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DT 27959 (Hints)

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 27959 (Hints)

Big Dave’s Saturday Crossword Club

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As is usual for the weekend prize crosswords, an assortment of clues, including some of the more difficult ones, have been selected and hints provided for them.

Don’t forget that you can give your assessment of the puzzle. Five stars if you thought it was great, one if you hated it, four, three or two if it was somewhere in between.

Most of the terms used in these hints are explained in the Glossary and examples are available by clicking on the entry under “See also”. Where the hint describes a construct as “usual” this means that more help can be found in The Usual Suspects, which gives a number of the elements commonly used in the wordplay. Another useful page is Wolves in Sheep’s Clothing, which features words with meanings that are not always immediately obvious.

A full review of this puzzle will be published after the closing date for submissions.

Some hints follow.


7a    Charge independent politician separately (7)
I(ndependent) followed by our usual politician and an adverb meaning separately

9a    Tree  maintenance (7)
Two definitions – a type of tree and maintenance or overhaul – I found an identical clue in one of last year’s puzzles

12a    Confined below, lay, knocked out (5,4,3,3)
A word meaning below followed by an anagram (out) of LAY KNOCKED

19a    The Express newspaper’s report? (8,7)
An adjective meaning express or specific followed by a report in a newspaper

23a    Dessert with my new vegetable (9)
A dessert or final course of a meal followed by an interjection similar to “my!” and N(ew)

26a    Mechanic, in part, is answerable (7)
Hidden (in) inside the clue


1d    Volume is to include nobleman (8)
V(olume) followed by the IS from the clue and a verb meaning to include or reckon

2d    Former exam relating to the countryside (8)
An adjective meaning former or previous followed by a type of exam

3d    Decisively beat Oscar? Jolly good! (6)
A verb meaning to decisively beat followed by the letter represented by Oscar in the NATO Phonetic alphabet

4d    Encourage operator to release latest of numbers (4,2)
A medic who carries out an operation without (to release) the final letter (latest) of [number]S

6d    Back with fish to sell down the river (6)
A verb meaning to back, for example, a horse followed by a flat fish

14d    Caught wearing muddy loafers outside (8)
C(aught) inside (wearing) an anagram (muddy) of LOAFERS

17d    Go against country importing it (8)
The single letter that represents against followed by a European country around (importing) IT from the clue

18d    Regular air service (8)
An adjective meaning regular or unvarying followed by an air or tune gives a church service

19d    Abandon in wilderness (6)
Two definitions

22d    Musical  game (5)
Two definitions – a musical based on a game and the game itself


The Crossword Club is now open.

Could new readers please read the Welcome post and the FAQ before posting comments or asking questions about the site.

As this is a Prize crossword, please don’t put any ANSWERS, whether WHOLE, PARTIAL or INCORRECT, or any ALTERNATIVE CLUES in your comment. If in doubt, leave it out!

Please read these instructions carefully. Offending comments may be redacted or, in extreme cases, deleted.

The Quick Crossword pun: tack+ticks=tactics

For the benefit of those who have been given the wrong puzzle, a pdf can be downloaded from here.

96 comments on “DT 27959 (Hints)

  1. Sickened by the news today.

    I found today’s puzzle to be very good – the last 4 took me a while 9a, 26a, 6d and 17d. 17d (go against country importing it) was my last one in and my favourite. All very satisfying (well, I diid get a bit annoyed at the tree – unlike BD, I didn’t recognise it from before)

    I had also ticked 7a, 12a, 25a – very clever with an all-in-one character to them.

    I tried to make the adjective in 19a work as a homophone indicator to no avail.

    Unusually for me, I tried the quick puzzle today and found it near impossible! – but it is a pangram.

    Many thanks setter and BD for the review

  2. Apart from 9A, which I’ve never heard of, I thought this was very straightforward and a tad on the boring side to be honest. Never mind, the NTSPP is to come. Thanks to the setter and BD.

  3. Can’t access today’s prize crossword on iPad – only getting last week’s, no 27953. Anyone else having a problem?

    1. Me too, cock up at the DT. Perhaps today’s tragic news has caused a problem with having to change everything dynamically as the story unfolds.
      Our thoughts and prayers go out to the Parisians.

      1. And me. I had hoped these problems were behind us. Well said Brian. The lack of a crossword seems somewhat insignificant when put against the agonies in Paris.

        1. I can only echo these comments, it seemed impossible to react to the lack of crossword when so many have suffered in Paris.
          Our thoughts are with the Parisians and the French nation at this time

          1. Saturday puzzle appeared on Sunday morning within the Saturday edition where it should be after I downloaded the Sunday edition.

