DT 27539 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
View closed comments 

DT 27539

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 27539

Hints and tips by Deep Threat

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

Good morning from South Staffs on a dry but overcast morning.

It may be that I’m tired after a long trip into Wales for a family funeral, but I found today’s Giovanni hard going, with several obscure words, an unusual variant spelling, and one word which was completely new to me, although the clues, as usual, were entirely fair.

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           Writer, mostly haughty when seen on street (6)
{ PROUST } This is the French author who dipped a Madeleine in his tisane, and wrote 7 volumes about the memories this brought back. Remove the final letter (mostly) from a word meaning haughty or stuck-up, and add the abbreviation for street.
ARVE Error: need id and provider

4a           Ghosts — sort primarily associated with hell? (6)
{ SHADES } The first letter (primarily) of Sort followed by the ancient Greek underworld.

8a           Leader holds river game in much bigger water area (8)
{ BOSPORUS } A well-known Italian river and the initials of a fifteen-a-side game inside a leader or manager, giving the water area dividing Europe from Asia. I’m more used to seeing this with an h in the middle.

10a         Spot us involved in chancy exercise (4-2)
{ TOSS-UP } Anagram (involved) of SPOTS US.

11a         Engineer in factory wasting time (4)
{ PLAN } Remove the final T (wasting time) from a word for a factory to get a verb meaning ‘engineer’.

12a         Description of scale that could be found in ancient pot (10)
{ PENTATONIC } Anagram (could be found in) of ANCIENT POT, giving a musical scale.

13a         Row about divine female and theologian immersed in drink — it’s nonsense! (6-6)
{ FIDDLE-FADDLE } A row or line of soldiers wrapped around a doctor of divinity, followed by Female, and then another doctor of divinity inside an alcoholic drink.

16a         Little devil in charge of one small building deprived of necessities? (12)
{ IMPOVERISHED } Put together a small, annoying devil, a word meaning ‘in charge of’, the Roman numeral for one, and a small building often found in a garden.

20a         Hesitation about loud rude men spoiling democratic procedure (10)
{ REFERENDUM } Reverse (about) a small word signifying a hesitation, then add the musical symbol for loud and an anagram (spoiling) of RUDE MEN.

21a         It’s a bit of a fag being laughed at (4)
{ BUTT } Double definition: the unsmoked remant of a cigarette; or an object of ridicule.

22a         Man entering pit shortly finds dog (6)
{ COLLIE } Remove the final letter(shortly) from a word for a man who goes down a mine to work.

23a         Aussie beast has pain sitting down (8)
{ ROOSTING } Kanga’s offspring followed by the pain from a nettle.

24a         One intercepting gas is a sort of thief (6)
{ PIRATE } The Roman numeral for one inside a verb meaning gas or chatter on.

25a         The rioting gets in the way of modern rule (6)
{ METHOD } Anagram (rioting) of THE inside an abbreviation for modern.


1d           Broadcast favouring assertion (8)
{ PROCLAIM } A prefix meaning ‘in favour of’ followed by an assertion or demand.

2d           Hidden within moor, pink plant (5)
{ ORPIN } Hidden in the clue. I’d never heard of this: it’s a variety of stonecrop, apparently.

3d           The prose mostly inappropriate? Bit of poetry called for (7)
{ STROPHE } Anagram (inappropriate) of THE and PROS(e), giving another term for stanza, but originally a term for part of the song sung by the chorus in a Greek play.

5d           One adds decoration to a tile (7)
{ HATBAND } Cryptic definition of a decorative part of a piece of headgear.

6d           Comes across dossier with CV falsified (9)
{ DISCOVERS } Anagram (falsified) of DOSSIER and CV.

7d           Holy type at university I would put down as ‘laughable‘ (6)
{ STUPID } Put together an abbreviation for a holy person, a word signifying a student’s presence at university, and an abbreviated version of ‘I would’.

9d           Peaceful army overcoming vandals, nasty men in capital city (3,8)
{ SAN SALVADOR } The initials of a religious army noted for charitable work and brass bands, followed by an anagram (nasty) of VANDALS and the abbreviation denoting soldiers who are not officers, giving the capital of a Central American country.

14d         One spews out rubbish, spoiling river dell (9)
{ DRIVELLER } Anagram (spoiling) of RIVER DELL.

15d         Edmund’s put away inside to be spruced up (8)
{ NEATENED } A word describing, for example, a meal which has been put away by the diner, inside a diminutive form of Edmund. ‘Edmund’s’ should be read as ‘Edmund has’.

