DT 27656 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 27656

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 27656

Hints and tips by Gazza

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty *Enjoyment **

I can’t believe that there’ll be much need for the blog today – I found this the easiest back-pager for some time with several old chestnuts. The grid does look as if it should have a Nina running round the outside and I thought we might have one when I saw the word climbing the right-hand column but that was as far as it went. 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

5a Old king‘s reasonable line in speech (7)
PHARAOH – this old king sounds like (in speech) two homophones joined together – firstly an adjective meaning reasonable or equitable, then a line or tier.

7a After hour, girl returned hair dye (5)
HENNA – the single-letter abbreviation for hour is followed by the reversal (returned) of a girl’s name.

9a Endless talk about flat circular object (6)
DISCUS – a verb to talk about without its final letter.

10a French daily swallowing a fizzy drink (8)
LEMONADE – the name of a prestigious French daily newspaper contains A. I was surprised to find that the paper has only been going since 1944, when it was started up following the liberation of Paris.

11a Source of easy money earned by English poet penning verse on coach (5,5)
GRAVY TRAIN – the surname of an eighteenth century English poet (composer of “Elegy written in a country churchyard”) contains (penning) V(erse). After that we need a verb to coach or instruct. I pondered over the ‘earned’ here – is it part of the definition or is it just there for linking purposes? I ended up deciding on the second because this source of money is normally unearned.

13a Male chasing female Ark passenger (4)
SHEM – M(ale) follows a female pronoun to make the son of Noah and brother of Ham.

14a Medal winner, one on the other side (8,5)
VICTORIA CROSS – string together a word meaning winner, the Roman numeral for one and a preposition meaning on the opposite side.

16a Beat backs in game (4)
GOLF – reverse (backs) a verb to beat or whip. Well, we are in the chestnut season and this one has been roasted to a crisp over the years.

17a Plant, iris, adapts to change (10)
ASPIDISTRA – an anagram (to change) of IRIS ADAPTS.

19a Gradually overcome blue on river (4,4)
WEAR DOWN – an adjective meaning blue or depressed follows (on) a river in the North-East of England.

20a Excuse made by the Parisian to fine female (3,3)
LET OFF – string together a French definite article, TO (from the clue) and the abbreviations for fine and female.

22a Suspension of fighting in East — short, on reflection (5)
TRUCE – E(ast) is followed by an adjective meaning short or brusque then it all gets reversed (on reflection).

23a Former spouse given enough warning (7)
EXAMPLE – this is a warning in the sense of a deterrent. The short word used for a former spouse is followed by an adjective meaning quite enough.

Down Clues

1d Mineral used in dental clinics (4)
TALC – hidden (used) in the clue.

2d Raised voice in argy-bargy following short trip (8)
FALSETTO – an argy-bargy or argument (3-2) follows a trip or tumble without its final letter.

3d Article supporting bogus priest (6)
SHAMAN – an indefinite article comes after (supporting, in a down clue) an adjective meaning bogus or fake.

4d Alert, notes noose loose (2,4,4)
ON ONE’S TOES – an anagram (loose) of NOTES NOOSE.

5d Former  abbot’s deputy (5)
PRIOR – double definition, the second being the second-in-command of an abbey.

6d Musical based on ‘The Threepenny Opera’? (4,1,8)
HALF A SIXPENCE – cryptically this could be a threepenny bit.

ARVE Error: need id and provider

8d Notice groom making speech (7)
ADDRESS – charade of an abbreviated notice and a verb to groom or style.

12d Noisy and very ferocious bats (10)
VOCIFEROUS – V(ery) is followed by an anagram (bats) of FEROCIOUS.

14d Wild flower seen across North (7)
VIOLENT – a common flower with five petals contains (seen across) N(orth).

15d Caught by commercial, I phone up for a car (8)
CADILLAC – string together the abbreviation for caught as seen on cricket scorecards, the short form of a commercial, I (from the clue) and the reversal (up, in a down clue) of a verb to phone or ring.

17d Held dear socialist, say, after a party (6)
ADORED – how one may describe a socialist, for example, follows A and a festive party.

18d Cap removed from toy firearm (5)
RIFLE – remove the top letter (cap) from a verb to toy or treat frivolously.

21d Recording — first to take copy (4)
TAPE – the first letter of T(ake) followed by a verb to copy or mimic.

My top clues today were 14a and 12d. How about you?

