DT 27514 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 27514

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 27514

Hints and tips by archy and mehitabel

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ****

Good morning everyone. It’s another lovely sunny morning on the Vega Baja and apparently it’s the same in Oxford.

This isn’t one of RayT’s more difficult puzzles but it’s an enjoyable one all the same. It’s fortunate that mehitabel was on the downs today because she’s always said she has trouble spotting hidden word clues and there are no less than four of them in the acrosses!

Definitions are underlined in the clues and the ones we like most are in blue.

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           State of coalminer working around bottom of mine (10)
{CEREMONIAL} – This is state as in a State Occasion. It’s an anagram (working) of COALMINER around an E (bottom of minE).

6a           Find fault in vehicle parking (4)
{CARP} – A four wheeled vehicle followed by P(arking).  We haven’t had an F1 piccy for a while – any excuse!

9a           Killed repeatedly in the past, it’s said (5)
{OFFED} – A slang term for killed sounds like (it’s said) an old-fashioned or poetic way of saying OFTEN (repeatedly).

10a         Preserve from damage caused absorbing nearly everything (9)
{MARMALADE} –  It’s a word meaning to damage (3) followed by a word which can mean caused (4) placed around (absorbing) a word for everything without its last letter (nearly).  I had some on toast for breakfast this morning.

12a         Performer from start is teasing (7)
{ARTISTE} – The first of the hidden words indicated by (from).

13a         Go through European valley (5)
{COMBE} – It’s a word for go through, as in search, followed by E(uropean). I think this word for a valley comes from Devon, perhaps Gazza will know.

15a         Women from Essen or Asuncion? Probably Asuncion (7)
{SENORAS} – The second hidden word with the same indicator (from) as the last one. The women are hidden in ‘Essen or Asuncion’ and they probably come from Asuncion because it’s the word for women in the language that’s spoken there. I guess if they came from Essen they would be FRAUEN?

16a         Sups second after embracing maiden in ‘Twilight‘ (7)
{DIMNESS} – Sups here with it’s meaning of has supper rather than drinks. Take another word for eats and follow with S(econd). Then insert (embracing) M(aiden).

18a         Fashionable girl in a state (7)
{INDIANA} – The usual word for fashionable followed by a girl’s name.

20a         Cut skin cell evenly with this? (7)
{SCALPEL} – Cut the skin on the top of the head followed by the even letters of cElL

21a         Topless model, substantial … (5)
{AMPLE} – Another word for a model or specimen without it’s first letter (topless). I’ll resist the temptation . . .or perhaps not!

23a         … portion of stripper out in erotic performance (7)
{ROUTINE} – The third hidden word indicated by (portion of). I will resist this time!

25a         Checking about end of aileron in the air (9)
{IMPENDING} – In the air as in about to happen. A word for checking or to get in the way of placed around an N (end of aileroN).

26a         Stand at the front of the class (5)
{EASEL} – Cryptic definition. This stand might be holding the blackboard.

27a         Described by median or mean? (4)
{NORM} – The fourth and last hidden word (described by). I think this is quite clever as the answer can mean (sorry!) either median OR mean and it’s hidden in the middle.

28a         Player teed off time and again (10)
{REPEATEDLY} – Anagram (off) of PLAYER TEED.


1d           Hot work following cold slice of meat (4)
{CHOP} –  Three abbreviations here – one for H(ot), the usual two letters for work, preceded by (following) another one for C(old).  I had some 10a for breakfast and we’re having these for dinner tonight.  How did RayT know?

2d           Stopped umpire getting pelted (9)
{REFRAINED} – The usual crossword three letters for umpire followed by (getting) another word for pelted or absolutely chucked it down.

3d           At sea, entered marina leaving sea (13)
{MEDITERRANEAN} -An anagram (at sea) of ENTERED MARINA.

4d           Retribution in relation with English people backed (7)
{NEMESIS} – A three letter abbreviation for a female relation who has the same parents as you do, E(nglish) and some male people and then reverse the lot (backed).

5d           First-class study occupied by husband and idiot (7)
{AIRHEAD} – Two letters denoting first class followed by study at university containing (occupied by) H(husband).

7d           Shock of member supporting a Labour leader (5)
{ALARM} -A member or limb after (supporting in a down clue) the A from the clue and L(abour) leader.

8d           Used to hold her in sleep when upset (10)
{PREHENSILE} – An anagram (when upset) of HER IN SLEEP gives a zoological adjective meaning capable of grasping.

11d         Dancing cancan with tempo I’m backing (13)
{ACCOMPANIMENT} – Another anagram (dancing) of CANCAN with TEMPO I’M.

14d         Breathing in desire (10)
{ASPIRATION} – Two meanings – the second is a desire or something you hope to be able to achieve.

17d         Former wife petitioned, it’s reported (9)
{EXPRESSED} – usual two letters for a former wife (or husband) followed by a word meaning petitioned or urged strongly.

