DT 27670

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 27670

Hints and tips by Kath

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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

Good morning everyone. Oxford seems to have escaped the extreme weather that was forecast. It’s windy but nothing worse than average for a stormy patch in the middle of December. I hope that all of you, particularly those further north and west, are safe and warm.

This is a Ray T crossword and I thought it was quite difficult. I imagine it will be his last one this year so let’s make the most of it, thank him for all the entertainment that he provides and wish him a very happy Christmas.

The answers are hidden where it says “Click Here” so only do that if you need to see them.

Please leave a comment telling us how you got on today.


1a            He organises room with satchels scattered (12)
SCHOOLMASTER — An anagram (scattered) of ROOM with SATCHELS. A nice long and not too difficult anagram across the top is always such a good start.


9a            One showing skill that’s welcome in booze-up (9)
BARTENDER — This is a person who is necessary in a pub. An informal way of saying booze-up or drunken spree contains (in) the usual short word meaning skill.


10a         Amphitheatre gripped by warfare, naturally (5)
ARENA — The first of these little hidden horrors designed to confuse us. Found him without too much trouble.

11a         Oust terrible aunts, embracing Bertie finally (6)
UNSEAT — An anagram (terrible) of AUNTS containing (embracing) the last letter (finally) of Bertie.

12a         One floats along ocean, capsizing first? (8)
CANOEIST — Another anagram (capsizing) of OCEAN followed by the three letters for first. This one took me a long time to see.


13a         Hypocrisy of Church restrained by infinite divinity (6)
DECEIT — One of the two-letter abbreviations for Church is contained in (restrained by) another word for a divinity or god without its final letter (infinite).

15a         Break into a sweat for each peak (8)
PERSPIRE — Three letters meaning for each is followed by a peak, of a church maybe.

18a         Former wife cool about man endlessly in need (8)
EXIGENCE — Begin with the usual two letters for a former wife (or husband just to keep you chaps on your toes) and follow them with a verb meaning to cool or chill containing (about) a shortened word (endlessly) for a man without its last letter

19a         Erotic passage containing start of rumpy-pumpy (6)
CARNAL — The passage here is an artificial waterway containing the first letter (start of) R(umpy-pumpy).

21a         Going outside, catching cold, causing fever? (8)
EXCITING — Another word for going outside or leaving, often used in the theatre, containing (catching) C(old).

23a         Stones like to include entrance (6)
AGATES — These stones are out to fool us – they’re nothing to do with a rock band – they are semi-precious gems. The capitalisation of ‘Stones’ is because it’s the first word of the sentence rather than a proper noun. Two letters for like, or in the same way, contain (to include) an entrance or way into.


26a         Taken on board and left port (5)
LADEN — L(eft) followed by the chief port of Yemen.

27a         Stopped and hovered, smart bombs inside (9)
HAMSTRUNG — This kind of ‘stopped’ means to have made lame or powerless. Begin with another word for hovered or suspended. This contains (inside) an anagram (bombs) of SMART.

28a         Great band, close I fancy, covering Queen (12)
CONSIDERABLE — An anagram (fancy) of BAND CLOSE I containing (covering) the usual two letters for our Queen.


1d            Crushed broken transport, hoisted grabbing vehicle’s rear (7)
SUBDUED — Start with a word meaning broken or useless, carry on with short word for a means of transporting lots of people, bung in an E (the rear, or last letter of vehicle) and then turn it all upside down (hoisted).

2d            Employs and reportedly gives raises (5)
HIRES — A homonym (reportedly) of a verb meaning raises or lifts up.

3d            Plump compiler’s taking time to get working (9)
OPERATIVE — I hope you’re all really concentrating. A short word meaning plump for or choose, a way that the compiler might say he has, all containing a time or an age.

4d            Flash of French fashion (4)
MODE — A flash or short space of time is followed by the French word for of.

5d            Flag‘s raised initially on board ship (8)
STREAMER — One of the more common crossword ships contains (on board) the first letter (initially) of raised.