Today’s Quickie Pun: CANNER + PAYS = CANAPÉS


101 comments on “DT 27656

  1. 1*/2.5*. This came close to being R&W for me but I got held up very slightly in the SW corner. 6d was my favourite.

    Many thanks to Mr Ron and to Gazza.

  2. Nice & simple with no hold ups or head scratching, my favourite clue was 15D.Many thanks to Gazza for his review, cold damp day down in the deep south best get on with the chores.http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_smile.gif

  3. I agree with gazza’s 1* difficulty but would give it 3* for enjoyment – maybe a bit more.
    My only real problem was with 2d and that was because I couldn’t spell the 5a old king.
    I didn’t know the 13a name of Noah’s son but with alternate letters in it wasn’t too tricky.
    I don’t think I’ve seen a real live 17a – only ever in crosswords!I
    I liked 10 and 13a. My favourite was either 6 or 12d.
    Thanks to Mr Ron and to gazza.
    Beastly day in Oxford – wet and grey and the temperature has almost got up to 2C – yuk!
    Going to try Toughie.

  4. By heck, that was so easy that those vainglorious folk on “the other site” will be claiming solving times in minus figures. Although easy to the old pros amongst us, I feel this will be a satisfying solve/work out for those new to cryptics. I needed your help to work out the whys and wherefores of 5ac but the answer was obvious from the checkers. I just missed the homophone indicator (speech) Doh!! Cold and damp here in South Warks. Best put me feet up and read a good book

    1. Too true MP, it was a gentle crossword for those of us new to cryptics. Very nice symmetry in today’s grid, there’s probably someone out there who has a name for it. SE corner very easy unless you know nothing about American culture or plants.

  5. Found this one a wee bit tricky. Had to refer to good old Roget to confirm a possible meaning of ‘warning’ in 23a. My big moan is with 3d. This person is not a priest – he is a sort of witchdoctor. Being Irish I failed to get the ‘line’ in 5a. As commented recently we pronounce the R at the end of a word, so I got the ‘reasonable’ bit but couldn’t see where the ‘line’ came from. Anyhow, I got there in the end.
    Thanks Gazza for explaining 5a. My favourite was 13a but I had to cheat and refer to the internet.

  6. Sorry to disappoint, Gazza, but I never heard of 6d, I made a guess from the checkers and googled it.Otherwise it was straightforward.Thanks Gazza and setter.

  7. Yes – pretty straightforward today with some nice clues – I even did the anagrams without any electronic aids.

    Onward and upward – tomorrow is another day! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_good.gif

  8. I agree, certainly the easiest Mr Ron has served up for a while but nonetheless enjoyable. I needed the hint to parse 1a although the answer was fairly obvious.
    Needed Google to confirm the biblical character and although I am not familiar with the opera the answer was very clever.
    Thx to all concernedhttp://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_bye.gif

  9. I thought this was a lovely crossword for a beginner or intermediate solver. That sounds like damning with faint praise, but that’s not what I mean at all: there was a good mix of clues and some nice misdirections, which may not have cause me any over-long pauses, but would make for a satisfying solve for many a lurker.

    Wanting to burrow down in a hole to hibernate now, and emerge blinking in the sunlight in the spring. Unfortunately, society has deemed it party season, so I’ll have to put on a silly hat and a smile instead.

    Thanks to the setter and to Gazza :).

    1. Your comment made me realise that that was why I had found it so satisfying, as a relative newcomer it restored my faith in human nature (and me). When it is too hard I get dispirited. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_cry.gif

      1. Please don’t cry. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_smile.gif Just keep going. You will learn so much so fast from this brilliant blog. Before you have time to turn round you’ll be better than everyone else. The other thing that’s great about it (well, just one of the other things) is that it turns doing crosswords from being a rather solitary hobby into a very sociable one.

        1. Well said Kath. Crosswording is a fantastic and frustrating hobby, but, I’ve found that I often look forward to reading the blog and comments as much as solving some days.
          I like everyone that comments here and am never made to feel ridiculous if I struggle sometimes.

  10. Nice and easy start to the day. Unfamiliar with 12a. Favourite was 4d. (Warped sense of humour.)
    Thanks to Mr Ron and Gazza.

  11. A bit too easy to be as enjoyable as usual for me – but variety is the spice of life! 1*/2*
    Glad to have the blog to shed light on why the second half of 5a means ‘line’ – thanks Gazza (and thanks to the setter).

  12. Very enjoyable, quick as it was. I even had time to start the toughie before the school run. Scraping ice of the car windscreen, yuk, but what a glorious day it has turned into in Macclesfield.

