DT 27551 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 27551

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 27551

Hints and tips by Deep Threat

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BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

Good morning from South Staffs on a bright, sunny morning with the promise of another hot day.

I found it a little difficult to get started on this puzzle from the Don, perhaps because I always like to start in the NW corner, and that turned out to be the last to yield.

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           Breeding establishment for Spooner — and for us! (10)
{ BLOODSTOCK } The answer is a word describing racehorses kept for breeding. It sounds like what Dr Spooner, might call a building at an establishment where these animals are kept.

6a           Illustrious man and very important lady in house (4)
{ HERO } The regnal cipher of Her Majesty inside an abbreviation for house.

10a         Obscure English female hides in lavatory, rather rudely (5)
{ BEFOG } English and Female inside a vulgar term for a lavatory.

11a         Dear old lover musing (9)
{ EXPENSIVE } The usual former lover followed by a word meaning musing or thoughtful.

12a         Where you see a five relative to four well thought of! (2,6)
{ IN FAVOUR } A (from the clue) and the Roman numeral for five are to be found inside four (from the clue). The answer tells you where to find this happening.

13a         Chemical destroying trees (5)
{ ESTER } Anagram (destroying) of TREES.

15a         Smart little boy’s menu option? (7)
{ CHICKEN } The French for smart or fashionable, followed by a short form of a boy’s name, giving something meaty found on a menu.

17a         Some made dire decision — about to be mocked (7)
{ DERIDED } Hidden in reverse (about) in the clue.

19a         Discloses writers brought in by university press (5,2)
{ OPENS UP } Writers, or what they wrote with before the days of typewriters, inside the initials of a major university publishing house.

21a         PM‘s obvious victory (7)
{ BALDWIN } This Prime Minister was in office three times between 1923 and 1937. Put together a word for obvious or plain and unadorned, and a victory.

22a         Insert text from F onwards? (5)
{ PASTE } Another way of saying ‘after E’ is what you do after copying some text on a computer.

24a         Member of the elite class strictly adhering to regulations (8)
{ LEGALIST } A member or limb, followed by what the tabloid press might call the top celebrities.

27a         Having trouble as traveller occupying vehicle towed by tractor? (2,3,4)
{ IN THE CART } This rather elderly expression for being in trouble derives from the sort of agricultural vehicle (probably towed by horses rather than a tractor) which a criminal on the way to public execution might find himself in.

28a         Fabric not at all nice with hole in it (5)
{ VOILE } The letter which might resemble a hole, inside a word for nasty.

29a         Irish singer always coming back to entertain any number (4)
{ ENYA } The algebraic expression for a given number placed inside the reversal (coming back) of a poetic word for always.
ARVE Error: need id and provider

30a         A widget he’d constructed — something hard to carry around? (4-6)
{ DEAD-WEIGHT } Anagram (constructed) of A WIDGET HE’D.


1d           Darling  Ruth? (4)
{ BABE } Double definition, the second being a famous baseball player.

2d           Concerning East Anglian feature, this writer has to be rude (9)
{ OFFENSIVE } Put together a word for concerning (think of the title of the Steinbeck novel), a flat, peaty area in Norfolk, and how the setter might say ‘this writer has’.

3d           Follow mother’s unquestioning belief? (5)
{ DOGMA } A word for follow or pursue, followed by a short form of ‘mother’.

4d           Fix article of clothing not properly done up? (3,4)
{ TIE DOWN } An expression meaning to fix in place is also a piece of neckwear not properly worn.

5d           Danced in item of clothing provocatively coloured? (7)
{ CAPERED } A variety of cloak followed by the colour traditionally held to be provocative to bulls.

7d           Poet and priest with holy books (5)
{ ELIOT } The usual biblical priest, and the part of the Bible he appears in.

8d           Dominant, ruling part of Yorkshire once (10)
{ OVERRIDING } Split (4,6) this would describe someone placed in charge of one of the three traditional divisions of Yorkshire.

9d           After accident large tin is intact (8)
{ INTEGRAL } Anagram (after accident) of LARGE TIN.

14d         Associate comic with place that’s funny (10)
{ ACCOMPLICE } Anagram (that’s funny) of COMIC and PLACE. The typo in both the printed and online versions of the clue does not appear to have been deliberate.

16d         King established calm in part of Lincolnshire once (8)
{ KESTEVEN } Put together the chess symbol for a king, an abbreviation for established, and a word meaning calm or level.

18d         County’s side in an undesirable financial situation (9)
{ DOWNSWING } A county in Northern Ireland, plus the ‘s from the clue, followed by a side or edge.

20d         Webfooted pair of chums (7)
{ PALMATE } Put together two words for chum.

21d         Large old rocker appears to be intolerant (7)
{ BIGOTED } Put together a word for large, Old, and a 1950s rocker.

23d         A yen at the end of a day for exotic dish (5)
{ SATAY } An abbreviation for one of the days of the week, followed by A (from the clue) and the symbol for the Japanese currency.

