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Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 27640

Hints and tips by pommers

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ***

Hola from the Vega Baja on another beautiful autumn morning which makes a nice change from the 24 hours of torrential rain we had on Tuesday.

I found this puzzle quite enjoyable even though some of the surfaces are a bit iffy.  It took a while for the penny to drop on 4d but otherwise there’s nothing much to frighten the horses.

Answers are hidden under the click here buttons and definitions are underlined in the clues. The ones I like most are in blue.

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.


7a           Watch fool cutting through heath (7)
MONITOR: The watch isn’t a timepiece but a word meaning to keep an eye on. Take a word for a fool (3), not ASS this time, and insert (cutting through) into a word for heath.

8a           Stronghold in front of castle with elaborate detail (7)
CITADEL: It’s C (front of Castle) followed by an anagram (elaborate) of DETAIL.

10a         Fiennes, perhaps, showing a drive to involve commercial enterprise (10)
ADVENTURER: The member of the Fiennes family referred to here is Ranulph. To get what he is an example of you need A (from the clue) followed by the abbreviation for drive and then insert (to involve) a word for a commercial enterprise.

11a         Get rid of duelling without judge (4)
OUST: Duelling as in what knights of old used to do on horseback.  Remove (without) the J(udge) and you’re left with a word meaning get rid of.

12a         Copper unusually stern with son, showing abrupt manner (8)
CURTNESS: Chemical symbol for copper followed by an anagram (unusually) of STERN and then S(on).

14a         Duke, one with property, in depressing experience (6)
DOWNER: D(uke) followed by a word describing someone who has property or possessions.

15a         Medical record? It’s packed and subject to study (4,7)
CASE HISTORY: The first word is something you pack, when you go on holiday perhaps, and the second is a subject you probably studied at school.

19a         Order to destroy book in church stand? (6)
PULPIT: This church stand is where the preacher stands.  If split (4,2) it could be an order to destroy a book.

20a         Devilish type with suspect roots, a charlatan (8)
IMPOSTOR: Take the usual devilish child and follow with an anagram (suspect) of ROOTS.

22a         Something that could be sugared in shop illegally (4)
PILL: It’s hidden (in) in SHOP ILLEGALLY.

23a         Some drinks run out by receptacle in tournament? (5,5)
ROUND ROBIN: The first word is some drinks you might buy when it’s your turn and the second word is a charade of the abbreviation for run out in cricket and a rubbish receptacle. This gives you the type of tournament in which each player plays against every other player in turn.

25a         Publication chewed over Northern industrialist (7)
MAGNATE: Start with an abbreviated publication and then a word for chewed or eaten placed around (over) N(orthern).

26a         Principality with men and artillery (7)
ANDORRA: It’s a charade of a word meaning with (3), one of several possible abbreviations of men as in soldiers (2) and then the two letters for the army’s gunners.


1d           English outlaw, short fat chap and gangster (7)
HOODLUM: The second name of a famous English outlaw followed by an informal term for a fat chap but without his last letter (short).

2d           Sharp point in diving posture? (4)
PIKE: The diving posture is also the type of long sharp point carried by infantry soldiers in the middle ages.

3d           Black stuff? What’s taken up for comfort (6)
SOOTHE: Some black stuff from a chimney followed by a reversal (taken up in a down clue) of an exclamation meaning what?

4d           Condensed material useful for a sleeper? (8)
MICRODOT: Cryptic definition of something useful to a sleeper as in a spy.

5d           Source of trouble — or likely help to an angler? (3,2,5)
CAN OF WORMS: This is the sort of trouble that you’re told not to open. It would also be full of bait for an angler.

6d           Transparent material you might see through glasses reportedly (7)
PERSPEX: A three letter preposition meaning through followed by four letters which aren’t a word but, when pronounced, sound like (reportedly) some glasses, not the ones you drink out of but the one’s which help you to see clearly.

9d           Group’s ties I treated as impressive (11)
PRESTIGIOUS: Anagram (treated) of GROUPS TIES I.

13d         Useful accessory for spring? (10)
TRAMPOLINE: Cryptic definition of something that would help you to spring, as in jump.

16d         Conservationists in country terribly discontented as a whole (8)
ENTIRETY: Take the conservationists who look after historic buildings and insert (in) into a four letter European country and follow with TY (T(erribl)Y discontented)

17d         Chicago, perhaps, characterised by bars? (7)
MUSICAL: Cryptic definition of what Chicago is an example of.  Oklahoma would work just as well.

18d         Shapely design of box, etc? (7)
TOPIARY: Another cryptic definition.  It’s the art of cutting box, or privet, yew etc, into shapes.

21d         Fussy sort, somewhat stooped antiquarian (6)
PEDANT: The fussy sort is hiding (somewhat) in STOOPED ANTIQUARIAN.

