DT 27609 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 27609

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 27609

Hints and tips by 2Kiwis

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ***

The calendar tells us that spring has arrived, we put our clocks forward last weekend and there are proud mother ducks with flotillas of ducklings on the ponds we walk past, but the hills to the west of us have become mountains again with a fresh coating of snow. We have been doing our homework and practicing adding pictures. Hope they work!

Another nice offering from Jay.


1a Add to time given to flexible workforce (10)
SUPPLEMENT : A word for flexible, then workforce and the usual letter for time.
6a Drink, but study intensively on the way back (4)
MARC : A rough brandy which, when reversed means study intensively.
9a Cool man read out love letters? (3,4)
FAN MAIL : An action used to cool then a homophone of a description of a man.
10a Side worried about main cause of sickness (7)
DISEASE : Anagram (worried) of SIDE around what the main often refers to.
12a Factor in payment (13)
CONSIDERATION : Double definition.
14a Caravans accommodating East European students (8)
TRAINEES : What lines of camels are called with 2Es included.
15a Make slow progress on son’s writing (6)
SCRAWL : Untidy writing. Abbreviation for son. Then progress like a baby.
17a Become aware of critic’s review (6)
NOTICE : Double definition.
19a Requisition fences in church? That’s improper (8)
INDECENT : Anglican church abbreviation is inside a word to order or requisition.
21a Cause of differences shown by love in poor ageing parent (10,3)
GENERATION GAP : Anagram (poor) of AGEING PARENT with an extra ‘O’ (love).
24a Meets requirements for an empty grid? (7)
ANSWERS : What an empty crossword is waiting for.
25a Managed to discharge rifle (7)
RANSACK : Split 3,4 , A term for managed then dismiss.
26a Gloomy, except for returning by day (4)
DRAB : A word meaning ‘except for’ then abbreviation for day. All reversed.
27a Appraisal of useful quality covering ship and crew (10)
ASSESSMENT : Abbreviation for ship plus term for crew inside a word for useful quality.


1d And for this reason newspaper is excessively sympathetic (4)
SOFT : Two letter word meaning ‘for this reason’ plus the pink paper.
2d Criticise expert with a remedy for all ills (7)
PANACEA : Three letter criticise, three letter expert, then ‘a’ from the clue.
3d Worryingly clever — rang uni for graphic representation of progress (8,5)
LEARNING CURVE : Anagram (worryingly) of CLEVER RANG UNI.
4d Panama producer perhaps mainly going without any on cruise ship (8)
MILLINER : Remove the letters of ‘any’ from mainly and add a large ship.
5d Reminder head of government’s got nothing on (5)
NUDGE : First letter of government inside a word for bare.
7d Bean counter turning up in a CIA broadcast (7)
ARABICA : Used in beverage making. A word for a counter backwards (turned up) inside an anagram (broadcast) of A CIA.
8d Senate call for change — and a fresh start (5,5)
CLEAN SLATE : Anagram (change) of SENATE CALL.
11d Internet facilities for sourcing drivers? (6,7)
SEARCH ENGINES : What car drivers might do when investigating a problem.
13d Watch over gun mainly carried by established model (5,5)
STAND GUARD : The first two letters of ‘gun’ (mostly) inside a yardstick perhaps.
16d Going the right way, and studies after working (2,6)
ON COURSE : Two letter word for working then series of lectures.
18d Dressed in a suit for the country (7)
TUNISIA : Anagram (dressed) of IN A SUIT.
20d Make amends for former sea robber having run away (7)
EXPIATE : The usual former, then Capt Hook perhaps without ‘r’.
22d Tries out jokes when judge leaves for time (5)
TESTS : A substitution clue where the abbreviation for judge is replaced by one for time.
23d Take-off in second gear? (4)
SKIT : ‘S’ for second then word for sports gear perhaps.

