DT 27448 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 27448

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 27448

Hints and tips by Falcon

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

Good morning from Ottawa where the calendar claims it is spring but when I venture outside my front door I find a couple of feet of snow and a temperature in the minus double digits Celsius. Blame it on global warming!

When I signed on for today’s shift, I didn’t bargain on Britain not having switched to Summer Time. As North America has already made the shift, Ottawa is currently only four hours behind London with the result being that I get a later start on the puzzle and consequently work later into the wee hours of the morning.

I got off to a quick start today but then quickly bogged down, making very slow progress.

In the hints below, the definitions are underlined.

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   Where the icing on the cake may be   too much (4,3,3)
{ OVER THE TOP } — double definition

6a   Cast-iron case for prison (4)
{ STIR } — the first (hyphenated) word in the clue cases [puts in a case] a slang term for prison

10a   Caught Gaelic as spoken word — crude language (5)
{ CURSE } — an abbreviation found on cricket scorecards followed by a string of letters that sounds like a name for certain strains of Gaelic

11a   End gossip about obesity (9)
{ PODGINESS } — anagram (about) of the first two words of the clue

12a   Pay attention — entry gate ahead! (4,4)
{ TAKE NOTE } — an entry (in a logbook, for instance) preceded by (ahead) the receipts from an event such as a concert

13a   Point out the similarity of so-called moss (5)
{ LIKEN } — sounds like (so-called) a primitive plant usually found on rocks, walls or tree trunks; the phrase “so-called moss” is also appropriate as this is not a true moss

15a   Fill in   claim (4,3)
{ MAKE OUT } — complete a questionnaire or pretend that something is what it isn’t

17a   Dispatch   date (4,3)
{ TAKE OUT } — dispatch like a mobster might do to a rival or to see someone socially

19a   Most orderly trial involving African dictator (7)
{ TIDIEST } — an examination or trial surrounding the self-proclaimed “Conqueror of the British Empire”

21a   Fashionable tweeds dominating northern shopping centre (4,3)
{ WEST END } — anagram (fashionable) of TWEEDS containing (dominating) N(orthern)

22a   Eager crowd in distress (5)
{ UPSET } — a word meaning keen or willing (typically found in the phrase “__ for it” followed by a group of people who usually associate together; the solution could be either an adjective meaning ‘in distress’ or a verb meaning ‘distress’

24a   Confused cavers heading for chasm (8)
{ CREVASSE } — anagram (confused) of CAVERS plus the compass direction that Big Dave would follow to reach London

27a   Bronze aboard ship in main (9)
{ IMPORTANT } — a verb denoting to become bronze from the effects of the sun is inserted into a phrasal verb meaning to bring goods into a country

28a   One can see through this coercive (now and then) Labour leader (5)
{ ORIEL } — a regular sequence of letters (now and then) from cOeRcIvE plus the leading letter from L(abour)

29a   Reporter’s about to be replaced by raw beginner, 12 (4)
{ HARK } — a mediocre newspaper writer with the abbreviation for the Latin word meaning about replaced by the beginning letter of R(aw); the definition is given by the solution to 12a

30a   ‘Victoria’ perhaps a composition of Fats Waller? (10)
{ WATERFALLS } — anagram (composition) of FATS WALLER [why the solution is plural, I am at a loss to explain]; Victoria is not a queen, not a plum, not a carriage, not a city in British Columbia nor a state in Australia, but …


1d   Pained expression in appreciation of a hit out of bounds (4)
{ OUCH } — an acknowledgement of a hit in the sport of fencing with the outer letters removed (out of bounds)

2d   Reserved English artist returning on old boat in sea (9)
{ EARMARKED } — a charade of E(nglish), a reversal (returning) of the customary artist, and Noah’s boat floating in a shortened form of the sea separating Europe from Africa

3d   Tigerish wingers Everton’s opening half-time topic (5)
{ THEME } — the outer letters (wingers) of T(igeris)H plus the opening letter of E(verton) and the latter half of (ti)ME

4d   Benefit from past conspiracy having taken one in (7)
{ EXPLOIT } — a prefix denoting past followed by a secret plan containing the Roman numeral for one

5d   End with warning about bank payment on time (7)
{ ODDMENT } — a sign of a future event wrapped around a D(irect) D(ebit) and followed by T(ime)

7d   Make adjustments to width cutting timber (5)
{ TWEAK } — W(idth) inserted into (cutting) a kind of wood commonly found in Scandinavian furniture

8d   Edit what comes in? (6,4)
{ RISING TIDE } — This is an instance of “inverse wordplay”, a clue in which the wordplay is found in the solution rather than the clue itself. In a down clue, a setter might well use the wordplay “rising tide” to clue the word EDIT.

