DT 27671 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 27671

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 27671

Hints and tips by Deep Threat

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

Good morning from South Staffs on a dark, damp December day.

I found the top half of today’s Giovanni puzzle more difficult than the bottom, and took a little time to fathom one or two clues, hence my *** difficulty marking.

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           Conservative legislation reintroduced to bring financial recoupment? (8)
CLAWBACK – Put together an abbreviation for Conservative, what legislation becomes when passed, and a word meaning reintroduced or returned.

5a           Famous US science teacher‘s optical instruments (6)
SCOPES – Double definition, the first being the Tennessee teacher who was prosecuted in 1925 for teaching the theory of evolution.

9a           This person’s posturing as impressive (8)
IMPOSING – Another way of saying ‘this person is’ followed by what a model does.

10a         Probing hospital, MO started pretty well (6)
ALMOST – Hidden (probing) in the clue.

11a         Management of image by company with a policy to be sweet (7)
PRALINE – The two-letter acronym for the management of publicity followed by A (from the clue) and an expression of, among other things, party policy.

12a         Fellow, sure clumsy, gets covered in muck (7)
MANURES – Another word for a fellow followed by an anagram (clumsy) of SURE.

13a         Crazy leader is nut to be made ineffective (11)
NEUTRALISED – Anagram (crazy) of LEADER IS NUT.

16a         Imbibers who go to pot? (3,8)
TEA DRINKERS – Cryptic definition of people who source their drink from a pot rather than a bottle or barrel.

21a         Wreck entrance in seaside resort (7)
MARGATE – A resort in Kent is made up of a verb meaning ‘to wreck’ and an entrance to a field or garden.


22a         Claim made by little old female in crowd (7)
PROFESS – Put abbreviations for Old and Female inside a crowd or throng.

23a         Girl, one in spectacles putting off outsiders (6)
LASSIE – Put the Roman numeral for one inside a common word for spectacles, then remove the first and last letters to get this dialect term for a girl.
ARVE Error: need id and provider

24a         Not wholly engaged at work? (4-4)
PART-TIME – Cryptic definition of someone who doesn’t work the whole week.

25a         Becomes aware of meaning when listening (6)
SCENTS – This is a word that sounds like (when listening) a word for meaning.

26a         Bishop most strange and least likely to be sober? (8)
BEERIEST – The chess symbol for a bishop followed by a word meaning most strange or spookiest.


1d           Cold rebel touchy and irritable (6)
CHIPPY Cold followed by a 1960s rebel against society.

2d           Seem to be a listener keeping very quiet (6)
APPEAR – The musical symbol for ‘very quiet’ is placed between A (from the clue) and something you listen with.

3d           Obtains new defence (7)
BASTION – Anagram (new) of OBTAINS.

4d           Result of trick on train (11)
CONSEQUENCE – A word for trick or cheat, followed by a train of events.

6d           Officer, one taking line south of mountain pass (7)
COLONEL – A mountain pass followed by ONE (from the clue) and an abbreviation for Line.
ARVE Error: need id and provider

7d           Completely heartless paper with monstrous female given advancement (8)
PROGRESS – Remove all the inside letters from P(ape)R and add a female version of a fairy-tale monster.

8d           Dotty is sedate, showing reserve (3,5)
SET ASIDE – Anagram (dotty) of IS SEDATE.

12d         Businesses stalled here? (11)
MARKETPLACE – Cryptic definition of a place where trade is carried on from stalls.

14d         Disorder aboard ship making trips (8)
STUMBLES – A verb meaning ‘to throw into disorder’ inside (aboard) one of the usual crossword ships.

15d         Man perhaps overcome by beautiful sort of design (4,4)
FAIR ISLE – Another word for beautiful followed by Man or Wight or Muck or…

17d         One taking practical approach is on a roll (7)
REALIST – Put together the Latin word for on or about or concerning, A (from the clue) and something of which an electoral roll is an example.

18d         Gun beginning to scare owl? (7)
SHOOTER – An informal term for a gun is made up of the first letter of Scare and a word for an owl based on the noise it makes.

19d         Spell out letters at end of crossword clue, all right? (6)
DEFINE – The final letters of crossworD and cluE followed by a word meaning all right.

20d         Sanction at the moment that gets transmitted (6)
ASSENT – A word that, more commonly linked with ‘just’, means ‘at the moment when’, followed by a word for transmitted.

The Quick Crossword pun HONOUR + HOLE = ON A ROLL

72 comments on “DT 27671

  1. Thanks to the setter and Deep Threat for the review. Agree***/***.
    Some nice clues but the last ones in were at the bottom of the grid. Some odd words in this one but I filled it all in in xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxapart from one clue, which took almost as long again.

    1. We don’t give specific times here for fear of discouraging people who take longer than others to solve.

  2. Took me a bit longer than a Giovanni normally does – I wondered whether that was because I was solving at home rather than at work.

