DT 27002 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 27002 (Hints)

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 27002 (Hints)

Big Dave’s Crossword Club
with Tilsit in the chair

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

There’s still time to enter this month’s Prize crossword – entries close at midnight.

Greetings from the Calder Valley.  Everyone’s gone off to play for the day leaving yours truly to hold the baby.  I rather enjoyed this puzzle over my Crunchy Nut Corn Flakes, lots of nice clues with clever definitions.  The Weekly Puzzle will be up at lunchtime and if you fancy another challenge, do visit us again and have a go at it.  it’s a good ‘un!

As is usual for the weekend prize crosswords, an assortment of clues, including some of the more difficult ones, have been selected and hints provided for them.

Don’t forget that you can give your assessment of the puzzle. Five stars if you thought it was great, one if you hated it, four, three or two if it was somewhere in between.

Could new readers please read the Welcome post before asking questions about the site.

Most of the terms used in these hints are explained in the Glossary and examples are available by clicking on the entry under “See also”.

A full review of this puzzle will be published after the closing date for submissions.


1a  Head of department drops alternative claim (7)
The name of a University head of department (I’ll be seeing one this afternoon at my OU Tutorial!) needs to lose a word meaning ‘alternative’ to give you something that means a claim.

9a  Amphibian, male, Rex found in the gloom (8)
A sort of wordsum.  An amphibian found in the USA is found by taking the name for a male animal (think cow!) and adding the name of gloomy misty weather and inserting , the abbreviation for Rex (King).

12a Rejection for ex-GI band (4)
A type of rejection is the name used in the US for a former soldier and a letter that is used to describe a band or circle.

17a Hardy product maybe that could be shelved (8,4)
This is nice cryptic definition that could lead you to think about gardening, but in fact it is a description of the product produced by a certain T Hardy and the shelving would be in a library!  Nice.

21a Gloomy writer to make cuts (4-6)
An old expression that means to censor a work is found by taking the colour associated with gloom or depression and adding something that writes.

23a  A pungent bulb, left out can generate fungus (6)
After A goes the name of a smelly plant that’s not popular with Dracula.  Remove L (left out) and this leaves you with a type of fungus.

26a Wandering tale of donkey’s years being unconventional with Karen dropping out (7)
This is a type of clue called a compound anagram, not often seen in these puzzles, but when faced with a difficult word to clue, a setter will sometimes use the device.   Basically, this the name of a famous ancient work about a journey.  You can find it by taking the words DONKEY’S YEARS, and removing KAREN and rejigging the remainder.  Under crossword rules, because the letters making up the girl’s name are not in order, two anagram indicators are needed.  Here unconventional is one, and out the other.  This device isn’t used often because the clue can seem wordy and clunky, but our setter here has managed to make it read well.


2d  Course taken about permit needed for gambling game (8)
A game found in a casino is revealed by taking a word meaning road or way and inserting something that means to permit.

6d Means of identification guard turned up (4,3)
A word meaning a security guard is reversed and split into two words to give a form of identification often associated with the military.

16d  High level ground rent (8)
This is another cryptic definition that relates to a tear or crack (rent) in the rock (ground) high up (on a mountain).  Another nicely misleading clue!

18d Unfinished tea includes clear liquid syrup (7)
Inside TE (unfinished tea!) goes an anagram (liquid) of CLEAR to give something that makes a rather nice sponge pudding!

22d  Cut up about the European country (5)
A word meaning to cut is reversed (up) and inside goes a word for a definite article in a European language.

The Crossword Club is now open. Feel free to leave comments.

Please don’t put whole or partial answers or alternative clues in your comment, else they may be censored!

The Quick crossword pun: {whey} + {tang} + {rheum} = {waiting room}

80 comments on “DT 27002 (Hints)

  1. I must agree on the two cryptic definitions – the Hardy clue had me looking for a type of timber (particularly with the W) that might make a shelf. I certainly found this a tad stiffer than a regular Saturday prize puzzle with the unfamiliat 25a being last in. Thanks to the setter and to Tilsit. I’m off shortly to Wapping for a pint and a chin-wag.

  2. Glad you two found it slightly trickier too, even though I had the right Hardy and knew the farm machine.

    Thanks to setter and Tilsit. Just printing off the other crosswords for the train journey up to London. As is usual with S&B gatherings, I don’t think I will be up to solving cryptics on the way home :D

    1. Enjoy!

      Try and get to meet Mr Magoo, the current Times Crossword Champion (and probably this year’s Champ), a thoroughly nice guy!

      And get me all of the puzzles!

      1. Will do.

        Incidentally while I think about it, our setter is wrong about 1a and the Head of Department as there are lots and lots of them who aren’t HoDs. Take it from one who knows!

