DT 27740 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
View closed comments 

DT 27740

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 27740

Hints and tips by 2Kiwis

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty ** – Enjoyment ***

Yesterday, on our regular walk, we saw two black swans swimming in the estuary. They are really Australian birds but are well established in NZ. We often have them visiting our estuary as a safe refuge during the shooting season which starts in May. Speaking of travelling birds and May neatly leads into our latest news. We have used the excuse of research for the next writing project by one of us, to make a short visit to UK during May. We will be based at Kingston upon Thames.
Enough about us. Let’s concentrate on today’s puzzle from Jay. Generally we found it straightforward apart from a real stumbling block in the NE.

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


1a     Plot swindles and breach of copyright (10)
CONSPIRACY : A four letter word for swindles and a word that means breach of copywright or robbery on the high seas.

6a     Shrewd to ignore right of course (4)
CUTE : A word meaning to ignore or give someone the cold shoulder and the last letter (right) of cours(E). This was our 11a today.

10a     Performance scheduled for part of London (5)
ACTON : A performance and a two letter word meaning scheduled.


11a     Gamble on Eire developing a particular pet hate (4,5)
BETE NOIRE : An anagram (developing) of  ON EIRE follows a word for a gamble.

12a     Steal, but lawyers win (7)
BARGAIN : Steal here is a noun made from a collective noun for lawyers and a word meaning win.

13a     Draw out professional student working with force of gravity (7)
PROLONG : An abbreviation for professional, a one letter student or learner, a two letter synonym for working and the abbreviation for G(ravity).

14a     Not a sad visit arranged for especially talented people (5,7)
IDIOT SAVANTS : Another anagram of a French phrase made from (arranged) NOT A SAD VISIT.

18a     Almost certain — putting a coat on and giving up (12)
SURRENDERING : Remove the last letter from a word meaning certain and then add a word for putting on a coat of plaster perhaps.

21a     Locked up right person with secret information (7)
INSIDER : Where a person in prison might be described as being, and R(ight) from the clue.

23a      Those people must accept charge for treatment (7)
THERAPY : A slang word for a criminal charge is inserted into a word for those people.

24a     Travel essential for hire, including one catch (6,3)
TOILET BAG : The 2,3 phrase that might be put in the window of a house for rent has the Roman one in it, then a synonym for catch or capture.

25a     The links or the range? (5)
CHAIN : Double definition. Neither of them have anything to do with golf. The second is to do with mountains.

26a     Couple about to give birth stay without influence (4)
DUET : A word meaning about to give birth is followed by s(T)ay when a word for influence is removed.

27a     Excited stars model for great artists (3,7)
OLD MASTERS : An anagram, (excited) of STARS MODEL.


1d     Irritable taxi driver having to cross river (6)
CRABBY : A familiar word for a taxi driver has R(iver) inserted.

2d     Temperament shown by angry EU rant? (6)
NATURE : An anagram (angry) of EU RANT.

3d     Cause of hold-ups at the couturier is a sensation (4,3,7)
PINS AND NEEDLES : These things keep bits of material together at the dressmakers before the real sewing starts.

4d     Archer‘s fleece — popular with gangster? (5,4)
ROBIN HOOD : Fleece or steal from is followed by a word for popular and a four letter gangster.

5d     Overtake dangerously when upset (3,2)
CUT UP : Double definition. The first definition seems to be a North American usage. (We, and probably most of you, would use IN for the second word.)

7d     Creatures shown by navy netted by cousin at sea (8)
UNICORNS : An anagram (at sea) of COUSIN includes the abbreviation for the Royal Navy.

8d     Perk up, seeing her dressed up leaving hotel (8)
ENERGISE : An anagram (dressed up) of SEEING hER excluding the NATO alphabet hotel.

9d     Minor problems at home with ladies? (14)
INCONVENIENCES : The usual two letter at home and where women might go to powder their noses.

15d     Plan to put treasure under layers of rock (9)
STRATAGEM : A precious stone follows a word for geological layers of rock.

