Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 27697
Hints and tips by Gazza
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BD Rating – Difficulty **** – Enjoyment **
I don’t really subscribe to the current theory on the blog that back-page puzzles have got harder since 1st January but I have to concede that this one seems to me to be above average in terms of difficulty with some quite complicated wordplay (so I’ve given it four *). There’s not a lot of sparkle and I thought that some of the surfaces were a bit clunky. Do let us know how you got on and what you thought of it.
If you click on any of the areas showing ‘Click here!’ you’ll see the actual answer so only do that as a last resort.
1a Minor computing device? (10)
PERIPHERAL – double definition, the second an input or output device attached to a computer (a mouse or printer, for example).
6a Singer in traditional top (4)
ALTO – hidden in the clue.
10a Theme in film closed previously (5)
TOPIC – a short informal word for a film is preceded by an adverb meaning closed or fastened (usually applied to a door).
11a Top poetry composed as an exemplar (9)
PROTOTYPE – an anagram (composed) of TOP POETRY.
12a Storm to meeting with navy, anticipating fuss (7)
TORNADO – join together TO (from the clue) and the abbreviation for our senior service and follow that (anticipating) with a word for fuss or commotion.
13a Commend a couple of pages with writing say almost finished (7)
APPROVE – A (from the clue) and two abbreviations for page are followed by the letter used for writing in the abbreviation for ‘reading, writing and arithmetic’. Add an adverb meaning finished without its final letter.
14a Obstinate article penned by unusually tart cleric (12)
RECALCITRANT – an indefinite article is contained (penned) inside an anagram (unusually) of TART CLERIC.
18a Superb lot up for recreation round island specifically devised (7-5)
PURPOSE-BUILT – an anagram (for re-creation) of SUPERB LOT UP goes round the single-letter abbreviation for island.
21a Time in New York in group not at work? (7)
RESTING – the abbreviation for the standard time used in New York (and other bits of North America bordering the Atlantic) goes inside a group or band to make how an out-of-work actor is described.
23a Querulous comedian almost close to fury (7)
GROUCHY – the name of one of the Marx brothers without his last letter (almost) is followed by the closing letter of fury.
24a Expression a good social worker provided for bad-tempered woman (9)
TERMAGANT – an expression or phrase is followed by A (from the clue), G(ood) and our usual social worker from the insect world.
25a Impractical and off presumably? (3,2)
NOT ON – if a light, for example is switched off then it’s *** **.
26a Restricted cheer in parliament (4)
DIET – double definition. The restricted cheer is what you may have resolved to go on at New Year – well done if your resolution has lasted this long!
27a Love, maybe, expensive board items put in department (10)
ENDEARMENT – an adjective meaning expensive and items found on a (chess)board are put inside the only hospital department that’s known in Crosswordland.
1d It’s often baked and apt too to be battered (6)
POTATO – an anagram (to be battered) of APT TOO.
2d Account for explosive noise (6)
REPORT – double definition, the first a verb meaning to give an account or explanation for.
3d Load get on grass fringing rank in prearranged break (7,7)
PACKAGE HOLIDAY – a load or consignment is followed by a verb to get on or get older. For the second word we need to put grass that’s been dried for use as fodder around (fringing) an adjective (new to me) meaning rank or foul-smelling. I can’t work out what the surface is all about.
4d Agent’s work? (9)
ESPIONAGE – a fairly gentle cryptic definition of what James Bond does for a living.
5d Scent from a capital resident not new (5)
AROMA – A (from the clue) followed by someone from a European capital city without the N(ew).
7d Ordinary female in yard embraced by Hollywood actress? (8)
LAYWOMAN – this is a female who doesn’t belong to a particular profession or have any expert knowledge. The abbreviation for yard goes inside a lady living in the US city where Hollywood is situated (2,5) and who thus could possibly be an actress.
8d Patience, perhaps, in operation before tense volunteers (8)
OPERETTA – Patience is the name of a work by Gilbert and Sullivan. It’s a charade of the abbreviation for a military operation, a literary word meaning before, T(ense) and the old abbreviation for our volunteer soldiers.
9d Loop rash cretin mishandled — and part of sheet? (8,6)
HOSPITAL CORNER – an anagram (mishandled) of LOOP RASH CRETIN gives us what a nurse practises doing on a bed.
15d Obtain in enclosed space first sign of edible vegetable (9)
COURGETTE – insert a verb to obtain or acquire inside an enclosed space or yard. Finally add the first letter (sign) of edible.
16d Lively trip — side let loose (8)
SPIRITED – an anagram (let loose) of TRIP SIDE.
17d Keep parking on wildlife area (8)
PRESERVE – P(arking) is followed by (on, in a down clue) a protected area for wild animals.
19d Blade in sack, yet sheen showing, oddly (6)
SCYTHE – the odd letters extracted from three words in the clue.
20d Young bird and seal mentioned (6)
CYGNET – this young bird sounds like (mentioned) a small seal used to authenticate a document.
22d Small quantity of drink cut by artist (5)
GRAIN – an alcoholic drink contains (cut by) the abbreviation for a member of the Royal Academy of Arts.
The clue I liked best was 26a. How about you?
Today’s Quickie Pun: SCORE + PAEAN = SCORPION