DT 27431 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 27431

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 27431

Hints and tips by Deep Threat

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ***

Good morning from South Staffs, where it’s brightening up after a wet and windy start to the day.

A relatively gentle puzzle from Giovanni this morning, comfortably in ** territory for me, but with the Don’s usual trademark less common words and a religious reference.

In the hints below, the definitions are underlined. Reference to ‘the usual’ are to the Usual Suspects page.

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           Slander a hundred old students at start of event (10)
{ CALUMNIATE } Put together the Roman numeral for 100, a word for former students of a college, AT (from the clue) and the first letter of Event.

6a           Something fraudulent in this campaign (4)
{ SCAM } Hidden in the clue.

10a         Nymph shown in tedious commercial (5)
{ DRYAD } Another word for tedious or boring, followed by a short word for a commercial, producing a wood-nymph.

11a         Place controlled by editor laid waste (9)
{ PLUNDERED } An abbreviation for place followed by a preposition meaning controlled by or subject to, and an abbreviated editor.

12a         One with difficult tasks needing the woman’s clues worked out (8)
{ HERCULES } … there were 12 of them, classically. The pronoun for ‘the woman’s’ followed by an anagram (worked out) of CLUES.

13a         Fairy by lake may be menace (5)
{ PERIL } A fairy – as in Iolanthe – followed by an abbreviation for Lake.
ARVE Error: need id and provider

15a         Notice any number in muddle — it’s bedlam (7)
{ MADNESS } A notice and an algebraic symbol for any number, placed inside a word for muddle.

17a         First hint of 20 and northern river offers minimal flow (7)
{ DRIBBLE } The first letter of the answer to 20d and one of two Yorkshire and  Lancashire rivers of that name.

19a         Expose boss as simpleton (7)
{ AIRHEAD } A verb meaning to expose or bring out into the open, and another word for a boss.

21a         Special utterances of fellow, mostly rubbish (7)
{ MANTRAS } A fellow or chap, followed by a word for rubbish with the final H removed (mostly).

22a         ‘Abrasive’ is ‘hard as hard’? That’s about right (5)
{ HARSH } Put Right inside H(ard) AS H(ard).

24a         Fantastic scene with Ron as seen by TV viewers? (2-6)
{ ON-SCREEN } Anagram (fantastic) of SCENE and RON.

27a         Youngster terribly dainty getting to trouble important lady (9)
{ TWEENAGER } An adjective for ‘terribly dainty’ or sickly sentimental, followed by a verb for ‘trouble’, and the regnal cipher of the most important lady in the country.

28a         Bird crossing river in horde (5)
{ DROVE } River inside a bird which is a traditional symbol of peace. The answer is more commonly used of cattle, but the BRB applies it to a horde of people as well.

29a         Moulded social group, not English (4)
{ CAST } Remove the final E (not English) from a Hindu social grouping.

30a         Reportedly stuff in office cupboard’s gathering dust maybe (10)
{ STATIONARY } This sounds like the paper and envelopes that might be in the office cupboard, but is actually something which is not moving.


1d           Drug given to fish? There’s a set of rules (4)
{ CODE } A sort of fish followed by one of the usual drugs.

2d           Church assistant and boss seen round outskirts of Scottish town (3,6)
{ LAY READER } A boss wrapped around a town on the west coast of Scotland.

3d           This person needs medical practitioner — something drunk (5)
{ MEDOC } A pronoun for ‘this person’ followed by an abbreviation for a medic, giving a variety of claret.

4d           Spikes drink to be imbibed by troublemakers (7)
{ IMPALES } The definition is a verb. Put a variety of beer inside some little devils.

5d           Faith said to be tied up (7)
{ TRUSSED } A homophone of a word for faith or belief.

7d           Attendant about to get into vehicle (5)
{ CARER } Put the Latin word for about or concerning inside a motor vehicle.

8d           Laddies met abroad in hot part of the world (6,4)
{ MIDDLE EAST } Anagram (abroad) of LADDIES MET.

9d           A possibility for welcoming in ‘daughter’? (8)
{ ADOPTION } An all-in-one clue. A (from the clue) and a word for possibility or choice, with Daughter between them.

14d         Approach when beset by something that makes one sick? Showing understanding (10)
{ EMPATHETIC } A drug which causes vomiting wrapped around an approach or route.