16d    Lent a hand when changing sides takes time (8)
ASSISTED : A synonym for when, an anagram (changing) of SIDES includes T(ime).

17d     Long to take in topless joint — it’s spotless (8)
PRISTINE : Long (or even a type of tree perhaps) surrounds a word for a joint in the arm with its first letter missing.

19d     Delayed by father’s sense of taste (6)
PALATE : A two letter father precedes a word for delayed.

20d     Extremely happy and rational over such mammals (6)
HYENAS : Take the first and last letters (extremely) of happy, and then the reversal of a word meaning rational.

22d     Non-conformist bishop in dance (5)
REBEL : The chess abbreviation for bishop appears, without a cause, in the middle of a dance.

24a is our favourite today as travel arrangements are very much on our minds at present.

Quickie pun   grow + series = groceries

78 comments on “DT 27740

  1. The crossword is the only good thing about Wednesdays.

    Another of those puzzles that playfully pretends to put up a big fight but lets you catch it long before you are tired of the chase.

    7d might be my cats: mythical beasts.

    26a held me up for a bit; 6a held me up a lot.

    I have a long shortlist of favourites: 18a 23a 24a, 9d 15d 17d.
    But clue of the day for me is 5d.

    Thanks to Jay for yet another great puzzle and to the 2Ks for yet another polished and professional review.

    Crossword meet in May, I think!

  2. I got held up in the SW corner for longer than I cared to be. Enjoyable solve – thanks to th 2Kiwis and Jay **/***

  3. Pretty much a read and write for me….until 6A. With the checking letters in place, and nothing better coming to mind, I opted for ‘of course’ being the definition and ‘sure’ the solution. I couldn’t justify it but could think of nothing else. Ah, well. I suspect I may not be the only one. Thanks to Jay, and to the 2Kiwis for the review.

    How lovely that you’re going to the UK, and at such a nice time of year, too. I envy you. I do hope you’ll be able to meet up with some of the bloggers and commenters.

    1. definitely not the only one: I had sure in my head for ages, and was inventing words like “surfaire” from which I could remove a word meaning right

  4. After everything else went in quickly, 26a (couple about to give birth..) and 6a (shrewd..) had me stumped for ages – I thought I was going to have to leave the puzzle unsolved – but eventually clicked. I did think duet was a piece of music for 2 and the couple performing it were a duo, but brb says duet can also mean the performers.

    Hope jean-luc likes 11a & 14a.

    My favourites were 24a (travel essentials..), 3d (cause of hold-up…) and 9d (minor problems..)

    Many thanks Jay and 2Kiwis

  5. Glad to see that I was not alone in struggling with 6a. That probably tipped it to a 2* Favourite clues were 11 d and 26a. Thanks to the 2 kiwis for the hints, especially for deciphering 6a.

  6. Enjoyed this one and raced ahead in the South but North wasn’t quite such a cake-walk. Surely there’s a grammatical error in 14a – noun doesn’t agree with adjective as per 11a?! 6a certainly caused agonising for me too over whether it was sure or 2Ks solution. Thanks Jay and 2 Ks. ***/***. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gif

  7. 2*/3* for me thank you Jay and the 2Ks.

    2Ks – Lovely to hear you will be in the UK in May If you are able to be in London on 19 May, I understand there is likely to be a Sloggers & Betters gathering on that day (or sometime that week).

      1. Whereabouts in Cornwall Miffypops old chap? We spend quite some time idling around the Port Isaac/ Polzeath area. I’m sure that you have noticed (in some of our red tops} that our leader spends some time there, rather unsuitably attired with his dolphin tattooed spouse.

