DT 25939

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 25939

Hints and tips by Big Dave

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

It has been long established that the Telegraph, with occasional exceptions, used the same setter each week for any given day.  Recently it has been obvious that this no longer applies – I cannot believe that this puzzle was from the same source as last week’s travesty.  This one is not only easier than a week ago, but much more enjoyable.


1a Lost name brought to enthral DNA analysis, old chap! (11,3)
{NEANDERTHAL MAN} – An anagram (lost) of NAME and ENTHRAL surround another (analysis) of DNA to give this Palaeolithic species of man (old chap) – with two anagram indicators it is difficult to work out which applies to enthral, but who cares?

9a Not having a single drum, achieve strike turning round (4-3)
{TWIN TUB} – this old type of washing machine comes from WIN (achieve) with BUTT (strike) reversed (turning) around it – it’s a pity when the order of the wordplay needs to be tweaked to improve the surface reading; I am reminded of the famous quote from Sir Winston Churchill “This is the sort of English up with which I will not put”

10a Well looked after by unorthodox hotel in S Africa (7)
{LESOTHO} – SO (well) inside (looked after by) an anagram (unorthodox) of HOTEL gives a land-locked country in Southern Africa

11a Copy Times tip (4)
{APEX} – APE (copy) and X (times / multiply) combine to give a tip

12a Simpleton – in Last of the Summer Wine, favourite in national opinion poll (10)
{NINCOMPOOP} – a delightful clue guaranteed to give grief to foreigners trying to do this puzzle! – this simpleton comes from putting IN and COMPO (Last of the Summer Wine, favourite) inside NOP (national opinion poll)

14a More distant-sounding relative (6)
{FATHER} – this relative is a homophone (sounding) of farther (more distant)

15a Drunk’s break, we hear as an afterthought, from strong drink (8)
{SCHNAPPS} – take a phonetic representation (we hear) of how someone who is drunk might say “snap” and add PS (an afterthought) to get a strong alcoholic drink

17a He’s in no rush, parking nice car at side of street (8)
{STROLLER} – like George Graham, he’s in no rush! – you get him from putting (parking) ROLLER (nice car / Rolls Royce) after (at side of) ST(reet)

18a Said to resemble America? (6)
{STATED} – the cryptic part of this double definition (to resemble America) is a bit weak

21a Used ticker (6,4)
{SECOND HAND} – another double definition, where ticker refers to a clock

22a Soon to be identified? No! (4)
{ANON} – our third consecutive double definition – this word can mean soon, and is also an abbreviation of a word for an unidentified author

24a Spymaster aboard Russian vehicle (7)
{MINIVAN} – I’m sure you will all remember M, James Bond’s boss; add IN (aboard) and IVAN (a Russian) to get a vehicle

25a Simian trained a kelpie (7)
{APELIKE} – a synonym for simian comes from an anagram (trained) of A KELPIE

26a Neckwear of cloth (8,6)
{CLERICAL COLLAR} – we finish the across clues with this all-in-one double definition in which of cloth means both made of cloth and of the clergy


1d Hot flan overcooked very much! (3,4)
{NOT HALF} – an anagram (overcooked) of HOT FLAN gives a colloquial expression similar to “very much!”

2d Long-drawn-out course of dinner (10,5)
{ALIMENTARY CANAL} – a cryptic definition of the path that food takes through the body

3d Step out with some fruit (4)
{DATE} – a double definition – to step out with is to take someone out

4d Religious teacher having time to talk (6)
{RABBIT} – Rabbi (religious teacher) and T(ime) give a slang word for to talk

5d On the pitch, stroke young animal with head down, having broken leg joint (4-4)
{HALF COCK} –  a cricket stroke (on the pitch, stroke) made by playing neither forward nor back is derived by taking a CALF (young animal) and moving the first letter to the end (with head down) and putting the result inside (having broken) HOCK (a joint on the hindleg of a quadruped, between the knee and fetlock) – a little tricky for those unfamiliar with cricket!

6d Eleventh hour? Surely it starts at 0959! (4,6)
{LAST MINUTE} – a cryptic double definition with a play on when the eleventh hour of the day starts

7d What might be regarded as analeptic, in toto? (6,9)
{ACTION POTENTIAL} – over to Chamber’s for this one – the voltage pulses, produced in a nerve by a stimulus or stimuli, which when rapidly repeated can lead in motor nerves to continuous muscular response – much easier to solve the anagram (might be regarded as) of ANALEPTIC IN TOTO

8d Body of writing matter it’s a surprise to overlook (6)
{CORPUS} – a word meaning, among other things, a body of writing comes from PUS (matter) with COR (it’s a surprise) in front (to overlook)

