DT 27638 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 27638

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 27638

Hints and tips by Gazza

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment **

This is a fairly typical puzzle by one of the Tuesday Mysterons – pretty straightforward but with not a great deal of pizzazz. Do let us know what you thought of it and how you got on.

If you click on any of the areas showing ‘Click here!’ you’ll see the actual answer so only do that as a last resort.

Across Clues

1a The German diamonds holding I have acquired (7)
DERIVED – a German definite article and the abbreviation for diamonds in card games hold between them the contracted form of ‘I have’.

5a Small and crazy, grabbing the woman under the table (7)
SMASHED – just as the Inuit apparently have hundreds of words for snow we seem to have an inexhaustible supply of words and phrases meaning drunk. S(mall) and an adjective meaning crazy or insane contain (grabbing) a feminine pronoun (the woman).

9a Foul allowed? Not at first (5)
AWFUL – start with an adjective meaning allowed or legal and drop the first letter.

10a Common virus Neal developed (9)
UNIVERSAL – an anagram (developed) of VIRUS NEAL.

11a Sorting out musical instrument — then I perform songs (10)
ORGANISING – string together a musical instrument, I (from the clue) and a fairly obvious verb meaning perform songs.

12a Do be quiet to get lolly (4)
DOSH – DO and an exhortation to be quiet.

14a Exercise and sport in air, running around causing this? (12)
PERSPIRATION – this is a semi-all-in-one. The abbreviation for physical exercise is followed by an anagram (running around) of SPORT IN AIR.

18a In regret, almost buy gift (12)
CONTRIBUTION – insert all except the last letter of BU[y] into a word meaning regret or remorse.

21a A no-good royal? Similar (4)
AKIN – start with a royal personage (1,4) and remove the abbreviation for good.

22a Estate agents display these  traits (10)
PROPERTIES – double definition. Hint: the answer is not deceptively worded advertisements.

25a I hollow and I hollo — almost the same (9)
IDENTICAL – assemble I (from the clue), a hollow or depression, I again and a verb to hollo or shout without its last letter (almost). I’ve not come across the verb to hollo before – it appears to be an alternative spelling of holler.

26a Mark woodland animal with no tail (5)
BADGE – a woodland animal, currently under attack from the farming lobby, without its last letter.

27a Fruitcakes from northern States (7)
NUTTERS – fruitcakes in this sense is what our current PM meant when he once described UKIP members as “fruitcakes, loonies and closet racists”. N(orthern) is followed by a verb meaning states or says.

28a Most intense river disease (7)
DEEPEST – charade of a Scottish or Welsh river and a disease or plague.

Down Clues

1d Monster to slowly move leg (6)
DRAGON – to slowly move, ignoring the split infinitive, could be what time does when you’re watching a party political broadcast, say. Add another word for the leg side on a cricket field.

2d One fleeing another country, last to leave resort (6)
REFUGE – drop the final letter (last to leave) from someone fleeing from another country and seeking shelter. I don’t like this clue much – the definition, i.e. a place one may have recourse to, has pretty much the same meaning as that used in the wordplay.

3d Workers who won’t get ready? (10)
VOLUNTEERS – cryptic definition. These workers don’t get any 12a.

4d Doctor starts to use more surgical instruments (5)
DRUMS – an abbreviation for doctor followed by the starting letters of three words in the clue.

ARVE Error: need id and provider

5d Bad scent — is it Kelvin, perhaps? (9)
SCIENTIST – an anagram (bad) of SCENT IS IT.

6d The last word in steam engines (4)
AMEN – hidden.

7d The man’s too rich — repeatedly making reductions is important (8)
HISTORIC – start with a possessive pronoun (the man’s) and add TOO RICH but for each word (repeatedly) reduce its length by one letter.

8d Working on DPhils — they’re supposedly intelligent (8)
DOLPHINS – an anagram (working) of ON DPHILS.

13d Kind deed by sort of seaman? Promising (10)
FAVOURABLE – a kind deed is followed by a sort of seaman (the expanded form of the first letter of AB).

15d Extra footballer stretches and takes off (9)
SUBTRACTS – a charade of an extra footballer (one who doesn’t start the match but is brought on later) and stretches of land.

16d Cause  incident (8)
OCCASION – double definition, the first a verb meaning to cause or give rise to.

17d In dreadful court, getting evasive (8)
INDIRECT – string together IN (from the clue), an adjective meaning dreadful or calamitous and the abbreviation for court.

19d Idle MD’s developing waist (6)
MIDDLE – an anagram (developing) of IDLE MD.

20d Snake cult ignoring leader’s view (6)
ASPECT – a small snake is followed by a cult or splinter group without its leading letter.

