DT 27208 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 27208

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 27208

Hints and tips by scchua

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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

This was another enjoyable one from Jay.  I’d give it slightly above 1.5* for difficulty, and 3* for enjoyment.  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.


1a    Spare  shift? (5)

{STINT} : Double defn: 1st: To be frugal;spare in, say, spending; and 2nd: An allocated time spent doing something, eg. your time in National Service.

4a    Female serves, say, as sop to one’s dignity (4-5)

{FACE-SAVER} : [abbrev. for “female”] + [winning serves in tennis] + [to say;to assert].

9a    What’s produced by baker showing skill with computer program (5,4)

{APPLE TART} : [skill in conducting any human activity;the knack] placed after(with, in an across clue) [any small computer program that runs within the scope of a larger computer program].

Okay, so she’s taking a break from the kitchen, but she must have produced quite a few; and he too.

Oh, and before I forget:

10a    Annoyed I was in front after run (5)

{RILED} : { I + [was in front of others, say, in a race] } placed after(after) [abbrev. for “run” in cricket].

11a    Wilful manner prior to backing lottery (7)

{WAYWARD} : [a manner, eg. of doing something] placed before(prior to) reversal of(backing) [a lottery;a random pick].

12a    It’s not so easy to embrace love for a miser (7)

{HOARDER} : [not so easy, eg. some crosswords than others] containing(to embrace) [the letter that looks like zero;love in tennis scores].

13a    Passes on  races between teams (6)

{RELAYS} : Double defn: 1st: Passes on, say, a message; and 2nd: Sort of races between teams of two or more.

15a    Ignore sweeper out of form (5,3)

{BRUSH OFF} : [what you use to sweep, eg. the floor] + [out of form, as in “his performance was … “].

18a    After start of season frequently see weakness (4,4)

{SOFT SPOT} : The first letter of(start of) “season” placed before(After …) [frequently, often used poetically] + [to see;to notice].

20a    Look old, clutching book in summerhouse (6)

{GAZEBO} : { [to look long and intently at] + [abbrev. for “old”] } containing(clutching) [abbrev. for “book”].

And where you could look long and intently at each other:

23a    Stigma inhibiting American support (7)

{SUSTAIN} : [a stigma;a blot] containing(inhibiting) [abbrev. for anything American].

24a    Sort of car that’s difficult to beat? (7)

{HARDTOP} : [difficult in terms of doing] + [to beat;to surpass].

Here’s one with the top off – the car too; and in the second the top is on:


26a    Welcome a look and chat inside (5)

{ALOHA} : A + [look;often used with “… and behold”) plus(and) the 2 inner letters of(inside) “chat”.


27a    Island lost by struggling Minor Asian republic (3,6)

{SAN MARINO} : Anagram of(struggling) “Minor Asian” minus(lost by) [abbrev. for “island”].

Answer: A republic far from Asia, minor or otherwise.

28a    Openers needing pitches offering necessary elements of support (9)

{KEYSTONES} : [what are used as openers, literally (for locks and such) and figuratively (for puzzles and such)] plus(needing) [pitches, musically].

29a    In almost secure environment, he makes a bundle (5)

{SHEAF} : [secure;under lock and key] minus its last letter(almost) containing(In … environment) HE.


1d    Begins to go around breaking law, becoming faithful friends (9)

{STALWARTS} : [begins;initiates] containing(to go around) anagram of(breaking) LAW.

2d    Suggest merely dropping last of reserves (5)

{IMPLY} : [merely;without any extras] minus(dropping) the last letter of(last of) “reserves”.

3d    Majority of them criticise year to get treatment (7)

{THERAPY} : “them” minus its last letter(Majority of) + [to criticise sharply] + [abbrev. for “year”].

4d    Fellow artist regularly guides impostors (6)

{FRAUDS} : [abbrev. for “fellow”] + [post-nominal letters for a member of the Royal Academy of Arts] + the 2nd, 4th, and 6th letters of(regularly) “guides”.

5d    Spooner’s close romance is curtailed (3,5)

{CUT SHORT} : Spoonerism of [to close, say, a door] + [to romance;to woo].

6d    Second best son cries (7)

{SCREAMS} : [abbrev. for “second” in time notation] + [the best;the pick of the crop] + [abbrev. for “son”].

7d    Loved to be involved with city sports venue (9)

{VELODROME} : Anagram of(to be involved) LOVED plus(with) [the capital city of an EU country].

The venue for them:


8d    Jockey  added clause to contract (5)

{RIDER} : Double defn.

14d    Biographical account of untruths enveloping female politician (4,5)

{LIFE STORY} : { [untruths, as the saying goes “…., damned …. and statistics” – apologies to statisticians reading this] containing(enveloping) [abbrev. for “female”] } + [short for a member of one of the British political parties].

16d    Take in coppers – cover is solid (9)

{FOOLPROOF} : [to take in;to deceive] + [abbrev. for the small coins;coppers in British money] + [cover over the top].

Answer: Infallible;solid.

