DT 27239 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 27239

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 27239

Hints and tips by Big Dave

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ****

Ray T returns to tantalise and titivate!

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    A fine female, fit and friendly (7)
{AFFABLE} – the A from the clue followed by F(ine), F(emale) and an adjective meaning fit

5a    A clot is treated for patient (7)
{STOICAL} – an anagram (treated) of A CLOT IS gives an adjective meaning patient or uncomplaining

9a    Certain to turn over in intimate examination (7)
{PERUSAL} – an adjective meaning certain is reversed (turn over) inside an intimate or friend

10a    Girl expressed pleasure vocally, getting caught (7)
{LASSOED} – a young girl followed by what sounds like (vocally) a verb meaning expressed pleasure

11a    Through decree nisi, I left moving house (9)
{RESIDENCE} – an anagram (moving) of DECREE NIS(I) without one of the Is (I left)

12a    Got a whiff of  fish (5)
{SMELT} – two definitions

13a    Composer‘s final character in record (5)
{LISZT) – the final character of the alphabet inside a record or directory

ARVE Error: need id and provider

15a    One ‘rug’ filling void is lifeless (9)
{INANIMATE} – I (one) and a rug inside an adjective meaning void or empty

17a    Will try to accept pet name (9)
{TESTAMENT} – a verb meaning to try around an adjective meaning pet or domesticated and N(ame)

19a    Smells bit of fish turning, fish oddly (5)
{NIFFS} – a part of a fish is reversed (turning) and followed by the odd letters of FiSh

22a    Tory leader’s ‘Cuddles for hooligans’ (5)
{THUGS} – the initial letter (leader) of Tory followed by a verb meaning cuddles – an allusion to David Cameron’s alleged advice to “cuddle” a hoodie, something he never said, which was actually a product of Alistair “Dodgy Dossier” Campbell and his insidious Socialist propaganda machine

23a    Plain site with green eruption (9)
{SERENGETI} – an anagram (eruption) of SITE with GREEN – this was the answer to 10 across in yesterday’s Quick crossword

25a    Capital character seen in ‘Skull Island’ (7)
{NAIROBI} – character or appearance inside a skull or head followed by I(sland)

26a    Last out of newspapers is Times (7)
{PERSIST} – hidden (out of) inside the clue

27a    Abrasion from small clasp retaining middle of bra (7)
{SCRATCH} – S(mall) and a verb meaning to clasp or xxx around (retaining) the middle letter of bRa

28a    Doctor cut around and deepened cut? (7)
{DREDGED} – the abbreviation for D(octo)R followed by a verb meaning created a border by cutting around – by the way, the second cut is a canal not an incision


1d    Dismay about return of Queen outfit (7)
{APPAREL} – a verb meaning to dismay around the reversal (return) of the Queen’s regnal cipher

2d    Woods warning by second tees (7)
{FORESTS} – a warning from a golfer, usually after he has played a bad shot, followed by S(econd) and T(ee)S

3d    Having a position when in sack (5)
{BASED} – a two-letter word meaning when inside the sack or place to sleep

4d    Insect found in say, border plant (9)
{EGLANTINE} – an insect inside the Latin abbreviation of say / for example and a border or frontier

5d    Crack setter often leaves vague enigmas initially (5)
{SOLVE} – the initial letters of five words in the clue

6d    Sitting with old boy on hobby-horse (9)
{OBSESSION} – a sitting, perhaps in a court of law, preceded by the abbreviation of Old Boy

7d    Reportedly catch a severe infection (7)
{CHOLERA} – what sounds like (reportedly) a verb meaning to catch, a criminal for example, followed by the A from the clue

8d    Unruly girl‘s behind holding unruly youth up (7)
{LADETTE} – a word meaning behind or overdue around the reversal (up in a down clue) of an unruly youth from the fifties

14d    Ship new craft over on south dock (9)
{TRANSPORT} – a verb meaning to ship or convey is derived from the reversal (over) of N(ew) and a craft or skill followed by S(outh) and a dock or harbour

16d    One’s a hard case or hard top, possibly (9)
{ARTHROPOD} – an anagram (possibly) of OR HARD TOP – in this context the ‘S is short for has

17d    Contracting this tautens terribly (7)
{TETANUS} – an anagram (terribly) of TAUTENS

18d    More like dressing, or less dressed? (7)
{SAUCIER} – an adjective meaning more like a dressing for food could also suggest that someone is wearing fewer clothes in order to titivate

20d    Twisting former husband in brief affair (7)
{FLEXING} – the usual former husband (or wife) inside a brief affair or relationship

21d    End of italics slanted and unnatural (7)
{STILTED} – the final letter (end) of italicS followed by a word meaning slanted or inclined

23d    Sabbath want to get fashionable (5)
{SWISH} – S(abbath) followed by a verb meaning to want

24d    Thinner veil revealing cheek (5)
{NERVE} – hidden (revealing) inside the clue

One of Ray T’s easier puzzles, at least I thought so.

