DT 27299

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 27299

Hints and tips by Falcon

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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

Greetings from Ottawa where we have been experiencing an unseasonably warm spell of weather for the past two weeks. Alas, the weatherman tells us that our good fortune is soon coming to an end with cooler temperatures and rain forecast for the weekend.

We have an uncharacteristically tame offering from RayT today. However, he has included his signature reference to Her Majesty. I was well on my way to a ** solve (in terms of difficulty) until the final handful of clues pushed it close to *** territory. It was still an enjoyable solve — even without the customary level of raunchiness.

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.


7a  Decline Academy’s opening award (7)
{ ATROPHY } — A(cademy) plus a prize for victory or success in a sport or other contest

8a  Spun news for the audience (7)
{ WHIRRED } — the past tense of a verb meaning to spin with a humming sound also sounds like (for the audience) a noun synonymous with news or information; who thought that the fifth letter might be an L?

10a  Concluded being taken in by bounder’s too demeaning (10)
{ UNDERSTOOD } — hidden in (taken in by) the last three words of the clue

11a  Country‘s military acted largely independently initially (4)
{ MALI } — the initial letters of the four words found in the middle of the clue might lead one to Timbuktu


12a  Judge again almost remains putting innocent fools inside (8)
{ REASSESS } — a synonym for remains or remainder lacking its final T (almost) containing a colloquial term for stupid people

14a  Two characters or six from Latin in etymology (6)
{ NINETY } — the solution could be two Roman characters (XC) or six characters hidden in the final three words of the clue

15a  Do nice strip perhaps showing outline (11)
{ DESCRIPTION } — an anagram (perhaps) of DO NICE STRIP

19a  Drink with container overturned. Apple perhaps? (6)
{ LAPTOP } — drink (like a cat) followed by a reversal (overturned) of a container commonly found on top of a cooker


20a  Prayer certain to produce happiness (8)
{ PLEASURE } — a charade of an earnest appeal and a synonym for certain

22a  Secretary, say, returning call (4)
{ PAGE } — a short term for an executive’s secretary and a reversal of the Latin abbreviation denoting for example

23a  Illegal traffic of criminal gang pinching paintings back (10)
{ CONTRABAND } — nouns meaning criminal and gang surround a reversal (back) of a collective term for paintings

25a  A number eating seconds dehydrated (7)
{ THIRSTY } — a particular cardinal number containing S(econds); … thereby making this is one of the few clues today with XXX content

26a  Ran odd broadcast about ‘I, Robot‘ (7)
{ ANDROID } — an anagram (broadcast) of RAN ODD containing I (from the clue)



1d  Tricky problem from head of Stradivarius fiddle (7)
{ STINKER } — first letter (head) of S(tradivarius) plus a verb meaning to fiddle or meddle

2d  Suffered   pain in the neck (4)
{ BORE } — a double definition; the first meaning to put up with or tolerate and the second being the cause of the suffering

3d  Virgin‘s pursued, reportedly (6)
{ CHASTE } — a word denoting virgin or pure sounds like (reportedly) a verb meaning pursued or followed

4d  Mystery of hound with no end, strangely (8)
{ WHODUNIT } — an anagram (strangely) of HOUND WIT(h) missing its final letter (no end) is a genre of popular literature

5d  Great unrest with demo out of control (10)
{ TREMENDOUS } — an anagram (out of control) of UNREST and (with) DEMO

6d  Lower level in Scottish river (7)
{ DEFLATE } — a synonym for level or even contained in a river flowing past Balmoral Castle


9d  Line up vessels for giving praise (11)
{ WORSHIPPING } — a reversal (up in a down clue) of a word meaning line or tier followed by a collective term for merchant vessels

13d  Girlfriend, the woman welcoming little time on technique (10)
{ SWEETHEART } — start with a subjective pronoun for a woman which contains a typically Scots term for little and the abbreviation for T(ime); then append a synonym for technique or skill

16d  Skill seen in Crown Derby for example (8)
{ CAPACITY } — a piece of headgear somewhat less elaborate than a crown is followed by what Derby is an example of [… and don’t neglect to include the indefinite article]

17d  Ankara chiefly includes former capital city (7)
{ KARACHI } — hidden in (includes) the first two words of the clue is the capital that was replaced by Rawalpindi

18d  Out of control in craft at sea (7)
{ FRANTIC } — an anagram (at sea) of IN CRAFT

21d  Queen, group falling from grace (6)
{ ERRING } — Her Majesty’s regnal cipher precedes a typically criminal group

24d  ‘Interfootball team? (4)
{ BURY } — double definition; to place a dead body in the ground or a fourth tier football club from the Manchester region

There were certainly a lot of good, solid clues in today’s puzzle but, as I recall, no laugh out loud moments. I will give my clue of the day to 10a — which, for me, was among the last holdouts — as I found it to be probably the most challenging clue. The solution was so well hidden that I spent an inordinately long period of time on it before the penny finally dropped.

