DT 27058

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 27058

Hints and tips by scchua

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

Firstly thanks to Dave for covering for me while I was away. Also, a (belated) Season’s Greetings for a Happy New Year to one and all on this blog. Today, the day after, a puzzle with various references to the festivities. All quite straightforward, except for the last one in. Still, a 2.5-3* for enjoyment and difficulty. Thanks to setter.

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    Brown, for example, is strangely typical – a bit not quite all there (10)

{CAPABILITY} : Anagram of(strangely){ TYPICAL – A + “bit” minus its last letter(not quite all there)}.

Answer: With surname Brown, the English landscape architect.

6    Women chatter, with no time for ramble (4)

{WALK} : Abbrev. for “women” + {[chatter] minus(with no) abbrev. for “time”}.

9    Lunch today for unfriendly old gaoler with no name? (4,6)

{COLD TURKEY} : [unfriendly;distant] {[an old gaoler;a screw] minus(with no) abbrev. for “name”}.

Answer: What’s on the lunch menu today, the day after Christmas.

10    Road back north is a bore (4)

{YAWN} : Reversal of(back)[a road;a route] + abbrev. for “north”.

12    Medicine ball (4)

{PILL} : Cryptic defn: A ball of medicine.

13    Felt awkward concerning small meal today? (9)

{LEFTOVERS} : Anagram of(awkward) FELT + [concerning;about, as in “a fight about …”] + abbrev. for “small”.

Answer: What today’s (the day after’s) meal will consist of, including eg. 9 across.

15    The effect of drinking gin, initially in a royal house? (8)

{HANGOVER} : Initial letter of(initially) “gin” contained in(in) [the Germanic royal family that sat on the British throne, 1714 – 1901, starting with George I].

Answer: What one has the day after drinking too much alcohol, including gin.

16    Reportedly grab a salad, of sorts (6)

{CAESAR} : Homophone of(reportedly) {[grab;take by force] + A }.

18    A depression in case of locals getting grants (6)

{ALLOWS} : A + [a depression;a period of dejection] contained in(in) the first and last letters of(case of) “locals”.

Defn: As a verb.

20    It wears shades for callers (8)

{VISITORS} : IT contained in(wears) [shades protecting the eyes from, say, strong sunlight].


23    The rest of the family is on alert, perhaps (9)

{RELATIONS} : Anagram of(perhaps) IS ON ALERT.

Answer: Who may also be your 20 across, this time of year.

24    Finally, somebody to bring America exercises (4)

{YOGA} : Last letters, respectively, of (finally) “somebody to bring America “.

Answer: Well, exercises and more.

26    Most of monarchy blow their own trumpet (4)

{CROW} : [symbol representing the monarchy] minus its last letter(most of).

27    Propose rank new material for board (5,5)

{TABLE LINEN} : [to propose, say, a motion in a meeting] + [a rank;a row] + abbrev. for “new”.

Answer: What you would lay on the [board] before serving a meal, perhaps of Christmas turkey.

28    Look before getting cover for serious deficit (4)

{LOSS} : [look, usually with “behold”] placed before(before getting) the first and last letters of(cover for) “serious”.

29    Flats pay me in new arrangement as mine’s light (6,4)

{SAFETY LAMP} : Anagram of(in new arrangement) FLATS PAY ME.

Answer: A source of illumination in a (coal) mine, specially designed for use in the presence of flammable gases, invented by Sir Humphrey Davy. A modern version is used to transport the Olympic Flame.

1    Get ready to fire  mate (4)

{COCK} : Double defn: 1st: As one would do with a pistol; and 2nd: The mate, specifically of a hen; or it could be a term of endearment for a (male?) chum;mate.

2    The back seat for one working in support of 12 (7)

{PILLION} : Roman numeral for “one” + [working, in contrast to being off work] placed below(in support of, in a down clue) the answer to 12 across.


3    Fighting talk? (6,2,4)

{BATTLE OF WITS} : Cryptic defn: A fight with intelligence rather than violence, most probably involving talk.

4    Daughter in Roller I ordered gets more overbearing (8)

{LORDLIER} : Abbrev. for “daughter” contained in(in) anagram of(ordered) ROLLER I.

