DT 27101 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
View closed comments 

DT 27101

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 27101

Hints and tips by pommers

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ****

Hola from the Vega Baja!  Well, thanks to the local hospital, I’m still alive and kicking and am now fit enough to bring my usual incompetence back to the blogger’s chair – so it looks like you’re stuck with me for a while longer.

I’d just like to repeat my heartfelt thanks to all of you.  I was rather overcome by the outpouring of concern and good wishes that followed BD’s post about my illness. As Mary said the other day “who’d have thought a crossword blog could bring so much comfort?”

Anyway, on to the crossword.  Check the date before you start this one as there are a few topical allusions, starting with 1a!  It’s an odd puzzle to rate as most of it was 1* difficulty but there two or three clues that up the ante a bit, mostly in the bottom half. I’ve gone for 2* overall.

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           You may get the point of this today (6,5)
{CUPIDS ARROW} – A cryptic definition of something you might get on Valentine’s day.  I can’t find the phrase in the BRB but Collins on-line says it means LOVE.

7a           Some gigolo! Nerdy one with no friends (5)
{LONER} – This person with no friends is hidden in (some) gigolo nerdy.

8a           Tricky task: sell a pitch (5,4)
{SALES TALK} – An anagram (tricky) of TASK SELL A.

10a         Head of the Arts replaced by very predatory creature (7)
{VULTURE} – Take a general word for the arts and change its first letter to a V (head of *** replaced by V(ery)). Easier to solve than explain!  Is one of these creatures strictly a predator?

11a         Minute outwardly powerless muscles (7)
{TRICEPS} – These arm muscles are a word for a short period of time (minute) followed by PS (outwardly PowerlesS).

12a         Popular place for mosaic perhaps (5)
{INLAY} – The usual crosswordland word for popular followed by a word meaning to place – not the usual SET, which is what I first put!

13a         Dodgy poseur embracing her is fantasy figure (9)
{SUPERHERO} – This is an anagram (dodgy) of POSEUR placed around (embracing) HER.

16a         City and church make public transport available for invalids (4,5)
{BATH CHAIR} – Take an English city (4), an abbreviation for church (2) and a word meaning to make public or broadcast (3) and split the result (4,5).  Not heard this name for years, is it still PC to use it?

18a         Drinks and sandwiches (5)
{ROUND} – Double definition

19a         I’m left in show which is endless graft (7)
{IMPLANT} – Not graft as in hard work, more like a skin graft or something.  Start with IM (from the clue) and follow with a Christmas show without its last letter (endless) and insert an L (L(eft) in).

22a         Stuff with taleggio — originally a fine cheese (7)
{TAFFETA} – This stuff is a charade of T (Talleggio originally), an A (from the clue), F(ine) and then some Greek cheese.  Not sure about the definition here or am I missing something?

23a         Break up most of dismal coal while it glows (9)
{DISMEMBER} – Take more than half the letters of DISMAL (most of) and follow with a glowing coal, perhaps in a fire that’s nearly gone out. I thought that ‘most of ‘ would mean all but the last letter so I was a bit held up until I twigged what the glowing coal was, d’oh!

24a         Crush in a party (5)
{ABASH} – Not crush as in squash but more like humiliate or defeat.  It’s A (from the clue) followed by a slang term for a party. Not DO this time, this one has four letters.

25a         Unlikely mature crone will provide you with ideal relationship (4,7)
{TRUE ROMANCE} – It’s an anagram (unlikely) of MATURE CRONE.  I do like apposite anagrams!


1d           Hundred and fifty select few endlessly bathed in a warm glow (9)
{CANDLELIT} – This is a charade of the Roman hundred, AND (from the clue), the Roman fifty and then a word for select few without its last letter (endlessly).

2d           Exercise right before panel to give false evidence (7)
{PERJURY} – Another charade, this time of the usual abbreviation for some exercise, R(ight) and the panel that sits in a courtroom.

3d           What are the odds of dryish fizzy drink leading to a tummy ache? (9)
{DYSPEPSIA} – Take the odd letters of DrYiSh and follow with a fizzy drink (not Coke, the other one) and then A (from the clue.

