DT 27137 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 27137

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 27137

Hints and tips by Falcon

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BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

Greetings from Ottawa where spring has arrived.  Judging from the UK forecast, conditions here are very similar to those in London – perhaps even a few degrees warmer here.  However, we still have a foot or two of snow on the ground – but it is quickly disappearing.

I suspect that you did not get the blogger you were expecting, and maybe not the setter either – I would say that this puzzle has definitely not been fashioned by RayT.  On first read through, I thought it was going to be more difficult than it turned out to be.  Once I got a foothold established, things started to fall into place.

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.


9a Dislike lead in play leaving stage (5)
{ ODIUM } – remove the first letter (lead) of P(lay) from a word meaning a small platform (where one might find an orchestra conductor)

10a House is setting for the whole small Northern horror film (9)
{ HALLOWEEN } – place a synonym for the whole inside an abbreviation for house; then append the common Scottish term for small and N(orthern) to get a 1978 American slasher film – remade in 2007

11a Brown as before or in oven (7)
{ TANDOOR } – an Indian oven is constructed from brown (by basking in the sun), the abbreviation for ditto (as before) and OR (from the clue)

12a A doctor said go in slow movements (7)
{ ADAGIOS } – A (from the clue) followed by an anagram (doctor) of the next two words

13a Springbok? A pig? In part a giraffe-like creature (5)
{ OKAPI } – if you look closely you will find, hiding in the first three words, the only living relative of the giraffe

14a The Yorkshire philosopher’s outfit (9)
{ TROUSSEAU } – a charade of how the word “the” is pronounced in the Yorkshire dialect and an 18th century French philosopher forms the sort of outfit that a betrothed woman would collect

16a Poor thing won’t boogie for now (2,2,5,2,4)
{ TO BE GOING ON WITH } – an anagram (poor) of the next three words produce a phrase that one might hear in Britain – but I would be more apt to say to start with or for the time being

19a Unwelcome issue needs one to check inquisitive goats (5,4)
{ NOISY KIDS } – irritating offspring – especially when they’re not yours and they are occupying the adjacent table at a restaurant; they are produced by inserting (check, as in to stop a leak by sticking one’s thumb in the dyke?) the Roman numeral for one into some inquisitive young goats (4,4)

21a Estate suffers when rule is used to oust husband (5)
{ ACRES } – one might informally refer to their estate by this measure of land area (one wholly too grandiosefor my meagre holdings); start with a verb denoting that one is experiencing a dull continuous pain, then remove (oust) H(usband) and replace by R(ule) (an abbreviation that comes from the field of law, so says Chambers)

23a Ken Livingstone supporters perhaps with stories about newt (7)
{ LEFTIES } – untruths surrounding another common name for this amphibian (although a zoologist would likely tell you that it is properly the juvenile stage of the animal)

25a Hot sauce and beans occasionally wrapped in pancake (7)
{ TABASCO } – the pancake is not a pancake, but a Mexican snack made from a pancake (you might say it is a stuffed pancake); if you manage to wrap this around the odd letters (occasionally) of B(e)A(n)S, you will end up with a hot sauce that is American (but has a Mexican name) – and, no doubt, have a bit of a mess on your hands

27a Russian movies cut abroad (9)
{ MUSCOVITE } – anagram (abroad) of the two words at the centre of the clue

28a Greek character is back with good degree (5)
{ SIGMA } – reversal (back) of IS followed by G(ood) and an advanced Arts degree


1d Tender extract from ‘Tess of the d’Urbervilles’ (4)
{ SOFT } – hidden in (extract from) the title of Thomas Hardy’s novel

2d Ann Widdecombe finally is turning brown (6)
{ SIENNA } – start with ANN plus the final letter of (Widdecomb)E plus IS (from the clue); then reverse (is turning) the whole shebang

3d I’m modelling Lycra yellow tops in striking fashion (10)
{ IMPOSINGLY } – a charade of IM, a synonym for modelling or sitting, and the first letters (tops, in a down clue) of L(ycra) and Y(ellow)

4d Longing for drought (6)
{ THIRST } – double defiiniton

5d Everyone together . the whole time (3,5)
{ ALL ALONG } – another double definition

6d Sounds like a healthy cigarette, but not for me, thanks (2,2)
{ NO TA } – to the British ear, I am sure that this would sound like a phrase describing a cigarette missing one of its toxic ingredients; it is also how someone from the UK might say “Thanks, but I’ll pass”

