DT 27734 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 27734

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 27734

Hints and tips by 2Kiwis

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty *** – Enjoyment ***

This week we are writing from Wellington. We have been inveigled into being grandchildren minders for a few days. As we are technophobes, we arrived here nice and early to be sure we could connect up the Wi-Fi and printer as we like them. Whew, it all worked as we hoped and we’re sure that we can cope with the interruption when we have to collect Milly from Kindergarten mid-afternoon too.
Good stuff again from Jay that should keep all the regulars happy as it did us. Don’t forget the Quickie pun too. It’s an absolute groaner!

Please leave a comment telling us what you think of today’s puzzle.


1a     Drink, and gather one’s entry may be barred by this (10)
PORTCULLIS : An alcoholic drink originally from Portugal is followed by a word meaning gather or select, then the Roman one and ‘S from the clue.

6a     Cornish sailor’s mop? (4)
SWAB : Where Cornwall is in England and one of the abbreviations for sailor.

9a     Head honcho more worried by son getting out of bed (7)
SUPREMO : Start with S(on), a two letter word meaning out of bed, and an anagram (worried) of MORE.

10a     Blocks put on spy’s cover and methods (7)
SYSTEMS : First and last letters (cover) of spy and a word for blocks or staunches.

12a     Person who anticipates exciting flutter on reel? (7-6)
FORTUNE-TELLER : An anagram (exciting) of FLUTTER ON REEL.

14a     Vacant home in estate redesigned for arty type (8)
AESTHETE : An anagram (redesigned) of ESTATE contains the first and last letters (vacant) of home.

15a     American farm butter? (6)
SPREAD : Double definition. The first definition is what an American might call his farm when he doesn’t call it a ranch.

17a     Pole in wages spoof (6)
PARODY : A synonym for pole is included in what wages or salary might be called.

19a     Toast feature applied to most of country (4-4)
CHIN-CHIN : This toast is with a glass and is a facial feature followed by a large Asian country with the last letter removed.

21a     Sound advice — forty per cent of hotel employs rented accommodation (7,6)
COUNCIL HOUSES : The first word is a homophone of a word meaning advice, then the first two letters (40%) of hotel and a word meaning employs.

24a     Cut poor decisions — not so! (7)
INCISED: An anagram (poor) of DECISIoNs with SO removed.

25a     Stepped across line and the French caused bother on the internet (7)
TROLLED : A four letter word meaning stepped includes L(ine) and French definite article.

26a     Duck confronting really disheartened and cross creature (4)
ORYX : The cricket duck, first and last letters of really and the cross-shaped letter to give us this antelope.

27a     Vote‘s close, amid signs of hesitation by adjudicator (10)
REFERENDUM : Start with a three letter word for a sports adjudicator, then two different two letter words implying hesitation, surround a synonym for close or finish.


1d     Trophy wives ultimately accepted job (4)
POST : A colloquial word for a trophy includes the last letter of wives.

2d     The acts of a con man on holiday in tears (3-4)
RIP-OFFS : A three letter word for on holiday is included in a word meaning tears (tears has to rhyme with bears, not beers).

3d     Declares ketch must be renovated to get ready for action (5,3,5)
CLEAR THE DECKS : An anagram (renovated) of DECLARES KETCH.

4d      Get better tho’ losing heart and respect (4,2,2)
LOOK UP TO : A phrase that means get better or improve and then the first and last letters of tho’.

5d     Children? A bone of contention (5)
ISSUE : A double definition.

7d     A rhyme for really dangerous move on bike? (7)
WHEELIE : The answer truly is a rhyme for really.

8d     Dominating prime equestrian activity? (10)
BESTRIDING : Split the answer 4,6 to give a word meaning prime and then a general word for equestrian activity.

11d     Two ways in which Forest has one means of advancement (8-5)
STEPPING STONES : Two abbreviations for thoroughfares surround an English forest, and then one from the clue.

13d     Mafia boss pinching most of Italian composer’s drink (10)
CAPPUCCINO : A four letter word for a Mafia boss surrounds an Italian opera composer minus his last letter.

16d     Choke, getting most of the rubbish left out with no end of grief (8)
THROTTLE : Start with most of TH(e) then a short word for rubbish and an anagram (out) of LEfT excluding the last letter of grief.

