DT 27191 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 27191

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 27191

Only the strong survive

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

You have been warned – Ray T is back to entertain the strong and torment the weak!

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    The compiler’s style faces charge it’s extravagant (10)
{IMMODERATE] – the abbreviated form of “the compiler is” in the first person followed by a style and a charge

6a    Fastener is forced at front of piano (4)
{HASP} – a three-letter verb meaning is forced, usually followed by to, followed by the abbreviation of the musical notation for Piano

9a    Italy with new leader, people tense for stimulus (10)
{INDUCEMENT} – the IVR code for Italy followed by N(ew), an (Italian) leader, some people and T(ense)

10a    Fair chance, some say (4)
{FÊTE} – sounds like (some say) chance or destiny

12a    Star‘s very mature in comeback (4)
{VEGA} – V(ery) followed by the reversal (in comeback) of a verb meaning to mature

13a    Fat cats perhaps as bogymen in disguise (9)
{MONEYBAGS} – an anagram (in disguise) of AS BOGYMEN – I thought this was a singular noun, and the plural would have “es” appended, so “fat cat perhaps” would have been better

15a    Closed end, done, undone (8)
{BUTTONED} – an end or backside followed by an anagram (undone) of DONE

16a    Reign is finished within borders of Gabon (6)
{GOVERN} – a word meaning finished inside (within) the outer letters (borders) of GaboN

18a    Irritate majority embracing the French (6)
{MOLEST} – the majority around the French definite article

20a    More powerful fighter with hard row (8)
{MIGHTIER} – a Soviet fighter plane followed by H(ard) and a row or bank

23a    Food fanatic before term in stir (9)
{NUTRIMENT} – a three-letter word for a fanatic followed by an anagram (stir) of TERM IN

24a    Not exactly awfully remote initially (4)
{NEAR} – the initial letters of four words in the clue

26a    Start to bathe with lotion for skin inflammation (4)
{BOIL} – the initial letter of (start to) Bathe followed by a lotion

27a    Angler’s in mess gripping pole getting tangled (10)
{ENSNARLING} – an anagram (mess) of ANGLER’S IN around (gripping) one of the two poles

28a    First lady? Queen, always (4)
{EVER} – Adam’s partner followed by the Latin abbreviation for Queen

29a    Showered after snooze to get sober (10)
{RESTRAINED} – showered with precipitation after a snooze or break


1d    Goddess lives and lives again (4)
{ISIS} – a verb meaning lives followed by the same verb (again)

2d    Having grown most bananas? (7)
{MADDEST} – a cryptic definition of being the most stupid

3d    Dispatch riot patrols for absolute rule (12)
{DICTATORSHIP} – an anagram (patrols) of DISPATCH RIOT

4d    Call up, armed off and on with arm? (8)
{REMEMBER} – the even letters () of aRmEd followed by the body part of which an arm is an example (indicated by the question mark)

5d    Resident of wigwam sheltering a native leader (6)
{TENANT} – a word for a wigwam around the A from the clue and the initial letter (leader) of Native

7d    Grow old under state routine (7)
{AVERAGE} – a verb meaning to grow old after (under in a down clue) a verb meaning to state

8d    Joke of Labour leader accepted by working class (10)
{PLEASANTRY} – the initial letter (leader) of Labour inside an old-fashioned word for the working class

11d    Feeling virtually sick? (12)
{HYPOCHONDRIA} – a cryptic definition of an imaginary illness

14d    Cursed sailor with old bird nearly exhausted (10)
{ABOMINABLE} – the usual two-letter abbreviation for a sailor followed by O(ld), a bird and all bar the final D (nearly) of a verb meaning exhausted

17d    Sharp detectives can concoct case (8)
{DISTINCT} – some senior detectives followed by a can and the outer letters (case) of ConcocT

19d    Unusually tactile aid for climbers? (7)
{LATTICE} – an anagram (unusually) of TACTILE – these climbers are plants!

21d    National and international leader stood with Scot (7)
{IRANIAN} – the initial letter (leader) of International followed by a verb meaning stood as a candidate and a common Scottish male name

22d    Where a happy medium may be found? (6)
{SÉANCE} – a cryptic definition of a gathering at which a medium tries to contact the spirits of the dead

25d    Oath for example followed by a Democrat leader (4)
{EGAD} – the Latin abbreviation of “for example” followed by the A from the clue and the initial letter (leader, for the fourth time in this puzzle!) of Democrat

A fun puzzle, but slightly marred by the lack of imagination in the selection of initial letter indicators.

