DT 27700

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 27700

Hints and tips by Deep Threat

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ***

Good morning from South Staffs, where for the third time in 12 months my front garden wall has been demolished by a lorry driver following his satnav into roads too narrow for articulated lorries to negotiate.

Reasonably straightforward from Giovanni today, so ** for difficulty. The NW corner took me longest to untangle.

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.


7a           Big road’s number by French sea — the label’s wrong (8)
MISNOMER – Put together an English motorway plus the ‘s from the clue, an abbreviation for number, and the French for sea.

9a           Awkward? That’s not right for Parisian (6)
GAUCHE – The French word for the opposite of right.

10a         Explosive by side of house for process to remove trees? (6)
HEWING – An abbreviation for a very explosive material, followed by the side portion of a large house.

11a         Reduction of speed in big town is seen as a virtue (8)
CHASTITY – Remove the final E from a word denoting speed or hurry, and put the result inside a large town.

12a         Room for doubt (11,3)
CREDIBILITY GAP – Cryptic definition of the space between what is claimed (e.g. by a politician) and what is likely to be true.

15a         Smear with colour, not quite right (4)
BLUR – A primary colour with its final letter missing (not quite), followed by Right.

17a         Tiny lad with idea not half afraid to speak out? (5)
TIMID – The name of the tiny boy in A Christmas Carol followed by the first half of IDea.

19a         Record binder (4)
TAPE – Double definition, the first being a recording of sound, the second something used to bind things together.

20a         Guess this could suggest a midnight murder (1,4,2,3,4)
A SHOT IN THE DARK – A phrase denoting a wild guess could also be what is heard of a night-time murder.

23a         Asked to finish, having penned several sheets (8)
ENQUIRED – A collection of sheets of paper inside another word for finish.

25a         Butcher offers prime bit of meat — and fish! (6)
MANGLE – The first letter of Meat followed by what those miserable-looking chaps sitting by the canal are doing.

27a         Messengers providing brief answer set to be detained (6)
ANGELS – These heavenly messengers are made up from a word for set, as in ‘solidify’, placed inside a short version of ‘answer’.

28a         Cavalier man having celebrity status (8)
ROYALIST – A man’s name followed by tabloid-speak for top celebrity status, givng someone who’s not a Roundhead.


1d           Line on board produced by tool (4)
FILE – Double definition: one of the lines of squares on a chessboard; or a hand tool used for removing excess material from a work piece.

2d           A foreign type beastly to others? (6)
UNKIND – A foreign word for ‘a’ followed by a type or sort.

3d           Short reptile, one old and decrepit from what we hear (4)
CROC – The short version of the name of a large amphibious predator, a homophone (from what we hear) of someone old and decrepit.

4d           Stag hastened, in part struck with fear (6)
AGHAST – Hidden (in part) in the clue.

5d           Try very hard to meet qualification for intestinal surgery? (4,1,3)
BUST A GUT – A metaphor for trying very hard which, taken literally, would put you in hospital.

6d           What politicians must read? Not the FT! (5,5)
WHITE PAPER – Cryptic definition of a Government policy document.  Not the FT, because it famously is printed on pink newsprint.

8d           Big team playing — a lot of information needed (7)
MEGABIT – Anagram (playing ) of BIG TEAM.

13d         Little relative gainfully employed or back in education? (10)
RELEARNING – An abbreviated relative followed by what someone gainfully employed is doing.

14d         No honey served up — fruit is on offer (5)
LEMON – NO (from the clue) and the Latin word for honey, all reversed (served up, in a Down clue).

16d         Herd moved across river and put in new shed? (8)
REHOUSED – Anagram (moved) of HERD, wrapped around the name of one of several rivers in England.

18d         Old country residence opening 24 hours (7)
DAHOMEY – The name of what is now part of Benin. Put a residence inside a period of 24 hours.

21d         Woman in residence wanting drink brought round (6)
TERESA – A woman’s name is made up of a popular drink wrapped around an abbreviation for residence.


22d         Bradman‘s famous duck? (6)
DONALD – Double definition, the first name in each case. And of course a reference to another alias of today’s setter.

24d         A number or twice as many in overnight accommodation (4)
DORM – Put together a Roman numeral, OR from the clue, and another Roman numeral twice as big as the first one.

26d         Behold saints making sacrifice? (4)
LOSS – Somewhat archaic word for ‘behold’ followed by an abbreviation denoting several saints.