6d            Muse captured by painter at opening (5)
ERATO — The muse of lyric poetry is hidden in the clue. Our second little blighter – I found it – there are no flies on me today!

7d            ‘Sun’ issue creating agitation (8)
SEDITION — The one letter abbreviation for S(un) is followed by an issue or publication. My last answer – don’t know why.

8d            ‘Fight Club’ title, losing it (6)
BATTLE — A club or the thing used to hit the ball in cricket is followed by t(it)le – title losing it.

14d         Copper joining detectives to oversee English match (8)
COINCIDE — This copper is not CU – it’s a small bit of loose change, followed by the three letter abbreviation for detectives in the police force and lastly (to oversee) E(nglish).

16d         Fall about in almost relentless defeat (9)
SLAUGHTER — This kind of ‘fall about’ is what you might do if someone told you something very funny. It’s contained in (in) another word for relentless or inflexible without the final letter (almost).

17d         A receptacle like this produces plant (8)
ACANTHUS — A from the clue is followed by a receptacle or container and then a word meaning like this, or so.

Acanthus mollis

18d         First woman barely topless with equanimity (6)
EVENLY — The first woman who got up to a load of no good with Adam followed by a word meaning barely, or just about, without its first letter (topless).

20d         The French gossip over practically new dish (7)
LASAGNE — The French definite article is followed by a reversal (over) a short informal word meaning gossip or natter and the first couple of letters (practically) of new.


22d         Beat topping lead in ballroom dance (5)
TANGO — A three letter word meaning beat or whack followed by another word for lead or advance.

24d         Digit‘s hit with end turning black (5)
THUMB — An informal word for punch or hit has its last letter (end, a P) swapped (turning) for a B(lack)

25d         Surrounded in a feeble uprising (4)
AMID — A from the clue is followed by a reversal (uprising) of a word meaning feeble or faint.

I liked 1 and 12a and 14 and 16d. My favourite was 3d.

Today’s Quickie pun: Sly + Suck + Ache = Slice of cake



  1. Sweet William
    Posted December 11, 2014 at 11:11 am | Permalink

    Thank you Ray T – this didn’t somehow feel like a Ray T puzzle ! I found it quite difficult and for some reason – must be me – it didn’t quite have the usual Ray T enjoyment factor. I finished it and was interested to see your difficulty rating Kath, so I am feeling a bit better now ! Thanks for your review, hints and photos – is that MP at 9a ?

    • Miffypops
      Posted December 11, 2014 at 12:14 pm | Permalink

      There are no handpulls on that bar Sweet William so you are unlikely to see me in it or behind it.

  2. Beaver
    Posted December 11, 2014 at 11:13 am | Permalink

    I’d decided to give this excellent crossword ***/**** before I looked at the blog and you’ve proved me right Kath ! thanks for the pics, wish I could make one like 20d, not many write ins today! Favourites were ia and 9a as they both worked on several levels, thougrt it might have been Mr -,bravo.

  3. gazza
    Posted December 11, 2014 at 11:15 am | Permalink

    Thanks, Kath, for the excellent review of what I agree was a slightly trickier than usual Ray T. Thanks also for revealing that I’d got 18a wrong (my answer ended with a Y).

    • Posted December 11, 2014 at 11:24 am | Permalink

      I think your answer is as correct as the one allowed by the website – which is a way of saying that it was my first attempt until it was rejected!

    • Kath
      Posted December 11, 2014 at 11:54 am | Permalink

      What a good thing that the Y ending never occurred to me! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gif

    • Miffypops
      Posted December 11, 2014 at 12:16 pm | Permalink

      I have Y

    • Vince
      Posted December 11, 2014 at 12:42 pm | Permalink

      I think either ending fits the definition, but the Y fits better with the clue.

      • overtaxed
        Posted December 11, 2014 at 12:50 pm | Permalink

        Me too

      • Franco
        Posted December 11, 2014 at 1:14 pm | Permalink


        • Franco
          Posted December 11, 2014 at 1:48 pm | Permalink

          Why? Why? “Y” – Delilah! ♪♫ ♪♫ ♪♫

          Should it be banned?


