DT 25997 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
View closed comments 

DT 25997

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 25997

Hints and tips by Tilsit

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty ** Enjoyment ***

The sun beats down on the tropical Calder Valley (Griff Rhys Jones missed us out with his river tour and went across the Pennines via Huddersfield last night!)  and here we go with another week of crossword challenges.  As usual, the Monday Maestro gives us a nice gentle start to the week and I’m pleased that this week we have a more balanced set of clues after last week’s abundance of cryptic definitions.   Today’s workout should give the newer solver a broader introduction into cryptic crossword clues, although the old hand may have seen a few of them before.

Don’t forget you can now rate the puzzle by clicking on the stars at the bottom of the review.  You can also have your say at the end of the blog.  New posters are not automatically added for the first time to prevent spammers causing mayhem.


1a           Surprise opening by the French (7)
{STARTLE}  We commence today with a word-sum.    START (opening) + LE (French) =  a word for surprise.

5a           They took over from the night-shift (7)
{PYJAMAS}  Clever cryptic definition.   A night-shift was the old name for a night shirt, and of course these went out of fashion for men and were replaced by……

9a           State of a student gaining a couple of degrees (7)
{ALABAMA}  Another  word-sum, but this is one many of us will have seen before.  State = definition.  Since the “a” is important to this clue, some purists may argue that “of” should be as well (it’s redundant here).  A L = a student + A + BA / MA (couple of degrees).

10a         Rendered a tune in return for a drink in Spain (7)
{SANGRIA} More word-sums  SANG (Rendered) + RIA (A tune, in return, i.e. reversed)

11a         It is an odd, rather unusual, way to get extras (9)
{ADDITIONS}  An anagram  (shown by “rather unusual”) of IT IS AN ODD reveals a word for extra items.

12a         Chay Blyth’s fourth redesigned boat? (5)
{YACHT}  My favourite clue today.   Very clever and delightful surface reading. An anagram (redesigned) of CHAY + T (Blyth’s fourth letter).

13a         They join the course (5)
{LINKS}  Double definition and a chance to plug one of my favourite programmes.  The “course” part of the clue refers to Golf Links.  A links course, as far as I knew, was one within 40 or 50 miles of the coast, although the world wide wacky web seems to dispute this.  The reason they are so called is that “links” is also a Scottish definition for “relatively flat or undulating sandy turf-covered ground usually along a seashore”.

15a         PM comes out of No Ten for a break (9)
{AFTERNOON} “PM comes out” is the definition, although it is a bit contrived, but we’ll allow it as it’s Monday!  NO TEN FOR A needs to be rearranged (break is the anagram indicator).

17a         Living man has a duty (9)
{INCUMBENT} Double definition.  “Living man” and “with a duty” are both definitions of this.  The “living man” = resident.

19a         Abuse in common parlance (5)
{SLANG} Double definition.  I was always led to believe that double definition clues (as in 17 ac) should be different definitions of the same thing.  Here for me, the two definitions are too similar.

22a         She gets fruit by the pound (5)
{PEARL}  A fruit (PEAR) + an abbreviation for a pound (L) gives a girl’s name that is coming back into fashion.  Here’s a famous one and your earworm for the rest of the day…..

ARVE Error: need id and provider

23a         Trying time for a beginner (9)
{PROBATION}  Cryptic definition for the initial period of employment .

25a         Device that still goes round with part missing (7)
{ROTATOR} I’m not entirely sure this is fair, although it is reasonably clear.  If you take part of the answer (a device that goes round) out , i.e. “AT” you get ROTOR.  One of those that takes things a bit too far for me.

26a         Hide workers’ old money (7)
{TANNERS} Double definition.  “Leather (hide) workers”  and what you used to get in a Christmas pudding.  A sixpence (equivalent to 2.5p)  was nicknamed a tanner because the original  artwork was designed by John Sigismund Tanner

27a         Please make reparation (7)
{SATISFY}  Double definition.  To please someone and to make reparation mean that you…..

28a         Statesmen may wear them with black ties (7)
{TUXEDOS}  Another to make you smile.  There’s a double meaning here, statesmen can also mean the obvious, but also Americans and the tuxedo is an American word for the dinner jacket.


1d           Didn’t miss a thing about East Coast defence (3,4)
{SEA WALL}  If you didn’t miss a thing you  SAW ALL and this goes around E (for East).  The East Coast of Britain is quite famous for its sea walls and/or lack of them when it’s stormy.

2d           A group on leave (7)
{ABANDON}  I propose that Big Dave should set up a Old Hackneyed Clues, Recycled And Published Home  (OH CRAP for short).  Along with ALABAMA, I nominate this one for membership.  It must have been ten days since I last saw it.

3d           Pamphlet followed by pronouncement (5)
{TRACT}  I’m not a fan of homophone clues, because of language variants even within a region of the UK, let alone other parts of the world.  However this works just fine.  A word for a leaflet that sounds the same as a word meaning “followed”.

4d           In a way are able to give further details (9)
{ELABORATE}   An anagram (shown by “in a way”) of ARE ABLE TO will reveal a word meaning to give further details on something.

5d           Works for model employers? (5)
{POSES}  Cryptic definition.  If you worked for someone who employed models, i.e.  fashion houses etc, you could do this.  The question mark in this clue is therefore important, as it’s showing you that the answer might be a bit contentious.

6d           Find Chinese ship’s spars in the scrap dealers’? (9)
{JUNKYARDS}  A nautical clue, and one I had to research for the explanation. “Chinese ship” = JUNK and “spars” = YARDS  (as in Yard-arm).

7d           Book covering part of N Africa (7)
{MOROCCO}  Part of Africa is reasonably obvious, but you may not know that Morocco is a type of leather used in book binding.

This leads us to one of the most famous lines in film…..

