DT 27654 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 27654 (Hints)

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 27654 (Hints)

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As is usual for the weekend prize crosswords, an assortment of clues, including some of the more difficult ones, have been selected and hints provided for them.

Don’t forget that you can give your assessment of the puzzle. Five stars if you thought it was great, one if you hated it, four, three or two if it was somewhere in between.

Most of the terms used in these hints are explained in the Glossary and examples are available by clicking on the entry under “See also”. Where the hint describes a construct a “usual” this means that more help can be found in The Usual Suspects, which gives a number of the elements commonly used in the wordplay. Another useful page is Wolves in Sheep’s Clothing, which features words with meanings that are not always immediately obvious.

A full review of this puzzle will be published after the closing date for submissions.

Some hints follow.


1a    I hand Pimms out, one in schooner perhaps (10)
An anagram (out) of I HAND PIMMS gives this sailor who might (perhaps) be on a schooner


9a    English novelist — he sends a message (7)
E(nglish) followed by an American novelist

12a    Business is booming at first having experienced shock (13)
An archaic word for business or barter, which today is mostly seen in the phrase “to have no [business] with”, preceded by a verb meaning is booming

14a    Sea monster covered up bloomer (6)
A fierce sea-monster followed by a verb meaning covered up

22a    Labour politician mostly turned to tackle electoral fraud (6-7)
Most of the surname of the Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer followed by TO reversed (turned) and some tackle found on a sailing ship

24a    Rich person takes year in popular holiday area (7)
A person or individual and Y(ear) inside the three-letter abbreviation for a popular holiday area

25a    Abraham’s son is married, embraced by Jacob’s wife contrarily (7)
This son of Abraham is making his second appearance this week (the other one was in a Toughie) – IS followed by M(arried) inside (embraced by) the reversal (contrarily) of the name of Jacob’s wife

27a    Laughing uncontrollably this month is irritating (2,8)
The abbreviation for the current month, used in business correspondence, followed by a verb meaning is irritating


1d    People taking in island air (4)
Some male people around I(sland)

4d    Stick in front of plane certainly for take-off (6)
A stick inside the initial letter (front) of P[lane] and a two-letter interjection meaning certainly or “yes, of course”

7d    French tongue — clipped or showing listlessness? (7)
Most of (clipped) the French for tongue followed by OR

11d    I don’t believe you, on top of all the rage, escape punishment (3,4,4,2)
A phrase meaning “I don’t believe you” (3,4) followed by an adjective meaning “all the rage” or “following current trends in popular taste” (4,2)

16d    Verbally abused an unpleasant woman (8)
What sounds like (verbally) a verb meaning abused or pestered followed by AN

20d    Wizard boarding school’s not right having hard bunk (7)
Start with the name of a fictional boarding school for wizards, drop (not) R(igh)T and add H(ard)

21d    A spirit favouring youth (6)
The A from the clue and the spirit of an individual gives a word meaning against older people – a few words of advice to the setter: being in favour of something does not necessarily imply being against an alternative

23d    A former railway charity (4)
The A from the clue and a former railway company / region

The Crossword Club is now open.

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As this is a Prize crossword, please don’t put any ANSWERS, whether WHOLE, PARTIAL or INCORRECT, or any ALTERNATIVE CLUES in your comment. If in doubt, leave it out!

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The Quick Crossword pun: Manet+tow bar=Manitoba

91 comments on “DT 27654 (Hints)

  1. This was a bit of a curate’s egg. The top half went in easily mainly due to overkill on anagrams (Cephas?) but then the bottom presented a bit more of an enjoyable challenge. There seems to be disagreement as to whether 13d is the UK or US term (hope this comment doesn’t put me in the naughty corner!). Misspelt 7d to begin with which didn’t help. Fav probably 27a. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/icon_lol.gif Thanks Mysteron and BD particularly for parsing 4d for me.

    1. What? There’s another English word for that? I guess we made a mess of your language once too often. Perhaps we can get Webster to watch Downton Abbey?

  2. I thoroughly enjoyed this puzzle, which evoked memories of Saturdays past, and I particularly liked 20d and 26a – which made me swear under my breath… If Crypticsue happens to be reading this, I doubt whether you’ll have much of a problem with the GK today because I’ve done that as well.

    1. I’ve been out all morning so only just had time to do the backpager. Will have to leave what I was going to do and go and get the GK puzzle before Mr CS gets his hands on it!

      1. When it says Kent it’s referring to the Region rather than the County ‘around’ a two-letter word for ‘see’.

  3. I thought this was a lovely crossword for a less than lovely morning in Oxford – grey and drizzly. 2* difficulty and 4* for enjoyment.
    None of this caused too many problems although 25a took a while to untangle.
    I had to check the 23d former railway.
    I could just say I liked most of these clues and leave it at that but . . . 17 and 27a and 13 and 20d. My favourite was 11d.
    With thanks to Mr Ron and to BD.
    Off to the garden. The forecast says that tomorrow night is going to be frosty and I have far too much stuff that won’t like that still outside. NTSPP later.