    My favourite bits were “medal winner” in 14a, “female ark passenger” in13a, “raised voice” in 2d, and “reasonable line in speech” for 1a.

    14a (wild) perhaps bit of an old chestnut

    last one in was 19a, possibly because the first letter in the river is near the end of the alphabet!

    many thanks setter and gazza – in 11a I thought earned was part of the definition. Easy money, but still paid as a wage hence earned – else it makes a pretty weird link – whereas “by” works for me as a link.

    1. Now that I’ve looked up ‘gravy train’ I think you’re right, dutch. I always associated it with the free meals, tickets etc. handed out to politicians and the like, but the BRB defines it as “a job or scheme which offers high reward for little effort”.

  13. Very pleasant to do, apart from being determined to get ‘castrato’ to fit at 2d. One in your head, it’s very difficult to reject……

    Liked 11a, but 6d has to be the best……..I have played Jenny Diver (from the earlier incarnation Beggars Opera) complete with fake arm!

  14. */***
    Gently gently does it.
    Nothing that really held me up this morning but I needed to understand why 5a was correct. And then I enjoyed it even more when I did. It took me a little while to spot the anagram for 12d which incidentally was my favourite clue along with 2d.
    Thank you to the setter and to Gazza for blogging. :-)
    It’s a beautiful winters day in N.Yorks, I’m at my desk so I think I’ll try the Toughie. I will regret that.

      1. No pencils with little rubbers for anagrams…no double favourites? :-( You’re certainly keeping me very 4d. ;-)

      2. I’m back now and watching all of you – I’m just not having any of this double, let alone multiple favourites malarky! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_negative.gif
        I’ll leave it to Miffypops to police the pencils and rubbers for anagrams – I always write letters all over the place for all anagrams – been caught out too many times.

            1. Sorry, MP – it’s just to cheer us up when we have to slink into the corner on a really bad crosswording day. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_smile.gif

            2. It’s a theoretical Christmas Tree. It never drops pine needles or needs trimming. The lights always work I don’t have to drive with branches sticking into my head just to get the thing home. My theoretical tree is delivered.
              My real tree will be going up in a couple of weeks.

              1. Not to worry, Hanni – I love ‘our’ Christmas tree! Went to Caernarfon today and found some lovely decs. in a shop there, which I am sending across to you. Lots of jolly reindeer, wooden ‘bits’ and some that look like Faberge eggs. Also a couple of baubles with the Welsh words for Merry Christmas and Happy New Year (my Welsh friend insisted that I should include those!).

                I only ever have a small, silver tree at home – can’t take the idea of getting a ‘real’ one and then decorating it as it dies. Yes, I have tried getting rooted ones and then planting them out after Christmas – but they never survive.

                1. Oh I think our tree is going to look fantastic. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yahoo.gif those decorations sound perfert! And actually what I had in mind. I shall get my wonderfully crafted minded friend to make a paper mache bauble with ‘Jane’ on. It’s sort of a tradition and they’re rather beautiful.

            3. I agree with MP that it’s far too early for a Christmas tree but maybe a theoretical one is OK. In our family the real tree only goes up on Christmas Eve. When we were kids it came in the afternoon of Christmas Eve, the decorations were all put out ready, and then we went to bed – when we got up on Christmas morning the tree was decorated, the tree lights were on and presents were underneath it – Father Christmas not only left presents but the poor chap decorated the tree as well.

              1. My Mum and Dad always waited for the Christmas tree to go up on Christmas Eve also, and it couldn’t come down until twelfth night. We couldn’t get real Christmas trees, so we put up a casuarina tree which shed unbelievably after a week!

      1. I’m an ex-pat from York & I’m stuck in the East Midlands where it’s starting to get dark, the heating’s belting out & I’m working with the lights on. If I could only persuade Mrs S to abandon her babies (30 & 28 & both living with girlfriends) then we could move back to God’s Own County & enjoy the tropical atmosphere of the North York Moors.

        1. Couldn’t agree more Spindrift. :-) We have the Matterhorn of England,(Roseberry Topping) and things like Odins Glow, worth a Google if you haven’t seen it. I’ll never get tired of the being able to walk the dogs or ride out and see some of the best views in the country. I am a little biased. ;-)

        2. Interestingly, we ‘across the water’ refer to Anglesey as ‘God’s own country’. He would have doubtless incurred Kath’s wrath by having more than one ‘favourite’!

