DT 27243 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 27243

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 27243

Hints and tips by Deep Threat

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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

Good morning from Bellingham in Northumberland, where we’re sending a few days in the caravan, enjoying the sunshine between the torrential downpours.  The broadband connection here is glacially slow, so no pictures or videos this week.

This puzzle took me a little longer than I expected, with 12a being last in. But once I’d finished I wondered why it had taken so long…

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.


3a           Swinging gate — to advance, step on it (3,1,4,2)
{ GET A MOVE ON } Anagram (swinging) of GATE followed by a phrase (4,2) meaning to advance.

8a           Two articles carried by French priest (6)
{ FATHER } An indefinite and a definite article inside an abbreviation for French, giving a title used by Catholic (and some Anglican) priests.

9a           Firm forged our steel (8)
{ RESOLUTE } Anagram (forged) of OUR STEEL.

10a         I’ve a trunk that’s to be brought out of the plane (8)
{ ELEPHANT } Anagram (to be brought out of) THE PLANE.

11a         Reach Ottawa’s centre in a vessel (6)
{ ATTAIN } A (from the clue) and a metal vessel with the middle two letters of OtTAwa inside.

12a         Prizes left, causing misery (10)
{ SPOILSPORT } The definition here is a person, made up of a word for the prizes of war and the naval term for left.

14a         Ergo ant, perhaps? It’s insignificant (2,5,6)
{ NO GREAT SHAKES } A reverse anagram, where the result (ERGO ANT ) is in the clue, and the answer consists of the anagram fodder (2,5) and the indicator.

20a         Nerve and audacity shown in hold-up (10)
{ BOTTLENECK } Cockney rhyming slang for nerve, and a word for audacity often preceded by ‘brass’, making a traffic hold-up.

22a         Tricky question trapping university show-off (6)
{ POSEUR } University inside (trapping) a tricky question or puzzle.

23a         Nail extracted from console leg (5,3)
{ PANEL PIN } A light nail comes from a synonym of console often preceded by ‘instrument’, and a slang word for a leg.

24a         Piece, soft piece (8)
{ PARTICLE } The musical abbreviation for ‘soft’ followed by a piece or item in a newspaper.

25a         Modest teas prepared after church (6)
{ CHASTE } An abbreviation for Church followed by an anagram (prepared) of TEAS.

26a         Bluster by Anthony Burgess character dropping English porcelain (5,5)
{ CROWN DERBY } A four-letter word for bluster or brag followed by the eponymous hero of a series of comic novels by Anthony Burgess with the initial E removed (dropping English) giving a variety of porcelain manufactured in a Midlands city.


1d           Follows page in state of panic (8)
{ TAILSPIN } A verb meaning follows, followed by Page and IN (from the clue).

2d           Huge part of London, according to report (8)
{ WHOPPING } An adjective meaning huge which sounds like (according to report) the part of London where Murdoch’s papers are produced.

3d           Greek food for important people (6)
{ GREATS } An abbreviation for Greek followed by an informal word for food. I wasn’t impressed with this clue.

4d           Cutting  pastry (4)
{ TART } Double definition: an adjective describing a cutting remark; and a noun for a pastry often containing jam or fruit.

5d           Male is lighter in unfair sporting contest (8)
{ MISMATCH } Male followed by IS (from the clue) and something used to light a fire.

6d           Gentleman’s gentleman needed before a dance (6)
{ VALETA } A personal manservant followed by A (from the clue), giving a variety of waltz.

7d           Abroad, suitable firm (6)
{ OUTFIT } Abroad, as in — and about, followed by suitable or apt, giving an informal term for a firm or company.

13d         Group round court, extremely elegant (5)
{ OCTET } A group of musicians made up of a round letter, an abbreviation for court, and the first and last letters (extremely) of EleganT.

15d         Eastern pair hugged by doctor? Yes, hugged (8)
{ EMBRACED } Eastern followed by the letters which may be found after a doctor’s name with a pair (of pheasants or grouse) inside it.

16d         Play card, beyond doubt wanting clubs (4,4)
{ KING LEAR } A Shakespeare play is made up from one of the court cards and an adjective meaning ‘beyond doubt’ with the initial C removed (wanting Clubs).

17d         Room in church — it’s scary, somehow (8)
{ SACRISTY } Anagram (somehow) of IT’S SCARY. A room for keeping vestments, church furnishings, sacred vessels and the like.

18d         Recent tune? Nonsense (3,3)
{ HOT AIR } Something which is recent as in — from the press, and a word for a tune or song, giving what may be produced by someone talking nonsense.

19d         Give worst cry of pain (6)
{ BESTOW } A verb meaning ‘to worst’ (which looks as though it should be the opposite) followed by a cry of pain.

