DT 25953 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 25953

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 25953

Hints and tips by Libellule

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BD Rating – Difficulty *** Enjoyment ***

Up nice and early this morning to try and get this review done before doing some “real” work and what do we find, a CluedUp site that’s up and down like a yoyo, and even when it seems to be up you can’t even log in. How complicated is it to run a web site like this? Anyway enough of the complaints about CluedUp, lets concentrate on the crossword. This was another entertaining Friday crossword. Not too difficult, but not too easy either and as always the crossword is characterised by the carefully crafted clues.


1. The moon is edam ultimately — strange form of belief! (10)
{MONOTHEISM} – An anagram (strange) of THE MOON IS and the last letter of edaM (ultimately) gives a doctrine or belief that there is only one God. How many cheeses end in M?

9. There’s nothing to gain, being an alcoholic (4)
{WINO} – To gain is to WIN, plus O (nothing). Whenever I see this word, I am always reminded of a classic Private Eye cartoon of a Wino in a box.

10. Sergeant has problem with foot, a trifling thing (10)
{PEPPERCORN} – Sergeant in this case is Sergeant PEPPER, and the problem with the foot is a CORN for something that is very small or insignificant.

11. Woman at home must join network (6)
{INGRID} – The usual “phrase” for at home is IN, and a network is a GRID, although a name, its not difficult to work it out.

12. Food on a street in distant countries (3,4)
{FAR EAST} – Place FARE (food) on A ST (street) and you have a phrase that describes the countries of Eastern Asia.

15. Exciting quality that Cameron could offer (7)
{ROMANCE} – An anagram of CAMERON (could offer) gives us a word that can describe a love affair, or a novel that depicts wonderful deeds usually in a historical or imaginary setting.

16. Visitors to Buckingham Palace may have poetic quality (5)
{METER} – Past tense of MEET, and Elizabeth Regina, is a word used to describe the basic rhythmic structure of poetry. For example the iambic pentameter used throughout Shakespeare’s plays.

17. Ex England cricketer or rugby player (4)
{LOCK} – Two meanings, one of which, is a forward in a rugby team, the other (I assume) is a reference to this person.

18. Place America in an advantage (4)
{PLUS} – PL(ace) US (America).

19. Song when Sarah is embraced by her husband! (5)
{PSALM} – SAL (Sarah) is surrounded by PM (embraced). Here PM is Gordon Brown, the Prime Minister whose wife is called Sarah.

21. Check out old stories about leader of party (7)
{EXPLORE} – EX (old) LORE (old stories) around P (leader of party) is a word that can be used to “check out” or examine something more closely.

22. Ornamental work showing sheep in club (7)
{MACRAME} – RAM (sheep) within MACE (club) for an elaborately patterned lacelike webbing made of hand-knotted cord, string etc.

24. Gents perhaps needing money to relax (6)
{LOOSEN} – LOO (gents) and SEN (100th part of a yen).

27.Nonsense from sailor, a cheat (10)
{TARADIDDLE} – You don’t tend to see this word very often, TAR (sailor) and A DIDDLE (cheat) is a word that tends to be used to describe an interesting but highly implausible story; often told as an excuse.

28. Reagan bestriding a horse (4)
{ROAN} – RON(ald) (an ex US President) around A (bestriding), describes a horse that has a chestnut, bay, or sorrel coat thickly that is sprinkled with white or gray.

29. Greek character, breaker of promise, about to be spritually reborn (10)
{REGENERATE} – ETA (Greek character), and RENEGER (a breaker of promises), reversed (about) describes what happens when you undergo spiritual conversion or rebirth. Or something that Doctor Who does.


2. Animals packed into box, endangered (4)
{OXEN} – The animals you are looking for are hidden in “box endangered”.

3. Object to there being nothing on m-model (6)
{OPPOSE} – O (nothing) and P-Penguin, oops sorry P-Pose, means to be against or object to something.

4. Homer is out to demonstrate courage (7)
{HEROISM} – An anagram of HOMER IS (out) describes the type of great courage or bravery that could be found in the Iliad and the Odyssey. Not in the Simpson’s. Nice clue.

