DT 27754 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 27754

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 27754

Hints and tips by Deep Threat

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ***

Good morning from South Staffs on a beautiful sunny morning which has given us an excellent view of today’s partial eclipse. Rather more successful in that respect than the total eclipse in 1999 where we stood on a clifftop in South Devon looking at total cloud cover – though the sight of the line of darkness rushing across the sea towards us remains in the memory.

There seem to be rather a lot of answers arrived at by putting bits and pieces together in today’s Giovanni. I found it fairly straightforward, and the less familiar terms are fairly clued, though those unfamiliar with the story of the first Christian martyr in the New Testament may struggle to parse 18a.

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.


1a           Ached badly in cold season? Get a jacket (11)
WINDCHEATER – The cold season of the year with an anagram (badly) of ACHED inside it.

7a           Like a type of dish with some vinegar — nice (5)
GARNI – Hidden in the clue.

Image result for steak garni

8a           Fruit from exhibition centre obtained by sailor in East (9)
NECTARINE – Put together the initials of a large exhibition centre near Birmingham, one of the usual crossword sailors, IN (from the clue) and East.

10a         Attraction outside church — Rex the dog (7)
LURCHER – An attraction or bait wrapped around an abbreviation for church, followed by the abbreviation for Rex (king).

Image result for lurcher

11a         Deranged king keeping the strap for punishment? (7)
LEATHER – A Shakespearean king who went mad, with THE (from the clue) inside.

12a         This person’s qualification to teach is put down (5)
IMBED – A short version of ‘this person is’ followed by a teaching degree.

13a         Men going over B&B by lake — the latest in senseless crimes (9)
ROBBERIES – Put together the reverse of the abbreviation for soldiers who are not officers, B and B from the clue, one of the Great Lakes, and the last letter of senselesS.

16a         Shop worker is idiot and is ultimately incompetent worker (9)
ASSISTANT – Put together an idiot, IS (from the clue), the last letter of incompetenT, and a worker insect.

18a         One got by Stephen? Maybe the one that killed him? (5)
STONE – ONE (from the clue) is preceded by the title given to Stephen or other holy Christians. Stephen was put to death by being pelted with rocks, so the answer may be the one which killed him.

19a         Bird lands on summit — it’s hairy (7)
TOPKNOT – The summit of a hill followed by a bird of the sandpiper family.

Image result for topknot

22a         English apostle and French American soldier may wear it (7)
EPAULET English, followed by the apostle who wrote lots of epistles, and the French word for ‘and’, giving the American spelling of a part of a military uniform.

23a         Criminal adored being punished, especially being locked up! (9)
DESPERADO – Anagram (being punished) of ADORED, with a short form of ‘especially’ inside it.

24a         One getting on in charge of architectural style (5)
IONIC – Put together the Roman numeral for one, ON (from the clue), and an abbreviation for ‘in charge’.

Image result for ionic

25a         Insects beginning to leap in new-style photos taken by mother (11)
DAMSELFLIES – A horse’s mother, followed by one of those photos taken on a mobile phone by a gurning idiot, with the first letter of Leap inside it.


1d           Some hospital garments in these cupboards? (9)
WARDROBES – Split (4,5) these could be clothes worn in a part of a hospital.

2d           Last part of serenade we hear uttered in beastly fashion (7)
NEIGHED – A homophone (we hear) of the last syllable of serenade, giving a verb meaning ‘made a noise like a horse’.

3d           Rain I care about — needed for plant (9)
CINERARIA – Anagram (about) of RAIN I CARE

Image result for cineraria

4d           Do well with fish, catching ninety (5)
EXCEL – The Roman numeral for ninety inside a fresh-water fish which travels to the Sargasso Sea to breed.

5d           Take care, if lacking recipe, when cooking food (7)
TEACAKE – Anagram (when cooking) of TAKE CA(r)E with the R removed (lacking recipe).

6d           Engineers with computer technology meeting hospital broadcasting boss (5)
REITH – The initials of a regiment of engineers followed by the usual abbreviation for computer technology and the abbreviation for Hospital, giving the first Director-General of the BBC.

