DT 27863 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 27863 (Hints)

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 27863 (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.


7a    Leading at home with assurance (2,5)
The usual two-letter word meaning at home followed by assurance or boldness

10a    Turn of phrase fool almost used facing Bond’s boss (5)
Most of a fool followed by the single letter by which James Bond’s boss is known

13a    Keep back, quietly avoiding jam (7)
Drop the musical notation for quietly from another word for jam – I’m hoping to make some blackcurrant jam this afternoon

16a    Opening of these centres is what interests a culture vulture (3,4)
The initial letter (opening) of T[hese] followed by some centres or cores

23a    Excellent food fish –- a tin unexpectedly produced (9)
A fish, one that can be eaten hence food fish, followed by an anagram (unexpectedly produced) of A TIN

24a    Old boy with beaker returned for soup (5)
The abbreviation for Old Boy and a beaker, all reversed

26a    Late series of deliveries? Exactly (7)
A series of deliveries of the ball in a game of cricket followed by an adverb meaning exactly or precisely


1d    Left its reins flapping (8)
The Latin word for left, which has acquired a somewhat different meaning as a result of a superstition, is an anagram (flapping) of ITS REINS

2d    One may train each day before and after work (8)
A cryptic definition of someone who uses the train to travel to and from work

4d    Musical instruments belonging to a ‘Twelfth Night’ character (6)
As (5’1) this could men belonging to a character in Shakespeare’s ‘Twelfth Night’

9d    Titled man, right individual to be accepted by club (7)
R(ight) and a three-letter word meaning individual inside a club used by a cricketer

14d    Conventional  poker hand (8)
Two definitions – conventional, particularly with regard to sexual orientation, and a hand in poker

15d    Beginning to egg on worker showing class (7)
The initial letter of (beginning to) E[gg] followed by the on side in cricket and a worker insect

18d    Check into earlier vessel (8)
Put CH(eck) inside an adverb meaning earlier

21d    Plump domestic, not quite sound (6)
An adjective meaning plump followed by most of an adjective meaning domestic gives a verb meaning to sound or measure depth

22d    Intended to help me inside (5)
A verb meaning to help around ME

The Crossword Club is now open.  It’s the last Saturday of the month, so I’m off to the Village Café and Market – back around lunchtime.

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: how+swarming=house-warming

71 comments on “DT 27863 (Hints)

  1. 1*/2.5*. Not much to say about this except that it was a bit bland.

    Thanks to the setter and to BD.

  2. I liked 2d (one may train…), 5d (destroyer worried boat user), 20d (poor mate shot) and 22d (intended to help me inside) for the surface readings.

  3. The guardian prize puzzle today is reminiscent of a recent prize puzzle on this site…

    And in my message above I forgot to thank setter and BD!

  4. Pleasant diversion for aSaturday morning. Missed the cricket reference in 15d, making the parsing a question mark in my mind, and had forgotten the Latin meaning of 1d, though bunged it in. Had the checking letters for 16a and before spotting the correct answer idly wondered if ‘bras’ might be the second word – the opening of which might have led to an interesting illustration from Dave.

  5. Easy challenge today. Some nice anagrams which certainly gave lots of checking letters. 1*/4* for me.

    Thanks to setter and BD for great blog as usual.

  6. Nothing to taxing for a worn out brain like mine, many thanks to the setter & BD for the review.?

  7. By even Saturday standards this was a bit too straightforward. Best of the week for me was Thursday’s puzzle by a fair distance. Thanks to BD for the review and to the Setter of course. Off to watch my sons play cricket.


  8. Rabbit Dave’s choice of the word ‘bland’ was apposite – I didn’t find this puzzle to be particularly stimulating either – and there were no ‘Eureka!’ moments but I did share Dutch’s appreciation of 2d.

  9. Pleasantly simple with some nice clues…..**/***

    Thanks to setter and Big Dave.

    We agree with Little Dave about Thursday’s puzzle.

  10. Another Saturday romp but nice enough. **/**. Giovanni would probably say it’s up to the BD bloggers’ standard! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/icon_surprised.gif. East was ahead of West. Like Cryptor I overlooked the cricket allusion in 15d. 2d amused when the penny dropped. Thank you Mysteron and BD.

  11. Straightforward even for a Saturday,. Thanks to the setter and BD.

    Don’t talk to me about jam, in the last week I’ve turned a total of 18lbs of apricots from the garden into jam. There was mention of blackberries earlier this morning but I’m ignoring Mr CS and hoping he’ll go away (or make the jam himself).

