DT 27406

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 27406

Hints and tips by archy and mehitabel

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ****

It may be the blog’s fifth birthday this week but today is important for a different reason.  It’s the debut of the latest recruit to BD’s team of bloggers.  Someone already well known to all of you, it’s Kath, one of the most popular contributors to this site.  It’s a sort of toe-in-the-water day but I’m sure that when you’ve seen her work you’ll agree with me that it won’t be long before she’s flying solo!  By the way, I’m the cockroach and Kath’s the alley cat!

Anyway, on to the crossword.  For me it was a tricky little rascal and it nearly crept into **** time. Perhaps that’s just me though as I’m not always on RayT’s wavelength. I’m pretty sure it’s him due to the innuendo, laughs and Her Majesty turning up.

Kath’s hints and comments are the ones in green and, as usual, the clues we liked most are in blue.

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.

Across

1a           Old man‘s gone with raincoat undone (12)
{OCTOGENARIAN} – It’s an anagram (undone) of GONE with RAINCOAT.  One has to ask what the old man is doing with his raincoat undone, hmmm!

9a           Playing with brilliant band ‘Round Midnight’ (9)
{FINGERING} –A charade of a word for brilliant, or at least very good, and a band is placed round a G (mid niGht)

10a         Large facility for rent (5)
{LEASE} – L(arge) followed by facility as in effortlessness.  Not easy to hint without giving the game away, I rather hoped that Kath would do this one!

11a         Observing vacuum lacking hydrogen (6)
{NOTING} – Take the chemical symbol for hydrogen out of a word for what’s actually in a vacuum.

12a         Persistent criminal’s beat, facing time (8)
{CONSTANT} – The usual crosswordland criminals (plural) followed by a word meaning beat and then T(ime).

13a         Broadcasting rock’s about over (6)
{SOWING} – Broacasting as in seeds.  A word for to rock back and forth around O(ver)

15a         Approve second operation around east of Afghanistan (8)
{SANCTION} – S(econd) and word for operation or deed around N (east of AfganistaN).

18a         Perhaps fool’s flipped under pressure (8)
{STRESSED} – Reverse (flipped) what a fool is an example of (think food).

19a         Only soldier without a grave (6)
{SOLEMN} – A word for only, as in just one, followed by a soldier without the A.

21a         Unconcerned about heartless judge (8)
{CAREFREE} – The two letter abbreviation of the Latin word for ‘about’  followed by a judge – the kind at a football match – without the middle letter (heartless)

23a         Blunder by useless wife (6)
{MISSUS} – This is something a man might call his wife, often preceded by ‘the’. It’s a synonym for ‘blunder’ and then a two letter abbreviation for ‘unserviceable’

26a         Beginning to catch small perch (5)
{ROOST} –Another word for a beginning around (to catch) the usual letter for S(mall)

27a         American with bald pate oddly plastic (9)
{ADAPTABLE} – Plastic as an adjective.  It’s A(merican) followed by an anagram (oddly) of BALD PATE.  How many of you spent time trying to do something with the alternate letters (oddly) from bald pate?

28a         Man grunted excitedly purchasing her topless teddy? (12)
{UNDERGARMENT} –An anagram (excitedly) of MAN GRUNTED around (purchasing) (h)ER – her topless.   I’ve never heard of this but the BRB says it’s a one-piece for a woman combining panties and a chemise – sounds ghastly.   Don’t know about “ghastly” Kath, it looks OK to me!  Splendid surface and you didn’t expect me to pass up the photo opportunity did you?

Down

1d           Turned bottoms, producing affronts (7)
{OFFENDS} – Turned as in when the milk’s turned followed by some bottoms or extremities.

2d           Conviction when overturned is the same (5)
{TENET} – A belief which is a palindrome (when overturned is the same)

3d           One finds these bent in empty grasslands (9)
{GLEANINGS} – These thing you find are the useful remnants of a crop that can be gathered from the field after harvesting.  A word for a bent or inclination placed in GS (empty G(rassland)S).

4d           One in buff raised innocent (4)
{NAIF} – Buff here doesn’t mean nude but someone who knows a lot about a particular subject around the letter that looks like an I  (one).  Because I had the first letter I spent ages trying to parse NUDE, D’oh!

5d           Bubbly galore in local (8)
{REGIONAL} – Anagram (bubby) of GALORE IN.

6d           Greek god ultimately without end (5)
{ATLAS} – This Greek god was a giant who was condemned to support the heavens on his shoulders for rebelling against the gods. It’s a phrase (2,4) one might use after struggling for a long time to do something (trying to write hints for the first time, perhaps) when the end result is achieved but remove the last letter (without end)

7d           A cuff rolled up on spot for leech (8)
{PARASITE} – A (from the clue) and a word for cuff or hit all reversed (up in a down clue) followed by a spot or place.

8d           Imagine a tenderness embracing groom (6)
{NEATEN} – Hidden in the middle of the clue (embracing)

14d         Anchor tug capsized, creating mess for officers (8)
{WARDROOM} – Take a charade of a word for to anchor a boat and a synonym for tug or pull and reverse (capsized) the lot and you’ll get the officer’s mess on a ship. Nice nautical surface to this one.

