DT 27945 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 27945

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 27945

Hints and tips by Kath

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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

Hello everyone. I have no doubt that the setter of today’s crossword is Ray T – the clues have all his trademarks and anyway it’s his week. I didn’t think that it was one of his trickier ones but, as always, I’m perfectly happy for any of you to disagree with me.

In the hints below the definitions are underlined and the answers are hidden under the bits that say “Click here” so only do so if you need to see them.


1a            Person, say, with a drinks outlet (6)
BODEGA — Start off with military slang for a person – any old person, man, woman or child – and follow that with the usual two letters that mean say, or for example, – finish off with the A from the clue.


4a            Penniless, goes back to pick up penny (8)
STRAPPED — A reversal (back) of a word that means goes which contains (to pick up) P(enny).

9a            Expression includes good acceptable language (6)
TONGUE — Begin with an expression or style of speaking which contains (includes) the one letter abbreviation for G(ood) and the letter that stands for socially acceptable.

10a         Beat’s incorporating vintage blues (8)
DOLDRUMS — A verb meaning to beat or pulsate, with the ‘S, contains (incorporating) a word for vintage or something that’s been around for a while.


11a         Scaremonger putting body part in a roll (8)
ALARMIST — The ‘A’ from the clue is followed by a verb meaning roll or tilt as a ship might do in a strong wind – this contains (putting in) a body part or a limb.

13a         One keeps tabs on him! (6)
SMOKER — ‘Tabs’ are a slang word meaning cigarettes in Northern England – if you know this you’re fine but unfortunately for me I’d never heard of it.


15a         Record corruption surrounds blokes in show business (13)
ENTERTAINMENT — Begin with a verb that means record or make note of. This is followed by a word that means corruption or smear which contains (surrounds) some blokes or chaps.

18a         Rude bits on unaired broadcast (13)
INSUBORDINATE — An anagram (broadcast) of BITS ON UNAIRED

22a         Bring out gun without any resistance (6)
EVOLVE — An eight letter hand gun or a pistol with a rotating magazine begins and ends with the one letter for R(esistance) – just remove (without any) both those letters.

24a         Drunk on lager, imbibing one in local (8)
REGIONAL — An anagram (drunk) of ON LAGER and the letter that looks like a one (imbibing one).

26a         Current time by more offensive burglar (8)
INTRUDER — A short word meaning current or up to date, the one letter abbreviation for T(ime) and another word for more offensive or less polite.

'Would you believe I'm a deep-cover agent for the Department of Homeland Security?'

27a         Stealthily follows small rabbits (6)
STALKS — Start with the one letter abbreviation for S(mall) and then deal with the rabbits – not burrowing mammals but a verb that means natters on at length – originally from Cockney rhyming slang, rabbit and pork.

28a         Hit by scam in endless mail (8)
STRICKEN — A scam or swindle is contained in (in) a verb to mail or post without its final letter (endless).

29a         Gently beam before Queen request (6)
PRAYER — The one letter musical abbreviation that is an instruction to play softly or gently is followed by a beam or a shaft of light and then the two letters for our Queen.



1d            Stay with board with food in desert (6)
BETRAY — A short word meaning stay or remain is followed by a board or salver which is used to carry food (board with food).

2d            Trailing manure a wise man turns up overalls (9)
DUNGAREES — Another word for manure or animal poo is followed by (trailing) the A from the clue and a reversal (turns up) of a wise man or prophet.


3d            Diner with rigour, methodically eating? (7)
GOURMET — Our first lurker or answer that’s hidden in the clue, indicated by ‘eating’ – it’s hidden in the middle of the third and fourth words. Could I see it? No, of course I couldn’t!

5d            Gadget raised toilet seat’s edge (4)
TOOL — A toilet or lavatory with the last letter (edge) of (sea)T are all flipped upside down (raised).

6d            Corporation making salt head north (7)
ABDOMEN — The salt is a sailor so you need a two letter abbreviation for one. Follow that with another word for a head or a cover and finish with N(orth).

7d            Play guitar or piano getting fortune (5)
PLUCK — The one letter musical abbreviation for the instruction to play something quietly, P(iano) is followed by a word that means fortune or fate.

8d            Unattached girl with naughty secret (8)
DISCRETE — One of the very popular girls in crossword land is followed by (with) an anagram (naughty) of SECRET.

12d         Socrates’ art really involves philosopher (6)
SARTRE — And here is the second lurker of the day – don’t be fooled by the apostrophe that gets in the way!

