DT 27274 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 27274

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 27274

Hints and tips by Big Dave

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ***

I’m standing in for Scchua again, but watch out for a surprise next Wednesday!

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 Young seals surrounding the woman’s children (7)
1a Young animals surrounding the woman’s children (7) (newspaper version, now available online)
{CHERUBS} – put some young seals/animals around the female possessive pronoun (the woman’s)

9a Primates back charge for divorce (8)
{SEPARATE} – reverse some primates and add a charge or fee

10a Fantastic rates negotiated to include students (7)
{STELLAR} – an anagram (negotiated) of RATES around two of the abbreviations for a student/learner

11a Part of high street with redeeming features? (8)
{PAWNSHOP} – the place on the high street that accepts pledges in return for cash

12a Block request for material (6)
{DAMASK} – a charade of verbs meaning to block and to request

13a Condition making a horse trot strangely (4,6)
{SORE THROAT} – an anagram (strangely) of A HORSE TROT

15a Duck out of quite a lot (4)
{TEAL} – hidden (out of) inside the clue

16a Former English beauty accommodating five administrators (9)
{EXECUTIVE} – a two-letter prefix meaning former followed by E(nglish) and a beauty around (accommodating) the Roman numeral for five

21a A French and Italian fighting force (4)
{UNIT} – the French for A, the indefinite article, followed by IT(alian)

22a One who’s never happy to go over temporary repair (10)
{CROSSPATCH} – a charade of a verb meaning to go over and a temporary repair, perhaps to a bicycle tyre

24a Start to speak about black freshwater fish (6)
{BROACH} – B(lack) followed by a freshwater fish

25a Fashion fair open — it gives coverage for clothes (8)
{PINAFORE} – an anagram (fashion) of FAIR OPEN

27a PA system initially failing, Milliband is peeved (7)
{ANNOYED} – a PA system without its initial letter (initially failing) followed by the first name of someone called Milliband – if you can’t find someone called Milliband, then try the correct spelling, Miliband, instead!

28a Runs into weird local in ‘Ring O’Bells‘ (8)
{CARILLON} – R(uns) inside an anagram (weird) of LOCAL IN

29a American communist accepting he is led (7)
{USHERED} – the two-letter abbreviation for American and a communist around (accepting) HE


2d Trouble at bath time? (3,5)
{HOT WATER} – what fills the bath?

3d Dependable engineers exposed to risk (8)
{RELIABLE} – the abbreviation for the Royal Engineers followed by an adjective meaning exposed to risk

4d Want followers to support bishop and reprobate (5,5)
{BLACK SHEEP} – a want or need followed by some animals renowned for following each other all preceded by (to support in a down clue) B(ishop)

5d Great and good present during most of dinner, for example (4)
{MEGA} – G(ood) inside most of the time for eating of which dinner is an example

6d Judy’s fella keeps a spare tyre (6)
{PAUNCHY} – the puppet associated with Judy around (keeps) the A from the clue

7d Moneyspinner for accountant caught in exhibition (4,3)
{CASH COW} – a Scottish (or Canadian) accountant followed by C(aught) inside an exhibition

8d Terrible catastrophe with no char for them! (7)
{TEAPOTS} – an anagram (terrible) of (C)AT(A)ST(R)OP(H)E from which the letters of CHAR have been removed gives items in which the char may be brewed – as the letters C H A R are not present in that sequence it is conventional to add another anagram indicator

11d Turn sanctimonious student out of gambling game (9)
{PIROUETTE} – a two-letter adjective meaning sanctimonious followed by a gambling game without the student/learner – the second time that L = student has been used

14d Attachments to hips given by tense excited doctor (5,5)
{THIGH BONES} – T(ense) followed by an adjective meaning excited and a slang word for a doctor

17d Regret returning to refreshing air in monied area (8)
{EUROZONE} – reverse (returning) a three-letter verb meaning to regret and follow it with some refreshing air

18d One small island in the Med attached to Germany, but separate (8)
{DISCRETE} – I (one) and S(mall) are followed by an island in the Med and preceded by (attached to) the IVR code for Germany

19d Climber’s requirement that is full of cold cream (3,4)
{ICE PICK} – the Latin abbreviation for that is around C(old) and followed by the cream or best

