DT 27399 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 27399

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 27399

Hints and tips by scchua

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty *Enjoyment ***

This was comparatively less difficult, so it’s a 1.5*/3* for difficulty/enjoyment.  Thanks to 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    Sort of clue, like ‘Vault’? (7)

{CRYPTIC} : [a vault;an underground chamber, especially one under a church] + [suffix denoting a likeness to;having the characteristics or style of the root word].

Defn: … for a sort of crossword.

5a    Post Office adopting poor Cable’s possible remedy (7)

{PLACEBO} : [abbrev. for the Post Office] containing(adopting) anagram of(poor) CABLE. I guess the surface could possibly be true of the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills.

9a    I love being hugged by boxer dressing (5)

{AIOILI} : { I + [letter representing 0;love in tennis scores] } contained in(hugged by) [famous boxer who, during his time, would “move like a butterfly and sting like a bee”].

Defn: … for your dish, originating from Provencal, France.

10a    A role soldiers originally took to get accommodation (9)

{APARTMENT} : A + [a role, eg. in a play] + [soldiers, literally, only of one sex] + 1st letter of(originally) “took”.

11a    Pig mixture of dry egg and suet (6,4)

{GREEDY GUTS} : Anagram of(mixture of) { DRY EGG plus(and) SUET }.

Defn: One who, figuratively, eats like a pig.

12a    Fight expected with Liberal (4)

{DUEL} : [expected, as with, eg. the return of a borrowed library book or a loan] plus(with) [abbrev. for “Liberal”].

14a    Prisoner raves about rightwing school of music (12)

{CONSERVATORY} : [short for a prisoner] + anagram of(about) RAVES + [a member of the supposedly rightwing Conservative Party].

A school of music you don’t see much of – or do you?  And it’s coed (with the same school uniform):


18a    Fascinating session covering books (12)

{SPELLBINDING} : [a session;a period of time devoted to doing a particular activity, eg. a tour of duty] + [covering books;enclosing and fastening the pages of a book between covers].

21a    Locals wanting popular starters of nachos and salmon (4)

{INNS} : [popular;trendy] + 1st letters, respectively, of(starters of) {“nachos” and “salmon”} .

Answer: Places where one can get drinks, etc, some, as in the definition, in the locality of one’s home or place of work.

22a    One applying pressure, needing dough, it’s said? (7,3)

{ROLLING PIN} : Cryptic defn: The clue is to be read as a homophone of(it’s said) “… needing dough” in making, eg. bread.

25a    Left’s embraced by new literary big guns (9)

{ARTILLERY} : [abbrev. for “left”] contained in(…’s embraced by) anagram of(new) LITERARY.

26a    Emotion of man fishing without line (5)

{ANGER} : [a man attempting, especially if without a line, to catch fish] minus(without) [abbrev. for “line”].

Answer:  It makes him green and mean – every time.  And her – just homicidal.


27a    Lies about National Trust endowments (7)

{TALENTS} : [lies;stories being told, especially about someone else] containing(about) [abbrev. for the National Trust].

Defn: Abilities one has fortunately been endowed with.

28a    Range of colours permitted in meat paste (7)

{PALETTE} : [permitted;allowed] contained in(in) [a meat paste, eg. made from chicken liver – another clue with a food reference].


1d    Transfer  coppers (6)

{CHANGE} : Double defn: 1st: Eg. from one train to another; and 2nd: Pennies and other small-value coins.

2d    Once the sign of farmers of old (6)

{YEOMEN} : [a old-fashioned word;once for “the”] + [a sign signalling a future event, often of bad fortune].

3d    Dame Thora in address, perhaps, with promise to go round fifty developing nations (5,5)

{THIRD WORLD} : [Dame Thora’s name, as might perhaps be written with her address] plus(with) [a promise;what one gives as an undertaking] containing(to go round) [Roman numeral for “fifty”].

Defn: … collectively.

4d    Noise from family gathering at the outset (5)

{CLANG} : [a family consisting of persons interrelated by ancestry and marriage] + 1st letter of(… at the outset) “gathering”.

5d    After dressing, journalist gets wasted (9)

{PLASTERED} : [a dressing – not food this time – over, say, a wound] placed above(After …, …, in a down clue) [popular crossword abbrev. for a journalist].

Answer: Like the definition, slang for being absolutely drunk.

6d    Religious book and play (4)

{ACTS} : Double defn: 1st: Biblical book; and 2nd: What a play consists of.

7d    Administrator finds copper deposit between river and hill (8)

{EXECUTOR} : [chemical symbol for the element copper] contained in(deposit between) { [the English river flowing into the English Channel] plus(and) [a hill, especially a rocky one] }.

