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DT 27620

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 27620

Hints and tips by Gazza

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment **

The top half of this one was pretty much read and write for me. I did slow up a bit in the bottom half (it’s the age you know) so that pushed the difficulty rating up to two stars. Do let us know what you thought of it and how you got on.

If you click on any of the areas showing ‘Click here!’ you’ll see the actual answer so try not to do it by accident.

Across Clues

1a Swell dance skirt (8)
PUFFBALL – charade of a verb to swell (one’s cheeks perhaps) and a formal dance.

5a Two articles about spymaster with girl (6)
AMANDA – put two indefinite articles around James Bond’s boss and a conjunction meaning with.

9a Learning game in publication (9)
ERUDITION – insert the abbreviation for a fifteen-a-side game into a publication or issue.

11a I must enter remainder to take exam again (5)
RESIT – insert I (from the clue) into another word for remainder.

12a Spinner, bowler, maybe seen in film (3,3)
TOP HAT – a child’s plaything that spins is followed by what a bowler is an example of.

ARVE Error: need id and provider

13a Start to play the part of Evita abroad (8)
ACTIVATE – a verb to play a part is followed by an anagram (abroad) of EVITA.

15a Showing off magnificent still (13)
GRANDSTANDING – charade of two adjectives, the first meaning magnificent or splendid and the second meaning still or stationary.

18a Get nothing wrong? Don’t be deceived into thinking otherwise (4,2,7)
MAKE NO MISTAKE – double definition, the second a phrase used to reinforce the validity of what’s being said.

22a Protest about informer being party member (8)
DEMOCRAT – string together a public protest, the single-character abbreviation meaning about or approximately and an informer or turncoat.

23a Complete failure hidden by Mafia’s cover-up (6)
FIASCO – as we’re unambiguously informed the answer is hidden.

26a Opening bars of 8? Take it away (5)
INTRO – a word for an 8d in church from which we’re told to remove the final IT.

27a Total made by county fair (9)
DOWNRIGHT – this is an adjective meaning total or absolute. It’s a charade of one of the counties of Northern Ireland and an adjective meaning fair or equitable.

28a List of charges resulting from squabble when crossing a river (6)
TARIFF – a squabble or spat contains (crossing) A and R(iver).

29a This, in wet areas, possibly (8)
SEAWATER – an anagram (possibly) of WET AREAS. The definition is the whole clue but it seems a bit weak to me.

Down Clues

1d Standing pier gets demolished (8)
PRESTIGE – an anagram (demolished) of PIER GETS.

2d Dowdy woman‘s fine bottom (5)
FRUMP – F(ine) followed by a bottom or rear end.

3d Armed thief in prison also (7)
BRIGAND – an informal word for a prison, especially one on a ship, followed by a conjunction meaning also (the same conjunction that we met in 5a).

4d Den left warm and dry (4)
LAIR – L(eft) and a verb to warm and dry (clothes, for example).

6d Swallow last of Chianti, an Italian drink (7)
MARTINI – a songbird of the swallow family precedes the last letter of Chianti.

7d Sat in gaol, distraught, longing for the past (9)
NOSTALGIA – an anagram (distraught) of SAT IN GAOL.

8d Patriotic song from worker on border (6)
ANTHEM – one of the usual working insects followed by (on, in a down clue) a border or edge.

10d Old Harry, perhaps? (8)
NICKNAME – cryptic definition. Think of who Old Harry is, then think of another common handle used for him. I wonder why all the words used to identify this character are masculine – why not Old Gertie?

14d Flag‘s pattern (8)
STANDARD – double definition, the second being a pattern or template.

16d Mother in reform school (4,5)
ALMA MATER – this a Latin phrase used to refer to one’s old school. Insert a child’s word for mother (4) in a verb to reform or amend.

17d One may get a story about drink with the Queen (8)
REPORTER – string together a preposition meaning about or concerning, a fortified wine and the cipher of the current Queen.

