DT 27018 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 27018

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 27018

Hints and tips by pommers

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ****

Hola from the Vega Baja, where pobbers seebs to have yet adother code id the dose!! Two days of cold and rain haven’t helped.

Thought I’d do the blog tonight as I may be “hors de combat” tomorrow with some serious man-flu! This puzzle was quite a bit of fun I thought and it came as something of a relief after my last attempt at blogging what I described at the time as a recycled Toughie! There’s a nice mix of clue types and nothing too mind-bending.

The clues I like most are in blue and the answers can be seen by highlighting the space between the curly brackets. 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 Chain reaction‘s unstable end? Come off it! (6,6)
{DOMINO EFFECT} – It’s an anagram (unstable) of END COME OFF IT. Always nice when the first across clue goes straight in!

9a After drink around mid-afternoon, gets up and staggers (9)
{SURPRISES} – Take a word for to drink (3) and place it around R (middle of afteRnoon) and follow with a word for gets up, in the morning perhaps, and you’ll get a word for staggers, as in astonishes.This clue could be an &lit description of me on a Sunday!

10a Return of a New Age scene (5)
{ARENA} – To get the scene of some action you need A(from the clue), N(ew) and another word for an age and then reverse the lot (return of).

11a On holiday, taking in New York regardless (6)
{ANYWAY} – A word for on holiday, or not at home, and insert (taking in) the usual abbreviation for New York.

12a Girl and small fellows say, dress up (8)
{DISGUISE} – A charade of a short girl’s name (2), S(mall) and a word which sounds like (say) some fellows or men.This is cleverer than I first thought as it turns out the last five letters are a word with an archaic meaning of “to dress up”!

13a Airmen flying in aerobatics initially showing fibre (6)
{RAFFIA} – Our Boys in Blue (airmen) followed by the first letters (initially) of the next three words.

15a Novel girl covering routine, large and rude (8)
{TACTLESS} – The female heroine of a Thomas Hardy novel is placed around (covering) a routine or performance and L(arge).Last in! Spent ages trying to do something with LASS around the outside as it fits the checkers, d’oh!

18a Ply tense partygoers with Ecstasy (8)
{TRAVERSE} – It’s ply in the sense that a ship might ply the trade routes.Start with T(ense) and follow with some partygoers and E(cstasy).

19a Animal back in flat urban surroundings (6)
{BRUTAL} – Animal as an adjective. It’s hidden (in . . .surroundings) in FLAT URBAN but reversed (back).

21a Badly off being run down on street (8)
{STRAPPED} – If you’re badly off you’re ******** for cash.Start with the usual abbreviation for street and follow with a word for run down, as in criticised.

23a Bring out criminal to be heard? (6)
{ELICIT} – This word sounds like (to be heard) a word meaning criminal or illegal. It’s only the first letter that’s different.

26a Tedium, being embraced by drunken nuisance (5)
{ENNUI} – This tedium or boredom, which I don’t think we’ve seen for a while, is hidden (embraced by) in drunken nuisance.

27a Wise to accept Catholic anger for blasphemy (9)
{SACRILEGE} – Take a word for wise and insert (to accept) C(atholic) and a word for anger.

28a Spooks from Shakespeare’s opening moving centre stage (6,6)
{SECRET AGENTS} – These spooks or spies are S (Shakespeare’s opening) followed by an anagram(moving) of CENTRE STAGE.


1d Gloom somehow spread around Italy (7)
{DESPAIR} – An anagram (somehow) of SPREAD placed around I(taly).

2d Drunk compiler’s admitted boob (5)
{MERRY} – Drunk or at least tipsy!How the compiler may refer to something he owns placed around (admitted) boob, not one of those but to make a mistake!Do I feel a photo opportunity? – hmm, perhaps not.

3d Rodent following piper finally in childlike story (9)
{NARRATIVE} – Take R (pipeR finally) and follow with a rodent (3) and place inside a word for childlike or unsophisticated. Quite like the memories of the Pied Piper that this clue reminded me of.

4d Stand for artist endlessly showing dexterity (4)
{EASE} – Dexterity in the sense you can do something without really trying too hard.It’s an artist’s stand without its last letter (endlessly).

5d Fat Elvis performed for party (8)
{FESTIVAL} – A party is an anagram (performed) of FAT ELVIS.When I first read the clue I rather hoped that Fat Elvis was going to be the definition!

6d Group with grand ringing sound (5)
{CLANG} – A group or family followed by G(rand).

7d Incumbent Obama to lose power? (8)
{RESIDENT} – Take the initial P off (lose Power) what Barack Obama was when this clue was written. . . . and what he still is for the next four years. Was this meant to be prophetic?

