DT 27931 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 27931

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 27931

Hints and tips by Gazza

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment **

There’s nothing to terrify the nags here and not too much sparkle. Let us know what you thought of it and how you fared.

If you click on any of the areas showing ‘Click here!’ you’ll see the actual answer so only do that as a last resort.

Across Clues

1a Brass groom spent on foremost of dinners and a buffet (11)
SMORGASBORD – an anagram (spent) of BRASS GROOM followed by the foremost letter of dinners.

7a Girl from Lancashire (Nelson) (5)
IRENE – the girl is trying to hide (from) in the clue.

8a Wicked (excellent) playing game (9)
BADMINTON – charade of an adjective meaning wicked, a second adjective meaning excellent or unblemished and an adverb meaning playing or being performed.

10a A theologian in valley brings cheer (7)
GLADDEN – A (from the clue) and the postgraduate degree awarded to a theologian are inserted in a narrow valley.

11a Retire abroad, going to a country in Africa (7)
ERITREA – an anagram (abroad) of RETIRE followed by A.

12a Extremely nice, after work, I suppose (5)
OPINE – the outer letters of nice follow the abbreviation for an artistic work and I.

13a Row with senior sorted? That’s OK (2,7)
NO WORRIES – an anagram (sorted) of ROW and SENIOR.

16a Society member‘s unusual forenames (9)
FREEMASON – an anagram (unusual) of FORENAMES.

18a Amaze leader of gang, being taken for a ride (5)
STUNG – the definition (taken for a ride) means duped or conned. A verb to amaze or astound is followed by the leading letter of gang.

19a Urgent-looking letters in capitals I scrawled Pa sent back crossed out (7)
ITALICS – firstly cross out the reversal of PA from C[ap]ITALS I then make an anagram (scrawled?) of what remains.

22a Primate taken in by newspaper seller in the high street? (7)
FLORIST – a small primate from South Asia goes inside the financial daily paper.

23a Dither on rising ground in Suffolk town (9)
HAVERHILL – I didn’t know this town in Suffolk. A verb to dither or vacillate is followed by rising ground or an incline. As in 1a ‘on’ is being used to mean ‘precedes’ whereas in across clues it should really mean ‘follows’, i.e. A on B in an across clue should give BA and not AB.

24a Very keen to employ old dodge (5)
AVOID – an adjective meaning very keen contains (to employ, presumably in the sense of enrol or enlist) O(ld).

25a Released pent-up emotions, then forgave second XI, perhaps (3,3,5)
LET OFF STEAM – a phrasal verb meaning forgave (3,3) is followed by S(econd) and a sporting XI.

Down Clues

1d Favourite’s upset privately to make room for a replacement (4,5)
STEP ASIDE – reverse (upset, in a down clue) a favourite together with the ‘S and add an adverb meaning privately or in isolation.

2d Extra owed is yet to arrive (7)
OVERDUE – an adverb meaning extra or surplus to requirements and an adjective meaning owed or outstanding.

3d Crack crackers and become very angry (2,7)
GO BANANAS – charade of a crack or attempt and a slang word meaning crackers or crazy.

4d Grass-like plant in small border (5)
SEDGE – S(mall) and a border.

5d Famous actor, one in ‘Cromwell’, for example (7)
OLIVIER – insert the Roman numeral for one into the Lord Protector’s forename.

6d Put off, cleaner gent jilted (5)
DETER – dump the word gent from a cleaner (the inanimate sort).

7d Elected charitable trust with perfect sincerity (2,4,5)
IN GOOD FAITH – string together an adverb meaning elected, an adjective meaning charitable or benevolent and a word for trust or confidence.

9d Being this causes a problem seeing the reading’s wrong (4-7)
NEAR-SIGHTED – an anagram (wrong) of THE READING’S.

14d Yield after a powerful blow? (9)
WINDFALLS – cryptic definition of pieces of fruit picked up after a storm.

