DT 27414 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 27414 (Hints)

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 27414 (Hints)

Big Dave’s Crossword Club

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Today is the last day you can enter our February Prize Puzzle.  You are strongly advised to read the instructions thoroughly before entering.

As is usual for the weekend prize crosswords, an assortment of clues, including some of the more difficult ones, have been selected and hints provided for them.

Don’t forget that you can give your assessment of the puzzle. Five stars if you thought it was great, one if you hated it, four, three or two if it was somewhere in between.

Most of the terms used in these hints are explained in the Glossary and examples are available by clicking on the entry under “See also”.

A full review of this puzzle will be published after the closing date for submissions.

Some hints follow:


1a Following leads in special operations, spies left party (6)
The initial letters (leads) of Special Operations followed by some American spies and L(eft)

4a Successfully woo girl holding diamonds — that can give you a lift (8)
A verb meaning to successfully woo a young lady and that very same young lady around (holding) D(iamonds)

13a Good-for-nothing makes Bette lose head (5)
The Divine Miss M without (lose) the M (initial letter / head)

14a One back in rugby team leaving space between locks (6,7)
One of the backs in a rugby team followed by a verb meaning leaving

17a Children’s puppet directors win everything (5,3,5)
Sooty’s chum (children’s puppet) followed by a company’s directors

24a August? Put in danger around its beginning (8)
A verb meaning to put in danger around the initial letter (beginning) of August (not the beginning of Its!)

25a Person engaging lawyer right in court (6)
A legal right inside C(our)T

26a Restrained old hooligan given anaesthetic (8)
A fifties hooligan around an anaesthetic

27a Ploy to get one caught following diplomacy (6)
The Roman numeral for one and C(aught) after some diplomacy


1d Shop initially with two articles to wrap up (6)
The initial letter of Shop followed by W(ith), the indefinite article and the definite article (two articles)

2d Dreadful cliche about king, concerning history (9)
An anagram (dreadful) of CLICHÉ around the Latin abbreviation for king and the two-letter word meaning concerning or about

7d Bikini, perhaps, has a price (5)
The A from the clue followed by a price or rate – Bikini, in the Pacific ocean, is an example (perhaps)

12d Habit of Victorians taking very cheap beer even for them! (11)
A kind of crinoline worn by, among others, Victorian women, when split as (8,3) would be a very cheap beer, even for the Victorians

16d One looking into the future admitting son may become religious writer (8)
Someone who reads the future by examining the lines of the hand around S(on)

19d Ramsey perhaps doubled a source of fodder (7)
The first name of former footballer Ramsey repeated (doubled) followed by the A from the clue

22d Drunk comes up to plant again (5)
Reverse (comes up in a down clue) a word for a drunkard

Highlighted words are to be found in my new “Usual Suspects” page.

The Crossword Club is now open. Feel free to leave comments.

Could new readers please read the Welcome post and the FAQ before posting comments or asking questions about the site.

As this is a Prize crossword, please don’t put any ANSWERS, whether WHOLE, PARTIAL or INCORRECT, or any ALTERNATIVE CLUES in your comment. If in doubt, leave it out!

Please read these instructions carefully. Offending comments may be redacted or, in extreme cases, deleted.

The Quick crossword pun: {nicker} + {ragu} + {wore} = {Nicaragua}

62 comments on “DT 27414 (Hints)

  1. My rating today is 1*/2.5* for a gentle and pleasant puzzle, with 14a my favourite. Thanks to the setter and to BD.

    But BD, is that a split infinitive I see in your hint for 4a?http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_negative.gif

  2. Really pleasant start to a Saturday. I’m happy to be proven wrong but according to my research sources 12 down fell out of use in the 17th century and can’t, therefore, be described as Victorian?

    1. It is my turn to review this puzzle and so I had just investigoogled 12d and would agree with you.

      1. It seems strange that the setter chose “habit of Victorians” rather than the more obvious “habit of Elizabethans” – perhaps it’s because the (8,3) beer wouldn’t have been regarded as cheap back in the 16th century.