23d Greek letter was first to be collected (5)
PILED – the Greek letter that most of us probably originally met in geometry lessons is followed by a verb meaning was first or headed the field.

24d Pen beginning to expand — you might notice it on the lid (4)
STYE – the pen where you may house your porkers is followed by the beginning letter of expand.

I liked 6d and 7d best today. Which one(s) made you purr?



74 comments on “DT 27638

  1. Thanks Gazza and Mysteron for an all too brief fun-time. **/***. Liked 1a, 25a and 3d. Can’t believe 24d was last in and then only after a bit of help. A nip in the air but beautiful sunshine in West Sussex – sounds like it may not last. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gif

  2. Reasonably easy puzzle.

    Faves : 5a, 27a, 3d & 15d.

    Shut all the ventilator strips in all the windows this morning so am now in winter status!

  3. Basically agree with Gazza, pleasant enough, but a little lacking in inspiration, so a **/2.5*,too many anagrams for me ,liked 5a and 18a and the surface reading of 4d which was suitably misleading.

  4. Enjoyed completing this after an initial struggle. Thank you setter and thank you Gazza for hints as well as the joyous pic of 8d. Poppy now firing on all cylinders albeit with one damaged eyelid after her contretemps with the collie. Thankful that’s all behind us. But I’m wary of the huge foxes that dog our streets now in increasing numbers even in the daytime. One took a neighbours cat, and Poppy is smaller, so in spite of her determined entreaties she doesn’t go out on her own at night even in our minuscule front garden. Hope others are enjoying some sun, as we are!

  5. Well that was about as much fun as receiving a tax bill. Either so obvious such as 1d or unbelievably bizarre such as 25a. Do’nt see why pest is a disease.
    Did quite like 27a but that’s about it I’m afraid.
    Not my favourite puzzle.
    Thx to Gazza for the explanations for 5a and 7d, could see the answers but not the wordplay.

    1. I do wish you’d say what you really think Brian, instead of being so sycophantic to the compilers http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_wink.gif

      1. Now that was much better, very enjoyable. Do you think they mixed up the envelopes today?
        Thx for the suggestion.

        1. Put a comment on the Toughie blog Brian, and then Warbler will see that you enjoyed it too.

      1. The first definition for “pest” in the BRB is “any deadly epidemic disease”. QED!

  6. 2*/3*. I enjoyed this and many thanks to Mr. Ron, particularly for his largely commendable brevity.

    Like Gazza “hollo” was a new spelling for me.

    Many thanks too to Gazza for a great review. Brilliant to see Animal vs. Buddy Rich again and the photo for 26a is just about as cute as it gets.

  7. Thanks to Mr Ron and to Gazza for the review and hints. A nice puzzle, but a bit lacking in sparkle. Was 2*/2* for me. Favourite was 14a, last in was 17d. Lovely day in Central London, but a bit nippy.

  8. Thank you setter – I enjoyed that, but I always do if I can finish them ! Thanks Gazza for your review and hints. I actually thought 25a was quite amusing.

  9. Not quite my cup of tea and I did need a bit of help to understand the rationale in a few places. One or two of the clues left me thinking “well… ok…” but that’s probably just me recovering after the shock of having to work so hard to do the Rufus puzzle yesterday. Once in, I managed to complete it without too much trouble. Some nicely constructed clues here, including 18a and I enjoyed the estate agent’s 22a. Favourite was 27a. Thanks to Mr Ron and to Gazza for the review.

  10. A bit of a mechanical plod with not a lot of light relief. I didn’t think the anagram count was excessive (four and a partial) but they were rather obvious. I thought 3d was a bit weak too. 2.5*/2*

  11. Oh dear, I can’t agree with most. I was left completely dumbfounded with the SW corner.
    Maybe it’s because my inflamed respiratory tract has reached my brain….http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_unsure.gif

    Didn’t much like the quickie pun either….

      1. Oh heck, BD – I thought you were infallible! Have you been guilty of ‘forgetting’ in the past and the memory lingers on…and on…..and on?

  12. Average puzzle, I thought. A slow start turned into a slow completion – but finally success.

    2.5*.3* I would say.

  13. Well I didn’t like it at all today and found it quite tricky. I thought one or two of the definitions were pushing it a bit too, but you can’t please all of the people all of the time. Thank you Gazza and the setter.

  14. Nothing to frighten the horses. loved 21 and 25 across. Still cannot see that Piled is ready to be collected. Saint Sharon has piles of stuff for me to “look through” or “sort out” The poppies were an incredibly moving sight yesterday. Dont be put off by the dire warnings of queues. Yes it was crowded but the very polite crowd moved to and from the railings to allow others the same priviledge. Great day out with Saint Sharon, eldest daughter Rosie and eventually Craig, her boyfriend.

