DT 27396 (Hints)

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 27396 (Hints)

Big Dave’s Crossword Club

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As is usual for the weekend prize crosswords, an assortment of clues, including some of the more difficult ones, have been selected and hints provided for them.

Don’t forget that you can give your assessment of the puzzle. Five stars if you thought it was great, one if you hated it, four, three or two if it was somewhere in between.

Most of the terms used in these hints are explained in the Glossary and examples are available by clicking on the entry under “See also”.

A full review of this puzzle will be published after the closing date for submissions.

Some hints follow:


1a Planning not to get hitched or committed (6-6)
this could mean planning to stay on one’s own and not get hitched / married

9a Object of ridicule is nevertheless outspoken (4)
Sounds like (outspoken) a three-letter word meaning nevertheless

15a Worker has it, he is on island opposite (10)
A charade of a worker insect, IT from the clue, the abbreviated form of HE IS and IS(land)

16a North-east flower  show (4)
Two definitions – a river (flower) in North-east England and a verb meaning to show or display

18a Virginia, house-sitter and seductress (4)
The abbreviation gor the US state of V(irgini)A followed by someone who sits in the House of Commons

24a Cave is reached across river (6)
A phrasal verb meaning reached or arrived at (3,2) around R(iver)


27a Fellow‘s insurance not complete (4)
Most of a word meaning insurance

28a Old style of building up — 6am breakfast at the B&B? (5,7)
Cryptically defined as this breakfast in a B&B when served at 6 am!


2d Private  hint (8)
Two definitions – as an adjective and as a verb

5d Take no notice of topless Italian gentleman (6)
Drop the initial S (topless) from the form of address used for an Italian gentleman

6d Put into confusion, tinkled in river! (7)
Tinkled here does not mean what you think it does! – a verb meaning tinkled or called on the telephone inside a river famous for its Jolly Miller

7d Thought on the continent of freedom (12)
The French (on the continent) for “of” followed by freedom

11d Maybe for each promotion, enterprise will follow (12)
A three-letter word meaning for each followed by the usual two-letter promotion and an enterprise or speculation

14d Where there’s an outside chance of getting drunk? (4,6)
A cryptic definition of a part of a pub that is outside the main building

21d Case of four fruit outside (6)
This grammatical case is derived by putting the Roman numeral for four inside a sweet, dark brown oval fruit

25d Wildfowl appearing regularly is something to be revered (4)
The even letters (appearing regularly) of the first word in the clue

The Crossword Club is now open. Feel free to leave comments.

Could new readers please read the Welcome post and the FAQ before posting comments or asking questions about the site.

As this is a Prize crossword, please don’t put any ANSWERS, whether WHOLE, PARTIAL or INCORRECT, or any ALTERNATIVE CLUES in your comment. If in doubt, leave it out!

Please read these instructions carefully. Offending comments may be redacted or, in extreme cases, deleted.

The Quick crossword pun: {beef} + {rend} + {ding} = {befriending}



  1. Collywobbles
    Posted January 25, 2014 at 10:29 am | Permalink

    Finished before published version version is out. That’s the second time for me so I must be improving. Thoroughly enjoyable puzzle. Thanks to the setter for the enjoyment and BD for the hints

  2. Brian
    Posted January 25, 2014 at 10:40 am | Permalink

    Took a bit to get going but then it steadily fell into place. My fav was 13a which is very clever. The placing of the hyphen in 28a really misdirected me for a while. Have to say that Mrs B got more than a I did today, she was really on the setters wavelength, I was still shell shocked from yesterday’s horror and Thursdays Ray T!
    Many Thx to the setter, finished before the hints but Thx anyway just for being there :-)

  3. Vorkorsigan
    Posted January 25, 2014 at 10:59 am | Permalink

    Enjoyed that one even if it was only for ** mins! */***. 28 was my favorite.

    • gazza
      Posted January 25, 2014 at 11:42 am | Permalink

      We try to avoid quoting times because it can be very discouraging to other solvers.