    The Toughie seems to have forgotten that it is Friday http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_wink.gif

  3. As usual for a Friday I was slow to get going and found it quite difficult. At least 3* and about the same for enjoyment.
    Also as usual on Fridays now that I’ve finished I can’t see why I battled with it – wavelength stuff I think.
    10a was my last answer – I despair – my excuse is that I was confused by the capital letters! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/icon_rolleyes.gif
    I was also slow with 1a and 1d – don’t think I would have said that hippies were rebels but BRB says I’m wrong.
    5a had to be what it was but am I the only one who hasn’t heard of the US teacher?
    Just generally slow today I think.
    I liked 16 and 22a and 3 and 15d.
    Thanks to Giovanni and Deep Threat.

    1. I remembered that case, but not the teacher’s name.

      Hard to believe that, nine decades later, we’re still battling against the promotion of ancient ideologies…… No offence intended to all those of a religious persuasion but those who aren’t are also entitled to their view.

        1. I expect it’s a form of extreme defensiveness caused by resenting having to ‘pre-apologise” for giving offence, which seems to be the general trend nowadays.

      1. It does indeed boggle the mind that there are still so many people who are happy to believe fairy stories, but protest that evolution is “only a theory.” Like gravity is only a theory, I suppose.

        1. I really wonder why the religious right have gained such an important place in US culture – but they are an amazing force to be reckoned with. I suppose it is partly that a clear set of rules make life much simpler than having to delve into the complexities of existence. It is having a very worrying influence on the US educational system and the whole political scene.

          1. The religious right have established a firm hold over US life. I actually KNOW someone who believes that the world is only 6000 years old, not sure how they arrive at the figure, but I hasten to add I don’t think their brain synapses operate at the speed of light.
            I will not comment on the groundswell from the right about getting rid of social services as I believe that borders on political comment.

              1. The house rules are there for a reason. I have heavily self-censored today. Like Zippy, my true thoughts on this topic are, “mmm…mm…mmmm…mmmmmmmm!”

            1. Quite simple really, you add up peoples ages from Adam onwards until you get to somewhere known, like the first Christmas.

              It gives you a date in October, 4004bc. I don’t know how Archbishop Usher worked out it was about 3 o’clock in the afternoon.

  4. Thank you DG, found it hard work. Agree with you DT, bottom half in first then a slow struggle with the top half. Pleased to have finished without hints – for which many thanks DT and for the review and photos.

  5. Needed help with this. I never used the word scopes with my students whether electron or micro ? Still maybe should have got it : ref to obscure chap was positively neanderthal not worth putting in .
    25a & 26a ? Thank you DT needed tips for 1d .Suffice to say a curates egg of a crossword for me ****/***

  6. 1D held me up for a while as I’ve never heard of that definition before, I really wanted to put CRABBY in (as in Rabby Burns)(well, seemed to work for me). Other than that, the usual Friday excellence from The Don. I particularly liked 5A

  7. A very slow start for me today as well. I just seemed to read clue after clue and then started wondering whether I was ever going to get a foothold. But then some straightforward clues such as 10a and then an anagram at 13a got me going. But I did find this one quite challenging with some strange words such as 26a. Some nice misdirections such 14d which I thought was a good clue.

    So 3*/4* for me.

  8. Can’t be far off a ***/*** so no quibble. Unlike most, found the top half straightforward and the bottom half less so. Like Skempie initially toyed with crabby ( or even crusty!) for 1d until the across answers went in . Thanks DT for the pics, will have to wait until I get home to play 23a- no sound at work ( one looks like Kenny Rodgers) .18 D made me smile, reminds me of the time my car broke down and I phoned our depot at Hooton-“Hooton I have a problem”!.some fell on stony ground

  9. Top half went in reasonably easily for me – SE corner with a little more head scratching. SW corner almost a complete bust. Many thanks to all.

    1. You’ve changed your alias, which put your comments into moderation. Both should work from now on.

  10. I don’t think I really get on Giovanni’s wavelength, and it all felt a bit awkward today. I checked the BRB but missed seeing the Canadian informal definition of my (correct) answer to 1d, which didn’t help either. However on a positive note, having read the link to the Anax article kindly supplied by Gazza in yesterday’s blog, I shall never criticise a setter again! 3*/3* for me today. Thanks to Giovanni and to DT.

  11. I think this was one of those (nearly) isolated four corners, wasn’t it?
    Started to worry, then went OK till, having 14d and 21a left, was just about to check answers, lay the paper at an angle and 14d leapt out, which gave me 21a…..I know we’ve had that before, but I forgot.

    So, am pleased with myself….
    ……..hit me now!

    Didn’t need hints, but thanks to DT for the lovely folk song.

