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DT 27885

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 27885

Hints and tips by pommers

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty *Enjoyment ****

Hola from the Vega Baja where pommers is still a bit knackered after the rather hectic month he’s had. Three weeks in the Far East followed by 3 turnarounds in the apartments has taken its toll.  Oh well, I guess I’m not as young as I once was.

On to the crossword which I’m pretty sure is a Ray T but it’s unusual in that it has six anagrams. All the other signs are there though so I’m fairly confident.  There are two lurkers, a first letters clue, the Queen is on parade along with her lead singer and all the clues are less that eight words – I rest my case.
I found it suprisingly easy for a Ray T puzzle (maybe you’ll all disagree) but it had the usual entertainment level if a little low on the innuendo. I’ll be interested to see what you all make of it.

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.


7a           Wavering atheist accepting new changes (8)
HESITANT:  To start with we have a nice way into the puzzle with an anagram (changes) of ATHEIST with N(ew) inserted (accepting).  Always happy when the first across answer goes straight in.

9a           Man-eating monster thus brought back by ship (6)
OGRESS:  Take the Latin for thus or therefore and reverse it (brought back) and then add the usual two letters for a (steam)ship.

10a         Tabloid king hit rock bottom? (4)
SUNK:  One of the daily tabloids followed by the abbreviation for king from chess notation.

11a         Porcelain incorporating cool cat (10)
CHINCHILLA:  Another word for porcelain with a word meaning to cool inserted (incorporating).  This cat could also be a rabbit or an Andean rodent.  I think that the last time I saw this chestnut the cat was a rabbit.

12a         Secret past revealed in court (6)
COVERT:  A word for past as in finished is inserted into (revealed in) the abbreviation for court. A very good surface to this one.

14a         Propositions sweetheart leaving dodgy threesome (8)
THEOREMS:  Anagram (dodgy) of THREESOM(e) but without one of the swEet hearts (leaving).

15a         Romantic Bond perhaps keeping trim (6)
SLOPPY: Perhaps how a child might describe something romantic.  Take what (James) Bond is an example of and insert (keeping) a word meaning trim, as in trim a branch off a tree.

17a         Unit of force, current and weight (6)
NEWTON:  A word describing something that’s current or recent followed by a heavy weight.  This unit is the derived SI unit of force that imparts an acceleration of 1 metre per second to a mass of 1 kilogram; equivalent to 105 dynes or 7.233 poundals.  I bet you’re glad I told you that!

20a         Right split about the first female rector (8)
REVEREND: You need R(ight) and a word meaning to split and put it all around (about) the first female person, you know, her in the Garden of Eden.

22a         Gruff detective taking over (6)
MOROSE:  ITV’s most famous detective put around (taking) an O(ver).

23a         Rotten cop I fancy extorting money (10)
PROTECTION:  A type of money extorting racket is an anagram (fancy) of ROTTEN COP I.

24a         Fellow, ancient, seeing wrinkle (4)
Newspaper version: Beginning to feel ancient seeing wrinkle (4)
FOLD: F(ellow) [newspaper version: initial letter (beginning to) F[eel]] and a word meaning ancient, or at least aged

25a         Green GI needed to carry apparatus (6)
ENGINE: This apparatus is hidden (to carry) in the first three words.  First of the lurkers and an excuse for a racing car . . .
lotus 49

26a         Instrument‘s bent with room to play (8)
TROMBONE: Anagram (to play) of BENT with ROOM.


1d           Shapeless half-nude with blouse undone (8)
NEBULOUS:  An anagram (undone) of the first half of NUde with BLOUSE.  Now you didn’t expect me to resist that tempation did you?

2d           Steal and it’s arrest and prison (4)
NICK:  Triple definition.  Something we don’t see very often is a triple definition. This one works really well.

3d           Tap stuck in barrel? Wrench it, say (6)
FAUCET:  This is also the American word for any tap and it sounds like (say) another way of saying “wrench it”.  I always thought this was just the American word for a tap but on checking the oracle I find that in English English it is specifically a tap fitted to a barrel.  One lives and learns.

4d           Real civilisation, initially where Zeus was born (8)
CONCRETE:  C (Civilisation initially) followed by a phrase (2,5) telling you where Zeus was born.  Bit of general knowledge required here unless you guess the answer from the checkers and then look carefully at what you’ve written – like wot I did. It was my last in!

