DT 27497 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 27497

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 27497

Hints and tips by Gazza

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

All four of the mini-puzzles today seemed to me to be of average difficulty. I’d love to hear your views, especially if you’re one of our many lurkers who have not yet introduced yourself. It doesn’t matter if you’ve been doing cryptic crosswords for eighty years or you only started this week – once you’ve taken the plunge and sent your first comment you’ll enjoy our fairly civilised chat and banter, interspersed with a bit of crossword-related information.
You can see an actual answer by highlighting what’s concealed between the brackets under the relevant clue.

Across Clues

1a Outlaw supporting writer (9)
{PROSCRIBE} – a preposition meaning in support of followed by an old word for a writer.

9a Drowning in drink is a very small animal (6)
{BEAVER} – insert (drowning) A and the abbreviation (small) of very into an alcoholic beverage. Thanks to stanXYZ for improving my wordplay.

10a Terribly late, one certain to be taking one’s time (2,7)
{AT LEISURE} – string together an anagram (terribly) of LATE, the Roman numeral for one and a synonym for certain.

11a Knight hiding hesitation when approaching a mountain range (6)
{SIERRA} – the title of a knight contains an expression of hesitation, then add A (from the clue).

12a The female copper — thin or big and strong? (9)
{HERCULEAN} – a charade of the objective form of a female pronoun, the chemical symbol for copper and an adjective meaning thin or skinny.

13a Heathens making vessels with silver lining (6)
{PAGANS} – lining here refers to the lining of a garment, i.e. what goes inside it, so put the chemical symbol for silver inside some kitchen vessels.

17a Cut not all of the wood (3)
{HEW} – hidden (not all of) in the clue.

19a Near wild ocelots (5,2)
{CLOSE TO} – an anagram (wild) of OCELOTS.

20a Henry, king presumably resting old weapon (7)
{HALBERD} – start with a nickname for Henry as used in Shakespeare’s historical plays. Someone resting may be presumed to be ‘in ***’ so insert one of the abbreviations for king into where they are presumed to be.

21a Precise removal of article from cart (3)
{DRY} – the answer means precise or formal. Remove an indefinite article from a cart used for heavy goods, especially barrels of beer.

23a Youngster is very quiet when external control is brought back (6)
{NIPPER} – reverse the control used for a horse (or for a small child beginning to walk) and put it around (external) the musical abbreviation for very quiet.

27a Lacking discipline, silly nude catches puff-puff (9)
{UNTRAINED} – an anagram (silly) of NUDE contains what a young child may call a puff-puff. Do children still say puff-puff in these days when there’s no smoke to be seen?

28a Customary practice of Spiritualists (6)
{RITUAL} – hidden (of) in the clue.

29a Rodent in yellow vessel hidden in wood (9)
{PORCUPINE} – the heraldic term for yellow and a drinking vessel go inside (hidden in) a kind of soft timber.

30a Church book, we hear, is one for preservation (6)
{SALTER} – this sounds like a book of psalms but it’s someone who preserves food (especially in the days before refrigeration).

31a Never giving up in ascents proving tricky (9)
{INCESSANT} – an anagram (proving tricky) of IN ASCENTS.

Down Clues

2d It’s dreadful ascending hill — number will stay at bottom (6)
{ROTTEN} – reverse (ascending, in a down clue) a rocky hill and place a decimal number beneath it.

3d Supper’s beginning with fish smell (6)
{STENCH} – the first letter of supper is followed by a freshwater fish.

4d Issue that troubles Ulster (6)
{RESULT} – an anagram (troubles) of ULSTER gives a word meaning issue in the sense of outcome.

5d Torrent of anger in the pub? (7)
{BARRAGE} – cryptically, when split (3,4), this could be anger in a pub.

6d Anger against topsy-turvy board is genuine (9)
{VERITABLE} – put together a word for anger or rage and the abbreviation meaning against (in a sports fixture, say) and reverse what you have (topsy-turvy, in a down clue). Now add a board or work surface.

7d Open cut bled too much? (9)
{OVERTAXED} – a charade of an adjective meaning open or unconcealed and a verb meaning cut or scrapped means bled too much or sucked dry by the demands of the Chancellor.

8d Bus blocking us out where it’s parked? Verbal abuse results (9)
{BROADSIDE} – remove (blocking out) US from BUS and add where a bus (or any other motor vehicle) may be parked.

