DT 27147 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 27147

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 27147

Hints and tips by Deep Threat

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

Good morning from South Staffs, where it’s grey and overcast, but the daffodils are at last making a show of Spring.

I was held up in the NW and SE corners long enough to give this one *** for difficulty.

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           Type of egg  dish (6)
{ SCOTCH } Double definition.  An adjective describing a hard-boiled egg with a coating of sausage meat and breadcrumbs, and a verb meaning to dish or thwart.

4a           Hypocritical couple dealt with (3-5)
{ TWO-FACED } A meeting with two people might be described as this – (3,5) rather than (3-5).

10a         Pole received by more mature artist (3,6)
{ OLD MASTER } The sort of pole you might fly a flag from, inside an adjective meaning more mature.

11a         Haggard, relative after touch of gout (5)
{ GAUNT } The first letter of Gout followed by a female relative.

12a         Players must hold an ace in this game (7)
{ CANASTA } An (from the clue) inside a word describing the players in a theatre, followed by Ace, to give a card game.

13a         Base of British Legion abroad (7)
{ IGNOBLE } Anagram (abroad) of B(ritish) LEGION.

14a         Volley from Sarah, playing against Oscar (5)
{ SALVO } A charade of a diminutive form of Sarah, the letter frequently seen in football fixture lists to denote ‘playing against’, and the letter represented by Oscar in the NATO alphabet.

15a         Tree got damaged after onset of great ball of fire (2-6)
{ GO-GETTER ) The initial letter of Great followed by an anagram (damaged) of TREE GOT.

18a         Drink in Cheers, embracing single girl (3,5)
{ TIA MARIA } A coffee liqueur made from an informal way of saying ‘thank you’ with a Roman I (single) inside it, followed by a girl’s name.

20a         Small island about to disappear (5)
{ MINOR } One of the Balearic islands with the Latin abbreviation for ‘about’ removed.

23a         Agree to collect travel document in a port on the Danube (4,3)
{ NOVI SAD } A travel document needed for entry to certain countries inside a gesture of agreement. The definition is a city in Serbia whose name apparently means ‘New plantation’ in Serbian.

25a         At home, admirer cheers Spanish princess (7)
{ INFANTA } A charade of ‘at home’, an admirer, especially of a sports team, and ‘Cheers’ (as in 18a).

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26a         Ill-tempered woman ignoring a sign (5)
{ VIRGO } The Latin word for an ill-tempered woman (also the name of a publishing house) with the A ignored, giving a sign of the Zodiac.

27a         White stone in altar base cracked (9)
{ ALABASTER } Anagram (cracked) of ALTAR BASE.

28a         Admirable place in Scotland, reportedly (8)
{ STERLING } A homophone (reportedly) of a city in Scotland, the location of the battle of Bannockburn.

29a         Peashooter, say, with no pea? Useless (6)
{ WEAPON } With, followed by an anagram (useless) of NO PEA.


1d           Cabinet needs to prove argument … (8)
{ SHOWCASE } A cabinet in a shop or museum. Divided (4,4) this might be to demonstrate an argument in a court of law.

2d           … having spoken about row first, maybe (7)
{ ORDINAL } An adjective meaning spoken, as opposed to written, with a row or loud noise inside it. The answer is a type of number, of which ‘first’ is an example.

3d           Where one may be taught style, given opportunity (9)
{ CLASSROOM } Style, as in an air of fashion, followed by opportunity or space.

5d           Argument upset supremo with excellent business funds? (7,7)
{ WORKING CAPITAL }  A three-letter argument reversed (upset, in a Down clue), followed by a top man, and a synonym of excellent.

6d           Character from ‘Oliver!’ with cigarette — that’s cool? (5)
{ FAGIN } A slang word for cigarette followed by ‘cool’ or fashionable.

7d           Break up street fight after start of carnival (7)
{ CRUMBLE } The first letter of Carnival followed by a street fight – there was one in the Jungle which featured Mohammed Ali and George Foreman.

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8d           Diane on the river in a state of indecision (6)
{ DITHER } A short form of Diane followed by THE (from the clue) and River.

9d           In a state of open hostility? War gets grandad upset (2,7,5)

16d         Meet a firm struggling in period allocated? (9)
{ TIMEFRAME } Anagram (struggling) of MEET A FIRM.

17d         Ordeal on last test drive (5,3)
{ TRIAL RUN } A synonym of ordeal followed by a verb meaning to last, especially in the theatre.

19d         Opposite of how poetry may be written (7)
{ INVERSE } Split (2,5) this describes how poetry may be written.

21d         Below southern half of Cannon Street, work round the clock (3-4)
{ NON-STOP } The second half of canNON (Southern, in a Down clue, given the conventional crossword orientation) Followed by an abbreviation for street and the Latin abbreviation for work.

