DT 27554 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 27554

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 27554

Hints and tips by Gazza

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty ****Enjoyment ***

I was held up in the NE corner which I found pretty tricky with two intersecting answers (10a and 7d) which I’d never heard of. Both of these are related to North America and I wonder whether today’s Mr Ron has transatlantic roots. Do let us know how you fared.

If you click on any of the areas showing ‘Click here!’ you’ll see the actual answer.

Across Clues

1a Get rid of beer a politician brought in (5,3)
STAMP OUT – a dark beer with A and the usual elected politician inserted.

6a Winning hit makes one cheerful (6)
UPBEAT – a charade of winning or in the lead and a verb to hit or strike.

9a Intended one to replace king in European country (6)
FIANCÉ – the Roman numeral for one replaces the abbreviation for Rex in the name of a European country.

10a Grace is after good artist in a neighbourhood in Manhattan (8)
GRAMERCY – I needed Google and Wikipedia to find out about this upmarket neighbourhood (situated round a private park of the same name) in lower Manhattan. A word for grace or compassion follows G(ood) and the abbreviation for a recognised artist.

11a A large painting outside (8)
ALFRESCO – A (from the clue) is followed by the abbreviation for large and a painting on a wall.

12a Grounds close to Marylebone ten clubs utilise (6)
EXCUSE – grounds here means mitigating circumstances. String together the closing letter of Marylebone, the Roman numeral for ten, the abbreviation for clubs in card games and a verb to utilise.

13a Deeply upset mother and father (4,3,5)
FROM THE HEART – a well-spotted anagram (upset) of MOTHER and FATHER.

16a ‘Tommy’ is a film based on a stage production (7,5)
PRIVATE LIVES – this is a 1931 film based on a Noel Coward play of the same name. It’s a charade of the rank of a Tommy in the British army and a verb meaning is or exists.

19a Clear area 100 ceased to occupy (6)
ACQUIT – string together the abbreviation for area, the Roman numeral for 100 and a verb meaning ceased to occupy or withdrew.

21a Sailor, very good on old instrument? Perfect (8)
ABSOLUTE – a charade of an abbreviation for sailor, an adverb meaning very good and an old stringed instrument.

23a In conversation, agrees bloke shows charm (8)
TALISMAN – a homophone (in conversation) of a verb meaning agrees or corresponds followed by a bloke.

24a Gorge at home during party (6)
RAVINE – insert an adverb meaning at home into a lively party involving dancing and drinking.

25a Threaten mischievous child on tip (6)
IMPEND – a mischievous child followed by a tip or extremity.

26a One may write a column about college caretaker (8)
REPORTER – a preposition meaning about or concerning precedes a college caretaker.

Down Clues

2d Toy in Santa’s fourth sack (6)
TRIFLE – the fourth letter of Santa followed by a verb to sack or pillage.

3d Nobleman’s land, could be Roman (5)
MANOR – an anagram (could be) of ROMAN.

4d Pass beyond remaining launch (9)
OVERSHOOT – a charade of an adverb meaning remaining or left unused and a verb to launch or throw.

5d A tower of strength at Southampton, say (7)
TUGBOAT – cryptic definition of a strong tower at Southampton (or any other seaport).

6d American needing time for treatment (5)
USAGE – a charade of an abbreviation for American and a period of time.

7d Cheers short ball given treatment — from here? (9)
BLEACHERS – with B???C in place at the start I was convinced that this was going to be something to do with bouncers (and it is in the surface but not the answer). What we need is an anagram (given treatment) of CHEERS and an abbreviated BAL(L). It’s a North American word for cheap uncovered seats at a sports ground.

8d Family crest, inaccurately adopted by some (8)
ANCESTRY – an anagram (inaccurately) of CREST goes inside (adopted by) a word meaning some.

13d Pet needs nap (9)
FAVOURITE – double definition. The second is a racing tipster’s nap or ‘top tip’ (as decreed by Kath he’s only allowed one of these per day!).