19d Start to stop out (4,3)
KICK OFF – a verb to stop (the habit of using drugs, for example) and an adverb meaning out or inaccurate (a measurement perhaps).

20d Small child by bank in squalid quarter (4,3)
SKID ROW – S(mall) followed by an informal term for a child and a bank or tier.

21d A meaning that’s lost (6)
ADRIFT – A (from the clue) and a meaning or gist.

24d Wonder most of the soldiers returned (5)
SIGHT – this wonder is a spectacle or something of interest. Join together most of the word TH[e] and some American ordinary soldiers then reverse (returned) it all.

25d Detailed message, precious (4)
TWEE – a modern message (one of not more than 140 characters) without its last letter. This is fast becoming an old chestnut.

The clue I liked best was 10d. Which one(s) did you like?



72 comments on “DT 27620

  1. Gazza, I’m aware that I’m not having one of my brighter days but in 9a does the 15 aside part refer to rugby? I bunged it in as it seemed correct but I still can’t see why. Sorry. :-(

      1. Had BD been doing the hints he would undoubtedly have told you that both abbreviations are listed under ‘sport’ in The Usual Suspects – see here.

        1. Thanks Gazza. I’ve had a real head in hands moment. Not only have I read The Usual suspects and the Pedants Corner, I have come across RU and RL in crosswords before obviously. For some reason today I just couldn’t see it. Even more embarrassing is that I have heard enough debates about the pros and cons of each to last me a lifetime.

          However the rest of the crossword I quite enjoyed. Stand out were 13a and 10 & 8d, the latter really did make me smile.

          So many thanks to the setter and to Gazza for the review. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_rose.gif

  2. nice puzzle today – felt different.
    i liked 13a, evita abroad, 15a, magnificent still, and 21d, a meaning that’s lost, and 16d school. Also some chestnuts like 8d.

    toughie today is brilliant.

    many thanks setter and gazza

  3. 5a fooled me for while. I had Thelma i.e. The and la with m in between. Ah well, it seemed a good idea at the time.

    1. 5A took me an embarrassingly long time. Why the embarrassment? Well, I’ve been married 36 years, and my wife’s name is…

  4. I found this one a bit more challenging than usual for some reason – looking back on the completed puzzle, I am not exactly sure why as it all seems all straightforward enough in hindsight. Very slow on the bottom half.
    Then that goofy 25d again in just a few days.

    3*/4* for me today.

  5. I think the quickie took me twice as long as the back pager, which i only mention because Gazza I think you missed out a third word for the quickie pun.
    Thanks to setter and to Gazza.

  6. A bit more than 1* difficulty and moderately enjoyable so I’m going for a fence sitting 1.5*/2.5* today.

    Thank you setter, and thank you too to Gazza for the review which I needed to parse 26a. I thought of taking away IT from Introit, but I stupidly decided that Introit was such an unlikely word that I didn’t bother to look it up :-(

  7. Another gentle but enjoyable crossword, thanks to the setter and to Gazza for the usual excellent review. The Dada toughie today is well worth a go, fairly gentle but with a few strange words.

  8. It took a couple of sittings for me to finish this off and I found it a pleasant solve. Thanks to Gazza and setter 2.5*/3.5*

  9. Thank you setter. Fairly straightforward. Nice to finish early – lunch appointment approaching ! Thanks Gazza for your review and hints.

  10. Enjoyed this one and would have given it an extra * in that department. 12 & 18a, 10 & 20d all raised a smile – would prob. agree with 10d as favourite.
    If I remember correctly, the ‘angel who fell from grace’ was male – as indeed were all the others who were knocking about in heaven at the time. You guys made it ‘men only’ club, so I’m afraid you’re stuck with the outcome! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yahoo.gif
    Would have been nice to see Dame Judi get the photo’ credit for ‘M’ http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_rose.gif

  11. Thanks Mr. Ron. This felt different from the usual run-of-the-mill and I really enjoyed it. Thanks Gazza for your hints which were entertaining after the event and particularly the touch of nostalgia in 12a http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_whistle3.gif. I agree with Werm that the Quickie (?) was challenging today with clues such as 19a with which I needed help. ***/***.

