DT 27538 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 27538

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 27538

Hints and tips by archy and mehitabel

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

Good morning everyone.  Bright and sunny but also breezy and slightly chilly in Oxford – no basking alley cats today – but normal service continues on the Vega Baja.  Although Her Majesty appears to have done a runner we’re pretty sure this is a RayT production as his other trademarks are there – no clue more than eight words and a bit of innuendo.  We thought it a bit tricky in places but very enjoyable so we’ll be interested to hear your opinions.

Definitions are underlined in the clues and the ones we liked 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           Restricted, criminal laid into criminal (11)
{CONDITIONAL } – Start with everyone’s favourite crosswordland criminal and follow him with an anagram (the second criminal in the clue) of LAID INTO

9a           Reckons hunt’s returning between two points (7)
{ESTEEMS } -This kind of “reckons” means to think highly of – a get together of mounted horsemen and women with hounds, not forgetting the ’S, is reversed (returning) between two points of the compass.  The unspeakble in hot pursuit of the uneatable?

10a         Previous convictions for religious leaders (6)
{PRIORS } – These chaps are deputy head honchos in an abbey. It is also a mainly North American informal way of saying previous convictions.

12a         Bank record contains case of error (7)
{TERRACE } – Not a financial institution but a raised level or walk. A record or line marked by a recording instrument contains the first and last letters (case of) error.

13a         In Munich a gallery is showing modernist artist (7)
{CHAGALL } – One of the ones that I always miss – a beastly hidden answer.

14a         Torture admitted in alien country (5)
{EGYPT } – A short word meaning pain or torture, often preceded by “It’s giving me . . . “ goes inside (admitted) an alien of cinema fame.

15a         Sailor by end of ship heaving trimmed sheet (9)
{TARPAULIN } – A sailor (not AB – one of the others) comes before the last letter of (end of) ship and then another word for heaving or pulling with great effort without its first and last letters (trimmed). Took archy a fair while to crack this one as he read the 6th word as HAVING.  Should have gone to Specsavers, d’oh!

17a         Game bird is all excited (9)
{BILLIARDS } – An anagram (excited) of BIRD IS ALL.

20a         Contend gripping second wood (5)
{ COPSE} – To contend with or manage contains (gripping) the one letter abbreviation for S(econd).

22a         The French crazy about Southern girls (7)
{DAMSELS } – A reversal here – start with the plural form of the French word for “the” and another word for crazy or batty – then turn it all round (about) and add S(outhern).

24a         National  issue (7)
{SUBJECT } – A double definition – one word that can either mean a citizen or a topic for discussion.

25a         Reckless sweetheart losing heart (6)
{DARING } – What one might call their most loved one, or sweetheart, without its middle letter (losing heart) gives an adjective meaning reckless or bold.

26a         Accuse a right shower, including Government leader (7)
{ ARRAIGN} – Start with the A from the clue and R(ight) and then another word  for a shower or precipitation from the skies containing (including) the first letter (leader) of G(overnment).  Seems spookily topical!

27a         Call for one in condition after dodgy scene (11)
{NECESSITATE } – An anagram (dodgy) of SCENE comes before a word meaning the general condition of something containing (one in) the letter that looks like one.


2d           A can-opener cuts open ham (7)
{ OVERACT} – A (from the clue) and C (Can opener) are inserted (cuts) into a word meaning open, as in public.

3d           Policemen start to swiftly take down objector (9)
{DISSENTER } – Start with some Detective Inspectors (don’t forget they’re plural) and follow with S (start to Swiftly) and then a word which can mean to take down, a note in a ledger perhaps.

4d           Theme or point in consideration initially (5)
{TOPIC } – First letters (initially) of the first five words of the clue.

5d           Island protected by Bangkok, in a way (7)
{OKINAWA } – It’s hidden in (protected by) Bangkok, in a way.

6d           Excellent marines upset getting post in the sky? (7)
{AIRMAIL } –   A charade of two letters for excellent, the abbreviation for Royal Marines and a word meaning to be upset or ill.  I like this one because the son of a good friend is a Royal Marine and is currently serving in Afganistan as navigator in a helicopter – brave lad!

