DT 27055 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 27055

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 27055

Hints and tips by Gazza

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ****/*****

I wasn’t sure whether it was worth the effort of producing a blog this morning (seeing as how the world is scheduled to end later today!) but I’m very glad that I went ahead because I reckon that this is one of the best back-pagers we’ve had all year with some cracking festive clues. Thanks to Giovanni for the treat and I hope you all enjoyed it as much as I did. Do let us know what you thought.

To reveal an answer just slide your cursor through the gap between the curly brackets under the relevant clue.

Across Clues

1a  Dramatist taking care of orphan maybe after Christmas (4,6)
{NOEL COWARD} – the abbreviation for ‘care of’ and a young person who has a guardian (and who may or may not be an orphan) follow another word for Christmas.

6a  Unwanted message quietly received by pianist in film (4)
{SPAM} – the abbreviation for quietly gets inserted in the name of the pianist in a famous 1942 film. You must remember this!

ARVE Error: need id and provider

9a  As we rather suspect, it’s a bird (10)
{SHEARWATER} – an anagram (suspect) of AS WE RATHER.

10a  Restriction — Father Christmas’s helpers reduced by half (4)
{REIN} – drop the second half of Santa’s beastly helpers.

12a  Christmas cards? Mum has one left (4)
{MAIL} – string together an affectionate term for mum, I (one) and L(eft).

13a  Those growing up eat greens with difficulty (9)
{TEENAGERS} – an anagram (with difficulty) of EAT GREENS. How true – it must soon be time to put the sprouts on.

15a  Santa is often here  going about (2,3,3)
{IN THE AIR} – double definition, the second a phrase meaning prevalent but slightly difficult to pin down as in ‘there was a sense of danger ** *** ***’.

16a  Season of snow — interminable? (6)
{WINTER} – hidden (of) in the clue.

18a  Good person facing danger — ultimately I have to try very hard (6)
{STRIVE} – the abbreviation for a good and holy person is followed by the ultimate letter of (dange)R and the contracted form of I have.

20a  Ship takes fellow beyond part of the Commonwealth (8)
{INDIAMAN} – another word for fellow follows the country (now part of the Commonwealth) which was once the jewel in the crown.

23a  Unsatisfactory — one church in which one has a limited time to perform ritual? (9)
{OFFICIATE} – an informal adjective meaning unsatisfactory or unreasonable is followed by I (one) and the abbreviation for the Church of England containing I (one), A and T(ime).

24a  Vegetables returning the end of this month (4)
{YAMS} – the end letter of (thi)S is followed by a month, then it’s all reversed (returning).

26a  A model hiding nothing? Such may be seen in church! (4)
{APSE} – this might be one way of increasing church attendances! A (from the clue) is followed by a verb to model or sit with the letter that resembles zero or nothing suppressed (hidden).

27a  I can sledge around, look, at an angle! (4,6)
{SIDE GLANCE} – an anagram (around) of I CAN SLEDGE.

28a  It’s said you will this festive tide (4)
{YULE} – this sounds like (it’s said) the contracted form of you will.

29a  Plodding that took couple to Bethlehem (6,4)
{DONKEY WORK} – This could be either a double definition or a cryptic definition but I’m plumping for the latter and suggesting that the whole clue describes the plodding of a beast of burden.

Down Clues

1d  Organ making din — one needs to escape (4)
{NOSE} – allow the I (one) to escape from a din.

2d  Graceful flying angel entering from beyond our world (7)
{ELEGANT} – an anagram (flying) of ANGEL splits the abbreviation meaning out of this world.

3d  Woman’s hesitation over something wicked in seasonal act of worship (5,7)
{CAROL SERVICE} – start with a female name (that of the long-time maths wizard on Countdown, for example) and add the ‘S and the sound made by somebody hesitating. Then put all that in front of (over, in a down clue) something wicked.

4d  Victory spanning the world to become less plausible? (4,4)
{WEAR THIN} – a victory contains (spanning) the name of our world.

5d  Old magistrates, very English, laid into Welshman? (6)
{REEVES} – these were the chief magistrates of a town or district in Anglo-Saxon England (worth remembering because they are fairly frequent visitors to Crosswordland). The abbreviations for V(ery) and E(nglish) are inserted (laid) into a typical Welsh male forename.

7d  It’s gratefully received  here and  nowdispatched in advance? (7)
{PRESENT} – this is a quadruple definition though the last one would normally be given a hyphen (as 3-4) to mean dispatched in advance.

8d  Remote inns dished out soup (10)
{MINESTRONE} – an anagram (dished out) of REMOTE INNS.

