DT 27113 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 27113

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 27113

Hints and tips by pommers

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

Hola from a rather dank and dismal Vega Baja.  The rain in Spain appears to fall mainly here!

I don’t think this is a Toughie that got into the wrong envelope but I have seen easier Toughies. I found it the trickiest back-pager for quite some time, but quite enjoyable once some of the pennies started to drop. I’m not going to guess who the setter is but suffice it to say that things started getting a little easier when I donned my “slightly mad hat”!

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           Award for play (4)
{GIVE} – Double definition, play as in latitude or slack. I’ve said before that I’m always happy when 1a goes straight in. Unfortunately today it didn’t and this was one of my last!

3a           Dictator left abandoned in disgrace (5)
{STAIN} – Take the L out of (Left abandoned) a Soviet dictator.

6a           Uncovered empty bottle containing a cigar butt (4)
{BARE} – Uncovered as in naked perhaps.  Take BE (empty B(ottl)E) and insert A (from the clue) and R (cigaR butt).

8a           Writer, unknown churchman, king and playwright in taxi? (7,8)
{BICYCLE RICKSHAW} – A type of taxi, or at least a conveyance, that you can find in parts of the Far East. It’s a charade of a brand of ball-point pen (writer) (3), and algebraic unknown (1), a man of the cloth (6), an abbreviation for King (1) and then a famous playwright (4).  Put that lot together and split the result (7,8).

9a           Outlandish quote about bull recalled (6)
{EXOTIC} – Start with a word meaning to quote or refer to put it around (about) a two letter type of bull and reverse the whole thing (recalled).

10a         Broadcast in support of right (8)
{PROCLAIM} – A prefix meaning in support of followed by a word for right or entitlement.

11a         Foolishness claiming Sun may provide lack of balance (8)
{INSANITY} – Insert (claiming) an S(un) into a piece of foolishness or frivolity. Lack of balance isn’t falling over but mental balance.

13a         Surprisingly silent Christmas show (6)
{TINSEL} – Not a Christmas show like a panto but a Christmas decoration. It’s an anagram (surprisingly) of SILENT.

15a         Exclamation of disgust about animal enclosure getting result (6)
{HAPPEN} – Take an exclamation of disgust, not UGH but something along those lines. Then reverse it (about) and follow with an animal enclose.  Well, if that’s an expression of disgust it’s one I’ve never used!

17a         Domestic arrangement could be snug if he cleaned up (4,4)
{FENG SHUI} – This Chinese method of arranging furnishings etc is supposed to make a room harmonious and snug.  It’s also an anagram (cleaned up) of SNUG IF HE.  I used to like the TV advert with the guy arranging his armchair in front of the telly and to one side he had a beer fridge and the other side was a toilet. Can’t remember what the advert was for though!

19a         Notice that man getting regular payment is hanger-on (8)
{ADHERENT} – Hanger-on as in follower or disciple.  It’s a charade of the usual notice (2), a word referring to ‘that man’ (2) and a regular payment made to a landlord.

21a         Preserve from signs of ageing with store’s ultimate male skincare product (6)
{EMBALM} – A charade of E (storE’s ultimate), M(ale) and a skincare product or soothing cream. I like the surface of this one.

22a         The cause of flies being left undone? (6,9)
{INSECT REPELLENT} – Cryptic definition.  The flies aren’t in your trousers but buzzy little insects.

23a         Unhappy to be going over northern desert (4)
{SAND} – Not so much a desert as what you find a lot of in a desert.  Put a word for unhappy around (going over) N(orthern).

24a         A name some French may give mountains (5)
{ANDES} – A range of mountains is A (from the clue), N(ame) and a French word for some.

25a         Current recession producing predatory type (4)
{WOLF} – Reverse (recession) a current of water perhaps.


1d           Like rabbit perhaps and rhubarb (9)
{GIBBERISH} – Double definition.

2d           In France you can claim proof of wine’s region and chateau ultimately void (7)
{VACUOUS} – Start with the polite or plural French word for ‘you’ and insert the abbreviation for the supposed proof of a wine’s origin and the last letter(ultimately) of chateaU.

3d           Choice area infiltrated by the Spanish (9)
{SELECTION} – Take an area or part and insert (infiltrated by) the Spanish definite article.

4d           Decline a prize (7)
{ATROPHY} – A (from the clue) and a prize such as the FA cup.  Bit of a chestnut methinks but a neat clue nonetheless.

