DT 27934 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 27934

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 27934

Hints and tips by Deep Threat

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ***

Good morning from South Staffs, where we’re safely back after our Rome trip last week. We visited the restaurant that Salty Dog mentioned last week, but sadly found them on an off day. Here’s a link to one we rather preferred.

Pretty standard fare from Giovanni this week, I thought, with the usual obscure words discoverable from clear wordplay, so ** for difficulty.

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           Fish in position around island (6)
PLAICE – Another word for position wrapped around Island.

4a           Stops if shine’s going off (8)
FINISHES – Anagram (going off) of IF SHINE’S.

9a           Attempt by friend not worth considering (6)
PALTRY – Another word for a friend followed by another word for an attempt.

10a         Wasted material is soft — dirt taking time to be put outside (8)
SPOILAGE – Put together the English word for what the Americans call dirt and a long period of time, then insert the musical symbol for soft.

11a         Door-to-door operator is able to upset savers (9)
CANVASSER – A word for ‘is able to’ followed by an anagram (upset) of SAVERS.

13a         Plant festival beginning to take off (5)
ASTER – Remove the initial letter from a major Christian festival to get a plant name.

Image result for aster

14a         Cooked food takes age with hob and griddle broken (4-6,3)
HARD-BOILED EGG – Anagram (broken) of AGE, HOB and GRIDDLE.

17a         Strong-willed behaviour being slammed as severest sin (13)

21a         Gets rid of Democrat, politician in America (5)
DUMPS – Start with an abbreviation for Democrat, then add an abbreviation for America with the usual politician placed inside it.

23a         Big drinker with enormous height, as you might say (2,2,5)
SO TO SPEAK – Split (3,2,4) this would be a heavy drinker, an abbreviation for very large clothing, and a mountain or height.

24a         String attached to your new material (8)
CORDUROY – A strong piece of string followed by an anagram (new) of YOUR.

Image result for corduroy

25a         Sealed record containing name of old Queen (6)
CANNED – A music disc wrapped around the last Stuart monarch.

26a         Significant star and mate ultimately put into separate camps (8)
POLARISE – The Latin name of a fixed star in the Northern Hemisphere sky, followed byt eh last letter (ultimately) of matE.

27a         Unknown number meeting ahead of time intimately (6)
NEARLY – An algebraic symbol for any given number followed by ‘ahead of time’.


1d           Clerical assistant moving quickly in holy office (6)
PAPACY – The initials denoting an office assistant, followed by an adverb for ‘moving quickly, giving a holy office of which we were much reminded when in Rome last week.

2d           Tree in trouble and stunted in this manner (9)
AILANTHUS – Put together a word for trouble in mind or body, AN(d) from the clue with its last letter emoved (stunted), and a word for ‘in this manner’, to get an Asiatic tree also known as ‘tree of heaven’.

Image result for ailanthus

3d           Gosh, gentleman is hugging a pirate! (7)
CORSAIR – A synonym of ‘gosh’ followed by the form of address for a gentleman wrapped around A (from the clue).
ARVE Error: need id and provider

5d           Cheeky troublemaker has abused internet (11)
IMPERTINENT – A small troublemaker followed by an anagram (abused) of INTERNET.

6d           I am getting the thing put away that’s seen to be copy (7)
IMITATE – Put together a contracted form of ‘I am’, the pronoun for ‘the thing’, and a verb meaning ‘put away’ (food).

7d           Ace maybe showing enthusiasm (5)
HEART – … or a King, 9 or 4 of this suit.

8d           ‘Cheap’ accommodation almost too expensive? Get angry! (8)
STEERAGE – This was the cheap accommodation on board ship. Remove the final letter froma word for ‘too expensive’ (usually seen as ‘that’s a bit xxxxx’), then add a word for ‘get angry’.

12d         Presentations of expeditions below the waves? (11)
SUBMISSIONS – How journeys in a boat made to travel underwater might be described (3,8).

15d         Head of empire, a more forbidding Bostonian perhaps (9)
EASTERNER – The first letter (head) of Empire, followed by A (from the clue) and ‘more forbidding’, getting a geographical reference to the part of the US where Boston is to be found.

16d         Worker, one with something on head in bar (8)
HANDICAP – Put together a factory worker, the Roman numeral for one, and a piece of headgear.

