DT 25952

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 25952

Hints and tips by Gazza

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BD Rating – Difficulty ** Enjoyment **

After the discussions of the past few days on whether a puzzle is easy or difficult it is with some trepidation that I suggest that this is one of the easier daily puzzles. This is, however, only a personal opinion, and as the quizmaster used to say “the questions are only easy if you know the answer”.

Across Clues

1a  Druids on drugs? (4,7)
{HIGH PRIESTS} – a cryptic description of the chief ministers of the Druids (or other sects or cults) using the double meaning of HIGH to suggest drug taking.

7a  Piece of advice offered to experienced writer (4,3)
{FELT TIP} – a writer (type of pen) is assembled from TIP (piece of advice) which follows (offered to) FELT (experienced).

8a  Wreckage the morning after fellow lost badly (7)
{FLOTSAM} – the wreckage of a ship or its cargo which is found floating on the sea or washed up on shore is constructed from AM (morning) after F (fellow) and an anagram (badly) of LOST.

10a  Noise by soldiers has repercussions (8 )
{RESOUNDS} – soldiers are the usual RE (Royal Engineers) – add SOUNDS (noise) to get a verb meaning resonates or has repercussions.

11a  Leapt from rear of bus before crash (6)
{SPRANG} – a synonym for leapt is made from the last letter (rear) of buS and PRANG (crash).

13a  Initially tempted by small Scottish dainty (4)
{TWEE} – an adjective meaning dainty or sentimentally pretty is formed from the first letter (initially) of Tempted and a Scottish word for small.

14a  Star harangues people officiating (10)
{CELEBRANTS} – a word to describe people officiating at a rite or religious service is made from CELEB (colloquial term for a star or celebrity) and RANTS (harangues).

16a  Single people in skilful trial (10)
{EXPERIMENT} – put I (single) and MEN (people) inside EXPERT (skilful) to produce a formal test or trial.

18a  Carnival atmosphere after golf finishes (4)
{FAIR} – the last letter (finishes) of golF is followed by AIR (atmosphere) to get a collection of amusements for public entertainment (carnival).

21a  Duels fought about gallon of messy goo (6)
{SLUDGE} – an anagram (fought) of DUELS has G(allon) inside to produce a term for messy goo.

22a  Despatched to collect soil on the way back – that’s harsh (8 )
{STRIDENT} – a synonym for harsh is formed from SENT (despatched) around (to collect) DIRT (soil) reversed (on the way back).

24a  Black – that’s what to wear (7)
{NIGHTIE} – put together the time of day when it is black and IE (id. est, that is) to get an item of clothing.

25a  Church readings given by the French lads (7)
{LESSONS} – a charade of LES (“the” in French) and SONS (lads) produces a term for church readings.

26a  Revival in arenas since being redeveloped (11)
{RENAISSANCE} – an anagram (being redeveloped) of ARENAS SINCE forms a word meaning re-birth or revival.

Down Clues

1d  House, lovely exterior, with view that’s a feature of Rome (4,3)
{HOLY SEE} – put together HO (abbreviation for house), LY (exterior letters of LovelY) and SEE (view) to get the bishopric of Rome.

2d  Travel ticket salesman managed to escape (3,3)
{GOT OUT} – a phrase meaning managed to escape is constructed from GO (travel) and the sort of salesman who tries to sell you black-market tickets for sporting or cultural events.

3d  The aspirations of a smoker? (4,6)
{PIPE DREAMS} – a cryptic description of futile and unreal hopes – the phrase originally came from the fantasies of someone smoking opium.

4d  Provided with food and you initially get doubtful (4)
{IFFY} – string together IF (provided) and the initial letters of Food and You to get a slang term describing something of doubtful quality or legality.

5d  People who buy jumpers after the beginning of summer? (8 )
{SHOPPERS} – put HOPPERS (jumpers) after the first letter (beginning) of Summer to get the people who keep the retail trade ticking over (people who buy).

6d  Carry on, though stigma envelops America (7)
{SUSTAIN} – a verb meaning to keep going or carry on is made from STAIN (stigma) which contains (envelops) US (America).

7d  I is the winner, man! (5,6)
{FIRST PERSON} – an amusing definition of I in the grammatical sense, constructed from FIRST (winner) and PERSON (man).

9d  People judging regatta miss train (11)
{MAGISTRATES} – the people who do the judging (this word always makes me think of Peter Cook’s  “I could have been a Judge, but I never had the Latin for the judgin’” – see his biased judge sketch here) in the lower courts are constructed from an anagram (train) of REGATTA MISS.