5d           Portion of banana chocolate chip (5)
{NACHO} – The chip is hidden in (portion of) banana chocolate.

6d           Beer and cocaine are what some musicians bring to the party (4,5)
{BASS LINES} – A famous brand of beer followed by a word for some doses of cocaine gives the part of the music some of the musicians might be playing.  I knew I had this one correct but the web site told me it was wrong when I submitted.  To save time I used the letter hints to check the unchecked letters – that’s when I realised I’d spelled the first word with an E as last letter, D’OH!

7d           Accept genuine watches over the phone (7)
{REALISE} – A word for genuine followed by three letters which, when pronounced, sound like (over the phone) a word meaning watches or looks at.

12d         Pick up software program about hospital closure (9)
{APPREHEND} – A charade of a program for your smart phone or iPad, followed by the usual ‘about’, H(ospital) and then a word for closure or finish.

13d         Tight-head showing nerves (9)
{TENSENESS} – Another word for tight, not drunk but as in not loose, and an old-fashioned word for a headland.  Not sure if the word ‘showing’ is actually part of the definition here. It could be – what do you think?

14d         Theme of fancy tile design (9)
{LEITMOTIF} – It’s an anagram (fancy) of TILE followed by a design or emblem.

16d         Hide between back-to-back commercials for supplements (7)
{ADDENDA} – Take two commercials or notices (same as 19a) and reverse one of them (back to back). Then insert (between) a hide or study.

17d         Key articles getting a D for dunce (7)
{FATHEAD} – Start with a musical key (you’ve got A-G to choose from) and then two articles.  Follow with A (from the clue) and D (also from the clue).  Of course the A might not be from the clue but  the key might be followed by three articles and then the D.

18d         Pull or push? (5-2)
{HEAVE HO} – Double definition, the second referring to getting the push as in sack.

20d         Run the majority of next race (5)
{EXTRA} – A run in cricket which hasn’t come off the bat is hidden in (majority of) next race.

Some fine clues but my favourite was 17a with 8a and 21a on the podium.

The Quick crossword pun: (Annie} + {cede} + {bawl} = {aniseed ball}

85 comments on “DT 27113

  1. I thought that this puzzle actually gave the “WED” theory some credence but some clever clues once grasped .
    Faves 1a,8a,22a ,18d .
    4* / 3 * for me .
    Thanks very much .

    1. I agree – is it because it’s moved off the back page that the crossword editor feels that it should be more difficult?

  2. I found this one tough going but got there in the end after using a few hints. Perseverance definitely needed today. Thanks to setter and to Pommers for the hints.

  3. It’s beginning to look like I should have gone with my first instinct and given 4* difficulty!

    Hard for me to judge though as I wasted ages on 8a as I’d marked my grid as (6,9)! It was only when I twigged the man of the cloth that the mistake became clear. Then I found I’d spelled 22a wrong which was why I couldn’t solve 18d. Also wrote the second word of 17a with it’s last two letters reversed which made a mess of 14d :oops:

    What with the other cock-up on 6d it’s not been a good day at the office but I didn’t want to blame the crossword for my own 11a!

    I said the other day that I’m losing the plot – appears I was quite right :grin:

  4. Found this offering very hard today and needed your expert guidence on a number of clues,many thanks pommers and I’m now off to cast my vote.

  5. ****/*** for me, I found the bottom half relatively easy going, but needed Pommers’ help to sort out a few answers at the top. I got the second word of 8a but was fixated on trying to fit biro into the first word somehow! I also struggled with 2d because I have always been led to believe that AOC (Appellation d’Origine Controllée) not AC is the correct acronym for French wine certification.

    I was also nicely misled into thinking 9a was Ethnic, but couldn’t work out at all how NH could be bull. Thanks for putting me right on that one too, Pommers.

    Thanks too to the setter for an enjoyable puzzle, but isn’t it disappointing not to find it on the back page. The wicked lure of advertising revenue wins the day!

  6. Hi pommers from sunny West Wales, don’t worry I am sure you will more than make up for it! I wouldn’t have finished this without your help, no queen today so it’s probably not RayT? Even so I found this really hard today and wouldn’t have finished without your help, can’t say I enjoyed it, 8a was either clever or incredibly contrived, would not have got this or 6d without your help, I put erotic in at 9a until I read your blog! wouln’t have got 2d either! so thanks for the blog pommers, saves me from siting here struggling with a crossword I wouldn’t have finished otherwise

  7. I haven’t blogged recently, but now I’m back, sort of.

    Anyway, almost absolutely impossible today. 5*/1* for me

      1. If you ever have to use that in a crossword answer, I hope you’ll write it “hear, hear” :-)

  8. I really enjoyed this one today. Many thanks to setter, and to pommers for the review.
    2*/4.5* for me.

    I think the advert you are thinking of is Fosters lager.

