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DT 27903

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 27903

Hints and tips by Kath

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating — Difficulty **Enjoyment ***

Good morning all. I don’t have any ideas about who set this one but it’s not Ray T. I quite enjoyed it and didn’t find it anywhere near as tricky as some we have had recently.

In the hints below the definitions are underlined and the answers are hidden under the things that say “Click here” so only do that if you need to see them.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a            Rummage among model vegetables (5)
DELVE — The answer is hidden (among) in the middle of the last two words of the clue. Nice to get one of these little lurking beasts out of the way as early as possible.

4a            Greek character detained by a drugs agent is lawless (8)
ANARCHIC — The X or twenty-second letter of the Greek alphabet is contained (detained) by the A from the clue and a mainly US slang term for a drugs dealer.

10a         Endurance in a short time shown among Southern volunteers (7)
STAMINA — Begin with S(outhern) and follow that with the usual two letters for some old volunteers which contain the A from the clue and an abbreviation of a very short time.

11a         Unforced musical note (7)
NATURAL — A double definition.

12a         Learner getting in way of French customary form (4)
RULE — The one letter meaning L(earner) is in the middle of (getting in) the French word for a way or road.

13a         By the sound of it, considerable item in fireplace (5)
GRATE — A homophone (by the sound of it) of an adjective that means considerable or large.


14a         African country takeaway? (4)
TOGO — If you split the name of an African country 2,2, you get an Americanism that means food or drink from a restaurant or café to be consumed off the premises.


17a         After folding, knot sheet maybe in addition (2,3,4,5)
BY THE SAME TOKEN — An anagram (after folding) of KNOT SHEET MAYBE. This was so obviously an anagram but it took me ages and I needed lots of checking letters before I saw it.

19a         Jack more than once showing inconsistency (6,8)
DOUBLE STANDARD — This Jack is a flag – you need two times one (more than once) and then another word for a flag.

22a         Note house in bohemian London area (4)
SOHO — The fifth note of the scale in the sol-fa notation is followed by the two letter abbreviation for house.


23a         Having overturned drink, discontented hubby is aggressively forceful (5)
PUSHY — A reversal (having overturned) of a verb meaning drink or swallow is followed by the first and last letters (discontented or the content taken out) of H(ubb)Y –

24a         Musical group regularly appearing in star limos (4)
TRIO — You need the alternate letters (regularly) of star limos.

27a         Free film? (7)
RELEASE — A double definition.

28a         Plant liable possibly to retain oxygen (7)
LOBELIA — An anagram (possibly) of LIABLE which contains (to retain) O(xygen).


29a         Magnificence in garden cultivated by old city (8)
GRANDEUR — An anagram (cultivated) of GARDEN is followed by an ancient city in Southern Mesopotamia.

30a         Light brown wagon not previously seen bridging Scottish river (5)
TAWNY — The longest river in Scotland contains (bridging) the first and last letters of W(ago)N – ie take out (not) the three letters meaning previously. This is one of those that’s much easier to solve than give a hint for – maybe I’m doing you all a great injustice in thinking that you need a hint.



1d            Bone in some French church getting label (8)
DESCRIBE — Begin with the plural of the French word for some and follow that with one of the two letter abbreviations for church which contains (in) one of the bones that curve round and forward from the backbone. I’m not too sure about the surface reading of this clue.

2d            Flier in part of plane, perhaps, with permit (7)
LEAFLET — This plane is a tree – trees have lots of things (part of) that are about to start changing colour with the onset of Autumn. You want one of these things and then follow it with a word meaning permit or allow.

3d            Arab ruler in semi-retirement (4)
EMIR — Another lurker, or hidden answer (in) – it’s well disguised by the hyphen.

5d            Source of relief at the end of a course? (10,4)
NINETEENTH HOLE — This course is where people walk around on grass hitting little white balls with different kinds of sticks to see if they can make them go down holes in the ground – the source of relief is where they go afterwards.


6d            Observance that’s hackneyed? Not at first (4)
RITE — An adjective meaning an expression that’s hackneyed or unoriginal without its first letter (not at first).

7d            Chemical substance in hospital no more deployed (7)
HORMONE — An anagram (deployed) of the one letter for H(ospital) and NO MORE.


