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DT 26970

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26970

Hints and tips by Falcon

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

Welcome from Ottawa where the September weather has alternated between unseasonably cold and unseasonably warm. For the next few days, it seems, we will be in the latter phase of this cycle.Having been reassigned to join Pommers on the Thursday desk, I found today’s puzzle by Ray T to lie a bit toward the more difficult end of the scale. While I managed to complete the puzzle without resorting to the cheat sheet that Big Dave kindly provided, I did make generous use of my electronic aids. As for enjoyment, I think it sits solidly in four star territory.

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 Taught you French, pulled apart by Germany (7)
{TUTORED} – a charade of a French second person singular pronoun , a verb denoting pulled or ripped apart by force, and the IVR code for Germany

5a Grant Bono’s partner has hidden talent (7)
{CHARTER} – the clue refers not to the Irish rocker but to former pop star and US Congressman Sonny Bono; wrap his wife around a skill or talent to get a written grant by the sovereign or legislative power of a country

9a Close shaven, with head of hair cut (7)
{AIRLESS} – how a stuffy room might be described is also another term for having the head shaved with the first letter (head) of H(air) removed

10a Good sign producing cheer (7)
{GRATIFY} – G(ood) is followed by a verb meaning to sign, a treaty perhaps

11a Lady in far off fantasy world (9)
{FAIRYLAND} – an anagram (off) of the first three words of the clue

12a Peasant‘s oppression by Left (5)
{YOKEL} – an unsophisticated person (usually male) from the country is a charade of a type of implement that symbolises oppression followed by L(eft)

13a Baby creature almost alongside timid creature (5)
{COYPU} – a young dog missing its tail (almost) follows an adjective that might be used to describe a woman who makes a pretence of shyness

15a Battery‘s run-down in motorway (9)
{ARTILLERY} – battery in the sense of a military unit; feeling poorly in an important route in a system of roads

17a Insolence and anger gripping English supporter (9)
{BRASSIERE} – a colloquial term for insolence or effrontery is hooked to a synonym for anger with E(nglish) placed inside to create a lady’s undergarment

19a Shoe adopted by old Toulousain initially (5)
{SABOT} – a semi-all-in-one (or, possibly, even an all-in-one) clue; the solution is given by the initial letters of the first five words of the clue

22a Aroused all right in amazement (5)
{AWOKE} – a short informal way to express agreement or acceptance is inserted into a feeling of reverential respect mixed with fear or wonder

23a Feast is, I’d fancy, full (9)
{SATISFIED} – anagram (fancy) of the first three words of the clue

25a Front end of snub nose revolver (7)
{SHOOTER} – first letter (front end) of S(nub) plus a colloquial term (in Britain) for the nose; in North America, these are not noses but quite a different part of the (female) anatomy

26a Out of gear, the nude’s made from clay (7)
{EARTHEN} – hidden in (out of) “gear, the nude”

27a Conduct examination of girl’s school (7)
{DISSECT} – start with the most popular girl in Crosswordland including her ‘s accessory and add a group of people sharing similar ideas – albeit ones outside the mainstream

28a Nearing time, duck fight with gutless drunks (7)
{TOWARDS} – a charade of T(ime), a batsman’s score of nought in cricket, a very big fight, and D(runk)S (from which the guts have been removed)


1d Very loud, one in truck overturned creating congestion (7)
{TRAFFIC} – place the abbreviation for the musical direction for very loud plus the Roman numeral for one in a reversal (overturned) of a small truck

2d Footballer hugging provided shock (7)
{TERRIFY} – this former England captain is holding a conjunction used to introduce a conditional phrase

3d Whistling, craving topless … (5)
{REEDY} – remove the first letter (top) of a word meaning voracious (or, presumably, craving); craving would seem to be used here as an adjective, although I failed to find it listed as such in any of my favourite dictionaries

4d … ride, and gasp uncontrollably taking a knock (9)
{DISPARAGE} – an anagram (uncontrollably) of RIDE and GASP into which A is inserted

