DT 27689 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 27689 (Hints)

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 27689 (Hints)

Big Dave’s Saturday Crossword Club

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Have a go at our January Prize Puzzle – out today!

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    Tackle current expense (6)
A type of electric current followed by an expense

4a    Aircraft with replica Spruce Goose’s tail (8)
OK, I’ve given a hint for this one just so that I can add an illustration; the first picture below is of an Airfix model similar to the one, as yet unbuilt, that I received for Christmas! – a four-letter word meaning an exact replica followed by the type of tree of which spruce is an example and the final letter (tail) of [goos]E; the Spruce Goose was the nickname given to the Hughes H-4 Hercules flying boat

10a    Recycling centre to go metric? (9)
Split this recycling centre as (5,4) and it becomes a request to abandon an imperial measure and go metric

12a    See Hurd end rebuilding in part of Chilterns maybe (7)
An anagram (rebuilding) of HURD END gives a part of the Chilterns that will be familiar to MPs who resign during the course of a Parliament by accepting a nominal office for profit under the Crown: holding such an office disqualifies an MP from the House under the Act of Settlement 1701

15a    They don’t appreciate where fires get started (8)
Split as (2,6) this is where fires get started

18a    Dance with boorish type without a fuss (8)
A dance event followed by a boorish type from which the A from the clue has been dropped (without)

23a    Ineffective treatment of Post Office landing Cable in a mess (7)
Nothing to do with the current Business Secretary this time, in spite of the capitalisation! – the abbreviation for P(ost) O(ffice) around an anagram (in a mess) of CABLE

27a    Liverpool’s colour kit adopted by Newcastle’s centre forward (9)
The colour of the Liverpool strip and a word meaning kit around the middle letter (centre) of [Newc]A[stle] gives a verb meaning to forward mail

29a    Hero of the Rovers, amid retreating English, that stands against the tide (6)
The fictional hero of Melchester Rovers inside (amid) the reversal (retreating) of ENG(lish)


1d    Tease the abstract art lover (8)
An anagram (abstract) of TEASE THE

2d    One investigating death trap — there’s nothing in it (7)
A place where one might feel trapped around O (nothing)

3d    One who’s wise following grand American sporting event (5,4)
An allegedly wise bird preceded by an adjective meaning grand


5d    Cuddly character providing extra material for a Bronte novel (10,4)
Some extra material followed by an anagram (novel) of A BRONTE

9d    Mobile adverts with a human interface? (8,6)
A cryptic definition of a pair of advertising placards worn over the chest and back on shoulder straps by a person employed to walk the streets

17d    A ball played from the wing in the French game (8)
The A from the clue and a ball played from the wing into the penalty area in football all inside the French definite article

19d    I would begin this Conservative declaration of love (7)
Split this as (2,1,4) and put I in front (I would begin) and you get a Conservative declaration

21d    Queen tucked into sandwich in larder (7)
Put our Queen’s regnal cipher inside a type of sandwich, typically one that includes chips

24d    Former lover directed endless praise (5)
The usual former lover followed by most of a verb meaning directed

The Crossword Club is now open.

Could new readers please read the Welcome post and the FAQ before posting comments or asking questions about the site.

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: Sochi+hauls+treat=Sauchiehall Street

102 comments on “DT 27689 (Hints)

  1. I found this one a good workout. A new word for me at 16d which was my last word in. However, enjoyed this one very much – some very good clues.
    3*/4* is my rating.

  2. A lovely start to the New Year – particularly as the puzzle was on the back page of the Telegraph – with a number of answers which made me smile. I hope 2015 will be a year to remember for all the right reasons.

  3. Although I found this quite tough it was thankfully much more enjoyable than yesterday’s offering. My rating is 3*/3* with the NE corner was the last to fall.

    I particularly liked the two long down clues and 10a.

    There were two words today which I was aware of without knowing their meaning: the boorish type in 19a and the answer to 16d. Now I need to remember them!

    Many thanks to Mr Ron and to BD.

    P.S. BD there is a typo in your hint for 27a – possibly due to your spell checker auto-correcting part of a word!

  4. Found this one fairly tough but enjoyable. 16d is a new word for me. It is a pity that BD did not give a hint for 8d as it was a ‘bung in’ for me but I cannot find a meaning for part of the answer that has anything to do with space. Can anyone help?

    20a and 5d my favourites.

  5. Plenty to smile about in this one. The only one I had any trouble solving was 27A, but there were several that required pondering. I could not (no surprise there) fully parse 29A thought the answer was obvious. Thanks to the setter, and BD for the hints. Working on the MPP, which I fear is going to prove much harder.

