DT 27394

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 27394

Hints and tips by Gazza

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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

We’re playing musical chairs today. Bufo is tied up so BD is covering the Toughie which gives me the chance to blog this enjoyable Ray T puzzle. There are quite a few ‘gimmes’ in it which should provide ways in to the slightly more difficult clues. Do let us know how you got on.

Across Clues

1a  Sherpa working around centre of Annapurna, maybe (7)
{PERHAPS} – an anagram (working) of SHERPA containing the central letter of Annapurna.

5a  Greek character, with time, taking maiden in fantasy (7)
{CHIMERA} – the twenty-second letter of the Greek alphabet and a long period of time with the abbreviation for a maiden over between them.

9a  Improper for a teetotaller to swallow punch (9)
{PERFORATE} – punch here means to make a hole (as a ticket inspector may do to your ticket). It’s cleverly hidden (to swallow) in the clue.

10a  Starts to skipper an impressive little ship? (5)
{SAILS} – the starting letters of five consecutive words.

11a  Nutcase in a cult, barking (7)
{LUNATIC} – an anagram (barking) of IN A CULT.

12a  Minor test with intravenous drip inserted (7)
{TRIVIAL} – insert the abbreviation for an intravenous drip in a test.

13a  Felt better about fellow ‘ginger’ (9)
{RECOVERED} – string together the preposition meaning about or concerning, a slang term for a fellow and the colour for which the word ginger is used when describing hair.

16a  ‘Time’ following American phraseology (5)
{USAGE} – in the surface Time is the magazine but what we need here is a period of time which is appended to a two-character abbreviation for American.

17a  Hundred at Lord’s initially using pitch variations (5)
{TONAL} – an informal word for a hundred is followed by the initial letters of At Lord’s.

18a  Simple men turning gripping tool (9)
{IMPLEMENT} – concealed (gripping) in the clue.

21a  Obsolete former wife can cheat heartlessly (7)
{EXTINCT} – a charade of the informal term for a former wife or partner, a can and the outer (heartlessly) letters of C(hea)T.

22a  Walks over to see relative (7)
{STEPSON} – a verb meaning walks or paces followed by a preposition meaning over or about.

25a  Principal European state (5)
{MAINE} – an adjective meaning principal followed by E(uropean).

26a  Given care, treated for complaint (9)
{GRIEVANCE} – an anagram (treated) of GIVEN CARE.

27a  One supplies empty consumer, including messy eater (7)
{CATERER} – the outer (empty) letters of consumer contain an anagram (messy) of EATER.

28a  From end of bin a smell’s coming out (7)
{NASCENT} – this adjective means coming into existence or budding. The end letter of (bi)N is followed by A (from the clue) and a smell or aroma.

Down Clues

1d  This is in tree enclosing nut’s kernel (7)
{POPULAR} – a well disguised definition – “in” here meaning fashionable or all the rage. A type of tall tree contains the central (kernel) letter of nut.

2d  Stand, for a second time,  programme repeat (5)
{RERUN} – double definition – stand means to put oneself forward for election.

3d  Take up song and dance exercise (5)
{ADOPT} – a word for a song and dance or commotion is followed by an abbreviation for physical exercise.

4d  More unusual skin blemish clears, oddly (7)
{SCARCER} – a skin blemish is followed by the odd letters of clear.

5d  Cold and bitter getting stung (7)
{CHEATED} – stung here means caught in a sting operation or deception. Start with C(old) and add an adjective meaning bitter or furious.

6d  Found  asylum, possibly? (9)
{INSTITUTE} – double definition – found here is a verb meaning to establish.

7d  Take out bird wearing best (9)
{ELIMINATE} – one of the variant spellings of a bird that can be taught to imitate human speech goes inside (wearing) a synonym for best or cream.

8d  Pardon sailor only round start of voyage (7)
{ABSOLVE} – one of the abbreviations for a sailor is followed by an adjective meaning only or solitary containing the start letter of V(oyage).

14d  Pinch villains, taken in we hear (9)
{CONSTRICT} – an abbreviation for convicted villains is followed by what sounds like taken in or duped.

15d  Suggest ‘Crazy Love’, tune remade by Queen (9)
{VOLUNTEER} – an anagram (crazy or remade – take your pick) of LOVE TUNE followed by the single-character abbreviation for queen. I don’t really understand the need for two anagram indicators.

17d  Other microbes engulfed by heat (7)
{THERMIC} – hidden (engulfed) in the clue.

18d  One or two for example, in between (7)
{INTEGER} – insert the abbreviation of ‘for example’ into a prefix meaning between or among.

