DT 27179 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 27179

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 27179

Hints and tips by Falcon

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

Greetings from Ottawa where — following a heatwave of mid-summer proportions — we have reverted to more seasonable (or even below seasonable) temperatures. The premature taste of July makes the current conditions all the more unpleasant. There is certainly nothing unpleasant about today’s puzzle from RayT — it was a joy to solve and a delight to review. On my first pass through, I was able to establish a network of solutions spanning the grid. Then my pace slowed markedly as the remaining clues demanded more thinking. However, by systematically building upon the initial structure, I was able to gradually fill in the blanks. I thought that the puzzle edged into three star territory for difficulty, but I suspect there will be a number of readers who feel it stayed in the two star range.

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 Kinks perhaps, pop’s first characters (11)
{ PREFERENCES } — the first letter of P(op) followed by a synonym for testimonials (Chambers defining character as a formal statement of the qualities of a person who has been in one’s service or employment); kinks are unusual sexual proclivities not the 60s rock band

10a More rum and food, losing head (5)
{ ODDER } — feed for livestock with the first letter removed; here rum is an adjective that might be used to describe the sexual practices in 1a not the libation favoured by sailors

11a Corrupt young woman longed to get posh (9)
{ DEBAUCHED } — staying with the theme, we encountera young woman making her first formal appearance as an adult having been followed by a painful desire embracing the usual letter of the alphabet representing posh

12a Endowment including male’s secluded place (9)
{ HERMITAGE } — something received from the previous generation encompassing M(ale)

13a Paroxysm from cast for the audience (5)
{ THROE } — sounds like (for the audience) cast or fling

14a Collector acquiring large plate (6)
{ SALVER } — someone who is averse to discarding things retaining L(arge)

16a Most dangerous races circling sky by team leader (8)
{ HAIRIEST } — a word meaning hastens around another term for sky (think “up in the ___”) plus the leading letter of T(eam)

18a Print rude remark about unwelcome guest (8)
{ INTRUDER } — hidden in the first three words of the clue

20a Woods catches half of tees (6)
{ COPSES } — a verb meaning to catch or arrest an offender followed by half of the word “tees” (make sure you choose the ‘right’ half); the surface suggests Tiger Woods, possibly setting a trap for us at 26a

23a Two notes returned ringing little tenor voices (5)
{ ALTOS } — a charade of the fifth and sixth notes of the musical scale is reversed and wrapped around the abbreviation for T(enor)

24a Tactic from master cunningly taking title (9)
{ STRATAGEM } — an anagram (cunningly) of MASTER containing a nickname or epithet

26a Supporting goal by old club involving Spurs leader (9)
{ ENDORSING } — start with a goal or objective plus O(ld) plus a circle of friends or acquaintances; then insert the leading letter of S(purs); the appearance of Tiger Woods earlier falsely led me to suspect that “old club” might refer to a niblick, brassie or spoon

27a Caligula, say, madman initially taken by horse (5)
{ ROMAN } — the initial letter of M(adman) contained in a horse whose coat is flecked with grey or white

28a Working time’s voluntary outside (11)
{ OPERATIONAL } — T(ime) a synonym for time has (‘s) an adjective meaning not compulsory surrounding it


2d Knight perhaps clear over Queen (5)
{ RIDER } — a verb meaning to disencumber or free oneself from something undesirable precedes the setter’s trademark reference to Her Majesty

3d Pardon found with intravenous injection (7)
{ FORGIVE } — here “found” means to work with molten metal; the solution consists of another word meaning to work with hot metal (perhaps not to the point of being molten) around the abbreviation for intravenous

4d Sketch again is possibly Titian nude (6)
{ REDRAW } — a charade of the primary colour of which Titian is a shade and a synonym for nude (especially in the expression “in the ___”)

5d Aristocrat left with title elevated creating Lord (8)
{ NOBLEMAN } — string together a slang term for someone of wealth or high social rank, L(eft) and a reversal (elevated in a down clue) of what someone or something is called

6d Great circle roll up following English Queen (7)
{ EQUATOR } — a roster is reversed (up in a down clue) following E(nglish) and the abbreviation for Queen (not the one that RayT customarily uses)

7d ‘Cosmopolitan‘ dictates I shop after a fashion (13)
{ SOPHISTICATED } — an anagram (after a fashion) of the preceding three words

8d Hones awareness almost grasping instrument (8)
{ SHARPENS } — start by removing the final letter from a noun meaning awareness or appreciation (for instance, of direction) and then insert a stringed musical instrument

9d A TV set mender changing around one plug (13)
{ ADVERTISEMENT } — an anagram (changing) of the first four words of the clue containing the Roman numeral for one; the kind of plug inserted into the programming not into the wall