      • Vorkorsigan
        Posted January 25, 2014 at 1:23 pm | Permalink


        • McMillibar
          Posted January 25, 2014 at 2:42 pm | Permalink

          I got a b*****ing for that too. Fair enough, I guess.

          • Tantalus
            Posted January 25, 2014 at 6:44 pm | Permalink

            we also enjoyed it for 10 mins… and for the next few hours it seemed to enjoy our struggles.

          • Vorkorsigan
            Posted January 25, 2014 at 6:57 pm | Permalink

            Suppose so McMillibar but the * rating sort of gives the same information, I have seen a 2* rating that took me ages to get the right wavelength and finish and a 4 that was a breeze! It’s all relative!

      • Caroline
        Posted January 25, 2014 at 3:36 pm | Permalink

        Just to set the cat amongst the pigeons, I would quite like to know how long it takes people to complete. It would give me something to aspire to! However, I do the crossword in three or four sittings. Quite like to get a few in at breakfast, then have another go when I get home from work and try and complete after dinner,. Then I resort to the hints and then I expose the answers to learn new words.

        • McMillibar
          Posted January 25, 2014 at 6:29 pm | Permalink

          I would like to know as well but in the end it’s about fun and enjoyment and maybe making too much of solving times might reduce both for everyone. There will be the odd genius or two and maybe those who are a bit economical with the truth who would just make others feel wanting. On balance, I think BD and crew are finding the right balance.

          • Tantalus
            Posted January 25, 2014 at 6:51 pm | Permalink

            I think it is ok to use an indirect reference “I finished it before West Ham equalized”, or “before the 7:52 arrived in Paddington”.

            • Rabbit Dave
              Posted January 25, 2014 at 8:31 pm | Permalink

              The way West Ham are playing at the moment, your first indirect reference would mean you never finished….

  4. Rabbit Dave
    Posted January 25, 2014 at 11:04 am | Permalink

    My rating today is 1*/3* for a gentle but enjoyable puzzle.

    The answer to 11d was easily derived from the wordplay but, although it is a word I have heard of, I wasn’t sure of its meaning and so needed to reach for the BRB to check it.

    17d was my last one in and, like Vorkorsigan, 28a was my favourite.

    Many thanks to Mr Ron and to BD.

    • mary
      Posted January 25, 2014 at 11:40 am | Permalink

      17d last in for me too RD and had to feed it into my electronic friend! Now why couldn’t I see such an easy clue!!

  5. Angel
    Posted January 25, 2014 at 11:06 am | Permalink

    Phew, quite a relief after yesterday’s horror. Enjoyed this as it was slightly more challenging than most Saturday offerings so thanks setter and BD, as always, for being there in case of need. Several novel clues – 24a among my favourites. **/****. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_good.gif

  6. Sweet William
    Posted January 25, 2014 at 11:40 am | Permalink

    Thank you setter, an enjoyable if not too taxing puzzle. They don’t have to be difficult to be good fun ! Reminded me of Saturday puzzles of a few years ago when I could actually finish them, but was quite unable to tackle the midweek puzzles. Thanks to this site, and all the bloggers, I am able to enjoy them all now – Virgilius as well ! Thanks BD for your hints.

    • Caravaggio
      Posted January 25, 2014 at 11:54 am | Permalink

      Yes, Sweet William, I agree with you entirely. I’m pleased to say that everything fell into place reasonably quickly, which I’m pleased about because I can now give my undivided attention to my beloved Liverpool putting Bournemouth in their place…

      • Sweet William
        Posted January 25, 2014 at 12:03 pm | Permalink

        Good luck int Cup Caravaggio ! My beloved team got stuffed 7-1 last week ! Having season tickets we normally feel obliged to go and watch this rubbish. The cup comes as some relief as we feel under no obligation to hand over more money for this dubious pleasure !

        • Caravaggio
          Posted January 25, 2014 at 12:10 pm | Permalink

          Yes, Sweet William, I know that you’re a Bolton Wanderers’ supporter and perhaps, like Liverpool, you’ll find a rich benefactor but you’ll have to be patient.

          • mary
            Posted January 25, 2014 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

            It’s certainly not a walkover for us Cara!!

