DT Cryptic No 25863 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT Cryptic No 25863

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 25863

Hints and tips by Big Dave

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

Today’s puzzle was a bit harder than usual, and I struggled with some of the wordplay.  In yesterday’s Toughie I tried out a new idea for giving the answers without spoiling the rest of the crossword, and I have tried it here today.  Essentially, the answers are between curly brackets in white type – selecting them with the mouse will reveal the answer.  Please let me know if you like it.


7a Ship that has slight collision with another? (7)
{CLIPPER} – this ship is one like the Cutty Sark

8a Instrument that old malfunctioning in a car (7)
{OCARINA} – O(ld) then an anagram (malfunctioning) of IN A CAR giving a
musical instrument

10a Air is calm – this old-fashioned prejudice has been destroyed (9)
{RACIALISM} – an anagram (old-fashioned or destroyed) of AIR IS CALM to give a form of prejudice

11a Belief giving trouble to Oxbridge graduate? (5)
{DOGMA} – DOG (trouble) and MA (a dig at the fact that Oxbridge graduates can upgrade a BA to an MA by paying a small fee) giving a belief

12a Loves going with speed and zing (5)
{OOMPH} – OO (loves – two ducks in cricket) with how speeds are quoted in the UK and the USA (but not in most of the rest of the World)

13a Substitute moving around with rare gusto (9)
{SURROGATE} – an anagram (moving around) of RARE GUSTO giving, for example, a woman who bears a baby for another couple

15a Child’s initial rubbish includes ‘revolutionary’ piece of handiwork (7)
{CROCHET} – C (child’s initial) with ROT (rubbish) around (includes) every crossword setters’ favourite revolutionary

17a The man coming in about work in a despicable manner (7)
{CHEAPLY} – HE (the man) inside CA (circa / about) then PLY (work) – thanks to Gazza for that, I’m having one of those mornings!

18a Beast tucking into food somewhere in the Midlands (9)
{POTTERIES} – an aquatic mammal inside Desperate Dan’s favourite food gives the area of the Midlands around Stoke-on-Trent

20a What a sucker gets given, being someone holy and lacking in experience (5)
{STRAW} – someone holy is a Saint, abbreviated to ST, and RAW is lacking in experience giving something you would use to suck a drink

21a Warship about to explode (1-4)
{U-BOAT} – an appropriate anagram (explode) of ABOUT giving a German submarine

23a Box? He must do this to get here! (9)
{CONTAINER} – he must contain er to get h er e – thanks again to Gazza for that one

24a Shape of projecting piece different on the outside (7)
{ELLIPSE} – ELSE (different) around (on the outside) LIP (projecting piece) giving the shape of the Earth’s orbit around the Sun

25a Essential items? Get them from a stationer (7)
{STAPLES} – a double definition – essential items of food; small pieces of wire used to fasten documents together


1d Party maiden favouring brief time for tenderness? (10)
{DISCOMFORT} – the party is a DISCO and the M(aiden) is FOR (favouring) T (brief time) – giving a word that is not the first one that you might think of as a synonym for tenderness

2d Big newspaper feature that’s wet? (6)
{SPLASH} – a double definition – a big newspaper feature; I loved this definition from Chambers “the dispersion of liquid suddenly disturbed, as by throwing something into it or by throwing it about”

3d Various treats scattered around home – this one a present? (5,3)
{TRAIN SET} – an anagram (various or scattered) of TREATS around IN (home) giving every boy’s favourite toy (and some Dad’s as well) – does this setter not want us to miss the anagram trigger, so puts two of them in?

4d Unsettled person’s bellow grips me (6)
{ROAMER} – an unsettled person from ROAR (bellow) around (grips) ME

5d Like loyal supporter with stony heart (4-4)
{HARD-CORE} – a cryptic double definition

6d Call to get something at the jewellery shop? (4)
{RING) – a not-too-difficult double definition

7d Sort of environmental activity that makes Ray racy! (6,7)
{CARBON CAPTURE} – another clue a bit like 23 across – if  Ray should CAPTURE C(ARBON) he becomes Racy giving an environmental activity that I was not previously aware of – thanks to Peter for that one ; a bad day for me, I missed three of the wordplays

9d Way Dad’s camera wobbles – yet prizes for pictures will be obtained! (7,6)
{ACADEMY AWARDS} – a topical prize, known as the Oscars, an anagram (wobbles) of WAY DAD’S CAMERA

14d Bid to restrict a payment to landlord, so it seems (10)
(APPARENTLY} – to bid is to APPLY put this around (to restrict) A RENT (a payment to landlord) and you have a synonym for “so it seems”

