DT 25921 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 25921

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 25921

Hints and tips by Tilsit

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

A superior puzzle with some very good clues and on the whole a really enjoyable solve.  I’m left with the impression that the compiler wants you to do a fair bit of thinking outside the box with some of these main or subsidiary definitions.

9a Brazilian city judge grabs a wine (5)
{RIOJA}  A simple word sum to get started with.  Brazilian city + J for judge and A gives a palatable wine.

10a December visitor on sailing holiday’s reported location on Tenerife (5,4)
{SANTA CRUZ}  Who brings the presents each year? + a word that sounds like a sea trip will give you the required place in the Canaries.

11a District 7 (7)
{QUARTER} A double definition clue though you will need to solve 7 down to get the other half of the clue.

12a 3-D image of musical to prerecord (3,4)
{CAT SCAN}  You need a musical featuring lots of felines with a word meaning to record in advance – think of the type of laughter you get in TV shows.

13a It’s the last of the home games (5)
{OMEGA} Nice deceptive clue.  Completely unassuming sentence which hides the answer and definition.  The definition is “the last” and the answer is hidden in the rest of the clue.

14a Rapidly realise one’s calling (5,4)
{SPEED DIAL}  Cryptic definition.   Think of using the phone and in this instance “realise” refers to succeeding.  So how to make a quick call…..

16a No gunmen fit in by going berserk, seriously (2,3,5,5)
{I’M NOT BEING FUNNY} An anagram (going beserk) of NO GUNMEN FIT IN BY.  What you would say if you were being serious.

19a Both sides leave a quarrel with soldier, a catalyst of Golden Dissolution? (4,5)
{AQUA REGIA}  Our setter has followed one of crossword setting’s golden rules. If you are writing a clue for a word or phrase that most of your audience won’t know, then keep the clue easy and straightforward.  Both sides are L and R, so each leave a quarrel giving you AQUARE.  Add to it “soldier”  GI  and “A” .  Put it all together and you get a substance which is capable of dissolving gold and certain other precious metals and may well appear in the quiz questions I am writing for tonight.

21a In English school fundamentals, not one mistake (5)
{ERROR}  Mistake is the definition; “not one” is none or zero inside E (for English) and The basics of education are The Three R’s.

23a Duck I’d bagged in appropriate location’s eggy (7)
{OVOIDAL}  Duck, as in cricket, is O together with I’D, all inside a cricketing venue that is egg-shaped.  I would mention that Chamber’s doesn’t give “eggy” as egg-shaped, but does give “smelling or tasting of egg”- perhaps the clue would be better with a question mark at the end.

25a Time divers used to dip into northern river (7)
{TUESDAY}   I like this clue although I wondered whether the definition “time” was a bit too misleading for Tuesday.  “Divers” is an anagram indicator here, so we are looking for an anagram of ”used” inside the name of a northern (i.e. Scottish) river.

27a Steps taken to attract cats and dogs? (4,5)
{RAIN DANCE}   This made me laugh lots.  Don’t go looking for pets – think of the weather!  Time for an old joke:-

Q.  Did you hear about the man who went out when it was raining cats and dogs?

A.  He stepped into a poodle!

I won’t give up the day job – if I had one!

28a Empty net (5)
{CLEAR}  Double definition.  Another excellently deceptive surface reading.  The word you are looking for is a verb meaning to empty, which also means “net” in a financial sense i.e. not having surcharges, taxes etc.


1d Republicans question war-torn nation (4)
{IRAQ}  The republicans are those from Northern Ireland, plus the abbreviation for question.  Taken together they produce another country where we have had our fair share of problems.

2d How much, when wise man arrives at function? (6)
(DOSAGE}  The definition here is “how much”.  It’s made up of a word meaning “wise man” (or a herb) after a very short word meaning a function.

3d History teacher? Very proficient one! (4,6)
{ PAST MASTER}   Double definition, with cryptic leanings.  Think of what a history teacher teaches about, as well as a phrase meaning a very experienced and knowledgeable person.

4d Father of Horus or Isis, somehow! (6)
{OSIRIS}  Another clever clue – an entry for Clue of the Week I’d suggest – HORUS was  an Egyptian  god and in mythology his Father was an anagram of OR ISIS.  ISIS is another Egyptian goddess so the whole clue has a fantastic reading to it.