  3. I thought this was a bit more difficult than usual for a Saturday. I know it’s a prize puzzle and so probably should be but they often aren’t.
    I didn’t know who Ramsey was but at least by the end of the crossword I knew his first name.
    The top left corner held me up more than anywhere else.
    I liked 13 and 14a and 5 and 8d.
    Thanks to Mr Ron and BD.

    1. Ramsey is best known for managing the 1966 World Cup – winning England team. For this he received a knighthood.

  4. I’m grateful to you for your explanation for 1a, Dave, because, whilst I’ve completed the puzzle, I wasn’t entirely sure why I’d got that answer. Incidentally, some years ago, I tutored a lady in the vagaries of cryptic crosswords and she diligently made notes in a little book which she’s still got. You’ll be pleased to know [I hope] that I emailed her the html link for your ‘Usual Suspects’ page and she’s highly delighted with that page and has been busy updating her book…

  5. Finished and thoroughly enjoyed the puzzle. I didn’t beat the publishing deadline, which is my target, but did finish unaided which is my other target. Many thanks to BD for the hints, which I did use for confirmation and thanks to Mr. Ron for an enjoyable puzzle. Now for a short nap before the rugby

  6. This was **/*** for my limited ability at doing crosswords.12 threw me for a while as its definitely pre- victorian attire.Many thanks to the setter & BD for the review.No fence panels lost during the night, when will this awful weather end?http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_cry.gif

  7. Thank you setter – I really enjoyed that for the usual reason…….’cos I could finish it ! The puppet in 17a is my absolute favourite. We have many old videos which I have kept, and our grandchildren still love watching them ( I do as well ! ) Thanks BD for your hints.

  8. Much head scratching due to putting 18d where 19d ought to be. Doh!
    I have an answer for 23a but can’t see how it works.

    1. Clarky, it’s an anagram (engineer) of “fuelled” inserted (in) a 2 letter abbreviation for a US city.

  9. Is anyone out there able to help me with 3d without being sent to the dog box? I do not have any cake or biscuits. Managed all the others unaided, but ……..I am completely stumped.

    1. 3d is a bar on the front of a fire to stop logs falling out. You need the four letter abbreviation for an unknown author and in the middle of that put the three abbreviation for a director.

    2. The abbreviation for an unknown author with a shortened form of director inside is one of items that logs are laid on in a fireplace.

      1. Thank you thank you. I will send all of you some sunny weather from East London RSA. So easy when you get some help.

  10. No real problems, although some in the SW corner needed some staring down, and finished before lights out last night. I thought it was spoiled by the number of anagrams – 8, 2 of them partial, by my count.

  11. It seemed to me to be the easiest Saturday puzzle for quite some time. Must have been just in the groove as it were!

    Favourite was 12d even if it does have a factual error.

    Thanks to the setter and BD.

    Off to airport shortly, so see ya’ll when I get back but no idea when that will be. I’ve got both Prolixic’s NTSPP’s for the flight and about 40 old DT and Grauniad puzzles. Think it’ll be enough?

  12. Before I go can someone help with the answer or a hint to 8d in today’s Grauniad:

    Church officer not operating in ecclesiastical office (4)

    I’ve got the brain stuck on ***** (Church and officer) but what’s that got to do with the price of hefalumps?

    1. I will email you otherwise it is giving a hint for a prize puzzle which is verboten wherever the crossword is published!!

      1. Thanks muchly Sue. I can now go off to the the UK without it nagging. I’d never have got that in a month of Sundays.

            1. Whatever you get up to when Pommette is away, you certainly shouldn’t be giving alternative clues. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_wink.gif

  13. It seemed easier than some recent ones on Saturday, and a pleasant antidote to yesterday’s fiendish Toughie. Thanks to setter and BD for hints fortunately not needed.
    Took a break in the middle to buy galvanised nails for the new felt for the shed roof (old felt now half off said roof) and met several neighbours doing the same sort of thing. Tomorrow’s job . . . when the wind dies down.

