DT 27436 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 27436

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 27436

Hints and tips by archy and mehitabel

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ***

Good morning everyone, it’s the sun-drenched cockroach and the fog-bound alley cat back again.

A very pleasant puzzle with two excellent fifteen letter anagrams to give you a lot of checkers!

Today mehitabel flies her first solo!  Every hint is from her and all archy has done is the techie bits, add the comments in italics and press the “publish” key.

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           Memorial to encapsulate drinking venue in Ireland, say (8)
{REPUBLIC} – five letter word for a personal memorial around (encapsulates) a place to go for a beer gives this word of which Ireland is an example (say).

5a           Message given after departure cancelled? A swindle (3-3)
{RIP OFF} – A three letter abbreviation often seen on gravestones is followed by a word meaning cancelled or no longer available.

10a         Unconventional place to go at this medical institution (7,8)
{COTTAGE HOSPITAL} – An anagram (unconventional) of PLACE TO GO AT THIS.  At first I thought the ‘place to go’ was going to be something to do with toilets!

11a         Tinker adjusted front of tatty small ornament (7)
{TRINKET} – Another anagram (adjusted) of TINKER followed by the front of T(atty).

12a         Comfort achieved in Switzerland with soup on reflection (5,2)
{CHEER UP} – The IVR code for Switzerland followed by the reversal (on reflection) of a soup.  Not convinced by the soup, surely it’s a thick smooth paste.

13a         French city largely developed by titled figure (8)
{GRENOBLE} – Start with a word meaning developed or became and remove its last letter (largely). Follow that with a person of high social standing.

15a         In which one might see hairdressers alone? On the contrary (5)
{SALON} –Hidden in the clue. On the contrary means the place they are working is in them rather than they are in it.

18a         English people objectively missing at end distinctive character (5)
{ETHOS} – E(nglish) followed by most (missing at end) of a word meaning that lot over there instead of the ones here.

20a         Writer in work left a note describing modern offices? (4-4)
{OPEN PLAN} – Start with the usual two letter abbreviation for a musical work around (in) a writing implement, then L(eft), the A from the clue and N(ote).

23a         Severe figure when with football team league’s dropped (7)
{ASCETIC} – A two letter word meaning when or while and then a Scottish football team without the L in the middle – L(eague’s) dropped.

25a         Legal officer concerned with the military we hear (7)
{MARSHAL} – This person who carries out court orders sounds like (we hear) an adjective used to describe the army.

26a         Tradesmen potter about in large retail site (10,5)

27a         Watford player, one with a buzz? (6)
{HORNET} – This large wasp (one with a buzz) is also a Watford Football Club player

28a         Miserable place around North Elizabeth’s found showing huge determination (4-4)
{HELL BENT} – Start with the opposite of Heaven (miserable place) and follow it with an unusual abbreviation for Elizabeth around N(orth).  I’ve known quite a few Elizabeth’s (not in the biblical sense) but none of them has been known by this name.


1d           Repeat aloud name supporting engineers (6)
{RECITE} – A four letter word meaning name or quote after (supporting) one of the usual two letter abbreviations for engineers.

2d           Irishman and Arab entertained by wealthy venerable figure (9)
{PATRIARCH} – Start with the short form of a common Irish christian name and follow that with a four letter word meaning well off around (entertained by) AR(ab).

3d           Banker abroad taking in cold hillside feature? (7)
{BRACKEN} – This fern is an anagram (abroad) of BANKER around (taking in) C(old).

4d           Stupid piece of abject penitence brought up (5)
{INEPT} –  Hidden in the clue (piece of) but reversed (brought up).

6d           Grab young offender on ship (7)
{IMPRESS} – This is grab as in “How does that grab you” or “What do you think of it”? Put together a young rascal, the usual two letters meaning on or about and follow that with another two letters for ship.

7d           Aquatic creature is more animated? Not initially (5)
{OTTER} – Start with a word meaning more animated or ardent and remove (not initially) the first letter.

8d           Asian type of pastry I secure inside (8)
{FILIPINO} – A kind of thin Greek pastry which is very tricky to handle around (inside) the I from the clue and a three letter word for secure or nail.

9d           Solid Tory found on island (8)
{CONCRETE} – A common three letter abbreviation meaning Tory followed by a Greek island.

14d         Car’s back by river overlooking quiet military establishment (4,4)
{BOOT CAMP} – This training centre for military recruits comes from the back of the car where you might put luggage and then the river that flows through Cambridge above (overlooking) the musical abbreviation for quiet.  I think they also have one of these in The X Factor.

16d         Hateful motel has collapsed with nothing in it (9)
{LOATHSOME} – Anagram (collapsed) of MOTEL HAS with an O (nothing) inserted (in it).

