DT 25962

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 25962

Hints and tips by Gazza

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

Another Tuesday and another fine puzzle, full of well crafted clues. After last week’s debate on how difficult the puzzle was I’ll be interested to see how people react to this one – I vacillated between three and four stars but eventually plumped for three.

Across Clues

1a  Call up from inmate’s cell, we hear (9)
{CONSCRIPT} – a word meaning to call up for military service is constructed from CON’S (inmate’s, i.e. convict’s) and a sound-alike for CRYPT (cell).

8a  Man in charge at Waterloo? (13)
{STATIONMASTER} – a cryptic definition of the man in charge, not at the battle of 1815, but at the London terminus of the same name.

11a  President — the man’s a Democrat (4)
{HEAD} – a charade of HE (the man), A and D(emocrat) produces the person in charge.

12a  Shock plea dropping Ecstasy (5)
{APPAL} – drop the E (Ecstasy) from APPeAL (plea) to leave a verb meaning to shock.

13a  End with overweight sweetheart (4)
{FATE} – a charade of FAT (overweight) and the heart of swEet leads to a word meaning destiny or death (end).

16a  Professional soldier’s general (7)
{REGULAR} – double definition – a term for a professional soldier and a synonym for general or normal.

17a  Little rod getting shrimp? (7)
{TADPOLE} – a charade of TAD (little) and POLE (rod) gives us a tiny thing (shrimp).

18a  Support of faithful crumbling (7)
{FULCRUM} – a word for support is hidden (of) in faithFUL CRUMbling.

20a  Train undercover agent (7)
{SLEEPER} – a lovely double definition – the type of train on which you can get your head down, and a spy who spends years undercover before being activated.

21a  Snitch appears before English judge (4)
{RATE} – a charade of RAT (snitch) and E(nglish) makes a verb meaning to judge.

22a  Garden’s naff ornament mocked endlessly, initially (5)
{GNOME} – an amusing all-in-one clue – take the first letters (initially) of the first five words to get this figure of fun.

23a  With company, the French drink (4)
{COLA} – this brown carbonated non-alcoholic drink is made from CO (company) and LA (the, in French).

26a  Isn’t archaic? No, becoming out of date (13)
{ANACHRONISTIC} – an anagram (becoming) of ISN’T ARCHAIC? NO gives a word meaning out of date.

27a  Capital choice taking posh daily (9)
{BUCHAREST} – choice is BEST – include (taking) U (posh) and CHAR (daily) to get the capital of Romania.

Down Clues

2d  Remains of left’s losing head (4)
{ORTS} – left’s is pORT’S (i.e. the left side of a ship) – take off the first letter (losing head) to leave a word meaning remains.

3d  Cork by end of knots on hat (7)
{STOPPER} – put together S (end letter of knots) and the sort of hat that men were wearing last week at Royal Ascot (and which used to be worn by an 8a on ceremonial occasions) to get a synonym for a cork.

4d  Bank’s responsibility after crash (7)
{RAMPART} – a term for a defensive mound or bank is made from a charade of a word for a role or responsibility after RAM (crash into).

5d  Starts to put on sexy exhibition? (4)
{POSE} – another all-in-one clue – take the first letters (starts to) of the last four words. This does not quite come off, for me, because either “starts” needs to be in the singular or the answer needs to have a final S.

6d  Throttling, twisting gag in last turn (13)
{STRANGULATING} – an anagram (twisting) of GAG IN LAST TURN produces a synonym for throttling.

7d  Moor steamship, possibly for alteration (13)
{METAMORPHOSIS} – an anagram (possibly) of MOOR STEAMSHIP gives us a term for a major alteration or transformation, such as that from a caterpillar to a butterfly.

9d  So, to free her, let loose (9)
{THEREFORE} – another anagram (let loose) of TO FREE HER leads to a word for “so”.

10d  Tries in physical exercise (9)
{REHEARSAL} – put HEARS (tries, in the courtroom) inside REAL (physical or tangible) to get an exercise in preparation for a later performance.

14d  Gable perhaps for cold bird (5)
{CLARK} – there’s an attempt at misdirection in this amusing clue, which fooled me at first into looking for an anagram of gable. Actually it’s a charade of C(old) and LARK (bird) that we want, to give the forename of Mr Gable the film star (or of Mr Kent, the superman).

15d  Trims top off rows of bushes (5)
{EDGES} – rows of bushes are hEDGES – remove the first letter (top off, in a down clue) to leave a verb meaning trims.

19d  Ovation ends in procession for Queen (7)
{MONARCH} – we want to place the outside letters (ends) of OvatioN inside MARCH (procession) to get a synonym for queen.

20d  Meeting marines at sea (7)
{SEMINAR} – an anagram (at sea) of marines gives us a word for a discussion group or conference.

24d  Brown’s game following European Commission (4)
{ECRU} – put RU (rugby union) after EC (European Commission) to get a word (from the French for unbleached) for a light fawn colour like unbleached linen.

25d  Questions? Labour’s ignoring Tory leader (4)
{ASKS} – start with tASK’S (Labour’s) and remove the T (ignoring Tory leader) to leave a synonym for questions.

The clues that I liked best included 1a, 20a and 14d, but my clue of the day is 22a. What’s your opinion? – leave us a comment!

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22 Comments

  1. Vince
    Posted June 23, 2009 at 10:57 am | Permalink

    I don’t understand your problem with 5d. We’re looking for the “starts” to all four words, so “start” wouldn’t work. And for the answer to be “poses”, it would have to be “puts”.

