DT 27400 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 27400

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 27400

Hints and tips by Falcon

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

Greetings from chilly Ottawa where the temperature has risen to -12° Celsius as I write this. I found today’s puzzle from Mr. Ron to be fairly challenging and rather enjoyable — and it taught me a few new British words and expressions.

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 Kit is taken in by European and US politician in class (10)
{ CATEGORISE } — the first part of this complex charade is a domestic feline; the second part is the word IS (from the clue) contained in (taken in by) E(uropean) and a former US vice president (whom, as urban legend would have it, reputedly claims to have “invented the Internet”)

6a On reflection, they show where to go for meat (4)
{ SPAM } — a reversal (on reflection) of things a tourist might consult for directions

9a Passing star in ground with politician (10)
{ TRANSITORY } — an anagram (ground; like coffee) of STAR IN followed by a right wing politician

10a Cake with good sweetener (4)
{ BUNG } — a small, round cake containing currants and a G(ood) result at school produces a sweetener more often found under the table than on top of it

12a Feared creature still on island (4)
{ YETI } — this is a charade of still (an adverb used for emphasis, “there are still bigger problems to come”) and I(sland); Note:this clue violates the convention to which some subscribe that, in an across clue, “A on B” should equate to BA rather than AB

13a Uninformed sort or amusing eccentric (9)
{ IGNORAMUS } — an anagram (eccentric) of OR AMUSING

15a Publicly maintained company once into meat products (8)
{ OFFICIAL } — the acronym for a company that was once the largest manufacturing company in the British Empire is buried in the internal organs of an animal

16a Gentle movement in bay, say, in American territory (6)
{ CANTER } — hidden in the last two words of the clue is not the rocking of a boat at anchor, but the movement of a competitor in an equestrian event

18a Like a doctor, perhaps, working with heads? (2,4)
{ ON CALL } — the first word means working or functioning and the second is what a captain would make just prior to the start of a football match

20a Material about eastern Mediterranean (8)
{ RELEVANT } — a short word meaning about or concerning followed by an old-fashioned name for the islands and countries of the eastern Mediterranean

23a A representative in court getting soft fare (9)
{ CAMEMBERT } — A together with a representative who usually sits at Westminster find themselves in C(our)T

24a Leave out from old American college (4)
{ OMIT } — O(ld) plus the acronym of one of the most prestigious engineering schools in the US

26a Surprised expression heard in clever stratagem (4)
{ COUP } — sounds like (heard) a British expression of surprise or amazement

27a Temporary building left by a bank I suspect (10)
{ PORTAKABIN } — the left side of a ship and an anagram (suspect) of A BANK I

28a Flat race maybe curtailed (4)
{ EVEN } — what a race is an example of with the final T chopped off (curtailed)

29a Only temp struggles to cover this person in work (10)
{ EMPLOYMENT } — an anagram (struggles) of ONLY TEMP wrapped around a pronoun the setter might objectively use in a self reference


1d Attractive economy beginning to expand (4)
{ CUTE } — a measure that might be instituted by a firm in financial distress plus the beginning letter of E(xpand)

2d English beer consumed by unusually fat thief (3,4)
{ TEA LEAF } — E(nglish) and a typically English beer are contained in (consumed by) an anagram (unusually) of FAT producing what a Cockney would use to prepare his other favourite brew (may Kath be merciful for my transgression)

3d Part of daily loss coming up for review (6,6)
{ GOSSIP COLUMN } — an anagram (for review) of LOSS COMING UP produces what may well be the trashiest item to be found in your daily paper

4d Playwright and artist with dry Scotsman grabbing last of seating (8)
{ RATTIGAN } — string together the usual Crosswordland artist, a short form of an adjective used to describe an abstainer and a common first name for a Scotsman; then insert the last letter of (seatin)G

5d Rush getting second feature in paper? (6)
{ SPRINT } — a charade of S(econd) and a verb meaning to publish in a newspaper

7d Plunge producing concerned expression in part (7)
{ PLUMMET } — Lord love me!This one was a challenge for a lad from the colonies. A British exclamation of surprise or dismay contained in an abbreviation for P(ar)T

8d A great mist swirled around one on bench? (10)
{ MAGISTRATE } — an anagram (swirled around) of A GREAT MIST

11d Mechanic makes sound of country fiddle (6,6)
{ GREASE MONKEY } — the first word sounds like (makes sound of) a southern European country and the second word means to play, fool, or interfere with something

14d Test facing men over period of time in transport (10)
{ MOTORCYCLE } — a charade of an annual test of roadworthiness, soldiers who are not commissioned officers, and a recurring period of time

17d Not being wet in any way? (8)
{ TEETOTAL } — a cryptic definition of a term applicable to the dry Scotsman in 4d

19d Talk together, being cooperative (7)
{ COMMUNE } — to communicate intimately or confidentially or a mutually supportive living arrangement

21d Friendly sailor entering a race (7)
{ AMIABLE } — a clever sailor contained in A (from the clue) and the only race run over a non-metric distance that is recognized by the IAAF

22d Change religious education class (6)
{ REFORM } — R(eligious) E(ducation) followed by a school class

25d Fool discussed contract (4)
{ KNIT } — to contract or draw one’s brows together in a frown sounds like (discussed) an informal term for a fool

There are a fair number of worthy clues but since I can pick only one as a favourite — or risk a reprimand from Kath — I think I will give the nod to 2d.

