DT 27916

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 27916

Hints and tips by Deep Threat

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ***

Good morning from South Staffs on the first Friday of Autumn, and a fine one it is.

I found today’s Giovanni slightly easier than last week – at the top end of ** difficulty. Any obscurities are relieved, as usual, by totally fair cluing.

In the hints below, the definitions are underlined. The answers are hidden under the ‘Click here!’ buttons, so don’t click if you don’t want to see them.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought. You can also add your assessment by selecting from one to five stars at the bottom of the post.


1a           The Parisian should be held in scorn, journalist considered (12)
CONTEMPLATED – Put one of the forms of the French definite article inside a word for scorn, then add the usual journalist.

9a           Worry about a group of soldiers (4)
CARE – The Latin abbreviation for about or approximately, followed by the initials of an engineer regiment of the British Army.

10a         Ruler had meal behind shelter by river (9)
POTENTATE – Put together an Italian river, a canvas shelter, and ‘had meal’.

12a         Bad people not right at the outset, beasts (6)
OTTERS – Remove the original R(ight) from some bad people, to get some river-dwelling mammals.

Image result for otters

13a         For example, backward-looking tyrant confronting American liberal (8)
GENEROUS – Reverse (backward-looking) the Latin abbreviation for ‘for example’, add a Roman tyrant and an abbreviation for American.

15a         Mum joins team of west London rowers — one to fill up the number? (4-6)
MAKE WEIGHT – Start with another word for Mum, then add what, if split (3,5) could be a team of oarsmen in the part of West London where a famous botanic garden is to be found.

16a         Place of vice probed by a cleric (4)
DEAN – A (from the clue) inside a — of vice.

18a         Refusal to take a husband as a man coming to the rescue (4)
NOAH – A word of refusal followed by A (from the clue) and Husband, to get the chap who saved his immediate family and a lot of livestock from drowning in a Biblical flood.

Image result for noah ark

20a         ‘Hippy’ perhaps full and rich in tone (4-6)
PEAR-SHAPED – Double definition: someone who is wider in the hips than the rest of the body; or, according to the BRB, of a mellow, resonant, non-nasal vocal quality. That second definition is a new one on me.

23a         Decidedly trendy items in the garden shed (2,6)
IN SPADES – A word for trendy or fashionable followed by some tools which may be found in a garden shed.

24a         Man came down with old wife (6)
FELLOW – ‘Came down’ or ‘tripped over’ followed by Old Wife.

26a         Attire for cur(ate) (3,6)
DOG COLLAR – Something which may worn by a priest or a pet.

27a         Fish had to be disposed of here? (4)
DOCK – Remove HAD from the name of a fish to get the place where a cargo of fish would be unloaded and sold.

28a         Our sister is transformed by a thousand cosmetic products (12)
MOISTURISERS – The Roman numeral for a thousand followed by an anagram (transformed) or OUR SISTER IS.


2d           Numerical choice for a few (3,2,3)
ONE OR TWO – A choice from a pair of small numbers.

3d           Record run may end with it collapsing (4)
TAPE – A method of sound or video recording which is also the thing stretched across the track at the end of a race.

4d           Mountain stuff, something hard (10)
MATTERHORN – A generic word for ‘stuff’ followed by some hard, keratinous stuff.

Image result for matterhorn

5d           Like some gentry brought down (6)
LANDED – Double definition: some gentry with country estates; or brought down an aircraft safely.

6d           Unusual Easter egg being hidden in that shrub (3,4)
TEA ROSE – Anagram (unusual) of EASTER with an egg-shaped letter inserted.

Image result for tea rose

7d           Rebuking action of person in informal attire (8,4)
DRESSING DOWN – A telling-off which is also what people do if they come to the office in casual clothes (typically on a Friday)

8d           Composer showing second-rate skill ‘satisfactory’ (6)
BARTOK –Put together a letter indicating ‘second-rate’, a skill, and an expression meaning ‘satisfactory, to get a Hungarian composer who died in 1945.

