DT 27569 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
View closed comments 

DT 27569

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 27569

Hints and tips by Big Dave

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment *

I am not one of Giovanni’s greatest admirers. Too many of his puzzles seem to have come off a production line, lacking both flair and entertainment – but combine that with what must be one of the worst grids in the Telegraph portfolio and the combination is, for me, catastrophic.

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    Relate, one way or the other (5)
REFER: – a palindromic word meaning to relate or apply

4a    Manages hard American groups (8)
HUSBANDS: – this verb meaning manages economically is a charade of H(ard), the two-letter abbreviation for American and some groups

8a    Former Labour politician, fellow not best pleased (8)
CROSSMAN: – the surname of this former Labour politician, author of the diaries said to have inspired the TV series Yes Minister, looks like a fellow who is not best pleased when split (5,3)

9a    Going off after short time, running (8)
TROTTING: – a verb meaning going off or decaying preceded by a shortened/abbreviated for of T(ime)

11a    Vehicle of writer unserviceable, dumped by motorway (7)
MINIBUS: – part of a pen (writer) and the abbreviation for UnServiceable preceded (dumped) by Britain’s premier motorway

13a    Dear Parisian among idiots who may look skyward? (9)
TWITCHERS: – the French for dear inside (among) some idiots gives these birdwatchers whose main interest is the spotting of as many rare species as possible

15a    Country dinner earl organised to back ex-PM (8,7)
NORTHERN IRELAND: – this country would score 100 points on the TV show Pointless! – an anagram (organised) of DINNER EARL preceded by (to back) an eighteenth century Prime Minister

18a    Inspiring part of hospital accommodation lacking nothing (9)
ENTHUSING: – the usual three-letter part of a hospital followed by some accommodation without (lacking) the O (nothing)

21a    Worker noticing things old boy missed (7)
SERVANT: – an adjective meaning noticing things from which the abbreviation for Old Boy has been dropped (missed)

22a    Initial change made to wedding vehicle (8)
CARRIAGE: – start with a wedding and change its initial letter

24a    Metal pieces, now rare, I repaired (8)
IRONWARE: – an anagram (repaired) of NOW RARE I

25a    Inventor of peg attached to plate (8)
PATENTEE: – a peg or support used by golfers preceded by (attached to) a plate, typically made of gold or silver, used for holding the bread during the Eucharist

26a    Moves very gradually or stops, avoiding maximum speed! (5)
EASES: – a verb meaning stops without the letter used to represent the speed of light


1d    Order soldiers in advance exercise to make fresh start (10)
RECOMMENCE: – the two-letter abbreviation for an order for distinguished achievement, with membership limited to twenty-four people, followed by a three-letter word for soldiers all inside an advance exercise to locate the enemy

2d    Fish is starter — starter for lunch brought in (8)
FLOUNDER: – a starter or originator around (brought in) the initial letter (starter) of L[unch]

3d    Lady president, one of two in something flowery (8)
ROSEBUSH: – a lady’s name followed by the surname of two recent Presidents of the USA

4d    Hound knight kept in shed (4)
HUNT: – the chess notation for a knight inside a shed

5d    Scandinavian dish that’s spicy and cold (6)
BALTIC: – a spicy dish followed by C(old)

6d    Absence of wickedness in one seeking to be religious (6)
NOVICE: – split as (2,4) this could indicate an absence of wickedness

7d    ‘Scum‘ — ultimately obnoxious (4)
SLAG: – the final letter (ultimately) of [obnoxious]S followed by a word for a criminal

10d    Making a protest, start to slash barriers (8)
RAILINGS: – a verb meaning making a protest followed by the initial letter (start) to S[lash]

12d    Bird with shining body descending on fish (8)
STARLING: – a shining celestial body followed by Crosswordland’s favourite fish

14d    Femme fatale used absurdly long hair to ensnare Conservative (10)
SEDUCTRESS: – an anagram (absurdly) of USED and some long hair around (to ensnare) C(onservative)

16d    First appearance on stage brings delight (8)
ENTRANCE: – two definitions

17d    Weapons of a specialised unit — a US soldier’s carrying one (8)
ASSAGAIS: – the first A from the clue followed by a specialised unit of élite Nazi police, the second A from the clue, a US soldier and the S from ‘S around (carrying) A (one)

19d    Plant needing good financial management? (6)
THRIFT: – two definitions

20d    A Parisian is getting on, achieving complete agreement (6)
UNISON: – the French indefinite article followed by IS and ON

22d    Church work must be cut (4)
CHOP: – CH(urch) followed by a musical work

23d    Old country lake rising (4)
EIRE: – the reversal (rising) of one of the Great Lakes

Deep Threat will be back next week (that should please Giovanni!).

