DT 27340 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 27340

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 27340

Hints and tips by scchua

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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

Another straightforward and enjoyable one from Jay, as could be expected.  Thanks Jay.  A 1.5*/3* rating from me.

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    Area for recycling hops came top after review (7,4)

{COMPOST HEAP} : Anagram of(… after review) HOPS CAME TOP.

Defn: Perhaps more a pile than an area.

9a    Tolerant eastern province in time of fasting (7)

{LENIENT} : { [abbrev. for “eastern”] + [abbrev. for a province of the UK] } contained in(in) [time of fasting for Christians].

10a    Dash for second hot meal (6)

{SCURRY} : [abbrev. for “second”, in time notation] + [hot spicy meal, or dish].  If it’s too spicy, you might have to later dash, or even run, to the little room.

12a    A religious organisation‘s Oedipus complex (4,3)

{OPUS DEI} : Anagram of(complex) OEDIPUS.

13a    Order maintained initially in sound offensive (7)

{NOISOME} : 1st letters, respectively, of(initially) “order maintained” contained in(in) [an unpleasant sound].

14a    Way of calling head of police in island (5)

{SKYPE} : 1st letter of(head of) “police” contained in(in) [an island in the Hebrides].

Defn: … using the Internet.

15a    Commercial activity suffering after return cut by 50 per cent (9)

{RETAILING} : [suffering from pain or sickness] placed after(after) “return” minus its last 3 letters(cut by 50 per cent).

Answer:  An activity you can now be a part of in your underwear, if you’re in the right mall.

17a    Tribunal’s joint activity pursued by lover (9)

{COURTSHIP} : [a tribunal where judgement is made] + ‘S + [the joint below the waist and above the thigh].

Answer:  Even birds do it … “How’s about we have dinner together?”, so he says to her, bringing dinner with him.

20a    Chest wrapped in old man’s jacket (5)

{PARKA} : [a chest, sought by Indiana Jones] contained in(in) [a term for one’s old man;father].  An apt surface.

22a    Obscure East European importing magazines (7)

{ECLIPSE} : { [abbrev. for “East”] + [abbrev. for “European”] } containing(importing) [ammunition magazines for, say, pistols].

Defn: As a verb.

24a    Roast oddly smothered in wild rice is hit-and-miss (7)

{ERRATIC} : 1st and 3rd letters of(oddly) “roast” contained in(smothered in) anagram of(wild) RICE.

25a    Star players getting nothing right (6)

{CASTOR} : [collective noun for the players on stage or the film set] plus(getting) [the letter representing zero;nothing] + [abbrev. for “right”].

Defn: One of the stars in the Gemini constellation.

26a    Teacher returned with German chap’s food (7)

{RISOTTO} : Reversal of(returned) [term of address by schoolchildren for their teacher] plus(with) [ a typical name for a German chap].

Defn: Definitely not a German dish.

27a    I’d get in a rut working for a total lack of appreciation (11)

{INGRATITUDE} : Anagram of(working) I’D GET IN A RUT.


2d    Finished with most of performance for two, but late (7)

{OVERDUE} : [finished, as in “We’re through! It’s finished (you bastard)!”] plus(with) [a musical performance for and by two players or singers] minus its last letter(most of).

3d    Head of family planning’s first chair – art nouveau (9)

{PATRIARCH} : 1st letter of(…’s first) “planning” + anagram of(nouveau) CHAIR – ART.

Defn: The male head of family.

4d    Girl from South America, west of Nicaragua (5)

{SUSAN} : [abbrev. for “South”] + [abbrev. for largest country in N. America] + the leftmost letter of(west of) “Nicaragua”.

Answer:  These two girls with the same name; remember them?


5d    Man bound to be in business? (7)

{HOUDINI} : Cryptic defn: He whose business was to free himself after being bound in various ways.

Answer:  Harry, in real life, and in “reel life”:


6d    A religious leader – one arguing from known facts (1,6)

{A PRIORI} : A + [the deputy leader in a monastery, immediately below the abbot] + [Roman numeral for “one”].

