DT 27244 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 27244

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 27244

Hints and tips by scchua

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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

This was marginally more difficult than last week’s, but I’d still give it a 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    Man in church, intoxicated, quietly making a mess of rites (4,6)

{HIGH PRIEST} : [intoxicated, eg. on alcohol or drugs – or love] + [abbrev. for a musical direction to play quietly] + anagram of(making a mess of) RITES.

6a    Lively horse loses right plate (4)

{SHOE} : Anagram of(Lively) “horse” minus(loses) [abbrev. for “right”).

Defn: Not one associated with food.

9a    State of a house on the borders of Ireland (5)

{IDAHO} : { A + [abbrev. for “house”] } placed after(on, in an across clue) the 2 outermost letters of(the borders of) “Ireland”.

10a    Morally justified in reforming this rogue? (9)

{RIGHTEOUS} : Anagram of(reforming) THIS ROGUE.

12a    Gain upper hand, seeing article covered by Spinners (4,3,6)

{TURN THE TABLES} : [the definite article] contained in(covered by) [things that spin, even in these days of digital music].

14a    Letting on perhaps, initially to be agreeable (8)

{PLEASING} : [letting;renting a property, say] placed after(on, in an across clue) first letter of(initially) “perhaps”.

15a    A few locked in centre of firm’s compound (6)

{ISOMER} : [a few;a part of the whole] contained in(locked in) middle 2 letters of(centre of) “firm”.

Defn: An alternative form of a chemical compound with a different arrangement of its atoms.

17a    Radio broadcast key for member of crew (6)

{ROADIE} : Anagram of(broadcast) RADIO + [one of the keys in music terminology].

Defn: Not of a crew at sea.

19a    Preserve wood in Greek island full of love like this (8)

{CREOSOTE} : [the largest Greek island] containing(full of) { [the letter representing zero;love in tennis scores] + [like this;in this manner] } .

Defn. and Answer: As verbs.

21a    State hates cuts planned in service (13)

{MASSACHUSETTS} : Anagram of(planned) HATES CUTS contained in(in) [a church service].

24a    Feeling queasy, dean arranged to accept university chair (9)

{NAUSEATED} : Anagram of(arranged) DEAN containing(to accept) { [abbrev. for “university”] + [a chair;also your bottom] }.

25a    Bitter and cold – dry outside (5)

{ACRID} : [abbrev. for “cold”] contained in(… outside) [dry, and therefore barren].

26a    What wet concrete does for tennis? (4)

{SETS} : Cryptic defn: Referring to terminology in tennis.

27a    They’ll give an edge for writer accommodated by flatmates (10)

{SHARPENERS} : [a writing instrument] contained in(accommodated by) [those who jointly use, say, a flat].

Answer: They include things that could give a point to writers.

1d    Hot tune from Sixties musical? (4)

{HAIR} : [abbrev. for “hot”] + [a tune, sometimes played on the G string].

Answer:  There was a lot of it around then:

2d    Person receiving conveyance from relative supporter (7)

{GRANTEE} : [an informal term for an older relative] + [a supporter, eg. of your balls on a golf course].

Answer: A legal term for one to whom the title deed to property/conveyance, is given.

3d    Poor reactions part creating delay (13)


Defn: As a verb.

4d    I rave about educated girl ignoring a pest (8)

{IRRITANT} : I + [to rave;not to party, but to speak or write angrily or violently] containing(about) [name of a female character who was educated in a play and movie] minus(ignoring) “a”.

5d    Continue to be detained by house guests (5)

{SEGUE} : Hidden in(to be detained by) “house guests”.

Defn: A musical direction to continue directly from one section or theme to another.

7d    Criminal‘s cover left dump unprotected (7)

{HOODLUM} : [a cover worn over one’s head] + [abbrev. for “left”] + the 2 innermost letters of(unprotected) “dump”.

8d    Point poor setter, say makes for financial security (4,6)

{EASY STREET} : [abbrev. for one of the main compass points] + anagram of(poor) SETTER, SAY.