        • overtaxed
          Posted December 11, 2014 at 3:39 pm | Permalink

          Because the clue says cool, not to cool.

          • Kitty
            Posted December 11, 2014 at 3:41 pm | Permalink

            To ice = to cool, so in that context, ice = cool.

            (I do still prefer icy though.)

            • Hilary
              Posted December 11, 2014 at 6:38 pm | Permalink

              So do I.

              • Angel
                Posted December 11, 2014 at 8:57 pm | Permalink

                Same here! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/icon_rolleyes.gif

    • Rick
      Posted December 11, 2014 at 12:55 pm | Permalink

      I agree that both work. If the web site wants E then I assume that is how Mr T set it, so luckily, like Kath, that is all I thought of at the time!

    • Kitty
      Posted December 11, 2014 at 2:21 pm | Permalink

      I’m in the Y club too – glad to see I’m in such esteemed company :).

      • Heno
        Posted December 11, 2014 at 2:40 pm | Permalink

        I’m in the E club, but I think that Y is better. Y never occurred to me.

        • Merusa
          Posted December 11, 2014 at 3:12 pm | Permalink

          I agree. I had E and I think Y is better.

  4. George
    Posted December 11, 2014 at 11:18 am | Permalink

    I did not like this puzzle much as I found many of the clues basically poor. The synonyms were tenuously coupled to the answer – for example – 27a means to me impeded not stopped. I would also quibble about the meaning of 16d as this can happen whether or not there is a defeat. But despite this I did complete the puzzle with some moans and groans.

    3*/1* in my rating.

    • Kath
      Posted December 11, 2014 at 11:52 am | Permalink

      Hmmm – 27a – I think if your hamstrings were cut you’d probably find that it stopped you being able to move. As for 16d I don’t think that it means slaughter as in murder or massacre – it’s what the BRB calls an informal word for a resounding defeat. I wonder what the difference between informal and slang is? http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_unsure.gif

      • George
        Posted December 11, 2014 at 1:40 pm | Permalink

        Well, lame maybe – but stopped is a bit much. I can also think of slaughters such as Darfur or the Holocaust which were genocides – but not in the sense of a battle where there would be a victor or a loser. Perhaps I am just grumpy this morning!

  5. Rabbit Dave
    Posted December 11, 2014 at 11:26 am | Permalink

    4*/4* for a tough but really enjoyable challenge today. My favourite with its flavour of P G Wodehouse was 11d.

    Many thanks to Ray T and to Kath whose help I needed to parse 16d fully.

  6. skempie
    Posted December 11, 2014 at 12:15 pm | Permalink

    I found this a bit of a slog with a number of the clues lacking the normal Ray T sparkle.Having said that, there were some nice clues and my favourite today has to be 28A – a wonderful anagram.

    Bloody power failure in Sri Lanka just as England needed three to win. Grrrrrr

  7. Franco
    Posted December 11, 2014 at 12:18 pm | Permalink

    A nice mix of clues today from RayT.

    Far more entertaining than a Beam Toughie? Discuss.

    (Thanks to Kath for helping me out with the ones I didn’t understand.)

  8. Hanni
    Posted December 11, 2014 at 12:21 pm | Permalink


    And so the snow begins. Which means the number of people who can drive in a reasonable manner is reduced to 4.

    Nice RayT today which certainly put up a bit of a fight.

    I wasn’t aware that my answer with a ‘y’ was wrong for 18a until I read the blog.

    Favourite clue is 9a with 3d getting a gold star.

    Many thanks to RayT and to Kath for your wonderful blog. :-)

  9. Miffypops
    Posted December 11, 2014 at 12:23 pm | Permalink

    Thoroughly enjoyable and an age taken to complete even if I am wrong by a single letter at 18ac Two Ray Ts in a row made me a very happy bunny. Thanks and a happy Christmas to Ray T the setter, Thanks also to young Kath who must have been a little ball of euphoria having to solve and blog that one.

