DT Cryptic No 25872 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT Cryptic No 25872

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 25872

Today’s hints and tips by Gazza

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BD Rating – Difficulty *** Enjoyment ****

An interesting and varied collection of clues, slightly more difficult than yesterday’s but worth the effort to tease out. As usual, the answers are hidden inside the curly brackets – select the white space inside if you’re totally stumped.

Across Clues

1a  Scrapping with girl’s very big friend outside (8 )
{DISPOSAL} – the girl is a familiar name to tabloid readers even 12 years after her death. Then there’s a word for friend or mate containing (outside) the clothing abbreviation for outsize (very big). The whole is a synonym for scrapping.

9a  Gripped by marijuana, the man’s odious (8 )
{ANATHEMA} – someone or something that’s abhorrent (odious) that is hidden (gripped) in “marijuana, the man’s”.

10a  Bait left on river (4)
{LURE} – A bait used in fishing or hunting, or to train birds of prey, is made up of L(eft) followed by (on) the name of a Yorkshire river famous for its fly fishing.

11a  America’s cooler (12)
{PENITENTIARY} – American name for a grade A prison (cooler). Alcatraz, the island fortress in San Francisco bay, was one such, as is San Quentin where Johnny Cash held his famous concert in 1969.

13a  Thrashes about getting most savage (8 )
{HARSHEST} – an anagram (about) of thrashes produces a word meaning most savage or severe.

15a  Economy shift by Tory leader (6)
{BUDGET} – a synonym for economy (in the sense of economy class on an aeroplane) is made up of a word for shift with (by) the first letter (leader) of Tory.

16a  Setter regarding lake (4)
{MERE} – setter (i.e. the crossword compiler) is ME; regarding is RE – put them together to get a word for lake.

17a  Vehicle crew’s circling Earth (5)
{MEANS} – vehicle here is not something physical to travel in but a channel or agency for expressing ideas. To crew (a ship for example) is to man and this (not forgetting the ‘s) is round (circling) E(arth).

18a  Heartless beliefs getting informal approval (4)
{CRED} – a formal statement of religious belief loses its middle letter (heartless) to leave a street term for reputation or status.

20a  Diversions turning back creates rages (6)
{STROPS} – a word meaning diversions or entertainments (nowadays more often used to mean competitive activities) is reversed (turning back) to form a slang word for rages or fits of temper.

21a  Protective and intimate embracing a bird (8 )
{PATERNAL} – intimate here is a noun meaning close friend and this surrounds (embracing) a seabird with long pointed wings and a forked tail to generate an adjective denoting protective or fatherly.

23a  He’s impressed by this? (12)
{CONSCRIPTION} – impressed can mean forced to serve in the army or navy and the answer is a more modern word for a compulsory call-up, where he (and often she these days) has to do a period of military service.

26a  Annoying condition needing emollient initially (4)
{ACNE} – the cause of a great deal of angst amongst teenage boys, it’s a word formed from the first letters (initially) of the first four words (I bet everybody spotted that!).

27a  The French galled by English game (8 )
{LACROSSE} – Definite article (feminine) in French followed by a word for irate or galled (note the pun!) then E(nglish) to form a word for a team sport originally played by North American Indians, in which, it is said, the ball travels faster than in any other sport.

28a  After weekend in gutter journalist’s spiked (8 )
{SKEWERED} – Weekend gives us a K (last letter of week) and this is inside (in) a word for gutter. Then (after) we get ED (the setters’ favourite abbreviation for a journalist), with the whole thing meaning pinned or pierced (spiked) like a piece of meat.

Down Clues

2d  Overwhelm single sister? Go steady! (8 )
{INUNDATE} – single sister is I NUN. Follow this with a word for going out with someone on a regular basis to get a term meaning to flood or overwhelm.

3d  Ludicrous poser upset or disturbed (12)
{PREPOSTEROUS} – this is an anagram (of “poser upset or”) but which is the indicator word? It could be either ludicrous or disturbed; in fact it’s the latter and the answer means ludicrous.

4d  Wash could be on pegs (6)
{SPONGE} – anagram (indicated by “could be”) of “on pegs” to give a verb meaning to wipe down or wash.

5d  Keep going on American city’s street (4)
{LAST} – the American city is the “city of the angels” and the home to Hollywood. Add the abbreviation for street to get a verb meaning to stay the course or keep going.