17d         Excuse of an era preceding electronic messages? (7)
{ PRETEXT } This variety of excuse could also describe the time before SMS messages.

18d         Emphasise good news about lost sheep? (3,4)
{ RAM HOME } How you might say that your male sheep was no longer away.

19d         Engineers leading rebellion get back (6)
{ RECOUP } The initials of a regiment of engineers, followed by a rebellion, usually the sort led by the military.

21d         Dog nibbled companion (5)
{ BITCH } Another word for nibbled followed by a Companion of Honour.

The Quick Crossword pun { ACQUIRE }{ BUOY } = { A CHOIRBOY }

57 comments on “DT 27539

  1. 13A – Is it just me struggling to understand how ‘divine’ becomes ‘DD’ (Doctor of Divinity) for the first word of the answer?

    1. A divine is defined in the BRB as, among other things, a minister of the gospel or theologian.

  2. 3*/3* for me today. Happily I seem to be getting more in tune with Giovanni’s puzzles and I enjoyed this one today. I found a few clues in the bottom half more challenging than the top.

    3d was a new word for me but it couldn’t be anything else given the checking letters and anagram fodder. 2d was also a new word for me, but again obvious. I confirmed both in the BRB.

    Many thanks to the Don & to DT.

  3. A very enjoyable puzzle from Giovanni today and an excellent review. Thanks to The Don and to DT.

  4. Another excellent offering, like yesterdays. lots of amusing clues like 18d and plenty of variety.Thought 13a was over complicated and 25a-‘mod’ a bit iffy,3d a new word, the rest fine. A **/*** for me, had a good week. Thanks DT for the graphics ,not seen the one for 1a before , is it from the 70’s ?

        1. I think you’ll find that the compere in the blond wig is Terry Jones, with Graham Chapman and Michael Palin as the contestants. Eric Idle is doing the voice-over, I think.

  5. It’s obscure word Friday! My copy of ‘Under a Bridge With Dick and Harry’ (copyright The Goons c.1958) got a good workout this morning.
    A typically technical Giovanni puzzle and, for me, of similar difficulty to Ray T’s yesterday but much less fun. All rather mechanical and short on wit. 3.5/2*

    1. If you want to see an obscure word, have a look at 5d in today’s FT by the same setter.

  6. Deep Threat took most of the observations out of my mouth. This was a pleasantly challenging exercise for the old grey matter. 12a and 3d were finally retrieved with difficulty from depths of memory bank and 8a was last in not helped by alternative spelling.
    Thanks Giovanni for excellent end to week. ***/***. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_scratch.gifhttp://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gif

  7. A slightly less challenging Giovanni than usual – well I thought so anyway. Only one word I didn’t know but as DT says, the wordplay was clear. Thanks to him and Giovanni too.

    The Toughie seems to have forgotten it is Friday and so why not give it a go.

    1. Thanks for Toughie recommendation – I’ve done about half and enjoying it very much. I suspect that I may not finish it but will carry on “perservating” a bit later on.

        1. Now I see what you mean! It was one of my last answers and I couldn’t think what I might be looking for – if I’d thought a bit harder it might have helped me with that top corner.

  8. I agree with 3* for both difficulty and enjoyment.
    I’d never seen 8a with that spelling so ruled it out and never did get an answer – should have done a bit of digging.
    Also didn’t know 2 or 3d – 2 was obvious – I dithered about 3 until a few checking letters appeared.
    This one has taken quite a long time.
    I liked 4 and 23a and 14 and 21d. Sorry to be so predictable but 22a has to be my favourite. If loyalty hadn’t got in the way 18d would have been!
    With thanks to Giovanni, and to Deep Threat for sorting out 8a especially when feeling worn out after a busy week.

  9. 2D, 3D and the spelling of 8A all new to me, also. 22a made me smile because I knew it would come out tops with a certain person. No stand-outs, though. Thanks as usual to the setter and to DT for the review.

    I agree with CS about the Toughie. I tackled it first and thought it a lot of fun.

  10. Thank you DG. Not the hardest Friday puzzle, but enjoyable nonetheless. Managed to negotiate the obscure words without the BRB. Good job too as there is not much help in this layby on the A69 ! Thanks DT for your review and hints.

  11. For me this was by far the best puzzle of the week – many clues/answers had me chuckling away, though I did need to read the ‘hints and tips’ after solving in order to appreciate just what ‘Edmund’ had to do with the answer to 15 down – thanks DT for the explanation. Thanks also to the setter – I loved it.

