DT 27331 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 27331 (Hints)

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 27331 (Hints)

Big Dave’s Crossword Club

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There’s still time to enter the November Prize Puzzle.

As is usual for the weekend prize crosswords, an assortment of clues, including some of the more difficult ones, have been selected and hints provided for them.

Don’t forget that you can give your assessment of the puzzle. Five stars if you thought it was great, one if you hated it, four, three or two if it was somewhere in between.

Could new readers please read the Welcome post and the FAQ before asking questions about the site.

Most of the terms used in these hints are explained in the Glossary and examples are available by clicking on the entry under “See also”.

A full review of this puzzle will be published after the closing date for submissions.


1a Vegetable‘s beauty set down by artist (6)
A beautiful girl preceded by Crosswordland’s usual artist

4a Colour of suit captured by writer (3-5)
A verb meaning to suit or match inside a writing implement

12a Saint’s recompense getting tip off servant (7)
The abbreviation for S(ain)T followed by a recompense or benefit without (getting … off) its initial letter (tip)

13a Bit of roast leg, it’s thrown out (7)
The whole of this &Lit clue defines this anagram (thrown out) of R (bit or Roast) LEG IT’S

14a Film Grand National winner set to make return, holding form (4,1,3,6)
Start with a famous winner of the Grand National (3,3) and a verb meaning set then reverse all of it around (holding) FORM

23a Harmony left behind tuneless music (7)
The nautical term for left preceded by some tuneless music

24a Cleaner part of South Africa turned rogue (9)
A daily cleaner followed by the reversal (turned) of a former province of South Africa

27a One tries to catch old Englishman with Queen (6)
A member of an Old English tribe followed by the Latin abbreviation for Queen


1d Call on team near to fighting (8)
A telephone call followed by a team

3d Phonecard conceals expensive weapon (7)
The three-letter abbreviation for the card found in a mobile phone around (conceals) an adjective meaning expensive

5d It shows one’s intended to employ tutoring heartlessly (10,4)
A verb meaning to employ followed by some tutoring without its middle letter (heartlessly)

6d Large ice endlessly slipping? (7)
Another all-in-one / &Lit clue in which the whole clue provides the definition – it’s an anagram (slipping) of LARGE IC (ice endlessly)

8d Weapon cocked, go for small piece (6)
Reverse (cocked) a weapon and follow it with a verb meaning go for

18d Historical garment, cotton in the middle? (7)
This historical garment is cryptically defined by TT (6,1), the middle letters of coTTon

19d Storm — sort endlessly overcome by former Blairite minister (7)
A sort or kind without its final letter (endlessly) followed by the surname of the easily-forgotten former defence and transport minister in the Blair government

If you can’t remember him, here’s a picture to remind you!

20d American boss in marathon chosen (6)
For those who can’t see beyond the end of their nose, the answer is hidden in the clue.

22d Louvre embraces new point of view (5)
A louvre around (embraces) N(ew)

The Crossword Club is now open. Feel free to leave comments.

As this is a Prize crossword, please don’t put any ANSWERS, whether WHOLE, PARTIAL or INCORRECT, or any ALTERNATIVE CLUES in your comment.  If in doubt, leave it out!

Please read these instructions carefully. Offending comments may be redacted or, in extreme cases, deleted.

The Quick crossword pun: (cheque} + {curd} + {Korea} = {chequered career}

91 comments on “DT 27331 (Hints)

  1. I was beginning to think that this was a RayT puzzle because it had a reference to the queen and was impossible to break in to. But gradually it opened up and I found it very enjoyable but quite difficult. It couldn’t be RayT anyway because it is Saturday – I know that

  2. Ooh finished and second to comment! Needed 4 hints though! Still a nice gentle Saturday morning. Thanks to hinter and setter.

  3. This was a straightforward (1* difficulty) but very pleasant (3* enjoyment) puzzle this morning. I found it was “read and write” all the way and, even though the answer was obvious, my only hold up was trying to understand the wordplay for 18d. When I finally twigged, this won the vote for my favourite.

    Many thanks to Mr Ron and to BD.

  4. Quite a straightforward but clever little challenge.. Enjoyed14 ac and 24 ac. Thought 18d was wonderfully misleading!

    1. David,
      You’ve expanded your alias so your comment required moderation. Both aliases should now work.

  5. Really enjoyable puzzle with more food for thought than is usual on Saturday. Lots of great clues including 21a, 3d, 5d and 18d. Thanks Setter (presumably not Cephas in which case who?). **/****. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/icon_biggrin.gif

  6. Reasonably straightforward, and finished before lights out last night (just). I was not too sure about the answer to 13a so thanks to BD for confirming that. I thought 14a was good once I had solved it. Having solved 3a and thus getting the single letter part of 14a had me head scratching for a while.