7d A disease so debilitating they named it twice? (4-4)
{ BERI-BERI } – a disease causing inflammation of the nerves and heart failure, ascribed to a deficiency of vitamin B1 ; the name consists of the Sinhalese word for ‘weakness’ repeated twice

8d Considering that such manias can get treated (8,2)
{ INASMUCH AS } – anagram (can get treated) of SUCH MANIAS

13d Exposed where French heavyweights may be initially? (3,2,1,4)
{ OUT ON A LIMB } – a tricky charade of the French word for where ( OU ), two heavyweights (the first weighing in at 2000 pounds but with no Olympic medals, the second in a lower weight category but the winner of a gold medal at the 1960 Rome Olympics) and the initial letters of M(ay) and B(e)

15d Model busy and is in French finery (6,4)
{ SUNDAY BEST } – un peu plus de français; an anagram (model) of BUSY AND followed by the French word for is ( EST )

17d Far from the most extensive celebration of French cheese? (8)
{ BRIEFEST } – split (4,4) the solution could denote an event celebrating a soft creamy French cheese

18d Computing’s miserable claims Independent leader by all accounts (2,2,4)
{ IT IS SAID } – a terser way of saying ‘Information Technology is unhappy’ has inserted into it (claims) the leading letter of I(ndependent)

20d Earth, English earth, on which one may take root? (6)
{ SETTEE } – … especially if one is a couch potato; this is a charade of the lair of a badger to which are appended E(nglish) and E(arth). The first “earth” is said lair with the second “earth” being an electrical connection to ground [according to Oxford, in Britain, an earth is a connection to ground and, in North America, a ground is a connection to earth]

22d Accept new contract or step down (6)
{ RESIGN } – ink a new deal or relinquish one’s post

24d One old-fashioned hero (4)
{ IDOL } – Roman numeral for one followed by an anagram (fashioned) of OLD

26d Well enough a year after broken heart (4)
{ OKAY } – A (from the clue) and Y(ear), all following the middle letters (heart) of (br)OK(en)

The puzzle has a varied mix of clues – some are very mechanical while others are quite tricky. Foreign languages always present a bit of a problem – by that, I mean Yorkshirese, not French! My favourite clue (and one of the last ones in for me) is 13d. I also liked 19a, 25a (even though the setter seems to have confused tacos with tortillas) and 18d (having worked in that field).

The Quick crossword pun: (bridle} + {sweet} = {bridal suite}

52 comments on “DT 27137

  1. Good morning Falcon and thanks for the hints, I agree not RayT today but not a crossword I particularly enjoyed, as with yourself it seemed really hard on first glance through and I did use a couple of your hints to finish and understand some, nothing really to argue about but no real favourite either, too nice a day to be sitting here, blue skies and sunshine so off to make the most of it while it lasts, hope the sun shines for you all this weekend too :-)

  2. This had a few nastys for me but got there in the end.liked 19A & 22D,thanks to the setter & falcon for the excellent review,hope everyone has a good easter and im looking forward to the lighter evenings next week.

    1. In Canada, we switched to Daylight Saving Time a few weeks ago. Therefore, for a brief interval, we are only four hours behind the UK, instead of the normal five. It meant a late start — and late finish — to my blogging chores.

      1. I wish we could either do away with DST or the world could get on the same change schedule. Thanks for the hints Falcon which I needed to explain several of the answers I arrived at without knowing why. Also, living in Chicago for 40 years I had forgotten some of the English expressions so they took me a while to solve. This feels like a new setter but thanks for some new challenges whoever you are.

  3. An interesting collection of clues that kept us amused from start to finish. The longer multi-word phrases fell into place quite readily for us giving lots of checking letters.
    Just home from playing Bridge, noticed that the review was up, so a quick comment before going to bed.
    Thanks Mr Ron and Falcon.

  4. I enjoyed it but couldn’t see 19a (doh moment) or 20d, so thanks for the hints. Standout favourite clue was 17d.
    **/*** for me.

    1. Likewise on 19a and 20d, maybe I’m just having a bad day, but I still can’t see how you get to 19a….

      1. 19a – Unwelcome issue (issue being offspring/children) is the definition. Inquisitive (NOSY) goats (KIDS), goes around (to check) I (one).