14d Writer of dramatic script needing exceptional actress in (9)
{SCENARIST} – this is a seldom-used word (well, I’ve never used it) for someone who produces a written outline of a play or film. It’s an anagram (exceptional) of ACTRESS IN.

15d Little fellow trapped in house expresses scorn for medical facilities (9)
{HOSPITALS} – put a shortened male name inside (trapped in) the abbreviation for house and a verb meaning expresses scorn or splutters angrily.

16d Specially financed party set up and getting on (9)
{LEVERAGED} – this is a business term referring to an asset purchased using borrowed capital with the hope that the profits from the asset will cover the interest due on the loan. Reverse (set up, in a down clue) a word for a party or merrymaking and add an adjective meaning getting on (in years).

17d Have to spend pounds for builder’s item (3)
{HOD} – start with a verb to have or possess and spend or shed the single letter abbreviation for pounds.

18d Question of puzzlement from character becoming audible (3)
{WHY} – this sounds like (becoming audible) one of the letters of the alphabet.

22d Managed to talk at length in Asian city (7)
{RANGOON} – a charade of a verb meaning managed and to talk at length (2,2).

24d Wise person‘s spoken with energy about origin of capitalism (6)
{ORACLE} – an adjective meaning spoken or verbal and E(nergy) contain the original letter of capitalism.

25d Dropout having year off with huge animals in the wild (6)
{HIPPOS} – a dropout (especially one from the 1960s) without the Y(ear) followed by the abbreviation for huge in clothing sizes.

26d Writer with name on flag (6)
{PENNON} – string together a writing implement, N(ame) and ON (from the clue).

My clue of the day is the excellent 7d. What’s yours?

Today’s Quickie Pun: {TERRACE} + {TRUCK} = {TERROR-STRUCK}

50 comments on “DT 27497

  1. With that grid it was a “game of four quarters” to misquote David Coleman. NW/SE/SW/NE in that order.

    But not too difficult so into 1.5+ time, delayed by 16d and certainly **** for enjoyment

    7d has to be favourite. Kept trying to think of a four letter word to do with blood until the penny dropped after the misdirection. One of the reasons I don’t live in the UK anymore!

    Thanks to setter and Gazza

  2. 9a – Far be it for me to disagree with gazza … but isn’t the definition simply “animal”.

    Doesn’t “small” indicate an abbreviation of very. How big are Beavers? Ooh Err Missus!

    1. I think you’re right, Stan. It’s not the first time I’ve been tripped up by small and very.

  3. Hi I’m guilty of being a lurker! I’ve been doing crosswords since age 11 but attempted the DT on and off for about five years. I used to get very frustrated when I got stuck but now with your hints I’ve managed to finish it practically every day and am very happy! Thank you so much. I’m even getting into the Toughie. Sometimes it occurs to me that solving these bizarre clues is a total waste of time (as is Victor Meldew in a classic episode) but the sense of satisfaction outweighs the effort.

    1. Welcome to the blog Judy. Now that you’ve delurked I hope that we’ll hear from you on a regular basis.

    2. Hello Judy,

      I lurked for a while, it’s nicer to be ‘out’. Welcome.

      I enjoy a number of things about doing the DT crossword, learning new words, sharing thoughts, asking for help and very occasionally being able to complete one without being wholly reliant on hints and tips.

      I aspire to get there one day but still very newbie.

    3. Welcome from me too and well done for summoning the courage to de-lurk – don’t know how long it took you but I remember it taking me months.
      I wonder how many more will “come out” today – last time gazza suggested it there were lots of newcomers.

    4. Watch out, Judy! The blog quickly becomes a compulsion in itself, and you can’t bear not to read it. Then – even if you didn’t get round to doing the puzzle in question – you can’t rest until you’ve done that as well. I speak from experience, having de-lurked a few months ago.

  4. Agree with the ***/*** careful reading of the clues essential-like scrutinising an exam paper before rushing headlong into the answer ! Good variety of clues to keep you on your toes , Thought the 3 letter clues in the centre were a tad tricky, thanks Gazza for the explanation to 17d,my reasoning was H for HAVE followed by OD for OverDrawn- resulting from having spent pounds ! soon be beer and curry time.

  5. Got bogged down in the NE corner / puzzle and needed the hints to sort it out. Other than that I found it reasonably straightforward and enjoyable – would go with ***/*** . Re: 27a – I assumed it was something to do with a train but I’m not sure that I’ve ever heard it referred to as a”Puff-Puff” (maybe in my early childhood..??) and my daughter has certainly never alluded to one as such (we’re 41 & 9 respectively).
    Thanks to the setter and to Gazza for the excellent hints.

