DT27305 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 27305

Hints and tips by pommers

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BD Rating – Difficulty ****Enjoyment **

Hola from the Vega Baja.  Yes, it’s me again and now that I’ve reached an age when I can be officially called a “grumpy old man” I’ll have a quick grump about this puzzle. It’s possibly a “wrong envelope” job, certainly not easy, although that might just be me after a long week of birthday partying.  I don’t know who the setter is and after my record of spotting setters in the past that’s all I’m saying, apart from, if it’s RayT I’ll eat my hat!

As usual the ones I like best are in blue.
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           Seriously funny remark (6,5)
{JOKING ASIDE} – A phrase meaning “seriously” is made up of a word for being funny and a remark.  One of my last in and not a good start to the puzzle.  I’ve said before that I likes it when 1a goes straight in!

9a           One leaving ring with a cut (5)
{QUOTA} – Take a ring that might be thrown in a game and remove the I (one leaving) and then add the A from the clue and you’ll get a cut or share.

10a         Boring outcome addled trio likes (3,6)
{OIL  STRIKE} – Anagram (addled) of TRIO LIKES.

11a         Waiter is ace carving into joint before start of dinner (6,1)
{MAITRE D} – You need a type of joint in carpentry and insert (carving into) an A (ace) and then add the D (start of Dinner). First in and obvious from the enumeration. Parsing was a bit more tricky though. Kept thinking KNEE, ANKLE, REEFER, DIVE  and then . . . DOVETAIL! That was when the penny finally dropped!

12a         Crooked evil leer causing alarm (8)
{REVEILLE} – Anagram (crooked) of EVIL LEER.  Like the surface of this one!

14a         Deny detective’s professional and extremely virile (8)
{DISPROVE} – A charade of Detective Inspector (don’t forget the ‘S), the usual abbreviation for professional and then VE (extremely VirilE).

15a         Nose wanting small change (4)
{CENT} – This is a sort of backwards clue. To get a bit of change, or even small change, where I live you need a word for a nose or smell and remove (wanting) an S(mall).

17a         Plane originally took off without Young Conservatives being mentally prepared (7)
{PSYCHED} – Start with P (Plane originally) and follow it with a word for took off or removed and insert (without) a Y(oung) and a C(onservatives).

19a         Display cheapish own-label bottles (4)
{SHOW} –  It’s hidden (bottles) in CHEAPISH OWN-LABEL

20a         No end to tacky books — one with title (8)
{VISCOUNT} – A word for tacky, as in sticky, without its last letter (no end) followed by an abbreviation for some books of the bible.

21a         Weather in east mild, not cold, with sun (8)
{ELEMENTS} – Start with E(ast), follow with a word for mild (weather perhaps) but without the C and stick an Sun on the end and you’ll get some weather.

23a         Career on the line? (7)
{CALLING} – It’s a double definition of a career and something done down a telephone line.

25a         Disagreeable old boy’s an infamous doctor with unknown debts (9)
{OBNOXIOUS} – A charade of the usual Old Boy, Ian Fleming’s infamous doctor, an algebraic unknown and then some debts.

26a         One following news covered by European outfit getting sense of weariness (5)
{ENNUI} – Perhaps someone can enlighten me on this one.  It looks like it’s I put after (one following) EU (European outfit) all placed around N(ews). But where does the other N come from? P’raps I’m just being a bit thick tonight! I suppose ENU might just be a European National Unit as part of Europol but if that’s it I despair!

27a         Checked fine — for a change it’s a trifling sum of money (11)
{CHICKENFEED} – Anagram (for a change) of CHECKED FINE.


2d           Put off love going to French resort (2,3)
{ON ICE} – Take O (love) and the usual French resort and split the result (2,3)

3d           Check pectin’s set (7)
{INSPECT} – Anagram (set) of PECTINS

4d           Foolish spirit shown by Marines? Not so (8)
{GORMLESS} – A word for spirit or energy (2) followed by the Royal Marines and then a word which would deny it.  Sorry that’s the best I can do with this one, anyone do better?

5d           Notice that bloke in ‘EastEnders’ consuming endless cuppas (4)
{ITEM} – How a cockney is supposed to say “that bloke” and insert (consuming) a cuppa without its last letter (endless).

6d           Head of English came back prepared (8)
{EQUIPPED} – Take E (head of English) and follow with a word for came back or made a jocular reply.

7d           Bad-tempered over money, or bread (9)
{SOURDOUGH} – A charade of a word meaning bad tempered and a slang term for money gives a type of bread.

