DT Cryptic No 25884

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 25884

Today’s hints and tips by Gazza

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

This one is not overly difficult but has some cleverly-worded clues. I found it very enjoyable.

Across Clues

7a  Dell perhaps, making a profit (8 )
{CLEARING} – the compiler would like you to think that he’s referring to a brand of computer (the use of “perhaps” adds to the misdirection) but dell here is a small valley amongst the trees; the answer is also a term meaning making a net profit, after all costs and expenses have been taken into account.

9a  Uniform on the Spanish team (6)
{ELEVEN} – a term for flat and smooth (uniform) follows (on) the masculine definite article in Spanish to form a colloquial term for a team, based on the number of players in a football or cricket side.

10a  Starts to say political information’s no bias? (4)
{SPIN} – take the initial letters (starts to) of “say political information’s no” to form a modern usage meaning to give an item of news a favourable emphasis or bias.

11a  It’s possible compiler’s fit taking a drink (10)
{IMAGINABLE} – compiler’s is I’M (i.e. the compiler is referring to himself) and fit is ABLE. Put a drink in the middle (taking) to generate a word meaning conceivable or possible.

12a  Vessels caught on boulders (6)
{CROCKS} – caught is C (as in cricket) and this is followed by (on) a synonym for boulders to form a word meaning pots or jars (vessels).

14a  Nice cop? (8 )
{GENDARME} – this is another clever attempt at misdirection. “Nice” starts with a capital letter not just because it’s the first word, but also because it refers to the resort on the French Riviera – so it’s a paramilitary French police officer (their responsibilities include crowd control, when they can be anything but nice, by all accounts!).

15a  Weak giving comrade cover (6)
{PALLID} – a two-syllable charade to find a word meaning insipid or weak. The first syllable means comrade or mate, and the second is a cover (or an informal term for a crash helmet!).

17a  Deny female opinion (6)
{BELIEF} – a verb meaning to give a false impression (deny) is followed by F(emale) to give a synonym for opinion.

20a  Failure of plant by detectives… (8 )
{DISASTER} – a flower (plant) sometimes called a Michaelmas Daisy follows (by) the abbreviation of the ranks of senior detectives in a police force (Rebus and Frost have this rank, although Morse, Wexford and Barnaby have risen one level higher and are Detective Chief Inspectors) to produce a word meaning catastrophe or failure.

22a  …before detectives tore off (6)
{RANCID} – the abbreviation for Criminal Investigation Department has in front of it a verb meaning tore or raced to form an adjective meaning off (tasting unpleasant).

23a  Tender name, possibly showing affection (10)
{ENDEARMENT} – a superb anagram (possibly) of “tender name” produces a word expressing love or affection.

24a  Have overly positive expectation initially (4)
{HOPE} – the first letters (initially) of the first four words. This is a good example of an “all in one” type clue; where standard clues have separate “definition” and “wordplay” parts, in this type of clue (also known as “&lit”) the whole clue is both the definition and the wordplay.

25a  Judges admitting mid-afternoon intervals (6)
{BREAKS} – a slang term for magistrates or judges (a term much used by Rumpole of the Bailey) has inside it (admitting) the middle letter (mid) of afteRnoon  to form a noun meaning pauses or intervals.

26a  Small time burgling (8 )
{TRIFLING} – T (for time) is followed by a word for stealing or burgling to produce an adjective meaning trivial or small.

Down Clues

1d  Rubbish Conservative on course with subterfuge (8 )
{CLAPTRAP} – Conservative is C and this is followed by (on) a word for course or circuit (in an athletics or motor race, for example) and (with) a term for subterfuge or a trick, to form a colloquial word for rubbish.

2d  Police taking on new grass (4)
{LAWN} – an informal term for the police is followed by N(ew) to form a patch of grass which will need regular mowing from around now until October.

3d  Feels for devoted couples (6)
{PITIES} – an informal shortened form of the word pious (devoted, in a religious sense) is followed by a verb meaning links or couples to form a word meaning “has sympathy for” (feels for).

