DT 27831 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 27831

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 27831

Hints and tips by Falcon

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

Greetings from Ottawa where the weatherman has been dishing up a little bit of everything. A bit of sun, a bit of cloud, a bit of rain, a bit of heat, a bit of cold, a bit of wind, a bit of calm — sometimes all on the same day.

I started out sailing through this puzzle, but after solving about half the clues progress ground to a crawl. The bottom half (and especially the southeast corner) proved particularly troublesome. Perhaps I was just being really dumb as I was totally flummoxed by the relatively simple wordplay at 17d and had to send out an SOS call to my fellow bloggers. I should have also included 9d in that call.


1a   Confused symbol of royal authority, we hear (6)
THROWN — sounds like the seat of royalty

4a   Two cricket sides combined occasionally (3,3,2)
OFF AND ON — two sides of the field – not two teams

10a   Fragmentary musical work male composed (9)
PIECEMEAL — a more informal term for work than opus leads into an anagram (composed) of male

11a   Put forward first person in job (5)
POSIT — a first person pronoun deposited into another word for job

12a   Idiot accompanying a knight somewhere in Belgium (7)
ANTWERP — a colloquial term for a silly person trailing A (from the clue) and the chess notation for knight

13a   Contain start of deception within popular part of puzzle (7)
INCLUDE — insert the initial letter of D(eception) into a charade of the usual two-letter word for popular and what 13a is in this puzzle

14a   Golf, say, shown by green? It’s taken on board (5)
CARGO — Golf is not a game, and not a word used in radio communication, but an example of an automobile; it is followed by what it does when the light turns green

15a   Adjustment of leg in my revealing garment (8)
NEGLIGEE — an anagram (adjustment) of LEG IN followed by an exclamation of surprise, admiration or enthusiasm (other than “My!”) that this garment might evoke

18a   A fee’s wrong in part of weekend? Most politicians want it! (4,4)
SAFE SEAT — an anagram (wrong) of A FEES ensconced in the abbreviation for one of the days of the weekend

20a   Release what eminent diplomat might wear? (5)
UNTIE — split (2,3) this could be the neckwear of a diplomat posted to an international organization headquartered in New York

23a   In advance, see vicar, one occupying bench (7)
PREVIEW — the abbreviated form of a minister’s title and the Roman numeral for one are seated where one usually finds members of the congregation

25a   Description of some champagne knocked back in English motor? (7)
TURBINE — the term used to describe very dry wine is reversed and followed by IN (from the clue) and E(nglish)

26a   Assistant suppressing second private comment (5)
ASIDE — a confidential assistant or advisor is wrapped around S(econd)

27a   Distant character? (9)
ALOOFNESS — in this cryptic definition, character denotes the qualities that make up a person’s nature or personality; in this case, rather cool and detached

28a   See Italy’s changing, supporting the government (8)
LOYALIST — an archaic, rather Biblical, word meaning “See!” or “Look!” precedes an anagram (changing) of ITALYS

29a   Parisian article effectively in poor condition (6)
UNWELL — a French indefinite article followed by an adverb meaning effectively or for all practical purposes


1d   Take steps to bug and broadcast church (3-5)
TAP-DANCE — this is a charade of a verb meaning to install a device to surreptitiously monitor a telephone conversation, an anagram (broadcast) of AND, and the abbreviation for the official state church of England

2d   Go again into some green territory (2-5)
RE-ENTER — the solution is lurking in the clue waiting to be discovered

3d   Unhappy women discontentedly oppose desire before lunchtime (9)
WOEBEGONE — piece together W(omen), the outer letters (discontentedly) of O(ppos)E, a verb meaning to ask earnestly or humbly, and the usual lunchtime in Crosswordland; desire would seem to be used in an archaic sense meaning to ask or command

5d   Place for replenishing saloons? (7,7)
FILLING STATION — these saloons are not drinking establishments with swinging doors from the Old West

6d   A seasoning mostly found in jelly (5)
ASPIC — A (from the clue) and a seasoning from which the final letter has been chopped off