15d Fashionable, even, like nurses on the wards? (2,7)
IN UNIFORM – an adjective meaning fashionable or trendy is followed by another adjective meaning even or constant.

17d French solver playing ragtime (7)
MAIGRET – not Framboise or Jean-Luc – this fictional French crime solver is an anagram (playing) of RAGTIME. All morning I’ve been humming the theme music from the 1960s TV series with Rupert Davies (of which the best bit was the title sequence with him lighting his pipe).

ARVE Error: need id and provider

18d Warehousing charge could be so great (7)
STORAGE – an anagram (could be) of SO GREAT.

20d Metal block in Victorian village (5)
ANVIL – hidden.

21d Large  firm (5)
STIFF – double definition, the first meaning large as in a substantial alcoholic drink (or, more probably, as in a large fine).

The clues I liked best were 22a and 17d. How about you?

Today’s Quickie Pun: CORPS + STICK = CAUSTIC

91 comments on “DT 27931

  1. Agree with **/** and pretty much everything Gazza says.

    Missed the hidden in 20d, just bunged it in anyway.

    Think 17d is very clever and did wonder if a suitable a pic would be found for 15d when I pencilled it in.

    Many thanks to the setter and to Gazza for a great blog.

  2. This one didn’t feel as though it came from one of our regular Tuesday setters and there were a couple of clues I wasn’t very keen on.
    23a smacked a little of desperation and I’m not sure about the double definition at 21d. The answer would seem to be a strong or neat drink rather than necessarily a large one.
    Clues I did enjoy include 24a plus 5&14d. 1*/2.5* for me.
    Many thanks for the review, Gazza, although I’m not sure the famous actor would be very flattered by that photo’. However, I bet there’s a long queue of men awaiting treatment in the 15d ward! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_wink.gif

    1. I don’t know what the actor would have thought of the photo, but, as it was one of his best and favourite roles, maybe he wouldn’t have minded?http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gif

  3. I agree with Gazza’s assessment. I liked 11a (retire) and 9d (being this causes a problem) for the smooth surfaces, and I liked the French solver (17d). I also liked 14d, since it took me a while to see this as a cd, I was trying to get some wordplay to work, getting annoyed at the plural answer.

    The use of the “on” indicator (1a/23a) is interesting. It clearly means “on top of” (or precedes) in a down clue; in an across clue I confess it took me a while to get my head around the idea that it should really mean “come after”, which is the accepted “rule”. However, this rule is often broken in the dailies, and cryptically it is possible to read the “on” as “by” or “adjacent to”, so I wonder whether it pays to worry about it too much in an across clue. Just a thought. In a down clue, however, it is clear to me it can never mean “come after”.

    many thanks Gazza and setter

  4. Very much like yesterday, an easy but enjoyable solve ? */*** Liked 1a probably because it gives you such a good start ? 14d & 5d Thanks to Gazza and the setter ?

  5. Is anyone else having major issues with the iPad version of the crossword? Today 7 of the clues were mis-numbered making it incredibly difficult, 3D in online is 9 letters in paper it’s 2,7, 26 across in online is 11 in paper it’s 3,3,5 ! Coupled with how dreadful it is to use with freezing, going slow or not working at all.
    Thanks to Gazza for bringing some light to today’s almost unsolvable on line version!

    1. Does anyone know how to let the DT know they are failing to show the word splits in the ipad version ? Two days running now ! Grrr !

    2. Like yourself i was initially annoyed by the lack of word splits after solving 25a , but once i realised many werelikely to be incorrect, i was surprised that the clues were not much harder to solve than usual and i enjoyed the extra challenge.
      Luckily my ipad air1 is not experiencing the freezes and slow downs that others are reporting.