  7. Managed to complete without assistance, a nice mixture of clues my favourite being 14A which took a bit of head scratching. It’s just stopped raining & I can see blue sky here in soton things are looking up.Many thanks to the setter & BD for the review.

    1. I left in in by mistake – I thought it was too easy to need a hint.

      I’ve been out to lunch as today is our 46th Wedding Anniversary! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_heart.gif

          1. Happy anniversary. Interesting as ’44 is also significant for both of us and our 46th anniversary was 2 weeks ago.

      1. Hearty congratulations ! I’m sure someone told me the first forty five years are the most difficult ! (Joking !) Well done, I wish you both many more years of happiness.

  8. Thank you setter – on first reading of the across clues I thought that I would never get started but once the 4 14 word answers dawned on me it wasn’t too difficult. Some clever clues thank you for an enjoyable puzzle. Thanks BD for the hints – I did look at 4a just to check !

  9. Finished, excellent puzzle. I wonder if the Saturday crosswords are set by a committee because they are always enjoyable and entertaining so either one person or a group of people could sustain a high standard.

  10. There’s a couple of references to ‘&lit’ appearing on my Ipad blog – in 13a and 6d – are they intentional? – and you have missed out that there’s a hidden word in 20d – again apologies if this was intentional.

    Good fun though!

    1. It means an all-in-one clue and is in the glossary (link in the opening comments) but I still need an explanation as to why it couldn’t just be shortened to AIO!

        1. Whenever I see something beginninig with an ampersand (&) I assume it’s some sort of computer translation error – maybe it’s just me! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_wacko.gif

    2. Bd has Malusdomesticaphobia so will avoid any contact with OS X, IOS, or other malum.

      I think he adds these little ‘gremlins’ to remind us to use a real operating system like VMS.

  11. I too thought that this was a thoroughly enjoyable puzzle and, having entered the answer for 18d, I was still bemused by the reference to ‘cotton in the middle’. Having read Dave’s hint, I was still none the wiser – until about 20 minutes ago when the penny finally dropped and so I’m going to award myself an emoticon : http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_wacko.gif

  12. I too was beginning to think a Ray T but it had phrases so obviously wasn’t.
    Nice enjoyable outing once you found the anagrams and got started. Nice misdirection in 13a. Can’t say that I agree that the verb in 4a means suit or match. Can’t say anymore or I will be sent to the Naughty Corner although there is sticky apple and sultana cake there today or at least there will be in 20 minutes :-)
    Thx to all concerned.

    1. I agree re 4a Brian, I may be along for that cake soon because although I have an answer for 27a, I think its a person that catches ***********!! I don’t understand it???

    2. Mary, took me a while to see 27a. But on the good side the cake turned out well although I may have used a little too much Armagnac in soaking the sultanas.

  13. Lovely puzzle for a cold bright toasty morning in boston. What is the collective noun for “cold days”?

    1. I don’t know, what is the collective noun for ‘cold days’ … is this a joke she thinks?????

      1. Not a joke, we thought we would have repeat of the “collective noun for toast” discussion, it was so much fun.

  14. Must be me being dim today then, I didn’t really enjoy it and didn’t find it that easy, although I did have one favourite clue 18d :-) , I am doing the crosswords slightly later most days than I was before, I definitely think it doesn’t helphttp://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_sad.gif

  15. Very enjoyable especially with the long phrasal clues. Once we know what we’re looking for, we have a very good chance of getting the answers, but the difficulty is knowing what to look for. Thank you to setter & hinter.

  16. This was an enjoyable breeze.Love the long answers. Seem to give alot of checking letters and most went in on the first read. Some went in before I fathomed the clue. When reading comments on 18d I thought I had the wrong answer but once I realized the relevance of TT I agree very clever. Last one in, inexplicably, was 7d. Good two days for me. Found friday’s very clever and enjoyable and a quick solve. Was only held up in the NE corner by the same clues as most other bloggers. Thanks setters, BD and bloggers.

  17. South Africa calling. And we are mentioned in this puzzle! Our newspaper left out the clue for 5d! So I could not finish the puzzle without your help but I tried work out the answer from the grid, but looking for a 14 letter word was difficult ! 18 d a ridiculous clue! Only once I read your hint did I get it. Thanks once again.

    1. Is that a tradition in SA? Mrs T often prints the puzzle and omits the last clue – i thought it was since we print on letter (not a4) but perhaps it is cos she is from Port Alfred!

      1. I print on letter, too. All too often, the last clues is all alone on a second page. Grrr…

        1. Chris, I only print the first page, then if I miss clues, I turn the page over and print the missing clues on the backside, along with code words!

