DT Cryptic No 25867 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT Cryptic No 25867

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 25867

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BD Rating – Difficulty *** Enjoyment ***

A slightly tricky puzzle – I was sailing along thinking I must be in tune with the setter, then got a bit bogged down.  No particularly difficult clues, apart from getting the precise wording for 27 across.  My first attempt hampered me from getting 24 down, I should have tackled them the other way around.


1a Desire to be late (5,4)
{DEATH WISH} – a very good cryptic definition, immortalised in film by Charles Bronson

8a Marina crew oft danced with WRAF personnel (13)
(AIRCRAFTWOMEN} – an anagram (danced) of  (MARINA CREW OFT) giving WRAF personnel

11a On the continent you both possess this skirt (4)
{TUTU} – TU (French for you) repeated giving a short skirt – I bet Libellule got this one without any problems!

12a Established the military leader had a sword (5)
{ESTOC} – EST (an abbreviation, loved my crossword setters, of established) then OC (Officer Commanding) giving a little known French sword

13a Argue over the bar (4)
{SPAR} – RAPS (a pretty poor synonym for argue) reversed (over – more of a down clue construct) giving a bar
a double definition – argue over; a bar – I was convinced that there was a reversal in there – thanks for putting me right Gazza

16a Prisoner – cite stranger with complacency (7)
{CONCEIT} – CON (that ubiquitous prisoner) with an anagram (stranger) of CITE giving a word meaning complacency

17a Do seasick pirates prefer to walk? (7)
{TRAIPSE} – an anagram (seasick) of PIRATES giving a long tiring walk

18a Vehicle travelling at the speed of sound to the Sunderland area (7)
{MACHINE} – put MACH I (the speed of sound) with NE (the North East, which is where you will find the Sunderland area and you get a name often applied to a vehicle

20a Greek character opposed to wine (7)
{CHIANTI} – CHI (Greek character – there’s a list of these in The Mine) with ANTI (opposed to) giving a wine from Tuscany

21a Factual note about the game (4)
{TRUE} – TE (note – a drink with jam and bread!) around RU (Rugby Union) giving a synonym for factual

22a Privately, assistant receives the final sacraments (5)
{ASIDE} – AIDE (assistant) around (receives) S (the final letter of sacraments) gives a word meaning on or to one side (privately)

23a Appliance stolen? Goods returned (4)
{TOOL} – the stolen goods are LOOT, which is then reversed (returned) for an appliance

26a Pomposity governed in size (13)
{BIGHEADEDNESS} – a word that describes the attribute of a conceited person

27a Exist to never say ‘No’ (2,1,3,3)
{BE A YES MAN} – a neat but simple cryptic definition


2d Eat in France and Switzerland (4)
{ETCH} – ET (and, French) with CH (the IVR code for Switzerland – once again, it’s in The Mine) giving a word meaning to eat away or corrode

3d Unusual start in passage (7)
{TRANSIT} – an anagram (unusual) of START IN giving a passage

4d Lacking wit, thou weirdo! (7)
{WITHOUT} – another anagram (weirdo) of WIT THOU – not too hard to see this one

5d Refrain from hanging up pans, for example (4)
{STOP} – POTS (and pans) reversed (hanging up – down clues only!)

6d Relative seen from afar (7,6)
{DISTANT COUSIN} – a cryptic definition that you should find easy to spot

7d Entertain all comers (4,4,5)
{KEEP OPEN HOUSE} – another cryptic definition, this time a bit more difficult

9d Mineral for a crazy cat with a flea (9)
{ATACAMITE} – from where do they keep digging up these minerals (pun untended) – A then an anagram (crazy) of CAT followed by A MITE (a flea) giving a mineral which is a basic chloride of copper (but I’m sure you all knew that!)

10d Whilst operating I tore real blood vessel (9)
{ARTERIOLE} – an anagram (operating) of I TORE REAL giving a very small artery (blood vessel)

14d Single strand of DNA? (5)
{HELIX} – a cryptic definition that you can stare at for ages, then the penny drops, or you can get straightaway – DNA is famously shaped like two of these

15d Fundamental computer language (5)
{BASIC) – a rather easy double definition

19d Stimulant started early turn on (7)
{ECSTASY} – a stimulant, known simply as E (started Early), that turns you on – I don’t like this one, can you do better?  [I have sought other interpretations, and another view is that Chambers has ecstasy as a verb, thus allowing turn on. I had seen this, but it is a very unusual usage and the wordplay is still suspect.]

20d Chewed foods, including jelly and batters (7)
{CUDGELS} – CUDS (chewed foods) around (including) GEL (jelly) giving a word that means beats with a heavy staff (batters)

24d Square ridge nailed to a hoof (4)
{SHOE} – S(quare) and HOE (ridge or promontory, as in Plymouth Hoe) give something that is nailed to a hoof

25d Her rise and fall (4)
{ANNA) – a girl with a palindromic name – easy when you have the crossing letters

Your comments are, as ever, welcome.

5 comments on “DT Cryptic No 25867

  1. can’t believe 24d was the one to give me the most trouble – pondered over it for ages – thought of shoe but couldn’t get the reasoning until I checked in with you. So simple when explained – (and I’ve got horses in the stables here so no excuse really!) Go well.

  2. On 13a don’t you think that “over” may not actually be a reversal indicator, but that the answer means both to “argue over” and a bar?

  3. Thanks, BD, I could have stared at 2d and 12a for a month ! 19d might have seemed stronger to the setter because (s)he’d read Timothy Leary’s “politics of ectasy” – but I’m guessing.

  4. 19d gave me trouble, the answer was obviously ecstacy with the crossing letters, but trying to work out the clue…

    I’d not heard of an estoc either.

    Thanks again for your hardwork on this website.

  5. Pixie

    I updated the blog overnight, and as you can see I’m still not happy.

    BTW: the spelling is ECSTASY – if you do a search you will find that there are 18,000,000 references to the incorrect spelling to only 16,400,000 for the correct one!!

    A little gem that I read about elsewhere – if you search Google images for the incorrect spelling Reece Witherspoon – what is that chap doing there?

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