DT 27017 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 27017

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 27017

Hints and tips by scchua

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty *+Enjoyment ***

A busy morning for me, so glad this was a 1-1.5* in difficulty, and slightly less than 3* for enjoyment. Thanks to setter. Definitions are underlined in the clues. (Pardon me for any errors that might have slipped in due to the rush.)

P.S. If you still find the mechanics of the hints a mystery, you should read the following, which should help in understanding.

Definitions are underlined in the clues (in blue).

Words in blue are lifted from the clues.

Italicised words are instructions for constructing the answer. Parentheses following these enclose the indicators from the clues. Eg. Reversal of(up, in a down clue).

[xxx;yyy] denotes that a synonym for xxx or yyy is required.

{ } are used to give the order of construction. Eg. Reversal of(up, in a down clue) AB + C is different from Reversal of(up, in a down clue) {AB + C}.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought. You can also add your assessment by selecting from one to five stars at the bottom of the post.

1 Show clears up act for broadcasting (11)

{SPECTACULAR} : Anagram of(for broadcasting) CLEARS UP ACT.

Answer: Term for a show derived from a description of it.

9 Dance leader with a star flaring up (5,4)

{BOSSA NOVA} : [Leader, say, of a gang] plus(with) [an exploding star, which one day our sun will be].

Answer:  Of Brazilian origin.

10 Feature origin of African country (5)

{CHINA} : [facial feature] + initial letter of(origin of) “African”.

11 Sailor leaves idler to spend (3,3)

{LAY OUT} : [an idler;good-for-nothing] minus(… leaves) [abbrev. for a seaman;sailor].

12 Not working with film derivative (8)

{OFFSHOOT} : [not working;not on] plus(with) [to film, a movie, say].

13 Changed course due to careful handling, say (6)

{TACKED} : Homophone of(say) [careful handling, as a noun;what diplomats supposedly have].

15 Abandoned pit, chasing good source of profit (4,4)

{GOLD MINE} : [an abandoned pit;depleted source of, say, minerals (3,4)] placed after(chasing) abbrev. for “good”.

18 Black sticky stuff from a ship inside breakwaters (8)

{MOLASSES} : {A + abbrev. for a steamship} contained in (inside) [breakwaters;also rodents you don’t want in your lawn].

19 Birds, for example rest in flight (6)

{EGRETS} : Abbrev. for “for example”, derived from Latin + anagram of(in flight) REST.

21 Tried hard, however, welcoming upper-class investor (4,1,3)

{BUST A GUT} : [however, as a conjunction] containing(welcoming) {a single letter informally describing the characteristics of the upper-class, especially in Britain + a type of investor in the share market}.

23 Heap fury on bishop (6)

{BANGER} : [fury;rage] placed after(on, in an across clue) abbrev. for a “bishop”, eg. in chess notation.

Defn: A heap of a car.

26 Time and relaxation needed for rib (5)

{TEASE} : abbrev. for “time” plus(and) [relaxation, as in a life of].

Defn: As a verb.

27 Having heavy accents, actors go on air (9)

{BROADCAST} : [having heavy dialectal accents, well, like those in the Norfolk area] + a group of actors in eg. a play.

28 Part of house to attract man getting married? (7,4)

{DRAWING ROOM} : [to attract (4,2)] + [man getting married to his bride].

1 Stand-in on bed creating a minor story (7)

{SUBPLOT} : [stand-in;short for someone on the bench at the sideline] plus(on) [bed, say, in a garden].

Defn: Within the main story.

2 Attempt a bit of personality assessment on the way up (5)

{ESSAY} : Hidden in(a bit of) and reversal of(on the way up, in a down clue) “personality assessment”.

3 People who malign dealers importing duck without wings (9)

{TRADUCERS} : [dealers;those who buy and sell] containing(importing) {“duck” minus
its outer letters(without wings)}.