19d  Kick the bucket to contain one’s anger (7)
{PASSION} – a more refined version (4,2) of ‘kick the bucket’  containing I (one in Roman numerals). I was going to elaborate on the phrase ‘kick the bucket’ but there’s no consensus on its derivation and some of the suggestions are not very pleasant.

20d  Thrash bloke producing geometric line (7)
{TANGENT} – a charade of a verb to beat or thrash and a posh term for a bloke.

23d  Live broadcast by second singer (5)
{ELVIS} – an anagram (broadcast) of LIVE is followed by S(econd).

24d  Church supporting transgression until now (5)
{SINCE} – the abbreviation for the established church in England comes after (supporting, in a down clue) a transgression.

Top clues for me today were 9a (for the smooth surface and well-hidden answer), 1d and 3d. Which ones took your fancy?

Today’s Quickie Pun: {LIE} + {TOUGH} + {IRE} = {LIGHT A FIRE}



  1. Jezza
    Posted January 23, 2014 at 11:09 am | Permalink

    2*/5* for me. I don’t very often award 5* for enjoyment, but I thought this one was very good!
    My favourite is 3d, as I don’t remember having seen ‘song and dance’ clued in this way before.
    Many thanks to RayT, and to Gazza for the write up.

  2. bifield
    Posted January 23, 2014 at 11:10 am | Permalink

    Tricky in places but finished without the hints. I twigged the “punch” in 9a but it took ages for me to see the hidden word. Thanks to RayT and to Gazza for his review.

    • mary
      Posted January 23, 2014 at 12:06 pm | Permalink

      Same here bifield for 9a!!

  3. angel
    Posted January 23, 2014 at 11:46 am | Permalink

    Thanks RayT, this was a great combination of fun and exercise for the grey matter. The hidden words were well concealed. Gazza, thanks, you showed me I had wrongly presumed that punch might be cola in 9a although it didn’t make sense. 28a seems to appear regularly these days. Was sorry when this super puzzle had been completed. ***/****. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/icon_biggrin.gif

  4. skempie
    Posted January 23, 2014 at 11:47 am | Permalink

    I thought this was going to be a walk in the park (once things started to fall into place) but then ground to a halt for ages on a couple. Like bifield, I ‘saw’ 9A but took ages to actually see the why, also 7D took quite a while (trying to work out which bird was required and which meaning of best was required). I thought 22A was very clever, but no favourites today as they were all pretty good (IMHO)

  5. andy
    Posted January 23, 2014 at 11:54 am | Permalink

    Gazza this seems to have been numbered as 37394 on the blog….

    No major problems today, 9d a firm favourite. Runner up prize awarded to 22a. Thanks To Gazza and RayT

    • gazza
      Posted January 23, 2014 at 12:31 pm | Permalink

      Thanks, andy – now fixed.

  6. Clarky
    Posted January 23, 2014 at 11:56 am | Permalink

    3d has my vote for one of the best clues for some time. Bottom half came together quickly but needed a couple of hints above. 5a was a new one to me.
    Enjoyable Thursday test. 2.5*/***. Thanks to RayT and Gazza.

  7. mary
    Posted January 23, 2014 at 12:04 pm | Permalink

    Hi gazza, thanks for the blog although I did finish without it today, for myself I got lots of the answers without understanding why and had to go back over it all to work them out! I actually did enjoy this RayT but no I am still not a convert! I did however have a favourite clue which was 19d

    • mary
      Posted January 23, 2014 at 12:05 pm | Permalink

      I hear you are making a rare appearance in Bristol next month gazza http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yahoo.gif

      • gazza
        Posted January 23, 2014 at 12:36 pm | Permalink

        Yes – I’ve managed to acquire an exit visa and I’ll be there. It would be nice to see you there Mary – why not bring your flute?

        • mary
          Posted January 23, 2014 at 4:19 pm | Permalink

          you having a laugh!!!

    • mary
      Posted January 23, 2014 at 12:14 pm | Permalink

      I did like 1d too but Kath won’t allow me to have two favourites http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_scratch.gif

      • Kath
        Posted January 23, 2014 at 12:24 pm | Permalink


  8. Beaver
    Posted January 23, 2014 at 12:18 pm | Permalink

    Seemed to have seen quite a lot of the clues before like 5a,20d,18d,22a,6d plus a plethora of hidden words resulted in a **/*** for me . Thanks Gazza for the pics , just one gripe , hated Elvis in his Vegas days , lets have the early rocker!

  9. mary
    Posted January 23, 2014 at 12:23 pm | Permalink

    I guess in 15d gazza, it just reads better with the two indicators?