            1. For me too. I thought, “oh good – how uncharacteristically quick they have been in sorting out a problem.” Then I opened the Sunday edition and found they’d done the same thing again. I wasn’t annoyed because it was too funny.

              EDIT: I see they’ve updated today’s now, too. On the same day – wow, impressive :).

              1. I wouldn’t mind so much if we got an explanation, an e-mail or, heaven forfend, an apology.

  4. Oh dear. Just spent a couple of hours graft and missing four answers. So looked in on Big Dave only to find nothing relevant. The iPad version is a different puzzle entirely. I find the new DT app hopeless…

    1. Michael
      “DT app hopeless”
      If only it was that good!
      Programmers have been allowed to design this unfortunately. It’s like one of those over elaborate web sites that used to prevail, and take you about a minute to cut through the c^*p to get where you wanted. It’s slow to build, and worse than that it leaks memory so if you put the app in background and come back to it, it slows down the whole operating system and you have to reboot it.
      I don’t much care about whether the contents button builds in an elegant way, I just want the damn thing to be quick
      Just terrible. I have moaned at them constantly, to no avail

      1. Ditto with the IPad app – I notice that the blurb on the printed version says you can enter the Puzzle by post OR by scanning the puzzle and emailing it to puzzles@telegraph.co.uk – no mention of the app!

        I’ve never noticed this before is it new? What a cock-up!


  5. Normal Saturday fare nothing too arduous & finished far to soon but entertaining for a damp miserable November day. Many thanks to the setter & to BD for the hints. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_bye.gif

  6. Had to do today’s puzzle on my print copy. The iPad edition is from a previous week with my answers still in. We shouldn’t be having such problems at this stage of the app’s life.

    1. Ditto re. iPad, wish we could have the old version back but maybe Brian is right so perhaps we can forgive them this time. Such terrible news.

    2. It’s the solution to last week. It should be in addition to today’s crossword.

      I doubt it has anything to do with the tragic events in Paris? The Puzzles should be baked long before the lead News story goes to bed.

      Aujourd’hui, nous sommes tous les Français.

      PS: any chance of the grid and clues?

        1. Thank you, but I’ve been around a while. A change of device left me signing in anew, but my avatar was still there. Thx for the mail, and BTW, a truly great resource here.

  7. Enjoyable crossword but 19a got me puzzled as the answer was obvious but couldn’t parse the clue until the hint explained it. Is it me or is both capitalising and italicising Express was a bit naughty? Apart from that no great problems.
    Thx to all

  8. Awful news. My thoughts are with the people of France.

    Crossword-wise, I liked it – once I’d waited the usual age for it to load, ascertained that this week’s puzzle was nowhere to be found on the app, sourced it from a friend and printed it out. Still, it doesn’t feel like the day to gripe.

    I had forgotten the tree, and also raised an eyebrow at 3d meaning jolly good and had to check it in the brb. Otherwise, all pleasant with some really nice clues.

    Thanks to the setter and, as ever, many thanks to our wonderful BD.

  9. I enjoyed this. I thought it was a nicely balanced Saturday puzzle. I too had forgotten the tree and had to look it up having got the answer. Lots of potential favourites but my vote goes to 11a. Bizarrely, 14d was my last in and was a definite “doh” moment. **/**** for me. Thanks to the setter and to BD.

  10. What dreadful news. I’m sure all our thoughts are with the whole French nation today. It is a bizarre and unfortunate coincidence that today of all days we should have a clue mentioning “Parisian’s street”.

    It took me a few moments today to get onto the setter’s wavelength today after which this was pretty much read and write with my last one in, 9a, needing a quick check in my BRB regarding the tree. 17d was my favourite.

    I did enjoy this. Full marks and thanks to the setter for admirably brief cluing. Thanks too to BD for his review.

    1. I agree with your sentiments, Dave, and I’d picked up on the unfortunate wording of that clue too. Yes, I enjoyed the puzzle as well but my favourite was 6d – it was the wording which appealed to me – although I appreciate that it probably wouldn’t be to everyone’s taste.

  11. What terrible events in Paris. The whole country is in mourning. When will it ever stop.

    Todays’ puzzle was the easy Saturday fare but none the less enjoyable for that. Many thanks to the stranger who set it and to BD for the hints, a couple of which helped me move on. I vote todays’ worst clue as 23a (for the second half) and 3d for all of it

  12. The board is the wrong way round. Remember; white to the right (white square to the right). OK, what’s that got to do with it? Nothing really but I am in BD’s local pub and thought I would let him know one way or another…

    1. Welcome to the blog NHF7

      You are quite right – I’ll look for a better picture.

      By the way, I live next door to the pub – opposite side to the butcher’s shop.

