DT 27993 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 27993

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 27993

Hints and tips by Kath

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BD Rating — Difficulty **Enjoyment ***

Hello everyone. I’m prepared to have a guess at who set this one but more about that later. Not surprisingly there’s a theme today – we have a couple of religious characters, some carols, pantomimes and a game, food, decorations and festive greetings, Granny’s been on the booze and, inevitably, someone has a terrible cold – all in all a typical family Christmas.

The answers are hidden under the bits that say ANSWER so only do that if you want to see them.

Please leave a comment telling us how you got on today and what you thought about the crossword.


8a            Character who made ‘The More It Snows’ ring round (4)
POOH — This character who sang a little song that went ‘The More It Snows’ – (Tiddely Pom) was created by A.A. Milne – a reversal (round) of a ring or circle.


9a            Diner consumes seconds — change diet for period after religious festival (10)
EASTERTIDE — A diner or someone having some food contains (consumes) the one letter abbreviation for S(econds) and that’s followed by an anagram (change) of DIET

10a         Understand pressure on the woman after start of festive month (8)
DECIPHER — The very beginning of the month that we’re in now is followed by P(ressure) and a way of saying ‘the woman’.

11a         Team members needed to carry out piping (6)
ELEVEN — The number of people in a cricket team is the same as the number of pipers in the carol “The Twelve Days of Christmas”.


12a         Plant removed from motel site (9)
MISTLETOE — An anagram (removed from) of MOTEL SITE


13a         Like the sherry decanter by the time gran’s jolly vacant? (5)
EMPTY — I think this is just a double definition. I spent a bit of time wondering if I was missing something but I don’t think I am.

15a         Biscuit that should be on the table tomorrow (7)
CRACKER — . . . and another double definition – a kind of biscuit that goes with cheese is the same word as a table decoration with paper hats and silly jokes inside it.


17a         Caroller scored highly? (7)
SOPRANO — This caroller or singer is someone who sings in the highest voice.

20a         Agreed time to enjoy 21 and 15s? (2,3)
AT ONE — Another double definition – the second is the time at which some people have their Christmas lunch. I think it’s pretty unlikely that we’ll be organised enough to be ready by then.

22a         and 28: Queen maybe following Noel’s seasonal message (9,4)
CHRISTMAS CARD — The more usual word for Noel is followed by a something of which a Queen is an example (maybe) – it could just as well be a Jack, a King or an Ace.


25a         Wise men’s origin that is recorded in gold book (6)
ORIENT — The two letter abbreviation for the Latin for ‘that is’ is contained in (recorded in) two letters meaning gold – not AU, the others – and the abbreviation for the second part of the Bible (book).

26a         Researcher, not Roman Catholic, arranged to run through Nativity play perhaps (8)
REHEARSE — An anagram (arranged) of RESEARCHER without the abbreviation for R(oman) C(atholic).

27a         Way three kings travelled with a bit of a laugh from Santa’s place in Devon (8,2)
WESTWARD HO — If the three kings were coming from the east then it makes sense that they were going . . . – follow that with a short laugh from Father Christmas to get a place in North Devon.

28a         See 22
SEE 22a



1d            Innkeeper makes one lie in other building (8)
HOTELIER — An anagram (building) of LIE and OTHER

2d            Founder’s church is in right surroundings (6)
CHRIST — The two letter abbreviation for CH(urch) is followed by another two letter abbreviation, this time for right, which contains the IS from the clue.

3d            Carol’s little town (9)
BETHLEHEM — The name of a little town in a very well known carol. I don’t think this one needs any more of a hint than that.

4d            Reign shown by star moving above cupola, leaving East (7)
TSARDOM — Begin with an anagram (moving) of STAR and follow that with (above) another word for a cupola or a concave ceiling on the top of a building without its final E (leaving East).

5d            Pan panto character Simon (5)
PETER — The panto character was someone whose surname was Pan – he never grew up. The Simon was a saint. This person was also known as Cephas which is the alias of one of the crossword setters so I thought that maybe he’s set this crossword – or maybe that’s a red herring, and he hasn’t!

