DT 27544 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 27544

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 27544

Hints and tips by archy and mehitabel

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment **/***

Good morning everyone.  It’s a bit steamy on the Vega Baja this morning and it’s hot in Oxford too, but not in a nice way – a bit cloudy/sunny – very grumpy weather.

Maybe it’s the weather causing us to be a bit grumpy but we both thought this was a tricky little rascal and a bit of a grind.  A bit of a strange mixture of some very dodgy surfaces interspersed with a few chestnuts, some fairly easy clues and some very clever stuff.  Not many anagrams either.  Archy spent some time looking for a Nina round the outside but can’t spot one.  We’ll be interested to hear what you made of it.

Definitions are underlined in the clues and the ones we liked most are in blue.  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.


7a           Goal is fair (9)
{OBJECTIVE} – Double definition. A goal or aim is also a word meaning fair, as in unbiased.

8a           Hours to some extent routine (5)
{HABIT} – Your routine or usual behaviour is H(ours) followed by a phrase (1,3) meaning to some extent.

10a         Persist in intimidating female (6)
{DRAGON} – Split this intimidating female as (4,2) and you get a phrase meaning to persist or continue boringly.

11a         Inspector’s needing pass — run out! (8)
{DISGORGE} – Abbreviation for detective inspector (don’t forget the ‘s) followed by a pass through some mountains.

12a         Contemporary comic’s success (4,2)
{WITH IT} – Take comedian (3) followed by a success (3) and split the result (4,2)

14a         Tasers dispersed protest (6)
{ASSERT} – Anagram (dispersed) of TASERS.

16a         Area’s vote is for coalition (4)
{AXIS} -A(rea) followed by the mark you make when you vote and IS (from the clue).

17a         Shy person that works with computers (5)
{MOUSE} -A piece of computer hardware is also a term for a shy and retiring person.

18a         Bear will occasionally roar (4)
{BAWL} – Alternate letters (occasionally) from BEAR WILL.

19a         Brilliance of one accepted by peer group? (6)
{GENIUS} – Take a word for a class or group with common characteristics and insert I (one accepted by).

21a         Confidential information from detective turned in aristo (3-3)
{TIP OFF} – Reverse (turned) a private detective and insert into (in) a slang word for an aristocrat or upper class gent.

24a         Difficult end endured without drug (8)
{STUBBORN} – The end of a cigarette for example followed by a word meaning endured without its final E (for the drug Ecstacy)

26a         Excessively hard to govern with Republican ousted by Democrat (6)
{UNDULY} – Take a word meaning hard to govern as in badly behaved and replace (ousted by) the R(epublican) with a D(emocrat).

27a         One’s given consent for key (5)
{ISLET} – Key here is one of the small islands off the south coast of Florida.  It’s IS (one’s) followed by a word meaning given permission.

28a         Dear comic (9)
{PRICELESS} – Double definition. Dear as in expensive and a word to describe something highly amusing.


1d           Muscle or fat’s ultimate check (5)
{ABORT} – A couple of letters which are an abbreviation for your abdominal muscles, the OR from the clue and the last letter (ultimate) of fat

2d           Bars books? (8)
{PENGUINS} – I thought this was quite a sneaky double definition. The  bars are chocolatey ones made by McVitie’s. The books are mainly paper backs and come from a publishing company founded in the 1930’s – they have a picture of a flightless seabird on the front!

3d           Singular fish smell (6)
{STENCH} – This nasty pong comes from S(ingular) followed by a freshwater fish of the carp family.

4d           Passionate prima donna in the ascendant (4)
{AVID} – A reversal (in the ascendent) of a female singer, often implying that she’s of a temperamental and demanding nature.

5d           Some relief a moussaka is notable (6)
{FAMOUS} – One of the hidden answers – if I can find it so can the rest of you.

6d           Seafood recipe initially welcomed by couple on board (4,5)
{KING PRAWN} – The board is a chess board so the couple are chessmen. The second one contains (welcomed by) the one letter abbreviation for R(ecipe).

9d           Leak found in small poncho coming from Spain (6)
{ESCAPE} – Start with the IVR for Spain and follow that with S(mall) and then another word for a South American poncho or cloak.

13d         Tied up reportedly for safekeeping (5)
{TRUST} – A homonym (reportedly) of a word meaning tied up, as a turkey might be at Christmas.

