DT 25983 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 25983

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 25983

Hints and tips by Libellule

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

Another classic Friday crossword, that cannot be faulted – enjoy. The top right corner is the most tricky, but it’s where the best clues are for me. Your views and opinions appreciated as always.

1. Want you coming back as a servant (6)
{LACKEY} – LACK (want) with YE (you) reversed (coming back) is a male servant.

4. No amateur, frightfully crude TV executive? (8 )
{PRODUCER} – PRO (no amateur) with an anagram (frightfully) of CRUDE gives you a person with the financial and administrative responsibility for a film or television programme. Which reminds me immediately of one of Mel Brook’s finest films.

10. He started badly, becoming exhausted (9)
{SHATTERED} – An anagram (badly) of HE STARTED for a word that can be used to mean completely exhausted.

11. Hurled from front of seat on to airbag? (5)
{SLUNG} – Simple yet so effective. I really liked this one. Take the first letter of S(eat) and then append LUNG (airbag) for a synonym of hurled.

12. Quiet country has endless fish (7)
{PIRANHA} – P (quiet), IRAN (country) HA(s), i.e. HAS without the S (endless), gives us a South American “man eating” fish.

13. Thinking of ‘eaven, mum keeping pious and plain (7)
{OLYMPIA} – The apostrophe in front of eaven, indicates that we need a word for somone who is dedicated to god (thinking of) another synonym of heaven, and once we have got it, we need to remove the first letter as any normal East-Ender would. In this case the word is (h)OLY with MA (mum) around (keeping) PI (pious), this produces a plain in Greece in the northwestern Peloponnese, once the chief sanctuary of Zeus and the site of the original Olympian Games.

14. Saint at home, very good place for getting orders from above (5)
{SINAI} – S (Saint), IN (at home) and AI (very good) is supposedly the peak on which Moses received the Ten Commandments.

15. Vulnerable warrior getting a cold starts to expect sympathy (8 )
{ACHILLES} – A CHILL (cold) and the first letters (starts) of E(xpect) and S(ympathy) is a mythical Greek hero from the Iliad who died due to a poisoned arrow that was shot into his heel.

18. Fighter scurried — trouble, right? (8 )
{TOREADOR} – TORE (scurried) plus ADO (trouble), as in “Much Ado About Nothing” and R(ight) is another word for a bullfighter.

20. Grass edging church official cut short (5)
{VERGE} – remove the last letter from a word used for a church official who typically acts as caretaker and you should end up with a word usually used to describe a grass border found alongside a road.

23. Author abroad (penned English) (7)
{THOREAU} – An all in one clue which is an anagram of AUTHOR (abroad) which is placed around (penned) E (English) is an American author and writer.

25. Duck — this on the donkey in game? (7)
{PINTAIL} – A greyish-brown duck with a pointed tail and something you had to do wearing a blindfold at parties when you were young.

26. Canon with a shape like Friar Tuck? (5)
{ROUND} – A cryptic definition that’s easy to work out, but then leaves you scratching your head as to what the wordplay is and why. After a little research I can reveal that a canon (a piece of music) sung in unison, is also the same word that could be used to describe Friar Tuck’s shape.

27. Outwardly bad-tempered, I am performing as witness (9)
{TESTIMONY} – TESTY (bad tempered) around (outwardly) IM ( I am) with ON (performing) for a declaration made by a witness under oath in court usually.

28. Where potential listeners may get cornered (4,4)
{HYDE PARK} – A gentle cryptic definition for a place in London where public speaking is allowed.

29. Church officer functioning after cross is put in place (6)
{SEXTON} – A little complicated to explain. SET (in place) with a X (cross) inside with ON (functioning) following (after) is another employee or officer of a church usually responsible for the graveyard. Or alternatively, it’s the first name of the “World’s Greatest Detective”.


1. What may be trumpeted as the ultimate appointment (4,4)
{LAST POST} – A topical cryptic definition, for the bugle call used to signal the time to retire at night and also used at military funerals.

2. Caring terribly about hospital’s discomfiture (7)
{CHAGRIN} – An anagram of CARING (terribly) about H(ospital) is another word for discomfort.

3. Old numbers I have put down as ‘great’ (9)
{EXTENSIVE} – EX (old) plus TENS (numbers) then IVE ( I have) for a word that is used to signify something that is large in extent, range, or amount.

5. Op is third-rate — a terrible practitioner at the hospital (14)
{RADIOTHERAPIST} – An anagram of OP IS THIRD RATE A (terrible) is a medical specialist who uses radioactive substances and X-rays in the treatment of disease.

6. Dull service — start to snore in it (5)
{DUSTY} – Another simple clue but with a great surface reading. DUTY (service) with the first letter of S(nore) placed inside would tell us that we needed to get some cleaning done.

7. Cold drink please, but only half that squash! (7)
{CRUMPLE} – Take C (cold), then RUM (drink) and PLE (half of please) and you have a word that describes what happens when something is crushed together or pressed into wrinkles.

8. Bit of cloth left to be patched to a new garment (6)
{RAGLAN} – RAG (bit of cloth), L(eft) and A N(ew) is a garment with a particular style of sleeves named after a Baron who served in the Crimean war.

9. Ordinary components of pudding? (5-3-6)
{BREAD-AND-BUTTER} – A cryptic definition of what are sometimes referred to as the basic elements is also an excellent and tasty pudding.

16. Weird Len, native of land to the east (9)
{LEVANTINE} – An anagram of LEN NATIVE (weird) is a word used to describe a native or inhabitant of the eastern Mediterranean.

17. Like an old church lane with yews here and there (8)
{WESLEYAN} – Another superb surface reading. Take LANE, with YEWS as an anagram (here and there) for an adjective that could describe a church created by the founder of methodism.

19. Pompous orator’s beginning to get pot-bellied? (7)
{OROTUND} – Take the first O from orators (beginning), then add ROTUND (pot bellied) for a word used to describe someone who is pompous or bombastic.

21. Announce what’s been printed from computer? (4-3)
{READ-OUT} – Another not too complicated double definition, something that a newsreader does, is also computer output.

22. Stiffness of manner with which celebrity is given national award (6)
{STARCH} – STAR (celebrity) and CH (Companion of Honour a British and Commonwealth order) for what could be called stiff behaviour.

24. Aim at Oxford? To finish eventually (3,2)
{END UP} – END (aim) and to go UP (to Oxford or Cambridge University) is a phrase used to describe the arrival at a place or condition finally.

14 comments on “DT 25983

  1. Libellule

    I don’t think you could say that holy is a synonym of heaven (13d). I would say that thinking of ‘eaven makes you ‘oly. What do you think?

  2. 8d – surely raglan is the type of sleeve in the garment not the garment itself???

    1. A Raglan is a type of sleeve, and is also an overcoat with its sleeve in one piece with the shoulder;

  3. V. enjoyable crossword . Once again looked formidable at first glance but clues started falling into place after a little application. Favourite clues today 14a, 28a, 1d, 9d &17d. Difficult to have a firm favourite.

  4. Just thought I’d embarrass Hot Lips – he can’t read downwards and read 5d as ‘RADIO THE RAPIST’ Poor Love, theres just no hope for him!

    Otherwise found the puzzle quite testing but liked 28a, my favourite clue.

  5. A belated bonjour Libellule, a good *** crossword well explained, my favourite has to be 13a even though the ‘and’ could perhaps be considered surplus to requirements.

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