DT 27204 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 27204

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 27204

Hints and tips by Gazza

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BD Rating – Difficulty ****Enjoyment ***/****

If last Friday’s puzzle was at the easy end of Giovanni’s back page range then I thought that this was at the opposite end with the top half posing more problems than the bottom for me. However, when I had finished it I couldn’t see what had held me up (which we always quote as the sign of a good puzzle). Thanks to Giovanni for the mental stimulation.

To reveal an answer you’ll need to highlight what’s concealed between the brackets under the clue. If you’re using a mobile device there are some hints on how to do this in the FAQ.

Across Clues

4a  Most quiet end to this match — it’s bad getting caught (8)
{STILLEST} – the end letter of (thi)S is followed by an international cricket or rugby match with an adjective meaning bad or sick inserted (caught).

8a  A refusal by cleric to go round Italian city (6)
{VERONA} – string together A (from the clue), a word of refusal and the abbreviation used as a clergyman’s title then reverse it all (to go round).

9a  Brood at home — one of the youngsters took food (8)
{INCUBATE} – a charade of an adverb meaning at home, a young animal (a fox or bear, for example) and a verb meaning took food.

10a  Roof needs seemingly 45 minutes group work (8)
{HOUSETOP} – start with another word for 60 minutes but drop its last letter (because we only need three quarters of it). Now add a synonym for group or gang and the abbreviation for an artistic work.

11a  Constructed a spoken message requesting assistance (6)
{MAYDAY} – this sounds like (spoken) ‘constructed a’ (4,1).

12a  Sir John is given a flower by workforce (8)
{FALSTAFF} – Shakespeare’s Sir John is a charade of a Cornish river and another word for workforce.

13a  A traditional way to get the traveller’s money? (8)
{TURNPIKE} – a cryptic definition of an old road with a tollgate (proof that fleecing the traveller is not a modern concept).

16a  There’s a place for bangers at an outdoor party? (8)
{CAMPFIRE} – another cryptic definition, this time of where you might cook bangers (not barbecue!). I didn’t think that this was very cryptic but I suppose you’re meant to think of fireworks.

19a  It’s good to get into seat with middle of stadium crowded (8)
{THRONGED} – insert G(ood) into a very posh seat and finish with the middle letter of (sta)D(ium).

21a  Concert performance’s beginning on time, on the dot (6)
{PROMPT} – string together the abbreviation for one of the concerts put on each Summer by the BBC, the beginning letter of P(erformance) and T(ime).

23a  After end of pain I am fortunate to be most active (8)
{NIMBLEST} – after the end letter of (pai)N we need the contracted form of ‘I am’ and the literary form of a past participle meaning fortunate or favoured.

24a  Heather — primarily type that will catch fire easily? (8)
{KINDLING} – if you’ve never comes across LING for heather remember it, because you will need it again. Here you have to precede it (primarily) with a word meaning type or sort.

25a  Time to squash doctrine producing consternation (6)
{DISMAY} – a period of time contains (to squash) an informal word for a doctrine or philosophy (because that’s what lots of them end with).

26a  One always rolls over then starts to look lively eventually — when it’s given? (8)
{REVEILLE} – this is a semi-all-in-one for the signal to get up in the armed forces. Put together I (one in Roman numerals) and a synonym for always. Then reverse (rolls over) what you’ve got and add the starting letters of L(ook) L(ively) E(ventually).

Down Clues

1d  Judge had robe altered (7)
{DEBORAH} – an anagram (altered) of HAD ROBE gives the name of a judge and prophetess of the Old Testament. I’ve never heard of her.

2d  Silly poets’ egos may be seen in peculiar gait (5,4)
{GOOSE STEP} – this is the peculiar gait that dictators seem to favour as the marching style of their armed forces. It’s an anagram (silly) of POETS’ EGOS.

3d  Religious writings in brown with upsetting pictures? (6)
{TANTRA} – these are Hindu and Buddhist writings. A noun (or verb) meaning brown or bronze is followed by the reversal (upsetting) of pictures.

4d  When agitated, he got spiteful, no mistake! (4,2,3,6)
{SLIP OF THE TONGUE} – an anagram (when agitated) of HE GOT SPITEFUL NO.

5d  One way of saying artist entered to reveal secret (2,6)
{IN CAMERA} – if you split the answer (2,4,2) it could be a way of saying that a distinguished artist entered.

6d  Type of delivery adjacent to reception area (5)
{LOBBY} – a ball delivered in a high, slow arc at cricket is followed by a preposition meaning near or adjacent to.