16d         Smash hits rock endlessly with Queen singer (9)
{CHORISTER} – This singer is a choir boy. An anagram (smash) of HITS ROC(k) endlessly followed by Ray T’s usual Queen

17d         Power line always covering generation (8)
{LEVERAGE} – L (ine) followed by a synonym of always and a generation

18d         Sheltered spot housing mongrel (6)
{SECURE} – Take a word for to spot and insert another word for a mongrel.

20d         Beginning of end of Himalayan climb (7)
{NASCENT} – The last letter of Himalaya(N) (end of) is followed by an advancement or rise

22d         Pleasurable carrying to bed (5)
{FUTON} – What a typical Ray T clue! A three letter word for enjoyment or amusement around (carrying) TO should end up giving you a kind of sofa-bed which was designed in Japan and is impossible to sleep on.

24d         Sword, aggressively brandished, rattles enemy initially (5)
{SABRE} – Mary’s favourite kind of clue and another trademark Ray T – the first letter of the first five words of the clue (initially) gives a curved cavalry sword or a light one used in fencing

25d         Boycott with good strike (4)
{BANG} – A boycott or veto followed by G(ood).

a lot of good stuff here but my favourite has to be 28a while mehitabel has nominated 22d.


The Quick crossword pun: (par} + {rim} + {arch} = {Paris Match}

131 Comments

  1. pommers
    Posted February 6, 2014 at 10:29 am | Permalink

    First a massive “Well Done” to Kath. A really excellent debut.
    You can tell who the experienced blogger is and it ain’t the lower case cockroach :lol:

    http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yahoo.gif http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yahoo.gif http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yahoo.gif http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yahoo.gif

    • mary
      Posted February 6, 2014 at 10:38 am | Permalink

      http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_good.gif Yeeha…well done Kath, really proud of you, you and pommers make a great blogging twosome…never had the guts to do it myself… and on your favourite setters day too http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_rose.gif

    • Libellule
      Posted February 6, 2014 at 1:29 pm | Permalink

      Congratulations on your debut Kath, may it be the first blog of many.

    • Merusa
      Posted February 6, 2014 at 5:03 pm | Permalink

      Well done, Kath, I mean mehitabel, you done good! I knew you could do it and do it spectacularly well.

      http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_rose.gifhttp://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_rose.gifhttp://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_rose.gif

      • Kath
        Posted February 6, 2014 at 5:06 pm | Permalink

        Thank you – everyone is being so kind. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_smile.gif

  2. mary
    Posted February 6, 2014 at 10:41 am | Permalink

    So glad I liked this RayT today as it is Kaths first blogging attempt, I’m sure we will see a lot more of her particularly on a Thursday, so thanks Kath and Pommers for the hints, although I didn’t need them, I just thought there was one ‘iffy’ reading at 7d otherwise a thumbs up all round for me…another yeeha!!! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yahoo.gif for Kath

  3. Roland
    Posted February 6, 2014 at 10:52 am | Permalink

    Well done Kath – excellent work!!
    I was left with two unanswered which I needed the hints for (13a and 3d). Thought of the first but didn’t manage to parse it, never heard of the second with that meaning. Thanks to setter and “review team”.

  4. Colmce
    Posted February 6, 2014 at 10:52 am | Permalink

    Well done and thanks Kath.
    V tricky today and needed review to finish.

    Thanks to compiler.

    Central heating controller deemed broken one year and twenty seven days after installation, installing company suggesting I pay for replacement, I feel an afternoon of interesting conversations coming on.

  5. gazza
    Posted February 6, 2014 at 10:53 am | Permalink

    Many congratulations to Kath on her debut – I’m sure this blog will be the first of many.

  6. Miffypops
    Posted February 6, 2014 at 10:59 am | Permalink

    The cockles of my heart are so warm I may overheat with joy. Well done Kath. I knew you could do it. I will read your hints later as I am only halfway through due to the fact that Saint Sharon would like me to kindly rebuild the kitchen I removed before Christmas. I cannot see what the hurry is myself.

    • bifield
      Posted February 6, 2014 at 11:16 am | Permalink

      I agree Miffypops. Take your time and do the job with lots of forethought.

  7. spindrift
    Posted February 6, 2014 at 11:02 am | Permalink

    I know I’m one sandwich short of a full picnic but i can’t work out your reasoning for your nomenclature.

    Good puzzle & good blog. You’ve done this before haven’t you Kath?

    • pommers
      Posted February 6, 2014 at 11:12 am | Permalink

      You’d better ask Kath that one, it was her idea Perhaps something to do with Archy only using lower case and me always spelling pommers in lower. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_unsure.gif!

    • Miffypops
      Posted February 6, 2014 at 11:12 am | Permalink

      I wondered about that too Spinney old lad. So I googled it. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Archy_and_Mehitabel Then i You Tubed it. http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=archy%20and%20mehitabel&sm=3 Then I found this “Archy, a cockroach who had been a free-verse poet in a previous life, tries to reform his friend Mehitabel, an alley cat who believes in free love.” What is going on I wonder? Will you be on the sauce on Saturday? I will.

      • spindrift
        Posted February 6, 2014 at 2:47 pm | Permalink

        I gave their name a severe googling & came up with the same. I’m no wiser but apparently it dates back to 1916 so where on earth did Kath dig that one up from? Possibly she’ dreamt it up after some of Pommer’s friends’ ganja rollies.