16d         Huge beast from alien planet, he (8)
{ ELEPHANT } Anagram (alien) of PLANET HE.

18d         Narco able to move round European city (9)
{ BARCELONA } Anagram (to move round) of NARCO ABLE.
ARVE Error: need id and provider

20d         Beginning of December, unpleasant time — not what you expect then? (7)
{ DROUGHT } … and certainly not what we got last December! Put together the first letter of December, a word for unpleasant, and Time.

21d         Destroying this creature could be rum task (7)
{ MUSKRAT } A reverse anagram. If you make an anagram (destroying) of the answer, you could get RUM TASK.

23d         Famous film director’s providing orchestral instruments (5)
{ REEDS } Instrument in the woodwind section of an orchestra, or the name of the director of The Third Man and Oliver! (plus the ‘s from the clue).

25d         In port notice piece of electronic equipment (5)
{ RADIO } A notice (the same one as in 10a and 15a) inside a South American port.

26d         Cathedral city south of river bank (4)
{ RELY } River followed by (south of, in a Down clue) a city in East Anglia.

The Quick Crossword pun { MARQUES }{ MANN } = { MARKSMAN }

57 comments on “DT 27431

  1. I found this puzzle a bit dull today, and my rating is 2*/2*.

    IMHO 27a is a horrible word which is not in my (admittedly slightly aged) copy of the BRB, and 1a is the obscurity of the day but easily derived from the clue.

    Why does 2d need “outskirts of”? Wouldn’t “seen around Scottish town” be simpler while providing good surface reading and clear wordplay?

    Thanks to Giovanni and to DT.

  2. Thank you DG. New words again for me. Found it difficult to believe that the 27a word actually existed. It is however in my copy of BRB so I can’t complain ! Glad to get this out of the way – lunch with friends coming up and its raining and cold. Thanks DT for your review hints and photos.

  3. I go along with all of RD’s comments above- you take the words out of my mouth. 11a perhaps fav of a rather poor lot. ***/** http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/icon_neutral.gif

  4. I agree with Deep Threat’s ratings for difficulty and enjoyment – very different from last week which was a real battle.
    I didn’t know the 1a verb but have heard of calumny so it wasn’t too difficult to guess and check in BRB and then work out why.
    I got 3d wrong – I had medic although I wasn’t completely happy about it – it was hidden in the middle and doctors have a reputation for drinking a fair bit! Oh well . . .
    I liked 19 and 22a and 4 and 8d. My favourite was either 9 or 20d.
    With thanks to Giovanni and Deep Threat.
    Very grey, drizzly and generally miserable early this morning but it seems to have cheered up a bit now.

    1. Don’t be afraid of the toughie today Kath. It is a very nice puzzle, and at the lower end of the Friday difficulty scale!

      1. Thanks for the recommendation but if I’m completely honest I’m more afraid of the alarming rate my garden is growing at the moment – it’s warm (15C) and sunny and I’m heading in that direction. Toughie later . . .

  5. One of the Don’s gentler offerings today (IMHO) although like others I don’t care much for words like 27A, the 7 ages of man are : Sprog, Kid, Teenager, Youngster, Middle Age, Oldster, Kid Again. 20D comes in as my favourite today mainly because the ‘unpleasant’ part of the answer is a totally different pronunciation when it is inserted into the other parts of the answer. Had no problem with 1A (like Kath, I used the calumny root).

    Think you missed a trick on 21D DT – I was really looking forwrd to watching a clip from Deputy Dawg (ahhh, such memories).

    Looking good outside at the moment and we’ve been promised HOT weather next week, looks like I’m going to end up a-doing in the garden http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_sad.gif

  6. Found that very hard. I needed lots of help, thank you. May I ask what BRB is? Seems like I’m missing a useful tool! 27a was second clue in for me, just popped in there somehow. 1a was a new word for me. Can’t stop humming 18d now!

    1. BRB – Big Red Book, otherwise known as Chambers Dictionary, the oracle for most crossword setters and solvers.

    2. The Big Red Book. It is a dictionary. Chambers I think. I have not got one and I manage.

      1. amazon is flogging the brb in hb & thumb indexed for £37.60 which is not unreasonable as a christmas present from st sharon i would suggest. however the accompanying crossword dictionary is £112.73 for some obtuse reason!

