DT 27131

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 27131

Hints and tips by Big Dave

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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

The usual mix of clues from Ray T, including Her Majesty and a smattering of innuendo. A dual difficulty rating, the first is for those who, like me, love Ray T’s puzzles and the second is for those who tend to struggle with his clues.

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    Nearly last, team let up in scrummaging (11)
{PENULTIMATE} – an anagram (scrummaging) of TEAM LET UP IN

9a    They rent out B&B perhaps (7)
{LETTERS} – B and B are examples of the answer

10a    One sober after, say, tea infusion (6)
{TISANE} – I (one) and an adjective meaning sober or level-headed preceded by (after) the letter that sounds like (say) tea

12a    Appear to get level for match (7)
(COMPARE} – a verb meaning to appear around (to get) a level score in, for example, golf

13a    Wearing down love god in embracing love (7)
{EROSION} – the God of Love followed by IN around (embracing) O (love)

14a    Embarrassed about a skirt initially pulled down (5)
{RASED} – an adjective meaning embarrassed around the A from the clue and the initial letter of Skirt – the answer is a variant spelling of the verb

15a    Set etched with ink irregularly (9)
{THICKENED} – an anagram (irregularly) of ETCHED with INK

17a    Offensive wing left in game (9)
{CHARMLESS} – a wing or limb and L(eft) inside a board game

20a    Detect original water source, extremely originally (5)
{DOWSE} – the initial letters (originally) of five words in the clue – &Lit/all-in-one

22a    Taliban leader with justification for national crime (7)
{TREASON} – the initial letter (leader) of Taliban followed by a justification

24a    Possibly beetle around quiet study (7)
{INSPECT} – the kind of creature of which a beetle is an example (possibly) around the musical notation for quiet

25a    Costume that’s worn in some parts (6)
{BIKINI} – a cryptic definition of a two-piece swimming costume

26a    Fantastic jumper perhaps straddled by posh Scotsman (7)
{UTOPIAN} – a word used for an item of clothing such as (perhaps) a jumper inside (straddled by) the single-letter word for posh and a name often given to a scotsman

27a    Actress exploded inside in teen hit (11)
{TRAGEDIENNE} – a verb meaning exploded or thundered inside an anagram (hit) of IN TEEN


2d    Dead loud material turned up containing Queen gem (7)
{EMERALD} – D(ead) and a loud material (Elvis used to wear the gold variety!) all reversed (turned up in a down clue) around the Queen’s regnal cypher

3d    Pull out guns, heat he’s holding (9)
{UNSHEATHE} – hidden (holding) inside the clue

4d    Bird on top of the man for pay (5)
{TITHE} – a small bird followed by the male pronoun

5d    Was wrong to condone following girl endlessly (7)
{MISTOOK} – TO and a two-letter verb meaning to condone after a girl without her final letter (endlessly)

6d    Playing notes in lack of harmony (7)
{TENSION} – an anagram (playing) of NOTES IN

7d    Power of right in vote for one town (11)
{ELECTRICITY} – R(ight) inside a verb meaning to vote for, I (one) and a large town

8d    Male wearing gaiters raised fashions (6)
{STAMPS} – M(ale) inside the reversal of some gaiters

11d    Stupidly eat TV dinner getting careless (11)
{INADVERTENT} – an anagram (stupidly) of EAT TV DINNER

16d    Open  University? (9)
{INSTITUTE} – a double definition – to open or originate and an organisation of which a university is an example (indicated by the question mark)

18d    The empty deceit in rising artist’s studio (7)
{ATELIER} – T(H)E without its inner letter (empty) and a deceit inside the reversal (rising) of Crosswordland’s usual artist

19d    Gathering idiot’s broken some pottery (7)
{MASSING} – an idiot inside (‘s/has broken) some Chinese pottery

20d    Separate girl’s fashionable hugging novel woman (7)
{DISJOIN} – a girl’s name, the S from ‘S and a two-letter word meaning fashionable around the name of one of the March children in Little Women

21d    Little, almost disgusting creature (6)
{WEEVIL} – a Scottish word for little followed by most of an adjective meaning disgusting

23d    Desperate character holding top up for nymph (5)
{NAIAD} – the first name of the Desperate pie-eating character from The Dandy around top or first class, all reversed (up in a down clue)

For me, the best puzzle of the week.