7d   Argument son expressed in end (7)
DISPUTE — place S(on) and a verb denoting expressed or said into a verb signifying to end (one’s mortal existence, for instance)

8d   Talk during commemoration at tercentenary (6)
NATTER — another lurker concealed herein

9d   Conceal food with lower charges reportedly (4,5,5)
KEEP UNDER WRAPSI’m afraid that I don’t understand the wordplay here. Perhaps “lower” bears some connection to “under” and “charges reportedly” (sounds like RAPS) would presumably be clueing WRAPS. Maybe I am missing some obscure British homophone? If you are also struggling with deciphering this clue, I am sure someone will put you out of your misery before I awake in the morning.
Dutch has come to the rescue. The wordplay is a charade of KEEP (food), UNDER (lower), and something that sounds like (reportedly) RAPS (criminal charges). One definition given by the BRB for keep is food, means of subsistence, or board.

16d   Drug that is new probed by British university academic (9)
IBUPROFEN — start with the Latin abbreviation for that is and N(ew); into this, insert B(ritish) U(niversity) and a short teaching academic; if this clue gave you a headache, the solution may be the answer

17d   Give away tours outside of Rhodes, going backwards (8)
REVERSAL — to give away or disclose goes around (tours) the outside letters of R(hode)S; I can’t believe that I failed to figure that out on my own

19d   Tiny meal left out after cooking in day centre, maybe (7)
AMENITY — an anagram (after cooking) of TINY MEA(l) with the L(eft) removed (out)

21d   Old vessel cut journey by engineers (7)
TRIREME — a synonym for journey with the final letter removed (cut) followed by a British engineering corps (not the Sappers, the other one)

22d   Area of expansion becomes distorted when up above lake (6)
SPRAWL — reversal (when up) of a verb meaning becomes distorted preceding (above, in a down clue) L(ake)

24d   Perfect heart of quiet South Coast town (5)
IDEAL — middle letter of (qu)I(et) followed by a town in Kent

My favourite clue today is 15a — a gift for illustrative purposes.

The Quick Crossword pun: form+oast=foremost

67 comments on “DT 27831

  1. I found this pretty tricky in places. Thanks to Falcon and setter – would agree with ***/***

  2. 2*/2*. I found this very bitty in many respects and not much fun. Most of it was fairly easy but the SE corner proved very difficult, and I simply couldn’t get 29a at all until I read Falcon’s review. I was hoping for some enlightenment on the parsing of 9d but Falcon seems as confused as me about this one.
    Thanks to Falcon and to the setter.

  3. Nice to see the Trireme pulling into harbour. Nothing too tricksy here. It is nice to know that the simplest of wordplay can flummox the best of bloggers. Cant see the wood for the trees! Ta to all as usual.

  4. Agree with Rabbit Dave that the SE corner was ‘tricky’ and 25A the last in for me-even when the answer dawned, took a while to work out the word play. Agree that 9d didn’t quite work ,maybe CONCEAL FOOD, not CONCEAL is the definition as you conceal food by putting it under wraps it !-the rap is obviously the criminal charge. Anyway ***/*** probably about right, took a bit of thought.Thanks all.

    1. I first thought that the definition in 25a might be the first part of the clue with the answer being TERROIR. The Greek ship sank that idea. Then I tried to find some way to make TERRINE work. I must have spent as much time on 25a and 17d as I did on the rest of the puzzle.

    2. The whole clue means conceal. The food is surely”wraps” a type of sandwich. Keep under refers to the lower charges – as in price

      1. Hi Ruth,

        Welcome to the blog.

        In your explanation of the clue, you have not explained what role the word “reportedly” is playing.

  5. Although I finished without the hints, I found this one very tricky in places. I think food in 9d is a red herring (no pun intended). The lower charges I took as meaning a lesser rap (as in rap sheet). Anyone got a better interpretation? Thanks Falcon for hints and for explaining 29a which I still think is a bit obscure.

  6. yes, this involved a bit more head scratching than usual – 9d was one of my last ones in. Keep as a noun means food, under=lower, charges=raps=wraps, and keep under wraps=conceal.