          1. I’m quite brave these days but not even with my new found courage am I prepared to take on God in an argument! He can have as many favourites as he likes as long as he leaves me alone! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_unsure.gif

      2. I know it well from taking child type things to the Sea Life Centre. Followed by fish and chips in Whitby. :-)

          1. Absolutely! Or the Quayside depending on how busy it is. Moon and Sixpence on the very rare occasions that it’s adults only.

  15. Must have slept too soundly because first read through at 7 a.m. yielded solution to not one clue but then a second ‘go’ was more or less a R&W with a couple of bung-ins which turned out to be right. I’m with the */*** brigade. Fav was 6d and also the Tommy Steele hint to it but perhaps an opportunity had been missed for a Gracie Fields vocal hint to 17a (Gazza and MP are doubtless too young to have heard of that!). Thanks Mr. Ron and Gazza, http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gif

  16. Thanks to Mr. Ron and to Gazza for the review and hints. The easiest for some considerable time, but nonetheless enjoyable. The only problem I had was 5a, which was last in. Could only have been that, given the checkers, thanks to Gazza for explaining the two homophones. I got the first one, but couldn’t see (hear) :-) the second until I read the hint. It was as if the “R” was doing double duty. Favourite was 6d. Was half */3.5* for me. Might look at the Toughie.

  17. Possibly the easiest DT back-pager ever. Feel a bit short changed as this grid also offers only 26 clues. Well below average – on all counts.

    1. Many moons ago I was a fan of the Perishers in the Daily Mirror, in there was a character called Maisie when told she should take the rough with the smooth she insisted that she wanted smooth with smooth. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_bye.gif

  18. Reference Nina – the quickie has one – symbol top and bottom with leg and shy left and right. Do all four sides have to read as a sentence or will two suffice? Leg shy symbol works for me!

      1. No, but too much of a coincidence to be an accident I feel. Maybe there’s some deeper cryptic meaning that we haven’t worked out yet.

            1. I see no symbols or shy legs. I would not know what to do with them if I could se them. Which I can’t

  19. Enjoyable puzzle today. I don’t mind them being ‘easy’, they’re never totally easy for us. We can either do them or we can’t. It’s all down to wavelength. Thank you Gazza and to the setter.

  20. As as already been said, almost a write-in today, but still quite good fun. I’ve decided that it must be getting near Christmas as I’ve just discovered that the wife has all my card details stored on computer !!!!! Grrrrr !!!!

    1. My OH popped into a charity shop today but refused to buy the cards because they said either Merry Christmas or Seasons Greetings both of which I detest, why can’t we have Happy Christmas? http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_unsure.gif

  21. Very enjoyable easy puzzle today. Favourite clues were 10a and 13d. Guessed 5a but needed Gazza’s hint to work it out, ditto for 2d. */*** for me. Gloomy weather in Hyères today… Thank you to Gazza and to the setter.

  22. A gentle test for today, but a nice change none the less.
    Favourite clue has to be 5a for me.
    Thanks to setter and Gazza for the revue.

  23. Thank you setter. Just right for me today. Solved whilst sitting on a bench waiting for Mrs SW while she did whatever ladies do at the Trafford Centre. Good fun and thanks Gazza for your review and hints.

    1. Hi SW! Just 1,000 Whoopers and 500 Pink-foots at Martin Mere this weekend. They don’t expect huge numbers to arrive until the weather turns colder in Scotland and forces them further down the country. Someone told me that there was only a handful of Bewick’s at Slimbridge – hope you got to see some?

      Re: Trafford Centre. Can’t speak for Mrs. SW but I think I can claim something of a record – spent 13 hours there a couple of years ago, trailing round after a daughter who wanted a pair of black jeans. Needless to say, she finished up buying the first pair she’d tried on! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_wacko.gif

      1. Good afternoon Jane ! Back home and duty done for this year. Glad you had a good day. About 50 Bewicks at Slimbridge. Amazing sight was over five thousand Golden Plover especially when put up by a raptor. We were lucky to be in a hide with an ace spotter who managed to pick out the one Green Winged Teal amongst thousands of Teal. 4 hours at the Trafford Centre per annum is quite enough for me http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gif

  24. Finished in good time but no less enjoyable for that. Fave 6d. Thanks to setter and to Gazza for the review.

  25. In total agreement with Gazza – I settled down with the paper and a cuppa after a bit of tidying up in the garden after lunch and found it to be a close race between finishing the cup of tea and finishing the puzzle – the tea won – just, lol. A pleasant enough solve, but now for the Toughie – hmmmm, we’ll see. Thanks to the setter – was it Mr Ron?