    1. Hi Jezza, think you’re right about the advert. Seem to remember it was about the same time as the 4X lads “overdid it with the sherry”!

  9. Tricksy little bugger today. Didn’t really help that I was at the doctor’s fro a blood pressure test – I blame the crossword for my high reading. Having got home and got a coffee inside me, things began to fall into shape. First word of 8A took me ages to figure until 1D dropped in with a great thud (always remember one of my old teachers discoursing at length on a man pronouncing this word wrong – he went on for about 3 weeks as I recall).
    Too many good clues to list, but I always like it when 14D makes an appearance.

    1. Hi skempie although I eventually got 14d I had to look it up to confirm it was a word, never having heard it before, well if I have I can’t remember, what’s new!!

  10. Toughest cryptic for a long time but got there in the end. I also got on much better with the bottom half but then struggled with the top
    4*/3* for me

  11. Bit of a brain teaser today, like Pommers 1a was last in,certainly the hardest for a while, but also one of the most rewarding, i tried to start in the NW corner-to no avail.A ***/**** difficulty with a ***** for enjoyment,not many’shoe in ‘clues to aid progression,favourites 8a and 22a,was it Lady Macbeth who said ‘whats done is done’?

    1. It was Macbeth himself rather than his good wife who said, “if it were done when ’tis done, then ’twere well it were done quickly”

  12. Pommette has just informed me that it’s two years ago today that I did my first blog :grin:

    Doesn’t time fly when you’re having fun!

      1. That was a great idea to link to Pommers’ first blog. Together with all the comments it made a very enjoyable read!

      2. Crumbs, I didn’t think I’d been on this site for so long, but there’s a comment from me so I guess I have!

        1. Ayee Caramba! Me too. Well done Pommers and keep up the good work despite the fact that you seem be falling apart/

      3. I’m going to read it later – in the meantime a very happy blog birthday to pommers – and many more of them, I hope! :smile: and an e.candle on your cake from me!

  13. Not a happy bunny today & fear 11a looms. Tram rails got embedded in my head so that once I’d thought ‘hack’ referred to the writer in 8a (for those of a nervous disposition look away now), I just couldn’t get past Hackney Carriage, & was doing extraordinary contortions to make Ney a churchman rather than a Marshall, the Rs referring to a king etc. Idiocy continued with considering Tony for 1a (Toy with an N – oh pleeeeze!) & then changing that to Gong once I’d got 1d!! So Pommers I could never have completed this without your stalwart help & send most appreciative thanks. A 4/3* for me, with respect to the setter for making what I laughingly call my brain go like a piece of baggy knitting today.

  14. Thought I might never finish this one. Relieved to see that others found it a lot harder than recent puzzles. Managed without hints, but needed BRB, Crossword Dictionary, electronic gadget, Google and every conceivable aid to finish. The yellow orb, spotted yesterday in Birmingham and Bolton is still visible here ! Thank you setter for what was an enjoyable struggle – once it was over ! and Pommers for your review. Congratulations on your 2nd blogging birthday ! Wishing you many more. Could the setter have been Petitjean ??

  15. Ugh. Took ages, and I was, like the flies in 22A, completely undone on the last four (1A, 8A, 22A and 2D). I’d never have finished without your help on those, Pommers. Many thanks.

  16. this one was obviously put on the inside back page of the paper because it was slightly trickier (but possibly not tricky enough to have gone in the Toughie envelope). Thanks to Petitjean (I am sure it is you!) and to Pommers too.

    The Toughie didn’t take me much longer than the (inside) backpager but that may just be me – Bufo will let us know in due course.

    Can anyone explain what this ‘sunny’ that Mary keeps mentioning is all about? Here in East Kent it has been exceediingly grey dull and Siberian for what seems like for ever. :(

  17. A very enjoyable puzzle with lots of smooth surface readings! Agree with the Pommers-o-meter rating: ***/****.

    Favourite: 8a

    Weather here is still cold and grey – but a lighter shade of grey than the last few weeks (and weeks and weeks)!