7d  Sort of problem not in the foreground (7)
{SETBACK} – if you split this problem or reversal as (3,4) it could describe something placed away from the foreground.

14d  Lacking purpose and unable to score (9)
{POINTLESS} – double definition, the second a semi-cryptic description of a player or team who ‘failed to trouble the scorers’ (as John Arlott would have said).

15d  Hint of fog and competitor losing heart? It makes for a bad test! (8)
{MISTRIAL} – test here is a test of the legal case against someone. A slight fog is followed by a competitor losing his central V.

17d  I’m irate about how long programme goes on for (7)
{AIRTIME} – an anagram (about) of I’M IRATE.

18d  A cat for each and every Welsh woman? (7)
{PERSIAN} – a preposition meaning for each and every is followed by a female Welsh forename.

20d  Dear me — that’s wrong — it must be done again! (6)
{REMADE} – an anagram (that’s wrong) of DEAR ME.

22d  Using some venom, I’d get small insect (5)
{MIDGE} – use some of the clue to find an annoying small insect.

My top clues (I don’t dare say favourite any more, but I’m a bit worried now about using ‘top’ in case you can only have a single one of those!) were 11a, 26a and 5d. Do let us know what you liked.

Today’s Quickie Pun: {HURLEY} + {BURRED} = {EARLY BIRD}


64 comments on “DT 27204

  1. Good morning gazza from very wet and cold West Wales, back to winter! I didn’t find this too hard today but agree that the top half gave more problems, last two in for me (with your help) were 11a, I still couldn’t see this for a while even with the hint! and 8a, for myself it was a crossword to be got through and finished rather than enjoyed, no real favourite clues today though I did think several were very clever, thanks for hints gazza :-)

  2. Very good! Certainly required more thought than the other back-page puzzles this week.
    Many thanks to Giovanni, and to Gazza for the review. 3*/4* for me.

    A good warm up for Myops, which i’m just about to attempt; I hope it’s a good one!

  3. Not sure not to make of this one. While I finished without hints, it took longer than usual and I only had one check mark to indicate a clue I liked (11A).18D was the last one in. I agree with you, Gazza, that when I was done I wondered why it took as long as it did. Still, a workout to end the working week is not a bad thing. Thanks to both. Hope the weekend weather will be kind to you all in the UK.

    1. My feelings exactly! 11A has to be my favourite too as it was the only one I positively liked. What a contrast to yesterday, and to last Friday’s puzzles!

      I couldn’t complete 1d even knowing it was an anagram, and it’s nice to know it’s a judge that someone else hasn’t heard of! I probably should have paid more attention in RE at school!

      I agree with Gazza on **** for difficulty, and (grudgingly) I will give ** for enjoyment. I found about half of the clues mildly enjoyable but am sorry to say that I disliked several, especially 25a. I couldn’t get the wordplay for this, and, although I understand Gazza’s explanation, I don’t like it :-(

      Many thanks to the setter and to Gazza for the hints.

  4. A fine puzzle. Remember using the word elegant again to describe the clues as we worked through them. Hard to pick a favourite amongst so many good ones but will plump for 26a.
    Thanks Giovanni and Gazza.

  5. The Don back to his tricksy self. Seemed to take a long time to get going on this one, but just as I thought I was getting the hang of it, I realised I’d finished. 9A was a very good clue and 16A took while to sort out after automatically putting BARBECUE in.

  6. Usual brilliant puzzle fom the Master. Very clever clues esp 11a, 12a, and really loved 26a but they are all so good.
    What I really like about his crosswords is that everything you need to solve the clue is there. He doesn’t use some of the tricks and diversions employed by other setters.
    Above all i find his puzzles fair.
    Many Thx to the Don and to Gazza although I didn’t need his excellent hints today.

  7. A puzzle of two halves for me today,did everything to the left hand side of 4d with my cornflakes and to the right when driving to pick up the asparagus,subconscious in good form.Last one in was 18d,which i knew it would be after the initial scan,had a ‘blue ‘one called Dinky when i was about 11, beautiful cat.Now a 3 hedgehog garden-why do they prefer dry cat fish food?

      1. no,i sent in two bloggs and the screen said error! and to fill in name and e mail, for 3rd attempt gave real name instead of alias beaver! Please revert back to Beaver-THANKS

  8. Phew! I’m relieved to find that gazza has given this one 4* for difficulty – I would too, and the same for enjoyment.
    I was very slow to get going at all but did, eventually. I have to confess that I had barbecue for 16a to begin with – thought it might not be so only put it in VERY lightly – just as well as when I started on the down clues I got 2d which put paid to barbecue.
    Then things started to go better until I got to the top left corner where it all went horribly wrong and I was left with 1d and 10 and 12a. Could see that 1d was an anagram and it still took me ages – haven’t heard of her. Anyway, finished in the end apart from having, in total desperation, campsite rather than fire for 16a – stupid!
    My top clues (I think we can have as many of those as we like!) are 11, 21 and 23a and 4, 5 and 17d. My favourite was 26a which I thought was incredibly clever.
    With thanks to Giovanni and gazza.

