DT 27405 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 27405

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 27405

Hints and tips by scchua

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty *Enjoyment ***

I’d rate a 1* for difficulty, but still enjoyable with a 3*.  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    Running through case of race trial imprisoning son (10)

{REHEARSING} : 1st and last letters of(case of) “race” + [a trial in court, say] containing(imprisoning) [abbrev. for “son”].

6a    List of workers out in the middle (4)

{MENU} : [collectively, workers, or, at least, those of one sex] + 2nd letter out of 3 of(… in the middle) “out”.

Defn: A list, eg. of fare.

9a    Possibly last in, and yes, like an angel (7)

{SAINTLY} : Anagram of(Possibly) LAST IN plus(and) [abbrev. for “yes”].

10a    Popular drink with unconfined kids offering little taste (7)

{INSIPID} : [popular;fashionable] + [to drink slowly and bit by bit] plus(with) “kids” minus its 1st and last letters(unconfined).

Defn: … certainly not like curries.

12a    Seeks approval of seasoning, with no end of dill, given to hot dishes (7,6)

{CURRIES FAVOUR} : [seasoning;a substance added to give a specific taste to food] minus last letter of(with no end of) “dill” placed after(given to, in an across clue) [hot Indian dishes].

14a    Unforeseen event caused by source of germs in recooked cat food (3,2,3)

{ACT OF GOD} : 1st letter of(source of) “germs” contained in(in) anagram of(recooked) CAT FOOD.

Defn: … that, normally, isn’t covered by your insurers.

15a    Best have some food after three consecutive notes (6)

{DEFEAT} : [to have some food] placed after(after) [3 consecutive notes on the diatonic musical scale].

Defn: As a verb.

17a    Request by mother is material (6)

{DAMASK} : [to request] placed after(by, in an across clue) [a mother;female parent, usually of a four-legged animal].

Defn:  … for covering walls, furniture, etc.:


19a    Fragrant sales agent returned and saw red (8)

{PERFUMED} : Reversal of( ) [short for a sales agent, especially one who travels] plus(and) [saw red, as depicted in cartoons by smoke emitting from the ears].

Here are a couple of sales agents:


21a    Recognised criminal in digs due this (13)

{DISTINGUISHED} : Anagram of(criminal) IN DIGS DUE THIS.

24a    Volcano full of energy? The other way round in this state! (7)

{VIETNAM} : [a Sicilian volcano ], instead of(The other way round) containing(full of), contained in, [energy;vigour]. Note the inverse instruction.


25a    Suffered after a victory, but was of use (7)

{AVAILED} : [suffered, from an illness, say] placed after(after, in an across clue) { A + [abbrev. for “victory”] }.

26a    Most unusual mistake coming back across area (4)

{RARE} : Reversal of(coming back) [to make a mistake] containing(across) [abbrev. for “area”].

27a    Clear about covering except missing ten, and a container (10)

{RECEPTACLE} : Anagram of(about) CLEAR containing(covering) “except” minus(missing) [Roman numeral for “ten”].


1d    Sulphur is found in eggs and wine (4)

{ROSÉ} : [chemical symbol for the element, sulphur] contained in(in) [fish eggs].

Answer: With an acute accent.

2d    Broadcast axed in support of hotel pageboy, for example (7)

{HAIRCUT} : { [to broadcast over the radio or TV] + [axed;chopped] } placed below(in support of, in a down clue) [letter represented by “hotel” in the phonetic alphabet].

Answer: … an example of which is the pageboy.  For him and her:


3d    Not very well, but looking for a way (5,1,7)

{AFTER A FASHION} : [looking for;seeking;in pursuit of] A [way;mode].

Defn: Only to some extent.

4d    Minister‘s heaven with sanctimonious crowd (3,5)

{SKY PILOT} : [heave;the source of divine power] plus(with) [short for being falsely holy;sanctimonious] + [a crowd;a collection of people or things].

Answer: Slang for a clergyman, especially a chaplain in the military.

5d    Digital protection for pins? (5)

{NAILS} : Double defn: 1st: Cryptic – reference to the 20 digits you have; and 2nd: Pins for attaching.



7d    Doctor eloped, pinching kiss, and set off (7)

{EXPLODE} : Anagram of(Doctor) ELOPED containing(pinching) [character representing a kiss].

8d    Actor and duty nurse forced to admit date (10)

{UNDERSTUDY} : Anagram of(… forced) DUTY NURSE containing(to admit) [abbrev. for “date”].

Defn: … but not in the starting line-up.

11d    Modern nation on threat of revolutionary (5-2-3-3)

{STATE-OF-THE-ART} : [a nation, or sometimes part of one] placed above(on, in a down clue) anagram of(revolutionary) THREAT OF.