The Quick crossword pun: (car} + {bide} + {rate} = {carbohydrate}



  1. 2Kiwis
    Posted October 3, 2013 at 6:14 am | Permalink

    We will be the first to confess to having an ‘L’ for the fifth letter in 8a. We also had trouble fully parsing 14a, despite having the correct answer. !3d also took a while to sort out the word-play. Towards the challenging end of back-page difficulty for us. Good fun.
    Thanks RayT and Falcon.

    • Toni
      Posted October 3, 2013 at 2:03 pm | Permalink

      I had exactly the same problems

  2. Collywobbles
    Posted October 3, 2013 at 7:18 am | Permalink

    Blimey Falcon you’re early. Do you get it before us because you are west of us so shouldn’t you get it later?

    • Posted October 3, 2013 at 7:50 am | Permalink

      Falcon gets the puzzle at midnight BST, the same as everyone else. Because he lives in Canada that is about 7:00 pm in his local time.

      • Collywobbles
        Posted October 3, 2013 at 8:15 am | Permalink

        Right, got it

  3. crypticsue
    Posted October 3, 2013 at 8:47 am | Permalink

    Interestingly, not having the dead tree version today, I didn’t realise it was a Ray T production until I got to 21d. Quite a tricky one even allowing for Mr CS and No 2 son having a very involved conversation about yellow fever injections in the background.

    Thanks to Ray and Falcon – no special favourites today.

    The Toughie took exactly the same time to solve – what that says about the puzzle or me, you’ll have to have a go and find out for yourselves.

  4. Jezza
    Posted October 3, 2013 at 9:46 am | Permalink

    The last handful took me as long to finish as the rest of the puzzle, and the whole thing took me longer than Beam’s toughie yesterday. I must be having a dense start to the day, because at the time, i totally failed to understand the significance of ‘or six’ in 14a :)
    Many thanks to RayT, and to Falcon for the review.

  5. Wayne
    Posted October 3, 2013 at 11:08 am | Permalink

    Found this a straightforward solve, which is very unusual for me. Best clue by far was 14a. Thanx to Compiler and to Falcon for the review. **/**** for me. Thought the Quickie Pun was a bit “iffy”.

  6. Alan
    Posted October 3, 2013 at 11:30 am | Permalink

    As usual I struggled with this RayT puzzle. I have got better at them but still find them over clever and groan inducing. One particular clue nearly had the blatt being hoisted out of the window. 16d, ye Gods. I have spent many years working across the globe. One of the most common mistakes EFL (English as a Foreign Language) speakers make is confusing capacity and capability. Capacity is about volume and the potential to fill it, as in the milk bottle has a one pint capacity, it is not about skill. It is a schoolboy error. Thanks to Falcon for the review.

    • crypticsue
      Posted October 3, 2013 at 11:33 am | Permalink

      Chambers “Capacity … an ability or talent, mental power, the maximum possible output or performance… possession of technology etc with the resulting ability to make goods”

      • Alan
        Posted October 4, 2013 at 10:30 am | Permalink

        Not so in the OED or Collins or in the vast majority of dictionaries. I note that Chambers is the dictionary of preference for the crossword but it is, I repeat, extremely poor English and is only ever used in this context by those whose overall literacy and vocabulary is limited.

        • Posted October 4, 2013 at 10:58 am | Permalink

          “Not so in the OED”

          If you are quoting an online source, please remember that dictionary publishers do not give their entire content away for free. This is what is actually in the full Oxford English Dictionary:

          4. Mental or intellectual receiving power; ability to grasp or take in impressions, ideas, knowledge.

          5. Active power or force of mind; mental ability, talent.

          6. gen. The power, ability, or faculty for anything in particular.