7d           He’d be faster changing ‘Pampers‘ (11)
{FEATHERBEDS } – Anagram (changing) of HE’D BE FASTER

8d           Tale about Eeyore’s tail for stage (6)
{STOREY } – Another word for a tale placed around (about) an E (EeyorE‘s tail)

11d         Secret of ancients led to rupture (11)
{CLANDESTINE } – Anagram (to rupture) of ANCIENTS LED.

16d         Defiant as train set’s broken (9)
{RESISTANT } – Anagram (broken) of TRAIN SETS.

18d         Drink with pork pie swallowing another drink (7)
{ LIMEADE} – Pork pie as in an untruth. Insert (swallowing) a drink made from honey.

19d         Catalogue of infinite misery (7)
{ITEMISE } – Catalogue here is a verb and it’s hidden in (of) infinite misery.

20d         About time to take in nude show (7)
{CABARET } – Take one of the abbreviations for about and T(ime) and insert (to take in) a word meaning nude.

21d         American author with beat, endlessly metrical (6)
{POETIC } – Crosswordland’s favourite American author followed by a word which can mean beat without its last letter (endlessly).

23d         Expressing mass expressions of sadness (5)
{SIGHS } – Sounds like (expressing) a word meaning mass or how big something is.

Fair bit of blue today but archy’s favourite is 6d while mehitabel has gone for 7d.

Today’s Quickie Pun: {STAY} + {COOK} + {LAME} = {STAKE A CLAIM}

61 comments on “DT 27538

  1. 3*/4*. Another magnificent crossword from Ray T, which was both challenging and very enjoyable, but where is the Queen today?

    21d was my last one in, although I should have got this earlier as I am currently reading an excellent book entitled The Poe Shadow, which is a compelling piece of detective fiction based on Poe’s death.

    I needed the hints to understand why my answer 15a was right.

    My page is littered with asterisks but my short list of goodies today is 26a, 2d, 7d and 23d.

    Many thanks to Ray T and to a&m.

  2. A first class puzzle with no real problems. I really enjoyed this one. Thanks to Ray T and to A & M for the review.

  3. Probably for the only time ever , I didn’t think this quite 3*.(I also failed to find the inuendo.Very likely , I’m out on my own here).
    I thought this one of the best puzzles we’ve had for quite a while.All the clues read so smoothly.In fact it’s impossible to pick out one clue as they were all good.However , perhaps one could say the 3 hidden clues were outstanding.
    Thanks to RayT and our couple of cruciverbalists.

    1. It probably depends on how your mind works – I thought there was a bit of innuendo in 17a, and possibly 20d too but I’m always on the lookout for it in Ray T crosswords.

  4. Tricky in places for me too. Some lovely long anagrams and a couple of sneaky hidden words – I missed the indicator for 19d for ages. Last in was 12a which I guessed and then worked out after a fashion, but I think it is a poor definition. In fact I would contend it is the opposite being flat not sloping. Overall good fun and witty, so a pair of 3*s from me.

    1. Hi Rick

      12a may not be the greatest definition but it just about works for me. Bank like the terracing in a football stadium.

  5. Really good puzzle from Ray T – thanks to him and to a&m (Ancient and Modern?) for the sparkling review.

  6. Very enjoyable with just that hard edge.
    Specially liked 14a, 15a, and 26a.
    Many thanks RayT, and archy and mehitabel for the ultra respectable review.

  7. Best puzzle for some time IMHO. Several clues had me sucking my teeth and thinking “that’s a bit tenuous”, but when I went back over them at the end, all the extra pennies dropped.

  8. Probably just me, but this didn’t feel like a Ray T. No ER. No smiles, either, and Ray T. usually raises a few from me. I didn’t much like 3D and I agree with Rick about 12A. But I did enjoy the puzzle very much overall, and completed without hints, though it took a while to see that 1A was a partial anagram. Favorite is 15A. Thanks to setter and A&M.

    1. I gather your area is in for some pretty bad weather today, I hope it doesn’t include any tornados.

  9. Thank you Ray T for another enjoyable puzzle – maintaining your challenge for master of the hidden word ! For some reason my first 2 in were 13a and 5d. Just about the right level of puzzle for me – solvable without taking all day http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gif Many thanks A & M for your review, hints and uncontroversial photos !

