DT 27483

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 27483

Hints and tips by scchua

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ***

The clues with the long answers looked daunting at first glance, but were quite easily solved with the help of the checking letters. A 1.5-2*/3* for difficulty/enjoyment. Thanks to 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    An ancient tax, son, is quite the contrary! (10)

{ANTITHESIS} : AN + [an ancient tax, equivalent to 10 percent of your earnings] + [abbrev. for “son”] + IS.

6a    Trip curtailed over female vegan’s food (4)

{TOFU} : [a trip, say, for sightseeing] minus its last letter(curtailed) containing(over) [abbrev. for “female”].

9a    Manx call for reversal of objective that hurt! (5)

{MIAOW} : Reversal of(reversal of) [an objective;a target] + [exclamation expressing “that hurt!”].

Defn:  The call of a tailless one originally from the Isle of Man.

10a    A foreign tourist attraction expected to lose heart without a view (9)

{UNSIGHTED} : [a foreign word for the article “a”] + [a tourist attraction] + “expected minus all its inner letters(to lose heart).

12a    One trapped in frantic rat race ruins precursor to main event (7-6)

{CURTAIN-RAISER} : [Roman numeral for “one”] contained in(trapped in) anagram of(frantic) RAT RACE RUINS.

These guys are doing it literally as well.

14a    Work of side is rigidly set in ways (8)

{OSSIFIED} : Anagram of(Work) OF SIDE IS.

15a    Oily butters making a comeback, by Jove! (6)

{SMARMY} : Reversal of(… making a comeback) [butters of the horny male kind] + [a mild exclamation of surprise;”by Jove!”]

17a    Presenter of a new group of singers missing one (6)

{ANCHOR} : A + [abbrev. for “new”} + [a group of singers] minus(missing) [Roman numeral for “one”].

Defn: The main presenter of a TV or radio programme.

19a    Farm hands locking nonchalant male in study (8)

{DAIRYMEN} : { [nonchalant;relaxed;light and breezy] + [abbrev. for “male”] } contained in(locking … in) [a study room, especially in a quiet corner of the house].

21a    Model reflects as stud, lacking answer, goes to pieces (4-9)

{SELF-DESTRUCT} : Anagram of(Model) “reflects as studminus(lacking) [abbrev. for “answer”].

Defn: … of its own accord.

Remember this? …. high tech at that time.

24a    Runs into spy in a part of the Americas (9)

{ARGENTINA} : [abbrev. for “runs” in cricket] contained in(into) [a spy, say, 007] + IN A.

Defn:  The southern part, that is, where she comes from and which she roots for:

25a    Took a picture, capturing an example of African wildlife (5)

{OKAPI} : Hidden in(…, capturing) “Took a picture“.

26a    Positive response given to Germany’s colours (4)

{DYES} : [a positive response;an expression of agreement] placed after(given to, in an across clue) [the International Vehicle Registration code for Germany].

27a    Common predicament, going topless gets the go-ahead (5,5)

{GREEN LIGHT} : [a common;a piece of open area for communal activities, usually turfed, and especially in villages] + [a predicament;a dire situation] minus its 1st letter(going topless).


1d    Mother up before doctor’s round (4)

{AMMO} : Reversal of(… up) [a short term of address for one’s mother] placed above(before, in a down clue) [abbrev. for a “doctor”, especially one in the military].

Defn: … to be found in a firearm, in short.

2d    Suggestions must include name for such states of mind (7)

{TRANCES} : [suggestions;little amounts] containing(must include) [abbrev. for “name”].

3d    Pull of the capital’s museum? (5,2,6)

{TOWER OF LONDON} : [something that pulls, a pull-er] + OF +[the capital city not a million miles from most of this crossword’s solvers].

Answer: A landmark and a tourist attraction, including its associated museum.

4d    Big birds seen eating dead parrots (8)

{EMULATES} : [big birds from Down Under] containing(seen eating) [dead;passed away].

Defn: As a verb.