      1. I know, I live in Hanley Castle but work in Welland so pass The Swan (and pop in) everyday.
        Have done so for 12 years.
        You are a bit of a Legend in these ‘ere parts.
        If you see me and mine, you will know who we are. Hint: NHF7 is my number plate.

  13. I enjoyed today’s offering, mostly because I do the print version. None of you sell the electronic version very well!!! 9 a was a new one for me but otherwise it was reasonably r and w for me today. A good mix of clues methinks.
    Thanks to all ?

  14. I found this more difficult while I was actually doing it than I think it was now that I’ve finished – has my grammar deserted me?
    I think there were only a couple of anagrams so maybe that’s the reason I was slow to get going.
    I’ve been ‘had’ by 9a before but that didn’t stop it catching me out again.
    For some reason I got in a muddle with 25a.
    Thought the 17d definition was ‘go against’ which meant I was looking for a six letter country beginning with the *. No naughty corner for me today!
    I liked 10 and 19a and 14 and 20d. My favourite was 3d.
    With thanks to Mr Ron and to BD.

    Thinking of the whole French nation.

  15. Like Dutch, we are sickened with the Paris news. Paso rather than Doble, lived for a period of time at number 19 bd Voltaire in Paris. The Bataclan is number 50, just over the road where most of the victims perished.
    We are happy that nobody we know was killed or injured but our hearts go out to those who did…..

    Going back to the puzzle. Entertaining, pleasing and good Saturday stuff. 4d we didn’t get but should have done and had to look at the blog for the hint.

    Many thanks to Mr Ron for a great puzzle and Big Dave for an excellent review

    1. At the risk of turning into the pedantic part of Rabbit Dave’, BD provided the hints; the excellent review is the thing I’ve just drafted for a tiny minority of people to read on Friday morning.

        1. Before I rewrote my comment and posted it, there was a different first part of the sentence which had an apostrophe before you too. I’d better not put it back or remove the second one as if I do this ‘conversation’ won’t make any sense at all.

  16. I didn`t like 3d. Certainly not a comfortable synonym. Still defeated by just 6d and 10a. Any thoughts? On a wider scale are we heading towards a world war?

    1. BD has given a very clear hint for 6d
      10a is equally straightforward – when you see Conservative in a clue you are usually looking for the letter used to abbreviate it and this should be followed by a word meaning ‘inclined towards socialism’

      As for your last comment – I sincerely hope not.

    2. For those who remember the Jimmy Edwards sitcom, 3d is clear enough. The word indicates Jimmy’s love of caning his pupils, but is also archaic slang meaning jolly good. I’m sure Terry-Thomas used it thus.

  17. Enjoyably easy! Was stuck on 24a until I realized xxxxxxxxxxxxx Edited because of giving away part of the solution to 17d instead of just saying “I had a wrong letter in 17d” cs

    I always read the comments of the others before, find them interesting and occasionally humorous. However, today’s is tempered by the horrific news from Paris.

  18. The whole country is in a state of sideration and extremely angry at what just happened.
    Everyone I know is safe and my heart goes out to all the victims’ families and friends.
    Everybody in France are also very grateful for all the support from abroad for the second time this year.
    Thanks to all.

    1. Hi JL,
      Relieved to hear that your personal friends are safe, as indeed are mine, but I join you in heartfelt sympathy for those who have not received such good news.

    1. If you click ‘reply’ in the comment to which you are replying, it keeps the ‘thread’ of comments together.

  19. I found this on the easy side, and I remembered the tree from before, so maybe senility isn’t setting in yet.
    I never did get 22d as I put the wrong sounds like, silly me, I should have revisited it as I felt I knew what 22d answer should be.
    My fave was 3D with 18a as runner up.
    Thanks to setter and to BD for the hints – note CS, hints not review!

    The news from France is so horrific, somehow words can’t describe the suffering.

  20. Plod, plod, plod – yawn – yawn – plod, plod – not what was required for a miserable Saturday!

    The only bright thing I can say about this offering is – Sorrus Domestica – a new one on me!

    I don’t think much of BT Sport but their Rugby coverage is pretty good and the only bright spot on these terribly boring International Break weekends – I’ve just read this morning that there is another International Break over the Easter Weekend and therefore no Premiership football at all over the Easter Holiday – these International Breaks are dire!


  21. Too many nutters, too few asylums. The world is a mad place http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_unsure.gif

    Crossword was OK but a bit irrelevant.

  22. After struggling with NTSPP crossword I hoped for some respite, 9a nearly defeated me but dear Mr Google rescued me at 11th hour. Page now looking very scruffy thanks to rethinks but I appear to have finished. Thanks to setter and BD for boggling my antique brain, off to try GK after washing up. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/smiley-phew.gif

  23. I find the routine of a crossword very comforting in these awful times.To answer Collywobbles ” when will it ever stop ?”, not soon . 12a would also be very apt for today’s tragic events.
    I enjoyed this pleasant distraction .
    With thanks to BD and setter.

