DT 27084 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 27084

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 27084

Hints and tips by crypticsue

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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

The lovely Gazza is always keen that those of us whose day jobs mean that we can’t do on-the-day reviews should be afforded the opportunity to enjoy the frisson of slight terror that comes with undertaking such a blog whenever we can.  I hadn’t even set off for the hospital before I had an email asking me to let him know when I would be recovered enough to do some hints and tips!!

You always know what to expect on the Friday DT back page and today’s very enjoyable Giovanni was no exception to the rule, apart from the fact that with this one, it would have helped to start with the downs (that’s where the slight terror comes in, as I got halfway down the acrosses with only a few solutions written in – fortunately the downs went in without any problems at all so the blogger’s panic was totally unjustified.


5 Make-up enabling mum to cover a blemish (7)
{MASCARA}  A nice easy one to start with, even if the wordplay isn’t quite accurate as I don’t think this particular make-up would cover a blemish!  – insert into the two letter alternative for  mum, A from the clue and a blemish or mark left after a wound.


7 One being imprisoned deteriorates — result is protests (5)
{RIOTS}  Insert I (one) into another way of saying deteriorates or decays.

9 Expulsion that may bring a blessing (6)
{SNEEZE}  A lovely cryptic definition of a sudden explosion from the nose after which someone might say ‘bless you’.


10 Behind very small ruler spy a tramp (8)
{VAGABOND}  A Turkish ruler and the surname of the spy known as 007 should be preceded by (behind) the abbreviation for Very to produce a person who wanders without settled habitation.

11 A crude mop’s possibly the answer to water in the house (4,6)
{DAMP COURSE}  A layer of moisture-proof material in the wall of a building is an anagram (possibly) of A CRUDE MOPS.

13 Grim firm (4)
{HARD}  A double definition, easily achieved from the checking letters and confirmed in a thesaurus rather than Chambers!

14 Veronica, quite extraordinarily dominant woman (5,8)
{QUEEN VICTORIA}  This woman certainly dominated or ruled for a very long time.   She’s found in an anagram (extraordinarily) of VERONICA QUITE.

Queen Victoria

16 Make son into greasy food refrain from eating (4)
{FAST}   Insert S for son into the worst sort of greasy food to get a period of abstention from eating.

17 Environmental group introduces new vegetable into country (10)
{GREENPEACE}    Insert the abbreviation for New and a small green vegetable into a Mediterranean country.

19 Act like an astronomer and dream up fantasies? (4-4)
{STAR-GAZE}  Another double definition – what an astronomer does or to wool gather or daydream.


20 Rule laid down by a knight, one who served under William? (6)
{NORMAN}  Follow a rule or accepted standard of behaviour with A (from the clue) and the abbreviation for knight in a game of chess.   The William in the clue is, of course, the 1066 Conqueror.

22 Hesitation about agricultural policy put into summary (5)
{RECAP}  A reversal (about) of a two letter interjection expressing hesitation followed by the three  initials by which the EU’s agricultural policy is known.

23 Row in second half of bitter competition (7)
{TERRACE}  A row of houses –   the last three (second half) letters of bitTER followed by a competitive trial of speed by running, driving etc.


1 Existence of some fairies — seriously! (4)
{ESSE}   A word meaning actual existence or essence is hidden in (of  here means among –so found within)  fairiES SEriously.

2 Vehicle owner troubled, showing anxiety (8)
{CAREWORN}  A three letter vehicle followed by a troubled anagram of  OWNER produces an adjective which does indeed mean showing anxiety or signs of stress.

3 Publicity fever in capital city (6)
{PRAGUE}  The capital city of the Czech Republic –   the abbreviation for a press release (publicity) followed by an old-fashioned burning fever.

4 Preoccupation of nag in evidence when child is playing? (5-5)
{HOBBY-HORSE}   A favourite pursuit or pastime and the more formal way of referring to an equine nag rather than a scolding person.

hobby horse

5 Supposedly wondrous food gives fellow an upset (5)
{MANNA} The miraculous food provided for the Children of Israel on their journey from Egypt to the Holy Land.   A synonym for fellow followed by a reversal (upset) of AN from the clue.

6 TV set remained off — short feature being missed therefore? (13)
{ADVERTISEMENT}  This semi &Lit is an anagram (off) of TV SET REMAINED  which produces the short feature shown between television programmes – as the wordplay says, if the TV set wasn’t on, you wouldn’t see it!


8 Drink in school hospital ‘gross’, the reverse of excellent! (7)
{SANGRIAHopefully Pommers hasn’t had to give up this summertime Spanish wine punch as part of his recovery.   An informal way of referring to a school’s hospital or sick room, the abbreviation for gross, and a reversal of the two letters which are used to denote first rate or excellent.


