DT 27311 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 27311

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 27311

Hints and tips by Big Dave

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

It’s Ray T again – love him or hate him!

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    Horse has to strike, losing lead (7)
{MUSTANG} – a verb meaning “has to” followed by a strike without (losing) its initial letter (lead)

ARVE Error: need id and provider

5a    Soaps following end of Scrubs including Hospital (7)
{LATHERS] – a word meaning following and the final letter (end) of ScrubS around H(ospital)

9a    More insignificant rubbish about Latin… (7)
{LITTLER} – some rubbish around L(atin)

10a    …more relevant subsequent to Church Synod perhaps (7)
{CHAPTER} – an adjective meaning more relevant after (subsequent to) CH(urch)

11a    Plant seeds while ignoring hard ground (9)
{EDELWEISS} – an anagram (ground) of SEEDS W(H)ILE without (ignoring) H(ard)

ARVE Error: need id and provider

12a    Accordingly American embraces American composer (5)
{SOUSA} – a two-letter word meaning accordingly and A(merican) around (embraces) a two-letter abbreviation for American

ARVE Error: need id and provider

13a    Stand in position for painter? (5)
{EASEL} – a cryptic definition of a stand used by a painter

15a    Understanding unusually seen as comprising conflict (9)
{AWARENESS} – an anagram (unusually) of SEEN AS around (comprising) a conflict

17a    Clean scent if I’d showered? (9)
{DISINFECT} – an anagram (showered) of SCENT IF I’D

19a    Small crucifix over more than one entrance (5)
{DOORS} – S(mall) and a crucifix, all reversed (over)

ARVE Error: need id and provider
ARVE Error: need id and provider

22a    Fondles female in front of slippery customers (5)
{FEELS} – F(emale) followed by some slippery customers

23a    Fan is ‘matchless’ without Liverpool, say… (9)
{SUPPORTER} – an adjective meaning matchless around the type of coastal conurbation of which Liverpool is an example

25a    …Villa‘s excessive in enclosure (7)
{COTTAGE} – a three-letter abbreviation for excessive inside an enclosure

26a    Force to continue slowly round job centre (7)
{DRAGOON} – a phrasal verb meaning to continue slowly (4,2) around the middle letter (centre) of jOb

27a    In discomfort or mental anguish (7)
{TORMENT} – hidden (in) inside the clue

28a    State drawn into secretive work in captivity (7)
{SLAVERY} – a verb meaning to state or say inside an adjective meaning secretive


1d French writer is longer penning story (7)
{MOLIÈRE} – an word meaning longer or further around (penning) a story or untruth

2d Hounds me and others like me! (7)
{SETTERS} – two definitions – the second one referring to today’s compiler (and others like him)

3d Let everybody almost get into debt (5)
{ALLOW} – a word meaning everybody followed by most of (almost) a verb meaning to get into debt

4d Sprout fur around a time after midnight (9)
{GERMINATE} – some expensive fur around the A from the clue and T(ime) all following the middle letter (mid) of niGht

5d Misses reportedly loose (5)
{LACKS} – sounds like a three-letter adjective meaning loose

6d Excel scan modified in course (9)
{TRANSCEND} – an anagram (modified) of SCAN inside a course or drift

7d Ecstasy consequently found in endless modern rave (7)
{ENTHUSE} – E(cstasy) followed by a word meaning consequently inside most of (endless) an adjective meaning modern

8d Better drink, consuming last of lager before idiot (7)
{SURPASS} – a verb meaning to drink around (consuming) the final letter (last) of lageR followed by an idiot

14d View Loch Ness catching also head of serpent (9)
{LANDSCAPE} – L(och) and a ness or headland around (catching) a word meaning also which is followed by the initial letter (head) of Serpent

16d Range enclosing peak over in Australia perhaps (9)
{ANTIPODES] – a mountain range around (enclosing) a peak or pinnacle and O(ver)

17d Cryptic, if edited, shows up deficiency (7)
{DEFICIT} – hidden (shows) and reversed (up in a down clue) inside the clue

18d Lust ends in transparent cover (7)
{SHELTER} – the outer letters (ends) of LusT inside an adjective meaning transparent

20d Beaten due to no pants! (7)
{OUTDONE} – an anagram (pants) of DUE TO NO

21d Not spending money to catch Queen? Tough! (7)
{STRINGY} – an adjective meaning not spending money around (to catch) the Latin abbreviation for Queen

23d Stickiness with exercise and training initially (5)
{SWEAT} – the initial letters of five words in the clue

24d State of the old lady in a house turned upside-down (5)
{OMAHA} – a two-letter word for the old lady inside the reversal (turned upside-down in a down clue) of A HO(use) – not so much a state, more a city in Nebraska

A bit of a faux pas in that last clue!  I wonder who checked it?

