DT Cryptic No 25909

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 25909

Hints and tips by Big Dave

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

A very straightforward puzzle that I found quite hard, but on looking back I can’t see why.  Maybe too much vino yesterday!


1a Someone well balanced might take it to work (7)
{BICYCLE} – could David (call me Dave) Cameron be the someone of this cryptic definition?

5a Reporting back? (7)
{ECHOING} – another CD for the collection!

9a Canoe at sea, here? (5)
{OCEAN} – an anagram (at sea) of CANOE gives a possible, but unlikely, place where you might find said canoe

10a Small college with new international computer-assisted learning, initially complicated (9)
{TECHNICAL} – a somewhat contrived charade – TECH (short for / small Technical College) then N(ew) I(nternational) C(omputer) A(ssisted) L(earning) (first letters / initially) to give a sort of synonym for complicated – a bit unusual to use an abbreviation for the answer as part of the wordplay

11a Start to join up in an imaginative way (10)
{ORIGINALLY} – a not very imaginative charade of ORIGIN (start) and ALLY (to join up) to give a word meaning in an imaginative way – for me the misdirection to reverse something by the presence of the word “up” was the only imaginative thing about this clue

12a Sound good before illness returns (4)
{GULF} – this sound is an inlet in the sea and you get to it by taking G(ood) and FLU (illness) reversed (returns) – further misdirection, as you are tempted to look for a homophone

14a Ten levers she turned, all the same (12)
{NEVERTHELESS} – a nice anagram (turned) of TEN LEVERS SHE to give one of those compound words meaning notwithstanding or all the same – words like this must cause problems for those trying to learn English!

18a Test solutions might be found here (12)
{LABORATORIES} – another one for the collection of CDs!

21a Cat goes after a tiny thing (4)
{ATOM} – this male cat follows A to give a very tiny thing

22a Direction of principal vessel (10)
{LEADERSHIP} – this ability to give direction is a charade of LEADER (principal) and SHIP (vessel) – I don’t usually like clues which contain the same concept in the answer and in the wordplay, but this one is not bad

25a Fun game (9)
{AMUSEMENT} – two definitions which are almost the same

26a Roth novel with new spine (5)
{THORN} an anagram (novel) of ROTH is followed by N(ew) to give a prickly spine

27a Thus her bet’s wasted on filly finally (7)
{THEREBY} – another compound word, this one meaning thus, is an anagram (wasted) of HER BET then Y (fillY finally)

28a Send SAS off to get hurt (7)
{SADNESS} – resolve this anagram (off) of SEND SAS to get a word meaning a hurt or sorrowful state


1d Mistake to cut off ends of both wellies (6)
{BOOBOO} – this informal term for a mistake comes from cutting the end off a BOO(T) and then doing it again to get a pair

2d Conservative tried – criminally – to give honour (6)
{CREDIT} – C(onservative) and an anagram (criminally) of TRIED give this honour

3d Mark of a modern ruler? (10)
{CENTIMETRE} – more a clue for those of us who remember when all rulers were marked in feet and inches!

4d Run over (5)
{EXTRA} – a nice snappy cryptic definition for an additional run in cricket

5d Actor’s ale drunk – it might go down smoothly (9)
{ESCALATOR} – a rather obvious anagram (drunk) of ACTOR’S ALE for a moving staircase that you hope might go down smoothly – Q: how do you know when to include the “S” in the anagram (see 27 across)? A: by counting the letters, but if it is to be omitted it is usually at the end

6d Animal’s posterior (4)
{HIND} – a double definition where the animal is a female red deer

7d Agitated – did uncle get taken in? (8)
{INCLUDED} – this neat anagram (agitated) of DID UNCLE gives a word meaning taken in

8d Fair prize perhaps for a little swimmer (8)
{GOLDFISH} – a fun double definition this time – this little swimmer used to be given away as a prize at a Fair, I’m not sure it would be allowed today

13d Famous bracelet broken by editor (10)
{CELEBRATED} – a synonym for famous comes from an anagram (broken) of BRACELET the ED(itor)

15d Pretty model T-rex seen by me in Cambridgeshire city (9)
{EXTREMELY} – this is a word meaning pretty as in pretty high – an anagram (model) of T-REX then ME all inside ELY (Cambridgeshire city)

16d Cheerful farmworker secures first bit of land (8)
{PLEASANT} – a synonym for cheerful that is derived from PEASANT (farmworker) around (secures) L (first bit of Land)

17d Perfect stomach muscles lout developed with energy (8)
{ABSOLUTE} – a word meaning perfect that comes from ABS (stomach muscles), an anagram (developed) of LOUT and finally E(nergy)

19d Select shoe co. goes bust (6)
{CHOOSE} – this word meaning select is an anagram (goes bust) of SHOE CO.

20d Invests after starting price drops (6)
{SPENDS} – not exactly my idea of a synonym for invests! – a simple charade of SP (Starting Price) and ENDS (drops)

23d Takes out fruit (5)
{DATES} – this double definition is an old chestnut – takes out a girlfriend on the one hand and a sticky fruit on the other

24d Only two notes (4)
{MERE} – the two notes are ME and RE – a nice simple but elegant charade to finish

That’s it – did you have any problems?  Please let me know, via the comments, what you thought of this puzzle.


  1. Jane
    Posted April 22, 2009 at 5:19 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Completed it but glad of the explanation for 12a ‘Gulf’ as I was looking for a homophone and couldn’t explain my answer. It’s obvious now!

  2. Kram
    Posted April 22, 2009 at 6:27 pm | Permalink | Reply

    As you say a very pleasing crossword, and I also thank you for your explanation for 12a. Not quite sure if 8d is a legal answer in this present day, but sure it will be outlawed soon, and so will have to read ‘ Old Fair prize..’ Not very happy however with 1a but not getting involved with politics.

  3. Posted April 22, 2009 at 7:13 pm | Permalink | Reply


    I think that the test of a good clue is that having solved it you are sure the answer is correct. I needed the checking letters for 1 across, and even then I was not overly happy. We have, however, had a lot of clues over recent weeks that are worse than this one.

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