8d Pet concerns over school head (6)
{CARESS} – Pet as in cuddle.Some concerns or worries placed before (over in a down clue) S (School head).

14d Sweet subsidy supporting female artist (8)
{FRAGRANT} – Sweet as in sweet smelling.A subsidy, to a student perhaps, placed after (supporting in a down clue) F(emale) and the usual artist.

16d Sensational redhead trouble in affair (9)
{THRILLING} – Take R(Red head) and a word for trouble and place in a word for an affair.

17d Mugs almost offended judge (8)
{ASSESSOR} – Some mugs or stupid people followed by a word for offended or upset (slightly American) without the last letter (almost).

18d One tries  hanging over bed (6)
{TESTER} – Double definition.I never knew this was the hanging over a four-poster bed – one lives and learns!

20d Characters from literature (7)
{LETTERS} – These are the characters that make up literature, or any sort of writing.

22d Sit keeping one’s composure (5)
{POISE} – Insert (keeping) an I (one) into a word for sit, for an artist perhaps.

24d Leader of commercial bank’s honest (5)
{CLEAN} – Take C (leader of Commercial) and follow with a word for bank or tilt and you get what professional cycling wishes it was, but unfortunately isn’t in a lot of cases! Really – never have guessed!

25d Sabbath music fan sort of singing (4)
{SCAT} – A type of jazz singing is S(abbath) followed by a slang term for a fan of jazz music.Not sure if S is an allowed abbreviation for Sabbath but it certainly is for Sunday so take your pick.

Quite a lot of good stuff in this but my favourites were 2d and 5d.

The Quick crossword pun: {hide} + {row} + {gin} + {hydrogen}

90 comments on “DT 27018

  1. Sorry to disagree pommers, but we found this one quite tricky and got there in what for us is at least *** time. Favourites were 12a and 28a. Our last in was also 15a as we had gone down the same red-herring track chasing the “lass”. Good puzzle.
    Thanks Mr Ron and pommers.

    1. Hi Kiwis, nice to have some company at this time of night, or day in your case I suppose!

      I was right at the top end of 2* time but I was in a good mood, apart from the dreaded virus, so I left it at two. I’ll no doubt get a load of flak tomorrow! In Spanish I’m “constipado” which still amuses – schoolboy sense of humour :grin:

      1. You’re probably in bed by now, but we are thinking of you in your viral misery. Get well soon. Cheers.

  2. I quite enjoyed this. 18d was a new one on me and all needed a. It of thinking but good fun. Didn’t feel like Ray but quickie suggests it might be. What do others think?

    3*/3*. Thanks to both and get well soon Pommers.

    1. Agreed that it doesn’t have all the characteristics of a Ray T puzzle, but I still think it’s one of his based on the succinctness of the clues and the Quickie with its single-word clues and his signature at 9a.

      1. Hope you’re better soon Pommers :-) I hear Man Flu is far worse than anything we women get! I have to say I didn’t enjoy todays at all, especially the bottom half, I actually didn’t bother to perservate today and did most of the bottom half with pommers help, thanks pommers, I didn’t think it was a RayT but seeing gazzas comment it certainly could have been?

  3. 2.5* tough for me. Agree with Wozza that, despite the quick clues being single words, the cryptic doesn’t have the feel of a Ray T for me.

    Get well soon Pommers and thank you to you and the setter.

    The Toughie appears to be one of those slow starters but I hope to get iit sorted before I have to start work.

    1. Gnome’s law helped me sort out the Toughie – I am off to spend a while at the photocopier using up even more of the planet’s trees in paper form :(

  4. Not the toughie I thought it might have been today, although there were a couple to pause and think about.
    A little more than 2* for me; thanks to setter, and to pommers for the review.

  5. Hello. Haven’t started today’s crossword yet but checking 27016 I came across mention of a NINA. Can anyone explain what this is please?

      1. Wow. Thanks for the link. How mind boggling are those examples! I understand the concept but I’m still being thick about how Shindig, compost, landau and Wild West are
        linked. Help!

        1. BB,
          It’s better if you post comments and queries about DT 27016 on the relevant blog, otherwise there’s scope for all sorts of confusion.

  6. I quite enjoyed this one and would have given 3* for difficulty, liked 28a best. Thanks to the setter (Jay?) and to Pommers to whom I offer my sympathy for his illness.

  7. Hi. Me again. Sorry but looking again at this conundrum I should have been trying to connect shindig, compost and studied, chicory. But still clueless!