20d Nation‘s bank rapidly emptied (7)
{COUNTRY} – a verb meaning to bank or rely followed by RapidlY without its inner letters (emptied)

23d Piano frequently imported by Stallone (6)
{SOFTLY} – the meaning of the musical notation piano is derived by putting a three-letter adverb meaning frequently inside the abbreviated form of Sylvester Stallone’s first name

26d Criminal executed for swindle (4)
{ROOK} – drop the initial letter (executed / beheaded) from a criminal to get a verb meaning to swindle

An otherwise enjoyable puzzle was slightly spoilt by carelessness.

The Quick crossword pun: (guess} + {douse} = {guest house}

80 comments on “DT 27274

  1. Ooh, might be first up. Shame I haven’t really got anything to say. All fairly plain sailing. */*** for me. Only issue is that I can think of several other definitions for children in 1a that don’t bring to mind the word cherubs! Made me smile though. Thanks to all.

      1. But aren’t young seals called pups, not cubs? I can find many references to pups, in this respect, but none to cubs.

        1. The online version has young animals, not seals. I understood the wordplay, but was just cheekily suggesting that not all children are cherubs …

  2. I found this quite pleasant today; pity the enjoyment was over too quickly.
    Thanks to Jay, and to Big Dave.

    The toughie is pretty good today, and put up more of a fight. Eagerly awaiting Gazza’s review and explanation of one of the clues which i cannot parse (and that’s all i’m saying on this page).

  3. Young seals are much more commonly pups, we thought. Had trouble finding a reference to them as cubs except in the name of a music group. Answer pretty obvious though so it did not hold us up at all. We did not notice the misspelling of Miliband. Thought we had done pretty well to have heard of him and to know his first name. Pleasant solve and a good warm-up for the Beam Toughie.
    Thanks Jay and BD.

  4. An interesting puzzle – I needed the blog to confirm and reinforce a couple of my answers.

    I’ve got a query – I don’t understand the explanation of 5d – oh hold on you’re talking about MEAL – I think I get it now.

    22a was a new word for me.

    Thanks for the explanations.

  5. Good gentle brain work out 14D made me smile as it is exactly 45 years to the day that I broke mine in a motorcycle accident.Thanks to the setter & BD for the review.

    1. Nearly 47 yrs since I did the same Graham, except mine was pushbike v car!
      Do you have a long scar or, like me, were you in traction for months?

      1. They put a metal pin in which is still in there, yes I have a long scar but on the plus side I was only in hospital for 3 & half weeks on crutches for another three, then a walking stick plus I was back at work after three months but was a skinny bugger in those days only weighing about 7 stone, im double that now.

  6. I really enjoyed this very much and didn’t notice the spelling mistake in 27a, let alone the lack of a second anagram indicator in 8d – even after reading this blog for a long time now that kind of thing is still far too clever for me – I don’t usually even spot a pangram or a nina!!
    2* for difficulty as I thought this was pretty straightforward for a Jay and at least 4* for enjoyment.
    For once I didn’t really have trouble with anything and there was no need to follow CS’s law of starting with the down clues on Wednesdays.
    I thought there were lots of good clues but will keep my list short for fear of boring you all – 13 and 22a and 6 and 8d.
    With thanks to Jay and BD. Now I want to know what the surprise is next Wednesday – I might have a little guess but could be wrong as I so often am.
    Not sure that I can resist having a peep at the Beam . . .

      1. In that case I’ll keep my little guess to myself! Bet I’m wrong anyway. If I’m right then I shall say so next week – if I’m wrong I’ll keep quiet and everyone will have forgotten by then anyway!

          1. Apple have got a new phone out on that day (yawn!) but I don’t think that need bother us here.

  7. Was stuck for a while on 24A – had brain freeze while trying to run through various fresh water fish – then suddenly realised that i was staring at my roach pole in the corner. D’Oh (reminds me, I must get out and do a bit of fishing sometime). I always thought the young of seals were PUPS, no big gripe as the answer was pretty obvious.
    Well no excuse today, I really MUST get out and cut the grass before the rain on Friday and hols from next week.