        Saturday will be spent with eldest lad & mates having a few libations before, during and after the afternoon’s proceedings. Looking forward to an England game without too many errors (hopefully!) but the match of the weekend has got to be Ireland at home to Wales. That’s when I embrace my heritage from the Emerald Isle.

        • Kath
          Posted February 6, 2014 at 2:53 pm | Permalink

          I didn’t dig it up – I remembered it. My mother-in-law had a book with them in it and it always made me laugh – I’ve no idea what the book was or what happened to it.

          • Merusa
            Posted February 6, 2014 at 5:09 pm | Permalink

            I have the book here. It is very funny.

        • pommers
          Posted February 6, 2014 at 3:15 pm | Permalink

          It’s also a 1957 musical which is what Miffypops second link points to. I’ve had a listen and it’s pretty good, reminiscent of Gershwin for me. Worth a listen anyway.

    • Kath
      Posted February 6, 2014 at 11:24 am | Permalink

      The reason for the name is that it came into my head after pommers asked me if I had any ideas what we should be called. To begin with I couldn’t think of one so I started to think about what others called themselves and noticed Antony and Cleopatra – then remembered Archy and Mehitabel because Mehitabel claimed that she was a reincarnation of Cleopatra – then remembered that Archy could only type in lower case because he typed by jumping from key to key so operating the shift key was impossible – then remembered that pommers is lower case etc etc.

      • spindrift
        Posted February 6, 2014 at 3:40 pm | Permalink

        Amazon has several books on the subject and sells “the best of” at £9.99 – I’m tempted as I’m intrigued & need to know more. Wish I’d kept my £10 “voucher” from the DT now.

  8. Jezza
    Posted February 6, 2014 at 11:04 am | Permalink

    Well done Kath on an excellent first review, and many thanks to RayT for the entertainment and smiles!

  9. bifield
    Posted February 6, 2014 at 11:13 am | Permalink

    I found this one tricky today and needed hints to finish. Congratulations to Kath on an excellent first blog and thanks to RayT for driving me crazy.

  10. Beaver
    Posted February 6, 2014 at 11:18 am | Permalink

    Best of the week, ,a real crossword , thought it might be Mr T with his trademark queen and can’t fault A and M’S ***/****,SW corner took a bit of puzzling out. Did’nt help when I had E for O in 13a and it didn’t make sense .Well done Kath, i bet it took ages to do the blog bit-Kath for Pope.

  11. Dave Hartley
    Posted February 6, 2014 at 11:28 am | Permalink

    That was fun. Slightly mad with myself for weakening and resorting to the blog to explain four down. I saw naif quite early on, but when I failed to find any references to ‘Fellow of the International Association of Naturists’, I sort of lost the will to live and resorted to the clues. How could I fail to see that?!!! Still the dog is now happy as he is detecting signs of an imminent walk.

  12. Graham
    Posted February 6, 2014 at 11:42 am | Permalink

    Wow not an easy debut but very many congratulations to the dynamic duo! I didn’t find this particularly easy going so
    Full credit to the dream team, long may it last.

  13. skempie
    Posted February 6, 2014 at 11:58 am | Permalink

    Well done Kath, excellent job an excellent crossword. As is usual with Ray T, after first run through of the across clues I had ONE answer! Things started to fall into place with the downs however until I was only stuck on the NW corner. Thankfully a little light came on in the recesses of my brain case and !A and 2D popped in to enable me to finish.
    One small quibble, surely Atlas was a Titan, not a God. Hum ho – crosswordic license in play I guess.

    Looks like I may not be able to make Saturday – the wife’s refusing to drive to Bristol in case she misses the rugby. I’m still working on it.

  14. Collywobbles
    Posted February 6, 2014 at 11:58 am | Permalink

    Many congratulations Kath. I found this puzzle rather difficult and would definitely rate it 4*. However, your hints were excellent and were greatly welcomed
    PS. You’ve left the ‘t’ from sort in 28a and, by the way, the picture is fine for me. Do you have her phone number

  15. Sweet William
    Posted February 6, 2014 at 12:19 pm | Permalink

    Congratulations Kath on you first blog. You have done so well that you might be asked to do more…………! Well done. Thank you to Ray T for a challenging puzzle. Needed the shopping break this morning to clear my head to finish the SW corner. For me the puzzle was difficult, but satisfaction in sticking at it and finishing.

  16. Brenda Reding
    Posted February 6, 2014 at 12:22 pm | Permalink

    WELL DONE KATH, brilliant and had to use your hints to be able to finish! So they work,proof in my finished x-word

  17. Roger
    Posted February 6, 2014 at 12:27 pm | Permalink

    Well done, Kath. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_good.gif A brilliant crossword and brilliant hints (not that I needed them, for once, as I seem to be on RayT’s wavelength now !)

    Having dipped into a few of the other crossword sites, I must confess that this site is my favourite for two reasons.

    First, the hints are head and shoulders above the meagre offerings on other sites.

    Second, you are all a very friendly bunch over here. Some of the snide digs in the comments on some of the other sites…..shudder.

  18. Roland
    Posted February 6, 2014 at 12:28 pm | Permalink

    For the past few hours I’ve been repeating to myself the quick crossword pun, and still haven’t managed to make sense of it. Can someone enlighten me please?
    Thanks.