    1. PS Spent quite a long time trying to make 15d begin with ‘F’ because of the ‘hint of fog’. Oh dear, again! :roll:

  9. Really enjoyable puzzle after a really slow start .some smashing clues (16a being the exception IMHO )
    Likeable clues for me were 10a,11a ,25a among others .
    Certainly agree with the enjoyment rating .
    Thanks Gazza and Giovanni .

  10. Always the same with Giovanni, you know he’s going to deceive and misdirect, but you still get suckered…well I do.

    After I’d sorted out the obvious but wrong clues it all fell into place very well, as always a pleasure to solve.

    Thanks Gazza for an excellent review.

    Thanks to Giovanni for a good workout.

  11. I liked 10a a lot and also 26a and 11a (needed the hint for the last one and still had to resort to electronic help). Started off well but got a bit bogged down in the NE corner.

    Didn’t know 1d was a judge before googling her and spent ages over the anagram even after I decided it might end ah.

    Am I the only person who hadn’t heard of the duck from yesterday?

    Enjoyed this immensely. Thanks to Giovanni and Gazza.

    1. I did wonder at first whether Deborah was the name of one of the judges on ‘Strictly X-factor on ice’ or one of the other programmes I don’t watch.

    2. I had heard of the duck but only from doing crosswords, I think. He’s worth remembering as he turns up reasonably often.

      1. Other ducks worth remembering are Mallard, Eider, Teal, Muscovy, Donald, Orville, Zero and Sitting. :D

            1. . . . and Peking – it’s No.43 at my local Chinese (or should it be Beijing Duck now, along with Mumbai Duck?).

      2. Yet again – learn to keep big mouth shut!! :smile:
        The ones that I always forget are the cartoon ducks.

  12. I certainly didn’t think it rated 4* for difficulty but I really enjoyed it and would have rated it 4* for enjoyment, my thanks to Giovanni and to Gazza for the excellent review.

    1. On ‘difficulty’ I do think that if 3* means average and if ‘average’ has any real meaning there have to be some puzzles which have more than 3 stars (to balance those with 2* or less). Since I thought that this was the hardest back-pager we’ve had for some time (with the possible exception of one or two from the setter requiring us to put on the mad hat) it was a natural 4* for me.

      1. Totally agree with you Gazza. I have a feeling (but no statistical analysis) that the rating for difficulty for back pagers lately does not present a true Bell curve. Think this should be the case.

  13. Thanks to the two G’s. A good puzzle, but too difficult for me. Needed 9 hints to finish. Was 4*/3* for me. Off to the Rugby Beer Festival now.

  14. It’s been an odd week… I’ve spent all week saying to myself “surely it was harder than everyone is saying”, and then we have today’s cryptic, which I can only rate as two-star hard.

    Lots to like, but smily faces by 10A and 12A.

    My thanks to Giovanni and Gazza!

  15. Needed lots of hints to get started today, but once we got going it was good. Liked 4 down because I like multiple word answers. Thank you to setter & hinter.

  16. We thought this was excellent stuff and the best from the Don for a while. Give it 3*/4*.

    Particularly liked 11a and 26a. Not relevant but the answer to 11a really is a homophone – of the French for “help me”!

    Thanks to the 2 G’s.

    1. I’ve always been confused by that, pommers, because I’ve seen it written that Mayday is a corruption of the French “M’aider” – which was supposed to mean “Help Me” but which I thought should have been “Aidez Moi”.
      Thanks to your comment I’ve done a bit more research and it actually derives from “Venez m’aider” (Come and help me) – which makes a lot more sense to me.

      1. I’ve always thought that “come and help me” was a bit understated since a Mayday call should only be made when there is IMMINENT danger to life or vessel. I’d be more for something like ” Get that bloody chopper here and get it here PDQ”!

        Fortunately, it was one radio call I never had to make.

        1. Reminds me of the joke about an English boat in difficulties off the German coast. They broadcast “Mayday, Mayday, we are sinking”, and the German coastguard replies [in a German accent] “what are you sinking about?”

          1. :smile:
            Reminds me of the pilot of a small aircraft “Mayday, Mayday starboard engine on fire” “Please state your height and position” – “I’m 5′ 8” and sitting in the cockpit”!

