DT 27012 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 27012

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 27012

Hints and tips by Falcon

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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

Greetings from Ottawa where it was still October 31 when I sat down to write this review which means that it is Halloween, a night when people dress up in scary costumes and children go door to door extorting candy from residents in return for a promise not to do damage (trick or treat). We have also been experiencing the tail end of Hurricane Sandy. Fortunately for us, the storm had expended most of its destructive force by the time it arrived here and we are only getting some moderately high winds and a couple of days of rain.

Today’s puzzle from RayT seems to be rather on the tame side. Having blazed through three quadrants, I was ready to award it two stars for difficulty when I became seriously mired in the southwest corner. As a result, I bumped the rating up a tad. The puzzle is relatively devoid of anagrams so I know some folks will likely be disappointed.

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 Breed for long stretch with speed (11)
{PROLIFERATE} – we begin with a charade of a preposition indicating support for a cause or position plus what is effectively the maximum term for which one can be confined to prison and a synonym for speed; the Americans like to impose longer sentences but I don’t think anyone has actually ever served a longer sentence

9a Degradation of Herod in Galilee (7)
{ERODING} –a word meaning wearing away is hidden (of) in the final three words of the clue

10a Shrinks from bullies boxing ears, oddly (6)
{COWERS} – shrinks from fear, that is; the bullies referred to in the clue might be found in the pasture rather than the school yard; a loose term for the members of any domestic breed of cattle a word meaning frightens into submission is placed around (boxing) the odd letters of EaRs [it seems that my original solution was a load of bull; as numerous readers have commented, the clue has nothing to do with cattle]

12a Dessert following recipe produces beams (7)
{RAFTERS} –another name for the sweet course at the end of meal follows R(ecipe) to make the beams that support your roof

13a Feast on heads of sea and river fish (7)
{SARDINE} –a verb meaning to eat a meal (perhaps one that is a bit more grand than normal) follows the initial letters (heads) of three words found in the clue

14a Groove trailing street parade (5)
{STRUT} –a groove, such as might be made by tyres in a muddy lane, follows ST(reet)

15a Idiots do vocal turn for judging (9)
{ASSESSING} –the usual Crosswordland idiots perform a musical number

17a Show envy after Queen record (9)
{REPRESENT} –start with a verb meaning to have a feeling of regretful desire for another person’s better fortune;then precede it with the abbreviation for the Latin term for Queen and Crosswordland’s most popular record format

20a Tory leader isn’t commonly for smear (5)
{TAINT} –the first letter (leader) of T(ory) plus a slangy alternative for “isn’t”

22a Relatives like housing free (7)
{AUNTIES} –a preposition denoting in the role of is wrapped around (housing) a verb meaning to set something free from its binds

24a Craftsman in part is a novice (7)
{ARTISAN} – …and is also hidden in the last four words of the clue

25a Victorian female? (6)
{SHEILA} – not a lady from the Victorian Era, but a lass from the city state down under [Thank you to Only fools for reminding me that unlike Victoria in Canada (which is a city), the one in Australia is a state]

26a Spoils, losing wicket, batsman’s time (7)
{INNINGS} –start with a sum of money that you may have acquired through a streak of good luck at the casino; then remove W(icket) from the front of it; the result is a cricket player’s turn at batting

27a Star in spot orating terribly (11)
{PROTAGONIST} – an anagram (terribly) of SPOT ORATING becomes the main character in a theatrical production; we nearly got through the first half without an anagram


2d Splendid chaps wearing right togs (7)
{RAIMENT} – this clothing is created by wrapping the two-letter abbreviation for R(igh)T around a term originally used to designate a first-class ship in Lloyd’s Register of Shipping plus some male persons; here’s one for the ladies

3d Member, one’s slow to pass law (9)
{LEGISLATE} –a charade of a lower limb, the Roman numeral for one, the S from the possessivedesignator, and a synonym for overdue

4d Initially fix on centre, usually significant (5)
{FOCUS} –the initial letters of the last five words in this all-in-one clue form a word denoting the centre of attention, which is usually – but not always – something of importance

5d Honours socialists suppressing conflict (7)
{REWARDS} –an informal name for socialists is surrounding (suppressing) an armed conflict

6d Extremities covered in winter, minimally (7)
{TERMINI} –the ends of a railway line are hidden in the final two words of the clue

7d Mundane river ends in River Test (11)
{TERRESTRIAL} –mundane in the sense of belonging or relating to this world, not another, spiritual world; the two ends of R(ive)R are inserted in a river found in northeast England and to this is added a word denoting the act of using something on an experimental basis