18d         Reserve copper has little hesitation to be one helping hostages? (7)
RESCUER – Put together an abbreviation for ‘reserve’, the chemical symbol for copper, and a small hesitation in speech.

19d         Name of man in European Union taking position? Name’s forgotten (7)
EUSTACE – Start with the initials of the European Union, then add a position with N(ame) removed.

20d         Son, small child appearing to be slippery (6)
SKIDDY – An abbreviation for Son, followed by an informal word for a small child.

22d         Initially master has spoken in lesson (5)
MORAL – The first letter of Master followed by ‘spoken’ (as opposed to written).

The Quick Crossword pun DECK + ORATIONS = DECORATIONS

64 comments on “DT 27934

  1. Hi DT and thanks for blog though I did manage without this time http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yahoo.gifI agree that this was pretty straight forward today however as you say there were some obscure words, took me ages to get 2d, though as you say the wordplay for it is pretty clear, never heard of it and neither had my chambers word finder!!!
    No outstanding favourite clue today
    Hope everyone going tomorrow has a great time, I really hope to make it one day

  2. **/*** sounds about right.

    2d had to be checked. I’m useless with trees/plants although I did get 13a easily.

    Again the long anagrams helped to begin with. 16d was the last to be solved and was bunged in. It did take me awhile to parse.

    All in all a pleasant puzzle.

    Many thanks to Giovanni and to DT for blogging.

    Hope everyone has a good weekend.

  3. 2.5*/1*. This was bizarre – three quarters were R&W but the SW corner was an unremitting slog. The less said the better about how unenjoyable I found the whole puzzle. Sorry to be so negative.

    Thanks to setter and to DT.

    1. Agree with you Rabbit Dave, unimaginative and boring – like all of them this week!

  4. Only one obscurity today and none in the Quickie – the Don is certainly treating us kindly!
    1.5*/3* for me. 8&12d worthy of a mention – favourite slot goes to 23a.
    Thanks to DG and also to DT – glad you enjoyed your trip to Rome and at least some of the food! Lovely musical clip to accompany today’s blog. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_good.gif

    The Toughie may well take the rest of the day…. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_sad.gif

  5. Must have been on wavelength because I found this very straightforward, with no hold-ups. No favorite today, though. Thanks Giovanni and DT.

  6. Managed to finish it, have to say I did the south west corner first. I wasn’t sure about 27a, nearly doesn’t sound like a very good answer for intimately, I thought it may have been dearly. Quite enjoyed it as I cant usually manage to finish Fridays crossword.

    1. I too deliberated over 27a but then decided that intimate(ly)/close(ly) and near(ly) could be considered synonyms.http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/icon_confused.gif

    2. 27 a was my last in and was hovering between D and N when I found a definition of nearly which said -in a close manner -the two are INTIMATELY connected. Fair enough.

  7. A relief for me after yesterday’s struggle. Managed to complete this without the help of the review, but had to google 2d, as hadn’t heard of it. Would have finished sooner, but had to keep stopping to talk to plumber/ be nice and offer a coffee. Liked 8d and 16d. Hope Framboise is not in 8d.Wasn’t keen on 27a. 2*/3* for me.
    Thanks to Giovanni and to Deep Threat. Have a good weekend everyone.

  8. I think 2* for both difficulty and enjoyment – pretty straightforward but nothing that made me laugh which is what I miss so often on Fridays.
    I didn’t know the 2d tree – can do plants but not trees. OK – I know that trees are plants too but . . .
    Bottom right corner took a while – couldn’t do 25a for ages, was doubtful about 27a, never heard of 19d as a name and with 20d saw the ‘kid’ but not the ‘kiddy’ so seemed to have two spare letters. Oh dear!
    Those were the only ones that caused any trouble today.
    I liked 21a and 3 and 12d. My favourite was 14a because it reminded me of Elder Lamb who’s had no oven and only one ring to cook on since June! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_negative.gif
    With thanks to Giovanni and to Deep Threat.

    1. Goodness, hope she’s not just been living off 14a. Could have dire consequences. Hope she has her cooker up and running soon. I remember when we had our house extended we lived without a kitchen for a while. Became a dab hand at dashing outside in November with an umbrella and switching the BBQ on. It had a little gas side burner, so with my vegetable steamer I could make a three course Sunday lunch. Kids were so disappointed I couldn’t do Yorkshire Puddings. Now that was a step too far.