The Quick Crossword pun HONEY + QUILL = UNEQUAL



  1. Jane
    Posted January 16, 2015 at 11:15 am | Permalink

    Oh dear! Cricket reference – 1, obscure words – 2, wrong answer inserted with confidence – 1. As for the latter, I thought ‘probability’ worked as the first word in 12a – not so – and it left me with a real dilemma at 2d. Spent far too long trawling through foreign typefaces as a result. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_sad.gif

    Spirits revived by some lovely clues – 20a & 5d get the nod from me. Many thanks to Giovanni for those and to Deep Threat for managing to get the blog out in the teeth of satnav adversity.

    If you look in later, Hanni, I’m loving your new salutation for MP. I think we should re-christen him forthwith. How about a party at the Green Man and we can baptise him in a barrel of real ale. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_smile.gif

    • Hanni
      Posted January 16, 2015 at 2:38 pm | Permalink

      Our resident publican might object to wasting his beloved barrels of beer….or is it casks, but I seem to recall that he quite likes soda siphons. ;-)

  2. dutch
    Posted January 16, 2015 at 11:23 am | Permalink

    Well this might have been straightforward if I hadn’t first entered stab instead of shot in 20a, which looked so convincing it was hard to correct. Did anyone else do that?

    This of course made the checking clues 16d and 21d impossible, and it was through trying to place the “h” in 16d that I could finally see my mistake. I spent a long time looking for errors elsewhere.

    Many enjoyable clues, I liked the surface in 11a (reduction of speed) and 25a (butcher offering meat). 6d (not the FT) raised a smile, and I quite liked 24a (a number and twice as much). I started going down the roman numeral route, but only got high enough on a revisit.

    I wasn’t familiar with the old country (18) but the wordplay was clear.

    Many thanks Giovanni & DT

    • Jezza
      Posted January 16, 2015 at 11:27 am | Permalink

      Yes – I put stab too!

    • gazza
      Posted January 16, 2015 at 11:27 am | Permalink

      I too initially assumed that the murder at 20a was committed with a dagger rather than a firearm. Thanks to G & DT.

    • Libellule
      Posted January 16, 2015 at 1:33 pm | Permalink

      Me too! Until 13 and 16d indictated the error of my ways.

      • SheilaP
        Posted January 16, 2015 at 1:54 pm | Permalink

        Me too.

    • crypticsue
      Posted January 16, 2015 at 1:49 pm | Permalink

      Not me, she said smugly http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_cool.gif

    • overtaxed
      Posted January 16, 2015 at 1:52 pm | Permalink

      I too put stab in and as a result had to use the hints for 16 and 21. Most frustrating.

    • patsyann
      Posted January 16, 2015 at 3:07 pm | Permalink

      And me

    • Veronique
      Posted January 16, 2015 at 3:37 pm | Permalink

      Yes, guilty at 20A!

    • Framboise
      Posted January 16, 2015 at 4:31 pm | Permalink

      I did! So the SW of my puzzle was unsolved till I realised the error and put shot instead…

    • Chris
      Posted January 16, 2015 at 7:02 pm | Permalink


  3. Rabbit Dave
    Posted January 16, 2015 at 11:23 am | Permalink

    I look forward with trepidation to Fridays’ back pagers particularly after the first two of this year. However my first question today is, is this really a Giovanni puzzle? I found this easy and enjoyable, with no convoluted charades and no obscurities (except perhaps for Kath, with the involvement of chess and cricket).

    I had all the answers in but three as read & write on my first pass, with only 10a, 21d & 24d putting up any resistance. I think I struggled with 10a becuase my house doesn’t have one of those.

    My rating is 1*/3* with many thanks to Giovanni (I assume it is him, particularly with the reference in 22d) and to DT.

  4. Angel
    Posted January 16, 2015 at 11:27 am | Permalink

    Made a slow start and then didn’t really enjoy the ride but made it in the end with a little bit of outside assistance, particularly with 18d. ***/**. Thanks Giovanni and DT. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/icon_confused.gif

  5. Rod
    Posted January 16, 2015 at 11:31 am | Permalink

    This one certainly got the brain overheating. I needed the hints to confirm my solutions to 10a and 1d. 10a fitted well with the clue but I always thought that word applied to splitting logs rather than removing trees. I had the correct answer for 1d but couldn’t work out why. Thanks DT for the explanation. Everything below 20a took as long to complete as the rest of the puzzle. Very enjoyable and left me with a great sense of achievement. 18d brought back fond memories of my years working in Ghana when the country was still called that.

