DT 27369 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 27369

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 27369

Hints and tips by Gazza

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty *Enjoyment ****

This is a lovely (and gentle) seasonally-themed puzzle from the evergreen Rufus (who will be doing it all over again tomorrow, online only but because of the current debacle everyone should be able to get it, whether they’re an online subscriber or not).

I know that you’ll all be busy today wrapping last minute presents and putting the sprouts on to boil, but I hope that as many as possible of you will find a few minutes to leave a comment.

Across Clues

1a  Charge round Cornish town with a boy for days over Christmas (7,6)
{FESTIVE SEASON} – put a monetary charge around a Cornish resort (2,4) then add A (from the clue) and a male child.

10a  A row about boy in pantomime role (7)
{ALADDIN} – A (from the clue) and a row or unpleasant noise contain a young boy.

11a  Party wear in favour (7)
{ROSETTE} – I’m not sure whether this is meant to be a cryptic definition or a double definition. I’ve plumped for the former (because as a double definition the two meanings are pretty much the same). It’s the sort of favour that political party supporters wear when they’re pleading for your vote.

12a  Nominal attachments for the present (4)
{TAGS} – … saying ‘To you, from me’.

13a  A bell shaped attachment to the Christmas parcel (5)
{LABEL} – … and pretty much the same again, this time an anagram (shaped) of A BELL.

14a  Party drinks for children? (4)
{TOTS} – double definition, the first being servings of spirits.

17a  Uneasy feeling a meal is badly cooked (7)
{MALAISE} – an anagram (badly cooked) of A MEAL IS.

18a  Want to change vital part of 8 Down (7)
{TWANKEY} – an anagram (to change) of WANT followed by an adjective meaning vital or essential. This is an example of 8d (and related to 10a).

19a  Appreciates token to have a drink (5,2)
{MARKS UP} – appreciates here means increases prices. It’s a charade of a token or symbol and a Northern verb meaning to drink.

22a  Christmas gift  offer (7)
{PRESENT} – two definitions, the first a noun and the second a verb.

24a  Two parties and there’s nothing left of the bird! (4)
{DODO} – the same party is repeated. There’s nothing left of the bird because it’s extinct.

25a  A favourite place to get spirits? (5)
{HAUNT} – once again I couldn’t decide whether this was a cryptic definition of a double definition. This is either a place which you visit a lot or one where spirits or ghosts are supposed to hang out.

26a  It may hold needles on the tree – but only as a present (4)
{ETUI} – this is a small needle case (one appearing in cryptic crosswords far more than in real life).

29a  Mother left fat on duck (7)
{MALLARD} – string together an affectionate term for mother, L(eft) and a type of fat used in cooking.

30a  Child so wrapped up in wintry weather like this (7)
{COLDISH} – an anagram (wrapped up) of CHILD SO gives us what wintry weather is like.

31a  In the festive season one gets all dressed up to sit in the living room (9,4)
{CHRISTMAS TREE} – cryptic definition of what gets dressed or decorated at this time of year.

Down Clues

2d  Gave Len unusually good news for Christians! (7)
{EVANGEL} – a word for the Christian gospel comes from an anagram (unusually) of GAVE LEN.

3d  Such a fuss getting to function (2-2)
{TO-DO} – TO (from the clue) followed by a function or party.

4d  Type of wine from Spain, under very popular label (7)
{VINTAGE} – the IVR code for Spain follows (under, in a down clue) V(ery), an adjective meaning popular or trendy and a label (one that we may have seen earlier).

5d  Unusual present – it’s in snakeskin (7)
{SERPENT} – an anagram (unusual) of PRESENT.

6d  Curate’s party’s held up somewhere in church (4)
{APSE} – a hidden (held) word is reversed (up) in the clue.

7d  Carol’s prospect for Wenceslas? (7)
{OUTLOOK} – rearrange what the good king did on St. Stephen’s Day to make a prospect.

ARVE Error: need id and provider

8d  Character dragged up at this time of the year? (9,4)
{PANTOMIME DAME} – for ‘dragged up’ read ‘done up in drag’.

9d  Heavenly sight delights shepherds (3,3,2,5)
{RED SKY AT NIGHT} – this isn’t the ‘angel of the lord’ that the shepherds spot in the heavens but a proverbial weather forecast (one that they prefer apparently to that supplied by Louise Lear or Peter Gibbs).

15d  Christmas tree on the way, second to none (5)
{FIRST} – the type of tree brought indoors at Christmas is followed by an abbreviation for way or road.

16d  Party-goer in right state (5)
{RAVER} – R(ight) is followed by a verb to state or declare.

