DT 25967

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 25967

Hints and tips by Tilsit

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BD Rating – Difficulty *** Enjoyment **

I made it home from the hospital, but haven’t felt much like solving over the weekend, so I have a large pile of puzzles to wade through.  Whether it’s because I am out of sorts I can’t decide, but today’s puzzle irritated me more than pleased me.  I hate grids that have only one way in and out of each corner and today’s was no exception.  There does seem to be a large number of Telegraph grids that are not helpful to solvers, and it may be about time that a review was carried out of the grids. Similarly I hate ambiguous clues with a passion, and there’s one today at 25 across.

Overall, the clues are of the standard we expect from our Monday Maestro, but one or two are of the tooth-sucking variety, and I’ll mention those as we go along.  Right, off we go….

Across

1a Seat backing (6)
{BEHIND} Double definition to start today.    Your personal seat is your behind, and if you’re behind someone you are backing them.

4a Wine found in many picnic baskets (8)
{CHAMPERS} A word sum.  C (Roman numeral for 100 = Many) + HAMPERS

9a Confused tot given guidance (6)
{ADDLED} And again.   ADD (tot) + LED

10a Fabricate an end to the argument (4,2,2)
{MAKE IT UP}  Double definition.  If you MAKE IT UP you fabricate something or you bring an end to an argument.

12a Celebrated the antelopes’ return (4)
{SUNG} Gnus = antelopes reversed.  Cue  Flanders and Swann doing their bit

13a A mouthful of water (5)
{DELTA}  This is one of those clues where I think the setter is trying to be too clever.  A cryptic definition leading you to a river delta.  But equally, it could be ESTUARY or other similar bodies of water.

14a Study occupied by a fellow at college (4)
{DEAN}  A inside  DEN (study).  Fellow at college is your definition.

17a Police officer at finish of chase examining body (12)
{INSPECTORATE}  I presume that “examining body” refers to a group that conducts inquiries as in “Health and Safety Inspectorate”.  Chambers doesn’t actually give it as a definition but it’s one of those that you can draw conclusions about.  INSPECTOR + AT +E (“finish of chasE”)

20a What one wants above all is the reader’s involvement (6,6)
{HEART’S DESIRE} An anagram (involvement) of IS THE READERS.

23a Family is able to provide accommodation for a student (4)
{CLAN}  L (for student) inside CAN (is able)

24a Grim end to a ship (5)
{STERN} Double definition

25a Perjurer who turns to abuse (4)
{LIAR}  There is a growing group of setters and solvers who dislike these types of clues where to solve the clue you have to have the intersecting letters.  I am almost a founder member of this clan.  Without intersecting letters this could either be  RAIL or LIAR

28a Guard the disturbed girl (8)
{DAUGHTER}  Anagram (disturbed) of GUARD THE

29a Docks, where sailors sleep (6)
{BERTHS} Double definition.

30a Where one may see pitchers and strikers (8)
{CAMPSITE}  Not baseball of course, it’s a Monday, for heaven’s sake.  So we need to think laterally.  Some of you will like this clue, some will suck their teeth.  You can guess where I belong here.  Pitching tents, fine.  Strikers refers to either people hitting tent pegs, or people lighting matches.  Glad I haven’t got dentures.

31a Stevenson’s better half (6)
{JEKYLL} Probably my favourite clue.  RL Stevenson wrote Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde and of course the good doctor was the nicer half of this duo.

Down

1d Capital investment supports the family (8)
{BEARSKIN}  Again I shall let you make your mind up over this one.  Capital is here used to mean “of the head” from the Latin caput. Investment is defined in Chambers as an archaic meaning of clothes.  So here you are looking for a type of hat.  Supports is BEARS  and the family is KIN.  More tooth sucking at this end.

2d Fellow entertained by robbery — he enjoys the fun (8)
{HEDONIST}  DON (Fellow) inside HEIST (robbery)

3d Ones needing reform? These don’t agree (4)
{NOES} A nice clue.  An anagram (needing reform) of Noes

5d Where they are well-equipped to deal with complaints? (6,6)
{HEALTH RESORT}  I am now becoming a bit cheesed off with today’s cryptic definitions.  Normally, most hit the mark but today’s just seem too contrived to have any effect and they are dragging the rest of the puzzle down with it.

6d Carriage sounds cheap (4)
{MIEN} Here’s where I hold my hand up!  I had always assumed that it was pronounced as it is spelt.   But a check in Chambers reveals not.  Mind you, I don’t ever recall using it in conversation….

7d One of two, or one in three perhaps (6)
{EITHER}  Now we are getting back to the standard we expect.  An anagram (perhaps) of I in THREE

8d Flat out setting up American deal (6)
{SUPINE}  US  (American  reversed) +  PINE (deal as in wood)

11d Forced retirement from one’s position (4,1,7)
{BEAT A RETREAT}  A cryptic definition for the military manoeuvre, an event commemorated and seen at the Edinburgh Military Tattoo.

