DT 27173 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 27173

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 27173

Hints and tips by Big Dave

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment **

I thought this was a very straightforward puzzle today, but I’m sure that some of the usual suspects will disagree. The only lesser-known word was clued in such a way that it could be easily derived (I said lesser-known, not obscure!).

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.


1a    Bumpkin that’s cheerful overlooking lake (7)
{PEASANT} – start with an adjective meaning cheerful or amiable and drop (overlooking) the L(ake)

5a    Greek heroine chosen by academy (7)
{ELECTRA} – an adjective meaning chosen followed by an Academy located in Piccadilly

9a    Smell from memory among those on water? (5)
{AROMA} – some computer memory inside the abbreviation for the organisation that supports those who have a problem with alcohol

10a    College priest in trips abroad getting source of value? (5,4)
{PRICE LIST} – C(ollege) and an Old Testament priest inside an anagram () of (abroad) of TRIPS

11a    Tour a man is running in caring institution (10)
{SANATORIUM} – an anagram (running) of TOUR A MAN IS

12a    Betting in excessive quantity by discontented depressives (4)
{ODDS} – the two-letter abbreviation for an excessive quantity of drugs followed by DepressiveS without the inner letters (dis-contented)

14a    Criticise heavily speciality shown by little German opportunist (12)
{CARPETBAGGER} – a verb meaning to criticise heavily followed by a speciality or particular interest and GER (little GERman)

18a    Entitlement of those with breeding? (5,7)
{CHILD BENEFIT} – a cryptic definition of an entitlement for those with offspring to support

21a    Beef and fish (4)
{CARP} – two definitions – the first being to beef or complain

22a    Drink is seen around select feature of castle (10)
{PORTCULLIS} – a fortified wine and the IS from the clue around a verb meaning to select or gather

25a    Red wine drunk around party — it’s needed in retirement? (9)
{EIDERDOWN} – an anagram (drunk) of RED WINE around a party gives something needed when sleeping

26a    Block taken by clan villagers protected (5)
{ANVIL} – hidden (protected) inside the clue

27a    Performance in Spain occupying chum (7)
{MATINEE} – the IN from the clue and the IVR code for Spain inside a chum

28a    Proposition more doubtful in wake of article (7)
{THEOREM} – an anagram (doubtful) of MORE after (in wake of) the definite article


1d    Parking increase getting approval (6)
{PRAISE} – P(arking) followed by an increase in wages

2d    Value in source of advice about way of working (6)
{AMOUNT} – the source of advice in a tabloid newspaper around the two-letter abbreviation for a way of working

3d    A vehicle unexpectedly rated ‘good’ to sit in, and ‘innovative’ (5-5)
Newspaper version – A leading group rated possibly around Government becoming innovative (5-5)
{AVANT-GARDE} – the A from the clue followed by a commercial vehicle and an anagram (unexpectedly) of RATED with G(ood) inserted (to sit in)
Newspaper version – the A from the clue followed by a leading group and an anagram (possibly ) of RATED around G(overnment}
I can’t see why it was changed – neither version is particularly good

4d    Spill wild peat over top of rockery (5)
{TAPER} – the kind of spill used for lighting a candle or a pipe is derived from an anagram (wild) of PEAT around the initial letter (top) of Rockery

5d    Civilised manners quite variable in character not taking sides (9)
{ETIQUETTE} – an anagram (variable) of QUITE followed by a character without the initial L(eft) and the final R(ight) (not taking sides)

6d    In the past, premier European study (4)
{EDEN} – the name of a former (in the past) prime minister comes from E(uropean) followed by a study

7d    Actress popular with A Bennett with a grand energy, being over 60? (5,3)
{THIRD AGE} – the initial and surname of an actress who often appeared in sketches by A(lan) Bennett followed by the A from the clue, G(rand) and E(nergy)

ARVE Error: need id and provider

8d    Bacon’s quality? (8)
{ARTISTRY} – a sort of cryptic definition of the quality of painter Francis Bacon

13d    Cooking of plain meat cut by university engineer (10)
{MANIPULATE} – an anagram (cooking) of PLAIN MEAT around (cut by) U(niversity) gives a verb meaning to engineer

15d    Call to import more retrograde chemical substance (9)
{PHEROMONE} – a verb meaning to call or ring around (to import) MORE reversed (retrograde)

16d    Basmati, perhaps, not right with very best food (3,5)
{ICE CREAM} – the type of cereal of which Basmati is an example (perhaps) without (not) its initial R(ight) and followed by a word meaning the very best

