DT 27676 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 27676

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 27676

Hints and tips by Falcon

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty ** – Enjoyment ***

Greetings from Ottawa where temperatures have been hovering around the freezing point meaning that the precipitation is wavering between rain and freezing rain. It really is quite nasty and makes one look forward to colder temperatures and snow.

I presume that today’s puzzle is by Mr. Ron, even though the Queen does make an appearance — or, rather, an exit. I do think that some of the anagram indicators are on the tenuous side.

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   Cry during ‘Billy Elliot’ (4)
YELL — hidden in (during) the title of the film

3a   Retired performer in demand (5)
EXACT — split (2,3) the solution might describe a ‘one-man ***’ that is no longer performing

6a   Bishop takes port and spirit (4)
BRIO — a chess piece followed by a Brazilian port

8a   Regular route undertaken with a bad attitude (5-10)
ROUND-SHOULDERED — a journey along a fixed route delivering goods combined with a term denoting undertaken or borne produces a poor body position

9a   Picturesque view, they say, adjacent to Manx prison? (6)
SCENIC — in the two-syllable solution, the first syllable sounds like (they say) a verb meaning view and the second syllable is a British slang term for prison with no tail (like a Manx cat)

10a   Boycott start of term — that is formal (5,3)
BLACK TIE — a charade of a verb meaning to forbid work to proceed, the first letter of T(erm), and the Latin abbreviation for ‘that is’

11a   Cover up offensive remark about a European (8)
INSULATE — a rude or offensive remark wrapped around the A from the clue; the whole lot followed by E(uropean)

13a   Develop extremely elegant heavenly body (6)
PLANET — a verb meaning to develop or design is followed by the initial and final letters (extremely) of EleganT

15a   Hesitate with opening key change — the one or the other? (6)
EITHER — start with a verb meaning to waver or hesitate; then change the musical key of the initial letter

17a   Angels somehow spare that man (8)
SERAPHIM — an anagram (somehow) of SPARE followed by a pronoun denoting that man

19a   Ideal spot managed without parking and it’s remote (8)
ISOLATED — an anagram (managed) of IDEAL SPOT with P(arking) removed

21a   Needle provoked by feisty lush to a great extent (6)
STYLUS — hidden (to a great extent) somewhere near the centre of the clue

22a   Fruit avoided by vegetarians? (9,6)
BEEFSTEAK TOMATO — a cryptic definition of a fruit that sounds like it might leave a bad taste in the mouths of vegetarians

23a   Pin-up I would briefly look over (4)
IDOL — contraction (briefly) of ‘I would’ followed by a reversal (over) of an archaic word meaning look

24a   Mothers keeping quiet — it’s infectious (5)
MUMPS — an informal term for mothers containing the musical direction to play softly or quietly

25a   Cutting edge commercials on the radio (4)
ADZE — sounds like (on the radio) very brief commercial messages


1d   Where US-style greeting irks her badly? (9)
YORKSHIRE — a two-letter alleged US-style greeting followed by an anagram (badly) of IRKS HER gives us the name of an English county where lack of adherence to standard English is apparently frowned on; Oxford Dictionaries Online informs us that this greeting was first recorded well before Columbus sailed to America

2d   Spoils exotic allure by beginning to swear (7)
LAURELS — an anagram (exotic) of ALLURE followed by the initial letter of S(wear); for me, it seems a mighty huge stretch to imagine that the solution is synonymous with the definition

3d   Simple furniture? (4,5)
EASY CHAIR — an uncomplicated place to rest your tired bones

4d   What are the odds of army over brave unsophisticated beings? (7)
AMOEBAE — the odd letters of ArMy OvEr BrAvE

5d   Uncontrolled lust overcoming a place in Oklahoma (5)
TULSA — an anagram of LUST in front of (overcoming in a down clue) A (from the clue)

6d   Holiday’s affected — pack tents up (5,4)
BREAK CAMP — a charade of time away from work or study and an adjective denoting deliberately exaggerated and theatrical in style

7d   It is about half of them on Ecstasy making record (7)
ITEMISE — the solution is a verb, not a noun; start by placing IT and IS on either side of the latter half of (th)EM; then append E(cstasy)

12d   Peacekeepers facilitate outbreak of flu — isn’t that awkward? (9)
UNHELPFUL — string together the international body that conducts peacekeeping missions, a verb meaning to facilitate or assist, and an anagram of (outbreak of) FLU; personally, I thought the anagram indicator to be a bit awkward