Image result for bartok

11d         Judgment of Conqueror possibly who made many laugh! (6,6)
NORMAN WISDOM – An adjective describing the people William the Conqueror came from, a a word for judgment or sagacity, giving you Enver Hoxha’s favourite comedian.

14d         Plonk down here? (4,6)
WINE CELLAR – A cryptic definition of where you may keep your drink supply (especially if it’s better than plonk).

17d         Little beast, the German seen to be more crafty (8)
SHREWDER – A small mammal followed by one of the forms of the definite article in German.

19d         Weapon demonstrated in class again (7)
ASSAGAI – Hidden (demonstrated) in the clue. An alternative spelling is more common.

21d         Dad wants ornamental fabric in splendid home (6)
PALACE – The Dad who goes with the Mum in 15a, and some ornamental fabric with lots of holes in.

22d         Weird football organisation dealt with heavy defeat (3-3)
FAR-OUT – The initials of the authority which presides over football in England, followed by a heavy defeat in battle.

25d         Fighting members (4)
ARMS – Some members of the body which are also used for fighting.

The Quick Crossword pun BECKONS + FIELD = BEACONSFIELD


  1. Paso Doble

    A joint effort today as Doble has returned from Cornwall, somewhat reluctantly as it’s probably good surf today. Great puzzle from the Don – we pondered somewhat in the Liverpool area but got ’em anyway. Some lovely clues – really good fun. **/**** from us. Thanks to Deep Threat for the hints and tips.

  2. Hanni


    This went up to 2* difficulty for 20a. Never heard of the second definition. Also like DT said, the spelling of 19d was a new one…though it couldn’t be anything else.

    No real obscurities from the Don this week. Thought 26a was a ‘neat’ clue.

    Many thanks to the man himself and to DT for blogging.

    Notabilis time. Have a good weekend all.

  3. Jaycat

    Very enjoyable challenge which took me 3* time but was rewarding when complete. Loved 10a, lots of “doh” moments and clever cryptic clues.First in was 26a, last in was 27a until I read the hint!


    Thanks setter and DT.

  4. Michael

    Very good – I had to trawl through a couple of times before I could get started – 26a and 28a got me going and off I went – very enjoyable! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_good.gif

  5. Nev

    An enjoyable puzzle which I rate 3*/3*. 20a confused me, like others I’d never heard of the 2nd definition. 17d was the last one in, only after I confirmed the answer to 20a. Thanks to Deep Threat and Giovanni.

  6. pete

    Quite enjoyable, I usually struggle on Fridays puzzle. Have to say I don’t quite understand 20A, i just filled in the blank spaces.

  7. Jane

    A bit slow to get 9a and 17d – tackled them both the wrong way round – so pushed into 2* time. I was also another in the ‘not knowing the second def. for 20a’ camp, so left it until late on before deciding that it couldn’t be anything else.
    23a&14d raised today’s smiles – 2*/3* for me.

    Thanks to DG and also to DT – loved the 12a pic but couldn’t get the clip to play at 11d. Confess to not being particularly bothered about that!

  8. Beaver

    Looked difficult on first read through, but went smoothly once a breach had been made, so am going for a 2.5*/3.5*-well that’s a bit different! I thought that 27A was simply a double meaning as a place where fish were landed and Dock meaning ‘disposed of’ or removed -like a dog’s tail-logical enough for me-anybody else ? Anyway, a bit different all round today with some nicely misleading and well thought out clues -liked 20a ,and found it generally amusing throughout .Have to admit that 9a was the last in, as I was looking for a group of soldiers, till the penny dropped! Thanks DT for the usual high quality pics-not quite up to hearing Norman sing.

  9. newminster

    Chambers gives both spellings for assagai/assegai.
    No, I’d never come across the second definition for 20ac either. You learn something new every day!

  10. Expat Chris

    Most of it went quickly, then I was held up on 20A/17D/27A. Got them eventually but needed the review to parse 20A and 27A. Thanks to Giovannia and DT.

  11. Rabbit Dave

    1*/2*. I found this surprisingly easy today but uninspiring. Unusually for a Friday, nothing too obscure here.