8d    Performs better than banned theatre productions (8)

{OUTPLAYS} : [banned;not to be considered nor permitted] + [theatre productions, each consisting of acts].

13d    Shot church official pinching new orb (10)

{CANNONBALL} : [a church official on the permanent staff of a cathedral] containing(pinching) [abbrev. for “new”] + [an orb;a spherical object].

Defn: … of a much bigger calibre than a bullet.

15d    Tops minimum amount of money invested in crafty solvers (4-5)

{SLIP-OVERS} : { [Roman numeral for a minimum discrete amount][abbrev. for a current British unit of money] } contained in(invested in) anagram of(crafty) SOLVERS.

Defn: Dressing – but, this time, not for food nor wounds.

Good, bad, and ugly:


16d    ‘Wannabe’ when playing in part? (8)

{ASPIRANT} : [when, as in “when you walk into the room”] + anagram of(playing) IN PART.

Aiming high:

17d    Recently delivered gas for lighting a short lecture (8)

{NEONATAL} : [a gaseous chemical element] placed above(for lighting;settling or landing on, in a down clue) A + [a lecture] minus its last letter(short).

Defn: Not relating to a delivery of gas, but of a baby.

19d    Plug small cavity, full of energy (6)

{SPIGOT} : [abbrev. for “small”] + [a cavity;a hole in the ground, say] containing(full of) [the energy driving you to do things].

20d    Access for part of meal (6)

{ENTREE} : Double defn: 1st: The right or power to enter; and 2nd: One of the courses of a meal – the one before the main course, except in the US where it is the main course.

23d    Put aside pottery vessel with lids missing (3,2)

{LAY UP} : [a pottery vessel (2 words);an earthenware open container to drink from] minus(with … missing) the 2 respective 1st letters(lids;tops, in a down clue).

24d    Schedule aircraft for docking (4)

{PLAN} : [aircraft] minus its last letter(for docking;cutting off, as with an animal’s tail).

The Quick crossword pun: (phase} + {thief} + {axe} = {face the facts}

81 comments on “DT 27399

  1. No real problem EXCEPT for 15d, what on earth is a slip over? Can see the wordplay but don’t get the answer. The rest was OK but no real joy for me with no outstanding clues. For me it was a */*.

    1. Hi Brian as far as I know a slipover is a sort of sleeveless pullover that you might slip over your head to wear on top of a shirt

      1. Hi Mary – just tuned in. Illustrated in the hints are, I think, pullovers, since they have long sleeves. As you say, slipovers have no sleeves. I have a photograph of myself just starting school in 1948 wearing one knitted by my mum in a Fairisle pattern. My dad was a hosiery worker by trade and operated a machine which knitted twelve in one go; although the most popular number, at the time, was twin-sets.
        No real problems today. Thanks to setter and Scchua for the hints.

    2. What about ‘tank tops’ – I think that’s what we’re talking about here although they may be for girls what 15d’s are for blokes.

  2. Thank you setter, and Scchua but very chuffed I didn’t need hints today… Would have got there sooner if I hadn’t spelled 2d incorrectly! Wasn’t sure about 15d as that’s not a phrase/word I know. Fave was 11a once I’d stopped wasting my time researching the different breed.

    1. Me too… I had surreptitiously reached for the Thesaurus but had that “duh” moment before I could actually look it up!

  3. 2*/3* for me today.

    I thought this was going to be 1* for difficulty as I whizzed through the first three quarters only to come to a grinding halt in the SW, which took me more time than the rest put together.

    16d was my last one in. I liked the construction of 17d, which facilitated the working out of what was a new word for me. I got the answer for 24d quickly but spent ages trying to understand the wordplay, which, with hindsight, seems so easy :oops:. 15d also took me some time as I didn’t understand why minimum amount of money translated into the two letters needed in the middle of the answer until I read the hint.

    3d was my favourite with 22a a close second.

    Many thanks to Jay and to Scchua.

  4. Thank you Jay, an enjoyable challenge, obviously not too difficult if I could finish it, but good fun. Thanks Scchua for your review, hints and wonderful, tasteful photos as always !

  5. Thanks for hints Scchua, although I didn’t need them today I still thought this was a two to three star personally, the bottom half took me a lot longer than the top and I did need my electronic friends and three lots of perservation

  6. I found this a bit of a challenge mainly due to my own stupidity but it was certainly worth the effort. Many thanks Jay. I’m with Brian re 15d (never heard of it!). Also needed help in S.E. corner – 22a because my access in 20d was a course and had wrong second word for 23d so failed on 28a – silly me. Thanks scchua for putting me back on the straight and narrow. Otherwise all good fun. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gif

  7. No problems today except wanting to put COURSE in for 22D – it wasn’t there long and it was in very very lightly indeed.