The Quick Crossword pun: gnus+peke=Newspeak

71 comments on “DT 27569

  1. I agree with the 2 , maybe 2.5 as I completely failed to solve 17d/26a.

    I often like Giovanni’s, although nothing to shout about today. 13a was quite cute.

    Apparently, it’s going to be chilly across the weekend………

      1. And that just goes to prove how one man’s meat can be another man’s poison – I’d got yesterday’s completed well before the blog was available on line. It’s a good thing we all have our own favourite type of crossword for sure.

  2. Dear me, that was tough! Needed help for 17d and 26a. Sorry the hint doesn’t help with 26a, what has eases to do with stops?
    Really liked 11a though, very clever.
    As is often the case, Giovanni puts me back on track after a disastrous Thursday crossword. For me ****/*****
    Thx to all

    1. re 26A – the answer is exactly what the clue says on the tin – think of a word for STOPS with the top (first letter) missing (the first letter also refers to the speed of light in a famous equation).

      1. Yes I read the hint, it was not the definition I was asking for clarification but the use of the word stops. Can see it could be ceases but what has C to do with the speed of light, I assumed the setter was looking for the letter L for light.

        1. Ah just a googled speed of light and it would appear that C is the mathematical symbol for the constant, never come across this before, must file it in the old memory bank (not that reliable these days)

          1. Are you not familiar with the equation E = mc2 (to be read as “ee equals em cee squared”…)?

  3. Have to disagree with you today BD. I found this one fairly easy – certainly not one of the Don’s more fiendish offerings, but definitely not a write-in. Unusually for the Don, there didn’t seem to be any obscure words (at least, not too obscure – especially if you remember the Wilson years) and everything was eminently solvable. 7D took me an age (for some reason that I can’t quite fathom) but I thought 5D was excellent and is my Fave Rave today.

    Now back to some serious cricket watching – 2 down already (I must admit to allowing myself a little chortle at both wickets)

  4. Couldn’t agree more BD. The crossword equivalent of sliced white bread – soft, bland and not much to chew on!
    It just about got the second star for the short hold up sorting 17/26. I searched in vain for a clue worthy of favourite status. 2*/1*

  5. I rather enjoyed this. Yes there were a few tough clues and some not so tough but very enjoyable all the same. Much better progress than yesterday!

  6. This was nearer a 3* difficulty for me and maybe 2* for enjoyment.
    I often find Fridays tricky and then, having done so, can’t quite see why by the time I’ve finished it.
    My last answer was 26a and I had a spot of bother with 17d – always thought it was spelt with an E in the middle but BRB has both spellings.
    I thought there were very few anagrams – three ? – but no cricket or music and only one word I’ve never heard of – the 26a plate.
    To begin with I wasn’t sure if I was hunting for a country or an ex-PM for 15a.
    I liked 22a and 3, 5 and 10d.
    Thanks to Giovanni and BD.
    Autumn seems to have arrived in Oxford. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_sad.gif

    1. Same here for 15a, I tried first with Israel as a country with Disraeli as the PM . Too many letters then something islands and then it dawned on me

  7. Well I enjoyed it anyway, sorry BD, a straightforward offering with enough thinking for a friday. Thanks to Giovanni and BD.

  8. Re. 17D: I’ve a feeling I’m being really thick here, but I don’t understand the construction for the last 4 letters of the answer. I thought American soldiers were GI’s and if they are carrying ‘one’ (letter ‘i’) that would make ‘giis’ and not ‘gais’. Obviously I must be missing something, so could someone please explain this to me.

    1. Wiser heads than I will doubtless explain otherwise however I could only parse it by using “a” meaning “one”? http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_unsure.gif

      1. I hate it when compilers use ONE to clue the letter A – but they do it with depressing regularity http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_negative.gif

  9. This seemed forbidding at first but turned out to be not so bad after all. ***/***. No fav to write home about but liked 13a and 6d. Thanks Giovanni and BD although I wouldn’t be quite so harsh on this as you. I think the Quickie pun is stretching it a bit. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/icon_neutral.gif

  10. I like this grid, the first letter of every word interlocks, at least half the letters in every work interlock. There are 8-letter words with 5 interlocks and 4-letter words with 3 interlocks, better than usual.
    I prefer this grid to yesterday’s which I do not use. Yesterday’s grid has four corners connected to the rest of the grid by one word and a very difficult middle to solve with 4 underchecked words.

