DT 27291 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 27291

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 27291

Hints and tips by Deep Threat

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ***

Good morning from South Staffs on an overcast grey morning.

I found this fairly gentle, though a couple of clues could cause problems if the underlying general knowledge is missing.

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.


7a           Unfair arrangements made by inexperienced hands (3,5)
{ RAW DEALS } An adjective meaning inexperienced followed by a noun which is an alternative way of describing a set of bridge hands.

9a           Blue celestial body close to Mercury (6)
{ EARTHY } Blue as in smutty. Take the name of a planet well known to all of us, and add the final letter of MercurY.

10a         Advantage gained by club once wicket’s taken (4)
{ EDGE } Remove the initial W (wicket’s taken) from the name of a sort of golf club.

11a         Source of article dividing French region (10)
{ PROVENANCE } A term applied especially to the source of a work of art or an antique. Put the indefinite article inside a region of Southern France.

12a         Chase funds university collected (6)
{ PURSUE } University inside some funds, or what you may keep them in.

14a         Fluency, blessing in disguise (8)
{ GLIBNESS }Anagram (in disguise) of BLESSING.

15a         Unenthusiastic, US poet on fourth of July (6)
{ FROSTY } The author of The Road Not Taken followed by the 4th letter of JulY, giving an unenthusiastic welcome.

17a         Capital of a country in Asia, then Siam (6)
{ ATHENS } Hidden in the clue.

20a         Knowing daily produces something that’ll kill insect pests (8)
{ FLYPAPER } A three-letter adjective meaning knowing, followed by a daily such as the Telegraph.

22a         Key  batsman facing the first ball of the innings (6)
{ OPENER } Double definition: what a key is; and one of the batsmen who go in first in a cricket match.

23a         Nicaraguan guerrilla group smuggled goods (10)
{ CONTRABAND } A member of a Nicaraguan anti-government rebellion in the 1980s, followed by another word for group.

24a         Wild party sees opera character losing head (4)
{ ORGY } Remove the initial P from the eponymous lead of an opera with music by George Gershwin, libretto by DuBose Heyward, and lyrics by DuBose Heyward and Ira Gershwin.

ARVE Error: need id and provider

25a         Live it up, taking in a show (6)
{ REVEAL } Put A (from the clue) inside a verb meaning to live it up, perhaps at a 24a.

26a         What Everest is, especially? (5,3)
{ ABOVE ALL } How you might describe Everest in relation to its Himalayan neighbours.


1d           Restrain pointer, very loud, circling copper (8)
{ HANDCUFF } A pointer, as on a clock face, and the musical abbreviation signifying ‘very loud’, either side of the chemical symbol for copper.

2d           I must get led astray, disliking work (4)
{ IDLE } I (from the clue) followed by an anagram (astray) of LED.

3d           Small enough specimen (6)
{ SAMPLE } The sort of specimen you might have to give the doctor. Small followed by a word meaning enough, or more than enough.

4d           Saint Arnold, for example (8)
{ BENEDICT } The name of a 6th-century saint, founder of a major monastic order, also the given name of Mr Arnold, who became notorious for changing sides during the American War of Independence.


5d           Energetic, a lively relative (5-5)
{ GREAT-NIECE } Anagram (lively) of ENERGETIC A.

6d           Strikes, with journalists (6)
{ WHACKS } With followed by an informal word for journalists.

8d           Cast off in southern Irish lake (6)
{ SLOUGH } …as a snake sheds its skin. Southern followed by the name given to Irish lakes.

13d         Try joining golf club, one throwing a ball (4-6)
{ SHOT-PUTTER } … a large iron ball in this case. Another word for a try followed by a variety of golf club.

16d         Choose filling fare for bigwigs seated here? (3,5)
{ TOP TABLE } A three-letter verb meaning choose inside a noun describing fare or the board it is set out on.

18d         Scandinavian boy and girl, first to identify evil manipulator (8)
{ SVENGALI } A charade of a Scandinavian boy’s name, an informal spelling of girl, and the first letter of Identify.

