DT 27172 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 27172

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 27172

Hints and tips by scchua

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty **+*/2Enjoyment ***

This was a slow start, but the solving rate then quickened, so that I’d give this a 2.5* difficulty/3* enjoyment rating.  Thanks to Jay.

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    He’d argue if forced out for one fronting the organisation (10)

{FIGUREHEAD} : Anagram of(forced out) HE’D ARGUE IF.

6    Feature of street in stockbroker belt (4)

{KERB} : Hidden in(in) “stockbroker belt “.

9    Member of family of the majority of top chess players (7)

{GRANDMA} : 7 letters out of 12 of(the majority of) [top chess players].

10    Despatch by returning setter, say, is a stroke of good fortune (7)

{GODSEND} : [despatch, say, a message] placed after(by, in an across clue) reversal of(returning) [an example of which;say, is a setter on four legs].

12    Dissolute son with joint left failing organisation (9,4)

{ABANDONED SHIP} : [dissolute;lacking moral constraints;wicked] + [abbrev. for “son”] + [a joint in your anatomy].

Answer: And women and children presumably went first.

14    Compound transforming some paint without sulphur (8)

{PTOMAINE} : Anagram of(transforming) “some paint minus(without) [the chemical symbol for the element, sulphur].

Answer: Any of a group of amine compounds formed by decaying organic matter.

15    Go through wood on the way back, finding shrub (6)

{MYRTLE} : Reversal of(on the way back) { [a go;an attempt] contained in(through) [the wood from the tree of the same name] } .

17    Whipped, getting cut (6)

{NICKED} : Double defn: 1st: Moved quickly, as in “she whipped through the store, grabbing groceries”; and 2nd: Cut with notches (in past tense).

19    Noted eccentric being given honour and buried (8)

{ENTOMBED} : Anagram of(eccentric) NOTED containing(… being given) [an honour conferred by the Queen].

Here’s another hint:


21    Off home during the morning, heading off risk from a seasonal song (4,2,1,6)

{AWAY IN A MANGER} : [off;not here] + [at home;not out] + [abbrev. to denote the morning hours] + { [a risk;a threat] minus its first letter(heading off) }.

24    The shape of accountant shot in study (7)

{DECAGON} : { [abbrev. for a member of the Institute of Accountants] + [a shot;an attempt] } contained in(in) [a study;a room where one can retreat to].

25    King grew less severe, becoming lubricated (7)

{GREASED} : [abbrev. for a former English king] + [grew less severe;became more relaxed].


26    State assistance finally provided cheer in Spain (4)

{DOLE} : Last letter of(finally) “provided” + [a cheer in Spain, especially at bullfights].

27    Scrap EEC by developing international links (10)

{CYBERSPACE} : Anagram of(developing) SCRAP EEC BY.

Answer: The medium of electronic international communication links.

1    Works hard for heartless families hoarding silver (4)

{FAGS} : First and last letter of(heartless) “familiescontaining(hoarding) [the chemical symbol for the element, silver].

Answer:  British term for “toils until weary, especially at menial tasks”.

2    Bird droppings covering a cold creature from the Andes (7)

{GUANACO} : [bird droppings good as manure, from the Spanish for “dung”] containing(covering) { A + [abbrev. for “cold”] }.

Answer: The wild Andean ruminant, relative of the domesticated llama and alpaca.

3    The reality of an obscene call in the morning? (4,9)

{RUDE AWAKENING} : Cryptic defn: An [obscene] phone call in the morning will get you up from sleep.

4    Saving  a place for notices (8)

{HOARDING} : Double defn: 1. Act of saving stuff for future use, or just for the hell of it.


5    Romeo is in endless pain, due to gas (5)

{ARGON} : [letter represented by “Romeo” in the phonetic alphabet] contained in(is in) [pain;suffering] minus its last letter(endless).

7    I heard and fired in range (7)

{EYESHOT} : Homophone of(heard) “I” plus(and) [fired, as with a gun].

Answer: Within the range of vision.