The Quick crossword pun: {core} + {don} + {blur} = {cordon bleu}

52 comments on “DT 27239

  1. A brilliant crossword, with an excellent mixture of clues of differing difficulties. Hard to pick a favourite from so many, but I’ll get off the fence by choosing 22a.

    Two corners went in quickly for me, but I got held up by the other two, particularly the SW with 18d my last answer in. Overall I am going for 2.5* difficulty and 4* enjoyment.

    Many thanks to Ray T and to BD for his review. I needed BD’s hint for 8d to understand the wordplay.

  2. Either I had my Ray T hat on today or Ray T had his Rufus hat on. This was over all too quickly this morning before i even got out of bed. The grid giving all of the start letters made it all to easy. Foxed by 2d in the quickie though. Ta to all and thanks to Kath for her kind words yesterday.

      1. Yes – the use of ‘harangue’ in the clue is more than dubious and it was my last one to go in.

        1. As ever, blame Chambers:


          * speak, talk, hold forth, lecuture, sermonize, pontificate, discourse, harangue, speechify

          * formal: declaim

    1. 2D in quickie – think of a speech (must admit, I wouldn’t call it ‘harangue’ but ho hum

    2. Oh, I see….the grid arrangement gave all the first letters, which made it easier.
      Must look out for that.

      Is there a grid arrangement with NO lead letters, I wonder?

  3. Morning Dave, a puzzle of four corners I thought, I think it was RayT with his kind hat on today, a two star for me, several clues I liked but only one favourite and that was 5d even though the reading was a little ‘clunky’ , only one thing, in 10a, ‘oed’ doesn’t sound like ‘oohd’ to me it sounds more like ‘owed’ ! after overnight rain the sun is out, that’s the way I like it :-)

  4. Nice gentle fair today, had to think hard about 18D as I didn’t really think it felt quite right. I thought 12A was an excellent clue.

    Praise must go to all this week’s Quickie puns, thy have been some of the best I have seen in many a year.

  5. For me, a difficult Ray T puzzle. Struggled with SE corner – got there eventually. Needed BD explanation for 8d although I had the answer. Thanks for the help BD and thank you Ray T for what was a tough puzzle for me. Some clever clues – 2d would have been even better if the Tiger had won at Muirfield !

  6. All present and correct – -a couple of BD’s explanations needed to try and understand the ‘cryptic’ explanation.

    25a is a mystery to me though – ‘character or appearance inside a skull or head followed by I(sland)’ – the only bit I understand is the ‘I’ on the end, my answer came from the cross letters but – oh, hold on – character must be ‘air’, skull or head must be ‘nob’ – blimey, a bit contrived or what!

    I think I’m getting the hang of this – slowly!

    Thanks to all!

  7. Good fun today, no real standouts but did enjoy 4D, many thanks to setter & BD for the review.

  8. Yes a **/*** then **** , good start to the day; did’nt really think pet = tame in 17a and struggled for the wordplay for 18d-last in.16a was a clever anagram- I think I’ve seen it before, but not sure. Thanks BD and setter. Still got the two hedgehogs that eat dried fish catfood then chase each other round all night!

  9. Another fine puzzle from the Master with so much innuendo and many giggles. Last in and favourite was 18 and also thought 7 10 18 and 27 were great. A range of different clues and few anagrams as usual. I missed the last beamer so I will check the toughies first next week. The grid made it easy today but still most enjoyable.

  10. I don’t know if the Ray Ts are getting easier or if I am beginning to understand them but I thought this was a super puzzle!
    I especially liked 10a, a real laugh out loud clue.
    I now realise that you have to take a different approach with his to most other setters.
    Many Thx to Ray T for an enjoyable exercise and to BD for explaining 8d.

  11. SW corner nearly defeated me today. I was sure the capital was Tripoli and tho it messed up 17d I was not sure that I had the anagram correct anyway. So I think 2.5 stars but 4 for enjoyment. I rather like 1a and 27a but lots of others too tho not 17a. Thanks to setter and to BD. Needed the hints for a couple and an explanation for a couple of others. Going to pick raspberries now for family BBQ tomorrow.

  12. Thanks to RayT for an entertaining and gentle puzzle and to BD for a most amusing review. The toughie today is also gentle but amusing.

  13. Well, for once, I had that elusive **** for enjoyment.

    I’d give it a * for difficulty, as I didn’t need help, but if it is a **, then I must be improving.

    2d was worthy of RESPECT, as all parts of the clue were pertinent – nothing jarred, nothing superfluous – it was elegant.
    5d and 17d were lovely fun, as was 16d.
    17a was also cute – thanks for the reasoning BD. I got it but should mark myself down, I expect, for not ‘seeing’ tame at first go.

  14. Very nice puzzle today, we really enjoyed it, so thank you to setter & hinter. Husband’s now starting on the quickie.

