DT 27574 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 27574

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 27574

Hints and tips by Kath

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ****

Good morning all. It’s a chilly and autumnal morning in Oxford – still August but feeling more like September. Oh well, the grass is cut and our newly painted sitting room is almost put back together so now I can concentrate on writing some hints. I have no doubt that this is a Ray T crossword even though the Queen seems to have gone AWOL. I thought it was fairly gentle for one of his but I’m more than ready for some of you to disagree with me.


1a    Clinical test I panic about (10)
ANTISEPTIC: — An anagram (about) of TEST I PANIC. A nice long anagram is always such a good start!

6a    Genuine regret following Tory leader (4)
TRUE: — Start with the first letter (leader) of T(ory) and follow that with a word meaning regret or feel sorry about.

9a    Not a fairy-tale maiden in kingdom (5)
REALM: — If something is not a fairy-tale then it’s true, or another word meaning the same, and then the one letter cricketing abbreviation for M(aiden). Even I can manage that much cricket terminology.

10a    Shocking former sweetheart, guy embraces redhead (9)
EXECRABLE: — Begin with the usual two letters for former, follow them with the middle letter of ‘sweet’ (heart) and then a word for a guy – not a man but a rope or cord – containing (embraces) the first letter (head) of R(ed).

12a    Good man with a bird showing vigour (7)
STAMINA: — Crosswordland’s favourite ‘good man’ is followed by the A from the clue and one of the spellings of an Asiatic bird that can be taught to talk.

13a    Thick fog around daybreak (5)
MIDST: — Thick here doesn’t mean anything to do with the consistency of gravy or custard and neither does it mean slow witted – it means in the centre of something. Another word for a fog or haze contains the first letter of D(ay) (break).

15a    Degradation of Herod in Galilee (7)
ERODING: — This took me a while but I got there in the end – there it is lurking right in the middle of the clue.

17a    Ancient capital of Greece? (7)
DRACHMA: — The capital is money and it’s what the Greeks used before they had euros.

19a    Sea creature over sea expressed fantastic spout (7)
OCTOPUS: — The one letter cricketing abbreviation for O(over), the letter that sounds like (expressed) sea and an anagram (fantastic) of SPOUT produces a sea creature which has eight arms.

21a    Lover allegedly gripping in altogether (7)
OVERALL: — Hmmmmm – another one a bit like 15a!

22a    Starts to serve and lob volley or volley (5)
SALVO: — A Ray T special – the first letters (starts to) of the third, fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh letters of the clue.

24a    Remove additional ends of corset (7)
EXTRACT: — A word meaning additional or more than is usual or necessary is followed by the first and last letters (ends of) corset.

27a    Remedy sipped, say, for indigestion (9)
DYSPEPSIA: — An anagram (remedy) of SIPPED SAY.

28a    Quick beer before restaurant emptied (5)
ALERT: — A word meaning quick, or wide awake and watchful is made up from a beer followed by the first and last letters of R(estauran)T (emptied).

29a    Soundly construct beams (4)
RAYS: — A homophone (soundly) of a word meaning to construct or build.

30a    Concerned current setter’s upset by editor (10)
INTERESTED: — Two letters meaning current or fashionable followed by an anagram (upset) of SETTER and then the usual two letter abbreviation of editor.


1d    Ethereal nymph is topless (4)
AIRY: — Another word for a nymph or an imaginary being without its first letter (topless).

2d    Tar initially operated small harbour ship perhaps (9)
TRANSPORT: — Ship is an example of the answer indicated by ‘perhaps’. Begin with the first letter (initially) of T(ar), follow it with a three letter word meaning operated or managed, the usual one letter abbreviation for S(mall) and finish off with a harbour or haven.

3d    Muscles to hold old lady up for dance (5)
SAMBA: — This is a Brazilian dance. Think of a three letter abbreviation for your abdominal muscles containing (hold) an affectionate term for your Mum, or old lady and then reverse (up) the whole thing.

4d    Skinning gutted plaice, English fish (7)
PEELING: — Nothing to do with skinning gutted fish – that’s a red herring! The skinning is what you would, hopefully, do to an orange before eating it. Begin with the first and last letters of P(laic)E (gutted i.e. with no innards) follow with E(nglish) and then crosswordland’s fairly common fish.

