DT 27761 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 27761 (Hints)

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 27761 (Hints)

Big Dave’s Saturday Crossword Club

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As is usual for the weekend prize crosswords, an assortment of clues, including some of the more difficult ones, have been selected and hints provided for them.

Don’t forget that you can give your assessment of the puzzle. Five stars if you thought it was great, one if you hated it, four, three or two if it was somewhere in between.

Most of the terms used in these hints are explained in the Glossary and examples are available by clicking on the entry under “See also”. Where the hint describes a construct a “usual” this means that more help can be found in The Usual Suspects, which gives a number of the elements commonly used in the wordplay. Another useful page is Wolves in Sheep’s Clothing, which features words with meanings that are not always immediately obvious.

A full review of this puzzle will be published after the closing date for submissions.

Some hints follow.


1a    Combining two illegal drugs makes one crazy (8)
A five-letter illegal drug followed by a three-letter one

10a    Excited to get in live coverage after a dip (8)
A six-letter adjective meaning excited inside a verb meaning to live

12a    Hard men trap insect (6)
A charade of H(ard), some army men and a verb meaning to trap

13a    Imprison lawyer in gambling organisation that’s state of the art (4,2-2-4)
A phrasal verb meaning to imprison (4,2) followed by a US lawyer inside a gambling organisation that operates a system in which dividends are calculated according to the amount staked rather than odds offered

16a    French art links two fish — a point used in the main (7-5)
The French for art, as in thou art, between two fish gives a point used by sailors (in the main) to separate the strands of a rope

19a    Visually tired by keeping king in play (6)
BY around (keeping) the tragic king in a play by Shakespeare

21a    Chemical compound produced from aluminium and potassium mixed with other metals we hear (8)
The chemical symbols for aluminium and potassium followed by what sounds like (we hear) a verb meaning mixed with other metals

26a    Government books supplying lot of soldiers (8)
A government or administration followed by a set of books of the bible


2d    Subjects of genuine document (6)
These subjects are fields of study – an adjective meaning genuine followed by a document or writing

4d    Classic venue for women entertained by country music queen (9)
A disrespectful, mainly Scottish, word for a woman inside the surname of a lady regarded by many as a country music queen

5d    Pictorial representation accomplished with gold after time (7)
A four-letter adjective meaning accomplished and the chemical symbol for gold preceded by T(ime)

13d    Traditional singer of considerable weight embracing girl briefly (9)
A considerable weight of heavy material which is used to weigh down and steady a ship around (embracing) the abbreviated form of a girl’s name

17d    Strike sovereign or pound (7)
A verb meaning to strike followed by our sovereign’s regnal cipher gives a slang word for a pound sterling

18d    Youngster with knowledge about one set of races (6)
A Scottish word for knowledge around I (one) and a set of motorcycle races

20d    Desire indefinite time in history? (5)
This verb meaning to desire, if split as (4,1), could be an indefinite period in history

22d    Doctor upset Greek character with pass (5)
This temporary substitute doctor is derived from a Greek character and a mountain pass, all reversed (upset in a down clue)

The Crossword Club is now open.  I’m off to the Village Café & Market – back around lunchtime.

Could new readers please read the Welcome post and the FAQ before posting comments or asking questions about the site.

As this is a Prize crossword, please don’t put any ANSWERS, whether WHOLE, PARTIAL or INCORRECT, or any ALTERNATIVE CLUES in your comment. If in doubt, leave it out!

Please read these instructions carefully. Offending comments may be redacted or, in extreme cases, deleted.

The Quick Crossword pun: alley+gaiters=alligators

82 comments on “DT 27761 (Hints)

  1. Well, I’ve taken a quick run-through with only a few completions so I think that I may be leaning heavily on your hints BD. I does seem very hard

  2. This was a case of two puzzles for me – the top half was a Read and Write, but the bottom was quite challenging

    I had never seen this spelling of 16a, and does anyone use 17d any more?. That seemed like a blast from the past!

    Anyway I completed it in 3* time after a bit of a struggle.

    Thanks to all as usual.

    1. I totally agree with you, George, and in particular your comments about 16a and 17d. It makes me wonder whether the compiler is even longer in the tooth than I am…

      1. I agree with George and thank the rest of you for your comments as it makes me feel like a mere youth!!! Overall I’d say this one was a good mix. Thanks to the setter and BD

  3. Could copy and paste a standard comment on Saturdays.
    Very enjoyable as usual.
    Easiest one 23a, hardest one 13d.
    Thanks to the setter and to BD for the hints.