… on the roads:

13d    Delivered script on English port (6,4)

{HANDED OVER} : [a script;one’s personal style of writing] placed above(on,in a down clue) [abbrev. for “English”] + [a port on the English south coast].

16d    Treat cold going in to liaise (8)

{MEDICATE} : [abbrev. for “cold”] contained in(going in) [to liaise;to be the middleman].

Defn: To treat, say, a cold.

18d    Therapist is sorry for turning up under reduced service (7)

{MASSEUR} : Reversal of(turning up, in a down clue) [is sorry for;regrets] placed below(under, in down clue) [a Christian church service] minus its last letter(reduced).

Therapy? …and perhaps a touch of torture:


20d    Note bourgeois girl going missing (6,1)

{MIDDLE C} : [bourgeois layer of society] minus(… going missing) [a young girl].

Defn: … musically.

22d    Begging? I’m merely acccepting a putt conceded (5)

{GIMME} : Hidden in(acccepting) “Begging? I’m merely”. A WIWD(wordplay intertwined with defn.) clue, as the answer can be taken as one begging.

23d    Nick‘s slight advantage (4)

{EDGE} : Double defn: 1st: I’m not very sure of the equivalence of defn. and the answer, as [the defn.] is a notch made in [the answer].

The Quick crossword pun: (act} + {jaw} + {rage} = {act your age}

87 comments on “DT 27405

  1. Blimey Scchua, you are on the ball this morning. Lets hope today’s blog is as interesting as yesterday’s.

    1. I dunno, what was yesterday’s blog like? (Don’t normally do the DTs nor read the blogs).

  2. Not often I’m first to comment :grin:

    Enjoyed this while it lasted and agree with */***.

    No probs with 23d. The answer is a slight advantage and it’s also nicking the ball with a cricket bat.

    Thanks to Jay and scchua.

    1. Ahh! cricket…that explains why I couldn’t find it in the dictionaries (English ones at that – you should set them straight!).

  3. I agree with the rating – a very pleasant start to a filthy looking day. I found the “quick” far more tricky and am still stuck on 21 a – but no help please, I must battle it out unaided!

    1. is that all? 14, 17, 21 acrosses and 4, 9, 12, and 20 downs are proving elusive to me. An no I do not need or want help either. i am not stuck, merely in the process of completion.

  4. There’s an ‘old’ phrase – well, since around the ’70s – that: “To err is human, but to really screw things up requires a computer.”

    I will amend that to: “… really screw things up requires the DT’s app developers”!

    I updated my iPad app yesterday, to the latest version that simply proclaimed: “Bug fixes”.

    Guess what? A new bug! Or have they yet taken, in the tradition of the inept programmer, to calling them “features”?

    In the instance immediately seen, all previous puzzle entries have been deleted!

    If the chauffeur keeps pranging the Rolls, you sack him. It’s long past time that the e-DT team were replaced.

    One might argue that the deletion gives one the opportunity to fill in the blank squares anew … but where’s the fun or challenge in that?

    [Thank you for allowing me to rant. I shall refer to this posting in my feedback to the DT.]

  5. I’m still puzzling over 3d. Despite having got it, I’m still bemused. Really makes very little sense.

    1. the answer means ‘Not very well’ ie, if something isn’t done well, then it can be said to be done 3D. The answer is made up from ‘looking for’ for the first two words and ‘a way’ for the third

  6. Took me a while to really get going, for some reason. And I keep forgetting to try roe for eggs so wasted time attempting to force ova into a short version of Soave wine… Liked 1a and 16d. Wasn’t aware that nick could be equated to an edge, so still SO much to learn. Many thanks to setter and to Scchua for such an early blog (perhaps due to time difference?)

        1. Yes, I hope everyone is watertight. I’ve been reading in the DT about the appalling weather and hurricane-force winds. I thought we in the tropics were the only ones who got hurricanes. I hope everyone is fine.

  7. Nice one Jay. Just enough to keep me amused and thinking. Only slightly more difficult than yesterdays and hopefully easier than tomorrows. Ta to all especially Kath. Yesterdays exchanges were superb and the end result had me smiling all night even after losing at crib.

  8. Once again some delightful pictures frohttp://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_wacko.gifm scchua. No real issues with this one & agree with the ratings, no real stand out clues for me but did like 12A.The wind is cranking up down here on the south coast should be a few trees & fences being uprooted by a 14A.Many thanks to the setter & Scchua for the hints not required for a change.

  9. First impression was forbidding but after a couple of solves the rest soon fell enjoyably into place. My fav 12a. Thanks Jay. No doubt once again sports phobes will not like a couple of clues. 4d was obvious although new to me so thanks Scchua for info. Not sure about 16d without cold meaning to liaise – middleman yes. No doubt BRB sanctions it. ***/***. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_smile.gif

    1. Hi Angel, I don’t see anything wrong with 16d, it’s just the ‘c’ from cold going into ‘mediate’ which is another word for liaise??