15d Fed up with hesitation and delay (5)
{DEFER}  The Reverse of FED +  ER (hesitation)

16d A way always short and direct (5)
{STEER} ST (street, or way) +  EER  (old way saying always)

18d Short skirts tempt the clergy! (8)
{MINISTRY} Getting better with the clues! Nudge nudge, wink wink time!  MINIS + TRY

19d Rare slip may produce an aggressive response (8)
{REPRISAL}  Anagram (may produce) of RARE SLIP

21d Sharp detectives in rising intelligence organisation (6)
{ACIDIC} C.I.D. inside the reverse of CIA.  I have seen this clue several times, I think it was in a recent Everyman puzzle in the Observer.

22d There’s a natural abhorrence for such a cleaner (6)
{VACUUM} I think I must be missing something as I don’t see what abhorrence (loathing, hatred) is doing here.  Chambers definitions of Vacuum and abhorrence  don’t seem to indicate anything,  if you can help, I’d be interested to know.

26d Resistance units serving the Queen (4)
{OHMS}  The abbreviation OHMS  stands for On Her Majesty’s Service.

27d Information has bearing on a hereditary factor (4)
{GENE} The website version has “bearng”. GEN (information)  + E (bearing).
So quite a mixed bag today.  As usual, I’d love to hear what you think, so use the message facility.  New posters will need to know that your first post has to be approved, in order to block spammers, so there can be a slight delay before it appears.

Now, for a lie-down in a darkened room………..

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30 Comments

  1. Posted June 29, 2009 at 2:00 pm | Permalink

    30a – when you take the tents down, you are said to “strike camp”.

    Chambers has a meaning of to strike as “to lower (eg a sail, flag, tent)”.

    Even knowing that, I still found myself sucking my teeth (yes, I’ve still got them)!

  2. Rollo
    Posted June 29, 2009 at 2:31 pm | Permalink

    You were lucky that you managed to get to the grid if you did it online.

    When I tried to solve this one online at 12:10 am thismorning I was told that I had already solved it – along with 70 other people, and the quickest time to solve it was over 2 hours 30 minutes.

    The status says “entered”, but if I had submitted it it would say “completed”.

    It will not even allow me to “view” the grid.

    http://i44.tinypic.com/wclnon.jpg

    • Fallingstarr
      Posted June 29, 2009 at 10:13 pm | Permalink

      I too had trouble. I was able to print it but when I went to do it on line it said I had already completed it. The clues on line were correct for puzzle 25967 but the answers which I had ‘completed’ referred to a completely different puzzle. Nobody else had this problem arpart from Rollo?

      • Rollo
        Posted June 29, 2009 at 11:11 pm | Permalink

        Thanks for that Fallingstar.

        At least I am not the only one who is cursed by this Telegraph website.

        LOL

        • Fallingstarr
          Posted June 30, 2009 at 9:00 am | Permalink

          I’m always cursed by this site. ‘Cannot find server’ is what I get a lot of the time and when I do get on it takes another 15 minutes to get to the next stage…. and it’s not my computer as I use different ones. If I was in the UK I would be on the phone to them constantly. Maybe it works in the UK. Grrrr

          • Posted June 30, 2009 at 9:26 am | Permalink

            When I first started this blog I used to do all of the puzzles at just after midnight. For the last two or three months using the site before its database reset has become a lottery. As a result I now wait until about 9.00 am BST, and even then you are not guaranteed a trouble-free session.

            Allowing for anonymous access, the maximum number of users is probably under 4000, and many of those will be trial memberships that were, understandably, not converted to full memberships. If the company that the Telegraph has outsourced this to cannot cope with that kind of volume then they should be replaced with one that can. The company concerned even boast about being responsible for it on their website!

            • Fallingstarr
              Posted June 30, 2009 at 10:32 am | Permalink

              Thanks for your response. As a matter of curiosity are subscribers to Cluedup mainly from overseas? It seems that a lot of the people on this site do the puzzle in the paper/on the train rather than rely on the online version. Am I just lucky stumbling across this site? Wasn’t luck by the way – I spent a while searching ……. and also I have been a subscriber to the Daily Telegraph Crossword for about 6/7 years now. Well before this pressure Leader Board point system came in.

              • Posted June 30, 2009 at 10:57 am | Permalink

                I have no idea of figures, but as it is almost the only way for those overseas to have access to the current Telegraph puzzles I’m sure that they make up a significant percentage of the total.

  3. bigboab
    Posted June 29, 2009 at 2:40 pm | Permalink

    Good to see you back Tilsit, hope you keep better in the future.
    I didn’t mind todays crossword, at least it wasn’t so mind blowingly easy as recent Monday efforts, not great though.

