DT 27940 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 27940

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 27940

Hints and tips by Deep Threat

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BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

Good morning from South Staffs on a grey autumn morning.

I was held up iin the NW corner of today’s Giovanni, with 11a being last in, and this pushed today’s puzzle into *** territory for me.

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. Some people have been having a problem with the buttons, where they shrink to a vertical ine and don’t work: refreshing the browser two or three times can restore normal service.

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           Mother’s scientific workplace set about making ointment (6)
BALSAM – Put together a shorter form of ‘mother’s’ and the short form of the place where a scientist works, then reverse the lot.

5a           Weeds creating frightful ado in southern county briefly (4,4)
WILD OATS – The shortened form of acounty in SW England, with an anagram (frightful) of ADO inserted in it.

Image result for wild oats

9a           Time to recover, but not spiritually (10)
TEMPORALLY – Another word for time, especially in a musical sense, followed by a recovery from a position of weakness.

10a         This writer’s additional note identifies troublemakers (4)
IMPS – Another way of writing ‘this writer is’, and an additional note at the end of a letter.

11a         Oil fellow’s put into seats (8)
OTTOMANS – An oil extracted from roses, followed by another word for ‘fellow’s’.

Image result for ottomans

12a         Record difficult situation that brings traffic to a standstill (3,3)
LOG JAM – The record Captain Kirk, among others, kept, and a tight place or difficult situation.

13a         Hints about depth that may be dug in garden (4)
SPIT – Reverse (about) another word for hints, and you get a spade’s depth when digging.

15a         Carer — she organised investigation (8)
RESEARCH – Anagram (organised) of CARER SHE.

18a         Battle equipment used by Richard, war enthusiast (8)
HARDWARE – Hidden (used by) in the clue.

19a         Additional supply for one who conjured up Utopia (4)
MORE – Double definition, the second being the Man for All Seasons who wrote Utopia

Image result for thomas more

21a         No seat when turned over is found to conceal a gun? (6)
WEAPON – Put together NO (from the clue) and a seat in church, reverse them (turned over) and insert A (from the clue).

23a         Amount of difference when prisoner is given fresh start (8)
CONTRAST – One of the usual crossword prisoners followed by an anagram (fresh) of START.

25a         Maybe one’s climbed a little height, getting unwell … (4)
HILL – An abbreviation for Height, followed by ‘unwell’.

26a         … which is what Bill would become if this, lacking guidance (10)
LEADERLESS – To make ‘Bill’ into the word for ‘unwell’ in the previous clue (note the link with the dots at the end of 25a and the start of this clue), you would have to remove the initial or leading letter, thus making it …

27a         Send from some French district (8)
DESPATCH – The French partitive article meaning ‘some’ followed by a local district or territory.

28a         This person’s reversing in street that is creating obstructive situation (6)
STYMIE – The possessive pronoun for ‘this person’s’ is reversed and placed between an abbreviation for street and the Latin abbreviation for ‘that is’.


2d           Designated person clearly not an uncouth fellow (5)
AGENT – … because he’s A xxxx.

3d           Soldiers with time short drank outside, being held up (9)
SUPPORTED – Put together the abbreviation for soldiers who are not officers and an abbreviation for Time, then wrap a word for ‘drank’ around the result

4d           Singer Ethel, a fabulous creature (6)
MERMAN – Double definition: the surname of Ethel; or a mythical aquatic being.
ARVE Error: need id and provider

5d           Let arch-wastrels loose — you’ll create a huge financial crisis (4,6,5)

6d           See unknown character of celebrity status who gives unstinting support (8)
LOYALIST – Put together a word meaning ‘see!’, an algebraic unknown, and a top-category (1,4) celebrity status.

7d           Outstanding rugby player portrayed with halo (5)
OWING – A halo is circular and goes at the head of a character, so needs to be at the top of this Down clue, followed by one of two players from the threequarter line of a rugby team.

8d           One hoofs around — and carpet may be ruined (3,6)
TAP DANCER – Anagram (may be ruined) of AND CARPET.

14d         One would get puffed after a violent struggle (5,4)
PEACE PIPE – Cryptic definition of something smoked in Western films when the cowboys and Indians stopped fighting.

Image result for peace pipe

16d         Notice a lieutenant in muddy office of navy bigwig (9)
ADMIRALTY – Start with a short form of a commercial notice, then add a word for muddy with A (from the clue) and an abbreviation for lieutenant put inside it.

