DT 25974

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 25974

Hints and tips by Gazza

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BD Rating – Difficulty ** Enjoyment ***

An enjoyable, but not too taxing, puzzle with all the answers being single words. We have both a girl’s name and a city, so there may be some criticism from those who do not like the use of proper nouns – over to you!
As usual the answers are hidden inside the curly brackets – just select the white space inside them to reveal all.

Across Clues

1a  Veteran’s gone out in shabby raincoat (12)
{OCTOGENARIAN} – a good surface reading and a double anagram to start – put an anagram (out) of GONE inside an anagram (shabby) of RAINCOAT to get an elderly person (veteran).

9a  Focus on minor taking cannabis (9)
{SPOTLIGHT} – minor is SLIGHT – insert POT (cannabis) to produce a verb meaning to focus on.

10a  Saw maturity after promotion (5)
{ADAGE} – a saw or maxim is constructed by putting AGE (maturity) after AD (advertisement, promotion).

11a  A French flat one’s in for free (6)
{UNPAID} – string together the French indefinite article and PAD (flat) and insert I (one’s in) to get a synonym for free or uncompensated.

12a  Mariner following sound of albatross’s guide (8 )
{LODESTAR} – another term for the Pole Star (guide) is constructed by putting TAR (mariner) after (following) a sound-alike of “load”, in a reference to the baleful and oppressive influence of the albatross hung around the mariner’s neck in Coleridge’s famous poem:
Ah wel-a-day! what evil looks
Had I from old and young;
Instead of the Cross the Albatross
About my neck was hung.

13a  Team-mate turned around dropping last catch (6)
{ENTRAP} – team-mate is PARTNEr – remove the final letter (dropping last) and reverse what’s left (turned round) to get a verb meaning catch.

15a  Rude individual (8 )
{PERSONAL} – double definition – a derogatory or rude type of remark, and relating to a specific individual.

18a  Turning out lions’ compound (8 )
{SOLUTION} – an anagram (turning) of OUT LION’S produces a combination (compound) of different constituents. I’m not sure that the answer can be equated with a compound, but then I know little of chemistry. Would anyone with more knowledge than me like to comment…

19a  Hardy companion? (6)
{LAUREL} – Ollie’s mate. It’s probably heresy to say this, since these two appear to have been canonised in the comedy hall of fame, but I was never a great fan and don’t think that they were a patch on Morecambe and Wise. Of course you are free to disagree – leave a comment!

21a  Woman’s shut up? Run away! (8 )
{PENELOPE} – this woman’s name is a charade of PEN (to enclose or shut up) and ELOPE (run away).

23a  Set off for race holding record (6)
{DEPART} – to race is to DART – include EP (extended-play, record) to get a verb meaning to set off.

26a  Relation’s sweet embracing sweetheart (5)
{NIECE} – the setters’ favourite relation is constructed by putting the middle letter (heart) of swEet inside NICE (sweet).

27a  Fan with drink after drink (9)
{SUPPORTER} – a charade of PORTER (a dark brown beer brewed from malt) coming after SUP (to drink) produces a loyal backer (fan).

28a  ‘Titanic’ is romantic and also terrible (12)
{ASTRONOMICAL} – an anagram (terrible) of ROMANTIC and ALSO forms an adjective meaning extremely large (titanic). A good surface reading (and an accurate bit of film criticism).

Down Clues

1d  Old boy’s treatment producing faint (7)
{OBSCURE} – a charade of OB’S (old boy’s) and CURE (treatment) produces an adjective meaning hard to make out (faint).

2d  Party returning weak Tory leader (5)
{TROOP} – a party or group of people or animals is formed from POOR (weak) and T (leader, i.e. first letter, of Tory) all reversed (returning).

3d  Brave accepting compiler’s endless run around (9)
{GALLIVANT} – brave is GALLANT – include IV to form a verb meaning to run around in pursuit of pleasure or entertainment. The IV is produced as follows: compiler’s is short for “compiler has”; replace compiler with I (i.e. the setter) to get “I HAVE”; shorten this to I’VE; remove the final E (endless).

