DT Cryptic No 25850

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 25850

Today’s hints and tips, by Gazza

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BD Rating – Difficulty ** Enjoyment **

Doing this blog every day is a much bigger task than I imagined when I took it on.  Fortunately, I have had offers of help from fellow solvers, this being the first.  A blog is a very personal thing, and it was with considerable trepidation that I agreed to accept outside help, but that was before Gazza’s contribution arrived.  I knew as soon as I read the first hint that I had not made a mistake, and I hope that you all agree with me.  Please let both of us know, via the comments below, what you think. BD

This one is fairly straightforward (but see 16 across) and not too difficult, similar to those of the last few days.

The across clues.

1a Block put on room key (5,3)
Block is “bar” which is put on, i.e. follows, another word for room, giving a large key on the bottom row of a keyboard.

6a Cook book coming before increase in salary (6)
B (initial letter of book) followed by an upping of salary to form a way to cook.

9a Lots are drawn thus to drink! (6)
Double meaning. These things are used both to draw lots and, mainly by children, to suck up drink.

10a Doing better, crossing line and getting applause (8 )
Doing better is “capping” and crossing line indicates that this contains an “L” to arrive at an alternative word for applause.

11a Score more away from home in top match (8 )
The whole thing means score more. “At home” in cryptic puzzles is very often “in”, so “away from home” is “out”, followed by an anagram (signalled by the somewhat unusual “match”) of “in top”.

12a Make an effort to start seeing coach (6)
The start of s(eeing) followed by a verb meaning to coach to arrive at “make an effort”.

13a Sunday shopping area, with luck, making a lot of money (5,7)
S(unday) followed by a word for a pedestrian-only shopping area, then “fortune” (luck) giving a lot of money.

16a Food with chestnuts stuffing drove us mad (4,8 )
Chestnuts are horses which have inside (stuffing) an anagram (mad) of “drove us” to produce a French term for a savoury (food) to whet the appetite. It’s a nice clue but, unfortunately, the setter seems to have made a mistake and used the first “s” in the solution twice!! If you have a better answer, please leave a comment.

19a Men without millions are inclined to sign up (6)
Men without millions gives “men” without the initial “M” (millions). This is followed by a word meaning lean over (are inclined) to produce a word meaning to sign up (often used in the military).

21a Absolving listener in embrace (8 )
Listener is “ear” inside a word meaning stick close (embrace) to generate a word meaning absolving.

23a Criminal can hide a large estate in South America! (8 )
Anagram (criminal) of “can hide a” to produce a Spanish word for ranch or estate.

24a Vehicles used by oddly vain clergymen (6).
“oddly vain” means the odd letters of vain so the solution starts “vi” and this is followed by types of vehicles to give clergymen.

25a. The sound of a small seal or young bird (6)
The answer is a baby swan (young bird) which sounds like another word meaning a small seal (as used for sealing documents).

26a  One’s easily convinced to knock drink back and hang around (8 )
Starts with “sup” (drink) reversed (back) followed by a word meaning to hang around (a word which the schoolboy doing a history exam meant to use when he wrote “During the first part of Elizabeth I’s reign she was constantly irritated by Mary Queen of Scots hoovering in the background”). Whole thing is a colloquial term for someone who can be manipulated (easily convinced).

The down clues.

2d Pressure you reported on ticket seller to be expelled (3, 3)
Starts with p(ressure) followed by “u” which sounds like “you” (you reported), then a word for someone who might try to sell you a black market ticket for a major event.

3d Cold light that stops one from driving? (5)
C(old) followed by a word for light giving a vehicle immobilisation device, also known as the “Denver boot”, which, when it was introduced by a Scotsman in London in the 1980’s, was known colloquially as “Jock’s trap”.

4d A band is to perform as punishment (9)
An anagram (perform) of “a band is to” to produce a form of punishment which involves being beaten on the soles of the feet.

5d Reading music (9)
Double meaning, one of which means a public performance given by a musician.

6d Money for fish is about right (5)
A type of fish with r(ight) inside. Gives a colloquial term for money – often found where there’s muck.

7d Hopes to include a time for such letters (9)
Hopes is “aspires” which contains “a t(ime)”.

8d Dispatched about one in ten with feeling (8 )
Sent (dispatched) containing “ten” which in turn contains “i” (one).

13d Doubt felt by South America on short film no one backed (9)
The setter is trying to fool you into thinking that it starts “sa” (South America) but in fact it is s(outh) and US (America). This is followed by pic(ture) (short film) and “ion” (no one back – i.e. reversed).

14d We have no time for trips and fairies! (9)
(t)ours (trips without “t”, i.e. no time) followed by alternate word for fairies giving the reflexive form of “we”.

15d Tied to a railway line (8 )
Tied is “bound” followed by “a ry” (a railway) to produce another word for line.

17d Loosen grip on cup finals, perhaps, if dropped (7)
The whole thing means loosen grip. It’s an anagram (perhaps) of “cup finals” without the F and I (if dropped).

18d Admission granted for course (6)
Another double meaning. The “course” is a dish served, for example, between the fish and the meat courses.

20d Have some forgotten ethical principle? (5)
This is a hidden word (signalled by “some”) from inside “forgotten ethical”.

Feel free to leave your comments below.

22d Page showing rumour of ruined love (5)
Rumour means “sounds like” and what it sounds like is “wrecked” (ruined) followed by “o” (love, as in tennis scoring).


  1. Charles
    Posted February 12, 2009 at 10:13 am | Permalink | Reply

    Just found your site. It was a great help Monday and Tuesday. If I contnue to use it I may learn enough to solve one without help sometime in the future. I live in hope anyway.

  2. Libellule
    Posted February 12, 2009 at 10:37 am | Permalink | Reply

    Although Dave has not mentioned this in his blog, he did mention it to me via email, and as such I would like to point out that if you are doing the online variant of this crossword at “Clued Up”, there is a small problem with 18d the fifth letter seems to want to be a blank.

  3. Posted February 12, 2009 at 10:41 am | Permalink | Reply

    The other thing that I haven’t mentioned yet is that Libellule (French for Dragonfly) has let himself in for doing this blog tomorrow!!

  4. Ciaran
    Posted February 12, 2009 at 12:22 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Dave, Gazza and future contributors; many, many thanks for devoting the time and brain power to helping those of us still trying to get to grips with how the mind of a crossword compiler works. It’s been a great help and long may it last.

  5. Posted February 12, 2009 at 5:37 pm | Permalink | Reply


    Experience on the Times for the Times blog about the Times puzzle suggests that if you try the puzzle every day and then consult the blog when stuck, you will make puzzle-solving progress far more quickly than old hands like me and Dave did in the days when all you had was a puzzle and yesterdays answers with no explanation.

    Experience there also suggests that having multiple contributors is a boon, both to readers and bloggers.

  6. mike
    Posted February 13, 2009 at 12:48 am | Permalink | Reply

    Thanks so much big dave, we love you. we are just learning cryptic crosswords and your clues are invaluable. Keep it up, we are counting on you.
    Mike and roy.

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