DT 27023 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 27023

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 27023

Hints and tips by scchua

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty **-Enjoyment ***

This was quite straightforward and enjoyable. About a 1.5-2* for difficulty, and a 3* for enjoyment. Thanks to Jay (I think it’s him, unless someone says to the contrary, in which case apologies all round).

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    Loyalist beginning to accept law-breaking (8)

{STALWART} : [the beginning] containing(to accept) anagram of(breaking) LAW.

Defn: As a common noun – one who is loyal, ie. don’t be misled by the capital initial.

6    Sanctimonious and risqué form of stealing (6)

{PIRACY} : short for [sanctimonious] + [risqué].

9    Sticker‘s almost green, dear (6)

{LIMPET} : [the colour green – think fruit] minus its last letter(almost) + [a dear;a favourite].

Answer: A shellfish that sticks to rocks.

10    Clinger-on lost balance crossing river (8)

{BARNACLE} : Anagram of(lost) BALANCE containing(crossing) abbrev. for “river”.

Answer: Another clinging shellfish.

11    Instruments for pot smokers? (3-5)

{PAN-PIPES} : [a shallow pot to be found in the kitchen] + [implements for tobacco smokers].

Defn: Musical ones.

12    Positive response by doctor — though most sardonic (6)

{DRYEST} : [positive response;affirmative answer] placed after(by, in an across clue) abbrev. for “doctor” + first letter of(initially) “though”.

13    Fork out a wad (dollars), eating fine dish (7,5)

{WALDORF SALAD} : Anagram of(fork out) A WAD (DOLLARS) containing(eating) abbrev. for “fine”. A nice WIWD(wordplay intertwined with definition) clue: You’d have to pay quite a bit to have it at the upmarket place where it was first conceived.

16    Takes out two sailors with energy for beef dish (5,7)

{STEAK TARTARE} : Anagram of(out) TAKES + [a sailor, informally] twice(two) plus(with) abbrev. for “energy”, especially in physics.

Answer: And apparently you could have horse meat instead of beef.

19    Ruined miners oddly missing items of clothing (6)

{UNDIES} : “ruined miners” minus its 1st, 3rd, 5th, 7th, 9th and 11th letters(oddly missing).

Answer: An informal term for your (women’s) unmentionables – unmentionable, but illustrable?

21    Forceful macho types held in check (8)

{VEHEMENT} : [macho types (2-3)] contained in(held in) [to check;to examine, eg. your pet].

23    Name a European working for a military commander (8)

{NAPOLEON} : Abbrev. for “name” + A + national of a European country + [working;in operation].

Answer: And an emperor to boot (but don’t mention wellies to him!).

24    Sell fifty per cent share of rare dog (6)

{RETAIL} : Half of the letters of(fifty per cent share of) “rare” + [to dog, a la private detectives].

Defn: To the end consumer.

25    Header misdirected — getting stick! (6)

{ADHERE} : Anagram of(misdirected) HEADER.

Defn: As a verb.

26    Adore old ruined city full of riches (8)

{ELDORADO} : Anagram of(ruined) ADORE OLD.

Answer: The legendary city of gold.

2    Most of gossip is about kid of a particular group (6)

{TRIBAL} : [gossip;rumour;product of wagging tongues] minus its last letter(most of) containing(is about) [to kid;to tease].

3    Left a dog to drink eagerly (3,2)

{LAP UP} : Abbrev. for “left” + A + [young dog].

4    George perhaps, and Paul too — it is fantastic! (9)

{AUTOPILOT} : Anagram of(is fantastic) PAUL TOO — IT.

Answer: It’s not about Harrison nor McCartney (nor John nor Ringo), but a fantastic invention named after the British slang for an airman.

5    Graduates invested in Mexican snack sauce (7)

{TABASCO} : Abbrev. for the plural graduates contained in(invested in) a Mexican snack.

Defn: A hot sour sauce.

6    Showing embarrassment after father shaved (5)

{PARED} : [showing embarrassment, especially in the face] placed after(after) [father, informally (2)].

7    Commercially-produced mature cheese is up (5-4)

{READY-MADE} : [mature;in a state where something may be put to use] + reversal of(is up, in a down clue) a Dutch cheese.