5    Start, seeing ambassador grabbed by one from Eton, for example (3,3)

{THE OFF} : Abbrev. for the form of address for an ambassador contained in(grabbed by) [mildly derogatory term for an upper class person, perhaps one educated in Eton, and, especially, in Oxford or Cambridge Universities – there’s a story that Labour PM Tony Blair, responding to criticism that (his) Government was “not tough enough”, mispronounced the phrase. Prophetic words, given today’s (British) Government.]

Answer: Got hung up on this last one. Took the defn. as a verb, and, with the crossing letters, came up with an answer different from the correct one by one letter. Wasted a long time trying to make “EE” fit as an abbrev. for “ambassador”, after considering and discarding the correct answer. I’ve seen and heard the second part used as an adjective, adverb, or preposition, and as a noun in a cricketing context, but not as a noun with this definition.  But then, I haven’t seen nor heard enough, as it’s there in Chambers – a noun for the start, eg. of a race.

7    Extreme letters when chasing beer and flowers (7)

{AZALEAS} : The extreme letters of the English alphabet + {[when;during this time, eg. in”when day is done”] placed after(chasing) [beer]}.

8    Book on bridge in part of London (5,5)

{KINGS CROSS} : An Old Testament book placed above(on, in a down clue) [to bridge;to go over to the other side].

11    Drama putting off my tailor, with wages covering last of material (8,4)

{MORALITY PLAY} : Anagram of(putting off) MY TAILOR plus(with) [wages;money received for services] containing(covering) the last letter of(last of) “material”.

14    Dramatic articles on Conservative in court case (10)

{THEATRICAL} : The definite article + an indefinite article placed above(on, in a down clue) abbrev. for “Conservative” contained in(in) [a court case;a hearing]

17    Break up little girl’s answer (8)

{DISSOLVE} : DI{short form(little)of a girl’s name}‘S + [to provide answer(s) as with this puzzle].

19    Runs awkwardly for some ices, expending minimum amount of cash (7)

{LOLLOPS} : [British for ice cream on sticks;sweets attached to the end of sticks] minus(expending) abbrev. for the smallest amount of British cash, now that the farthing and ha’penny are no more.


21    Material for soldiers nationalist’s taken into Palestinian area (7)

{ORGANZA} : Abbrev. for soldiers, excluding commissioned officers + {abbrev. for “nationalist” contained in(taken into) [Palestinian city/area]}.

22    Offspring attending a classical piece (6)

{SONATA} : [a male offspring] + [attending;be present] + A.

25    Break off due to exposure (4)

{SNAP} : Double defn: 2nd: A photograph.

Today’s Quickie Pun {COLT} + {HAIR} + {QUAY} = {COLD TURKEY}


  1. Sweet William
    Posted December 26, 2012 at 9:36 am | Permalink

    Seasons greetings and thank you Scchua for your review. Thank you setter – for some reason my brain is working this morning when it really shouldn’t be ! Seemed to get onto the right wavelength quite quickly – which is good – with family here and the obligatory visit to The Reebok coming up, there are many distractions ! Enjoy the cold turkey everyone !

  2. jezza
    Posted December 26, 2012 at 9:52 am | Permalink

    I thought this was a very enjoyable puzzle today, which all fell into place quite nicely. 2*/4* for me.
    Thanks to setter, and to scchua.

  3. Only fools
    Posted December 26, 2012 at 10:06 am | Permalink

    Got in an inexplicable muddle in the SE corner which actually was the easiest sector .More haste less speed as they say .Liked a lot of this and for me it got off to a good start with 1a. 3*\4* for me .
    Thanks once again .

  4. Brian
    Posted December 26, 2012 at 10:33 am | Permalink

    For me a tough 4 star. Too many part anagrams and still don’t get 24a, why OGA?
    Needed lots of help to finish a hard slog. Probably have a mind still clogged with celebratory offerings :-)
    Thx to Sccha for the hints but as always many of them are more cryptic than the clues!

    • Brian
      Posted December 26, 2012 at 10:34 am | Permalink

      Just read Scchas instructions at the top and I am now more confused than ever! Could I respectfully suggest you look at the was Libellule constructs the hints, clear, concise and easily understood.

