DT 27138 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 27138

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 27138

Hints and tips by Gazza

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ***

Although I must have blogged hundreds of Giovanni’s puzzles by now I wouldn’t have associated this one with him if I hadn’t known that he always provides the Friday back-pager. In spite of the date there are no trademark religious references and no classical allusions. I thought that it was pretty straightforward – how did you get on?
If you need to see an answer you’ll have to highlight the gap between the brackets under the clue.

Across Clues

1a  Plain girl goes to party with navy chap (9)
{UNADORNED} – start with a girl’s name (that of one of our regular commenters) and follow this with a festive party, the abbreviation for our navy and a short male name.

9a  Marketplace almost sounds weird (6)
{BAZAAR} – this marketplace sounds a bit like an adjective meaning weird. I’m glad the ‘almost’ was included.

10a  Plant a shrub with berries — then have some wine (9)
{HOLLYHOCK} – a charade of a shrub with red berries and a dry white wine from Germany.

11a  Perhaps a grave mishap — I had to escape (6)
{ACCENT} – grave is an example of this (‘acute’ could be another) – remove the contracted form of ‘I had’ from a mishap.

12a  A hole most dreadfully repulsive (9)
{LOATHSOME} – an anagram (dreadfully) of A HOLE MOST.

13a  Runs in British city (6)
{BLEEDS} – runs here describes how paint, for example, seeps into an adjacent area. B(ritish) is followed by a city in West Yorkshire.

17a  First thing for batsman after game is massage (3)
{RUB} – the first letter of B(atsman) comes after a fifteen-a-side game.

19a  Hero in is Cameron, struggling no matter what? (4,4,2,5)
{COME RAIN OR SHINE} – an anagram (struggling) of HERO IN IS CAMERON. The surface here seems disjointed.

20a  Animal good with Indian boy cast adrift (3)
{PIG} – I spent some time here trying to make the wordplay work with ‘pi’ meaning good before the penny dropped. The ‘good’ is the letter G and that’s preceded by the name of the  hero of a fantasy novel (recently made into a film) about an Indian boy cast adrift with only a tiger for company. Very clever.

21a  Wave from posh car (6)
{ROLLER} – double definition, the second an informal term for a top people’s car.

25a  Wreck in London museum lies in bits (9)
{VANDALISE} – the abbreviated way of referring to a famous London museum (1,3,1) is followed by an anagram (in bits) of LIES.

26a  Fools taken aback by heartless guy being mean (6)
{STINGY} – reverse an informal word for foolish people and add G(u)Y without his heart.

27a  The thing gangster and I smuggled into accommodation is a drug (9)
{DIGITALIS} – a pronoun used for something inanimate (the thing), the abbreviated forename of an infamous American gangster and I (from the clue) all go inside (smuggled into) an informal term for accommodation or lodgings.

28a  No line working? Problematic climatic phenomenon (2,4)
{EL NIÑO} – an anagram (working) of NO LINE gives us the name given to the periodic warming of an area of the Pacific ocean which leads to climatic changes elsewhere.

29a  TV presenter in the US has time in a state’s largest city (9)
{ANCHORAGE} – the term used (especially in the US but also here) for the host of a live TV programme is followed by a word meaning a long time. The state referred to is Alaska.

Down Clues

2d  See US right-winger gas, enthralling company (6)
{NEOCON} – an inert gas contains (enthralling) the abbreviation for company to form the informal term for an ultra-conservative in the USA.

3d  Swell woman to go out with? I start to love being hugged (6)
{DILATE} – a word for a woman (or man) that you go out with on a romantic assignment contains (being hugged) I and the starting letter of L(ove).

4d  Where has he to hide this recycled stuff? (6)
{REHASH} – something (a newspaper article, perhaps) re-used with only minor changes is hidden in the clue.

5d  Banishment meaning lover no longer gets a letter? (15)
{EXCOMMUNICATION} – an informal word for an old partner (lover no longer) is followed by a message (a letter being an example of this, hence the question mark).