The Quick crossword pun: (key} + {sent} + {hell} = {kiss and tell (with a lecherous French accent)}

78 comments on “DT 27191

  1. A very good workout for me this morning. Bottom half in first then struggled with the top half. Thanks setter and BD.

  2. I found it really difficult to get on Ray’s wavelength this morning, so much so that I left it to cogitate and went to to the fluffy Toughie. I would venture to suggest that this is on the border between a backpager and a Beam – 3.75* difficulty at least. I did enjoy myself as usual so thank you to Ray for the brain stretching fun and to BD for the explanations.

    People struggling with this one might like to leave it to cogitate and have a go at the Toughie . It worked for me.

  3. When I first looked at this early this morning, I thought it looked impossible.
    But I started, persavated like crazy and, bingo, finished it.
    Bottom half first, then the harder top half.
    Some really brilliant clues eg 1a, 4d, 14d and 21d
    Many thanks RayT and BD for the review.

  4. Ray T at his best. Some serious brain power (and 2 cups of coffee) required today. Really enjoyed 11D – is this what you suffer from if you’re sick of the internet?

  5. Smashing puzzle ,like Mike completed lower half more readily .faves 5d,15a,11d etc.
    Thanks very much to Ray and BD

  6. Wow! I, too, struggled with this. Lots of ‘d’oh’ moments when I finally worked out the answer. I was left with 6A and 10A, which I stared at hopelessly. Finallly turned to the hints…two more ‘d’oh’ moments! A clever puzzle and one heck of a workout. Loved 25D and 14D! Many thanks to BD and to Ray T. Now to the Toughie….

  7. Many thanks for guidance BD, I really needed it today. Could not get into the right hand side before the blog came up.

  8. Relieved to see that others found this at the difficult end of the Ray T scale. Thank you Ray T for an enjoyable struggle. Finishing = enjoyment for me ! Thank you BD for your review and explanations – which I needed to check for some answers.

  9. RayT has been easy on us today with no fiendish hidden words and a couple of anagrams for a change. Still most enjoyable with many great clues of which I liked 20 and 29 most. Lets hope for a Beam next week.

  10. I always love Ray T puzzles and today was no exception. He even managed to squeeze the Queen in. I agree with CS that the toughie is a bit fluffy but still fun. Many thanks to BD and Setter.

  11. Really enjoyed this one. Thought it was a little 29a in terms of innuendo but lots of smiles and chuckles anyway. How do you pick a favourite when you have enjoyed them all?
    Thanks RayT and BD.

  12. Wonderful!! Many thanks to Ray T for a very challenging but thoroughly enjoyable puzzle, and also to BD for his review.

    LIke some others I found this a tale of two halves, but, unlike the others, for me the left hand side was ** difficulty and the right ****. So my BD rating today overall is ***/*****. Yes, ***** for enjoyment!

    Even given BD’s comment I don’t feel totally convinced by “forced” in 6a to mean “has”.

    Two questions. 1) why does the medium in 22d have to be happy? 2) Why is “patrols” an anagram indicator?

    1. P.S. Thanks too BD for the Quick Crossword pun explanation. I got the three words easily but was totally baffled by the pun – simple however with the French accent!

  13. A **/*** for me today,seemed to be on the RT wavelength,surprised the general opinion was that it was harder than usual,comeuppance looms tomorrow no doubt; liked lots of clues thought it struck a happy medium.-thanks RT.

    1. I had already pointed that out.

      The puzzle was a lot less boring than most of your comments:

      “I’m sick of ‘men’ being ‘or’ (other ranks). a term never used outside the armed services ”
      “26a another crappy clue ”
      “19a – what a stupid clue ! ”
      “Aren’t these themed puzzles a bore “

      1. Well said Dave. I found this puzzle a good challenge and enjoyed it. Personally I could never set a cryptic crossword and am full of admiration for those who. Any negative comments should be kept respectful as yours were.

        1. There have always been negative comments on here, but they seem to be on the increase. Some people are natural-born moaners.

  14. Excellent crossword from RayT and a very entertaining review from BD, my thanks to both.

  15. Enjoyed puzzle today, for which many thanks. Would not be able to do it without your hints. We find underlining what we are looking for most helpful. In our electronic dictionary the bird in 14 down is spelt with a y & sometimes with an h as well,but I expect this is optional.

    1. Chambers gives all three spellings, but the one used here is not in the ODE (but it is in the SOED}. There is often a problem with foreign words converted phonetically into English, in this case Hindi.

      1. An interesting (to me anyway) reference book for Anglo-Indian words is “Hobson Jobson” by Col. Henry Yule & AC Burrell first published in 1903 which gives the origins of words such as “pyjamas” & “bungalow”. Just thought I’d mention it, that’s all.

