DT 25985 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 25985

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 25985

Hints and tips by Big Dave

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BD Rating – Difficulty *** Enjoyment ***

This morning I received an email from Facebook saying that someone had added me as a friend.  Those familiar with the site will know that this is frequently the equivalent of email spam, but the name looked familiar so I followed the link rather than binning the email.  The result of this is that I am lunching tomorrow with a friend from University that I haven’t seen for 44 years.  I have added his website, gastropods.com, to the links in the sidebar.  Why am I telling you all – well I immediately contacted Tilsit to see if he could cover for me on tomorrow’s Toughie.  The result is that I am doing today’s contribution from the Monday Maestro, and Tilsit will be with you tomorrow.

Those of you who are used to speeding through the Monday puzzle were probably flashed by the Gatso crossword camera today (your ticket will be in the post)!  While not difficult, this was definitely harder than most previous weeks.


1a Punctuation mark perhaps too freely used (10)
{APOSTROPHE} – one of the few punctuation marks that was not covered in last Friday’s Toughie, this one is an anagram (freely used) of PERHAPS TOO

9a Yes, truly an aspiration (4)
{YEAH} – a synonym for yes that comes from YEA (truly) and H (an aspiration) – I didn’t like this one, I wondered whether it was YE + A + H, but neither way really works for me: if you know better, then leave a comment

10a Uttered in a death rattle (10)
{DEMORALISE} – my clue-of-the-day – ORAL (uttered) inside DEMISE (a death) to give a word meaning to rattle

11a It has the edge in rural gatherings (6)
{REAPER} – a cryptic definition of a tool used for gathering grain – one of the last answers that I filled in, and certainly not my favourite

12a Create trend (7)
{FASHION} – an excellent double definition

15a Staff dance centre (7)
{MAYPOLE} – a staff that you dance around on May Day

16a Become entangled with a writer of music (5)
{RAVEL} – a double definition that is a cue for some music!

ARVE Error: need id and provider

17a What divides the church, say, in Ireland, perhaps (4)
{ISLE} – sounds like (say) aisle (what divides the church)

18a A natural aptitude is present (4)
{GIFT} – another well-worded double definition

19a Plants I’d removed from state (5)
{FLORA} – this generic name for all plants is derived by removing ID (I’d removed) from FLOR(ID)A (state)

21a They attack the copper with acid (7)
{ETCHERS} – a cryptic definition that is obvious when you see it, and not if you don’t!

22a Figure of eight (7)
{OCTAGON} – another cryptic definition

24a Put little work into bad choice (6)
{OPTION} – OP (little work) followed by an anagram (bad) of INTO gives a choice

27a Printer is kind to a crossword compiler (10)
{TYPESETTER} – those of you who did Toughie 180 probably wrote this one in immediately – same definition, different wordplay; TYPE (kind) and SETTER (crossword compiler)

28a Gallery idols (4)
{GODS} – a double definition – the Gods are the upper circle in many theatres, particularly the older ones

29a Tasty dish, or picture of one? (10)
{CHEESECAKE} – another double definition


2d Turn pale — possibly being guilty (4)
{PLEA} – turn indicates that an anagram of PALE leads possibly to guilty

3d Stop and have a drink (6)
{SCOTCH} – a synonym for to stop and BigBoab’s favourite drink form this double definition

4d Letter from America? (7)
{REALTOR} – a cryptic definition of this American estate agent

5d Quiet, on edge and rather demure (4)
{PRIM} – P (quiet) and RIM (edge) combine to give a word meaning rather demure

6d Learnt the third movement with lasting result (7)
{ETERNAL} – cleverly worded, this is an anagram of LEARNT and E (third letter of thE) and the result is a word meaning lasting

7d Order one still refuses to obey (4,6)
{KEEP MOVING} – a cryptic definition that, once again, is easy when you know how

8d Prince not getting up for a dance (10)
{CHARLESTON} – a charade of Prince CHARLES and NOT reversed (getting up – down-clue only territory once more) give this dance craze of the Twenties

12d Not too dark? Agreed (4,6)
{FAIR ENOUGH} – an amusing double definition

13d Concern about being in charge in isolation (10)
{SOLICITUDE} – a word meaning concern about comes from IC (in charge) inside SOLITUDE (isolation) – looks at first as if it should be a word meaning concern around In Charge

14d They are driven to join things (5)
{NAILS} – a cryptic definition of theses pieces of metal

15d Transport in Paris or Rome, perhaps, around the West End (5)
{METRO} – the Paris Underground system comes from an anagram (perhaps) of ROME around T (the wesT end)

19d With foreign money about it turns wild with excitement (7)
{FRANTIC} – take a FRANC and put it around it reversed (turns) to get a synonym for wild with excitement

20d Current charges for what a solicitor does (7)
{ACCOSTS} – a charade of AC (Alternating Current} and COSTS (charges) give what a solicitor does

23d Sign of nerves following car smash in the North (6)
{ARCTIC} – put TIC (a sign of nerves) after an anagram (smash) of CAR to get this region in the North

25d Primate embraces son in part of church (4)
{APSE} – simply put APE around S(on) to get this part of a church

26d Dress smartly, having four suits (4)
{DECK} – the second part of this double definition is another word for a pack of cards

As has been said before, if you are new to cryptic crosswords there are few places better to start than with our Monday Maestro.