The Quick crossword pun: (darn} + {deal} + {iron} = {dandelion}




  1. Rabbit Dave
    Posted March 21, 2013 at 11:00 am | Permalink

    **/**** for today’s very enjoyable puzzle. 10a and 27a were new words for me, but I managed to work them out from the clues. 8d was last one in.
    Stupidly I thought at first that careless was the anagram indicator in 11d and that the setter had made a mistake (how stupid can you get?) because the answer was an adjective and therefore could not be a synonym for stupidly! Nice misdirection and I fell for it for a while until the penny dropped! Was I being careless or stupid?!
    Given some of the clues, I was hoping for some interesting photos, but that was not to be…
    Many thanks to the setter and to BD for his review.

    • patsyann
      Posted March 21, 2013 at 11:53 am | Permalink

      Have you never watched Poirot ? Hercules insists on one of these 10a every morning!

      • Rabbit Dave
        Posted March 21, 2013 at 12:04 pm | Permalink

        Patsyann, it’s many years since I watched Poirot, but if it will help me with crosswords I ought to get started again!

    • Posted March 21, 2013 at 11:54 am | Permalink

      I’ve added a few pictures, but innuendo is difficult to illustrate!

      • Rabbit Dave
        Posted March 21, 2013 at 12:03 pm | Permalink

        Thank you :-). I’ll continue to use my imagination for the innuendo.

        • Prolixic
          Posted March 21, 2013 at 3:00 pm | Permalink

          Until I solved Ray T’s crosswords, I thought that innuendo was an Italian suppository :)

      • spindrift
        Posted March 21, 2013 at 12:03 pm | Permalink

        As in “If you don’t know what an innuendo is then I’ll give you one”

        • Miffypops
          Posted March 21, 2013 at 2:20 pm | Permalink

          A girl walked into my pub last night and asked for a double innuendo so I gave her one. Twice

          • gnomethang
            Posted March 21, 2013 at 8:45 pm | Permalink

            That’ll be a ‘Double Entendre’. Once will suffice. Thanks to RayT for the entertaining puzzle.

  2. Collywobbles
    Posted March 21, 2013 at 11:02 am | Permalink

    Oh NO

    • Kath
      Posted March 21, 2013 at 11:27 am | Permalink

      Oh YES! :grin:

    • Collywobbles
      Posted March 21, 2013 at 11:31 am | Permalink

      I liked 3d very much

      • Collywobbles
        Posted March 21, 2013 at 11:55 am | Permalink

        North East completed. Perhaps I should review my review

  3. Only fools
    Posted March 21, 2013 at 11:07 am | Permalink

    Had a blind spot with 8d for a while .New word to me at 10a .
    Faves 7d,21d and 20a.
    Very enjoyable.
    Same rating .
    Thanks very much .

  4. Colmce
    Posted March 21, 2013 at 11:16 am | Permalink

    I enjoy RayT puzzles but found this one difficult, def 3*+ .

    Thanks BD for review, needed for wordplay explanations.

    Thanks to RayT.

  5. graham
    Posted March 21, 2013 at 11:19 am | Permalink

    Some help from the review was required this morning so i must fall into BD second category.Really liked 15A 17A and 25A.Thanks to the setter & BD for an entertaing puzzle & an excellent review.Yet another damp & cold day on the south coast.

  6. spindrift
    Posted March 21, 2013 at 11:27 am | Permalink

    Excellent fare from one of my favourite setters. Several “made me smile” moments. 1a is most apt considering last Saturday’s debacle!

    Thanks to BD for the review & hints.

  7. Kath
    Posted March 21, 2013 at 11:37 am | Permalink

    Best puzzle of the week for me too. I’ll go for the 2* difficulty although when I first started I thought it was going to be one of his trickier ones – just took a little while to get onto the right wave length.
    While I was doing it I felt as if there were lots of anagrams but I’ve counted now and there weren’t that many.
    To begin with I had ‘eroding’ for 13a but that didn’t last long.
    The people who haven’t met 10a before obviously don’t watch Poirot!
    I liked the four long answers round the outside and 14, 20 and 25a and 3, 8, and 21d.
    With thanks to Ray T and BD.

  8. Rosie G
    Posted March 21, 2013 at 12:08 pm | Permalink

    I agree with the ratings. An enjoyable one. thanks to setter and BD, Needed help with a couple, 16d I knew would be a double definition but it was last to go in. liked 25a and I only drink 10a so that was first in!

    • Steve_the_beard
      Posted March 21, 2013 at 1:37 pm | Permalink

      Surely with your moniker you should be a tea drinker? :-)

  9. Chris
    Posted March 21, 2013 at 12:15 pm | Permalink

    I found this rather challenging today and it took longer than usual to complete. The light didn’t come of for 7D for ages! I’m not a fan of alternative spellings so 14A gets a thumbs down from me. Also, I didn’t think the answer to 17A was a good fit for the clue. On the other hand, I loved 10A, 20A and 8D. 20D was the last one in, and I needed the hint to understand 5D although I had the correct answer. Thanks to BD for the review and to Ray T. for making me think.

