DT 25959 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 25959

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 25959

Hints and tips by Libellule

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BD Rating – Difficulty *** Enjoyment ***

Not as complicated today, although the grid was a bit “cornery”, there are some nice “gimme” clues available in all corners to get you started. For example 2d, 7d, 24a, and 12d. Mind you it still deserves three stars because after that you still have to tease out the other answers.


1. Blissful round for a copper, if in charge (8)
{BEATIFIC} – BEAT (round for a copper) IF and IC (in charge)  is used to describe blissful joy or happiness, usually associated with religious people or saints. Not to be confused with beatnik.

5. Eleanor in front of company is uncontrollable nag (6)
{BRONCO} – Eleanor BRON a stage, film and television actress is placed before (in front of) CO (company) for an uncontrollable horse (nag), as in a bucking bronco.

8. Sailor initially protected by less crude officer on ship (6)
{PURSER} – Take the first letter (initially) of S(ailor) which is then surrounded (protected) by PURER (less crude). and you have an officer on a ship who typically keeps the accounts and also attends to the passengers’ welfare .

9. Witty conversation about some leaders with extravagant expectations (8 )
{REPARTEE} – RE (about), PART (some) and the leading letters of E(xtravagant) and E(xpectations) provides a term used to describe a conversation that consists of witty remarks.

10. Georgia’s brought in to take out agent (8)
{DELEGATE} – A nice structure to this clue, GA (Georgia) is placed inside (brought in) DELETE (take out) is a person authorised to act as representative for another as a deputy or agent for example.

11. Like a mad person swimming through Paris, as you’d say (6)
{INSANE} – If you were going for a swim in Paris you would be IN the SEINE, this sounds like (you’d say) another word used for someone who is severely mentally ill.

12. Stiff covering about to be sealed in adhesive (8 )
{CEREMENT} – This raised a small smile. RE (about) is placed (sealed) in CEMENT (adhesive) for another word for a shroud.

13. Engineers put in that warning (6)
{THREAT} – Take the usual short form of Royal Engineers (RE) and place them inside (put in) THAT, giving an indication of impending danger or harm.

15. Old statesman making certain assertions, incompletely recorded here (6)
{NASSER} – The old statesman was the second president of Egypt and his name is hidden within the clue (recorded here).

18. Capital noted for being frantic around first working day? (8 )
{EDMONTON} – Take an anagram of NOTED (for being frantic) and place it around MON (first working day) and you have the capital of the Canadian province of Alberta.

20. Mistakes awfully rare by army (6)
{ERRATA} – An anagram of RARE (awfully) placed by TA (Territorial Army) for what are usually errors in printing or writing,

21. Tune to broadcast, going well over our heads? (3-2-3)
{AIR-TO-AIR} – I’m not sure that this works very well. But that’s just a personal view. AIR (tune) TO AIR (broadcast) is a term used for rockets fired by planes at other planes. This would certainly take place over your heads. As would the transmission of television or radio signals.

23. Buddy bringing excitement to team (8)
{SIDEKICK} – Nice and simple. SIDE (team) and KICK (excitement) placed after (bringing) is a slang term for a close companion or comrade.

24. Clean President (6)
{HOOVER} – Do I have to explain this? An American president (Herbert, not J. Edgar), is also the same name as a cleaning apparatus. (Note: this does not work in France).

25. Axeman finally coming in to divide a piece of wood (6)
{SPLINT} – SPLIT (divide) and then place inside (coming in to divide) the final letter of axemaN (finally) and you have a word usually used to describe what’s used to hold broken bones together but also refers to a thin piece of wood that has been split off from a larger piece.

26. Charm of fantastic A-list fellow (8 )
{TALISMAN} – An anagram of A-LIST is put in front of MAN (fellow) for an object that might have magic power.


1. Man? One finally asleep in suitable location (5)
{BIPED} – I liked this clue. I (one) and the final letter (finally) of asleeP, place this inside BED (a suitable place for sleep) and you have an animal with two feet. Homo Sapiens (Man) being an example. Just as an FYI the same answer appears in DT 25919, with the following clue: “15d Girl, say, tender after taking exercise (5)”.