    In common with others, 20a was a new meaning of that expression for me, but once I understood it this became my favourite. 14d deserves a special mention too but I thought 27a was a dreadful clue. In the latter case, although the wordplay is clever, the question mark is simply a cop out for a very weak definition.

    Many thanks to Giovanni and to DT.

  12. Heno

    Thanks to Giovanni and to Deep Threat for the review and hints. A nice puzzle, let down by 27a, very weak clue. I liked 11d, but the Favourite was 26a. Was 1*/2* for me. The sun is a bit in and out at the moment in Central London.

  13. Florence

    Able to have an early start on this today. Plumber been to fix shower. Had water pouring through kitchen ceiling. Problem solved, so I was able to do a bit of solving myself at the the same time. 7d was first in, but didn’t help myself with 9a. Thought RE would be in there somewhere so wrote down fret, then tried to justify the FT!!! Had to look at the review in the end to see where I’d gone wrong. I understood why the first word of 26a was what it was but could the second word also be found in the clue, or was it just a given ? Thanks to The Don, and to Deep Threat.

  14. jean-luc cheval

    As Expat Chris, my last ones were 17d, 20a and 27a.
    First thought 20a was an anagram of perhaps but couldn’t account for the other letters. I suppose the second part of the clue makes sense as it could be bell shaped.
    Really fair clueing from the Don with no obscurities yet again.
    11d favourite.
    Thanks to Giovanni and to DT for the review.

    • Cat

      I suppose you could also look at it as the sound becoming wider and deeper. I’d never heard of this definition either, only alternative I knew was something going ‘pear shaped’.

  15. SheilaP

    We’ve actually finished a Friday crossword without having to resort to the hints, so it must have been on the easier side. With regard to 27 across, I thought fish were landed and sold on a quay. They certainly were at North Shields. Thank you to the Friday setter and to DT.

  16. Angel

    “Oh what a beautiful morning” and “The sun is (still) as high as an elephant’s eye”! This was reasonably solvable but IMHO not over-exciting. 23a eluded me and I agree with Heno re low quality of 27a clue – in fact I had settled on dace (small fish I discovered). Learned something from 20a. No Fav to nominate. ***/***. Thanks Giovanni and DT. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/icon_neutral.gif

  17. Bernard B.

    First time caller.
    Very enjoyable save strange spelling at 19d.Liked11d and being a wine merchant appreciated14d.Have a good weekend all and keep sampling!.

    • gazza

      Welcome to the blog, Bernard. Now that you’ve introduced yourself I hope that you’ll become a regular commenter. I’m sure that your area of expertise will be valued here.

        • Hanni

          We knew it had to happen one day. Fun while it lasted…hey ho. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_wink.gif Right SL, the weekend is upon is again. What should we be drinking? Fancy something a bit different.

    • Hilary

      Gosh you will fit in here, all recommendations will be gratefully received by those who enjoy the odd glass (or two) of liquid refreshment. Welcome from me.

  18. JonP

    I took a little while to get going with this one (was very slow to spot 1ac) – but once I was underway I made fairly quick progress. Thanks to DT and Giovanni **/***

  19. Toadson

    Most enjoyable of the week for me. I logged on to see if a certain clip accompanied the hint for 19d, but I suppose it can’t be used every time!

  20. Vancouverbc

    ***/*** for me. Loved 15a but didn’t like 27a – I like some others ended up with dace as the answer until DT corrected my bung in. I spell 19d as Wilbur Smith does but it seems there’s more than one way. Thanks to all for an enjoyable Friday puzzle.

  21. Shropshirelad

    Fairly straightforward fare from the Don today. Have never seen the alternative spelling of the spear before, so that’s one to lock away. No particular stand out favourite today but I did like 2d.

    Thanks to both DG & DT.

    Right, off to get spruced up for the evening as Mrs SL and I are meeting a few friends for a drink before we go on to have dinner at our favourite eatery. Much food and wine to be consumed today http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_wacko.gif

    Have a great weekend all.

