DT 27185 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
View closed comments 

DT 27185

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 27185

Hints and tips by Big Dave

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment **

A slightly tricky puzzle which I found to be a tad more difficult than today’s Toughie.

I’m off to London for the S&B meeting, and hope to see some of you there.

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    Make light of drama not working (4,4)
{PLAY DOWN} – a charade of a drama and an adjective meaning not working

5a    Wet independent unseating Nationalist could be dismal for Scots (6)
{DREICH} – start with a verb meaning to wet or soak and then put an I(ndependent) in place of (unseating) N(ationalist) to get a Scottish word for dismal or dreary (which could describe BigBoab’s weather today!) – I dredged this up from somewhere in the back of my mind, but is it used much south of the border?

9a    Like James Bond’s car? Wow! (8)
{ASTONISH} – take the make of James Bond’s most famous car and add a suffix meaning like or similar to

10a    Crank letters part of chain? On the contrary (6)
{ANKLET} – hidden (part of) inside the clue – the chain is part of crank letters, hence the “on the contrary”!

12a    Off and on he has Rowling bug (6)
{EARWIG} – the even letters (off and on) of three words in the clue

13a    Verdict that might appear heartless (8)
{JUDGMENT} – this verdict can be spelt with an E as its middle letter, but here it is “heartless”

15a    Hardened hack tying up loose ends (7)
{STEELED} – a type of horse around (tying up) the outer letters (ends) of LoosE – Chambers defines a hack as “a horse kept for hire, especially one in a sorry condition”, and the horse in the wordplay as “a horse, especially a spirited horse”

16a    Before long given a typical French response? (4)
{ANON} – split as (1,3) this could be a response typical of the French in general and General De Gaulle in particular

20a    Pound to be repaid before fight (4)
{DUEL} – the symbol for a pound sterling preceded by an adjective meaning owed or to be repaid

21a    Assault of criminal (7)
{OFFENCE} – the OF from the clue followed by a criminal who receives stolen goods – old hands will have seen this a few times before!

25a    Phileas Fogg perhaps making choc bar — we hear nothing’s added (8)
{AERONAUT} – a balloonist, like Phileas Fogg, is derived from a brand of chocolate bar followed by what sounds like (we hear) nothing

26a    Turn up water pressure first (6)
{PLOUGH} – an Irish word for a lake (water) preceded by (first) P(ressure)

28a    Electric Light Orchestra admitting member’s next to unknown recruit (6)
{EMPLOY} – the abbreviation of Electric Light Orchestra around (admitting) a member of Parliament and followed by a mathematical unknown

29a    Tricky clues he’d plan (8)
{SCHEDULE} – an anagram (tricky) of CLUES HE’D

30a    Twosome Daisy declined? (6)
{TANDEM} – a bicycle built for two

Daisy, Daisy, give me your answer, do,
I’m half crazy all for the love of you.
It won’t be a stylish marriage –
I can’t afford a carriage,
But you’d look sweet on the seat
Of a bicycle built for two

31a    Caught skate then trawl perhaps for crustaceans (8)
{CRAYFISH} – C(aught) followed by a skate and a verb meaning to trawl


1d    Heavenly body clear to be seen after lap dancing (6)
{PLANET} – an adjective meaning clear of deductions preceded by (after) an anagram (dancing) of LAP

2d    Circumstances taking no account of female players (6)
{ACTORS} – drop the initial F(emale) from some circumstances or causes

3d    These should be able to cap disastrous D in tests (8)
{DENTISTS} – these people who should be able to cap teeth are an anagram (disastrous) of D IN TESTS

4d    Narrow strand in Western Isles by top of promenade (4)
{WISP} – W(estern) I(sle)S followed by the initial letter (top) of Promenade

6d    Outlaw’s advertisement banned in default (6)
{RENEGE} – start with an outlaw, drop (banned) the AD(vertisement) and the result is a verb meaning to default

7d    I will survive in good or bad health (3-5)
{ILL-BEING} – the abbreviated form of “I will” followed by a verb meaning to survive, IN and G(ood)

8d    Hour before a ton batting partnership is where bowlers might be rested (8)
{HATSTAND} – H(our) followed by the A from the clue, T(on) and a batting partnership gives somewhere that headwear, like bowlers, could be placed

11d    Visibly shocked given ‘umongous fly’s close in bed (3-4)
{BUG-EYED} – an adjective meaning humongous, without its initial letter H, and the final letter (close) of flY inside BED

14d    Understood change of fortune (3-4)
{TEN-FOUR} – understood or message received, in the code used by CB radio enthusiasts, comes from an anagram (change) of FORTUNE

17d    A disc jockey’s pronunciation not cultured originally — or close (8)
{ADJACENT} – the A from the clue and the abbreviation of Disk Jockey followed by a word meaning pronunciation without (not) one of the two Cs (Cultured originally)

18d    Reptile‘s paths originally penetrating countryside (8)
{TERRAPIN} – the initial letter (originally) of Paths inside (penetrating) countryside or ground – another one that shouldn’t trouble the old hands, but I thought that the use of the same initial letter indicator in two successive clues showed a distinct lack of originality!