The Quick crossword pun: (hut} + {haste} + {err} + {funny} = {A Taste of Honey}

100 comments on “DT 27311

  1. Finally getting on Ray T’s wavelength, although his puzzles take me twice as long as others. Thanks for blog!

    1. Me too but if it is 3* as the standard it is 4* for me. However, I do enjoy his puzzles when I can do them

      PS. Have I lost the downs?

      1. Yes – it takes quite a while to get going and then it gets completed in a stuttering fashion.

        I can’t say I enjoyed it much, but it definitely made me work.

        I’m apparently awaiting moderation again!

        1. Anyone who left a comment during yesterday’s technical problems was automatically allocated a default email address. Please re-enter your email address and try again.

  2. This was **/*** for me, although I’m more on RayT’s wavelength now, I’m sure this was one of his easier puzzles.

    I see the Down hints are soon to come, but one that puzzled me was the last 5 letter clue (don’t remember the number – 24d??). I parsed the clue that the answer was a US State, but the US-related answer I ended up with from the wordplay was not actually a State. Is the clue wrong, or did I mis-read it ?

  3. I thought this was very good today. It just crept into my 3* time to finish, but at least 4* for enjoyment.
    Many thanks to RayT, and to BD.

  4. You’ve got to love a Ray T! Just the right number of anagrams – for me anyway.

    By’eck BD you’re putting in some overtime this week – it’s much appreciated in this purlieu.

  5. I’m loving the help I get on Big Dave – I have just started doing cryptic crosswords.

    However, the person who helped yesterday is shockingly and old-fashionably sexist in his choice of photos. I’m trying to laugh but may have to give up this help!

    1. Usually the bloggers find a balance between the photos they use & it’s very rare that anyone takes umbrage. You should have seen some of the shots from earlier years before they started putting bromide in certain bloggers’ teas. It’s meant not to be taken seriously & hardly constitutes hard or even soft porn.

      Stay with the blog Ann & you’ll find we’re a very friendly lot, always willing to help each other out..

    2. Ann, scchua was merely describing what actually happens to these poor creatures at so called rodeos and wild west shows and I seriously doubt that he was trying to be offensive, as for his pictorial hints, these are meant to be taken lightly and are definitely not aimed at shocking the fairer sex ( no sexism intended)

    3. Ann, we ladies might rib scchua once in a while about his fondness for bikin-clad buxom blondes, but no-one is seriously offended. As for 22D, I don’t see anything wrong there. I’d much rather the proper word than a euphanism! Stick around, as spindrift says. We’re not a bad bunch.

        1. Ditto.
          The bloggers try to illustrate the clues with something appropriate but try to be light hearted about it. They do get carried away sometimes though and I have to say that there were an awful lot of photos of the fairer sex yesteray that could equally have been illustrated by something else.

    4. Welcome Ann, as said above we are all friendly and helpful and very rarely do we take offence at any of our’ helpful hinters’ where would we be without them :-) , all but one are male but I’m sure Big Dave would be more than happy if one us ladies volunteered to do a blog, there are more of us these days than when I joined four years ago :-)

  6. Tut Tut – Omaha a state?? I always thought it was a beach! i wonder what the Crossword Editor actually does, apart from apologise. Apart from that, it was a good puzzle with some interesting clues. Liked 1a 1d 5a 5d 10 15 17 23a 23d etc etc but favourite was 11. Thanks to RayT for an enjoyable morning.

    1. I wondered whether there had been some last minute changes to the 24d clue, since, as well as the faux pas, it breaks Ray T’s normally strictly-enforced rule of restricting his clues to eight words.

  7. Took longer than normal, particularly the NW corner, clues somewhat convoluted but I suppose that’s Ray T ! At least a *** difficulty-maybe **** with a** enjoyment as nothing in it made me smile, a bit of a grind.

  8. I’m in the “Love him” category!. I struggled a bit with a few of the clues, and 10A was the last one in. As usual for Ray T., I had ticks and double ticks all over the place. Favorites were 26A, 28A and 23D. But my favorite favorite was 26A (that should give Kath apoplexy! Wicked me.) Many thanks to Ray, and to the very hard working BD.

    P.S. Re 24D, after trying briefly to make Maine fit, I just figured out the correct answer and didn’t pause to consider that it was a city not a State. And I live here!

    1. BigBoab

      Because you left a comment during yesterday’s technical problems, please could you re-enter your email address next time.

          1. The error in 24d completely passed me by – oops!

            Just re-entering my email address to get over this glitch.

  9. We thought it was very difficult today, so we needed a lot of help. Thank you setter & hinter.

  10. The much-overworked BD must have got excited by the footlball references – the “refereeing” typo in the hint for 2D is the giveaway :-)

    Never mind, BD, keep up the good work, you are much appreciated by the folks here.