8d            Lines penned by leading business figure for musical instrument (5)
CELLO — Two L(ines) are contained in (penned by) the three initials for the head of a large company (leading business figure)


9d            Organisation offering access to matches? (8,6)
MARRIAGE BUREAU — These matches are between men and women.

'She doesn't have to be anything special. I only want her for laundry and cooking.'
‘She doesn’t have to be anything special. I only want her for laundry and cooking.’

15d         In which local teams play in Midlands city (5)
DERBY — A double definition – matches played between neighbouring teams are also the name of a city at the foot of the Pennines.

16d         Cut in knee, say (5)
JOINT — Another double definition – the knee is an example of this which is indicated by ‘say’.

18d         Pleading woman blowing top around very old California college (8)
ADVOCACY — Start off with a word for a woman or adult female and remove the first letter (blowing top) – the remaining letters go round (around) lots of abbreviations – V(ery) O(ld) CA(lifornia) and C(ollege). Phew!

20d         Tragic heroine excited hope before trouble mounts (7)
OPHELIA — This tragic heroine is in Hamlet – an anagram (excited) of HOPE is followed by (before) a reversal (mounts) of a word meaning trouble or afflict.

21d         First person entering exotic RAF base — it’s passed by vehicle? (7)
AIRFLOW — The first personal pronoun is contained by (entering) an anagram (exotic) of RAF – after that you need a synonym for base or despicable.

22d         Leap not new for young person (5)
SPRIG — Another word for leap, bound or vault without the one letter abbreviation for N(ew) (not new).

25d         Female attendant is composed for audience (4)
MAID — A homophone (for audience) of a word meaning composed or manufactured.

26d         Support Lincoln tipster principally (4)
ABET — The three letter abbreviation of the Christian name of the sixteenth president of the US is followed by the first letter (principally) of T(ipster).

I liked 4 and 23a and 5 and 15d. What about you?

The Quickie pun:- FISSION + SHIPS = FISH ‘N’ CHIPS

86 comments on “DT 27903

  1. Great fun without beng too tricky although my last two 18d and 21d were not easy.
    Not keen on clues that expect you to find lots of abbreviations, always seems to me to be a bit of a cop out on behalf of the setter. My favourite as 14a, not difficult but clever.
    Thx to Kath for unravelling my last two and to the setter for an enjoyable Thursday puzzle.

  2. 2*/2*. It’s probably just me but I find it difficult to like a puzzle that contains clues like 4a, 1d & 18d, the latter two being examples in my opinion of the worst kind of Lego clues – clunky and contrived. However I did think that 5d was excellent.

    Thanks to the setter and to Kath for a great review.

  3. Tried to think of something positive to say about this one but I’m afraid nothing came to mind – this wasn’t really for me. 2*/1*.
    What I really did like was Kath’s cartoons for 7&9d. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yahoo.gif

    Apologies to Mr. Ron and thanks to Kath for her trademark ‘bubbly’ blog. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_good.gif

  4. 2*/3* 21d my favourite as although got most of the ingredients quickly, took a while to get the answer.
    5d a satisfying old chestnut . The answer always reminds me of the equally clever French equivalent: Troisième mi-temps. Being an ex rugby player, i prefer the French saying.

  5. Got stuck on NE and SE corners having put the wrong answer for 5d ! (one hole back) and not being able to work out the answers for 18d or 21d. Learnt some new words so that’s good but found this rather tedious.

    Thanks to Kath and setter.


  6. Many thanks for the great review Kath. In 4a I think we have a drugs cop rather than a drugs dealer.

    Nice puzzle, I liked 2d (flier in part of plane) and 3d (arab ruler in semi-retirement). I also liked the long clues, I needed the corners to get them, and my last one in was 18d (pleading woman..). I made life hard for myself by pencilling in ODA in 20d for “trouble mounts”

    7d I would have preferred “biological” to “chemical” – a bias from my past

    8a (lines penned) – there is a nice all-in-one for this same answer in today’s toughie

    21d (it’s passed by vehicle) – definition reads unnaturally, took me a while to convince myself it is actually ok. strange choice.

    Many thanks Kath and setter

    1. Oh – yes – you’re probably right about the drugs cop rather than dealer. BRB says ‘narcotics agent’ which I interpreted as a dealer – I must have led a sheltered life!

