DT 27678 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 27678 (Hints)

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 27678 (Hints)

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Today is your last chance to have a go at our December Prize Puzzle!

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    Supporting music in reliable way (10)
An adjective meaning reliable followed by a way or path

11a    Fish ration covering back of leaf (5,4)
A ration or allowance around the reverse or back of a leaf or page

12a    Woman will be at that point when going west (7)
A word meaning at that point followed by the reversal (going west in an across clue) of a two-letter word meaning when

14a    With credit after frauds, succeeded making moonshine (12)
a four-letter slang word for credit after some frauds and followed by s(ucceeded)

21a    Fictional lawman’s spurning old wrinkles (7)
Start with John Mortimer’s fictional lawyer and the S from ‘S then drop (spurning) O(ld)

24a    State enrolled nurse about to take top off shortly — it’s essential for tanning (9)
The abbreviation for a State Enrolled Nurse around most of (shortly) a verb meaning to take the top off a bottle or jar

26a    Scoff about dishonest chap (4)
The reversal (about) of a verb meaning to scoff or ridicule gives this dishonest chap

27a    Grassed area gardeners prepared round wicket (10)
An anagram (prepared) of GARDENERS around W(icket)


1d    Glove puppet in which third of fingers is stuck up (6)
Start with Harry Corbett’s glove puppet and insert the third letter of [fi]N[gers]

3d    Childish timepiece? Blow me! It’s somehow conned local kid (9,5)
An anagram (somehow) of CONNED LOCAL KID

4d    Worker caught by lefty Miliband in the act (3-6)
A worker between (caught by) a lefty and the two-letter first name of the leader of the opposition

7d    Cable to follow for part of the country (8)
The first name of the Business Secretary preceded by a three-letter word meaning for

16d    Pawn and knight taken up in genuine act of revenge (8)
P(awn) and the reversal (taken up in a down clue) of the form of address for a knight inside an adjective meaning genuine

17d    Being full of oneself like inhabitant of Middle East area (8)
The Latin abbreviation for like or for example followed by an inhabitant of a Middle East sultanate and the A from the clue

19d    Workforce on a Hebridean island (6)
a workforce followed by the A from the clue

20d    Quaker offers resistance when beset by devil (6)
R(esistance) inside (beset by) a devil

22d    Neat  guide (5)
Two definitions – neat in the sense of an ox and a verb meaning to guide

The Crossword Club is now open.  I’ll be back from the village Café and Market around lunchtime.

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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!

Please read these instructions carefully. Offending comments may be redacted or, in extreme cases, deleted.

The Quick Crossword pun: pinnacle+larder=piña colada

52 comments on “DT 27678 (Hints)

  1. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/smiley-phew.gif
    That was a tough challenge but very enjoyable – 4*/3*.

    I needed BD’s help to unravel the wordplay for 24a fully. 27a was a new word for me but it couldn’t be anything else and I confirmed my answer in the BRB. I also needed my BRB to understand why the answer to 20d means “quaker”.

    18a & 1d made me smile but 3d was my favourite.

    Many thanks to Mr Ron and to BD.

    1. You’ve obviously never been to Frinton-on-Sea, because that is what they call their grassed area! Spent many happy summer day playing rounders on it!

        1. Harwich for the continent; Frinton for the incontinent! The older I get, the less funny that becomes!

      1. I’ve been to Harwich and to Clacton both a long time ago, but never Frinton. Is it worth a visit?

        1. I love it! So many happy family memories -been going there for 57 years. They now have a pub and a fish and chip shop although that was resisted for many years. No tea huts or ice cream shops on the beach, just sea, sand and sun! And of course, rounders and kite flying on the 27a. Go and enjoy!

          1. Not to mention all those Norland Nannies and their little charges or perhaps fish and chips and the pub have driven them away?! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/icon_rolleyes.gif

  2. Ah yes, I had to think quite a bit to finish this one. Having not lived in the UK for 45 years, I had to brush out the cobwebs from my brain to recall my childhood to figure out the sock puppet in 1d and then the reference to UK person in 7d. But I really enjoyed the challenge of this puzzle as most of the clues could be worked out even if I did not know the answer right away.

    3*/5* I think.

  3. A very enjoyable solve with quite a few laugh out loud moments. 19 down brought back some happy memories for me, as son number two and I were photographing puffins there and also on Lunga last April. Favourite clues included 1, 2, 7 & 22 down, plus 14 & 27 across. Thanks to the setter – I loved it.