The Quick crossword pun: (tsar} + {dean} = {sardine}

73 comments on “DT 27400

  1. 08:45 GMT
    The iPad app doesn’t seem to know it’s Thursday yet. Leastways, no initial blank rectangle appears. I think this means the server is down/offline.

    1. I’m not getting today’s edition on the iPad either – thought I’d check here before deleting and reloading the app.

      Perhaps they should diversify into drinks parties in beer production facilities?

      1. I’m not getting the ipad version either ! It’s really helpful to find out that I’m not alone in this.

        1. I wish they’d put a status report somewhere on the Interweb … then we’d know whether it was their cr4p app or cr4p infrastructure, or cr4p IT administration.

      2. Would you believe I used to work in a brewery and part of my job was to organise the aforementioned ‘drinks parties’?! So, as an expert on the matter (ahem) I can agree with your comments. Mind you, I use an iPad too, and had no problems. Well, apart from the usual daily brain struggle!

      1. Spoke too soon!

        Now I’m told that my details are recognised, but that I do not have a current subscription.

        I wonder, therefore, what they’ve done with the money they took from my account a few days ago.


        1. Now it’s just ‘looping’. When I crash and restart it, it again wants to revalidate my subscription. Having done so, it just sits there with its mind in neutral.

          spindrift – you’re right, and the post mortem examination would find an aqueous solution of (NH2)2CO in the lungs.

          I off for breakfast (am in Florida … where it’s raining!) http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_cry.gif

        2. The DT proprietors, living in their tax exiles, are apparently down to their last £2.3 billion. They obviously need every penny.

          1. It seems that, at 17:27 GMT (10.27 am EST), the “server is not available”. Fred Karno could learn nothing from those running the DT’s app ‘service’.

  2. What a super puzzle! Really enjoyed this one; favourite clue 18a, as it took me a while to parse the second word!
    Many thanks to setter, and to Falcon for the review.

      1. No, it’s not a synonym, and I don’t think that is implied. With a ‘call’ there is only two options, and this one in my opinion gives a better surface. There is also a question mark after, allowing the setter some licence.

  3. A good fun puzzle, not a walk over by any means, but not too tricky. The only word we were not familiar with was 27a, but easy enough to work out from the word play.
    Thanks Mr Ron and Falcon.

  4. Absolutely terrific puzzle today – big thanks Mr. Ron. ***/*****. Just the right combination of humour and food for thought. I realised my knowledge of rhyming cockney was rusty. Almost too many good clues to mention but including 1a and 15a. Needed Falcon’s help on 16a to complete so thank you for that. Hope for more of the same. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_good.gif

  5. Excellent puzzle but one that I needed lots of explanations of my answers. Especially for 18a and 14d, I could see the answers but the full word play eluded me so Thx to Falcon for that . By the way if anyone thinks that a canter is a gentle movement they have obviously never ridden a horse in competition! Must say I thought that 23a was a super clue .
    Thx to Mr Ron and to Falcon.

  6. What a lovely brain workout, mind you i spelt 27A with a c instead of a k which held me up for a while. My favourite was 4D with 2D a close second.Many thanks to the setter & Falcon for the reviewhttp://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_good.gif

  7. Thank you setter. A tough puzzle for me, which I managed to finish – but would never have done so a couple of years ago. Thank you Blog ! Thank you Falcon for your review and hints. It isn’t raining here for a change, so we are off to Martin Mere to see the birdies.

  8. Enjoyed this one a lot and agree with Falcon that 2d takes the biscuit, perhaps to go with the brew that’s made from the answer :lol:

    ***/**** from me.

    Thanks to Mr Ron and Falcon.

    P.S. Today is a day for Toughie rookies to have a go – I finished it quicker than I did this one!

    1. If today’s Toughie is really a back pager then I dread to think what’s in store for tomorrow.

      What’s your weather like? We seem to have swapped climates with Latvia without realising it. It’s absolutely Baltic here in Middle England and it’s forecast to get worse as Storm Nadja blows in from the Atlantic tomorrow.