  6. JonP
    Posted January 16, 2015 at 11:31 am | Permalink

    I put stab too and also tumbled the error whilst trying to place the H in 16d. Fair and enjoyable solve. Thanks to DT and Giovanni 2.5*/3*

  7. Jezza
    Posted January 16, 2015 at 11:44 am | Permalink

    A fairly straightforward solve today. My last one in was 1d.
    Thanks to Giovanni, and to DT.

  8. skempie
    Posted January 16, 2015 at 11:48 am | Permalink

    One of the Don’s easier puzzles today but still very enjoyable with some superb surfaces and witty answers. Thought I had a better answer fr 19A, but then the same word appeared as the answer to 1D so caused a quick rethink.
    Very hard to decide which is my favourite today but I think I’ll go with 5D as it produced the largest chuckle.

    • Kath
      Posted January 16, 2015 at 12:20 pm | Permalink

      I did the same with 19a to begin with.

  9. George
    Posted January 16, 2015 at 11:53 am | Permalink

    I had a hard time starting this puzzle – but quickly filled in 20a as my first, then the rest started to fall into place more quickly. Strangely enough it was the four letter clues that gave me the most trouble.

    2*/3* for me today.

  10. Kath
    Posted January 16, 2015 at 12:29 pm | Permalink

    I can’t really argue with 2* and 3*.
    I thought the top half was much easier than the bottom and had a real battle with 24d – I lost.
    I don’t think I knew the word for honey but 14d had to be what it was and could then look it up.
    Needless to say, and as correctly spotted by RD, I didn’t understand the ‘on board’ bit of 1d and knew the 22d duck but not the cricketer! Oh dear!!
    Luckily I went with the gun rather than the dagger for 20a.
    I liked 11 and 20a and quite a few of the down clues. Hard to pick a favourite – too many jostling for prime position.
    Thanks to Giovanni and to Deep Threat.

  11. Sweet William
    Posted January 16, 2015 at 12:34 pm | Permalink

    Thank you DG, I seemed to be doing far too well with this until I got completely stuck in the SW corner. A trip to the supermarket helped and I managed to finish it when I returned. So overall, quite difficult for me. Thanks DT for the review and hints. Sorry to hear about the garden wall.

  12. Domus
    Posted January 16, 2015 at 12:40 pm | Permalink

    Made so difficult by my mistakes.
    1across MIS N A MED wrong
    20 across STAB wrong
    16 across SCAR .. let wrong

    and so on..
    Thanks to all for fun morning.

  13. Kath
    Posted January 16, 2015 at 12:44 pm | Permalink

    Just realised that 20a came into my head because it was a film.

    • Heno
      Posted January 16, 2015 at 2:24 pm | Permalink

      Yes, I think Peter Sellers was in it.

  14. Bluebird
    Posted January 16, 2015 at 12:52 pm | Permalink

    I always try to have faith that Giovanni may get tricksy, but will never let you down with a poor clue.
    Today was no exception – it took me a bit longer than usual but very enjoyable so 3* and 4* from me.
    24d was my favourite …..lots of fun is such a small package!

  15. Expat Chris
    Posted January 16, 2015 at 12:54 pm | Permalink

    Giovanni in benign mood today, with only one obscure word at 18D, but clearly clued. I didn’t know the chess reference in 1D, but again the answer was clear from the checkers and tool. I must have been right on wavelength, because there were no missteps along the way. Liked 5D and 24D. Thanks to Giovanni and to BD.

  16. toadson
    Posted January 16, 2015 at 12:55 pm | Permalink

    A bit more gentle today – needed the blog to fully explain 1d. Thanks to all.

  17. Claire
    Posted January 16, 2015 at 12:59 pm | Permalink

    My sister and I had different ideas for 20a . Happily I was right although stab equally good I have to admit. Hope your wall gets mended quickly

  18. Dave B
    Posted January 16, 2015 at 1:48 pm | Permalink

    Nice crossword. 20a was one of my favourite comedy films. 5 & 24d were my favs. Thanks DT.

  19. SheilaP
    Posted January 16, 2015 at 2:00 pm | Permalink

    Well this started really well , and then got a bit more tricky, not helped by putting stab instead of shot. Quite enjoyed it though, especially the clues with more than one word answers. Thank you to the Friday setter and to DT.

  20. Beaver
    Posted January 16, 2015 at 2:14 pm | Permalink

    All agreed then between 2 and 3 with a 3 enjoyment, helped to know a soupcon of French today; apart from initially putting ‘probability’ for 12a it was a fairly smooth ride- je suis un Charlie!-topical at least! No real favourites today, thanks DT for the pics,never could quite work out why Tiny Tim even had his minute of fame.