Defn: In logic, descriptive of deductive reasoning from known facts.

7d    Clouds broke over Dracula, for one (11)

{BLOODSUCKER} : Anagram of(over) CLOUDS BROKE.

Answer:  A description of these below:  The first is perhaps not as scary as the Count, but you should be very very afraid of the others, no matter how good they look:


8d    Twelve might be discussing offender’s damage (6)

{INJURY} : [twelve people might be here discussing an (alleged) offender (2,4)].

11d    Prepare to leave who in charge for restructure? (5,6)

{WEIGH ANCHOR} : Anagram of(for restructure) WHO IN CHARGE.

Defn: … before setting sail.

16d    Hush-hush tense operations on Crete going wrong (3,6)

{TOP SECRET} : [abbrev. for “tense” in grammar] + [short for “operations”, especially in the military or in espionage] placed above(on, in a down clue) anagram of(going wrong) CRETE.

18d    Forget a French student with merit (7)

{UNLEARN} : [French for the article “a”] + [the plate displayed by a student driver] plus(with) [to merit;to get deservedly].

19d    Person offering advice from quiet street in row (7)

{TIPSTER} : { [abbrev. for the musical direction to play quietly] + [abbrev. for “street”] } contained in(in) [a row;a bank of similar items].

20d    Found the words to express in stages protecting right (7)

{PHRASED} : [divided into a progression of stages] containing(protecting) [abbrev. for “right”].

21d    Alternate charge binding books (6)

{ROTATE} : [the fee charged per unit of time, work, etc.] containing(binding) [abbrev. for the books in the 1st half of the Bible].

Defn: To alternate;to take turns in a cycle, eg. a weekly duty roster.

23d    Losing leader, feel sorry for flier (5)

{EGRET} : [feel sorry;be remorseful] minus its 1st letter(Losing leader).

The Quick crossword pun: (shawl} + {heave} = {shore leave}

64 comments on “DT 27340

  1. I agree with Scchua’s rating: 1.5*/3*. Relatively straightforward but nevertheless enjoyable.

    What a relief after the problems I had with yesterday’s puzzle. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/smiley-phew.gif

    As usual from Jay, nice surface readings and humorous clues. I particularly enjoyed 12a &15a.

    Many thanks to Jay and Scchua.

  2. World pay have suspended my acct for some reason!! so would be really grateful if some kind person could send me todays puzzle?? Please http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_scratch.gif

  3. Another good ‘un today – thanks Jay. Excellent week so far. I liked several clues particularly 17a, 3d, 5d and 6d. Hesitantly put “square” (meal!) for 10a and then the penny dropped – doh! ***/****. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/icon_biggrin.gif

  4. I found this really tough today – I’m definitely not on this setters wavelength. 6d is a new one to me.

    Wet and miserable in Herts today – Golf has been cancelled maybe Friday!

  5. Generally ok apart from 6D that the penny just wouldn’t drop. Enjoyed 1A & 10A raised a smile, thanks to setter & scchua for his usual tasteful pictures.

  6. Found this really hard to-day., still struggling with the right hand side. Did anyone else get thrown out by 4d? I was sure it was Erica – America being placed to the left (West) of Nicaragua in the clue! Am I too simple? Oh dear, quite a few more to finish off. Best get on.

      1. Exactly the same for me too, Mary! Don’t know about you, but I couldn’t fathom where the second letter of the answer came from! Oh dear…http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/icon_redface.gif

    1. No – not too simple – I can see what you mean but I think you’re probably complicating things! I agree about the right hand side.

    2. Hi Magmull, Yes, I put the wrong name in there for a while but not without the whiff of a rat. 6d broke my legs! I agree the RHS was toughest. The relative gift of Dracula on 7d got things going nicely. The RHS had no such gimmie.

  7. Thank you Jay – really enjoyed that. Kept trying to put “h” into 10a ! Thanks Scchua for your review, hints and birdie photos.

