DT 27777 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 27777

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 27777

Hints and tips by Kath

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating — Difficulty **Enjoyment ****

Good morning and welcome to a lovely sunny Ray T crossword Thursday morning. We’ve had to wait several weeks for one of his – four I think, unless I can’t count any more – but I think it was well worth the wait. I thought it was fairly straightforward so I’ve only given 2* for difficulty but, as usual, I’m more than happy for anyone to disagree with me.

In the hints below the definitions are underlined. If you click on anything that says “Click here” you’ll see the answer so only do that as a last resort.


1a            Remarkably gruff about pressure mounting (12)
SURPRISINGLY — A word meaning gruff or tetchy contains (about) the one letter abbreviation for P(ressure) and a word meaning mounting or becoming higher.

8a            Record one hit? Hard to produce commemoration (7)
EPITAPH — Begin with an old kind of record or disc that was played at 45 rpm and usually had two tracks on each side, follow that with the Roman numeral for one that looks like an ‘I’, then another word for hit or knock gently and then the abbreviation for H(ard).


9a            Plug fitter for electrical accessory (7)
ADAPTER — An abbreviation for a plug or a piece of favourable publicity is followed by a word meaning fitter or more appropriate.

11a         Song embodying unending territory somewhere in the USA (7)
ARIZONA — An operatic song containing (embodying) a territory or area without its last letter (unending).


12a         Showing off curves, former wife caught in liaison (7)
FLEXING — The usual two letters for a previous wife (or husband, just to keep you chaps on your toes) is contained in (caught) another word for a liaison or illicit affair.

13a         Caught then time’s in pens (5)
CAGES — The one letter cricketing abbreviation for C(aught) is followed by (then) a word for time or era – don’t forget the ‘S from the clue.

14a         Well satisfied by the compiler’s empty excuses occasionally (9)
SOMETIMES — Lego time now – two letters meaning well or very, another word meaning satisfied or fulfilled a requirement, another two letters for how the compiler may refer to himself and, finally the first and last letters (empty) of E(xcuse)S. I have to confess that this one took me ages to work out.

16a         Ravel’s including unlimited brio for instruments (9)
TRIANGLES — Ravel here is not the composer – it’s a verb meaning to interweave or entwine and again don’t forget the ‘S from the clue. It contains (including) the middle two letters (unlimited) of b(RI)o.


19a         One attempts to rake in extra readies initially (5)
TRIER — The answer comes from the first letters (initially) of five words in the clue.

21a         Adult support facing very big fitting (7)
APROPOS — The one letter abbreviation for A(dult), a support or strut and another abbreviaton this time for very big or exceptionally large.

23a         Mine’s topical preparation (7)
COALPIT — An anagram (preparation) of TOPICAL.

24a         Clue’s ‘Single by Queen, rockier‘ (7)
TIPSIER — Another word for a clue, or hint, with the ‘S, the Roman numeral one and the two letters meaning our Queen.

25a         On fire after explosion, consuming new fire (7)
INFERNO — An anagram (after explosion) of ON FIRE containing (consuming) the one letter abbreviation for N(ew).


26a         Stellar tail arcs incredibly around spinning moon (12)
ASTRONOMICAL — An anagram (incredibly) of TAIL ARCS containing (around) another anagram (spinning) of MOON. Phew . . .



1d            Unwell below decks, finally at sea (7)
SAILING — The last letter (finally) of (deck)S is followed by (below) a word meaning unwell or poorly.


2d            Concerned with a relative’s motives (7)
REASONS — The usual two letters meaning concerned with or about, the A from the clue and a male offspring, with his ‘S.

3d            Drill catches in concrete (9)
REHEARSAL — A word meaning concrete or tangible containing (in) another way of saying catches or takes in audibly.

4d            Personnel removed from post affected (5)
STAFF — This is a ‘lurker’ – he’s hiding in the middle of the clue (removed from). I found him and spent ages hunting for the other one – there isn’t another one today!

5d            Scoff inside shelter for most organised (7)
NEATEST — A word meaning scoff or consume is contained in (inside) the kind of shelter that a bird might make.

6d            Element illuminated with buzz holding current (7)
LITHIUM — A word meaning illuminated or brightened up is followed by a buzz of the kind a bee or a particular sort of bird might make containing (holding) the letter that means electric current in physics.