13d   Airborne troops circling location — they could be hanging on (9)
PARASITES — the shortened name for the airborne troops surrounding an area set aside for a specific activity

14d   Trombones will be played as Queen leaves after time in memorial (9)
TOMBSTONE — start with T(ime); then follow it with an anagram (will be played) of TROMBONES from which R(egina) has been removed

16d   As an alternative, home brew’s brought in shillings and pence (7)
INSTEAD — begin with the usual term for “[at] home”; follow this with the customary English brew (not the one imbibed at your local) placed between a couple of former British coins

17d   Crook admires weapon (7)
SIDEARM — an anagram (crook) of ADMIRES

18d   Measure put in place under prince that will raise the standard? (7)
HALYARD — a unit of linear measure placed after (under in a down clue) Shakespeare’s “irresponsible, fun-loving” prince

20d   Shot this man for overturning symbol of respect (5)
TOTEM — a small drink of spirits and, for a chaser, a reversal (for overturning) of the pronoun that the setter would use to refer to himself in an objective manner

My vote for clue of the day goes to 9a. Although it was not the last one in, it went in with no idea of the wordplay. It was only as I was writing the review that the penny finally dropped.

The Quick Crossword pun: flee+mar+kit=flea market


97 comments on “DT 27676

  1. A very pleasant puzzle, pleasantly surprised to see the early review then realised it came from Ottawa, many thanks.

    Some nice quirks, like manx cat in 9a, change of opening key in 15a, and a beautiful odd letters clue (4d) which was my second last in, allowing me finally to guess the long 8a and then parse it.

    Many thanks setter and Falcon
    ( I also was surprised by laurels / spoils – I guess these are both things you can gather (and sit on) to enhance your reputation?)

  2. 1*/2.5* for a straightforward but unexciting puzzle today. I’ve heard of a type of the fruit in 22a described by the first four letters of the first word and I’ve heard of a fungus described by the nine letter first word but never the combination in the answer (which is not in my BRB).

    Many thanks to Mr Ron and to Falcon, who I agree with about 9a being my favourite and whose help I needed to unravel the wordplay for 20d. However, unlike Falcon, I think the definition for 2d is fine; “spoils” and the answer can both mean “prizes”.

    1. I am familiar with this item that can be found in most greengrocers these days. Your comment about the fungus bring back old memories. It is a remarkable specimen, when cut through with a knife it looks just like a piece of fillet steak, it even exudes a blood-like liquid. If I recall correctly it tends to be found on dying oak trees.

  3. 4d was our last answer to finish the puzzle and gets our vote for favourite of the day. When we saw ‘brave’ in the clue we did so want to fit a Native American into the answer somewhere. We did enjoy unpicking the wordplay in 9a too. We thought it a good fun puzzle and quite tricky.
    Thanks Mr Ron and Falcon.

  4. Couldn’t see 8ac for a while and needed to look up 18d as I didn’t know the prince (will endeavour to remember that as it’ll probably be around again). I enjoyed today’s puzzle overall. Thanks to Falcon for the hints and to setter 2.5*/3*

    1. Me too with 8a, it was my last in and took as much thinking time as the rest of the puzzle. I struggled with attitude as the definition but have just checked the BRB to find that posture is the first meaning so that’s me told!
      2*/3* for me

      1. I think it’s quite an old-fashioned, artistic term for physical (dis)position.
        Rather poetic.

        “He struck a refined attitude”………

  5. Nice exercise for a winter morning! Favourite clue 4d, with odds from three words. I hadn’t seen the ‘bad attitude’ meaning of 8a before so only got it from the parsing and checking letters. Also suggestions of the season emerging. Enjoyable.

  6. Yess – get in there!

    No assistance required today, so I’m over the moon – as they say!

    A question – I understand that 2d is an anagram of ‘allure’ and ‘s’ but what has the answer to do with the clue?

    Onward and upward – roll on Friday – Status Quo (and Chas and Dave) at the O2. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yahoo.gif

    1. In answer to your question I believe it is because laurels and spoils both indicate a form of prize or winnings. Quite an enjoyable puzzle, not too easy but all clues were well constructed in my opinion. My only difficulty was the final across clue, which is a word I have never seen before. 2/3 rating for me.

      1. There is an expression “To the victor belong the spoils”. This is attributed to New York Senator William L. Marcy in the early 19th century and refers to the “spoils system” (or “patronage system”) practiced in US politics whereby supporters of the winning party are given government jobs as a reward for their support.

