DT 27809 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 27809 (Hints)

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 27809 (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    What can reduce stinging in cut parts (4,6)
A charade of a verb meaning to cut or truncate and a verb meaning parts or goes away

10a    Round Arabian land I pray troublesome arsonist’s failing (9)
Start with an Arabian sultanate and place an anagram (troublesome) of I PRAY around it

14a    Decorate soldiers, famous one not losing heart (8)
The usual non-commissioned soldiers are followed by a word for a famous person and N[o]T without its middle letter (losing heart)

19a    Microphone picks up a joke description of the Queen? (8)
19a    Microphone picks up a joke in theatre (8) – newspaper version
MIC(rophone) around (picks up) the A from the clue and a joke

21a    Ensure smart appearance to bring case to court (5,4,4)
This could be what you needs to do to ensure your outfit has no creases

24a    Out of country, don’t have so much to say (9)
Not so much away from one’s country, more not having a country from which to be away – a verb meaning to say followed by a suffix meaning not so much

25a    Wide-eyed, this person standing in body of church (5)
The enumeration for this clue is incorrectly given as (2,3) in the newspaper version

26a    Fare payable at station reduced substantially (4)
Cleverly hidden (reduced substantially) inside the clue

27a    Tropical fish uses orange in disguise (3,7)
An anagram (in disguise) of USES ORANGE


1d    Children’s author raised boy, capturing hearts (4)
Put the reversal (raised in a down clue) of a young boy around (capturing) H(earts)

2d    Certificate of film suitable for adults in particular (7)
CERT(ificate) followed by the letter that indicates that a film is suitable for adults only and IN from the clue

4d    Woolly type mostly taking part of old actor (2,6)
Most of a woolly animal related to the llama followed by a two-letter word meaning taking part and O(ld)

5d    Jane entertains one in nest (5)
The surname of Jane in the eponymous novel by Charlotte Brontë around (entertains) I (one)

7d    Can seabird set down in abbey? (7)
A can or container followed by a seabird

8d    Don’t have the time to follow British battalion (5,5)
A phrase that could mean not having the means to know the current tine (4,5) preceded by B(ritish)

18d    Like some concrete formerly poured round playing field (7)
A four-letter word meaning formerly or once around the abbreviated form of a playing field

20d    More than one bird races to catch island rodents (7)
Some motorcycle races held on the Isle of Man around (to catch) I(sland) and followed by some rodents

23d    Thin as a rake (4)
Two definitions – an adjective meaning thin and a verb meaning to rake or incline

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.

The Quick Crossword pun: richer+dove+Yorke=Richard of York

65 comments on “DT 27809 (Hints)

  1. BD – I wonder if I am alone in thinking that there may be some differences between the written version and the online version today ? 19a certainly seems to be different. Instead of “description of Queen”, I have “in theatre”. Also 25a the answer seems fairly obvious, but in the paper it is written as “2,3” not 5. which suddenly seems rather tricky http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_wacko.gifAny thoughts !!

    1. You have every right to complain. The alternative version of 19a seems poor by comparison with the online one and the enumeration for 25a is blatantly incorrect.

      1. Thanks BD. Obviously it is unfortunate that these slip-ups occur on the competition day. It just shows the value of your terrific site that one can communicate on these matters and find some answers from your good self and opinions from other contributors. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_good.gif Having said all that, many thanks for the hints and your helpful answer to my comments ! Thank you setter as well for a puzzle which I thought was one of the trickier Saturday challenges, but good fun as well.

        1. ‘Unfortunate’ seems a mild word to use over what I would see as a right balls-up!

    2. Yes indeed. I use paper version so 25a foxed me for a bit but it had to be and think “description of queen” is better than “theatre” in 19a although I twigged anyway. Presumably the crossword editor is responsible for the faux pas and the clue alteration? http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_wacko.gif

    3. I suggest that the on-line version corrects the printed version. A bit naughty that for people just using the latter!

    4. Like everyone else, 25a left me scratching my head as did the earlier comments of Anneka Rice – an even worse presenter than Sarah Kennedy on Radio 2 – who believes that Molly is representing the United Kingdom in tonight’s Eurovision Song Contest… Only a year out, Anneka.

