DT 25998 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 25998

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 25998

Hints and tips by Gazza

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

We can be pretty certain that there will be no discussion today about whether an answer should be hyphenated or not, since one of the trademarks of this setter is that all the answers are single words. Another trademark is that all the clues are beautifully constructed and often amusing. I was thoroughly entertained by it – what about you? Please take the time to click on one of the stars at the bottom of the review to vote for the entertainment factor.
As usual, the answers are hidden inside the curly brackets – select the white space to reveal them.

Across Clues

1a  Certain detectives in action (7)
{DECIDED} – a synonym for certain or definite is produced by putting CID (detectives) inside DEED (action).

5a  Covering up for Roman Catholic clergy? (7)
{BIRETTA} – a cryptic definition of the square cap worn by Roman Catholic clergy (a black one for priests, a purple for bishops and a red for cardinals).

9a  Party leader steps up producing cheers (7)
{PRAISES} – put together P (leader, i.e. initial letter, of party) and RAISES (steps up, increases) to produce a verb meaning applauds or cheers.

10a  Fag smoke? (7)
{EXHAUST} – double definition – a verb meaning to fag or weary (most often used in an expression such as “I was fagged out”) and the exit of gases, in the form of smoke, from the cylinder of an engine. Brilliant!

11a  As I fed, it’s becoming full (9)
{SATISFIED} – an anagram (becoming) of AS I FED IT’S produces an adjective meaning full or replete.

12a  Get together when mum’s in (5)
{AMASS} – put MAS (mum’s) inside AS (when) to get a verb meaning accumulate or get together.

13a  Cardiopath, robed, taking pulse (5)
{THROB} – a cardiopath is someone suffering from heart disease, but you do not need to know that to find the verb meaning pulse which is hidden (taking) inside cardiopaTH ROBed. Would a cardiopath not be more likely to have his pulse taken, rather than taking it?

15a  Schism from church in conclave (9)
{SECESSION} – put CE (Church of England) inside SESSION (assembly, conclave) to get a schism or split in a church. The word conclave is normally used to describe the assembly of cardinals, presumably all wearing their red 5a, who come together to elect a new pope.

17a  Concerned with double vision? (9)
{BINOCULAR} – cryptic definition of an adjective meaning suitable for use with two eyes.

19a  Initially loath, one gathers it’s common sense (5)
{LOGIC} – a synonym for sense is formed from the first letters (initially) of Loath One Gathers It’s Common.

22a  He lives, bizarrely, for some people (5)
{ELVIS} – an excellent all-in-one clue to someone, who, if he were still alive, would now be 74. His name is an anagram (bizarrely) of LIVES.

23a  Cutting tart (9)
{TRENCHANT} – double definition – an adjective which literally means cutting is used figuratively to mean caustic or tart.

25a  Fantastic notices for part (7)
{SECTION} – a synonym for a part or subdivision is produced from an anagram (fantastic) of NOTICES.

26a  Hound bank admitting blunder (7)
{TERRIER} – a small dog (hound), whose name is derived from the latin for earth because it was trained to hunt burrowing animals underground, is formed by putting ERR (to blunder) inside TIER (a row or bank, of seats for example).

27a  Drop of French cologne (7)
{DESCENT} – a charade of DE (French for “of”) and SCENT (cologne) gives us a word meaning drop.

28a  Break down and do the crossword again! (7)
{RESOLVE} – double definition, one semi-cryptic – a verb meaning to break something down into its constituent parts could also mean to complete a crossword for a second time.

Down Clues

1d  Plant dies with pot broken (7)
{DEPOSIT} – an anagram (broken) of DIES and POT produces a verb meaning to put down or plant.

2d  Fellow tenor with Queen on stage (7)
{CHAPTER} – put together CHAP (fellow), T(enor) and ER (the Queen) to get a word meaning a period or stage (in one’s life, for example).

3d  Starts to dole out sedative, easing sickness (5)
{DOSES} – a clever all-in-one clue formed from the initial letters (starts) of the last five words.

4d  Detectives lose gangster, getting bullet (9)
{DISMISSAL} – a charade of DIS (detective inspectors), MISS (lose) and AL (Capone, gangster) produces a synonym for sack, notice, P45, marching orders or bullet.

5d  Black look giving French stick, perhaps (5)
{BREAD} – put together B(lack) and READ (look at and comprehend) to get a staple food, of which a French stick is an example (perhaps).

6d  Tries again with a learner for practice (9)
{REHEARSAL} – tries again, as a judge might, is REHEARS – add A and L(earner) to get a run-through or practice.

7d  High roller? (7)
{TSUNAMI} – a cryptic definition of an enormous sea wave, brought about by an earthquake or similar disturbance.

8d  From the start, is a novice mechanic (7)
{ARTISAN} – a term for a skilled worker or mechanic is hidden (from) in stART IS A Novice.

14d  Slip behind outside left (9)
{BACKSLIDE} – put BACKSIDE (behind) around L(eft) to get a verb meaning to slip or relapse.

16d  After fish, go into chippy (9)
{CARPENTER} – a charade of CARP (fish) and ENTER (go into) gives us a tradesman who is informally known as a chippy.

17d  Damned lucky! (7)
{BLESSED} – double definition – an adjective which can mean both accursed (damned) (as in an expression such as “I can’t get the ……… car to start”) and fortunate or lucky.

18d  Students with zero faults (7)
{NOVICES} – someone with zero faults has no vices, producing a word meaning people new to the job or area of study (students).

20d  A Gallic fashion? Extremely cool (7)
{GLACIAL} – an adjective meaning extremely cool is constructed from an anagram (fashion) of A GALLIC.

