the 20a. Would have been a lot easier had I not transposed the numbers for 7d – a **** ****SMAN didn’t feel right! Thanks BD – the garden is 26a.

  7. I enjoyed solving this one, particularly the d’oh moment at 9a – my clue of the day. Thanks to, I presume, Cephas for the crossword and BD for the hints and pics.

    Having got ahead with the housework yesterday, I am off out into the sunny garden (sorry Yoshik) to do a variety of crosswords from the other periodicals.

  8. All very gentle and straightforward today (for me at least!) but genial and enjoyable. Many thanks to Cephas ( I believe he is on duty today) for the crossword and to BD for the notes.

    Favourite clue was 7d.

  9. 15a got me as well! Apart from that and 9a there weren’t too many problems. I normally get into huge difficulties with clues like 18a and confuse myself terribly about which way round to do things, but the way this one was constructed really helped me work out what I’m meant to be doing, so thanks to the setter and Big Dave for the tips.
    Is Lent over yet? I fancy a gin now…

        1. Mr Tub.

          I have my doubts that anyone ever wins a fountain pen anyway! There, I’ve said it.

          Enjoy the sunshine and the refreshment.

          1. Mr Tub,

            How cynical!! The DT would never be so underhand!

            Someone commented on this blog fairly recently that they had actually won the esteemed “fountain pen”. (Tried to find the comment via Google – but life is too short!)

              1. Hi Franco (and thanks, BD)

                I am, indeed, needlessly cynical. Where is Caravaggio? Did he get his pen????!!!!!

                There’s a great bit in Only Fools and Horses where Del Boy has a raffle to win a lawnmower – tickets are £1.

                Rodney complains, ‘But that lawnmover was knackered. Didn’t anyone complain?’

                DelBoy: ‘Just the winner, but I gave him his pound back.’

                I’m sure the DT is far too honest to pull a fast one.

                1. I’ve had it for a week, Nick. It’s an Inoxcrom [Spanish] pen – matte black with gold fittings and clip is surmounted with the Telegraph Gothic ‘T’. The cheque arrived too, I’m pleased to say…

                  1. How nice. It always seemed to me that SOMEONE on this blog should have one. I’ve not sent an entry off for years, maybe I’ll start again….



      1. Lent is over?? Trying telling that to the Orthodox!!!

        Remember Orthodox have four periods of Lent!

      2. Lent was over on Palm Sunday – the day Jesus comes out of the desert and rides into Jerusalem – hence the palm waving, etc. He was only in the desert for 40 days and Lent is therefore only 40 days – Shrove Tuesday through Palm Sunday.

        Anyway, apart from that I’m stuck on 13a. Any ideas ? Have lots of words that fit in there, but none match the clues.

        1. 13a Discountenanced, anon?
          It’s a double definition and anon is short for anonymous.

        2. My good lady here and Wikipedia both say otherwise on the Lent thing. Did this change, or am I the only one who can count ? Heh :-)

          1. Just to clarify Lent.
            Lent begins every year on Ash Wednesday. It’s the 40th day before Easter Sunday (not counting Sundays, because they aren’t counted as part of the “season” in Lent).

            In the Eastern (Orthodox) rite, Lent starts on Clean Monday (two days before Ash Wednesday) and finishes on the Friday before Palm Sunday. Sundays are counted, and Lazarus Saturday, Palm Sunday and Holy Week are a separate fasting period.

            However in the Russian Orthodox Church most staunch Christians will continue the Lenten Fast until after the first communion of Easter Day, will commence at 11:00(Russian time) and continue to 4:00 a.m on Sunday morning (Russian time). My wife’s great uncle was Patriarch in Ukraine so although an Anglican my wife follows the teaching to the law so beer is of the menu till tomorrow. Food is a slightly different issue as being diabetic lent is not so strong for me. Diabetes can be useful!!

  10. I enjoyed doing this while sitting in the garden. My favourite clue was 15a – but last one to go in was 16a and even though I have the answer I am not sure why. Oh well – will wait for the review.

