DT 27304 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 27304

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 27304

Hints and tips by scchua

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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

A straightforward and enjoyable one from Jay.  A 1.5*/3* for difficulty/enjoyment.  Thanks 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    Bird — large one in sort of American pie (7)

{PELICAN} : [abbrev. for “large”] + [Roman numeral for “one”] contained in(in) [a sort of American pie baked with a sort of nuts].

5a    Country retreat with distinctive characteristic (7)

{DENMARK} : [a place to retreat to] plus(with) [a distinctive characteristic, eg. that used in trade or commerce].


9a    In Croatia, rarely-worn headdress (5)

{TIARA} : Hidden in(In) “Croatia, rarely-worn”.

Maybe more common than you’d think:

10a    Tenure for a performer in high office with no parking (9)

{RESIDENCY} : [in some countries, the high office in government of] minus(with no) [abbrev. for “parking”].

Defn: The tenure;term during which one performs at one venue, eg. a band or singer, or, stretching it a bit, a doctor in a hospital].

11a    The man has skill and beat idol (5-5)

{HEART-THROB} : [the masculine pronoun] plus(has) [skill;cunning, even] plus(and) [to beat in a steady or pronounced rhythm].

12a    Criminal boss is firm about the old man retiring (4)

{CAPO} : [abbrev. for a commercial firm] containing(about) reversal of(retiring) [an informal term for “old man”].

Defn: … in the Mafia.

Answer: From an Italian word, but of course.

14a    Ramsay, perhaps rues art at cooking — regret coming back? (12)

{RESTAURATEUR} : Anagram of(cooking) RUES ART AT + reversal of(coming back) [to regret eg. one’s own wrongdoing).

Answer: An example of which;perhaps, is Gordon Ramsay.

18a    A few words on mislaid file and a pronouncement from judge (4,8)

{LIFE SENTENCE} : [a few words strung together, like what I’m writing now] placed after(on, in an across clue) anagram of(mislaid) “file”.

Defn: … in a court of law.

21a    Source of rancour in diminutive politician (4)

{TORY} : The 1st letter of(Source of) “rancour” contained in(in) [diminutive, like some breeds of dog].

This is a ____ dog:        … and this is a ____ boy:


22a    Cameron and Osborne, perhaps, ignore Bush being drunk? (10)

{NEIGHBOURS} : Anagram of(being drunk) IGNORE BUSH.

Answer: What David and George are in Downing Street.

25a    Period going by motorboat without a break (9)

{LUNCHTIME} : [a period whose passage is shown by a clock] placed after(going by;passing by, in an across clue) [a motorboat with an open or half deck] minus(without) “a”.

26a    Reason for university being involved in lawsuit (5)

{CAUSE} : [abbrev. for “university”] contained in(being involved in) [a lawsuit argued in court].

27a    Calm down after a stew of sausage (7)

{ASSUAGE} : Anagram of(a stew of) SAUSAGE.

Answer: To pacify or quieten, say, someone’s hurt or fear.

28a    Police weapons must encompass first of thug’s experiences (7)

{TASTERS} : [electrically stunning police weapons] containing(must encompass) the 1st letter of(first of) “thug’s”.

Defn: As a noun.


1d    Irregular, but attending church in case of publicity (6)

{PATCHY} : { [attending;to be present] [abbrev. for “church”] } contained in(in) the 2 outermost letters of(case of) “publicity”.

2d    Wild animals ignoring male climbers in tropics (6)

{LIANAS} : Anagram of(Wild) “animals” minus(ignoring) [abbrev. for “male”].

Answer: Climbing plants in tropical regions.

Real life … and Hollywood.


3d    Plan to recycle alcoholic drink (10)

{CHARTREUSE} : [a plan;a map] + [to recycle eg. paper].

Answer:  Also a colour named after the drink:

4d    The point of Russian orthodoxy? (5)

{NORTH} : Hidden in(of …) “Russian orthodoxy”.

Defn: A compass point.

5d    Sidles out, upset and abandoned (9)

{DISSOLUTE} : Anagram of(upset) SIDLES OUT.

Defn: Not in the sense of having been left, but being recklessly unrestrained.