          1. I love it down there. Used to go to Falmouth a lot. Fabulous place for fresh seafood and fish. Have a great time

  8. 6a was my last one in, and I havered between cute and sure also… My absolute fave is 7d, not just because they are horses but because I love the book “Nobody Rides the Unicorn” and sometimes use it as an encouraging metaphor in workshops. And I was getting all excited that some of us not too far from Kingston upon Thames, such as Kitty and myself could meet up with the 2Kiwis in May – until I remembered I’m working up in Scotland that month, which is a few miles short of impossible. Bah! But thank you to the setter today, as well as to the 2Kiwis and I hope you have a really super trip to these shores…

  9. Was slogging on the toughie so decided to take a break and look at the back page.
    Quite a read and write which means that there nothing wrong with me. I was staring to worry.
    Imagine waking up and not being able to solve anything. That’s exactly what happened.
    6a held me up too. Specially as the only fitting synonym I found was acute.
    Dutch is right. I liked 10a and 14a a lot and favourite is 8d.
    Thanks to 2kiwis for explaining 6a and the rest of course and the nice pic of James Dean.

    1. Hi Jean-luc,
      Know what you mean about the Toughie – I’ve only got seven in so far and have hit a brick wall! Suspecting that I might be needing you for 22a – nothing in English is springing to mind.
      Ah well – at least the back-pager was a satisfying solve.

  10. Nice one from Jay that left me feeling happy and with a long list of potential favourites – 11&13a, 3,9,15&20d. Think I’ll give the honours to 15d for the lovely surface read. 2*/4*.
    Didn’t get to grips with the correct parsing of 6a – I had ‘acute’ in mind which left me in a tangle with ‘left’ and ‘right’.
    Stupidly missed the anagram indicator in 8d for quite a while.
    The 5d expression was fine for me – I think both variants are in regular use here.

    7d reminded me of a tape of children’s songs that we used to play (constantly!) in the car for the daughters when they were small. The silly unicorns missed out on getting into the Ark, but there were ‘green alligators and long-necked geese, humpy-backed camels and some chimpanzees’. That’ll be going round in my head all day now! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_wacko.gif

    Many thanks to Jay and to 2K’s for the great review. Loved the 20d pic – even though they don’t appear to be laughing!

      1. Thank you, MP – knew I could rely on you! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_good.gif I’ve still got the tape but nothing to play it on.

      1. That makes me feel much better, Jean-luc. At least your version saves the unicorns – even if they couldn’t breed!

    1. Oh – don’t remind me of long car journeys with small kids. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/smiley-phew.gif Once husband and I had got completely sick of Willo-the-wisp, Evil Edna and The Cat came Back the only solution was Billy Joel as he was about the only singer who we liked and who the Lambs would also listen to without too many complaints – it wasn’t so good once they knew all the words and joined in! It’s a miracle that I wasn’t put off him for ever . . .

      1. MP3 players/tablets are one of the greatest inventions for travelling with child type things. No idea how I’d have managed when they were younger without them.

        Blimey I’d forgotten all about Willo-the-wisp!

      2. We graduated to Abba – think that was no. 1 daughter’s choice, although she would doubtless deny it now!

          1. Paul Simon. All 5 of my now grown-up children (who have hugely different musical tastes, from US soul, through RnB, to CCR and death metal) still love him and clamour for concert tickets

  11. **/****

    This would have been a read and write apart from 6a. Cute? Sure? Meh.

    Didn’t spot the 8d anagram either but got the answer. Enjoyed the other anagrams.

    Favourite clue is 15d.

    Wonderful Wednesday words.

    Many thanks to Jay and to the 2Kiwi’s for your usual excellent blog.

    I see a knowledge of London is needed in the back page and the Toughie today.

        1. I do not know. We are happy that one Green Man team has made it to the final. Martin and I won our doubles match easily by 2 – 0. It all went downhill from there. We always up the ante on the food side of things when both teams are playing each other. Mrs Cobley brought in a lovely Cottage Pie and Audrey made two Pavlovas. Lovely Jubbly. There was no bloodshed but the beer flowed well.

          1. That’s the spirit. Onwards and upwards as Michael would say. Food and drink for all and you still have the league title in your sights.

            Your knowledge of obscure songs about mythical beasts is outstanding. I’m still hooked on Bellowhead. 10000 miles away was on in the car this morning.