    1. Swap you some of the 10lbs of blackcurrant jam I made yesterday.

      Nothing to stretch the little grey cells this morning, but enjoyable just th same. Thanks to compiler and reviewer

      1. Nothing like black currants raw on breakfast cereals or defrosted after tray freezing, and no added sugar!

        Was not a strain on the brain cells yesterday, but enjoyable none the less.
        Thanks to BD and the setter!

  12. I would really appreciate some apricot jam. We don’t get much of it over here. Puzzle 8/88 at best but thanks to setter and to BD whose hints were helpful

  13. The trouble with read-and-write puzzles is that you’ve got to write the right letters in! Schoolboy error for 9d caused all sorts of problems for 9a until the inevitable “Doh” moment. Other than that, I liked this one, anagrams and all. A Saturday sort of puzzle and none-the-worse for that. 1.5*/3.5* for me. Thanks to the setter and as ever to BD. The Tour should be exciting this afternoon.

  14. Not taxing, to be sure, but just right for an early morning solve at the beginning of what promises to be a beautiful Southern Maryland day. But before I venture out into the sunshine, the NTSPP is calling me . Or I might just take it with me. Thanks to the setter and to BD

    1. There’s a “ghost” theme in the NTSPP – not needed to solve the puzzle but does explain why some of the answers are what they are! More about it in tomorrow’s review.

      1. Aha! I’ve finished it , but because it’s Alchemi, I was sure I must be missing something! I was right then. I’m going back to look before I comment.

  15. Ok, so it wasn’t the most difficult puzzle today but enjoyable nonetheless. I quite like being able to muddle through without using the hints. I also enjoyed 2d and the anagrams. Thanks to the setter and BD http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_bye.gif

  16. Don’t know if BD does it on purpose but he has an unerring ability to miss the clues that I need hints for, such 19d and 20d (which I don’t understand at all).
    Finding the SW corner distinctly tricky. Lots of gaps at the moment.

    1. 20d Ah now I get it, the lack of punctuation through me. Ok all done now. Most of the crossword seemed quite straightforward but as I say SW corner held me up for a bit. At the risk of annoying Hrothgar (!) I did enjoy this one. Must say in response to his snide comment yesterday,I find it difficult to understand how one can enjoy a crossword if you are unable to see the answers. What’s to enjoy?
      Thx to BD for the hints and the setter for the puzzle.

      1. That’s how it is for me too, Brian. It’s when you can’t see the hints that the enjoyment evaporates completely.

      2. A setter’s dilemma – people appreciate a crossword more if they finish it – hence a good setter will make a crossword “doable”

  17. Rather bland but enjoyable.
    If enjoyment can be bland.
    I, personally, prefer droll.
    Good start to Sat.
    Many thanks to the setter, and to BD for doing for some but not moi, the necessary.

  18. Top went in easily, but found lower half more difficult. Last in were 19 and 20d.
    Favourite probably 20d, and 2d in second place.
    Thanks to setter and BD.

  19. A very Saturday crossword – quite enjoyable and fairly straightforward.
    My last two answers were 20 and 21d.
    As usual I was fooled by ‘a few’ letters in 15d – no prizes for guessing which ones. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/icon_rolleyes.gif
    I liked 11 and 12a – OK – so they’re anagrams but I thought they were good ones – and my favourite was 2d.
    With thanks to Mr Ron and to BD.
    Off to play, “How many times will I have to put the washing out and then bring it all in when it rains again.”
    Going to have a go at NTSPP.

  20. Managed today’s crossword without help from the hints, so we found it very enjoyable. Obviously, we are never going to reach the levels of excellence of some more experienced cryptic solvers, having started too late in life, but with the help of the hints and electronic devises etc. there’s not a day goes by when we don’t manage to finish. Reading the comments on this page is very interesting and amusing, and fills our lunchtime nicely.http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gif

  21. Found this a straightforward solve for the most part, although I was temporarily held up in the SW corner but not for very long. Thanks to BD and setter */***

  22. I felt like I pressed the auto-fill button also until I came to 21d. Even with three checkers, it took me ages to get it.
    So there was a “doh” moment after all.
    Thanks to the Saturday setter and to BD for the blog.

  23. 4d could have an alternative answer xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
    Too clever by half but that was my first answer!

    1. I’m not sure if you are the Gillie who commented before with a different email address but even if you are a different Gillie, I’ve had to delete quite a lot of your comment because you’ve ignored the instructions in the Big Red Box about providing incorrect answers.

  24. Just popped in to highly recommend today’s NTSPP – a gem from Alchemi.
    As BD mentioned, there is a theme. Don’t look at the comments section until you’ve had a go at working it out for yourselves!

