DT 27401 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
View closed comments 

DT 27401

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 27401

Hints and tips by Deep Threat

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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

Good morning from South Staffs on another dark and dreary day.

Right on the border between ** and *** for me today, but one of our regular contributors will be relieved to know that there are no Scriptural references!. Thanks to Giovanni for an entertaining challenge.

In the hints below, the definitions are underlined.

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           Female is behind fashionable leading product (8)
{ FLAGSHIP } A charade of Female, a verb meaning ‘is behind’, and a slightly dated word for fashionable.

5a           Legendary association of sportsmen exploited extortionately (6)
{ FABLED } the initials of the body which is in charge of one of our major sports, followed by a verb  (often seen linked with ‘dry’ or ‘white’) meaning ‘exploited extortionately’.

8a           Fruit tree gets one fussing audibly (6)
{ MEDLAR } A fruit tree related to the apple, which sounds like (audibly) one who interferes with matters.

9a           Address for a man in a superior Westminster house (8)
{ LORDSHIP } Cryptic definition of the form of address for a male member of the Upper House of Parliament.

10a         Unreported evil is horrible — what’s covered up is very bad (8)
{ DEVILISH } Hidden (covered up) in the clue.

11a         Daughter torn apart, being highly motivated? (6)
{ DRIVEN } Daughter followed by a word for torn apart.

12a         PM finds Irish deal not hard surprisingly (8)
{ DISRAELI } This 19th-century Prime Minister is an anagram of IRIS(h) DEAL (not hard).

13a         Go perhaps to the empty cell (6)
{ GAMETE } The generic term for an activity of which Go is an example, followed by the first and last letters of ThE (the empty), giving one of the reproductive cells of the body.

15a         Pet starts to sleep, soundly ensconced in bed (6)
{ COSSET } The initial letters (starts) of Sleep, Soundly, and Ensconced inside a type of bed. The definition is a verb.

18a         As a business person try to outmanoeuvre  strike (8)
{ UNDERCUT } Double definition: a way a business person may seek an advantage over a competitor; and a verb meaning to hit upwards.

20a         Yesteryear’s lover, flighty type who is non-resident? (6)
{ EXTERN } A former lover, and a seabird, giving someone non-resident in an academic or medical establishment.

21a         Weather line on map — one thus gets temperature on island (8)
{ ISOTHERM } Put together the Roman numeral for one, a word meaning ‘thus’, Temperature, and one of the Channel Islands, to get a line joining places of equal temperature on a map.

23a         Two cats so out of sorts, not running smoothly (8)
{ STACCATO } Anagram of CAT CAT SO (two cats!).

24a         Despicably virile having injected drug (6)
{ MEANLY } A word for virile, with a drug commonly known by a single letter inside it.

25a         Hospital for brief time in Glos. town able to provide shelter (6)
{ SHROUD } Replace the T(ime) in this town with an H(ospital) to get something which shelters an object from view.

26a         One has a subject offering judgement (8)
{ SENTENCE } Double definition: a grammatical construct which has a subject (and a verb); and the judgement handed down by a court to a convicted criminal.


1d           Noted obsession engaging the writer (5)
{ FAMED } Something which engages a great deal of interest for a brief time, with a pronoun Giovanni might use to refer to himself inside it.

2d           A lad’s misbehaving with girl in dances (9)
{ GALLIARDS } These 16th-century dances are an anagram of A LAD’S and GIRL.

ARVE Error: need id and provider

3d           Brave woman given drug when having minimal energy (7)
{ HEROINE } A powerful drug followed by Energy.

4d           I couldn’t rush up — I must be composed, beautiful (15)
{ PULCHRITUDINOUS } Anagram (must be composed) of I COULDN’T RUSH UP I.

5d           Get rid of nasty person’s hot supporting piece? (7)
{ FIREDOG } A word for getting rid of an employee, followed by a term for a nasty person, giving something which supports a burning log in a hearth.

6d           Port? Litres English possess right for drinking (2,5)
{ LE HAVRE } A French port, made up of Litres, English, and a word for possess with Right inside it.

7d           Writer protected by editor when in depression, as a hanger-on (9)
{ DEPENDENT } Something to write with inside the abbreviation for editor, all of it then inside a depression in the ground.

12d         Ladies used to get excited about indoor game (9)
{ DUCHESSES } Anagram (to get excited) of USED, wrapped around an indoor game played on a 64-square board.

14d         Alice’s companion gets to walk, then run (5,4)
{ MARCH HARE } A synonym of ‘walk’, then a synonym of ‘run’, giving one of the participants in the Tea Party which Alice attended.

