DT 26538 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 26538

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26538

Hints and tips by Big Dave

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

Thursdays without Ray T can sometimes be very dull, but not today. We have an excellent replacement which I really enjoyed. I have been persuaded by Crypticsue to increase my original difficulty rating, so I’ll be interested to know what you think!

Please 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.


7a    Create something different with cold celery soup (7)
{RECYCLE} – a verb meaning to create something different from previously used material is an anagram (soup) of C(old) CELERY

8a    In the Arctic a ‘rib’ ought to be carved reindeer (7)
{CARIBOU} – hidden (to be carved?) inside the clue is a type of North American reindeer

10a    Cheaply produced lace? (10)
{SHOESTRING} – cheap items can be described as produced on this – it’s also a lace to fasten footwear

11a    Limit of flying leap (4)
{PALE} – to go beyond this is intolerable or exceeding a limit – it’s an anagram (flying)of LEAP

12a    Aura of change embracing sleeveless dress (8)
{PRESENCE} – this aura is created by putting the small change in your pocket around a sleeveless (d)RES(s)

14a and 15a    ‘Road To Hell’ — with Rea a gig’s nicely raw (6,11)
{SINGLE CARRIAGEWAY} – this road is a cleverly worked anagram (to hell with) of REA A GIG’S NICELY RAW – for those who don’t know, “Road to Hell” is a track by Chris Rea that many think suitably describes the M25 (which is not the type of road in the answer!)

ARVE Error: need id and provider

15a    See 14a

19a    Car breaker? (6)
{ROLLER} – a double definition – a slang name for a make of posh car or a breaker loved by surfers

20a    Odd-jobber’s hinges tip and many back-to-front (8)
{HANDYMAN} – this odd-jobber is a charade of H (Hinges tip), AND and MANY with its last letter moved to the front (back-to-front)

ARVE Error: need id and provider

22a    Sit-in starts to disrupt every mundane operation (4)
{DEMO} – this sit-in protest comes from the initial letters of (starts to) the last four words in the clue

23a    Ghastly new craft from stem to stern (10)
{LENGTHWAYS} – an anagram (craft) of GHASTLY NEW gives a word meaning from stem to stern

25a    Former wife hacks organ? (7)
{EXPRESS} – a charade of a former wife and hacks or journalists collectively gives the name of a newspaper (organ)

Thanks to Qix for pointing out the surface reading!

26a    Condemn navy involvement in botched rescue (7)
{CENSURE} – a word meaning to condemn or reprehend is created by putting N(avy) inside an anagram (botched) of RESCUE


1d    Desire hot instead of cold 7 soup (7)
{LECHERY} – to get this lustful desire you need an anagram (soup) of the answer to 7 across after H(ot) replaces a C(old) – the anagram indicator as well as the answer were borrowed from 7 across!

2d    Purchaser announced for cowshed (4)
{BYRE} – a word that sounds like (announced) a purchaser is actually a cowshed

3d    Gorge on nearly all of end product of wheat (6)
{GLUTEN} – a charade of a verb meaning to gorge or overfeed and nearly all of EN(d) gives a nitrogenous part of the flour of wheat

4d    Magnanimous spirit of Samaritans’ opening report (8)
{LARGESSE} – this magnanimous spirit sounds like (report) a description of the first letter (opening) of Samaritans

5d    Pharmacy’s daily record with entry for ‘shilling quills’ (10)
{DISPENSARY} – another name for a pharmacy is created by putting a daily record of events around (with entry) S(hilling) and quills, as in writing implements

6d    Lowly Dr Batty devoted to this life and its enjoyments (7)
{WORLDLY} – an anagram (batty) of LOWLY DR gives an adjective meaning devoted to this life and its enjoyments

9d    Futuristic transport came back in a new version of the Mini (4,7)
{TIME MACHINE} – a futuristic transport that is the subject of a science-fiction novel by HG Wells is derived by reversing (back) CAME inside an anagram (new version) of THE MINI

13d    One or two maybe are late (5,5)
{SMALL HOURS} – one or two refer to times after midnight that are late for some and early for others!

16d    Rail absurdly against son getting into bizarre country ways (8)
{RURALISM} – put an anagram (absurdly) of RAIL together with S(on) inside (getting into) a word meaning bizarre to get these country ways or lifestyle

17d    Strike triumphant expression during ‘Peace on Earth’ (7)
{POLEAXE} – a word meaning to strike or knock down is created by putting a triumphant expression uttered by a matador inside the Latin for peace and then adding E(arth)

18d    Grease protects any rope (7)
{LANYARD} – put this grease or clarified fat around (protects) ANY to get a short rope used as a fastening (or a cord for hanging a knife, whistle, etc. around the neck)

21d    Get Man U missing a shot with cheeky trick (6)
{NUTMEG} – an anagram (shot) of GET M(A)N U without (missing) the A gives a cheeky trick in which a football is kicked through the legs of an opposing player

ARVE Error: need id and provider

24d    Free from impurities? What’s the odds? (4)
{WASH} – a word meaning to free from impurities comes from the odd letters of WhAt’S tHe

More like this, please!