6d  Drug bust – one’s going after prison (8 )
{CANNABIS} – the answer is a class B drug (or is it C now? – they keep changing its classification!), and it’s made up of three components – firstly an American abbreviation slang term for prison, then (going after)  a slang word meaning catch or arrest (bust) and IS (one’s).

7d  Hard time for goddess (4)
{HERA} – a goddess, but not just any old goddess – this is the queen of heaven and both the wife and sister of the chief god Zeus! (that sort of thing is ok if you’re a god!). The word is made up of H (hard) and a word meaning a period of history (time).

8d  Female pillar of support? (8 )
{CARYATID} – a clever clue to a word for a stone carving of a clothed female figure used as a support in a Greek building.

12d  Brainwash – do it in trance perhaps (12)
{INDOCTRINATE} – another word for brainwash made by an anagram (perhaps) of  “do it in trance”.

14d  Temperature rise on hike (5)
{TRAMP} – Temperature is T then a word for an incline (rise), which is also used for a device which allows a car mechanic to inspect the bottom of your car (normally followed, in my experience, by much sucking of teeth and shaking of head!). The solution is a word meaning hike.

16d  Annie and Oliver! (8 )
{MUSICALS} – these are two examples of stage or film productions involving a lot of singing.

17d Motorway force kept woman (8 )
{MISTRESS} – Motorway, as usual, is MI and this is followed by a word for pressure or tension (force) to produce a “kept woman”.

19d  He’s having a testing time! (8 )
{EXAMINEE} – someone being given a formal test such as a GCSE.

22d  Sweet nothing? (6)
{TRIFLE} – double meaning; a cold dessert (sweet) involving sponge cake and jelly, and a thing of negligible value (nothing).

24d  Charming Mediterranean resort (4)
{NICE} – when I was at school we were told not to use this adjective to mean pleasant or charming but to use a more specific word. It’s also the name of a French Mediterranean resort near the Italian border.

25d  Greek character’s ringing European tarts (4)
{PIES} – the character is the Greek letter which most of us first came across in geometry lessons when trying to calculate the area or circumference of a circle. Put this round E(uropean) to get some tarts (the edible sort!).

Please let us have some feedback. Do you read the hints or do you reveal the answer straight away? Which clues do you like and which not? I particularly liked 11a and 26a and didn’t much like 16d and 24d, but likes and dislikes are very subjective – give us your opinion!

7 comments on “DT Cryptic No 25872

  1. I only stumbled across this site yesterday and I think it’s brilliant! many thanks Big Dave. I can usually get about 80 – 90% of the crossword done and I found the embellished clues here a superb help to get it finished.

  2. Have been dipping into this site for almost a month now, having seen a mention on AnswerBank. My husband and I usually finish this crossword over breakfast, but if there are one or two which we haven’t cracked, I look up your hints which usually sort it for me, if not then it’s the double click in the brackets.
    Terrific site – thanks to you, BD, Gazza, Peter B et al.
    I enjoy the 1a type clues where things are muddled up and combined with synonyms. But any clue we get we enjoy because we’ve managed it. That is, all excepting the rather hackneyed ones like 24d.
    I started doing crosswords as a child with my father, who swore he got into Cambridge because of his ability with crosswords which had only just begun in the early decades of the 1900s.
    I’m not sure when you catch some sleep, as your answers seem to go on at all hours, particularly when I caught Big Dave’s on AnswerBank!
    Thanks again Anne

  3. Paul and Anne,
    Thanks a lot for your comments – the feedback is really useful.
    Anne, it’s interesting that your father got into Cambridge because of his crossword prowess. I do know that some of the code breakers at Bletchley Park during the war (where they cracked the “unbreakable” German Enigma codes) were recruited as a result of being able to finish the Telegraph crossword quite quickly.

  4. 8D is quite fiendish, partly because MARY and LADY are tempting for the ‘female’ in the clue. Possibly a bit fairer to have a clue with wordplay for this fairly tricky answer – I can imagine some solvers having to give up on this clue.

    I most liked 4, 12, 14 and 17 for good surface readings. For 23, I thought something more specific than “He’s” might have been found – something about 1950s young men or soldiers.

  5. Thanks Peter. I agree that 23a is weak because of the “he”. I’d normally expect the answer to such a clue to be the subject of an activity rather than the activity itself.

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