DT 27983 (Hints)

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 27983 (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    Noble champion? (5-6)
A nobleman could be described thus, a boxing champion certainly is

8a    Callas working on aria’s ending in opera house (2,5)
An anagram (working) of CALLAS followed by the final letter (ending) of [ari]A

11a    Get rid of last of cattle spread out round Cape (9)
The final letter (last) of [cattl]E followed by a verb meaning to spread out around C(ape)

12a    Latest to pick out popular nightclub? (7)
An adjective meaning latest or current followed by a verb meaning to pick out or discern

15a    Trade ban: almost board ship and depart (7)
Most of a verb meaning to board a ship followed by a two-letter verb meaning depart

21a    Mark‘s short visit home (5)
A visit without its final letter (short) followed by the usual two-letter word for home

22a    Muscle seen from both sides (7)
… because the answer is a palindrome

24a    Good-time girl from Malaya? Print blurred (5,6)
An anagram (blurred) of MALAYA PRINT


1d    Movement in broadcast millions missed (7)
Drop (missed) the M(illions) from a verb meaning to broadcast a radio or television program

3d    High point of achievement of the first lady and others (7)
The world’s first lady, according to the bible, followed by a word meaning the others

4d    Taking vacation, small number lacking energy to go to desert (2,5)
Drop (lacking) the E(nergy) from a small cardinal number and the add a verb meaning to desert or depart

9d    Defoliant spy ring dropped on field (5,6)
A charade of a spy like James Bond, the ring shaped letter and a field or extent

13d    Border safe? Gulf ruler turns up, being welcomed in (9)
Criminal jargon for a safe around (being welcomed in) the reversal (turns up in a down clue) of ruler in the Persian Gulf

16d    Marilyn Monroe film kiss — high point (3,4)
A verb meaning to kiss followed by a high point – as well as seeing the film I also saw a stage production which emphatically proved that Jerry Hall is not in the same league as Marilyn Monroe

18d    Animal smell, not pleasant, over area in pub (7)
In this context the definition is an adjective – put an unpleasant small and A(rea) inside a pub

21d    Small and friendly crowd (5)
S(mall) followed by an adjective meaning friendly or affectionate

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: panda+wring=pandering


  1. JonP
    Posted December 12, 2015 at 10:07 am | Permalink

    Unlike yesterday this was pretty much a write-in, but I enjoyed the puzzle. Personally I was hoping for something straightforward due to a cold that’s firmly established itself as a pest.

    Thanks to BD and setter */****

  2. Rabbit Dave
    Posted December 12, 2015 at 10:29 am | Permalink

    0.5*/2.5*. This was virtually R&W for me today. The only thing that took me a little time was having to check my BRB to be able to understand some obscurities involved in three clues/answers in a row: 9d, 13d & 16d. Brian, please note before you say that you don’t understand any of these clues! There were some good surface readings and, particularly for the across clues, admirable brevity.

    Many thanks to Mr. Ron and to BD.

    • Jose
      Posted December 12, 2015 at 10:49 am | Permalink

      Yes, absolutely R+W! How come these Saturday prize crosswords are usually much easier than the weekday ones? It wasn’t like that 20 years ago………….

      • Angel
        Posted December 12, 2015 at 11:30 am | Permalink

        Slow start but it soon came together and a good time was had along the way. Thank you Mr. Ron and BD. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_good.gif

        • Angel
          Posted December 12, 2015 at 11:38 am | Permalink

          I was trying unsuccessfully to delete as this was meant to be a stand-alone comment rather than a response to Jose. Anyway Jose, as I have said before, my theory is that easy Saturday offerings mean more competition entries thus more names for DT to add to their contact list!

    • Little Dave
      Posted December 12, 2015 at 2:23 pm | Permalink

      I agree. Over far too quickly. Done in bed with early cup of tea. Rubbish weather in east Herts so an afternoon indoors. Off to test match in a few weeks and in need of winter sun in SA. Have a good weekend one and all.

  3. Caravaggio
    Posted December 12, 2015 at 10:37 am | Permalink

    Like JonP and Rabbit Dave above, this puzzle presented few problems and now allows me to move on to doing other things on a grey, wet and windswept morning in South Cheshire.

    • Rabbit Dave
      Posted December 12, 2015 at 11:01 am | Permalink

      I see in the news this week that one of your famous paintings, which has been missing since it was stolen 50 years ago, has been “recreated”. I do hope you get paid a good commission for this.

  4. neveracrossword
    Posted December 12, 2015 at 10:39 am | Permalink

    I’m glad this offering was fairly gentle. I’m still bruised after 3 rounds last night with Friday’s Toughie. Thank you BD and setter.

  5. Kitty
    Posted December 12, 2015 at 10:41 am | Permalink

    Gentle and enjoyable. Thanks to the setter and perennial thanks to BD. Happy Caturday all.

  6. dutch
    Posted December 12, 2015 at 10:43 am | Permalink

    I struggled more than usual falling into mislead traps, forgetting to look for substitutions etc., but it came together fine in the end.

    I think my favourite is 6d, and I also liked 23a, 24a, 18d.