8d           Unusual demand shown for second-hand clothes (4-2-5)
{HAND ME DOWNS} – Anagram (unusual) of DEMAND SHOWN

12d         Sentenced again once verdict is challenged (11)
{RECONVICTED} – Anagram (challenged) of ONCE VERDICT.

13d         Train from Crewe finally expected, having squashed cat (7)
{EDUCATE} – E (CrewE finally) followed by a word for expected and insert (having squashed) CAT.  Not too keen on the mental image conjured by this one! Used to live near Crewe and there were a lot of cats squashed on the railway.

16d         Tender fish is tiddler (9)
{NURSELING} – Someone who tends, in a hospital perhaps, followed by a common crosswordland fish.

17d         Rich as the Italian back in profit almost, going to clubs (8)
{PROLIFIC} – Rich as in widespread or common. Reverse the Italian word for THE inside PROFI(t) and add a C(lubs).

18d         Eleven struggling to secure work — one will get put in post (8)
{ENVELOPE} – Anagram (stuggling) of ELEVEN and insert (to secure) the usual musical work.

19d         Female figure performed repeatedly for lawman (7)
{SHERIFF} – A word for a female followed by something played repeatedly on a guitar.

22d         Sincere about source of contentment being peace (5)
{TRUCE} – Take a word meaning sincere or right and insert C (source of Contentment).

24d         Desert with good bio-diversity (4)
{GOBI} – G(ood) plus an anagram (diversity) of BIO.

I wasn’t very keen on this puzzle while I was solving it but it did get better while writing the review.   Perhaps I was having an off night! Favourite for me is either 8d or 11a.

The Quick crossword pun: (cock} + {owe} + {van} = {coq au vin}

75 comments on “DT27305

  1. Pommers, with 26a I read news to mean 2 Ns — plural. Then it all parses nicely. Like you, I found it quite tricky but was not sure whether it was just me solving on my own or whether it really was tougher. Did enjoy it though. Would not even try to guess who the setter might be.
    Thanks Mr Ron and Pommers, great to have you back.

  2. I agree that it’s a bit trickier than normal but I enjoyed it. Thanks to Ron and pommers.
    In 4d the LESS means ‘not so’ as in ‘the weather’s less warm today’.

  3. I needed help with 15a which was a stumbling block for me – the word in 26a was obvious but the ‘parsing’ was very obscure.

    Good fun though – going to start preparing the garden for the onset of winter – oh joy!

  4. Well hello pommers and a warm welcome back, I have missed you, hope all is well in Vega Baja?
    Are those your cats at 13d?

    Although I found some of todays difficult and needed your hints, I thought the reading for most of them was quite clever, I have no stand out favourites today (is Kath back yet?) though, 26a I think I tend to agree with KiwiColin, can’t see how else it would work

  5. I completed this grid in record time but it is considered trickier than normal by those more accomplished than I am. What does that say about the way my brain works?

    1. It says that we’re all different, and we all have days where we disagree with the common view. Enjoy that nice warm feeling while you can :-)

    2. I too was heading for a record time (unfortunately it was the can it possibly take this long record)

      Apologies to BD for the change in alias, but in honour of today’s effort and there being too many other John’s I’ve changed it…..

  6. Never heard of 16d worked out the wordplay but had to check the word in a dictionary. Good start to the day :-)

    1. John

      Dropping the “Y” from your alias sent your comment into moderation (unless you are a different John, in which case welcome to the blog).

      Pommers gave ENNUI inside the curly brackets, he just missed the fact that “news” meant not one “N” but two.

      1. I’m still here BD, it must be a new John.
        Apologies for the late comment, but I went on holiday and am two weeks behind and struggling to catch up.

  7. I enjoyed this one. No real problems, although my last one in, 7d, edged my solving time into 3* territory.
    Many thanks to setter (my wild guess is Shamus today), and to pommers for the review.

  8. There’s a difference between “tricky” (obscure, cunning . . .) and “poorly written”. Although I enjoyed today’s effort, I found most of my difficulty came from imprecise clues rather than innate difficulty.

      1. I had the same problem but was advised that there is an upgrade of the iPad app (at last!) and after installing it the crossword appeared. The new version is reported to fix the annoying crashes each time the wi-fi connection changes, let’s hope that’s true. Unfortunately they have changed the font to something quite appalling, it seems these technology folk cannot resist the temptation to needlessly tinker with perfectly good products, rather like Apple’s IOS7.

