DT 27281

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 27281

Hints and tips by Big Dave

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty */**Enjoyment **

I was hoping to get a Ray T puzzle today, but this one turned up instead. Like last Thursday, it was a case of read a clue and write in the answer. I wonder how many hints will be needed today!

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    Trashy equipment put by school (6)
{KITSCH} – some equipment followed by SCH(ool)

5a    Standard means devised to produce cheese (8)
{PARMESAN} –a standard score in golf followed by an anagram (devised) of MEANS

9a    A party in action? (8)
{LITIGANT} – a cryptic definition of one of the parties in a legal action

10a    Crooked group I missed facing French street (6)
{UNTRUE} – a group of soldiers without (missed) the I followed by the French for street

11a    Haste shown in senior policeman’s area (8)
{DISPATCH} – a senior plain-clothes policeman followed by the S from ‘S and his area of operation

12a    A stiff consignment? (6)
{BURIAL} – a cryptic definition of the funeral for a “stiff”

13a    Skip from a slug? (8)
{RICOCHET} – a cryptic definition of a skip or glancing rebound from a slug or bullet

15a    Group of ladies in drinking session (4)
{BEVY} – two definitions

17a    Go beyond  critical position (4)
{PASS} – another two definitions

19a    Inept figure returns with note round university to be determined (8)
{RESOLUTE} –an inept person reversed (returns)and the seventh note of the scale in sol-fa notation around U(niversity)

20a    A new authority in cathedral characterising a range? (6)
{ANDEAN} – the A from the clue, N(ew) and a dignitary in cathedral combine to give an adjective meaning characterising a particular range of mountains

21a    In Tokyo, barmen do it as a reminder (8)
{KEEPSAKE} – split as (4,4) this could be what a Tokyo barmen does

22a    Car from Spain, say (6)
{ESTATE} – the IVR code for Spain followed by a verb meaning to say

23a    Stories of middle-class country folk, a delightful thing repeatedly (3,5)
Newspaper version – Rural middle-class literature, a delightful thing repeatedly (3,5)
{AGA SAGAS} – the A from the clue and a something delightful or exciting followed by the same (repeatedly)

24a    Bear to wander in wood in rest from work (3,5)
{TEA BREAK} – an anagram (wander) of BEAR inside a type of hard wood

25a    Hesitate in start of course before short academic period (6)
{TEETER} – the start of a golf course followed by most of (short) an academic period


2d    Kick off at home computers, etc, getting cross right away (8)
{INITIATE} – a two-letter word meaning at home followed by a two-letter abbreviation for computers etc. and an adjective meaning cross or angry without (away) the R(ight)

3d    Untrustworthy like a mule? (8)
{SLIPPERY} – this could mean like the kind of mule that is worn on the foot

4d    Sorrow shown by a teacher in turmoil after end of skirmish (9)
{HEARTACHE} – an anagram (in turmoil) of A TEACHER preceded by the final letter (end) of skirmish

5d    Restore grandfather, say, and take a retrograde step (3,3,5,4)
{PUT THE CLOCK BACK} – this could mean to restore the kind of grandfather that displays the time

6d    Staff meet for police operation (7)
{MANHUNT} – a verb meaning to staff or xxx followed by a meet or gathering of “The Unspeakable in full pursuit of the Uneatable”

7d    Rain said to drift in island (8)
{SARDINIA} – an anagram (to drift) of RAIN SAID

8d    Unnecessary medical instruments seen by son (8)
{NEEDLESS} – some medical instruments followed by S(on)

14d    Boisterous Texan possibly touring university with British royal (9)
{EXUBERANT} – an anagram (possibly) of TEXAN around )touring) U(niversity), B(ritish) and the royal cipher of our Queen

15d    European capital? It grows on a troublesome type (8)
{BUDAPEST} – something that grows on a plant followed by the A from the clue and a troublesome type

16d    Feud in event at ground interrupted by leader of district (8)
{VENDETTA} – an anagram (ground) of EVENT AT around (interrupted by) the initial letter (leader) of D(istrict)

