DT 25978 – Hints

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 25978 – Hints

Selected hints by Big Dave

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BD Rating – Difficulty ** Enjoyment **

A disappointing crossword with some clues, like 17a and 3d, that are past their sell-by date, some, like 15a and 6d, that just don’t work and others, like 10a and 5d that are not worthy of being in a prize puzzle.  And I haven’t even mentioned the proper nouns as, apart from 5d, they are acceptable.

As is usual for the weekend prize crosswords, I will select a few of the better clues and provide hints for them. Peter Biddlecombe should, by now, have returned from holiday ready to do a full review of this puzzle in time for 12.00 on Thursday, 16th July.

1a Taking part in an oral examination (7)
If you’ve written testing in here, then have a glass of wine (but you don’t have to spit it out!) and think again

10a Sorry, nothing works! (4)
One of those silly words that you use when, for example, you drop something

11a Rocky inlet just starting to enter crossing-place (5)
As designed by Slartybartfast!

15a Only small compartment for its driver (7)
A poor clue for a cheap taxi – and there should have been a “?” at the end

22a Work for one’s bread (5)
What you have to do with the dough when making bread

28a Failure to exercise a right by nurse on shift (3-4)
For “failure” read “person who failed”


1d Bar drunken tramp pinching pair of spectacles (7)
In this bar, drunk indicates an anagram of TRAMP should be put around OO, the pair of spectacles

5d Herbert Ramsay’s middle name? (7)
This man is hidden inside two other names

6d Keep channel circumventing it (4)
Read this as channel circumventing the keep and you should find it easier –this clue like I did not, with it’s flavour of the bad old Sunday puzzles

7d How sir gains advancement on board? (7,8)
Was Tennyson writing about a game of chess?

17d Gags owl fluttering over large built-up area (7)
… in Scotland, on the Clyde

25d Protein coming from Zambia, East Indies and Norway (4)
Combine the codes for these three places to get protein found in maize (East Indies is an area, not a country, so it does not have an IVR code but Chambers  recognises the rather obvious abbreviation)

If you are stuck on any others, ask and I will see what I can do.  The only thing I ask is that you don’t put answers, or part answers, in you comment.



  1. Kram
    Posted July 11, 2009 at 4:19 pm | Permalink

    Found your ‘Mine’ sadly lacking for 17a Dave!, but loved using my new Chambers on line for confirmation of my solutions to such as 12a. Did however find it impossible to select a best clue.

    • Posted July 11, 2009 at 4:23 pm | Permalink


      It won’t be long before you are wondering how you managed without.

      • Kram
        Posted July 11, 2009 at 4:48 pm | Permalink

        I refer to the musical terms therein Dave!

        • Posted July 11, 2009 at 5:17 pm | Permalink

          Perhaps I should add an entry for underwear!

          • Kram
            Posted July 11, 2009 at 5:36 pm | Permalink

            Clue refered to a musical minimum, so of course I went to the Mine, oop’s silly me!

  2. Little Dave
    Posted July 11, 2009 at 4:28 pm | Permalink

    This was a disappointing one for me and I agree that 3d and 17a have appeared far too often. This was really too simple the only new thing for me being 27a – I never did excel at chemistry. I would grade this as a 4/10 – a tad generous maybe?

    • Posted July 11, 2009 at 4:31 pm | Permalink

      27a is the alternative name for Tungsten, from which the chemical symbol W is derived.

  3. Paul
    Posted July 11, 2009 at 5:59 pm | Permalink

    The clue to 28a can properly be read as ‘failure’ in the ordinary sense, so long as the light is read in rather archaic legalese.

    But whether it is taken this way round or your way, it isn’t a clue I am very happy with, as it needs an odd reading of something somewhere.

    • gazza
      Posted July 11, 2009 at 6:47 pm | Permalink

      Hi Paul and welcome to the site.

  4. Dr Mark
    Posted July 11, 2009 at 6:19 pm | Permalink

    Please help with 7d. I’ve got half of it, but I can’t think what the second word is…..

    • gazza
      Posted July 11, 2009 at 6:53 pm | Permalink

      Dr Mark
      ..a synonym for advancement or headway.

  5. tilsit
    Posted July 12, 2009 at 1:36 am | Permalink

    Agree with the general consensus. Not a brilliant puzzle, and a shame after the last couple of weeks.

  6. wint
    Posted July 12, 2009 at 7:47 am | Permalink

    Hi – DT 25978 – Sir is not my problem, but the second half of 7d has me foxed. Can you assist ?

    • gazza
      Posted July 12, 2009 at 8:06 am | Permalink

      Hi wint and welcome to the site.
      Think of Bunyan’s Pilgrim.

    • Posted July 12, 2009 at 9:55 am | Permalink

      I’ve added a hint for this rather obscure reference – just click on the picture!

  7. Michael
    Posted July 12, 2009 at 8:42 pm | Permalink

    A poor effort. I got 12a and 25d without knowing the words, looked them up in a dictionary, and 7d without knowing the work, had to google it to check. I have still not done 23a even though I have the 2nd and last letters – how about a hint? There is an obvious word that fits, and it starts with an O, but I cant see any connection to the clue.

    • Posted July 12, 2009 at 10:15 pm | Permalink


      It’s probablty not the word you are thinking of!

      The O, for zero, does come first and the rest of it is an interjection similar to wow. Put them together and you get an S-shaped curve used in arcitecture.

  8. petergh
    Posted July 13, 2009 at 2:05 pm | Permalink

    Nearly there but struggling with 11a as i have j as the second letter??????

    • Posted July 13, 2009 at 2:15 pm | Permalink


      Welcome to the blog.

      You are correct in what you have. Slartybartfast, a character in The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, designed Norways coastline!

  9. Libellule
    Posted July 13, 2009 at 2:13 pm | Permalink

    The J is correct (J)ust starting… Think of a Norwegian name for a rocky inlet from the sea…..

    • Posted July 13, 2009 at 8:05 pm | Permalink

      Thanks – I was looking for a vowel to precede the J !!!

  10. Andy Wight
    Posted July 14, 2009 at 6:40 pm | Permalink

    Dave I agree about your comments – disappointing but for a beginner like me a chance to get some easy ones! The one bugging me the most is the 9a picture book theory – presumably an anagram of some of these words? I have P—–U-R-A-I– so far. A wee clue would be nice if you would? Thanks andy

    • Posted July 14, 2009 at 7:13 pm | Permalink

      Welcome to the blog Andy

      I have emailed with a rather cumbersome hint.