DT 27238 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 27238

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 27238

Hints and tips by scchua

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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

Another 1.5*/3* for difficulty/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    Not paying attention when former PM returns (6)

{ASLEEP} : [when, as in “when you walk through”] + reversal of(returns) [Robert, former English PM].

5a    Scary wild dog almost trapping relation (8)

{DAUNTING} : [Australian wild dog] minus its last letter(almost) containing(trapping) [a female relation of an older generation than one’s].

9a    Plant may crush them in order to protect name (13)

{CHRYSANTHEMUM} : Anagram of(in order) MAY CRUSH THEM containing(to protect) [abbrev. for “name”].


10a    A bit roughly, I beg your pardon (8)

{SOMEWHAT} : [roughly;approximately] + [I beg your pardon?;a query to someone to repeat his/her words].

11a    Quite  a bit! (6)

{RATHER} : Double defn: 1st: To a considerable extent, as in “Was that exciting?” “Quite!”; and 2nd: A bit;to a limited extent, as in “I’m a bit/somewhat hesitant about offering this explanation”. One of those 2-faced words that can take almost opposite meanings at the same time.

12a    Common sense’s beginning for people in party (6)

{GREENS} : [a common;a public place associated with villages and cricket] + first letter of(…’s beginning) “sense”.

Answer: Members of a relatively new political party.

14a    Information stored at sea – bad planning (8)

{DATABASE} : Anagram of(planning) AT SEA – BAD.

16a    Source of gold, for example, in person acting for bully (8)

{DOMINEER} : [source of minerals yielding, for example, gold] contained in(in) [a person who acts;performs deeds].

Defn: As a verb.

19a    Get retribution in heaven, generally (6)

{AVENGE} : Hidden in(in) “heaven, generally”.

21a    Road bridge needing something to impart stiffness (6)

{STARCH} : [abbrev. for a small road, usually lined with buildings] + [a bridge;a structure that spans across an opening].

Defn: Not the pharmaceutical you’re thinking of.


23a    Conceited person‘s to pay a call with bird (8)

{POPINJAY} : [to pay a call;briefly visit someone (2 words)] plus(with) [a gregarious noisy songbird – also, a foolish person, hence, the term for one who walks across a road recklessly].


25a    Clumsy touches on book, say (13)

{BUTTERFINGERS} : [touches with one’s digits] placed after(on, in an across clue) { [abbrev. for a “book”] + [to say;to audibly express] }.

Answer: Like “Clumsy!”, an exclamation you might say to one who’s done something clumsy, such as dropping things.


26a    Spring in lock offering access unlawfully (8)

{TRESPASS} : [a spring of (mineral) water, round which a resort may be built] contained in(in) [a lock of hair, especially a long lock of female hair].

Answer: To enter a place unlawfully.

27a    Most retiring set out after quiet end to party (6)

{SHYEST} : Anagram of(out) SET placed after(after) { [an exclamation to someone to keep quiet] + last letter of(end to) “party” }.



2d    Help Straw on the radio (7)

{SUCCOUR} : Homophone of(on the radio) [a straw whimsically named after what you do with it – not to imply that anyone named Straw is a this].

3d    The end of Lady in Lake is a high spot (5)

{EYRIE} : Last letter of(The end of) “Lady” contained in(in) [one of the north American Great Lakes].

Defn: ….where the eagles cry…and nest.

4d    Dislike accommodating son chasing job immediately (9)

{POSTHASTE} : { [to dislike;to abhor] containing(accommodating) [abbrev. for “son”] } placed below(chasing, in a down clue) [a job;a position of employment].

5d    Indicated study will need books on Labour leader (7)

{DENOTED} : [a study;a room to retreat to] plus(will need) [abbrev. for books in the bible] placed above(on, in a down clue) [Milliband, leader of the British Labour Party].

6d    Guide‘s American idol out of love (5)

{USHER} : [abbrev. for things American] + [one idolised for exceptional achievements] minus(out of, as in “short of”) [letter that looks like 0, love in tennis scores].

7d    Board accepts one satisfied schedule (9)

{TIMETABLE} : [a board, if set for serving food] containing(accepts) { [Roman numeral for “one”] + [has satisfied, say, requirements or conditions] }.

8d    Book on anaesthetics? (7)

{NUMBERS} : Double defn: A book in the bible; and 2nd: Whimsically (see 2 down), things to make you not feel.

13d    Leaves for golf in Arab states (9)

{EMIGRATES} : [letter represented by “golf” in the phonetic alphabet] contained in(in) [Arab states, so-called from the princes, commanders or heads ruling them].

Defn: Leaves the country.

15d    Beefy sends son to the back for accessories (9)

{TRAPPINGS} : [beefy;strong and muscular] with [abbrev. for “son”] moved to the end of the word(sends … to the back).

17d    New car boot sale alas cancelled for this month (7)

{OCTOBER} : Anagram of(New) “car boot sale” minus(… cancelled) “alas”.