20d  Christmas present drawer acting as a guide (7)
{RUDOLPH} – cryptic definition of the beast with the shiny nose. I think this clue would have been even better as just the first three words.

21d  Applause that’s twofold back in pantomime stalls (7)
{PLAUDIT} – reverse (back) an adjective meaning twofold or double inside an area on the ground floor of a theatre.

22d  Dad has to get hold of a superior card – it solves all problems (7)
{PANACEA} – an affectionate term for dad contains (has to get hold of) an indefinite article and a top playing card.

23d  Ten fuddled with drink weave around (7)
{ENTWINE} – an anagram (fuddled) of TEN is followed by a type of alcoholic drink.

27d  They were wise, putting scholar before soldier (4)
{MAGI} – someone with a postgraduate degree precedes an American soldier.

28d  Plan to put money in the drinks kitty (4)
{PLOT} – put the abbreviation for pounds sterling inside a drinks kitty.

Top clues for me today were 24a, 8d and 20d. Let us in on your thoughts.

I’d like to take this opportunity to wish everyone (setters, bloggers, commenters, regular and irregular readers) a Very Happy Christmas. I’ll be back tomorrow with a review of the Dada Toughie so I hope you’ll find the time to drop in for that.

ARVE Error: need id and provider

Today’s Quickie Pun: {SENT} + {NICK} + {ALAS} = (SAINT NICHOLAS}

66 comments on “DT 27369

  1. Totally stumped with 11a having put the sky etc for 9d. Thanks for the hint resulting in a doh moment for me. Thanks to all bloggers for improving my skills.
    Seasons greetings to all

  2. A very seaonal offering & a gentle stroll in the park, 20D made me smile with 8D being my favourite.Many thanks to the setter & Gazza for the review
    Wishing all a very happy Christmas. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_good.gif to

  3. As a poacher turned gamekeeper, I don’t usally post comments unless to help solvers stuck on a clue. However, I would like to add my thanks and appreciation to Rufus and to all the other setters who keep up entertained over the year and to wish them and everyone a very happy and peaceful Christmas.

    Prolixic / Kairos

  4. Thanks to Rufus for a festive delight and to Gazza for a perfectly illustrated review.

    Just to make Mary really really extra jealous – I had the greatest pleasure to meet Rufus on Saturday – the highlight of a great celebratory occasion

    Seasons Greetings to Rufus, fellow bloggers, setters, regulars and lurkers. I’ll be here on Boxing Day with the back page review.

    PS: If you haven’t done a Toughie before… today is definitely the day to give it a go!

    1. Well if I’d known Sue I would have asked you to give him my thanks…have I ever told you I love Rufus puzzles????..and a great big hug for all the enjoyment he has given me over the last few years!! I did get the chance to meet him a couple of years ago at his eightieth birthday party but couldn’t go :-(
      Thanks to Rufus and all the other setters, all the bloggers and all my cruciverbalist online friends for their witty banter and ‘company’ and help over the last year, thanks to Gazza for todays blog and thanks most of all to Dave without whom none of this would be possible, thank you Dave, Merry Christmas to you all xxxx

      Thanks also for all the cakes provided for the naughty corner and to Rufus for todays lovely puzzle

    2. Took your advice and finished all but 3 clues in the Toughie which have me stumped 21a, 18d and 22d. Will have to wait for the hints.
      Great fun but tougher than I am used to.

  5. 1*/3* for a very enjoyable seasonal romp.

    Lots of lovely clues but 7d was my favourite and 25a my last one in.

    Many thanks to Rufus and to Gazza for his review.

    Merry Christmas to BD and all his blogging team, and to everyone else who comments or just lurks in the background.

  6. Lots of likes,particularly 18a and 25a and 24a even if it is a total write in.That 26a again, I only got it because it’s the only word that fits, which is probably why it’s there, like espy.I hope Rufus reverts to Monday and Jay to Wednesday.Thanks to Rufus and Gazza.
    P.S I think yesterdays Dante will take the entire 1a.
    Wishing everyone a peaceful Christmas and a prosperous new year !

  7. Thanks for 20d Gazza. It may be obvious but I just couldn’t see it. For the rest of the puzzle, as has already been said, easy but enjoyable. It’s got me into the Christmas spirit at last, which is gathering momentum in France. They took a long time to wake up to the benefits of Christmas – Shopping.
    Thanks to Rufus for an enjoyable puzzle and to Gazz for the usual quality hints.
    A merry Christmas to all, especially Big Dave and a happy new year to all

        1. Would take issue with the Pit being the stalls. Chambers gives Pit as:
          Orig the ground floor of a theatre, or its occupants, or the part of the ground floor behind the stalls, now usu the area in front of the stage reserved for the orchestra in a theatre (also orchestra pit)
          Note the area BEHIND the stalls

  8. Lovely! 8D was the runaway favorite for me. Thanks to Rufus for a nice start to the day and to Gazza for the review. And special thanks to Big Dave and all his reviewers for all their work throughout the year.

