DT 25925

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 25925

Hints and tips by Tilsit

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BD Rating – Difficulty * Enjoyment **

Very much at the easier end of the scale, the only thing that I suspect will hold solvers up today is the grid itself.  What an abomination!  Just under half of the clues contained a double unchecked square (known as a “double unch”).  Indeed my record solving time for the Telegraph would have been beaten only for being held up with 5 down. I really don’t like grids with double unches and although I’ll tolerate a couple in a normal puzzle, surely this was too much.

When a previous Times Crossword Editor took over a few years back, he devoted a bit of time to revising all the Times stock grids.  I think it’s time for the DT to follow suit.

Back to the puzzle.  It being Monday we have the usual collection of cryptic definitions, which are fine, but I would rather have two or three a puzzle instead of the number we get.  I always recommend the Telegraph and Guardian Monday puzzles as good places to start when solving cryptics but I sometimes fear that newer solvers are tempted to stick at this level when other puzzles adopted, shall we say, a more balanced approach.  In addition, as my esteemed colleague Big Dave points out, sometimes the puzzle is weakened by these, 26 across is a good example.

That said, there are some lovely surface readings and constructions.  Thanks as usual to our Monday Maestro.


1a Plunge right in, displaying energy (5)
{DRIVE}  A word for plunge, as into a swimming pool with R (right) inside.

4a Get the gin ready? (3,1,4)
{SET A TRAP}  In Crosswordland, I don’t think I have ever seen gin refer to the drink.  Invariably it refers to a type of trap, used by hunters.  The sort of trap that has nasty metal jaws.  Apparently these have nothing to do with the drink, but from 17th century illiterates corrupting the word “engine”.   This clue is a cryptic definition of something to do with a gin (trap)  to get it ready for action.

8a Score with reverse billiards shot? Excellent (3-5)
{TOP NOTCH}  Nice  sporting analogy, might it have been better to say “Score after…”?  Here “Score” actually means to make a mark, as in a piece of wood.  This comes after a “billiards / snooker shot” which is reversed.

9a More than one tree gets parasitic growth (3,5)
{OAK APPLE}  Put together two fairly common types of tree to get a type of parasite that attacks trees.  The parasite comes from the larva of the gall wasp.

11a China, where there’s many a crime organisation (7)
{CERAMIC}  Anagram time.  An abbreviation for “many”, in this case the Roman numeral for a hundred, followed by an anagram of “a crime”.  All put together it means a word for china, the pottery, not the country.

13a Something much appreciated by card-players? (1,4,4)
{A GOOD DEAL} A cryptic definition

15a Prompt payment may be what archaeologists are looking for (5,10)
{EARLY SETTLEMENT} My first thought was “ exact…”, but I realised that there was a similar phrase that would probably suit the archaeologists.  There used to be an extra discount for this when you settled your bills thus, but it seems to have disappeared.  Perhaps it might return in these times of austerity.

18a Last monument in Arizona? (9)
{TOMBSTONE}  Probably my favourite clue of the puzzle.  Made me smile a lot.  Think of what would be your final monument, together with the name of a Wild West City in Arizona.

21a The head cleaner (7)
{SHAMPOO}  Another cryptic definition, but I felt it so obvious it detracted from the clue.

22a Left cat without one vital means of communication (8)
{LIFELINE}  An abbreviation for “left” and a generic word for a cat with I (for one) inside.  I am sure you all know about the use of “without” to mean “surrounded by”.

24a What dictionaries do about it is quite clear (8)
{DEFINITE}  You are looking for a word meaning  “what dictionaries do to words” around IT.  The whole then gives a word meaning certain or clear.

25a Upset an open container (8)
{OVERTURN}  “Upset” is a word frequently used as an anagram indicator, but not here, it is the definition.  A word for “Open” + a type of container, probably for tea or something associated with 18a.

26a As medals, they’re unbeatable (5)
{GONGS}  This is an example, to me, of over-egging the pudding a little.  I first thought of GOLDS as they are the highest awards in sport.  But here the word is a generic word for medals.  Is a bronze medal unbeatable?  I guess the setter is saying to us “As medals they are unbeatable, but as something else they are beatable”.  Hmmm.  Your comments are welcomed .


1d Group of servicemen showing indifference (10)
{DETACHMENT} Double definition.  A group of troops isolated from the main body and a word meaning cool, indifference.

2d One married a stout businessman (8)
{IMPORTER} I  + the abbreviation for  “married”, plus a word for a type of stout, that which you drink.

3d An outrage otherwise concealed by ill-will (8)
{ENORMITY}  I hadn’t heard of this word meaning “an outrage” until I checked it out in my dictionary, but I guess it must be a large one (hint, hint!)

4d So hard to get round parts of London or New York (4)
{SOHO} We had a similar clue (without the New York bit) in a puzzle a couple of weeks back.  SO plus an abbreviation for hard (think of pencils) and another O for round, and there you are.

5d A panel on an aircraft (6)
{ABOARD} Big Dave mentioned in recent blogs about the surplus uses of “a” and “the” in clues and there are a couple today, but not in this clue.  It is very much needed.  The panel you need is a group of directors and when added to A you get a word meaning to be on an aircraft.

