DT 27377 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 27377

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 27377

Hints and tips by Deep Threat

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ****

Good morning and Happy New Year from South Staffs on a sunny but windy morning, where the news from Down Under is that England have beaten Australia in a five-day test. (Not cricket, obviously, but another seven-letter word that begins ‘cr’ and ends ‘et’: http://sportsground.co.nz/macrob2014/102593/ )

Thanks to Pommers for standing in while I was away last week. We should have been sailing back from Ireland last Friday, but the ferry was cancelled because of the storms, and we didn’t get home until Sunday.

Giovanni has given us a bit of a workout to start the year with his trademark biblical references and the odd obscure word. Just into *** time for me.

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.


1a           Cheating types can crush a gal’s spirit (11)
{ PLAGIARISTS } Anagram (can crush) of A GAL’S SPIRIT, giving cheats who copy other people’s work.

10a         Rubbish with nasty smell all right for burying (5)
{ HOKUM } An informal word for a nasty smell with a two-letter expression for ‘all right’ inside it.

11a         Robber can be cruel, horrible, stealing pounds (9)
{ BUCCANEER } …especially on the Spanish Main. Anagram (horrible) of CAN BE CRUE(L) with the L removed (stealing pounds).

12a         Dawn’s sort of drink? Quite the opposite (9)
{ SUNDOWNER } A drink taken, not at dawn but at the opposite end of the day.

13a         Sarah is back as Paul’s companion (5)
{ SILAS } A short form of Sarah and IS (from the clue), all reversed, to give one of St Paul’s companions on his missionary journeys.

ARVE Error: need id and provider

14a         Provide new kit for returning criminal (6)
{ LOOTER } Reverse a word meaning ‘provide new kit’ to get a criminal who gets his new kit in the aftermath of a riot.

16a         Like goods sent back to base to be mended? (8)
{ RESTORED } This could also be a description of what happens when goods go back to the place they were issued from.

18a         Support a terrible fellow audibly in card game (8)
{ BACCARAT } This French word for a card game (James Bond was playing it in the original Casino Royale novel) sounds like a word for support, followed by A (from the clue) and a word for a traitor or terrible fellow – but only if you mispronounce it or make the terrible fellow French as well.

20a         Something botanical seen in track in Home Counties (6)
{ SPATHE } A narrow track inside the geographical location of the Home Counties, giving a sheathing bract on a plant.

23a         Worked with head covered (it could get greasy) (5)
{ OILED } Remove the initial T from a word meaning ‘worked’.

24a         Eats baker prepared — for times like these? (3,6)
{ TEA BREAKS } Anagram (prepared) of EATS BAKER.

26a         Cafe in Paris is a pit — it I avoided! (9)
{ ESTAMINET } A word sum made up of the French for ‘is’, A from the clue, a word for a pit, and (I)T from the clue with the I removed.

27a         Object when strange editor goes the wrong way (5)
{ DEMUR } Take a word for strange or odd and the usual abbreviation for editor, and reverse the lot.

28a         Old people struggling along with boys receiving a kiss (5-6)
{ ANGLO-SAXONS } Anagram (struggling) of ALONG, followed by another word for boys with A (from the clue) and the letter which signifies a kiss inside it.


2d           Compare man making revolution with king captured (5)
{ LIKEN } Reverse a man’s first name {Mr Armstrong or Mr Diamond, perhaps) and insert the abbreviation for a chess king.

3d           Maybe bridge crosses land that’s wet and yellow (7)
{ GAMBOGE } The generic description of an activity of which bridge (or football) is an example, wrapped around a word for wet, marshy land. I had a paintbox when I was a boy which had this colour, and others like Burnt Siena which sounded exotic, but always seemed to come out as a shade of mud.

4d           English saint unknown in an American capital (6)
{ ALBANY } The capital of New York state is made up of an English saint who has a town in Hertfordshire named after him, followed by an algebraic unknown.