    • Jezza
      Posted February 6, 2014 at 12:31 pm | Permalink

      I haven’t sussed it either.. Paris Match is about as close as I can get (which french pronounciation)

      • Roland
        Posted February 6, 2014 at 12:33 pm | Permalink

        Hi Jezza – yes, that’s all that occurred to me too, but I’m sure that can’t be it.

        • stanXYZ
          Posted February 6, 2014 at 1:04 pm | Permalink

          Parry March?

          Not a piece of music that I’m acquainted with but Mr Google has heard of it.

          http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_unsure.gif

          • Roland
            Posted February 6, 2014 at 1:36 pm | Permalink

            Hi Stan – I see from google there are references to marches by Parry, but I’m not sure “Parry March” is a well known phrase or saying!

            • stanXYZ
              Posted February 6, 2014 at 2:13 pm | Permalink

              Roland, does the Quickie Pun have to be a well known phrase or saying?

              Zut! Alors!

              • Roland
                Posted February 6, 2014 at 2:42 pm | Permalink

                I think it has to be, in order for it to be a pun doesn’t it? If it was a play on unassociated words such as “rubber sink” for example, it wouldn’t be much of a pun!

      • gazza
        Posted February 6, 2014 at 1:12 pm | Permalink

        I thought Paris Match. You need to put on a French accent but Ray T has gone down that route before.

        • Roland
          Posted February 6, 2014 at 1:26 pm | Permalink

          Hmm……well if that really is the answer, it’s the weakest pun I can remember in a good while.

  19. Hrothgar
    Posted February 6, 2014 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

    Great tussle, thoroughly enjoyable.
    18a had me ‘fooled’ until a duh moment,
    Last in, to my shame, 25d, on the wrong track until I got 28a.
    And speaking of 28a, don’t women delight in having complicated underwear, unlike men.
    Many thanks Ray T and thanks pommers for the review.

    • pommers
      Posted February 6, 2014 at 12:46 pm | Permalink

      Hey, it’s not just me. Kath did fifteen out of the thirty clues!

      • Hrothgar
        Posted February 6, 2014 at 4:15 pm | Permalink

        Sorry, misread top – belated thanks to archy and mehitable, great graphics.
        :)
        Hope you’re now a very regular blogger, Kath.
        Great review.

        • pommers
          Posted February 6, 2014 at 4:24 pm | Permalink

          Hi Hrothgar

          All is forgiven. I forgot that when the post first went live it said posted by pommers in the shaded bit at the top with my Slowpoke Rodrigues avatar. That’s been sorted since by the all-powerful BD!

  20. Kath
    Posted February 6, 2014 at 12:42 pm | Permalink

    First of all thanks to everyone for the kind comments – I was so pathetically nervous about it – couldn’t sleep and spent most of the night “whatiffing” – the main one was “What if I can’t do the crossword”!
    When I first looked at the puzzle this morning I really didn’t think I was going to be able to do it at all but after several cups of coffee and a walk round the garden taking lots of deep breaths all seemed possible.
    I really enjoyed the crossword and the challenge of trying to write some vaguely intelligible hints – I now have even more admiration for the people who not only write the hints for a whole puzzle but do it several times every week.
    As pommers said my favourite was 22d. I also liked 19a (although I thought it was a bit sad) and 23a.
    With thanks to Ray T for the crossword and to BD and all the bloggers for letting me have a go.

    • pommers
      Posted February 6, 2014 at 12:49 pm | Permalink

      We can have another go whenever you like. I enjoyed it – hope you did too http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_rose.gif

      • Kath
        Posted February 6, 2014 at 7:57 pm | Permalink

        I did enjoy it – I hope that you know I did – and thanks to you.http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_heart.gif

        • pommers
          Posted February 6, 2014 at 8:07 pm | Permalink

          See archy’s post at #10 on page 2. He’s up for another go and so am I :lol:

    • Miffypops
      Posted February 6, 2014 at 1:18 pm | Permalink

      I believed in you Kath. Well done. You can share my Monday job any time you want to as well.

      • Kath
        Posted February 6, 2014 at 8:00 pm | Permalink

        Thank you, Miffypops – that’s a very generous offer but don’t you think that two novices on the same day could just blow the whole thing to bits, because I do. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_negative.gif

    • Deep Threat
      Posted February 6, 2014 at 9:00 pm | Permalink

      Welcome to the team, Kath. Your description of ‘whatiffing’ all night reminded me of my first blog. I think I must have solved half a dozen phantom crosswords that night before getting the real one in the morning.

      I think you got a difficult starter today. I had to think more about this than about today’s Toughie. Well done, and here’s to many more!

      • Kath
        Posted February 6, 2014 at 10:40 pm | Permalink

        Thank you – a mere half a dozen phantom crosswords the night before? Lucky old you is all I can say. Oh dear!

  21. Brian
    Posted February 6, 2014 at 1:08 pm | Permalink

    Kath, what a shame that you have been lumbered with this horror, probably the worst and by that I mean the most difficult Ray T ever published by the DT. I know I am not his greatest fan but I thought I was beginning to see the light but he has slammed the door completely with this one. Not only not a single answer discovered but not a single clue understood. For me this is the nadir of all DT crossword puzzles.
    Good luck for the future.

