DT 27794 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 27794

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 27794

Hints and tips by pommers

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BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ****

Listen very carefully, I shall say this only once.  The 2Kiwis aren’t here this week. Actually I don’t think they’ve ever been here as they’re usually there but today they’re neither here nor there because they’re where most of you guys are. That means they can’t do the blog so a substitute was organsied but he’s had to cry off so I’ve moved from my slot tomorrow to do today’s and said substitute for today has moved to tomorrow to cover for me who’s doing today. Simples!

I’ve been looking forward to this as it’s been quite a while since I last blogged a Jay puzzle and I always enjoy them.  This was no exception as the Wednesday Wizard has come up trumps again. Perhaps a tad trickier than some of his puzzles have been recently or is that just me being a bit slow this morning?

Answers are under the click here buttons so don’t click if you don’t want to see them. As usual the definitions are underlined in the clues and the ones I like most are in blue.  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           Ship of comparatively fit women must come first (6)
WHALER: The comparative of a word meaning fit or healthy with a W(omen) at the beginning (must come first) gives a type of ship, the Pequod perhaps.

5a           Key employed by Rolling Stones right for crooner? (8)
SONGSTER: This is an anagram (rolling) of STONES with a musical key inserted (employed by) and followed by R(ight).

9a           Self-centred new Conservative team enveloped by anger (13)
INCONSIDERATE: Start with N(ew), an abbreviation for Conservative and a word for a team and then put a word meaning angry around it all (enveloped by).  I’m not sure that this clue quite works as the word needed means angry and not anger.

10a         Piece of music on-line monitor cut short? (8)
MODERATO: This is a piece of music played at a steady pace. It’s also the guy who monitors the posts on an on-line message board or blog for bad language, inappropriate content, etc without his last letter (cut short).

11a         Camp needing a convict on the way? (6)
STALAG: A (from the clue) and one of the usual convicts placed after an abbreviation for a way.

12a         Grounds given by judge dismissing firm regularly (6)
ESTATE: Grounds as in a large piece of land.  You need a word meaning judge or reckon and the remove IM from it, (dismissing fIrM regularly).

14a         Somehow rely on social behaviour, for once (8)
FORMERLY: Once as in earlier or before.  It’s an anagram (somehow) of RELY after a word meaning social behaviour as in etiquette or custom.

16a         Story about international doctor and southern dishes (8)
TIMBALES: Start with I(nternational) and one of the usual doctors. Around it (about) put a story and then finish with S(outhern).  A steak and kidney pudding is an example of one of these dishes. It’s also the French word for Timpani which is what came up when I keyed the answer into Google images.

19a         Experiences discrimination, say, initially (6)
TASTES: A word for discrimination followed by an S (Say initially).

21a         The way things are when one’s cramming Italian (2,2,2)
AS IT IS: Start with a word meaning when, IS (one’s) and insert (cramming) the abbreviation for Italian vermouth and then split it all (2,2,2).

23a         Farmworker cast in drama, sweeping up yard (8)
DAIRYMAN: Make an anagram (cast) of IN DRAMA and insert (sweeping up) a Y(ard).

25a         She, say, needs to make firm declaration (13)
PRONOUNCEMENT: The part of speech of which SHE is an example followed by a word meaning to make firm.

26a         Long journeys — nobody miss me, guys? Just latterly! (8)
ODYSSEYS: “Just latterly” tells you that you need the second half only of the previous four words of the clue.  Don’t believe that I’ve ever come across that construction before.

27a         Entice mandarin mostly held in regard (6)
SEDUCE:  You need the sort of bird of which a mandarin is an example but without its last letter (mostly) and insert into (held in) a word meaning regard or notice. The ornithologists among you probably solved this a lot faster than I did. I was too busy thinking fruit or Sir Humphrey to realize it was a bird that was required!


2d           Despicable criminal in house (7)
HEINOUS: Anagram (criminal) of IN HOUSE.  I’m not usually a great fan of anagram clues but this one I like.