15d Freedom is commonplace when going topless (8)
{ LATITUDE } — remove the first letter of a noun synonymous with a cliché or trite comment

17d Story’s swamped by nasty smear that’s more contemptible (8)
{ MEASLIER } — an untrue story contained in an anagram (nasty) of SMEAR

19d Take off bits, half naked, rising (7)
{ UNSTRAP } — a reversal (rising in a down clue) of a charade of a synonym for bits or portions and half of a word meaning naked (this time, you need the ‘left’ half)

21d Lake rising in reservoir at noontide (7)
{ ONTARIO } — a reversal (the water continues to rise) hidden in the last three words of the clue; I would certainly have been extremely embarrassed had I failed to solve this one

22d Dread conflict, ringing redhead (6)
{ FRIGHT } — a synonym for quarrel or dispute containing the first letter (head) of R(ed)

25d Capital of Greece, in Greek (5)
{ GAMMA } — the initial letter of Greece as written in the Greek alphabet

This puzzle has so many fine clues that it is difficult to choose a favourite. The clues with a risqué surface always raise a smile. However, my pick for clue of the day goes to 9d, where the setter came up ‘one’ short in the long anagram but still managed to elegantly work it in.

The Quick crossword pun: (car} + {mum} + {bare} = {camembert}

70 comments on “DT 27179

  1. I struggled a bit with this one but got there in the end. An enjoyable start to the day. Thanks to setter and to Falcon for the extremely pictorial review.

  2. Most RayT’s take me all day, so was amazed to finish this in an hour, albeit with help from my electronic Franklin. I agree with the ***/**** rating.
    Thanks to RayT and to Falcon.

  3. What a delight! ***/**** for me. Many thanks to the setter for a challenging and amusing puzzle. Lots of great clues – too many to have a favourite.

    I attempted the Toughie for the first time yesterday, and, like Kath, I really struggled, so it was a huge relief to be able to complete this back pager today without help.

    I got held up by 16a trying to make scariest fit, having become obsessed with making an anagram from races with an s and t on the end.

    Falcon, many thanks also for your review. Given the risqué nature of some of the clues I was hoping for some interestings pics and you did not disappoint. One thing I don’t understand is your hint for 28a. Why have you put T(ime)? I parsed it as putting a word meaning voluntary round a synonym for time, not the the letter T.

    1. I did exactly the same in 16a RD!
      Re 28a it is ‘optional’ around ‘era’ as far as I can see

    2. Apparently, a late night “reviewer’s moment” — akin to a “senior’s moment”, to which I am also prone to succumb. Now fixed.

      1. By the way, I also expended a lot of time and energy trying to make SCARIEST fit at 16a.

  4. Struggled with this one and really had to squeeze out the last couple of clues, but as always fun to do.

    Thanks for the review, needed to confirm/explain wordplay.

    Thanks to RayT for a nice start to the day.

  5. Morning Falcon thanks for hints, once again I needed help to finish, I blame the lack of sunshine, it must cause brain cells to die off!! Personally nothing to dislike about todays but I didn’t really enjoy it, one clue I liked was 23a, I finished 3/4 without help but with the dentist looming I have to get going, the sun is actually doing it’s best but it is still cold here

    1. Hope all goes as well as it can at the dreaded dentist, and it’s not the 16a experience for you.

  6. Thank you Ray T – I found this to be one of the harder RayTs, but managed to solve with a lot of help from The Crossword dictionary and other mechanical aids ! Didn’t help myself by miscounting the letters in 7d and concluding that it wasn’t an anagram. Sorted it out eventually. Thank you Falcon for your review.

  7. Finished without hints, but not without some effort. Several clues I liked today, but particularly 13A…and 12A just because I rather like the word itself. Thanks to RayT for the work-out, and to Falcon for the review, especially the video. Ray Davis, a favorite from my youth, and the lovely Johnny Depp at the same time. Quite made my day.

  8. A very enjoyable romp once again from RayT. We had also parsed 28a in the same way as Rabbit Dave and Mary. Cannot see what the adjective would be if “time” were to be just “t”. Must be “optional” around “era” we reckon. Lots of really good clues.
    Thanks RayT and Falcon.

    1. You are correct regarding 28a — and the hint has also now been corrected. See response to comment 3..

  9. I think I might have gone for 2* difficulty and 4* enjoyment but I got into a bit of a muddle in the top right corner so maybe a bit nearer 3* difficulty.
    As enjoyable as ever. I needed the hint to explain 16a – forgot about ‘up in the air’ being sky. For quite a while I didn’t understand my answer for 8d – thought the instrument was a ‘pen’ and completely missed the ‘harp’!
    So many good clues that it’s a bit difficult to pick out any particular ones – perhaps 1, 18 and 20a and 4 and 7d.
    With thanks to Ray T and Falcon.