Image result for lord reith

7d           Female, 54, and an old rocker wandered in pursuit of pleasure (11)
GALLIVANTED – Put together a dialect word for a young female, the Roman numeral for 54, AN (from the clue), and a 1950s rocker.

9d           Poetic curse this Little Englander may contrive (11)
EUROSCEPTIC – Anagram (may contrive) of POETIC CURSE.

14d         Gambler in deterioration — so not this? (6,3)
BETTER OFF – Another word for a gambler followed by a word describing food that is ‘in deterioration’.

15d         Nice soil’s found loose in certain rocky areas (9)
ISOCLINES – Anagram (found loose) of NICE SOIL’S. These are rocks where the strata are folded in the same way, apparently.

17d         A bit of light paper and a piece of timber (7)
SUNBEAM – A tabloid newspaper followed by a structural timber.

18d         A wish I conjured up to have Latin introduced as living language (7)
SWAHILI – Anagram (conjured up) of A WISH I with the first letter of Latin inside it.

20d         Was model contrary having lost initial work? (5)
POSED – Did what a model does. Remove the Latin abbreviation for a musical work from a word meaning ‘contrary’.

21d         Traffic to speed up going over end of village (5)
TRADE – Reverse (up, in a Down clue) a word meaning ‘to speed’ or move fast, and add the last letter of villagE.

The Quick Crossword pun WHIST + EERIER = WISTERIA.

76 comments on “DT 27754

  1. No partial eclipse sighting in East Kent – far too cloudy/misty – but it did get a bit dark for a while.

    A very user-friendly Giovanni this morning including one of my favourite words at 7d. Thanks to him and DT.

    The Toughie is on the Toughie spectrum but isn’t one of the most ‘Friday-ish’ ones – very enjoyable so why not have a go?

    I have a day off today so back to doing housework rewarding myself every so often by solving a crossword.

  2. Thanks to the Don’t for restoring my confidence after yesterday’s nightmare. I found this quite straightforward and well clued. Thanks to Giovanni and DT **/****

  3. Heavy going for me today & needed the hints on several clues.9D was my favourite with 2D a close second.Many thanks to the setter & DT for his much needed review.The eclipse was a non event down here on the southern coast it was too cloudy oh we’ll never mind,wishing all a good weekend one more & we can look forward to longer evenings

  4. I agree with **/***

    The Don is in a benevolent mood. I had to check that 3d was correct and not just something that fit well. Same with 19a, never heard of the bird.

    Favourites were 7 and 9d.

    Many thanks to Mr Manley and to DT for a great blog.

    Although we had some cloud cover, the eclipse was still visible. Great stuff. I think I’ll take up Crypticsue’s advice and have a go at the Toughie later.

    I hope everyone has a good weekend.

    1. Hi Hanni,
      Do a search for 16a – fairly boring smallish grey waders, but they go around together in huge numbers and their synchronised flying is quite spectacular.
      Think we had a similar view of the eclipse – visible but no glasses required.

      1. Hi Jane,

        I’ve just had a look. The red version I think is rather pretty. But even more amazing when they ‘swarm’. Such a stunning sight. It’s almost hypnotic.

        It does sound like our eclipse views were similar. I went out armed with old photography film to use as a shield, didn’t need it. Great sight though…and unusual sound. All the birds stopped signing.

        1. Wow, I didn’t know birds did that. How nice that they are so inclusive. How do they manage to sign with just those little feet and wings?

          1. We are sure Hanni means putting their names in the front of books like authors do, not giving assistance to the hard of hearing. That would be easier.http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_good.gif

            1. Ah, that makes much more sense – silly me. Birds are known for their literary prowess after all :).

              And I must say you are on fine form today, Kiwis. Your eclipse comments made me laugh. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_good.gif

              1. Whilst all these ideas are fantastic, I actually meant that our birds write signs in the sky. You’ve seen them flying in a ‘V’ formation, well this is a step further where they spell out whole words.