      2. Hi John,

        “issue” is used in the sense of offspring or children. If you insert the letter I into the phrase “nosy kids” (inquisitive [young] goats), you get the some loud children. I believe that “check” is used in the sense of to stop the flow of a liquid — which one can do by inserting a plug into a leak (thus my comment about the finger in the dyke).

  5. As you say a very mixed collection of clues .Put 13d in on autopilot and then spent ages working out why ? Must brush up on Sinhalese ,thanks for that explanation .
    Last one in 20d
    Faves 13d,14a and 15d
    Thanks very much .

  6. Found this quite tricky, and a bit dull.

    Thanks to Falcon for the review.

    Thanks to the setter.

  7. **/*** for me today. ** for difficulty doesn’t really reflect the spread of clues; mostly I found this relatively easy (*) but with some clues very hard (*** or ****). Thanks very much to Falcon for the review. I needed one hint to explain a part of 13d, and thanks too to the setter.

  8. Struggled with Anne Widdecombe, there’s a picture! Needed hint for 21a. Favourite was 14a. Enjoying the sunshine in the garden now. Thanks for the hints Falcon.

  9. Ended up with several which had all the checking letters but no inspiration with which to finish them off. Finally gave in and consulted our electronic friend with 2d and 20d. A number of clues had a fairly obvious answer once a few checking letters were in but were so involved that life is too short to work them out; so thanks to Falcon for putting in the hard work with the explanations e.g. 25a, 13d.

  10. Not quite sure what to make of this one. If it was a Petitjean puzzle, I preferred his toughie yesterday, but whoever set it, there were bits I liked, and bits I wasn’t as keen on.
    Thanks to setter, and to Falcon for the review. 3*/3* for me.

  11. 2.5*/3* for me. I wondered if we were going to get a Petitjean today but it doesn’t seem quite like one of his. Thanks to whoever set it and Falcon too – the latter appears to have been spending time at the Gazza School of Blog Illustration again :D

  12. Thought that I was going to finish this ! – but failed at the last – 18d and eventually needed your hint Falcon, thank you. Tried 1 hr shopping in Morrisons with Mrs SW but that didn’t help. A couple of nice clues for us grim Northerners at 6d and 14a – thank you Mr Ron. Good fun but annoyed that I couldn’t finish without the hint.

  13. I enjoyed this but found it by far the most difficult back page (or not) crossword that we’ve had for a long time. It’s taken me ages. 4* for both difficulty and enjoyment.
    When I first looked I thought it might be a WED – could hardly do any at all. I ended up finishing it apart from 18d which I just couldn’t do – I always forget about IT and computing.
    I’ve never heard of 10a – can’t do horror films! Very slow to get 8d.
    I don’t think this was as difficult as I thought it was while I was actually battling with it – a touch of the wrong wave lengths, certainly to begin with.
    I liked 11 and 14a and 1, 3, 6, and 17d.
    With thanks to Mr Ron and Falcon – need a lie down now but too much to do.

    1. Hi Kath

      Who is this Mr Ron people keep referring to? Is it a specific setter or a generic name for an unknown setter?

      1. The 2Kiwis invented the name Mysteron for days when we have unknown setters, and it has been abbreviated to Mr Ron. If we ever get a setter called ‘Ron’ turn up, we will have to go back to the drawing board.

          1. I believe he is closely related to a certain young Argentinian girl who is also making a name for herself in crosswordland??

        1. I think the 2Kiwis do pretty well – a few days ago they said that something caused a bit of beak scratching which really made me laugh.

    2. I think your first instinct was probably right, if you have completed this, then you have far outstripped me. I managed a meagre 5 1/2 clues ( got the kids but no idea where the check comes from). The bottom half remains a complete mystery.

  14. Finding this one hard, and have needed the hints to get me started. I don’t know how I would do without these! I expect to get it finished later this afternoon! It is certainly stretching me. Many thanks to all.

    A brighter day here in Edinburgh, nice to see some blue skies.

  15. Definitely the hardest one in a while , agree with Kath’s and Lord L ‘s comments.Thanks to Falcon for much needed help and to setter.

  16. For someone who thinks all the puzzles are 3* diff. I finished this with a little thought. So things must be looking up. Perhaps not being active after a bionic hip helps concentrate the mind. Agree that 17d was a hoot.

