DT 27825 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 27825

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 27825

Hints and tips by pommers

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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

Hola from the Vega Baja where it’s just stopped raining!  Not 100% certain about the setter of this one. Somehow it didn’t feel like a RayT to me but it’s his turn, all the clues are less than eight words, there are two hidden answers, a “first letters of” clue and three all-in-ones so perhaps it is one of his.  Maybe he’ll call in and let us know.  Anyway, I found it a tad tricky but very enjoyable.

As usual the ones I liked most are in blue.  The definitions are underlined in the clues and the answers are under the “click here” buttons.
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           Spoil male embraced by frivolous sweet thing (11)
MARSHMALLOW: Start with a common crosswordland word for spoil (3), follow with a word meaning frivolous and insert (embraced by) M(ale).

9a           Old bishop accompanying minister to see (7)
OBSERVE: A charade of O(ld), B(ishop) and a word meaning to minister as in attend to the needs of.  I like this one for its excellent misdirection.

10a         Draw French painter framing first of gouaches (6)
MAGNET: Start with a French painter and insert G (first of Gouaches).

12a         Waspish matron bustling about end of ward (7)
MORDANT: Anagram (bustling) of MATRON around D (end of warD). I’m more familiar with this word being something used to fix dyes.

13a         Endless lure shown by strange modesty (7)
DECORUM: A lure or attraction without its last letter (endless) followed by one of the usual words for strange (not odd, the other one).

14a         Crack opening round side of pants (5)
SPLIT: Take an opening and insert (round) a P (side of Pants). Is this what’s known as a “wardrobe malfunction”?

15a         Church and State split by new problem (9)
CHALLENGE: An abbreviation for church followed by a word meaning state or assert with N(ew) inserted (split by).  The naughty false capitalisation of State had me thinking of US states for a while which was no doubt the setter’s intention.

17a         Begrudge suppressing endless desire rising again (9)
RESURGENT: Take a word meaning begrudge and insert a desire without its last letter (endless).  Tut, tut! We’ve already had this indicator for removing final letter in 13a.

20a         Heads of titled old families for starters (5)
TOFFS: The first all in one.  Heads of titled old families might be referred to as these and they are the first letters (heads of) of the other words in the clue.

22a         Muscles shake ends of pectorals (7)
TRICEPS: A word for a shake as in short period of time followed by PS (ends of PectoralS).

24a         Strange France initially overturned monarchy (7)
FOREIGN: A charade of the IVR code for France, O (initially Overturned) and a monarchy, or the period during which a monarch in on the throne.

25a         Victoria, perhaps, in Australia? (6)
SHEILA: Another all-in-one.  Any woman’s name would do in this clue but Victoria was chosen presumably because it can be an Australian state, a Queen, a plum, a carriage, a station, a waterfall and probably loads of other things and so it confuses the issue. The answer is simply Aussie slang for a girl.

26a         Cold? The man with spray is needed! (7)
CHEMIST: The third all-in-one. Start with C(old), then “the man” (2) and a spray, such as produced by an aerosol, and you’ll get the chap you may need to visit if you have a cold.

27a         Forward motion seeing prisoners go free (11)


2d           Sailor on leave engaging adult to get acquainted (7)
ABREAST: Start with one of the usual sailors followed by a word for leave or holiday and insert an A (engaging A(dult)).  For the sake of 13a I’ll resist the photo opportunity provided by this one! Late edit – changed my mind  . . .

3d           Show‘s act peels, dancing around clubs (9)
SPECTACLE: Anagram (dancing) of ACT PEELS with C(lubs) inserted.

4d           Marks by the compiler’s editor made a charade (5)
MIMED: Abbreviation for Marks followed by how the compiler might say he is and then the abbreviation for editor.

5d           Reasonable, getting grip oddly in pub (7)
LOGICAL: Your nearest pub with the alternate letters (oddly) of GrIp inserted (getting ___ in).  Getting the GI like this makes a nice change from the usual American soldier.


6d           Stormed taking part in undercover ransom (7)
OVERRAN: It’s hidden (taking part in) in UNDERCOVER RANSOM.

7d           Sympathise with company partner employing tight person (11)
COMMISERATE: Start with the usual company and a word for your partner or spouse and insert (employing) a tight person, no, not a drunk but a Scrooge.