  8. Thanks to Gazza for providing me with puzzle & scchua for the hints and explainations, some of which I needed!
    A two star for me but no favourite clue today!! The rain is absolutely lashing against the window here hopefully it will ckear by the time I have to go to art clas http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_sad.gif

  9. This was more like a 3* and 3* for me today. I think I’m having a bad crossword week – I mean I’m having a bad week with the crosswords and not that there’s anything wrong with the crosswords.
    I was slow to get started as I have been every day this week. Then managed most of the left hand side but the right side remained empty for ages.
    I could see that 1a was an anagram but couldn’t get beyond the second word being ‘shop’ – stupid not to get that – I call myself a gardener!
    I couldn’t do 20a or 20d for a while. I also had trouble with 7d – wrong anagram fodder and thought the definition was ‘clouds’.
    Finished eventually but not without a bit of a battle.
    Lots of clever clues, just a pity that they were too clever for me – I liked all four of the long ones round the outside and 14a and 16d.
    With thanks to Jay and scchua.
    Horrible day in Oxford – windy, pouring with rain and 4C – and now I’ve just noticed that all the little faces have changed places! Are the powers that be trying to keep us on our toes or just confuse us?

  10. No big problems, but I was held up on 11D for a while – what with the first checking letter of the second word missing, the word WHO in the clue and a certain TV programme about to celebrate its 50th anniversary, I really wanted to put DOCTOR in. Ho hum. Bloody miserable day today, I might even do some ironing (that’s how miserable it is here).

    Guess the Telegraph has finally sold out to commercialism. Pity, I used to quite like it.

  11. Thought it deserved a **/***,as I found it entertaining, the peripheral anagrams made life easy, remembered 12a from the film and the chest bit in 20a puzzled me for a while . Thanks Scchua for the pics ,re 4d, one is Miss George with a John Lennon look alike , but the other eludes me-from the 50’s?

  12. Nice. I did all bar two waiting in the car for someone.

    NE a bit trickier and 10d my last one in for no good reason – I too was trying H for hot, instead of its other meaning.

    The Oedipus anagram is funny and I also liked 14a, which I wish some folks would use more than they do! It’s pretty much free, people….

  13. Really enjoyable way to end the day last night. 1.5* and 4* for me. Some great surfaces. No favourite but loved 5d and 17d. With the first two checking letters in for 7d I was looking for some sort of “Alto” cloud at first! Thanks to Jay and Scchua

  14. After a slow start light suddenly broke through and the brain starting working! A good puzzle, both enjoyable and not too difficult. I’d give it ***/****. Many thanks to Jay and Scchua, though I didn’t need your tips, I enjoyed reading them !

  15. Enjoyable puzzle today, thank you setter & Scchua. I don’t like the answer to 18 down. It seems such an inelegant word. The sun actually came out for a while here in Scarborough after quite a lot of rain, though it’s still very cold. To be expected in November I suppose.http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gif

    1. A trip to Scarborough is our intention for 1 January after celebrating New Year’s Eve in York outside the Minster. Nothing like a walk down Marine Drive to blow the cobwebs away followed by a hot milky coffee in the Harbour Cafe (is it still there?).

      1. As far as I know the Harbour cafe is still there. I haven’t been down to the sea front for a while, but I’m confident you’ll certainly find it bracing

    2. I also found 18d clumsy. How can you unlearn? Once you’ve learned, you’ve learned. If you’ve unlearned it, you’ve forgotten it. Or am I being obtuse?

    3. I wasn’t too sure about 18d either. I don’t think you can unlearn something – you might forget it but that’s different, isn’t it? Or are we being too picky? http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_unsure.gif

    4. I agree that the word is inelegant, but I think that ‘unlearn’ does have a use which is distinct from ‘forget’, as when you unlearn a bad habit, for example.

      1. Or when you’ve been taught something then years later it turns out it was wrong so you have to unlearn that and learn something else

  16. At last, one that’s enjoyable but doesn’t make ones brain ache http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_bye.gif
    Many Thx to Jay for an excellent puzzle and to Scchua for the hints which for once I didn't need

  17. I liked the clever anagram indicators in 12a and 3d. 2.5*/*** for me. The rain has gone over now and the sun is shining in East Devon, so must get some physical exercise.

