DT 27653 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 27653

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 27653

Hints and tips by Deep Threat

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ***

Good morning from South Staffs on a misty Novemberish day.

Some fish, some philosophers and a clever construction at 28a in today’s Giovanni, which I found more straightforward than the last couple from him.

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           Extra dishes will offer this bit of salad (6)
RADISH – Hidden (will offer) in the clue.

4a           Europeans only half like a saint surprisingly (8)
ITALIANS – Anagram (surprisingly) of LI (half Like) A SAINT.

10a         Fish provided by a chap, the only supplier (4,5)
SOLE AGENT – A flatfish linked with Dover and lemons, followed by A (from the clue) and another word for chap.

11a         Corpulent American gangster causing death (5)
FATAL – Put together a word for corpulent and the usual American gangster found in crosswordland.

12a         Bread is thrown out for e.g. gull (7)
SEABIRD – Anagram (thrown out) of BREAD IS.

13a         Maybe listener’s one hanging on (7)
EARRING – The ‘s in the clue is short for ‘has’. A part of the body associated with listening might have one of these hanging on it.


14a         Ancient Edmund, behold, making a comeback (5)
OLDEN – Put together a diminutive form of Edmund and the word often seen paired with ‘and behold’, then reverse the lot.
ARVE Error: need id and provider

15a         People eating informally may have such famous people (8)
NOTABLES – Split (2,6) this could describe what people eating on the sofa or at a picnic have.

18a         Worked in musical show with Irish father on TV? (8)
OPERATED – A musical drama followed by one of the priests who lived on Craggy Island in the TV series.

20a         Philosopher sounding secure (5)
LOCKE – This 17th-century philosopher sounds like something used to secure a door.

23a         Performer taking part is terrific? Not entirely (7)
ARTISTE – Hidden (not entirely) in the clue.

25a         Regret having to abandon river — no flipping fish! (7)
GUDGEON – Remove the R (abandon river) from a word for regret or envy, then reverse (flipping) NO (from the clue) and add it to the answer.

26a         Drink brings audible sounds of disapproval (5)
BOOZE – A term for strong drink which sounds like an audience expressing disapproval.

27a         Starts to think zanily, being into crazy Chinese philosopher (9)
NIETZSCHE – An anagram (crazy) of CHINESE with the first letters of Think Zanily inserted.

28a         Put down at this number! (8)
NINETEEN – The answer is the number of the clue elsewhere in the grid to which the answer is PUT DOWN.

29a         Deserter captured by American soldiers gets free (6)
GRATIS – The usual American soldiers wrapped around one who deserts a sinking ship.


1d           Bit of circuitry deteriorates and is to be pulled up — engineers to the fore! (8)
RESISTOR – Put together aa word for deteriorates and IS (from the clue), then reverse the lot (pulled up) and put the initials of a regiment of engineers in front of the result.

2d           Of the French learners sitting on a road one is not very bright (7)
DULLARD – Put together a French word for ‘of the’, two learner drivers, A (from the clue) and an abbreviation for road.

3d           Trader about to set up south of Paddington, say? (9)
STATIONER – Start with a place of which Paddington is an example, then reverse (set up) the Latin word for about or concerning and add it on.

5d           Perpetual student may be proceeding thus as much as possible (2,3,3,6)
TO THE NTH DEGREE – A perpetual student may be working towards an indeterminate number of qualifications, which might be described using an algebraic symbol for any number.

6d           Prisoner — one going down for strangling female? (5)
LIFER Female inside a word for someone who is down on the floor.

7d           Like beginning of the journey on a horse perhaps (7)
ASTRIDE – Put together a two-letter adverb for ‘like’ or ‘in the like manner’, the first letter of The, and a journey by some means of transport.

8d           Fodder is served up with endless drink (6)
SILAGE – Reverse (served up) the IS from the clue, then add what some people regard as beer with the final R removed.

9d           Joint operation of obeisance (7,3,4)
BENDING THE KNEE – Mildly cryptic definition (or double definition – take your pick) of an act of submission.

16d         Farm animal, sleepy type in tractor (9)
BULLDOZER – A bovine followed by someone snoozing.

