DT 27503 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 27503

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 27503

Hints and tips by Deep Threat

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

Bonjour from Camping La Garenne at St Laurent du Pape in the Ardèche. I’m sitting outside typing this on a beautiful sunny morning. The site WiFi is a bit slow, so no illustrations today.

It may just be that I’m on holiday and out of practice, but I found today’s Giovanni quite tricky, with some unusual spellings thrown in, plus a grid that meant that each corner was quite isolated. Definitely *** difficulty.

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           A hundred animals devouring odd items of food (8)
{ CRUMPETS } Put a word for odd between the Roman numeral for a hundred and the sort of animals you might have in your home.

5a           Friend trapped in Asian country — where this was used destructively (6)
{ NAPALM } A friend put inside an abbreviation used by GIs for the Asian country where they were using the answer to this clue to set fire to the jungle and anybody in it.

9a           Member of teenage group changing style with diffidence (8)
{ MODESTLY } A member of a 1960s youth grouping (they weren’t Rockers) followed by an anagram (changing) of STYLE.

10a         Relation needing a bit of money to cross America (6)
{ COUSIN } An abbreviation for America inside a small piece of money.

12a         One insect’s nipped ten goats (6)
{ IBEXES } The Roman numeral for one followed by an insect (plus the ‘s from the clue) with the Roman numeral for ten inside it.

13a         Rebuke sounded in Midlands university’s accommodation (8)
{ KEELHAUL } This rebuke – originally a naval punishment – sounds like a Staffordshire university (or a service area on the M6!) and some student accommodation.

15a         Thus little woman needs vessel for short stay (7)
{ SOJOURN } Put together a word for thus, one of the characters in Little Women, and a vessel or jar.

16a         God gets place of the Egyptians overthrown (4)
{ ZEUS } This Greek god is also a reversal of a place in Egypt with a canal.

20a         Cheat and criminal getting caught out — put in bird (4)
{ ROOK } Two definitions: to cheat, or the name of a bird. Also a word for a criminal with the initial C removed (caught out).

21a         When to resign? Hard for a PM (7)
{ ASQUITH } Put together a word for when, the tabloid press synonym for ‘resign’, and the letter found on a hard pencil, to get an early 20th-century Prime Minister.

25a         Island that could give us energy supply (8)
{ GUERNSEY } Anagram (supply, as in the adverbial form of ‘supple’) of US ENERGY.

26a         One losing heart, dejected inside, recently (2,4)
{ OF LATE } Remove the middle letter (losing heart) from O(N)E and replace it with a word meaning dejected or discouraged.

28a         Awful crack gathering dust (6)
{ TRASHY } A sort of dust – perhaps the residue of a fire – inside a crack or attempt.

29a         Bottle tramp wrapped in lots of paper (8)
{ REHOBOAM } An American tramp inside a word for 500 sheets of paper, giving a large wine bottle.

30a         The countryside turning brown by northern river (6)
{ NATURE } Reverse (turning) a word for brown, and add a river in North Yorkshire.

31a         Gang — it may go by rail for criminal activity (8)
{ BANDITRY } Put together a gang or group, IT (from the clue) and an abbreviation for railway.


1d           Spice plant makin’ progress, from what we hear (6)
{ CUMMIN } This sounds like (from what we hear) a word for makin’ progress or arrivin’. This is not a spelling of the spice which I am used to seeing.

2d           International organisation suffers things best hidden in polite society? (6)
{ UNDIES } The top-level international organisation, followed by the ultimate suffering.

3d           Out-of-date academic died (6,2)
{ PASSED ON } A French term meaning out of date, followed by a university academic.

4d           Give away secrets in hotel lounge (4)
{ TELL } Hidden in the clue.

6d           Good-looker‘s mission that was out of this world (6)
{ APOLLO } Double definition: a Greek god famed for his appearance; and a US space mission.

7d           Twit belonging to the upper classes matured and softened (8)
{ ASSUAGED } Put together a twit or fool, the letter signifying ‘upper-class’, and a word for matured or ripened.

8d           Be more laid back, stupid! (8)
{ MINDLESS } When split (4,4) this could be an instruction to be more laid back or not so concerned.

11d         The group of us facing a defeat get utterly tired (4,3)
{ WEAR OUT } The pronoun for ‘the group of us’ followed by A (from the clue) and a comprehensive defeat.

14d         The woman secluded by trees made a sibilant sound (7)
{ WOOSHED } Put the pronoun for ‘the woman’ inside a group of trees. Again, this is not a spelling I’m used to.

17d         Alarm should be loud? Correct! (8)
{ FRIGHTEN } The definition is a verb. The musical symbol for loud followed by an unusual form of a verb for ‘correct’.