  21. Hanni
    Posted January 16, 2015 at 2:34 pm | Permalink


    Is this ‘The Don’? Only one obscure word/reference, 18d.

    I found this pretty straight forward in terms of solvability. 20a went in correctly only because ‘stab’ didn’t occur to me. Both answers work equally well. My major holdup was the four letter words. I think someone else mentioned this. I played around with lost/loss for 26d.

    5d, 20a and 7a made me smile with 11a getting the favourite award.

    Many thanks to Giovanni and to DT for blogging. :-)

    Thank goodness it’s the weekend. I hope everyone enjoys theirs.

  22. Heno
    Posted January 16, 2015 at 2:36 pm | Permalink

    Thanks to Giovanni and to Deep Threat for the review and hints. I hope you get your wall rebuilt ok, sounds like an ongoing problem. Similar thing happened to me 40 years ago, a car, not an artic, fortunately it was a one-off ( so far, touch wood). A fun puzzle today from Giovanni, seemed more humorous than usual. Luckily I got 20a correct, and somehow remembered 18d, although I had it from the wordplay. Needed the hints to parse 14&24d. Only one anagram & one partial anagram. Favourite was 6d. Last in was 1d. Was 2*/4* for me. At last, a completion this week. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yahoo.gif

  23. Brian
    Posted January 16, 2015 at 2:37 pm | Permalink

    Took two sittings to complete, one for 3/4 and one for the SW corner which was made more difficult from having a stab in the dark rather than a shot. Mrs B was incensed and in her opinion stab was a much better answer, me I wouldn’t dream of correcting the Master! Best clue for me was 24d though it was nice to see the Don getting a mention, average of 99, what a batsman.
    Thx to all.

    • Brian
      Posted January 16, 2015 at 2:38 pm | Permalink

      Just one thing, why the ‘offer’ in 14d, can’t parse that at all.

      • Heno
        Posted January 16, 2015 at 2:44 pm | Permalink

        All I can think of, is when you solve the clue, you can see a fruit, therefore it’s on offer. Perhaps someone else might have a better explanation?

        • Hanni
          Posted January 16, 2015 at 2:53 pm | Permalink

          That makes sense to me. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gif

          • Heno
            Posted January 16, 2015 at 4:06 pm | Permalink

            Good, I thought I might have been shooting in the dark :-)

            • Hanni
              Posted January 16, 2015 at 4:14 pm | Permalink

              It’s often best to take a stab at these things. :-)

              • Jane
                Posted January 16, 2015 at 5:21 pm | Permalink

                Oh dear, Hanni – you’re starting to sound rather like Mr. Pops. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_wink.gif

                • Hanni
                  Posted January 16, 2015 at 9:19 pm | Permalink

                  Ahhhhhhhhhh! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/icon_eek.gif

                  I wonder if Roger Hargreaves ever thought of writing Mr Pops?

                  Re your avatar….have you signed up for a WordPress account of yet? Once you do it’s fairly straightforward.

                  Last two nights before the other half returns home. And then six solid months of ‘Tales from the golf crypt’.

                  Well done on your Toughie success. :-)

                  • Jane
                    Posted January 16, 2015 at 9:41 pm | Permalink

                    Hi – yes, I’ve signed up for the account, just need a picture now. Put it on hold until an idea occurs.

                    Tales from the golf crypt – oh, the memories…………http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/smiley-yawn.gif

                    As for the Toughie ‘success’ – wouldn’t have got there without Mr. Google’s help on a few!

                    ps – Roger Hargreaves could have done a great job on Mr. Pops, I reckon. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_smile.gif

                    • Hanni
                      Posted January 16, 2015 at 10:15 pm | Permalink

                      I don’t think it really matters if you used Google. If it’s a Don crossword I need both the BRB and Google some days.

                      I have asked OH mother who is 80 something how she manages listening to the golf stories, (my father-in-law still plays), and she thinks going deaf has been a lifesaver. I haven’t ruled it out yet. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gif

                      Are you going for a bird pic for your avatar?

                    • Posted January 17, 2015 at 8:58 am | Permalink

                      Here’s a nice one!

  24. Collywobbles
    Posted January 16, 2015 at 3:19 pm | Permalink

    2* about right for me although I did struggle to begin with until I got onto Giovannis’ wave band. Many thanks to him for a fine and challenging puzzle and to DT whose hints were sorely needed on occasion

  25. jean-luc cheval
    Posted January 16, 2015 at 3:47 pm | Permalink

    Quite straightforward solve for a Giovanni.
    Didn’t even have to check Bradman’s first name as it was so obvious.
    As for 24d it was either vorx, lorc or dorm. I wondered which one to go for uhm!
    5d too: Gut or nut. I did hesitate.
    Joking apart, there was, as usual, some nice surface reading.
    So thanks to the Don and sorry to hear about DT’s garden wall.