18d    Swindles not working – covered in tears (3-4)

{RIP-OFFS} : [not working, as with, eg. appliances that are not switched on] contained in(covered in) [tears, as you would, eg. with paper – or a bodice?].

20d    What may help you look good with girls? (7)

{GLASSES} : [abbrev. for “good”] plus(with) [girls, especially young ones]. Nice surface.

You can wear them…or carry them.


22d    Animal from hard currency area (5)

{HYENA} : [abbrev. for “hard”] + [East Asian currency unit] + [abbrev. for “area”].

24d    Rising desire to throttle editor demanding attention (5)

{NEEDY} : Reversal of(Rising, in a down clue) [a desire;an intense longing – also see 22 down] containing(to throttle) [abbrev. for “editor”].

The Quick crossword pun: (thus} + {hoop} + {reams} = {The Supremes}

48 comments on “DT 27238

  1. Thanks Scchua for much needed hints and explanations. Fun puzzle & fave is 23a, but liked quite a few. Spent too long trying to fit Jack into 2d. Poppy now looking a dashing shade of red where her damp towelling coat colour-ran, but a happy dog in slightly cooler weather. And my first time tomato plants are now taller than me, so I’m wondering if they’re really triffids :-)

    1. Having got the ‘C’ I also spent far too long trying to make 2d jack something. Pity about red dog but glad that she’s happier in cooler weather (what cooler weather? Not in Oxford). I think that tomato plants that are taller than you are definitely triffids – do they have any tomatoes on them?

      1. Oh dear! They are now producing some small tomatoes… But I’m wondering whether I should ‘top’ them (my guess at a gardening procedure as I know nothing about gardening!)…. Do hope your collie is doing OK? (And, of course poorly leg on pet lamb daughter)…

  2. Scchua, this is probably not the first time that you have heard this but I find the mechanics, although very useful, are often more complicated that the clues but thank you for them anyway

    1. Collywobbles, fair enough, but if you like, give me an example (from today or past weeks), so I can tell which bits are complicated for you, and, hopefully, advise how to make them less complicated.

      1. Scchua, no I wouldn’t change a thing. If I consider each Mechanic separately I can understand it and apply it but when I look at the whole Mechanism it can be bewildering. It is a complicated system but very good if you can apply it

        1. Agreed. It’s taken a while but I’ve now got used to how Scchua breaks his explanations down. Also I think it was he who introduced the convention of underlining the part of the clue for which the answer is required. Most useful & would be even more helpful if all the tinters & hipsters adopted this approach.

          1. Quite agree Spindrift, it was he who introduced the underlining which is very useful. I think that I must work at understanding the Mechanics

  3. Thank you Jay – assuming it was you ‘cos I scored nil on the first reading of the across clues, but fared better on the down clues. Thought it was going to be very difficult, but in the end once I had checking letters, it fell into place. Some very amusing clues. Thank you Scchua for your review and tasteful photos. Had the answer for 25a but your hint helped with the wordplay.

  4. Didn’t like the north-east corner much and was grateful for the tips. Isn’t 4d hyphenated at the very least and possibly two words?

  5. Finished but IMHO a horrible crossword.
    And I thought 2d was the worst of the lot, why capitalise Straw, totally unnecessary.
    For me 3* for difficulty and minus 100 for enjoyment.
    Sorry to be so negative but I can find nothing to enjoy about this one.
    Thx to Scchua for exposing 2d.

    1. Re 2d – Odds are that, on occasion, Jack Straw has found himself in difficulty during a radio talk programme, and hence the surface.

    2. I agree the wording an capitalisation threw me – trying to make something out of Jack and On Air or Aired for radio. Particularly with a C from 9a and R from 12a.

  6. Apart from the spelling of 9a, all pretty straightforward today.
    Thanks to Jay, and to scchua.

    For those who normally avoid the toughie, today’s is about as benign as they come.

    1. And if you are a fan of Virgilius, you will love today’s Brendan in the Graun.

      1. Sue,
        In lieu of an expected power cut this morning, I got up early and printed it off as well as the DT. Most enjoyable.

      2. Many hours later …

        … finished the Brendan! Phew!

        I wonder what the Commentariat would say if this were to appear in the Sunday Telegraph.

        Amazing how a setter can vary the level of difficulty!

  7. Fun puzzle today. At first I thought it was going to be really difficult, but as the Downs fell into place, so the rest became clear. Had to think hard about 12A as I still think of them as a bit of a joke rather than a Party.

    Did anyone else get a mental flashback of Alice Tinker in The Vicar of Dibley when solving 2D (missed opportunity for a clip there methinks).

    1. 2d – Yes, yes, yes errh, No – it was the first thing that came to mind! :smile:

      Poor Alice! Those Old English “S”s can easily be mistaken for “F”s.

  8. Similar to the toughie today, neither held me up from rewatching some old football matches which I am due to lose tomorrow when Sky change my box. Thanks to Jay and scchua.

  9. I found this harder than yesterday’s ( which I gave a * as opposed to hinter’s **).

    So for me it’s a ** and ** for enjoyment.
    I liked one or two – 23 and 9.

