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DT 27646

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 27646

Hints and tips by Kath

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BD Rating — Difficulty ** Enjoyment ****

Good morning everyone. It’s a real November morning in Oxford – mild, misty and damp but a Ray T crossword will soon cheer things up and I have almost no doubt that this is one of his. I thought it was very much on the gentle side for him but I’m sure that some of you will disagree. He seems to have lost his naughty hat as there’s not much innuendo this time.

If you want to see an answer please click on the bit that says “click here” but try not to do it by mistake.

Please leave a comment especially if you’re one who has been reading the hints for a while but never before dared to write anything.


1a    Realistic ends for partner — to play single guy (11)
PRACTICABLE: — Realistic here means feasible rather than true-to-life. Begin with the first and last letters (ends) of partner, then a verb meaning play or perform. Follow that with the letter that looks like a Roman numeral for one (single) and then the kind of guy that could stop your tent from blowing over in the middle of the night. I thought this answer was a bit like playing with Lego – lots of little bits all put together.

9a    From rear, the nude’s made of clay (7)
EARTHEN: — If it had had teeth it would probably have bitten me but I still missed this hidden answer on my first read through.

10a    Doctors left other cases using medical skills initially (6)
LOCUMS: — Take the first letters (initially) of the middle six words of the clue. Doctors could be a red herring – they could also be members of the clergy.

12a    When parking, stop to find cover on street (7)
ASPHALT: — Start with the two letters meaning when, follow them with the abbreviation for P(arking) and then a word meaning stop or check.

13a    Hit rock bottom and aspired to change (7)
DESPAIR: — An anagram (to change) of ASPIRED

14a    Types one letter for ‘Saint’ or two reversed? (5)
SORTS: — There are two recognised abbreviations for ‘Saint’. The first is one letter and the second two. Begin with the one letter one, then the ‘or’ from the clue and follow those with a reversal (reversed) of the two letter one. As clear as mud!

15a    Devious, doing time, endless debts to pay (9)
INSIDIOUS: — A word for doing time or in prison without its last letter (endless) is followed by the usual crosswordland debts.

17a    Airborne soldier in suitable American machine (9)
APPARATUS: — This machine or equipment is made up from a short word meaning suitable or appropriate containing (in) an informal short form of troops carried by air and then one of the two-letter abbreviations meaning American.

20a    Described by ‘Assassin in Japan’? (5)
NINJA: — It’s another hidden answer. I found this one quite easily.

22a    Cold young woman, almost glacial model (7)
CLASSIC: — This model is an adjective meaning traditional or timeless. Begin with C(old), follow that with a young woman or girl and then the first two letters of a three letter word meaning glacial or freezing.

24a    Wicked compiler’s said to embrace maiden (7)
IMMORAL: — Two letters for how the setter may refer to himself and a word meaning said or verbal containing (to embrace) the one letter cricket abbreviation for M(aiden).

25a    A pastry’s rolled in layers (6)
STRATA: — A from the clue, and a word meaning a pastry or open topped pie, with the ‘S, all reversed (rolled) gives you these layers or categories.

26a    Drills hip and cuts back (7)
INSTILS: — Drills here means teaches. Begin with two letters meaning hip or fashionable and follow them with a verb meaning cuts or slices and then reverse it (back).

27a    Star of ‘Argo’ isn’t top unfortunately (11)
PROTAGONIST: — An anagram (unfortunately) of ‘ARGO’ ISN’T TOP. I spent far too long trying to make the star one of the little lights in the sky – it isn’t.


2d    Practise without ultimate sweetheart then tries again (7)
REHEARS: – A word for practise, for a play maybe, without its second E (without ultimate sweetheart – i.e. the middle letter of sweet) gives another word meaning tries again, probably in a courtroom. Oh dear – that’s not so good – I do hope you all understand it.

3d    Pinch criminals before the audience’s swindled (9)
CONSTRICT: — A verb meaning to pinch or tighten. Begin with the usual criminals and follow them with a homonym (the audience’s) of a word meaning swindled or deceived.

4d    Oddly indulged by day and did nothing (5)
IDLED: — Just take the odd letters (oddly) of the second word in the clue and add D(ay)

5d    Copper’s caught by top defender’s first defendant (7)
ACCUSED: — The two-letter chemical symbol for copper, with its ‘S, is contained in (caught by) a word meaning top or first-class and followed by the first letter of defender (defender’s first).