8d           Seeing that rehearsal missing one of the stars (6)
ASTRAL: A two letter word which can mean “seeing that” or because followed by a rehearsal with an I removed (missing one).  The answer was fairly obvious but it took a while for the penny to drop on how this works.

11d         Wasting spare time on ape (11)
IMPERSONATE: Anagram (wasting) of SPARE TIME ON.

16d         Best cafe trattoria boxing up handmade products (9)
ARTEFACTS: Another lurker (boxing) but this time it’s reversed (up, in a down cue).

18d         Small, more sinuous snake (7)
SLITHER: Snake here is a verb.  S(mall) followed by the comparative of a word meaning sinuous.

19d         Swimming round catching fish (7)
REELING: Something round with a long thin fish inserted (catching).

20d         Missile flew containing power discharge (7)
TORPEDO: A word meaning flew or ran with P(ower) inserted (containing) and then a word for discharge, as in discharge your duty.

21d         Frozen fingertip’s stiff (6)
FRIGID: The tip of Finger is an F.  Follow this with a word meaning stiff or unbending.

23d         Tones rising maybe, caught in traffic (5)
SCALE: These are musical tones which are usually rising when played in order.  They’re C(aught) inserted (in) into a word for traffic or trade.

Some good stuff here but my favourite was 21d for its simplicity and surface.

The Quick Crossword pun: ray+dull+hurt=red alert

75 comments on “DT 27825

  1. I found this fairly straightforward for a RayT, but an enjoyable solve nonetheless. Thanks to Pommers and RayT **/****

  2. A bit more challenging today, for me, and I don’t know if it is a RayT or not but it did have some of the traits to say it was – namely poor synonyms for some clues that usually are a pointer.

    Anyway, I did finish it in 2* time but did not find the puzzle as enjoyable as others of late. so only 2* for enjoyment.

    1. Just because Ray T uses synonyms that aren’t the ones that spring to mind immediately doesn’t mean that they’re poor.

      1. I suppose that is a matter of opinion. For me a fair puzzle is one that uses accurate synonyms. It is easy to make a puzzle difficult by stretching the meaning of words but I hardly think that is a trend I would encourage just to male a puzzle more difficult. It is rather like misspelling words to make them fit, in my opinion, and surely you wouldn’t want that..

        1. Totally agree with you George and Haplogy. Some of the puzzles are difficult enough as it is, especially RayT ones

        2. As an example let us look at 18d . Now what does sinuous mean – it is derived from Latin sinus ‘bend’. Sinuous means winding or bending. Bending is an essential part of the meaning of this word.

          Now let us think about lithe. Lithe comes from Old English lithe and German linde meaning supple or limber – lissome or agile. There is no sense of winding or bending here really in this meaning.

          Sinuous only vaguely means lithe in my opinion from this argument.

          Maybe it comes from my background as a scientist where exact meanings are essential and sloppy synonyms such as this one, in my opinion, would just not be acceptable.

          1. From the Chambers Thesaurus:-

            Sinuous – adjective
            Lithe, slinky, curved, curving, wavy, undulating, weaving, tortuous, twisting, winding, bending, turning, meandering, serpentine, coiling, curling, wriggly, ogee

            I don’t think that ‘sloppy’ is a word that could be applied to Ray T’s use of the English language.

            1. Notice how many of them are to do with winding – I would suggest that the thesaurus here is far too broad in including lithe or slinky. But that is of course, just my opinion.

              Roget does NOT include lithe or slinky, by the way.

            2. Quite right. Ray T lives and works in Paris where he teaches English. There is a new edition of Chambers Thesaurus out in a week’s time – maybe a few purchases would be in order!

          2. Definition of SINUOUS from Collins on-line dictionary:-


            1. full of turns or curves; intricate
            2. devious; not straightforward
            3. supple; lithe

            I think that just about covers it.

  3. Very enjoyable, and a bit tricky as pommers says (e.g. 22a “muscles..” and 8d “seeing that rehearsal”). I keep misspelling 1a (with an e).

    Favourites include 13a (endless lure..), 15a (Church and State..), 26a (Cold?…) and 4d (marks by the compiler..).