5d Conservative leader past it? Shut up! (5)
{CAGED} – shut up like animals in a zoo; the first (leading) letter of C(onservative) plus an adjective used to describe a person the setter presumably regards as past their prime

6d Lily, after a daft hit, flipped (9)
{AMARYLLIS} – I’m sure the gardeners among you will get this one; start with A (from the clue) and after it position a reversal of a charade formed from an informal term for daft or foolish and a verb meaning to hit (as one vehicle might do to another); this plant is also known as the Belladonna Lily  or Naked Lady Lily

7d Take a leak outside with flash (7)
{TWINKLE} – an informal term meaning to relieve oneself containing (outside) W(ith)

8d Could be Queen‘s payment for performance (7)
{ROYALTY} – a double definition; the class to which Her Majesty belongs or a payment to a playwright , composer or songwriter for a performance of their work

14d Get out of sun’s heat, heading inside (9)
{UNSHEATHE} – get out one’s sword, perhaps; the solution is hidden (inside) “sun’s heat, heading”

16d Arranged matter over hospital department’s handling (9)
{TREATMENT} – an anagram (arranged) of MATTER followed by (over in a down clue) the most frequently visited department of the Crosswordland Hospital

17d Bass weighed and cooked (7)
{BRAISED} – B(ass) plus weighed (as an anchor)

18d Endlessly stimulate following a second of love (7)
{AMOROUS} – a charade of A (from the clue), a short word for a short period of time, and a synonym for stimulate or awaken without its final E

20d More careless loose talk? (7)
{BLITHER} – a double definition; without worries or cares to a greater extent and to talk long-windedly without making very much sense

21d News, it’s old, racket with gang’s head captured (7)
{TIDINGS} – an archaic or literary contraction for it is containing (captured) a charade of a loud, unpleasant, and prolonged noise and the first letter (head) of G(ang)

23d Row around river to find fish (5)
{SPRAT} – a trivial or petty fight or quarrel around R(iver)

24d The woman’s about right, women nag (5)
{SHREW} – start with a third person singular feminine pronoun containing R(ight) to which is added W(omen)

I think one would be hard-pressed to find a poor clue in this puzzle. Among my favourites are 17a (where I thought the definition would be “insolence”), 26a (where it took me forever to see the hidden word) and 18d (just for the image that the surface reading conjures up).

I normally do the syndicated DT puzzles as they are published in the National Post here in Canada (about three months after they appear in the UK). Since I also read Big Dave’s blog as the puzzles appear here,  I am three months behind on it as well. However, scanning a few recent posts, I see that the style of reviews seems to have changed somewhat ( I guess I missed the memo). I have tried to adapt my review to what I perceive to be the new style.

The Quick crossword pun: {stalk} + {home} = {Stockholm}

82 comments on “DT 26970

    1. I’m glad I am not the only one to find this week’s crosswords much much harder than usual. Eventually got there in the end but what a struggle…and not particularly an enjoyable one at times.

      1. Ok. So I finished it. Well, 50% of it. The rest with the aid of this superb blog. Thanks to everyone.

    2. Needed lots of help – thanks Falcon. But, I would have to say that this has been a week of two halves. I found Monday and Tuesday really easy, even to the point that I though that Tuesday was also a Rufus. However, yesterday and today were at the other end of the spectrum. Hoping that Giovanni will be kind to us tomorrow.

  1. I got through this one without too much problem, then spent a while working out what 10a was.
    3*/3* from me. Thanks to RayT, and to Falcon for the notes.

    Back to try and finish the toughie, which is not coming easily to me today.

    1. The verbosity of the clues in the “other puzzle” today is in stark contrast to Ray T’s concision in this one.

        1. The “other puzzle”:-

          A lot of verbiage and very little white space – put me off from the very beginning! Lost interest half way through reading the first 3 across clues!

    2. 10a was my last one in – my first thought was signs of the zodiac, but that obviously wasn’t right. But after some head-scratching today, I did manage to finish, so felt quite pleased with myself as I was tempted to give up and read my book half way through! Thanks to Ray T for an excellent brain workout.