15d         Former party leader reties knots — that’s skill (9)
{EXPERTISE} – Begin with the usual crosswordland two letters meaning former or no longer, the first letter (leader) of P(arty) and follow that lot with an anagram (knots) of RETIES.

17d         Male on course to be talisman (6)
{MASCOT} – M(ale) followed by (on in a down clue) a race course in Berkshire.

18d         Bishop’s nasty feud led to puzzle (8)
{BEFUDDLE} – The one letter abbreviation for Bishop comes before an anagram (nasty) of FEUD LED.

20d         I’m nicked — no way! — and charged (6)
{IMBUED} – The charged here is in the sense of having had something put in. Start with the IM from the clue and then a slang word meaning nicked, copped  or arrested. When you’ve found that you need to remove its middle two letters which are the abbreviation for street.

22d         Pressure drop in spring (6)
{POUNCE} – P(ressure) followed by a word for drop or a small amount of something.

23d         B-minus getting praise (5)
{BLESS} – B and then another word for minus or subtraction.

25d         Standard maiden over following no runs (4)
{NORM} – Mehitabel nearly flipped when she saw this one – she really hopes she’s got it right. NO (from the clue) the one letter for runs in cricket and another one letter for maiden, also a cricket abbreviation. Oh dear!  Looks pretty spot-on to me!

24a was archy’s favourite but mehitabel has gone for 18d.

The Quick crossword pun: (header} + {garb} + {blur} = {Hedda Gabler}

Click to reveal the components of the pun. BD

99 comments on “DT 27544

  1. It put up a fight this morning but persistance paid off. Thanks to setter and to Archy and Mehitabel for the review.

      1. Thanks. I’m in Qatar and do this each morning before I get up so probably while most of you are still zzzzing. There are days though when waiting for the hints to be published means it’s a long solve!

  2. I agree with a&m’s comments in terms of difficulty, although I thought this was definitely more than 2* for enjoyment. My rating is 3*/3*

    On my first pass about half the answers went straight in. Then the tussle began! But, as Bifield says, persistance paid off.

    2d was my favourite. This is a bizarre but very amusing double definition, and I do like clues with brevity!

    My only bit of nit-picking today relates to 21a. A PI refers to a police inspector but one who is not a detective. A detective of that rank should be designated as DI.

    Many thanks to Mr Ron and a&m.

    1. Reckon you’re right about 21a. Hadn’t really thought about it. That was one of the clues I thought was a bit dodgy.

      1. I only know that because I have just completed a spell of jury service and one of the witnesses was a PS (police sergeant not an afterthought!) and the barrister helpfully explained the difference between a PS and a DS. So I guess the same applies at Inspector level.

        1. As Gazza says, PI = Private Investigator, an abbreviation that is supported by Chambers. Only a handful of abbreviations used in crosswords are not defined in Chambers. The only one I can recall is P = President, which is still not in Chambers but is given in Chambers XWD – a Dictionary of Crossword Abbreviations.

          1. I always thought that Detectives and Private Investigators were a different profession? Have no access to Chambers so I’ll take your word for it. Live and learn eh :)

            1. Andy, I think the upshot of all this is that inside the police force DI = Detective Inspector and PI = Police Inspector. Outside the police, a PI is a Private Investigator (or Private Detective).

              1. I’ve worked for many years around police forces and I’ve never heard a uniformed inspector being referred to as a PI.

                1. At my recent court case as a juror, we received evidence from a variety of uniformed and non-uniformed policemen who were referred to as PC, DC, PS, DS and DI. It was the first time I had ever heard of a uniformed sergeant being called PS, and I concluded, possibly incorrectly, that by analogy a uniformed inspector would be a PI (even though we didn’t have one in the witness box).

                  In your dealings with the police did you ever hear PS being used?

                  1. Yes, PC (uniformed constable), PS (uniformed sergeant), DC (detective constable), DS (detective sergeant) and DI (detective inspector) are all used regularly. On screen displays and reports they were always referred to as, e.g. PS 1234 BLOGGS. Uniformed inspectors were formally identified as, e.g. In 876 SMITH. Uniformed Chief Inspectors are referred to as CI – I’ve never really thought about why PI isn’t used for uniformed inspectors.

