DT 27411 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 27411

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 27411

Hints and tips by Tilsit

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BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

Scchua is away this week.

Greetings from Huddersfield Infirmary! I’m currently resident here after surgery yesterday and although feeling a bit grotty, have a large stock of crosswords and reading material to keep me amused.

Today’s offering from Jay was a nice pleasant stroll and wasn’t particularly overtaxing, probably what I need. It seemed to have a number of what I term ‘swap’ clues where part of an answer needs to have something replaced by an abbreviation or similar, as well as a fair few word sums, making it a nice test for someone getting into cryptics.

As usual, definitions are underlined and favourite clues are shown in blue. 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    Discovering mailbag has them horrified (6)
{AGHAST} We start today with a hidden answer. Inside the phrase “mailbag has them” is a word that means horrified or open-mouthed at something.

4a    Soldiers may rely on one before going for a dip (3,5)
{EGG TIMER} A cryptic definition. If you think of soldiers being toasted bread, when are they used and is there a device that tells you when they are properly cooked?

 10a    Instrument from hospital wing operating primarily intensive care areas (9)
{HARMONICA} This is a nicely constructed clue. A musical instrument is revealed by taking H (Hospital) adding a word meaning a wing or branch of an organisation, then a short word that means a device is working or operating, Finally add to this the first letters (primarily) of INTENSIVE CARE AREAS.

11a    A carbon free bitter (5)
{ACRID} A word that usually describes foul smelling vapour is found by taking A and the chemical symbol for Carbon and adding a word meaning to free someone or something

12a    Son inclined to be awkward in delivery (7)
{STILTED} A word that means awkward or affected (think speech) is revealed by taking S (son) and adding something that means inclined or sloped.

13a    Abandon hope, swapping broadcast for crude strip (7)
{DESPOIL} I read this the wrong way round to start with, and once I got a checking answer near the end of the word realised my mistake. Take a word meaning to give up or abandon hope and then “swap” the three letters in the word that refer to broadcast with another three letters that refer to what crude is.

14a    Noted Italian jury’s decision to clear final couple (5)
{VERDI}    Instead of swapping this time we just lose the end to get our definition word. The name of a famous composer (cryptically defined as ‘Noted Italian’) is revealed by taking what you call the decision of a jury and removing (clear) the last two letters.

This gives me an opportunity to play one of his tunes. Enjoy!

ARVE Error: need id and provider

15a    Success covering globe to become less convincing (4,4)
{WEAR THIN} Here we are looking for a phrase that means to become less convincing; it’s found by placing a word that means a globe or the world and placing it inside something that means success. This is shown by the latter ‘covering’ or surrounding the first definition.

18a    Climber writes off first-class returns (8)

{WISTERIA} The name for a type of climbing plant is found by making an anagram (shown by off) of WRITES and then adding the reversal of an expression that means everything is tickety-boo (Think “__ at Lloyd’s”.

20a    Island’s fortune reversed by a lucky leader (5)
{ATOLL} The name for a type of island is revealed by taking a word meaning destiny or fortune, reversing it and placing it after A, you then add the final L (lucky leader). Slightly complicated, but totally fair.

23a    A female just before the start of secret liaisons (7)
{AFFAIRS} Something that refers to (illicit) liaisons is found by taking A and F (female) and the adding something that means just or right and S (start of secret).

25a    Bird shot with catapult (7)
{GOSLING} A type of young bird is found by taking something that means a shot or attempt and adding a type of catapult (think of the one used by David against Goliath).

26a    Set a date to enter port (5)
{RADIO} Take A and D (date) and place them inside the name of a port, one where lots of football fans will be this summer. This gives you something which is often described as a set.

27a    Personal problem or line adopted by PM once on the inside of mills (3,6)
{ILL HEALTH} On the middle the middle three letters of MILLS , add the name of a former British PM (Private Eye nicknamed him ‘The Grocer’) with L (line) inside. This reveals an expression that describes a personal problem or difficulty.

