DT 27149 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 27149

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 27149

Hints and tips by Big Dave

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

A very enjoyable puzzle which, while a bit tricky in places, is within the capabilities of most solvers.

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    Cellar barrels’ opening gets troops in a fix (8)
{BASEMENT} – the initial letter (opening) of Barrel followed by some troops inside a verb meaning to fix

5a & 10a    Showbiz columnist‘s worst gripes erupting about paparazzi ultimately (6,6)
{GOSSIP WRITER} – an anagram (erupting) of WORST GRIPES around the final letter (ultimately) of paparazzI

9a    Fitfully regarding a new shed (2,3,3)
{ON AND OFF} – a two-letter word meaning regarding or concerning followed by the A from the clue, N(ew) and a verb meaning to shed or remove, as in to remove a hat

10a    See 5 Across

12a    Decorate half of them rather like Big Ben? (9)
{EMBELLISH} – the second half of thEM followed by an adjective meaning rather like Big Ben – remember that Big Ben is what is inside the tower, not the tower itself!

13a    Stuff  Frenchman! (5)
{SERGE} – two definitions – stuff or material and the forename given to some Frenchmen

14a    Fellow in dock reportedly (4)
{PEER} – sounds like a dock or jetty

16a    ‘Narcotics’? It’s a Poe novel (7)
{OPIATES} – an anagram (novel) of IT’S A POE

19a    ‘Howards End’ is not broadly speaking extremely literary or very good (7)
{SAINTLY} – the final letter (end) of HowardS followed by a colloquial word (broadly speaking) for is not and the outer letters (extremely) of LiterarY

21a    Pasta sauce and portion of extra guacamole (4)
{RAGU} – hidden (portion o) inside the clue

24a    Relish report of 10 (5)
{RAITA} – this yoghurt-based relish sounds like (report of) the answer to 10 across

25a    Banter from spectator either side of half-time (9)
{WITTINESS} – a spectator around (either side of) the first half of TIme

27a    Unpopular time for power cut (6)
{OUTAGE} – an adjective meaning unpopular followed by a long period of time

28a    Look mean and impenetrable (8)
{AIRTIGHT} – a look or manner followed by an adjective meaning mean or stingy

29a    Walk out of direst mess (6)
{STRIDE} – an anagram (mess) of DIREST

30a    Stranglers perform hits with this instrument (8)
{GARROTTE} – a cryptic definition of an instrument used to hit or kill by strangulation


1d    Escape in the Old Railway Inn (6)
{BOOZER} – a verb meaning to escape or xxx inside the organisation that used to run the railways

2d    Quiet upset baby that’s dirty (6)
{SHABBY} – an exhortation to keep quiet followed by an anagram (upset) of BABY

3d    Daughter breaks dinner gong (5)
{MEDAL} – D(aughter) inside(breaks) dinner (or lunch!) gives a gong or award

4d    More stylish Northern Ireland newspaper? That’s right (7)
{NIFTIER} – the abbreviation for Northern Ireland followed by a newspaper, the Latin abbreviation for that is and R(ight)

6d    Rowdy using horn approaching at speed (9)
{ONRUSHING} – an anagram (rowdy) of USING HORN

7d    Settled university fee — it’s steep (8)
{SATURATE} – a verb meaning settled or rested followed by U(niversity) and a fee gives a verb meaning to steep or soak

8d    Bloody-minded, intrinsically entertaining reverend retired (8)
{PERVERSE} – a Latin phrase meaning intrinsically (3,2) around (entertaining) REV(erend) reversed (retired)

11d    Oxford perhaps in need of articulation? Get away! (4)
{SHOO} – sounds like (in need of articulation) an item of clothing of which an Oxford is an example (perhaps)

15d    Disaffected journalist giving unusual coverage (9)
{ESTRANGED} – the usual two-letter journalist around (coverage) an adjective meaning unusual

17d    Greedy American banks in uproar over promissory notes (8)
{USURIOUS} – the two-letter abbreviation for American followed by the outer letters (banks) of UproaR and some hand-written promissory notes

18d    Nurse’s round in dark (8)
{SINISTER} – a senior nurse around IN

20d    Wail of unknown instrument (4)
{YAWL} – a mathematical unknown followed by a pointed instrument for boring small holes

