DT 27556 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 27556

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 27556

Hints and tips by Falcon

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ***

Greetings from a wet and very cool Ottawa. We were having quite a pleasant summer up until a week or two ago, but lately the lovely weather seems to have decided to go elsewhere.

Today’s workout did not work up much of a sweat, but I did find it quite enjoyable while it lasted. It would appear be Mr. Ron in the setter’s seat today as the puzzle bears none of the telltale marks of RayT.


1a Bit of coffee offered by European, tall figure (8)
BEANPOLE — a bit of coffee (yet to be ground) placed beside a European for whom Rod might be an appropriate name


5a ‘Sun’ involved in junk communication before news, finally, in brief spurts (6)
SPASMS — S(un) is found in unwanted emails before the final letter of newS

9a A connection around university that’s widely evident (9)
ABOUNDING — A (from the clue) and the type of connection formed between a mother and a newborn infant embracing U(niversity)

11a Musical work stocked in shop eradicated (5)
OPERA — hidden (stocked in) the final two words of the clue

12a Like something sewn on uniform? No (6)
PATCHY — while this adjective might describe something sewn on a uniform, the setter implies in the first definition that it could apply to something sewn on anything

13a Sublime speaker’s device to include a quip (8)
MAJESTIC — a device that those delivering speeches are admonished to speak into has a joke inside — not to mention A (from the clue)

15a Top sportsman with time in heat set off scrap to show impatience (5,2,3,3)
CHAMP AT THE BIT — the winner of a sporting title is followed by T(ime) inside an anagram (set off) of HEAT; bringing up the rear is a small piece of something that might be found in a horse’s mouth

18a Nominal candidate rethinks goals when upset (8-5)
STALKING-HORSE — continuing with the equine theme, we have an anagram (when upset) of RETHINKS GOALS

22a One plays a small part in a downfall? (8)
RAINDROP — many of these are streaming down outside my window at this very moment

23a Burden young offender with some medicine? Not at first (6)
IMPOSE — a young offender whose wanted poster reads “AKA Little Devil” is given a standard serving of medicine missing its first letter

26a Follow tense athletics event (5)
TRACE — T(ense) and a contest of speed

27a Standard often found flying abroad? (9)
TRICOLOUR — … especially across the English Channel

28a Dull-witted baronet falls in river (6)
OBTUSE — abbreviation for baronet takes a tumble into a river in Yorkshire

29a Scot heading for rope in bottom of boat and fish (8)
MACKEREL — not Ian (but perhaps one of his mates) is followed by the head letter of Rope inside the strut that forms the bottom of a boat


1d Rowdy film stars having part to play in rear (4,4)
BRAT PACK — stick an anagram (to play) of PART inside a synonym for rear and one obtains a group of young actors who frequently appeared together in teen-oriented coming-of-age films in the 1980s

2d Take over training with fuss at the front (5)
ADOPT — an abbreviation for military-type fitness training is preceded by a bit of trouble or fuss

3d Fight with drink on the increase? (5-2)
PUNCH-UP — a drink often served in a bowl at social gatherings is followed by a preposition indicative of a skyward direction

4d Landed Scotsman, cut off retreat (4)
LAIR — a Scottish estate owner who’s lost his rear end

6d Show retired brother familiar saying (7)
PROVERB — show (to the satisfaction of a jury) plus a reversal of an abbreviation for brother

7d Tiny mark on potato picked up for one in stand? (9)
SPECTATOR — this sounds like (picked up [by the ear]) a combination of a tiny mark and an informal name for a potato

8d Leading companion showing formality (6)
STARCH — begin with another adjective to describe the principal actor in a motion picture; then add the usual companion to obtain a laundry product emblematic of formality

10d Greet effusively good boy with promise of marriage (4-4)
GLAD-HAND — a charade of G(ood), a boy or youth, and what a suitor once sought from a young lady’s father

14d Start of strategy to withdraw surveillance (5-3)
STAKE-OUT — the starting letter of Strategy with a synonym for withdraw or remove produces the type of surveillance that the CID would conduct

16d Aggressive type having trouble in a ship with colonist (9)
ASSAILANT — place a verb meaning trouble inside a charade of A (from the clue), the usual ship, and the sort of colonist that might take up housekeeping in your garden

17d Brainy barrister discontented when tucking into breakfast dish (8)
CEREBRAL — discontented tells us to remove the contents of B(arriste)R leaving only the first and last letters; add these and some milk to what you find in your breakfast bowl (on second thought, forget the milk)

19d Speech giving notice to groom? (7)
ADDRESS — a short commercial notice and a verb meaning to groom (hair, for instance)

20d Wine? A small measure’s included in resting place (7)
HAMMOCK — start with a white Rhine wine; then place in it A (from the clue) and a small metric linear unit of measurement; then string the result between two trees and relax

