DT 27424 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 27424

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 27424

Hints and tips by Falcon

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty *** Enjoyment ***

Greetings from frigid Ottawa where the temperature is currently -15°C, but at least there is no wind. Today’s puzzle is undoubtedly from the mystery setter. I got off to a fast start, writing in several answers on the first scan through. However, progress quickly slowed to a crawl. A couple of clues required considerable research for someone from this side of the Atlantic.


5 Stick or twist: dare he? (6)
{ ADHERE } — an anagram (twist) of DARE HE

8 Appropriate indignation before father knocked back drink (8)
{ APERITIF } — construct a charade of three words meaning appropriate, indignation and father; then reverse the whole lot (knocked back)

9 ‘Irresistible,’ as Othello declaimed (7)
{ MOREISH } — a word that Oliver might have used to describe his gruel sounds like (declaimed) an adjective applied to the people of which Othello was a member

10 Sense head of Hindu class is lost for time (5)
{ TASTE } — remove (is lost) the first letter of a Hindu social class and replace it with T(ime)

11 Autobiography’s lack of ego clever and noteworthy (9)
{ MEMORABLE } — remove the I (lack of ego) from a personal account of one’s life; then add a word meaning clever or skilful

13 Respectful article following one non-combatant (8)
{ CIVILIAN } — a charade of an adjective meaning respectful or polite, the Roman numeral for one, and an indefinite article

14 Sons and heirs upfront with unresolved grievances (6)
{ ISSUES } — start with (upfront) a formal term for offspring or heirs and follow it with S(ons)

17 Cherry or chestnut perhaps (3)
{ RED } — the colour of a fruit or a horse

19 Chestnut or laurel maybe (3)
{ BAY } — a horse or another name for a tree whose leaves form a crown of victory

20 Rook circling Scottish chimney piece (6)
{ COLUMN } — to rook or scam around a Scottish chimney produces a piece you might read in your daily paper

23 Writer is tense after test (8)
{ ESSAYIST } — a charade of a word meaning attempt or test (either as a noun or a verb), IS (from the clue) and T(ense)

26 What about Icke’s broadcast? Most odd (9)
{ WHACKIEST } — WHAT (from the clue) containing an anagram (broadcast) of ICKES

28 Bedroom philanderer’s source of sex appeal (5)
{ OOMPH } — interpret the ‘s as a contraction for “is” and it should be easy to see that the answer is hidden in the first two words of the clue

29 Plain speaking from sweet woman wanting husband and getting left (7)
{ CLARITY } — remove H(usband) from the name of the title character in a 1966 Broadway production and replace it with L(eft)

30 Musician‘s shortcoming on record is evident in tangos (8)
{ FLAUTIST } — start with a syllable that sounds like (on record) a defect or shortcoming; then append IS (from the clue) sandwiched between two instances of the letter which tango represents in the NATO phonetic alphabet; not an easy clue to solve for someone who neither spells nor pronounces this word as a Brit would

31 Lament verge I hit (6)
{ GRIEVE } — an anagram (hit) of VERGE I


1 Approach start going round turn (6)
{ TACTIC } — a twitch containing a turn on stage

2 Thinking dear former wife is leaving (7)
{ PENSIVE } — dear or pricy with the former wife having been removed

3 Sack the French branch without warning (4,5)
{ FIRE ALARM } — start with a word meaning dismiss from employment; then add a word for a section of a larger group wrapped around (without or outside of) the feminine form of the French definite article

4 Adult leaving anaemic kinky film (6)
{ CINEMA } — an anagram (kinky) of ANAEMIC after one of the A(dults) is removed

5 First-class try cut short a rising defence (8)
{ APOLOGIA } — a reversal (rising in a down clue) of a charade of the designation for a first-class ship, a try or turn (in a board game, for instance), a verb meaning to cut short (a branch from a tree, perhaps), and A (from the clue)

6 Hollow greeting by Mrs Sharples, legendary source of laughter (5)
{ HYENA } — an informal greeting with the middle letter removed is followed by the first name of a former Corrie character [who made her last appearance in 1980]

7 Decided 17 Across holds answer (8)
{ RESOLVED } — a verb meaning to answer (to decipher a crossword clue, perhaps) is contained in the answer to 17 across

