DT 25961

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 25961

Hints and tips by Big Dave

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BD Rating – Difficulty *** Enjoyment ***

I am sorry to have to tell you that Tilsit is back in hospital, so I’ve had to do this in a bit of a rush.  Very much a typical start to the week from out “Monday Maestro”, but just about into three-star difficulty.


1a Tolerance shown in the nursery (8)
{PLAYROOM} – this cryptic definition of a child’s nursery just about works

6a Island where to shoot duck? (6)
{TOBAGO} – this Caribbean island which is paired with Trinidad is a charade of TO BAG (shoot) and O (duck)

9a Indigestible food for example …. sent back (6)
{STODGE} – what must surely be everyone’s favourite clue – truly indigestible food that is derived by taking EG (for example) and …. (DOTS) all reversed (sent back)

10a Unaware that one has the wrong key? (4-4)
{TONE-DEAF} – a cryptic definition of being unable to appreciate or distinguish differences in musical pitch

11a Bound to be stifling in the finish (8)
{ENCLOSED} – a synonym for bound is derived by inserting CLOSE (stifling) inside END (the finish)

12a Bang on the head, perhaps (4-2)
{HAIR-DO} – you just have to smile when you work out this cryptic definition – according to Chambers a bang is a fringe; hair cut square across the brow

13a The family’s failure makes a wretched story (4,8)
{POOR RELATION} – this family failure is an easy charade of POOR (wretched) and RELATION (story)

16a Place for opera company to put on unusually grand event? (6,6)
{COVENT GARDEN} – it’s all in how you read them! – the definition is “place for opera” and it is built from CO(mpany) and an anagram (unusually) of GRAND EVENT

19a One addresses one’s remarks to him (or her) (3-3)
{PEN-PAL} – another carefully crafted cryptic definition of a friend with whom you correspond by writing letters (or perhaps emails these days)

21a Vinegar and oil is bound to help the wound (8)
{DRESSING} – mix vinegar and oil to put on your salad or something that is bound to help the wound – reminds you of Jack and Jill!

Jack and Jill

23a Need one tap repaired when the flow is minimal (4,4)
{NEAP TIDE} – an anagram (repaired) of NEED I (one) and TAP giving the ebb and flow of the sea with the least difference between high and low points

24a Complaint of youth in spring (6)
{MALADY} – to get this complaint, just put LAD (youth) inside MAY (spring)

25a Sorted out and put away (6)
{STORED}- – such a simple anagram (out) of SORTED gives a word meaning put away

26a They guard the southern gates (8)
{SENTRIES} – these guards are found by combining S(outhern) and ENTRIES (gates)


2d Exceptional talent may be hidden (6)
{LATENT} – here “hidden” is the definition and not the subsidiary indicator that you are meant to think it is, and instead it is “exceptional” that tells you to find an anagram of TALENT

3d Make an off-peak call in Switzerland (5)
{YODEL} – mention of Switzerland, when it doesn’t refer to cuckoo clocks or the guardians of the Vatican, usually means that the answer is something to do with YODELling!

4d Unintentionally exceed the limit (9)
{OVERSHOOT} – a cryptic definition of a word meaning to go too far

5d Ring-fighter? (7)
{MATADOR} – another cryptic definition. This time of a bull-fighter

6d The ultimate in commandments (5)
{TENTH} – the last of ten

7d It’s not good to make money on a game (9)
{BADMINTON} – put together BAD (not good) MINT (to make money) and ON to get a racquet game

8d One issue of offspring (8)
{GRANDSON} – a clever cryptic definition of one of the offspring of your own offspring

13d Presumably he was spotted playing for children (4,5)
{PIED PIPER} – and another clever cryptic definition, this time of a legendary figure from Hamlyn

14d He might take advantage of a damsel in distress (6,3)
{LADIES’ MAN} – why stop the cryptic definitions when you are on a roll? This time it’s someone who enjoys the company of women and being attentive to them
Someone who enjoys the company of women and being attentive to them is an anagram (distress) of A DAMSEL IN – thanks for that Mike, I missed it completely

15d Part of ‘The Clock’ symphony? (8)
{MOVEMENT} – a double definition of the mechanism of a clock or a section of a symphony – strictly speaking part should go with each definition, but you can forgive a little licence being used to get the surface reading

17d Speech written on an envelope (7)
{ADDRESS} – another double definition

18d Very nervous near the brink (2,4)
{ON EDGE} – our final double definition – wouldn’t you be very nervous if you where near the brink?