The Quick Crossword pun: mince+trill=minstrel

69 comments on “DT 27609

  1. A really enjoyable puzzle from Jay with plenty to smile about – 1a,15a and 24a in particular.
    21a has to be one of my all time favourites – I reckon the daughters would put most of our differences of opinion down to my being a ‘poor, ageing parent’ http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gif
    Well done on a great review (and pictures!) 2kiwis http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_rose.gif I should think you dealt with Jay in plenty of time to get the youngsters back home, but have to confess to being somewhat confused as to how your grandchildren can also be your cousins http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_wacko.gif

  2. Nice start to the day. 19a involves a word for requisition that was not familiar to me, and first part of 2d is not a word I associate with criticism, but then I consider myself barely literate. 22d and 26a were the highlights for my simple mind.

  3. When I got half way through the across clues without getting any answers, I feared another Wednesday of losing the will to live! Suddenly, though, clues began to fall into place, and in quite a short time I was disappointed to have finished. 24a was last in, since I completely missed the point, so lol when I saw the 2Kiwis’ explanation. 2*/4* rating. Thanks to Jay and the 2Kiwis for an excellent start to the day.

    1. With a Jay puzzle, the answer is to always start with the Downs. No idea why but it works.

      It is also a principle that should be applied to today’s Toughie, in my experience.

      1. You’ve said it often enough and I never remember! So today I started where habit takes me and nearly lost heart. Will I never learn.

  4. I thought I was doing really well but ended up being defeated by 6a – never heard of the drink and failed to get the study for some reason as I have certainly done enough of it in my time!
    So I would give it a single star for difficulty despite 6a, which I should have thought of! Maybe 3* for enjoyment.

  5. Have enjoyed fair bit of 6a over the years, the French seem to distil most wine grape varieties into this. I liked “read out love letters” in 9a and “bean counter” in 7d. I thought 21a was clever with the whole clue indicating the answer as well as the first 3 words. 24a was my last one in, ironically

    Many thanks setter and 2 Kiwis – somewhat jealous of your Spring!

  6. Three very straightforward puzzles on the bounce – our comeuppance must be lurking around the corner! Short and sweet 1*/3*

      1. Sorry, forgot you were on duty tomorrow! We’re with you in spirit (although BD will probably be of more practical help…)

      2. Didn’t realise you were in the chair again tomorrow. Don’t worry Kath, it’ll be one of our favourite man’s offerings and you’ll sail through it. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gif
        Sorry I won’t be home until later in the day, so can’t follow your progress, but I’m betting you’ll be getting several http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_rose.gif in the meantime.

  7. Thanks to Jay and to the 2 Kiwis for the review and hints. A very enjoyable puzzle today that was very much on gentle side. Was 1*/3* for me. Favourite was 11d. Last in was 22d. Off to the Toughie.

    1. You just HAD to suggest the Toughie, didn’t you. I was feeling so complacent after the Jay and now I’m facing a grid with seven completed answers and a lot of ‘ifs, buts and maybes’ scribbled underneath.
      Many thanks for the ‘start on the downs’ hint from Crypticsue – frankly I’d settle for anything right now. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_scratch.gif

      1. Seven answers sounds pretty good to me – so far I’ve got three. I think there will be much http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_scratch.gif going on.

  8. Yet another fairly straight forward solve. Not many across clues went in on the first pass, but as soon as the down clues started producing letters, everything fell into place.

    As an aside : Mrs Skempie applied to renew her road tax last Saturday and received the message : ‘From the 1st October, tax discs will no longer need to be displayed on your car’s windscreen. You new tax disc should arrive within four working days’ – somehow, I’m not sure the DVLA have got everything up to speed

  9. This didn’t seem to take very long which is a bit odd as I felt as if it was quite tricky while I was doing it so 2*/3* for difficulty and 3*+ for enjoyment.
    I ended up with four gaps in the top left corner but then saw the light and got them all at the same time.
    I took too long to get the first word of 3d as I’d convinced myself that it was going to be a mathematical thingy I’d never heard of – should have remembered that it’s not a Friday!
    Spent ages trying to make 7d something to do with an abacus – don’t know why.
    I liked 9 and 24a and 5 and 20d. My favourite was 21a for the same reasons as Jane.
    With thanks to Jay. Thanks and well done to the Kiwis – blimey – pictures too! I must try harder! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_scratch.gif

      1. I got that recently and felt SO guilty – a bit like when a police car is behind you – no idea what you’ve done wrong but it must be something!
        All I did was to ask sweetwilliam whether he’d seen a particular species of the avian persuasion on his recent trip to Scotland. By the time I got ‘un-moderated’ he’d prob. switched off from the blog.

