DT 27108 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 27108

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 27108

Hints and tips by Gazza

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BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

When I first read through the clues I thought that this was going to be one of Giovanni’s more testing puzzles but once I’d established a bridgehead it all flowed fairly smoothly.
Let us know how you fared. If a hint is not good enough to lead you to the answer you can cheat by highlighting the gap between the curly brackets under the clue.

Across Clues

1a  Next door to busy person, actor James staying in (6)
{BESIDE} – James here is not, as the setter would like you to think, a forename but a surname. Put his first name inside (staying in) a metaphor for a busy person.

4a  After service sister is full of love, such is music (4,4)
{MASS NOUN} – this is a term for things, like music, which cannot be counted and which have no plural. A church service is followed by the sort of sister who belongs to a religious order with the letter that resembles zero or love inside.

9a  This person is about to enter academic field (6)
{DOMAIN} – ‘this person’ is the setter so we want how the setter would say ‘he is’ in the first person (1,2). Reverse it (about) and enter it in a senior academic.

10a  Suggesting little devil’s telling stories (8)
{IMPLYING} – a charade of a little devil and telling untrue stories.

11a  Plant wolf maybe knocked over jumping across ancient river (9)
{GOLDENROD} – reverse (knocked over) what a wolf is an example of and insert in it (jumping across) an archaic word meaning ancient and R(iver).

13a  Musician gets casual break before start of term (5)
{HOLST} – a casual way of describing a break away from work precedes the start letter of T(erm).

14a  Popular holiday spot in Lake District? Town’s reaction may be tricky (8,5)
{CONISTON WATER} – an anagram (may be tricky) of TOWN’S REACTION.

17a  Restrain tendency to oppose nuclear process? (5,8)
{CHAIN REACTION} – a nuclear process is an example of this. A verb to restrain or confine is followed by a tendency to oppose or a backlash. If you have difficulty getting the second word have a look at the previous clue.

21a  Stop working in a university, offering a final word (5)
{ADIEU} – a verb meaning to stop working, which may apply to a piece of machinery or the human body, goes between A (from the clue) and U(niversity).

23a  Respect reduced by half in Blair’s response to cross-examination? (9)
{TESTIMONY} – we have to remove the second half of a 10-letter word meaning respect or regard and put what’s left inside the forename of our old Prime Minister. This is possibly a comment on TB’s appearance before the Chilcot Committee’s inquiry into Britain’s involvement in the Iraq war.

24a  Write in an ‘impressive’ way (8)
{INSCRIBE} – gentle cryptic definition of a verb to write or make a permanent impression (the name of a winner on a trophy, for example).

25a  Princess once in dock (6)
{MARINA} – double definition. I vaguely remember this old royal princess who died in 1968 and whose name was later associated with what motoring journalists dubbed one of the worst cars of all time.

26a  Sums of money advanced to protect unfortunate islands (8)
{ANTILLES} – sums of money put up in advance of a deal at poker containing (to protect) an adjective meaning unfortunate or unpleasant make the island groupings forming most of the West Indies.

27a  Shot left half buried in hide (6)
{PELLET} – half of the word ‘left’ gets inserted (buried) in the hide or skin of an animal.

Down Clues

1d  Scoundrel offering something the curate was euphemistic about? (3,3)
{BAD EGG} – double definition, the second referring to the rotten breakfast item that the curate made the best of in a famous Punch cartoon.

2d  A mural is concocted to accommodate 100 images (9)
{SIMULACRA} – an anagram (concocted) of A MURAL IS containing (to accommodate) the Roman numeral for 100.

3d  Facility for motorists taking wrong diversion? Not so (5-2)
{DRIVE-IN} – an anagram (wrong) of DIVER(s)I(o)N without the letters of SO gives us a mainly North American facility for doing things without the need to take any exercise.

5d  Fearsome Cdr could sort them out (5,6)
{ARMED FORCES} – an semi-all-in-one clue. What could be sorted out is an anagram of FEARSOME CDR.

6d  Jump made by dog following Sarah (7)
{SALCHOW} – this is a type of jump in ice skating. An oriental breed of dog follows the common abbreviation for Sarah.

7d  College exam — top grade not obtainable, that is admitted (5)
{ORIEL} – start with a type of exam not requiring written answers, then remove the letter used for the top grade and in its place put (admitted) the abbreviation meaning ‘that is’.

8d  Worthless Greek character, little good, a politician (8)
{NUGATORY} – string together a) the thirteenth character in the Greek alphabet, b) the abbreviation for good, c) A (from the clue) and d) a right-wing politician.