    Many thanks RayT and pommers

  4. I am glad to read that you found it a tad tricky , pommers, as I found so tricky that it was less fun.I got there in the end without hints so I guess I am only here to moan.I found I appreciated the clues only after looking at them for a long time, such as 1a and 15a.I am probably in a minority of one.
    Thanks to all concerned.http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/smiley-phew.gif

  5. Waking up on a Thursday always brings a smile to my face with a 50% chance of a Ray T puzzle, and today’s was a Ray T day!

    The top half went in smoothly but the bottom half needed a couple of stops and restarts before it all fell into place. 25a was my last one in and favourite. In the absence of Her Majesty (perhaps given time off to prepare for her official birthday on Saturday), I wondered if Queen Victoria was standing in today. When the penny dropped, that was clearly not the case!

    I was puzzled by M for Marks in 4d, as the abbreviation for German Marks is DM, but, before putting my foot in it (again!), I checked my BRB and under “m”, it says “marks (German currency)”!

    Overall this was 3*/4* for me. Many thanks to Ray T and to pommers.

  6. Nice but a bit tricky today…we agree with the assessment by Pommers, so thanks to him and Ray T.

  7. ***/***

    This would have got a lower difficulty score but the SW corner held me up. 22a, 25a and 23d caused me no end of problems.

    However when 25a jumped out it gave me the biggest smile.

    Many thanks to RayT and to Pommers for blogging. Stellar work on the pics again.

  8. This took twice as long as usual so into the difficult slot for me. Alas. Bellowhead are to go their seperate ways following live dates in November and April. hanni and I already have our tickets because we are special. For the rest of you, tickets go on sale tomorrow Friday 12th June at 10.00am. here is a link. http://www.bellowhead.co.uk/live.html

    And here they are in a video filmed by one of my irregular customers.

    1. If this was made by one of your customers, it’s a fine piece of editing. Well done.

  9. I’m going to stick my head above the parapet and say I’m sure it’s a Ray T, although my reasons for saying so are different to George’s.
    I agree with 3* difficulty and 4* for enjoyment.
    I spent too long trying to make 1a an anagram (frivolous) of SWEET THING and M – stupid.
    I found the 16a hidden answer even though it was upside down as well as hidden http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_smile.gif and then completely missed 6d! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/icon_rolleyes.gif
    My problems were in the bottom left corner – 25a – thought of all the ‘Victorias’ except the right one and couldn’t get 23d for ages.
    I loved 12 and 26a and 3 and 8d. My favourite was either 25a or 21d – just haven’t quite made up my mind yet!
    With thanks to Ray T and to pommers. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gif

    1. I tried the anagram for 1a too. It didn’t jump out at me so I moved on. When I came back to it I had a couple of checkers that weren’t in the fodder so I thought again.

      I bet we are not alone http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gif

      1. Ray Ts clues are rarely JUMPOUTATCHAS. They have to be teased out painfully. I had several bung the blighter in because they fits the checkers moments. The grig is full I can work out why later, if they are right that is. I never understood Supertramp. Totally illogical to me.

  10. Like Hanni, the three clues mentioned were also my last ones. I thought 25a might be chains originally, trying to justify that there is a mountain called Victoria in oz.
    But I think the connection is a bit remote.
    Liked 15a the most.
    Thanks to the setter and to pommers for the review.

    1. 25a was the first in today, maybe being a Miffypops style bung in but turned out to be right. The reason for this, is because we watched some clips of Sir Les Patterson last night.

      1. Lovely man! Does he still sits on the Tasmanian cheese board? I saw BH on stage once. Fabulous comedian.

        1. I’m sure he still sits in the Tasmanian cheeseboard. We watched a lovely interview with him and John Betjeman where Sir Les refers to him as Sir Benjamin. Our ex poet-laureate was bewildered. (Available in very poor quality on you tube)

  11. I can’t remember not enjoying a Ray T. before, so this is a first. Not one clue even raised a hint of a smile. No cheeky innuendo, unless you count 14A. No Her Maj. And then there’s the awful 25A, which I admit I failed to solve along with 23D. So, I will just thank the setter for all the times he’s made me smile in the past, and also thank Pommers for the review.

  12. The loads of other things that Victoria could refer to include a district of London, mountain, port, avenue, building, bridge, college, county, dam, dock, hospital, island, memorial, park, road, square, street, theatre, tower, township and university.

