DT 27298 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 27298

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 27298

Hints and tips by scchua

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ***

Having spent a bit more time on the NW corner, after smoothly sailing through the rest, I’d give this a 2*/3* for 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    Clever lad‘s prerogatives protected by British common ground (6,5)

{BRIGHT SPARK} : [prerogatives, as in “it’s within your prerogative as a citizen…”] contained in(protected by) { [abbrev. for “British”] [an open ground for the enjoyment of all] }

9a    Rules excluding leader on school education programmes (9)

{SCHEDULES} : “rules” minus its 1st letter(excluding leader) placed after(on, in an across clue) { [abbrev. for “school”] + [abbrev. for “education”] }.

10a    Cook needs to dress down (5)

{ROAST} : Double defn: 1st: To cook, in an oven, say; and 2nd: To criticise harshly.

11a    Nuts about unprotected park trees (6)

{CAROBS} : [another name for hazelnuts] containing(about) “park” minus its 2 outer letters(unprotected).


12a    The magnificence of King George confronting half of Europe (8)

{GRANDEUR} : [abbrev. in Latin for King George] + [confronting;together with] + first 3 out of 6 letters of(half of) “Europe”.

13a    Element of personal antipathy against son (6)

{SODIUM} : [personal antipathy;strong dislike accorded to a person] placed after(against, in an across clue) [abbrev. for “son”].

Defn: … in chemistry.

15a    Social  cause? (8)

{OCCASION} : Double defn: 1st: A large or important social gathering; and 2nd: Cause;reason for, as in “something must have given cause/_____ for his departure”.

18a    Make one’s husband flourish (8)

{BRANDISH} : [a make;a distinctive name identifying a manufacturer] + I[Roman numeral for “one”]‘S + [abbrev. for “husband”].

Defn:  … with a weapon, menacingly or dramatically.


19a    Son going to Underworld in dark glasses (6)

{SHADES} : [abbrev. for “son”] plus(going to) [another name for the Underworld;Hell].


21a    Actor shoots sailor (4,4)

{FILM STAR} : [shoots, eg. a movie] + [an informal name for a sailor, apparently from the material formerly used for sails].

23a    Leaves oddly sick sheep (6)

{SCRAMS} : The 1st and 3rd letters of(oddly) “sick” + [male sheep].

Answer: Slang for “leaves”;departs, hastily.

26a    I’ve spent my time working with former head of classics (2-3)

{EX-CON} : [working, like an electrical appliance] placed after(with, in an across clue) [prefix signifying “former”;once] + 1st letter of(head of) “classics”.

Answer: The “I” in the defn., having spent time handed down by the judge.

27a    Performer offering bare all-in wrestling? (9)

{BALLERINA} : Anagram of(wrestling) BARE ALL-IN.

Here are performers alright, but not exactly in Swan Lake – or The Nutcracker, even:


28a    American shot African lion (11)

{CALIFORNIAN} : Anagram of(shot) AFRICAN LION.

Answer:  And where he/she comes from, there’re healthy looking people dealing with water emergencies – or so it seems:


1d    Boring pieces covering dry cuts (7)

{BISECTS} : [boring pieces, in a drill, say] containing(covering) [dry, as a quality of wine].

2d    Church in Eire turning up divine liquid (5)

{ICHOR} : [abbrev. for “church”] contained in(in) reversal of(turning up, in a down clue) [abbrev. for Eire;the Irish Republic].

Answer: The liquid in the veins of the gods, in Greek mythology. The other meaning is the disgusting liquid discharge from a wound or ulcer.

3d    Reactionary‘s obscure leap forward (9)

{HIDEBOUND} : [to obscure;to conceal] + [a leap;a jump forward].

Answer: Opposed to;reacting against change;inflexible.

4d    Fish that’s under a foot? (4)

{SOLE} : Cryptic defn: Reference to the underpart of your foot.

5d    Appropriate  summary (8)

{ABSTRACT} : Double defn: 1st: To appropriate;to steal, euphemistically.

6d    Asian missing Eastern holy book (5)

{KORAN} : [an East Asian from a divided country] minus(missing) [abbrev. for “Eastern”].

Defn: … of Islam.

7d    Old-timer‘s surgeon near to collapse (7)

{VETERAN} : [short for an animal doctor, who could also perform surgery on his/her patients] + anagram of(to collapse) NEAR.