17d    Lobby for each woman to hold poster (8)
{PERSUADE} – this verb meaning to lobby id derived from a three-letter word meaning for each followed by a woman’s name around a two-letter word for a poster or bill

18d    Dismiss with touch of ridicule outstanding event on school sports day? (4,4)
{SACK RACE} – a verb meaning to dismiss followed by the initial letter (touch) of Ridicule and an adjective meaning outstanding

19d    Minister going round a nuclear facility (7)
{REACTOR} – a church minister around the A from the clue

For those looking for a stiffer challenge, Elkamere is on fine form in today’s Toughie. Sample clue:

Katie clears throat — wrong answer (8,5)  – Please don’t give the answer on this post, wait for Bufo’s review.

The Quick crossword pun: (canon} + {pall} = {cannonball} [unless you can think of something better!]



  1. angel
    Posted September 12, 2013 at 11:21 am | Permalink

    My first read through came up with a nil return then 8d came to mind and after that it all fell into place but overall not really entertaining. 21d amusing, 23a new one on me!

  2. Jezza
    Posted September 12, 2013 at 11:21 am | Permalink

    My only delay in this one was cramp in my writing hand, which lasted all the way through the puzzle!
    Thanks to setter, and to BD.
    Now for Elkamere, which i am hoping is a proper challenge!

  3. Roger
    Posted September 12, 2013 at 11:21 am | Permalink

    Really enjoyed this crossword…..I think saying that it was a simple question of reading the clue and writing in the answer is a tad bit unfair. Some of the clues were brilliant. Especially 12 and 3. A wry sense of humour nay some would say black humour!

    Why is it that Branson always manages to get surrounded by a bevy?

    • Rabbit Dave
      Posted September 12, 2013 at 11:30 am | Permalink

      An appropriate misquote – “what was it that first attracted you to the millionaire Richard Branson?”

      • Michael
        Posted September 12, 2013 at 11:40 am | Permalink

        I immediately thought of Mrs Merton’s question to the ‘lovely’ Debbie McGee.

    • Posted September 12, 2013 at 11:31 am | Permalink

      If this is the first time you have seen 12 across, or one of its variants, then you might well think it was good.

  4. Wayne
    Posted September 12, 2013 at 11:29 am | Permalink

    **/**** for me today. 3d and 12a best clues for me. Only one query, Dispatch = Haste??
    Thanx to Setter and BD for the review.

    • Domus
      Posted September 12, 2013 at 12:12 pm | Permalink

      **/*** for me too

    • Physicist
      Posted September 12, 2013 at 3:44 pm | Permalink

      The BRB gives “to send away hastily; haste; promptitude” among the many meanings of dispatch.

  5. Rabbit Dave
    Posted September 12, 2013 at 11:33 am | Permalink

    **/** for me today. Like Angel, it took me quite a while to get started, then it all fell into place…

    … except that I got 9a wrong by putting in militant :-(

    Many thanks to Mr Ron and BD

    • Roger
      Posted September 12, 2013 at 12:21 pm | Permalink

      Oh dear….missed that. I thought it was militant as well…!

      • Heno
        Posted September 12, 2013 at 2:27 pm | Permalink

        Me too.

        • Riggles
          Posted September 12, 2013 at 11:23 pm | Permalink

          Same here for 9A, I was impatient and needed to switch off the grey matter and go to bed – militant seemed good enough. I also gave up on 23A – never heard of it, but hoping it will stay with me forever now, like Lazy Susan among others.

  6. Michael
    Posted September 12, 2013 at 11:35 am | Permalink

    I struggled to get going with this one but managed to complete it after quite a lot of head scratching.

    I wouldn’t say it was fun more of a slog with quite a few hazy clues – 13a for example I only got from the cross letters and worked backwards to the clue.

    Not my favourite – thanks to BD for a couple of explanations.

  7. DavidR
    Posted September 12, 2013 at 11:37 am | Permalink

    I was hoping for a fair assessment of the puzzle today, but this one turned up instead. **/*** for me. Favourite clues 21a & 23a.

