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DT 27273

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 27273

Hints and tips by Deep Threat

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ***

Good morning from South Staffs, on an overcast morning with the promise of some warmth to come. We’re trying to cope with the autumn glut of fruit at the moment: there’s a huge crop of plums this year, as well as vast quantities of blackberries.

I found this a straightforward ** solve. There is some repetition of wordplay elements – 10a and 20d, and 2d and 3d, which I found disappointing.

In the hints below, the definitions are underlined.

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           Alcohol obtained from market in Italy (7)
{ MARTINI } A shorter word for market followed by IN (from the clue) and the IVR code for Italy.

5a           Stroking head of dog coming from hiding (7)
{ RUBBING } Remove the initial D (head of dog) from a word meaning a good hiding.

9a           Women casually hugging Arab for money (7)
{ DOLLARS } An abbreviation for Arab inside an informal (and somewhat sexist) word for a woman, especially a young one, leading to American currency.

ARVE Error: need id and provider

10a         Concerned with odd characters in crew I have to take on board (7)
{ RECEIVE } The Latin word for ‘concerned with’ followed by the odd-numbered letters of CrEw and the short form of ‘I have’.

11a         Where bishop sits with queen, perhaps — he’s turning fat (9)
{ CATHEDRAL } The building which holds a bishop’s seat is made up of an animal, the female of which can be known as a queen, HE (from the clue) and the reversal of a variety of cooking fat.

12a         Sounds like rubbish food makes this bigger? (5)
{ WAIST } Part of the body which may expand if one overeats is a homophone of a word for rubbish.

13a         Books not right for shelf (5)
{ LEDGE } Remove the final R (not right) from a word for the accounting books of a business.

15a         Turn circles around a friend? Of course (9)
{ NATURALLY } Anagram (circles) of TURN around A (from the clue) followed by a word for a friend.

17a         Peter out with pram initially as diaper exploded (9)
{ DISAPPEAR } Anagram (exploded) of P(ram) AS DIAPER.

19a         With these one might see spots, we hear (5)
{ SPECS } A shortened form of something worn by the short-sighted which sounds like (we hear) spots of dust or rain.

22a         Small bird’s tail (5)
{ STERN } Small followed by a seabird, giving the tail of a ship.

23a         Youth clubs kept secret about large hooligan (9)
{ CHILDHOOD } A charade of the abbreviation for the club suit at bridge, a verb meaning ‘kept secret’ wrapped around Large, and a hooligan or gangster.

25a         Becoming good, British must abandon gambling (7)
{ GETTING } Good followed by a variety of gambling with the initial B removed (British must abandon).

26a         Feel slim? A GI needs sandwiches (7)
{ IMAGINE } Hidden (sandwiches) in the clue.

27a         Thin bit of rope held tight? On the contrary (7)
{ STRINGY } A word for tight or mean, with the initial letter of Rope inside it (i.e ‘tight’ held ‘bit of rope’, which is the contrary of the ‘bit of rope’ held ‘tight’ we stated with).

28a         Present’s taken back — seconds, undergarment (7)
{ DRAWERS } Reverse (taken back) a word for present of prize, then add Seconds.


1d           Beginning to cough during intermediate doctor’s examination (7)
{ MEDICAL } The initial letter of Cough inside an adjective meaning intermediate.

2d           Father and son are assessed about the Spanish (7)
{ RELATED } Put the Spanish definite article inside a verb meaning assessed or judged.

3d           I deserve to get angry (5)
{ IRATE } Divided (1,4) this means ‘I deserve to get’.

4d           At home, certain hosts can upset security (9)
{ INSURANCE } A two-letter word for ‘at home’, followed by an anagram (upset) of CAN inside (hosts) a word meaning certain.

5d           In the countryside, rook seen by Russian river (5)
{ RURAL } The chess notation for a rook followed by a river flowing from the eponymous mountains into the Caspian Sea.

6d           Support areas in hospital getting into a worse state (9)
{ BACKWARDS } A verb meaning to support followed by the rooms in a hospital where the beds are to be found.