8    They may be laid on for midnight feasts (10)

{BEDSPREADS} : Cryptic defn: What [feasts] served at midnight may be cryptically described as, derived from where you might partake them.

Answer: What you may lie on at night.

11    Mother’s partner yearns to grab stage and fly (5-4-4)

{DADDY-LONG-LEGS} : [an informal name for a mother’s partner] + [yearns for] containing(to grab) [a stage, eg. a section of a relay race].

Here’s mummy and partner at it:

13    Exposed cards used without us being generous (4-6)

{OPEN-HANDED} : [exposed;uncovered] [a set of cards dealt to a single player] + “used minus(without) “us “.

16    Make complicated but disastrous net approach (8)

{ENTANGLE} : Anagram of(disastrous) NET + [an approach;a way of looking at things, eg. from a tax viewpoint].

18    Fortune left for section of church (7)

{CHANCEL} : [fortune;luck] + [abbrev. for “left”].

20    Person supplying drink advocates one’s expression of gratitude (7)

{BARISTA} : [collective noun for advocates;the legal profession] + [Roman numeral for “one”] + ‘S+ [a short expression of gratitude].


22    PA system with no time to bug (5)

{ANNOY} : [trademark name for a public address system especially in a large building] minus(with no) [abbrev. for “time”].

23    Tool for cutting commercials on the radio (4)

{ADZE} : Homophone of(on the radio) short for [commercials;promotional material].

The Quick crossword pun: (dare} + {reef} + {arms} = {dairy farms}


47 comments on “DT 27172

  1. A lovely smooth puzzle today. Many thanks to Jay for providing the enjoyment, and to scchua for the notes.
    2*/4* for me.

  2. I’d agree with jezza, certainly another god day for me, just worry that it’ll all come crashing down around my ears once I look at tomorrow’s……
    Thanks to Jay for for the puzzle and to scchua for today’s notes.
    Only question the note on 17a, I made the irst definition ‘stolen’ transitive verd definitio 16 in BRB.

    1. I thought of that meaning for “whipped”, but not having the BRB, I could not find a reference. I did find the answer (“nicked”) in online Collins: defn. 8. {intr often foll by off (informal)} to move or depart rapidly.

  3. Thank you Jay, not too hard today and thank you Scchua for your review and surprising choice of photos for 1a and 4d !!

    1. Well, you might say that was fronting an organisation of ship and crew; and those were certainly noticeable notices.

  4. Completed all but three in each direction before lights out last night at a steady “plod.” 21a has just “dawned” on me and would be my favourite so far, I am hoping that the rest will come to me in a similar fashion during the day. So far this week is turning out to be the same as last week (I have only needed assistance on one clue – both on the respective Mondays) perseverance has been paying off. I would agree that this one is 2.5*/3*

  5. Had a slow start on this one, but once I tuned in it all went fairly smoothly.
    Some nice clues, I do like an anagram for 1a, gives you a flying start.
    Lot of poisonous substance around at the moment.

    Thanks to Scchua for the review.

    Thanks to the setter for a moderate tester.

  6. Thoroughly enjoyed this one. Have never heard of 2D, but it had to be what it is from the clue (I do enjoy getting new words). I thought 9A was particularly clever.

    Incidentally, regarding the dandelions, I have been given a fool proof (if tedious) method of getting rid of them: Behead them, place a funnel of the centre of the plant, force a skewer down the spout so that it goes down to the roots and pour salt in.

  7. A **/*** for me today,most enjoyable and mr F leaving – feel like Paul on the road to Damascus! Thanks Scchua for the entertaining ‘pics’ liked the ‘pink ladies’ and especially the lovely Rizzo.

  8. Slow start for me, too, then things fell into place fairly quickly but I did resort to a little electronic help for 27A, which was the last one in. Really liked 10A, 12A and 15A. Many thanks to Jay and to Schhua. Being a lady, I won’t comment on the [ahem] interesting illustrations!