12d  Terrible creeps on the board regarded as trustworthy (11)
{RESPECTABLE} – an anagram (terrible) of CREEPS is followed by a board.

15d  Barber’s getting lots, with old competitor losing heart (9)
{TONSORIAL} – this is an adjective relating to hairdressing. Start with an informal word for lots or masses and add O(ld) and a competitor without the V at his heart.

16d  Science in brief: a spasm accompanies a form of neuritis (8)
{SCIATICA} – the abbreviation (in brief) of science is followed by A (from the clue) and a facial spasm together with (accompanies) a final A.

18d  Gear position in remodelled Renault (7)
{NEUTRAL} – today’s old chestnut is an anagram (remodelled) of RENAULT.

19d  Ape‘s claim to be very important leading to ab’orrence (7)
{IMITATE} – an informal claim to be the bee’s knees (1’1,2) is followed by a synonym for abhorrence but with the H dropped in the same way as in the clue.

20d  Ruler shows extremes of devilry, unpleasant no end (6)
{DYNAST} – this is a ruler from a hereditary reigning family. The outer letters (extremes) of D(evilr)Y are followed by an adjective meaning unpleasant without its final letter (no end).

22d  Picture of institute taken around end of June (5)
{INSET} – the four-letter abbreviation for institute contains the end letter of (Jun)E.

The clues I liked best were 14a and 1d. How about you?

Housekeeping Tips: Number 93. Always keep a few ‘Get Well Soon’ cards on the mantelpiece. Unexpected visitors will assume that you’ve been too ill to clean.

Today’s Quickie Pun: {BLEW} + {BURRED} = {BLUEBIRD}

67 comments on “DT 27108

  1. I found this to be a little trickier today, and the time I spent on 25a pulled this one past my 3* difficulty time.
    Thanks to Giovanni, and to Gazza.

    The toughie today is not overly frightening, apart from one word which I have never encountered before.

  2. Good morning gazza, from a rather gray West Wales at the moment, patches of blue sky breaking through though, I found this tough today and needed your hint for 26a, I did like 10a, 16d and 18d, ok I know they were simple but I liked them :-) , this puzzle took me ages to get going on and only perservation stopped me from leaving it, a tougher than usual Friday pauzzle for myself, a definite 3* at least IMHO

  3. Morning all from a chilly south coast,I messed up 20D having put tyrant,my favorite was 11A.this was a nice puzzle and thanks for putting me right.

  4. I agree a tough one today. ***/*** I’ve never heard of 4a and needed Gazza’s help even knowing the first word! I’d also never heard of 20d even though the answer was obvious (and related to the well-known word meaning a group of 20d’s with y on the end). As Gazza says 15d is an adjective, but isn’t the clue suggesting the answer should be a noun?

    Many thanks to Gazza and the setter.

    1. I hadn’t heard of 4a, either, but googling it explained it. Interesting as there are quite a few, fish and fruit come to mind, though you do see “fruits” quite often. My Mum would not approve!

  5. Well, 2* is normally my level but I finished this one unaided although I had to refer to the hints for one or two meanings. Many thanks to Gazza for that and to the setter, whoever he is

      1. Thanks Mary, it was very enjoyable although a little difficult to break into to begin with. Like RayT although, with Giovanni,you seem to be able to do it without too much difficulty

  6. Definitely the hardest for a while. All seemed to be going Ok until NW corner plus 4a. Eventually managed without hints which gives some satisfaction – but nearly gave in ! Thought 1a, 9a and 11a particularly tricky. Thank you Giovanni for the test. New words for me at 2d, 8d and 15d. Remembered 6d from the days of Robin Cousins 1 Thanks to Gazza for your review.

  7. Tricky but solvable. 4a was obvious from the wordplay but was a new expression for me. A pleasant, if slightly taxing start to the day. Off now to tackle the local supermarket weekly shop. Thanks to setter and to Gazza for the review.

  8. Also a ***/*** for me (before reading the blog),not heard of 4a or 2d either,and like Rabbit Dave,queried the ‘adjective’ thanks all for the ‘s explanation.Liked 1d and 13a and enjoyed the puzzle-ready for the French,and a few pints!

  9. Mucho fun today. 11A and 26A took a whole lot of brain power (had to use both brain cells today!) but felt good when the penny dropped. Nice to see 2D make an appearance and also the princess at 25A.

    We were forecast ‘a very very small possibility of snow flurries’ here in Bristol – guess who go flurried on going to get the paper. grrrr.

      1. Just goes to show my luck, must have been the only flurry all day. As soon as I got in, it stopped flurrying.

  10. Harder than the usual Friday, had to take two passes at it, so 3* diff for me, couple of new words which always makes life interesting.