12 Our price to travel around a foreign island (6,4)
{PUERTO RICO}   An anagram (travel around) of OUR PRICE TO produces a Caribbean island.

14 Region in any one of the four bits of news! (7)
{QUARTER} Each of the four letters, or bits, of NEWS can be used to refer to areas of the world, or even sections of a crossword puzzle grid.

15 A number in temporary accommodation overlooking railway — they pay rent (8)
{TENANTRY}   A body of people renting from the same landlord –   Insert A (from the clue) and the abbreviation for Number into a portable canvas shelter used as temporary accommodation, and finish with the abbreviation for railway.

17 Good old man embracing modern music? That’s the spirit! (6)
{GRAPPA}  An originally Italian spirit made from the residue of a wine press –   Insert between the abbreviation for good and an informal way of referring to one’s father (old man), that form of modern music consisting of a rhythmic monologue delivered over background music.


18 Long to join Conservative party (5)
{CRAVE}  To long or yearn for –   join together the single letter used to denote Conservative and the sort of party that is a mass gathering of young people dancing to loud music under bright flashing lights.

21 Genuine country maiden losing out (4)
{REAL}   Remove (losing out)  M for maiden from a country, kingdom or domain.

Hard to pick a favourite clue or two today, just a good all-round entertaining puzzle.   Thanks to both the Gs for enlivening my sick leave boredom.   Now for the Toughie, and then Arachne’s in the Graun. :)

The Quick crossword pun: {mew} + {sickle} = {musical}


76 comments on “DT 27084

  1. Hello sue nice to see you today, hope the improvement is continuing, I am off to accupuncture soon so just a quick hello from me, I enjoyed this one today and had no problems with about 3/4 of it, lots of clever clues inc 6d, 10a and 17a, however I didn’t think 7a really worked as there is nothing to tell you the one being imprisoned goes inside ‘deteriorates’, the answer is obvious but…?
    Thanks for hints sue, I will read through them in more detail when i get back, see you later :-)

    1. Morning Mary. Not sure I fancy acupuncture myself but each to their own. I too had to look twice at the imprisoning but don’t see how the surface reading would work if you put an ‘in’ in the clue.

      1. No I know sue, it wouldn’t work but it doesn’t work without it either? Accupuncture is fine you really don’t feel anything I thoroughly reccomend (if that’s how you spell it) it :-)

        1. One c Mary. It apparently comes from the Latin word for needle – acus. What would we do without the BRB?

      2. Probably just my ‘new to cryptic crosswords simple mind’ but I can’t see why you would need in or with to make the clue work? You ‘imprison’ (one) I into rots meaning deteriorates = riots, or am I getting this whole crytic thing wrong?

    2. I think I agree with you, Mary, about 7A. I think it needs to be read as ‘(with) one being imprisoned, deteriorates…’, but it is a bit clunky for my taste. Apart from that, a very enjoyable puzzle as usual from Giovanni.

  2. No real problems today but very enjoyable for all that. Thought for a while it was going to be a pangram with the appearance of Z and Q. Now to see how much more snow we are going to get!
    Many Thx to the Master for an enjoyable Friday and to Sue for the explanation of news in 14d.

      1. Not really in full working order Brian, although thank you for the thought. I have the top third of my vision back in my left eye and so in order to get the blog done (and to watch TV) I have to cover the left lens of my glasses and just use my right eye.

        I thought news in 14d was very clever.

        1. I do hope that you can be restored to full working order, CS, it must be very troubling doing crosswords with impaired vision

  3. Unlike Crypticsue, I found the across clues almost a write-in, but struggled with the down clues. Must be the male/female brain thing!
    Last to go in was extreme SE corner. Don’t know why. I also thought this was going to be a pangram (as was the quickie), but not quite. Nice quiet end to the week. **/****

  4. Agreed **/**** a very enjoyable end to the week. It’s great to find the cryptic crossword regularly back where it should be on the back page after the Christmas/New Year period. Sanity restored!

    Thanks very much to the setter and to Crypticsue even though I managed without hints today.

  5. Enjoyable start to the day,agree with a **/****, realised that 6d was an anagram but did’nt get the ‘off’ bit-thanks Crypticsue.Took overlong to get the other anagrams for some reason,liked the misdirection in 23a and clues 4d ,9a.Just started to snow-again.

  6. **/**** for me too. Thanks to Giovanni for the enjoyable puzzle, and to Crypticsue for the review.
    With the toughie done without any real difficulty, I’ll have to find something else to keep me busy at work until it’s time to go home.

