DT-27246 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 27246

Hints and tips by crypticsue

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ****

It is cloudy and thundery in East Kent this morning but  marginally less humid than yesterday which is good for sitting in the upstairs ‘office’ typing the blog of this excellent Giovanni puzzle.

Paper solvers like me will probably have noticed that there are a lot of squares to fill in the grid, and lots of words in the clues too.  The on-line print version doesn’t look half as ‘busy’.    The NE corner did hold out for longer than the other three put together, but the whole thing was a great pleasure to solve.

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           Somewhat lacking in intelligence? That’s unfair (1,3,5)
{A BIT THICK}   An informal expression meaning more than one can reasonably be expected to put up with sounds like a description of someone lacking in intelligence.

9a           Tiny mother’s lowest points (6)
{MINIMA}  The lowest points reached.   A combining form meaning small and an informal way of referring to your mother.

10a         A time to get something for Christmas? That’s now! (2,7)
{AT PRESENT}   A (from the clue), the abbreviation for time, and something we all hope to receive at Christmas.

11a         We’ll roll round in grass in US city (6)
{NEWARK}   A reversal of  WE (roll around) inserted into a slang term for an informer (grass also being such a term for a police spy).

12a         Cop lied about nothing with good companion of his? (6,3)
{POLICE DOG}   An anagram (about) of COP LIED plus O (nothing) with G (good) at the end.

police dog

13a         Former archbishop in Pope’s place with men around (6)
{ROMERO}   Very clear wordplay which helped as I didn’t know the Archbishop of El Salvador who was assassinated in1980.   The city where the Pope lives followed by a reversal of the two letters by which ordinary soldiers (men) are known, especially in crosswords!!

17a         End of the script providing spaces for printer (3)
{EMS}   The last letter (end) of thE followed by the two letter abbreviation for manuscript produce measurements used by printers based on the width of a lower case example of the thirteenth letter of the alphabet.

19a         Ape  to go into space (4,3)
{TAKE OFF}   To ape or mimic; the mode of leaving  earth for a space flight.

take off

20a         Difficult to get hold of answer in official report (7)
{HANSARD}  Insert the abbreviated form of answer into a synonym for difficult to get the printed reports of debates in Parliament.

21a         Go in larder — take out pan (3)
{TRY}   Remove (take out) PAN from another word for larder.

23a         Type who’s let us all down? That’s a sure bet! (6)
{BANKER}  The first part of the clue is a cryptic definition of the money men who are once again making news headlines this morning.   The same word can also be used to describe something that is certain to win and worth placing a bet on.

27a         Close in on fantastic enamelwork (9)
{CLOISONNE}  An anagram (fantastic) of CLOSE IN ON  produces a type of enamelwork.  Fans of the Antique Roadshow like me will have heard of this but had to work out quite how to spell it!cloisonne28a         Attractive person that’s accepted by the pupil (6)
{EYEFUL} An informal way of referring to an attractive person can also mean as much as the organ of sight can take in.

29a         Speech in the office that comes from an autocrat? (9)
{DICTATION}   I presume from this wordplay  that Giovanni has obviously met some of the ‘absolute rulers’ I  worked for in the past, taking  notes of their ‘speeches’ in shorthand, ready for typing and circulation!

30a         Trees? A landowner’s getting groups of two and three chopped (6)
{ALDERS}  Start with A (from the clue) and then remove (chopped) the second and third letters  (group of two) and fifth, sixth and seventh letters (group of three) from LANDOWNERS.

31a         Hired as a professional accountant? (9)
{CHARTERED}   Hired by contract.   Professional accountants can also call themselves this if they have qualified under the regulations of their professional body granted a type of deed by the sovereign.


2d           Saying book must be taken up for bed (6)
{BOTTOM}  The bed of the sea –   a reversal (taken up in a Down clue) of a short sentence adopted as a phrase and the abbreviation for book.

3d           Go round home and call it a day? (4,2)
{TURN IN}   A verb meaning to go round followed by the two-letter word we use to say we are home produce an informal way of saying that we are going to go to bed (call it a day)

turn in

4d           Son occupying one type of accommodation or another (6)
{HOSTEL}   Insert the abbreviation for son into an establishment with rooms to let to get a type of less grand accommodation.