  10. mary
    Posted January 23, 2014 at 12:24 pm | Permalink

    over and out have to go for acupuncture…all good fun!!!

  11. McMillibar
    Posted January 23, 2014 at 12:28 pm | Permalink

    Ray-T, this is genius setting. I thoroughly enjoyed this piece and go for **/*** and **** (oh, go on then… *****). Several inspired hidden clues with 9a being my last. Tripped over my feet a bit by insisting on RECOMMEND for 15d even though the anagram seemed pretty assured. The only niggle might be 1a – have we not seen his face before very recently? This grid took me 20 PC more time than usual but no need for any other referencing and was a steady round-the-clock solve from the SW corner anticlockwise with a good two-thirds of the clues providing that thrill which keeps us all hooked. Thanks for a great puzzle and thanks to yourself, Gazza for your hints which I shall now peruse.

    • Kath
      Posted January 23, 2014 at 12:45 pm | Permalink

      We had ‘maybe’ as an answer yesterday.
      One of my favourite ever clues was a Ray T. “Move rhythmically, topless, on a pole maybe” (9) Apologies if I haven’t got that completely right.

      • McMillibar
        Posted January 23, 2014 at 1:40 pm | Permalink

        Pondering that one…
        Maybe the Sherpa thing was a recent BBC Four programme. I am verily attached to that Channel.

        • gazza
          Posted January 23, 2014 at 1:49 pm | Permalink

          Sherpa cropped up on Tuesday as the answer to 12a Guide that woman inside hydro (6).

          • McMillibar
            Posted January 23, 2014 at 2:12 pm | Permalink

            Ah.. That’s it then, thank you. RayT, sorry for doubting you.

      • McMillibar
        Posted January 23, 2014 at 2:19 pm | Permalink

        Ah… Got that now, Kath. Nice.

        • Merusa
          Posted January 23, 2014 at 4:24 pm | Permalink

          I haven’t, please share!

          • McMillibar
            Posted January 23, 2014 at 7:26 pm | Permalink

            Perchance you still haven’t sussed it, let me know and I’ll give you a clue.

  12. Kath
    Posted January 23, 2014 at 12:38 pm | Permalink

    I must have been on the right wave length (never sure if that’s one or two words or hyphenated) so 2* difficulty and 4* for enjoyment.
    The only one that really caused a problem was 9a – I know I’m bad at these but when the only answer that works is obvious I do usually get there in the end, but not with this one. Oh dear!
    I’m glad that Ray T put some anagrams in today – some of his recent crosswords have had very few, if any, and I like them.
    Apart from missing 9a completely my last answer was 5d – don’t know why.
    I could just say that I liked all these clues but that would be silly so I’ll pick a few – 11a and 3d. My favourite was 19d.
    With thanks to Ray T and gazza.
    I’m going to be brave now and try the Toughie – finished yesterday’s and Tuesday’s – it’ll probably go horribly wrong today.

    • gazza
      Posted January 23, 2014 at 12:42 pm | Permalink

      As far as I can tell Ray only keeps his Beam Toughies anagram-free. His back-pagers usually have anagrams.

      • Kath
        Posted January 23, 2014 at 12:48 pm | Permalink

        OK – thanks – give in!

    • crypticsue
      Posted January 23, 2014 at 12:42 pm | Permalink

      re the Toughie “Oh no it won’t” http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_wink.gif

      • Kath
        Posted January 23, 2014 at 12:51 pm | Permalink

        You’ve encouraged me – thanks. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_smile.gif
        There are so many Toughie setters that, having not been trying them for very long, I haven’t really got used to what to expect from who – rubbish grammar but I’m sure you know what I mean.

      • McMillibar
        Posted January 23, 2014 at 1:35 pm | Permalink

        Hi CS, do you know if the DT plan to make the Toughie available on their iPad app. Presently all that is offered daily is the Cryptic, Quickie and a Sudoku Moderate (numbers, bah!). I am sure that I would not be able to resist if it were and I am kind of hoping that it will remain unavailable so that I don’t use any more precious heartbeats on this rather pointless pursuit?

        • crypticsue
          Posted January 23, 2014 at 1:37 pm | Permalink

          Sorry – I know nothing about DT plans , iPads or apps ! I just buy the newspaper.

          • McMillibar
            Posted January 23, 2014 at 2:22 pm | Permalink

            Maybe I’ll have to risk a dialogue with the DT.

            • Toni
              Posted January 23, 2014 at 4:04 pm | Permalink

              That would be brilliant!