21d    Greek plonk in container without cap tipped over (7)
{RETSINA} – drop (without) the initial letter (cap) from a container and reverse (tipped over in a down clue) what is left

22d    Women’s crew making impact (6)
{WEIGHT} – W(omen) followed by a rowing crew

23d    Set out twice resolving to fly (6)
{TSETSE} – an anagram (out) of SET followed by the same anagram (twice)

26d    Italian football club trainee has name taken (5)
{INTER} – drop the N(ame) from the end of a trainee

If you think about the clues instead of trying to find fault, this is a straightforward puzzle.

The Quick crossword pun: (bore} + {doe} + {read} = {Bordeaux red}

75 comments on “DT 27149

  1. **** for enjoyment today. For me, the top half was * for difficulty and the bottom half ***.

    The top half went in nicely then I hastily put in “sauce” for 24a which slowed me down considerably in the SW corner until the penny dropped. I toyed with “minister” (= nurse) for a while for 18d but finally worked out the correct answer. I also got held up in the SE corner, with four clues proving particularly stubborn. 30a was the last one in, largely because I thought it was spelled with one R.

    20d was a new word for me and I needed to check the BRB to confirm my answer was right.

    Lots of nice clues today; my particular favourites were 1d, 12a, 19a, 25a & 30a.

    Many thanks to the setter for a very enjoyable puzzle, and also to BD for his review and hints, which I needed only for 17d as I couldn’t see at all where the UR came from.

    1. I took a while to figure out the ‘UR’ too RD and actually did put ‘minister’ in at 18d!

      1. It’s always nice to know that there is someone else out there on a similar wavelength :-)

      2. Did,nt fall for the minister bit, but could’nt see the UR part of 17d, thanks BD ,think i might have heard the word before,but not sure;toyed with OWL, but settled for AWL, is 20d an american word? Enjoyed today and agree with the scores,had’nt heard of 24a, but managed to guess it with all the letters in and 10a-good clue would have been- educated sauce-Rita!

        1. Hi Beaver Chambers just says it’s a variant of yowl, I was wondering if it comes from the West Country perhaps?

  2. Very enjoyable. Never heard of 24A (sounds a bit on the healthy side to me) but easily solvable. Liked 30A

  3. Good morning Dave and thanks for hints, I did finish without them but needed lots of help from my ‘usual friends’
    I had to check with you for 20d as I’ve not heard this word before and was trying to see if an owl apart from being a feathered friend was some type of tool!! A definite 3 star for me today, with several clues I enjoyed such as: 9a, 12a, 16a,19a and 11d, last one in for me today was 18d, have to admit to having ‘minister’ there at first! It’s rained here overnight but I do believe the sun is coming out now :-)

  4. Well….either I’m getting better or they have toned down Thursday’s! A very good stab at it…75% + without any aid. A little bit of electronic help and all done…

    So it can be done ;-)

    1. Well done Roger, this wasn’t too easy today either but every other week on a Thursday the setter is RayT, these are the puzzles I really struggle with! Today is not a RayT at least I don’t think it is (no queen)

      1. Right side faster than left, oddly, but 24a was a new one as was 17d. Good *** for me on both counts. Thanks for the hints which were useful to finish it off.

  5. I found this quite difficult and needed to consult hints for help, but on seeing the answers/explanation I should have got them. So a little perseverance should have done the trick.

    Thanks for the review, definitely needed today, thought this shaded into four star difficulty, but agree with your summary.

    Thanks to the setter for a tricky but fairly clued puzzle.

      1. Didn’t think of that, used to love that programme, however it isn’t given in my Chambers list of anagram indicators, nor do any of the synonyms as far as I can see indicate an anagram?

  6. This one put up quite a fight for us. A quick glance at the clock when we put the last word in, 30a, indicated a time of **** for difficulty, and we reckon the same for fun. We pencilled in Petitjean as the most likely setter, it seems to us to have his particular quirkiness. But , we have been wrong before.
    Thanks Mr Ron and BD.

    1. Hi David, where do you find owl as a stringed instrument? I looked for that but couldn’t find it?

    2. You are indeed right David, I have just googled it, that is very interesting, so Dave could it be either yowl or yawl?