9d   Loathes type found in Norfolk town (8)
{ DISLIKES } — a synonym for type or counterpart (as in “people of their ____”) found in the contemptuous sounding (especially to a North American) name of a town in Norfolk

14d   The samurai could be surprisingly incompetent (10)
{ AMATEURISH } — anagram (could be surprisingly) of THE SAMURAI; I don’t think one could be faulted should they deem the anagram indicator to be “could be” and the definition “surprisingly incompetent”

16d   Love greenery after change of heart in The Hebrides maybe (8)
{ OVERTURE } — the letter that looks like a tennis score of love followed by a word meaning lush green vegetation with its middle letter (heart) changed from D to T gives us an orchestral introduction of which the cited work by Felix Mendelssohn is an example

18d   In the past small price increases initially left fifty people moving from crowded city (9)
{ OVERSPILL } — a word sum of a synonym for in the past or completed plus the initial letters of S(mall), P(rice) and I(ncreases) plus L(eft) plus the Roman numeral for fifty

20d   Nothing outwardly classic in farewell piece of music (7)
{ TOCCATA } — the letter that looks like a nought plus the outer letters of C(lassi)C are contained in an informal British farewell to give what might loosely be defined as a prelude to a fugue intended to be played by musical show-offs

21d   Wind resulting from change in weather (7)
{ WREATHE } — an anagram of (change in) WEATHER; here, wind is a verb meaning to coil

23d   Splendid meal lacking source of protein (5)
{ SUPER } — an evening meal with the first letter of P(rotein) deleted

25d   Cold potato in Indian cookery’s fine (5)
{ ALOOF } — the Hindi word for potato plus F(ine)

26d   Almost lavish bonus (4)
{ PLUS } — a synonym for lavish with the final H deleted

For my favourite clue, I will go with the tricky inverse wordplay clue at 8d with honourable mention going to 16d.

The Quick crossword pun: (inn} + {speck} + {tor} + {Lewes} = {Inspector Lewis}

59 comments on “DT 27448

  1. Definitely a Wrong Envelope Day today I thought. Thanks to Mr Ron for the brain exercise and to Falcon for the explanations.

    1. Seeing that the consensus seems to be that this puzzle was considerably more difficult than normal, it would appear that I may have been rather stingy in handing out stars. I tend to underrate the difficulty level, thinking that those of you in the UK will find it less of a challenge than it is for me.

  2. Eww. Quite a slog. I spent more time trying to work out why some of the answers were what they were than I did filling in the grid. Glad it’s not just me. Thank you, Mr/Mrs/Miss Setter and thank you Falcon. I, too, have been feeling the effects of the 4-hour time difference. Because I’m an early riser and working on the puzzles by 5 am, I usually have to wait longer for the review to come up.

  3. Definitely the hardest for me for a long time. Always have problems with the four letter answers i.e 1d , 6a and 9a. Also tried to fit Crevice somehow into 24a. Still don’t understand the parsing for 6a. 8d best clue for me. ****/**** rating for me.
    Thanx to Compiler and to Falcon for his review which I needed to verify some of my answers.

  4. Quite a struggle this morning but worth it in the end. Needed the hints to explain someof my answers. Thanks to setter and to Falcon for the review.

  5. I agree with Gazza – definitely a wrong envelope day. My rating is 4*+ for difficulty and 3* for enjoyment.

    I made life extra difficult for myself by initially putting return as the first word for 8d which made the NE corner incredibly difficult until I saw the error of my ways.

