DT 25944

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 25944

Hints and tips by Gazza

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty *** Enjoyment ***

Sitting in the garden with a long cool drink on a hot Summer’s day and doing gentle battle with a cryptic crossword – what more could you ask for? I thought that the clues in this one got better towards the end, with the last few down ones being excellent – or was it that the contents of my long cool drink were gradually taking effect?

Across Clues

1a  Italian artist enters picture that’s dull (7)
{PROSAIC} – the name of this seventeenth century Italian artist (I have to admit that I’d not heard of him before) is put inside (enters) PIC to form an adjective meaning commonplace or dull.

5a  Information with some different sets of chromosomes (7)
{GENOMES} – information is GEN – add an anagram (different) of “some” to produce a word meaning the full sets of chromosomes of organisms.

9a  One assuming female is incapable (5)
{UNFIT} – one is UNIT – include (assuming) F(emale) to get a word meaning incapable.

10a  More than agree novel’s too passionate (9)
{OVEREAGER} – “more than” is OVER – add an anagram (novel) of “agree” to produce an adjective meaning excessively keen or passionate.

11a  A rocket is shot with power — they can be unpleasant for aircraft (3-7)
{AIR-POCKETS} – an anagram (shot) of “a rocket is” and P(ower) gives us a term for regions of low pressure which can cause a sudden loss of height in aircraft.

12a  Support end to violence in pub (4)
{BEAR} – a synonym for “support” is formed by putting the last letter (end) of violencE inside BAR (pub).

14a  Madman ogles head of institution oddly, displaying mental attitudes (12)
{PSYCHOLOGIES} – I was convinced at first that what was required was an anagram of “madman ogles” plus I, and it was only when this approach led nowhere that I looked for an alternative. What we actually need is firstly a colloquial term for madman, PSYCHO, then an anagram (oddly) of “ogles” and I (first letter of Institution) to generate a word meaning the mental attitudes of people.

18a  House-craft? (12)
{ARCHITECTURE} – a cryptic definition of the craft of designing houses (and other buildings).

21a  Some pirate chokes parrot (4)
{ECHO} – a verb meaning to mimic or parrot is hidden inside (some) “piratE CHOkes”.

22a  Disagreement — 23 doesn’t want to hear it (10)
{DISHARMONY} – a double definition – lack of agreement, and discord which composers (such as the one in 23d) do not want to hear in their music.

25a  Duet with lyre I played intelligently (9)
{ERUDITELY} – an adverb meaning intelligently is produced from an anagram (played) of “duet”, “lyre” and I.

26a  I.D. in a foreign country (5)
{INDIA} – an anagram (foreign) of “I.D. in a” forms the name of a large Asian country.

27a  Irish river craft yaws in latitudes (7)
{LEEWAYS} – the river which flows through the city of Cork is followed by an anagram (craft) of “yaws” to form a word meaning scopes for freedom of action or latitudes.

28a  One proposed no excavation initially outside pit (7)
{NOMINEE} – put NO and the first letter (initially) of Excavation around MINE (pit) to get the name of someone being proposed for membership.

Down Clues

1d  More than one pedalo at first left on Eurasian river (6)
{PLURAL} –  put together P (Pedalo at first), L(eft) and a river flowing through Russia and Kazakhstan to form a word meaning more than one.

2d  Type of shoe box for derby has it inside (6)
{OXFORD} – a type of shoe is to be found in (has it inside) “bOX FOR Derby”.

3d  Fictional credit? (10)
{AUTHORSHIP} – when the credits are rolling up the screen at the end of a film you may just glimpse, amongst the “best boys” and suppliers of cough drops, the name of the person who actually wrote the book on which it was based.

4d  Notice time (5)
{CLOCK} – a colloquial word meaning to notice also means to measure time (for example the time taken by an athlete to complete a race).

5d  Fantastic paint that might be put on outside? (9)
{GREATCOAT} – a charade of GREAT (fantastic) and a layer of paint produces a garment which you might wear when going out (but certainly not in weather like today’s).

6d  Miss call (4)
{NEED} – double definition – to lack or miss something, and a requirement or call (as in “there is no …. for you to go”).

7d  Attractive gain in charm (8 )
{MAGNETIC} – a charm is an object that is believed to have occult powers, hence MAGIC. Put inside it a verb meaning to produce as clear profit (gain) after taking off all expenses, to form an adjective meaning attractive.

8d  Discover sir with purse for a change (8 )
{SURPRISE} – an anagram (for a change) of “sir” and “purse” produces a verb meaning to come upon suddenly (discover).

13d  Shocking picture (6,4)
{HORROR FILM} – a cryptic description of the sort of picture that Boris Karloff, Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing used to specialise in.

15d  Bentley’s characterful lines (9)
{CLERIHEWS} – the lines of E.C. Bentley who invented an irregular form of humorous verse on biographical subjects (characterful). An example of his work is:

Sir Humphrey Davy
Abominated gravy.
He lived in the odium
Of having discovered sodium.