8    Porter’s rule for salad (8)

{COLESLAW} : First name of American composer Porter + ‘S + [rule;legislation].

13    Dull ladies mainly may accept a rise being out (9)

{WEARISOME} : [ladies;females] minus its last letter(mainly) containing(may accept) anagram of(being out) A RISE.

14    Turned oars flat — hated reef being turbulent (9)

{FEATHERED} : Anagram of(being turbulent) HATED REEF.

Defn: Turned oars horizontally above the water when moving them back for the next stroke.

15    Reference point for the Stars and Stripes, say (8)

{STANDARD} : Double defn: 2nd: The Stars and Stripes of the USA is an example.

17    Income for soldiers on location (7)

{REVENUE} : Abbrev. for the engineering branch of the British military placed above(on, in a down clue) [location, eg. for a sporting event].

Answer: Gross proceeds.

18    A French family with daughter showing no mercy (6)

{UNKIND} : French for “a” + [family;relatives collectively] plus(with) abbrev. for “daughter”.

20    Go to court — case of damage being material (5)

{SUEDE} : [go to court;bring suit against someone] + the 2 outermost letters of(case of) “damage”.

22    Drive from heath across top of town (5)

{MOTOR} : [heath;open and uncultivated land usually overgrown with heather] containing(across) the first letter of(top of, in a down clue) “town”.

Answer: To drive in an automobile.

The Quick crossword pun {array} + {need} + {hay} = {a rainy day}

81 comments on “DT 27023

  1. Well, well, well we got one wrong! With 11a we thought that “pot” referred to billiards and put in a synonym for pocket to give us the classic Scottish instrument. “Close, but no cigar.” A good puzzle, about 3* difficulty for us. Favourite was 4d which nicely misled us towards the Beatles.
    Thanks Jay and Scchua.

  2. Well certainly more manageable for me than yesterday but struggled to raise many smiles. 3*/2.5* for me.

    Thanks to setter & Scchua although I’m afraid I still find your hints harder to use/understand than the more discursive style of the other bloggers – it’s always a relief to be able to do Wednesday without recourse to them :-)

    1. Hi Wozza:
      “…..harder to use/understand than the more discursive style of the other bloggers….”

      I’d like get to the bottom of this, if you don’t mind.

      Is it the mechanics of the hints? I’ve given 5 keys to the mechanics. Which one(s) need further clarification, and/or should there be more keys? I think that the conclusion from previous discussions was that there is no “right” nor “wrong” styles.

      OR is it the substance/content of the hints? Different from a full blown review (which in a way is easier to blog), hints by definition only point to the answer, except for the occasional one (eg.19a above). I can’t include words from the answers. So, I can only provide the anagram fodder, and synonyms for words in the clues/answers. The rest is up to the reader, and how cryptic/difficult it seems to be is very subjective. As far as I can tell I’ve not used any obscure words, and I’ve tried to be reasonably explicit (are there any examples otherwise that you could provide?). Again, there is no “right” nor “wrong” level of difficulty/crypticness. A zero level of crypticness entails providing the answers, not hints.

      1. Hi Scchua. Thanks for your interest. I hope I am not coming across as too negative. I find it hard enough to solve the crosswords never mind write hints for them and I am grateful for all the contributors efforts.

        I find it hard to explain well my difficulty – hopefully others can contribute too but for me it’s a combination of the mechanics and the content.

        With regard the mechanics, you are right that you have provided a key and in truth if I use the key and I work at it the hint is perfectly understandable, it’s just that it’s less easy on the eye and does need to be worked at whereas the more discursive clues of e.g. Gazza and Pommers don’t need a key, they just make sense to me when I read them.

        With regard the content, you give comprehensive synonyms for the clue word but again I find it less easy to take in than from others.

        As an example, lets take one of your hints today:

        [2 Most of gossip is about kid of a particular group (6)

        { TRIBAL } : [gossip;rumour;product of wagging tongues] minus its last letter ( most of ) containing ( is about ) [to kid;to tease] .

        To me at least this is not at all easy to read or then to ponder on. Perhaps if any of the other bloggers read this I would be grateful for one of them to provide a hint in their style for comparison.