16d         Group needing trade show to be settled (3,4)
{ SET FAIR } A setting on a barometer which we haven’t seen for a while! Another word for a group, followed by a type of trade show.

17d         Vessel in army vehicle stuck on a road (7)
{ TANKARD } An armoured vehicle followed by A (from the clue) and an abbreviation for road.

19d         One who may help guest Norma, drunk after party (7)
{ DOORMAN } A two-letter party, followed by an anagram (drunk) of NORMA.

22d         Possibly a yen to be held in honour (5)
{ MAYBE } A (from the clue) and Yen inside one of the honours handed out in the New Year’s Honours list.

The Quick Crossword pun { PIQUET }{ NUMBER } = { PICK A NUMBER }

69 comments on “DT 27401

  1. 3*/3*

    I said last Friday that I ought to try to accept Giovanni’s obscurities, but yet again two answers (8a & 2d) have taken the gloss off today’s puzzle for me which otherwise would have been 4*+ for enjoyment.

    I made life difficult for myself by deciding early on that 25a must be STOWED (STOW Emergency Department, i.e. a hospital department in Gloucester where one would hope only to spend a brief time!) even though that would have needed the clue to end “… town provided shelter”. That diversion didn’t help with 16d, even though it did fit with the other two checking letters.

    4d is one of those words that I knew but had no idea of its meaning until checking the BRB today.

    26a was my favourite.

    Many thanks to the Don and to DT.

    1. I also knew 4d but I always think it should mean ponderous or dishonest, or something like that for such a clumsy sounding word.

        1. If you studied Latin at school it is a very easy!

          pulcher, pulchra, pulchrum – beautiful (as in pulchritude – beauty)

          turpis, turpis, turpe – ugly (as in turpitude – depravity)

          1. I did study Latin at school, and, now you have mentioned it, somewhere in from the depths of the old grey matter I do recall pulcher meaning beautiful.

            Despite its meaning, I do think pulchritudinous is a very ugly word in English.

  2. Thanks Giovanni for good start to weekend. Don’t recall a recent puzzle with full-length word such as 4d for which I have to admit to lazily resorting to my trusty electronic friend and then saying duh! Among my favs was 6d although wonder why question mark in clue. ***/***. Thanks Deep Threat also for “being there”. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/icon_neutral.gif

  3. Thanks to Giovanni and DT. Testing little puzzle I thought. 13a was a new word for me but obtainable from a good clue. Good end to the week

      1. A female gamete and a male gamete unite to make a zygote. People exist because zygotes need them to make new zygotes :-)

  4. Hi DT a three to four star for difficulty for me today, one of those puzzles that takes lots of concentration and perservation!!
    Congratulations to anyone who got 4d & 2d without any help :-)
    Thanks for hints DT I wouldn’t have finished without them, well maybe I would but it might have taken me a long time to do so, it’s a horrible cold wet day here today but at least it’s not windy …yet!!

  5. An interesting contrast with yesterday’s puzzle which I managed to complete in a time which was under my self imposed par. Today took three times par! As someone said yesterday it’s a question of wave lenth and I was obviously tuned into the wrong programme today. Enjoyed them both though in different ways

  6. A superb offering today. I knew the words for 2d and 13a but 4d took a while to unravel as I’m reluctant to use electronic aids. Best clue for me was 6d closely followed by 4d.
    Thanks to Setter and DT for the Review.

  7. I found this one fairly tricky today, taking me longer to complete that normal for a Friday.
    Thanks to Giovanni, and to Deep Threat for the review.

    I thought the toughie was quite fiendish, but good fun!

  8. Thank you DG. Not just one obscure word for me today but several ! In spite of that, using every conceivable aid, I managed to finish the puzzle. Thanks DT for your comprehensive review and hints.

      1. Before BD leaps in to remind you – check out the Glossary/Index in the Crossword Guide under the Crosswords tab at the top of the page.

  9. Definitely in 4* difficulty territory for me. The right hand side was completed before I managed to get a start on the left. I was going to comment on some of the clues/answers but the Android App has discarded my solution again!
    Thanks to all.

  10. Bottom left defeated me all ends up so for that reason I have given it ***/*****.
    I absolutely detest these double unches, foul clues. Two new words today in 2d and 8a (Mrs B got this, she is the gardner).
    DTs initial comment is noted and for that reason, the five star.
    Did like the two scientific clues in 21a and my favourite 13a.
    Thx to Giovanni and to DT for the much needed hints to 2d and 23a.

  11. Oh dear. Oh dear, oh dear. Quietly pottering along, solving the Cryptic each day. Generally making a good fist of things. Occasional stumblers but generally all dropping into place. All well with the world. Even managing a few Toughies.

