DT 25950

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 25950

Hints and tips by Gazza

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BD Rating – Difficulty *** Enjoyment **

I feel as if I’ve drawn the short straw with this one. There are one or two nice clues, but these are outweighed by a number where the word order has been mangled or extraneous words introduced to try to improve the surface reading of the clue. Throw in a couple of very odd words and some “cryptic” clues which are not very cryptic, and you are left with what, to me, was a very frustrating puzzle.

Across Clues

1a  Steps taken by court official to provide lofty data (6,8 )
{FLIGHT RECORDER} – put together FLIGHT (steps) and RECORDER (a part-time judge) to get a device, commonly known as the black box even though it is normally orange, which logs information about the functioning of an aircraft and its systems.

9a  Countermand as noisily offended again (7)
{RESCIND} – a sound-alike (noisily) of RE-SINNED (offended again) gives us a verb meaning to countermand.

10a  One wild to become prostrate (3,4)
{LIE DOWN} – an anagram (to become) of ONE WILD means to prostrate oneself. Prostrate has to be a verb here to match the solution.

11a  Bonus point (3)
{TIP} – double definition – a bonus over and above standard payment, and the pointed end of something slender or tapering.

12a  On board, a godson opts to change instruction on the way to jail (2,3,4,2)
{DO NOT PASS GO} – an anagram (to change) of A GODSON OPTS provides part of the instruction on a chance card in the game of Monopoly (on board) – the other parts being “Go directly to Jail” and “Do not collect £200”.

14a  Fret over some scattered light, eg, diffraction (6)
{FIDGET} – a hidden word (some) meaning to fret is to be found backward (over) in lighT, EG, DIFfraction.

15a  Not a very large orbiting item (8 )
{SMALLSAT} – The answer is a contraction of the term SMALL SATellite. These are a new class of next generation satellites that use advanced miniaturization technology for smaller, lighter, cheaper spacecraft components. I have two problems with this clue – firstly the answer does not seem to appear in any dictionary that I have access to, and secondly, if the clue is meant to be cryptic it is exceedingly weak.

17a  Was Eros also affected by spray containers? (8 )
{AEROSOLS} – an anagram (affected) of EROS ALSO gives us containers for releasing sprays under pressure.

19a  Six got up in poisonous fashion (6)
{VIROSE} – put together VI (roman numerals for six) and ROSE (got up) to construct an adjective meaning poisonous. “fashion” here appears to be redundant and present purely for padding.

22a  Display too little below exhibit (11)
{UNDEREXPOSE} – a charade of UNDER (below) and EXPOSE (exhibit) gives a verb meaning to expose film to light for too short a time.

23a  Refreshment for church associate (3)
{CHA} – an informal word for tea (refreshment) is formed by putting together CH (abbreviation for church) and A (associate).

24a  Checks brakes at home (5,2)
{REINS IN} – a phrase that means to check (as in to keep tight control on) is constructed from REINS (brakes) and IN (home). There’s too little difference between “checks” and “brakes” to make this clue work well.

26a  International wise men go West after starting oriental renaissance art (7)
{ORIGAMI} – we want the starting letters of Oriental Renaissance, then put together I (International) and MAGI (wise men) and reverse them (go West, in an across clue) to get the Japanese art of paper folding.

27a  Finally, an eventide event (3,3,2,3,3)
{THE END OF THE DAY} – double definition – a phrase which is used figuratively to mean finally or “when all’s said and done” is literally something that occurs in the late evening around 23:59.

Down Clues

1d  1/1 (5,2,7)
{FIRST OF JANUARY} – a nice cryptic clue showing how you would start to write the date on this day of the year.

2d  Is dip in tasteless form? (7)
{INSIPID} – an anagram (form) of IS DIP IN produces an adjective meaning tasteless. This is a horrible clue where the definition has been put in the middle of the wordplay in an apparent, and futile, attempt to improve the surface reading!!

3d  Shears and drier maketh the man (11)
{HAIRDRESSER} – an amusing attempt at an all-in-one clue where an anagram (maketh) of SHEARS and DRIER produces someone who uses these implements to style your locks.

4d  Beaver among the reeds trod enthusiastically (6)
{RODENT} – beaver is an example of the type of gnawing mammal which is hidden (among) in tROD ENThusiastically. Again “the reeds” here is just padding to make the clue read better.

5d  Period for talking on mobile phone used to halt drinking session (8 )
{CALLTIME} – double definition – the amount of talking time you get for your money on a mobile phone, and what the landlord of a pub traditionally does prior to closing. In both cases I feel that a description of (4,4) would be better.

6d  Potential swimmers use oars, we hear (3)
{ROE} – a sound-alike (we hear) of use oars gives us a word for fish eggs, which can potentially become fish (swimmers).

7d  Tess and I go crazy for clever dicks! (7)
{EGOISTS} – an anagram (crazy) of TESS and I GO produces a term for clever dicks (or smart alecs).

8d  It’s only relative (3,2,3,6)
{ONE OF THE FAMILY} – this is presumably a cryptic clue but I don’t really understand it. The answer describes someone who is a relative, but is by no means ones only relative. If you can provide an explanation please leave a comment! [Thanks to fran rhodes for the suggestion that family here means a group having common characteristics, and that one member is thus related to all others.]

13d  Level never before reached as always stoned (3,4,4)
{ALL TIME HIGH} – double definition – a phrase describing a record height achieved, and a description of someone who is always euphoric as a result of taking drugs.

16d  Horned elk and ox stampeded (8 )
{KLAXONED} – this is an anagram (stampeded) of ELK AND OX. The use of “horned” meaning “sounded a horn” is unusual (but is in Chambers) but I’ve been unable to find in any dictionary the verb “to klaxon”!

