DT 28010 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 28010

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 27010

Hints and tips by pommers

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BD Rating – Difficulty ** Enjoyment ***

Hola from the Vega Baja on a bright but chilly morning.  Those of you who like anagrams will be well pleased with this puzzle as there are four fifteen letter ones around the outside of the grid. If you solve those first, as I did, they’ll make the rest of the puzzle fairly straightforward.

As usual the ones I liked most are in blue.  The definitions are underlined in the clues and the answers are under the “click here” buttons.  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           Working in shed, hence best in private (6,3,6)

9a           Summary  in a poor state (3-4)
RUN DOWN:  Double definition.

10a         Playwright Oscar’s detained, giving needle (7)
POINTER:  Put the letter represented by Oscar in the NATO phonetic alphabet into the surname of a famous playwright and you’ll get a needle, on a speedometer for example.

11a         Unemployed star on radio (4)
IDLE:  Sounds like (on radio) a star or revered person.  It’s also an excuse for a bit of Monty Python . . .

12a         Man at top of order? (5)
ABBOT:  This order is an order of monks.

13a         Mist in west London area reported (4)
HAZE:  This mist sounds like (reported) a town in West London.  Apparently it’s the home of EMI records and the Beatles’ albums were manufactured there in the “Old Vinyl Factory”.

16a         Bachelor, in place of car, gets American rubbish (7)
GARBAGE:  Put a B(achelor) into the place where you keep your car to get an American term for rubbish.  Personally I’ve never had enough room in my place of car to actually get the car inside – you know, the junk expands to fill the available space.

17a         Note stout fellow catching a criminal (3,4)
TEA LEAF:  Start with a note of the Sol Fa scale and follow with another word for stout or beer. Follow that with an F(ellow) and insert (catching) the A from the clue to get rhyming slang for a thief.  The answer was fairly obvious but it took a while for the penny to drop on how this works. I was looking for something to do with a fat person!

18a         Posh doctor with anger giving offence (7)
UMBRAGE: Not offence as in what 17a does but as in outrage or insult.  It’s a charade of the letter indicating posh, one of the two letter doctors and another word for anger.

21a         Where one might find masthead in theory (2,5)
ON PAPER: It’s at the top of the front page.

23a         Bar return of vessels (4)
STOP:  Not a Mars Bar but bar as in block or forbid. It’s a reversal (return) of some vessels found in the kitchen.

24a         Heap in hole, restricted (5)
CRATE:  This heap is an old car or aeroplane. A hole on the moon without its last letter (restricted).

25a         Warriors in football team, say, surrounding lawmaker (4)
IMPI:  A regiment of Zulu warriors is two letters which look like eleven (football team say) put around (surrounding) a member of the house which passes laws (lawmaker).

28a         Consumption perhaps less in ground with fifty inside (7)
ILLNESS:  If you remember that consumption in another name for tuberculosis all will become clear.  It’s an anagram (ground) of LESS IN with the Roman numeral for fifty inserted (inside).

29a         Elevated land recently seen in French city (7)
PLATEAU:  A word for recently inserted (seen in) a French city on the northern edge of the Pyrenees.

30a         Inaction reveals varied activity abandoned in UK (8,7)


1d           Convert boring quiet nuns? An urgent issue (7,8)

2d           Spy usually has one name, right? (7)
HANDLER:  This is a term for the chap who looks after a spy and is his point of contact with those he is spying for.  It’s a slang word for your name (especially on a CB radio) followed by R(ight).

3d           Two common answers given in recess (4)
NOOK: Two replies to a question, one meaning yes and the other the reverse, give you a recess as in a sheltered place.

4d           Figure left in Lincoln characterising a sound principle (7)
TENABLE:  A number (figure) followed by the nickname of the American president Lincoln with L(reft) inserted.

5d           Take advantage of  heroic achievement (7)
EXPLOIT:  Double definition.

6d           Curtail  section of programme (4)
CLIP:  Another double definition.  The programme is a TV programme or film.

7d           Teachers’ group action is a daft one (7)
NUTCASE:  The daft one is a daft person.  The teacher’s union followed by an action in a court of law.

8d           It’s untrue ferret scampers around in bins, say (6,9)
STREET FURNITURE:  Anagram (scampers around) of ITS UNTRUE FERRET.  I had to smile at the mental image this clue conjured up.