5. Metal particle that’s right inside (4)
{IRON} – ION (particle) that has R(ight) inside for a “ductile, malleable, silver-white metallic element”.

6. Keep an eye on silly moron drinking vermouth (7)
{MONITOR} – Take an anagram of MORON (silly) and place it around IT (Italian Vermouth, as in Gin and It, the original Martini).

7. Oil flowing into cellar (10)
{CITRONELLA} – A lovely clue. An anagram (flowing) of INTO CELLAR, is a light-yellowish pungent oil used in the manufacture of perfume, soap etc and also used as an insect repellent.

8. Goon messed about? Gosh! (8,2)
{GOODNESS ME} – Another anagram. This time of GOON MESSED (about) to give a phrase that can be used in place of gosh.

12. Gangster getting close in rural homestead? Nothing to worry about! (5,5)
{FALSE ALARM} – When you see gangster, its likely to be AL (Capone), this now needs (getting) SEAL (close). Now put FARM (rural homestead) around, the previous two words and you have a warning that is unnecessary, or equally nothing to worry to about.

13. The one of one is one (10)
{RECIPROCAL} – A cryptic definition of one/one.

14. Tribe’s original language using few words (5)
{TERSE} – The first letter of T(ribe) (original) plus ERSE (gaelic language) for a synonym of concise.

15. Lots of paper getting left in area (5)
{REALM} – A quantity of paper, consisting of 20 quires or 500 sheets, REAM with L(eft) (getting) inside describes a royal domain or someone’s field of expertise.

19. Someone making a dash, heading off to get computer accessory (7)
{PRINTER} – Someone making a dash would be Usain Bolt, a SPRINTER, now remove S (heading off) and you have in computer land a peripheral output device that produces a paper copy of alphanumeric or graphic data.

20. Excellent fellow, male leading old kingdom (7)
{MACEDON} – ACE (excellent) DON (fellow), now place M(ale) in front (leading) is an ancient kingdom in the Balkans, now a region of Northern Greece, Southwest Bulgaria, and the Republic of Macedonia. The original kingdom of Alexander the Great. This clue also made me smile for other reasons. There is I believe a small joke here, assuming of course that this crossword has been set by our regular Friday setter.

23. Deliver a coat (6)
{RENDER} – A double definition of to provide or give and also a word used to describe the covering of a wall for example with the first coat of plaster.

25. Bluster of second-rate newspaper (4)
{BRAG} – B (second rate) and RAG (newspaper),

26. Garments he’s discarded, the fool! (4)
{CLOT} – Take another word for garments, CLOTHES and do what the clue tells you to, discard HE’S. You should have another word for fool left.

52 comments on “DT 25953

  1. 16a. “Meter” is obviously the answer required, but it is incorrectly spelt. The basic rhythmic structure of poetry is “metre”, unless you’re American!

  2. Vince, Unless something has changed since I studied English Literature, I am sure that Meter is the correct spelling for the basic rhythmic structure of poetry. Wheras Metre is a European measurement. For example look at how iambic pentameter is spelt….

    1. According to my recollection of Eng Lit studies, and my current Chambers Dictionary, “metre” is the correct spelling. I can’t explain the spelling of “pentameter”. Maybe somebody out there can?

        1. Libellule, that site is written by an American so that’s why it is spelt “meter” there.

      1. I agree with Vince. It should be spelt metre.

        metre or (US) meter

        n the regulated succession of groups of syllables (long and short, stressed and unstressed) in which poetry is usually written; verse, or poetry generally; a scheme of versification, the character of a stanza as consisting of a given number of lines composed of feet of a given number, arrangement, and kind.

          1. Hmm interesting, more reading shows that -meter (an addition to a word as in pentameter) comes fromOld English meter and from Old French metre, both from Latin metrum, from Greek metron, measure. However the use of meter for poetic rhythm etc is of american usage, and the proper english equivalent should be metre

  3. I think 13d is actually related to the maths definition of reciprocal as the inverse of a number. eg the inverse of 5 is 1/5, the inverse of 2/3 is 3/2, the inverse of 1 is 1/1=1.

