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DT 27550

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 27550

Hints and tips by Kath

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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

Good morning to everyone from a cool and, so far at least, a rather hazy morning in Oxford. This is my first attempt at doing most of it “my own self”! Thanks to BD for doing the bits that I can’t quite do yet, to Pommers for all his patience, help and encouragement, and to the rest of you for putting up with any mistakes that I may have made. There is little, if any, doubt in my mind that this is a Ray T production.


7a    Caught bending, doing housework perhaps (8)
{CLEANING} — The cricketing abbreviation for C(aught) is followed by a word meaning bending or curving over. Thankfully the only crickety clue in the whole crossword!

9a    Origin of wine in glasses? (6)
{OPORTO} — This is a city in Portugal. The first and last letters look like circles because they’re round and look like glasses, or specs – they contain (in) a kind of fortified wine. This was my last answer – I’d almost got to the point of having to ruin all my street cred and yell for help!

10a    Generous entry charge to catch Queen (4)
{FREE} — A short word meaning entry charge or cost contains (to catch) the one letter for Queen (or King, come to that).

11a    Jet to carry bombs in flight (10)
{TRAJECTORY} — A rather sneaky and very well disguised anagram (bombs) of JET TO CARRY

12a    Stand in quiet disapproval (6)
{PODIUM} — The one letter musical abbreviation for quiet is followed by a word meaning disapproval or dislike.

14a    Rescues from attacks around middle of hostilities (8)
{SALVAGES} — These rescues are most associated with wrecked ships. A word meaning attacks either physically with teeth, or verbally, contains the middle letter of hostiLities.

15a    Country united in part of Japanese capital (6)
{SWEDEN} — This Scandinavian country comes from the monetary unit (capital) of Japan which is equal to 1/100 of a yen containing another word for united or married.

17a    Bandage what’s damaged joining bone tip (6)
{SWATHE} — This word meaning to bandage or wrap round tightly is an anagram (damaged) of WHAT’S followed by (joining) the last letter (tip) of bone.

20a    Cheeky devil facing lash by headmaster finally (8)
{IMPROPER} — A little devil or mischievous child is followed by (facing) a word that means lash or the flexible part of a whip and the last letter (finally) of headmaster.

22a    Scoundrel’s almost lascivious following bird (6)
{CURLEW} — This is a wading bird. A scoundrel or despicable person is followed by word meaning lascivious or lecherous without its final letter (almost).

23a    Man in toga’s set about opposition (10)
{ANTAGONISM} — An anagram (set about) of MAN IN TOGAS.

24a    Starts to tow unusually gigantic ship (4)
{TUGS} — A Ray T special! The first letters of the last four words in the clue gives you a word meaning “starts to tow”.

25a    Inscribed in Gospel: destroying the first-born (6)
{ELDEST} — As I said last week about a clue like this one, if I can see it then the rest of you can, even if the : gets in the way a tad!

26a    Instrument bent with room to manoeuvre (8)
{TROMBONE} — An anagram (to manoeuvre) of BENT with ROOM.


1d    Fine loo rug is splashed (8)
{GLORIOUS} — This adjective could be used to describe the weather that most of us have been having recently. It’s an anagram (splashed) of LOO RUG IS.

2d    Hunk appears in front of sweetheart, undressed (4)
{BARE} — Not the kind of hunk suggested by the wording of the clue but a three letter word for a hunk or piece or chunk of something coming before (in front of) the middle letter (heart) of swEet.

3d    One man following another quarry (6)
{VICTIM} — This quarry is a hunted animal or prey and comes from the shortened forms of two male names (one man following another)

4d    Duck the French order after cold salad (8)
{COLESLAW} — Start with the one letter abbreviation for C(old) as everything else comes after it (after from the clue). The letter that looks like a zero (or a duck in cricket), the plural form of the French definite article, and then a word meaning order or rule. And there I was thinking that the only cricket reference was the very first clue – missed this one!

5d    Eminent man of letters? (10)
{POSTMASTER} — This bloke is the boss of an office which is responsible for the delivery of mail.

6d    Fast recipe in bar (6)
{STARVE} — Not fast like speedy but a verb meaning to eat very little, if anything. A bar, or staff, contains (in) the one letter abbreviation for R(ecipe).

