DT 27269 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 27269

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 27269

Hints and tips by Falcon

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

Greetings from Ottawa, where we are experiencing a bit of a late summer heat wave. I found today’s puzzle to be challenging to pigeonhole. The difficulty level of clues seems to cover a broad range from facile to fairly tricky. Furthermore, some of the clues virtually defy efforts to craft hints for them. In the end, I have opted to set both meters between two and three stars.

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 Show up and trim feathers as required (3,4,2,4)
{ CUT DOWN TO SIZE } — to deflate someone’s exaggerated sense of self-worth might also be interpreted as meaning to trim some soft, fluffy feathers

9a Where happy families brag and patience may be welcome (4,5)
{ CARD TABLE } — the setter adds an element of misdirection by omitting the comma that should be present in the list of games found in the clue

10a In the morning I’m off, mate (5)
{ AMIGO } — abbreviated form of ante meridiem followed by a terse way to say “I’m leaving”

11a Duck in trouble? Add one garlicky mayo! (5)
{ AIOLI } — a cricket batsman’s duck inserted into a verb meaning trouble or afflict with the Roman numeral for one appended

12a Den‘s sleazier now and then (4)
{ LAIR } — the even-numbered letters of sLeAzIeR; since “now and then” could equally well signify the odd-numbered letters, we must select the option that works for us

13a Stampede diverted with surrounding grass cleared (4)
{ ROUT } — start with a synonym for diverted (one that might be applied to traffic) and remove the outer letters that form the name of a kind of grass that typically grows in shallow water

15a Space to grow fruit or veg (7)
{ ORCHARD } — a simple charade of OR (from the clue) and a leafy vegetable of the beet family

17a Germanic cast wanting male from Athens? (7)
{ GRECIAN } — an anagram (cast) of GER(m)ANIC with M(ale) missing (wanting)

18a OK to check the foreign resident (7)
{ DWELLER } — a word meaning OK or in good health is injected into a definite article from a foreign language (German, to be precise)

20a Learner in two-seater touching ton — so brace (7)
{ COUPLET } — our usual student driver is found in a two-seater automobile to which T(on) is added; Does this automobile really have only two seats? Most dictionaries define it as having two doors and four seats. The carriage of the same name has two seats for passengers and one for the driver.

21a No case for bad-tempered stamp (4)
{ ETCH } — remove the outer letters (case) of a word meaning irritable or bad-tempered; the definition may be more apt when used in a figurative sense than in a literal sense

22a Source of friction in ‘Titus Andronicus’ (4)
{ SAND } — hidden in this work by Shakespeare

23a The French state pound is permissible (5)
{ LEGAL } — a charade of a French definite article, a southern U.S. state, and the abbreviation for pound sterling

26a Proprietor on the other hand covering everywhere but south (5)
{ OWNER } — a conjunction used to introduce alternatives is wrapped around every cardinal point of the compass, save south

27a Sarcasm is lazy? No answer — instead it’s very English (9)
{ INVECTIVE } — start with a synonym for idle or lazy, remove A(nswer), and replace with V(ery) E(nglish)

28a Heart pounding’s caused by them? They’re the ones you want to talk to! (5,8)
{ ORGAN GRINDERS } — this is a rather abstruse cryptic definition – one that is certainly easier to solve than to explain; the first word is what a heart is an example of; the second word describes people who might pound or crush something to a powder; according to an English proverb, you should “speak to the ***** ******* not the monkey”


1d Cocoa looked odd — that could be a wake-up call (4-1-6-3)
{ COCK-A-DOODLE-DOO } — an anagram (that could be) of COCOA LOOKED ODD would be an early morning call for someone who lived near a chicken farm

2d Unusually expansive decay upended trunk (5)
{ TORSO } — a reversal (upended) of a charade of an unusually expansive clothing size and a synonym for decay

3d Bail boat out, holding north, with last of tide to be had (10)
{ OBTAINABLE } — put N(orth) into an anagram (out) of BAIL BOAT and append the last letter of (tid)E

4d Nicked head oozed red (7)
{ NOBBLED } — a slang term for the head followed by the past participle of a verb that might describe a red substance flowing from a gash in said head

5d Opportunity   to be batting first (7)
{ OPENING } — double definition

6d One’s a male Muslim minister (4)
{ IMAM } — start by replacing the word one by its equivalent Roman numeral, then make the necessary adjustment to make the contracted form of the verb ‘to be’ accord with the subject; then add A (from the clue) and M(ale); should the clue not have been phrased “Muslim cleric”? After all, a minister is “a member of the clergy in certain branches of the Christian church”.