      1. I am multi-tasking…MPP, NTSPP, Quickie, making turkey stock and curry sauce…all at the same time!

  6. Phew what a relief after yesterday’s horror! This had some nicely challenging clues, avoided old chestnuts and was light on anagrams which made it all the more entertaining for me. Thank you Mr. Ron and BD. I don’t think I have come across 16d before but it’s good to live and learn. ***/***. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_good.gif

  7. enjoyed this puzzle much more than yesterdays

    9d made me laugh out loud

    regarding today’s Quickie, I have heard of the phonetic to the answer to the first three across clues, but cannot remember what it refers to, & no success in looking it up-any help please ?

  8. Thank you setter, not easy but very enjoyable. It took me a while to get started and although there were new words for me as an answer or part of an answer, I thought that it was all very fair with some penny drop moments. I hope that you are wrong Pommers and that PMcN hasn’t requested an upping of difficulty for 2015. This is just about OK for me. The last 2 days took too long ! Thanks BD for the hints as always.

    1. OMG I damn well hope not or I will be looking for another newspaper. What is the point of having the Toughie if you are going to make the BP more difficult, is someone losing their marbles?

  9. Agree with the above comments, much better than yesterday, though not easy for us. We finished without hints. With regard to 27across, no Newcastle centre forward would ever adopt Liverpool’s colours. Thank you to the Saturday setter and to BD.

    1. Erm… of course Malcolm Macdonald did adopt Liverpool’s colours – when he moved to Arsenal in 1976. What a player though!

      1. These sorts of clues are not very fair for those who are not in the UK and follow UK sports, though. I would like to see some sort of moratorium, wink, wink, as I know that is not going to happen.

        For all I knew, Liverpool’s colours could be green with pink spots!

        1. I live in the UK and have a basic knowledge of most sports but I am afraid soccer leaves me cold so 27a was an unparsed bung-in!

          1. I think that golf numbers among the most boring sports ever invented, but I do know most of the golfing terminology used in crosswords.

        2. Don’t give up George, we’ll show these Limeys that we can play their sophisticated games.

        3. How do you think we feel about references to baseball (a game played in the UK by little girls called rounders) and basketball, two of the most boring sports in the world.

      1. Andy Carroll didn’t choose to go to Liverpool, he was sold by that odious man Mike Ashley, who knows the price of everything but the value of nothing.http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_sad.gif

  10. Hmm… I found this a bit too tricky for a Saturday, or any day come to think of it. ****/** for me. I found bits a tad too esoteric for my simple brain. It’s all done now, but only with significant help from the BRB and Thesaurus without which I wouldn’t have got this done. I even used Colonel Hills Crossword Dictionary to solve one… desperation stakes! That leaves me feeling rather disappointed with myself. Sorry to whinge, because there are some lovely clues here e.g. 2d, 3d, 10a and 15a. Many thanks to the setter and to BD for the (early) hints. I’ll look in later for the full review because there are a couple of answers that I know are right but I can’t quite see why…

    A belated Happy New Year to everyone.

  11. Found this pretty much a write-in except for 9d which I didn’t get and was nowhere near getting even with the checking letters. Enjoyable stuff however, with thanks to BD and setter 1.5*/3*

  12. I was handed today’s prize puzzle at a point where only the top left-hand quarter and 9 down were needed to complete it – and if the word ‘********’ hadn’t been entered at 18 across I’m sure I wouldn’t have had a look in at all. Some clues were quite testing today, but nonetheless rather entertaining. Thanks to the setter, of course.

  13. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/smiley-phew.gif Quite tricky, I thought, but a lot of fun too. It’s taken a long time but I’ve finished now.
    I’m pretty sure that I’ve come across 16d before but had forgotten it.
    I got into a pickle with 20a because I’m beginning to interpret things like ‘leg’ automatically as a ‘crickety’ one – silly!
    Needless to say I had no idea what colour Liverpool wear – for all I know, or care, it could be sky blue pink with yellow spots.
    I had to guess at 29a.
    I liked lots of these – 10 and 26a and 2 and 21d. My favourite might be one of those, or it might be 5 or 9d . . . http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_unsure.gif
    With thanks to Mr Ron and BD.
    Have just read yesterday’s comments again – I agree with pommers – I’d also wondered if crosswords were going to get trickier after the Thursday Ray T, yesterday’s Giovanni and now we have today’s.
    Cold and wet – going to have a go at NTSPP and/or MPP – addicted – me? Certainly not!

  14. Thanks to the setter and to Big Dave for the hints. A very enjoyable puzzle, but quite tricky. Managed it apart from 9d&27a, needed the hints for those. Hadn’t heard of 16d or 12a, but got them from the wordplay. Favourite was 17d. Was 3*/3* for me. Haven’t completed a puzzle yet this year http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_cool.gif

  15. Anyone like me who is totally confused as to why they are having trouble solving the DT backpagers this week (the TImes puzzles have been so much easier!) , will take comfort from the ease of solving the NTSPP today.

