DT 27933 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 27933

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 27933

Hints and tips by pommers

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ****

Hola from the Vega Baja where it’s looking like a nice day but was a bit chilly when I first got up. I think autumn has arrived.
I’m pretty sure we have a RayT today which I guess will fill some of you with dread, but don’t be too downhearted as it’s at the easier end of his spectrum. There’s a few anagrams to get you going and nothing to really frighten the horses. I enjoyed it and I’ll be interested to see if we get any converts today.

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           Produce uniform piece of low-down compost boxes (11)
MANUFACTURE: Start with some compost and insert (boxes) the letter denoted by Uniform in the NATO phonetic alphabet and a word for a piece of information (low-down). I wasn’t sure about this stuff being strictly the same as compost but Collins has “any material, esp chemical fertilizer, used to fertilize land” so I guess it’s OK.

10a         Amateur Queen cover (5)
LAYER: A word for an amateur, especially an amateur preacher, followed by the usual Queen.

11a         Massive star, practically perfect, embracing ‘Posh’ (9)
HERCULEAN: A word for a star or leading man without its last letter (practically) followed by a word that can mean perfect with the usual letter for posh inserted (embracing).

12a         ‘Best friend’ catching a cut branch to chew (9)
MASTICATE: Take a word for friend and insert (catching) A (from the clue) and a word for a piece of wood without its last letter (cut).  ‘BEST FRIEND’ and chewing cut branches has to be something to do with a dog – right?  Wrong! A clever bit of wilful misdirection IMHO as the word BEST isn’t necessary for the clue to work.

13a         Too much one would set back as before (5)
DITTO: Three letters for “too much” and a shortened way of saying one or I would all reversed (set back).

14a         Sweet spot for drive outside below par (6)
TOFFEE: Where you drive on a golf course placed around (outside) a word meaning below par or not very well.

16a         They ogle taking in finale of ‘Buck Naked‘ (8)
STARKERS: Take a word for people who are ogling or gawping and insert (taking in) a K (finale of bucK). I have resisted the temptation! The beer’s very nice though, I had some in Singapore in July this year.

18a         Game of golf, par broken round course’s last (8)
LEAPFROG: A children’s game is an anagram (broken) of GOLF PAR placed around E (coursE’s last).

20a         Declared to be satisfied about Tories’ leader (6)
STATED: Insert T (Tories leader) into a word meaning satisfied.

23a         Girder’s ends enclosed by small beams (5)
GRINS: It’s GR (GirdeR’s ends) followed by a two letter word meaning enclosed by or inside and then S(mall). This one’s fairly straightforward once you twig that it’s beams as in smiles and not rays of light or the things holding up the roof. Until that penny dropped I was a bit held up by thinking that “enclosed by” was a containment indicator, D’oh!

24a         Daily function, exterminator to be shown empty property (9)
CHARACTER: Daily is the “lady wot does” and she’s followed by a word for to function and then the first and last letters of ExterminatoR (to be shown empty).

26a         Joined keeping unit and served in the army (9)
SOLDIERED: A word for joined, two pieces of metal perhaps, has I (unit) inserted (keeping).

27a         Sailor’s capsizing holding head of pilot fish (5)
SPRAT: Reverse (capsizing) one of the usual sailors (don’t forget the ‘S) and insert (holding) a P (head of Pilot).

28a         Criminal raid — need top plunder (11)
DEPREDATION: Anagram (criminal) of RAID NEED TOP.


2d           Some Embassy baggage returned in Gulf (5)
ABYSS: It’s hidden in (some) Embassy baggage but it’s backwards (returned)

3d           Lift United with adulation (7)
UPRAISE: The single letter for United followed by a word meaning adulation or worship. We’ve already had Uniform and posh and now we get United – three different ways of clueing the same letter!

4d           Hermitage Museum’s opening supporting a quiet artist (6)
ASHRAM: A (from the clue) followed by two letters telling you to be quiet and then the usual artist. On the end (supporting in a down clue) is M (Museum’s opening).

5d           They pour from mountain fissures (8)
TORRENTS: A mountain in Devon followed by some fissures or tears.

6d           More chubby, almost game? (7)
ROUNDER: A girl’s game that’s a bit like baseball without its last letter (almost).

7d           Global warming expert‘s got coal limits resolved (13)

8d           Feeling conveyed that is not heartless (8)
SENTIENT: A word for conveyed, in the post perhaps, followed by the two letters meaning “that is” and then N(o)T (heartless).

9d           One cared and isn’t, I fancy, selfish (13)

15d         Changing belief around when possible (8)
FEASIBLE: Anagram (changing) of BELIEF around a word which can mean when.