6d    Left posh medic with earlier complaint (7)
LUMBAGO: — This complaint of the lower back is made up from L(eft), one letter meaning posh, the two-letter Latin abbreviation of a medical degree and followed by a short word for earlier or in the past.

7d    Doctor in Caesareans sidestepping an advanced new birth (11)
RENAISSANCE: — An anagram (doctor) of IN CAESAREANS without one of the A’s (sidestepping an abbreviation for A(dvanced).

8d    It’s right for page to lead Queen (6)
PROPER: — An adjective meaning right or fitting. Another word for ‘for’ or in favour of is followed by the abbreviation for P(age) and the usual two letters for our Queen.

11d    Shout over delay over one’s point for set (11)
CRYSTALLISE: — A verb meaning set or clarify. Begin with a short word for shout or yell, follow that (over) with a delay or a play for time, then the letter that looks like the Roman numeral for one, with its ‘S, and then one of the points of the compass. More Lego building!

16d    Coin is up in the air after small doubt (9)
SUSPICION: — An anagram (in the air) of COIN IS UP after S(mall).

If you thought this was an Elvis original, your are wrong!  Here’s Terry Stafford from 1964.  BD

ARVE Error: need id and provider

18d    Top of pie put on last dish (7)
PLATTER: — This is a serving dish rather than something you’d eat. The first letter (top) of pie is followed by a word meaning last or concluding.

19d    Set off again in leisure craft (7)
RESTART: — A word meaning leisure or relaxation comes before a craft or expertise.

20d    Sense I’m out to get vengeance (7)
NEMESIS: — An anagram (out) of SENSE I’M.

21d    Scandinavian Odin with calmer exterior, curiously (6)
NORDIC: — Another anagram (curiously) of ODIN and the first and last letters (exterior) of C(alme)R.

23d    ‘Clash‘ group’s approaching start of gig (5)
CLANG: —A noun or a verb meaning clash or jangle. A group or tribe followed by G (start of gig).

I liked 1 and 26a and 11d. My favourite was 7d. What did you think?

The Quick Crossword pun: soldier+neat+scene=Solzhenitsyn


86 comments on “DT 27646

  1. I only needed help on 11D, no real favourites but did find 27A quite cute.Many thanks to the setter & to Kath for her excellent review, just waiting for my new man cave to arrive & be errected, rather them than me on a cold damp day.http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gif

  2. Thanks to RayT for another fine puzzle with so many different clues. Pleased to see Kath on duty again – another member of the RayT fanclub! As usual so many good clues its hard to pick a winner but I highlighted the following :- 2 10 11 12 15 17 19 24 and 25. Please can we have a Beamer next week.

  3. Thank you Ray T – another lovely puzzle. Thanks Kath for your detailed review and hints, especially 1a !

  4. Thanks for a lovely review Kath. I enjoyed this puzzle.

    I thought 9a was well hidden, something to do with other expectations from “rear” perhaps. I Liked the airborne soldier (17a) because the clue was a plausible story. 25a (pastry) was I thought a clever and simple clue for an old chestnut.

    I liked the lego clue 11d but maybe that is just because I am a crystallographer by trade. 16d (coin up in the air) was another plausible story I liked. 19d, I liked “leisure craft”, simple as it is and already having the answer, this took a while to parse just because the words fit together so nicely.

    Many thanks RayT and Kath

    1. Gee whizz, Dutch – I just asked Mr. Google about your ‘trade’ – even the answer totally confused me! I was rather hoping that it just meant that you studied snowflakes!

      Much respect to you. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_bye.gif

    2. I just looked it up on Wikipedia, and have to confess I am none the wiser as I could only understand about every other word! Hats off to you!

  5. A relatively gentle Ray T (in fact I wouldn’t have known it was apart from the ‘Queen’ reference). Puzzled over ‘ultimate sweetheart’ for some time. Thanks to all.

  6. That felt like a four star struggle but the iPad clock said two star time so perhaps I am getting better at speaking Ray T-ese. I still have to keep reminding myself though that this is a man who wastes no words, so pay attention to all of them, however small and insignificant they appear. Satisfying to finish but all a bit mechanical somehow.