          1. Congratulations, Shawn, on winning the prize for Saturday-before-last’s puzzle. (I phoned Des – another serial winner – to ask her if she had found out what the clue for 5d was, and she blurted out the answer!) Anyway, I got the rest of the answers without BD’s help, although I didn’t understand the answer to 18d until I read the blog. By the way, BD, the province in 24a is not a “former” province of South Africa, it is still a province but its name has been slightly lengthened.

              1. QI. This province and one other did not change its borders after 1994. The former having a word added whilst the other one dropped the ‘fruit’ off its name.

              2. I don’t think so. That would be like saying Victoria Beckham was a “former person” when all she has done is to be called Victoria Beckham and not Posh Spice. It’s a name change not a change in what she is. Zimbabwe is still a country in Southern Africa although it has changed its name from Southern Rhodesia.

  18. Enjoyed today and not too difficult. Still don’t understand wordplay for 18d although I am pretty sure I have the answer right as it checks with everything else. Favourites 23a & 15d.

  19. Firstly happy anniversary BD to you both
    Secondly thanks to BD for the hints, last one in was 14a and without your hint would still be working on it :)

    Bottom half went in much easier than top half, I thought about playing cards for 4a which obviously did not help :oops:

    Didn’t 20 d appear a couple of weeks ago?

      1. She’s fine, thank you. Everyone went off to see her a little while ago, giving me time to do the crossword.

    1. She was doing lots of indoors stuff yesterday to get ready for the weekend visit of her two daughters – I doubt we’ll hear from her until they have gone!

    2. Here I am. I hadn’t realised that we had to apply for a late arrival as well as time off! Will remember next time, like tomorrow probably.

  20. Great puzzle! Thanks for the explanation for 18d, very clever! I struggled with 14a until I got 3d and got the letter for the single-letter word, then it was so easy. Thanks to all

  21. Thanks to the setter and to Big Dave for the hints. Happy Anniversary to Mr & Mrs BD. A very enjoyable puzzle with no major problems. Got 18d ok, but needed the hint to parse it. Favourites were 14a & 18d. Last in was 27a. Was 2*/3* for me. Typically wintry day in Central London. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_wink.gif

  22. Many thanks to the setter and to Big Dave for the Review (which I needed for a couple). Congratulations on the anniversary.

    Relatively straightforward, but I wouldn’t call it easy. Some nice constructions (14a & 24a) and I quite liked the all-in-one-&-lit clues, unusual to get two in one puzzle? 18d my favourite clue… clever stuff.


  23. The gentlest puzzle of the week! Thanks to all concerned.

    Happy Wedding Anniversary – congratulations to you both!

  24. Very late! Elder daughter and her partner arrived yesterday with SO much washing that I’ve nearly disappeared in it today. I’m not complaining – it’s not their fault as they are temporarily living in a tiny flat with nowhere to dry anything.
    An enjoyable crossword – doing anything other than washing feels pretty wonderful!
    I was stupidly slow to get 4a and 8d. I got 3d quickly and then instantly dismissed it because of its last letter – stupid again! I took ages to understand why 5d was what it was and generally have been not at my best (whatever that may be) today. Finished eventually.
    I liked lots of these but don’t have a favourite – now need to go and light fire, open bottle and generally get going or there could well be a riot!
    With thanks to Mr Ron and BD.

  25. Almost, almost a write-in today despite a late start (Late start= tired brain).

    Got 18d as it couldn’t have been anything else really. Still think it’s a poor clue, too devious.

    That cake of Brian’s sounds tasty.


  26. I only got to this in the past XX minutes [my ‘X’s].

    Relatively easy for a Saturday Prize, I thought, but enjoyable, so */*** from me.

    I wrote 18d in and then spent 15 minutes or so puzzling it out. If I was supple enough (and it wouldn’t wake my first wife http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_whistle3.gif – of only 39 years, BTW), I’d kick myself in the head … or even lower.

  27. Dear Big Dave

    I have nearly finished this with and I’m happy to say that barring your help with 14a and 18d all by myself… But… I just cannot see 7d even though I have the first, third and last letters. Three words will fit, but I can see no logic to any… Can someone help?

    Thank you

    1. They’re only easy when you know the answer!

      7d Be way out including touch of scattiness (5)
      A way out around (including) the initial letter (touch) of Scattiness

      1. How could I have not seen this?!

        Many thanks, for this and all the clues and your help in opening me up to the bizarre and wonderful ways of the cryptic crossword. Such fun, although I don’t seem to have the time other than the weekends. The prize crossword also seems to be the week’s easiest – another reason it’s the one I seem to be best at.

        Best wishes

  28. I enjoyed this (****), but Oh dearie me! I managed to get the first word of 4a wrong! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_cry.gif And I needed an explanation for the parsing of 18d. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/icon_redface.gif So many thanks for your excellent hints, Big Dave and for the cute pic at 4a. Liked many of the clues, including 14a and 15d. Many thanks to the setter.

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