DT 27388 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 27388

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 27388

Hints and tips by pommers

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

Hola from the Vega Baja where the weather seems to have taken a turn for the worse.  Cold, dark and damp this morning.  Still, this crossword brightened things up a bit for me but I know a lot of you will disagree.  There’s only one anagram, two other clues that are part anagram, and it’s one of those grids that are a bit like four crosswords in one. Just crept into 3* time for me.

As usual the clues I liked most are in blue.

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           Book to accompany scorer’s work? (8)
{LIBRETTO} – Score as in music. If the scorer’s work is the music this is the book of words which accompany it.

5a           Mark that’s left  in cliff (4)
{SCAR} –  Double definition.  A mark left on the skin after a cut and a cliff.  Never come across this word as a cliff without a P on the end but it’s in Collins Thesaurus.

9a           Truffle, perhaps, from food shop, more or less cold, an unknown quantity (8)
{DELICACY} – This is a charade of the usual food shop, an abbreviation for about (more or less), C(old) and an algebraic unknown.

10a         Secret  place to store gear (6)
{CLOSET} – Double definition.  Gear as in clothing.  Excellent surface.

11a         Very large London district, you might say (8)
{WHOPPING} – A word for very large sounds like (you might say) a London district where some newspapers are produced.

12a         Hot electrical connection for fireside feature (6)
{HEARTH} – H(ot) followed by the electrical connection coloured yellow/green.  I always remember this as buttercups and grass, and if you touch the brown you’re in the ****!

14a         Charge brought leader of country to stand by America in legal case (10)
{ACCUSATION} –For this you need a C (leader of Country) and follow (to stand by) with an abbreviation for America (3) and put that lot into a court case or legal wotsit.

18a         Like ecumenical event getting father in it excited (10)
{INTERFAITH} – An anagram (excited) of FATHER IN IT.  That’s the only one so I hope it helped.

22a         Dash to be seen in bar-room and participating in pub-crawl (6)
{HYPHEN} – This is the dash that’s near the middle of both bar-room and pub-crawl.

23a         Wound shown by Latin expert and judge (8)
{LACERATE} – A charade of L(atin), a word for an expert (fighter pilot maybe) and a word meaning to judge or assess.

24a         Footwear young man put back behind medical institution (6)
{SANDAL} – Start with an abbreviation for a medical facility for patients with long term illness and follow with a young chap but reversed (put back).

25a         Rental property set among scattered lakes reduced to a minimum (8)
{SKELETAL} – A colloquial term for a rental property placed in (set among) an anagram (scattered) of  LAKES.

26a         Stop learner driver wearing stetson? (4)
{HALT} – Put the usual learner into(wearing) what a stetson is an example of, as indicated by the ?

27a         A good neighbour’s first settled in country to become sluggish (8)
{STAGNATE} – Take A (from the clue), G(ood) and an N (Neighbour’s first) and insert (settled in) into another word for a country.


2d           Graduate tax upset vote (6)
{BALLOT} – A graduate followed by the reversal (upset in a down clue) of a tax, maybe to cross a bridge.

3d           Part of book that wants reading, maybe, in bar (6)
{EXCEPT} – Reading is one of the three R’s.  So, you need a word for a part of a book, or piece of music perhaps, and remove an R (wants) to leave a word meaning bar as in “all bar this one”.

4d           College car not in order for a modern politician? (10)
{TECHNOCRAT} – A type of college followed by an anagram (in order) of CAR NOT.

6d           Lawsuit with French aristo turning to cross large street (3-2-3)
{CUL-DE-SAC} – Start with a lawsuit (not the one in 14a) and follow with the title of a French aristocrat. Reverse the lot (turning) and insert L (to cross L(arge)).

7d           Hold back concerning muscle problem (8)
{RESTRAIN} – The usual two letters for concerning or about followed by a muscle injury.  I had one of those in the groin once, nasty!

8d           Fellow taken with engraved work that’s attractive (8)
{FETCHING} – F(ellow) followed by an engraving.

9d           Desperate character embracing wife in beginning (4)
{DAWN} – The desperate character from The Dandy with W(ife) inserted (embracing).