  7. I agree with Kath – 2*/4* for a very enjoyable puzzle. Although one clue had nine words they were all short!

    With 7d I wasn’t fully sure why an “a” was removed from the anagram fodder. Is “a” really an abbreviation for “advanced”?

    I could make a long list of favourites but it’s more than my life’s worth.

    Many thanks to the impeccable Ray T and to Kath for a first rate and entertaining review.

    1. Welcome to the blog Mary

      In order to avoid confusion with our regular poster called Mary it would help if you could choose a different alias.

  8. Some of the wordplay escaped me completely, so thanks for explaining it so clearly.

    Thanks to RayT.

  9. Agree with the above comments regarding it being on the gentle side for a RayT but that suited me just fine! Had a lot of fun solving it and there’s a certain amount of satisfaction that comes from penny-drop moments with a RayT that I don’t always get with some other setters. Thanks to Kath for the review and thanks to RayT for providing a first rate puzzle. 2*/4.5*

  10. For me, this was a tale of two puzzles. The right half went in relatively easily, but I came to a temporary shuddering halt on the left half. I got there eventually – and probably would have sooner had I more quickly seen the well hidden answer in 9a. I very much enjoyed Kath’s summary, and thank you. Thanks also to Ray T.

  11. A fairly easy RayT today.

    Thanks to Kath for fully explaining the Caesarean one – I tried many times, but failed. I kept taking out (sidestepping) “an” from the anagram fodder only to replace it with (A)dvanced and (N)ew. Oh! Dear!

    1. ps. I also failed to solve the Quickie Pun! Normally the paper has the clues in italics when it is comprised of more than two clues. Боже Мой!

        1. I agree with you. Alexandre Soljenitsyne is better known in France as he took refuge in Paris years ago.

  12. 11d was a bit of a mystery to me – I can see the various constituent elements but tying that all into ‘set’ was one step too far for me!

    Apart from that it was very enjoyable.

    Oh, and the Quick Crossword Pun – what a cracker!

    Onward and upward – tomorrow is another day! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_unsure.gif

  13. Very enjoyable with quite a few clues solved backwards by seeing what fit with the checking letters and then working out why it was right. Many thanks to Ray T and well done once again Kath.

  14. My 20d again. For me as much fun as pub without beer.
    Managed 3/4 of this one but a real tedious slog.
    Sorry Kath, I know how hard you work when doing the blog.

    1. . . . and sorry to Ray T too? I’m jolly sure that setting a crossword is a hell of a lot harder than writing the hints for one.

        1. Go on – it’s not his fault that you find his crosswords tricky. If you’re not careful I’ll come over all Joyce Grenfell and say “Do try to be nice, dear!”

  15. We never find RayT’s puzzles easy, but with assistance from the admirable Kath, we finished it, and really it was fairly straight forward I suppose. I’m just not on his wave length, but did find it quite enjoyable, so it’s a ***/*** for us. Thank you to the setter and to Kath.

  16. Another absorbing and most enjoyable puzzle from Ray T, though I have to confess to not getting the answer to 1 across 100% correct – I had the last four letters wrong. As Tony said, it seemed a puzzle of two halves, or for me it was a case of four quarters, as I began top right and continued quarter by quarter clockwise to a finish. No favourite clues, but a lot of very clever ones. Thanks to the setter and to Kath for clearing up a couple of ‘grey areas’ for me. Not finished the quickie yet, but I had to make a start just to see what Franco was remarking on – a clever pun indeed.

  17. RayT on Thursday is always worthwhile and enjoyable and this one was as pleasant as (if slightly gentler than) usual.
    I’d thought he avoids anagrams but he doesn’t today – so maybe I have that wrong.
    Many thanks to the setter, and to Kath for the review.

  18. Well – it was a Mr. T so what would you expect me to say? http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_heart.gif
    12a had the brain cells rattling for a while (I know, it was obvious!) and, like Kath, I searched the heavens before seeing the anagram in 27a.

    Need to beg Kath’s forgiveness for picking four favourites (after all, it is Mr. T!) – 12,15 and 25a – plus 11d.