  12. Quite challenging today, with one or two clues which needed a bit of help. I’ve never heard of the US teacher and 26 across isn’t a word that trips off the tongue, but I did know that someone who is chippy is a bit short tempered. Thank you to the Friday setter and to DT.

    1. I don’t think this teacher is very well known in the UK because the whole issue of Creationism does not exist there as far as I know. But in North America, this trial was the start of the horror many of us have about the whole issue of taking the Bible literally in the face of evolution. The ‘Scopes Monkey Trial’ as is the common reference in the US, created a lot of controversy that still continues today.

    2. Funny how ‘chippy’ can mean short tempered and yet if someone is described as being ‘chipper’ it takes on a whole different meaning! Had to laugh when I found that one of the definitions for ‘chippy’ is – dry and tasteless. Not quite the advert any of our ‘chippies’ would want to carry!

  13. Hi All. I found this not too difficult today, but hard enough to keep one occupied for what seemed like the right length of time!
    All completed without hints etc, except I think I have a slight problem with 12a. Surely, if the clue is “(gets) covered in muck”, the answer should be “manured”, rather than “manures”, or am I mising something?
    Other than that, very enjyable.
    Many thanks to G and DT.

  14. This took me some time, but I made steady progress until the pesky SW which took about as long as the rest put together.

    I liked 22a and 3,4,15 and 17d. 26a elicited a smile as did 18d, which was my favourite.

    Thanks to Giovanni for the tough but fair challenge and to Deep Threat for the review.

    I hope everybody has a lovely weekend http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_bye.gif.

  15. Far fom straightforward. 25a was my last one in and took ages before the penny dropped. 16a made me smile.
    Thanks to both Giovanni and DT.

  16. Only the SW corner gave me grief – needed the hints for 23a, 23a and 25a. Most enjoyable nevertheless so thank you to Giovanni and DT for the much appreciated review. 3*/3*. Guessed quite a few clues: 5a, 26a (had never heard this expression). Favourite clue was 16a.

        1. Oops, had not spotted it! Went wrong with 1d, had edict – which was wrong as it is a noun and not a verb – a rap on the knuckles for me… Thank you.

  17. 2*/3.5* for me today. I always look forward to Friday’s puzzles with trepidation, but this was a good one! 1d and 11a were my last ones in, and 16a was my favourite.

    Many thanks to Giovanni and to DT.

  18. ****/****

    I have been sparring with this one all day with the NE really fighting it’s corner. I would have got there a lot sooner had I not put ‘comeback’ in for 1a. This completely confused the checking letters for 2d, a clue I would have arrived at sooner if I wasn’t just plain dumb at times. 1d wasn’t much easier.

    10a was a guess as I didn’t see the hidden part.

    There is a dead heat for the favourite, (sorry Kath), as both made me smile. 3d, great word, and 26a, something I plan on being this weekend.

    Many thanks to Giovanni and to DT for the blog, pictures and allowing me to listen to Wild Mountain Thyme. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_rose.gif

    FAO Franco… I listened to the John Graham Desert Island Disks over lunch and very glad that I did. His modesty and humour were so touching. It was so interesting to hear more about him as a person. I can picture him making anagrams with his Scrabble tiles. Thank you for the link.

      1. Oh “insert swear word of choice”!

        I had the answer as merriest. Though I plan to be both.

        It is indeed nearly beer o’clock on a child free weekend. I shall tackle the chaos of the A66 first mind.

        Enjoy your shellfish. Many moons ago on summer breaks at uni I worked on an oyster farm in NW Scotland. I still have a scar from entering a shucking contest. I lost.
        Slainte! :-)

  19. Had to stop and think about quite a few of these clues but got there in the end. Thanks for the song by the Corries, my father’s favourite whistling tune when he was working – lots of memories! ***/***

  20. Tricky for me. The bottom half went in ok but the rest was a real chore and I needed help from DT (to whom much thanks) for hints 5a and 1d – never saw myself as a rebel though. Wish I still had the hair though. Thanks to the setter for a real challenge.

  21. A very enjoyable tussle/struggle/fight today. Defeated by 25ac 22 ac 19d and 20d. Off to Barnacles Resaurant near Hinckley tonight. Oyster Kilpatrick to start mucho shellfish to finish. It is nearly Beer o clock. Are you ready Hanni?

  22. I thought that an excellent puzzle although not exactly easy. I thought 13a was a great anagram although it took me some time to figure out but I think my favourite is 16a. 5a could only be what it was ,although I didn’t know who the teacher was, but now thanks to DT for explaining who he was I realise I have seen a wonderful movie about him starring Spencer Tracy ,called Inherit The Wind. , but I had forgotten his name. Thanks also DT for the opportunity to listen to The Corries. Made me quite homesick ! Thanks also to Giovanni.

