DT 27339 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 27339

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 27339

Hints and tips by Gazza

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ***

Good morning from a sunny but cold North Devon. Mr Ron’s puzzle today shouldn’t take you too long, in spite of lots of double unches. Your comments, as always, are very welcome.

If you want to check your answer you’ll have to highlight the hidden text between the brackets under the clue. If you’re accessing the blog from a mobile device there are some hints on how to do this in the FAQ.

Across Clues

1a  Risk I’m running before short fling and tiff (8)
{SKIRMISH} – an anagram (running) of RISK I’M is followed by a verb to fling without its last letter (short).

5a  Mass outlets rejecting English giving trouble and strife (6)
{MISSUS} – the definition here is the full version of what a Cockney man might refer to as his ‘trouble’. The abbreviation for mass is followed by a word for outlets or emissions without the E(nglish).

8a  Colonial administrator restricted lottery (6)
{RAFFLE} – the surname of the colonial administrator specially associated with Singapore without his final letter (restricted).

9a  Joke about new secure haunt of criminals? (8)
{GANGLAND} – a joke or witticism goes round N(ew) and that’s followed by a verb to secure or acquire.

10a  Formal boycott by Asian, we hear (5,3)
{BLACK TIE} – a verb to boycott or proscribe is followed by what sounds like a native of Bangkok, for example.

11a  Introduce gradually some plain Stilton (6)
{INSTIL} – hidden (some) in the clue.

12a  Dismal sort of tea sold around cafe’s rear (8)
{DESOLATE} – an anagram (sort) of TEA SOLD containing the rearmost letter of (caf)E.

13a  Associate informally with rustic bigwig (6)
{HOBNOB} – a charade of a rustic and an informal word for a bigwig. I wasn’t aware that the first word could mean a rustic – it’s more often met as a term for a supernatural creature or goblin.

15a  Curry favour in Greek island? Sure (4,2)
{COSY UP} –this is a phrasal verb meaning to curry favour or ingratiate oneself with someone. It’s a charade of a Greek island and an informal way of saying yes.

18a  Articles abroad trail outsider? (8)
{UNDERDOG} – the BRB defines this outsider as ‘a racehorse, competitor, team, etc not included among the favourites in the betting’ (I imagine the BRB editor will be receiving a strong letter from Kath). String together two articles from European languages and a verb to trail or follow.

20a  Undiminished area of diplomat’s skill? (6)
{INTACT} – split as (2,4) this could be where a diplomat shines.

21a  Primate put back suitable Irish drink (8)
{APERITIF} – start with a primate then put together an adjective meaning suitable and the abbreviation for Irish and do a reversal on them.

23a  Fine hugs represented Chinese values (4,4)
{FENG SHUI} – this is the Chinese philosophical system that tells you where to put your sofa. It’s an anagram (re-presented) of FINE HUGS.

24a  Fearsome woman to be tedious? (6)
{DRAGON} – split as (4,2) this means to be tedious or longwinded. Bit of an old chestnut.

25a  Small cupboard, one with a key? (6)
{LOCKER} – double definition, the second semi-cryptic.

26a  Northern son seen after ordering rhubarb (8)
{NONSENSE} – follow N(orthern) with an anagram (after ordering) of SON SEEN.

Down Clues

1d  Get rid of  stunted vegetation (5)
{SCRUB} – two definitions, the first a verb meaning to cancel.

2d  Clipped retainer in minister’s place for dining area (9)
{REFECTORY} – insert the sort of retainer that a barrister gets, without its last letter (clipped), inside  where an Anglican minister might live.

3d  I retain woeful passivity (7)
{INERTIA} – an anagram (woeful) of I RETAIN.

4d  In which fellows can provide help to a degree? (6,9)
{HIGHER EDUCATION} – weakish cryptic definition. These fellows are academics at a college or university.

5d  Like a man of habit? (7)
{MONKISH} – i.e. like a man who wears a habit.

6d  Austere section put in hospital (7)
{SPARTAN} – insert a section or fragment inside the abbreviation for a type of hospital.