    Thanks to the two Gs for the mornings entertainment.

    Bitterly cold in Kent, with a few flakes of snow.

  11. I struggled with this but got there eventually adding several new words to my lexicon.
    Harder challenge than usual for a long time.
    Many thanks Giovanni and Gazza for the review.

  12. Quite a change to get an easy one on Friday. A few obscure words that were solved easily by the checking letters. Particularly liked 13 which was the last in with much gnashing of teeth. Also 16 and 18 although this has appeared before. Getting really fed up with being demoted to inside pages – is nothing sacred?

  13. Had forgotten there was a Princess Marina! Needed assistance to explain 26a – now I know where “up the ante” comes from. Chilly here, where is Spring?

  14. Found this tough pretty much from first to last which was 25a,a lovely clue as were 26a,7d and 13a .Very enjoyable .
    Thanks very much .

    The housekeeping tip got a reception as chilly as the weather .

  15. :sad: Having had one of the worst crossword weeks ever (my ability to do them, not the crosswords) today has kept the trend going.
    What a complete mess I made of this one. At least 4* for difficulty for me.
    I didn’t know 4a although it was easy enough to work out from the clue and then look up, and hadn’t come across 20d but that wasn’t too difficult – checked it in BRB and on my way alphabetically to ‘DY’ the page got stuck at ‘DU’ – the definition of a ‘duvet day’ made me laugh!! Have a look.
    11a took me ages and then having got it I took as long again to work out why.
    17a might have been OK if I hadn’t put ‘primate’ for 19d – it made sense to me at the time and I didn’t have the wit to think again when I couldn’t do the second word of 17a. The logic was ‘prime’ for very important (claim meant that it was a homonym, to me anyway) and then the last three letters worked. Enough said, I think.
    I liked 13 and 14a and 1, 5 and 12d.
    With thanks to Giovanni and gazza – love the household tip! I just leave the hoover out and hope that unexpected visitors assume I was just about to do it!

    1. How about –

      Clean the outside of your kettle so it is lovely and shiny – people will think that if you have had enough time to clean your kettle, the rest of the house must be clean too.

      If all else fails, spray polish about and people will think you have polished the furniture.

      My mum’s best one was – if you have a lot of people coming round, don’t bother to clean the floor as once all the people are there, no-one will be able to see the floor anyway!

    2. Same here, Kath… So although I’m sorry you’ve been struggling with the puzzles this week, you’ve made me feel much better (although I can imagine that’s small consolation!!). And I was going to ask you about 11a, as I thought you’d have some insider gardening knowledge to explain the wolf bit. Then Gazza (to whom many thanks) made the reason so simple I had 1d on my face. So I’m off to the theatre tonight in the hope that will cheer me up. Thanks to the setter, and joyous appreciation of Housekeeping Tip 93 to Gazza. Not long out, & I hadn’t thought of leaving the cards up for longer! :-D

        1. Oh just a wretched shoulder that might need surgery, (worked too hard probably after I had a stroke which affected the other side). So was in hospital for a minor procedure. Definitely not worth mentioning with all that you and Pommers have endured (& CS with her eye op) – I’m just being a Moanin’ Minnie! But thanks for asking Mary. :-)

            1. You’re right of course, dear Mary. And I have to admit to still occasionally grinning like an idiot when travelling about in public, with the joy of being sans the wheelchair, and free to try stairs & all sorts of other happy adventures – inc. BD’s Blog b’day bash, and the theatre… :-D !

      1. I’m sorry about your shoulder, Poppy, and hope the theatre you’re going to is more entertaining than operational! :-)

        1. Thanks Franny. A production of Noel Coward’s The Vortex, so any surgeon would be a <embig surprise!

      2. Well I’m so glad that I have achieved something – I’ve made you feel better – good! Always nice to have some kind of use!! :smile:
        Hope that you enjoy the theatre.
        I think I’ll count tomorrow as a new week and hope that it goes better, from the crossword point of view, than this one has.

  16. 3/3 star for me. I normally dislike looking up words. Perhaps the cold has forced me to slow down. So i forgive the setter on this occasion. At least it passes the time. Roll on summer and I can resume my insect photography so long as I get my hip repaired in time. Thanks to both for filling out my morning enjoyably.

    1. Hi ROB – welcome to the blog. Sorry about the delay in getting your first comment through moderation.

  17. Wow – I was only able to finish it after your notes. 9a really had me stumped, I had the cross letters, and looked up any possible words but couldn’t see the answer. I understand your solution, I’m probably being thick!