  23. Thanks to Giovanni and to Deep Threat for the review and hints. The first puzzle for a while that I didn’t manage to complete. The top half went in quickly, but got stuck in the SW corner. Needed the hints for 21a,23a & 15d. Good fun though. Never heard of the famous teacher in 5a. Favourite was 16a. Was 4*/3* for me. Off for a Xmas curry tonight.

  24. We also had trouble with the science teacher but had got the right answer from the other definition. Not a quick solve but went together steadily with a bit of thought. Enjoyable solve.
    Thanks Giovanni and DT.

  25. Tough but brilliant I thought although I needed help with 25a, clever but rather beyond me. Some super clues inc 16a and esp 15d. Learnt something new today in 5a, perhaps he was famous in the US.
    Thx to all.

  26. Game of two halves as I was out for most of the day. This morning’s efforts yielded about two-thirds relatively easily but this evening’s follow-up proved somewhat of a challenge. 11a took a while as I was trying to use ‘image’ as part of an anagram and didn’t have 1d filled in – hadn’t heard of the required definition for the latter. As for 25a – didn’t even know that was a ‘real’ word! 3.5*/3* for me.
    Favourite was 18d with mention for 16a & 4d. Thanks to Giovanni and to DT for another great blog.

    Interesting that religion has cropped up on the blog today. I’ve just got back from a trip with a couple of friends to have a look round an ‘eternal forest’ – think that might be just the sort of end-game I’d like. Anyone else looked into it?

    1. Composting for me please: nice and eco-friendly and not wasting any space. I must be pretty morbid, because I’ve already decided I’d like to exit the game on a Sunday – after having finished the day’s Virgilius, of course.

  27. Another crossword which needed a fair amount of scribbling and electronic help plus I failed on 1d despite having the letters in, must get myself a BRB and I then I would have got there. Thanks to DT and Giovanni for a head-scratching end to week. Roll on tomorrow and another crossword to come, I have decided that however hard they are I will always give them ***** for enjoyment. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/smiley-phew.gif

  28. Now that was a Friday crossword! I had to work quite hard to get through this one; two or three less than common words and some real head scratchers. I enjoyed the battle. Thank you Giovanni and DT for the revue.

  29. I’m really not trying to be difficult here, and I’m not sure that anyone will read it anyway as it’s getting late now, but I’ve just been thinking about 5a and the ‘optical instruments’. Lots of instruments that ‘look’ at stuff end in ‘scope’; a laryngoscope looks at the larynx; a bronchoscope looks at the bronchus; an auroscope looks at the ear; a laparoscope looks at the internal organs; an arthroscope looks inside joints; I could go on . . . then I got to stethoscope which sure as hell doesn’t look at anything. Husband has had one of those dangling round his neck for as long as I’ve known him – so where does it come from?

      1. But no-one sees anything with a stethoscope – you hear all kinds of things (assuming that you can interpret them) so . . . well, I just don’t know http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_unsure.gif

        1. I think the Greek root that CS is referring to also carries the meaning of ‘examine’, and of course the doctor or nurse uses professional skill and knowledge to interpret the sounds which are heard – ‘seeing’ them in the mind’s eye, if you like.

  30. Yes, 3*/3* is about right. Interesting that we all seemed to struggle over different corners: my bugbear was the SE. 15d was my pick of the clues. Thanks to Giovanni, and to DT for the review.

  31. Hi everyone
    Can someone tell me why im is ‘this person is’. Is it ‘this person is’ as in ‘the setter is’ as in I AM??
    Apart from that pleased to make good progress with a 3*, only need a couple of hints at the end.
    After a year of battling and starting off not being able to to do one clue, I am getting there slowly.
    Thank you

    1. You got it spot on Emma : ‘this person is’ as in ‘the setter is’ as in I AM, abbreviated to I’m but with the apostrophe removed

      1. Thank you! It is always tough when you still can’t see it even after the clues have been written.

  32. I didn’t enjoy this at all – a real slog with no light relief. East side went in OK and then northwest but finally needed to seek help in southwest as I want to go to bed! Hope for better things tomorrow. Thanks Giovanni and DT.****/*. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_negative.gif

  33. have not touched a crossword for years. Was reasonably attuned once upon a younger brain but am struggling as grey matter now exceedingly lazy. Top half much easier I thought

  34. Quite an enjoyable crossword and relatively difficult. 1d took me ages as I don’t really rate the 60’s rebel as a rebel and haven’t heard of the answer meaning irritable. For 5a I knew of the incident but not the name of the teacher .Last in was 25a
    I’d rate as ***/***

  35. I really enjoyed this one, finding it more straightforward, to my way of thinking, than many, admittedly made easier by picking up on 5a, 12a, 1d from the blog and 15d from the picture. I got 25a wrong with sleuth and needed the hint for 19d. Favourite is definitely 16a. Thank you very much Giovanni and to for the hints and very enjoyable review. Have a good weekend everyone.

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