18d  Salmon displaying communist angle! (7)
{REDFISH} – a charade of RED (communist) and FISH (angle) gives us a term for a male salmon.

20d  Alternative leafstalk found in the fruit trees (7)
{ORCHARD} – put together OR (alternative) and CHARD (the edible leafstalk of artichoke, for example) to get a collection of fruit trees.

21d  Company design is very loud, so sign out (6)
{LOGOFF} – Put together LOGO (company design) and FF (very loud, in musical notation) and you get a term meaning a graceful exit from a computer system or website.

25d  Take her to court (3)
{SUE} – a cryptic clue which relies on the fact that the term for to institute legal proceedings (take to court) is also a girl’s name.

The best clue, for me, is 3d. Do you agree or disagree? Please leave us a comment about this or any aspect of the puzzle or the review.


  1. Posted June 9, 2009 at 11:34 am | Permalink


    Why don’t they bring back the setter who used to do the Tuesday puzzles? He would rather have shot himself than issue a puzzle as bad as this one!

    Klaxon as a verb and smallsat are both in Chambers 11th edition and online, although both were new to me.

  2. Kram
    Posted June 9, 2009 at 12:16 pm | Permalink

    couldn’t agree with you more regarding 5d, but 1d has to be the pick of the day for me.

    • Rollo
      Posted June 9, 2009 at 12:59 pm | Permalink

      According to Chambers “calltime” is a word meaning time available for use in making calls on a mobile phone; the time used on a single phone call.

      When it is the moment for the pub landord to “call time” then that is two words.

      So I don’t think it is a correct double definition.

  3. Lana
    Posted June 9, 2009 at 12:26 pm | Permalink

    I disagree with 3d being the best clue, 1a for me has everything a good cryptic clue should have.

    I too have never come across the word ‘smallsat’, that was a little unfair!

  4. Rollo
    Posted June 9, 2009 at 1:07 pm | Permalink

    I too had never come across the use of “klaxon” as a verb, but as BD said it is in the dictionary.

    In modern usage all sorts of nouns are used as verbs, but I was surprised last night when I heard somebody on the BBC news use a verb as a noun. But I can’t remember what the word was.

  5. Caty
    Posted June 9, 2009 at 1:24 pm | Permalink

    i have to say i was a big fan of 12a today – was it me or did there seem to be an awful lot of anagrams today?!?!
    1d and 3d were also very good!!

    perhaps in 8d the ‘only’ refers to ONE of the family??

    • gazza
      Posted June 9, 2009 at 2:53 pm | Permalink

      Hi Caty

      I only counted 7 anagrams so I don’t think that there were more than usual.
      Thanks for your suggestion on 8d. Nobody has come up with anything better, so I suppose that “only relative” could be a cryptic definition of “one of the family” – I still think it’s a very poor clue.

  6. bigboab
    Posted June 9, 2009 at 1:26 pm | Permalink

    My wife maintains that the compilers of DT crosswords make up their own words notwithstanding some of them are in Chambers, she firmly believes that Chambers is written by the ghosts of DT compilers. At least 2 of todays clues suggest she may have something!

  7. fran rhodes
    Posted June 9, 2009 at 6:48 pm | Permalink

    I was thinking ‘in the family of ‘generic’

    • fran rhodes
      Posted June 9, 2009 at 6:49 pm | Permalink

      I was thinking ‘in the family of ‘generic’ ??

      • gazza
        Posted June 9, 2009 at 7:36 pm | Permalink

        Hi fran and welcome to the blog. I’m sorry that your post took so long to appear, but the first post from anyone has to be moderated to cut out potential spam. From now on any posts you make should appear staright away.
        Your suggestion on 8d is the best I’ve received – I’m going to update the review. Thanks a lot for that.

  8. James
    Posted June 9, 2009 at 7:41 pm | Permalink

    A personal best for me today, only defeated by 1d, 24a and 25d (still a lot to learn!). I loved 3d, but personally took the greatest pleasure from solving 26a (although I wrongly got the OR from the starting two letters of oriental and was left scratching my head as to why origami was from the renaissance – hahahaha)

    Also LOVED 1d although I could not get the third word.

    • gazza
      Posted June 9, 2009 at 7:57 pm | Permalink

      Hi James
      Today’s was by no means the easiest puzzle, so if you solved all but three clues without help, you should be well on the way to completing one unaided.

  9. Little Dave
    Posted June 9, 2009 at 8:24 pm | Permalink

    “Smallsat” is a new one on me! Otherwise a fairly straightforward puzzle. I like 1d.

    • Posted June 9, 2009 at 8:33 pm | Permalink

      Not sure what happened there, Little Dave

      A fast as I was trying to delete your duplicated comments they wouldn’t go away. I think it’s OK now.

  10. philbro
    Posted June 9, 2009 at 9:47 pm | Permalink

    Thoroughly enjoyed the challenge. Again, one of those puzzles that made me gulp on first sight but once started things began to fall into place. Three excellent clues were 1a( took me longer than necessary and feel ashamed considering that I am a pilot),12a and 1d.

  11. mary
    Posted June 9, 2009 at 11:36 pm | Permalink

    smallsat really had us stumped – what a stupid clue as a newcomer to the telegraph crossword sometimes it just drives me crazy

  12. john middleton
    Posted June 10, 2009 at 12:01 pm | Permalink

    I agree with the general opinion that 1down was a very clever clue, got it once I filled in the blanks. I was away in the world of fractions

  13. old bill
    Posted June 10, 2009 at 4:20 pm | Permalink

    Smallsat got me too. Although 24a annoyed me, i thought it was ‘stops in’ and so screwed my 1d.

    8d makes sense, but seems to missing half of the clue to make it cryptic.