DT 27779 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 27779 (Hints)

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 27779 (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    A doctor tucking into mother’s curry (6)
The A from the clue and the abbreviation for D(octo)R inside a shortened form of mother, not forgetting the S from ‘S

5a    Marxist film offers nothing before starting course (4,4)
Marxist here has nothing to do with Karl and everything to do with Groucho, Chico, Harpo and Zeppo – a score of nothing in cricket followed by a starting course in a meal

9a    Food on board ship for a horse (10)
Some Italian food inside (on board) an ocean-going ship

12a    Perfect surface texture (6)
Two definitions – a verb meaning to perfect and the texture of a surface

15a    Summary of extra scene (8)
A charade of an adverb meaning extra or too much and a scene or sight

18a    Two channels, second horizontally (8)
Start with an informal word for a TV channel, add a channel or passage and S(econd)

26a    Top drawer that opens up first? (10)
… like “Wild Bill” Hickok and John Wesley Hardin

This one’s especially for Miffypops!

ARVE Error: need id and provider

28a    Head of smooth snake is more blue (6)
The initial letter of S[mooth] followed by a British snake


2d    So long, notice that is for all to see (5)
The usual two-letter notice followed by the Latin abbreviation for “that is” and the certificate that indicates that a film is suitable for all to see

4d    Measuring spirit after one’s served up (6)
To get this verb meaning measuring put some spirit or vitality after the reversal (served up in a down clue) of I (one) and the S from ‘S

5d    Priestley play used organ, unsettling angle (9,6)
An anagram (unsettling) of used organ followed by an angle or intersection

6d    Laid-back about a judge appearing heartless (8)
The two-letter Latin abbreviation for about followed by a judge in a sporting event who is missing his middle letter (heartless)

7d    Irish John entertaining daughter in saloon (5)
The Irish name that corresponds to John around (entertaining) D(aughter) gives a US term for a saloon car

8d    Functioning at an acceptable level, good enough for race (2,2,5)
This could mean good or fast enough for a race

17d    Aggressive speech from former Tory leader about Iran I ignored (8)
The surname of the Tory leader who followed John Major around [I]RAN without (ignored) the I

24d    Relative, kind to conserve energy (5)
An adjective meaning kind around (to conserve) E(nergy)
The Crossword Club is now open.

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The Quick Crossword pun: rasher+gnarl=rationale

44 comments on “DT 27779 (Hints)

  1. I started off quite well but then it all slowed down. One of those puzzles that I tend to find a bit annoying with some tenuous synonyms. I know I am a complainer! Then some GK that I had to research, plays and films not being my strong suit – but I did know 9a.

    But all in all not too difficult – finished in 3* time but I would only give it 2* for enjoyment.

    Usual thanks to setter and site elves.

  2. Not too difficult except perhaps for a couple on the NW corner, don’t really like 4d much, doesn’t much work for me and don’t get the pick up reference in 27a at all. However, 26a was brilliant and 5a should be M in D.
    Thx to all

    1. re 27a – before reminding you of my challenge to you for 2015, I thought I’d check the BRB. You may find it useful ;)

  3. Thank you setter, quite a challenge I thought. I managed to over come the GK problem with the help of Google and I think I enjoyed it ! – especially 26a and 9a – a bit of a laugh ! Thanks BD for the hints.

  4. 1*/3* for an enjoyable although not particularly challenging Saturday puzzle. Mrs RD is pleased that it didn’t take long as we need to spend most of the weekend emptying the kitchen in readiness for having it completely gutted and rebuilt starting on Monday.

    I’m not convinced that the answer to 18a is a synonym for horizontally and my BRB doesn’t seem to equate the two which ever of the two definitions you look up. I’m also not sure that 26a quite works.

    9a was my favourite.

    Many thanks to Mr. Ron and to BD.

  5. Always good to add to my general knowledge. Thanks to the setter, Big Dave and Tim Berners-Lee.

    Happy Caturday everybody http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_bye.gif.

  6. We all do this from time to time and I’m no exception – I’ve contrived to hold myself up by putting in an answer for 26a which was correct in theory but was the wrong word… As a consequence, when I came to put in the answer for 20d, I thought that I’d got that answer wrong – but I hadn’t. A lovely day here in South Cheshire with the prospect of sunshine late into the evening.

  7. All done. I’m not convinced of one of the 12A definitions and I did not know the informal word in 18A but the answer could not have been anything else. I didn’t know 5D either, but not difficult to work out. On the plus side, I did know 5A and 9A. 26A was the last one in. Thanks to the setter and to BD.

    A beautiful 80 F day here, so I’m off outside to play in the dirt.

    1. I think it may have been back in the day when there were only two.
      Thanks to messers Ron and Dave for an enjoyable moring’s thought.
      Snow all gone – headed out to plant some freesias.

  8. This was a bit of a struggle but we managed in the end.. ***/*** for us today. Thank you to the Saturday setter and to BD.

  9. This was a lot of fun, without being straightforward.
    Took a while to complete 26a fir no good reason.

    Enjoyed the elegance of all the ” deflecting” clues.

