DT 27065 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
View closed comments 

DT 27065

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 27065

Hints and tips by Falcon

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ****

Greetings from a very frigid Ottawa where the temperature is currently -23°C. With this being my regular turn in the blogger’s chair, the schedule has proven to be very fortuitous since – as we recently learned – Pommers is currently recuperating from a rather nasty bit of illness. I am sure he has taken heart from the outpouring of good wishes that have been directed his way. Hopefully, he will soon be well enough to flirt with those pretty Spanish nurses – when Pommette isn’t looking, of course.

I found today’s puzzle both very challenging and a lot of fun. I am seriously tempted to award it four stars for difficulty – as it certainly seemed to reach that level for me personally. I was able to complete three quadrants (with only a bit of electronic help) but could barely make a dent in the southwest, even after throwing every electronic aid in my arsenal at it. I finally resorted to looking at the solution provided by Big Dave – something that I have never done in the past. In the end, I decided to set the difficulty level at 3 stars, rationalising that my problem was my own personal mental block and not the difficulty of the clues – which were hardly the most difficult in the puzzle. I’m sure had I set the puzzle aside for a while (per the advice of Crypticsue), I would have been able to progress further. However, that was not an option – a blog needed to be written.

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.


1a Spoil green food no end getting wine (7)
{MARSALA} – we get underway with a charade of a word meaning to spoil or damage and a dish containing lots of greens without its final D (no end)

5a Salvation Army taking part in unrefined campaign? (7)
{CRUSADE} – the abbreviation for the Sally Ann is contained in (taking part in) an adjective meaning unrefined that could be applied equally to petroleum production or vulgar individuals

9a Thrill in Kent, say, with son entering race (9)
{SENSATION} – we start with the geographic region where Kent, among other counties, is found; then add S(on) inside (entering) a race of people sharing a common descent, history, language or culture, etc.

10a Linger in south coast resort by river (5)
{HOVER} – a resort not far from Brighton that is normally near the sea is found by a R(iver) in this puzzle

11a Painting technique in a spot restyled after one month (7)
{IMPASTO} – following the Roman numeral for one and the abbreviation for month, place an anagram (restyled) of A SPOT

12a Expand a green for development bordering lake (7)
{ENLARGE} – an anagram (for development) of A GREEN surrounds (borders – on all sides) a L(ake)

13a Troublemaker about to interrupt tale linked to currency (9)
{FIREBRAND} – a short form for about or on the subject of is contained in (to interrupt) a tall tale; then followed by South African currency

16a Distortion found in Dickens character (5)
{TWIST} – a double definition; the second being one who asked for seconds

17a Extreme proclamation carried by chief at wake (5)
{FATWA} – an ayatollah’s deadly decree is hidden in the final three words of the clue

18a Description left by two men (9)
{PORTRAYAL} – a charade of a sailor’s left and the first names of two men who appear regularly in the DT puzzle – the first being one of the regular Thursday setters and the second the most popular gangster in Crosswordland

21a Cheat also featured in report by magazine (3-4)
{TWO-TIME} – a word that sounds like (featured in report) a synonym for also is followed by an American newsmagazine (which recently named Barack Obama as its Person of the Year)

22a What one on bottle might ultimately do X to complete training (4,3)
{PASS OUT} – a double definition; the clue provides two methods through which a soldier-in-training might achieve the same outcome

25a Win about right in small measure (5)
{GRAIN} – a win (for instance, an electoral victory in a constituency formerly held by an opposing party) containing R(ight); giving the smallest unit of weight in the avoirdupois system

26a Policy favoured by African politicians in devious ruse (9)
{INSURANCE} – this policy provides cover against risk; it is constructed by concatenating (1) a word meaning popular or favoured and (2) the party of Nelson Mandela inside an anagram (devious) of RUSE

27a A cross supplier? (7)
{ELECTOR} – a cryptic definition of one who marks a ballot

28a A German entering cathedral site in a keen way (7)
{EAGERLY} – A (from the clue) and a shortened form of German find themselves ensconced in what is surely the most frequently visited cathedral in Crosswordland.