17d         Possibly an anorexic quality seen in a queen wearing not so much (8)
LEANNESS – The 18th-century Stuart monarch famous proverbially for being dead, placed inside a word for ‘not so much’.

19d         One’s answer here will be criticised (3,4)
PUT DOWN – Double definition: the first is a literal statement; the second a figure of speech.

21d         Result of naval economies? It’s a bit hairy! (4,3)
CREW CUT – A variety of hairstyle which could also describe reductions in naval manning.

22d         Copy a component of the periodic table (6)
CARBON – Double definition, the first being a term for a copy made in an office before the age of word processors.

24d         Fish was out-of-date seemingly (5)
SMELT – This fish sounds as though it was giving off evidence of being past its best.


I’ve just noticed that this is my 100th contribution to the blog, Doesn’t time fly?

The Quick Cross word pun PRESS + STATIN = PRESTATYN

75 comments on “DT 27653

  1. Das war prima. I enjoyed every minute of the solve and was really sad when it ended. So many great clues including 15a, 28a, 5d, 9d and 21d plus plenty of humour. Many thanks indeed Giovanni and DT. ***/****. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yahoo.gif

    1. Today’s cruciverbal fun continues as I have just listened to the very nostalgic Ella Fitzgerald recording of “Anything Goes” – thanks for that DT. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gif

  2. 2.5*/2*. My solving time was on course for 2* but I got slightly held up with a couple in the SW corner.

    I can’t put my finger on exactly why I don’t particularly enjoy Giovanni’s puzzles, but I tend to feel relieved when I have finished them whereas with most other setters I have a sense of achievement. Today was no exception although I did find it much more palatable than last week’s. That said I certainly don’t want to knock the effort that must go into compiling any crossword. I have a huge admiration for anyone who can do that, and I am glad that many others seem to enjoy the Friday cryptic.

    In 25a, I am not convinced that grudge is a synonym for regret and nothing in my BRB seems to contradict that. Spelling 27a is something I absolutely dread! 9d was my favourite, with 28a a close second.

    Thanks to Giovanni and to DT for a great review. Your picture of the 20a philosopher shows that the quality described by 17d very much applies to him!

  3. Not often that I’m enthusiastic about the Friday puzzle but I loved this. Plenty of humor, no obscure words, and I even knew the Irish father. I liked 15A and 9D, but 28A gets my top vote.

    There was a time when I knew the color codes for 1D by heart! I soldered many a printed circuit board back in the day.

    1. True – no obscure words, but more than enough philosophers and fish to make up for it!

      Don’t know whether you read my late-nighter but wonder if you’ll be having another ‘bysicle’ later? I should have thought putting the Baileys in a mug of something hot would be a better option at the moment! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gif

    2. So did I. There was a very ribald mnemonic that helped me remember it, but it’s too risqué to mention.

  4. Forgot to mention that Mr. Expat would have a fit at 16D being called a tractor! Also forgot to thank Giovanni and DT.

  5. The crossword progressed far better once I’d realised that 9d, which began to fit nicely with my 10a, 12a and 15a was not WEDDING DAY VOWS though it would also appear to be a joint enterprise of sorts!

  6. 2* plus a bit for difficulty and 3* for enjoyment.
    I do, at least, know that I can’t spell 27a so I don’t even try any more – I knew who I was looking for and checked his spelling.
    I missed all the clever subtlety of 28a – stupid! I decided that it was golf, again, and that the nineteenth hole of a golf course is the bar and that ‘put down’ must be slang for drink. Oh dear! Talk about making things difficult. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/icon_rolleyes.gif
    I had the third bit of 5d wrong for a while which didn’t help with 15a.
    Not very many anagrams.
    I liked 11 and 27a and 2 and 6d. My favourite was either 5 or 9d.
    With thanks to Giovanni and to Deep Threat for showing me the error of my ways with 28a!
    Grey and wet in Oxford – Christmas cake day, I think.

    1. Save me a piece – the OH is diabetic so I no longer make one, used to be the high spot of the last Saturday in October because he was always out all day.