8d    Transparent guy heartlessly embracing girl (6)
{GLASSY} — The outside two letters (heartlessly) of guy go around (embracing) a girl or a young woman.

13d    One on a bender it turned out, drunk (10)
{INEBRIATED} — The letter that looks like a one in Roman numerals is followed by (on in a down clue) an anagram (turned out) of A BENDER IT.

16d    Former wife with stories about one’s feats (8)
{EXPLOITS} — The usual crossword land two letters meaning a former wife or partner is followed by (with) another word for stories or connected events running through a play or novel containing (about) the same Roman numeral as the one at the beginning of the previous clue.

18d    Army unit upset over man coming out (8)
{EMERGENT} — The abbreviation for the R(oyal) E(lectrical) and M(echanical) E(ngineers) is reversed (upset) and followed by (over) a short word for a man or chap.

19d    Tense pose with painter, rising painter (6)
{ARTIST} — Put together the one letter abbreviation for T(ense), another word for pose or model and the usual two letters for a painter and then flip that lot upside down (rising).

21d    Butch, no good inside, getting butcher (6)
{MANGLE} — A verb meaning to crush or mutilate comes from another word for butch or masculine containing (inside) the two letter abbreviation for no good.

22d    Small parts showed up on stage initially (6)
{CAMEOS} — These small parts are brief appearances in a play or film such as those made by Colin Dexter in “Morse”. A four letter word for showed up or arrived is followed by O(n) S(tage) (initially).

24d    Old ship seen on English Channel? (4)
{TUBE} — A rather disparaging word for an old ship – one which is probably in less than good nick – comes before (on) E(nglish).

I liked 9 and 11a. My favourite was either 1 or 2d.

The Quick crossword pun: (whelp} + {land} = {well-planned}

67 comments on “DT 27550

  1. My rating is 3*/4* for a very enjoyable challenge today, with the NE corner the last to give in.

    All the usual Ray T trademarks are present with many excellent clues. 1d made me laugh, but 5d was my last one in and favourite.

    After the recent debate about the use of “man” and “girl”, we have a double dose today in 3d.

    Many thanks to Ray T and many congratulations to mehitabel for a superb first solo effort.

  2. Gentle and amusing crossword from RayT and a lovely review from Mehitabel, my thanks and appreciation to both.

  3. Enjoyed it but needed a bit of electronic help in the SE area.

    I agree with yr rating and well done to you Mehitabel!http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_bye.gif

  4. first entry was 24a. I loved 9a, even though wine seems to be doing double duty, and thought 13a was great (could have been &lit without last word). last fill was 6d which was waiting for the magnificent 11a, a wonderful original clue with nice surface. Lovely surface & construction of 25a as well (used the boatman trick of hiding a clue across 2 lines)

    thanks setter, and what a lovely write-up mehitabel

  5. I found this the hardest but most entertaining puzzle of the week so far.

    Thanks to Mehitabel for the review which highlighted some subtleties that I’d missed. What a daunting task, to solve and review. Just solving, taxes me!

    Thanks to RayT for a most enjoyable start to my day.

    The IT boffins at Telegraph towers have changed my solving routine, Before I would solve with breaks for coffee or a nicotine hit, if I do that now all entries disappear. So now it has to be done in one hit. They are a bunch of Numpties. :-(

  6. Lots of great clues once again from RayT. 5d was our last one in.
    Thanks RayT and congratulations Kath on your first ‘solo’.

  7. Well done Kath. I always had faith in you. I have not started today’s puzzle but am looking forward to a fiercetussle with Ray T and also looking forward to your review. Well done again.

    1. Thanks MP – both for your kind comment and for getting me into this “stuff” even if I was a bit of a “scaredy cat” to begin with. Oh dear – there’s still something of the “scaredy cat” in me – but I’ll live and get over it.
      Not sure whether to do a http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_unsure.gif or a http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yahoo.gif!

  8. just wondering in 20a, as well as part of a whip, lash can just meant to tie or bind, can’t it? hence might relate to solution as a verb?

    1. I’m probably being a bit on the dim side here – I agree with you that the “lash” in the clue is a verb rather than the noun that my hint suggested but can’t see what you mean about the solution being a verb. I think it’s likely that I’ve missed the point in which case I’m sorry!

