DT 27581

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 27581

Hints and tips by Deep Threat

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

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

One of those grids which produces four mini puzzles. 12a held me up long enough to make this *** for difficulty.

In the hints below, the definitions are underlined. The answers are hidden under the ‘Click here!’ buttons, so don’t click if you don’t want to see them.

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           Spread support to get a number attending sports event (9)
PROPAGATE       A support is followed by A (from the clue) and a word for the number of paying customers at a sports event.

9a           This person’s role is to communicate (6)
IMPART                                Another way of saying ‘this person is’ followed by a role in a play.

10a         Chemical in Thames I dissipated (9)
HISTAMINE         Anagram (dissipated) of IN THAMES I. Drugs to counteract this are used to treat hay fever.

11a         Colour of Queen is seen in reflection (6)
SIENNA                                The name of the last Stuart queen followed by IS (from the clue), all reversed to give a reddish-brown pigment.

12a         Steven has one such partner — it’s Eve! (4,5)
KEPT WOMAN   This is an outdated term for an unmarried female partner. If the woman’s name is Eve, then StEVEn may be seen to have done the answer. Very clever, but not very clear.

13a         Islander knocked out in trance (6)
CRETAN                Anagram (knocked out) of TRANCE, giving an inhabitant of a Mediterranean island.

17a         Fasten thus to the ear (3)
SEW       This word for fasten sounds like (to the ear) a word meaning ‘thus’.

19a         Unruly gang invading toilet many years back (4,3)
LONG AGO         Anagram (unruly) of GANG inside another word for toilet.

20a         Asian city administered by stupid person (7)
RANGOON          A verb meaning ‘administered’ followed by a stupid person such as Eccles or Bluebottle.

21a         No ships, five having been sunk (3)
NAY       Remove the V (five having been sunk) from a collection of armed ships.

23a         Idle folk snored disgustingly (6)
DRONES               Anagram (disgustingly) of SNORED.

27a         That man unfortunately harbouring a yen for the mountains (9)
HIMALAYAS        A pronoun meaning ‘that man followed by a word for unfortunately with A (from the clue) and the abbreviation for the Japanese currency inside it.

28a         Artist leading group full of energy and enthusiasm (6)
RARING                                The usual crossword artist followed by an often pejorative term for a group of people, giving a word frequently followed by ‘to go’.

29a         Plant I stuck in weedless ground (9)
EDELWEISS          This Alpine plant is an anagram (ground) of WEEDLESS with an I inserted.

30a         Attempt to block yob in exit (3,3)
LOG OUT             This is an exit from a computer program. Put a two-letter word for an attempt inside a yob.

31a         Shrinking German city Heather goes round (9)
LESSENING         Another word for heather wrapped around a city on the Ruhr.


2d           University home given external colour and spoilt (6)
RUINED                                An abbreviation for University and a word for ‘at home’ inside a primary colour.

3d           Bit of food and old rubbish in post office (6)
POTATO               Old and a word for rubbish inside the initials of the Post Office.

4d           Lark putting doctor into prison (6)
GAMBOL             One of the sets of letters which may denote a medical doctor inside a prison.

5d           Redeployed agent on ship may have this duty (7)
TONNAGE           Anagram (redeployed) of AGENT ON.

6d           Italian entertains grim man, working person who’s entered country (9)
IMMIGRANT      An anagram (working) of GRIM MAN placed inside an abbreviation for Italian.

7d           Pink vehicle followed by set of people (9)
CARNATION       A motor vehicle and a set of people or a state, giving the alternative name for the flower known as a pink.

8d           Start of season — preparing for game, stretching (9)
STRAINING         The initial letter (start) of Season, followed by what players do to get ready.

14d         Regulation for piece of playground equipment? Engineers no longer find it useful (5,4)
SLIDE RULE          This could be a regulation applying to a helter-skelter, but is actually what engineers used before they had electronic calculators.

15d         A cure gone wrong creates stir (9)
ENCOURAGE      Anagram (wrong) of A CURE GONE.

16d         Explorer of underground space needs common sense, it being huge and dark (9)
CAVERNOUS      A simpler word for speleologist followed by some common sense.

17d         Boy star given an audition (3)
SON       Sounds like (given audition) a star very close to us.

18d         Careful to avoid article being sarcastic (3)
WRY       Leave out the A (avoid article) from a word for careful or cautious.