    Mery Christmas from Maryland, everyone!!

  9. Thank you Rufus – great fun and thank you Gazza for your review and all the photos. Merry Christmas everyone. Keep warm and safe.

  10. It’s finally beginning to feel like Christmas! Thanks to Rufus and all the setters for a year of entertainment. I’m starting to get the hang of it now!
    I couldn’t see 11a at all so thanks for the hint.
    Merry Christmas to all.

  11. A breeze full of festive spirit – many thanks Rufus. Liked 1a, 18a and 21d and several more. Thanks also to ALL setters and hinters for yet another year of great entertainment and stimulus for the old grey matter. My goodness, Big Dave, you and your team really do work exceptionally hard through thick and thin on our behalf – merci mille fois. Now on with the motley! HAPPY CHRISTMAS EVERYONE. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_rose.gif

  12. Merry Christmas to all of the crossword setters, all of the reviewers or bloggers, to everyone who posts and anybody who lives in crosswordland. A nice Christmassy stroll around the park today

    1. Is it true that you have bought Saint Sharon a shortened snooker implement for Christmas?

      I’m not sure that is what she meant when she asked Santa for a little rest at Christmas.

      Fun puzzle (*/***) with 20d just beating 8d for the biggest smile. Thanks to Gazza, BD and all the team. Happy Christmas

      1. Many years ago I bought Saint Sharon a swing top bin for Christmas. Now all I have to do is buy some replacement bags for her birthday in July and her Christmas box in December. Sorted.

  13. Really enjoyable today. Liked 8d gave me a smile! Happy Christmas everyone from the southern Marches.

  14. Thought it was an OK puzzle but with some iffy clues 11a, 19a and 21d, why is the pit the stalls? Did like 25a.
    Thx to all . Happy Christmas to all on the Blog and a big thanks from Mrs B and myself to to BD for this great site.

  15. 19a was my only hold up in today’s puzzle. Many thanks and Merry Christmas to Rufus, and also to Gazza for his excellent reviews and mentoring throughout the year.

      1. Nice one ! Gazza! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/icon_lol.gif

        Yesterday, I was convinced it was Rufus … today I thought it was Mr Ron!

        Just goes to show how little I have learnt over the last few years following this blog!

        Many thanks to BD and his team of “little helpers” – always much appreciated

  16. Thanks to Rufus and to Gazza for the review and hints. A super gentle themed puzzle, agree with Gazza’s rating. Had to think about 20d. Last in was 19a,favourite was 1a. Hope everyone stays safe in the storm. Merry Christmas and happy new year to everyone on the blog, and special thanks to the reviewers, and hugely to Big Dave who makes this site the best.

  17. I’ll be busy entertaining family tomorrow so probably won’t have time to come on the blog so may I wish you all, A Merry Christmas & A Peaceful New Year.

  18. Lovely crossword for Christmas Eve. May we wish a Very Happy Christmas to all the people connected to this site, the setters, the hinters & of course, the commenters, who have given us such amusement & pleasure throughout the past year. Thank you everyone.

  19. Ah, that crushing of spirit my wife and I receive after completing a crossword without any hints, to then see the 1* difficulty rating : )

    I still don’t understand how 26 across works though. Got the first part, but can’t see the tree/present part.

    Merry Christmas all at BD, and thanks for all the help this year. It’s much appreciated.

    1. 26a It’s saying that the needles this holds are not those of a fir tree, so the only way these needles can be on the tree is as a present.

  20. I normally struggle with Monday’s crossword then redeem myself on Tuesday, but this week it was the other way around for me. I’ve been caught out by the answer to 26a before.
    This year I set myself the task of reading all 15 of the novels by Charles Dickens and having finished Edwin Drood this morning I may now treat myself and have a go at the Toughie.
    Many thanks to BD, Gazza, and all setters, contributors and commenters who I enjoy reading every day even if I don’t make a remark myself.
    Merry Christmas! x

  21. What a pleasant Xmas interlude, many thanks to Rufus and Gazza.

    Merry Christmas to all the setters and everyone who has anything at all to do with this blog, especially to BD who makes it all work http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_good.gif

  22. I’d been hoping that there would have been time to do the crossword today – so far it hasn’t happened and it’s still not looking hopeful. I haven’t looked at it yet, or read the hints or any of the comments but just thought I’d ‘pop in’ to say happy Christmas to everyone, especially BD and all the brilliant people who give so much of their time every day, even at busy times like Christmas – this blog has transformed my crossword life – thank you and a very Happy Christmas to all of you.
    There’s no harm in hoping that there might be a little bit of time later on so I might be back . . .