24d         Old boy, one lacking substance as music-maker (4)
OBOE: Music maker as in musical instrument.  Start with the usual abbreviation for Old Boy and follow with OE (O(n)E without its central letter – lacking substance).

A few nice clues here but my favourite is 21d.  What about you?

Today’s Quickie Pun: GRISLY + BARE = GRIZZLY BEAR

77 comments on “DT27640

  1. Enjoyable enough puzzle – suitably bamboozled by 18d due to never having heard of the tree. Thanks to pommers and setter 2.5*/3*

  2. a message from Mary:
    I am having on-going internet problems which makes even getting the crossword printed a pain some days, let alone trying to blog! I am trying to sort it but trying to talk to someone in India who continually repeat the same tests and questions and reassure me I am a priority is driving me crazy!!!! I am missing my crossword world and friends and hope to be back ASAP … Say Hi to everyone for me …

    1. Oh good – I’m glad that it sounds as if Mary will be back as soon as the dodgy internet is sorted out. Could you tell her that there are several people waiting to ‘meet’ her and please say hello to her from me.

  3. 2.5*/2.5*. The NW corner was the last to fall, and I needed Pommers’ review to get the answer for 2d which was a new meaning for me. Not surprisingly to those who know me, 21d was my favourite.

    Many thanks to Mr. Ron and to Pommers.

  4. A couple to think about that pulled this into 3* time for me this morning.
    Thanks to setter, and to pommers for the review.

    For those hoping for RayT today, his toughie today is worth a look (although I found it a little tricky in places).

  5. I quite enjoyed this one and had trouble with a few so nearly a 3* for me and a 3* for enjoyment too.
    18d was my last answer and 10a was second to last as I forgot about that Fiennes and could only think of the actor – dim!
    I didn’t understand the sleeper bit of 4d – should have looked up sleeper in BRB but didn’t.
    I liked 15a and 1, 5 and 6d. My favourite was 21d.
    Thanks to Mr Ron and pommers.
    Might try the Toughie later . . .
    Chilly in Oxford and very frosty last night – think that we’ve all become hot house flowers.

    1. Hi Kath, how did your daughters birthday go? I completely forgot it was yesterday. Pommers and Jane had to remind me! Hope the cold is better.

      1. Daughter’s birthday was lovely, thanks for asking. We met up with them all in London and went out for dinner – she had lots of pressies and was generally very happy with everything.
        I read the blog from yesterday and you said you weren’t sure how to do a http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/icon_redface.gif. Just below all the “little faces” that we all use all the time it says “more”. Click on that and you get a whole lot more to pick from. My favourite is http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/icon_rolleyes.gif because it sums up how I feel about all the silly things that I do!

  6. On first scan it looked difficult, but soon fell into place, so a **/*** is fine for me; this had nothing to do with copying the back page cryptic and the toughie and attempting the toughie thinking it was the back page! did’nt look very easy, we’ll see later. Anyway thought that today’s back page needed a careful read to arrive at the wordplay, quite ‘sharp’ all round-thanks to Mr T and Pommers for the picks although can’t stand worms!

  7. Hola pommers thanks for explaining 4d didn’t get to finish it , l the boxes was clever and my last one . *** /*** on the back of these

  8. A very entertaining puzzle – a nice mix of clues Thanks to today’s setter.

    It seems that pommers just had to get a racing car in there somewhere! (Amazing what one can do with a hedge!) But a bit of a slow pit-stop!

    1. I thought the racing car was a wheelbarrow – oh dear! Either didn’t look carefully enough or should have gone to Supersavers! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/icon_rolleyes.gif I should have known better with pommers doing the hints.

          1. My OH is called Brian and I have a dyslexic friend who, every year, sends his birthday card to Dear Brain

  9. This was deep into **** territory for difficulty for me. I always find grids such as these with so few intersecting first letters challenging, and some of the references were sufficiently obscure that I was defeated by them (6d for instance). I’m not sure I understand the ‘box’ reference in 18d. Even the pleasure in recognizing the cricket reference in 23 ac did not make up for others that went entirely by me (I even missed the ‘what’ reference in 3d!). I kept checking to make sure I had not picked up the toughie by mistake! Not much fun for me today I’m afraid.

    1. It wasn’t the most helpful grid. This layout not only restricts the number of first letters but it tends to give lots of vowels as checkers. I was left with a couple that took ages before the penny dropped.

  10. Thanks to Mr Ron and to Pommers for the review and hints. I really struggled with this, just couldn’t get on the setter’s wavelength. Needed 8 hints to finish. Was 4*/2* for me.