12 Consequence of Pernod taken regularly (3)
{ END } — taken regularly indicates that we need a regular series of letters from “Pernod”; there are two choices, the odds or the evens — this time you would do well to bet against the odds

15 Wrong to get excited, it’s said, in place of worship (9)
{ SYNAGOGUE } — the answer sounds like (it’s said) a charade of a noun meaning a moral breach and an adjective meaning interested and excited

16 Explorer is menace to motorists, right? (8)
{ POTHOLER } — a road condition that can be damaging to cars followed by R(ight); this menace is particularly in evidence in Ottawa at this time of year, resulting in hubcaps littering the streets

18 Novice‘s eel nets cast around island (8)
{ ENLISTEE } — an anagram of EEL NETS containing I(sland)

21 Quite or very well (3)
{ YES } — an expression of agreement or an expression of approval

22 Trouble behind goal with header finally going in — it flies in! (7)
{ AIRMAIL } — the last letter of (heade)R is inserted in a charade of a noun meaning goal or purpose and an archaic verb meaning trouble or afflict

24 Some toast a blessing for fast (6)
{ STABLE } — fast can mean moving very quickly or unable to move at all; a word denoting the latter is hidden (some) in three words of the clue

25 Island‘s temperature a winner with this writer (6)
{ TAHITI } — string together T(emperature) + A (from the clue) + another word for winner (for instance, a best-selling record) + how the setter would subjectively refer to himself (or herself)

27 Warning about relief initially being cut (5)
{ CARVE } — a schoolyard warning containing the initial letter of R(elief)

I thought the surface readings of the clues in this puzzle were very good and there were certainly a number of good clues, although no real standouts to my mind. I think I will go with 5d as my favourite — and I’m being careful to pick only one. This was one of my last clues to solve. Having found both the first and last letter — both of which are A — I spent a lot of time trying to make the answer fit the other way round.

The Quick crossword pun: (itch} + {cox} + {psi} + {Coe} = {Hitchcock’s Psycho}

83 comments on “DT 27424

  1. This one put up quite a fight for us. Several of the clues felt more like we would expect in the Toughie than on the back page, but all were gettable with a bit of effort. Favourite would be 11a, when we sussed the wordplay. Good fun.
    Thanks Mr Ron and Falcon.

  2. Phew – this is a tough one. Lovely, best of the week IMHO. Haven’t finished the LH side yet – refraining from peeping at hints until lunch time. Toughies are beyond me – so hope I don’t fall at the final fence with this one. More of the same please

  3. Phew, indeed! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/smiley-phew.gif but very enjoyable and well worth the effort – so 4*/4* from me today.

    I was pleased to manage this through sheer perseverance, with the NW corner last in. The only thing I needed to look up was the meaning of “lum” in 20a. I particularly liked the counterplay between 17a & 19a.

    Many thanks to Mr. Ron and to Falcon.

  4. So glad I’m not the only one to have a real duel with this! Had to fight through the confusion to clear daylight. So thank you setter, and especial thanks to Falcon for very helpful clues (that ‘pothole’ looks horrendous!) that brought me to calm waters. Mr P might agree with the wider sense of 2d, but I’m saying nothing http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_scratch.gif

    1. The term pothole can have a couple of different meanings — a hole in the surface of a road caused by weathering or a deep hole caused by the action of water (the later also known as a sinkhole). The picture shows a pothole of the latter kind that happened on one of Ottawa’s major roads. A car actually drove into it. Fortunately, the driver was not badly injured. As you can see from the lack of snow, it did not happen at this time of year.

  5. I have spent twice as long as usual on this puzzle and still have ten and a half unanswered. I shall pay my staff and my bills do other stuff (not the kitchen) and return later. It is a corker of crossword.

  6. I’m afraid I was pretty well beaten by this today and needed several hints to finish. Not on the same wavelength, but thanks to Mr Ron and Falcon. I remember how icy it could get in Kingston and hope it warms up for you soon. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/smiley-phew.gif

    1. Thank you Franny

      Being further north than Kingston, Ottawa tends to be colder and get more snow. Kingston gets a lot of freezing rain. I’ll take the cold and snow over freezing rain any day.

      But the beach in Tahiti sure looks inviting!

  7. I’ve currently got about 10 clues done in the time I’d normally expect to finish a backpager, so I’m likely to run out of time to complete this one today. It’s got to be **** difficulty at least and definitely feels more like a Toughie.