    Many thanks setter and big dave

  7. Brian
    Posted December 12, 2015 at 10:50 am | Permalink

    One of those that is tricky if you start at the top but falls nicely into place if you start in the SW. Last in was 27d, mainly because I was an idiot and read it as 4/3! Doh!
    Best clue for me was 18a, clever.
    A better end to what for me has been a difficult crossword week. Now to try and get my Jaguar back from the garage who are claiming I have mis-fuelled it which I haven’t.
    Bloody cars!http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_sad.gif

    • Florence
      Posted December 13, 2015 at 12:19 am | Permalink

      I read 17d as 4,3 too Brian. Held me up for ages. Hope you got your car back ok. Thanks to the setter and to BD for today’s review.

  8. williamus
    Posted December 12, 2015 at 11:28 am | Permalink

    No real problems with this and didn’t need to come here to finish. Some nice surfaces and cluing. I may need to revisit 17d as it doesn’t feel right but has to be because of the checking letters (I think). 12a made me chuckle on a very miserable wet morning in the West Midlands. Off for a rare visit to Drakelow Tunnels at Kinver which was the shadow factory for Rover during WW2 and later intended as a nuclear bunker for Government. Maybe the sun will be out when we emerge. Thanks to Mr Ron and to BD.

  9. Young Salopian
    Posted December 12, 2015 at 11:29 am | Permalink

    Not much to add to earlier comments regarding the ease of completion. SE corner held me up a little, so I will put 1.5*/2.5* in the honesty box. Many thanks to Mr R and BD. Wet, cold and miserable here in the Marches.

    For those of you not programmed to spend money you don’t have on things people don’t want, there is a very good novel by John Grisham entitled Skipping Christmas about a family who try to do just that. I’m just off to the Bar Humbug for a jar.

  10. Michael
    Posted December 12, 2015 at 11:32 am | Permalink

    Very straightforward – it was obvious what the Marilyn Monroe film was but I’ve never heard of the four letter word meaning playful kiss but you live and learn.

    Overall very enjoyable!

    Off to West Ham v Stoke – let’s hope the travelling is not it’s usual nightmare!


  11. Paso Doble
    Posted December 12, 2015 at 1:39 pm | Permalink

    We flew off the blocks like Usain Bolt in this one but then suffered cramp in the SE corner owing to a wrong answer and possibly dimwitedness.
    After a bit of physiotherapy we struggled to the finishing line with huge applause from the crowd (our three cats and Gal the greengrocer who was delivering
    our Christmas tree).
    **/*** Thanks to setter and BD for the hints.

    PS….Let’s hope Bournemouth get a result against the Red Devils.

  12. Kath
    Posted December 12, 2015 at 2:06 pm | Permalink

    Good fun and fairly straightforward I thought. 2* difficulty and 3*/4* for enjoyment.
    Should have got 1a immediately – I didn’t so no starting letters across the top until I saw it.
    I’ve never heard of the Marilyn Monroe film but that’s not surprising – having looked it up it was made in 1956.
    I liked 21 and 24a and 21d. I thought 7 and 18d were brilliant so one of those is my favourite.
    With thanks to Mr Ron and to BD.
    Really ought to do some useful Christmas stuff but I’m not sure I can resist Gazza’s NTSPP – maybe useful stuff first and NTSPP later as a reward. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gif

  13. Airhead
    Posted December 12, 2015 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

    Wow. Finished before needing the clues. Happy for a quick start to the weekend.

  14. Sheffieldsy
    Posted December 12, 2015 at 2:39 pm | Permalink

    So different to yesterday’s toughie – a walk in the park by comparison – but enjoyable nonetheless. Weather here is foul, so not sure what to do now the Christmas decorations are up. */***. Thanks ro Mr. Ron and BD.

  15. Vancouverbc
    Posted December 12, 2015 at 4:06 pm | Permalink

    **/****. Pleasant solve and took longer than it should on reflection. Up in the snow on Grouse Mountain yesterday followed by lunch in Granville island on a very warm day for this time of year. Thanks to the setter and BD for the review.

  16. jean-luc cheval
    Posted December 12, 2015 at 4:44 pm | Permalink

    How silly of me to think I had become a super solver as most answers came after the first reading.
    The consensus, however, seems to be that this was one of the easiest Saturday prize.
    There goes my inflated ego.
    Enjoyed the moment though.
    Some nice surface.
    Thanks to the setter and to BD for the blog.
    Just read that Gazza compiled the NTSPP. I’m off to print it.

  17. Drapdor
    Posted December 12, 2015 at 5:00 pm | Permalink

    I enjoyed this. My favourites were 5d and 7d, and 22a.
    I didn’t know the Marilyn Monroe film but the answer makes sense from the clue, though the first part of it is a bit obscure, I wonder if it is still in use?
    I also didn’t know the defoliant but it became clear from the checkers.
    Both these gaps in my GK are from a similar era, so I clearly need to brush up!
    Thank you to the setter and to BD for the hints.

    • Doug Ireland
      Posted December 12, 2015 at 5:17 pm | Permalink

      The defoliant was used to great effect in the Vietnam War.