    Not to mention a Martian crater, a Roman Goddess, a wine grape, an asteroid, fish, moth, plant, several films, ships, class of battleship, class of submarine, a troop transport aircraft and an Australian lager.

    Even all that isn’t a comprehensive list. Have a look at the dismbiguation page for Victoria on Wiki http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/smiley-phew.gif

      1. And the capital of the island of Gozo. I told you it wasn’t a comprehensive list.

  13. Thanks to Ray T and to Pommers for the review and hints. I thought it was a Ray T because although the Queen was missing, all the Quickie clues are one word, with 1a Beam(3), guess who? I nearly gave up at one point, but got there in the end. Last in was 25a,fiendish. Favourite was 14a. Was 4*/3* for me. Very enjoyable puzzle. Out for a walk at Kenwood now, weather fantastic in Central London.

      1. Make the most of it. Aren’t they supposed to close soon? It would be such a shame.

        1. There is talk of them to be closed for a period of time to try and create dams to make the water level higher. We hope not though.

    1. As soon as I’d clicked the “publish” button t started raining again and it hasn’t stopped since http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_sad.gif

        1. Same here. BTW, it’s still raining only a little harder now and the garage roof is dripping. Odd, but that only seems to happen when it’s raining http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_unsure.gif

    2. Sun, blue sky and 23C in Oxford – at the risk of sounding like a grump we could really do with some rain – well, the garden could. Off to cut grass again!

  14. It took a while to find an opening into this one, but then 10a finally got me started. Reasonable progress thereafter until the SW corner, where it seems I was not alone in coming unstuck until the blog put me on the right lines.

    Favourite clue of the day was 15a.

    Many thanks to possibly Ray T, but definitely Pommers.

    1. Now I’m pretty sure it’s a RayT production. I only doubted it because, as Expat Chris said, it sort of lacked the giggle factor that’s usually there in his puzzles and Her Majesty is AWOL again.

      15a nearly got my vote as well. It’s on the podium along with 9a.

  15. Come on, of course it’s a Ray T. Incomprehensible clues and no phrases, what other clues do you need. Absolutely dreadful as always.http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_negative.gif

  16. Like Rabbit Dave, the top half went in smoothly then had to go to Manchester and Liverpool on business ,returned to the office and the rest fell into place, subconscious dd its job ! probably a***/*** about right liked the logical wordplay thanks Mr T and Pommers.

  17. Another great puzzle by the master. Favourite by a mile was 25 which was last in with much gnashing of teeth. Also liked 2 4 6 13 14 16 21 etc etc. Thanks to RayT for getting me out of the wind.

  18. We did quite a bit of this without assistance, but then had to resort to the hints, which is not unusual for a Thursday. I wouldn’t ever have got 25across even though it’s my name. I don’t know why Australians call girls Sheilas, but I wish they wouldn’t.http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_negative.gif

  19. ****/****. Much more difficult than earlier this week and needed help from Pommers for explaining some of my bung ins. Also great review by the way. Thanks to the setter for stretching the little grey cells.

  20. Our friend Christine, who is arriving here tonight, is now over the Bay of Biscay, just to the west of Saint-Nazaire. She’s at an altitude of 37,000ft and travelling at 473mph.

    Estimated landing at Alicante at 2038CEST,20 minutes ahead of schedule. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yahoo.gif

    Info courtesy of http://www.planefinder.net

        1. Don’t tell me – you’ll be on the vino collapso long before they arrive back at yours! I think you definitely deserve it. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_good.gif

          1. Pommette has left for the airport and vino collapso uncorked. Well, I have to check it’s OK before the visitor arrives http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_good.gif

              1. With us it’s checking that it’s not corked but how that could happen, or why I said it was uncorked, I don’t know – the stuff comes in a plastic bottle with a screwcap at €2.25 for two litres. It’s surprisingly palatable http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_good.gif

  21. Splendid bung-it in day and hope for the best, despite that the electronic supertoy and I had a lovely time and looking at pommers’ masterly blog we appear to have done well. Loved 1a although I loathe the product, several other giggleworthy things but rather than risk a smacked hand from you-know-who I am opting out from being specific. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/smiley-phew.gif

    1. I hate 1a too – yukky – just sweet and sticky. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_negative.gif
      I want to know what was giggleworthy, who’s going to smack your hand and why? http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_unsure.gif

  22. We certainly agree with the “trickier than usual” brigade”. We mentioned at the time that it was taking us into ‘Toughie time’, whatever that may be. Even from our part of the world we spent some time pondering the Victoria clue before the penny dropped. This one and 23d were our last two in. All good fun.
    Thanks RayT and pommers.

