DT 27022 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 27022

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 27022

Hints and tips by gnomethang

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

Morning All! When gazza heard I was at a loose end this morning he offered me the blog-seat so you have me. I solved this at 1 this morning after a late shift and thought it was in the **** territory for difficulty. Having reviewed it this morning and spoken to Crypticsue there isn’t much to change my mind.

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. You can reveal the highlighting the space between the curly brackets.


1a           One in seven miners is retiring (7)
{BASHFUL} – He’s not sleepy or grumpy, just a bit of a shrinking violet!.

9a           State induced by depression or trouble (8)
{COLORADO} – A charade of a depression in a mountain range then OR (from the clue) and a colloquial term for a ‘bit of a kerfuffle’.

10a         Sue is so proper (7)
{SOLICIT} – Well of course she is!. So from the clue and a synonym for proper or legal.

11a         Lump welcomes lunchtime — he likes to fill his face (8)
{CHIPMUNK} – A rodent with a face full of food. Place a short form of the time for lunch inside a lump (of cheese or bread for example).

12a         Buffet with beer (6)
{WALLOP} – two definitions here – The first to hit and the second is a colloquial term for ale.

13a         This gets carelessly misplaced — perhaps too carelessly (10)
{APOSTROPHE} – Misplaced by greengrocers certainly!. A careless anagram of PERHAPS TOO.

15a         Ashmolean regularly reviewed charitable donations (4)
{ALMS} – hidden and reversed (regularly re-viewed) in aShMoLeAn.

16a         Are they boring to do this pop trios like? (6,3)
{STRIKE OIL} – I’m not so sure that this works in the surface reading. Make an anagram of TRIOS LIKE by ‘popping’ it. The problem is that the sense of the clue (Are they boring this to do…) should lead to OIL STRIKERS or something similar. Probably my mistake…

21a         All right to uncork wine? (4)
{OKAY} – Don’t forget your crosswordland wines. This one is Hungarian and you need to pull the first letter (uncork it!). Nice clue!.

22a         Generous care of two French gentlemen provoking hatred (10)
{COMMODIOUS} – A charade of the abbreviation of Care Of on a letter, two abbreviations of the formal salutation to  Rene on a letter and then a word for ‘provoking hatred’ or ‘abhorrence’.

24a         Breathe without sound (6)
{EXHALE} – Breathe out anyway!. The Latin for ‘without’ and a word meaning sound or hearty.

25a         Individually do something with no chance of success (4,4)
{DEAD DUCK} – Thanks to Crypticsue for explaining why this isn’t just a bad cryptic definition. If you break down DO (individually) then you get the abbreviation for Dead and a cricketing term for zero O..

27a         Putrid concoction stored originally inside hamper (7)
{DISRUPT} – The original letter of S(tored) inside a concoction of the word (PUTRID). Lovely (I think!?) surface reading.

28a         Volunteers not drinking before start of dinner, getting ragged (8)
{TATTERED} – A charade of the usual volunteer forces in the UK then an abbreviation for Teetotal, then ‘before’ (poetically and finally the starting letter in Dinner.

29a         A good eighteen holes wrecked (7)
{AGROUND} – Well Mark Twain said that Golf was a good walk spoiled and they can be easily wrecked as well!. Nevertheless we need A and G(ood) followed by what constitutes 18 holes of Golf typically.


2d           ‘Rocky’ a bad role inspiring great affection (8)
{ADORABLE} – An anagram (rocky) of A BAD ROLE.

3d           Close broadcast with no current issue (8)
{HEIRLESS} – A homophone, indicated by broadcast, of an adjective meaning close or muggy.

4d           Perfect referee to control Northern Ireland and Austria heading for draw (10)
{UNIMPAIRED} – Start with a cricketing referee and insert (individually) the abbreviation for Northern Ireland and the IVR code for Austria and follow that up with the heading letter of Draw.

5d           It’s nonsense some characters in Branagh’s ‘Othello’ are upset (4)
{TOSH} – A hidden reversed word (some characters…are upset) in the words in between.

6d           Temperature or pressure leads to overriding and ruinous inertia (6)
{TORPOR} – The abbreviations for Temperature and Pressure spelt with OR from the clue (in order) then the initial letters of Overriding and Ruinous. A feeling induced by the homophone at 3d.

