DT 27598 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 27598

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 27598

Hints and tips by Falcon

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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

Greetings from Ottawa, where the weather has taken a decidedly autumn-like turn. I expect to awake to find that we have received our first frost of the season tonight. On more important matters, I am sure that eyes everywhere today will be focused on the results from north of the border.

I found today’s puzzle from RayT to be quite a challenge. After solving about a quarter of the clues, I began to hear the clock ticking louder and louder. I decided at that point to call my electronic assistants into action to ensure that I would have a review to post today. Even with their help, some of the clues proved quite tricky. In hindsight, I can see that it should have been a very enjoyable puzzle — and have rated it accordingly. Unfortunately, my actual enjoyment level was somewhat dampened by the blogging deadline looming over me.

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   One provides indicator untangling unknown expression (10)
DICTIONARY — we start with an all-in-one clue; an anagram (untangling) of INDICATOR followed by one of the algebraic unknowns gives us what crossword solvers consult when confronted with an unknown expression

6a   Drawing and painting, say, topless characters (4)
ARTS — characters from a stage production or motion picture without the first letter (topless)

9a   Changed around opening then streaked (10)
VARIEGATED — the past tense of a verb denoting to change according to circumstances surrounds an opening in a fence or castle wall

10a   Passionate over great singer (4)
DIVA — reversal (over) of an adjective meaning very enthusiastic

12a   Record’s after live electronic sound (4)
BEEP — a recording with only a few tracks following a verb meaning to live or exist

13a   Sparkling Blue Nile flowing by Tana originally (9)
EBULLIENT — anagram (flowing) of BLUE NILE plus the first letter (originally) of Tana; Lake Tana is the source of the Blue Nile

15a   Non-member of Scouts I deride (8)
OUTSIDER — hidden in (of) the final three words of the clue

16a   Channel showing ‘Midnight Express’ (6)
GUTTER — the middle letter of niGht plus a verb meaning to speak or say something in words

18a   Shout and stamp catching Queen (6)
SQUEAL — an engraved metal stamp used to make a mark in wax to authenticate a document around the less common two letter short form for Queen; the solution is a sound with which Miffypops is likely familiar

20a   Stop for siesta, then shower (8)
RESTRAIN — a period of relaxation followed by some precipitation

23a   Most reclusive individual is still in vacant lot (9)
LONELIEST — start with a charade of a third person pronoun denoting an individual and a verb that means remains motionless (while being flat on your back, for instance); then place the result inside the outer letters of LoT

24a   Excited before today’s grand opening (4)
AGOG — an adverb denoting in the past plus the opening letter of Grand

26a   Piece of land endlessly consecrated (4)
ACRE — an adjective meaning holy with both ends removed

27a   Rifle’s used heartlessly guarding formidable mission (10)
PILGRIMAGE — a synonym for rifle or plunder with its middle letter removed (used heartlessly) placed around (guarding) an adjective meaning terrible or horrifying

28a   Trim ends oddly knotted (4)
TIED — the odd letters from the first two words of the clue

29a   Rich and poor with purses switched (10)
PROSPEROUS — an anagram (switched) of POOR and (with) PURSES


1d   Kent town’s right to drop anti-war politician (4)
DOVE — drop R(ight) from the end of a ferry port in Kent

2d   Rogue on trial is most uncivil (7)
CURTEST — a scoundrel plus (on in a down clue) a process of trying something to gauge its usefulness

3d   Enigmatic, popular former wife, flexible about clubs (12)
INEXPLICABLE — start with the usual suspects for popular and former wife; then append a synonym for flexible holding a suit of cards

4d   Ace number purchased by miss getting spruced up (8)
NEATENED — don’t discard the deck of cards just yet; take the letter that appears on the ace and the highest number that appears on a card and place these inside a verb meaning miss or lack

5d   Sorry for sport fan with English leading (6)
RUEFUL — a short form for a sport played by teams of fifteen is followed by a verb meaning to incite or inflame in which E(nglish) is moved to the front

7d   Split embodying design for dress (7)
RAIMENT — an opening made by tearing taking in a design or goal

8d   Bit of stuff in chorus perhaps (10)
SMATTERING — material contained in a verb denoting to voice in unison (in this case, melodically)