14d         Fare in Texan city put up half-heartedly (5)
SALAD:  Reverse a Texan city (put up in a down clue) but without one of its middle letters (half-heartedly).

15d         Husband with a young dog not raised in fortunate way (5)
HAPPY:  H(usband) followed by A (from the clue) and then a young dog but without two letters which could mean raised.

19d         Reserve rental accommodation in small publication (7)
BOOKLET:  A word meaning to reserve, a table in a restaurant perhaps, and then a rental property.

20d         A ruse devised on road heading north in huge region (7)
EURASIA:  Anagram (devised) of A RUSE followed by the designation of the road from London to Edinburgh but reversed (Heading north in a down clue). This road is part of Euroroute E15 which goes from Inverness in Scotland to Algeciras in Spain and it passes less than a kilometre from where I’m sitting.  Why anyone would want to go from Inverness to Algeciras is shrouded in mystery!

21d         Work after month to find sea creature (7)
OCTOPUS:  Start with a month and then a musical work  Nice to see the whole work for once and not just the abbreviation.

22d         Religious leader holding mass before two in Latin community of old (7)
POMPEII:  This was a Roman community and you need to put the leader of the Roman Catholic church around (holding) an M(ass) and then add the Roman or Latin way of writing the number two.

26d         Imperial figure, part of fine royalty (4)
NERO:  Another Roman reference. It’s an Emperor and he’s lurking in fine royalty.

27d         Item that’s cut, we hear (4)
PAIR:  An item as in a couple sounds like (we hear) a word meaning cut or peel.

There’s no stand-out favourite for me but I think I’ll award the podium top step to 8d for it’s silly mental image.

61 comments on “DT 28010

  1. Many thanks pommers

    Nice perimeter anagrams and some neat clueing today, all very enjoyable. Last one in was 14d (fare in texan city, very nice).
    The “say” in 25a (football team) threw me, I started looking for example or homophone – luckily i’d come across the warriors before. I’m also lucky to have spent some time in the 29a French city (trying to learn French when I was 15). We saw 20d recently (huge region), and 22d was fresh in my mind from yesterday’s Guardian. I am struggling to see why 12a is cryptic (man at top of order – what is the other kind of order?). The smilers were 3d (two common answers), 16a (american rubbish) and 15d (husband with young dog).

    many thanks setter

  2. Given my past rants about Thursday puzzles, I just want to say that I found this puzzle to be extremely enjoyable. Nice big anagrams,. some inventive clues and it made me think without being overly difficult.
    Great puzzle. 3*/4*.

  3. Oh heaven, a Thursday thats not a Ray T! :-)
    Really liked this one but then I do like anagrams and this is an anagram fest. Last in was 15d, easy when I realised it was puppy not just pup!
    For at least **/****
    Thx to all for an enjoyable Thursday crossword.

  4. I went slightly over 2* time and actually found this quite testing. The four long anagrams certainly helped, and 25 across was new to me but obvious from the wordplay. 15 down was my favourite, and overall I thoroughly enjoyed solving it.

    2.5*/3.5* with thanks to Ray T if it was he, and Pommers for excellent review.

    BTW, I am still having trouble accessing the site and then the relevant crossword. Posting can often be a problem, and I occasionally get timed out and given an error message numbered I think 534. I don’t believe it is my wifi or iPad.

  5. 4*/3*. I found this extremely tough – orders of magnitude tougher than Tuesday’s toughie – but still very enjoyable. It felt as if there were a lot of anagrams, but that seems to be an illusion created by all four long clues round the edge.

    I do think that 17a should make a reference to the answer being cockney rhyming slang, e.g. “… catching a cockney criminal”.

    I put “prior” in initially for 12a which fitted with the O checker and appeared to fit with the clue nicely, but I needed to change it after I got 4d. I wasn’t aware of the hierarchy that 12a is the top man and the Prior is his number two.

    I needed a bit of electronic help for 25a, my last one in.

    Many thanks to Mr .Ron and to pommers

    1. Re 17a – maybe, but if all rhyming slang had to be signposted as such, quite a few clues would have to be expanded. (And we all know how you like nice long clues!)

  6. I loved the four anagrams – luvverly!

    I found 14d & 15d a bit tricky!

    Very enjoyable!

    (error 524 – this is my fourth attempt!)


