DT27280 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 27280

Hints and tips by pommers

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ***

Hola once more from the Vega Baja.  I guess this is the surprise that BD mentioned last Wednesday, I wonder if Kath got it right. I’ve volunteered to help out while Scchua is away and Bufo is hors de combat so I’ll be around for a bit. After that who knows!

It’s a long time since I blogged a Wednesday puzzle and I see Jay still has the Wizardry! This is mostly straightforward but I found it quite a lot of fun – they don’t have to be hard to be enjoyable.

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           Broken carpals? Tests for aids to recovery (7,5)
{PLASTER CASTS} – Anagram (broken) of CARPALS TESTS.  Always nice when 1a goes straight in!

9a           Organised plays, having parts on television (3,6)
{SET PIECES} – Organised plays such as a corner or free kick in football. A term for a TV and a word meaning parts or bits.

10a         Flavouring mostly used on a jelly (5)
{ASPIC} – Start with A (from the clue) and follow with some flavouring without its last letter (mostly).

11a         Signature engraved to frame serving dish (6)
{TUREEN} – The answer is hidden (to frame) in the clue.

12a         Gather refusals may be the results of arson attacks (8)
{INFERNOS} – A word meaning to gather or conclude followed by some refusals.

13a         Leave current unit after month (6)
{DECAMP} – An abbreviation of one of the 12 months followed by the abbreviation of the unit of electric current.

15a         Work on church twice as quickly (4-4)
{CHOP CHOP} – Take one of the abbreviations for church and follow with the usual crosswordland work.  Repeat (twice) and you get a phrase meaning quickly.

18a         A tear stifled by friend of mother and father (8)
{PARENTAL} – A (from the clue) and another word for a tear or rip are surrounded by (stifled) a friend.

19a         Banks investing energy in liquid waste (6)
{SLOPES} – Put an Energy into some liquid waste and you get some banks.

21a         Worked out one’s free in study (8)
{REASONED} – An anagram (free) of ONES inserted into a word meaning study, at university perhaps.

23a         Familiar refrain from staff before returning pictures (6)
{MANTRA} – A member of your staff followed by a reversal (returning) of a word for pictures, as in paintings.

26a         Nothing invested in staff’s craft (5)
{CANOE} – An O (nothing) inserted (invested) into the sort of staff once used to punish naughty schoolboys.

27a         Practice techniques initially ran idiot ragged (9)
{TRADITION} –  T (Techniques initially) followed by an anagram (ragged) of RAN IDIOT.

28a         The strain of forming a union? (7,5)
{WEDDING MARCH} – Strain as in a tune and forming a union as in getting married.


1d           Put forward model full of it, and did without ID (7)
{POSITED} – Take a word for to model or sit and insert (full of) IT and then follow with a D (DID without the I and the second D).

2d           Extremely deficient Oriental flower (5)
{ASTER} – A word for oriental without its first and last letters (extremely deficient).

3d           Member of society merits ban, possibly (9)
{TRIBESMAN} – Anagram (possibly) of MERITS BAN.

4d           A dependable person‘s sort of music (4)
{ROCK} – Double definition.

5d           Sailors at home on the hard stuff? (8)
{ABSINTHE} – A charade of some of the usual sailors, the 2 letters for ‘at home’ and THE (from the clue) gives a French spirit.

6d           Manage to find time to run (5)
{TRACE} – T(ime) followed by a word meaning to run.

7d           Where Labour has unlimited access at work? (4,4)
{OPEN SHOP} – Cryptic definition of a workplace where you don’t need to be a union member in order to get a job.

8d           Misbehaves when outside court, and in court! (4,2)
{ACTS UP} – A synonym for when placed around (outside) an abbreviation for court, followed by a word for in court, as in ** before the magistrate.

14d         It could be the end  for Windows? (8)
{CURTAINS} – Double definition and nothing to do with an iPad! It’s a colloquial term for the end and it’s also something hung around windows.

16d         Theatrical element? (9)
{PALLADIUM} – A metallic element is also the name of a famous London theatre.

17d         Highly-skilled story books editor (8)
{TALENTED} – A charade of a story, some books of the bible and the usual editor.

18d         Robbery pair planned, relieving city of it (6)
{PIRACY} – Robbery on the high seas perhaps. It’s an anagram (planned) of PAIR followed by CY (CitY without (relieving) the IT).

20d         Stop escape, being loyal (7)
{STAUNCH} – Double definition.

