DT 27727 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 27727

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 27727

Hints and tips by Gazza

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ***

Tuesdays seem to be the poor relations in the Telegraph crossword week. Rufus has a host of followers on Mondays, discriminating solvers swear by Jay on Wednesdays, Ray T arouses strong feelings (mostly favourable) on Thursdays and Giovanni has his dedicated band of aficionados on Fridays. However, we rarely see comments along the lines of ‘Hurrah, it’s Tuesday tomorrow – we’ll be in for another crossword treat’. I suspect that part of the reason for this is that we don’t have names for the Tuesday setters. So here’s a plea to today’s setter – Let us know who you are by dropping in on the blog, then we can identify with you and start to make Tuesdays a bit more exciting.

Three quarters of this one posed minimal problems but then I was held up a bit in the final (NW) quadrant. It was all quite enjoyable with a number of smiles. Do let us know how you got on and what you thought of it.

If you click on any of the areas showing ‘Click here!’ you’ll see the actual answer so only do that as a last resort.

Across Clues

5a Straighten out Charlie, humorist at university (5,2)
CLEAR UP – string together the letter that Charlie is used for in the Nato Phonetic Alphabet, the humorist and writer of 14a and an adverb meaning at university.

7a Article about bishop assigned to a Scottish island (5)
ARRAN – one of our indefinite articles contains the abbreviation for the title afforded a bishop and A (from the clue).

9a Lets off steam following English results (6)
EVENTS – a verb meaning discharges steam (in an old locomotive, for example) follows E(nglish). ‘Results’ is not the first word that springs to mind for the answer but it is the second definition in the BRB.

10a Heading for blue reptile heard in snowstorm (8)
BLIZZARD – the first letter (heading) of blue is followed by what sounds like a type of reptile. The surface doesn’t mean a lot.

11a Houses decent couples (10)
PROPERTIES – charade of an adjective meaning decent or respectable and a verb meaning couples or links.

13a Pressure in eliminating round (4)
HEAT – double definition, the second a preliminary round in a sporting event.

14a There may be rhyme but no reason in it (8,5)
NONSENSE VERSE – cryptic definition of a sort of absurd poetry. Perhaps the best-known writer of this was the humorist from 5a:

How pleasant to know Mr. Lear,
Who has written such volumes of stuff.
Some think him ill-tempered and queer,
But a few find him pleasant enough.

His mind is concrete and fastidious,
His nose is remarkably big;
His visage is more or less hideous,
His beard it resembles a wig.

16a Board express crossing heart of Austria (4)
STAY – a verb to express or state contains (crossing) the middle letter of Austria.

17a Bad luck in firm going to Cheshire? (4,6)
HARD CHEESE – an adjective meaning firm or rigid is followed by what Cheshire is a variety of in the food department.

19a So long, some essay on a rainforest (8)
SAYONARA – hidden (some) in the clue.

20a Bloody stupid former pupil (3,3)
OLD BOY – an anagram (stupid) of BLOODY.

22a Diet round fifth of September, then wine and dine (5)
FEAST – a strict diet or period of abstinence contains the fifth letter of September.

23a Hat ripped to show most of costly lining (7)
TRICORN – an adjective meaning ripped has inside it (to show … lining) all except the final letter of an adjective meaning costly or lavish.

Down Clues

1d Bird‘s tail, not small (4)
TERN – start with the tail of a ship, say, and remove the S(mall).

2d Keep drop of plonk on ice (8)
PRESERVE – the first letter (drop) of plonk is followed (on, in a down clue) by ice or aloofness.

3d Tooth decay in canine, showing the first sign (6)
CARIES – start with the abbreviation for canine (in dentistry, not Crufts) then ram in the first sign of the zodiac.

4d Chief unbalanced atop mount? (5,5)
CRAZY HORSE – this is the Native American chief who took part in the battle of the Little Bighorn where General Custer was killed. An adjective meaning unbalanced or deranged is followed (atop, in a down clue) by a mount or steed.

5d Fielder caught six balls, one after the other (5)
COVER – this clue is all about cricket so will please some and dismay others. The answer is a fielder or fielding position on the offside of the wicket. Start with the abbreviation for caught and add what six consecutive balls from same bowler is called.

6d VIP can bluster, maddening government employee (6,7)
PUBLIC SERVANT – our second and final anagram is indicated by maddening and the fodder is VIP CAN BLUSTER.

8d Raced over to judge to tell a story (7)
NARRATE – reverse (over) a verb meaning raced or sped and add a verb to judge or assess.