19d    Yell and curse endlessly about where washing up might be done (8)
{SCULLERY} – an anagram (about) of YELL and CURS(E) without its final letter (endlessly)

22d    Sleep induced by small nitrogen leak (6)
{SNOOZE{ – S(mall) and the chemical symbol for Nitrogen followed by a verb meaning to leak

23d    Clouds in mounds with front changing to cold (6)
{CUMULI} – start with some burial mounds and change the initial (front) letter T to C(old)

24d    Trio cut short quiet beat (6)
{THRESH} – the number in a trio without the final letter (cut short) followed by an exhortation to keep quiet

27d    Cliff‘s contribution to Shadows’ career (4)
{SCAR} – hidden (contribution to) inside the clue

Cliff and The Shads at their best!

ARVE Error: need id and provider

This puzzle has the look and feel of being by today’s Toughie setter.

The Quick crossword pun: (neigh} + {kid} + {aye} = {naked eye}

58 comments on “DT 27185

  1. Very slow going, and I ended up with two unsolved. Given the time taken, a **** difficulty for me. 5A is a word I have never heard before, so I don’t feel bad about not getting it, but with three checking letters in there was no excuse at all for not getting 30A. I can’t say I enjoyed this puzzle much at all, but hat’s off to the setter, nonetheless. And many thanks to BD for the review and hints.

  2. My last three in the top right took as long as the rest of the puzzle.
    I thought this might have been a PJ puzzle; perhaps he set this and the toughie today?

    That’s it for crosswords for 10 days. Portsmouth to St-Malo overnight, then hopefully a few days of beer, wine, breton cider and bbqs (weather permitting!).

  3. Good puzzle today which required a little work on the part of the few remaining brain cells. I thought 14D was an excellent clue, but I can’t say I liked 5A very much. Whilst I don’t mind non-English words in crosswords, I prefer them to be words or phrases that are fairly well known in the English language.

  4. A couple of odd words (5a for example) that needed a quick check, but otherwise went in without too much of a fight. We did wonder if it might be the same setter as the Toughie, but have not struck that circumstance before. Guess there is a first time for everything. An amusing enough diversion.
    Thanks Mr Ron and BD.

  5. Was glad to complete this – thanks BD – and didn’t have a clue about 14d, but filled in 5a early on… so it just confirms the joys of differences! Completed the NW and then the SE corners quite quickly and then needed lots of cogitating to finish. Probably because I’m still recovering from the longest visit to Chelsea Flower Show I’ve ever managed – 12 hours in all – on Tuesday! But with the Five Star Swing Band going strong on the Bandstand, necessary breathers were very enjoyable, and all my guests had a wonderful time ensuring we had to be thrown out at 8.00 pm… Some of the smaller gardens were magical, & right up my street. So thanks to the setter for ensuring an excellent work out for my weary brain. Sorry to miss today’s gathering BD, but hope to make the next one. I can imagine you’ll all have a super time :-D !

    1. Are you an exhibitor Poppy?
      (You have guests……)
      Or just a very energetic RHS member. I went once but finished in 5 hours and was as much tired by the crush as the walking about.

  6. Excellent! I haven’t printed the Toughie yet but who is the Toady that BD is referring to in his heading?

    1. LOL – Now fixed, but I hope that Petitjean didn’t see it, especially if he runs into BD at the S&B. :D

  7. A ****/** for me today ,found it toughie standard for the most part and thanks Big D for explaining where i got the solutions from , like 23d and 13a-i only knew the nine letter spelling till i got all the other letters in and guessed it , even the hidden word in 12a was somewhat convoluted-moan over going for a pint.

  8. Im glad I wasn’t the only one that had a few problems today. Never the less it was very enjoyable with 25A making me chuckle, many thanks BD for the hints which were needed.