  8. Kath
    Posted September 12, 2013 at 11:43 am | Permalink

    Like BD I was hoping for a Ray T today. Unlike BD it certainly wasn’t, for me anyway, a case of reading a clue and writing in the answer.
    I found it very tricky. I read all the clues through once and had five answers. I think at least 3* for difficulty and about the same for enjoyment.
    Looking at the whole thing again now it’s one of those where I can’t quite see why I found it so difficult – I just did.
    I thought there were some clever clues – 21a and 3, 5 and 6d. My favourite, by a mile, was 12a.
    With thanks to Mr Ron and BD.
    I have a feeling that today could be one for steering well clear of the Toughie – if anyone thinks differently please tell me!

    • Kath
      Posted September 12, 2013 at 11:48 am | Permalink

      PS Where has Ray T gone? Unless I’ve lost track his last one was about three weeks ago. In fact I’m sure it was as it was when we were in France.

    • Jezza
      Posted September 12, 2013 at 11:54 am | Permalink

      I haven’t finished it yet, but from what i have done so far of the toughie, in between work phone calls, it does not appear too tricky. (I will probably regret saying that when i next pick it up again :) )

      • Kath
        Posted September 12, 2013 at 12:09 pm | Permalink

        Thanks – feeling quite encouraged having finished both Toughies this week but I think Elkamere is way beyond me – might just have a quick peep.

  9. Jon
    Posted September 12, 2013 at 12:58 pm | Permalink

    Rather special one, I thought.
    But needed a bit of help.
    Some really clever clues

  10. BigBoab
    Posted September 12, 2013 at 1:11 pm | Permalink

    As my grandson used to say ” a wee bit lemon squeezy “, thanks to the setter and to BD for the amusing pictorial review.

  11. Senf
    Posted September 12, 2013 at 1:29 pm | Permalink

    A slow start for me before lights out last night. First in was 5d – why are 15 letter clues easier to solve than the 4 or 5 letter clues? The finish this morning was slow too, needed help from BD for the last two in – 23a and 25a. Although, now it is there, 23a looks familiar. And, 19d, is definitely becoming an ‘oldie but goodie.’ Overall I would give this one **+/**

  12. Attila Thehun
    Posted September 12, 2013 at 1:36 pm | Permalink

    Odd; the down answers stop at 19. Refreshed Safari (on iPad), but still no answers. The next line after 19d is: “For those looking for a stiffer challenge …”.comments appear OK.

    • crypticsue
      Posted September 12, 2013 at 1:45 pm | Permalink

      19d is the last clue in the downs

      • Miffypops
        Posted September 12, 2013 at 2:09 pm | Permalink

        Hello, Where were you yesterday? None of my business I know. The photo was taken after I had dived headfirst into a sloppy trench full of mud. What else is there to do on a sunday morning after church and before the pub

        • crypticsue
          Posted September 12, 2013 at 2:11 pm | Permalink

          I was around – if you notice I don’t always comment on every puzzle these days.

          I can think of lots of things to do between church and pub that don’t involve getting quite as dirty as that :D

          • Miffypops
            Posted September 12, 2013 at 3:33 pm | Permalink

            But not as much fun though, i wonder if I will ever grow up.

      • Attila Thehun
        Posted September 12, 2013 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

        Brain appears to have problems differentiating ‘down’ from ‘across’ … Possibly owing to the after effects of belatedly celebrating the 500th anniversary of Flodden by severely reducing my Scottish friend’s stock of finest malts.

        I’ll get my coat.

  13. neveracrossword
    Posted September 12, 2013 at 1:46 pm | Permalink

    It helped avert the boredom whilst I was queuing at the Antiques Roadshow in Exeter this morning.

  14. Bob
    Posted September 12, 2013 at 1:58 pm | Permalink

    In my “paper” paper, the clue for 23 across reads : Rural middle class literature, a delightful thing repeatedly. Why do they sometimes make the paper and electronic versions different???