14d Adam’s mate’s got to get hold of a sink and tap (9)
EAVESDROP – Adam’s Biblical partner plus the ‘S contains (got to get hold of) A. After that we need a verb to sink or dip.

15d Declare in favour of state (8)
PROCLAIM – a preposition meaning in favour of followed by a verb to state or assert.

17d Loewe’s partner playing host to a student (7)
LEARNER – we want the surname of the lyricist who collaborated with composer Frederick Loewe on many musicals (including Camelot). This plays host to (i.e. contains) A to make the answer.

18d Immediately in agreement about opening of casino (2,4)
AT ONCE – a phrase (2,3) meaning in agreement contains the opening letter of casino.

20d Lacking in self-confidence, gloomy Italian turned up (5)
TIMID – string together an adjective meaning gloomy or murky and the abbreviation for Italian vermouth then reverse it all (turned up, in a down clue).

22d Make merry around bar (5)
LEVER – Reverse (around) a verb to make merry or celebrate.

I liked 13a and 16a but my nap today is 5d. Let us know what you liked.

Today’s Quickie Pun: CANDID + PEAL = CANDIED PEEL

61 comments on “DT 27554

  1. Definitely someone has mixed up the envelopes today, so far above my pay grade as to be stratospheric. Having looked up the answer to 10a I threw the paper away in total disgust. Absolutely dreadful. Horrible!

    1. Get the paper back out and do the ‘Toughie’ – you’ll be happy again then.

    2. I agree Brian, I’ve just taken my first scan and have a blank page. So I’m either going to turn the computer off or the cricket on the TV

    3. Not many people are going to be familiar with that district of NYC. I had to look at a city map despite having walked Manhattan many times. Also some other very craftily disguised clues. I needed the hints to get 2d and 7d was the only possible word that fits though I have never heard it used though it does come up with a dictionary search. No clue made me smile, but no doubt it will strike the right chord with some.

  2. I also had the feeling this crossword was written by and for Americans.I found it very difficult and it took me an age to finish , although it seemed to take even longer to get started.I am looking forward to what Merusa might say.
    However , there were many good clues, 9a 11a 16a amoung them and 13a should be awarded “best anagram”( of the week ? month?).
    Thanks Gazza for the review.

  3. I agree it was a little trickey today and 10a was new to me, remembered 7d from somewhere, took a while to spot the anagram- was originally thinking the short ball referred to a bouncer. lots of excellent clues ,liked 13a-clever misdirection, 16a and13d.Going for a ***/****and looking forward to the cricket. Thanks to Gazza and setter.

    1. Us too – pommers said bouncer almost fits (we didn’t have 10a) but then it popped up in my brain.
      You certainly get them in American Baseball games – but the same term is used for the seats in the sun at a bullfight here in Spain. Although pommers didn’t recognise the term either.

  4. It certainly helps to be an avid reader of anything and everything as I knew the ‘Americanisms’ and finished the crossword in 1* time. Thanks to the Mysteron and Gazza too.

    The toughie is definitely worth a go by everyone, especially those who found the back pager really difficult (and that’s all I am saying here)

    1. Wasn’t sure of the answer to 7d, but spent nearly a year living near 10a, in Murray hill 155 E 31st St
      New York, NY 10016. . Did like 5d though, misdirection and my neck of the woods many moons ago.

  5. Well I found this a walk in the park compared to yesterday. It just goes to show, horses for courses, I probably fail to finish more Rufus puzzles than any other setter but most people find him a breeze. Thanks to Ron and to Gazza for the review. Fav clue 16a

    1. Weird isn’t it? In the short time it took me to finish yesterday I had about three answers today. I have spent all morning on this off and on and have to rate it 4* for difficulty after 1* yesterday. Some very cleverly concealed anagrams.

      PS I thought at first 10a was gratuitously difficult but having looked at the checking letters it is the only possible word that fits so obviously the setter’s last resort!