    1. For those who don’t know Peter is Cephas, one of the regular setters of the Saturday Prize crossword.

    2. I’m glad to see someone of Peter’s authority commend the grid, which is very user-friendly. I didn’t understand BD’s criticism.

      1. The grid has no less than 16 answers with double unches (two consecutive unchecked letters) – I don’t regard that as friendly. I didn’t like yesterday’s either. A revamp of the Telegraph’s portfolio is long, long overdue.

  11. Don’t know what was wrong with us today but we went through the acrosses and only got three http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_sad.gif
    Then we got eleven of the downs so it all fell into place very quickly.
    **/** from us.

    Surely 15a is a province rather than a country – the country is the U.K.

    Thanks to Giovanni and BD.

  12. Thanks to BD for the hints which were much needed. Not at all satisfying as a puzzle and I wasted a lot of time on 12d thinking descending meant to reverse the shining body. Hmm?

  13. Thanks to big Dave for the clues. Didn’t know thrift was a flower.looks rather nice. Liked 22a reminded me of Sammy khan song love and marriage goes together like horse and carriage. 3d was quite witty too.

    1. You’ve changed your email address so your comment needed moderation. Both emails should now work.

  14. We needed help today again, mainly because we have difficulty finding the definition. It was an all right sort of puzzle, but not much fun. ***/** stars for us.Thank you to the setter and to BD.

  15. As a novice found this particularly hard to start eventually got there with some help.
    Not one of my favourites. 13ac caused some difficulties as did 15ac but once other clues solved 15ac became easier.

    1. I can’t resist a challenge and that sounds like one to me. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gif
      Actually, what I’m really trying to do is find reasons not to cut the grass! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_scratch.gif

      1. The Quickie is not all that bad, Kath, although, as I have said, it does have a rather dodgy pun. I in fact managed to finish it before going out to cut the grass and thankfully so because we have just had an absolute deluge – tail-end of Bertha presumably. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_bye.gif

  16. Quite straightforward for me today after a bit of trouble starting and once I realised I had used the alternate spelling for assagai with an e. Also tried to figure out how Objects for things, less the ob, could possibly fit !

    For me **/***

  17. On the contrary BD, I enjoyed today’s offering from Giovanni. I was up quite late this morning and had the Telegraph passed to me by my wife, who said, “I’ve fallen out with today’s crossword and have become totally stuck after solving just five clues.” I took it on and completed it in between eating breakfast and doing one or two other ‘things’. There were quite a few clues that I personally liked and many answers were quickly written in. A pleasant and a very straightforward solve. Thanks to the setter. Have a great weekend y’all.

  18. A bit of a slog for me. I got there but I did need the hint for 25a to nudge my grey cells into action. No real fave except maybe 21a.
    Thanks to Giovanni and BD.

  19. I found this tough today and needed BD’s help with 17d – not a word I know. I hope I will remember it for the future. 13a is my favourite today closely followed by 6d.

  20. Thank you DG, did most of this while the family were dawdling over breakfast – the last of our holiday. Just could not finish it before we set off. Having arrived home there are other things to do than worry over patentees and assagais. I took your hints BD to finish, so many thanks for your review and hints. I suppose that if I wasn’t so lazy I might have got there in the end.

  21. I quite enjoyed this one.

    I’ve no real favourite and there are a few chestnuts (2d and 23d for example) but I like old friends http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gif

    Thanks to setter and BD.

  22. Thanks to Giovanni and to Big Dave for the review and hints. Yes, I agree with BD, very dull puzzle. Needed the hints for 18a & 19d, didn’t know the latter was a plant, live & learn. Favourite was 13a. Was 3*/1* for me . Never heard of 8a.

  23. I agree with BD’s introductory remarks, and with pommers statement about 15a. BD’s hint on the same clue is too cryptic for me but then I’ve never seen Pointless ! Definitely quite difficult. I liked 3d and 8a. Thanks to all concerned.

  24. Well, well, well! It seems I’ve got company. I don’t bother with Friday puzzles because I don’t enjoy them. I do read the blog, though, to keep in touch with what y’all are up to. Am off to the pool as our “monsoon” is forecast to start early today.