3d           Cash obtained from clubs in draw (5)
LUCRE: This sort of cash is often called “filthy” and it’s C(lubs) inserted into a draw or bait.

4d           What visitors do sound familiar? (4,1,4)
RING A BELL: This is what visitors do when they arrive on your doorstep.

5d           By-product of political bias being absent? (4-3)
SPIN OFF: A word for political bias or slant followed by a word for absent or not on.

6d           Demands nothing except energy, dedication and stamina at first (5)
NEEDS: First letters (at first) of five words of the clue.

7d           Perhaps Mediterranean ranchers losing millions could become sailors (9)
SEAFARERS:  What the Med is an example of followed by some ranchers without the M(illions).

8d           Look at dance after a bit of needle (7)
EYEBALL: It’s a dance placed after a part of a needle.  Not the point but the bit at the other end.

13d         Burden that golfer with a hole in one might register? (9)
ALBATROSS: This burden is also three under par in golf so almost certainly a hole in one.

15d         Case of rare trouble during disturbed rest for shopkeepers (9)
RETAILERS: Start with RE (case of RarE) and follow with a word for trouble inserted into an anagram (disturbed) of REST.

17d         Popular drink with endless kids is lacking taste (7)
INSIPID: A charade of the usual word for popular, a word meaning to drink slowly and then ID (endless kIDs)

18d         Spurs going on-line? (7)
SIDINGS:  Cryptic definition of spurs on a system of railway lines. Is this yet another attempt to curry favour with Big Dave? The Spurs have had quite a few outings recently.

20d         Material like this gives bands a chance to stretch out and play? (7)
ELASTIC: Double definition.  I’m not sure about this but I think it’s a double definition but if anyone has a better idea . . . ?
Paper version (thanks Jane):-
Material for bands such as these? (7)
Cryptic definition.  This works much better methinks.

22d         Second quality diamond, say (5)
STONE: S(econd) followed by a word for quality or style.

24d         Submit  return on capital (5)
YIELD:  Double definition.

Some nice stuff here but my favourite is 26a.  What floated your boat?

The Quick Crossword pun: Mars+hoop+yells=marsupials

This is the 5,000th post on the blog – yet another milestone!


79 comments on “DT 27794

  1. I agree that it was a bit trickier today – had nothing in the bottom half of the puzzle for a little while which was very mildly concerning. Thanks to Jay and pommers **/****

  2. First read-through yielded a nil return but then penny dropped for 15d and gradually rest of East Side fell into place followed more slowly by the West Side. Failed to twig “criminal” in 2d which held up 12a. All in all an entertaining challenge. Thank you Jay and Pommers. ***/***. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_good.gif

  3. I agree that this was a bit trickier than usual but well up to Jay’s usual standard for enjoyment. Thanks to him and to pommers (especially for the very amusing first paragraph of the prologue). My boat was floated by 25a.
    I recommend the Toughie to everyone (well, it is by Micawber).

    1. At the risk of upsetting Kath I have to admit that 25a is my other favourite http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_smile.gif

  4. Agree with you, Pommers, over 9a. Spent a while trying to use ‘ire’ before checkers went in.
    10a – only aware of ‘moderato’ as a tempo, not an actual piece of music. Lesson learned!
    26a – took AGES for the penny to drop.
    27a – can assure you, Pommers – this birder was also bogged down by oranges.

    20d has a different clue in the paper version – ‘Material for bands such as these?’ I think that makes rather more sense.

    Lovely puzzle and I particularly liked 26a plus 2,4,5 & 18d. Favourite goes to 25a. 2.5*/3.5* for me.

    Many thanks to Jay and also to the stand-in for the stand-in! Great review, Pommers. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_good.gif

  5. Wow that was tricky, but like Eric Morecombe I had all the right answers but not necessarily for the right reason. I needed the hints for 5a, 10a, 12a, 21a, 25a, 27a and 18d to understand my answers. 16a was a new word for me and 26a took some spelling! My favourite clue was 23a probably as it was one of the few I could fully understand http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_cry.gif
    Thx to all esp to Pommers for stepping in to provide some excellent hints.