  15. All steady today. Liked 3d and 15d (which I thought was fairly clever as subs do stretches on the touchline when warming up).

  16. I’d say not quite 2* for difficulty and 3* for enjoyment.
    My last answer was the estate agent one – don’t know why but I suppose something had to be.
    I’d never heard of hollo and the state of chaos here at the moment is such that the BRB seems to have gone AWOL so I guessed, hoped and relied on gazza.
    I liked 5a and 5d. My favourite was 8d.
    Thanks to Mr Ron and to gazza.
    Just about to embark on BRB hunt – could be a while . . . http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_unsure.gif

      1. Last week Mary was Sur la Pont d’Avignon in some lovely sunshine. I presume she and Mr Mary are still travelling round France in what looked like some lovely weather.

        1. Kath keeps telling that I’ll love Mary – I’m beginning to think that she’s just a myth!

          1. No, she really isn’t a myth and yes, you will love her. She rabbits away just like you, me and Hanni.
            She started commented on the blog a few months before I did and I think she probably holds the record for number of comments, even allowing for a very long absence.

            1. I can’t WAIT to ‘meet’ her! Have got so used to it being you, me and Hanni doing the ‘rabbiting’ that it will be strange (nicely so) to have another bunny join us.

              Hope she's possibly as outspoken as I can sometimes be – you and Hanni are always so nice about everyone and, occasionally, I just see 'RED' !!! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/icon_evil.gif

              Off to continue my delve into the Toughie – suspect the Warbler might beat me, but I love his (?) song, anyway! Roll on Spring. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_whistle3.gif

              1. I like the sound of Mary! Jane, believe me I’m capable of seeing red. It frequently involves golf, golf clubs, fishing and people attempting DIY resulting in minor explosions!

  17. I am really struggling today and still haven’t finished it! Given up really. I think I was getting a tad too complacent.

  18. Thought I’d comment today. I nearly always read the blog but by the time I post everything has already been said. Enjoyed today, although it took me an age to get the bottom half. I always miss the obvious clues like 27a and 21a. Favourite was 25a. 17 d was in a similar vein but not so good. 3*/4* for me with thanks.

  19. Didn’t get today’s – rather dull and a bit gnomic. Not much fun and no real satisfaction.

  20. Top half went in double-quick time but I floundered a bit with the bottom half and would give it 2* difficulty based on that. Enjoyed it though and thanks to Gazza and Mr Ron **/***

  21. As many have said, good puzzle but not exciting. Loved the dolphin pix, thanks Gazza. Fave was 14a. Thanks to setter and to Gazza for review.

  22. A bit of a mish-mash this one – some very odd clues like 25a and some very straightforward – all in all a bit frustrating and not much fun!

    Ah well, tomorrow is another day – onward and upward! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_wacko.gif

  23. Weird.
    I often find hard ones easy and easy ones hard.
    This was no exception.
    All went reasonably well, then five to go which took longer than the rest.
    Some clever wordplay.eg 7d.
    Many thanks to the setter and to Gazza for the review.

    1. Think yourself lucky that you didn’t know the answer to that – several of my friends are constantly beleaguered by same.

  24. Nice puzzle today, thanks to Gazza for putting me out of my misery with 7d. I overlooked the ‘ making it the possessive his whereas I had convinced myself
    .that it had to be he’s and ended up with Hesiodic I.e. Pertaining to the Ancient Greek Poet Hesiod! Stupid boy

  25. For some reason we found this one quite tricky, especially the bottom half. In fact it took us longer than the Toughie but when we look back at it there is no particular reason why we found it so. Pleasant enough.
    Thanks Mr Ron and Gazza.

  26. Fairly straight forward as has been said. 22a was probably my favourite.
    Thanks to Mr Ron and Gazza for the revue.
    Next please!http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_wink.gif

  27. There are days – fortunately not many – when I find the comments on the blog really depressing. I wonder just how many of us could take a blank sheet of paper, construct a grid, add the words to fit and then come up with a series of clues? Or whatever sequence they use!

    The pleasure for me is to end up with a completed puzzle – it is of little importance as to whether I would have chosen the specific definitions/clue formats etc. If I can’t follow the reasoning, then it’s my problem – not that of the setter. The ‘rookies’ are the only people we need to be constructively criticising – we shouldn’t undermine the expertise of those who continue to give us hours of enjoyment.

    As for today – pick any favourite from 5,14,18 and 25a, and 24d. 3d has to be my personal one – I seem to spend the larger part of my life as one of those – and it gets very expensive on the petrol, clothing, donations etc. front!!!

    Sorry for the sermon – but sometimes the negativity makes me wonder how and why the setters keep on striving to please.