      • Only fools
        Posted December 26, 2012 at 10:41 am | Permalink

        Last letters of the four words (finally)

      • scchua
        Posted December 26, 2012 at 11:21 am | Permalink

        Brian, if you’ve just read the instructions after all this while, then that’s progress (of sorts). Next step, is to clear up your areas of confusion, and to help me (as well as to help you) do this, please tell me specific examples – don’t worry, I have lots of patience (if you do as well).

        Also examples of where, to you, I’m being more cryptic than the setter, would be most helpful. I’m trying to understand whether this being more cryptic is preventing you from getting help in solving, or is it something else? If the only hint you didn’t get is 24 across, l can’t be all that cryptic. :-)

        • SheilaP
          Posted December 26, 2012 at 11:50 am | Permalink

          Dear Scchua’s, surely we shouldn’t have to read instructions of how to understand the hints. We’re not all as clever as some of the people who leave comments here. However thank you for trying. I find Pommers the easiest to understand by the way.

          • scchua
            Posted December 26, 2012 at 1:23 pm | Permalink

            Dear SheilaP, “surely we shouldn’t have to read instructions of how to understand the hints.”

            In a sense, I agree totally with that – one should not have to read instructions of how to understand the hints. But if, for any reason, one has to, then one should, and the instructions are there. And I don’t think it’s a question of cleverness. If one’s able to do cryptic crosswords and assimilate the various conventions that entails, then my instructions are elementary. I don’t want to make comparisons with other bloggers, just to say, yes, I could use more words to convey the same info, and subject readers to a longer discourse; but that just ain’t my style (no right nor wrong style, as I’ve said before).

      • stanXYZ
        Posted December 26, 2012 at 12:29 pm | Permalink

        Brian, if you insist on criticising scchua – perhaps you should make your comments equally “clear, concise and easily understood”. Two spelling mistakes! Tut! Tut!

      • Senf
        Posted December 26, 2012 at 2:16 pm | Permalink

        Brian – I think your comments are falling on deaf ears. I have made a comment several times on how difficult it is to view the blog on a Wednesday using my BlackBerry, which I use very often. I much prefer the methods used by all the other bloggers. There is nothing wrong with the KISS principle.

        • scchua
          Posted December 26, 2012 at 2:41 pm | Permalink

          Senf – I don’t know how you can say that Brian’s “comments are falling on deaf ears” – merely because it’s not going to be resolved your way? On the other hand, I have made offers to clear up the confusion felt by Brian, so I’m not exactly deaf. Re your difficulty with the Blackberry – I don’t have access to one, so I don’t know what the problems are and if there are any solutions. But just let me say that I think technology should be our slave, not the other way round. And from your insistence on using a Blackberry, I deduce that you don’t have access to other devices? And, as I’ve said before, what I’m doing is to keep it short and simple, so, I agree, there’s nothing wrong with the KISS principle.

          • Senf
            Posted December 26, 2012 at 2:57 pm | Permalink

            I do have access to other devices, but, because of my daily routines and time zone I live in (US CST), it is often more convenient to use my BlackBerry, as a technological tool, for internet/e-mail (Iam not its slave). The limitation is screen size and the amount of scrolling around, etc. The way the other bloggers present on their days is much easier to follow. I do not necessarily expect it “to be resolved my way,” but I do consider that the method of presentation should consider all methods of access. I would be interested to read comments from other smart phone users.

            • stanXYZ
              Posted December 26, 2012 at 3:11 pm | Permalink

              Senf – This blog is FREE!

              By all means complain if you are paying a subscription!

              • Roger
                Posted December 26, 2012 at 5:06 pm | Permalink

                Senf wrote ‘consider all methods of access’? Absolutely, my carrier pigeon frequently gets lost.

                • Tantalus
                  Posted December 26, 2012 at 5:39 pm | Permalink

                  Thankfully, the ‘lift and separate” pictures do not come thru well via Mrs T’s telex machine.

  5. Ann B
    Posted December 26, 2012 at 10:36 am | Permalink

    agree Brian

  6. Hrothgar
    Posted December 26, 2012 at 10:47 am | Permalink

    Great Boxing Day puzzle.
    Some teasing anagrams, but, a gift really, as we all know that we will eventually get them.
    Many thanks setter and scchua.
    Your clear and concise method of explanation is one of the very best on this Forum.
    And that’s saying something when all of the others are, also, excellent.