6d            Cold that hangs about now? (8)
STREAMER — A double definition – a bad cold and a Christmas decoration.


7d            Commercial opening that covers four Sundays (6)
ADVENT — The usual two letter abbreviation for a commercial or promotion is followed by an opening or outlet.

14d         He takes a bow in pantomime (5,4)
ROBIN HOOD — “He” is often accompanied by a few merry men and this kind of ‘bow’ has some arrows that go with it.


16d         Little certainty in company refusal to offer musical entertainment (8)
CONCERTO — Start with the usual two letter abbreviation for company – follow that with a short refusal or negative answer which contains (in) an abbreviation for certainty often used in horse racing and preceded by ‘dead’.

18d         Harks on about wrapping a vessel found in older book (5,3)
NOAHS ARK — An anagram (about) of HARKS ON which contains (wrapping) the A from the clue.

19d         Party performance of Parisian, with cleaner answer given first (7)
CHARADE — The French word (Parisian) for OF is preceded by (given first) a word for a cleaner or someone employed to help with housework and the one letter abbreviation for A(nswer).

21d         Country fare for 22 (6)
TURKEY — A double definition – I have no excuses at all but this was one of my last answers.


23d         Hurried to get to church after time, in a sleepy state (6)
TRANCE — Begin with the one letter abbreviation for T(ime) and follow it with (after) another word for hurried or rushed and a two letter abbreviation for C(hurch) of E(ngland).

24d         Bedding down in the stable (5)
STRAW —Well, you’d hardly expect sheets and blankets or feathers would you?


I liked 10 and 27a and 24d. What about you?


A very Happy Christmas to you all and thanks to everyone for all the fun, particularly to BD for thinking it up and keeping everything running like clockword.

78 comments on “DT 27993

  1. I liked 13 and 27.

    Thanks to the setters and bloggers this year and Merry Christmas to everyone else!???

  2. Thought this was going to be a bit of a stinker but it all came together nicely in the end.
    The reference to caroller in 17a threw me for ages and I still don’t understand the ref to Simon in 5d, what has he to do with Peter, beyond me! Never heard of the song in 8a but the answer was obvious. Nicely themed as one would expect. Not sure I am that keen on chained clues that need you to solve the base one to solve the rest.
    Howsoever, it Christmas so best wishes to all on the blog esp BD and the hinters who have worked hard during the year to bring us this amazing Blog.
    Have a great festive season esp to all my good friends in Napier NZ.

    1. The hint for 5d wasn’t one of my better ones – sorry – I got into a muddle with it too and had to do lots of asking Mr Google.
      The Peter Pan bit is fairly obvious – Saint Peter was Simon Peter of Cephas – not sure that’s any better but mince pies to make now.

      1. Sorry, I’m probably nit-picking, Kath (I’m a terrible pedant, I know) but Cephas isn’t a place – it’s an Aramaic name given to Simon Peter by Jesus. Means the same as the Greek version ‘Peter’ (i.e. Rock), and Jesus called him that because he was the ‘rock’ on which his church was to be built.

  3. About as far from RayT as it’s possible to get.

    I will just suck my stripy mints quietly, refrain from uttering any sheepish noises, put on a smile and thank the setter and Kath.

    For those who will not be here tomorrow, I wish you all the very best for a happy holiday with peace and joy in the quantities you desire.

  4. You could tell that Brian’s wish yesterday had been granted as soon as you saw that the clue for 1a in the Quickie contained 6 words. This was definitely not Ray T at work today even though the Queen in one of her many guises did put in an appearance. However I did wonder if this might be the work of several setters as it seemed to me that I needed to adjust wavelengths on the hoof so to speak.

    My rating for today is 1.5*/3* – not tough but a nice piece of festive fun (even though Easter did get a mention). Like Kath I kept looking for more in 13a, but nevertheless it did bring about a big smile.

    Many thanks to Mr Ron and to Kath, and very best wishes for Christmas to everyone involved with this blog plus a particularly big thank you to our patron, BD.