    The answer to 28a is a word I was aware of but never knew the meaning until today.

    Many thanks to Mr. Ron and to Falcon whose hints I needed to understand the wordplay for 12a and 1d.

    Falcon, I think the answer to 30a is plural because the water feature in question is commonly known as the “Victoria Falls”.

    1. Re: Waterfalls being plural

      Your explanation is the only one that I could come up with as well. However, I can’t find any evidence that it is linguistically correct.

      According to every dictionary that I consulted, Victoria Falls (or Niagara Falls) might be called a “fall” but more often a “falls”. It could be termed a “waterfall”, but not a “waterfalls”. It also might be known as a “cascade” or a “cataract”.

  6. I agree, what hard work! Did like 13a though, very clever. 28a is new word to me and even my electronic anagram finder failed to get 11a. Many Thx to Falcon for the explanations to numerous clues. Def a **** for difficulty for me.

  7. Thank you setter – I found this difficult, but got there without hints. Thanks Falcon for the review and hints, which I needed to explain some answers. Just to confirm my own incompetence, I had the answers for 10a, 11a, 12a 1d and 5d from the checking letters, but could not for the life of me get the wordplay. So, many thanks Falcon for decoding.

  8. Lovely wrong envelope day.
    Started this just after midnight,, three to go after my usual night’s sleep.
    Truly great struggle but completed unaided, last in 5d.
    Many brilliant clues, eg 13a,24a, 27a 5d and 15d.
    Many thanks to the setter, and to Falcon for the nicely illustrated review, remarkable lack of sauce. :)

  9. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/smiley-phew.gifI’m really glad that it’s not just me. I’m also really glad that it’s a Falcon day rather than an archy and Mehitabel one.
    I found this one very difficult. I eventually got all the answers but needed the hints to explain lots of them.
    My last one was 5d – don’t know why.
    I liked lots of these, specially once I understood them – 11 and 21a and 16 and 25d. My favourite was 8d.
    With thanks to Mr Ron – could Shamus have put one in the wrong envelope? Huge thanks and congratulations to Falcon for all the untangling.http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yahoo.gif

    1. Panic over, I finished it, only three days to go. Found this hard, read through the hints and didn’t understand half of them so really worried then. However, when I put in the few that I did understand, I managed to complete it. Phew,
      Thanks to both… I think,

  10. Agree this was a bit of a slog, but it seemed reasonably do-able to me. There were a couple of very obtuse clues (1D for example), but the answer was obvious if the reason was not. I din’t really like the fact that there were a lot of similar answers (12A, 15A, 17A) but overall it was an OK puzzle today. I reckon 8D must my favourite today.

    Cricket looking interesting, South Africa struggling against Holland Big Time. England on later today

  11. I quite enjoyed this one. A little more of a challenge than normal, but not insurmountable. 2*/4* for me.
    Many thanks to setter (Petitjean perhaps?), and to Falcon for the review.

  12. In a number of cases, I needed Falcon’s analysis to explain why my answers were correct. 3*/2* for me.

  13. I agree with the 3 star, on the grounds that I got all bar one – eventually- bit it was quite hard work.
    15 and 17 similarities didn’t help.
    Failed in the end to get the DD in 5d.

    I think what made it hard was the number of clues with at least three parts making up the solution.

    Anyway, lots of great ones. Loved 8d, 29a and 30a but my favourite was 20d. “Ta ta” http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/icon_lol.gif

  14. Completed without too much trouble except that I couldn’t parse 27a until I saw the hint. (Still not sure that ship = import. I think I could more easily equate ship to export, but I’m sure they’re equally valid.)
    Not so much a wrong envelope this morning, more about being “typically Thursday” IMO.
    Like Skempie I wasn’t too impressed by the 3 similar answers, however overall most enjoyable.
    Thanks to the setter, and to Falcon for the review. **/***

      1. Kath,

        That is also the way I saw it.

        I’ve updated the hint to show that the container is a “phrasal verb” rather than merely a “verb”.

    1. In our business of importing/exporting we always use the phrases “ship in” & “ship out”.

  15. Best crossword for some time, I really enjoyed this, my thanks to the setter and to Falcon.

  16. Why am I expected to know which way Big Dave would go to London? Over the last 2/3 years I frequently cannot understand the answers even when I read the explanations!!Must be my age!