5d Hideous crones finally became even watchable (2-6)
{ON SCREEN}  “Watchable” is the definition and an anagram (hideous) of CRONES plus E & N (becamE eveN – finally) gives the answer.

6d Hold out a model of repair (4)
{LAST}  Double definition.  “Hold out” is one definition and you should look for a model of repairs used by a cobbler for the other.  This was the last clue I solved and took me about 15 minutes to get!

7d Just a little resistance in dissenting group (8)
{FRACTION}  R for resistance inside FACTION to get a word meaning “just a little”.

8d Protection for us from Australia – a hen! (5,5)
{OZONE LAYER}  Outrageously lovely clue!  OZ = Australia + ONE LAYER = a Hen (i.e. one that lays eggs!).  “Protection for us” is, of course, the definition.

13d Franco-German agreement underwritten by directors giving medium assistance (5,5)
{OUIJA BOARD} If you haven’t seen this clue before, then you’ll see how clever it is.  It’s not an easy phrase to clue, so you tend to see this or variations on it.  “OUI / JA “ =  Franco / German agreement + BOARD (a Group of Directors).

15d Result of operation – contention (10)
{DIFFERENCE}  Double definition.  I’m assuming here the setter is saying a result of a calculation (operation) can be a difference.  Contention also means difference.

17d US senior suffering breakdown (8)
{NEUROSIS}  Anagram of US SENIOR gives a whole lot of angst.

18d The vegetable urge works! (8)
{EGGPLANT}  Word sum time   EGG (Urge) + PLANT (Works or factory) =  a  word which is the US name for the Aubergine.  I personally have never had an urge for a vegetable, despite popular rumour.

20d A dry haven needed by former PM (6)
{ATTLEE}  Another word sum.  A TT (A dry / teetotal) + LEE (sheltered/safe haven) = A Prime Minister.

22d Water that separated seed sown in sun (3,3)
{RED SEA}  Another nice clue.  Anagram (sown) of “seed” inside RA (sun).  Ra was the Egyptian sun-god.

24d Skirting round mate of Mother Superior? (4)
{DADO}  Another clue that made me giggle.  Mate of Mother + Dad “Superior” to,  i.e.  on top of O (Round)

26d City offering choice of ends of Holy Week (4)
{YORK}  A splendid clue to finish.  A Choice of ends to holY weeK would be Y OR K.  Since the city has religious connotations the whole clue has a nice read to it.  Another Clue of the Week nomination methinks.

Thanks for a thoroughly enjoyable challenge!  More like that please!

And now back to finishing the questions for tonight’s Todmorden Quiz League Cup Final: 8:30pm at the Con. Club.  Everyone welcome.  I may try the Link Round on you in tomorrow’s Toughie blog.

7 comments on “DT 25921

  1. When I did this, I originally thought that it was terrible. But this I suspect was down to having imbibed a little too much good french wine last night at a friends barbecue. Now I have read the review I have to agree with Tilsit. This crossword was a lot better than I originally thought. 4d, 8d, 13d, 27a and 26d stand out.

  2. Funnily enough, when I was in the process of sending the Review, I expressed similar concerns to Big Dave, but the more I thought about the clues, it grew on me.

    Sadly I didn’t have a quantity of wine to assist me. I did have some NHS Orange Juice about which the less said, the better.

  3. I thought that it was excellent with some brilliant clues, of which my favourite are 14a and 27a.

    Like tilsit 6d was the one which took me longest.

    On 15d I wonder whether the hyphen is doubling up as a minus sign to indicate a subtraction operation.

  4. I for one have never come across 13d befor, and would perhaps put it forward for clue of the week 2. 6d sadly I didn’t find too hard to solve. More enjoyable than last Wednesdays I think!

  5. Great crossword – solved it save five and quite pleased with that. Had all day with it (on and off) so not too bad!

  6. It took me a fair while but I did manage to finish it. Thanks for your blog which explained a couple of the word plays that I didn’t understand when I was completing the puzzle.

    I loved 13 down – what a great clue!

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