17d    Suspicious behaviour from departing prodigal? (6-2)

{GOINGS-ON} : [departing from here] + [the biblical prodigal relation, who eventually returned].

19d    It may fill most of road in constituency (7)

{SEALANT} : [a small road, especially in the countryside] minus its last letter(most of) contained in(in) [what a politician gets if the constituency elects him/her].

21d    In a case of repossessions, bring up money that’s overdue (7)

{ARREARS} : { A + the 2 outermost letters of(case of) “repossessions” } containing(In …) [to bring up from very young, eg. puppies and babies].

22d    Car crashes in close, bearing north then south (6)

{SHUNTS} : { [to close – sounds familiar? See above] containing(in …) [abbrev. for the compass bearing of north] } plus(then) [abbrev. for “south”]. Nice misdirecting surface.

Answer:  A type of car crash.

23d    Time in bed? A lot! (5)

{STACK} : [abbrev. for “time”] contained in(in) [slang for the bed;what you hit at night].

And you could say she was -ed (in more than one sense).

25d    Meaningless ceremony after the end of Pentecost (5)

{TRITE} : [ceremony, often religious] placed below(after, in a down clue) the last letter of(the end of) “Pentecost”.

Defn: Having lost meaning, in the sense of effectiveness or significance, because of excessive use, like a cliché, for example.

The Quick crossword pun: (oak} + {ache} + {oral} = {O.K. Corral}

45 comments on “DT 27208

  1. 2*/4* enjoyment for me. Last one in was 1a. Many thanks to Jay, and to scchua for the review.

    The toughie today from Micawber gets 5* from me for entertainment.

    1. May I second Jezza’s comment about the Toughie. If you’re hesitating about venturing into Toughieland do give it a go – it is brilliant (and a strong candidate for puzzle of the year, IMHO).

      1. I was going to make the same point when your review comes out later, that it gets my vote for puzzle of the year.

          1. Was inspired to have a go at the Toughie and I agree with everything you both said.
            Am now off to seek help with the remaining clues.
            Thank you!

              1. In the middle of the paper!!

                Or in the same place you downloaded your backpage puzzle

  2. 1a was the last one in for us too. A tricky little double definition. All the rest slotted into place smoothly in about average time for a Wednesday puzzle. Good fun.
    Thanks Jay and Scchua.
    Really must endorse Jezza’s recommendation of the Micawber Toughie. We have never laughed out loud as much with a cryptic as we did with this one. EVER!

  3. Thanks for your hints today, Scchua, as although I’d for the correct answers I needed your explanations to make sense of 9a & 19d. And thank you for the more equitable illustrations – they were appreciated! :-) No especial favourite today. I tried to put Prangs into 22d, with Rolltop for 24a, so wasted a bit of time on those. But enjoyed it and send thanks to setter too.

  4. Not one solution came immediately to mind on first read through then got 8d and suddenly all fell into place with SW corner last to be completed. 2*/3* for me. Now let me see what I can make of much recommended Toughie 999.

  5. I’d say 2* for difficulty and 4* for enjoyment.
    I got stuck with 1a and a few in the bottom left corner but apart from those I thought it was one of Jay’s easier crosswords.
    I got 9a quickly but completely for the wrong reason – my logic would have left me with a spare ‘T’ but the answer was so obvious that I didn’t think about it properly – the ‘computer’ was the ‘apple’ and the ‘skill’ was the ‘art’. Oh dear – 0/10 there.
    I liked 1 (eventually) 20 and 26a and 4, 5, 17 and 22d. I liked them all equally so no favourite today!
    With thanks to Jay and scchua.
    Very warm and steamy here :smile: but need to cut grass today :sad: as I think it’s going to rain tomorrow and anyway will probably go to London to fetch the one-legged wonder!

      1. She is much better, thank you for asking. She is also being about as bloody minded as it’s possible for anyone to be – would try the patience of a saint, which I’m not! Oh dear – that’s really not very kind but this morning could have gone a bit better.

        1. Don’t worry, my Mum could be pretty blooded minded, too. It comes with the territory, but I miss her now she’s gone. My Dad was the kindest, most gentle man you could hope to meet, and I miss him more!

          1. Thank you. I absolutely adored my Dad as well and he, too, was the most lovely person anyone could ever have known – he also had a wicked sense of humour and used to have all of us falling about laughing. He died nearly seventeen years ago – I still miss him. Fathers and daughters . . .

  6. 1a completely foxed me, short words are often harder than the long ones.

    Still all in all a nice solve.

    Thanks for the review and to the setter.

  7. Found this a nice gentle offering & agree with the rateing, I must comment on scchuas pictures for 24A smashing im off for a cold shower.Many thanks for the excellent review.

  8. 1a I got without assistance, but I am under pressure of time to hurry the whole thing up ,and I find hurrying and doing cryptic crosswords are incompatible.Apart from that a really great puzzle . Thanks , once again to Jay and scchua. The weather continues very warm and summery .