17d         Iron glove in a form of punishment (8)
GAUNTLET – Double definition: an armoured glove; or something that miscreants were made to run through.

20d         Gets cross in French city (6)
ANGERS – Double definition: gets (someone) cross; or a city which was the capital of Anjou.

22d         Growth allows old-style educational institution to gain power (5)
POLYP – A shortened form of one of the tertiary education establishments which were turned into universities in the 1990s, followed by an abbreviation for Power.

24d         Foreign food has upset us — deficient bit of beef (5)
SUSHI – Reverse (upset) US from the clue, then add a cut of stewing beef with its final letter removed (deficient).

Image result for sushi

The Quick Crossword pun SCREW + TINNY = SCRUTINY

96 comments on “DT 27940

  1. Thanks to Giovanni and to Deep Threat for the review and hints. A very nice enjoyable puzzle from Giovanni, with a minimum of obscurities. I managed to get 4d from the wordplay, but had to Google it to make sure. Was beaten by 19a. Favourite was 18a, very well clued. Was 4*/3* for me. On my way to Cheltenham races.

  2. I’m not sure we really need “violent” in 14d – that’s two days running we have seen gratuitous violence, what is happening to the world?

    I liked the clever use of ellipsis in 26a (what Bill would become). I didn’t know the singer in 4d but bunged her in. Only faintly remember the more usual version of the name of the oil in 11a, don’t think I’ve seen this version before – anyone who used this to derive the answer deserves respect – and hey, it’s the only obscurity.

    Fairly straightforward otherwise

    many thanks Giovanni and DT

    1. I think you have to be pretty advanced in age to remember Ethel! She starred, on stage, in South Pacific when it debuted in NYC eons ago and did it for eons as well!

      1. She did put in an appearance on The Muppet Show – maybe some folk would remember her from that?

      2. I remember her because one of the people I shared a house with when we were training in the late 1960’s/early 70s was absolutely obsessed with “Gypsy” which meant that, whether we liked it or not, we all knew all the songs from it. We had parties all the time in that house and, for a while, I was called “Gypsy Rose Kath” – think I’ll keep those memories to myself and to those who were there at the time rather than elaborate any further!

  3. Pommette has just crossed the northern coast of Spain slightly to the east of Bilbao at an altitude of 38000ft and speed of 545mph on her way to Manchester. What this means is I got to do this puzzle on my own and it didn’t have to wait until lunchtime.

    I’d forgotten the oil, didn’t know the spade’s depth but remembered Ethel.


    Thanks to the Don and DT.

    1. Oh what flight? Got Planefinder. And since I’m currently waiting for the AA at the South Gare I’ve got nothing better to do. Bloomin flat battery again.

        1. Got it. Currently still at 38000 ft on squawk 7447, estimated 12.33.

          Don’t even have my paper to comment on the puzzle. :-(

          1. This will cheer you up then – the Aupouri Sav Blanc from ASDA is on offer @ £25 for 6.

            There’s also a little cracker on offer at Waitrose – Hartley’s Block SB. Normally about £10.50 but on for £7.79.

            Sorry, no reds to recommend this week.

            Now, time to settle down with a pint at the local pub and get on with crosswords.

            1. Ho hum. I settled for the Coral Tree cabernet merlot and the Banrock Station cabernet sauvignon shiraz. Couldn’t find any decent offers on malbec this week. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_sad.gif

  4. Not as tricky as the Don can be – just had to drag up the roses and the spade’s depth from the memory banks and justify 20d – I needed the missing ‘someone’ to make sense of it!
    2*/3* for me with 26a& 6d sharing the honours.
    Thanks to DG and also to DT – thought your pic. for 5a was very restrained. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_wink.gif

    Have got to within 7 of beating Osmosis on the other side – more by lucky guesswork than ability!

        1. Isn’t this a bit naughty … commenting on the Toughie?

          I haven’t started it yet but now I know it’s a pangram.

          1. Sorry, Stan – I should have had more consideration for others. I’ll make sure it doesn’t happen again.

  5. I enjoyed this Giovanni offering today. Good fun and very solvable. A solid 2/3 for me, with 13a my last one in, and 5d my favourite, just because as an ex city trader (well before the cheats took over, when honour and ones word counted), I like the anagram. Thanks to the aforementioned and DT for his hard work.