  22. Brian

    For once I really disliked this one by Giovanni. For me it was a 4* for difficulty and * for enjoyment. Needed numerous hints to unpick this really tricky puzzle.
    Just didn’t feel like one of his well crafted crosswords, clues like 23a and 15a need you to make a guess at the required word which is not like him. Usually everything you need for a Giovanni is in the clue.
    Thx to all

    • Jane

      Never, ever thought I’d see you write that, Brian!
      You could always take a look at yesterday’s Beam. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_whistle3.gif

  23. Hilary

    Pleasant way to end week, no problem with 27a but I usually am out of step with the rest of the troops. Had not met third definition of 20a but the BRB says yes so it must be true, filed away for future reference. Thanks to Giovanni and DT, have a great weekend. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_bye.gif

  24. Kath

    3* for both difficulty and enjoyment.
    I never did get 27a and had a bit of a fight with 20a (never heard of the second definition) and 17d – no excuses there.
    I didn’t even notice the less usual spelling of 19d – saw the ‘S’ ‘s and a ‘G’ and bunged in the usual spelling – just as well it wasn’t a checking letter or I’d have been sunk.
    I’ve never heard of the 15a expression – can’t find it in BRB – don’t really know what it means.
    We’ve had 7d very recently.
    I liked 23a and 14 and 22d.
    Thanks to Giovanni and to Deep Threat.
    Too much to do – lots of people here for the weekend and amount of washing that I brought from Elder Lamb’s yesterday is in piles approaching the size of 4d all over the utility room floor. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/smiley-phew.gif

    • Physicist

      Kath, 15a is in my BRB (2014 ed): it’s simply a small piece of something added to the scales to make the weight up to a round number (think Ronnie Barker slicing bacon in ‘Open All Hours’).

  25. Una

    I find myself going against the trend , again. I thought was decidedly on the light side. I have never heard of 19a but it fitted both the checkers and the clue.I had lots of likes , including 4d, 13a, 15a, 23a, 20a,and 5d.
    Thanks To Giovanni and DT.

  26. Merusa

    Most enjoyable puzzle. I missed 9a, why I don’t know. I bunged 27a in, not getting the reason why. I did remember 11d, he was popular in the 1960s when I lived in UK. I didn’t know the alternative meaning for 20a, glad to learn something new.
    Loved 26a and 2d, but fave is 14d.
    Thanks to Giovanni and Deep Threat for the needed hint for 9a and 27a.

  27. Bernard B.

    Many thanks for welcoming me to your clan.Summer must still be with us judging by the numerous rose sales this afternoon.Happy imbibing all.

  28. mre

    Good afternoon all.

    This puzzle turned out to be a bit of a struggle especially in the north east.

    Ultimately beaten by 17d despite having, correctly it turns out, taken a flyer on 27a. Didn’t see the logic for 19d and 20a either.

    Favourites were probably 1a and 10a. A fair fight though and enjoyable enough so ****/*** for me.

    I imagine everybody struggled with 14d…

  29. Maeve

    Once again I seem to be on the Don’s wavelength. A **/**** for me with lots of doh moments. Last one in was 27a – I could only think of dace and had to opt for the hint (the only one I swear).

  30. Jaylegs

    A most amusing puzzle **/**** ? Loved a lot of the clues10a, 15a, 26a, 27a & 11d ? Thanks to DT & Giovanni, such fun ?

  31. silvanus

    I found the left-hand side fairly straightforward, but the right-hand side much trickier.

    Like others, the parsing of 20a and 27a had escaped me until the blog came to the rescue as ever. The second definition of 20a hadn’t previously been encountered.

    No overall favourite, but consistent cluing with the usual Friday ecclesiastical and biblical references (16a, 18a, 26a).

    Many thanks to Mr. Manley and to Deep Threat. A good weekend to all.

  32. Kitty

    Not much to add to others’ comments. Include me in the chorus singing about never having heard of the second definition of 20a. I also didn’t know 6d (not many flowers in my life) but constructed it once I had the checkers.

    I liked 14d. Bottoms up!

    Thanks to Don and DT.

    I’m away for a couple of days for lots of (too much) fun. A combined 100th birthday celebration. Have a great weekend everybody, and if I survive I’ll see you Monday evening. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_bye.gif

    • Jane

      Biggest problem about ‘flowers’ is that one never knows whether the setter is referring to the floral variety or the watery ones. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_unsure.gif
      Enjoy your couple of days away (is that two people who are both 100 or two whose ages add up to 100?) and hope you remembered to fill in your pink slip for Kath!