18d     Coarse fish covering late-starting meal (7)
RAUNCHY : A three letter fish has a word for a midday meal, lacking its first letter, included. (The included word, when doubled, could also be a crossword solver’s pet hate.)

20d     Bothered, but is in possession of transport in the north (7)
HASSLED : A word meaning in possession of is followed by a means of transport in the frozen North.

22d     A step away from so-called gerrymandering (5)
LEDGE : It’s hiding inside the clue.

23d     A horse’s name for a man (4)
ADAM : A from the clue and a mother horse.

27a was favourite today because of the two different hesitations.

Quickie pun  eschew + hairy = estuary

84 comments on “DT 27734

  1. I found this one quite challenging – one of those when you write in a solution, look at it sideways and then erase it as you cannot fit in the wordplay, then put it back when you realize it must be right but for some unknown reason! But I did get to the end satisfactorily.

    I think my daily13d may have helped.

    I would rate this one as 3*/4* for me.

  2. I found this a nice gentle offering which put it in **/*** territory for me,favourite clue was 13D.Many thanks to the setter & to the 2 kiwis for an excellent review.

  3. I thought this was going to be a killer but suddenly the South began to fall into place followed a bit more slowly by the North. All’s well that ends well and much fun was had along the way. Thank you Jay and the 2 Kiwis whose hints I will now read through and doubtless enjoy as usual. 25a new one on me. Liked 11d. Perhaps 18d might have been described otherwise by cruciverbalists. Thank you to the advertisement alongside the crossword providing plenty of
    scribbling space (of course not needed by MP!). http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gif. ***/***.

  4. More of a challenge than usual, but still managed to complete before the school run, so all is well. Last ones in were 1a and 1d (this one was bottom-up, for some reason).

    Brilliant hidden word in 22a (so-called gerrymandering) – had me misled, anyway.

    I Liked 14a (vacant home for arty types), 15 (farm butter – nice mislead, had me thinking of ram or goat), 27a (vote’s close, lovely surface reading), and 11a (means of advancement).

    Many thanks Jay and 2Kiwis

  5. 2*/4*. The top half of this highly entertaining puzzle went in very quickly, but the bottom half took rather more cogitation. 27a was my favourite of many really good clues.

    The mafia boss in 13d was new to me but that didn’t stop me solving it.

    What purpose does the “A” serve in 22d?

    Thank you 2Kiwis for your excellent review, and many thanks too to Jay.

    P.S. 2Ks, sorry to be pedantic but I just can’t help myself http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_wink.gif. The hint for 24a is ever so slightly inaccurate. I think it should read “An anagram (poor) of DECIsIoNS with SO removed” as my understanding from a recent comment from one of our chief bloggers is that the letters removed are required to appear in the order specified unless there is an indicator otherwise.

  6. A challenging and entertaining puzzle for the second day in a row. Thanks to 2Ks and setter.

  7. Enjoyed this one very much.
    Managed almost all of it without help…..have to admit the Cornish mop and bestriding had me foxed.

    Thanks to the setter and the Two Kiwis
    Favourite clue….19a….took me ages to figure it out, but loved it.

  8. Thanks to Jay and to the 2 Kiwis for the review and hints. A very enjoyable puzzle from Jay, but I found it very difficult. Top half went in ok, then I ground to a halt. My run of 11 completions has come to an end. Needed the hints for 21a, 11,13,22d. Missed the hidden word in the latter. Favourite was 6a. Was 4*/3* for me. Off to play squash.

  9. Really enjoyed today’s crossword.
    Only 4 anagrams and the rest of the clues made up of little pieces to put together. A bit like BD’s modeling I suppose.
    13d made me laugh because when Al Pacino was playing at the Dukes we used to call him Al Cappuccino.
    11d favourite for today.
    And for those who have done the toughie, isn’t it strange that the same word appears in both on the same day?
    Thanks to 2kiwis and to the setter.

  10. 11d was the highlight for me too…..great puzzle with no obscure elements to detract from the enjoyment

  11. Thank you Jay for a challenging puzzle which, for me, was a lot harder than yesterday’s and I certainly needed several sessions with the hour glass ! Does really reelie rhyme with wheelie or is just my Lancashire accent ? http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_wacko.gif Thanks 2Kiwis for your hints. I did look up your decode for 16d. I had the answer but needed your explanation.