  16. I found it very tricky and needed some electronic help. Maybe I am not quite on wavelength, but liked many clues. Many thanks to BD and the setter.

  17. Enjoyable and made more so by getting both Soccer clues despite hating the game , then getting the enjoyable Football clue. Looking forward to the SB

  18. Nice puzzle today, must be on compilers wavelength as I didn’t find it to taxing, Saturday’s prize crossword always seems easier than the weekly. Any ideas?
    Favourite clue 9d and last in 29a.

  19. A fun morning although Mrs T brought scones to bed this morning and we are now arguing about the correct pronunciation.

    Anyway thanks to Messers Ron and Dave (aside from the golf slight).
    Happy new year to everyone!

  20. What a pleasure this was following terrible offering we had yesterday. My rating is 3.5/4 Thanks to BD for his review. Following my comments yesterday about the use of capital letters, why does the word cable need to be capitalised in 23A? It adds nothing to the clue.

      1. I don’t agree Tantalus. Anyway the point I want to make is not possible as this is a prize crossword and will contravene the rules. As the red banner says, “If in doubt leave it out”. I shall have to wait till the review is posted.

        1. I think that you’re being very well behaved and patient and following the rules to a ‘T’. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gif

  21. A bit of a relief after the last two days but the left hand side was still tricky. Still not sure I have the right answer to 18a as it doesn’t seem to gel with the hint or the clue apart from being a word for fuss! The rover has me puzzled in 28a and don’t quite see why pirate as opposed to any sort of sailor etc. Thought 27a was poor but loved 2d. Not the easiest of Saturday’s but quite enjoyable.
    Thx to all.

    1. Remove the ‘girl’ from your solution to 28a, think carefully about the word ‘returning’ in the clue, and then look at the first four letters and see if light dawns.

      While you are ‘thinking’ have another look at the hint for 18a and a couple of comments further up the page which discuss the clue.

  22. Great – finished without any outside help and this makes my day.

    I was grateful for the ‘parsing’ of 4a but still don’t understand the Newcastle Centre forward reference in 27a – Newcastle Centre Forwards that spring to mind are Hughie Gallagher, ‘Sir’ Les Ferdinand, Malcolm McDonald, Alan Shearer, Micky Quinn, Wyn Davies, Jackie Milburn, Andy Carroll, Papiss Cisse – that’s about it – any ideas?

    Oops – I’ve just read BD’s explanation of 27a – the scales fell from my eyes – forget all those Newcastle Centre forwards – as you were!

    Onward and upward – golf tomorrow if the rain stops! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_good.gif

    1. You need to understand the difference between surface reading “Newcastle Centre forward”, wordplay “centre letter of NewcAstle” and definition “forward”.

  23. I haven’t started today’s yet as I’m still _lurking_ on Jan 1st – but Hello!

    Had my 94-year-old mother-in-law to stay for Christmas, and she saw my part-finished DT crossword and had a go at it. We did a couple more together and it’s re-kindled her interest in crosswords. She only takes the Observer, so I searched for a blog site to help her get going – but what I’ve found so far is not a patch on this one.

    So – many thanks and Happy New Year to BD and all the setters, reviewers and bloggers.

    1. Don’t lurk – keep commenting. I think it’s great that this has all rekindled your aged mother-in-law’s interest in crosswords. I so wish that I could do the same with my 92 year old Mum.

  24. Happy New Year one and all. I found this quite tricky after a quick canter with 3/4 done with early cup of tea. Last in was 19d. Favourite was 29a. Despite the rain I have been out in the garden and am looking forward to seeing the new film about Stephen Hawking tonight. Thanks to The Setter and to BD of course. And it’s no longer raining. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yahoo.gifWest Brom under the cosh against mighty Gateshead.

  25. Happy New Year Everyone and I hope you all had a great Christmas! Loved today’s puzzle. A really good mix of r& w and points to ponder. Have really enjoyed all this week’s offerings. Thanks to the setters and of course to BDhttp://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_bye.gif

  26. I found this pretty reasonable except for the right-hand lower side where I still have three to go and have no idea. I have no clue what 16d or 17d are, am getting no vibes at all. I have a word I want to bung in at 25a but can’t see the why.
    There are a lot of enjoyable clues, 5d for me was outstanding, who can resist that.
    Thanks to setter and to BD for his review, I don’t know if he wants to help me out with the above!

  27. ***/****. Splendid puzzle with a ton of good clues. Particularly liked 15&18a and 5,9 & 19d. Thanks to the setter for a tough but fair challenge and to BD for the review.