6d  Lost initially in games, then was finally second to none (9)
{MATCHLESS} – the initial letter of L(ost) gets inserted into games or fixtures, then we have to add the final letter of (wa)S.

7d  Notice revolutionary leftie, wicked and extremely reckless (4-5)
{DARE-DEVIL} – reverse (revolutionary) an abbreviated notice, then add the term used for a leftie or Communist and a synonym for wicked.

8d  One who demonstrates in favour of someone doing experiments? (9)
{PROTESTER} – a charade of a preposition meaning in favour of and someone carrying out experiments.

14d  Bill locks performers in theatre maybe (9)
{ACTRESSES} – the abbreviation for a bill or invoice is followed by the sort of locks that you may have to brush.

15d  Medical preparation Mary found in hospital department (9)
{EMOLLIENT} – we need to insert an old nickname for Mary inside the abbreviation for the only hospital department that we ever need to visit in Crosswordland. The result is a medical application used to soften the skin.

16d  Maverick teenager reformed after force at the start (4,5)
{FREE AGENT} – this is someone of independent spirit who does not conform. It’s an anagram (reformed) of TEENAGER after the starting letter of F(orce).

17d  Tear up  the final message? (3)
{RIP} – double definition, the second being possibly the last thing that’s written about you.

18d  Desert? Not I — the reverse! (3)
{BOG} – start with a large barren desert that covers parts of China and Mongolia, then drop off the I and reverse what’s left. You should now have a wet area, i.e. the opposite of a desert. I think (now, having thought a bit more about it) that 18d is intended to be an all-in-one where you’re meant to read the definition as ‘Desert? – Not one — the reverse!’.

22d  After party upset good-looking girl is somewhat strange (6)
{ODDISH} – reverse (upset) a festive party and add a dated term for a good-looking girl.

23d  Star has time in a beastly home (6)
{ALTAIR} – insert T(ime) in a beast’s home (1,4).

24d  Like Martin Luther demanding (6)
{ASKING} – when split (2,4) this could mean like Martin Luther (the twentieth century Civil Rights campaigner, not the sixteenth century religious reformer).

The clues I liked best were 11a, 20a and 5d. Tell us which ones appealed to you.

Today’s Quickie Pun: {PARA} + {DICE} = {PARADISE}

71 comments on “DT 27138

  1. I also got hung up trying to fathom out the wordplay of 20A, using ‘pi’ for good. Agree that this was a very clever clue, but I’m not too sure about demanding/asking in 24D..

  2. Good morning gazza, Happy Easter to you, hope you have a lovely sunny weekend :-)
    Thanks for the hints, I managed without except for 23d! I actually had 2d right even though I’d never heard that word before, my favourites today were 1a, 4d, this took me ages to see! 11a and 17a I didn’t find this really easy and it took me a while to complete, maybe the brain freeze has started a thaw, a three star for me today for difficulty a two for enjoyment

    1. putting professor in at 8d at first didn’t help much! I actually got 20a without any problem :-)

    2. Hi Mary. You and I are on the same wavelength on this one today ***/**

      I worked out the answer to 2d but didn’t put it in because it seemed such a silly word! I have also never come across the middle part of 15d being used an alternative to your name. If I had been composing the clue I would have put Maud instead of Mary; we used to have several Mauds in our family all of whom were called by the name I can’t put here without being sent to the naughty step.

      Thanks Gazza for your help, which I needed for 11a, and thanks to the setter.

      The sun is shining in London at the moment. Long may it last. Happy Easter to all!

      1. HI RD, no I didn’t know that Mollie was anything to do with my name either, I certainly hope I won’t be ending up in ENT for a while again either!!

  3. What’s happened to the traditional Thursday and Friday puzzles?
    Tough and hard, that is.
    This one was form-filling, after a fashion.
    But enjoyable.
    Thanks setter and Gazza.

  4. Fairly straight forward, got a bit hung up on top right corner until the penny dropped on grave.

    Nice puzzle on a grey grim snowing Good Friday .

    Thanks for the review, not needed for once on a Friday.

    Thanks to the setter.