17d         Woman shaking hand in roofed terrace (8)
{VERANDAH} – A woman’s name before an anagram (shaking) of HAND.

19d         Release second film without a charge (3,4)
{SET FREE} – S(econd) followed by a film about a being from another planet and then a word meaning for nothing or without charge.

21d         Study country with society above a lake (7)
{PERUSAL} – A republic of South America is followed by S(ociety), the A from the clue and L(ake).

22d         Patron having small change (about pound I detected) (6)
{CLIENT} – A hundredth part of a Euro or dollar around (about) the one letter denoting pound sterling and the I  from the clue.  Not sure what ‘detected’ is there for apart from the surface reading.

24d         Prank produced by person in temporary site miles away (5)
{CAPER} – Someone sleeping in a tent is missing the M, M(iles) away

25d         Cut rodents besetting bottom of garden (5)
{MINCE} – Some small rodents (currently in residence under our kitchen floor) around (besetting) the bottom of (garde)N

archy’s favourite was 15a with 10a coming up on the rails (well it is Cheltenham Week) while  mehitabel has gone for 6d.

The Quick crossword pun: (pin} + {err} + {four} = {pinafore}

80 comments on “DT 27436

  1. Oh dear.
    I thought being Thursday , it would be really, really difficult.
    But, I found it only moderately difficult.
    Most enjoyable, nonetheless.
    Some lovely clues, eg 13a, 28a and 8d
    Took me overnight to dredge up from my subconscious 27a, last in.
    Many thanks to the setter and to archy and mehitabel for the review.

  2. Quickest solve ever for me but no less enjoyable for that hence didn’t need mehitabel or archie but welcome back to the special pairing and their entertaining and straightforward hints. Fav perhaps 5a. Wonder if our transatlantic friends will get the trunk in 14d. I was trying to reverse a car! Thanks setter. */***. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gif

  3. Well done to Kath and thanks to her and archy.

    I’m sure I’ve read the hint for 12a somewhere before. :D

      1. I don’t understand gazza’s comment about 12a, or BD’s reply “Now sorted”. Am I being really dim, or just completely knackered?http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_unsure.gif

        1. Mea culpa – must have messed up the copy/paste business and wasn’t around to put it right! By the time I got back from the shop it was all sorted – ta BD

  4. 12a answer is repeat of 11 which is wrong. CH is for Switzerland then purée (soup) back.

  5. Three months after starting the DT crossword I finally completed one without any help from you good people at Big Dave’s. Many thanks for all the hints and help over the last few weeks. I couldn’t have done it without you guys.

  6. Just enough effort required to make this a very satisfying test, completed without hints, so all the more so for that. **/**** for me today.
    Thanks to setter (?) and reviewers.

  7. First thought was that this was going to be a bit of a stinker after I only had 1 across clue written in on first pass. Nearly all the downs went in closely followed by the rest of the acrosses. Somehow I remembered the nickname of Watford – not to sure that our US and Antipodean friends will know it.

    Mention has to made of the quickie – took me nearly as long as the cryptic (actually, I guess its taken me longer as I still can’t think of 16D)

    1. 16d is {CAREEN} which means to tilt or turn to one side, particularly to turn a vessel over on its side for repairing or cleaning.

      1. Cheers BD – that’s a word I haven’t heard in many a year – no wonder I didn’t remember it

  8. I agree with 2*/3*. Thanks to the setter and many congratulations to mehitabel on an excellent first solo effort.

    Is AR really an abbreviation for Arab?

    1. it’s in the brb as an abbreviation for arab, arabia, arabian, arabic but an example of it’s use eludes me at the moment. it’s worth remembering though as it turns up regularly in crosswords.

  9. Thank you setter. Quite tricky for me – deletion and substitution clues are not my favourite ! Finished it, so all is well. Thanks A & M for your review and hints. The soup in 12a will provide some interesting discussion when ordering my next pub lunch ! No trouble with 27a – how can I forget 30 thousand of them at Wembley a few years ago when they beat us in the play-off final.

  10. This one grew on me as I worked through it, and I quite liked it when I had finished.
    Thanks to setter, well done to Kath, and thanks to the team for the review.

  11. Thanks to the setter and to Kath and Pommers for the review and hints. I enjoyed this one a lot. Initially I really struggled, but got there in the end without the hints. Was 3*/3* for me. Favourite was 12a. Nice and sunny in Central London. Might try the Toughie.