  9. Agree with the complimentary comments, thought bar in 2d a bit iffy, but couldn’t have been anything else . Last in was 11a ,saw the answer -then spotted the anagram-trust it was clever concealment on the setters behalf ! not withstanding this, a **/*** for me. Well done Mehitabel

    1. Same here! I just didn’t spot that it was an anagram. 13d made me chuckle. Overall, not as difficult as some recent Thursday offerings- **/*** from me, too.

  10. Lovely puzzle, thank you Ray T. Managed to get onto the right wavelength early and had no real problems until 9a. The penny finally dropped and I could put 6d in to finish. Well done Mehitabel and many thanks for your review and hints.

  11. Thanks to Ray T for a lovely start to my solving morning. I have actually had ‘wine in glasses’ in 9a!

    Thanks to Kath too.

    The ‘Toughie’ doesn’t take much longer than this to solve if you want a go. Today’s Graun puzzle is entertaining too.

  12. Thanks to RayT for another fine puzzle. Best was 11 for lovely misdirection. Also liked 1 2 9 12 22 and 25. Just realised that Kath is blogging now. Its not so long ago that she was tearing her hair out trying to do the backies. By the way, what is the significance of the alley cat? So congrats to Kath and lets have more from RayT.

    1. I started doing the hints occasionally as a combined effort with pommers – can’t remember when – maybe around March. I’m too dumb from the IT side of things to do it on my own and, to begin with anyway, was also too petrified at the thought of writing hints if it was just me. We had to come up with a name and archy and Mehitabel seemed as good as any. I like alley cats anyway . . . http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gif

  13. Fantastic solo effort from mehitabel – the only way from now on is onwards and upwards! Nice puzzle from Ray T as well – I liked 1d for the laugh but my favourite was 9a.

  14. Spent too long trying to fit “emerging” in 18d, before the penny dropped.

    Can anybody explain where the definition is in 9a?

    1. the definition is ‘origin of wine’ because 9a is where the ‘wine’ found in the ‘glasses’ comes from.

  15. Quick solve today.

    Faves : 11a, 15a, 23a, 4d, 18d & 21d.

    I first had 4d when I was in Canada many years ago!

    Still sunny in the Var.

  16. The definition is the whole clue so it’s a semi-all-in-one. Port wine originated in Oporto.

    [I intended this to be a reply to Vince’s query – not sure how it ended up as a self-standing comment.]

    1. Yes, thanks Gazza. Crypticsue just beat you to, it. See reply to my original comment.

  17. For once I was on Ray T’s wavelength with 9a being a real ‘doh’ moment and my last one in. Congrats to Kath for the excellent hints though not needed today.

  18. Thanks to Ray T and to mehitabel for the review and hints. Great solo debut Kath, love the Louis Suarez picture.
    A very enjoyable puzzle from Ray T, nice short clues and lots to smile at. Was 2*/4* for me. Favourite was 22d, and 19&21d were both very clever. Scorching in Central London. Off to the Toughie.

    1. BD did the pictures – I’m not clever enough to know how to do it yet http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_sad.gifbut I will be one day! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_smile.gif

  19. Well done Kath – knew you could do it http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_rose.gif http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yahoo.gif

    Having spent 4 hours cleaning an apartment with the temperature now approaching 35C I think I would rather have been writing a blog Not read this one yet as I’ve not done the crossy but I’ll get around to it later.

  20. I am going to be contrary today because although I completed this reasonably easily I didn’t enjoy it very much. Too much of what someone memorably descibed recently as ‘crossword lego’ – lots of bits of words, adding or subtracting letters and abbreviations. It’s not a style I warm to and all a bit humourless for me. 3*/2*

  21. Oh dear, back to the bad old days of a completely and totally incomprehensible Ray T.
    May as well be written in Greek as far as I am concerned. 100+ for difficulty and 0 for enjoyment! :-(

  22. Mehitabel – who’s a clever girl then http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/icon_biggrin.gif
    Well done on a great first solo blog. You’ll soon learn how to do the pictures – when Pommers first started I was his IT techy as he didn’t have a clue how to do it – and he was so flustered about writing his first blog that I took pity on him.