  7. mary
    Posted January 25, 2014 at 11:42 am | Permalink

    Thanks for hints Dave, I did need two of them today! A pleasant Saturday crossword which took me two sittings however, horrible wet day here today http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_negative.gif

  8. Kath
    Posted January 25, 2014 at 12:06 pm | Permalink

    Enjoyable and fairly straightforward apart from the last few. 2* difficulty and 3* or 4* for enjoyment.
    Rather stupidly my last one was 16a – tried to make it start with the wrong letter from the clue. I also couldn’t get 13a for ages – I’d started to think that something else had to be wrong as it looked such an unlikely mixture of letters. I’ve never heard of 11d but it wasn’t too hard to work it out from the clue. 15a took a long time to untangle.
    The main thing that I noticed was that almost all the clues were pretty short.
    I liked lots of these but will just pick a few – 16 and 18a. Either 6 or 22d is my favourite.
    With thanks to Mr Ron and BD.

    • mary
      Posted January 25, 2014 at 1:59 pm | Permalink

      You really are verging on two favourites here Kath!! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_whistle3.gif

      • Kath
        Posted January 25, 2014 at 3:15 pm | Permalink

        Not really – just verging on total indecisiveness! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_unsure.gif

  9. Little Dave
    Posted January 25, 2014 at 12:09 pm | Permalink

    This was over too quickly for me and was the least challenging of the week. Mildly entertaining but no real highlights. A nice distraction over a cup of coffee though. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_cool.gif

  10. njm
    Posted January 25, 2014 at 12:19 pm | Permalink

    This turned out easier than it looked initially. Just the right level of difficulty for a Saturday prize puzzle. *.*** for me, 17d favorite as it made me lol when I realised the answer.

  11. Michael white
    Posted January 25, 2014 at 12:25 pm | Permalink

    Started early this morning and can now enjoy the rest of today knowing its finished.

    Most enjoyable. Last in was 3d. I kept thinking there were two possibilities. Finally the penny dropped!

    Thank you BD

  12. Senf
    Posted January 25, 2014 at 12:26 pm | Permalink

    Finished before an extended lights out last night. Very enjoyable, last in were 13a, 28a, and 6d after some staring down. Really liked 11d, but I had to check the answer on line for confirmation. Thanks to the setter and BD.

  13. williamus
    Posted January 25, 2014 at 12:44 pm | Permalink

    As Sweet William said earlier, they don’t have to be difficult or hyper-esoteric to be great fun, as indeed was this one. 28a was my favourite, as I was sorely tempted to put the Little Chef version in :-) Thanks to the setter and BD

  14. Kath
    Posted January 25, 2014 at 1:50 pm | Permalink

    The NTSPP is doing my head in! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_scratch.gif

    • crypticsue
      Posted January 25, 2014 at 2:05 pm | Permalink

      You’re not alone!

      • Kath
        Posted January 25, 2014 at 3:19 pm | Permalink

        Oh good. I have finished it now. I don’t understand quite a few of my answers and I’m never really sure if that counts as finishing a crossword – perhaps it might be better to say I have an answer for everything!

  15. weekendwanda
    Posted January 25, 2014 at 2:41 pm | Permalink

    There must be an expression for it. When I have little time the puzzle takes a long time but on a day when I have all the time in thme world………..Perhaps I will have a look at yesterday’s as had no time then and from some of the comments it could keep me occupied till Monday. Sun has been out here in Nottingham but as I type there has come a terrific thunderstorm. SW corner slowest for me and took a little longer than a write in. 13a very good although I wrote in the second four letters wrongly at first. I thought of something else which ended with the same letter – very silly as it does not turn. Thanks setter and BD and all for comments

    • Kath
      Posted January 25, 2014 at 5:18 pm | Permalink

      Which Monday do you have in mind when you talk of yesterday’s crossword keeping you occupied until then?