6d    Agrees on turning up and does, with no heart (4)

{NODS} : Reversal of(turning up, in a down clue) ON plus(and) the 2 two outermost letters of(with no heart) “does”.

7d    Hardened, Queen gets new deal (8)

{ANNEALED} : [a former Queen of Great Britain and Ireland] plus(gets) anagram of(new) DEAL.

Defn:  … literally, metal through heating and slow cooling, or figuratively, the will or determination.

8d    Important to lodge hardware for computer (8)

{KEYBOARD} : [important;crucial] + [to pay for food and lodging away from home, like some schoolchildren].

Defn: … for direct input.

13d    Produce finance on small cars (10)

{HATCHBACKS} : [to produce, as birds do] + [to finance, say, an enterprise] placed above(on, in a down clue) [abbrev. for “small”].

15d    Fermented Argentine fruit (9)

{TANGERINE} : Anagram of(Fermented) ARGENTINE.

16d    Collection of boats seeing large number suffering, surrounded by footballers (8)

{FLOTILLA} : [a large number of;many of] + [suffering from an ailment] } contained in(surrounded by) [abbrev. for an organisation of football clubs].

17d    When protecting female face insults (8)

{AFFRONTS} : [when, as in “make eye contact when you talk”] containing(protecting) { [abbrev. for “female”] + [the side facing forwards] }.

19d    Tense  time yet to come? (6)

{FUTURE} : Double defn: 1st: One of the tenses in grammar.

20d    Evaluate energy absorbed by a couple of ships (6)

{ASSESS} : [abbrev. for “energy” in physics] contained in(absorbed by) { A + [a couple of/twice the abbrev. for “steamship”] }.

23d    Person being entertained is judged by audience (5)

{GUEST} : Homophone of(by audience) [judged a quantity approximately, or something roughly, without full and necessary information].

24d    Call to stop article supporting Doctor (4)

{WHOA} : [an article in grammar] placed below(supporting, in a down clue) [the TV Time Lord, some of whose co-stars are shown below].


The Quick crossword pun: (furze} + {stayed} = {first aid}

56 comments on “DT 27304

  1. I found this harder than Scchua’s difficulty rating and my assessment is 3* for difficulty / 4* for enjoyment.

    Normal service was resumed today for the back pager not on the back page. This was nicely challenging and great fun.

    12a and 2d were new words for me. The answers were obvious from the clues, although I did initially try to make llamas fit for 2d.

    13d was my last one in, having been nicely misled into thinking the answer would be small cars. 22a was my favourite.

    Many thanks to Jay and to Scchua.

    P.S. Scchua, I think there is a typo in your hint for 14a. You have written C0 instead of “anagram of”

  2. As a self-confessed struggling crossword fan, I managed to complete today’s puzzle in xxxxxxxwhereas I could not have completed yesterday’s in my life- time. I often suspect that most people find certain types of clue much easier than others. I seem to solve anagrams and hidden words easier than charades but most important for me is the ability to see the meaning of the answer, guess a word and then see if the clue fits. It was this latter point that I found to be elusive yesterday. Do others feel similarly or do I have a peculiar blind spot? I might add that I have never studied languages beyond school level so I am certainly no scholar of English language or literature.

    1. It is the convention that we don’t state the time we took to solve a puzzle for fear of discouraging others who may have taken longer.

      1. Apologies for my non-observance of convention, no intention to crow or otherwise. I’m not sure whether my efforts should encourage or discourage anyone as I am a model of inconsistency. Expanding my thoughts about the difficulty of each puzzle, there are 30 clues today and my analysis shows 6 anagrams, 2 part anagrams and 2 hidden words, I don’t know if that is typical? I, like many I suspect, needed a dictionary to confirm 2d. 21a and 23d were last in for me. Tory was an early option but I failed to connect with the setter’s use of diminutive to represent toy. I have never thought of guessed as meaning judged. I liked 22a, I was looking for something either sickly sycophantic or wickedly derogatory before realising that the answer was non judgemental and afterwards rather obvious. The spelling of 14a is not the one I would choose to use,, though I think other words might better describe Mr Ramsey!

