DT 27785 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 27785 (Hints)

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 27785 (Hints)

Big Dave’s Saturday Crossword Club

Hosted by Tilsit

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Morning everyone!

Our glorious leader has gone to the city of perspiring dreams for a booze-up er.. gathering of erudite setters and solvers.  If you are in the area, it’s not too late to go and you can meet up with BD, Crypticsue and a whole gaggle of your blog chums, plus the odd setter (and most of them are!).  So I am afraid you have me babysitting the site for the weekend, so I’ll be here today and tomorrow with the hints, etc.

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.  I will be around during the day to offer advice and receive your comments,  but please respect the site rules about directly posting solutions, etc.  You’d hate it if I turned green and burst out of my shirt. (How would we know the difference?- BD).


1a   Fishmonger’s special offer for Scrooge (10)
We start today with a word that may describe Dickens’ miser.  If you bought a particular (flat) fish at a reduced price, it could be described as this.

2d    A barrier for architect (4)
The surname of a famous architect who designed many famous buildings in London, as well as other cities (Theatre Royal, Drury Lane was one of his, I think) is found by taking A and adding the name of a barrier (think Hoover or Grand Coulee).

Image result for robert adam

10a    It takes a stiff pint by the sound of it (4)
A cryptic definition here for something on which you could place a dead body sounds like something that will be quaffed in large quantities in Cambridge today!

13a Payment from trade is about to unravel somewhat (8)
This was my last one in today.  A word meaning a trade or transaction goes round a word that means to unravel.

15a    Certain bet’s stupid without right means to pay (7,5)
A way of paying for something is revealed by taking a word for a certain bet and adding something that means stupid or silly.  Inside this word goes R for right, indicated by “without”.

22a  Artillerymen landing weapon (6)
An abbreviation for a soldier in the Royal Artillery is added before a word for somewhere you could land or disembark a boat.  These together give you the name of a weapon.

25a    Working in Capitol I could be Congressman (10)
A word that may describe a member of the American Congress (or the Houses of Parliament) can be found by solving an anagram (indicated by working)  of IN CAPITOL I.  A nice apposite clue.

27a    Pillar of the underground in prison having served time (10)
The name for something found underground is found by taking the name for a prison (especially in Germany in WW2) and adding an anagram (serving) of TIME.

Image result for stalagmite


1d    Metal business, Latvian perhaps (6)
The name for a metal element, which incidentally is derived from a German word for dwarf, is found by taking the standard abbreviation for a company and adding a slightly obscure way of describing someone from Latvia (based on the sea nearby).

3d    Navigator’s instrument with top knocked off still surviving (6)
A legal or scientific word that means still surviving is revealed by taking the name of something used by a surveyor or navigator, and removing the first letter (top knocked off).

8d Examination’s just the thing to probe my virtue (8)
I spent a bit of time thinking this was an anagram of MY VIRTUE, but it’s not!  The answer’s a word for a type of virtue.   Inside MY goes a type of spoken exam, plus a short  two letter word that refers to a thing.

14d  Quickly dismiss parody on solicitor protecting the French (7)
A sporting term that means to dismiss people quickly is found by taking a word for a parody and a solicitor (or someone who sells tickets for a profit) and inserting LE (the in French).

17d  Extremely studious person bags top-class award (8)
A word that means an award (of a title, for example) upon someone is found by taking a way of saying someone was the top-ranking student (think of a nickname for Billy Bunter!) and inserting A (standard crossword abbreviation) for top-class.

Image result for knighting someone

17d  Group in church make obeisance (6)
Inside the standard abbreviation for the Church (of England) goes a word meaning a group to give an expressio meaning to make obeisance.

The Crossword Club is now open.

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.


68 comments on “DT 27785 (Hints)

  1. Sorry it didn’t go up at 10:00 – not sure why, it was scheduled to do so.

    Anyway, it’s here now.

  2. I found this quite tricky for a Saturday and needed to use electronic help for a couple to complete it. Enjoyable solve however, with thanks to Tilsit and setter ***/***

  3. 3*/4*. This proved to be a very enjoyable challenge for a dull damp morning here in London. I was well on course for my 2* time after completing three quarters but the NE corner put up quite a fight with 5d my last one in.

    There were very good clues aplenty from which to choose a favourite, but my choice is 27a.

    Many thanks to Mr. Ron – reveal yourself and take a bow! Many thanks too to Tilsit.

  4. It’s always good to have Saturday/Sunday puzzles which are not too elementary and I thought today’s was nicely challenging. Liked 18a, 27a and 11d. ***/****. Thanks setter and welcome Tilsit with your special brand of hints without which I did just manage. Hope everyone enjoys BD’s “gathering/booze-up”. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_good.gif

  5. I have never heard of 18A (of course) but it was straightforward enough to work out. Same for the meaning of the first word for 15A. I did enjoy this, with 10A and 7D being my favorites, and honorable mention to 27A. Thanks to the setter and to Tilsit.