            1. Bellowhead are best served live. I have tickets to see them in Oxford on April 18th. I have a million songs in my head.

                1. You haven’t. There’s still tickets.

                  Wish there was a date near us. But no…we got Take That at the Stadium of Light one year.

                  We did get the oh so lovely Duke Special last year though. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_cool.gif

              1. And out of doors. Bellowhead were one of the concerts in Lichfield cathedral 2 or 3 years back. It was not a good experience. The cathedral acoustics killed their performance and I was seated at a resonance point and could feel my chest cavity vibrating.

      1. Peculiar. Along with Bellowhead, Cowboy Junkies and Sweet Jane was also offered up by the shuffle function on my phone/car thingy this morning.

  12. I’m with everyone else on 6a – not obvious to me either. But the rest was fair enough. – 2*/3* would seem right to me.

  13. 6a was the last one in for us as well, and in the end we guessed the answer and then looked to see if and why it was right. We enjoyed the crossword though, so thank you to the Wednesday setter and to the 2Kiwis. I hope you are not just going to stay in the south of England, but travel to some of the other beautiful and less crowded places in these fair isles. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gif

  14. Like everyone struggled with 6a . Thought it must be the answer or ‘sure’ . Needed the blog to discover why. Not my favourite clue. Thanks to both

  15. Whilst 6a was my last one in, it didn’t hold me up too long. The rest was straightforward but enjoyable.
    Thanks Jay and the 2Ks.

  16. Probably just me being jet-lagged but I found this quite tricky, a ***/*** for me. The enjoyment rating would have been higher if it wasn’t for 26a which I thought perfectly dreadful.
    One of those crosswords where you can see the answer but you have to think hard to parse it.
    Thx to all.

  17. Pleasant enough puzzle from Jay and completed with no major difficulty until 6a. I was sure that ‘sure’ was the correct answer but couldn’t quite parse it, so thanks to the 2Kiwis for pointing out the error of my ways. Quite a few good clues with no particular stand out favourite.

    Thanks to Jay for the puzzle and the 2Kiwis for setting me straight on 6a an their excellent review as always.

  18. No difficulty to report here. Excellent review from the 2Ks. Very succinct unlike my wordy ones. Thanks to Jay and thanks to our soon to be visitors

  19. Got them all without hints or electronic aids EXCEPT 6a.
    Reading the blogs made me feel better about my near miss getting it all done alone and without a leader.
    Thanks to the setter and the two kiwis.

  20. Thanks to JJay and to the 2 Kiwis for the review and hints . A ggood puzzle ffrom Jay , ververy enjoyable . PhPhone hhas gogone bananas.

    1. That’s better, phone has stopped stuttering. Favourite was 4d. Only difficulty was 6a. Last in was 24a. Was 2*/3* for me.

  21. Bit of a slog today but enjoyable nonetheless. Particularly liked 5D Would rate this as 3.5/3 Thanks to the Two Kiwis for the review.

  22. I agree with 2* and 3*.
    Glad that I wasn’t the only one to have trouble with 6a. The right answer didn’t even occur to me – the only thing that I could think of was ‘sure’ for ‘of course’ – didn’t put it in as I do remember some of BD’s words of wisdom, “If you can’t explain an answer it’s probably wrong”.
    Apart from that little piglet (the clue, not BD’s words of wisdom) I didn’t have too many problems.
    I missed the anagram indicator in 16d for a while – have no idea how as it’s one of the most obvious ones. Oh dear!!
    I liked 11 and 14a and 3 and 9d. My favourite was 1d mainly because that’s what I am today. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_sad.gif
    With thanks to Jay and 2K’s – glad that you’ve “come out” about the UK visit in May!