11d   I dwell over passion on grass in graphic (12)
ILLUSTRATIVE — I (from the clue) followed by a verb meaning to dwell or reside containing (over) a strong, especially sexual, desire and a verb meaning to inform on someone

14d   Expert‘s relentless, taking on case for upheaval (10)
CONSULTANT — an adjective meaning never stopping containing (taking on) the outer letters (case) for UpheavaL

17d   Remains in undergarment I guess, irregularly (8)
VESTIGES — a garment worn under a shirt plus I (from the clue) plus the odd (irregular) letters of GuEsS; despite “irregular” meaning odd in the sense of peculiar, the odd letters constitute a regular sequence

19d   Put out runner vehicle’s trapped (7)
UNNERVE — hidden (trapped) in “runner vehicle”

21d   Green Party following American, almost articulate (7)
AVOCADO — the usual party is placed at the very end of the solution, where it follows A(merican) and most of a word meaning eloquent or expressive

22d   Job of the compiler on line (6)
METIER — how the compiler of the puzzle would objectively refer to himself precedes (on in a down clue) a line of seats in a stadium, for instance

25d   Boil up seeing politicians without conviction? (4)
WETS — a reversal (up in a down clue) of a verb that colloquially means to become too hot, especially in a crowded, confined space gives Margaret Thatcher’s favourite targets of scorn

There are so many good clues that I cannot possibly mention them all. I will single out 13a, 29a and 5d as ones that especially appealed to me. As a favourite, I will go with 27a — the clue that put up the biggest struggle.

The Quick Crossword pun: fear+lush+aimed=feel ashamed

69 comments on “DT 27598

  1. A very well chosen picture for 5d we thought. Agree that it was quite challenging and certainly had us working pretty hard. All the characteristics for a RayT, even the word count on the clues. Too many good clues for us to pick a favourite.
    Thanks RayT and Falcon.

  2. 3.5*/4* for a very enjoyable challenge today. Like Falcon I was making good progress at first, and I got all but a handful of clues done in 2* time. Finishing off however took me close to 4* overall for difficulty.

    I don’t like the use of irregularly in 17d, and I am not sure at all about 18a. I have never come across that particular abbreviation for Queen before and does the answer really mean shout? .

    I was led right up the garden path by 27a as having got the answer I decided that the rifle in question had to be a Pilgrim Rifle. Hence the wordplay totally eluded me until I read Falcon’s hint.

    Many great clues with 29a just edging out 5d as my favourite.

    Many thanks to Ray T and to Falcon.

    1. As I alluded to in the review, I think there is a bit of cryptic licence involved in this use of “irregularly”.

      Regular means arranged, occurring, acting, etc in a fixed pattern of predictable or equal intervals of space or time. This definition fits either a series of even letters or a series of odd letters. In puzzles, both types of series are often clued by “regular”.

      Thus, in this clue, “irregular” cannot mean not happening or occurring at regular or equal intervals. We have to rely on meanings such as “rough, bumpy, or uneven” or “odd, strange, or peculiar”. Having established that “irregular” means odd in one context, we must then interpret “odd” in a totally different and contradictory context.

  3. I certainly needed the checking letters of the anagrams and the longer answers today. I was completely stuck on 25d and 24a. Thank you.

  4. This one totally confounded me.

    I was totally defeated and just could not get on the right wavelength with this setter

    5*/1* for me on this one.

  5. I thoroughly enjoyed this one and didn’t find it that difficult, polishing it off in my allotted time. For once, no books or electronic aid. Did get one wrong…had scattering for 8d but it didn’t seem to fit and so many thanks for the hint putting me right.

    Thanks to Ray T and Falcon.

  6. With 2 friends eventually solved this ridiculously hard puzzle; 5*/1*. Such a disappointment for a back page DT puzzle.

    1. 100% agree, why the DT do this is quite beyond me when the ‘experts’ already have their toughie. Shameful!

      1. i’m not an expert and struggle with the Toughie! Crosswords are strange beasts..sometimes they just gel and sometimes they don’t!

  7. Just returned from an enjoyable week in Fuerteventura and managed the crossword each day without too much trouble . However , today was a struggle so enjoyment ** & difficulty **** from me .

    As usual , many thanks to the setter and for the hints /explanations .

