DT 27897 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 27897

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 27897

Hints and tips by Kath

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating — Difficulty ****Enjoyment ***

Good morning everyone. Autumn seems to have arrived and so has Ray T. I imagine that some will be pleased by both, some by neither and the rest by one or the other. I found it quite difficult today – what did you think?

In the hints below the definitions are underlined and the answers are hidden where it says “Click here” so only do that it you need to see them.

Please leave a comment.


1a            Hit and stumped round end of over (6)
STRUCKNothing at all to do with cricket – it’s just pretending to be! A word for stumped or in a bit of a spot contains the last letter (end of) over.

4a            Fought advance with daughter embracing darling (8)
COMPETED — A word meaning advance or move towards contains (embracing) an informal endearment (darling) and is followed by D(aughter).

9a            Was first to admit slob was idle (6)
LOAFED — Was first or was ahead contains (to admit) a slob or a lout.

10a         Terribly serious following new obsession (8)
NEUROSIS — The one letter abbreviation for N(ew) is followed by an anagram (terribly) of SERIOUS.


12a         Court‘s central point overturned in court case (8)
TRIBUNAL — A court case or a hearing contains (in) a reversal (overturned) of a word meaning the central point or crux.

13a         One’s back having taken in a distant expedition (6)
SAFARI — A reversal (back) of the letter that looks like a one, with the ‘S, contains (having taken in) the A from the clue and another word for distant or a long way from.

15a         Cat litter’s loose blends keeping hot (13)
TORTOISESHELL — An anagram (blends) of LITTER’S LOOSE and (keeping) the one letter abbreviation for H(ot).


18a         Offensive former husband can be polite, possibly (13)
EXCEPTIONABLE — The usual two letters that mean a former husband (or wife or any other kind of partner) are followed by an anagram (possibly) of CAN BE POLITE.

22a         Insect originally circling field (6)
SECTOR — Our first hidden answer or lurker. It’s indicated quite clearly by the word circling and I still missed it – for ages.

24a         Regimen broken eating acceptable dessert (8)
MERINGUE — An anagram (broken) of REGIMEN which contains (eating) the letter that means socially acceptable.


26a         Anaesthetic with nitrogen and oxygen kept in cold (8)
NARCOTIC — Begin with the chemical symbol for N(itrogen) and follow that with an adjective meaning very cold or freezing which contains (kept in) the chemical symbol for O(xygen).

27a         Hesitate, seeing female change (6)
FALTER — F(emale) is followed by a word that means change or modify.

28a         Shifty about cooker left dirty (8)
SLOVENLY — Start off with a short word meaning shifty or wily. This contains (about) a cooker or stove with the one letter abbreviation for L(eft).

29a         Polishes, accepting corporal’s first orders (6)
EDICTS — This kind of polish is the sort that would be done to a piece of work or writing before publication – it contains (accepting) the first letter of corporal.



1d            Recognise sailor hugging upper-class European (6)
SALUTE — A sailor – there are quite a few to choose from in crosswordland but this time it’s not tar, jack, or AB so you’ll have to think of another one – contains (hugging) the letter that denotes upper-class and is followed by E(uropean).

2d            Almost discover jerk’s unsentimental (9)
REALISTIC — A word meaning to discover or comprehend without its final letter (almost) is followed by an involuntary jerk or twitch.

3d            Shout for joy, capturing Queen, guru’s last piece (7)
CHEQUER — A verb to shout for joy or applaud contains (capturing) the one letter abbreviation for Q(ueen) and the last letter of (gur)U. Sneaky or what – we’re all so used to the Queen being ER . . .

5d            Harbinger literary mariner raised (4)
OMEN — A reversal (raised) of the name of a fictional sailor (literary mariner) created by Jules Verne.

6d            Shot phaser suppressing power, maybe (7)
PERHAPS — An anagram (shot) of PHASER contains (suppressing) P(ower).

