DT 27965 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 27965 (Hints)

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 27965 (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.


1a    Supports daughter in university exam (7)
These supports are derived by inserting D(aughter) into an exam at Cambridge University

9a    Inscription for tombstone adorning cathedral (5)
The three-letter abbreviated inscription often found on a tombstone followed by a word meaning adorning or attached to

18a    Trick Yank, one such as 10 (4,1,4,3)
a verb meaning to yank or tug followed by a phrase that describes the sprinter in 10 Across

21a    Key followed by old singer (4)
A key that can be found on a computer keyboard followed by O(ld)

22a    Two points for this  change of religion (10)
This doesn’t, at first, look like a sport-related clue, but the first of these two definitions is the action that results in a score of two points in a game of rugby

26a    Bird one shot above albatross (5)
An albatross is a score of three under par in golf, so one shot above is a score of two under par

27a    Nick appears in TV — that’s feasible (7)
A three-letter verb meaning to nick or arrest inside an informal word for TV

28a    Make money holding a scripture lesson in religious building (7)
A verb meaning to (legally) make new money, especially coins, around (holding) the A from the clue and a scripture lesson or some religious education


1d    Hour in work provides excitement (6)
H(ou)R inside a verb meaning to work the land

2d    Influence one legislator to do something (6)
I (one) followed by a member of the UK legislative body and a verb meaning to do something

3d    Fancy celebrity books being taken into test! (10)
A four-letter word for a celebrity and a collection of books in the bible inside a test

5d    Scientist makes a military alliance fret (9)
The A from the clue followed by a military alliance of which the UK is a member and another word for the sea fret – which made an appearance in a recent Saturday puzzle, I hope you remembered it!

8d    Athenian character gets in some sort of metal (8)
The eponymous Shakespearian character from Athens inside a three-letter word meaning some

13d    Shoot head gardener’s product (6,4)
Another word for a shoot which grows from the base of a plant and an informal word for the head

15d    Build up English party address (9)
E(nglish) followed by the three-letter abbreviation for a political party and a verb meaning to address

20d    Camping set (6)
Split as (2,4) this could mean camping

24d    Stick salad starter on bill (4)
The initial letter (starter) of S[alad] followed by a colloquial word for word for the bill

The Crossword Club is now open.

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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!

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The Quick Crossword pun: purr+cushion=percussion – the puzzle has several examplesof this type of instrument; cymbal (symbol), kettle/snare drum, high-hat, triangle

64 comments on “DT 27965 (Hints)

  1. BD, you’re early today! Full blanket of snow this am here in (now) sunny Derbyshire. No comment, haven’t even started the xword yet. Just wanted to be first on here with a message so I’ll have some real achievement to brag about when hobnobbing at my next dinner party.

  2. 1*/2.5*. A pleasant enough diversion for a cold wet Saturday morning.

    I would probably have gone for 3* enjoyment except for some slight niggles with a few clues. I don’t think “cathedral” is a satisfactory definition for 9a just because there is one there. Also I thought the clues for 18a and 8d each included an unnecessary word: “one” in 18a; and “character” in 8d.

    Finally, there is one clue, which I won’t identify for fear of the naughty corner, where one of the words in the clue appears in the answer.

    I didn’t know that “stick” and 24d were synonyms, but sure enough my BRB confirms this.
    10a was my favourite, but I can’t make up my mind whether or not the clue should have ended with a “?”

    Many thanks to Mr Ron and to BD.

    1. RB, “cathedral” isn’t a direct definition and it doesn’t need to be. It’s just a clue/suggestion – and a very obvious one! These are cryptic clues, they don’t have to be absolutely definitive.

        1. I agree, but my point is that Ely is not a cathedral; it is a city where a cathedral is located. In my (admittedly limited) crossword experience, Ely is normally clued as a see, which is fine because that is what it is!