  8. Please ignore the last postings. The penny has just dropped and I see I was looking at the wrong rows and now the answer is glaringly obvious. I feel a real ninny! Thank you for your wonderful site – it’s made crossword solving so much more fun when one doesn’t have to give up on finding an explanation because one of you clever people can be relied on to help out. Many thanks again

    1. It’s also in the BRB itself. I only made the comment because when I solved the clue I thought Sabbath = Sunday = S. It was only when writing the hint I thought that the S might come directly from S(abbath).

  9. Enjoyable solve today, not too hard but certainly not too easy – took the whole of Meddle and part of Piper at the Gates of Dawn (on another Pink Floyd kick at the moment – following on directly from my last PF kick). Took me ages to get 8D – just couldn’t think of the right word for Concerns D’oh. The second cup of coffee definitely helped there.
    Enjoyed 12A, 13A and 17D. Today’s fave rave has to be 28A.

    1. Skempie, think how much faster you’d have done the crossword if only you’d had the second coffee first :-)

  10. I really enjoyed this, diversionary and witty in places.
    Pleased that my constructed word was, in fact, a word, 25d.
    Thanks RayT? and pommers.

  11. I gave this ***/**** before i read pommers blog,thought it harder than **. Enjoyable solve with one ‘own goal’ when i put ‘narration’ in for 3d without reading the clue properly, this made 18a somewhat difficult until i re read and saw the error! Regarding18d, Was’nt a’ tester’ a person a king or similar at risk dignitary employed to ‘test’ his bed,ie four poster prior to entry, to find out the hard way if there were any hidden daggers etc?

  12. Afterdood all. The code hasn’t turned out to be as bad as feared but thanks for the good wishes.

    Not sure about the setter of this one. Certainly not Jay and I don’t think it’s RayT as there’s no Queen. If I were a betting man I’d place a small wager on Petitjean.

  13. I find I only ever seem to comment here when I’ve got a complaint; which is the case now. I don’t think that “embraced by” (26a) is a good indicatorfor for hidden in. “ennui” may be contained in “drunken nuisance”, but it’s embraced by “drunk …..sance”. Unless I’m missing the point???!!!

        1. In fact in Chambers Crossword Dictionary ’embrace’ is given as a container indicator and a hidden indicator

              1. sometimes a clue ‘niggles’ me and I really have to try and understand it other times I just accept it, depends what kind of day I’m having :-D

    1. I guess you correct and as Mary says “embraced by” is a better containment indicator. However, I’m pretty sure it’s been used in this way before and no doubt will be again as it smoothes the surface. Didn’t really think about it too deeply.

    2. Embrace can mean “to include”, “to contain” or “to comprise”, so it works quite well as used here.

  14. I would plump for petitjean if pressed as well. This all went in quite quickly in a 2** time for me and my favourites are pretty much as pobber’s blog. Thanks to him (hope you are feeling better) and to the setter for the puzzle.

  15. 3/3 for me. Top half, no real problems, bottom half I found difficult. 18a (which I don’t like) was the defining moment here.

  16. Definitely a RayT – I think. :?:

    Very similar in style to yesterday’s Beam. But – I’m a mug – I know nothing!

    17d – pommers – I shouldn’t need any extra help but … what is “the word for offended or upset (slightly American)?”.

    (Commiserations on the Man Flu! But the worst is over! Thinking that you might have it is the most worrying time! Get well soon!)

      1. Thanks Skempie. Been away for a bit struggling with the Toughie which is putting up quite a fight :smile:

        One to get (13a) and I’m sure it’s one of the easiest in the puzzle but my mind is a blank – not an uncommon situation! I think I’ll have to wait for the blog.

    1. Don’t think it’s a Ray T, far too enjoyable but whoever it is its a lot better than yesterday’s horror which I abandoned in disgust!

      1. William Hill is still offering 1/10 for RayT and 100/1 Petitjean!

        Most other bookies (Coral / Paddy Power / Ladbrokes) are not excepting any more bets! It’s obviously a RayT production!

        But where was the Queen today? All will be revealed in tomorrow’s Court Circular!

  17. Having taken most of breakfast to work out that 1a was an anagram, I began by trying out an office before juggling briefly with a coffin (the coffin was thrown out over coffee). I therefore have only so far done the NW corner – but enjoyed the experience. Well done the compiler and everyone who finished it before daybreak!

  18. The more I read the lively comments and the more I look at the clues, this is definitely RayT.

  19. Well if it was a Petitjean he kept very quiet about it at his knowledge seminar today.

    No real probs with this one although it did take me quite a long time.

    Enjoyable stuff though, thanks to Pommers (gbs), and to the setter.

  20. Bit of a tale of two halves for me,the left hand side was finished before golf this morning but the right side was distinctly trickier so 2/3 for difficulty for me. BTW don’t mind these odd words but I wish the wordplay was a bit easier, 18d is an important clue giving three first letters and to put an archaic word in was I thought not quite playing the game. Having said that I thought it was an enjoyable puzzle so def not a Ray T!

