DT 27279 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 27279

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 27279

Hints and tips by Big Dave

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

Thanks again to Deep Threat for swapping, allowing me to give a very wide berth to today’s Toughie. While some of the general knowledge required will be familiar to most solvers, I thought that the obscure, certainly to me, poet in 28 across was a step too far, even with reasonably easy wordplay.

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    Greek character taking no notice of a fish shop (6)
{BETRAY} – a Greek character without (taking no notice of) the A followed by a fish gives a verb meaning to shop

4a    Block in old boy’s vehicle briefly, at end of street (8)
{OBSTRUCT} – the abbreviation for Old Boy followed by the S from ‘S, most of (briefly) a commercial vehicle and the final letter (end) of streeT

10a    Left group, one featured in commercial (9)
{ABANDONED} – a group of musicians followed by ONE and all inside a two-letter word for a commercial

11a    I deliver cards for model (5)
{IDEAL} – I followed by a verb meaning to deliver playing cards

12a    Popped into a church in ancient city (7)
{ANTIOCH} – an anagram (popped) of INTO between the A from the clue and CH(urch)

13a    Severe fire in plant close to Cairo (7)
{INFERNO} – IN followed by a plant and the final letter of (close to) CairO

14a    Inspector again arresting leader of sect (5)
{MORSE} – the name of a famous fictional Detective Inspector is derived by putting a word meaning again around the initial letter (leader) of Sect

15a    Dismissed Tory there and then (8)
{OUTRIGHT} – a word meaning dismissed, especially in cricket, followed by a Tory

18a    Fiery liquid makes soldier very loud at home (8)
{PARAFFIN} – an airborne soldier followed by the musical notation for very loud and a two-letter word meaning at home

20a    Cycled round in riding competition (5)
{RODEO} – a verb meaning cycled (on a bicycle) followed by the round-shaped letter

23a    Withdraw cash (7)
{SCRATCH} – a verb meaning to withdraw from a competition is also a slang word for cash

25a    Toy dog barking during short march (3,4)
{RAG DOLL} – an anagram (barking) of DOG inside most of (short) a march or protest

Spoilt for choice today – which one to choose? OK here are both!

ARVE Error: need id and provider
ARVE Error: need id and provider

26a    Old English in one of the Orkney Islands? Nonsense! (5)
{HOOEY} – O(ld) and E(nglish) inside one of the Orkney Islands (the one famous for its “Old Man”)

27a    What may shine in darkness around Noel, possibly? (4,5)
{NEON LIGHT} – put a word meaning darkness around an anagram (possibly) of NOEL

28a    Quaker poet, more humorous about husband (8)
{WHITTIER} – an adjective meaning more humorous around H(usband)

29a    Summons ambassador — that’ll make one squirm (6)
{WRITHE} – a summons or court order followed by the abbreviated form of address for an ambassador


1d    Accept members carry weapons (4,4)
{BEAR ARMS} – a verb meaning to accept or tolerate followed by some members that are part of the body

2d    Tower in area of land ahead of soldiers (7)
{TRACTOR} – this vehicle that can be used for towing is a charade of an area of land and some ordinary soldiers

3d    Group of stars with capital American lawyer (9)
{ANDROMEDA} – this large northern constellation, which is notable for its spiral galaxy, comes from a charade of a word meaning with, a capital city and the abbreviation for an American lawyer

5d    Invalid desiring bottom flat? (10-4)
{BEDSITTING-ROOM} – an anagram (invalid) of DESIRING BOTTOM

ARVE Error: need id and provider

6d    Article about one female pickpocket (5)
{THIEF} – the definite article around I (one) and followed by F(emale)

7d    Excavate part of chateau near Thionville (7)
{UNEARTH} – hidden (part of) inside the clue

8d    After end of diet, say yes to fat (6)
{TALLOW} – the final letter (end) of diet followed by a verb meaning to say yes or permit gives a fat formerly used to make candles and soap.