7d            Aluminium sink set up for scientist (5)
TESLA — The scientist was a Croatian born U.S. electrical engineer and inventor. The two letter chemical symbol for Al(uminium) is reversed (sink) and then another one – set is also reversed (up). Sorry – that’s really not very clear but I can’t think of a better way of putting it – if anyone has a better idea . . .


8d            Devotee getting record on impulse, oddly (8)
DISCIPLE — Start off with a record, the vinyl kind, and follow that with (on) the odd letters (oddly) of impulse.

11d         Brief half of police catching a criminal (7)
LACONIC — Three of the six letters (half of) poLICe contain (catching) the A from the clue and one of our ‘usual suspects’ for a criminal.

14d         A star rose rising up (7)
ASUNDER — The A from the clue, the star that is the source of light and heat to our planetary system and then a reversal (rising) of a colour of which ‘rose’ is a variety. Oh dear – yet another one I’m rather at sea with in trying to explain.

16d         Tireless Tsipras initially dividing Greece in broadcast (9)
ENERGETIC — The first letter (initially) of T(sipras) is contained in (dividing) an anagram (broadcast) of GREECE IN.


17d         Yokels in endless quiet among pines (8)
PEASANTS — Another word meaning pines or craves for contains (in) some quiet or comfort without its final letter (endless).

19d         Tease is acceptable in show (7)
PROVOKE — A verb to show or demonstrate contains (in) two letters which are an informal way of saying that something is acceptable or all right.

20d         Outlaw gang pinches gear (7)
BRIGAND — A gang or ring of people like Robin Hood’s merry men contains (pinches) some gear or equipment.

21d         Wide bristles collecting rubbish (6)
DEBRIS — Our second hidden answer (collecting) – it’s lurking in between the first two words of the clue. I missed this one too – it was my last answer.

23d         Freight vehicle on move (5)
CARGO — A motor vehicle is followed by a verb meaning to move or progress.

25d         Pressure on unhealthy to get some medicine (4)
PILL — The one letter abbreviation for P(ressure) is followed by (on) a word meaning unhealthy or not well.


I liked 12 and 13a and 17 and 20d.

The Quickie pun – MASS + CUR + RAID = MASQUERADE

109 comments on “DT 27897

  1. Yes, Kath, I agree this was difficult today, but I loved it so it was 4*/5* for me. I would normally fall into the camp of welcoming a Ray T puzzle but not the start of Autumn. However as “Summer” has been so awful perhaps we can be optimistic that Autumn will be better.

    I’m normally quite quick to spot hidden words, and, although I spotted 21d instantly, 22a proved very elusive for some reason and was my last one in.

    17d is my favourite today particularly as it reminded me of trying to suppress giggling at school when singing the hymn containing the line “as pants the hart for cooling stream”!

    Many thanks as ever to Ray T, and to Kath for an entertaining review.

  2. Yes, very hard for me – but I expect that from RayT as I can never understand how he thinks some of those synonyms make any sense. I just do not think in the same way, I suppose.

    Not in the least enjoyable.

    5*/1* as usual for a RayT

  3. Spent a couple of hours and did 90% of this without hints. Needed hints for the rest so about right for a RayT. Wasn’t thinking of 26a being the answer so got stuck there, liked the fairly simple but witty 23d and 25d, lots of other favourites.


    Thanks Kath for the great hints and Ray T for the entertainment.

  4. Thanks to Ray T for the puzzle (quite tricky, I thought) and to Kath for the excellent blog. I read 7d as being a reversal (set up) of AL(uminum) and a verb to sink (like the sun at dusk) – although it is a bit odd that the word ‘set’ appears in the clue.