    I liked 28a (See Italy’s changing..), 3d (unhappy women discontentedly! oppose..), and 16d which is a nice surface but the containment indicator (probed) has 5 of the letters in the answer which may unfortunately have led me in the right direction.

    Sound like Ottawa is experiencing some British weather – here people say if you don’t like the weather, wait five mins.

    Many thanks setter and Falcon

    1. Well done Dutch. You have hit the nail on the head. PS. What IS the woman at 5d doing? Washing the car with petrol?

    2. Yes, Dutch, you appear to have it.

      I am not familiar with “keep” meaning food and have never heard the expression “board and keep” mentioned by Beaver (as well as by the 2Kiwis below).

      I do find keep defined as food, clothing, and other essentials of life as in the expression “earn one’s keep” (a phrase with which I am familiar). I suppose for nudists, keep could be considered to be food.

    3. Yes, Dutch. Very well done! As Beaver says, a d’oh moment regarding the once common but now archaic “board and keep”.

    4. Re the discussion about 9d. I’m sure you’re right about the definition, but wraps are a food as well, being a tortilla wrapped around some tasty morsel. They are popular as a quick snack apparently. We enjoyed this puzzle but found the SE corner the last to go in. Thank you to the Thursday setter and to Falcon.

      1. Yes, that thought did occur to me as well — which only served to further complicate the situation.

    5. Yes. I’d not heard of board and keep, only bed and board. The phrase I had in mind when guessing at the synonym was earn one’s keep – but there again, I agree with Falcon that keep would include more than just food.

  7. Only after completing the puzzle did I appreciate some of the clues, such as 1d, 25a and 14a.
    The weather is the same here as Canada, a bit of everything and cool.
    Thanks DT and setter.

  8. We agree with Dutch’s parsing of 9d. Keep does have food as one of its meanings, guess we know it best in the phrase “board and keep”. Certainly caused us quite a lot of head scratching. Not a quick solve for us and had that “off the wall” characteristic that we often get on some Thursdays. We enjoyed sorting it all out.
    Thanks Mr Ron and Falcon.

  9. I agree that this wasn’t one of the more straightforward ones – 3* for both difficulty and enjoyment from me.
    Started off rather badly, and stupidly, by splitting 4a 2,3,3 and putting ‘on and off’ – oh dear!
    Sorted that out fairly quickly but it did cause a spot of bother to begin with.
    Then it all went reasonably well for a while until I got to my last few answers.
    I didn’t have trouble with 17d or 29a.
    I didn’t peer too closely at 9d as the answer was clear but looking at it now I think that Dutch has got it right.
    My last problem was 25a which I just couldn’t do at all – couldn’t even work out what the definition was.
    I liked 13 and 27a and 16d.
    With thanks to Mr Ron and to Falcon for sorting out my 25a and to Dutch for sorting out 9d.
    Nice day here but can’t resist a peek at the Beam Toughie even if I can’t do it.

  10. Thank you setter. Certainly on the tricky side, but I enjoyed the battle and was pleased to solve clues like 14a. Thank you Falcon for your review and hints – I needed your review to explain my answers to 3d and 15a, which were bungitins.

  11. Thanks to Dutch for the parsing of 9d. I’d forgotten about that expression until the 2K’s pointed it out. When my father signed as a professional footballer for Leicester City in 1949 he was appointed ‘digs’. When I asked him what that meant, he replied; ‘Lodgings….someone’s house where you get your board and keep’.
    Otherwise a very entertaining puzzle and thanks to Mr. Ron??…and our Canadian bird of prey. ***/****

    1. I find it intriguing that “room and board” means lodging and food where “board” literally means a table set with food. So, if “keep” means food, does “board and keep” not mean ‘food and food’?

    2. Perhaps the term is more prevalent in the Midlands. I’m from Leicester and had no trouble with 9d.

      1. neveracrossword could be right because I’d only heard the expression from my father when we lived in Leicester. However, the female half of Paso Doble’s dad used to it too. He’s from London!. Falcon’s question is more difficult to answer than a Friday Toughie!!