9d    In hope rather than expectation, cricket sides seize the opportunity (2,3,3,6)
{ON THE OFF CHANCE} – the two sides of the pitch in cricket separated by THE and followed by an opportunity

16d    Unconventional Irish soldier? (9)
{IRREGULAR} – IR(ish) followed by a soldier

17d    Allowed to enter course for a game (8)
{ROULETTE} – a verb meaning allowed or permitted inside a course or journey

19d    A leader of monks, I deduced (1,6)
{A PRIORI} – the A from the clue followed by a senior monk and the I from the clue gives a Latin phrase meaning deduced or literally “from what is before”

21d    Shortage of water could be difficult in outskirts of desert (7)
{DROUGHT} – an adjective meaning difficult or harsh inside the outer letters (outskirts) of DeserT

22d    Shun European champ collecting prime piece of silverware (6)
{ESCHEW} – E(uropean) followed by a verb meaning to champ food around (collecting) the initial letter (prime piece) of Silverware

24d    Examine stone in date (5)
{TRYST} – a verb meaning to examine or test followed by ST(one) gives a date or assignation

Yesterday Scchua and his wife, Christine, came to lunch on their way to Gatwick airport.

41 comments on “DT 27279

  1. Enjoyable solve today although there were a couple where I had to justify the answer and like BD I didn’t think too much of the poet (despite the answer being fairly obvious). I was held up for a while in the NW corner after putting TAKE in for the first part of 1D, did’t take long to realise the mistook though.
    I thought 19D very clever but 22D had me trying to justify it for a while.

    Off to pack a bit more, on hols on Thursday

  2. Chew/champ appearing again, strange how similar clues like buses come in threes, across different compilers.

    I really enjoyed this puzzle just the right level of difficulty and nice misdirection, did have to google the poet though.

    Thanks to BD for the review.

    Thanks to the setter.

  3. I needed the clues for 12A & 19D those apart Iit was plain sailing & agree with the ratings. Thanks to BD for his review & its always nice to put a picture to a face hope the scchuas have a nice holiday.

  4. **/*** for me today. Generally enjoyable but I agree with BD and Skempie about 28a. I needed to resort to Googling “Quaker Poet” to answer this one.

    Like Skempie I struggled for a while in the NW corner having put Take as the first word for 1d as my first answer in.

    I am not convinced by the clue for 12a; how is it telling you to insert the anagram of INTO between A and church?

    Thanks to Mr. Ron and to BD, particularly for the slang meaning of Cash in 23a.

      1. She doesn’t upset me. She is just in the wrong place, I have to wrestle with her to move her, and use a slash hook. Have a click on my avatar to see what I looked like on Sunday.

  5. It may be cheating but I put ‘QUAKER POET’ into Google and on top of the list was John Greenleaf ???????? – I could then see the cryptic bit – very handy!

    I had all the cross letters for 19d and put it into Wordsearch and it came up with ? ?????? – when I looked this up it all became ‘obvious’ – do you geddit?

    A very interesting and enjoyable puzzle – good fun!

  6. Agree with the quaker poet,but as BD says the word play was pretty obvious with the supporting letters in.About a **/*** for me. Thanks BD for the video clips and Ike and Tina-watched Tommy recently and she was brilliant as the Acid Queen!.Liked 1a-last in, and 25a.Had time on my hands waiting for the gas fitter, so looked at the toughie, which was about a * at best, is this why BD gave it a wide berth?

  7. I think I’d give this one 2*/4*.
    To begin with I thought it was going to be really difficult but then got started and ended up being stuck for quite a while just in the top left corner. I spent too long trying to make 1a chippy (fish shop) – the first three letters were the greek character but the rest . . . the less said about that the better. Even having eventually got everything else 1a was still my last answer.
    I’ve never heard of the poet and didn’t know that scratch was slang for cash. I’ve never been able to spell paraffin but will remember it now because the soldier is a para NOT a parra!
    I loved 26a – it was one of my Dad’s favourites, along with poppycock and balderdash.
    The picture for 14a made me cry, as it always does.
    I liked 14 and 25a and 5 and 9d. My favourite was 26a.
    With thanks to Mr Ron and BD.

