DT 27969 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 27969

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 27969

Hints and tips by pommers

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ****

Hola from the Vega Baja where autumn has really set in. By that I mean it’s cold and sunny rather than hot and sunny, but very windy this morning.

We certainly have a RayT today as it has all his trademarks of short clues, single word answers, a bit of innuendo and Her Majesty is on parade too. Apart from a couple of slightly stretched synonyms this is Ray in fairly benign mood. Unusually for him there are six anagrams and the two long ones across the middle give plenty of checkers. I think even the RayTphobes among you should get on OK 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           Discharge exploding so deep (6)
DEPOSE: Anagram (exploding) of SO DEEP. It does get a little trickier later on, honest!

4a           Grand Canyon, American, split by Colorado’s right bank (8)
GORGEOUS: You need another word for a canyon followed by the usual two letters for American and inset (split by) an O (ColoradO’s right bank).  I keyed the answer into Google Images but manfully resisted the temptation . . . you’ll have to make do with the canyon instead.

9a           That man is after the old lady’s pounds (6)
MASHES: Start with your Old Lady (don’t forget the ‘s) and follow with a short way of saying “that man is”.

10a         Perchance story will include old relative (8)
ANCESTOR: The first lurker. The old relative is hiding (will include) in PERCHANCE STORY.

12a         European capital housing churchman’s backed eternally (8)
EVERMORE:   Start with E(uropean), follow with a European capital city and insert (housing) the usual abbreviated churchman and then reverse the lot (backed).

13a         Issued digital record, keeping single off (6)
RANCID: A word which can just about mean issued followed by a digital recording with I (single) inserted (keeping). I think this is a case of Thesuritis. In my thesaurus the word you need is not a synonym of issue nor vice versa but they do have synonyms in common. Nicely concealed definition though.

15a         Choking from lungs’ atria not working (13)

18a         Inanely grinned at nudes losing sweetheart’s sympathy (13)
UNDERSTANDING: Anagram (inanely) of GRINNED AT NUDES but without one of the E’s (losing swEet heart).

22a         Frank Capra did this (6)
DIRECT: Double definition or simple statement of fact – you choose. It’s a word meaning frank which is also what Frank Capra did in the film industry. “It’s a Wonderful Life” was one of his – brilliant film.

24a         Charge headed over English wicket (8)
DELEGATE: Charge as in charge someone to do something. You need a word for headed or went first and reverse it (over) and follow with E(nglish) and then what a wicket is an example of.  Kath will be pleased that it has nothing to do with cricket!

26a         Single ladies to split up (8)
ISOLATED: Anagram (split up) of LADIES TO.

27a         Character of country house reportedly (6)
MANNER: The answer sounds like (reportedly) a five letter country house. Chestnut alert ringing loudly!

28a         It delays travelling round the clock (8)
STEADILY: Anagram (travelling) of IT DELAYS.

29a         Somewhat tedious or dull generating yawns initially (6)
STODGY: It’s the first letters (initially) of the other words in the clue.


1d           Check wall on compound (6)
DAMPEN: Start with a wall that holds back water and follow with a compound where you might keep animals. This was my LOI as it’s a pretty obscure meaning of this word.

2d           Crazed mob suspend on and off (9)
POSSESSED: Start with a mob, of lawmen in the Old West perhaps, and follow with the alternative letters (on and off) of SuSpEnD.

3d           Ship‘s crew in endless ocean run (7)
STEAMER: Take a word for ocean or, more accurately a part of an ocean, and remove the last letter (endless). Insert (in) a crew or gang and follow with R(un).  Is this one for the Pedant’s Corner?

5d           Has planted first of seeds to appear last (4)
OWNS: First you need a word meaning planted and then move the S (first of Seeds) to the end (to appear last).

6d           State of danger possibly covering area (7)
GRENADA: This state in the Caribbean is an anagram (possibly) of DANGER placed around (covering) A(rea)

7d           Work on twitch of the eye (5)
OPTIC: The usual work and then the usual twitch.

8d           Walk on edges of narrowest grating (8)
STRIDENT: Not a grid but grating as in sound. A word for walk followed by NT (edges of NarrowesT).

11d         Stone fire support keeping cool back (7)
GRANITE: Cool as in fashionable. Reverse (back) the usual two letter word for fashionable and insert (keeping) into what holds the fire in a fireplace.

14d         Group still to engage name tenor (7)
QUINTET: Take a word for still and insert (to engage) N(ame) and then follow with T(enor). As usual with this type of construction I wasted some time trying to insert both the N and the T before the penny dropped!