The Quick crossword pun: (myrrh} + {fizz} + {lore} = (Murphy’s Law}

54 comments on “DT 26538

  1. I would have given it 4 stars – I think I solved the Toughie faster. Very good puzzle that I had to work hard to get into and even harder to finish, even then buying a couple of letters for the 19a/13d finish (then kicking myself suitably!.
    Thanks to the setter and BD.

  2. I was almost panicking today – after first run through,a came together although 17D gave me a fair bit of difficulty (required another cup of coffee for this one). Thoroughly enjoyed 7A, 14/15A, 25A, 1D, 9D, 18D, 24D and my favourite was 13D.

    The weather continues fine in Zummerzet which means more gardening :( ho hum.

  3. Very enjoyable puzzle, with some excellent and creative clueing.

    I think that 4 stars for difficulty would be too harsh, but 4 for enjoyment might also be a little harsh.

    Among many good clues, my favourite was 25A; ouch!

  4. Definately a **** for me. This was tougher than today’s Warbler Toughie with more complex wordplay that you would normally find in the Toughie series. Is our setter a refugee from there?

    All very enjoyable and creative. Favourite clue was 25a.

  5. I’ve found this one really hard – hugely relieved when I saw that it was at least verging on 4* for difficulty. I was completely defeated by 17d – couldn’t even think of a word that would fit let alone one that would fit with the clue as well – not helped by having made 19a ‘dealer’ even though I was pretty sure it wasn’t. Also started off by making 13d ‘early hours’ – oh dear – perhaps not my finest crossword day (me, not the crossword!) I didn’t know the football meaning of 21d. Having said all that I enjoyed the struggle!! I particularly liked the 7a/1d tangle and also 14/15a, and 25a, 4d (needed the hint to understand why) 6d and 16d.
    With thanks to the mystery setter and to Big Dave for the, yet again, very much needed explanations.

    1. Hi Kath – I did exactly the same for 19a – also needed BD for quite a lot of hints and explanations! Must say, I loved 4d – I got it but couldn’t think why – one of those “doh” moments, I believe they are known on the blog? This one put me back in my box having managed to get to Thursday without any hints!!! Such is the way of the DT Xword week. Also agree on 21d – got the answer and then had to do a search for the explanation. But then, afraid I’m not into football – as far as I’m concerned, 21d is a spice! Didn’t particularly like 16d. But did like 10a. Also relieved when I saw the difficulty rating!

    2. I just could NOT get 17D.
      I tried to re solve 25a about 5 times, even though I’d got it right!

      More proof of Lostboy’s first law of Physics- there is always one clue I can’t solve.

  6. Definitely at the tougher end of cryptic and thanks to BD for his handy hint earlier this morning. It is one of those crosswords that when you look at it later you aren’t really sure why you struggled. Thanks to the mystery setter for the brain training and to BD for the hints.

    The “other puzzle” is a much more friendly beast and very entertaining. The Guardian puzzle by Tilsit’s friend is very good too, although you will need to search your memory banks for the themed answers!!

  7. Can’t agree with the 4* Difficulty Brigade. I found all the clues just gettable without resort to hints, which indicates 3* for me. Shading 4* for Enjoyment, with 1d / 7a, 4d and 6d particularly pleasurable. With thanks to The Gaffer and Ray T’s stand-in. Also enjoyed the Quickie-link.

  8. Wow! that was a struggle. Eventually managed to complete it without hints though.
    Favourite clues are many but must include 10a, 12a, 14/15a, 4d, 5d, 13d, and 17d.
    Once I finally figured out the Chris Rea anagram, the rest started to fall in to place. Thanks to the setter and to BD.

  9. Took a little while to get into, but enjoyable. I’d never heard of the definition in 21d, nor was it in my dictionary, although it had to be the answer.
    Thanks to setter, and to BD.

      1. Thanks. I must get around to buying Chambers, although I might wait for the next edition.

        1. When players from Barcelona and Real Madrid are “nutmegged”, they seem to fall to ground, roll over a few times and then hold their heads in agony as if they have been “poleaxed”.

  10. Oh- a little too difficult for me today would never have got some without hints…thanks to BD and setter

  11. Back in Spain at last where the weather has improved. The last 2 weeks it’s been better in the UK so I think we chose the right fortnight to visit friends and aged parents.
    Going by solving time this must be a 4* for me but very enjoyable as the pennies eventually dropped. Many clues worthy of a Toughie IMO!
    Thanks to the setter and to BD for the hints which I was on the verge of resorting to.

  12. Another day when the Toughie was easier. 21d was a stinker. Got it but didn’t know why. Who complained about cricket terms? Football is even more of a closed book!

  13. Excellent puzzle today! Unlike others I found it easy to get started, but then I stalled and needed the hints and tips for the last 3 for me – 10a, 4d and 13d which became my favourites!