  2. Stuck – as usual. Can someone please explain to me 3d and 4d. What is the significance of the full stops after 3d and before 4d?
    I’ve had a good look around this site but I cannot find the answer

    1. The ellipses in these clues are meant to “link” the surface readings. However, for solving purposes they can be ignored.

      Sometimes an ellipsis can be used to indicate a link beetween successive answers, but that’s not the case here.

      1. Thanks Qix. I have now cheated and looked at the two answers. I can see no connection at all. As you said, “but that’s not the case here”. So, in future I will ignore all ellipses and try to solve the clues as individual clues.

    2. As Qix has said, the ellipses in this case link the surface readings. The surface readings for the two clues are pretty mundane when taken individually. However, when linked to form a single sentence, the surface reading becomes far more interesting.

  3. Agree with Falcon on this one – at the tricky end of the scale but enjoyable.
    It was 13a that held me up for a while as I was looking at it the wrong way round! I had the C at the beginning so thought the ‘baby creature almost’ was going to be CU(b) followed by timid to give another animal, d’oh! CUSHY fits the wordplay but not the definition :grin:

    Agree also with Falcon’s favourites, and also think 7d deserves amention.

    Thanks to RayT and Falcon

    1. I was thinking along the cub line as well. Getting the middle letter in showed me the error of my ways.

      1. No, it’s on the ‘back-burner’ at the moment – too much else going on with M-i-L’s house move etc. Not fogotten though.

  4. i think ***/**** is about right.For some reason did the right half first and was struggling to start the left halt when i got a couple of key clues and it became straightforward.I thought 7d must be to relieve oneself , thanks to Falcon for confirmation,is this word still used? it was when shirley temple was in her prime-t—t—little star- sorry i digress.Lots of good clues ,thanks Ray T for a most enjoyable start to the day.

  5. Thanks Falcon for getting us out of a muddle. Having got the initial C for 5d we put in ‘cover’, which is a perfectly reasonable answer but, unfortunately, the wrong one – which caused a major hold up.

  6. I Wasn’t going to do this puzzle because it’s Ray T and, like Brian, I have problems with them. However, having seen 17a and 25a as I flicked down the blog I got some encouragement so, like Tim C, I’m putting on my hard hat and getting stuck in

    1. Absolutely impossible today. 4 clues completed and the rest could be Russian for all I know.
      So it’s 5+ star for me and a big fat zero for enjoyment

      1. Never mind Peter don’t be discouraged, it’s usually only once a fortnight we have a RayT puzzle, however, if you have time go back and fore to the puzzle throughout the day and I’m sure a few more will fall into place, I could never have finished it without my books and machines! I find with RayT that when I have eventually figured out what he means I have no idea what the word is, this is where the Chambers Crossword Dictionary comes in, it is also worth working alongside the blog, once it is up to see if that helps

        1. Mary, how kind of you and how encouraging. They say faint heart never won a fair lady, so can I assume faint heart never solves a Ray T as well!

          1. I used to fear Ray T, but seem to have got the hang of him now. Unfortunately I can’t be much help to you, Peter, in getting to grips with his style – something obviously just clicked one day and instead of dreading alternate Thursdays, I now look forward to them. I hope you have the same experience sometime soon!

        2. Thank you all for your encouragement. I’ve now decided RayT holds no fear for me – even if I don’t understand his clues!

  7. Oh dear, back to the bad old days of an incomprehensible Ray T puzzle. My heart sinks when I see his lack of phrases and hidden anagrams. Roll on tomorrows Giovanni.

      1. A few months ago I’d have agreed with Brian and Mary, but I’ve learned to appreciate Ray T. How I got on to his wavelength I have no idea – it just seemed to happen!

        1. I actually thought I had got to grips with Ray T some months ago but I’m afraid to-day’s was beyond me and I actually gave up on it ,something I rarely do ,so not a happy bunny. I could only think of The Edge as Bono’s partner for ages then thought of the Spanish politician Bono,decided it couldn’t possibly be him before I remembered Sonny! No enjoyment.