                They’ve even admitted it, sort of.

                If you Google ‘The Daily Mash, We fly in a ‘V’ because it looks brilliant say birds’….you can read about it.

                There’s also no evidence whatsoever that predictive text on my tab made me write signing. That’s just stupid. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_whistle3.gif

                Jane, I’m always so impressed with your avian knowledge. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_good.gif

                1. Thank you Hanni – actually there’s only a certain amount I ‘know’ but I’ve got a bookshelf stuffed full of bird-type reference books. I suspect that Sweet William knows a great deal more than I do!

                  1. Hi Jane,

                    If you are at a level where people are inviting you to give talks on a subject matter, that’s very knowledgeable. I do get that it is a huge area but still….you know your avians.http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_smile.gif

        2. Agree with you about the red ‘version’ Hanni. Sadly, that is the breeding plumage and as they’re only winter visitors to our shores (breed up in the Arctic) we rarely get to see them looking so smart.

  5. Thanks to DM for the puzzle and DT for the review.
    Am I the only one who doesn’t like 9d? I dislike anagrams where the indicator is miles away from the fodder.

  6. A very gentle stroll inside 1* time, including a dictionary check that 15d is in fact a word and a quick Google to confirm St Stephen’s cause of death.
    Not one to linger in the memory.

  7. On the easy side for a Friday still wasn’t sure about the spelling of 3d ; **/****.Fav those beautiful insects

  8. I did not get 9D. The ‘Little Englander’ escaped me (expatitis strikes again) and anyway I was looking at the wrong anagram fodder. Otherwise no real problems, though I had to check the BRB for 15D and missed the 13A lake for ages (shame on me). Thanks to Giovanni and to DT for the review.

  9. We did have some sun here and I was messing about with cardboard pinholes and white paper etc. Did see a tiny crescent, but it wasn’t as spookily elemental as 1999, when I stood in my in- laws’ garden looking toward Plymouth Hoe and the world went dark and cold while the kids, spouse and elders sat indoors watching it on the telly….. I’m not sure I’ve ever forgiven them. Honestly!

    The puzzle was fair but I needed to look up 15d and wasn’t familiar with the alternative to “embed” or the bird in 19a. Still like listening to a bit of Eagles (23a), even though they did join the “man” ……

    1. Did they not join you at all outside with your pinhole? Staggering!

      I first encountered the Johnny Cash version of 23a via Mr Kitty. It will always remind me of him.

      1. No, it was cloudy in 99 – no pinhole needed. That’s why they stayed inside, I reckon, but they missed the atmosphere and the ” moving shadow”.

  10. Some cloud, but could see enough of the sun to be able to follow the eclipse here in Macclesfield. The kids’ school posted photographs of 1500 kids in the sports field with glasses on, looked almost more amazing than the eclipse.

    Solid and reasonably straightforward puzzle with some nice constructions. I liked “hospital garments” (1d),” Little Englander” (9d) and the “new-style photos” in 25a.

    Many thanks Giovanni and Deep Threat

  11. After this weeks easy and difficult offerings we go straight down the middle today ,can’t quibble with DT’S **/***,some nice charades like 7d and 13a,and liked 25a-thought this would be an opportunity for a DT ‘pic – wasn’t sure what to expect !, Viewed the eclipse reflected on the conservatory roof windows from the bedroom with the aid of various sunglasses-clear in Cheshire, with this theme in mind 17d seemed most apposite.

  12. Compared with yesterday a stroll in the park :) To my eternal shame at first I put coconut in 19a which now conjures the image of a Red Knot on the top of a Scottish Ben or a Japanese Sumo Wrestler, whatever you prefer! **/*** ;) Thanks to DT and the compiler. The eclipse was visual in this part of Cambridgeshire

  13. A very easy ride from The Don today we thought. Definitely a **/*** but some very enjoyable ‘lego’ clues to use Miffypops’ expression.