  7. great puzzle, not that hard though i missed the ‘s = has in 13a (listener’s) and was rightly left feeling i’d missed something – thanks deep threat for clarifying

    loved the 19d/28a pair, quite bold having an answer so prominent in a clue.

    i also liked 27a (chinese philosopher)

    Many thanks Giovanni & DT

  8. Had to look up the spelling of the philosopher at 27A and had to think hard for the philosopher at 20A as h doesn’t appear in Monty Python’s philosopher song (one of the cleverest bits of Eric Idle’s cleverest bits of writing IMHO). Afraid I have two favourites today – but as they’re inextricably linked, I’m hoping to get away with 19D and 28A.

        1. Philosophers … Monty Python … thought it would have been be this one?

          Nietzsche – booked again!

  9. A nice puzzle today – chuckled at 19d/28a which was a new one for me!
    My Chambers dictionary arrived this morning – so now I have the right tools!


  10. Thought this was the best puzzle of the week , took a lot of thought to find the definition, going for a***/**** , a bit heavy on the fish and philosophers ! Liked 15a and 22d and the d’oh moment for 28a thoroughly enjoyed the solve, thanks DT for the pics, can’t get sound on my works computer, will listen to Ella when I get home.

  11. Real pleasure as usual for a Friday and a bit gentler than normal. Out of interest did anyone else put Estonian for 4a? E half of ONly and a anagram of SAINT.
    Held me up for ages.
    Thx to the Don for the excellent crossword and to DT for setting me straight on 4a.

    1. I did :)
      Left it there for ages until I realised through not getting the joined on clues that it was wrong.

  12. An enjoyable puzzle thank you DG with no unusual words ! Thanks for the review and hints DT

  13. Nods in agreement with DT’s comments. A very straight-forward solve – that is once I’d managed to rid myself of the idea that 9 down would work out to be ‘wedding day vows’. (clearly Moose and I were barking up the same wrong tree, lol.) I loved the 19 down/28 across connection and found clues 5 down and 25 across among my favourites. Thanks to the Don for another fun puzzle. The masochistic side of me now suggests I have a look at Elgar’s Toughie – looking is probably the best I can hope to achieve though. ;-)

  14. A solid puzzle which fell into place quite easily. There were only a couple of jumpoutatcha clues but enough for a start and a way in to the rest of the puzzle. Thanks to The Don and also to Deep Threat (what of)?

  15. After a few went in, I slowed right up and thought it was going to be a hard one. But after a little brain-massaging, it all came together. Sorry to disappoint you Jane, but apart from a quick Google to satisfy myself that I was right on 24d, I managed this one solo too!

    I enjoyed the 19d/28a combo, and also liked the philosophers. Not so keen on the fishy ones, but that’s doubtless just me. All in all, a pleasant Friday crossword, I thought.

    My thanks to the Don and to Deep Threat – congrats on your century http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_good.gif.

    1. Oh rats! I bet you even understood the 19d/28a combo as well. Think I was far happier when I could believe you needed Mr. K’s help. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_sad.gif

        1. He seems to have been reasonably happy for two days now – whatever is happening to the world as we know it. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_wacko.gif

  16. Not too bad at all for a Friday. We certainly made a better fist of it than usual. Re. 27across, only in German can a word which sounds reasonably straightforward end up having such complicated spelling. Thank you DT and the setter..

  17. I was on for a Friday record until a hold up in the SW took me into 2* time. Should have got the 19/28 combo quicker.
    Given the day’s twin themes would an alternative for 24d be ‘I stink therefore I swam’?

  18. Most enjoyable ppuzzle for some time : well done Giovanni . Couldn’t spell Niet—- so went straight to the blog , decided not to use google .

  19. Think I’m in Rabbit Dave’s camp today – greatly relieved when it was over! ‘Philosopher’ has the same effect on me as ‘sport’ has on Kath – there’s even another one in the Quickie! DT’s hints were invaluable for sorting out the ‘why’ of 28a (yes, Kath, I was down in the golf clubhouse too!) but I’m still not happy about 6d – thought ‘lier’ was a bit poor.

    9d was my favourite, closely followed by 16&21d.

    Reckon I may well give up on the Quickie – the salamander on top of another philosopher is all getting a bit too much GK for me!