    And then we get this monstrosity. I managed four clues. Came back to it after an hour or so. Nothing. Nada. Nowt. Way way way too hard. Off the scale. Confetti time, I’m afraid. Life is too short even to waste my time trying to fathom out using the hints. A truly horrible crossword.

  12. I must have been on the Giovanni wavelength this morning – it all fell into place very neatly. I always thought the dance in 2d was the Gay G…. Thanks to Giovanni and DT

    Elkamere is in a fluffier mood than usual over in the Toughie. Paul in the Graun is good fun as per usual. Fans of chestnuts in crosswords will find the FT to their liking. I am off to see what the Times has to offer now – rumour has it that it is a tricky beast.

        1. As Gazza remarked recently, in today’s gender sensitive world shouldn’t you say as the actor said to the bishop? :wink:

  13. A game of two halves for me , wrote in the left hand side up to 4d, then worked through the right hand clues ,not without much thought , did’nt help with 11a when I spelt 6d as ‘harve ‘,ok apart from this and a nice mix of clues , usual Giovanni obscurities , but it is a Friday crossword and it wouldn’t be much fun if they were all easy solves, thanks DT for the pics , seen 14a Tea Party pic before , think it was an illustration from an early edition of Mr Carroll’s book I read as a child.

  14. What fun! I especially enjoyed 4D – it’s not often that I get celebrate my grade-6 O-level Latin!

    Please can someone of a gardening bent explain the following to me? I was pretty sure that I’d got 8A (last one) right, but checked in the dictionaries anyway. Chambers says that it is related to the apple, but the ODE says that it is “of the rose family”. Can they both be right?

    My thanks to anyone who can put me right on that, and to DT and Giovanni too :-)

    1. Wiki says

      The apple is the pomaceous fruit of the apple tree, species Malus domestica in the rose family (Rosaceae).

      So it appears they are both right.

  15. I think 3* for both from me today.
    All went quite well until I got to the bottom left corner and that took me ages – can’t see why now that I’ve finished.
    I did know 4d but admit to having to check the spelling and I knew that I would never get the 2d dance even though I could see what the anagram was made up from so I looked in the Chambers Crossword Dictionary under dances – it’s a very similar word to one of my favourite plants – Gaillardia.
    I think 22d is the most used clue/answer of the month.
    25a was my last answer – having grown up on the Worcestershire/Gloucestershire border I could think of far too many towns in Gloucestershire – that’s my excuse anyway.
    I liked 1, 10 and 13a. My favourite was 4d – I can’t help admiring someone who can make a reasonably sensible sentence out of such a word.
    With thanks to Giovanni and Deep Threat.
    Cold and wet, again, in Oxford.

  16. 13 across was a new word for us today & we had to look it up, but it was an enjoyable puzzle. I can’t remember ever using the word extern, but if you can have an intern, then why not an extern. Many thanks to the setter & to DT for the explanations.

    1. “I can’t remember ever using the word extern”… Me either, but once the clue had gently led me there a glance at Chambers gave “a non-resident doctor or other worker in a hospital”, which it totally reasonable! :-)

  17. Like many others, all set fair until the bottom left corner.Favourite:22d. Thanks to DT and Giovanni.

  18. I found this one a little bit 10ac and I was 7d on the review for the correct spelling of 4d. The weather is anything but 16d today. I cannot see the river which is a good thing considering the amount of rain forecast. I have my doubts that Coventry v Wharfedale will go ahead tomorrow afternoon but am hopeful that England will do their duty against the French tomorrow. Beer Beer rugby Beer Rugby Beer and more Beer to finish the job off.

    1. Miffypops, I like the sound of your plan for tomorrow. Would you mind if I followed your lead on this?

    2. Agenda for tomorrow:
      1 Breakfast at a greasy spoon cafe with No1 son
      2 Haircut with No1 son
      3 Meet No2 son & go to the pub for the Wales game which no doubt will be a cricket score
      4 Discuss above game over a few more cheeky ones
      5 Watch England game probably with 1 eye closed while screaming at the telly
      6 Walk home & hope nobody treads on my fingers
      7 Job done, get some kip in time for the Ireland game on Sunday

      All this with the added bonus of the Weekend Puzzle Maestros!

        1. No but it would be a right laugh if they got even close to a draw with the Welsh at home!

          We don’t get to face Wales until 9 March so there’s plenty of time to see how they’re playing and adapt accordingly.