5d           Referee and one supporter turned renegade, we hear (10)
ARBITRATOR: I (one) and a supporter of a lady’s chest are reversed (turned) and then followed by some letters which aren’t a real word but when pronounced  sound like (we hear) a renegade or defector.

6d           Greasy lumps in retreat? On the contrary (6)
ASYLUM: On the contrary because it’s not greasy lumps in the retreat, it’s the retreat that’s hidden in the greasy lumps.  Second of the lurkers.

8d           Spoils are not commonly wrapped by heartless thieves (6)
TAINTS:  A common or uncouth way of saying “are not” is inserted (wrapped by) into T(hieve)S (heartless).

13d         Terrible conceit — grew endlessly selfish (10)
EGOCENTRIC:  An anagram (terrible) of CONCEIT GRE(w) (endlessly).

16d         Missionary making contact in unending country (8)
PREACHER:  You need a South American country without its last letter (unending) and insert (in) a word meaning make contact or arrive at.  This doesn’t quite work for me as the tenses don’t seem to match.

18d         Catch fish, interrupted by small, small bird (8)
NESTLING:  Another way of saying catch (fish perhaps) and one of crosswordland’s favourite fish has S(mall) inserted (interrupted by).

19d         Plug breach at sea (6)
ADRIFT:  Abbreviation for a plug as in publicity followed by a breach.  Nice to see “at sea” as the definition – it’s usually an anagram indicator which what I thought it was here until a checker came to the rescue.

21d         Duty Queen performed with Freddie’s heart (6)
ERRAND:  Her Majesty has finally turned up.  Start with her and follow with a word meaning performed or managed and then the heart of FreDdie.  Here’s one from the great man . . .

22d         Guru‘s followers on hill (6)
MENTOR: Start with some followers (Robin Hood had merry ones) and follow with the usual hill or rocky outcrop where Gazza lives.

24d         Starts to fabricate implausibly bogus stories (4)
FIBS:  A nice all-in-one to finish.  It’s the first letters (starts to) of the last four words of the clue.

Quite a lot of blue but my clear favourite is the triple definition and great surface in 2d. The other steps on the podium are occupied by 24d and 4d.  What did you think?

The Quick Crossword pun: mar+teeny=Martini®

77 comments on “DT 27885

    1. I prefer the paper version. I would have put that in blue as I have that experience every time I look in a mirror. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_sad.gif

  1. Nothing untoward in this one & agree with the ratings offered.am I right in thinking we have seen the answer to 21D quite recently? Many thanks to the setter & to an exhausted Pommers for his review especially the picture for 1D.?

  2. I found this pretty straightforward for a RayT but nonetheless enjoyable. Just a smidge over 1* time for me so I’d say 1.5*/4* with thanks to pommers and RayT

  3. ***/****

    The day started badly when the OH left for the airport taking the paper with him.
    New paper bought and a RayT to look forward to.

    Quite a few R & W with a few bung it in and parse later. I bippled my way through the LHS with no real hold ups. Then I slowed down. I had no idea 11a was one of them. Many many years ago I shared a house with someone who owned the small furry version. Missed both the hidden. 14a was just a guess.

    Lots of smiles including 1d, 2d, 15a and 36a.

    Many thanks to RayT and to Pommers for a great blog.

    Scary Giovanni over lunch.

      1. Is the Indy a subscription one? I’ve looked at the Giovanni…I got 5 clues on first pass. The rest in incomprehensible. Probably not for everyone else mind.

  4. Decided on a */*** after completion over breakfast, had to confirm 11a was also a cat as well as a fur providing rodent-much relieved! nice lively crossword, took a while to parse 9a , my dictionary didn’t give my 21 down solution as a possible synonym when I looked up duty, but conversely, did give duty when I looked up the synonyms for my answer- albeit in the same dictionary! . 3D provided the chuckle, thanks to Pommers for the English explanation; favourite was 6d.Still waiting for the first wicket.

  5. Yes, I did wonder whether this was a RayT as it was fairly easy and just did not have the feel of a RayT. I finished having enjoyed it which was another indication that it was not a RayT!

    I found most of it to be a R&W but the NE corner slowed me down a bit – but still 1*/4* would be my rating.