  25. I thought this was quite easy for a prize puzzle, with no need of the hints and just a small amount of electronic help. Several long anagrams to get one started helped, but starting to put the answer to 17d into the squares for 15d didn’t help. Even though you know it’s wrong, I find it hard to ignore those incorrect letters. I liked 20d and 18d had me puzzled for a bit. Last one in was 21d…a clever clue. Enjoyable and not too taxing.1*/3*. Thanks to setter and to BD.

  26. Thanks to the setter and to Big Dave for the hints. A very straightforward puzzle, not much sparkle. Favourite was 16a. Was 1*/2* for me. Pleasant weather in Central London, just starting to cloud over.

  27. I hesitate to use the word in fear of deterring newer solvers, but this was easy. Even, I would suggest, too easy even for us “entry level” cruciverbalists. Still, I’ve got some untouched Toughies to occupy the rest of the afternoon. I like Saturdays because it’s always a day off, but I don’t like it when there’s no football or Test match to listen to. Well done Chris Froome, not just for winning, but more for retaining his dignity in the face of vile opprobrium from the French, who are just jealous because they can’t win their own race, and haven’t done for decades. They seem to resent Britain’s domination of cycling over the past few years – perhaps they just ought to try harder

    1. Hi TS,
      Just to let you know that I did persevere with the GK. The first one hundred or so pages took a bit of effort but I am now about halfway through the book and thoroughly enjoying it. Very glad I ‘stuck with it’ and thank you for the recommendation.
      Enjoy the rest of your day off – why not give the NTSPP a whirl?

      By the way, Anax has put a clip of amazing bass guitar playing on the Toughie 1436 blog – it might interest you.

    2. Yes, well done to Chris Froome for hanging on over the last two exciting stages in the Alps. I can’t say that I have the same level of enthusiasm for him as I did for Sir Wiggo, possibly because he grew up in Kenya and represented Kenya at international level before switching to GB, but you have to admire his grit and determination. I’ve no doubt that he’s a clean rider, but the French made similar insinuations for years about Lance Armstrong and were, eventually, proved correct.
      Anyway, I have high hopes of Geraint Thomas becoming the first Welsh winner of le Tour in the next few years.

    3. Hi TS,
      I don’t think the French are jealous of who wins the Tour. And the gap is likely to be shorter than the one between Fred Perry and Andy Murray for Wimbledon or the 1966 word cup which remains something to be repeated.
      But I must admit that the press here is just looking for sensationalism and I witnessed an interview of Froome’s manager on FranceTv where I wanted to smack the interviewer.
      The Tour is also about the other maillots like Richard Virenque who for years was the best grimpeur or Poulidor who never won once but remained for so long the best known cyclist of his time.

      1. The tennis is not a good example JL. We’re crap at it and we know we are. Andy Murray is just a blip. But the World Cup is a much sorer point. The difference is, England are crap, but they don’t know they are. Luckily, I’m Scottish, and we don’t care about beating anyone – except England

        1. You may be Scottish but I think your comments are over-the-top. Let’s see what happens when Scotland and England meet in the 2018 World Cup. Guess who won their last two (“friendly”) meetings and even in Euro 2000. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yahoo.gifhttp://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_rose.gif

  28. I share the general consensus regarding difficulty, but found it perfectly enjoyable. I liked SheilaP’s comment above and would imagine it echoes the sentiments of many a lurker. For anyone left wanting more, there’s a whole internet of more. I’ve started on today’s NTSPP which I’m enjoying and will come back to later, and might then have a go at a puzzle from another paper which will doubtless remind me that I belong on the Telegraph back page with the “entry-level” crosswords :(. Oh well, there are worse places to belong :).

    Hope you are all enjoying your weekend.

    Many thanks to Mr Ron and BD.

    1. Kitty – I’ll join you on the “entry level” Telegraph crosswords and on this blog. I do think that there are plenty of worse places to be, probably few better places to be, and the regular commenters, contributors and hinters are never patronising to anyone, however dim the person writing the comment might feel as if they are being at the time of writing it.
      Long live this blog http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yahoo.gif

      1. Spot on, both of you. I have no desire to progress beyond “entry level”, so I’m sticking with the DT crossword. I used to enjoy the Times Jumbo, only finished one I think, but resented putting money into Rupert’s pocket so stopped!

        1. I always used to do the Times crossword, but stopped buying it when it changed over to tabloid…..it was just never the same, so switched to the DT….never looked back!

          1. I’m with you on the Telegraph crossword v The Times, but The Times is a better paper, especially in the quality of the writing

            1. Hi TS. I might give the Times a try. I find the DT quite entertaining and enjoy the news and articles, but I agree the quality is sometimes not so good. I’m a bit fed with Bryony Gordon going on endlessly about her domestic life…who cares?