    1. Thanks gazza – I’m sure you’re right. I did get into an almighty pickle trying to sort that one out.

  5. I found today’s toughie easier, but it was a particularly easy toughie.

    I also struggled with the “sink” in 7d, it could be AL + set=sink (as in setting sun), then “set up” could be the reversal indicator for the whole lot – that might make it less awkward, but using “set” in two ways in the clue feels a little weird, so overall I’m not convinced it’s any better. (ps on submitting I see Gazza has said the same)

    I thought this puzzle had many good surface readings. Even our old friend 23d reads smoothly. Others include 9a, 10a, 13a, 18a, 24a, 27a, 29a, 8d, 20d. Enough said. My favourite probably the offensive former husband (18a)

    Many thanks Kath for a great review and thank you RayT for a great puzzle

  6. Very tricky but managed in the end. However I wrote the answer to 14d in the margin as, although it could not be anything else from the checking letters, I fail to see what it has to do with ‘up’. Can someone enlighten me?

    Thanks Kath for the hints.

    1. I don’t really understand 14d either but it was the best that I could manage. I can’t find anything like it in BRB but, in the Chambers Thesaurus under ‘asunder’ it says ‘in two, in pieces, to pieces, up.’ I’m none the wiser – gazza, or anyone else?

        1. If you use that well-known search engine looking for ‘asunder’, the first hit gives a description of the adverb (archaic), then three synonyms, apart, up and in two. I don’t like it either, but our setter, usually so reliable, obviously felt that it was a fair clue.


  7. For a change I found this RayT quite straightforward and just nicely cryptic (if that’s not a contradiction in terms). Lots of good clues but can’t recall a particular Fav. Thanks RayT and Kath. ***/****. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gif

  8. Purple patch today – only slight hiccups due to catching ‘Kath disease’ over the lurkers and being unfamiliar with that definition of 14d.
    2*/4* with 1,15&28a in the frame for favourite spot.

    Devotions to Mr. T as always and many thanks to Kath for a great blog with some lovely pics. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_good.gif

  9. I agree it was tricky in (many) places, not helped by some sideways synonyms.

    Is an oaf really a slob? More of an idiot……
    Is asunder really rising up? More a splitting apart….

    Not complaining though…it’s in the JD of the setters to lead us astray until the pips squeak, so there we are!

    1. Agree that’s several synonyms caused a ‘really!!’ reaction and the ‘up’ in the asunder answer was one of them, ‘rising’ referring to reversal of the red rose

  10. Great puzzle and very enjoyable. Missed a couple of hidden solutions and kicked myself! Thanks to Ray T and Kath.

  11. Had the same problems with 7 and 14d, and also thought that in 11d, it was quite strange to take the middle-ish letters of police.
    Like RD, my last one was the lurker in 22a.
    26d was very good and quite topical.
    But favourite is 9a.
    Thanks to RayT and to Kath for the review.

  12. I thought this was a truly excellent puzzle all round. The bottom half went in easily enough, but the top half, especially the NE corner, pushed me into a greater degree of difficulty, so 3/4 for me. Some clever clues, tough anagrams and very few R & Ws. Many thanks to our setter and of course Kath for her hard work.

  13. I didn’t have too many problems with this one and enjoyed solving it. Thanks to Kath and RayT 1.5*/4*

  14. I fail to fully understand 7d and 14d – it seems I am not alone.

    Also in 22a how is “circling” a hidden word indicator?

    Thanks to Kath for the review of a very difficult and very uninspiring puzzle.

    1. With 22a I thought that circling = enclosing so the answer is enclosed by the first two words of the clue.

      1. 22a – Thanks, Kath. I now understand.

        My “circling” was “surrounding” but “enclosing” makes much more sense.

        The English language!


  15. I thoroughly enjoyed this one although it took me quite a bit longer than usual to finish – the NE corner was the last to go in. My online thesaurus (based on Roget) has up as a synonym for asunder which is not one I’ve come across before. I had always thought of it as meaning apart so another new meaning to try and remember. I also missed one of the hidden words for ages which didn’t help the total solving time. Overall ****/****

  16. While it was indeed pretty tricky I was on wavelength for most of this. Then I fell flat at the last two: 3d and 11d. I even looked up CHERUER at one point http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/icon_redface.gif.