7d            Defiant bluster undermining cleric at broadcast (12)
RECALCITRANT — Begin with an anagram (broadcast) of CLERIC AT and follow that with another word for bluster or harangue.

10d         Enrolment of American soldier in support, helping (12)
REGISTRATION — A support or stand (a different one from the one in 21a) contains (in) the usual abbreviation for an American soldier and that’s followed by a helping or portion.

15d         Mother love in separation producing pleasure from pain (9)
MASOCHISM — Begin with an affectionate term for Mother and follow that with a separation or discord containing (in) the letter that looks like a zero or a love score in a game of tennis. I almost didn’t dare to look for a picture for this one . .



17d         Breaks in rugby strip which is damaged outside (7)
IRRUPTS — The usual two letters for the game that’s played by a load of men kicking a funny shaped ball around in some mud are contained in (outside) an anagram (damaged) of STRIP.

18d         Tack over on jetty getting more nimble (7)
NIPPIER — A reversal (over) of a verb meaning tack or secure is followed by a jetty or quay.

19d         Providing force in truck lifting vehicles (7)
TRAFFIC — A truck or wagon contains a short conjunction meaning provided or in the event of and the one letter abbreviation for F(orce). Then reverse (lifting) the whole lot.


20d         Noble, not having a chance (7)
IMPERIL — A word meaning noble or majestic without the A (not having A).

22d         Father seen with woman, ultimately she’s seductive (5)
SIREN —A noun or verb meaning father or to father often used in horse breeding is followed by the last letter (ultimately) of (woma)N.

I liked 12 and 14a and 1d. My favourite was 15d. What did you think?

The Quicke pun – (Mate)+(Ricks)=(Matrix)

84 comments on “DT 27777

  1. If this was indeed a RayT then I found it amazingly straightforward. My battles with Ray seem to have disappeared at least for this puzzle! 17d was my last in as I was not familiar with this word.
    Overall, I enjoyed this puzzle quite a bit. Are you sure this was RayT??????

    Thanks to all as usual.

    1.5*/4* would be my rating today.

  2. Hello to the early-bird, Kath. Thanks for posting your hints in such good time. It’s good to have confirmation although I did in fact just manage without them. It looked forbidding to start with but gradually things began to dawn and hey presto fait accompli. Thanks Ray T for an excellent challenge and how nice to have all single word answers for a change. Now I can get on with the rest of the day including a drive to Norfolk. **/****. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_good.gif

  3. At last, a RayT Thursday. We have really missed them for the last couple of weeks. 1a sat there with lots of blank spaces until quite late in the solving process so will get our vote for favourite. 24a was our very last one to put in. The puzzle had several places where a lot of thought was required so not a speedy solve for us, but good fun all the way. Nobody else needs to check the word count. We have, and no clue has more than 8 words.
    Thanks RayT and Kath for another excellent blog.

          1. Good grief – is it really that poor? I always thought that it came up with real words even if they weren’t necessarily the ones you had in mind!

  4. **/****

    Ahh that’s better. Normal service has been resumed. It’s amazing how much you can miss a setter.

    Gosh there was a lot to enjoy here. 16a was my last in because I just couldn’t justify the answer. I checked the titles of Ravel’s works, hoping they may shed some light, alas not. In the end I just bunged the answer in. Thanks to Kath for the explanation.

    Just so many good clues to name a favourite.

    So many thanks and welcome back to RayT. Thanks also to Kath for a great blog, it’s good to have you back in the blogging chair.

    Looking forward to the Toughie blog. I’ve bunged in a lot of the answers there. Stunning day here.

  5. Top crossword, top review. Not much more to add. There were many contenders but favourite will be 15d.

    Oodles of thanks to RayT and Kath.

  6. A **/*** for me today, easier than it appeared on first scan through with the days first cup of tea
    ,can’t remember seeing 17d before, although might have just forgotten .Thanks Kath for the blog pics, loved the one for 15d – can’t think where you found it !

