DT 27031

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 27031

Hints and tips by Gazza

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BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

What with clues about Noah’s Ark and floods engulfing a city you’d almost think that Giovanni had a premonition of the horrible weather that we’re suffering from at the moment. I expect we’ll get a few complaints about ‘general knowledge’ questions but there’s nothing very obscure. Let us know how you got on.
If you want to see an answer highlight the gap between the brackets under the clue.

Across Clues

1a  Female member going after half the undergrads — healthy stallions here? (4,4)
{STUD FARM} – F(emale) and a bodily member follow the first half of a less specific word for undergraduates. Rather a risqué clue?

9a  Look drunk, becoming impenetrable (8)
{AIRTIGHT} – a charade of a look or demeanour and one of the many informal adjectives meaning drunk.

10a  Start to take exercise, casting the first garment (4)
{TOGA} – the starting letter of T(ake) is followed by a spiritual and ascetic form of exercise without its leading Y (casting the first).

11a  The back of Number Ten in the 1950s? A tempting location (6,2,4)
{GARDEN OF EDEN} – double definition, the first a cryptic description of what the back of 10 Downing Street might have been in the mid-1950s when a certain Conservative politician was Prime Minister and the second a place of temptation according to Genesis.

13a  When touring around notice various plants (8)
{ACONITES} – a synonym for when contains (touring around) an anagram (various) of NOTICE.

15a  Get weary after a short time in formal clothes (6)
{ATTIRE} – a verb to get weary follows A (from the clue) and T(ime).

16a  Chatter in workplace after introduction of bonuses (4)
{BLAB} – the abbreviation for the place where some scientists work follows the introductory letter of B(onuses).

17a  Very good hole in the ground for bird (5)
{PIPIT} – a charade of an abbreviated adjective meaning very good, in a holier-than-thou way, and a hole in the ground form a ground-dwelling songbird.

18a  Explorer gets obese, not good (4)
{ROSS} – start with an adjective meaning obese and drop the initial G (not good) to leave the name of a 19th century British explorer of both the Arctic and Antarctic.

20a  Resist work one way and another — set to finish early (6)
{OPPOSE} – the abbreviation for an artistic work appears twice (first the correct way, then reversed) and this is followed by SE(t) without its last letter (to finish early).

21a  Mended material put on the clothes-line? (8)
{REPAIRED} – a type of fabric or material with a ribbed surface is followed by a verb meaning pegged out clothes to get them dry.

23a  Criticism against country that crushes three leaders for democracy (12)
{CONDEMNATION} – an abbreviation meaning against and another word for country with the three leading letters of DEMocracy between them (crushes).

26a  A sailor catching fish’s tail? He was after something much bigger! (4)
{AHAB} – A (from the clue) and one of the abbreviations for a sailor contain (catching) the tail letter of (fis)H to make the name of the fictional sea-captain who was obsessed with killing a whale.

27a  Brief conversation with old lover wanting a bit of money? (8)
{EXCHANGE} – the short word for an old lover is followed by a few coins (a bit of money).

28a  What’s upset me twice — lard, bringing a sort of sickness (3,2,3)
{MAL DE MER} – an anagram (upset) of ME ME and LARD.

Down Clues

2d  Very warm current swamping little river (8)
{TROPICAL} – an adjective meaning current or in the news contains (swamping) R(iver).

3d  George extracted this  red resin from tree (7,5)
{DRAGON’S BLOOD} – double definition, the first what the patron saint of England is supposed to have extracted from the creature he slew.

4d  A rodent embracing companion endlessly — where they both escaped flood? (6)
{ARARAT} – this is the mountain in present-day Turkey where, according to Genesis, Noah’s Ark came to rest. A (from the clue) and a rodent contain the rodent’s mate (i.e. the same word again) but this time without its last letter (endlessly).

5d  Chap contributing to informal entertainment (4)
{MALE} – hidden (contributing) in the clue.

6d  See a goat run around, one on an adventure (8)
{ARGONAUT} – an anagram (see … around) of A GOAT RUN produces one of Jason’s colleagues in their quest for the golden fleece.

7d  Not like youngster in prison about to be released (4)
{AGED} – this is an adjective meaning in prison or confined with the single-letter abbreviation for about or concerning dropped.

8d  Vocalists, including tenor — they can be painful! (8)
{STINGERS} – insert T(enor) in a synonym for vocalists.

12d  Entire tax too ridiculous, outrageously high (12)
{EXTORTIONATE} – an anagram (ridiculous) of ENTIRE TAX TOO.