            1. Very interesting historical reference. Nothing has changed of course. Thanks for your review and lovely pics. I’m trying to guess how your review appeared late morning GMT when you are GMT-5? Does this mean you solved the puzzle late yesterday evening and posted the review on an early rise?

              1. No, actually I posted the review before going to bed. The puzzle is released at 7:00 pm Ottawa time. I solved the puzzle while watching a hockey game on TV and wrote the review after the game had finished, posting the review sometime after 1:00 am.

                1. 25a in yesterday’s Toughie is all I can say. Time differences, specially when they involve a date, is just more than my brain can do. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_unsure.gif

    2. Yay Michael! Well done: you have been going onward and upward so much that you’ve gone right over the moon!

  7. I thought it was tricky in places – 2.5* at least for me.

    Lots of those double blank space things – what are they called?

    Spent a long time on 4d and never heard of 25a.

    Liked 1d and 6a!

    1. Those double blank space thingies are called double inches – short for double unchecked letters. They’re the kind of things I never notice until someone points it out.

        1. I suspect Kath’s on an iPad.
          They are very bossy little things and are always second-guessing us intellectual Britishers……

        2. Yes – thank you – yet again damn and blast automatic spelling stuff. I’m sure that it’s very useful for those who can’t spell, but I can and I hate being put right when I’m not even wrong! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_sad.gif

            1. Hi you two – ever thought of turning off the auto-correct? No. 2 daughter assures me that you can! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_wink.gif

              1. No – I hadn’t thought of it, mainly because I didn’t know that I could. Next thing is how do I do it – hopefully husband knows . . .

              2. Yes, but unfortunately, much as I grumble about the autocorrect, I use it extensively as a short-cut programme. I just wish it knew when my “errors” were intended and when not.

                1. Sorry – don’t think you can have it both ways! But – if you find a way, please let me know! Meanwhile, you’ll just have to revert to what we were told at school – ‘always check through your work before handing it in’. Sound familiar to anyone? http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_wink.gif

      1. I always notice them when there is one in the middle of a word I can’t get! (like the first part of 8a)

  8. Re your 10a picture – looks like Will has borrowed one of his father’s ghastly suits……..stick to the single-breasted mate!

  9. I thought this was quite tricky but I seem to be in the minority. At least 3* difficulty for me and about the same for enjoyment.
    Lots of problems, here there and pretty much everywhere.
    I was very slow to get the two long across answers, then got the second part of both of them and took even longer to get both first words.
    4d took ages – first two letters and the answer was obvious but I failed to spot that we were meant to carry on with the alternate stuff for far too long.
    On the plus side I didn’t have any lurking trouble.
    I liked 9 and 17a and 1 (eventually) and 14d. I don’t have a particular favourite but I have the opposite today – it’s 24a – not only is it infectious but it’s very painful – I know – I caught it from younger Lamb when she was two. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_sad.gif
    With thanks to Mr Ron and to Falcon.

    1. Re: 24a

      I was solving the puzzle while watching the hockey game and the commentators were discussing the major outbreak of mumps that is currently running through the National Hockey League. So I didn’t need to dig deep into the memory banks for that one.

      1. Ouch!
        You certainly wouldn’t want any hockey sticks or pucks at large, given the well known complications of mumps…….http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_sad.gif

    2. Actually, I thought there was a clever double meaning in 24a clue. Children (and probably adults) with 24a tend to be very quiet indeed – it hurts too much to be otherwise! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gif

    3. No I agree with you, I too found it rather tricky but well balanced, three clues I really liked 13a, 25a and 5d against three I really disliked in 3a,2d and 16d!
      Thought 9a was a bit of a groaner but at least I finished it which is not my usual Thursday result.
      Thx to all

  10. Lotsa fun – thanks Mr. Ron and indeed Falcon for being there so bright and early for us although I missed that as I don’t usually check in until at least 11.00a.m. our time. 1a of course went straight in but after that initial read through was somewhat daunting however got there in the end on my Jack Jones. 6a and 25a seem to make regular appearances these days. Lanyard yes but 18d new one on me. Liked 10a. Have often grown 22a – they are delicious and can be huge (ideal for slicing). ***/***. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gif

    1. Re 18d…

      Angel, clearly you were never a Girl Guidehttp://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_wink.gif
      Or perhaps only long enough to do the uniform, but not the flag?

