DT 27251 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 27251

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 27251

Hints and tips by Big Dave

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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

Another excellent puzzle from Ray T.

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    Way of life after getting into the habit? (11)
{MONASTICISM} – a cryptic definition of of the way of life of a monk

10a    Tenor with power covering Queen. Idiot … (5)
{TWERP} – T(enor) W(ith) and P(ower) around (covering) around the regnal cipher of our Queen

11a    … halfwit revealed by design or amusement (9)
{IGNORAMUS} – hidden (revealed by) inside the clue

12a    Every other bird in a former embrace (9)
{ALTERNATE} – a seabird inside (in … embrace) the A from the clue and a word meaning former

13a    Greek character, goddess embodying first of Titans (5)
{THETA} – the alternative spelling of one of the Titans around the initial letter (first) of Titans

14a    Broad giving needle in silence (6)
{GAPING} – this adjective meaning broad is derived by putting a needle inside a verb meaning to silence

16a    Lops head off plant (8)
{ASPHODEL} – an anagram (off) of LOPS HEAD

18a    ‘On the Beach‘ is prosaic for the audience (8)
{LITTORAL} – this adjective meaning relating to the seashore (on the beach) sounds like (for the audience) an adjective meaning prosaic or unimaginative – this answer has previously appeared in a couple of Toughies, most recently as a noun in T 907 (What may sound like exact location for making sandcastles (8)

20a    Sailor is catching case of dengue and survives (6)
{ABIDES} – the usual sailor and IS around the outer letters (case) of DenguE

23a    River Test finally divided (5)
{TRENT} – the third longest river in the UK is derived from the final letter of tesT followed by a word meaning divided

24a    Terrible shower seek solutions, losing head (9)
{RAINSTORM} – a verb meaning to seek solutions without (losing) its initial letter (head)

26a    Standard of France in ruined memorial (9)
{ORIFLAMME} – this small banner of red silk split into several points, the ancient royal standard of France, is derived by putting the IVR code for France inside an anagram (ruined) of MEMORIAL

27a    Pile of stones roughly hard, not old (5)
{CAIRN} – the two-letter Latin abbreviation for roughly or about followed by a word meaning hard without (not) the O(ld)

28a    Harmful French article, ‘Females almost embracing depressions’ (11)
{UNWHOLESOME} – the French indefinite article and almost all of a word meaning females around some depressions


2d    Open‘s settled on tee (5)
{OVERT} – a word meaning settled or finished followed by T(ee)

3d    Unending craving for drug (7)
{ASPIRIN} – a verb meaning craving without its final letter (unending)

4d    Ethnic test about Britain (6)
{TRIBAL} – a test around B(ritain)

5d    Ocean swirls over first one in kayak (8)
{CANOEIST} – an anagram (swirls) of OCEAN followed by the letters that look like the short form of first

6d    Tax  period (7)
{STRETCH} – two definitions

7d    Throttling, giving a signal to turn around (13)
{STRANGULATION} – an anagram (around) of A SIGNAL TO TURN

8d    Single politician’s over getting threatened (8)
{IMPENDED} – I (single) and a politician followed by a word meaning over

9d    Foundation stone in Blenheim sat askew (13)
{ESTABLISHMENT} – ST(one) inside an anagram (askew) of BLENHEIM SAT

15d    Pedestrian way state overturned poor (8)
{PATHETIC} – a way for pedestrians followed by the reversal (overturned) of a verb meaning to state

17d    Disapprove of endlessly strong husband grabbing rear (8)
{HARRUMPH} – Crypticsue’s favourite way to express disapproval is derived from most of (endlessly) an adjective meaning strong and H(usband) around (grabbing) a rear or hindquarters

19d    Bird in Sun a lot, rolling over (7)
{ORTOLAN} – hidden (in) and reversed (over) inside the clue

21d    Halves portions, taking little time (7)
{BISECTS} – some small portions around the three-letter abbreviation for a little amount of time

22d    Ring around ring’s centre like part of conifer (6)
{PINEAL} – a verb meaning to ring bells around the middle letters (centre) of rINg

25d    Drug of poppy in use medicinally, initially (5)
{OPIUM} – the initial letters of five words in the clue

A couple of words that may be new to some, but overall not too difficult.