28a    ID needed to subscribe after visit? (4,4)
{CALL SIGN} A way of identifying people by radio is found by taking a word meaning a visit and adding something that means to subscribe.

29a    A dashed decanted drink makes sense (4,2)
{ADDS UP} An expression that means makes sense is found by taking A (lots of this today – perhaps too much, to be honest) then the first and last letters of dashed (shown by ‘decanted’) and a little word that means drink.


1d    She collapsed in a sharp fall, tending to Bond (8)
{ADHESIVE} Not really anything to do with 007, but something that means sticky or having such tendencies is found by making an anagram (collapsed) of SHE inside A (yet again!) and a word that means collapsed. So which was your favourite Bond girl, here’s mine. I’d probably turn straight for her! I cried for days at the end of the film.

2d    Tougher runner gets date for second of runs (7)
{HARDIER} Here you have to take a word meaning a runner or athlete (many athletic clubs have this in their names – e.g. Birchfield), swap the second occurrence of R (runs) for D (date). This gives you a word meaning tougher.

3d    Candidates chosen for spirit and inclination (9)
{SHORTLIST} A word (it can be written as two words as well) that refers to a group of candidates is found by taking a word for a spirit drink and adding something that means inclination.

5d    People who protect by deploying large guns around huntress (8,6)
(GUARDIAN ANGELS} The name for people who protect others (also the name of a famous group of New York people who volunteer to keep the streets safe) is found by taking the name of the Roman goddess of hunting (think of the first name of my favourite Bond girl!) and around this you should put an anagram (deploying) of LARGE GUNS. Nice clue.

6d    Catches people sleeping rough missing mass (5)
{TRAPS} Something that means catches or nets is revealed by taking the name for people who sleep rough and removing (missing) M (Mass),

7d    First broadcaster to ruin Tory independent (7)
{MARCONI} The name for the first person to make a radio broadcast is found by taking a word meaning spoil or damage, add an abbreviation for someone who supports Mr Cameron and I (Independent). Funnily I thought of posting a picture of our object and had an image of him being grey-heard, bespectacled and with a grizzly beard. How wrong I was!

8d    Puzzle of theologian enveloped in anger (6)
{RIDDLE} One of the Standard Crossword Abbreviations is that for a “theologian” – it’s the initial of the degree he would hold. Here place it inside a word meaning to rankle or irritate and you get the name for a puzzle.

9d    Opening sauce giving special appeal (6-8)
{WINDOW DRESSING} An expression meaning the special (visible) appeal of something is found by taking the word for an opening and adding another word for sauce or garnish on food.

16d    Do better than new scan in vogue (9)
{TRANSCEND} Something that means to do better than is found by taking a word meaning vogue or fashion and inserting an anagram (new) of SCAN.

17d    Gets tired, with joint leader at sea (8)
{FLAGSHIP} The name given to the first ship of a flotilla, often used when talking about pioneers, is revealed by taking a verb that means gets tired and adding the name of one of the body’s joints.

19d    Popular and fashionable field for a pagan (7)
{INFIDEL} Something you may be called by a member of a religious group if you are a non-believer is found by taking something that refers to popularity or in vogue and adding an anagram (fashionable) of FIELD.

21d    Songbirds flying loose around Rhode Island (7)
{ORIOLES} Nice clue. The name for a colourful songbird often found in N America is found by taking an anagram (flying) of LOOSE and putting it around the abbreviation for Rhode Island.

22d    Material that’s fine on a mostly decent chap (6)
{FABRIC} The name for a type of material is revealed by taking the abbreviation for FINE and adding A and the slang description to a decent person (it used to be used a lot in the Famous Five books), minus its last letter. If you are still stuck, thing of what are used to build houses.

24d    Politicians ultimately supporting press clubs (5)
{IRONS} The name for some golf clubs is revealed by taking a word meaning to press and adding S (politicians, ultimately, i.e. the last letter),

Thanks to Jay for a nice pleasant Wednesday challenge and I’ll see you soon.