    I parsed 7d à la Gazza, and didn’t even notice the weirdness of using SET again in the clue. What I did notice was a lack of innuendo.

    A great review for great puzzle. Thanks to RayT and Kath.

    P.S. The quote at 7d is actually from Edison. Here’s a related one from Tesla, which I found here:

    Tesla on Edison: “If he had a needle to find in a haystack he would not stop to reason where it was most likely to be, but would proceed at once, with the feverish diligence of a bee, to examine straw after straw until he found the object of his search. … I was almost a sorry witness of such doings, knowing that a little theory and calculation would have saved him ninety per cent of his labour.”

    — New York Times, October 19, 1931 (the day after Edison died)

  17. I had the correct answer for 14D simply because I couldn’t see anything else that fit the checkers, but I didn’t like it. I, too didn’t see 22A for ages. Distinct lack of innuendo today, which is one of the things that makes a Ray T. so much fun. No standouts for me. Thanks to the setter and Kath.

  18. Why do lurkers sometimes defy detection? 22a was my last in and only then because I had the checking letters. Odd. A tricky Ray T challenge today I thought. I managed without hints but it took a while. 11d was my fave because it was different from the usual. 3/3* over-all.
    Thanks to Ray T and of course to Kath for her review.

  19. One of the trickiest crosswords on the back page for ages. Took a while to get going, but got there in the end. 15a was my favourite. ****/***

  20. ****/*****. First pass produced despair so decided to sleep on it. This morning it all gradually fell in place if at times stretching the little grey cells. Many thanks to the setter for a very enjoyable solve and thanks also to Kath for the review.

  21. ***/****

    particularly liked 18A, 28A & 16D

    actually preferred this to yesterdays, which I did not get on with at all

  22. I must be in the minority (or on Ray T’s wavelength), as I didn’t find it too tricky, save for the NW corner which took longer than the other three combined.

    I certainly liked 3d, but my favourite was 9a, lovely surface and deceptively simple construction.

    Was I alone, I wonder, in originally reading 16d as “Tieless Tsipras….”?!!

    Many thanks to Ray T and to Kath.

  23. I thought it quite mixed between obvious and obscure. 6d , 1d , 2d and 21d were among my favourites.
    Thanks Ray T and Kath.

  24. Didn’t bother with this waste of ink, went straight to the Toughie which is a nice crossword today.

    1. Either post something positive or don’t bother to post.
      It’s getting very boring reading your comments on RayT puzzles

      1. He’s off on the “2015 Official World Tour of Scottish Chippies” tomorrow.

        Goodness only knows why.

  25. Well! I’m glad thats over. Much harder than yesterdays, and needed some help from the hints in NW corner. A bit dull I thought with no real ahha! moments or smile provoking clues. All felt a bit pedestrian.. But perhaps that was just me…perhaps I’ll take Brians lead and have a look at the Toughie! 3*/2* thanks to setter and to Kath for the hints.

  26. Evening all. Very many thanks to Kath for the review and to everybody else for your observations.


    1. Thanks for dropping in as usual, Mr. T. If nothing else, it must amuse you that your puzzles cause so much division in the ranks. I can’t think of another setter who does this on such a regular basis!

      1. Indeed! One of the things I like about RayT’s puzzles is the brevity of the clues – after a bit of practice with his style I find I don’t have to dredge through each clue to find out what it is I should be looking for .. Chuck in a dose of humour and innuendo and in my opinion it’s a recipe for a fine crossword (even if the definition is sometimes slightly less obvious).

    2. Thanks so much for ‘popping in’ – it is, as always, really appreciated by everyone.
      I know that I’ve said it before and I know that I will say it again but there’s just nothing like one of your crossword for dividing the commentariat – the first time I said that BD doubted that it was a real word!