2. What you may do when you have a cold is vulgar (9)
{TASTELESS} – A cryptic definition of what sometimes happens (perhaps) when you have a cold or flu, that is also another term for not showing good taste.

3. Found holding Bible — gets absolved (7)
{FORGAVE} – A slightly more complicated clue. FORGE (found) and place inside AV (the King James authorised version of the bible) and you have the past tense of to forgive (absolved).

4. Sell more than anyone else, as a convenience shop might? (6,3,6)
{CORNER THE MARKET} – I have seen better and more amusing cryptic definitions, but this works reasonably well. Before the rise of Tesco’s and other supermarket’s, you might have done your shopping at the CORNER shop, if it sold more goods than anybody else (as TESCO would like to), it would dominate the MARKET. This phrase describes what happens when that happens.

5. A certain John given bread is tucking in time and time again (7)
{BAPTIST} – This clue also raised a small smile. BAP (bread) followed by T(ime) with IS inside (tucking in) and T(ime) again is a well known religious figure (John) from the time of Jesus.

6. English dish at home served up with salt (7)
{NITRATE} – A reversed clue (served up) of E(nglish) TART (dish) and IN (home) is a a salt of nitric acid.

7. Had too much dinner maybe — or even tea possibly! (9)
{OVEREATEN} – An anagram of OR EVEN TEA (possibly) describes what might happen if you eat too much.

12. Speaks against poetry (9)
{CONVERSES} – CON (against) and VERSES (poetry).

14. Being bitter or sour can seem awful (9)
{RANCOROUS} – OR SOUR CAN (seem awful) is an anagram for being bitter or having a long-lasting resentment.

16. Good person left to eat coarse bit of food (7)
{STRUDEL} – ST (Saint or good person), plus L(eft) placed around (to eat) RUDE (coarse) for a popular Austrian pastry, that is also “a bit of food”.

17. As pragmatic person, ease up about Muslim (7)
{REALIST} – REST (ease up) around ALI (Muslim) e.g. Ali Baba.

19. Sounds like military escort (7)
{MARSHAL} – To escort or to guide ceremoniously sounds like MARTIAL. Here is a famous “Martial” at the battle of Waterloo.

22. Some ditherer unlikely to perform again (5)
{RERUN} – Another answer that is hidden in the clue (some) look carefully at ditherer unlikely and you should find a word that means to perform again.

10 comments on “DT 25959

  1. I liked 12a!
    17d the muslim i thought of was Mohamed Ali!

    Generally enjoyable, even though I got stuck on 5a for ages!

  2. Bonjour Libellule, many thanks for a good explanation for 3d, it had to be ‘forgave’ but I couldn’t work out why. Loved 1d and 11a.

  3. Bonjour Lizwhiz et Kram.

    Thanks for dropping by and leaving a comment. Appreciated. Just out of curiousity, how hard did people find this today. I thought it was one of the easier Friday crosswords for a while, with a smaller number of tricky clues than is usual.

  4. Not the best Friday crossword, liked 1a however as I spent my formative years pounding one.

  5. We found it a relatively straightforward puzzle, which would have been easier if my dyslexic Hotlips could have spelt 17d!

  6. Thanks for the explanation otherwise this would be totally incomprehensible!! What an awful crossword!!

    1. Barrie, Could you try and be more specific, why did you think this was an awful crossword?

  7. One of the most technically correct puzzles you will ever see.

    I would be interested to see any evidence from Barrie that this was less than satisfactory.

    1. Tilsit – I agree with you, this may not have been one of the hardest Friday crosswords, but technically there is absolutely nothing wrong with it. The surface readings (as always) are excellent, and the clues themselves are unambiguous. So why Barrie thinks this is “awful” is a bit of a conundrum.

  8. Oh what a fool I am!
    Entered 19d as the ‘sounds like’ instead of the correct solution; as a result, the clean president was my only unsolved clue – much headaches thinking of obscure countries & their leaders; Doh!
    That aside, enjoyed the crossword.
    Yours, still kicking myself……

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