21d         Folly of girl crossing North America (6)
{ LUNACY } A girl’s name (the one in the Peanuts cartoon who always took the football away just before Charlie Brown could kick it), wrapped around North America.

23d         Fruit partly ripe, a raspberry (4)
{ PEAR } Hidden in the clue.

The Quick Crossword pun {NIGH }{ TOWEL } = { NIGHT OWL }

68 comments on “DT 27243

  1. Good morning DT, a mixed bag for me today, some really clever clues, like 14a and 10a (thinking ‘jumbo jet’ at first! )
    some clues where I thought the reading a little ‘iffy’ and others straight forward, not too many problems today for me, which I’m glad of as my concentration is useless at the moment,as our other dog Shadow, who is Angels sister (we had to have Angel put to sleep in February) has now developed the same condition despite being on preventative treatment and has to see the eye specialist tomorrow, apparently Bassetts and Cockers are two breeds renowned for glaucoma and as they are a 1st cross of both breeds…, anyway thanks for hints DT I am off to read them now

    1. Oh dear – sorry about your dog. I’m not surprised that the concentration isn’t too good – do hope that the vet has something helpful/optimistic to say tomorrow.

  2. A definite puzzle of two halves for me. I completed the NE and SW in 1* time but needed 3* time to do the NW and SE, with a little help too from DT in the SE.

    My problem in the SE was that I put “change” as the third word for 14a as my first answer in, which rendered 16d and 17d impossible. I considered that 17d could be an anagram but was so sure I had 14a right that I thought the anagram indicator must be a clever piece of misdirection by the setter :sad:

    Still stuck, I checked DT’s hint for 16d and the penny dropped that it didn’t start with an N! I then corrected 14a which made 17d simple to finish.

    Many thanks to Mr Ron for 3* enjoyment, and to DT for his review, which in addition I needed to understand the wordplay for my answer for 26a.

  3. I quite like this one, and was on the same wavelength as the setter for most of the time. 10a was my favourite:)

  4. Quite a clever crossword today with a fair amount of misdirection-which is as it should be . Liked 14a and 16d,guessed the porcelain in 26a-thanks DT for the Burgess bit-was he the famous spy? agree with a**/*** but would give a **** for enjoyment ,good start to the day.

    1. errr no, Guy Burgess was the famous spy, Anthony Burgess wrote (among other things) A Clockwork Orange

      1. ‘Enderby’ is the ‘famous’ or in my case ‘not so famous’ Anthony Burgess character – you live and learn!

      2. Thanks, remember the film and the ‘droogs’ thought a spy would make a rather good author!

  5. Thanks to the setter and to Deep Threat for the review and hints. Started with 3a, finished with 19d, no real problems, an enjoyable solve. Favourites were 14 & 24a. Was 1*/3* for me. Raining in Central London.

  6. Certainly took me longer than usual, but an enjoyable puzzle nonetheless. Thank you setter and thank you DT for your review. Enjoy your break. We go up to Northumberland once a year in February to do a bit of birdwatching, but have been up there at this time of year. The beautiful beaches are certainly rather quieter than Devon and Cornwall.

  7. Wonderful puzzle today, not too easy but totally solvable (even if it took ages to work out the ‘why’ of 16D). Favourite today was 14A – just my sort of clue (bit warped but fun to work out).

    Hoping that the weather is a bit better today – had a severe thunderstorm yesterday afternoon (also lost the satellite link to the telly at lunch time) – 3/4 of an hour constant thunder interspersed with lightening and serious thunder, hail and torrential rain, very scary.

    If anyone’s interested in the Bristol area, I’m going to be on Jack FM tomorrow (8:30ish) answering a little radio quiz (What Do You Know About Our Show). I expect to get a nice round score (ie 0)

  8. Although I was going round in circles with 12A I found this a pleasant romp,favourite today has to be 14A.many thanks to DT for putting me straight on a couple of clues.

  9. I was definitely not on the same wave length as the setter! But some clever clues. 14a defeated me and so did 26a as I could only think of Alex for the character. Probably ***star for difficulty but thanks to setter and Deep Threat for hints which I certainly needed a few of today.

  10. Not at all bad, found 14a the toughest and still not sure where the third word was indicated in the clue. Got 26a more by deduction than following the clue since I’m not a fan of Anthony Burgess.

    1. Dick, it’s a reverse anagram as explained by DT in his hint, where the answer contains the anagram indicator, in this case the third word of the answer.

      1. No – I don’t get it either – DT says it’s a reverse anagram where the ‘anagram fodder’ – which I suppose he means ‘No Great’ – plus the anagram indicator – in this case ‘perhaps?’ – gives the answer??