        I have made an attempt below which I’m sure is rubbish but seems to me at least something that one can more easily get to work with.

        “another word for gossip (as in tall ****’s) is shortened and surrounds a 3 letter word meaning to kid someone.”

        I hope this is helpful and thanks for your contribution.


        1. Dear Wozza, Thank goodness I’m not the only one to find Scchua’s hints difficult. I couldn’t even understand his reply to you. Surely the fact that he has to put an explanation of how to understand his hints should perhaps give him pause for thought. Obviously most of the other regular correspondents don’t find him difficult, so it must be just us.

        2. Hi Wozza

          Probably shouldn’t enter into this discussion but this is what I would have said:-

          2d Most of gossip is about kid of a particular group (6)

          Take a word for a bit of gossip or a story and remove the last letter (most of) then place it around (is about) a word for kid, not a child but to make fun of or josh.

          1. Thanks Pommers. The interesting thing to me at least is that your definition is not that different to Scchua’s in terms of content, I just find it easier to get my head around.

        3. Hi Wozza, I see your preference for words rather than symbols.
          From my point of view, I find it easier to organise consistently and concisely rather than freewheel (note, I’m not saying the latter is wrong, just different).
          Taking the same 2d example

          Firstly, the clue is not as you’ve written it…it’s missing the formatting (font and colour) which are part and parcel of understanding the hint. Surely those 5 keys are not that much to remember?

          Secondly, in order to give the same info as I have, and without the formatting, I would have to say:
          A synonym for “gossip” or “rumour” or “product of wagging tongues” minus its last letter (indicated by “most of”) containing (indicated by “is about”) a synonym for “to kid” or “to tease”. If I were talking to you, I would have no choice but to put it in those words; but in the written form, why make it longer to read than necessary?

          By the way, I interpreted the synonym for “gossip” as “talk”, which is why I used the words that I used. Also (if you want to compare) please note other bloggers are already using two of the keys mentioned: underlining the definition, and putting the indicators within parentheses.

          1. I think the underlining is a good enhancement that you have brought.

            The fonts and colour must have been lost when I cut and paste your hint – I didn’t type it.

            For the rest of it we will have to agree to disagree on what works best but once again thanks for putting the effort in.


            1. The underlining is definately a good move, for the rest of it, I struggle with some depending on the complexity of the clue

            2. Agreed…And what’s best is again very subjective, there being no absolute criteria/criteria weighting in situations like this.
              BTW the last sentence in my previous note was not to lay any claim, but to point out that I’m not totally different from other bloggers :-)

              1. The day I have the cojones to attempt to blog an entire crossword is many years away, solving is one thing, but parsing to please everyone? No way, and to a deadline, forget it.. Thank you scchua and all the bloggers for donating your time, hugely appreciated.

                1. Have just had to look up ‘cojones’ so, having done that, I agree with you, in all the senses that I have just discovered!!
                  Thanks to the bloggers, yet again, and a big :grin: to all of you.

          2. I think I’m with you Scchua to a large extent. Personally I have no problems with your style of elucidation (nor those on 225 or T4TT for that matter). I do find myself constantly writing ‘synonym’ and the like and finding things getting a bit wordy. Certainly underlining the definition is a great help as one might only need to explain it if it is a particularly odd one.
            I think that (e.g.) Wozza’s preference is for the more avuncular approach.

            The T4TT set would have given 2d as something like:

            “2d – T (RIB) ALe. RIB as in tease”. Fine for an experienced solver but maybe not so for all.

      2. I (As only an occasional blogger) have no wish to be drawn into the debate as to the preferred method / mechanics of the clue explanations.

        I will only say, that i personally have absolutely no problem fully understanding your format,, nor for that matter all the other reviewers on this site.

        Many thanks to the setter and to yourself.

        1. Given that someone gives up their free time to solve and then provide a set of answers and explanations isn’t it a bit churlish to moan that they are a little hard to understand?….Particulary as you don’t have to pay or subscribe to them (remember that expensive clue phone line)……..if you need the answers or hints it means the clue itself was hard to understand…..perhaps it’s the setter who should be blamed :-)
          Personally I’m just delighted that someone takes the time and trouble to do this on a daily basis.