5d           Trick to get class to fall in line (7)
{CONFORM}   A trick or swindle followed by another word for a school class.

6d           Keep out of sight, certain to be reactionary (9)
{HIDEBOUND}  Stubborn, bigoted or reactionary –  a verb meaning to keep out of sight followed by another way of saying certain or sure to be.

7d           Bishop, one subsequently gangster — having two sides! (9)
{BILATERAL}   The abbreviation for a Bishop in a game of chess, A (one), an adverb  meaning subsequently or at some time after, and the abbreviated Christian name of the gangster, Mr Capone.

8d           Support golfer from remote country area (9)
{BACKWOODS}  A verb meaning to support followed by the surname of Tiger the golfer.

14d         Country assistant‘s attempt to get starring role when about 50 (6,3)
{STABLE LAD}   Someone who assists horse owners  – an informal word meaning to have a go at something, followed by the person in the principal role which has the Roman numeral for 50 inserted.

15d         The female protecting relations notices unconventional youngsters (9)
{SKINHEADS}   Insert relations or family into the feminine form of the third person pronoun and then finish with the abbreviation for notices.

16d         Defensive group made rough manoeuvres (4,5)
{HOME GUARD}   An anagram (manoeuvres) of MADE ROUGH.

Home Guard

17d         Small creature, one airbrushed from electronic picture (3)
{EFT}   A type of newt (small creature)  –   Remove I from a form of identikit image composed on a computer screen.


18d         Apprehensive     cast (3)
{SHY}  To be warily reluctant or to cast, fling or toss.

22d         Distinguished artist and famous actress meeting explorer (7)
{RALEIGH}   The abbreviation for a member of the Royal Academy (distinguished artist) followed by the surname of the actress I most associate with playing Scarlett O’Hara in Gone with the Wind.

24d         Troublemaker in port starts to turn everyone rebellious (6)
{RIOTER}   The South American port beloved of all crossword setters followed by the initial letters (starts) of Turn Everyone Rebellious.

25d         German writer‘s work on anaesthetic cut short (6)
{GOETHE}   One of Germany’s most famous writers is obtained by following a verb meaning to work with almost all (cut short)  of a type of anaesthetic.

26d         One silly novel full of amorous emotion (2,4)
{IN LOVE}  I (one) followed by a silly anagram of NOVEL, split 2,4.

in love


Thanks to Giovanni for entertaining me twice over and to Gazza for letting me ‘play’.   Far too difficult to pick out one or even several favourites so I think I will leave that for the rest of you to decide.  I’m off to see how many other crosswords I can fit in before the first lot of visiting relatives arrive.

The Quick crossword pun: (force} + {wearing} = {forswearing}

71 comments on “DT-27246

  1. **/*** for me today. Most enjoyable except I thought 13a and 27a were rather obscure. I needed an anagram solver for 27a and Cs’s hint for 13a.

    Many thanks to Giovani and CS.

    Off to South Wales now for a long weekend. Hope the sun is shining there.

  2. Thank you DG, enjoyed the struggle. Salvadorian Archbishops are not my strong point, but managed to get the answer from the wordplay. Amused by 7d and 15d and yet another new word at 27a. Thank you CS for your review and tasteful photos !

    1. I thought the Pope lived in the Vatican city and anyway I wouldn’t have remembered that Bishop.

  3. Almost felt like 4 mini-crosswords with this grid, but 4 very good crosswords. As usual with the Don a couple of words to stretch the vocabulary but clued in a straightforward manner. High enjoyment rating for us.
    Thanks Giovanni and CS.

  4. The most enjoyable back-pager of the week for me. My solving time crept into 3*; it takes me longer solving online, and trying to work out anagrams without pen and paper can be interesting!
    Many thanks to Giovanni, and to crypticsue for the review.

  5. Much needed help required today for 13A & 7D, apart from that this was a far better brain workout than yesterday’s offering.Many thanks to crypticsue for the review.Hope all have a pleasant weekend.