      1. Reminded me of a girl in our Guide Company who made the most exquisite plaited lanyards. She got out of SO many duties at Guide camp by promising to make one for anyone who would take on her workload! Clever girl. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gif

      2. You’re right I didn’t progress past the Brownies as I was sent away to boarding school at age of 8 and they didn’t offer Girl Guides. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_scratch.gif

  11. We finished this in ** time but felt we had had a workout. Had to use an electronic cheat for 4d and the reason for the answer did not click until I read the blog.
    Thanks to the setter and blogger.

  12. I completed this puzzle almost before I realised, if that makes sense. I mean, I was looking for further clues only to realise that I had indeed finished…
    Yes, well anyway, I liked 1d because of the misdirection involved and 4d because it was clever. My favourite is 1d even though I did first try to use ‘HI’ until I realised.
    Thanks to Mr Ron and Falcon.

  13. I absolutely loved this! Lots of smiles, particularly for 1D, 8A and 9A. I’m very familiar with 22A. I think they’re tasteless, but they are popular over here because a slice is just the right size to fit on a hamburger. Many thanks to the setter, and to Falcon. Please keep that nasty stuff up there, at least until after Christmas!

    1. I agree about the tastelessness, but one year I grew them and they weren’t bad at all. The difference between picking green and ripening in a warehouse and picking them vine ripened.

  14. Happy to go along with Falcon’s rating – would have claimed a 1.5* but needed his help to fully justify 9&15a. Thank goodness all the letters were given for 4d answer – could have fought with that spelling for a while!
    Got the answer to 21a very quickly but took ages to spot the hidden element – how stupid is that. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_smile.gif

    Favourite is a dead-heat between 3&13d with a special award for 1d (and the pic.) as representing home turf of our lovely Hanni. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_good.gif

    Many thanks to Mr. Ron and to Falcon – It’s blowing a gale here, but I’d rather that than your frozen rain!

  15. Thank you setter – I thought that was quite tricky. I did mess around with “hi” for the US greeting before the penny dropped and also started with “b-road” shouldered for 8a before common sense prevailed ! Thanks Falcon for your review, hints and pics. The snow is starting to lie around my computer ! I’ll keep a shovel handy.

  16. Quite liked this one. Just logged on to see what the relevance of ‘manx’ was. Competed my first Toughie yesterday, am just going to look at the review for that to fully explain a couple of answers …

    1. I didn’t know that it could be spelled without an A. The only alternative spelling I can find is halliard.

  17. Thanks to Mr Ron for the puzzle.

    Thanks also to Falcon for today’s review and for all the others this year.

    ps. The weather in Ottawa – it always surprises me that Ottawa is further south than London! Thank God for the Gulf Stream! Don’t like snow and ice!

    pps. The picture in 6a – the snow doesn’t seem to be settling in Rio? (BD’s snow, of course)

  18. No real stand out clues but a pleasant, if straightforward, solve.
    Thanks Mr Ron, and Falcon for the review.

  19. I was dead on wavelength today, at one with the setter. I was sure I had the answer to 4d but hesitated to put it in as I could not get the “why”, then when it was my last to go in, I worried at it until I tumbled.
    I seem to remember a pub in Glos called the Adze and Axe, and am very familiar with the fruit in 22a, some of them can be huge.
    Great puzzle, thanks setter, and thanks for the review Gazza, I certainly don’t envy you your weather, hope it improves soon.

    1. All credit for the review must go to Falcon, not me (I’d blame problems with predictive text :D ).

        1. My deepest apologies to both of you, I hang my head in shame. Was in a rush this morning and just banged out my post without thinking. To make it worse, I know very well that Falcon is in the frozen north of my continent. I grovel to you both and beg for forgiveness.

  20. Really enjoyed this puzzle, not too much plodding today so I must be getting back into my stride. I did not need the hints but my thanks to Falcon for providing them. No particular favourite, would rate this 2.5*/3* 18D brought back some school times memories.

  21. No quibbles with a **/***,enjoyable with a good variety of clues. Liked 1d,reminded me of when President Bush met Tony Blair with the greeting- Yo Blair ! this of course may be apocryphal -does anyone know ? 9a my favourite today,.nice surface reading for 17a.

    1. Sounds like something a Texan might do.

      Though not nearly as embarrassing as poor Jimmy Carter in Poland. His statement (in English) that he wanted to learn about the desires of the Polish people, after being mangled by his translator, came out as “I want to have sex with the Polish people” in Polish.