  7. Didn’t find it very easy either.
    Even though the Left side went in quite well, the Right showed a bit of resistance.
    Even the anagram in 8d wasn’t that obvious as there were 3 R, 3 E, 3 T, 2 U which made me think I had the wrong letters.
    My last ones were 15d and 24a.
    Had to check 25a and learned that Kaffirs were Zulus. Always thought it had something to do with India.
    No real favourite today.
    Thanks to the setter and to Pommers for the great review.
    Loved the Python clip and hope that Vega Baja is not as described by Eric Idle.

  8. certainly tricky today,I too -like RD, had Prior tentatively written in for 12 across until Abe came to the rescue!Going FOR A ***/***.Took a while to parse 2d and thought a masthead had something to do with sailing, never seen 8d before-Anyway enjoyable crossword which needed a good deal of thought thanks to Pommers and setter.

  9. Spooky!
    Today seems to join the long list of Black Thursdays.
    If BD continues to bite his nails and pull his hair, I wonder in which state we are going to find him in 2 weeks.
    Don’t worry. I’m sure everything will be alright on the day.
    Ps: I knew I shouldn’t have thrown away that Minitel.

  10. Looked to be easy going when I first started, especially with the 4 large anagrams (not well hidden). For some inexplicable reason, It was the 4 letter words that held me up – my mind just went blank. No particular favourite today.

    Thanks to the Thursday Mr Ron for the puzzle and pampers for his review. I do hope this posts as I’ve been trying all day to get on the site.

    2 PS’s
    1. Brian, don’t even look at today’s toughie
    2. Hanni – Mrs SL is devastated by the news of Mr Rickman

      1. B****r! Something obviously wrong with spell checker. My sincere apologies to pommers http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/icon_redface.gif

  11. No real problems here – the four neat anagrams framing the grid gave plenty of checkers to work with.
    24a&27d were the last to be rationalised – I’d forgotten about that particular type of ‘heap’ and was also looking for a single ‘item’!
    The four long anagrams make it to the shortlist but the rosette goes to 15d.
    Thanks to Mr. Ron and to Pommers for a great review and ‘extras’.

    Off to see what Mr. T has in store on the other side under his Beam hat.

  12. Lots of wait time today for the website but got in eventually (obviously). An enjoyable puzzle with delays around 13&25a. Thanks to Pompers for the blog and the setter for a reasonable challenge.

  13. Only stumped by 14 down, driven plenty of heaps before but I have never heard of a crate in this context. Thank you Pommers for the explanation. ***/***

    1. I think, but maybe wrong, that crate in this regard comes WW2 RAF slang for a dodgy old aircraft

      1. Yes – I think you’re right there, Pommers. I can almost hear my dear old Dad using the expression.

      2. Yes, you’re definitely on the right line there pommers – crates, stringbags, kites etc. Rufus probably flew quite a few in his time in the Fleet Air Arm

  14. The pesky four letter words were the ones that gave us most trouble today, especially 27d. Thought we were headed for a pangram but seem to be missing a J. The four long perimeter anagrams were fun.
    Thanks Mr Ron and pommers.

  15. Agree with Pampers ratings. Lovely big anagrams to start with (thanks pencil) and the rest sort of fell into place. Needed to check 25a and for whatever reason my last in was 2d.

    Many thanks to the setter and to the man from Vega Baja for a great blog.

    RIP Alan Rickman….almost the most attractive man ever.

    Snow everywhere. That is all.

  16. I don’t know whether it is just my machine but the site in art doing strange things! Anyway the crossword. Putting PRIOR certainly didn’t help Abe that’s for sure. Otherwise a steady solve being helped obviously by the outer ring. I quite liked the ‘item’ clue ( I daren’t go and look for the number as I’ll lose all of my comment)
    2/3* overall. Ta to Mr Ron and Pommers

  17. I don’t know whether it is just my machine but the site in arf doing strange things! Anyway to the crossword. Putting PRIOR certainly didn’t help Abe that’s for sure. Otherwise a steady solve being helped obviously by the outer ring. I quite liked the ‘item’ clue ( I daren’t go and look for the number as I’ll lose all of my comments)
    2/3* overall. Ta to Mr Ron and Pommers

  18. *(plus 5 minutes) and **** for me last night. The extra 5 minutes or so was trying to force a “J” into 14d, my last one in, just to complete the full set, as it were. Almost got a strange Tex-Mex dish!
    Thanks to setter and Pommers. (Website sti[l not working properly for me, but at least it us up an running whereas not available until now – all of which I am sure you know!)