  4. A similar experience to George – rattled through the top and then had to work harder for the rest. Thanks to BD and setter **/***

  5. Thank you setter. I thought that this would be quite straightforward after a good start, but it became harder as I went on. SW corner last to go in and I needed your hint BD for 16a to finish. Agreed it is a long time since I heard the 17d expression. All good fun on a rainy day ! Thanks for the hints BD especially 16a http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_good.gif

  6. 1*/3* – the only delays being caused by not knowing that spelling of 16a and writing the solution to 25a in 24a’s squares.

    Thanks to the Mysteron and BD.

    I can recommend today’s NTSPP too – yes I know it isn’t there yet, but it will be soon.

  7. Top went in OK but bottom was different kettle of fish hence needed some help for which TVM BD. ****/***. Thanks Mr. Ron. Fav 21a although I was initially confused finding an ending for aluminium and potassium. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/icon_neutral.gif

  8. Phew! Mops sweat from brow. Finally finished it. Started at a canter and then spoiled it all by going for a totally wrong answer for 16 across. That sent me up a blind alley with 15 and 17 down. Once the correct pair of words finally dawned or rather were gleaned from another source the rest easily fell into place. ***/*** for me today.
    A horrid wet and windy day up here, which does at least give me reason to stay home and try the GK prize Crossword.

  9. I really enjoyed this one … so many thanks to the setter.

    Defeated by 16a .. Mon Dieu! Never seen “French art ” like this before!

  10. I thought this was good but difficult – I’m glad that at least some of you also found it tricky otherwise I’d be trotting off to do a quick count of the marbles.
    Agree with Franco and others about 16a – even with the hint it took me a while to untangle.
    My Dad used to use 17d but he would have been ninety-five so maybe those who say it’s a blast from the past are right.
    I started off with the wrong ending for 21a which held up 18d.
    Spent too long trying to make 13a an anagram of something or other but never quite found the right number of letters – oh dear!
    11a was very obviously an anagram and it still took ages.
    1d had to be what it was but I had a bit of a struggle trying to make it mean ‘subjects’ and I don’t think that 22d is necessarily a doctor but I know I’ve said the same thing about this before.
    I think it should be ‘woman’ rather than the plural in the clue for 4d.
    I liked 11a and 8d.
    Thanks to Mr Ron and to BD.

  11. Nope..Still don’t get 16A. I can see two fish but as for the other letters….

    Bottom half quite challenging.

    1. I am with you. How does the ** in the middle come from French art?
      Enjoyable overall and 13d the last to solve

      1. Please don’t supply partial solutions (whether correct or not). BD has explained all in the hint.

      2. That is explained in the hint, but I can tell you that you have spelt the answer incorrectly.

        Please read contents of the red box before commenting again.

        1. Now you really have confused me, I can see the two fish leaving a two letter section in the middle but surely the instrument in question only has 11 letters according to the BRB so where does the 12th letter come from? The French word is a total mystery.

          1. I am not the only person to comment on the different spelling of 16a – which is in the BRB ‘cos I checked!

            I know you are a scientist but surely you must have done basic French at school.

            1. Guess I’ll have to wait until the full solution comes out. Possible that the word I have in mind – even with the strange spelling – is NOT the word. That’s the only explanation I have.

          2. The queries about the French word have come up before – a site Google search brings up the required information including the fact that looking at The Mine in the Features tab at the top of the page will assist greatly.

            1. Thank you, Sue. I knew the French word but got fixated on my fish. Had the wrong one….doh!! All is now clear, thanks.

            2. Phew, what a clue that was! Finally got it with your help Sue, thanks. Needed to look up French Art in the Mine. I too had a wrong fish in there :-)

  12. I did not know that spelling of 16A either and had a different last letter in the first word because it was all I could think of and the French bit went over my head. Otherwise OK. I liked 13A and 14D. Thanks to the setter and to BD for the review.

  13. Nearly gave up on this one. Couldn’t get 25a because we had 13d with a wrong ending, which didn’t fit. In our defence, the answer to 13d isn’t in our dictionary, but eventually the penny dropped, thank goodness. Thank you to the Saturday setter and to BD.

  14. Another crossword that was jolly hard work. Got a number of answers without fully understanding the clue such 16a and 4d, obvious answers but unpicking the clue was tricky. Would take issue with 10a, it only works if the the word in the clue was excite or excitement rather than the past tense. I still have no idea what the French for art is, and I had to look up regnal from the hint.
    Although I had heard of a 16a I had no idea what it was used for so that’s something learned today but surely it is only an 11 letter word according to the BRB or have I missed something. Best clue for me was 21a by a country mile.
    Bit lacking in anagrams for my taste.
    Thx to all.

      1. … but only one of those two fits the enumeration. Furthermore, the required spelling is that of the main headword in Chambers, which is not always the case with alternative spellings In crossword answers.

          1. But as jane Austen might have said “It is a truth universally acknowledged, that the Telegraph almost invariably uses Chambers dictionary”.

