DT 27253

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 27253

A full review by gnomethang

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment **

Morning All!. This was a pretty straightforward puzzle upon review And I can’t help feeling that 27a is unfair to the solver as the homophone does not exist as a word in itself. Let me know if I am missing something!

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           Stones’ leader? He’s a card (4,2,8)
KING OF DIAMONDS – A Diamond is a precious stone (indicated by example by a question mark). The leader might cryptically be described as the KING OF DIAMONDS which is also the playing  card in a deck.

9a           Perfectionist making jam by the French recipe, in short (8)
STICKLER – TO jam as a noun is to STICK. Add LE – the French masculine article and R – the abbreviation for Recipe (note that ‘take’ is also abbreviated to R from the Latin!)

10a         If recalled, clergyman will return note (5)
FIVER – A reversal of IF (recalled) then the reversal of REV(erend) or clergyman that is returning as well. FI VER

12a         Part of plant found in grassy area, foliage primarily (4)
LEAF – A LEA (grassy area) followed by the first (primarily) letter of F(oliage).

13a         Obscure extra had to interrupt broadcast (10)
OVERSHADOW –  Start with OVER for extra/spare then insert HAD into SOW for broadcast as in suspicions or seeds.

15a         Soldiers and supporter entering in test (8)
INFANTRY – Place a FAN (supporter/adherent) inside IN from the clue and TRY for test

16a         Coming into money, married in country (6)
SWEDEN – WED )married) is coming into the SEN – the currency of Indonesia and Malaysia.

18a         A bit of vinegar licked — it’s pungent (6)
GARLIC – The answer is hidden in (a bit of) vineGAR LICked.

20a         Girl, learner, getting rope disentangled for jockey? (8)
GALLOPER  – Nice to see the setter adding the question mark to indicate that the answer is a definition by example (not all jockeys are gallopers) Start with GAL (girl at St Trinians!) then add L for Learner (from the warning plates) and finally an anagram (disentangled) of ROPE. GAL L (OPER)*

23a         Bet loathed being given order for set meal (5,1’4)
TABLE D’HOTE – An anagram, indicated by ‘being given order’ of BET LOATHED. To make sense of the surface reading Bet here is short for Elizabeth.

24a         I’ll leave oil in river, making sport while horsing around? (4)
POLO – Remove the I from O(i)L and place it inside the good old Chinese River PO*

26a         Perch on branch or tubers, twisted at the end (5)
ROOST –  ROOTS (tubers) with the last two letters twisted around. Nice simple clue that works well.

27a         Shopkeeper with dog in the back, we hear (8)
RETAILER – This held me up for a while. Place TAIL for dog/follow inside REER – a homophone of REAR or back. I was given to believe that homophones had to refer to real words in their own right e.g. REEL and REAL are OK but REAR and REER are not. It wouldn’t get into the Times in any case.

28a         Novel actions clubmen organised (5,4,5)
UNCLE TOMS CABIN – An anagram (organised) of ACTIONS CLUBMEN. I answer to all the questions on the day regarding the apostrophe in TABLE D’HOTE but not in UNCLE TOMS CABIN I can only suggest the usual answer that to add them seems  to make the clue easier – so why add it for the former?. Dunno.



2d           Full pint? Very much so (3,4)
NOT HALF – Not half means ‘Absolutely’ in common parlance. The cryptic definition at the start means that you have an entire delicious beverage.

3d           Pained expression when penny falls out of pocket (4)
OUCH – Remove P for Pence/Penny from a POUCH (a pocket and a banned word).

4d           Distribution from shop, in manner of speaking (8)
DELIVERY – Two definitions here – The goods sent to your home by Ocado for example and also a knack of speaking to an audience.

5d           Dawn, woman losing head with gold in clasp (6)
AURORA – Find LAURA (a woman) then remove the head letter L and add OR (in clasp). OR is the heraldic colour for gold. (l)AUR (OR) A. Bit tricky as you have to get the girl’s name right!.

6d           Legendary Egghead toppled thus? It’s unexpected (3,3,4)
OFF THE WALL – Humpty-Dumpty fell OFF THE WALL being the cryptic definition.