  12. Well we’ve got to take the rough with the smooth and yesterday’s and today’s were for us a bit of the rough. In other words, we needed loads of assistance from the hinters. It’s amazing how different the various crosswords are. I wonder why this setter likes to put obscure words in his puzzles? I don’t see the point myself. Thank you setter and DT.

  13. I don’t especially object to obscure words, regarding it as educational, although I think I’ve got to the age where the brain is now full and, like my iPad, requires the deletion of stuff before any more can go in.

    Agree with the ratings today, although not much to make me smile.

    I still don’t get 5d. Is a tile a term for hat?
    21 across and down had me dithering fir a bit. Wanted pooch, but the first part is hardly nibble-able…….http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/icon_eek.gif too many years since I smoked!

  14. Toughest this week. Enjoyed most of it but 8a wasn’t my way of spelling and had to resort to google as with 2d. You live and learn! I liked 13a but not 5d – I still don’t know why this makes sense. A 4*/3.5* for me. Thanks to the setter and DT……. Ooh, now I get 5d, not something I related to but Stanley Holloway has it in the song Where did you get that hat? Another learning moment!

  15. Never heard of the plant but it was fairly easy to guess. Don’t know about stonecrop but Collins has this:

    – a succulent perennial N temperate crassulaceous plant, Sedum telephium, with toothed leaves and heads of small purplish-white flowers Also called: (Brit) livelong, (US) live-forever. Phew http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/smiley-phew.gif

    Oherwise fairly benign for a Friday so ***/*** from us.

    Thanks to Giovanni and DT.

  16. No problems noticing the hidden word indication in 2d! I happily steamed through this, having somehow heard of the 2d plant etc., unlike the toughie on wednesday i think where i got nowhere due to new words. Yes, a tile is a hat, guess it has a covering function, like lid.

    thanks to setter and deep threat

  17. Thanks DT for the review – I could not get 15d try as I might and you put me out of my misery (I started off with restored which did not help 23a one bit). Thanks also to Giovanni for another enjoyable puzzle.

  18. Brilliant crossword for me especially after yesterday’s stinker!
    So real ‘smile’ clues such as 5d and 17d. I can almost always rely on the Don to restore my confidence after it had has a kicking!
    Thx to Giovanni and to DT even if for once I didn’t need the hints.http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_good.gif

  19. For the amusement of all, The Saga of the Missing Suitcase. On 12 th June my husband &I set off from Bibao Spain to Newark New Jersey via Charles De Gaule , Paris. Because I had my passport renewed and the new number didn’t correspond with the ESTA number we missed our flight but got on a later one to JFK New York. However on arrival at JFK my suitcase arrived but my husband’s didn’t. We spent much of time there on the telephone to the airline and taking care of all the inconveniences caused by a miss ing suitcase . Two days before leaving our son’s home we told the airline that if the case were to be found at this point to redirect it to our home address in Spain. Well on arrival home we had a message that the case had been found and was on it’s way from Paris to New York. We passed mid-air! The case arrived at our sons and our daughter-in – law spoke to the company about collecting the case but warned them that they would be away for the weekend but they went anyway on Friday .in the meantime FedEx had left a package on my son’s doorstep ,and yes,you’ve guessed it , the case guys didn’t find a suitcase but took the package left by FedEx to J F K. OK son got his package returned but the suitcase was still in his house . Then three days ago the airline told them they would be that evening to pick up the case but couldn’t tell them at what time and told them to leave it on the doorstep( much to our surprise they do that there. ) Son & daughter -in- law put the case on the doorstep as they were putting the children to bed. 11/2 hours later they saw that the case had gone ,and thought phew at last it’s on it’s way home. That was until an hour later they came to pick up the suitcase!! Having made them check that it hadn’t already been picked up by their company and being assured that “no it hadn’t”
    Very much to their surprise they thought it stolen and involved the police. Next day we received a message from the airline to tell that the case was now at JFK and was being loaded on to a flight to Spain. However yesterday there was a phonecall to our sons house asking them when they would be in to accept delivery of the case. At about 1 pm today we received a call to say it would be delivered here between 1.30 & 4.30 today. It is now 4.20 here and we await with bated breath.An absolutely ridiculous comedy of errors. Quite hilarious really but it’s not my clothes that have been missing for the past month.