                    1. I bow to your greater knowledge Gazza, but I still fail to see any reference to a PI being a detective. I’ve quibbled over 4 letter answers, double unches dreadful grids et al but never over 2 letters :) I just know i’m going to be proved wrong , my American friends input on this maybe clouding my judgement

                    2. I really don’t see what the problem is, andy. This is what the BRB has:
                      PI – (abbreviation) Private Investigator
                      private investigator – (noun) (especially North American) private detective.
                      Incidentally the second word of the term ‘private eye’ (another term for private investigator) derives from the pronunciation of the I in PI.

                    3. ha you see I was correct all along…in knowing I’d be wrong. The American bit threw me. Didn’t know the private eye derivation, so cheers from me cynth and cuth.

                2. As a retired Police Officer the only abbreviation ever used in my day for Inspector was Insp, Sergeant, Sgt, Det. Insp was the DI, then there were DCIs Supers, Det.Supers etc, I was brought up on Mickey Spillane novels where the Private Detective was a PI. I must stress that I was a “Bobby” before most of todays officers were born.

  3. Most of RHS went in swiftly but struggled a bit on the left and can’t believe I had to seek help on 1a and 27a. 23d appealed. ***/***. Thank you setter and Archy & Mehitabel . It’s stuffy in Sussex too and apparently going to get worse – “stay indoors and pull curtains” say the heat-wave guidelines – some hope! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/smiley-phew.gifhttp://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/smiley-phew.gif

  4. I agree that this was a tricky little rascal (trickier than the Toughie for me) but I did like it – wonder who the setter is? Thanks to Mr Ron and a&m.

    1. I’m trying to remember where I’ve seen 2d before – might give me a clue to the setter. I think it was in the Graun about a year or so ago.

        1. Wondered about him but there’s no contemporary music clue. Still, there was no Queen in last week’s RayT.

            1. I had two emails to that effect this morning. I disagreed with my correspondents as I had no problem solving the back pager in the ‘normal’ time for a Thursday!!

      1. Punk had the following clue about 2 years ago (the old advertisement used to encourage us to p-p-pick up a penguin).
        Tasty bird you might once have picked up? (7)

  5. A difficult and slow solve for me and I needed two hints in the end.2d took an extremely long time to untangle. I mistakenly thought that clues are usually not based on contemporary brands which will have vanished in a few years.6d was another very slow one, thanks for explaining that.My final whinge is that I didn’t like the grid.
    Thanks archy and Mehitabel.

        1. Perhaps I had a deprived childhood as I have no memory of that particular piece of confectionary. Fry’s chocolate cream bars were my favourite.

  6. Trickier than the toughie for me too but unlike the grumps I thoroughly enjoyed it favourite among quite a few smiles , 2d .
    Thanks to them and the unknown one .
    Back to Peter Alliss

    1. For me golf is the only sport that is more boring to watch than tennis, snooker and darts. Fortunately there is “Le Tour de France”.

        1. I have a childlike enthusiasm for all sports ,apart from basketball despite playing said game badly as a young man .

  7. Apart from 2d which was my last in, I did not have too much trouble with this one, although admittedly it was a little harder than normal.
    Many thanks to setter, and to a and m.

  8. Did anyone else have trouble with 12a on the ipad? The second word originally read comicas with a circumflex over the a. It has now metamorphosed into
    comicAcAAs. Got it nevertheless. Found the bottom half tricky but seemed to finish in reasonable time.
    Thanks to the setter and bloggers.

  9. As they might say in Wolverhampton, “that was a real boster”. I loved it and I particularly loved 2 down, which once the penny dropped was my last one in. I had written ‘dislodge’ for my answer to 11 across, but it didn’t really affect the rest of the crossword (it answered the clue almost as well as the correct word, IMHO. 1 down was fun as well. Thank you to the setter.

  10. Distinctly tricky I thought and I have certainly seen easier Toughies. Agree with Una about the grid – I just could not get it to flow. Every answer seemed to lead to another dead end. A mixture of the good (26a, 2d, 20d), bad (11a) and some rather tenuous definitions. I see the intimidating woman gets another airing – surely a candidate for the Big Book of Crossword Cliches by now? 4*/3*

  11. Thanks to the setter and to archy and mehitabel, I thought this was quite an amusing puzzle and review. The toughie is again worth a go.

