DT 27194 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 27194

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 27194

Hints and tips by Libellule

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty * Enjoyment ***

In memory of a friend who died suddenly and unexpectedly on Saturday.


1. Severe strain unsettled man (10)
{ASTRINGENT} – An anagram (unsettled) of STRAIN followed by another word for a man of refinement perhaps.

9. Lock up silver in church (4)
{CAGE} – Put the symbol for silver inside the abbreviation for the Church of England.

10. Make an impression on Telegraph, perhaps, but one gets fired before one retires! (10)
{TOUCHPAPER} – What you would light on a firework in order to set it off.

11. New missile contract (6)
{NARROW} – N (new) and the sort of missile you would fire with a bow.

12. It’s hell for nine at sea (7)
{INFERNO} – An anagram (at sea) of FOR NINE.

15. Return roster to dog warden (7)
{CURATOR} – Another word for a mongrel or vicious dog is followed by a reversed (return) word for a roll call.

16. The shame of having broken the law? (5)
{GUILT} – Remorseful awareness of having done something wrong is also the act of being responsible for the commission of an offence.

17. I take friend out in vessel (4)
{PAIL} – Another word for a bucket can be made from I with a three letter word for friend or chum outside.

18. This may lead us to the light! (4)
{CLUE} – What 18a is, think of Big Dave’s motto, “putting the words to ……”

19. Country porcelain (5)
{CHINA} – A country in Asia, or high quality ceramic ware.

21. Appeal to doctor in French first (7)
{ENTREAT} – EN (the French word for in) followed by a word that describes giving medical aid to someone.

22. Change gears, points and lubricants (7)
{GREASES} – An anagram (change) of GEARS followed by ES (East and South).

24. Beauty that totally occupies the viewer (6)
{EYEFUL} – A pleasing or attractive sight might be constructed from an organ of vision (viewer) and a word that means completely (full).

27. Blunders and gives short change (10)
{OVERSIGHTS} – An anagram (change) of GIVES SHORT.

28. Biting a pastry (4)
{TART} – Double definition, having a sharp taste, or a shallow pie.

29. Not a true origin of race? (5,5)
{FALSE START} – Because one of the competitors jumped the gun.


2. Opening for a machine operator (4)
{SLOT} – A narrow groove or slit, or a position of employment.

3. Go back and make a further concession? (6)
{RECEDE} – A word that means to withdraw from, could also mean to yield or grant something again.

4. Taking pictures topless — if careless, it’s how you may be caught (7)
{NAPPING} – Remove an S from a word that can mean to take photographs, to get another word for being unprepared or not vigilant.

5. See key goes to agent (4)
{ESPY} – E (musical key), and another word for a secret agent.

6. Expel a number of people, say (7)
{TURNOUT} – A number of people gathered for an event could if split (4,3) describe dismissing or discharging something.

7. Safety rail adapted for diversions in the nursery? (5,5)
{FAIRY TALES} – These fanciful stories are an anagram (adapted) of SAFETY RAIL.

8. Computer operators are indispensable members of the staff (3,7)
{KEY WORKERS} – People who type a lot, could also be vital employees.

12. Carries out tools (10)
{IMPLEMENTS} – Double definition, to put into effect, or instruments used in work.

13. Timorous person, eager to acquire the skill (5-5)
{FAINT HEART} – An archaic word for readily or willing, is followed by THE, and a word for an acquired skill.

14. Should duck? (5)
{OUGHT} – A word that is used to indicate obligation or duty is also an uncommon word for zero.

15. Held on — though a number will need a breather (5)
{CLUNG} – C (Roman 100) and a respiratory organ.

19. Decide not to proceed with the visit? (4,3)
{CALL OFF} – A phrase that means to cancel or postpone something, could also describe not going to see someone.

20. A performer appearing in part is tense (7)
{ARTISTE} – Another word for an entertainer is hidden between “part is tense”.

23. Come down on fire (6)
{ALIGHT} – To get down, or burning.

25. How to bring in little river fish? (4)
{REEL} – How you might pull in a fish using a rod, is R (river), followed by a long snakelike fish.

26. Start to wake up in prison (4)
{STIR} – Double definition, to be roused, or a slang term for jail.

The Quick crossword pun: (feller} + {part} = {fell apart}

77 comments on “DT 27194

  1. Encouragingly, despite having found this site over the week-end, I was actually able to complete this crossword in ** minutes on my IPAD edition of the Telegraph this morning, before this blog post. No doubt they will be more difficult as the week progresses!