18d         One gets upset during awful frost — was it this? (8)
{ FORECAST } Reverse (upset, in a Down clue) the word for a ‘one’ in a pack of cards, and put it inside an anagram (awful) of FROST.

19d         Town employees north of ring road (8)
{ STAFFORD } A generic term for employees of a business followed by a ring-shaped letter and an abbreviation for road, giving the county town of my home county.

22d         One part of plant or a second lacking oxygen (6)
{ ANTHER } Remove the O (lacking oxygen) from a word meaning a second or an alternative.

23d         Pussy clawing very little men in frolic (6)
{ CAVORT } Very and the abbreviation for soldiers who are not officers, placed inside the animal commonly known as pussy.

24d         Becoming wily when penning English, this writer flipped (6)
{ SEEMLY } Take a pronoun used to describe ‘this writer’ and English, reverse the whole lot and put the result inside a word for wily.

27d         A jewel has turned up — it’s enormous (4)
{ MEGA } Reverse (turned up) an expression (1,3) for ‘ a jewel’.

The Quick Crossword pun { PARLEY }{ MEANT } = { PARLIAMENT }

63 comments on “DT 27503

  1. Rating 3*/2*.

    I spotted this was a pangram but too late to help me with my unfinished clues as by the time I realised it I had already had all 26 letters in place.

    As usual for me on a Friday I found this rather a dull slog, with the bottom half harder than the top. I thought 13a was horribly obscure and, although I don’t usually mind homophones, 1d was a dreadful example – I have only ever heard the first syllable pronounced as “Q” but I suppose someone somewhere must say it so it rhymes with “sum”.

    Why does 20a need put in bird? Surely the clue works perfectly without it?

    Thanks to the setter and to DT for the hints.

  2. Thanks to Giovanni and to DT for an excellent crossword and review, I too am sitting outside in glorious sunshine but only in my lovely Scotland. Toughie today is again very do-able.

  3. I found this quite straightforward today, with no particular clue that I liked enough to make note of. I, too, thought 1D was horrible. I dislike alternative spellings in crosswords anyway. They always seem to me to be a bit desperate. 25A was the last one in because I was slow to spot the anagram and I’m more inclined to think ‘warm and sunny’ when it comes to islands. Thanks to the setter and to DT for taking time from vacation to review.

  4. Hello everyone – I was glad to find others struggling a little bit and I definitely found the bottom half more difficult. So pleased to have got there finally. Poppy, Mr P and I have been having a lot of adventures recently, not all fun, but are so glad to be back with you all once more. And we’re being taken to Glyndebourne tomorrow for a first ever visit, so DJ is pressed, and excitement looms. Hope you all have a good weekend.

    1. Hope you have a wonderful time at Glyndebourne and that the rain holds off. I haven’t been for many years, but we did get to do the “wine/picnic on the grass” thing. Does that still happen?

      1. Yes, the Glyndebourne picnic by the lake thing does indeed still happen but these days with the new opera house there are several covered areas where one can picnic “in the dry” and also a choice of different restaurants if you don’t want to risk it. Sad that George Christie has recently died but his son, Gus, carries on the family tradition with this unique summer festival.

    2. Very nice to see you back here, Poppy. I hope you enjoy Glyndebourne and that the weather is at least half decent. Many years ago some friends of ours went. He was, and as far as I know still is, a pipe smoker. In the interval he lit his pipe and wandered around for a while. When they went back in he put his pipe in the top pocket of his DJ. Half way through the second bit his jacket went up in smoke and the whole place was evacuated!

      1. I was a pipe smoker for many years (until I kicked the habit) and am quite familiar with the phenomenon of burning clothing. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_smile.gif

        1. I just love the smell of a pipe – it reminds me of my Dad so much. I dog walk (well wobble these days – the restriction is dog not me!) with a pipe smoker – whether I walk ahead or behind him depends on the direction of the wind.

    3. Welcome back, Poppy, we missed you. I, too, found this very tricky, particularly left-hand bottom. Enjoy Glyndebourne, I had friends who used to go every year and loved it.

  5. Thanks DT for the review as I certainly needed it. I found this horse work. Too many clues taken from the awkward corner of the clue cupboard which means enjoyment is minimal. I would rate this as ****/* I have my ticket for the final at Twickenham tomorrow so I know Saturday will be a better day.

  6. Yes, it was a slog and at least ***

    I never did get 29a. I suppose I could have looked it up but I assumed there would be a hint for the more common bottle beg with J.
    I don’t mind admitting I had a few crossings out after thinking better of some of my attempts.

    I did get some masochistic pleasure from the struggle though.

    I thought 5a was altogether clever. I guess some veterans ( see what I did there?) will have seen that one before but I hadn’t.
    Thx DT!

    1. I did look it up.

      That’s 4.5 litres.http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/icon_eek.gif.or….as Tony Hancock might have said…….. An entire bodyful.