  4. Got held up on 23d just couldn’t fathom it. Apart from that all pretty straightforward.
    Thanx to Compiler and BD.

  5. This went in fairly easily, thought wordplay to 24a wasn’t clear to me – thanks BD for the explanation. I also wasn’t sure of the business in12a but trusted the answer had to be right.

    last one in was 4d, only because i forgot about it. second time I’ve seen 25a in the last few days, funny how that happens.

    Many thanks setter and BD

  6. Nice and straightforward, although I did have to look up 25a. The anagrams certainly helped to complete the puzzle as you always know the answers are correct! Then there are lots of checking letters.

  7. 1*/3.5* for a light but very entertaining puzzle with some great surface readings. This certainly brightened up a dull and damp morning here in London.

    Having “bunged in” the obvious answer for 4d, I spent nearly as long unravelling the wordplay for it as I did to complete the rest of the puzzle.

    I normally spell 7d wrongly, but today it was possible to get it right from the clue :smile:.

    There were lots of good clues from which to choose a favourite but 16d gets my vote. It is brief and very clever with an excellent surface.

    Many thanks to Mr Ron and to BD.

  8. All well until I got stuck in the SW corner, taking a long time so 3*/3* today. It didn’t help that I tried to reverse the first 3 letters of 22a and failed to parse my (correct) answer. Thank you to BD (not just today but every day; you do us all proud), and to the setter.

  9. Pleasant Saturday morning fare. Had to verify the last three letters of 23d and the first four of 27a, but other than that no problems. My biblical knowledge is patchy, so was happy to dig up enough from memory to solve 25a.

    I’m off out for lunch and libations, so will just wish you all a happy Caturday and then be off. My thanks go as always to BD, and also to the setter. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_bye.gif

  10. I thoroughly enjoyed this, it’s what I always hope Saturday puzzles will be like. The SW corner caused me most problems and I have to admit the presence of some Tipp-Ex. Still not sure about 18d: I know it’s right but can’t quite see it… yet. I liked the biblical 25a and the misdirection in 10a. All-in-all a cracking puzzle. Many thanks to the setter and, as ever, to BD for the blog.

    1. 18d Soldiers secure old holiday resort (7)

      The usual non-commissioned soldiers followed by a verb meaning to secure, as in to secure a new job, and O(ld)

    2. Very similar feelings from me. There is a somewhat plausible alternative answer for 26a especially for those not familiar with Crosswordland old chestnuts. It took me ages to see the answer that is perfect fit. It is very difficult sometimes to solve these crosswords if you are not familiar with which abbreviations/synonyms are in the setter’s handbook.

    3. How about a good old-fashioned pencil and eraser? My retractable pencil also has a retractable eraser I would not be without it.

        1. I have about six of them scattered round the bungalow and fortunately as the OH is very protective of his possessions – what’s mine is mine – he leaves mine alone. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_mail.gif

          1. Hmm – in our house it’s more like what yours is ours and what’s mine’s my own . . . consequently no pencils with rubbers on them. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_unsure.gif

  11. Fairly straightforward puzzle today. Deliberated for ages over 14a. The monster in question has nothing to do with the sea but I used the name anyhow as nothing else would fit. Maybe BD knows something I don’t.

  12. Really nice to take a break from this week Elgar toughie and to be able to understand all the clues. No real problems apart from 13d showing up as one word in my dictionary. Grey and cloudy but mild weather in Hyeres. Thanks to the setter and to BD for the review.

  13. Thanks to the setter and to Big Dave for the hints. A very enjoyable puzzle, the anagrams certainly helped me get a foothold. Pleased to say that I got 25a, even though my Biblical knowledge is limited. Favourites were 9&10a. Last in was 21d, clever clue. Was 2*/4* for me. Dull and dismal in Central London, hope the Gooners can brighten it up later http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_cool.gif

  14. Enjoyable Saturday puzzle to brighten up a miserable Saturday, weather wise. Thank you Setter and BD. What to watch on TV tonight…..Strictly or rugby? A bit of a dilemma. Probably rugby I think.http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_scratch.giff

    1. You must be having a laugh – no contest – not that anyone would expect me to say anything else. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gif

        1. Haha! I don’t mind Strictly (unlike that other thing – am with Kath et al on the http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/smiley-yawn.gif there) and it would be a simple choice if I had to make it. Fortunately, I don’t, and will be finding something on iPlayer to watch this evening http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gif.