    1. You are looking for a word meaning bed – but not one you sleep in

      It is another word for a saying or phrase adopted as representative of something – like this blog “Crossword clues explained in plain English” followed by the single letter abbreviation for Book

      Must be taken up is what tells you that once you have worked this out, you then have to reverse it.

  6. Thought it was a***/**** today ,with some tricky clues like14d, and I agree the most satisfying of the week so far. Took a while to work out the word play of 30a,was trying to eliminate a ‘chopped’ duo and a trio, not two and three letters, till I saw the light;,just about remembered the archbishop-as they say don’t mess with my Tutu!

  7. My heart sinks whenever I see this truly horrible grid. Thanks to CS for the hints, (I too had to think of the correct spelling of 27a).

  8. I love this type of puzzle. I really had to think hard about the last two or three (especially 2D and 23A) but it was very satisfying when the penny dropped. Close call between 14D and 2D for my favorite, with 2D coming out ahead. Many thanks to Giovanni for a fine workout and to CS for a great review. Going to peek at the toughie while I’m ahead.

  9. I’v not heard of 27A but it seemed a very straight forward anagram which could only fit one way. As per usual with The Don, there are too many good clues to pick a favourite, but I’d probably pick 22D (just) if pushed.

    Off to the races today – Bath races (not my thing) and Cider Fest (which is). Good news is that the Mrs has offered to drive

  10. Nice crossword – I started off with ‘a bit thick’ and carried on from there – I had to look up the Archbishop. quite a gentle one for a Friday.

    I’m supposed to be painting the Garage floor but rain has stopped play so I’ll have to watch the Cricket instead – England are struggling but the pitch looks easy so my moneys on a draw! Hold on England have just taken two quick wickets

  11. Oh dear – just me then? This one has finished me off for the rest of the day! I found it very difficult – 4* for both.
    I did, eventually, finish it but needed the hint to explain why 30a was what it was.
    I think I have, in the dim and distant past, heard of 27a – probably in a crossword – but had to juggle letters around to get the right spelling. I’m not good with former archbishops but the clue made his name easy enough to work out and then look up.
    I was glad to see a ‘nice doggy clue’ with 12a instead of something not so nice – ie something to do with a dog being run over or put to sleep – they make me cry.
    I liked 1 and 31a and 8 and 26d.
    With thanks to Giovanni and crypticsue.

    CS’s comment in her hint for 29a reminded me of a brilliant secretary who worked for my Dad for a very long time and knew exactly how to deal with him. He was a 31a and if he was in a grump he used to dictate very fast. Some of his letters were quite long – she used to wait until he got to the end and then ask him what it was that came after ‘Dear Sir’.

    1. With enough practice it is possible to take down shorthand 29a without actually consciously listening to what is being said. I confused many a boss when they said ‘how does that sound?’ to which I would reply, I’ve no idea, I haven’t been listening! I think the part of my brain I used to use for that now works out the wordplay subconsciously while the rest of my brain concentrates on solving and writing in.

      1. You should hear some of the things that get typed in a hospital from a dictaphone by a secretary with absolutely no knowledge of medical terminology – some of them are so funny and make no sense at all.

        1. . . . think grammar has gone a bit up the spout there but I’m sure you get the drift!

        2. When PanAm folded, I started a medical transcription service. I must have done something right, I had more work than I could handle, but I had a difficult time getting people to work for me who would do the work MY way.

    2. Not just you Kath. I’m also 1a today. I gave it a ***\***
      Kept getting the ‘hard’ ones and struggling with ‘easy’ ones.

      NE corner was my downfall, but generally, (wrong) words and ideas I had kept getting in the way and stopped me moving on.

      ‘Assistant’s attempt’ will, for me, always be PASTRY……..ha, ha. But, try as I might, I could not think of a country with that as the first word. 1a, you see.

      Thx Cryptic Sue, I needed you today!

    3. Thanks Toni and Bluebird – nice to know that it’s NOT just me! :smile:
      In pre-blog days I always used to find Friday crosswords the most difficult of the week, not counting Sundays which were a complete no-go area.