7d           Milne’s first? It’s a start (7)
{ INITIAL } The author of Winnie-the-Pooh has two of these, and as the clue reminds us, the first is A (so is the second).

8d           Gary felt funny — not fine or very well (7)
{ GREATLY } Anagram (funny) of GARY (F)ELT without the Fine.

14d         Former lover criticises one on increase in size (9)
{ EXPANSION } A charade of the two letters used to describe a former spouse or lover, a verb used especially in headlines to mean ‘criticises’, the Roman numeral for one, and ON (from the clue).

16d         Frightened to do something wrong if married outside (9)
{ TERRIFIED } A verb meaning to do something wrong or make a mistake, and IF (from the clue), are both placed inside an adjective describing the effect of being in the bonds of matrimony.

17d         D. Lessing novel left out ideas (7)
{ DESIGNS } Anagram (novel) of D (L)ESSING (left out).

18d         Lieutenant in clear retreat (7)
{ SHELTER } The definition is a noun. The abbreviation for lieutenant inside an adjective meaning clear or (in the case of a fabric) very thin.

20d         Electronic car test, then I have to get moving (7)
{ EMOTIVE } A charade of the usual abbreviation for electronic, an annual test for cars over 3 years old, and the shortened form of ‘I have’.

21d         Stands regularly on head, causing pain (7)
{ SADNESS } Alternate letters (regularly) of S t A n D s, followed by a headland.

23d         Secretive Hollywood great — that’s not new (5)
{ CAGEY } Remove the N (not new) from the surname of an American actor famous for playing tough guys.

ARVE Error: need id and provider

24d         Little drink leads to a scene (5)
{ DRAMA } A wee drink (of Scotch) followed by A (from the clue).

The Quick Crossword pun { MELON }{ COLLY } = { MELANCHOLY }

53 comments on “DT 27273

  1. I agree with the rating and your comments.

    I found the bottom half trickier than the top, but it was all fair enough. I thought 17d was good…

  2. I agree with DT too. My difficulty rating of 2* is split between 1* for three corners and 3* for the SW. I couldn’t fathom 27a even knowing with four checking letters that it could only be one of two words. Of the two I thought it was more likely to be stringy but couldn’t get the wordplay at all :-( Thanks to DT for the enlightenment.

    7d was my favourite.

    Thanks to Mr Ron for an enjoyable puzzle, and to DT for his review.

  3. Thank you setter; I enjoyed doing most of this in the doctor’s surgery at 8.00 am. He was “Running to time” I would hate to think when I would have got home if he was late. Thank you DT for your review. Again, I am afraid, I needed your explanations of a couple of correct answers which I had ! 5a and 11a. so many thanks for those.

  4. Fairly straightforward with no real issues, I agree with DT ratings on this one.I had to work hard on my old Holywood film stars but had a damascus moment when I noticed a big rat run in
    To next doors garden.Thanks to the setter & D T for the review.

  5. In a bit of a g=hurry, so suffice to say very enjoyable today. Taking father in law to Eye Hospital now, see y’all tomorrow

  6. All done by lights-out last night but I had to come here to reinforce my understanding of some of my answers.

    As it turned out I got 27a wrong (and of course 14d) – I had ‘scraggy’ and ‘expanding’ as my answers and I can now see why my 14d went awry – thanks for that!

    8d is a bit of a worry – I can see it’s an anagram of ‘GARYELT’ and the answer is the only anagram I can make – but I don’t see what it’s got to do with ‘very well’ – dare I say it’s a bit weak!

    1. I think that if ‘great’ = ‘very good’, then the adverbial form = ‘very well’, as in “Your comment is greatly appreciated”. A bit of a stretch, but not beyond the pale, in my view.

  7. For 7d, wouldn’t it have been better to pick an author with one initial? Didn’t care for that clue, at all

  8. Have to agree that 8d is a very weak clue.
    Possibly the setter is from Yorkshire. Which would then make sense.
    As in: “How are you?”
    “We’ll, I’m………”
    Sort of makes sense then.

