DT Cryptic No 25874 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT Cryptic No 25874

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 25874

Today’s hints and tips by Gazza

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BD Rating – Difficulty ** Enjoyment ***

A good, honest puzzle with some clever clues. As usual, if you cannot get the answer even with the hint, select the white space inside the curly brackets to reveal it.

Across Clues

9a  Remote area making idiot flip (5)
{ALOOF} –  A for area then a word for idiot backwards (flip) together form an adjective meaning remote or uninvolved.

10a  Brew a beer in it and get drunk (9)
{INEBRIATE} – an anagram of “a beer in it” produces a verb meaning to get drunk or intoxicate.

11a  Morally uplifted, made God swap leaders (7)
{EDIFIED} – take a word meaning “regarded as a god” and reverse the first two letters (swap leaders) to get a term for morally uplifted.

12a  Perplexed by volunteer army in a defeat (2,1,4)
{AT A LOSS} – the volunteer army are the Territorials (TA) inside (in) a synonym for a defeat. This produces a phrase meaning perplexed or uncertain what to do.

13a  A way of approaching fish (5)
{ANGLE} – double meaning – firstly a particular spin on a presentation such as a news item, and secondly a verb meaning to fish.

14a  Former European minister’s first point arranged immunity (9)
{EXEMPTION} – EX (former) and then E (for European) and M (minister’s first) precede an anagram (arranged) of “point” to arrive at a word for immunity.

16a  Unplanned boost to current (4,2,3,6)
{SPUR OF THE MOMENT} – a word for boost or incentive (also a word for a spiked heel worn by a horse rider) precedes a phrase meaning currently or at the present time, and together these form a description meaning unplanned, unpremeditated or on a whim.

19a  Seem confused about basis for rebuilding such establishments (9)
{EMBASSIES} – an anagram (confused) of “seem” round (about) an anagram (rebuilding) of “basis” form a word for establishments where diplomats work.

21a  Chicken for 4 – about a pint, initially (5)
{CAPON} – 4 is a reference to 4d and we need a synonym for that answer around (about) A and P (a pint initially) to get a word for a neutered cockerel.

23a  Study in bed, covered in crumbs! (7)
{BREADED} – a word meaning to study inside “bed” produces an adjective meaning covered in crumbs preparatory to cooking.

25a  A question – and a very Italian strong drink (7)
{AQUAVIT} – string together A, QU (question), A, V (very) and IT (Italian) to produce an alcoholic spirit flavoured with caraway seeds which originated in Scandinavia.

27a  Companion left three miles behind company (9)
{COLLEAGUE} – the standard abbreviation for company and L (left) are followed (behind) by an old measure of distance of about three miles (a word immortalised in Tennyson’s “Charge of the light brigade“) to form a term for companion or workmate.

28a  Spine ruptured outside hospital! (5)
{THORN} – another word for ruptured around (outside) H (hospital) leads to a sort of spine such as a prickle on a hedgehog or a spike on the stem of a plant.

Down Clues

1d  Willing to bet (4)
{GAME} – double meaning – the answer means both “up for it” (willing) and to gamble (in a casino for example).

2d  Losing fluid? Don’t start drinking! (6)
{OOZING} – take the first letter away (don’t start) from a slang word meaning drinking alcohol to get a term meaning that fluid is slowly trickling or seeping out.

3d  One in high church troubling yobs and young workers (6,4)
{OFFICE BOYS} – “high” here is used in the sense of putrid or “past its sell-by date” and this is followed by CE (church of England) with I between the two (one in). Follow this with an anagram (troubling) of “yobs” to get very junior employees (young workers) in an organisation.

4d  Lied badly about theologian’s do (6)
{DIDDLE} – an anagram (badly) of  “lied” about the abbreviation for Doctor of Divinity (theologian) produces a verb meaning to “do” or swindle.

5d  Bale out, having seen off countryman (8 )
{LEBANESE} – an anagram (out) of “bale” followed by (having) an anagram (off) of “seen” produces a native of a Middle Eastern country having Beirut as its capital.

6d  Labour saving environment for stars (4)
{URSA} – hidden (environment) in “Labour saving” is the latin word for a bear and this appears in the names of two constellations, a major one and a minor one.

7d  The girl who found love in a vehicle queue (8 )
{CAROLINE} – love is O (as in tennis) and this is inside (in) a vehicle queue, such as you might see at a petrol pump. The whole is the name that JFK gave to his daughter and also the name of one of the most famous of the offshore pirate radio stations of the 1960’s (which incidentally was named after the young Miss Kennedy) – a station which introduced us to such luminaries as Johnnie Walker and Tony Blackburn.

8d  Mr Livingstone’s home? Good negative feedback from part of London (10)
{KENSINGTON} – this is not David the explorer but the erstwhile Mayor of London, and his forename’s followed by IN (home) and G(ood) and then a reversal (feedback) of a negative term to form the name of a very posh area of the capital.

13d  Retort from disheartened wife in new snack bar (6,4)
{ANSWER BACK} – the outside letters (disheartened) of “wife” inside (in) an anagram (new) of “snack bar” give a term meaning to retort or respond disrespectfully to someone.

15d  Ham in cooking pot? Scour it! (10)
{PROSCIUTTO} – an anagram (cooking) of “pot scour it” produces a type of raw cured Italian ham, often eaten as an hors d’oeuvre.

17d  University doctor about to put everybody up for cover (8 )
{UMBRELLA} – you need to string together a few bits to get this word which means a cover or protection from the elements; firstly “U” (university) then one of the abbreviations for a medical doctor then a term for about or “in the matter of” and finally (are you still with me?) a word meaning everybody reversed (up).

18d  Period when people righted a wrong (5,3)
{THIRD AGE} – an anagram (wrong) of “righted a” gives a term for a period of life when people enjoy an active retirement. [I’m not sure whether writing up hints for crossword puzzles counts as being active ??]

20d  Main source of energy? The Spanish fish (3,3)
{SEA EEL} – “main” here means a word for the open ocean and this is followed by E (source of energy) and the masculine form of the definite article in Spanish to give us an alternative name for a conger (fish).

22d  Sweet ballerina without a conditioner (6)
{PAVLOV} – the name of a legendary Russian ballet dancer, famous for the Dying Swan, who gave her name to a meringue-based dish (sweet) has its final letter removed (without a) and this leaves the name of a Nobel prize-winning Russian physiologist who demonstrated how conditioned reflexes work (a conditioner) in his experiments with dogs.

24d  Choice of food for a legislative assembly? (4)
{DIET} – a word with a double meaning; firstly the kinds of food that someone eats regularly, and secondly a legislative assembly. One of the latter was convened at Worms, a town on the Rhine, in 1521 and is the subject of much juvenile sniggering during history lessons.

26d  Pitch to get school principal demoted (4)
{TONE} – take the name of the school without which crossword compilers would have a hard time and move its first letter to the end (principal demoted) to produce a word for a musical sound of definite pitch.

Was it just me or did the clues get better the further we got into the crossword? I certainly thought that the down clues were better than the across ones. My “clue of the day” is 7d and I also liked 3d and 8d. What do you think? – please leave a comment.

Incidentally, I commented in the epilogue to yesterday’s Toughie notes that the “in” term for American commentators when describing winning athletes is that they have “medalled”; I have been informed that this is so out-of-date and that the current word is “podiumed”!