DT 27368 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 27368

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 27368

Hints and tips by Big Dave

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ****

If you think this doesn’t seem like a Rufus puzzle, you are right. Rufus has told us that he is in the driving seat with a special puzzle tomorrow and an online-only one on Christmas Day while Jay, the Wednesday Wizard, has moved to today. It seems he felt that wearing the Monday Maestro’s hat meant that the puzzle had to be easy, and in that he has succeeded. I enjoyed the festive flavour.

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    German delicacy beginning to lessen in hot bar (7,4)
{STOLLEN CAKE} – I bought two of these from Marks & Spencer yesterday! – the initial letter (beginning) of Lessen inside an adjective meaning hot or ill-gotten and followed by a bar or lump, possibly of soap

9a    Drinks made from mushrooms? (9)
{SNOWBALLS} – two definitions – the second being a verb meaning mushrooms or increases with remarkable rapidity

10a    Bird runs home clutching old book (5)
{ROBIN} – R(uns) and a two-letter word for home around O(ld) B(ook)

11a    Make lovable teens dye hair regularly (6)
{ENDEAR} – the even letters (regularly) of three words in the clue

12a    One about to chase money for vegetables (8)
{BRASSICA} – I (one) and the two-letter Latin abbreviation for about after (chase) a slang word for money

13a    Cold shoulder sent back before relations eat (4,2)
{TUCK IN} – a verb meaning to cold shoulder or ignore reversed (sent back) followed by some relations

15a    Resting during perfomance, wives undressed (8)
{INACTIVE} – a two-letter preposition meaning during followed by a performance and (w)IVE(s) without their outer letters (undressed)

18a    Norm cuts roots (8)
{PARSNIPS} – a three-letter word meaning the norm or usual followed by a verb meaning cuts gives these root vegetables

19a    Put out by short question in front of magistrates, losing head (6)
{QUENCH} – QU(estion) followed by where magistrates can be found without (losing) its initial letter (head)

21a    Beating an investment in Turkey? (8)
{STUFFING} – two definitions – the second being something that is invested or placed inside the Christmas turkey

23a    Journalist travelled back across city centre (6)
{EDITOR} – the reversal (back) of a verb meaning travelled on a horse or motorbike around (across) the middle two letters (centre} – of cITy

26a    Love game played in end of series (5)
{OMEGA} – O (love) followed by an anagram (played) of GAME

27a    Unable to get enough at sea in it, possibly (9)
{INSATIATE} – an anagram (possibly) of AT SEA IN IT

28a    Miner’s daughter gets son fruit (11)
{CLEMENTINES} – the daughter who lived in a cavern in a canyon with her father who was a miner, forty-niner, followed by S(on)


1d    Dodgy religious group grabbing American power (7)
{SUSPECT} – a religious group around (grabbing) the three-letter abbreviation for American and P(ower)

2d    Ordinary space is egg‑shaped (5)
{OVOID) – O(rdinary) followed by a space or emptiness

3d    Bookkeeper from Iran ruined by Blair being reckless (9)
{LIBRARIAN} – an anagram (ruined) of IRAN preceded by an anagram (being reckless) of BLAIR

4d    River and province on the borders of Lille (4)
{NILE} – a province within the UK followed by the outer letters (borders) of LillE

5d    So Arsenal, playing without energy, will be runners-up (4-4)
{ALSO-RANS} – an anagram (playing) of SO ARS(E)NAL without the E(nergy)

6d    Student drops out of studies and makes money (5)
{EARNS} – drop the L (student) from a verb meaning studies

7d    Medical cover for group with a case of gangrene (7)
{BANDAGE} – a musical group followed by the A from the clue and the outer letters (case) of GangrenE

8d    Combo regularly playing violin in limbo (8)
{OBLIVION} – the even letters of cOmBo followed by an anagram (playing) of VIOLIN

14d    Have a riotous time with left luggage here (8)
{CAROUSEL} – a verb meaning to have a riotous time followed by L(eft) gives somewhere you might find your luggage at an airport

16d    Castro’s first up-to-date planned takeover (4,1’4)
{COUP D’ÉTAT} – the initial letter (first) of Castro followed by an anagram (planned) of UP-TO-DATE

17d    Order for military  logs to be burnt here (4,4)
{OPEN FIRE} – two definitions – the second being somewhere to roast chestnuts

18d    A bit of sleep as southerners complete military training (4,3)
{PASS OUT} – hidden (a bit of) inside the clue

20d    Distribute shares, including new tackle (7)
{HARNESS} – an anagram (distribute) of SHARES around (including) N(ew)

22d    A spent force in Germany’s neighbour? (5)
{FRANC} – a cryptic definition of the former currency (spent force) of a country adjacent to Germany

24d    School  transport (5)
{TRAIN} – two obvious definitions – a verb and a noun

25d    Land in water (4)
{ISLE} – some land surrounded by water

Merry Christmas to all our readers – I’ll be back with tomorrow’s Toughie.