  8. Thank you Jay, not your hardest puzzle. Last in 20d. Completely thrown by the apostrophe s on Nation. Had the right answer but the “s” just confused me, so relied on BD for the explanation. Many thanks BD for the review and help.

  9. Plain-sailing and fun today so no need for BD for once but thanks for being there and to “Setter”. **/***.

  10. Very enjoyable and not to tricky. 1a first in – I always remember seal young being cubs due to its unfortunate closeness to clubs. Very pleasant distraction from the surprisingly emotional experience of my younger daughter starting ‘big school’ (for me not her). Thanks to setter and BD.

    1. I don’t think that it’s at all surprising that it’s an emotional experience – when our younger daughter went to university I cried for a month – even thinking about it now makes me cry, again! :sad: Pathetic or what?

      1. I think, because we live next door to the school, I hadn’t expected it to be such a big deal! Plus the last time, when her elder sister started, I still had one at home so it was easier. I do feel I’m being rather over dramatic in feeling this is the first step towards them eventually fleeing the nest though”

        1. No – not over dramatic at all. Much as I hesitate to admit to knowing anything by Abba for fear of ridicule, just don’t listen to “Slipping through my fingers” at the moment! It has me in pieces every time I hear it, and our daughters are thirty four and thirty two!

          1. It brings a tear to my eye every time I watch Mama Mia! I’ll remember to avoid watching/listening to it until I’ve got over the shock! (She’s home now and had a lovely time – just off to pick up her big sister.). Thanks for your kind words!

  11. Enjoyable puzzle, although I needed a couple of hints, thanks BD. I agree with the 2Kiwis, I have always thought of young seals as “pups”, I can find no reference to “cubs”, perhaps “young bears” would have been better. Made 1a a difficult solve!

  12. Had no problems today, except for the “why” of 20d, thanks for the explanation BD. Because I’m the other side of the pond and a slow starter in the day, my version for 1a said young animals, so no probs. Hhmmm, “surprise”, wonder what that can be?

    1. Merusa – you should be like me (also across the pond) and get the new puzzle the evening before (at for example on the East Coast 7:00pm) – it is available at midnight plus a few seconds UK time.

      1. It still won’t get me up before eight o’clock, and then there are seven children (two canine, five feline) to feed and myself to get sorted, it still makes a late start. After working and rushing for 55 years, it’s not going to change.

  13. Finished. Very enjoyable. Thanks to BD for the hints which were very useful for reference purposes

  14. If I idled away for a million years I do not think that I would ever work out that catastrophe without the letters char is an anagram of teapots. These setters are all bonkers IMHO. 5d eludes me.
    Hi to all.
    Bye to all.
    Ta to all.

  15. Nice Wednesday puzzle for me although like everyone else it is Pupsfor young seals not cubs. In the animal kingdom cubs are reserved for the young of predatory animals although i suppose leopard seals are pretty predatory if you are a penguin!
    Needed the hint for 15a, spent ages trying to find something meaning a lot missing an O.
    One thing, why is does PI mean sanctimonious? Never come across this before.
    Best clue for me was 23d.
    Thx to setter and to BD for the hint.

    1. The dictionary says ( ;) ) that it is a short form of pious meaning both obtrusively religious and sanctimonious.

      If you have an iPhone you can get the Chambers App which I understand is nearly as good as the red book itself.

        1. It’s the same Brian – that’s his old avatar !

          Can I just express my slight concern at your lack of better things to do on this lovely sunny afternoon? :D

      1. Ok so my short term memory is going. Must have filed under the religious terms folder which is my bête noir!

  16. Glad to know that it wasn’t just me struggling with the seal pups side of things, so I’ll say no more on that subject… And being so horse-mad meant I became deranged in my attempts to fit something that would affect its movements rather than talking a step back :oops: (no pun intended). Thank you Setter. Loved the pic for 8d, and don’t want to start a war but wonder how many of ‘our gang’ make tea with loose leaf tea these days? I do, and my assortment of tea cosy covers made Mr P. work out the following statement which he used publicly (& to my great indignation/delight got ‘borrowed’ by Billy Connolly): “Never trust a man who, when left alone in a room with a tea cosy, doesn’t try it on”. Now I’m starting work on next week’s surprise. Thank you BD for masterly hints as well as the gift of anticipation :-)

    1. Poppy, we always use loose leaf tea and make it in a teapot (but no cosy). Refer to the other type as ‘dog-turd’ tea because of the appearance of the used bags that seem to be left lying about all over a kitchen bench. They should be banned from all civilised societies! :)

      1. I’m with you on that Colin.

        I have Assam, Ceylon, Darjeeling, Earl Grey, Kenya and Waitrose breakfast blend, each in their own jar. Then I have to make a decision every morning!