            1. agreed, hear hear , we should remember also not all bloggers are based in the UK, or Europe for that matter, so to solve and get these pages posted when “we” expect them is another issue.

            1. difficult to figure out which thread one is replying to. Apologies if you thought it was at you….it wasn;t.

          1. I don’t think that we should ever blame the setter. In my experience, admittedly somewhat limited, whenever I don’t understand an answer, or can’t do it, it’s because I’ve missed something, or got something wrong.

  3. A couple to think about that slowed me down for a while. Last one in was 9a.
    2*/3* for me. Thanks to Jay, and scchua.

  4. What a relief after yesterday’s trial. I enjoyed this and learnt a new word Pi, never come across that before in this context, I always thought of Pi as a mathematical term.
    Nice clues today inc 21a, clever use of macho, 1a, 9a (last in) and the ref to the greatest military commander the world has ever seen, pity he fought for the French!

      1. I can never understand why he is so revered by the French. He seems to me to have been a sort of 18thC/!9thC model for Hitler bringing death and destruction to most of Europe including his own men. Very strange.

  5. My sort of puzzle, a few sitters and some anagrams to give a head start, and then some nicely constructed clues to provoke some thought.

    Many thanks to the setter.

    Thanks to Scchua for his review ( which I find useful, and well laid out).

  6. A great relief after yesterdays offering. No real problems although I needed the blog to confirm some of my answers. Thanks to setter and Scchua for the review.

  7. Cor…what a fabulous crossword! Really enjoyed this one. Some taxing clues….but solvable with a little bit of puzzling…unlike the cryptic monster of yesterday! Great fun.

  8. Thank you Jay and Scchua for your review. Certainly a bit easier than yesterday ! Enjoyed 13a with happy memories of Bruce Boa and Claire Neilsen – and Mr Fawlty of course – and 16a a dish rarely seen on menus now. Clever misdirection at 14d with 2 anagram indicators.

  9. As just about everyone has said, much more enjoyable than yesterday’s offering. No real demons, but a few head scratching moments.
    Was hoping that 16A was going to end in WELLINGTON – could have had Wellington and Napoleon in the same grid then.

    Seriously dull and overcast here today, not raining but needed to put the light n to read the clues !

  10. What a relief after yesterday’s struggle! I actually managed today without a single hint. 4d was my favourite.

    Thanks to the setter and to Scchua. Even though unusually I didn’t need any help today, I really appreciate the work put in by everyone on this site to bring us hints and tips.

  11. Polished off in less than normal time unlike yesterday for which I still have two to go and absolutely refuse to give up or seek help.
    Thanks setter and scchua

  12. 4d. “George” is what airmen used to affectionately call (perhaps still do?) the autopilot. This is a reference to one of its developers.

    1. As with the origins of much slang, there are different versions of the origin for “George”. The one I gave – British slang for an airman – came from the online Collins Dictionary (I didn’t look further into other references). An open question as to which reference is right.

    2. Thanks for explaining this, as I was about to ask. Would this be the origin of “Let George do it”?

      1. Let George do it was the slogan for Pullman cars in USA [George Pullman built them) in the 1880’s and onwards and eventually all the on board porters were known as George .
        I have a modern print of the original advertisement

  13. Definitely one of those start with the downs Jay puzzles solved in about the usual time for a Wednesday so thank you to him and scchua too.

    The Toughie certainly lives up to its name today.

  14. I found this fairly straightforward – sometimes I’m slow to get going on Wednesday puzzles and only remember the ‘start with the downs on a Wednesday’ law when it’s too late but today that wasn’t necessary.
    Last two to do were 9a and 2d – don’t know why, but they just were!
    Probably a 2* for difficulty and heading towards a 4* for enjoyment – I do like Jay puzzles very much.
    Loads of good clues – 11a made me laugh. I also liked 21 and 23a and 3, 4 and 14d.
    Quite a decent day here – seems a long time since we had some sun but we have today.