    As Pommers said, we spent the morning cleaning in temps of just over 30c – so 1a was very appropriate.
    It was lovely to be able to do a good Ray T puzzle – 2* / 4* for us.

    Once again, well done Kath and thanks for a great blog.

    1. Thank you. Was he only flustered about writing his first blog? I’m panic stricken every time! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/icon_rolleyes.gif

  23. A 4*/2* for me. Didn’t seem to get going for ages. And some clues were a stretch (2d for example). Well done to Mehitabel for the review – not a task I would have relished. The rain has arrived in buckets which will help with the fires but managed to flood Kelowna and Kamloops. Frying pan and fires.

  24. I needed a couple of hints today to kick-start the grey matter but got it all done without too many problems after that. Thought it was a bit trickier than the last couple of Ray T puzzles but very enjoyable as always.

    Thanks to Mehitabel for the excellent review and couple of hints I needed and thanks to Ray T ***/****

  25. I’m glad you all enjoyed it – I felt it was one of the worst for a while. Grateful to ‘Big Dave’, not for solving the clues (I got most of those) but for explaining them!

  26. A really lovely puzzle from Ray T today and I seemed to be on his wavelength for the. most part. It was only as I was writing the answer to 11a ,I realised it was an anagram. Very clever. I was also kind of slow to see the hidden answer in25a. Well done Kath & thanks to Ray T.

  27. Haven’t made the blog this week so far, as poor little Poppy was savaged badly by a collie she’s known for years, and we nearly lost her. But she’s picking up now and crashing into things while wearing her ‘lampshade’, so I had a go at this and then needed to look at the hints and was delighted not to miss Kath’s first solo flight… Beautifully clear with an elegant light touch and delicious sparks of humour – well done Kath! I have to pluck up my brain just to put in a comment, so you’re a star, congratulations! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yahoo.gif Thank you, and to setter as well for a very enjoyable tussle. I completely missed the anagram until after I’d solved 11a and needed the hint to get 25a d’oh http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/icon_redface.gif

    1. I am soooooo sorry to hear about dear Poppy. I hope she’s back to her normal self soon. Lots of hugs for her.

    2. Eek, hope Poppy recovers, and also doesn’t lose confidence around other dogs as a result of this. Please send her e-nuzzles from Cynthia and Cuthbert

      1. Thank you Kath, Merusa & Andy – you’re very kind…. The vet said Mr P. & I would be more traumatised than Poppy. Certainly her screams kept echoing in my head long afterwards as she’s normally a very stoical little thing & never makes a fuss. I get the impression that she was waiting for Banana Joe to fly over from the U.S. to sort the collie!!

  28. Damn.
    My last in was to be 9a.
    In getting up this site, I accidentally saw the answer, must have brushed against that check panel.
    The big question -would I have got it?
    Still, there we are.
    Great fun, liked all the clues.
    Many thanks RayT.
    And thanks mehitabel for the review.

  29. I didn’t find it too easy and was greatful for your help M. Thanks to RayT for an excellent puzzle although too hard for me in one or two places

  30. This seemed to me a slightly more tricky Ray T than usual, but perhaps it’s because I’m feeling the heat today http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/smiley-phew.gif. Probably ***/***, though with clues like 1&2d and 11a, maybe I’m being a touch tight with the enjoyment stars. Gave up with a handful left, and turned to the hints, but I think on a different day I would have got it all “my own self” … speaking of which …

    Well done Kath, for an accomplished first solo flight :). Your hints were well-written and much-appreciatedhttp://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_good.gif.

    Thanks to Ray T, too, of course. A setter I always look forward to.

  31. Setter here, with many thanks to mehitabel for the analysis and to all who took the time to comment.


  32. Super puzzle, enjoyed it immensely. I didn’t get 9a but I got it from mehitabel’s hint, and now I’m kicking myself as it’s so obvious. Favourite is 9a. Thanks to RayT, and congrats on your first solo Kath! Well done!

    1. No – 9a wasn’t obvious at all so don’t kick yourself – I nearly had a nervous breakdown (whatever that may be – probably has a new name by now) over it! Oh dear, for the umpteenth time today . . .