              • McMillibar
                Posted January 23, 2014 at 7:31 pm | Permalink

                Sent them an email from within the app… they came straight back with and I quote:
                We greatly appreciate your comments in regards to the inclusion of the Tough crossword within the Telegraph app. Please be assured; your feedback has been passed to the relevant departments and duly noted for review.

                Here’s hoping then I can give Kath a run for her money.

  13. SheilaP
    Posted January 23, 2014 at 1:37 pm | Permalink

    Found this quite tricky, but the clues are good, when you get the answers. Isn’t that usually the case?. Needed a bit of assistance today, for which many thanks to gazza & to the setter too of course.

  14. Heno
    Posted January 23, 2014 at 1:55 pm | Permalink

    Thanks to Ray T and to Gazza for the review and hints. I must have been on the right wavelength today. No real problems, great puzzle, extremely enjoyable. Some super hidden words. Favourites were 5,9,13,17,27a & 14d, sorry Kath :-) Was 2*/5* for me. Last in was 5d. Blue sky in Central London.

    • Kath
      Posted January 23, 2014 at 2:05 pm | Permalink

      Six favourites – oh dear! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_negative.gif

      • Posted January 23, 2014 at 2:08 pm | Permalink

        Brucie has often uttered “You’re my favourite” more than once on Strictly!

        • Merusa
          Posted January 23, 2014 at 4:08 pm | Permalink

          Is that Bruce Forsythe? Do you mean to tell me he’s still going strong? He was on the Telly in the early 60s when I lived there.

          • Posted January 23, 2014 at 4:35 pm | Permalink

            He’s 86 next month, and he’s Sir Bruce now. A national treasure.

            • skempie
              Posted January 23, 2014 at 5:10 pm | Permalink

              and should be confined to the dustbin, sorry. Didn’t like him when he was alive

              • SheilaP
                Posted January 23, 2014 at 5:35 pm | Permalink

                He speaks very highly of you!!

              • Angel
                Posted January 23, 2014 at 5:39 pm | Permalink

                Hear, hear skempie http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_negative.gif

              • McMillibar
                Posted January 23, 2014 at 7:41 pm | Permalink

                I simply won’t hear of it.. I have a buddy who plays golf with him (or did) and told me he’s the nicest person you could spend a few hours with and as golfers know, play a game of golf with someone and you know all you need to about their character. Great fun and a pleasure to be with apparently. I think the man is worthy to the core and it’s astonishing that he’s able to operate in TV’s Premier League at his age – I hope I have half his faculties at that age. In fact, I just hope that I am looking at the grass from the right side at that age. Besides it seems that he’s one of the handful of his generation who weren’t abusing their position with young attractive girls!

  15. Sweet William
    Posted January 23, 2014 at 2:49 pm | Permalink

    Thank you Ray T. For some reason got onto the wavelength early and had no problems in finishing the puzzle. Do I detect a serious attempt to challenge Virgilius as the master of the hidden word ! There were some great clues today ( or I thought so anyway ) Thanks Gazza for your review and hints.

  16. Brian
    Posted January 23, 2014 at 3:47 pm | Permalink

    Is there a 7* for difficulty, if so that’s my rating of this horror! Managed one answer”
    Roll on tomorrow?

    • mary
      Posted January 23, 2014 at 4:22 pm | Permalink

      Brian are you serious, you’re so much better than that, even I managed this one :-)

      • Merusa
        Posted January 23, 2014 at 4:28 pm | Permalink

        Mary, it never fails. If Brian sails through a puzzle, I struggle, and vice versa. I could have told you in advance whether he liked it or not.


      • Brian
        Posted January 23, 2014 at 5:48 pm | Permalink

        Found it just like the RayTs of old, totally impenetrable. Most of the clues made no sense to me in any way shape or form.
        To say I disliked this puzzle would be an understatement.http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_negative.gif

        • crypticsue
          Posted January 23, 2014 at 5:59 pm | Permalink

          I know exactly what your reaction to this suggestion is going to be but…. try today’s Toughie, you might surprise yourself.

          Oh .. and the Ray T – very enjoyable and I found it easier than usual. Thanks to him and Gazza too.

          • Brian
            Posted January 23, 2014 at 9:30 pm | Permalink

            Will have a go, did try the one that Kath recommended and managed more than I expected.

  17. Catherine
    Posted January 23, 2014 at 3:55 pm | Permalink

    Great puzzle today, thank you Ray T. As others have said the hidden words were very cleverly disguised. No favorite – I enjoyed the whole thing!
    Thanks also to Gazza. I always like reading your hints.