      1. Mary, I just question whether mediate and liaise are exact synonyms but near enough I guess. I will go quietly! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/icon_rolleyes.gif

        1. Hi Angel, I agree with you there, it does not actually give it in my Chambers crossword dictionary but we get lots of ‘synonyms’ that aren’t exact! I’ve given up arguing the point and accept the inevitable http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_unsure.gif

                1. The person in question is probably on her way to your hacienda in order to partake of a spliff with you prior to sitting down & blogging a puzzle!

                  1. I was afraid of that ;) Such a shame you cannot get to Brizzle on Saturday, mind you weather forecasts not looking good, can any of us http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_unsure.gif

  10. I was going along very nicely with this one, thinking I wouldn’t need my books or electronic friends today, finding it a very ‘workable’ crossword, when I came to a halt in the NW corner! Just couldn’t see 1a or 4d! so thank you scchua for that
    No real favourite though, the weather is really awful here and supposedly set to get worse!! Hope everybody is warm, safe and sound

  11. A most pleasant romp. 2*/4* for me. Many thanks to Jay, and to scchua.
    The quickie was a battle to complete today!

  12. Thank you Jay. A good fun puzzle with a lot of clever clues ( I thought so anyway ! ) Thanks Scchua for your review and hints – and as always, an interesting and carefully chosen selection of unusual and tasteful photos ( very restrained today ! )

  13. Very straightforward for a Wednesday, easily finished before lights out last night – */*** – I thought there might be some moans and groans about 22d, as it is used in golf, but I don’t see any yet.

  14. Agree with the Scchua rating ,seems a popular crossword all round from the blog comments , one of those crosswords where the answer seemed obvious and the wordplay took a bit of working out ,if you follow the logic! Agree with Sweet William that Jay’s clues were clever and they certainly elicited a few smiles when the pennies dropped .Thanks to Scchua for the pics-favourite clue 24a.

  15. At first glance I thought this was going to be quite tough – 14A was my first one in, then everything just fell into place without too much problem (I also went down the OVA route for 1D for a short while). I guess that if I had a favourite today, it would have to be 12A as I made a particularly good example of the first word yesterday and still have some left for today (might compensate for the wet, windy, cold, dark day we’re having so far)

  16. A very enjoyable solve. Waited for scchua’s interpretation of 3d and 4d as although I had put them in, couldn’t quite parse them, so thanx for that scchua.. 22d, knew the slang word included in the clue but not ‘the putt conceded’, one for the memory bank I guess.
    Thanx to Compiler and to scchua. **/**** for me.

  17. It looked to me as if the hinter was a bit unhappy with 5a, (Overprotected?), but no one has commented. My take was that your nails protect the ends of your digits. Perhaps everyone else thought it was too obvious to mention, or maybe it was a digital versus paper thing.

    1. I can’t think why you would say I was a bit unhappy with 5a. If you had looked, you would have seen the colon after “Overprotected?” and that therefore it was the caption for the pictures. And probably the reason why no one has commented is because it was so obvious to them that it was a caption, and not that I didn’t agree with the definition nor that I didn’t know the function of nails.

  18. I’m sure it’s just me but Scchuas hints seem even more obscure and devious today than the clues themselves.

  19. Did not like this much. I could not get my brain to attune to the setter’s. I don’t why but I found clues difficult and overcomplicated in places. I would rate ****/* My thanks to Scchua without whose help I would not have completed.

  20. Isn’t it strange, so many today thought this was a breeze, whilst we thought it was really quite hard to put it mildly. We’ve finally finished after deciphering Scchua’s clues, which were helpful so thank you. Thank you to the setter too even though I would give this only 2 stars for enjoyment. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_rose.gif

  21. Just for once I’d like to complete the crossword, come on here and find that it isn’t rated * for difficulty. Just for once, mind!

  22. */*** for me, I spent at least 1/4 of the time on 6a, which was my last in. Just could not see it at all, so a massive d’oh when I did.

  23. Great puzzle which would not have been completed without Scchua’s help. Many thanks.

    Has anyone looked at the FT? There is theme which applies to EVERY clue & will not be completed unless you have a degree in geography or got more air miles than Judith Chalmers!

      1. I’ve done about a quarter , with help from Wikipedia, and it’s a complete bore. However , English and Welsh geography teachers might be interested in using it as a teaching tool.

