DT 25935 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 25935

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 25935

Hints and tips by Libellule

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BD Rating – Difficulty *** Enjoyment **

Another relatively tricky Friday crossword. With a mixed bag of clues, some good some bad.


1. Loner we led astray to become a worthless person (4-2-4)
{NEER-DO-WELL} – An anagram (astray) of LONER WE LED, leads us to a phrase used to describe a “worthless person”.

6. Poetry written by river – this one in Germany? (4)
{ODER} – ODE, plus R(iver), is also the name of a river that rises in the Czech Republic, flows into Poland and then through Germany.

9. Participants in democracy get happy about ‘Arry (10)
{ELECTORATE} – Happy is ELATE, and Arry in this case is not a name but a reference to word that means to harry (which coincidentally is also a name) HECTOR. You then remove the first letter (H), and place ELATE around it.

10. Go by quietly with donkey (4)
{PASS} – P in musical notation is piano, which means soft (or quiet), follow this with an alternative name for a donkey, and you have a word that means to go by.

12. Girl endlessly stifling expression of horror jokes (6)
{LAUGHS} – Girl is this case is LASS, endlessly is therefore LAS, UGH is the expression of horror which needs to be placed in LAS (stifling) this then gives us another word for jokes, or what you might do, if someone told you a good joke.

13. A randy drunk following queen creates awkward situation (8)
{QUANDARY} – An anagram of A RANDY (drunk), is placed after (following) QU(een) a state of doubt or uncertainty, or dilemma.

15 .Severely reduced, having suffered a deep wound? (3,2,3,4)
{CUT TO THE BONE} – A phrase that describes the implementation of savage cuts (severely reduced) and what might happen if that cut actually took place.

18. Spanish brute destroyed items in Dali’s studio (12)
{PAINTBRUSHES} – An anagram of SPANISH BRUTE (destroyed) gives us items that should be found in an artist’s studio.

21. Excellent President not getting in the way of post-war charity (3-5)
{TOP NOTCH} – P(resident) and NOT are placed inside TOC H (Talbot House, a post-war charity), to give us a phrase that is used to mean excellent.

22. Mistake admitted by holy English fellow in France? (6)
{PIERRE} – Not content with using English names, we now have to cope with French names. Holy is PI (from the greek pi’stis for faith), a mistake is to ERR, and we also add E(nglish) for the french variation of peter.

24. Composure to end when leader’s walked away (4)
{EASE} – To end is to CEASE, then take off the first letter (leader walked away) to leave a synonym for composure.

25. Bird shrieking horribly, loud coming in (10)
{KINGFISHER} – The musical notation for loud F (forte) is placed inside an anagram of SHRIEKING will then give us the name of a distinctive bird, best known for it’s angling prowess. (Or an Indian Lager)

26. Market coterie getting reported (4)
{SELL} – You need a synonym for coterie, an exclusive circle of people with a common purpose and then change this word to something else that sounds similar (getting reported) for a word that means to encourage or promote sales.

27. Tin, not plastic (5,5)
{READY MONEY} – Tin is a slang term for money, and if its not a credit card (plastic), then it must be a phrase that describes cash available for immediate use.


1. One’s eyed anger (6)
{NEEDLE} – A double definition of a one-eyed sewing implement, also means to goad or provoke.

2. Darkness descends with last bit of the puzzle (6)
{EREBUS} – To solve this clue, you need to take the last bit of thE and place it above a type of puzzle where you decode a message consisting of pictures representing syllables and words. This then produces a word that represents the personification of darkness and shadow (greek god of darkness) and also describes the dark region of the underworld through which the dead must pass before they reach Hades.

3. A lot will go down in value when this takes place (5,7)
{DUTCH AUCTION} – A cryptic definition that describes an auction in which an item is initially offered at a high price the price is then progressively lowered until a bid is made and the item is sold.

4. Child taken care of in hospital room (4)
{WARD} – A double definition of a room in a hospital usually holding a number of patients or child under the care or protection of a guardian.

5. Get examination paper for this assessment? (6,4)

{LITMUS TEST} – The paper in this case is a water-soluble blue paper derived from certain lichens, that is used to test acidity or alkalinity.  This type of test (examination) is also a phrase used to describe a simple and accurate assessment of a particular thing,

7. Stop playing piano? Sad (8 )
{DIAPASON} – I liked this simple clue. Although it did cause me problems, since I have not seen this word before. An anagram of PIANO and SAD is a word that is used to describe either of the two stops found throughout the range of a pipe organ.

8. Engineers with dirty accommodation were first to be given new arrangement (8 )
{RESTYLED} – When you see the word Engineers in a crossword, there is a good chance that the setter is referring to the Royal Engineers (RE), follow that with where a pig lives STY (dirty accomodation), and LED (were first) and you have a word that can be used when something is given a makeover.