8d Conservative with tender for treasury (6)
{COFFER} –C(onservative) plus a proposal to do work or supply goods

11d Importance of Genesis with new version (11)
{WEIGHTINESS} –anagram (new version) of GENESIS WITH

16d Job involves travelling to Tunisia (9)
{SITUATION} –anagram (involves travelling) of TO TUNISIA

18d He gasps embracing hot ‘cougar‘ (7)
{PANTHER} –insert H(ot) into someone who gasps to get another name for this large American feline

19d One favours best English literature first (7)
{ELITIST} –a charade of E(nglish), LIT(erature) and a shortened form of first with the Arabic number replaced by a Roman one

20d Eat nuts developing medical condition … (7)
{TETANUS} –an anagram (developing) of EAT NUTS produces a condition also known as lockjaw

21d … for nuts it’s silly eating seconds (6)
{INSANE} –another word for silly containing (eating) S(econds); the definition is “for nuts” as in belonging or relating to, or for, the mentally ill

23d Sun babe turned up accepting new vulgarism (5)
{SLANG} – start with S(un) and follow it with a reversal (turned up, it being a down clue) of an informal term for a woman; then insert (accepting) N(ew); why stop at one babe

There were no “knock your socks off” clues today, at least none that struck me as such (well, perhaps 6d once I saw the photo opportunity). I thought the hidden word clues (which seemed to be more numerous than usual) were all very well done. I liked 27a where the surface imagery of a stage performer in the spotlight delivering lines poorly was so appropriate. I also smiled when the penny finally dropped in regard to the Australian miss.

The Quick crossword pun: {pill} + {hut} + {hawk} = {pillow talk}

72 comments on “DT 27012

  1. Way way too hard. Really struggled. Especially the SW corner. And a cougar is NOT a panther. Panther is a type of leopard…at least according to Chambers.

    Some tenuous synonyms, I thought, such as job = situation. But having said all that still enjoyable….3 is my favourite..so thanks RayT and Falcon.

    1. Job=Situation tenuous? Have you never looked at the Situations Vacant part of newspapers (especially on Thursday)

    2. Roger,

      Continue reading in your Chambers and you will find that, in North America, panther is another name for a puma (which also goes by the names cougar and mountain lion). If Australian lasses are fair game, why not American felines?

      1. I use the online version and it gives this

        panther noun 1 a leopard, especially a black one, formerly believed to be a different species. 2 N Amer a p.m.. pantherine or pantherish adj.
        ETYMOLOGY: 13c: from Latin panthera, from Greek panther leopard.

        1. In the second definition, click on the link to “a p.m.” and you arrive at:

          p.m., pm, P.M. or PM abbreviation 1 post meridiem. 2 post mortem.

          This is very clearly a mistake and the second definition should undoubtedly be puma (as it is in the printed edition).

  2. I think Ray had the pink fluffy slippers on when he set this one.
    Thanks to him, and to Falcon for the review. 1.5*/3* for me. 25a was my favourite.

  3. Falcon, I would hardly say that this was relatively devoid of anagrams, just having a quick second glance at it, I can see 4 straight off.

    Nice gentle puzzle today – are we just being mollycoddled so far ready for a real stinker from The Don tomorrow? No real problems with this one, just with some of my speeling – managed to spell 5D wrong somehow and got it wrong again when I tried to correct it! Must be the early onset of AlkaSeltzer.

    28A was my favourite today although I did enjoy 7D due to the extensive word play in sorting it out.

    1. I did say “relatively devoid” rather than “completely devoid”. I don’t think it is uncommon for puzzles to contain twice the number of anagrams found in this puzzle.

  4. I too ground to a halt in the southwest corner but got there with the help of the hints. I did not particularly enjoy this one. Thanks to setter & to Falcon for the excellent review.

  5. Morning Falcon and thanks for the blog – you’ve excelled yourself with the illustrations today! I agree that the puzzle was a bit tame for Ray T.
    In 10a I think that cows is probably a verb meaning bullies or intimidates rather than the bovine variety.

    1. That hadn’t entered my mind, but you could well be right. However, for me, that sort of spoils the clue as “cows” (as a verb) would be just another part of speech derived from the same root as the solution.

          1. . . . and another one for you, pommers – :grin:
            Do hope that all is OK with your elderly ‘rellies’ – a wonderful friend of mine calls them ‘the wrinklies’! Can’t bear to think of our girls calling us that but I’m sure they will – what they call us at the moment I don’t really want to think about!!