4d           Start off voting dole out (5)
{ALLOT} – Some voting without its first letter (start off)

5d           Following run on icy surface winter sports enthusiast is more reckless (7)
{RISKIER} – Start with R(un), then an I (Icy surface) and then a winter sportsman, a downhill racer perhaps.

6d           Wind you and I have commonly (5)
{WEAVE} – Not the sort of wind you have if you’ve got 3d! A word for you and I followed by a common or cockney way of saying ‘have’

7d           Nothing’s on screen that Shakespeare wrote (4,2,5)
{LOVE IS BLIND} – Something that the Bard wrote that is relevant to today.  It’s nothing in tennis and the sort of screen you might have at a window.

From The Merchant of Venice:-

Here, catch this casket; it is worth the pains.
I am glad ’tis night, you do not look on me,
For I am much ashamed of my exchange:
But love is blind and lovers cannot see
The pretty follies that themselves commit;
For if they could, Cupid himself would blush
To see me thus transformed to a boy.

9d           Recipe for disaster in affectionate gesture by horseman? (4,2,5)
{KISS OF DEATH} –I think this counts as a double definition with the second one being cryptic. The phrase is derived from Judas’ method of betrayal of Jesus and means to have disastrous consequences. The second definition is a reference to the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, particularly the one on the pale horse. The phrase would describe the affectionate gesture from him.  Not at all easy to explain and it took me a fair while to work out how the clue works but I think I’ve got it right!

14d         Bonfire temperature’s hot beside unusual chrysanth (9)
{PYRETHRUM} – Another name for a chrysanthemum is a bonfire, or funeral fire, followed by T(emperature, H(ot) and a word meaning unusual or odd.

15d         Count out and pay with small change and no tip (9)
{ENUMERATE} – Take a word meaning to reward or pay for work, service, etc and remove the first letter (with no tip).  Then you have to swap the places of two of the letters (with small change).  Not my favourite type of clue as there’s no indication of what ‘small change’ means. I’ve seen things clued as anagrams where only two of the letters are moved!

17d         Talk English at the French country house in the Dordogne? (7)
{CHATEAU} –  A word for informal talk followed by E(nglish) and the French word for AT.

18d         Give up burden (7)
{REFRAIN} – Double definition.  A new one on me but apparently a burden is a chorus line at the end of a verse of song! Educational things crosswords!

20d         Claim some characters in Donizetti’s opera are contrary (5)
{POSIT} – This is a hidden word (some characters) in Donizettis opera, but it’s backwards (are contrary).

21d         Underground root’s original potato maybe (5)
{TUBER} – Another word for the London Underground followed by an R (Root’s original).

Maybe it’s just getting back to blogging after illness and a long break but I really enjoyed this puzzle a lot.  Plenty of good clues but my stand-outs are 25a and 9d.

The Quick crossword pun: {luvvies} + {Orly} + {round} = {Love is all Around} – {Reg Presley, lead singer of the Troggs, who wrote this song sadly died on 4th February}

78 comments on “DT 27101

  1. Welcome back, pommers.

    Very enjoyable crossword and chuckled at 6. Also liked 9.

    I think 22 is a lazy clue, to be honest. Stuff could be anything

    1. Morning Roger

      Re22a. STUFF is defined in Collins as woollen cloth or fabric which the answer isn’t, it’s silk or Rayon. That’s why I’m not convinced.

  2. I enjoyed this one very much. 3*/5* for me.
    Many thanks to setter (Petitjean perhaps?) and to pommers for the review.

    Re 22a, the definition is ‘stuff’/woven material or fabric.

    1. Hi Jezza
      See reply above, but I just looked in the BRB and it says cloth, especially wollen, so I guess that makes it OK.

  3. Nice to see you are back,Pommers, and thanks for the much needed hints for 14d and 15dand22a which I found impossible in an otherwise “lovely” crossword.I like obvious themes, so thanks to the setter too.Favourites were7d,9d,and 13a.

  4. Glad you’re back .Lower half took twice as long as upper .I was reluctant to put 9d in because I could think of no earthly reason why it was what it was and pretty similar for 18d .Overall has to be 3 * / 4 * for me .
    Thanks for the enlightenment and keep well.