    1. I agree with you, about the comforting distraction, Collywobs about when will it ever stop and pommers about too many lunatics and not enough asylums. Oh dear – that sounds a bit trivial . . .

      1. I’m afraid to say that there are plenty of asylums, it’s just that the lunatics are running them http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_negative.gif

        Edit …….and that’s not meant to be a cheap pun!

  24. If I can be pedantic it is Sorbus domestica. The second part of the latin name of a plant always begins with a lower case letter. Blame Carl Linnaeus.

    1. Welcome to Pedant’s Corner. You have my permission to be as pedantic as you want whenever you want, Miranda. Well done!

        1. Well spotted, Jane!
          It was of course to see a deliberate mistake to see if anyone noticed.http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_wink.gif
          If you believe that you’ll believe anything …

  25. Quite a good Crossword today. Best 25a, worst – by a long way – 3d. Ugh! Needed a bit of BD’s guidance for 17d which, now I understand it, is a rather fine clue.
    We humans have made a mess of a lovely planet with our daft ideas pursued with vigour.

  26. Saturdays are fun these days. Thank you Mr. Ron and BD. Not sure about “muddy” in 14d and not mad about 23a. Fav 19a. Nous tous en Angleterre sommes en deuil avec la France après le carnage affreux. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_cry.gifhttp://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_rose.gif

  27. 2*/3*, with some nice clues (17d and 4d) but my favourite – as an old git, I remember Jimmy Edwards all too clearly – was 3d. Thanks to the setter, and to BD.

  28. Have used BD for assistance in the past but this is my first comment. Agree 23a not good clue and 3d is what it is!!!

    1. Welcome from me too – we still have spinach growing in our garden – I picked enough for supper tonight.

  29. Thank you for your welcome. Sorry to say I don’t actually like spinach!!!!! Have been doing the DT Crossy for years. Nice to find all of you. Popeye is from a long time ago but it suits……

  30. Having finally recovered from the efforts of last night and awoken with (yet another) streaming cold, I was glad of the distraction of the puzzle, but feel a bit deflated by its straightforwardness – it was over far too soon. No real stand-out clues. Thanks to BD for the hints and to the setter. Reading others’ comments makes me even more glad that I do the paper version. 1*/2*

  31. Thanks Setter and BD. Enjoyed reading all your comments this morning. Interesting as many different views of the clues and of the difficulty or otherwise. No particular corner seems to have held up the majority or even a substantial minority. Thanks to BD for the explanation of 4d. Knew what the answer had to be but was not thinking of that sort of Operator at all. Last ones in 14d (because I did not spot the anagram) and 23a. I was over complicating 23a looking for an exotic foreign dessert or vegetable!
    3d was a Marmite clue – it is an age thing.

  32. Thanks to the setter and to Big Dave for the hints. I quite enjoyed this, the top half went straight in. I managed to remember the tree. The bottom half put up more of a struggle. With 17d last in. Favourite was 19a. Was 2*/3* for me. The world is going mad.

  33. Hi. I know the majority of people here find these puzzles easy but for me it’s always a bit of a struggle but after two days pondering and sharing the paper around the kitchen table a bit we have our first ever completed prize puzzle! It’s a big day for us! Many thanks for the daily hints, it’s those I’ve been using over the last week or so to help me towards this happy day.
    I got an answer I was happy with for 11a, definitely the right word to start but not so sure about the second half…. and not really convinced by the definition of 3d but it seems close enough! Thx!

    1. Congratulations from me too.
      And you’re one up on me.
      Still can’t get 3d and the hint being a repeat of the clue, I’m totally at a loss.http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_scratch.gif

      1. The solution is a particularly English and dated informal interjection which is an expression of enthusiasm just like ‘jolly good’. You need a word meaning to beat decisively followed by the letter represented by Oscar in the NATO Phonetic Alphabet.

      2. Gavin – if you google “define” and then your answer, or look it up in Chambers, all should be revealed. I hadn’t heard it either – I think Weekend Wanda is right that it’s an age thing. JL – have a guess at some possible answers from the parsing and look them up. The second word of the clue may be more helpful in thinking of possibilities.

      3. Thanks ladies.
        But I can’t reconcile my answer as Michael Jackson keeps popping in my head.http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_unsure.gif

  34. Thank you setter and BD. After the recent awful events in Paris a time for thoughts and reflection and courage in the ensuing days

  35. I completed this quite happily and then the horrors of Paris took over.
    The crossword was good; 2/3* overall and 14d was my fave.
    Thanks to the setter and BD for the hints.

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