DT 25933

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 25933

Hints and tips by Big Dave

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BD Rating – Difficulty **** Enjoyment *

After last weeks enjoyable puzzle we come down to earth with this one.  You can make up your own mind what you think of it as my opinion is unprintable.


1a Bugs this pet! (5)
{BUNNY} – this pet is associated with a well-known cartoon!

4a Chief of the Air Staff met with an acceptable confederate accidentally (8)
{CASUALLY} – a charade of CAS (Chief of the Air Staff – Chamber’s has AS for Air Staff, but CAS can be verified elsewhere) U (acceptable) and ALLY (confederate) gives a word meaning accidentally

8a Relative’s a showy parent (8)
{GRANDDAD} – this older relative is another charade, this time GRAND (showy) and DAD (parent) – not my favourite clue

9a Actor goes in a certain direction to the forest (8)
{EASTWOOD} – the star of many spaghetti Westerns is yet another charade – EAST (in a certain direction) and WOOD (forest) – I suppose the fact that it sounds like eastward rescues this clue from mediocrity

11a Particular number against the record (7)
{ANTILOG} – guess what, it’s charade time again – this logarithmic number is made up by combining ANTI (against) and LOG (record) – just because Chamber’s defines this as “a number of which a particular number is the logarithm” doesn’t make it a “particular number”

13a Calm sleep sounds complete (9)
{REPOSEFUL} – a word meaning calm that is, wait for it, a charade of REPOSE (sleep) and FUL (sounds like full / complete) – rather like 8 across, the definition and part of the construct are rather too similar

15a Neatly bourgeois; however, follow orders (4,11)
{OBEY REGULATIONS} – breaking an overlong run of charades, however signals that an anagram of NEATLY BOURGEOIS gives a phrase meaning to follow orders

18a Hi Frances! Change the charter (9)
{FRANCHISE} – here it’s change that signals that an anagram of HI FRANCES gives the charter

21a Track the burrow to a dreadful abode (7)
{DOGHOLE} – we haven’t had a charade for such a long time, so here’s one – DOG (track) and HOLE (burrow) combine to give a dreadful abode

22a Study of wood by 3 unknown characters about to behold a plank (8)
{XYLOLOGY} – this word meaning the study of wood comes from putting X, Y and Y (3 unknown characters) around LO (behold) and LOG (a plank)

24a Needs, for example, fashionable nieces (8)
{EGENCIES} – these needs are created by following EG (for example) with an anagram (fashionable) of NIECES

25a Careless work of hit and run merchant (8)
{SLAPDASH} – this careless work is …… zzzzzzzz … (sorry, I fell asleep there!) … another charade – SLAP (hit) and DASH (run)

26a Grotty view from hollowed-out dinghy (5)
{SEEDY} – this synonym for grotty is a slight variation on the charade – SEE (view) and DY (hollowed-out DinghY)


1d Hood’s adversary (3,3,4)
{BIG BAD WOLF} – a delightful cryptic definition – not the adversary of Robin Hood, but that of Little Red Riding Hood

2d Need a tip about the low water (4,4)
{NEAP TIDE} – this anagram of NEED A TIP, signalled by about, gives us low water

3d Old Leery became a singer (8)
{YODELLER} – here the anagram of OLD LEERY is signalled by became and gives an Alpine singer

4d Yield to tennis ace, we hear (4)
{CEDE} – this synonym of to yield sounds like (we hear) seed (tennis ace)

5d Joins Confederates (6)
{UNITES} – a double definition

6d Mercifully discharged (3,3)
{LET OFF} – and a cryptic double definition

7d Get the measure of the police (4)
{YARD} – a measure that refers to the headquarters of the Metropolitan Police

10d Took off cloak in disgusted condition (8)
{APPALLED} – APED (took off) around PALL (cloak) to give a word meaning a disgusted condition – a clue that’s a bit like those dreadful ones that used to be the exclusive domain of the Sunday puzzle!

12d Good tackle for fishing for eels (8)
{GRIGGING} – G(ood) and RIGGING (tackle) combine to give a word meaning fishing for eels

14d Lethargically having no schedule to empty lorry (10)
{LISTLESSLY} – a synonym for lethargically that is built up by adding LIST LESS (having no schedule) to LY (empty LorrY)

16d Brown men just meet and touch (8)
{TANGENTS} – add TAN (a type of brown) to GENTS (men) and you get a term in geometry for a line that meets and touches a curve

17d Work place, East facing (8)
{OPPOSITE} – add together OP (work) POSIT (place) and E(ast) and you get a synonym for facing

19d A first-class lag crazy about Grace (6)
{AGLAIA} – crazy indicates that you should look for an anagram of A AI (a first-class) and LAG to get one of the three Graces in Greek mythology

20d Named in the medical ledger (6)
{CALLED} – a synonym for named is hidden in the mediCAL LEDger

22d Short celebration for those with ten degrees (4)
{XMAS} – the shortened form of Christmas is built up from X (ten in Roman numerals)  and MAS (Masters of Arts degrees)

23d Yes, it’s 50:50 Kaye and Leah (4)
{YEAH} – this word meaning yes is made up of half (50-50) of KaYE and LeAHjust as you thought there couldn’t possibly be another poor clue, up pops this travesty

Well, what did you make of that?  I hope that our regular setter was taking a break this week, as this is not what we have come to look forward to on a Wednesday.  Even the odd nice clue like 1 down can’t rescue this one.