          • Alan
            Posted October 4, 2013 at 1:14 pm | Permalink

            I actually made my money for a large part of career writing English. It is best practice to write plain English that is clear in it’s meaning. In practice capacity often gets confused with capability. Capacity is derived from the Latin capere, capacitas – ‘that can contain’. It is one of the most common errors in written English. Read all about it here http://grammarist.com/usage/ability-capability-capacity/. BTW the tome that I consult most often is the Oxford Dictionary of English 2nd edition, once known as the New Oxford Dictionary of English. I also have the 5th edition of the Collins version. I do not use online dictionaries

            • Posted October 4, 2013 at 2:07 pm | Permalink

              So you didn’t mean the OED, you meant the ODE! While I respect your opinion others think differently.

              From the 2010 edition of the Oxford Dictionary of English:
              • The ability or power to do or understand something: I was impressed by her capacity for hard work | their intellectual capacities
              • [in sing.] a person’s legal competence: cases where a patient’s testamentary capacity is in doubt

            • Posted October 4, 2013 at 2:32 pm | Permalink

              I should have added that Ray T is also an English teacher..

            • stanXYZ
              Posted October 4, 2013 at 8:38 pm | Permalink

              Alan, if you must complain about the use of the English language, make sure that you don’t make silly mistakes yourself:-

              I actually made my money for a large part of career writing English. It is best practice to write plain English that is clear in it’s meaning.

              (Thanks to Anne On:


  7. mary
    Posted October 3, 2013 at 11:34 am | Permalink

    I found this quite a tough one today taking ages to finish the last few with 14a being the last with help from Falcon, thank you Falcon, I would never have got that completely missing the inclusive clue! However I did have one favourite and that was 16d, another I was completely stuck in was 8a, ah well the hoovering calls, it’s much more fun sweeping out the campervan :-)

  8. Heno
    Posted October 3, 2013 at 11:39 am | Permalink

    Thanks to Ray T and to Falcon for the review and hints. I found this very tough indeed, and was beaten by 19a, although I thought of computers, I convinced myself that it was a type of apple. As for 16d, which also beat me, I thought It began with cart. 4d deserves a mention, but my favourite was 2 4d. The two hidden word clues 10&14a were also very good. Was 4*/3* for me. Had the best of the weather now in Central London. My blood pressure was normal today hooray.

    • mary
      Posted October 3, 2013 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

      The weather is supposed to be lovely at the weekend Heno

  9. skempie
    Posted October 3, 2013 at 11:43 am | Permalink

    14A had me stumped for ages – times are when I find these types of clue quite tricky to spot – mainly because I saw ‘Latin’ and ‘Six’ and immediately wanted to put ‘VI’ in somewhere. Hum Ho.

    Today I’m thinking about housework. Tired already.

    • crypticsue
      Posted October 3, 2013 at 12:04 pm | Permalink

      Me too with the VI!!

      We were supposed to be going on hot air balloon flight this afternoon but its been cancelled due to winds and forecast of heavy rain and thunder. :(

      Tell you what – let’s both do housework!!

    • mary
      Posted October 3, 2013 at 12:38 pm | Permalink

      Me too with VI

      • Merusa
        Posted October 3, 2013 at 3:27 pm | Permalink

        Me definitely too!

  10. Collywobbles
    Posted October 3, 2013 at 12:05 pm | Permalink

    Excellent crossword. I take back anything that I have ever said about RayT. I was able to identify the anagrams and had good entries into the puzzle. I found the experience challenging and enjoyable. Particularly liked 4d and 10a. Brian, I was wrong.

    • mary
      Posted October 3, 2013 at 12:39 pm | Permalink

      well done collywobs, well all these coverts to RayT puzzles, amazing, this lady is still not for turning!

      • Collywobbles
        Posted October 3, 2013 at 12:50 pm | Permalink

        Mary, You will turn, it’s just a matter of time, and Brian will not be long behind you

        • mary
          Posted October 3, 2013 at 2:46 pm | Permalink

          I think Brian may even be ahead of me on this

      • Poppy
        Posted October 3, 2013 at 4:25 pm | Permalink

        Well I’m with you Mary! I can’t seem to ever get into a proper flow with his. So you’ve made me feel better, thank you :-)

  11. Rabbit Dave
    Posted October 3, 2013 at 12:15 pm | Permalink

    A tough (3.5*) but very enjoyable (4*) challenge today. I particularly liked 14a, 19a and 22a.

    Once again today I found one quarter (the NW) tougher than the rest. Regarding 6d, although familiar with the Anglo-Welsh river, I hadn’t realised there was another in Scotland with the same name.