      2. Yes, when I first started work many, many moons ago, I had to give my mum money for my ‘keep’, which included mostly food and somewhere to stay. This was in Surrey, but my mum was from London, so the expression is quite wide spread.

          1. Yes, I kept on being a pain until I finally left home at 17 and went to live in London!

  12. Plenty to tax the grey matter today particularly in the North and certainly appreciated Dutch sorting 9d bung-in for me. I suppose the diplomat wearing a 20a is eminent? Overall very enjoyable and somewhat unusual. Many thanks Jay and also Falcon for helping it all to make sense. ***/***. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/icon_biggrin.gif

  13. Quite enjoyed this one and will go for **/***, with 16d favourite and 27a least favourite.

    I’m sure I’ve seen 12a clued simply as “An idiot in Belgium (7)” so just seeing the words idiot and Belgium in the clue gave me the answer without thinking about it.

    Thanks to Mr Ron and Falcon. Sorry I couldn’t help with 17d but it was all sorted out by the time I got up this morning.

  14. A wonderfully annoying crossword, my favourite for sometime. ***/****. Lots of good clues, especially liked 16,17d & 25a. Thank you

  15. That was hard work. All these little Lego pieces didn’t help.
    3d was totally new to me.
    I knew of a bireme but wasn’t aware you could have a third row of oars.
    Made a real mess of 17d trying to put R and S on the outside and thought 19d was anytime. I blame the heat. And the wine I had at lunch.
    Fared better on the toughie. Morning was a bit cooler.
    Thanks to the setter and to Falcon for the review.

    1. You were not alone with ANYTIME. I only realized it was wrong when the penny dropped on 28a.

    2. Yes, there were triremes and even quinqueremes, but there is some scholarly dispute about what they looked like. Some think that triremes had three banks of oars, as the word seem to imply, but others say that there were only two banks, with the upper deck having two rowers per oar (as the upper oars would be longer and heavier), and therefore three rowers per position, as it were.

      1. Well, there’s a thing – you live and you learn (whether or not you remember it is another matter!)
        I remember most of the John Masefield poem and so I doubted your spelling of ‘quinqueremes’ and looked it up. You’re right according to the BRB but in the poem it’s spelt ‘quinquerimes’. I’m almost certainly being dim and missing something here but . . .

  16. A bit slow today after late night due in part to M54 closure on way home from late-finishing concert in Birmingham (yes Miffypops, it was the CBSO and Mahler 3). I struggled with 3d and 22d for too long which meant I entered ***\*** territory. Otherwise a top puzzle. Thanks to all as usual.

      1. If classical music is your thing, it rarely gets any better than this. For someone who loves crosswords, I am at a loss to describe adequately the power and emotion of this piece. Could have done without the road closures though, as my vocabulary was not found wanting at 11.30 last night as we traversed the Shropshire countryside.

        1. I have been mixing up my Mahler with my Brukner. Will give Marler a listen tomorrow whilst I write an email to my barrister and a letter to my MP.

  17. Greetings from sunny Toronto.
    Good one to complete today as it was pretty hard going. Really disliked 29a which didn’t work at all for me but did like 16d.
    Thx to all

  18. ****/**. This was a breeze until I got to the SE corner. This proved very tricky and not helped by for example 27a which is way too obscure resulting in a significant bit of electronic assistance to fill the missing letters. I am grateful for the explanation for 15a and 9d both of which I got but couldn’t fully explain to myself. Hence the ** for enjoyment. Thanks to the setter and Falcon for the review.

  19. I was totally out of the picture with this one, way out of wavelength; am I the only one? I don’t think I even got halfway with this and have to give up to go out.
    Oh well, maybe tomorrow … but wait, that’s Giovanni! I shall be totally woebegone by that time.
    Thanks to all, particularly Gazza for the enlightenment and review.


    1. Ooooops! Thanks Falcon! I think I’ve made that mistake before. Attention span of a gnat, that’s me.

  20. Fairly straightforward with a few tricky moments. Not sure about the definition of 25a but I suppose the ? lets him/her off. I’ll go for 16d as my favourite.