  7. Good fun today ! ***/**** I was left with 1D and 23D to work out from the checking letters, glad to complete one with no assistance after yesterday’s chignon and the previous day’s bookcase !! 12A and 19A were the LOLs here.

  8. What with the DT being late today and taking Mrs SW into M/cr to get the train to the smoke and Sevenoaks, I was a late starter and found it OK until the SW corner. I have just run out of time ! and resorted to hints to finish – so many thanks BD for your help and to the setter for an enjoyable challenge – albeit too much for me today ! New words as well !

  9. This was at least 4* for both difficulty and enjoyment for me. It’s a very long time since an (inside) back page puzzle has taken me as long as this one did – if it had been in the middle and called a Toughie I would probably have given up, but it wasn’t so I didn’t!
    I ground to a complete halt in the bottom right corner. The two clues with ‘instrument’ in them – 30a and 20d – threw me as I always think of musical instruments – must remember that as I know I’ve been caught by it before.
    I also missed a couple of the anagram indicators – 5/10a and 6d.
    Looking at it all again now I can’t really see why I found it so difficult – I just did – good fun though!
    Lots of good clues – 12, 13, 19 and 28a and 6, 11 and 23d.
    With thanks to Mr Ron (like 2Kiwis I wondered about Petitjean) and BD.

  10. Best crossword of the week so far, hugely enjoyable. Thanks to the setter and to BD for the hints/review.

  11. Still have issues with the Thursday puzzle. Part of the fun of any crossword for me is the resolution of the clues, some of these just don’t work. The problem with 20d sums it up for me. A yawl is a particular kind of boat according to the OED. I lived on Shetland where it was a common sight. A yawl is NOT a wail, which would be a yowl and an owl is certainly not an instrument. As regards 24a, raita, if you pronounce it correctly, only bears the faintest resemblance, the very faintest resemblance to writer. Thanks for the hints.

    1. Hi Alan

      Chambers gives two pronunciations for raita;
      raita /rā-ēˈtə or rīˈtə/

      And Chambers gives yawl two very different meanings;

      yawl1 /yöl/
      A small fishing-boat
      A small sailing-boat with a jigger and a shortened mainboom
      A ship’s small boat, generally with four or six oars (historical)
      ORIGIN: Du jol

      intransitive verb
      To howl
      A howl
      ORIGIN: Variant of yowl

    2. The ODE {the OED is the large multi-volume dictionary) is NOT a good dictionary to use for Telegraph crosswords, where all definitions are checked in Chambers. Complaining that this word or the other is not in your particular dictionary is futile when it is not the one used by all Telegraph setters.

      By the way, this meaning of yawl is, however, in the SOED (see my reply at Comment #1)

      1. I refer you to my earlier remarks regarding obscure and arcane. Stating that a particular word only features in a tome that takes up several yards of shelving rather makes my point. This kind of twaddle may appeal to crossword swots but as one of the dabblers it does zip for me. Please note that the DT is not a charity. It does not supply the crossword as part of corporate social responsibility to alleviate the boredom of the retired or ill occupied. It does it to make money. As a Telegraph subscriber and an ex scribe I can tell you that the fact that the crossword has become a moveable feast, sometimes back page sometimes not, indicates to me that they no longer place much priority on it. Neat way of getting rid of it and selling the ad space instead would be to make it more difficult so that fewer and fewer bother with it apart form the truly besotted. Then they make the announcement that with regret that “The Telegraph crossword will only be available online from xxxxxxxx”. The you can start ‘yawling’.

        1. Chambers does not take up “several yards of shelving”. If you’d bothered to read what I put, it was that Chambers is the dictionary of choice for Telegraph crossword setters.

          By the way, this is the entry in the OED:

          yawl, v.1

          Pronunciation: /jɔːl/
          Forms: ME ȝaule, ME, 16–17 yall, ME, 17–18 yole, 15 yalle, 15–16 yaule, yawle, 16–17 yaul, 16– yawl.
          Etymology: Parallel to yowl n., with alternation of vowel designed to express a variety of the sound echoed. Compare Low German jaueln (of cats).
          Now dialect

          1. intransitive

          a. To cry out loudly from pain, grief, or distress: also said of the howling of dogs, the ‘wauling’ of cats, the screaming of peacocks.

          b. To call aloud, shout, bawl, scream, vociferate.