12d Mint coin — sovereign, perhaps (10)
PENNYROYAL – this is a plant of the mint family, used in herbal medicine. It’s a charade of a small coin and an adjective meaning belonging to a reigning family.

14d Rather less than fifty per cent (3,4)
NOT HALF – the answer is a slang response meaning “Rather!” or “Very much so!”.

15d Winner rejected first-class carriage (8)
VICTORIA – another word for winner followed by the reversal (rejected) of what looks like the abbreviation (originally used in Lloyd’s Register of Shipping for a top-rated vessel) meaning first-class.

17d Try on extremely tasteless suit (6)
HEARTS – a verb to try, as a judge in court, followed by the outer (extremely) letters of tasteless.

18d Demonstrated how to fill tin (5)
SHOWN – HOW goes inside the chemical symbol for tin.

21d Crucifix put up in entrance (4)
DOOR – reverse (put up, in a down clue) a crucifix (one often positioned on a beam at the entrance to the chancel in church).

The top clues for me today were 20a, 14d and 17d. How about you?

Today’s Quickie Pun: KNOW + EYE + DEER = NO IDEA


89 comments on “DT 27727

  1. R&W. “Simples”, but pleasant. Favourite 20a. Thanks to setter and to Gazza.

    My only problem was trying to solve 1d without wearing my glasses as I thought the clue said: Bird’s tall, not small. Reminder to self – find reading glasses before sitting down with newspaper.

  2. I enjoyed this one this morning, no real problems at all. Thanks to Setter & to Gazza for the review.

  3. I found this fairly sedate,with 4 D raising a smile,my favourite today was 23A.
    For any fans of the sport of kings I noticed a nag running at Wolverhampton @ 2pm called Telegraph,it is the ante post favourite with a good jockey on board so it is in with a good chance. Many thanks to the setter & Gazza for his review.

  4. I wouldn’t call it read and write, I thought it was a very well constructed and interesting puzzle – not too difficult just about at my level – a couple of anagrams always helps!

    Onward and upwards – a lovely sunny day here in East Hearts – I’ve got a tee-time booked for 12.45 – the Under Armour is definitely required though! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_wink.gif

  5. Thinking about Gazza’s comment in his preamble, we know the majority as he mentions and as detailed in BD’s FAQs, so, if Phil McNeill is reading this, why not publish the setters’ names for the back-pager as you already do for the Toughie?


    1. There’s a bit of me wonders whether people are ruder about particular crosswords when they know who set them. Perhaps it is better not to know.

      1. I wonder if Phil McNeill might one week secretly swap the setters’ days round. Then they’d all sit back grinning and await the comments on this blog . . .

        1. That’s what I’d do in his position. And then when people here were wise to that, I’d see if maybe some of the setters would oblige me by having a go at copying each others styles. Oh, I’d have some fun!

  6. I hope the setter responds to Gazzas plea , though I was under the impression that Tuesdays crossword was set by any number of different people.
    Not quite a R+W, as I would never have got 9a without the hint.My Chambers says “to issue (with in): to follow as a consequence: to rebound: to be the outcome: outcome aimed at :quantity obtained by calculation:decision, resolution, asof a council.”
    Thanks Gazza and whoever you are.

  7. I enjoyed this one – 2* difficulty and 3* plus a bit for enjoyment.
    11a was my last answer – even with alternate letters in it still took me ages.
    I spent far too long trying to think of a 5a Scottish island with a B in it – that’s today’s “Oh dear”.
    Those were the only two clues that caused problems.
    I had the right answer to 3d and was pretty sure of it but then misinterpreted gazza’s hint – ended up thinking that I was supposed to have “rammed” something into something else – dim!
    I liked 11 and 14a and 2 and 14d. My favourite was 20a.
    With thanks to Mr Ron and to gazza.

    I agree that it would be nice to be able to attach a real name to the Tuesday, and alternate Thursday setters.

  8. To borrow a phrase, very much at the bland, vanilla end of the spectrum.
    The garden it is then…

  9. Back onshore to the delights of Tuesday’s setter I’ve always enjoyed Tuesdays puzzle though sometimes frustrating. Still get fixated on wild ideas.
    3d led to some head scratching still enjoyable.many thanks to setter and Gazza.

  10. Thank you setter for the challenge. It looks as though I am out on my own again finding it quite tricky, in particular the NW corner. Although I had the answer to 2d, I needed your hint Gazza to understand the wordplay. I had never thought that “drop” would suggest using the first letter of “plonk” – so many thanks for your review and hints.