The Quick crossword pun: (sigh} + {bus} + {pace} = {cyberspace}

62 comments on “DT 27251

  1. Annoying bottom left corner. birds and flags et al.
    Thanks B Dave, I was getting really angry with myself.

  2. Lovely stuff once again from RayT. A little lighter on the innuendo than sometimes, but still lots of fun.
    Thanks RayT and BD.

  3. Really enjoyed today’s Ray T, even though I was on the right wave length i found it difficult so a ***/**** for me Took a while to work out the wordplay even when the answer was correct;17d was a new word ,as was 22d.Thanks BD for the pics-i now know what the 19d bird looks like, remember reading that it was a delicacy and was fed in the dark ,and disposed of with ,I think, almanac and eaten whole, the French have a lot to answer for!

  4. Thank you Ray T – one of your trickier ones I thought ! – but good fun nevertheless. New word again for me at 26a. Thank you for the review BD – I had the answer for 27a, but needed your explanation of the wordplay. I seem to remember that a recent French president enjoyed eating 19d soaked in some liqueur – bones and all !

    1. Indeed, Monsieur Mitterand is said to have consumed 19d on the night before he died. The custom was to wear a cloth of some particular material on one’s head whilst in the act.

  5. I thought this was a little trickier than recent RayT back-pagers, but as enjoyable as always.
    Thanks to him, and to BD for the review.

  6. I found this a bit of a struggle overall and, as such, slightly less enjoyable than most Ray T offerings. My rating today is 3* for difficulty and 2.5* for enjoyment. Although, that said, there were a lot of excellent and amusing clues.

    I did manage steadily to complete a fair bit, but got held up by putting monasterial for 1a until being forced to revisit it when I couldn’t make any headway with 5d and 6d; and the SW corner took me a long time to unravel even with a bit of electronic help.

    19a was a new bird for me, and, although I quickly spotted that 26a was an anagram, I needed to resort to an anagram solver to discover what turned out to be another new word for me.

    I needed BD’s hints to understand the wordplay for 17d and for 22d. Stupidly I took ring’s middle to mean “n” not “in” :oops:

    Many thanks to Ray T and BD.

  7. Brilliant as usual. I have to go for 3* difficulty as I was SO dim in the bottom left corner. At least 4* for enjoyment.
    I got into a spot of bother with the 7 and 9d anagrams – they were obviously anagrams but I spent too long trying to use the wrong letters – sorted them out eventually.
    I always have to check the spelling of 5d – it always seems, and looks, as if there are too many vowels in the middle.
    I agree with the 2Kiwis that there was a bit less innuendo than there sometimes is.
    I liked too many of these to put them all down – would run out of space – so just my favourite which was 17d. It was also my last answer.
    With thanks to Ray T and BD.

  8. Another great puzzle from Ray T my favourite setter. Still struggling through with two to do. 26ac and 22d. Saint Sharon has put me to work tidying up the front of the pub and gardening. I have to keep sneaking in to have another look at the crossword.

  9. I managed to complete the puzzle before (a slightly delayed) lights out last night. Not a lot of fun from my perspective. So, I would give it 2.5*/**. Took me a while to recognize 26a which seems to be becoming an oldie but goodie. I even had the impression that the clue wording is the same as the last time it was used. The closest to a favourite would be 18a.

    1. Senf, it was in the MPP 0010 as 3d Standard memorial, fluttering, borne by French leader (9)

      1. Thanks andy. So, there is more than one way of creating a clue which is an anagram of memorial and F (and my memory is not as good as I thought it was).

  10. Too many unfamiliar words in the bottom left – left me staring blankly at it for far too long when I should be working.

  11. Like others, found this slightly trickier than usual and that’s why I loved it. Had to google the bird and standard to check I had right answers, but solving time firmly in two star territory. Was misdirected all over the place. Ray T you’re a star. Four star enjoyment.

  12. Excellent crossword from RayT and a great review from BD, many thanks to both. The Giovanni toughie was far less difficult than this one.

  13. Well, managed to finish this crossword with a lot of help from BD & our electronic devise, but at the risk of incurring the wroth of the many people who love this setter, I don’t think we are on the same wavelength at all. I’m not quite sure about 20 across….I think we have the right answer, but can’t connect it with the definition.

    1. 2 letter abbreviation for sailor, then “is” from the clue with the first and last letters of “dengue” inside.