          1. RB, after finishing the xword on Sat afternoon may I opine further on your interesting/analytical comments on DT 27,965:

            8d. The clue would work without it, but the word “Athenian” has been inserted (surely purposefully, though it could be accidental) as a diversion/decoy and it’s inclusion makes the clue more ambiguous/cryptic, more difficult and therefore better. Absolute brevity isn’t always of prime importance in the construction of a cryptic clue and when reviewing them we must look from both sides – our angle as solvers and the compliler’s, who is both an expert setter and solver. I can’t explain this diversion fully here but could do after 9am on Friday if you haven’t twigged it by then (it is fairly transparant though).

            18d. The word “one” in this clue is neither here nor there, but I thought you’d be more concerned with the word “one” in 26a. This would work without “one” or “shot” – simply as 18d. Bird above albatross (5). But eihter way, it is still a very simple 0/5 clue to solve.

            Yes, there is one clue where one of the words appears in the answer – surely a cardinal sin! But did you notice the mistake in the 19d clue? This certainly appears in the newspaper but not sure if it’s replicated on the App or DT website.It’s probably only a typo.

      1. Dave, I’m not convinced. The construction of many cryptic clues involves a definition and cryptic wordplay leading to that definition (which by definition should be definite!). In some cases the whole clue is a cryptic definition (Rufus’ speciality), but this isn’t that type of clue. You might just as well allow McDonald’s as a definition for almost any town in the world.

        1. RB, I see where you are coming from, but you are being too pendantic (and I’m a pendantic beggar myself) about the technical construction of these clues. There are some clues that do not conform exactly to the accepted academic formats/regulations (thank God!). The “definition”, as you call it, in this clue isn’t a direct one but an indirect one and that is perfectly OK. If BD hadn’t underlined “cathedral” in the review then the clue might stand as a whole cryptic one, or one that doesn’t have an absolutely definitive description/specification.

          BTW, are we supposed to be discussing these prize crosswords so freely? After all, we might inadvertanty be helping some crafty devil to win one of those popular DT fountain pens by default!

    2. I thought “one such as 10” translated ok to the last 3 words in the answer, and I was happy with “character” in 8d, as in character in a play, narrowing the definition… though I suppose you could leave it out for a slightly harder clue.

      1. Dutch,
        1) I think “such as 10” translates just as well as “one such as 10” to give the last three 3 words.
        2) The character in the play was based on a real person so I feel that “character” is redundant, although, as you say, its inclusion does make the clue easier.

        1. I thought that the inclusion of ‘character’ was misdirection because I spent ages trying to fit a letter of the Greek alphabet in there somewhere and not having heard of this particular Greek didn’t make it any easier.

        2. RB, “number 23” has spotted the obvious misdirection or “diversion” as I called it. The inclusion of “character” makes the clue HARDER, not easier. Without “character”, the clue could only refer to a particular Greek (whether real or legendary) but with it the solver is sent on a wild goose chase thinking about Greek characters contained in the Greek alphabet.

          *BD – I’m not “shouting” with the capitals, just emphasising – too fiddly to get the uderlining/italics onto here.

      2. yes fair enough, you said “unnecessary” words. I was just thinking that since these words can be used in the cryptic reading, albeit uneconomically so, they don’t count as pure surface padding which I consider a worse crime

  3. Snowing when I woke but now dry and sun/cloud in Surrey. Good excuse to do the Xword early. **/*** for me today. Thanks to BD for the explanation of 8d – I kept seeing another (non-Greek) character and couldn’t get past that. Yes I did remember the ‘fret’ a couple of weeks ago which was new to me then. Favourites had to be 10 and 18a. Many thanks to BD and the setter.

  4. Fairly easy but enjoyable fare for a sunny but windy morning. Loved 22a, especially as we are off to see Wasps play Toulon tomorrow evening. 1.5/3 for me, with thanks to our setter and BD for his early hints.

    1. I thought this was quite tricky and it took me xxxxxxx to get the synchromesh functioning properly. In terms of Saturday standard this was more challenging and I was pleased to get it done. Last in was 19d. Many thanks to BD and for the interesting comments as above. Hard luck Arsenal!