21d Cave is reached around end of tour (6)
GROTTO — a somewhat informal expression (3,2) meaning reached is wrapped around the final letter of touR to obtain an attraction such as one might visit on the Isle of Capri

24d Stink created by party in time? That’s not hard (5)
ODOUR — the usual party, AWOL from Big Dave’s list [it’s there now!  BD], is hanging out here, trying to hide in a unit of time that has lost its first letter [not H(ard)]

25d A short drink held up in Italian city (4)
PISA — a reversal of A (from the clue) and a small mouthful of drink; it strikes me that “small mouthful” is a very bizarre term; after all, one would not describe a gallon of oil in the bottom of an oil drum as a “small barrelful” ! Perhaps the term “barrelful” (the amount that a barrel can hold) is unfamiliar to readers as it would appear to be a North American word.

Since I must limit myself to one favourite, it will be 17d with honourable mention going to 1d.

The Quick crossword pun: knock + tern = nocturne

69 comments on “DT 27556

  1. We started quite slowly on this one but as we got into it the pace picked up and we galloped to the finish. Plenty to keep us smiling.
    Thanks Falcon and Mr Ron.

  2. 1*/3* for me today for a very gentle but most enjoyable and amusing puzzle.

    Although the answer was obvious from the clue, I’ve never heard of 10d before.

    Like Falcon, 17d was my favourite with 1d a close second.

    Many thanks to Mr Ron and to Falcon.

    P.S. BD, clicking on “Click Here!” for the answer for the Quickie pun always causes my browser to crash. Clicking on any of the other “Click Here!” buttons is fine. It may be a combination of something your end and my browser (IE9).

    1. I’ve redone it – try it again now and then get yourself a proper browser. The only browser that is worse than IE is the truly dreadful Safari from you-know-who. When I’m not using Firefox, my second choice is Opera (which is less bloated).

      1. Thanks very much for trying but I’m sorry to say it’s no different. Unfortunately I’m stuck with IE9 as I use a company laptop and their policy is IE only :-(

          1. Thanks BD.

            It’s still no good I’m sorry to say. It’s not a big deal, but I will try again tomorrow morning just in case it’s a very delayed cache update.

                1. Must be the dreaded IE. Quite how Microsoft have got away with peddling such a dreadful product is beyond me – but at least the more recent versions are better than v6.1 which was a travesty.

                  1. Having an enquiring mind I just tried on two different computers, one using IE11 and the other Google Chrome 36. Both were OK. No doubt my company will get around to upgrading to IE10 soon.

                    The answer to your musing about Microsoft is they have got away with it by abusing a dominant market position.

  3. Love today’s pics! Thanks Falcon.

    Favourite clue was 12A. Took me a moment to twig the ‘uniform – no’.

  4. I’m going to say 2* difficulty and 4* for enjoyment.
    I found the bottom half quite tricky in places although the top was much simpler, for me anyway.
    Like RD I’d never heard the 10d expression and BRB says US – before any of our transatlantic friends get cross with me I’m not complaining, just saying!
    I’m also not sure that I’ve met 18a either.
    I’m assuming that BT is the abbreviation for baronet although I can’t find it – talking about 28a here.
    I liked 13 and 15a and 1 and 21d. My favourite was 22a – also my last answer – I just couldn’t see it for ages even with alternate letters in.
    With thanks to Mr Ron for a very enjoyable crossword and to Falcon for an equally enjoyable review. The picture for 16d looks like what the moles do in our garden!

    1. Unlike you, I completed the bottom half first. But I may have just arrived there by following a process of building out from already established words.

      I suspected that 10d might be US but didn’t bother to look. It was a well known expression to me.

      Stalking horse was originally a hunting term. Hunters noticed that fowl flew away when humans approached but ignored horses. Thus hunters hid behind a stalking horse until they got close enough to shoot. In politics, a politician may secretly begin a campaign to unseat an incumbent while hiding behind a stalking horse.

      The abbreviation for baronet is in my BRB (11th Edition) – albeit buried at the end of an entry for Bacillus thuringiensis and thus possibly easy to overlook. It is also in all of the several online dictionaries that I regularly consult.

      1. Thanks for all the additional information.
        My BRB is also the 11th edition and you are, of course, right about the abbreviation for baronet being there – having the attention span of a gnat I’m always missing things because I just don’t keep looking for long enough. Oh dear – must learn!

    2. I don’t know about anyone else but I am sick and tired of the constant creeping Americanisms in the DT crossword in a British newspaper. Isn’t our language rich enough without resorting to american slang! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_negative.gif

      1. Pardon me if my comment is out of place, but I am sure someone in 1066 was similarly bemoaning the influx of Norman words.