  11. Enjoyed it all until 3d, failing to spot the right kind of black stuff (decided it started with B and ended up with ‘bottle’). My plea in mitigation is that we haven’t got a chimney.
    Thanks to Pommers and the setter.

    1. Yes – I had bottle too, although I didn’t understand the ‘black stuff’ bit – and we have got a chimney (and a log fire in it today) so I have no excuses.

  12. I found this puzzle much more of a challenge than many I’ve solved recently – that’s most definitely not a complaint though, because it was one that I really enjoyed. I wrote several answers in and then checked to see if and why they were correct after completion. Many ‘penny dropping’ moments today. Thanks to the setter for an enjoyable ‘workout’ and also to Pommers for your explanations.

  13. How strange. I see quite a few people today found it tricky, and while we didn’t exactly find it easy ( we never do), we managed to finish with only a little checking. It helps to recognise the meanings of some words e.g. box being a type of shrub and pike being a diving term and being pretty reasonable with sporting terminology, which compensates for a general lack of cryptic ability. Thank you to the setter and to Pommers.

  14. I loved 15a and 19d but 4d was very slow and my last one in. Great puzzle , thanks to the setter and pommers.

  15. ****/***
    I’m back in my self imposed corner today. On surface reading I thought I wasn’t going to struggle too much. Such arrogance! I couldn’t read my own writing for 1d, incidentally my favourite clue, resulting 12a going horribly wrong. N.B it was written in softly in pencil.
    Like Kath I completely overlooked Ranulph even though I could see ‘venture’!
    I won’t even go into what went wrong elsewhere.
    I needed the hints for 4 and 18d. Never heard of the of ‘top’ shrub in this before.
    Other favourites are 6 and 17d.
    Oh and 5d gave me a wry smile as it’s one of the few things that vexes me. Fishing tackle being washed in a bath.http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gif
    Thank you to the setter and to Pommers for blogging. I certainly needed your help today. :-)

    1. I’m not sure about fishing stuff being washed in the bath but some friends of ours have a son who used to do lots of fishing. He had some maggots under his bed – he forgot about them and they hatched.http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_negative.gif

    2. Jeepers, Hanni – I thought hankies used to wipe golf clubs were bad enough!

      Very relieved to hear that this one put you in the corner – at least I’ll have some company. I’ve run out of limes, hope you’ve got some to spare?

      Looks like we might get to meet the famous Mary before too long. Bet the three of us can fill the ‘recent comments’ section between us – BD might be censoring us all ‘ere long! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_wink.gif

      1. Jane, it was justified with, “But only guests use that bath”! He didn’t laugh when I threatened to use the golf clubs as fire pokers! He’s not all bad. I get to go to golf club dinners and he did once foul hook a lifeboat. ;-)
        The G & T is waiting whenever you need it. I’m drinking some sort of almond liqueur in coffee.
        Kath I’m glad you had a lovely time. Though the thought of those maggots is just awful!!!

        1. Golf club dinners! Oh, lord, I remember them well and have the photographic evidence as proof! When the OH is ‘pro’, then Captain, then President, it puts you under so much pressure to stay sober and remember everyone’s names and who they like and dislike, that it fairly ruins any enjoyment. There were plenty of times when the obligatory bouquet for the long-suffering wife almost got rammed down his throat! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gif

          Be careful with the almond stuff in coffee – it can make you feel really, really awful in the morning. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_sad.gif

          1. Jane had I known you then I would have sent you flowers. And possibly anything else you needed. ;-)
            I just put on my corporate face and smile. After the last one he went out and bought me the ‘Val Gilbert 80 Years of Telegraph Crosswords’ book. It was that dreadful.
            On the upside it’s Burns’ Night in a couple of months and that is something we enjoy.
            Hope you enjoy your morning. It sounds like you have a busy weekend ahead. :-)

            1. Off to bed shortly in view of the early start in the morning. Do you reckon Kath’s already done same – all quiet on her ‘front’! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_wink.gif

              1. I suspect so. I really hope Mary comes back soon. She plays the flute, comments a lot and likes crosswords. What’s not to like. :-) The almond stuff is back in the cupboard. However the ‘corner’ will be available over the weekend

              2. No – not that quiet – I’m back! You can’t get rid of me that easily you know!! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_whistle3.gif . . . not that I really have anything else interesting to say!
                Off to bed now – horribly late last night – SO glad that pommers swapped blogs with me – he did today and it’s me next week – should have been the other way round.
                Thanks pommers. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_rose.gif

                1. Don’t worry, Kath – we just MIGHT get a Mr. T next week. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_wink.gif

                  Was it a ‘special’ birthday for elder Pet Lamb?

  16. ***/***. Lots of enjoyable clues (liked 18d the best). SW the last quadrant in. Thanks to the setter and pommers for the review.

