DT 27189 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 27189

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 27189

Hints and tips by Deep Threat

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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

Bonjour from Lac de Panthier in Burgundy. We’ve been here since last Thursday, and apart from the nice day which Libellule commented on yesterday the weather has been pretty vile – cold and wet.

I found this crossword to be right on the border between ** and *** for difficulty, despite a couple of clues where being in France brought the answer to mind swiftly.

In the hints below, the definitions are underlined.

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           Old athlete lapping last in race, the very best (5)
{ CREAM } A former middle-distance runner, Seb Coe’s rival after Steve Ovett finished, wrapped around the last letter of race.

4a           Aquatic animal dad knocked over, put into casserole mainly (8)
{ TERRAPIN } Reverse (knocked over) a two-letter word for dad, and put it inside an earthenware casserole with the final E removed.

8a           School member entertaining southern European (8)
{ ESTONIAN } A schoolmate of Dave or Boris, with Southern inside, giving a native of one of the Baltic states.

9a           Rescind order to a barge (8)
{ ABROGATE } Anagram (order) of TO A BARGE.

11a         US lawman hires scuffling pair of fellows (7)
{ SHERIFF } Anagram (scuffling) of HIRES followed by two examples of the abbreviation for Fellow.

13a         Criminal, rude lot misbehaving with day gone — and boorish drinker? (5,4)
{ LAGER LOUT } A three-letter word for a criminal – one who’s done time in prison – followed by an anagram (misbehaving) of RU(D)E LOT with the D removed (day gone).

15a         Bottom and chest seen awkwardly in private? (6,3,6)
{ BEHIND THE SCENES } Another word for posterior followed by an anagram (awkwardly) of CHEST SEEN.

18a         One active in the organ trade? (9)
{ NEWSAGENT } Cryptic definition. The organ in question might be your Daily Telegraph.

21a         Entrance made by English conservationists anticipating hour by a lake (7)
{ ENTHRAL } A charade of English, the initials of the organisation that runs many historic houses, an abbreviated form of HouR, A (from the clue) and Lake. The definition has of course to be pronounced with the stress on the second syllable – a nice piece of misdirection, though not uncommon.

22a         Imagination tends to take energy with the old (5,3)
{ MINDS EYE } A verb meaning tends or looks after, followed by Energy, and the pseudo-archaic way of writing a definite article, often seen in conjunction with ‘Olde’.

24a         Huge  trademark of an aggressive boxer? (8)
{ THUMPING } Double definition. An informal word for huge, or what you might get from an aggressive boxer.

25a         Food abundantly supplied for old actress (8)
{ DIETRICH } Another word for everything you eat and drink, followed by an adjective meaning abundantly supplied or ample, giving a German-American actress.

ARVE Error: need id and provider

26a         Exam, one set among others (5)
{ RESIT } Put the Roman numeral for one inside a word meaning ‘the others’, to get the sort of exam you might have to take if you had failed the first attempt.


1d           A club seen to diversify around hotel offering pastry (7,3)
{ CHELSEA BUN } Anagram (to diversify) of A CLUB SEEN around the letter represented in the Nato alphabet by Hotel.

2d           Establish hub overlooking college and new church (8)
{ ENTRENCH } A word for a hub or midpoint with its initial C removed (overlooking college), followed by New and Church.

3d           Stunted type, German writer, one supported by family (8)
{ MANNIKIN } The author of Death in Venice followed by I and a word for family or relations.

4d           A hard-headed character raised marine creature (4)
{ TUNA } A (from the clue) and something which might be hard to crack, all reversed (raised, in a Down clue).

5d           Strictness in theatre employee, we hear (6)
{ RIGOUR } A homophone {we hear} of someone who works on ropes, booms, lifts, hoists and the like for a stage production.

6d           Food in container with a cap quietly taken off (6)
{ POTATO } A container, often of earthenware, followed by A (from the clue) and another word for cap (as in bottle or jar) with the final P removed (quietly taken off).

7d           Significant  mark in flat perhaps (4)
{ NOTE } A triple definition. Something significant may be described as ‘of ____’; a verb meaning to notice; and something which in music may be flat, sharp or natural.

10d         Agitatedly get a Tube — it’s been baking and may get filled (8)
{ BAGUETTE } Anagram (agitatedly) of GET A TUBE.

12d         Soap even applied to synthetic material? Not half (8)
{ FLATTERY } An adjective meaning even or level followed by an artificial fabric with the final four letters removed. ‘Soap’ here is figurative, not the stuff you wash with.