22d         Cards produced by Kay Evans after a shuffle (6)
{ KNAVES } The letter which sounds like Kay followed by an anagram (after a shuffle) of EVANS

24d         Look gloomy and threatening, boat having left (5)
{ SCOWL } A flat-bottomed boat with Left attached.

The Quick Crossword pun { WREAK }{ LAME } = { RECLAIM }


83 comments on “DT 27147

  1. Held up for a tad in the NW corner, but entirely my own fault for having LONG as the first part of 1D. Also, I wasn’t too sure why 20A was right, ty for explaining DT. Other than that, a good work out for the grey matter this morning. Wonder how many complaints are going to come in about 23A – never heard of the place before, but easily solvable from the clue IMHO.

    1. In total agreement with you Skempie. Logic told me that 23 across was what it was, though I had to check an old copy of a ‘Pears Cyclopaedia’ to be certain. Altogether a nice gentle puzzle for a Tuesday. Btw, the Toughie is well worth a shot today – not too over taxing and quite worthy of being a ‘back-pager’.

    2. I had the letters so it was easy enough to look it up in my little atlas, kindly provided bt the Times crossword and so handy, but I had never heard of it either.

  2. I thought this was going to be * for difficulty as I breezed though about 25 clues almost without stopping, but then I ground to a complete halt, not helped by having put bookcase for 1d. I eventually saw the error of my ways which meant I could then do 1a as well!

    Quite a while later I managed to finish off, with 29a the last one in largely because I didn’t and still don’t know how useless can be an anagram indicator.

    24d threw me for a while because I thought the answer meant “look threatening”, and I didn’t understand the gloomy part until I checked the BRB to see “look gloomy and threatening” as the definition there.

    I also struggled 17d because I couldn’t work out how “last” clued the second word of the answer in 17d until I read the hints, for which many thanks to DT. Many thanks too to the setter for another enjoyable puzzle today. My rating is **(*) / ***.

    P.S. Didn’t we have the same clue and answer as 19d a few days ago?

    1. I didn’t recognize ‘useless’ as an anagram indicator either RD but it is given in my list in Chambers Crossword Dictionary

      1. Thanks for that Mary. Normally I can see some sort of reason why something is an anagram indicator but in this case it is still a mystery :-(

          1. Mmm! Yes. That’s probably as good an explanation as any. I’ll try and remember that one in future. Thanks again.

    2. I didn’t give the ‘useless’ question much thought when writing the blog, but I think the analysis is along the lines of something out of order being useless, so if you put NO PEA out of order, i.e. anagram it, it becomes useless…

      1. No explanations then courtesy of you and Mary two come along at once – like London buses. Many thanks.

        1. Yes, thank you, that’s a great explanation of useless ‘out of order’. Never seen it before, but hopefully wil again!
          I also had the same issue with 1 d and 2 d. Otherwise enjoyed what I considered **.

  3. Enjoyable puzzle, some déjà vu on 19d, wasn’t that an answer last Friday? All fell into place quite smoothly, so 2* diff for me.

    Many thanks for the review.

    Thanks to the setter.

  4. I finished without hints, but 1D and 1A took forever to resolve. IA was the last one in. I’m not familiar with that word being used in that context but it was the only answer that made sense. Liked 2D and 15A. Thanks to DT for the review ( loved the image for 12A) and to the setter.

    1. I see in today’s DT the phrase” We’ve been dished”, page 14, in Bill Deeds article. He seemed to mean ignored or overlooked.

  5. Good morning DT and thanks for blog, personally this was a two star for me today, another really enjoyable crossword, I worked out the port in 23a but had never heard of it, so thanks for that, I have learnt two Serbian words today :-), the last two in for me were 24d, never heard of that boat and 29a, also never heard, ‘dish’ to mean ‘scotch’
    Lots of clues I liked today… 2, 20, 26a and 6, 19d, lovely day here once again but I think the weather is changing after today, rain forecast! The daffodisl have been out here for several weeks now along with primroses, celandines and snowdrops beautiful

  6. Struggled to get going with this, but once I had 5d and 9d it certainly helped. Thank you setter for an enjoyable puzzle and DT for your review and hints.

  7. I was amazed at the 3* rating. I had actually (for the first time ever!) managed to finish this before the hints came out.

    I needed the hints however to parse 1a, 20a and 17d. I had the right answers but I didn’t know why.

    @skempie I even got 23a quite easily. I think I had the name somewhere in the deep recesses of my memory (a very murky place!), but I was pretty sure of the travel document in question and it was just a case of slipping that into the right word. (I must confess to a quick google to check though…).

    With thanks, as always, to the setter and to DT.