              1. Liz, I’m reassured to know you feel as I do about Bryony Gordon’s vapid drivel. In fact I wrote to that effect to Stella Magazine a couple of months’ ago and got a reply from Anna Murphy saying that she writes “intelligently and engagingly” and that it’s her “honesty – at times brutal – that resonates so much with her audience” …… Well, I couldn’t agree less and indeed who cares? http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_negative.gif

                1. Hi Angel. Good for you! I have also been tempted to write or comment on her articles as we are invited to do, but have hesitated to do so as I feared I might stray into trolling territory! It’s just such utter, self centred rubbish, she wants to grow up and shut up! I now skip over anything she has written…. And keep my (unprintable) comments to myself!

              2. Hi Liz. Not for nothing has The Times won newspaper of the year for two of the past three years. The only things, in my view, that the DT does better are letters and obituaries (and Matt, of course). The Telegraph’s bonkers decision to get rid of most sub-editors is why it’s riddled with errors and “writers” like Bryony Gordon are allowed to witter on unchecked, although I do like John Deacon’s parliamentary sketches. The Barclay brothers’ ownership has seen a steady decline in readership, the advent of advertising masquerading as editorial, and a vicious culling of staff. I don’t pretend The Times is perfect and it has its cringeworthy moments, but the focus is always on attention to detail. The editor is a perfectionist, and it shows in the finished article, I think. It’s also cheaper than the DT, and if you subscribe, it’s almost free

                1. Thanks TS. I agree, Matt and John Deacon are brilliant. I’ll have to look into getting a subscription to the Times (how I wish it was still broadsheet format) as well as my present DT sub…….then I’ll have no time to do anything else all day except read the papers and do the crosswords…..it’s a hard life…..

        2. My reason too for switching from The Times and their crossword which I used to enjoy.

  29. C’mon peeps! Just because a puzzle is “easy” doesn’t mean it can’t be fun. What about 1d, 2d, 20d, 16a, heck, there are so many choices for fun clues, and all those clever anagrams. My fave, hard to choose, but I’ve settled on 21d.
    Thanks to setter for the entertainment and BD for his review.

    1. I agree that it was fun – it just wasn’t wildly exciting. However, I’m with you on lots of the clues that you liked – I couldn’t possibly allow all those as favourites though – that would just be silly!

  30. Well along with everyone I will say that it was a nice doable puzzle. No big excitement but gentle contentment in having completed it without help. 1.5*/2.5*. Many thanks to setter and to BD. Feeling the cold and refraining from getting our winter clothes out… Only joking!

  31. Enjoyed this one too, for the same reasons. I always suspected I was entry level and it has now been officially confirmed. Oh well, its reassuring to know one’s station in life. Things can only look up, from the bottom of the seabed.

    1. I quite like being on the bottom of the seabed – the only problem is that the snorkel isn’t much use down here . . . gurgle, gurgle, gurgle . . . http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_unsure.gif

  32. This was well on the gentle side even for a Saturday prize crossword! A brief slow down in the SW corner but overall a very straight forward solve. Certainly made a change from some of the recent puzzles.
    24a was my fave, and 2/3* over all.
    Thanks to the setter and BD for his hints.

  33. Well I loved it, lovely anagrams, far to many things to pick one favourite from. I don’t care what you-know-who said I love being here among the other BDers and Boo to anyone who does not agree. Thank you to setter and BD off to see if Playbooks have a Keith Waterhouse book for me to buy.

  34. Managed to fill in the bottom half fairly quickly. Then there was a lull. Couldn’t work out 12a for ages, but once solved, the penny dropped on several, and before I realised, it was finished. Still feel as though I am on a steep learning curve, so don’t mind being classed at entry level. In awe of those who do the Toughie. Not even attempted that yet. Each day is enjoyable, whether it is easy or difficult. However it is becoming a bit addictive !!! Favourite today was 19a, then 2d, even though I was a bit late in getting it. Thanks to setter, and to BD for the review.

    1. You should have been warned – not only is doing the crossword addictive but so is this blog. Don’t even think about Toughie yet – just keep going as you are – the Toughie can wait!

  35. Although it was almost R & W today’s puzzle had some clever clues and was most agreeable */*** Thanks to .the setter and to BD for his hints which are so useful when looking for confirmation of some answers ?

  36. I’d rather say very doable than easy.The three word clues were fun and I found it a pleasant end to the day. Thank you setter and BD.

  37. Yes, it was rather a doddle, but sometimes it’s nice to fill the grid without having to rack one’s brains overmuch! Didn’t get round to it yesterday – enjoying myself too much in glorious sailing weather off the coast of Cornwall – but today is horrible so this was a pleasant interlude over coffee. 1*/3*, and 20d favourite clue. Thanks to the setter, and of course BD.

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