            1. But in my sailing days I would have used the spelling that doesn’t fit, and to make matters worse it would have been two words (6,5). Not that it caused a problem, it was the French art that did that.

  15. Tricky for a Saturday. Too 19a today to be up to it without some help. Couldn’t for the life of me figure out the ending of 21a, and I really should have. Sigh. Didn’t know the 13a gambling organisation, but did work that one out. Failed at 13d too. I agree that there is a woman/women problem in 4d and that 16a is Toughie territory. Otherwise, good stuff.

    Liked 3d and the answer to 18d (obviously). Favourite is 10a. Thanks to the setter and BD.

    1. There really is not a woman or a women problem within 4 down. All I can suggest without giving anything away is that any of you with doubts that you ask your Scottish friends or acquaintance. In no way is it a disrespectful term as stated in the hints above. On the contrary, if you’ve ever watched the TV series “Still Game” you will hear the word being used and in a familiar, endearing way. I’m also quite sure from other comments I’ve read that some of us are looking at French art from the wrong angle.

      1. My issue is only with a plural word in the clue and a singular one in the answer, not with the term itself. Chambers has it as either facetious, disrespectful or endearing depending on context – so that covers most bases! I’m with you in that I’ve encountered it more as a term of endearment, though arguably sometimes a patronising one.

        I liked the French art, just found it tricky :).

        1. I agree with you about the woman/women in the clue. I knew 18d would be your favourite and, to cheer you up today, here’s a little http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_rose.gif for you.http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_rose.gif

      2. I worked in Glasgow for over two years and, trust me, the girls in that office hated it when someone addressed them in that way. You can quote as many dictionaries as you like, but I heard it for myself.

        1. Sorry, but I beg to disagree. I have never used or heard the word in a disparaging way. Secondly, I have no idea what you are talking about in your other comment.

        2. Many years ago, arriving at a Glasgow train station, the lady who took my ticket said “thank you, —” and I couldn’t stop laughing. To this day I sometimes say “dinna fash yersel’, —“.

          1. I am afraid it’s a question of social class.
            My daughter works in the east end of Glasgow and it’s a term of endearment.
            In my middle class west of Scotland town it’s exceptionally patronising.

            1. A bit like being called “dear” by someone you have never met before which I find very patronising! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/icon_mad.gif

      3. Devotees of Rab C Nesbitt will also be familiar with the word as a term of endearment!

    2. I think the word to be inserted in 4d, is supposed to be an adjective meaning “for women”, as in certain women-only parties. Therefore, if you accept that it can be an adjective, the plural makes sense.

    1. It’s also online and whoever gives the definition also splits the word into syllables, explaining how the word came to be.

  16. Finished with difficulty. Thank you , as always, for the much needed hints. Last one in for me was 9a….how did I miss that hidden clue!
    Now on with 2 more simnel cakes! Thanks to the setter too.

  17. A bit tricky but I got there in the end. I did need the hint to get the “art” bit in 16a, very clever.
    Fave was 13a, though must confess it smacked of slang to me.
    Thanks to setter and BD for the hints.

  18. Some interesting comments above – detecting some tetchiness. 16a new to me. Really enjoyed it. Off to paint the shed. Thanks to BD et al. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_wacko.gif

  19. BD, you seem to have much work to do on checking the traffic.
    I know we change time tonight but it seems the Sunday Drivers are already here.http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_wink.gif

  20. Almost gave up on this one as I got stuck on 13a and 16a… 12d and 14d also gave me trouble. Just completed it thanks to BD’s hints. It is the first time in ages that I felt beaten. Did not enjoy it very much either, oh dear! Must not forget my manners, however, so many thanks to the setter and to BD who threw me a lifeline!

  21. Not a typical Saturday crossword me thinks! Like several people here the top half went in easily but thereafter….. Whew! I finished it finally once I realised that the 16a was spelled that way! Oh dear, my father would have been horrified!
    I think I’ll nominate 16a as my favourite cos it is a clever clue. 3*/3* overall.
    Thanks to Mr Ron and BD for his hints.

  22. 2*/3*, l think, and I’ll take 13a as my favourite clue. Thanks to the setter, and to the blogmeister.

  23. I have put two fish between french art ,with all the checkers fitting and the Telegraph won’t accept it. Anyway the definition is incredible obscure. I guess they don’t want too many entries.
    Otherwise not too many difficulties.
    Thanks BD.

    1. Try putting the art between the fish – as the clue says the French art ‘links’ the fish.

  24. Thanks to the setter and to Big Dave for the hints. The top half went in ok, but the lower was more tricky, got there in the end with some help from the Blog on 16a. Managed to get 17d, but I’ve never heard that usage before. Needed the hints to parse 10a. Favourite was 21a. Was 3*/4* for me. A very enjoyable puzzle.