  12. Pleased to finish this without needing hints, but irritated with myself for not ‘getting’ 25a, even tho the answer seemed obvious… D’oh! Thank you setter for an enjoyable tussle, and Gazza – especially for the magic of the film for 12a. Am I being very grumpy, or even a 2d, to say that in spite of the athleticism of current dance moves, I find the grace and elegance of Fred and Ginger hard to beat?!

  13. Thanks to Mr Ron and to Gazza for the review and hints. A nice puzzle, but nothing spectacular. I must be getting on, as I had trouble in the bottom half like Gazza http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_sad.gif
    Favourite was 9a, was 2*/2* for me. Last in was 21d.

  14. I thought this was going to be tricky – only a couple of across answers on first read through but lots more with the downs so 2* and 3*.
    I didn’t know the 1a skirt – only the edible fungus, and it’s a very good year for them.
    Spent far too long trying to justify Anthea for 5a which was silly.
    I ended up with an awful lot of gaps in the bottom right corner which took me longer than the rest of the crossword – can’t see why, now.
    Very few anagrams today and even though 23a was spelt out I still managed to miss it. Oh dear!
    I liked 1 and 27a and 7 and 21d.
    Thanks to Mr Ron and gazza.
    It was raining when we woke up yesterday morning and hasn’t stopped since. I’ve got an ancient mac – it’s very scruffy (who cares when dog walking) but completely waterproof – all the rain just runs off it. It stops about 1/2″ above the top of my wellies . . . http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_sad.gif

    1. My fail safe in these situations is the trusty Gaffer Tape – but I’m not sure either your legs or wellies would appreciate it! Do hope you’re drying out today, Kath!

  15. I’m with all the old codgers having trouble with the bottom (behave at the back), more specifically the SE corner. Note to self: how many times do you need reminding that Northern Ireland has counties too…?
    Generally a bit lacklustre for me so 2*/2*

  16. Nice one. 27a and 25d held me up a bit. Favourite clue was 2d. Great little diversion without taking up too much of the day.

  17. i really enjoyed today’s crossword especially 10d and 16d. The bottom half did take longer than the top, but once we got 21d in the rest followed fairly quickly. It’s been raining here in Scarborough all morning, and yesterday too. My shower proof jackets aren’t, and the hoods are huge, completely covering the eyes.http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_sad.gifThank you to the setter and to Gazza.

  18. Did anyone else get led astray by 19 down as I did? I confidently stuck in KEEP OFF – on the premise that “start to stop” means the same as “keep off” as in trying to keep off the fags (or whatever!). And “out” also means “keep off”….(“OUT!!”). Of course this stupidity then hampered me with 20 across, which is why I had to resort to good old Dave (yet again…..).

      1. Hello from me too. If it feels right bung it in. Being held up and sorting out later is all part of the fun. My paper based crosswords were a mess most days. It is all so much neater on the iPad. Thank for commenting.

        1. Pencils with little ‘erasers’ are helpful for those bung it in moments and anagrams, they’re really useful for anagrams. ;-)

  19. 10 was the last one in for me as ‘Old Harry’ was new to me. After an internet search I now also know about some rock formations in Dorset. You live and learn!

    1. Me too , Toadson, I didn’t know who Old Harry was & googled it and like you learned about The Old Harry rocks in Dorset .I was really slow to get into this today but got there eventually. It didn’t help that I had education in 9a (Although I couldn’t make sense of it) to begin with. I enjoyed the tussle though.

  20. Oooh – a new notice – at least this one isn’t bright red and jumping up and down like the one at weekends!

  21. I’m still as dull as the weather, and needed another straightforward one to massage my brain back into crosswording shape. This didn’t disappoint: I finished, 18a, (oh – except for parsing of 26a: new word,) but not fast enough to warrant any 15a.