        1. Sorry, but the spelling of 14A is the only (correct) option. You can’t go bunging in extra letters, you know!

          1. From what I’ve read grammatical purists will insist on the French spelling without the N but it seems to be acknowledged that a good proportion of the English speaking world include the N, especially our friends across the pond. Another useful addition to my vocabulary, though I can’t see i am going to be using the word too often.

            1. I have checked in 4 dictionaries, including the New Oxford American Dictionary, and none of them recognise the incorrect spelling. Saying that is how you spell the word does not make it correct.

  3. Just goes to show….
    Yesterday my own rating (***) was two points adrift from the blog rating (*).

    Today I found it * only, whereas Rabbit Dave found it harder.
    It’s truly a mystery and that’s what makes it fun.

    Not an especially entertaining puzzle today, but nevertheless satisfying.
    Quite liked 8a and 13d.

  4. Straightforward and enjoyable…except that I was convinced that 14A was a misspelling until I checked the BRB. Thanks to Jay and to Scchua.

  5. Going for a */** today as it wasn’t much of a challenge . Thanks Scchua for the usual entertaining pics, did’nt know 3d was a colour and can’t recall that Billy Piper scene in Dr Who-looks like Shirley Eaton in Goldfinger before the painting job.

    1. Sorry to have misled you – they were not scenes from the series, but rather pics of the co-stars, as advertised.

  6. To answer Xcoder – I feel exactly the same way! Today’s is the first crossword for a few days that I have managed to complete. I’ve been doing it for years and don’t seem to improve. My failing is not being able to think of synonyms. I studied English and French to A-level and am interested in words and their etymology – but somehow that doesn’t seem to help. I very often do a clue ‘backwards’ – i.e. I know the answer and then work out why. I persevere because I have this unfailing belief that one day I will be able to zip through them all.

    1. Thanks for your thoughts, that’s pretty much the same for me. I wonder if our minds work similarly in other ways, like musical preference and other things that are influenced by experience but coloured by the inner-self?

      1. The limitations of one’s inner self always limit the influence of experience. A very erudite way of saying I’m no good at crosswords! Musical influences? Hmm. Would the following have any positive/negative effects: Leonard Cohen, Bob Dylan, Maxime le Forestier, Charles Trenet ?!!!! I’m tend to think they have no bearing whatsoever.

          1. Leonard Cohen – music to top yourself to. Must admit he got me a week’s holiday once as my boss heard me whistling ‘Suzanne’ and sent me hope there and then.

            1. Sorry but EVERYONE who hasn’t listened properly to Leonard Cohen always says its ‘music to slit your wrists by’. He has written some of the most beautiful words I have read. No, he can’t sing, I agree! But PLEASE listen to his words.

        1. Hmm very interesting musical selections and that’s where our DNA must have a different sequence. Good choices but I favour strong grooves/harmony and good lyrics are a bonus, think Donald Fagen, Michael Franks, Eliane Elias.

  7. Quite straightforward but very enjoyable. */*** for me.
    Mind you I did confuse myself by putting long instead of life for 18a, teach me to read the clue properly.
    Best c
    He for me was 13d. Shame Mrs B wasn’t home today, she would have enjoyed this one.
    Thx to Jay for the puzzle. Pleased to say I didn’t have to struggle with the hints today.

  8. Thanks to Jay and to scchua for the review and hints. I found this quite straightforward apart from 14a, I rather lazily didn’t bother writing down the anagram, so convinced myself that the answer was restauranteur, then couldn’t get It to fit. Once I did write down the fodder ( pun intended) I had to check my answer in the BRB, wondered if it was someone who specalised in cooking ratatouille :-). I once drank 3d in Andorra, 12awas a new word, and 1a made me laugh, last in was 28a, favourite was 24d. Great fun was 2*/4* for me. Central heating fixed last night, off to get the car later.

  9. 7d. I have to disagree with the definition of ‘hardened’. To anneal is to restore the properties of material that has become work-hardened. In other words, to remove the hardness. I think ‘toughened’ would have been a better definition.

  10. Ah…16d – I got it but couldn’t understand the footballers reference.
    Not sure it’s right, mind you – the organisation isn’t made up of footballers. Much to its discredit.

