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DT 27712

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 27712

Hints and tips by Deep Threat

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ***

Good morning from South Staffs on a cold day with a light dusting of snow.

I’m not sure what to make today’s puzzle from Giovanni. While I was completing it there was some glitch, either in the Telegraph site or in my PC, which meant that the cursor wouldn’t move from one square to the next every time I typed a letter, so I had to keep repositioning it. I thought that would slow me down a lot, but still found myself comfortably within ** time. Perhaps the clock was affected by the glitch as well…

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.


5a           Cheer from 250 in a train (7)
ACCLAIM – Put the Roman numerals for 250 between A (from the clue) and a word for train, as in train a cannon on a target.

7a           The woman following us may be match participant (5)
USHER – US (from the clue) followed by a pronoun for ‘that woman’, giving some participants at a match between two people.

9a           Pet needing bowl of water and grub? (3,3)
HOT DOG – A piece of fast food that sounds like an animal which has been out in the sun.

10a         Record sound that’s getting less and less (8)
TAPERING – A method of recording followed by the sound of a bell, perhaps.

11a         This may suggest a whiskery visitor less welcome than Santa! (3-7)
CAT-BURGLAR – Cryptic definition of one who climbs into a house but, unlike Santa, takes things away rather than leaving presents.

13a         Lined up to speak and given a line (4)
CUED – A theatrical term meaning ‘given a line’ which sounds like (to speak) ‘lined up’.

14a         Futility that is demonstrated by blunt type (13)
POINTLESSNESS – This could describe the state of a pencil with no lead.

16a         Passage cut off at front — one has water all round (4)
ISLE – Remove the first letter (cut off at frony) from the sort of passage found between the pews in a church.

17a         Claim to be retired, existing within post-work allowance? (10)
PRETENSION – An abbreviation for ‘retired’ and a Latin word for a state of being or existing, inside the allowance paid to a retired person.

19a         Variety of points made by actors in TV feature maybe (8)
NEWSCAST – The various cardinal points of the compass, followed by a collective noun for the actors in a play.

20a         Something you get in bridge material (6)
RUBBER – Double definition, the first being part of the scoring at contract bridge.

22a         Original eleven maybe (5)
PRIME – A word meaning original or first, which also describes numbers such as 11 or 7.

23a         Criticise reduction in numbers (7)
RUNDOWN – A reduction in the numbers of a workforce which, split (3,4) means to criticise.


1d           Cold in the south of France? Move quickly (4)
SCUD – An abbreviation for Cold inside the French word for south.

2d           Woman in overturned vehicle concealing terrible rage (8)
MARGARET – A woman’s name is made up of an anagram (terrible) of RAGE inside the reversal (overturned) of a form of transport.

3d           Something big in the bar (6)
BUMPER – Multiple definitions here: something big, often describing a crop; a bar across the front or rear of a vehicle; and a large measure of drink.

4d           Signs from eccentric people? (10)
CHARACTERS – Double definition: the signs which make up the letters of an alphabet; or a way of describing eccentric people, as in ‘They’re (real) ______’.

5d           Silver and gold set down on a Greek marketplace (5)
AGORA – The chemical symbol for silver, the heraldic term for gold, and A (from the clue).

6d           Something hard to find? This may help the copper search! (5,8)
METAL DETECTOR – Cryptic definition of a tool used to search for concealed bits or iron, copper, gold and the like.

8d           Rovers? Another football team (7)
RANGERS – Some wandering types, or a Glasgow football team.

12d         Protective clothing piece — grease sure somehow to penetrate it (6,4)
BOILER SUIT – A variety of grease and an anagram (somehow) of SURE, placed inside a piece.

14d         Design special teas for youngster to drink (5-2)
PASTE-UP – A printing term for a draft or design of a page, made up of a young dog with an anagram (special) of TEAS inside it.

15d         Carol’s bound to tolerate bad language (8)
SWEARING – Another verb for ‘carol’ wrapped around (has bound) a word for ‘tolerate’.