  18. Extremely enjoyable crossword today, my thanks to the setter and to Pommers for a very amusing review.

  19. Phew! Really glad to find that it’s not just me. Definitely a TGFB day – that’s not rude (although, knowing you lot, someone will manage to make it so) it’s a Thank Goodness For Blog day. At least a 4* for difficulty from me and about the same for enjoyment, I think!
    I eventually gave up with 1a wrong (which made 2d impossible) and not a clue about 8 or 22a. I would never have got those. Oh dear!!
    I had gong for 1a – not helpful and couldn’t explain it anyway but it seemed a good idea at the time.
    Some very clever clues – just a pity that they were too clever for me.
    Don’t quite know which ones to pick – 1, 17, 21 and 25a and 1, 3 and 18d.
    With thanks to Petitjean (?) and particularly to pommers for picking up the pieces, giving them all a good shake and making them land in the right order.
    Off to have a bit of a sulk now! :sad:

      1. OK – the only problem with that cunning little plan is that the sun is just coming out so feeling slightly less sulky now! :smile:

  20. Very difficult, had to resort to hints and in one case the answer to finish.

    Thanks Pommers, a needed lifeline.

    Thanks to Petitjean, a tester.

    1. Now had a chance to go through all the answers and I have to say if this was a typical DT crossword I would never try again. Positively the worst back page puzzle I have ever attempted. Very nasty!

    2. Quite agree Brian and Peter, no fun whatsoever. Had longer train commute than normal and still hardly got any answers, and those that I did get I hated. 23 is very sloppy – you get deserts with no sand, and sand that’s not in deserts, the two words are not synonyms. Is “rabbit” gibberish? I just thought it meant talking too much (“rabbiting on”). 8 was horribly convoluted, bit like 12, still don’t understand the “left undone” bit of 22.
      Never mind wrong envelope, I think this sent to the wrong paper on the wrong day, it’s the sort of horror I used to see in the Guardian on Saturdays.

      1. I know it doesn’t go with your name, but I would quite like to see comments from you on days when you enjoy the crossword – presumably you must enjoy quite a lot of them as you only turn up here occasionally to complain about the ones you don’t.

        1. I take your point, but the hours I work and the time I get home make it difficult for me to post, so I tend only to do so when sufficiently enraged.

    3. Brian and Grumpy Andrew,
      Pretty much what I was expecting!! I think ‘very nasty’ would do as a crossword answer as being synonymous with (or for, never sure which) ‘horrid’!
      Grumpy Andrew – re 1d – ‘rabbit’ isn’t ‘gibberish’ but LIKE rabbit is – rabbit is gibber etc etc – SO glad I don’t do the hints, and I’m sure everyone else is too!! How do they do it so succinctly? A never failing source of amazement and admiration to me.
      I do agree that 8a was pretty complicated – I would never have got it had my life depended on it. 12d I just about managed. The ‘left undone’ bit of 22a just means dead, I think.
      Better luck in the future, and to me.

  21. How many sides are there to your bed? I only ask because you seem to get out of the wrong one every other day.

    Just be thankful it wasn’t your usual nemesis on a Thursday. Pommers gave the hint at the top about this setter – you have to look at the world from a different angle to get into his mindset.

    For me all I can say is that I enjoyed it and continue to wonder at the brilliance of the setters.

    Thanks to P & to the Mad Hatter.

    This should be nested under Brian’s comment. D’oh!

  22. Hi Everyone

    Sorry, had to nip out to Torrevieja for a while and the while turned into lunch on the prom watching some massive waves coming in. Not seen the Med that rough for many a year!

    Stooped raining now but there’s some more threatening clouds which seem to be getting nearer.

    Seems nearly everyone has found this one a bit tricky so maybe 4* would have been nearer the mark.

  23. Strange how the tiddlers are often the most difficult to catch.
    Spelling 1D with a J didn’t help, but 1a was my last into a very enjoyable and un-nasty puzzle.
    Thanks to the Peas.

  24. I really enjoyed this puzzle. Off the wall thinking does it every time for me. it all slotted together nicely but only after alot of thought. Way to go. Way to go.

  25. I found this very difficult and had to resort to the hints with only four answers. So thanks for the hints Pommers & happy anniversary. I was just about to admit to not getting 22a when the penny dropped. I enjoyed it for it’s cleverness ,now Setter don’t get too bigheaded because I said that!

  26. We had rated this one at **** for difficulty. It actually took us almost twice as long as the Toughie to complete. Brilliant off the wall clues, 8a in particular, so gave it **** for enjoyment. Our setter guess looks like it was right too.
    Thanks Petitjean and pommers.