  12. Very enjoyable crossword from our mystery setter, many thanks to same and to Kath and Pommers for a cracking review.

  13. Thought this one was right up our street, quite easy, judging by everyone’s comments. We like them quite easy, at least we can do them with minimal help. Thank you to Kath & Pommers. Lovely spring like day here in Scarborough. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gif

  14. Very enjoyable puzzle apart from 27a. Cryptic crosswords should not need general knowledge about the names of footballers. Our new review partners are doing a great job! I had 10a but didn’t realise it was an anagram .http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/smiley-phew.gif

  15. i would love to say I have finished but Satan Sharon has me working. (Not on the kitchen though)

  16. Found today’s crossword a bit easier than yesterday’s despite spelling difficulties with 8d, 17d and 23a. The final one of these was my last in because in my head I was spelling it like the acid and it wouldn’t fit. Finally remembered the ‘S’ and could then understand the clue. 2*/3* for me; 10a probably my favourite. Thanks to setter and reviewers.

  17. Well there I was being a clever clogs thinking that for the first time ever I’d managed to get a sporting clue for 27a – Holden (who apparently played for Watford in the 1980s) – except it wasn’t him (I know, I know, it doesn’t even break down sensibly!). So of course I then couldn’t get 24d, so made that Nepal (why oh why?) so then I couldn’t get 23a….. So the hints – which were brilliant, Kath-Mehitabel – saved me from entering a deep and dark depression of despair! Apart from my mess of the SW corner, I loved this puzzle. Pics were super. Pommers/Archy’s IT skills added toa great result…. Many thanks to all concerned, and to BD for this terrific site, and for ‘bringing on’ Kath to such excellent effect. Moi gushing? Definitely not. A rose for each one.

    1. Not as bad as me who thought there may have been a player for Watford called Harbee.

      1. Yes – I tried to fit a bee in there too. For a real novice hinter, and a “non-footbally” one at that, those two clues (23 and 27a) nearly made me do a runner when I first read them. Thank goodness for the cockroach! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_rose.gifto him.

  18. Like Jezza, this one grew on me. At first I thought it was going to be a stinker for me, but then I seemed to start thinking like the setter and all fell into place quite nicely. I used to get a tad niggly when I had a football clue, but now I feel that, if it fits and makes sense sans the football bit, I should just put it in with fingers crossed. So far this has worked a treat for me, so no complaining.

    Thanks to setter, I did manage to finish, even though you did make me work for it. Great job Mehitabel and archy, entertaining review.

    1. P.S. There was a three-foot snake in my pool yesterday and I have no idea where it went! Am TERRIFIED to go back in today but I must. Woe is me.

      1. Lumme Merusa – do you have any idea what kind? Are they local to your area? Courage galore to you.

        1. Who cares what kind? It’s a bloody snake & it’s in the pool! My worst nightmare after being trapped in a pothole. Ophidiophobia & claustrophobia – try saying that when you’ve had a few.

        2. It’s what they call an indigo snake, totally benign and native to Florida, or I hope it is! Whatever, I don’t like them. The Burmese pythons that idiots kept as pets and just let them go when they got too big are pretty well confined to the Everglades. The pythons are huge and are cutting a swathe across South Florida, cleaning the Everglades of all native wildlife, deer, bunnies, birds, we’ll soon be without wildlife in the Everglades except for alligators and invasive pythons! Soo sad.

            1. Una, just because Merusa found it in the pool, does not make it a sea snake. Most (if not all) snakes enjoy a swim. According to Wiki, it lives on land and is the longest snake in the US

  19. I found this moderately difficult but enjoyed it nonetheless, especially those long anagrams. So thanks to the setter and toujours gai A&M. Incidentally, purée in my neck of the woods is mashed potatoes.

    1. I agree that a ‘puree’ is not the same as a ‘soup’ – it’s more like ‘baby mush’!http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gif

      1. In the setter’s defence, Chambers defines purée as “a soup without solid pieces”, although the ODE defines it as “a smooth cream of liquidized or crushed fruit or vegetable”.

      2. Pretty good Kath when BD has to come to the setters defence – personally I’m with you because pommette often says my thick veg soup is more like a puree than a soup, so it can’t be both!

  20. An enjoyable puzzle that all fitted together smoothly. Even the football team that we did not know but guessed correctly. Excellent blogging Kath and nice that you have a lad to do the techie stuff. We also found that the Quick took as long as the Cryptic.
    Thanks Mr Ron and the team

    1. The “lad” is SUCH a star – he makes it all happen which is something that, as yet, I can’t do. He is also an endless source of help and encouragement.
      Three cheers for “the lad”! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yahoo.gifhttp://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yahoo.gifhttp://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yahoo.gifwould anyone like to join me?

  21. Well done , Kath ! I liked this crossword, but it took a long time, mostly because I had patrician instead of the correct answer for 2d.I also was unaware of the nickname for Watford. Thanks Mehitabel and archy and the setter.

  22. Because I couldn’t for the life of me think what kind of hospital, the right hand side went in quite quickly ,then worked my way up the left side until I suddenly had the eureka moment with cottage & then everything fell into place. So ,on the whole , not too difficult and very enjoyable. With thanks to Mr Ron and m&a whose hints I didn’t need although my husband helped with 27a.

