DT 25989 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 25989

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 25989

Hints and tips by Libellule

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BD Rating – Difficulty *** Enjoyment ***

Today’s seemed much harder than usual, for some reason I got stuck in the top right hand corner for what seemed like ages. A Composer, artist and public school also help to confuse the issue. But once again we have a nicely crafted crossword that is enjoyable to do and gives satisfaction on completion.

Across Clues

1. Attachment of characters to very specific part of town? (8 )
{POSTCODE} – A cryptic definition that refers to the system of letters and numbers used to aid the sorting of mail.

5. Army’s turned over place with milk maiden (6)
{MYRIAD} – The definition is army, and the answer is a word used for any immense number or numberless. Reverse (turned over) DAIRY (place with milk) and M (maiden).

9. Comber is raking bugs (8)
{MICROBES} – An anagram of COMBER IS (raking) for microscopic organisms.

10. Jack plus animal in a pad (6)
{JOTTER} – J(ack) + OTTER (animal) for another word for a note pad usually used at school.

12. Appetiser in tin given to animal (6)
{CANAPE} – A small appetiser usually served with aperitif’s is constructed using CAN (tin) and (given to) APE (animal)

13. Most vulgar Argentinian, a nuisance (8 )
{CHEAPEST} – You need an Argentine Marxist revolutionary (how many of you knew he was Argentinian?) CHE (Guevara) and then add A PEST (nuisance) for an adjective for most vulgar.

15. Composer in the capital lacking name and having little weight (7)
{BERLIOZ} – You are indeed looking for a composer, and to find him, you need the German capital city BERLIN, then drop the N (lacking name) and add OZ (a little weight). Once found you should have a French romantic composer, probably best known for his Symphonie Fantastique.

16. Maureen hugs Irish artist (4)
{MIRO} – A shortened form of the name Maureen is MO, and then place inside (hugs) IR (an abbreviation for Irish) and you have a Spanish Catalan painter, sculptor, and ceramist.

20. One church attended by 500 gets decorated (4)
{ICED} – I (one) CE (Church of England) plus (attended by) D (Roman numeral for 500) for something that you might want to do to a cake.

21. Saint, torn apart, made great efforts (7)
{STRIVEN} – ST (saint) and RIVEN (torn apart) equals made great effort.

25. Quiet walks may lead to confusion (8 )
{SHAMBLES} – SH (quiet) and AMBLES (walks) for a scene or condition of complete disorder or ruin.

26. Split makes Conservative go (6)
{CLEAVE} – C (conservative) and LEAVE (go) is a word for split usually created with a sharp instrument.

28. Unexpected hint about mother being a killer (6)
{HITMAN} – Take an anagram (unexpected) of HINT and place this around (about) MA (mother) for a professional killer.

29. Places of prayer and study, things happening without leader (8 )
{CONVENTS} – CON (a word that can be used to mean study) and then EVENTS with the first E removed (without leader) and you have closed communities of women devoted to a religious life,

30. Boy gets led astray inside public school (6)
{RADLEY} – RAY (boy) and an anagram (astray) of LED placed inside is the name of a public school that can be found just south of Oxford.

31. Boss’s ruse, mere playing around (8 )
{EMPLOYER} – An anagram (playing) of MERE is placed around PLOY (ruse) for somebody who gives work to somebody or something.


1. Abrasive little creatures turned up at the start (6)
{PUMICE} – Take UP and reverse it (turned) and then add MICE (little creatures) is a form of lava used as an abrasive.

2. Back getting the silver medal? (6)
{SECOND} – Double definition, what happens if you get a silver medal, effectively you didn’t come first, and it’s also a word used for what happens if you endorse someone for example.

3. I procure pots; I may give away pots! (8 )
{CROUPIER} – An anagram (pots) of I PROCURE is an attendant at a gaming table who collects and pays bets.

4. Performs with those not normally seen at stag parties (4)
{DOES} – Cryptic definition of female deer (not seen at stag parties) and the third person singular of the present tense do (to perform or execute).

6. You may be given honour, an officer guarding the monarch (6)
{YEOMAN} – YE (you) followed by (given) OM (Order of Merit – honour) and AN – is an officer in the (ceremonial) bodyguard of the Queen, more commonly known as a Beefeater.

7. Being thought about, but not in a down-to-earth way? (2,3,3)
{IN THE AIR} – A cryptic definition (only just) of the opposite of down to earth, for a phrase that could be used to describe something that is being discussed, and a conclusion has not yet been reached.