  17. Almost complete failure for me today, just 5 1/2 clues solved. Don’t get the check in 19a and the whole of the bottom half is a desert for me.
    Way way above my pay grade today I’m afraid.
    Can’t get on this setters wavelength at all even with Falcons hints.

    1. Just been through the rest of the hints. What is it today with all the French clues, have I picked up Paris Match by mistake? I thought this was a crossword in English! :-(

    2. I must say that I have puzzled over the use of “check” as a containment indicator. However, I am sure this is not the first time that I have seen it used this way. At the time I solved the puzzle and wrote the review, I had concluded that “check” is being used in the sense of “to to hold back, prevent or restrain” (see my response to Amanda at comment 4 above). If so, then it would seem that one must infer that this end is accomplished by (for example) inserting a stopper in an outlet (or finger in the proverbial dyke). To me, this does appear to be a somewhat indirect route to providing an indication of containment.

      Your comment has prompted me to look for other explanations. It did occur to me that “check” might have been used in the sense of to mark with a tick (usually by inserting a tick mark in a “check box”). However, I am dismissing that notion as Chambers says that this is a North American usage. Another idea is that “check” can mean to deposit something in return for a check (as at a coat check).

  18. Likewise got about 3 or 4 straight off then ground to a halt – brain must be elsewhere this morning. Needed quite a few hints and tips as well as some of the answers, thanks Falcon. As for Computing’s miserable claims- totally threw me as Computing is the name of a magazine I regularly receive.

  19. I was just reading recent comments – perhaps we should start calling it Daylight Saving Time, not because it’s what most of the rest of the world calls it (heaven forbid!) but because British SUMMER Time doesn’t feel very appropriate at the moment!

  20. I found this by far the easiest one this week (first one I’ve finished before about midnight) and thoroughly enjoyed it. I kept thinking I was going to grind to a halt but never quite did and finished it at one (fairly long) sitting. Last one in was 20d, which I needed your explanation for. Favourites were the same as Only Fools’ – 14a, 13d and 15d. Least favourite 19a. Liked 13a – said animal always reminds me of Flanders and Swann’s Gnu song, in which it features. A coincidence that Ann Widdecombe appears, having been on television last night (allegedly – I didn’t see her myself)? Thanks to CS for explaining Mr Ron … and thanks to him and Falcon.

  21. Thanks to the setter and to Falcon for the review and hints. Very difficult puzzle, couldn’t do it at all. Only solved 15 clues. Had to look up 8,and got 6 from the hints. Found it very dry. Was 4*/1*for me. Favourites were 23a and 13d. A bit of blue sky in Central London.

  22. Thanks to both the setter and Falcon.

    Am I the only one though that worries about my sanity when I got 90% of the way through today’s which people are suggesting was difficult, yet last week I could hardly get started on ‘easy’ ones!

  23. Quite liked 14a and 6d but those were isolated moments of joy in an otherwise largely fun-free exercise. Worst clue? Probably 15d which I got but couldn’t see why, though 3 and 18 were pretty horrible too. Only consolation is that it being a Thursday I took the precaution of not buying the paper and waited til I could take one from a colleague who’d finished with it.
    PS Kath – finally got around to replying to your comments on my comments of yesterday, should you be interested.

  24. I really enjoyed this crossword, and whilst not an easy back pager had lots of well structured clues and a fair bit of amusement. Loved the cheese celebration. Many thanks to setter and Falcon. More difficult than the toughie today.

  25. Clues like 17d make it all worthwhile …. funniest this year so far.

    Also liked 14a. Took a while but got there in the end. Shouldn’t 8d be (2,2,4,2) ?

    1. Shouldn’t 8d be (2,2,4,2) ? — not according to Oxford or Collins. However, the BRB does list it as either (2,2,4,2) or (8,2). Once again, Chambers stands alone!

  26. Really struggled with this one. Got 10a but couldn’t see why until the hints explained – for which, many thanks! Ditto (ha ha!) 11a. 19a, 21a and 15d – needed hints big time. Oh, also 14a. So basically a rather frustrating puzzle to-day, but glad to eventually finish, albeit with help. So thank you, Falcon.

  27. Loved it. Loved it. Loved it. Any setter who can get “inasmuch as” and “no ta” into play gets my vote. Thank you Mr Ron.

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