  10. dutch
    Posted December 11, 2014 at 12:29 pm | Permalink

    Very enjoyable puzzle, i thought, with some rather clever wordplay more often seen in a toughie, as in “infinite divinity” (13a), title, losing it (8d), practically new dish (20d) and “end turning black” 24d.

    Favourite is 9a – quite a clever clue I think.

    Some chestnuts, 12a and 26a, last one is was defeat (16d), to me the definition (fall about) is incomplete, normally you fall about xxxx.

    I also had a Y for 18a and I’m perfectly happy with it. Such ambiguities would need checking letters before something is called wrong.

    Many thanks Ray T and Kath

  11. Brian
    Posted December 11, 2014 at 12:31 pm | Permalink

    For me a waste of perfectly good newsprint! As always almost completely incomprehensible. *******/*

    • Kath
      Posted December 11, 2014 at 12:34 pm | Permalink

      Grumpy guts!

      • Miffypops
        Posted December 11, 2014 at 12:52 pm | Permalink

        Would you expect anything else from Brian?

        • Kitty
          Posted December 11, 2014 at 2:36 pm | Permalink

          A grumpy Brian reassures me that the world has not ended. I was quite perturbed recently when he had a run of positive comments. It just didn’t seem natural.

    • skempie
      Posted December 11, 2014 at 1:51 pm | Permalink

      You could save yourself £1.40 each week by not buying the paper

      • Brian
        Posted December 11, 2014 at 3:37 pm | Permalink

        I only don’t because not every week am I subjected to the horror that is a Ray T crossword.http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_sad.gif
        And contrary to popular belief, I am a cheerful soul on the whole, it is only a Ray T crossword and the occasional Jay that winds me up.

        • Kitty
          Posted December 11, 2014 at 3:38 pm | Permalink

          How on earth can Jay ever wind you up?

    • Hrothgar
      Posted December 11, 2014 at 5:45 pm | Permalink

      I always read you first, Brian.
      That’s a compliment of sorts.

    • F1lbertfox
      Posted December 12, 2014 at 12:42 am | Permalink

      BRIAN – an anagram of BRAIN – try using the one God gave you and you might even be able to solve a RayT puzzle.

  12. upthecreek
    Posted December 11, 2014 at 12:40 pm | Permalink

    Aren’t we lucky. 2 RayTs in 2 days – wow. Sometimes we have to wait a fortnight for Ray to turn up so this is a bonus. Needless to say, I enjoyed the puzzle even though the hidden words were a bit easier today. Favourite was 27 and had a good laugh with 19. Also thought 3 9 18a 18d 23 24 and 28 were very good. Happy Christmas to Kath and to RayT and lets hope we have many more puzzles full of innuendo and giggles in the New Year.

  13. neveracrossword
    Posted December 11, 2014 at 12:46 pm | Permalink

    3*/3.5*. Thanks to Kath for explaining why my answer to 3d was correct.. Although I didn’t have a “y” at the end of 18a, it seems to work better with one. Thx to setter.

  14. overtaxed
    Posted December 11, 2014 at 1:02 pm | Permalink

    Bit of a struggle with some clues today so at least *** for difficulty and another *** for enjoyment.
    Thanks to Kath for the blog and to Ray T.
    Liked 9a, 19a and 14d where I tried starting the answer with cu for too long.

  15. fran
    Posted December 11, 2014 at 1:10 pm | Permalink

    27a nnnooo ! Also didn’t see 12 at first , once that fell into place — full steam ahead. Quite tricky not the most enjoyable but – always nice to finish scruffy ones.

  16. jean-luc cheval
    Posted December 11, 2014 at 1:30 pm | Permalink

    Glad to see that there isn’t too much RayT bashing today. Is it due to the holiday season coming up? I found the easier clues to give enough checking letters to help with the more cryptic ones. Maybe it is RayT’s way of inviting you to have a go at the toughie. We seem to be so few in that corner. Great review from Kath. Thanks to all.