    1. Paul

      In order to avoid discouraging lesser-able solvers, the publication of times is avoided on this site – that’s why we use the star convention for difficulty.

      Don’t let that stop you from commenting on future puzzles!

      1. Hello Paul, I was guilty of posting times back in the old days. You wont be the last one to do so either. Hello Dave, Might it be avoided if actively discouraged on the home page?

      2. Sorry, and message understood. My main point was the irony of finding this site, but actually being able to complete a crossword (not all that often an occurrence for me!) without using my new resource!

        I am sure I’ll need you most days:)

        1. Paul, whilst I didn’t quote a time on my first post ( I hope) , I’d have been very embarrassed, and still would be, but I get your Irony. Keep posting and if you are unsure of an answer or how an answer is arrived at then please ask. The Bloggers don’t bite, or the commenters!!!

  2. Thank you Libellule and setter for a very enjoyable puzzle this morning. Started off thinking I’d be stuck for ever, and then it all flowed nicely. Favourite was 13d, but I liked several especially including 18a!

  3. Thank you Rufus – if it was you. Enjoyable and liked 4d and 13d particularly. Thank you Libellule for your review and hints

  4. 1*/3* for me too. Last one in was 2d, where I kept wanting to put ‘stop’.
    Thanks to Rufus, and to Libellule.

    1. I couldn’t do 2d even with the hint. Hope that you had a good holiday and some sunny weather.

      1. Thanks Kath; we did thank you. A mixture of rain and sunshine, but managed to come back with a good suntan! :)

    2. I got the correct answer from the opening bit, but still don’t understand the machine operator bit. Can anyone shed some light on this? Thanks to all.

      1. You’re meant to think that the opening is an employment opportunity but it’s actually what you put your token in when playing a one-armed bandit.

        1. Thanks for that, I don’t think I would have picked up on the reference. To me they are just flashing things that light the way to the bar.

  5. This would have been * difficulty today for me but I got held up slightly in the NW corner – although, with hindsight, I’m not sure why – with 3d my last one in. So, this pleasant and gentle start to the week overall was *(*)/***; made even more enjoyable by the beautiful weather here in London.

    My only need for outside help was to reach for the BRB to understand the first four letters of 13d.

    Many thanks both to the setter, and to Libellule for the review.

  6. After the ST ‘Meanie,’ this was very enjoyable. Finished quickly before lights out last night. Last one is was 18a, I had to stare that one down and still wasn’t convinced that the answer was correct at first. But, after staring at it some more, I decided that it had to be partly based on a memory (may be incorrect) that this may be an oldie but goody. No stand-out favourites, but a pleasant start to the week. Thanks to Rufus and Libellule.

    1. You possibly remember it from “A Display of Lights (9)” – the title of a book by Val Gilbert.

      By the way, it was Libellule who suggested changing my original tagline “Putting the words to rights” to its present form.

  7. One * for sure. Fairly easy but none the less enjoyable for that. I didn’t need the hints but thanks to Libellule all the same and to Rufus for a good easy Monday morning puzzle

  8. Fun but untaxing today. After a very expensive weekend (booked our trip to Antibes), its nice to get back to normality even if there is a strange yellow thing in the sky. Hard to decide on a favourite today, but possibly 1A as it made me think a bit.

  9. I love puzzles like this. They make me feel as though I am actually getting somewhere! No doubt I will be brought back to reality later in the week.
    @Expat Chris (re your comment yesterday):
    I first attempted a cryptic crossword (DT, naturally) about 10 years ago with my in-laws, who do it regularly. I managed about 2 answers. Then a couple of years ago I started to attempt it regularly myself and now I can (almost) always finish, albeit usually with some electronic help and/or hints from this site. I have managed only 4 entirely on my own.
    I, too, would be interested to know how long other bloggers have been puzzling.

    1. Hello Amanda. I started very young. Mum and Dad both puzzled away and often when stuck with the last word, would pass the paper to me just in case i could help. Occasionally I could see a word that would fit the space but I rarely knew why it might be the right answer. Later Dad talked me through a few clues. I started on my own in my late teens and have tackled the Daily Telegraph Cryptic on an almost daily basis ever since. Forty years give or take a couple, I still enjoy my daily dose but prefer the harder puzzles later in the week. Ray T and Giovani are my favourite setters. I think Rufus and I may be twins separated at birth because I fly through his puzzles sometimes writing in answers before i have finished reading the clue. Spooky.