      1. Asked Mr. Google about it, Kath. Thought the definition was perfect and I quote – ‘educated people and experts’. That just about sums us all up, I reckon! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_cool.gif

        1. Unfortunately Collins has “the journalists and broadcasters who analyse and comment on current affairs”

          Not sure I want to be associated with that lot http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_scratch.gif

            1. My BRB says “The group of people who act as commentators on political, social etc matters” … I guess we come under “etc” :).

        2. For goodness sake, you lot. So many definitions of everything these days – just go through them all and pick the one you like best. Seems to work for our DT setters! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_mail.gif

  27. Yes, pretty tough and some slightly iffy elements. I suppose 4*/3* is about right. I was held up by a sudden attack of inspiration which led me to put in “grappled” for 4a (l rather liked the “apple” bit, which l equated to “darling”, and assumed the ” gr..d” would become apparent later). I can’t say l’m fully convinced by either 14 or 17d. Still, a worthy work-out, for which l thank Ray T. Thanks to Kath for the review as well.

  28. We have spent the last hour or so in front of our laptop watching patiently while an expert in India played around with our computer and has FIXED IT. They were 24hrs later than the appointed time but the people we dealt with when we had got through were helpful, patient and very competent which has gone a long way to improve our opinion of Microsoft.
    OK, now to the puzzle. We thought it was quite tough and really good fun. With 14d we were quite happy with the definition of ‘up’. In the usage in torn up, broken up, smashed up etc, the dictionary definition of asunder as ‘in pieces’ is a perfect match. Lots to keep us smiling.
    Thanks RayT and Kath

    1. Good evening to you both (or should that be good moring now for you?).
      Have you loaded Windows 10 per chance?
      People love it or hate it – pommers says it’s better than Windows 8.1 and has certainly improved the volume on his PC>
      Others hate it and have deleted it.
      I’m sitting on the fence and am still using W7!

      1. And me, Pommette. When my trusty old Vista machine finally kicked the bucket I had no option but to buy into one with W8. Hated it so much I paid an ‘expert’ to change it back to W7! Heaven preserve me from W10 and beyond. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/smiley-phew.gif
        Just can’t get to grips with this ‘swiping’ technique – I like to be able to press a button! Think that must be down to the many years of using a typewriter.

        1. Now it’s working on all laptops, I quite like it. When it crashed them I said lots of naughty words, wanted to use them as a frisbee out of the nearest Window and wondered what Bill Gates email was. They’re fine now.

        2. All I can say is that Windows 10 has speeded up my laptop and the sound is now a lot louder. It keeps lock on the wifi and works in the kitchen (great at frying onions) which it didn’t with 8.1.

            1. Basic sauce? A lack of visual basic has been causing me some problems until I reloaded MSWord.

              As to the frying onions bit it was me that was doing the frying but also watching La Vuelta on a pirate stream of Eurosport on the PC, which never worked in the kitchen until Windows 10.

        3. I’m a total dinosaur and just use the keyboard and not the mouse most all of the time . . . I use all the keyboard shortcuts instead of the buttons

  29. Hola from the Vega Baja – we’re late on parade today having been out for lunch and then a very “relaxing” afternoon with friends.
    (for relaxing read alcoholic) !!!!! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_whistle3.gif

    On first pass we thought it was going to be only 2/3 * for difficulty as we got over half the answers.
    But then we hitt the buffers and it turned into 4* for difficulty for us too.
    Like a few other people definitley don’t like the definition of 14d which was our last one in.

    Thanks to RayT for a tricky little puzzle and to Kath for the blog

  30. ***/***

    Fine stuff as always from RayT. Missed the hiddens, nothing new there. Guessed at 14d. Loved 2 and 20d.

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

  31. Blimey, that was hard going.
    But I got there without recourse to Kath.
    I always find with Ray T’s that once you’ve cracked two or three really difficult ones, the crossword gets a little bit, but not much, easier.
    Even some anagrams eluded me for longer than I liked.
    Many thanks Ray T and thanks, Kath for the review, no mean feat on a Thursday.