  27. I enjoyed this one! Nice to get the grey matter working. Favourite by a mile was 22 as I am still giggling. 12 was last as I still can’t think of app as a word. Other goodies were 1a 1d 2 8 17a 17d and 18. Thanks to Pommers for 2 years of witticisms.

  28. Mmm… yellow orb still much in evidence in the Birmingham sky today, so decided to have a day out walking along the canals and do a spot of geocaching together with a leisurely lunch in the Jewellery Quarter. “What about the crossword?” asked Mrs W. “Won’t be a problem, the last three have been pretty straightforward, we’ll pick up a DT later” I replied. Big mistake. I really struggled with this one and came here much earlier than I would have liked and I have to put my hand up for the very first time I had to “reveal” the answer for 15a to finish the puzzle. In my defence, I would like to claim self-misdirection, as it turns out I’d put in the wrong declination of 1d with the result that 15a had to begin with a “G”. Talk about making life difficult for yourself…

    A bit of a war of attrition and definitely **** for me. Nevertheless, nicely crafted so *** for enjoyment. Thanks to the setter and to Pommers for helping me avoid an otherwise inevitable slide into 11a.

    Have a good evening all.

  29. Blimey O’Reilly, that was tough!
    But we got there, held up for a long time by three eg 6d which I created but had never heard of before.
    More of the same, please, I enjoy a struggle.
    Many thanks setter and Pommers.

    1. Blimey, I’ve been undefined, painful.
      8a was brilliant clue, I thought.
      No longer undefined.
      Thanks :)

  30. I’m thinking ** for the bottom and **** for the the top (although I didn’t help myself!).
    **** enjoyment so thanks to the setter and to pommers – congrats on the blogday .

  31. I ran through most of the bottom half in no time at all but then ground to a halt on most of the top.

    I still don’t know why 1D is a ddouble meaning. Rhubarb yes but like rabbit?

    1. As still a ‘newbie’ not sure I’ll be much help. But I took 1d as if I keep rabbiting on about something it’s more than likely I’ll be talking a load of rubbish or, the answer to the clue!!

  32. Well, a real toughie. I would never have solved 8a without help, nor 1a or 2d. I did get 1d but didn’t put it in for ages as felt SURE that 8a was an author and starting with B somehow didn’t look right, unless it was Barbara Cartland, which I seriously doubted! A very convoluted clue but very, very clever. Got 6d wrong, had to look at the answer in the hint. Forgot about Bass beer. I got 14d pretty e a

  33. Gibberish is rapid, gabbling talk and to rabbit is to talk at length and in a rambling fashion (rhyming slang from ‘rabbit and pork’ for talk).

    [I entered this as a reply to WBGeddes but the ‘reply’ button doesn’t seem to be working.]

    1. Sorry Gazza, didn’t see your answer – & it’s definitely much clearer than my nonsense above, WBG :-)

  34. My comment got posted in error by mistake. I was saying 14d was in some puzzle I was doing recently so got it quickly. Can’t find my stylus and difficult to type with fingers. Thanks to Pommers and setter for very challenging puzzle

  35. Hi all

    Re 1d and rabbit etc. According to Collins GIBBER means “to utter rapidly and unintelligibly; prattle”, i.e. rabbit. Therefore, like rabbit would be gibberish.

  36. Very glad that this crossword has been rated difficult by most people, as I had to resort to Pommers’ very welcome hints for the last 12 !
    I think I liked 18d the most, or perhaps 21a.Happy Blog day ,Pommers.And thanks to setter for shaking things up.

  37. Apologies to Poppy, gazza and pommers,
    I waded in and replied to Brian and Grumpy Andrew on the previous page about 1d. One day I will learn, among other things, to read through all the comments before writing anything – do hope that I haven’t upset anyone. I’m really sorry if I have.

    1. Just seen your comment so it’s definitely not me either! I always look out keenly for your comments, Kath. Love the idea of an e-candle. And am in awe of your knowledge of Setters (& gardening). Hope we meet again…. :-D

  38. Thanks to Jay and Pommers for the review and hints. Happy blog day Pommers. A wrong envelope job for me. Just like a Toughie, only solved 14 clues. Got 5 from the hints and had to look up 10. Was 5*/1* for me, too difficult.

  39. Enjoyed this one, though it was real workout! Loved 8ac and 22ac. We thought it was more of a 4* for difficulty, by back-pager standards.

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