DT 25965 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 25965

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 25965

Hints and tips by Libellule

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

A smorgasbord of a crossword today, with historical, poetic, botanic and film references all in the mix. That, however does not detract from the crossword’s enjoyment. If you are new to the blog, to see the answer, just highlight the blank space between the curly brackets.


1. Sort of performance expected to take time (4)
{DUET} – A performance for two constructed from DUE (expected) plus (expected to take) T(ime).

3. Support crumbled for the environment (10)
{BACKGROUND} – BACK (support) and GROUND (crumbled) describes your surroundings.

8. District to allow the French or the Spanish in? One must make a choice (8 )
{SELECTOR} – I think this is a great clue! LE (the in french) or EL (the in spanish) placed inside SECTOR (district) gives us a person or a switch that chooses something.

9. Greek character leads small rebellion (6)
{MUTINY} – MU (12th letter of the greek alphabet) in front of (leads) TINY (small) for a word typically used for a rebellion against authority by sailors or soldiers.

10. Shelter in a hovel around end of February (6)
{ASYLUM} – Take A SLUM (hovel) and place it around the end of February, Y and you have a place that offers safety and protection.

11. Fellow absorbing anaesthetic is stopped from escaping! (8 )
{TETHERED} – Fellow is TED placed around (absorbing) ETHER, is a word used to describe something that has been confined or restricted with with a rope or chain.

13. Container is needed in the course of jog (8 )
{CANISTER} – CANTER (jog) around (needed) IS equals a storage container.

14. Car being a Saab or Beetle (6)
{SCARAB} – ,I know the answer to this is a sacred egyptian beetle, but I am not sure how this clue works. It can’t be an anagram (being) of CAR and SAAB as we would have one A too many. Gazza suggested that being might be a typo, and it should read barring. If so that would work. Comments?
According to the comment by Giovanni below (the setter), the clue works as follows: CAR should replace an A in SAAB i.e. CAR is being an A. The result is a sacred egyptian beetle.

16. Botanical bit that’s harmless kept in tin (6)
{STAMEN} – Take the chemical symbol for tin, SN and place this around (kept in) TAME and you have the pollen-producing reproductive organ of a flower (botanical bit).

19. The weird loony wasted away (8 )
{WITHERED} – An anagram of THE WEIRD (loony) describes what happens when something dries up.

21. Obsession ultimately serious, out of control? (8 )
{NEUROSIS} – A very nicely crafted all in one clue. Take the last letter of obsession, N (ultimately) and then an anagram of SERIOUS (out of control) and you have a mental disorder that could be an obsession, or could make you “out of control”.

22. Charge home protection device (6)
{INFUSE} – IN (home) FUSE (protection device) is a synonym of charge.

23. Lover, one betrayed at end of tale (6)
{ISOLDE} – Another lovely clue. I (one), SOLD (betrayed) and the end of tale, E, is the name of Tristan’s lover in a classic old tale, or Wagner opera. ISOLT, or ISEULT would also be valid spellings. If you read how the story ends, you can see why this clue works so well.

24. Profane office worker faces test (8)
{TEMPORAL} – TEMP (office worker), ORAL (test) is used to describe the secular world i.e. not related to religious affairs.

25. Famous last line in ode’s not bad somehow (3,2,2,3)
{AND SO TO BED} – An anagram of ODES NOT BAD should give you part of the final line of the “Epitaph On The Tomb Of Sir Edward Giles” by Robert Herrick. Correction, as per Giovanni the “famous last line” is a reference to Samuel Pepys who often ended his daily diary entries with this phrase.

26. What could be tricky — to become more friendly (4)
{THAW} – Another anagram, this time of WHAT (could be tricky) is a word that describes the melting of ice, or to become less formal, aloof, or reserved i.e. more friendly.


1. Positions I had set up earlier in gaps (9)
{DISTANCES} – STANCES (positions) preceded by (earlier) ID (I HAD) reversed (set up) is the extent of space between objects or places e.g intervening spaces, or put more simply gaps.

2. Pieces of Greek history that could set English atremble (3,5,7)
{THE ELGIN MARBLES} – An attempt to confuse? Perhaps, the anagram indicator here is not atremble, but could set, and you are looking at an anagram of ENGLISH ATREMBLE, that describes the collection of classical Greek marble sculptures, inscriptions and architectural members that originally belonged to the Parthenon and other buildings on the Acropolis of Athens and are now housed in the British Museum.

3. City that’s dull — it may have got wet after a shower (4,3)
{BATH MAT} – Amusing. Does the setter dislike a certain south west city?
The city in this case is BATH, and you need to add MAT(T) for something you stand on when getting out of the shower or a bath.