      1. Last week was wonderful for the time of year – low 20s and clear skies all day. Goes cold after sunset though, down to low teens. :sad:

        This week it’s gone back to normal for Jan/Feb, sunny but only 16C at the moment (and it peed down with some spectacular thunder for a couple of hours yesterday afternoon).

        Certainly I’d rather be here than in Manchester where pommette is :grin:

    2. If you think that’s easy, then I would hate to see one of your difficult ones, I managed one clue and that was an anagram! Completely impenetrable to me.

      1. Can only speak as I find Brian. I completed the Toughie in 75% of the time it took me to do this one. Must be a wavelength thing!

  9. Bit of a mixture for me, most answers went in quickly but the SW corner took ages , last in was the stratagem 26a , but I still can’t find a sound which fits the surprised expression double meaning , Falcon blog not very helpful in this respect-it was regarding the concerned expression in 7d-seem to remember Billy Bunter using it! .Going for a ***/***.

        1. This was also a new expression to me, as was the exclamation at 7d. Also new to me were the “sweetener” at 10a, the temporary building at 27a, and the playwright at 4d.

          1. I spent 7 years of my school life during the 70s in “temporary” classrooms adapted from 27a and they were the coldest, flimsiest buildings but as cheap as chips for schools needing more space but without the funds to build permanent facilities.

            I once went sailing through one of the windows during a mass brawl and sustained cuts requiring quite a number of stitches so my memories are not of the fond variety especially as a 58 year old I still bear the scars!

  10. I found this difficult but achievable. Thanx to Setter and Falcon for the review.
    Newsagent has told me that the Daily Telegraph will increase their price to £1.40 next week, a 20p increase!!!! Cant find any mention of it in the paper.

  11. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/smiley-phew.gif

    4*/4* I found this really hard today, but well worth persevering with. On my first pass I had just two answers in, and I needed to stop and come back to the puzzle several times in order to finish.

    Being a Londoner and having worked in the East End all my life helped both with the expression referred to in 7d (although I haven’t heard anyone use it for over 30 years!) and with the cockney rhyming slang needed to solve my favourite, the excellent 2d.

    I needed to check the BRB to understand why the final six letters of my answer for 20a were correct.

    Many thanks to Mr. Ron and to Falcon.

  12. I loved this but found it very difficult – glad to see that I’m not alone. Probably nearly 4* difficulty and the same for enjoyment.
    It took me ages to get started at all and the whole crossword really has taken much longer than usual – not that that matters much.
    My last one was 16a – when will I learn? I’m not sure that I’d call 6a ‘meat’. The second word of 18a had to be what it was but I couldn’t see why for far too long. I’ve never heard of the 11d mechanic.
    Loads of really clever clues so it’ll be quite tricky keeping my list down to a reasonable number let alone sticking to my self-imposed rule of having only one favourite – 13, 18 and 26a and 2 and 3d. I think my favourite was 25d but I reserve the right to change my mind.
    With thanks to Mr Clever Ron and Falcon.
    Yet another beastly day in Oxford – more cold, grey and drizzly miseries – collie not pleased. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_sad.gif

  13. Like Kath, this took us ages to get started but we really enjoyed it. We needed one or two explanations from Falcon, for which, many thanks, and in the end managed to finish it. Thank you also to the setter too, of course.

  14. Many Thanks to Falcon for the review – all the way from Canada!

    Minus12° Celsius must seem “very mild” after the Polar Vortex! Brrrrr!

    Needed the hints for 19d and 26a – so thank you, again.

    1. Yes, we are emerging from a spell during which temperatures hovered in the range of minus 25° Celsius.

  15. Just completed this in two sessions but had to have Falcon’s explanations for some, still don’t see that ‘economy’ is cut! I think I’m having a thick week (for a change of course) took me ages to see 26a!! spelling 27a with a ‘c’ didn’t help. so thank you Falcon a three star at least IMHO today, a fine day here no wind or rain but cold and gray

    1. Re: “… still don’t see that ‘economy’ is cut!”

      As one of several definitions, the BRB gives (usually economies) an instance of economizing; a saving.

  16. Thanks to the setter and to Falcon for the review. Good puzzle but I found it too difficult. Managed the right hand side ok, but then came to a dead halt. Needed 3 hints and 10 look ups to finish. Never heard of the playwright in 4d. Was 4*/2* for me. Not able to spend enough time on it to enjoy.

  17. A cracking good puzzlejust right for a “Thirsty Thursday” If i ever finish it i will have a beer. If I do not finish it – I will have a beer. Lots of smiles today and an outstanding clue at 12ac. 20ac 26ac 5d and 14d remain elusive but hopefully not imposible. Ta to all.

    1. Just one beer? I hate to finish on an odd number so that rules out 3,5,7 & 9. Go for 6 then you’ll be having an elegant sufficiency as my Grandad used to say as he plaited his legs home from the pub.