5d    Country could be fine country without leader (7)
ICELAND: — A four letter word meaning fine or pleasant followed by another word for a country or state and then take off the first letter of the first bit (without leader).

7d    Dressed in right old sack (5)
ROBED: — The sack isn’t a bag – think of the expression to “hit the sack”. R(ight) O(ld) comes before it. Oh dear – that’s not put very well – must try harder!

8d    United in level score in the end (10)
EVENTUALLY: — Begin with a word meaning level or flat and follow it with a score or account containing (in) the one letter abbreviation for U(nited).

11d    Sort of music generation holding mass rave (7)
RAMPAGE: — A sort of music (?) which is a rhythmic monologue over a musical background and a word for a generation or era contains (holding) the abbreviation for M(ass).

14d    Think twice about criminal ringleader outside bank (10)
RECONSIDER: — The normal two letters for about – not on but the other ones – the usual criminal and then the first letter of R(ing) (leader) containing (outside) a word meaning bank or edge

16d    Correct the compiler’s ramble around page (7)
IMPROVE: — How the setter would refer to himself followed by a ramble or wander containing (around) P(age).

18d    Uneven breath each time produces throb (9)
HEARTBEAT: — An anagram (uneven) of BREATH followed by the two letter abbreviation of EA(ch) and T(ime)

20d    Puts foot down about relative (7)
STEPSON: — Split 5, 2 – a word for puts your foot down or treads and a short word meaning about or concerning.

21d    Power cut without resistance giving shock (7)
OUTRAGE: — A word for when your electricity goes off (usually with no warning and at the most inconvenient time) contains (without) R(esistance).

23d    Tough lout sat by, oddly (5)
LUSTY: — Another Ray T special. Take the odd letters (oddly) of the second and third words of the clue.

25d    Native American cutting top of head quickly (5)
APACE: — This six letter Native American is one from a group of tribes in Arizona and New Mexico. He has an H in the middle (top of Head) which you need to take out (cutting).

ARVE Error: need id and provider

26d    Office doesn’t end for boss (4)
STUD: —The boss is not someone who tells you what to do – it’s a projecting knob or pin. A five letter word for an office or den without its final letter (doesn’t end)

I liked 10 and 27a and 3 and 7d. My favourite was 18d. What did you think?

And just as a quick afterthought – if you have been reading the hints and comments for ages but haven’t yet dared to write a comment what about “popping in” today and saying hello.

The Quick Crossword pun: hum+blub+owed=humble abode

50 comments on “DT 27574

  1. First today – yippee!

    By the time I’ve pressed enter no doubt someone’s in before me.

    No problems today – a very good crossword!

  2. A straightforward puzzle largely of the ‘cut and paste’ school of setting. As usual with this style it lacks humour, although 17a raised a smile. ( I think I have still got a few of those in my ‘man drawer’). I got the lurkers quickly, always a bonus!
    Well blogged Kath.

    1. Rick,

      Could you, please, elaborate? What exactly is the ‘cut and paste’ school of setting?

      1. It is a term I use for clueing that relies heavily on constructing the answer from bits and pieces of other words, first and last or middle letters, abbreviations, alternate letters etc. Perfectly legitimate techniques but if overused can make everything feel rather mechanical. My personal preference is for cryptic clues, misdirection and word play, which is why I picked out 17a and why I always enjoy Rufus puzzles, but each to his own.

  3. Thank you Ray T, enjoyable and about right for my solving ability ( poor ! ) A good mixture of clue types. Many thanks Kath for your review and hints. It has gone cold here too in the NW and we are trying hard to resist putting the heating on. Watching The Honourable Woman on catch-up last night I was wearing a jersey and a fleece jacket !

  4. Yay – after a while wearing the dunce’s cap, my run of happy solving continues! No problems today. I spent a little while trying to put an R in as the second letter of 5d, but then found the letter that fit. I also pondered for a bit where the N in 30a was clued: being a physicist, I wanted an I for current… but then I twigged, and all was well.

    I liked the setter’s self-reference in 29a. And there’s another one in 16d, and also in 30a, which I hope is not a message to his boss!

    My shortlist for favourite clue contains 7d, 22a and 28a, but I’m going for 19a today. I remember the chap pictured, and recall many jokes at the time – especially as I have a good friend called Paul.