11d    Establishment offering ecstasy in food? (9,4)

{TRANSPORT CAFE} : Cryptic defn: An eating place whose name suggests moving you to ecstasy and rapture.

Have you come across this on the M1?

13d    Accommodation for a section with workers on empty trains (10)

{APARTMENTS} : A + [a section only;not the whole thing] plus(with) [workers] placed above(on, in a down clue) the 2 outermost letters of(empty) “trains”.

16d    Credit America, turning up communist campaigner (8)

{CRUSADER} : [abbrev. for “credit”, as in accounting] + [abbrev. for the full name of America] + reversal of(turning up, in a down clue) [a communist of the same colour].

Defn:  Some modern day ones:


18d    A sailor reported following second attack (7)

{ASSAULT} : A + { homophone of(reported) [a sailor, especially one who is old and experienced] placed below(following, in a down clue) [abbrev. for second, in time notation] }

20d    Show respect for see (7)

{OBSERVE} : Double defn: 1st: To comply with, say, conditions, customs, etc; and 2nd: To watch carefully.

22d    Minor difficulty with answer for one to concoct (5)

{HATCH} : [a minor difficulty;a snag] with [abbrev. for “answer”] replacing(for) [Roman numeral for “one”].

23d    Love of French son’s poetic output (4)

{ODES} : [letter representing 0;love in tennis scores] + [French for “of”] + [abbrev. for “son”].

The Quick crossword pun: (thug} + {aim} + {sup} = {the game’s up}

65 comments on “DT 27244

  1. We do all of the cryptic crosswords published in the DT, under pretty standardised conditions, so I think that we have a pretty good feeling of the comparative difficulty of the offerings from the various setters. We find that the Wednesday puzzles from Jay are remarkably consistent both in difficulty and enjoyment and set a benchmark for how difficult a mid-week back-pager should be. We really feel that it is unfair to Jay for his puzzles to be criticised as sub-standard week after week by being given a difficulty rating of less than 2*. In our book, judging by our solving times, they almost always should rate at 3*.
    There, I’ve got that off my chest.
    Really enjoyed the puzzle. NE corner was the last yield.
    Thanks Jay and Scchua.

    1. Ouch. I rarely take note of the assigned difficulty rating. I expect the ‘team’ to find the puzzles less challenging. I’m more inclined to see whether I agree with the enjoyment rating.

    2. I think what’s really unfair is that you equate a less than 2* rating with criticism of the setter’s puzzle. There is no such criticism (implied or otherwise), from me in the difficulty rating (and, I think, from other bloggers as well). If there were criticism to be levelled, it would be more explicit and specific, getting down to individual clues.

      And there is no “standard” set of conditions. We each have our own standards, depending on one’s own experience. I, for one, can’t manage, timewise, to try the DT Cryptic everyday, after tackling the other dailies. Therefore my “standard” is relative to non-DT puzzles. It would be futile for me to guess what the absolute standard for a DT Cryptic should be (if there is such a one), so I tell it like it is, from my POV – ie. how difficult I found it, not how difficult I think you should find it. Furthermore there are no conclusions to be drawn if our respective difficulty ratings do not match.

      To summarise, I would assure setters and readers alike that (my) difficulty rating is NOT criticism of the puzzle. In fact, if BD lets me, I would certainly prefer to refrain from putting a difficulty rating, just to avoid any misunderstanding.

      1. Other factors are previous night’s alcohol consumption, grandchildren staying ,having to go to the Reebok…….etc !

      2. The difficulty/enjoyment ratings have been there since day 1 of the blog, and I’d like to keep them. Although I’m happy for them to be queried (that’s part of the fun) please remember that they are only intended as a guide. I certainly find puzzles that I would have rated as ** being given **** and vice versa! As far as today’s puzzle is concerned, I would have given it */** for difficulty, much the same as scchua, and I gave it :) :) :) for enjoyment on the Telegraph Puzzles site.