  6. East side was no problem but West side was a different kettle of fish – it took time. 11a oil new to me but bunged in anyway. Not being a Western fan 14d didn’t occur to me so thanks for help there DT plus another couple of parses. Thank you Giovanni. ***/***. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gif

  7. Hi DT and thanks for blog, I got stuck in bottom left corner ,but also on 11a, although I had the right answer I couldn’t see where ‘put into ‘ comes into it, still don’t really!

    1. Mary, I agree with you about 11a – I was typing my comment below while you were posting yours.

      1. Hi RD, unless it means vey obscurely … oil which is otto then fellow’s (which is ‘man’s’) is put, turning ‘into’ seats????? If u see what I’m getting at!!! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_wacko.gif

  8. 2*/2*. Fairly typical for a Friday with verbose cluing, particularly for the across clues. Although the wordplay is generally very fair, allowing the solver to unravel the answers, I do find most Friday back-pagers humourless. I definitely prefer my crosswords to have an element of fun about them.

    1a – I always thought the answer meant a thick liquid such as cough syrup, whereas an ointment is a cream.
    11a – surely “put into” is misleading as “fellow’s” is put next to an (very obscure!) “oil” not into it.
    13a – the answer was a new meaning for me
    16a – isn’t “battle” superfluous?

    Thanks to setter and to DT.

      1. Thanks very much for asking, Jane. He has managed to eat a little bit of hay this morning and is drinking again which is all to the good, but he is still clearly very poorly. Yesterday the vet injected the antibiotic, today my challenge was to administer it orally! After a bit of a battle, he eventually let me put the syringe in his mouth and he swallowed it all. Next dose in a few hours! And yes, lots of cuddles. They are very good therapy for both of us!

        1. Just in case you need any tips, RD. There’s a good Youtube clip called ‘Bobtail’s rescue’ which might be of help. The one thing I hadn’t thought of is to squirt the antibiotics across the back of the mouth rather than straight down the throat. Good luck. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_good.gif

          1. Thanks Jane. I adopted the “Bobtail’s Rescue” method for the second dose and it worked a treat – no struggle at all!

            P.S. I must protest to YouTube. They have omitted the apostrophe, but you earn a red rose for including it!

    1. I agree with you on 11a. In 18a, perhaps military may have been a better starting word?

      1. Re 18a, I’ve done again today what I did yesterday and quoted 16a as the clue number because I have written over it when entering my answer :sad:

    2. I think in 18a it is superfluous, its just for the reading, supposedly to make us think of Richard III?!
      Now Im going to do something I’ve not done for a very , very, long time … attempt the ‘toughie’!!!

      1. Go for it, Mary! The four long ones should give you an ‘in’ – after that it’s down to grit and determination. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/smiley-phew.gif

  9. ***/***

    Some easy, some hard, but a nice solve. Last in was the SE corner because I had 26a wrong for awhile. Didn’t remember the 4d singer but the checkers led to the right answer. Was only vaguely aware of the oil in 11a so that needed confirming.

    Many thanks to Giovanni and to DT for a great blog.

    Home now. The same AA man that came out to rescue me has been to my aide before. This is not a good thing.

      1. Well it’s the third time I’ve broken down this year. Twice in the car and once in the horsebox. The AA guy is the car one. He remembered me from last time. A very nice man but not worth a flat battery for. I wouldn’t mind but both vehicles shouldn’t be at the stage where this is happening. I may have said some swear words.

        1. I remember you breaking down in the horsebox and the AA man sorting you out Ooh er missus.

        2. I had to get a new battery on March 30th, and last week my car wouldn’t start again, dead battery. So, sometimes not the fault of the vehicle but the trashy bits that go inside.

        1. Once again MP…unbelievable.

          RD…there will be wine consumed tonight. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gif

          Merusa..yep, new battery needed on mine now.

    1. Hanni

      Sorry to hear about your car.

      Couldn’t help noticing that at 11;53 you hadn’t started today’s puzzle…….no paper

      By 1:19 you were sending comments on the solution.

      I’ve just finished it. I clearly have a long way to go.


      1. Hello Banksie,

        You are correct in that I didn’t take the paper to the Gare. I had already solved the back page and most of the Toughie early a.m….and they took me awhile I assure you.