    • Kath
      Posted February 6, 2014 at 1:22 pm | Permalink

      Oh dear – poor you! You needn’t worry about or feel sorry for me though as I loved it. I wasn’t lumbered at all – pommers suggested that I started trying to do a few hints today because he knows that I really like Ray T crosswords – I think most people probably know that by now!

      • pommers
        Posted February 6, 2014 at 1:48 pm | Permalink

        Few hints? You done half the crossword – that’s why it’s Archy and Mehitabel and not pommers et al http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_smile.gif

      • Brian
        Posted February 6, 2014 at 1:53 pm | Permalink

        Kath, my comment was not meant as criticism of your blogging in any way, shape or form, rather it expressed my personal frustration in failing to get to grips with the Ray T wavelength. Try as I may I simply cannot understand his method of clueing and to be honest I don’t think I ever will. I will just have to reconcile myself to it and simply not look at any Ray T and avoid my continued frustration.

        • Kath
          Posted February 6, 2014 at 2:05 pm | Permalink

          I didn’t interpret your comment as criticism at all. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_smile.gif
          As for the rest – well, it’s all to do with wave lengths – I find Mondays really tricky.

  22. timbo
    Posted February 6, 2014 at 1:19 pm | Permalink

    Hi All, difficult today. Difficult every Thursday
    Just asking like but how do you know who the compilers are? Does it help?

    • crypticsue
      Posted February 6, 2014 at 1:25 pm | Permalink

      As we always say, if it sounds like a Frequently Asked Question, it tells you all about it on the FAQ page – see the tabs at the top of the blog

    • stanXYZ
      Posted February 6, 2014 at 1:27 pm | Permalink

      See FAQ above.

      http://bigdave44.com/faq/#setters

      I find it always helps when you are familiar with the setter’s style.

    • Kath
      Posted February 6, 2014 at 1:28 pm | Permalink

      I think the answer to your first question is in the FAQ bit at the very top of the page. As for your second question I think it probably does help a bit if you know who the setter is as they all have their little quirks. A couple of quick examples are Ray T almost always has a clue like 24a ie using the first letters of the clue to give you the answer and Virgilius (he sets the Sunday crosswords) is the master of hiding answers in the middle of the clues.

      • timbo
        Posted February 6, 2014 at 1:39 pm | Permalink

        Thanks, I found it in the FAQ’s. I’ve been doing the crossword for about 35 years now (not every day) and never known.
        I thought Saturdays would be a shuffle as my wife and I do the crossword in the pub between us (bit of a competition), we struggle sometimes and other times whiz through it.

    • Kath
      Posted February 6, 2014 at 1:31 pm | Permalink

      Blimey – I must have been a bit slow off the mark there – pipped at the post, and not just once but twice.

    • Brian
      Posted February 6, 2014 at 1:54 pm | Permalink

      Simple answer, no phrases! The man hates to make life easy in any way.

  23. Posted February 6, 2014 at 1:24 pm | Permalink

    Well done Kath, and thanks to pommers for holding her hand on her debut.

    • Kath
      Posted February 6, 2014 at 1:33 pm | Permalink

      Thanks BD – not just for saying well done but for letting me have a go too.

  24. BigBoab
    Posted February 6, 2014 at 1:43 pm | Permalink

    Really well done to Kath and thanks to Pommers for a super review. Thanks to RayT. for a superbly tricky crossword, more of the same please.http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/smiley-phew.gif

    • Brian
      Posted February 6, 2014 at 9:30 pm | Permalink

      Noooooooooooooo!!!!! No more for a while, I need time to recover http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_sad.gif

      • Posted February 6, 2014 at 10:18 pm | Permalink

        Please stop this negative campaign. Any future negative comments will be deleted without warning.

  25. SheilaP
    Posted February 6, 2014 at 1:50 pm | Permalink

    Congratulations Kath, & thank goodness for your explanations which we needed today. We thought this was pretty hard going. Thanks to pommers too of course & to the setter. I hate clues which have to be reversed to get the answers, I just can’t visualize them, I’m afraid.

  26. Franco
    Posted February 6, 2014 at 1:58 pm | Permalink

    Thanks to Archy and Mehitabel for the Hints & Tips.

    And, last but not least, thanks to RayT for a cracking puzzle.

  27. Dickiedot
    Posted February 6, 2014 at 2:11 pm | Permalink

    Great Kath, you’re a star.
    I found this very tricky.

    • pommers
      Posted February 6, 2014 at 2:13 pm | Permalink

      You and me both! I have a suspicion that Kath solved it quicker than me http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gif

      • Kath
        Posted February 6, 2014 at 5:09 pm | Permalink

        I didn’t – trust me.http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_wink.gif

  28. Bob Harding
    Posted February 6, 2014 at 3:06 pm | Permalink

    Thanks to Kath and Pommers for the hints. I needed three today. I never have liked “missus” it’s always “misses” in my mind – perhaps I will remember one day. “US” is always “NBG” as well. Apart from the three aforementioned I thought this was fairly straightforward for a Ray T. Although I tend not to smile quite so much when I get the answers. Which is better then getting irritated I suppose. (which was the way I used to react when I first started doing these). Now – back to the camera club accounts, its a good job its not a sunny day or else dispacement activity would surely follow. I do hope that those poor people being inundated will get relief soon.

