DT 27520 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 27520

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 27520

Hints and tips by pommers

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ***

Hola from the Vega Baja. I quite enjoyed this puzzle but I know some of you will disagree. There seems to be more than the usual fiddling about with first and/or last letters and bits of words and a few slightly obscure meanings of words. Still, a pleasant accompaniment to the morning cuppa.

Definitions are underlined in the clues. The ones I like most are in blue and the answers can be seen by highlighting the space between the curly brackets. 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           Having become suddenly interested, son exercises (3-3)
{SIT UPS} – A phrase meaning to become interested (often followed by ‘and take notice’) and then S(on) will give you some exercises for the abdominal muscles.

4a           In pairs, making four (3,2,3)
{TWO BY TWO} – This is the way the animals went on to Noah’s ark. If treated as a mathematical function it would indeed make four.

10a         Concealed, group meeting after reverend’s last service (6,3)
{DINNER SET} – Start with D (reverenD’s last) and follow (after) with a word for concealed or secret and then a group of people. Split that lot (6,3) and you get a service as in some crockery.  I think the word MEETING is just there for the surface.

11a         Rex lends a hand in more than one attack (5)
{RAIDS} – R(ex) followed by a word meaning lends a hand or helps.

12a         Wilt, when lead’s lost, causing anxiety (7)
{ANGUISH} – A word for wilt or waste away without its first letter (when lead’s lost).

13a         Jinx a reportedly spent figure (7)
{HEXAGON} – A jinx or spell followed by A (from the clue) and then three letters which aren’t a word but if pronounced (reportedly) sound like a word meaning spent or used up will give a six sided figure.

14a         One identifies bishop and rook pocketed by small child (5)
{MITRE} – R(ook) inserted into (pocketed by) a small child.

15a         Money to come by sheer fine wool (8)
{CASHMERE} – Some money followed by a word which can mean sheer.

18a         The polar winds in abundance (8)
{PLETHORA} – Anagram (winds) of THE POLAR.

20a         Card, king, Welshman rejected (5)
{KNAVE} – Abbreviation for King followed by a reversal (rejected) of a Welsh man’s name.

23a         Old lady’s pet dog (7)
{MASTIFF} – Read this wordplay as ‘mother’s spat’ and you’ll probably spot the rather large dog!  This could be an all-in-one as there’s bound to be an elderly lady somewhere who keeps one of these!

25a         Something like a crane‘s terribly bad rust (7)
{BUSTARD} – A bird like a crane is an anagram (terribly) of BAD RUST.

26a         Sound cheerful after opener’s dismissed (5)
{RIGHT} – Sound as in correct. A word for cheerful without its first letter (opener’s dismissed).

27a         Involved in endless attempts to catch pet (9)
{INTRICATE} – Involved as in complicated. Start with IN (from the clue) then a word for attempts without the last letter (endless) and insert (to catch) a pet, an animal this time and not the spat in 23a!

28a         Small, like some carriages? (3-5)
{ONE-HORSE} – A phrase meaning small which is usually applied to a small town where nothing much happens. It could also describe some carriages, like a Hansom Cab perhaps.

29a         Class, say, mostly American (6)
{STATUS} – A word for say without the last letter (mostly) followed by American.


1d           Team members producing weapons (8)
{SIDEARMS} – Another word for a team followed by some members (limbs) gives these weapons.

2d           Mean to hold on this evening (7)
{TONIGHT} – Take a slang term for mean or ungenerous and insert (to hold) ON (from the clue).

3d           Quiet, living in a place such as Cleveland? (9)
{PRESIDENT} – This isn’t the former county of NE England or even Cleveland, Ohio – it’s Stephen Grover Cleveland (1837 – 1908).  Start with the usual letter for quiet and follow with a word meaning ‘living in a place’. Apparently he’s the only one of these to have served two non-consecutive terms and so is counted twice in the numbering as 22nd and 24th!

5d           Satanic ritual, perhaps, with short game seaman on tub (7,7)
{WITCHES SABBATH} – Start with WIT (with short). Follow with a board game, one of the usual sailors and then the tub that you might have a soak in. Split (7,7) and you get a midnight meeting or secret rendezvous for practitioners of witchcraft, sorcery, or devil worship.

6d           Mineral artist poured into carton (5)
{BORAX} – Common name for disodium tetraborate. Put the usual artist into a carton.  Sometimes it’s useful to have been a chemist!

7d           Set off in time ahead of scaffolder (7)
{TRIGGER} – Set off as in detonate. T(ime) followed by (ahead of) a scaffolder.

8d           Performing well in lessons on green (2,4)
{ON SONG} – It’s hidden in lessons on green. One thing you can’t say about the Spanish football team – or England!