  9. After some difficult puzzles of late I found this one very straight forward but fun nonetheless. .Particularly enjoyed 10a, 12a, 24a, 11d. */*** Thanks to Jay and Ess

    1. I always say that Jay’s puzzles are the definitive Telegraph puzzles – the right level of both difficulty and enjoyment

      1. but you put it far better than I did :-) – still getting used to what I can and can’t post (midweek vs weekend)

  10. I thought this was really difficult – at least 3* for trickiness and 4* for enjoyment.
    My last one in was 9a and even then it was a complete guess – it had to be grandma or grandpa but I didn’t understand why so thanks for the explanation, scchua.
    I do agree with John about 17a – nicked meaning cut is OK – nicked and whipped mean the same thing as they are both slang words for pinched or stolen. I don’t seem to have expressed that very well – oh dear!
    This has taken me quite an enjoyably long time – I took ages to get the four long answers which didn’t help. Also completely missed the 6a hidden answer.
    I liked 10, 15 and 27a and 2, 3, 8 and 11d.
    With thanks to Jay and scchua.

    1. sorry kath, the joys of using a phone to comment meant my reply to you ended up above… grr
      just wanted to say you’d put it better than me :-)

      1. Not sure about that but thanks anyway.
        You can say anything you like (well, within reason I mean!) during the week. At weekends, because they’re both prize puzzles, you mustn’t give away any answers or even letters that you have in your answer – if you do you get sent to the ‘naughty corner’ and your comment is edited to remove the ‘offending’ bits. Hope that helps!

    2. Glad I am not the only one to be totally flummoxed by 9a and also by Scchas clue. How can it be the majority of top chess payers letters when there s no g or m? Just don’t see it at all.
      Never heard of Fags as hard work (usually a slang term for cigarettes or those junior lads at Eton) and the term eye shot is also a new one but I suppose if you can ave earshot, why not eyeshot.
      Apart from that an OK crossword but no more than that for me.

      1. Top chess players are known as grandmasters, and the first seven letters give you…

      2. The hint for 9a is clear enough and leads to GRANDMA(STERS).

        For fag Chambers gives:

        * A schoolboy forced to do menial work for another, usu older, boy
        * A tiresome piece of work
        * Drudgery
        * Orig an inferior cigarette (for fag end), hence any cigarette (informal)

        Verb (intransitive)
        * To become weary or tired out (informal)
        * To work hard
        * To be a fag for someone

        1. Sorry to disagree but the hint is very much not clear. The implication is that the 7 letters come from top chess players not the name given to top chess players.

          1. Brain (more or less), do read what’s in the lower portion of the preamble about the structure of the hints. It appears you might not have read it, or that you’ll have to read it again … and again, as necessary.

            “[xxx;yyy]” instructs, not implies, that a synonym for “xxx” or “yyy” is required in its place in order to read the hint. If there are no enclosing [ ], then the hint is to be read as is written. There are many examples of this in the rest of the hints besides 9a. in any case the hint reads “7 letters out of 12….”, and I’ve counted again and again, and I can’t make “top chess players” amount to 12 letters.

            Brain (less or more), should you not be aware of a synonym for “top chess players”, then that is a different matter, and not one about the structure of the hints.

            BTW, re “…I am not the only one to be totally flummoxed by 9a…”, again, I’ve read and reread (that’s how much patience I have) the comments, but I can’t find the one by the poster who is similarly flummoxed. Kindly point it out.

  11. A good fun puzzle without any major stumbling blocks for us. We also had parsed 17a to mean stolen for whipped, but guess, either way it still comes out the same.
    Thanks Jay and Scchua.

  12. **/**** . What are the odds of 14a showing up again, we only had it within the last couple of weeks. Although, bizarrely, it took me longer to get this time than last.

    The Toughie today doesn’t seem much more difficult, as there’s a theme that gives you an easy start – worth a try if you haven’t already.

  13. Very enjoyable crossword from Jay and a wonderfully entertaining review from sschua, many thanks to both.

  14. Quite enjoyable till I put earshot for 7d, understand the answer and the explanation of the hint still not a word I’ve ever heard used. Got that 27a was an anagram but needed the answer (bah) although I think international links does not really equate to an amorphous electronic hinterland. Maybe I’ve been in computing too long. Never heard of 2d although I got the answer from the clue. Thanks to setter & hint provider.