    5. Oh good – I thought I’d gone barking mad with 25a and wasn’t too sure about the theatre bit of 19a.

      1. As there is no well-known theatre of that name in the UK, I have gone for “in theatre” as the (poor) adjectival definition.

        1. The cinema in South Woodford is/was called the ******** – it’s quite well known!

          1. I have tried many times to emphasise that answers to prize puzzles should not be given in comments.

            Also, a cinema in South Woodford is a) not a theatre and b) not well-known outside South Woodford.

        2. I just assumed it was a theatre-seemed plausible. I also assumed 25a had the wrong enumeration- it couldn’t be anything else!

          For once I completed it without checking BD ! Loved the anagrams, particularly 12a. The abbey is just up the road from me! 18d was the last one, so much for being an engineer (once) !

  2. Overall, I thought this was excellent. **/**** for me last night. Favourite was probably 8d but 1a (which came late with the checkers) ran it close and brought a big smile! Thanks to setter and BD.

    1. We are all different. 1a was a write inand obvious to me before I had worked out why! Many memories of that particular cure when I was a child. After that I struggled and only got a few. However, finished in bed this morning. Was difficult but do-able!

  3. 1*/3*. This gentle but pleasant diversion was largely R&W but a handful clue of clues needed a little more thought.

    Fortunately I solved 25a before I noticed the enumeration, and I was planning to complain about 19a not making much sense but I see that a long line of others have beaten me to it.

    Many thanks to Mr. Ron and to BD.

    1. We are all different. 1a was a write inand obvious to me before I had worked out why! Many memories of that particular cure when I was a child. After that I struggled and only got a few. However, finished in bed this morning. Was difficult but do-able!

  4. Saturdays continue to be more fun these days. Thank you Mr. Ron and BD. This was nicely challenging. Had not heard of 27a or 20a but not too difficult to decipher and have also learnt about upstaging whilst researching one of the clues. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gif

  5. I struggled with this and can’t really see why now since it’s all stuff I know. Got there in the end.

    Thanks to the setter for a fine puzzle which I’d have very much enjoyed on a different day. As it is, it’s back to reality for me now after a bit of a break.

    As ever, a big thank you to BD for the blog.

  6. Fairly straight forward today. I enjoyed because I completed it. Favourite clue for me 24A

    1. Wint – you have entered a different (probably incorrect) email address which is why your comment was subjected to moderation.

  7. I thought this was difficult but, like Kitty, can’t really see why now that I’ve finished it.
    I got into a terrible muddle in the bottom right corner – the enumeration of 25a in the paper didn’t help but I always forget those races in 20d.
    I have to confess that the 26a lurker was my last answer – and just when I thought I might be getting better at them too! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/icon_rolleyes.gif
    I didn’t know the 27a tropical fish.
    I can’t spell the 1d author but at least I know I can’t so I looked him up – he isn’t just a children’s author.
    I liked 1 and 21a and 5 and 8d.
    With thanks to Mr Ron and to BD.
    Will have a go at Bufo’s NTSPP later on.

  8. Why are there differences between the paper version and the on-line version?

    I have asked this question many times over the years ,,, but the DT Crossword Editor has never replied.

    I’m sure he reads this blog – so WHY?.

  9. For some reason it was a very slow start for me on this puzzle. yet it did gradually speed up and once complete I was not sure why I was so dense at the beginning!

    3*/4* given my early troubles.

  10. Thanks to the setter and to Big Dave for the hints. I enjoyed this a lot, but was puzzled by 19a. Luckily I didn’t notice the incorrect enumeration in 25a. Still stuck on 15a, any help would be much appreciated, but please don’t end up in Naughty Corner. Was 3*/3* for me. Very overcast in Central London, but the cricket continues. Oops just started raining.

    1. 15a is very easy once you separate the wordplay from the definition.

      Contend with girl around European capital (6)
      A 3-letter verb meaning to contend or rival followed by the reversal (around) of a girl’s name

      1. Ps. It’s not Canberra even though Australia are in the Eurovision Song Contest tonight! Strewth!

  11. Printed the online version last night and bought the paper this morning. Good thing too as I can’t see how anyone could make sense of 25a. Silly really, specially for a prize crossword. I declare the competition null and void and heads will roll in Mr McNeill’s office. I do like a public flogging every now and then.
    Apart from that, I thought it was a terrific Saturday puzzle.
    Thanks to the setter and to BD for the review.