          1. Thanks Kitty – always good to have just a little bit of support here . . . I hope you enjoy your evening. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_smile.gif

    2. I think you’re all being absolutely horrid!! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_sad.gif I love the dancing – watching really good dancing and looking at beautiful dresses is fun, to me at least! As for watching Rugby – now let me think – is that the one with the round ball and the net or the one with the other shaped ball and an “H”? http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_unsure.gif Whichever it is http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/smiley-yawn.gif but I do hope you all enjoy it.

      1. You mean is it kickball or that other thing where they hang on to each others shirts and get very muddy?

        1. Who knows – I certainly don’t. All I know is that it involves a lot of mud and other stuff that I don’t understand. I’m a girl – I’m married to someone who isn’t interested in football/rugby and we have two daughters – need I say more?

  15. I can feel the adverse comments flying, BUT, I do not see why there should be any hints for prize crosswords. I have been trying for umpteen years, with no success, to win a meagre prize on my own merits. Stand back and give me a chance BD.
    I love the site, but feel on Saturday and Sunday, we should be left to our own devices.
    Thanks again for much fun Mon-Fri.

    1. I like having fun on Saturdays and Sundays too – no-one is forced to read the hints just because they’re there. Also on a Saturday or Sunday if the crossword is tricky people can (and do) say they don’t understand or can’t do a particular clue and that gives everyone else a chance to have a go at giving a half decent hint.

      1. I feel you have missed the point. I want to win a prize, have my name published in the Court Circular. bask in the admiration of the world, retire on the proceeds! If someone needs the hints can they not be published after the closing date.

        1. Not the first time it has been suggested, but it’s not going to change. These weekend posts are the ones that I enjoy most, and a lot of that is down to the satisfaction achieved by helping others.

          And by the way, do you remember leaving this comment?

          DT 26954 (Hints)

            1. That’s a female’s prerogative, and in my experience it doesn’t usually take as long as two years.

          1. Thanks Dave, I only tackle the crossword on a Saturday as I don’t have time midweek to sit with the paper. I would really miss your hints some weekends, and get great satisfaction from finishing/understanding the word play. I never however send off my answers, it’s the enjoyment rather than the winning for me.

          2. Thrilled to read your comment, delighted that the weekend is your particular joy. As you say one does not have to read the hints and I suppose morally if you are going to send it in that is the answer BUT I love reading the hints. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_good.gif

          3. I am reading these comments with interest. My challenge each week is to finish the crossword before I have to resort to the clues here. I ration myself to one crossword a week for fear that I would not do anything else. I have to pay the bills somehow. Saturday morning is my crossword time. Since our newspaper here in South Africa still uses the DT puzzle, I try to complete before you have posted comments. I am two hours ahead of GMT at the moment. If I had to wait until next week for the answers, by that time I would have thrown away or lost the crossword. And I was a recipient of the crossword consolation prize DT 27534. Access to BIG DAVE is on my desktop and I hope to enjoy many more Saturdays. The challenge, not the prize, is my enjoyment each week.
            PS I still am useless at 4 letter clues 26a!

        2. Just a late comment – I wonder how many of us actually send our completed crossword in to be drawn out of thousands, or more, for a prize. I certainly don’t and have never done so – I never will either – it doesn’t really feel important.

  16. Interesting that when BD is obviously around, (so far )people seem to be obeying the ‘structions in the Big Red Box!

  17. A lovely puzzle, and am I right in feeling it was slightly easier than recent Saturdays?
    Must admit, the anagrams are a welcome way into the puzzle if I am not thinking quite clearly!
    Many thanks to setter, and for the hints.

  18. A lovely puzzle which I completed without help. 2*/4* for me. Favourite were 21 and 23d . Top half was almost a write in but the bottom half was more of a challenge, albeit not insurnountable. Many thanks to Mr Ron and BD.

  19. Had to get on the Mac as could not post this comment from my Ipad… Am going back to UK in about three weeks but want to order soon a copy of the latest Chambers – the red book? Sometimes the B?? is mentioned, which one is this? I have the Bradford Dictionary, is this the one? I need to have two copies of everything as my husband grumbles when we cart things from one country to another – we spend about two to three months at a time in UK and France. Many thanks.

    1. It’s just called The Chambers Dictionary. Sometimes on the blog it’s called the BRB because it is a B(ig) R(ed B(ook). Mine is quite an old one – the 11th edition. I don’t know what number they’ve got up to now. I’m not surprised your husband grumbles about carting everything around – it weighs a ton! If you’re Mac orientated and have an iPhone you can get it on that.

    2. The BRB ipad app is (I’ve not checked today but it was) a lot cheaper than the book – if it’s any help (and if you have wifi in both places)?

  20. A very Saturday type puzzle I thought. No real problems and everything seemed to come together quite smoothly. That made a change!
    Thanks to Mr Ron and BD for his hints.