  18. Rabbit Dave
    Posted January 23, 2014 at 3:57 pm | Permalink

    I agree with Gazza in every respect about this superb puzzle: 3*/4* rating with 9a, 1d & 3d deserving of especial mention, although almost every clue was a gem. For me, 1d just gets my vote for favourite.

    9a was my last one in. I twigged the right answer early on but missed the hidden word like several other bloggers and didn’t write it in until in desperation I checked Gazza’s hint.

    Many thanks to Ray T and to Gazza.

  19. Merusa
    Posted January 23, 2014 at 4:05 pm | Permalink

    At first I thought I was going to ace this, writing in answers fast and furious, then I came to a screeching halt. I got stuck on 10a and 7d, not sure whether eliminate or eradicate. Thanks to Gazza for putting me right. Good puzzle, thank you RayT.

  20. 2Kiwis
    Posted January 23, 2014 at 5:55 pm | Permalink

    We struggled a bit on the top half, finding the hidden word in 9a and trying to make the bird an IBIS in 7d for example, and then got into our stride with the bottom half. A most enjoyable puzzle with lots of giggles and guffaws.
    Thanks RayT and Gazza.

    • 2Kiwis
      Posted January 23, 2014 at 6:26 pm | Permalink

      PS. Forgot to report that the word count on the clues is all in order again this week. :)

  21. Una
    Posted January 23, 2014 at 6:38 pm | Permalink

    I managed without hints and found tough enough in places, but very enjoyable.I didn’t notice any of the inclusive clues until I read this blog. It’s hard to pick a favourite, perhaps 12a or 21a. Thanks to Ray T and Gazza.

  22. RayT
    Posted January 23, 2014 at 7:37 pm | Permalink

    Very many thanks to Gazza for the analysis, and to all who took the time to comment.


    • McMillibar
      Posted January 23, 2014 at 7:46 pm | Permalink

      Two questions:

      Have you got any more like this in your arsenal?

      What were you smoking when you compiled this one?

  23. Brendan
    Posted January 23, 2014 at 7:42 pm | Permalink

    I found this really enjoyable with some truly excellent clues. The answer to 9a. was so well hidden it was myLOI. Many thanks to Ray T and Gazza. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_good.gif

  24. neveracrossword
    Posted January 23, 2014 at 8:12 pm | Permalink

    I scored this ***/**** too. ( Wouldn’t an asylum be an institution rather than an institute? No doubt Chambers says it’s OK).

    • gazza
      Posted January 23, 2014 at 8:55 pm | Permalink

      As you suspected the second meaning for institute (noun) in the BRB is: an institution.

  25. outnumbered
    Posted January 23, 2014 at 9:07 pm | Permalink

    **/**** for me, a very enjoyable puzzle. 7d was my last, I kept trying to get “tit” in there ….

  26. Hrothgar
    Posted January 23, 2014 at 9:50 pm | Permalink

    Superb crossword.
    Took some time to get in my stride then very enjoyable.
    3d and 14d gems.
    It’s odd, I always find RayT’s deceptively hard or do I mean easy?
    Many thanks to Ray T and to Gazza for the review.

  27. Kath
    Posted January 23, 2014 at 10:04 pm | Permalink

    Very short and late comment. No power since 2.30 pm so practising on husband’s iPad – thank goodness for 3G. This all sounds as if I’m very clever and understand everything I’m saying – I suspect that I’m not fooling any of you! Thank goodness also for big log fire and lots of candles or we would have no light or heat at all.

  28. Dick
    Posted January 23, 2014 at 11:52 pm | Permalink

    I thought this one was outstanding – one or two easy ones, three fine run throughs with 9a the best of all, and a tough NE corner, at least for me. Full marks.

  29. Miffypops
    Posted January 24, 2014 at 12:17 am | Permalink

    Very late on parade today half done and immense enjoyment so far. Busy. Busy. Busy. Holiday tomorrow.

  30. asterix
    Posted January 24, 2014 at 11:57 am | Permalink

    Loved it – once I got 1a I realized we were in for a high-class treat. The cunning misdirection was very playful. Definitely five * for enjoyment.

  31. Catnap
    Posted January 24, 2014 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

    A super puzzle!http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yahoo.gif I found the lower half easier than the top. I, too, had the answer to 9a before I spotted it was cleverly hidden! Very difficult indeed to select a fave from so many delightful clues. I really enjoyed 5a, 9a, 3d, 7d and 19d. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/icon_lol.gif
    Thank you, RayT. Thank you, too, Gazza, for hints which I didn’t need but have found invaluable now for checking answers and wordplay.