  5. Very festive puzzle which was easily solved between chores. Thanks to the setter & Kath for her review, wishing all involved with this forum a very happy Christmas?

  6. Umm – not very satisfying, a few dodgy clues or maybe it was me being a bit thick – it didn’t help that I didn’t know the 8a reference so that wasn’t a good start. I stumbled through but feel a bit short changed!

    Seasonal Greetings to all! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_bye.gif

  7. A few things that held me up, town in devon, simon, and I am afraid I’m not very familiar with carols at all – and I’ve done something very strange to my back – however, remembering the theme it all came together quite nicely.

    Merry Xmas all, I should still be here for Shamus’s toughie tomorrow, so for those who won’t be around have a great Christmas

    and many thanks setter and Kath

    1. The town in Devon is the only one in the UK that has an exclamation mark after it (I think!). I’m sure someone will correct me if I’m wrong!

      1. That’s spot on Caroline, and I think it can claim to be the only place in the UK named after a novel as well.

  8. Tiddely-Pom! Many thanks to today’s setter for the festive fun – perfect for Christmas Eve.
    I won’t risk the wrath of Kath by naming eight favourites, but I can’t choose between them. Must be getting into the festive mood.
    Very good wishes to everyone who contributes to the blog in whatever way and a big thank you to BD for getting us all together.
    Enjoy yourselves! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_good.gif

    1. Pom is not tiddely – at least not yet. Later perhaps as it’s Gala Dinner tonight with free cava by the bucketload http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_whistle3.gif

      1. Haha. Now whenever I hear Tiddely Pom I will think of tiddly pom and vino collapso.

        Tiddly pom (vino collapso)

        The more it flows (Tiddely pom)
        The more it goes (Tiddely pom)
        The more it goes (Tiddely pom)
        On flowing.

        And nobody knows (Tiddely pom)
        How red his nose (Tiddely pom)
        How red his nose (Tiddely pom)
        is growing


        1. Apologies accepted.
          Pom is now officially tiddely as he’s been out for one or three rather large pre-prandial vino collapsos. Now for a shower and then bring on the free cava. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_good.gif

  9. Apart from 17A it was a great crossword – especially when completed with the help of several glasses of Bucks Fizz and smoked salmon! (Training for Christmas Day!)

  10. Most enjoyable – the quickie too – even if one is allergic to the over-hyped festive season and longs for the dark clarity of January!

  11. Didnt think I would get very far today as I am not a Christmas person. I got 13a without really understanding it, stumped by 8a, but otherwise fairly straight forward.

  12. I may be the only person who has actually finished this wonderful puzzle. If you think you have finished – think again. Have a good look and put that exclamation mark in the black square in between 27 and 28 across. Thanks to Kath my favourite blogger. I would never have got the bear without you. Thanks to the setter(s). Merry Christmas to one and all.

    1. Hi MP.
      You missed the Nina too around the outside.
      It’s an anagram of the famous Xmas story.
      The cow was doped by caped monkeys!
      The exclamation mark was very much needed.
      Wish you and your gang a happy Xmas.

  13. I’ve been lurking all year, but emerge to wish a very Happy Christmas and all good things in the New Year to all the setters (with thanks!) and other bloggers.

    1. Hello Franny, really lovely to see you, you’re a bit like me theses days, I am going to try and get here more often in 2016! I hope you’re keeping well and that you have a lovely Christmas and 2016 will be a good year for you x

  14. Apart from 11a – could not see the answer in spite of three identical checked letters, silly me! – and 4d – wanted it to be stardom but did not fit – I managed to complete today’s offering with Mr Framboise coming to the rescue for 27a. 9a puzzled me as I wanted to fit 2 s as it read seconds in the plural… Enjoyable and festive. Many thanks to Kath for the review and to the setter for a bit of seasonal fun. Joyeux Noël à tout le monde!

  15. Hi Kath thanks for blog you do a really good job, am I missing something? where does the i come from in 10a??????

  16. With no puzzle tomorrow I’ll have to think of something else to entertain myself! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_mail.gif
    Merry Christmas to you all especially the setters and the bloggers

    1. I think there’s a puzzle on-line as per normal, available to be printied off at midnight – insomniacs need only apply!