  12. Found this one rather more difficult than usual and would agree with 2Ks rating of 3*/3*.

    Like Dutch, 1a & 1d were my last ones in – I associate the second word in 1a far more with its less pleasant meaning and I’m not very convinced by the use of ‘pot’ as a trophy. Prize or winnings, but not a trophy.
    The other slight niggle is that 7d doesn’t actually rhyme with ‘really’.

    Having said all that, I did enjoy the rest of the puzzle! Smiles galore eg 19a, 11,13 & 20d. Favourite goes to 27a for the delightful surface read.

    Many thanks to Jay and also to 2Ks for their dedication to blogging duties against all the odds. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_rose.gif

  13. Nice work out today… a struggle at times but that warm fuzzy feeling as the last penny finally drops. ***\**** for me, I think. Thanks Kiwis for your efforts.

  14. A bit of a ‘brick wall’ puzzle where the solutions went in from bottom to top. Thanks to Jay and the 2Ks.

    Were Brian not on holiday, today’s Toughie is another one that I’d recommend he tries.

    1. Don’t rub it in! B….y electronic DT, it’s shameful. Perhaps less political claptrap would leave room on the e site for the Toughie.

      1. You can always see if you can get them from the ‘archives’ when you get back. Where are you? I bet it is somewhere much nicer than rainy windy East Kent.

            1. I think BA must have fallen out with the Telegraph. Perhaps Big Boab is a director of BA? For the past few months copies of the DT have been rarer than hen’s teeth in BA lounges and on BA flights.

          1. The crossword app CRUX delivers the toughie as well as the cryptic and quickie. It is also by far the best crossword app for the Ipad and I think I’ve tried them all..

  15. ***/***

    The top half went in with relative ease, but I certainly ground to a halt after.

    24a and 22d were the last in. Although I guessed at the former, working out the word play was something of a slog. Goodness knows why. I despair sometimes especially I didn’t see the hidden part of 22d, just bunged it in and hoped.

    Favourite clue is 18d with 15 and 19a vying for the top spot.

    Many thanks to Jay for another great puzzle and to the 2Kiwis for a fine blog whilst on grandchildren duties.

    1. The League table has been updated emailed out and set as my Avatar Hanni.

      As to your questions yesterday. There are still seven league games to play.

      Next week we have to play Saint Sharon’s team GMLI in a cup semi final. Let’s get that one out of the way first.

      I had a Seafood Stew with Mussels, Clams, Prawns, Lobster, Calamari and Squid, in a lovely rich sauce. A hot latte to start and an ice cold Limoncello to finish. Divine.No beer or wine. One spoils the appetite and I am not keen on the other.

      1. Ahh yes I forgot the cup match. Don’t they have the home advantage? This could be interesting.

        The seafood stew sounds delicious. Not sure why they put squid in it when there was calamari.

  16. thanks two kiwis, I finished in good time apart from 22d, without your hint a month of Sunday’s springs to mind! **/*** ;)

  17. That was nice after yesterday’s horror. Some super clues in 1a and 6a but my fav was 15a having got me hung up on that damned Ram!
    Not hugely sure that 10a works well for me but did like Chin Chin, my mothers favourite toast.
    For me **/****
    Thx to the Jay for the puzzle and to the 2kiwis for explaining 10a.
    How’s the weather in NZ, will it hold for the cricket?

    1. This is the time of year when our weather is most settled so prospects look generally pretty good.

  18. I’m with the ‘quite tricky’, comments today, though we did manage to finish. It was a case of guessing the answers and then checking to see if and why they were correct. I don’t think really rhymes with wheelie, unless you pronounce really as if it was spelt reelly, which I dont, but we still got the correct answer so I don’t suppose it matters. Thank you to the Wednesday setter and to the 2Kiwis.

  19. 11d stitched me up good and proper. Redeemed only by the 2ks excellent picture illustration. It makes me want to run leaping from stone to stone, across and back again, times over laughing all the way. Another great offering from Jay and a fine review from our antipodean cruciverbalists.