6d Politician entering government to screw up (6)
{RUMPLE}  Probably indicative of many of our representatives today.  So a nice topical clue.  Think of an abbreviation for a politician and place this inside a word for Government (sometimes the phrase Home ____ used to be applied to the NI problem.)  This will give you a word for screwing up paper.

7d Head for the food (4)
{PATE}  One of the unwritten words in crosswords is that it is basically OK to ignore accents, and here you will have to to make this double definition work.  A word for “head”, usually found in the expression “Bald ____”.  The food i often found as  a starter, or as my supper on toast.  Yum!

10d Their acts are well-known (8)
{APOSTLES}  Cryptic definition. Think Biblical.

12d Capsized oarsman in vessel is in distress (8)
{CAREWORN}  Nice surface reading to this clue.  A word for an OARSMAN reversed inside another word for a tin.  That should give you something meaning “in distress or showing signs of anxiety”.

14d They turn up, after all (4-6)
{LATE-COMERS}  Cryptic definition referring to those people who arrive at a function eventually.

16d Getting tangled up when cleaning out (8)
{ENLACING} An anagram of CLEANING to produce a word meaning “getting tangled or entwined”.

17d Exploding into pure chaos (8)
{ERUPTION}  An anagram of “INTO PURE” with “chaos” being the anagram indicator, so a word meaning “exploding” is required.

19d Keep warm and quiet (6)
{MUFFLE}  Double definition.  Words meaning “wrap up well” and “to silence something”

20d Mum, listen for a change (6)
{SILENT} An anagram of LISTEN for a word meaning “mum”, as in the old wartime expression “Be like Dad, keep Mum!”

22d I’d look around for bathing facilities (4)
{LIDO}  A short word for”Look!” around I’D to get a seaside bathing pool.

23d Perfect place for English study (4)
{EDEN}  You need E for English and a word meaning “ a study or retreat”

Did you find it to be as easy as Tilsit did?  Your thoughts and opinions are welcome – just leave a comment.  BD


  1. Rollo
    Posted May 11, 2009 at 2:37 pm | Permalink

    A fairly easy one. The further down the grid I got the easier I found it.

    Unlike today’s Quick (No 25925), which I found irritating, to say nothing of the other Quick which appeared this morning on the crossword puzzles page and which appeared to have a set of clues all of which said “no clue”. That one has gone now, replaced by the correct one.

    • Posted May 11, 2009 at 2:51 pm | Permalink


      The genuine Quick was always there, and could by accessed from the Home page or the Latest Puzzles page. If, however, you tried to get it on the usual Crossword Puzzles page you needed to go forward one puzzle. The strange way that CluedUp works should never surprise you.

      • Rollo
        Posted May 11, 2009 at 2:56 pm | Permalink

        Yes, I do usually access crosswords from the Crossword Puzzles page, but I realised something was wrong when I saw the number was not the same as the Cryptic puzzle, which it should be.

        So I used the alternative link to get the right one – and I am almost sorry that I bothered because there were three answers which just seemed to elude me.

  2. libellule
    Posted May 11, 2009 at 2:57 pm | Permalink

    Rollo, Yep its definitely “completement disparu”, I even saved a copy, but thats also gone….

  3. Kram
    Posted May 11, 2009 at 5:06 pm | Permalink

    Couldn’t agree more about 26a, if they weren’t beatable when would dinner be served etc. a very poorly thought out clue. However sounds like you are getting back to full health, welcome back.

  4. Little Dave
    Posted May 11, 2009 at 6:35 pm | Permalink

    I breezed through this one today but found 3d the toughest but otherwise it was okay. 26a was a poor clue but overall the brain cells stayed in first gear. I anticipate being stumped with tomorrow’s challenge however.

  5. Greenhorn
    Posted May 11, 2009 at 8:06 pm | Permalink

    You could have given me a week to solve this and I wouldn’t have got close. Even with the hints I struggled . I just wasn’t on the setters wavelength.

  6. Posted May 12, 2009 at 8:40 am | Permalink

    On the other hand….

    You say this grid is an “abomination” Dave, but although I’d quite happily consign quite a lot DT grids to the scrapheap, I have no problem with this one. Every word has at least half the letters checked, there are no isolated sections, and every word has the first letter checked, which is generous to solvers. I don’t know which of the Times editors you’re talking about, but the current set of 64 Times grids, the result of grid work by Akenhead, Greer and Laws, includes about 8 grids in which some have double unches, so no Times xwd editor has ever ruled them out. They have a rule that double unches can’t be used at the beginning or end of an answer, but that’s followed in this grid. Triple unches are of course anathema, but you very rarely see them these days.

    The tricky part is that (e.g.) seeing RUMPLE from R??P?E is novel compared to seeing it from R?M?L?, but that’s hardly unfair – just a reason to think rather than remember familiar letter patterns.

  7. Peter
    Posted May 12, 2009 at 8:49 am | Permalink

    I agree that it is a strange grid. The important thing is that at least half the letters are checked in all words. It is nice to have the first letters of all words in particular the four-letter words. So no chance of -a-e or -i-e which could offer so many choices of answers.

  8. Posted May 12, 2009 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

    26A: I didn’t mind this little puzzle. I can see that GOLDS is tempting, but if it’s the answer, the clue isn’t really cryptic. But I think I had all the checkers by the time I read this clue.