DT 27387 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
View closed comments 

DT 27387

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 27387

Hints and tips by scchua

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ***

I found this slightly more difficult than the usual Wednesday puzzle, therefore will give it just a little less than 2* for difficulty, and 3* for enjoyment. Thanks Jay.

P.S. If you still find the mechanics of the hints a mystery, you should read the following, which should help in understanding.

Definitions are underlined in the clues (in blue).

Words in blue are lifted from the clues.

Italicised words are instructions for constructing the answer. Parentheses following these enclose the indicators from the clues. Eg. Reversal of(up, in a down clue).

[xxx;yyy] denotes that a synonym for xxx or yyy is required.

{} are used to give the order of construction. Eg. Reversal of(up, in a down clue) AB + C is different from Reversal of(up, in a down clue) {AB + C}.

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    Openly-expressed anger is present at birth(12)

{FRANKINCENSE} : [openly-expressed;outspoken] + [to anger;to arouse the wrath of].

Answer: One of the presents brought to the Nativity.

9a    Health professional with hot potatoes to be juggled ahead (9)

{OSTEOPATH} : [abbrev. for “hot”] placed after(… to be … ahead, in an across clue) anagram of(juggled) POTATOES.

Patients could be male, female, … or animal too:


10a    Ring, dainty, being held in reserve (2,3)

{ON ICE} : [letter that looks like a ring] + [dainty;cute].

11a    Amuse the French on credit (6)

{TICKLE} : [the article “the” in French] placed after(on, in an across clue) [British for financial credit].

12a    New port officer takes over procedure (8)

{PROTOCOL} : { Anagram of(New) PORT + [abbrev. for a military officer, like the one who might have done it in the library…with the candlestick] } containing(takes) [abbrev. for an over in cricket].

13a    Travel around the borders of Eccles and live (6)

{RESIDE} : [to travel, eg. on horseback or in a car] containing(around) 1st and last letters of(the borders of) “Eccles”.

Defn: To live in or at a particular location.

15a    Storerooms for ladies’ underwear worn by king! (8)

{PANTRIES} : [ladies’ underwear] containing(worn by, as in “put around”) [abbrev. for the Latin for a king – a cross-dressing one at that].

18a    How people might argue about the delay? (8)

{HEATEDLY} : Anagram of(about) THE DELAY.

19a    Play for time before search (6)

{TRIFLE} : [abbrev. for “time”] placed before(before) [to search with intent to steal].

Defn: To play with, say, someone’s affections.

21a    Stand, if poorly seated, surrounded by political outsiders (8)

{PEDESTAL} : Anagram of(poorly) SEATED contained in(surrounded by) 1st and last letters of(… outsiders) “political”.

She’s having it (more than) okay! … unless she falls off it.

23a    A prop on dry land (6)

{ASHORE} : A [a prop;a beam or post to support a wall, building, etc.].

26a    Had nothing women need, excepting one tab (5)

{OWNED} : [letter signifying 0;nothing] + [abbrev. for “women”] + “need” minus an(excepting one of two) [abbrev. for the drug Ecstasy, a portion of which is called a “tab”, presumably from “tablet”].

27a    Dubiously tail chap pinching old banger (9)

{CHIPOLATA} : Anagram of(Dubiously) TAIL CHAP containing(pinching) [abbrev. for “old”].

Defn: A sausage, not an old beat-up car.

28a    Ferociously sound horn – pass unknown trouble (5,3,4)

{TOOTH AND NAIL} : [to sound a, say, car horn] + [to pass over to someone] + [in mathematics, abbrev. for an unknown number] + [to trouble;to sicken].

Answer: … or even “hammer and tongs”.


1d    Uncommitted voter‘s problem with viewer (7)

{FLOATER} : Double defn: 1st: The voter with the swing vote; and 2nd: One of those dark specks or threads that appear to move around in your field of vision.

2d    Like broadcast on investigator of Central American language (5)

{AZTEC} : Homophone of(broadcast) [like;similar to, as used in, well, similes] placed above(on, in a down clue) [a short form for a detective;an investigator].

Defn: … of the people that ruled much of Mexico before the Spanish conquest.

3d    Information from knight at present on shelf (9)

{KNOWLEDGE} : [abbrev. for “knight”, as in “KCMG”] + [at present;at this point in time] placed above(on, in a down clue) [a shelf;a narrow horizontal surface projecting from, say, a wall, window, etc.].

4d    Straight and clear about answer (4)

{NEAT} : [to clear;to have what’s left of, say, income after deducting expenses, taxes, etc.) containing(about) [abbrev. for “answer”].

