DT 25794

Daily Telegraph Cryptic 25794 – 8 Dec 08

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Some slightly odd clues today, some of which I don’t understand. And some I’m not sure about – so you and I might be in the same boat. (In fact, that would be a good solution wouldn’t it? ‘In the same boat’ (2,3,4,4) – what would the clue be? Do leave a suggestion.)

So let’s start with the Across clues and we’ll try and note some common crossword techniques and conventions as we go.


1. After drink, extremely lazy and fat (6)

It has a strong ‘surface’ reading and can make you think the answer will be something to do with alcohol – like an aperitif. But don’t be confused! The answer will mean ‘fat’. Can you think of a six letter word for ‘fat’. Obese is 5. How about ‘portly’. Aha – After drink (port) extremely lazy (ly). The ‘extremely’ there means you take the extremes of the word, so lazy = ly. Portly.

4. Fool raced around, considerably vexed (8)

Again, don’t get confused by the overall meaning of the clue. The answer will either mean ‘fool’ or ‘vexed’. I’m not sure there are many eight-letter words for fool (okay, so there’s peabrain, goofball and imbecile), but it can be ‘ass’, which is a useful building word in crosswords. Vexed? Harassaed? Ah. Har-ass-ed. Ass is surrounded by the word ‘hared’, which means raced. So ‘Raced around’ means ‘hared’ goes round ‘ass’ = harassed. Have I made that seem complicated? Probably.

9. At university go for a result (6)

I’m not a 100% on this one. ‘At university’ often is ‘up’ (as in the opposite of being send ‘down’.) A result is ‘upshot’ but ‘go for’ doesn’t mean ‘shot’ to me. Could be wrong – about that, or the answer. I can’t get 3 down either, which doesn’t help. But I do have 2 Down – see below.

I don’t know 10 Across. Sorry. Ran out of time. And let’s move a bit faster on the rest of these.

12. One who can’t even put a washer on a faulty tap? (4)

It’s a ‘drip’. One who can’t is a drip, as is a leaky tap.

13 Across is probably moose, which is an elk, but why that means ‘lower quarters’.

14. One who leads on a sheriff (4)

I’m not loving this clue either. One who leads is a ‘star’ (as in a nativity sense, I presume – or a famous person?). And a sheriff wears a ‘star’ – at least he does in films and cartoons.

17. Bows and scrapes to obtain indications of approval (12)

I think this is an error. The answer is, and must be, fiddlesticks. Which is an expression of disapproval. So I’m not sure what’s happening there.

20. Son is against being involved in secret trysts (12)

‘Being involved’ could indicate anagram. Son is against = assignations.

23. The top copy required and ten more (4)

I like this clue a lot. It actually means ‘the top’. As soon as you realise that, and think of ‘apex’, you realise that ape=copy and ten is ‘X’. Ape-x.

24. Well salted (4)

Also a pleasing clue. It’s a double meaning. Cured.

25. An almost perfect concept (4)

Ideal, but almost = idea.

The rest of the across clues were a bit of a mystery to me. 28 Across is probably ‘thinking’ but I don’t know why. 29 is probably ‘Gemini’, but maybe not. 30 Across must be ‘bulls-eye’, which is a sweet that they eat in fifties children’s books. Why is that ‘a light sweet’? Do leave a comment if you know. And 31 across is still a mystery.

Down solutions

1. Plum-duff – fruit = plum, no good = duff.

2. Confusion often denotes anagram. Discerns rearranged spells rescinds.

5. Slight groaner, this, and I’m still not sure it works. Admission Fee.

7. Reason for raising money in state (7)

Sanity, which is ‘reason’. Raising, means, spell upwards (in a down clue). Money is ‘tin’ in old slang. (I just learned that) And state is ‘say’. So raising money in state is ‘sa-nit-y’.

8. Leave behind waste (6)

Double meaning. Leave behind = desert = waste.

11. Constituency.

15. Close. (nice clue. The end = close. It is nigh = close)

16. Skate. (I’d like to see someone get across ice on anything else)

21. Worker goes in taxi from Cambridge (6)

‘Goes in’ implies we’re putting one word inside another. A worker is often an ‘ant’. (As in worker ant. It can also be a bee, who have workers). A taxi is a cab. So C-ant-ab. Cantab.

22. Upset almost always means anagram. Daniel  spells ‘Denial’ = rejection.

26. Fresh is also indicating anagram here. Seek spells ‘ekes’. To me, ekes does not mean increases, but apparently it does here.

18 & 19 have eluded me. They might be ‘pond-life’ and ‘escapism’, but I can’t be sure of either. Ignore me. No idea on 27 down either. It’s probably a girl’s name. And clergyman is often ‘rev’. Upsets would suggest anagram.


  1. Sometimes when people value antique coins, damage is referred to as ‘ticks’ or ‘scrapes’, so there’s 17A.

    by Simon December 8, 2008 at 2:41 pm

  2. Thin King.

    Bother, I’m posting before reading. Sorry, just ignore me.

    by Simon December 8, 2008 at 2:47 pm

  3. Leon will turn up for Christmas (noel).

    by Simon December 8, 2008 at 2:58 pm

  4. 19 Down: Escaping — teaching me that ‘g’ means gravity.

    by Simon December 8, 2008 at 3:17 pm

  5. Strewth, I do believe I’ve finished it. ‘A gin’ in backwards ‘semi’ gives you ‘imagines’ for 10A.

    by Simon December 8, 2008 at 3:42 pm

  6. 17 Across – “Bows and Scrapes” = FIDDLES

    “Indications of Approval” = TICKS

    Therefore Fiddlesticks. Agree it’s not the most wholesome clue, though…

    by Jarrel December 9, 2008 at 9:20 am

  7. 28 Across: Sovereign = KING; Under Weight = THIN. Therefore THINKING (also means ‘considering’)

    29 Across: Twins in oranGE MINI-skirts. Hence GEMINI.

    30 Across: Apparently a bulls-eye is a type of window on old houses. I had to look this one up!

    31 Across: BAD EGG. This is a double-straight clue. Unsavoury, and scoundrel.

    26 Down: EKES, as in ‘he ekes out’ something.

    18 Down: POND LIFE. Mere = pond or lake. Existence = life.

    27 Down: VERA. A rev, spelled backwards.

    by Jarrel December 9, 2008 at 9:27 am

Reproduced from the Crossword Ends in Violence site by kind permission of James Cary


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