8d    It’s an unusual person that wants chicken underdone (4,4)

{RARE BIRD} : Cryptic defn: Reference to a chicken, or any fowl, that has been lightly cooked;underdone.

14d    Stalemate as Moor accepts crooked deal (8)

{DEADLOCK} : [to moor a craft against a berth] containing(accepts) anagram of(crooked) DEAL.

16d    Punishment for a hacker, it being criminal (1,5,3)

{A THICK EAR} : Anagram of(being criminal) A HACKER, IT.

Answer: Result of punishment by a blow to part of the head.

17d    City in Afghanistan bulldozed (8)

{ISTANBUL} : Hidden in(in) “Afghanistan bulldozed”.

18d    End of the line for these  old codgers (7)

{BUFFERS} : Double defn: 1st: These are positioned at the end of the line.

20d    Mark covering American bear (7)

{SUSTAIN} : [a mark left by, say, spilled liquid] containing(covering) [abbrev. for things American].

Defn: To support or to withstand.

22d    Performing inside thus produces sort of boom (5)

{SONIC} : [peforming, as in “who’s performing/_____ tonight?”] contained in(inside) [inserted in brackets in text, to indicate that the text has been written thus].

Defn:  The sort of boom when you break a sort of barrier.


24d    Upset Abigail disregarding Georgia’s excuse (5)

{ALIBI} : Anagram of(Upset) “Abigail” minus(disregarding) [abbrev. for the US state of Georgia].

25d    Character on staff almost split (4)

{CLEF} : [split;divided] minus its last letter(almost).

Defn: … in musical notation.

The Quick crossword pun: (sacks} + {oaf} + {own} = {saxophone}

51 comments on “DT 27298

  1. Thank you Jay, a very enjoyable puzzle. Held up in NW corner with new words at 2d and 11a. Thank you Scchua for your review and hints and elegant and tasteful photos especially 27a ! Off to North Norfolk coast tomorrow for 10 days – via Cambridge. No concert at Kings this year Andy, but will still go and listen to The Choir at Evensong.

    1. Saint Sharon and I are going to Kings College Chapel for a service on Saturday 19th October. North Norfolk is lovely. Wells, Cley, Blakeney Point, Stiffkey. Lots of decent pubs and those tasty sweet little Cromer Crabs. Crabbing from the quay at Wells Next the sea is a must, whatever your age. Envious? Not me.

  2. Yes, this was a very enjoyable puzzle, but unlike Sweet William and Scchua I got held up in the NE corner, with 7d my last one in. Lots of good clues but no stand out favourite today.

    My rating is 2.5* for difficulty and 3* for enjoyment

    Many thanks to Jay and to Scchua.

  3. Agree with sweet william ref new words,16D raised a smile a punishment from my misspent youth, my favourite today was 12A. Many thanks to the setter & to scchua for an early review plus the pictures.Sun out in the deep south.

  4. Bit of a struggle esp in the NW corner but very enjoyable.
    Best clue for me def 26a, very clever!
    I’m afraid I still find Scchuas hints more obscure than the clues, could someone please explain 22d. I get the answer as boom but can’t see the rest.
    Learnt two new words today in 2d and 11a.
    Thx to the setter for an enjoyable workout that is about as difficult as I can usually manage. Better than yesterday’s one answer for me anyway :-)

        1. its Latin (not my favourite language) – type it into Goggle and you get

          Used in brackets after a copied or quoted word that appears odd or erroneous to show that the word is quoted exactly as it stands in the…
          Set a dog or other animal on (someone or something).
          so – thus

        2. Aah, that explains why you found the hint more “obscure” than the clue. I think i’ve said it before, but if one isn’t acquainted with the required word, then no matter how the hint is presented, it wouldn’t be of any help – short of spelling it out, which I’m not allowed to do.

  5. Thank you Jay, you’ve made my day. Thank you Scchua, I needed you today for an explaination to 2d. This was a great little tussle from start to finish. Just like yesterdays Toughie. What to do now? Saint Sharon has gone to her Mums, Septembers accounts are finalised and ready to send to the accountant. Should I scarify the field? It’s more like work than play.

    1. I think you should scarify the field!!!
      I like to think of other people working….
      Loads of rain tomorrow though…isn’t scarifying supposed to be letting air in?

      1. Sitting on my lawn tractor is a pleasure whether its mowing, scarifying or leaf sweeping. So far I have made great inroads into desk clearing, apparantly the surface is oak but I cannot see it yet. Van Morrison is singing his little heart out and all is well with the world.