  4. Thank you setter, an enjoyable challenge and not too difficult for me. Many favourite clues http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_wacko.gif Thanks BD for the hints and continuing snow. We still have a stock of videos of 1d – used to love watching them – Sweep was our favourite !

  5. This took quite a bit longer than the usual Saturday and was an enjoyable challenge with great clues. I also did not see the parsing for 24a, thank you BD.

    some new words and meanings for me. I Liked 11a, 7d, 2d, and quite a few others

    Many thanks setter and BD

  6. The Compliments of the Season to one and all! Yes, I agree with the previous comments that this puzzle was more difficult than in recent weeks but, nevertheless, it was still enjoyable and I made steady progress after a delayed start.

  7. Quite tough going, but got there, unaided, in the end, and then wondered why?
    Thought 17d, a gem, brilliant clue.
    All in all, most enjoyable.
    Many thanks to the setter, and to BD.

  8. I felt I worked hard on this but the ipad clock showed a sub-2* time so I was obviously very focused. Lots of nice clues in one of the best Saturday puzzles for a while but 1d got the biggest smile.

  9. I found this a challenge. I did mange to finish, but there were many references that I was unfamiliar with, and which, for me, detracted something from the enjoyment. Many thanks to all.

  10. I loved this one.
    I was a bit on the slow side with the last couple of answers – 7d – I’d forgotten about that kind of cable – and the very long 9d anagram.
    I had the wrong double letter in 1d – knew what I was meant to be doing but came up with another word meaning the same thing – luckily it didn’t mess anything else up.
    It took me ages to see why 11a was what it was.
    Lots of lovely clues today – 14 and 24a and 3 and 17d. My favourite was either 1 or 2d – not both but I haven’t made up my mind yet.
    Thanks to Mr Ron and to BD.

        1. Remembering my Bible studies I put Mammon. I have to admit that the pun made me groan out loud – even louder than usual.

          1. I liked the pun if only because it made me decide that it was one thing rather than the other possibility.
            As for bible studies, well . . . at least I didn’t put taxman!

  11. The most enjoyable Saturday puzzle for ages!

    Nice surface readings, nice apposite anagrams … and not a single mention of Christmas!

    Thanks to the setter (and also to the Crossword Editor) for not having a seasonal theme. However, I feel for the worst next week!

    Regards, Scrooge.

  12. Lovely Saturday crossword which took a bit of pondering to get going, but fell into place really well. Liked lots of the clues and 27across was my favourite. Thank you to the Saturday setter and to BD. Lovely bright day here on the East Coast. Hope it lasts for Christmas week.

  13. More difficult than the usual Saturday but very enjoyable with many fine clues.
    3*/4-5* for me. My favourite clue was 1d – made me laugh! Thanks to the setter and to BD for the review.

  14. We thought this was a great puzzle but our view might have been swayed a bit by our solving it over a coffee in the sun in the town square.

    No real favourite but it’s a **/**** from us.

    Thanks to the mysteron and BD.

  15. Nicely challenging – thanks for that Mr. Ron and BD particularly for your help with 7d which I had just bunged in. Fav probably 14a but several other goodies. Guess a certain age helped in solving 1d! ***/***. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_good.gif

  16. Not quite the normal Saturday type crossword but certainly more satisfying to complete as a result. Some nice clues for sure; 1a was my favourite.
    Thanks to Mr Ron and BD for his revue.

  17. For the second week running, I neatly folded the bottom of my paper in order to hide Friday’s solutions as I haven’t had the chance to look at it.
    I really enjoy Saturdays crosswords and this one was no let down.
    3d brought me back in time a bit but I still do when going collecting pissenlits for that famous French salad with lardons and petits croutons.
    14a was my favourite today as it is such a lovely way of avoiding the colourful language that only Bob Gueldoff would use.
    Thanks to the setter and to BD for the review.

    1. Bonsoir, Jean-Luc,

      3d – Never heard of “pissenlits” before – but with an aged French “A” level – I guess the etymology comes from “piss-en-lit” – adds a certain je ne sais quoi to the flavour!

      14a – Absolutely no idea what you are talking about. Did you mean “Geldof'”?