16d         In driving rain edifice is immovable (9)
INGRAINED: The second lurker. A word meaning immovable is hidden (in) in the rest of the clue

17d         Tabloid declines to carry right cheap articles (8)
SUNDRIES: Start with one of the tabloids, not the Daily Mirror as we only have eight letters to play with, and follow with a word meaning declines and insert (to carry) R(ight).

19d         Queen in charge with powerful King, say (7)
RICHARD: There have been three of these Kings. Start with the single letter for Queen, then the two letters for In Charge and then a word which can mean powerful and you’ll get their name.
richard 2

20d         Current performance, embracing former wife, is not true (7)
INEXACT: This time it’s Current as in fashionable. Take the same word for fashionable as in 11d, but don’t reverse it this time, and then a performance and insert (embracing) the usual two letters for former spouse.

21d         Almost new in the morning (6)
NEARLY: Start with N(ew) and then a word to describe the time I got up this morning to write this blog.

23d         River’s height regarding eastern river (5)
RHONE: This is a “put it together as you go along” clue. It’s R(iver), H(eight), a word for regarding and then E(astern) and it’s a river in France. Simples!

25d         Performing animal seen in impressive ring? (4)
SEAL: This is an animal often seen performing in the circus but the ring in the clue isn’t anything to do with a circus ring, however impressive it may be. The ring is impressive because it’s the sort used to impress the wax placed on legal documents and the animal is also the bit of the ring which does the impressing.  I think that’s a pretty impressive hint – I’ll get me coat!

At first I was only going to go for *** enjoyment but I’ve upped it to **** after writing the review. Favourite was 25d with 22a and 24a on the podium.

The Quick Crossword pun: sire+mist+wins=Siamese twins

99 comments on “DT 27969

  1. Having been woken at silly o’clock by the stirrings of others (grr) I made two mugs of coffee over which to savour this. I took my time teasing out each bit before allowing myself to move on, prolonging the pleasure but making it hard to judge difficulty.

    I was unnecessarily slow in the SE, taking ages to spot the lurker and the initial letters clue and was inclined to beat myself up when enlightenment finally came. No flagellations over 24a which was last in, and parsed only after Tabby told me it was good. All vowel checkers and what looked like a cricket reference. Urrgghhhh!

    My co-favourites, for the delightful surfaces, are 1a and 18a.

    Also on the list of likes are 9a, the cool back in 11d, the powerful king in 19d and, well, all of it. Many pleasures.

    I smiled too at the single ladies in 26a (less so with reference to the answer). It reminded me of a joke about Saturn.

    Thanks to RayT for the joy and to pommers for the review which I shall read now and which is doubtless excellent.

  2. I absolutely hate RayT puzzles. You put the answers in, groan at the absolutely awful word meanings as they are such dreadful synonyms. This guy should be pensioned off and let us have better quality puzzles on Thursdays.

    An OCEAN is NOT a SEA for heavens sake. Does this guy even have a dictionary?

    1. Golly Bongs George. Tell it like you feel it why don’t you. RayT will read your comment later. Hopefully he will smile a wry smile, read on, leave his usual comment and sit down to compile another masterpiece like today’s excellent puzzle.

    2. Just for a laugh I’ve keyed both OCEAN and SEA into Collins online Dictionary/Thesaurus and each is given as the first synonym of the other so perhaps RayT does have a dictionary after all.

    3. The brb entry for ocean and sea are remarkably similar. specifically, under sea:
      “The great mass of salt water covering the greater part of the earth’s surface, the ocean”

      I realise we name big oceans and little seas, but maybe that does not mean their meaning is different.

    4. Sorry, couldn’t disagree more – I loved every minute of this, though admittedly it did take quite a few minutes!

  3. Well I finished it which was a result but needed extensive help from the hints to understand a considerable proportion of the answers. I guess I will never get the hang of the way Ray T constructs his clues, they always seem illogical to me. As always it’s a wavelength thing. Never mind, onwards and upwards.
    Thx to all.

  4. Hi pommers. In 14d, though my first thought was as per the hint, I think the N and the T are in fact inserted together.

    Also, since your name is not Brian, I am assuming the lack of blue is an accidental omission :).

    1. You’re also right about the NT in 14a. What I said really is what I usually do so seeing the T on the end I thought I was at it again. Off to do some blue now. Ta muchly.

  5. i could not see either 20D or 24A. Never mind. I always enjoy Ray T’s offering, so thanks to him and to Pommers. 22A is my pick.

    Speaking of thanks, I’m wishing a blessed and happy Thanksgiving today to my fellow US and Canadian solvers. Have a wonderful day!