8. Time ran out and I’d become troubled (8 )
{DURATION} – An anagram (become troubled) of RAN OUT and ID is a continuance or persistence in time.

11. Appalling records Les got rid of (7)
{CHRONIC} – One of my favourite clues of the day, take CHRONICLES, and then get rid of LES for an adjective that means dreadful.

14. Praise that’s less exciting (7)
{FLATTER} – A double definition, a word used to describe lavish praise (often insincere) and also an environment e.g. a party or concert that has reduced interest or excitement.

17. Legs on dear French dog (8 )
{PINSCHER} – This has to be my favourite clue. PINS (legs) above (on) CHER (French for dear) is a Doberman.

18. Like a flat perhaps with nurse, awfully neat inside (8 )
{TENANTED} – An anagram (awfully) of NEAT placed inside TEND (nurse) describes a rented property that is occupied.

19. A term of Geography? Students here finally get to take exam (3,5)
{SEA LEVEL} – Take the last letters (finally) of students – S, and here – E, and then add A LEVEL (exam) for a term used to describe the level of the ocean’s surface.

22. Chafe that could be produced by a beard (6)
{ABRADE} – An anagram (produced by) of A BEARD is another word that is used to describe what happens when something is being worn down or rubbed.

23. Quarrel in pub with fervour on the rise (6)
{BARNEY} – BAR (pub) and YEN (fervour) reversed (on the rise – it’s a down clue) is a noisy fight or argument.

24. With saints coming in, look inferior (6)
{LESSER} – LEER (look) with SS (saints) inside for a word used to mean something that is lower in importance.

27. Miserable creature in upsetting tiff, having got married (4)
{WORM} – ROW (tiff) reversed (upset) and M (married) for what is technically any of the various invertebrates such as as those of the phyla Annelida, Nematoda, Nemertea, or Platyhelminthes, that have a long, flexible, rounded or flattened body, often without obvious appendages or a person who is regarded as pitiable or contemptible.uals

17 comments on “DT 25989

  1. Bonjour Libellule, what I want to know is why did the compiler spoil an enjoyable crossword by adding 30a, a public school that was only solved by me using Cluedup on a trial and error basis!.There are over 20 well known words that would have fitted in instead.However loved both 13a and 17d .

  2. Kram, I have no idea, perhaps he will drop by and explain. It wasn’t an issue for me, as I lived near Oxford for a while and knew 30a existed.

    1. Sadly for the people living in other countries they haven’t , and the Telegraph is read all over the world!

    2. My uncle teaches at Radley so this came quite easily once I’d switched the “led”! Good crossword all round

  3. I live in Scotland and I have heard of the Radley School ( and the Radley Hospital ) in Oxford. I actually found todays crossword a bit boring after some of the recent efforts. I did like 11d and 13a. however.

    1. Today’s setter lives in Oxford.

      BTW I think you will find it’s the John Radcliffe Hospital – I’ve driven past the signs enough times!

  4. Many thanks for comments on this and other recent puzzles of mine. Yes, Kram, there were alternatives to RADLEY, but I may well have clued them ad nauseam already — and anyway this word is perfectly fair and surely OK in a paper with a lot of independent-school-minded readers. This school has turned out two England cricket captains, by the way: Messrs Dexter and Strauss. And I will never limit my vocabulary in case some overseas solvers didn’t know it. Crosswords can expand all our horizons!

    1. I’m just pleased to get a reference to a school, public or otherwise, which turns out to be something other than Eton!

      1. Gazza,
        As I indicated earlier, I personally did not have a problem with this. Bovvered – Not!

  5. 27d for those of theological thinking could have been a reference to Psalm 22:6; But I am a worm and not a man, scorned by men and despised by the people..

    It was that verse which I immediately recalled to give me the answer. i.e the worm is a miserable creature.

    More than one way to skin a cat.

  6. Loved 13a – Hotlips was insistent he was born in Bolivia, but somehow that just didn’t fit! Also liked 15a, even if it was a composer. Took us ages to get a start tho’ -its been a hard week!

  7. Still working on this one at the mo….! But how is ‘an’ an officer?

    And, I just looking at Radley on a map today too, whilst planning a Thames walk. it should’ve been fresh in my mind.

    1. The definition of 6 down is “an officer in the bodyguard of the Queen” and AN is the last part of the wordplay – I’ve made a small adjustment.

  8. Great crossword today (21 August for us in sunny South Africa)!! Thoroughly enjoyed and no complaints re English schools!

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