    1. Arachne’s in the Graun – she might keep you occupied for a bit. Mind you, you ought to fit in a bit of work into the crossword solving day. :)

  7. Good morning CS – good to see you back with your Hints Hat on again, & do hope you will soon be restored to two fully working eyes (or ‘four eyes’?). Many thanks to both the setter & yourself for a very enjoyable morning. Got a completely blind spot over 9a, not helped by seeing 1d quickly but not understanding the link to fairies. 1/4 for me as well.

    1. Since I live in Chicago, 6 hours behind UK, I usually print the puzzle out at 6:01 pm and then go back to put the clues in the online version to check them. Tues/Wed and Thurs night I was able to print it out, but when I went to put the clues in the puzzle later it wouldn’t load. When it did finally load it would not give me letter hints and then when I hit the submit button it would tell me I hadn’t saved the puzzle and it wouldn’t submit causing me to lose my time bonus when I was finally able to get in. Then, of course, I would have to type all the answers in again. Annoying. We will see what happens tonight:)

      1. All FAR too clever for me. I stick to the paper version but it all sounds very frustrating for you. This is clearly a really stupid thing to say in a ‘place’ like this, but there are times when I find technology very annoying – it’s just great when it works and drives you mad when it doesn’t.

  8. Thank you Giovanni. At last managed to finish a Friday puzzle without hints. Must have been the grid layout or long anagrams or something – but very enjoyable. Thank you CS for your review and very glad to see that your recovery continues.

  9. Nice to see you’re recovered enough to do a blog CS.

    I always like Fridays, the Don must be my favourite setter, never a walkover, always entertaining and today was no different. Had to pop down to see the doctor myself today for a blood test (got 45% – good result for me) so ended up doing this puzzle in pieces.
    Thought I was in big trouble after looking at the across clues (didn’t help by trying to write 14A in 11A’s space) when I got the summons from the Dr.
    When I got home, started on the downs and found everything fell into place with no real problem. Last in was 7A, as has been said, it doesn’t quite work unless it has an ‘in’ in it,, but that would ruin the surface.
    14D was very clever and I did note a substantial amount of booze creeping in today. For that reason – Cheers Don !

  10. Ratings spot on and as you say an enjoyable all-rounder .Fav had to be 9a .
    Thank you for the review and best wishes with recovery.
    Just this second started snowing in North .Yorks .

    1. How far up are you? I’m supposed to be going up to York for the night to check on the aged Ps but don’t fancy getting stuck on the A1.

      1. North east of York ,snow did not amount to much .Just checked worst of snow due 10 pm tonight .main roads fine but don’t even think of going anywhere near moors .Have a safe journey cheers .

  11. No problems apart from trying to understand why 20a was what it had to be – complete blind spot. I agree with CS’s rating.
    I also thought it was going to be a pangram and spent a while trying to find somewhere to put the missing three (I think) letters.
    I really liked 14a. I have a cousin called Veronica – say no more!
    I also liked 9, 11 and 17a and 2, 6 and 14a.
    With thanks to Giovanni and crypticsue – glad that you’re so much better and able to see again.
    Might give the Toughie a miss – Friday Toughies make me feel like whoever it was in Monty Python who put a bag over his head whenever anyone said “Mattress”!

    1. The Toughie is not as difficult as we normally get on Friday, so why not just pretend that today’s a Wednesday?

    2. Kath

      Thanks for the pointer towards the ‘Mattress’ sketch; I don’t remember that one. Totally insane!! :)

    3. Hi Kath,
      Like Jezza, I’d never seen or had completely forgotten the mattress sketch. Thanks for the pointer, and thank heavens for You Tube.

  12. Hi Sue, and welcome back to the hot seat! Glad to see your recovery is continuing well.

    Pommette and I will have a go at this one over lunch so see y’all later.

  13. No need for hints for once – simplest DT crossword ever (but enjoyable) so thankfully not too much of the day “wasted”! Thank you Giovanni.

  14. A fairly straightforward and nicely crafted puzzle.
    Completed in a personal best time. :)

    CS thanks for the review, would have preferred a 2* difficulty to massage the ego. Nice to see you fully back in the saddle.

    Thanks to Giovanni, your puzzles are always a pleasure to solve.

  15. Very enjoyable and also a personal best for Giovanni – with whom I have struggled more than once! I always try and solve any long words (clues) first as that gives me hints as to other clues. But I do tend to then hop around all over the place…no ‘let’s do all the down clues’ first here !

    Wonder if we are going to get any more snow.

