DT Cryptic No 25896

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 25896

Today’s hints and tips by Gazza

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

This puzzle was a pleasure to tackle with its large number of cleverly-worded clues.

Across Clues

1a  Control reporters on drink (8 )
{SUPPRESS} – reporters are PRESS, and this is after (on) SUP (drink) to form a verb meaning to restrain or control.

5a  Shrink in the company of Queen (6)
{WITHER} – in the company of is WITH. Add Elizabeth Regina to get a word meaning to shrink.

9a  Amount it turned out giving change (8 )
{MUTATION} – an anagram (turned out) of “Amount it” produces a word for a change.

10a  Radio operator’s set in ship (6)
{SPARKS} – “set” is a word which can mean just about anything (see 4d); in this case it’s PARK (i.e. fix in position, set) which is inside SS (Steam Ship) to give the standard name for the radio operator on board. [I bet that most of you, like me, got the answer first, then sorted out the wordplay afterwards!].

12a  Glamorous former wife with old jerk (6)
{EXOTIC} – former wife is EX; add (with) O (old) and a word for a jerk or involuntary movement to get an adjective meaning glamorous.

13a  Faith is one girl I fancy (8 )
{RELIGION} – an excellent clue giving a word for faith from an anagram (fancy) of “one girl I”.

15a  Comprehensive classes getting large (7)
{GENERAL} – for “classes” we want the plural of genus (a biological category ranking above species and below family) – add L (large) to form a word meaning widespread or comprehensive.

16a  Hock for man on board (4)
{PAWN} – a double definition, one of them cryptic. “Man on board” is the lowest-powered chess piece, and to hock is to deposit something with a pawnbroker as security for money lent.

20a  Smarmy thief concealing lie (4)
{MYTH} – a word meaning a lie is hidden (concealing) in “Smarmy thief”.

21a  Clobber and sets about the man (7)
{CLOTHES} – “set” appears once more – this time “sets” is CLOTS (what blood does when it coagulates) and it is around a pronoun for “the man” to produce a formal word for clobber.

25a  Cross star – ever in trouble (8 )
{TRAVERSE} – a straightforward anagram (in trouble) of “star ever” to form a verb meaning to cross.

26a  Touch of caution’s gripping socialist leader (6)
{CARESS} – caution’s is CARE’S (as in “take care”) and this includes (gripping) S (socialist leader) to produce a loving touch.

28a  Guillotined? Finished losing head! (6)
{TOPPED} – a really good clue – finished is STOPPED – take off the first letter (losing head) to leave a word meaning killed (or, more specifically, beheaded).

29a  Finished badly on Ecstasy tablet (8 )
{PASTILLE} – finished again, but this time it is PAST, badly is “ILL” and Ecstasy is E. Put them together to form a lozenge or tablet.

30a  Home counties girlfriend’s demure (6)
{SEDATE} – in cryptic puzzles “Home Counties” is almost always SE (South East) and this is followed by a term for girlfriend (or boyfriend, or what they go out on together) to form an adjective meaning dignified or demure.

31a  Chinese worker endlessly enterprising (8 )
{MANDARIN} – worker is MAN and enterprising is DARING – take off the last letter (endlessly) to form the standard literary form of Chinese, spoken by over 730 million people.

Down Clues

1d  Burn in Hades? I’m merciless (6)
{SIMMER} – a hidden word in “Hades? I’m merciless” means to burn with suppressed anger (it also means to cook more gently on the hob!).

2d  Boa you wouldn’t want around your neck! (6)
{PYTHON} – a cryptic clue to a type of snake (or half a TV comedy show!) akin to a boa, but not the sort of coil of fur or feathers which ladies used to wear around their necks.

3d  Peddled grass, keeping back (8 )
{RETAILED} – grass is REED and this contains (keeping) TAIL (back) to form a verb meaning sold or peddled.

4d  Opening Sabbath set (4)
{SLOT} – “set” appears for the third time, and I found this the most difficult clue of the whole puzzle. It starts with S (opening Sabbath) and set in this instance is LOT (an area of land near a film studio which may be used as a film set) to make a word for opening. [the trouble with “set” is that it has so many meanings and nuances that you can make it mean virtually anything – in this case I seriously considered both “shot” and “spot” before settling for the answer].

6d  Damage rogue state (6)
{IMPAIR} – a simple charade of IMP (rogue) and AIR (air an opinion, thus state) provides a word meaning damage.

7d  Scold Iran with hard resolution (8 )
{HARRIDAN} – an anagram (resolution) of “Iran” and “hard” produces a term for a bossy old woman or a scold.

8d  One rants madly, becoming rich (8 )
{RESONANT} – an anagram (madly) of “One rants” forms an adjective meaning full-throated, ringing or rich in sound.

11d  Main competition? (7)
{REGATTA} – a cryptic clue (where “main” refers to the sea) to a word meaning a race-meeting for yachts.

14d  State one’s in displaying sanity (7)
{REALISM} – state is REALM – include I’S (one’s in) to form a word meaning having ones feet on the ground (sanity).

17d  Changing mate? It is for apes (8 )
{IMITATES} – an anagram (changing) of “mate it is” forms a word meaning copies or apes.

18d  Very poor head of state cornered (8 )
{STRAPPED} – “head of state” is S. Follow this with TRAPPED (forced into a corner) to get an informal term for short of money (very poor).

19d  Poured out evidence admitting hypocrisy (8 )
{DECANTED} – “evidence” is a legal document (such as one which proves title to something such as a house) and this includes (admitting) CANT (hypocrisy) to produce a verb meaning poured from one container to another (mainly used of wine).

22d  Breakdown of French performance (6)
{DEFEAT} – take the French word for “of” and follow it with FEAT (an act or performance) to get a word meaning overthrow or breakdown.

23d  She may give you a good hand! (6)
{DEALER} – I’m not sure why this is she rather than he, but in either case, it’s a good cryptic definition of someone who distributes the cards at a gaming table.

24d  A small bird showing behind (6)
{ASTERN} – a charade of A, S(mall) and a gull-like bird produces a word meaning behind a ship.

27d  Miss ace party (4)
{GALA} – an affected pronunciation (and spelling) of “girl” (miss) is followed by A (ace, as in bridge notation) to get a word meaning festivity or party.

I liked very many of the clues (especially the across ones), notably 1a, 12a, 15a and 28a, but my “clue of the day” is 13a. Agree or disagree? Leave us a comment!



  1. Rollo
    Posted April 7, 2009 at 1:31 pm | Permalink

    Yes, I enjoyed doing this one too. The clues were mostly very well constructed.

  2. john w
    Posted April 8, 2009 at 9:36 am | Permalink

    In 23dn the “she” was a distraction. Although DEALER became obvious from the checks, I was sidelined by looking for a feminine association.

    Agree about 13ac: the anagram was only obvious when the checks appeared.

    The best recent puzzle, I think.