    2. I agree Werm – I rarely finish Rufus puzzles – have decided I’m just not on his wavelength, but I still enjoy trying.

    3. I can’t say that I found this a walk in the park – far from it – but I do often have trouble with Rufus crosswords. I don’t know why – the clues and answers are always faultless when you (one) eventually get there – it’s a wave length thing again.

  6. I found this about the same as yesterday – about 2.5.

    No probs with the US refs (know the NY district and the musical composers). My downfalls were shorter answers dotted here and there – 2d, 6a and 19a for no good reason.
    Liked 9a.

    About to go for first trip in our big purchase. Will wait to see whether we get either a DT hard copy or an internet connection – otherwise brain might turn to sludge.

    1. I was wondering when you would take off in your “big purchase”. Now, see here, don’t go disappearing for months on end like Mary has done!

  7. My rating is 3*/2*.

    For me this was another curate’s egg puzzle. Some very good clues (9a, 12a, and my stand out favourite 13a) and some awful ones (e.g.: 10a, 16a & 7d). Like Gazza, I too got locked into thinking about bouncers for 7d, and the answer according to the BRB is US Slang, which IMHO has no place in a UK crossword.

    Many thanks to the setter and to Gazza.

  8. Super crossword today from the mystery setter, I found it quite tricky and immensely satisfying, many thanks to the compiler and to Gazza for a great review.

  9. I agree with BigBoab. This was a tricksy delight. I too struggled with the NE corner and was not helped by putting Upshot in at 10ac. Silly me. At CrypticSue’s behest yesterday I have made a start on the left hand side of the kitchen. The old sink unit has gone forever. The base units are in situ and I have to make the work surface wider so it fits a sixteenth century building. Saint Sharon now has no waste outlet which will not matter because she also has no hot or cold water. I have the perfect getout. it is all the fault of CrypticSue. So there.

    1. Not sure whether to http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/smiley-yawn.gif or weep at this news so I’ll do both http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_cry.gif

      Hope she got a nice birthday treat as well as the demolishment of half the kitchen.

  10. I found this pretty straightforward but needed to look up the district and its 7d crosser. Enjoyable solve with thanks to Gazza and setter **/***

  11. Thank you setter. I found this hard work and eventually had to look at Gazza’s hint for 7d. Even though I had the checking letters, I didn’t have the time today to spend “googling” every possible answer for 7d. I am not quite sure whether I enjoyed it ! Nothing much to cause amusement. Thanks Gazza for your hints and review, without which I could not have finished.

  12. A 4*/3.5* and well worth persisting. Having started slowly it all began to fall into place and was a satisfying solve in 80+ degrees of heat. 13a was my favourite – very neat.

  13. 4+ for difficulty for me today? Without the blog I would never have got some answers such as 7d Should not the DT crossword editor have been active with his blue pencil? My thanks to Gazza for the review.

  14. Thought I’d look at a tele one for a change.

    Some nice clues but 7 a bit naughty I thought without an American indicator. Nice spot of the anagram for mother and father if this hasn’t been done before.

    I particularly liked 5 & 14.

  15. I really enjoyed getting my teeth into this puzzle. Having spent time in the USA didn’t find 10a or 7d too hard but really bogged down on 12a for ages – kept thinking of cricket grounds. I wonder why! ***/****

  16. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/smiley-phew.gifWhat a relief to find that gazza had given this one 4* for difficulty and that others found it tricky. I thought I was losing my marbles!
    I think almost 4* for enjoyment too.
    This has taken me a long time. I’d never heard of 10a or 7d or the 17d composer and I always forget about the 1a beer.
    Didn’t know the nap bit of 13d either but BRB did.
    16a had to be what it was but I completely missed the significance of the is so needed the hint to explain why.
    I thought there were some good clues – 11and 21a and 2 and 8d. My 13d was 13a.
    With thanks to Mr Ron for the crossword and to gazza for the hints.
    Think I’ll try Shamus’s Toughie – I like his crosswords.
    Very pongy round here – they’re putting artificial fertiliser on the fields and it stinks. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_sad.gif Wish they’d use the real thing.

