DT 27491 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 27491

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 27491

Hints and tips by pommers

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BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment **

Hola from the Vega Baja. I’m doing the blog today because archy has gone into a bit of a sulk. The alley cat has forsaken him and went solo yesterday so he’s refusing to jump on the keyboard. Other news is that it was the warmest April in Alicante since 1878.   I don’t suppose that these events are in any way connected but . . . ?

On to the puzzle. I’ve not blogged many Fridays (only one I think) but it seemed pretty standard fare from the Don. A bit tricky in places but nothing to really frighten the horses. Some of the clues are much more difficult to hint than they were to solve but I’ll be interested to see what you make of them.

As usual the ones I like most are in blue and the definitions are underlined in the clues.

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           Joker Georgia makes two appearances in town down under (5,5)
{WAGGA WAGGA} – This is a town in Australia which you’ve either heard of or you haven’t. You need a word for a joker or comedian (3) and the abbreviation for the state of Georgia and then repeat it – honest that’s the place!

6a           Writer or his son wrong not to finish (4)
{AMIS} – A word for wrong without its last letter (not to finish) gives the surname of a famous author or his son (Kingsley or Martin)

9a           In county one has nasty lout leading delegation (10)
{DEVOLUTION} – This is not easy to explain although fairly easy to solve. Start in the middle of the clue with the I (one). Leading it we have an anagram (nasty) of LOUT. Insert all this into (in) a county in the south west of England. Hope that made sense

10a         Champagne substitute used in toasting? (4)
{ASTI} – Italian fizzy wine is hidden (used) in toasting.

12a         Little fellow is about to meet politician — hour for engagement (6)
{SHRIMP} – Reverse (about) IS and add a politician and then insert (for engagement) an abbreviation for hour.

13a         Reject that could give indication of worth (5,3)
{THROW OUT} – It’s one of those reverse clues that seem to be getting more popular. The answer is a clue that would lead to WORTH. I really dislike this sort of clue but I guess I’ll have to learn to live with them.

15a         Irritating folk play modern music for Spooner — a hindrance to creative work (7,5)
{WRITERS BLOCK} – What might hinder an author. I know I’m getting to be a grumpy old man but I dislike Spooner clues more than the reverse anagrams in the previous clue so I’ve just docked an enjoyment star.

18a         A terraced inn, done up and given a new lease of life (12)
{REINCARNATED} – Anagram (done up) of A TERRACED INN

21a         Advice to person with bad bruise is temporarily withheld (3,2,3)
{PUT ON ICE} – Double definition. What do you do to treat a bruise? Bags of frozen peas are supposed to be good.

22a         Environment of one place miles further west (6)
{MILIEU} – I (one) and a word meaning place (usually in place of) and then M(iles) at the beginning (further west)

24a         Revolting row (4)
{RANK} – Double definition. Not easy to hint. I could give you a different clue but at the end of the day what you need is a word that can mean revolting (nasty, not in rebellion) or row (nothing to do with boats or noise)

25a         I am silent, nodding ultimately? Wrong — alert! (4,6)
{TIME SIGNAL} – Anagram (wrong) of I AM SILENT with G (noddinG ultimately).

26a         Fruit lover? (4)
{DATE} – Double definition. You get them on palm trees around here and my friend’s 17 year old daughter goes to the disco with hers.

27a         Hopeless northern haunt in the grip of tyrant (10)
{DESPONDENT} – N(orthern) and a haunt or retreat inserted (in grip of) a tyrant or dictator.


1d           End of meadow that is most spread out (6)
{WIDEST} – W (end of meadoW) followed by the full bit of the Latin for that is.

2d           Control Tory minister has got over our navy (6)
{GOVERN} – Secretary of State for Education followed by the Royal Navy.

3d           Comprehensive with everyone touchy-feely? (3-9)
{ALL EMBRACING} – Could be a cryptic definition or a double definition, or perhaps a word for everyone followed by a word for touchy-feely, or at least touching.

4d           Car valuation regularly offered (4)
{AUTO} – Alternate letters (regularly offered) of valuation.  Excuse for piccy!

5d           Like source of energy making the gal more frisky (10)
{GEOTHERMAL} – Anagram (frisky) of THE GAL MORE.

7d           Pole, old fellow perceived of as a big beast (8)
{MASTODON} – A pole, where a flag might fly, followed by O(ld) and the an academic fellow.

8d           Mushroom mum and I swallow around lunchtime? (8)
{SHIITAKE} – Mum as in quiet, I (from the clue) and a word which can mean swallow (a pill perhaps) and then insert (around) another I for 1pm (lunchtime?) In Spain lunchtime is around 2 to 3pm so this clue don’t work for me!