5d           Suffered inside having taken acidic milk, we hear (8)
{ INCURRED } A word for inside followed by what sounds like the lumps you get when milk acidifies.

6d           Travel in opposite directions — feature outwardly noticeable (7)
{ TRANSIT } Take two opposing compass points (opposite directions) and put a word for a characteristic or distinguishing feature outside it.

7d           Exposer of bad things — one telling us the game’s over? (7-6)
{ WHISTLE-BLOWER } The metaphorical term for someone uncovering misdeeds in an organisation, or literally what the referee is when signifying the end of a game of football.

8d           The Spanish red wine being handed around — coming from this? (8)
{ CELLARET } The Spanish definite article inside red wine from the Bordeaux region. The definition is a case or cupboard which contains bottles of wine.

9d           Women wearing the trousers may not be seen as such! (5-8)
{ CROSS-DRESSERS } … whereas men wearing frocks usually are!

15d         Seaman departed having grabbed copper for kiss (8)
{ OSCULATE } A naval rating and a word for departed or deceased with the chemical symbol for copper between them.

17d         French former footballer on a lake in Swiss region (8)
{ CANTONAL } A former Manchester United player (“When the seagulls follow the trawler…”) followed by an abbreviation for lake.

19d         What can be awfully bad on old fellows? (7)
{ ABDOMEN } Anagram (awfully) of BAD followed by Old and a word for fellows or chaps. An all-in-one clue pointing at the thickening waistline or dodgy digestion of gentlemen of mature years.

21d         Soldier cuts short in broadcast? It doesn’t seem to make sense (7)
{ PARADOX } An airborne soldier followed by what sound like a verb for cuts short (as in dogs’ tails).

22d         Hypocritical language very big in some poetical pieces (6)
{ CANTOS } Hypocritical language, or the specialised jargon of thieves or politicians (it says in the BRB!) followed by an abbreviation for very big in clothing, giving divisions of a long poem.

25d         Commercial promotion by head of marketing in business organisation (5)
{ ADMIN } A word sum made up of a short word for a commercial promotion, the initial letter of Marketing, and IN (from the clue).

The Quick Crossword pun { DRIVE-IN }{ REIGN } = { DRIVING RAIN }

57 comments on “DT 27377

  1. This was 3* difficulty for me today but I simply don’t know how to rate this Jekyll & Hyde puzzle for enjoyment. Parts of it were very enjoyable but I found some parts “horrid” to quote Brian!

    Even though I solved all the clues, five very obscure words (20a, 26a, 3d, 8d & 22d) in my view are far too many for a back page cryptic crossword. I also felt that both 23a & 19d were poor, and I originally put 25d into this category as I had always thought that the answer was only an abbreviation – but, fair play, it is listed in the BRB.

    On a positive note, I particularly liked the four long words around the edges with 9d my favourite.

    Thanks to Giovanni and to DT for his usual excellent review.

  2. “Above my pay grade” to quote Brian, again. I got about half way and then ground to a complete halt. I got one of the obscure words, I think there were far too many of them. I liked 23a and 19d and many other clues but at this stage , I expect myself to finish. I’m just not up to this level of difficulty.Favourite : 12a. Thanks to Giovannni and Deep Threat.

  3. Well into 3* time for me. Slightly better off than RD in that I knew all the obscure words apart from 20a.

    Thanks to Giovanni and DT.

    Give the Toughie a go – it isn’t really Friday-ish.

  4. Not so much a few words that I did not know, but a few words that I did know amongst many that I did not. I would not have done this without the hints, so thanks very much.

    I do get confused lately, surely Tuesday is Deep Threat day!