14d  First rate meal that’s quiet but not very quiet (5)
{SUPER} – an evening meal has in it the musical abbreviation for quiet, but it loses the letter that would make that abbreviation mean very quiet.

16d  Fish stuck in lake’s bottom gets pierced (8)
{BROACHED} – a freshwater fish of the carp family is inserted in a word for the bottom of a lake (or any expanse of water, really).

17d  MP I noted being corrupt somewhere in Italy (8)
{PIEDMONT} – an anagram (being corrupt) of MP I NOTED gives us an Italian region at the foot of the Alps (that’s a hint!).

19d  Watch flood engulfing City before end of August (8)
{SPECTATE} – a word for a sudden flood goes round (engulfing) a) the London postal area in which the City is situated and b) the end letter of (Augus)T.

22d  Original and unconvincing description of gangster as prudish? (6)
{PRIMAL} – if you split the answer as (4,2) you might have the unlikely description of a prudish Mr Capone.

24d  Steal from little boy? (4)
{NICK} – double definition – the little boy could grow up to be deputy PM.

25d  A skirt’s feature that may be used to attract attention (4)
{AHEM} – a word used to attract someone else’s attention in an unobtrusive way could be, if split as (1,3), a feature of a skirt (one that is said to be an economic indicator, rising during booms and falling in times of recession).

The clues I liked best were 11a, 3d and 25d. What did you like?

Today’s Quickie Pun: {PASTOR} + {KNACK} = {PASTERNAK}


  1. Roger
    Posted November 23, 2012 at 11:04 am | Permalink

    Great fun. Stuck for a little while on a few clues. Didn’t help putting in dragons teeth for 3d. Didn’t help any better then putting in dragons heart! Thanks for the hints to explain a couple of clues. Favourite 11a

    Have a good weekend folks.

  2. Wozza
    Posted November 23, 2012 at 11:05 am | Permalink

    Well I certainly found it easier than getting to sleep at 2am. Nothing stand out for me but perfectly pleasant. 2*/3*

    Thanks to the two G’s

  3. Only fools
    Posted November 23, 2012 at 11:10 am | Permalink

    Most enjoyable particular favourites 11a,3d,26a.
    2.5*\3.5 for me .

    My ark is moored at 4d may have to cast off again on Sunday if the weather forecast is correct !

  4. jezza
    Posted November 23, 2012 at 11:12 am | Permalink

    A pleasurable start to the morning. The right hand side went in considerably quicker than the left. 2.5*/3* for me.
    Many thanks to Giovanni, and to Gazza.

  5. skempie
    Posted November 23, 2012 at 11:20 am | Permalink

    Another superb offering from The Don. SW corner held me up for a while – I so wanted to put PENCE into 27A. 11A and 26A were excellent clues IMHO and it was nice to see the answer to 16D make an appearance (happened to a canal just down the road from us yesterday afternoon).

    Will spend most of today trying to salvage the garden and trying to find out where my potato planters went to, if you see them please give me a shout.

  6. gnomethang
    Posted November 23, 2012 at 11:25 am | Permalink

    3*/3* for me. I was held up on a coule for longer than warranted but all in all a very nice, well-rounded puzzle. Thanks to gazza and Giovanni (no problem with the Italian location today ;-) )

  7. shropshirelad
    Posted November 23, 2012 at 11:31 am | Permalink

    A good Friday puzzle so 3*/3* for me. Not normally a great lover of 4 letter answers but 25d & 26a did bring a smile to my face. Thanks to all involved.

  8. Colmce
    Posted November 23, 2012 at 11:35 am | Permalink

    Really enjoyed this puzzle, nice mix of clues, no real problems, but a few of my wild stabs in the dark had to be amended.

    Thanks for the review Gazza.

    And thanks to Big G.

    Been a nice week for Xwords, maybe not hard enough for some of the Old Lags, but suits me down to the ground.

  9. Wayne
    Posted November 23, 2012 at 11:53 am | Permalink

    11a best clue for me in an excellent crossword. Difficulty getting started but things then gradually started to flow. Always look for anagrams first to get me started. Very satisfying solve, so thanx to Compiler and to Gazza for his review. ****/**** rating for me.

    • Wayne
      Posted November 23, 2012 at 12:14 pm | Permalink

      p.s Bright sunshine hear at the moment following heavy rain and gale force winds last night.

  10. Beaver
    Posted November 23, 2012 at 12:29 pm | Permalink

    Really enjoyed today’s puzzle,thanks to the ‘Don’, quite a lot of lateral thinking required11a best clue-brought a smile, bet Mr Cameron wishes he was there! Thanks for the pictorial in 25d Gazza,looks more like a belt than a skirt,Oh, i score it ***/**** as its Friday.