          2. transitive

          a. (with simple obj. or obj. clause.) To shout out, utter with shouting.

          b. (with compl.) To bring into a specified state by ‘yawling’.

        2. Dave, touchy, I did ‘bother to read what I put’, strange phraseology, the past tense of the verb to write would have read better. I note the entry says ‘Now dialect’, rather making my point. I refer you to my previous comments regarding arcane and obscure. As a matter of interest you stated, ‘the OED is the large multi-volume dictionary’ hence my remark re shelving. Also to be absolutely clear, I think you and the other people supplying solutions do a great job and I am sorry if you feel that I am having a go at you personally. I also rather enjoy bandying words :).

          1. Not touchy, just pointing out for the nth time that Chambers is the dictionary that defines the words that other dictionaries can’t reach.

  12. Lovely puzzle and definitely a bit tricky in places. I thought I had finished without hints, but then found my guess at 24 across was a bit off, since I had H as the second letter. I think spelled my way it sounds much more like 10A than the correct answer does! Several ‘likes’ today, but 19A and 18D were standouts. Thanks to the setter for the fun and to BD for the review.

  13. Dear Mr. BD, surely if the crossword was so straightforward, it would be a general knowledge crossword. For us in our house, no cryptics are ever straightforward, but thank you anyway and also the setter whoever he or she may be.

  14. Tricky but good brain workout. My on line dictionary had only one R for 30a which did not help with the bottom right corner. Nor did SAVOR for 24a it seemed right as it means relish and of course one would savor what was created by 5/10a. Peer for fellow stumped me in 14a especially as I had Herb which supposedly the Dock plant is.
    As always thanks to Big Dave for the hints.

    1. I wouldn’t savor anything to be honest as I’m not a American. I might savour it though.

  15. Top half, very enjoyable, bottom half Ugh!
    Something for everyone today I think. Some really good clues in the top half such as 12a and 3d and some real pigs in the bottom half such as 25a, 17d and 24a.
    Would take issue with the definition of banter for wittiness, not in my copy of the BRB.
    Annoyed that I missed Rowdy as an anagram indicator (another one for the list).
    Although the answer is obvious esp for anyone who has ever drunk it (Yuk) but still can’t unpick the rest of the clue even with the hint.
    Def a two session crossword.
    Thx to the Mysteron setter (it was def not my Nemesis) and to BD for hints – much needed for the bottom half :-)

    1. The answer seemed straightforward unless you tried to unpick it, BD is right although he might have hinted that the container was a canister!!

    2. I think we can be forgiven for missing ‘rowdy’ as an anagram indicator Brian, as I said earlier on it’s not in my list in Chambers nor do any of its synonyms sound as though they could refer to an anagram ind

        1. Mary, I like your explanation. You are clearly becoming our blog guru on anagram indicators. :-)

  16. ***/**** for me. Last one in was 20d. Whilst this definition of yawl is not in my version of the OED, the word is sufficiently onomatopoeic to reassure me I was on the right track. ( A little bit like “mewl”).

      1. My version of the OED is the concise one (eleventh edition revised) ISBN 0-19-929634-0.

        1. With all due respect, the COED is the worst option of all. Countdown had to stop using it as so many words have been omitted to save space. The one I remember is “roadside”, which you are meant to work out for yourself is the side of the road.

            1. Lol, lol. On that subject, I’m quite happy with our very old Webster’s and a slightly newer Collins. As for today’s crossword it was a pleasure to settle down with the Telegraph after a day on the Severn Valley Railway in the company of our two elder grangsprogs (now there’s a word I doubt if you’ll find in a dictionary) and complete what was a very entertaining and straightforward puzzle – though as far as I can see 20 down could be either one of two words, but I have to admit that I can’t get particularly excited over which one it is – still, the morning’s paper will surely provide the definitive answer. Many super clues, not least of all were 17down, 18 down & 25 across. 21 down has to be sampled to be believed – drink it very cold with food that is heavily flavoured with garlic and you might just get a taste for it ;-)
              I must also add that some of the comments & threads on here make for almost (but not quite) as much fun reading them as do solving the crosswords – lovely to see that pedantry remains very healthy.