        1. A fascinating work – & far more useful than the (inherited) handbook on my shelf titled “Malay for Memsahbs”!

  16. I must have been on the right wavelength today as most people seem to have found it one of Ray T’s more difficult puzzles and, for some reason, I didn’t. For me it was nearer 2* for difficulty and 4* for enjoyment.
    Having said that I did struggle with my last few – as usual some of the four letter answers caused a bit of head scratching. I was also slow to get 15a (should have guessed that there was going to be a ‘butt’ in there somewhere) and 3d having missed the anagram indicator – not sure that I’ve seen patrols used before. I’ve never heard of 6a but got it eventually.
    I liked 1, 13 (although I agree about the answer being singular so just one fat cat might have been better – not that I would EVER criticise Ray T, or any other setter) and 29a and 11, 17 and 25d. My favourite was 15a.
    With thanks to Ray T and BD.
    I am, at last, educating husband – he looked at the paper before I did this morning and said “It’s your favourite setter today”! He’s learning – it’s taken him long enough!

  17. I’ve been looking forward to this all week and RayT did not let me down! I really enjoyed this.

    I did need a bit of help to get the last couple. For some reason I just couldn’t see “fete” for 10a and I spent a LOT of time trying to find a star call “dega” for 12a (aged backwards – I just seem to have ignored the “very” despite many re-readings of the clue). Finally, Like Rabbit Dave I was not entirely sure about the “has” in 6a.

    My only complaint is that there was a bit of a dearth of RayT’s trademark smut which I enjoy so much…

    With thanks to all involved…

  18. Thanks Ray T for turning my brain inside out with a teaser of a puzzle. Got stuck by putting INORDINATE for 1a. Although some nice easy ones to like bread crumbs to a trap 1d,25d,26a,28a. I also think 13a should be singular but thats only because I needed BD’s clue. Otherwise excellent fun.

  19. Oh dear…oh dear, oh dear. Null points for me today. I wave the white flag of surrender. I can’t even see 2d even with the hint!

    1. Roger, Bananas is sometimes used as a euphemism for insane or mad. If something is insane or mad grows worse and so ends up as the maddest.

  20. Enjoyed the puzzle today. I did think that “molest” is a pretty strong word these days and didn’t see it right away as a synonym for irritate. Was also lucky to get 10a as it had to be pronounced in the English way.
    Thanks to BD and RayT.

  21. A nice mixture of clue types.
    I never did get 6a – understood with hindsight, but I guess you would have to be good at carpentry…..
    I also had trouble with 12a, had never heard of it and also guessed at Dega.
    Finally, can someone explain 2d? I can see it means ‘most bananas’, but where does the ‘having grown’ come in? Also Dave, mad/bananas isn’t the same as stupid, n’est-ce pas?

    1. For 2d the setter wants to make you think of a fruit grower but actually ‘grown’ here means ‘become’.

      1. Yes, thanks Gazza.
        I sort of got that, but to me, it’s like a boiled egg without salt, if that makes any metaphorical sense?

  22. I think the crossword editor got the envelopes mixed up today as this is more of a Toughie than the actual Toughie, if you know what I mean.

    1. For reasons which are not readily apparent relatively gentle Toughies are often published on Thursdays (as Bufo has mentioned more than once!). However, if my sums are correct, Toughie 1,000 is due to appear on a Thursday in a few weeks – that’s bound to be a ‘special’, isn’t it?

      1. If it’s themed around the word thousand or numerals equivalent to same then it is bound to upset a few sensitive souls, no names no pack drill. If it doesn’t then others will ask why not. I wouldn’t (even if I could) be a setter for all the tea in Cuba.

        On another note I’ve started dreaming about crosswords – is this something I should be worried about?

        1. Me too, I think it is a sign of addiction! Could have worse problems though.

      2. I bet its one of those ‘guess which setter wrote which clue’ ones. Bufo will definitely have something to get his cryptic teeth into on that day.

        1. So that would be how many “setter wavelengths” we will have to tune in to? I feel a stiff drink & a slack handful of Nurofen will be needed at the end of that day. Bring it on!

          1. It’s a toss up between a “Bishop’s Finger” or a “Riggwelter” tonight with my M&S Lasagne (Mrs S is away so I’m afraid it’s ready meals or starve)

              1. I can cook to a certain extent but it seems such a faff when there’s only one of you so the answer is not just a ready meal it’s an M&S ready meal.

              1. Neigh lad! I were that ‘ungry I could’ve eaten a scabby ‘orse between two buggy mattresses then gone back fer saddle.

  23. Thanks to Ray T and to Big Dave for the review and hints. A very interesting and enjoyable puzzle, took me two sittings to finish. Bottom half went in first followed by NW & NE corners. Favourites were 5&27a. Was 4*/4* for me. Rain clouds threatening in Central London, please let us have some Summer before the nights start drawing in!

    1. According to Metcheck summer might be beginning next week – actually, if this year so far and the whole of last year are anything to go by then I suppose next week might be our summer. When we do finally get some decent weather I wonder who will be the first to complain on the blog that it’s too hot!!