  11. MikeT
    Posted November 23, 2012 at 1:07 pm | Permalink

    Spent ages trying to find an anagram for ‘material’ for 21A, before putting that clue aside for the moment. Considerable perseverence required (as to be expected from Giovanni) and I ‘almost’ finished it, before having to resort to electronic help, for the last few. Good fun though and Gazza’s hints clarified a number of my ‘question mark’ answers.

  12. Big Boab
    Posted November 23, 2012 at 1:23 pm | Permalink

    Many thanks to Giovanni and Gazza for a most entertaing puzzle and review.

  13. Sweet William
    Posted November 23, 2012 at 1:31 pm | Permalink

    Found this difficult but eventually finished apart from 4d where the hint was needed – short on GK as usual ! Thanks to Giovanni and Gazza for your review and hint.

  14. Steve_the_beard
    Posted November 23, 2012 at 1:45 pm | Permalink

    Very enjoyable and I learned some new words (the ribbed material and the red resin).

    My faourites are 11A, 21A and 3D

    Thanks to G&G, and three stars all round.

  15. pommers
    Posted November 23, 2012 at 2:06 pm | Permalink

    Most enjoyable. Held up for a bit in the NE corner but otherwise fairly straightforward.
    3*/3* for me.

    Favourite was 11a.

    Thanks to the two G’s.

  16. Kath
    Posted November 23, 2012 at 2:07 pm | Permalink

    This was one of those puzzles that I found really difficult while I was doing it and can’t see why now that I’ve finished it. Much nearer 4* for difficulty for me.
    I couldn’t do 9a for ages and the same with 3d. I tried to make an anagram out of the wrong letters for 6d. Didn’t know that 16d meant pierced. I couldn’t find the companion in 4d. Altogether NOT my day, although I have enjoyed it.
    I thought that all the references to floods and things getting swamped were really strange!
    Lots of good clues – 11, 26 and 28a and 3, 12, 24 and 25d.
    With thanks to Giovanni and gazza.
    After a really wild and stormy night today is lovely. Yesterday our garden was covered in leaves – now they’ve all gone – where to?

    • spindrift
      Posted November 23, 2012 at 2:45 pm | Permalink

      I think they’ve ended up in my back garden looking at the state of it. Please provide a forwarding address & I’ll post them back to you.

      Heavy rain forecast for tomorrow and guess who’s promised to take the family into the local town to watch ½ a dozen lights being switched on by a local non-dignitary supported by some Z list celebs singing Xmas carols?

      • Only fools
        Posted November 23, 2012 at 3:18 pm | Permalink

        You haven’t got a small polytunnel as well have you mine seems to have disappeared .
        Forwarding address at 4d .

      • Kath
        Posted November 23, 2012 at 4:40 pm | Permalink

        Hope that the weather isn’t too bad tomorrow for what sounds like a fun outing!

  17. WB Geddes
    Posted November 23, 2012 at 2:50 pm | Permalink

    Bit of a swim through porridge this one today – ***/** for me.

  18. Posted November 23, 2012 at 3:16 pm | Permalink

    Glorious day in the North West. Out with the dog, binocolars and iPad. Good walk and a good crossword. Perfect day. 11 a was a wonderful clue and would nudge this up to a *** and **** from me. Many thanks to all.

  19. Heno
    Posted November 23, 2012 at 3:22 pm | Permalink

    Thanks to the two G’s. A very good offering from the Don, 3*/4* for me. Some great surface readings. Started with 1a, finished with 5d. Favourites were 11a, 26a & 3d, 4d. Got held up in the NE corner, but once I got the right anagram fodder for 6d it all fell into place. A nice run earlier on Parliament Hill. Hope the rain eases for those who have been flooded.

  20. Ian
    Posted November 23, 2012 at 3:43 pm | Permalink

    Great Friday stuff as usual. Didn’t know why 10a was what it is until read the blog. Loved 21a cos of misdirection – was trying to get an anagram (mended) of ‘material’ resulting in something you hang on a clothesline. TaGG

  21. Kath
    Posted November 23, 2012 at 4:44 pm | Permalink

    It’s very quiet here today. Where is everyone? What about the people who are always here – Mary and CS to name but two. I hope that they’re not having to deal with the aftermath of yesterday’s weather.

    • crypticsue
      Posted November 23, 2012 at 4:51 pm | Permalink

      I have spent most of the day snoozing following the aftermath of something un-weather-related ;( Mary keeps being absent without leave on a Friday, we will have to start making her fill in the appropriate paperwork – can’t have her disappearing like that.