  23. Good morning everybody. I think we spent longer trying to sort out 6a than on the whole rest of the puzzle. We were convinced that SURE had to be the answer of course and spent ages trying to parse it before looking for other alternatives. Not surprised to see that others went down the same road. Today we can continue with the challenge of learning how to operate a tablet that we have bought to use on our trip. We had long Skype tutorials yesterday from a son and grandson and more to come. Nothing like modern technology for putting oldies like us in their place! We will master it! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_good.gif

  24. 1*/3*. Just the job for my neighbour, who has taken up crosswords (with my occasional guidance) in her late 70s. I’ve printed her a copy because she’s off gawping at the fjords. I understand she visits the blog but still hasn’t de-lurked. 3d my favourite. Thanks to Jay, and to the 2 Kiwis. Now for the Toughie, which by all accounts will not yield its secrets so readily!

  25. I too swithered between cute and sure ,cute was the first word I thought of & ended up putting sure in the answer …drat! Thanks to Jay for a very enjoyable puzzle & The 2 K’s of course for the review & to MP for the song. I’d never heard it before . http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_good.gif

  26. Thank you Jay, not too hard today. Thanks 2 Kiwis for your review and hints. A cold and blustery day at Martin Mere. More than 1000 Whooper Swans still in residence.

  27. As so often happens, I finished on my own but needed the hints in some cases to fully understand the clues for which many thanks 2KW

  28. Took me ages to work out the wordplay for 6a. The answer was obvious and in quickly.

  29. Well that was quick, and fun, though I looked at the very clear hint for 17d. Favourite 24a. Thanks Kiwis and Jay.

  30. A late one for me today and I think I can safely say “ditto” to most of the preceding comments.

    2*/3* with most of the time being spent on 6a. 9d was my favourite.

    Many thanks to Jay and the 2Kiwis.

  31. No problems except for 6a – my solution was ruse – rusé which in French means sort of shrewd, foxy. Needless to say I could not justify it! Started with contraband for 1a but soon discovered that although it fitted could not be parsed… 2*/3*. Many thanks to Jay and to the 2Kiwis whose review was most welcome. 7d made me smile.

    1. Re my Comment 9 above my French is by no means 100% so I would be interested to know if 14a is OK by you, Jean-Luc et al? http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/icon_rolleyes.gif

      1. Good evening Angel,
        14a is one of these words that we hardly use in France.
        It’s still considered a medical condition but now you’re more likely to suffer from savant’s illness or just plain autism.
        We’re not as pc as you are. Another example is “Mongolian”, a term that is still too widely used to describe people suffering from Down syndrome when the proper name is ” trisomique”.

      2. You are absolutely right it should be idiots savants if one wants to be grammatically correct en français – by the way it is not an expression that we use in French – I have never heard it before…

        1. You are quite right Framboise. I lived in Paris for ten years and heard the expression on only a couple of occasions. i didn’t really understand it but it was definitely in plural. Les idiots sa…..etc.

      3. There I am again. Not really answered the question did I?
        Oh well, I wouldn’t have put an “S” at the end of idiot.
        But I’m sure it needs one as there is no hyphen between the two words.
        I trust Framboise, she’s a French teacher.

  32. Thanks Two Kiwis I agree **/*** , Black Swans are also well established in the UK, especially in Cambridgeshire ;)

  33. Managed to complete this one correctly but, like many others, I needed the explanations for 6a and 26a. Thanks to the compiler for a lovely puzzle and 2Kiwis for the explanations.

  34. Straightforward as usual from Jay – except for, yes you’ve guessed it, 6a. I went down the Sure track and sought guidance from K-squared as to why it was right, only to find that it wasn’t. First time I’ve made a mistake for ages. So thanks to J for stopping me from getting too cocky and to the Ks for their erudition

  35. Just to be awkward I didn’t have problems with 6a but boy did my grey cells do a complete migration when it came to 26a! The rest of the crossword was excellent.
    I will nominate 9d as my favourite, although I’m sure it must be an old chestnut. Overall, 2*/3* I think.
    Thanks as usual to Jay and the 2K’s for their entertaining review.

  36. Had problems equating “Shrewd” with “Cute” but it had to be as it was Energise. No trouble with the rest and since I’m an heraldist my favourite was the Unicorn.

Comments are closed.