DT 27949

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 27949

Hints and tips by Gazza

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty */**Enjoyment **

This is fairly straightforward and mostly pretty mechanical. Do let us know what you thought of it and how you fared.

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.

Across Clues

1a Some French couple in a hopeless state (7)
DESPAIR – a French word meaning ‘some’ followed by a couple.

5a Spice Girl embraced by part of UK and a foreign country (7)
NIGERIA – the forename of Ginger Spice is contained between the abbreviation for the most westerly part of the UK and A (from the clue).

9a Sign exasperated expression will return in tight outfit (7)
LEOTARD – a sign of the zodiac followed by the reversal of a mild expression of exasperation.

10a Second occupant of tent in brisk run (7)
SCAMPER – the abbreviation for second and someone temporarily living in a tent.

11a Very famous general abroad seen round degree ceremony finally (9)
LEGENDARY – an anagram (abroad) of GENERAL contains D(egree). Finish with the final letter of ceremony.

12a Stoop in Norse figure that’s pronounced (5)
DEIGN – this sounds like a Norse figure or someone from a Scandinavian country.

13a Intuitive feeling in search unchanged (5)
HUNCH – concealed in the clue.

15a Make speech about loud bore (9)
PERFORATE – a verb to make a speech contains the musical abbreviation meaning loud.

17a Note to cut a hem not mended — like some old gear? (4-5)
MOTH-EATEN – the seventh note of tonic sol-fa gets inserted (to cut) in an anagram (mended) of A HEM NOT.

19a Two foreign articles put together for seasoned church figure (5)
ELDER – definite articles from Spain and Germany come together.

22a Bird, chicken, not caught (5)
RAVEN – an adjective meaning chicken or cowardly without the cricket abbreviation for caught.

23a Time for fewer packages? (3,6)
OFF SEASON – packages can be used informally to mean ‘package holidays’ (though Chambers doesn’t list it) so this is a cryptic definition of a slack time for such. Some dictionaries have this (as here) as two words, others have it hyphenated but the BRB has it as a single word.

25a Fruit and a lot of staple food put in container (7)
APRICOT – start with A (from the clue) then insert a staple food without its final E (lot of) in a container.

26a On retiring, skinny front of garment reveals zip (7)
NOTHING – string together the reversal (retiring) of ON, an adjective meaning skinny or slim and the front letter of garment.

27a Outspoken writer of records, dealer in breakdowns? (7)
ANALYST – this sounds like (outspoken) someone who writes records or chronicles.

28a Expand a green meandering around lake (7)
ENLARGE – an anagram (meandering) of A GREEN contains the abbreviation for lake.

Down Clues

1d Biblical woman acclaimed uprising with fifty involved (7)
DELILAH – reverse (uprising, in a down clue) a verb meaning acclaimed or glorified and insert the Roman numeral for fifty.

2d Warlord with grip on front of trigger in weapon (7)
SHOTGUN – a Japanese warlord contains (with grip on) the front letter of trigger. This is the second use of ‘front’ as an initial letter indicator.

3d A trap, covering ace once more (5)
AGAIN – A and an animal trap (outlawed in the UK since the 1950s) contain (covering) the abbreviation used in card games for an ace.

4d Northern racecourse favourite getting star treatment (3,6)
RED CARPET – the name of a racecourse on Teesside in the North of England is followed by a favourite or darling.

5d Inquisitive lad brought up easily discontented (5)
NOSEY – reverse (brought up, in a down clue) a young male relative then remove the inner letters (dis-contented) from the word ‘easily’.

6d A do singer ruined being bombastic (9)
GRANDIOSE – an anagram (ruined) of A DO SINGER.

7d Copy businessman in charge in US city (7)
REPLICA – a businessman who travels around collecting orders is followed by the abbreviation for ‘in charge’ inside the abbreviation for a west coast US city.

8d Put in order a shooting venue, we hear (7)
ARRANGE – this sounds like (we hear) a place where one can practise using firearms.

14d Loud clamour exploding near duchy (3,3,3)
HUE AND CRY – an anagram (exploding) of NEAR DUCHY.