    1. From a spelling point of view I was just thankful that 26a was an ‘across’ rather than a ‘down’. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_wacko.gif

  6. Had decided on a ***/**** before I read Pommers blog, so unison there. Liked the diversity of the clues and really enjoyed the solve, liked the alternative ‘mandarin’ in 27a and the ‘spur’ in 18a and 13d made me smile-though not a golfer myself-one of the few unbelievers !.Thanks Jay and Pommers for the pics-will listen to 13d when I return home.

  7. I make this something like 1*/2* for difficulty and 3* for satisfaction. I agree with Pommers on the use of “anger” in the clue for 9a, but that’s a minor point. All my candidates for favouritism were in the SW corner (25a, 26a and 13d) and l plump for the former. Ta to Jay, and to Pommers.

  8. Stretched the brain a bit but got there in the end. Held up for a time with 27a before the penny dropped. Also 14a puzzled me and I still do not see why ‘for’ is in the clue. That worried me for some time until I decided to ignore the word.
    Thanks Pommers.

    1. Hi Rod,
      I don’t pretend to have the skills of our excellent bloggers but I looked at 14a as:-
      A word for social behaviour followed by an anagram of RELY giving a word (that stands) for ‘once’.
      Hope that helps a bit!

      1. Thanks Jane, but I still maintain the word is superfluous. I spent ages trying to fit ‘for, ‘per’, ‘as’ etc with the anagram for rely. The clue would have read so much better without the word.

        1. Umm – might have to disagree a little. I thought the surface read was better with the ‘for’ included – made it read along the lines of ‘for once (in your life), rely on social behaviour’.

          1. I’m with you Jane – I believe it’s needed for the clue construction and for the surface reading. However, it’s great that we’re not all the same.http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_smile.gif

              1. No offence taken, I like a discussion. My thinking was that the answer means ‘once’ and not ‘for once’ (in your life..) Lovely chatting to you all.

              2. i am a relative novice at crosswords and readily lap up other peoples expertise and help ; having said that there are times when I disagree with the setter’s choice of words to set the clue.
                In this case the word “for ” is marginal to the answer but I don’t mind because i really enjoyed the whole thing anyway, and I managed to complete this puzzle in less than one hour , a record for me, for a Jay puzzle.
                I agree with Liz — enjoy , but thanks Shropshire Lad advise is always appreciated.

    2. Sorry, been out for a while. I tend to agree with you as I spent some time thinking the definition was “for once” as in “this time, but at no other time”. Still, we both got there in the end so it can’t all that bad. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gif

      1. I think the ‘for’ is just a link word, i.e. (you need) x on y for (i.e. in order to get) z.

        1. Understood, which is why I didn’t mention it in the hint. My only minor niggle is that “for once” is a viable definition. If it was “for trees” or something there would be no problem.

  9. This was a bit tricky and took longer than usual. Not helped by having had an exceptionally early morning (for me) so concentration not at its best. The main hold up however was putting 25a in as ‘phonographist’ which I thought fitted rather nicely……however it was completely wrong and I had to resort to the hint or I would never have been able to sort the bottom half. Several clues cropped up which have been in recent puzzles…..stalag…dairyman…seafarer for instance. I had never heard of 16a. My favourite clue was 13d….I’m no golfer, but Lyrical Ballads ‘Ancient Mariner’ came to mind, so managed to get it. I’d give this ***/*** three stars for difficulty as I had to use the hints for 25a. Thanks to setter and to Pommers, for an enjoyable puzzle.