    Liked the Quickie Pun! Also liked “To Hell – with…” as an anagram indicator! Qix’s comment on 25a – too painful!

    Are you sure it’s not Ray T – apart from a few clues that don’t have single word solutions? Is it “insider-information”?

    1. The “insider information” is found in the Quick crossword. Only once has a Ray T Quick crossword had a clue of more than one word and I’m sure that was a result of editorial meddling.

      A few of todays quick clues:

      Aromatic resin (5)
      Rousing bugle-call (8)
      Women’s headgear (9)
      Venomous snake (3)
      Explain the meaning of (9)
      Long-standing family servant (8)
      Cut short (4)
      White wine (8)
      Wading bird (5)
      Turn over (4)
      Define precisely (8)
      Eagle’s nest (5)
      Unsophisticated musical improvisation (4)

      Enough said!

        1. You get mainly one-word answers in both puzzles as well, but it’s the clues in the Quick crossword that are the big giveaway, which is why I always do the Quick puzzle first on a Thursday.

  14. Home again! Nice to get a good night’s sleep in my own bed.
    As pommers said, were on the verge of looking at the hints when we finally got 13d & 17d.
    Got the anagram for 14a and 15a but could not spot the indicator! Think I might just have to go and get the CD out!
    Don’t think the brain is functioning properly (been poorly – nasty tooth ancess – why is it I always have tooth problems when away from my dentist?).
    Thanks to the mysteron and BD

  15. I must have been on the right wavelength for this one. I agree that it required a bit more thought than some but certainly not a 4* offering. I would give it 4* for enjoyment though.
    Many thanks to the setter for this one and Big Dave for the hints which I am very pleased to say were not required.

  16. Started so well.. but the bottom half was impossible without your help! So many thanks! would definiitely never have got 17d!

  17. Finally a crossword in the last 3 weeks where we’ve heard of all the words apart from one. My girlfriend didn’t know what a nutmeg was but I soon showed her.

  18. Excellent . Although took break to do some baking now all Ok & my hubby just loved the Chris Rea track one of his favs ! Think he’s watched the video 3times now.
    thanks to all

  19. Found this quite difficult, and still don’t really understand the wordplay for 25a : is a newspaper known as an organ ? Also had no idea that 21a was anything to do with football.
    Loved 11a, remembering beyond the pale in Dublin.

    Thanks for the hints which were certainly necessary to finish today.

    1. From Chambers
      Organ – A means of communicating information or opinions, eg a newspaper

      Nice to see your avatar has returned!

  20. Thanks for the explanation, yes, I was glad to see it rather than the very unflattering picture recently.

  21. Excellent crossword, right up there with the Thursday master. tough but all the better for that. prob 4* for me but got there. favourites were 10 12 23a and 1 5 9 and 13d and a few others.

  22. No Mary today? I imagine her camping outside Westminster…
    Very impressed with the wordplay today – 9d was a good example. Many thanks to the setter and to BD for the clues

  23. A jolly good and somewhat harder crossword from Ray T – many thanks. I solved it in spasms as was watching the snooker at The Crucible.
    I liked the 7a & 1d clues also 10a, 12a, the 14a/15a combo, 23a, 25a, 3d, 4d, 9d & 21d.

    Solved yesterday’s cryptic as well (yesterday) but did not comment as was occupied seeing The Wizard knock out The Rocket!

    Tomorrow it will be difficult to concentrate on The Don’s fare as must see the Royal Wedding and keep up with the boys on the baize.

    1. Derek,
      Do you think we’ll get a themed puzzle tomorrow (wedding not snooker!) ?
      By the way, today’s is not one of Ray T’s.

      1. I hope for a non-themed puzzle, but fear that I may be disappointed. Probably more than once.

    2. 1. Correction – I see it is a mystery setter not Ray T!
      2. Thanks BD for the Chris Rea music “Road to Hell” – just played it.

  24. Dare I ask who will be glued to the ‘box’ all day tomorrow – who will definitely NOT be – and, finally, who will watch bits of ‘it’ while doing other things, perhaps even the crossword? I’m going to stick my neck out and say that I’m in the third category. My husband will be working all day so we (myself and the four legged hairy one) are going to join friends for a late breakfast and will probably start watching at about 10.30am for a couple of hours or so. Hope that everyone has a good day.

      1. It’s at times like this when the test card is sorely missed.

        Never mind, I believe that there’s a repeat of “mushroom with a hint of beige” on The Paint-Drying Channel.

    1. The TV will be firmly switched off at chez Libellule. We have some friends coming over to see us. They escaped from the UK to France for the week just to avoid the Royal Wedding :-)

    2. I am watching – my excuse is that my husband’s niece is in the congregation so I have got to spot her!!

  25. Did finish this yesterday eventually with lots of perservating and help, can’t say I disliked it we have had worse, I actually preferred it to Wednesdays! put ‘banger’ at 19a at first even though I knew it wasn’t quite right! so SW corner last in!! How does ‘nutmeg’ come to mean that I wonder!! mind boggles :-)

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