4 Dock policeman covering river (4)

{CROP} : [policeman, informally] containing(covering) abbrev. for “river”.

Defn: To cut off the end.

5 A source of problems in poor golfer’s game (8)

{LEAPFROG} : { A + initial letter of(source of) “problems”} contained in (in) anagram of(poor) GOLFER.

Answer: A game usually played in children’s playgrounds.

6 People who can be relied on to get shakes (5)

{ROCKS} : Double defn: 1st: Figuratively; and 2nd: As a verb.

7 Surprise, seeing Sun let loose (7)

{STARTLE} : [one of billions in the Milky Way, including our sun] + anagram of(loose) “LET”.

Defn: As a verb.

8 Figure straddling single bed is poison (8)

{NICOTINE} : A number(a figure) – think of one between 1 and 10 containing(straddling) {Roman numeral for [single] + [a small bed]}.

14 Big girl’s up, finding love after pass (8)

{COLOSSAL} : Reversal of(up, in a down clue) [girl] placed after(finding) {letter that looks like zero, love in tennis scores] placed after(after) [a highland pass]}.

16 Ruthless competition to follow trail across limitless heath (3,3,3)

{DOG EAT DOG} : {[to follow;trail] + [to trail;follow]} containing(across) “heath” minus
its extreme letters(limitless).

17 Shadow barmen up for replacement (8)

{PENUMBRA} : Anagram of(for replacement) BARMEN UP.

Answer: Not quite a full shadow.

18 Bishop with saint in Rome worried mafia type (7)

{MOBSTER} : {abbrev. for “bishop” plus(with) abbrev. for “saint”} contained in(in) anagram of(worried) ROME.

20 Level of society putting up ‘Loose Women’ with show of hesitation (7)

{STRATUM} : Reversal of(putting up) [loose women;also sweets] plus(with) [a show of hesitation;a verbal expression similar to “er”]

22 Leading area hotel has regulars in demand (5)

{AHEAD} : Abbrev. for “area” + letter represented by “hotel” in the phonetic alphabet plus(has) 2nd, 4th, and 6th letters of(regulars in) “demand”.

24 Fertiliser rejected during season (August) (5)

{GUANO} : Reversal of(rejected){[during season;operative] + abbrev. for “August”}.

25 Nudge up one berry (4)

{GOJI} : Reversal of(up, in a down clue)[nudge, eg. your memory] + Roman numeral for “one”.

Answer:  Aka the (Chinese) wolfberry.  Native to the mountainous regions of China and the Himalayas. High content of antioxidants and other healthy stuff.

The Quick crossword pun: {honour} + {role} = {on a roll}

52 comments on “DT 27017

  1. 25d was a totally new word to us and required a little investigoogling to confirm. Apart from that it all fell in to place reasonably smoothly. High quality mid-week puzzle.
    Thanks Jay and Scchua.

  2. Fairly straightforward and the best so far this week for me. Not sure about the word order in the clue for 21. Is that “ok”?



  3. It really must be me today, I found this a five star for difficulty, managed two answers and most of the clues I just couldn’t understand. Not for me I’m afraid.

    1. Not you, Brian – I found it really difficult too but I did at least enjoy the battle and I beat the beast in the end!!

      1. I thought it at least a 3* but did finish it with scchuas help on one or two, perservation once again :-)

  4. All solved in 1* time, then I was left with 25d; never heard of it, and spent ages trying to think of a 3-letter synonym for ‘nudge’.
    Thanks to Jay, and to scchua.
    Looking forward to Beam now.

  5. Found this a good deal harder than recent puzzles – but nonetheless enjoyable. Last in was 25d where I took a guess from the wordplay, which proved correct – new word for me.
    I did look it up in my 20yr old + Chambers and it didn’t seem to be there. I believe, following the help I received from fellow commentators a few weeks ago, that I am to be given the latest BRB for Christmas. On this evidence can’t come too soon !