  18. Good puzzle. I had no real problems except for 6d, which I never did get, even with the hint. I had to look at the answer. Thanks to Jay and scchua.http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_wink.gif

  19. Thanks to Jay and to scchua for the review and hints. I always find jay’s puzzles interesting, and this was no exception. Got held up on the last three answers, but once I got 11d ( never been held up so long on an anagram ), then 20a&d followed. Favourite was 14a, very modern. Was 2*/4* for me. Turned sunny now in Central London, off to play squash soon, then back for the Pub Quiz at my local. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gif

  20. After many years of getting nowhere, then many weeks of checking with this site after solving just 0-3 clues, I finally finished today’s without looking at the advice here. (Admit, though, to using online dictionary and thesaurus so technically cheated I suppose.) What a satisfying feeling! Thanks for helping me get here!

    1. Well done. This is an absolutely brilliant blog with lots of really knowledgable people who are always happy to help if, or when, necessary. Everyone’s very friendly too.

    2. Welcome from us all. Using electronic gadgets and dictionaries are not cheating. I try to finish without them, then when I get stuck I use them all freely!http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yahoo.gif

    3. IHello IannF. I never think of outside help as cheating. after years of experience I rely on less and less and pretty much not at all. 6d is a good one today. i had never heard of it at all until it was in a crossword a few months ago. Today i remembered it straight away. Welcome to the blog.

  21. A pleasant puzzle from Jay.

    Faves : 1a, 14a, 20a, 8d, 7d & 11d.

    Bucketed down all day here in NL so got rather damp when shopping!

  22. Very happy to have completed this after quite a tussle with the right hand lower side – serves me right for feeling smug that I’d got 6d! But that was only because I think it might have appeared before not so long ago…Not much rain, but nearly had to throw out an anchor to stop Poppy blowing away. Greetings to all http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gif

    1. Hi Poppy, glad you are back.
      6d, appeared on Sep 10th DT 27279 as 19d A leader of monks, I deduced (1,6)

      1. Oh thank you, Andy – on both counts. Really appreciate the welcome back, as well as settling that feeling I’d had of deja vu …

  23. **/*** for me today. RHS tougher than LHS and I thought I would be ditching it altogether until I got going on the Left with 7d. 20a and 18d… err, not sure about these. Proper words? Horris wearther today in the South – never mind off to the Southern Hemisphere tonight. Thanks to SCCHUA for the answers. Ta ra everyone.http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gif

  24. I found this very tough. Even 10ac which is so obvious it hurts. Never mind. Only two sleeps until Bob Dylan in Blackpool. Did I mention I was going?

    1. I’m just about as sure that you’ve never mentioned it as I’m sure that Mary has never once said that Rufus is her favourite setter – think the grammar has gone a bit up the spout there but I should think you can see what I’m getting at.
      I’m glad the tickets turned up eventually and hope you enjoy Bob Dylan. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gif

    2. Well, if the tickets arrive, me and Mrs skempie are off to see Steeleye Span on the 18th. They were one of my favourite bands and I got to see them when at college. They’re concert is based on a Terry Pratchett book – Wintersmith- which also happens to be the wife’s favourite TP offering. Our wedding rings are based on the ring that the Wintersmith gives to the heroine (Tiffany) of that book. Win win all round

        1. I will try and add a seventh. I saw Steeleye Span years ago. A great night as I remember. They once had £2000 dropped from on high at Hammersmith Odeon. I cannot remember why. Nice touch about the wedding rings.

          1. Did they have a ‘farewell tour’ in the early 1970s? I am sure my sister and I saw them in Canterbury.

            1. 1978 they had a farewell tour, but carried on recording then went back on the road again. Guess it was more of a farewell for a while tour

  25. I really enjoyed this and gave it ****. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_rose.gif Completed it without hints. As said to Mary above, I had the answer to 4d, but couldn’t work out where the second letter came from.http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_sad.gif That was my only problem with this puzzle. I liked 10a, 14a, 20a, 5d, 6d, and 7d best.
    Very many thanks to both Jay and Scchua.http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gif

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