    2d is a really obscure word – quite straightforward to work out what it was an anagram of, but I had to use my new BRB to find the word – it made it’s purchase worthwhile.

    1. Do you mean you don’t understand the solution to 9a? It’s I AM (this person is) reversed (about) inside DON (academic).

  18. I found this a rather strange experience! Pommette and I went though the across clues and only managed two of them (11a and 14a) :sad: We then started on the downs and got all EXCEPT two :grin: The across clues just sort of fell in after that.

    No real favourites, just a generally enjoyable puzzle.

    Thanks to the two G’s.

    1. I hope your tooth is better soon, Pommers. I had a cracked molar a few weeks ago and it was very unpleasant, so I do sympathise. :-)

        1. Oh dear – poor you. I just hate dentists – always feel a bit sorry for them as no-one ever wants to see them – funny kind of job anyway fishing around in mouths – must be pretty yukky sometimes – a bit like being a chiropodist. :sad:

  19. 23a. I got the word but took a while to work out why. In the meantime, though, I could certainly imagine TB, under cross-examination saying “Test I’m on – y?”

  20. More fun than yesterday’s. Never heard of 6 dn before. Started this (without writing in the answers) on my walk back from the shops – the paper nearly blew away.

  21. Re 25a, I think British Leyland managed to get the two worst cars ever made out of the clue – the princess and the marina, though I do have happy memories of driving to Spain and back in my orange coupe version of the latter back in the late 70s. Such fun.
    Really enjoyed the crossword, quite stretching and with Giovanni’s usual mix of obscure words and proper nouns.
    I love Fridays!
    Thank you everyone.

      1. My first car was an Austin 1100 but I don’t suppose we could put that in a crossword.

        How are the teeth?

        1. I remember that we bought a Ford Prefect when visiting England in1949 but it couldn’t handle the Jamaican back roads. The springs would snap when bumping along. My Dad always had a couple of spare springs on hand, but his language was somewhat blue whenever it happened.

  22. A really enjoyable puzzle from Giovanni, lovely to see one of Tilsits’ favourite quotations at 1d. ( By the way, how is Tilsit ? he doesn’t appear to be around much at the moment, I hope he is not ill again.) Thanks to Giovanni and to Gazza.

    1. He is around but very very busy with various projects – I told him you were enquiring and he may pop in later.

  23. I, too, found this difficult to get into, but got 14a and 25a and that started me off. Like many, I could not understand why 9a was correct until I read the hints. 2d and 6d were new to me but fell into place when I got the letters and then googled them.

  24. I was a real duffer with this today and it took me ages and all the help, printed and electronic, that I could find. Finally I needed the hints for 4a and 7d to finish. Despite having taught English language I’d never heard of 4a and 7d is exactly the kind of clue I loathe and can never do. Usually Fridays are fine for me but today was tough. I didn’t realise that 6d was spelled like that and had to look up a map of the Lake District to find 14a. Oh well, it’s done now, so thanks to G&G and have a good weekend. :-)

  25. Wasn’t exactly a piece of cake but got there eventually. 2d & 4a were new to me & spent too much time trying to figure out the anagram at 5d using the wrong words. Really liked14a. Thanks to Giovanni & gazza.

  26. Hi Folks!

    Solved this one in the late afternoon as had to wait in for delivery by PostNL of some Swiss wine – six of Dôle and six of Fendant – I’m going to make cheese fondue when the family get back from their ski week in Zermatt.

    Faves : 11a, 14a, 17a, 25a, 2d, 6d, 8d & 19d.

    14a and 17a brought back memories of when I worked in the UKELELE on commissioning of reactors – I was based in Cumbria then and later in southern Scotland.

    Another sunny day with blue sky but still on the cold side! My Noorse sokken (woolen socks) are getting threadbare due to the long winter period.

  27. For once the geographical clue popped into mind without having to resort to Wikipedia and Lake District this time. A really good puzzle again from the Don. Interesting that the setters of both this and the Toughie managed to get references to themselves into the puzzles.
    Thanks Giovanni and Gazza.

  28. I’d never heard of (or can’t remember) 4a. The answer was obvious, but I had to look it up afterwards.

  29. One thing I learned today – how to spell *SALCHOW*. You hear the expression used during TV commentaries on ice skating contests, but if you had asked me, I’d have spelled it *SALCO*. Oh, two things I learned today, actually: had never heard before of a *MASS NOUN*. Worked it out from the clue easily enough, but needed to check whether it was correct. Strangely, after we had wracked our brains solving the top half of the puzzle, the SW corner almost solved itself, as though there were two different setters! Thanks to Giovanni and Gazza. A very entertaining puzzle.

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