  17. Rick
    Posted December 11, 2014 at 1:32 pm | Permalink

    After the generous anagram at 1a and the easy intersecting lurkers at 6/10 I thought RT was going to be in a mellow mood today, but the rest needed to be chiselled out one by one. A couple of stubborn ones at the end nudged me just over 3* time but somehow it felt longer!

  18. Tony
    Posted December 11, 2014 at 2:03 pm | Permalink

    I found this a bit of a slog. I, too, was a Y-er in 18a. I got the anagram in 1a but I did not see an obvious connection between a schoolmaster and one who organizes. I finished without really feeling a sense of accomplishment, although there were some tricky moments and some clever clues along the way. Maybe the foot of snow that fell overnight, and that had to be shovelled, had something to do with it!

    • Physicist
      Posted December 11, 2014 at 3:42 pm | Permalink

      I was a 1a, and I spent much of my time organising a room with satchels scattered.

  19. Dave B
    Posted December 11, 2014 at 2:10 pm | Permalink

    Thank you Kath. A lot more tricky than yesterday’s, but in a good way. 3d was last in. Both 12a and 14d made me chuckle.

  20. Gwizz
    Posted December 11, 2014 at 2:28 pm | Permalink

    I really enjoyed today’s puzzle. I had to work at it but I managed to complete it eventually, albeit with the ‘y’ duly in place in 18a. There were some lovely clues with just the right amount of difficulty involved. I think I’ll nominate 8d as my favourite.
    Thanks to Ray T and Kath for her excellent revue.
    Brian, it really is time you got your head round the RayT puzzles, you’ve been doing the DT crosswords long enough now. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/smiley-yawn.gif

  21. Kitty
    Posted December 11, 2014 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

    Wow http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/smiley-phew.gif. That was a big stiff one, and I very much enjoyed it. There was nothing I couldn’t manage, it just required lots of prodding away at until it all came good. Even the longer anagrams took quite a while, as I try not to “cheat” by writing them down (or in actual fact, typing them into the squares in any order and jumbling them around there) – I had to break that little rule in both 1a and 28a.

    I was held up for a bit by putting passo in for 22d – thought pass was ok for beat and that o would turn out to be some abbreviation for one form or another of lead. That would be bad enough, but of course it’s not even spelled like that http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_wacko.gif. To quote our lovely reviewer, oh dear!

    As I mentioned above, I had a Y to end 18a, but agree with those above and am not counting my answer wrong.

    19a produced a laugh but went in easily. I liked the harder 21a, but today’s crown goes to 9a – mine’s a double.

    Thanks to RayT for the satisfying meaty goodness, and to Kath for another excellent review.

    • Miffypops
      Posted December 11, 2014 at 3:54 pm | Permalink

      Nice to see that Mr ray T is not the only master of innuendo.

      • Kitty
        Posted December 11, 2014 at 3:59 pm | Permalink

        A girl walked into a bar and asked the 9a for a double entendre…

        • Miffypops
          Posted December 11, 2014 at 4:25 pm | Permalink

          I know. I gave her one.

          • Sweet William
            Posted December 11, 2014 at 4:38 pm | Permalink

            Ms Maudant comes to mind ?

  22. Ginny
    Posted December 11, 2014 at 2:36 pm | Permalink

    Thank you setter, and to Kath whose hints I shall surely need as soon as I am willing to admit defeat, otherwise I could stretch this out until Monday. So far, I have 1a, 11a, 29a and 24d. I imagine 15a has to do with meringues. Well done everyone else and merry Christmas :)

    • Miffypops
      Posted December 11, 2014 at 3:55 pm | Permalink

      You finished a toughie that I had given up on last night Ginny. You can do it.

      • Ginny
        Posted December 11, 2014 at 4:21 pm | Permalink

        Many thanks for your great encouragement Miffypops. Ok, as soon as the cards are done I will make a proper effort. Hope the kittens are giving you both lots of fun :)

  23. Heno
    Posted December 11, 2014 at 2:48 pm | Permalink

    Thanks to Ray T and to Kath for the review. A Merry Christmas to one and all. A good puzzle today with some very tricky clues. 9a made me laugh, as did 19a, how about that for innuendo? Was my favourite. The last 3 answers to me a long time, 16&17d&18a. Was 3*/4* for me. Showers in Central London hope those in the North & West are safe.