19d         Navy member, a lawyer (6)
{ ARMADA } One of the members of the human body, followed by A (from the clue) and the commonly used abbreviation for an American prosecutor.

21d         Left noose uncoiled, so relax! (6)
{ LOOSEN } Left followed by an anagram (uncoiled) of NOOSE.

22d         Curious boy, very likely to succeed (4-2)
{ ODDS-ON } A bookmaker’s price for a bet which is very likely to succeed. Split (3,3) this could be a word meaning curious or unusual, and a male child.

24d         Exposed old writer (4)
{ OPEN } Old followed by something to write with.

The Quick Crossword pun { ROARED }{ EELS } = { RAW DEALS } –  as in 7a in this puzzle!

35 comments on “DT 27291

  1. An enjoyable cakewalk leaves me plenty of time to get some gardening done in the beautiful sunshine- thank you Setter. Liked 18d. **/***.

  2. I really enjoyed this, even if I did get the wrong first word for 7A. Lots to smile about, particularly 9A, 23A, 4D (favorite) and 22D. Thanks to the setter and to DT for a nice early review.

  3. I agree with DT’s rating and comments. although I don’t much like 16d which requires you to put a word inside another word with the latter word also being the second word of the answer. That’s a very wordy sentence :wink:

    Thanks to Mr Ron and DT, whose hints I needed to explain the reference to Nicaraguans in 23a and to enlighten me as to why my answer for 4d (my last one in) was correct.

    22d was my favourite.

    1. One of the pottiest sentences I remember was from younger daughter when she was about four. Her Dad had chosen the wrong book to take upstairs for the bed time story and she said “What did you bring that book I didn’t want to be read to out of up for!”

      1. :grin:

        Which in turn reminds me of Winston Churchill’s great quote, “to end a sentence with a preposition is something up with which I will not put”. I am sure if he was still alive today he would be joining me frequently in our newly formed Pedants’ Corner!

  4. The NE corner gave me a few issues but I persevered & eventually managed to finish.Thought 1D was clever & had to smile at 22D.Agree with the ratings & many thanks to DT for the review.

  5. A gentle crossword like yesterdays with a sting in the tail end. 16d yesterday and 4d today. Both stumped me but kept me thinking for hours. Saint Sharon will work me for the rest of the day.

  6. I was going to take this with me to the dentist’s this afternoon but the temptation to “just fill a few in” got the better of me. So now it’ll have to be the Toughie as I wait for the anaesthetic to kick in & for the dentist to get her pit boots & crampons on.

    Not looking forward to this evening when I leak the first few mouthfuls of Snecklifter from a gob which is numbed on both sides.

  7. Thank you setter, enjoyable, held up in NE corner but finally got 9a and 4d without hints but with electronic assistance ! Thank you DT for your review and hints.

  8. A bit nearer 3* for difficulty and nearer 4* for enjoyment.
    I got terribly stuck for a while in the top right corner – never heard of the American general but eventually googled him and there he was.
    17a took me ages, as that kind of clue always does.
    20a made me laugh – many years ago when daughters were little we went to a gite in the south of France – when we arrived the first thing that Pet Lamb number one did was get her very long blonde hair well and truly caught up in a 20a – oh dear!
    I liked 9 and 14a and 3 and 8d. My favourite was 18d although I don’t care for his looks too much!
    With thanks to Mr Ron and Deep Threat.
    Very foggy first thing this morning but the sun is coming out now.

  9. Took me a bit of time today, but I have been a bit pre-occupied (trying to stream the Notts-Somerset match and it keeps breaking up, grrr). Looking back, I couldn’t really see any problems.
    I think this is the first time I’ve seen the quickie pun appearing in the cryptic (certainly first time I’ve seen them right at the beginning).
    I thought 4D was excellent today but I think 23A just pips it at the post as today’s favourite

    1. Beautiful day here in West Bridgford. I live about a mile from Trent bridge & the crowd have finally woken up.

  10. For some unfathomable reason I really struggled to complete this – thank you DT for excellent hints – and now it’s done I can’t understand why I found it quite so difficult… Like Skempie, I liked 4d, as well as a few others, so won’t risk being sent to the naughty corner (assuming CS has been far too busy to bake for us) by listing a plurality of faves. Thank you to the setter also.