  14. Not too obscure crossword from the Don today. A bit like the partial eclipse. The sky here was quite grey and we hardly noticed what was going on.
    As I was saying, even the director general of the BBC in 6d was seen before.
    I liked 18d as some of us sometimes think that the clues are written in this language.
    Thanks to the Don and to DT for the review

  15. ·I can’t believe this is the Friday crossword. We could actually do most of it with only a little assistance. If we hadn’t been told there would be an eclipse today, I doubt if I would have noticed. It just got a bit cloudy and then the sun came out and its a lovely day. Can we have an eclipse every day if it’s going to turn out like this? Thank you to the Friday setter and to DT.

  16. I found this very difficult and needed the help of the hint for 1a to get going but after yesterday’s horror which was thrown in the bin in disgust, this was very fair. All came together in the end but it fought me most of the way. Some really clever clues in 4d, 7d and especially 2d which really made us smile.
    Last in was 19a which really had us foxed for ages.
    As for the eclipse a total non event in bucks, 10/10 cloud and just got a little dim, v disappointing after all the buildup.
    Thx to all

  17. If anybody knows of a principle cellist who is available to perform The Messiah in Warwickshire tomorrow night, could they please let me know. one of the two booked has the flu.

    1. Not on this short notice MP.

      Have you tired Premier Musicians on 07545 991 621. They might be able to help or point you in the right direction.
      A long shot may be calling RAM?

      Wish I could be of more help.

            1. Oh blimey Ginny. I meant to invite you along to this. Just turn up tomorrow 7.00pm at the church. Bring your pal along too. Comps

                1. Last email from Keith and Andrea

                  We’re there! Alleluia!!!!! So, three singers, one trumpeter, four violinists and one cellist are due to arrive at Rugby station by 2pm tomorrow and to be back there to catch the 10.59pm train back to London.
                  Hope that will be possible…
                  See you tomorrow,
                  Andrea (and Keith)

                  1. Good to hear. I hope it all goes well. And well done to all of you for organising it. The Messiah has, and will always send shivers up my spine. And anyone who brings live performances to regional areas deserves a medal.

                    Out of curiosity, what level of orchestral experience did you want from the cellist? Assuming they are familiar with the score?

              1. Thank you so much for that. I did see a notice about the concert and would certainly have loved to however am unfortunately working. Hope it raises the roof.

  18. I’m ashamed to say that we’d forgotten about the eclipse – we noticed it was getting darker but thought it was about to rain – oh dear! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/icon_rolleyes.gif
    In 1999 we were in France – the main thing that struck me then, apart from the darkness rather obviously, was that all the birds stopped singing – think they thought it was time for bed.
    Now – the crossword – I enjoyed this one more than I often do on Fridays. I think I’ll go for 2* or 3* for difficulty and 3* or 4* for enjoyment.
    I spent too long doing silly things – 13a (tried to put an L into it), I’d forgotten the 9a bird, tried to start 23a with ‘con’, and missed 7a.
    I didn’t like 3d – there’s nothing wrong with the clue but I don’t like the plants.
    I had to ask Mr Google what a “Little Englander” was – luckily he knew.
    I liked 1 and 23a and 7d. My favourite, and the reason for an extra star for enjoyment, was 25a.
    With thanks to Giovanni and to Deep Threat.

  19. Got myself in a muddle putting dragonflies in for 25a which was completely dotty. And didn’t see the eclipse as I managed to fall upstairs, so am currently confined to quarters. At least it was better than falling downstairs, which I managed a while ago, and while Mr P was shouting my name aloud in great distress I found I actually had time to think (as I flew through the air) ‘well I’m coming as fast as I can’! But loving the 17d which means Poppy has an extra spring in her step. And sorry for being boring, but 2d is my absolute fave because of what/who it represents. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_bye.gif

      1. Thanks so much, Kitty. Apart from having joined the Ministry of strange walks, painkillers doing their stuff…http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_wink.gif

  20. What an odd couple of days – a Mr. T yesterday that even this devoted fan found little in to enjoy and a Giovanni today which was most satisfying and virtually R&W! I ALWAYS struggle with the Don’s puzzles – has the eclipse changed my wavelengths? http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_wacko.gif
    Last part of 25a became obvious early on and I did make an attempt to justify ‘butterflies’ for a while.
    Favourite is between 18&25a and 2d.

