DT 25999

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 25999

Hints and tips by Big Dave

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BD Rating – Difficulty ** Enjoyment ***

This enjoyable puzzle is only spoilt a little by the dodgy anagram indicators.

You can add your assessment by selecting from one to five stars at the bottom of the post.

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8a It’s tedious outside for example (7)
{ANAGRAM} – outside is one of tedious, and vice versa

10a I retain control through lack of any motion (7)
{INERTIA} – control is meant to tell you that an anagram of I RETAIN will give you a word meaning lack of any motion – the return of the dodgy anagram indicator (I thought it was Wednesday today, not Thursday)!

11a Object to what a kidnapper might do (4,5)
{TAKE ISSUE} – a double definition – on the one hand it is a synonym for “to object to” and on the other it is a cryptic definition of to take a child or children, as a kidnapper might do

12a A hermit is one protected by both sides (5)
{LONER} – this hermit comes from ONE inside L(eft) and R(ight) (protected by both sides)

13a The Prince of Darkness came back experienced (5)
{LIVED} – the DEVIL (Prince of Darkness) returned (came back) to give a word meaning experienced

14a Overwhelm with papers after work (7)
{OPPRESS} – good surface reading in which a synonym for overwhelm comes from putting PRESS (papers) after OP (opus / work)

17a Male transported for work as a grinder (6,3,6)
{MORTAR AND PESTLE} – a good anagram of MALE TRANSPORTED is slightly spoilt by being indicated by “for work” to get this grinder, which is much used in Big Dave’s Kitchen – would “to work on a grinder” be better – what do you think?

19a Found out about range regularly dropped in guide (7)
{LEARNED} – a word meaning found out is derived by putting (dropped) RaNgE (range regularly / the odd letters of range) inside LEAD (guide)
a word meaning found out is derived by putting  RaNgE (range regularly dropped / the even letters of range omitted) inside LEAD (guide) – thanks Vince

21a Made a mistake and listened to EastEnders (5)
{ERRED} – a word meaning made a mistake sounds like (listened) (h)eard if you drop the aitch (as Cockneys in the East End of London might do)

24a South American greeting eastern dish (5)
{SUSHI} – a charade of S(outh) US (American) and HI (greeting) gives a Japanese dish of small cakes of cold vinegared rice topped with fish, vegetables, egg, etc. (eastern dish)

26a Characteristic and traditional European label (9)
{TRADEMARK} – this characteristic is a charade of TRAD(itional) E(uropean) and MARK (label)

27a Silly mode of expression cut short by nervous reaction (7)
{IDIOTIC} – a synonym for silly comes from IDIO(M) (mode of expression) without the M (cut short) followed by TIC (nervous reaction)

28a Musician arranging picnic outside centre court (7)
{PUCCINI} – this musician is the composer of Madam Butterfly and Turandot, among others, and is built from an anagram (arranging) of PICNIC around (outside) U (the centre of coUrt)

I have included this video because I know how much Tilsit likes Pol Pot (sorry Paul Potts)!


1d The sort of colour that’s beyond the Spanish (6)
{PASTEL} – this sort of colour is a charade of PAST (beyond) and EL (the, Spanish)

2d An easy win makes you cross (4,4)
{WALK OVER} – this easy win is cryptically defines as crossing a road – it reminded me of those American signs

3d Cause of diminishing intelligence (5,5)
{BRAIN DRAIN} – a cryptic definition of the continuing loss of citizens of high intelligence and creativity through emigration

4d Ways to raise odds, unusually (9)
{SIDEROADS} – these ways are an anagram (unusually) of RAISE ODDS

5d One of many in prison for battery (4)
{CELL} – a reasonably straightforward double definition

6d Posture for example, dropping in (6)
{STANCE} – to get this posture, take (IN)STANCE (for example) and drop the IN

7d The French welcome a bad-tempered game (8)
{LACROSSE} – I liked the surface reading – LE (the, French) around A CROSS (a bad-tempered) giving a game

9d Mother ship in service (4)
{MASS} – combine MA (mother) and SS (Steam Ship) to get a church service

15d Priority for coppers admitting breaking creed (10)
{PRECEDENCE} – a synonym for priority is derived from PENCE (coppers, as in coins) around (admitting) an anagram (breaking) of CREED

16d Standard by which to judge American garden staff (9)
{YARDSTICK} – a standard by which other things are judged is a charade of YARD (American garden) and STICK (staff)

17d Endlessly bother relations for material (8)
{MOLESKIN} – drop the S (endlessly) from MOLES(T) (bother) and add KIN (relations) to get this material, mainly used for making trousers and nothing to do with moles!

