DT 27088 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 27088

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 27088

Hints and tips by scchua

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

Started off quite smoothly but then slowed down very fast with 4 answers to go.  Almost had to get help for the last of the last, but the answer suddenly occurred to me, and later on, the explanation.  Therefore at least a 3* for difficulty and another 3 for enjoyment.  Thanks to setter, and if it is Jay, it’s slightly more difficult than his usual.

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.


7    Pitch university against piece workers (7)

{BITUMEN} : Abbrev. for “university” placed after(against) [a piece;a small part] + [workers;male staff].

Answer: The black stuff used as road surfacing.

8    Advise on clues to be rewritten (7)

{COUNSEL} : Anagram of(to be rewritten) ON CLUES.

10    Sick lower socioeconomic groups given financial penalty that’s not made clear (3-7)

{ILL-DEFINED} : [sick] + abbrevs. respectively for the 2 lowest socioeconomic groups in the British National Readership Survey classification + [given a financial penalty by officials from judges to traffic wardens].

11    Film star ‘resting’ according to some reports (4)

{IDOL} : Homophone of(according to some reports) [resting;not doing anything].


12    An excessive amount of corporal punishment? (8)

{LASHINGS} : Double defn: 2nd: Type of punishment involving a whip or such; and sometimes with a tongue.

14    Regular stop regularly missed out, nevertheless (4,2)

{EVEN SO} : [regular;uniform] + “stop” minus its 2nd and 4th letters(regularly missed out).

15    Conventions of rugby player concerned with accepting one having links (11)

{PROPRIETIES} : [rugby player, either of two forwards at the ends of the front row of the scrum] + {[abbrev. for “concerned with”;with reference to] containing(accepting) Roman numeral for “one”} plus(having) [links;connections].

Answer:  The conventional standards of proper behaviour;good manners.

19    Warning from company employed by head (6)

{BEACON} : [abbrev. for a “company”;a commercial firm] contained in(employed by) [slang for one’s head;the nut].

20    Convert to it in a pub — ‘The Slaughterhouse‘ (8)

{ABATTOIR} : Anagram of(convert) TO IT contained in(in) { A + [a pub;the drinks counter in one]}.

22    Top bill? Yours truly (4)

{ACME} : [abbrev. for bill;a statement of moneys owed] + [yours truly;first person pronoun].

23    Zero latitude given to everybody, in more than one form (10)

{ALLOTROPIC} : {[the letter that looks like 0;zero] + [either of the two geographical latitudes that are the boundaries of the Torrid Zone]} placed after(given to, in an across clue) [everybody with no exception].

Answer: In chemistry, descriptive of some elements possessing the property of being able to exist in more than one physical form (and no, the human body is not an element, but carbon is).


25    Sultanate accepting Farsi without limits for one in eight, perhaps (7)

{OARSMAN} : Name of a sultanate along the Arabian Sea containing(accepting) “Farsi minus its 2 outermost letters(without limits).

Answer: One of a team of eight + one; the latter being mentioned at the Olympics last year like this – TV presenter’s commentary of a medal ceremony: “Ah, isn’t that nice, the wife of the IOC president is hugging the cox of the British crew.”  (Sorry if you have already heard this one.)

26    Island‘s one sect backed in South Africa (2,5)

{ST LUCIA} : Reversal of(backed) {Roman numeral for “one” + [a sect;a group whose members venerate the same thing, person, ideal, etc.]} contained in(in) abbrev. for “South Africa”.

Answer:  A resort island in the Caribbean.

1    Give false information — island covered in nuts (7)

{MISLEAD} : [a small island] contained in(covered in) [description of one who’s “nuts”, as in “you must be nuts to try that crossword”]

2    Ancient Glaswegian notice covering the centre of Mull (4)

{AULD} : Abbrev. for a promotional notice containing(covering) the 2 middle letters of(the centre of) “Mull”.

Answer: A word for ancient as might be heard in Glasgow, Scotland; and, in some other parts of the world, sung on New Year’s Eve.

3    Provide a fence around to make the noise intolerable (6)

{DEAFEN} : Hidden in(around) “provide a fence “.

4    Trial started badly, imprisoning first of (4,4)

{ROAD TEST} : Anagram of(badly) STARTED containing(imprisoning) first letter of(first of) “offenders “.

5    Stirring up and mixing cement in it (10)

{INCITEMENT} : Anagram of(mixing) CEMENT IN IT.

6    Poor soul drowning in river to get rid of nits (7)

{DELOUSE} : Anagram of(poor) SOUL contained in(drowning in) name of a river in Britain – two in Scotland, and one in Wales/England.