7d           Bound to be hot below opening either side of chimney (7)
{GALUMPH} – A playful trot or leap. A Scots dialect word for chimney inside an opening or space and then place H(ot) below or last.

8d           Born in chirpy milieu of East London (7)
{COCKNEY} – The French masculine word for born (seen in family trees) inside a word for chirpy as a male bird for example.

11d         See business routinely being as regular as this? (9)
{CLOCKWORK} – Split the answer (5,4) and you will find an informal word for see and a word for routine business.

14d         One could make strides with this drill possibly (10)
{TROUSERING} – A definition and cryptic def. The material from which ‘strides’ could be made is also a word for a drill or punishment.

17d         Reluctant air settled over gigolo (8)
{LOTHARIO} – A charade of ‘reluctant’, an anagram of AIR (settled) then the cricketing abbreviation for Over. In the absence of any photo opportunities please find attached this hilarious video. David Lee Roth for the ladies and the ladies therein for the gentlemen!.
ARVE Error: need id and provider

18d         Stalks cut back in downward spiral (8)
{TAILSPIN} – The stalks of a runner bean for example A verb meaning stalks or follows and the reversal of a word for cut.

19d         Detective stifled by a town’s bitterness (7)
{ACIDITY} – Your favourite Crosswordland abbreviation for an inspector inside (stifled by) a major town

20d         Mike interrupting garbled patois that’s laid on thick (7)
{IMPASTO} – The letter for which Mike is the phonetic inside an anagram (garbled) of PATOIS. A style of painting that turns up fairly regularly in crosswords.

23d         Twerps docked point — or lots (6)
{OODLES} – An informal word for twerps with its first letter (which is a point on the compass) removed.

26d         ‘Three Men In A Boat’ perhaps vaunted (4)
{CREW} – Any number of men in a boat!. It is also a word meaning vaunted or boasted.

I suspect I know who the setter is and some may think that this was a puzzle destined for the inside pages!.

The Quick crossword pun: {tree} + {cult} + {art} = {treacle tart}

79 comments on “DT 27022

  1. Hi all, I’ve been hovering the last few weeks/months without making any comments. Hope everyone’s OK. Now that was tough! All solved but a very testing run-out. Extremely enjoyable but I suspect it won’t have been universally popular!

  2. Well, can’t say I enjoyed this at all. So many clues seemed to be extremely bitty or confusing – almost as if the setter were trying too hard. 25A had me stumped for a while, the answer was obvious but the reason for it? Similarly with 4D, from the wording of the clue, the IVR for Northern Ireland and Austria should go together, not be in different parts of the answer.

    Having said all that, I quite liked 13A and I thought 26D was excellent.

  3. This took me a long time to complete. Tough, but an enjoyable workout.
    This almost felt like an Elgar puzzle to me. Whoever it was, thanks to setter, and to gnomethang for the comprehensive review.

  4. Thanks for the rating, found this one pretty tough, and could only complete with hints.

    Thanks to the setter.

  5. Hello gnomey and welcome to Tuesday, wow, they gave you a tough one today, more than a few clues worthy of the Toughie, I thought, too many for me to start on but 1a and 25a the worst for me although I did get them, however I had two fav clues 13a and 2d, though the anagram was obvious, I thought the clue read well and was true to the Rocky films, lots of help from my ‘friends’ and lashings of perservation helped me finish this today, thanks for the blog gnomey, I am really impressed :-), agree with 4* rating

    1. If this had been on the Toughie page I would have given up, not perservated and not finished it, all in the mind??

      1. Have a go at today’s Toughie Mary – it is a lot simpler than today’s backpager (or at least Crypticsue and I found it so). It took me about half the time to solve than this crossword.

        1. Struggling I’m afraid, two a day just too much for my poor brain! I shall perservate a little longer :-)

  6. Thought this was difficult as i worked through it, thanks for for confirming it gnomethang- at least you feature in 1a! — As Mae West famously quipped’ I used to be Snow White then i drifted’. Agree with****/****. Thanks for the ‘explanation’ of 25a, and 7d, rest ok..

  7. I managed 9 clues and gave up! Look forward to working through the hints now. Well done to all those who managed it by themselves. You have my admiration.

    Particular thanks to Gnomey.