14d         50 in Ashes duel maybe that gives proof of high-level suitability (4,6)
{ TEST FLIGHT } The sort of cricket match played during an Ashes series, followed by a duel or combat, with the Roman numeral for 50 inside it.

16d         Person involved in trade in general grabbing award (8)
{ CUSTOMER } The US general who died at the Little Big Horn wrapped around an order of distinction.

17d         Weapon I smuggled into Tyneside ship that’s just avoided collision (4,4)
{ NEAR MISS } A generic term for a weapon and I (from the clue) inside the letters which indicate the geographical location of Tyneside and the usual crossword ship.

19d         Obtain craftily bit of wine with fish (6)
{ WANGLE } The initial letter of Wine and a verb meaning ‘to fish’.

20d         Spinning of Warne’s the solution (6)
{ ANSWER } Anagram (spinning) of WARNE’S.

22d         Atmosphere of fate in revolution (4)
{ MOOD } Reverse (in revolution) a slightly archaic word for fate or destiny.

23d         Design sailing vessel excluding prow (4)
{ ETCH } Remove the initial K from a two-masted sailing vessel.

The Quick Crossword pun {KNEE } { PALL } = { NEPAL }

51 comments on “DT 27189

  1. Not the easiest of grids, with all those double unches, but it all came together smoothly. Lots of clever clues and misdirection. Really enjoyed it.
    Thanks Mr Ron and DT.

    1. Is this a misprint? What is an Unche let alone a double one? Tried putting it into Chambers and Google but got nothing.

      1. An unch is crossword jargon for an unchecked letter, i.e. one that is in either an across answer or a down answer but not both. A double unch is two consecutive unchecked letters. This term has been used on this site since the early days of the blog and is explained in my Crossword Guide, from which you could learn quite a lot.

        1. Thx, will give it some study.
          Mrs B says “typical man, never reads the instructions”

          1. Hi Brian,

            Pommette reckons that the difference between Men and Women is simple. Women read instructions to find out how something works. Men read the instructions to find out what they’ve done wrong.

            As always, she is correct.

      2. Hi Brian, my last in without looking at the hint was 7d, because of the double unches referred to, unchecked squares between the end of 4a and 9a in this case.

  2. One or two tricky ones in my opinion but still a very enjoyable puzzle
    My favourites were 1A 4A 19D.Many thanks to DT for the excellent review.

  3. Enjoyable fare today but no real favourites. Quite a few had me thinking – a dangerous thing after the weekend I’ve had, still to look at Saturday’s offerings as I’ve been that busy.

    1. I can only suppose you found an appropriate hotel in the end. Can you recommend it?

      1. Not going until September – this was just a really busy weekend, blown up laptop so new one required, trip to Safari Park all day Sunday, trip to cider farm Monday. Really enjoyed Monday :)

  4. Thought I might struggle with this – what with the grid and double unchers, but managed to complete without too much trouble. Last in 24a and 16d – I needed to look at your hints DT to make sure that I had the right answers for those 2 – thank you for your review. Thank you setter for an enjoyable puzzle. Thank heavens for anagrams !

  5. Morning
    think you mean steve cram for seb coe’s rival re: 1 across. Answer is cream!
    Love your website by the way.
    Kindest regards

    1. Welcome to the blog sue.
      I think that’s what Deep Threat wrote (i.e Cram was Coe’s main rival after Ovett disappeared from the scene).

  6. Definitely more challenging in places, though enjoyable for the greater part. I got 2D early on but needed the explanation to fully understand the word play. 3D was straightforward to work out, though a new word for me. I thought 26A was a tad weak. Liked 14D, 15D and 24A. Thanks to the setter and to DT for the review.

  7. ***/*** I thought it was going to be ** for difficulty but got held up a bit in the SW corner.

    Many thanks to the setter for a very enjoyable puzzle. Lots of great clues, with 18a my favourite. I originally put winkle for 19d, but kept worrying away at it because I couldn’t parse it correctly.

    3d was a new spelling for me, and I needed DT’s hints, for which many thanks, to understand fully the wordplay for 2d.

  8. The unusual grid did not seem to detract from a satisfying solve.
    Joint favourites 2d and 16d.
    Thanks very much .The toughie is a pleasant solve too .

  9. It took me ages to get going on this one today, but got there in the end with only 1 visit to the thesaurus. Couldn’t get 18a until i had all the crossing letters! Thanks for the explanation.

  10. Thanks to Mr Ron and to Deep Threat for the review and hints. Quite enjoyed it, but found it very hard going. Needed hints for 1a, I keep failing to think of Steve Cram, and 16&19d. Favourites were 4 & 22a. Was 3*/3* for me. Rain just stopped play at Headingly, I knew we should have enforced the follow on.