  23. A very enjoyable crossword today done in fits and starts. Kath’s review is spot on so well done you!!!

  24. Many thanks to Kath for her excellent and amusing blog and everyone for their comments

    1. So it was one of yours! I did wonder but kept quiet in view of my record in spotting setters. Thanks for the fun – much enjoyed (I’d have gone 4* but mehitabel wanted 3 so who am I to argue?).

  25. I’m not often right about anything but one thing I have been right about is that Kath can fly solo :grin: I’ve been telling her that for weeks but this week I just used my power as the Techie to choose who’s hints to use – all hers and none of mine (actually some of hers were a lot better than mine!) http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_good.gif

    I reckon that to go from a self-confessed novice to a competent blogger in about 4 years is clear proof of the value of this site. I bet BD is secretly delighted and for me it makes the whole thing worthwhile.

    We’ll be back next week but after that archy is unavailable until May but maybe mehitabel can can get herself another partner – after all she is supposed to be an alley cat of rather loose morals :lol:

    1. From Kath’s performance to date she should be an inspiration to other newbies, so I’d be very happy for her to share my blogging duties on Tuesdays when archy is unavailable.

      1. “gazza and mehitabel”? Reckon a new name might be needed :grin:

        How about “Katary”?

      2. Thank you, gazza, for that compliment. It’s made me go all “scaredy cat” againhttp://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_cry.gifnot sure that “scaredy cats” cry but I can’t find a more appropriate ‘little face”.
        I would be absolutely terrified at the thought of sharing the blogging with you on Tuesdays – the way you do the hints is how I aspire to, eventually, being able to do them but I’m a very long way off your standard at the moment – I would so hate to let you or BD down.

        1. Go for it girl! Don’t be scared by Gazza. He’s the most helpful and erudite of all the bloggers IMO. He unravels bits when no blogger has a clue!

          Anyway, why is sharing a blog with Gazza more scary than with me?

  26. Just a thought – if Kath can do it, who’s going to be next? Volunteers anyone or do Miffypops and I have to select a new target?

    1. I tried a squeeze on Skempie but it wasn’t really on. I am really pleased Kath took the bait and you reeled her in.

      1. I reckon there’s lurkers need to be got out of the closet but I don’t know how to do it – if they’re reading this then come forward!

  27. Many thanks, Shamus, for a thoroughly enjoyable crossword! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yahoo.gif If I say I had more than one fave clue, Mehitabel might stick out her claw!http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/icon_evil.gif Nonetheless, there were four I particularly liked — 5a, 13a, 2d, and 21d.http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/icon_lol.gif

    Although I did the puzzle without hints, I needed your help, Archy and Mehitabel, because I couldn’t parse 12a, 28a and 6d correctly! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/icon_redface.gifOh dear! Fortunately, the remainder were all correct.

    So thank you both very much, Archy and Mehitabel for a super review and I did also like the illustrations. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_good.gifAnd a very special ‘well done’ to Kath.http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_rose.gifhttp://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_rose.gif

  28. Thought this was going to be a stinker after getting home late and finally tackling.
    But overall quite clever and on the mark.
    Especially after working out the CH for Switzerland!

  29. Well done Kath, agree Puree a bit strange but that was my only quibble today. Cheers to Archy, Mehitabel and Shamus.

  30. 2*/3* for me and a nice change from that rather stiff Toughie. Thanks to A&M for review and hints, and to the setter for the diversion. 12a my favourite.

  31. Thanks to all for the encouraging comments – I may be an alley cat but I’m still such a “scaredy cat” that I would never dare to do this without the back-up that I get from the blasted sun-drenched cockroach. He is the ultimate star.http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_good.gif

  32. Completed this quite quickly apart from 27a. How is a northerner like me expected to know the names of Watford footballers? There’s no place for clues like this in a cryptic crossword.

    Having got that off my chest, I filled in several answers without being able to explain them so many thanks for the hints today!

    1. Blow the ‘northerner’ bit – absolutely no excuse – I’m a girl – I have two daughters (not in the slightest bit interested in football) and a husband who is not interested in football either. Everything that I know about football/rugby/cricket/golf/horse racing, and lots of other things too, I have learnt from this blog. I may not know what all the terms mean but it does make it possible to get an answer once I know what the clue is getting at.
      Just keep going and good luck to you.

      1. Assertive Kath. Way to go girl. Way to go!!! I will do a joint blog anytime ifs ya want me. Smiles all round around here.

  33. Much less of a brain basher than some recent Thursday offerings, thank goodness. Been up since 6am for the boat survey, then drove 100 miles back to town and did a full uninterrupted 10-hour shift at the coal face. Thanks to M for the hints and to A for the acerbic comments and tech wizardry. Time to lie down in a darkened room …

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