  7. Yes, I agree that 15d was the best and likewise 17d is a new word for me. Seems that these are both early themes. Overall a pleasant challenge to complete. Thank you to everyone involved. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_cool.gif

    1. I think we probably ‘ravel’ things quite regularly – just forget that there’s a specific word for it!

  8. A pleasure to solve! 15d was brilliant followed by 21a. Many thanks to Kath – needed your help to justify my answer to 16a! Your illustration for 8a was very funny. Thanks also to RayT for an excellent offering.

  9. Way above my pay grade.
    Managed the E side but needed the hints for almost all of the W.
    Have never come across 17d before , or 23a as a single word.

    Thanks to Kath and to the setter, on whose wavelength I doubt I will ever be.http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_sad.gif

      1. Don’t lose heart! I once felt exactly the same as you and have been known to well and truly throw my teddy out of the pram – much to my later embarrassment. Persevere…it does click.

  10. RayT back. Queen back. What more could we want on a lovely spring morning. It was easier than usual due to the long outside words. May be Ray thought we had gardening to do. Only one hidden word which was a bit of a surprise. I think my favourite was 16 due to the great misdirection but 15 ran it close. Thanks to Ray and Kath – a fellow member of the Raybeam Fan Club.

  11. …the only one I had reservations about was 24a – I worked it out, but not sure why the answer means rockier…..

    1. I interpreted it as being less stable – rocky=tipsy – but if anyone has any better ideas . . .

      1. Yes, that makes sense…… the Webster online does include a meaning of ‘unsteady’ for tipsy…..I had only ever come across it meaning slightly drunk….

  12. Very enjoyable crossword from RayT.
    Although the clues were a bit longer than usual they successfully passed the 2kiwis rule of acceptance.
    Liked the construction of 1a, 10d and 15d.
    The Rant At Cleric in 7d made me laugh.
    Thanks to Kath for the early review and to RayT for the fun.

    1. Hi Jean-Luc,

      Glad you enjoyed the Mr. T today. Had another look at the photo’s of the Lark – rather slim, long-legged and with attractive markings so you could be right!
      Either that or one of the cat-walk construction team is an avid ‘twitcher’!!!

      1. We looked up the bird on Google. We were intrigued with the name. We wonder who decided to use the word ‘bimaculated’ rather than the much more pedestrian ‘two-spotted’. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_smile.gif

        1. The honest answer is that I don’t know! It is also known as the Calandra Lark, which I find far more appealing.

  13. Lovely crossword! Favourite clue was 21a …. or maybe 15d. both were very good. the clue that caused a brief pause was my last one in which was 24a, only because I find the word uncomfortable.
    Thanks to Ray T and Kath for her review… oh, and the illustration for 15d!

  14. Thank you Ray T for the puzzle, never easy ! but always an enjoyable challenge. Thanks Kath for your review and hints, particularly the explanation of 14a, which I bunged in hopefully, without getting the wordplay.

  15. Pretty much R & W and agree with the rating. Penned in 16a as that’s what instruments had to be, then realised that OK I had fallen for the misleading Ravel, thinking that it had to feature Bolero somewhere. Doh!!!

  16. I enjoyed this and agree with George, are we really, really sure it’s a RayT? Looks like a duck, walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it must be a duck. In any case, for the first time ever I was able to solve without hints or electronic toys.
    Fave was 15d with runner up 1a.
    Thanks to RayT and to Kath for “unravelling” 14a.

    1. I’m really really as sure as I ever am about anything that this is a Ray T – it has just about every one of his trademarks. I’m a bit less sure that he’ll like being compared to a duck . . .http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_unsure.gif
      Anyway all will be revealed later on.

  17. Glorious day – meeting that finished early – back home to Mr. T, Her Majesty and our lovely Kath. What more could one ask for!

    Fell for the Ravel trap, had a few anxious moments about ‘breaks in rugby’ (is that half-time, huddles, scrums or necks?) and briefly wondered about the regal fellow at 20d but this was our Ray to a ‘T’ and what a pleasure to see him back. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yahoo.gif.

    Favs. list includes almost all so I’ll go along with Kath but add 9&21a plus 20d to the list. 2*/4* for me with an extra * for Kath’s pics. at 8a & 15d.

    For Mr. T & Kath – http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_rose.gifhttp://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_good.gifhttp://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_rose.gifhttp://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_good.gifhttp://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_heart.gifhttp://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_heart.gif

      1. I call that stirring things up . . . http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gif
        Sometimes Brian surprises us all though – maybe he’ll have enjoyed it.