22d         An aider in a maze (7)
ARIADNE             A rather nice all-in-one clue which is an anagram (in a maze) of AN AIDER, giving the name of the woman who helped Theseus to escape from the labyrinth.

24d         English composer is soaring above (6)
TALLIS   A word for soaring or high followed by (above, in a Down clue) IS (from the clue).

25d         Backed down avenue into trap (4,2)
GAVE IN               An abbreviation for avenue inside a variety of animal trap.

26d         DNA expert who helped detective? (6)
WATSON             The scientist who worked with Francis Crick on DNA, or the sidekick of Sherlock Holmes.

The Quick Crossword pun FOREIGN + AWEIGH = FAR AND AWAY



  1. Roger
    Posted August 29, 2014 at 11:07 am | Permalink

    After yesterday, today was a pleasant enjoyable respite! Many thanks for the hint for 12. The Steven I had in mind was Steve Seagall as he was charged with….better not go there.

    I often find with some of these crosswords that whilst tricky to do, frustrating at times, there is a feeling of loss when it’s finished! One then thinks ‘roll on tomorrow’.

  2. neveracrossword
    Posted August 29, 2014 at 11:10 am | Permalink

    Fairly straightforward apart from 12a, which defeated me – a bit too clever for my liking. 3* for enjoyment

  3. Michael
    Posted August 29, 2014 at 11:13 am | Permalink

    Doh! Misspelt the mountains in 27a – but there is a Composer called ‘Willis’ that fitted into 24d.

    I’ll keep on practicing!

    • George Dyson
      Posted August 29, 2014 at 1:19 pm | Permalink

      Me too. I conjured up every first word I could imagine and none seemed to be right. Thanks for the explanation!

      Other than that it was one of the easier puzzles for me.

  4. Kfb
    Posted August 29, 2014 at 11:14 am | Permalink

    Yes 12a was a problem and only got there with electronic help .

    Thanks , as usual , to setter and for hints especially the sense of 12a.

    **/*** from me for today .

    Some nice clues and clever anagrams .

    Off taking the Mrs shopping now !

  5. Dutch
    Posted August 29, 2014 at 11:25 am | Permalink

    Having solved the inner 3×3 square quickly, I was immediately left with 4 mini-puzzles. I hate this grid; I don’t understand why it still gets used.

    Amongst a mundane collection of clues more worthy of a tabloid, I found three that stood out: 12a with Steven & Eve is a lovely clue, I needed all the checked letters to see where this was heading. 5a ( redeployed agent on ship..) has a seamless flow between wordplay indicators and definition. And a piece of glory amongst the rubble, a beautiful &lit (all-in-one) in 22d.

    I found 16d disappointing, seems to me wordplay is related to definition. The 3 gems were not enough to compensate for the grid and the remaining clues, so i ranked this *

    The toughie is wonderful, by the way.

    Many thanks setter and deep threat

    • andy
      Posted August 30, 2014 at 5:13 pm | Permalink

      Dutch I agree. 4 puzzles. 18 solutions with unchecked starters. Miffypops will brand me as a grid hater but this one really doesn’t warrant the ink. That said had no problem with 12a and quite a few d’oh moments. Thanks to Giovanni and DT

  6. Sweet William
    Posted August 29, 2014 at 11:31 am | Permalink

    Thank you DG, another enjoyable challenge which I managed to complete. I had the answer for 12a, and assumed that the wordplay was as you indicated DT – but I agree, not very clear ! I spent a long time wondering who Steven is. Thanks for the review and hints which are always helpful in clarifying matters.

  7. A G Brown
    Posted August 29, 2014 at 11:33 am | Permalink

    Difficulty *enjoyment ** must be easiest Friday puzzle in the history of the Telegraph

  8. Graham Wall
    Posted August 29, 2014 at 11:33 am | Permalink

    I agree with Deep Threat’s ratings. I too was bamboozled by 12A which I would never have got without the blog. Having said that a very pleasant offering. My thanks to DT for his review which stirred many memories with his illustration for 14D

  9. Franny
    Posted August 29, 2014 at 11:35 am | Permalink

    I was dazzled by the first sight of this grid, but found the puzzle an enjoyable relief after yesterday’s which I couldn’t do at all. 12a was the only clue for which I needed your help. I enjoyed a number of the clues, but my favourite was 22d. So, thanks to you, Deep Threat, for the hints and specially for the music, and thanks to Giovanni, if it was he. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_bye.gif

  10. Marine2375
    Posted August 29, 2014 at 11:49 am | Permalink

    12a just too ridiculous for me

    • Deep Threat
      Posted August 29, 2014 at 12:01 pm | Permalink

      Welcome to the blog Marine2375.