The Quick crossword pun: (eggs} + {horse} + {size} = {exorcize}

45 comments on “DT 27368

  1. 1*/4* for superb festive fun. Many thanks to Jay and to BD for yet another superb review (and for pointing out it was not Rufus!)

  2. If you want a Rufus puzzle he’s in the FT (as Dante) and the Grauniad today. The one in the FT is a superb challenge. I won’t spoil the surprise by saying any more but I highly recommend it. Took pommette and I about three times as long as usual http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/smiley-phew.gif

    1. Thanks for the heads-up on the Dante. It’s certainly something different and I really enjoyed it.

      1. Seriously, how does one start ? I’ve been looking at it and have only got “3d” and”2d” so far.

        1. I started by solving the first two clues, deciding from their enumerations (which added up to 14) that they both probably fitted on one line and making the assumption that they would be in row 1 of the grid (not necessarily true, but the assumption turned out to be correct). Because we’re told that the grid is symmetrical if turned through 180 degrees I now had the position and enumerations for the final two across clues which I could fill in. I could now make some stabs at the positioning of some down clues. I proceeded, working down from the top and up from the bottom, until they met in the middle.

  3. I got rather hungry doing this excellent puzzle today. Good job the kitchen is functional again. I just have to wait until Saint Sharon returns from her mothers and I can have a sandwich. Thanks to all concerned once again.

  4. 18a was well concealed, I thought.I liked 17d,but is 25d really cryptic ? I’ve already had a look at Dante in the FT and I just don’t know where to begin.Thanks to Jay and BD.

  5. Thanks to Jay for a very enjoyable festive puzzle and to BD for an equally enjoyable festive review. Merry Christmas to all.

  6. At 1:30 am EST (6:30 your time) one of last week’s puzzles was up on the DT. I printed it out and had 5 answers in before I realized.

    This one was pretty much a read and write for me, so the enjoyment factor was low (Sorry, Jay. I usually really like your puzzles). I did like 9A, though, because I’ve been wracking my expat brain to remember the name of that drink! Looking forward to seeing Rufus in more challenging mode tomorrow and Wednesday.

    Many thanks to the tireless BD. I hope Santa knows that you’ve been extra good this year.

    1. Yes, what a great start to the week by the DT – last week’s Rufus reappearing as the PDF – oh well, another sign of deteriorating quality. Glad to see the “real” today’s puzzle is now available.
      Thanks BD for the info about the compilers.

  7. Super puzzle for the start of the festive week . Some lovely clues in 18d, 18a and 22d. I do enjoy these clever type of clues.
    Many Thx to Rufus for the puzzle and to BD as always although didn’t need the hints today.
    off to do battle with the weather and M & Shttp://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_rose.gif

  8. Thank you setter and reviewer for an enjoyable Monday teaser which brightened up an otherwise wet and miserable morning. I found it a little more taxing in places than the usual Monday offering but just as enjoyable. My favourites – 13a & 22a which go together rather well!

  9. Short but sweet methinks – bit like a 9a! Very enjoyable and we particularly like the investment in Turkey and the German delicacy, both the foods and the clues :lol:

    Muchas gracias to Jay and BD.

  10. Hello everyone I’ve been reading the blog for a while but this is first comment. Great crossword today!

  11. Really pleased with myself as I thought while I was doing it that it didn’t feel like a Monday – well, nothing feels like the right day of the week at the moment anyway but I mean that it didn’t feel like a Monday crossword.
    I liked it – I always like Wednesday crosswords which is, I suppose, what this one was.
    I got stuck with several in the bottom left corner but, apart from those, didn’t have too many problems.
    I liked 9 and 28a and 3 and 22d.
    With thanks to Jay and, yet again, BD.
    This is my third crossword today – have done Saturday’s and Sunday’s before starting this one as there was no spare time at the weekend. Just going on a hunt for NTSPP and then off to see if I can find whatever it was that was extra in the Saturday paper – being able to find the Saturday paper at all is going to be a bit of a challenge!