    4. I had the hardest time getting into this, particularly the bottom left-hand corner, and I never did get the archbishop. The first read through almost left me in despair but then I started to get one or two and then I was off, except, as I said, that left-hand corner that defeated me. Banker? Really! I needed the explanation for 30a, how obscure. It was a good workout nevertheless and enjoyable, thanks to all. I really needed you today CS, thanks.

      This autocorrect really needs to be watched. I must have mistyped enjoyable and it corrected it to annoy able!

    5. Likewise, in the sense that I ground to a halt after a struggle, with three to go.
      Eventually got there.
      Loved the challenge.
      Friday is the new Thursday, perhaps.
      Many thanks Giovanni and to crypticsue for the review.

  12. Feeling 1a today, but Giovanni’s super clueing helps. As usual with a Friday, a couple of answers crossed over the General Knowledge boundary, but no harm in that. **/*** for me.

  13. 11a Newark is for us Brits more meaningfully a town in Nottinghamshire; why on earth bring in the USA
    17d What is the word for “a form of identikit image composed on a computer screen” that we are expected to know

    1. Why not bring in the USA, or any other country for that matter? The DT on line has many, many readers and crossword solvers who live outside of the UK.

      1. exactly, been on holiday in San Andres, via Columbia, the Canadians in my hotel just didn’t get my accent when I said I was working in Toronto and was from Peterborough. Many days later they asked if i’d been to England and the penny dropped, they thought I meant the Peterborough in Ontario, not East Anglia

    2. We knew the USA one. Never heard of the UK one. Thanks for being kind to us Giovanni.

  14. I think 13a took me longer than the rest of the puzzle put together, a very enjoyable crossword and review, thanks to Giovanni and Crypticsue.

  15. Couldn’t have done this crossword without the very clear hints from cryptic sue, for which many thanks. Enjoyed the puzzle & the pictures. I know it’s each to his own, but I do wish scchua on Wednesdays would follow your example. Thank you setter & hinter.

  16. Once again got slowed down by having to enter the clues online – ***/**** for us today.
    Couldn’t work out the anagram for 27a but had a DOH moment when I tried a bit of Wiki-ing. Like Sue I’d heard this on the AR.
    Thanks to Sue and the Don for a lovely puzzle.

    And to make you smile . . .
    My last job was as a freelance Project Manager working for one of the major high street banks.
    The IT department had an extremely derogatory phrase for “the idiots in head office who think they know about IT”.
    They were called a WUNCH OF BANKERS – quite apposite for a bank really!

  17. I’m in 1a crowd, as I found it very hard and needed you’re hints, CS for more than one.Thanks to CS and the Don.

  18. Another bad day for me. I desperately wanted 9a to be nadirs even though none of the clue applied!
    I read all the across hints and managed to complete most of it.
    Left with 23a 14d and16d
    Again, fixated on dad’s army but couldn’t make the final leap.
    Managed to finish it with the hints.
    Too hard for me to enjoy it.
    Thanks for the hints.
    Roll on tomorrow. I can usually do Saturday’s

  19. ***/*** for me today. The grid is not very helpful, and it took a very long time to get the Country Assistant, Sure Bet, Attractive Person and Troublemaker. 17d was Friday’s new word, for this week. Still managed it in the end without hints, and only 3 hours to go till I can have a drink :)

  20. It’s very difficult to enjoy a puzzle with this Grid – it’s always foremost in your mind that you’ll soon have to start all over again.

    Thanks to the Don (unless he chose the grid) and to CS for the review (presumably sitting well out of sight of the “Dictators”)

    I went for Janet Leigh – Is there a word for someone who is afraid of showers?

      1. Just remembered that there must be another word for someone who is afraid of showers – smelly!

    1. Psycho-phobia?

      Albeit a tautology…….

      Never forget, that movie is in black and white. Many people think they remember red in the water. Not so.

      1. I do remember seeing the film but wouldn’t have remembered that it was in black and white.
        The Hitchcock film that I found the scariest EVER was ‘Frenzy’. I can’t remember much about it apart from just how frightening it was.

  21. I never really understand when people talk about different kind of grids – it’s not something I notice. I quite like the little three letter words all in the middle.

    1. For me I dislike this grid as there are only 4 letters (contained in the 3 letter words) that link the four corners so as StanXYZ says you are basically solving four puzzles.