    • scchua
      Posted December 26, 2012 at 11:24 am | Permalink

      Thanks for the kind words, Hrothgar. Now to make more people come to that same conclusion – not easy, I know :-)

  7. crypticsue
    Posted December 26, 2012 at 11:16 am | Permalink

    This very nice themed–ish puzzle wasn’t just a start with the downs but a do the right side first. Thanks and Seasons Greetings to Jay and scchua.

    Just been for a 6a in some lovely crisp sunshine and now have to do something with 9a/the quick pun :)

    The Toughie is suitably themed for the day and you may, like me, find you know more about the subject than you realised.

  8. christine taby
    Posted December 26, 2012 at 11:45 am | Permalink

    where is the quick crossword pun today

    • crypticsue
      Posted December 26, 2012 at 12:02 pm | Permalink

      I added it at about 11.30. Big Dave normally puts the pun on for our ‘foreign correspondents’ but I hope he is having a blog–admin-free day today. He certainly deserves one (or two or ….)

  9. Posted December 26, 2012 at 12:36 pm | Permalink

    Nice puzzle again today. Can’t argue with the *** and *** BD rating. Thought 24a was a good clue and particularly enjoyed 1a. Hope everyone is having a jolly festive time. Thanks to all.

  10. Peter
    Posted December 26, 2012 at 1:20 pm | Permalink

    I couldn’t get the NE corner today and the rest was a bit of a slog, so it’s a three star/two star for me.
    Thanks to Scchua for the hints.

  11. GMalaga
    Posted December 26, 2012 at 2:13 pm | Permalink

    This is my first posting to this excellent site.
    Until a week ago I received the Weekly Telegraph (paper version) and used this site when I got stuck.
    I have now subscribed to the iPad Telegraph and find it far more enjoyable and cheaper too. As I can’t read the blanks in the hints with my iPad I’m still left with some solving to do!
    Re the ongoing debate about how the hints should be laid out, which I have been following for a while now…I understand why some find the layout confusing but I also fully understand the logic behind the layout.
    Is it a case of logical thinking versus lateral thinking i.e. are xword solvers more lateral than logical and the layout is just too methodical…on the other hand aren’t xword solvers exercising logic when attempting to solve?
    I just don’t know, but will continue to watch the debate with interest.
    Thanks for a fantastic site.

    • gazza
      Posted December 26, 2012 at 2:21 pm | Permalink

      Hi GMalaga – welcome to the blog. Now that you’ve introduced yourself I’ll hope we’ll lots more comments from you.
      There is some help in the FAQ section on how to reveal the hidden answers on an iPad.

      • GMalaga
        Posted December 26, 2012 at 2:59 pm | Permalink

        Many thanks.

    • Posted December 26, 2012 at 2:50 pm | Permalink

      You can easily read the blank words in brackets, on the ipad, by highlighting the hidden word (as you would to cut, copy and paste) then choosing the define option. It takes a bit of practice rolling your finger around the hidden word because it sometimes wants to highlight the whole page. Hope this helps.

      • GMalaga
        Posted December 26, 2012 at 3:01 pm | Permalink

        Thanks Nigel.
        You are right – after a lot of finger prodding and rolling – and downloading yet another dictionary I got it to work!

        • Posted December 26, 2012 at 3:30 pm | Permalink

          No probs- there is a knack to it you’ll soon get the hang of it.

      • Hrothgar
        Posted December 26, 2012 at 5:13 pm | Permalink

        Well, I never realized that.
        Thanks NB :)

    • steve_the_beard
      Posted December 26, 2012 at 3:17 pm | Permalink

      Hi GMalaga

      Re scchua’s style versus the others, you asked “Is it a case of logical thinking versus lateral thinking”.

      I don’t think so, as I personally prefer the other styles (no offence, scchua!) even though I would put myself in the logical camp.

      My background is maths and computing, and early on I was moved to ask scchua whether his background involved “formal languages” (one whose grammar is formally specified, for example, any computer language).

      He said no, so that’s not the reason for his style :-)

      Still, as we say round here, a chacun son gout.