13d         Good man getting lift in piece of music — it’s about a book (4,6)
{DUST JACKET} – A good man and a lift you may give to a car are inserted (in) into a piece of music for two people to get the paper you find around the outside of a hard-back book.  I like the definition in this one.

15d         Go touring place that’s mentioned overlooking religious area (8)
{SIGHTSEE} – A word which sounds like (that’s mentioned) a place or position followed by the religious area which comes under a Bishop.

16d         A gentle knock, small measure in case of emergency (2,1,5)
{AT A PINCH} – You need a charade of A (from the clue), a light knock (3) and a small Imperial measure of distance and then split the result  (2,1,5).

17d         Public brawl with soldiers knocked out showing a rapid descent? (4-4)
{FREE FALL} – Take a phrase for a public brawl (4,3,4) and remove OR (soldiers, i.e. Other Ranks, knocked out).  Then split what’s left (4,4).  Parsing this was what took me into 3* time.  The answer was clear from the checkers but with it being what it is the thought that the soldiers might be something to do with paratroopers got in my head. Fortunately the penny eventually dropped with a clang you probably heard .

19d         Travellers’ complaint with alien creature left in car (3,3)
{JET LAG} –The alien from the Spielberg film and L(eft) inserted into the type of car favoured by a certain Mr Prescott and then split (3,3).

20d         Staff with skill took up repeated phrase (6)
{MANTRA} – A male servant followed by a reversal (took up in a down clue) of another word for skill gives a repeated phrase.

21d         Duck to find cover in quite a lather (4)
{TEAL} – The duck’s hidden in (to find cover in) quite a lather.

A bit of a mixture with quite a few “gimmes” and some head scratchers.  My favourite was 3d but 13d and 17d also deserve a mention.

The Quick crossword pun: (Halley} + {butt} = {halibut}

73 comments on “DT 27388

  1. I fully agree with Pommers’ comment that this had clues ranging from very simple to very hard, and, in the case of 1a for me, one which was impossible even with the hint!

    My rating overall is 3.5*/3*.

    I had marked 10a, 11a, and 17d as especially good, with 22a my favourite. 1a gets a big thumbs down from me.

    Many thanks to Mr. Ron and to Pommers.

  2. HI pommers nice to see you, I agree with the three star rating, three sittings for me to complete this and then I needed your hint for 1a and 2d!!! 22a my favourite clue although it was one of the last to go in, I thought that quite a few of the readings didn’t make much senes IMHO of course! Thanks for blog pommers :-)

  3. Can’t say I enjoyed this one at all, a lot of the clues seemed very bitty and one or two answers seemed very dodgy (25A springs to mind, have lived in most parts of this country and have picked up a lot of colloquialisms over the years, but I have never heard this one – I also rent out properties). Having said all that, I thought 22A was very clever.

    1. You’re probably right about Scarborough, it does have a rather splendid cliff. It’s still a new one on me but I have come across SCARP, which is also an island in the Outer Hebrides..

      Oh well, one lives and learns.

      1. The place name Scarborough comes from the Vikings and means Skarthi’s stronghold. Skarthi being the name of a Viking & borough or Borg meaning stronghold. I love the English language. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yahoo.gif

        1. Thanks for that Sheila, I knew about borough being stronghold but not heard of the Viking chap – as I said, one lives and learns :grin:

        2. Can only echo the words of Pommers – you love & learn. The thing is I spent every weekend that I could in Scarborough as a lad & even spent 2 summers working on the arcades and I’ve never heard of the Viking bloke either.

          A propos nothing but my surname ends in “by” which is supposed to signify some relationship with the land of Noggin the Nog.

      2. 5a – a couple I can think of are Malham ???? And Gordale ???? – both visited on a geography field trip when I was at school.

        10a – what is meant by the term ‘excellent surface’? – I’ve see it mentioned before but don’t understand it!

        A very good puzzle with a good mix of clues!

        1. Just that when you read the clue it’s a sensible sentence with a real meaning which makes sense. It’s also a fair clue to the answer.

        2. Coincidence. The Missus and I both walked all around both of those places today. It was lovely for Jan.

    2. There are a number of hills in the Lake District called Scar: Scar Crags, Nab Scar, Scout Scar and Cunswick Scar, for example.

