DT 27839 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 27839 (Hints)

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 27839 (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.

Big Dave is out to lunch.  In the meantime, here are some hints for the prize crossword.


1 Exchange bit of grass for flick-knife (11)
A word meaning to swap or exchange followed by another word for bit or part of grass.

7 Also enthralling doctor, the French kind of lottery (7)
Another word meaning also or as well includes (enthralling) an abbreviation for a doctor.  Follow this with the French feminine form of the word “the”.

8 Shorts with English tonic (7)
The kind of shorts that you would drink followed by a three letter abbreviation for English.

23 Character left wearing support (7)
Another word for support or like goes around (wearing) the abbreviation for left.

24 Pay for a guy in order to relax (5,2,4)
A word meaning to pay for a round of drinks followed by the a from the clue and another word for guy or make fun of someone.


1 Group studying ruined remains (7)
An anagram (ruined) of remains.

2 Cream trailer containing gold (5)
A kind of trailing plant includes an abbreviation for gold.

4 Brownie stands to embrace soldier back inside (3,4)
An elfin character… A word meaning stands or shoulders includes a reversal of the abbreviation for an American soldier.

19 Leave Virginia with American beast (7)
The abbreviation for the state of Virginia followed by the name of a large American elk-like animal.

21 What a pope may wear in a short ceremony round area to the north (5)
Another name for the Pope’s headwear.  Reverse (to the north) the A from the clue and a another word for a ceremony with the final letter removed (short) around the abbreviation for area.

Typed whilst cuddling my granddaughter!

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.

Quickie pun : WRICK + SURE = RICKSHAW.

46 comments on “DT 27839 (Hints)

  1. Thank you setter for a very enjoyable Saturday puzzle. Thanks for the hints Prolixic – needed 21a hint to explain the wordplay although the answer was fairly obvious. Well done and thanks to all for getting up and running again. Life isn’t the same without the blog !

    1. You’ve said it all, Sweet William! And congratulations to Prolixic who, apparently, has typed his hints one-handed…

  2. That’s what I call a few hints.
    But quite straightforward Saturday prize.
    Thanks to Prolixic.

  3. Yes, they were a few hints, but valuable ones. I may be back for more help later. Well done to those who got the web site back up. We are not quite a third world country over here but we do depend on the on-line crossword

  4. Good to see the site back even if access is slow.
    Not too demanding today, so long as you know what popes wear.
    **/*** and thanks to Prolixic and setter. Liked 24a best today.

  5. A very enjoyable Saturday puzzle. Got held up in the South-East for a while as I’d convinced myself that 24a was a different sort of clue… nice misdirection. Thanks to the setter and well done to Prolixic for defying convention and showing that men can multitask http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_smile.gif

  6. Much of this was read and write, but an enjoyable accompaniment to a mid-morning cup of coffee on the patio in the sunshine.
    The only that held me up a bit was 4d.

    Thanks to the setter and Prolixic.

  7. Have been stalking for a while, sometimes in need of clues, sometimes to explain my answers. Delighted to have you up and running again. Thanks to setter, decoder and Big Dave.

  8. No real problems with this one. Good to see the site up and running again after yesterday’s travails.
    Couple of points (within the prize restrictions I hope), what has the answer to 4d to do with a Brownie rather than the more usual association and I’m puzzled by Guy in the second half of 27a, is this a meaning for guy that is uncommon?
    Thx to all.

    1. Hi Brian,

      A Brownie is another word for an elfin creature and the answer is a famous literary one. To guy is another word to make fun of someone.

  9. Managed to finish without resorting to the hints both yesterday and today, but thank goodness for the return of the site as I’m sure it’ll be needed in the near future. Thank you to the Saturday setter and to Prolixic.

  10. Alright.while it lasted but nothing to write home about. Although answers were obvious I’m with Brian in not really being familiar with 24a (rather than 27a?) or 3d. The Cockney part of 15a amused. Thanks Prolixic and BD (how did you find time to do hints amidst all your trials and tribulations?) ***/**. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/icon_neutral.gif

          1. You are obviously never out to lunch! What a splendid mutually supportive team you have viz Prolixic stepping into your shoes today as well as his own. Many thanks to him for that. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_good.gif

            1. Whereas I’m out ot lunch at least once a week and, according to pommette, for the rest of the time as well http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_wacko.gif

              1. When my husband retired I pointed out that I had married for better for worse but not for lunch so I was happy for him to be out to lunch! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/icon_rolleyes.gif

  11. First of all congratulations to Prolixic on becoming a grandfather! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yahoo.gif When was she born and what is her name?
    Congratulations, also, to whoever managed to get rid of all the gremlins here – life just isn’t the same without this blog.
    Right, now on to the crossword.
    For some reason which I now can’t see I found this one tricky in places.
    If I’ve ever heard of the 1a knife I’ve forgotten it and I had no idea that a pope wore a 21d – thought it was a girlie thing!
    Spent a little while trying to make 24a an anagram which was silly because the number of letters isn’t even right.
    I needed the hint to get the second word of 4d which was also silly – it’s not very difficult.
    I liked 10, 14 and 21a and 9 and 19d. My favourite was 7d.
    With thanks to Mr Ron and to Prolixic – I’m not sure you should talk about our leader like that! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_unsure.gif

      1. How lovely. Me – jealous – yes, very!
        She’s exactly the same weight as our elder Lamb was when she was born – she was so tiny that when her head was in the crook of my arm her feet didn’t reach my fingers.