  21. Delightful puzzle which I didn’t start until this morning. It pretty much fell in to place so maybe the setter and I are on the same wavelength. Favourites were 4 and 16d. Whistler skiing starts this weekend a little earlier than planned. Wonderful!

  22. I really enjoyed this one, the presence of at least six anagrams played right into my hands – no real problems all very straightforward.

    The only point to raise was the ‘parsing’ of 22a – for some reason Labour Politicians and particularly the Shadow Chancellor don’t register with me!

    NB – I have great trouble using the term ‘parsing’ – for some unknown reason I see it as pretentious – I know it’s a technical term but I just have trouble using it and stick it in quotes to emphasise I’m not being ‘pretentious’ – stupid I know but there you are!

    Onward and upward – bring it on! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_good.gif

    1. I also know ‘parsing’ is the right word and I never use it either for all the same reasons as you! Isn’t it silly of us both. Oh dear! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gif

      1. “Parse” is one of those words that can never be an answer on Mastermind etc.

        I don’t think it sounds pretentious on its own. As is so often the case, context is all-important.

  23. This was a hugely entertaining puzzle, loved it. This means, of course, that I finished it with just the right amount of brain exercise. I have no favourites, but some stood out, 25a, 1a, 8d, so many were good. Thanks to setter and to BD for the review.

  24. Thank you setter. Not too hard fortunately – late starting. Looking forward to what I hope is a good meal, but struggling in a hotel room where the drawers are self opening – now wedged shut with tea bags and the wardrobe door has fallen off ! Thanks BD for the hints.

  25. The drawers are self opening (whatever that means) and shut with teabags and the wardrobe door has fallen off? I just wonder if your hopes of a good meal are a bit too hopeful http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_unsure.gif You’re not in Blackpool by any chance . . .

    1. This was meant to be a reply to SW above – either it didn’t work as a reply or, more likely, I didn’t press reply.

  26. I deeply appreciate the hints , particularly today, since I feel a bit low with another cold (that’s man flu suffered by a woman) and I don’t have the energy to keep trying all night. I won’t be entering the competion either as I do it on-line, but I like finishing things.Thanks BD and setter.http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gif

    1. Atishoooooooo, have one of my famous tissues out of the box I keep in the cupboard under the stairs to have a cry when I cannot do the crossword.http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_bye.gif

  27. Been away all week hence my absence from commentary. I found this marginally trickier than the usual Saturday fare – liked 26a and last in was 16d which was a new word for me. Thanks to BD of course.

  28. Struggled a bit because in two places initially had the wrong ending on the word, silly me. The OH would probably agree with 16d as I am in disgrace today for some mild misdemeanour and yes I did spell 7d wrongly the first time round. Off to tackle GK after which a lie-down with an ice pack on my head beckons. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_mail.gif

  29. Like many I found the SW corner the most difficult.

    Many Ah Bisto moments

    Got the answer to 12a but puzzling how it fits the clue.

    Favourite 27a

    Thank you BD and setter

  30. p.s.

    On the debate between Strictly and the game with the odd shaped ball I like both but Strictly wins unless Scotland are playing

    On the subject of women changing their minds, at least a woman owns up and doesn’t try to say they ALWAYS said that :)

  31. Thank goodness for the return of a saturday puzzle that I can do! have found the last couple of weeks rather depressing. Needed to read the comments to understand 22a. Thanks everyone.

  32. Wow, what a lot of comments! The weather must have been bad as everyone seems to have been home doing crossword puzzles. I needed to brave the elements to walk the dog and came home to find Mrs F1lbertfox had completed this one. Ah well, I had intended visiting the German market in Brum later, so I hadn’t a lot of time to look at it today anyway. Fair play to t’other half though. Was most impressed.

  33. Very enjoyable puzzle which I managed to finish with only hints on two clues! Thanks to all who post their comments, I enjoy going through them to compare experiences. I rarely do comment as usually get to do this late on Sunday.

    Having done so well I need clarification on some word play. Second half of 11d and 21d. Also where does business come in for 12a.

    Many thanks to all.

  34. Apologies on 11 and 12. I seem to have missed those parts of the hints. Probably because I got the answers without aid to the hint but wasn’t 100% sure why. For 21 I was looking in Chambers, which does not have it. I should have looked in a different type of dictionary.

    Thanks for all your good work. C

  35. Finished all without the hints except 25a. Not much chance with that one as I knew neither the name of Abraham’s son nor wife! Very enjoyable puzzle.

  36. Well I seem to be out of step with everyone else here as this is the first time for ages I’ve needed help from the blog for a Saturday puzzle. Couldn’t get 21d or 26a without hints and likewise didn’t understand the parsing of 4d or 24a until BD explained them. So overall I found this one a bit frustrating.

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