17d         Earth perhaps beginning to tremble under tree (6)
PLANET – A variety of tree followed by the first letter of Tremble, giving a celestial body of which Earth is an example.

18d         Canoe could be wrecked by it (5)
OCEAN – Anagram (could be wrecked) of CANOE, giving something which could indeed wreck a canoe.

21d         Item of footwear in sack (4)
BOOT – Double definition, the second being a figurative term for dismissal from a job.

Weather permitting, I hope to see a good many of you in London tomorrow at the Birthday Bash.

The Quick Crossword pun PLEA + SCAR = POLICE CAR

73 comments on “DT 27712

  1. I can’t believe tonight’s (Friday’s) puzzle was by the Don – tough, strained and, I am afraid to say, abstruse but not amusing. Can’t wait to see your comments!

  2. Initially I thought this was going to be very tricky, but after one or two of the long answers were found, it seemed to fall into place pretty quickly. Thanks to DT and Giovanni 2.5*/3*

  3. Interesting puzzle today, the language seemed to have a more flowery style, with phrases like “this may suggest” (11a), “that is demonstrated by” (14a), “something you get” (20a) “this may help” (6d), made me wonder whether we had a new setter.

    Quite nice puzzle, but Don’s effort today in the Guardian I thought was nicer (and free online – but the blog isn’t as good as this one). I didn’t know 23a was one word.

    I think my favourite was 12d (protective clothing) because it took me so long to parse it fully.

    Many thanks Don and Deep Threat for review.

  4. Possibly my fastest ever solve of a Giovanni, possibly because of the number of ‘old friends’ concealed within. 1*/3*
    Thanks to him and DT.

    The Toughie is a toughie, as befits Friday, but is a joy to solve.

    Now back to cake baking http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_wink.gif

  5. I try not to get swayed by the anti-Don crowd (or by the desire to disagree with Brian, which pulls in the same direction!) and to have my own opinion of the puzzle, but I have to say there is little I liked about this one. The grid looked horrible but I don’t think it caused too many problems, and at least with that grid there were only 26 clues. Oh no – I am sounding all grumpy.

    Maybe I’m just being a sourpuss because I had four answers and a couple of parsings to go before deciding I couldn’t be ar bothered to keep trying when there is a lovely blog to turn to instead.

    Some of those fails I could kick myself over, like not figuring out how aim could equal train, and not seeing 21d (what a nidiot I am), but I don’t know about contract bridge scoring. (I can’t help thinking there might be a much more fun clue available for that word!) Maybe I could have guessed at the material with the b in place, so yes – with more trying I could have completed on my own, and thus I have failed. I mustn’t blame the Don for my failure, so thanks to him.

    Many thanks also to Deep Threat for the illumination and BD and all the commenters for providing and populating this forum which improves the solving experience for every puzzle, whether delightful or otherwise.

  6. Thank you DG, managed to solve this in reasonable time, leaving plenty of time for an enjoyable lunch ! Thanks DT for your review and hints.

  7. Too straightforward for a Friday for me, agree with DT’S rating ,a pleasant crossword nevertheless ,and thanks for the pics-especially 11A.Last in was 7A, took ages to get the first word, the D’oh moment arrived as I drove through Delamere Forest ( mental solve both hands on the wheel).Beer festival tonight-those that perish will be the lucky ones!

  8. Thanks to Giovanni and to Deep Threat for the review and hints. Much too tough for me, needed 4 hints & 3 lookups to finish. Was 4*/2* for me.

  9. I don’t think the Latin word for existence is required in 17a – it’s just RET(ired) inside PENSION.

    1. Thanks, Gazza. You are of course correct, but I was sure I saw the ‘ens’ as separate at 1.00 this morning! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_sad.gif
      I’ve amended the hint.

  10. 3*/1*. I found this depressing and dull, but I’m glad others seemed to like it.

    Thanks to setter and DT.