  11. At first pass only managed to get 9 solutions in so I thought I was going to have a hard time.
    Sometimes I look at the hints to early so I was determined to persevere today and surprisingly I managed to finish it without the hints.
    However, 2d was last in and having read the hints it’s wrong.
    I just thought of wild animals being llamas which fitted the grid but not quite the clue in fact, not at all the clue.
    Still quite please and enjoyed it ten times more than yesterday.

  12. Thanks to Jay for a gentle but entertaining crossword and to scchua for a terrific pictorial review.

  13. Thank you Scchua for rescuing me when I was stuck on every kind of doctor apart from the right one! Love the illustrations. Thank you setter also. Like a few others always put an N into Ramsay’s profession, so I must try and file that somewhere retrievable. Currently up in Warwickshire and the sun is shining so life is good.

  14. ***/** for me. Like Rabbit Dave 2d and 12a were new to me but fathomed them via electronic aid. Personally don’t much care for monks’ special in 3d – touch of Calvados much more satisfying! Lovely sunny morning in W. Sussex but now clouded over and perhaps forecast cooler temperatures are upon us – on with central heating!

  15. New man to the blog, but what a fantastic help. I struggle most days, but am slowly getting better thanks mostly to this blog.

  16. Hi Scchua, what is the point of the picture in 3d and, if there is no point, do you have her telephone number?

    1. Hi Collywobbles, if that’s a serious question, here are the answers:
      Part 1: the colour of what she’s got on. And Part 2: you’ll have to stand in line.

  17. Thanks Sscuha for the hints, which enabled me to finish the last few words in today’s puzzle. I had origianally tried
    to fit gastromy based words for 14a, but 3d drink had an e instead of an a, but I soon saw the error of my ways! Was
    it an accident to have 21a and 22a compliment each other? Most enjoyable over all!

  18. Very enjoyable today, right on my wavelength. What a huge change from yesterday, which I couldn’t finish and had to abandon. My little dictionary on my iPad (yes, I know, the BRB is the Bible, but this one is free) gives the spelling of 14a as the preference; live and learn. Did we really have to have the picture of that man for 22a? Thanks to Jay and scchua.

      1. I guess he as OK if you like watching a buffoon being totally out of his depth. The worrying thing was that he had the codes for all those missiles and bombs. Still, he was the perfect partner for TB

  19. Quit straightforward today with a tiny bit of difficulty and a necessity to blank out letters from 14ac on my ipad. In the old paper and pen days my paper would have been full of overwrites and corrections. Ta as usual to all of you involved in making my life a little happier.

  20. Just as I was beginning to think I had lost the plot, along comes today’s crossword which I managed without help and enjoyed solving – a bit mortifying to see it given a one star for difficulty!

  21. Thank you Jay, enjoyable and some good fun clues – unlike yesterday’s ! Managed to finish it before going out for the day – Mrs SW’s reaction – Thank heavens for that ! Actually rained for a couple of minutes on N Norfolk coast this pm. Certainly a lot cooler after a few days of 18-20 degs. Thanks Scchua for the usual amazingly tasteful photos…………and hints !

  22. Why when people are dishing out 1*diff, did I find this one really difficult! took about 3 times longer than usual to complete.

    Got there in the end but it was a struggle.

    Thanks for the review and to the setter.

    Last warm day for the foreseeable, all day spent winterising the garden…apart from time doing Xword of course.

  23. Very enjoyable. 16a misdirected me to ‘issue’ before I realised. It was 0630 after all. 22a had me pondering for a while last in 13d. Thank to The Setter.

  24. Great puzzle today, no favourites, I liked almost all of them, although 24d was ,like many others,fun and accessable.Thanks to Jay and sschua.

    1. A late comment , but isn’t that girl illustrating 5a going to get an awful crick in her neck tomorrow morning ?

  25. Feeling much cheerier as I got on quite well today (for me) after really struggling yesterday. Interesting how some people found today easy and others found it difficult. Absolute favourite was 24d.

  26. Hi – found this very hard to read – the blue is very light and the layout not as easy to follow as other bloggers – sorry.

  27. Much enjoyed this, and didn’t need Scchua’s entertaining hints. The clues I liked best were 3d, 13d and 24d. Thanks so much, Jay and Scchua.

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