9d           In a straight line? Amazing cartwheels, if so (2,3,4,5)
{AS THE CROW FLIES} – An anagram (amazing) of CARTWHEELS IF SO.

16d         Fashion garment thrown together (9)
{MAKESHIFT} – A word meaning fashion or create followed by a garment.

17d         Unnecessary to bug steamship (8)
{NEEDLESS} – A word for to bug or irritate followed by the usual abbreviation for steam ship. Bit of a chestnut methinks.

19d         Alas, alas — English served up Continental dish (7)
{LASAGNE} – An anagram (alas) of ALAS followed by an abbreviation for English reversed (served up in a down clue). Never seen alas used as an anagram indicator before.

21d         A staunch worker refusing to be persuaded (7)
{ADAMANT} – A (from the clue) followed by staunch, as in stop, and the one of the usual workers.

22d         Something as yet undeveloped — more by rocks (6)
{EMBRYO} – An anagram (rocks) of MORE BY.

24d         Opening number covered by jazzy trio (5)
{INTRO} – N(umber) inserted into (covered by) an anagram (jazzy) of TRIO.

Some good stuff here but my favourite is 3d, closely followed by 23a and 2d.  What’s yours?

The Quick crossword pun: (temper} + {airily} = {temporarily}

44 comments on “DT 27520

  1. Oh dear, I was looking forward to a wrong envelope day.
    But no, found this a bit routine but enjoyable, nevertheless.
    Could we banish a certain fabric and a certain word meaning unnecessary?
    Many thanks to the setter and to pommers for the nicely illustrated review.

  2. Two unusual anagram indicators for me – 18a and 19d – and their proximity held me up in the SE corner for a while. A smiley for 28a

  3. This was just my kind of puzzle, sort of Rufusish , I thought.Fun ,light and quick.I agree with pommers choice of clues and would add 29a.Thanks pommers and setter.

  4. Very enjoyable. I think 3D is possibly my favourite, but there were several others that could have made it. I was asked to predict England’s score this morning to which I replied 346-3 at close of play. For some reason I got a very blank look.

  5. I give this a ** as, although I managed to fill in 3d and 23a, I didn’t know that particular head of state and I still don’t understand how the doggie one works. I don’t get the connection between pet and tiff. Do some people call a row a pet? If so, I didn’t know. If there is something obvious, then I missed it………

    Re 5d, why is wit, short?

    It took me a long time to get two or three.
    Liked 9d and 18a.

    So, more garden related carpentry today …hope it’s not too hot.

    1. Re 5d – WITH is given in the clue; ‘short’ implies taking off one of the letters, ie WIT(H)

    2. Pet is short for ‘petty quarrel’ and is used mainly in the north of England to denote a small falling out. Keep your eye out for this one, it turns up quite a regularly

  6. Thank you setter. I really struggled with this. I am not sure whether it was to do with a very enjoyable evening yesterday. Anyway it took ages to finish and therefore, I am afraid, not much fun. I was beginning to think that I might still be wrestling with it at 8.00 this evening. Thank you Pommers for your review and hints. I thought that I was going to need them, but just managed to crawl over the finish line http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_scratch.gif

  7. Thanks to the setter and to Pommers, a gentle but enjoyable crossword and a lovely pictorial review.

  8. This took a while to get going, but once we started, it fell into place. I like crosswords made up of groups of words, so this suited me. Last two in were 10a and 2d. Thank you to the setter and to pommers. Lovely day here in sunny Scarborough, after a drizzly start. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_smile.gif

  9. **/*** fine for me , agree with UNA that 28a deserves a smiley, thought we might have had a western setting for Pommers pic. Like others thought it was light and fun and a good entrée for tonight’s clash-managed to wangle a pub venue , brownie points extinguished at one fell swoop.

  10. Thanks to Mr Ron and to Pommers for the review and hints. I managed this ok, but needed Pommers’ hints to parse 1&26a and 2,3,5d. I enjoyed this but found it a bit quirky. Favourites were 14a and 6d. Was 2*/3* for me. Good luck to England later http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_good.gif

  11. Funny how the old grey matter works. On the train I really struggled with this and didn’t finish even half, so I put it back in the bag. Opened again at lunchtime and it was a straight write in. Same brain, same clues and no hangover to blame http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_scratch.gif
    Thanks to Pommers for the review and the setter for an enjoyable challenge.

  12. Monday to Thursday all 1*_ 4****no help needed on any thanks to the four setters for the enjoyable puzzles . things can only get worse.Back to Ascot.