    1. My feelings are with Pommers as I have come back from Hong Kong with manflu or SARS or something equally unpleasant ( Mrs B says I have only a cold but what does she know!)

      1. Hi Brian, how did you struggle through a round of golf with Manflu? or were you watching it on telly with Mrs B seeing to your every need? lol –

        1. A dose of extra strong Flu relief medicine not only got me through but I won with my best score for ages, paying for it now though!
          Mrs B says Manflu only hits when you have to go to work, unfair comment I thought!

      2. I know how it works Brian! Pommette retired to bed for most of last Sunday and Monday but now she’s better I just have “a bit of a cold” :grin:

      1. Flipping ‘Eck Barrie!. “Might have been a bit rude by inference”?.
        As opposed to being rude every tme he turns up?.

      1. Rufus has also been known to use the same construct, e.g.
        Falls for a redhead once more on the rebound (7)

  21. Of course, if you have Man-flu and try to say the word it comes out as BaD-flu, I rest my case :lol:

  22. Very late here today – been cooking all day. It didn’t occur to me that it could be a Ray T because I wasn’t expecting it to be but, having read the comments, I suppose it might be – no Queen in the cryptic but all single word clues and answers in the quickie, AND a ‘Beam’. Also all the clues are pretty short – I think I’m probably coming down on the side of those who think it is.
    I enjoyed it but found it slightly tricky – definitely more than 2* for difficulty from me but suspect that I’m not concentrating on account of having too much to do – that’s my excuse anyway.
    I made 12a a bit difficult, if not impossible, by having ‘Clash’ for 6d.
    Favourites include 11, 12, 15, 27 and 28a and 2, 5, 7 and 25d.
    With thanks to Ray T (probably) and pommers – and hoping that you feel better soon, pommers. :smile:
    Oh dear – back to the cooking now – getting a bit fed-up with it. :sad:

  23. Late start due to night away dining at famous S. Cumbrian restaurant – fantastic ! Struggled with the puzzle as a result but got there in the end. Thank you setter and Pommers and hope you recover soon.

  24. Yes, it’s one of mine. Many thanks to pommers for the analysis, and to all for your comments.

    Any further comments are, of course, very welcome…


    1. Hi Ray, I confess to being a bit surprised it was one of yours, as Her Majesty was missing, but thanks for the splendid puzzle. More like this would be very welcome :grin:

      1. Hola pommers. It was very interesting to see the reactions to the puzzle with nobody being sure if it was one of mine or not!

        Normal service will shortly be resumed…


        1. I think it was purely down to the lack of Brenda being mentioned RayT that some, me included, were left wondering…….

        2. Thanks for clearing it up!

          eXternal was right about the “redhead” thing, and “Sabbath” is also a bit of a RayT-ism, but it felt different somehow.

  25. Just heard the news that the Territorial Army’s name is being changed. Did nobody take into account the terrible impact this will have on crossword setters? :D

    1. Thanks for the news, gazza! And it’s even worse for the crossword solvers!

      Bye for Now! Ta-Ta!

    2. Just like the Inland Revenue, oh no! Dare I say a change of monarch is in order so setters get a CR or WR to use

    3. No problem.

      “Old volunteers” and “old soldiers” will do, although it might mess up the idea of making “volunteers” look like a present-tense verb. I suspect that TA might well continue to be used, much like LSD, and the abbreviations for nurses that are in common use in crosswords, despite being obsolete, and much else.

      Still, we might get a new abbreviation to use.

  26. Enjoyed immensely, 18a and 16d for me. The latter reminded me of a clue about the Ms Brooks on the day the NOTW closed, and the crossword setters got her! Cheers Ray T and Pobbers, gws

  27. The flued-up wod is goig to bed dow so see y’all toborrow! Thaks for all the good wishes, wod will survive :grid: See, I can’t eved put the eboticod id right :lol:

  28. gesundheit pommers,of course you have a very bad dose and should spend at least a week in bed. Thanks for your much needed help.One “thing” on my mind,re16d, I thought an affair was a fling but having a thing is more of an obsession with someone,when they occupy a large part of one’s mind. Living in “Sleepy Hollow” as I do , I’m probably out of touch.

  29. Enjoyable solve for me tonight!
    Faves : 1a, 15a, 28a & 14d.

    However, thought the fodder for 9a was a load of codswallop.

    Pommers : drink some Laphroaig malt to get rid of your cold!!!

  30. Couldn’t do this for toffee, was 10 short. Thanks to the setter & Pommers for the review & hints. Was 4*/3* for me.

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