  10. Very enjoyable ,only real delay for me was a reluctance to put what appears to be the correct answer for 16a .Still can’t get it to work .
    Off to ruin a 4 mile walk ,sure Tiger Woods has nothing to worry about .
    Thanks vey much despite the operational hiccup .

    1. The wordplay is HIES (races) containing (circling) AIR (sky) + (by) the first letter (leader) of T(eam).

        1. The only time I’ve come across it is in a Geordie expression (apologies if my spelling offends any mackems or tackems bright enough to not only access a website but also to have an interest in crosswords) – “Oy ye! Hie yer ammer o’er ere” – ” Hey you! Be so kind as to pass your hammer to me.”

          Lights blue touch paper & stands firmly away…

          1. Spindrift, as a Geordie, I would be more likely to say …hoy yer ammer o’er ‘ere…….& so would Mr SheilaP. if we still had our Geordie accents after many years of exile in Yorkshire.

            1. When I finally retire I intend to move to Northumberland instead of my native Yorkshire so maybe I’ll pick up the accent then.

        2. Lord Byron, Childe Harold… hie ye hence to Paternoster-row

          And Shakespeare, R&J:
          Then hie you hence to Friar Lawrence’s cell.
          There stays a husband to make you a wife.
          Now comes the wanton blood up in your cheeks.
          They’ll be in scarlet straight at any news.
          Hie you to church. I must another way
          To fetch a ladder, by the which your love
          Must climb a bird’s nest soon when it is dark.
          I am the drudge and toil in your delight,
          But you shall bear the burden soon at night.
          Go. I’ll to dinner. Hie you to the cell.

      1. Thanks Falcon .astonished that so many knew the word “hies” but take comfort that Chambers has it as archaic / poetic .
        And yes Tiger Woods has nothing to fear .

        1. It was a new one on me and took me ages to work it out. Started by looking up “hies” !

  11. Was feeling rather pleased with myself all week – three puzzles all completed without recourse to aids or clues. But all smugness squashed this morning! I found this really difficult and would give it ****. Thanks RayT for the brain workout and Falcon for the necessary help.

  12. He’s done it again. Why can’t I see those hidden words? Stared at 18 for ages until the penny finally dropped. Still, I did spot 21. So many good clues and few anagrams. Favourite amongst many was probably 25 which was the last in with a big guffaw. Thanks to RayT for another great puzzle.

    1. Feeling smug as I almost always miss the hidden ones too, but not today. Brain is now programmed to hunt them out on Ray T Thursdays and Sundays but I still miss them on other days.

      1. Hello Kath. I think I must concentrate harder. Trouble is the damn things are so well hidden in the text that I am looking for something completely different. Does RayT do Sundays now? I can never find them in all the gubbins that comes on Sundays.

        1. No, Virgilius (Brian Greer) does Sundays. He also is a master of these “hidden in the undergrowth clues”.

  13. Very enjoyable – best back-page puzzle of the week. Thanks to RayT, and to Falcon for the notes.

    Now for the other puzzle…

  14. I would put this one at the top end of 3* difficulty – had real difficulty getting on Ray’s wavelength this morning. However, the enjoyment factor was 4* despite my struggles. Thanks to Falcon and Ray. My favourite was 20a.

    The other puzzle won’t take Jezza long Took me less time than the backpager.

  15. Quite difficult today, even with the hints. Wouldn’t normally use the answer to 13 across in the singular myself, but I’m sure it’ll be in that dictionary you all swear by. Thank you to setter & hinter.

    1. The answer to 13a in the singular was also unknown to me (just as it seems to be to Oxford Dictionaries Online). You are correct in assuming that the singular is found in the BRB. Chambers 21st Century Dictionary (on which the Search Chambers online service is based) lists the singular but indicates that the term is usually seen in the plural. Interestingly, Collins English Dictionary does not include the plural form under the listing for the singular form, but rather as a distinctly separate entry.

    1. I was just about to ask about the acronym but remembered just in time! Oh dear – poor you – but it’s Friday tomorrow and you like them, don’t you?

  16. Today I needed help with half of it, especially the left hand side. I think my main problem was the number of synonyms ( from a choice of 2 or more) inside clues that had to be found ( and perhaps inverted) and then combined to get the answer ( if that makes sense).
    I was convinced 15d would have some version of lib**** because a word for commonplace with the first letter missing wouldn’t come.
    I think *** is correct and it was just my brain that is * today. Thanks to all.