  8. Really struggled today, needed the hints to finish. Fav clue 13a. Thanks to Gnomethang for the hints and review.

  9. I’m afraid it remains on the bedroom floor unfinished. Beat me and not that enjoyable. As someone said…very bitty. 22 is contrived. Where is the guidance that you need an abbreviation of care of or monsieur? likewise 25a so obtuse. Ditto 4d. 7d that definition of lump isn’t in the online chambers as far as I can see. And neither is trousering in 14d. I’d thought of trousering but checking chambers there was no such word. And neither is that definition for crew.

    1. Hi Roger. Trousering is in both my Chambers for Android as well as the BRB.
      Equally ‘Care of’ is regularly written as C/O and the two Frenchmen leads to M(onsieur) twice – it has been used before.
      7d is LUM in GAP with H at the end.
      Crew is a past participle of crow (did crew = crew).

      1. Thanks, gnomethang. This is the reply from online chambers on my mac Sorry, no entries for trousering were found. Very strange. Likewise No exact matches for lum, but the following may be helpful.

  10. Everyone who can’t do the backpager should try the toughie, start with the downs and see how you get on. It took me a lot less time to solve than the cryptic.

  11. Glad to see I am not alone in finding this difficult. Got to the end without hints, but sometimes a struggle to understand the wordplay – in particular, like others at 25a. Not so sure that I like clues where the setter requires you to pick out the initial letters of words at random to form part of the answer.

    Thank you setter and Gnomethang for your review and explanation of 25a. Although I had the correct answer I would never have understood the wordplay without your & CS ? help.

    1. I think that splitting DO like that, whilst not being unfair, is a device more suited to a Toughie than a back pager.

  12. Thanks to Gnomey for giving me a morning off and for the excellent review. I agree with those who thought that today was a WED (wrong envelope day).

  13. Definitely a WED puzzle – I toyed with putting it down and returning to it later but perservated to the end. Thanks to Gnomey for the blog and to the Mysteron for the unexpected brain stretching.

  14. I enjoyed this, lots of different treatments to consider. Agree that 13A was a splendid clue. Also agree with the difficulty rating, took me the same time as a Friday backpager.

  15. Many thanks to the setter and to Gnomethang, best backpager for a good while and a very enjoyable review. The toughie by Messinae is much easier . By the way, there is no section for entering our star rating, or is it just my computer playing up again?

    1. For some reason the star rating has stopped appearing on the actual review page but if you go back to the site home page, you can see it there under the excerpt about this post.

  16. Another day when I was really pleased to find that it wasn’t just me. At least 4* for difficulty and as for the enjoyment – haven’t quite worked that one out yet. What a battle!
    I ended up giving in with two that I couldn’t do – 7d (spelling 11a with an ‘O’ instead of a ‘U’ didn’t help) and 14d. This has taken me hours – so long, in fact, that if I said just how long it couldn’t possibly discourage anyone so I’d probably get away with it.
    I agree with Mary – if this had been in the middle of the paper I would have given up.
    All that sounds a bit critical and negative – I also thought there were some really good clues – 1, 13 and 27a and 8 and 17d.
    With thanks to the setter and Gnomey.

    1. Kath, its D for Dead and O = Nothing = a Duck in cricket. The instruction is to take the letters individually.

  17. Agree with your ratings gnomey – pommette described it as a “tricky little *******”, (and she didn’t say “rascal”) :grin:

    Quite enjoyed the unexpected challenge though. Took a lot longer than the Toughie.
    13a and 25a favourites, although I agree 25a is really a Toughie clue in disguise!

    Thanks to Mr Ron (although I could hazard a guess) and gnomethang.

  18. Found this very difficult. Started it last night (EST ) and left 4 or 5 undone hoping I would see the light this morning. No such luck! I was a 25a. Could not get 14d or 7d or even 10a even though I knew what the construction should be. Liked 22a though when I finally got it. Did enjoy the toughie though which I was able to finish last night. Don’t like to think about how long I spent on these!
    A big thanks to Gnomethang and the setter.

  19. Late start today and a long finish !Liked 8d,13a,22a but found it somewhat difficult 4*\2* for me .

  20. Thanks to the setter & to Gnomethang for the review & hints. Well, I’m sure that this should have been a Toughie. Managed the bottom half ok, but was 9 short at the top, and before resorting to the hints. I kept reading 8d as East of London, and which didn’t help. Favourite was 13a I still enjoyed the struggle though. Sun gone now in Central London.