    1. Same for me re 9d, I really couldn’t see what the horseman was bringing to the party and was on the verge of emailing BD and Gazza for some help when the penny suddenly dropped! Gnomey’s law? :grin:

      18d was last in for me. I guessed the answer from the checkers and the first bit but had to look up burden to get the meaning I didn’t know.

      1. This clue appeared on the back page (DT 27093) only nine days ago:
        Part of song that’s difficult to bear (6)

  5. Welcome back, glad you are feeling better.
    No problems here EXCEPT the awful bottom right corner which was just dreadful!
    What on earth has a material called taffeta to do with stuff (nasty hyphen here), 18d is a nonsense and still don’t get the clueing for 15d. Got all the answers correct but have to thank Pommers for confirmation. Well done Pommers for the explanations of 9d and 15d. Easier to solve than explain:-)
    Was going to thank the setter but so disliked the bottom right that I am nor sure if I should.

    1. Dear Mr. Grumpy…

      15D Start with remunerate, lose the first letter and swap the M and N.

      18D is excellent, as is 22A.

  6. Morning Pommers from a grey miserable Kent, nice to see you back.

    No particular problems until bottom right where stuff confused me and the wordplay in 15d eluded me, sorted but didn’t know why, so thanks for the explanations.

    Thanks to the setter.

  7. Hello Pommers – grand to see you back, and many thanks for some excellent hints, especially for 9d which I’d got right but couldn’t work out why! I wondered if I’d mis remembered one of the Four Musketeers! And wasted time trying to fit spurs into the answer as well. Do hope your recovery is speedy and complete. Loved the pics. 2*/4* for me. And, to mind my manners, a grateful appreciation to the setter also.

  8. My goodness, I was on a flyer this am and finished by breakfast time. In answer to some points raised : 22a – gowns made of “stuff” is used frequently in novels by people like Georgette Heyer and for 18d – I used to know a folksong called The Miller of Dee which includes the lines
    And this the burden of his song
    For ever used to be
    I care for nobody, no, not I,
    If nobody cares for me.
    This clue featured in another crossword very recently only I cannot remember which

      1. Thanks both. As I said, it was a new one on me and my last in but the BRB came to the rescue once I’d guessed the answer!.

  9. Good to have you back, Pommers. Thanks for explaining 15d which we had got but could not understand. In this mansion we have a pithy two word phrase to define clues like that, but it is not suitable for publication in a family blog. Until you gave us 18d we were stuck in the SE corner. Having seen the answer, Lady L recalled the Miller of Dee:

    There dwelt a miller, hale and bold, beside the river Dee;
    He danced and sang from morn till night, no lark so blithe as he;
    And this the burden of his song forever used to be: –
    “I care for nobody, no not I, if nobody cares for me.

    What it is to be cultured!

  10. WB Pommers, glad to see you’re just about back to your old self.

    No real problems with the bottom left corner – have seen taffeta clued as stuff on numerous occasions, 15D seemed pretty obvious from the checking letters even if the cluing is somewhat convoluted and I had heard of the second meaning for 18D. I was stuck for a while on 19A and 20D until the penny suddenly dropped and 14D held me up for a bit while I had to wrack the old brain cells for another word for bonfire (not a flowery person me, I normally refer to them as red/whit/blue/etc things).
    I thought 1D was a good clue and 9D excellent (being dedicated Pratchett fan, the answer seemed to pop straight into my head).

  11. Excellent fare,as you say,easier when the ‘theme’ is recognised, about a **,*** for me,maybe ****.Some excellent clues, i agree with Pommers (nice to have you back) that 25a is most apposite,especiatty today,and thanks Pommers too for the apocalyptic reasoning for 9d, i remember reading a Dennis Wheatley novel in which’the fab four’were referred to, it might have been the devil rides out.

  12. Hi pommers – good to see you back in the hot seat. 2*/4* for me today so thanks to setter and yourself.

  13. Glad to see you back, Pommers, and astute as ever! Enjoyed this despite clues 14, 18 and 20 [ should have got 14] but ignorance made 18 and 20 unsolvable for me although with the blog to hand completed it finally, and happy to learn new facts. If I can remember them! Thanks to setter and pommers, stay well!