    1. I don’t think you get sent to the naughty corner for listing multiple favourites and anyway it is a weekend thing when you mustn’t give away too much about any of the prize puzzle clues.

      1. But the Pendants’ Corner is open daily, and I could be needing some provisions for that at any time. Please keep on baking…

  11. Two definite hmmm’s here…
    (1) The repetition of the Quickie pun as the opener was disappointing
    (2) 9A refers to a body which is the exact opposite of celestial (look up the antonym, for heaven’s sake!).

    So, the start was a bit grumpy-making, but overall it was a pleasant crossowrd.

  12. Once I had a start, there were no real problems. I agree with the comments made about 9a and 16d. Still, quite enjoyed it.

  13. It’s a public holiday here in South Africa (“bank holiday” to you Brits), so I could get stuck into the DT crossword and not wait for Satruday’s. I found today’s crossword pretty tough. Like Expat Chris, I got the first word of 7a wrong and could not get the answers to 9a and 6d until I read DT’s hints: I read “close” to Mercury as meaning “near” instead of the closing letter; and the “W” for “with” had me stumped in 6d.
    I must agree with Steve the Beard that the “body” in 6d is definitely NOT celestial, as it is not in the sky!

  14. Very enjoyable puzzle which I started this afternoon after the tecnician came to inspect the old boiler – he’ll replace it with a new one Thursday.

    Faves : 10a, 11a, 15a, 23a, 4d, 13d, 16d & 18d.

    Now going to relax and listen to CD’s.

  15. Thanks to the setter and to Deep Threat for the review and hints. A very nice fun puzzle. I managed to complete over three sessions. There were some tricky ones, especially 1d, on which the penny finally dropped. Must confess to consulting Mr Google for 4d, and read all about Saint Arnold. Having read the hint, I’d never heard of the other Arnold either. Favourites were 9&23a and 18d. Last in was 15a, who I’d also never heard of. Still , Saints and Poets are not my strong suite. A lovely day for a walk in Central London, once the mist had cleared. Will be commenting from the St. Alban’s Beer Festival tomorrow.

  16. Gentle!! You must be kidding, after two visits and over 30 mins I have managed one answer and even that I’m not sure of. For me this was a waste of good printers ink!

  17. I found this one decidedly tricky. It took a long time to get “in” but when I did, it seemed to flow a bit better; full disclosure, with help of gizmo. Never did get 7a and 4d, had to resort to hints. Nevertheless, I did enjoy the workout, though I was way off wavelength today. As usual, all the answers are so easy once you know them. Thanks to setter and hinter.

  18. ARGH ! Missed the hidden capital.

    Also didn’t get the 4d Saint, but since that’s entirely a general knowledge question, I don’t feel bad about it…

  19. Completed this one in very quick time, only to find this morning that we had ‘bad deals’ instead of ‘raw deals’ for 7a. It seems to us to fit the clue equally well, so we don’t feel too bad about the mistake. Pleasant enough but a bit on the gentle side.
    Thanks Mr Ron and DT.

  20. Easy and gentle. Although 7a took me ages and I also went with Bad Deals first until I saw the light.

  21. I liked this very much. I thought it had a nice spread of subject matter. I started at the end, simply because the answer to 25a presented itself when my eye fell on it as I was checking that the printer hadn’t skipped the last clues (as it sometimes does). Everything went nice and smoothly — except that I simply could not do 9a and 6d. :oops: Am grateful to Deep Threat for excellent hints. Tried to play ‘It Ain’t Necessarily So’ but my ever temperamental (Vista) laptop froze! Par for the course. Faves 15a, 24a, 4d and 18d. George Du Maurier was Daphne’s grandfather. Quite a talented man by all accounts. Many thanks to setter for a very enjoyable puzzle.

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