  9. Not a difficult puzzle to solve but I thought that the word play was rather amateurish in places.

    Another sunny day here in NL

    My son emailed me that the fall seems to be setting in in MAssachusetts!
    No sign of that here although some of the trees in the wood across the street are shedding leaves.

    1. I’ve always found Monday puzzles tricky. I think Tuesdays and Thursdays are the most variable in terms of difficulty.

  10. This one took me SO long to get started that I’d give it 3* for difficulty and about the same for enjoyment.
    Having read all the across clues through once I only had a couple of answers and thought it was going to be a real little piglet – managed a few more of the downs and then got going until I got to the top right corner. Spelling 10a wrong didn’t help – and I know the ‘I before E except after C’ so don’t quite know how that happened but it did and it really didn’t help with 7d.
    For ages I wanted to make 27a ‘scrawny’ which was clearly not going to work. I got into a muddle with 9a – all I could think of for the ‘women’ was ‘dames’. I wasn’t too sure about 13a as I thought that ‘books’ should be ‘ledgers’ rather than ‘ledger’.
    I liked 12 and 23a and 17 and 21d. My favourite was 19a even though it took me ages.
    With thanks to Mr Ron and Deep Threat.

  11. Agree a **/***, at least no obscure Greek coins in today! also think like Michael that 8d was a bit ‘iffy’ and liked 7d,Thought that 28a was Diapers as repaid backwards could be a present or reward plus the s for seconds giving the answer-have to admit that Drawers was better. Thanks DT for the picks and while I think on, why is Arab AR in 9a?

  12. I had the same issues with 27a. I eventually got it, but not before I searched in vain for the word “skrinny”. Ha, ha.
    Never did get 28a but, as setter was fond of repetitions in these clues, I put in ‘diapers’ (I.e. repaid (reversed) and S. well, diapers is a TYPE of undergarment and repaid is a form of taking back……..)

    Otherwise, OK, so-so, not too much fun. It’ll be a long time before we get another puzzle as much fun as Giovanni last week.

  13. I’m with Kath – very slow to start on this one and then bottom half held several problems for me – not helped by having “sites” for 19a! 23a altogether too convoluted! More difficult than usual Monday fare. ***/*.

  14. **/** for me. Put the answer for 23d in because it couldn’t be anything else, but couldn’t see where the final ‘y’ came from when tagged on to that Hollywood great Nicholas Cage! Thanks to all.

  15. A gentle Puzzle before I removed another ton of ivy and dead wood from our long hedge. I did find a wedding ring that had been lost for nine months though. Ta to all as usual but especially Deep Threat for reminding me that the plums are ready for harvest. Plum Brandy. Yum Yum.

          1. Plum gin was successful one year when I ran out of sloes but still had plenty of gin, but not as nice as damsons :-)

            1. I make Damson Gin most years poppy, Then I add sherry and sugar to the mush to make Damson Gin Sherry. Then with that mush I make damson Gin Sherry Ice Cream. Lovely. There is a bumper damson harvest this year too.

    1. A neighbour of mine makes a lot of damson gin and always used to put the used damsons on the compost heap. After a word of advice, he now keeps half and gives half to me – makes a superb sandwich filling (somewhat jam like but with an added kick). I assume you can do the same thing with the plums once they’ve done their job on the rum.

      1. Skempie, the drenched plums are also great with cream/yoghurt and a little cinnamon or cardomom.
        Or alternatively keep them in the empty jar (no need to wash it) and pour over them a jarful of medium brown sherry (ordinary British sherry is fine – eg Stamfords do a good-value 1.5 litre bottle). Close the sealed lid, give it a few days and then drink. Obviously the original plum vodka/ gin will be superior, but the second flush plum sherry isn’t bad either.

