DT 25980 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 25980

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 25980

Hints and tips by Gazza

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BD Rating – Difficulty ** Enjoyment ***

This is a fairly gentle challenge, but the surface readings are pretty good and there is one excellent clue. It should not trouble regular solvers for too long, and would be a good exercise for novices.

Across Clues

1a  Criticise expert before a remedy for all is produced (7)
{PANACEA} – a term for a universal remedy or cure-all is produced from a charade of PAN (criticise), ACE (expert) and A.

5a  Place to set free skunk (7)
{POLECAT} – an anagram (set free) of PLACE TO produces this large relative of the weasel, and the North American term for a skunk.

9a  House in historic city (9)
{LANCASTER} – double definition – the winning side (let’s see if I can stir up some controversy!) in the Wars of the Roses against the House of York, and the county town of Lancashire. There is a considerable overlap in the two definitions.

10a  Old master, pale and sickly, nursed by graduate (5)
{BWANA} – this Swahili term for master, once used for the white man in colonial Africa, is formed by putting WAN (pale and sickly) inside (nursed by) BA (graduate).

11a  Meat in oven’s cooking (7)
{VENISON} – an anagram (cooking) of IN OVEN’S produces the meat of the deer.

12a  Pub to do well out of deal (7)
{BARGAIN} – a charade of BAR (pub) and GAIN (do well out of) produces the word used in the stock exchange for a transaction or deal.

13a  One showing no principles about proving of will (9)
{REPROBATE} – an unprincipled person is formed from RE (about) and PROBATE (proving a will).

16a  Bury at home against Exeter, losing first half (5)
{INTER} – this looks like a description of a lower-division football match at Gigg Lane (home of Bury FC), but what is needed is a synonym for to bury which is made up of IN (at home) and the second-half of ExeTER.

17a  Riddle involving western author (5)
{SWIFT} – put W(estern) inside SIFT (riddle) to get the author of Gulliver’s Travels.

18a  Wired message, stuff about competent leader of group (9)
{CABLEGRAM} – an old word for a telegraph message is constructed by putting CRAM (stuff) around ABLE (competent) and G (leading letter of Group).

21a  Audible cries of disapproval at college drinking session (5-2)
{BOOZE-UP} – cries of disapproval are BOOS – we need a sound-alike (audible) of this, followed by UP (at college) to get an informal term for a drinking session.

22a  Put into employment, is seen in posh topper (7)
{UTILISE} – put IS inside U (posh, upper-class) and TILE (Scottish word for a top hat) to get a verb meaning to employ.

25a  Corpulent old boy seen mostly in disarray (5)
{OBESE} – start off with OB (old boy) and add an anagram (in disarray) of most of SEEn to get a synonym for corpulent.

26a  Child, in transforming metal, is a budding scientist (9)
{ALCHEMIST} – this is a brilliant clue – put CH (child) inside an anagram (transforming) of METAL IS to produce someone who, in the Middle Ages, tried to turn base metals into gold, in the infant (budding) stages of the development of chemistry.

27a  A group working in desert (7)
{ABANDON} – a charade of A, BAND (group) and ON (working, i.e. switched on) leads to a synonym for to desert.

28a  Dish male teacher rejected — too much duck! (7)
{RISOTTO} – male teacher rejected is SIR backwards – add OTT (over the top, too much) and O (duck, in cricket) to get an Italian dish.

Down Clues

1d  Swear after mate creates a fuss (7)
{PALAVER} – a synonym for a fuss is created by putting AVER (swear) after PAL (mate).

2d  Silky fabric and some linen in one (5)
{NINON} – the name of a silky thin fabric (a new word to me) is hidden (some) in lineN IN ONe.

3d  Stupid fool’s after credit (5)
{CRASS} – put ASS (fool) after CR (credit) to get a synonym for stupid.

4d  Social worker, girl, put up aerial (7)
{ANTENNA} – a social worker in cryptic crosswords is very often ANT – add ANNE (girl) which has to be reversed (put up) to get a synonym for aerial.

5d  Moral tale raised in heel bar, apparently (7)
{PARABLE} – this term for a moral tale is hidden backwards (raised) in heEL BAR APparently.

6d  French composer in row with philanderer (9)
{LIBERTINE} – a synonym for philanderer is produced by putting a French composer inside LINE (row). I’d never heard of this chap but it did not take long to find him since the wordplay kindly restricted the possibilities to Ibert or Berti.