        2. Miffypops this may be presumptious (correct spelling?) but I don’t expect Italy to win at all http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yahoo.gif come on Wales

    3. It’s beginning to sound as if we’re not going to be ‘seeing’ much of Miffypops, Rabbit Dave, pommers and spindrift tomorrow, and possibly even Sunday too. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/icon_rolleyes.gif

  19. Did anyone else put Money for 22 down as MO for honour and anagram of yen? Or just me being sad

    1. I can’t say that I did that but it doesn’t mean you’re sad. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_smile.gif
      Not sure that MO counts as honour anyway – in fact I’m fairly sure that it doesn’t.

      1. Om does. Order Of Merit. a regular entrant to crosswordland. I wonder if Janie is a newcomer to cryptics? Newcomers do seem to wander down some very obscure paths.

    2. Now that I finished it I don’t know why it took me so long.13a last one in. Thanks to Giovanni & DT.

  20. Very enjoyable today – thanks to Giovanni, and to DT for the review. I waited until now to see if anyone else noticed the “near-anagram” in 5d. “Get rid of nasty…” led me to believe I had to work with the first 3 words and then discard an unwanted letter for some unknown reason. This enabled me to get to the correct answer but I couldn’t find a reason to drop the “T”. It was after that, on reading the clue for the umpteenth time that I saw that the anagram wasn’t the correct route. Intentional on the part of Giovanni I wonder?

    1. DIdn’t fall into your trap-but we all have in the past-I see your logic , and there is a thing called a T PIECE and T is the end of HOT ( supporting)!- not sure where that gets us but I had an idle moment to fill in.

  21. As has been said before 2d was a “Guess and Google” but the rest went in OK. Enjoyed it over a coffee in the sun :smile:

    **/*** from me.

    Thanks to Giovanni and DT.

    1. 2d wasn’t a “Guess and Google” for me – it was a “Give in instantly and Cheat”. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_negative.gif
      As for the sun . . . http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_sad.gif

  22. Many thanks to Giovanni, for a great end to the week – some interesting words and good wordplay. I needed no hints but Deep Threat’s tips were fun as always. ***/**** from me.

  23. 4d – yea, right!!
    Enjoyable tussle.
    6d especially clever amongst many others.
    Many thanks to Giovanni and to Deep Threat.

  24. Finished, with some electronic help. I had never heard of 8a before, a quick google confirmed it. I seem to remember 2d from another crossword. I was not familiar with the island in 21a; I love learning something new. I knew Stroud in Glos as have many cousins in that area, not sure if they’re still there. This puzzle gave me a workout, 4* for enjoyment, 3* for difficulty! but at least I finished! Thanks to Giovanni, and, of course, DT for review. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_good.gif

  25. Thanks to Giovanni and to Deep Threat for the review and hints. A very nice, but difficult puzzle from the Don to end the week. Managed to do the right hand side ok, but struggled on the left. Needed 6 hints to finish. As usual some obscure words in 3d, 4d & 20a. Favourite was 14d. Mindbending stuff. Was 4*/3* for me.

  26. Took us a little longer than usual but not by much. Perhaps it was because of all those double unches. The substitution clues like 25a always seem to give us a bit of a challenge for some reason. Good clues, good fun.
    Thanks Giovanni and DT.

  27. I really enjoyed this. just the right level of difficulty and a 4* for enjoyment. 5a. gets my COD. Thanks to Giovanni and DT for entertaining comments. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_good.gif

  28. A truly awful day in Cornwall, so apart from my share of mucking out the nags I spent it doing 2 days’ worth of crosswords and sudokus. Couldn’t do yesterday’s last night because of the Pub Quiz (modesty forbids I should say who won). This one I found quite stiff, but won through unaided in the end. The toughie, on the other hand, looks so insanely hard that I may not even get round to taking another peek at it!

  29. I found this jolly hard and looking at the completed grid, I’m still baffled how I managed to get to the end without needing hints. Last one in for me was 1a, as I was hidebound by that serious newspaper style guide that says this word can only ever be used for the Royal Navy’s leading vessel and must never be used in any other context. They fail to mention crosswords, however, where (almost) anything goes. Still, got there in the end. Thanks to DG for the workout and DT for the entertaining blog, and to all commentators.

  30. Mr Giovanni! Perhaps I should not have picked up that gauntlet but having done so I was determined to get to the end before the balm of Saturday’s puzzle. I did get there in the end without help despite not knowing quite a few words and am grateful for the education. For me that was a big effort in at least three passes and this is right on the leading edge of my meagre talents. For me ****/***. Maybe I should give this pastime up! Thanks for a serious workout and to DT who’s solution was needed for my last which was the fruit tree.

Comments are closed.