      • scchua
        Posted December 26, 2012 at 4:09 pm | Permalink

        Hi steve_the_beard. I did say when you asked, that no, I didn’t have any work experience programmes with formal computer languages, though I do use VBA and some SQL for home purposes. But in any case the logic involved here is so elementary (I think I can safely say that it’s only elementary maths) that I wouldn’t make too much of the above fact. My inclination in communication is to be precise, concise, consistent in that, in this case, each explanation has the same construction, and economic in time and effort. And it happens the best way to do that is to be “logical” (just a pinch, and certainly not rocket science stuff). That’s the reason for my “style”.

        • scchua
          Posted December 26, 2012 at 5:05 pm | Permalink

          P.S. Thinking further about it, the word is not so much logic/logical as structure/structured.

          • steve_the_beard
            Posted December 26, 2012 at 7:11 pm | Permalink

            No worries, wouldn’t it be boring, were we all the same!

            As I said earlier, a chacun son gout :-)

        • una
          Posted December 26, 2012 at 11:46 pm | Permalink

          as a chemistry teacher I suppose I am reasonably logical, although insight really helps, and I find scchua completely understandable and I don’t know what people are talking about.

  12. Senf
    Posted December 26, 2012 at 2:21 pm | Permalink

    Well that was easy – thanks to Jay! Finished before lights out last night in less time than an average Rufus Monday puzzle. I only had to resort to electronic help once (from Bill Gates) for 10a. Favourites 1a, 9a, and 15a.

  13. Heno
    Posted December 26, 2012 at 2:42 pm | Permalink

    Thanks to the setter & to scchua for the review & hints. I found this quite difficult, but enjoyed the challenge. Managed it without the hints for once. Started with 1d, finished with 16a which was also a favourite. Also like 7&19d. Was 3*/4* for me. Can’t understand the criticisms of scchua’s blogging style, it makes sense to me, and if you can’t understand it, there are instructions. I thinks it’s great to have the explanations in different styles throughout the week. Variety is the spice of life ! Rain just starting in Central London.

  14. marcus brown
    Posted December 26, 2012 at 4:10 pm | Permalink

    Just hope themed puzzles will stop now. I find them boring.

    • Posted December 26, 2012 at 5:18 pm | Permalink

      We’ve got a themed NTSPP for Saturday!

      • Tantalus
        Posted December 26, 2012 at 5:43 pm | Permalink

        Seems.we have themed hints today: with breast count of 37 and two completely bare!, Should we start a very naught corner ?

        • scchua
          Posted December 26, 2012 at 5:55 pm | Permalink

          Why not? One is always looking for places to be naughty in, and a corner is as good as any?

  15. Merusa
    Posted December 26, 2012 at 4:50 pm | Permalink

    I found this quite difficult. I had to google 19d as had not heard of it. Had to use hint for 10a. Can you really call 12a a ball? I suppose sometimes. I loved 1a, a fun clue. I originally wanted to put in chocolate but after not making any sense, came from another tack

  16. Roger
    Posted December 26, 2012 at 5:08 pm | Permalink

    Found this one very very hard. Not sure that I agree with the clue of 3D,,,tenuous, I think. Ah well..there is always tomorrow.

  17. Tantalus
    Posted December 26, 2012 at 5:33 pm | Permalink

    Thanks to scchua and the rest of the crew for all for the banter.

    I found the hints very difficult – the schema was fine, I was distracted by the highest recorded boob count in recent memory!

    Merry Xmas from Mrs T and I.

    • scchua
      Posted December 26, 2012 at 5:44 pm | Permalink

      Hi Tantalus. You didn’t, did you?….count I mean…I was counting headgear, back seats and sweets.

  18. steve_the_beard
    Posted December 26, 2012 at 7:17 pm | Permalink

    As a motorcyclist, I must express my disapproval of the before-and-after pictures for 2D…

    … as neither pillion is wearing a helmet :-)

    BTW In a truly logical world, it is the men who would ride side-saddle…

  19. una
    Posted December 27, 2012 at 12:10 am | Permalink

    i’ve gone electronic because the newsagent is closed and I absolutely hate it. “I’m a cryptomaniac get me out of here.” printer not working.

  20. little imp
    Posted December 27, 2012 at 1:54 pm | Permalink

    I found this one tough! Good fun though.