  24. Jane
    Posted December 11, 2014 at 3:19 pm | Permalink

    Off to a flying start with 1a and then it got tougher and tougher. As one of our group would say, I began to think that Mr. T had got his envelopes mixed up! Soldiered on, probably because I ‘love’ Ray T (in the same way that Brian ‘hates’ him) and completed with a huge sigh of satisfaction. Thank you for the parsing of 1&3d, Kath – I hadn’t quite got there! I am also in the ‘y’ gang for 18a and quite happy to leave it in place. 3*/4* for me.

    Potential favs. at 1,15,18,19 & 27a plus 20d. Can I have a dead-heat between 15&27a? I’d also like a gold star for the Quickie pun, although I can assure Mr. T that the Cryptic was far from that.

    Thought perhaps the clue at 9a was by way of a compliment to MP?

    Many congrats to Kath for unravelling it all with such apparent ease (and with pics. again – you’re really doing SO well). Interestingly, my last two in were 7d & 12a – we must be of a similar mind set! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_wacko.gif

    Appreciation as always to Mr. T. If we don’t hear from you again beforehand, have a lovely Christmas although, by my reckoning, it should be your turn on Christmas Day – how about it? http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_good.gif

  25. Merusa
    Posted December 11, 2014 at 3:33 pm | Permalink

    I didn’t find this easy but it wasn’t super difficult either.
    Kath, my last one in was 7d also and I needed your hint, but why? I don’t think it was over complicated, just a lacking of brain synapse, I suppose.
    I rather liked 1d, I’ll take that as my fave; a dud bus, indeed!
    Thanks to RayT, and many thanks to Kath for sorting 7d for me.
    I hope the 2Kiwis see the article where the DT reckons NZ is paradise!

  26. PaulW
    Posted December 11, 2014 at 4:07 pm | Permalink

    Since finding this site at beginning of the year I have used it to ‘teach’ myself how to complete these cryptic crosswords.

    I have only completed a dozen or so fully, without help, BUT am slowly getting an understanding.

    Just my thanks to all the ‘clue-unravellers’ – you have helped my learning curve tremendously!


    • Kath
      Posted December 11, 2014 at 5:15 pm | Permalink

      Welcome Paul – it’s always good to hear from people like you who are learning to do cryptic crosswords and finding the blog helpful. Now that you’ve ‘popped in’ and introduced yourself I hope that you carry on commenting. Everyone here is helpful and friendly so if you don’t understand something all you need to do is ask and someone will reply, usually within minutes. Good luck.

    • Kitty
      Posted December 11, 2014 at 5:26 pm | Permalink

      Yes, welcome Paul :).

      It’s good to have new commenters, but particularly helpful to hear from beginners, I think. Otherwise the comments can get skewed even more than I’m sure they are already towards the seasoned solvers, which must be disheartening to many. Do let us know how you progress.

    • Miffypops
      Posted December 11, 2014 at 5:54 pm | Permalink

      Helllo from me too PaulW. Well done on your solo completions. It might help you to know that generally the puzzles get harder as the week goes on. I hope you drop in again sometime.

    • Hilary
      Posted December 11, 2014 at 6:45 pm | Permalink

      Great news. I have only been here a few weeks but the camaraderie is amazing and I have acquired a very bad habit of reading the blog before I start the crossword – don’t go down that path.http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_good.gif

  27. JonP
    Posted December 11, 2014 at 4:37 pm | Permalink

    I very much enjoyed this puzzle from RayT. Thanks to Kath for the review and cheers to Mr T. **/****

  28. vancouverbc
    Posted December 11, 2014 at 4:54 pm | Permalink

    ****/****. Last evening I despaired but got better this morning. NE corner seemed to be the trickiest bit for me. Thanks to the setter for a very rewarding puzzle and to Kath for an enjoyable review which helped confirm my answers.