    Thanks to RayT, in fine form, albeit queenless.

    Difficulty: mild
    Enjoyment: plenty

    Review: thumbs up! Clear, and enjoyable reading even for someone who didn’t need help today. I especially liked the hint for 4d! Many thanks Kath :).

  5. Just a thought but is there a message at 29a & 30a?
    Thanks Ray T & to Kath for flying solo & inserting images.

    1. I did the hints on my own but I’m still not clever enough to put the pictures in. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_sad.gif
      BD did that bit so thanks to him.

  6. We noted that the flag is not flying over the palace today but all the other characteristics of a RayT puzzle are there. Nothing to hold us up for long and lots to smile about. Good fun.
    Thanks RayT and Kath.

  7. An enjoyable puzzle today. Favourite is 17a. Thanks to Ray T and Kath. Now I’m having great difficulty getting started on the toughie.

  8. Lots of very good surface readings and 17a is a lovely cryptic.

    And, thanks, Kate it was good to get your breakdown.

  9. I got there 8d. No real problems and I think 27a has to be my fave simply cos I was trying to put ‘Distemper’ in to begin with, not having read the clue properly (once again).
    Thanks to Ray T and nice one Kath! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gif

  10. Afternoon all from a sunny Vega Baja (although we’re actually in Murcia today!). It’s about 32C here http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_good.gif
    I’m just back from the UK where I shivered for 4 days. Brrrrrrrrrrrr
    This was relatively straightforward for me and pommers – in fact he says 1*/3* – too easy for 4* enjoyment but there are some great sufaces.
    We did all the across clues bar one (21a) and then all the downs – and were a bit miffed that we missed the fact that 21a was a hidden answer!

    Thanks to Ray and Kath

  11. Liked today’s effort a lot. Thank you to the setter and to Kath.Last two in, 30 across and 25 down, I know not why. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_unsure.gif

  12. Thank you for excellent hints Kath

    Thank you for Ray T for clever misleads (I got caught AGAIN by the use of capital being coinage and not a place) and hidden words (21a)

    Favourite is 19a

    If they are intentional then 29a and 30a are brilliant :yahoo:

  13. Very enjoyable solve. Thanks to the setter and Kath for the review. Back to dear old blighty for our first visit to our new grandson which probably means I’m not going to be accessing the blog for a while.

  14. Thanks to Ray T and to Kath for the review and hints. A very enjoyable puzzle from Ray T, without the Queen. 5d made me laugh out loud. 21d reminds me of the Terry Pratchett, who knocks without. Favourite was 29a, which I’m sure was intentional. Was 2*/4* for me. Well done Kath with the hints, I’m sure I’d freeze if I had to do it. I was 6 short for ages, then it fell into place. Last in was 21a. Chilly in Central London and the wind’s getting up. Off to the IOW tomorrow for a day trip, must take the sowester.

  15. Many thanks for the hints Kath, they were most useful. 3* for me and thanks to RayT for a challenging puzzle. Where’s the queen

      1. Sorry for my ignorance but who (of us) is the Queen? This has obviously gone over my dim head just like Mr. Ron did. I still cringe when I think of that :wacko:

        1. Ray T’s crosswords have a few trademarks. They are very short clues, usually seven words or less; there is often a clue that sounds risqué; the quick crossword clues and answers are always single words and, finally, the Queen usually, but not always, puts in an appearance in one of the clues in the cryptic.
          Please don’t cringe – have a little flower and cheer up! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_rose.gif

          1. Oh my word – two foot in mouth moments on the same blog. Actually when I think of all the duh moments in my life these are tiny :)

            Thank you for my flower Kath, my cringes make me grin too, that I can be so dumb

        2. RayT’s favourite band is Queen so he usually includes a reference somewhere in the puzzle.

  16. An enjoyable solve today. I was caught out on 17a which I was convinced was ‘Corinth’, this being a type of capital relating to the pillars of a Greek temple! I hadn’t thought of capital meaning money!

  17. I found the left-hand side to be a write in, but the right-hand side required a little more thought. Lovely blog, Kath, you’re a real pro now. Fave was 17a. Thank you RayT, loved 29a and 30a … please bring back Her Majesty!