  8. Thanks to the setter for an enjoyable if un-taxing crossword, and thanks to BD for the amusing review.

  9. I thought this was easier than yesterday’s, but then I am often marching to a different drum……

    Had initial trouble in the SW. Just needed help with 23a ( didn’t know the answer was a term for money) and the rest went in.

    Admired 2 and 5d.

    Favourite was 26.

    What a dull day!

    1. You are not alone Bluebird. I had real problems yesterday. But, today, with help from the BRB, this was very reasonable – about half done before lights out last night, and the rest in fairly quickly this morning. Only needed help from BD on 1a. Thanks to him and the setter.

      1. Now, yesterday I flew through and today I really struggled. We always seem to be proving the wavelength theory!

  10. **/****. Really enjoyed this one and my comments are identical to Skempie including putting TAKE for 1d and so completing NW corner last but didn’t find the car-starting piece exactly hysterical!

  11. Enjoyable solve today.

    Faves : 1a, 10a, 27a, 28a, 3d, 8d, 9d & 22d.
    Re 12a – it is nice to get away from Ur!

    Violent thunderstorm all last night and heavy rain all day today!

    Summer is certainly over!

  12. I found this a real slog. First run through gave me about six answers, but with perseverance, I did manage to finish except for 19d, and I can’t look at the answer as pressing between the brackets doesn’t work. I completely missed the anagram at 5d but got the answer as had all the checking letters, and didn’t know the slang for cash at 23a, but knew it had to be correct. Now that I’ve finished, I can see it’s a pretty clever puzzle, so thanks to setter, and thanks to BD for reasons why.

  13. I really enjoyed most of it, especially 12a and 28a,but unfortunately I thought 1a was barbar, isn’t there a fish called something like that ?
    So that put paid to 2d.Otherwise I really liked it. Thanks to the setter and BD. Favourite was 9d.

      1. Thanks for explanation of betray and the little trip back to early motherhood, my children loved the Barbar books being read to them..

  14. Thanks to the setter and to Big Dave for the review and hints. I enjoyed this a lot, but was beaten by 1a, couldn’t even get it with the hint. Favourites were 9&19d. Had never heard of 23a being a word for cash. Couldn’t parse 22d, even though I got the answer. A new anagram indicator in 12a. Was 2*/3* for me. Autumn seems to have arrived.

  15. 1a was our last answer to go in. Like Kath, we tried ‘chippy’ first. Thought it was the best clue. We did not have a problem with 28a. Carol thought that she remembered him and he is listed under poets in Mrs B. For us, much easier to get to than obscure UK people and places that we have to deal with at times.
    Nice puzzle.
    Thanks Mr Ron and BD.

  16. I really enjoyed this one – very charming, and even wittier (whittier?) than usual. I guessed the Greek letter at 1a, but still the punning definition defeated me, as did that of 2d. (A bit like those clues which refer to ‘flowers’ – meaning rivers.) The rest reeled itself in gradually but surely.
    Favourites too many to list here. I thought almost all were brill.
    I found the clueing of 28a more than enough to guess the answer with some confidence, and as I previously knew of no Quaker poet, the fact that I hadn’t heard of this one didn’t disturb me at all.
    Out of curiosity I’ve looked into Whittier: some of his poetry seems quite attractive. I might save up the narrative poem ‘Snow-Bound: A Winter Idyl [sic]’ for our own winter (which seems to be rapidly approaching, judging by the unidyllically cold wet weather this week)!

    Many thanks to Setter (do we know who it was, or is it Mr Ron yet again?) and to Master-Hinter BD.

  17. I really liked this very much **** for enjoyment. Like Merusa, I completely missed the anagram at 5d, but arrived at the correct answer via some rather convoluted reasoning! I had vaguely heard of 28a but Mr Catnap knew all about him. For those like me who still love the feel of a book, John Greenleaf —- has an entry in The Oxford Companion to English Literature . Favourite clues 14a, 28a, 29a; 19d, 22d. Appreciative thanks to ‘Mr Ron’ and Big Dave.

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