Defn: … up, no rocks, no soda, no tonic water nor other mixers.

You could use a glass … or not.


5d    A helping of crumpet here – always very light (8)

{ETHEREAL} : Hidden in(A helping of) “crumpet here – always”.

Defn: … and intangible like air.

6d    Go ahead, son – laugh! (5)

{SHOOT} : [abbrev. for “son”] + [a laugh;a funny person, thing or event;a scream].

Defn: … and say what you want!

7d    Married one’s boss in act of devilry (8)

{MISCHIEF} : [abbrev. for “married”] + I(Roman numeral for “one”]‘S [the boss;the head of the group].

8d    Domains concerned with charitable donations (6)

{REALMS} : [with reference to;concerned with] +[charitable donations of money or goods to the poor and needy].

14d    Bearing up (8)

{STANDING} : Double defn: 1st: Putting up with; and 2nd: In an upright position.

16d    Flog antique sill (9)

{THRESHOLD} : [to flog;to beat severely;to thrash] + [antique as an adjective].

17d    Obvious cartel plotted to hoard copper (5-3)

{CLEAR-CUT} : Anagram of(plotted) CARTEL containing(to hoard) [chemical symbol for the element copper].

18d    Youth culture‘s fast-food establishment with no starters (3-3)

{HIP-HOP} : [a fast food establishment, where you could get battered deep-fried fish as well (4,4)] minus its respective 1st letters(with no starters).


20d    I heard graduate students getting something in orbit (7)

{EYEBALL} : Homophone of(heard) “I” + [a graduate with a first degree] + [2 x abbrev. for a learner-driver;a student].

Defn: … , in one of the 2 cavities or sockets in your skull.

22d    Dull person‘s standing order covering total (5)

{SADDO} : [abbrev. for “standing order”] containing(covering) [to total up].

Defn: Someone to whom you might say “Get a life!”.

24d    Japanese city with large area occupied by a king (5)

{OSAKA} : { [abbrev. for “large”, in fact, larger than a large size] + [abbrev. for “area”] } containing(occupied by) { A + [abbrev. for “king”, in chess] }.

25d    Sanctimonious article supporting southern city (4)

{PISA} : [in British slang, short for being sanctimonious;displaying false holiness] + { [an article in grammar] placed below(supporting, in a down clue) [abbrev. for “southern”] } .

The Quick crossword pun: (withers} + {mile} = {with a smile}

69 comments on “DT 27387

  1. I agree with Scchua’s rating 2*/3* for this enjoyable puzzle today.

    I needed the hints to understand fully the wordplay for 12a. 8d was my last one in.

    Following Kath’s lead yesterday, my favourite is a choice between 1a and 18d – but I haven’t decided which yet!

    Many thanks to Jay and to Scchua.

    P.S. Scchua, I think a couple of spurious characters [c0] have appeared in your hint for 13a.

  2. Some nice clues in this one, with a few smiles as some of the pennies dropped. Favourite clue, 18d.
    Many thanks to Jay, and to scchua for the write up.

  3. Slight hold up in the SW but enjoyable. Thanks to Jay and Scchua.

    Everyone who can do a Giovanni Friday backpager should definitely give the Toughie a go today. ;)

    1. I’m going to try the Toughie later, even after yesterday’s dismal attempt.
      Have to go into town to sort out my phone first – tedious or what, and it’s raining just for a change. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_sad.gif

  4. Thank you Jay. I found this very difficult to get started, but having finished it, it was an enjoyable struggle ! Thanks Scchua for your review, hints and interesting photos as usual ! I needed your decoding of 28a. I had the answer on the basis that it couldn’t be anything else, but your explanation made it obvious.

        1. It seems to come and go. I solved the Toughie on-line this morning but when I tried to go back to the home page it chucked me out and was then anavailable for about an hour.

          As you say it seems to be OK at the moment.

            1. Yes, I had to go through that (TWICE), and switch from using Firefox to IE, before it worked again. To be fair, this may just have been a period of lack of service to everyone and all browsers…

              1. Bang-up-to-date news; it’s fine under IE. It APPEARS to be fine under Firefox, but if you try to play/print it then says that you have to have a subscription – this when I’m already logged in!