16d Call criminal for reserve funds? (4-5)
RING-FENCE – a verb to telephone followed by a criminal who deals in stolen goods.

17d Sweet wine from area consumed by gentleman sadly laid up (7)
MARSALA – the abbreviation for area is contained inside the title used for an adult male. After that we have to reverse (laid up, in a down clue) an adverb meaning sadly or unfortunately.

18d Retired vicar enters function by a dining establishment (7)
TAVERNA – reverse the abbreviated title of a vicar inside a mathematical function then add A (from the clue).

20d Party rises unexpectedly, in brief (7)
DOSSIER – a festive party is followed by an anagram (unexpectedly) of RISES.

21d Deny Frenchman visitor, no saint (7)
RENEGUE – a French forename (that of Monsieur Descartes the philosopher, for example) is followed by an invited visitor without the two-letter abbreviation for saint.

23d One calls this eight troupers principally (5)
OCTET – this is a semi-all-in-one where the whole clue is the definition. Use the principal letters of the first five words.

24d Praise next old-fashioned sandwiches (5)
EXTOL – the clue conceals (sandwiches) the answer.

The clue I liked best was 4d. How about you?

Today’s Quickie Pun: SIGH + ATTICA = SCIATICA


  1. Young Salopian
    Posted November 3, 2015 at 11:05 am | Permalink

    Another very enjoyable offering. Not too taxing, but still fun. No tougher than a 2 for difficulty, but a solid 3 for enjoyment. Thanks to our setter and Gazza for his review. I had better say outright that I liked the pic for 9a. Very un-pc but it certainly brightened up a dank morning in my neck of the woods.

    • Jaylegs
      Posted November 3, 2015 at 3:18 pm | Permalink

      More pvc ?

  2. dutch
    Posted November 3, 2015 at 11:13 am | Permalink

    Well thank you Gazza, great clip of Pavarotti and Tom Jones!

    i liked 5a (spice girl), 26a (front of garment revealing zip), 2d (warlord) and especially 17d, since this sweet wine always brings back fond memories of Erice, Sicily, where I attended a conference series for many years and we always had barrels of the stuff on hand.

    wasn’t too taken by clues like “A do singer ruined..”

    many thanks setter and Gazza

  3. Kitty
    Posted November 3, 2015 at 11:16 am | Permalink

    I haven’t done the crossword yet. The **app crashed my Tabby (yes, I named my Android tab Tabby). I watched last night’s Only Connect instead. How lovely it is to see the setters at the pointy end of the questions! Well done Cluesmiths, whether you won or came second. (I shall not reveal spoilers.) http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_good.gif

    I’ll be back later to say something about the crossword. Thanks to the setter for the puzzle which I will get round to this afternoon, and to Gazza for the review which I will enjoy shortly afterwards.

  4. Hanni
    Posted November 3, 2015 at 11:16 am | Permalink


    This went to 2* difficulty because of a couple of daft mistakes in the NE corner. I flirted with Algeria for 1a to the point of pencilling it in..only to rub it out. Took me an age to spot the hidden in 24d, I’d just used Miffypops rule and bunged it in. And 17d is delicious on ice-cream.

    Many thanks to the setter and to Gazza for a great blog. Excellent work on the pictures again.

    Toughie time.

  5. Graham
    Posted November 3, 2015 at 11:28 am | Permalink

    This was **/*** territory for me,I made the same mistake at 5A as Hanni but soon got back on track. Nice to see Miffypops has a Greek cousin at 18D. Many thanks to the setter & Gazza for his review especially the picture of Ginger spice!?http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_cry.gif

  6. Wahoo
    Posted November 3, 2015 at 11:46 am | Permalink

    All pretty straightforward and reasonably enjoyable. **/*** for me last night. 12a last one in after a d’uh moment.

    Didn’t think much of 23a and still not sure about the homophone in 27a.

    Thanks to setter and Gazza for the review; I’ll go with you on 4d as fav. although I did like the use of zip in 26a.

  7. Heno
    Posted November 3, 2015 at 11:51 am | Permalink

    Thanks to Mr Ron and to Gazza for the review and hints. I found this quite straightforward, but was completely beaten by 12a, would never have thought of that. 21d was a new word for me. Needed the hint to parse 25a, could not think of the staple food. Was 2*/2* for me. Dull in Central London.