  11. An easy romp today with a thoroughly enjoyable puzzle. Managed this one in 1* time and with 4* enjoyment – so there was no excuse not to go outside and start shoveling more snow (Unfortunately!).

  12. A very nice puzzle today, the only one I could’t do was 5a. I had ‘cheer’ which I thought was what a humorist might do!
    As the puzzles I can’t do are 5 star for difficulty then this is a 4 star from me.

  13. More than r&w, mainly because of the NW corner. The answer to 9a is labelled as archaic in my dictionary, so no wonder it didn’t come to mind quickly.
    Still an enjoyable puzzle for all that. 20a certainly raised a smile.

  14. Nice to see a local clue.
    Answer to 7a can be seen out of my bedroom window.
    Gazza’s map shows my favourite mountain.
    Liked 4d , amazing how these old names are so easy to remember fro childhood stories.

  15. */***

    Nothing to scare the 4d or cats or armadillos. Great fun.

    I got 11a quite quickly but it took me an age to see why it was right. Brilliant clue.
    14d also provided some amusement. 19a was my last in due to the hidden part being invisible. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gif

    I do hope that the setter drops in. I for one do enjoy the Tuesday crossword.

    Toughie is at the easier end of the scale today.

    Many thanks to the setter and to Gazza for an absolutely first rate blog. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_good.gif

    Favourite clue is 5d. Just because.

  16. Enjoyed this which I finished a sprinkling of letter hints and Gazza’s help for 1d and first word of 4d. Favourite was 12d, followed by 15d and 19a (which caused no holdup as I remembered the word from a previous xw where it caused not just a holdup but a complete breakdown). Many thanks to the setter for a very enjoyable time and to Gazza for the review and hints.

  17. Simple enough but enjoyable too. We give it */***

    Fav has to be 17d simply because of the wonderful illustration – tasteless the suit is, in spades http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_good.gif

    Thanks to Mr Ron and Gazza.

  18. Crazy Horse was murdered in captivity at Fort Robinson by private William Gentles who thrust his bayonet into Crazy Horse’s abdomen. His body was given to his mother and father who buried it at a place known only to them somewhere near Chankpe Opi Wakpala, the creek called Wounded Knee.

    No photograph of Crazy Horse has ever been authenticated (Dee Brown. Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee.Vintage P311)

    “They made us many promises, more than I can remember, but they never kept but one; they promised to take our land, and they took it,”

  19. Really enjoyed this one although my heart does sink a bit when bishops are mentioned – there seems to be an unending list of abb. alternatives for those guys. No problems with the cricket question (for once) or the hidden 19a (looks as though Kath found that one, as well!).
    Slight hesitation with the parsing of 15d – I always want to chuck out something that’s ‘rejected’, not turn it upside down.
    Lots of potential favourites – I agree Gazza’s but would also add 11&14a + 4d. 2*/4* for me.

    Any chance this was Shamus? No doubt 2Ks will know – they always seem to pick up on his.
    Many thanks to whoever you are – hope you pop in to let us know – and to Gazza for the succinct, as ever, review. Loved the pic. for 17d – that really is tasteless and I have a horrible feeling it may well not have been a fancy dress outfit. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yahoo.gif

      1. Please tell me that you don’t have that site bookmarked? Unless it’s for fancy dress? The Bavarian?

        Great stuff about Crazy Horse. :-)

      2. That is bizarre! I presume that someone, somewhere is looking at that and saying, “oooh, I love that, let’s have it!”

    1. £60 for jacket trousers and tie has to be worth a shot for an occasion. The next Sloggers & Betters perhaps?

      1. MP I’ll donate £60 to any charity if you wear that at a S&B.

        In fact the Poker Face one might come in handy for crib.

        1. I reckon he’s definitely got the bottle to wear one for a S&B – perhaps you should stipulate that he has to be wearing it from the time of leaving home, not doing a quick change in the loo! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gif

        2. Already thought of that. I would wear one if others did too. I am not one for standing out in a crowd

          1. Yeah..we can’t have you standing out? Although you did once stand in the middle of a river.

            Can the fairer sex be excused from wearing the suits? It’s just I’m not sure the ‘fit’ would be right.

            1. Having tried on my neighbour’s jeans, to check, while sewing in a new zip, I can guarantee that the ‘fit’ would be wrong!