              1. The Telegraph Puzzles on-line site allows answers to be verified so you can be pretty confident that what BD has shown as the answer to 20d is definitive and is what will appear in tomorrow’s paper.

                1. Sorry Gazza, I hadn’t looked to see what BD had shown to be the answer to 20 down or for that matter any of the other answers – I pride myself in answering ‘back-page’ DT crossword clues without the need to ‘crib’ other people’s answers. I have to say that I do admit to checking the explanations to many of the Toughie clues, partly because I only started attempting to solve them earlier this year and also,because to me and my pea brain, many are hard to fathom and even at the age of seventy, or almost I am still very keen to learn. As for 20 down? Happily I did have YAWL well before YOWL was even considered. I didn’t get a look in today, sadly – Gardenlady beat me to it and pronounced it completed in under xx minutes. Read into xx what you like ;-)

  17. Nothing to do with todays puzzle.
    BD, I am having trouble logging into the April prize puzzle, each time i try I get Februarys’ offering.
    Is anyone else having this problem or is it just me?

    Sorry if the apostrophe is in the wrong place.

    1. You are not the first to ask, and I have only just noticed that I had an error in the puzzle index. Try it now.

      For future reference, it helps if you mention how you were trying to access the puzzle, as the link from last Saturday’s post was OK.

      1. I was trying to get there via the crosswords tab on the home page, and following the links
        I have tried it again, as you suggested and it now works, Thankyou


  18. Enjoyable crossword today. Particularly liked 1d and 12 a. ** for difficulty and **** for enjoyment. Thanks BD and compiler.

  19. Found this pretty tough today. I had minister also for 18d although I couldn’t really justify it! We don’t use the term sister here for nurse so it didn’t come to me. Also had trouble with 28a.
    To me raita isn’t really a relish as it’s not spicy or a pickle but just a condiment. However it did give me a way in for 5 and 10 across so I can’t complain too much!
    Thanks for the hints BD and to the setter.

  20. Thanks to the setter and to Big Dave. Very difficult, not within my capabilities I’m afraid. Was 4 */2* for me. Only managed about half before resorting to the hints, needed 12 of them to finish. Couldn’t get on the setter’s wavelength at all.

  21. An enjoyable solve today!

    Faves : 21a, 24a, 17d & 21d.

    My late wife made very good raita dishes and I have quaffed plenty of 21d in my time.

    We had rain overnight and today so perhaps the sap will rise in the woods across the road!

    1. Thoroughly enjoyable even if it took longer than usual.
      Some excellent clues amongst the anagrams which, of course, are always a gift.
      Many thanks to the setter and BD for the review.

  22. Persevation was definitely the name of the game here today and got there in the end. I missed the anagram for 6d and putting sauce in for 24a and changing it to spice before finally getting raita held me up in the sw corner. Good enjoyable workout & thanks to Setter and BD for the hints.

  23. Quite hard work, I thought , after writing the nw straight in.Let’s say my least favorite this week.More than one error didn’t help.Thanks to BD for assistance and to setter.

  24. I really enjoyed the whole puzzle (and I think I’ve seen yawl in another crossword relatively recently). Feeling a bit guilty though as solved it at the gym in their copy of the Telegraph (normally print out my own copy but ended up there unexpectedly). Is it really bad to fill in crosswords in club papers? (The membership is pretty steep and I’ve seen someone else filling in the FT one.)

    1. I don’t think it’s very bad to do a crossword in a paper left lying around somewhere public. I do get cross if someone starts one on the kitchen table.
      Several years ago my brother-in-law started to read a book from one of our book shelves while he was staying here. When he left he asked if it was OK if he took it with him. I said that it was fine but just to put Kath inside it. He then asked if I wanted him to do that even if it already had someone else’s name in it! :oops:

  25. A propos 30a I had GAROT in Scrabble yesterday. It is acceptable in that spelling according to the Scrabble dictionary.
    Found today very hard – needed hints for several. Getting past it perhaps in my 80s !!! Love the blog tho. Thanks to all.

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