18d Animal quietly lying in ground (8)
{TERRAPIN} – this animal is derived by putting P (piano / quietly) insaide TERRAIN (ground) – one of Tilsit’s Oh! Crap clues (see DT 25997), unless you haven’t seen it before

Reptile quietly moving into stretch of land (8) – ST 2485
Aquatic creature softly goes into ground (8) – DT 25901

20d Doctor is able to provide a rapid climb down (6)
{ABSEIL} – doctor tells you that an anagram of IS ABLE gives a rapid climb down

22d Two little children turned up an animal from Africa (3-3)
{DIK-DIK} – KID KID (two little children) need to be reversed (turned up – yes, you’ve got it, it’s a down clue) to get this animal from Africa

23d Start doubting a parliamentarian is wet (4)
{DAMP} – D (start of Doubting) and A MP (a parliamentarian) give a synonym for wet

25d One volunteers to accept nothing but a tiny bit (4)
{IOTA} – I (one) and TA (Territorial Army / volunteers) are to be put around (to accept) O (nothing) for a tiny bit

According to Tim Moorey (in his book “How to Master The Times Crossword), master solver John Sykes reckoned that you should always start a puzzle in the bottom right hand corner as the setter, having written the clues in order from 1 across, is tired by the time the bottom of the grid is reached!

Your comments are welcome, and don’t forget to add your assessment of this puzzle.


  1. pritchard
    Posted August 5, 2009 at 11:11 am | Permalink | Reply

    Dear Dave
    Thanks for your blog – it is very useful.

    1a – due to the letters I guessed the answer but cannot understand where it comes from – even with your comment. Can you please explain it for a complete dimwit?


    • Posted August 5, 2009 at 11:32 am | Permalink | Reply

      pritchard welcome to the blog.

      Assuming that you are referring to 11 across, I have updated the hint.

      • pritchard
        Posted August 5, 2009 at 11:44 am | Permalink | Reply

        Thanks Dave but, just to confirm I am a dimwit, I was actually meant to be referring to 8a (the first accross clue – about it being tedious).

        All the other clues I got without any problem.

        Thanks and sorry for the mistake.

        • Posted August 5, 2009 at 11:46 am | Permalink | Reply

          TEDIOUS is an ANAGRAM of OUTSIDE!

          • pritchard
            Posted August 5, 2009 at 11:49 am | Permalink | Reply

            Thanks – I said I was a dimwit!

        • Libellule
          Posted August 5, 2009 at 11:49 am | Permalink | Reply

          Tedious is an anagram of outside and vice versa… hope that clears up any doubt.

  2. Vince
    Posted August 5, 2009 at 11:20 am | Permalink | Reply

    Big Dave, I think you’re mistaken with your explanation of 19a. “range regularly dropped” means that the regular (even numbered letters) are to be dropped, leaving RNE, which are the odd numbered letters.

    You seem to have a thing about anagram indicators. I found today’s acceptable.

    • Posted August 5, 2009 at 11:29 am | Permalink | Reply


      Thanks, once again. I did this puzzle at midnight, and it shows!

      The trouble with “regularly” is that it can mean even numbered or odd numbered letters. If you look at Fern-owls itch regularly in play (6) from T 112 it is the odd letters that are required here.

      • Vince
        Posted August 5, 2009 at 11:48 am | Permalink | Reply

        I see what you mean in your T112 example. I think the setter should be challenged about that. I’ve always understood “evenly” to me an the even letters and “oddly” the odd letters. It’s too ambiguous, if “regularly” can mean either.

        • Posted August 5, 2009 at 11:55 am | Permalink | Reply

          It may well be ambiguous, but it would be very unusual for both to give something sensible at the same time so I am happy with it.

    • Posted August 5, 2009 at 12:29 pm | Permalink | Reply

      It’s a pity – I quite liked “dropped in” as an insertion indicator!

      • Will
        Posted August 5, 2009 at 1:48 pm | Permalink | Reply

        I read it as take every other letter dropped into guide. Either reading works for me.
        11a and 7d both very good.

  3. Lizwhiz
    Posted August 5, 2009 at 12:19 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Enjoyed it even if it was easy. Loved 11a and 16d. Must go and grab some of that lovely sunshine ;)

  4. bigboab
    Posted August 5, 2009 at 1:44 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Enjoyable if a bit easy again, quite liked 11a.

  5. Will
    Posted August 5, 2009 at 1:50 pm | Permalink | Reply

    On the Clued Up leaderboards, do you think anyone can really complete in two and a bit minutes?