19d         Group of jumbos fine without head (7)
{AIRLINE} – Another word for fine or narrow, often used to describe a fracture of a bone, minus its first letter (without head) gives this group of jumbos that have engines and wings rather than trunks!

20d         Secretly bring in non-wizard joining Hogwarts finally (7)
{SMUGGLE} -To bring something in secretly or illegally comes from the last letter (finally) of (Hogwart)S followed by an invented word for a person in the Harry Potter books who lacks any magical ability.  I’ve never read them so thank you Mr Google.

22d         Mail perhaps with rubbish on Queen (5)
{PAPER} – The “Mail” here is an example (perhaps) as is the Financial Times or The Daily Telegraph – a three letter word meaning something rubbishy or worthless is followed by (on) Ray T’s Queen.

24d         ‘Friend‘ everybody, an unknown number (4)
{ALLY} – I’m not sure anyone will need a hint for this one but, just in case, you need a short word meaning every individual one and a letter used in algebra for an unknown number – and it’s not X!

archy’s favourite is 27a and mehitabel’s gone for 21a and 23a as a pair of joint favourites  How about you?

The Quick crossword pun: (wind} + {sun} + {hot} = {Windsor knot}

42 comments on “DT 27514

  1. I concur with the **/*** – finished comfortably before lights out last night after a gentle ‘plod’ through the puzzle without any great difficulties. Favourite would be 14d. Thanks to archy and mehitabel for the tasteful and reasonable in quantity illustrations.

  2. Thank you Ray T, another enjoyable puzzle – at the easier end of your scale as already noted. Thanks Archy and Mehitabel for the review and hints. I wondered if 28a might give rise to a photo of Gary Player – a clever clue !

      1. Brilliant ! Very clever Pommers ! Mrs SW once asked Mr Player for his autograph at Royal Birkdale. The great man duly obliged and Mrs SW said ” Thank you so much Mr Palmer” – http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_wacko.gif

  3. Definately at the lighter end of Ray T’s scale, with a lot of anagrams and as has been mentioned hidden clues.Re 14d, surely aspiration and inspiration are not the same thing. Favourite 22d. Thanks to all concerned.

    1. I don’t think that the “breathing” bit is meant in the physiological sense – I agree with you that that’s “inspiration” – it’s more to do with sounds used in speaking – the letter H is an aspirate.

      1. PS I take back that load of utter twaddle – breathing in is, of course, aspiration as in “inhale”. If you inhale a cherry stone you aspirate it. If you inhale fluid you can get an aspiration pneumonia – in other words it’s not normal “breathing in” which we all do several times each minute it’s the breathing in of an object. Really sorry folks – total ***** up on my part.

    2. Hi Una

      Aspiration is the act of breathing and an aspiration is a desire, like I used to have the aspiration to drive a rally car but wasn’t fast enough so had to settle for being a co-driver http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_sad.gif Not sure where inspiration comes into it.

    3. First three defs of aspiration from Collins:-

      1. strong desire to achieve something, such as success
      2. the aim of such desire
      3. a) the act of breathing
      b) a breath

  4. Okay I’llaccept your definations .Thanks for putting in all this hard work, both of you !

  5. Lovely stuff much enjoyed. Thought 1a was very clever as we kept looking for a state like 18a until we had several checkers to help us. Word count for the clues all in order once again too. Good fun.
    Thanks RayT and the twosome.

  6. Thanks to Jay and the dynamic duo, enjoyable enough puzzle but too much on the fluffy side for my taste, a lovely and amusing pictorial review.1*/2*.

  7. For some reason I didn’t really enjoy this offering today, and Mr. SheilaP made a much better fist of if than me, doing nearly all the work. Never mind, tomorrow is another day. Thank youhttp://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yahoo.gif setter and to the two hinters

  8. Thanks to Ray T and to archy and mehitabel for the review and hints. I must agree with archy and mehitabel, quite a benign puzzle today from Ray T, but nonetheless very enjoyable. Favourite was 10a. Was 2*/4* for me. Lovely sunny day in Central London.

  9. I think RayT took pity on us because of the lovely weather and gave us one of his easier ones today. The hidden words were easiier than usual but still many good clues and not too many anagrams. i had never heard of the non-wizard but the clue was still easy enough. Best were 1a and 20a. Thanks to RayT for a most enjoyable puzzle.

  10. Enjoyable crossword on a sunny morning in Essex. Required two coffees to solve and had to resort to electronic help for 8d – a new word for me but nonetheless less ‘gripping’ for that ;-)

    1. You’ve made a slight change to your usual email address so your comment required moderation.

  11. Although this was on the easier side of Ray T territory I still found the last few had to be slowly teased out . 9and 16ac were written in because they fit. (If it fits stick it in and work out why later). I sorted 16ac but needed the blog to understand 9ac

    “Alas, poor Yorick! I knew him, Horatio; a fellow of infinite jest, of most excellent fancy; he hath borne me on his back a thousand times; and now, how abhorred in my imagination it is! My gorge rims at it. Here hung those lips that I have kissed I know not how oft. Where be your gibes now? Your gambols? Your songs? Your flashes of merriment, that were wont to set the table on a roar?