  16. Found this one relatively easy, although thought 23a a bit weak, I think of the answer as a phase prior to youth.

  17. I found the ratings the wrong way round, ***/**.
    Very tricky with some for me poor clues – 5a, 9a (why is AR short for Arab), 27a (what is the clue, can see the tight and R but why stringy rather than just string, don’t get it) and 8d (again an see the anagram but why is very well greatly).
    Must say that Tuesdays are not my favourite day recently, very bitty and not much fun.
    Thx to DT for the much needed hints.

    1. Sorry just seen DTs comments above for 8d and Greatly, both weak clues for me.
      The electronic version of Chambers most certainly does not give AR as the abbreviation for Arab and the hard copy is a bit bulky to carry on the train.

    2. 27a – The definition is thin. The R is the bit of rope and stingy is tight, as in mean, but instead of the bit of rope holding tight it’s the other way round (on the contrary) so tight (stingy) is holding the R.
      Blimey – I bet you’re all glad that I don’t do the hints! Whenever I try I realise just how difficult it is.

  18. This wasn’t easy but enjoyable, nevertheless. I nearly gave up when I only had a quarter done, then decided to try again and wondered why I had such a block. I do have an issue with 26a, surely “imagine” is the antithesis of “feel”? Or is that being picky? Thanks to all, envious of plums and blackberries. The only blackberries we get here are cultivated, not a patch on the hedgerow variety, blackberry and apple pie, yum-yum.

  19. Had a wakeful patch in the early hours, so was very happy to get going on this and pleased to finish it without hints (rare for me). But had to wait for y’all to wake up to get the explanations as I, too, had got fixated on string as a connection to thin rope in 27a, and hadn’t thought of stingy as tight D’oh :oops: Many thanks to setter & to DT.

  20. Some of the SW coast took a while to fill in. And I thought 7d was an anagram of MILNES A = “Seminal”. Rather a good clue, I thought it, until it was exposed as the wrong answer by some impossible letter combinations across.

    The ones that gave a little frisson as they got teased out were: 11a, 5a, 19a, 23a, 26a, 28a, 6d, 18d and 21d. Maybe I’m just easily frissoned.


  21. Mostly a very nice puzzle , with some hold-ups in the south east corner.Thanks to sette and Deep Threat.

  22. After little sleep last night I did this quite quickly after a slowish start. Enjoyable and good to get it completed. Thanks of course to The Setter.

  23. We also found this one relatively gentle. It is amazing to us that when we know who the setter is, our enjoyment level seems to go up a star or so. Maybe it is just that we feel to have a personal connection with the setter. However the Telegraph does seem to want to keep back-pager anonymity. Pleasant enough.
    Thanks Mr Ron and DT.

      1. We first started commenting on the blog about a year ago. At that time, when the setter was unknown he/she was referred to as a “mysteron”. We just invented the homophone for this, “Mr Ron” which seems to have caught on as a blog word.
        Understand that you have spent time in NZ, Wellington wasn’t it?
        Cheers :)

        1. Ah I see, nice one.

          Yes, 8 years in Wellington, just moved back this Summer. I am now a BritKiwi.

  24. Did no one else make the mistake I did with 23d? Secretive Hollywood great made me think of Garbo and Greta is an anagram of great. Quite loused up the bottom 3 rows.

  25. Thanks to the setter and to Mr Ron, an enjoyable puzzle. Thought I was going to struggle, but it all fell into place without the hints. Favourite was 11a. Last in was 19a. Was 2*/3* for me. Went up Skiddaw earlier, my feet ache :-) Lovely sunshine from midday onwards.

  26. There’s some good clues in here! As a budding compiler, I’ve enjoyed the way the definitions and cryptic elements are seamlessly joined, very nicely indeed in several clues; eg 2D and 12A, my favourite clue.

    A spot of repetition, as pointed out by DT, did let it down a touch, as did a lack of any quirky words on the grid.

  27. An enjoyable puzzle, the more so because I was able to complete it without hints. The SW corner was last in. Inter alia I liked 5a, 12a, 23a, 27a and 23d. Thanks to ‘Mr Ron’, and to Deep Threat.

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