    Thanks to the Thursday Mr Ron and Falcon for the review – loved the picture for 5d http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gif

  21. Made a mess of 25a and got tardive which could have been something to do with champagne vendange tardive but nothing to do with English motor, went completely off the rails! Otherwise no problems so must have been on the same wavelength as the setter. Needed the review for 25a as previously mentioned and to understand the wordplay of a few clues – 15a,17d, 21d… So many thanks to Falcon and to the setter. Very hot today but much cooler up in the hills where we have just enjoyed a wonderful night stay in a delightful hotel with a gastonomique dinner of some 9 courses!!! Diet for a whole week now a must…

  22. Thanks, Falcon, for the review. I’m glad someone was available to help with 17d, because I’m not sure I could apologise with completely sincerity for being soundly asleep at 3:30am!

    I had a very similar solving experience to you, starting off well and then slowing considerably at the end. The one I had to seek electronic help on though was trireme. (I looked up “travere” twice! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_unsure.gif) I was very slow to parse a couple including the pesky 9d, where I was also wanting to eat wraps. Once I’d twigged the homophone, keep = food made enough sense for me to be pretty confident, but I did check it in the BRB. I also had anytime in 19d until checkers ousted it: I wasn’t sure about it but was totally blind to any other anagrams despite looking. Can’t win ’em all.

    Thanks also to the setter for a nice meaty challenge.

  23. 24d South Coast?
    Not the East Coast?
    S’ppose so.
    Quite a tussle, especially the SE corner.
    Most enjoyable.
    Many thanks to the setter, and to Falcon for the review, although, luckily, not needed today.

      1. It is on the SE Coast – so much so that your mobile phone welcomes you to France!

  24. Quite liked this one .. got on with it better than Monday’s, for example. Liked the probable old chestnut in12a, and liked 9d (saw the ‘board and keep’ thing reasonably quickly). Not too convinced by 29a. Last one in 19d. Thanks to all involved today.

  25. I agree this was tricky in parts. At first several read throughs produced absolutely nothing apart from cargo at 14a, but once I Figured out 5d, things got moving a bit. Then managed quite well but like others, got snarled up in the SE corner. Not familiar with Trireme, 25a had me stuck for ages and couldn’t see the reasoning for 29, so had to use the hints for these last few. I really liked 16d, my favourite clue today. This took me much longer than usual, and having to use the hints takes it into 3*/2* status. Thanks to setter and Falcon for the hints.

  26. Although l completed well inside 2* time, l confess that 9d was a bung-in (the answer was pretty clear but l certainly didn’t parse the clue a la Dutch). I liked 1d and 23a. Ta to Mr Ron, and of course to Falcon.

  27. Took a bit longer than usual; however, no need of hints. Last in were 25a and 22d. An enjoyable puzzle for an ex Pat now in Canada.

    1. Love the moniker Cornishpasty. The EU police shouldn’t be after you as long as you’re not making Cornish pasties in Canada.http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gif

  28. It’s a funny old world. I found this to be a bit of a doddle, with plenty of smiles along the way. A smattering of GK required, some fun partial anagrams, and clever charades. 3d made me think instantly of Garrison Keillor and his tales of Lake Woebegone and the memorial to the unknown Norwegian; 21d brought to mind an episode of Inspector Morse, where a painting of just such a vessel was central to the plot and so on throughout the solve. One or two niggles: 20 and 29a brought a slight scowl because they were not up the high standard of the rest of the clues, but altogether 1*/3*. Thanks to Falcon for the review (and, blimey, that woman squirting petrol at her car) and to the setter.

  29. Thanks to Mr Ron and to Falcon for the review and hints. A very enjoyable, but very tricky puzzle. I managed to solve it without the hints, in four distinct mini puzzles. NE, SW, NW, SE. With the latter corner being the most difficult. Once I managed to get 16d & 27a, the rest fell into place. Last in was 17d, but I couldn’t see the wordplay until I read the hint. Favourite was 16d, I had no trouble with 5d, as my parents used to use board and keep a lot. Was 4*/4* for me.

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