DT 27927 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 27927

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 27927

Hints and tips by Kath

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BD Rating — Difficulty **/***Enjoyment ***/****

Hello everyone. I don’t know who set today’s crossword but I’ve been wrong far too many times to make any wild guesses – it’s not a Ray T. When I first started I thought it was going to be tricky but it did, eventually, all go together without much trouble apart from the last few answers. I only counted four anagrams and there were no hidden answers waiting to trip me up.

The answers are hidden under the bits that say “Click here” so only do that if you need to see them.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought. If you’re one of the many who read the hints but have yet to be brave enough to say anything then what about popping in today and introducing yourself.


1a            Treat superficially books penned by Carry On actor (6)
DABBLE — Two abbreviations for B(ook) are contained in (penned by) the surname of one of the Carry On actors whose first name was Jim.

4a            National institution operating amid protest ending in rally (8)
MONARCHY — A short word for operating or working are contained in (amid) a protest or demonstration and this is followed by the last letter (ending in) of (rall)Y.


10a         Philosopher’s vocal character proving a heavy burden (9)
MILLSTONE — The surname of one of two British philosophers, with the ‘S, is followed by a vocal character or pitch.

11a         Extra payment that’s good in France and America (5)
BONUS — The French word for good (good in France) is followed by one the two letter abbreviations for America.

12a         Speciality shown by husband and father in ME city (7)
BAGHDAD — Begin with a speciality or particular interest, follow that with H(usband) and finish off with an affectionate way of referring to your father.

13a         Soften a medium for artists (7)
TEMPERA — A verb to soften or moderate is followed by the A from the clue.


14a         Smallest amount learner’s put down with bridge player (5)
LEAST — The letter displayed on a car that’s being driven by someone without a full driving licence is followed by one of the four players or positions in a game of bridge.

15a         Wholesale responsibility of a street cleaner (8)
SWEEPING — A simple double definition.

18a         Successful show perhaps with leading character keeping time up to now (8)
HITHERTO — Start off with a short word that means a successful show or something that has proved popular with an audience and follow that with the leading character or leading male role in a play which contains (keeping) the one letter abbreviation for T(ime).

20a         Religious follower and a famous performer cycling (5)
RASTA — The A from the clue is followed by a famous performer or well-known actor or actress – having got that far take the last letter and put it at the beginning of the answer (cycling). I dithered a bit about this one. The answer is obvious and this is one way of interpreting the clue but then I wondered if the ‘cycling’ was an anagram indicator – an anagram of the A and the famous performer. What do you think?

23a         Station that’s a centre of heat? (7)
COPSHOP — Heat is a US slang term for the police and the answer is another slang term for where the heat hang out! If I’ve met this one before I’ve forgotten it so it did cause a spot of bother.


25a         Hours in ground showing support (7)
NOURISH — Our first anagram (ground) of HOURS IN.

26a         Take on party in suitable surroundings (5)
ADOPT — The usual crossword land short word for party is contained in (in) another short word meaning suitable or proper.

27a         I study note with equipment that’s formulaic (9)
IDENTIKIT — Time to get the Lego bricks out and start building – begin with the I from the clue, follow that with a noun that means a study or studio, then the seventh note of the scale in sol-fa notation and, finally, another word for equipment, gear or apparatus.

28a         Neat help devised for one with trunk (8)
ELEPHANT — An anagram (devised) of NEAT HELP.


29a         Relating to a post-imperial system? (6)
METRIC — Some time ago we had gallons, yards and pounds – now we have litres and metres – OK, so we still have pounds but the answer is an adjective that describes the newer system. I’m not sure how cryptic this is – am I missing something?



1d            Stupid clanger? It’s raised in gym (4-4)
DUMB-BELL — A word meaning stupid or intellectually bankrupt is followed by something that makes a clanging noise when hit.


2d            Record number in neckwear in Italian city (7)
BOLOGNA — Begin with the neckwear – this is a long coil of feathers or fur worn by women. Inside that (in) you need a written record or account and the one letter abbreviation for N(umber).


3d            A good man with depression under 50 is desperate (4-5)
LAST-DITCH — Start with the Roman numeral for 50 – this is followed by (under in a down clue) the A from the beginning of the clue and the usual two letters for good man or saint – finish off with a depression or trench that often has water in it.

5d            What’s up among public opposing how some drugs are sold? (4,3,7)
OVER THE COUNTER — A word meaning public or visible and then another meaning opposing or resisting – in between those two words you need a reversal (up) of a short interjection expressing a failure to hear (what).

