DT 27339

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 27339

Hints and tips by Gazza

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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}


  1. McMillibar
    Posted November 19, 2013 at 11:01 am | Permalink

    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. andy
    Posted November 19, 2013 at 11:10 am | Permalink

    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. skempie
    Posted November 19, 2013 at 11:14 am | Permalink

    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.

    • McMillibar
      Posted November 19, 2013 at 11:18 am | Permalink

      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?

    • Michael
      Posted November 19, 2013 at 11:40 am | Permalink

      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. Wallace
    Posted November 19, 2013 at 11:17 am | Permalink

    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. pommers
    Posted November 19, 2013 at 11:19 am | Permalink

    Pleasant enough puzzle but lousy grid. */*** from me.

    Thanks to Mr Ron and Gazza

  6. Jezza
    Posted November 19, 2013 at 11:23 am | Permalink

    No correction fluid required on this one today! Thanks to setter, and to gazza.

  7. Michael
    Posted November 19, 2013 at 11:34 am | Permalink

    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!

  8. Collywobbles
    Posted November 19, 2013 at 11:49 am | Permalink

    Hi Gazza,
    What is a double unch?

    • Posted November 19, 2013 at 12:06 pm | Permalink

      It’s the same as it was last time you asked:


      • Collywobbles
        Posted November 19, 2013 at 12:11 pm | Permalink

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

        • stanXYZ
          Posted November 19, 2013 at 12:46 pm | Permalink

          MAY 9, 2012 – Was that 4 years ago? Which calendar do you use? :wink:

          • Collywobbles
            Posted November 19, 2013 at 4:10 pm | Permalink

            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

            • Expat Chris
              Posted November 19, 2013 at 11:35 pm | Permalink

              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.

              • Weekend Wanda
                Posted November 20, 2013 at 7:54 am | Permalink

                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

                • Expat Chris
                  Posted November 21, 2013 at 12:03 am | Permalink

                  You can suggest all you like. Awfully sorry to have bored you.

                • Expat Chris
                  Posted November 21, 2013 at 12:16 am | Permalink

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

                  • Posted November 21, 2013 at 8:22 am | Permalink

                    I have nothing more to say.

              • Collywobbles
                Posted November 20, 2013 at 5:45 pm | Permalink

                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

    • Miffypops
      Posted November 19, 2013 at 12:13 pm | Permalink

      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.

      • Wahoo
        Posted November 19, 2013 at 5:56 pm | Permalink

        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

        • Kath
          Posted November 19, 2013 at 7:09 pm | Permalink

          He doesn’t need ANY encouragement! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yahoo.gif

        • Only fools
          Posted November 20, 2013 at 12:47 am | Permalink

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

          • Wahoo
            Posted November 20, 2013 at 2:58 am | Permalink

            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!!

  9. Kath
    Posted November 19, 2013 at 11:53 am | Permalink

    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

    • Roger
      Posted November 19, 2013 at 1:21 pm | Permalink

      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.

      • Kath
        Posted November 19, 2013 at 2:31 pm | Permalink

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

    • McMillibar
      Posted November 19, 2013 at 1:39 pm | Permalink

      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

      • Kath
        Posted November 19, 2013 at 2:29 pm | Permalink

        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.

    • Brian
      Posted November 19, 2013 at 3:09 pm | Permalink

      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.

      • Kath
        Posted November 19, 2013 at 4:51 pm | Permalink

        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.

    • Merusa
      Posted November 19, 2013 at 3:18 pm | Permalink

      No, you are NOT in the minority today. This one was HARD!

      • Kath
        Posted November 19, 2013 at 4:54 pm | Permalink

        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

        • SheilaP
          Posted November 19, 2013 at 8:24 pm | Permalink

          We found it a tricky one today too. Finished it with lots of help. Thank you setter & hinter.

    • Una
      Posted November 19, 2013 at 7:16 pm | Permalink

      Definitely tricky, it seems to me that those who found it easy are “old hands”.

  10. Angel
    Posted November 19, 2013 at 12:38 pm | Permalink

    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.