    3. I am struggling too on the ipad. Awful update to the app. Bold and not bold. Wrong word divs. Endless scrolling. Illogical placing to get clue. Immediate right/wrong even if you mistyped. Freezes once right so can’t highlight a clue to help someone else. Anything else??? Oh yes, it reloads at quarter size. I sure responded when they asked for feedback!

  6. Our morning pleasure in doing the crossword is being ruined by the improvements (!) made to the iPad version. The scrolling function is super sensitive, making it extremely difficult to alight on the clue required, and today there were three instances where the total number of letters were given rather than being split into their component parts. I am about to telephone to complain, suggest everyone else who is annoyed does the same.

  7. My initial pass through led me to think this was going to be a problem but during the second go things started to fall into place and it didn’t prove to be too bad – 21d I thought was a bit tenuous – ‘a stiff one’ I suppose so, but not that convincing to me anyway!

    I just read on Twitter that the official attendance at the Test in Abu Dhabi is 54 – oh, England have just taken another wicket it’s 173 for 2 – boy is it going to be a long day!


  8. I agree with the 2/2 rating. Nothing much to shout about though.

    Luckily, I post on the iPad (as you can tell from the occasional extraordinary spellings it offers) but I do the puzzle in the paper version as I am inadequate enough to require “scribbling” space…..http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/icon_redface.gif

  9. 21d I would have thought stiff meant strong or potent not large?. Never heard of Haverhill, other than that I thought it was quite easy.

    1. I think you’re right about ‘stiff drink’ not necessarily being large. Perhaps it’s stiff as in a stiff fine.

    2. Having once lived for many years in East Anglia no problem with 23a and I even know how to pronounce it (mute “h”)!

  10. Definitely *|** for me. Quickest completion in a long while. Only look up was the primate in 22a. Thought it should have been a bird but the bird is with a y and the plural ‘ies’. Favourite was 1a – great starter and I just like the word. Thanks to Gazza and the setter.

  11. A */** for me today , thought it was a little too straight forward, with no outstanding clues. I somehow knew that Gazza would not pass up the opportunity afforded by 15d and wasn’t disappointed.

  12. Thanks to Mr Ron and to Gazza for the review and hints. I quite enjoyed this, but the toptop half was too easy. Was only held up 18&22a and 15d. Had to go through the alphabet to get the second letter of 22a, was my favourite. Last in was 15d. Was 2*/2* for me. Cloudy now in Central London.

  13. I often wonder why the BBC doesn’t bring back the famous ‘Patron’, Lucas and Lapointe. I’ve seen a more modern version which wasn’t too good.

  14. R&W for me, so will now turn to page 20. */**. 8a was really the only one to raise a smile.

  15. I agree with 2* for both difficulty and enjoyment and I agree with Jane that the style of this one felt unfamiliar.
    My only problem was one that I made all my own self but, so far anyway, it looks as if I was the only one – I didn’t go ‘bananas’ – I went ‘bonkers’ and didn’t doubt it until I couldn’t do 13a. Oh dear!
    I didn’t spot the 1a anagram until I’d nearly finished the crossword but I did find the girl who was trying to hide in 7a.
    I thought the reading of 19a was about as good as something younger Lamb said to her Dad when he’d picked the wrong book for a bedtime story, “What did you bring that book I didn’t want to be read to out of up for.”
    I didn’t know the 22a primate or the 23a Suffolk town.
    Our uniforms were nothing like the piccy for 15d!
    My favourite was 14d.
    With thanks to Mr Ron and to gazza.

  16. Mum and I liked 25 across… We needed to refer to hints a few times but didn’t have to look up any answers.

    1. You seem to be progressing by leaps and bounds. Just don’t get down when you get a tough one.

  17. I’m only going 2/2 because of the difficulties caused by the i-Pad 7. I completed it anyway without the hints, but it took longer than necessary. It is getting beyond a joke now. Once in a blue moon is forgivable, but this is happening with sickening regularity, rendering the puzzle harder to solve and less enjoyable as a result. I have written to the letters page in the hope that a human might pick on the general angst and do something about it. Thanks to our setter and Gazza.