1d Master a difficult dog (7)
{MASTIFF} – a charade M(aster), A (from the clue) and an adjective that one might use to describe a climb up a steep hillside

2d Approach demonstrated by old railwaymen? (3-2)
{RUN-UP} – The question mark is a warning to us that the wordplay is a bit trickier than normal. What we have here is an inverse wordplay clue in which the solution to the clue is a bit of wordplay that would produce a result that is found in the clue itself. Or, at least, that is the way these clues usually work. However, today’s setter throws in an extra wrinkle (or two), having the wordplay in the solution produce an abbreviation for something that is an example of what appears in the clue. Thus we seem to have inverse wordplay arising from an abbreviation for a definition by example. Is that perfectly clear? There will be a test at the end of class. In summary, you need to find an abbreviation for a now-defunct railway union. Now construct a bit of wordplay that would not only produce this abbreviation as its result but could also denote a period of preparation for some event. If you are still stumped, look between the following brackets {RUN UP (in a down clue) is NUR (National Union of Railwaymen)}.

3d Gather among team associates (5)
{AMASS} – the solution is hidden (among) the final two words of the clue; thank goodness for a concise hint

4d Song about district overlooking Eastern US state (7)
{ARIZONA} – an operatic solo surrounds (about) a synonym for district dropping (overlooking) its final E to give a western US state

5d Tory minister in struggle (7)
{CONTEND} – the longer definition for the Tory party plus a verb meaning to minister (as shepherds to a flock)

6d Stuff in a domestic setting? (9)
{UPHOLSTER} – stuff might well appear to be a noun; however, we need to view it as a verb referring to the refurbishment of some household furnishings; if I were to be rigorous, I would say that the entire clue constitutes a cryptic definition with the underlined part serving as the core definition and the remainder of the clue providing additional information to narrow its scope

7d Misfortune in vestry? Aid being organised (9)
{ADVERSITY} – an anagram (organised) of VESTRY AID

8d Serious organ needs home (7)
{EARNEST} – an organ of hearing plus the home of a bird

14d Explanation of ‘Drink Aware’ campaign slogan? (9)
{RATIONALE} – an explanation that if split (6,3) would be a call to limit the sale of beer

15d British teachers acquiring a Russian car to get snack? (6,3)
{BRAZIL NUT} – a charade of BR(itish) and the acronym of a teacher’s union goes around another charade, this one formed from A (from the clue) and a Russian car that I must confess I have never heard of; this Russian military equipment maker produces a handful of armoured hand-built limousines and high-end luxury sedans for the Russian government, with production rarely exceeding a dozen cars per year.

17d Jade is chubby I suppose lacking tips for slimness (7)
{FATIGUE} – this time its a straight-forward charade; another term for chubby plus I (from the clue) followed by a synonym for suppose with its final two letters deleted – lacking tips (outer letters) for SlimnesS

18d Principal‘s note followed by leader of musicians in seaside venue (7)
{PREMIER} – start with a musical note (the second of the major scale) and the first letter of M(usicians); now place the sum of these inside a structure projecting into the ocean

19d Answer from employer finally that is encapsulating job (7)
{RIPOSTE} – the sort of answer one might receive from a quick-witted adversary in a debate or an opponent holding an epee; the final letter of (employe)R plus a short Latin term for that is containing a synonym for a position or job

20d Aquatic creature nesting in banks of Liffey? A matter of chance (7)
{LOTTERY} – an aquatic mammal known for its playful disposition is contained within the outer letters (banks) of LiffeY.

23d Young person‘s ornamental device (5)
{SPRIG} – double definition; (1) a descendant or younger member of a family or social class and (2) a small moulded decoration applied to a piece of pottery before firing. I confess that before consulting Oxford I had supposed that the first might be a figurative usage and that the second would relate to a bit of holly, for example

24d Person having depression? Not initially (5)
{OWNER} – the key to understanding this clue is to realise that the definition is “person having” and not merely “person”. Remove the initial letter from a colloquial term for a state of depression to find the answer.

The outstanding feature of this puzzle is the smooth service reading of virtually every clue. As someone once wrote on this blog, the severest criticism that one can level at a clue is that it reads like a crossword clue. I don’t think one would make that criticism with regard to the clues in today’s puzzle. With so many great clues to chose from, it seems hardly fair to single out one or two for special mention. Among my favourites are 22a (where the second definition is new to me), 26a, 2d (which gave rise to what I am sure must be the most verbose hint in the history of Big Dave’s blog), and 20d.

The Quick crossword pun: {tsar} + {chasm} = {sarcasm}

67 comments on “DT 27065

  1. Hello everyone

    Just popped in to let you know I’m still alive and kicking. If you want more info I’ve put a comment on the pommers post.

    1. Glad to see you back, have a speedy recovery. I couldn’t see your comment on the other page.

  2. Morning Falcon and Pommers from a sunny and not too cold East Kent.

    This one seemed trickier than it actually was, although that could be because I had to get up and come to work today for the first time since 21 December :( I was interested to read Falcon’s comments on 2d as I am sure this is a clue (or a variety of a clue) that we have had many times over the years so I didn’t even pause for thought with that one, unlike a couple of the others. Thanks to Falcon and the Thursday Mysteron too.