        1. No no no . It was mixed in with several take-aways/meals out. Not all on the same day of course! Couldn’t make cakes for weeks.

  9. I agree quite straightforward **/*** I am in the 27a camp, unless I am missing something ? I had a “D” as the starting letter to make the only word that I could think of intimately ? 2d was a new word for me, thanks to DT and the Don Liked 23a, 24a & 26a ?

  10. 27a last one in. Intimately = closely = the answer I suppose. This stretched my difficulty out to 2.5 instead of 2, but enjoyment was a solid 3 today. Thanks to the Don for a good Friday workout, and to DT for his hard work.

  11. **/***. Started slowly but finished with a flourish. Not come across 2d but the wordplay and Mr Google confirmed the answer. Thanks to the setter and DT for the review.

  12. Lots to do today (counting charity collection boxes ugh!) so was pleased to sew this one up quite quickly. Only hitch was my failure to parse 25a. No stand-out Fav. Thanks Giovanni and DT. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/icon_neutral.gif

  13. just one new word, a tree, so not too bad at all. I liked the two long anagrams 14a and 17a – very nice. I also liked “abused internet” in 5d.

    I thought 7d was weak. I too hesitated with 27a but it’s in Chambers.

    Many thanks Giovanni and many thanks for the review DT

  14. Hard to rate today with ,as Rabbit Dave says, many R and W clues with a few somewhat spurious ones sprinkled about, I think it would have been difficult for a new solver. Anyway,. it was satisfying to work out the wordplay and so I will go for a **/*** like DT. Just back from a trip up the very busy M56/M6/M60/M62 to my favourite Rochdale!- looking forward to a real ale/curry evening with a little Rugby thrown in over the weekend-cheers.

  15. Well that was OK but norra lorra laughs although I did quite like the submissions. **/** from us.

    For those who like the Don he’s in quite benign mood in the Grauniad today and he’s also in the FT but I heven’t triedthat one.

    Hope you all have a great do on Saturday. I’m of to Cornwall this evening to visit aged parent so I’ll not be around here until next Weds.

    See y’all then

    Thanks to the Don and DT.


    For the last 12+months I have been following (quietly in the background) the explanations given to the clues in awe of the skills shown by the bloggers.

    Today for the first time (well nearly!)* I completed the crossword without help. (* I had all but letter 2 in 2D and needed a solver list.)

    Anyway, I am as happy as the proverbial sandboy ..and thousands of thanks to all who have helped ..without knowing…Job well done!!

    May only be difficulty 2 for you ‘professionals’ ..but for me a BIG victory!

    1. Hi PW and welcome to the madhouse. A lot of us needed to check out 2d so don’t worry too much on that score.
      Hope you’ll keep commenting.

    2. Welcome from me too and well done – it’s not everyone who completes a crossword for the first time on a Friday – in fact I think it could be quite a claim to fame.
      A year is a long time to be lurking quietly in the background – I hope you keep commenting.

      1. Welcome to the blog PaulW….We wouldn’t be where we are today (to quote Reggie Perrin) without Big Dave and the gang.

  17. Well done to anyone who knew 2d before today, but it was eminently solvable from the wordplay. I felt that a few of the clues (10a, 27a, 6d) were unusually clunky and not the setter’s best, but then nobody’s perfect, as Joe E. Brown memorably said at the end of Some Like It Hot.

    Like Dutch, I warmed to “abused internet” in 5d, and that one earns my favourite vote.

    Many thanks to Mr. Manley and to Deep Threat.

  18. Quite agree with what has already been said about the gentleness of the Don recently.
    Just had to check the plant in 2d too.
    Love the word in 24a. Corde du Roi indeed. In France we call it “velour côtelé”.
    Had “yearly” first from the parsing in 27a. Didn’t make much sense.
    Thanks to Giovanni and to DT for the review.

          1. No doubt plenty of people have birthdays tomorrow, but the main interest for the ‘gang’ is the Cruciverbalist Convention (look at the forthcoming events link). The Big Birthday Party I was referring to is the next BD birthday bash which will hopefully take place at the end of January. Many of us are hoping to make it for that one – with any luck BD will confirm the date in time for us to take advantage of the cheaper advance booking train fares!

    1. I wanted “yearly” from the wordplay and “dearly” from the definition. Eventually got there.

      I am liking the noises about the January bash http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_good.gif.