  8. Kath
    Posted November 3, 2015 at 11:55 am | Permalink

    I agree with 1*/2* difficulty but might stretch to giving it 3* for enjoyment.
    A few things held me up; the 23a packages; the 2d warlord is one I always forget, however many times we have him; I’ve only vaguely heard of the 4d racecourse and it took me ages to find the 17d ‘gentleman’ which really was just plain dim!
    Oh yes – and another one – I thought the 26a ‘zip’ was quite sneaky as we were misled (well, I was anyway) into thinking of something used to do up some clothing – managed to get as far as a spot of lateral thinking – American post codes or going somewhere in a hurry but it took a while to get the right ‘zip’.
    I liked 23 and 26a and 16d.
    With thanks to Mr Ron and to gazza – how did I guess that there’d be a piccy hint for 9a?!

  9. Jane
    Posted November 3, 2015 at 11:57 am | Permalink

    Quite enjoyed this one – 1*/3* for me – although I wasn’t overly convinced by the first part of 27a.
    I wasn’t familiar with the alternative spelling of 21d – needed to check with the OED on that one.
    Liked 23&26a plus 4d

    Thanks to Mr. Ron and also to Gazza – couple of good pic. opportunities for you today! I was fervently hoping you wouldn’t include a clip of Mr. String vest, but I guess it had to be done. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_negative.gif

  10. Rabbit Dave
    Posted November 3, 2015 at 12:05 pm | Permalink

    1*/2*. Not much fun, and a lot of clunky wordplay. 11a is the sort of clue I really don’t like. Even with Gazza’s explanation I am still struggling to parse 27a fully.

    Thanks to Mr Ron and to Gazza.

    • Gazza
      Posted November 3, 2015 at 12:08 pm | Permalink

      In 27a the answer sounds like annalist (writer of annals).

      • Rabbit Dave
        Posted November 3, 2015 at 12:26 pm | Permalink

        Ah, yes, of course. Many thanks, Gazza.

      • Jane
        Posted November 3, 2015 at 1:19 pm | Permalink

        Ignorance showing again -I hadn’t heard of an annalist!

  11. Beaver
    Posted November 3, 2015 at 12:21 pm | Permalink

    Still in recovery mode after yesterdays wine tasting in Chester- 18 bottles plus 2 ports, with a few real ales thrown in- so appreciated an ‘easy ride’ today, I think a */**is about right ,no outstanding clues for me, quite liked 27a, thanks Gazza for the Taverna- made me smile.

  12. angel
    Posted November 3, 2015 at 12:52 pm | Permalink

    R & W for NW corner then slightly slower progress but overall nicely thought-provoking and enjoyable. Thank you Mysteron and Gazza. Liked 27a but not keen on 23a. ***/***. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gif

  13. Kath
    Posted November 3, 2015 at 12:52 pm | Permalink

    For anyone who’s like me and still a bit wary of Toughies today’s isn’t and it’s fun and worth doing.

  14. Brian
    Posted November 3, 2015 at 1:17 pm | Permalink

    Greetings from sunny Northumbria.
    I really enjoyed this one even though I agree it wasn’t difficult.
    For me */***
    Thx to all

  15. Florence
    Posted November 3, 2015 at 1:35 pm | Permalink

    Filled half of this straight in but then came to a halt in the SW corner. Disappeared off to the gym, came back and hey presto, was able to finish. Must have been the extra oxygen to the brain. That or just a fresh approach. Thanks to the setter and to Gazza for the review. 2*/3* for me. Liked 12a.

  16. jean-luc cheval
    Posted November 3, 2015 at 1:36 pm | Permalink

    Although there were two clues that we saw recently ( 4d for sure and 15a but the other way round from the Don where we had to take the F out to get the speech), it was a straightforward solve.
    Favourite is 14d. Reminded me of the band in the eighties: http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=KgBTcsSPJL8
    Thanks to the setter and to Gazza for the review and for the Pavarotti / Jones duo.
    What voices! I thought my phone was going to implode.