12d  Heads discussions with greens’ supporters (10)
{BEANSTALKS} – a charade of BEANS (somewhat outdated colloquial term for heads) and TALKS (discussions) produces the stems of bean plants. I feel that the clue would have been better, and misdirected more, if greens’ had been given a capital G.

15d  Cheer up seeing smart gent lose case (8 )
{BRIGHTEN} – smart is BRIGHT – add the inside letters (lose case) of gENt and you get a verb meaning to cheer up.

17d  For each one taking a breather, there’s one taking a dive (7)
{PLUNGER} – for each one is PER – insert (taking) LUNG (breather) to get someone who dives.

19d  Expert on source of thin single plastic material (7)
{ACETONE} – expert is ACE – add the first letter (source) of Thin and ONE (single). According to my, limited, research, this gives us a colourless liquid rather than a plastic material – if there are any chemists out there who can shed light on this, please leave a comment.

20d  Starts to eat at home following jibes (4,2)
{DIGS IN} – put together DIGS (jibes) and IN (at home) to get a colloquial phrase meaning starts to eat.

23d  Store featured in upcoming April edition (4)
{DELI} – the required store is to be found hidden (featured) and backward (upcoming) in AprIL EDition.

There were not a lot of clues in my short-list for clue of the day. I liked 7a and 12d, but the accolade must go to 7d. Whether you agree or disagree please leave a comment.


  1. john middleton
    Posted June 11, 2009 at 12:19 pm | Permalink

    Must be an easier one today, I finished it by eleven o’clock

  2. Yoshik
    Posted June 11, 2009 at 12:44 pm | Permalink

    Acetone is only available in liquid form and as such will melt all plastics, hence the clue is erroneous.

    • Posted June 11, 2009 at 1:20 pm | Permalink


      Welcome to the blog – I guess you must be the same Yoshik that I saw yesterday on the Crossword Help Forum!

    • gazza
      Posted June 11, 2009 at 1:22 pm | Permalink

      Thanks for the confirmation.

  3. Lana
    Posted June 11, 2009 at 1:00 pm | Permalink

    You are entirely correct about 19d! I, being a chemist myself, was somewhat perplexed with this clue as Acetone is to my knowledge a colourless liquid as you say, the thin plastic material eluded to here is Acetate..which caused us great trouble with 25a.

    • gazza
      Posted June 11, 2009 at 1:07 pm | Permalink

      Hi Lana
      Thanks for confirming my suspicions. I imagine that the setter got the two confused!!!

  4. Kram
    Posted June 11, 2009 at 4:26 pm | Permalink

    I wonder if the compiler will pay a sly visit to the blog, and admit the error with acetone-acetate?, has happened before. Yep the best clue has to be 7d.

  5. Little Dave
    Posted June 11, 2009 at 5:54 pm | Permalink

    I found this very straightforward although I initially thought 24a was necktie (DER!!) I had this completed by 8AM with the exception of 14a which had me stumped until 1100. I do get up early though!!! I anticipate a tough one tomorrow then back to an easy Saturday one.

  6. Graybag
    Posted June 11, 2009 at 7:03 pm | Permalink

    My kind of puzzle today… ie easier !

    Still got stuck on one part of it but as I didn’t start it until 5.30pm after a day that has taxed my brain cells, I’m quite pleased

  7. philbro
    Posted June 11, 2009 at 9:31 pm | Permalink

    Enjoyed the puzzle again today, less tricky than previous 2 days. Favourite clues-7d followed by 3d.

  8. Jay
    Posted June 11, 2009 at 10:23 pm | Permalink

    The compiler writes…….
    Acetone/Acetate. Many apologies for confusion I created as a result of a hopefully temporary absence of mind. As Kram says, I must have had acetate running through my brain. Thanks to all for the comments which are read and borne in mind when compiling

    • Posted June 11, 2009 at 11:52 pm | Permalink

      Welcome to the blog Jay

      I bet Kram didn’t really believe that you would come here and own up!

      Isn’t acetone better known as nail-varnish remover?

  9. old bill
    Posted June 12, 2009 at 11:54 am | Permalink

    19d was annoying! 25a got me so puzzled i had to come here before i’d finished (ie. given up!).
    anyways, back to the rest of them now… about 3/4 done.
    is ‘train’ a common anagram word?

    • gazza
      Posted June 12, 2009 at 12:05 pm | Permalink

      Hi old bill
      I don’t think that there’s any limit to the words that setters can produce as anagram indicators. I presume that “train” is being used in the sense of causing (a plant) to grow in a particular direction.