  23. I have Regina for 25 ac. Well dearie dearie me. I will have to show my bare Backside in Broadgate over this one. 25ac and 18d were my last two to go and as we hadn’t seen Her Majesty I bunged in REGINA which fit with the checkers at 19d and 23d. The words In Australia from the clue gave me ina at the end which was enough to justify a “bung it in”. Now were this earlier in the puzzle the answer to 18d would have rang alarm bells. At the end of a puzzle it is not going to happen because I never write the last answer in. I see no point in wasting ink or tapping on an ipad.
    Oh Dear

  24. Nothing wrong with this, IMHO. 2*/3* or thereabouts, and 25a a worthy favourite. Many thanks to Ray T, and of course to Pommers.

  25. Many thanks to pommers for the review and thanks to everybody else for your comments.


      1. Tomorrow is the start of Porquerolles Classique.
        Some great boats.
        Partridge (1885), Bona Fide (1899) and winner of 1900 OG in Paris. Tigris (1899), Marigold, Andale, Lelantina, Eva etc etc.. Not to forget Moonbeam of Fife.
        Fabulous old ships.
        Should be a great edition.

        1. Mmm. Wonderful. The Tall Ships Race has been out of Hartlepool and is a fantastic sight. To see these beautiful antiquated ships in such sharp contrast to the usual sights of the North Sea is delicious.

  26. Couldn’t get to grips with this one at all….only completed 75% then gave up in disgust! My brain must be on a completely different wavelength from everyone else …….hated it! ****/* …….and the week was going so well too!

  27. I’m another who yielded to numerous bung-ins and I again take issue with some of the synonyms. Least Fav clue 25a with 24a runner-down. Possibly due to the late hour but not much fun was had by me. Thanks Setter (RayT now confirmed) and Pommers. ****/**. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_negative.gif

  28. While I appreciate the efforts of all our setters and try to remember to thank them for their efforts on our behalf, I do look forward most to a RayT. And this one did not disappoint. 25a was my last one in, and when it finally sprang to mind, I chuckled. A fabulous clue that had me running through all the Victorias I could think of (although not as many as Pommers, although I’m sure he had electronic help for that). 18d took me a while, too, and those two took me into 3* time. But what 4* fun was had teasing out the wordplay. Thanks, as always, to Mr T and to Pommers, especially for the wardrobe malfunction pic – that happened to me once, on the first joint school trip with the girls’ high school to a Bonnard exhibition at the Tate. And I was wearing red underpants that my mother had bought me. A humiliation that lives to this day.

  29. Enjoyment is hard to gauge these days, but I agree with those above that said this was tough but fair.

    Progress was mostly smooth but the SW had some holes for a while. I filled those after a sweetie gave me a little hint for 25a.

    My favourite might be 26a, but it might be one of quite a few others.

    Thanks to RayT and pommers

    Usually the quickie is a training exercise for me: not much fun but some good synonym practice, with the pun there as an incentive. This one was an exception. Funny what a bunch of random words can do.

    I should be able to comment on the today’s today, which will be nice.

  30. Thank you Ray T, difficult but an excellent puzzle. Thanks Pommers for your review and hints. Finally catching up !

  31. Two completions of 3* difficulty rated puzzles in a row for me, wow! But pride will no doubt come before a fall. And did take me a while to finish and completely failed to parse 22a & 8d or work out where the ‘do’ came from in 20d. 23d was my last in but was in unusual situation of having 1 uncompleted clue in each quadrant before that, so no particular area of difficulty. 25a did take a while to come but I’m in the ‘clever use of lots of possibilities’ camp rather than not liking it. I liked the put-the-pieces-together clues like 1a and 7d. Got the answer to 10a fairly quickly from wordplay but wasn’t convinced it meant ‘draw’ so only put it in when checkers suggested it had to be. 12a was new word but worked it out then checked dictionary. All in all, a good challenge – thanks RayT and Pommers for elucidating parsing.

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