  17. 1.5*/3* for me today. Like Kath I spent too long looking for something more in 13a, also spent time trying to find the fourth letter of 10a in the clue. (I is one of course). Many thanks to setter and Kath. I wish everyone a merry Christmas.

      1. I have revisited 10 across and I still don’t see where the fourth letter comes from. Am I missing something?

        1. The festive month is December and the start of it is the 1st so Dec and the letter that looks like the Roman number one.

  18. Today’s puzzle was a joint effort between Mrs SL and me. I have been trying (yes, I know) for a long time to explain the intricacies of solving a cryptic crossword to her. So as I have been busy preparing Christmas goodies, she has been reading out the clues and I been giving her the answers to write in – told you it was a joint effort http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gif

    A very festive production with a few smiles along the way – most enjoyable. No particular favourite but the interplay between clues was good fun.

    Thanks to the setter for the puzzle and Kath for her delightful review. I am now off to do battle with Firefly then I can settle down to watch our 3 favourite festive themed movies.

    Finally, may I take this opportunity to wish all involved with this blog A Very Merry Christmas and a Prosperous New Yearhttp://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_good.gif

  19. I check in here most days but rarely comment (although I have today!). So many thanks to you all – setters, bloggers, hinters and commenters. You brighten my day! Festive greetings from Hertfordshire. X

  20. Nice and pleasant themed crossword.
    Although I needed the hints to understand 5d.
    Never saw Robin Hood in panto either.
    Thanks to the setter and to Kath.
    Merry Christmas everyone.

  21. 13 across had me thinking too long as well, but that was the only sticking point in what was otherwise a comfortable solve. Very few commenters have rated this, but I will join the small band who have stuck their heads above the parapet and go 1.5*/3* Thanks Kath and our mystery setter.

    Turkey collected, cards sent, drinks cabinet full, champagne on ice, and credit card booked into the Betty Ford Clinic for rehab in the new year.

    Have a good one everybody.

  22. A lovely way to head into Christmas Day we thought. Would have been 1* for us if we had not had to refer to the blog to understand 5d, but 2*/3* sums it up nicely. We’re off for a curry tonight (a regular Christmas Eve treat!). Thanks to Kath and the setter. Don’t expect too many entries from us for a few days as we hit the bottle.

  23. Just hopped in to wish everyone a Very Happy Christmas and may the light dawn for you crosswordwise in 2016. Thanks to all for the kind words and encouragement through 2015. Lots of love from Hilary http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_bye.gif

  24. The only two I was stuck on were 8a and 2d – this does not reflect my attitude to Christmas in any way! Happy Christmas, everybody!

  25. A not too taxing and pleasant puzzle to start off Christmas Eve.Thanks to Kath and the setter, and a very Merry Christmas to all!

  26. On reflection this took me longer than it should have. 10a was a ung in so thanks to Kath for the explanation and the blog. Thanks also to the setter for a festive puzzle and to you all have a very Merry Christmas.

  27. Hi Kath, I neglected to give you special thanks for today’s blog. In the midst of mince pie making, family arriving etc. etc. you really are a star to not only produce the review but to keep popping back to answer questions.
    Have a wonderful Christmas with the Lambs and don’t forget to check the dates on those passports!

    1. Thanks Jane – Happy Christmas to you and enjoy your beach walk with the collies.
      Passport dates are fine and I suspect it would be all the same if they weren’t at this late stage.

  28. A 15a of a festive puzzle I thought, extremely enjoyable and not that tricky – just as it should be at this busy time of year.

    My personal favourite was 14d, but a special mention must go to 11a for actually having the answer match the clue number :-)

    Many thanks to the setter and to Kath, and may I take the opportunity of wishing everyone a very Happy Christmas.