  14. Welcome back, pommers. I agree with the 2*/4*.
    I thought most of this was straightforward although my last three took a bit longer. 15d had to be what it was but took me a while to work out why. 18d also had to be right but I’d never heard of that meaning of burden and I was just plain dim with 10a. Even with alternate letters I kept looking at it, and then finally got it but wasn’t too sure about the ‘predatory’ part – thought they were more scavengers but BRB says that they are large rapacious birds of prey so will shut up now!
    I enjoyed this very much – Jezza suggested Petitjean – maybe not complicated enough for him?
    I liked 11, 16 and 25a and 3, 7, 9 and 14d.
    With thanks to Mr Ron and pommers.

  15. Thanks to Mr.Ron and to Pommers for the review and hints. Nice to have you back Pommers. I agree that it was a strange puzzle, I had lots of blanks squares for quite a long time, but I got there in the end. I’d heard of a refrain in music, but had never heard of a burden in this context, 14d was a new one on me, but I got it from the wordplay, last one in. Was 3*/2* for me. favourite was 8a. Warmer in central London today, but showery.

  16. A lovely puzzle to welcome Pommers back on duty. Just a smidge over 1* difficulty but definitely 4* fun. Thanks to Pommers and (I thnk it must be) Petitjean.

    The Toughie is very enjoyable and well worth a go.

      1. Hi John – nice puzzle, thanks muchly.

        Great one for my return from the near-dead, I was uncomfortably close to the horseman from 9d for a day or so!

    1. I always thought that his were more difficult. Could this possibly mean that I’m getting better?

  17. Morning all. Finished without hints, but certainly needed the explanations for 15D & 18D (last one in). 14D was a new word for me, but not too hard to work out. I’ve come across ‘taffeta’ for ‘stuff’ before. Liked 3D and 7D. Definitely tricky in places, so thanks to the setter for a workout, and many thanks to Pommers for the enlightement.

  18. 1* only. this should be encouraging for beginners and improvers. I am off to tackle the toughie. Well I will after I have cleared the cellar ready for the dray.

  19. It’s a lovely day here, just about 20C with no breeze and not a cloud in the sky :grin: Perfect weather for going to the dentist for a filing which I’m about to do but at least I have the Toughie for the waiting room.

    See y’all later.

  20. Like many others, I struggled with the SE corner, but when I solved 18D (after remembering ‘burden’ from a recent DT crossword) this gave me the vital ‘f’ in 22A and the wordplay indicated ‘taffeta’. I thought this was a rather tenuous link to ‘stuff’ though – as, it appears, did many others. Would never have understood the wordplay in 15D – without the explanation from Pommers.

  21. Welcome back Pommers. I’m sure the return of the warm weather after the cold winds will be helping with your recovery. Thanks for the hints. I was more stuck than I’ve been for a while so needed your help.

  22. My thanks to Petitjean for an entertaining crossword and to Pommers for an equally entertaining review, welcome back Pommers and good health for the future.

  23. Hi, Sorry, what is BRB (as in comment for 1 across)? – I couldn’t easily find it on this site or on the web – sorry, again!!

      1. Gazza – I am thinking of requesting the BRB for an upcoming birthday. Can you clarify please – is it the Dictionary itself or the Crossword Dictionary?

        1. It’s the dictionary, now up to 12th edition but the crossword dictionary is useful too. Try Amazon for a good deal on the pair.

          1. Thanks Pommers, great to have you back. Hugely enjoyed your trenchant comments on the Elgar Toughie last Friday!

    1. I am relatively new to cryptics, and I recently bought a Chambers crossword dictionary and I find it invaluable.For example, 18d, if you look” burden” one of the possibilities is” refrain”, which in my case fitted the checkers.

  24. Hurray for Pommers. Love your clear hints especially after Scchua’s Wednesday efforts. Sorry Scchua, I’m not on your wave length. Thanks to setter & hinter.

  25. That was fun, and I’ll go along with **/****.

    The clueing for 14D was excellent; I know so very little about flowers but the setter gently led me by the hand.

    Last one in was 15D, which is a bit galling given my maths and computing background: enumeration is a term which is “commonly used in mathematics and theoretical computer science”, see

    Thanks to setter and restored pommers :-)

  26. Very enjoyable. Although I got the right answer, I didn’t understand the cunning wordplay in 15 down until I saw the explanation from pommers.