  10. Agree an excellent puzzle ,going for a **/**** as it was right up my street . Last in 21d, became obvious only after the P,love his short stories . Thanks to A and M for the graphics, especially Sally in the Kit Cat, lovely sleezy film.

  11. Very enjoyable some head scratching difficult with a sunburnt dome, it had me reaching for the thesaurus.favourite clue 7 down. Also thought 14 across a little tenuous I thought.

  12. Not too taxing but entertaining. Thanks Ray T and indeed the cruciverbal duo for help with reasoning e.g. 14a and 15a. Overlooked pork pie (not a hat!) part of 22a and tried dollies as in southern belles for 22a. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_smile.gif

  13. Lovely stuff once again from RayT. We did note that the flag was not flying over the palace but everything else was in order, including the word count.
    Thanks RayT and A and M.
    We are going to be away for the next ten days. Have to be off at 5am tomorrow morning to catch the ferry to the South Island. Behave yourselves in our absence.

  14. No queen? Perhaps a rare case of error from Ray T ;). Found it a smidgen trickier than the last couple of day’s crosswords, but lots of fun. I have a favourite today: 19d (with 17a snapping at its heels). **/****, with many thanks to Ray T and to archy and mehitabel :).

  15. Really chaffed as I managed to solve today’s nice puzzle without any hints, thanks Ray T! Can’t help going through the hints as I always find them entertaining so merci to
    Archy and Mehitabel. Lots of lovely clues, liked 21 down and 7d was really funny. For me 2.5*/4*. Having a go at the Toughie but for this one desperate for hints for NE and SW corners… Can’t see through the dust as having some work done on the bathroom!

  16. Think I’ll explain why 7d was my favourite – it’s because of the surface reading rather than the answer and it reminded me of when Pet Lambs were very little – the younger one was about eight months old and had just learnt to crawl, very fast. For anyone who doesn’t know “Pampers” are a make of disposable nappy. Husband had bathed them both and was getting them ready for bed – pathetic yells for help from upstairs “It’s no good expecting me to be able to get a nappy on a moving target”! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/icon_rolleyes.gif

      1. Do you do the quick crossword? If not then you won’t understand. All the quickies have a pun in the first two, or sometimes more, answers. In the paper the words that make up the pun are in italics but that doesn’t really help as the online version doesn’t do it. They’re worth looking at – sometimes they’re really funny and you (or certainly I) end up walking round muttering in the kind of way that means the men in the white coats are going to arrive and carry you (me) off.

  17. I seem to be at odds with everyone else here (not for the first time)! I really didn’t like all the anagrams, single letters extracted from words, and (my bugbear) the hidden words. We managed to finish it in reasonable time, but were left a bit deflated. However tea in bed would not be the same without the crossword, so thanks to the setter and reviewer.

  18. A very enjoyable crossword and a very amusing review, thanks to RayT and to Archy and Mehitabel, the toughie today is of a similar difficulty and definitely worth a go.

  19. Her majesty may have done a runner but she has appeared in both Tuesdays and Wednesdays crosswords. On Sunday and Monday we had Rulers. I got exactly halfway through today’s puzzle and decided that the weather was far to good to waste so Saint Sharon and I are gardening on the Caravan and Camping field. I was enjoying the puzzle though with each clue needing to be drawn out slowly. I love Ray T days.

  20. Quite enjoyable today, but I must agree with Boltonbabas regarding the number of Anagrams and hidden words. Personally, I don’t mind the odd anagram nor the odd hidden word, but with 6 Anagrams and 3 Hidden words today out a total of 28 cues, I think its a tad OTT (nearly a third of the clues).

    Not only that, but with the omission of the Queen, I can envisage a spell in The Tower for Mr T.

    Think England could do with a) a few more wickets and b) groundsman with a bit of guts to give us a typical English wicket with some green on it.

    1. About the slow pitches. They have been made to provide plenty of runs in order that the test matches last for 5 days, thus providing more money from ticket sales, food, drink etc. for the counties providing the test venues.

  21. Just about managed this in ** time, and it gets a **/**** from me. RayT does seem to have upped the hidden word count in the last few weeks, but there were enough trickier clues to make it a worthwhile challenge.