    1. He and Gazza swapped – and this week, for one week only, I took over Gazza’s Tuesday, just to confuse everyone a bit more.http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_scratch.gif

  5. Managed the top half and the two sides but that was about my lot. I think the Toughie and back page envelopes for mixed up again. Not quite sure what language it was designed for but certainly not English – 3d, 20a to name but two. Don’t mind being educated but putting in weird words dredged from the depths of the dictionary is nobodies idea of fun or at least certainly not mine. I think the best description that comes to mind is Shameful! Thx to DT for his efforts.

        1. Have to agree with you today, Brian. Even if it’s possible to work out the answer from the letters already in, one still has to look the word up, even after checking with the hints. 26 across & 3 down fall into this category for me. Lots of the other clues were really good though.

  6. I was very pleased to finish this. NE corner was a bit of a struggle.

    A couple of new words for me but curiously 16A proved the most trying – it came to me in Sainsburys!

    Early onset dementia held off for another day.

    Thanks to Giovanni and DT.

    1. Just for a moment there I thought that you’d written that it was 14A that had come to you in Sainsbury’s, which gave me entirely the wrong image of your shopping habits! :-)

  7. Thought it was just me – quite a struggle, I’d even suggest a ****
    Vvery enjoyable, two to go and I never seek help!
    Many thanks, Giovanni, and for the new words, and to Deep Threat for the review.

  8. Too hard for me with far too many obscure words; used hints to finish it and avoid suicide. Nil for enjoyment.

  9. Many thanks to Giovanni for a superb crossword and to Deep Threat for a very amusing review.

  10. I gave this one all the time I can afford and finished about half of it without recourse to any help. Reading the posts, I doubt that I will return to it later except to look at the hints and fill it that way. I applaud you folks who can raise their game when something like this comes along. I am not one of you, sadly. Thanks to DT in anticipation.

    1. Well.. like a sad addict, I did get to sort it out with the hints later and have to hand it to Gio that this is a class crossword. One which I stood no chance of unraveling because there were too many words that I have never heard of so could not gain any leverage. It does one good to have a glimpse at another level I suppose, but solving enjoyment was pretty much nil. Enjoyment was replaced by admiration for the people much better at this than I and I am left wondering how they can possibly enjoy the normal DT fare as it must be far too easy! A big thank you to DT (the other one) for the enlightenment.

      Tomorrow is another day – one hopefully where we’ll get battered only by the elements!

  11. It sure had me beat. About 3/4 done then I needed the very helpful hints. I suppose after yesterdays easy ride, its good to work the grey matter and learn some strange new words to drop into the conversation. Thanks for the help

  12. There certainly were some unusual words! An enjoyable solve nonetheless. I’d only ever come across 20a in the context of flower arranging demonstrations. Thanks for the help on 28a

  13. I have not done the cryptic yet but would like to mention that Giovanni’s Quickie last Friday was a pangram. I have only the bottom left to do today and so far only the letter K is missing. Could we have consequecutive quickie pangrams? how clever.

    1. Giovanni’s Quickies are always (?) pangrams, I think.

      12d & 22a share a “K”.

      Not all that clever … do you ever do Codewords? They are always pangrams. Some sort of computer software involved, methinks.

      1. I occasionally?rarely do codewords and, yes, they are always pangrams. I hadn’t noticed that The Dons were too.

  14. My thanks to Deep Threat for the blog; I certainly would not have finished without the hints. Too many recondite elements for me which increased the difficulty and diminished the enjoyment. Still I have to gain experience in order to improve. As an aside, I thought that 7D could have stood alone as a clue without the first four words.

  15. On Brian’s Scale of Enjoyment – Absolutely Dreadful – Far too many obscure words for me!

    (I’ve now broken all my New Year Resolutions – I’ve just ended a comment with an Exclamation Mark.)

  16. What a delight! At least three-star hard, which is what I expect from a Friday Cryptic by The Don, and three whole new words to boot.

    Refreshed, I return to my labours. Thanks to Il Maestro and DT.