    And, Sue, acupuncture is nothing to be feared….certainly you rarely feel them going in (or out). I worked in Croydon for a couple of years which necessitated me traveling on public transport (trains/tube/bus/tram). I had a weekly acupuncture session to boost my immune system. Never got a cold/cough or the flu. So it works! Good luck with yours.

    1. I have always solved by working through the Acrosses first and then the downs.

      And the acupuncture, that’s Mary not me.

  16. Many thanks to Giovanni for a most enjoyable if untaxing crossword, and to Crypticsue for a very entertaining review. May I add my best wishes for your continuing recovery Sue, it is lovely to have you back with us.

    1. Thanks BB. I probably shouldn’t be properly back yet but got so bored yesterday so volunteered to do the blog. Today has been much more entertaining so far and what’s more I think the sun is coming out so I might venture outside for a little walk later.

      1. We have been having nice weather up here in Fife while the rest of Britain shivered however it is snowing today and is quite chilly also.

  17. Welcome back, CS :-)

    I’m used to Friday/Giovanni being pleasant but slow going, but today was not only a personal best for a Friday, but very nearly a personal best for a DT Cryptic full stop! If only I hadn’t wasted 30 seconds on 18D at the end…

    Thanks to CS and Giovanni, and lets hope that today’s snow is the last for this season…

  18. A classroom somewhere in Wales 1976 – “Just what IS the point of us learning Latin Sir?”.

    “One day you will answer that question for yourself Geddes”.

  19. I’m new to all this but can do a cryptic crossword of DT standard. How does one know its Giovanni setting it? Or any other setter?

  20. Giovanni in very benign mood methinks! Took ages for the penny to drop on 8a (last in) which is very stupid as I’ve seen the clue before, d’oh!

    Thanks to the Don and CS.

    1. You have no idea how glad I am to see you back this afternoon. Last time I blogged a Giovanni, you said you were going for a siesta and didn’t come back for over two weeks!!

      1. Won’t do that again! Just noticed your comment re 8d – no the booze is OK, it’s just the weed I’ve had to knock on the head.

      1. Doing fine Mary, thanks for asking. Out playing bridge tonight so that will prove whether the brain is fully functional :smile:

  21. Very enjoyable puzzle. Lots of nice misdirection and anagrams. Enjoyed 9a. My 2 year old granddaughter told me the other day ” I blessyoued” which meant I saw the answer right away!
    Still in the minus 20’s here. Supposedly warming up to minus 12 on the weekend.
    Thank you to Sue and to Giovanni.

  22. Very enjoyable, but I was disappointed to see it was only a * star rating. So I am not really getting better , the Don just got easier.Anyway thanks to CS and Giovanni.

  23. Very enjoyable puzzle. 1d was a new one on me. Many thanks to CS for clearly written hints and to giovani for a nice Friday crossword

  24. Very enjoyable. I would give it 1.5 as I was held up in the S E corner. Welcome back Sue and thanks for the explanation for 1d. Thanks also to Giovanni.

  25. Apart from a very slight hesitation in the SE corner, it all slotted together very quickly. So much so that we pondered on whether the Don was on holiday but decided that it has all his characteristics. He was just being gentle with us today.
    Thanks Giovanni and CS.

      1. And of course if he were on holiday it would have be somewhere like here where we are having perfect summer holiday weather at the moment. (Just to make you all envious). Cheers.

  26. DT 27072: a quote from Gazza two weeks ago: “Giovanni has given us a very gentle workout today, in fact I can’t remember an easier one from him.”

    Today’s DT 27084 was even easier!

    I managed this quite easily even with one eye on the tennis (My BD rating: a 3 setter including 2 tie-breaks!)

    Andy Murray is British! Nae Scottish, today!

  27. I found today’s rather a grind (maybe it had something to do with watching Murray) still very enjoyable though.

    Many thanks to Geovanni and CS for the review.

    PS. 19a A scantly clad young woman looking up at the stars, to appease us lechers (sorry) impassive observers.

  28. Another pleasant Friday solve from The Don!

    Faves : 10a, 11a, 14a, 19a, 4d, 12d, 17d & 21d.

    Used to bring 17d back from I on my travels there – especially the “alla ruta” version!

    Glad to see you back in business Sue but take care!

    The weather in NL is to go into positive temperatures this weekend – I personally shall be glad to see the end of the snow at long last!

  29. Thanks to Giovanni & to CrypticSue for the review & hints. Enjoyed this a lot, no real problems, very entertaining. Started with 5a, finished with 23a. Favourites were 17a & 15d. Two new words 1&15d. Was 1*/4* for me.

  30. Returned from Florida to temperatures less than half what we had there. Brrr! Completed the crossword in front of a log fire with a wooly hat and anorak on.

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