    1. Me!!! I had to do it on the back page. With my handwriting the letters L and C are indistinguishable from one another as are B and D and also I and N (Dont ask, my Ns look like italic Is. They just do) so I cannot always guess the correct checking letters. This took twice as long as it would on the ipad where the letters are all very neat

  9. I was just into 3* time, caused by 1a/6d/9a taking a long time. Some of the wordplay in the rest of it was convoluted, but I found that quite a few answers leapt out from the checking letters without even looking a the clues too hard.

    I also noticed that the puzzle is a pangra.

      1. It is a PANGRA Skempie. Outnumbered has you there. Go to the bottom of the crossword class.

        1. I never read the toughie blogs, therefore the word pangra does not exist, therefore I am totally correct in assuming that Outnumbered made a speeling mistake. I win.

  10. 3/4* difficulty for me and like others pondered over 26a. Grid contains 12 double unches which didn’t help matters. Thanks to Mr Ron and Pommers

  11. Im glad for the **** rating Pommers ,as for me it was the trickiest for a while-harder than yesterdays toughie ,like you I struggled with the explanation for 26a, maybe it was NN for news, the solution seemed obvious from the start, also the wordplay in 20a eluded me -thanks for the reasoning-is that a Vickers Viscount from my plane spotting days? Enjoyment ** or ***.

  12. I didn’t find too much problem today although I’m not sure I can justify ‘Not so’ meaning ‘Less’ in 4D. Some of the other clues seemed rather convoluted, but very solvable. It took a while to work out which ring was required in 9A, but 6D provided a good indication once it finally popped into the old noggin.
    Was woken up by the central heating this morning – first time its tuned itself on since we had it installed in July.

    1. I’m sure you’re justified in saying “not so” = “less”, Skempie. “Not so hot” = “less hot”, etc.

  13. 1a beat me as did 5d otherwise a bit of a struggle although several anagrams (not too keen on them) did help. ****/**.

  14. I found this really tricky and really enjoyable. I also wondered about WED. 4* for both difficulty and enjoyment.
    As soon as I had 1 and 25a and 6d, all of which took a long time, I started to think pangram – wrong! How is it that when it really is one I always miss it?
    I missed the 12d anagram indicator so needed the hint to understand why it was what it obviously was and 27a was my last one – don’t know why as I could see it was an anagram and by then had loads of letters in. Oh dear!
    I thought this was a good puzzle with lots of clever clues – 17 and 23a and 3 and 8d. My favourite – just the one – was 1a.
    With thanks to Mr Ron and pommers – glad to see you back again.
    Now that I’m back let’s not have any of this ‘multiple favourites’ tosh – don’t know what I’ll do if there is any of that going on! :smile:

    1. Well, let’s find out then.

      Amongst my favourites are such diverse elements as… No, no, I can’t bring myself to do it! :-)

    2. Since we all know that the BRB is the final word, I checked the entry for favourite and guess what? I see no mention of favourite being one of a kind. In fact, I see that the definition of favouritism is inclination to partiality, preference shown to favourites (plural). If the plural is good enough for the BRB, it’s good enough for me! I shall merrily continue to have more than one fave if the occasion arises. (I’d put a smiley face here but I have too many favourites to choose one over the other).

      1. I’m sticking to my guns here although I’m beginning to wobble as I seem to be rather on my own about it which makes it a bit lonely! I still think that favourite means best which is a superlative. I’ll shut up now . . . :sad:

        1. Did you never listen to Children’s Favourites or Two-Way Family Favourites on the steam radio? Or is that the source of your aversion to the plural form… :twisted:

          1. Yes – I did! Oh dear – now I feel really ashamed except I’ve just thought of a ‘get me out of jail clause’. One way of looking at this is that it is each person’s one, and only, favourite but there are lots of people, hence lots of favourites. On that happy note I really am going to shut up and, as of now, you can all do what you like.
            I’ll soon think of something else to bang on about!

            1. I thought you would enjoy this definition from the Oxford Dictionary of English:

              ▶ adjective – preferred to all others of the same kind.

  15. I finished without hints but took longer than usual. No favorites today. Appreciate the setter’s efforts but I can’t say there was much enjoyment in this for me. Thanks, Pommers, for the review. I needed explanations for a couple of answers.

