DT Cryptic No 25913 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT Cryptic No 25913

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 25913

Hints and tips by Tilsit

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BD Rating – Difficulty *** Enjoyment ***

A little bit tougher than the last few Mondays with some of the normal cryptic definitions requiring a bit more thought.  Today’s was chock-full of double definition clues though.

Quite enjoyable and a fair challenge, so thanks to our Monday Maestro!


1a First thing to make when composing a Spoonerism (7,4)
{INITIAL MOVE}  Spoonerisms are plays on words which mainly involve the switching of  the first letters e.g.  The famous comedian Ted Rodgers became Red Todgers!  Named after Rev Spooner they are often used as a cluing device in crosswords themselves.  Indeed I think that next Sunday’s Azed monthly prize puzzle in the Observer is all about them.

A true story about Rev. Spooner when he was at a dinner at Oxford: He was proposing a toast to begin the evening which was supposed to say, “Let us raise our glasses and toast the dear Queen (Victoria).” What Spooner actually said was, “Let us glaze our asses and toast the queer dean.”

9a Not at all simple to work out in detail (9)
{ELABORATE}  – double definition   – elaborate can mean complicated as well to find out more details can be to elaborate on a story, etc.

10a Obtain promotion to board (3,2)
{GET ON}  – another  double definition;  to get on can be to board a bus or train and to advance one’s career

11a Means business (6),
{AGENCY}  – cryptic definition which I’m not sure works 100%.

12aContainer of food originally produced in layers (8)
{EGGSHELL} – almost a double cryptic definition. “layers” refers to hens and of course, “container of food” relates to an egg.

13a Rather small drunk (6)
{TIDDLY}  – double definition:  tiddly meaning small as in “tiddler” and of course meaning a bit squiffy.

15a Mummy would soon fall apart were it not for him (8)
{EMBALMER}  – this was the last clue I filled in and if there were reports of a small earthquake in the Halifax area at around 6 this morning, it was yours truly hurling things round his side ward trying to think of words for Egyptologists and suchlike.  It finally hit me while I was enjoying my first slice of NHS coffee.

18a A cross-section of the church (8)
{TRANSEPT}   my knowledge of church architecture is very limited – luckily I knew this term.

19a A gin’s knocked back in Greece (6)
{SPARTAChamber’s gives “gin” as a powerful trap.  So here it’s  A TRAP’S  reversed.

21a A last drink for the head on retirement? (8)
{NIGHTCAP}  – double definition – a last drink, i.e one before bed;  likewise something put on the head  before “retirement” – going to bed.  Does anyone still wear a nightcap?

23a Big run on a famous Swiss bank (6)
{CRESTA}  – cryptic definition – this clue has been niggling at me all morning and I can’t see why.  It looks OK.  The Cresta Run is presumably on a mound/hill (bank) in Switzerland.  Something just doesn’t feel right.

26a Affixed in an unnatural way (3,2)
{PUT ON}  – double definition – to affix is to put on something, and to do in an unnatural way is to put on (as in airs and graces).

27a Set light to powerful explosive (9)
{GELIGNITE}  – if there were such a thing as a perfect clue, this would be it.  Lovely surface reading and the subsidiary indiciations clearly there   GEL (set) + IGNITE (light)

28a Nero’s cousin, represented as an expert judge (11)
{CONNOISSEUR}  – first anagram of the day.  Swap the letters of  NERO’S COUSIN round to get someone knowledgeable.


1d It’s not right for in-law to embrace divorcee (7)
{INEXACT}  – divorcée = EX inside In Law =  IN ACT.

2d Angry as a rodent that is trapped (5)
{IRATE}  – RAT inside I.E. (that is)

3d In this form, two sides are perfectly matched (9)
{ISOSCELES}  – a triangle with two sides of equal length is called this in Maths.

4d It may disperse a lake (4)
{LEAK}  – had to really think about this one and only worked it out from the crossing letters.  An anagram of “leak”, but what is the point of the “a”?

5d Yet it could be a close match! (4,4)
{OPEN GAME}  – this had me looking at OPEN GOAL at first, but then when the letter checks became clear, it became obvious.  A cryptic definition with the desired surface reading being the opposite to OPEN, rather than as in a near thing.

6d They’re used for cutting borders (5)
{EDGES}   – double definition.  Chambers gives a definition of EDGE as “a cutting blade”

7d A dogged policeman (7)
{HANDLER} – cryptic definition for the PC with an Alsatian.

8d Severe cold — from hanging around at Christmas? (8)
{STREAMER} – double definition.  If you have a bad cold it may be said to be this, and a type of paper Christmas decoration

14d They may make people cold drinks (8)
{DRAUGHTS} – double definition.  Sitting in this will probably give you a stiff neck and think of an old word for a potion.

16d Vegetable having a well inverted carbohydrate (9)
{ASPARAGUS}  – word sum time.  A + SPA (well) + SUGAR (reversed)

17d Yet it’s not used for shooting the rapids (5,3)
{SPRAY GUN} – for a while I had SPEAR GUN but couldn’t really justfy it, and then thought of SPRAY GUN for which my justification is SPRAY as in PEPPER.

18d It brings a guy down to earth (4-3)
{TENT-PEG}  – cryptic definition referring to a guy as a type of rope encountered when camping.

20d No expert, but someone of a mature disposition  (7)
{AMATEUR}  – today’s clue to make you suck your teeth.  It’s an anagram of ……

22d Garment unusual in cut (5)
{TUNIC}  – anagram of IN CUT.  Good surface reading.

24d Musical composition sounds harmonious (5)
(SUITE} – think of a musical composition like The Planets which sounds like a word meaning sugary.

10 comments on “DT Cryptic No 25913

  1. Thank you for your review, always interesting and helpful.
    I sometime struggle with the cryptic definitions although I do understand the need for artistic licence.
    With 11a Agency, although unclear at first I now see that both means and business can mean agency.
    17d Spray gun. Still leaves me unsure, I can see that a spray gun will not be used for shooting (killing?) and can only assume that the rapids (water) are the fluids it uses?
    5d Open game, and close(d) match, well maybe I am looking for a similar definition and forgetting the ? in the clue.
    Funnily enough I liked 20d Amateur (straightforward), and 18d Tent peg…especially if you have been camping.

    1. Nigel

      I think the reason Tilsit (and I) reacted to 20 down in that way is because he has seen it before on numerous occasions.

  2. Hi Tilsit,
    sorry you are not out yet, suggest you stay off those 40p slices, as from 15a after you had one, seemed you were not as bright as usual. Get well soon, yep 27a should be in BD’s top ten this Saturday.

  3. My initial thought about 17d was SPEAR GUN, but a SPRAY GUN produces a fine mist which could be said to be equivalent to a “peppering”.

    Thanks for all the comments.

  4. I guess we all interpreted 17d in a slightly different way. I read it that you get the spray from shooting the rapids by doing it in a canoe, not with this gun.

    Perhaps our Monday Maestro could help us here!

  5. A bit late to comment about 1ac, but I read somewhere that the Rev. Spooner didn’t only do verbal ‘Spoonerisms’ but practical ones as well.

    For example, we all know that if you spill red wine on the tablecloth, pouring salt over it is supposed to stop a stain forming. Well, Spooner spilled some salt. You can guess how he tried to clean it up.

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