    • Libellule
      Posted August 5, 2009 at 1:55 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Puzzle_Tester can :-)

    • Posted August 5, 2009 at 1:58 pm | Permalink | Reply


      It is too easy to cheat on CluedUp – you can do it in the paper or crib it from this site and then key it in at breakneck speed. I only take notice of the entries before 8.00 am as a guide to difficulty.

      BTW Ignore the fastest time on the Crossword Puzzles page. Following a long run of careless errors on the site, someone who goes under the name of puzzle_tester checks out every new puzzle in the early hours. He used to appear on the Leaderboard, but that has changed. The administrators of the site seem to lack the competence to remove him completely which means that the fastest time is a complete waste of time.

      • Will
        Posted August 5, 2009 at 2:07 pm | Permalink | Reply

        I was having that feeling I get sometimes out running when a proper athlete goes flying past.
        Have you read the book, Outliers? It looks at what makes for success and one of its findings is that anyone world class has had to put in 10,000 hours practice (and have some talent). It would take dedication – and an increasingly large supply of crosswords as one improved – to get to that figure on crosswords!

        • gazza
          Posted August 5, 2009 at 2:44 pm | Permalink | Reply

          One way to improve is to write reviews! You can’t just guess an answer, write it in and move on; you have to work out, or at least try to work out, the wordplay on each clue, and this is a wonderful discipline to increase your capability.

      • nanaglugglug
        Posted August 5, 2009 at 4:26 pm | Permalink | Reply

        I OBJECT!!!! I don’t think its cheating to do it in the paper first – we’ve taken the Telegraph for the last 15 years and have been doing the crosswords for almost as long!! Being able to do it at leisure and then, as you say, keying it in at breakneck speed, only adds to the fun!! I just wonder about the people who can get thousands of points in one day – do they have nothing else to do? Anyway, enjoyed todays puzzle!

      • nanaglugglug
        Posted August 5, 2009 at 4:28 pm | Permalink | Reply

        Meant to add ‘Bah Humbug’

    • Posted August 5, 2009 at 2:02 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Before you ask, the only way to tell if an entry is made before 8.00 am is to look at the Leaderboard at that time.

      • Kram
        Posted August 5, 2009 at 2:42 pm | Permalink | Reply

        Sorry I tend to ignore the leaderboard in Cluedup as it has you slipping from 34th to 36th, this must be an error. Switching the subject what gourmet cryptic crossword will the Telegraph serve us up with tomorrow their 26 thousand cryptic, the mouth waters in anticipation!.

        • Posted August 5, 2009 at 2:48 pm | Permalink | Reply

          That’s because I don’t get time to do all the sudokus and quick crosswords like I used to.

        • Libellule
          Posted August 5, 2009 at 2:49 pm | Permalink | Reply

          At least Big Dave is on the leaderboard… I have been exiled.

          • Posted August 5, 2009 at 3:07 pm | Permalink | Reply

            … for having an advert as a username!

            • Libellule
              Posted August 5, 2009 at 3:12 pm | Permalink | Reply

              It wasn’t an advert specifically – it just happened to be the name of a friends company. Looks like somone who “guards” clued up was a bit miffed that this kept appearing on the main page, and then one day – I just disappeared. The account continues to work as normal, but I have been erased from the great CluedUp leaderboard in the sky :-)

  6. Michael
    Posted August 5, 2009 at 3:12 pm | Permalink | Reply

    i liked 11a best. 19a was too hard for me. Dodgy physics in 10a but not a problem as the word is often misused in common speech.

  7. mary
    Posted August 5, 2009 at 5:00 pm | Permalink | Reply

    I just don’t know, somedays I think I am making progress and along comes what seems to everyone else an easy one and I get into a real mess with it! days like this i feel i should go back to doing the crosswords in the Sun!!!! :(

    • Michael
      Posted August 5, 2009 at 6:36 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Stick with it Mary. People are generally more willing to post a comment that they found it easy than if they struggled with it! I am sure that you are not alone. This site can help a lot.

      • mary
        Posted August 5, 2009 at 8:15 pm | Permalink | Reply

        thanks appreciate the encouragement as you say everyone is really helpful

  8. NathanJ
    Posted August 6, 2009 at 4:39 am | Permalink | Reply

    Hi all

    I really enjoyed this puzzle but I am not enjoying 26,000. It’s terrible! I have spent 90 minutes on it and I have only solved four clues! If I can’t solve another clue within the next 15 minutes I am going to rip it up and throw it in the bin. What a waste of my time.

    • mary
      Posted August 6, 2009 at 9:20 am | Permalink | Reply

      sorry but what is 26,000.????

      • Will
        Posted August 6, 2009 at 9:24 am | Permalink | Reply

        Today’s crossword. I’ve had a quick look and it looks tricky.

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