    It takes a moment for the slightly mad hat to settle into place, but once it did, the Petitjean Toughie didn’t take me long either.

    I suppose I had better stop having fun with crosswords and find out what the long list of unopened emails is all about.

  3. We too found the SW corner the last and trickiest to sort out. Our time was also on the cusp of 3* and 4* so settled, as you did Falcon for ***, with the same for enjoyment. We also spent a few minutes trying to form an opinion as to whom the setter might be (we do tend to prefer a puzzle when we know) and came up with Shamus as our most likely suspect. We did manage to parse all the clues but are very grateful that it was not us who had to try and write an explanation of how they worked.
    Thanks Mr Ron and Falcon.

  4. Exactly the same had 3/4 complete and a blank SWcorner .Consistently missed the hidden word at 17a which would have made life a lot easier .Thought the Russian car
    somewhat obscure .Nevertheless enjoyed getting there despite the sting in the tail or perhaps because of it .
    3* / 4 .5 * for me .
    Thanks once again

  5. My solving time for this one pushed it into 4* difficulty. A combination of cogitation and perspiration got me there in the end.
    Thanks to setter, and to Falcon.

  6. Three quadrants went down quickly but the SW corner gave lots of trouble. An enjoyable solve. Thanks to Falcon and the setter.

  7. Thoroughly enjoyed this mind stretch once I realised I wasn’t alone in struggling with the SW corner. 3/4 for me. Appreciate the friendliness (& patient helpfulness) of this site. Many thanks to Setter and Falcon – learned a new word, too, concatenating (to add to perseverating).

    1. I agree – I don’t very often need the dictionary when I get to the point of reading the hints but I didn’t know ‘concatenating’ either!

        1. Aha – my Latin ‘O’ level, maths background and life as a programmer give me the edge here!

          Catena – latin for chain
          Catenary – the curve you get when you fix the ends of the chain and let the rest hang free (like a rope bridge)
          Concatenate – if you have the strings ‘ABC’ and ‘123’, using the concatnate operator gives you ‘ABC123’

  8. I struggled with this one but nearly completed it with a small amount of electronic help. I couldn’t get 23d because I could only come up with a slang word for a young person spelt with an O, but couldn’t get the ornamental device part. 4/3 stars for me. BTW the obscure Russian make of car is perhaps better known for giving its name to traffic lanes in Moscow reserved for use of senior government officials, as per Olympic lanes in London last summer.

    1. I had the same word as you for 23d with the o instead of the i . New meaning for that word for me but I think I will have to put it in my crossword bank!

  9. Morning Falcon I would rate this 3 to 4 star personally, got totally stuck on the bottom half, especially SW corner, bottom half a toughie for me! Thanks for hints Falcon although the one at 2d totally confused me :-) , I already had the answer but couldn’t understand it, now I think I do, maybe… , never heard of 17a, no amount of perservation would have got me finished today, even going back and fore didn’t help, my electronic friends didn’t help much, so thank goodness once again for this blog, however I did have a favourite clue…24d

    1. Due to the complexity of the clue, I found it virtually impossible to explain it in a way that is clearly understandable without giving it away completely. Analysing the clue is like examining an onion. At the outer layer, it appears to be a double definition. However, as one peels away the layers, one finds that one of the definitions consists of inverse wordplay. To further confound matters, the inverse wordplay is indirect, rather than direct.

  10. I thought this was a fabulous crossword and, for me, finished in record time and without any electronic aid! Some lovely clues and wordplay. Most enjoyable. Favourite clues 12,18,2,4,15,19

  11. I thought this was really good and really difficult. Probably 4* for both difficulty and enjoyment.
    For some reason the only bit that I DIDN’T have trouble with was the SW corner, apart from trying to understand why 15d was what it obviously had to be. I needed the hint to explain that one, and 4d as I also got into a muddle with that.
    If I tried to say how and why I struggled with the rest of my problem clues I’d be here all day so will just leave it at that, I think!
    I liked 13, 17, 21 and 22a and 1, 7, 14, 17 and 20d.
    With thanks to Mr Ron and Falcon.

  12. Just getting back into cryptics, this is very difficult, but I am working through the explanations and trying to work out the answers–it’s the only way to learn– and I am enjoying the challenge.

    Many thanks to the setter and especially for the hints–I couldn’t attempt this crossword otherwise.