    1. I think you MUST have heard of the 17d composer … did you not see My Fair Lady?

  17. After yesterday’s near walkover, I found a couple of hurdles in the top right corner to negotiate before completion. A thoroughly satisfying joint solve with t’other half this morning, with the added bonus of a new area of NY learned (new to us at least) and an alternative definition of a known word in the form of 7 down, which I needed to check in the dictionary before entering. 10 out of 10 for enjoyment.

  18. No surprise that I had no trouble with either 10A or 7D. I don’t think it’s particularly unfair to have a more challenging American place or term once in a while. The DT may be a UK newspaper but these days it aims for a much wider audience with its on-line version and so many expressions have crossed the pond and become familiar. Having lived in North America for so long, I often have difficulty with British place names and modern slang but I chalk it up to something new learned.

    An enjoyable puzzle, I thought, with no stand-outs for me. My thanks to the setter and to Gazza. I agree with CS about the Toughie.

    1. I didn’t even know that 7d was peculiarly American. When I was young, soooo long ago now, we sat in the “bleachers” at Sabina Park in Kingston to watch the cricket, and at that time Jamaica was very British.

  19. I had to work at this one. “overthrow” (test cricket on my mind) did not work for 4d, and neither did “upshot” nor “upturn” work for 6a. Living stateside meant that 10a was doable, but I only because I went to the park there many years ago. That clue was distinctly unfriendly to UK readers. I had never heard of 7d until I moved here.

    It took me too long to see 22d, and finally 19a.

  20. Trickier puzzle today but nonetheless solved!

    Faves : 10a, 16a, 23a, 7d, 14d & 17d.

    For 10a, I had to consult my son who lives in Boston and knows NYC very well to confirm my solution! He is here in F83 with me.

  21. We were stuck in the NE corner too having just 5d and 6d in to start with.
    Even pommers was a bit stumped – so 3/4* difficult for us. 3* enjoyment as some lovely clues especially liked 13a – very apposite anagram!
    Had to check Wiki for 10a but I got 7d ok – and 17d was easy for me as I love musicals, especially My Fair Lady!
    Took ages to get 2d though a I was thinking childrens playthings!
    Thanks Gazza for the review and Mr Ron for a brain workout

  22. 1st scan yielded two clues. Perseverance got the lot except 10A which I’d never heard of either.

  23. Commenting blind, because I’m only halfway through so far. I’m encouraged by the difficulty rating though, because it’s proving something of a tough nut to crack. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/smiley-phew.gif

  24. The **** rating from Gazza was such a welcome sight. I sweated bullets over this. I did get the NYC area, dragged that up from some distant reaches of the brain. I didn’t get the bleachers but I should have. I really had to work for this one, whew! My favourite is 16a with 13a running very close on its heels. Thanks to setter and to Gazza for review.


  25. not a convincingly clever xword today, more like some words were made to fit the grid (10a and 16a)

    really liked 13a and 13d

    so lucky 13th today !!

  26. Thanks to Mr Ron and to Gazza for the review and hints. The worst puzzle I’ve see for ages, too many Americanisms. Never heard of 10&16a and 7&17d. Needed 9 hints to finish, was 4*/1* for me.

  27. Interesting to see the divergence of opinions on this puzzle. I really enjoyed it and completed without any hitch, perhaps subconsciously aided by having lived in the US for years a long time ago. Wonder who the setter is, thanks to you anyway and Gazza too. Toughie really worth a bash today. */****.http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gif

    1. Yes – I agree. I like the divergence of opinions – it’s what makes it all interesting. That’s why I love Tuesday and alternate Thursday crosswords and, as a recent addition, the Monday Rookie Corner puzzles – we never know what to expect with them and the unpredictability adds to the enjoyment.