The Quick crossword pun: (May} + {cures} + {kin} + {crawl} = {make your skin crawl}

60 comments on “DT 27411

  1. I found this possibly the most straightforward Jay puzzle ever. Lots to enjoy so thank you to him and thank you and get well soon Tilsit.

    I am off out to Mr CS’s 100 year old aunt’s funeral so will say now that I recommend today’s Toughie.

  2. Good puzzle today – confused by the capital B in 1d, bit got there in the end. Best clues were 9a, 5d and 9 d

  3. No problems in this one; just an enjoyable, smooth-flowing solve.
    Many thanks to Jay, and thanks and best wishes to Tilsit.

    As crypticsue says, the toughie is recommended and worth a look. Anybody recommend any of the other freebies that are worth tackling?

    1. Just noticed that it’s Aardvark (Osmosis) in the FT so I’m getting me a print of that one as well. Collecting puzzles at the moment as I’m off to the UK on Sat for a few days and won’t have reliable internet while I’m there.

        1. And thick wooly jumpers from what pommette tells me – she’s been there for the past couple of weeks and now slams the phone down if I tell her what the weather’s like here (currently 22C and sunny) http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gif

  4. A slow star but after a few inspirational moments it steadily all fell into place. Overall an enjoyable Puzzle. Thanks to Jay and to Tilsit. Wishing you a speedy recovery.

  5. Lovely puzzle and thoroughly enjoyable. Nice to see my State bird make an appearance. Many thanks to Jay and to you, Tilsit. Wishing you a speedy recovery.

  6. Many thanks to Jay and to Tilsit, a very enjoyable if untaxing crossword and an excellent review. Wishing you all the best for a speedy recovery Tilsit.

  7. Really enjoyed Jay’s puzzle, seemed to know what I was looking for then worked out the clue to fit, did my usual misspelling for 20A- attol , which didn’t help with 21D,I never spell it correctly,**/**** for me, agree with Tilsit, 21d most apposite,25A amused me,weather getting worse.!

  8. Needed the hints to explain why I was right with 14a, and for some inexplicable reason just couldn’t see 12a. But loved this puzzle (thank you setter) and several received my stars for especial enjoyment. Do hope you have a full and rapid recovery Tilsit – thank you so much for all the hints and images.

    1. The winner of the Westminster Dog Show this year is a wire-haired fox terrier bitch. Tell Poppy that she’s still the best in my book!

      1. Oh that’s terrific, Merusa, Poppy’ wanted to knit you a thank-you card, but didn’t get past choosing some bright red yarn…!

  9. A very gentle but enjoyable puzzle, for which thanks to Jay. I wouldn’t normally have even glanced at it by now, but the SW storm which is currently driving the rain into the front door (and indeed through it) means that outside chores will have to wait for the passage of the cold front. Still, at least we’re just wet and windblown, not flooded.

  10. Took a while to get started on this one (slightly distracted by the curling!) but they finally fell into place. Rather a few too many ‘replacement clues’ for my liking – they aren’t my favourites.

    Chucking it down here (again) an blowing an absolute hoolie – at least I can contend myself with watching the Gas People digging a hole over the road and feeling glad a) I’m not with them and b) the central heating still works

    1. We have the same gas people here. Grafting away in the storm re-lining the gas main and service. Makes you proud to be British what.

      1. makes me think they’re bloody idiots – they’ve had people walking up and down with one of those magic wands and listening to what’s happening underground for the last 2 or 3 months. They have been here every day for the last week and finally started to dig a hole on the day of the worst storm of the recent bad weather – some of the gusts of wind must have been up around 70 mph and they were digging the hole under a brolly (and I’m talking golf type brolly here) !!!

        1. In the days before politically correct equality, hurricanes used to be named after the Ladies – when they arrive they are wild and wet and when they leave they take your house and car.