  15. Quite enjoyed this for a Wednesday… many thanks to the setter and scchua (no chance of getting up early enough to beat you to it is there?). Enjoyed the humour and some of the anagrams. For some reason, last in was 23a. Sounds as though I had a narrow escape by not getting a paper yesterday…

  16. At first glance this looked a bit like yesterdays****, but after a few solutions went in, it did not seem too bad, so i’ll award it a 2’5*/*** as i did enjoy it when in full steam.I was thinking ,like others,of bag for pot as in potting or bagging game, then the more obvious answer came.I remembered the Faulty Towers episode for 13a when the american guest asked for the particular salad ,Basil replied that he’d ‘run out of waldorf’s!

  17. Nice to see that normal service has been resumed after yesterday’s tricky one! The usual fun treat from the Wednesday Wizard. Agree with scchua’s ratings.

    Fair number of good clues but my favourites are 4d and 8d.

    Thanks to Jay and scchua.

    BTW, normal service has been resumed on the weather front as well, 21C at the moment and we have that big yellow thing back in the sky. :grin:

  18. Thank goodness for todays puzzle, although if yesterdays hadn’t been so difficult todays may not have seemed so much easier? Fav clues today 11a, 3d and 8d, last one in 2d and needed your explaination schuua, thank you and thanks as usual for the hints :-)

      1. Can I refer you to the wonderful film Airplane – in this you can see ‘George’ in all its glory.

  19. I have to agree withe the BD rating today. Nothing contentious apart from 6a that was last in for me because the I pad edition can not cope with an e with an accent and inserts a ? Instead. Thanks to all.

  20. I enjoyed this one today — so much easier than yesterday’s. My only niggles were with ‘fork out’ as an anagram indicator, and I don’t like having to find synonyms as in 13d. Favourites were 16a and 8d.
    Thanks to Jay and Scchua. :-)

    1. Hi Franny, I agree about ‘fork out’ as an anagram indicator, how did your play go? Did it go ‘as you like it’?

      1. It went very well, thank you Mary. Almost full houses every night and everyone seemed to ‘like it’. Am now recovering, tired but happy. :-)

  21. Thanks to Jay & scchua for the review & hints. Found this quite straightforward, but first in was 12a, last in was 11a. Favourites were 15a & 4d. Only 1.5 on the Huba Red ometer, after a nice walk from Kew Gardens to Richmond. Brilliant sunshine in Central London.

  22. Struggled today with some of the clues and the ‘fork’ indicator was a bit odd but generally pleasurable. Needed to refer to some of the hints for which, thanks, schuua and also thanks to Jay for a doable puzzle

  23. Struggled a bit today but completed it with a little help from Schuua, for which many thanks. It’s nice to have a puzzle which is doable for which, thanks to Jay. Like Mary, I do have issue with ‘fork’ being an anagram indicator

  24. Disastrous start this morning as my station paper-shop was shut! Not even a currant bun to buy. Drat! The grind to Liverpool Street was painfully slow and I picked up the paper at LS having refused to negotiate one of those ridiculous “self service unwanted item in baggage area” things. Paper/Pen in hand it was all done by Sloane Square. Last in was 6a. Very enjoyable. May take a book tomorrow or perhaps listen to the events from India. Come on England.

    1. Assuming you took the Circle Line all the way that gives a fair indication of the solving time!.
      Interestingly whilst on the Transport For London Journey Planner I saw it gives tick boxes for preferences for most used modes of travel – one of which is Emirates Air Line. The mind boggles!

  25. thanks to scchua and Jay.I usually enjoy wednesday’s challenge, but for me it was infinitely more difficult than yesterday.I havent reached the skill level yet to work out the anagrams of synonyms with insertions. I think there is nothing for it but buy a thesaurus. I also failed to spot some of the anagram indicators like “fantastic” and “fork out”.

  26. Solved this puzzle this evening as was out all day with my daughter in the magnificent sunshine. We had lunch at a restaurant on the Ringvaart which we hadn’t visited for some years and found it to be as good as ever.

    Not a difficult puzzle but pleasant.

    Faves : 9a, 10a, 13a, 16a, 23a, 4d, 8d & 14d.

    Used to do 14d on Loch Lomond in my youth!

      1. frankly I’m too embarressed to say,but lets say it is a short word, repeated ,heard in westminister and places like that, meaning to agree.Checked with Mr Uno the inhouse dictionary but didn’t have time to edit.

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