        1. Thanks Sipindrift. We are in the process of decluttering our living space of books. We have given hundreds to charity shops over the last couple of weeks and will continue to do so for a while to come. if I need a definition or a spelling Google suffices. Many years ago I would tackle the cryptic armed with a dictionary an encyclopaedia and a sheet of blank paper. An atlas would not be far away. It is just me on my lonesome now with an occasional Google check on an obscure word just to make sure it exists. If Saint Sharon has £37.60 She can take me to The Walnut Tree near Abervageney so that I can sample Shaun Hill’s cooking. Mmm food!

          1. I cannot bear to part with books to the extent that i’ve just bought another book case for my ‘study’. Almost the smallest room in the house and after I’ve got 2 bookcases, tv/dvd/digibox,armchair, sideboard (with more books) plus all the bric a brac i’ve collected in my travels or what Mrs S refers to as ‘your dad’s cr#p’ then you could just about squeeze a rizla paper in. But what the hell – I’m happy!

            1. Spindrift,you sound just like my husband.He will not part with a book and pretty soon they are going to end up piled on the floors as ALL our bookcases are crammed full. I don’t think you could even squeeze a rizla paper in them. But hey he’s happy!

              1. We are the same – books everywhere. Sometimes I worry about moving from our large farmhouse . . .

            2. Spindriift when I last moved it involved some serious decluttering of books. I was left just 2300 that I couldn’t do without :)

      2. Mine is the ipad app (about 6 or £7 as I recall) but seems to be the full deal. I needed it to check 1a and 27a were really words. (27a amusingly defined I thought.)

      3. I haven’t got one. I use the free dictionary on my ipad and Bradford’s crossword solver both in book form and electronic gizmo.
        I also use the free ipad anagaram solver which is really good.
        I didn’t like the crossword much today although it was fairly straight forward.
        I disagree with the orchestral instrument. Various instruments use them, I
        ”m a saxophone player, but they’re not an instrument. The wind section has instruments that don’t use them.
        Rant over,
        Thanks to both!

      1. The BRB is available as an ipad app along with other crossword related books from as little as £2.99

  7. Not too easy, not too tough.I wanted 22ac to be brash but could not make it fit anyways up. Thanks to The Don for a fine workout and thanks to Deep Threat for the review. The illustrations were interesting with a lovely piece of music at 13ac which I have played twice now at high volume. (I never could get along with that lot at 18d). I am looking forward to Monday and hoping for a chance to present the little piggies to you all. Be good over the weekend and play nicely.

  8. Found this quite hard, 1a and 27a new words for me. Couldn’t get into the Compilers head at all so found this a bit of a slog with a couple of Doh! moments. I can only comment on my personal opinion and have to say that I found this the least enjoyable for a long time, Sorry!
    **/* for me. Thanx to Compiler as usual and to DT for the review.

    1. Hello Wayne, after looking at your avatar I presume you got 17d easily enough yesterday

  9. Easier than some Giovanni puzzles. Luckily I didn’t need any of my three BRBs (3 different editions, one from 1947) as they are all at home. Thanks to Giovanni and Deep Threat too.

    Do please try the Toughie today – it isn’t Friday-ish and is full of fun.

  10. I had to work quite hard at this one but pleased to complete it without the hints. Not familiar with 1a or 27a, but what else could it possibly have been?
    10 years in Lancashire helped with 17a.
    **/*** for me. Thanks to Giovanni and DT.

  11. Just needed a little bit of help today. New word for 1 across ( will I ever need it again?) Didnt find it at all boring, probably because I like being able to finish the crossword, so I will give it **/*** Thank you Mr. Setter & DT. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gif

    1. An even newer one for me Sheila. I put Calumnisty which fir the checkers and the definition but not all of the clue.

      1. If you had a BRB you’d have been able to establish that calumnisty is only noticeable by its absence.http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gif

  12. Thanks to Giovanni and DT for a very enjoyable if untaxing crossword and an extremely amusing review. I totally agree with Crypticsue re the Notablis toughie today, well worth a try, not as easy as yesterday but not really Friday tough.

    1. Big Boab – you won’t know this but you are my unofficial benchmark on difficulty.

      When I equal your ‘untaxing’ I will be very happy.

