DT 27536 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 27536

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 27536

Hints and tips by Big Dave

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BD Rating – Difficulty *Enjoyment *

As Toro is unavailable today, Gazza has agreed to review the Toughie leaving me with this one. What do you say about a disappointing puzzle in which the answers were all write-ins? Answers in pencil on the back of a five-pound note will be gratefully received.

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    Sailor needs to be given purpose (6)
{TARGET} – one of the usual sailors followed by a verb meaning to be given

4a    So, a nicer new storyline (8)
{SCENARIO} – an anagram (new) of SO A NICER

10a    Finished with one revolutionary’s compositions (9)
{PASTICHES} – a charade of an adjective meaning finished, I (one) , a famous revolutionary fighter and the S from ‘S

11a    Children, a bone of contention (5)
{ISSUE} – two definitions

12a    Scandal revealed before right time (7)
{OUTRAGE} – an adjective meaning revealed or exposed followed by R(ight) and a long period of time

13a    Bid  organised (7)
{ORDERED} – two definitions – a verb meaning bid or requested and another meaning organised or arranged

14a    Gang, last to leave important railway junction (5)
{CREWE} – a gang of men followed by the final letter (last) of [leav]E

15a    Former sweetheart, doll — fame spread (3,5)
{OLD FLAME} – an anagram (spread) of DOLL FAME

18a    Just terrible heading off (8)
{RIGHTFUL} – start with an adjective meaning terrible and drop (off) the initial (heading) F

20a    Songbird with the French name (5)
{TITLE} – a songbird followed by the French definite article

23a    A month round Connecticut, temperate, no sun (7)
{OCTOBER} – the round letter followed by the abbreviation for C(onnecticu)t and an adjective meaning temperate without (no) the S(un)

25a    Film, extremely short, I got out (7)
{VERTIGO} – this Hitchcock film is derived from most of (short) an adverb meaning extremely followed by an anagram (out) of I GOT

26a    A growth on the other hand (5)
{AGAIN} – the A from the clue and a growth or increase

27a    International organisation presented as irrelevant (9)
{UNRELATED} – the usual International peacekeeping organisation followed by a verb meaning presented or narrated

28a    Knocking back endless wine is ominous (8)
{SINISTER} – a Greek wine without its final letter (endless) and IS all reversed (knocking back)

29a    Heraldic beast with very peculiar name (6)
{WYVERN} – W(ith) followed by an anagram (peculiar) of VERY and N(ame)


1d    Leading score is excellent (3-5)
{TOP-NOTCH} – an adjective meaning leading followed by a score or mark

2d    This may be worn as a favour (7)
{ROSETTE} – a faintly cryptic definition of a decoration, typically made of ribbon, worn by supporters of a sports team or political party

3d    Queen in Belize with hat askew (9)
{ELIZABETH} – an anagram (askew) of BELIZE with HAT

5d    How a private obstetrician may prefer to be paid? (4,2,8)
{CASH ON DELIVERY} – a private obstetrician may prefer to be paid like in this way after a baby is born

6d    Nymph: Diana, possibly (5)
{NAIAD} – an anagram (possibly) of DIANA

7d    Backing soldiers, play guitar behind stage (7)
{ROSTRUM} – reverse (backing) the two-letter abbreviation for rank-and-file soldiers and follow them with a verb meaning to play guitar

8d    Exaggerate about reception (6)
{OVERDO} – a four-letter word meaning about or concerning followed by a reception or function

9d    Gambling device, woeful, often her undoing (5,2,7)
{WHEEL OF FORTUNE} – an anagram (undoing) of WOEFUL OFTEN HER

16d    It’ll relay changes word for word (9)
{LITERALLY} – an anagram (changes) of IT’LL RELAY

17d    Blonde he let out, under a moral obligation (8)
{BEHOLDEN} – an anagram (let out) of BLONDE HE

19d    Progressing on board coach (2,5)
{IN TRAIN} – this could mean being on board a railway coach

21d    National emblem saint introduced to Leith, oddly (7)
{THISTLE} – S(ain)T inside (introduced to) an anagram (oddly) of LEITH

22d    Gold found in extensive swamp (6)
{MORASS} – the heraldic term for gold inside (found in) an adjective meaning extensive

24d    Benefit from riding in single-decker outside? (5)
{BONUS} – a word meaning riding a horse (this time it’s not “up”) with a single-decker (or double-decker) public transport vehicle outside

If you haven’t already done so, why not have a go at one of our three puzzles that were published over the weekend. The NTSPP is a real joy – don’t be put off by it being an alphabetical puzzle.