    1. Hi DaveH and welcome to the blog.
      I’m sorry there was a delay in your comment appearing – this is because all comments from new posters have to be moderated. Any future comments from you should appear straight away.

        1. I look on the bright side, even pedants are welcome. When I first started doing this we got very few comments. Now at least we do have interaction. This I think is a good thing.

  4. An awful lot of fuss over a clue which everyone got anyway. I loved this crossword!
    My favourite clue was 21a.

      1. I like 19A, and I did guess it correctly, but I’m still puzzled as to why “Sarah” = “SAL”.

        The Sal’s I know are Sallys in full, with Sarahs abbreviating to Sair (if at all).

        1. Welcome to the blog Smylers

          It’s been great seeing so many new contributors to this blog.

          Both Sal and Sally are diminutive, or perhaps more appropriately affectionate, forms of the biblical name Sarah.

          Read more about it here.

          These days there is a tendency to give these names to children, rather than the original. Some good examples of this are Harry rather than Henry and Jack rather than John. Many of us do not regard this as a desirable development, but there is no way of reversing the trend.

          1. Thanks — I should’ve thought of that. I knew about the trend in general but wasn’t aware of Sally being part of it.

  5. Super crossword, too many good clues for me to nominate my best of this bunch, 10a,19a,21a,12dand 20d. However can’t quite understand the solving to 3d although oppose had to be the answer.

    1. Kram
      Nothing is O, then, because the clue has m-model it signals that you need to double the initial letter of pose (synonym for model) giving p-pose.

  6. Gee thanks folks but I kinda guess I gotta stop readin’ so many books from Yale about all that poetic theory stuff! Seeya!

  7. A toughie for me – both 1a & 27a are new words to me

    I don’t get why IT is vermouth. Is just because it’s an Italian drink?

    1. Back many years ago, in the Dark Ages, when I used to work in a pub, one of the favourite drinks for the young (and old) ladies was a cocktail of Gin and Italian Vermouth, which was called a Gin and It, to distinguish it from the Gin and French (Vermouth). These days it would have been given a more exotic name, along the lines of Between the Sheets.

  8. I’d go along with the previous comment about 19a being the clue of the day – the rst of the grid I thoroughly enjoyed also!

  9. I found the bottom right hand corner tough. For some reason my paper had an incomplete clue for 29a – it did not feature the word “re-born” so I was at a little disadvantage. 20d stumped me too but save these two I managed to complete it. Tomorrow’s will be easy by comparison.

  10. Thank you for an excellent site. 27a was a new word for me so your hint was very welcome .
    Thoroughly enjoyed this crossword and i’d go along with 19d as the best clue.

  11. I’m really struggling today! But not given up – yet. But the last bit of my 29a clue has been chopped off. Ends “… about to be spiritually”. or was it just mine?

    1. I saw mention of it here and elsewhere, so I don’t think you are alone. Just this once those of us that do the puzzle online were better off (once we were able to logon, that is).

      1. Cheers Dave – i’ll try and look out for that.

        Well, having given up now there were just too many things here that i’d just never heard of, so i feel a bit diddled / stupid! ;-)

  12. This crossword appears to have provoked the most replies yet. I wait to see what Saturday’s will!

  13. I’m more grateful for these comments than I am to Libellule on this occasion – without them I would not have realised that ‘reciprocal’ could be understood from ‘one/one’ (speaking as a non-mathematician).

    1. Welcome to the blog Dave

      I’m sure that you appreciate that it is difficult when writing these reviews to find a balance between just giving the answer and spelling it out in words of one syllable.

      Those reading the blog have a wide range of knowledge and experience and there is no chance of finding a way that suits everyone.

      What we have always said is that if you need further explanation, you only have to ask and one of the team (or sometimes one of the readers) will respond, usually very quickly.

      If you don’t want your query published, you can always email me via the Contact page.

  14. My favourite was 8D, because the surface reading is related to the answer. Libellule linked to the BBC sitcom Goodness Gracious Me, but it was also a comedy song featuring Peter Sellers. Sellers was of course one of The Goons, so in this song could said to be a Goon messing about.

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