  29. Framboise
    Posted December 11, 2014 at 5:06 pm | Permalink

    Great review Kath and didn’t I need it! Found this very tricky and got stumped on quite a few clues – 3d and 16d were my Trafalgar and my Waterloo! So for me it was 3.5*/4*. Thanks to Ray T for a enjoyable but very challenging offering. Favourite was 3d.

  30. Hrothgar
    Posted December 11, 2014 at 5:43 pm | Permalink

    The right envelope for the back page, that is just sub ‘Toughie’ standard.
    Too many brilliant clues to single any one out.
    Many thanks for the Review, Kath, luckily hints not needed.
    Last in 16d, took longer than, say, five or six others.
    Many thanks indeed, Ray T

  31. 2Kiwis
    Posted December 11, 2014 at 6:02 pm | Permalink

    We agree that this was quite tricky. Our last one in was 16d with 7d not far ahead of it. The usual abundant ration of chuckle inducing clues to keep us amused. Brilliant review and pictures too.
    Thanks RayT and Kath

  32. Annidrum
    Posted December 11, 2014 at 6:24 pm | Permalink

    That was too much of a slog for me to enjoy today, although I normally enjoy Ray T’s puzzles . I hate when I have to go to the hints before completing a puzzle, so thanks for your help today Kath, a great review. Thanks also to Ray T for over stretching the old grey cells. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/smiley-phew.gif

  33. A G Brown
    Posted December 11, 2014 at 6:29 pm | Permalink

    Agree with Brian total waste of time and newsprint

    • Kath
      Posted December 11, 2014 at 6:55 pm | Permalink

      Right – now I’m going to let rip. I think that comments like this are just plain rude. You, presumably, mean that you couldn’t do it. Just because it was beyond your capabilities doesn’t mean that it was a “total waste of time and newsprint”. The compiler has put a lot of time and effort into setting a crossword that lots of us enjoyed. If you could be a little constructive or, dare I say it, positive about anything I’m sure that Ray T might learn from, and appreciate, your advice.

      • Franco
        Posted December 11, 2014 at 7:06 pm | Permalink

        How long does it take a compiler to set a crossword? I have always wanted to know.

        • Hanni
          Posted December 11, 2014 at 9:32 pm | Permalink

          Me too. How do they approach that empty grid and are they constantly thinking of cryptic descriptions for words?

          • gazza
            Posted December 11, 2014 at 9:57 pm | Permalink

            Several years ago Anax (Elkamere as a Toughie setter) provided an excellent article on how he went about setting a specific puzzle, going through it step by step. I certainly learnt a lot from it. Here’s a link.

            • Hanni
              Posted December 11, 2014 at 10:34 pm | Permalink

              Gazza thank you so much for the link. :-) What an enlightening article. Goodness it certainly makes me appreciate the intricacy and consideration the setters go through. A fantastic read.

            • Miffypops
              Posted December 12, 2014 at 12:51 am | Permalink


          • Franco
            Posted December 11, 2014 at 10:01 pm | Permalink

            I have read somewhere that the late great Araucaria always had to think of clues whatever the circumstances: – Christenings, Marriages or Funerals!

            It’s a hard life being a setter/compiler!


            • Franco
              Posted December 11, 2014 at 10:06 pm | Permalink

              Hope you like the “Archers”! Not my fault – blame the BBC

            • Hanni
              Posted December 11, 2014 at 10:39 pm | Permalink

              Thank you Franco. :-) I shall be listening to that over lunch tomorrow. Quite looking forward to it!
              P.S…I am an unashamed Archers fan.
              This blog is just so helpful. :-)

    • Posted December 11, 2014 at 7:16 pm | Permalink

      Nothing changes (A G Brown, 2014/12/07)