  18. Like Kath I also went ‘bonkers’ rather than ‘bananas’ which made for some interesting possibilities for 13a. Otherwise easier than I had thought at first reading.
    Dinner last night with the new prospective in-laws in a posh restaurant in Wandsworth which was most enjoyable if pricey (I suspect a mere drop in the ocean compared with imminent wedding costs). Having struggled with BT yesterday I discovered that my laptop had kindly upgraded to Windows 10 last night and I have spend much of the day getting it to work (almost) as well as it used to. Isn’t technology wonderful?
    Thanks to our setter and Gazza

    1. Hi HF – sounds as though you may have split the cost of last night’s meal? Let’s hope the prospective in-laws are as considerate when it comes to paying for the wedding! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_good.gif

    2. I don’t care about the money – that’s not my problem although you should be warned that whenever anyone mentions “WEDDING” apparently you should automatically add at least one if not two noughts to everything – I have this on good authority.
      The main reason for my comment is that I’m just so pleased that I wasn’t the only bonkers one. Oh dear, again.

  19. Good afternoon everybody.

    A very straightforward solve with only four clues remaining to be solved after two passes. 22a was last in with the intermediate part being new to me. I liked 14d.

    2/2 here too.

  20. */**. Very straightforward and no stand outs for me. The weather’s returned to normal for the fall so a very wet walk for the dogs yesterday. The salmon fishermen were still out in droves. Thanks to all.

  21. As Freemasons from Haverhill it gladdens our hearts to let off steam over the smorgasbord. No worries, as Sir Les Patterson might say.
    Thanks to red setter and gazza…..**/***

  22. Had the same problem as Tom Darby with the misnumbered clues on the iPad version. Thought it might be a deliberate ploy to make to make it more challenging! Not the first error to be made in the new app, after the prize crossword missing a black square recently.

  23. Not sure about “large”, meaning “stiff” in 21d – but you can be a little stiff after badminton.

  24. Unfamiliar setter or not, I rather enjoyed today’s challenge and thought that 14d was a superb clue, as it foxed me for quite a while! I also liked 22a, but, like others, wasn’t totally convinced by 21d. I also felt that if the verbal wordplay for 10a is in the third person singular, shouldn’t the answer be too?

    Many thanks to the setter and to Gazza.

  25. Well it was easy but having had a long absence from the crossword scene it was a reassuring starter. Nice to see some old familiar bloggers still whiling away the mornings with a crossword fix.

  26. Not very difficult at all, I’m afraid to say. No standout favourite either.

    Thanks to all involved.

  27. Omitting the multi-word enumerations once may be forgivable, but for a second time? In a row?

    I agree with Gazza’s comments, but was totally brain-dead this morning (too early a start) and solved this while on the move so it was not a quick one for me at all. (In fact, I had less trouble with the Toughie – but then I did that from the comfort of home, on nice unbug-ridden paper with squares I could actually put the letters into and which has even kept my answers!)

    I also thought of Jean-Luc and Framboise for 17d :). Didn’t know the actual answer, but it was de-anagrammable.

    My favourite is 21d.

    Thanks to the setter and Gazza.

    1. Hi Kitty,
      Loving your new words for the vocab. ‘de-anagrammable’, ‘easilyish’ – both worthy additions and requiring no long-winded explanations. Could put you into the TS loopy corner but actually it’s quite nice in here despite MP’s penchant both for playing ‘music’ and whipping up support for games of cribbage. St. Sharon drops off emergency food rations on a regular basis – MP believes that she’s being very, very kind and considerate. I suspect an ulterior motive (i.e. for goodness sake just keep him here) but wouldn’t dream of saying so!