  12. Best of the week for me and a **/***. Humorous clues like 2d and 6d many of them short and snappy- a Bilko of a crossword ,one of those where the answer is apparent and then you fit the clue . Thanks setter and A and M for the graphics, liked the one for 22d

  13. Have to agree with the two hinters. We found this very difficult even with their help, and some of the definitions were a bit strange, we thought. Not very enjoyable at all, I’m afraid. ****/* today, so well done to those who found this easy. Thank you to the tremendous twosome, and to the setter. Thttp://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_unsure.gif

  14. The more I think about this one the more I wonder if I was a bit on the hasty (grumpy) side this morning. Don’t know if archy’s had any further thoughts but maybe we should up the number of stars for enjoyment.
    I’m not changing my mind about the fact that it was quite tricky.

      1. Try the Toughie instead, it’s easier than the back page :grin:

        I only suggested 2* enjoyment because the puzzle didn’t raise a single smile. It was a bit of a mechanical solving exercise for me. Perhaps 2d would have amused but I remembered the clue from some other puzzle so the answer just went straight in.

        However, post edited.

      2. Can I help with the Quickie, if it’s not against the rules to comment on that crossword on this thread. I did complete it, but have to say it was a painful process!

        1. Thanks – think I’ve gone badly wrong somewhere – probably need to start again from scratch and now it’s too late, too hot and I’m too tired. Your offer of help is really appreciated though . . . http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_rose.gif

        2. I would rather this part of the discussion was transferred to the Comment page. It’s more a matter of courtesy to those who have yet to solve the puzzle than a “rule”.

  15. Finished but very hard and IMHO not very fair ie 2d which I thought was a horrible clue. Did like 17a and 25d though.
    Thought we have been given some very tricky puzzles this week but at least Fridays should be both fair and elegant.
    Thx to all.

      1. Careful – you’ll be in trouble – I was a few weeks ago and I didn’t really think that I’d said anything very awful. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_unsure.gif

  16. I struggled with this for too long. I will return to it later. Less than half done

  17. Phew! This was a struggle for me and not really enjoyable hence a 4*/2*. No access to a printer for the next few days as away in the gulf islands for our wedding anniversary. Might ask the hotel for a favour. Thanks to the reviewers for enlightening me.

  18. I didn’t have any trouble with this except for 2D, which remained unsolved. Yet again, being a long-time over-the-ponder came into play. No particular likes and no smiles, I’m afraid. But no quibbles, either. Thanks to the setter and to A&M for the review.

  19. Like Roger, this was way above my pay grade, and I was way off wavelength. I needed hints for several clues, 2d being one of them, but, then, I’ve never heard of Penguin choc bars. I am very familiar with the books, though, so maybe I should have got that. I don’t think I’ve ever had that many unsolved clues before, so 10* for difficulty, if I’m allowed. Anyway, thanks to setter and to archie and mehitabel for entertaining review and the missing answers.


  20. Never heard of penguin choc bars, though i should have seen the book part. great clue, though bit dangerous being a trade name double definition. That, and 24a (I know..) were left blank today. I really liked comic success and area vote is for coalition. the toughie took me longer, but then again i finished it.

    thanks to setter, archy & mehitabel

  21. not a “tidy” crossword today – I had to rely on your hints to complete it


    1. You’ve changed your alias so your comment needed moderation. Both aliases should work from now on.

  22. Thank you setter for an enjoyable puzzle solved while enjoying Lake District sunshine. Great views of ospreys ! Thanks for the review hints and photos A & M

  23. Needed a couple of hints to keep the solving process going today – maybe it’s the hot weather here in North Kent…? I can’t believe how many times I’ve looked at a clue with no idea and then just get one checking letter and the penny drops immediately… (Guess that’s the nature of crosswords though).

    I found it a mix of simple and tricky clues but certainly enjoyed the puzzle. Thanks to the setter and to A & M for the hints 3.5*/3.5*

  24. Just a quick bit of “blurb” before I put in a link.
    We seem to have produced two very pedantic “Pet Lambs” – we don’t understand how this has happened! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_scratch.gif
    Yesterday the younger one sent us the following link.
    I think it’s quite funny and clever.
    Two words of warning to anyone who can be bothered to have a look: first, turn down your volume – it’s very loud and then you have to get beyond the rap “music”.
    This is for Rabbit Dave – Pedant in Chief of the blog!