    2. Another weakness in this grid – I solved 17a, 19a and 21a – and Hey Presto I had solved 17d without even reading the clue!

  22. Thanks to Giovanni and to CrypticSue for the review and hints. Couldn’t do this to save my life, needed 4 hints and 5 look ups to complete. Quite enjoyed what little I could do. Favourites were 20a and 7&17d. Was 4*/3* for me. Must try and remember 27a. Cloudyin London, England struggling at Old Trafford.

  23. Oh dear, back to the bad old days of the Don. For me, almost completly incomprehensible. :-(
    Truly awful! At least a five star for difficulty, def out of the Toughie envelope.

    1. Having been through the answers I can truly say that if I lived to be a thousand, I would never have got 2d and esp 30a!

  24. Didnt like 17 down or across. Neither of the letter combinations are in my dictionary and so could not check them. Similarly 13 across. Thought 2d was also a bit off.
    So for me a ***/**

    1. Re17a. Em (singular) is in my Chambers. I really liked this clue because it made me do some further research. I am familiar with em dashes and use them often in my work, but I didn’t know about the printer’s space connection. It seems that the em dash is also based on the length of the letter M (makes sense once you know). So I learned something new today and that’s always a good thing.

      1. I agree about learning something new being good. I did know the em as a printing term because of doing crosswords but have never got round to finding out what it really means. What is an em dash and what is your work that uses it?

        1. I always understood that the phrase EMS was used because the letter M is the widest letter in the alphabet

        2. It’s just a dash (stronger than a comma) used to introduce or offset a thought you want to emphasize in a sentence or denote the originator of a piece of work. I write and edit for the geotechnical engineering field. Basically, I ghost write for engineers who play in the dirt for a living.

  25. I have found difficulty in finding a minute to look at this puzzle and a difficulty in doing the puzzle. The top left corner is complete but not much else. I may get some time after nine pm. However the yearning for Alcohol will take over. The London Pride is calling.

  26. Happy to be back with everyone after a spell in hospital – I’ve missed you all! And, like a few others, was slow to complete this – but then I’ve plenty of time at present. Thank you setter. Absolutely loved the hints. Thanks, CS, for them, and the super pics, esp. 12a. And my tomatoes are taller than ever :-) now.

    1. Oh dear – poor you. Hope you’re feeling better now. I thought this was tricky too – it took me ages.
      Trust that someone has been watering those tomatoes of yours – don’t let them get any taller – it’s not the height that matters it’s the tomatoes – dare I ask if there are any or have the plants been putting all their energy into growing and becoming a beanstalk?
      :smile: to you and best wishes for a quick recovery.

      1. Thanks Kath – much appreciated :-) And Mr P was tasked with watering so now have a fine crop of large tomatoes (I was somehow expecting cherry-sized!) ripening on their stalks. Your help re too much shade did the trick.

  27. I found this to be at least 4* for difficulty. In my view, it would be insoluble without the aid of electronic/computer aids, except, perhaps to those of us who are walking encyclopaedias.
    This takes the enjoyment out of it somewhat. Definitely the hardest of the week by a long chalk. Perhaps I’m just 1a.

  28. Agree with CS about the NE corner taking much longer, overall I thought this a most enjoyable offering.
    Thanks to setter and CS for the hints which I am pleased to say we’re not needed other than the explanation for 13A.

  29. Quite ghastly – no humour and too many convoluted clues! Made life difficult for myself by having “a bit rough” for 1a and since when was larder a synonym for pantry (21a). Look forward to tomorrow’s prize job – hopefully more fun.

  30. I’ve had stomach gripes all day and this didn’t help. I thought the archbishop was a bit off and 2d made feel more than 1a. I did need the blog today I’m sorry to say. Thank you for the hints. While I got 30a I wasn’t too keen on the clue. Perhaps it would have been more straightforward without the gripes.

  31. Rubbish, the man must be on some severe medication at the moment if he thinks eyeful is ever used to describe an attractive person. Awful attempt at a crossword.

    1. Chambers 12th edition eyeful: … something worth looking at,eg a fascinating sight oran attractive person

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