  27. So much for the filling (filing?) – he’s pulled the bugger out! Still, it got me out of pommette’s threatened trip to IKEA :grin:

    I seem to be in the wars at the moment :sad:

  28. Welcome back Pommers, needed your hint for 9d as had forgotten the four horsemen. I remembered burden from a few weeks ago so had no problem with that. I figured out that 14d began with pyre and could only think of pyrecanthus (spelling?) but obviously it didn’t fit, so I had to resort to handy gizmo for help. Good puzzle, thanks to all.

  29. Hi Pommers, good to have you back. Enjoyed your review and, as usual, agreed with most of your comments/queries. Thanks to the setter for a fun puzzle.

    This is the first time in ages that I’ve managed to do the crossword and get on the blog on the actual day – if I’m going to be at home much longer we’re going to have to get another computer set-up!

  30. In 17d “AU” is of course French for “AT THE” not just “AT”. This is the most complex French construction I have seen yet in this crossword. As far as “stuff” is concerned this must be a generational thing. My mother (in the ’40s and ’50s) often used “stuff” instead of “material” as a general term for cloth as in dressmaking, etc. I had more problem believing that “WEAVE” was a suitable equivalent to “WIND”.

    1. Nearly failed French O level in 1969 and not studied the language and hardly ever visited the place since so I reckon I did OK – Google translate has AU as meaning AT as well as AT THE.

      BTW, IMO the best things to come out of France are Camembert and the ferry to England :grin: Or the E15 to Spain?

      1. The other good things that have come out of France are my lovely French sister-in-law (well, she’s lovely when she’s not pinching my crossword) and my nieces and nephews!

  31. Good to see you back behind the wheel Pommers – even without your tooth ! I trust you are obeying Doctor’s orders and not doing too much too soon ? ! Thank you for you review. Although I completed the puzzle I needed your review to tell me why I had the right answer in more than one instance. And thank you Petitjean for an enjoyable puzzle. A beautiful day up here on NE coast, spent on Holy Island. Snow has gone and temp soared ? to 9 deg !

  32. If it was the Quick Crossword and the clue was ‘Stuff’ (7) how happy would we be with the answer?

  33. Good to see you back Pommers. I finished this without the hints but needed the explanation for 9d &didn’t like 22a ,lt one in. I have to say I ‘m pretty chuffed at having completed a Petitjean.

  34. Great to have you back pommers. We enjoyed the timely theme that ran around the edges of the grid. A really fun puzzle. We were tossing up between Petitjean and Shamus as the setter so thank you John for removing our confusion.
    Thanks both setter and blogger.

    1. I thought it was probably Petitjean but with my record of spotting setters I’ve decided to keep my big mouth shut on the subject in future.

      1. I’m now going to keep my big mouth shut too, except by tomorrow I’ll have forgotten . . .! I always thought that Petitjean was trickier than that. As I’ve said before the only setter that I can spot from a mile away is Ray T.

  35. Glad to see you back again Pommers!

    Faves : 1a, 16a, 22a, 1d, 9d & 14d.

    Stick to Rioja and Navarra to keep colds at bay!

    Grilled chops with a drop of Bourgueil tonight for me!

    Had snow again all day today – when is it going to end?

  36. It’s almost tomorrow and I don’t know if you’ll see this, Pommers, but I’d like to add to the welcomes back and to say how glad I am that you are better, and to read your explanations again. :-)

  37. cheers pommers, great blog, i’ve forgiven your rant against Elgar, your Lord knows as Qix said It’s a wavelength thing , still find the brilliant Virgilius so very hard.. Glad you still blogging. Cheers to Petitjean as well

  38. Evening Pommers! Glad to have you back in the chair. Unlike (almost) everyone I made heavy work of the top corner for putting in INSET instead of INLAY for the tessera. Fundamental Scholboy Error for not checking. Thanks to you and to Petitjean for a puzzle with a bit of fun.

    1. Morning Gnomey
      As I said in the review I had INSET at first but fortunately 2d, PERJURY, showed me the error.

  39. 14 down was so convoluted as to be ridiculous – I just got the cross members and looked for a word of that pattern AND then fitted it to the clue – not what’s intended methinks!

Comments are closed.