    1. Part of the pleasure ( & a necessity for us) is working out the answers from the clues. I think this is probably cheating, but never mind eh! Thank you to setter & for the hints.

      1. There is no governing body that has decreed a universal set of rules. The only rules are those that we impose on ourselves. As in everything, people will differ widely in what they consider “acceptable”. My view is that as long as you are getting enjoyment from solving the puzzle, you are free to use as many or as few outside aids as you like (or need). As your solving skills develop through practice, you will likely find that you rely on these less and less. There is no shame in using water wings when you first jump into the deep end.

        1. I have finished this with just little more help–I am not as rusty as I haad feared!

          I don’t understand 13a. How do we know from the clue that it is the SA currency? Or shoule we just go through the list of currencies?

          1. Basically, that’s exactly what you have to do. There are a few currencies which crop up fairly regularly (Euro, Pound, Rand) and also some extinct currencies (usually denoted by ‘old’ or ‘former’) such as Franc or Mark. I have also seen Dinar and rupee used in clues in the past (normally for anagram fodder).

  13. Thanks to Falcon for his blog and everyone for comments. Hope it wasn’t too difficult for the post festive period! Happy New Year to all DT solvers and contributors to BD’s blog.

    1. Thanks for all the great puzzles throughout the year, admittedly part of this was too tough for me, Happy New Year to you too Shamus

  14. Happy NY everyone, glad Pommers is feeling better, thanks Falcon and mysteron. 15d got me, couldn’t get Brabant out of mt head

    1. In the days of yore when I was but a 23D, I worked in the oil industry processing seismic data. The very first bit of data I worked on was for the Brabant oil field offshore Netherlands

  15. Thank you Shamus and Happy New Year. Found this rather difficult ! with a number of answers put in which I needed hints to explain ! 2d being one of them. A new type of clue for me. Thank you Falcon for your review. I enjoyed your 2d hint – Mr Tutte and Mr Flowers are working on it ! Was tempted to go for “Margaux” at 1a but that made 4d a bit tricky !

  16. I also thought about Margaux for 1a but luckily was saved by 4d! Very much enjoyed the puzzle with its great variety of clues.
    Thanks to Falcon and Shamus.

  17. Completed this while Mrs B was waiting for her hospital appointment (she was waiting for a very long time!). I seemed to struggle to get started in each corner but once I had letters to work round it steadily fell in to place. I agree with the ***+ and *** BD rating. Regds to all.

  18. Also had problems with SW for some reason, but when I finally cracked it I wondered if recent festivities has just slowed my brain power. Glad it wasn’t just me! It also took me ages to spot hidden word in 17a, and was desperately trying to squeeze another much more well-known Russian car into 15d.

    1. Exactly the same for me! Plus I had the ‘o’ word for 23d. I have just started using Crux on my iPad instead of printing out the crossword and I think I need a few days to get used to it.
      Thanks to Falcon and Shamus. I still don’t understand the hint for 2d but I had the right answer anyway :)

      1. Hi Amanda,

        I’ll try to make things a bit clearer with regard to 2d.

        First, we need to get some terms straight. We usually talk of a clue consisting of a definition and wordplay – and possibly link word(s) between the two. While that terminology works for most types of clue, it fails in the case of double definitions, cryptic definitions, all-in-one clues, and inverse wordplay clues (such as 2d). It is more precise to speak of a primary indication (which is usually a definition) and a secondary indication (which would be the wordplay in most clues).

        In most clues, the secondary indication is wordplay (an indicator plus fodder) and the outcome of the wordplay forms all or part of the solution.

        However, in an inverse wordplay clue, the wordplay (indicator plus fodder) is found in the solution and the outcome of the wordplay is found in the clue. This is the inverse of the usual situation and thus the term “inverse wordplay”.

        So how does this all apply to 2d.

        Here, the primary indication is a definition “approach” with the solution being RUN-UP (as in ‘the run-up to Christmas’ or ‘the run-up to an election’).

        The secondary indication is “old railwaymen” which is (indirectly) the outcome of a bit of wordplay. I say indirectly, because we must make the connection that “old railwaymen” refers to the National Union of Railwaymen (a defunct organization and thus “old”) whose abbreviation is NUR. It is, in fact, NUR that is the outcome of the wordplay that we are looking for

        If we were to reverse the word RUN, we would obtain the result that we are looking for (NUR). In a down clue, such as 2d, such a reversal might be clued as “run up”. Thus RUN UP is the bit of wordplay that would produce NUR, and RUN-UP also means “approach”.

        To reiterate, the wordplay RUN UP is found in the solution (in fact, it constitutes the entire solution in this case) and the outcome of the wordplay, NUR, is given (indirectly) by the secondary indication in the clue (“old railwaymen”).