11. Item remained to be dealt with in the morning (4,8 )
{ANTE MERIDIEM} – OK how many of you struggled with this one? Another new phrase for me. Thankfully, “to be dealt” seemed to indicate an anagram, and in this case the answer is an anagram of ITEM REMAINED and is the latin term for before noon.

14. A time going over the area I have found to be fascinating (10)
{ATTRACTIVE} – A T(ime) over TRACT (area), IVE (I have) is fascinating.

16. Observe the French saints without blemish (8 )
{SPOTLESS} – SPOT (observer), LE (the french), SS (saints plural) is without belmish.

17. Dumping silly lass, do I weep finally? (8 )
{DISPOSAL} – An anagram of LASS DO I (silly) and P (weep finally) is a word often prefixed by waste or garbage.

19. Monkey in old city – possibly a prominent feature (6)
{URCHIN} – The old city in this case is UR, the prominent feature is CHIN, put together they describe a playful or mischievous youngster (monkey).

20. Have a wager on man, 26 (6)
{BETRAY} – A wager is a BET, follow this with a man’s name RAY, then check the solution to 26 across, so the answer is what happens if you are false or disloyal to somebody or something.

23. Journalist silver on top, not like a callow youth (4)
{AGED} – The symbol for silver, AG is placed on top of a journalist ED, for the opposite of youth.

15 comments on “DT 25935

  1. Hi Libellule

    Thanks for another excellent review.

    I found this puzzle much easier than last Friday’s. Last week I struggled to get even half-way whereas this week I got 27 clues correct out of a possible total of 28.

    The only one I missed was 15a. I had “cut to the core”, but having read your blog I can see that it should have been “cut to the bone”. Thanks for your explanation.

    Thanks also for explaining why Pi=Holy. I knew Pi had this meaning from previous puzzles I had solved but did not know why until I read today’s blog. All part of my learning process.

    My favourite clues today were 9a, 13a and 1d.

    Thanks for the review. I always enjoy reading your blogs.

  2. Two new words for me in 2d and 7d, however I think 22a may ruffle a few feathers, apart from that a very nicely reviewed crossword.

  3. whizzed through this today on a bit of a roll and then stalled on two words i’ve never heard of before 2d and 7d. Which leads me to a generic question. Is it considered fair game in crossword etiquette to resort to a dictionary/thesaurus in such circumstances. I’ve always considered it a cop out

  4. mikeyboy. Of course it is fair game. If you do not know the word, then its hard to finish the crossword until you do. Looking up words you don’t know is a great way of improving your vocabulary.

    1. cheers libellule. I guess what i mean was – i wouldn’t consider i finished it, if i resorted to assistance, so i treat it as a last resort. I was just interested in the norm amongst regular solvers.

      1. I think like many, that when you complete a crossword without resorting to artificial aids (this blog, the internet, chambers etc), you do feel that you have achieved something. A bit like bagging a munro perhaps… however I don’t feel particulary bothered if thats something I had to do to complete it.

  5. Always love the Friday crossword, and this was no exception – 2d did for me today though. Many thanks for the explanation for 21a, although I got it, couldn’t quite see how!

  6. I thought “pi” was short for “pious”, meaning “deeply religious”.

  7. Struggled a bit more than yesterday and only got 2d after seeing the explanation.Both 7d and 11d caused me no problems, my Dad is a church organist, although I hadn’t taken care with 11d and initially spelt meridian rather than meridiem so caused a few problems on 27a. Thanks for the review.

  8. That was more like it!! I whizzed through save for 2d. Looking forward to tomorrow’s challenge.

  9. Having read the responses to both Friday’s puzzles – I was just wondering what makes crosswords ‘good’. Is it when we can do them, or when we can’t? When we need a dictionary / internet / Big Dave or when we don’t? I needed this site for the toughie, some of which baffled me, but not for the DT. As someone said, ‘vive la difference!’

  10. Thanks for the response — maybe the reviewer would in future like to point out my ‘bad’ clues and the criteria by which s/he has thus judged them.
    Naturally I can’t see any myself, but am always prepared to bow to the wisdom of those who know much more about crosswords than I do. or who have spotted an obvious error. But by all means let this one pass as I will be much more interested in my new grandson!

  11. Ian, I rate a crossword as good, when I enjoy it. When I get clues that I work out the answer to, and they make me smile. That is the “enjoyment” factor.
    The difficulty factor is an indication of how long it takes to do a puzzle, and also whether the need for reference works is required. A crossword can be good even if you don’t finish it.

  12. Giovanni, please note that the comments re. the crossword are personal. When I did this crossword, it felt that some of the clues were not up to your usual high standard. By this I mean I worked them out quickly and easily with no sense of enjoyment or achievement. In future when I feel that a clue is problematic I will take time to try and explain why I feel that way.

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