14d         Glib providing account in case (6)
FACILE — A case or folder contains (in) the two letter abbreviation for AC(ount).

16d         Nearly let off for all time (9)
ETERNALLY — An anagram (off) of NEARLY LET.

17d         These bowled over in game? (8)
NINEPINS — The words ‘bowled’ and ‘over’ struck fear into me and then the light dawned – SKITTLES! Unfortunately wrong, but not far off!


19d         Be in vast outdoors using alfresco camp initially (7)
BIVOUAC — The first letters (initially) of the rest of the words of the clue.


20d         Pilot ace through until end of war (7)
AVIATOR — The one letter abbreviation for A(ce), the Latin word meaning through or by way of, a little word meaning until or till and the last letter (end of) waR.

21d         More evenly matched, caught runner-up (6)
CLOSER — The cricketing abbreviation for C(aught) is followed by a runner-up, or someone who is not the winner.

23d         Sort of fur that’s sexier topless (5)
OTTER — The comparative form of a word that means sexually attractive or lustful without its first letter (topless) gives the short smooth fur of an aquatic carnivore (or the animal itself). Tricky to do a decent hint for this one.

25d         Present for the woman’s sweetheart (4)
HERE — Something belong to the woman is followed by the middle letter, or heart, of swEet (sweetheart).

I liked 4 and 18a and 17 and 23d. My favourite was 27a.

The Quickie pun:- VEER + JOKE + AIMS = VIDEO GAMES

Thanks to BD for the pun – I was never going to get this one and if I’d carried on walking round and muttering for much longer the men in the white coats would have carted me off!

88 comments on “DT 27945

  1. ***/****

    I was hoping Kath would get to blog this.

    I found this trickier than some RayT’s of late. About 2/3rds went straight in and then I came to a halt, particularly with 9 and 13a. The ‘tabs’ bit completely flummoxed me. I kept thinking it meant to watch. With 6d I wasn’t sure of the definition but it was the only thing that seemed to fit.

    I’ve got little stars by 11 clues but thought 23d was fantastic. 29a should also get a mention for having ‘beam’ and Her Majesty in the same clue.

    Many thanks to RayT, loved it, and to Kath for blogging. Loved that too.

    I’m finding the Toughie tough.

  2. Very enjoyable, I got a real feeling of accomplishment when I managed to finish it. I thought it was going to be a struggle as I got nothing on the first pass but then a couple of good anagrams and hidden words and it gradually came together – really good fun!

    A small query about 26a – if I worked it out correctly ‘current’ must mean ‘in’ – is this right? – am I missing something or have I got it wrong?


    1. Forget the query – I’ve just read Kath’s blog and I’ve fallen in – doh!

      Note to self: read the blog, read the blog, read the blog, read…


  3. A much stiffer test today, I have never heard of the 1A outlet but worked it out & had to google to verify, 2 D made me chuckle as the hand brake has just bought a pair.Many thanks to the setter & Kath for her review http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yahoo.gif

    1. Forgive me for asking but does your comment give us to understand that you refer to ‘her indoors’ as the ‘hand brake’?
      If so, then that is very rude of you – but also extremely funny. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yahoo.gif

  4. Meant to add that never in a month of Thursdays would I have got the quickie pun. Well done to anyone that did.

    1. Me too, that was a shocker – I couldn’t see it at all – now that I know it I think it’s one of the poorest I’ve seen!http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/smiley-phew.gif

  5. An entertaining and not overly taxing puzzle from RayT today, which I thoroughly enjoyed. Thanks to Kath and RayT **/****

  6. I agree with Kath – 3*/4* and 27a, of course, was my favourite too. Many thanks to her and to the ever impeccable Ray T.

    Speaking of rabbits, I’ll be off again to the vet soon with my little bundle of fur. More news later.

    1. Come on RD – we’re all wondering how you and he are getting on and how the visit to the vet went. I did think of both of you when I first read 27a this morning.

        1. Thanks to you all. Unfortunately there is a mini-crisis at our local vets. They normally have three veterinary surgeons in attendance, but one is on holiday this week and another is off sick today. I am waiting on a call back but it’s not looking likely that I am going to be able to get him seen again until tomorrow.

          P.S. I had forgotten how difficult a word “veterinary” is to spell; 99.9% of the time it is abbreviated!

          1. Oh dear – poor you, and him. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_sad.gif Good wishes to both of you.
            Many, many years ago when our lovely collie was quite young and had eaten something pretty awful, was really ill and needed seeing that day and they couldn’t I changed vets on the spot.