      2. And I am sick and tired of the moaning about the inclusion of American terms. In case you haven’t noticed, the DT crosswords are on line and reach an international audience. People like me pay for access and that helps to keep the print editions alive in the face of dwindling circulation. People like you make me feel unwelcome on this bog.

        1. Expat Chris I applaud your stance and do sincerely hope you continue to comment with the vast majority on this site. We regularly have french terms so I have no problem with Americanisms.

    3. I did find numerous instances of the term “glad-handing” being used in articles on The Telegraph website. Here is a rather amusing one:

      Jeremy Hanley, an outstanding constituency MP in his day, was at a garden party and confronted by a curmudgeonly couple whose accusing faces he immediately recognised, but whose names eluded him – until the moment when he shook their hands and suddenly recalled their names. Delighted by this triumph, he spent the rest of the afternoon glad-handing all and sundry. Just as he was leaving, the curmudgeonly couple reappeared. He knew he knew their names, but now he couldn’t quite place them. “How lovely to find you here,” he cried, greeting them warmly by name. “When did I last see you? I know it’s been a while.”

  5. Thank you setter for an enjoyable puzzle, almost finished while waiting in the doctor’s surgery. Many thanks Falcon for your review, hints and photos. Your taste in “illustrations” suggest that you might be the ideal candidate to give continuity when Scchua retires ? I have tried an emoticon here, but am still getting the big 403 forbidden message which defeated a few of us yesterday.

    1. When it comes to illustrations, scchua is in a league of his own.

      I think of myself to be more from the school of Gazza.

      1. I have no idea how to do it but I’m sure that you can – go back to gazza’s illustrations in the week when Bionic Woman made a bit of a fuss, to put it mildly. It was one of the days that this blog had me absolutely in stitches. Wonderful and never to be forgotten. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yahoo.gif

  6. Enjoyed today’s challenge. Thank you Mr. Ron. East Side went in before West Side where I needed help with 1d and confirmation for 12a so thanks Falcon for that. 22a probably my fav. ***/****. Reluctantly minus emoticon!

  7. Thanks to Mr Ron and to Falcon for the review and hints. A nice puzzle with some very amusing clues. Favourites were 7&20d. Was 2*/3* for me. Last in was 28a. I got the dreaded 403 error yesterday, so no emoticon today, I’ll try a Smiley. :-)

  8. The problem with the emoticons was caused by a change to the “mod_security” rules at the hosting company. Many thanks to Dan at Evohosting who fixed it within 10 minutes of receiving the problem ticket. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_good.gif

  9. A very enjoyable crossword and a terrific review, thanks to the compiler and Falcon.

  10. I found todays puzzle more odd than difficult. Another New World setter ?I never heard 10d before. I think 24d and other clues is very contrived.Thanks Falcon.

    1. I’m amazed how many people are saying 10d is new to them. I didn’t even have it down as an Americanism and as Falcon notes it is in widespread use, even in the pages of the DT. Brian’s rage at foreign words coming over here and taking up space in our proud British crosswords has however made my day!
      I do agree that this was rather clunky in parts and our mystery setter is rather fond of abbreviations, first and last letters and truncated words. Still it takes all sorts I suppose.

  11. For me a three star for difficulty and not at all enjoyable apart from 22a . Most clues made little sense and I’m afraid the hints were not much use today, sorry Falcon.
    Finished but no fun.

  12. Took a while to get going, but, once we got a few in, we managed to get most of the rest. I have heard of 10 down before, and think of the expression in terms of what prospective politicians do whilst kissing unfortunate babies. The illustration for 4 down reminds me of the famous back view of a tennis player. Thank you to the setter and to Falcon.

  13. **/***. Very enjoyable apart from a slow finish to the SE corner. Thanks to Falcon for the review. BC is the exact opposite of Ottawa weatherwise http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_good.gif

  14. **/*** for me today. Completed most of the down clues before starting across and enjoyed 15a best of the lot. Last one in was 13a – “sublime = majestic” , well possibly? Glad to hear that BC is having the better weather – Vancouver is my second home, especially the Kitsilano area.

    1. As I understand it, parts of BC may be getting too much of a good thing. The place is a tinderbox in danger of becoming an inferno.

  15. The top half was a write in but the bottom required more thought. All in all, most enjoyable. Hadn’t heard of 18a before, but knew it had to be an anagram so could work it out and google it. Fave was 17d but lots of lovely clues. Thanks to setter and to Falcon for the review.

  16. Mr LolGee and I really enjoyed today’s offering although it took some time to get off the starting blocks. I’ve not heard of 10d or 18a before. Favourite is 7d – made us chuckle. Thanks to setter and Falcon for the hints and tips (only needed to use them once).

  17. Very straightforward and also most enjoyable, but I can barely believe our last one in was 23 across. Joint brains must have gone back to sleep after their early start this morning. Off out later to celebrate 43 years of wedded bliss – must be two life sentences at least. ;-) We’ve most certainly used a few miles of ink filling in crossword puzzles over the years, lol.