40 comments on “DT 25985

  1. Not my favourite crossword. Thought 21a and 22a were definitions rather than cryptic!

    1. Hi Liz

      To be fair, there is attempted misdirection in 21 across, it’s just that having realised what the answer is you always read it that way.

      I agree about the other one – it was difficult to provide a useful hint, so I didn’t!

  2. I enjoyed this one. A good challenge and some really nice clues.

    Liked 2 and 10 across, as well as 13 and15 down.

    See you all tomorrow……

  3. Not too sure about this one, 9a, 21a, 22a were only just cryptic clues. However in the general context of Monday Telegraph puzzles it was much better and generally enjoyable. 10a took me far longer than it should have done (i.e. that was the last one I had left and I could not work it out :-)) When I did I had to appreciate it. Best clue in the crossword for me.

  4. What a lovely Monday crossword, all except clues 21 and 22a for the same reasons as mentioned above, also not sure how 29a totally works. 10a has to be the best of the bunch, especially when solved at the close of play at Lords!.

    1. Kram, from Chambers:
      cheeseˈcake cheesecake cheesecakes
      noun a kind of cake having a base of pastry or biscuit crumbs, with a filling of cream cheese, sugar, eggs, flavouring, etc
      women with sex appeal, esp when pictured erotically or pornographically in magazines, etc (slang; cf beefcake)

      Have seen this “one” before. First time I saw a similar clue, I wondered about it too.

      1. Merci Libellule,my fault should have gone into my Chambers on line!.However forget cheesecake, those fraise du bois,jelly and cream encased in paté sucre at this time of year over there,oooooh! to die for!.

        1. Kram, Je vous suis content d’aider – pas probleme, et oui bien sur, tous les patissieres a beaucoup de chose tres savoureuse a ce moment.

          1. Hi Libellule,

            Have you lived in France long? Sorry to correct you, but it should be ‘Je suis content de vous aider – pas de problème – et oui, bien sûr, tous les pâtissiers ont beaucoup de choses très savoureuses en ce moment!’

            1. Not long enough obviously. But seriously, no, am still taking lessons, but I especially struggle when writing it….. come back Miles Kington. :-)

              1. It helps if you have a French keyboard. When I’m not compiling I teach English to French broadcasters and journalists and I learn quite a lot from them. Even after ten years in Paris, I still have to think before writing, though!

                1. To heck with the translation, the French still have the most ‘to die for’ pastries at this time of year!.29a has a lot to answer for!. Enjoy one for us all Libellule!.

                2. Ray, You have been here much much longer than I have, I’m still new. But I am prepared to try and speak and communicate in French, even if I mess it up. Hopefully I can manage to make myself at least understood :-) However in France profonde, you do have to speak it. Trying to speak English does not work at all. An Azerty keyboard isn’t going to work, based on what I do for a living. Writing software in “French” isn’t my idea of fun.

                  1. Libellule, you’re quite right. The most important thing is to communicate, even if you make mistakes. Regarding cheesecake… Since M&S, in their infinite wisdom, decided to close their food departments over here, it’s very difficult to find!

                    1. Ray – Try making your own. My wife does brilliant fresh raspberry cheesecakes. The recipe is yours if you want it.

                1. Didn’t mean you Libellule, Ray T, he is probably one of the people that expect the French to speak English to him, you should écrivey comme vous voules! ,and well done for trying, and with that bad translation I bring 29a to a close!.

                  1. Kram, Just to keep this thread going, because Tilsit will be very upset not to have reviewed this one (look at all those comments!) – You do know that Ray T. was the setter don’t you?

                    1. Not of this one – this is Rufus.

                      Ray is sometimes on a Tuesday or Wednesday.

                    2. Libellule,

                      Sorry, but it’s not one of mine!


                      I most certainly do not expect the French to speak English to me but I do expect people who come to live here to learn the language, as Libellule is doing. What’s your view on people coming to live in England without learning the language?

                    3. Ray – my effusive apologies, its not often we get a setter commentating on someone else’s puzzle. I just “assumed” it was one of yours.

                    4. oooop’s no I didn’t, but more shame on him for not recognising all the time and effort that you,Big Dave,Tilsit,PeteB, and Gazza put into this site, helping us to understand the why’s and wherefores in the workings of the crosswords.I react rather angrily when aspersions are directed at any of you.l,

              1. Dave,

                Whats the best number of comments we have had on a puzzle so far? Just curious.

                    1. Dave,

                      Thanks for putting Kram straight. I can of course only speak for myself, but the reviews and feedback are much appreciated.


                      Absolutely no apologies necessary for thinking that it was one of mine! I cut my teeth on ‘Rufus’s’ crosswords when I first began solving.

  5. can someone please explain 4d to me, I did get it but I don’t really understand it, am i totally thick!!? :(

    1. Re 4d. The American word for a letter, i.e. someone who lets or leases property, is a realtor. Some who deals in real estate I suspect.

      1. Gill

        Welcome to the blog.

        I should have mentioned that the answers are inside the curly brackets, just select the space in between to reveal them.

    2. I guess I didn’t explain this one very well – I thought it was now a familiar term due to the extended diet of US television.

  6. 3d undid me. I put in SQUASH and so of course 10a was tricky… I find that if I’m doing the puzzle in the morning my mind is happy to retrack and go in a different direction. At night, watching the highlights of Freddie roaring in, it is less so.

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