  12. I’ve been rather overwhelmed with various therapies, and later preparations for Christmas, so I’ve been doing more lurking than contributing. Haven’t even done today’s yet, but wanted to wish everybody on the blog


    1. Franny, I hope you are doing well. Have you finished all your therapies now? I wish you a Merry Christmas as well and hope all these past problems are now behind you.

  13. Thanks to Jay and to Big Dave for the review and hints. A most enjoyable puzzle, 18d was very well hidden. Favourite was 5d, hope it’s not prophetic as I’m a Gooner. Last in was 1a. Was 2*/3* for me. Morrison’s was packed, anyone would think it’s Christmas. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_cool.gif Have a good one everybody. Many thanks to all the reviewers and especially to Big Dave for his sterling work throughout the year, and to all those who comment, what a great site.

  14. Lovely straightforwardly festive start to the week – thank you and Merry Christmas to Jay and BD.

  15. Thank you Jay, a most enjoyable puzzle. Thanks BD for your review and hints. For some reason wanted to put “euros” in at 6d until I saw the light !

  16. I sat down for breakfast, turned some carols on, fully expecting to be entertained by Rufus! I thought something was amiss, so went on the blog and all was clear. I did enjoy this by Jay, good stuff, last one in was 1a. Favourite: 28a. Thanks to Jay, and, of course, thank you BD for your tireless efforts to keep the blog afloat.


        1. I agree. Delicious veg, especially cooked straight from the garden.

          Nice to see you again on Sat Andy.

          1. It was nice to see you and so many others, Not sure what I’m up to tomorrow so from me Cynthia and Cuthbert hope you have a great few days.

        2. I’ll have to look for it, certainly won’t be in our everyday supermarket. Looks scrumptious!

  17. As everyone else has said, a most enjoyable puzzle. Merry Christmas and thank you Jay for all your excellent puzzles this year, and thank you to BD for the review.

  18. How can we have the on line puzzle on Christmas Day when the on line version doesn’t work. If it does work why can’t we have it every day.
    Fine puzzle from Jay which I found challenging but enjoyable. A few difficult clues for me where the hints were most welcome.
    Many thanks to Jay and BD for an enjoyable time

        1. Not for some time:

          Following extensive testing of the Telegraph Puzzles website last week, regretfully we are still not in a position to restore full service, due to some remaining bugs that require additional testing. Therefore we have taken the necessary decision to use the Christmas and New Year period to complete the work before we release the required fixes.

          We again wish to offer our sincerest apologies for the prolonged interruption to the service.

          Thank you again for your patience. In the meantime, puzzles will continue to be available throughout the festive period in PDF format.

          There will be puzzles on Christmas Day as usual, including Cryptic and Quick Crosswords by Roger Squires, a Toughie by Dada, and a Double Toughie by Elgar. Please make sure you check here on Christmas Day to download them.

  19. We had not picked that it was not a Rufus puzzle until we read the review just now, even though it did seem to have a different feel to us when we were solving it. No real problems, good fun.
    Thanks Jay and BD.

  20. Some very clever and amusingly teasing clues, but I found it a nice, gentle and fairly easy solve: most welcome for a post-prandial playtime, when brain not fully engaged in gear…

  21. As usual, I’m the last one on . Everyone else seems to lead normal lives and not have to work until the small hours. Tired today, so grateful for a write-in, as this means I can now go to bed. Don’t like to turn in until I’ve finished. I always save the Toughie for the morning and do the back-pager after work. 1* difficulty, 3* enjoyment

  22. No, You are not the last one Tstrummer. I did it at about 3am on Christmas Eve morning as the storms abated. Like yourself, the need to earn a living got in the way again.

  23. I hope I can post in this thread, my apologies if wrong place. I used to like doing the interactive Telegraph crossword online, but the site has been down for over a month and now won’t be fixed until new year. http://tinyurl.com/nd4llao I don’t get any reason why when I phone the DT. All I can think off is, I possibly remember a bug where we could cheat (not me!) using the web button for giving us a single letter clue, we could do this by using multiple different browsers, e.g. Internet Explorer, Chrome etc. This got us around the limit of 3 letters. I can’t test this now as site is down.

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