          1. My heart sinks (on a thursday) when its not RAY,, I rarely solve them without help but thats not what its all about.

  8. Oh dear!! The bloggers have all been playing musical chairs this week and now we have a Ray T puzzle when, I think, we had one of his last week so I wasn’t expecting him today – TOTALLY confused of Oxford! Not that I’d complain if we had him every week! It was only when I got down to 19a (one of his trademarks) that I looked properly at everything else and realised it was him. I enjoyed it very much – would anyone expect me to say anything else?
    I think I agree with the 3* for difficulty but would give it 5* for enjoyment.
    17a took me a while as I thought the definition was “Insolence” and, just for a change, I missed the two “hidden in the middle” answers for ages.
    LOTS of favourites – 9 and 11a and 1, 8 and 24d, although I’d quite like to say that not ALL women nag!!
    With thanks to Ray T and Falcon.

  9. A very difficult RayT today. However, I managed to solve unaided apart from 20d. Not as much amusement as usual, although 7d and 17a produced a few schoolboy chuckles.

    Thanks to RayT & Falcon

    ps. Falcon, though I expect you to be fast asleep at the moment – the hidden solution to 27a is not hidden.

    pps. Is the former England captain about to become the next England captain?

      1. Given that thing about will people remember celebrities/sports stars etc when they come to solve the crossword in ten or twenty years time, my thought on solving the clue was ‘I do hope not’!

  10. Good afternoon Falcon and thanks for the blog, although I didn’t need it today, I needed lots of help from elctronic friends and CCD, what would I do without them!!!! I found it deserving a place on the ‘toughie’ page and didn’t really have a favourite clue although I did like 9a, good luck everyone at CC level and just above, like myself, this is one to put you off IMHO if you don’t have lots of perservation :-D

  11. Nothing to do with the crossword, but I found it very strange that there was no mention of Hillsborough on the front page of today’s Daily Telegraph! Nothing in the Leader either!

    Maybe that’s why I only buy the paper for the Crossword!

    1. If you look at the top of the front page, it tells you that it has devoted a ‘Sports Special’ to Hillsborough.

      1. CS, Not in my edition of the paper! Thursday, September 13, 2012 ***

        Does the *** indicate the edition?

        I agree, full coverage in the Sports Pages but…

  12. Agree that Ray T did seem to be Beam-ing at us with this one, as it took us quite a bit longer than usual. The little creature in 13a hid from us for a while as, like Pommers, we were looking for a shortened cub rather than pup. All good fun though. Favourites 9a and 7d. Thanks RayT and Falcon.

  13. I thought this was on the tricky side for a Ray T – it took me longer than usual to sort it out and I only realised it was him when I got 17a and looked at the Quick clues. Thanks Ray for the crossword – I do like the way you always include a 7d or similar in your puzzles. Thanks to Falcon for the blog too.

    Despite its verbosity, the Toughie took me a smidge less time than the backpager.

        1. It’s been that way for 3½ years, and is set by the blogger. Read it as the BD Crossword Blog rating. It is, believe it or not, meant to help. If some people had their way it would be set to 5* difficulty every day, and what use would that be?

          1. It’s good to see how different people rate the crosswords.

            It’s interesting to know what people think, it all adds to the enjoyment.

            Keep up the good work.

  14. The details concerning the illustration for 17a may be of interest – in case someone wants to add it to their Christmas list. “Victorias Secret’s Fantasy Bra for 2004 features a 70-carat pear-shaped diamond in the center and 2,900 pave diamonds in an 18-carat white gold setting. Over 275 hours of labor went into the bra which costs $10 million.” But be truthful – how many even noticed it was made from diamonds?

      1. It is in Chambers, 11th Edition as the last bit in the entry for hooter.

        … (in pl) breasts (N AM vulgar sl).

        It is also found in the Oxford Dictionary of English.