The Quick crossword pun: (while} + {dotes} = {wild oats}

51 comments on “DT 27536

  1. Finished easily before lights out last night, I agree with Big Dave on this one. Still, it helped me get back in the groove after a week off because of a business trip to China.

  2. I loved it, especially 5d, even if most (not all for me ) were write ins.Thanks for the pictures , BD, and thanks to the setter.

  3. And there was me thinking I was on spectacularly good form today!
    I have to agree this was the most underwhelming puzzle for a long time. Easy can still be amusing but this was just dull. Apart from a quick Google to check there was such a nymph in 6d there wasn’t much to linger over. Nothing worthy of favourite status either so 1*/1* from me too.

  4. I agree, very easy but after yesterday’s struggle a bit of a relief!
    Did like 5d though.
    Thx to the setter and to BD
    PS I would recommend saving this one somewhere as an excellent exercise for someone new to cryptic crosswords.

  5. This was certainly one of the easiest back pagers. (The toughie is also pretty easy.)

    1*/2* for me I think.

    My chore-dodging is done for the day.

  6. I agree with BD – 1*/1* for this dull “read and write” puzzle, with only 5d raising a smile.

    Thanks to the setter and to BD.

  7. Thank you setter, I enjoyed doing this puzzle. Not the most difficult I agree, but as a high handicap solver I never mind when an easier puzzle appears. I appreciate that it might not be to the liking of expert solvers, but perhaps the Toughie will set more of a challenge for you ? Thanks BD for your review and hints – fancy choosing that rosette for 2d !

  8. Passed a bit of time I suppose although I have to admit to being stumped for ages as to the ‘why’ of 23A – then realised the clue said TEMPERATE rather than TEMPERATURE – should’ve gone to Specsavers

  9. Very easy puzzle with a feel good factor as all clues were write-ins and it was the first time for me to do it without any electronic or dictionary aids! Not everyone is a seasoned cryptic solver after all! Liked 5d! So 1*/2.5** for me. Thanks to setter who gave beginners a boost in their cryptic solving ability and to BD for the review.

  10. Whoops a bit of a fill-in bottom left slowed for about * minutes.
    By no means a record but quite pleased with ** minutes not bad for a pensioner beginner.http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_cool.gif

    1. You’ve changed your alias so your comment needed moderation – both aliases should work from now on.
      Well done on your success but we don’t like publishing times here, so I’ve edited your comment.

  11. I’m in agreement with those who are welcoming an easier puzzle today. Perfect for ordinary mortals, and for those who should be spending their time on other things [sheepish look]… And an unenjoyable easy puzzle will at least not take up too much time being unenjoyable :). Except for the blogger of course, so many thanks to BD. And to the setter, who I very much doubt found the clueing a write-in!

    (P.S. I found it neither unenjoyable, nor a complete write-in. Maybe1.5*/2.5*)

  12. Thanks to the setter and BD, not a very entertaining puzzle today but only marginally more simple than today’s toughie.

  13. Got held up slightly in the SE corner as I couldn’t see 29a for a while. Found the rest to be mainly write-ins but I did enjoy it as per what Framboise said about being a beginner etc. Would go for 1.5*/2.5* with thanks to setter and BD.

    1. We had a Vauxhall 29a at one point, so that was easy for me. Would that have been in the 1950s?

      1. Yes – just wikigoogled it – says (depending on the model) introduced in 1948 up to about 1957.

  14. I too got held up . South West for me though. All over before my second cup of tea.

  15. The NW corner stumped me for too long while the rest was straightforward so I would go for 1.5*/** today.
    5d was easily my favourite and ‘lol’ moment. Thanks to setter and BD.

  16. I agree with others about 1* difficulty but would give it more for enjoyment as I can’t even begin to imagine how difficult it is to set a crossword so 2* for that.
    I also think, as some people have already said, that the occasional very straightforward puzzle is good for the morale of beginners.
    I’m quite glad of a quickish one today as I have other stuff that I should be doing – I’ll probably have to have a go at the Toughie first . . .
    I did like 5d. Wasn’t there a car called 29a donkey’s years ago, or have I dreamed that one up? Think my Dad had one.
    With thanks to the setter and to BD.

    Message to self – when going into a fairly cramped patch of 6′ high prickly tayberries with a colander in each hand to do some picking do not ever again have glasses round neck on a string – it is possible to get into a terrible pickle! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_sad.gif

      1. Yes, see above, we had one too. I’m trying to remember when, I suppose I should google it.

        1. Yes – we did too. All I can remember about it is that it was a nondescript colour and wasn’t exactly known for being reliable. I think it must have been mid or late ’50s. My sister and I were little – the car broke down on a very hot day when we were going on holiday towing a caravan – Dad was very cross and the rest of us were stuck at the side of a very main road with two hot puffing collies. It wasn’t our finest day!