21d  Camp bed next to lake (7)
{COTERIE} – a charade of COT (bed) and ERIE (one of the five great lakes in North America) produces a word for an exclusive circle of supporters with shared beliefs (camp).

23d  View up and down (5)
{TENET} – a word meaning belief or view is a palindrome (i.e. reads the same up and down, in a down clue).

24d  Knaves with Queen in poker, for example (5)
{CARDS} – double definition – a word for knaves or people who are amusing and audacious (“a bit of a lad”) has an R (Regina, Queen) inserted (in) to make a word for the type of games of which poker is an example. are also one of the representations, together with queens, kings and aces etc., which appear in games such as poker. [Thanks to Andrew MB for pointing out the correct wordplay]

I liked many of today’s clues, including 26a, 3d, 16d and 21d, but my clue of the day, for its succinctness and wit is 10a. What about you? – please let us know via a comment, and don’t forget to vote below!

32 comments on “DT 25998

  1. Gazza,
    I have to agree with your comments 100%. An excellent crossword today, most enjoyable. I particularly liked 22a :-).

  2. Sorry to disagree but I thought todays offering was a bit too simple, 21d being the exception.

    1. bigboab
      I don’t think that a puzzle has to be difficult to be entertaining – that’s why we have two separate ratings.

      1. Accepted Gazza, I just didn’t really enjoy it today and it was over too soon, still I enjoyed the toughie and that wasn’t particularly difficult so I do take your point.

  3. Really enjoyed it – very good cryptic clues. 22a was excellent.
    I agree that enjoyment and difficulty should be treated separately. For me the enjoyment isn’t from having had to wrestle with it – although that can be satisfying – it’s about the twist in the meaning that when you see it makes as much sense as the surface reading. A bit like a trompe l’oeil.

  4. Gazza,

    Thanks for your usual excellent analysis of the puzzle and to Libellule et al. for their comments. I’m almost sorry that this one hasn’t stirred up any controversy like my last one did!

    The day is still young, however…

    1. RayT
      Thanks Ray.

      For those who have not twigged, RayT is today’s setter. So, if you have any comments or queries that you want to direct to him, here is your opportunity – I can’t guarantee that he’ll respond, but he’s usually very helpful!

  5. Fun but quite straightforward, 22a being my favourite.

    I thought 24d worked like this: Cads (Knaves) with R (Queen) in = Cards (poker)

    1. Andrew

      I’m sure you are right.

      A Canadian blog which covers the Telegraph crossword, but many weeks behind, pointed out an incomplete wordplay in DT 25885 yesterday. I don’t think we could get away with it today!

  6. It was a nice pleasant puzzle which contained nothing too contentious., though I wasn’t overkeen on 17d.

  7. I liked 14d best. I thought that 3d and 19a were too similar. Not sure about the grammar in 6a.

        1. Whoops! Sorry I meant 9a, but on reflection it’s OK anyway, step up can be used transitively as in step up the voltage.

  8. Well, this was a real delight. Usually I am left struggling with a few clues – either because I don’t know the word or because there something slightly off with the wordplay.

    But today – lots of nice little ‘Aha!’ moments all strung together – just perfect.

    1d was my favourite – just for the wrong’ slant given by the surface reading (I like the simple simple pleasures).

  9. Ray

    If it is not a trade secret could you tell us how long it takes to compile one of these? How much is just finding words that fit and how much in devising clues? (Whenever I have tried I always end up trying to find a word like z?w?q? to complete it.)

    1. Michael,

      No, it’s not a trade secret, and if I could tell you how long a crossword takes to compile, I would.
      Sometimes the ideas come quickly and sometimes they don’t, and I don’t sit down at nine o’clock to start a crossword then continue until it’s finished.
      I work on several puzzles at a time and tend to do them in dribs and drabs, so I really have no idea how long they take!
      To avoid ending up with things like ‘z?w?c’, my advice is to invest in the ‘Pro’ version of the best crossword compiler software on the market, which gives you complete control over word selection.
      Good luck!

  10. Just thoroughly enjoyed this crossword today Thank you!! Favourite clue 16d – I’m hungry!

  11. When you find it easy I find it difficult and vice versa. Today I found it quite easy and very enjoyable.

  12. Cantered through the first 80% and thought I was on for a personal best time without looking anything up, but then hit three clues that had me stumped and had to use Chambers Word Wizard and a dictionary to get me going again (SECESSION, TRENCHANT and BIRETTA). Thank you setter, really enjoyable.

  13. How interesting it is to actually have the compiler handy to discuss the crossword. I don’t get a chance to get in here too often, so I don’t know if this is a one off or a normal everyday event. I liked today’s effort, with the exception of 3d and 19a, they are so obvious that they seem quite out of place. My favourite was 10a.

    1. Hi DaisyMae and welcome to the site.
      Sorry about the delay in getting your comment posted, but that’s because it is your first comment. Any further comments you make will appear straight away.
      We get quite a few visits from compilers and, as you say, it’s very interesting and useful – the setter of today’s Toughie also visited that review.
      As you say 3d and 19a were fairly obvious, but, even so, people often miss clues like these, and it’s good for any puzzle to have a variety of clues.

  14. as a newbie and doing it a bit late in the day today, maybe my mind is tired, i found 2/3 of it quite easy but struggled with the rest and got the bottom left hand corner wrong!!!!
    so simple when I read your hints, thanks once again

  15. This site goes from strength to strength! I think it’s great that some of the setters now ‘drop in’ to post comments, justify their clues or even apologise for the occasional errors! I know my solving skills have improved considerably since becoming a regular visitor.

    1. Jason

      Welcome to the blog.

      These two puzzles are by different setters and would have been submitted some time ago. I read somewhere that it is part of the editor’s job to ensure that similar clues are not published too close together – you can’t blame this on the setter.

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