    1. Welcome to the blog Badger

      Falcon could have just said a heading or bearing, but he was trying to more interesting than that! If it helps a live in God’s own county, Worcestershire, about 30 miles south of Birmingham. You could have found this out in the Introduction / About page.

  17. I gave up with this in the end. Very difficult puzzle with a lot of tortuous contrived clues which detracted from any enjoyment. Still I must thank Falcon for the review which was a very enjoyable read so salvaged something from the time spent with the puzzle.

  18. After ‘getting’ 1 across almost instantly I thought ‘this is going to be easy’, but as I waded into today’s puzzle I realised that it was going to take a little more thinking about. A thoroughly enjoyable crossword with some clues/answers that made me chuckle. I particularly liked 16 and 18 down. Last one in for me was 29 across. Despite getting the right solution to 1 down I needed to check and read the hint for an explanation – fencing terms hadn’t crossed my mind (thanks Falcon). Thank you also to the setter for what I call ‘my sort of puzzle’.

  19. Thanks to Mr Ron and to Falcon for the review and hints. A very enjoyable, but tricky puzzle. Had to think a lot, but got there in the end. Just needed the hints to parse 12&24a, 1,2,16&18d. In 16d verdure was a new word for me, so all in all I think I was lucky to have completed it. Very entertaining though, favourite was 27a. Sunny but chilly in Central London. Was 3*/4* for me.

  20. When BigBoab really likes a puzzle, I know it’s really, really hard, & so it was for us. Even with Falcon’s hints it took quite a lot of understanding, though we managed to complete it in the end. Thank you Mr. Setter & Falcon. Pretty miserable day here on the east coast, but can’t complain because we’ve had some good weather recently.

  21. How strange! For once I found this puzzle quite easy! Not a normal Thursday head scratcher by a long chalk.

    Perhaps I’m just getting better.

    I did like 8d and 16d in particular.

  22. There was I, settling down in the local with a nice pint of ale expecting a usual Thursday puzzle – how wrong could I gethttp://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_sad.gif

    A lot of head scratching later, I have finally managed to untangle all the convoluted clues without help. So more a **** for difficulty but definitely **** for enjoyment. It’s nice to have a surprise every now and then.

    Mind you, I hope the Don doesn’t have a wrong envelope day tommorowhttp://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gif

    1. Oh, thanks to the setter and Falcon for the review – I’ve obviously had too much to drinkhttp://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_wacko.gif

  23. I solved 1a immediately which led me into a false sense of security – but then it became a lot more difficult!

    30a – “Ain’t That a Shame” that the clue doesn’t quite work! [Yes! I know! Fats Domino]

    Thanks to the unknown “Toughie” setter & to Falcon for the review!

    1. Perhaps the composition in 30a should have been “Angel and Victoria” or, more obscurely “Virginia and Victoria” — Angel Falls in Venezuela being the world’s tallest waterfall and Virginia Falls in Canada being the world’s 14th largest waterfall. While Victoria Falls is neither the longest nor the tallest, its dimensions combine to make it the “the world’s largest sheet of falling water.” in area.

  24. An enjoyable tussle with NW corner and 5d (like Kath) last to go in. Can’t decide between 2d and 20d for fav. Not strong on Hindi hence couldn’t parse 25d. Thanks Jay and Falcon who may be interested to know that in Sussex U.K. we have had a mixed bag of unspringlike weather today including thunder, lightning, sleet and even some sunshine. ****/***. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_good.gif

    1. I’m not strong on Hindi either but I love Indian food and I know that spinach and potato is sagh aloo.
      We’ve had thunder, torrential rain and hail today but very little sun.
      PS It’s not Jay today – we don’t know who to thank (or blame!) for the struggle.

  25. Difficult wordplay today ie 1D,12A, 5D, you really had to read the clues carefully-like a toughie, but some clever clues too , like 16d, 27A . Overall a *** for me , but I would’nt quibble with a ****; score*** for enjoyment ,as a bit lacking in humour and no d’oh moments ,feel like I’ve just sat an exam!