25d         The first woman to occupy a position in the French bank (5)
{ LEVEE } Put the first woman in the Bible inside a French definite article.

ARVE Error: need id and provider

26d         Some that may be walking in units (4)
{ FEET } These Imperial units of length may also be used for walking.

The Quick Crossword pun { MASSED }{ EARLY } = { MASTERLY }

42 comments on “DT 27551

  1. Superb crossword from Giovanni, a bit of a curates egg as Tilsit used to say but highly entertaining. Many thanks to the Don and to DT for a most amusing review.

  2. A nice challenge, last entry was 1a! nice smiles at 11a, 12a, 22a and 14d (didn’t even see the misprint – oh dear). Struggled to displace my mental picture of the apparently fitting answer “in the ***t” for 27a.

    many thanks Don & DT! off to Kefalonia now for 3 weeks..

  3. I agree with BigBoab’s assessment that this was a curate’s egg of a puzzle. I thought 1a, 29a and 16d were truly dreadful clues even though I normally quite like Spoonerisms. Many thanks to DT as I would never have been able to complete 29a and 16d without looking at his review. Yet again for the third puzzle this week we have the IMHO unsatisfactory device of using a generic reference to a name (in this case “little boy”).

    Nevertheless there were also a lot of excellent clues, and 22a was my favourite. In the circumstances this was difficult to rate. Probably 4* for difficulty simply because I spent so long on the two clues which I found impossible, and somewhere between 1* and 4* for enjoyment!

    Thanks to the setter and to DT.

  4. I found this a difficult crossword to finish. I certainly needed the hints. It’s a 4/2.5 for me. Thank you DT for the review.

  5. Thank you DG. I enjoyed the puzzle and finished most of it whilst undergoing the annual feet inspection and stingy eye drops procedure – apart from 29a of course, of whom I had never heard, but looked up when I got home ! Thank you DT for your review and hints

  6. Agree that today is a mixture of clues , perhaps , “the good , the bad and the ugly ” . A struggle for me but perseverance paid off with a break for some vacuuming !

    Liked 22a best but disliked quite a few others so ** for enjoyment and **** for difficult from me today .

  7. A really good tussle and so much more enjoyable than yesterday. I too struggled with the NW corner and – unusually for me – got my first foothold in the SE and worked my way up like a caterpillar chomping a cabbage leaf. I dragged 16d from some deep dusty corner of my memory but feel sorry for our overseas solvers who will probably have struggled with it. I normally like a good Spoonerism but that wasn’t, otherwise all good stuff with 22a my favourite. 3.5*/4*

  8. As always tough but absolutely brilliant .
    Best clue for us was 15a, a smile clue!
    Big Thx to the Don for rescuing me from the pit of despair that yesterday’s had left me in. Thx to DT for explaining g the spoonerism in 1a.

  9. Yes it was difficult, did’nt like 1a-assume the Spoonerism was ‘stud block ‘, and thought of EMYR and ENYA for the last in 29a,could only find the scottish single or one for ANE in my reference books-no mention of ANE and always anywhere-looking to put EER reversed around Y but obviously did’nt work. Apart from this, some very clever clues like 20d-remembered the newt from somewhere-perhaps a ****/*** overall.

    1. In 29a the reversed word for always is AYE and the letter used for any number is N.

    2. Me too, Beaver me old mate.

      I though 1a was contrived even for a crossword clue, and was thrown by the misprint in 14d for a while, which I thought was deliberate. I really didn’t like 27a- since when did tractors pull carts? Trailers, maybe, ploughs, mowers, etc. but carts? Maybe it’s just me.

      I had to look up 16d- I quite like thematic puzzles, i.e. the various references to parts of counties.

      Overall a ****/** for me. Toughest back page puzzle of the week by far.

  10. Very happy I actually knew a sporting hero for once with 1d! Took me quite a little while to really get going, and I didn’t understand why 1a was correct. 26d was a ‘smiler’, as was 15a. Thank you setter for a good workout, and thank you DT for much needed hints together with a beautiful example of 29a’s work as I love her voice. Poppy finding her lampshade useful in heavy rain provided she looks down and not up!

    1. I had never heard of the Irish singer, but I agree with you, she does, indeed, have quite a spectacular voice. Hugs for Poppy.

  11. Enjoyable Friday fare as usual!

    Faves : 1a, 27a, 30a, 1d, 16d & 25d.

    Didn,t know the singer of 29a but Googled for the name!

    1a made me laugh – I was born in 1924 and still remember my grandfather talking about him!

    Today we have thunder down here in the Var – lots of clouds over the hills – rain forecast for tomorrow!

  12. I hardly ever say this about a crossword but I found it very difficult and not a huge amount of fun – 4* difficulty and 2* enjoyment – probably just me being a bit grumpy.
    I didn’t even manage to finish it – eventually with a few gaps I gave up and came running for help – don’t do that very often.
    I’ve never heard of 16d or the expression at 27a although that had to be what it was. Didn’t know the 13a chemical but it wasn’t the trickiest anagram that we’ve ever had and I didn’t know the baseball player.
    I usually like Spoonerisms but I wasn’t very keen on 1a.
    Only four anagrams.
    Oh dear – moan, moan, moan!
    I did quite like 10 and 21a and 14 (ignoring the spelling mistake/typo) and 21d.
    Thanks to Giovanni and thanks and admiration to Deep Threat – thank goodness I wasn’t trying to do hints today!