    1. Thought of you this morning, Chris. Hope you have a lovely Thanksgiving Day – will you be cooking up a storm?

  6. I had no idea about 9a – it still is a mystery to me, and 13a is no better – as far as I’m concerned they are both impenetrable – hey ho let’s move on!

    Some nice anagrams but that’s about it!

    The Paper Boy delivered the Times yesterday so I had a go at their crossword for the first time – I managed about half before I gave it up as a bad job – normal service resumed today – thank god!


    1. Hi Michael,
      For 9a you need to start with a shortened version of ‘Ma is’ (Ma’s) and follow it with a similarly shortened version of ‘He is’.
      13a starts with a 3 letter word that debatably means ‘issued’ followed by a digital recording (CD) into which you insert the Roman numeral for one (keeping single). The definition is the last word of the clue – as in ‘gone ***).
      OK now?

    2. Yesterday’s Times crossword had been used for a competition and was quite tricky. Some are easier than the DT’s!

  7. I *sort of* enjoyed this. At 5am this morning!

    It took me a long time to finish, with some thesaurus help, and even then I had a wrong answer. I had MISTER for 9a and, like Michael above, the correct answer is still somewhat of a mystery.

    ****/**** for me. Favourite clues were 22a and 25d

    Thanks to RayT and pommers

    1. Re 9a

      “that man is” = HE’S.
      Your old lady is your mother, so it’s MA so with the ‘S = MAS

      Put one after the other and you get the answer which means pounds as in pounds your spuds, which we’re having with meatballs and onion gravy for dinner tonight. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yahoo.gif

        1. hahahahaha :-)

          After coming a cropper on the bike this morning (and in the words of Basil Fawlty) … you might have to sew them back on first.

    2. I thought Ma for old lady and shed for being after pounds as in diet. Convoluted I know but all our brains are wired differently

  8. I also have difficulties with RayT but satisfaction rating when completed with dictionary and thesaurus is excellent, carry on RayT I will get better as time goes on. Thanks to Pommers as well.
    Favourites for me 12a, and 1d, not sure about the tense for 22a but I am sure somebody will explain to me.

    1. I nearly put in a comment about the tense in 22a. It shouldn’t be present tense as Capra is no more but the clue is so elegantly simple I thought I’d let it ride.

    2. well, you can substitute the answer for “this” and it works, or you can ask the question what did capra do? to give you the same answer.

  9. Some tricky wordplay I thought. Like Kitty my last one in was 24a, all vowel checkers (yuck) and I didn’t see the GATE for ages. Tried to put in W for wicket and kept ending up with sewerage.

    Favourite was definitely 18a, 15a is also an impressive anagram, liked 28a (it delays travelling) and happy to see 19d (my name).

    many thanks RayT and pommers

  10. Definitely a few tricky moments with this one – slow to spot the definition in 13a, the ‘no cricket knowledge required’ in 24a and, like Kitty, the initial letters clue at 29a.
    Just about got there in 2* time with 4* for enjoyment.
    Leader board for me is 9&18a plus 5&20d.

    Devotions to Mr. T and many thanks to Pommers for the words and music.

  11. I for one always find Ray T challenging but still very enjoyable to complete, which I managed today. Thanks to setter and for an excellent review of the clues.

  12. Before I read the blog I was wondering about 14d, I have often seen N for new, but not T for tenor, I assume this is permissible ,but I don’t like this sort of usage . All in all a**/***for me today, like Pommers, love the Capra film-a Christmas ‘must watch ‘ favourite’ bit is when Harry finds Zuzu’s petals-if life were that simple.

    1. I know this is very old, but vocal scores are usually abbreviated SATB (soprano, alto, tenor, bass) or combinations thereof. So T for tenor is definitely OK :)

  13. Seemed to have stumbled on the same clues as everyone else.
    1d specifically. I thought damper was more of a synonym of check and couldn’t get it out of my head.
    Favourite is 29a.
    Thanks to RayT and to Pommers for the review.

  14. **/****

    Joyful. I do like RayT. Like others 24a was my last in. In fact it was bunged in and parsed later when I picked the paper up again. And then it got into battle with 4a as to which is my favourite clue. 4a won. However I’ve got stars by 7 other clues.

    Many thanks to RayT for a great puzzle and to Pommers for an eloquent blog.

    4a sun on the moors today and I have to work. No riding out, no playing the piano. Hey ho.