  17. I found this decidedly tricky in the NE corner, except for 5d, I got that, and a couple in the NW. I needed the hints to complete. Fave is 19a, even though it took me ages to get it. Thanks to setter, and to pommers for the hints, enabling me to finish finally.

  18. Glad it was thought a two star, I managed precisely 6 answers. For me at least 4 star for difficulty. Not been a great week for me for back pagers. Hoping for a good Giovanni tomorrow to rescue the week.

  19. I enjoyed this one and managed to complete it without using the hints, so I think it’s fair to say that this was a lot easier than a few we’ve had lately.

    Tomorrow is another day – onward and upward! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_good.gif

  20. Oh dear.
    I was looking forward to a really, really difficult struggle with RayT.
    Not to be .
    Substitute ‘fairly’ for ‘really, really’
    Most enjoyable, thought 19a, 26a and 18d very clever clues.
    Many thanks to the setter and to pommers for the review.

  21. Very glad to have the company of those who struggled with this as well as me! I feel so stupid when I see the hints and explanations (thanks very much pommers) and don’t know why on earth I couldnt ‘see’ the answer… Ah well…. Thank you setter for a puzzling day! Wonderful seascapes at Worthing today (am working down on the South Coast), but Poppy nearly got blown away.

  22. This one kept us going a bit longer than usual so we agree with those who found it on the tricky side. Suspect that this grid with its shortage of starting checkers could be the reason. Can’t decide between 3d and 4d for our favourite. Enjoyed the solve.
    Thanks Mr Ron and pommers.

  23. Thank you setter. I found this difficult. Possibly due to a late night and a long drive to Devon. So many thanks Pommers for your review and hints which I used to speed things up. Looking forward to a special meal tonight !

    1. Hi SW – what’s the ‘special meal’? I’ve got a migration watch outing at 7.30am tomorrow on the front at Llanfairfechan – my special meal will be a full breakfast at the Beach Hut afterwards!!! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gif

      1. Hi Jane – late reply, loss of signal and more travelling. Dinner was by Michael Caines at Gidleigh Park. As they say “reassuringly expensive” !

  24. Pommers,
    16d. I’m trying to understand this. What is the European country and who are the conservationists?

    1. please excuse me for answering as your post was asking for pommers’ explanation, but I believe the European country is “EIRE” with NT inside for the National Trust (conservationists).

  25. Meetings all day so rushed home for the pleasure of a Ray T – only to discover that it certainly wasn’t! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_cry.gif
    Not a very happy bunny – about six of the clues caused me grief and finally getting the answers didn’t give me any ‘oh – how clever’ satisfaction. Obviously just my ‘wavelength’ perception – I think we may have had another puzzle from this setter within the last couple of weeks. I certainly remember experiencing the same slough of despond fairly recently.

    Personal goodies came courtesy of 19a, 16&18d. Pommers – do you know where that particular ‘box’ was photographed?

    Kath – SO glad you had a lovely evening with elder Pet Lamb. Hope you managed to defeat the ‘cold’ miseries?

  26. After a webbed foot day in Suffolk yesterday sun came out but chilly which tweaked my antique brain into action. Saying that I needed a bit of help with bottom RH corner because I did not see 25a looming. Filed away for next time.http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_bye.gifhttp://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_bye.gif

    1. Thought I was doing OK with 25a but came unstuck when I didn’t put a sufficient number of ‘r’s in it! That will teach me to be so complacent about my spelling. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_smile.gif

        1. Yes – I am missing something – the fact that you probably mean 26a! Oh dear, for the umpteenth time today – it really is past my bed-time given the time we got home last night. My Dad would have said “It’s late, you’re over-tired and beginning to show-off – I think it’s time you went to bed!”
          Night night all . . . http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/smiley-yawn.gif

  27. I thought this was quite difficult; it was close to the toughie in that respect, but not quite so enjoyable. I struggled to get on the right wavelength, which is not usually the case with Mr Ron (if that is indeed the setter). I too had bottle for 3d – after all, it is often taken up for comfort – but the right answer, when you see it, is not at all impenetrable. 6d is my favourite clue, but 18d came close. Thanks to the setter, and to Pommers for the review.

  28. Enjoyed this one, and finished with time left to have a crack at the Toughie.
    2*/3* for me.
    18d was my favourite.
    Thanks to both setter and pommers.

  29. Prima – just up my street. Thanks Mr. Ron and Pommers. 4d last to go in as I couldn’t justify it. ***/****. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gif

  30. Like others, I’m not a fan of these grids because they make my brain work too hard, but other than that, I liked it and got there in 3* time. Favourite, and last one in, was 18d, which made me smile when I saw it. Thanks to Pommers for the usual excellent review and to the setter, with a plea for more considerate grids in the future

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