  6. Thought it was going to be a breeze until the SW corner .2.5/3.5 for me .Liked 7d,25a and 27a .

    1. It most definitely is :oops:

      It was a later night than usual for me. We are still on summer time here (Daylight Savings Time), so only four hours behind the UK – meaning I was working an hour later into the wee hours on the review. Anyway that’s my story.

  7. Oh dear, Oh dear.
    Rather docile for RayT.
    Pleasurable, though.
    Thanks, and Falcon, great PWOARS.

  8. I enjoyed this – the puzzle and the hints – although I have to confess that I do like Ray T best when he’s wearing his very naughty hat and he isn’t today.
    Like others I ground to a bit of a halt in bottom left corner – 25a took me ages but made me laugh when I finally got there. 27a also took a while – could see it was an anagram but just couldn’t get it. I was slow with 22a and 23d. I spent too long trying to make 9a an anagram.
    I liked 12 and 17a and 16 and 19d. My absolute favourite was 25a.
    With thanks to Ray T and Falcon.
    Raining again, and cold. :sad:

  9. Agree with the BD rating. Didn’t have a problem with the SW corner apart from 25a – just couldn’t see it even though I was on the right track. Regds to all.

  10. I guess I agree about the difficulty level because I was able to do quite a large portion of it, unaided, even the cricket reference (I once listened to a commentery from Egbastion when there was no play due to rain or poor light.It was very enteraining.)Thanks to Falcon and RayT ,great fun.Sun and blue skies here and small garden birds foraging outside.

  11. Very enjoyable thank you Ray. I expect Falcon heard the penny drop when I realised the solution to 25a. Thanks to him for the review – not sure about the illustrations :D

  12. Enjoyable stuff so many thanks to RayT and to Falcon for an equally entertaining review!

    I must have a warped mind as I got 25a straight away :grin: That was my favourite.

  13. Found this one a bit of a struggle in parts
    Thanks for the review and to the setter.

    Just finished another one Petitjeans workshops, great stuff, and a valuable insight into the setters mind.

  14. Today I agree with everyone else. I, too, got stuck in the Southwest corner.

    Although it is not a classic Ray T,, I enjoyed today’s, apart from the Southwest corner.
    No favourite clues I Enjoyed most of them. So it’s a three star three star for me today.

    So it’s thanks to a softer, more cuddly Ray T for the puzzle and to Falcon for the blog.

  15. Thanks to the Master for another great puzzle, even if it was a little hygienic by his standards. All the better for not using too many anagrams. Favourite was 25 and I am hoping to se a lot of these come December. Also liked 6 8 13 19 and 22. I think we should have RayT every week, just to annoy Mary.

  16. Thanks to RayT for an enjoyable and straightforward crossword and to Falcon for a very enjoyable review.

  17. Thanks to Ray T and to Falcon for the review & hints. 3*/3* for me today. I got beaten by 25a,had to use the hint. Started with 9a, finished with 25a. Favourites were 13a & 7,21&23d. The latter made me laugh out loud because the answer showed new in slag, which Ray T obviously didn’t mean :-) Nice sunny morning in Central London, but the clouds are gathering.

  18. I didn’t find this to challenging today but very enjoyable. Lots of head scratching before the penny dropped for 25a, very clever I thought. **/**** rating for me. Thanx to Compiler and to Falcon for his review, enjoyed the pictorial illustrations especially 6d.

  19. Afternoon Falcon thanks for the hints, I started this very late today and it’s just not the same then, I didn’t find it as easy as most people but them I very rarely fine RayT puzzles easy, so wouldn’t have finished without your hints today, I must sau you have come up with some very interesting pictures today, what a long sock one of the gentlemem in 6d has ;-) , the pictures made up for the lack of enjoyment for me in todays puzzle :-)

    1. So glad you enjoyed the pictures. Finding the picture of the “gentlemen” in the snow was rather fortuitous. Having already employed the phrase “knock you socks off” in my summary, I just couldn’t resist it.

  20. Like others, held up in SW corner – due to a specific blunder rather than general incompetence ! As a consequence had to seek help from the hints to sort it out.

    Thank you Ray T and Falcon for your review. You must have a library of interesting photos ! I remember the Roe-Bust one !

  21. That was fun!

    My favourites were 25A and 19D, and 7D which was also the last one in.