5d    Playwright‘s single book despatched unfinished (5)

{IBSEN} : [Roman numeral for “one”;a single] + [abbrev. for “book”] + [despatched, say, a message] minus its last letter(unfinished).

Defn: … from Norway.

7d    You bet regularly on employer being slower (7)

{OBTUSER} : The 2nd, 4th and 6th letters of(… regularly) “You bet placed above(on, in a down clue) [an employer, say, of devices].

Defn: … mentally.

8d    Assistant to worker accepting year is fundamental (10)

{UNDERLYING} : [an assistant to a worker, more a subordinate] containing(accepting) [abbrev. for “year”].

11d    Where one may learn syntax is fashionable, they say? (7,6)

{GRAMMAR SCHOOL} : Homophone of(they say) { [the branch of linguistics dealing with, amongst other similar topics, syntax;the construction of sentences] + [the contraction of “is”] + [fashionable;elegant and attractive] }.

13d    A dangerous place for a matriarchy? (2-4-4)

{NO-MAN’S-LAND} : Cryptic defn: Literally, a place where there are no or where there should not be matriarchs. Figuratively, an area, usually geographical, between warring parties, with neither having complete control of it.

16d    A legitimate target for blonde with grouse, say (4,4)

{FAIR GAME} : [blonde;light coloured] plus(with) [a collective term for, say, grouse, pheasants, wild rabbits, etc.].

Blonde with grouse…. and blonde with (Black) Grouse.


18d    Record held by once ruined city on the continent (7)

{COLOGNE} : [a record of events] contained in(held by) anagram of(… ruined) ONCE.

Defn: … of Europe, which has given its name to a mildly perfumed liquid which was originally manufactured there:


20d    Sucker pinching small brown horse (7)

{MUSTANG} : [a sucker;one who is conned] containing(pinching) { [abbrev for “small”] + [a brown colour, eg. of leather] }.

Answer:  It could also be a racy car often associated with racing drivers … and racy drivers?


22d    Winter sportsman‘s captain very quietly disappearing (5)

{SKIER} : [an informal term for a captain, say, of a ship, or a team] minus(… disappearing) [abbrev. for the musical direction to play very quietly].

23d    Thirty seconds? Time for a sweetie! (4)

{MINT} : The 1st half of the letters of(Thirty seconds) [a time period of sixty seconds] + [abbrev. for “time”].

Defn: Not your darling, but a bit of candy.

The Quick crossword pun: (forty} + {chewed} = {fortitude}



  1. Rabbit Dave
    Posted May 7, 2014 at 10:31 am | Permalink

    1*/3*. I felt on wavelength straight away today and breezed through this very enjoyable puzzle.

    My page was littered with asterisks marking my selection of excellent clues. My short list of these was 26a (my last one in), 3d, 4d, 11d & 23d with 13d my favourite.

    Many thanks to Jay and to Scchua, whose imagination of photographic imagery knows no bounds as exemplified by his choice of adornment for 24a.

  2. Bluebird
    Posted May 7, 2014 at 10:43 am | Permalink

    Yes, I agree with these ratings.

    Enjoyed your pic re 21a, Scchua. Am I the only one who enjoyed the theme music (5/4 time) for many years and was then horrified when the film versions added an extra beat to the bar, thinking the public would prefer it?http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/icon_evil.gif

    • Rabbit Dave
      Posted May 7, 2014 at 10:59 am | Permalink

      I never saw the films but, if I had, I too would have been horrified.

      • Bluebird
        Posted May 7, 2014 at 11:26 am | Permalink

        I’ve wiki’d it now and the film soundtracks include a mixture. The offending version was a remix by the rhythm section of U2, so that the released pop track would be more dance-friendly………………

    • Kath
      Posted May 7, 2014 at 11:54 am | Permalink

      I haven’t worked out what the 21a picture is – consequently don’t know what the theme music was.

      • skempie
        Posted May 7, 2014 at 12:33 pm | Permalink

        The original Mission Impossible with Robert Graves

        • Kath
          Posted May 7, 2014 at 12:47 pm | Permalink

          Thanks skempie – that explains why I didn’t recognise the picture. I think I’ve probably heard of it but that’s about as far as it goes.