          1. Just to say that I would have put in a smiley in my comment above but my Ipad won’t seem to let me – it’s probably some setting I haven’t found yet!

            To re-iterate BD’s efforts are much appreciated *smiley face*

            1. Go to Settings > General > Keyboard. Tap on Add New Keyboard. You will be presented with a list. Tap on Emoji. Now, open an app, any app that uses a keyboard. You will be presented with a reminder and a new icon will be next to the spacebar. It looks like a globe. Tap on the globe and you will be presented with all kinds of symbols and choices. Tap on the various icons at the bottom to choose a set and scroll through the set from right to left to see how many pages of icons you have. Tap an icon and tap the globe symbol to get back to the regular keyboard.

              1. Blimey – if I had to do all that I would lose the will to live, give up and you would all be spared from my interminable ‘faces’! :sad: :smile: :grin: :oops: and, my favourite, (just the one) :roll: I love them all, even thought daughters say that they should be used sparingly, if ever!

                1. Kath, just as you bang on about favorites (plural), I bang on about those little faces! Never use ’em. I reckon if folks on any blog I comment on misinterpret my tone or intent, it’s their fault!

                  1. OK – sorry about banging on about only having one favourite (the correct spelling in the UK) but I love the little faces. My daughters would agree with you. How anyone could misinterpret them is a mystery to me! And, just to be difficult because it seems to be what I do best, – :smile: to you! Night night . . . .

              2. Thanks for this hint – I’ve given up with the crossword and am now concentrating on peppering my written work with these!!

  11. Thank you Ray T – harder than your usual Thursday puzzle. Managed the bottom half in reasonable time, but really struggled with the top half. Got there in the end, but it becomes a bit of a slog when I am struggling ! – and knowing that I should be getting on with other things ! Thanks BD for your review and hints.

  12. I only got about half the answers in and thought I was never going to finish. Took a couple of hours break, then looked up other words for Ness and hurrah, the rest went in without recourse to BD’s help.

    It was cognitively aerobic!

    thanks anyway BD – you are busy this week…

    1. To be fair, I should add that I got the answers to at least three without actually knowing how the clue worked…….

  13. I enjoyed this immensely and thought it was easier than yesterday’s although I did need the explanation for 1d – thanks to the setter and BD,

  14. I thought Omaha wasn’t a state but I’m often wrong about being right if you see what I mean, so I kept quiet ;-)
    I don’t hate RayT puzzles but they are certainly not my favourite, I found most of this OK but needed your help to finish Dave, thanks
    Kath I can’t quite get it right can I, I have no favourites today, sorry :-)

  15. I think the “King of the Hidden Word” jersey seems to have passed from Virgilius to RayT recently :grin:

  16. I always struggle with a RayT and find it hard to get on his wavelength – but Mr Pom seems to “get it”!
    Like Sweet_William I had lots of gaps in the top half that took a long time to parse.
    Thanks though to RayT and the overworked BigDave for his hard work this week.
    PS I too just wrote in the answer to 24d and then doubted myself as I knew it wasn’t a state but couldn’t find any other answer.

    1. Me too with 24d pommette and I’m with you on RayT’s wavelength too, nice to see you two back :-D

  17. Oh dear it’s Thursday again.
    Only 5 answers in before I needed help.
    3 I couldn’t do even with help.
    All pennies dropped eventually.
    Thank goodness it’s over. A real chore today.
    Now to sort out the mess I’ve made of the quick by having speed instead of haste.
    Had to get that from here too. :(

    1. Don’t worry Toni, it takes a while to get into RayT’s way of thinking, I am still struggling

    2. Take heart I only got 2 before I need help today but did really well yesterday (for me). Stick with it, it’s fun anyway.

  18. Usual tough Ray T but did like 25a although that was about it for me.
    One thing though, a Setter is a gun dog not a hound!

    1. Now had chance to go through the excellent hints and I think this is well beyond me. Never heard of the French writer and what on earth is a rood or a synod?
      Thx to BD for the hints.

      1. Think yourself lucky in not knowing the French writer. I had to study him at A level back in the 70s when all I wanted to learn were the best chat up lines for les mademoiselles before I went grape picking over the summer.

          1. I saw the Ranjit Bolt / Peter Hall production at the Playhouse Theatre, London. Rather scarily it was 22 years ago, but seems a lot less. John Sessions played the lead role.

        1. 1d brought back memories of student days for me, too. Much more amusing to watch on stage than to have to swot!

      2. rood is often in CROSS words :) You must also not read the paper or ever listen to the news throughout the year if you haven’t heard of synod either.

        As for never having heard of the writer, I despair! or should that be je désespère!