  11. Angel
    Posted August 29, 2014 at 11:54 am | Permalink

    A pleasing challenge. Thanks to The Don (?) and also Deep Threat for the clear hints, sharp illustrations and great sound effects. Am glad I’m in good company in failing to solve 12a – for no good reason ‘best’ was all I could come up with. Stupidly I also needed help with 30a – that’s what comes of being a bit of a Luddite! I liked 14d. ***/***. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_good.gif

  12. Rick
    Posted August 29, 2014 at 12:08 pm | Permalink

    I agree that it is a grid that should be thrown on the scrap heap. One crossing letter per corner is not very kind. The SE puzzle-ette was more of a general knowledge test than a cryptic, with Greek mythology, 16th century composers, genetics, geography and botany needed in six of the seven clues. As was noted earlier in the week, general knowledge is great when you know it. When you don’t it is general ignorance.
    I just couldn’t get the first half of 12a. I must have written down every word spelt -E-T that I could think of except the right one (and is such a woman a partner? A very unequal one at best perhaps). I think it is a great idea that could have been more precisely clued.
    A very difficult one to rate so a fence-sitting pair of threes from the Wiltshire judge.

  13. Kath
    Posted August 29, 2014 at 12:09 pm | Permalink

    I’d say 3* difficulty and 2* for enjoyment.
    It seems to have taken me a long time but I had a lengthy chatty phone call from a friend in the middle which, lovely though it was, interrupted the concentration – well, that’s my excuse.
    I completely failed with 12a – the second word was obvious but the first remained a total mystery.
    I got into a terrible muddle with 24, 25 and 26d – all next to each other and all the same number of letters – the right answers kept trying to get into the wrong places!
    I thought there were quite a lot of anagrams which is fine by me – I like them but not everyone does.
    I liked 20a and 22d. My favourite was 16d.
    With thanks to Giovanni and Deep Threat.

  14. Will
    Posted August 29, 2014 at 12:11 pm | Permalink

    Yes, kept finishing each of the four at a rush only to be stymied by 12. These sorts of clue are rare and indeed clever. I suppose I should have run through types of partner and then worked it out. It does look like ‘it’s Eve’ was designed to make it easier; and while I could see eve in Steven, I was wondering what Steven was doing in Eden!

  15. Collywobbles
    Posted August 29, 2014 at 12:12 pm | Permalink

    Could you elucidate a little more DT on 12a because I don’t really understand it. Who is Steve?

    • F1lbertfox
      Posted August 29, 2014 at 12:35 pm | Permalink

      ‘EVE’ is kept by Steven – the word is inside STEVEN :-)

    • Deep Threat
      Posted August 29, 2014 at 12:35 pm | Permalink

      Steven is a collection of letters that happens to make up a man’s name, and also contains or keeps the letters EVE which make up a woman’s name, thus illustrating a ‘kept’ woman.

  16. Rabbit Dave
    Posted August 29, 2014 at 12:13 pm | Permalink

    2.5*/2* for another unexciting Friday puzzle, with the superb 22d the exception. I can’t decide whether I love or hate 12a, and I agree with Dutch about the grid.

    I’m probably having a stupid moment but I can’t get my head around the wordplay for 30a which seems to me to imply that “attempt” goes round “yob” not the other way round.

    Thanks to the setter and to DT.

    • gazza
      Posted August 29, 2014 at 12:30 pm | Permalink

      If gunge, say, is blocking a pipe it’s inside it.

      • Rabbit Dave
        Posted August 29, 2014 at 12:36 pm | Permalink

        Thanks Gazza, the “in” was causing my blind spot. I assume that is simply there for the surface reading, and to confuse me?

        And thanks too to Werm who must have been typing when Gazza posted his reply.

        • gazza
          Posted August 29, 2014 at 12:57 pm | Permalink

          The ‘in’ is shorthand for some linking phrase such as ‘is found in’.

    • Werm
      Posted August 29, 2014 at 12:35 pm | Permalink

      I read it as attempt “blocking” the word for yob. Just as a blockage is inside a pipe say.

