DT 25963 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 25963

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 25963

Hints and tips by Big Dave

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BD Rating – Difficulty *** Enjoyment ***

A pleasant puzzle that didn’t overly exercise the brain cells.


1a Oppose son entering second exam (6)
{RESIST} – a word meaning oppose comes from putting S(on) inside RESIT (second exam)

4a At AGM, it’s sadly evidence of shame (8)
(STIGMATA} – an anagram (sadly) of AT AGM IT’S gives evidence of shame that when, as here, in the plural usually refers to the marks of Christ’s wounds or marks resembling them, claimed to have been impressed on the bodies of certain holy people, notably Francis of Assisi in 1224

9a Craze in front part around old city (6)
{FURORE} – this craze is FORE (front part) around UR (old city)

10a A fellow speaking easily having wealth (8)
(AFFLUENT} – A F(ellow) and FLUENT gives a word meaning having wealth

11a State in which criminal teen’s seen (9)
{TENNESSEE} – this US State is an anagram (criminal) of TEEN’S SEEN

13a A university haunt for poet (5)
{AUDEN} – combine A U (A University) and DEN (haunt) to get the poet WH AUDEN

14a Mother in a hat’s drunk tonic (1,4,2,3,3)
{A SHOT IN THE ARM} – an anagram (drunk) of MOTHER IN A HAT’S gives a tonic

17a Tree has, say, grey fruit around trunk (5,8)
{HORSE CHESTNUT} – this tree comes from putting HORSE (grey, as in a grey horse) and NUT (fruit) around CHEST (trunk)

21a Watchful prince missing bishop (5)
{ALERT} – take Prince AL(B)ERT and remove (missing) the B(ishop)

23a Inactive name found in faltering trade? Yes (9)
{SEDENTARY} – a synonym for inactive that comes from putting  N(ame) inside an anagram (faltering) of TRADE YES

24a Early end to ramble around island (8)
{ALDERNEY} – an anagram (to ramble around) of EARLY END gives a Channel Island

25a Reportedly, do away with wintry transport (6)
{SLEIGH} – a word that sounds like (reportedly) to SLAY (do away with) gives a wintry transport

26a Guide on boat restricting hour for exciting film (8)
{THRILLER} – put a TILLER (guide on boat) around (restricting) HR (hour) for an exciting film

27a Group of Easterners at back of vessel (6)
{ASTERN} – hidden inside (group of / I’ve not seen that one before) EASTERNers is a word meaning at the back of a vessel


1d Disprove match official beginning to unveil note (6)
{REFUTE} – a word meaning to disprove is built up from REF (match official) U (beginning to unveil) and TE (the seventh note of the scale in sol-fa notation, sometimes spelt ti)

2d Good man managed artist with queen in port (9)
{STRANRAER} – a four part charade of ST (Saint / good man) RAN (managed) RA (Royal Academician / artist) and ER (Elizabeth Regina / Queen) gives a Scottish port

3d Loose rocks above church? Give a cry (7)
{SCREECH} – this time the charade is SCREE (loose rocks) then (above – one of those down-clue only constructs) CH(urch) to give a cry

5d Snobbish aristo, one Dee’s diverted (6-5)
{TOFFEE-NOSED} – this word meaning snobbish comes from TOFF (aristo) and an anagram (diverted) of ONE DEE’S – I hadn’t thought about it before, but the word toff is possibly derived from here, or vice versa

6d Giant? Uncivilised figure harbouring upcoming trouble (7)
{GOLIATH} – this Biblical giant is found by putting GOTH (uncivilised figure) around (harbouring) AIL (trouble) reversed (upcoming – down clues only!)

7d A teacher in an advanced state (5)
{AHEAD} – A HEAD (a teacher)

8d Independence gained by number in car, wow! (8)
{AUTONOMY} – a synonym for Independence that is gained comes from NO (number) inside AUTO(car) and MY (wow – not so much teeth-clenching, more buttock-clenching!)

12d Group with article escorted, we hear, to explain background (3,3,5)
{SET THE SCENE} – combine SET (group) with THE (the definite article) and a homophone (we hear) for seen (escorted, as in seen out with) gives a phrase meaning to explain the background to something

15d A name around trade union followed by a learner? It’s the truth (9)
{ACTUALITÉ} – A then CITE (to name) goes around TU (Trade Union) followed by A L(earner) to get the truth

16d Neat chaps possibly caught leaving some game (8)
{PHEASANT} – an anagram (possibly) of NEAT (C)HAPS without the C (Caught leaving) gives a game bird

18d Captivate English conservationists with prince? About right (7)
{ENTHRAL} – a word meaning to captivate is built up as E(nglish) NT (National Trust / conservationists) with Prince HAL (as in Henry IV) around R(ight)

19d Confound leaders of notorious offenders nearby? A positive sign (7)
{NONPLUS} – a synonym for to confound is constructed from N O N (leaders of Notorious Offenders Nearby) and PLUS (a positive sign)

20d Slithery sort outwardly pretty though overblown (6)
{PYTHON} – this slithery creature comes from the first and last letters (outwardly) of PrettY ThougH OverblowN

22d Metal worker not initially for senior church figure (5)
{ELDER} – take a (W)ELDER (metal worker) and remove the first letter (not initially) and you get a senior church figure

Sorry it’s a bit late, but I had to do this afternoon’s task this morning!  I may be turning into a grumpy old man (some of you may say that should be in the past tense!), but I felt that too many of the clues were charades that lacked plausible surface reading.  Let me know what you think.