  18. Very enjoyable indeed, although I agree with Ora that the left side was harder than the right.

    My favourite was 12a, although I have to admit that I found 24a just a tad too contrived.

    Many thanks to RayT and Kath.

  19. I did quite well with this until the bottom left corner. 17d completely defeated me even when I knew the answer I didn’t know the word at all. Could see that 16a was triangles but the misdirection completely floored me and still don’t get tip for clue.
    most of it was quite fun albeit fairly challenging but the SW was not good for me.
    Thx to all esp Kath for the much needed hints to the SW corner.

    1. Hi Brian,
      If you give someone a ‘tip’ at the races, you’re surely giving them a ‘clue’ as to the possible winner?

        1. But then you’re probably still struggling to deal with the ‘after effects’ of your recent win! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_smile.gif

      1. Bit tenuous but I see the connection. Got a tip on Saturday and won on the national at 40/1, was that a clue I wonder http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_bye.gif

  20. Thanks to Ray T and to Kath for the review and hints. A very enjoyable puzzle, welcome back Ray T. Completed the right hand side ok, but struggled with the left. Eventually got down to two answers missing. Needed Kath’s excellent hints for 17d,which I had never heard of and for 24a, just couldn’t think of tip. Favourites were 12&26a and 6d was a brilliant science type clue. Was 3*/3* for me.

  21. Did we all feel. Smug at completing the puzzle before the start of the day’s work? See today’s letters!

  22. Congratulations Kath, on another splendid blog…. I’m in awe. Especially as the Ray T days have me peeking through anxious fingers as I set off. I’ve never yet completed one of his without help, but one day I’m hoping to, as I lve the way he crafts his clues. So a big thank you to him and you. I’m off to have a lie down to recover, while Poppy entertains me with her new haircut. She’s less like Worzel Gummidge now.

      1. I don’t think I can manage that. But now I can see her eyes (for which she won a special ‘most beautiful eyes’ rosette) which is good! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_good.gif

  23. Phew. I found that tough. 3* for me and many thanks to Kath for a fine blog and clear hints. Incidentally, I would like to raise your perception of Rugby but I fear it is probably too late. Many thanks, also, to RayT for a puzzle that stretched me

  24. 17d has been added to my list of new words learned from doing the crossword. Apart from that, fairly smooth 1d for me today.
    Thanks to Ray T and Kath.

  25. Nice to finish without too much trouble . A very enjoyable solve ; thanks to Ray T **/ *** and ***/**** enjoyment . Really liked 3d, a very clever clue .

  26. And I meant to say thank you for the pics especially the one for 11a. Very special memories of descending that enormous hole on a mule called Hannah. Went down in blistering sun and returned up the next day in a snowstorm – what an amazing Country!

    1. All looks a bit scary to me but I did think of you with the horses.
      Many years ago I went to Majorca on holiday with a friend. Both being quite experienced riders we decided that a day out on horseback would be fun. When we got there all the well-trained horses were already booked. The guys there said, “You both ride well?” – several question marks in their intonation. We said, “Yes”. “You both ride very well?” Even more question marks . . . ! We were dumb enough to say, “Yes” again. Honest to goodness I’ve never been so scared in my life (apart from the first time I shared doing the hints with pommers) – the horses were really big and barely broken in and we were hurtling about on mountains with no brakes at all. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_sad.gif

  27. HooRAY! 2*/4*. Not too difficult but splendid stuff as ever from the maestro.

    I confused myself by misreading 13a as “caught when time’s in pens” and putting “casts” as the answer which rendered 1d impossible until I spotted my error. (Yes, I know, I should have gone to SpecSavers). 24a was my last one in.

    So many goodies from which to pick a favourite, and my vote goes to 15d..

    Many thanks and welcome back to Ray T, and many thanks too to Kath

  28. I found this took me a lot longer than I expected, especially after almost completing the Toughie by early afternoon! In fact this took me much longer than the Toughie! Perhaps I was experiencing brain burn out or something! Anyway, managed to finish it without recourse to the hints (apart from 16a)….. But still needed some electronic assistance for some. I thought 15d was a good one, but favourite was 12a . A most enjoyable puzzle, with thanks to setter (whoever (s)he may be) and to Kath for the hints. I rate this as a ***/***.