17d         More angry about Church beginning to roast witch (8)
SORCERER: A slightly American word for more angry is placed around (about) the abbreviation for Church of England and an R (beginning to Roast).  Here’s the apprentice . . .

19d         With oddly free site, the compiler’s happy (7)
FESTIVE: Alternate letters (oddly) of FrEe SiTe followed by how the compiler might say he has.

21d         Journey‘s special feature covering polar extremes (7)
TRANSIT: A feature or characteristic around (covering) the letters for the two poles.

22d         Open container’s finished (6)
CANDID: A container followed by a word which can just about mean finished.  Not my favourite clue. Perhaps we should start highlighting least favourites instead of favourites!

25d         Part of chest or solid trunk (5)
TORSO: The day’s second lurker. It’s in (part of) chest or solid.

My favourite was 5d for its elegant simplicity. Also on the podium are 12a and 17d but there’s quite a lot of good stuff here.

The Quick Crossword pun: goes+Tories+ghost stories


73 comments on “DT 27933

  1. I struggled slightly with this which puts it in ***/**** territory for me. Some nice stuff & liked 4 D but my gold star goes to 19D. Many thanks to the setter & Pommers for his excellent review.?

  2. All of the words in this puzzle are complete words today. This should make things easy for those with iPads

    1. Enjoyable but doing it without glasses made it more difficult. Otherwise fairly straight-forward. Thanks to BD and to The Setter. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_bye.gif

  3. Another enjoyable puzzle. I liked 1a (produce uniform piece), 16a (they ogle), 18a (game of golf – don’t boys play this too?), 2d (some embassy luggage), 5d (they pour), and 7d I think is great anagram.

    Many thanks pommers and RayT

  4. Agree with **/****

    The long anagrams certainly helped get things started and I even spotted the hidden reverse.

    The SW corner caused a few problems though not sure why. But it did.

    Got stars by 8 clues but 5d was simplicity itself. Lovely clue.

    Many thanks to RayT and to Pommers for a lovely blog. You resisted temptation for 16a and put the 25d pic in?

    Micawber is scaring me.

    1. Down to the last nine in the Micawber but they are proving to be really stubborn. Going out shortly, which is probably no bad thing!

  5. I’m just about to start and became a convert last time so this will just be a ‘walk in the park.

  6. Wonderful stuff from my favourite setter. Just pushed into 2* time by looking for the name of a star (don’t be silly, it isn’t the Don!) and having to check on 4d which I either didn’t know or had forgotten – though easily do-able from the word play. Tempted to go for a 5* for enjoyment, but that’s just bias on my part!
    1,16&18a get podium places – 5d takes the laurels.
    Devotions to Mr. T and many thanks to Pommers. Surprised you held yourself in check over the 16a opportunity but thoroughly enjoyed Fantasia.

  7. Difficult one for me today – I got the long anagrams ans thought that would give me a good start but I struggled and struggled. Too tough for me – back to the drawing board!

    England are currently 197 for 1 in Abu Dhabi with Cook not out on 117 – this series is going to be a dead loss on these slow pitches – a waste of time!


  8. An enjoyable challenge, managed to get there in the end. The hardest ones for me were 13a and 23a I knew the answers but couldn’t work out the cryptic part till I looked on here.

  9. Just enough fight to make me smugly satisfied upon completion. Thank you RayT. Excellent blog Pommers as usual.

  10. I agree with this being at the easier end of the spectrum with regards to RayT. Lots to enjoy however, with thanks to pmmers and RayT */****

  11. No I don’t look upon a RayT puzzle with dread – more dislike as I do not think they have a very high quality – but that is just my opinion. I would say the same of this effort as being poor. Many of the clues were not readily able to be parsed and had the usual dubious synonyms. I finally put in a solution, groan, shrug my shoulders and move on.

    However, all crosswords are a good challenge and enjoyable to a degree.

    I did not think this one was that difficult so I would give it 2^ for difficulty and 3* for enjoyment.

  12. I agree with pommers – 2* difficulty and 4* for enjoyment even though there wasn’t quite as much innuendo as there sometimes is.
    11a took ages and then, having finally got the answer, working out why took as long again.
    I do like long answers round the outside, especially when three of the four are anagrams although 28a took a while.
    I thought that giving ‘Gulf’ a capital letter was very sneaky.
    I liked 12 and 23a and 4d. My favourite was 17d.
    With thanks to Ray T and to pommers – very restrained pics.
    Not doing too well with the Micawber Toughie so far – might need to do something else for a while and have another go later.