  6. Likable enough but for me nothing to write home about. Suppose 15a is romantic! Sir Isaac’s absolute unit of force is a new one on me – SI Units always baffle me. No Favs. Thanks RayT and Pommers for sorting a couple for me. ***/***. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/icon_neutral.gif

  7. I didn’t think this quite fell into one star difficulty as the NE corner held me up. I rated it 2/4 and thoroughly enjoyed solving this excellent Thursday offering. Thanks to our setter and Pommers for his hard work. Good to see Australia putting up a solid batting performance at the Oval. It has the feel of a proper test match, not the slightly longer T20s that the last couple of matches have produced.

  8. I agree with 4* enjoyment but would probably have to give it 2* for difficulty – no particular reason but just what I felt about it.
    7a was obviously an anagram but as ‘wavering’ or ‘changes’ could have been the indicator I ended up ‘wavering’ about which the definition was.
    I didn’t know 11a could be a cat and didn’t know the 17a unit of force.
    I spent too long trying (and failing) to make 19d ‘advert’ – well, an advert could be a ‘plug’.
    I prefer the clue in the paper for 24a – just how I feel too! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_sad.gif
    I liked lots of these so will just bung them all down – 14, 22 (how could I not like this one) and 8 and 24d. My favourite was either 24a or 2d – not two favourites but haven’t quite made up my mind yet!
    With thanks to Ray and to pommers and http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_good.gif to both of them.

    1. For 11a, I initially tried making an anagram of ‘porcelain’ +(c)ool. I already had the starting ‘c’ and came up with COPERNICAL. I did wonder if it was Copernicus’s cat?

      I’m really not that clever. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gif

  9. 2*/4*. I agree with YS above as I was also held up by a few in the NE corner.

    My short list of goodies today is 17a, 22a (please pass the tissues to Kath) and, my favourite, 6d..

    I’m off to the Oval tomorrow, so, weather permitting, I can look forward to a full day’s play.

    Many thanks to Ray T and to pommers.

  10. Hi pommers, great blog.I like your hint for 6d, which I didn’t actually need .When I read it , I was very amused by the lack of political correctness.Am I the only one who thought that ?
    Other notable surface readings were 12a and 24a and1d
    Thanks pommers and setter..

    1. I can’t say that I noticed anything in the hint for 6d that I would call non-PC but who would expect PC-ness from pommers anyway. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_smile.gif

      1. I think the two words used in the clue( not pommers hint ) to produce the answer were very amusingly non PC.
        I mean”greasy” and “lumps” and then the answer and another 6 letter word that might follow in ones mind.

  11. Enjoyed this, a steady completeion with 24d last in as had a bit of trouble in the SE corner.

    Thought 11a was a dog to start with!.

    Liked the word play and learnt some new words.

    2.5*/4* for me.

    Thanks to setter and Pommers

  12. Ray T in fairly benign mode, nothing really to cause too much head-scratching.

    Favourite for me was 12a, as the surface was exquisite.

    Like Rabbit Dave, I shall also be at The Oval tomorrow, let’s hope that Australia are not still batting by then!

    Many thanks to Ray T and to Pommers.

  13. I think it’s less disheartening if fellow solvers just said it took them 5 minutes to complete this crossword, than giving it a one star and saying how easy it was. We find RayT efforts totally incomprehensible and therefore not particularly enjoyable. In fact the Freddie Mercury performance was the best thing about it. Roll on Friday and thank you very much Pommers.

  14. I found this a. It harder than the 1* rating by Pommers. Started off OK, but then ground to a halt on the RH side. Some good clues especially 14a, 17a and 20a with a nice hidden clue in 6d. I did not appreciate the American answer to 3d but it was a funny clue anyway. I spent ages trying to fit Marlow or Maigret into 22a then twigged it! An enjoyable puzzle but not as easy as I first anticipated. 2*/3* thanks to setter and to Pommers for the hints, which luckily I didnt need today.

  15. Had to cheat to get 3d. Didn’t know that word at all and couldn’t parse it.
    Learned about Zeus birthplace too.
    The rest was quite straightforward.
    Favourite is 15a.
    Thanks to RayT and welcome back to pommers.

  16. */****. This was almost a R&W. Unusual for a Thursday. Thanks to the setter and Pommers for the review.