      1. PS – Really messed that up – I like all Thursday crosswords. Alternate weeks are Ray T (have I ever said that I love his crosswords?) and the other week is an unknown quantity which I also like – surprises are good! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gif

  28. Agree that this was a curate’s egg, but almost in the original sense of the term. There were some good clues though, and the last few in earned a belated second enjoyment star. I did get most of it in the end, but did have to look up the problem words highlighted by Gazza, and needed the review for a few parsings. Thanks for that. ****/**.

    I shall take the Toughie to bed with me tonight, I think :).

  29. With a quick check on Google for 10a, the NE corner did not not hold us up for long as we knew 7d. What did defeat us though was the parsing of 13d. The answer was obvious but the ‘NAP’ meaning totally unknown. Agree that the puzzle was a bit different to usual but that is not a bad thing in our opinion. We enjoyed it.
    Thanks Mr Ron and Gazza.

  30. I feel quite proud of myself.
    I correctly constructed 10a.
    But, in all honesty, who has ever heard of it?
    Two in ten of the UK population?
    Apart, really enjoyed the struggle.
    Some brilliant clues eg 16a, 8d and 14d.
    Many thanks to the setter, and to Gazza for the review.

  31. Very grateful to Gazza for the review. I needed help for no less than six clues! Some I should have got but just didn’t. Although I did have the answer to 13d, hadn’t come across ‘pen’ before, and so was at a loss as to how it fitted with ‘pet’.

    Otherwise, I did enjoy this puzzle a good deal, and followed the rest of the wordplay correctly. I liked 13a and 5d the most, but I did like many of the other clues very much.

    Thanks to the setter for an enjoyable, if somewhat tricky, crossword. Thanks and appreciation to Gazza for the much needed enlightenment.

      1. Oh dear! Do apologise! For ‘pen’ read ‘nap’! (Must have still had ‘pen’ on my mind from the Rookie Corner …) Better take myself off to the naughty corner.

  32. NE corner stumped me otherwise fairly straight-forward. Better luck tomorrow. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_negative.gif

    1. We don’t know the name of today’s compiler, that’s why we refer to him (or her) as Mr Ron (Mysteron). On some days we do know who the compiler is – see the FAQ for details.

  33. Only 5d gave any real enjoyment. Too many clues I do not like at all, but 23a takes the prize, unless there is crossword code for “doesn’t sound much like, actually”. I find Tuesdays are often the least fun of the week. I guess the world would be less entertaining overall if we all liked the same stuff though! Thanks Gazza for the explanations.

  34. Has to be own age thing. Coming up to 79 it was pretty straightforward for me, though not as easy as the Monday offerings. Are Mondays deliberately easy to get the workers back into the groove?

    1. Welcome to the blog Keith1935.
      The idea is that Mondays are the easiest and they get gradually more difficult until Friday, although it doesn’t always work that way in practice.

  35. I thought it straightforward except for the two mentioned, one had to be because of the anagram and similarity to well known word, the other had to be as a construction but had to look it up. waiting for paper boy now for todays delights.

  36. Really enjoyed reading the comments = having finished this off in bed this morning. NE held me up like virtually everyone else. Got 7d eventually but not the reason for it. I just thought of bleachers and dyers. 10a did not trouble me as it was clearly a NY district and the first three letters were a write in – so alphabetical list of districts got it. With a bit of perseverance for a synonym for grace I could have got it but never seems worthwhile when looking for a proper noun. Overall I think some of the clues were a bit too complicated – for my brain at least. Enjoyed the comparison (in the comments) with Monday and the big difference in ratings of Rufus’ crosswords. I am in the write in camp – and I think it is fascinating how we vary. Keep up the good work everyone.

  37. Enjoying this but have had to look up quite a few hints and/or Wikipedia although so far, no curly brackets. I loved 13a, which I used the Scrabble tiles to work out.

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