    Many thanks DM and also DT – loved the 10a pic. Put me in mind of my much-loved Deerhounds, a breed often used in the ‘cross’ that produces Lurchers.

  21. Thanks to heavy cloud cover we saw absolutely nada of the eclipse in W. Sussex bar a brief twilight so no call for colander or home-made eye-protector (using parts of floppy discs)! I Remember well 1999 eclipse viewed perfectly on East Coast however drowned my sorrows today with the Don’s entertaining puzzle for which thank you. **/****. Several good clues but hard to pinpoint a fav. Thanks for hints DT. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/icon_eek.gif

  22. Very enjoyable. Even the ones I didn’t know were workable.
    Loved 25a, but fave has to be 2d.
    Thanks to Giovanni and to Deep Threat.

  23. When considering the offerings we had this week this puzzle has put the sanity back: for this relief much thanks. And much thanks to DT for his review. An enjoyable solve. 3*/3*

  24. Hooray! Confidence restored with this enjoyable and not too taxing puzzle. I also give it a **\*** rating. Nearly got foxed by 15d with ‘silicones’ instead of ‘isoclines’ had to look that one up in dictionary. I liked 25a, wildlife and animal clues always appeal. Thanks for this one after yesterday’s horror. Eclipse here in North Norfolk not very visible due to hazy sea mist – only another 15 years until the next one!

  25. Today is International Happiness Day and as Hilary means Happy I wish you all well. Still suffering from yesterday so had a real struggle today, perhaps tomorrow will be better. Bit disappointed as I thought I was beginning to get better but reading how easy you lot found today’s offering I realise I was wrong. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_cry.gif

    1. Wishing happiness to you too, Hilary. And to everybody here.

      Don’t be disappointed. Dry your eyes – here, have a tissue. Lots and lots of people will also have struggled, but you are hearing only from those who are speaking up. I have followed your progress with interest since you started commenting – and progress there most certainly has been. You should be proud. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_rose.gif

    2. Hilary your progress is beyond fantastic. And I wish you happiness on this day and all the ones that follow.

  26. It was cloudy during the eclipse here. Not like 1999 where I had access to a nice big telescope equipped with a solar filter as well as a pair of the special glasses. One day I’d like to see totality.

    I really liked most of this. The 3d plant was a guess-then-google. The couple of alternative spellings (12a, 22a) caused frowns but no trouble.

    It was mostly a solo solve but Mr Kitty took time out from working to help me with the last few, and beat me to 19a. 9d was a stumbling point, but I twigged eventually.

    Lots of likes, including 11a, 18a and 7d. Favourite has to be 23a.

    Thanks to Giovanni and Deep Threat.

  27. A fair enough puzzle from the Don today, although I had to check who the BBC boss was. The wordplay was fine but it was not a name that I was familiar with. Liked 1a (my 1st one in) but disliked 9d as it was a bit too clunky. Amongst others I think my favourite was 7d (not a word your hear too much these days).

    Thanks to the Don for the puzzle and DT for his review.

    It was a brilliantly clear sky here in Shropshire so I watched the eclipse on the car window. Not as impressive as the one in 1999 but still brilliant.

  28. Was on the golf course during the eclipse, so although there was no cloud, we couldnt really watch it. The light got really weird for about 5 minutes, then it was all back to normal. The puzzle was a joy today and I nominate 25a as favourite. (After trying to fit in butterflies). **/*** Most Fridays are not as straitforward as today’s so we should appreciate it. Dare I try the toughie?

  29. Pretty standard Giovanni stuff. A couple of obscurities and the usual religious reference.

    **/** from us. Somehow it just didn’t hit the right spot. I reckon 1a was fav as the weather here has turned a bit cold, wet and windy and is forecast to stay that way for the next few days so I’ll probably need one. Also liked 2d.