    1. By the way – I meant to mention that 25a was a new word for me; not this time, but a few months ago when I came across it in a previous back-pager. I was VERY pleased with myself when I just read the clue and wrote the answer straight in. It may be the only thing I’ve learned, but I learned it here!

      (PS. I just checked using BD’s search engine. “Infanta” has appeared 3 times prior to today: DT26211, ST2640, ST2678. It can’t have been the back-pager because that was 15 April 2010 – long before I started cryptics – but which of the Sunday ones it was I can’t remember).

      1. I’ve learnt LOTS of new words here – some of them I rather wish that I’d carried on not knowing!! :grin:

  8. I enjoyed this crossword very much, a nice mixture of easy and not so easy clues, my thanks to the setter and to DT for a most amusing review. By the way, the toughie today whilst being very enjoyable as it is a Dada, is actually on the gentler side, a great one for toughie neophytes to get their teeth into.

  9. Totally stuck on 1a – would never have got it without sausage meat hint (and I had the right cabinet for 1 d). For some reason I had heard of 23a but literally only heard as I thought it was one word. Most enjoyable. Thanks to DT and setter.

  10. Last two in were the first and last clues which looked a bit odd but glad to see I probably was not alone .Agree with ratings and earlier comments re the Toughie which is good fun .
    Thanks very much .

  11. I agree with the ratings too – might have been 2* difficulty if I hadn’t got completely stuck in top right corner.
    I couldn’t do 1a or 1d for ages. Tried to justify bookcase for 1d but couldn’t – just as well. 18a and 3d also took a while.
    I’d never heard of the 23a port so invented it from the clue and looked it up in Pears and there it was. I’d also never heard of 5d or the street fight in 7d.
    I liked 4, 15 and 26a and 7 and 9d.
    With thanks to Mr Ron and Deep Threat.
    A bit grey and gloomy here but at least it’s stopped drizzling now – might try the Toughie.

    1. Didn’t get stuck in the top right corner at all – I meant left – really not good at left and right! :roll:

      1. Sounds like my wife. If she doesn’t have her watch on she can’t tell left from right (she looks at her wrist because she knows her watch is on her left wrist).

        Thank goodness for sat-navs. No more “turn left” (pointing right)…

        1. I don’t wear a watch so have to think which hand I ‘right’ with! Wish I could think of a good way of remembering North, South, East and West – husband gets SO cross with me about it! I think it’s a ‘girl’ thing!

            1. I know what you mean but it depends on which way you’re going – if you’re going upwards the map is fine the right way up – it only needs to be upside down if you’re going downwards because otherwise all the lefts are rights and the other way round. I do drive husband completely mad. :smile:

          1. Kath

            In the usual orientation… North is at the top, South at the bottom and the other two spell WE (reading from left to right, of course!).

          2. If you go round the points of the compass in a clockwise direction you get NESW. I was taught to remember this as “Never Eat Shredded Wheat”

        2. I think if I were to start calling right “right” it would only confuse Mr Uno at this stage.

      2. You should do what my wife does (and what I have to do if she’s driving) – ‘your way’ or ‘my way’

    2. Oh dear!
      Thanks everyone – all a bit too much information for my scrambled brain – think I’ll just carry on pointing . . .

  12. From today’s Daily Telegraph (page 27):-

    Crosswords should be solved in the time it takes to eat a boiled egg, the creator of the Inspector Morse novels has said.

    Colin Dexter, who is also a keen puzzler, said there was a thrill in successfully completing a crossword within a tight time limit.


    1. It would be a very hard boiled egg. Set solid and inedible. We are told that it is vulgar to discuss completion times on here but I have on occasion done both the cryptic and the quickie (Ido them simultaneously) very quickly but I do have a puzzle somewhere from years back with two left to solve that I just cannot do.

      1. Once going by train from Swansea to London, I had the Telegraph and Times crosswords to occupy me but had forgotten my pen. A very kind gentleman lent me his but explained I had to return it by Newport as he was getting off there. I, who struggle to finish these cryptics, was inspired and just wrote in the answers. We started to chat, and when he asked me where I was from and told him Jamaica, he said a cousin taught in a girl’s school there, and would you know, it was my old school and I had known her!! St Hilda’s Diocesan School. I have never forgotten that coincidence. Long story, hope I’m not boring you.

        1. Don’t think it’s boring at all – I love all these little titbits. My only worry is that BD will mind the blog being hijacked so often for non-crossword stuff.

        1. “He sighed and knew that life was full of ‘if only’ for everyone”
          ― Colin Dexter, The Dead of Jericho

          1. Only Fools, I hate it when people post a cryptic clue without the solution. How many letters?

            And the answer is … ?