              1. All this talk about suits and Essex has caused me to overlook this comment….

                So your neighbour had a pair of jeans with a broken zip that you were wearing?

                  1. It’s the fact that you were trying on the jeans whilst sewing the new zip?

                    Now I’m not much of a seamstress but surely it’s easier to sew the zip whilst not wearing them. ;-) I may be wrong.

              1. That’s a good idea! I’d be happy to wear a tasteless suit for charity, but not sure I could quite manage any of the ones from that site. Maybe the Jag…

              2. Why not? Being in a pub and open to ridicule with a group of people drinking and asking awkward questions will actually be marginally better than being in a school with children asking impossible questions.

                1. Being asked questions is fine. It’s when people don’t ask and you’re too shy to say “it’s okay everyone, I’m wearing this for charity, not [just] because I’m a weirdo!” that’s the problem…

                  1. In keeping with the strangely attired and queen of hearts theme, I’m guessing its a Town Called mAlice?

                    1. I think Pommers is referring to Barking! I was brought up in a nearby town called Barkingside, which I guess makes me only half Barking http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_wacko.gif

                    2. DT I think you be proud that you are half Barking. Given that Pommer’s think we are thoroughbred Barking, it could mean that he is from a Town Without Pity! ;-)

  20. It is better to offer no excuse than a bad one – this is today’s quote and it is perfect. I did not need an excuse today as just for once I did not have any extraneous help, my trusty little pencil skipped happily across the page and despite being rather weary after a shopping trip to Beccles I found that all the little squares were filled in. Loved the link between 5 and 14ac, and there were several other giggle provoking moments. I agree with Gazza that it would be nice to know who the setter is, thanks to him for explanations and the technicolour illustrations. Thanks also for rescuing me from the vicissitudes of Rookie’s Corner yesterday. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_good.gif

    1. Fantastic use of the word ‘vicissitudes’ Hilary. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_good.gif

      Slightly difficult to say after a couple of G & T’s though.

      1. Sadly these days are G&T free but I had a friend at work whose test for inebriation was to try saying vicissitude. Tee Hee http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_good.gif

        1. I was once informed by a moderately tipsy (off duty) anaethetist that the way to tell if someone was drunk was to ask them to pronounce ‘anaethetist’.

      2. Consternoon aftable – I only had tee martoonis and I’m not palf as hickled as thinkle peep I am.
        Can’t remember where that comes from or what comes next . . .

  21. Found this trickier than other Tuesday fodder. Very enjoyable nevertheless and especially liked 19a and 12d. Thanks to the setter and Gazza for a top notch review.

  22. Thanks to Mr Ron and to Gazza for the review and hints. Was all plain sailing except for 5a, for which I had Cheer up. Last in was 12d, favourite was 20a, made me laugh. Was 2*/3* for me. Lovely early spring day in central London.

  23. No real problem until the top left which I found really tricky. Never really thought of Lear as a humorist and clear up and straighten out didn’t treally work for me. 2d was one that I had the answer but needed the hint to unpick plonk!
    Some nice clues today in 14a and 10a but I didn’t appreciate 2d or 23a at all. But at least I learnt that a rood was a cross so that’s something
    Thx to all.

  24. This took me forever to get into it, and it wasn’t until I got to the last of the downs that I got a foot in the door, then it all started to fall into place very nicely.
    Lots of fun clues, but I think fave is 19a with honourable mention to 4d.
    Thanks to setter and to Gazza for review, in particular for explaining 5d!

  25. That didn’t really float my boat however I got there with a little help from my friend Gazza on 3d and 13a – TVM for that. At least 17a provided a lighter moment. Thanks Setter whoever you are. ***/**. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/icon_neutral.gif

  26. We really appreciated Gazza’s preamble. It is certainly true for us that the enjoyment of a puzzle is greater when we know who the setter is. We know it does not make any logical sense but we do get a feeling of being in contact and engaging in a friendly tussle with a real person when we have a name to relate to. Let’s hope that the people at The Telegraph get to notice these comments.
    To the puzzle. Not too tricky and good fun. We enjoyed the connection between 5a and 14a, guess that it was intentional. Despite Jane’s faith in our powers of deduction we are not prepared to hazard a guess with this one.
    Thanks Mr Ron and Gazza.

    1. Gazza, a couple of points. In 14a you refer back to 1a. It should be to 5a.
      In 23a we took the word for ‘costly’ to be ‘pricy’ (this spelling is in BRB) and then remove first and last letters. We had trouble equating rich with costly.