  26. 5d was also my last one in. I’d parsed it correctly but just couldn’t think of the warning. It didn’t help that I was dubious about 12a, having the correct answer but not quite understanding how it fitted the rest of the clue. My better half then came in from work and got 5d almost immediately, leaving me wondering how it had eluded me for so long as it wasn’t that difficult.

    4*/3* today for me.

    Thanks setter for a good challenge. Also thanks to Falcon for the review and the wise brain my partner for 5d!

  27. Eek, for me closer to 4* than 3* but none the worse for that.I thought 25a deserves a mention, a cold such potato most certainly would not be fine if served, which did make me laugh. Many thanks to Falcon and the setter. Now to the Indy, somebody tells me NTSPP setter Donk today …

  28. Like others ,getting 1a straight away ,I thought this was going to be a piece of cake. How wrong was I? It was a real struggle , and needed Falcon’s hints for my last three 6a( those homophones always get me ,although I knew the Gaelic) 25d&28a.http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/smiley-phew.gif

  29. We found this one quite a challenge too, with 5d and 11a being the last two to yield. We also tried guessing who the setter might be and decided to join Kath and suggest it might be Shamus. Perhaps the guilty party might comment and inform us. A lot of fun.
    Thanks Mr Ron and Falcon.

  30. 3*/4* for me, and l particularly enjoyed 16d. I didn’t take too long to fill the grid with what were clearly the right answers, but needed Falcon to explain how l should have arrived at them (5d and 28a were cases in point). Thank you to the setter, and to Falcon.

  31. Difficult .I certainly didn’t know the Hindi for potato.I liked 30a, great clue.Thanks Falcon for your hard work through the night.I hope this setter takes it easy on , in future.

  32. Thought this was very hard today… Even with clues!! 20d was particularly baffling! Difficulty ***** enjoyment **

  33. Hated it. Sorry, but just did. 27a. Since when did being “aboard ship” mean or indicate the word it did?

    Maybe I have had a bad day, but not a fan,

    1. Roydo,

      Falcon has explained 27a above.

      Bronze = tan
      ship in = import

      impor (tan) t = main

  34. What time dov get outof bed. And what time does your crossword arrive on your mat

    1. You’ve changed your alias so your comment required moderation. Both aliases should now work.
      I’ve also corrected your email address which had an incorrect last letter.

    2. I get the crossword when it goes online at midnight in London. I live in Ottawa which is normally five hours behind London — although, at the moment, since Canada has already switched to Daylight Savings Time, we are only four hours behind. Thus, I am able to do the review the evening before the date of publication.

      Although I don’t have to get up early to do the review, I sometimes have to stay up late to complete it.

  35. Can’t say I really enjoyed this, but having seen that most rate it as harder than normal, I feel better at filling it in without the hints (even if they were needed to explain why for some of the answers , especially 1d, 8d, 27a and 29a). When the clues run to three lines for a four or five letter answer, I always think the setter is trying too hard to be clever – or struggling. I think having 12a, 15a and 17a in the same solution is a bit odd. On the plus side, I liked 15a and, as a long-suffering Blue, 3d as well. Thanks to Falcon for the enlightenment.

  36. I haven’t visited the blog for a while, but I was enjoying this puzzle (while also finding it very difficult) so I came back for some hints. Many thanks to Falcon.

  37. Thank you Falcon.
    Friday’s paper confirmed that my suspected answers were indeed correct but I had to drop in here to find out why for 1d, 12a, 27a and 29a.
    Agree with 8d favourite.

  38. I’m with those who loved this puzzle.http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yahoo.gif It is really, really good! Fave clue is 8d, but it’s very difficult to choose but a single one! I also greatly enjoyed 13a, 29a, 30a (plural or not!), 16d, 20d, and 25d.

    Although I needed no hints, I did need the explanation for the fencing in 1d. And ‘ow’, I should not have because I have met this fencing term before!!! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/icon_redface.gif

    Many thanks to the setter for a most enjoyable challenge. And many thanks to Falcon for a very clear and appreciated review.

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