    I think I finished this a bit early as I’ve now got to watch 5 1/2 possible overs of England losing the Twenty20 match. Well done the ladies.

  8. I always look forward to scchua’s reviews must be something to do with the tasteful pictures! This was **/*** territory for me but still a very enjoyable offering, no real standouts but did like11A.Many thanks to Jay & Scchua for his excellent hints.

  9. Can’t disagree with the */***,lightly entertaining today ,just what I needed,liked15d; apart from looking for a 4-6 answer for 13d instead of a 10 (mixed up with the 4-6 15d), and looking for a breed of pig for 11a ,pretty straight forward, like Skempie, must congratulate the ladies ,i think they would probably beat the men.

  10. I liked 3d and 11a.

    2d was a clever clue to which I got the answer but didn’t know why till I read the hint – thanks scchua.

    Otherwise OK. Yes, 15d held me up a bit because these are always pullovers to me and they would definitely be one word not two.

  11. A bit more of a wrestle than yesterday’s and more fun too – I’d go with **/*** in line with the good Mr Rabbit Dave and the fine Mr Graham. Completed before retiring for the night. Last one in was 19d which was also my favourite. 11a was shameful and lets down the heritage of the DT crossword. It may be in the BRB but so are a lot of daft words. Liked 13d too which took a bit of thought. Thanks to Jay and Scchua – not for the hints which thankfully were not required but for your ‘almost cryptic’ link to the great photos you dig up which are most enjoyable. Another ‘soft’ morning in Hampshire – time to be sowing seeds soon.

  12. I always like Wednesday crosswords – at least 2* difficulty, maybe a bit more, and 4* for enjoyment.
    Everything went well until I got to the last few clues – 22a and 13, 15 and 19d – and they took ages, probably longer than the rest of the crossword put together. Eventually got them. You can all call me dim if you like but I still don’t really get 22a – I had the answer if only because it fitted with everything else but I’m obviously missing something. I’ve read the hint about five times.
    I liked 1a and 4 and 16d. I’m dithering between 11a and 17d as my favourite today.
    With thanks to Jay and scchua.
    It’s a really miserable day in Oxford – cold and wet and barely even light. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_sad.gif

      1. Oh – I see – thanks. I think I’m probably being a bit too literal here – I’d use a rolling pin to roll out pastry. I knead bread dough with my hands – then, when I’m at my stickiest, the phone rings and I end up getting bread dough in my hair! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_scratch.gif

        1. Must admit, I was a bit unsure about any connection between kneading and rolling pin. I knead with my hands (even Paul Holywood does his by hand), I use a rolling pin for pastry, the wife uses it to remind me I’m a bit late returning from the pub.

        2. Actually, I’ve been thinking about this and I’ve come up with a new explanation – ‘needing’ sounds like ‘kneading’ which in turn could be considered to be ‘rolling’ and pin can mean pin-money which in turn can be considered to be dough

          1. I always thought a rolling pin rolled out pastry etc. and kneading was using your fingers to mix flour and stuff in a bowl.
            But I’m only a man.

          2. I think you’re making it more complicated than it is. A rolling pin is something (one) that’s involved in applying pressure and doing something that sounds like ‘needing dough’, i.e. kneading dough.
            Whether or not anyone would actually use a rolling pin to knead dough is another matter completely.

            1. Honestly , Gazza, I don’t get this explanation. There are an almost infinite number of ways of applying pressure.It seems to me that you are saying that the bread making part has no function in the clue. Did Jay have in mind Andy Cap’s wife waiting at the front door, armed with the rolling pin, for his belated appearance?

              1. I’m not saying that breadmaking plays no part in the clue – I’m saying that the setter may be mistaken in thinking that bakers use a rolling pin to knead their dough (from what some commenters have said – as someone who’s never made bread or kneaded dough I’m not qualified to comment on that bit).
                However you look at it, it’s not a great clue.

        3. Like you , Kath, I also make my own bread on a very regular basis, both yeast and brown soda, and rolling pins are not involved.

          1. In the context of the clue, no need for rolling pins to be involved in kneading or bread making.
            Kneading/needing dough is the essence of the clue.
            gazza explains why above in putting me right.
            Thanks gazza.

  13. It is cold. It is wet. The river is high and rising. This puzzle took more read throughs than normal but slowly gave up its secrets. Just about what I expect from a Wednesday Jay puzzle. i am thinking about whether or not to start rebuilding Saint Sharon’s kitchen. You may remember I dismantled and threw the old one out just in time for Christmas.