  5. After first read-through produced a nil return I was surprised be able to finish this. S.E. corner was last in. Needed Scchua to explain amusing 28a and also 4d for me so thanks for that. Fav was 1a. Thanks Jay. ***/*** for me. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/icon_neutral.gif

  6. It was a bit more than 2* difficulty for me today, but not as much as 3*, and 4* for enjoyment.
    As usual for a Wednesday I had very few across answers after first read through but did far better with the down clues – should have followed CS’s rule.
    I ended up grinding to a complete halt in the bottom right corner – all the ones that I couldn’t do affected others that I couldn’t do and that corner took quite a while. The other one that took ages was 28a – kept trying to put in an “X” or a “Y” for the unknown.
    I had to look up “tab” to see why we had to leave out one of the “E”s in 26a.
    I loved 18d and ended up looking in BRB to see what their definition is – among other things it says “associated with break-dancing”. I always thought that it was brake-dancing because the people doing it look as if they keep slamming the brakes on. Oh well – you live and learn – who says that you don’t learn things from doing crosswords?
    I liked 15a and 6d. My favourite by a long way was 18d.
    With thanks to Jay and scchua.

    1. You gave me a laugh Kath. I gave it I 2* but like you I was left with 20d and 28a which were what I would call micro-managed answers…..leaving me with the sort of physical frustration I would experience if I were to make things out of matchsticks.

      I keep wondering what image is in your head for breakdancing – they seem to spend most of the time on their backs and hands or even heads – where do the brakes come in?
      I tend to think more of the music aspect of it – not my personal taste, but then the word ‘youth’ hardly applies eitherhttp://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_cry.gif

      1. I agree about breakdancing involving lots of time spent on their backs, hands, heads etc but, to me anyway, it also involves lots of very jerky, starty stoppy movements hence my brakedancing.
        This just could be one of those times when I wish that I’d kept quiet! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/icon_redface.gif

    2. Funny how peoples minds work, couldn’t see 18d at all even with the clue, for me fast food is Macdonalds and KFC etc not the good old English chip shop.

  7. After reading the article on page 18 by Harry de Quetteville I think we should get our Telegraph subscription on th NHS. No need to feel guilty about time taken over the crossword. It’s medicinal!

      1. Yes, very good. I just read it. I was never thinking about giving up the crossword, but that article is a fantastic “excuse” to carry on :-)

  8. Best of week so far for me, a ***/*** like Angel .SW corner the hold up , wanted to put pop art for 18d until 18a fell into place , favourites 1a and 18a. Very inventive clues from Jay, like 28a, and corresponding pics from Scchua.

  9. Very enjoyable offering from Jay today. For some reason, 28A held me up for ages, then when my brain went pop it took a further age to figure out the why and wherefore.

    14D was my favourite today (I really enjoy short, snappy clever clues like this) with 18D a very close second.

  10. This one was too difficult for me, I just couldn’t get going and needed the blog quite extensively.

    I can’t say I enjoyed it – not on this Compilers wavelength at all – all my problem I’m afraid!

  11. I hate to be sanctimonious about this but which section of society uses pi as a slang form of pious? It’s not a usage I’ve ever come across, and the 16 year old yoof who squats here does not have it in his gruntabulary, so I guess it’s not “down with the kids”.

    1. Hello Dave. it is a week of words only found in crosswordland. We had NEAT meaning cattle yesterday and an ancient British tribe called the ICINI on Monday. Today it is the turn of Pi. In the days before this site you would have had to bang your head repeatedly against brick walls trying to make the penny drop. Thank you for the new word Gruntabulary. it made me laugh. Oh and the word santimonious can indicate the letters PI in crosswordland. It is a weird and wonderful place.

      1. Boudica / Boudicca / Boadicea / Bouadicea would have been most disappointed with your spelling of the The Iceni.

    2. I’m pretty sure that pi was in common usage in my reading matter of long ago. Jeeves? Just William? Does anyone with a functioning memory recall this?

      1. I would suspect that (like a good many other words) it was used extensively in days of yore but not so much now except in crosswordland. I have been doing cryptics since my early teens (way back in the very early 70s) and I’m sue we used to have the word pi for pious then. I guess it makes it easier than trying to work 3.14159265359(etc) into a clue.

        1. How I need a drink, alcoholic of course, after the heavy lectures involving quantum mechanics.

          That’s the mnemonic I use for pi (each digit is the number of letters in the correponding word, you see). :-)

    3. just watched a documentary (shown some time ago I’m afraid) on the late, great Dave Allen with a lovely description from him of a phone call for his son :

      phone: Grunt grunt grunt
      DA : What?
      phone : Grunt grunt grunt
      DA : I don’t understand you, try again please
      phone : Grunt grunt grunt
      DA : Nope, Please speak slower
      phone : G r u n t g r u n t g r u n t
      DA : Still nothing. Are you asking me if Edward is in ?
      phone : Grunt, grunt grunt grunt
      DA : I assume that was a yes. No he’s not, go away.