7d  Burden on graduate needing good cycling accessory? (9)
{SADDLEBAG} – a verb to burden or impose is followed (on, in a down clue) by an arts graduate and G(ood).

12d  Deft clue I composed to be misleading (9)
{DECEITFUL} – an anagram (composed) of DEFT CLUE I.

14d  Block pub food receiving promotion (9)
{BARRICADE} – a word for a pub is followed by a staple food containing the abbreviation for a sales promotion.

16d  Devilish appeal in cat at play (7)
{SATANIC} – start with the abbreviation for the quality of stirring the libido of others then add an anagram (at play) of IN CAT.

17d  Large jug for US sportsman (7)
{PITCHER} – double definition, the second a player in a US team game.

19d  Medic needs to be deployed in German city (7)
{DRESDEN} – one of the abbreviations for a medic is followed by an anagram (to be deployed) of NEEDS.

22d  Criminal  feature in horse-racing? (5)
{FENCE} – double definition, a criminal who deals in ‘hot’ goods and a feature in National Hunt racing.

My co-favourites today are 5a and 7d. Let us know what tickled your fancy.

Today’s Quickie Pun: {WASTE} + {BANNED} = {WAISTBAND}

73 comments on “DT 27339

  1. Nice start to a sunny Tuesday with a **/** for me. Last to fill was 14d because I had a drink problem with 21a. Are there any ninas in here – I can’t see any – you good peeps with lots of experience, pray do tell.

  2. If I’m not mistaken this is the same awful grid Elgar used in Toughie 1020. It should be retired asap imho. Agree with ratings. Thanks Mr Ron and Gazza

  3. Think that the only real problem here today is the fact that the puzzle is YET AGAIN inside the paper rather on the back page (2-0 so far this week I note). 23A was a good anagram.

    1. Agree totally. But that’s what happens when we don’t buy enough copies and papers have to sell the last bit of their souls to advertisers. Where are we going to be in another decade?

    2. I’ve never understood why they do this – if there is an advert on the back page I ignore it and turn the page over immediately – this surely defeats the object of the advert and thus renders it pointless!

      I’ve no idea what the advert on the back page is for – point proven!

      ….and it’s also incredibly annoying! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/icon_evil.gif

  4. Relatively trouble-free solve for me today, though struggled with 9a for no obvious reason. Nice change in pace after a real struggle yesterday. Favourite for me was 24a – I’m relatively new at this so I hadn’t seen that before, even if it is an old chestnut.

    I’d give it a **/**

  5. 16d – ‘An abbreviation for the quality of stirring the libido of others’ = ?? – as John McEnroe used to say ‘You cannot be serious!’ – unbelievably weak! IMHO

    Apart from that aberration a very enjoyable puzzle – the hints were not required today but thanks anyway!

      1. It was 4 years ago. Is that a problem that I ask again given that we are all trying to improve our crossword abilities

          1. It was, nevertheless, 1.5 years ago and the rest of what I said remains the same which is to enjoy crosswords and improve our skills with the help of others not their cynicism

            1. I, also, never remember what a double unch is or any of the (to me) gobbledegook that separates we mere happy amateur crossword solvers from the purists. I don’t know whether a grid is good or bad, I don’t know the backgrounds of the setters or recognize their style, I don’t know what surface reading or a charade of a clue means. And I don’t care. I do the cryptic and the toughie for fun, to keep my aging brain sharp, and to more than occasionally learn a new word or expression.

              My only criteria are “was it fun and did I learn something today?” That’s the way I have approached it for 50 years. We are counseled to be polite and not derogatory or belittling of others in our comments, and that should extend to bloggers also.

              1. May I suggest that you stop reading and contributing to the blog if it irritates you so much.http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/smiley-yawn.gif

                1. BD will let me know if I am not welcome here. And I will respect his decision. It’s his blog.

              2. Hear hear Expat Chris. My feelings entirely and that my also be because I am an Expat. I do not feel that there is room to be derogatory

    1. Nice and easy today after Friday’s and Monday’s workouts. Nice to see Saint Sharon making an appearance at 5ac and 24ac. However she sees me as the 18ac. Will this afternoon bring a 1ac or a 15ac? Nice review of Dylans Concert in Glasgow on page 27. Cant wait until my weekend watching him in Blackpool, only three sleeps to go.