  16. Only two left at lights out last night – 1a and 16d (although I did have the fish part) – so thanks to Pommers for the help on those. I didn’t think it was in **** territory for difficulty, more like **/*** and I would probably make it * for enjoyment. Not much fun at all, and plenty of furrowed brows when I got some of the answers, and, as an apostrophe pedant, shouldn’t the enumeration for 11a be (6, 1′)?

  17. Dreary stuff, not my cup of tea, however, thanks to the setter and to pommers for the amusing review.

  18. A nice tricky puzzle mostly solved in the car either side of a shopping trip whilst Saint Sharon was driving. 1ac was the last one in solved over a bowl of porridge. Ta to all but especially OUTNUMBERED who raised a laugh with his comment above and to Skempie for taking the bait.

  19. If a crossword containing all of the alphabet is a PANGRAM…

    And a crossword with all of the alphabet sans a single letter is a PANGRA…

    Then what should we call one which is missing only the final letter of the alphabet?

    How about Royal Pangra ??? :grin:

  20. I cant believe it, for the first time in what seems like months I did it without resorting to the hints. Clearly you have all been teaching me very well. Thank you very much everyone.

  21. Thanks to the setter and to Pommers for the review and hints. A very tricky offering, but not much fun. Needed 4 hints to finish, three at the top. Just as well there were 6 anagrams and one partial anagram, otherwise I might have given up. Favourite was 27a. Was 4*/2* for me. Chilly in Central London, central heating going full blast, still we had a great Summer then an Indian one.

    1. I don’t really want to start anything else off here, particularly as I seem to be fighting a losing battle with the favourite(s) war, but I read something quite recently about an Indian summer being a patch of warm, sunny and calm weather in autumn after the first frost. Don’t know about the rest of the country but we certainly haven’t had a frost yet – oh, and before anyone quibbles about this I know that it’s not what the BRB says but I read it in an article about the weather. Perhaps I’d better just go away and shut up now . . .

      1. I don’t know anything about a need for frost, but I always think the Indian bit of summer should only count after the equinox (not as seemed to be suggested in some parts of the press at the end of August – that’s summer!)

        1. Many media reports are calling this an ‘Indian summer’, however according to the Met Office’s Meteorological Glossary, it’s a little too early in the year. An Indian summer is defined as a warm, calm spell of weather occurring after the first frost in autumn, especially in October and November.

          1. Yes – that’s what I read too but, as of now, I’m going to keep big mouth shut, but probably not for long!! :smile:

  22. I enjoyed what I could do but that wasn’t very many. Above my pay grade I’m afraid.
    One for the experts. One thing, I got 19d but why the S, there doesn’t seem to be any ref to an S in the clue?
    Thx to all concerned.

      1. Of course it is, what an idiot! Got hung up on Her.
        With the help of some of your first class hints, I have perservated and completed the puzzle. Like most people I have never heard of the fish and it never occurred to me that small change would be cent but the rest was quite fun. So thank you for your help.

        1. Hi Brian, I think the fish is LING. NURSELING is a word meaning youngster, baby etc hence tiddler.

        2. Glad to have been of service Brian!

          I suppose CENT is a mite easier when you have a pocket full of them :smile:

          Roland is right about the fish. It’s worth remembering as it comes up fairly often as it’s such a useful string of letters.

  23. Thank you setter. For some strange reason managed to finish this without problems. Put ennui in for 26a without really knowing where the extra “n” might come from. Thanks Pommers for your review and hints. Interesting morning seawatching today in Norfolk. Hardly able to stand up in the strong N wind – so gave up and lay down behind a sandhill ! The strong wind did blow a lot of interesting seabirds towards the shore.

  24. I, too, found this “tricky”, Kath. Certainly **** for difficulty for me. I never did get 1a, and several were put in correctly with having no idea why, e.g. 26a, just assumed it was some esoteric European phrase as it couldn’t be anything else. Some went in really easily, others took huge struggling. I did enjoy it with a feeling of accomplishment when I got the most difficult ones. Thanks to all.

  25. I thought this was really delightful and not too hard until……I realised that 1a couldn’t be “joking apart”, so that held me up.Thanks to setter and Pommers, I totally agree with you that a straight-forward 1a is always a great help.I thought 24d was really sweet and I liked 7d and 18d also.

  26. Tricky. Not very happy with 12D – saw the solution quickly but a conviction is very different from a sentence

  27. Hi,
    Re. 26a
    I took the ‘s’ at the end of ‘news’ to indicate a plural: i.e two lots of new (NN), rather than news as in ‘the 9 o’clock’.

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