          2. Oh damn and blast it, RD. I know it’s illogical but I’ve always been guilty of getting quite unreasonably indignant about vets being ‘allowed’ holidays or sick days. GPs I can understand, but vets are definitely not entitled to any life outside of caring for my precious four-legged ones.
            Sorry – that’s just the way it is. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_unsure.gif

  7. On first scan of the NW corner I thought I was in for a rough ride !, but all fell into place when , for a change, I completed the NE corner first. Decided on a**/**** before I read the blog and was pleased that the puzzle was favourably received . Well clued throughout and ‘quirky’-thanks setter and Kath for the pics-put me off smoking!’

  8. Steady solve and a couple of smiles along the way. Altogether satisfying. Favorites are 1A and the super 29A. Thanks Ray T. and Kath.

    P.S. I couldn’t get the quickie pun either. It didn’t float my boat.

  9. Hardest of the week for me. Didn’t manage to finish it. I am a northerner but didn’t get 13a, even knowing what tabs were. 6d and 8d seem very tenuous to me.

    1. Both ‘abdomen’ and ‘corporation’ are in the BRB as meaning ‘belly’.
      As far as 8d goes I wonder if you’re mixing up ‘discrete’ and ‘discreet’ – they sound the same but have different spellings and meanings. That sounds very patronising – I’m sorry – it’s really not meant to be at all. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_smile.gif

  10. Thanks to Ray T and to Kath for the review and hints. A very enjoyable puzzle, 2d made me laugh out loud. 19&21d get a special mention. 3d was very well hidden. Favourite was 29a, because it has Beam and Queen in the clue and also has the setter’s name in the answer. Was 3*/4* for me because I finished the right hand side quite quickly, but took ages to get the last six answers in the NW & SW corners. Clouding over now in Central London.

  11. Like Michael my first read through yielded a nil return but a deep breath and another go was more successful. Did however seek your help in the SW corner Kath so thanks for that. Tabs is a new one on me too. Thanks RayT for a nicely testing puzzle with lots of ingenious clues. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_good.gif

  12. I thought that the roll in 11a. was a synonym for a list, such as a register. I didn’t see a nautical reference, at all.

      1. I think you’re probably right! No excuses other than having seen something that seems to work it’s quite hard – well, it is for me anyway – to think any further. Apologies http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/icon_redface.gif

        1. You’re not actually wrong Kath as what you said works, but not very well! A vessel which is not lying vertically might be said to have a list but really that’s more when the weight distribution is wrong. A vessel “heels” to the wind or sea.

          The roll = list as in register is more likely to be what RayT meant. Maybe he will pop in to put us right.

          1. Umm – maybe he will. Maybe he’ll also confirm our suspicions about 29a – but I’ll lay odds that he will ignore all remarks about the forthcoming birthday bash – again. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_sad.gif

        2. Apologies certainly not needed – to each his own! Anyway I’m in awe http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_rose.gifof your reviewing skill.

  13. Blasted thesaurus.
    Gave me obtruder as a synonym for burglar and Ob is a river (current) in Siberia so it made sense.
    Couldn’t get 17d then.
    Never mind. I did have fun solving the rest.
    Thanks to RayT and to Kath for the review.

    1. Pete – when you’re replying to a comment instead of starting a new one if you click on the thingy that says “Reply” which is just under your name it keeps all the comments on one subject all up together.

  14. **/**** At the easier end of the RayT spectrum I thought. A good few LOLs, and I liked the “signature” in 29a.

  15. Thanks Kath for the clear hints which I needed for 27a and 28a. My favoutites were the hidden clues, 3d and 19d.
    With thanks to Ray T also.

  16. With a considerable amount of determination and head scratching I have managed to complete this. Not sure if enjoyable is the right word but satisfying certainly.
    Last in were 9a and 1d, could not get a desolate sandy place out of my mind?
    6d held me up for ages then had a vague memory of having seen this in the crossword some time ago.
    Haven’t heard ciggies referred to a Tabs for many a long year, it must be a north England term as my Grandfather (a Yorkshireman) used it.
    Thx to all even on this occasion Ray T.

    1. Brian – http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_good.gif – well done! I think this calls for a http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_rose.gif too. Of course what it really calls for is a piccy of someone drinking a glass of bubbly, but there isn’t one!

  17. The usual good stuff from RayT and I’d agree with ***/****. I was going to give it only ** difficulty but spent a bit too long on 1d and 9a before the pennies dropped.