    2. The review is probably online by now but 8d wasn’t an all in one. Chamber + central letter of group.

  7. Fun, but not too taxing. Last in was 17a because I put in the wrong town/sport fot 15d. Favourite was 14a. Thank you.

  8. This one took me longer than I think it should. I was stuck on 17a for too long before finally figuring out the anagram. Ah, well.

    So it took me 3* time and I would also give 3* for enjoyment.

  9. Yes 18d & 21d caused a bit of difficulty, although it was a little one that had me stuck for a while, takeaway and African country probably should have been fairly obvious as I had the first “o”, took the second one before the penny dropped. Funny how the little ones can stump you.

  10. Agree with Kath’s rating today, reviews seem very mixed . Like Rabbit Dave ,thought 18d was a bit contrived , there seems to be generally too much reliance these days on ‘single letter ‘ meanings -for example C in 18d for college,,always a setter ‘get out of jail card’ in my opinion. Favourite 19a,excellent surface read.

  11. I think Kath’s assessment is spot on in every sense. Very solvable, not too tricky and enjoyable. 2/3 and nuff said.

  12. Rather unexciting and easily solvable. Unlike Chelsea I don’t think of 22a as Bohemian but rather more entertainment and restaurant area. Thanks Kath for unravelling convolution of 18a – I decided to merely “bung in”. 5d was probably Fav. Sort of thanks to Mr. Ron but please spare us many more like this! **/**. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_negative.gif

  13. 30a. The answer was easy with the checking letters, but I found both the clue and Kath’s hint confusing. Surely the Scottish river is bridging WN, but the clue suggests the opposite.

    1. Depends which way you look at it. If the letters Tay are split, then they are the banks and Wn is the bridge deck.

  14. Thanks to Mr Ron and to Kath for the review and hints. A very enjoyable puzzle, but I was beaten all ends up by 30a, thought the definition was Scottish river, and spent ages looking on Wikipedia. Also 18d, thought the definition was pleading woman, and might have been a mythological character. Talk about barking up the wrong tree. Favourite was 14a, although I think that I’ve seen it before. This ended a run of nine completions, so hats off to the setter. Was 3*/3*for me.

  15. Why we didn’t get 14a on first pass I’ve no idea as the clue is as old as the hills. Anyway we missed that one and 4a but then got every one of the downs, filling in the two missing acrosses as we went. Job done.

    We’ll give it for <*/**. It was over too soon to get more than ** for enjoyment. Thanks to the setter and to Kath. One of those days where you write the hints in the firm belief that nobody is going to need them.

  16. Took a while to find the long expressions but the rest didn’t put up much of a fight.
    Favourite is 19a.
    Loved the cartoons for 7 and 9d too.
    Thanks to the setter and to Kath for the review.

  17. Wide range of clues of different degrees of difficulty, some ‘write-in’ and others tortuous. Whenever there are ‘remover the first letter’ clues I rate them as ***; eg 6d. One wouldn’t expect a hormone to be defined as a chemical substance; it is quite a specific class of substance. The definition in the clue is infinitely wide because every thing is a chemical substance after all.

  18. Definitely nothing, zip, zero to scare the horses here. Having said that, it was fun while it lasted. No particular favourite today, so thanks to the Thursday Mr Ron for the puzzle and Kath for her review.

    Today’s toughie is very do-able (with the exception of 11d)

        1. No – not favouritism, honest guv! I can’t remember exactly what he said or when it was but I had the impression that he might not be around for a few days.

  19. Well done Kath for your entertaining review and thanks for your concern, Kath & Merusa but Paso Doble aren’t throwing in the towel – it was just a flippant comment late at night! We have been so busy recently and often don’t finish the puzzle until bedtime so miss a lot of the blogging action but hope to back on form soon.

    1. Oh good – that’s a relief! No more flippant late at night comments causing consternation in the camp, if you don’t mind!! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_negative.gif

  20. ***/**. It gets three stars for difficulty because of me. I put 6d in as “eyed” without a second thought. Oh how this messed up the NE corner until the light eventually went on. Thanks to the setter and Kath for the review.