  6. Tough today but very enjoyable except that I would perhaps take issue with dry for precise and I thought that despite the answer being obvious i thought 15d more than a little contrived. Took ages trying to work out 17d, never thought of hold!
    Had to look up 30a, not come across that book before, I’ve started a list of these arcane religious terms so I can refer to them in future.
    Best clue for me was 12a with hon mention for 25d. New word as well in 14d so really good value from the Don.
    Thx to Gazza for the explanation of the v in 6d and to the Don.

  7. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/smiley-phew.gif Oh dear, for the umpteenth time this week! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_sad.gif
    Having finally finished this one I have to agree with gazza’s 3* for both difficulty and enjoyment but it felt trickier than that at the time.
    I was not so much tripped up but tipped overboard with both the hidden answers – didn’t notice 28a until the very end and I had “ash” for 17a – it was wood and not all of “gash” – it took me a long time to see what I’d done.
    I’ve never heard of that meaning of 16d (my last answer) and didn’t know that a 29a was a rodent. I’ve also never heard of 14d.
    I could go on but, for once, I won’t.
    I liked 12a and 3 and 8d. My favourite was 7d.
    With thanks to Giovanni and gazza.

    1. . . . and now I’ve to put it a load of squiggly numbers before the beast would let me post my comment – it really isn’t my day! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_cry.gif
      I wonder if it will do it again . . .

    2. Agree again with you, Kath. This was pretty difficult today for us and we needed quite a lot of assistance. Certainly 14 down does not appear in any of my conversations and I’ve never heard of 20 across. So it’s at least ***/ *** for us today. Thank you to the setter and to Gazza.http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_unsure.gifhttp://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_unsure.gif

  8. 2.5*/3.5* for me. Favs were 7d and 12a. Although I had the right answer to 17a, I did not realise it was hidden in the clue. Thx to all.

  9. Agree ***|*** enjoyable puzzle liked 12 across ,back to the web -cams at Dyfi & Loch of the Lowes to watch the ospreys, till the rain stops if it does .Thanks to Gazza &setter

  10. nice to know others dislike these grids too (mini puzzles). NW was my last, I completed without realising 17a was hidden. I liked 5d (kinda like road rage). never heard of 20a but the wordplay was fine. Puff puff sounds like a cigarette; maybe chop chop was too much of a giveaway.

    how are people arriving at the star ratings? not sure when I should rate ** or ***.

  11. I was relieved to find this a very joyful exercise after yesterday’s horror and agree with 7d as fav. **/****. Thanks Giovanni and Gazza. Quickie pun also quite amusing. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gif

  12. Gentle but very enjoyable from Giovanni, my thanks to him and to Gazza for the hints. The Elgar toughie is very reasonable today.

  13. I felt I had moved into a parallel universe today and couldn’t get on wavelength at all. Despite considerable perseverance, I needed Gazza’s help to solve an embarrasingly large number of the clues, and I really didn’t enjoy this at all. My rating is 4*/1*.

    Roll on tomorrow!

    Thanks to the setter and to Gazza.

  14. Good one, and quite straightforward for me. 14D last one in because I initially wanted to fit an anagram for script in the answer. Liked 29A but 7D made me laugh. Thanks to Giovanni and to Gazza for the review. Now back to the Toughie…

  15. I agree with the ratings. Thx Gazza for a couple of explanations that I struggled with.

    I knew the word in 20 but it took me a while to see the ‘resting’ bit. Was it that the king (r) was IN (bed)? If so, clever!

    I admire (without much pleasure) the number of misdirections today. Giovanni not letting us off easy…..

    1. Yes – resting is IN BED, so the R (king) goes in BED. Difficult to hint without spelling out the words.

  16. Very enjoyable , although the south east corner was quite troublesome.favourites 12a and 30a.Thanks to all concerned .

  17. Very enjoyable and a bit taxing. I learnt three new words 20a, 14d and 26d, not sure if I’ll ever have to use them

    Thank you Giovanni for taxing my brain and Gazza for helping me understand the clues


  18. I was pretty well on wavelength today so give it ** for difficulty. Funny how different we all are. I needed the hint to know why my 17d and 15d were correct, so thanks Gazza. So many clues to like but my fave was 30a, with honorable mention to 7d, 29a (I, too, didn’t know it was a rodent, Kath) and 1a. Thanks to Giovanni for the morning’s entertainment.