      I too failed with 12A and now i’ve seen it I’m kicking myself.

      Thanks DT and good weekend all.

  17. F1lbertfox
    Posted August 29, 2014 at 12:42 pm | Permalink

    If my nearest and dearest hadn’t entered SOW for 17a the solving of 5d would have been very straightforward. As it was I could make no sensible word to fit. The remainder of the puzzle was most enjoyable, with clues 12a, 22d and 24d as particular favourites. Thanks to both setter and DT.

  18. Gwizz
    Posted August 29, 2014 at 1:19 pm | Permalink

    I too kicked myself when I realised what the answer to the first part of 12 a should have been; a clever clue I thought. And I have to admit I did spend a while (a-hem) trying to establish that there was an English composer called Eagles…. Doh!
    I must say I don’t understand the depth of feeling about the grid format. Surely a crossword is simply a challenge in whatever form it is presented and it is the solver’s task to complete it? Whether or not one should ‘like’ it is debatable….
    Anyway thanks to Giovanni and DT.

    • Kath
      Posted August 29, 2014 at 2:39 pm | Permalink

      I was even worse than that with the composer – I wanted there to be one called Agles because then the E could have been the English bit – oh dear!http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/icon_rolleyes.gif

  19. BigBoab
    Posted August 29, 2014 at 1:20 pm | Permalink

    Far too many anagrams for my taste but a quite enjoyable puzzle nonetheless, thanks to Giovanni and to DT. Don’t be put off the toughie because it’s an Elgar, it is probably his easiest for some time yet still great fun.

  20. Heno
    Posted August 29, 2014 at 1:32 pm | Permalink

    Thanks to Giovanni and to Deep Threat for the review and hints. A strange puzzle, it was a write-in, except for 24d & 12a,which I would never have got without the hints. As for 12a, I just didn’t know what I was looking for. A very clever clue. Favourite was 12a, horrible grid. 2*/1* for me.

  21. Bluebird
    Posted August 29, 2014 at 1:40 pm | Permalink

    This was my worst performance for some time. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_cry.gif

    Pity as I normally enjoy Friday’s.

    A particular embarrassment is not getting 24d as I am probably a distant relative of his (not direct as he had no offspring).

    Thx to DT as I got very little of the NW or SE puzzles.

  22. Expat Chris
    Posted August 29, 2014 at 1:46 pm | Permalink

    Fairly raced through this then came to a grinding halt on 12A, which I never did unravel. Loved 22D. Thanks to the setter ( Giovanni, I assume) for a nice end to the week and to DT for the review and sorting out 12A.

  23. Ian
    Posted August 29, 2014 at 1:47 pm | Permalink

    Well i for one relish different grids, general knowledge, obscure words and anything else the setters put before us. All the clues are gettable because it’s a cryptic crossword and there are two ways to come to the answer. If google or similar is needed to confirm a composer or author then I consider I’ve learned something today. If the crosswords were too easy we’d be complaining as well!
    **/*** for me today. 5d misled me completely until penny dropped. 12a took some working out. Beautiful. Thanks to DG and DT

  24. Mel Goodman
    Posted August 29, 2014 at 1:59 pm | Permalink

    Got 12a but needed to confirm. DT on iPad is now saving after long delay

  25. Brian
    Posted August 29, 2014 at 2:25 pm | Permalink

    Very enjoyable but even with the hint I still don’t understand the wordplay for 12a. I can see the kept woman but why Steven and eve?
    Must admit I missed the meaning of Audition in 17a, can sort of see it but it’s not at all clear.
    Did like 20a and esp liked 26d paying homage to two great figures.
    Never head of 24d, suspect you need to be a church-goer to have done so.
    Thx to all.

    • Brian
      Posted August 29, 2014 at 2:26 pm | Permalink

      Just seen the meaning of the hint for 12a, WHAT A DREADFUL CLUE, not up to the Dons usual high standard at all.

      • Sweet William
        Posted August 29, 2014 at 3:58 pm | Permalink

        Congratulations Brian on being confirmed as a “Distinguished Solver” by the Friday Maestro himself. Your comments will take on additional importance http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gif

  26. Jill
    Posted August 29, 2014 at 2:36 pm | Permalink

    Not so easy today – got 12a only from the letters (followed by “duh”). It took me some time to realise what kind of duty we were talking about in 5d but I thought that 22d was a super clue – very clever. I got there in the end but it was tough in places so I give it ***/**.