    2. Like Miffypops, since I was a teenager, and my grandmother introduced me to them.

    3. Have been doing the DT/ST cryptic for about 10 years with varying degrees of success. After finding this site my success rate and thus enjoyment has soared dramatically. Even to the extent that I usually submit my answers to the prize puzzles before the review…still waiting for my £50 Amazon vouchers though.

    4. AS I said yesterday, I’ve been doing the DT cryptic since I was 17 and I’m now a grandma. My first meeting with my future father-in-law, he was stuck on several clues and I (daringly) offered to help. We bonded over the back page. .

    5. Hi Amanda,
      My Mum always used to do the DT cryptic – sometimes she would get stuck on one or two clues and when my Dad came in he used to have a quick look and tell her what the answer was. He had absolutely no idea why but had just seen a word that would fit! I started doing the occasional clue when I was at home sometimes for days off when I was training to be a nurse so I was probably about nineteen or twenty – I was 64 yesterday! I only started doing them regularly much later – maybe in my thirties when kids had started school but before I went back to work. I’ve always enjoyed them but never more so than in the last three years since I found this brilliant blog – more thanks to BD et al. It has turned what can be a completely solitary hobby into something far more sociable which I love.

    6. Thanks, everybody. I entirely agree with you, Kath. I would never have got anywhere without this wonderful site. Btw I am 49 (as of last week).
      My father does the cryptic in his local paper but has taken it up relatively recently. I am grateful to the in-laws for starting me off.
      Beautiful day here in Wokingham.

      1. I started in Wokingham (puzzling, that is!) too. My Mother used to do the quickie whilst making the early morning tea and the cryptic over breakfast, when we lived in Wellington Road. So in those days we only got a look in on a ‘hard day’. Gave up the DT when I worked in London, as I left to travel before the paper boy was awake. Then a friend told me about the DT on line and Big Dave and I’ve been hooked ever since. Cracking day here too in Yateley…. so ‘on and off for 50 years and still struggle!

    7. I’ve been doing the DT puzzle for about 10 years. I completed my first one on holiday in Cyprus (it took me a week) & I’ve been hooked ever since. Since finding this site however it’s got serious with the DT, the Toughie, the NTSPP, the Gruaniad, the FT and the Week magazine all jostling for my attention. As I commented a few days ago I now dream about crosswords which must be wrong on many levels.

    8. I must have been reading The Telegraph now for over 20 years. The ability to even understand much of the cryptic crossword eluded me for quite a while, but I was drawn in when the paper ran a series of articles and example crosswords over a week or two period. After that, I actually started solving a few clues. Think I managed to win a book token once too!

    9. First started on the Grauniad when I was a postgrad so I’d be about 20 at the time. The guy I shared a lab with used to bring the paper in each day and we sort of drifted into looking at the crossword. There’s a lot of sitting around in chemistry while things are allowed to boil up and react with eachother so it was a pleasant diversion. After about 18 months we actually managed to complete one :grin:
      Got a real job a bit later and switched to the DT but I can’t remember why. Did the DT most days for about 10 years but then had a 20 year period when I hardly ever did any crosswords at all due to being too busy. Came back to them when I took early retirement a few years ago and suddenly had a load of free time..
      BTW, I’ll be 60 in September

    10. The DT was printed in our local paper and my Dad used to do it every day. When I came home from school for the holidays, he would read the clues to me and explain how he got the answers. When I left school I started doing them myself and have been doing them ever since. I am now 75 years old and still struggle from time to time. I don’t know whether it’s because I’m thick or I’m unfamiliar with Brit speak!

    11. 9 months. My break through came when I bought myself “The Chambers Crossword Dictionary”, that and reading all the hints posted each day by the kind, helpful experts.

    12. Many, many years ago! Started the cryptics in the 60’s … no improvement yet! But you never know!

      I’m a graduate of the Guardian School … Lavengro, Altair & the dreaded Bunthorne!

      1. Those were the days when you would stare blankly at your last few unsolved clues …. and then again stare at the solution the following day saying … but WHY?

        Thanks to BD & Fifteensquared & AnswerBank!

      2. I remember the mid 70’s Grauniads. Altair and Bunthorne, also Janus. Was there a ‘Hendra’ and a ‘Quantum’ as well or am I dreaming? Araucaria and Gordius were there and are still setting for the Grauniad, which is quite remarkable! My mate Des and I used to approach Thursday’s with a lot of trepidation as it was the Great Reverend Master, and I still feel a bit the same today!