    I, too, took longer fitting everything into place in the lower region. Wasted a while thinking that the final word of 18a would be “message,” thinking along the lines of something-or-other on message – which was a mistake! I enjoyed 2d and 16d, and agree with Gazza’s favourite in 10d.

    1. Malfunctioning brain left out my thanks, which today go to Mr Ron and to Gazza. And to anyone else behind the scenes who might deserve it. :)

      1. Oh heck – I forgot the ‘thanks’ as well. Many apologies, Gazza, I was so busy hauling you over the coals re: thinking that the devil could ever be a woman and for not putting Judi Dench as the face of ‘M’ that my manners deserted me.
        Couldn’t do your ‘job’ in a million years and am SO grateful to those of you who can. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_heart.gif

            1. Don’t know what or where the FAQ is, but reckon I’ll go for ‘no’ being the answer – just in case. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_wink.gif

  22. A gentle challenge with a few thought provoking clues in the bottom half. I really liked 15a, not that it was particularly difficult or clever… I think it was just the joy of writing the word in!
    19d was a bit of a puzzle, I got the answer obviously once the checking letters were in but I was never totally sure of the parsing.
    Anyway thanks to Mr Ron and Gazza for his esteemed efforts.

  23. I dunno, I found this quite hard but most seem to think it’s easy peasy. To each his own … I needed the hints for a couple in the SW corner, 26a and 18d, still not sure I understand that; I get the start bit, I am guessing the rest is a soccer term. Apart from that, very enjoyable and it was fun working out. Fave was 10d. Thanks to setter and to Gazza for review.

    1. I presume your 18d is actually 19d. The definition is start (a game of rugby or football starts with a kick-off). To kick (a habit, e.g.) is to STOP it and OUT means OFF (as in “your calculation is way off”).

  24. One of those puzzles that had a lot of half understood clues but with the right answer. I.e. 5a, 14d and 4d. Didn’t really see why the warm in 4d, still don’t get 26a, what has Intro to do with Anthem? Looked at the hint but makes no sense to me all.
    However, all that apart it was an enjoyable solve albeit with a bit of here’s the answer, now how does it fit the wordplay!
    Thx to all.

      1. Ah a religious clue, no wonder it meant nothing to me. Thx for the enlightenment. Sometimes I think I should go to church occasionally to help my crossword education! :-)

  25. Another fine puzzle. 25d went in last as I just didn’t see the de tailed bit of detailed. 24d was second to last in but I dint get the wordplay until driving through Kirkby Lonsdale where I had a eureka moment. Chilin now in The Abbey Hotel between the In Furnesses Dalton and Barrow.

  26. the SE corner was the last to yield for us. Possibly because the full list of Counties is not at the front of our minds, but we did know this one. The puzzle delivered a perfectly acceptable level of challenge and fun for us.
    Thanks Mr Ron and Gazza.

  27. Silly me got 9a first time round which threw 3d out until I saw the error of my ways, soldiered on bravely and having finished under my own steam dropped in to how you had got on.
    Much better day in Suffolk untl flu jab this afternoon.

    1. No – don’t do flu jabs – you’re likely to catch something there while you’re having it and anyway the less extraneous stuff that’s bunged into you the better. You can all call me whatever you like – just my opinion. ! I’ll shut up and go away now. . . . http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_unsure.gif

      1. PS – if or when I get flu I will, of course, need a huge amount of sympathy and no reminders of how stupid I was not to have the flu jab – thats assuming that I can haul myself out of bed for long enough to post a comment.

  28. Lovely puzzle, taken in two goes , before and after PT meeting. It’s funny how all the answers flowed after the pause. The subsconscious working away , I suppose.15a was my favourite, I know some people who do that, as do we all, no doubt. Thanks to the setter and Gazza.

  29. Gentle, but generally uninspiring. Something like 2*/2*, and no particularly enjoyable clues. It’s probably just me, setter (no wind in Plymouth Sound today when l tried to go for a late season sail on an otherwise glorious day, which is guaranteed to make me grumpy!) so please don’t blame yourself. Thanks to Gazza for the review.

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