  8. Well, didn’t finish this one before the school run! Hope the toughie is easier. Finally got there though, but I am grateful to Falcon for explaining the wordplay to 4 and 5 down. Favourites are 1a and 13a, 7d & 8d. I really struggled with 27a.

    Thanks setter and Falcon

  9. I thought this was a delightful and tricky crossword and the best back pager for a wee while, many thanks to RayT and to Falcon for a very entertaining review. The Shamus toughie is equally delightful today and well wort a go.

  10. ****/***. Difficult indeed today. Had to get electronic help for 25d. Took me longer than normal but great fun. 1a and 8d made me smile. Though did manage to put ‘deal’, in for 1d before realising my mistake. Thank you to RayT and Falcon. Lovely autumnal day on the moors. Perfect for work and arguing with the Toughie. I hope everyone has a good afternoon. :-)

    1. If it fits bung it in. Deal is as good as Dover in my book. Once I had 3 4 & 5 down then Missionary fit at 1ac (probably brought into my mind by the clue at 27d. Also Setter went in at 22d. I have nothing to do and all day to do it in. Why not?

  11. Wow.

    ****/**** for me.

    I finished it in one hit, but it took a while as I thought we were well into “Toughie” territory with some of the longer clues. Liked 1a, 27a was the last in.

    Thanks to the setter for a real challenge. Very enjoyable.

  12. What a treat! RayT at his best. Must make 18 my favourite as I was trying to fit in ER and R for ages. All the long clues were good but could be worked out with a bit of thought. Where is Kath today – I thought she did RayTs.

    1. Kath occasionally shares a RayT with me. Well, I suppose that it’s more the luck of the draw than a true act of sharing!

  13. From the time it took I have to score a ****, not sure about enjoyment, how about a **** for achievement, certainly the most difficult solve for a while-for me anyway. Favourites probably 11d and 27a,thanks falcon-the green kitchen for 21d is particularly nauseous a loo would have sufficed!

    1. I seriously contemplated giving the puzzle **** for difficulty. However, I do like your “**** for achievement” rating.

    1. My only surprise is how you managed to type an M instead of a P given how far apart they are on a keyboard, although it doesn’t explain how you forgot the R!

      1. B….y predictive texting! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_wacko.gif
        And I thought I was being so polite, it wasn’t what I really wanted to say.

  14. Straightforward solve today.

    Falcon : re 21d – the party goes to the bottom but the A goes to the top then one fills in most of the word meaning expressive!

    1. That is what I thought I said (in so many words) but I can see how one might misinterpret my original statement. I have edited the clue slightly in an effort to remove the ambiguity.

  15. Loved it. Well it saved me having to talk to Saint Sharon. Every clue a belter. I gave up with Setter in at 22d and little chance of solving the “oh so easy now” 27ac. Sitting outside The Riverside Inn in the sunshine watching kingfishers fly by Life remains good despite what it throws at us. Ta very much to Mr Ray T. Ta equally to Falcon for Blogging this one and giving me a mention. I fully understand the time restraint. Ta to all who contribute. Ta to Olive producers the world over Mmm food. Ta to Brian who makes me laugh on a daily basis. In my absence my Crib team have won the first match of the season 6-1.

      1. Me too with Brian.
        We have the Pedant-in-Chief of the blog – Rabbit Dave so http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yahoo.giffor him.
        We have the longest serving member and most proliferative commenter of the blog – Mary so http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yahoo.gif for her.
        I think that we should have Grump of the blog with occasional flashes of humour and award it to Brian so http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yahoo.gifhttp://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yahoo.gif for him.

  16. Thanks to Ray T and to Falcon for the review and hints. A super puzzle from Ray T, that did me up like a kipper. First I had 10a reversed, then I had the wrong ending to 11d. Once they were corrected, I made more progress, but was completely beaten by 18a…was expecting “er” http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_cry.gif
    Had never heard of 22d, and had to look up 27a. Having said all that, I really enjoyed it. Favourite was 3d. Was 4*/4* for me. Great entertainment.

  17. I found this much more difficult than usual for a RayT.

    Falcon, thanks for the review explaining quite a few for me. It must be most disconcerting when you hear the clock ticking louder and louder.

    But, you beat the deadline by about 6 hours – BST.