  13. An enjoyable puzzle for me today which I rate 3*/3*. There is a small error in pommers clues, for 28a, the anagram should start with an ‘r’ not an ‘s’
    Thanks to pommers and Ray T.

  14. No real dramas, just a good workout for the brain cells. As MP noted earlier, all one word answers today, so we cannot yet tell whether or not the i Pad problems have been solved. Let’s hope so. I will put 2.5/4 in my honesty box for this puzzle, as the SE corner held me up. Thanks to Ray T and Pommers for the review.

    1. I have enjoyed sorting out the word spacings, it adds an extra degree of difficulty. RayT rarely used more than one word in any answer so I didn’t expect them today.

      1. I pointed out much the same yesterday. As long as the wordplay and clue construction is good, which it invariably is, then solving is not impossible, just irksome.

  15. Plenty of character in this well-manufactured puzzle. some great clues to masticate over, we soldiered on and leapfrogged to the end. Many thanks to Ray T and ditto to Pommers.

    1. Be careful with this style in Big Dave’s Saturday Crossword Club. You will be placed in the naughty corner.

        1. A few months ago crypticsue relegated us to the naughty corner after pondering our alternative answer for 5 minutes.

          1. What about our friend Franco!
            He was left starkers in the naughty corner without even a bolero to wear.
            Miss him. Hope he comes back soon.

  16. That’s more like it.
    A real joy to solve.
    Thanks to RayT and to pommers for the review.

  17. Good afternoon everybody.

    A momentous day at mre Towers as Mr T is finally put to the sword with the aid of the innovative (for me) RayTgorithm (pat pending…) that left just four clues to solve, namely 4d, 11a, 17d and 28a. Of these 11a went in first, despite initially not being able fully to understand the logic, 4d, 17d and finally, after word circling the relevant letters at least half a dozen times, 28a. Lots of clever clues so I’ll just mention 5d and 24a in dispatches.

    Pretty sure I was into four star time, though not by much I think, so ****/**** for me.

  18. Another enjoyable puzzle from RayT. A few more anagrams than usual and only one hidden lurker which is unusual for Ray. Still, the anagrams got me going and the rest fell into place. Favourite was 2 but 4 5 16 18 and 23 were not far behind. Thanks to RayT and Pommers who I know is in the Raybeam fan club.

  19. A very enjoyable solve with nothing too testing thankfully. The long anagrams certainly helped, as others have also mentioned.

    Marginal favourite for me was 16a – it definitely produced the widest smile.

    Many thanks to Mr. Terrell and to Pommers.

  20. Well done to all the clever folk who managed to complete this unaided. I started off well but needed the hints for a section in the middle. Clues I enjoyed, were 12a, 19a and the lurker in 25a. Thank you RayT for today’s offering. I still struggle with a Thursday, but slowly improving. Thanks also to Pommers for the much needed review.

  21. A joy to solve. Agree with Pommers’s rating of 2*/4*. Favourite 5d. Last one in was 24a! Many thanks to Ray T and Pommers – liked the illustration for 25d! Going back to Billingshurst tomorrow to get ready for our Transatlantic voyage to NYC – very exciting as it will be our first time there…

    1. How exciting. Advantage of going E to W is you gain an hour every day on the way across, so nice long days. Bon Voyage !!

  22. I am normally flummoxed on a Thursday, but today’s Ray T was eminently solvable ? Much thanks and also to Pommers although I lost a bet with myself about the illustration for 16a ? **/**** Liked 24a, 26a, 14a, 4d & 8d ?

  23. Well, dang ****it! I printed my crossword as usual, pointed the thiggumy to print, and out came a crossword from 16 Jan 2013! I never noticed and was rather surprised that I could actually DO a RayT puzzle. Then I missed Her Majesty and found the review didn’t match anything I had. I have now printed the correct puzzle but not sure I’ll have the time to do another … maybe a good thing!

  24. ***/***. A very nice puzzle and some neat clues. I really liked 5 and 17d and 24a. Thanks to all.

  25. Thanks to Ray T and to Pommers for the review and hints. A very enjoyable puzzle, with a few tricky clues. 28a was a new word for me. Favourite was 16a, last in was 11a. Most enjoyable, was 2*/3* for me.

  26. This was less demanding than many of RayT’s offerings. Great to have only single word solutions. I often wonder whether setters attempt to thwart use of ‘cheating’ gizmos by going for multi-word answers. Thought 1a a bit cumbersome. Fav was 14a with its double golf association. I think of 4-letter word in 17d as being rather more distressed than angry but I note what Chambers says. TVM RayT and Pommers. ***/***. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_good.gif

  27. Putting in supernova for 11a didn’t help at all.14a took a while to unravel as did 21d and 15d. Still, very enjoyable . Thanks pommers and Ray T.