  19. Good afternoon everybody.

    It seems I’m pretty much on my own in finding this an excellent, though decidedly tricky, back page puzzle. I agree that 27a was a bit iffy and I thought 16d was dubious too but there were many good clues. 10a was last to go in and the one I liked most. 2d was new to me but, as others have noted, logically retrievable.

    This setter’s back page puzzles always provide an enjoyable mental challenge while being solvable in a sensible time without recourse to reference books. Exactly what a back page crossword should be.

    I was undoubtedly into four star time so ****/**** for me.

    1. Haven’t heard from you for some time, Derek. Hope you are doing well and still enjoying those scrumptious meals.

  20. Definitely Giovanni in a benign role.
    I had to confirm 2d after working it out, easy enough to do.
    I agree, 27a very iffy, I settled for the “d” and wrote in dearly.
    Thanks to Giovanni and to DT for the review, amazingly not needed today.

  21. I enjoyed this one – my Wordsearch program gave me 2d and I was unsure about 27a until I looked up nearly in the BRB – I must admit it was not my understanding of the word but hey-ho!

    England 569 for 8 at the close – Cook having got 263 – what a bore!

    Looking forward to the Rugby over the weekend – my four to go through are South Africa, New Zealand, Argentina and Australia all the Southern Hemisphere teams!


  22. Pretty standard fare from the Don but very entertaining nonetheless. **/***
    Thanks to Giovanni and the Threat of the Deepness.

  23. No real difficulties here. I constructed and bunged in 2d from the wordplay and had similar thoughts about 27a. Not many smiles, but I think that’s mostly the weather.

    I hope to see many smiles tomorrow :).

    Thanks to Don and Deep Threat.

  24. My biggest problem was getting hold of the puzzles. At noon our time (midnight yours) the home page did not change to the new puzzles so I almost printed out the RayT again. I waited patiently for a while and then printed out and did the Pasquale from the other place. Still no puzzles on the home page so started writing an email to the Telegraph when I thought I would look a bit further first and found that the puzzles were on site, just not on the home page. So the outcome was that I had an extra Manley puzzle for the day. Both solved without too much of a fight but I did need to check on the tree.
    Thanks Giovanni and DT.

    1. Same here. But I did print RayT again until I realised.
      Got them eventually from the categories column.

      1. When I went to print RayT yesterday, the home page produced a puzzle from 2013! I never noticed it and was congratulating myself on being able to complete a RayT, then came a huge deflation which bruised my ego when I saw the problem! Grrrr.

  25. Not perhaps one of his best but still great fun. Bst for me was 12d, obvious but made me smile.
    Thx to all

  26. thought 1A clue could also have been constructed as a homophone perhaps

    nice puzzle I thought


  27. Very poor and inelegant. Solving a crossword clue should make you smile, not think: “well I suppose it must be (e.g.) skiddy”. Must try harder Mr Setter.

    1. I’m 7d-ened that I’m not the only one to dislike 20d. Would anyone over the age of 13 ever use it instead of “slippery”?

  28. Perhaps you had better do one Sam Kelly to show us how it should be done. I thought it was excellent. The test of a good clue is to be able to work out the answer without necessarily having heard of the word before e.g. the plant at 2d.

  29. I did this tonight on the boat after a delicious dinner (TS special of chilli chicken with mango and ginger in a garlic and Oloroso sauce, basmati rice and a pint of speckled hen). Agree with most previous comments: good but not great. Tossed up between D and N for 27a. Chose wrongly. I’ll go for 9a as my favourite, just because of the old joke:
    ‘I had a job on a chicken farm’
    ‘Was the money any good?’
    ‘Nah. It was paltry.’
    Ta to the Don and DT: glad you had a good time in Rome – last time I was there I had a punch-up with a lavatory attendant. Don’t ask.

    1. Trouble is, TS, the scenarios we can conjure up in our imaginations are probably far more colourful than the actual facts – I can almost hear the Chinese whispers starting as I write. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gif

  30. Possible the latest entry to a BD blog… I had left this one laying around unfinished and we don’t like ‘unfinished’ so flogged away and eventually got there with no help but got DEALRY at 27 which seemed to leave me in good company. Thanks for the hints DT. Fav was 19d because I just like that seldom heard name.

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