DT Cryptic No 25868 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT Cryptic No 25868

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 25868

Today’s hints and tips by Gazza

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BD Rating – Difficulty ** Enjoyment ***

I was sailing through this one at a rate of knots until I hit 24a, where the wordplay held me up for ages until the penny finally dropped, swiftly followed by a bout of self-kicking! As usual the answers are hidden inside the curly brackets – select the white space inside the brackets to display the answer, but do try to get it from the hints first.

Across Clues

8a  Open letters from military settlement (7)
{OUTPOST} – first a word meaning “open” in the sense of published, then another word for “letters” or mail. Together they form a word for a military settlement or garrison, normally one which is some distance from base.

10a  Single test covering end of term is better (7)
{IMPROVE} – String together I (single) and a verb meaning to test or ratify and put inside (covering) the last letter (end) of “term” to produce a verb meaning to get or make better.

11a  Platform for a meal outside a flat (6,3)
{LAUNCH PAD} – the meal is one you might have at midday. Include an A (outside a) in this word, then add an alternative word for a small dwelling place (flat) normally in town. The whole makes a term for a structure (platform) from which a rocket might be propelled into space.

12a  Make enquiries about individual racket (5)
{NOISE} – a verb meaning to make enquiries in a prying, meddling way has inside it (about) I (individual). The resulting noun means a racket or commotion.

13a  Sweetener for tabloid America backed (5)
{SUGAR} – a derogatory term for a tabloid newspaper plus US (America) all reversed (backed) produce a sweetener you may add to your tea (unless you’re on a diet!).

14a  Almost cause offence – a right to be keeping to oneself (7)
{INSULAR} – a verb meaning to cause offence or be rude about has its last letter removed (almost). Then AR (A Right) is added to form a word meaning keeping to oneself or inward-looking.

17a  Getting arrested for having a lack of finance (7,3,5)
{FEELING THE PINCH} – a nice clue for a phrase with a double meaning. Firstly being arrested or having your collar felt, and secondly becoming hard up, possibly as a result of the recession.

19a  Horseman, hearing of dispatched gold, started to run (7)
{CENTAUR} – “hearing of dispatched” means a word that sounds like “sent”. Append to this an abbreviation for gold (gold is a well-used word in cryptic crosswords and normally translates to either OR (the French for gold) or AU (its chemical symbol) – it’s the latter in this case) and R (start of Run) to form a creature from Greek mythology with the head and torso of a man and the body and legs of a horse – hence a horse-man.

21a  Energy required for a high power low return (5)
{OOMPH} – take the initial letters of High Power and add the sound made by a cow (low) then reverse (return) the whole lot to form an informal word for lots of energy.

24a  Gathered round to protect return of the rule of law (5)
{ORDER} – this is the clue which took me as long as all the others put together. I got the answer quickly with the help of the crossing letters, but I could not get a handle on the wordplay. Eventually I twigged that it is a very well-disguised hidden word (protect) which is backwards (return) inside “Gathered round”. The hidden word means the rule of law.

26a  Favours that offer grounds to be worried (4,5)
{GOOD TURNS} – an anagram (indicated by worried) of “grounds to” to form words meaning favours, If you do one of these for someone then you deserve one back!

27a  A social climber must begin by riding (7)
{UPSTART} – an alternative word for begin, preceded by a word for riding or mounted, form a noun meaning a social climber or, informally, a wannabe,

28a  Ruin – and one short story of the marriage (7)
{MARITAL} – an alternative verb for to ruin is followed by I TALe (one short story – i.e. a story with its last letter missing) to form an adjective meaning relating to marriage.

Down Clues

1d  Lots of pasta doesn’t require a starter (6)
{OODLES} – this is the type of pasta used a lot in Chinese cooking, amongst others, and is available in this country in a much-advertised “pot”. Take off the first letter (doesn’t require a starter) to leave an informal word meaning lots or masses – a nicely worded clue!

2d  Fight to get horse placed in disputed result (8 )
{STRUGGLE} – horse is GG and this is inside (placed in) an anagram (disputed) of result to form a noun meaning fight or confrontation.

3d  Musical performance at home with a squeeze? (10)
{CONCERTINA} – start off with a word for a public musical performance or gig and follow this with IN (at home) and A to generate an instrument also known as a squeeze box.

4d  Opportunity to understand deer on tourist attraction (9)
{HINDSIGHT} – a word for a female deer on (above in a down clue) a generic term for tourist attraction to form a word meaning to understand something only after it has happened.

5d  The odds on batting against this bowling (4)
{SPIN} – this is an easy clue if you are into sport, possibly not otherwise. Odds are SP (starting price) in horse or greyhound racing and the batting side in cricket is IN. Put these together to get a type of slow bowling.

6d  What might precede work party? (6)
{SOCIAL} – a word for an informal party or knees-up, and it also precedes “work” to form a term for local care, such as meals on wheels.

7d  Investigation might scare her into action (8 )
{RESEARCH} – an anagram (action) of “scare her” produces a noun meaning systematic investigation.

9d  Army on exercises get record (4)
{TAPE} – army in this instance are the Territorials and their initials are followed by (on) initials for exercises or gym to form a word for a type of recording medium that is becoming outdated.

15d  Pros rest up after playing champions (10)
{SUPPORTERS} – an anagram (after playing) of “pros rest up” produces a noun meaning those who champion or encourage a project, team or political party.

16d  In sum, a great egg well cooked (9)
{AGGREGATE} – an anagram (well cooked) of “a great egg” to form a word meaning a combination of separate elements or the sum of many parts.

17d  Love comes between truth and the belly for such a worker (8 )
{FACTOTUM} – words meaning truth (i.e. not fiction) and belly have O (love, in tennis) placed between them to produce a word for an employee who can do all sorts of work – derived from latin for “do the whole thing”.

18d  Educated miners on energy charge (8 )
{NUMERATE} – “miners” here means the initials of the trades union once led by “King Arthur” and this is followed by E (energy) and one of the predecessors of the Council Tax (charge) to form a word meaning educated (or, at least, proficient in one of the three Rs!).

20d  Topless pundits worried by one who shows all (6)
{NUDIST} – an anagram (worried) of pundits minus the initial P (topless) generates a word for a person who likes to show or bare all.

22d  Ship found in healthy bit of bother? (6)
{HASSLE} – ship is SS (steamship) inside (found in) a synonym for healthy or hearty to produce a word meaning a bit of bother or irritation.

23d  Criminal record provided by bench (4)
{FORM} – those with a criminal record are said to have this, and it also means a long bench with no back.

25d  About to get morning paper (4)
{REAM} – about is RE and morning is AM (ante meridiem). Put them together to get 500 (it used to be 480 apparently, but there’s inflation for you!) sheets of paper.

If you’ve found the above useful or useless, or if  you have anything to say about the clues themselves, we’d be delighted to get some feedback.