11d  Activity in which only some of the children are little angels (8,4)
{NATIVITY PLAY} – the implications being that a) some of those taking part in this festive performance may be shepherds or wise men, for example, and b) not all of the cast will be well-behaved – some may be little devils! Superb clue.

14d  Evangelist is on Jerusalem’s hill protected by mother at Christmas (10)
{MISSIONARY} – IS and the name of a hill just outside the walled city of Jerusalem are contained inside (protected by) the name of the new mother in the Christmas story.

17d  A joint response  that lacks proper thought? (4-4)
{KNEE-JERK} – double definition – a reflex of the leg when tapped and a quick and automatic reaction without due consideration.

19d  Earfuls blasted to convey negative message (7)
{REFUSAL} – an anagram (blasted) of EARFULS.

21d  Short note sent round hospital department as a reminder (7)
{MEMENTO} – a short note in the business world (presumably long ago superseded by the email) contains (sent around) the abbreviation for Crosswordland’s favourite hospital department.

22d  Unrefined stuff in musical I composed (6)
{CALICO} – a plain cotton cloth is hidden in the clue.

25d  Wise Men had to — to observe King (4)
{SEEK} – a verb meaning to observe followed by the chess abbreviation for a king.

There are some great clues here including 1a, 13a, 26a and (best of all) 11d. Tell us what you liked.

Since this is my last blog before the festive day I’d like to wish everyone (setters, co-bloggers, commenters and lurkers) a Very Happy Christmas. Now turn up the volume and blast out the best Christmas song ever:

ARVE Error: need id and provider

Today’s Quickie Pun: {TURK} + {EASE} = {TURKEYS}

86 comments on “DT 27055

  1. I generally have to steel myself to tackle Friday’s puzzle, but this seasonally themed offering just presented a gentle challenge. Loved 3D particularly.

  2. The seasonal theme plus a couple of anagrams made this a great crossword for me. **/***** rating for me. Best clue being 1a. If the Bayans’ are right this will be the last DT crossword I do, if not, then I’ll see you tomorrow.
    Thanx to compiler and to Gazza for the review.

  3. And a Merry Christmas to you too Don G. Fun puzzle with no demons today but some lovely clues. I thought 14D worked on so many levels.

    Hopefully I should get this posted before the world ends (3 minutes by my reckoning)

  4. morning Gazza, thanks for hints, I didn’t need them to complete this but did need them to understand 7d, couldn’t get that last definition! 14d and 23a, fav clue today 11d, I can’t make my mine up on this one,( I may just go and sit on Kaths fence as it’s not raining! ) whether I enjoyed it or not a two to three star for me today

  5. Very nice puzzle, no particular problems, fell together very nicely in a record time for me.

    Thanks for the review, and to the setter.

  6. Tried to finish before the world’s end but held up by domestic demands and 1a! But am still here having enjoyed a witty Christmas crossword and your jolly illustrations Gazza. What fun.

  7. A bit of fun or everyone today, I think. And think I did indeed! 26 and 29A took longer than they should, so did 14D, 20 and 23A but after deliberation and perservation I got the answers and enjoyed the exercise. Favourites, 26 and 28A , 7 and 11D Thanks to setter and Gazza and Happy Christmas to everyone.

  8. You are right Gazza, this puzzle was a delight so thanks to you for the hints (not needed) and to the Don.
    It’s now well past the time for the end of the world here so it’s not going to happen

  9. Thank you- thoroughy enjoyed it too – thank you for such a wonderful companion and resource throughout the year Season’s greetings!

  10. Thanks to Giovanni for a splendid themed puzzle that cheered me up no end first thing this morning before I started the 29a. My particular favourite of the many great clues was 11d.

    Thanks to gazza both for today’s blog and all his support to a fellow blogger during the year. Happy Christmas to him and Sedgely :)

    The toughie is entertaining too and I wil be interested to see how carried away BD gets when blogging it :D

    1. Thanks, Sue – Happy Christmas to you and yours and thanks for all your timely assistance in 2012. Sedgley would send a greeting but he’s too preoccupied with finding something to eat!

        1. And from Annie to all the mutts on this blog – she would like it to be known that she is permanently starving, never fed, has no love or affection EVER shown to her, never gets a walk etc etc – in short she has a really rotten life and will be phoning ‘dog line’ soon! Happy Christmas, andy. :smile: to you, and mutts.