  22. I’ve been slogging up the learning curve recently, wondering if I will ever get the hang of solving these things. But today I found I needed assistance with only a handful of clues, so perhaps there is hope. Lacking much in the way of musical knowledge I was held up by 6a, but fortunately Kitty was able to lend a hand to help me finish. Favorite was 9a – enjoyed getting that one muchly. Very glad to have Falcon’s explanations of the wordplay in a few answers that I deduced without complete understanding. Thanks also to the setter.

    1. Well done, Mr Kitty

      I hadn’t realised that 6a was related to music, but I find that con brio is indeed a musical direction. So I learned something new from your comment.

    2. Well hello, Mr. Kitty – nice to hear from you. I’m thinking that you and Kitty must have a marvellous relationship – she always credits you with helping her out on clues she’s struggling with and now – here you are, handing the bouquets back to her.

      Hope you’re going to have Christmas at home together? http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_heart.gif

      1. Thanks, Jane. Kitty is very generous with giving me credit for my occasional moments of inspiration applying the techniques that she taught me.

        Unfortunately there will still be an ocean between us at Christmas, but Team Kitty will be reforming in January http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_smile.gif

  23. Thanks Falcon for your tips **/*** which I did not need today ☺️ Normally on a Thursday Crossword I am happy to get half of the answers. Perhaps my calendar is slow

  24. I must admit we really enjoyed this puzzle today. After a slow start, we plugged away and were quite surprised when we realised that we had finished. I reckon that a **/*** will do for us. Thank you to the Thursday setter and to Falcon. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_smile.gif

  25. Psyched up for Thursday but as it turned out, slightly deflated.
    Nevertheless, a bit tough, say *** for me.
    Thought 1d brilliant.
    Loved 6d.
    Many thanks to the setter and to Falcon for the review.

  26. Agree with Falcon’s assessment. Fairly straightforward from first read though and thought we might be in for a pangram after 1&25a went straight in. Some amusing clues for me were 4, 6, 7 & 16d.

  27. Not too much of a struggle for me today, although I lacked the time to do it in one sitting, but I was slowed up by the long answers. I got 22a but wasn’t sure I hadn’t made it up; similarly I deduced 18d but only had a hazy recollection of the word. (I went to Guides for just long enough to go on a camp, then scarpered before they could make me work for any badges.)

    My favourite clue has to be 4d, where annoyingly I missed the continuation of the alternate letters and so needed the blog to explain the second bit – grr! It’s such a clever clue – not just for the construction of the phrase, but also because it’s full of sneaky misdirection. Added to that, a flawless surface reading. What are the odds?

    Two further clues made me smile. The first being 15a because I’m always losing my key – musically, that is! I can allegedly play the piano, but I’m not very good at remembering what key I’m meant to be in or what the notes are and my hands seems to have a mind of their own http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_wacko.gif.

    The other smiler for me was 5d. Memories of the musical:

    Thanks muchly to Mr Ron and Falcon.

  28. I found it difficult but having reached the end I really can’t see why. 3*/3* for me. (I think it’s something about the wavelength of this alternate Thursday setter’s work.)
    Many thanks to them, and to Falcon.

  29. Something has gone seriously wrong it is Thursday and I not only finished the crossword but did not need to resort to the supertoy once. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yahoo.gif This definitely a first as I used to live in fear of Thursday. Thanks to setter and Falcon. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/smiley-phew.gif

  30. Good puzzle, again done while mother sitting.I was glad it wasn’t a write -in.2d was my last one in and I had to pause about the plural of that protozoan. Thanks falcon and setter.

    1. Welcome to the blog, Brian.
      We already have a regular commenter who uses the alias Brian so it would be helpful if you chose another alias.

  31. Some good clues, but I found it, for once on a Thursday, a bit too easy. Had a few minutes to wait in London Bridge station before the train left and found I had finished the puzzle before I finished my short commute into that part of southeast London where everybody wears tracksuits all the time. So half-* for difficulty and 2* for fun.

  32. I enjoyed this one but it didn’t tax the grey matter overmuch. 1*/3*, l think, and 6d my favourite clue. thanks to Mr Ron, and Falcon for the review. I hope Canada’s weather is nicer today. Cornwall’s certainly is.

  33. Very late posting. Amongst the good, I absolutely hated 8a and 4d. And didn’t think much of 3a or 3d either. Hey ho, that’s mystery Thursdays. I much prefer RayT even when I can’t work them out.

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