22d         Vote after the first of October and look at growth (2-3)
{OX EYE} – What you write on a ballot paper placed after the first letter of October and followed by a word for to look at gives a plant (growth).   I found this in the OED – “Any of various central European plants of the family Asteraceae ( Compositae) with conspicuous yellow-rayed flowers, belonging (or formerly belonging) to the genus Buphthalmum, esp. B. salicifolium and the closely related Telekia speciosa” – I guess that means one of these is a 2d, or vice versa!

24d         Judge, perhaps, runs into row? (5)
{TRIER} –Judge as in one who hears a court case. Put R(uns) into another word for a row.

25d         Source of nutrient under salt lake (4)
{TARN} – a mountain lake is an N (source of Nutrient) put after (under in a down clue) another word for a sailor (salt).

Some excellent clues here but my favourite was 28a – how about you?

50 comments on “DT27280

  1. Welcome home Pommers. We did get the surprise that we were hoping for. This one all fitted together smoothly without any major hold-ups. A really good fun puzzle with lots to smile about.
    Thanks Jay and Pommers, we have missed you.

  2. Good morning Pommers, and thank you for your review. I totally agree with you that a puzzle doesn’t need to be difficult to be enjoyable, and my rating today is */***. Many thanks to Jay for the superb entertainment.

    My favourite today was 14d.

  3. Back of the net! Hang out the bunting – the prodigal son has returned to the fold! Surprised to see no contrived photographic references to F1 or yachts but I guess these will come.

    Welcome back old boy & thanks to Jay for another belter.

  4. Morning Pommers from a windswept Dover where the annual round of oil, belt, filters and impellor changes is about to commence…oh the glamour of sailing!

    Agree a gentle puzzle with some clever twists and lots of smile inducing clues.

    Thanks for the review.

    Thanks to Jay for a really enjoyable start to the day.

  5. Once the crossword is done I start my working day. Hence I like them to last. Whilst enjoyable this was a tad too getable. Ta as usual to all. Criptic Sue, in answer to your question yesterday, I had just dived headlong into a very sloppy muddy trench. What else is there to do on Sunday after church and before the pub?

  6. Hooray!

    Welcome back to my favourite blogger! I was hoping this was the surprise…

    I haven’t had a chance to try the puzzle yet (and sadly I might not – busy day) but you have inspired me to try to find the time!

    Great to have you back!

  7. How very nice! A lovely puzzle (Thanks, Jay) and a super Pommers ( Welcome home!) review has brightened what is a sad day of remembrance here in my adopted country.

    1. I’m here too! have posted occasionally but jJust been a bit busy of late!!! It’s summer and there’s guests to look after.

  8. WB Pommers, and agree with your not difficult but fun. Really enjoyed this one with some clever cluing, nice surfaces and a couple of unusual words.

    Last post from me for a few days as I’m off to sunny France (the bottom bit) tomorrow and think I’ll a) be a bit busy to get the crossword on the i-pad and b) Not big or brave enough to reclaim the i-pad from Mrs Skempie in the first place.

  9. Morning all. I agree, an enjoyable puzzle, but couldn’t make it last long enough to save me from some ghastly and long-overdue turning out of cupboards. My only bleat – was it quite right to use the uppercase on Windows? This is surely a bit misleading? I nearly left it because I am a total idiot when it comes to computers, but fortunately the penny dropped in time.

  10. Well for some reason we printed off the toughie this morning although it was listed under Cryptic 1047. maybe a blip on the internet Managed to complete it all but l9a so any hints would be welcome.
    Is there a Big Dave style site for the Toughies? Feeling quite pleased with myself – never even attempted one before.
    Checked the Telegraph site & now right Cryptic is up so lucky me, another crossword – better put the kettle on again! :)

      1. OK thanks pommers will have to wait til 4 Cyprus time then.
        May even try another Toughie. Are any days easier than others?

        1. Not really. There’s quite a bit of variation but Friday is usually the toughest of the week.

          Two of the gentler setters are Kcit and Warbler.

  11. :grin: number one because pommers is back and :grin: number two because I was right and that’s something, as I’m sure you all know by now, that doesn’t happen too often!
    I’d say 2* for difficulty and 4* for enjoyment today. I thought it was typically lovely Wednesday crossword.
    I was slow to get 9a, for no particular reason – 11a, because I still miss those kinds of answers more often than not – and 25d.
    My main problem was 3d because I had ‘paternal’ for 18a – it went in as quick as a flash and, rather obviously, without much, if any, thought. Oh dear! Anyway sorted that out eventually when it was pretty clear what 3d was which made me rethink my wrong answer.
    The only other problem was 14d which I just couldn’t see for ages.
    It looks as if 12a is going to be this week’s regular answer.
    I liked 1 and 15a and 3 and 25d. My favourite, even if it was my last answer, was 14d.
    With thanks for the crossword to Jay, and thanks for the hints and welcome back to pommers.