    1. I once heard something on the radio about a man in North America who rang the police to say that he had a porcupine in his basement. They suggested laying a trail of apples to an open door. A few hours later he rang them again to say that he now had two porcupines in his basement! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_smile.gif

  19. I went completely off piste. Saw the words yellow vessel and wrote in submarine,

  20. Thanks to Giovanni for an excellent puzzle very enjoyable and very mischievous. Thanks to Gazza for the hints which I used a little today. I like these grids there are eighteen clues that do not give a starting letter so we have to think a bit harder. Last night on The Roseland tonight. Dinner at The Tresanton Hotel. Home tomorrow via Cardiff where I am treating Saint Sharon to a seat at The Heineken Cup Final Toulon Vs Saracens..

    1. Lucky you! We shall watch the rugby match on French Television – we live part of the year in Hyeres outside Toulon. Easy to guess who we support!

  21. Enjoyed today’s but was stuck on 7d and 8d so needed Gazza’s hints – many thanks for those. Like Kath missed the hidden clue for 17a but had guessed the word correctly! Favourite clue was 9a. For me 2.5*/4*. Thanks to Giovanni for a very enjoyable start of my day.

  22. I stared off thinking “Wow this is easy today for a Giovanni” .More fool I .The last five took me ages . Like Kath had ash in for 17a ,and the same reasoning,but quickly realised my mistake ,but only on reading the hints did I realise it was hidden in the clue. Blind or what?? Never heard of 14 d ,therefore hesitated to put it in. Didn’t know 16d or 26d. Enjoyable stuff though my favourite being 12a. Thanks to Giovanni &gazza.

  23. I thought it was the hardest one for ages, and only just managed to finish without help. Not so much 3* as 4.5. (Must be my brain going!)
    Thanks Gazza and setter.

  24. Not sure if I’m de-lurking as I’ve posted before, but a while ago. This was a ****/* for me, to match the pouring rain and my stinking cold, hopefully better tomorrow in all respects! Three obscure words (20A, 26D, 14D) precludes a solution if you don’t have a dictionary at hand.

    1. Welcome back, Kermit. Your last comment was almost 2 years ago – I hope we won’t have to wait another two years for your next one. :D

      1. Thanks, Gazza, have been lurking for 2 years then, I always check the blog, even if I’ve managed to solve without hints. It must be a wavelength thing today. :-/

  25. We gave a little groan when we saw the grid with 4 mini puzzles. However, as it turned out, that did not cause us any solving problems. Took us a little longer than average with lots of well written clues along the way. It must be a day for big animals as we have one in 25d and a similar sized one with a horn in the Toughie. Good fun.
    Thanks Giovanni and Gazza.

  26. Thanks to the two G’s. A very nice offering from the Don. Was like four puzzles in one due to the grid. Just needed the hints to parse 17d, although I had the answer from the other three clues. New words in 14&26d. Favourite was 22d, reminded of the Goon Show. Last but one was 16d, and last was 28a, these two took me ages. Was 3*/4* for me. Off to the Squash Finals tomorrow .

  27. Thank you DG I found that hard, not helped by the grid. Managed 3 corners before having to attend a long lunch and then being unable to unravel the NE corner until this morning. The grid and usual offering of obscure words made it all rather hard work for me. Thanks Gazza for your review and hints which I needed to check some answers.

  28. Needed help today-must be onset of dementia 16d and 29a being most difficult. Thanks for explanations. 14d a new word for me and it would have helped a lot if I’d spelt 20a correctly with an E
    Nvertheless most enjoyble

  29. I ran into the sand on this last night, with a huge void in the SW corner. Completed over a culpa this morning, as gentle rain fell on an already lush East Cornwall. Getting close to 4* by my reckoning, with some very nicely constructed clues. 16d was my favourite. Thank you Giovanni, and thank you Gazza.

  30. I enjoyed this very much and thought there were some lovely clues. The three I liked most were 12a, 20a, and 29a.

    Despite having the answer to 28a, I didn’t spot it was hidden in the clue. I had the five first letters and the checking letters of 7d, but still couldn’t get the answer; and 16d was similar. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_sad.gif Glad to say, I had no other problems.

    Thank you very much, Giovanni for the four quartets.http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_rose.gif And many grateful thanks to Gazza for enlightening my foggy mind.http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_rose.gif

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