6d            A large, worthless musical collection (5)
ALBUM — The A from the clue, L(arge) and then something worthless, useless or no good.

7d            Is youth able to dine here? (7)
CANTEEN — Split your answer as 3,4 – the first bit means is able to and the second is a young person, older than a child but not yet an adult.

8d            Variable names devised for compliant figure (3-3)
YES-MAN — Start with one of the letters for a variable, unknown or yet to be ascertained quantity in maths and follow that with an anagram (devised) of NAMES. The same anagram indicator as was used in 28a.

9d            Outline of a post (3,11)
JOB DESCRIPTION — The post is a position or employment done for payment. For no obvious reason, or none that I can see now, this one took me for ever to see.


16d         Special number on course to take in alien dance movement (9)
PIROUETTE — This ‘special number’ is two letters that, when followed by N, is what you need to use your credit or debit card. Follow those two letters with a course or passage which contain (to take in) an alien who was the star of a film.


17d         Poor footway with name displayed upside down (8)
PATHETIC — A footway or track is followed by a reversal (displayed upside down) of a verb meaning to name or refer to, often used in legal cases.

19d         Dim Pole disorientated in collapse (7)
IMPLODE — An anagram (disorientated) of DIM POLE

21d         Label son’s found on watch (7)
STICKER — The one letter abbreviation for S(on) is followed by (found on) a slang word for a watch or clock.

22d         Bark in southern river cutting through headland (6)
SCRAPE — This kind of bark is not the noise made by a dog and neither is it the outer covering of the trunk of a tree – it’s what happens to your knees when you fall over. Begin with S(outhern) and follow that with a headland or promontory which contains (cutting through) the one letter abbreviation for R(iver).

24d         Check under lid for opening in deck (5)
HATCH — The lid is an informal word for something you might wear on your head and it’s followed by (under) the abbreviation for CH(eck).


I liked 12 and 23a and 1 and 9d. My favourite was 18a.


89 comments on “DT 27927

  1. Kath, I thought the ‘special number” in 16D was that Greek 2-letter one.

    Nice, but not that taxing. I did like 27A. Thanks to Kath and the setter.

  2. Kath,
    I’m sure that you’ve parsed 20a correctly. It can’t be an anagram because the word ‘star’ is not in the clue which would make an anagram indirect – a sin for which the setter would be sent to the naughty step.

  3. Right on wavelength today and only marginally taken out of 1* time by faltering over the 1a/2d combo and likewise the 23a/22d duo.
    I worked out 20a the same way as you did, Kath, but I can also see that it could be an anagram.
    16d – I thought the special number was simply our old friend Pi?
    Liked the surface of 18a and smile of the day goes to 1d. Favourite is 9d. Definitely 4* for enjoyment.

    Many thanks to Mr. Ron (I reckon it’s either the mad hat or the twinkly-eyed one, but not willing to say which!) and also to our lovely Kath for a great blog.

    By the way – today’s Toughie is no more difficult than this one. Do give it a try.

      1. Agree with you that the special number (16d ) is 3.142-don’t see where the missing N comes into it.

    1. Agree on the Toughie. Anyone who’s been hesitant to try a Toughie so far…today’s the day!

  4. **/***

    At first I thought this was going to be quite tricky. Only a handful of clues went straight in. So I had a cup of tea, which helped. Everything fell neatly into place after. I parsed 20a the same as you Kath.

    Favourite is 37a.

    Many thanks to the setter and to Kath for a great blog as always.

    Echo what Jane said. The Toughie is about as gentle as can be. Worth a go for people who don’t normally try it.

      1. Yes. I wrote some more clues in my head. And they are fantastic.

        That, or yet again I mistyped. I’d bet on the latter. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/icon_redface.gif

  5. I’m sure that Expat Chris and Jane are right about the 16d ‘special number’ – have to confess that that one didn’t even occur to me – just thought of a PIN – let’s hope that’s the only cause for an “oh dear” today! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/icon_redface.gif

  6. So far this has been a really enjoyable cruciverbal week for me and today’s session was no less so. TVM setter. My only reservation would be that many of the clues are on the verbose side. SE corner was last to fall. Re 20a – I decided to settle for a bung-in and not to question why. Always wonder where to put the “h” in 12 but this clue sorted that for me. 22d in such a context is a new one on me. Thanks Kath for once again standing by in case of need. ***/***. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gif

  7. Thanks Kath, great review. I agree with Gazza you parsed 20a correctly, it cannot be an anagram because that would be indirect. For 29a, I guess the cryptic element comes from possible different interpretations of imperial – there’s the answer which is a system of measures, and I imagine the intended first reading is a political one.