  6. I also was held up in the NE. The three I needed help with we’re all there.

    5d seemed an obvious answer re the second definition, but I struggled to see the answer as the verb ‘appropriate’ , although’ I suppose it could work as ‘pull something away from something else’. I wouldn’t think of abstract as steal, but there we are…….
    I go for **\**

    Thanks to Scchua and Jay today.

  7. Found today’s harder than usual ,well the NW corner anyway ,so a ***/***,was trying to find a tree for11a from an anagram of’ ‘nuts’ and ‘ar’-which didn’t help and hidebound was not reactionary anywhere I looked;just about remembered the ‘god’s blood’ which probably saved the day! Thanks Scchua for the pics, feel a bit like an old 19d.

  8. I found todays really difficult needing lots of electronic help and some of Schuuas hints to finish off the NW corner! a definite three star plus for me

  9. No big problems today except perhaps for 26A (not being a Latin scholar, nor wanting to be) although it was pretty obvious one 14D went in (this held me up for a while as I was obsessed with the wrong type of moor despite coming from a Naval background, D’Oh).

    Overcastish here today, but not too chilly. Thinking about doing some work in the garden and as its the thought that counts I reckon I’ve done the days work today.

    1. Have you copyright on that phrase about the thought being that which counts? If not then I’m going to use it the next time Mrs S accuses me of sitting around daydreaming while she is performing a pretty good impersonation of a whirling dervish.

      1. As much as I’d like to copyright it, I believe it has run down the male line of my family for many a year and it could be a bit tricky to trace the origin of it and prove its provenance.

  10. Thanks to Jay and to scchua for the review and hints. Like scchua I took a while in the NW corner, but then all fell into place. Was 3*/3* for me. Favourites were ( sorry Kath :-) ), 13a & 17d, and real stand out was 11a, which I only got because there is a local restaurant called the Carob Tree. Managed to dodge the rain and get a run in this morning. Still very mild in. Central London.

    1. Kath’s away for the week and I won’t tell her ;-) , when the cat’s away etc……. , not calling Kath a cat of course :-)

  11. Thanks to Jay for an enjoyable and amusing crossword and to scchua for a terrific review.

  12. Jay can always be relied upon to produce a top quality puzzle. Thanks to him, and to scchua for the review.

  13. Needed lots of help today…..mostly electronic. I’ve never heard of 2d before, though I expect it’s probably a crossword special. Thanks setter & Scchua.

    1. It is certainly not a crossword special. It is the liquid that was thought to flow through the body of the gods their blood if you like) in Greek mythology. Other things to remember in this context are ambrosia (food of the gods, not rice pudding) an nectar (drink of the gods, not a plastic card).

      1. My word what a fountain of knowledge you are! I’ve only ever thought of ambrosia as being rice pudding, & as for nectar fancy it being something other than a card.

      2. I’ve only seen 2d used in crosswords. They taught me about ambrosia and nectar at school.

  14. Pretty difficult, I’d say.Lots of misleading clues ! I only gave up the Othello idea for14d when 13a went in.I couldn’t get Kabul out of my mind until Sschua’s hints for 17d and I thought 23a was scrapi (a sheep disease) !Thanks Sschua and Jay.

  15. Did anyone else put in senator (anagram of s, near,to) for 7d. It then made 15a impossible. Still on the ouzo.

    1. I tried to find a suitable anagram out of those letters too but failed, this was a toughie clue for me

  16. Just the right combination of write-in and brain-testing. In line with others NW corner last to be filled in as I needed help with 11a and 2d – both new to me. ***/***.

  17. I would give this *** for difficulty, but very enjoyable, nevertheless. For some reason 17d was my last in and has to be the easiest clue. 2d and 11a have appeared before so I got those easily. Thanks scchua for explaining some answers and Jay for today’s start to the day.

  18. Finished. Thanks for the hints, Scchua. I needed a few to confirm some of my answers

  19. Found this close to 3*. It went in spirally, NW,NE,SE,SW. Needed a little prompting form my electronic friend.

    2 tricky one in two days. Always satisfying when the last clue goes in.

  20. Pretty straightforward solve today.

    Faves 11a, 26a, 8d & 14d.

    Still sunny here with high stratus clouds and lots of aircraft vapour trails.

  21. Great stuff .2d& 11a last ones in.Thanks to Jay & S Schua, although I didn’t need the hints today.

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