  29. Heno
    Posted February 6, 2014 at 3:26 pm | Permalink

    Thanks to Ray T and to Kath & Pommers for the review and hints. Well done Kath, great debut. I found this really difficult, had only got seven answers on the first pass. Then began grinding them out. Got stuck in the NW corner. Needed the hint to get the right anagram fodder for 1a. Had to look up 3d, new word for me. Also looked up 9a, just couldn’t see it. Favourite was 1d.Was 4*/4* for me. Once again congratulations to Kath on a super review.

    • Miffypops
      Posted February 7, 2014 at 1:28 am | Permalink

      Seven on the first pass? I had BANG.

  30. mary
    Posted February 6, 2014 at 3:34 pm | Permalink

    Methinks slight sarcasm in Kaths comment at the start of 24d http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gif

    • mary
      Posted February 6, 2014 at 3:47 pm | Permalink

      Whereas I do like acrostic clues, I don’t like the actual definition to be one of the words used

    • Kath
      Posted February 6, 2014 at 3:48 pm | Permalink

      No, Mary – absolutely no sarcasm at all – really and truly and genuinely. I just instantly thought of you as soon as I saw that clue, in the same way that whenever there are lambs in a crossword people think of my daughters – Pet Lambs Numbers One (elder) and Two (younger) and very wonderful things they are, too!http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yahoo.gif

      • mary
        Posted February 6, 2014 at 4:19 pm | Permalink

        http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/icon_biggrin.gif

      • mary
        Posted February 6, 2014 at 4:21 pm | Permalink

        Anyway really well done today… gold star well deserved http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_good.gif

  31. Graham Wall
    Posted February 6, 2014 at 4:11 pm | Permalink

    Following my disillusionment with yesterdays offering this puzzle was a joy. It wasn’t a walkover but enjoyably difficult instead of being antagonistic. I would rate it 3.5/5 but cannot go without rating Kath a gold star for her debut. Very well done and a big thank you because I did need the hints today.

    • Kath
      Posted February 6, 2014 at 5:14 pm | Permalink

      Thank Graham, Jules and Anniedrum – I think if anyone else says anything complimentary I’m going to get impossibly big headed and smug, although I do have to confess that I’m quite enjoying it! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gif

  32. Jules 55
    Posted February 6, 2014 at 4:56 pm | Permalink

    Kath from someone who is new to both crosswords and the blog …. A huge thank you as I sometimes find the hints more complicated than the clues as they pre-suppose more knowledge about how a cryptic crossword works than I have ! And the main point of the blog for me is to learn how these clues work and I still struggle with recognising many of the anagram indicators ! Your hints were informative , clear and entertaining and for once I have finished a Ray T usually my bête noir !

  33. Annidrum
    Posted February 6, 2014 at 4:59 pm | Permalink

    Well done Kath. Although a good puzzle I didn’t find it very easy so thanks for your hints as I needed some of them. I know you have to think outside the box to do Ray T’s puzzles ,and I enjoy that aspect of them but no matter how far outside the box I stood today I just couldn’t figure out some of them.So thanks again Kath & pommers. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/smiley-phew.gif

  34. Chris
    Posted February 6, 2014 at 5:14 pm | Permalink

    Found it very difficult but most enjoyable and just finished it without needing the excellent hints.
    (I had naively imagined the bloggers got some sort of preview copy. I have just realised they complete it the same morning unaided. The idea of agreeing in advance to do the whole thing with time constraints for a large audience sounds like a nightmare! Well done to Kath and everyone else who takes this on.)

    • Kath
      Posted February 6, 2014 at 5:16 pm | Permalink

      Thanks – nightmares were not an option last night and neither were dreams – I was SO nervous that I’m not sure I went to sleep.http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/smiley-yawn.gif

  35. archy
    Posted February 6, 2014 at 5:31 pm | Permalink

    hey, mehitabel – you wanna dance again?

    • Franco
      Posted February 6, 2014 at 5:43 pm | Permalink

      Archy and Mehitabel dancing!

      I’m sure there’s an anagram in there somewhere!

      • Prolixic
        Posted February 6, 2014 at 9:00 pm | Permalink

        Not quite what you were looking for but:

        Headmen charitably organised a new blogging duo (5,3,9)

        • archy
          Posted February 6, 2014 at 9:04 pm | Permalink

          :lol:

        • Kath
          Posted February 6, 2014 at 10:45 pm | Permalink

          Wow is all I can say. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gif

        • Franco
          Posted February 7, 2014 at 2:09 pm | Permalink

          As Kath has said: “Wow!”

          How clever!

    • Kath
      Posted February 6, 2014 at 8:07 pm | Permalink

      Yes – whenever you like. If I could have the slightest little bit of warning it would probably help with the logistics around here – thanks for the offer. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_rose.gif

      • pommers
        Posted February 6, 2014 at 8:10 pm | Permalink

        We seem to be crossing in the ether. I’ll be in touch . . .

        What was wrong with the 24 hours you had this time? OK. I’ll get me coat http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_bye.gif

  36. Rabbit Dave
    Posted February 6, 2014 at 5:32 pm | Permalink

    :phew:
    Today had one thing in common with yesterday – I started late. The similarity ends there! After three days of 1* difficulty, this one took me much longer than the last three puzzles put together, but it was immensely enjoyable. My rating is 4*/4*.