  4. Kram
    Posted June 29, 2009 at 2:44 pm | Permalink

    Sorry to read you are still not feeling a hundred percent Tilsit, perhaps you should consider a week at a 5d with a couple of bottles of 4a, but watch out they are 21d! or perhaps you should go back to those famous slices of yours!.Reverting to the crossword, loved 1a ,31a, and 7d.

  5. Haplogy
    Posted June 29, 2009 at 4:42 pm | Permalink

    Tilsit
    I have heard the expression nature abhors a vacuum, at school I think :-)

  6. gazza
    Posted June 29, 2009 at 4:45 pm | Permalink

    22d. There’s a saying “nature abhors a vacuum”.

  7. Lena
    Posted June 29, 2009 at 4:53 pm | Permalink

    22d There is a saying – I’m not sure where it comes from that ” nature abhors a vacuum” which explains this clue. However it was some time before I was able to engage the little grey cells on this one. Hope you feel better soon Tilsit

  8. PF429
    Posted June 29, 2009 at 4:57 pm | Permalink

    re your comments on 22d I recall a saying from schooldays soooooo long ago that “nature abhors a vacuum”

  9. tilsit
    Posted June 29, 2009 at 5:00 pm | Permalink

    Thanks to everyone.

    Have never heard of striking a tent or the saying “nature ahbors a vacuum”.

    Goes off to study Brewer’s

  10. Yoshik
    Posted June 29, 2009 at 5:03 pm | Permalink

    A further possibility is that if you hate somebody, it is said to leave a vacuum in your life.

  11. Posted June 29, 2009 at 5:07 pm | Permalink

    I wonder how many of us, myself included, would have missed at least some of today’s wordplay.

  12. Little Dave
    Posted June 29, 2009 at 5:12 pm | Permalink

    A strange puzzle this one with some odd answers. A bit too contrived and vague in parts but I finished it quite easily. Perhaps the setter has been sitting in the sunshine too long? I wonder what will happen when the temperature notches up the scale in the next few days?

  13. Anna Gramme
    Posted June 29, 2009 at 6:45 pm | Permalink

    13a. Didn’t get ‘delta’. I thought ‘bight’ would be a good answer for ‘a mouthful of water’, except it didn’t fit with the down clues.

    • Kram
      Posted June 29, 2009 at 7:58 pm | Permalink

      Hi AG, not a very good clue I would agree, but the Delta is the mouth of a river.

  14. Posted June 29, 2009 at 7:39 pm | Permalink

    I would like to welcome Haplogy, Lena and PF429

    Sorry your comments were a little late being moderated – someone was watching Wimbledon rather than the blog!

  15. Fred
    Posted June 29, 2009 at 8:31 pm | Permalink

    Nature abhors a vacuum – Parmenides and aristotle an old saying

    • gazza
      Posted June 29, 2009 at 9:01 pm | Permalink

      Hi Fred – welcome to the site.

  16. pianydd
    Posted June 29, 2009 at 8:43 pm | Permalink

    Wasn’t all that comfy with 11d – I’m sure it’s just me, but isn’t there a conflict of tenses here?

    • gazza
      Posted June 29, 2009 at 9:09 pm | Permalink

      pianydd
      I agree – it’s sloppy.

  17. old bill
    Posted June 29, 2009 at 10:44 pm | Permalink

    Cor blimey, i was well beaten today. Didn’t even get half before the your good help!

    But after a nice weekend in a tent, when you pack up and go home you could be said to ‘striking camp’ ISTR from my scouting days.

  18. Mister Sting
    Posted June 30, 2009 at 12:04 am | Permalink

    I seem to be alone, but I thought this was a fine effort. 1dn went a bit far, perhaps (but to nice effect) and I wasn’t happy about 6dn, but there were some fine surface readings, and 12ac was resolutely joyous.

    • tilsit
      Posted June 30, 2009 at 2:26 pm | Permalink

      I’m curious to know how 12 ac was “resolutely joyous”.

      My issue is that there may be fine surface readings, but some of these are sacrificed for clue accuracy.

      Without wishing to provide an entry worthy of Pseuds’ Corner, I believe that a great many people cut their solving teeth on the Monday crossword both here and in the Guardian, and if, like me, you believe that for new solvers clue accuracy is paramount, then it is behoven upon the setters to maintain that.

      The Monday Maestro for me, is probably one of the best cryptic definition writers in the business, but occasionally some don’t hit the mark. I wasn’t aware of the “striker” part of the CAMP SITE clue, and am now happy to recognise that it was a very clever clue. However, there are several others, of which 5d is the best example, where you probably couldn’t get that answer straightaway.

  19. john middleton
    Posted June 30, 2009 at 1:38 pm | Permalink

    5 down put down health centre, wrong as I discovered later on but more fitting to the clue , dont you agree?

  20. Rob Howard
    Posted June 30, 2009 at 2:46 pm | Permalink

    22 down. The abhorrence link to the clue is in the “well known” saying “nature abhors a vacuum”!
    25 across . The confusion between Liar and rail annoyed me too and stopped me getting 18 and 19 down