    1. Well, finally did it all except 22d and four in the top right.

      So more successful than I expected, but still not great!

  8. This was tough for me as well, and took me almost twice as long as I would normally take to finish a typical back-page puzzle, but it was an enjoyable work-out.
    Many thanks to setter (I thought it might have been Petitjean, if he is still setting puzzles? ), and to Falcon for the review.

    1. The Setter? Is it Vlad (with pink slippers)?

      He has been known to contribute to the back-pager in the past.

    2. It was Petitjean who came to mind with us too. BD said last week that he is not setting at present though.

    3. Yes, Pettijean also crossed my mind, but I also saw Big Dave’s comment that Pettijean has retired from setting — or does that refer only to Toughies? http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_unsure.gif

  9. Struggled with this in a few places, it was definitely a one-at-a-time crossword (solve a clue, see if the letters help the crossing clues). Favourite clue has to be 26A as it had me trying alternate letters and various anagrams, etc.

    Lovely start to the day, but it seems to be getting darker and colder which seems to me to be boding badly.

  10. Definitely a challenge. I did finish without hints, but it was very much a question of get the answer and then unravel the wordplay for quite a few. 5D was the last one in. Many thanks to the setter and to Falcon.

  11. Yep, I agree with pretty much everyone. Great puzzle, wrong envelope perhaps but a good challenge. ***/**** for me. Many thanks to Mr Ron and to Falcon for the review.

  12. All agreed a bit of a challenge then ,but none the worse for that,-no unknown words,answers seemed to arrive in spurts just when
    the brick wall had been reached !. The overall style of the setter seemed unfamiliar, i note Falcon refers to ‘a mystery setter’ .Agree with Expat Chris that the wordplay often came after the solution, that’s experience for you ; going for a ***or *****/**** Thanks to Falcon and the Mysteron.

  13. I agree with everyone else – a very good crossword but very difficult. 4* for both difficulty and enjoyment. It’s taken me ages for the second day in a row.
    I thought there were lots of clues that involved swapping one letter for another or taking a letter or two out of a word or adding one to something else. I also thought that there weren’t very many anagrams.
    Needless to say my last answer was 28a – it’s always the same with the hidden answers – one day I will learn.
    I liked lots of these – 20 and 30a and 2, 15 and 16d. I think my favourite was 28a.
    With thanks to Mr Ron and Falcon.

    1. PS 6d isn’t very pretty – I really wouldn’t want to meet him.http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_sad.gif
      I would like to be in the sea at 25d.http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_smile.gif

  14. That was a real dog annoyer (when’s my walk please dad,( paw, paw, sit nicely, nuzzle)?), but finally done. I hadn’t fully got the logic of 1 D, but mastic and lactic didn’t make any sense.
    The hint for 27 D about schoolyard warning cries was a new one on me. I was assuming cave to be from latin as in caveat emptor (if that’s how you spell it). Is this playground usage limited to schools which teach classics? I’m sure one of the learned assembly will be able to clarify the matter.

    1. Cave (properly pronounce Ka-Vee I believe) is Latin for beware (as you rightly said, it is the root of Caveat) it is often used in public schools as a warning (say when one’s raiding the tuck shop and the beak’s around). In my old school, we used to use the word LOBS (apparently it stood for Look Out Boys Smoking) but some of the upper streams (being smart a***s) occasionally used CAVE and legged it leaving us plebs to get caught because we were trying to figure out what they were talking about.

      Did you sort out 1D with Falcon’s explanation? A twitch (start) or tic placed around a turn (on stage).

      1. I thought so. I don’t wish to sound patronising, but I doubt such usage is common in Canadian schools ( ducks, to avoid incoming barrage of tinned maple syrup), so I guess this is one of the clues which Falcon may have had to research.Mind you, I think the Ena Sharples reference was a bit tough on the under fifties, never mind the Canadians.
        As regards 1D, I got it as soon as I saw the hint. I think If I had had the patience to wait till I got back from the dog walk I would have got there in the end.
        P.S. They were never the same after Martin Turner left.

        1. You’re quite right that I never heard “Cave!” in a Canadian schoolyard. However, I’ve encountered it often enough in British cryptics that it posed no problem. Mrs. Sharples was quite another matter, though. That’s where a reviewer’s best friends — Mr. Google and Ms. Wikipedia — come into play. Nevertheless, I was surprised to discover how common the name Sharples is.