    Many thanks to Ray T and to Falcon

  12. Beaver
    Posted October 3, 2013 at 12:38 pm | Permalink

    Going for a ***/**** today as struggled a while with the NW corner, thought 8a was ‘whirled’ as the three in place across letters also fitted , it means spun, and news of the ‘world’! never mind most enjoyable . Thanks Falcon for the pics,15a very imaginative.

    • mary
      Posted October 3, 2013 at 12:41 pm | Permalink

      I like your thinking Beaver :-)

      • Beaver
        Posted October 3, 2013 at 1:04 pm | Permalink

        Thanks Mary you must have a warped mind too! enjoy the weekend.

  13. ChrisH
    Posted October 3, 2013 at 12:40 pm | Permalink

    One of those irritating grids, where very few answers give the first letter of another clue. However, a pleasant solve, not as difficult as the last 2 days, so **/****.

  14. Maggie
    Posted October 3, 2013 at 1:31 pm | Permalink

    I can always find more pressing things to do than housework! Thanks for help today Falcon. Difficult for me, favourites 23 & 26a.

    • skempie
      Posted October 3, 2013 at 2:02 pm | Permalink

      See my comment yesterday.

  15. Derek
    Posted October 3, 2013 at 1:44 pm | Permalink

    Found this more tricky in places but finally cleared it!

    Faves : 7a, 10a, 26a, 2d, 4d & 16d.

    Still very sunny here in NL!

    Must now shop for basic food!

  16. upthecreek
    Posted October 3, 2013 at 1:47 pm | Permalink

    Another marvellous offering by the master. Did me again with the hidden word in10 and that was last in. I will never learn. Favourites were 2 4 9 10 19 and 26. Thanks to RayT for brightening up a seriously wet day.

  17. Steve_the_beard
    Posted October 3, 2013 at 1:50 pm | Permalink

    Re Falcon’s clue for 24D, “a fourth tier football club from the Manchester region”. Doesn’t that make the answer “CITY”? :grin:

    • skempie
      Posted October 3, 2013 at 2:04 pm | Permalink

      Personally, I can’t understand why all the write-ups on football appear in the Sports Section of the paper. Surely they should go into the Business Section?

    • Ian F
      Posted October 3, 2013 at 9:16 pm | Permalink

      Is that the same “City” that thrashed Trafford Utd 4-1?!!!!!

      • gazza
        Posted October 3, 2013 at 9:21 pm | Permalink

        You’ve extended your alias so your comment needed moderation. Both aliases should work from now on.

  18. neveracrossword
    Posted October 3, 2013 at 2:06 pm | Permalink

    Thought this was 5d, although 8a was a 1d (I put an L instead of an R). I took some time getting 19a, even though I purchased one last week.

    • mary
      Posted October 3, 2013 at 2:49 pm | Permalink

      Very clever :-)

  19. Toni
    Posted October 3, 2013 at 2:11 pm | Permalink

    First time ever that I’ve completed Thursdays without the hints although I did have that L in 8a
    Thanks to both

  20. Ian
    Posted October 3, 2013 at 3:26 pm | Permalink

    Agree with three stars for difficulty with some well disguised clues. Re 16d, I read cap in the sense of top or complete, another word for which is crown. Thanks to all.

    • Falcon
      Posted October 3, 2013 at 3:34 pm | Permalink

      Cap and crown can be synonymous in many senses — as verbs as well as nouns. For instance, in addition to the meaning that you suggest, both can be forms of headwear and both are terms used in dentistry. Thus I had a large menu of choices to select from when I wrote the hint.

  21. Falcon
    Posted October 3, 2013 at 3:28 pm | Permalink

    Thank you to everyone for your kind words about the review. I do enjoy the benefit of being able to complete the review and post it before I go to bed at night. However, that also means that I am often not able to participate actively in the discussion, as much of it has taken place before I get up in the morning.

  22. Merusa
    Posted October 3, 2013 at 3:33 pm | Permalink

    Well, I found this very difficult and didn’t get many clues before abandoning. Had to quit as have an appointment and we are having major flood rains, so have to drive on slower roads as I can’t handle those drivers who whizz along in Biblical floods. Hopefully I’ll have better luck tomorrow. Thanks to all.

  23. Brian
    Posted October 3, 2013 at 3:42 pm | Permalink

    Not quite a 1d but it’ll do. Did like 4d but hated 19a and 2d. Not sure I fully understood the wordplay for 23a although the answer was fairly obvious. Criminal – con, gang – band?
    Needed Falcons excellent hints for several today.
    However, for a Ray T quite enjoyable.