  22. Such a treat, I thought it was 4* for enjoyment, a real feeling of satisfaction when getting the answers. I needed the hints to know the “why” of 15a, very clever. My favourite is 20a, with 7d as runner up. Thanks to RayT, maybe he’ll pop in later and explain the missing monarch, and many thanks to archie and mehitabel for the tasteful review.

      1. Ah now I see it. Thanks. Not though it helped much as I couldn’t get many of the others today. V tough I thought.

    1. Just as a quick PS to what pommers said – Al isn’t the usual criminal he’s the usual gangster – Al(phonse) Capone, also known as Scarface, who was an Italian born U.S. gangster.

  23. Really enjoyed this today. Just the right amount of thought required! No complaints from me about too many anagrams or hidden words – we hardly want every puzzle to have the same feel. Or at least I don’t. Favourite today was 19d for its sheer smoothness.
    Thanks to Ray T and to a and m for the great review.

  24. Oh dear, back to the bad old days of a Ray T that’s no fun and almost incomprehensible. Just when I thought I had turned the corner!http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_negative.gif

  25. A very enjoyable puzzle indeed. I enjoy this sort of puzzle where the clue may be difficult but the answer is achievable and there is a dearth of silly buggery. I would rate this 3.5/4 I thank A&M for the review as I did have to refer to it a couple of times to preserve my sanity!

  26. A super RayT puzzle with a super review to match! Most enjoyable indeed, ****. I thought the hidden clues excellent. My fave is 22a, but I have marked others as well, such as 10a, 13a, 22a, 7d, and 19d.
    Big thanks to RayT and to Archy and Mehitabel.

  27. I see England are playing that rather strange game again. At first sight it looks a bit like cricket but clearly isn’t as skilful.
    Oh well, I’m off to the bar for a pre-prandial beer or two.

    See y’all later.

  28. Liked this puzzle – a 3*/3*. Tricky bits in it and agree with others that there were too many anagrams and hidden words (although v clever in 19d) which made this less than 4*. Weather continues to be wonderful and factor 30 a minimum requirement. Thanks to the setter and reviewers.

  29. I wonder why so many people seem to think that there a lot of anagrams in today’s crossword – I really don’t think that six is overdoing it. I would have said that it’s about the average number.

    1. I agree, but thems wot don’t like anagrams maybe think six is a lot. I like them and am getting better at hidden words.

    2. As a paid up Anagram Fan Club member I agree. When they are long ones – as most were today – you get all those extra checking letters as a bonus!
      We all have our pet hates I suppose. My current one is the usual suspect ‘artist’ who seems to get everywhere but happily stayed at home today. Perhaps he was working on a portrait of the Queen?

  30. I really enjoyed that although I was slow to get going with it. Thanks to Ray T ? And a&m although didn’t need them today.

  31. Thanks to Ray T and to Archy and mehitabel for the review and hints. A very enjoyable puzzle, I agree it was a Ray T, but the Queen must be on holiday :-) Favourite was 14a, was 3*/4* for me. Some tricky clues. Last day of surfing at Woolacombe.

  32. I agree it was slightly trickier in places, but perhaps because I wasn’t quite on Ray ‘s wavelength today, and it all went in eventually.
    Thanks for the challenge, and also to A&M for the review.

  33. Good evening everyone. My thanks to archy and mehitabel for the decryption and to all for your comments. Also, my apologies for the ‘Queenlessness’ of the puzzle!


  34. Didn’t get this crossword at all. I would give it *****/* considering how few clues I got on my own. I like to be tested, but I’ve finished toughies much easier than this. Seems I’m in the minority though. Roll on tomorrow!

    1. Ray T crosswords – usually alternate Thursdays – are worth persevering with. Once you get into them they’re brilliant. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gif

  35. totally enjoyable. At first sight *** but once started back to ** . My last clue was 2d though it really is quite straight forward.. Though I realised what the answer to 23d was it took me ages to see the homophone.

  36. I enjoyed this one – thank you Ray T. My favourite was 15a. 21d was my last in – I suppose I ought to read some of this American author to improve my education! Thank you A&M for review and pictures – I’m a Winnie the Pooh fan and 20d is one of my favourite films. All in all a very good Thursday. I know it’s Friday now but I love to go through the blog over breakfast and tidy up any ends on the crossword. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_smile.gif

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