        1. Particularly like this from Chambers;

          A title assumed by charlatans, quacks, dancing-masters, etc

  3. Agree that this is trickier than most Saturday puzzles.
    LH went in quite quickly but had to grind out the RH.
    26a went in from checking letters, but that setting device eluded me.
    Great fun though.

    Thanks to Tilsit for hints and to the setter for an interesting puzzle.

  4. Good morning Tilsit, it’s really good to see you, hope you are fit and well, I really have to thank you for the hints today, I found this puzzle really tough, a four star for difficulty for me today! I would never have finished it without you, plus help from my usual books and electronic friends, I can enjoy tough puzzles but not this one, some very obscure words eg 23a, 25a, 15d, no not one for me today I’m afraid, thanks once again Tilsit, hope all you daytrippers have a really good time :-)

    1. Thank you, Mary, because you’ve said everything that I wanted to say and, yes, I too hope that Tilsit is enjoying better health these days. How are you, Mary? Coincidentally, I gave it four stars too so we’re both singing from the same hymn sheet this morning.

      1. I’m still struggling a bit Cara with medications etc. but hoping to go off in campervan tomorrow minus the dogs for a few days relaxation, thanks for asking :-)

  5. Thank you setter and Tilsit for hints. I think it is not just this one but recent Saturday’s that are getting harder. Is this by design or accident ? !

    1. Morning Mary and Sweet William!

      I would guess the DT has at least two different setters for the Saturday puzzle. There’s a marked difference in style. One (Cephas) is generally quite friendly while today’s is a little more challenging. Cephas’ tends to use Rufus style cryptic definitions where today’s setter uses more subtle ones.

      I find both enjoyable and the latter just needs that little bit more thinking outside the box. I hope you both find a way of enjoying these puzzles, they really are well-crafted and would hold their own in any other paper.

      1. Thank you Tilsit – for further punishment we must go and watch our local footballl team. The puzzle is less painful !

      2. Interestingly it is a Cephas puzzle and it is meant to be trickier . His anagram indicators gave it away for me.

        1. Interested in your comment CS – Does this mean that a setter can be instructed by DT Crossword Ed. to toughen up a puzzle for Saturdays or would it be an accident ! Maybe DT are snowed under with post with people trying to win the blankety blank notebook and pen !

  6. Struggled to get into this one, with only one definite (and a few maybe’s) after the first read-through. Perseverance paid off eventually, but I still don’t understand the last 3 letters of 25A – assuming I’ve got the right answer.

    1. It’s an unusual word Mike, as Chris says you are looking at an anagram of departed indicated by ‘mysteriously’ with the two letter abbreviation for father removed to give you a farm machine used for shredding I think

    2. Yes, I see it now and that is exactly the way I read it initially, but I didn’t know the equipment in question (which hindered my anagram solving) and got hung up on the first 3 letters of the answer – which neatly fitted in with that Irish priest played by Dermot Morgan … and, as we all know, once you get an idea stuck in your head, it becomes difficult to shift it. Many thanks ChrisH and Mary.

  7. Having struggled with a few Cryptics (and most toughies) lately, I have to say I found this one strangely straightforward. Maybe that’s because I finished it in reasonable time! There’s certainly a literary thread running through it.

    Getting on the wrong tack with 8 down didn’t help much!

    It’s all about wavelengths I feel. You either get on it, or you don’t.

    1. I’m still in shock as I also found this much easier than usual, which means I have completed all this week’s without any help – for, probably, the first and last time!

      I particularly liked 9a, 21a, 23a, 24a, 18d and 19d, although there were none that I disliked.

      Last ones in:
      26a Had a spelling blind spot and 16d which was affected by my problem with 26a!

      I totally agree with you, ChrisH, about wavelengths!

      1. If I look this blue and down in the mouth when I’ve had my best crossword week ever, what will I look like when it all goes wrong?

        1. Congratulations CB come to the naughty corner for some cake before I leave, I’ll be there for another five minutes, than I’ve done my time :-)

  8. A wee bit tougher than normal for a Saturday confess to having never heard of a 25a before .2.5/3 for me .

  9. A tad more challenging than normal and 25a is a new one for me. Done whilst watching my son playing football on a rather sticky touchline. 6 – 2 win though!

  10. Oh good – not just me! I found this really difficult, particularly the bottom right corner. Anyway, finished it now and enjoyed it very much. I would give it 4* for difficulty and enjoyment.
    17a took ages – was trying to make it a specific book. Also 13a took some time to untangle. I didn’t know the censoring bit of 21a.
    I thought there were lots of good clues – 13, 17 and 24a and 3 and 6d.
    Thanks to Mr Ron and Tilsit.