  10. Was a bit stuck in NE corner until Framboise gave me 12a which helped to get 6d and finally 5a.
    Lunch over early. Everybody is going to the beach. Such a beautiful day.
    Shall have a go at yesterday’s Giovanni.
    Thanks to the setter and to BD for the hints

  11. I really enjoyed this.
    Started off well and then ground to a complete halt for quite a long time.
    I’ve heard of the 5a film but had no idea it was the Marx brothers.
    I didn’t know the 5d play either but that wasn’t too difficult to sort out.
    I did know the 9a horses – they are beautiful.
    Spent too long trying to fit an anagram of ‘priest’ into 14d somehow or other – that’s the first “oh dear” for today . . .
    . . . and the second one is for getting into a terrible pickle trying to sort out why 6d was what it clearly had to be.
    I liked 11 and 23a and 8 and 17d. My favourite was 9a.
    Thanks to today’s setter and to BD for sorting out the mess I made of 6d.
    Another beautiful day – off to the garden – NTSPP later on.

  12. All done here, like some others after a fast start and then getting thoroughly bogged down. Liberal use of the BRB and a couple of forays into Wikipedia http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/icon_redface.gif. In spite of having one or two answers that I still don’t understand, I enjoyed this. Definitely of the harder variety for a Saturday (for me anyway), but it’s a nicely constructed puzzle with some excellent clues and misdirection. I thought 14d was very clever, though my favourite was 9a. Thanks to the setter and to BD for the blog.

    I’ve just discovered the “Munzee” scavenger treasure hunt game, which IMHO is a cleaner and faster version of Geocaching… I think it will suit my limited attention span better. Lovely day here, so off to find some.

  13. Thoroughly enjoyed this, easy but lots of fun.
    Fave was 5a, honourable mention to 9a (agree, Kath, so beautiful) and 26a.
    Thanks to setter and to BD for the review.

  14. Thanks to the setter and to Big Dave for the hints. I enjoyed what I could do, but needed 4 hints to finish. Thought the horses were spelt with s’s rather than z’s. Never heard of 5d. Wouldn’t have got 18&26a in a million years. Had forgotten the Tory leader in 17d. Was 4*/3* for me.

  15. After getting quite a few answers on the first pass, I hoped and thought that this was going to be straightforward. But then things ground to a complete halt and I was only able to finish it with considerable assistance from the BRB, Google, and BD’s hints up above. I thought 26a was very clever. Also 27a, which I think I twigged to after recalling a recent discussion on the blog. Thanks to the setter and to BD for much-needed enlightenment.

  16. Only just finished with a break for shopping and collecting logs on Hampstead Heath for tonights barbecue, stealing wooden pallets to make furniture from, and purchasing a few tools to enable a good finish to the end product. Thanks to setter and BD as always.

    1. Here’s how I read it:
      Start with our usual friend (the four letter one) and put him around (ringing) the usual synonym for “at home” and precede that lot with the usual biblical priest
      Hope that helps…

  17. *** difficulty for me, with NE corner offering most resistance. Slight quibble with the parsing for 6d, Dave. I saw it as a one letter abbreviation for about followed ‘a’ from the clue and then the heartless judge. Makes no difference to answer, but is something to blog about! Lovely day in Warks with a cool breeze. Thanks to all.

  18. Like nearly all the above, I started well and then waded through the rest. I needed the hint for 5a…think I’m too young….what a lovely feeling. I also parsed 6d like Cryptor and ArthurDent. I did enjoy this one though. Thanks to the setter and BD

  19. 19A defeats me-know what it must be but cannot see why & no hint

    also, cannot see 18A despite the hint

    takes courage to admit ignorance, I say !

    1. 19a Definition is travel – a verb meaning to free oneself from something followed by East.
      18a – can’t improve on BD’s hint, sorry

      1. 18A-never heard of this word for as informal for a TV channel (Dave) but it is in Collins as such

        1. It goes back to the days when there were only 2 channels to choose from, she said, revealing her age group again.

          1. Same age group -but I still don’t get 18a – must be thick or something…It’s my last one!
            Thanks to BD as I was on the wrong Marx for 5a, and I was on the wrong ship for 9a although the answer was in my Thesaurus!. 27a was hard to justify but see now…

  20. Unusually tough puzzle for a Saturday! I finished eventually but it was a bit of a struggle. I thought 26a was a really clever clue and that is my favourite. 3*/3* over all.
    Thanks to Mr Ron and BD for his hints.

  21. Enjoyable and problem free solve. 9a was a delight, 5a really funny and 26 took the biscuit. What more can you wish for on a beautiful Saturday, our first really warm day? We had lunch at Jean-Luc’s restaurant … Many thanks to Mr Ron and to BD for the hints – I needed to check that I was right for 18a… 2*/4*

  22. Having completed the Saturday Cryptic Crossword I have just submitted my solutions electronically. I do this in no great hope of winning but having used up many of my diminishing number of brain cells I think “Why not?”

    Does anyone know roughly how many correct solutions the DT receives? The answer will probably depress me even further…..

    1. You’ve changed your alias but both should work now.

      As for your question – no idea.

    2. Thousands, according to the Telegraph Puzzles Editor – see here.
      However, I presume that they stop looking at them after they’ve found the requisite number of ‘winners’ so nobody will know what percentage of those sent in are correct.

  23. I am still puzzled by 27a.
    I note the comments above but still don’t undertsand how the answer fits with the second part of the clue.
    Can anyone enlighten me?

  24. Thank you. Sorry about the changed alias – I’ve obviously used up too many brain cells to remember my original one!

    It is obviously, and quite rightly so, all about the taking part and not the winning

  25. I rather enjoyed this one – not particularly hard (2*) but lots of fun (4*). Lots of nice clues (5a, 9a, 26a) but 27a gets my vote for making me laugh immoderately. Ta to Mr Ron for the pleasure thus gained, and to BD for the hints.

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