DT 27190 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 27190

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 27190

Hints and tips by scchua

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ***

Another enjoyable crossword from Jay.  A couple at the end took slightly longer, so I’d rate this a 1.5-2* for difficulty, and 3* for enjoyment.  Thanks to Jay.

P.S. If you still find the mechanics of the hints a mystery, you should read the following, which should help in understanding.

Definitions are underlined in the clues (in blue).

Words in blue are lifted from the clues.

Italicised words are instructions for constructing the answer. Parentheses following these enclose the indicators from the clues. Eg. Reversal of(up, in a down clue).

[xxx;yyy] denotes that a synonym for xxx or yyy is required.

{ } are used to give the order of construction. Eg. Reversal of(up, in a down clue) AB + C is different from Reversal of(up, in a down clue) {AB + C}.

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.


1    Actress starts wearing shorts in emotional episodes (6)

{DRAMAS} : First letter of(starts) “actress” contained in(wearing) [shorts;shots;small quantities of an alcoholic drink, say, whisky].


What sort of an actress did you say?

4    The girl would love to be hugged by boy a great deal (8)

{SHEDLOAD} : [3rd person pronoun for a female] [a contraction for “would”, attached to a pronoun with an apostrophe] + { [letter that looks like 0;love in tennis] contained in(to be hugged by) [a boy] }.

10    Abrasive courage left after romance (5,4)

{STEEL WOOL} : [courage;a trait figuratively likened to a hard material] + { [abbrev. for “left”] placed after(after) [to romance;to court, say, a person of the opposite sex] }.

Answer: An abrasive found in the kitchen, say.

11    Doctor adopts exaggerated slogan (5)

{MOTTO} : [abbrev. for a doctor – not “Dr”] containing(adopts) [acronym for “too much”;exaggerated].

12    Weapon for police deploying a taser to protect head of government? (4,3)

{TEAR GAS} : Anagram of(deploying) A TASER containing(to protect) first letter of(head of) “government”.

13    Distance, for example, a wagon must reverse (7)

{YARDAGE} : Reversal of(must reverse) { [abbrev. for exempli gratia;for example] + A + [a wagon to carry heavy loads].

14    Fold or line found in solid fuel (5) {PLEAT} : [abbrev. for “line”] contained in(found in) [a simple solid fuel from marshes and bogs].

  Sean Connery as James Bond in Goldfinger.

15    Overwhelm one with assignment on Mother Teresa, say (8)

{INUNDATE} : [Roman numeral for “one”] plus(with) { [an assignment;an agreement to meet] placed after(on, in an across clue) [member of a religious order, say, Mother Teresa] }.

18    Taking much care, however short and harsh (8)

{THOROUGH} : alternative spelling for [however;nevertheless], sometimes with an apostrophe plus(and) [harsh;grating to the senses].

20    Footballer’s wife hounded by journalist on a salary (5)

{WAGED} : [acronym for partners, including girlfriends, of footballers, in the singular] plus(hounded by) abbrev. for [a journalist].

23    A bit worried about second degree produce from India (7)

{BASMATI} : Anagram of(worried) A BIT containing(about) [abbrev. for “second”, in time notation] + [one of the degrees a graduate may have].

Answer: An agricultural produce traditionally from India (and Pakistan).

25    Make good time, finally in new resort (7)

{RESTORE} : Last letter of(finally) “time” contained in(in) anagram of(new) RESORT.

26    Rebuke for being concealed in church (5)

{CHIDE} : [being concealed from view or discovery] contained in(in) [abbrev. for the Church of England].

27    Tense final letter held by confused Chinese philosopher (9)

{NIETZSCHE} : { [abbrev. for “tense” in linguistics] + [final letter in the English alphabet] } contained in(held by) anagram of(confused) CHINESE.

Defn: One far from being Chinese.

28    Girlfriend accepting one source of lie in a constant manner (8)

{STEADILY} : [informal term for a regular girlfriend] containing(accepting) { [Roman numeral for “one”] + first letter of(source of) “lie” }.

29    Nasty words regularly preceding evidence of debts (6)

{ODIOUS} : 2nd and 4th letters of(regularly) “words” placed before(preceding) [written notes acknowledging debts].


1    Raised position under workplace for computers (8)

{DESKTOPS} : Reversal of(Raised, in a down clue) [a position;a site] placed below(under, in a down clue) [a workplace;a table for working at].

2    Say a case of gangrene is normal (7)

{AVERAGE} : [to say;to assert] + A + the 2 outermost letters of(case of) “gangrene”.

Defn: Not too much and not too little.

3    A gorilla panics, coming across tail of ancient reptile (9)

{ALLIGATOR} : Anagram of(panics) A GORILLA containing(coming across) last latter of(tail of) “ancient”. Smoothly apt surface, if one ignores the fact that, in the wild, the 2 inhabit different continents.