  11. Thank you Jay. I enjoyed the puzzle, a lot of amusing clues. It must be me getting worse. I found this quite difficult, whereas it seems easy to everyone else ! I suppose in mitigation that I was doing the chopping for the first marmalade batch whilst trying to solve the puzzle. It is a long time since we have seen a “Golden” 21d – your neck of the woods Andy, I think, at Lakenheath. Not sure whether they still breed there, but a beautiful song. Thanks Tilsit for your review and hints and best wishes for your recovery.

  12. Good stuff as usual from the Wednesday Wizard.

    **/**** from me with 15a favourite.

    Thanks to Jay and Tilsit (and may you recover swiftly).

  13. 2.5*/4* from me. 7d was my last one in and favourite, with 10a & 5d deserving special mentions.

    Many thanks to Jay for an excellent puzzle and to Tilsit for his review. Wishing you a speedy recovery too, Tilsit.

  14. Were we trying to do the same puzzle as the rest of you? We only got 6 answers in total when we usually finish it! Very poor clues and a boring crossword.

    1. Angela, we agree with you. Thank goodness we were not the only ones not to have found it a breeze.

  15. I found this one trickier than the last few Wednesdays – 3*difficulty and 4* for enjoyment.
    Couldn’t see 12a for ages and spent a long time trying to make 27a begin with BO. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/icon_rolleyes.gif I’ve been caught out by 4a so many times and was again today.
    I liked 4a and 3, 5 and 21d. My favourite was 25a.
    With thanks to Jay for the crossword, and thanks for the hints and good wishes for a speedy recovery to tilsit.

  16. We found this an absolute horror, unlike everybody else. Just not on this chaps wavelength at all. We needed the hints for most of the clues & even then it was hard work. Thank you Tilsit, & get well soon. Thank you ( a little bit) Mr. Setter. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_unsure.gif

  17. Unlike most people, I found this quite difficult today. I thought it had a hint of the wrong envelope about it. Very enjoyable nonetheless and finished without hints – I prefer the ones that take a bit more working out and aren’t over in a flash. Many thanks to Jay and hope you’re fighting fit soon Tilsit.

  18. I managed to finish it but I took much longer than normal. Not sure why as all the answers made sense when I finally got them – just not on the right wavelength today.

  19. Thanks for the help – and good wishes for a great recovery with the 5 downers working overtime on your behalf – and lovely to have some music

  20. A good quality puzzle in my view, hard mind. I’d go with 3.5*/3.5* – I don’t mind a hard slog as long as the eventual answer is not a word used once in the last 200 years – then I just feel cheated. Steadily worked my way through it starting on the SW corner and no help of any sort required which I was quietly smug about – until I read the first 8 comments or so. It seems that I am not even close to the top of the Second Division rather than at the bottom of the First. Ah well.

    Fav was 4a though I suspect that it is an old favourite judging by the lack of comments about it. Took me a while to twig but when I did it was a laugh-out-loud that made a mini-schnauzer jump. Thanks Jay and Tilsit – wishing you better soon.

    Armageddon outside. Think I’ll move to another planet.

  21. Thanks to Jay and to Tilsit for the review and hints. Hope you get well soon Tilsit. A very difficult but enjoyable puzzle. At one point I nearly gave up, but glad I persevered to finish unaided. Took a very long time to get 1d & 13a, which was last in. Favorite was 4a, made me laugh. Hope everyone stays safe in the storm. Better try the Toughie, as it ‘s normally possible to get into when recommend by crypticSue.Was 3*/3* for me.

  22. Was slow at getting into this puzzle but once started it fell reasonably quickly into place. Thanks Tilsit, for that lovely piece from Nabucco, and get well and home soon!

  23. I’m in the tricky, but enjoyable school. At first I thought it was going to be a walkover, just writing in the first across clues until I got to15a and came to a screeching halt. I didn’t help matters by putting “spoon” in for second word of 4a. Got there in the end, unaided. I have no favourites, so many good ones. Thank you Jay, and I hope you are well and fit again Tilsit.