    Really sounds like really here at 2minutes 15 seconds. I always thought he sang Wheely wheel

    1. I wonder how Roy (or should I say Woy) Jenkins would pronounce “really” and “wheelie”? Pretty much the same I should think.

      … which reminds me of the wonderful line from The Life of Brian when the Roman who pronounces his Rs as Ws informs us that “Caesar ranks as high as any in Rome”.

        1. Thanks very much, MP. I misremembered that it referred to Caesar, but seeing the clip again has had me in stitches.

  20. Enjoyable back pager today from Jay. Nothing really troubling apart from 14a, which I knew was an anagram but it’s one of those words that I can never remember how to spellhttp://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_wacko.gif

    Thought that the hidden word in 22d was brilliant (sorry Kath) and couldn’t get ‘ram’ out of my head for 15a. 11a was my last one in and my favourite. Thanks to Jay for the puzzle and 2kiwis for their excellent review.

  21. I’m not going to argue with 3* for both difficulty and enjoyment.
    Think it might have been a day for applying CS’s rule – always start with the down clues on Wednesdays – as I got very few of the across answers to begin with.
    The only Mafia boss that I could think of was the Godfather which wasn’t particularly helpful – not sure if I’ve heard and forgotten or just never knew this one.
    Went a bit blind to begin with when I saw 11d as ‘Forest’ sounded suspiciously footbally but then it wasn’t.
    Now then – I know that I’m awful at hidden answers but I do usually manage to see them in the end – 22d fooled me completely. Oh dear!!
    I liked 15 and 26a and 13 and 18d. My favourite was 19a.
    With thanks to Jay and thanks and well done to the 2K’s for managing the hints so well when all the odds were stacked against you.
    Suffering rather badly from a severe attack of “over peopling” – blissfully peaceful for a couple of hours now but can’t decide between using them for Toughie or gardening. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_unsure.gif

  22. PS – No sign of Kitty for a few days – hope that she’s OK.
    Mary seems to have gone AWOL again too.

    1. I did wonder about Kitty – not like her to go missing. Maybe Mr. K will sign in and let us know she’s OK?

  23. Wednesday Wizardry as usual from Jay. Very enjoyable over a bowl of soup and some pate for lunch. On first pass we only got six of the acrosses but then all but one of the downs so I guess **/**** would be about right for us. The 4th star is for the appalling rhyme that had me grinning from ear to ear. I’m sure it was done a bit tongue-in-cheek. You can probably guess how I would have illustrated the wheelie http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_whistle3.gif

    No real favourite as it’s all pretty good but 9a is worth a mention as it sound like my dad when I was a teenager http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_wink.gif

    Much thanks to Jay and the 2Kiwis.

      1. It would have been pretty much the same as the one Gazza used in the Toughie blog but I would have used one of the GOAT having fun. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_good.gif

          1. Valentino Rossi. World champion motorcycle rider nine times and therefore often referred to as the Greatest Of All Time, although supporters of Giacomo Agostini tend to disagree.

            Don’t forget, I’m a Petrolhead http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_whistle3.gif

            1. I thought it was just boats that ‘grabbed’ you – obviously not!
              Must try to remember GOAT – no doubt it will turn up in crosswordland at some point. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_bye.gif

              1. Boats indeed but also anything to do with internal combustion engines. I was a rally co-driver in my youth (then they were “navigators” but have since been promoted).

                1. A bit like football “linesmen” (or should I say “linespersons”?) becoming “assistant referees”?

                  1. Yes, but it’s probably fair enough as Barry (my driver) used to ask me to drive on the non-timed bits so he could have a rest.

  24. Found this puzzle much easier than yesrterday’s. Very enjoyable too. My first one in was 26a and my last 15 a – was trying to find names of goats or sheep but none fitted and then I saw the light! 27a was good but my favourite has to be 19a. We use this expression in French too. 2.5*/4*. Had a go at the Toughie, did not complete it but had a jolly good try. Many thanks to Ray and to the 2kiwis for a very good review.