  18. Very enjoyable today. Many thanks to setter and reviewer, also for the illustrations!

  19. Thanks Falcon, your pictures are great and your hints highly entertaining and ingenious. 10d was unfamiliar to me, but then I’m quite a new convert to doing crosswords and I usually learn a new word or expression most days.

  20. A lovely puzzle today, thanks Mr Ron and Falcon for the hints. I only needed them for 17d because I most certainly was not being that ‘brainy’ today. I am very surprised at the number of people who have not heard of 10d, and I am not an American!

    1. I’m frequently surprised by words/terms people haven’t heard of, or things that I’d think would be obscure that everyone seems to know. But it works the other way too: many times I’m amazed by what I somehow know form somewhere. And, of course, all too often I’m floored by my own lack of knowledge and/or stupidity!

      Just shows what a diversity of experience we all have :).

  21. Gentle but enjoyable. Thanks Mr Ron.

    Didn’t need your hints (very good) Falcon, but we wouldn’t mind some of your rain. Still no “proper” rain here since early December although it looks like the Islands may be in for the first tropical storm of the season by Saturday – if ever there was a case of “it never rains but pours” – that’s the Caribbean for you!

    What’s today’s Toughie like?

      1. Nevis in the northern Leewards. The tropical depression is 500 miles east of the Windwards, tracking W/NW

        It’s too early for the forecasters to say exactly what will develop or where it will go! If it becomes a Storm it will be named Bertha – the next on this year’s list of names. It’s always a case of “watch this space” and be prepared. It may all fizzle out!!

        1. Those small islands always get the full brunt, not very high mountains to break it up. At least in Jamaica we had 8000ft Blue Mountain Peak to slow most of them down a bit … though not really effective with a storm like Gilbert!

    1. We wouldn’t mind a bit of Falcon’s rain in Oxford either – garden is beginning to look like a hay field.
      As for the Toughie – I couldn’t do it at all – managed about a quarter of it. I’m just about to look at hints, and probably a few answers too. If I’m right 11a made me laugh but might be a bit colloquial – enough – talking about it here is discouraged. Good luck though . . .

  22. This one took me ages! – although I did finish. Enjoyment was rather limited at first but picked up towards the end. Rather suspect it might be me rather than the crossword though :???:. Agree with Una that it was a bit of an odd offering, and about some clues being just a little contrived. But there were some really great clues too (again, can’t pick a single favourite), and variety is no bad thing. So I’ll go for ***/***.

    I had heard of 10d but had to drag it from deep within the recesses of my memory. 18d was either new to me or forgotten (the latter probably more likely: I’m expert at forgetting things), but an interesting term which I’m happy to learn. Thanks Falcon, for the additional info there – and indeed, for the review :). Also thanks to Mr Ron for a meaty challenge to get my teeth into. Mmm, food… I think it might be dinner time! :yahoo:

    1. Welcome Hunty. The solutions are only readable if you click on the ‘click here’ button. You just have to avoid the temptation to ‘click’ when you’re stuck!

  23. 13a and 8d were my last two in. How different we all are. I did yesterday’s on the train this morning which was enjoyable but over all too quickly. This one on the way back. I did not find any of the clues convoluted – just the opposite and no unfamiliar words/phrases. Took some time to get 18a but eventually found the expression at the back of my brain. Wanted to spell 27a the French way and put track for 26a. Perhaps the setter will expose himself. Favourites 10 17 and 20d. Thought 12a clever – patchy=not uniform. Took me a time as I was going through medals, braid and badges when thinking about what you sew on a uniform. For those who don’t like Americanisms – this could be one as the Scouts in USA sew on patches rather than badges. Well, let’s see what the morning brings….

    1. Oh dear – I couldn’t help giving a :lol: at the suggestion that the setter might expose himself!

    2. At 26a, I too toyed with TRACK (as well as TRAIL) before arriving at the correct destination.

      1. I didn’t have anything for a long time (the e from 19d was in early). That one and 16d were my last two in, and caused much head-scratching.

  24. */*** for top half ***/*** for bottom. CVery enjoyable and apat from 16d no problems, Even with all the other clues in place I couldn’t get the make up. 7d was amusing and 10d while obvious was new to me but rang a bell. Thanks to Falcon for information on where the phrase in 18a comes from.

  25. Had plenty of enjoyment from this crossword, and from Falcon’s review. Just love the illustration for 11a — from The Ring, perhaps? — and Falcon’s comment!

    I liked many of the clues, most of all 15a and 20d. Had no problems. Apart from missing the double-definition in 12a, all was correctly parsed.

    Many thanks and appreciation to Mr Ron and to Falcon.

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