DT Cryptic No 25869

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 25869

Hints and tips by Libellule

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BD Rating – Difficulty ** Enjoyment ***

Libellule is back in his usual Friday slot (last Friday he preferred to go and  see France play Wales in Paris).   BD

The rugby was excellent. Although a Friday night kick-off at 9.00pm was a little strange. Libellule


1. Good offices for the injection of cold drugs etc (10)
{MEDICATION} – An attempt to bring about a peaceful settlement or compromise between two opposing parties, having an injection of C(old), giving another word for drugs etc.

6. Irritation produced by ‘arness (4)
{ITCH} – Drop the H, on for example, the fastening of horses to a wagon and you have a word for irritation.

10.Fish rested having crossed quiet river (5)
{SPRAT} – The answer to this clue is a small fish like a herring, and the answer is made up of resting, for example sitting down with P (quiet) and R (river) inside.

11.  Agent finishing off going through again (9)
{REPEATING} – A REP(resentative), another word for agent, having dinner, and thus doing something again and gain.

12. Current English anger initiated by a politician (8 )
{AMPERAGE} – A(n) MP (politician) with an E(nglish) tantrum, giving another word for the strength of an electrical current.

13. Reportedly goes after certain believers (5)
{SIKHS} – Sounds like (reportedly) a word meaning to locate, discover or search for, that is actually a word for people who are adherents of an Indian Religion.

15. How we count with energy, being passionate! (7)
{INTENSE} –  10, 20, 30, 40 etc and E(nergy) to become passionate.

17 Boys without penny getting gold from patron (7)
{SPONSOR} – Male offspring, plural, outside a P(enny) with heraldic gold giving another word for patron. Or the type of company, for example, that pays money to sport to have their name associated with it.

19. Malaise of leftie evident in roar (7)
{BOREDOM} – roar, as in the sort of roar you get when a plane reaches mach 1. Insert a leftie (communist) and you have a tedious feeling or malaise.

21. I see sad drunk getting measles maybe (7)
{DISEASE} – An anagram of I SEE SAD, that is a generic term for mumps, measles and rubella for example.

22. Defamation of politician artist’s not admiitted (5)
{LIBEL} – The politician is a member of the third major English political party (whigs), and from that you need to remove R(oyal) A(cadamy), for the artist who is not admitted, which should finally leave another word for defamation.

24. Engineers with skill went back (8 )
{REVERSED} – R(oyal) E(ngineers), who know exactly what they are doing, combine to change direction.

27. Believer who led a mutiny? (9)
{CHRISTIAN} – Double definition, a follower of Jesus Christ and the second name of the masters mater who led the mutiny on the Bounty.

28. Name of mother, the very first one (5)
{MAEVE} – MA (mother), plus Adam’s wife. A girls name.

29. Stories of heartless school punishment? (4)
{LIES} – Think of a typical school punishment, seen for example during the opening sequence of the Simpsons, then remove the N to give a word meaning fibs.

30. School boss gives the fellow a sad term unfortunately (10)
{HEADMASTER} – HE is the fellow, followed by an anagram of A SAD TERM (unfortunately), to give the boss of a school. (Whacko!).


1. Obscure bit of chemistry (4)
{MIST} – The answer to his clue is hidden in the word chemistry (bit of), and gives another word for a light fog.

2. Membrane at eardrum being damaged (4,5)
{DURA MATER} –  Anagram of AT EARDRUM (being damaged), to give the name of the outermost membrane that covers the brain and spinal cord. Literally latin for “Hard Mother”.

3. Fashion that is suitable for a smart girl (5)
{CUTIE} – My least favourite clue. To form or shape by severing or incising (fashion), along with is suitable, I.E. to give another word (possibly) for someone who might be attractive.

4. Row when dog bites the Queen (7)
{TERRACE} –  The Queen (Elizabeth Regina), within another word for dog, follow or find. This then gives a word for a row of houses commonly associated with cities in the north of England, and in particular a famous soap opera from Greater Manchester.

5. Be cruel to crowd after work (7)
{OPPRESS} – A synonym of a large gathering or throng, after OP (work).

7. Friendly but stupid? (5)
{THICK} – A double meaning. Very close friends produces a famous idiom associated with thieves. The same word can also mean stupid.

8. Shopping centre’s elevated highway? (4,6)
{HIGH STREET} – Another double definition. A generic term for the primary business area of a town or city, or a literal term for a road in the sky.

9. Instruments before long interrupting singer (8 )
{BASSOONS} – A deep voiced singer, with another word for before long, in the near future etc appearing between the two S’s, producing woodwind instruments.

14. A bod I call wicked, one inwardly satanic (10)
{DIABOLICAL} –  Anagram of A BOD I CALL (wicked), plus I (inwardly), is another word for a characteristic of the devil or is satanic.