      1. Sorry but however long it took you to get into gear, we prefer people not to say so to avoid upsetting people who might take even longer.

      2. It can’t have been that long or CS wouldn’t have thought it necessary to delete your time for fear of discouraging others – it’s when we need calendars rather than stop watches that the times get left in.

  5. At first sight, I thought that this puzzle was going to be a struggle but, after a slow start, I made good progress and, like Stone Lee, I particularly liked 10a and 18a. There’s not much evidence now of snow in South Cheshire but the wind is evil and perhaps you’ll spare a thought for my son, Adam, who’s running an uphill 10k in Cumbria…

  6. Like Caravaggio above, I thought initially that it was going to be tricky, but I soon settled into a rhythm and completed it. It’s funny how solving a single clue can set off a chain reaction of penny-drops sometimes.

    Thanks to BD and setter **/****

  7. A tad pedestrian, I thought, but it filled in a bit of time while waiting for the NTSPP to be posted. I did like the visual image conjured up by the 14A reading, though. Thanks to the setter and to BD.

  8. Beautiful blue skies in Macclesfield, no sign of last night’s snow thank goodness. It belongs in the mountains.

    I quite liked the 18a / 10a combination, and I the non-biker in 7d made me smile.

    Many thanks to setter and BD,
    Off to the pub with the NTSPP (see, I’m a poet)

  9. Nice and straightforward – the usual Saturday fare!

    An afternoon by the fire watching the Rugby is on the cards!


  10. Nice way to get the grey cells working after a chilly dog walk in Kent. I could have beaten 10a downwind..

  11. Temperature is finally dropping in the South of France. Winter is just around the corner.
    But not cold enough to freeze my brain yet and today’s offering didn’t put much of a fight.
    Very enjoyable nonetheless.
    Must get one of those BRB when in London as my thesaurus didn’t have 27a as a synonym of feasible nor the other way round.
    New word for me was the Cambridge exam in 1a.
    Thanks to the Saturday setter and to BD for the blog.

  12. First time in living memory I can honestly say No Help. No scribbles 14a leapt off the page and no electronic help needed at any stage. Perhaps it was the gorgeous two pieces of toast I had for breakfast. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yahoo.gif Thanks to BD and setter.

  13. We didn’t find this as easy as most of you but a very enjoyable puzzle indeed.
    However, 1a and 4d required a modicum of GK.
    Paso Doble are not very skilled in the General Knowledge department.
    1a were things that Paso used to use a lot in his profession
    but thanks to modern technology are often surplus to requirements these days.

    Thanks to setter and BD.

  14. I didn’t find this nearly as straightforward as many of you, and I agree with the above gripes about 9a and all the extra “ones” in clues. The very best clues are those in which not a single word is irrelevant. I managed 3/4 without the hints but even with the additional letters I still needed the hints. Many thanks BD as usual. No snow in North Essex as yet but the cold has certainly arrived. A great excuse for a lovely warm jumper ?

  15. I found this decidedly tricky today and needed help with a couple.
    Yes, BD, I remembered the fret in 5d, quite miraculous as I’m not known for memory retention.
    I needed the hints for the “why” of 11a and 22a. I knew the golf term in 26a, probably the only thing I know about golf, that and the 19th hole.
    Fave was 10a.
    Thanks to the setter and to BD for the hints, needed today.

  16. I also didn’t find this one quite as straight forward as many suggest. I finished it eventually but I found several of the answers to be somewhat obscure. That’s probably because I had a ‘wavelength’ day yesterday! I liked the 18/10a combination, although I did solve 18a first….
    3/3* overall.
    Thanks to Mr Ron and to BD as usual at the weekend.