  15. Oh good – he’s found his naughty hat! I loved it all and agree 2* difficulty and at least 4* for enjoyment. Quite a fishy crossword, I thought.
    I always have to check the spelling of Liszt otherwise the third and fourth letters go in the wrong way round and that has been known to cause all kinds of problems. I had to check in BRB for 15a – wasn’t sure about void and inane. I thought 23a had two ‘T’s so that threw me for a while. I got into a complete muddle with 25a and 8d and also 16d – was thinking of cars with hard tops.
    I liked all the clues that sounded slightly smutty because they made me laugh. I think my favourite was probably 10a.
    With thanks to Ray T and BD.
    We had rain in the night and drizzle this morning but the sun has come out now and it’s hot again.

  16. Thanks to Ray T and to Big Dave for the review and hints. Superb puzzle, very enjoyable, was beaten by 18d, needed electronic help for that. Thanks to Big Dave for the explanations to 7&8d, which I solved but couldn’t parse. Favourites were 10,12,19a and 17d. Was 2*/4* for me. Nice drop of overnight rain to cool us down in Central London, but it’s humid now.

  17. Hi everyone – I’m usually just lurking and reading with some awe the wit and wisdom on these pages, though I have solved Cryptic Crosswords off and on for about 45 years. Tomorrow I am giving my first adult Ed/ Summer School course to help others enjoy the art and it was apparently heavily oversubscribed. I’ve done all the work and printed sheets and sharpened pencils but I would like one last example from the Telegraph archive. I’d like them to experience the intricacies of a themed puzzle – I looked up Nov 5th for last year which I thought had been but it doesn’t seem to be. Does anyone remember one that fits the bill and would not be too daunting for beginners? Thanks in advance in case anyone answers but also a thanks that this site exists and continues to give me and my 91 year old dad great pleasure.

      1. Thanks Dave. That will do nicely. I will be telling them all about the blog – but perhaps not early in the day. You may get some new recruits.

  18. Not a hard slog at all and most enjoyable. I never did get 8d and had to look at the answer; glad I didn’t spend too much time on it, I would have been here all day. Really, no problems today, thanks to all for enjoyment. Oh, I did get a bit held up by 19a, not sure I’ve ever heard of that. I wanted to put in sniff but wrong tense. I don’t think I’ll be using that as a word any time soon, so will just file it away in crosswordland in case it rears it’s head again.

    1. I wish this atutocorrect would not correct correct things and make them grammatically incorrect, ergo the last “it’s” (it’s done it again). Please read “its”.

    2. New to me as well. And for some reason I don’t find it a very beautiful word – unlike Mesapotamia or marmalade or silver or banquette… I won’t go on! Do others see words in colours, or is that just me?

      1. Hi Poppy

        I have colours for numbers and letters , but not whole words. I also have temperatures for these things and also genders………..erm…..

        I can send you a link for a synaesthesia site if you like?

        1. Thanks Bluebird – the temperatures aspect is new to me… I’ve always been interested in perceptions. Don’t know if you saw the TV advert years ago for (I think) the Guardian newspaper where a youth is apparently mugging a woman, when in reality he’s saving her life…

  19. I found this very hard but yesterday’s easy. We must all have different brains!
    I always start from the end and was worried when I got half way up but couldn’t do any.
    The top half was fine though.
    I really struggled with the bottom half especially the SE corner.
    As soon as I looked at the across hints I got them immediately
    Y so thanks for that.
    I was then able to finish it. It took me forever though

  20. Well the top half went in fairly briskly, but then had to break off to take Mr P to catch his train to windy Media City and got back to find I’d stalled over the bottom half. Delighted I got saucier without help but only got 16d with all the checking letters on place (last in). Thank you to setter for a fine puzzle & to BD for his fine hints. I definitely prefer the underlining that Scchua (I think) started. Very helpful. Friend came round to see my tomatoes, & was astonished by their height, so I gather I mustn’t let them get any higher or I’ll need a stepladder to pinch out (all these new terms I’m learning) :-)

    1. Are your tomatoes in full light? It sounds to me as if they might be a bit sun-deprived which is why they’re getting so tall. I should pinch out the growing tip (the top bit) and all the side shoots (the things that grow in the axils of the leaves) which means they can put all their energy into making tomatoes. Will stop going on now! Good luck! :smile:

    2. If you take a photo of your dog next to your tomato plants and set it as your avatar we can all see how high they are.

      1. That’s a great Idea except I can’t get enough of a long shot, & Poppy would probably demand an appearance fee :-D

  21. Very enjoyable – about half done before lights out last night, and the rest completed through this morning and over lunch. Last one in was 8d which is rapidly becoming an ‘oldie but goodie’ (in my book at least). Too many favourites to itemize! Thanks to Ray T and BD.

  22. Most enjoyable….fair romped through it but with a few that taxed the old grey matter.

  23. Setter here…

    …with thanks to BD for the analysis, and to all who left a comment. As always, very much appreciated.


    1. Ray

      Seems like you put all of us in a good mood for the rest of the day.


  24. Enjoyable and not too difficult, except for 8d which was my last one in, due to missing the definition, so my fault entirely.Thanks, Ray T and BD, of course.We had a terrific thunderstorm last night, and as they are usually years apart, we enjoyed it. I hope the heatwave returns though.

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