    1. Disconcerting is something of an understatement – it’s absolutely terrifying. OK, you can all call me a scaredy cat!

  18. I’m sure no-one would expect me to say anything other than I loved it – I did – I also found it really difficult – at least 3*, probably plus quite a bit, and 4* for enjoyment.
    It took me ages to get started at all and I was generally pretty slow with the whole crossword – the trickiest we’ve had from Ray T for quite a while in my opinion.
    I didn’t understand 5d for ages. I missed both the hidden ones for too long. I’m getting very bad at reversals – do hope they’re not going to be the new hidden ones for me. In short I fell into every trap there was, right down to trying to fit ER or at least R into 18a.
    I’ll just pick a few for special mention – 1 and 23a and 11d. My favourite was 8d.
    With thanks to Ray T and to Falcon. I agree with you completely about crosswords, hints and deadlines. If it’s a tricky one and I realise I’m being slow I get into a paddy which makes me incapable of doing clues that I would normally have no trouble with which just makes things worse etc etc! Oh dear, but it’s all good fun.

    1. A while ago you told me that you could recognise a ‘Ray T’ a mile off, when I’d asked how you knew who had been the compiler of a particular puzzle. I’ve become aware that sometimes I find a puzzle extremely satisfying and it now seems that I invariably learn from the blog that Ray T was the setter. This was a hard one for me and I admit to using a couple of the hints, but the answers – when I got there – were as perfect as ever.

      If he’s looking in – I think you absolutely epitomise ‘cryptic’ with the clues; so many compilers seem to be edging more and more towards GK. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_rose.gif

      Thanks also to Falcon – I needed you today! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gif

      1. Jane

        Although many of us can recognise Ray T’s puzzles from the nature and structure of the clues, the best way is to look at that day’s Quick crossword – if all the clues and answers are one word, then the chances are it’s one of Ray’s cryptics as well (both puzzles, with very occasional exceptions, are by the same setter every day).

      2. Great – another Ray T fan. Every so often we think that we’ve converted Brian – that’s a week when he can do it. Two weeks later it’s Ray T again and he can’t do it and so he says something along the lines of ITMA – we think that it stands for I(ts) T(hat) M(an) A(gain) although he hasn’t said that for a while.

  19. 4 to 5 star difficulty for me. I accepted 5 hints in the end or I’d be here all night.Thanks Falcon and Ray T.

  20. Thank you Ray T for the puzzle. We enjoyed the fight, but you won ! Went over to Montrose for a day birdwatching in the sunshine. East Coast har reduced visibility to 100 yards, so plenty of time to do the crossword and no excuses. Needed some hints to finish when we got back to base. So many thanks Falcon for your hard work which gave some of our answers some meaning.

  21. Phew! That was a corker! I loved it even though I struggled for ages with a couple and had to ultimately resort to Falcon’s assistance for the ‘queen’ one. Curses Moriarty, I had forgotten about QU. One thought though, I wonder whether ‘rifle’ needed an indicator as I spent a long time with a disemboweled er.. ‘rifle’ which certainly didn’t help matters! Anyway, thanks to RayT for a fab crossword and to Falcon for his hints formidable. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_mail.gif

    1. I’m afraid that I am having some difficulty understanding your observation regarding “rifle”. By any chance, did you intend to say “a disemboweled R…E” (rather than E…R). If so, I also went down that route.

      However, it is PILLAGE (a synonym for rifle) that must be disemboweled — and the surgery is far less extensive than you would seem to have envisaged.

  22. PS. Perhaps I should have realised what was to come when I was unable to ‘get’ the Quickie pun. Putting Much instead of Lush did not help! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_whistle3.gif

  23. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/smiley-phew.gifI found that very difficult today and needed the hints for too many for my liking. Thank you Falcon for the hints , like Una would be here all night without them.

  24. Blimey, that was HARD! But I loved it. I did need to pull out my electronic gizmo for three clues at the bottom in the end. One was 29a, where I also had the wrong ending, which totally threw 29a out. I never did get 25d, I always forget the Tory wets of Thatcher’s time. I can’t decide which is my fave, 11d or 27a, flip a coin.
    Thanks to RayT and to Falcon for the review, and for several “whys”.