4d  Mounts bugs (4)
{NAGS} – double definition – horses (mounts) and annoys or bothers continuously (bugs). A simple but very neat clue.

5d  Dealt out tirade on broadcast (8 )
{RATIONED} – an anagram (broadcast) of TIRADE ON produces a verb meaning dealt out or apportioned.

6d  Alive, giving something for the dead? (5)
{AWAKE} – double definition – an adjective meaning alive to or aware of, and a vigil or party for someone who has died.

7d  Button’s quicker taking English pole (8 )
{FASTENER} – a good surface reading that takes us into the glamorous world of Formula One motor racing (where Jenson Button is a leading British driver and “pole” means the leading position on the grid prior to the start of the race) – put E(nglish) and N (north pole) inside FASTER (quicker) to get a synonym for button.

8d  Gas on favourite spin’s almost finished (6)
{PETROL} – gas (as the Americans call it) is made by putting ROLL (without the final L – spin which is nearly finished) after (on) PET (favourite).

14d  Brilliant report by gutless head journalist (8 )
{TALENTED} – a word meaning brilliant is assembled from TALE (report), NuT (head with its centre missing, gutless) and ED (editor).

16d  Private cabin, say, with berth put up (9)
{STATEROOM} – a private compartment on a ship is constructed from STATE (say) and MOOR (to berth) reversed (put up).

17d  He scores for players (8 )
{COMPOSER} – cryptic definition of someone who produces a musical score.

18d  Lazy back’s containing United (6)
{SUPINE} – put U (united, as in Man U) inside SPINE (back) to get a word meaning indolent or passive (lazy).

20d  Next ace left on side (7)
{LATERAL} – a charade of LATER (next), A (ace, in bridge notation) and L(eft) produces a word meaning on one side.

22d  City is winning, reportedly (5)
{LEEDS} – this West Yorkshire city sounds like (reportedly) leads (is winning).

24d  Garret? Starting at the top, it’s cold (5)
{ATTIC} – take the first letters (starting) of the last five words to get a synonym for garret.

25d  Told small joke (4)
{SPUN} – put together S(mall) and PUN (type of joke) to produce a verb meaning told (when followed by “a yarn”).

I liked 19a and 28a but my clue of the day for its elegance and simplicity is 4d. Agree or disagree? – leave a comment!


  1. nanaglugglug
    Posted July 7, 2009 at 11:19 am | Permalink

    Very nice crossword to do with a cup of coffee! Nothing too taxing, but I did like the girls name in this case!
    Got a bit confused on 19a as Hotlips was convinced this was ‘MARROW’ so got a bit slowed up.

    • gazza
      Posted July 7, 2009 at 11:40 am | Permalink

      Marrow and Hardy – now that was a double act 8)

  2. bigboab
    Posted July 7, 2009 at 11:46 am | Permalink

    Nice crossword, liked 4d but loved 1a( I usually don’t like anagrams but this was good.)

  3. Kram
    Posted July 7, 2009 at 11:46 am | Permalink

    Gazza did you intend to type roll in 8d instead of roli?.

    • gazza
      Posted July 7, 2009 at 11:53 am | Permalink

      It’s the font – it is supposed to be a lower-case L which appears as “l”. I agree that it’s confusing so I’ll edit it. Thanks for telling me.

  4. Rob Howard
    Posted July 7, 2009 at 12:17 pm | Permalink

    As a beginner I found Saturday’s relatively easy and Tuesday’s impossible! Yet the star rating says the opposite. Any reason for this?

    • Posted July 7, 2009 at 12:25 pm | Permalink


      I rated Saturday’s and Gazza did today’s. I found this to be rather harder than Gazza did, but on some days it is the other way around.

      It’s all to do with what we here call being on the same wavelength as the setter, or not as the case may be.. This one is almost certainly Ray T, and usually I do better than I did today.