17d    Reduced exposure useful for moles? (8)
{MICRODOT} – a photograph of secret material, taken by an undercover agent (mole), that has been reduced in size

19d    Exploitative type‘s drivel? (6)
{SLAVER} – two definitions – a person who exploits others and a verb meaning to drivel or salivate


20d    A run-down area surrounding yard becoming place of refuge (6)
{ASYLUM} – the A from the clue and a run-down area around (surrounding) Y(ard)

23d    Belief whichever way you look at it (5)
{TENET} – this word meaning a belief is a palindrome – I’ve added a page about palindromes to The Mine

24d    Female in service held up by retainer wisely (4)
{WREN} – a female in military service is hidden (held) and reversed (up in a down clue) inside the clue

Don’t forget you can now view my pictures of last Saturday’s S&B meeting in Manchester

The Quick crossword pun: (moor} + {cherry} = {mortuary}

50 comments on “DT 27173

  1. I remember some years ago doing crossword puzzles called ‘The Make You Very Cross Word’. Some of the clues in today’s puzzle fit that description perfectly for me. In the end it was very simple to complete, but 2 and 6 down along with 9 across had me tearing my hair out until the penny dropped. Thank you to the setter, your puzzle rounded off my breakfast quite nicely. I particularly enjoyed 7 down.

  2. Must admit that I struggled with two or three clues today especially 13 & 15D but I put this down to being in my 7D
    Thanks for the review & also to the setter, a very enjoyable offering.

  3. Thanks BD, for much-needed hints today. Still don’t understand 2d. But enjoyed the tussle, so thanks to setter also. Liked 22a & 7d in particular.

  4. A bit of a grind for me, got all the right answers some by guess and needed the hints to get the wordplay.

    The Bacon clue didn’t work for me.

    Thanks for the review.

    Thanks to the setter.

    Battening the hatches down here against potentially very strong winds forecast for this afternoon.

  5. Good morning BD – your clue for 3 down must be the electronic version – in the paper it is ‘A leading group rated possibly around Government becoming innovative’

  6. The clue for 3D is different in the paper – A leading group rated possibly around government becoming innovative – still solvable, but need a bit more thinking about than the online version (IMHO).

  7. I was a little slow at solving this one today. Perhaps that was because I spent a couple of hours in the sauna this morning before i looked at it. 3.5* on both counts for me.
    Thanks to setter, and to BD for the review.

    I must find time to look at the other puzzle by Dada later.

  8. 3* for difficulty from this usual suspect. Gosh I needed this blog – thanks.

  9. Parsed (not quickly) 2d and 9a after completion .Agree with the difficulty rating but I thought this was very enjoyable at least 3+* for me .
    Thanks very much

  10. We found this one quite tricky. Actually took longer to complete than the Dada Toughie. 2d and 6d were the last two in for us. We were pretty sure we had the right answer but took some cogitation time to work out the wordplay.
    Thanks Mr Ron and BD.

    1. Are any of the clever people able to hazard a guess as to who the setter might be? Not a style that we readily recognise.

  11. I found this tough and the least satisfying puzzle for a long time. ****/**

    I managed to complete it with difficulty but without fully understanding 9 of the clues! I didn’t help myself in the NE corner by putting in Price Cuts as my first answer, assuming that ECU must have been a priest I’d never heard of…

    Many thanks to BD for the much needed hints to show why I had arrived at the correct answers, but I still don’t understand how “bag” = “speciality” in 14a.

    1. Bag in this respect is from the Jazz/Hippy era as in ‘Its his bag, man’ or his ‘thing’ or speciality

    2. I think there’s an expression along the lines of something not being ‘one’s bag’ meaning a subject you know nothing about.

  12. Well, I must fall into the usual suspect category then because I didn’t like it at all. I certainly needed a number of hints and a look at some answers, so thanks to BD for the review. 8D was a horrible clue, I thought, as was 2D. Off to work off my grumpy mood.

  13. I tend to agree with the consensus. All done in the end but a bit if a slog in places. *** and ** from me. Regds to all.

  14. Haven’t had time to tackle the cryptic yet but, if the quickie is a pre-cursor, I’m not going to enjoy it.
    Where I come from “Moor” is pronounced in a way that makes the linked-clue homonym unworkable.
    (never liked them at the best of times)
    And now to business.

  15. OK until five left then the staring and staring mode kicked in.
    But got there eventually.
    Hindsight, why the struggle?
    Therein lies the setter’s skill.
    Many thanks, Mr. Setter and BD for the review.