4d  Insolence of French intended (8 )
{DEFIANCE} – the French word for “of” is followed by someone who is betrothed or is a woman’s “intended” husband, to form a word for insolence.

5d  With apt reason I arranged for divorce (10)
{SEPARATION} – an anagram (arranged) of “apt reason I” produces a synonym for divorce. In the previous clue we weren’t even married yet, but now we’re already divorced!

6d  Ambled around madhouse (6)
{BEDLAM} – an anagram (around) of “ambled” forms a word meaning a scene of uproar and confusion (madhouse). In earlier times the word meant a madhouse literally, being short for the hospital of St. Mary of Bethlehem in London which was used as an asylum for the insane.

8d  Country house’s grand spread (6)
{GRANGE} – a letter standing for a thousand dollars (grand) is followed by a word for scope or spread to form a country house with farm buildings attached.

13d  Guarantee from all to clear off (10)
{COLLATERAL} – an anagram (off) of “all to clear” produces a word meaning security for a loan or a guarantee.

16d  Business concern? (8 )
{INTEREST} – double meaning – a stake (often financial) in a business and to involve or concern oneself with something.

18d  Irresponsible jerk with puff (8 )
{FLIPPANT} – to throw something with a quick movement (jerk) and to breathe with short, quick breaths (puff) come together to form an adjective meaning irreverent or irresponsible (often applied to a remark).

19d  Dedicated, found in garden, toiling (6)
{ARDENT} – hidden (found) inside “garden, toiling” is a word meaning dedicated.

21d  Neglect of ruined region (6)
{IGNORE} – an anagram (ruined) of region generates a verb meaning to neglect.

22d  Flog and jeer catching alien (6)
{RETAIL} – a synonym for scoff or jeer surrounds (catches) “ET” (the crossword compiler’s favourite alien) to form a word for flog or sell (if it’s not wholesale then it must be …….).

24d  Sounds like complete mess (4)
{HOLE} – a word which sounds like complete or entire means a difficult situation (mess) which you can find yourself in. It was Denis Healey who said that if you get into one of these, the first thing to do is to stop digging.

I really liked a number of the clues (1a, 23a and 24a, for example) but my “clue of the day” is 14a. What do you think? – leave us a comment.

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6 Comments

  1. Posted March 24, 2009 at 2:16 pm | Permalink

    The setter of this puzzle follows the blog – so now is the time to say what you liked, or didn’t like, and have your chance to influence future Tuesday puzzles!

  2. miles
    Posted March 24, 2009 at 8:07 pm | Permalink

    me and the wife spent a couple of hours on this puzzle and were only able to complete 5 clues…
    we are obviously novices however some weekdays we are able to complete more/most of the clues. Are the days graded in difficulty?

  3. gazza
    Posted March 24, 2009 at 8:25 pm | Permalink

    Hi Miles,
    Thanks for your comment. I don’t think that the Telegraph have a deliberate policy of making some days harder than others – it’s just pot luck whether you get an easier or a harder puzzle. It also depends on whether you’re on the same wavelength as the compiler – sometimes the answers just come, at other times you have to struggle with every clue. Good luck!

  4. Posted March 24, 2009 at 8:26 pm | Permalink

    Miles

    You are on the right track – but the answer is actually simpler than that – the Telegraph, as a rule, use the same setter for a given day of the week.

    As it happens, the regular Tuesday setter compiled today’s puzzle, but not last Tuesday’s – have a look at today’s and you will see they they are all one-word answers.

    I have written before about being on the same wavelength as the setter, or not, as the case might be. This is part of the reason that you find some days easier or harder than others. What you will find is that the more you do, the easier they seem to get.

  5. Posted March 24, 2009 at 8:29 pm | Permalink

    Your answer in stereo!

  6. miles
    Posted March 26, 2009 at 12:43 pm | Permalink

    gazza, big dave,
    thanks for the answers

    and of course also, thanks for running this site so we can see the answers and how they came to be