DT Cryptic No 25856

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 25856

Today’s hints and tips by Gazza

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BD Rating – Difficulty *** Enjoyment ***

Last weeks contribution from Gazza was very favourably received, so he’s agreed to do it again.  Don’t forget that Peter Biddlecombe’s review of last Saturday’s DT No 25852 is scheduled to be published at noon today.  BD

Today’s effort is fairly straightforward with nothing too challenging, but there is one nice pun at 11 across.

Across Clues

1a  Funds set aside for bridges in case of wait (3,5)
Bridges here are ARCHES inside the outer two letters (in case) of WaiT to form a sum of money built up (funds set aside) for military engagements.

9a  Sweet individual heard to cry (3,5)
A cold confection (sweet) that sounds like somebody saying (individual heard to cry) “I scream”.

10a  A volume that’s reduced just a tiny bit (4)
A volume here is A TOME which has its last letter snipped off (reduced) to produce the smallest particle of a chemical element that can exist (just a tiny bit).

11a  Royal Mail employees can become scholars (3,2,7)
MEN OF LETTERS meaning scholars – a punning description of Royal Mail employees (or at least those who are not female!).

13a  Lady whose innumerable losses initially disappeared (8 )
This is the wife or widow (lady) of a count or earl, constructed from countless (innumerable) with the L (first letter of losses) removed (disappeared).

15a  A good finish to a schedule (6)
This is a pretty mundane clue. String together A then G (for good) then END (finish) then another A to form a word meaning schedule.

16a  Acceptable supplement to workers’ fare (4)
Workers are MEN and this is followed (supplement) by U (socially acceptable) to form a (bill of) fare.

17a  Swear that sulphur is included in the remedy (5)
If you didn’t know that the chemical symbol for sulphur was S you could look it up in BigDave’s mine of useful information. The S is included in CURE (remedy) to produce a word meaning swear.

18a  Challenge is to make a god heartless (4)
To make someone of something into a god is DEIFY. Remove the heart of this word (i.e. the middle letter) to get a word meaning to challenge.

20a  Suddenly leaves to find stuff on board ship (6)
Ship in cryptic crosswords is very often SS (steam ship) and these two letters enclose (have on board) a word meaning stuff. Stuff here is a verb meaning to force things into a space until it’s full to bursting (it’s also the surname of a famous middle-distance runner of the 1980s, now a BBC athletics commentator). The whole thing means “goes away swiftly” (suddenly leaves).

21a  Was undecided and fiddled around that place (8 )
Fiddled here is DID (in the sense of ” I was done”, i.e. swindled), and this encloses (around) THERE (that place) to form a word meaning vacillated (was undecided).

23a  Show loss of nerve as chef voted ale terrible (4,4,4)
We’ve got as far as 23a before we reach the first anagram of the day (could this be a record?). It’s an anagram of CHEF VOTED ALE and it’s triggered by the word terrible. The resulting phrase means show loss of nerve, or more literally, what might happen to you, say, if you walk unshod in the snow!

26a  Times are bad – start saving! (4)
An anagram of ARE (bad) followed by the initial letter (start) of Saving to form major divisions of times or ages.

27a  Off piste, the phrases that are descriptive (8 )
Once the anagrams start they come thick and fast. This is an anagram (triggered by “off”) of THE PISTE to make a word meaning descriptive adjectives or phrases.

28a  Difficult trade requiring aggressive promotion (4,4)
Difficult is HARD, to trade is to SELL. Put them together to form a phrase meaning an aggressive (sales) promotion.

Down Clues

2d  Animal to run easily after money that’s staked (8 )
If you watch “Big Cat Diary” you’ll know that this type of animal is often on the menu in the game reserves. It’s made up of LOPE (run easily) after ANTE (money that’s staked).

3d  Appropriate remark left unfinished – almost certain to cover a source of tension (12)
The answer is an adjective meaning appropriate. It’s made up of four parts. Firstly COMMENT (remark) without its last letter (left unfinished), then SURE (certain) again without its last letter (almost), then A, and finally the first two letters (source of) TENSION.

4d  Display of 24 on church show (6)
Display of here means re-arrangement of, and 24 means the answer to 24d. So you need to re-arrange the letters of the 24d answer and follow this (on) with a 2-letter abbreviation for church. Church in cryptic crosswords is very often CH(urch) or CE (Church of England) and you normally have to work out which by context or trial and error! In this case it’s CE and the whole word you end up with means to demonstrate (show).