  21. I enjoyed this. I don’t mind an easy peasy now and then, especially when you have a full day and can’t devote a lot of time to the crossword.
    I needed your hints, Kath, to understand 18d.
    My fave was 5d with 14a coming in second.
    Thanks to the setter and to Kath for her review.

  22. */**

    Nothing to scare the horses..and I know how to scare horses. Any time they see the vet.

    Not much sparkle. Liked 5d. Not much else to say.

    Many thanks to the setter and to Kath for a blog that was a pleasure to read.

  23. Enjoyable and quite straightforward, mostly, except 18d, for which I was very glad to accept a hint.
    With thanks to Kath and the setter.

  24. Definitely not a Ray T production as Kath correctly identified, but an interesting and enjoyable solve nevertheless. Not that tricky for a Thursday either, fortunately.

    I was interested to see the setter using less obvious anagram indicators like “folding” and “cultivated”, and unlike others, I have no issue with single letter abbreviations – all setters use them, admittedly some more than others.

    My favourite of the day was simple yet very amusing – 14a.

    Many thanks to our Thursday setter and to Kath.

  25. Satisfying but easy. Thanks to Kath for your usual high quality blog and thanks to the setter. Last nights Skye sky was one of the best I have ever seen. The Loch Bat Seafood Restaurant did us proud too.

    1. Miffypops we all know that you are just touring chippies..I mean you don’t even like fish. You just peel the batter off to eat. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gif

      1. Touring pubs, Hanni. You may notice that it took him two attempts to both post his comment and to spell Loch Bay. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_smile.gif

  26. Satisfying but easy. Thanks to Kath for your usual high quality blog and thanks to the setter. Last nights Skye sky was one of the best I have ever seen. The Loch Bay Seafood Restaurant did us proud too.

  27. I’m a Francophile … but has anyone else noticed the proliferation of “French” clues recently?

    Today … only two – 12a & 1d.

    Zut alors!

    1. I reckon that JL’s either slipping the setters a few quid or offering them free meals at his restaurant. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_wink.gif

  28. Yesterday I was dreading the thought of a RayT today, so grateful for an easier solve. Not a Telegraph in site on holiday over the last couple of weeks, so have been suffering withdrawal symptoms!!! Managed to read Dear Enemy, the sequel to Daddy Long Legs, which someone on the site recommended and which I equally enjoyed. Very light poolside reading with a beer or cocktail in hand. Thanks to the setter and to Kath for the review. Well done Kath for your explanation of 18d, and loved the 7d cartoon.

    1. Hi Florence,
      I also bought Dear Enemy following the recommendation on the blog (who was it?) and thoroughly enjoyed it. I then re-read Daddy Long Legs as the copy I bought contained both books.
      A big thank you to whoever made mention of them. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_good.gif

      1. I did! So glad you enjoyed them as I was a tad worried you might find them a little girlish teenager. I discovered them at school and recently reconnected, and I enjoyed them just as much.

        I am now reconnecting with the Jane Duncan books and finding them a little on the “lite” side, but very readable all the same.

  29. I quite enjoyed this crossword … until I couldn’t parse the first half of 19a. Oh dear oh dear. And then I finally got the midlands city clue. Sometimes my brain does hurt.
    Fave clues propbably 30a, 5 and 15d so I’ll go with 15d. 2/3* overall.
    Thanks Kath for your review and also thanks to Mr Ron.

  30. Quite gentle and that suited me just fine. I had very little sleep the previous night as I had been wrestling with, or more accurately watching a Techie in India wrestling with our Windows 10 issue. The fact that the four long answers all went in without much fight certainly gave heaps of checkers to work with.
    Thanks Mr Ron and Kath.

    1. Tell me about it! My other half downloaded Windows 10 yesterday and it completely trashed his computer! Just kept flashing on and off and he couldn’t get into it to do anything! Spent ages on the phone to some guy at Dell and all day today fiddling with it. It seems he managed to get it to recover his stuff and he is now very gingerly getting to grips with it. I think i’ll stick with my Windows 7!

      1. Windows 10 works for me brill. Actually it’s not a lot different from 8.1 apart from it will work on my smartphone if I had one.

        I use MS Office, Outlook for email, Firefox as preferred browser and I stream a lot of TV (some pirated) and everything is spot on. Maybe it’s a hardware issue. My laptop has more memory than you could ever need, oodles of RAM and an Intel core i5 processor. That seems to work.