  3. skempie
    Posted May 7, 2014 at 11:21 am | Permalink

    Fun fun fun today. First pass of the across clues produced 2 1/2 answers, first pass of the downs a fair few more and all finished on the second pass through – just as a good crossword should work. Very hard to pick a favourite today with so many excellent clues but think I’ll probably go for 27A as I had to work it out after I got the answer.

    Got absolutely soaked this morning when picking up the paper, got home, shut the door and the rain promptly stopped. Grrrrrrr. Still, could be worse, as I left I heard a strange noise (almost like a cement mixer) only to see one of my neighbours in the pouring rain, wrapped up in oilskins, mowing hos lawn with an old ‘push’ mower (don’t know the name given to them these days).

  4. Collywobbles
    Posted May 7, 2014 at 11:32 am | Permalink

    I thought that 1a was brilliant

    • Collywobbles
      Posted May 7, 2014 at 11:36 am | Permalink

      and 4d was very funny

  5. mary
    Posted May 7, 2014 at 11:35 am | Permalink

    Must be me then….mind on other things!!! I found this quite difficult at least a three star for me, needed scchua’s help for a few…thanks scchua, def didn’t like 23d but did like 25a and that’s about all I can say http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_wacko.gif

  6. Kath
    Posted May 7, 2014 at 11:49 am | Permalink

    In my opinion this was Jay at his best. Lots of these clues made me laugh = I loved it. 2* difficulty and 4+ for enjoyment.
    I always forget that 17a is a name for a presenter and I’ve never heard of 12a but it wasn’t a very difficult anagram.
    I was a bit slow with 13d and 14a even though I could see it was an anagram.
    Missed the 25a hidden answer for a while – oh dear – when will I learn? I’m beginning to think that the answer is probably never.
    Very few anagrams – the exact opposite of yesterday’s crossword.
    I liked lots of these – 15 and 24a and 3 and 11d. My favourite is either 4 or 23d. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_unsure.gif
    With thanks to Jay for a brilliant crossword and to scchua for the hints.

    • Merusa
      Posted May 7, 2014 at 4:09 pm | Permalink

      Re 25a, I was sure the answer was okapi but I also could not see the hidden word for ages.

      • Kath
        Posted May 7, 2014 at 4:32 pm | Permalink

        They get me every time! Oh dear!http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/icon_rolleyes.gifand http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/icon_redface.gifif only because I haven’t used him for a while and he might be feeling lonely.

  7. Angel
    Posted May 7, 2014 at 11:53 am | Permalink

    Undemanding but entertaining. **/***. Thanks Jay and Scchua. Several good clues including couple of shorties – 9a and 23d (sorry Mary!) Needed 27a explanation. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_good.gif

  8. neveracrossword
    Posted May 7, 2014 at 11:54 am | Permalink

    This looked quite forbidding at first glance, but things soon fell into place once I had solved a few clues. Thx to all.

  9. BigBoab
    Posted May 7, 2014 at 1:12 pm | Permalink

    Untaxing but very enjoyable crossword and a most entertaining review (s missing from the end of 21a).Many thanks to Jay and scchua.

  10. Una
    Posted May 7, 2014 at 1:47 pm | Permalink

    I wouldn’t call it undemanding or untaxing, lots of clues needed deconstruction and thought, although I didn’t need hints or letter hints. A good tussle (good is when I win). 1a and 2d share top billing. Thanks Jay and scchua.

  11. SheilaP
    Posted May 7, 2014 at 2:05 pm | Permalink

    We needed a bit of help today, especially with the four letter answers. Surely the cryptic answer to 13 down should mean that it’s the ideal place for a matriarch. ***/*** difficulty and enjoyment today. Thank you to Scchua and to the setter.aan

    • Kath
      Posted May 7, 2014 at 2:22 pm | Permalink

      I thought the 13d definition is “a dangerous place” and “a matriarchy” rather than what I think you’re thinking which is that if you were a matriarch it could be a dodgy place to be.