        A long slow learning curve without the modern technology . . .

        1. Hi Pommers – Hendra (Bertie Danher) was a good friend and introduced me to the world of compiling in the early nineties. He died suddenly and unexpectedly in May 2002, and was the first person to have crosswords published in all 5 of the “heavies”

    13. 44 years next month – my dad solved the Times for years but was always too busy to show me how cryptic clues worked. When I started commuting to London, I ended up in a group who travelled together. One of the men was doing the DT cryptic and I asked him to show me how it ‘worked’.

      So 41 years of the DT cryptic and then the Toughie from No 1 to date. Since I “found BD and transformed my [crosswording] life”, I now do the Guardian, Times, Independent, and FT, and test puzzles too – two today – one from Hieroglyph and one from Alchemi.

      Mr CS claims its all getting a bit much as he swears I am speaking to him in cryptic sentences now. I think its really because he is getting hard of hearing :)

    14. I remember doing my first cryptic when I was still at school. I turn 70 next birthday. Have been doing them on and off ever since then, How enthusiastically, depending on what else was happening in my life. It is only in the last 3 or so years that this occasional solitary interest has become an obsessive passion. The big difference has been that what used to be a solitary occupation has become a shared activity, both with the other C becoming a keen solver too, sharing the experience through this Blog, and getting to “know” and appreciate the different setters and their styles.

    15. Hi Amanda -I think about 6 years, used to look at a blank grid, solve a few anagrams if they were blatantly obvious and a few hidden words, then discovered tinterweb. Family never did crosswords but a Grandad liked the 9 letter anagrams in a daily paper where you then have to get as many words as possible. That got me started buying dictionaries just to find new words and beat him, competitive me, never!!!

    16. Just look at what you started – I love it. This kind of thing is what makes this blog what it is. Well done to you! :smile:

  10. Sorry for your loss Libellule. This amiable little puzzle was an enjoyable accompaniment to my morning cups of tea. Can anybody recommend a decent dictionary/thesaurus app for a smartphone please?

    1. Hello Miffypops – I use the Chambers Dict. app, and the Collins Essential Thesaurus app, on my iPhone. Not the cheapest but after trying several, these seem the best. The Chambers app. Is definitely not as good as the BRB – but it’s definitely lighter :-)

      1. Thanks Poppy. I will look into those. I had a halfway decent app but now it will not me do anything without paying.

    2. On an IPad I use Chambers dictionary and thesaurus, I believe that this is the dictionary which the Telegraph setters use as base reference.
      If you have both apps they link together so that you can explore words fully.

    1. How do I stop it sending me all the other replies. My inbox has been jnjndated ever since I commented

      1. As far as I can see, only one person has so far subscribed to this post, and it’s not you. Is anyone else getting unsolicited comment emails?

      2. The only switch I’ve seen regarding receiving mails is at the bottom of this page or at the bottom of just below any posts you make (Notify me of followup comments). Make sure that’s unchecked. If it is checked, you should only receive mails relating to your original post (I believe), if you are getting copies of all the postings, then I guess that’s a job for Big Dave – over to you Boss.

  11. We actually took a little longer to finish this one than we usually do on a Monday. Can’t think of any particular reason why though. Must be sluggish brains. Good clues throughout as usual, so much enjoyment.
    Thanks Rufus and Libellule.

  12. A nice puzzle today, nice and gentle.

    Thanks for the review, needed to expand on some wordplay.

    Thanks to the setter for an enjoyable start to the day.

  13. Absolutely stuck on 18A and needed the hint…at which point I noticed that I had spelled the second word of 7D incorrectly! D’oh!! Nice puzzzle and not too taxing for a rainy Monday morning. 15A was my favorite. Thanks to the setter and to Libelulle. And I am sorry for your loss.

  14. Probably a 2* difficulty and 3* enjoyment from me, I think.
    I was terribly slow to get 1a for some reason and ended up being completely defeated by 2d – couldn’t even do it after reading the hint – pathetic! 18a also took ages – again pathetic, all the more so since the answer is more or less there every time I look at the blog.
    I thought that 14d was spelt with an ‘A’.
    I liked 10, 18 (eventually) 24 and 29a and 4, 7 and 13d.
    With thanks to Rufus for the crossword and particularly to Libellule for managing to do the blog on such a sad day.