          1. From Chambers Thesaurus:

            1 bear, put up with, tolerate, accept, take, brook, endure;

            Scottish thole

            colloquial stand, stomach, hack

            2 remain, last, endure, continue, survive, live on, persist

            1. I just knew the meaning was going to be something really obscure in Chambers. Thank you BD.

  14. Oh dear – think we must be a bit duntish today after winning the quiz last night and having one too many glases of wine.
    Only got 3 across clues on first pass although teh downs came to the rescue a but!
    Got completely bogged down at the top – like Rabbit Dave – also by putting monasterial for 1a and was then stuck on 5d and 6d.
    So it will have to be 3*/4* for us as there were lots great clues.
    Thanks BD for the blog and Ray T for an enjoyable crossword.

  15. Thanks to Ray T and to Big Dave for the review and hints. A very good puzzle, but mighty difficult. I managed three quarters of it, but couldn’t do the SW corner at all. Needed 6 hints but still had to look them all up. 18&26a and 22d were all new words for
    me. Had not heard of “gaping” meaning “broad”. Favourites were 1a and 17d. Was 4*/3* for me. Cloudy now in Central London.

  16. Had British Gas engineers here all day putting my new boiler in, so a bit late. Like Mifftpops, my first thought for 1A was Brotherhood, but soon became obvious it wasn’t, still took a bit of thinking to work out the ending though.
    Have never heard of the French Standard and put the letters together the only way they seemed to fit with the checking letters and managed to get them in the right order somehow, phewww.

    The bird in 19D is very interesting. As has been pointed out, they are/were a delicacy in France (it is now illegal to eat them), they were very well looked after during their (short) lives, and then drowned in in Armagnac and eaten raw (I believe) in the dark with the head being covered by a cloth (so God couldn’t see the eater devouring such a beautiful creation). Apparently, it was the the final meal of Francois Mitterrand. So I guess its still actually OK to eat them in France.

    1. If you look on Youtube there’s a clip of Jeremy Clarkson eating one. A bit hard to stomach (not the bird).

  17. I struggled to get started with this, but as I got a few, others started coming together. Nevertheless, I still had to rely heavily on gizmo and google to finish. Don’t you feel like crowing when a puzzle has you beat and you manage to win in the end? It gives me endless satisfaction, thanks for making my day.

    1. Hello Merusa. I love a struggle and this one has been a bit of a battle. Right know Ray T has me beaten by two – or should I reverse it and say it is 28 – 2 in MY favour?

  18. What a nightmare – without the blog there would be no way I could have completed this crossword today.

    A whole battery of new words to me – 16a, 18a, 26a, 19d, 22d and the ending of 8d was new also – I know that a lot of this problem is due to my ignorance but surely the crossword has to be accessible and not full of obscure words!

    Another bugbear is 9d – it was obvious it was an anagram but the ‘ST’ from ‘stone’ and ‘Blenheim sat’ – eh!!

    Come on be fair – I had to get the word first an work backwards to the dubious anagram!

    A very unsatisfactory experience to me!

    Thanks to the blogger – much needed today!

    1. I agree with a problematic 9d although it went in without thought. it was only when working out 24ac that I found I could not make the anagram work.

    2. Really sorry that you found this such a nightmare. Ray T is one of my favourite setters – he makes me laugh. I think he is the setter who divides opinion more than any other.
      Most of the words that were new to you do crop up in crosswords from time to time – some more often than others – and so are worth remembering although that is a long list to bung into the brain all on one day! Good luck, and keep going. :smile:

  19. Thought I was going to enjoy this until I came to the right hand side which was incomprehensible.
    Cold someone please explain 14a, 17d, 24a and 20a.
    In 14a why needle, in 17d why this very odd word, in 24a why does abides mean survives and in 20a where are the solutions?
    Did like 26a and indeed most of the left but the right UGH!
    Getting better at Ray T’s but still find his mindset very odd.

    1. Brian, you’ve mixed up 20a and 24a.

      For 20a, see BD’s comment about the meaning of ABIDES above under comment 13.

      For 24a, BRAINSTORM = seek solutions

      1. Ah Brainstorm, that makes sense now. Thx
        Re 20a, I can see the constructs but was has abides to do with survives, that what I can’t work out.