    • Framboise
      Posted January 16, 2015 at 5:15 pm | Permalink

      Hello Jean-Luc! How do I upload my gravatar onto this blog? Merci.

      • Framboise
        Posted January 16, 2015 at 5:15 pm | Permalink

        C’est fait!

        • Jane
          Posted January 16, 2015 at 5:19 pm | Permalink

          Keeps asking me to sign up for a word press account – do I have to do that? Hopefully, they give you a load of avatars to choose from – haven’t got the means or the knowledge to upload my own!

  26. Gwizz
    Posted January 16, 2015 at 3:56 pm | Permalink

    Thanks to Giovanni for an entertaining Friday workout. Most of it went in reasonably smoothly but 26d made me think for awhile, as did 25a.simply because I made the mistake of thinking brief/lawyer and there the trouble began.
    Oh well, can’t win them all I suppose.
    Appreciation to DT for the revue.

  27. Framboise
    Posted January 16, 2015 at 4:42 pm | Permalink

    Straightforward solve today once I realised that I had to change stab to shot for 20a… Good to know that I was not the only one caught. Loved 22d but did not get it straight away as my English husband – my cricket saviour – said that Bradman first name was Ken. Fortunately Mr Google put me right. I agree with 2*/3*. Thanks DT for the review and Giovanni for this reassuring and doable puzzle after so many difficult ones.

  28. Jay legs
    Posted January 16, 2015 at 5:42 pm | Permalink

    Nice crossword for my level of competence :) I thought that I had aced it but, don’t ask me why but I had thirst instead of Theresa for 21d. Thanks to DT and compiler :/

  29. Wahoo
    Posted January 16, 2015 at 6:36 pm | Permalink

    One would have thought that after the first two collisions with your garden wall, the lorry driver might have managed to miss it this time?

    • Deep Threat
      Posted January 16, 2015 at 6:47 pm | Permalink


  30. Chris
    Posted January 16, 2015 at 7:13 pm | Permalink

    Apart from a brief altercation with the Cluedo weaponry, I’m afraid I needed the hints for 10a and 1d. I am never quite on Giovanni’s wavelength but this was closer than most for me, and I still found the challenge enjoyable. Many thanks to him and to Deep Threat. (Commiserations – hope the wall isn’t close to the house!)

  31. Outnumbered
    Posted January 16, 2015 at 7:16 pm | Permalink

    That completes a hopeless week of solving for me, haven’t finished a single puzzle without hints. :( :(. Five needed on this one :( :( :( :( :(

  32. Salty Dog
    Posted January 16, 2015 at 7:46 pm | Permalink

    A gentle romp of a puzzle, eventually, even though l gazed blankly at the clues for nearly five minutes before l found a way in. On balance, 2*/3* under my revised timing rules, and 7a my pick of the pops. VMTs to Giovanni and DT.

  33. Geoff. S.
    Posted January 16, 2015 at 7:51 pm | Permalink

    Nice puzzle. 18d had me stumped. Haven’t heard of that before. Rest was quite straightforward. 1d – haven’t heard that reference to a chess board before but I did get the answer. Many thanks for the explanation.

  34. Catnap
    Posted January 17, 2015 at 3:12 pm | Permalink

    Very sorry to hear about your front garden, Deep Threat. Thank you very much for the review. I needed no less than three answers — 10a, 27a and 1d.I didn’t know about the chessboard. Perhaps I should have done as my father was an avid chess player…

    Thank you very much, Giovanni, for an enjoyable puzzle. My fave was 20a. It was a very funny film! I also liked 28a and 24d.

  35. john carter
    Posted January 20, 2015 at 10:29 pm | Permalink

    ” relearning” not accepted by Scrabble or electronic crossword solver. Please try to set words within their 150,000 word data base.

    • Posted January 21, 2015 at 8:27 am | Permalink

      Welcome to the blog John

      The Telegraph uses Chambers Dictionary as its reference source, not a Scrabble dictionary and certainly not a randomly chosen electronic crossword solver. You will not be surprised to know that relearn(ing) is in Chambers.

  36. john carter
    Posted January 21, 2015 at 11:22 am | Permalink

    That’s me put right!!

  37. maarvarq
    Posted February 2, 2015 at 12:45 am | Permalink

    8d – “a lot of information”? Not these days http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_smile.gif