16. What’s knotty could be unloosed (8 )
{NODULOSE} –  Another anagram of UNLOOSED (could be) being an adjective of nodules (what’s knotty).

18. Declaration of New Testament (9)
{STATEMENT} –  Just like buses, another anagram this time of  TESTAMENT (new), to give a word for a declaration, or a monthly report from the bank.

20. Bit of a joint malfunctioning when it’s moister (7)
{MORTISE} –  Ho hum, yet another anagram, this time of MOISTER (malfunctioning), to create a joint that’s usually carved in wood and receives a tenon.

21. Had a meal around six, as foretold (7)
{DIVINED} –  Nice and simple this. Ate dinner around VI. Thereby knowing something in advance. Or perhaps finding underground water using a forked stick.

23. It’s good getting into empty boat (5)
{BARGE} – G(ood) getting into i.e. entering a synonym for naked that is a flat-bottomed boat, built mainly for canal and river transport of heavy goods.

25. Odd university degree given for Dance (5)
{RUMBA} – A dance that originated in Cuba, where odd is also another word for a drink made from sugarcane, which is then combined with a Bachelor of Arts degree.

26. Period that’s long, endless (4)
{YEAR} – An intense desire or longing for something, where the last N is removed (endless), to give a period of time.

Anybody get the impression that I thought there were too many anagrams in this one? As usual 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.


  1. Posted March 6, 2009 at 1:16 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Some tweaks to explanations: At 15, “how we count” is “in tens”. Then add E=energy to get the full answer. INTENSE = “in tens” is a weak sounds-like which I don’t think this setter would use (especially without any indication in the clue).
    At 24, the “with skill” bit is VERSED as in well-versed – not quite sure whether you’d seen this.
    26D: The word from which we take the N isn’t “a desire” but “to desire” – which matches the verb sense of “long”. (yearn = a yearning is in Chambers, but I’m sure it’s not what the setter meant).

    Anagrams: There are five full anagrams (21A, 2, 14, 16, 20) and one part-anagram (30). I don’t think that’s too many overall. The problem is maybe that three of them (14, 16, 20) are very close together.

  2. libellule
    Posted March 6, 2009 at 1:52 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Peter, Re. the additional E for 15a. Good point. Added. Perhaps you have a point re. the anagrams, the fact that they come one after another, does tend to make things a bit irritating.

  3. Harry Shipley
    Posted March 6, 2009 at 3:33 pm | Permalink | Reply


    I took the way CUT was clued as being that it and FASHION can both mean style, as in the style of clothes. Slightly better clue if you look at it that way, I think.

    Harry Shipley

  4. Harry Shipley
    Posted March 6, 2009 at 3:39 pm | Permalink | Reply


    I’d agree that five plain anagrams did nothing for the puzzle, but at least it did not suffer from the feature of DT puzzles that really bugs me, that of having four mini-puzzles in the corners, with minimal checked letters connecting each to the rest of the grid.

    Harry Shipley

  5. libellule
    Posted March 6, 2009 at 3:47 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Harry, I have to agree with you on point 2, the way the crossword was joined together allowed you to flow from one corner to another as you built up answers. Much more satisfying.

  6. Posted March 6, 2009 at 3:56 pm | Permalink | Reply


    I have been told by one of the setters that Peter Biddlecombe’s “paradigm” (his word, not mine) has been forwarded to the Telegraph setters.

    Toughie 92 (Feb 10):
    “I think the Toughie puzzles would be a lot better with grids that were less ‘one corner at a time’. In this one, it’s only the crossing 15s that hold the four corners of the grid together. This, combined with low rates of checking (4 letters of 9 in 12 answers today) make the Toughie tough by what feels like slightly unfair means.”

    Maybe the results of this will filter through in due course.

  7. Kat
    Posted March 6, 2009 at 6:28 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Big Dave and co,

    Just wanted to add my thanks once again for your explanations. I’m still new to this and even I am a bit fed up of the anagrams today! However, I’m learning loads from you and my tube journeys are less stressful – I take comfort in the fact that if I am really stuck on a clue, I can just look you up when I get home!

    Thanks and have a good weekend!

  8. Posted March 7, 2009 at 12:49 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Interesting to hear the grid comment has been passed on. It applies just as much to the grids used for the daily paper puzzle really – if you look at things like “connectivity” and the percentages of checking letters, other papers are way ahead. The Times in particular has had 50% checking as a minimum in every answer since 1965.

    If they change the Toughie grids first (I’m guessing that the setters can make their own instead of choosing from a fixed set), hopefully they’ll get favourable comments from people other than me, and draw what seems an obvious conclusion.

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