    1. It is a typo which has been corrected on the online version once I’d pointed it out to the Editor. I was hoping no-one else would notice – I’ll have to amend my draft review now http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_mail.gif

      1. Just checked on line via my I pad and clue still reads “abroad” which doesn’t make as much sense as “aboard”

    2. Your quite right and as I do the paper and pen version first this had me scratching my head for a while. Eventually decided on the only answer possible and see the typo now. Newspapers have loads of typo’s but surely they check / double check the crossword as every letter counts!!!!!!!

      1. I didn’t actually notice until I was typing the review. Shows how often one sees what one expects to see rather than what is actually there

        1. You are, of course, right. I didn’t realise a typo may exist until I saw Roberts comments. I believe when I first read the clue I did read “aboard” as that is what I wanted to see.

          1. Just joined the thread. I thought there was a typo in 19d and was surprised no-one mentioned it until Robert at 5.42 p.m. I suppose if you got it quickly there was no need to analyse the clue too carefully but I was a bit slow.

  17. 10d – the clue on my iPad reads ‘abroad’
    This surely should be ‘aboard’
    Has the DT slipped up again wth what I think is a misprint?

      1. Many thanks.
        I should have seen your post before sounding off.
        Plus I’m annoyed with myself for struggling with the clue thinking abroad was not a typo.
        That is until the penny dropped.

  18. 10a is my favourite , followed by 18a and 2d.
    A nice puzzle , neither too hard nor too easy, thanks to the setter and BD.

  19. Didn’t start until late pm as I had to wait indoors for new fence panels delivery – it’s been very windy here in Worcs. Of course, just about everywhere was sold out of DTs come mid afternoon, so I went on a small hunt and felt like an addict craving his cryptic fix! Anyway, it was worth it – an enjoyable solve, **/***. Thanks setter and BD.

  20. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/smiley-phew.gif Not the crossword but the day in general – very busy so didn’t get round to the crossword until early evening – is that timing vague enough, CS?
    I find it hard to judge difficulty when there’s stuff going on around me and I do a crossword at a different from normal time of day.
    I enjoyed it – the last few took as long as the whole of the rest of the crossword. Just started to write down the ones that took the time and realised that there were quite a few!
    My last answer, don’t ask why, was 19d.
    I did know the 5d sea fret before the recent one so that wasn’t a problem. The ones that we have over and over again and still always catch me out are the computer keys – 21a – and the other one up at the top.
    I liked 10a. My favourite was 4d – don’t know why but . . .
    With thanks to Mr Ron and to BD

        1. Thanks Sue, yes, read the comments but misread the clue as aboard. Just got it, after returning from the pub :-)

  21. Quite gentle, but pleasant in its way: 1*/3*. I had little ticks in the margin against 25a, 11a and 28a, but in the end top spot went to 18a. Thanks to the setter, and of course to the blogmeister.

  22. Finished three quarters very quickly (for me) earlier today but held up big time with NW corner. Once I cracked two of them the rest followed swiftly. Last two in were 9a and 2d. Why I now ask myself? I needed the BRB to help confirm some of my theories eg the first four letters of 11a. Thank you setter et al. All in all a good experience.

  23. I agree with Little Dave that it’s good to be tested a bit more on a Saturday. I had two or three stabs at this during the day and got a few more each time with help from old chestnuts such as 5a and 16d plus the sporting references. Liked 18a and 26a and indeed several others. Altogether an enjoyable exercise. Thank you Mr. Ron and BD to whom I just managed not to turn. ***/***. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_good.gif

  24. Harder than usual for a Saturday. It took me ages to see 10a and I came here in frustration to look for a hint but none was forthcoming, so it was more head scratching and a large glass of Oloroso before I twigged – and felt like a fool for not seeing it earlier. This made 4d obvious (at last, my final one) et voila. 22a was my favourite – perhaps because I shopped in Rugby this afternoon, or perhaps because it’s a great clue. Ta to BD and setter alike. 3*/3*

  25. Thanks to the setter and to Big Dave for the hints. A very enjoyable puzzle, some tricky clues. Favourite was 10a. Last in was 19d. Was 2*/3* for me. Off to the O2 tomorrow to see the Tennis.

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