          1. Ours was dark green. Don’t remember much about reliability, but in those days we had no paved roads in Jamaica, except between Kingston and Spanish Town, and it seemed to get us there in between the potholes!

  17. PS I agree about the other crosswords – yesterday’s Rookie Corner was fun and not too tricky – the NTSPP was brilliant and although I’m now stuck with the last bit of the MPP that was good too – I found it difficult but I always think that with Radler’s puzzles.

  18. I rather enjoyed it – plenty of anagrams to keep us pedestrians happy.

    I laughed out loud at 5d……http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/icon_lol.gif

  19. Rather prosaic but with the odd bit of light relief e.g. 5d. **/**. NW corner last to go in. Thanks setter and BD who was obviously not amused either. Hopefully better luck tomorrow. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_negative.gif

  20. Thanks to the setter and to Big Dave for the review and hints. An enjoyable puzzle today, but very straightforward. Was 1*/2* for me. Favourite was 29a, last in was 26a. Completed overlooking Woolacombe Bay, sunny but chilly.

  21. Not quite a write in for us. We only got seven of the acrosses on first pass but then we got all fourteen downs. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yahoo.gif

    The rest of the acrosses didn’t put up much of a fight.

    */** from us (the second enjoyment just for 5d). Not keen on 26a as it clearly implies that retsina is wine http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_negative.gif.

    Thanks to the setter and BD

    1. Re 26A:

      Wikithingy says :

      Retsina (Greek: Ρετσίνα) is a Greek white (or rosé) resinated wine, which has been made for at least 2000 years. Its unique flavor is said to have originated from the practice of sealing wine vessels, particularly amphorae, with Aleppo Pine resin in ancient times. Before the invention of impermeable glass bottles, oxygen caused many wines to spoil within the year. Pine resin helped keep air out, while at the same time infusing the wine with resin aroma. The Romans began to use barrels in the 3rd century AD, removing any oenological necessity for resin, but the flavor itself was so popular that the style is still widespread today.

      1. I’ve tasted the stuff and it’s disgusting IMO. The smell reminds me very strongly of Izal toilet paper which is a bit off-putting.

          1. Reluctantly I have just sampled the household supply of toilet paper (Cushelle) and it bears no resemblance to retsina .Should I demand my money back or simply change brands ?

      2. Yes indeed – disgusting and marginally worse than Domestica (or should that be Domestos?!) however they both taste a little better in a seaside taverna under Aegean blue skies, etc.

  22. Hmmm! Not a great challenge and agree with BD about the */* rating – apart from the hold up I had with the second word in 1d where I originally put in “marks”. That caused a little frustration. We’re in for a wonderful week of weather in the high 70s/early 80s. Kayaking I think is favourite today.

  23. I will go with the general consensus and rate this as 1/2 I think this is the first time I have ever rated a puzzle on this blog with such a low rating for difficulty. There is a first time for everything. My thanks to Big Dave for the review.

  24. Yes, this was easy but I think it was also enjoyable, so */***. Our setter probably sweated bullets compiling this for our entertainment, he/she is probably shattered at our reviews! Last one in was 26a, fave 5d. Thanks to setter and to BD for review.

  25. I didn’t like 19d, it was my last in and the answer doesn’t fit the clue. But that’s just me.

    1. It makes more sense if you take ‘coach’ to be a verb, and possibly even ‘on board’ to mean supportive of.

  26. Not quite a write-in for me and a nice commute companion. 29a does not work for me. Thanks for the Review. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/smiley-yawn.gif

  27. Straightforward solve today – faves : 29a & 5d.

    Dreadful Mistral here in Provence all today and expected tomorrow so cloudless blue sky.

  28. OK, it was quite easy, but that might encourage novice cryptic puzzlers to have a go, while the sort obvious preferred by some commentators would probably scare them away. Lighten up, people! l say thanks to the setter for giving novices a chance. I’ve copied this one to help me ease my neighbour into crossword-land, and l’m sure she’ll enjoy it. And l quite enjoyed 10a myself! Thanks to BD for the review.

    1. This http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gif. I think if anything there’s a shortage of gentler cryptics out there, and plenty of head-splitters around. I’d wager that many lurkers would agree (although if they continue to lurk, that’s hard to verify)!

  29. Oh dear, wrong envelope day.
    Perhaps, should be in the envelope marked – ‘Cryptic for Beginners’
    Still, a pleasant revision course.
    Many thanks to the setter, and to BD.

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