  11. Like Kath, I knew straight away what 17a was getting at, but I was also trying to think of a specific book.
    Last one in for me, 16d.
    2*/3.5* for me. Thanks to setter, and to Tilsit.

  12. I thought this was one of the most unpleasant Saturday offerings for a long time.
    No idea what is meant by 17a and 26a leaves me aghast.
    Def not for me. Sorry.

    1. Hi Brian, 17a, Hardy product maybe is the definition, if you want to split it, but it can be read all together, you need to think of Thomas Hardy, it says maybe, because the answer isn’t specific to him, as one of his own ***** would be, I agree re 26a, I think the reading is awful in this clue!

      1. oops glad Dave’s not about, I might have been in the naughty corner, maybe the spelling mistake helps ;-)

                1. Just watching that on tv. Scarlets are fighting back. I’m going to see Exeter play Clermont Auvergne.

                2. At Parc Y Scarlets in Llanelli, which is about 15 miles away, they are losing at the moment, Uh Oh :-(

          1. No escape :-D ok I’ve gone to the naughty corner apparently sue gave prolixic some lemon drizzle cake to take there ;-)

            1. I took the LDC to the NC or the S&B (probably both fit) as it is a new recipe for LDC which I hadn’t tried before. Everyone who had a piece seemed to think it was good – I even got an offer of marriage :)

  13. I found this pretty average for a Saturday. All done before lights out last night except for12a – one of those pesky for letter clues. Thanks to Tilsit and the setter.

  14. Pretty straightforward for me………..but I’ve had a 25a parked by the back of my garden for 10 years! My farming next door neighbour uses it to fluff up his silage.

    I liked some bits, but I thought 10d was a bit of a limp clue. I just happened to be on the right wavelength for 17a not to be a problem.

  15. Foggy in the Commonwealth, thx to all for the help. With no NC guard, can we all pop in for some upside down cake.

      1. I snuck my toe in to the NC by saying foggy twice, but I don’t think they noticed. Maybe we could start FINK: Friends In Naughty Corner… you can be pres, Franco the janitor,

      1. The Commonwealth of Massachusetts… but visiting Blighty today so hope to contribute to the hints for a change.

  16. And nice to see that there are more Northerners engaged in the fray… more talk of Todmorden and Foggy and Clegg. Tilsit – “where’s tha from lad?” not Sovetsk?

      1. Isnt it still dark at 5am in Hebden Bridge? Thought the phrase was “where men are men and sheep are nervous”?

  17. How strange – have struggled all week and sailed through this one, thoroughly enjoying it! Very weird. Had never heard of 25a but got it from the checking letters. 1a had me stumped as trying desperately to make something with a “d” (head of department) but got there eventually and thought it a very clever clue. Oh well, we can’t all be on the same wavelength I suppose.

  18. Evening all. I liked this puzzle. I had to check that 25a existed but otherwise it fell together nicely.

  19. Thanks to the setter & to Tilsit for the hints. A nice mixture of clues, most enjoyable. 3*/3* for me. Almost finished it last night, but was held up by 16d, which I managed to get this morning. Favourites were 22&23a. Hope that those who attended the Ramsgate enjoyed themselves. I must try to get to the next one. A combination of care home visits & watching the Gooners stopped me, wish I hadn’t bothered with the latter:-)

    1. Certainly. If you remove the last letter from a type of (dried) fruit, you should be left with a name used to show a leader of the Ottoman empire or Muslim ruler.

    1. It is an anagram (hybrid) of ODDER LONG. I can’t really tell you more about the plant without having to eat some more of my cake :)

  20. Here l am coming up the rear as usual. Found this clever, enjoyable and a bit tough. Some new words/expressions for me e.g. 21a.

    Thank you Tilsit and setter.


  21. HELP!
    Still having problems completing SE corner.
    Would appreciate some help on 22A, 22D and although I have answers for 19D and 24A I am not convinced they are correct.
    Any help would be appreciated so i can sleep tonight.

    1. Bob – Hope I can help:

      22a Bridge partners holding ace and five, producing movement by Queen, perhaps? (4)
      There are only two corners in the game of bridge that partner each other – I will let you figure out the correct pair.. Insert into that (holding) an abbreviation for Ace (in cards again) and the Roman Numeral for fiVe. THe rest is the definition.

  22. Simple now. Didn’t see the obvious clue with bridge partners.
    Help much appreciated and must have 19D and 24A correct but still not sure why.

    1. I will give you an explanatory nudge on 24a (the one that I missed for a long time myself!). The guy on the side of the Queen is an anagram of ‘solitary’. 19d you figure out yourself for homework!

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