  19. As everyone knows I’m in the love him camp and I loved this although I did find it quite tricky. A bit more than 3* for difficulty and a bit more than 4* for enjoyment. It really has done a good job of cheering me up having had yet another tricky Mum morning.
    I know that Omaha isn’t a state (only because I knew someone who lived there – my US geography is generally pretty awful) so I spent a very long time trying to make 24d Idaho – an old lady (someone called Ida would have to be quite old!) and a house, but then it wouldn’t go upside down so abandoned that.
    I was very slow to get 19a and 21d which were my last ones.
    I’m not sure that I’d say a villa is the same as a cottage but haven’t BRB’d it – I’m probably wrong.
    I liked 11a, once I’d checked how to spell it, 17 and 22a and 2 and 23d. My favourite was 20d.
    With thanks to Ray T and the overworked BD.

      1. Thanks Mary.
        We’re both wrong about villa and cottage – I’ve just looked in BRB – something I should have done before opening big trap again! Oh dear!!

        1. Well my great grandparents had a lovely cottage called Liskeard Villa, but although it was a lovely big cottage it was no where near a villa

        2. Reminds me of all those early 20th century tycoons who built mansions up on Martha’s Vineyard and such places and called them holiday cottages.

    1. You are quite right, it’s in Nebraska! Just realised that BD has already picked this up. Quick as ever!
      As you know I am in the hate him camp but I am beginning to understand some of his less devious puzzles but this one is quite beyond the pale for me.

  20. 10ac and 7d to be solved yet. As usual lots of wonderful clues and masterful wordplay. I have had two bashes at this puzzle. Early morning and late afternoon. Thank you RayT and thanks to all the rest of you.

  21. Had to pick up, drop, and pick up again today as we’ve had a hectic time travelling (just over 1,000 miles in 4 days), so my head is still revolving. But usual very grateful thanks to BD as well as to Ray T. I’m still learning to love him, but am getting there…

  22. I did fine with this, knowing that I’m never on Ray T wavelength, until I got to the top right-hand corner. I needed hints galore to finish that corner. All in all, it was a tough slog but enjoyable nevertheless. Thanks to Ray T and DB for hints, much needed today.

  23. I’m not a fan , yet, of Ray T, but some of the solutions, were so obvious that I doubted my answers, such as 19a and 22a.
    It seems to me that Sschua would have had tremendous scope if he had been blogging today,(5a, 22a,28a etc).
    Apart from the easier ones it was quite a struggle and I was glad it was awarded a *** star. Thanks to Ray T and BD for some much needed hints.
    Favourite 25a.

  24. Thoroughly enjoyable and satisying although, perhaps, Ray T was being ever so slightly gentler with us.
    Some gems eg 23a, 5d, 20d
    Last in 28a across which took me over my normal target time.
    Certainly a Duh moment!
    Many thanks Ray T and BD for the review,

  25. Love him or hate him? A bit of a moveable feast mehinks!

    I remember when I first volunteered to do blogs on here I was relieved that BD suggested I do the Weds Jay – at least that meant I would avoid the impenetrable RayT. Now it’s about 3 years on and, as pommette said earlier, i’ve got tuned in to Ray and I love his puzzles :grin:

  26. Evening all. Many thanks to BD for the analysis, and to all who commented. ‘Omaha’ was of course an oversight…


  27. We loved it, as we always do with this setter. We had put in the correct answer for 24d without the city/state thingy even crossing our minds. As Gazza pointed out, this clue also breaks RayT’s self imposed word limit rule. Wonder what is going on here. Lots of clever clues with the occasional innuendo to induce a chuckle or two.
    Thanks RayT and BD.

  28. Thanks to Ray T and to Big Dave for the review and hints. Found this really difficult, but most enjoyable. Managed the left hand side ok, but struggled with the right. I looked at the hints when I was 7 short, got 5a & 19a from the hints, and all the rest went straight in. Favourite was 2d, was 3*/4* for me. Off to Cheltenham races tomorrow.

  29. Well! I listened to all the music clips today! Am I the only one?

    Presumably, ” Edelweiss” is BD’s Favourite?

  30. Ugh! Not my scene at all and not even a touch of humour! Northeast corner beat me so badly needed you Big Dave for that and more – thanks for that. ****/*.

  31. Spent too long trying to justify Idaho for 24 d but eventually fell into place quite nicely

    Thanks Ray T for the enjoyment and to BD for the review .

  32. Super puzzle! Super clues! **** for enjoyment. :smile:
    I did not need the hints at the time. After completing a crossword, however, I always find them invaluable for checking the word play. :smile: My only problem was 23a where I arrived at the right answer but not in the right way. :oops:
    Many thanks to both RayT and Big Dave.

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