  7. I struggled with this, as is usual for a Friday – needed a few hints for the NE corner an a couple elsewhere. Still reasonably enjoyable however. Thanks to DT for the hints that were most useful in places and to Giovanni ****/2.5*

  8. Boy oh boy, this one was if anything harder than yesterday’s puzzle, and we had to use the hints for nearly all of the down clues before attempting the across ones. Could never have done it in a month of Sundays. Are you sure this wasn’t a Toughie in disguise. I will however thank the setter because it’s not his fault if I can’t do it, though it doesn’t help to have alternative spellings, and I’ll definitely thank DT. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_sad.gif

    1. Sheila I reckon you have hit the nail on the head and they got the envelopes mixed up! I found the Toughie eminently solvable in comparison!

  9. I agree with most of what has already been said. 3* plus some for difficulty and 3* enjoyment.
    I expect to find Fridays tricky – today was no exception to “Kath’s rule”.
    I never did get 13a or 6d – if I’d been able to get one I might have got the other, but probably not.
    I’ve never heard of lots of things in this crossword – the abbreviation for Vietnam, the 13a university or the spelling of the 1d spice.
    I think the setters are getting very policital – yesterday Ray T was trying to see off Hollande and today Giovanni is doing the same with David Cameron!
    I liked 12a (although I would have spelt it differently) and 3d. I thought 22d was clever and that was my favourite.
    With thanks to Giovanni and to Deep Threat – I hope you carry on enjoying your holiday and make the most of the sun – we haven’t got any here.

      1. Just looked in BRB. My first thought would have been ibices but ibexes and ibex are all recognised plurals so you’re right about the sheep!

    1. I read the mixture of sense and nonsense on this site with a mixture of appreciation and irritation — you cannot please all the people all the time. On balance one must be grateful that free speech is possible and that many newcomers find help in parsing and understanding clues — and that a few even like to extend their vocabulary. But I fear that the normally sensible Kath has come into the nonsense/irritation zone today. My clue for ASQUITH was a generalisation and had nothing whatever to do with any particular occupant of No 10.

      1. I’m pleased that you think I’m normally sensible but sorry that I’ve come into the nonsense zone and have irritated you. My comment was only meant light- heartedly and seemed to follow on nicely and balance Ray T’s 25A yesterday.
        I didn’t mean to offend you in any way. Please accept my apologies if I have done so.

        1. PS I think that the mixture of sense and nonsense and generally good natured banter is what makes this blog as good as it is. Long live BD et al. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gif

      2. I agree that Kath’s remark was purely tongue-in-cheek and intended no malice whatsoever. I hope you realise this and are no longer offended. Even though I found your puzzle very difficult and could not finish, I enjoyed what I did manage to solve. You give some cracking clues.

      3. My goodness. How very unpleasant and disappointing it is to see the setter singling out an individual who contributes a great deal of positive comment to this blog for a public dressing down. I don’t see any ‘nonsense’ in any of the comments, including Kath’s, merely individual opinions and observations. When you put your work out into a public forum, you have to expect some criticism. That’s the nature of the beast.

  10. ***/*** for me. Particularly found SW difficult. Didn’t spot 25a was an anagram even when had guessed the answer from checking letters! All of which means i found completing this very satisfying, so thanks to Giovanni and DT, of whom I’m only slightly jealous of being in the Ardeche.PS I also found the Quickie didn’t live up to its name!

  11. Tough one for me too. The setter and I are clearly not on the same wave length! 1d seems to be universally disliked – easy to guess but the clue makes no sense if your pronounce it correctly.

    1. My pet hate is when people leave out the first R in turmeric, in both spelling AND pronunciation.
      I know it’s supposed to be an alternative but it grates on me.

  12. This was OK (or should I say all righten?) Why has my computer underlined “righten” with a red squiggle?

  13. Quite a tedious drudge today and somewhat joyless ,not much of a wow factor for me-maybe its the weather, at least a *** and I suppose a**,wanted to put Adonis for 6d as had the a and o, thought 13a had something to do with hall but didn’t associate the answer with rebuke. Anyway Friday is beer and curry night so something to look forward to.

  14. I found it very difficult indeed and I won’t bore you with the number of hints I used.I thought it was because of various worries but not completely, it seems.
    I thought 15a and 21a very clever.And 11d.
    Thanks Giovanni and DT.

  15. First in was 5a – that was a dreadful war!

    Faves : 5a, 13a, 21a, 25a, 1d, 6d, 14d & 22d.

    For 3d – Il faut penser en francais..

  16. *****|o today can,t get into this at all when it,s this bad don,t look at clues .well done to all who solved with no help . 5ac horrible stuff.

  17. Definitely thrown by the spelling of some answers although got there in the end without tips.
    Interestingly, when i Googled wooshed (and my spell checker has just underlined the word) it asked if I meant woodshed!