16d  Cheers graciously following feast (8 )
{FAREWELL} – a synonym for goodbye or cheers is formed by putting WELL (graciously) after FARE (feast).

17d  Reserve lodgings somewhere very cold? (8 )
{ICEHOUSE} – a charade of ICE (coolness or reserve) and HOUSE (lodgings, where you live) produces a building for storing ice which is typically underground.

19d  American writer’s novel on old and new (6)
{LONDON} – when I was younger I used to love this author’s books such as “Call of the Wild” and “White Fang”. His surname is an anagram (novel) of “on old” and N(ew). This clue has a nice surface reading.

20d  Spin doctor great around start of year (6)
{GYRATE} – a verb meaning to spin comes from an anagram (doctor) of “great” around the first letter (start) of Year.

23d  Handy shot for scorer — one who’s celebrated this week? (5)
{HAYDN} – an anagram (shot) of Handy produces this composer (scorer) who died on 31st May 1809. An excellent clue which tries to fool you into thinking of a footballer.

24d  Keen to rise to be prima donna (4)
{DIVA} – take a synonym for keen, AVID, and reverse it (to rise in a down clue) to form another word for a prima donna.

I liked 19d and 20d but my clue of the day is 23d – do you agree or disagree? Leave us a comment.



  1. bigboab
    Posted June 2, 2009 at 1:21 pm | Permalink

    Compared to yesterday this was damn hard work but most enjoyable. I did not get 6d or 1a, till I read your hints and even now I’m not sure of 6d. I’m sure you are correct but I still don’t understand it!)

    • gazza
      Posted June 2, 2009 at 1:43 pm | Permalink

      Hi bigboab
      6d was the last answer I got and I don’t think it’s a brilliant clue, but the answer given is correct.
      I think that you can just about substitute the answer for the relevant word in the following sentences:
      a) “When I’m away I miss my family”
      b) “There is no call for an election at the moment”.

  2. libellule
    Posted June 2, 2009 at 1:56 pm | Permalink

    Interesting, 6d was also the last clue I got, only four letters, and we have two checking letters of N and E. Yet I still had to check the answer for sure on Clued Up when I thought I had it right.
    I think there may be as Gazza says, a problem ,with it not being the best clue ever….

  3. Barrie M
    Posted June 2, 2009 at 5:55 pm | Permalink

    Too tough for me! Misread almost all the anagram trigger words. 3d and 14a esp difficult.

  4. Greenhorn
    Posted June 2, 2009 at 5:59 pm | Permalink

    Got all bar 18a, 27a 6d, 15d & 16d
    18a I was looking for a craft that acted as house such as a narrowboat or something that meant housework.
    27a I think my knowledge of Irish rivers is limited to the Liffey.
    15d Never having heard of Bentley I assumed it was something to do with the car -was there a Corniche? Was this a fair clue?

    • gazza
      Posted June 2, 2009 at 6:10 pm | Permalink

      Hi Greenhorn

      I think that 15d is a fair clue, but perhaps it belongs in a Toughie rather than in this puzzle. Here’s another of Bentley’s best:

      George the Third
      Ought never to have occurred.
      One can only wonder
      At so grotesque a blunder.

  5. elcid
    Posted June 2, 2009 at 6:45 pm | Permalink

    Would never have got 15 down without your clue – challenging! Thanks!

  6. Whaleydad
    Posted June 2, 2009 at 6:49 pm | Permalink

    Too tough for me. Not heard of 1a. 15d – never in a month of Sundays!

  7. Little Dave
    Posted June 2, 2009 at 8:38 pm | Permalink

    Blimey this was a toughie for me! I blame the hot weather and a crowded commute. 23d is a lovely clue.

  8. NathanJ
    Posted June 2, 2009 at 11:53 pm | Permalink

    I had a shocker – couldn’t solve 10 of the clues – aaaaaahhhhh!

    If half stars were allowed in the ratings, I would have given this three and a half stars for difficulty – it was almost tough enough to be in the Toughie category.

  9. Chris
    Posted June 6, 2009 at 2:13 pm | Permalink

    I thought this was definitely the hardest this week – I couldn’t do it on Tuesday and only just finished it now after looking at it again with your help (particulary 3d, 18a and 16d)!

    Hadn’t heard of Rosa and Bentley like some others have said. And even though I guessed the answers, I’m embarrassed to say I hadn’t heard of a ‘greatcoat’, the writer London, an Oxford shoe or the river Lee. But that probably just reflects badly on me!

    Love the blog though, and have been visiting for some time – invaluable to a novice like me!

    • gazza
      Posted June 6, 2009 at 4:07 pm | Permalink

      Hi Chris
      Thanks for your comments.
      There’s nothing wrong with making an intelligent guess at an answer based on the letters that you have already got, as long as you then verify it from the wordplay. On 1a, for example, I thought that the word required was of the form P????IC (because of the “enters picture” bit) – this seemed to point to the answer being “prosaic” (dull). So I then looked up Rosa and found that there was an Italian artist of that name – clue solved!!
      The more practice you have, the better you get at this sort of thing.