  18. Although I am retired the company I work for still ask me to do a bit of consultancy and today was one of those days. I must try to remember not to commit to working on every second Thursday as I have been champing at the bit all day to get my teeth into a Ray T puzzle. It was at the easier end of his spectrum but well worth the wait. I agree with Kath’s rating of 2*/4*.

    17a was my favourite.

    Well done again Kath for a great review, and thanks to Ray T for a great puzzle.

  19. A thoroughly enjoyable puzzle, one which we we completed as a shared effort for once – not overly testing yet pretty good fun. Thanks to Ray T

  20. How clever of you, Kath, to do this very good review, chapeau! Thanks to Ray T for a very pleasant solve – 17a my favourite. Did not realize that 29 and 30a were linked, brilliant! Am off tomorrow on a cruise and wondering how I am going to survive without my daily DT puzzle… My friend Elaine and I are hoping to get the paper wherever we dock. I gave her the cryptic bug when we were both teaching in our London prep school and we love solving the puzzle either sitting next to each other or by phone or skype when we are apart! Cheerio till I return.

    1. Thank you for the compliment but, no, not clever. I’ve been reading and commenting on this lovely blog for a long time now – four years plus a bit, I think. I’ve learnt a huge amount of all kinds of things – sporting terms, what to look out for, how clues are constructed etc etc not to mention numerous slang/rude terms that were completely new to me! Having read such good hints for so long I hope that some of it has “rubbed off” on me.
      Have a lovely cruise and enjoy the crosswords when possible.

  21. Usually on Thursday I am tearing out what little hair I have left but today with just a spot of electronic help I got there, perhaps it is having you lot around to share it with. Must admit since I have signed on crossword solving has become a delight instead of a chore. Keep up the good work.
    Greetings from slightly chilly Suffolk by the Sea.

  22. A bit of head-scratching required but an enjoyable journey nevertheless in spite of a few old chestnuts e.g. the fish in 4d and the boss in 26d. For my taste good to be light on anagrams. Thanks Ray T and also Kath for your very explicit hints although I didn’t need to call on them today except for additional entertainment. ***/***. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_scratch.gif

  23. Am I the only person in the world who loves the Telegraph crossword but almost always finds it trying?
    Yesterday for example I took an hour before getting started and then almost like trickle effect I got through it, ten hours later……
    Other contributors to this blog seem to breeze it.

    Am I the only one?

    1. Hello BackoftheClass,


      In my opinion definitely not. There are times when I struggle to get started and stare at that blank grid for eons before I get a glimmer of light.

      There are some days that seem easier, I think this is when I am ‘in tune’ with the setter. Other days I think I’m on a different planet. The process is enjoyable whether I’ve found it easy or hard. Exercising my ‘little grey cells’ as Hercule might say is great fun.

      The people here are tremendously helpful and never make me feel small.

      Stick around and keep commenting

    2. Welcome from me too. You’re certainly not the only one who has a battle sometimes – you didn’t say how long you’ve been doing crosswords but I think the two things that make a difference are experience and whether or not you’re on the same wavelength as the setter.
      I think most people have at least one setter who they find more difficult than any other – I certainly do!
      Carrie’s right when says that people here are friendly and helpful – keep reading the blog and you’ll learn lots really quickly. If or when you don’t understand something all you need to do is ask and someone will reply, usually within minutes.
      Good luck – keep commenting and, above everything else, remember that crosswords are fun. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_smile.gif

  24. I thought this full of RayT fun and greatly enjoyed it. Had no problems, and agree with Kath’s assessment of ** for difficulty and ****. for enjoyment. (Which reminds me … have just given it the four-star vote.) Fave was 17a, but I liked many others, including 19a, 29a, 3d and 20d.

    Am really impressed by your hints and comments, Kath. Although I didn’t need them, I have read through them all against my paper copy. You have phrased them beautifully!

    Very appreciative thanks to RayT and to Kath.

  25. Great review which helped me understand one or two of my solutions. Needed help on a couple of clues to unblock the rest. Never heard of 10 or 27 but worked them out. Thought I’d “pop in” as Kath suggested, albeit very late again. I’m starting to get the hang of these cryptics after a few months reading this fabulous blog. Though still not finished one unaided yet…

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