      1. Hi Miffypops. If you went into politics I might return to the UK and vote for you. How do you get away with it? http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_smile.gif

        1. Saint Sharon has my vote .
          Nice puzzle thanks Gazza and Mr Ron .
          Wahoo having just returned from 27F to 2F would wait a while .

          1. Not sure where that is but it’s still 85F here during the day (and sunny!!)

            Cant wait to comment on Thursday’s – beautiful puzzle!!

  6. Oh dear – just me again then, so far at least. I really enjoyed it but found it very tricky. 4* for both difficulty and enjoyment.
    I think I probably enjoyed it more when I read everything through again having finished it than while I was actually doing it.
    I was terribly slow to get started at all and had very few answers having read all the clues once.
    5a and 5d were my last two. I’d never heard of that meaning of ‘hob’.
    I liked 5 and 8a and 16d. My favourite was 12d which I thought was really clever.
    With thanks to Mr Ron and gazza.
    Just off to write stern letter to BRB editor . . .
    Very cold car-scrapey morning but sunny. Going to dentist so tooth-scrapey as well – back later, if I survive! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_unsure.gif

    1. No Kath. I also had a tussle with this and needed the hints for several of them. I couldn’t get smirking out of my mind for1a…anagram of risk im and fl…ing.

      1. Thanks – not just me then which is always good to know even though you and I seem to be in the minority today.

    2. Keep at it shinyteeth. I think we all get days when neurons are firing through treacle. At least you have BD’s hand to hold.http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_scratch.gif

      1. The little grey cells weren’t firing through treacle so much as not firing at all today. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_cry.gif
        As for ‘holding BD’s hand’ I think you’d probably better consult Mrs BD about that.

    3. Kath, as usual with you all the way. Isn’t it annoying when you really struggle to solve a puzzle to hear that the experts found it easy.

      1. Oh good – someone else on the ‘this was a touch on the tricky side’ bandwagon. I don’t really find it annoying when others find something easy when I’ve had a big battle – I just think how different we all are.

      1. Yes – I agree, but I think that those of us who found it hard are well and truly in the minority today. Never mind – we’re all different, thank goodness! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gif

  7. Reasonable combination of challenge and entertainment but for me no outstanding clues and perhaps excessive use of anagrams. ***/**. I concur re annoying practice of banishing crosswords inside.

  8. I’m definitely in Kath’s camp today for difficulty. For me this was edging into Toughie territory at 4.5* Unlike yesterday, I just couldn’t get on the setter’s wavelength at all, and, although I completed it in the end, I needed a lot of Gazza’s hints to understand the wordplay for quite a number of clues.

    There were several excellent clues but I thought 25a was very poor.

    I feel mentally battered so I am not sure yet if enjoyed this or not http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_unsure.gif

    Many thanks to Mr Ron and Gazza.

  9. Hello everyone – I’ve really missed you all & am glad to be back. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_bye.gif Like Kath, Roger & RD I found this rather sticky going but now it’s done am not sure why. I seemed to get the correct answers and then doubted why. But hopefully I’ve not rusted up completely, in spite of being armless a la Tony Hancock :-D

    1. Oh whoops, forgetting my manners, sorry Thanks to Setter and also Gazza for making sense of some of my answers

    2. Glad to see that you’re finally back, Poppy. What do you think of the new ‘little faces’? I think they must have arrived since you went ‘on leave’. I love them, especially this one. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gif

      1. Thank you all SO much. And Poppy has had a chance to dream of her hero Banana Joe who won his show as she’s had a bit of time resting up after a fall down stairs. My wonderful osteopath (who got me walking again) said he’d see her & sorted her out in one session with a mixture of manipulation & massage. So the little being who was carried in very gently, unable to get up a step, came very trottily out and proceeded to bounce all the way home. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yahoo.gif

  10. Thought this and Mondays should have been transposed, agree with a **/***.why do I always initially press the caps lock instead of the arrow and end up with 88/888?Anyway did quite enjoy the solve , like Gazza never heard of Hob for a rustic,(13a) usually a word for the devil, quite a few Hob Lanes in Mid Cheshire, never seem to remember how to spell 23a- maybe next time! Queried the PC of 10a,then I read it properly.