    1. I absolutely agree, someone in the England camp is mentally unbalanced given the weather forecast! Perhaps they wanted to give Compton another chance to fail, worse than Bopara.

      1. All’s well that ends well! Now for a tougher challenge – The Ashes!

        1. “All’s well that ends well” HUMPH!
          Note that we have been keeping a very low profile on the matter. And praying for rain. Ah well, there is always rugby.

          1. You would have to admit that this is the worst team you have sent over here since before the emergence of Sir Richard Hadlee in the seventies.

            1. Perhaps. But it was a close-run thing when they met on NZ pitches a couple of months ago. Afraid that we don’t seem to have a large pool of players to select from these days.

              1. And we will be cheering on your side in the ashes. Any team that can beat the Aussies is a friend of ours.

  11. Very enjoyable Xword today. Favourites 13a, 15a, 25a my favourites. Worked out answer to 3d but needed dictionary for confirmation. **/**** from me. Many thanks to DT & compiler

  12. Another enjoyable puzzle that solved steadily!

    Faves : 1a, 15a, 22a, 25a, 5d, 12d, 14d & 17d.

    Another sunny day here in NL but still cool! It will be June at the end of the week but it doesn’t seem to be coming in as flaming!

  13. Like Sweet William I thought ths was going to be a struggle but wasn’t too bad in the end. Very enjoyable with a super clue in 18a, love these type of clues.
    This to all concerned

  14. Rufus beat me by two clues yesterday and it looks like today’s setter will beat me by one which is 5d. No excuses as I used to work at The Coventry Theatre. One of my tortoises (Slowcoach) has died and the vatman wants £3,500, it is raining nonstop and I too have never come across an unch before let alone a double unch.

  15. I found this quite difficult so 3* and 4* for enjoyment.
    I never notice things like grids and double unches (or pangrams and ninas) although for once I did today when I was completely stuck with 24a and 7 and 16d. In desperation I eventually put ‘towering’ for 24a thinking that it might be how some egotistical boxer, unknown to me needless to say, might have described himself. This really didn’t help much with 16d but finally got that leaving me with the 24a problem again – oh dear! I was defeated by 7d which was silly.
    I’m not sure that I would call a 1d a pastry.
    I liked 11, 13 (once I realised that it didn’t begin with the usual crossword criminal) and 25a and12, 17 and 19d. My favourite was 15a.
    With thanks to Mr Ron for the crossword and to Deep Threat for the necessary hints.
    Absolutely chucking it down in Oxford – nearly 3/4″ already today and 9C. Think that I might make my usual weedy attempt at the Toughie.

    1. The Toughies 1ac and 1d are simple today Kath. I too an ignorant of Nina.

      1. Definitely a British expression – we tend not to have just headaches but 24a headaches! It can also be added to ‘great’ to mean something really enormous.

      2. I find myself dredging up from memory older British expressions like 24A that I haven’t heard for many a long year, but if it wasn’t for being a fan of British fiction and drama on Public Television I would be lost regarding the newer ones!

        1. I am a huge fan of Brit TV and order far too many DVDs from amazon.co.uk. This helps a lot with the new lingo in UK. I would be lost otherwise.

  16. I thought 15a was the best clue in a crossword that was mainly *. However in the south east corner particularly 16d and 24a I required assistance.Thanks to both setter and Deep Threat.

  17. All went reasonably well until the NE corner.
    Then I stared and stared, went away, came back. bit more estaring, then bingo.
    Overall, quite hard, I thought.
    Many thanks Mr,. Ron and DT for the review.

  18. As cryptic sue says, I don’t think the answer to 24 across is ever used by itself to mean huge, it’s always with an additional word, so I think that part of the double definition is a bit misleading. We found some clues quite difficult even with the hints, but managed to finish with a lot of help. Many thanks to setter & hinter.

    1. . . . neatly avoiding how long it took you as you haven’t said where from or to on the Circle line – could have been one stop!! :smile:

      1. Just as well it’s not a real Circle now, otherwise if the puzzle was difficult , it might have taken a few laps :-)

  19. An enjoyable puzzle from the to whom my thanks. Also thanks to Deep Threat – sorry about the weather!.

  20. This has been one of the hardest for me for such a long time, Maybe my mind was on other things but have to confess that I abandoned it with about 75% undone.

  21. Just moved back to UK after 8 years in Wellington, NZ (where this puzzle was printed about a month later), nice to complete this excellent puzzle on my first day back.
    As a budding compiler, I though this was a masterclass. Perhaps ominously though, I dud not know that unches had a name!

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