  10. Only 10a gave me a problem today which is unusual for a Jay puzzle although at first sight it did look intimidating 1*/2*for difficulty **** for enjoyment. So far the week has presented few problems ; expecting a fall tomorrow.
    Thanks to Pommers and Jay

  11. Definitely trickier than the last few Wednesdays have been – at least 3* difficulty and 4* for enjoyment.
    I agree with previous comments about the ‘irate’ in 9a.
    Didn’t get 10a for ages – I only know it as a tempo – and when I did finally see it I wasn’t sure about the ‘on line’ bit.
    13d also took a long time which I’m sure will not surprise anyone although I should have got it sooner.
    Now then – 18d – I thought of spiky thingies on the backs of boots, then I thought of football but didn’t think of the right kind for far too long.
    26a was my last answer and I only got it when it couldn’t have been much else – working out why needed more coffee.
    Spelling 2d needed a second go!
    I liked 14 and 25a and 2 and 4d, not that visitors do that at our door – they just walk in.
    My one favourite was 26a – and just in case anyone else is up to no good I’m watching – can’t let standards slip!
    With thanks to Jay and to pommers – well done too – glad it was you not me today!

  12. I always enjoy a Jay puzzle and today was no exception. There were a couple of tricksy clues (10a & 26a) so thanks to pommers for confirming my thoughts on the parsinghttp://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_good.gif

    My favourite was 26a – can’t recall ever seeing ‘just latterly’ used for a clue construction indicator – but perfectly fair I thought.

    Thanks to Jay for the puzzle and pommers for his usual amusing review.

    Hope the 2K’s are enjoying their hols, after Thursday I may be asking them if they have room in their suitcase for me.

  13. Thought this was impossible at first, but chipped away at it and managed with just two hints and no looking up answers, except to confirm what I had thought. A lot of clues were “clunky” for me – I had answers but struggled to explain them. Not one of my favourite setters, I’m afraid.

  14. After two very straightforward puzzles this came as a bit of a shock ***/*** I had to check that Thursday had not arrived day early Although I actually completed the puzzle I needed the excellent hints from Pommers to explain a lot of the reasoning! TUVM :)

  15. Certainly tricky in places (especially the left-hand side) but well worth the persistence.

    I liked the unusual construction of 26a, but my overall favourite was 25a, closely followed by 12a.

    Many thanks to Jay and Pommers.

  16. Definitely trickier than usual for a Jay, I thought. I was also slower than usual to wake up, and as a result it took me ages to get into it. Finishing off took some work too.

    Agree about 9a. I think Gazza is right (when isn’t he?) about 14a: a link word which improves the surface reading (as well as making the clue a bit harder).

    18d took me a while, as I forgot about that kind of spurs. If I recall correctly it was my last in.

    Have been pondering favourites. It’s between 1a, 25a, 26a and 27a. I think I will go for 1a because it is the only one nobody else has chosen.

    Thanks to Jay and pommers.

  17. 3*/4* for me today as I enjoyed the challenge plus the fact that I solved top half AND 25 and 26a quickly ! 16a had me stumped as did that ****** bird . ( Still don’t understand the clue so please help ! ) Never heard of “spurs” for the railway……..but then I never have the pleasure of travelling by train these days, alas.

  18. **/****

    Lovely as always from Jay. 15a caused me some problems though looking back I have absolutely no idea why. Wasn’t overly keen on 20d but that’s a minor point.

    Many thanks to Jay and to Pommers for taking blogging resresponsibilities.

  19. Thank you Jay for a challenging puzzle. A good morning at Minsmere but rained off this afteroon, so plenty of time to solve the puzzle. Had a couple of bungitins so needed your wordplay decodes Pommers. Many thanks for your review and hints.

  20. This one was well above my pay grade.
    In fact alone and unaided I solved precisely six clues.
    Got a few more with the electronic aids, then needed the hints .
    So…very glad to find that others here found it tricky or else I might have descended to the slough of despond.

    Farmers are not ranchers, though, as anyone who has seen Oklahoma! will tell you.

    Thanks to the setter and many thanks to Pommers.