    Quite a few good ones but my fav was 19d with 27a and 12d on the podium.

    Thanks to RayT for the 15a and to Kath for the blog.

  18. A great test. Lots of good clues, and the NE corner held out long enough for ***+/****
    Favourite was 4a, with 2d and 29a close behind. Hats off to BD for deciphering the quickie pun. Would never have got this in a month of Sundays ( or Thursdays).
    Thanks to Ray T and to Kath for the blog today. Loved the 26a picture.

  19. Lovely stuff – just what the doctor ordered. Only struggled with 28a (last one in) as I couldn’t get ‘struck’ out of my head for whatever reason.

    Thanks to Ray T for the puzzle and Kath for the blog (which I will now read)

    With regard to comment 18 above – is that really Brian? http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_unsure.gif

  20. ****/****. Started yesterday evening but got nowhere. This morning over a cup of earl grey sat in bed it came together albeit not very quickly. Really liked 1a and 2d once I’d moved on from some alternative words for manure! Thanks to Kath and the setter.

  21. I finished this one and I think I finished last week’s RayT as well. I’m either breaking the code or he is getting easier.
    The “tabs” in 13a is so esoteric it might even be a bit unfair.
    Nevertheless, I am sitting, feeling very smug to have solved this.
    Thanks to RayT and to Kath for the review.

  22. A pleasant 2*/3.5*, but no particular favourite clue (OK then, maybe 9a). Ta to Ray T, and to Kath for the review.

  23. I’d never heard of “tabs” but my Scottish wife informs me her mother used to smoke “tabbies”. My ignorance delayed the completion of this puzzle and since I was on a plane at the time there were no dictionaries to hand. Thank you Kath and setter.

  24. Wow, got there in the end but I had to work which detracted somewhat from the enjoyment. It’s probably just me but some of the clues seemed a bit too clever by half. Needed to refer to the BRB for quite a few clues and for me not having to use it is perfect. Many thanks to Kath and Ray T. ****/**

  25. Good afternoon everybody.

    Too tricky for me with the white flag being raised with three clues (1d, 9a and 28a) unsolved. Not very enjoyable.


    1. I’m hoping the following are taken as words of encouragement. I’m often saying much the same thing to my Dad.

      I’m no expert – and i think i probably have the absolute minimum amount of knowledge required – but i managed to finish this one. Fortunately i’ve done enough of these things to always think of G for good and U for acceptable, thus making 9a gettable early on. However, I subsequently also got stuck with just 1d and 28a remaining; But i persevered and got them both!

      I suppose my point (and the reason for this reply) is that solving as much as you did suggests to me that it wasn’t too tricky for you; maybe you should keep that white flag down a little longer. And if you do then complete it, this may well tip the balance towards enjoyable!

      All the very best, Rob

      1. Of course I should have got 9a. Even so I doubt I’d have got 1d and certainly wouldn’t have got 28a and I’d already spent far too much time on the puzzle in any event.

  26. Sorry – I’m late in again, but you all know what I’m going to say anyway – just brilliant, Mr. T.

    Haven’t heard of the ‘tabs’ before – obviously haven’t lived sufficiently far north – and fell into the same trap as Kath over the ‘skittles’ at 17d for quite a while (only because even I realised that ‘tenpin bowling’ was never going to give me an answer!).
    Thank goodness 19d was an ‘initial letters’ clue – the correct spelling just might have taken a couple of attempts. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_wacko.gif

    To many potential favourites to list, but I did rather like 1a and definitely fell for 29a, as many others have. A ‘gentle Beam’ would neatly transpose into a ‘quiet Ray T’ -is that what you meant us to see, Mr.T?
    The usual devotions to the great man and very many thanks to Kath for her own special brand of humorous blog.

    PS – that Quickie pun was quite dreadful, Mr. T! Only you would be allowed to get away with it. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gif

  27. Surprisingly, somewhere in the depths of one memory, tabs rang a faint bell. Enough to prompt a quick check in BRB to confirm. We did wonder whether this one had been put in specially for you Kath seeing you are no longer one. Lovely stuff with all the setter’s trademark characteristics. Really enjoyed it.
    Thanks RayT and Kath.

      1. Well done Kath. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_rose.gif
        It is a good thing you did not ask us about the Quickie pun. We have not got it yet and are resisting the temptation to click on the answer.http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_unsure.gif

  28. The SW corner took me considerably longer than the rest of the puzzle combined, but 26a finally yielded which allowed the remainder to slot into place.