    • gazza
      Posted June 23, 2009 at 12:53 pm | Permalink

      Hi Vince I agree that it would be difficult to make the clue as written any better. It’s just that as an all-in-one clue the answer does not match up terribly well with the wording of the clue. Whether you treat “starts” as a singular verb or a plural noun, the answer really ought to match it. As an example if the word in 22a had been ornamentS rather than ornament the answer would not have matched the clue.

      • Vince
        Posted June 23, 2009 at 3:57 pm | Permalink

        Gazza, your reference to 22a is a red herring, as “initially” is the operative word, there. For 5d, you need 4 starts, one for each of the words: Put On Sexy Exhibition. These then form a word which means “put” on sexy exhibition.

        • gazza
          Posted June 23, 2009 at 4:27 pm | Permalink

          Vince
          I don’t disagree with “starts” and I don’t disagree that the answer is “pose” – what I’m saying is that, for an all-in-one clue, where the whole of the clue is the definition, you ideally want the answer to match the clue grammatically. This one doesn’t.

  2. Kram
    Posted June 23, 2009 at 11:47 am | Permalink

    Tend to agree with Gazza, it would be the same if ‘began’ was exchanged for ‘starts’ , ‘start’ works the same way. Sadly didn’t like 10d too complex for my senile brain, however did like 14d more in my era!

  3. mary
    Posted June 23, 2009 at 12:29 pm | Permalink

    liked it, liked it, except for 10d, still don’t quite get that!!

    • gazza
      Posted June 23, 2009 at 12:42 pm | Permalink

      Hi Mary

      Tries is HEARS (as in “the judge hears 3 cases per week”). Put this inside REAL (physical, i.e. something that you can see and touch, as opposed to something abstract). What you end up with is a word for a try out or exercise, as in a police riot control exercise.

  4. newtocryptic
    Posted June 23, 2009 at 1:35 pm | Permalink

    Enjoyed it and agree 3 not 4 star. Only clue I didn’t like was 2 down. I understand how it’s constructed but who ever uses the word orts?

    I’m not quite so new at cryptics as I once was but still hate it when the setter uses really obscure words.

    • gazza
      Posted June 23, 2009 at 1:54 pm | Permalink

      Hi newtocryptic and welcome to the site.
      I did know 2d but I hadn’t heard of 24d (presumably the setter was stuck for a word matching ?c?u, and there are not many options!). Happily for us he made the wordplay on that one fairly easy.

    • anna gran
      Posted June 24, 2009 at 8:53 am | Permalink

      I agree – couldn’t find orts in my oxford english or chambers dictionaries – I have never heard of it!

      • Posted June 24, 2009 at 9:08 am | Permalink

        Anna Gran

        Welcome to the blog – that’s a nifty name!

        From the latest Chambers:

        ort (dialect)
        noun (usually in plural)
        a fragment, esp one left from a meal

  5. Lizwhiz
    Posted June 23, 2009 at 1:40 pm | Permalink

    Found todays crossword easy today-I also loved 14d as it was so misleading!

  6. bigboab
    Posted June 23, 2009 at 5:43 pm | Permalink

    I enjoyed the whole thing, I don’t tend to worry as much as some of you re the construction and word plays etc. I just enjoy.

  7. RayT
    Posted June 23, 2009 at 6:36 pm | Permalink

    As the setter of this crossword, I’m afraid that I have to agree with Gazza about 5d. Grammatically, it’s not terribly sound. Phil, our editor, did raise a doubt about it, and with hindsight he was quite right to do so.

    • gazza
      Posted June 23, 2009 at 7:01 pm | Permalink

      Hi Rayt
      Thanks for dropping in and clearing that up.

  8. Graham Cole
    Posted June 23, 2009 at 7:24 pm | Permalink

    A few days away must have done me the power of good as I completed two-thirds in one go and that is very rare for me. Didn’t quite finish it thanks to 2d and 24d inparticular but very pleased with my effort. More of this compiler please :) Loved 14d

    Though I got 27a I don’t understand why u = posh

    • gazza
      Posted June 23, 2009 at 8:07 pm | Permalink

      Hi Graham and welcome to the site.
      You may have noticed that the compiler dropped in and left a comment.
      U = Upper-class (i.e. posh) and non-u = middle-class.
      See here for an explanation.

  9. Little Dave
    Posted June 23, 2009 at 7:39 pm | Permalink

    This was a good one today – I liked Bucharest especially. Few problems but struggled with conscript. Enjoyable commute home.

  10. James
    Posted June 23, 2009 at 8:00 pm | Permalink

    Only had a half hour too look at this today and didn’t do terribly well. Got 27a without having a clue as to why. Char is a new word to me which having looked up now makes total sense. Would someone be so kind as to reveal to me why U = posh?

    Many thanks

    • gazza
      Posted June 23, 2009 at 8:09 pm | Permalink

      Hi James
      On the U query see my reply to Graham above.

      • James
        Posted June 24, 2009 at 1:31 pm | Permalink

        Oops – sorry, didn’t see that. Thank you

        • Posted June 24, 2009 at 2:10 pm | Permalink

          James

          The earlier comment was probably not visible to you at the time you posted – all new people leaving a comment must be approved as an anti-spam safeguard.

          There have been over 350 attempts to post spam comments, usually saying something vague like “Good blog” and then linking off to their own site.