  18. Really difficult solve today, and, as above, I never did finish bottom left-hand corner except for 20a. Words like 29a I worked out and looked up, never heard it before but thankfully we have dictionaries. I agree with all of you, 1d was a rotten clue … whoever says cumin like that? I put 13a in because it fit with the letters I had and it meant “rebuke”, but the other bits were obscure. We won’t even mention 14d. Favourite 15a with honourable mention to 21a. Thanks to Giovanni and DT for review and helping me finish.

  19. I’m with Sheila P again (and others) – I simply couldn’t get to grips with this Giovanni horror at all. Struggled with 1d, 13a, 28a, 14d, 22d and 24d so resorted to hints for all of these – thanks Deep Threat. ****/**. Presumably tomorrow’s prize puzzle will not be quite so taxing after two difficult days. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_unsure.gif

  20. I think Beaver described exactly how I found this today ,a joyless tedious drudge. I ‘ve never seen 1d spelt like that or pronounced like that and I had the wrong bottle in although it didn’t make sense. So all in all quite a relief to find it wasn’t just me. Thanks to DT for your help.

  21. To complete Giovanni’s puzzle, I really needed a lot of DT’s hints today – thank you for those and very noble of you to produce this review when on holiday! A lot of us needed it. ****/**for me. Favourite clue was 5a. Looking forward to an easier puzzle for tomorrow….

  22. Me to Michael to obscure by far thanks DT without you would never have finished ,which adds up to total failure

  23. The last two to go in were 13a and 6d, probably because we initially wanted to put Adonis in 6d. We know that it is always a good idea to have BRB close to hand on a Friday and we enjoy exploring new words. We did spot the pangram. All the UK references were familiar today too. Enjoyable solving for us.
    Thanks Giovanni and DT.

    1. BRB stands for Big Red Book. This is The Chambers dictionary which is the standard reference for Telegraph puzzles.

  24. Buene notte from Sorrento. Thanks DG totally defeated. Spent the whole flight wrestling with this and couldn’t finish it. Needed the hints – so thanks DT for the explanations.

  25. I stared blankly at this one for about 5 mins, looking for a way in, and then spotted 21a. After that, things went reasonably smoothly. 3*/3* for me, and 24d my favourite. Thanks to Giovanni, and to DT for the review.

  26. I too have found this a struggle but that makes is so much better than a read and write puzzle. I so look forward to the weeks where Ray t and Giovanni appear together. Yesterdays puzzle was a slog with each answer having to be teased out from the clue. Today’s is the same and much more enjoyable for it. i still have seven to solve and will plod away when I get a spare minute or two. I could say that I find ascending Scafell and Ben Nevis to be a bit of a slog but well worth the effort and so much more satisfying than a stroll up the 300 feet or so of Walsgrave Hill in Warwickshire. It has passed Beer O Clock. The sun is over the yardarm and I am off to raise my right arm several times over.

  27. Finished at last. I made the same assumption as the Kiwis which threw me.

    Liked 3d very much.

    A nice challenge.

    Thank you Giovanni and DT

  28. Back to the grind. 28ac has just fell. What a wonderful clue. So clever yet so obscure. Well done Don. anagramacise (is that a word) those three words if you can

  29. Thanks to Giovanni and to Deep Threat for the review and hints. An absolute beast of a puzzle, but I enjoyed the challenge. At first I could only get about half a dozen answers, but persevered, and ended up five short. Had to resort to the hints to get these. Was defeated by the setter’s skill on all. Very good puzzle. Favourite was 29a. Couldn’t get 9&28a and 2,18&22d. Also missed it was a pangram, was 4*/3* for me, and ended a run of 8 completions including one Toughie. I hope my comments don’t fall into the Don’s nonsense category :-)

  30. Really hard.
    Not so much the wrong envelope, perhaps the wrong paper, should be “The Times”
    Two to go, 13a and 18d.
    I never give up!.

  31. Wow! Needed 6 hints to finish & this on a Friday :-( Too tough for me plus a couple of niggles:

    Why the “A” to start 1 across? Surely that implies the word starts with “ac”?

    13 across a “rebuke”? That’s a bit like calling a crucifixion a good wigging, or hanging drawing & quartering as a severe dressing down!

    1. 13a – apparently, according to most dictionaries, it is a harsh rebuke.
      New to me as well.
      1a – it is just that to start with ie a hundred.
      Many thanks to Giovanni, of course, and DT but chuffed not used.

  32. Got all bar KEELHALL,so had to check answer here.I enjoyed this one though the Don is not my favourite setter.

  33. Very late, but in case anyone is reading….tough but mostly do-able, thanks to setter and hinter, and I would like to say that I pronounce 1d as the clue indicated, as do many of my Asian friends who cook with it!

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