    Somehow thought that Brian would get 20d into his comments – I reckon Mr. T DID have his naughty hat on and put that one in just for you! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gif

    Thank you Mr. T for making my day that little bit brighter, yet again – and, to Kath, lots of http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_good.gifhttp://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_good.gif

    1. I’ll let you get away with having umpteen favourites just this once. It mustn’t become a habit – we can’t let standards slip! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_negative.gif

  19. Oh dear.
    I would prefer a much fiercer RayT.
    Some cute constructions, though, eg 11d, and enjoyable.
    Many thanks RayT and Kath for the review.

  20. I don’t quite agree with you about awarding this a two star difficulty. Maybe that was because I was without my anagram solver.Thus 7d was the last one in.I didn’t need hints but I am delighted to read the interpretation of the clues, especiallly 11d and 16d. Thanks Kath and Ray T.http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gif

      1. I did wonder! At the risk of blocking the blog for the rest of the night, I’m glad that was the version you chose. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_bye.gif

      2. If I may borrow Rabbit Dave’s pedant hat for a moment, I think you may be wrong about the chronology. Terry Stafford had the hit single in 1964 but Elvis recorded it as an album track (on Pot Luck), released in June 1962. It was not released as a single here until 1976. The song was written by the brilliant Doc Pomus and Mort Shuman, whose massive catalogue also includes the Drifters’ ‘Save The Last Dance For Me’, one of my all time favourites, with Ben E. King on lead vocal.
        You can have the hat back now RD!

        1. You are welcome to the loan, particularly as I too am a great Pomus-Schuman fan (and I still have my copy of “Pot Luck” from the early 60s).

      1. How are the sneezels, thought on first read I would back in cupboard under the stairs but somehow it came good with just a little electronic help? Then I read your explanations and it made everything clear. A big thank you to you and Ray T.http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_cry.gif

  21. I was struggling a bit until I saw 8d and realised it was a RayT. From then on things got a little easier! 9a was my favourite clue, and I’m a ‘legs’ man really…
    I’ll get me coat. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_whistle3.gif
    Thanks Ray T and Kath for your revue.

    1. Where’s the Pedant’s Hat? Just need it for a few minutes!

      Revue – Kath didn’t make a song and dance of it!

          1. Good – sorry – I missed the point. I’m just a touch on the knackered side. We’ve finally found something that stops me being able to go to sleep at night – it’s knowing that I’m doing hints. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/smiley-yawn.gif

  22. I found this easier than the usual RayT. I don’t know why it took me so long to get 16d but that was my last one in. Fave was 26a with 12a as runner up. Thanks to RayT, and thanks to Kath for the review.

    1. P.S. Just had time to listen to the 16d musical clip, and, boy, did that bring back some happy, happy memories.


  23. ***/***. Some fell into place but others were challenging. Nevertheless quite enjoyable. Splendid review from Kath. Thanks also to the setter. Sub zero today so out with all the real winter clothing.

  24. Many thanks for the hints Kath. They were very clear with a touch of humour
    The recording took me back, many thanks for that too

  25. Lovely mental warm-up today. A gentler Ray T that didn’t tease me for too long, and was nicely satisfying.

    7d was my last in. It’s hard to choose favourites, but clues like 9a rarely fail to elicit a smile.

    Thanks to Ray T and to Kath for your respective contributions to so many people’s puzzling pleasure :).

  26. We started off by doing our clue word count before starting to solve. Shock, horror to discover NINE words in 16d and first thought was that if the clue had started off with ‘coin’s’ instead of ‘coin is’ it would have been just eight. It was only when we got into solving and realised that it had be as it was for the anagram fodder. However we do enjoy Ray’s puzzles so much that we will always look for an excuse for him, so will say that as they are all little words and all fit on one line anyway, forgiveness is easy. A really good fun puzzle.
    Kath we were going to congratulate you on the pictures until we read the comment that revealed their origin. A beautifully written review though.
    Thanks RayT and Kath.

    1. I will learn one day – I really, really, really will . . . http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_unsure.gif
      On the other hand Bufo doesn’t do pictures and Libellule never did either, not that I’m going to admit defeat for ever – just for the moment. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_smile.gif
      I also noticed the one clue that had nine words in it and decided to leave it to you two to mention it as I knew you would!