        You might well ask, “How would I know that this is a reverse wordplay clue as opposed to any other type of clue?” While the question mark in the clue is a warning that there is something a bit out of the ordinary about the clue, there really is no explicit indication. One learns to recognize such clues through experience (see Crypticsue’s comments elsewhere in this blog).

        I hope that is somewhat more comprehensible.

  19. Afternoon each and a Happy New Thingy to you all.

    I’m currently still in recovery mode after the wife’s birthday, Christmas, My birthday, New Year and so can only apologise for being so late on parade (about 2 weeks late I reckon).

    Enjoyable puzzle today and like nearly everyone I was a little stumped around the SW corner. Luckily I managed to remember the Russian car manufacturer (guess reading Le Carre, Tom Clancy and Ian Flemming worked in my favour). The answer to 2D seemed fairly obvious to me, but took a long time (and Falcons help) to figure out why – am now going back to bed with brainache.

  20. What a cracker! I certainly agree with your ratings, Falcon. Thanks to you and Shamus. HNY to all :-)

  21. Back pagers are proving more tricky than the toughies this week, my thanks to the setter and to Falcon for an excellent crossword and review.

  22. Bit late on starting today – but it was well worth the wait! As with everyone else, got held up in the SW corner. However, like CS, once it was completed I couldn’t fathom what the hold up had been.

    Excellent puzzle that was both enjoyable to read (clue wise) and do – 4*/4* for me.

  23. Crossword 27,065 makes self-harm seem like a viable hobby.

    Nothing enjoyable about it at all. It just had an awful smugness about it.

    I’ve been doing the Telegraph crossword for over 20 years & this particular one sent me back to the newsagent to try out crosswords in other newspapers.

  24. That was really difficult for me. I was stuck on the whole left side, with just a couple of exceptions. I consulted the hints, then got 1a which helped enough to complete SW corner, then stuck again on bottom left. I was really cross with myself when I finally found the answers but it seems I am in good company.

  25. Ghastly thing today, gave up and went to pay golf instead, far more enjoyable than banging your head against this puzzle.

  26. Finished. This is the first time that I have finished a 3* puzzle so I must be improving. Many thanks to Shamus for an enjoyable puzzle and to Falcon for hints which, fortunately, I did not need other than for reference that I had the correct answer – which was very useful

  27. Echo most of the comments, was a cracker, very enjoyable, SW corner last in with a bit of help. Fave doddle anagram 7dn! Lovely stuff!

  28. Great puzzle.
    All clues eminently doable.
    An unfortunate dose of staringitis which extended my normal time.
    Many thanks setter and Falcon.

  29. Agree with much of what’s already been said – prob nearer 4* for me. One thing I had different – i put ‘shrug’ for the young persons ornamental device after my experience of living with four teenage children a few years ago! Well it made sense to me.

  30. Great crossword. Thank you Falcon. I missed out on seven clues and had to resort to this blog which I almost never have to do. If I can solve both back page crosswords in less than half an hour there is something a little too easy about them. Now that I have posted several times can someone tell me how to change the little picture at the top left of my posts. Thank you one and all.

      1. half an hour? some days takes me much longer, more often to parse what i’ve written. Going back to the drawing board!!

  31. Thanks to the setter & to Falcon for the hints & review. The same happened to me, needed 2 hints in the SW corner. 17d&27a. Was 4 */3* for me. Favourites were 14d.

  32. Enjoyed this puzzle – I got the DT very late today as I had to wait in for an electrician to come to put in new fuses for the ceiling lights in my kitchen.

    Found the SW corner the hardest part – couldn’t remember the manufacturer of the Russian vehicle until I googled it!

    Just about recovering from overdose of champagne on New Year’s Eve!!

  33. Agree with Brian and Crossworld – not my cup of tea. S.W. corner would certainly not have been completed without hints. Hope for more fun tomorrow!

    1. 8d is not the nicest clue!

      You are looking for an anagram (roistering) of nearly all the letters (endlessly) of STUDEN(T), to give a horrible word (that I have never used before) meaning ‘Weren’t accustomed to’.

  34. anagram of student endlessly, ie studen, gives you one word which is in fact two words and the second with an apostrophe! It was tough because it’s not a thing people really say but is grammatically correct. Perhaps you could help me with 16d

    1. 16d – (an order of) Marine mammal, is a reversal (turned up) of A (given in the clue), and an informal abbreviation of a sleuth, followed by another name for (the) sea, without its first letter (not the first).

Comments are closed.