        1. Collins lists the synonyms for ‘abides’ as follows – = tolerate, suffer, accept, bear, endure, brook, hack, put up with, submit to, take, stand, stomach, thole, last, continue, remain, survive, carry on, endure, persist, keep on, stay, live, stop, wait, rest, lodge, linger, dwell, reside, sojourn, tarry – although I’ve no idea what ‘thole’ is!

          It’s ok I’ve looked up ‘thole’ and it’s a Scottish or Northern English dialect word meaning ‘to put up with’ or ‘bear’ and an archaic word meaning ‘to suffer’ – you live and learn!

  20. Very enjoyable – it helped fill in some time on a plane journey. For once I agree with BD’s ratings!

  21. I had a different ending for 1a, which gave me unsurpassable difficulty for both 5d and 6d. Should have realised the problem, but didn’t so thanks for the tip there. Got the answer to 27a, but even with the explanation, don’t understand the crypitc clue.

    As you might guess, this was a real toughie for me today

    1. I think the explanation is that the Latin word for roughly or about is ‘circa’ abbreviated to ‘ca’ and the word for ‘hard’ is ‘iron’ minus the ‘o’ gives you ‘ca’ + ‘irn’ = ‘cairn’ – although I think the ‘hard’ = ‘iron’ bit is a bit weak!

        1. That’s set me off on one! Many years ago our daughters came home from school one afternoon and I was doing the ironing. It was my birthday. Elder one told me that I really shouldn’t be ironing on my birthday. I thought how sweet of her to be offering to finish it for me. Her next sentence was “Why don’t you leave it until tomorrow?” Not so sweet after all.

          1. Don’t you just love them?

            At the risk of being severly ostracised…

            What do you buy a gadget mad woman for her birthday when she already has an iPod, an iPad and an iPhone?

            … an iRon :wink:

            1. I won’t ostracise you for that – unless you have more than one favourite tomorrow!! :smile: Think it’s called tit for tat!

  22. Two star really? $&**!?F%!! Harrumph ! Too hard.Thanks Big Dave for all the clues I didn’t get.If there are more Thursdays like this I will try to stay silent.

  23. Many thanks once again to BD for his precise dissection and to all who left an observation.


  24. **/**** for me today, dare I hope to be getting o to RayT’s wavelength finally?

  25. Another great puzzle from the master. So many good clues with a few more anagrams than normal. Makes a change, I suppose. Best were 16 [great misdirection] 17 and 19 [hidden word last in as usual, as so well disguised].

    1. I always miss the hidden ones too although today my favourite, 17d, was my last one in.

  26. *****/* for me. A horrid back pager for those of us who are learning. Should be buried near the sudukos.

    1. Surely learning is finding out about things you didn’t know and committing them to memory rather than complaining that you didn’t already know them.

    2. I don’t think that there is any such thing as a ‘horrid’ back pager any more than, to me at least, there is ever any such thing as a ‘horrid’ crossword. I enjoy some more than others. I can do some and, quite often, can’t do others.
      I appreciate that this may have been tricky for a beginner but it’s how you learn and what this blog is absolutely wonderful at doing – explaining, teaching and, above all, encouraging.
      Just keep going and don’t be put off by a tricky one would be my advice. Good luck.

  27. 26a did for me – I had the shape of the clue but ended up filling in the grid via a device. Lovely stuff elsewhere and thanks to RayT and BD.

  28. Now settled in down on the south coast for some convalescence, so a bit late signing in as Poppy had to be introduced to the sea…. Found this a real challenge, but an excellent workout. Needed BD’s hints – esp. to explain why 27a was correct, and took forever to sort out 9d. Can’t imagine chewing an Ortolan in preference to seeing it with the miracle of flight. But perhaps the “almanac” (!) helped…. Good to read all the comments, and thank you setter and, always, deepest respect to the mighty BD :-)

  29. Harrumph! Learned a few things. Will have forgotten ’em by morning, possibly not the bird; that I liked.

  30. Hugely enjoyable stuff. A few of the clues in the bottom half were slow to come out, and I didn’t get 17d without the hint. Playful misdirection everywhere. My faves were 12, 18, 24, 27, 28, and 21d.
    26a (another masterly clue) I had to have several guesses at, as the word was new to me. Double misdirection there, as I knew the answer would be an anagram of memorial + F, but wrongly assumed it would mean some obscure scientific term for a measurement, e.g. of heat or light…
    Many thanks to RayT and to Big Dave.

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