DT Cryptic No 25883

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 25883

Today’s hints and tips by Tilsit

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BD Rating – Difficulty * Enjoyment ***

Tilsit joins us for the first time today.  As I mentioned on Saturday, he will already be known to avid followers of fifteensquared, and his credentials include answering questions on Crosswords, as his specialist subject, on Mastermind.  The standard DT Cyptic should be very easy for someone like him, but he faces sterner stuff when he does battle with a Toughie later in the week. BD

Thanks to Big Dave for his introduction.  I hope these blogs live up to the high standard that he and the rest of the gang have set.  Because of my other activities within the crossword world, I often get requests from solvers about the best way to start solving cryptic puzzles and my answer is invariably the same.  Start with Monday’s Telegraph and Guardian puzzles, you rarely go wrong.   That’s because they are usually set by one of the doyens of the black and white squares – Roger Squires.  Roger  (aka Rufus in the Graun) provides some of the most accessible and solver-friendly puzzles and amongst his talents, he is a master of a type of clue known as the Cryptic Definition, of which there are a few in this puzzle.


1             Fought against being declared redundant (8).
{SCRAPPED} This clue comprises two definitions, which are “Fought against” and “being declared redundant”.

6             Possibly a grave sign of stress (6).
ACCENT}  A nice deliberately misleading clue.  It reads as though you should be looking for a word that causes stress.  However here, you need to think linguistics and what can be “grave (or acute)”  and what does stress refer to here?  This is a fine example of a cryptic definition.

9             Bar girl has nothing on (6).
{SALOON}  The definition here is “bar” and the indications mean you need to look for a “girl”- probably a girl’s name, together with O + ON to indicate “nothing on”.  One of my quibbles sometimes is that when you have to look for names, they are frequently the obscure ones.  In another puzzle I solved this week “man” was the indicating word and “BO” was what was required. Is that fair?  In this clue you need the name “SAL”, which isn’t terribly common nowadays, but I am sure exists in some parts of the country.  It’s certainly more fair  than “BO”.

10           For this, proverbially, we have no information (4,4).
{GOOD NEWS}   In the old proverb, what is “no news”, i.e. no information?  Another clever cryptic definition.

11           Turn buns when cooked and well-browned (8).
{SUNBURNT}      The first anagram of the puzzle.  When looking at clues, words such as “cooked, broken” etc are usually indicating an anagram is present, as is here. Our setter today also knows a good anagram when he sees one and this is no exception!

12 Old-fashioned place for the market (6).
{SQUARE}  Another double defininition clue. Where will you find a market in many towns? How about an old-fashioned word for old-fashioned?

13           Difficulty produced by aggravation of illness (12).
{COMPLICATIONS}           Two  definitions again.  “Difficulty” and “aggravation of illness”.

16           Trim course or wreck the vessel (5,7).
{MOTOR CRUISER}           A glance at this clue shows that  it is likely to involve an anagram (the word “wreck”).  “Vessel” is a fairly common definition for either a cooking utensil, or a type of transport.  So take “Trim course or” and turn it into a type of sea-going vessel.  The whole clue then has a neat look about it and is quite appropriate for the answer, since “Trim course” is almost a nautical term..  These clues are sometimes known as ”&lit clues”.

19           Dramatic beginning formulated at once (3,3)
{ACT ONE}  The use of formulated here suggests another anagram, this time of “At once”.  You need to find something that indicates the beginning of a play.

21          Went for the green (5,3)
{DROVE OFF}      At first glance this looks like a reference to snooker, but is there another sport that has a green?  If so, how do you get there?

23           A figure of speech satisfied a figure in speech (8)
{METAPHOR}      This clue is a type of word sum.  The definition (A figure of speech) = equals  satisfied + “a figure in speech”.  This suggests a device which is oft used by crossword setters, but least liked by solvers:  the homophone.  A word which sounds like another word.  I belong to a small solving coterie  which includes a number of people from all around the world and if it one thing that causes the group to get in a stew, it’s a homophone. What may be a good sound-alike to one ear doesn’t to another solver in another part of the world!  However here we are on fairly solid ground..

24           Moved slowly and stole quietly away (6)
{INCHED}             Another word sum clue.  This time  The definition  “Moved slowly” equals a word for “stole” minus “something which means quietly”.  Quietly in music is the abbreviation “p” for piano. So  think of a slang word meaning stolen and remove a p from it.

25           Face different directions in turn (6)
{VENEER}            This was probably the clue that took me longest to solve and I needed my crossing letters from the down clues to help me, although in effect it is probably one of the more obvious clues.  Something meaning “different directions” inside a word meaning “turn”.  Given the size of the clue , it is likely we are looking for two different directions (from N, E, S, or W) inside “turn”.

26           Bribe the clergy to provide waterproof material (8)
{OILCLOTH}        Another word sum.   A word for “bribe” as in “____ the palms”  plus a word meaning the clergy.   Clergymen are often said to be “men of the _____”.  That will give you an old word for a type of waterproof material.


2             Hired hands? (6).
{CLAQUE}            The other clue to hold me up.  A question mark in a clue like this suggests that the definition is “a little off the wall”.  However, here it probably isn’t that way out.  In the world of theatre, what name was given to people who were paid to go and watch (and applaud!) a play?