  15. I’m glad it’s not just me. I got about half way before resorting to a hint or two to help increase the letters. Tough and a good stretch today.
    Favourite, 26a. Thanks to Mr Ron and especially Falcon.

  16. A very enjoyable challenge – thanks to the Mysteron and Falcon.

    I found the Toughie slightly less challenging but equally enjoyable.

  17. Afraid I’ve given up on this one today and might later on read through Falcons hints to see why I find it so difficult, it’s not just that it’s difficult, I’m just not enjoying it, time will be better spent doing my art project or practicing my flute!! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_unsure.gif

    1. Ah! So you are a 30a! But, coming from Wales, you will almost certainly not pronounce it as the setter intends…

          1. I bet she’s no good at cryptic crosswords, and she couldn’t even be bothered to brush her hair properly before the photo was taken http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_scratch.gif

  18. Very hard work today & not my type of cryptic I’m afraid, so we needed lots of help from Falcon. Thought 21d was a bit pathetic, & was my least favourite. However thank you to the setter, & thank goodness for Falcon.http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_scratch.gif

    1. Sheila

      I tend to agree with you on 21d. My first thought was that the two definitions were the same. After perusing the dictionaries, I concluded that one is an expression of agreement while the other is an expression of approval. But I think that amounts to splitting hairs.

  19. So far, have managed 10 clues without help. I enjoyed 26, 28a and 6d, so far. Its going to take a bit longer and some help to finish but it is enjoyable. Thanks setter and Falcon – keep warm!

    1. Your comment needed moderation because you’ve introduced brackets to your alias. Both variants should work from now on.

  20. Thanks to Mr Ron and to Falcon for the review and hints. A wrong envelope job, I’m sure. Was way too difficult for me. Managed most of the top half, then hit a brick wall. Got 4 from the hints, but had to look up 9, had no idea with these, even after reading the hints twice. What on earth is 29a about, what is the musical? A new word in 5d. Favourite was 26a, which made me laugh. Was 5*/1* for me. Lovely day in Central London. Might look at the Toughie, but my confidence has been severely dented. Just couldn’t get on the setter’s wavelength.

    1. The musical is Sweet Charity which premiered on Broadway in 1966. It was choreographed by the legendary Bob Fosse and starred his wife Gwen Verdon. It also ran in the West End the following year and was made into a movie starring Shirley MacLaine in 1969.

      1. Meant to add that one must change the H(usband) in CHARITY (sweet woman; i.e., Sweet Charity) to an L(eft) to get CLARITY (plain speaking).

        I guess I wasn’t speaking plain enough.

  21. What a delight! 3* hard, 5* pleasure. Smiley faces by 9A and 11A, but 20 across was my favourite because of the new-to-me dialect word.
    Thanks to the Mysteron and Falcon – who’s your flautist friend then?

  22. Going against the grain as usual . Maybe I’m just in a bad mood today but I didn’t really enjoy this one very much. Seemed a bit of a slog. A tad tricky in places and it probably took us longer than I spent on today’s Toughie.

    ***/** from me

    Thanks to Mr Ron and Falcon

  23. Didn’t like this one little bit. I got about half a dozen then the struggle came. Could not get on the setter’s wavelength at all so resorted to the blog to salve my torment. Thank you Falcon. My rating is *****/* with no clue, in my opinion, being outstanding and certainly no smilers.

  24. Thank you setter. I found this quite difficult and couldn’t finish the puzzle whilst we were out today. Needed to get back to BRB and The Crossword Dictionary to bring the struggle to an end. Being lazy, I like to be able to finish a puzzle without too much hard work, so consequently get irritated when it takes such a long time. I am sure it was an excellent puzzle though ! Thanks Falcon for your review and hints. I needed you help to explain my answer to 30a. Another beautiful day in Bamburgh – an amazing sight this afternoon with 4 photographers standing knee deep in the surf trying to get the perfect shot of the famous castle !

  25. Wotta struggle, with liberal use of electronic gizmo. I agree, not a hugely entertaining puzzle, and I was so disappointed that I couldn’t finish, needing the hints for 28a and 22d. I also needed Falcon’s explanations for several answers which I had written in correctly but had no idea why; among them the infamous 30a, and 1d and 2d.