    1. Good luck, Miffypops – if you do, hope boats and rafts will not need to be employed…. Have a friend in Welford who is housing some cut off from their home due to flooding. And our village in Scotland (surrounded by lead mines) is in danger of needing evacuation in case the drowned pits burst out. And a friend in California is in immediate danger of forest fires because of drought…. How come we can land on the moon, but not share the weather http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_unsure.gif

      1. I blame my recently deceased mother who has been allocated a job up in heaven of watering the gardens of England, unfortunately
        She is a tad over enthusiastic but will soon get the hang of things.

  14. I was waiting to see if anyone would mention 1a before me!! Surely it’s not correct, given the clue the answer should read iccrypt…don’t tell me…it’s an all in one clue!! No I can’t see this one being right sorry http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_scratch.gif

    1. I am having a quiet lunch hour so I’ll give it a go!

      It is a double definition clue – the first being is the sort of clue that we are all used to.

      The second is an adjective meaning like a vault.

      1. I did look up “crypt” and “cryptic” before writing the hint. It convinced me that “crypt-ic” here is a pun, as the correct adjective for “like a crypt” is “cryptal”.

  15. I always seem to find Jay’s puzzles much, much more challenging than the rest of you. At least ***/*** for me. It’s always a surprise (and a relief) when I actually finish them… help from Chambers required in one or two places here. Some nice wordplay and humour too. I wasn’t convinced by 15d either, but it’s in the BRB so that’s a learning opportunity for me, as was 9a. Favourite was 22a which made me chuckle. Thanks to Jay and to Scchua for the typically well-presented review.

  16. Pretty straightforward solve today.

    My only objection is to the wordplay of 22a : “one” suggests a person or animate object
    instead of an instrument or thing!

    1. I agree with you Derek and would go further. How does ‘rolling pin’ sound like ‘kneading dough’? Rolling for kneading maybe although I can’t find it listed anywhere as a synonym, but pin for dough?????

          1. Occasionally, but it tends not to work out too well, but its a good way of relieving frustrations with a bit of serious kneading

  17. We found this one challenging. I’ve never used the word slip over, I would use pullover, & Paul Hollywood would not need (knead) dough , nor would Mary Berry either, with a rolling pin I’m sure. Otherwise enjoyable. Thank you to the setter & to Scchua too.

      1. But Mary, I call a pullover with sleeves a jumper & a jumper without sleeves a pullover. A slip over to me, is something that happens when the dog pulls me over on the icy path. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_wink.gif

      2. In the back of my mind, I seem to recall that slip-overs can refer to galoshes as well, but my dictionary doesn’t give that, so I’m probably imagining it!

      1. Yes – I agree. I’ve just said something to that effect right up at the top of all the comments – sorry – must learn to read through all the comments before replying to one. Apologies. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_rose.gif

  18. My thanks to Scchua for the hints as I certainly needed them today. I think the compiler has been to his storehouse of clues and selected some from the awkward corner. With clues like 15d I always feel I have been robbed of something. My rating is ***/**

  19. I found this pretty easy for Jay, except for the bottom right-hand corner where I had difficulty with 22a, 19d and 23d. I also needed scchua’s hint for the why of 24d. Enjoyable for me, though. Thanks Jay and scchua for review.

    1. Further and off subject. We haven’t heard from ExpatChris for a long time. She lives where they’ve had some particularly nasty weather, so I just hope she’s fine.

    1. Your comment had to be approved as you started your email address with a B and not a G, not to mention leaving a space between the C and the ollywobbles

      With lids missing means that you should remove the first letter from both the material used to make pottery and a drinking vessel

      1. Many thanks CS for your help in sorting out my email address and the C o slip. I think that I may have created a second identity because the reply envelope was blank for some reason.
        Thanks for your explanation of the clue which I now understand

  20. It took me a while to get going on this but once off the mark everything started slipping in to place, even the slip over. Just the ticket for midweek and by no means a walk over, not for me anyway.

  21. I raced through the top half, only stopping to put stars beside the clues I liked, which was most of them . Then, I found myself completely stumped by 15d and 22a, about which I have said enough already.Thanks to Jay and sschua .

  22. This one went in quite easily, although I too havered a bit over 22a (like Skempie, I was working along “needing money” lines) but the solution was pretty obvious when the other crosses were in. I liked 2d and 17d.

  23. Whoever would have said that the two things that got us all going today were sleeveless jumpies and (k)neading bread. We’ll all be weaving our own muesli next.

    1. Very funny, thanks for the laugh. Needed that as I’ve jUst come back after a three-hour session at the dentist. What fun.


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