  25. First read through of the acrosses yielded pitifully few answers, but did better with the downs. The top then went in nicely, but a few in the bottom caused a struggle. I didn’t know 25a with relation to the Internet. Missed the hidden word and had no idea why 22d was what it was.
    Some lovely clues, hard to choose a fave, but I’m going with 11d with honourable mention to 19a and 21a.
    Thanks to Jay, and to 2Kiwis for the excellent review. BTW, I love the name Milly.

  26. Good morning all. Nice to see that despite lots of visits from Milly to show Gramps her favourite bits in her book about fairies, we only ended up with one little oversight. Freddy helped us with the picture selection and Bea offered helpful advice. A real team effort. Good fun. It is still not yet dawn here. We are about to be engulfed in the pandemonium of household preparations for work, schools and kindergarten. Cheers.

  27. Phew, that was a tough one ! It was a real effort to get going, and even then there were plenty of struggles along the way.

    For me, this was one of the most challenging puzzle so far this year, so a nice feeling of satisfaction when the last clue went in.

    Favourites were 14a, 17a, 27a, 7d and 8d. Hard to pick one out from amongst those, all equally clever.

    Many thanks to Jay and the 2Kiwis.

  28. Kath, Jane, Hanni: thanks so much for your concern – I’m really very touched by it. I’m okay. Have had lots to do and not been all that well. Comments that half-formed in my head all seemed whiney and annoying so I kept putting off saying anything. Now I feel bad for making you worry :(.

    Must say a few words about the crossword too. I found it similar in difficulty to yesterday, both tricksy little things but very enjoyable and full of aha! moments.

    Thanks to all involved in this production and to Kath, Jane and Hanni,


    1. Sorry to hear that you’ve not been well – hopefully you’ll be back on form in time for Mr. K’s next trip home!
      Take care and feel free to ‘whine’ any time you like – I can think of one or two commenters who could give master-classes on that subject! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_bye.gif

      1. Hi Jane,
        A bit of whining would certainly make a change from the whinging but as far as I am concerned I can only give lessons in wining.

    2. Oh good – glad to ‘see’ you. That’s one less person to worry about – both Lambs have always said that there’s a lot of border collie in me – they say I’m only happy once everyone has been rounded up and accounted for. Anyway, a little http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_rose.gif to cheer you up.

  29. I must be right on wavelength today; this one just flowed off the nib. 1*/4* by my reckoning. I very much enjoyed 11d, but there were plenty of other contenders for top clue. Many thanks to Jay for a satisfying puzzle, and to 2 Kiwis for – as usual – a splendid review. What a joy to see that “Life of Brian” clip again!

    1. Was that film anything to do with our blogger Brian, I wonder? He’s not the Messiah, he’s just a very naughty boy :wink:

  30. Late starting because having read minutes of Arts Festival committee meeting and agenda for tomorrow’s meeting realised that I had quite a lot of work to do if I was not going to get a smacked paw. Found crossword quite a challenge but knowing that in the end the 2Kiwis would sort me out I struggled on even if I did need some explanations to tell me why. Nice anagrams and spotted 22d much to my surprise. Thanks to Jay and 2Kiwis – glad the family are helping out. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/smiley-phew.gif

  31. Well what a challenge after yesterday , unlike almost everyone else (or so it seems) the left hand side went in relatively easily Not sure of the first part of 8d ? it held me up , and the forest from” lord of the rings ” had has much credibility as the Ents : but the one I didn’t spot was 16d , I could have done it to myself when I looked at the hint.
    Enjoyable despite the hiccups , ****/***

  32. What a smashing challenge! I really enjoyed this one; certainly not easy mind, but some great clues involved. I liked 18 and 20d especially and 22d almost caught me out.
    So 3*/4* for me. Thanks to Jay and well done tha 2k’s for performing well under pressure.

  33. Three stars for both, definitly.1d, 1a and12d and 19a were my last four and my most liked. Thanks kiwis and Jay.

  34. I always find Jay’s clues on a Wednesday impenetrable, and today was no exception! I did get there in the end though. Took me ages to get the first part of 21a – d’oh!!

  35. Also got there there in the end but found this **** difficult though **** enjoyment, especially over the last few. Favourites were 13d and 26a. 11d was last in and a complete ‘doh’. Thanks to Jay and thanks, 2Ks, especially for the retrospective explanation of Cornwall and Duck.

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