  17. Liz
    Posted November 3, 2015 at 2:04 pm | Permalink

    Quite liked this one. Nearly messed it up by putting ‘pronounce’ in for 15a, but soon realised my error. Liked 14d, 12a and 27a. Not too much head scratching, so give it 2*/3* ThNks to setter and Gazza.

  18. silvanus
    Posted November 3, 2015 at 2:38 pm | Permalink

    Straightforward indeed but to call it mechanical or clunky is extremely harsh I feel. I thought that there was a lot of inventive and clever wordplay, my favourite being 4d.

    Many thanks to the setter and to Gazza.

  19. Peta
    Posted November 3, 2015 at 2:41 pm | Permalink

    Mum and I finished, but didn’t enjoy this one much. Still having chocolate biscuits though!

  20. Vancouverbc
    Posted November 3, 2015 at 2:55 pm | Permalink

    **/***. An enjoyable challenge which in retrospect took me far too long to get going. Thanks to the setter and Gazza for the review.

  21. Shropshirelad
    Posted November 3, 2015 at 3:07 pm | Permalink

    I’ll buck the trend then. Unlike everyone else, I really struggled with this after whizzing through today’s toughie. It was like four mini puzzles that I had to attend to with a break between each corner. However, now that I’ve finished, I can’t see what held me up http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_scratch.gif

    There’s nothing ‘iffy’ about any of the word play or definitions, but it did lack a bit of sparkle. As I did it in four segments I really should be allowed to have four favourites – but I think that’s something that would incur the ‘Wrath of Kath’ and I certainly don’t want to do thathttp://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_negative.gif

    Thanks to today’s Mr Ron for the puzzle and Gazza for the review

  22. Merusa
    Posted November 3, 2015 at 3:12 pm | Permalink

    The top half of this almost wrote itself in, the SW corner put up much more of a fight, but when I got 17a, everything fell into place.
    My fave was 4d. Loved the Delilah duet, wotta treat! Thanks Gazza.
    Thanks to setter and to Gazza for the review.

  23. Gwizz
    Posted November 3, 2015 at 3:16 pm | Permalink

    I enjoyed today’s offering. It wasn’t that difficult but it had some nice clues and for me 26a was favourite. 4d gave me grief but maybe trying to put RIPON in didn’t help…
    2/3* overall.
    Thanks to Mr Ron and Gazza for his review.

  24. Jaylegs
    Posted November 3, 2015 at 3:34 pm | Permalink

    Found it quite enjoyable **/*** Liked 12a, 22a & 1d ?

  25. mre
    Posted November 3, 2015 at 4:00 pm | Permalink

    Good afternoon everybody.

    All very straightforward until it came to 17d (unknown), 21d (ditto) and 27a which, having now looked at the hint, I don’t think I could have solved in any event.


  26. omar
    Posted November 3, 2015 at 4:23 pm | Permalink

    27a foxed me too, and even now I understand it I don’t like it – otherwise I got there but found it far from straightforward – somehow I never seem to be on the same wavelength as the Tuesday puzzle….so ***/** for me

  27. Paso Doble
    Posted November 3, 2015 at 5:15 pm | Permalink

    We agree with Gazza…

  28. 2Kiwis
    Posted November 3, 2015 at 5:21 pm | Permalink

    Our only, and very slight, hold up was initially looking at Madeira for 17d. The wordplay and checkers soon sorted this out. A gentle stroll and pleasant enough.
    Thanks Mr Ron and Gazza.

  29. Kitty
    Posted November 3, 2015 at 7:03 pm | Permalink

    I am in 1a. This was no problem except that it took far too long. I am becoming hopeless at crosswords :( .

    Perhaps some bits were on the clunky side, but I always feel that we’re far too harsh on the Tuesday setter. I hmmed at 23a but mmed at 17d. I love tiramisu, but even better was a tiramisu ice-cream that I bought once from Waitrose and never saw stocked again :( . Hanni’s serving suggestion beckons.

    I did like 26a.

    Thanks to the setter and Gazza.