    Thanks to RayT for a gentle challenge, and to Falcon for the pictures :-)

  22. I also enjoyed the pictures and the puzzle. And found the SW corner sticky, and thought cows rather than bulls at 10a, and the clue I liked best was 3d. Many thanks to Ray T and Falcon. :-)

  23. I was expecting a difficult crossword today, but like the rest of the week it did’nt rise above**, what will tomorrow bring- retribution? Reminds me of a very fast looking speedboat i once saw called Armageddon TWO, i think it was irish.Thanks Falcon for the blog, i had assumed that part of 12a ie cows was as in ‘cows into submission,as did gazza, anyway most enjoyable.

  24. Started this last night as, like Falcon, I live in Ottawa. Figured I could easily finish it off this morning but took a long time staring at the SW corner. Actually needed the hint with 25a. Obviously need to rewatch some Monty
    Python – Bruce, this is Bruce ……….

    1. Oh dear your lord I’d forgot, rule number 6, there is no rule number 6. Thank you so so much Catherine, youtube here I go!

  25. Yes a rather tame puzzle today.
    Aside from the four 11-letter edge clues, I liked : 12a, 17a, 22a, 25a, 5d & 20d.

    Falcon – for 10a why do you show a picture of a bull and not a cow??

    1. It was not meant to be a red herring. There was actually method to my misguided madness.

      I had supposed that “bullie” was either British slang for a bull or a child’s word for a bull or maybe even both (like “gee gee” for a horse). The word “cow” (in addition to meaning a female bovine) can loosely be used to mean a member of any domestic breed of cattle (male or female). So, in common parlance, a bull may sometimes be referred to as a cow. Unfortunately, it appears I should have done a bit more research before putting fingers to the keyboard.

      Had my supposition been correct, it would have made a rather nice clue. However, the consensus would clearly appear to be that “cows” actually comes from the verb meaning to frighten someone into submission. As I mentioned elsewhere, I would presume that this word derives from the same root as the solution “cowers” (to shrink in fear) which – in my mind – makes it a bit less elegant clue than I had originally thought.

      I did note, though, that RayT did not avail himself of the opportunity to clue ER as Queen.

      1. Hi Falcon,

        Both from Danish, according to Chambers. ‘Kue’, to subdue, and ‘Kure’, to lie quiet.


      2. I was only joking – not being serious at all. I enjoyed your hints and pictures (well, most of them!) I am SO sorry if you thought I really was being critical – I wasn’t. :smile

        1. Kath,

          No offence taken. Your comment was very apropos and made me smile. This is not the first time (and likely not the last) where I get tripped up on British English. As you see, I sometimes even imagine British expressions where none exist :smile:

          In Canada, we have traditionally tended to favour British spelling but we are so inundated with American (US) media that both British and US words and spellings tend to get used interchangeably here. Of course, much of the slang that has entered your language in the last couple of hundred years is also probably pretty much unknown here.

  26. Well, wasn’t that a fine crossword. I am not normally keen on RayT puzzles but this one had the right number of anagrams, cleverly disguised, to allow entry and sufficient puzzlement to allow enjoyment. Well done RayT and many thanks to Fal for the few hints that I did need

  27. We, as always, appreciated and enjoyed this offering from RayT. 25a was actually one that we glanced at and wrote straight in. One of the few advantages of living so close to our friends/rivals on the other side of the Tasman Sea.
    Thanks RayT and Falcon.
    PS. It is good to see that the players in the photo have the right shaped balls.

    1. To the best of my knowledge, the photo shows members of a British rugby team and was posted to a Facebook group called “Let’s get naked in the snow UK” on or about January 2010 (when Britain apparently received an usually large dump of snow). I actually found the photo on a website based in Xiamen, China.

  28. Here I am!

    Many thanks to Falcon for the review… and to all who left a comment, of course.


    1. Oh good – we thought that you had disappeared, with your naughty hat – do hope that aforementioned article of clothing is firmly on your head in a couple of weeks time!

  29. Re Falcon’s commentary to 1a – I once had to serve a 120 year sentence. It was on a working project that lasted six weeks. But as Einstein knew…

    And btw I didn’t think this tame at all. it was a grim challenge. I say that because I managed to solve it. :-)

  30. Thanks for the hi, Big Dave, and spot on with “Moley” – home nickname, I’m embarrassed to admit! Am relatively house-trained, Kath, so unlikely to do too much damage…Slow start but then steady progress today though stumped ultimately by 7d – nice clue, just never got it. “Sheila” made me smile too. Cheers to setter, reviewer and contributors.

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