  24. A bit late today – I’ve been doing lots of other things.
    I thought this was a lovely crossword. I think Jay is probably one of my top three setters. I agree with 1* difficulty but would give it 4* for enjoyment.
    For once I didn’t have trouble with the across clues and remember, too late, that it’s best to start with the down clues on Wednesdays.
    I didn’t know that 22d was a real word – thought it was just crossword slang for an easy clue. I’m not sure that I’ve ‘met’ 4d before but it seems to be ringing a bell somewhere. The only answer that I was doubtful about, and still am a bit, was 26a – if something is “most unusual” shouldn’t the answer be “rarest“? A minor quibble, and I’m probably wrong anyway.
    I liked 12 and 17a and 13d.
    With thanks to Jay and scchua.
    Weather is still unspeakable – I do hope that everyone is not just warm and dry but safe too.

    1. I agree about 26a. The word MOST isn’t really necessary for the clue to work. You flexing your blogging muscles? http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_smile.gif

    2. Oh, Sky Pilot came up in one my early blogs. Seem to remember illustrating it with Father Mulcahy from M*A*S*H*.

    3. I agree with you about 26a Kath ,but other than that I found it a very pleasant ,solvable puzzle. Thanks to Jay .http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gif

  25. I certainly didn’t find this a walkover but I did finish without too much difficulty, with one exception: 3d. I made a mistake and marked it off as 5, 2, 6, therefore having the 2-letter word as -f, either if or of. I spent far too much time trying to find an “altar of —“, quite ridiculous really. Shot myself in the foot again. Thanks Jay and scchua for your review. Favourite: 12a. Honorable mention: 20d.


  26. A welcome distraction from the London commute today which frankly was not too bad for me. Finished it by Mansion House which was rather pleasing! Some nice clues particularly 4d which was my lasthttp://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_wacko.gif one in. Nothing too challenging so far this week but very enjoyable.

  27. I also found it much harder than yesterday’s. Took me ages to get the first answer in.
    (Kept trying to put sulphur into the ova to make wine which took far too long!)

    1. In a game of golf, when the ball is left within a few inches of the hole and the other player concedes it’s called a “Gimme”.

          1. I would argue with them day and night. Why should I pay the same to go round a golf course in under 80 hits as the same as a bloke who goes round in 99. He gets far better value for money than me because he gets more goes.

  28. I thought it was more like a ** star but perhaps that’s because I started quite late ,after a lot of annoying driving around in rain and traffic.Yesterday I started early in the morning , undisturbed. A very nice puzzle. I liked 2d when I stopped thinking of bellhops etc. I also liked 13d, amoungst many others.Thanks to Jay and scchua.

  29. I agree with every word Kath has written today. So I am going to plagiarise disgracefully.http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_mail.gif

    I am extremely late today. My rating is 1*/4*. I didn’t know 22d was a real word. I don’t think I’ve met 4d before, and I too was doubtful about 26a. I also liked 12a, 17a & 13d. And yes the weather is unspeakable.

    Thanks to Jay & Scchua, and of course with very grateful acknowledgements to Kath.

    1. Help yourself – you’re very welcome. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_smile.gif
      It just reminds me (this is absolutely true – I was there) of a very old man who was admitted to the Emergency Department one night. His tummy had so many scars on it that it looked like a noughts and crosses game. It’s always helpful to have some kind of history and the surgeon asked him what all the scars were ie what operations he’d had in the past. His answer was that he didn’t have a clue – “Mr ******* just opened me up and ‘elped ‘imself “!

        1. I don’t think putting all this pressure on Kath is helping! Why not take yourself off and finish the Saint’s kitchen instead.

  30. Thanks to Jay and scchua. A very nice puzzle no major problems. Held up commenting, no signal at the Battersea beer Festival. Favourite was 14a. Was 1*/3* for me. Last in was 4d.

  31. Like Mary, l found the NW corner tricky, but got there in the end. Perhaps **/** for me, but it gave me something to look at other than this positively horrible weather, so thanks to Jay and Scchua for that. Fortunately, my bit of Cornwall is well away from the sea and well above the rivers. The wind, on the other hand…..

  32. Gentle and easy solve, which would have been even easier if I hadn’t misspelt ‘fashion’ as ‘fashiio’ in a moment of carelessness. It meant Vietnam ws my last one in after I realised my error. Thanks to Jay and Scchua for well-illustrated hints

    1. I shouldn’t really be doing this at this time in the morning. I’ve got live radio to do in a few hours and I’ve prepared nothing. I did the crossword instead – and then read the blog. Is this addictive behaviour?

  33. DT 27,406. Lovely demanding one to-day. Had to get up before finishing, but all done and dusted now. Is it my imagination or have our setters become a little obsessed with ladies underwear recently? 28a forsooth.

  34. Many thanks, Jay, I enjoyed this puzzle. Fave clue was 20d.http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_good.gif
    Many thanks, Scchua. I didn’t use your excellent hints, but enjoyed going through them to check that my word play is OK.

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