  33. Mehitabel you did a great job, well done you. I agree with Gazzas choice of clues that stood out. Thanks RayT

    1. Thanks andy – really appreciated – if this comment appears twice I’d just like to say that Ihaven’t lost my marbles (yet, anyway!) but it just didn’t seem to go.

  34. I’m not totally convinced about a “bar” as a hunk, in any context, but otherwise this was an enjoyable puzzle – a lowish 3*/3*. I liked 9a ( even though l’m sure I’ve seen a similar clue before). Thanks to Ray T and to Mehitabel for a splendid review.

  35. I seem to be in a minority today, together possibly with Rick, Tony H and Brian, because this simply didn’t float my boat. Reference to Mehitabel for a couple was required in order to complete so thank you for your straightforward hints. I have to say that I have a bit of an axe to grind with 9a, 14a, 2d and 8d for various reasons but perhaps it’s the heat getting to me! Thanks anyway RayT. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/icon_confused.gif

  36. Definitely a three star today.I guessed 15a and , thanks to Mehitabel, now I know why it was right.The north east corner , in general was very slow.Thanks Kath and well done ! Thanks to Ray T for some great clues (and prolonged head-scratching.)

  37. I didn’t find this too much of a challenge but I generally refer to H&T and they were very helpful today. Thank you mehitabel. I have to say when I read in the opening paragraph a reference to Oxford I though ah that’s where Kath lives to discover mehitabel and Kath are one and the same :) Congratulations on your first solo Kath

    Enjoyable puzzle, no particular favourite thank you Ray T

    My home has a sofa and a bed so is slowly becoming furnished. This morning I saw a doe and her fawn in the garden….magic

    1. Thanks Carrie – your comment was very welcome. Glad to hear that your new abode is gradually becoming a home. I have to confess that we’ve seriously had enough of deer in the garden – don’t want to put a damper on things but if they take up residence you won’t have a garden. Oh dear – that really sounds negative, doesn’t it? Not meant to be but they are pretty destructive.

      1. Doesn’t sound negative at all Kath, simply realistic. One of my new neighbours warned me not to plant roses as apparently deer like them. I’m a townie and new to the ‘country’ life so being forewarned is a good thing.

        When I was little I lived for a few years in Kenya and would collect hedgehogs, completely oblivious to their fleas. My mum would set them free and tell me their uncle had come to collect them. I absolutely believed her. Then again, I think I believed in Father Christmas for quite a while.

  38. Just a bit on the knackered side now so off to bed and book shortly but I wanted to thank everyone for their lovely and encouraging comments about my first attempt at almost “doing it my own self”!
    A great big http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yahoo.gif to all of you.

  39. NE corner a bit tricky and I to missed the anagram. Otherwise quite enjoyable. **/***

  40. Absolutely wonderful! I know I’m a day late, but I thought this was so good I had to post my appreciation. Lots of excellent clues, and I think 9a is one of the best clues I’ve ever seen. Right up there with the two girls/knee of much renown IMHO. Thanks Ray T, you’ve set me up in a great mood for the weekend!

  41. Lovely puzzle so thanks to Ray T. A corking review with a witty edge. I loved the hint for 25ac. Well done Kath. You were press ganged on Feb 4th. Crossword 27404 comment number nine and began on Feb 6th with crossword 27406. Didn’t you do well?

  42. Only just sent the grandchildren home so not had time to look at the blog until now. I wanted to say well done to Kath. I really enjoy your comments on this blog every day and I was thrilled to get reply from you once. So well done for the solo mehitabel review. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_good.gif
    And thank you RayT for an excellent crossword which I did most of last night after the little darlings went to sleep. Now to get on with today’s!!!

    1. What a lovely comment – thank you so much – very much appreciated! Good luck with today’s crossword and sleep well now that the little darlings are well and truly back where they belong! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gif

  43. This was a lovely RayT puzzle! **/**** for me. Fave was 2d with 5d and 9a closely behind.

    I completed this on Thursday but haven’t had a chance to go through Mehitabel’s really excellent review until now. I found it both entertaining and most informative. Mehitabel, you should be purring loudly at the success of “doing it your own self”. Very well done! Much appreciated. Even though I had no problems and needed no hints, I find reading through the review after completing a puzzle is invaluable.

    Very many thanks to RayT and to Mehitabel.

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