  16. This was probably nearer 3* both difficulty and enjoyment for me today.
    I did quite well to begin with and put in several answers on first read through of all the clues. Then slowed down badly eventually grinding to a complete halt with the last few – stared at 10a and 8d for ages. 17d also took a long time even with alternate letters already in.
    There were lots of answers that I got from the checking letters and then worked out why afterwards – 9a (that kind of memory is one I always forget about) 10a, 14a, 22a, 5d and 15d.
    On the plus side for once I did spot the hidden-in-the-middle answers – my betes noires!
    I liked 18 and 21a and 17d.
    Thanks to Mr Ron and BD.

  17. Not on my wavelength today, but got there in the end thanks to a few hints. 8d, 3d (paper version), and 15d were the main hold ups.
    I liked 3d & I’m quite partial to some 16d as well!.
    Thanks to setter and BD, as usual.

  18. Agree with Kath at 16 above – got 10 answers in on first reading then the puzzle became progressively harder ! 9a, 2d and 6d being the last in and really struggled to get the wordplay. Got there in the end, so thank you setter for an enjoyable challenge and BD for your review and hints. Back to winter in the NW, 8 deg and strong winds.

    1. I think you’ve got it wrong about going back to winter – summer was last week and now autumn has arrived!

  19. 14a was a new word for me today and couldn’t get 17d even with all the checking letters – I thought the clue was a bit on the tough side but that could be because I hadn’t known it was a type of photo. Otherwise 2*\4* for me. Thanks to setter and BD.

  20. Quite difficult today…needed hinters help. I think the answer to 8 down is definitely a matter of opinion. Thank you to setter & hinter.

  21. I’m with Expat Chris – didn’t like this at all! 2d and 6d last in for me like some others – when I saw BD’s explanation I was left wondering why I bothered to grind through this . 3*/0* rating. Thanks to BD for hints.

  22. I liked this one. True..there were some tricky clues and I needed a modicum of help on a couple. 17d was a gem.

  23. Thanks to the setter and to Big dave for the review and hints. I didn’t find this straightforward at all, a struggle from start to finish. Eventually I was left with 5 to solve. Had to look them all up except for 12a which I guessed. I’d heard of 14a but didn’t know what it meant. 8d didn’t work for me, could only think of abstract. just couldn’t understand 2d & 10a, maybe my financial braincells have switched off :-) Favourite was 19d. Was 3*/2* for me. Had all the washing hanging out and was weeding when rain stopped play, Sun now out, typical.

  24. Took me a while to get on the setter’s wavelength(did I have the wrong hat on?) but can’t particularly see why now I look at it all again.

    Thanks to the Thursday Mysteron and BD too.

  25. So hard today I couldn’t even get the answers from most of the hints. At least. 4 star for officially and a-10 for enjoyment for me.
    Way beyond my pay grade I’m afraid.

  26. This was a bit of a slog for me today and needed the hints for for 17d & 2d although I had the checking letters. I had aroma from the start but couldn,t see why so thanks to BD for the hints .I didn’t enjoy it very much really.

  27. Not sure whether it’s my microbrain or my MO that was the problem, but I struggled with 2 and 17 dn. Otherwise v. enjoyable – thought it was more challenging than usual.

  28. Solved this in spasms as am taking medication for gout in my right foot and some of the stuff that my GP loaded me with is really powerful!
    All alcohol is out for the forseeable period!

    Faves : 5a, 14a, 22a, 25a, 3d, 7d, 15d & 17d.

    Weather here back to lovely sunshine – the trees in the woods across the street are very emerald green at long last.

    Very quiet and Sunday-like as it is Ascension.

  29. I needed hints for quite a few.Find myself in total agreement with general consensus.Thanks to setter and Big Dave.

  30. 15d – PHEROMONE – a word that is both lesser-known and obscure to me!

    I blame my Chemistry teacher.

      1. Biology ?… Chemistry ?

        “Where ignorance is bliss, ’tis folly to be wise.”

  31. Not the worst example of a Thursday puzzle, but still little fun. I had all the crossing letters for three answers but still could not pars them – 3, 15 and 17. It was a relief to put this down and start work.

  32. 3d, 8d defeated me today. I needed the hint to confirm 10a. I think this was **** difficulty at least.

  33. The feed back today I think says a lot. This was not a walk in the park but it was a teaser for sure. Don’t go with today’s tricky judgment. Thought 17 down was fun but required to many letters to get the answer, off the bat , no chance.

  34. I didn’t get to this one till today, and had probs ith the north west corner for no good reason – hence didn’t really enjoy it, whereas today’s I found quite easy unlike the general ratings. Life is weird?

  35. Had char for 21a at first; a fish and and also a tea (beef tea) but eventually got the carp!

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