  15. I failed miserably to spot the lurker at 10ac. Even after putting the answer in being the only word that fit I failed to see it. 1d 9ac were last in. But what a great quality crossword puzzle that was. Just tough enough to stretch the greymatter. Now if I couldn’t spot the lurker, what chance does poor Kath have? She will need International Rescue.

      1. In the nick of time: the allusion is to tallies marked with nicks or notches (cp prick of noon). Tallies used to be called nick sticks, hence to make a record of anything is “to nick it down” as publicans nick a score on a tally, as any MP will tell you. Prick of noon, by the way: “Tis now the prick of noon” (Romeo and Juliet ii 4), an allusion to the mark on a dial – made by pricking or indenting with a sharp instrument – that indicated 12 o’clock. God, I know some useless stuff

  16. Jean-luc, I got dampen not damper for 1d on account of the compound. Yours might have been a typo though? Good crossword today I thought.

  17. ***/****. A very pleasant puzzle to ease my jet lag. Favourites were 22&29a and 14, 19 &25d. Not sure I liked 3d though. Thanks to Pommers and the setter for a good workout.

  18. Tricky stuff today from Ray T. As usual for his compilations, you have to put yourself in his zone or mindset before you can get anywhere. After a slow start, precisely because I was nowhere near his wavelength, I finally gained some momentum and went through fairly quickly. I have to admit to a couple of bung-ins, which I worked out afterwards, but overall that enhanced my enjoyment. I have to put 3/4 in my honesty box because of the slow start. Thanks to our setter and Pommers for excellent blog.

  19. A nice little trot round the paddock today as my steed has not fled. I do enjoy a good RayT puzzle and this fits the bill perfectly albeit at the very benign end of his scale.

    Too many good clues to single out a favourite, so I will just say thanks to RayT for the puzzle and pommers for his review which I will now read.

    If you want to carry on being treated benignly, then Shamus is waiting for you in today’s toughie – it’s the easiest I’ve ever seen him but enjoyable nonetheless http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gif

  20. 3*/4* – the only thing I didn’t like about this was that I now have to wait 2 weeks for the next Ray T!!

  21. The second (relatively) gentle Thursday in a row. Needed the blog to fully understand 24a. Thanks to all involved today, and hope Ray T enjoys a peaceful retirement!

  22. Move over Mr Poltergeist I’m coming in. After several confidence-building weeks it all went wrong today, even the trusty electronic supertoy failed me. I managed about three quarters of the answers but had very little idea of why. Thanks to Ray T and Pommers, roll on tomorrow. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_cry.gif

      1. Perhaps I overreacted I only had 2 I could not do, a few weeks ago CS suggested to put it aside and come back to it. In retrospect this would have been a good idea. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_rose.gif

  23. Not being a film buff, I was a bit slow with 22a until I had the checkers. I was looking for a musician . (Well, Capra is a bit like Zappa.)
    Thank you Pommers and setter.

  24. I found this very difficult and I couldn’t finish it without a considerable number of hints.
    I liked 22a,23d and 25d. Thanks to all concerned.

  25. Found this one a bit tricky and needed help with a few clues so thank you Pommers for your hints! I did however get 22d and thought this was really clever. A shame I could not get fully on Ray T’s wavelength! many yhanks to him too. 3*/3*

  26. I’m with pommers on difficulty and enjoyment.
    There’s just nothing like a Ray T crossword when it comes to cheering up a seriously grumpy person.
    I managed 16d without too much trouble but, as suggested by MP, International Rescue was needed for the other lurker.
    12a took a while but I don’t know why.
    Please could we add directors to the list of things that Kaths can’t do – didn’t know this one or the one in Shamus’s Toughie.
    My last answer was 14d – dim!
    I’m going to add a new(ish) trademark to Ray T’s list – sweetheart being used to clue an ‘E’.
    I have such a long list of clues that I thought were great – I’m just going to put them all down – 9, 18 and 22a and 7, 8 and 25d – my favourite is one that lot.
    With thanks to Ray T and to pommers. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_good.gif

  27. 24a was my last one in too. Basic problem was that too many words fitted the checkers so had to really analyse all elements of wordplay before I could confidently put in the correct one. Really enjoyed the puzzle and yes, I did check the word count in the clues and all perfectly in order once again.
    Thanks RayT and pommers.

  28. Thanks to Ray T and to Pommers for the review and hints. I enjoyed this one a lot, but unlike Pommers I thought it was very difficult. Needed the hints for 9a,22a I’d heard of Frank Zappa but not Frank Capra. Also, couldn’t get 1, 14,23d despite having all the checkers. Favourite was 29a. Was 4*/3* for me.