        1. Hi Jane. On the North Norfolk coast now for a few days looking for more birdies !

  10. Enjoyable if gentle crossword today, thanks to Jay and to our Antipodean friends for a lovely review.

  11. Super crossword although I shot from the hip too quickly for 1A which slowed me down.

    A general question if I may and apologies if it has already been asked but since upgrading to Mavericks, using Safari, I can’t even log in to the Telegraph Crossword page. Has anyone else the same problem with Mavericks/Safari? TIA

  12. Thanks to Jay for an undemanding but fun puzzle today however I now can’t believe that my only hiccup was 24a so thanks Kiwis for enabling my completion. I enjoyed my first exposure to reviewing by the Kiwis and certainly look forward to more of the same. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_good.gif */***.

  13. Some really good clues today even if we didn’t get them without a little peep at the answers. Thank you to the Kiwis and to the setter.

  14. Pleasant fare from Jay!

    Faves : 6a, 24a, 7d & 11d.

    We have been without internet for several hours but it is now OK again.

    Definitely autumnal now here in NL – weather somewhat mixed and cooler.

  15. Initially I looked at the clues in horror, only two answers came immediately to mind. However, after a cup of coffee and a mental shake-up, things began to improve and I gradually managed to fill in the “empty grid”. The last in was 7d – and my favourite was 13d. Many thanks to Jay and the Kiwis and I have to give ***/*** for an entertaining puzzle.

  16. For me a little more than 2 for difficulty. 6a is a new one on me and I really struggled with 24a (bit too cryptic for my ability), and 13d held me up for ages. Totally missed the anagram in 18d (another indicator for the list!).
    Quite enjoyable but not the best of this weeks puzzles IMHO.
    Thx to 2kiwis for explaining the tricky clues although I found the hint for 13d almost as difficult as the clue!

    1. Sorry about 13d Brian. We are still trying to find the balance between giving a hint and giving the answer away. With luck we will get better at it with time.

      1. Which is why I doff my cap to you all, I dare not comment on Prize puzzles any more. That naughty step is somewhat chilly ;)

      2. Not meant as a criticism rather a constructive comment :-)
        Keep up the good work, enjoy the spring, always think this is the nicest time to be in NZ esp Napier.

  17. Thanks to Jay and the 2Kiwis; a fairly gentle stroll over too quickly. Favourite clue? Probably 20d for no other reason than it felt nice. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_wink.gif

  18. **/****. It was almost a write in today for me, almost! On first pass I put in ‘population’ for 1a, for reasons I still can’t figure out and it was only when I came to the downs that I saw my mistake. On top on that I wasn’t familiar with 6a, a case of bung it in. 7d and 21a were the stand out clues. All good fun though I’m very nervous of attempting the toughie now after everyone’s comments. Ahhhh. Thanks to the setter and the 2Kiwis for the explanations.

  19. I had the same difficulties as Brian.Otherwise very enjoyable . Thanks Jay and our friends from down under enjoying spring while we are wondering when autumn is going to start. Yesterday it was 22 degrees centigrade outside( ecology work) and inside, so no need for any central heating yet. Long may it last. I’m enjoying this global warming.

  20. In the future I’m going to try to remember to start with the downs, as per CS. I didn’t do at all well on first read through of the across clues, then fairly romped home with the downs! So many good clues, loved 24a, that’s my fave. Funnily enough, one of my first answers was 6a, the only words I could think of to study intensively were “cram” and “swot”. Thanks to Jay and 2Kiwis for the excellent review.