    • gazza
      Posted July 7, 2009 at 12:27 pm | Permalink

      As we’ve said before, the relative ease or difficulty of a puzzle often depends on whether you can get on the setter’s wavelength or not. I certainly thought that today’s was easier than Saturday’s. Can you give me some idea of where you found problems with today’s?

      • Rob Howard
        Posted July 7, 2009 at 12:46 pm | Permalink

        I suppose my biggest problems were with clues where one had to guess a second definition of a word before using it in a clue. e.g. 10a age for maturity plus ad for promotion and then the meaning is “saw” which I have not come across as meaning adage!
        Also 3d Gallant for brave (which I had got used to meaning Indian!)

        • gazza
          Posted July 7, 2009 at 1:27 pm | Permalink

          Although the theory is that you decipher the wordplay to reach the solution, in practice it often works the other way round. On 10a “saw” is an old crossword favourite for adage, axiom, motto – so, in my case, it was a question of testing the wordplay against each of these. Of course, if the answer had been, say, tenon, it would have been back to square one.
          On 3d I already had the initial G and my initial thought was that the definition was “brave”, but I couldn’t think of either a synonym or an Indian tribe that fitted and also the “accepting” was a strong hint that a synonym for brave was required around something else, so I considered that “run around” might be the definition, came up with the answer and then checked that the wordplay fitted it.
          A lot of it is down to practice – the more crosswords you do, the better you’ll get, and this site should help you along the way.

          • Rob Howard
            Posted July 7, 2009 at 1:48 pm | Permalink

            Many thanks for that. I will continue to learn!

  5. Joel
    Posted July 7, 2009 at 2:10 pm | Permalink

    Blimey – this one was hard. Especially 3d – I mean, I’ve? without the last e? I even got it without working out why, yet still, I find this clue to have too much going on

  6. Michael
    Posted July 7, 2009 at 2:20 pm | Permalink

    I liked 7d best. 13a is clever.

    18a Technically a solution is not a compound but it is close enough for a cryptic crossword.

    • gazza
      Posted July 7, 2009 at 2:27 pm | Permalink

      Thanks for the info on 18a. I liked 7d too.

  7. cyclingbob
    Posted July 7, 2009 at 2:29 pm | Permalink

    I thought this one was hard. 3d ,12a and 16d in particular were really tricky.

    • gazza
      Posted July 7, 2009 at 2:45 pm | Permalink

      Hi cyclingbob and welcome to the site.
      I agree that 3d and 12a were a bit tricky, but I thought that 16d was fairly straightforward. If many more people say that the puzzle was hard I may have to concede that I got the rating wrong!!!

      • cyclingbob
        Posted July 7, 2009 at 4:12 pm | Permalink

        Thanks for the welcome. re 16d, I got conned into spending ages thinking of a word that sounded like cabin as the first part of the clue. Oh well.

  8. Kram
    Posted July 7, 2009 at 3:06 pm | Permalink

    Very nice crossword, but tend to agree with Joel regarding 3d, did however like 13a. I found it on a par with last Tuesdays, but as you say it all depends upon connecting with the setters line of thought.

  9. Little Dave
    Posted July 7, 2009 at 7:44 pm | Permalink

    Got through this one after a sloooowww start – not tuned in initially but then zipped through without too much pain. Looking forward to a couple of weeks off work without distraction save leather on willow.

    Liked 7d best today.

  10. Graybag
    Posted July 7, 2009 at 7:52 pm | Permalink

    I found todays very hard – even with all the connecting letters in I wouldn’t have got 12a in a month of sundays. But, thanks to this site, I now understand where the answer came from where as before I would have spent the best part of tomrorow morning trying to figure out why it was what it was.

  11. Ravinder
    Posted July 7, 2009 at 11:27 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for the post and to all for the website. I’m just starting in the world of cryptic crosswords and though when I read the solutions the penny always drops, I never seem to be able to solve the clues on my own. I’ll keep trying…

    • Posted July 8, 2009 at 12:13 am | Permalink

      Welcome to the blog Ravinder

      We all had to start somewhere, and after a while you start to see the clues as word puzzles rather than sentences.