    Have a good weekend everyone.

    Thanks for puzzle and for hints.

    1. Lea, 16a – a synonym for “aim” in the sense of objective or goal surrounding (“to include”) (I)ndependent) – gives you the lady’s name.

  11. I didn’t find this too difficult – I used to find Saturdays one of the easiest crosswords of the week but I’ve had a fair bit of trouble with the last few – todays seems easier again. I couldn’t see why 9a was what it was so needed to read the hint for that one. Didn’t have the difficulty that some others had with the first word of 15a because I got 11d first otherwise I probably would have done. Favourite clues – 20a and 3, 8, 17 and 22d.

  12. Thanks to Cephas and Big Dave.

    I thought it was very easy today, or maybe I just had a day when my brain was working better than usual.

    Favourite clue: 4d

    Was a bit disappointed with 14d – sorry to be negative on a sunny bank holiday weekend, but there must be a better construct and surface reading than that.

  13. Enjoyed the Cryptic today but needed a bit of help. Thanks, Dave, for including a couple of clues I was stuck on!

    Lots of Royal Wedding in GK Quick, all of which I had to look up. I hear the coverage is getting a bit over the top. I’m in Spain with no UK TV so am spared the deluge.

  14. Really enjoying today’s puzzle for Easter weekend. I though 10a was very appropriate for this Saturday and had not realised the timely connection between the answer and ‘rich saint’ before. Better even than Tony Blair MP being ‘I’m Tory Plan B’! Nearly finished, still trying to work out 23a – sure it’s obvious but not quite there yet.

    1. Foray – I like the Tony Blair anagram, but not the man himself – far too much money for a Socialist (?).

      23a – the definition is “sensible” – wordplay: a synonym of “allowance” e.g. allocation, allotment, share… followed by a 3-letter word meaning everything minus its last letter.

      Oh My God! I feel like I’m filling in for Mary on Saturday – where is she – come back soon!!

  15. Can someone please give me a little help with 11D and 18A……..then all finished, but can’t think these 2 through.

    1. 18a Blow for companions on the way back (4)
      Reverse (on the way back) a word meaning companions or friends to make a blow.

  16. Hello everyone. I am floundering down the port side!!
    A hint for 11d, 12a, and 26a would prevent my hair loss!! Perhaps I should consult my Bible further? Rather damp in Scotland so have had a break from the weeding!

    1. 11d – see below
      12a – Three letter word being the name of an Old Testament priest followed by an anagram (converted) of has to give the name of an Old Testament prophet.
      26a – A word meaning signalling comes from a word meaning calculation with the initial R replaced by a B (bishop ousts rook)

  17. 11d Take a six letter word for evil spirits and a five letter word for a board. Put an R inside the second word (right to be included) to find a word meaning “as can be proved”.

    18a A word meaning companions or friends is reversed (on the way back) to get a word meaning a blow.

  18. Nice simple solve sitting in the beer garden at my local. Oh, with the exception of 3d for which I needed BD’s hint when I got home. Am I alone in thinking this clue is a bit naughty?
    Made the same mistake as many others with 15a which held up 11d.
    My favorite was 9a which I’m pleased to say I figured out.

    Thanks to the compiler for a pleasant romp (3d excepted) and BD for the hints.

    1. 3d was my first one in! Exclamation mark suggested a made-up definition, especially with a one word clue.

  19. I think the rust has set in – it is so easy when pointed in the right direction. Thank you for putting me out of my misery.

  20. A quickly solvable puzzle from Cephas today but enjoyable.
    Favourites were : 9a, 13a, 15a, 20a, 26a, 7d, 11d, 14d & 22d.
    One or two chestnuts otherwise a nice mix.