    Considering trying the Toughie but my dismal performance so far does not bode well.

  10. Sweet William
    Posted March 21, 2013 at 12:18 pm | Permalink

    One of the harder Ray T’s for me. New words all over the place – to make it worse, Mrs SW seemed to know them all though ! Managed to finish without the hints, but needed BRB, The Crossword Dictionary and the electronic gadget. Good fun nevertheless ! – Thank you Ray T and BD for your review.

  11. axe
    Posted March 21, 2013 at 12:55 pm | Permalink

    I fall into the latter, I always struggle with Ray T crosswords yet after I have finished, and review the puzzle

    can never understand why?. That is what makes him such a great setter, and his crosswords so pleasurable.

    Many thanks to BD for the review and Ray T for an excellent puzzle.

  12. Jezza
    Posted March 21, 2013 at 1:00 pm | Permalink

    No trouble with this one today. 2*/4* for me. Last one in, 8d.
    Thanks to RayT, and to BD.

  13. Merusa
    Posted March 21, 2013 at 1:22 pm | Permalink

    A quick word before dashing off to PT to thank Steve-the-(white)-beard for the heads up on the origins of costermonger yesterday. I had a good, enlightening read and found it most interesting. Never heard of costard apple and had assumed it was an alternative spelling for custard apple, a fruit we have in Jamaica which is very much like sweetsop. If you learn something every day, your day has not been wasted.

    • Steve_the_beard
      Posted March 21, 2013 at 1:40 pm | Permalink

      My pleasure :-)

  14. BigBoab
    Posted March 21, 2013 at 1:23 pm | Permalink

    Many thanks to RayT for his usual extremely enjoyable puzzle and to BD for a very amusing review.

  15. Steve_the_beard
    Posted March 21, 2013 at 1:36 pm | Permalink

    That was fun!

    I particularly liked 25A, 10A and 20D.

    14A was interesting, as that is an alternate spelling that I haven’t seen before.

    MY thanks to RayT and BD.

    BTW BD, you have a little typo in 25A, did the picture make your hand shake? :-)

  16. outnumbered
    Posted March 21, 2013 at 2:14 pm | Permalink

    Hardest of the week so far for sure. Anyone who got 27A from the clue without having a lot of letters in it first deserves a pat on the back.

    This puzzle got me thinking (again) about “crosswordy” words – i.e. words that appear more often in crosswords than they do in real life. 10A is an obvious example, 23d is another. “Lea” must appear on a weekly basis as well…

    • Kath
      Posted March 21, 2013 at 2:50 pm | Permalink

      Ounce – as in snow leopard rather than pounds, shillings and ounces! Lots of others which will come to me while I take collie for afternoon walk.

  17. Miffypops
    Posted March 21, 2013 at 2:19 pm | Permalink

    A lovely little solve which kept me in bed until 11.30am and severely put me behind with worth. Thank you to Ray T whose puzzles I always enjoy. I suppose I ought to thank the hinter and tipster too although i refuse to use their help.Thanks too to Mrs C-S for a lovely Cheddar cheese and pickle sandwich.

  18. Will
    Posted March 21, 2013 at 3:15 pm | Permalink

    Nifty puzzle again. I liked 10 for its reading, 14 ditto, and the neatness of 16. 27 was hard till I finanly realised hit signified an anagram.

  19. stanXYZ
    Posted March 21, 2013 at 3:38 pm | Permalink

    I’m always amazed by how much meaning RayT manages to impart from such succinct and precise clues.

    A bit lacking in innuendo and naughtiness today – maybe he’s given it up for Lent.

    However, most definitely 4* entertainment. Thanks to all concerned.

  20. Roger
    Posted March 21, 2013 at 3:41 pm | Permalink

    Just not on the same wavelength as RayT so think I will give Thursdays a miss.

    • mary
      Posted March 21, 2013 at 4:50 pm | Permalink

      Neither am I Roger but I’ll keep trying though I have a headache after this one :-(

    • mary
      Posted March 21, 2013 at 4:50 pm | Permalink

      Don’t miss every Thursday, RayT is normally every other week

  21. mary
    Posted March 21, 2013 at 4:48 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for hints Dave which I needed, I think this was a harder RayT today and for me personally a ‘toughie’, I’d never heard the word at 27a, not my cup of tea (don’t like tea or coffee) but I appreciate so many of you like RayT puzzles , perhaps there is something wrong with me??? Feel free to answer :-)

    • stanXYZ
      Posted March 21, 2013 at 5:01 pm | Permalink

      Chacun à son goût!