  9. I don’t know whether it was because today’s crossword was started earlier in the day than was yesterday’s, but I found it far more straightforward than I did yesterday’s. Some superb clues and I’m just hoping that 5 across won’t be a word I’ll be using over the next couple of weeks whilst on Skye and the Uists – well, one can only hope.

  10. Am saving today’s crosswords to do on the tube on the way to join you for the S&B meeting. See you there BD!

  11. I found this really tricky today – at least 4* for difficulty for me – so I’m glad to find that I’m not the only one. I nearly gave in and looked at the hints when I still had about six gaps, mainly in the top right corner, but ‘perservated’ for a bit longer (quite a big bit longer) and eventually finished it.
    When I first looked at it I wondered if it was going to be a Ray T – it had most of his trademarks, apart from the Queen, but the quick crossword didn’t look right for him and the cryptic didn’t feel like one of his. Having read what BD said, and the earlier comments, I bow to superior knowledge.
    This has taken me a very long time. At one stage I thought it was going to be a pangram – whenever I remember to start thinking in that direction it never is.
    I liked lots of these clues – 5 (dredged up from somewhere and then worked out why) and 9a and 14, 19 and 22d.
    With thanks to Mr whoever set this and to BD.
    Need a sleep now!

  12. Many thanks to the setter for a quite enjoyable if untaxing puzzle, better than the toughie in my opinion. Thanks to BD for the very entertaining review.

  13. Having been castigated for my Sassenach spelling of 5a (DT 27120) by Poppy and Annidrum it was my first in!
    I again enjoyed this and as others have said the Toughie is probably easier .
    Favourite clue 11d or perhaps 25a or ….
    Thanks very much .

    1. Happy to have been of some use, OF – and glad that nearly 800 years of my Scottish ancestry hasn’t been wasted :-D !

    2. I’m very pleased you remembered it ,but I’m ashamed to admit it took me ages to see it today!!

    3. At first I had no idea, then a faint memory stirred, but still couldn’t really put my finger on it. Eventually I used my trusty gizmo in desperation and it came back to me, bingo.

  14. Top left, bottom right corners went straight in then I got bogged down in the middle. I got 7d but it still doesn’t scan for me. Coming from Newport Pagnell 9a was a doddle. As an avid Jeff Lynn fan 28a was straight forward too and given 23d I’m surprised that BD didn’t put up a clip of Mr Blue Sky. Finally got a clue with a cricket reference 8d without scratching my head too much. Thanks for an enjoyable puzzle & for the hints.

  15. I absolutely loved this today, mainly because I did it with no help at all (that’s never happened with an official *** )……….hurrah – some things do improve with retirement!
    Lots of great clues and answers.
    5a – I also managed to dredge up this term which was only recently (current weather) said to me by Scottish friends- who knew it would come in handy so soon?
    Liked 11d and 14d (hadn’t heard that term for years since US cop dramas).
    Liked. 25a which I got after 14d, having forgotten that choc treat in the first instance.
    9a and 27d were very cute!

  16. All too much for me ! Finished apart from NE corner then even perservation didn’t help ! Thank you setter. Can’t say I enjoyed it too much as frustration creeps in when I grind to a halt. Well beaten today. Thank you BD for your hints and explanations which were needed.

  17. Here we go again! Two puzzles for the Toughie experts and nothing for the rest of us.
    Gee thanks DT!

  18. I meant to say that, amongst so many delightful clues, the only one I didn’t like so much was 7d.
    The opposite is a very common phrase but, despite working in health services, I have never come across or heard this answer used, so would it be fair to describe it as too much of a contrivance?

  19. I rarely say this but I did not enjoy this puzzle at all. It’s been a bit of a slog all week for me. Who knows why!
    Thanks for the hints, BD. Much needed.
    Thanks to the setter.
    Enjoy your get together today! I shall try the Toughie. Maybe it will reveal its secrets to me :)

  20. Very difficult and didn’t enjoy it at all. Even working from the hints, I was indeed puzzled!

  21. Seven left to do and I don’t know where the answers will come from. Dearie dearie me. maybe a go on the toughie will help.

      1. I have threshed out a down clue and ploughed on to an across clue. so five to go.

  22. Couldn’t finish this before my acupuncture session and can’t be bothered to try now as I wasn’t enjoying it anyway :-(
    Very cold windy sunshine here today better than warm rain I suppose!

    1. I’d settle for cold windy sunshine or warm rain – we’ve had very cold windy rain. :sad:

  23. I did not enjoy this v much. 5a no problem since my wife comes from a very wet part of Scotland and I have heard it many times! Phileas Fogg never took to the air in the book. I am not a CB radio enthusiast, nor have I ever knowingly met one.