  29. Evening all. Very many thanks to Kath for the review and to everybody else for your comments.


    1. Hi Mr. T. As you will have gathered, you’ve been much missed and I reckon we’re all delighted to welcome you back.

      I think we all understand that you’re as entitled to your hols as the rest of us but – if it isn’t asking too much – could you possibly let us know in advance next time? Rumours of possible defection or – worse still – throwing in the towel, are more than many of us can take.
      Alternatively…………could you leave us the odd puzzle ‘to be going on with’ in your absence?

      ps. Nice to see HM back where she belongs. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_bye.gif

    2. Dear Ray T, as a relative newcomer I am in the dark as to how one identifies the setter – please explain, as everyone else seems to know it was you !!

      Thanks, Almo

      1. In the first instance, look at the Quick Crossword. If all of the clues and answers are single words then it’s odds on a Ray T Cryptic. Look also for clues with innuendo and mentions of the Queen, often disguised as the group of the same name. Finally, Ray only appears on a Thursday.

        1. Thanks, Big Dave, it looks as if we have 2 puzzles each day to work out ! One has to get inside the mind of the setter, something I’ve yet to achieve, except in the case of Mr Squires on Mondays. I’ve written before that I nearly always find Mondays the easiest of the week, yet others totally disagree, I’m only one sixth of the way there !! – molto grazie, Almo

  30. Terrific puzzle, 17d and 21a were my last ones in.14a was my favourite. Thanks Ray T and Kath.

  31. This one well and truly defeated me, and I had to give up after getting only the SE in. I envy the enjoyment that almost everybody expressed in the comments above. I will use that as an incentive to keep up the struggle.

    Thanks RayT – what I did get I certainly enjoyed – and thanks Kath for explaining the many clues that were beyond me this time.

    1. I think you have to get “tuned in” to Ray T. Once you’ve done that you will love his crosswords but he is certainly a little bit different and a law to himself. Onwards and upwards, as they say. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_good.gif

  32. Well. That wasn’t the easiest ** I’ve come across untill it was finished. Thanks to BigDave

    Mind you you. I can see how it all came together. I thank BD as I’m so much better at the DT xword thanks to his help.


  33. Thanks to Ray T and Kath for cerebral work out, fair amount of electronic help probably because I started later than usual thanks to it being ‘one of those days’. 17a new word and my favourite was toss up between – Oh no Kath will be on the warpath so will reserve my judgement. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/smiley-phew.gif

    1. Just the one would be absolutely fine but you could always say that you couldn’t decide between however many you like – that would be OK with me!! I’d hate to think that I was becoming the blog tyrant! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_sad.gif

      1. You are anything but a tyrant Kath. I’ve said this before, but it’s worth repeating, you give people confidence. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gif

        Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to see if we own a suit of armour to tackle Elgar tomorrow. Please let the Don be in a good mood. I didn’t finish his Mephisto until yesterday. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_sad.gif

        EDIT..and I’m not entirely sure if any of the Mephisto is correct.

      2. With no reason at all I am scared stiff of CrypticSue. This is silly as CrypticSue is so helpful and absolutely wonderful to meet in the flesh.. I think Kitty will be my tyrant.

  34. 2*/3* or thereabouts, and l too liked 15d. Mind you, after my solo exertions in a stiff easterly off Plymouth today, l should have gone for 1d. Thanks, Ray T. And thanks Kath for a splendid review.

  35. I found this very difficult ***/*** :( and a proper Thursday puzzle! Thanks to Kath for excellent hints :) without which I would still be puzzling also thanks to Ray T

  36. One word answers to all of the cryptic crossword clues and one word questions to all of the quickie clues. Well done Ray T and thank you very much. I loved your blog Kath especially the personal touches like the “phew” at the double anagram. So thank you.

  37. Super to have a RayT puzzle. I agree with Kath’s rating of **/****. I especially enjoyed 16a, 24a, 7d and 15d, with fave being 16a.

    What a lovely review and illustrations, Kath! I had no problems, but I enjoyed reading your explanations none the less.

    Appreciative thanks to RayT and to Kath.http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_good.gifhttp://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_good.gif

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