7d Leader breaking up ideal trio (9)
{ EDITORIAL } — an anagram (breaking up) of IDEAL TRIO produces the sort of leader one would find in The Daily Telegraph, for example

8d Clairvoyants seeing bank clerks after large amount of money (7-7)
{ FORTUNETELLERS } — surely one doesn’t need ESP (or even a hint) to solve this clue

14d Old fogey claiming local’s an anti-monarchist (10)
{ REPUBLICAN } — place an old person (or an object that once belonged to a saint) around a local watering hole and append AN (from the clue)

16d Noise on the increase — cut short street party (9)
{ CRESCENDO } — actually noise or music gradually increasing in loudness; a charade of a semicircular street with its final letter deleted and the usual Crosswordland party

19d Duck out of shambolic regional shuffle (7)
{ REALIGN } — an anagram (shambolic) of REGI(o)NAL with the cricket batsman’s duck removed

20d Dave driving? Getting stiff? (7)
{ CADAVER } — If Dave is driving, then DAVE must be in a CAR

24d Articulate fellows in front (5)
{ GUISE } — sounds like (articulate) GUYS (fellows)

25d Inflated claim coming from British tabloid (4)
{ BRAG } — a charade of B(ritish) and a derogatory synonym for tabloid

I encountered a bit of a challenge at 9a where I was unfamiliar with the three British card games. The solution at 4d is also new to me, as is the proverb to which 28a alludes. Favourite clues include 1a and 1d, and especially 20d – whose solution produced a “Doh!” moment.

The Quick crossword pun: (boo} + {beep} + {rise} = {booby prize}

53 comments on “DT 27269

  1. A bit of a grind this one But I enjoyed it more than the usual Thursday fare. I thought 20d was a bit off. Definitely the sort of clue I can only work out after getting the answer.

  2. Managed OK apart from 13a, answer for which thanks go to the early-bird Falcon! Liked 1a and 15a. **/***.

  3. Mmm. I agree with Falcon, this was unusual and difficult to assess with lots of enjoyable clues but with some odd constructions. 28a was my favourite. Thanks to Mr. Ron for the challenge, and to Falcon for the excellent review.

    I would go for **/***, although, like Angel, I couldn’t fathom 13a at all. I kept trying to think of a type of grass to go round bolt to mean diverted :sad:. Thanks to Falcon for the enlightenment on this one.

    I think the setter should have specified “German” rather than “foreign” in the clue for 18a.

    Quite a coincidence in 24d to have the same homophone that we saw a couple of days ago in an entirely different clue.

  4. I really liked this one today. Perhaps because it required a little more thought than normal to solve, and slightly more challenging than i’ve seen on the back page for a while.
    Many thanks to the setter, and to Falcon for the write-up.

    1. I do agree – I really enjoyed this, though I thought it was the trickiest back-pager we’ve had for some time (I’d have given it 4* for difficulty). Thursday has become my favourite back-page day (after Sunday, of course). 9a and 20d made me laugh.
      Thanks to Mr Ron and Falcon.

  5. I found this easier and more fun than expected. The downs went in so much more easily than the acrosses. All was well until I messed things up for myself by putting in ‘doublet’ at 20a. So thanks very much to Falcon for putting me right, and to the setter. :-)

    I agree with Rabbit Dave about 18a.

    1. Yes – I did the same with 20a. It made 20d a bit ‘interesting’ until I realised it was wrong.

      1. I agree – doing something stupid never seems quite as stupid when someone else has done it too.

    2. Funnily enough 20a was an early gain for me as ‘coupe’ came to mind for me yesterday in a puzzle and proved not to be correct.
      Today it was!

        1. Thx Kath.

          Allotment –
          Predictably, (by which I mean due to the weather not to me) it is going completely berserk. Need any courgettes ? (By which I mean marrows …)

  6. Thank you setter, thought I was really going to struggle with this, but managed to finish with a guess at 13a – wrong as it turned out ! Also needed your explanation of 18a Falcon, although I had the correct answer – so many thanks for the review and help.

  7. 24 down and 27 across elude me. If I don’t stop staring at these two clues and checking and rechecking the clues around them I feel I may be in bed all day. I must get on with life. I will be back.

    1. 27ac. penny dropping moment. Oh what a lovely clue. So 4 down must be ***** . I can see the articulate fellows but not the reason for the word ahead. Pleased to get it finished though. Stumped on the quickie too

      1. Front is used in the sense of an appearance or form of behaviour assumed by a person to conceal their genuine feelings.

  8. For me this has to be in the Top Ten crosswords of this Year. Brilliant with some really clever clues…clues that I often answered with the check letters but then had a wry smile when I worked them out properly.

  9. Quite challenging, with a few clues that needed considerable working out. The shorter words seemed to give us more problems than the longer ones. Thought that it might possibly be a contribution from Petitjean. Good fun.
    Thanks Mr Ron and Falcon.

  10. Some very clever clues today, but some not quite as good. I didn’t enjoy 13A at all, seemed extremely contrived to me, but then I thought 15A very clever indeed.
    Had no problem with the use of ‘foreign’ rather than German in 18A – I think the clue would have been spoiled by the use of the latter and requiring very little thought at all..
    Clue of the day for me must go to 20D although 4D was a very close second, just a nose ahead of 15A.

  11. I enjoyed it – must be an easy one for me to complete it without resorting to the blog.

    Thanks anyway!

  12. Really enjoyed this puzzle, first four or five answers took ages, but then the rest fell into place quite quickly, clever and witty clues.