      1. There are indeed, and Scafell and Scafell Pike could well originate from the same word. Never really thought about it.

        1. There’s a space in “Sca Fell” but not in the next-door “Scafell Pike”, I know not why…

  4. Thank you setter – I enjoyed that and felt a sense of achievement in finishing, particularly13d and 22a. Started off really well and was mislead into thinking that it would be on the easy side. It rapidly became quite a challenge ! Thanks Pommers for your review, hints and photos.

    1. I’ll second all that!

      I didn’t help myself by fixating on “elan” for 22A, and I really, really wanted 13D to be “Just William”! :-)

  5. A couple pulled this into 3* time for me today. Thanks to setter, and to pommers for the review.

  6. I agree with the ratings of Pommers. I especially enjoyed 11a and 22a. Hope the weather in Spain improves soon.

  7. Enjoyed today’s effort, though we found it quite hard to get going, & needed some hints. Thank you to the setter & to Pommers

  8. Dreadful for me today, way way above my abilities. Far too arty for me. Had no idea what 1a was, had to Google it, could barely start this one let alone complete it. So for me it’s a ****/* today i’m afraid. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_negative.gif

  9. Hola! pommers! Nice to see you back in “The Chair”.

    I got the easy ones … but failed, miserably, on the difficult ones!

    Any chance of another hint (or two) for 6d?

    1. Hi Stan

      The picture and the 22 acrosses instead of comma’s in the enumeration should give the game away.

      If you read the answer backwards it’s a court action or hearing followed by a French Duke with the L inserted and then split (3-2-3).

  10. I think I’m suffering from a really bad case of wrong wavelength today – either that or an equally bad case of dimness. Nearer 4* difficulty and 3* for enjoyment from me.
    My last two were 10a and 6d and I really don’t have any excuses for them.
    First thought for 27a was languid (like me today) which clearly didn’t work, if only because it didn’t have enough letters but, having thought of it, it wouldn’t get out of my head.
    I couldn’t do 13d for ages and to begin with had ‘spirit’ for 22a which wasn’t useful but at least I only put it in very lightly and was ready to have to change it.
    I liked 3, 15 and 17d. My favourite was 11a.
    With thanks to Mr Ron and pommers.
    Making marmalade so kitchen is a bit like an orangey sauna.

    1. Kath, making marmalade would be far more fun that attempting this crossword! Save me a jar esp one with big bits of peel, YUM,

      1. My marmalade always has big chunky bits of peel mainly because I have the attention span of a gnat so get bored very quickly and easily!http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/icon_rolleyes.gif

          1. I’ll make sure that there’s a jar or two put in the naughty corner – come to think of it I haven’t been there for ages.

    2. After my appalling effort at this one I’m not sure that I dare look at the Toughie – don’t think the morale could stand another dent in it – but it’s a Beam so I’d really like to have a go. Oh dear – indecision and more indecision. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_unsure.gif

        1. Thanks – call me a masochist if you like but even knowing that it’s going to be tricky I’ll probably risk a quick peek.

          1. It’s a bit like this puzzle in that there are quite a few gimmes, at least I thought so, which give you a bit of a start into the harder stuff. After those, as CS says, it is a Toughie.

              1. Not lost yet so no need send out the search and rescue party – just up to my ears in marmalade – very sticky! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gif

  11. Looking back over the wreckage, I had to conclude that it wasn’t so much the clues (although at least three we’re sitting quite a long way from the answers – it was like throwing a lasso over a ravine in places), it was definitely the grid formation.

    There were some which I really should have got a lot earlier than I did like 1a and 11a, but the rest involved too wide a choice of synonyms.
    I like anagrams so a couple more might have helped, then the only one there was (properly indicated and everything) I faffed around with. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/icon_redface.gif

  12. Had time on my hands waiting for the window repair man-who went to the wrong house and put a note through the door saying I wasn’t there! -according to his office, I assured the young lady that I ought to know where I lived and had been in all morning. Never mind most of the time was taken up by the crossword which certainly was a ***/**** for me , took a while to work out the wordplay for 3d ,I thought the R was for short for Reading , but it now makes sense as one of the ‘three R’ s-thanks Pommers.Liked 1a and 15d.