    1. I put in earshot, too, which held me up with 10a for far too long. Then the penny dropped and all was well.

    2. You can all call me smug if you like but, although I thought about earshot, I didn’t write it in. Have to say that I’ve never heard of eyeshot before but it’s in BRB – I know – I’ve looked.

  15. Agree with scchua’s rating. Never contemplated 16a meaning anything other than ‘alf-inched. Thanks to HughGfan for his definition of 27a.

  16. I did not find that a piece of cake exactly but enjoyed getting there. Will I ever remember that compound ? Took me ages although I had the correct letters for the anagram. Thanks to Jay & scchua for the hints.

  17. Thanks to Jay and to scchua for the review and hints. Most enjoyable puzzle, took me ages to get going, but got there in the end. Had never heard of 2d, but got it from the wordplay. Favourites were 15&27a, the latter being the last in, and 3&8d. Was 3*/4* for me. Patchy weather in Central London, could be windy tomorrow.

  18. I thought this was a fabulous crossword with few difficulties ,whilst not being a write-in.My favorite was 3d. Thanks to Jay and scchua . (I probably take more time to complete it than most of you .)

  19. A pleasant but not too taxing puzzle from Jay.

    Faves : 9a, 14a, 21a, 27a, 2d, 3d, 11d, 16d & 20d.

    Weather here deteriorated this afternoon with heavy rain and a thunderclap but the sun is now shining once again to the west.

    Managed to shop while it was dry as tomorrow being Ascension/Hemelvaartsdag everything will be closed.

  20. Am I the only one who is more confused after reading Scchua’s hints than I was before?

  21. No real problems, favourite was 3d. Had not heard of 2d but had to check as there were 2 possible answers from the word play

  22. struggled a bit today and was grateful for a number of Scchua’s pointers. Tricky anagrams and some new words, incl 23d. Perhaps lulled into a false sense of adequacy over the last week or so by what seemed to me much easier puzzles. ***/*** for me. Thanks to all, H

  23. Late home today, but enjoyed this puzzle ***/***. Many thanks to Scchua and to the setter.

    The only thing I don’t understand is 8d. Although you could do so, you don’t normally lie on a bedspread – it goes on top of you. And I always thought you should say “lain on” not “laid on” but I’ve always struggled with the niceties of the difference between the verbs “lie” and “lay” and their past tenses and past participles.

    I think that the past tense of “lie” is “lay”, and its past particple is “lain”; and the past tense of “lay” is “laid” as is its past particple! But I’d be very happy to be corrected if I am wrong.

    1. I have a nasty feeling that you are over complicating things – and now you’ve confused me. I wouldn’t ever dream of correcting anyone – think that I’ll leave that to someone better qualified than I am. :smile:

  24. Thanks to the setter for a lovely straightforward puzzle. No real problems until 20 down. I guessed at what turned out to be the correct word – but I couldn’t find it in any of my reference aids, until I Googled it. Thanks for new word to add to my vocab, even though it’s an Italian one.

    1. If you couldn’t find it in any of your ‘reference aids’ then you obviously don’t have the definitive one which is ‘The Chambers Dictionary’. I think that all answers in the crosswords are supposed to be in it. I don’t know what the latest edition is – mine is 11th. Oh, and by the way, when you see people on this blog referring to the BRB that is what they mean – it’s an acronym – it’s the (B)ig (R)ed (B)ook because that’s what it is.

      1. Costa coffee and others now call and advertise for their serving staff as baristas ! Strange .

  25. I am just wondering if any setters and sweaters/ bloggers and betters meetings are planned for June ?As I plan to be in London around the 10th.

    1. John Henderson (Elgar) and his wife Jane (Jetdoc) arrange a session every Saturday. If you would like I can ask Jane to add you to the mailing list.

      1. Thank you for replying . Please do . My being in England will coincide with a sloggers / bloggers shindig , I sincerely hope.

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