    Thank you Jay and Scchua for your review – and in particular help at 25d.

  6. Go along with everyone else regarding 25D – managed to work it out as JOG was the only 3 letter word with an O in the middle I could think of. Other that that, no problems at all – nearly managed to do the whole thing in the time spent listening to Alan’s Psychedelic Breakfast.
    I thought 9A and 28A were quite clever clues.

  7. Morning scchua and thanks for blog, personally I found it about 3 star level for difficuly and needed your help on a couple, I’d never heard of 17d and even knowing it was an anagram didn’t help, I had heard of 25d but didn’t remember it!
    However I did quite enjoy most of it two fav clues 15a and 28a

  8. Is that the third/fourth time we’ve seen ‘col’ come up as a mountain pass, in the last week or two? Struggled with the berry, but got there eventually. Thanks to Jay and Scchua.

  9. I don’t agree with a 1* rating today it’s definitely in 2.5* territory for me having got stuck in the NE corner. I understood many of the clues but couldn’t solve them. Maybe that’s the art of good puzzle, but it leaves me feeling dissatisfied so it’s a 2* for enjoyment.

    Thanks Scchua for the hints and to Jay for foxing me again

  10. I would give this one several more stars than scchua has for both difficulty and enjoyment – at least 3* and 4* from me.
    I was very slow to get 1a and 1d which didn’t help with that corner. I always forget 18d although I know that it does come up from time to time and I sat and looked at 21a for ages before I saw it. Along with most of the rest of you I’d never heard of 25d and I’m afraid I don’t see 8d as a poison – I know it is though!!
    Altogether very enjoyable – I never know how long a crossword has taken me so just base my difficulty rating on what I felt at the time.
    I really liked lots of these clues – too many to put them all down.
    With thanks to Jay and scchua.
    I’m not sure that I am going to be able to resist having a go at the Toughie as it’s a Beam – it might have to wait until later – twelve people here for supper tomorrow evening – ought to do some cooking.

    1. PS I’d never heard of moles with that meaning (18a) – to me they’re spies or furry little ******** that bite and dig up the garden regularly!! :sad:

    2. Hi Kath

      Definitely worth having a look at Beam if you get the chance. Very enjoyable, although I found bits of it tricky.

      1. Thanks everyone – sounds as if I’m not likely to be able to do it but I won’t know if I don’t try – later, if time permits.

  11. I actually enjoyed today’s offering. There were a couple of obscure words but they were easy enough to work out, which I quite like. I would give it slightly more than a 1.5 for difficulty and slightly more than 3 for enjoyment, therefore ** and ***+ from me. Regds to all.

    1. Both are in the full Chambers dictionary. The free online version is only a subset and for that reason should not be used to criticise words used in clues or answers.

      * The vitamin-rich berry of a solanaceous Chinese plant (also called wolfberry)

      * A N American shrub (Symphoricarpus occidentalis) of the honeysuckle family, with white berries, hairy leaves and pink flowers
      * Another name for goji

      1. Thanks for that, I didn’t realise it’s a subset (and it doesn’t seem to state that…).

        I’ve been looking to buy a software version of the BRD, but it doesn’t seem to exist, alas.

        1. There are two ways – there is an iPhone app which is quite cheap and an addon to WordWeb Pro, which I use, which is not so cheap!


          There was an online version available on subscription but it was withdrawn a couple of years ago. There was also a software version, but that has not been updated for a long time and is very clunky.

          1. Alas, an iPhone app is no use to me, I use a Blackberry (it’s for work, you see…).

            I’ll look into the WordWeb option, that seems to be my best option and people will soon be asking what I want for Christmas!

            Thanks, Steve

          2. I have survived for more years than I care to remember without Chambers but “goji” has convinced me and have just purchased the app you mention.
            Thanks .