      • SheilaP
        Posted May 7, 2014 at 3:04 pm | Permalink

        Yes, the way we use the expression does mean a dangerous place to be, but if you take it literally, if there are no men than it would be quite a good place to be a matriarch t should think. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_smile.gif

  12. Brian
    Posted May 7, 2014 at 2:34 pm | Permalink

    Great fun esp 20d which I loved! Not sure about 7d, the electronic copy of the BRB doesn’t recognise the word as such only obtuse. Never come across this word before,
    No religion and a cricket ref, heVen http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_smile.gif
    Thx to all.

  13. stanXYZ
    Posted May 7, 2014 at 2:51 pm | Permalink

    Jay at his very best! A very nice mix of very nice clues – full marks for enjayment!

  14. Toni
    Posted May 7, 2014 at 4:08 pm | Permalink

    I really enjoyed this.
    Thanks to both.

  15. Merusa
    Posted May 7, 2014 at 4:16 pm | Permalink

    I enjoyed this immensely, though found it difficult to start, but once started it was pure joy. Fave was 9a with honourable mention to 1a, 3d, 11a … and many more. Thanks to Jay and to scchua for review.


  16. Collywobbles
    Posted May 7, 2014 at 4:37 pm | Permalink

    A very enjoyable puzzle, thank you Jay, although I struggled to understand 23d. Many thanks for the hints scchua where I found the explanations useful for some of the clues which I did not fully understand, but got the answers anyway

  17. Sweet William
    Posted May 7, 2014 at 4:57 pm | Permalink

    Good fun Jay, thank you. Thanks Scchua for your review, hints and appropriate photos as usual ! I thought that I had felt a drop of rain – in Suffolk ! probably mistaken.

  18. Owdoo
    Posted May 7, 2014 at 6:09 pm | Permalink

    Add my name to the list of those who found this a lot of fun. I must have been on exactly the right wavelength as it all fell into place quite quickly but that took nothing away from the enjoyment. 1*/4*
    Thanks Jay and Scchua for the pictorial review.

  19. Annidrum
    Posted May 7, 2014 at 6:17 pm | Permalink

    Absolutely brilliant! Such fun.Thanks Jay..Didn’t need you Sschua but thanks for the review. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_good.gif

  20. Annidrum
    Posted May 7, 2014 at 6:21 pm | Permalink

    Sorry Scchua, misspelt your name.

  21. Wahoo
    Posted May 7, 2014 at 7:20 pm | Permalink

    Great enjoyment. 1.5*/4* for me. Some great surface readings and constructions. Thanks Jay. 9a brought a big smile.http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_smile.gif

    Thanks Scchua. Didn’t need hints today. Whatever used to be said here about the structure/explanation of your review and hints (which I have always found fine) surely nobody can complain about your ability to source “interesting” photos?

  22. Little Dave
    Posted May 7, 2014 at 9:32 pm | Permalink

    Fabulous challenge with some great clues: 14a, 15a, 17a, 13d, 23d etc. I really enjoyed this and thanks to the compiler and for the review. Top drawer stuff. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_good.gif

  23. Heno
    Posted May 7, 2014 at 11:13 pm | Permalink

    Thanks to Jay and scchua for the review and hints. A nice puzzle that I really struggled with, got completely stuck on the left hand side, and needed 6 hints to finish. Was 3*/2* for me. Just couldn’t get into it. Favourite was 11d.

  24. Salty Dog
    Posted May 7, 2014 at 11:16 pm | Permalink

    A first-class puzzle. Not particularly hard, but very satisfying to complete, so 2*/4*. Lots of nice clues, but 20d narrowly gets my vote. VMTs to Jay, and to schuua.

  25. Tstrummer
    Posted May 8, 2014 at 2:24 am | Permalink

    Typically enjoyable Jay, but I found it trickier than most posters. Got there in the end. Favourite is probably 19a, as it brought a smile when I finally twigged. Thanks to Scchua for the illustrations and the explanations 3*/4*