  13. Agree with the DT 2/3, thanks for the’ reverse anagram ‘explanation of 21d,assumed it was an anagram but now fits the clue ,remember a tune called muskrat ramble back in the 50’s . Like many, had not seen 1a written as a verb before ,In all enjoyed the solve and look forward to the rugby-and a few delicious half’s.

  14. A big relief after last week. I went the same route as others with 1a , but 27a was new to me and it’s not in my admittedly 1972 version of the BRB, but I am not complaining. I was positively surprised at how doable it was. I think the abundance of anagrams helped a lot. Favourite 3d.Thanks to Giovanni and DT. PS it’s dry and sunny and one might imagine spring is around the corner.

  15. Not as difficult as yesterdays offering but enjoyable all the same. I must admit 27A had me baffled. I knew hordes could refer to people, some distant history lesson about the Mongol Hordes….
    Any way, thanks to Deep Threat. My rating is 3*/4*

  16. 2*/3* today. I had never heard of 1a but will try to remember it.
    Thanks to Giovanni and DT.

  17. Thanks to Giovanni and to Deep Threat for the review and hints. I found this really difficult, and needed 12 hints to finish. As usual, a number of obscure words, had never heard of 1a,14d,27a, and the “famous” film director in 23d. Was 4*/2* for me.

    1. I think you have either to be a film buff or quite old to have heard of the famous film director Heno

  18. I’ve been following this blog for a while and have enjoyed reading the comments as much as doing the crosswords. Just wanted to say a quick thanks to Big Dave and everyone who contributes and comments. I have picked up a lot of tips and my crossword skills have improved no end. My favourite clue from today was 20d – I would never have come close to getting this a few weeks ago.

    1. Welcome to the blog Q. Many people have said how much their crossword skills have improved by following us. Hope to hear more from you in the future.

      1. Welcome from me too – you’ll learn loads here. I have to say that my education is in the process of being completed – there are things that I have never heard of – there are some that I might have been better off never knowing!http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_unsure.gif

  19. Had what Mr P calls one of my ‘blonde moments’, and wrote in Icicles for 4d – I have absolutely no idea why and no xcuse. So it meant I couldn’t complete today due to the lack of words starting with i to fit 11a. Couldn’t spend too long as Mr P threatened to take action if Poppy continued to look like Worzel Gummidge, so she is now able to see where she is going without a strong headwind. Thames thankfully a bit lower now. Greetings to all, and thank you setter and DT. And special apologies for not getting the correct paperwork done, Kath! Do I need a different colour Absent Slip to Mary’s? But it’s nice to be missed… :-D

    1. Really not fussed about the colour as long as someonefills in the necessary forms. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_smile.gif

  20. The only word I didn’t know was 27a, and a pretty clumsy one at that. I know, I know, I know, it’s in the BRB. I didn’t find it easy but it was certainly doable. I liked 17a, learnt a new river, but favourite is 10a.

    Thanks to Giovanni and to DT for review.

  21. A pleasant Friday puzzle that all went in smoothly. Back to the dictionary theme. There are two books that have no place on our bookshelves. They are the BRB and Mrs B. They have no place as they spend all their time sitting on the table so they are close at hand for the next crossword session.
    Thanks Giovanni and DT.

  22. Always enjoy your blog.
    12a was a sticky one for me as I still think of original spelling of Herakles!

  23. I thought that was quite pleasant but struggled with the bottom left hand corner as I had the wrong ending for 14d ,until I saw the error of my ways . I had heard of 27a . Thanks to Giovanni and DT whose hints I didn’t need today.

  24. Much better than last week’s! Favourite was 9d. Not hard, but beautifully self-consistent. 27a is horrid, and 30a could just as easily be either alternative, but thankfully the city easily cleared that up. The main problem is now I need to buy tomorrow’s paper for the weekend’s diversion. I can normally count on RayT and the Don to occupy me right through, and save me from a nagging about the volume of paper strewn across the lounge. Thanks to Deep Threat for the review.

  25. Agree 2* for difficulty, but 3* for enjoyment. 27a was a new word on me, although l had derived it correctly.

  26. I used to have a mate who liked to go into WHSmiths and ask the Saturday girl, “Do you keep stationary?” Not hard today, and not really many smiles along the way. If I had to have a favourite, it would have to 20d. **/** for me

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