    1. I couldn’t agree more about hurrying and doing cryptic crosswords being incompatible – apart from anything else it completely ruins the enjoyment – well, it would for me anyway – which is why I don’t do it. If there isn’t time I leave it until there is and treat it as a reward for having done whatever was making me need to hurry in the first place.

      1. Absolutely, however that would require me to have lots of patience, and the ability to defer pleasure,something I haven’t been accused of recently ! For example , the house is never cleaner or tidier than when I have a bunch of papers to correct.

  9. Thanks to Jay and to scchua for the review and hints. Enjoyed this one a lot, no real problems, was held up a bit in the SW corner, until I solved 17d, then all fell into place. Last in was 28a, this word was in another puzzle recently, so that helped. Favourites were 1a and 5d. Had a penny drop moment with 9a. Humid in Central London. England doing well at the Oval. Must have a look at the Toughie!

  10. Defeated by 1A today. I ended up putting in skirt, as in skirt around and shift dress. Allright, I know it was pitiful. Otherwise, no problems. Loved 17D. Scchua, for me reading some of your hints was more fun than the puzzle! Many thanks, and thanks to Jay also.

    Must say I’m having a lot of trouble getting started on the toughie.

    1. Re Toughie: Thank goodness, I thought it was just me. I’ll have to come back to it later.

    2. I eventually gave up. As Brian would say, way, way beyond my pay scale. How did you do?

    3. Expat Chris and Merusa – because the Toughie has had so many accolades I had intended to at least have a go. There hasn’t been time – or you could call it cowardice!
      I might try tomorrow – torrential rain is forecast.

  11. Very enjoyable crossword from Jay and a most entertaining review from sschua, very many thanks to both.

  12. I found this the same level of difficulty as yesterdays ( rated *** by hinter), so both 1.5 to 2.0 for me based on a couple of tricky synonyms, e.g. 23d and 1a, which involved dredging the temporal lobes, as the letters available were no help. This is when I have to resort to Crossword Solver…..

    But it was interesting. I got 9a entered without “seeing” the computer program until afterwards. I have heard the word but it’s not exactly falling out of my mouth on a daily basis!

    Just time to get the courgettes, savoys and kale in before the inevitable two day downpour. Is it cheaper to make or buy a fruit cage…I’m beginning to wonder?

    1. I missed the 9a computer programme too. As for the fruit cage, probably depends a fair bit on size of said cage and availability of useful ‘stuff’ lying around from previous projects. Also think it depends on time and expertise – husband doesn’t have the time and I have neither the expertise, nor patience!

  13. We walked alongside The River Fal to St Just In Roseland. Is there a prettier named village anywhere. We walked around St Just In Roseland churchyard which is the prettiest churchyard in England. We are now sitting on the terrace at The Tresanton Hotel with a glass of Pimms and a Crab Sandwich. Jays puzzle lies untouched and virginal. My pen is in hand. Bliss. Hello to all. Ta to all.

  14. A thoroughly enjoyable puzzle. Best clue for me was 17d and worst clue was 26a

  15. Thank the stars for the Wednesday puzzle excellent fun. 9a my favourite. Thanks scchua & setter.

  16. thanks to Jay and scchua. A 2* for me as I found the top half very straightforward but needed some hints for the bottom half. Very enjoyable . 19d last one in. Trying to make the most of what may be the last of the sun for a while.

    1. We have a thunderstorm warning for West Bridgford in the early hours tomorrow with rain , sometimes heavy, for the rest of the week. I guess that was summer a few weeks ago.

  17. Thought I was really going to struggle with this one til I managed 25d then things began to fall into place. Found it much harder than the rating (2/3 star) but felt a deal of satisfaction in finishing it albeit some help from my electronic friends!
    No real favs, all a bit too hard for that but 9a was quite nice.
    Thx to all concerned.

  18. Do you know I really take my hat off to those of you who have a mind that could untangle the Toughie. Even with answers i could never have made the connection exp with 9a.
    I could not make a judgement if it was good or not so good as to me it was utterly incomprehensible :-)
    I think I would have more chance if it was written in Chinese!
    Well done to those who even managed to start.

  19. I didn’t like 19d (“it may fill” – too vague) and I still don’t understand the explanation for 22d – would someone enlighten me, please!! Otherwise, no problems and thanks to all concerned.

  20. 22d Car crashes – SHUNTS – SHUT (close) with N inserted (bearing north) and then finish with an S (then South).

    This is a reply to the comment above but for some reason it decided to be a comment :(

  21. Like Expat Chris, I also put skirt in for 1a!

    Envy Miffypops walk to St Just in Roseland; went there in the 70’s and it was lovely. The Pimms and the crab sandwich sound good too.

  22. I put in SKIRT for 1a and thought I must be right.
    You skirt something ie go round it or spare it and a skirt is a shift or sort of dress.
    On reflection my answer is a load of cobblers.
    Otherwise most satisfying.
    Many thanks Jay and scchua for the review.

  23. Just read an article in Daily Telegraph Business section about BT and the word stint was used as in ‘5 year stint’.

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