    • andy
      Posted November 23, 2012 at 4:53 pm | Permalink

      CS has been on the Toughie page, do hope Mary and everybody else is OK.

    • Franco
      Posted November 23, 2012 at 5:19 pm | Permalink

      Maybe Mary has been otherwise engaged for the last few days – trying to sell her camper van to EIIR?

  22. Collywobbles
    Posted November 23, 2012 at 4:53 pm | Permalink

    Hi Gazza, I don’t understand how we get the A and S in 13a. AconitesS

    • gazza
      Posted November 23, 2012 at 5:01 pm | Permalink

      AS is a synonym for WHEN (e.g. ‘As I was going to Strawberry Fair’).

      • Collywobbles
        Posted November 23, 2012 at 5:08 pm | Permalink

        Thanks Gazza and thanks for the hints which I needed for some explanations when I didn’t know why I solved the clues

  23. 2Kiwis
    Posted November 23, 2012 at 5:36 pm | Permalink

    Another top-notch Friday puzzle. Our favourite 11a followed by 3d. Just to make you all jealous, we are having a spell of glorious early summer weather at the moment. Shorts and shirt only for beach walks and the golf course.
    Thanks Giovanni and Gazza.

    • Arthur Dent
      Posted November 23, 2012 at 7:29 pm | Permalink

      You can go off people you know…

    • andy
      Posted November 23, 2012 at 8:21 pm | Permalink

      Ditto Arthurs comment!!

    • gnomethang
      Posted November 23, 2012 at 11:43 pm | Permalink

      I hope that it was a golf shirt and tailored shorts for the golf course – wouldn’t like you to get thrown off! ;-)

  24. Digby
    Posted November 23, 2012 at 5:49 pm | Permalink

    Got to this rather late in the day, after a series of challenging meetings, and hence a somewhat scrambled brain.
    Consequently found this much more difficult than I suspect it would have been had I left it for another day.
    Needed G’s help to sort out the last couple of clues, but fully agree with the consensus that this was a splendid climax to the weekday puzzles, and thanks to Giovanni.
    Back to basics tomorrow, no doubt.

  25. ChrisH
    Posted November 23, 2012 at 6:26 pm | Permalink

    Whether it was because I came to this ‘bright eyed and bushy tailed’ so to speak, or some other cosmic reason, I found this a comparative doddle.

    Which is strange, given the struggles I’ve had all this week. 1 and a half stars, I’m afraid.

  26. Chris
    Posted November 23, 2012 at 6:41 pm | Permalink

    Enjoyable despite not quite finishing unaided – thanks G & G.
    My problems were 9a 10a and 21a (never thought of yoga and never heard of rep so I got both the last two right without seeing why!).

  27. Brian
    Posted November 23, 2012 at 6:53 pm | Permalink

    That’s two weeks running a Giovanni has defeated me! Far too hard for me I’m afraid.
    Will go through the excellent hints and see if I can learn something but for me no fun if you can’t understand most of the clues.

    • axe
      Posted November 23, 2012 at 7:54 pm | Permalink

      Brian. If i may be so bold , I find that reading the reviews helps me understand the clue.

      I find that the more reviews i tend to read , the more i understand the nuances of the setter, therefore relying less and less on outside help (in my case Bradford’s).

      But i will admit my part in saving the Rain forests is suffering.

      Many thanks to the setter and Gazza.

    • andy
      Posted November 23, 2012 at 8:32 pm | Permalink

      Brian I struggled with this too,I filled the grid in a much longer time than normal and needed more hints / investigoogling than the toughie to justify answers. Going out on a limb but thought this at least 4 * for me, thanks to the Gs

  28. Arthur Dent
    Posted November 23, 2012 at 7:28 pm | Permalink

    Too hard for me too (again!), but I *really* enjoyed what I managed to do. I was especially pleased with myself when I got 11a which I have to say was a superb clue that I almost gave up on.

    Thanks to G&G for a very pleasant diversion.

  29. Derek
    Posted November 23, 2012 at 11:34 pm | Permalink

    Another enjoyable puzzle from The Don.

    Faves : 1a, 11a, 28a, 3d, 6d, 16d & 19d.

    Weather in NL now very autumnal but not like yours in GB!

  30. una
    Posted November 24, 2012 at 6:25 pm | Permalink

    With a cryptic xword age of less than 3 months I was pleased to be able to work out some of the clues, and I enjoyed reading the hints. Thanks to Giovanni and Gazza

  31. JayBee
    Posted December 11, 2012 at 5:09 am | Permalink

    Didn’t help putting in beard instead of b***d in 3d but apart from that most enjoyable. Never heard of the expression in 9a but perhaps I should have by now …