11d         Effect of drunkenness that could make Ned oblivious (6,6)
{DOUBLE VISION} – Anagram (could make) of NED OBLIVIOUS

14d         Doing things to keep off drink, artist appealing to others (10)
{ATTRACTIVE} – Start with a word for doing things as in not idle and insert (to keep) the usual abbreviations for someone off the booze and an artist.

16d         Quiet agent a Communist tooled up for assignment? (8)
{PREPARED} – Quiet in musical terms, agent as in salesman, A from the clue and then the usual communist.

17d         Individual with record time raking in cash (8)
{DISTINCT} – Take a record and T(ime) and insert (raking in) a term for money.

19d         Mousy female‘s attire revealing thighs, we hear (6)
{MINNIE} – Mickey’s wife sounds like a thigh revealing skirt . Cue photo!

20d         Fish that’s hairy and ridiculous-looking? (6)
{MULLET} – This is a hairstyle that, according to the BRB, is “short at the front, long at the back and ridiculous all round”. BTW, it’s also a fish. If you don’t believe me look in the BRB!

23d         Drug helps to give them power (4)
{HEMP} – Another word for cannabis is hidden in the clue.

I think the hairstyle (20d) has to be my favourite (clue, not the hairstyle) but not a lot else to write home about.  What do you guys think?

Today’s Quickie Pun: {FEWER} + {HOARY} = {FURORE}

52 comments on “DT 27491

  1. This one took me longer than my normal average Friday solving time, and I got through the toughie in a marginally quicker time.
    Thanks to Giovanni, and to Pommers (your favourite clue needs the spellcheck :) ). My favourite clue, 11d.

  2. Needed a few of the hints to finish this puzzle so thank you to pommers for enabling me to finish it! 3*/2* for me. Just checked the hairstyle of 20d on Google… Did not know this word could also be used for a wig. Favourite clue 10a, must be because of my French roots! Many thanks to the setter.

  3. Thanks Giovanni for a barrow-load of fun and Pommers for hints to 27a and 19d which foxed me. 7d new to me and indeed the hairy aspect of 20d (this hint has letters reversed in parenthesis). ***/****. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gif

  4. I agree with Jezza that this was a tad more difficult than the usual Friday offering. Didn’t rate the 8d clue very highly but I loved 13A, 1D and 3D. 17D was last one in. Thanks to Giovanna and to Pommers for the review.

    Absolutely chucking it down here in Southern Maryland….

    1. We had it yesterday, but we needed it so badly. We even had a tornado just west of here.

      1. Rain is sorely needed here. Had a 10 minute downpour about 3 weeks ago but that’s about it since Christmas! Desertification would be the result without all the irrigation.

  5. Thanks pommers for coming to the rescue for13a.When I saw the word spooner in 15a my heart sank , but once 8d was solved 15a fell into place. My favourites were 12a and 21a.Thanks to the Don for a very pleasant tussle.

          1. Synonyms of engagement given in Collins thesaerus include:-

            participation, joining, taking part, involvement.

      1. Sorry for barging in there – I’m neither Una nor the person responsible for the hints today.

  6. Its not often that I find anything bad to say about The Don, but I didn’t really care for 14D today. As a clue it was quite good, but without the checking letters, it was very difficult to figure out the ending – ‘Doing Things’ – originally I thought ACTING, the ACTION before finally getting the right answer because I’d had an epiphany on 27A. Made a bit of a mess of the paper though, it would certainly not be accepted if it were a prize crossword.

    Rant over – the rest of the puzzle was well up to The Don’s normal standard and I was very impressed with 1A – something I never thought I’d see in a crossword.

      1. I was OK as I’d got 27a on first pass so I had the last letter in place. Just lucky I guess.

    1. Add me to the alternative endings club. Particularly unhelpful as I found the SE corner rather trickier than the rest of the grid.
      The spoonerism raised a smile when the penny dropped.

      Thanks to the Don for the challenge and to Pommers for the hints which I must admit I resorted to on this occasion out of impatience with the SE corner.

  7. Bit of a struggle today needing several hints to finish. I have not come across a clue like 13a before and, while I solved 15a with the letters, the spoonerism only dawned afterwards.
    Favourite was 8d.
    Thanks to setter and Pommers in particular! Now I can go and get a haircut!

  8. I found this pretty tricky – almost 4* difficulty and 4* for enjoyment.
    Quite a few of these made me laugh which doesn’t always happen on Fridays.
    I like Spoonerisms and reverse anagrams – I know that I’m in the minority here.
    Lots of little red blobs today so I’ll just pick a few of them – 13 and 15a and 3 and 8d. My favourite is either 19 or 20d – back in favourite place – sitting on fence!
    With thanks to Giovanni and pommers.