      1. Top retort! ‘Plaited his legs’… lol… can’t want to use that. Maybe get a chance to try it later.

  18. This was a mixture for me, some were so simple I was sure I had them wrong, then others just stumped me. I never did get 1a, 9a, 1d and 16a, the latter so simple I must have been brain dead to miss it. I needed the hints for several “whys”, e.g. 18a, and I still don’t get why “bung” is a sweetener, to me that’s a stopper. Favourite 20a, honorable mention to 23a. Thanks to setter, and many, many thanks to Falcon for hints. Hard as it was, very enjoyable.

    1. As a P.S., for those who’ve never heard of Terence Rattigan, two of his plays that I like best, “The Winslow Boy” and “Separate Tables”, are on DVD and well worth watching.

      1. Saw a year or so ago “The Deep Blue Sea” at Chichester.
        David Niven won an Oscar for playing the Major in “Separate Tables”
        Excellent playwright who, I feel, has not had the acclaim he deserves.

    2. “Shove ‘im a bung” was a well worn phrase used by my manager back in the 80s when I couldn’t reach my sales targets & had to “incentivise” buyers to purchase more than they actually needed.

    3. A bung is slang for a bribe.
      Good crossword , not easy. I liked 18a, when I finally got it. Thanks to Mr Ron and Falcon.

  19. I am really struggling with the crossword today but at least the iPad edition is now available after problems all day like everyone else.

  20. I see that I, too, am not alone in finding this irritably difficult. Could not find a constant ‘wavelength’. Can’t say I enjoyed it particularly.

    It would be a dull world if we were all the same I suppose. 3.5*/1.5*

  21. This was a challenge but a very enjoyable one. I had to resort to the blog for three hints but dogged determination and a glass of cheeky red made it mission accomplished. I would rate this 3.5*/5* I particularly liked 14D which I got with the hint. Thank you Falcon.

  22. Gem of a crossword.
    Left with 19d, 23a and 26a until late in the day when the pennies dropped.
    Many thanks to the setter and to Falcon.

  23. I have had to resort to the answers for 20ac and 26ac. I am not worthy. I have enjoyed this outing far more than most puzzles. Some great clues. Some brilliant surface reads. Cute misdirections and a laugh or three along the way. For every pleasure there is an ounce of pain sums it up for me. Thank you setter and thank you again setter. Ta to Falcon for the answers I needed. Ta to all who make this site so much fun.

  24. A splendid puzzle which I managed in ** dogged minutes. Some fell neatly into place but 14d eluded me for ages – I kept wanting to write locomotive, for no valid reason other than its a means of transport, then I remembered the MoT (failure last year cost me £2,000 of suspension parts, so how could I forget) and it was a shoo in from there. 4* difficulty and 5* enjoyment for me. Thanks to you setter and Chilly Falcon

    1. The convention on this site is that we do not mention solving times, so I have edited your comment.

  25. This was an enjoyable challenge.http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_good.gif Some of the clues took a while to work out, but I managed to complete the puzzle without hints. I did need an explanation for the second word of 18a. I didn’t know about the captain at the start of the football match. Among the clues I particularly liked are 15a, 23a, 26a, 4d and 11d.
    Thank you very much, Mr Ron. That was most enjoyable.http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yahoo.gif
    And thank you, too, Falcon for the excellent hints. Even when I don’t use them, I always find them invaluable for checking the wordplay of my answers. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_mail.gif

  26. Very late with this – so late that I doubt any eyeballs will grace this post Anyway, I was very late to it and it kept me very late! Did it all with no help but it took three passes and doggedness by the abunden. As a puzzle I thought it was ****/** because there were too many loose associations ‘CUT’, ‘COUP’ OFFAL for meat (?) and PORTAKABIN (for goodness sake, this is a brand name). When this happens its easy to dismiss the good stuff. One feels a bit cheated and resentful of the time spent on it. The main fun coming from the final sense of achievement rather than the pleasure of clever and concise clueing. Now to catch up with you all on ‘401.

  27. I enjoyed that one, despite needing hints for a couple in the SW corner. Thanks from a very wet Cornwall to both setter and reviewer.

  28. We’ve recently discovered the Telegraph Cryptic Crossword – and even more recently, this BLOG. Its certainly helping to keep my 73-year-old brain ticking over! Are you guys really volunteers? We’re starting to understand some of the clues better now, thanks to your guidance. Sadly, the Android browser on my phone doesn’t support the “highlight and answer” thingy. Thanks to Bloggers and Setters.

    1. Welcome to the blog Golden Oldies . Yes, we are all volunteers, and I’m sure you’ll find lots of help available when you need it. Look forward to hearing from you in future.

  29. Welcome from me, too. I know from my own experience that this is a wonderful place to be if you enjoy crosswords. Super people and a super blog.http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_rose.gif

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