    14d made me laugh. There are a couple in the village widely known as “The Aspirationals” You should see them giving out dinner party invitations to those they feel to be of the right social standing. Needless to say Saint Sharon and I have never been invited.

    Thank you Ray T for the mental workout. Thank you archy and mehitabel. I read the blog again for Feb 4th 27404. What a good days work that was.

  12. Enjoyable crossword from RayT as usual. Didn’t have any problems with this one for a change and it all went in fairly quickly. Thanks to Archy and mehitabel for the review and thanks to RayT **/****

  13. Excellent puzzle but by no means easy. For me a 3* but 4* for enjoyment.
    Still don’t get -6a, what’s easel got to do with class?
    Best clue for me was 8d. Thx to a & m for the explanation for 10a, got the answer from the checking letters and preserve but just couldn’t work out the complex wordplay.
    Have enjoyed the last couple of Ray Ts but I hope they don’t get any harder than this!
    Off to a Lords tomorrow to worship at my church!

    1. Re: 26a, in a Victorian classroom, there was an easel (holding a blackboard) at the front of the class for the teacher to use.

  14. A pleasing puzzle today I thought, I did struggle for a while on a couple of clues: 9A vexed me for some time. I would rate 2.5/4 Thanks for the review a&m.

  15. Enjoyed this immensely, not too difficult, though some were not too easy to understand they why; e.g., 9a. I knew the valley in 13a as I remember driving through Castle Combe and being told it meant valley, funny what sticks in ones brain. Fave is 10a, though many excellent others. Thanks to RayT and to archie and mehitabel for the review, amusing as always.

    The Daily Telegraph has charged me three times for my crossword sub, on the 9th, 10th and 11th, so I suppose I have to try to fight with them. I expect that’s going to be rather difficult. I might just get my credit card to sort it out.

  16. An enjoyable mental work-out, at first sight, thought it would be really difficult but managed to plough through it.
    Quite teasing anagrams, and liked 19d.
    Many thanks RayT, and archy and mehitabel for the uninhibited review.

  17. Just goes to show “viva la difference”! I didn’t manage to finish this – not helped by my idiotic insertion of Section for 23a. I know I know – no sound reason at all…. I blame the heavy hydrotherapy session endured earlier (any excuse!). But enjoyed the tussle. My prep school was near Castle Combe, so that was a slide in for me. 15a was a smile. Thank you setter, and thanks to Archy & Mehitabel for helping me fill in my last two. Hope everyone has a good weekend as I may not make it tomorrow. Off to Tenby tomorrow – what a stunning place to visit.

  18. What a nice crossword. Difficult in places but doable by 2* addicts. Many thanks to RayT, of whom I am now a great supporter, and to a and m for the hints which I used minimally.

    Does anybody know when the sign in will be automated again?

  19. Enjoyed today’s but needed the blog to solve 9a so many thanks to Archy and Mehitabel. Needed the blog for 9a… Unlike a few of other solvers thought 14d was nice. Also thanks to RayT for a most enjoyable puzzle.

  20. My thanks to archy and mehitabel for the hints and to everyone else for your observations.


  21. A very enjoyable RayT — **/**** for me. Fave was 10a — love the stuff!

    No problems, save my parsing of 19d wasn’t quite right, although I arrived at the correct answer.

    13a is a word often found in Devon — on it’s own, or with, or as part of another, e.g. ‘Gatcombe’. It frequently appears in old field names. Unfortunately, I don’t have a copy of The Place-Names of Devon to hand to give any detail. The word doesn’t appear to be limited to the West Country. Webster’s (1934) says it’s Scot and Dial.

    Very many thanks to RayT for a lovely Thursday puzzle. And very many thanks to Archy and Mehitabel for their super review.

  22. Yes, l suppose 2*/3* is about right, even though l took longer than l usually do at that level. But then that’s probably because l was sailing back from Salcombe (or, rather, not sailing because there was either no wind at all, or one from exactly the direction l wished to go in!) and getting frustrated. No particular favourite clue. Anyway, thanks to Ray T, and to A and M for the review.

  23. Enjoyed this very much, it was only difficult because I didn’t pay enough attention.

    Favourites 2d, 4d and 5d

    Thanks to RayT and to archie and mehitabel for the review which was amusing and helpful.

  24. An entertaining but not too taxing diversion today so didn’t need to extend breakfast. ***/***. Thanks RayT and also the hinters. IMHO 1a state/ceremonial not really synonyms but BRB confirms so I’ll go quietly. Needed the hinting combination’s help to parse 10a, 20a and 20d (I also have to admit to not having read any Harry Potter) ***/***.

  25. Getting the hang of Ray T now! **/*** for me. Favourite was 20D as a certain author has been in the news with her donation to Better Together. 19d amused me as I earn my living in one, there is even a photo of my workplace in the hints!

  26. Enjoyable fun but I struggles with 16a – just couldn’t see it for ages. Took me into 3* time. 3* enjoyment, too

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