  12. Anyone noticed the connection between 27a in today’s Toughie and 9a in this one? Having written this blog 27a was a write-in!

  13. PS I’ve just thought of another reason to be pleased about pommers being back. It means that BD won’t be working overtime as he has been since scchua’s been away and Bufo has been off on his ‘war horse’. I was beginning to worry that he might get fed-up with the whole thing!

    1. Yes that thought was beginning to cross my mind as I saw how often the big man was providing the tints & hues.

  14. Very enjoyable crossword from Jay and a very enjoyable review from our prodigal Pommers, many thanks to both and welcome back Pommers.

  15. Hello all. Bring fairly inexperienced at cryptic crosswords I just wanted to say thanks to all the kind folks furnishing us with hints.
    Needed them today, though bizarrely not yesterday!

    1. Welcome to the blog jimnopedie.
      Now that you’ve made contact I hope that you’ll be a regular contributor.

      1. Hi Gazza and thanks
        I will certainly contribute when I get the chance, now I’m a complete cryptic addict!

  16. I hate it when pommers blogs – as I don’t get to have my daily lunch fix with himself – ‘cos he’s already done it. Boo Hoo.
    But I’ve printed out todays and I’ll have a go later on my own based on the 2* – I sometimes find Jay a bit tricky.

  17. Welome back Pommers I’ve really missed your naughtycal explanations and pictures, they really brightened my day up.

  18. Thanks Pommers and welcome back. I got a good start last night before lights out, but got held up in the SE corner this morning by putting ‘pantomime’ in 16d. Otherwise quite enjoyable.

  19. Great to have pommers back!! We missed you. My last one in was 14d and probably my favourite, though 28a runs close second. Lots of good clues, thanks to setter, and, once again, to pommers.

  20. Thanks to Jay and to Pommers for the review and hints. A superb puzzle, I needed seven answers, but managed to perservate my way through them. Last in was 19a. Lots of favourites, too many to mention, but the stand out clue was 16d. Great to have Pommers back in the chair, your cheery comments have been missed. Was 3*/4* for me. Managed to get a run in this morning, in a very autumnal Central London.

  21. Welcome back, pommers! I have very rarely needed your hints for a Jay puzzle but I have always found your “asides in italics” most amusing! Hope you come back next week or even sooner!

    Also, thanks to Jay!

  22. Wonderful to have you back, Pommers ! A very nice puzzle although , like others 14d eluded me for quite a while even though I’ve seen similiar clues to the same solution in the past. Doh ! My favourite was 16d.9a also gave me a lot of trouble Thanks to Jay and Pommers.

  23. Yes, good fun and not too taxing but did need a bit of help in the SW corner so thanks pommers for that and Jay for the enjoyment. **/***.

  24. If this one was easy, I wouldn’t want to tackle a Toughie. Sailed through almost all of yesterday’s, but today made very slow start and progress. It’s all about wavelength, I suppose. There was nothing unfair or obscure, and it was clever & witty, but so very elliptical and omni-misdirectional.
    Ah well, I’ve solved some of Jay’s puzzles in the past, maybe I shall again in the future. (I ‘d had some irritating hitches in private business matters, and I find that getting annoyed tends to stymie lateral thinking. Maybe that was it.)

    Favourites: 12a, 13a, 15a and 28a; 1d, 2d, 14d, 22d (a ‘growth’ I love) 24d, 25d.

    The term in 8a applied to football or rugby was new to me, but then I know v. little about either sport. In music, 9a are the works prescribed for auditions and exams. So I wasted some time trying an anagram of ‘plays’.

    Many thanks to Jay and pommers.

  25. Having found the last two trickier than usual, I managed this just in * time, which I was happy about.

  26. Nice to see you back Pommers ,seem to have perked up Jay too . Fun puzzle as was the “toughie” .
    Thanks to Jay and to Señor .Keep happy .

  27. Super to have you back, Pommers, and Pomette, too. :D :-D I am well pleased! This is the first Jay puzzle I’ve been able to do for ages. Even the * difficulty ones proved beyond me. :( :-( The clues I liked most are 12a, 15a, 28a; 14d, 16, and 17d. I nearly didn’t see 11a — beautifully camouflaged! Big thanks to Jay and Pommers.

  28. Thank goodness you are back in harness, you are so welcome after the hiatus. No disrespect to your stand in but it is like comparing his canvas to your silk

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