DT 26804 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 26804

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26804

A full review by Digby

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

Having been a regular solver – and submitter – of Saturday’s Prize Crossword for many moons (still no pen!) this is my first attempt at reviewing one. My impression is that they have become slightly more difficult over the past 2 years or so, and are now at about the level (3*) that they should be.

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.


1a Shell makes vehicle fast (8)
CARAPACE –  We kick off with a charade of a what there are about 32 million on British roads (no, not potholes), and APACE (an adverb meaning fast). This results in the name for the upper shell of crustaceans, tortoises etc.

5a Cab takes German round motorway (6)
HANSOM  – Construct this horse-drawn cab (invented by a Man of York) from HANS (a popular German Christian name), O and M (the abbreviation for Motorway).

9a Closely control, metering supply (8)
REGIMENT – A verb meaning to closely control (troops, for example) is an anagram (supplied by the letters of) METERING. (This clue is very nicely constructed – quite possibly my CotD)

10a Mischievous creature bearing damage (6)
IMPAIR – Break this charade into a mischievous creature (IMP) + bearing (AIR) = to damage

11a Access point for tunneller round a new hospital (7)
MANHOLE – Wrap this furry tunneller (and hill-maker) MOLE around  A, N(ew, H(ospital)

12a Colonist losing head with Northern light (7)
LANTERN – Take the PLANTER that cultivated India; remove the first letter and add N(orth) at the end. (A fair clue, IMHO, though it caused some consternation in Saturday’s Hints)

13a Remain idle and get drinks for everyone (5,6)
STAND AROUND  – When it’s your turn to pay in the pub (unless you have deep pockets and short arms)

16a Recall a trip possibly made by one on mushroom in fantasy (11)
CATERPILLAR – Anagram (possibly) of RECALL A TRIP produces the creature in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland that smoked a hookah while sitting on a mushroom. (Another contender for CotD)

21a Slave such as Connery, Moore… (7)
BONDMAN – ………or Lazenby, Dalton, Craig et al; also a name for a slave (with or without an “S” in the middle)

22a Supreme leader for each in regressive ancient city (7)
EMPEROR – This leader of the Roman Empire comprises PER (Latin for each) inside EMOR (ancient city reversed)

23a Popular film in which girl meets sailor (6)
AVATAR – A popular 2009 Sci-Fi film  results from mating a girl (AVA) with our Jolly Jack TAR

24a Clergyman — one in great church (8)
MIN(I)STER – A great church – such as the one in York – with “I” inserted = Clergyman

25a Comedian with sign of hesitation to move uncertainly (6)
DODDER – Ken of the Doddymen & Tickling Stick, with hesitation, produce a verb meaning to totter

26a A sneak initially enters secure window (8)
CASEMENT – Apply CEMENT around A S(neak) to arrive at this kind of window


1 Metal used in synchromesh (6)
CHROME – A kind of metal concealed in the last word

2 Ruling about well-bred chap (6)
REGENT – Usually used as noun, but here an adjective; built from RE (about) and a thoroughly nice GENT

3 Clean up English decorations (7)
POMPOMS – About half of the 100+ comments on the Hints blog seemed to be about this clue, and I have no intention of re-opening that debate. As BD said at the time – Reverse (up) a verb meaning to clean, and add what the Australians call the English, to get some decorations

4 Near ancient? — He’s not exactly that! (11)
CENTENARIAN – A semi all-in-one clue, if I’m not mistaken, where an anagram of the first two words produces someone who is exactly that. As in 100 Not Out.

6 Hospital worker — nut mostly employed by emergency room (7)
ALMONER – Old fashioned name for a hospital worker, fashioned from an ALMON(D) mostly, with E(mergency) R(oom) added.

7 Surveillance operation officers finally given fast food (5-3)
STAKE-OUT – The last letter of officers, followed by what one buys at Chinese / Turkish / Indian restaurants to eat elsewhere.

8 A daughter’s in jolly pickle (8)
MARINADE – I don’t claim to be a great chef (Great BBQ’er, yes) so I won’t judge if a marinade is a pickle. Insert A D(aughter) into the sea-soldier for whom Jolly is the original name for a citizen soldier of the Trained Bands of London in 1664, from whose ranks The Royal Marines were first formed.

12 Dreadfully ill advocate self-indulgent lifestyle (2,5,4)
LA DOLCE VITA – Italian phrase meaning “the good life”  is an anagram (dreadfully) of ILL ADVOCATE (also a 1960 Fellini film)

14 Cover for weapon to defy strike without least bit of damage (8)
SCABBARD – Where a sword is sheathed is built up of a striker-breaker / without (as in BAR t’hat) / D(amage)

15 Ordinary colours (8)
STANDARD – Double definition (Colours being a regimental or squadron flag)

17 Crash into servant in storm (7)
RAMPAGE – Charade (3/4) meaning to storm, or go berserk

18 Salesman gets extra pay to perform again (7)
REPRISE – Charade (3/4) meaning to “play it again”

19 Shrivel up moving right forward, and feel embarrassment (6)
WRITHE – Take a word meaning to shrivel (such as what happens to flowers) and move “R” from last to 2nd.

20 Doctor upset politician — it can cause serious damage (3,3)
DRY ROT – Abbreviation for doctor, followed by a member of the TORY / Lib Dem Coalition, reversed (upset)

A curate’s egg of a crossword, with some supremely elegant and well-constructed clues, but one or two less attractive efforts as ballast. I just want to win that pen before the cost of stamps explodes!

9 comments on “DT 26804

  1. Quite pleased with myself, got the right answers for the right reasons.
    Can’t last judging by today’s effort.
    Thanks for explanations.

  2. Hi Digby, nice to see you back :smile:

    I did a Saturday a few months ago and found it an interesting experience Totally different from hinting a weekday puzzle as the answer is in plain view and all you have to do is explain how the clue works. Not necessarily easier – just different!

    Any way thanks for a good review of a good puzzle.

    1. You are quite right – the technique of doing the full, retrospective revue is very different from writing the hints on the day. I had tuition from Gnomey on this, and hopefully ended up about right. But, I’m open to suggestions………?

  3. Thanks for blog Digby, nice to read the explanations, I always read them but don’t always comment, bad of me, sorry sue & gnomey :-(

    1. Hello Mary – thanks for dropping by. It’s eerily quiet compared to a regular “Hints & Tips” day. By now my Inbox would typically have spilled all over the floor !

  4. May I just say a massive thanks to Digby for covering for me when I am a) on call at work and b) actually off work playing golf today. Fact is that I have been working late this week and sorting out expenses (important to me!) and timesheets (important to everyone else!).

    Sorry Pommers for the lack of guidance!.
    Personally I find these blogs quite refreshing (when I don’t actually pass the buck!) as one can explain everything clearly rather than trying to think around the subject. Only problem is that it uses a lot of punctuation in my case!

  5. Like you Dave, I’ve been doing the Telegraph crossword for years. I felt that the Saturday one was always easier as an inducement to solvers to send their addresses in, subsequently appearing on someones mailing list! Also like you, the pen remains a dream!

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