    1. I’ll go with dull too, but not as hard. I was on course for a sub-1* time until a brief mental block on the 4/13 pair took me just over.
      I think I will skip the Guardian – Mudd is in the FT!

  11. I agree with 2*/3* although maybe a little bit more for difficulty.
    I thought I was going to have my usual Friday trouble with this one but apart from a handful of answers it all went quite well.
    I completely failed to get 9a which was pretty dim – second word was obvious but . . . oh dear!
    5a caused trouble as, like Kitty, I couldn’t make aim = train.
    23a had to be what it was but I didn’t put it in for ages because I’ve never seen it as one word before.
    I also had a spot of bother with the boiler suit – thought the definition was the first three words of the clue so only saw the ‘it’ at the end rather than the ‘bit’ which left me with a spare ‘B’! Clear as mud!
    I liked 11a (and the picture) and 14a and 1 and 6d.
    Thanks to Giovanni and to Deep Threat – look forward to meeting you tomorrow.

    1. I’m so glad you couldn’t get the first word of 9a, Kath! I was too embarrassed to mention that explicitly. I got myself all hung up on bowls and water and grubs, convinced that pet was the definition http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/icon_redface.gif.

      Really looking forward to tomorrow http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yahoo.gif.

      1. Kitty, I put ‘Lap dog’ until I came to the down clues!! What grub had to do with it I have no idea!

        1. I was thinking lap dog too, and blithely decided that agaua was a type of Greek marketplace, even though I have heard of agora. Not my finest moment!

  12. Thought this rather anodyne – not much to buoy the spirits. NE corner was last to go in. Nearly settled for iced in 1d but sought help and then d’oh. Liked 13a. 14d was a bung in – that kind of youngster didn’t occur to me but DT made all clear. Thanks Giovanni and DT. ***/**.

  13. Lap Dog? Lapping up the bowls of water. Until the Greek market place arrived that is. Then the Hot Dog turned up which was very timely and went well with the last Gin and Tonic of the night. Ta to all and see you tomorrow.

  14. **/**

    Oh I don’t like giving low enjoyment stars. Unfortunately this did little for me.

    Right the positives. 11a made me smile, 14d gave me a sense of satisfaction when I figured it out and I thought 5a was very clever.

    Didn’t really enjoy much else. I hope others did.

    Many thanks to the setter and to DT for blagging.

    Definitely staying away from the Toughie today. If CS thinks it’s hard I suspect hieroglyphics as Rick once said.

    I hope everyone enjoys tomorrow. :-)

      1. Hi Chris. I was curious so had a look. ;-) I have 8 clues so far, and I think 4d is wrong. Oh but I’ve just ‘seen’ 8a. :-)

        1. Oh dear – I’ve only got 7 and one of those is a word I’d never heard of and certainly couldn’t pronounce accurately without a great deal of concentration. Don’t think I’ll be bragging about completing this one!

          1. Jane, I won’t be completing this one! Can’t work out the polymer in 8a and13a is clearly in Arabic. Ahhhhhh. :-(

            Oh and that’s just two of them I’m stuck on. It’s not going 18a.

            1. Hi Hanni

              It isn’t a polymer in what is actually 9a. It’s the last letter of life followed by an anagram of polymer.

              13a is the American equivalent of CO (company) followed by their equivalent of UK to get a collection of texts or of an author’s works.

              1. Thanks Pommer’s! I saw 9a not long after I posted but there is no way I would have got 13a without your help. Jane…my head hurts!!!!

            2. Hi Hanni – yes, you can. My 7 answers finally morphed into a full grid – your 8 will certainly go the same way. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_good.gif

  15. Not the best Giovanni I would agree, some clunky clues such as 3d, why the “in the bar”, and 17a I thought was clumsy, neither up to the usual high standard set by the Don. On the other hand I thought 11a a brilliant clue and 8d was fun although Mrs B said it should have been Wanderers! I thought First would have been a better answer to 22a except of course neither would have fitted :-)
    5d was a new word to me as was the term in 14d but both were obvious from the checking letters.
    Thx to all.