  25. Not the usual Friday fare for me!

    Faves : 8a, 12a, 15a, 25a, 1d, 3d, 5d & 17d.

    Re 23d – Eire is not QLD if you have the Gaelic!.

    Here, in F83, we still have a raging Mistral wind – three days of it – it is forecast to do a 26a tomorrow! It thunders down the Rhone Valley and when it nears the Med turns the corner and heads towards Nice

  26. I struggled from the off and couldn’t really get going – think I must be coming down with something, my brain (for what it’s worth!) doesn’t seem to be working today!

    Needed quite a lot of help.

  27. Ashamed to admit that my antique brain got absolutely nowhere and it was only BD that got me started. Thank you from sunny Suffolk.

  28. After the horror and disappointment of yesterday’s offering I was pleased to complete the puzzle today without resorting to the hints. It lacks humour and I do like a few smilers. For enjoyment I would rate as 1 and a tad and about 1.5 for difficulty. BD has done his duty yet again. Where do the reviewers source their energy? I am grateful to them all.

  29. Agree with BD , didn’t enjoy this one at all. Stuck with it but it was like pulling teeth. Hope tomorrow’s is livelier.

  30. I am late today having spent all day at the Oval watching England build a very strong position in the final Test match v. India.

    I am relieved to know that I am not alone in finding the Friday cryptic dull and occasionally unnecessarily obscure. I hesitate to follow Merusa’s approach and stop doing Friday’s back pager probably because I am an addict and also an optimist who hopes it will be better next week.

    My rating is 2*/2*. My only issue was the wordplay for 25a as I have never heard of the plate in question. Many thanks to BD for explaining this and for his excellent review, and thanks to Giovanni for the puzzle, which I am glad to see some people were very positive about.

  31. I thought this one was quite tricky to get going with but it fell into place after a while (I keep saying this but that’s what seems to be happening this week). I always find Friday’s crossword a tricky solve and today was no exception. I needed the hints for 1d – because I’d put omnibus instead of minibus – and 8ac. Thanks to BD for the hints and thanks to Giovanni ***/***

  32. We are away from home and although we have our laptop do not have access to a printer. This meant that for the first time ever we did the puzzle on line instead of on paper. Quite a different experience for us so a bit hard to judge relative difficulty. No significant hold-ups and we enjoyed it. Look forward to getting back to good old pen and paper though.
    Thanks Giovanni and BD.

  33. Just a latish comment. I didn’t find the cryptic all that much fun today but, having been prodded into doing the quickie, all is forgiven.
    When I eventually got 1a I started singing the Flanders and Swann song. It was one that my wonderful Dad used to sing to me and my sister when we were very little. He used to do it with ridiculous actions and make us laugh.http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yahoo.gif
    I’d forgotten about it so thanks for those memories.

  34. I don, t actually do the Telegraph Crossword, but it keeps me laughing hilariously when I read the comments – especially Big D and his ‘I don’t know why I bother’.

  35. I’m a bit out of practice and didn’t find it that easy.

    Favourite was 14d.

    Thank you Giovanni and to Big Dave for the review and hints.

    For some reason words like 25a grate they feel inelegant

  36. Well, each to his/her own, BD. I thought this was perfectly OK, if not one of Giovanni’s best, and rate it about 2.5*/3*. My favourite clue was 14d – a word that (even before her sad death this week) always reminds me of Lauren Bacall. Thanks to Giovanni, and to BD.

  37. Miffypops made a comment earlier in the week about a grid with 16 double unches and those of us who find certain grids awkward. The quick crossword grid today in the DT is equally abhorrent.

  38. I like Giovanni puzzles and I quite enjoyed this one, rating it **/***. Many thanks, Giovanni. I particularly liked 25a and 14d.

    I completed this without hints. Reading through the review and comments here now, I must admit I too missed the ‘maximum speed’. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/icon_redface.gifNo excuse, as I have a printed copy of Big Dave’s splendid The ‘Usual Suspects’ to hand. Mea maxima culpa! Aside from this lapse, the rest of the puzzle was solved correctly.

    A very grateful thank you to you, Big Dave, for ‘bothering’. It truly is greatly valued and appreciated.

    1. Welcome to the blog Ian

      Chambers gives both spellings. It’s not uncommon to have multiple spellings of words from a language such as Arabic as they are only phonetic representations of the original word.

Comments are closed.