    Thanks to Giovanni and – to DT, congratulations on reaching the 100th – you deserve many http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_rose.gifhttp://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_rose.gif from all of us.

    1. I can’t do the Quickie philosopher either – got the salamander though. We’re not supposed to talk about the Quickie here but I don’t think I’m going to spoil it for anyone by saying you could do with remembering that Fridays are always (almost always) pangrams.

  20. I enjoyed this but spent far too long in the SW corner hence 3* / 4*. Last in and favourite was 28a where I stared at the obvious answer for some minutes even looking up alternative definitions before the penny finally dropped. Many thanks to DT and to Giovanni.
    (And, owing to a clumsy finger on the ipad, I now know what that ABC is doing hovering above the comment box!)

  21. After a really good start (including the philosophers) it all slowed down and I needed help. I liked 18 and 28 and really enjoyed the whole puzzle. Thank you.

  22. I too went down the golf route on 28a, but otherwise survived a good shake up of the gray cells in completing this very enjoyable Friday workout. 5d was my personal favourite.
    Thanks to the Don and DT for his explanations.

  23. ***/****. A sense of achievement when I finished this given I’m not strong on philosophers or how their names are spelled. This was a very enjoyable puzzle and an equally enjoyable review from DT for which many thanks. The setter was also on good form and I really enjoyed 15 & 28a. Rain today but at least we’re not suffering like Buffalo.

  24. ***/****
    That was a very good way to end the week. I got held up parsing 25a as I did not consider ‘grudge’ to be a synonym for regret. Bunged the answer in because of the letters I had.
    Favourites were the brilliantly linked 19d and 28a. Like a Cheshire cat when I realised the answer.
    Many thanks to Giovanni for setting a fantastic crossword. And to DT, well done on your 100th blog.http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_rose.gif

    I hope everyone has a good weekend. :-)

    1. OK Hanni – I’ll just go and sit in your corner by myself tonight, unless your big hairy dog would like to keep me company? http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_sad.gif

      Off on a trip to the bird reserve at Martin Mere tomorrow, followed by an Anglesey birdwatching day on Sunday, so maybe I’ll be a bit more cheerful in time for next week’s challenges. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_smile.gif

      1. I think we should have drinks in the corner! Preferably with your Christmas tree? :-) I’ve just tried the Toughie. Child type things have been laughing at me saying, “Mum’s talking to the crossword again!” I think by talking they mean muttering under my breath.
        Plus the other half is being suspiciously helpful. This means he’s going to ask if he can golf in Tenerife in January. He has know idea I already know about the trip. ;-)

        And oh my goodness about Martin Mere! I went there on a school trip decades ago. Haven’t thought about that in years!
        It sounds like you are going to have a fantastic weekend. Is there any particular birds you will be looking for?

        1. OK – G&T it is then! We need to decide on a colour scheme for the tree decs. – what do you fancy?

          Martin Mere – main draw is the huge number of Whooper Swans at this time of year, but there’ll hopefully be masses of other species as well.

          As for the Tenerife trip – I should keep your knowledge well under wraps for as long as possible. ‘Helpful’ other half sounds good to me – and think of the private amusement you can derive in the meantime! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yahoo.gif

          1. I’m quite open about any colour scheme so long as I can have lights and it smells Christmassy. Though I’ve no idea what that is? Pine needles and mulled wine? What does Christmas smell like? Do you have a gin preference? Though tonight I shall be drinking Baileys too. I think you mentioned it yesterday and it’s been so long since I tried it.
            I’ve looked up Whopper Swans. Beautiful things. :-)
            He still in the dark that I know about Tenerife. I mean good grief he must knowledge know the wives talk? It doesn’t really bother me but so far he has launched the dishwasher and put oil in my car!

            1. The Whoopers are a bit late this year Jane – we were there 10 days ago and they were up to 500 – maybe full strength now. By coincidence we are off to Slimbridge tomorrow – maybe some Bewicks ? Have a good day.

                1. Thank you Skempie – I will try and spot one ! Sounds as though you had a good time in Southport ?

            2. N.B..Jane can I just say the other half has NOT launched the dishwasher anywhere. He did ‘load’ it though. And apologies for the superfluous use of the word ‘knowledge’ above! Bloomin auto correct! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/icon_redface.gif
              Now what were you and Hilary saying about proof reading?