      • weekendwanda
        Posted January 30, 2014 at 9:16 am | Permalink

        Just spotted this comment Kath. Funnily enough I did do friday’s belatedly and had no problems. I am fascinated by the differences and similarities in solving skills or otherwise. Have just read the comments on Jay’s Wednesday offering and found that many of us were for once completely ad idem. In my youth a pullover (one word) was a v necked sleeveless jumper worn by men and boys. Not sure where slip over comes from especially as two words. I am totally with the majority so far as rolling pin is concerned. However some try to justify the clue/answer this has to be a mistake. Jay can be excused as difficult to bake bread whilst compiling excellent cryptic crosswords.

  16. McMillibar
    Posted January 25, 2014 at 2:56 pm | Permalink

    This was a pleasant enough stroll in the park today and like most parks in January there was nothing much pleasant to look at. At least there was nothing too nasty to tread on either. *or** and **. Off to take an excitable schnauzer to that park. Remember your haggis and neeps tonight everyone. Thanks to setter and BD again.

  17. Merusa
    Posted January 25, 2014 at 4:03 pm | Permalink

    What a relief! Totally restored my faith in my crossword abilities after yesterday. Thoroughly enjoyable, all easily understandable. My last one in was 13a, it took a lot of thought and was my fav. One of my first in was 17d and I think deserves honorable mention. Thanks to setter and Big Dave for his review, not needed today but always entertaining.

    Joy oh joy, I’m not stupid after all!


    • Little Dave
      Posted January 25, 2014 at 6:47 pm | Permalink

      Well done Merusa! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_good.gif

  18. Hrothgar
    Posted January 25, 2014 at 4:25 pm | Permalink

    Perhaps a little too gentle but, no doubt, good as a confidence builder for newcomers.
    Let’s hope, perhaps, that Thurs’ and Friday’s offings become more the norm.
    Enjoyable, thought 13a, 28a and 7d very clever.
    Many thanks to the setter and to BD for the review.

    • Hrothgar
      Posted January 25, 2014 at 4:34 pm | Permalink

      “offerings”, rather.
      (Funny, edit facility has gone)

  19. Kingsley
    Posted January 25, 2014 at 4:32 pm | Permalink

    After some introspection, I have now found what it is about a clue that makes it one’s favourite – for me, anyway! And that is when the clue is a very clever one, and I solve it, thus proving (to oneself) that one is also clever! And so, 21d gets the favourite vote from me today. (I don’t know about the UK, but Latin is no longer taught in South African schools, and 21d must therefore be an almost impossible clue for the unfortunates who did not learn it at school).
    I worked out the wordplay in 16a but I am going to have to Google the North-eastern “flowers” of England to finish the puzzle!

    • Hrothgar
      Posted January 25, 2014 at 5:51 pm | Permalink

      Re 21d – agree, I wonder if it!s rather unfair to those not taught Latin.
      I don’t think I’ve gone too far. :)

      • Angel
        Posted January 26, 2014 at 12:16 am | Permalink

        It’s not only Latin that has such a case – German for instance and even English with the use of a preposition.

  20. Graham Wall
    Posted January 25, 2014 at 4:40 pm | Permalink

    Now this is the style of crossword I like. Clues were cryptic enough to challenge without having to wonder which planet the setter is on. Nothing too recondite which will deter the tyro. Smilers contained therein (13A particularly). My rating is **/**** My thanks to Big Dave for the blog but not needed today. I tried my first Toughie in the week but floundered, must try harder. Now going to a Burns Night Supper, I can enjoy the whisky for the pleasure it brings instead of a commiseration for failing to complete DT27396

  21. Douglas Ireland
    Posted January 25, 2014 at 4:41 pm | Permalink

    Not too bad today. 11d was a complete mystery and a word I hadn’t come across before. Still can’t work out what 16a is but at least I finished the rest!

    • crypticsue
      Posted January 25, 2014 at 5:45 pm | Permalink

      Have a look at Kingsley’s comment at 19 above – it may shed light on 16a

  22. Catnap
    Posted January 25, 2014 at 5:54 pm | Permalink

    I’m very much in agreement with Sweet William and Williamus in thinking that a puzzle doesn’t ‘have to be difficult to be good fun !’ http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_mail.gif This was a lovely puzzle with some delightful clues. 18a and 28a tie for favourite! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/icon_lol.gif
    Many thanks to setter. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_good.gif
    Many thanks to Big Dave for the hints and illustrations. I didn’t need them but enjoyed them anyway!