      1. How about the saying ‘that’s a bit rich for my blood’? Meaning – that’s too expensive for me.

      2. Thanks, 2K. I’ve updated the link. However, I’m not convinced on the costly/pricy thing. “Most of” normally means chop off letter(s) from the tail rather than from both ends. I’ve found costly matched with rich in my Thesaurus, e.g. rich/costly/luxurious tapestries.

  27. I enjoyed this a great deal. Lots of smiles from me. 20A and 4D are my favorites. Thanks to the still unknown setter and to Gazza.

  28. This was a reasonably straight forward and enjoyable puzzle. I went down the ‘Cheer…’ route needless to say but otherwise no problems. 17a was my favourite clue.
    I agree it would be nice to know the identity of the setter. Anyway thanks to him (or her) and to Gazza for his erudite revue.

  29. Some clever clues eg 11a . 23a is a new word on me , mustn’t have read enough about Hornblower or Captain Hook . Jane I am also someone who sighs at the mention of bishops, and men of the cloth. Perhaps I should write all the alternatives down ; suspect it might run into 2 pages
    Found this very enjoyable but failed to solve 1d without the clue.**/****.

  30. **/***. Thought 20a good fun, lovely anagram and nice surface. Had to check 12d with Mr Google and managed to dredge caries up from the dark recesses somehow. Thanks everyone.

  31. Most of this was nice and easy normal fun Tuesday fare for me, but I’m with others in being held up in the NW. In the end I needed a couple of hints for the parsings and one of my answers was a guess which turned out to be wrong. I’m not admitting to which one.

    17a did make me laugh, mainly because I knew someone with the (nick)name Cheese so that is one of my (admittedly many) trigger phrases. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/icon_rolleyes.gif

    Can’t remember what my favourites were during the solve, but looking back I shall nominate 17d, partly because of the discussion above. It’s a good clue and worthy of favourite status.

    I think with the quality of crosswords we’re used to, even “bog-standard” can be considered a compliment, though I’m sure it doesn’t feel like that for the poor setter. Still, Mr Ron, please do pick a name to comment under and drop by to say hi.

    As to the debate about naming the setters, I am in two minds. I agree with the 2Ks that knowing the setter increases the enjoyment and makes it all much more human, but anonymous solving focusses attention squarely on the puzzle rather than the setter which does seem nice and fair. On balance, what I would chose is this: setters’ days are randomised so we don’t know who we’re getting on any given day and can solve without prejudice. Plus we can have fun guessing! But with the publication of answers, the setter’s pseudonym is revealed.

    Anyway, thanks to today’s mystery setter, and also to Gazza for the typically excellent blog.

  32. Enjoyable – about 2* for time for me; sadly I’m finding it a bit difficult to judge further. (I was doing today’s crossword in multiple bits and pieces at wide intervals unfortunately – which was my fault not the setter’s.) Thanks to the anonymous he or she, and to Gazza for the review.

  33. Found it rather soft today.
    Slowed down on the NW corner too.
    Loved 17a as I served to my guests tonight, some great cheeses that I brought back to France from my London outing. Among those was a lovely Cheshire from the Appleby family. Delicious.
    Think I know who the setter is. These short clues again.
    I’ll have to go on my main computer to read the blog. The replies are ever decreasing on my phone. A fourth reply is a totally vertical line of characters and any further reply is invisible. And it seems to be busy today.
    Thanks to him and to Gazza for the review.

  34. I found this much easier than yesterday’s Rufus, so confounding the theory that the puzzles get harder as the week progresses. Re the discussion about 9a: it is a result, or outcome, as in the phrase”in any event”, which is still in common usage and not arcane at all. I liked 4d, as it made me think of, first, Neil Young, and second,the excellent book MP mentioned earlier – Bury my heart at Wounded Knee – which I picked up about 30 years ago when stuck at a friend’s place with nothing to read. Highly recommended.
    On the setter front, I have noted that many of us are a bit obsessed by setters, which I used to think was slightly bonkers, but as a result of this excellent site, I have joined the bonkers brigade, although I am very much a beginner at that guessing game.
    1* for difficulty, 3* for satisfaction.
    Thanks to Gazza for maintaining the high standard of reviews and to the mystery man/woman, who should adopt the alias of Crazy Horse and join the blog.

    1. Hi Tstrummer. Lovely comments seen through a haze of London Pride. If you were as moved and saddened as me by Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee as I was you might like to try The Fatal Shore by Robert Herries. Read and weep.

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