ARVE Error: need id and provider

8d           Ancient skill in bridge (7)
{SPARTAN}  Ancient is the definition and it comprises a word for skill (ART) inside a word for bridge (SPAN).

14d         Resembles a slum site perhaps (9)
{SIMULATES}  An anagram of A SLUM SITE.  Does “simulates” mean the same as “resembles”?

16d         Retaliation in kind from tart, fit to burst (3,3,3)
{TIT FOR TAT}  Nudge nudge, wink wink from the telegraph, or a culinary reference.  The jury’s out on that one.  An anagram (burst) of TART FIT TO.

17d         Discloses one thousand shares (7)
{IMPARTS}  Another one for the OH CRAP home.  I M = One thousand + PARTS = a word meaning disclose.

18d         Small bird needs tail bent when in bed (4,3)
{COAL TIT}  Rather harsh treatment for one of our prettier birds.   An anagram (bent) of TAIL inside a word for bed (COT)

20d         Is embraced by a longing for a sweet (7)
{ANISEED}  IS inside (embraced) A NEED.   You can buy aniseed balls, but I thought that aniseed on its own was a plant similar to tarragon and fennel and deemed a herb.

21d         Production of the first book (7)
{GENESIS}      Double definition.  I would have thought “the first book” should have been capitalised to tell you that it was something special.

23d         A lot of politicians do (5)
{PARTY}  “A lot of politicians” and “do” are your two definitions here.

24d         Join a girl and kiss (5)
{ANNEX}  A girl’s name is needed and X for kiss.  The whole word can mean to join or separate.

Incidentally, for those who follow the Quick Crossword, the first two across answers form something when put together.  Look a bit further and see what else comes together……..

24 comments on “DT 25997

  1. Fairly predictable Monday offering, I liked 5a. and, despite the convolutedness of the clue, 15a.

  2. I like you Tilsit cannot see how a reversal needs so much embellishment, however it did not spoil a nice start to the week, loved 15a as it sent me off in the wrong direction.

  3. I thought this was a very enjoyable crossword – perhaps because it was a nice one to ease us into the week.

    I don’t understand your reservations with 15a, which was my favourite clue. I took “PM” to be the definition, the answer coming out of the break (anagram) of “No Ten for a”.

    1. Should there be a full stop after No?

      I was also going to mention (but forgot!) the terrific BBC4 Quiz Only Connect, on this evening at 8:30pm and a variety of other times during the week, including 7pm Saturday.

      It’s a quiz similar to Radio 4’s Round Britain Quiz in that you have to work out connections and links, and can play along. It’s hosted by Victoria Coren who has a nice line in dry one-liners.

      Give it a whirl!

      1. Hi Tilsit, took your advice and watched the show tonight, I really enjoyed it, but wasn’t much good! thank you

  4. It was just right for my morning coffee and although I rather guessed at 3d I did at least learn a new meaning for a familiar word. 13a took me nicely to the first tee!

  5. Thanks Tilsit for your usual very comprehensive blog. Small points: 15 ac. PM, as Vince says, was the definition. 19 ac .the crossword editor queried whether slang=abuse ( think “slanging match”) so he didn’t think they were too similar! He also didn’t like my original clue for 25 ac. “A muscle that turns either way” as he thought a recent clue of mine – “A muscle unaffected by retraction” was too similar and requested another one at short notice! 5d I intended “model employer” to mean an “artist”.
    Apologies for the Oh Crap clues – I don’t seem to have time to solve too many puzzles nowadays and, personally, I haven’t used IMPARTS since 1994 and this was the first time I have used this clue for ABANDON (having used 32 other clues for this word since 1963). Thanks for the comments!

    1. Hey you crossword genius, please continue to keep us solvers enjoying every minute of your reversals etc.

    2. Rufus

      Thank you once again for your explanations.

      Sometimes I think that I, and others, do too many puzzles and forget that for some it will be the first time they have seen a particular clue.! Abandon came up in DT 25980 as “A group working in desert”

  6. I don’t see anything wrong with familiar friends like Alabama popping into crosswords from time-to-time.
    Thought the crossword was slick with one or two delights.
    On another subject – and apologies if it’s already been discussed – but I’ve been reading Pretty Girl in Crimson Rose. Engaging and intriguing, but I still don’t get the Amundsen’s forwarding address and why it is so good… ?

    1. It was one of the late lamented Bunthorne’s incredibly witty clues.

      It’s a cryptic definition, very much in the vein of Rufus’ “Bar of Soap”.

      If Amundsen wanted his huskies to go forward he would have said “Mush!”

  7. I love this blog and follow it regularly – thanks everyone for your contributions. I have never posted anything on her so far but I was just sitting here with my brother having done today’s crossword, putting ourselves into the clue writer’s position of defining words and wondered if there was any “Rate My Clue” type websites for this such game, as we really enjoyed this game. Our best one we think is based on random word picked out of the paper: *****

    1a) Drab, lacks a bit of colour (5)

    We think this is rather good?

    1. On second thoughts, I should have not put the answer in there, please can you remove if you moderate? Thanks, Patricia

  8. Another one of my favourites is by one of the Times setters and requires a bit more thought.

    Bust down reason? (9)


  9. I usually manage most of Monday’s offering but then struggle until Saturday.

    Usually the anagrams get me going but 14d and 16d led me nowhere.

  10. Will’s mention of the splendid book “Pretty Girl in Crimson and Rose” by Sandy Balfour prompts me to mention that Sandy has finally admitted the title came from a Guardian clue of mine (for Rebelled) many years ago. Sorry, I had to tell someone!

    1. Rufus

      I’m glad you made the announcement here! ;-)

      Every time I look at a crossword book on Amazon, tyhey suggest this book – perhaps I might buy it now.

Comments are closed.