  17. Certainly easier than most Ray T offerings. I even finished it without the hints which is an advance on the Jay yesterday. **/*** and I am going for 2d as favourite. Doesn’t look like Sylvanus will get his wish unless there’s an Oz collapse this evening.
    Thanks to Ray T and to Pommers for the entertaining blog

  18. A relatively gentle Ray T, liked 6d the most. Thanks to Mr T and to Pommers for the amiable review.

  19. I started this puzzle from the bottom up (stop sniggering in the back there Smithers) as, on the first read through, nothing came to mind. Definitely a Ray T production but lacking a bit on the trademark innuendo although the rest were present and correct. Like pommers I thought 16d was a tad iffy but my favourite was 5d (maybe he’s been talking to CS’s best friend about some support)

    Thanks to Ray T for the puzzle and pommers for his usual light hearted review.

    Just watched Michael Clarke come onto the field of play at the Oval – what a super gesture from the English team. Well done http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_good.gif

    1. Bradman got the same treatment all those years ago. It’s great to see that chivalry and sportsmanship can still survive in the modern game, even if only for a fleeting moment.

      1. Just a shame that the numpties in the hospitality seats couldn’t be bothered to come out and join the rest of the spectators.http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_cool.gif

        1. If they paid for the seats and hospitality themselves they wouldn’t miss a single ball.

  20. Saw one star and thought Yipee but it was more than one star for me, more like a small constellation and so a big thank you to pommers for sorting out what I had bunged in. Thanks also to Ray T I love Thursday even if I do get mind boggled in the process. Favourite 20a because I have just received patronising email from my posh cousin who is one, managed to avoid being talked at by leaving Answerphone on. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/smiley-phew.gif

  21. I found this an easier RayT, I am usually stumped on a Thursday. It was also very entertaining.
    I immediately thought of Kath at 22a.
    I rather liked 4d, I’ll designate that as my fave.
    Thanks to RayT and to pommers for the entertaining review.

    Summer is well and truly here; we are tracking a hurricane in the Atlantic called Danny, due to arrive at the Lesser Antilles on Sunday. Don’t we have a commenter on one of the islands? I so hate these hurricanes, especially when it’s heading our way and we have to put up the hurricane shutters, so depressing.

  22. Hurricanes already? I thought they started later next month.
    A nice challenge today I thought. A Ray T on another wet day in Dorset. What summer?
    I liked 12a and overall I think 2/3*
    Thanks to Ray T and Pommers for his review.

    1. There’s a rhyme:

      June too soon
      July stand by
      August come it must
      September remember
      October all over

      Not strictly true, but just a guideline. We have the most hurricanes from August through October.

        1. I’ll run that theory past my friend Simon…who designs wind farms. Engineers are a strange breed. That question will vex him somewhat. Brill. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gif

  23. Mr. T definitely on the soft pedal today, which was much appreciated in light of the short amount of time I had to devote to it this morning. 1*/4* for me with only the 17a unit and the possibility of an anagram at 11a needing a bit of deliberation.
    Plenty of lovely clues – I’d pick out 12&15a plus 2d, with a mention of 22a for Kath!

    Devotions to Mr. T and many thanks to a weary Pommers for a great blog – I love all the personal comments that you always add in.

    1. Thank you Jane. I always try to put a personal touch or two in my blogs so I’m glad you appreciate it.

  24. Good evening all.

    Had a shot at this early on before heading out for the day. Things seemed to be progressing well enough but six remained unsolved when I had to leave,

    I liked 25a and 6d (both lurkers) and 4d was my real favourite.

    I’d say it was definitely easier than usual for a Thursday, especially if it was one of Mr T’s, and I’m pretty confident I’d have finished with a little more time, but at least two star difficulty for me with four stars for enjoyment.

    I missed yesterday’s puzzle but tried the ‘i’ puzzle on the bus which, I’m sorry to report, included an indirect anagram which was also a brand name…

  25. Pommers, you made an error when defining the Newton. Yes, force does equal mass times acceleration, but acceleration is measured in meters per second per second or meters per second squared. It is velocity that is measured in meters per second. I would not like any young physics students doing this crossword to get confused!

    1. Barry, you’ve changed your alias since your last comment two years ago so this comment required moderation. Both aliases should work from now on.

    2. Wasn’t my error. That was copied and pasted from Collins on-line. Surely you don’t think I know that sort of esoteric stuff? I’m a chemist, sailor and a petrol head.