      1. Kath we find doing the pictures is the best fun part of doing the blog and the last part of the process. Pommers very kindly gave us a great lesson and we were surprised at how much simpler it was than we had imagined. Keep persevering. Cheers.http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_smile.gif

        1. Yes – I love hunting pictures too and I know how to do that. If it’s OK for pommers, or BD or anyone else to give me your email address I’ll communicate that way. Just say it’s OK . . .

            1. Oh dear – of course I have! Perhaps I’ve just proved what you’ve all always known – I’m a complete mutt! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/icon_redface.gif and http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/icon_rolleyes.gif

              1. No Kath – you’re anything but that! I think you’re SO brave taking on the ‘chair’. I just wish for you that it could always turn out to be a Mr. T on your day. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_wink.gif

                The engaged one is now back here – lovely ring, very happy daughter, extremely happy Mum! Have confessed that I’d already told you all about it – she laughed a lot!

              2. Love to get an email Kath. Maybe we can do something like a Skype tutorial if that would help too.

                  1. I’ve been trying to find the instructive email BD sent me when I first had a go at pictures but without success. It isn’t that hard to do illustrations , Kath, honest.

                    1. Thanks Sue – I’ll email you but it might have to wait until tomorrow – really need to go to bed soon . . . http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/smiley-yawn.gif

  27. Setter here with very many thanks to Kath for the review and to everybody else for your comments.


    1. I used to struggle with DT crosswords until I found BD and the gang. My confidence has gone up and I can even tackle Thursday which was always my worst day. I have got to recognise the economical way you use words and it suits me – Thank you for so much enjoyment. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_mail.gif

    2. By the way, nice clue for 17a as in France apparat is the uniform the army wears for parades so Il could be “suitable” for any army corps.

  28. Just stopping jigging about to Terry Stafford (new to me) to thank Ray T for another Big Workout for me, as I love his clues but really, really struggle to solve them! And many thanks to Kath for continuing the brilliance with articulate, amusing hints which were SO needed. A rose to you to share with BD for the images too. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_rose.gif

  29. Was a bit confused with the ending of 1a as a synonym for guy turned up as ally but couldn’t find the “c”. Did look at cable too but guy didn’t show up either. Apart from that, not too much trouble. The clues being well built and easy to decipher. As for the review, I think pictures sometimes give you a straight answer and you omit to read the reviewer’s painstaking hard work. Nice one Kath and thanks to RayT. Oops. Must remember to vote.

    1. Your ending for 1a was what I came up with too but it was the wrong part of speech and I couldn’t explain it. One of the very many things that I’ve learnt from this blog is that if you can’t justify your answer then it’s probably wrong – I carried on thinking about it, thankfully!

  30. Remarkably gentle for this late in the week. 2*/4* by my reckoning, and my favourite was 7d (mainly because of Kath’s picture of my favourite city!). Thanks to Ray T, and to Kath for the review.

  31. I’m afraid this wasn’t up my street at all. I simply couldn’t get to grips with it and relied heavily on Kath’s comprehensive hints for probably fifty percent – can’t remember ever before needing so much help. Thanks RayT and particularly Kath for being a veritable port in a storm. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/smiley-phew.gif

  32. New poster here! Invariably attempt this late at night, and only occasionally finish unaided. Today was one such day, hurrah! Really liked some of these clues, favourite is a toss up between 7d and 11d

  33. I liked this one, as I do all Ray T’s offerings. It took me ages to get 1a right, which took me into 3* time! otherwise not too tricky. 3* for fun. Thanks to RT and Kath for the well-executed review

  34. can someone tell me why the answer to 27a means Star – I got the anagram almost straight away, but still don’t understand !!

    1. Instead of taking star to mean a celestial body, here it is meant as the ‘star’ of say, a play or a film…the protagonist.

  35. **/****
    A little late in replying. Another fine effort from RayT.
    The NE corner was the last in. Though looking back I’m not sure why.
    Too many favourites to choose from.
    Many thanks to RayT and to Kath for your fantastic blog. :-)

  36. Thanks to Ray T and to Kath for the review. I enjoyed this, even though it was a bit lacking in innuendo. Was tricky in places. Favourite was 14a. Was 3*/3* for me. Last in was 11d. Late commenting due to a day trip to Brussels yesterday.

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