  13. Started read-and-write-in with first three clues, then slowed down a bit, but picked up again with the downs and finished with 26a; thank you Pommers for the explanation. Liked many but favourite is 9d. Thanks to setter and to Pommers for review. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_good.gif

  14. Thanks setter for an amusing puzzle. Couldn’t get 28a without Pommers’ help – thank you. D’oh, & me loving four-hooved wonders! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/icon_redface.gif

  15. I just could not get on the right wavelength today with this puzzle. I got about 25% done then gave up and read Pommers’ review which was more entertaining than the puzzle.

  16. Nice bottom, awful top (bit like some the girls I’ve known!). 3d is just ghastly.
    Did like 15a and 4a. Totally missed the anagram indicator in 22d, rocks – another one for the growing list.
    Thx to all

  17. Yes, 23a is a bit strange – the clue should include ‘pat’ rather than ‘pet’ – that would make more sense!

    Hold on, I’ve just looked in the BRB on-line and found the following :-

    pet 2 /pet/
    A slighted and offended feeling
    A slight or childish fit of aggrieved or resentful sulkiness
    The sulks, huff
    intransitive verb
    To be peevish, to sulk

  18. Really rather enjoyed this! **/***. I liked 10a, 18a, 3d, 5d and 19d amongst several others. Many thanks to the setter

    Many thanks, too, to Pommers for an entertaining and excellent review. On reading it through, I note that I incorrectly marked 4a as a double definition. Also needed explanation of the ‘Welshman’ in 20a. No other problems, pleased to say.

    1. You may well be right about 4a being be a double def. I took the ‘In pairs’ to be the def and ‘making four’ as a bit of indicative wordplay but who knows? Only the setter.

  19. Found this pretty straightforward and enjoyable. Thanks to pommers and setter **/***

  20. I found this puzzle a bit hard going but with your help Pommers, for which many thanks, I did it mostly by myself. I did not know that Hex was a spell and that Horse is an American ? but I did enjoy 1a and 15 were my favorites. Also Tiff was a new one on me. Many thanks to the setter for a quite enjoyable crossword

    1. Who said anything about horse being American? I think you must have read two clues at once

      1. Pommers , I don’t understand 28a and the meaning of ‘horse’. Could you enlighten me a bit more?

        1. A small town where there’s not much to do can be referred to as a ‘One Horse Town’. I think it’s a phrase of American origin but it’s one I’m very familiar with. Some carriages are only designed to have a single horse. So, simples http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_smile.gif

  21. Enjoyable and a tad challenging. Like many my favourite is 3d although I did not know he was a president twice over I do now. I also liked 4a

    Thank you setter for enjoyable puzzle and pommers for excellent hints and tips

    1. I knew of the president but couldn’t remember his first names so I went to Wiki to find out and then stumbled across that snippet of useless info, which I thought I’ d share with you lot.

  22. For some reason we just sailed through this one. A good thing too as we needed every second of extra time for the Toughie. 3d would be our favourite. Enjoyable solve.
    Thanks Mr Ron and Pommers.

  23. Hello pommers! Regarding your comment about 19d … as a European, I have never seen this dish spelt with the E from the clue!! It must be an English translation!! The answer made a nonsense of 28a, taking me ages to work out.

  24. OK but IMHO not one of the most entertaining. Needed a bit of Pommers” help particularly in NW mainly because I have always thought of it as a service not a set and 14a eluded me. Answer to 23a obvious but have certainly not heard of ‘pet’ in that context – one for the memory bank. Thanks Rufus and Pommers. ***/**. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/icon_neutral.gif

  25. Suitably teasing but very gettable for me. England are losing as I write and my customers cannot understand that I would rather solve a crossword than watch oikballl. Thanks to the setter for the entertainment. Thank to Pommers for the review.

  26. Oh well. Spain out, England out and Australia out. At least I can now concentrate on the FI and the test match this weekend – and then it’s Wimbledon. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_good.gif

    1. England still have a dog’s chance. I’ll be supporting Italy for the short term http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_cry.gif

  27. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/smiley-phew.gifThe day not the crossword – won’t bore you all with the details but only got to the crossword very late.
    I would say 2* difficulty and 3* enjoyment.
    A bit of a supernatural feel? 13a and 5d. I’d never heard of “hex” but that bit was pretty obvious having got 6d.
    I was slow with a few in the top left hand corner – no reason, really, just was and I’d never heard of the 8d expression.
    I liked 4 and 18a and 3 and 19d. My favourite was 9d.
    With thanks to the setter and thanks and well done to pommers.

  28. Miffypops, I wonder how much custom you would lose/gain if you were to become an oikball free zone, as per letter in today’s (20/6) DT? I for one would be a grateful customer were I to be in your area!

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