  14. Where do you guys all come from with this “an easy puzzle” stuff? I battled with it, especially the South Western corner – completed it without the hints (lots of help from Mr Roget and others, though!) but I had never heard of Sooty or his chum (17a) or the old hooligan (26a). I’m going to check him in the Usual Suspects page.
    I hope your weather is improving, it seems to have been horrific, judging from what we in South Africa see on Sky News. (Another hot, sticky humid summer’s day here.)

    1. Not me, Kingsley – I didn’t find it easy although I can’t quite see why now that I’ve finished it.

  15. Just been to the Usual Suspects page, and of course, I DID know the “old hooligan”, but did not realise it was a shortened form of the well-known expression for the hooligans of the 60s.

  16. What a wonderful morning !
    Shopping completed as is this puzzle ( with some electronic help ) , there is a strange yellow thing in the sky and the fences are still more or less upright which, after last nigh, is a major miracle.
    Still blowing a hooly here in Swanage but a vast improvement on last few weeks.
    Thanks B.D. for the hints, without which I would still be floundering !

  17. Like Kath, I don’t know why I struggled with this. Some were easy and others took me much longer. Done now, though with substantial help from gizmo and thesaurus. I didn’t know the cildren’s puppet but it couldn’t be anything else. Favourite 4a. Thanks to setter and BD for review.

  18. Hummmm! I found this rather clunky as a puzzle with a few dodgy clues. Nevertheless I did it watching my son in the cricket nets (indoors) so it was a nice way to combine the two. After some excellent puzzles this week, this was a little flat. My favourite? I am struggling! Off to exercise and then to watch the football. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/smiley-yawn.gif

    1. Careful, I had my knuckles rapped when I wrote gray cells. I’ve been here for 38 years, so I suppose some Americanisms must creep in!

  19. Thanks to the setter and to Big Dave for the hints. A very enjoyable, but quite straightforward puzzle. Was 1.5*/3* for me. Favourite was 3d. Wind finally abating in Central London.

  20. Enjoyed this, a bit harder than most Sat’s.
    Met some old favourites eg 6d and 16d.
    Always good to have anagram practise.
    Hones the skill.
    Many thanks to the setter and to BD for the review.

  21. I read somewhere that crosswords can be a good indicator of general health. Maybe that’s why I found this one a bit harder than the usual Saturday grid. I have some damned bronchial thing which is taking the edge off life and it shows in the crossword which I just don’t have the usual enthusiasm for. Got it sorted though – W half a bit tricky so I’d give it **/*** and **. Couple of new words here for me which is unusual for a Sat. Don’t mind that though if they are not too arcane. Gas back on and house still shiny-side-up in NE Hants so things looking up. Thanks BD and setter.

  22. I found this quite straightforward albeit enjoyable. Last one in was 16d. Agree with comments on 12d and 26a gave me a smile as I remember these so called hooligans in the 50’s – most certainly not all were bad lads. Thanks to setter and BD although I didn’t need the hints. Looking forward to tomorrow’s ST puzzle as it’s likely it will be the last one I will have time to look at for a few days – off to Scotland to celebrate the second birthday of our very lively and demanding granddaughter and do a spot of babysitting – can’t wait.

  23. I’m grateful to the setter for his/her attempt to rebuild my confidence (utterly shattered by yesterday’s truly horrible Toughie) but I’m afraid this one was rather too friendly. Some enjoyable clues, though, particularly 14 and 26 across. My favourite was 17a, if only because a faithful Springer with the same name as that puppet is currently dribbling on my slippers!

  24. For all those people who are addicted to crosswords …

    “Everything in moderation, including moderation.”

  25. I think this is a very pleasant puzzle with a good mixture of easy and slightly more teasing clues. All the anagrams give one a heck of a start. My favourite is 17a, as the puppets friend was more or less my eldest’s first words at 7.5 months. He said “look Mama, look” followed by “Hiya Sooty”. I was so shocked I thought at first it was an intruder.Then not a word for 3 months.
    Thanks to the setter and BD.

  26. Thanks to BD and setter. First crossword I have manged to complete without the need fot the hints, or the use of various electronic aids. So it must have been an easier-than-normal puzzle. First run through, I only got a couple, but the rest dropped in nicely as the day progressed.

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