    Like others, I did notice how Mr. Terrell managed to include both his alter-ego and his trademark “Her Maj” in the same clue, and that did produce a big smile (not a “gentle beam”!).

    My favourite of the day was 22a, but 2d ran it close – not though in terms of imagery!

    Many thanks to Ray T and to Kath.

  29. Managed to solve this one ? Which is most unusual for me on a Thursday ****/**** very enjoyable, last in was 1d Liked so many but 4a, 27a, 24a & 2d were excellent ? Big thank you to Kath & Ray T I did not like the “pun” had to look up the answer ? If we had 1a nearby I would be off for a celebratory libation ?

  30. An enjoyable Ray T which took me a while. Could this be a turning point for Brian? Thanks to all involved today. By the way, it struck me that Pommers probably didn’t take long to solve 1a!

    1. Delightful as always to have you pop in, Mr.T but sadly none of today’s questions answered. We’ve come to rely on your feed-back, please don’t disappoint us. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_bye.gif

      1. Of course, Jane. If memory serves, 11a was ‘list’ as in ‘register’ and 29a can be interpreted however you like! And yes, the pun was dreadful, wasn’t it? Thanks again to one and all.


        1. The pun reminds me of Les Dawson playing the piano. To be soooo bad requires a lot of skill to do it without just being rubbish.

    2. Thanks so much for popping in to say hello – as you can tell it really makes a big difference to lots of people.
      Sorry about the ‘list’ and the ‘register’. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/icon_redface.gif

  31. Really enjoyed this one. Since starting to follow this blog and discover who the setters are I now really look forward to the Ray Ts – he is my favourite, followed by Giovanni – so looking forward to tomorrow, too. Took ages to see 1d (last one in) and loved the self reference in 29a. 3*/5*

    1. Yeah – another Ray T fan. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_good.gif
      Keep a look out for his appearances as Beam in the Toughies – those are real brain-teasers!

      1. Will do, though generally the toughies are too tough for me and, more importantly, don’t appear on the iPad edition. ☹️

  32. iPad version playing up. I have the top half of the across clues only and the bottom half of the down clues. I may be able to finish by getting the clues from the blog. Five minutes until Bob plays Cardiff. Bring it on. Southampton Guildhall tomorrow. Sucker for punishment

  33. Late on duty tonight but this puzzle was worth the wait. Almost a laugh a minute and that is Raybeams forte. Favourite was 27 and also liked 4 5 6 18 23 25 and 29.

  34. Congratulations to Brian for finishing this RayT. I know that this was easy for quite a few, but I had to chew my way through it, and still needed the review for a couple. Like many, wanted to put skittles into 17d, which made me question my across clues. I didn’t get 10a, which on checking, was fairly straightforward. Wanted to put plonk into 7d, which is what I do on the piano. I was able to work through the clue in the end to get p followed by luck. Thanks to RayT, despite not quite finishing, I did enjoy it, and thanks to Kath for the splendid review as always.

  35. Super stuff. Loved all the trademarks – and the signature. The quickie pun took quite a lot of muttering.

    Thanks to RayT and Kath.

  36. RayT seldom disappoints and this was no exception. A fair amount of pensive gazing into the middle distance for the last half dozen or so, which took me into 3* time, with 10a being the last one in. I remember 13a from the Harry Enfield Geordie character who used to say: “I smirk tabs, me.” I’ve never hear anyone else say it, but there are so many regional variations for my chosen route to an early departure. Took me a while to parse 6d after I had written it in. Lots of great clues, as usual, but – like many others – it’s 29a that breasts the tape first. Many tas to Mr T and to Kath for both informing and entertaining.
    Off to Liverpool first thing to my eldest son’s stag weekend. I will need to take an improving book to the hotel, because I fear that some of the “entertainment” organised by his best man may not be suitable for a naïf like me …

  37. Finished despite the setbacks. An excellent blog Kath as ever. A very enjoyable puzzle Mr T.

  38. Dreadfully late with this one. Classic RayT. Thanks to him and to Kath for a great blog.

  39. Not as late as me, PD. I found this one really hard and was stymied in the NE corner by my wrong answer (WAITER) for 13a. Needed the lovely Kath’s help to finish but wound up being a bit irked with myself for simply not thinking laterally enough rather than with the setter for being too obscure. A sign of a good crossword methinks.
    Thanks Ray T and Kath.

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