  17. Down to earth with a bang today as we are presented with a tougher but very enjoyable exercise which for me involved much reference to Encarta Dictionary (I have no BRB). Perhaps 18d might refer to terrible FRENCH fellow and possibly 22d should have referred to poetic(al) pieces? Thanks Giovanni for raising the level a bit and also Deep Threat for hints although I finally only needed 22d. ****/***. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_scratch.gifhttp://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gif

  18. Wish Giovanni’s quick pun had been something along the lines of ‘sunny all day’. It was lovely this morning (even got some washing almost dry) but the pun is now in full effect!

    1. Yes – I was also going to comment on the aptness of the quickie pun. We could be forgiven for thinking that it was written with today in mind.

  19. Thank you DG for this puzzle. Although I finished it without hints, I have to say that it was too difficult for me, bearing in mind the time I have available to enjoy solving the crossword. I am afraid that rather like yesterday’s puzzle I really did not enjoy ploughing my way through it. A sense of achievement in getting to the end – Yes, but enjoyment, No ! About 7 new words for me, which means endless reference to dictionaries etc. I can only say that I am relieved to see that so many other regulars found it hard as well. Thanks DT for your review hints and photos. It just shows how clever you bloggers are to get through a puzzle like this and get your reviews up on the site by mid-morning.

  20. I wondered on Monday if Rufus had got his Grauniad and DT puzzles mixed up and it seems the Don may have done the same today. Not an obscure word in sight in the Graun puzzle and all pretty straightforward. The Don has been busy though as it’s a Bradman in the FT.

    Enjoyed this one so thanks to the Don, ***/**** from us. Always enjoyable when solved outdoors. Don’t know what’s going on but its 22C here and not a cloud in the sky.

    Thanks to DT too. Glad to see you made it back OK across that rather nasty piece of water.

    1. Neither had I but both have been written down in my solver dictionary for future reference.

  21. Did’nt need the hints but its taken me all afternoon to finish. So thanks to Dt & don. I nearly gave up ▪ but its raining cats and dogs and I have used displacement activity so as not to do my wifes tax return online. At least all the words were solvable using the clues. I now use my android to look them up so much easier than a heavy dictionary etc. I am not a fan of obscure words.

  22. In toughie territory for me. Bit like trying to captain England cricket team – lots of resources but don’t know how to put them all together

  23. Oh good – glad it isn’t just me. I found this at least 4* difficulty and probably the same for enjoyment.
    I started off really well and thought that it was going to be a doddle – it didn’t take very long for me to change my mind.
    I had met all the unusual words before except for 3d which took ages even though it was clearly clued.
    For some reason 14 and 16a were my last two answers and I didn’t get 28a for a long time either – I was completely fixed on ‘uncle’ being the first word and just couldn’t get beyond that – stupid.
    I liked all the long clues round the outside but my favourite was 12a.
    With thanks to Giovanni and Deep Threat.
    Weather completely unspeakable but has anyone else noticed that it’s getting dark slightly later?http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gifNo improvement in the mornings though.http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_sad.gif

  24. The first ten are in and that will be it until after the weekend. This may be one that I finish in a couple of months time after lots of grim resolve. Right now I have a pub full of bikers who camp on our field every New Year on the first weekend. There are about fifty tents already up and more to come. The river is high and a flood warning has been issued for The Leam which is what our river (The Itchen) joins. It is raining heavily. I fear the worst.

    1. Good luck with the water levels. I remember the last time that the Leam misbehaved…

  25. Well, it seems I’m not alone. I found this really, really hard. I had to enlist the help of Seiko gizmo about halfway through, then shot myself in the foot by putting cross dressing instead of dressers, thus my 27a was wrong and was not surprising as it had nothing to do with the clue. Many answers were workable from the clue but had to look up so many of them. Thanks to Giovannu and DT for review and putting me right where I was wrong!