      1. Hi Jane :).

        My hat means that I can be in three corners simultaneously. I found the thread where I first donned it:

        DT 27768

        If you don’t mind the sound of mewing in the loopy corner (and with MP’s choice of music, I suspect it might be the last of your aural tribulations) then I doubt I’d give you much reason to throw me out of it :).

        Saint Sharon is undoubtedly very, very kind and considerate … as to whether she has any ulterior motive for catering for the loopy corner, I couldn’t possibly speculate!

      2. Glad I’m not in the loopy corner – I can just about manage MP’s taste in music on his Monday blog. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_wacko.gif

        1. Ah, but I have a cunning plan, SL.

          Fairness dictates that everybody present should have (if they wish) an equal amount of time being the corner DJ. After a certain amount of time listening to my selections, I predict there’ll be a unanimous vote for no music at all.

  28. Spent the day baking for relatives coming to stay next week, so just got round to finishing the crossword. Not much to smile at, but like others went bonkers at 3d. Didn’t like 21d. Always think of a stiff drink as being a strong drink eg a spirit of some sort, not necessarily a large drink. You would never ask for a stiff beer. I did like 25a, 9d and 17d. Thanks to setter and to Gazza for the review. Loved the pic for 22a.

  29. It must be time for one of our regular rants about clues like 23a. If it is unfamiliar to many people in the UK, spare a thought to the thousands of potential solvers in Wellington who will get it in their Dom-Post in a few weeks, and also in others places around the world where these puzzles are syndicated. They certainly could not be expected to have heard of it.
    That said, we did get it easily from the wordplay and only had to check in Google.
    A gentle puzzle and pleasant enough.
    Thanks Mr Ron and Gazza.

  30. I liked this puzzle , even 19a, where I more or less ignored the clue and bunged in the answer.I am far nearer Suffolk than the Kiwis , but my knowledge of English geography is very patchy, but I am sure a similar clue and identical solution came up recently.
    My favourite is 14 d, and I also liked 1d and 7d.
    Thanks to the setter and Gazza.

  31. Grumble grumble. My iPad isnt showing the word splits. Eg 1d is shown as 9 rather than 4,5.

    It’s a good job I have the paper version as well. I just didn’t want to fill that in because hubby is working late today.

  32. There seem to be a lot of grumbles about the ipad version of The Telegraph App. It is taking me no longer to solve but I have given up trying to write any letters in. That means no pencils no paper and a completed crossword with an empty grid. If this carries on I may start writing reviews with no words. No need to worry Jane I will still use tasteful illustrations and wonderful musical clips. Now, How do you think the unthinkable?………………………………………………………………..With an Itheberg!! Boom boom! Thanks to the setter for putting some nice interweaving checkers which helped with the no fill and thanks to gazza. You are a gentleman.

    1. I don’t do the iPad stuff – can’t do crosswords except with pencil and paper – a review with no words? I don’t think so. I’m not even sure about the wonderful musical clips but I agree with your last sentence.
      http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_good.gif for gazza.

          1. Pen after pencil. Pencil first. Always.

            Oh gosh. I’ve just entered into a, “pen v pencil” debate with a engineer. I stand no chance.

            Off to see the quiz engineers now.

  33. Had such a busy afternoon, I wasn’t sure whether I would have time to have a go at the back page.
    But very glad I did.
    The SW corner gave me a bit of trouble as I could only think of Haversham for 23a until I found out it was not in Suffolk and ” let out steam” for 25a.
    Soon rectified and the rest fell into place.
    As my friends Paso Doble, 13a made me think of Australia.
    Not going to say anything about 21d at the risk of being considered a real perv.
    Thanks to Gazza for the mention and to Mr Ron for a fun crossword.

    1. I’m so glad that someone else has had that thought about 21d – I’ve been wondering whether or not to mention it all day but now that you have I can say I agree with you! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_good.gif

      1. Well you two – I am surprised at you, never crossed my mind. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_whistle3.gif
        However, No 1 daughter who is a nanny for two small boy assures me that ‘large’ is still not necessarily synonymous with the 21d answer.