  25. Great crossword! Needed some electronic help to unravel a few clues but enjoyed the tussle and got there in the end. Was trying to fit ER in for ages re: 18a but the penny did finally drop (albeit it rather circuitously). Thanks to Falcon and RayT. 3.5*/4.5*

  26. Wow! I start these crosswords at 4pm, giving me three hours more than Falcon (to whom much thanks for much needed hints) before the witching hour. It’s now after 10am the next day and I was still scratching my head. This was a 4/5 for difficulty and at best 2 for enjoyment as clues like 5d just didn’t work for me relying on a guess from the checking letters.

  27. Well today reminded me of my first attempt at skiing, when I skidded down the mountain in fits and starts and frequently ended up in snowdrift after snowdrift – discombobulated and wrong way up and minus my polesticks! I really struggled today, which was a stern reality check after my satisfaction yesterday. Got there very slowly in the end but needed loads of help. Thank you setter, and Falcon – couldn’t have managed without you…http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_smile.gif

  28. Totally off subject, but remembering Mary’s help desk in India from yesterday! I get two or three calls a week from an Indian “Microsoft” rep who is calling to alert me that a malfunction of my computer has been detected, and if I don’t let my Indian friend help me correct it over the phone, my computer will be irreparably harmed and CRASH and BURN, I need to go to my computer RIGHT AWAY and press the Windows button and the”R” together while he guides me on the phone, or else I’ll have no computer by tomorrow! I’ve just come off the phone now with my second call this week. Has this scam arrived in the UK yet? I wish these people would get a life.

    1. I’m not sure … but I think you should ignore such calls.

      Beware of “Cold Calls” advising you of problems with your computer.

      Just put the phone down!

      1. I have always hung up in the past, but since retiring I have time on my hands and play games. I am hoping that they’ll get fed up with me wasting their time, it sometimes takes them five minutes to realise that I’m nowhere near my computer and have no intention of doing anything they tell me to do. Scum bags.

        1. 1) As BD said recently … ask for someone who speaks English.
          2) Play a bit of background music near your phone … and just wait till they go away!

          I agree . Scum bags! (Very polite)

        2. I do similar – great fun. Used to do the same with people trying to sell me a conservatory and would string them along until I asked them to call to my third floor apartment. Tee hee!

    2. My friend had one of these calls last year – the person assured her that there was a problem with her computer. How do you know she asked – because my computer shows that you have – interesting, said she, because I haven’t got a computer at all! Cue quick putting down of phone at the other end.

    3. I don’t know what happens in the US but in the UK you can do something or other – can’t remember what it is now – that means these nuisances are not allowed to ring you. The best way to get them off the line is to tell them that you’re supposed to be protected from these kinds of calls – they practically evaporate.

      1. Hi Kath – yes you can (look it up online), but unfortunately they can only block calls that originate in the UK and it seems that most of these don’t!

  29. Pretty damn stiff for a back-pager; l think this is gusting 4* in terms of difficulty. I struggled to get into it, but then it started to flow a bit more. Lots of good clues, from which l’d pick 11d as favourite. Thanks to Ray T for the workout, and to Falcon for the review.

  30. Very much enjoyed today’s puzzle – despite needing the review (for which many thanks) for 25d and to find out why 5d was correct. I always enjoy RayT’s style and skil – today’s was a great example. This was a real stretch for me, probably 4-5* difficulty but 5* enjoyment. (Seemed to be well up to a lower Toughie standard so I hope the back page doesn’t get any harder!)

  31. Very late today, because I have spent the day touring a couple of Virginia’s wineries. Maybe it was the wine tasting that took the edge off my appetite. Maybe it’s the time of day because I am usually an early morning solver. But for the first time ever I abandoned a Ray T cryptic half-done.

  32. Love RayT puzzles and thoroughly enjoyed this one. Very difficult to single out a fave, perhaps 22d, but 11d is vying with it. Also particularly liked 16a, 27a, and 8d. 3.5* for difficulty and 4.5* for enjoyment for me.

    I did find some of the clues tricky, but managed to complete the puzzle without Falcon’s excellent hints. On going through them now, I find I didn’t get the parsing of 5d quite right. Am very pleased, because this was the only problem.

    Thanks and appreciation to RayT for a most enjoyable puzzle, and to Falcon for a most enlightening review.

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