      1. Typical lab then! Happy Christmas to you and him, and thanks for all the hints, crosswords (NTSPP’s) and, above all, the laughs! :smile:

    2. Sorry about all the 29a – pretty standard for the time of year! So who is going to win/who do you WANT to win the dancing? Could we re-convene on Sunday for a post-mortem? If that’s not possible then Happy Christmas to you and your family.

  11. Is it safe to come out from under the duvet yet? Judging by the crowds in our local supermarket this Armageddon thingy looks like it might last a few days yet.

    1. I should if your weather is like ours because we have lovely sunshine here.

      I was in the supermarket yesterday afternoon and they had completely run out of bananas. Confused me no end – do they ward off the end of the world? Is it the latest thing to leave out for Santa? Very odd. I just wanted one for my lunch today.

          1. Dread among bananas for end of the world (10)

            An anagram (bananas) of “Dread among” – It hasn’t happened yet today!

            Maybe the Mayans were not so accurate? Maybe tomorrow?

              1. Franco’s avatar has been missing for a couple of weeks – I did ask him last week whether he was lost in the freezing fog that was around at the time.

  12. Thank you Don, and a Merry Christmas to you. I believe that I may receive the Chambers Crossword Dictionary on Tuesday, in which I gather you feature – so look forward to reading that. A very enjoyable piece of festive fun and yet another new word for me at 20a.
    Thank you Gazza for the review and 3d photo – pity it wasn’t 3D !!

  13. Lets award today’s a **/****, enjoyable romp and a bit of fun,liked14a and Gazza’s pic for 3d, the delidhtful Miss V.As a long suffering Man City supporter , the end can’t come soon enough.Merry Christmas!

  14. Thanks to Giovanni for a lovely puzzle, and to Gazza for the review. Merry Christmas to you both. No problems in today’s puzzle; my last one in was 27a, but that was only because I foolishly read the clue as 6,4.
    Favourite clue for me was 1a.

  15. I think everything has been said . Confess to not having heard of 20a (although more likely forgotten) .Great fun .
    Thanks once again .

  16. As usual for a “Don” puzzle” I looked at it and sighed. Eventually found I could do a few clues towards the bottom and worked my way slowly up the grid. So a 3*/3* for me.
    Many thanks to the Don and Gazza for entertaining puzzles and blogs

  17. Many thanks to the two Gs for a very enjoyable Christmas offering, All the very best to everyone in BD Land.

  18. A very gentle Friday. I enjoyed the seasonal themed clues. Mostly finished before lights out last night. Last one in was 10a – scary thought – I had been thinking of the helpers being elves, but that they were the four-legged helpers came to me in the middle of the night! Happy Christmas to all.

  19. You can escape Armaggedon, but not Christmas!

    I was looking forward to the crossword for a bit of distraction from the festive season ……… :cry:

  20. Hats off to the Don for a Christmas Delight!

    Thanks to Gazza for today and to all bloggers in general, and may you all have a very Happy Christmas.

  21. I whizzed through this lovely puzzle really quickly, for me, and then ground to a complete standstill with the last word of 15a – I could see that he was ‘in the something’ but what that something was remained a total mystery until I read the hint – oh dear!! How dim!!
    I agree with the 2* for difficulty (apart from 15a) and lots for enjoyment.
    Too many really good clues, and not enough time, to write them all down.
    With thanks to Giovanni and gazza.

    I’m going to save the final Happy Christmas messages for another couple of days but anyone who isn’t going to be ‘here’ again before Tuesday can have them now! :smile:

    Just back from doing my Mum’s shopping in Tesco – I have NEVER seen so many bad tempered people! :sad:

  22. A very enjoyable Christmas puzzle from The Don!

    Faves : 1a, 29a, 3d & 11d.

    A Merry Christmas to all setters, bloggers and strugglers!

    I shall spend Christmas with my son-in-law, daughter & grandchildren – they also live in NL.

      1. Many thanks Mary – you have a nice Christmas too. It is a long, long time since I was last in Cymru.
        My son-in-law is a Lewis!!!

  23. Very enjoyable puzzle. Many thanks to Giovanni for the entertaining clues and to Gazza for the blog. My favourites were 1a and 3d. Of course I read “angle” in 27a as “angel” as I am always inclined to do! Solved the anagram though and that put me straight :)
    We are in the midst of our first big snowstorm here – 10 centimetres down and at least 10 again to come! I shall be shovelling snow for my exercise today.
    Merry Christmas and all the best to everyone and many thanks again for the blog over the year!

  24. Glad the world didn’t end as I’m booked into a hotel in Benidorm for next week!

    A fine festive puzzle from the Don which was much enjoyed so thanks to him. Easy but elegant I thought.

