DT Cryptic No 25873

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 25873

Hints and tips by Big Dave

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BD Rating – Difficulty *** Enjoyment ***

Not too easy, not too hard, but then it is the middle of the week.

Don’t forget – just highlight the space between the curly brackets to reveal the answer.


1a Graceful birds close to shore, first to arrive in Welsh city (7)
{SWANSEA} – the graceful birds all belong to Her Majesty in the UK; follow them with E (close to shore) and A (first to Arrive) and you get a city in Wales

5a Judge had robe torn (7)
{DEBORAH} – reasonably easy to derive as an anagram (torn) of HAD ROBE, less obviously this lady was the fourth, and the only female, Judge of pre-monarchic Israel

9a Caught four at sea making for an Ionian island (5)
{CORFU} – C(aught) then an anagram (at sea) of FOUR gives a Greek island popular with holidaymakers

10a Stayed over on South American peninsula, (9)
{SUSPENDED} – ENDED (over) after (on) S(outh) US (American) P (Peninsula, initially) gives another word for stayed, as in postponed a judgement

11a Rind found in a green Opel, rotted (6,4)
{ORANGE PEEL} – this rind is an anagram (rotted) of A GREEN OPEL

12a Almost perfect concept (4)
{IDEA} – take the last letter (almost) from another word for perfect and you are left with a concept

14a The Parisienne girl (married girl) in a Spanish-speaking area (5,7)
{LATIN AMERICA} – LA (the, French / Parisienne) TINA (girl) M(arried) ERICA (another girl) gives another name for the area where Spanish (or  Portuguese) is the official languages

18a I pay a flying visit on a regular basis (7,5)
{HALLEY’S COMET} – this heavenly body was named after Edmond Halley not, as some might like to believe, Bill Haley

21a Spots river by wood (4)
{RASH} – R(iver) precedes a tree to give an outbreak of red spots on the skin

22a Notice clergyman’s in control (10)
{ADMINISTER} – AD (advertisement / notice) then a clergyman (or possible a member of the Government) gives a word meaning to control

25a Docker set off, drove recklessly, ending in catastrophe (9)
{STEVEDORE} – an anagram (off) of SET another (recklessly) of DROVE and then E (ending in catastrophe) give a docker

26a Drank around base (5)
{DEPOT} – TOPED (drank) reversed (around) gives a base

27a Reserves come back to draw, making a try (7)
{ATTEMPT} – the Territorial Army (reserves) reversed (come back) then a word meaning to entice (to draw) gives a try

28a Land turtle losing power (7)
{TERRAIN} – a river turtle without the P (losing power) gives a word meaning land


1d Religious group or division (6)
{SECTOR} – what Chambers describes as a subdivision of one of the main religious divisions of mankind (religious group) then OR gives a division

2d A general out of the country (6)
{ABROAD} – A then a synonym for general and you are overseas (out of the country)

3d Resentful disparagement of us by Greek mimic on board (4,6)
{SOUR GRAPES} – OUR (of us) then GR(eek) APE (mimic) all inside the ubiquitous crossword ship and you have resentful disparagement (or rancid fruit!)

4d Greek writer a model brought over (5)
{AESOP} – A then POSE (model) reversed (brought over) gives the Greek writer of well-known fables

5d Outlaw peer, odd as can be (9)
{DESPERADO} – an anagram (can be – an unusual anagram indicator) of PEER ODD AS gives an outlaw that the Eagles sang about

6d Gathering, following complaint (4)
{BEEF} – quite clever wordplay – BEE (a gathering, as in spelling bee) then F(ollowing) fiving a complaint

7d Oilfield firefighter delivered a challenge, we hear (3,5)
{RED ADAIR} – this world famous oilfield firefighter sounds like (we hear) read a dare (delivered a challenge)

8d Why 12 unfolded involving a secluded spot (8)
{HIDEAWAY} – an anagram (unfolded) of WHY and the answer to 12 across around (involving) A gives a secluded spot

13d We lingered, upsetting comedic US actor (4,6)
{GENE WILDER} – an anagram (upsetting) of WE LINGERED gives one of my favourite actors, star of films like Blazing Saddles and The Producers, and no, it’s not Mel Brooks – I met Mel Brooks and his late wife Anne Bancroft at a theatre preview a few years ago, and what a lovely couple they were; they signed my program and Mel spent several minutes explaining to me what the play (Our Town, starring their friend Alan Alda) was about

15d Thoroughly fashionable 24 elsewhere (6,3)
{INSIDE OUT} – IN (fashionable) then a synonym for the answer to 24 across and OUT (elsewhere) give a phrase meaning thoroughly

16d Mrs Mopp is making personal appeal (8)
{CHARISMA} – the daily cleaner (Mrs Mopp) then IS and MA (old lady ) give a word for personal appeal

17d Veteran soldier in TA slowed alarmingly (3,5)
{OLD SWEAT} – an anagram of TA SLOWED gives a slang expression for a veteran soldier

19d More would have us believe this is the perfect place (6)
{UTOPIA} – this perfect place was the subject of a book by Sir Thomas More

20d A Mediterranean islander in strange trance (6)
{CRETAN} – an anagram (strange) of TRANCE gives a resident of Crete (a Mediterranean islander)

23d Blundering writer shown up in it (5)
{INEPT} – PEN (writer) reversed (shown up) in IT gives a synonym for blundering

24d Group of players from Reigate, amateurs (4)

{TEAM} – a rather obvious hidden word (from) giving a group of, say, football players

An interesting grid, where the first eight down clues all start on the top row and the last eight all end on the bottom row.


  1. Ciaran
    Posted March 11, 2009 at 11:18 am | Permalink

    Only two down clues to find, 3 and 17 and I’m stumped. For 17d I’ve been fixated on VET (for veteran soldier) and TA and trying to make these letters fit when it’s probably nothing to do with these at all. Oh well, it’s passed an otherwise quiet morning.

  2. Rollo
    Posted March 11, 2009 at 11:38 am | Permalink

    I have not attempted this one yet. I will tonight if I get the time.

    But I see from the website that somebody apparently completed this puzzle in 33 seconds!!

    Even if I had all of the solutions in front of me it would take me far longer than that to fill them in on the screen.

  3. Ciaran
    Posted March 11, 2009 at 11:42 am | Permalink

    I too have seen these impossible times on the website, I suspect that there is some kind of computer “jiggery-pokery” involved.

  4. Posted March 11, 2009 at 11:52 am | Permalink

    Possibly the same glitch that allows some people to collect time bonuses for old puzzles. It all goes to discredit the points and times, which is a shame.

    One wonders if anyone takes any notice of the request to “Please enter into the spirit of competition and play fairly”.

  5. Rollo
    Posted March 11, 2009 at 11:55 am | Permalink

    Sorry – small mistake.

    It was today’s Toughie that was apparently completed in 33 seconds.