    Many thanks to Ray T and to our exceptional blogging duo. Very well done, Kath. You deserve all the praise that has come your way today. It was very brave of you, and I thought very successful.

    http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yahoo.gif

    • Kath
      Posted February 6, 2014 at 8:09 pm | Permalink

      Thank you RD. As I’ve said before, I’m going to get big headed soon and that’s not good.http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_unsure.gif

  37. Merusa
    Posted February 6, 2014 at 5:33 pm | Permalink

    I was so thankful when I saw the *** for difficulty! It’s always disheartening to struggle and find only one star for difficulty. I found this very tricky, but with generous helpings of google and gizmo, I finished all except two, then mehitabel’s (and archy’s) wonderful hints saved the day. (I have a cat called Archie.)

    Kath, you not only aced this, but you must also be incredibly brave. We are all appreciative, as you must have gathered by now! Favourite: 28a, and I have heard of teddies but never worn one! Thanks to RayT, and of course archy and mehitabel.

    http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_good.gif

    • pommers
      Posted February 6, 2014 at 5:57 pm | Permalink

      Another minute or so and it would have been **** :grin:

      I get the reverse effect. It’s also disheartening when I award 3 or 4 stars to a puzzle that I found tricky and all you posters come on the blog and say it’s easy-peasy. Happens frequently but such is life I guess :smile:

      At least there seems to be an agreement that it was tricky today. I hoped Kath would have had an easier puzzle for her first blog but she coped admirably.

  38. Roydo
    Posted February 6, 2014 at 6:03 pm | Permalink

    Kath, although I do not comment on here that much, I am quite involved in another (football) forum, and I understand your nervousness on your debut all too well!

    Many congratulations not just on the quality of your hints, but being brave enough to take it on in the first place. Daunting is not the word!

  39. Una
    Posted February 6, 2014 at 6:07 pm | Permalink

    I found this a real struggle today, and am very grateful for the hints, which were definitely needed by me.So , thanks to archy and Mehitabel ! Heartiest congratulations , Kath, and well done.

  40. 2Kiwis
    Posted February 6, 2014 at 6:09 pm | Permalink

    Congratulations Kath and your assistant. A great review to a great puzzle. Thought we were going to be on page 3 before we could get our comment in as there are so many people welcoming the new team. We just loved the puzzle. All the elements that we look for and appreciate from Ray. Even the word count in the clues is spot on, with nothing longer than 7 words this week.
    Thanks RayT and K & p.

    • Una
      Posted February 6, 2014 at 9:08 pm | Permalink

      I somehow can’t see you two as page three people !

      • Kath
        Posted February 6, 2014 at 10:48 pm | Permalink

        You put that very well but, of course, you haven’t met either of us.http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_wink.gif

  41. outnumbered
    Posted February 6, 2014 at 6:26 pm | Permalink

    Finished with one error I see from looking at the hints. I had GREENINGS for 3d, convinced myself that green could mean bent (as in counterfeit money). Oh well, I’d never heard of gleanings in that context anyway.

    Recent RayTs have all had two hidden answers, and I thought maybe he’d adopted that as a signature, so I spent a while looking in vain for the second one!

    ***/**** here.

  42. P-Percy
    Posted February 6, 2014 at 6:36 pm | Permalink

    19a – Only soldier without a grave (6)

    What a wonderful clue!

    Lest we forget!

    • gazza
      Posted February 6, 2014 at 7:01 pm | Permalink

      Welcome to the blog P-Percy.

  43. RayT
    Posted February 6, 2014 at 6:48 pm | Permalink

    Setter here, with many thanks to Kath and pommers for the review. Very much appreciated, as are everybody’s comments.

    The Quickie pun was indeed ‘Paris Match’, which sounded like a good idea at the time…

    RayT

  44. Brendan
    Posted February 6, 2014 at 7:24 pm | Permalink

    This edged in to 4* territory for me but enjoyable all the same. Well done Kath, – archy and mehitabel, for an excellent blog. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_good.gif

  45. andy
    Posted February 6, 2014 at 7:58 pm | Permalink

    Well done Kath, you are much braver than me. Cheers to pommers and RayT too for what for me did nudge into 4* on both counts. Now for another drenching, come on dogs, walkies time :(

    • Kath
      Posted February 6, 2014 at 8:12 pm | Permalink

      You think that I’m braver than you? If you’d seen me last night and this morning you’d change your mind!!http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_scratch.gif

      • andy
        Posted February 6, 2014 at 8:22 pm | Permalink

        Well now you know you needn’t have worried :)

        • andy
          Posted February 6, 2014 at 8:24 pm | Permalink

          Oh, and am going out dog walking in a mo, phone needed answering and now it’s stopped raining…result.

        • archy
          Posted February 6, 2014 at 8:25 pm | Permalink

          Her typing in this morning’s emails didn’t look too shaky at all :lol:

  46. Angel
    Posted February 6, 2014 at 8:17 pm | Permalink

    Many congratulations mehitabel (and indeed archie) – yours was a masterly and entertaining joint first effort to which I initially expected to need much reference. For me this really was a slog but I did finally get there with the exception of 3d which beat me. Not too keen on anagrams however today’s were different as they were so cleverly concealed. I look forward to more of your hints. ****/***. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_rose.gif

  47. Prolixic
    Posted February 6, 2014 at 8:56 pm | Permalink

    Welcome on board Kath. Cracking debut and I look forward to more to come.