5    Wait for the groom to do this! (4,4,6)

{HOLD YOUR HORSES} : Cryptic defn: Reference to what a groom (not the type that is getting hitched) will literally do. Another apt surface – for riders.

Answer:  Also answers this question:  “What do you say when a waitress offers you Tesco burgers?”

6    Mostly modest object (5)

{DEMUR} : [modest;shy;reserved] minus its last letter(Mostly).

Answer: To raise objections or show reluctance.


Shy and reserved?  Either that, or she’s telling you she’s got a headache and possibly showing reluctance.

7    Survive, being revealed before final (7)

{OUTLAST} : [revealed;in the open] placed above(before, in a down clue) [descriptive of something coming at the end;final].

8    Man running heard, with no answer! (6)

{DROVER} : Cryptic defn: Reference to a person who steers, well, steers for example, a collection of which is called a “heard” minus(with no) [abbrev. for “answer”].

9    Make-up on a leader of long walk (14)

{CONSTITUTIONAL} : [the make-up;the way in which something is composed, eg. your physical condition] placed above(on, in a down clue) A + first letter of(leader of) “long”.

Answer: A walk or mild exercise taken for the benefit for your physical condition. Nice surface – if you want to lead others on a long walk, you’ve got to be in good physical condition.

16    Cut workforce, and released capital by moving (9)

{DOWNSIZED} : Double defn: 1st: Reduced the number of employees in an organisation; a euphemism for firing workers; and 2nd: Freed up cash by selling your current house and buying a smaller one. I presume this is the specific meaning refered to.

17    The core of his endless forced inactivity (8)

{IDLENESS} : The central letter of(The core of) “his” + anagram of(forced) ENDLESS.

19    Crowd piled inside showing animosity (7)

{HOSTILE} : [a crowd;a great number of persons, eg. an army] + the 3 central letters of(inside) “piled”.

21    That hurt, supporting king with love for Marx (7)

{GROUCHO} : { [exclamation equivalent to “That hurt!”] placed below(supporting, in a down clue) [abbrev. for a former king] } plus(with) [letter that looks like 0;love in tennis].

Answer: Not Karl, but one of 5 brothers.

– “Alimony is like buying hay for a dead horse.”

– “I have had a perfectly wonderful evening, but this wasn’t it.”

– “I remember the first time I had sex – I kept the receipt.”

– “Anyone who says he can see through women is missing a lot.”

– “Marriage is a wonderful institution, but who wants to live in an institution?”

– “A man’s only as old as the woman he feels.”

22    It might calculate a bill in public transport (6)

{ABACUS} : [abbrev. for an “account” of monies owed;a bill] contained in(in) [a common form of public transport on the roads].

24    The last word on Germany’s change for the better (5)

{AMEND} : [“so be it”;a term used at the end of a prayer] placed above(on, in a down clue) [the International Vehicle Registration Code for Germany].

The Quick crossword pun: (seize} + {hide} = {seaside}


60 comments on “DT 27190

  1. Wonderful puzzle today, best one I’ve seen for ages. Spent ages trying to justify 8D and had just about given up when it clicked (in fact I logged on to check why the answer was right, but the blog wasn’t posted. Realised what the answer was and why, wrote it in and the blog appeared, phewwww, close run thing).

    I thought 21D was a superb clue, thanks Jay.

    Incidentally, does anyone know why I’m getting my spelling flagged here (seems to be trying to turn me into an American), is it the site or my new laptop?

    1. To add British English to Firefox:

      Right click inside a comment box
      Select Languages / Add Dictionaries
      Scroll down to English (British) and then Install Dictionary

      1. Thanks BD – I use Chrome.
        Anyone else needing to change from US English to UK English in Chrome –

        hit the Customise and Control button (stripy thing in top left),
        select Settings, scroll to the bottom and click Advance Settings,
        scroll down to Languages and click Language and Input Settings, you can change it in there and have the option to use it it for spell checking and /or to use it as the Chrome default.

  2. Found myself taking ages to work out 8d & needed the hints for that – thanks Scchua. Apart from NE corner being a bit more difficult for me, I reall enjoyed this puzzle, esp. 13a, 6 & 21d, but my favourite was 5d – haven’t heard that phrase for yonks. And didn’t realise that the answer to 4a is now common parlance. Thanks to the Setter for a great start to the day.

  3. A really fun puzzle. We had the same trouble as Skempie with 8d which was our last one in. A real DOH moment when the penny dropped so will have to call this one our favourite.
    Thanks Jay and Scchua.

  4. Thank you Jay – difficult for me but enjoyed the challenge. Agree with you Skempie about 8d. That was my last in after 4a and 10a. Thank you Scchua for your review and restrained photos ! Not many openings for you on that front today !