      • Kitty

        At least today, there was no way “shrub” could be a watercourse.

        It’s a family whose ages are 50, 40 and 10.

        Colour this comment pink and call it a slip. The trouble is that since I am doing some of the driving, I’m not sure whether it needs to cover a couple of days or forever. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_unsure.gif

  33. KiwiColin

    I’m another one who did not know the second meaning for 20a. Last in was 27a where I had been trying in vain to justify ‘dace’ before looking further afield. Good puzzle, enjoyable solve.
    Thanks Giovanni and DT.

  34. Hrothgar

    Completed OK.
    In 3*** time because I took too long in getting the first part of 17d.
    But never, ever heard of the second definition of 20a.
    Thought there was some weird solution involving an anagram of ‘perhaps’ .
    Thanks Giovanni, and thanks DT for the review.

  35. Framboise

    Thoroughly enjoyed today’s offering and was on the same wavelength as Giovanni! Guessed 20a straight away probably because of the “hippy” bit but could not explain what it had to do with rich in tone, not to worry! Lots of lovely clues: 14d, 26a but my favourite was 11d. 2*/4*. Many thanks to DT and to Mr Manley. Reconciled with Cryptic solving after my abysmal performance on yesterday’s puzzle! Goodnight to all as it is almost bedtime in France…

  36. ezfer

    Started off racing through, which gave me a thrilling feeling of confidence in my abilities, before getting stuck – but with, it turns out, the same difficulties as others found (which is the joy of having this blog to turn to!): lack of confidence in my answers for 20a due to not knowing 2nd definition, and 27a (guessed at the right answer using same logic as Beaver in comment 8 but much more convincing when parsed correctly, and though I was fairly sure 17d was _H_E_DER and had worked out word play, mind wouldn’t supply any beast to fill the gaps. I had at least finally worked out 9a after being another to spend a long time trying to work it out backwards…

    Thought it interesting a few people said ‘no obscurities’ – to me there were (10a, 15a, 20a, 19d – anyone who doesn’t find this obscure has surely just come across in another crossword rather than in everyday use?!) but what I liked is they were clued so as to be gettable. Many thanks to setter & particularly DT for the 3 hints/answers I accessed to save myself from further frustration!

  37. Tstrummer

    An early appearance from me tonight – slinked out of work early on account of the continuing man-flu (man-flu over the cuckoo’s nest, I hear MP muttering). Early to bed, too, as I have to be up at 4am to take my youngest son to the airport. He’s off to Canada for two years. I shall miss him dreadfully. He may be 25, but he’s still my little boy.
    Thanks to the Don for a benign contest which slid in with nae bother, but smiles aplenty. Thanks too to DT, although not needed this evening. 1*/3*
    Good night

    • Jane

      Hi TS – I know just how you feel, doesn’t matter how ‘old’ they are. On the bright side – Canada is a beautiful country and it sounds like a darned good excuse for a holiday destination for you!
      Hope the ‘night nurse’ is doing its stuff.

      • Tstrummer

        Thanks Jane. My middle son went to Australia and SE Asia for 2 years and I missed him dreadfully and it is an eternal regret that I didn’t make the time time to go and visit him. I shan’t make the same mistake twice. Sadly, I have to go steady on the night nurse, as I’ll be driving a a very few hours. It’s hard to go to sleep, though, because normally, I’d be at work at this hour.

    • Hanni

      Echo what Jane said. Age does not matter. They always seem too ‘little’ to be out on their own. But he will be OK. Really he will TS.

      Canada is ace. The skiing will freeze your ….. off.

    • Kath

      Oh – we spend years bringing them up to be independent and able to think for themselves etc etc – then they are and we don’t like it much – of course he’s still your little boy.

  38. Patski

    Nothing too tricky. Ditto re 20a. Nice to see our local boy given a mention in 11d. Our Wetherspoon is named after him! 17d last one in for me too.

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