  12. Thanks to Jay and to scchua for the review and hints. I found this very difficult, but most enjoyable. Just needed the hints for 6d & 28a. Favourite was 18d. Was 3*/4* for me. Must try the Toughie, the last four have been way too hard for me. Dull day in Central London.

  13. Loved it. Favourite 18d. ***/***. Thanks to Jay and Scchua. Managed to log on to puzzle site yesterday so disappointed it has disappeared today. Maybe next year ….

  14. A Curates Egg for me. Top left and bottom right were very pleasant, the other two corners were way above me. Never come across Saddo before, is it even a proper word, not in my copy of Chambers at least and nowhere can I find a definition of dainty as nice at least not in Chambers or the CED? Sloppy and poor clues IMHO.
    ***/** for me today.

    1. Here is the start of the entry for “nice” in Chambers; I refer you to meaning number 8 of 16 :-)

      nice /nīs/
      Agreeable, delightful, respectable, good in any way, satisfactory (often used as a vague commendation)
      (of a person) good-natured, friendly, kind
      Bad, badly done, careless (ironic)
      Forming or observing very small differences
      Calling for very fine discrimination
      Done with great care and exactness, accurate
      Hard to please
      Foolishly simple (obsolete)
      Wanton (Shakespeare)
      Coy (Milton)
      Critical, hazardous (archaic)
      Easily injured (obsolete)

      1. I refer you to Chambers definition of dainty:
        dainty /dānˈti/
        Pleasant to the taste, choice
        Choicely or fastidiously neat
        Elegant (Spenser)
        That which is dainty, a delicacy, esp a small cake
        No mention of nice at all!

  15. Nice one Jay and perhaps upping the difficulty a bit from your recent offerings, or maybe it was just me. Really enjoyed it so many thanks.

    Too much good stuff to pick just one favourite but 18d did make us laugh :grin: ****/*** from us.

    Thanks also to scchua.

  16. Thought this was difficult today & needed far too many hints, however we have completed it & enjoyed it too, so thank you setter & Scchua. Dave Hartley’s comments made me laugh. We once had two such squatters in our house, though they’ve long since flown the coup, & even now I can’t always understand what they say. Everyone seems to talk so quickly nowadays, though it’s probably just us getting older. We now have two dogs, & they are much easier to understand.http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gif

  17. Do those who do the Toughie live longer than those who restrict their activities to the back page? 3*/3* for me today.

  18. I thought 1a was clue of the week, so far.I also really liked 18a and 18d.The south west held me up quite a bit , but not as long as trying to log in. I hope the archive opens up. Thanks to Jay and Sschua.

    1. Hi Una, the archive will work if you search on puzzle number. It’s the date search that is AWOL. Told Phil this morning.

  19. What a lot of responses. And enjoyable too. Thought this a */*** for me. Even though I’ve only just finished. 28a caught me out. So thanks to sschucha for explanation. I Did physics at uni and would not have considered n to be an unknown. Y or Z maybe. I forgot its common usage in crosswordland. 1 across was fav.

    1. I too had to remember n. It has come up before in crosswordland but I only know it is as a sample size in statistics.

    2. I’m inclined to agree with you about N.

      X,Y and Z are the usual mathematical unknowns while N is used as an indefinite number, e.g.

      1. Oh Dave, you are bringing back nightmares. I passed, eventually, with honours, a really difficult maths course at uni. In the end ,I had a dream about Cosin, tan, etc and solved the wretched problems, and got through.To this day , when I see a dy/dx or a differencial sign, I turn the page.

    3. Yes – I agree with you, andy and BD. Even though BD’s squiggles defeat me I also tried to put an “X” or a “Y” into 28a. Thank goodness i didn’t even think of the “Z”. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_unsure.gif

  20. A good post-work workout for me, but took too long before the obvious came to mind (8d for example). 20d was my last one in but I got 18d straight away and loved it. Best clue for ages. So thanks to Jay for brightening my small hours. Second best was 15a. Thanks to to Scchua for the review and well-chosen illustrations. Time for bed now. I labour while others sleep. Sigh

  21. Just logged in to get an explanation of answer for 12a, thanks, obvious now! Found it hard to start, first clues got were 17, 18, 18d, 21. Last one go,t was 25d. Fav was 27a

Comments are closed.