  21. I found is one very tough, and not particularly enjoyable. Having entered 1a and 2d immediately, thereby raising my hopes, they were then dashed. I needed your hints, thank you, but even so didn’t like many of the clues eg 10a, 11a, 25a & 17d.

  22. I agree with everybody,tough,but then they are all tough for me (except Monday) since I started in september.Joy sue pearl dotty got me goggling.

  23. Reckon you got the grading spot-on Gnomie. Much more challenging than we expect on a Tuesday. Some really clever clues but some ‘clunky’ ones too. Liked 11a and 13a. After working through this one, sat down in front of TV, had a glance at the Toughie, and found we had finished it during the ad breaks by the end of the programme.
    Thanks Mr Ron and Gnomethang

  24. Found this tough. Managed to complete all but the NE corner, where I had to resort to hints, i.e. cheat! Couldn’t have finished this without Gnomethangs explanations, for which many thanks. I’m still not happy about some of the clues, esp. 16A, 25A, 6D 14D

  25. I thought my struggles with this were a result of being sent e-manflu from Pommers, glad I wasn’t alone in the struggle. Saving the toughie for another day, thanks all.

    1. I know I’m a generous soul but I’d think twice before sharing this particular virus with my worst enemy – would probably count as biological warefare :grin:

      1. hence i’ve not been allowed to go to work today, there was an evening seminar for me to chair on pertussis and then adult influenza in at risk groups, 30 GPs, midwives, social workers, et al, maybe not the best move!!!

        1. Don’t talk to me about “adult influenza” – still feeling grotty and pommette has developed a really splendid cough :sad: Keeps me awake!

  26. Too hard for me but very reassuring I was not the only one to fail. Thanks to gnomethang for the explanations.

  27. Oh dear the Toughie has strayed once more onto the back page. Totally lost interest after an hour. A thoroughly ridiculous puzzle IMHO.

    1. Am in cahoots Brian, but only in so far as this backpager would be a toughie, but much later in the week, Gnomeys rating are fair, this was not ridiculous, just possibly misplaced imho. cheers

  28. Got there in the end. Apart from 7d – never heard of that – had Gazumph which did not quite work. Day not helped by doing one clue then having to take son to college. Got home did two clues then had to go and get his bag of books and take them to him (more fool me). The rest in fits and starts at work. Last 4 clues done while in the bath!

    Hoping for a quieter day tomorrow, regds to all.

  29. Thank you for the blog and no thanks to the setter. I fear I might be stretching the limits on acceptable comment but can I in the spirit of free speech describe this puzzle as ***** *****? [Offensive language redacted. BD]

    1. You are certainly stretching the limits breyond breaking point and in my opinion an apology to the setter is required before you post again (IMHO). Constructive criticism is encouraged but gratuitous insults are not. What’s your problem?

      What was wrong with the puzzle? Just because you can’t solve it doesn’t mean it’s a bad puzzle – just beyond your skill level. I’m going to break a rule now and mention solving time, because you’ve annoyed me, and reveal that pommette and I solved and fully parsed this one in 36 mins – which is just about into 4* level for me. I’ve come across harder ones.

      If that was all you can think of to say then I, for one, would prefer it if you refrained.

      1. Well I have to agree with Pommers. Personally, I didn’t enjoy this puzzle and I gave up on it after managing to solve only about half a dozen clues. My approach in these situations however is to turn to this superb blog to see what I can learn for future reference. I have only been doing cryptics for a short while and regard this as an excellent way to develop my skill, which I fully accept is not up to a puzzle such as this. I would not criticise the setter for the fact that the puzzle is hard.

        If there is a fault I would have to say that it lies at the feet of the crossword editor. The DT is wonderful in that it has an enjoyable but challenging back-page puzzle suitable for all levels (including dunderheads like me), as well as a full-strength full-fat, high-caffine toughie for those who need a bit of pain in their lives. I think it is a shame if the boundaries between these two become blurred; and the fact that on a few occasions recently the Gurus here have reported that the Toughie is easier than the back-pager shows that something is not quite right…

        Just my 2 penny-worth…

        1. Thank you Arthur. I agree about the blurring of the lines. The Thursday puzzle I blogged a couple of weeks ago was more of a toughie than a back-pager and now this one today? Only seems to happen on Tues and Thurs though as the other days have regular setters. It makes life interesting?