  21. Well we are very glad that we were not blogging today. It might have something to do with jet lag or even the 36 hours of travel without sleep, but we did find it tricky. It was also a first for us as we have never before had the experience of solving in the original paper. It took us two sessions to complete, punctuated by the challenges of negotiating London’s public transport. It feels so good to be here and looking forward to meeting some of you very soon. Cheers all and thanks Jay and pommers.

    1. Hello again – I was also glad that it was pommers today as I found it quite tricky and had I been doing the hints I might have succumbed to total panic – don’t think he does panic – lucky old him!
      A pity about the challenges of London Transport – see you soon.

      1. Hi Kath, I never panic because I know I can always email BD or Gazza and get a fairly instant response. Never needed to do so but it’s a bit like the RNLI and the Coastguard when I was sailing – nice to know they’re there but hope you never need them . . .

        1. Not mentioning any names here but the one and only time I emailed anyone saying, “Help help” no-one was in! Having said that it wasn’t BD or Gazza!

          1. Kath
            If I ever need to do it I will address the mail to BD and Gazza and copy to everyone else who has ever blogged a puzzle. Sorry I wasn’t there for you but I was probably still in bed as I’m not one to get up early if I don’t have to. Apologies http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_rose.gif

  22. I thought that “for once” in 14a was a clever misdirection. Congratulations to Jay for causing such consternation. And thank you Pommers.

  23. Started well until I got stuck in the SE corner. So much so that I thought it was another setter
    Needed a few hints to finish.
    Loved the review.
    Thanks to Jay and to Pommers.

  24. Many thanks to Jay for a challenging but fun offering! Curiously enough my first one in was 11a… Thought 26a was very clever but my favourite was 25a. Another French word for 16a! I agree with 3* for difficulty as this certainly was not a read and write but torturing one’s brain for a bit to get the answer was well worth it. 4* for enjoyment, no doubt about it. Many thanks too to Pommers for the review which I needed to check the wordplay in some of the clues. First really hot day in Hyéres today, is summer starting at long last?

  25. Very tricky and I used lots of hints, thanks pommer.Like most others I really liked 25a and the lower half in general.
    The upper half caused all the trouble. Thanks to Jay for the challenge, which he won.

  26. I agree that this was tricksy. It certainly took some time to get a foothold but repeated readings of clues led to solutions all round. All good.

  27. We are a bit late as usual because we’ve been canvassing for the election on behalf of the ‘Silly Party’ and scattering ashes of our deceased friends on Hampstead Heath. However, we thought this was a delightful puzzle which took a little more time than expected. Some lovely clues and we particularly liked 26 across.
    Pommers is right with his evaluation, so therefore, thanks to him and Jay for an interrupted Wednesday afternoon which drifted into early evening.

  28. Sorry to be a pedant but an albatross in golf is almost never a hole in one. It’s generally a 2 on a par 5.

    1. Welcome to the blog cheesey rascal. Hope you will comment again now you have broken the ice.
      Pedants are welcome here so no apology is necessary but about the golf – how am I supposed to know? Never swung a club in my life but reckoned the clue must be alluding to a hole in one on a short par four. One lives and learns I guess

    2. The clue did say ‘might register?’ so I guess it’s fair enough. By the way, Pommers, for a non-golfer your ‘hole in one on a short par four’ comment was most impressive!

      1. I watch the Open and the Ryder Cup on the telly and own an apartment on a golf course so I know a bit about the game. Just never played it. Seems to me that sailing was one expensive, time consuming hobby and life don’t have time or cash for two of them.