4. Keeper with dog on a high spot on Dartmoor? (7)
{CURATOR} – CUR (dog) A TOR (high spot on Dartmoor). Tor is another word to describe hills in the south west. Put together we have a person who is in charge of a museum or art gallery.

5. Plucky group rising up in cells (7)
{GAMETES} – GAME (plucky) plus SET (group) reversed (rising) are cells that can fuse with others in reproduction.

6. Film about area of conflict over the river? (2,3,10)
{ON THE WATERFRONT} – a cryptic definition for a famous film about mob violence and corruption among longshoremen starring Marlon Brando.

7. Nymph gives medic upsetting time (5)
{DRYAD} – Take DR (medic) and add DAY (time) reversed (upsetting) and you have a greek wood nymph.

12. Zeus was ‘er ‘usband a long time (3)
{ERA} – The goddess of women, marriage etc and the wife and sister of Zeus is HERA, drop the aitch, and you are left with a word that describes a lengthy period of time.

15. Colleague, one of two lying (9)
{BEDFELLOW} – A simple cryptic definition of A bedmate or someone who is closely associated or allied with another.

17. You may lack hard support (3)
{TEE} – You is THEE, remove H(ard) and you have the support for a golf ball. I liked this – simple but elegant.

18. Beginning with any number climbing (7)
{NASCENT} – N(umber), ASCENT (climbing), for starting to grow or develop.

19. No. 26 bus? Sadly, it lets in water! (7)
{WASHTUB} – This confused me for a while, what on earth has the Number 26 bus got to do with this clue? What you need is the answer for No. 26 across THAW, and take BUS for an anagram (sadly) for a large tub used for washing clothes.

20. Attempted about nine years ago to get tidied up (7)
{TRIMMED} – I thought this clue was great when I worked it out. TRIED (attempted) around (about) MM (two thousand) i.e. nine years ago. Will give a word that means to make neat or tidy by clipping, smoothing, or pruning.

21. African money carried by revolutionary Rastafarians (5)
{NAIRA} – Armed with checking letters and the fact that this is hidden backwards in the clue, makes this a lot easier than it could be. The african money assuming you don’t know is the basic unit of money in Nigeria.

17 comments on “DT 25965

  1. Saab with car being a (the first a) gives you scarab — a bit naughty at this level of puzzle maybe but I couldn’t resist it!

    1. Giovanni – correct me if I am wrong… but I read your comment to mean:
      is that if you replace the first A of sAab with CAR you get to the answer.

    2. Sorry, Giovanni, but neither the clue nor your explanation means anything to me. If A becomes CAR, then CAR shoud appear twice in the answer, as A does. There is nothing in the clue to suggest that only one A should be replaced by CAR or, if rhat were the case, which one should be.

  2. Nice crossword but I struggled with 13a so thank you for the hint, I think Gazza is correct with 14a, the clue should read ‘barring’.

    1. Bigboab, see above. Giovanni is the setter, and the explanation we think is what we have worked out from Giovanni’s comment. If thats the case, its more of a Toughie clue :-) Which would explain Giovanni’s comment that its naughty but he couldn’t resist it.

  3. Hi Libellule, I for one wished that D had resisted using a Toughie type clue, as many solvers use this crossword to hone their skills prior to moving onto the Toughies, myself for one!. However did like his 8a.

    1. Hi Kram, thanks for the comment. Todays Toughie was a belter. I can only assume Elgar was back at work.

      1. Couldn’t agree more, but some of the clues therein were far easier to solve than 14a.

  4. I don’t want to be picky, but I think a more common reading of 25a would be the last line written eveny night in Samuel Pepys diary. May I also say that I do enjoy reading your daily entries, keep it up.

    1. George, I am aware of the Samuel Pepys reference, and considered it, But it struck me that although the answer is an anagram of ODES NOT BAD, the reference to last line and ode is not a mistake (i.e. I don’t think Giovanni is that sloppy) and would confuse a poet with a diarist. Perhaps he might drop in and let us know for sure. The final line that I think he is referring to is ” And so to bed. Pray wish us all good rest.” What is also interesting are the relevant dates. Robert Herrick – 1591 – 1674, Samuel Pepys 1633 – 1703.

  5. I intended this as a last line in one of Samuel’s diary entries. Never heard of the other one,sorry. Over and out!

    1. Bummer – will correct accordingly. I still think that a reference to Robert Herrick would have been better :-)

  6. I had great fun today getting the top left hand corner all wrong!!!
    1d – diapauses
    8a – accentor
    13a – sprinter

    They all fitted in and the meanings wee correct if not exactly the working out!!!

    Ah well I am a beginner, but I thought my answers were quite good!????

  7. I really enjoyed this – 19d is a clever clue and is my favourite of the day. After a sluggish start I managed to complete quick quickly. My favourite crossword of the week.

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