  12. When you’ve finished being grumpy about 19a and 25a, do have a go at ‘my’ NTSPP.

    1. Yes, do. I’m in the middle of that instead of things I should be doing. It’s brilliant (and I’m not just saying that because of 1d!).

  13. We had to do a bit of pondering today, because the multi-word answers just wouldn’t spring to mind and I really like those. Mr. SheilaP insists there was a 19a in Newcastle at one time, but I think it was probably a cinema. All in all, though, an enjoyable puzzle, so thank you to the Saturday setter and to BD.

  14. I enjoyed this puzzle. I was going to say that the online 19a was my favourite until I realised there was a complication! Ok, so what? 19a is my favourite.
    2*/3* overall. Thanks to the setter and BD for his hints.

  15. Nice puzzle, a solid 2/3 for me. As I only do the online version, I did not suffer the trauma of those solving the printed version. I have noticed, from time to time, that the occasional online puzzle clue has a jumble of alphanumerics which render the clue Turingesque in complexity.

  16. Bit of a nuisance today because we spent a load of time thinking about 25a….we knew the answer but didn’t understand why it was divided into two non-exiistant words unless they mean something in Lithuanian or some other language that doesn’t have any global importance. However, the winner of tonight’s Eurovision song contest will be chanting in some form of incomprehensible drivel.

    Thanks to Big Dave for pointing this out…..and thanks to Captain Scarlett’s nemesis for for providing us with a very enjoyable puzzle.

  17. Thanks again, BD, need more practice, wouldn’t have done it without you. Once again, put in a wrong word at 6a – did anyone else think along parliamentary lines?

      1. I thought about the bit I’ve xxxxx’d out for five minutes and decided that you’d defintely strayed over the border into alternative clue land.

  18. Took the children out for the day as Mr. S is camping with the Cubs!!! So came late to this via the paper version. I am so glad I dipped into the hints…I thought the little grey cells were packing up! What a relief to find that the printed version was littered with mistakes. Thanks very much BD, I can now crack on. Enjoy the weekend everyone

  19. Can anyone put me out of my misery and give me a clue for 16d. It’s probably blindingly obvious, but I can’t see it.

    1. The abbreviation for book followed by part of a verb meaning ‘is helpful’. (just like me ;) )

      1. Thank you for putting me out of my misery – not sure why I couldn’t see this, seems embarrassingly easy now!

  20. Needed a lot of hints for this one, so glad to see that others found it tricky too.
    Poor show about 25a.
    Deputy heads should roll.

  21. Thanks setter. My last one in was 23d and first one is 1a! That’s funny should have been the other way round I think. For “what can reduce stinging” I immediately thought of the answer without the cryptic bit! Luckily I forgot about the 2,3 by the time I solved 25a after I had the middle letter! Did not know the tropical fish but worked out well once I had the checking letters for the anagram. 15a – got the gist but there were so many names and so many options in trying to work out the clue! Anyway it was a jolly good work out all round. Thanks all.

  22. Finished in double quick time …… for me http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_wink.gif Had a real run on it at 1.30 in the morning, following a very slow start. Don’t ask me why my brain is at its best then http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_unsure.gif
    Just help up by 25a owing to the 2,3 mess (thanks to BD for the correction) and 20d hence the last clue in.
    PS. What is NTSPP?

  23. The DT Saturday crossword is so enjoyable but I have no-one to share it with – so this site is great!
    Was also irritated by 25a, but am still puzzled by 27a – can’t find comments on this – but is there not a letter missing from the solution?
    Thank you.

      1. Thank you. I have found the fish by working out the anagram -but puzzled because the fish I know is **************.

  24. I know this comment is pretty late. Having completed the supposed *** puzzle the other day with great ease, found this one impossible. I’m beginning to realise it’s all about getting on the setter’s wavelength. Still not got 20d even with your clue, and I know it begins with “***”! Will have to resort to the “Crossword solver” which I really hate doing.

    PS Just looked it up. Should have got it, even though my wildlife knowledge is appalling and never heard of this bird. I really am a townie.

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