          2. If you fancy seeing something a bit different after Martin Mere, pop across to Southport and try and get to Marine Drive to the north of the town. In the afternoon, there are thousands of geese fly in from Martin Mere it is quite a sight.

  25. I can’t say I enjoyed this one, it was a real struggle – two days in a row have not been much fun (for me anyway!). I think I’ve been overdoing the grey matter trying to sort out some flights to Turkey – why do the airlines make finding out information so difficult!

    Roll on Saturday – onward and upward! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_wacko.gif

    1. If you’re going to Turkey take heavy duty mozzy repellant. Our elder Pet Lamb is there at a meeting at the moment. She was giving a talk to two hundred people this morning and was bitten on her eye lid last night – her left eye is completely swollen up and totally shut – she sent me a text with a photo of what she looks like. Oh dear! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_sad.gif

      1. Ouch – poor Lamb! However, maybe looking at an audience of 200 people through one eye is marginally less scary than having both eyes wide open? A bit like watching a scary film through latticed fingers. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gif

        1. I hope so – she’s back in UK tomorrow and she’s always pleased to get home so she’ll be fine. Will no doubt speak to her tomorrow – it’ll all be exaggerated – she can make a good story out of anything – you should hear her on various trips to the US – lost luggage, missed flights etc etc.

  26. Thanks to Giovanni and to Deep Threat for the review and hints. A very enjoyable puzzle, a bit gentler than usual. Pleased to know both philosophers, but had a job spelling 27a, luckily I had all the checkers. Alex Harvey sings about 27a in one of the songs on the Rockdrill album, that’s the only reason I was able to solve the clue http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_good.gif
    Favourites were 5d & 24d. Was 2*/4* for me. Great, no obscure words. Last in was 22d.

  27. Gentler than usual for a Friday we thought and good fun. Suspect that the golf allusion in 28a is not totally accidental and contributes to the cleverness of the clue. We like to think so anyway.
    Thanks Giovanni and DT.

  28. Thank you Giovanni for a very enjoyable fun puzzle today. There were so many I had a chuckle at but 28a was a d’oh ,love it,moment. I was surprised when I checked it that I had spelt 27a correctly. Thanks also and congratulations to DT .

  29. Another clever puzzle to finish the week. Thoroughly enjoyable although I did need to refer to some hints for which many thanks to DT, and to Giovanni as well, of course

  30. No real problems, but having started at a canter l was slightly disappointed to find that completion time was into (my) 3* territory. 3*/3* overall, therefore. My favourite clue was the 19d/28a combo. Thanks to Giovanni for the work-out, and Deep Threat for the review.

  31. Slight problem with 5d because could not read my own writing but I got there in the end with a sense of achievement. In the past I have been a bung-it-in and hope for the best but since joining the blog and seeing the decodes my understanding has improved. Congratulation to DT and thanks to Giovanni for brightening my Friday. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_bye.gif

  32. Just popped back to say I knew the salamander, even remembered how to spell it. Also forgot to say the resistor recalled my days as a technical writer when I proof read the very first data on integrated circuits about 1965. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yahoo.gif

    1. Hi Hilary, great respect to you over the salamander – I find it hard to believe that anyone (beyond the odd specialist) would be able to trip out the name of that one! I did, however, learn a few interesting facts during my Mr. Google search for same.

      Your proof-reading sounds more interesting than mine – I got a load of stuff relating to railways and even more regarding the habits of sheep! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_wacko.gif

      1. I only knew the salamander from doing codewords. As for the sheep – well – I’m not sure I’m going to think about it just now! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_wacko.gif

  33. Taking advantage of a lazy Sunday to catch up on my pile of undone crosswords. Decided to start with this one as I definitely closed the paper on Elgar’s toughie. The difference between the two is so wide that the back page felt like a real break for my small brain. I was left with 24d and Rick gave me the answer when I read the blog. (I stink therefore I swam) . Remembered 5d from not long ago when it showed up as a long anagram. Thanks to the setter and to DT for the review.

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