    • Falcon
      Posted October 3, 2013 at 4:02 pm | Permalink

      Regarding 23a, yes CON and BAND surrounding a reversal of ART, a collective noun which could encompass paintings — as well as the products of other artistic endeavours

    • Posted October 3, 2013 at 5:01 pm | Permalink


      surely you must have seen con/convict = criminal many times before. Also what is wrong with gang/band of criminals?

      Some days I think you really know the answer but enjoy pretending you don’t – and then another day …..

  24. Nora
    Posted October 3, 2013 at 3:51 pm | Permalink

    This didn’t feel a bit like Ray T, despite Her Majesty.

    • stanXYZ
      Posted October 3, 2013 at 5:00 pm | Permalink

      Did someone mention Her Majesty?

      Sorry! Hic! Hic!

  25. RayT
    Posted October 3, 2013 at 4:22 pm | Permalink

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


  26. Sweet William
    Posted October 3, 2013 at 4:39 pm | Permalink

    Thank you Ray T, hard work for Mrs SW and me. Managed to finish it eventually over a cup of tea in Cambridge. Hoping that the collective brain-power of those around us might help – but not to be and needed your hint Falcon to finish 22a. – thank you for your review and hints. WWT Welney tomorrow en route ( remembered that one ! ) to Norfolk.

  27. Digby
    Posted October 3, 2013 at 5:40 pm | Permalink

    Having got the “R” from 5d I then solved 8a as HEARSAY
    It worked for me, but didn’t half make the rest of the puzzle hard – I had to invent a new word TAFLATY at 6d.

  28. Annidrum
    Posted October 3, 2013 at 5:48 pm | Permalink

    i too had l instead of r in 8a although it didn’t make sense to me ( I couldn’t see what it had to do with news) and indeed being Scottish ,whirred does not in any way sound like word. Sorry Ray T but enjoyed the rest of the puzzle.

  29. Miffypops
    Posted October 3, 2013 at 6:59 pm | Permalink

    Rather deflated by my failure to get six down. All in all a very enjoyable puzzle of two halves, early morning and early evening. The early evening crossword shift being interupted by customers. The included word at 10ac is one if the best I have ever seen. Thank you RayT and thank you Falcon.

  30. Outnumbered
    Posted October 3, 2013 at 7:22 pm | Permalink

    *** for me, and I also had whirled for 8a, for the same reason as someone suggested earlier. I think it works well enough to be excusable, even if there’s a closer fit with the wordplay with whirred, which is only a synonym for spun in RayT-land !

    • Falcon
      Posted October 3, 2013 at 8:55 pm | Permalink

      “Only in RayT-land”. I’m afraid not. The BRB defines whirr (or whir) as an intransitive verb meaning to turn or spin with a humming noise.

    • Outnumbered
      Posted October 3, 2013 at 10:02 pm | Permalink

      I’m sure it’s valid, but I meant it’s the sort of particularly obscure synonym that RayT uses

  31. Will
    Posted October 3, 2013 at 10:22 pm | Permalink

    I had L as the fifth letter of 8a on the basis that NEWS could be North, East, etc. I’m not convinced that R is that much better.

  32. Anne On
    Posted October 4, 2013 at 4:57 pm | Permalink

    “I actually made my money for a large part of career writing English. It is best practice to write plain English that is clear in it’s meaning”

    Presumably you didn’t make much money writing English if you were unaware of how to use an apostrophe correctly.

    • Posted October 4, 2013 at 5:45 pm | Permalink

      Welcome to the blog Anne

      • Alan
        Posted October 5, 2013 at 12:38 pm | Permalink

        Indeed, hoist by one’s own petard :)

  33. Catnap
    Posted October 6, 2013 at 6:59 pm | Permalink

    A tad difficult, but most enjoyable **** ! I liked a number of clues, including 19a, 1d, 2d and 16d. (Incidentally, both Catnaps are familiar with ‘capacity’ used as a synonym for ‘skill’.)
    I completed the puzzle, but, alas, not all correctly. :sad: Yes, I too put an ‘l’ in 8a instead of an ‘r’ , my reasoning being similar to Beaver’s (‘whirled’ sounding a bit like ‘world’). I didn’t get 22a, 6d, or 21d, despite having all the checking letters. :oops: I missed the subtlety of 14a, my mind being stuck in a VI groove. What a brilliant clue! So I am more than glad to have Falcon’s super hints.
    I’m slowly catching up with myself. (Mind you, have still to finish Beam’s Toughie …)
    Big thanks to RayT and Falcon.