        2. Just a last comment. I’m the same as you really, but probably a bit more experienced at solving crosswords. There’s a puzzle from Nimrod (Elgar/Enigmatist) in today’s Indy. It completely defeated me and I had to turn to the Fifteensquared blog to find out how it works. I don’t think it’s a bad puzzle but just think that Nimrod has a brain the size of a major planet and mine is one the size of a small asteroid! Now i’ve seen the explanations I can only sit back and applaud the very clever wordplay involved and the blogger who sorted it all out.

          1. I see what you did there with Arthur and Marvin…very nice!

            Re Nimrod in the Indy – few clues a stretch for me, but no complaints given the bigger picture.

      2. Oh dear!! Today’s in 36 minutes is a bit of a shock to me. It’s even more of a shock to learn that that takes you into 4* difficulty time. I now see why mentioning solving times is discouraged!! Feeling suitably discouraged! Only joking – I don’t really care how long a crossword takes me and, anyway, never time myself. :smile:

          1. Me too – some puzzles are just beyond me. Although others I love.
            I find Giovanni puzzles difficult but fair.
            My mind seems to be on the same wavelength as Rufus but pommers often struggles. Supposedly the easiest of the week.

            1. Funny you should say that, because I find Rufus puzzles (beloved of most posters of this parish) some of the most difficult, and yet the ones I have enjoyed the most (and come the closest to completing unaided) have been RayT ones – often feared by far more expert solvers than me!

              It’s a good job we’re all different!

              1. I think that it’s because of the clue type favoured by various setters. If you get a clue that says “take this bit of that and insert into this to get the answer” or an anagram you have something to work with. Rufus uses double and cryptic definitions a lot and they are the sort of clues you either spot or you don’t – there’s no real way of working it out. Pommette seems to think the same way as her hero Rufus – perhaps they had a mind-meld when they met last year :grin:

        1. Sorry Kath, but Grumpy Andrew really did annoy me with his gratuitous insult to the setter’s skills! Personally I think this blog can do without comments like that.
          Normally I would never dream of mentioning my solving time, although I have emailed my time scale for star ratings to various commenters who have asked, but there were two of us and I have to say that without pommette’s input it would have taken me considerably longer (our minds work differently). Don’t usually time myself either but today I happened to notice that we sat down to lunch at 1400 and it was finished (lunch and the puzzle) just after 1435 when we went out shopping.

      3. Well my time was slower than that and I was giving it the ‘quick and dirty’ approach since I was blogging!. Obviously I was a bit tired, I work better on cryptics in the morning but it was still a tough solve as when I looked at it this morning I still felt the same. The thing about this (presumed) setter is that he has a bit of a fast and loose approach, if only in feel, when compared to other setters. I think that it makes it a bit more difficult to categorise in the DT but would fit very well in other broadsheets.
        We’ll all get used to the style in the end!.

        1. I’m always a lot slower when I do it in the early hours. Fastest solves always at lunchtime, but then I have pommette to help!!

      4. read further reactions and posts, in total agreement. I would have been more than redacted if I posted my initial thoughts to the Sunday offerings, now my hat is doffed to Virgilius. I think, without tempting fate I have found his wavelength and have nothing but the utmost respect. As you said, Tue and Thu do become interesting…..

    2. Grumpy Andrew – I am an non-expert solver and today could probably only have managed about half on my own. Equally as pommers said I actually got several of the answers before he did! That’s just the way crosswords go.
      Berating the setter just because it is beyond your current level of expertise is just not on!

  30. This one really stirred the grey matter. Full of lovely clues of which 13 stood out with 1 2 3 4 and 22 not far behind. Thanks to the mysteron for a great puzzle.

  31. For me, today’s offering was a write-off. Managed half and then gave up. Impossible to get inside the mind of the setter. Clues and even the hints much too convoluted to bother with! Hope for more fun tomorrow.

  32. Re “Galumph” – see The Jabberwocky by Lewis Carol.

    “He left it dead
    And with its head
    He went galumphing back.”

  33. Definitely difficult – but the unknown setter deserve’s full mark’s for 13a! Thanks to gnomethang for a few (?) explanations!

  34. Glad I’ve been directed to this website. I found this crossword to be almost impossible and I’m very pleased that others felt it was difficult. I gather that the compiler is a comparative newcomer and I guess I just need to get used to his style. There have been others that have floored me so I’m holding the same guy responsible.

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