  6. Thank you setter, a very enjoyable Saturday puzzle, not too hard and good fun ! Thanks Tilsit for your hints. Have a http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_good.gifgood time in Cambridge everyone

  7. I started off very quickly and all was going smoothly until I was hung up on the NE corner. I kept staring at 7d trying to understand why my solution did not seem to have much to do with ‘neat’ until I finally checked the dictionary. I never knew neat could mean that!. Then struggled with what my 15a solution had to do with the clue! I did not know the architect in 6a until I visited Google!
    But finally filled everything in.

    Thanks to Tilsit and setter.

    So I would say 3*/3* would be my rating.

  8. Started quickly but slowed up towards the end with some challenging clues. Remembered the key to 7d from previous puzzles. 1a might have been seen before too I think, but is still witty. Have a good weekend all.

  9. Not at all sure about 17D. It’s a fairly uncommon word, and the wordplay seems very contrived. Needless to say from this comment, I didn’t get it !

  10. Can somebody explain why 15 across is without rather than with. Seems like an error in logic to me.

        1. I struggled with this meaning of ‘without’ too…..don’t think I’ve ever heard it or even seen except in ‘There is a green hill far away without a city wall’.

          But I often struggle…

          1. Evidently you haven’t ever been to York where there is an area signposted “Clifton Without” , meaning outside the city walls.
            NE was a tricky corner but I really enjoyed this week’s offering. Had a giggle at 25a because it had 3 “I”s in it which is so often how these people begin a sentence!! Many thanks for the hints,which got me going again, and to the setter.

                  1. Seems to be happening if you use the keyboard shortcuts for the emoticons rather than clicking on them.

  11. No great problems today except for 17d. I get the giving an award bit but Billy Bunter and top class student is a mystery as is the word ‘extremely ‘. Am I being particularly dense here?
    Some clever clues in 1a, 10a and 24a especially.
    For me probably **/***.
    Thx to all.

    1. Brian, I think it’s possible that in his effort to be extra helpful Tilsit’s hint may have confused you. The same word can be used for a person who wears round glasses (in this case Billy Bunter) and for a studious person.

  12. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/smiley-phew.gifI thought this was quite difficult. At least 3* for difficulty, maybe a bit more, and 4* for enjoyment.
    Being very slow to get 1a wasn’t helpful – it was stupid as I’ve seen it in various forms loads of times before.
    Having not got 1a I missed 4d – no surprises there.
    Needless to say I didn’t have the first idea about 18a or 14d but sorted them out eventually.
    Working out why 15a was right took ages – don’t know anything about betting.
    I don’t know anything about navigator’s instruments either and had to get quite a long way through the alphabet before I found a letter to go on top of 2d.
    All good fun. I liked 27a and 3 and 8d. My favourite, I think, was 10a.
    With thanks to Mr Ron and to Tilsit for standing in and doing the hints today.
    I hope that everyone has fun in Cambridge – is anyone going to send us some photos? A http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_rose.gif for the person who does!

      1. If you go up to the top bit and click on Features which is fourth along from the right and then go to the Gallery there are loads of pictures there.

                1. It is, but I can work it out. The opposite direction to the one I’m being pulled in.

  13. Quite a struggle today and needed a fair bit of electronic help.

    I knew the Billy Bunter reference, am not familiar with it referring to an extremely studious person….or have I completely misunderstood the hint as well as the clue?

    Thnks very much to Tilsit and to the setter.

    1. Ora M please see my reply to Brian in comment 11 above. Billy Bunter was a student but he certainly wasn’t studious, so (in my opinion) it’s two different meanings of the same word. The “extremely” bit is linked to the first part of the answer.

      I hope that hasn’t confused things more but it’s difficult to be more explicit for a prize crossword, and I haven’t got time to be sent to the naughty corner today.

      1. Thank you, Rabbit Dave.
        I am probably being really dense about this, so I will wait for the full review for all to become clear or to give me the opportunity of asking more questions without taking the chance of people being sent to the naughty corner.

          1. Thank you Tilsit.
            I have worked out the answer, but I’m still really not seeing how thw bits of the clue fit.
            I can wait patiently for the full review when I can question you more directly.

  14. Almost finished, stuck on 5D though. I know I’m missing something obvious, help please !

    1. A word for someone who works hard but lose the last letter (mostly), then add a word for tests or attempts, to get the answer which means grooming products.

      Thanks manliness distorters (7,3,3,6) for our synaptic stretch this morning.

      Me & Mrs T

      1. Thanks, I had the wrong word for hard worker at the start , simple one I got it !
        Enjoyable one today…

  15. We thought it was pretty tricky today. It took a while to get going, then we put some in quickly, but ground to a halt and needed help with the last one or two. Today started off beautifully here in Scarborough, but has now come in all cloudy and rainy and a bit chilly too. Thank you to the Saturday setter and to Tilsit.

  16. More challenging than some recent Saturday puzzles, but very enjoyable this morning. I too was held up in the NE corner (5d, 7d and 13 a) until I remembered the Scottish word and then it all fell into place with just one key checker from 5d. Funny how that can happen. Thanks to Tilsit and the Setter and, for those partaking, I hope the ale in Cambridge is still good.