    1. What you say about these clues, Bluebird, are exactly what I find so difficult…..far too complicated for me, although Mr SheilaP & I usually manage to finish with a lot of help from electronic devices etc.

      1. I needed a lot of electronic help to finish also, but at least we can say we finished.

  17. As usual with Ray T crosswords – you either love em or you hate em. I’m in the first camp. Always a joy never a chore to solve one of his puzzles which can make a morning sat in the QMC almost seem pleasurable (but not quite as they’ve told me I need more laser treatment on my eyes – think of it as bit of spot welding)

  18. Best of the week so far,agree with the rating,had trouble with some of the word play -thought’ the races bit’ in 16a would be’ hares’-near enough, and initially read titan for titian in 4d which did’nt help.Thanks Falcon for the pics ,knew you could be relied upon to deliver.Oh and RT for the puzzle.

  19. Help! I still haven’t got 13a t_r_e !! The answer has not come out on the blog. Am still finding ‘lose first letter of’ ‘something meaning x’ clues very hard on my brain. Anyone got a cure for me?

    1. The answer is ‘throe’. As others have said it’s more commonly used in the plural – someone being in the throes of something or other. It sounds like ‘throw’ – cast for the audience.

    2. I had assumed that “throe” in the singular was one of those British turns of phrase that don’t exist in North America. However, it would seem that it may be equally rare on your side of the pond.

  20. Got most of the way through then went blank. Couldnt match 6d which I figured was right with 16a where I’d put SKY in the middle as in riSKYest – Can see where the answer to 1a comes from but not sure that Kinks = Kinky = Preferences. Best were 7d & 9d I do love anagrams.
    Still ***/*** for me today.

    1. Oxford Dictionaries Online defines kink as a person’s unusual sexual preference.

      I also wondered if riskyest might be a British spelling with which I was unfamiliar.

      1. Sorry typo meant riskiest where ski rhymes with sky, just over thinking the whole thing I guess.

  21. ***/** here, certainly hardest of the week. Still not really enjoying RayT’s puzzles as much as others. There seemed to be a lot of deletion and insertion clues, I’d prefer more variety.

  22. A fun hard workout & thanks to Ray T . I spent more time figuring out why the answer was what it was in quite a few of the clues than actually finding the answer. Also thanks to Falcon for the review.

  23. Although I got 1a from the pretty straight forward clue, I didn’t know why.
    I’m still not sure, uneasy that kinks can be preferences.
    Apart, thoroughly enjoyable,
    .Many thanks Ray T and Falcon.

  24. 2.5*/**** for me. Great entertainment. I’m late with my comments because I had to hie to the city this pm. Why has my computer underlined the word “hie” with a squiggly red line, I wonder?

  25. Setter here…

    Many thanks to Falcon for the comprehensive analysis and to all who left a comment.


  26. Very enjoyable puzzle today.

    Faves : 12a, 20a, 28a, 4d, 9d & 25d.

    Central heating came on this morning – mid-May -I had to don a woolen pullover!

    Steak and chips tomight.

  27. What an awful slog. How can anyone not retired or unemployed have the time for a puzzle like this?
    Ref. 2d is rider meant to be a synonym for a knight? Are these two words really interchangeable?

    1. I seem to recall that “Ritter” in German means both “rider” and “knight”. C.f. French “chevalier”. Weren’t all the knights of the Round Table equipped with horses?

      1. Knights frequently fought on foot and equally retainers who were not knights might be mounted. Perhaps the most famous knight of the War of the Roses, Warwick the Kingmaker, fought his last battle on foot (Barnet, 1471). There was nothing unusual about this. Rider and knight are not synonyms, not in English anyway, though I’ll listen more carefully to the next Grand National commentary to see if I’m wrong.

  28. Thanks to Ray T and Falcon for the review and hints. My run of completions came to end today. Got stuck in the NW corner and needed 6 hints to finish. Would never have got these in a million years. Found it enjoyable though, favourites were 20a, 9,21,25d. Was 4*/4* for me. Never heard of hies in 16a, must remember that one.

  29. ITMA for me to. More importantly, I buy and read the Telegraph for lots of reasons. At this stage , the crossword is an important reason for buying it,but I would never buy a paper with page 3 photo’s, and personally I thought the picture for 19d was beyond the pale of artistic or amusing.I don’t care if you think me prudish or whatever, that photo seemed “top shelf ” to me.

    1. Falcon’s graphics are always apt and absolutely brilliant, IMHO.
      eg 15d and 19d
      Keep ’em coming.

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