        So we’ve got ‘no great perhaps?’ – somehow becoming ‘shakes’ – no I don’t get it – I must be missing something or misunderstand the explanation(?) – sorry!

        1. The anagram indicator is the answer (shakes) If you ‘shake ‘No Great’, you can gye Ergo Ant, hence this is a reverse anagram in that the indicator is in the answer

        2. I’ll try to explain but I hope I don’t up confusing you.

          The answer is “no great shakes”. If instead that had been part of a clue “shakes” would be indicating to you to make an anagram of “no great”. One possible anagram of “no great” is “ergo ant”, i.e. “ergo ant, perhaps”

          Therefore you have two “definitions” the first being an anagram leading you from the answer to to “ergo ant” in the clue, and the second is the answer itself means “insignificant”.

          Hope that helps. I’m keeping my fingers crossed …

          1. Er – I vaguely understand – I hope these reverse anagram don’t catch on!

            Thinking about it maybe it would be more understandable if the ‘reverse’ aspect had been proper words rather than ‘ergo ant’.

            I think maybe this needs some more work on my part!

            1. I do agree that “ergo ant” is a bit contrived.

              One of my favourite clues of this type was shown to me by my father long, long before my recent conversion to a cryptic crossword addict but it’s stuck in my brain ever since:

              GEGS (9,4)

              1. I was just going to offer the exact same example! I think it was originally in The Times. I’ve never seen a better clue!

              2. I actually used this clue in a crossword I tried to compile for some friends in Saudi. Whole thing was quite well received except I’d managed to spell one of the answers wrong D’Oh

                1. Right – I got it – I was trying to fit ‘Breaking eggs’ in 9 & 4 and then the penny dropped – but it’s going to be a fair while before I can forgive ‘Ergo Ant’. I think my brain is a little ‘scrambled’ at the moment – wink, wink!

              3. I think 9. 9 (9) in one of last month’s Toughies is also up there with GEGS.

  11. Like Rosie G., I was definitely not on the setter’s wavelength today. The NW corner sayed virgin for quite a while until the pennies began to drop one by one. 20A took some time and 16D was the last but one in, though I never did fully understand why. 26A came easily but again I had no idea why. I was defeated by 24A, having had pastiche stuck in my mind throughout (and it fitted with the checking letters). Some very clever clues (12A and 13D). A struggle, but enjoyable. Thanks to the setter, and to DT for the needed explanations.

    Nervous about trying the toughie now….

  12. Solved this morning on my laptop, sitting on the balcony looking out to sea in Marseille, where it is lovely and warm and clear blue skies today. My solving time was a little slower; I prefer to print a puzzle off and use pen and paper.. but our printer is too big for the holiday suitcase :)
    Many thanks to setter, and to Deep Threat.
    What next.. beach? beer on the balcony? afternoon siesta?… such tough choices!

  13. Very good – I needed a fair bit of help from he Blog today after getting into a mix-up by putting ‘OUTRE’ into 13d – I managed to misread the clue and thought it was a hidden word!!

    Once this was sorted out it all went swimmingly!

    Thanks to all!

    1. Never abandon it, just read it carefully, go for a walk and when you come back you’ll be able to do some of it.
      Don’t know why it works but it does!

  14. Very enjoyable crossword today which took me about the same time as the toughie, thanks to the setter and to DT.

  15. Very hot in Cyprus today and iPad nearly overheated, as did I trying to get into the setters mind. Got there eventually even though I thought some clues were a bit sketchy. Good fun though and nobody died, just.

  16. Enjoyable puzzle today….thank you setter. Dear DT, have you ever stayed at Powburn in Northumberland….it’s a lovely site & popular with bird watchers too. Not that I want my lovely Northumberland to become too popular. Among its attractions are the quiet roads & the wonderful scenery both rural & coastal.

  17. 14a ( my favourite) sums up my golf this morning and the time taken to solve the SE corner .lovely puzzle .
    Thanks to setter and DT – Northumbrrland with rather better weather than you had in France (hopefully)

  18. Credit to the setter for loads of misdirection in his/her clues. I love that penny drop moment where an answer comes to mind, but then you have to work out why. In awe of 14a. Do we know who the setter is?

  19. I thought this was a very enjoyable puzzle and not too difficult once I got started – 2* difficulty and probably 4* for enjoyment.
    12a and 1d were my last answers.
    I got 26a from the checking letters (not difficult as I had five already in) – I’ve heard of Anthony Burgess but that’s about as far as it goes.
    I also only got 23a once I had loads of letters in – didn’t know what a console is and haven’t heard of a panel pin.
    I really liked 3a – my grandmother always used to say NOT 3a but “get a wriggle on”!
    I liked 10, 14 and 20a and 2 and 18d.
    With thanks to Mr Ron and Deep Threat.
    Heavy rain ALL morning but stopped now and getting very warm again.