  17. Tottenham have just equalised against Southampton: 2-2. That will please Big Dave! I thought that this puzzle was more difficult than in recent weeks and, while I accept Tilsit’s explanation of 17d – good to see you in action again,Tilsit – does that give an indication of the age and/or education of our setter?

  18. Nice one today. I missed most of the misdirections but needed the hint for 13a. Also had to check a couple of other bits after the solve in case I’d misremembered/invented anything, and like others ended up in the NW.

    Runners up are 10a and 27a but my favourite is 8d.

    Thanks to Tilsit and the setter.

    Hope the Cambridge bash is going swimmingly. Photos please! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gif

    Happy Caturday to everyone else too. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_bye.gif

    1. My cat William says ‘hello’ (in Felinese of course) …not sure what the translation would be though. He does say some words in English, but mainly we converse in FelAnglaise.

      1. Many strokles to William from me, Liz, if you would be happy to pass them on http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_smile.gif.
        I too speak Fel-Anglaise, but can’t spell it accurately.

  19. Enjoyed this one. Don’t usually bother with the weekend puzzles, but thought I’d give this one a go. Not too bad, but did use some electronic hints and had to check the rationale for 17d although I had worked out the answer. I really liked 1a and thought 2d was a neat clue…a term not often used……takes me back to my studies in Evolution! I’d give this a 3*for difficulty and 4* for enjoyment. Nice bright morning here in North Norfolk, but not going to stay that way I think. Might now try yesterday’s Toughie which I couldn’t make even a half pathetic start on yesterday.

  20. Not quite the usual walk in the park for today’s puzzle I must say! There were a couple of slightly ‘left field’ answers involved for me, namely 13a and 17d. For the latter I did (just for a moment honest!) try using the item you use to dry crockery with but had to give that idea pretty sharpish… as Kath says, Oh dear.
    I got there eventually sans hints. 8d was my favourite and overall, 3*/3*.
    Thanks to the setter and Tilsit for his hints.

  21. Had nasty feeling that was going to have to throw the sponge in at one stage. Wandered off, did something else and when I returned with some electronic help finished in about ******* time but about the same for enjoyment. Rain in Suffolk first thing but bright and chilly now. Off to do GK crossword, thanks to Tilsit and setter. Hope the get together going well look forward to photos.

  22. This felt like a 1* doddle until l got bogged down in the SW corner. On balance, then, 2*/3*. 1a gets my vote for top clue: even though it was pretty obvious, it triggered a rueful grin on the Salty Dog visage. Thanks to the setter, and to Tilsit for the hints.

  23. Not an easy one for me. Still stuck on 17d (despite Tilsit’s hint – I don’t know anything about Billy Bunter), 24a and 26a. The last two being four-letter ones which you will have noticed get me every time! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_sad.gif

    Now pouring with rain down here in Seaton. At least the garden needed it – just hope the conservatory doesn’t start raining in again!

    1. Not sure if I will be allowed to suggest you use prime wise bird around indefinite article.

    2. Think of a three letter bird known for being wise, then put the ‘a’ from the clue before the last letter, then before all of this put a four letter word meaning top of class or finest. The whole thing means ‘award’.

    3. Rachel,
      24a – the definition is cut, as you might have done to your grass before it started to rain today if you had the sense to do it – you need the one letter abbreviation for M(illions) followed by a word meaning have got, as in it it’s yours.
      26a – the definition is dope as in a twit or numbskull. A short two letter word meaning discharge or carry out followed by a two letter abbreviation for a lieutenant.
      Hope that’s helpful.

  24. My bete noir was 14d, a phrase I am totally unfamiliar with, up until now , I suppose.I liked all the rest of the clues , especially 8d, 20d and 24a.
    Thanks setter and Tilsit. I hope you have made a full recovery from your earlier illnesses.

  25. Could i have some big time help with 16 and 17 down please,iv’e read the hints straight over my head xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx many thanks Terry

    1. Terry – edit your email address out of the previous comment, you’ll end up with loads more spam etc. [Done CS]

      16dn – think of how pupils are organised into classes and subjects.

      17dn is an old fashioned word – think elite + a bird that hoots with A inside it.

  26. Thanks to the setter and to Tilsit for the hints. Nice to see you back Tilsit. A very enjoyable but very tricky puzzle. Was stuck in the NE corner, needed the hint for 8d, then all fell into place except for 5d, for which I needed electronic help. A new word for me in 13a. Favourite was 18a. Last in was 17d. Was 3*/4 * for me.

  27. Well, what with a work do in Soho on Saturday lunchtime which turned into an evening session of idea-swapping (shall we have another pint? Yes, what a good idea) in the Coach and Horses and then my younger granddaugher’s ninth birthday today, I’ve only just got round to this. Harder than usual, I thought, for a Saturday, but all the more fun for that. It was well into 4* time before I finally twigged 13a, my last one in, and I promised myself no beer until solving complete, sans hints. Got there in the end and the London Pride tastes all the sweeter for having been earned. So thank you to the setter and to Tilsit for a fine review.
    I couldn’t make it to Cambridge, sadly, because of the above, but I’m sure a jolly time was had by all, many of whom I hope to say a glancing hello to in the George next month, as I’ll have an hour before starting work

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