    1. Hi George,
      You’ve changed/extended your alias since your last visit so your comment needed moderation. Both aliases should work from now on.

    2. I’m beginning to realize that it’s only me who hadn’t come across it before but in my defence, although I have a Yorkshire surname, I was born and brought up in Manchester and there’s no scars there. Well at least not cliffs :grin:

  13. Thanks to the setter and to Pommers for the review and hints. Great to ha ve you back Pommers. I really enjoyed this one, but some of it was very difficult. The 4 that I didn’t get were all Pommers Favourites. 1a, 3d,13d&22a. Strangely, the first threeall had books in the clue. The fourth one I’d seen before, but didn’t see it this time :-) Was 3*/ 4* me. Favourites were 26a & 15&19d. Day of showers in cCentral London. Might have a peek at the Toughie.

  14. Very tricky in parts today; couldn’t have done it without the hints! Funnily enough I found 1a easy , but am still totally foxed by 15d. (Highlighting the brackets to reveal word doesn’t work on iPad/iPhone).
    Thought 22a and 13a were brilliant.

  15. A lovely work out today which I have picked up and put down more times than I care to admit. I really like these grids. There are twelve clues where the checkers do not give the first letter of the answer but do give the second. That suits me fine and dandy. I felt sorry for Kath not knowing much about cricket at 1ac. The reference to “scorer” misdirected me so much that it was the last one in. I could not get rid of the cricketing scorer from my mind. when the penny finally dropped i could have kicked myself because we have seen similar clues before. Every clue a winner for me. ta to all.

  16. Yes we have the Crossword site back but it doesn’t recognise my password nor will it issue a new one so I’m completely stuffed now. Anyone else have this problem?

    1. Look at the comments on the top post on the home page – ScrewedUp News.

      Meanwhile you have mail

  17. I enjoyed this workout. I had no problem with 1a as do not have a cricket turn of mind so never thought of any other scorer apart from music. I got 3d wrong and probably wouldn’t have got it in a month of Sundays. I got 22a but had no idea why, thanks for the explanation Pommers, really clever that one. I think my favourite has to be 13d with honorable mention to 22a. Thanks to setter and to Pommers for review.

    As an aside, does anyone know if Poppy is all right and if she will be returning? I miss her input.


    1. I’ve been meaning to email Poppy for ages – you’ve now given me the necessary boot up the backside so I’ll do it a bit later on.
      I had a very short email from her just before Christmas but nothing since – will report back.

  18. Hi Pommers ! Sorry to hear it’s still cold in Spain. I really enjoyed this one, once the penny dropped for 1a.Being a bad speller ,I didn’t let my wrong answer for 3d put me off. Thanks to the setter and Pommers.

      1. I too have missed Derek’s postings, my wine was rack regularly filled (not too cheaply but expertly chosen and well matched with a fish or meat dish) with his choices… and Derek hope your family are doing well in their far flung lands

          1. Really good news but did not realise he had moved to North Yorks , that’s another language he will have to master!

  19. Like Sweet William I made a good start with this and then about half way through ground to a halt. After much B, S & T (blood, sweat & tears) I finally completed but needed help with 3d and the explanation for 22a so thanks Pommers for that and also Setter for great entertainment. ***/****. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_good.gif

  20. Hi all from Grassington, Yorks. Finally got to this puzzle late evening and found it okay. **/*** or thereabouts. The gang seem to have thought it a bit harder judging by the blog. Completed in two passes with no help – perhaps that is what fresh Dales air does. Did not get to yesterday’s apart from two clues and they took long enough so just off to read what you all thought before I have a retrospective stab at it… or not. Thanks to our setter today and Mr Pommers.

  21. Last in again, as usual. Am I the only one who found this not much of a challenge? I didn’t start til 1am and finished by 1.45, 1a being my last one in. Couldn’t get Bill Frindall out of my mind and then the penny dropped as I finished my malt nightcap (no ice, no water). But thanks for the tips and all comments. Nice people, good blog.

  22. 18a too tough for me on two counts. 1) Never heard of the word and 2) Never twigged it was an anagram even with the full frame. Also needed the hint for 1a even though as an active Gilbert and Sullivan performer I use one of these all the time! Got the rest. Also, even though I got it , never knew 4d was a politician.

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