      • Drapdor
        Posted December 12, 2015 at 5:22 pm | Permalink

        Thank you, and previously the Malayan Emergency, as I have just learned.

    • Kitty
      Posted December 12, 2015 at 5:46 pm | Permalink

      I don’t know how obscure the 16d kiss is, but I do remember it coming up on the comments section.

      • Drapdor
        Posted December 12, 2015 at 6:45 pm | Permalink

        That’s certainly a good use of the word, making a pun while correcting someone’s spelling!

  18. Merusa
    Posted December 12, 2015 at 5:08 pm | Permalink

    Definitely easy-peasy today! I enjoyed it, though, as I don’t necessarily believe I have to tear my hair out to enjoy a puzzle.
    I’m old enough to remember the 16d movie, so no hold ups there.
    Fave was, natch, 7d, considering the subject.
    Thanks to setter and to BD for the hints.

  19. Heno
    Posted December 12, 2015 at 5:13 pm | Permalink

    Thanks to the setter and to Big Dave for the hints. A very straightforward puzzle that seemed to take ages for some reason. Took a long time for the penny to drop on 1a. Last in was 1d. Favourite was 17d. Was 2*/2* for me.

  20. Thebear
    Posted December 12, 2015 at 5:50 pm | Permalink

    I just made my two youngest cubs laugh as I called myself an idiot out loud. A fairly straightforward and enjoyable read and write ground to a halt with 21d…all the lights were on but thebears brain went somewhere else. 2 hours. Yes 2 HOURS it sat there empty…I went through the alphabet…nothing…then a very slow bolt of lightning kick-started the obviously fast diminishing number of brain cells left and the answer came…idiot indeed!

  21. Una
    Posted December 12, 2015 at 6:04 pm | Permalink

    I began at the top and thought I would never be able to finish it but it got easier as one went on.
    Thanks to the setter and BD.

  22. Salty Dog
    Posted December 12, 2015 at 9:37 pm | Permalink

    It’s a great, great day! The crossword was OK – 1*/3* and favourite clue 18d – but I know I’m not the only visitor to this blog currently on clouds 9, 10, 11 (and so on to infinity) having watched the Exeter Chiefs come back from 14-3 down to humble the mighty Clermont Auvergne. Gazza – you were right.

    Oh – thanks to the setter, and to Big Dave.

    • Gazza
      Posted December 13, 2015 at 12:05 am | Permalink

      Yes – great result by the Chiefs. Let’s hope that they can get something from the return match next week, but it’s going to be very difficult.

    • Shropshirelad
      Posted December 13, 2015 at 12:27 am | Permalink

      Brilliant… quite brilliant result for the Chiefs. I think Eddie Jones will have been impressed by a certain number of players on show. I bet a certain Mr Cockrell of Leicester is banging his head against a wall right now. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_cool.gif

      • Shropshirelad
        Posted December 13, 2015 at 12:32 am | Permalink

        Forgot to say – what a shame the ref was Mr Lacey. Otherwise the score would have higher.

  23. Bob
    Posted December 13, 2015 at 5:42 pm | Permalink

    Stayed in bed until Midday to finish crossword.
    All happy except 10A.Got the answer but cant see the significance of children in the clue.
    Thanks in anticipation.

    • pommers
      Posted December 13, 2015 at 6:24 pm | Permalink

      Children is the definition! Take a T off (having no time) a type of paper.

  24. Bob
    Posted December 13, 2015 at 7:47 pm | Permalink

    Checked Thesaurus . We have the answer and now see why. Many thanks.

  25. Tstrummer
    Posted December 14, 2015 at 2:02 am | Permalink

    Only did this tonight after work because I was otherwise engaged with drinking duties on Saturday., which began at mid-day and continued until the last train home. These things get harder as one gets older, but I survived. My stuffed turkey breast at Cafe Rouge was so dry and leathery that Robinson Crusoe could have made a codpiece out of it, and the Devils on horseback had dismounted and gone to hell long before they arrived on my plate. Still, the wine was good and eased their passage. As for the crossword, c’etait du gateau, as I now realise the French do say (thanks J-L). Favourite was 16d, but I can’t explain why, or I’ll be sent to the naughty step. Ta to the setter and, as ever, to BD. 1*/3*

    • Jane
      Posted December 14, 2015 at 2:58 am | Permalink

      You do make me laugh, TS! Glad you survived – whether or not you deserved to is entirely a different matter…..

  26. Collywobbles
    Posted December 14, 2015 at 11:08 am | Permalink

    I’m a bit late I’m afraid. Excellent puzzle. Many thanks for the hints BD

  27. Doug
    Posted December 15, 2015 at 3:48 pm | Permalink

    actually finished this without referring to outside help in 5 or 6 sessions over the week-end, so it MUST be a very easy 0.5* !! An improvement for me nevertheless. 7D favourite, as I spent a long time trying to fit GIRLH into a type of dog, having got the 2nd half….. R&W for 9D, as I was a ‘typical leftie student’ in the ‘ Nam days and 1A was an early inspired write-in. Wondered if 13D ‘being welcomed in’ referred to a certain saint, but was familiar with the criminal slang. question marks for ‘why’ for 12 &18A