        I could have commented from the clues typed above but I usually have asterisks and little notes next to clues I like etc so decided to wait. So please don’t worry about your solving ability at all. And if you read my comments on the Toughie on the ‘other side’ you’ll see the stunningly stupid mistake I made re 19d.

        You have nothing to worry about. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_smile.gif

        I’m worried about the fact things I drive break down on an alarming basis.

        Has anyone else noticed Rick doesn’t comment anymore? I miss car chat with him and his collection of convertibles.

        Edit..and Jane will confirm that I had to email her about whether a word was a word yesterday!

        1. Hanni

          Thanks for the comforting words….still think I’m a bit off the pace though. I’ll try harder

          1. One of the amazing things I find about this site, and there are many, is the differing levels that solvers have. And all without competition. I’m very comfortably aware that my abilities are way below others but it matters not. We all enjoy crosswords. We could all pull our hair out at times with difficult ones. I bet your solving ability has changed since commenting here?

            1. Yes – I think you’re right about the puppy – maybe he’ll pop in and tell us. As for the cars, well . . .

                1. Hello!

                  And a very welcome back Rick. Your absence has been noted. Oh I do hope you’re well? So puppy/grown dog and the ever wonderful James Bond cars?

                  I still refuse to believe you’re not MI5/6. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_wink.gif

                  Comment again soon.

                  1. I could tell you but then I’d have to kill you!
                    Puppy 11 months and not a puppy any more and the cars all in fine fettle thanks. The ’54 MG Magnette has just had a full respray and looks lovely. I now have an irrational urge for something big loud and American…

                    1. Oh the MG Magnette, delicious.

                      Are we talking muscle car? I’ve never seen the appeal but there is something almost gutteral about a mustang.

  10. Still tough but a thousand times better than yesterday’s horror.
    Giovannis clues are always fair and never require a leap of faith.
    Last in was the lurker in 18a, I had the answer but couldn’t see why until the penny dropped, well hidden! Not come across the Rose oil before but the answer was there but my fav today was 1a. No religious refs today but I’m not complaining?
    Thx to all esp the Don for as always restoring my crossword confidence.

    1. I’m sorry you derived no pleasure from yesterday’s PJ. Definitely my favourite of the week’s back-pagers. What an unenviable task these setters have – to please all of the people, all of the time!
      I really believe that my ability to adapt to different styles has been greatly enhanced by tackling the NTSPPs and Rookies – maybe you should give them a try more often, Brian? The Don may be your ideal (as Mr. T is mine!) but there are plenty of other setters whose work has great merit.

        1. I will upset Kath and say of the regular Telegraph cryptic setters I have four favourites (in the order they appear during the week starting on Sunday!) – Virgilius, Rufus, Jay & Ray T, all of whom are amazingly and consistently brilliant.

            1. In no particular order, as they say, Ray T, Shamus, PJ, Jay and Virgilius – and anyway, what’s all this umpteen favourites malarkey? Oh dear! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_negative.gif

  11. ***/**. I found this trickier than it should have been in retrospect and found it joyless to boot. Thanks to the setter and DT for the review.

  12. Sorted most of it in Sarf London and the rest in Downtown LI. This was a great weeks worth of puzzles with something to suit all tastes. The blogs were on top form too.Sparking even. Big Dave has amassed quite a team to call upon. The comments are fun too. Well done everybody involved.

  13. Compare and contrast.

    1) Today’s very bland but very fair Don Giovanni puzzle.

    2) Yesterday’s Petit-Jean puzzle – full of wit and humour – but possibly unfair.

  14. An enjoyable way to finish the ‘back pager’ week. Having lived in Portsmouth for many years, I couldn’t get Hampshire out of my mind for 5a – hand oats, never heard of them http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_scratch.gif

    A lot of good clues I thought and I particularly liked 18 & 21a.

    Thanks to the Don for the puzzle and DT for his review.

    After hearing a piece of music on the radio this morning, I had to go up to the loft to dig out some of my parents old records by a certain M. Raymond Lefevre and play a few of his melodies. I’m sure my father only bought them for the album covers http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gif hence the gravatar

    The music was, of course, soul coaxing (Ame Caline) – ah the memories.

    1. Have to confess that I didn’t know the Ame Caline reference – but I’ve always loved Soul Coaxing. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_good.gif

          1. Afraid not RD – I think James Last styled himself on M. Lefevre. Glad the rabbit’s on the mend, long lived pets are more than just pets IMHO.