  19. Pommers, re your comment on 20d, maybe there were 4 and 20 of them? Off for a night out perhaps?

  20. I found this pretty tough.
    Even the anagrams.
    But I got there unaided except for the odd spelling check.
    So felt quite pleased with myself.
    Which was nice.
    Thanks to the setter and to pommers for a colourfully illustrated review.

  21. Thanks to Pommers for his review and everyone for comments. HNY to all from a freezing SW London!

    1. Thanks Shamus. We will confess that we had tentatively pencilled your name at the top of our solving page but were not sure enough to put it in our comment. A nice puzzle, we enjoyed it. HNY to you too from a sunny New Zealand.

    2. Thanks for popping in, Shamus. Have you intentionally started omitting the Irish references to put us off the trail?
      Hope to see you at the birthday bash.

    3. Nice puzzle Shamus which grew on me while writing the review. The 4 long anagrams were very clever. Ta muchly for the fun.

  22. Agree with pommers on difficulty and enjoyment (as I often do). I got the perimeter anagrams in quickly which helped enormously and I was held up by 24ac because I failed to solve it.

    Thanks to pommers and Shamus and to BD for his efforts regarding the site’s problems today.

  23. A lovely puzzle with some very helpful anagrams to get started! Had a bit of trouble working out the rationale for 15d. Thought 10a related to the Wilde Oscar……so had a bit of a hold up there…..nice misdirection! Otherwise quite straight forward and enjoyable. Thanks to setter and to Pommers 2*/3*

  24. Good evening everybody.

    Nice puzzle today. 27d was my favourite, deceptively simple (!). Failed on 24a though. The solution was in my contenders’ list but couldn’t make the necessary connections.

    Like the new look. Very tasteful.


  25. Nice to see the site up and running again, well done BD – you’re a star. Thanks again to pommers (NB Hanni – NOT pampers) for his review.

    1. I didn’t do all of the work – Tim from Evohosting played a part.

      A few features have disappeared – some temporarily and some possibly permanently.

      1. No matter, still thanks to you for getting it sorted and thanks to Tim for his help. Noticed the emoticons and calendar are missing.

      1. Sorry Pommers but it really did make me laugh when I saw that. Apparently I get auto-corrected to Hannibal. Love it.

        1. As I told Shropshirelad earlier, I once had a colleague called Clive Baggaley which MSWord insisted should be “Clever Baggage”.

              1. At the birthday bash I’ll show you an auto-correct on my texts that I’ve kept between my boss and I. I won’t let him forget that one. It’s superb.

  26. Quite tough and I needed some help from hints. Great hints btw.
    Thanks to the setter and Pommers excellent work.
    RIP Alan Rickman

  27. Tricky but fun.
    I got three of the side anagrams fairly quickly but really struggled with 8d.
    I didn’t know 25a.
    I couldn’t get 21a, though I enjoyed it when I finally did.
    Thank you to the setter and to Pommers for the review, I like the blue bits.

  28. When I saw the perimeter clues, I decided to make things harder by not using anything other than brains for the scrambled ones. I’m glad I did because it prolonged the fun and enhanced the pleasure.

    Nothing too tricky, but I did fail to parse 27d until after I’d entered it experimentally and had the solution verified as correct. Then I made the trademark sound of a yellow cartoon character. All very enjoyable.

    Thanks to Shamus for the puzzle and also for dropping in.

    For the great blogging work, many thanks to pampers – probably not dry pampers after today – and extra thanks to BD.

    1. You cheeky young lady you :) – you lot are never going to let me forget are you? I just hope the Bridge House has got big enough doorways to facilitate the manoeuvring of my martyrdom.

  29. OK, it’s not been a great day for the blog today but it seems our great leader has managed to get things back to almost normal so a big thanks to him.

    I’m off to bed now so it’s goodnight from pampers and it’s goodnight from me.

    1. Time for me to sleep too. Thanks again to everyone who’s worked hard on this site to bring us our daily BD.

  30. I found this quite hard. Started quickly and raced through two thirds of it but got held up by putting PRIOR for 12a. Took me ages to unravel that one and I strugled with the 8d anagram for a bit. Got there in the end, but not without a fight. Many thanks to Shamus and Pommers 3/*/3*

  31. Oh dear, I came unstuck on this one and couldn’t finish without hints. Hoped as the day progressed remaining answers in SE corner would dawn on me but no such luck. Anyway belated thanks to Shamus and Pommers. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/smiley-phew.gif

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