    • Kath
      Posted November 3, 2015 at 7:15 pm | Permalink

      No Kitty – you’re not becoming hopeless at crosswords at all – your brain is just having a little holiday with lots of cat stroking to go with it – purrrrfect and probably what you need. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gif
      Really don’t care for tiramisu at all but am not a pud eater so . . . http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_negative.gif

    • Florence
      Posted November 3, 2015 at 7:32 pm | Permalink

      I don’t believe you’re hopeless at crosswords either. Far from it . We all have an ‘off’ day. Mine was yesterday! Cheer up. Tomorrow is a new day and a new puzzle.

    • Merusa
      Posted November 3, 2015 at 7:49 pm | Permalink

      You? Becoming hopeless at crosswords? Surely you jest! You are brilliant, if you have a hiccup with one doesn’t mean you are hopeless.

      I don’t care for “pud” but tiramisu is on a different level – yumm!

    • Shropshirelad
      Posted November 3, 2015 at 9:20 pm | Permalink

      Dear Kitty – I must be hopeless at crosswords as well, as I didn’t find this easy at all. We’ll just sit together in the corner at the birthday bash with our pointy hats on and say ‘wibble’ http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_smile.gif

      • Shropshirelad
        Posted November 3, 2015 at 9:24 pm | Permalink

        ….and if anyone doesn’t understand, we’ll just say ‘wibble, wibble’ http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_cool.gif

      • Kitty
        Posted November 3, 2015 at 9:35 pm | Permalink

        Thanks guys – you’re all lovely. It’s more than just a day of sluggishness, but I won’t send out a search party for my brain just yet. Maybe if I leave it be, it’ll come back of its own accord.

        SL – I do have a feeling there’ll be some wibbling at the birthday bash. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_wacko.gif

        • Shropshirelad
          Posted November 3, 2015 at 10:01 pm | Permalink

          Wobble, wobble – possibly http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_whistle3.gif

          • Florence
            Posted November 3, 2015 at 10:07 pm | Permalink

            Oooh.. Does rhat mean there’s jelly at the party?

            • Shropshirelad
              Posted November 3, 2015 at 10:17 pm | Permalink

              Only if you’re well behaved Florence http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_smile.gif

      • Kath
        Posted November 3, 2015 at 10:16 pm | Permalink

        Please could you all remember to miss me at the 30th January Birthday Do – more in a minute in the right place!

        • Shropshirelad
          Posted November 3, 2015 at 10:32 pm | Permalink


  30. Una
    Posted November 3, 2015 at 7:53 pm | Permalink

    I liked it. Quite mechanical , yes, though sometimes it quite satisfactory to focus on the conventions of cryptic crosswords.
    With thanks to the setter and Gazza.

  31. Salty Dog
    Posted November 3, 2015 at 8:59 pm | Permalink

    1*/3.5*, and 26a has my vote for top clue (even though l was tempted by the Cornish connotations of 14d). Thanks to Mr Ron, and of course to Gazza.

  32. Cryptor
    Posted November 3, 2015 at 10:44 pm | Permalink

    **/* for me. Not only were the clues ‘clunky’, but many of the surface readings were just nonsensical. Praise next old fashioned sandwiches. I rest my case. Having said that, having tried writing some clues, I know it’s really difficult to get everything right consistently. So thanks to Mr Ron, keep persevering, and of course thanks to Gazza.

  33. Tstrummer
    Posted November 4, 2015 at 2:22 am | Permalink

    I’m there in the dunces’ corner with Kitty and SL. I found this hard – I’ve solved Toughies in half the time that this took me. Got there in 3* time, which means well into the second pint – and I had promised myself to have only one this evening. Sure, there were some very clunky Lego clues, but a few crackers in there as well. Am I the only one who thinks 23a is excellent? 26a is vying with it for favourite status – I may just leave them to fight it out while I go to bed. VMTs to Gazza for parsing my bung-ins, and to the setter for the challenge. 3*/3*

  34. Carmen
    Posted November 4, 2015 at 9:10 am | Permalink

    Never before seen the solution to 21 Down spelt with a ‘U’ before the final E. Seems to be an alternative, according to the dictionary, but most unusual.

  35. oddjob
    Posted November 11, 2015 at 3:34 am | Permalink

    Sorry Jane ,after I finished the ironing I saw a Black Redstart(m) in my garden. oj.