  12. Thanks to Jay & to scchua for the review & hints. A super puzzle, 2*/4* for me. Started with 4d, finished with 18d. New word in 25d. New meaning for mole in 18a. Favourites were 19,21,28a. Lovely morning in Central London.

  13. Like others I’d never heard of the berry but otherwise pretty good stuff from Jay.

    As a sailor I quite liked 18a.

    Thanks to Jay and scchua.

  14. Was more than a one star for me too Goji a new one for me and not sure nicotine is strictly a poison? Also had a brain freeze and saw 15 as a bomb site for gold mine?? Don’t ask no wonder I never make any money!!

    1. Almost my namesake! Pure nicotine is very much a poison. Used at least twice that I can remember in Poirot/Marple.

      For those who haven’t heard of goji, look out for acai next time. They often seem to be seen together.


    2. From Wikipedia:

      In low doses (an average cigarette yields about 1 mg of absorbed nicotine), the substance acts as a stimulant in mammals, while high amounts (30–60 mg) can be fatal.

      Incidentally, it was named after the French ambassador in Portugal, Jean Nicot de Villemain, who sent tobacco and seeds to Paris in 1560 (also nicked from Wikipedia, but I also remember it from QI)

    3. Think nicotine is used as an insecticide but I may be wrong – certainly not killed me yet but the other stuff in tobacco may yet do so!

      1. Hasn’t killed me yet either pommers but do hate feeling like a criminal everywhere I go – I’m quite sure that, if not in our lifetime, then in that of our children, it will be illegal! :sad: Not sure about the insecticide bit.

        1. Sad I know but found this in Wiki:-

          Historical use of nicotine as an insecticide

          Tobacco was introduced to Europe in 1559, and by the late 17th century, it was used not only for smoking but also as an insecticide. After World War II, over 2,500 tons of nicotine insecticide (waste from the tobacco industry) were used worldwide, but by the 1980s the use of nicotine insecticide had declined below 200 tons. This was due to the availability of other insecticides that are cheaper and less harmful to mammals.[4]

          Currently, nicotine is a permitted pesticide for organic farming because it is derived from a botanical source. Nicotine sulfate sold for use as a pesticide is labeled “DANGER,” indicating that it is highly toxic. However, in 2008, the EPA received a request to cancel the registration of the last nicotine pesticide registered in the United States. This request was granted, and after 1 January 2014, this pesticide will not be available for sale.

            1. I was doubting myself! Thought I’d heard it once before but wasn’t sure. I sort of remembered wondering why I was smoking an insecticide :grin:

              It’s even got to be a bit criminal in Spain, where smoking is almost compulsory. Never mind, for most of the year it’s usual to sit outside even if you don’t smoke :lol:

  15. I found it fairly difficult. Discovered that “recreant” was also a solution in the Irish Times cryptic crossword yesterday.What are the chances of that?

    1. thanks to setter and scchua.Personally I find anagrams of synonyms inside other words with various other letters thrown in and all reversed frankly difficult.

  16. Your idea of difficult are somewhat different to mine.I found this a tad difficult. Three stars the other day easier. Marvellous site.

    1. Hi Patrick, and welcome from me too. Hope you enjoy the site and post again – love to hear from you.

      Had I been the blogger, as I was for about a year on Wednesday Jay puzzles, I would have given 2* difficulty because of 25d. Otherwise I thought a fairly benign puzzle from Jay but that might be because I’ve got to know how his mind works :grin:

    2. Welcome from me too – I also found this far more difficult than 1* and I’ve not only been doing cryptics for a while now but also have been reading, and learning from, this blog for about two and a half years. It’s brilliant!

    3. Sorry Scchua this also for me was more a 3*. The berry for me wasn’t the problem, am still banging my head on the stoopid step for what held me up, not telling you, far too dumb on my part!!

  17. Late input from me as had dinner chez my daughter and got home late.

    Solved this on return. 25d was a new word for me too – if eating them makes one feel like the girl in the picture they must be VG.

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