  16. I suppose to expect something even close to the joy of yesterday’s puzzle was asking a lot, and so it proved unfortunately !

    Workmanlike and decidedly average I’d say (being kind), and the lack of clues allowed by the grid (26 is the lowest found in a DT puzzle I believe ?) didn’t help.

    Thanks though to those concerned.

  17. Most alternate Fridays I take my pooch for a swim at a hydrotherapy centre for dogs in the county, so I didn’t open today’s paper until very late this morning. I thought today’s offering from the Don was probably the easiest and most straightforward solve of the week. Loved 12 & 14 down and had a good chuckle at 6 & 17 down. Like Hanni, 11 across made me smile too. Thanks to the Don – a most enjoyable solve.

  18. Good afternoon everyone.
    Wasn’t able to post anything until now.
    Only BD with his super IP address finder will be able to locate me.
    Found today’s crossword to be a great enjoyment and only the SE corner gave me a hard time.
    Thanks to the Don and to DT for the review.

  19. Thought this was a tad easier than the usual Friday offering, though not all that easy for us. I wanted to put rat catcher in for 11 across until I had the error of my ways pointed out to me. Anyway, on to the quicky. Thank you to the Friday setter and to D T.

  20. Quite straightforward, I thought, and no stand-outs or smiles. Still, it kept the little grey cells ticking over, which is my aim. Thanks to Giovanni and DT.

  21. Anyone else have FIRST for 22a. Works OK for me, first = original and first eleven, as opposed to second eleven etc.. Fortunately the boiler suit came to our rescue.

    Not my favourite Don ever but I did like the hot dog and the swearing http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gif.
    **/** from us.

    Thanks to Giovanni and DT.

    1. Initially , first one to go in in fact . Once in there its difficult to change the mindset but eventually it was out with the old etc. Enjoyed 19a, 12d and 11a made me smile although again nearly went off looking for roland rat and his pals

  22. This was my least favourite of the last few days – and I have had time this week to do them all. I enjoyed 13 and 14a. I thought 12d was particularly appropriate on the 50th anniversary of Churchill’s funeral. I could not get 19a at all as this is not a word I am familiar with without “er” on the end. I got 17a but was thrown off track as I have always seen the alternative abbreviation “retd.” and until today I did not know the other was possible. However thank you Giovanni if indeed it is you. Thanks to Deep Threat. I wish I was coming to the meet up tomorrow but as I am in London next weekend it seemed to be too much! Hopefully next time…….

  23. This was one of the worst Telegraph crosswords that I can remember with most of the clues. to my mind, being imprecise and “wooly”. Not a patch on yesterdays which was most enjoyable. */ nothing!

  24. This one didn’t give me anything like the problems that the Don’s offerings sometimes do – only one new word at 5d and the rest of it slotted in quite easily. Only hold-up was 9a where I wasted time trying to find a bowl of water in ‘dog tag’. The obvious answer, when it finally came, gives it favourite of the day for the cleverness of the cluing. 11a made me smile and I thought 14a might appeal to Hanni, although she seems to be having the sort of day I had yesterday! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_sad.gif

    Many thanks to DG for a ‘no dictionary needed’ day and to DT for the blog – I’ll go along with the 2*/3* rating.

  25. 21a and 3d last ones in . Something about the quality of these clues that didn’t sit right ..***/*** today

  26. First puzzle from the Don in a long time that I haven’t enjoyed. Some of the surfaces and clue construction were a bit ‘iffy’ IMHO. Never mind, I’m sure normal service will be resumed next week. Thanks to DT for the review and Giovanni for the puzzle.