    3. Funnily enough, I settled on 1.5 stars even before I looked at the blog, so spot on rating from scchua, I thought.

      I can’t see how a low rating of difficulty should represent any standard of quality. After all, a setter might want to do the whole range of levels by way of “calibration”.

      If I were a setter, I would only be worried if people consistently failed to enjoy them.

    4. I also agree that we each have our own way of rating difficulty. I don’t see how it could be otherwise.
      I don’t think about time elapsed at all. I might need a coffee, or be interrupted…..

      If I can complete it with no help whatsoever, it’s *.
      If I need a bit of minor help with one or two answers, it’s **
      If as above with three or four answers, it’s ***
      If I can’t finish it or understand the parsing having sought help, it’s ****.

      Enjoyment is related to if I feel I’ve done well or if the puzzle is good fun and witty.

  2. Doing the cryptic at 3 am is not the best way to get back to sleep quickly! Anyway, all done and quite 14A. I did like 4D and 11D, but 26A didn’t float my boat. Am I the only one who fell for thinking that the indicator (if that’s the right word) to the answer for 22D lay in the first two words of the clue? No wonder I couldn’t justify it. 11D was my favorite because answers like that remind me of home and words and expressions no longer a part of my everyday vocabulary.

    Thanks to Jay, and many thanks to scchua, who can always relied on to post the hints nice and early for this insomniac who lives across the pond.

      1. I wouldn’t mind betting 80% of us did that and, apart from a minor qualm about “Why?”, didn’t bother to look back.

    1. Expat Chris – where across the pond do you live? My home is in Texas (for now), at present working in and just about to move to Delaware. I always try to get the next puzzle at midnight UK time (7:00 pm the ‘day before’ on the East Coast). Very occasionally, I have even been able to finish before ‘lights out.’

      1. I am in Southern Maryland, a couple of hours or so from Delaware. I don’t usually print the puzzle out until the early morning though. That’s my quiet time – no phones, no radio, just me and the morning chorus.

  3. For the ratings I have my own guidelines for difficulty based on the time I take, and enjoyment is obviously very subjective and, perhaps surprisingly, not always linked to difficulty. Today was a case in point for me of the two extremes. I completed the puzzle in a lot less than 1* time (except, like Expat Chris, I was held up on 22d trying unsuccessfully, of course, to work out why hitch was the right answer) but nevertheless it was way up the enjoyment scale for me and well worth 4*.

    There were so many excellent clues and the surface reading of all of them was exemplary in my opinion.

    Just one question, is the tense right for 24a? Shouldn’t it say “Felt queasy…”?

    Thank you Jay, this was a superb puzzle which brightened up a grey and drizzly morning in SE London. Thanks too to Scchua for the review, especially for sorting out 22d for me!

    1. I think 24a is an adjective, where you can interchange (I am) feeling queasy, with (I am)…..

      1. Good point, Jezza.

        You probably wouldn’t want to say “I am n——-ing”! :grin:

  4. Nice and easy does it but I had to google 15ac to see if it really existed as a word. Hopefully I am restored to being a Furry Little Miffypops after yesterday’s little mix up with my new iPad. Apologies to CrypticSue for confusing her Could be a toughie day today.

    1. I am confused now because it wasn’t me that was confused, it was, I think, Kath.

      Now if only you had stuck to the socks, there wouldn’t have been a problem :D

    2. CS is right, Miffypops – I was the confused one but I’m easily confused so don’t worry about it too much! :smile:

    3. I apologise to you both for mixing you up. It is Saint Sharons fault for buying me an ipad. The crosswords look better without the corrections and overwrites. particularly the quickie.

  5. Morning all – nice and cool in Wilts to-day. Brain workout completed in good time – didn’t enjoy the Cryptic all that much – some clues seemed too easy-peasy, but got held up a bit in the SW corner, which was good. The Quick did what it said on the tin, but I began to wonder about the origin of “spick and span”. After a lot of page turning in the BRB all I could come away with was “newly split chip”. Not very satisfying (unless there was fish attached). Anyone got any further enlightenment?