  21. I once asked Jay why his down clues were often the easier ones and he said he had no idea.

    If you like his puzzles he does about one a month in the FT under the pseudonym ORENSE, worth looking out for.

    1. Thanks pommers – will be on the lookout for that. In my opinion Jay’s and Virgilius’s puzzles are the highlights of the DT week (with the faintest rumour of a RayT thrown in for good measure).

        1. Thanks again! I generally steer clear of the guardian as I consider it to be (quite) a bit beyond my ability as a solver. But the more I practice the better I get so I’ll start giving it a crack.

          1. In the Grauniad there’s usually a RUFUS on a Monday, but he’s often trickier than in the DT. You are right though, I’m sure the average standard is harder and the setters are allowed to take a few more liberties. Good fun though.

    2. I think that you latch on to a setters style gradually. By the time you get to the down clues you have read a good deal of across clues and your mind is honing in to what will be required to sort out what is in front of you. Also the Down clues will be helped along the way by whatever checking letters are there.

      1. Absolutely. Back in London I used to get the guardian every now and then. Used to love araucaria. Almost the only one I could make sense of. And it was the name of a lovely Greek restaurant in crouch end with an outdoor pergola. Souvenirs souvenirs.

      2. MP – you’ve missed the point. I could say – “I think that you latch on to a setters style gradually. By the time you get to the across clues you have read a good deal of down clues and your mind is honing in to what will be required to sort out what is in front of you. Also the across clues will be helped along the way by whatever checking letters are there“.

        BTW, pommette and I got 5 acrosses on first pass and then 11 of the downs.

  22. */***. Another gentle stroll but more fun than yesterday. Liked 1, 9, 19 and 27a together with 20d. I knew 6a was right but had to look up why. Thanks to the setter and the 2Kiwis for an excellent but unneeded set of hints.

  23. Thank you Jay. Solved this in fits and starts during the tedious drive to the North Norfolk coast. Perhaps that contributed to finding it not particularly easy. Many thanks 2 kiwis for your review and hints.

    1. I’ll be at Brancaster in Nov and Dec for a couple of weekends, so peaceful and the pooches love it. They will not disturb your avian friends..

  24. Just after 5am here but could not possibly stay in bed any longer and had to get up to have a look at what everyone was saying. Although nobody has mentioned it we think (waking at 2am) that for 11d the ‘sourcing drivers’ are motorists contemplating buying a car and how they would go about it. Our other oversight was in the intro. As we live on the west coast, the hills referred to have to be east of us, but everyone is forgiven for missing this.
    Thanks for all the nice comments.

    1. Obviously still having trouble . . . either that or not in crossword frame of mind at the moment for whatever reason.
      She’ll be back – she always is – I look forward to her return. For you, Mary, if you have internet connection and can read this. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_rose.gif

    2. Think she may be away in the campervan so no internet. She’ll be back when the weather worsens.

  25. Good back page fun. My 11d were full steam ahead. Great straight forward explanations from our 2kiwis whom I had to consult on a couple of occasions. Defeated by 6a. Favourite wad 20d. Thanks to Jay and 2kiiwis for the clear review.

  26. I must be a closet boozer as I knew 6a today and hock yesterday which reminded me of living in bedsit with no money and ‘hocking’ the only bit of jewellery I had to buy some food for the weekend.

  27. Not quite as easy as the last two days I thought, but fairly straight forwards nonetheless. I had to check the drink in my BRB. 2*/3*
    Thanks to Jay and and the 2K’s.

  28. A piece of most enjoyable cake, as usual from Jay. Justo el trabajo, as they never say in Spain. 1*/4*. Thanks to the (unneeded) Kiwis. I love your work

  29. I’ve come late to this, so everyone else will have moved on. Just wanted to say thanks to the 2Kiwis for another good review. I had no clue of the other definition for indent, so I’ve learnt something :). Thanks also to Jay for the usual enjoyable puzzle.

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