9    Invaluable island home — I have the capacity (11)

{INESTIMABLE} : Abbrev. for “island” + [a home, especially for the birds] + [contraction of “I am fit”;”I have the capacity to do”].

Answer:  Invaluable;so valuable that it’s impossible to put a value to it.

13    Difficult blue, for example — oh, unlucky! (4,6)

{HARD CHEESE} : [difficult to achieve, say] + [dairy product, a variety of which contain a blue mould, eg. Danish Blue].

16    Official transport from Canada arranged in case of prisoner (5,3)

{PANDA CAR} : Anagram of(arranged) CANADA contained in(in) 2 outermost letters of(case of) “prisoner “.

Defn: The officials in this case being the cops.

17    Camp entertainer‘s legacy to town after night out? (7)

{REDCOAT} :  Cryptic defn:  Taken literally, what the town is left with (a legacy to town) after you’ve had a night out on the town (figuratively, painted the town a bright colour).  My last one in – having got the answer, I kept banging my head trying to reverse-engineer the explanation by breaking up the wordplay into separate elements, but of course with a cryptic defn, which I finally realised it was, you can’t do that.  Doh!

Answer:  Think holiday, not military nor prison, camps, though nowadays, the latter are taking on the characteristics of the first in some countries.

18    Limit free first-class returns for trained civilians (7)

{MILITIA} : Anagram of(free) LIMIT + reversal of(returns) [letters that look like the description of something that’s good;first-class].

Answer: Trained, and armed, for combat.

21    Some breakfast utensils may be sharp (6)

{ASTUTE} : Hidden in(Some) “breakfast utensils “.

Defn: Sharp;very perceptive.

24    Drink up after Chopin’s third musical composition (4)

{OPUS} : Reversal of(up) [to drink in small quantities] placed after(after) third letter of(…’s third) “Chopin”.

Answer: Usually seen as an abbrev.

The Quick crossword pun: {mined} + {German} + {nurse} = {mind yer/your manners}

44 comments on “DT 27088

  1. We too found this a little more difficult than usual. In fact we even moved on and did the Toughie before coming back and at last working out 17d which we will have to award the prize for best clue.
    Thanks Jay and Scchua.

  2. Really enjoyed this SE corner slowest to some degree as a result of initial typo .Favs 12a,23a,13d and 17d . Rating 3*\4* for me .
    Thanks once again

  3. Needed a lot of help this morning. Learned a new word (23a), but will I manage to remember it? Liked 9d, and 13d haven’t heard since my school days! Took me ages to ‘see’ 19a (last one in). So, for me, this was 3/2 – a lower enjoyment probably reflecting my current struggles rather than the Xword. Many thanks to setter, and to Scchua whose help was greatly needed.

    1. I remember a film with Terry Thomas smiling, showing that famous space between the teeth, and saying 13d with all the sarcasm he could muster

  4. Seemed to take me ages, especially working out the ‘pitch’ in 7a but turned out about average for a Jay. 3*/3* for me. Thanks to Jay and scchua too.

  5. On first reading thought that I might never get started, but once under way managed to get to the end without hints. I must confess to needing your explanation of 17d Scchua – thank you. Thank you setter for an enjoyable challenge with a lot of tricky wordplay.

  6. Started slowly but came roaring back only to be stumped in the NW corner – trying to use the usual I for an island – definitely a D’Oh moment there. Some nice words in the puzzle today and I must thank scchua for the picture in 4D – I’ve already decided that when I win the lottery my first purchase will be the car that JC is driving (Ariel Atom).

    1. Incidentally, I must make a comment on the quickie pun – took me ages to realise what it meant, but thought it very clever indeed>

    2. . . . and when I win the lottery I’m going to 26a and the busty blonde can get out of the way and let me have the beach to myself!

  7. I think 3* difficulty and 4* enjoyment from me today.
    Along with most others I didn’t understand why my answer for 17d had to be right. I was also pretty slow to get the two long clues – 15a and 9d – which didn’t help.
    I thought there was a good mixture of clues – enough anagrams and reasonably straightforward ones to get us started and some more difficult ones to get our brains going.
    I liked 12, 20 (being able to spell that one would have made life a bit simpler!) 23 and 25a and 13 and 21d.
    With thanks to Jay and scchua.
    Blue sky and sun but very windy – might do some stuff in the garden. Dare I try the Toughie later?

    1. I should have a go at the toughie Kath – it’s tricky in places but definitely not all tough, although some clues are easier to solve than explain… and I should know :)

        1. Yes I am. I ‘volunteered’ due to a combination of extreme boredom and gazza’s persuasive abilities – I am sure he could sell ice to Eskimos without any difficulty at all :)

  8. A little more diificult for me but we got there unaided (spell checks apart!)
    Nice and challenging.
    Many thanks Jay? and scchua, great graphics eg 23a PWOAR!!