3             Mob disperses after sailor produces weapon (1-4)
{A-BOMB}           This clue needs you to take a word / abbreviation for a sailor and after it place an anagram of “mob” to get a weapon.  One of the standard crossword abbreviations is AB for sailor, meaning Able-Bodied (another is RN).

4             Father goes over Minorca having trip that’s all-inclusive (9)
{PANORAMIC}    Many puzzles have what I call a “leap of faith “ clue, where your imagination is just stretched a little too much and this , for me, is the one for this puzzle.  It’s a word sum clue,  a very short word for “Father” plus an anagram of Minorca.  At first I thought that “trip” was being used to indicate an anagram, but here it isn’t.  “Goes over “ is doing that duty.  Try thinking about the idea of a trip as in drug use,  and if your trip , or vision, was all-inclusive, it could be described as ________.  I am sure some will see it as a clever clue, but I have a niggle about it being too contrived.  Now let’s have a heated debate, as the woman on the telly used to say…….

5             Possibly glad I invested it in a sort of TV (7)
{ DIGITAL}           Nice, straightforward type of clue which will probably be a starting point for some.  An anagram of GLAD I with IT inside to give the type of TV we are all switching to at the moment.

6             Little things to put in a manuscript (5).
{ATOMS}              Another good surface reading clue.  Here we are looking for the abbreviation for a Manuscript and put the word “to” inside.  As simple as that.

7             Musical live-wire (9).
{CONDUCTOR}                  A cryptic definition, plus a defintion of what might be termed a live wire in physics, i.e. one which conducts electricity.

8             It will inform you if more snow is about (8).
{NEWSROOM}    A nice “&lit” type clue (see above).-  If you make an anagram of “more snow”, you’ll get somewhere that might just inform you about it.

13           Snack bar? (9).
{CHOCOLATE}    This caused me a few problems – is it just a straight definition of a bar that could be a snack to eat. Or could this refer to the legendary Cadbury’s Snack, which I am not sure if it is still available.  I preferred Terry’s Waifa (plain chocolate type) anyway!

14           Caught us, to face this sort of sentence (9).
{CUSTODIAL}      More word sums.  This time:  CAUGHT + US + TO + A WORD MEANING FACE = The type of sentence you won’t want to receive.

15           Building material for many on a Greek island (8).
{CONCRETE}       Another word sum.  A  word or abbreviation for MANY + ON + a Greek Island should give you a building material.  Big clue:  It’s not  MONCORFU!

17           Experience lower energy (7).
{UNDERGO}        Here we need a word meaning lower or below, plus a word meaning “energy (Get up and _____)” when put together gives a word meaning to experience.

18           Pretend to have influence (6)
{AFFECT}              A double definition clue.  A word meaning “pretend”.  And a word meaning “to have influence”.  Simples, as the meerkat says!  But what should that first letter be? Oh how I agonised.

20           Bearing the right number (5).
{ETHER}               Some things are certain like death and taxes and in the crossword world  “Flowers” are rivers because they flow and “Numbers” are often anaesthetics because they numb.  A bearing is a direction and add to it  THE  and R (for right).  What do you get?

22           Excellent, if not fast, way to do better (5).
{EXCEL}              One final word sum –  From the word “Excellent”, try removing a word that means a fast.  Chambers Dictionary gives the word as any period of fasting, not just the bit from Ash Wednesday to Easter Sunday.

So a nice gentle crossword start to the week and thanks to our setter for that.  Generally I thought it was good fun, though I personally wasn’t over keen on the definition in 4 down. See you again later in the week.

I hope you enjoyed Tilsit’s review – it’s nice to see these puzzles from another viewpoint, and he has certainly done that.  Please let us both know, via the comments what you think. BD



  1. Nigel
    Posted March 23, 2009 at 9:24 am | Permalink

    First of all thank you for all your full explanations, you must have been up early this morning!
    Re 4d I thought your first analysis was right and the clue is fairly straightforward, ie pa precedes (goes over) an anagram of minorca (having a trip) to give something all seeing (all inclusive). Panoramic.

  2. Mike
    Posted March 23, 2009 at 11:51 am | Permalink

    Nice blog Tilsit.
    Re 4 dn: I assumed it was:
    father (PA) goes over (word PA goes over – it is a down clue) an anagram of MINORCA, indicated by “having trip”, to give the solution.

  3. tilsit
    Posted March 23, 2009 at 11:57 am | Permalink

    Thanks Nigel and Mike

    Perhaps I was reading too much into it!

  4. Lea
    Posted March 23, 2009 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

    Thank you for the good descriptions. The “rules” for answering the clues is very helpful on my learning curve.
    I particularly enjoyed the explanation for 23a and do appreciate all the help.

  5. tymer
    Posted March 23, 2009 at 4:48 pm | Permalink

    The clue for ‘metaphor’ rings a bell. Haven’t we seen it before?

  6. Posted March 23, 2009 at 5:14 pm | Permalink

    I don’t remember it, but I did think it was a good clue – maybe in another place!!