    I thought this puzzle was a bit 27a, technically sound, follow directions and you get there. The surfaces were good but nothing stood out enough to make me want to highlight it. Although 16d made me laugh, just because I once tried this with disastrous consequences.

    Many thanks setter and Kath

  8. I really enjoyed this one – mainly because it wasn’t too taxing and I was able to do it without outside help.

    The only one that bothered me was 23a – I was not aware that ‘heat’ was a slang word for the police – can’t keep up with this new-tangled argot!


      1. I’ve watched every second of the Sopranos but I can’t remember Big Tony, Silvio, Paulie, Christopher or any of the boys ever talking about the ‘heat’ down the Bada Bing – maybe I blinked!


  9. Seemed quite east for a Thursday to me. Managed without any help, although 23a isn’t one word in any dictionary I have look at.

    1. 23a is in the BRB (Big Red Book) under cop – it doesn’t even say it’s slang which slightly surprised me.

      1. Bob Dylan’s song Hurricane has the lines “If you’re black you might as well not show up on the street
        ‘Less you want to draw the heat”
        Written in the mid seventies

        1. I’m going to start searching for obscure pieces of literature, art, poetry…and see if you can find a song to fit. It’s uncanny.

  10. This contained the easiest anagrams you are likely to find. Never heard of that definition of “heat” before but deduced the meaning from the clue. Thanks to Kath for parsing 5d and to the setter for an enjoyable puzzle.

  11. Expecting the usual Thursday difficulty, this one was relatively easy but still it warranted a 3* for difficulty from me, due to the time taken and getting stuck on 23a, 16d etc.

    Needed the excellent hints from Kath to sort these.


    Thanks to setter and Kath.

  12. On my app the clue for 22d reads, “Pass second river wearing cloak.” That, with 23a took me ages, but the rest didn’t and was very pleasant. Thanks to the setter and Kath.

    1. My Android app had this mistake as well and also had 23a as “centre of heat” no mention of station! – still got the answer though but couldn’t work out why until I saw clue on here!

      1. Ah, yes – didn’t spot that earlier. I was commenting in a hurry before heading out to picnic in the park. :)

  13. After yesterday’s difficulties, I found this much more comfortable but no less enjoyable. Like Kath, to whom of course many thanks are due, I cannot readily identify the setter, but whoever you are, grateful thanks for a fair and solvable puzzle. 2/3.5 By the way, my online version of 23a does not have the words “station that’s a” at the beginning of the clue.

    1. Apologies to Kitty and Sim above who have already highlighted the online anomalies.

  14. What a funny old crossword today, some R and W, some difficult clues, seems to be the general consensus that pi in16D is the mathematical constant .Thought also that 22D ‘bark’ was referring to the noise a poor violin player makes .Was’nt impressed with 23a either-is ‘heat’ another Americanism? But notwithstanding having a few misgivings, ultimately enjoyable and going for a ***/***-thanks to Kath for the blog sand pics.

    1. Yes – everyone agrees that 16d is pi. I admit that I missed it. I was wrong. I’ve said all this before.

    2. I thought it was bark as in ‘barking your shins’ on something – i.e. scraping your shins – I thought that was obvious, maybe I’m wrong!

  15. Thanks to Mr Ron and to Kath for the review and hints. After yesterday’s bad hair day, I’m in a state of shock. Just completed this and the Toughie without the hints. A very enjoyable puzzle, favourite was 12a, and 7d made me laugh. Last in was 22d, thought it might be a ship, but realised it wasn’t. Was 3*3* for me.

  16. A bit of a struggle for a mum and I today. We don’t usually do the Thursday puzzle and are astounded at how hard it is to get into the thinking of a new (to us) setter. Weather is quite bright here so we will forego chocolate biscuits and grab the wheelchair for a walk around the park.

    1. When you get back, keep the chocolate biscuits on standby, and have a go at the “Toughie”.

  17. Managed to finish this one. Must be a first for a Thursday, so couldn’t be a RayT. Still needed some help though. Thanks to the setter, and well done Kath for the terrific review. 23a had me thrown, and as far as 9d…barking up the wrong tree…couldn’t get picture of a post out of my mind. Now have a picture of Dutch trying to do a 16d.

  18. ‘The Big Heat’ was a successful film in 1950’s about Cops and bad guys in the US. I don’t think the term is common now though.
    I have a suspicion the photo for 2d is actually Verona. I was there a month ago and I recognise several features. Never been to the other place though, so it may be a coincidence!
    Found his quite tricky in places today but enjoyable. Hint required for 16d even though I had the answer I could not see why!
    Thanks Kath and setter.

