DT 25940

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 25940

Hints and tips by Gazza

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BD Rating – Difficulty ** Enjoyment ***

Categorising a puzzle as difficult or easy is problematic, in that one which is easy for a veteran solver who knows all the conventions and has probably seen variations on many of the clues before, can be very difficult for a novice. So the “BD Difficulty Rating” at the top of all our reviews is not meant to be an absolute judgement but is a personal opinion of how this puzzle compares with an average one in this category.

I found this puzzle to be slightly easier than the normal Telegraph Cryptic (and therefore an ideal one for someone starting out), but with many well-constructed and entertaining clues – but that’s just one opinion – leave us yours via a comment!

Across Clues

1a  Items logged by head of Swiss guards (8 )
{SENTRIES} – Items logged are ENTRIES – precede this (by) with the first letter, i.e. head, of Swiss to produce a word meaning guards.

5a  Sort of kingdom where the soul has left (6)
{ANIMAL} – take ANIMA (the innermost part of the personality, soul) and add (has) L(eft) to get a sort of kingdom. A nice surface reading, given the generally accepted religious belief that creatures do not have “souls”.

9a  Doubly insured, but got better! (9)
{RECOVERED} – double definition, of which the first is cryptic – took out insurance COVER then did so again, and got better after an illness.

11a  Philosophy that’s central to budget hospitals (5)
{ETHOS} – the distinctive character (philosophy) of an individual or group is hidden (central) in budgET HOSpitals.

12a  The advisability of holding one’s party in wardroom that’s empty (6)
{WISDOM} – one’s party is I’S DO – put this inside (holding) the outer letters of WardrooM (that’s empty) to get a word meaning advisability or sensible thinking.

13a  Service’s push following broadcast (3,5)
{AIR FORCE} – the name of one of the three main military services is formed by putting FORCE (push) after (following) AIR (broadcast).

15a  A love’s wildest fancy stories from the past (3,5,5)
{OLD WIVES TALES} – an anagram (fancy) of “a love’s wildest” produces a term for traditional beliefs which have been passed down through the generations and are commonly believed but which often have no scientific validity.

18a  Impasse reached after running through detail (8-5)
{STICKING-POINT} – a term for an impasse (preventing an agreement being reached, for example) is formed from STICKING (running through, stabbing) and POINT (detail).

22a  Displayed route maps without old contraflow (8 )
{UPSTREAM} – take the O (without old) out of RoUTE MAPS and make an anagram (displayed) of what remains to form a word meaning contraflow (in a river, for example).

23a  Reversing places with soldiers in a daze (6)
{STUPOR} – reverse PUTS (places) and add (with) OR (other ranks, soldiers) to get a synonym for daze.

26a  A foreign capital and its smell? (5)
{AROMA} – put together A and what the Italians call their capital city to produce another word for smell.

27a  Bridge match? (9)
{DUPLICATE} – double definition – a type of bridge game where the players at each table have the same pre-set hands of cards, and to make an exact copy (match).

28a  Delinquent young lady chasing soldiers (6)
{REMISS} – young lady is MISS and she comes after (chasing) RE (Royal Engineers, soldiers) to get a word meaning negligent or delinquent. A delightful and amusing surface reading.

29a  Hold back and relax before shower (8 )
{RESTRAIN} – relax is REST – add RAIN (shower) to obtain a verb meaning hold back.

Down Clues

1d  Prison warder best get such a bottle (8 )
{SCREWTOP} – a charade of SCREW (slang word for a prison warder) and TOP (best) produces a type of bottle.

2d  Arrests prison warders at last (5)
{NICKS} – (the prison warders quickly return for another visit!). This is a double definition (although it is basically the same word used as a verb and a noun) – a slang word for takes into custody (arrests), and an informal word for prison followed by the last letter (at last) of warderS.

3d  A square meal in Italy? (7)
{RAVIOLI} – a delightful cryptic description of an Italian dish of square-shaped pasta cases with a savoury filling.

4d  Land before one is accepted (4)
{EIRE} – insert I (one) into ERE (before) to get the Gaelic name of Ireland.

6d  Wanting to be born, died with bad flu (7)
{NEEDFUL} – a synonym for wanting (in the sense of lacking or being deficient) is constructed from NEE (born, of a female), D(ied) and an anagram (bad) of “flu”.

7d  A poor actor raised on Irish jigs by a teacher from India (9)
{MAHARISHI} – a poor actor is A HAM; reverse this (raised) and add an anagram (jigs) of “Irish” to get a Hindu spiritual leader.

8d  Pay attention to legal right crossing the road (6)
{LISTEN} – legal right is LIEN – insert ST(reet) (crossing the road) to get a synonym for pay attention.