    1. Officially a mountain is a hill higher than 2,000 feet (610 metres). There are two such on Dartmoor which (just) qualify: High Willhays and Yes Tor.

  28. I was interested to see the pic for 18a. We had put in a cartoon one for the same answer some time ago and because the participant creatures had self satisfied smug grins, some people with minds that work that way thought they were playing a different game. Nice that you found an unambiguously respectable one pommers. The usual excellent stuff from RayT and all his characteristic self-imposed rules have been adhered to. Good fun.
    Thanks RayT and pommers.

  29. This could not possibly be a Ray T. Firstly the clues were entirely logical not requiring a leap of faith.
    Secondly I completed it over breakfast
    Thirdly I really enjoyed it.
    Thx to all.

    1. Read the comment, poured a large glass of wine, read it again – still says that Brian enjoyed a Mr. T puzzle. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_wacko.gif
      I think BD should start a new file on the blog for ‘comment of the day’ and I vote for Brian’s comment to go in with pride of place.

  30. Many thanks to pommers for the analysis and to all for your comments. As always, much appreciated.


    1. Good evening, Mr. T – nice to hear from you and thanks for a most enjoyable back-pager.

      NOW THEN – about this next BD birthday party. Thus far we have made offers of Eurostar tickets, accommodation and plenty of free booze – heavens above, we even asked you to name your own incentive. Responses from you – absolutely nothing!

      Come on now – we know you read the comments (because you said as much) and surely your loyal fans deserve at least a ‘one night only’ appearance from their hero? Please http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_smile.gif

  31. A tricky solve for me today, but managed it finally. Last one in was 23 across, though had to check hints to confirm. ***/*** from me. Thanks to setter and Pommers.

  32. Just into 2* time, and 3* for satisfaction. 16a made me smile so gets my vote for top clue. Thanks to Ray T and muchos gracias to Pommers.

  33. 2*/4*. Another late one for me today, but, as always on a Ray T Thursday, this was an absolute delight.

    Many thanks to Ray T and to pommers, whose review I needed for the parsing of 11a, my last one in.

    1. 11a was my last one too – almost didn’t get it and then, having got it, almost couldn’t work out why . . . oh dear!

    2. Likewise, another late start for me as well. A cryptic crossword puzzle coupled with ‘The Apprentice’ on TV is bit of a challenge, but I did manage to complete in reasonable time. 16 across and 17 down were among my favourites today. To add to last evening’s conversation – today it was the engine ‘Royal Scot’ that I witnessed undergoing speed tests prior to being allowed out onto the ‘big railway’ sometime in the near future. Most impressive.

  34. Usually mention of Ray T makes me pick up tissue box and flee but decided to be very brave. After a rather long time and some electronic help I had filled in all the little boxes. When I tuned into to Pommers masterly comments I found to my great surprise that my wild guesses were correct. Off to lie down with ice pack on my head thanks to Ray at and Pommers. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/smiley-phew.gif

  35. Long, long day for me and as I sat among the trainload of drunks on the way home I feared Ray would keep me up well past my bedtime. Not so. A gentle challenge, for him, afforded much satisfaction upon completion. 11a was my last one in and I would never have got it without all the checkers. Lots of lovely misdirections which usually have me flummoxed, but not tonight, and I powered my through with a constant grin. I am not prepared to name a favourite, as I there are too many good ‘uns to choose from, but 16a brought the widest smile. 2*/4*

    1. PS It is with great regret that I will not be there on Saturday as I shall be beginning the great cruise North. I hope many people come and that all have a great time and no one is sick

  36. I didn’t get round to commenting yesterday and now can’t remember much except that I didn’t find it too tricky and very much enjoyed the solve. Just popping in to say thanks to RayT and pommers.

  37. Several days later I have finally had time to catch up on lsst week’s puzzles. I enjoyed this one; 14a was my fave and 2/3* overall.
    Thanks to RayT and pommers for his masterful review.

  38. Hi folks I’m obviously missing something fairly obvious here but re 11a, although I got the answer I am still struggling to see how POSH has anything to do with it. Presumably the A refers to Grade A (nearly perfect)? But where is POSH??

    1. Welcome to the blog Rod

      The provenance that setters use is this definition from Chambers:

      U (informal)
      * (of words, behaviour, etc) as used by or found among the upper classes, hence socially acceptable
      * Upper-class, opp to non-U
      ORIGIN: upper-class

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