      2. Had to be from the French I guess, I can’t really see a true British Gentleman asking for help.

      3. Gazza!

        It comes from the French imperative “m’ aidez” – très simplement!

        1. The mayday callsign originated in 1923 by Frederick Stanley Mockford (1897–1962), a senior radio officer at Croydon Airport in London. He was asked to think of a word that would indicate distress and would easily be understood by all pilots and ground staff in an emergency. Since much of the traffic at the time was between Croydon and Le Bourget Airport in Paris, he proposed the word ‘mayday’ from the French word ‘m’aidez’. – See more at: http://www.nmmc.co.uk/index.php?/collections/featured_questions/why_mayday#sthash.XlVcykMt.dpuf

        2. Pas exactement! The consensus is that the original French phrase is “Venez m’aider”.
          Do you know the French Navy’s call to action “A l’eau; c’est l’heure!”? (You have to say it with an English accent).

        3. Persacally!
          Still think the vision of Prince William’s chopper overhead is what one would really appreciate when in extremis. Well, perhaps not . . .

  17. I enjoyed it. I think I was in *** time, and mostly because of the NW corner, with the intersecting italian city, obscure biblical figure, the roof and the religious writings. I expect at least 1-2 unknown words in a Giovanni, but finding two that intersected and one to be an anagram with a lot of different possible solutions seemed a bit harsh !

    (As I’ve said before, I hate clerics in crossword clues as there’s so many possible interpretations, abbreviations and it just seems like a very tired method altogether….)

  18. This earned its **** rating. I nearly gave up when I had the bottom left-hand side still open, but I got there eventually after spending waaaay too much time on it. I had no problem with 1d, Church of England school and all that, but I am ashamed to say I never did get 8a, and have never heard of 3d. Must now bestir myself and get chores done. Thanks to all.

  19. Tricky! Needed a lot of hints and don’t think I would EVER have got 26a without Gazza. Don’t like16a at all – really don’t “get” it – and don’t think much of 10a either – it’s not really a word in common usage, is it? 4d had me stumped – had the right letters but the wrong anagram indicator – thought that was “mistake” so was looking for something that meant “agitated” -hey ho! But a very good brain workout nonetheless and thank you Gazza for helping me finish.

  20. Back again at blogging – I cleared mountains of old stuff out of my laptop to improve its speed!

    An enjoyable solve from The Don once more.

    Faves : 10a, 13a, 26a, 1d, 17d & 18d.

    Weather still sunny here in NL.

  21. I was delighted that Gazza gave this 4 stars for difficulty. For me, there is nothing worse than struggling towards the finishing line, only to read that certain commentators dismiss the puzzle as ridiculously easy. I, too, thought that 1d must be a judge on some TV show.

  22. Brilliant puzzle, I thought, some cracking clues, eg 9,10,25 and 26.
    Seemed an age to get started, but thereafter enjoyed the struggle to completion.
    One of those puzzles where many of the required words pop up from the subconscious and are found to fit the clues.
    Many thanks Giovanni and to Gazza for the review.

    1. Living up to your name again, I see. If we could just make a hybrid version of you and Brian we’d be doing pretty well – the one whole might like all of them but, there again, I suppose that the one whole version might NOT like any of them. Who knows!

    2. She actually was a wise and courageous Judge in Old Testament Israel – no-one is saying that you can use Deborah as an alternative word havng the same meaning as judge.

      1. Indeed so: ‘And Deborah, a prophetess, the wife of Lapidoth, she judged Israel at that time.’ (Book of Judges, Chap. 4 v. 4)
        The Judges were ad hoc leaders of Ancient Israel in the centuries following the entry from the Wilderness to the Promised Land (ca. 1400 BC to 1000 BC).
        We could have had ‘Judge’s husband’ for Lapidoth, so we got off lightly :-)

  23. I found this a lot easier than yesterday’s back page which was only rated at 2 star . I suppose different types of clues suit different people.

    1. John, your comment needed moderation because you’ve added a P to your alias. Both aliases should work from now on.

  24. I’m very late to the table here: I only got round to this one today. I agree with Gazza that it was a very taxing Giovanni, particularly the northeast corner.
    Re 13a – I wonder if that all-in-one clue (and answer) was also hinting at a non-PC term for the modern ‘traveller’? Because otherwise the clue isn’t really cryptic, just allusive. And without the final three checking letters it could be ‘tollgate’.
    But of course that slang word is slightly different; and as Gazza pointed out, 16a isn’t really cryptic either.

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