  26. I still haven’t managed to complete a puzzle without google help but this was quite close. I liked 6d. Thank you Gazza for the explanations and to the setter.

  27. */***. A very pleasant jog to start the day. Thanks to the setter and Gazza for the review. Favourites were 11a, 2 & 15d.

  28. Didn’t mind in the least that this was an easy solve – set me up for the day with a smile on my face and plenty of time to get ready for the shopping trip. I’ll go for 1*/3*** and would request plenty more of this Mr. Ron between now and Christmas. Could mean that all the shopping, card writing, cooking etc. actually gets completed.

    Hard to pick a favourite so I’ll have to leave 11&14a, 2 & 6d to fight it out between themselves! 14d had me almost reaching for the ‘rivers’ list before the penny dropped and yes, Kath, without the checking letters I’d also have been digging deep for the spelling of the old king.

    Really expected Brian to be scathing about this one but……….. there MUST be something he’s not telling us. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gif

  29. Hi gazza. I’m still working on today’s toughie. 3 clues left in SE corner. Could 25a be anagram? The too “p” in 20d give me a hard time and I have the st in 23d but not the rest. That is if the Shakespeare play is correct for 27a and infant for 21d. I know you probably finished this one and could do with your help. Thanks

  30. Oops – sorry, gazza, clean forgot to thank you for the review, unforgiveable – particularly when you’re the one who patiently explains when I get things wrong! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_rose.gif

  31. First read through I didn’t think it was going to be easy, but then it filled in quite nicely and enjoyable. My last one in was 5a and then like others I could see the reasonable bit of it and it took me forever to see the last part. I liked4d but sticking to the rules Kath my favourite was 14a. Thanks to Setter & gazza.

  32. I can’t believe that Kath and I are the only ones who got themselves into trouble by mis-spelling 5a! OK own up everyone. This little mistake made 2d impossible for some time until I checked 5a in BRB. The rest all went in very smoothly.
    Thanks Mr Ron and Gazza.

      1. Having to get another answer in first just to make sure is nothing like as bad as being just plain wrong, and not even doubting it for ages. Oh dear!http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/icon_redface.gif

    1. It was my last one in, so it was impossible to spell incorrectly.. I didn’t tumble to it for ages.

  33. I do not normally do the crossword this early but tweaked into action by a super encouraging email I decided to drop everything and have a go. I knew 5a but needed gazza (big thank you) to tell me why – ouch! Thanks also to Mr R for making a little old lady very happy because I managed to finish in what must be record time. The big question is what on earth do I do with the rest of the evening? http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_unsure.gif

  34. Oh dear.
    A wrong envelope day.
    Should, perhaps, be in the envelope marked:
    ‘Junior Telegraph
    Crosswords for Beginners’
    Still, 5a and 6d were pretty cute.
    Many thanks to the setter and to Gazza.

  35. Nice and quick, leaving me time for a go at the toughie.
    Certainly enjoyable, with 6d making me chuckle.
    Thanks setter and Gazza.

  36. As a newcomer to cryptics, I can confirm that miffypops is correct, and this was (almost) my first unaided completion (I missed out on just 19a and 17d). Keep up the good work.

    1. I just love these automated messages, don’t you? But do not worry as there are some real people behind all this. The work they put in to satisfy our envy to complete a crossword has no equal.

      1. It’s not an automated message – every one is hand-crafted by a real person! Very few other sites welcome new visitors like we do, most just click on the “approve” button.

    2. You will find that after a few weeks with the blog your confidence will increase by leaps and bounds. If you tend to bung-it-in and hope for the best having it explained makes all the difference. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_good.gif

  37. I quite like “gentle” sometimes. I’m introducing a neighbour to cryptic crosswordland, and this will do nicely as a “first solo”. I may well introduce her to the blog as well! I agree with 1*/3*, and 2d made me smile so gets favouritism. My thanks to Mr Ron, and Gazza for the review.

  38. Un morceau de gateau, as they don’t say in France, but none the worse for that. Liked 6d and 5d. Like just about everyone else, I needed Gazza to explain 5a, although it couldn’t really have been anything else. Thanks to him and mystery setter 1*/3*

  39. This may well have been the easiest ever cryptic but it has boosted my confidence. I came within one letter of completion (19a) with no help whatsoever, which is as close as I’ve ever been in several months of trying. I’ve kept going thanks to the blog and all contributors to it. I hope that I’ll be able to post a victory soon – on the day of publication too!

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