    1. Thanks , I really enjoyed that, and I reposted.There are songs on youtube for teaching chemistry and biology , which I use. The students love it.

  25. Perhaps I spent too long watching the golf, but this is one of the few back pagers I did not manage to complete without assistance. Not a huge amount of fun. (The crossword, I mean – can’t complain about the golf).

  26. Had a look at teatime and went quickly from less than half done to only four to go. Just spent another ten minutes and got 2d. 24ac 27ac and 20d all needed the hints. Thnks to Kath and Pommers for deciphering this nightmare. Thank to the setter for a darned good wrestle.

  27. 2d had me going in circles and eventually, totally flummoxed I turned to the hints. As usual Doh! never thought of that type of ‘bar’. As numerous people have said, a tricky little so-and-so giving quite a tussle. Thanks A and M for your excellent hints and thanks to the setter.

  28. 2d made me rather cross, took an age.
    I don’t really like that sort of proper noun.
    Otherwise a very enjoyable mental tussle.
    Got there eventually unaided.
    Thanks to the setter and to archy and mehitabel for the review.

    1. Hi
      My favourite clue 2d I think is a common noun which I could certainly not get cross about

      1. No, Penguin is a proper noun.
        If you are saying ‘penguin’ what relevance has that to the clue?

      2. Hrothgar is correct. In both sides of the DD Penguin is a proper noun. I still don’t see a problem as both versions have been around so long that they are part of the language – I still “Hoover” my carpet, but with a Dyson!

          1. No sweat ,but in my view ,limited as it is ,penguin (brand) is a proper noun but penguin is a common noun .Still my favourite .
            Keep happy .

            1. No.
              There is a chocolate bar known as a Penguin. This Penguin is a proper noun.
              The double definition in the clue is:
              Penguin = a branded paperback
              Penguin = a branded chocolate bar.
              Both Penguins are proper nouns.
              As pommers says above.
              I fail to understand why this may be difficult to grasp.

              1. I failed to understand why this was difficult to grasp when you said “took an age ” .Fun clue .

                1. You digress.
                  Whether or not I found it difficult is not the subject we are discussing.
                  What we are discussing is whether Penguin in the context of the clue is a proper noun.
                  I and pommers have both explained that it is.
                  Do hope that is now grasped.

  29. Started this early this morning but finished it late today as we had a day in St-Tropez.
    We park the car in the port at Ste-Maxime then take the ferry to St-Tropez.
    A good lunch chez La Ponche and then back home by boat and car. Done this for years.

    Fave today was 2d.

  30. Thanks to the setter and to Archy and mehitabel. A disaster for me, couldn’t do it to save my life. Needed 12 hints to finish. Was 4*/2* for me.

  31. Phew! Maybe it’s because I started late, but this was hard! (If there were some chestnut-scented clues, my solving nose isn’t experienced enough to sniff them out, so no help there.) But although hot and bothered today, I seem also to be in a stubborn mood, and so I refused to peek at the hints. And, finally, just when about to give up, I managed to squeeze the last few answers from my protesting brain. Very pleased with myself :). My rating therefore has to be ***/? – the “?” being there because my brain and body are so fried, I’ve lost all concept of “enjoyment” … http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_wacko.gif

    The quickie (“quickie”?) will have to wait until tomorrow – especially following the comments above! Must snooze now, because I’m so tired I’m starting to ramble…

    Many thanks to setter, and to the fine bloggers a&m :).

  32. Completed about 95% of this yesterday and fell asleep. My brain must have carried on working on them because I woke up with the remaining answers.

    I’m hoping I’ll now go back to sleep :yawn:

    Thank you setter, archy and mehitabel

  33. First time in several weeks, I needed a hint for 2d. I was no near getting the bars although I have eaten them!

  34. The fist ordinary DT offering that beaten me in a long while -and on quite a few clues. While the answers are all fair this crossword has much more of a toughie feel about it.

  35. I seem to be at variance as I really rather liked this. It took a while, but I enjoyed working out the wordplay. It also had me thinking out of the box a bit. 2d was my last in and I needed help. It is my fave. Also liked several other clues, including 12a and 20d.

    2d aside, I didn’t need any hints and followed the wordplay correctly.

    Thanks and appreciation to the setter for a challenging puzzle, and to Archy and Mehitabel for the excellent review. Enjoyed reading it through.

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