  24. I was feeling a good sense of achievement ,having completed it from the bottom up until I got to the NE corner and came to a standstill. I’ m embarrassed to confess it took me ages to see 5a, one of my favourite words these days for the weather here in Northern Spain. And my I-pad has the cheek to tell me I’ve misspelt “favourite”.

  25. Blimey O’Reilly!
    Certainly tough.
    Some brilliant clues, eg 11d.
    Many thanks RayT and BD for the review.
    I love Thursdays.

    1. I don’t think that this was Ray T. I thought it might be when I first looked at it but now don’t think it was for several reasons. No queen, although he has been known to miss her (or them) out occasionally. Nothing risque. It didn’t, somehow, feel like one of his. Plus there are some clues in the quick crossword that are more than one word.
      One thing is for sure – if it was him today he will ‘pop in’ at some stage – he always does.

      1. Oh – just remembered another reason why it might not be Ray T – we had him last week (I think) and we are rarely lucky enough to have one of his two weeks running.

        1. Yes, Kath, I’d forgotten we had RayT last week.
          Can’t think who this setter is – if new, welcome and brilliant, more please. :)

          1. I like this one too Hrothgar. he has severely tested me and so far I am found to be wanting. Two to do and a refusal to give up. lets see if a pint of London pride will help.

            1. Like you, perhaps, Miffypops, I never give up and always get there, eventually. But, as with this one, I sometimes go woefully over my “time”.

          2. With the benefit of hind sight I enjoyed it too but I really found it incredibly difficult – more difficult than the last back page (?) puzzle that I said this about – seem to remember saying that it was a long time since the back page cryptic had taken me so long not very long ago. That all sounds very convoluted – I know what I mean and do hope that others do too!

        2. Speculation on the toughie blog is that Petitjean set both the toughie and the backpager today.

          1. Thanks – trying to resist going over to the Toughie blog as I haven’t done too badly but not finished yet. Might have to give in . . . it’s either that or go to bed now and have another look in the morning . . .

      2. Definetely not a RayT, unless he has changed his style for the Quickie as well….now back to Cynth who decided yesterday evening to attempt the canine equivalent of man versus food, had a rather nasty emetic injection at the vets last night , probably not for her but I don’t like to look at the outcome- yuk, and bless her she is now very loose at the other end. I’m thinking Goldfish at the moment I really am. And I had train tickets to London as well for Sloggers and Betters do. . Oh yes, crossword, 3* 3* from me thanks setter and BD

        1. Oh dear – poor you, and Cynth – do hope that she (and consequently you) are better soon. Such a pity about missing the ‘do’ in London this evening.
          I agree – not a Ray T.

        2. What a disappointing change to your plans, Andy. I’m so sorry, but do hope Cynth is well on the mend now, and hope you’ll be able to make the next Sloggers & Betters :-)

  26. I did try for a while, and then I just abandoned it.Thanks to BD for the explanations. I hope I will enjoy this setter next time I encounter him or her.

    1. It was certainly pretty tricky, wasn’t it? To begin with I put it down to total exhaustion after a twelve hour stint at Chelsea yesterday but now I think it was just a difficult one.

  27. A real slog today and only finished thanks to BD hints. Top RH corner last to go in. Hope the weekend will provide more amusing puzzles.

  28. Found this too hard to complete so grateful to Big Dave for the hints. I do however have to take issue with 30a. Nowhere in the song by Harry Dacre does Daisy decline the offer. She does however turn down the proposal in a parody:-

    Harry, Harry here is my answer true.
    I can’t cycle, for I get black and blue.
    If you can’t afford a carriage
    There won’t be any marriage.
    Cause I’ll be damned
    If I’ll get crammed
    On a bicycle built for two.

  29. I may have said this before (at my age I can have a tendency to forget!) but another and more accurate description of Toughie is Obscurie. A logical clue setter I can cope with; obscurity I find somewhat irritating.

    It would help me a lot if the Setter could be identified on each offering to save me wasting paper by printing it out, if appropriate!

    Well done, the normal Monday Setter.

  30. Thanks to Mr Ron, may be Petitjean and to Big Dave for the review and hints. A very tricky puzzle, but enjoyable. I only managed to finish with some expert help from crypticsue at the Betters and Sloggers.! Favourites were 9a & 22 & 23d. Just managed to dodge a massive hail storm on the way to the event.

  31. Saved this for the holiday. Most glad that i did, what a great crossword.
    Many thanks to the setter and BD for the review.

Comments are closed.