        Although the term may be vulgar, it is not considered obscene. There is a major restaurant chain in North America called Hooters, whose waitresses (see illustration above) are well-endowed young women wearing skimpy outfits. They are not hired for their big noses!

        1. My mistake – it’s also in Chambers 12th Edition – lost my concentration for a minute! Just looking at the pictures!

      2. In my 12th edition, page 733 under hoot!

        hooter noun

        * Someone who hoots
        * A siren or steam-whistle at a factory, mine, etc.
        * A nose, especially a large or ugly one (slang)
        * (in plural) breasts (N American vulgar slang)

      3. I’d never heard of “hooters”, with that meaning, either but then a few months ago I’d never heard of “jugs” with the same meaning. I think this blog is completing my education! :smile:

          1. Some might say living a sheltered life but, having started training as a student nurse in a large teaching hospital with lots of medical students, I had thought not – that is until I started reading this blog!! :smile:

  15. I managed to struggle through three quarters of this, but got completely stuck in the SW corner and needed the hints to finish. Far too difficult for me — and yet there was a time, some months back, when I thought I understood Ray T! However, I thank him for the challenge and also Falcon for the explanations. :-)

  16. Oh help ! I really, really hope I’m not alone in thinking this was hard! It’s three months since I started doing this DT cryptic crossword and was really going well…………until today. I couldn’t get into the thinking at all, until of course I resorted to the hints! I do hope it gets easier.
    Does everyone else find some setters are more on their wave-length than others?

    1. Yes – everyone has their favourites and everyone has their bete (or betes) noire – sorry can’t do circumflex on this keyboard! It’s all to do with wavelength stuff. I happen to love Ray T crosswords and I find other setters more difficult – I sometimes find Rufus, on Mondays, quite difficult and it’s generally accepted that Mondays are probably the easiest of the week. Just keep going and when you get stuck look at a few hints. You will learn loads from this great blog! Good luck! :smile:

  17. Not so easy this one from Ray T but, at my age, it’s jolly good exercise for the brain. Thanks to him and Falcon. 25a: I hadn’t heard of that part of the female anatomy being referred to as hooters; maybe I’ve led a sheltered life. I erected a post in my garden which is visited by Hooters on many an evening, both Barn and Tawny. Also puts me in mind of a house name adopted by two gentlemen living together, just up the road: “The Two Hoots”!

    1. So why do they call themselves “hoots” – or is this something else that I don’t know? Don’t understand!
      I’d never heard of hooters with that meaning either, and I didn’t think I’d led a sheltered life – having been reading this blog for some time now I’m beginning to change my mind!!

  18. RayT at his very best. Loved 17a 2d and 7d. So many good clues as usual. Thursday, RayT, sunshine, what more could one want?

  19. Thanks to Ray T and to Falcon for the review & hints. Way too tough for me, ended up 10 answers short. Got 7 from the hints, but had to look up 3..Had the wrong Bono for 5a. Couldn’t remember 6d,and missed the hidden word in 14d. Ray T did me up life a kipper today :-) i still enjoyed it, Favourites were 25a & 8d. Lovely weather today in Central London.

  20. My first Ray T puzzle, I believe. I have not figured out how you all know the setter – the online edition that I get doesn’t tell me the setter’s name. Perhaps it is given in the paper edition? Anyway, like Annidrum, I couldn’t get The Edge out of my mind so stumbled on 5a. Struggled through the rest with the exception of the SW corner which I couldn’t get my head around at all. 10 words missing when I finally threw in the towel and resorted to BD. Thanks to Falcon for putting me out of my misery. Lovely day here in New York. Soccer season starts this weekend, so hoping the sunshine stays for a bit.

    1. The newspaper doesn’t name the setters of the back-page puzzle, only of the Toughie.

      However, enough of the setters drop by here to give a pretty good idea of who’s doing what. Some setters, like Ray T, have particular habits that make their puzzles easier to identify.

    2. Stoic Stan in the FAQ page there is an entry

      How do you know the names of the setters?

      That should be helpful to you

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