    I love the BRB definition of 20d but the best that I’ve found so far is the one for “duvet day”. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yahoo.gif It’s nice to know that these dictionary chaps have a sense of humour.

      1. Any Clues?

        I’m sure I’ve seen this before … but I’m still none the wiser!

  9. What a super crossword, quite restored me after yesterday’s kicking from my nemesis!
    Sorry Pommers but I love Spoonerisms so 15a was my favourite closely followed by 8d. For me it was **/****.
    Many Thx to the Don for restoring my confidence.
    And to Pommers for putting the ‘place’ in place in 22a.

  10. Thought todays was a ***/*** for enjoyment and Pommers was a bit grumpy! reverse anagrams have gained in popularity as have clues which involve substituting certain letters for new ones to get the answer, don’t mind the odd spoonerism-assume this was blighters rock- and a variety of clues is always preferable to interminable anagrams-sign of a desperate setter.

  11. Thank you DG, enjoyed that. Remembered 20d from a recent puzzle. Ťhank you Pommers for your review and hints.

  12. My rating is 4.5*/2*

    Unlike most other bloggers, I found this an unrelenting drudge today. I am sorry to say I very rarely seem to enjoy Giovanni’s puzzles. I can see that they are very clever and skillfully constructed,but they are just not my cup of tea. I don’t like to be beaten so I persevered and this ended up taking me nearly 5* time, with the SE corner taking particularly long.

    Just to show how different we all are, two rays of light for me today were 13a & 15a, which Pommers didn’t like.

    Thanks to the setter and to Pommers.

  13. Most enjoyable puzzle today. Liked 1 across especially, because I saw it straight away, without having really to think about it. We did the top three quarters quite quickly, and then slowed down and had to check one or two with the hints, but all in all a **/*** I think. Thank you Mr. Setter and Pommers.

  14. I found three quarters of this fairly straightforward but ran out of patience with / couldn’t do the SE corner and needed a couple of hints so ***/*** today for me. Thanks to both setter and pommers.

    p.s. Glad that Spoonerisms don’t crop up too often….fun concept but I find them rather inaccessible.

  15. I was so glad that Pommers gave *** rating as I found this pretty tricky, in fact, never did finish. I didn’t get 24a, 19d or 20d, but after getting the hint from Pommers I have decided that it is my favourite, isn’t it the cutest clue! Thanks to Giovanni, and to Pommers for the review and help to complete.

  16. Welcome back, pommers!

    I went severely wrong in 1a – confidently pencilled in “Gabba Gabba” – Too much cricket?

  17. I found that very difficult today .Only managed about three quarters of it without help from Mr A & the hints.

  18. Enjoyable Friday fare from The Don.

    Faves : !a,15a, 25a, 7d, 8d & 20d.

    My daughter collected me at 1PM (13.00 hrs) and we went to Katwijk on Sea where we lunched at one of the beach restaurants – they are right on the sands!. It was lovely in the sunshine. Really warm today.

    My son is down at the house in France overlooking the Gulf of St. Tropez. He and his friend got in from New York City yesterday so were getting some sleep after a much delayed flight across the Drink.

    Just a slice of sausage tonight with a glass of malt beer then raspberries.

    1. SIX favourites is pushing your luck but, as your supper sounds a little meagre, I’ll forgive you – I think.http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_unsure.gif

    2. Always a pleasure to “hear” from you Derek. Cloudy here in Peterborough but the humidity was high. Hoping the wine cellar is still well stocked, I have a few left from your previous pointers, but need more. Take care, andy

  19. Sorry Pommers, but the Spoonerism in 15a gave us the biggest laugh of the puzzle. Quite tricky we thought, took more time to complete than the Toughie. Like others, we spent a bit of time choosing the correct ending for 14d. Good puzzle.
    Thanks Giovanni and Pommers.

  20. Spoonerisms can be quite funny, like the collective noun for Bankers is a Wunch.

    i just don’t see that they really have a place in a crossword unless vey cleverly done, and I didn’t find today’s particularly amusing. You have one phrase and you switch the first letters and you get another phrase, so what’s the connection? At least Wunch of Bankers works . . Personal opinion is all.

  21. I enjoyed this one, and would score it at a trifle over 2* for difficulty. I was within an ace of drawing upon a (no doubt excellent) Pommers hint for my last in – 23d – when the penny dropped. I think 11d has to be my favourite, if only because it reminds me of one of the very few downsides of my distant youth as a Dartmouth officer under training: the ability to drink astounding quantities of alcohol (and then suffer this most unpleasant side-effect!). Thank you Giovanni, and of course Pommers.

    1. Sounds like most junior officers downsides. Dad was a tiff and never seemed to have any problems with quantities of alcohol

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