    (Go on stanXYZ, spoil yourself, exclamation marks are perfectly respectable punctuation marks)


      1. Maybe it depends on how many are thrown around in one comment – I’m trying to restrict my use of them a bit! (I just allowed myself one). http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_smile.gif

  26. I notice that no one is complaining any longer about the lack of interactive crossword. Maybe that is what the DT wanted all along, everyone will get so used to the PDF files, ergo, no need to outsource and pay someone to provide it.

  27. A great puzzle. ***/**** for me. Some easy some difficult – which is much better than the rest of this week. 9d the fav. Thanks to Giovanni for the fun and Deep Threat for the hints which I didn’t need today – other than to check one or two of my answers.

    Sure, a number of obscure words but, with the help of some checking letters, like all good puzzles the structure of the clues make them possible to solve even if one has to check a dictionary to see if the word exists! Anyway, it’s a great way to increase one’s vocabulary. In fact this evening I shall ask the landlord for a gambage coloured sundowner or two, (drawn from his cellaret perhaps) whilst I read Ezra Pound’s Cantos (feeling restored without being well oiled, just in case I ask the barmaid for an osculate). Sadly it’s a beach bar and not an estaminet – which sounds more like a French version of “Just a Minute”!

  28. That was cockamamie!!! Found it almost impossible and had to resort to the blog after only filling in a quarter of the clues. Normally once we’ve got restarted we can finish without needing hints but not this time. Far too many unknown and archaic words to us, we must be far too young!!! Liked 28a the most.

    1. Another new word for me too. I did say in my earlier comment that the only new word in the crossword was 3d but I’ve just realised that that was, if not a fib, then showing an inability to count as I’ve just spotted another one – 8d.

  29. Like the illustration for 21d – reminds me of an old joke.

    Why did the chicken cross the Mobius Strip?

    To get to the other . . .er?

  30. We thought this was a most enjoyable puzzle. A few words that we had to check up on but they were all words that we had heard before and were clearly clued. This is what we expect and appreciate from Giovanni. 28a drew the biggest smile.
    Thanks Giovanni and DT.

  31. Putting MOONSHINE for 12a got me off to a bad start.

    With a day WAH I have no railway stations to judge this by, but felt it to be more of a challenge than the usual Friday trials. But maybe my head thought it was a Monday after two days off.

  32. I completed it unaided apart from 22 down, which if I’d sat here all evening I would still never have got it – the word’s not even in my dictionary. Thank you Deep Threat for putting me out of my misery on that one :-) A pleasant workout otherwise, I thought.

  33. Found it hard, but I am new to cryptic crosswords (about 3 weeks), Love this page to help me along.

    1. Welcome to the blog Nicky. Stay with us and you’ll learn fast – if you don’t understand something just ask.

  34. A stinker as far as the new words (for me, and it seems quite a few others) are concerned. Fortunately, I was lucky enough to guess something that might fit for each of 3d, 8d, 15d, 20a and 26a and for a change they were correct! Not a classic for memorable clues, although 12a I think is nicely elegant. Normally the combination of Thursday and Friday gets me through the the weekend too, so now I have to buy the Saturday DT. Thank goodness for recycling to ease the guilt of all that waste paper. Thanks to DG for the expanded vocabulary. My challenge is to find a use for these words in normal life.

  35. Love it or hate it you cannot fault the clues which eventually led me to the perhaps obscure words which I normally chunter about .
    Took ages compared to the toughie but certain favourite 28 a .
    Thanks Giovanni and DT .

  36. Gave up with 10 clues still to solve. Too many obscure words, and I’ve never heard Sal as being short for Sarah either.

  37. Thanks to Giovanni and to Deep Threat for the review and hints. I managed the left hand side ok, but needed 7 hints to finish. Too many obscure words. 20a,3&8d. Didn’t enjoy it at all. Was 4*/2* for me. Late commenting due to organising the Squash Tournament.

  38. For the first time in ages I needed hints to get the last couple, even with most of the letters in. Thanks to DT for preventing me from going out into the street and banging my head on the kerb.

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