  5. Thought it was rather more than a three star for difficulty. Some of the clues were very involved but really enjoyed it. I must say I always feel a little cheated when having struggled through a tough crossword, I find that the blogger has only given it a low score for difficulty. I know it is like beauty in the eye of the beholder but it is a bit depressing sometimes.
    Best clue for me today was 11a, very clever misdirection. However, found the question mark in 3d an unnecessary difficulty.
    Thx to the Don for an enjoyable crossword to end the week having struggled with some of this weeks offerings esp yesterday.
    Thx to Gazza for the explaining 15d.

    1. Brian, that’s almost exactly what I was going to write! I don’t mind anyone finding it easier than me though :-)

      Thanks to all, have a happy Easter.

  6. Occasionally, there’s a benefit to being a US resident: 2D was no problem. On the other hand, there are times when I’m completely flummoxed by what should have been glaringly obvious, 29A being one of those times. I needed not just the hint but the answer! Shame on me. That was my only hiccup, so all in all I rather enjoyed this.

    Thanks, Gazza, for the review and thanks to the setter for some fun clues. 11A and 13A were today’s favorites. Not impressed by 22D, though.

    1. Chris – I live in the US too and it seemed there were several clues to our advantage too. 24d, perhaps MLK is not as well known in the UK, and we would be more familiar with 28a since our weathermen refer to it. However, I have lived here 40 years and never heard of 2d. Enjoyable puzzle with enough challenges to make it fun.

      1. Swings and roundabouts, Silveroak. I never know the UK sportspeople or the TV personalities. I’m a political junkie, so 2D came easily.

        40 years! I’m the new kid, then. Just 34 for me. I hope your winter has been as mild as ours here in Maryland.

  7. I too thought this ws at least 3*** difficulty, however it all eventually fell into place without recourse to the blog. Just a little help from my electronic friend. Tired brain I think.

    At least we had some religious references in the quickie

  8. I thoroughly enjoyed both yesterdays and todays puzzles. Both took time to sort out but were always achievable. Lovely wordplay all round. Just what I want from a crossword. As usual thanks to all especially Mrs C-S who put out socks for me that say FRIDAY on them. I will know what day it is just by looking. If any of you are not sure just call and ask. This only happens on rare occasions. Mostly the socks have nothing on them and occasionally Mrs C-S provides me with socks that have the wrong day on them. God bless her. Oh and whilst I am in talkative mode, why is there no wandering passion play in our village again this year?

      1. Pine for headless dog in good weight 4.10.

        A case of noon cooling tight variable Warwickshire village. 4.10.

        Not quite Miffy T but my first ever go at a clue.

        1. MMM I’m struggling here :-) If you want to try your hand at clue writing Miffypops you should go to the DIY COW (clue of week) clue writing site, it’s good fun though I haven’t been for a while now

    1. Thought we were going to call her Mrs M-P now? :)

      Mr CS has the same socks – he reckons they will help if he is ever tested to see if his brain is working OK and they ask him what dayof the week it is. I did point out that only works if someone ‘compos’ puts the socks out for him :D

      1. Well her name is Mrs C-S but to save confusion I will call her by the name everybody else gives her for putting up with me Saint Sharon.

  9. First a Happy Easter to all.

    Maybe it’s me and I have lost my mojo or maybe they have ratcheted up the level. A few are thoroughly enjoyable. Some challenging but solvable and all the more fun for that. But of late it seems to me that there are more and more that are way, way too opaque for me. I have a finite time in the morning, before the work of the day begins, in which to do the crossword. I wrestle with them, trying to look at them differently but they might as well have been written in Klingon. I reach the point where, frankly, I couldn’t care less what the answer eventually was. That’s bad.

    So I am going to take a break from them for a while.

    1. Happy Easter Roger, I know the feeling but I am determined not to give up, I’m afraid if I take a break for too long I might not get back into it and that would be a shame after almost 4 years in training!
      So I perservate and…

      Some I enjoy, lots I don’t,
      Some I find easy,
      Most I won’t
      Somedays I’m tired
      My brain needs a rest
      These setters
      Are setting me
      Many a test
      But if I give in
      My mind will deteriorate
      And so I continue
      To perservate

  10. Some of the heathens among us (me) are working today so I’ve just come to take a sneak preview of Gazza’s review
    (I thank you)while the kettle boils & it looks pretty straightforward for a Giovanni (thanks) who I usually find more difficult than a Ray T.