  21. Found it quite hard today but enjoyable. Need some help with 16A and 24A anyone?
    Thanks to setter and BD

    1. 24a – the name of a peninsula is hidden in the clue.
      16a – The name of a lady comes from putting an I (Independent) into another word for aim (as in an objective)

  22. Was away golfing all week – gosh it was hot! – so brain not only fried but out of Xword mode. Therefore struggled to-day, but have finally finished with the help of hints. Couldn’t see the frothy stuff either, though it had to be the answer – thanks for explaining that one BD.

  23. Kinda new around here – been reading you guys for the odd hint for a while – just thought I’d pop up and say hi and thank you !

  24. I really can’t see 22d although I’ve got thew second words and, despite all the input, 9a. Can anybody help, then I can watch the rugby in peace

    1. 22d – you’re looking for a short phrase meaning ‘snooze’ made up of ‘no’ + the standard crossword synonym for party + the musical notation meaning ‘very loud’.

      9a – a seven-letter word for coat (but think more about painting or varnishing than apparel), removing the last three letters which represent the ‘one’ in cards – remaining four letters are the froth on top of the sea …

      Big Dave – I hope I’ve been fair with those. Apologies if I’ve overstepped anywhere, the intention is good, I promise.


    2. For 9A, start with a word meaning coat (as in “superficial layer”), subtract ACE as BD said, and you get something that’s found on the sea (or part of the sea, really).

  25. Finished it this morning – too much for me yesterday evening after the joys of a) the M25 visiting my grandson and b) lots of the chilled white stuff sitting on the balcony listening to the sounds of the river. Fell into the first word trap of 11d with that and 8d/9a as the last ones in, with the help of Qix’s comment just above.

    Fun puzzle and thanks for the hints and comments.

  26. First clue was 11d (a write in from ‘as can be proved’, so no problem with 15a.

  27. I found it really enjoyable – with the exception that I can’t explain 27a
    I’m sure it must be part of a chain but can’t see why. Anyone help?

    I also got 9a but needed BD’s hint to tell me why
    strange how often 4 letter clues with 2 letters in are hard!

    Thanks to setter and BD

  28. I don’t believe it !
    I was a regular golfer until a few years ago and didn’t see it.

    Thanks BD and thanks for the welcome Libellule – although this is my 3rd comment (in 14 months) . I am not exactly a regular contributor but I do “lurk” and enjoy the repartee that goes on. I would contribute more often, but when I feel like doing so, it always seems to be because I am unhappy with a clue and I don’t like to criticise someone who is providing me with pleasure generally and only occasionally pain.

    1. I think that most setters welcome comments on their clues, and, indeed, puzzles. I don’t think that you should be reluctant to share your opinions.

      Sometimes, when I’ve criticised clues, others have pointed out that I’ve missed something, and that’s always useful. Sometimes other people don’t like a clue, but don’t want to be the first to say so. Many DT setters seem to read BD’s blog, and they sometimes contribute when there’s uncertainty about their puzzles.

      Whether a clue (or a puzzle) is good or not is largely a subjective matter; setters always like to hear that people enjoyed their puzzles, but most setters (and editors) are grown-up enough to handle criticism too.

      Personally, I’m always interested to hear what people think, and I hope that more solvers feel comfortable enough to share their views here.

  29. apologies BD, I was given two options when I clicked on ‘Name’ and chose the wrong one. Thanks for your comment Qix. I will feel more confident in ‘putting my oar in’ in future.
    In future ? why not start now ;-)
    My crossword solving ability has improved dramatically since I started reading BD’s blog. You learn nothing if you can’t work out why, even when you are given the answer on the DT site. Many’s the time I wished to write into the paper to ask how an answer was arrived at. Before the internet, I started the xword by buying saturday’s paper and if I finished before the following saturday, it was a success. A while ago I found I was disappointed if I couldn’t finish one during lunch and dinner.
    However, there seems to have been a backlash, and compilers have been stung by comments of ‘too easy’ on the site. Recently I have found that 2 difficult+ 2 easy + 3 inbetween ( to me ) in a week have been replaced by 1 easy and 6 difficult.

Comments are closed.