      I love Marmite!

    • Merusa
      Posted March 21, 2013 at 5:17 pm | Permalink

      No, there’s nothing “wrong” with you, Mary. Some people think along the same lines. There have been many times when you rhapsodise over a puzzle and I think it’s diabolical, probably only getting halfway. I had to work hard at this one but got there in the end, bar 8d which I never did get. Further, you do the toughie, but I never attempt it!

      • mary
        Posted March 22, 2013 at 10:58 am | Permalink

        Merusa, I very, very, ver,y rarely do a toughie :-)

    • Kath
      Posted March 21, 2013 at 7:34 pm | Permalink

      Mary – you absolutely whizz through Rufus puzzles on Mondays – I almost always have trouble with them – don’t know why – just do. And no – nothing wrong with you – just different wave lengths. Have I ever told you that Ray T is my favourite setter? Actually Virgilius is snapping at his heels for that position.

      • Jezza
        Posted March 21, 2013 at 8:15 pm | Permalink

        Kath – you and me both with Rufus on a Monday. I’ve solved some toughies in a considerably quicker time.

  22. Brian
    Posted March 21, 2013 at 4:51 pm | Permalink

    Not a lot of time today. Just done the top half and it seems a very pleasent puzzle.
    If I have it e I’ll try the rest later

    • mary
      Posted March 21, 2013 at 4:51 pm | Permalink

      I was OK with the top Brian but gave in to Daves hints for a lot of the rest of it

      • Brian
        Posted March 21, 2013 at 10:29 pm | Permalink

        You are quite right, found the bottom half totally incomprehensible. Couldn’t get a single answer, back to the very worst of a Ray T.

  23. RayT
    Posted March 21, 2013 at 5:04 pm | Permalink

    Many thanks to BD for the analysis, and thanks to all who took the time to leave a comment.


    • mary
      Posted March 22, 2013 at 11:05 am | Permalink

      It is always nice when a setter comments on this page, that is something I really appreciate, my comments are my own feelings about my own abilities to solve your puzzles, nothing detrimental ever intended, I always perservate and get there in the end more often than not with a little help, I’m not giving up even though I don’t seem to be able to get on the right wavelength most of the time :-)

  24. Merusa
    Posted March 21, 2013 at 5:05 pm | Permalink

    This was not a piece of cake, in fact, never did get 8d and had to resort to hints. It’s fun trying, makes for a good start to the day. Thanks to all for the mental workout, it keeps the senile decay at bay

  25. Derek
    Posted March 21, 2013 at 5:28 pm | Permalink

    Really enjoyed solving this puzzle from Ray!
    Faves : 10a, 17a, 26a, 27a, 5d, 7d, 16d & 20d

    Weather now definitely springlike since we passed the equinox yesterday – I celebrated this by getting my hair cut!!
    Still no buds on the trees across the road!

    The sun is just about to set – noticeably further north.

    • Kath
      Posted March 21, 2013 at 7:37 pm | Permalink

      Springlike? I think you must be having a laugh! Still absolutely miserable here – cold, grey and horrible, but I live in hope . . .

  26. Collywobbles
    Posted March 21, 2013 at 6:22 pm | Permalink

    Finished. As usual I found this puzzle very difficult eg 20d and 26a were good examples. But, I did finish so, maybe, RayT deserves a better press

  27. 2Kiwis
    Posted March 21, 2013 at 6:33 pm | Permalink

    Another excellent Thursday offering. It all flowed in smoothly for us with the usual generous supply of chuckles along the way. Definitely a **/**** in our rating.
    Thanks RayT and BD.

  28. andy
    Posted March 21, 2013 at 7:07 pm | Permalink

    3* for me, not helped by trying to get to the inside back page on a windswept station with two miserably cold and soggy doglets. 4 * enjoyment though once on train and thawed. Took far too long to parse 12a. Thanks to RayT and BD

  29. upthecreek
    Posted March 21, 2013 at 8:47 pm | Permalink

    Another fine puzzle by the master. Many different clues as usual without too many anagrams. Loved 14 [nudge nudge] and also 8 9 17 25 26 27. Thanks again Ray.

  30. Nigel Baker
    Posted March 21, 2013 at 9:01 pm | Permalink

    Another long day dipping in and out of the iPad. 27a last in. Many thanks for the innuendo.

  31. Heno
    Posted March 22, 2013 at 9:10 am | Permalink

    Thanks to Ray T and to Big Dave for the review and hints. Late blogging due to hill walking. Enjoyed this one a lot, but found it tricky. Was beaten by 12a,needed the hint. Was 3*/4*for me. Favourites were 10a and 3d. In a blizzard near Keswick today.