  29. We do the DT cryptic crossword everday. How do you guys know who the setter is, there is no info in our paper?
    We normally complete the crossword six days a week, but like today, my wife and I spend half an hour and have completed one clue 15a. We then abandon it. There is no fun when the clues are unfathomable and you make no progress; this occurs once a week.

    1. Welcome to the blog, Andy. We already have a regular commenter using the alias Andy so to avoid confusion could you use a slightly different alias, please?
      The answer to your question is in the FAQ.

        1. Yup Jane you are right. I think it ought to be clearer. It is more important than no 28 in FAQ. It gets asked so much.

    2. Welcome from me too.
      From your comment I think you’re implying that you struggle with Thursday crosswords. Please don’t blame today’s setter – he does alternate Thursdays not every one.

  30. Evening all. Very many thanks to pommers for the review and to all for your comments. As always, much appreciated.


    1. Thanks for popping as usual, Mr. T. Much appreciated by us all.
      Just to let you know – some of us have already booked our train tickets for January………..http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_bye.gif

      1. Oh dear – I completely forgot to mention the most important thing. I do hope that none of your family, friends or students suffered any personal tragedies in the recent events in Paris. You were all in our thoughts.

  31. This was quite a tricky slog, but not an unenjoyable one.

    Yes, a few of the definitions were rather obscure/strained, but I’ve come to expect that on alternate Thursdays!

    Favourite was 9a, nicely clued.

    Many thanks to Ray T and to Pommers.

  32. 3*/3*. I am a huge Ray T fan and, as far as I can remember, this is the first time I have not given one of his puzzles a 4* or 5* rating. That’s not to say it wasn’t very enjoyable but I didn’t think it was up to his usual extremely high standard. Mind you, the fact that I have driven from Darlington to London today to find the M11 shut at its south end has probably contributed to my brain being somewhat addled.

    Many thanks to Ray T and to pommers.

  33. An excellent puzzle today, IMHO. I wrestled with several clues, but am satisfied with all results. ***/****. Many thanks to setter and BD.

  34. Like Silvanus I am finding this a slog but in my case it’s an unenjoyable one so I think it’s time to call it a day and throw in the towel. I managed most of the East Side but the West was another story. Good to have a kindred spirit in Hilary. Thank you RayT and sorry to appear ungracious. Thank you also Pommers but I have decided not to avail myself of the unusually numerous hints I need today. *****/*. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/smiley-phew.gif

  35. Excellent fare from Ray today. I enjoyed the struggle, as I always do. There were quite a few that I got but didn’t dare write in because I couldn’t parse them properly and needed more checkers to be sure. I thought the lurkers were fabulous and so well hidden that I got the answers before I realised that’s what and where they were. 24a was my last one in, as I suffer word blindness when all the checkers are vowels and there’s no starter letter. Like KiwiC I had to work hard to get there. 13a wins the laurels today. Many thanks to Pommers and, of course, to RayT 3*/4*
    Thinking of Frank Capra, here’s a quiz question for film buffs: Who is the only (I think) person to have won both an Oscar and a Nobel Prize? Answers tomorrow. Winners will be allowed to buy me a pint in January. Losers will have to buy me two pints. No googling or other forms of cheating allowed – only a decent amount of GK and some lateral thinking is required.

      1. Yes – but it will have to be a very large one because you have jumped the gun ( even though it is tomorrow already – in fact it was tomorrow when I asked). Well done.

    1. Any Irish amongst us would say so…it’s a grand day so it is…except it’s not here today!

      Thought there were a few clues with new synonyms requiring a lot of brain cells. eg Check = dampen as in dampens spirits and issued = ran as in ran an article. Wicket as in gate was new to me… None the less enjoyable though.

  36. Tough but rewarding. Didn’t quite scramble over the finishing line. Inserting Generate instead of Delegate was plain wrong though I tried to make it work. Favourite was 3d. I got to this puzzle the following day so I really don’t know why I am bothering with this. Might as well talk to the trees as you have all moved on. Thanks RayT I belatedly appreciated this one. Thanks Pommers too.
    Right.. there is a wee dog right here that is chewing my leg off for a walk in the wind.

  37. Owing to other commitments we are a day late on this one.
    We liked it and found it good and interesting even if it missed
    a bit of Ray T’s usual humour.
    Thanks to Pommers for a splendid review.

  38. It’s never too late to comment! I’m nearly always late coming on here but I feel guilty if I don’t!
    A real challenge for me with this one; I eventually succeeded and felt smug for not resorting to the hints. Little triumphs matter….
    13a was my way out favourite and overall a 3/4*
    Thanks to RayT and to Pommers for the review.

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