    2. What with your comments on 21d here and 27a from the ‘other side’ – are you sure JL? http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_whistle3.gif

      Hope no offence taken. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_smile.gif

      1. Sticks and stones might break my bones but words will never hurt me.
        Love that saying. We don’t have anything similar in France.

        1. It’s a good saying, but I have a soft spot for this take on it:

          So never under estimate
          The power that language imparts
          Sticks and stones may break your bones
          But words can break hearts

          – from “Prejudice” by Tim Minchin:

          (Much of his stuff’s not for the easily offended, but this song doesn’t have too much in the way of strong language.)

          1. P.S. I just double-checked and there are a couple of swears towards the end, so please only click if you don’t mind that. (Or switch off before the 4:30 mark.)

          2. As I recall, it’s not the first time you refer to that artist. And artist is definitely not an understatement. Great stuff.
            Want to see more from him even if he is as good looking as Mick Hucknall.

            1. Oops! I think I used a double negative here. I meant to say it is an understatement or not an overstatement.

  34. Fortunately, it seems, I don’t have an iPad, iPhone, iMac, iAnything including iNtelligence but this puzzle didn’t only not frighten the nags but they didn’t even prick their ears. Missed just 3 of the across clues and then two of the downs so it was all over in no time at all. If I’d had a timer on I’m sure it would have shown a back page solving record.

    Too easy to be a lot of fun but 20a, 17d and 4d were nice so a <*/** from me. Thanks to Mr Ron and Gazza.

  35. A rather gentle 1*/3*. I liked 14d, but spotted it quite quickly because l’ve spent a few days picking the up recently. The resulting juice, plus yeast and sugar, is out in the conservatory making alarming noises, and will (l hope!) resemble cider some time in the New Year. Thanks to Mr Ron, and of course to Gazza.

  36. Right.
    So this week’s training day is today.
    And also to the tutor-setter and Gazza.

  37. IMHO this was somewhat uninspiring. South went in with 13a but North was a little more demanding. Thought 19a was rather contrived. Certainly no Fav. Thanks Mysteron and Gazza. (Have resorted to steam-driven lap-top as I seem unable to blog on Ipad following appearance of drop down bookmark/reading list column which seems to initiate Error message saying “please fill in the required fields (name/email)” and I can’t get rid of it – would appreciate any ideas).http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/icon_mad.gif

    1. Very silly question but is your e-mail and Forum name filled in the required fields.
      Happened to me last week on my iPad they’d suddenly disappeared and needed filling in again.

  38. Decided to join the fashion for changing one’s avatar. Don’t worry, Slowpoke is not gone forever – he’ll be back http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_good.gif

    1. Oh no pommers – don’t go mentioning a character like Slowpoke around those characters JL, Kath and Jane! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/icon_eek.gif

  39. Many thanks indeed Hrothgar for your far from silly response. My reply is certainly silly in that I’m damned if I know but I’m working on it! I can email OK on the ipad but can’t comment on the blog. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_unsure.gif

  40. Forgot to bring the paper home tonight so haven’t done the puzzle nor read the blog, because I hope to catch up with it tomorrow. Just popped in to say hello to the night owls. BTW Jane, I’ve heard from the frozen north – just one sentence: “I’m having a great time and have met loads of people.” So, so far so good. Back tomorrow with a more constructive comment I hope.

  41. Thanks, Gazza. I agree with your rating and comments. Thanks also to the setter. 1d and 17d were my favourite clues. I thought 19a was contrived; perhaps the setter was struggling with that one.

  42. Got round to this one after the morning radio. Took no time at all, what with the plethora of easy anagrams giving plenty of checkers. I quite liked 19a, my last one in, but the winner of a year’s supply of antirrhinums is 22a. Many thanks to the mystery setter, to Gazza for a professional review, and to BD for sending me the grid 1*/2*

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