  15. Had a good laugh when I thought 4d was Ethel Mermaid. Thank god it didn’t fit.
    The two reversed clues in 1a and 21a were just brilliant.
    11 was my bung in as I couldn’t parse it and we saw it the other day with Alchemi I think. I should be a bit more careful as I mix people up at the moment.
    Thanks to Giovanni and to DT for the review.

  16. Good afternoon everybody.

    A trickyish but highly enjoyable end to the week with the left hand side putting up most resistance for this solver. The logic of 26a and 11a (last in) eluded me and11a and 13a were new meanings to me but solvable from their clues. Favourites were 18a, 14 and 22d and (believe it or not) 25a.

    May just about have been in three star time but to be on the safe side I’ll say ****/****

  17. Pretty tricky but very enjoyable – I needed the blog to confirm my answers, happily it worked out well – 7d and the ‘halo’ stuff went completely over my head – thanks for that!

    I hoovered up all my leaves – by the time I got back in to have a cup of well earned tea the lawns were covered again – aaaarrrghh!!

    Really looking forward to the Rugby over the weekend – can Argentina put one over the Aussies – possible, South Africa against New Zealand should be a cracker – I can’t see beyond New Zealand!


  18. As 11a seems to be the most contentious today could I throw a bit of really lateral thinking into the mix along the lines that the Ottoman Empire had its fair share of oil deposits so could a fellow from an oil region be an Ottoman to give a double meaning with a seat?

  19. Well, I learnt a lot today: that a “spit” is a spade’s depth and “otto” is a variation of attar. They say that if you learn something every day, your day has not been wasted.
    I think we had the French city in 20d quite recently.
    I liked the 5d anagram as it gave so many letters to help other clues, but fave has to be 14d.
    Thanks to Giovanni and to DT for the review.

  20. Just a thought – has anyone heard from Sweet William? He used to be such a regular but I can’t remember the last time he popped in. I miss his birding reports.

    1. Perhaps he’s flown off south for the winter.

      Have you tried to contact him on “Twitter”?

  21. Another quality Friday puzzle from the Don. We seem to have had our little delays on the same clues that others have mentioned above, but it all went together smoothly in the end. we enjoyed it.
    Thanks Giovanni and DT.

  22. Really enjoyed today’s Giovanni – lots of lovely clues. **/**** for us. Thanks to the The Don and Deep Threat.

  23. Quite enjoyed this one: 2*/3.5* or so is about right. Long-term favourite was 6d, but was pipped by 4d once l cracked the tricky NW corner. I’m too young to remember Ethel in her heyday, but she featured as herself in the briefest of cameos in “Airplane!”, a film which always makes me laugh immoderately. Thanks to the Don, and to DT for the review.

  24. It’s all been said.

    I didn’t know the rose oil or the spade’s depth, but managed to work out both. For some strange reason my fail was on a simple clue.

    It was a slow solve overall for me, probably because my brain (along with the rest of me) wants very much to hibernate. Instead, I’m running away to the seaside.

    Thanks to Giovanni and DT, and strokles to suffering bunnehs.

  25. Rather late to the party tonight – busy and out all day. Did crossword sitting in the shell of Elder Lamb’s kitchen extension waiting for stuff to be delivered – rest of day was spent sitting on the M25.
    I think it’s all been said already – I didn’t know the 11a oil but did know the diggy bit of 13a because I spend half my life doing it.
    26a defeated me completely and I was slow with 21a and 17d for no obvious reason.
    Favourite was 9a but, as always on Fridays, I missed something to make me laugh.
    With thanks to Giovanni and Deep Threat.
    Knackered – going to bed – night night all . . . http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/smiley-yawn.gif

  26. Managed to collect a paper on the way through Weedon Bec this morning. Just 5 miles and 8 locks to go tomorrow and mission will be accomplished. I enjoyed this offering from the Don, with 11a my last one in and only solved after looking up Otto in the ancient copy (1926) of the OED (stolen from the Daily Telegraph newsroom in 1991) that lives on the boat. 5d was my favourite clue.
    I’m sorry to have missed out on news and banter on the site this week – I’ve got my iPad but trying to get a signal has often been fruitless. Normal service should resume next week.

    1. Missed you yesterday, TS – thought perhaps it was a case of one lock too many! Hope you catch up with the blog when you get back – some interesting comments came your way.

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