  6. Thank you Jay. Always enjoy your puzzles New words for me at 5d and 15a displaying my ignorance again ! Thank you Scchua for your review.

  7. A very enjoyable puzzle a good balance of difficulty and fun, loved 24 & 26ac and 11 down.

  8. Quite enjoyable, though I found that it was best not to stare at a clue straight on, better to squint at it side-ways and let the answer slip into view. Needed hints or 2d, 5d and 17a. Favourite 4d, least favourite 11d. Thanks to Jay and scchua.

  9. Good morning schuua and thanks for the hints, I didn’t use them but on reading through saw that I had ‘hitch’ instead of ‘hatch’ for my answer! 15a, a word I didn’t know, no real favourites for me today, a 3* for me for difficulty as on first read through I had only put one answer in, had to check the spelling of 21a, also had ‘pleasant’ in at 14a at first and wasted time checking to see if there was an actual word ‘leasant’ !!!

          1. Mary, was asking what t the vet said about Shadow and was called away so didn’t finish. I hope you didn’t have bad news.

  10. This was a 2*/3* difficulty and 4* for enjoyment for me today.
    I don’t time myself and never have the first idea of how long a crossword has taken me – usually stop several times to make coffee/hang washing out/empty dishwasher/ talk to dog etc. I base my difficulty rating on how tricky, or not, I felt it was while I was doing it.
    I was slow and stupid about 1a which took me ages. I couldn’t do 12a for far too long having convinced myself that the ‘Spinners’ had to be ‘spiders’ so had to be part of the answer – oh dear! I can’t spell 21a so always have to look it up – however I write it it always looks wrong.
    I liked 10a and 11d. My favourite was 7d.
    With thanks to Jay and scchua.
    Rain seems to have rescued me from grass cutting – might try Toughie later.

    1. An eating place, the first part of whose name means (one of its meanings) to move/transport/entrance you, say, to a state of ecstasy and rapture.

    2. An establishment offering food can be a cafe. Transport is another word for ecstasy, hence the answer

  11. No real problems this morning except that for some reason I woke at 4 and 5 and 5:30 so was feeling a bit groggy when I started ad a little less so when I’d finished.

    Radio appearance was fun (apart from the fact I was rubbish). I managed to win 3 packets of quavers, a packet of minestrone soup, half a roll of gaffer tape and £3.40.

    1. Get yourself down to Warwickshire. £3.40 will buy you a pint of real ale in my pub from a choice of four. You can eat the quavers ( I would put them in the bin ) with the soup which Saint Sharon will warm up for you and provide some tasty bread to go with it.

      1. Ah, just enlarged your avatar, so now have answers to both questions! I’m from the County Town meself. Maybe see you around one day.

  12. Very enjoyable puzzle today, half done before rushing off to get wet on the golf course and the other half finished after the game. For me it was a **/**** but then ratings like beauty are in the eye of the beholder.
    Lots of nice clues today including a reminder of one of the few musicals i have ever seen in 1d, great music not so sure about the acting :-)
    Thanks to Jay for the puzzle and to Scchua for explaining 22d.

  13. Thanks to Jay and to scchua for the review and hints. A very enjoyable puzzle, only difficulty was getting the wrong answer to 22d, I should’ve read the clue properly, and the spelling of 21a. Favourites were 15a and 5&11d. Was 2*/4* for me. A bit overcast inCentral LoLondon ttoday. My kwebosrd has gone bananas :-)

  14. Another enjoyable puzzle completed in ‘thirds’ – first third before lights out last night, second before first caffeine infusion this morning, and third just completed (at the office). Favourite is 11d – although I am not sure about the type of ecstasy one would experience at that kind of establishment. I would give this **/****

  15. Thanks to Jay for a gently entertaining puzzle and to scchua for the amusing review.

  16. Two new words today 15 across, & 5 down. Fancy not knowing those words I hear some of you say, but never mind, it’s a case of remembering them for the next time, if they ever occur again. We never worry about how long it takes to do the crosswords, because we always complete them over lunchtime. If we’re struggling, we just use all the help we can get from the hints & from electronic devises. After all they are to enjoy not to worry about. Thank you to the setter & to the hinter.