  26. Solo solve again today and much enjoyed. Although there were quite a lot of anagrams, several of them needed a few checkers in place before they became obvious. Hard to guess a relative difficulty as we are so used to having a team solve, but it did seem to be about average difficulty to me and well up there for fun.
    Thanks RayT and pommers.

  27. A delight from start to finish which I enjoyed all the way through. There was a fair bit of bopping involved. I thought a Chinchilla was a rat so that held me up. The blog from Pommers was a delight too however I have to dock marks for the totally unnecessary clip at 21d. Tut. Tut. Tut. The bathroom wet wall coverings are up and the shower fitted. Bath panels to be built and fitted tomorrow. It is all coming along nicely. Well done MP

    1. I nearly said the video was for you, as I am aware of your great liking for said Freddie http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_wink.gif

      1. I never met him so I can neither like nor dislike the man. I saw him perform at Live Aid and he certainly had presence and charisma aplenty. It was a shame it was wasted on such pop pap. IMHO

        1. Pop pap is a matter of opinion but not that song. Montserrat Caballé is anything but pop pap, just sheer talent and Freddie held his end up (oops!).

          1. My pop education pretty well ended at age 30 or so and Ii know nothing about the gent, but I thought the clip you chose was pretty damned good, thanks for that.

    2. I have to say MP I’m unimpressed with your unPC vocabulary again today – “bopping”?! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/icon_redface.gif

  28. A little late on parade this evening. Muchas gracias to pommers for the analysis and to all for your comments.


    1. Nice to see you about Ray T – as always I think it’s great that the setter takes the time to drop in and say hello. Have you been asked to be a bit less risqué these days? I do hope not http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gif

    2. De nada. Enjoyed the puzzle so muchas gracias to you too.

      I’m well happy as I could get pics of a partially clad girl and an F1 car into the review, as well as some cute kittens for pommette – she’s a “mad cat lady”.

  29. ***/**
    having chinchilla as a cat, & needing to know the birthplace of Zeus seems rather obscure

    1. I didn’t know the birthplace of Zeus either but the answer dropped in from the checkers and it all became clear. As I said, it was my last in, probably because I never studied Classics.

      As to the Chinchilla – that is a real chestnut with your choice of cat, rabbit or rodent as the main protagonist.

  30. RayT gave us an easy ride today but a very enjoyable one. I noticed that it had rather a few anagrams but didn’t doubt the identity of the setter. There’s enough innuendo if you look hard enough.

    Lots of goodies. I very much liked 17a (nice to see a bit of physics in there), 14a made me smile, 15a made me laugh … the list could go on but it won’t.

    Thanks RayT, and thanks pommers. Welcome back.

  31. Nice crossword **/*** thanks to Pommers &RT. Surprisingly easy solve for a Thursday ? Favourites 9a, 11a & 25a ?

  32. Have to confess I needed BigD for three clues, so at least a ** for difficulty from me. Enjoyable as usual though.

  33. Would someone please explain 16d again? South American country (without its last letter) in a word meaning make contact or arrive at comes out as PREACHER. I feel awfully stupid but, Que?

  34. Don’t get 16d. Please, which South American country? Which word meaning make contact or arrive at? Help!!

    1. Hi Sam – South American country = Per(u) with arrive at (reach) inside. Hope that helps http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gif

  35. I always look forward to, and enjoy, a RayT, but I also expect my brain to have been through the Moulinex by the time I’ve finished. Not so tonight. Not a R&W, of course, but a gentle and steady progression through the innuendo (it is there), keeping my eyes open for her maj, brought a too speedy conclusion to an excellent puzzle. I have decided, too late in life, to have a large glass of red wine every night as the newspapers say its good for me. I gave up drinking it years ago when I finally realised that I wasn’t any good at it, and generally stick to beer and whisky. But people who don’t know that keep giving me bottles of the stuff, so I am steadily working my way through my own personal wine lake, but Ray’s challenge was over before the glass was empty. I think 4d wins by a short head from 9a as Top Trump. Many thanks to Mr T (and for popping in) and Pommers for a suitably irreverent review. 1*/4*

  36. Thanks to Ray T and to Pommers for the review and hints. A very enjoyable puzzle, not too tricky. Took a while to see the lurker in 6d. Couldn’t get 16a, because I had nebulose for 1d, sometimes I should write the anagram fodder down. Once corrected, 15a was last in. Favourite was 6d. Was 2*/4* for me. Late commenting due to a day trip to Weymouth.

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