    1. I’m not even a yearling when it comes to this solving malarkey, but I pretty much enjoy (maybe naïvely) anything that masquerades as a cryptic puzzle. When I’m solving (or attempting to solve) a puzzle, I tend to think that I wouldn’t have a clue when it comes to setting one so I agree with your sentiments.

      However, I know that some of the seasoned solvers out there have a far more discerning palate when it comes to what they like and dislike and maybe one day I’ll be of a similar persuasion.

      As for now though, I like anything I can complete! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_wink.gif

    2. I can’t agree with you Jane. As a paying customer of a paid professional am I not entitled to express an opinion? Setters are in the entertainment business, like writers, musicians and actors. All are judged every time they produce new work. I wrote hundreds of thousands of words for public consumption in my career and soon learnt to take the good reviews and the bad – but it was always the bad that I took to heart and learnt from, even if they did sting occasionally. They made me better at my job and kept complacency at bay.
      This is a lovely blog full of (mostly) very nice people but it can be a bit Panglossian at times. A dissenting opinion or two provides some balance and stimulates debate.

      1. Actually, Rick, I completely agree with you. I just resent the number of comments that come in from those who are simply frustrated that they couldn’t finish a puzzle. I think, if you check through, many of the adverse remarks come from those who expect to complete within ‘x’ time and blame it on the setter if they can’t.

        I have been in the same position as yourself in years gone by and have to say that negative comments, on the scale that is sometimes apparent, are demoralising rather than productive.

  28. piled and pest ? could have done with shelling these two peas . !! Medics in the house but pestilence way over my head. Bottom half more interesting than the top

  29. Peeped out of cupboard and initially wondered why then a penny dropped and so I soldiered bravely on to the end. Slight cheat because I used the electronic super-toy a couple of times but that is better than bung-it-in and hope for the best
    Very pleasant day in Suffolk but rain promised tomorrow.

      1. MP – I’m even later going to bed than you are, but have to remark upon your ability to spot the ‘ooh er missus’ in any post – whether or not it was intended! Great fun for those of us standing outside but I do begin to understand how Sharon achieved her sainthood! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_wink.gif

  30. Quite gentle, about 2*/3* in all. 23d took me a while, but shouldn’t really have done. My favourite was 4d – my first move was into surgical instruments, rather than the musical ones. Thanks to Mr Ron, and to Gazza for the review.

  31. Contrary to Brian’s view I thought this was a smasher – some great clues and a few potential blind alley traps. After a day of DIY it was nice to exercise the brain and to get it done in front of the TV. Many thanks to the Setter for making my day complete.http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yahoo.gif

  32. I too enjoyed this offering and really liked 25a – very clever surface reading and a new word to boot. So many thanks to Mysteron and to Gazza. I watched the Buddy Rich 4d clip and wondered how fast they can play. I looked it up and supposedly the world record is 1200 beats per minute – still slower than a humming bird with 60 wing beats a second according to Life Story and Mr. Attenborough last week!

  33. I seem to be in a minority here, because I liked all the misdirections such as thinking 5a was some kind of shady deal and 4d definitely not a scalpel. I liked 11 which was one of the last in. 22a stumped me , mostly due to numb brain (as I use that word in that sense daily) after an 11 hour day at school.Much too long , I have no idea why I am paying my union over 300 euro a year. Thanks Gazza and can anyone guess who it is ?

  34. As others have said, I enjoy any puzzle that I can finish, and sometimes even those that I can’t and have to resort to the excellent hints provided by our bloggers. However, as Rick has pointed out, the paying customer (even if I get my Telegraph free) has the right to criticise – but surely only in a constructive way; negative comments for their own sake serve no real purpose. I didn’t find this puzzle particularly inspiring, nor did it provide too many smiles along the way, but I still enjoyed meeting the challenge. Those who fail to complete the challenge should take their hats off to the setter and graciously admit defeat. They should also take their hats off to Gazza for his excellent review. 2*/2*

    1. Thanks for the ‘hint’ Tstrummer -I was so annoyed that I forgot to thank both the setter and our lovely Gazza who continues to patiently guide me through the blog ‘minefields’ against all odds! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_heart.gif

  35. Have had to admit defeat at 7d, 17d, 21a and 27a. I enjoyed this one, especially 6d, 18a and 14a. Thanks to setter and Gazza, esp for the drum solo and the woodland babies!!

  36. Managed this one while watching the box. And tonight it’s football. PSG v Nicosia. On the other hand I just saw there’s “the imaginarium of dr Parnassus” on another channel. I’ve never heard of it. Even though Terry Gilliam is one of my preferred film maker. My favorite film of all times is “Brazil”. And twelve monkeys army is harder to understand than an Elgar crossword. Apart from that, nothing much to say about this puzzle. Thanks to the setter and to gazza (another footy ref?) for the review.

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