  11. To start with I thought this was going to be tricky but then got going reasonably quickly, for me. Probably a bit closer to 3* for both difficulty and enjoyment.
    I was very much on the look out for religious references because of the day – wrong!
    I got held up with 13a as I thought the definition was ‘runs in’ like a car or a criminal – wrong again. I was also slow with 25a as I always think of the Tate and then can’t get beyond that. Couldn’t work out why 3d was what it was as I thought the woman was ‘Di’ as she usually is. I didn’t know the Mary bit of 15d and have never heard of 2d but worked it out and looked it up.
    I liked 10a (because I love the plants) 11, 17 and 20a and 4, 5, 17 and 18d.
    With thanks to Giovanni and gazza.
    Hope that everyone has a good weekend.

    In the absence of any clues relevant to today I’m just off to put our overheated angry rabbits in the oven so that they’re ready when pet lamb number one (eldest daughter) gets here.

          1. We seem, at last, to be a muntjac free zone, at the moment anyway. New fence seems to have done the trick so that’s the end of my moaning! :smile:

  12. Managed to finish without hints today, so thank you DG for an enjoyable puzzle. Also nice to see the names of 3 commenters included in the clues at !a, 15d and I have crept in at 14d. Thanks to Gazza for your review and the photos. I have decided to become a protester. Which rallies does your model attend ? Difficult to make out from the photo !

    Have a good weekend everyone. We have a family invasion starting v. soon + Legoland tomorrow, so minimal time for puzzles I am afraid !

    1. I had to carry out fairly extensive research on the protester. Here’s what it was all about:
      Sophie Barratt, crowned Europe’s sexiest vegetarian by Peta (People For the Ethical Treatment of Animals) protested against eating meat, strutting round central London wearing only a pair of skimpy knickers and heels on Thursday.
      Butcher’s markings, traditionally drawn on animal posters to show the different cuts of meat, were inked on her body, as she marched round Piccadilly Circus holding a plaque.
      “All animals have the same parts, abolish meat” read her Peta sign, held strategically over her chest.

      1. Many thanks Gazza – beyond the call of duty ! I have signed up with PETA immediately. Have a good weekend.

  13. Running late today had to sort out some extras for the new bathroom,that should keep the hand brake happy for a while.Like others have not come across the term in 2D or 23D fav today was 25A.Thanks to gazza for putting me on the right path hope all have a good easter.

  14. Having really struggled with yesterday’s puzzle, Mr P and I went off to see the filmed live performance of Alice in Wonderland at the ROH last night. It was an amazing production on all levels and most wonderfully presented. Apparently folk were watching from all around the globe. Which is a roundabout way of saying that such a production really got my brain awake so that today I got a bit further before resorting to hints – thanks Gazza! Liked 11a and 5d made me smile, although I’d hate that to happen to me. Hope everyone has a good weekend. We’ve actually got whispers some sunshine today….

      1. Goodness, Mary, that sounds horrid! I didn’t think anything like that really happened these days.

        1. He was a priest in the Catholic church, met a girl and fell in love, he was excommunicated, he is still not allowed to be a priest today even though the church accepts married clergy from other denominations!

          1. Well I’m very impressed that he followed the convictions of his heart, Mary – you all sound like a remarkable family :-)

          1. Sarah Lamb was dancing Alice – absolutely exquisitely. Having always rather turned up my nose at the idea of watching a lve performance in a cinema, I am now a complete convert. It ran in real time, & then during the two intervals showed interviews with the various people involved in creating the whole thing, which was both fascinating and impressive. The camera work was superb, and our very large cinema was completely sold out, so we saw the ROH full, and then we were too! I have to thank you, SW, because it was your description that made me want to see it – (but I guess at £13.00 a ticket we paid a lot less than you!) so thank you. Mr P and I have usually stuck to the classics in ballet, so this was an adventure for us too. Terrific :-D

  15. I honestly thought this was another “Busman” it is so different from the usual Giovanni. I thought it was enjoyable without any head scratching moments at all. Thanks to Giovanni (if he ) and to Gazza for the review and illustrations.