10d  Meaning home guard started wandering (8 )
{DRIFTING} – put together a colloquial word for meaning (as in “Do you get my ______?”) followed by IN (home) and G (start letter of Guard) to get a word for moving aimlessly or wandering.

14d  Sailor given cards repeatedly (8 )
{DECKHAND} – string together two terms for playing cards – DECK (pack) and HAND (what you are dealt) to get a member of a ship’s crew.

16d  Particularly high wind? (4,5)
{DUST STORM} – this is a clever cryptic definition of a weather condition where very small pieces of matter (particles, hence the use of “particularly”) are blown around at high speed.

17d  Operator accepts source of tuna fish (8 )
{STURGEON} – Operator is someone who carries out operations in a hospital theatre – insert (accepts) T (source, i.e. first letter, of Tuna) to get the name of another fish.

19d  Attacks suffered by popular routes (7)
{INROADS} – put together IN (popular) and ROADS (routes) to form a word meaning raids or attacks.

20d  Flag waver requires a light touch in front of public violence (7)
{PATRIOT} – a word meaning someone who is devoted to his country (flag waver) is constructed by putting PAT (a light touch) in front of RIOT (public violence).

21d  Family help couple to chase gold (2,4)
{AU PAIR} – another excellent surface reading – couple is PAIR which comes after (chase) the chemical symbol for gold to form the term for a young foreign person who stays with a family and helps with housework and childcare in return for accommodation (family help).

24d  Mostly idle during public address from square (5)
{PLAZA} – insert most of LAZy (idle) into PA (public address) to get a, originally Spanish, term for a public square.

25d  Part of church where service initially is covered by primate (4)
{APSE} – primate is APE – insert (covered) the initial letter of Service to get a large semicircular recess in a church.

I particularly liked 28a, 3d and 21d, but my clue of the day is 16d. Agree or disagree? – leave us a comment!


  1. Jane
    Posted May 28, 2009 at 12:47 pm | Permalink

    I have found the last 3 daily puzzles quite straightforward and completed today’s over breakfast (no, it wasn’t a full English, just toast and tea!). I agree with your opening comments about defining the degree of difficulty. However, as encouragement to new solvers, visiting this site, it definitely pays to attempt the puzzles on a regular basis. Finally, I like the facelift!

  2. maagran
    Posted May 28, 2009 at 3:20 pm | Permalink

    Agree your verdict on this puzzle.
    25d initial letter of Service

    • gazza
      Posted May 28, 2009 at 3:32 pm | Permalink

      Hi maagran
      Thanks for pointing out my error in 25d (I put it down to blog fatigue!) – I’ve corrected it now.

  3. pianydd
    Posted May 28, 2009 at 3:55 pm | Permalink

    Agree with you about 16d, though it was 3d that tickled me the most. Thanks for the review.

  4. libellule
    Posted May 28, 2009 at 4:29 pm | Permalink

    Looks like the common vote is for 3d :-)

    • gazza
      Posted May 28, 2009 at 4:43 pm | Permalink

      As the politicians are wont to say “I’m not making any comment until all the votes have been counted. It’s too close to call. It’s going down to the wire.”
      … and other cliches too numerous to mention!

  5. Greenhorn
    Posted May 28, 2009 at 6:19 pm | Permalink

    Just to prove that it’s a difference of opinion that makes a horse race I found this the hardest for sometime -having polished off the Eye crossword yesterday in a record time for me , it was back down to Earth
    I don’t think I would have got 5a,7d , 10d ,14d 16d &24d this side of tomorrow. I can see how they work but for instance looking at 24d, having to first think of another word for idle and then only take part of it is a step too far. I couldn’t think of lien for 8d. Maybe I’m on some setters wavelengths and not on others.

    • gazza
      Posted May 28, 2009 at 8:47 pm | Permalink

      Hi Greenhorn
      I think that you must have had a bad day today! The consensus seems to be that it is easier than normal, but as the quiz show host used to say “The question is only easy if you know the answer”.

      I too did the Eye crossword yesterday. 27a in that puzzle has a similar feature to what you refer to in today’s 24d, in that you have to think of another word for “Brown” (“tan” in that case) before you can progress.

  6. Weetie
    Posted May 28, 2009 at 8:02 pm | Permalink

    As one who has come fairly recently to the Telegraph cryptic, I managed to complete todays crossword in record time WITHOUT refering to this site once – a first! This backs up the point of view that today wasn’t too difficult.
    3d was good but 16d is better.
    Thanks for the blog and like the facelift.

    • gazza
      Posted May 28, 2009 at 8:35 pm | Permalink

      Hi Weetie and welcome to the blog.
      There seems to be a general consensus that this one is a bit easier than normal.
      Thanks for supporting my nomination for clue of the day. It looks as though libellule will have to eat his words!