    1. That’s some saga! Good luck – when do we get the next instalment?
      Our elder Pet Lamb goes all over the place to meetings and so often has trouble – missed flights/diverted flights/cancelled flights/lost luggage etc – that the rest of us now refuse to fly anywhere with her in case she puts a jinx on us too. None of her stories can touch yours!

    2. What a nightmare of a saga – not really amusing. I do sympathise. You should get considerable compensation. I seem to remember it is a “case” of so much per diem one is without the clothes. That makes the aggro of the new security measures (charged batteries in mobiles, etc.) pale into insignificance. Hope it will be a “case” of all’s well that ends well for you. I am flying to U.S. in few weeks’ time and the prospect is now somewhat daunting for various reasons. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_sad.gif

    3. Reminds me of a trip to Australia I made in the 1980s to visit my brother whom I hadn’t seen in 17 years. I checked my case at Washington DC. Flew to JFK in New York. Changed planes for Los Angeles. Changed planes in LA for Sydney. Changed planes again in Sydney for my destination which was Perth. Arrived in Perth…no suitcase. Found out eventually that my case had never left Washington DC. It was finally delivered four days after I arrived. Back then, the airlines did pay compensation. I’m not sure they do that now.

        1. PS Thanks also to BD. His crossword blog has been well and truly hi-jacked (yet again) and he doesn’t seem to mind – well, if he does he hasn’t said so yet! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_unsure.gif

  20. Thanks to Giovanni and to Deep Threat for the review and hints. A super puzzle, very enjoyable. There were three answers I’d never heard of 12&13a and 3d, but I managed to solve them from the wordplay. Lots of great clues that made me think. Favourite was 8a, last in was 13a. Was 4*/4* for me. Lovely weather in Exmouth today, now enjoying a pint in Exeter, back to the Smoke tomorrow http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_scratch.gif

  21. Good Friday fare from The Don as usual!

    Faves : 1a, 8a, 13a, 20a, 2d, 9d & 17d.

    Another sunny day here in the Var.

  22. Super, super puzzle, really got me going, too many chuckles and brilliant clues to list.
    Many thanks Giovanni and Deep Threat for the review
    And thanks for the new words eg 3d.

  23. A very good Friday puzzle, although 15d caught me out as I was determined that ‘destined’ had to be the answer. Destined for great things, so one would be …? Ok, so no. Ah well.
    Thanks to Giovanni and DT.

  24. I found this difficult and have been attacking it in little chunks throughout the afternoon but eventually got there. For me it was bit humourless but I must take my hat off to the compiler for his very clever encrypt ions. If I had another hat I would doff it to Deep Threat for his very good review. It would rate this as 4/2.5

      1. I take your point Kath. Years ago I was a contestant on the 15 to 1 TV quiz programme . At the rehearsals William G Stewart said that he believed an easy question was one which one knew the answer to and a difficult question was one which one didn’t know the answer. I think this dictum applies to crossword clues. When I read this excellent blog I am always amazed at the great variation of ratings: from this I am reminded that it is a blessing we are all different. I love the way you keep other bloggers in order! Enjoy your evening.

  25. Loads of questions …! What does 23a answer have to do with ‘Aussie beast’ ?? Surely this is a diminutive and not a beast?? 13a as suggested is a nonsense … Where is the ‘drink’ bit connected? 24a only makes sense once the down clues are solved, but connection with ‘gas’ is lost without losing both a t and an l, which clue does not suggest?! Found this very obscure today, and would be glad to have some feedback. Thank you very much …

    1. 23a: I believe that Australians commonly refer to kangaroos as simply ‘roos’. This is a diminutive, as you say, but it doesn’t mean that it’s not an animal or beast.

      13a: the drink bit is ‘ale’. The full analysis is “DD inside file + F(emale) + DD inside ale”.

      24a: You are thinking of ‘prattle’ as the synonym for ‘gas’. The setter is thinking of ‘prate’.

      Hope this helps.

      1. Thank you, deep threat! There is light at the end of the tunnel! I continue to learn and be amazed.

  26. Agree with most others. Definitely *** and enjoyable. Quote a few obscure words.

  27. i don’t understand what the missing suitcase has to do with the crossword. i think deep threat you must have been tired after your sad trip to wales, condolences. i found it fairly straightforward, got orpin from the clue, had not heard of it before but bradfords confirmed it was a plant. a very pleasant puzzle thanks to mr giovanni

  28. many thanks it was great to be able to complete the last three clues on which I was stuck. P.

Comments are closed.