DT 25947

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 25947

Hints and tips by Libellule

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

I started with the cryptic definition at 26a, and then moved round the crossword solving clues anticlockwise. All in all another very enjoyable and entertaining Friday crossword. Remember – if you want to see the answer, just highlight the text inside the {} curly brackets

1. Explorer drinks carafe, getting sloshed (7,5)
{FRANCIS DRAKE} – An anagram of DRINKS CARAFE (getting sloshed) will give you the name of a famous explorer, renowned for playing bowls on Plymouth Hoe, before he engaged the Spanish Armada.

9. Serious composer getting established all around (7)
{EARNEST} – The composer is ARNE (thanks gazza) – Thomas or Michael? Place this within (around) EST (established) and you have a synonym for serious.

10. Engineers needing better specialist for removing dross (7)
{REFINER} – Engineers, are RE (Royal Engineers), and these are then added to (needing) FINER (better) to give a person who would remove impurities or unwanted material from something.

11. Contemptible words with which to address good-looking girl? (7)
{TOADISH} – A nice gentle play on words, if you wanted to address a good looking girl, you might say something TO A DISH. When you run the words together you have a word that might be a person or a thing that is as an object of disgust (contemptible) or alternatively a word that refers to a small amphibian.

12. Fairy girl men led astray (7)
{GREMLIN} – A straight forward anagram of GIRL MEN (led astray) leads to a mischievous being (fairy), that is said to typically cause mechanical problems.

13. I run after man in the wrong direction — a low point (5)
{NADIR} – I R(un) is placed after DAN (man) which is then reversed (in the wrong direction) to give a word that is diametrically opposite to the zenith.

14. Motorway junction fare? (9)
{SPAGHETTI} – The intersection of the M6 motorway, A38(M) motorway A38 and A5127 in Birmingham, is also an Italian food staple.

16. Bishop and priest in items of clothing (9)
{BANDANNAS} – B(ishop) AND ANNAS (a biblical high priest) are large scarves worn around the neck or head (items of clothing).

19. Only a slight accident, but Head of Police called (5)
{PRANG} – Take the head of P(olice) and the past tense of ring – RANG (called) and you have another word for a slight accident. E.g. “I say! Wizard prang, Biggles!”

21. A doubter, not quiet self-denying type (7)
{ASCETIC} – Take A SCEPTIC (doubter), then remove P (not quiet) and you will find that you are left with a person who abstains from the normal pleasures of life for example a hermit, recluse or eremite.

23. Deed of maybe ditched lover, one in conspiracy (7)
{EXPLOIT} – A ditched lover is an EX, then put I in a PLOT (conspiracy) and you have a notable deed, feat or act.

24. Outside, stealing a kiss, going on for ages (7)
{ETERNAL} – I have enjoyed writing up the last three clues. All of them have caused me to think, and then smile as I worked out the wordplay. Outside is EXTERNAL, now remove X (steal a kiss) and you are left with a word that means to last for ever, or even go on for ages.

25. Display produced by famous designer and a man of no name (7)
{DIORAMA} – Christian DIOR (the founder of one of the most famous fashion houses) is the famous designer, and the man with no name is not a famous cowboy film starring Clint Eastwood, but is in this case simply A MA(n) with the N removed.

26. Two, three, …? There will be many more in this maths set! (5,7)
{PRIME NUMBERS} – and then 5, 7, 11, 13, 17, 19, 23, 29 etc.


1. Supporting part of the hospital in advance! (7)
{FORWARD} – FOR (supporting) WARD (part of a hospital). “Send Three and Fourpence, We’re Going to a Dance”.

2. A provider of accommodation — not house, a workshop (7)
{ATELIER} – Very clever this. A normal provider of accommodation would be a HOTELIER, now remove HO (not a house) and instead add A. You now have a french word now commonly used in english for an artist’s studio or workroom.

3. Whiskery creature, revolutionary boy, becomes popular (7,2)
{CATCHES ON} – I also enjoyed how this clue was put together. CAT (whiskery creature) CHE (revolutionary) SON (boy) gives us a term for becoming popular.

4. Younger member of family, son, self-righteous person (5)
{SPRIG} – Simple if you have seen this before. S (son) and PRIG (self-righteous person) for a child or scion of a family.

5. Whistle-blower has mounting hesitation — shut up or perk up? (7)
{REFRESH} – Another entertaining clue. REF(eree) (whistle blower) followed by ER reversed (mounting hesitation) and the SH (shut up) gives a word that means to reinvigorate or revive.

6. Some working lethargically for minor ruler (7)
{KINGLET} – The answer to this clue is hidden in working lethargically, and refers to a ruler ruling over a small country or territory, or to several small, greenish, crested birds of the genus Regulus.

7. Combination to maximise the possibility of a hold-up (4,3,6)
{BELT AND BRACES} – A gentle cryptic definition that uses the double insurance of two items of men’s clothing to make sure that your trousers do not fall down.