  23. All going ever so well at Telegraph Puzzles – they’ve only sent an email apologising for the further problems and advising of a further sub refund with the addresses of the recipients in the To: field rather than the BCC: field http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_negative.gif

    1. As I said a couple of days ago, I don’t believe a word they say. If y’all think it’s an IT problem, I’ve got a couple of acres west of here I’d like to sell you.

    2. Hi Sue, Sub refund? What sub refund? The first I’ve heard about it, to whom do I address my feelings on this subject?

  24. 1*difficulty and only 2* enjoyment because I didn’t feel stretched. I prefer more of a challenge. I suppose that’s what the Toughie is for. I’m saving that for tomorrow when there’s no paper. By the way, am I the only one getting fed up with Christmas themed puzzles? I seem to have been doing them for days. Or am I just a grumpy old sod? I see. I thought you’d say that. Happy Christmas everyone and an intellectually challenging new year

    1. Tstrummer,

      You are not alone! Unfortunately, these Xmas themed crosswords keep cropping up in abundance year after year after year! Surely, one themed puzzle should be enough! (I wonder what is in store for us tomorrow?)


      A Miserable Old Git … Happy Christmas!

  25. Back again! Just found time to squeeze in the crossword. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_smile.gifNo grumpiness due to withdrawal symptoms now.
    I agree with 1* difficulty and 4* for enjoyment.
    I always forget the blasted 11a which was my last answer.
    I thought there were loads of good clues but my favourite was 8d – brilliant.
    More Happy Christmases to all.
    How do I get tomorrow’s crossword? Probably won’t be any time to do it but, just in case . . .

      1. Thank you Stan, and a happy Christmas to you. We have a houseful so probably no opportunity but I could always save it up for a quieter day – just not sure when/if that might happen.http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_unsure.gif

  26. Pure delight! Thank you Rufus. Favourite, along with many others, 8d, with honourable mention going to 20d. Merry Christmas to all, and especial thanks to Big Dave and his elves for keeping us entertained for the past year. It must be a huge strain keeping us going, especially with “help” from the DT. I hope everyone has a good day tomorrow.


  27. Well really enjoyed this one, it was almost a read and write for me…how I’ve longed to be able to say that.

    Many thanks Rufus.

    Merry Christmas to all the contributors on here, I get a great deal of pleasure from what must be the best mannered and informative forum on the interweb.

    Special greetings and thanks to BD whose sterling efforts keep the whole thing afloat.

    Long may the troubles on the puzzles site continue, means I can get all those puzzles without paying a penny…touching wood they actually seem to have sorted the Ipad app out. :-)

  28. A gentle Christmas puzzle, while I listen to Handel’s Messiah, makes my holidays complete. Thank you Rufus and Gazza and a Happy Christmas to all.

    1. Not really in touch with reality at the moment (hence lack of comments for a while) – but see if you like this one :

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      ARVE Error: No oembed src detected

      ARVE Error: Need Provider and ID to build iframe src.

  29. Thanks to the wonders of jet-lag, the lovely Christmas Eve puzzle was finished between 3 and 4 am. 9d is the only clue I await BD for, where I am not sure of the first word. I was needled somewhat by 26a which is a new one on me. Hope that the big storm yesterday did not threaten your peace of mind too much and a Happy Christmas to all. Just off now to have a crack at The Eye’s Christmas offering by Cyclops.

    1. If this was the first time you’ve come across ETUI, then I’d advise you to remember it, because it certainly won’t be the last if you carry on doing cryptic crosswords.

  30. UPDATE – I have heard from the DT and they are working over Christmas and the New Year to fix the interactive problem and aim to have it working by the New Year. They are also refunding a further months’ payment

  31. Many thanks to Rufus for a lovely puzzle, and to Gazza as ever for a comprehensive review. Very best wishes to all bloggers, setters solvers and lurkers and of course to BD :)

  32. Thank you Rufus and thank you Gazza, ‘A Merry Christmas Everyone’ especially Big Dave and all the Bloggers, thanks a million

  33. 8d was a stand out favourite for us in this delightful puzzle.
    Thanks Rufus and Gazza.

    MERRY CHRISTMAS to everyone from our little corner of the world where it is already Christmas morning.

  34. As Pommers has already said, thanks to all concerned with this blog especially Big Dave, a lovely if very simple Christmas crossword. Thanks and Merry Christmas to all concerned.

  35. Happy Christmas to all and especial thanks to the setters and to all the reviewers. Here’s to 2014 http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yahoo.gif

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