    Thanks also to gazza for the review.

    Just in case I don’t get back on here before Tuesday here’s to a Happy Christmas to all the setters, reviewers, bloggers and lurkers. May you all have a good one :grin:

  25. Really enjoyable today but I would give it a 2.5 because of 5d. Some super clues though such as 28a, 17d and my favourite 1a. Many Thx to the Master and to Gazza for explaining why the R in 18a. Not sure i fully understand why facing should mean take the last letter but the answer was obvious nonetheless.

    1. Brian,
      It’s the ‘ultimately’ which means take the last letter. Facing just means adjacent to.

  26. I always have so much to do on a Friday and try to squeeze the Don’s puzzle in throughout the day. However, today’s was completed in record time (for me) but that did not detract from my enjoyment of it. Thanks to setter and Gazza. 2*/4* for me.

  27. Thanks to the two G’s. Found this very entertaining and straightforward apart from 20a, which I needed the hint, had never heard of this type of ship. I need to brush up on my History :-) favourites were 1a and 17d. A very Merry Christmas to one and all. Was 2.5*/4* for me.Now for the Toughie. Nice day in Central London for the shortest day, but get ready to batten down the hatches for tomorrow ! The Mayan Prophecy has come to naught so far. People were actually ringing NASA asking if they should commit suicide.

  28. If we have any complaints about this puzzle, it can only be that the enjoyable experience did not last long enough. Smiles and chuckles all the way. And our summer has well and truly arrived too, with warm sunny days for the start of our holiday season (although rain forecast for Christmas Day).
    Thanks Giovanni and Gazza.

    1. I’ve always thought it a little strange when friends of mine, one in NZ and one in OZ, talk of “BBQ’s on the beach” for Xmas day, but today it got up to 23C here which is very unusual at this time of year, 16C more usual. I could live with it though! Might well be on the beach at Benidorm on Xmas day (or a bar on the prom more likely).

      Best wishes for a great Xmas and a Happy New Year. to you both.

      BTW, you could have individual identities on the blog – pommers and pommette for example. Kiwi and Kiwiette might not work too well but I’m sure you could think of something – challenge for 2013! :grin:

  29. I, too, was flying before 15 across held me up. Had to intervene in an altercation at the checkout in Waitrose today to remind the warring parties that it was the season of goodwill.

    1. How nice to have some company in two ways. I also had trouble with 15a and no one else seems to have done so – just the last word – he was clearly in the something . . . ! And I also thought it was the season of goodwill – sorry about Waitrose – Tesco was diabolical too. I think we should remember something that Mary said earlier in the week – too many men and not enough good will!! Happy Christmas to you.

      1. Interesting – a lady(?) I knew once upon a lifetime was heard to say “too much goodwill here but not enough men” or words to that effect! Well, it was the sixties and she was a very nice girl :wink:

  30. Hi Gazza,
    TVM for the Pogues / Kirsty clip which lifted an otherwise grotty day.
    I have to be agog if “Fairytale” only made #29 in Noddy Holder’s top 50!!
    What were the rest – all Slade songs, probably.
    Have to agree that this is #1 with Jona Lewie / Cavalry a distant second.
    Thanks for all your monumental efforts and occasional help over the past year.
    Happy Christmas everyone.

  31. BTW Gazza, forgot to say thanks for the video of my top favourite Xmas track and the only one I can happily listen to at any time of year!

    Just thought, can’t be Xmas yet as I don’t remember hearing Grag Lake in the last couple of weeks!

  32. Great fun, and thanks and Happy Christmas to G & G for all they have done to make it so.
    **/***** for me.
    (And while looking on the bright side, not only is the world still here this evening but presumably this is the first of the increasingly lighter evenings!)

    1. I can never remember which way round it is – either morning or evening gets a few minutes worse for just a few days and then it’s all on the up. Don’t understand – think it’s something to do with the axis of the earth but it’s all far too clever for me!

  33. Just in case I can’t get a signal or am flood bound at or on the way to the New Forest tomorrow, can I just say thank you to BD, and to everyone who contributes to this blog in which ever form. Setters bloggers, and commenters have made me laugh day after day, and that’s what it is all about IMHO. Happy Christmas from me , Cynthia and Cuthbert

  34. First one I have finished in ages.Have not been doing the daily for months now and struggling more than a little to get the old grey matter back on the right frequency

  35. Like everyone I reallly enjoyed this seasonal crossword. Putting in “look”for 25d put paid to 27 a ,even with all the checking letters. Got 14d right away, but it took me ages to work why I was right . There are a lot of hills in Jerusalem.

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