    Thanks to Giovanni and DT.

  30. 25a was definitely the best clue as far as I am concerned,though I also liked 18a, 22a and 7d.The abundance of anagrams helped.Thanks DT and Giovanni.

  31. After yesterday’s joyful little number I think we deserved a more relaxing puzzle today!
    And it was fairly straight forward; I like Liz went down the Silicones route for a while, but once that was resolved all fell into place. I liked 2d cos it were different, and 7d cos of the sound of the word. 2*/3* overall.
    Thanks to the Don and DT for the review.
    The eclipse here in Somerset was most disappointing. Too much cloud and like Kath the momentary darkness I thought was heralding rain…
    Oh well, next time. 2090 isn’t it?

  32. Thank you DG, one of your more enjoyable puzzles and I think we knew all the words in the answers for a change ! Thanks DT for your review and hints. Cloudy in South Lakes this morning, but for about 30 seconds a small break in the clouds appeared and we were able to get a quick glimpse of the eclipse – so hazy that no protective glasses were necessary.

  33. Definitely less taxing than yesterday and an enjoyable solve overall.

    Had never heard of the solution to 15d before and thought the surface for 6d was a little clunky, but 25a stands out for me as the favourite clue by some way.

    If only the forthcoming General Election campaign could be over as quickly as today’s eclipse !

    Many thanks to Giovanni and Deep Threat.

  34. Did much better on this one than yesterdays. Still needed some help but somehow it felt a lot more doable than yesterday’s

    Cannot recall ever having seen 12a before, though that’s what it had to be from the clue.
    Was seriously held up by putting gallivanter rather than gallivanted for 7d and also by trying to make 15d silicones…

    Had a great view of the eclipse this morning…..eerie when the light went dim…

    Thanks to DT and the setter.

  35. Thoroughly enjoyed the puzzle which I did finish on my own except for some verifying with the hints for which many thanks DT. Also thanks to DG for a super puzzle

  36. We missed the eclipse because it happened in the middle of the night and we were asleep. It’s amazing how unspectacular night-time solar eclipses can be. For some reason we had a mental image of picture of the saint in 18a with many arrows sticking out of him and so arrow was our first guess. Didn’t last long as none of the checkers worked. We must have had the wrong saint. Slight delay in SE corner with arrow and then checking 15d but it all went together smoothly enough. Good fun Thanks Giovanni and DT.

  37. That was a joy today .I was right on Giovanni’s wavelength today ,apart from 18a.
    Fav.7d. Thanks to DG & DT.

  38. Arg – late today as my DT subscription had run out and I had to phone the very helpful people on the DT support desk. But finally up and running again. I can’t believe a year has slipped by since I started doing the DT cryptic puzzles again after many, many years (like 40 or so!)

    Yes, a nice straightforward puzzle today and I agree with 2* for difficulty but I am a bit more generous with 4* for enjoyment.

  39. I was quite pleased to be able to be on the right wavelength for Giovanni today. I needed the review to parse 13a as I always forget OR as an abbreviation (never mind spelling it backwards). My favourite clue was 17d but the whole thing was very enjoyable. (Nice antidote to yesterday’s!) 2* / 4*
    Many thanks to DT and the setter.

  40. 1*/3*, and 25a definitely my favourite clue. Ta to Giovanni, and to DT for the review.

  41. A difficult week for me in the real world, so only sporadic commenting opportunities – haven’t even had time to look at Thursday’s Ray T yet, so that’ll have to wait until tomorrow. I went to bed at 2.30am after work, got up at 5 to go for a hospital appointment and then went straight from there to work, after which I had to do some radio work and finally got home at 1.00am. As for today’s offering from the Don, straightforward 2* difficulty with some good clueing. 3* fun. Thanks to him and to DT for taking the time and trouble. PS slept through the eclipse, unsurprisingly, but gather that I didn’t miss much in South London.

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