13d The call of the malingerer that comes as a great shock (4,1,5)
{WELL I NEVER} – a nice cryptic definition of this expression of great shock

16d Chance I’m repairing (8)
{MECHANIC} – an all-in-one anagram (repairing) of CHANCE I’M defines the person doing the repairing

17d Bearer of oil round Kent and Hampshire as before (6)
{SESAME} – a plant cultivated for its seeds which yield a light edible oil is derived as a charade of SE (South East / Kent and Hampshire, among other counties) and SAME (as before)

19d Ballet performer torn asunder (7)
{DANSEUR} – this male ballet performer is an anagram (torn) of ASUNDER

20d Result in (late in kicking off) (6)
{ENTAIL} – this word meaning to result in is an anagram (kicking off) of LATE IN

23d Toy I placed on top of list (4)
{LEGO} – this is a child’s building toy constructed by putting EGO (I) after L (top of List) – once again, it reads well but the wordplay seems in the wrong sequence

One of the advantages of writing this blog is that you get to enjoy puzzles like this twice – when you solve them and again when you write them up.  Did you like this one as much as I did?  Does enjoying a puzzle mean that you forgive the occasional weakness that would otherwise irritate you?  Your opinions are important – please let me know.


  1. nubian127
    Posted May 27, 2009 at 3:33 pm | Permalink

    This took me over 5 hours as I just could not get a hold of the guys thinking. I am an average player but he seemed to get all of his clues from somewhere out in left field. i still do not understand 5d although it told me i was right !

  2. Emma B
    Posted May 27, 2009 at 3:49 pm | Permalink

    Where as I seem to get this guy a bit more than other days. (I’m fairly new to the world of cryptic!)

    Haven’t got 5d yet (but think I have it from process of elimination) but no idea why it would be right….

  3. Stevie P
    Posted May 27, 2009 at 4:04 pm | Permalink

    A real toughie we thought. Managed it in the end. We liked 13 down Well I never!

  4. maagran
    Posted May 27, 2009 at 4:15 pm | Permalink

    5d Leg joint is HOCK, young animal is CALF with head down makes ALFC inside (broken) HOCK makes a poor stroke on the pitch

    • Posted May 27, 2009 at 4:26 pm | Permalink


      If you’d like a job writing a blog , let me know!

      • Vince
        Posted May 28, 2009 at 11:00 am | Permalink

        I’ve checked numerous dictionaries and encyclopaedias, and asked a number of cricketing friends, but can’t find any reference to “half-cock” as a cricket stroke. Is this just a slang expression, not used throughout the country?

        • Posted May 28, 2009 at 11:04 am | Permalink


          The definition that I gave in the review was lifted from Chamber’s.

          • libellule
            Posted May 28, 2009 at 12:15 pm | Permalink

            I found a reference to this phrase on the web, in “A Dictionary of Cricket” by M.A. Pervez (2001)

  5. Barrie M
    Posted May 27, 2009 at 4:33 pm | Permalink

    I HATE THIS COMPILER!!! He makes little or no sense, I just cannot see where he is going. I wish he would leave the DT and go to the Times where I can ignore him!

  6. libellule
    Posted May 27, 2009 at 5:38 pm | Permalink

    Barrie, how do you know he is a he?

  7. Marian
    Posted May 27, 2009 at 8:30 pm | Permalink

    Very, very difficult for us, but managed about two thirds. Having said that, really enjoyed the challenge and enjoyed this compiler’s way of thinking. Hope he (?) is a regular…

    Posted May 27, 2009 at 10:44 pm | Permalink

    For people new to cryptic puzzles this was quite a teaser – but will keep trying W

    • Posted May 27, 2009 at 11:02 pm | Permalink


      There were a lot of elements in this puzzle that are usually only found in the Toughies.

      If every day was like this one then some people would lose heart, but to have one every now and then helps you to progress.

  9. NathanJ
    Posted May 28, 2009 at 2:14 am | Permalink

    Like Marian, I found this tough and got two thirds correct (19 out of 28).

    I really liked your blog on this puzzle – I found it very useful and informative. Hopefully, if I come across a puzzle like this in the future, I will be better equipped to handle it using the techniques I have learned from this site.

    I breezed through the Monday and Tuesday puzzles but hit a road block on Wednesday. However, this is no bad thing as when you are a learner, sometimes you need a reality check and this puzzle provided that.

    Thanks for your blog – it was excellent.

  10. James
    Posted May 28, 2009 at 1:08 pm | Permalink

    Only got about half of it (was still going this morning) but found it very enjoyable. Tied myself in knots on 8d which I thought was corpse, meaning body, and an anagram of prose (writing matter), surprise meaning anagram, but then I’m stuck with the C. Sometimes I think I’m making it tough for myself!

    Thanks once again for the wonderful site!