7d  Letter card (9)
{CHARACTER} – double definition – a letter of the alphabet and a comical or eccentric person.

8d  Rough terrain for a coach (7)
{TRAINER} – an anagram (rough) of TERRAIN gives us a word for a coach (the sports variety, not the vehicle).

14d  Girl and boy sign article (9)
{PHILOMENA} – a girl’s name is formed from a charade of PHIL (boy), OMEN (sign) and A (article). I’m not as anti the use of proper nouns as some people, but two names in the same clue, and with no support from the wordplay, is going OTT.

15d  Improving, continuously injecting them (2,3,4)
{ON THE MEND} – continuously is ON END (as in “I studied for months on end”) – insert (injecting) THEM, to get a phrase meaning improving or convalescing.

17d  Our bass relaxing in private (3,4)
{SUB ROSA} – a latin phrase meaning in private (literally “under the rose”, the rose being a traditional symbol of secrecy) is formed from an anagram (relaxing) of OUR BASS.

18d  Skipper in international leading reserves in (7)
{CAPTAIN} – a synonym for skipper is formed from a charade of CAP (someone who has been capped for his/her country in an international sports event), TA (reserves, Territorial Army) and IN.

19d  Doorman, extremely bitter, carrying little weight (7)
{BOUNCER} – take the outside letters (extremely) of BitteR and put inside (carrying) OUNCE (little weight) to get a doorman, though not the sort you’ll see outside the Dorchester.

20d  Virtuoso and master playing ball (7)
{MAESTRO} – a synonym for virtuoso (and Tilsit’s nickname for the Monday setter) is constructed from an anagram (playing) of MASTER followed by O (ball, because the shape of the letter makes it look like a ball – this is what’s known as a visual clue).

23d  A side changed plans (5)
{IDEAS} – an anagram (changed) of A SIDE produces a word meaning plans or conceptions.

24d  I spot one inside supplying dope (5)
{IDIOT}  – I spot is I DOT – put I (one) inside to get a dope or fool.

I like 16a a lot, but my outstanding clue of the day is 26a. What do you think? – all comments are welcome.

19 comments on “DT 25980

  1. Novice being me!
    Have actually finished it in under an hour!!
    Must admit to needing my new Chambers crossword dictionary which I feel is cheating??
    But ‘ninon’ 2 down, not even in my Chambers!
    Yeees – toughie now – well I’ll give it a go

    1. mary
      ninon is in Chambers 11th edition.
      I don’t regard using reference books/tools as cheating. I see it as a battle between the setter and the solver. When the setter compiled the puzzle he/she had access to as many reference books as required, so why should the solver not have the same luxury?

      1. thanks feel better now, bring on the reference books! but bet you don’t need them??

        1. mary
          You must be joking! I use reference books and Google all the time. Even if I’m pretty sure about something (like what a polecat is) I still look it up when I’m writing a review to avoid egg-on-face situations!
          How did you get on with the Toughie?

            1. Have finished it but must admit with more than a little help from my brother and the blog!!!

  2. have not been able to get on the web site again! have had trouble in the last 2 weeks! Maybe later:(

    1. I had problems early this morning, but I put it down to Cluedup retaliating for my Email to the Telegraph complaining about the site crashing!

  3. Thanks for the insights, gazza. I’m a relative newcomer to the cryptics, so was quite pleased to get them all bar 17a where I confess I’m still puzzled by ‘sift’ as a synonym for ‘riddle’…?

    1. Hi Dr D and welcome to the blog.
      To riddle is to pass material through a large coarse sieve, as is to sift. Riddle is also a noun meaning such a sieve.

  4. Much as I like the sound of this crossword (as in suitable for novices) Clued Up is now completely broken. I have fired off a stroppy email to the Torygraph.

    1. Ali P
      I haven’t had any trouble getting in to Clued Up today (unlike in the past) and I’ve just been in again to make sure, so it’s worth persevering.

  5. “Very easy ” -you cannot be serious! Ninon, sub rosa , philomena , bwana -never heard of nay of them

    1. Greenhorn
      But in all of them except the girl’s name the wordplay (plus the checking letters) is suffiently straightforward to enable the answer to be reached, even if you haven’t previously heard of it.

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