            1. Sorry Stan been busy .Not clever enough for cryptic but
              “If only” ?
              As you probably know The Dead of Jericho was the first ever Morse on Tv which confirmed Morse’s own interests were identical to those of Colin Dexter I.e Cryptic crosswords ,Wagner ,Ale and English Literature .

    2. I really don’t get the “let’s finish this as quickly as possible” approach to solving crosswords (or various other enjoyable activities). If the solving process is enjoyable then surely you want to prolong the enjoyment. I wonder whether Colin Dexter applies a strict limit to the time he allows himself to read a book for example.

      1. I agree Gazza but when one gets a “read and write” crossword as the two were for me yesterday it becomes a double edged sword. I am pleased to have solved it so quickly but disappointed that it didn’t give a more thorough mental workout. I don’t often get time for The Toughie but when I do I enjoy it so much, 1ac was enjoyable today. i could not get away from Bookcase for 1d although I knew it couldn’t fit. It took ages for the penny to drop.

      2. I agree too – never have the first idea how long a crossword takes me and really don’t mind. It’s not a race and any way racing against yourself would seem a bit pointless.

      3. The time available to me for solving crosswords is a bit like disposable income…finite and usually very small !

    3. I like an egg boiled for seven minutes, never have I or will I complete a crossword in that time, the only time it matters to me how long a crossword takes is if I have something else I should be doing! I agree with gazza if you’re enjoying something, why would you want it to end :-)

          1. Too long, and anyway think what a mess the crossword would get in – marmalade is bad enough. :smile:

            1. :grin:

              I like to start my crossword with granary toast and peanut butter, and keep going afterwards for as long as it takes.

  13. Thanks to the setter and to Deep Threat for the review and hints. Was denied a completion by putting bookcase for 1d, which stopped me getting 1a. Apart from that no major problems, except that it took me a long time, was struggling to get on the setter’s wavelength. An enjoyable struggle though, was 3*/3* for me. Had never heard of the definition for 15a, but got it from the anagram fodder. Also had never heard of 23a, must remember that one. Dull day in Central London, roll on Summer, if we are going to get one!!

  14. Thought this was a pretty poor effort especially after yesterday’s beauty.
    23a – just stupid. Needed lots of help to complete this one but very little enjoyment with no favourite clues at all.
    Thx to DT for the somewhat cryptic hints.

    1. I think 23a is really clever – most of us had never heard of it but managed to put it together from the clue and then look it up. It also reads like a proper sentence – surely the mark of a good clue.

      1. I bought the Times Concise Atlas of the World at a motorway stop, to look up these type of clues, and it was reduced 80%, only to find that the sales assistant had put The Complete History of the World in the box cover!I’m not even sure which motorway stop it was.

    2. You know, Brian, lots of us are challeneged by the offering of the day, but we look on it as just that… a challenge to be eventually overcome and an opportunity to improve our skill level. I learn a new word a couple of times a week at least. If you had problems, blaming the setter and the reveiwer is the easy way out. Neither the setter or, particularly, the reviewer, has to do this and I for one am very grateful for the time put in on out behalf.

  15. Never heard of Rumble as in 7d. Ditto scow 24d. Or Dish 1a. Finished it though. So thats all right then.

    1. Current UK number one, Let’s Get Ready to Rhumble by PJ and Duncan/ Ant and Dec (they had to add the ‘h’ as the phrase had been copyrighted)

      1. Let’s Get Ready to Rumble is probably much better known in the USA because it’s part of every World Wrestling Federation programme intro. I knew it from West Side Story first, though. The Jets and the Thingummies.

    2. I’ve never heard of that kind of rumble either. A rumble of thunder, fine. Rumbled meaning you’ve been caught doing something you shouldn’t have been doing, also fine (apart from the fact that you’ve been caught). A street fight, no. I’ve learnt something today.

  16. I was going to rate this as */***, but then failed spectacularly at 1A + 1D. I also had BOOKCASE which I realised must be wrong but couldn’t come up with an alternative.

    “dish” meaning thwart is a new one on me… I wouldn’t have even thought to look “dish” up in the dictionary to see if there was an alternative meaning!

  17. Very enjoyable except for 1a and 1d, like most people.I really like a crossword with two long phrases in the middle.I had ootype for 1a for a long time, which didn’t help at all.I though I was integrating science and crosswords ! Hubris ! Thanks to setter and Deep Threat.

  18. We had started off thinking bookcase for 1a but luckily did not write it in straight away, so avoided the stumbling block. An enjoyable puzzle. Have no idea who the setter might be. It does not seem to fit in with any of the patterns we recognise.
    Thanks Mr Ron and DT.

  19. A rather challenging puzzle today.

    Faves : 18a, 23a, 2d & 24d.

    A shade warmer today but still no buds on the trees in the woods across the road. In the back garden of the house next door there is a tree covered in buds however it must be sheltered from the wind.

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