    1. I looked at 4s of footballers’ wives, but concluded that they were already suffering from overexposure, as you might say. So, for a change, there’re some fully clothed Dutch footballers’ wives. I must be getting mellow.

  5. Started off not being sure I was going to like this and ended up loving it! I was hung up on 4A for a while and 8D was the last one in (those two took almost as long as the rest of the puzzle). 8D was a runaway favorite today. Also really liked 21D. I did need the explanation for 1A, although the answer cound not have been anything but, so thanks to Schhua for that and for the review. Many thanks to Jay for the fun.

  6. **/*** for me today. Many thanks to the setter for a very enjoyable puzzle, and to Scchua for his review.

    I needed the review to find out the answers to 4a and 8d, which I just couldn’t get at all. My favourite was 5d.

  7. I am still very slow at these cryptics, but with a bit of perservation (and quite a lot of electronic help) I usually get there in the end. Normally when I do eventually get an answer I’m fairly certain it’s right. Today however, I had on several occasions to check with Scchua’s hints to see if my answer was correct before I inked it in.

    I’ve never heard “steady” used as a noun before (or without the qualifier of “going” – or in the form “steady girlfriend”) in 28a but I have to admit it is in Chambers.

    I’m also not sure that “date”==”assignment” in 15a. “Assignation” perhaps, but not assignment. That one I couldn’t find in the BRB.

    Although I got it, I didn’t like 8d. But that perhaps is just my inexperience.

    All that said, I don’t wish to appear negative because I thoroughly enjoyed this puzzle and particularly loved 21d when I decoded it!

    Thanks to Jay and to Scchua!

  8. Worryingly “saw” 8d straightaway which meant I had all the checking letters for 4a and still dwelt and dwelt despite it appearing relatively recently in a back-pager .Still made me smile (even more worrying) Enjoyable.
    Thanks to Scchua and Jay .

  9. 4d. I’ve no doubt such an event is very unpleasant but it always makes me smile when the road report on the radio refers to a ‘shedload’ on one of the motorways.

  10. Very steady and enjoyable today. 8d was the last one in. Judging by some of the comments, perhaps being a bit older is an advantage? I certainly remember ” steadies”!

    Who knew that philosopher had so many letters in it?

      1. I always think back to Monty Python’s Philosopher’s song (do that most times a philosopher is mentioned) and it nice to know that ‘There’s nothing Nietzsche couldn’t teach ya ’bout the raising of the wrist’

        1. “You would not enjoy Nietzsche ,sir.He is fundamentally unsound.”

          1. Thanks you’ve made my mind up. I was going to start reading Terry Pratchett’s latest but I’m afraid the current literary genius will have to wait until I revisit the old master , dear Plum. What ho!

      2. Oh, wot a show-off!
        I only have the Readers Digest version…………. Actually no I don’t.

        1. It was one of those “books to read before I die” but I felt that if I continued with it that might happen sooner rather than later!

  11. Thanks to Jay and scchua for the review and hints. I’ve really struggled all week, and today was no exception. A very good puzzle from Jay today, I enjoyed the challenge, but needed the hints for 8d, 18a and 28a. Favourites were 4 & 13a and 5d which was a penny drop moment. Was 4*/4* for me. Awful cold weather in Central London.

    1. My central heating has come on today.
      Still, mustn’t grumble, it’s not bad weather – for November…

  12. I don’t understand “for the better” in 24d. Any change might be for the worse.

  13. took me all of lunchtime and then needed some help with 18a got ROUGH for harsh but couldn’t think of the contraction for however THO. The faculty of Walamro gave me 27a also but had to look up how it was spelt. Favourite and first in was 12a nearly put STUN GUN but realised that was too obvious (and didn’t fit with the 1d).
    Thanks to setter and scchua for the review and hints.

  14. 3* for difficulty and 4* for enjoyment from me today – in other words I really enjoyed it and found it quite tricky.
    I didn’t have trouble with 4a as it’s an expression used ad nauseam by a good friend of ours. 8d took me for ever to even get an answer (tried for ages to think of a man’s name that would fit) – I needed the hint to explain that one. Also needed the hint to explain 1a.
    The others that I found difficult were 13a (don’t know why) 18a, and 28a and 5d. I had to look up a list of philosophers to find one that would fit 27a and then had to look at how to spell him about three times.
    I liked 4, 18 and 20a and 2 and 3d. I’m not sure if my favourite is 5 or 21d – that seems to get round my problem with having more than one favourite!
    With thanks to Jay and scchua.
    If we don’t get some warm sunny weather soon I’m going to cry! :sad:

    1. I was in Egypt last week – 40C+ every day and not a cloud in the sky. Seems like a million miles away, and a million years ago…

    2. Poor you. Looks like summer has arrived with a bang here. It’s going to be in the 90s all week. Way too early.

      1. Thanks a bundle. I am writing this dressed in a sweatshirt and quilted overshirt with the lights on. I refuse to turn the central heating back on – it feels like giving in somehow.