16d The pleas put out for final drops of drink (8)
{HEELTAPS} – this obscure word for a small quantity of liquor left in the glass after drinking seems to only appear in crosswords these days – it’s an anagram (put out) of THE PLEAS

17d Intimacy of mathematical function starts to scare spouses (8)
{COSINESS} – the mathematical function is a COSINE, follow it with Scare Spouses (starts to the last two words) and the result is a word meaning intimacy

19d Longed to be attached to ‘usband? (6)
{ITCHED} – the construct of ‘usband usually implies, as here, that an “h” has been dropped to get the answer; here it’s been dropped from hitched (attached to husband)

20d Join a navy initially as crew member (6)
{SEAMAN} – SEAM (join) and A N(avy – initially) give a member of the crew of a ship

22d Types incredibly wise or awfully slow? (4)
{OWLS} – an anagram (awfully) of SLOW give wise types or birds

While I did complete the crossword, I could not get the wordplay for three of the clues.  We are back to whether or not you are on the same wavelength as the setter.  Today I definitely was not.

The trick is to learn from this and apply it to future puzzles.  While not wishing to write a book on the subject (that’s been done before!) I may add some notes and examples of clues like 23 across and 7 down – my own personal “bête noires”, so to speak.

While I have tried out a “spoiler” method of concealing the answers today, I am aware that such techniqes can get you banned from Google.  This will not be repeated unless I can find a way of avoiding such drastic action, but I would still like to know if you think something like this is worth doing.

13 comments on “DT Cryptic No 25863

  1. Love your page! Find it very useful. Still do not understand 23a???? and 7d.. but at least I finished!
    Have not enjoyed todays crossword :(

  2. Liz

    Glad you enjoy the blog.

    I had to email Gazza for an explanation. This type of clue does creep in from time to time. Having got CONTAINER as a box, the rest of it reads HE must contain ER to get HERE, i.e. ER inside HE.

    For a similar clue, see 19 across here:
    ST Cryptic No 2471 – Postscript … I missed that one as well!!

  3. I find the wording of the 10a clue very unsatisfying (unless I’m missing something of course!). If the trigger word for the anagram is “fashioned” then what is the significance of “old” and “has been destroyed”? If the phrase “has been destroyed” is used to signal the anagram then a) it’s too far away from the source of the anagram, and b) why include “this old-fashioned”?

  4. Gazza

    I meant to say something about it above. I put the two possible trigger words in brackets and then forgot to go back. I completely agree with you, unless someone else knows better.

  5. Seems like a fair challenge, this one – presumably by crossword fairness advocate Don Manley. 7D was a new phrase for me – it’s another trick with words in the clue, C = carbon being captured by Ray to make him “racy”.

    At 8A Iwonder whether “that old” should be “that’s old”? – “that” doesn’t make a lot of sense to me in the cryptic reading.

    At 10A I reckon “has been destroyed” is the anag. indicator, and “this old-fashioned prejudice” the def. Although “old-fashioned prejudice” (or even “prejudice”) is an OK def. on it’s own, I think it’s OK to use stuff like “this” to describe the answer – an echo of those old puzzles starting something like “My first is in SEA but not in SKY”.

  6. love the website – had great difficulty with 14d -although had I been able to spell the word straw correctly I wouldn’t have been pushing uphill all the time. At my age and stage should know which order the letter go (and its not srtaw) silly woman.
    Particularly like the explanations.

  7. I guess you must be the lovely Carmalee that I have previously “met” on AnswerBank. Welcome aboard.
    Did you manage to get that Kikki Danielsson album? Dave

  8. Very helpful format Big Dave, if you , Peter B and Gazza had problems what chance would mere mortals have? I bless the day you started this blog.

  9. You could say that 25a is a treble-definition, since the answer is also the name of a well-known stationery chain!

  10. thanks for the welcome – glad to be on board. Missed the Kikki Danielsson album but have made contact with a possible source so will keep fingers crossed.

  11. Gazza
    I did notice, but they wouldn’t pay me for the advert!! When I was searching for an image of a staple, their shops kept getting in the way.

  12. I like having the answer in white in {} as I’d never have got 16D and having just one undone nagging away at me would have been v. annoying. Love the site as used to look at answers next day of unsolved clues but even with the answer I didn’t always know how the answer was worked out, learning loads.

  13. Helen

    I would probably have given the answer to 16 down anyway, using the style of earlier posts. There are some clues that you just know are going to cause problems for a lot of people.

    I’m trying to check out the Google problem with white on white, as the blog would be difficult to find if it were to be banned. Apparently this technique is used to try and fool the search engines, which is not what I am trying to do.

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