      Joyeux Noël

      1. Sorry to answer so late. Been out all night.
        I know that dents de lion is a much more romantic way of describing that great salad plant but we only know it as pissenlit which is as you rightly say a fabulous diuretic. As for Bob, sorry for the misspelling but again in France, proper names have no orthographic rules.
        Joyeux Noël à toi aussi.

  18. Thanks to the setter and to Big Dave for the hints. A very enjoyable puzzle, but quite tricky. Needed the hint for 21a. Favourite was 1d. Was 4*/3* for me.

  19. Nice Saturday puzzle.

    Faves : 11a, 14a, 21a, 2d, 3d & 17d.

    It is many years since I blew 3d in Harehills & Roundhay Parks in Leeds!!

  20. This was HARD but very enjoyable. Some incredibly clever clues, very unlike a Saturday puzzle though.
    I failed with 1d, never heard of it, and 12a, which I shouldn’t have as it was a perfectly respectable clue and very gettable.
    From such a good selection it’s hard to pick a fave, but I think 3d earns it, with 2d hard on its heels.
    Thanks to the setter and to BD for the review, particularly for the explanation for 24a.

  21. I think 24a is created by a different method. State is a US state. Nurse is an anagram. Rest as before.

    1. Welcome to the blog Andy

      Sorry, it just doesn’t work that way. I can’t discuss it here as this is a prize puzzle, but come back on 30th December when the competition has closed and you can explain your idea on Crypticsue’s review.

    2. No – I really don’t get your reasoning but have no time to spend in the naughty corner so wouldn’t argue with BD even if I agreed with you, which I don’t! Happy Christmas to you anyway, andy.

  22. Done and and off today last in 21a and then 17d. 13a is surprisingly quite common. Thanks to BD etc.

  23. ****/****. Excellent dinner party last night meant a late start to the puzzle this morning. What a good challenge. Some of my bung-ins were proven correct when I got to BDs hints for which much thanks. My favourites were 1,2 & 3d. Thanks to the setter for the best Saturday puzzle in ages.

  24. A most enjoyable puzzle.It took a little while to remember 1d, but you child’s (almost) first words , at a very young age, tend to stick in the mind.I seem to remember this clue and similar remarks from some previous puzzle.14a and 20d also stood out.I don’t think I would ever have rumbled that terrific fictional lawyer without the hint.Thanks BD and mysteron.

  25. Splendid day in East Suffolk, OH mowed back lawn and I spent afternoon doing GK crossword. Agree with general consensus that this was harder than last few weeks but I struggled through with only a modicum of electronic help. Fave rave 14a which comes in jolly useful at times. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/smiley-phew.gif

  26. Many thanks to the setter for a jolly prize puzzle, perhaps a little stiffer than the usual fare. 3*/4* or thereabouts, and l can’t choose between 1d and 21a as favourite. Thanks to Big Dave for the hints as well.

  27. I found this a lot harder than the usual Saturday offerings – also a bit of a thick head after last nights festivities didn’t help, and an afternoon spent at West Ham cleared my head – Europe here we come!

    Managed it without resort to the blog, just the normal electronic aids for the anagrams although my Anagram Program didn’t find 9d – so I had ro resort to the old writing the letters in a circle method!

    Good fun – onward and upward – roll on Christmas! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yahoo.gif

  28. To me this was one of the hardest ever Saturday puzzles. Still three answers short but none of them were covered in your hints. My brain is aching.

  29. without breaking the rules on this prize crossword, can anyone put me out of my misery on 2d and 26a. I know I have got the answer to 2d, but can’t for the life of me, make a connection between the word in the clue that starts with a “Z” and the answer. On 26 a I have the first and third letter and cannot find anything to fit, even using these words offered above “The reversal (about) of a verb meaning to scoff or ridicule gives this dishonest chap”

    Please help !!

    1. In 2d you need to know another word for a zombie, and it’s derived from that.

      with 26a, there are only a few words that fit the correct checking letters. It’s difficult to say more without giving the answer.

      1. sorry, Big Dave wasting your time as usual – my third letter was wrong on 26a. All has become clear now !!

        On 2d The “Z” thing I can now just about understand the derivation, but certainly wasn’t aware of it before. My education for the day !!

        Many thanks

  30. Did this a day late. Bit of a strange one. Had a quick go at the top half in the morning and made hard work of it. Returned after lunch, did the bottom half and then the top half all fell into place with very few problems. I wasn’t familiar with the synonym for moonshine though. 1d raised a chuckle.
    Thanks setter and BD.

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