    • Tantalus
      Posted January 25, 2014 at 6:28 pm | Permalink

      Hear hear… a most enjoyable puzzle.

  23. Poppy
    Posted January 25, 2014 at 5:57 pm | Permalink

    Was delighted to complete this & enjoyed the whole process. 11d made me feel I should slap my thigh and ride off into the sunset, so that was probably my favourite. 13a had me stumped for a while, and 16a was my last one in, and I now don’t know why. Thank you to setter for a super puzzle. Mr P very happy with Liverpool’s result, so all is joy and harmony at home. Nearly forgot – thanks BD also.

  24. Kevin (don't ask!)
    Posted January 25, 2014 at 6:56 pm | Permalink

    they do have 21d in languages other than Latin!

  25. Una
    Posted January 25, 2014 at 7:04 pm | Permalink

    Adopting Kingsley’s method of picking a favourite , I’d opt for 17d, though it is possibly an old chestnut , for all I know. I thought 1a and 15a were amusing.Lots of good clues which restored me after yesterdays disaster. Thanks to setter and BD.

  26. Tantalus
    Posted January 25, 2014 at 7:28 pm | Permalink

    BD – can you send a better resolution of the pic for 14d to my attorney… it seems that Mrs T has been sneaking over to Felixstowe.

    • Una
      Posted January 25, 2014 at 10:32 pm | Permalink

      Is that her on the right or is she under the umbrella on the left ?

      • Tantalus
        Posted January 26, 2014 at 5:31 pm | Permalink

        Can I call you as a witness to the assignation?

  27. Roger
    Posted January 26, 2014 at 6:52 am | Permalink

    Grrrr….the Sunday oversleep at the Telegraph strikes again. If anyone has managed to get hold of Sundays and can email it to me I would be very grateful, thanks..

  28. anxiousmac
    Posted January 26, 2014 at 9:04 am | Permalink

    I successfully managed to subscribe and log on this morning, so maybe the glitches have been ironed out. Although I did have to add a 2 to the end of my username, as the original was taken (by me I suspect).

  29. Heno
    Posted January 26, 2014 at 10:57 am | Permalink

    Thanks to the setter and to Big Dave for the hints. A very enjoyable puzzle, the top half went in ok, but I struggled a bit with the rest. Finally the penny dropped on 28a, which was my favourite, and like Mary, I needed electronic help with 17d, which I would never have thought of. Was 2*/3* for me. Late commenting due to the Squash Tournament Finals.

  30. Red Cath
    Posted January 26, 2014 at 9:08 pm | Permalink

    Thanks so much for all the helpful – and entertaining! – comments. I just can not work out 28, despite so many of you loving it. I have the first word and you seem like a friendly bunch…help???

    • gazza
      Posted January 26, 2014 at 9:24 pm | Permalink

      Welcome to the blog Red Cath.
      BD often gives an additional hint in his pictures. If you let your cursor hover over the picture he’s supplied for 28a you may see something useful.

    • Kath
      Posted January 26, 2014 at 10:54 pm | Permalink

      If you have the kind of thingy that won’t let you hover I think that there are instructions to help you. You’ve obviously got the first word of 28a and the definition ie what you’re after is a style of architecture. The second word is a kind of breakfast and it’s not a continental one.
      It’s far too late to be sent to the naughty corner and I just won’t go . . . and anyway I don’t think that I’ve been naughty.

  31. Cryspic
    Posted January 31, 2014 at 11:37 am | Permalink

    First time I have ever sat down and completed in one (fairly long) sitting. Probably means it was fairly easy rather than me getting better, but I agree with those who say enjoyment isn’t always equated to difficulty. 13a, 16a and 17d last ones in, and all had me groaning delightedly when the answers clicked. For those complaining about their soccer teams try being a supporter of Newport County!