  1. Paul Mepham
    Posted May 20, 2009 at 12:30 pm | Permalink | Reply

    10d Should read appalled

    • Posted May 20, 2009 at 12:34 pm | Permalink | Reply


      You are completely correct, and I have changed it. I told you it nearly sent me to sleep!

  2. Paul Mepham
    Posted May 20, 2009 at 12:41 pm | Permalink | Reply

    26a should be Seedy

  3. Paul Mepham
    Posted May 20, 2009 at 12:42 pm | Permalink | Reply

    you are right……it’s a horrible crossword

  4. Paul Mepham
    Posted May 20, 2009 at 12:43 pm | Permalink | Reply

    ignore the one above about 26a….sent me to sleep too :-)

  5. bigboab
    Posted May 20, 2009 at 12:45 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Yeugh!, but I would nominate 1d for clue of the week. (also quite liked 14d)

  6. Kram
    Posted May 20, 2009 at 1:04 pm | Permalink | Reply

    I think your answer BD lies in CluedUp’s ratings for todays cryptic crossword, have never ever seen it as low as 2, however did like 14d as well.

  7. NathanJ
    Posted May 20, 2009 at 1:50 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Hi Dave

    Thanks for your review.

    I did learn a new word from this puzzle (egencies).

    I liked 1a and 1d.

    One question: why does “acceptable”=”U” in cryptic crosswords?

    • Posted May 20, 2009 at 2:02 pm | Permalink | Reply


      The answer to your question lies, as usual, in the Gospel according to St Chamber’s:

      U (informal) Etymology: upper-class

      * (of words, behaviour, etc) as used by or found among the upper classes, hence socially acceptable

      * upper-class, opp to non-U

  8. Mike Kent
    Posted May 20, 2009 at 4:08 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Thanks once again for the explanations -some I would’nt get in a million years – egencies for eg. I can’t find that in a dictionary. I can’t believe I did not associate Bugs with Bunny. Excellent work one again

  9. Greenhorn
    Posted May 20, 2009 at 5:25 pm | Permalink | Reply

    I gto half this out in (for me) the fast time of 30 mins but then spent another 30 mins without getting another clue out. Reposeful, xylology, egencies, grigging and aglalia were new words for me .
    What is a charade, please?

  10. libellule
    Posted May 20, 2009 at 5:38 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Basically – A word game – e.g. Charades.

  11. Posted May 20, 2009 at 5:48 pm | Permalink | Reply


    A charade builds the clue up syllable by syllable, or in some cases letter by letter. Many of us regard it as a cheap way of building a clue as any word can be built up in this way.

    When done well, the surface reading, i.e. the way the clue reads as a piece of English, justifies the use of the construct. Take 21 across in this puzzle – “Track the burrow to a dreadful abode” – this is a load of meaningless twaddle.

    I’ll try and find an example of how it can be done well (from another puzzle).

    Incidentally, Tilsit refers to them as “word sums” – the principle is the same.

    • Posted May 20, 2009 at 5:55 pm | Permalink | Reply

      From my review of Toughie 124:

      19d Wise King Edward (7)
      {LEARNED} – I really liked this charade which combines Shakespeare’s most famous King with NED (Edward) to give a word meaning wise

  12. Marian
    Posted May 20, 2009 at 11:15 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Used Chambers a lot tonight. Quite a few words I didn’t know. Thanks for explanation of U= acceptable – learn something new every day!!

  13. Andrew MB
    Posted May 21, 2009 at 9:37 am | Permalink | Reply

    I liked 1a, 1d and 16d.

    The only two I didn’t fill in were 24a and 12d. Although I figured out ‘Egencies’ and ‘Grigging’, I couldn’t find any references to the words online (and still can’t).

    Also, ‘Reposeful’ is a truly hideous word!

  14. Chris
    Posted May 21, 2009 at 3:42 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Grigging did me in today. Found it under a scabble dictionary site ref sand-eels buried in a google search

    • gazza
      Posted May 21, 2009 at 3:58 pm | Permalink | Reply

      “grig” is in Chambers as an intransitive verb with the meaning “to fish for grigs (eels)”.

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