  9. I really enjoyed this puzzle,must have been on the wavelength as i score it **/****, like others, 17d was the last in; my wordplay was that the solution was an anagram of ‘ to town’, with night removed (night or rook(chess piece =R),the town was Redcar ie anagram of REDCAR+TO-R, thanks Scchua for the simple answer! – liked the pics in the blog.

  10. Hello schuua and thanks for the hints which I needed to explain 17d although I knew the answer, also couldn’t see why 3d was ‘deafen’ missed the inclusive clue altogether! Enjoyed this one although I don’t think I have any stand out favourites, liking lots of the clues, 23a a new word to me and I’m determined to remember it although I know I won’t! A two to three star for me today.
    A beautiful day here today sunshine and blue skies and warm enough coming out of ‘rehab’ not to have to wear a coat! It obviously won’t last but it really feels like spring today :-)

    1. I agree with you Mary. **/*** today for me, and like you I got the answer for 17d without understanding why. Even with the explanation, where does the rest of the answer after the colour come from? Also for 3d I don’t really like the use of “around” to mean “hidden in”. The only clue that really held me up today was 11a when in desperation I put in Icon and found the error of my ways when I checked Schuua’s hints to try to find out how on earth that was a homophone!

      Thanks to the setter for a fun puzzle and to Schuua for the hints.

    2. Yes I struggled with that as well. And I’m relieved that I wasn’t the only one to miss the inc of 3d. Mary, thanks entirely to your very helpful suggestion I’m now a paid up member of the DT puzzles, so am holding a copy of the Toughie in my hand! Hope the rehab is going well. We’re enjoying sunshine too. :-)

      1. Well done on joining the telegraph site Poppy, it is well worth it, good luck with the toughie, I just don’t find time to do them too ( excuse, I struggle with most of them! ) The sun is still shining and the dogs have been in and out through the OPEN patio door all afternoon :-)

          1. We also have a gusty, cold wind in Oxford but decided to ‘tough it out’ and have been in the garden all afternoon – has everyone noticed how much lighter the afternoons are getting – didn’t come in until 5.30pm. OK – could hardly see by then and my hands were absolutely frozen but still . . .

  11. On my first trawl through i penciled in ‘overkill’ for 12a which when trawling through the down clues made top left corner unworkable. Once that was sorted the rest went in smoothly. Rate as **/**** for me. Thanx to Setter and to Scchua for the review.

  12. Excellent crossword from Jay and an excellent review from schuua (and some great pics) Many thanks to both.

  13. One of those where I needed a lunch break before getting the last few clues. ***/** I’d say.

  14. Has the distinction of containing two of the worst clues I have ever seen, 17d and 3d.
    Ghastly for me today, finished but really disliked this one. Thx to Scchua for the hints without which I would never have finished. Does Scchua mean anything by the way? I have to look up the spelling every time.

    1. Hell’s teeth, Brian, you’re a grumpy old so-and-so!

      I thought both 17D and 3D to be excellent; in both cases they posed a challenge but were clearly right when the answer was found.

  15. I never did get 17d and had to resort to the hints; thanks scchua. Others, eg 3d, I got but didn’t know why. When will I ever learn to look at ALL angles when doing these things, it would make my life much simpler. Good puzzle.

    1. The hidden-in-the middle type answers are my ‘betes noir’. My worst day for them is Sunday. Three days ago I decided to really hunt them down – there weren’t any!!

  16. Setter here
    Many thanks to scchua for the excellent review, and to all for the comments, which are always eagerly read, occasionally with trepidation

  17. Thanks to Jay and to scchua for the review and hints. I found this quite difficult, but very enjoyable, a great puzzle. Was beaten by 7a & 18d, needed the hints for those two. Felt that I should’ve got ’em, but that’s always the way when you just can’t see something :-) Was 3*/3* for me. Favourites were 12,22,23a 7 2d. Had a penny drop moment with 4d. Beautiful sunshine in Central London, but still breezy.

  18. Really quite difficult today, so I used my brand new BRB , which arrived today,extensively.I though 9d,5d,and13d were very good clues.Thanks to Jay and scchua.

  19. I thought 17d was a really good clue – my first thoughts were along the lines of Grayson (as in “shut that door”) or the little guy in “It Ain’t Half Hot” but they did not seem to fit the wordplay! A good chuckle when the penny dropped. Thanks to Jay and Scchua for the entertainment….

  20. I actually thought this was rather easy and I rattled it off apart from 7a (last in) and 25a (my favourite). Very enjoyable.

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