    3. I am with Beaver regarding golf. See comment seven above. Thank for commenting and hello from me Cheesey

  29. Note to Tstrummer for when you drop in later – loved your suggestions re: names for the new princess although I’m not really surprised that you lost the fiver! You really are turning out to be something of a dark horse, I guess you’re getting more comfortable with unleashing the alter ego once the ‘serious’ business of the working day is over. Such a shame that your contributions possibly don’t get read by a lot of the commenters due to your enforced late night entries.

    ps. Hope you remembered to pick up some Ambrosia and jam today – would hate for you to have to resort to the Famous Grouse again! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_wink.gif

    1. I’m sure that lots of people check the previous day’s blog for overnight comments while waiting for the new one to come up. It’s true that conversations are not so likely to start so late on, which is a shame.

      The Famous Grouse … now, that takes me back …

    2. Thanks, Jane. Sadly, I forgot the Ambrosia, so it’s Grouse or nothing, or as a setter might put it, Duck or grouse (as seen in too many pubs to mention)

  30. Re 11a, I didn’t know that “Stalag” was a contraction of “Stammlager” which is itself a contraction of Kriegsgefangenen-Mannschafts-Stammlager. Isn’t German wonderful? On that note I’m off to bed.

    1. A last note – If you think I’m being anti-Germanic it’s not so. All languages have their idiosyncrasies.

      How many ways are there the pronounce the letters OUGH in English?

      1. For fourteen years of my life I was saddled with Myerscough as a surname, so I can give you quite a long list of alternative pronunciations. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_sad.gif

            1. I lived in Llandudno (Penrhyn Bay) until I was three years old, near the Rhos-on-Sea golf course which might explain a few things.

              1. One of my favourite eateries is out that way – The Queen’s Head in Glanwydden. Maybe not so good when you were three but it’s a great place now.

                1. I sat on a train next to an E2L ( English as a second language ) student and chatted for an hour about the different ough pronounciations. He was most confused. When we left the train we came out of the station together. Dead opposite was a theatre with a poster saying ” Black and White Minstrel Show. Pronounced Success” he gave up studying English there and then

      2. An American stopped a friend of mine in the street & asked for directions to Loogerbooger. Turned out he meant Loughborough.

  31. Thanks to Jay and to Pommers for the review and hints. A very enjoyable puzzle from Jay, but I found it very tricky. Managed to get down to two unsolved in four sittings. Needed the hints for 10a & 18d, both clues had on-line in them, I couldn’t solve either :-) Favourites were 13d&25a,sorry Kath. Was 4*/4* for me.

  32. No time today for crosswords, but I thought I’d just pop in and say hello. Politics, 2 radio segments to prepare for plus a hospital appointment – and I have to be up with the lark, so an early night for me. I’ve tucked today’s Jay away and will enjoy it at the weekend, so I’ve not read any hints or comments, because that would spoil my fun. Sorry, but I’ll get back to you …

      1. My lark is later than most people’s lark. My breakfast is lunch, my lunch is dinner and my supper comes out of a bottle. Love owls, by the way. Saw one by the roundabout at the end of the M45 at 1am the other day, just hovering in my headlights. Stunning

  33. Got round to this excellent challenge from Jay during odd free moments today, which is probably why I found it quite difficult. It’s not easy for me unless I can have a concerted, concentrated go at a puzzle, rather than popping in and out. 25a was my favourite and I’m giving it 3* for brain-bashing and 3* for relief at finishing

  34. I tried all day and did not get ONE answer. I have been doing the cryptic for about three years and have never managed to finish even one,
    I don’t think I;m stupid. I work as a free-lance journalist. and have a degree somewhere..
    Should I give up?

    1. Welcome to the blog, Gloria.
      You definitely shouldn’t give up. If you stay with us and read the hints every day you’re bound to improve. There’s also a lot of useful information for solvers in the FAQ.
      One technique that I recommend if you’re stuck is to use the blog to fill in, from the hints and if necessary the answers, all the ACROSS answers. Then have another go at the DOWNS but by now you’ll have lots of useful checkers to help. When you’ve done all you can, read the blog to ensure you understand all the wordplay – if you don’t understand something ask.

    2. … Whereabouts in the world are you, Gloria? The puzzle you’re commenting on was published more than 3 months ago in the UK.

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