    Terrible cramp in leg last night so now feeling as if I’ve been kicked by a carthorse. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_sad.gifGoing to hobble up the garden and carry on being grumpy. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_whistle3.gifhttp://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_sad.gif

  13. Hmmm? Not my favourite puzzle with some antiquated terms (e.g. 10a) and obscure references (29a – had to be aye eventually but isn’t ere a more common term?) and 27a (dating to a tale of two cities). A * for enjoyment and 4* for difficulty. Thanks to DT for the review.

  14. Still don’t get 1a. Must be having a thick day! Would Spoonerism not be stood block? And for us? Got it without hints, but still… Favourites 10a. And 20d.

  15. A superb puzzle, which I completed in the garden by the fish pond in the shade. Some very ‘smile-worthy ‘ clues or their solutions. I particularly liked 16 down, 10 across, 22 across and 2 down. Although 1 across was almost my last in, I’m still struggling to see any kind of Spoonerism in the answer. I was most surprised to read that the Irish singer at 29 across was unheard of by some – I have pretty much all her albums, so I can be counted as being one of her fans. Many thanks to the Don for a most enjoyable puzzle.

  16. Not a favourite for me. Distraction for the journey in nevertheless. Thanks to The Setter of course.

  17. When the Don’s clues are good they are very good indeed but when they are bad they are horrid – think that’s plagarised from Longfellow. Just about sums up this puzzle for me.

    Thanks to G & DT – shame about the D in that bit http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_wink.gif)..

    1. My sentiments exactly, and yes it is Longfellow:

      “There was a little girl, who had a little curl
      Right in the middle of her forehead,
      And when she was good, she was very, very good,
      But when she was bad she was horrid”.

      1. My Mum used to make me recite this whenever I pronounced “forehead” as it is spelt. She drummed it into me that it is pronounced “forrid” and so I do to this day!

      2. No matter really but I thought it was this:-

        There was a little girl,
        Who had a little curl,
        Right in the middle of her forehead.
        When she was good,
        She was very good indeed,
        But when she was bad she was horrid.

    2. Yes – I remember that too – she was called Jemima and she had a couple of brothers and, at some point their mother thought something about the attic and “spanked them quite emphatic”! Blimey – that would be called child abuse these days – the kids would be in care and their Mum would be in prison! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/icon_rolleyes.gif

  18. Found this enjoyably tricky but I did need a fair bit of electronic help to sort it out but managed to complete it before the hints came out, but however I look at it’s been solved with somesort of aid…

    Thanks to Giovanni and DT 3.5*/3*

  19. As above, very tough but absolutely brilliant.
    Some clues sheer genius.
    Many thanks Giovanni and DT for the review.

  20. A funny old crossword, not as Friday-ish as normal I thought. I got there but the Lincolnshire bit had me reaching for my electronic gizmos. I think 11a however was my favourite.
    Thanks to all.

  21. Took us ages, in fact over-night cogitation, to fully work out the parsing for 1a, but did get it eventually. Needed Google to confirm 16d. Over all, we thought it a very good puzzle and enjoyed the solve.
    Thanks Giovanni and DT.

  22. I had ambivalent feelings about this one – another curate’s egg but then you can’t please all of the people all of the time! East went in first and then West gradually fell into place with exception of 16d where help was needed. Not sure about the two-word synonym for “fix” in 4d even if it is obvious. 21d made me LOL. Tried Yana for 29a although doubted she was Irish. Thanks to The Don and DT. ***/**. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/icon_confused.gif

  23. Work stopped play, so late to the party and maybe should not have turned up at all because I don’t have anything nice to say about this puzzle except to thank DT for the review.

  24. Couldn’t sleep so just put the last few. In. A couple of wry grins at 22a and 28a.

    New word 20d

    On the whole this was not a crossword I can say I enjoyed but I am not able to articulate why.

    Thank you Giovanni and DT

  25. I didn’t like at all.. At first I thought it was going to be really easy but then came to a complete halt and needed some pointers. I didn’t get the Spoonerism in 1a and don’t get 16d and 22a. Certainly not favourite ****/**

  26. Thanks to Giovanni and to Deep Threat for the review and hints. I found this a Curate’s Egg all right. I normally like Spoonerisms, but 1a didn’t work for me unless you say in a Yorkshire accent. I had 4d wrong as “tie gown” doh.! Then needed the hints for 21,24&29a and 18,20&26d. Couldn’t parse 22a, was a clever clue. Had never heard of 16d,28&29a. Favourite was 15a, was4*/4* for me. Late commenting due to a trip to Seaford & Lewes yesterday.

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