  11. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_scratch.gifHi Gazza thanks for hints, I didn’t need them today but did think at one time I would, I found this difficult to get into and if it hadn’t been for a couple of anagrams would have struggled to start, completed the whole left side before putting one in on the right, a few clues I needed the blog explainations for inc 1a, not knowing that ‘shy’ was ‘fling’, one favourite only, mustn’t upset Kath when she’s been to the dentist 24a, I can see why some people might not like this grid but personally I didn’t mind it

    1. Just one favourite today – that’s really good. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_good.gif I’d hate to be upset having been to the dentist. I can’t help feeling sorry for them as no-one ever really wants to see them, do they? A bit like wasps really . . .

  12. Found this very very difficult, at least a four star for me for difficulty.
    Could someone explain why SA stirs the libido?
    Often find Tuesdays very tricky, just can’t get on the setters wavelength at all.
    Thx to Gazza for the much needed if a little cryptic hints.

      1. The abbreviation denoted by “SA” doesn’t appear to be in the BRB!

        I can’t find IT anywhere! Or is it just a crossword thing?

        1. It’s in my BRB 2003 edition, p.1329.

          ” S.A.” — directly after Salvation Army and Saudi Arabia. There’s a nice juxtapositioning for you

          1. I moaned about this earlier in the blog – I thought the use of SA as an abbreviation for ‘sex appeal’ is incredibly weak!

            I have no idea if it’s a crossword thing or not – nevertheless it’s not very satisfactory – again IMHO.

    1. I’m not sure if it was you who made the same complaint before, when the clue was something like “steamy sex appeal girl”, answer “sauna”.

  13. Thanks to the setter and to Gazza for the review and hints. Found this the hardest of the week so far. Just needed the hint for 14d. Spent ages on 4d,9a and 14d which was last in. Favorite was 5a. Was 4*/3* for me. Lovely day in Central London, managed to get a run in this morning.

  14. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/smiley-phew.gifWell, talk about wavelengths! I found this diabolical! I did get the left-hand side without too much difficulty but sat and stared at the right hand for ages. I did finish eventually, but, full disclosure, with a LOT of electronic help. I give it ****/***.

    After yesterday’s treat, I now feel mentally chewed up and spat out. Thanks to Gazza for review.

  15. Pretty straightforward solve today.

    Faves :13a, 24a, 2d & 17d.

    Weather much colder here in NL. The leaves on the trees in the woods across the road are beautifully coloured.

    Fish and chips tonight with a drop of Vouvray from the Loire!

    1. Go one, Derek, tell us that English is your 2nd language. We’ll all be chuffed. Enjoy your wine.http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_wacko.gif

  16. Thank you setter, an enjoyable puzzle which for some reason I found not too hard. Thanks Gazza for your review and hints. I wish I knew your doctor Derek – he seems to allow you to have a refreshment in the evenings with your dinner !

  17. Relaxing train journey enhanced by today’s puzzle. Did very well for me only needing 3 hints. :) Favourite 13a.

  18. I struggled but got there in the end, mainly by telling myself that all the words are plain English.I thought 26a was a good anagram.
    Thanks to setter and Gazza.

  19. We solved this one in bits and pieces while doing child-minding duties with grandkids so really have no idea how long it would have taken us in normal conditions. Some clever clues, enjoyable.
    Thanks Mr Ron and Gazza.

  20. Quite difficult. Didn’t really get started until after dinner, and had to look up the hints more than once! Thank to setter and reviewer.

  21. This puzzle didn’t really flow for me.http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_unsure.gif I abandoned it half-finished last night, but when I looked it again this morning, it all fell into place. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gif I didn’t need the hints, save for an explanation of ‘sa’ in my answer to16d. I particularly liked 5a, 8a, 18a and 7d.
    Thank you both, Mr Ron and Gazza.http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_smile.gif

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