  31. Enjoyable and gentle for the most part, but 1d, 17a and 18d left a bad taste in my mouth. Excellent hints much appreciated.

    Thanks to the setter and to Kath for the super review.

  32. Found this a bit tricky and needed the hint for 17a! I knew it was an anagram, just couldnt get the right words together, so turned to the blog in frustration. Otherwise not to bad apart from the local teams at 15d which completely escaped me….even though Norwich and Ipswich matches are such…just didnt register! So thanks to Kath for the hints and to the setter. 3*/3*

  33. Moored up in Ware this evening and managed to get a paper, having missed Jay yesterday. However, I found it a bit dull – the easy ones were too easy and the harder Lego clues were too contrived for my taste – and I disagree with Silvanus about abbreviations; some of the ones in use in crosswordland are ridiculous: viz 18d. Many thanks to Kath for taking the trouble and a grudging nod in the direction of he setter. 1*1*

  34. Not a particularly enjoyable solve **/** Too many contrived clues like 1d & 18d ? . enjoyed 14a & 5d ? Thanks to Kath for nice explanations

  35. Hurray!!! First time ever I have completed on my own. I had electronic help and there were some lucky guesses but I did it. Take heart all ye who find it difficult this has taken me 2.5 years of regular attempts – who knows maybe by end 2017 I will finish without resorting to google, anagram untangler or synonyms. Thanks for all the hints – they have kept me going on bad days. I rarely post but I love this site, I couldn’t have done it without you all. Thanks Kath for providing confirmation as I checked my wild guess for the last one in 25d.

      1. Thanks. Most people seem to be really proficient so I don’t like to admit regular defeat but I guess there are lots like me out there ?

        1. Of course. And we’ve all been where you are. Absolutely and completely. Stick with the blog. One of the many things I love about this place is that everyone will help. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gif

          Edit..meant to add we are not all hugely proficient. I’ve been known to utter quite a few ‘naughty’ words when I see a Giovanni puzzle.

            1. No no no. Never resist that! Just find a way to work around that. Some of my best solving happens when I am ‘working’. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_good.gif

    1. Regardless of what they say, I don’t think too many people solve a puzzle without a visit to google, dictionary, thesaurus, etc. Keep using whatever you need!

    2. Well done to you – what’s wrong with looking in a dictionary or googling or whatever – it’s how we learn things. Just keep going. If you don’t get something then just ask – no-one minds and no-one will ever make you feel dim – I know because I’m dim lots of the time! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_sad.gif

      1. Thanks Kath. I really appreciate the time and effort that goes into the blog. Loved your cartoons today.

            1. Don’t worry Pommers. You could a pic of anything on and I wouldn’t notice. I missed the naked harpist. I could understand if I saw them all the time and therefore I was immune. But I don’t.

  36. Keep on keeping on Maggie. The first time I finished the crossword, after years of trying, I was on the train ? coming home from work. I felt like jumping about and shouting to all the strangers in the carriage: “Look everybody! I’ve finished the Telegraph Crossword!”, but being British I did no such thing.
    Anyway, today’s is a lot more enjoyable than yesterday’s. I’m stuck on a couple and trying not to peep at the clues, but my favourites so far are 14a, 19a and 2d.

    1. Sam – when you’re replying to something it’s quite a cunning plan to click on ‘reply’ which is the thingie just under your name and then write your comment. It doesn’t really matter apart from the fact that it keeps all the relevant stuff all together – otherwise your comment can just get a bit lost among all the other bits and pieces.

    2. Be less British! They were all my favourites today needless to say. I was in a B&B when I finished hence resorted to ‘shouting’ on the blog. Thanks for listening.

    3. And that will make you as lost as Kath, pommers, Kitty, Miffypops, Gazza and all the rest of the bloggers.

  37. Thanks to all of you for the nice comments today. Knackered now and off to bed.
    Night, night all – sleep tight and mind the bugs don’t bite! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/smiley-yawn.gif

  38. I found 15dn to be impenetrable for a non-Brit, combining a relatively obscure term (we certainly don’t call them derbies in Oz) and relatively obscure place name. Also, 22dn is a usage I’m not familiar with – “sprog”, but not “sprig”.

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