      2. I showered the blog with piccies of my grandson Harrison when he was born. It went down very well. I still include him now and then and he has had the pleasure of meeting, Kath, The two Kiwis, Big Dave and Pam, Poppy and partner and dog and last but not least Kitty. It makes the blog human. I do think we are a world away from what big Dave envisaged at the start but I think he loves the way it has evolved and developed. I do and that for me is all that matters.

      3. I have hijacked the bottom of Sunday’s hints page and added a photo of grandpa and granddaughter.

  12. Back on line and grateful to Kath for unravelling 27837. However, 27839 was a breeze by comparison. Very enjoyable and apart from a little delay re 4 and 21d finished in good time. Thanks to the setter and BD for the review.

  13. Another gentle Saturday puzzle, with no real dramas. **\***!seems a fair score. I kept humming Big Yellow Taxi yesterday, especially the line about “you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone” when I finally abandoned attempts to open the website. For the record, Friday’s puzzle was a ***\***. Great to have everyone back.

  14. Welcome back! I missed the chit-chat.
    Loved this one, thank you setter.
    Thanks Prolixit for the review and help with 4d, I wasn’t brought up on those books, though I have subsequently heard of them. I rather liked 7a and 9d.

  15. Missed the blog yesterday, tried so many times but to no avail so bravo to whoever worked behind the scenes to give it back to us! Thanks to Prolixit for the review and help with 4d. Mr Framboise came once again to the rescue once we knew it was something to do with an elfin… He also helped with 15a which is my favourite clue. No real difficulties and much enjoyment so 2*/3*. Packing up for our return to Billingshurst on Monday, putting the car on the train between Toulon and Paris. Very hot in Hyères today! Apparently it is going to be very hot in UK too so it will not be a shock for us weather wise. Welcome to the world little Maisie, wonderful to be a grandparent! Many thanks to the setter.

  16. Enjoyable and fairly straightforward for a Sunny Saturday. Thanks to Prolixic and to Mr Ron.

  17. I know Big Dave is a little off the wall at times but I wouldn’t go so far as to say he’s “out to lunch” http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_whistle3.gif

  18. Pretty straightforward, about 1/2* difficulty and 3* satisfaction. No puzzles for 3 or 4 days – computer went u/s – so this was a pleasant reintroduction. Thanks to the setter, and to Prolixic.

  19. See! You all found it easy and I struggled. Hmmmph! So glad I did the crossword later, I would have panicked like mad without the blog. Well Done you gremlin fixers. Thank- you Prolixic I really needed the help today… And congratulations for typing with Maisie on your lap….my youngest child is only13 so no grandchildren for me for a while yet, but I imagine it’s amazing. Right! I am determine to complete this now I have had some help. Enjoy the lovely weather everyone

  20. Spent all day gardening followed by late bbq. Just finished crossword which I rank 2*/3*.Thanks to Prolixic and setter. Grateful I don’t have to carry it over until tomorrow. More weeding to do.

  21. Delighted to read about Maisie, she sounds utterly delightful. Congratulations !
    I am so glad the blog is back.
    I liked 1a the best.I thought 13d was cleverly positioned .I also really liked 9d .
    Thanks BD for getting the show up and running again.Thanks Prolixic and setter.

  22. We did this last night, so memories are hazy other than we enjoyed it. I do remember that our last in was 21d and that we had to look it up to understand it.

    Thanks to the setter. Thanks – and congratulations – to Prolixic. I saw the first few comments before the hints, so had to wonder why they had been typed one-handed!

  23. I’m always amazed when this happens – the answer to 5d, which I do not recall seeing in a crossword for some time, also featured in yesterday’s Times Prize puzzle.

  24. We have enjoyed the blog and the insight it brings for some years but this week found the crossword somewhat ‘workaday’ and lacking sparkle and didn’t need the blog but will never be able to look at the pope the same way again :-)

    1. Welcome to the blog LivingTheMoment

      It was certainly one of my quicker solves, which was just as well given all the other problems I was trying to sort out at the time.

  25. I sat in the garden yesterday afternoon accompanied by this puzzle & one or two bottles of IPA & most enjoyable it was too only spoilt my inability to solve 4D – thank goodness the blog was up this morning! thanks to the setter & to, Prolixic as per.
    It has persisted down all night so I have no option but to take Mrs S shopping , after she has cut my hair that is.

  26. Thanks to the setter and to Prolixic for the hints. A very straightforward puzzle with a few tricky clues. It was pretty much read and write, except for a few. I’d never heard of 4d, had the wrong answer to 19d, and the wrong definition for 23a. Apart from that, it was plain sailing. Favourite was 15a. Was 2*/3* for me. Congratulations to Prolixic on becoming a granddad, and welcome to little Maisie.

  27. As usual a few with nuances like ‘guy’ and ‘brownie’ I’d never heard of.
    Some Latin and Greek words for the scholars…My son came up with 19d -he’s not a crossy man and was quite chuffed- I was looking for another word. Best was 11a.

    Thanks to setter and to Prolixic (congrats) for confirmations.

  28. Try as I may, even with the help of the hint, I cannot get 23 Down. There is a word that fits, but surely not?

    1. If you mean 21d, Chambers gives the pope’s triple crown as one of the definitions of the answer.

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