  11. Rabbit Dave
    Posted November 19, 2013 at 1:02 pm | Permalink

    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.

  12. Poppy
    Posted November 19, 2013 at 1:33 pm | Permalink

    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

    • Miffypops
      Posted November 19, 2013 at 1:38 pm | Permalink

      Hi Poppy. Good to see you here again

      • Poppy
        Posted November 19, 2013 at 1:40 pm | Permalink

        Thank you Miffypops – much appreciated

      • mary
        Posted November 19, 2013 at 2:01 pm | Permalink

        Hi Poppy…likewise :-)

        • Poppy
          Posted November 19, 2013 at 7:54 pm | Permalink

          Thanks, Mary. You’re a honey. Will you be tootling your flute for Christmas?

    • Poppy
      Posted November 19, 2013 at 1:38 pm | Permalink

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

    • Kath
      Posted November 19, 2013 at 2:26 pm | Permalink

      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

      • Poppy
        Posted November 19, 2013 at 7:51 pm | Permalink

        These little faces are super fun, Kath. I really like them. But I miss the “oops!” one!

        • Poppy
          Posted November 19, 2013 at 7:57 pm | Permalink

          D’oh! I hadn’t seen the ‘more’ button http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/icon_redface.gif

    • Merusa
      Posted November 19, 2013 at 3:22 pm | Permalink

      Welcome back! We missed you a lot! Along with the other Poppy’s face.http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_whistle3.gif

      • Poppy
        Posted November 19, 2013 at 7:49 pm | Permalink

        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

  13. Beaver
    Posted November 19, 2013 at 1:42 pm | Permalink

    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.

  14. mary
    Posted November 19, 2013 at 2:07 pm | Permalink

    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

    • Kath
      Posted November 19, 2013 at 2:35 pm | Permalink

      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 . . .

  15. Brian
    Posted November 19, 2013 at 2:58 pm | Permalink

    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.

    • gazza
      Posted November 19, 2013 at 3:04 pm | Permalink

      SA = sex appeal.

      • Brian
        Posted November 19, 2013 at 3:06 pm | Permalink

        Ah. Thx. Would never have seen that.

      • stanXYZ
        Posted November 19, 2013 at 3:15 pm | Permalink

        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?

        • gazza
          Posted November 19, 2013 at 3:21 pm | Permalink

          IT’s in my copy (11th edition) – right next to Salvation Army. :D

        • Magmull
          Posted November 19, 2013 at 3:28 pm | Permalink

          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

          • Michael
            Posted November 19, 2013 at 4:56 pm | Permalink

            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.

            • Miffypops
              Posted November 20, 2013 at 12:34 am | Permalink

              It is ok

    • Una
      Posted November 19, 2013 at 7:20 pm | Permalink

      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”.

  16. Heno
    Posted November 19, 2013 at 3:29 pm | Permalink

    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.

  17. Merusa
    Posted November 19, 2013 at 3:31 pm | Permalink

    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.

  18. Toni
    Posted November 19, 2013 at 3:50 pm | Permalink

    Didn’t need the hints today and preferred the grid to yesterday’s
    Thanks to both

  19. Derek
    Posted November 19, 2013 at 3:51 pm | Permalink

    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!

    • McMillibar
      Posted November 19, 2013 at 5:30 pm | Permalink

      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

    • Una
      Posted November 19, 2013 at 7:22 pm | Permalink

      Your good health !http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_bye.gif

  20. Sweet William
    Posted November 19, 2013 at 4:15 pm | Permalink

    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 !

  21. Maggie
    Posted November 19, 2013 at 7:14 pm | Permalink

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

  22. Una
    Posted November 19, 2013 at 7:28 pm | Permalink

    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.

  23. 2Kiwis
    Posted November 19, 2013 at 7:38 pm | Permalink

    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.

  24. Sarah F
    Posted November 19, 2013 at 9:24 pm | Permalink

    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.

  25. Catnap
    Posted November 20, 2013 at 3:08 pm | Permalink

    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