    1. In ‘the Big Heat’ I didn’t associate heat with the Police – if I remember properly doesn’t James Cagney make his ‘look at me Ma – top of the World’ speech on some refinery or something and then set off a huge explosion – I thought that was ‘the Big Heat’ – maybe I’ve got my films mixed up?

      1. The Cagney film was White Heat, I believe. He wasn’t in The Big Heat.
        Btw my comment re Verona is also correct but who would guess?!

        1. Really sorry about Bologna/Verona – all I did was put Bologna into google images – oh dear, for the umpteenth time. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_sad.gif

          1. No problem Kath. Just feeling quite chuffed to have recognised it at all! I took numerous photos so that helped. There was a very busy market in that square the day I was there, and huge crowds at Juliette’s balcony. ?

            1. I think it’s very clever of you to have recognised it – sorry again. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_smile.gif
              I’d probably know Florence, Venice and Pisa, but only probably and if it was the well known bits.
              It had never before occurred to me to doubt Google images – will be more careful in future.

  19. All the horses are standing very calmly in the middle of the paddock after completing this puzzle. Not quite a R & W, but not far off it. I couldn’t identify any madness in the clues so I will say no more. No particular favourite today.

    Thanks to the Thursday Mr Ron for the puzzle and Kath for her review http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_good.gif

    As others have said – the toughie is not..

  20. Good afternoon everybody

    Completed today so presumably not one of Mr T’s delightful offerings. I didn’t understand logic for 29a and I’m not persuaded that 23a is one word. Didn’t bother rationalising 16d (was more concerned about the spelling, I was convinced there should be an h in there somewhere) but agree that pi makes more sense.

    Stragglers took me into three star time so ***/*** for me.

  21. I’ll give this four * for enjoyment, two less for difficulty.
    20d – I have a very, very dim memory of the answer being a synonym of bark.
    Rarely used nowadays.
    Thanks to the setter and to Kath for the review.

  22. I thought it was lighter than the usual Thursday. Did like the HEAT clue though. Showing my age I suppose.

  23. I could not get Roman out of my head so 1ac beat me today. Thanks for sorting that one Kath. My personal identification number is 3.142 so you were sort of right Kath. Nice puzzle. Thanks to all.

  24. One of those that appears tricky at first but yields on closer inspection. Having said that I cannot find the words to express how poor I thought 23a was as a clue, I think the answer to 17d best describes it! Never come across the philosopher in 10a or if I have ive forgotten but the answer was obvious. 28a must be the easiest anagram ever set.
    20a held me up for a bit as did 13a.
    Thx to all

  25. Some extremely straightforward clues (1d, 28a etc) but the first part of 9d took me ages to identify (you’re not alone, Kath!) and I wasn’t aware of the obscure meaning of “heat” used in 23a.

    Solid cluing with no real “stand-out and pick me” favourites, but I did like the construction of 1a.

    Thanks to the setter and to Kath.

  26. Very enjoyable, but I found some clues beyond my ken, for instance “bark” and “heat”, and I live here! I have never heard of the cops being called “heat”, but then, I don’t watch too many cop shows.
    I didn’t know why 5d was correct, nor 16d, they just fit and that had to be good enough.
    Thanks to setter, and to Kath for your always entertaining blog.

    1. I always associate it with Humphrey Bogart and 1940’s gangster films. I think they have a much wider selection of pseudonyms for the police these days. I can think of a few!

  27. **/***. It felt tougher than two stars to begin with but it actually fell into place quite quickly this morning. Some elegant clues (eg 18a). Thanks to the setter and Kath for a splendid review – I admire someone who is prepared to put themself on the line to do the blog.

  28. Brief and not much to smile about It all seemeb a bit mechanical. */** from me.

    Thanks to the setter and Kath (don’t worry about pi – we’ve all done it at some time or other).

  29. Since everyone is now going on about ‘barking shins’ yes, I’ve heard that expression too but the BRB says ‘to scrape the skin from’ so I reckon that can be from anywhere – especially knees and elbows when you fall off your bike! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_negative.gif

        1. My Dad used to say that each end was dangerous and the bit in the middle was bloody uncomfortable.

    1. Growing up in the city when I did, we saw the occasional rag and bone man with a horse drawn cart. I now live out in the countryside and waken most mornings to the clip clops of horses being ridden past the pub. Quite blissful really. Nobody falls off though. That is something like 35,575 days x the number that pass the pub. O golly bongs it must be ten a day so that is 355,750 horsey trips without incident. Obviously north Yorkshire is more eventful.I went on a horse once in the hills of Ibiza and once on our camping field. Didn’t fall off though.