8. What a sucker may need (8,5)
{DRINKING STRAW} – A slightly more difficult cryptic definition that I originally thought was Lollipop Stick… but isn’t. You would usually find this in a drink.

15. Various characters from Madras met in another capital (9)
{AMSTERDAM} – An anagram of MADRAS MET (various characters from) gives us the capital of Holland.

17. Greek character’s obvious description of some physics (7)
{NUCLEAR} – Take the 13th greek character NU and make it obvious – CLEAR, and you have a branch of physics that studies the building blocks and interactions of atomic nuclei.

18. Cleo’s lover wants to get married? The opposite! (7)
{ANTONYM} – Not a complicated clue, but it reads well. Cleopatra’s lover is Mark ANTONY, now add (wants to get) M(arried) and you have a word that is used to define a word that the opposite to another. For example fast is the antonym of slow.

19. The old man wanting model — hugging old bag! (7)
{PAPOOSE} – Construction time again. Old man is PA, now add (wanting) POSE (model) and place inside (hugging) POSE an O (old) and you have a term for a native American child or child carrier (bag)

20. A woman starts to knit some jackets (7)
{ANORAKS} – A NORA (woman) starts to K(nit) S(ome) is a hooded jacket, or a slang term for a person has a very strong interest, perhaps obsessive, in niche subjects. …

22. Stop part of tract digesting food (5)
{COLON} – I am sure this clue would read better if it was “Stop: part of tract digesting food”.



  1. Whaleydad
    Posted June 5, 2009 at 5:54 pm | Permalink

    Best one of the week by far. 7d was my favourite! Couldn’t see 6d despite staring a hole in the paper ! Thanks for the explanations Libellule.

  2. Little Dave
    Posted June 5, 2009 at 5:58 pm | Permalink

    This was a good crossword and I found it fun to do. 2d was a sticker as was 8d for a while until the common sense gene kicked in! My favourite clue was 3d which was quite clever. All in all a more challenging puzzle today but it’s those that give me most satisfaction. Tomorrow’s will no doubt be far easier.

  3. bigboab
    Posted June 5, 2009 at 7:10 pm | Permalink

    Nice one!

  4. old bill
    Posted June 6, 2009 at 12:09 am | Permalink

    Hi folks – been lurking here for a while. What a great website. Well done!!

    Now I’m no expert at crosswords, usually get between 1/2 & 3/4 done of the DT, depending on how much time I give it. Today was ok – but I would never have got 9a, 11a, 16a or 21a in a month of sundays! That half was looking a bit bare today…

    Now my point :-) in 13a, how does ‘run’ = R ?

    • Posted June 6, 2009 at 12:32 am | Permalink

      Welcome to the blog old bill

      One of the reasons that Telegraph setters heavily favour Chambers dictionary is the plethora of abbreviations that it contains.

      For R or r you have:

      * rand (South African currency)
      * Réaumur’s thermometric scale
      * Rector
      * Regina (Latin), Queen
      * Republican (United States)
      * Rex (Latin), King
      * River
      * Röntgen unit
      * rook (in chess)
      * ruble(s)
      * run(s) (cricket)
      * rupee(s)
      * radius
      * recipe (Latin)
      * right
      * rule (law)

      and that’s just the abbreviations!

      Setters use most of these at various times.

      • old bill
        Posted June 6, 2009 at 10:15 am | Permalink

        Good grief! Well, i’ve come across most of them before… Réaumur’s of Röntgen of course! ;-)
        But why do ‘recipe’ and ‘rule’ deserve an abbreviation? Rhetorical question! I just hope i R all these. (R=remember) hehe.

        Thanks Dave – most helpful.

        • Posted June 6, 2009 at 10:39 am | Permalink

          Recipe is an interesting one. It’s roots actually lie in pharmacy, where it stands for take thou in Latin. This came to be represented by a symbol ℞ which was not available on most modern keyboards, so in turn it became Rx or R. It does come up in crosswords from time to time.

  5. Posted June 6, 2009 at 10:53 am | Permalink

    ARNE is Thomas A – a one-hit wonder who wrote Rule Britannia, and a very important composer in xwds for obvious reasons. Didn’t know about Annas the priest, so 16 took a while and so did 7D which was cleverly done.

    I note that the setter got off with no adverse comment on the two arbitrary people (man = Dan (13A) and woman = Nora (20D)), who have been known to irritate on other days of the week. Maybe because there were only two, or maybe because there was nothing else annoying so the reviewer was in a good mood!

    Pity about the order of unchecked letters in the middle row – swap the M and N and the puzzle would have been signed by the setter!

    • Posted June 6, 2009 at 11:02 am | Permalink


      I noticed the arbitrary people, but they are of much less concern when, as here, the answer is (relatively) obvious and they are only required to verify the wordplay.

      Where I find them irritating is when they are the answer and there were perfectly good dictionary words that could have been used instead.