  16. I thought this was a great puzzle just right fo a lazy day. 27a did nor work for me; perhaps I am missing something?

    1. 27a is IT (the thing) AL (Capone) and I all contained in DIGS (accommodation), so DIG + IT + AL + I + S.

  17. I wasn’t at all sure I liked my name associated with the word”plain”, however the solution also contained adore so I won’t take the hump, this time.Otherwise I found this a quite difficult puzzle, getting not a lot more than half without Gazza’s excellent hints. Favorites were 7d and 25a.I hope I get the hang of Giovanni’s clues soon.Thanks to both Gs.

  18. Back again at blogging – I had to return my laptop to Day 1 as it was operating very slowly!
    It is now working again with minimal applications. Being over ten years old it will have to be replaced – to do this I’ll have to consult my grandson!! I have a modern tablet to keep in touch with family..

    Enjoyed solving this puzzle.

    Faves : 20a, 27a, 28a, 29a, 2d, 15d, 18d & 23d.

    13a was a good laugh for me being a loiner by birth!

    One of my neighbours was wandering about in the entrance hall shouting “Witte Paas” (white Easter) – at the time it was sunny but since we have had snow quite a bit. It is very pleasant to watch the snowflakes falling slowly down in a light wind.

    1. Glad to see you blogging again. I have to say, since that winter a couple of years ago, I look at snow flurries with a jaundiced eye.It is lovely and sunny here today.

  19. I am a bit late with my comment, was late getting back from PT. I loved this puzzle, 5d and 19a being readily solvable, they gave lots of letters to help the rest. The only word new to me was 23d but easily worked out and a quick google proved it right. Wish we could get rid of the 2d, pretty barmy bunch. I agree it was difficult to switch brain from running to other “run” for 13a, took a while. Happy Easter all and thanks to setter and hinter, though not needed today.

  20. An interesting puzzle. As you say Gazza, it didn’t feel like a typical Giovanni. We got the central skeleton that looks like the top of a hot-cross bun (deliberate perhaps?) very quickly which gave many checking letters. The NW corner held us up most with 1a and 2d being the last in. Took us about *** time. Much enjoyment.
    Thanks Giovanni (if you were the setter) and Gazza.

  21. I found this one much more of a struggle than anything else this week. Hadn’t heard of the drug.

  22. I printed this one off at home this morning, but only got around to looking at it a little while ago.
    A fairly gentle puzzle, with a few nice clues. The only one I wasn’t sure about was 18d – is ‘reverse’ doing double duty?
    Thanks to setter, and to gazza for the review.

    1. I think (now, having thought a bit more about it) that 18d is meant to be an all-in-one where you’re meant to read the definition as ‘Desert? – Not one — the reverse!’.

  23. Thanks to the two G’s. Couldn’t do this for toffee. Solved 16, looked up 9, got 4 from the hints. Was 4*/2″.

  24. What a nasty grid – virtually two separate crosswords!! Did left side and stalled on right side – needed some hints to finish, for which many thanks.Cross about 27a – was virtually there, with digs and it and even al but still needed Gazza to “see” it! Doh! Would never have got 23d, not a word I know even though I’d been thinking “lair”. A nice puzzle for a cold holiday!

  25. Managed the bottom half without too much trouble – the top half was a different matter and I couldn’t do 9a even with your hint, although once I’d seen the answer I couldn’t think why on earth not. Hadn’t heard of 2d and it wasn’t in my (slightly elderly) BRB – but I’d worked out that must be the answer. Also didn’t know that Mollie was a nickname for Mary. Some very enjoyable clues. Thanks to the two Gs.

  26. I am new to this site – is there a reveal button please for the last few I am totally stuck on?!!! Thanks

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