      1. Once again MP… unbelievable

        And sitting on a horse in a camp field does not constitute riding. It’s called, well…’sitting’.

  30. Nice relief after yesterday not at all Thursdayish ? was Possibly suffering from icing of the brain after a very cold at Woburn for the Masters Pro-am ? Thanks to Kath for the lovely blog ☺️ Was it pi in the sky or a pi in the eye ? **/*** Liked 1a, 18a, 17d & 7d

  31. I agree with Beaver above, a peculiar mixture of write-ins (20 for example ) and some very puzzling clues , such as 22d .My likes included 4a, 12a, 15a ,16d and 17d.
    With thanks to Kath and to the setter.

  32. We made a note in the margin when we were solving that said PJ and still think that he is the most likely setter for this one. It all went smoothly enough but was not a particularly quick solve for us. Whenever we see a clue that starts with an E and looks about the right length one of us will call out ‘ELEPHANT’. Today it was. We enjoyed it.
    Thanks Mr Ron and Kath

  33. Not sure about PJ – no modern music or food and the slightly mad hat wasn’t needed. In fact, the whole thing was too easy for one of his. No doubt I’m wrong but that wouldn’t be the first time :lol: Shamus perhaps?

    1. I don’t think that it’s PJ or Shamus – it doesn’t feel right for either of them. However, going by how the rest of today has gone I’m very likely to be very wrong.

  34. The good thing, when you have two crosswords on offer, is that one of them might reach the spot. Oh dear. It does sound like a line from a Carry On film.
    Very satisfying solve.
    Last night ‘s match in Toulon was a touching tribute to Jerry Collins. Thanks to the All Blacks.
    Thanks also to Mr Ron and to Kath for the usual fun review.

  35. 2*/2*. I came to this late again today, and, perhaps because I’m feeling a bit tired, I didn’t enjoy it that much. There were some good clues, some clunky Lego, the non-cryptic 29a, and the dreadful 20a and 23a. Where is Ray T on a Thursday when you need him?

    Thanks to the setter and particularly to Kath. This can’t have been an easy puzzle to blog.

  36. Just into 2* time, and 3* for enjoyment and if l have to pick a top clue, it’s 27a. Thanks to the setter, and of course to Kath.

  37. Hi TS – I think you’re probably right with the ‘no news is good news’. Also, if he’s working in the ski holiday sector, I’m told that it’s very definitely a case of work hard and play hard. I don’t think sleeping comes into the equation very often! I recall you mentioning that there is another ‘strummer’ in the family – I presume this is the one? He’s probably gone out there with his head full of dreams of strumming his guitar whilst ensconced in a cosy lodge on a snowy mountainside – let’s hope it works out that way.
    As for Robert Frost, I’m finding his work a very mixed bag – some I’ve really enjoyed and others I’m not so sure about. The one that stays in my mind is ‘the road not taken’ – possibly the most well-known of his poems? Certainly one that most of us are likely to be able to identify with!
    Hope you’ve got a bit of ‘down time’ coming up this weekend – perhaps you could do the odd bit of strumming yourself.

    1. Hi Jane. Always good to hear from you. My boy Joey is a brilliant guitarist and was, up until the Canada trip, head of guitars at Rose Morris, London’s foremost musical instrument shop. He was a Brit School contemporary of Adele and Amy Winehouse. He is far, far better than I am. Yes, Frost wrote a lot of tosh and the best stuff was all done in an 18-month period. I’m particularly fond of After Apple Picking, For Once,then, Something, and Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening. The Road Not Taken is probably his most famous work. Of the longer poems, Home Burial is the one I return to most often.

  38. No problems at all. R&W. 23a has to be my favourite. I can’t make a guess at the setter (not PJ, too straightforward for him, and not the twinkly-eyed one either – it’s not fun enough for him). I can only give it half a star for difficulty, which is quite good, because I’m exhausted, and 2* for enjoyment, largely thanks to 10a & 23a. Only one more day to go of this six-day week and then I’m off to continue boat moving for a few days. Back on Monday or Tuesday. If I can find a paper en route (not easy), I’ll pop in. If not, behave yourselves while I’m away.

  39. PS I’m a bit disappointed that the Loopy Corner now only seems to have one occupant (MP). The topers’ corner, on the other hand …

    1. Welcome from me too. Everyone here is very friendly and helpful – if you don’t ‘get’ something then all you need to do is ask and someone will explain it.
      Please keep commenting. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_smile.gif

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