5d  Argument following fine after this, oddly (4)
The compiler is using the first letters of “Following Fine” to get “FF” and these follow the odd letters (i.e. letters 1 and 3) of ThIs to form a colloquial word for argument. (not a brilliant clue in my opinion!).

6d  Produce from information age starts to take effect (8 )
The answer means to produce, and it’s made up of GEN (information) then a word for age (which happens to be the singular answer to 26a) then the beginning letters (starts) of Take Effect (i.e. TE).

7d  Fair charge – about time! (4)
Charge is FEE and this contains (about) T for time to form a sort of fair (often held for charity).

8d  Government agent from Spain – young lady with a racy exterior (8 )
The whole word is a government agent (but of the diplomatic rather than James Bond type). Once again you can use Big Dave’s Mine to find the international vehicle registration letter for Spain, and follow this with MISS (young lady), A and the outer two (exterior) letters of RacY.

12d  Crossword compilers support course for leaders of fashion (12)
Crossword compilers are SETTERS and these come below (support) TREND (course or general direction) to form a word meaning leaders of fashion.

14d  Quiet and looking embarrassed just a touch (5)
Quiet is a 2-letter admonition to tone the noise down, followed by RED (embarrassed) to form a word meaning a small amount (just a touch).

16d  Reckless behaviour is found in motorway boss (8 )
IS comes between (found in) M (motorway) and CHIEF (boss) to form a word meaning reckless behaviour.

17d  Client worried Sue and Tom, being in credit (8 )
An anagram (worried) of SUE and TOM inside CR (credit) to form another word for client.

19d  France rocks – and everybody’s in a rapid decline (4,4)
France is F, rocks are REEF and everybody is ALL to form a phrase meaning a rapid decline.

22d  Without remorse, suppressed a shudder (6)
This is a hidden word (signalled by suppressed) meaning shudder inside “withouT REMORse”.

24d  Vessel carrying mineral deposit (4)
VEIN meaning both a blood vessel and a seam of mineral deposit in rock.

25d  Run diamonds – and a second heart (4)
A word which means run, made up of the initial letters (abbreviations) of Diamond, A, Second, Heart.

Please leave a comment, feedback is vital for the success of a blog like this – otherwise it’s like working in a vacuum.  There are over 200 hits on every puzzle, surely someone must have something to say!



  1. Jane
    Posted February 19, 2009 at 11:38 am | Permalink

    Also found today relatively easy because started it at breakfast and finished it during morning coffee break!

  2. Posted February 19, 2009 at 2:40 pm | Permalink

    I’m still unhappy with 3d.

    Appropriate remark left unfinished – almost certain to cover a source of tension (12)

    The word “almost” seems superfluous – the last part would then read SURE (certain) around (to cover) A T (a source of tension). If we are to take two letters as “source of” this opens up a whole new ballgame in other clues.

    What do others think?

  3. Gazza
    Posted February 19, 2009 at 3:08 pm | Permalink

    The alternative would be to treat SURE as meaning “almost certain” as in a phrase like “it’s sure to rain before morning” which seems to allow for a degree of doubt (?) – but I’m not keen on this either.

  4. Pixie
    Posted February 19, 2009 at 4:06 pm | Permalink

    I didn’t like this clue very much:

    25d Run diamonds – and a second heart (4)

    What’s that extra ‘and’ doing in there, I got the crossing letters, the answer was obvious, but still didn’t like the clue.

    Great blog by the way!

  5. Posted February 19, 2009 at 4:36 pm | Permalink


    If you look at Peter Biddlecombe’s first comment on yesterday’s puzzle, you will see his views on the use of abbreviations.

    Like it, or not, Telegraph setters use every imaginable abbreviation that appears somewhere in Chambers (11th edition).

    D – diamonds
    A – a
    S – second
    H – heart
    are all there.

    The “and” that you mention is, I think, meant to make it sound like the description of how the cards were played in a game of Bridge.

    As far as the clue itself is concerned, I agree it could have been a lot better.

    P.S. Thanks for the words of encouragement, Gazza and I really appreciate any feedback.