  25. The ipad has yesterday’s cryptic clues and answers already filled in under today’s number. We feel cheated out of the prize we never win!

  26. I can only echo what many have said, top half was a relative breeze (except 12a which I only got right at the end, with electronic help), bottom half was like pulling teeth. The only reason I got within one of completion was pure reluctance to give in.

    The one I didn’t get…well, 16a of course! Even now, having read all of the above, I have no idea what the answer is, so will have to see if I can sleep tonight or not!

    Favourite clue, hmmm, not sure, I’d have to draw up a short list, comprising 10a, 14d 15d (even though I don’t understand where the final five letters come from!), and 17d.

    Didn’t like the brief girl in 13d, or the unaccustomed in 25a.

    1. The last five letters of 15d come from a four letter word for a way, or a small country road, containing (to get round) the first letter (initially) of C(common). Truce, and hope this is helpful! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_smile.gif

      1. Ah, I see it now. In my answer, the first three letters were hinted at by all of the first five words, not just the first one! Meaning that I had a lack of ammunition to construct the last five letters!

        Truce? I didn’t realise we were at war? If it was something I said, it wasn’t directed at you. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_unsure.gif

  27. It was one of those that I guessed the word and struggled to justify it. Typical was 18d!
    This was very obscure in its make up.16a was another one- and 13d

    I did need the hint on 17d – as was said it was a trifle dated -thanks BD.

    Favourite was 1 a. It was a pleasant way to spend the time being driven up the M5 and M6 to Cheshire!

  28. 17d is driving me to distraction – I’ve read all the comments above, and it appears one has to be extremely ancient to know it – I’m 74 and haven’t a clue !!
    If I could get that I might have a chance of getting 16a, about which there is much discussion above. Apart from these it is done !

    1. Age apart I did suss this somewhat slangy term and I suggest you look for ******** * ***** with our sovereign. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_wink.gif

  29. Oh dear, in my effort to be a Good Samaritan I have been censored for which I deserve a ***** before the sovereign! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/icon_redface.gif

    1. Angel – I’m so sorry to hear you’ve been castigated for your efforts on my behalf – still haven’t got 16a !! -many thanks, Almo

  30. Come up with this gizmo by art (French ***) between fish. I’m probably in line for the naughty corner this time. [Right again! – Why not just drop the subject? BD] http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/icon_rolleyes.gif

    1. There has been so much written about this clue that the only way those who have not yet worked it out will get it is to be given the answer.

      Any future comments on this subject will be deleted without warning.

  31. I knew all that chanting of French irregular verbs when I was 11 was bound to come in handy one day. No complaints about any of the clues, and my favourite was 10a. Like many/most I got a bit stuck on the lower half and I used a little electronic help which helped – except for parsing The Clue That Shall Not Be Named. Many thanks to BD for explaining all, as ever, and thanks to the setter. 3*/3*.

  32. A charmless and inelegant crossword for me. A combination of slang and arcane words is seldom pleasing. Thanks to BD who’s hints were needed for a couple.

  33. Found that tougher than usual. 21a – took a while until I chose the correct ending. 16a – not the usual spelling I am used to but BRB came to the rescue to confirm. 11a I don’t understand the answer – will have to wait :D Agree with others’ thoughts on 17d – a tad archaic in usage I should think


  34. Really struggled with this one and needed a lot of the hints…..so didn’t enjoy it very much.
    Thanks to Big Dave and to the setter.

    The Scottish word in 4d is an endearment but can ruffle feathers for a lot of ladies. There is also a ‘class’ element to it in that it would not normally be used by toffs.
    A bit like calling someone ‘darlin’.

  35. can somebody please explain 16a in simple terms as I am none the wiser after reading all blogs

    1. No because BD will delete both of us. read the clue carefully, read the comments carefully and you should be able to solve it.

  36. Been away spending money on the boat and so out of radio contact, but I did spend too much of Saturday puzzling my way through this one. I agree with all the above and found it an unsatisfactory solve, with only a sense of relief on completion. 1*/4*. Thanks to BD and (grudgingly) to the setter

  37. Due to a busy weekend I ended up doing this a few days late.
    Plenty of discussion above about the clues that held me up too, so I won’t add to it, but suffice to say it was a tricky little blighter.
    Thanks all

  38. Looks like I was the last one to finish then, as usual. I actually didn’t have any problem with 16a. I was initially a bit puzzled about the spelling but all three of my BRB spell it exactly this way as well as in the form of an eleven letter word.

    It was certainly a difficult one, my main problems were caused by putting the wrong answer in for 1a which made 4d and 5d rather difficult.

    The only one I still refuse to understand is 19a. By that I mean that I am guessing that it’s something to do with cricket but it’s against my religion to learn any cricketing terms.

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