  15. Fairly straight forward for me but Mondays puzzles generally are maybe the setters think that after the excesses of the weekend we need a gentle start to the week. Probably back on our heads tomorrow. Sorry for your loss Libellule and thanks for taking the time to provide a review.

  16. Have been an addict for the past 30 or 40 years motivated strongly to match or beat my father’s best time. He had proudly announced one day as he exited the bathroom “I just did it in 10 minutes!” His son I’m sad to say has never come close but takes comfort in being able to complete the majority unaided. I also remember my Dad did the ‘Xemenis” puzzle (not the correct spelling) over the weekends which where totally out my comprehension or reach. Talk about a toughie !
    Have been a US resident now for 46 years and love this blog for the weather comments….mad dogs and ……..!

  17. A quick but very enjoyable solve this morning. Thank you to Rufus and to Libellule for taking the time to do the hints today. Very sorry for your loss.
    Happy to have finished early as I have plenty to do around the house today. We have been looking after our 2 year old granddaughter as our daughter had a new baby late last week. First boy in the family for some time!
    I have been doing cryptics for 35 years or so but have really profited from this site for the last couple of years.

  18. Seem to be in a minority I thought this was a super fun puzzle .Nice to finish with a smile 2d when the token dropped .
    Must be the sun !
    Thanks very much and commiserations Libellule.

  19. Yes, luckily a quick job as busy today…

    Kath, Gazza & co, many thx for yr comments on my allotment on 27192. Didn’t get a chance to see them till today-
    Have replied on that page if you have time to look back. Cheers!

    1. Just read your comment from Saturday (I think). More good luck wishes for the allotment and lucky old you that it’s in a decent condition. Please tell me to shut up if it’s stuff you already know but be careful with your choice of poly-tunnel. We put one up just over a year ago. We have a biggish greenhouse but thought that it would lengthen our growing season. It did quite well last summer and we left it up over the winter – it didn’t like it!! It got VERY wet, then frozen so a bit crisp, then blown to bits by gales and by this Spring it was in pieces. The frame was still OK but not the cover. I suspect it depends quite a lot on where you live – we are in Oxford so not the ‘frozen north’ but very exposed to east winds.
      Thanks to everyone else for their tolerance of non-crossword stuff!

  20. Rufus always provides just the mental exercise that’s needed after the weekend to jog a lazy brain. I enjoyed this crossword, I can’t ever remember not enjoying one of his

    As regards when to start solving, I’m trying to interest my four-year old son in what he calls ‘cusswords’. He likes the black and white squares, which seems to me a good start

    1. Is that because the wee chap can’t yet pronounce the word or is it because of the words Daddy uses when he can’t get the answer?

  21. Thanks to Rufus and to Libellule for a fun crossword and masterly review. ( My condolences on your loss Libellule )

  22. Absolute gem ! Each clue perfect.It felt like eating my way through my favourite box of sweets (jelly bellies), without the calories.Thank you Rufus. And thank you Libellule, and sorry to hear you sad news.

  23. The accustomed gentle intro to the week from Rufus.

    Faves : 10a, 15a, 28a, 8d & 25d.

  24. Thanks to Rufus and to Libellule for the review and hints. Sorry to hear about your friend Libellule. Managed to finish this while sitting by a large duck pond in Parly Hill Fields, was quite straightforward, but entertaining. Started with 4d, finished with 1a. Favourite was 25d, but a lot made me smile including 7d. Was 1*/3* for me. meant to blog earlier, but just remembered!!

  25. I see its Micawber in the Tuesday Toughie spot tomorrow – his Morph in today’s Graun was great fun to solve so here’s hoping….

  26. What a lot of comments for a Monday! When is Mary back? Did she fill in the necessary paper work to be away for so long?

  27. Well you live and learn , did todays grauniad, eventually.. Morph is Micawber really?.

      1. Hi Pommers, know that site Micawber is one of my favourite setters but did not link him with morph whilst solving, how clever are these setters imho and how stoopid am I

        1. Only recently started to look at the Indy so have been checking up on who’s who, no names I recognise apart from Anax. Some are obvious, like Quixote, but the rest were a mystery. to me. A fair number of the DT and Grauniad setters turn up in the Indy so always worth a check on who the name belongs to.

          Watch out for Bannsider – ‘tricky’ doesn’t even begin to describe his work but it’s wonderful when the pennies drop!

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