  24. Absolutely loved this, despite usually approaching a Ray T by peeping through anxious fingers over eyes, as I’m in awe of his skills as a brilliant setter, but my brain needs to grow up a bit more to solve his puzzles (must be still in my second or third childhood). So am thrilled to have completed this with comparative comfort. Loved too many to list individually so can’t choose a favourite today. Grateful thanks to setter for a really enjoyable brain tease, and to BD for his usual classy responses and hints.

  25. Hello Everybody.I am saving this one to take on holiday with me. I shall be in crossword heaven

  26. I’ve just got the quick crossword pun! :smile:
    It reminds me of my French nephew. They have a house in the Loire Valley very close to another (well, more of a chateau really) that is owned by Mick Jagger. There is a fair bit of name dropping that goes on (which we all choose to ignore) but nephew always refers to him as ‘Meek’ which used to reduce our daughters to helpless giggles when they were much younger.

    1. I used to work for a French company with offices here in the UK. The Managing Director (my boss) was a Frenchman with an ‘Allo ‘Allo accent. Every time he mentioned a “sheet” (i.e. sheet of paper) which he did quite a lot, I had to be very careful to keep a straight face… (Just say “I have a sheet on my desk” in René’s accent!).

      1. Oh, that takes me back! Many years ago, when Mr. Expat worked for the UK arm of an Italian company, I had to take a newly arrived Italian gentleman shopping for bed linens for his flat. He spoke very little English and of course didn’t know bedsheets are referred to in pairs. He said to the the saleslady “I want two sh**t.”

  27. Our summer has started except nobody has told the big man in the sky.
    Finished puzzle. It was excellent and enjoyable. I am pleased that I joined the RayT fan club. Didn’t need the hints but thanks anyway BD

  28. This was a real beastie for me. I got the bottom done, not without great effort, but it wasn’t impossible. Struggled mightily with the top, eventually got the gizmo out and with it I solved some clues, which then helped with others. I also spent far too much time trying to find a star called dega. Oh dear, how could I have missed the “v”. I put hasp in but didn’t understand, and still don’t, the “has” part. Good puzzle, nevertheless. Thanks to all.

    1. 6a e.g. ‘he is forced to do his own cooking’ / ‘he has to do his own cooking’.

  29. I feel it would be rude of me not to comment on this puzzle.
    As usual Ray T has produced both a very challenging and enjoyable crossword.
    Many thanks to him and BD for the review.

  30. As usual i found a RayT puzzle to be difficult, but as usual, I looked forward to being baffled by a crossword master.
    Thanks, BD, for the explanations. Much appreciated

  31. Really enjoyed this – best of the week by a long chalk – last in 6a. Really enjoable work-out.

  32. Many thanks once again to BD for the decryption and to all who left a comment. Much appreciated…


  33. Big Dave, love the blog, often very helpful when stuck, but why so harsh on critics of Telegraph crosswords? I’m referring to clisco and zossy. They obviously didn’t like yesterday or today’s offerings and you jump on them for expressing their opinion. I didn’t like yesterday crossword or today’s either, so I’m awaiting a slap from you for saying so. It doesn’t really encourage open debate or people who are unhappy with a Telegraph crossword to come here.
    On one specific today, can someone explain what the “Having grown” adds to 2d? Seems redundant to me.
    Thank you.

    1. i have become tired of those who only ever criticise and seldom praise the setters. Just look at the sample I gave of clisco’s earlier comments. Zossy’s first comment was a whinge – not a good start..

      Neither of these people were interested in any kind of debate.

      The surface reading of the clue to which you refer was improved by the additional words while at the same time not detracting from the meaning – isn’t that what we look for in a cryptic clue?

      1. I have been making a conscious effort not to respond to those people directly because if I do I risk getting banned from the blog for bad language. Clisco and Zossy reek of being trolls and, I suspect, additional alter egos of the recent pair.

    2. I don’t think BD’s having a go at people who don’t like a particular crossword, but rather those that moan constantly about the crosswords. Personally, I enjoy the challenge of the odd difficult puzzle and it is annoying (to say the least) when the best people can say about it is that it shouldn’t be allowed or that the compiler should be fired, etc.

      As for the ‘having grown’ its discussed a couple of times on the 1st page

  34. Andrew
    I remembered these words from my favourite setter three years ago
    “There are ways of making critical comments with respect and politeness and ways of making them uninformatively and with unnecessary rudeness.”

    Brian Greer (Virgilius)

    Says it all for me

    Keep Happy

  35. I got about half way through, very happily and then I had to go out and celebrate again someone else’s retirement. So exhausted on returning after midnight , that I was unable to tell the difference between a difficult crossword and being brain dead.Thanks to Ray T and Big Dave.

  36. At one point I thought I would never be able to finish this, but persevered and managed to complete it without any hints. Very satisfying !

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