7d           I had taken the plunge outside Split (7)
DIVIDED – DIVED (taken the plunge) outside I’D – the abbreviation for I HAD.

8d           Contract marriage partner witnessed in reception area (7,4)
DRAWING ROOM –DRAW IN (contract) then GROOM (a marriage partner whose wedding is witnessed).

11d         Beginning of aerial race? (6,5)
FLYING START – A cryptic definition . Most flying races require one.

14d         Note inserted in otherwise identical sort of music (10)
INCIDENTAL – Muzak or music played in the background of a drama. Place the note N (from Nota Bene) inside an anagram (otherwise) of IDENTICAL.

17d         General worker, agent losing right to join corporation (8)
FACTOTUM – He does everything. Remove the R (right) from FACTOr (agent) and then add TUM for corporation or belly (which you all should have by now!

19d         Blood red, getting cut, on the canvas — massage needed! (3,4)
RUB DOWN – Cut the last letter from RUB(y) or blood red, then add DOWN for the count or on the boxing canvas.

21d         Saying name of dog in lead (7)
PROVERB – I recall a similar clue a couple of times from I think Rufus and Virgilius. Place ROVER (a dog’s name) inside PB – Plumbum, the chemical symbol for lead.

22d         Keenness shown by Thirty-First’s group of outriders? (6)
THIRST – The outriding letters (around the outside) of THIrty fiRST.

25d         Notice over missing record (4)
DISCOVER – Remove the OVER from DISC(over) or notice/find out.


*Don’t you lot start – I know where it is!.

Thanks to the setter for an entertaining puzzle. I’ll see you all soon.




  1. Digby
    Posted August 16, 2013 at 8:15 am | Permalink

    Re. 27A – agree.
    Otherwise a pretty fair challenge, with some mildly amusing misleading clues.

  2. 2Kiwis
    Posted August 16, 2013 at 11:21 am | Permalink

    When we filled in the answer to 24a the comment was made, “Ah, Gnomie’s Chinese river”. World-wide fame!
    Cheers and thanks for the review

    • Senf
      Posted August 16, 2013 at 12:40 pm | Permalink

      I think the geography might be off a bit, or there is more than River Po – there is one in Italy,

      • andy
        Posted August 16, 2013 at 12:48 pm | Permalink

        Hi Senf, it’s a running joke, Gnomey blogged that the River Po was in China, and nobody has ever let him forget it.

        • gnomethang
          Posted August 16, 2013 at 12:54 pm | Permalink

          Ever! – I did leave a footnote!

        • Posted August 16, 2013 at 12:57 pm | Permalink

          It was in December 2010 and, as Andy remarked, he has not been allowed to forget it!


          • gnomethang
            Posted August 16, 2013 at 1:15 pm | Permalink

            Thanks for that, Dave ;)

          • Senf
            Posted August 16, 2013 at 3:03 pm | Permalink

            Ah – some time before I found this blog, so I was not aware of the joke. Thanks.

          • gnomethang
            Posted August 16, 2013 at 10:36 pm | Permalink

            Just re-read it – A fine blog IMHO only spoilt by the final comment ;)

    • Kath
      Posted August 16, 2013 at 10:02 pm | Permalink

      I would never have mentioned the river – I didn’t need to as others did it for me! :smile:

  3. Senf
    Posted August 16, 2013 at 12:46 pm | Permalink

    With regard to the possessive apostrophe discussion that 28a provoked. As I said on Saturday, it would be interesting to get the crossword editor’s spin on this issue.

  4. gazza
    Posted August 16, 2013 at 1:58 pm | Permalink

    Thanks to Gnomey and setter. I agree about the homophone in 27a (though I didn’t notice it on the day). In 14d the note to be inserted is N(ote) rather than A.

    • gnomethang
      Posted August 16, 2013 at 2:07 pm | Permalink

      Thanks Gazza corrected!

  5. Kath
    Posted August 16, 2013 at 10:12 pm | Permalink

    Another lovely Sunday puzzle. My problem is that I can neither remember it nor find it but I do remember having trouble with 19 and 22d.
    With thanks to Virgilius and gnomey.

    • gnomethang
      Posted August 16, 2013 at 10:25 pm | Permalink

      Psst! – Kath! – THis was last Saturday’s puzzle ;)