    I would have liked 8, except I saw it a week or two ago, so solved it too quickly to really enjoy it.
    6 was fairly meaningless as read, although it worked in a mechanical sort of way.
    I really didn’t like the NW corner, 10,12 and 16 were a bit limp. Why wasn’t there a question mark after pardon? Was it just to annoy us?

    My apologies for whining…..curate’s egg.
    And thank you Schuua- I needed some hints even after the answers went in!

    Re 25, can someone explain whether there is a clever reason for b denoting book? Otherwise, it’s another one in the limp box for me.

  10. Does anyone know the derivation of the 23 word?

    Let’s bring it back!

    Many celebs that it fits to a T. Simon Cowell? Jimmy Saville? Nancy Dell’Olio?

    1. The 23 word: Old French: Papegai – a fop. Or parrot to be shot at. Also late Greek – papagallos — a parrot. Probably Eastern, influenced by “Jay”. “Jay”: stupid, awkward or easily duped person — U.S Slang. Better now?

  11. We find that the most helpful hint that can be given, is the underlining of the definition of the clue, so we know what to look for. We can usually finish the crossword with electronic help. The hints are also useful for explanations when the clues are very convoluted. Thank you to setter & hinter.

  12. I enjoyed this ,although at first read through I despaired ! Only problem came with two or three in the north west corner, so was grateful for hints. Thank you to Jay and Scchua. Clearly the royal arrival has had no influence on the compilers today. Favourites 25a and 17d

  13. Hi schuua and thanks for hints, I did finish without consulting them albeit (I like that word) with a little help from my electronic friends :-) , personally I found it a two to three star for difficulty though after finishing I wondered why, only one real favourite 20d, some clues where the readings don’t make a lot of sense but appreciating the work gone into the clues all the same, another hot sunny day, book, garden, here I come :-D

  14. I think that 1+1/5* a little optimistic. 2*/3* would be my scoring and I am still struggling with it

  15. I always enjoy Wednesday puzzles – today was no exception. A bit more than 2* for difficulty and 4* for enjoyment.
    I’m often quite slow to get going with Jay puzzles but did a bit better today and managed more than usual of the across clues before moving on to the downs.
    For some reason 12a was my last answer.
    I didn’t like 9a very much but mainly because I don’t like the flowers (they pong) and I hate tattoos (they give me the heebie-jeebies).
    I liked too many of these to write them all down. My favourite was 25a – I thought it was a very typically Jay clue.
    With thanks to Jay and scchua.
    Hot again – ought to cut grass . . . :sad:

  16. I agree with others that I didn’t like the NW corner but 12a was the only one I needed help with.
    Enjoyed it. Interesting use of labour leader. Will it replace the usual?

  17. Solved sat sitting with Cider outside The Buck And Bell whilst seething about the 92 year old mother in law refusing to find anything nice about the five star brand new care home we have found for her.. Ten days of ” I want to go home. I’m not staying. It’s not for me” So Saint Sharon has taken her home today where she can sit in lonely isolation totally deaf and nearly blind. last year she fell and broke her hip whilst alone at night. Recently she fell and broke her nose. I would have her with us but a sixteenth century higgledy piggledy layout with steps and low doorways would just cause more falls. I despair. Ta to all. Sorry about the rant.

    1. Oh dear – sending sympathy and fellow feeling about your mother-in-law. My Mum is 91 and can be pretty tricky at times – for similar reasons it would be absolutely hopeless for her to live with us.

  18. two thirds in the brain decided to go into cant see the wood for the trees mode. So thanks for the hints and one or two answers Scchua.

  19. Thanks to Jay and to scchua for the review and hints. Took me ages, but I fell at the last hurdle. Couldn’t get 12, needed the hint. Didn’t think the clue worked very well. EI enjoyed the puzzle. Was 4*/3* for me. Favourites were 9&23a and 2&15d went for a run earlier, it was great when I finished :-)

  20. About a **/*** today, quite a tease. Did’nt quite work out the ‘green’ part of 12a,thought it just also meant common-thanks Scchua-oh and for the usual high standard of picks,20d reminded me why I always order white wine on a hot day! Listening to Talk Sport when a guest was asked what name he’d choose for the new prince-‘Thor ‘was the reply- maybe it has a certain ring to it.

  21. Bit of a struggle today. Just couldn’t get on the wavelength. Has to be ***/* for me. Needed 2 or 3 hints, which is unusual.

  22. Finally finished it!

    What a struggle, – I spent about an hour at it this morning and got virtually nowhere and then went out to play golf and then have a visit to the pub.

    Now home again and had another go and really needed an awful lot of help from the blog – I don’t know just not on my wavelength today, maybe my brain wasn’t up to it!

    Thanks to all!!

  23. Not on the right wavelength for this one. Sadly I never am with Jay. Give me one with a Big Dave 3 star rating any day.

  24. Didn’t get very. Far with this one – a different wavelength and definitely not much fun for me. I thought 24d had to be MEDIA ( AIM = desire) but it didn’t fit!

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