    • Posted September 12, 2013 at 2:36 pm | Permalink

      Welcome to the blog Bob

      Who knows? Write to the editor!

  15. Heno
    Posted September 12, 2013 at 2:26 pm | Permalink

    Thanks to the setter and to Big Dave for the review and hints. I found this very difficult, I think we had the same setter a couple of Thursdays ago. I never seem to be able to get on the right wavelength. Was beaten by 9&12a. Favourites were 21a, laugh out loud moment, and 23a. Was 3*/3* for me. Dull and drizzly in Central London today. A quick peek at the Toughie now.

  16. Collywobbles
    Posted September 12, 2013 at 3:22 pm | Permalink

    First pass in across clues, nothing went in. First pass in the downs a lot went in and the rest was easy peasy. */** stars for me. Thanks to BD but not necessary today and thanks to setter for an enjoyable puzzle

    • Collywobbles
      Posted September 12, 2013 at 4:24 pm | Permalink

      I did not understand 23a, even with BDs’ hint and some of the other clues were a bit abstruse

      • Posted September 12, 2013 at 4:31 pm | Permalink

        The delightful thing is A GAS, as in “it’s a gas”. A GAS + A GAS = AGA SAGAS

        I never said I liked it!

        • Rabbit Dave
          Posted September 12, 2013 at 4:53 pm | Permalink

          Cue for a song?

          Jumpin’ Jack Flash and it’s a gas…

          • Collywobbles
            Posted September 12, 2013 at 6:00 pm | Permalink

            Right Dave

  17. Merusa
    Posted September 12, 2013 at 3:55 pm | Permalink

    I thought this would be a piece of cake on first pass, then I got a little bogged down. Funnily enough, I got 12a and 13a on the first pass, and are my favourites. I never did get 23a, will have to google it to find out what it is. In retrospect, a good, fun puzzle, once I got going. Easy, aren’t they, once you have the answers! Thanks to all

    • Merusa
      Posted September 12, 2013 at 3:59 pm | Permalink

      Oh, dear! No wonder I’d never heard of AGA Sagas, not exactly my choice of literature!

      • una
        Posted September 12, 2013 at 9:58 pm | Permalink

        I think “second Honeymoon”, by Joanna Trollope (queen of the aga saga), is a good read,you know , lots of finely etched descriptions, set in the fluid circumstances people at our age find ourselves in,nuanced and credible.I am not ashamed of a light read.

  18. Poppy
    Posted September 12, 2013 at 4:13 pm | Permalink

    Like a few others I struggled at the start and then it all fell into place apart from 12a which I had brainwashed myself into thinking was Uphill :oops: thank you BD for more delightful hints & the sublime Patsy Cline – just had to get up and dance. So thank you setter (will he/she ever let us know if Militant was ever a ‘goer’ for 9a?). And, albeit a day late – I was right about Wednesday’s surprise!! I’m usually the last to guess, so feeling very pleased with myself before I fall flat on my face as per usual once more… Hurrah to have Pommers back (& Pommette) both for themselves and also I, too, had been worrying lest BD get fed up with us all after having to do so many extra blogs… This is such a super site and oh! we do appreciate it, Thank you :-D

  19. Annidrum
    Posted September 12, 2013 at 5:09 pm | Permalink

    Missed yesterday’s crossword as I was traveling back from holiday in France, so welcome back Pommers. I was slow with this one today but got there . Thanks to setter & BD.

  20. bridgenut
    Posted September 12, 2013 at 5:16 pm | Permalink

    I don’t think that it’s mule shoes that are referred to in 3, I think it’s a fish which is hard to catch.

    • Posted September 12, 2013 at 5:23 pm | Permalink

      Welcome to the blog bridgenut

      Sorry but I don’t agree. like a mule is slipper-y. As far as I am aware there is no such fish as a mule.