  29. I notice that the snowflakes head towards the cursor, changing direction if need be. Nice one Kath.

    1. Good heavens, Sheffieldsy, where have you been throughout the discussions re: the snowflakes?!!!
      Someone – I think Paso Doble – has even managed to get them to swirl round in a snowstorm.
      Small things etc. etc. but still a lot of fun. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_smile.gif

      1. Jane. Sorry but I can’t see references to the snowflakes anywhere in the blog. Have I got a different version?

    2. Not snowflakes. Ashes. Big Dave is scattering someones ashes. When I go I want my ashes scattering across this site

  30. Good afternoon everybody.

    Mostly straightforward but I was foxed by 3d. Altogether a bit dull I thought although I’m not a great lover of theme puzzles. 17a was the best clue.


    1. The start of festive month (the words from the clue) is December 1st so you need the shortened form of December (Dec) followed by the letter that looks like the Roman number one.
      Happy Christmas to you too.

  31. Too tricky for me…luckily I have you good people giving me the answers!!
    Happy Christmas

  32. Loved it! I really had no problems at all.
    My last in was 13a, it fit and I felt it must be. Gran must’ve had a super party.
    The answer to 5d made perfect sense to me, and I agree with Kath.
    Many, many thanks to the setter and to Kath for the blog.
    Merry Christmas everyone, we are blessed.

  33. We are back to having two of us working on this delightful themed puzzle and what a pleasure it was. We even knew of the town in 27a. Kath, we think that your detective work in guessing who the setter might be is very clever indeed and certainly deserves to be correct. We really hope it is. Good fun.
    Thanks Mr Ron (Cephas?) and Kath.

  34. */***

    Loved it. Loved the festive theme. Biggest smile goes to 13a. Great clue.

    Many thanks to the setter and to Kath for a great blog. Merry Christmas to both and a happy 2016…and to all who contribute.

  35. Merry Christmas all, and a preposterous New Year. Nice puzzle today, I knew about Simon in 5 d, harked back to 1960s Sunday School in Forest Gate. I did like 27 a, evoked memories of a golf week in 1990.
    Thanks to setter and Kath, whom I needed, shamefully, for only one, 8 a.

  36. Thanks to the setter and to Kath for the review and hints. A nice fun, themed puzzle, pretty much read and write. Favourite was 9a. Last in was 28a. Was 1*/3 * for me. Merry Christmas to one and all.

  37. 1.5*/3* for me today. 17a/18d and second word of 22/28a held me up. Nice to see my chum make an appearance at the start.

    1. You and your chum, Kanga, Roo and Owl are all amazing – love them all and could quote most of it verbatim.

  38. Lovely crossword pitched just nicely for Christmas Eve; not too hard not too easy. 1/3* overall with too many seasonal clues to select a favourite. Oh, alright, 13a.
    Thanks to the setter and to Kath for her as usual stonking review.
    Happy Christmas to everyone!

  39. Thank you Kath for the review. Needed it for 8a. Many thanks to the setter, and to BD for such a great site. Merry Christmas everyone.

  40. Night night all, and Happy Christmas to everyone.
    Thanks to everyone for the nice comments today, and most days.
    The only one who noticed my mistake today was my Elder Lamb who read the blog this evening – I think that BD runs the blog like clockwork rather than clockword. Oh dear – oh well . . .

  41. Early in for me tonight, although probably too late for everybody else. Spent much of the day with two of my children and their partners, one of whom is a rock star whose new record was on the album of the year slot on 6music. Cue much (nonchalant) excitement as it rose up the charts as listeners downloaded it in their droves. Was at No 8 last time we checked. Much banter, jokes and merriment. A great day, finished off nicely with this gentle seasonal offering. I liked 10a and the 19d of 19d, which was so clever that I’ve only just noticed it. So 10a gets the myrrh, 19d the frankincense, but the gold goes to everyone’s favourite tipsy granny at 13a.
    May I take this opportunity to wish the compliments of the season to all the setters, bloggers and commenters on this, my favourite website. And an extra glass of Glenmorangie raised to Big Dave, without whom none of this would be possible, and none of us would ever have met, which simply doesn’t bear thinking about. Slainte mhath!

  42. I am sure that we are far too late in wishing everyone a very Merry Christmas but will do it anyway. See you all on Boxing Day.

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