        1. In 1984 when I was waiting for No 1 son to arrive, the weather was as bad as this if not worse, from the day he was born, the weather improved so much so that we had to devise ways of keeping him cool. His birthday is tomorrow and I am hoping for a repeat of the summer of 84. Mr CS says there’s not much hope but then he always was a cheerful soul, not.

          1. Then let’s hope for a repeat of 1984. Talking of No 1 son – when is No 1 grandson/daughter due?

          2. please Sue,I would be grateful if you could send me a scan of jumbo no 1047 as i’ve looked for it all over in vain,the jumbo bug has really bitten me.Thanks.

        2. Hi Spindrift, God you sound just like my husband who refuses to believe it’s bloody freezing here in Spain just because it’s the end of May!!

      2. We have been in the 90s for some time, but yesterday and today it has been cool in the 70s. Everything seems upside down. Too cool to go in the pool, rats.

        1. In the 70’s – cool – to cool to go in the pool – you must be having a laugh! Really sorry for you, NOT!
          11C here and pouring with rain again – just off to repair the Ark that we had to build last year. :sad:

  15. All I know about Fred the philosopher is that he had a theory about the Ubermensch (or Superman). My German teacher said that he was in fact a rather weedy type and that when he came into a room it felt as if someone had just gone out. Useful for crossword setters, though.

  16. Thank you Jay for making me laugh with your great crossword, it certainly cheered me up on this dreich day. 8d was the last one in for me too . I was a bit slow with the top right hand corner until I suddenly remembered 4a from a previous crossword. I loved 10a,5d& 21d. :smile:

  17. Well, I never did get 8d and had to look at the answer, and then it took ages for penny to drop. So clever, it has to be the best clue today. Brit speak again at 4a and 20a, but I remembered 4a from previous puzzles. I loved the Groucho quotes, thanks scchua. Very satisfying workout.

  18. Very enjoyable though quite difficult, I thought.I loved sschua’s quotes from the Marx brothers.Thanks !

  19. Time being my measure of trickiness. this was quite tricky in parts.
    So, *** at least
    1a and 8d were simply brilliant, I thought.
    Many thanks Jay and scchua for the review

  20. Is it me but are the explanations harder than the clues?
    I guess it must be me!

    1. No Michael, it’s not just you. We try to get the answers, then try to work out the explanations.

    2. Lots of people find scchua’s hints less easy to follow than others – not least because they are set out completely differently to how all of us spoilt brats had come to expect! For what it’s worth my advice would be to read his instructions, then read them again, and again if necessary. Then find a simple clue to which you have, and understand, the answer. After that you look at scchua’s hint for it and then you will begin to understand how he constructs his hints.
      I think that he was the blogger who started underlining the definition in his hints – this has been adopted by most of the other bloggers and, I think, works really well.

    3. If you can do better BD is always looking for helpers, failing that look at other blogs then realise how lucky we are on this site

      1. Yes, I think we are incredibly lucky, this is such a helpful site. Before I found this blog, if I didn’t know a word, that was the end of the line until the answers came out, and then sometimes I wouldn’t know the “why”. This is a great site.

      2. For goodness sake, doing cryptic crosswords is not life & death, lighten up folks. I am sure Scchua does the hints because he enjoys doing them & I am not obliged to enjoy his particular format in the same way as some of you don’t enjoy every crossword.

    4. Sometimes I find Schhua’s hints are, well, a bit cryptic, too. But as Merusa says further down, we are lucky to have this site. If you don’t understand the hint, shout out! Bloggers and solvers will jump in and help. It’s just a big extended multi-national family here.

      1. Sorry to disagree slightly Chris .for me Scchua’s dissections are the opposite of cryptic they help ,if you spend the time ,in the solving process going forward .
        As you and others I am grateful for the time ,effort,assistance freely given
        By Scchua and all the team I would not dream of criticising for a nanosecond .

  21. Thus was a hopeless set of clues not clever not cryptic not any sense and no humour – hated it ! Not usual telegraph wit or pleasure

  22. Enjoyed the whole puzzle with the exception of 8D which I found particularly obscure in its rationale – even though it was a DROVER.

    1. hello James,are you a Kenyan like me?If so,please contact me so that we can compare notes in this hobby.My no is 0722 66 14 18.

  23. Thank you so much Tilsit and BD,yes that was what I wanted as my news vendors did not have it this week,now let me get weaving.

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