My clue-of-the-day, from a very average bunch, is 24 across because there is at least some surface reading there.

30 comments on “DT 25963

  1. Interesting mixture of very easy (11a) and diabolical 16d! Still don’t quite understand that one although I can see the answer is Pheasant.

    1. That one’s easy – its an anagram of neat chaps with the ‘c’ removed (leaving)

    2. Neat Chaps possibly suggests an anagram of neatchaps. Caught on a cricket scoresheet is abbreviated to c. Leaving suggests that the letter c leave the anagram leaving neathaps an anagram of pheasant = some game – pheasant is a game bird

    3. Barrie, I believe it works like this, anagram of NEAT CHAPS (possibly) C(aught) leaving for a Game bird.

  2. Not happy with 27a Dave! Thanks for the explanation but, hmmm. 15d made it impossible too, having a ‘y’ instead of an ‘e’.
    And then, to add insult to injury, the ‘Group of’ thing. I’ve been doing the cryptics for many years and i’ve never ever seen that.

        1. Good one!
          I suppose the issue is whether a new signpost or indicator is allowed: perhaps it comes down to the logic and meaning? Group [of letters within the word] is a stretch.

    1. Joel

      To be fair, there is no wordplay that I can see that leads to “actuality”. That didn’t stop me from having it in place for quite a while!

      The one thing above all others that this blog has taught me, and a lot of others, is that you can guess an answer without understanding the wordplay, but you should always check it. Afterwards if you have managed to finish. Before if you are stuck.

  3. Pretty easy apart from 15d, I had never heard of it, thanks yet again for your assistance.

    1. It was a term Alan Clark used as a euphemism: ‘economical with the actualité’.

          1. I assume actualite is meant to be a french word. However modern usage indicates that it does not mean the truth. Topical, Current Affairs, News would be a more accurate definition. Anybody know how this became synonymous with “truth” in english?

            1. It’s interesting that my recent Chambers has actualité = “the truth”, whereas my old one (circa 1990) only has it as a plural with the French meaning of current affairs. So I guess that Alan Clark’s use of it to mean truth in the Matrix Churchill trial of 1992 is where the current meaning comes from.

              1. Gazza, merci beaucoup. So you reckon Alan Clark’s usage of the word has changed the meaning. Now that is fascinating.

  4. It was a gentle and formulaic exercise without any clues with a real zing. I took it to do while a puncture was being mended and ran out of something to do! As someone that takes 30-40 minutes normally, 9 mins suggests it was barely a **.
    Thanks to this blog, which I found a couple of weeks ago. It has put me out of my misery a couple of times, helped my technique and made me think about what a good clue has.

    1. Will

      Some days I curse the stars! This one rated at just under 2.5, but I rounded up rather than down. Whatever I do is wrong for someone – as Bart Simpson said: “Life is a paradox, you’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t””.

      1. Sorry, Dave – maybe I just got a good night’s sleep and my brain was working. (Actually, the harder you rate it the happier I am!)

      2. One day why not leave out your star rating Dave and let people rate it as they see it on that day,solvers perception of difficulty depends upon their expertise, the contributors including yourself have to mark it as to how you/they found it.
        Tend to agree with 2 1/2 for this one, and loved 17a and 15d

        1. Kram

          Leaving it out would rather defeat the object, which is to give a consistent indication of difficulty.

          What I have found is that since writing these puzzles up in detail, my own skill level has increased, which is why I often find myself increasing the rating in order to compensate.

          Basicalloy, I calculate the difficulty rating by dividing my time by a factor, which has given rise recently to many puzzles being under-assessed..

          I stand by the Bart Simpson quote!

  5. Just found this web site — very useful when I’m totally stuck! Thought today was pretty easy apart from 15d though I was disappointed with the answer in the end…

    1. Jamfiend

      Welcome to the site. Sorry your comment took so long to appear, but all new comments go through a moderation process in order to cut down on spam.

  6. Failed on four clues today not surprisingly 15d was one of them but a decent effort for me and I’m beginning to think the month or so I’ve been using this site is starting to pay off.

  7. I flew this this save 15d that looks as if it challenged a few of us. I had it done by 8AM but 15d remained until journey home time. As they say, “only easy if you know the answers”.

  8. As a relative beginner I did quite well with this today, but struggled with the SW corner for some reason. Obviously spelt 15d wrong. Also I need to improve my knowledge of world ports.

    For some reason I very much enjoyed getting 20d (easy but satisfying none the less!)

  9. Enjoyable puzzle and my favourite clue was 24 ac also. Like others came to grief with 15 dn, but dicts confirm it’s an English usage now as the comments on the blog have explained.

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