    Fave has to be 5d though it took forever to work out. Thanks anyway setter, no hard feelings, and a thousand thanks to Falcon for putting me out of my misery!


  26. Round two has finished with me squeezing out the answers to 7 and a half clues. Only 3 to go but I have to drive to Worcester and back before I can start the third and final round. More like a toughie though.

  27. Isn’ this what we used to call a “wrong envelope ” day ?.Only 14 clues before needing letter hints, and other electronic assistance.
    I can’t say I enjoyed it. Although I did like 28a.Thanks Falcon, for all the hard work.

  28. I think this one is too hard to be enjoyable. Did about 10, but took forever and decided enough is enough when it isn’t giving way.
    Thanks for the review anyway, Falcon, and thanks to the setter – who obviously pleased other folks today.

  29. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/smiley-phew.gifToo much of a slog to enjoy.Thanks Falcon ,couldn’t have done it without your hints. Those supposed homonyms drive me crazy….I mean moorish & moreish ,don’t sound the same to me……But I do love to complain about them.http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gif

    1. Regarding the pronunciation of moorish and moreish, after listening to the British speech samples at TheFreeDictionary.com, I can see your point. This is a rare instance where the homophone is much better when an American pronunciation is used. You can access both the British and American speech samples via the links that I have provided.

      1. Whoever he or she is I’m hoping for more from the same source. I enjoyed it a lot but I agree that it was the trickiest back-pager we’ve had for ages.

  30. Found this tough going but did it all other than 5d which I still can’t do even with the hint! Help, please.

    1. You first need to construct a charade, and then reverse the whole lot (rising in a down clue).

      The charade is AI (first-class, a code used in Lloyd’s registry of shipping) + GO (try, or a turn in a game) + LOP (cut short) + A (from the clue)

      1. Thanks, we had the pieces ok, it was the inversion of the whole word we missed, we’re flipping each separately.

  31. My thanks to the setter for a challenging but entertaining puzzle. My favourite was 3d, but there were plenty of other contenders (9 and 28a both made me smile). Thanks too to Falcon for an equally entertaining review. As for the rating, probably 3*/4* for me.

  32. Tough! Tough! Tough!
    Got there in the end, virtually unaided apart from accidently seeing the constructed word of 18d.
    A very silly and hardly ever used word, I might add.
    Thought 30a very clever.
    Many thanks Mr. Ron and Falcon for the review.

  33. Haven’t seen this blog before but thank you! I’ve finished the crossword and without actually being given the answers outright – I’ll be back!

  34. This was difficult, but once onto the right wavelength, I found much to enjoy (****) in this puzzle. I thought there were many really good clues. My fave was 9a, but I liked many more, including 11a, 2d, 5d, 15d and 16d. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yahoo.gif
    I also enjoyed Falcon’s review with its pictures and lovely clear explanations.http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gif I completed the puzzle without hints, but needed explanations afterwards for the ‘t’ in 30a and for the greeting in 6d. (What a fierce-looking beast that is! They have incredibly strong jaws.) Otherwise there were no problems.
    Many thanks to you both, Mr Ron and Falcon. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_good.gifhttp://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_good.gif

  35. After a few days of success I couldn’t get going with this one. Very difficult clues and not helped by my least favourite grid!

  36. Best cryptic for ages which equates to the time it took me ,as others rather longer than the toughie .No idea who the setter was but hope for an early reappearance .favourite for me 5d .
    Thanks Falcon and misteron .

  37. Brilliant puzzle! It put up quite a struggle but was tamed in the end with no hints needed but I did need to check that a lum was indeed what I deduced it must be. ****/**** and a big smile of satisfaction as the last one went in. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yahoo.gif
    Tyvm setter and Falcon for the review.

  38. For the first time in ages I needed hints for a back-pager (9a & 5d), so thanks to Falcon for the nudges. Apart from those, I thought there were some poor answers: whoever uses the word ‘enlistee’, it sounds like a horrid Americanism; and 24d was obvious but daft, I thought. By the way, ‘cave’ as a warning is a straight lift from the Latin, as in ‘cave canem’ – beware of the dog; boys used it at all three of my schools in the 60s. We pronounced it ‘Kay-vee’.
    *****/** for me (and I didn’t like the grid).

    1. The steroids are obviously working. More puzzles like this (and some Petitjean Toughies) would be very welcome.

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