  17. 2.5* difficulty for me, for what it’s worth. Didn’t help having too many esses and not enough tees in that US state beginning with M. That made 11d a little more problematic than than ecstatic! Thanks to all.

  18. I spent ages trying to get boarders or borders into the last clue.
    Fairly straightforward for me today. I put hitch but I’ll go back in and change it now

    Dave, I had 31 emails from you this morning for no apparent

  19. Got “”Hatch” for 22d, but did not work out why. So thanks to scchua – and setter for an enjoyable puzzle.

    Incidentally. I always try to finish without any hints or help of any kind. If neccessay I use my little “Collins Thesaurus Compact Edition” made by Franklin. This gizmo has about 50% of the synonyms of the recommended tome but it makes it more challenging. As a last resort I may ask the device to spell a word. When this fails it is because I have made a mistake on other clues. So its a good hint for me to revisit them. Your column is the final arbiter; so long may it continue

  20. Nice puzzle from Jay!

    Faves : 12a, 15a, 19a, 27a, 1d, 2d, 4d & 11d.

    I never assign difficulty ratings as I only do crosswords to try to keep my original, mother tongue up to date!

    Weather here somewhat cooler after yesterday’s downpour. Forecast is for more heat at the weekend!
    One has to get past mid-August before things really start to cool down.

  21. Can I just say that I enjoyed today’s puzzle, and I always enjoy them more when I can a) finish them and b) not find them too difficult. Oh, and c) get it done before going out early doors:)

    I have ever been grateful that I found this site though, and often need the tips, if not for the answer, at least the reason for the answer!

    Have a nice evening everyone!

  22. The DT Cryptic really is one of the most important parts to my day…sad but true! I usually wake up early between 4 and 5am and have a look out over the fields on the West side of the Malvern Hills, make a strong cafetiere of espresso coffee and retire back to bed with the printout. I know I grump sometimes especially about Thursdays but let’s face it life would be too dull if everyday was an easy solve! I then have a window of time until the normal day beckons in which to solve the crossword.

    So just thought I’d add a general note to all the setters and ‘tipsters’ to thank them for this simple daily pleasure.

    1. Where are you on the west side of the hills? I do think Herefordshire is more interesting than Worcestershire (sorry, BD!)

        1. Has Worcestershire got anything to match the picture on the front of the Telegraph today? & that’s only one of Northumberland’s attractions.

          1. Worcestershire is a bit flat which Herefordshire isn’t but apart from that the only thing that’s wrong with either of them is their distance from proper sea – I mean stuff with big waves and surf like Cornwall or Pembrokeshire. Northumberland, being north of Birmingham, might as well be Scotland to me. Only joking (ish) – I’ll get me coat!

            1. Flat? I live near the Fens -you want flat? 19 years here and just learned to appreciate the big sky. Do miss the sea though

              1. …and hills, pretty to look at but at my age I like flat walking and cycling! not much of that around here though, now I do like Worcestershire

  23. I’ve been out playing golf and then down the pub – as usual on a Wednesday.

    Managed to finish it with a little bit of help from the blog – a really good puzzle and thanks for the help.

    I’ve read some of the comments about the scoring – I’ve no idea how you judge one puzzle against another, maybe in ten years or so I’ll be able to make a stab at it!

    1. Hi Michael
      Hope your golf went better than mine .Scoring discussion is interesting but not really important as w e are all different . I am reminded of Colin Dexter’s observation :
      The hobby and the habit of solving crosswords is the most serene and civilised way of wasting time that I have yet discovered

      Usual quality puzzle from Jay and review from Scchua for which many thanks

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