  27. Giovanni
    Posted August 29, 2014 at 2:39 pm | Permalink

    In my own defence — I think that 12A is perfectly accurate and legitimate and am disappointed to see a distinguished solver dubbing it ‘dreadful’ (shouting in capitals but at least sparing the red ink, I suppose). In the new Chambers Crossword Manual (due later this year) I am calling this type of clue an inverse clue and this would be an inverse hidden clue. I think that any fair new type of clue that makes the solver think laterally is to be welcomed. A puzzle is worth nothing unless there is a bit of puzzlement every now and then, is it? I don’t want to boil your brains, but there is no harm in my being one step ahead sometimes! Keep up the good fun at your end!

    • Heno
      Posted August 29, 2014 at 3:19 pm | Permalink

      Thanks for the feedback, I agree 12a was fair, as you say, why not have a bit of puzzlement. I feel I’ve learned something today.

    • Brian
      Posted August 29, 2014 at 4:33 pm | Permalink

      Sorry for the SHOUTING , I was just expressing my frustration with the clue. I stand by my comment though. I won’t repeat what Mrs B said in polite company but she too was not impressed. Keep up the good work. I have nearly finished your book which has taught me much.

    • Tstrummer
      Posted August 30, 2014 at 1:46 am | Permalink

      I think, whisper it, that 12a is one of the best clues for ages, made me grin like a loon once I saw it (took a while, though)

  28. Una
    Posted August 29, 2014 at 5:02 pm | Permalink

    Lovely puzzle , although I took the hint for the DNA expert, kicking myself afterwards. Thanks DT and Giovannni.

  29. 2Kiwis
    Posted August 29, 2014 at 7:44 pm | Permalink

    12a was our last one in too. We were also held up for a short time by trying to put in DECLINING for 31a. It almost worked as D for German, EC for ‘city’, LING for heather, just leaving a stranded IN. Looked good until it wouldn’t fit with 24d. All part of the fun of solving a good puzzle.
    Thanks Giovanni and DT.

    • gazza
      Posted August 29, 2014 at 8:09 pm | Permalink

      Giovanni wouldn’t have used German for D. D is the IVR code for Germany.

  30. Kath
    Posted August 29, 2014 at 7:50 pm | Permalink

    I have to say that, even though I really couldn’t do it, 12a has grown on me. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gif

  31. pommers
    Posted August 29, 2014 at 8:54 pm | Permalink

    12a was “interesting” but I don’t think I want it to set a new trend. “Reverse anagrams” are bad enough.

  32. Derek
    Posted August 29, 2014 at 9:11 pm | Permalink

    Late input from me. Nice puzzle from Giovanni.

    Faves : 12a, 30a, 16d & 24d.

  33. Bobmitchuk
    Posted August 29, 2014 at 11:48 pm | Permalink

    Luckily I am old enough to have heard of 12 before. I got the second word and the first then jumped out at me. The remaining clues were straightforward, except for 24 which I guessed at, not knowing my English composers too well. Luckily I guessed correctly. Overall difficulty would barely be a 2 and enjoyment perhaps 3. It seems that intuition is as important as wordplay and deduction in these puzzles.

  34. Laudy
    Posted August 29, 2014 at 11:53 pm | Permalink

    I got 12a quite early on, I did think that ‘Itinerant’ was a better answer for 6d but didn’t match the anagram. 26d caught me cold though !

  35. Tstrummer
    Posted August 30, 2014 at 1:43 am | Permalink

    Well I liked all of it, and I especially liked 12a once I saw it. Best clue, back pager or toughie, for ages. Didn’t mind the grid either. Thanks to DT for the usual high standard and thanks to the Don for 12a. After yesterday’s nightmare, it brought a wide grin from me, so 4* enjoyment, 3* difficulty

  36. Ian Silk
    Posted August 30, 2014 at 2:48 pm | Permalink

    Thank you – really helpful!

  37. AnotherBrian
    Posted August 30, 2014 at 7:07 pm | Permalink

    Hello all from a long term fan of Big Dave (and his little helpers!), posting for first time. Bemused at the level of admiration for 22d (nice enough anagram combined with general knowledge) when there’s no love expressed for 21a, which was a lovely ‘penny-dropper’.
    Puzzle took me a while (as usual) and needed hints to finish, but enjoyable. ***/*** for me.