    I hope that everyone going to tomorrow’s shindig will have a good time, have one for mehttp://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_wacko.gif

  27. The most difficult this week. Thanks to DT for hints which met that I managed to solve it eventually. ***/*** :)

  28. Got stuck on a few clues – 9a (knew it was something about dog), 12d (something suit), 11a… Had never seen rundown in one word. 3*/2*. Ashamed for not getting 1d! Could not concentrate fully as had an early appointment this morning… Many thanks to DT for the hints which were most welcome and to the setter.

  29. Further to Dutch’s comments regarding the Guardian, I would agree with his comments and have tried it the last three days as I fear I may not get the Telegraph much longer on my IPAD -first version with outdated software that has not been able to use the current Telegraph IPAD App for months.
    One thing I really liked which I don’t think is cheating, is the ability to use “check” to see if one clue is correct without giving the answer if you are wrong.

  30. **/*. Not my cup of tea at all. This was too convoluted for me although I got there in the end. I did like 22a though. Thanks to DT for the review and the setter even though this was more chore than chortle.

  31. It all went together smoothly for us without any major delays. Enjoyed solving it. We were a bit later getting on to it than usual as we had been to a midday screening of The Imitation Game. A really great movie that has to be a ‘must-see’ for all crossword addicts.
    Have fun at the birthday party tomorrow, all of you who are lucky enough to be able to get there. We are very envious.
    Thanks Giovanni and DT.

  32. I don’t normally do Giovanni puzzles, but today I got home early and had a stab. Translated: I normally can’t do Giovanni puzzles and today was no exception. I agree with vancouverbc, more chore than chortle. This is a perfect example of our differences, I just cannot get on his wavelength, while others find Rufus difficult and I whizz through his. This is not to slight Giovanni, my failure is nothing to do with him. I only got about ten answers and got stuck on the rest. Roll on tomorrow!

  33. Just for once I have to admit that I did not enjoy this crossword at all. The grid felt awkward and several of the clues felt cack-handed. The supertoy and I struggled through with an enormous feeling of relief when the last answer slotted in.it was one of those days that I wished I had been strong-minded enough to abandon it. Thanks to DT and the Don. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/smiley-phew.gif http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_cry.gif

  34. I was surprised as Friday’s is normally beyond me but I only had to resort to you for one clue! So is this the normal Friday compiler?

  35. I hate to jump on bandwagons, but l didn’t think this was one of Giovanni’s best either (and l usually enjoy his puzzles). Because it didn’t flow, l felt as though l was making heavy weather of it, but it came out at only just into 2* time. 2*/2*, but no particular pet clue for me. Still, thanks for the grey matter work-out Giovanni, and thanks DT for the review.

  36. Hmm, well I quite enjoyed today’s puzzle; but then maybe I’m easy to please… if I can complete it without hints then I am content. A slow start and then things started to accelerate with Carol’s bad language being my favourite clue.
    Thanks to the Don and DT for his revue.

  37. I’ve been at a conference all day today, with my boss sitting next to me, so whilst I had the paper folder up on the table in front of me with the back pager visible I couldn’t be seen to be filling it in when I was supposed to be giving the speakers my full attention! This added an extra level of difficulty as I ended up doing nearly all of it in my head which was quite tricky until the coffee break provided a chance to write in the answers!
    NE corner offered a bit of resistance and last one in was 3d.
    2.5*/2* for me.
    Thanks to the Don and to DT.

  38. I never got onto Giovanni’s wavelength today, so by the end it felt more like work than fun, I’m afraid. Sorry to be so unappreciative of all the effort DG puts in, but it’d be a dull world if we all liked the same things. Thanks to DG and DT.

  39. Thanks to the Don for an easier than expected end to what has been a gruelling week for me. I still have Monday and Tuesday’s puzzles untouched. They should give me something to do on Sunday when I hope to be on the sofa, beer in hand, not going to work. Thanks to DT for the review. 2*/2*. Hope to meet a good few tomorrow.

    1. Glad you got back safely the other night Tstrummer. Been there! Out of Waterloo with my zone 1-4 card, I ended up quite far from Wimbledon after falling asleep. Enjoy your weekend. :-)

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