      • bridgenut
        Posted September 12, 2013 at 5:49 pm | Permalink

        yes you are right. some fishermen refer to a fish that is hard to catch as a ‘mule’. but mule is a slipper so that’s the correct interpretation – no doubt whatsoever

  21. una
    Posted September 12, 2013 at 6:38 pm | Permalink

    Well , I haven’t seen most of these clues before, or at least not often enough, not to find it found it absolutely delightful .I thought the delightful thing in 23a was that type of novel,you know, readable.What was nice about this crossword was the way the clues matched the solutions,much as Giovanni’s do, only his are trickier.Thanks to the setter and to BD for being here (no help needed today).21a has to be my favourite.

  22. 2Kiwis
    Posted September 12, 2013 at 7:29 pm | Permalink

    We also had settled for militant for 9a. Apart from that, everything slotted into place without too much of a fight.
    Thanks Mr Ron and BD.

  23. andy
    Posted September 12, 2013 at 8:37 pm | Permalink

    I made heavy work of this and I can’t see why, 23a was new to me. I really enjoyed it though so no complaints. Thank you setter and BD.

    • Posted September 12, 2013 at 8:44 pm | Permalink


      20d Potboiler epic? (3,4) (DT 27161)

      You must have been on holiday then!

      • una
        Posted September 12, 2013 at 9:28 pm | Permalink

        Thanks for that, I now see why 23a was a write-in. And I really like Joanna Trollope novels.

      • Riggles
        Posted September 13, 2013 at 9:38 am | Permalink

        I must have still been on my NZ ‘holiday’ then….. now that I’ve seen 23A solution, I don’t think I’ll ever forget it. Nor will I read one, I suspect!

  24. andy
    Posted September 12, 2013 at 9:01 pm | Permalink

    Mea culpa BD, preferred todays clue tho , cheers

  25. Outnumbered
    Posted September 12, 2013 at 9:23 pm | Permalink

    **/** for me. I thought it was trying too hard to be clever/funny but not really succeeding.

  26. asterix
    Posted September 12, 2013 at 9:43 pm | Permalink

    Some of the clues did give a bit of a feeling of déja vu (so thanks to BD for the appropriately retro Patsy Kline recording!)
    Perhaps a tad too easy as DT cryptics go, and not very varied in clueing style. Managed all except 9a – enjoyed 24a, 25a.
    My brain enjoyed its little lie-down, and now I’m looking forward to the usual stimulating onslaught of Giovanni tomorrow.

  27. Caroline
    Posted September 13, 2013 at 12:10 am | Permalink

    Finally gave up and looked at the answers! Too hard for me today! I think my answer to “car from Spain” being a Fiesta is much better – just mucks up 15d!!

  28. angel
    Posted September 13, 2013 at 12:38 am | Permalink

    Have just looked at BD’s hints and realise I too wrongly had militant for 9a.

  29. Cornish Pasty
    Posted September 13, 2013 at 2:12 am | Permalink

    Like others here, I struggled a bit but eventually got it, never heard of 23a. Fav clue 21a, made me laugh out loud. Liked 11a too.

  30. almo
    Posted September 13, 2013 at 9:19 am | Permalink

    please explain the “electronic” version – as in the green words printed for the23a solution, and how the clue gets re-written – thanks – Almo

    • Posted September 13, 2013 at 9:28 am | Permalink

      The “electronic” or “online” version is the one on the Telegraph Puzzles website.

      Setters often change clues, sometimes on a whim and sometimes at the request of the editor. The usual reason why the two versions are different is that someone at Telegraph Towers has screwed up, although it can be because an error was noticed in the printed version after publication. Very occasionally the versions are different because the newspaper version refers to the newspaper itself as “here”, which would not work in the online version.

  31. Catnap
    Posted September 13, 2013 at 11:19 am | Permalink

    One * or not, I certainly didn’t go through this puzzle like a knife through butter! I eventually got there in the end without Big Dave’s excellent hints. Although I found some of the puzzle a little lacklustre, I much enjoyed 9a, 10a, 11a, 21a; 3d, and 5d. Many thanks to ‘Mr Ron’ and to Big Dave.