    1. P.S. I read in the DT today that some places are going to have 100MPH winds. That’s more than hurricane strength! As if you haven’t had enough with the floods.


      1. Mr P found a tiny window of dry to take Poppy out, only to find our usual parking area flooded out by the Thames overflowing! Our wolfhound used to love the water, but Poppy is definitely not persuaded! So long as the winds don’t go too mad, at least they’re supporting the drying out process…

      2. BBC reporting In wales it got to 108 mph, that is really not good. Hope Mary is okay in south west wales, and for that matter everyone else.

      3. Not far off 100mph around the Bristol area (had a lorry blown over in the city), but Wales have had it even worserer than us. We actually had some sunshine around lunch time – nearly 2 hours of no wind and sun. Soon got back to what it had been like this morning

        1. Oh dear! I’ll have to try and phone my friend in Drefach, close to Mary, and find out how she is doing. She has a rill in front of her house that tends to flood. This storm seems dire.

  24. I found this one very tricky indeed.I liked 5d,9d, and 17d.Hurricane what ever its name has just arrived, I hope the roof stays on.Thanks Tilsit although I find your explanation of 15a most peculiar.

    1. Una, in case Tilsit is unable to respond quickly whilst hospitalised, I think he must have meant to cut and paste part of his hint for 15a but he copied and pasted instead. If you delete a few words it makes sense:

      “Here we are looking for a phrase that means to become less convincing; it’s found by taking a word that means a globe or the world and placing it inside something that means success”.

  25. Having got 18a as a random start point immediately, I thought this was going to be a stroll. However I then struggled to get another clue. 11a came next, then the top RH then the bottom LH etc
    Finally finished with 13 a. Not my fav. However, I really enjoyed most of the clues today 5 d was a cracker. All very logical. So thanks to setter and beyond the call of duty hinter Tilsit.**.5*/****

  26. An enjoyable solve that fell into place smoothly. We got 4a quickly by remembering a similar clue that stumped us some time ago. Still made us laugh though. Clever clues, good fun. Get well soon Tilsit.
    Thanks Jay and Tilsit.

  27. This one certainly, for me, had a difficult edge to it but we got there.
    Thought 4a, and 7d quite brilliant.
    Many thanks Jay, and Tilsit for the review under H conditions.
    Good health!

  28. Blimey, three straight forward solves in three consecutive days so far this week.
    I must have hit a rich vein on the wavelength front (if you’ll forgive the mixed metaphor!). I’m almost tempted to try the toughie if time permits this evening, although that usually results in a reality check.
    Some very clever and amusing clues. 4a in particular made me laugh when the penny dropped. Last one in was 13a because I too read it the wrong way round to start with.
    **/**** for me today.
    Thanks to Jay for an enjoyable puzzle and Tilsit for the hints. Most impressed you are blogging from your hospital bed. Best wishes for a speedy recovery.

  29. Great puzzle and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Some lovely clues especially 4a, 10a, 15a, 9d and 17d. Last in was 13a. Thanks to The Setter and get well soon!


  30. I found this quite a challenge in places but now having completed it, it’s difficult to see why – but then isn’t that often the way. Thanks to Tilsit for some informative commentary.

  31. I was late starting this today. We were confined to base this morning because of the inhospitable weather and didn’t acquire the DT until late afternoon. I enjoyed it, although a tad too many “replacement” clues for my liking.

  32. Just popped in to say so sorry you’re feeling a bit grotty, Tilsit, and hope you’ll soon be much better.http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_rose.gif

  33. I found this quite tricky but struggled through in the end.Well done Tilsit, manage the blog in inhospitable circumstances. Thanks too to Jay for the challenge, but no thanks for keeping me up past my bedtime when I must be up early for radio duties. Good night.

  34. I found this very very difficult, but only just getting back into cryptics.. Too many replacement clues.. Got my Harmonica in seconds then spent the rest of the day looking at it.. and getting acrid.
    Capital B in Bond was unfair too.
    Managed a few others in time, but needed this page to explain why…

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