20d One taken in by a fat Scottish landowner (5)
{LAIRD} – I (one) inside (taken in by) LARD (fat) gives a Scottish landowner

22d A sunny expression (5)
{SOLAR} – a synonym for “of the sun”

A few weaker clues meant this only rating three stars for enjoyment, but nonetheless an excellent puzzle.

Here are all the answers:

Cryptic Crossword No 25961

Cryptic Crossword No 25961


  1. bigboab
    Posted June 22, 2009 at 2:05 pm | Permalink

    Very sorry to hear about Tilsit please let him know we are thinking of him and wish him a speedy recovery.
    Typical Monday fare but I did like 13a.

  2. Libellule
    Posted June 22, 2009 at 4:58 pm | Permalink

    Re. the reference to Jack and Jill. The same clue reminded me of the following:
    Richard Sharpe: [is helping Hagman through the marsh, and winces] Damn knee! Old leg wound, Hagman. Rain plays the devil with it!
    Rifleman Hagman: Aye. Brown paper and paraffin oil is the only cure for a contrary leg!
    Rifleman Hagman: I find nothing works better than paraffin oil, and best brown paper!
    From Sharpe’s Rifles.

  3. Mike
    Posted June 22, 2009 at 5:34 pm | Permalink

    14 down is not a cryptic def. but an anagram – and isn’t this also known as an &Lit? I.e. the whole clue giving the solution?

    • Libellule
      Posted June 22, 2009 at 5:40 pm | Permalink

      Mike, yes – you are right its certainly an anagram of “a damsel in” (distress), damn, I missed that too :-) well spotted.

    • Posted June 22, 2009 at 6:01 pm | Permalink


      Strictly speaking it’s not an &lit (we call them all-in-one clues here). For that the entire clue has to be both a definition and a cryptic clue. This one satisfies the first part, but not the second. It’s still an excellent clue.

  4. Nigel
    Posted June 22, 2009 at 6:52 pm | Permalink

    Best wishes to Tilsit, I also hopes he makes a speedy recovery. Re stodge 9a. First of all I thought dots referred to a dot of butter etc which I found in the online dictionary under cooking.
    However I now realise the error of my ways with the ….’s in the clue! Fooled again!!

  5. Little Dave
    Posted June 22, 2009 at 8:04 pm | Permalink

    Terrible start to the day -as my station newsagent was not open! I was restricted to tackling this on the return leg commute – fairly easy I thought but “bang” in 12a is a new one on me.

  6. haplo
    Posted June 22, 2009 at 8:43 pm | Permalink

    Dave ‘The Clock’ is a Symphony by Hadyn so it does work as written, but it was the last clue I got despite the link

    • Posted June 22, 2009 at 9:45 pm | Permalink


      I perhaps didn’t explain very well, but that was what I meant by my comment on the surface reading.

      Neither this clue nor the one before it fit any of the classifications that I have been using. What they seem to have is a cryptic part imbedded in a definition. My understanding of an &lit / all-in-one is that the cryptic part must also be the definition.

      I am going to have to take advice on this one.

      • haplo
        Posted June 22, 2009 at 10:39 pm | Permalink

        Your understanding of the constuction and classification of the clues far outways mine, all I know is that my understanding and mindset in solving the cryptics has improved no end, thanks to your extremely informative site

  7. Lewi
    Posted June 22, 2009 at 11:47 pm | Permalink

    5d Ring fighter – the ring refers both to the ring in which a matador fights and the bulls ring in its nose.

    13d. Pied Piper comes from both the entire clue, and also ‘spotted’ (pied) playing (piper).

    • Posted June 23, 2009 at 12:03 am | Permalink


      Welcome to the blog.

      I did say at the beginning that I had to prepare this in a bit of a rush.

      5 down – I agree with the first part, but I’m not so sure of the second

      13 down – I did pick up on the spotted being pied and should have mentioned it. I was also going to comment on there being dots in one clue and spots in another.

  8. NathanJ
    Posted June 23, 2009 at 12:25 am | Permalink

    Hi Big Dave

    I am sorry to hear that Tilsit is in hospital. My thoughts are with him and I hope he gets well soon.

    I agree with you that overall this was an excellent puzzle. I liked 1a, 13a and 19a.

    Thanks for your review.

  9. tilsit
    Posted June 23, 2009 at 3:25 am | Permalink

    Thanks to Big Dave for stepping in at very short notice.

    I am feeling a little better and will be back on Thusday. Thank you all for the nice thoughts and wishes.

    • Kram
      Posted June 23, 2009 at 8:34 am | Permalink

      Glad to read that you are feeling better Tilsit, have some of those ‘slices’ of old , to ensure of your speedy return!.