  28. Thanks for helping me to pass time on a very miserable Saturday. May I please ask what you mean when you suggest “split as 2,1,4”, or “split as 5,4”. Thanks.

    1. Split your answer to 19d into 2 letters, 1 letter, 4 letters and then read the clue again.

      1. I initially was replying to CS answer but now that I have 19d , it isn’t really relevant but I can’t seem to get out of this box.
        A crossword that pushes the bar up a bit. I really liked 10a, 15a,18a,28a and 19d now that I have finally got it. Thanks to all concerned.http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/smiley-phew.gif

  29. A ‘tougher’ then usual Saturday puzzle I thought. Good battle though. I’m beginning to think that I am in a distinct minority on this site in that I enjoy the harder puzzles far more then the easy ones. I must be masochistic…
    Thanks to Mr Ron and BD for his efforts.

    1. Me too, I love struggling must have serious masochistic tendency but the joy of seeing a completed grid is magic. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/smiley-phew.gif

  30. Just me and JonP in the ‘no problem’ club then today. A week in the sun has obviously worked wonders! Now stuck in the airport waiting for a delayed Sleazy Jet flight.http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_sad.gif

  31. Thanks to setter and BD for a super Saturday work out. Have to own up to some electronic help but felt it was marginally easier than yesterday, several giggles, cannot reveal fave rave because I might end up on naughty step with a smacked hand. Wish I had not down loaded MPP as I have been gazing at it for ages and have only found one answer. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_cry.gif

    1. Keep trying, Hilary. It took me a whole evening (plus part of the night) and the following morning but – I got there!

  32. I finished it in regular time and thoroughly enjoyed apart from 27a. I am obviously missing something . If it was “adopting” I would understand. Surely adopted by implies the …a… goes outside which clearly doesn’t make sense. I am not happy with the parsing but hey ho, everybody else seems to accept it. Apologies if I’m being pedantic.

  33. When two minds are better than one.

    I had the pleasure of solving this with a rather brilliant old friend. He’s infinitely better than I am, though he made me do the hard work!!!

    After the last two days this was a pleasant surprise. 18 and 29a had to be explained to me. 27a resulted in a ridiculous ‘discussion’ about Alan Pardew, Gus Poyet and Steve Bruce.

    I am stuck between two favourites, sorry Kath. 10a as it made me laugh and 28a, just because.

    Many thanks to the setter and to BD for blogging. Love the pics for 3 and 9d. Suberb effort. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_good.gif

    Please can we have a completed pic of your Mk 1 when you do it? I never got that Airfix kit as a child! Travesty.

      1. Oh yeah. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_cool.gif
        When the Sunderland Air Show is on they normally fly the coast/moors route to get there and back. So if you’re outside you can hear them before you see them.
        Look forward to seeing the finished result. :-)

  34. A late finish for me today to a very enjoyable puzzle. Learned a few new words (16d and 19d) and a new synonym for replica (4a). Particularly liked 9d and 18a. Many thanks to the setter for hours of fun, and to BD for explaining the wordplay in the cases I didn’t understand.

  35. I looked at the hint for 27a and found I’d actually got the right answer – I just wasn’t reading it as I should have done! However, “adopted by” doesn’t seem right in this context. Surely the letter is being adopted, not the other way round? Many thanks BD for the hints.

  36. Reconciled with cryptic puzzle solving with today’s enjoyable offering! Finished it without having to resort to the hints although it ia always a pleasure to go through them. Many thanks to BD and to the setter. 2.5*/4* for me. New word fo me for 16d. Favourites? Quite a few: 15a,25a, 28a, 19d… Never too bothered if I can’t parse a clue but know deep down that my hunch was right. It gives an aura of mystery to the exercise….

  37. 18a still not sure about , gullivers travels ? one or two obvious ones held me up what a diffference a day makes

    1. Hi Fran

      Have a look at this *************************

      It will clear up the Gulliver reference.

      1. Thanks pommers and Big Dave . I guess this is why we do crosswords . Looking forward now to more of the same this week

    2. If you don’t understand the reference then just ignore it. The clue can be solved without knowing the derivation of that part of the wordplay.

      1. Sorry CS, I still can’t see it. The checking letters of 18a give me a starting letter of ‘*’ unless I have got that wrong

  38. I found this tough, particularly SW corner. Did eventually complete and, unusually, had the right answers to 4 or 5 clues but really struggled for ages to parse them. Overall I found it a bit odd, 27a definitely doesn’t read right.. I also object to the use of the term for replica, but that discussion will have to wait for the full solution. Thanks as always to BD and all the people who make very interesting comments on these crosswords.

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