  20. Yes, it was fun.
    Like some others, half went in easily and the remaining half was a stretch.

    Liked 13, 14, 20 and 22,
    Not keen on 19.
    Guessed the porcelain as, like others, only familiar w. Clockwork Orange.

    The Valeta took me right back to my childhood, dancing with aunties “Stately as a galleon……..”. I can still remember all the correct steps. I wonder if I will one day have any use for that? I think I would rather remember people’s names for more than 5 sec.

    We managed to avoid rain showers so far.Allotment needs more weeding and yet more spinach, chard and courgettes for dinner………..you can get fed up with green….

  21. NW corner was a nightmare for me. I also had jumbo jet like Mary. It made me laugh when I saw the hint and realised it was wrong.
    Don’t know anything about London so needed the hint for that and as for 1d and 12 across even the hints didn’t help although I got there in the end.
    I, like others, hope we don’t have that shakes thing again.

  22. Not difficult. I loved 14ac and 19d. 19d plays on two of my favourite synonym/antonym words. Best and worst. Lovely. Too many old chestnuts repeated today. 10,11,12, 24, and 25ac all went in with a read remember write groan. Ta to all.. Lunch is being prepared. I’m off to eat it. With Ice cold Chablis

      1. I have been here for a long time Dave as Miffypops. My new ipad asked for a email address and name so I put them in. C’est la vie. Love the site.

  23. I loved this one, though I did get 24a wrong! I worked out 23a and googled it. I loved 10a and 14a, I thought the “shakes” thing very, very clever. Thanks to all.

  24. Not difficult today. I loved 14ac although it took an age to get the final word and 19d plays on two of my favourite synonym/antonym words. Best and Worst. lovely. I felt that this puzzle had too many old chestnuts repeated today. 10, 11,12, 24, and 25ac all went in with a read, remember, write, groan. Is Elephant = The Plane the oldest of all anagrams? Or could that be Carthorse = Orchestra. Ta to all. See you tomorrow.

    1. I’m very confused – as I started to read this comment I knew that I’d just read it. I was right – I had but with a different name – same picture though.

  25. A really nice puzzle today spoiled for me by 14a and 26a. Whilst I had the answers to each, the reverse anagram is a bit of a nonsense IMHO and I thought Anthony Burgess was a spy! Can see the full answer, the Crow but no idea who on earth the character is. Could someone enlighten me for future reference. Thx.

    1. See hints, but crow=bluster and the character is enderby, without the e, gives crown derby.

  26. Incidentally, the explanation of 20a is a little dubious – cockney rhyming slang for ‘nerve’ is not ‘bottle’ – people use the phrase ‘losing your bottle’ when referring to chickening out of something, but as far as I know it’s used like this :-

    Arse = Glass = Bottle and Glass = Aristotle = Aris

    So, when someone refers to another as ‘having lost his bottle’, they’re talking about something completely different!

    That’s my ha’porth on the subject – for what it’s worth!

  27. One of the books to keep me company for the next few days on holiday is The Times Cryptic Crossword book 17. It is rather spooky that I’ve just poured myself a drink, opened the book, started on puzzle one, and the clue to 14a is ‘Little tremors are unimportant (2,5,6)’, which is in virtually the same position on the grid as 14a is in this puzzle, and the same answer!

  28. I agree that some of it was difficult and the rest not. Funnily enough , I got 14a. and 26a but the latter was a pure guess. T hanks to DT and setter.
    And thanks , RD, there isn’t and reply button on your remark.

  29. We thought this was a lot of fun. Have put a tentative note in the margin that we thought it might be by Petitjean but a bit hesitant to admit this as most people identified the wrong setter (attributing a Shamus to PJ) quite recently. Loved the reverse anagram.
    Thanks Mr Ron and DT.

    1. I don’t want to stick my neck out here but I don’t think it’s tricky enough for PJ. Also no food or music clues – who knows – I’m really bad at spotting compilers unless it’s Ray T!

      1. Think the multi-word answers would count out RayT and its not Thursday yet either. Generally short clues though. Maybe we will never know.

        1. I didn’t mean that I thought it was a Ray T – just meant that his crosswords are the only ones that I can spot a mile away.
          I liked your comment in the ‘other place’ about the connection between two clues!

  30. For me this was an entirely different level of challenge to yesterday’s puzzle, I suspect that would be the case for many, but maybe not? As a non-religious person I always struggle with answers like 17d even though it was obviously an anagram. Thankfully google allows candidate words to be found. Several distractions in the clues successfully blew me off course for quite a while.

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