      2. And we use different teas according to the time of day… Not as strictly as the Chinese rituals, but the teapot must be heated before making the tea!!

        1. Absolutely, without heating the pot, I don’t think the tea brews properly. Myth? I don’t know, but I’m just doing what my Mum did and her Mum before that.

          1. Warming the pot had more to do with the quality of porcelain, which often cracked when boiling water was poured in, than the quality of the tea so produced. The same applied to putting the milk in the cup first.

            1. Well I never knew that! So does that mean I don’t need to heat teapot first (I use Royal Doulton for best and proper brown Derby for everyday)? Does the tea really taste as good? And are you going to politely tell me to push off and work it out for myself?!

    2. Tea – yuk. Stick to coffee and you have none of these problems!
      As I think I said on the blog quite recently our daughters, knowing my addiction to coffee not to mention my ability to screw things up, gave me a fridge magnet that says “Drink coffee and do stupid things faster and with more energy”. Sweet aren’t they?

      1. I probably have 6 cups of a tea a year poured by elderly relatives who have forgotten my name, think I like three sugars and vintage milk, yuk.And then once or twice a year I have a craving for a black tea. Black Coffee it is as a rule.

      2. You’re safe, Kath (& Andy) – I make a good coffee as well :-) And perhaps you’ve picked up a copy of my latest book in a charity shop – ‘Humility and How I achieved it’.

  17. Straightforward solve today.

    Faves : 12a, 27a, 6d & 11d.

    Another brilliant sunny day here in NL – had lunch with my daughter al fresco in the garden of the top restaurant here. Excellent goose liver starter followed by roast duck.
    Simple meal tonight!

  18. I’ve been out all day in the sun at the Oval watching cricket :smile: so I was very late tackling the crossword.

    Like several others I found this a straightforward but enjoyable solve, and my only comment was going to be about young seals not being cubs. But it has already been said again and again (and again…)

    So I’ll just say many thanks to Jay for a 2*/3* puzzle and many thanks to BD for his review.

  19. Struggled a little at first but got underway although I foolishly put ‘chip shop’ for 11a (casino?). Was pleased to get it done despite a very warm tube train. A good challenge.

  20. Thanks to the setter and to Big Dave for the review and hints. Needed the hints for a couple. 14d I thought it was thighbands, 28a I’d never heard of, but I had soften for 23d. So that didn’t help. A nice enjoyable puzzle, favourites were 16&22a. Was 3*/3* for me. Got to the top of Blencathra on a beautiful sunny day. Cloudy and raining predicted for the next few days though.

  21. I’ve got this niggling feeling , BigBoab may be able to help, that Scots refer to seal young as cubs, but as is so often the case I may be way off the mark. Loose tea always, but I’m odd as drink it black as despise milk. Thank you to Jay and BD, ooh 22a was also a new word for me. And to those with children starting various stages of education, my facebook page is awash with piccies of happy offspring and distraught parents

  22. **/*** for me. Also thought CUB was inappropriate and in 19d don’t climbers use ICE AXES? An ice pick is normally that pointed domestic tool for chipping bits off a block of ice.

    1. From the ODE (Chambers is a bit vague):

      * A small pick used by climbers to traverse ice-covered slopes.

      * A sharp, straight, pointed implement with a handle, used to break ice into small pieces for chilling food and drinks.

  23. Is it just me, or is the DT crossword becoming rather more bizarre by the day?
    This one was really off the wall. Today’s is bumping up against the limits of rationality.

  24. Must be me then!
    I actually thought it harder. But my brain may have been working the wrong way.
    Still think 11 and 14 across are rather strange.

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