    Thanks for the review.

    Thanks to the setter.

  13. Better for me than Thursday’s usually are!
    Just needed help with 13a and it seems like I wasn’t the only one.
    Had to get a move on today as We’re off to Heathrow as our daughter is back from Australia for a couple of weeks.
    Very excited.
    Didn’t think much of the quick one today, a few dodgy clues in my opinion.
    Sudoku was OK!

  14. Lovely Jubbly. Very enjoyable throughout. My only real hold up was with 13a but even that didn’t take long to sort out.

    Thanks to the setter and to Falco too.

    1. More haste, less speed and typing with only one hand while eating an apple held in the other!

  15. Thanks to the setter and to Falcon for the review and hints. A very enjoyable but tough puzzle. Was beaten by 13a, wouldn’t have got it ever, 24d, I can never spot homophones, and 27a, didn’t spot the substitution. Favourites were 1&26a. Was 4*/4* for me. Off to the Toughie, encouraged by yesterday’s partial success :-)

  16. Im in the straightforward camp. my quickest solve for a long time and not just on a Thursday.
    Very enjoyable though. thanks to the setter and also to Falcon.

    1. That’s the second day of you’ve mentioned being in a camp – which site are you spending your holiday at? :D

  17. Very enjoyable crossword and equally enjoyable review, thanks to the setter and to Falcon.

  18. I’m in the very tricky AND very enjoyable camp. At least 3* for difficulty – maybe heading towards 4* – and 4* for enjoyment.
    It’s taken me a long time. I screwed things up a bit by spelling 11a wrong to begin with and having doublet for 20a until that made 20d look rather unlikely.
    I didn’t understand why 28a was what it had to be. 13a took a while to work out why. I stared at 27a for ages – does that almost count as an indirect anagram?
    I liked 15a and 1 and 4d. I haven’t yet made up my mind whether my favourite is 9a or 20d but they both made me laugh, especially the picture for 20d.
    With thanks to Mr Ron and Falcon.
    Now off to see how long it takes me to find the bottom of the ironing basket! :sad:

        1. I got that one but was misled for ages by looking at the final VE not the VE in the middle. There was no such word as invectia……,!!

          Also I tend to think of invective as a tirade rather than sarcasm, but that just me, maybe.

    1. In response to Kath’s comment about Indirect Anagrams (27a).

      To solve 27a one has to:-

      1) think of a synonym for lazy
      2) then change the “a” to “ve”

      So why is it considered Verboten if a clue requires you to:-

      1) think of a synonym
      2) then use the letters in the synonym as the anagram fodder

      Presumably, the Answer is … ?

      1. Can you imagine the difficulty of sorting out the anagram in 1d if the first 3 words of the clue were replaced by HOT DRINK SEEMED STRANGE ?

  19. Thanks to setter for a super puzzle. I usually peer at Thursday’s offerings through parted fingers & slight sense of ‘pick myself up and start all over again’, but I loved today’s in spite of a dotty moment when I put a D instead of an S in 24d – (I did say it was dotty)! Was impressed by the amazin’ CS multi tasking while taking a few lightening seconds to solve 13a AND stamping Mary’s green permits for absence… So glad Kath is back safely – we’ve missed you :-) and nearly forgot my manners – thank you Falcon for your excellent hints.

    1. . . . think there was even more to CS’s multi-tasking – she said she was eating an apple as well!

      1. and I was ignoring the telephone which had the audacity to be ringing during my lunch hour!

  20. Late to the party today, blame the nice weather and a very pleasant 19th hole!
    Very interesting puzzle today, really enjoyed it but did need the hints for 21a and24d – didn’t get this until I used the electronic version of be BRB.
    Best clue for me was 15a, made e smile. Do like this type of grid, gives lots of first letters!
    Thx to the setter and to Falcon for the excellent hints.

  21. An enjoyable puzzle.

    Aside from the 4 peripherals, I liked 15a & 20d.

    Fish & chips tonight with a drop of Sancerre rosé.

  22. I found this a little difficult, but loved 1a, 9a, 28a and 1d in particular. I never did get 13a, and, as above, I got 20a wrong and never got 20d. I got 27a correct but had no idea why. Otherwise, good puzzle, so thanks to setter and Falcon for hints, sorely needed today.

  23. I agree with Falcon’s rating. Maybe 2.5 and 3.5.

    I got stuck…..then sought help with 16d and then the rest went in (except 13).

    I thought 18a was a bit shabby.

    I enjoyed 1d and 27 and 28 a lot.

    The QC was a mystery to me today……….. Like a football ground at six o clock……

  24. I found almost all of it vey doable and fun. I didn’t get 28a, kept thinking of ogan transfer which almost fitted.Thanks to the setter and Falcon.

  25. I really enjoyed this. Most went smoothly, but took a while before the penny dropped re 13a and 24d. Did manage without the hints, so am well pleased. Enjoyed the variety of clues. Many thanks to setter for an entertaining puzzle and to Falcon for his review. Love the photo for 20d!

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