  32. A little tricky, but not too bad. A couple of clues raised an eyebrow but for the most part it was quite doable, just took me longer than usual. 16d was rather amusingly topical I thought.
    Thanks Ray and Kath.

    1. You’ve abandoned your usual alias so your comment required moderation. Both old and new aliases should work from now on.

      1. I think pommette has other things on her mind which means the blog is low on the list.

        We do the crossy together over lunch most days, by that I mean she does it with me as a safety net when she gets stuck but today was an example of what’s becoming common – pommette getting clues quicker than me. Perhaps it’s time for her to do the blog and allow me to fade away into disgraceful retirement! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_wink.gif

              1. Divorce or actual bodily harm would probably be the result. How the Kiwis manage it is beyond my ken.

                1. Get two laptops. Put yours in the kitchen to make breakfast with fried onions as it tackles the across clues. Get Pommettes in another room with Windows 10 as it does the hoovering and the down clues. Job done.

                  1. Does that mean that if I get three laptops I can have one frying the onions, another doing the cleaning and the third doing the gardening? Suddenly it seems like a good idea. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_smile.gif

                  2. Right – Windows 10 it is then. If it will do the hoovering then it’s definitely for me.
                    I HATE HOOVERING – and yes I’m shouting.

                    1. As technical director you could round up old laptops that run off Windows 7 and 8 to clean actual windows as you two write the intro. I’m looking forward to nexf Thursday’s blog.

                    2. It’s Kath next week (we swapped last week), and then it’s Falcon so you don’t have to suffer me for a while yet.

                  3. Ran out of ‘indents’ Hanni, but I’m actually up to the vital necessity of having at least 12 by now. Goodness, no wonder we’re ‘k-nackered’ by the end of a day! Let’s hear it for the girls. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yahoo.gif

              2. Actually that was how we “sort” of started.
                pommers is a total technopeasant and when he first started blogging back in early 2011 he wrote the blog in MS Word but I did all the techy stuff. Including transferring it to WordPress, doing the formatting, adding the pictures and videos etc etc.

                Not sure how many blogs he’s done now – probably over a 100 – but I probably helped out for the first 20 or so!

                He refers to me as “The Technical Director”.

                1. I’d like to bet that the pay isn’t commensurate with the title? I can well remember my ex installing me as Company Secretary – seemed to make me responsible for everything and entitled to nothing. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_sad.gif

            1. Nor me. And I just spent most of my time crashing Lasers. And the occasional Topper. I wasn’t fussy. The fact you can sail anything bigger is beyond impressive.

  33. As many people agree (that) “sink ” for “up” is dodgy, lets congratulate Kath on her cryptic intro.
    Still working on it myself. Is it some part of a famous quote?

  34. Just an interesting fact for anyone that didn’t already know – all tortoiseshell and tortoiseshell/white cats are female as only two X chromosomes can produce that colour…… but then I guess we girls are invariably responsible for the colour of our offspring. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/icon_redface.gif

    1. And most pure white cats (and dogs) are deaf according to our vet….I’m not so sure about this ‘fact’.

      1. I’ve heard that but, like you, have no idea if it’s true. There is a white cat who lives close to us who, I suspect, is deaf as he or she clearly doesn’t hear cars.

  35. Well I take my hat off to you Kath. Started this late(ish) last night and only managed 10 answers in before my eyes began to close of their own accord. Looking at your blog this morning, I’m not sure I would have managed many more, I have too literal a brain for this setter. Surprisingly,however (reading the comments above) 7d was my first in and I saw it clearly, although I had never heard of him.

    Thanks to you and the setter. I’m determined to train my brain to ‘get’ him

    1. Welcome to the blog from me and thank you – I hope you keep commenting.
      Stick with this blog and you’ll soon be able to ‘get’ Ray T.

  36. Oh how I hate Thursdays.

    Didn’t finish this after two days so have had to give up with top left completely empty. 14d, say what? Others too clever for their own good.

    Favourite of those I did probably 28a, but it’s marginal. 5/1 – did not enjoy at all.

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