    • Kath
      Posted February 6, 2014 at 10:49 pm | Permalink

      Thanks – really appreciated.

  48. Salty Dog
    Posted February 6, 2014 at 9:25 pm | Permalink

    First, add one massive bouquet from me to those already overflowing your windowsill, Kath. As for Ray T’s crossword, it was an absolute corker and I feel a distinct pride at getting through it unaided. I got 1a before l even sat down, then looked blankly at the rest for about half an hour before the edifice gradually began to crumble. One of the last in was 14d – strange, since l’ve spent more than half my life in them! Favorite clue was 3d.
    I

  49. pommers
    Posted February 6, 2014 at 10:29 pm | Permalink

    Come on guys, we only need two more comments to get on to a third page.

    Well, actually we only need one more now I’ve posted this :lol:

  50. gnomethang
    Posted February 6, 2014 at 10:42 pm | Permalink

    I tried to post earlier with bad phone success.

    Well done to Kath for an impeccable start and thanks to pommers for the “hand-holding” (as if etc).
    Looking forward to more of these!.
    Slight criticism – you read the clues and wonder if it might be a RayT – REALLY?!!!!

    I forgot to thank the man himself – Thanks Ray for the usual loosened clothing!

    • Kath
      Posted February 6, 2014 at 10:52 pm | Permalink

      Who read the clues and wondered if it might be a Ray T? Not me – it didn’t even occur to me to think about it. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gif

  51. Kath
    Posted February 6, 2014 at 10:56 pm | Permalink

    I’ve had a really great day – thank you very much to everyone, in particular BD, archy/pommers and CS. I’m now completely knackered and off to bed.http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_bye.gifhttp://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/smiley-yawn.gif

  52. Merusa
    Posted February 6, 2014 at 11:12 pm | Permalink

    We made it to page three, amazing! Has this ever happened before? Well done chaps.

    • Posted February 7, 2014 at 12:53 am | Permalink

      The highest ever was 237 comments which crept into page 4.

  53. Dick
    Posted February 6, 2014 at 11:36 pm | Permalink

    After the Lord Mayor’s parade I’d just like to add my thanks and admiration to Kath for starting on what for me and Mrs D was a tough one.

  54. Only fools
    Posted February 7, 2014 at 12:08 am | Permalink

    Very belated congrats Kath I have been in distant parts (Harrogate!) ,enjoy the deserved acclaim and thanks to RayT for the usual fun and to Pommers for what in the football world we call an “assist” .
    The toughie blogs beckon .Well done

  55. Tstrummer
    Posted February 7, 2014 at 2:45 am | Permalink

    … and here I am limping over the finishing line with a stone in my shoe after a long and difficult day/night’s work. I had hoped for something a little easier, but Never on a Thursday. I found it harder than many Toughies, but got there in the end without exactly understanding why in many cases. So THANK YOU KATH for elucidating why I my answers were right. What a debut! Pat yourself on the back, you done good (as young people so irritatingly say). And thanks too to Pommers – has there ever been a such a pair since Torville and Dean first bumped into each other on the ice? As for you RayT, you made my brain hurt, but brought out a big smile with my favourite 28a, so I forgive you

  56. Obelix
    Posted February 7, 2014 at 7:20 am | Permalink

    Well done on the first blog! Actually found this OK – as always seems to be the case when the majority struggle; I look forward to getting stumped on a 1* tomorrow (the inevitable, other side of the coin). 18 a and d took a little while as ‘cur’ was a new word for me, and that’s the first time I’ve come across ‘fool’ used in that sense. Favourite clues 1a and 28a – brightened a long and miserable train journey across London. Thanks to the setter and the debutante blogger!

  57. Catnap
    Posted February 8, 2014 at 3:25 pm | Permalink

    in my opinion this was a super and entertaining rayt puzzle (five-star) complemented by super and entertaining clarifications by archy and mehitabel (also five-star)
    http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yahoo.gifhttp://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yahoo.gif

    warmest congrats on your debut, kath. very well done (exclamation mark) i look forward to many more
    http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_rose.gif

    well done archy (exclamation mark) http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_good.gif
    you must be finding the computer keyboard much easier than a typewriter and have mastered using capitals
    it was once your thought ‘THAT SOME HISTORIC DAY
    SHIFT KEYS WOULD LOCK IN SUCH A WAY
    THAT MY POETIC FEET WOULD FALL
    UPON EACH CLICKING CAPITAL’
    (archys life of mehitabel)

    very big thanks to rayt and to archy and mehitabel
    http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_rose.gifhttp://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_rose.gifhttp://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_rose.gif

  58. Cryspic
    Posted February 8, 2014 at 6:22 pm | Permalink

    For first time ever I did a cryptic crossword in one sitting – on Monday, then saw everyone found it easy. This one i read through and could do NOTHING. Then slowly and painfully completed it (although cross that I got 3d wrong – was hung up on “green”). 20D sent me adrift twice. First I had Everest, then descent, but finally got it right so could do 19a and 23a. I am sooooo relieved others found it hard! Thanks for the site, it really enhances the fun.

    • Mary
      Posted February 8, 2014 at 6:41 pm | Permalink

      Keep visiting as you say as well as helping it’s all good fun