    • F1lbertfox
      Posted December 11, 2014 at 7:24 pm | Permalink

      Well said Kath. Speaking as one who looks forward to Jay and RayT’s puzzles I find it hard to appreciate how or why anyone should make such comments. Personally, I generally find them more straightforward than most and a pleasure to solve. Occasionally the solving is extremely quickly done. Now I’m no clever clogs by any stretch of the imagination, having only attained a bog standard Secondary Modern Education as a child of the 50s, so I can only assume that these setters and I are on similar wavelengths. Now if we were to talk about Elgar puzzles, then I’m happy to admit that his puzzles are waaaaay beyond my brain powers – but I’d never ever regard them as a waste of newsprint just because I can’t understand them. Keep ’em coming RayT – they keep me amused. Oh yes, I managed today’s puzzle alright as well :-)

    • Merusa
      Posted December 11, 2014 at 8:21 pm | Permalink

      Why not just ignore the sod, he’ll soon get bored.

  34. Hilary
    Posted December 11, 2014 at 6:52 pm | Permalink

    If anyone would like to join me in the cupboard under the stairs they are welcome just bring your own tissues. I have to own up to a lot of scribbling and a considerable amount of electronic help but I finally got there. I should not have read the comments first (not Kath’s decode) as they scared me stiff. Thanks to Kath for explaining why I had what I had and thanks to Ray T. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/smiley-phew.gif

    • Kath
      Posted December 11, 2014 at 8:14 pm | Permalink

      Oh dear! Hilary, you have to come out from the cupboard under the stairs – this was not the most straightforward of crosswords, and anyway there has to be room for me in there tomorrow – Fridays are my betes noires and I don’t imagine that there’s room for two of us under your stairs.

      • Hilary
        Posted December 11, 2014 at 10:53 pm | Permalink

        Perhaps I should mention I live in a bungalow. For you I will share my tissues. Bestest Hilary. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_bye.gif

  35. Littlemart
    Posted December 11, 2014 at 6:55 pm | Permalink

    ****/* for me I’m afraid. Found it hard work and took three sessions to finish it. Rather like the feeling I used to get running X country. Very glad it is finished!
    Thank you to Kath for the review.

  36. Una
    Posted December 11, 2014 at 7:25 pm | Permalink

    I’m with the Y nots.I had to reveal the hint to try and understand my misspelling. I thought it was a terrific crossword because it was tough.
    5d, 7d and 8d heldout for a long while before capitulating.18a was my favourite.Thanks to all concerned .

  37. RayT
    Posted December 11, 2014 at 7:35 pm | Permalink

    Very many thanks to Kath for the decryption and to everybody else for your comments.


    • Rick
      Posted December 11, 2014 at 7:48 pm | Permalink

      Ray, you could have put us out of our misery on the E or Y question!

      • Kath
        Posted December 11, 2014 at 7:52 pm | Permalink

        Yes! Or maybe it doesn’t matter any more – both seem to work.

        • Jane
          Posted December 11, 2014 at 8:16 pm | Permalink

          I was wondering – does Mr. T ever respond to direct questions or just pop in to say thanks to everyone?

      • RayT
        Posted December 11, 2014 at 8:23 pm | Permalink

        I was thinking of ‘E’ but ‘Y’ also works. I don’t really mind!


        • Jane
          Posted December 11, 2014 at 8:32 pm | Permalink

          Well – that’s one question answered! Thank you.

          • Kath
            Posted December 11, 2014 at 10:22 pm | Permalink

            Two questions answered really. ‘E’ or ‘Y’ doesn’t matter and, yes, he responds to questions. I’m just glad that the ‘wrong’ answer didn’t occur to me! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/smiley-phew.gif

        • Hanni
          Posted December 11, 2014 at 9:14 pm | Permalink

          Thank you RayT. For the lovely crossword and that I can keep my Y!

        • Annidrum
          Posted December 11, 2014 at 10:19 pm | Permalink

          Thanks for that Ray T. I’m with you I had the “e”.

        • Kath
          Posted December 11, 2014 at 10:24 pm | Permalink

          Thank you – there is no right or wrong so it’s all fine. Happy Christmas to you.

          • Hanni
            Posted December 11, 2014 at 10:42 pm | Permalink

            Happy Christmas from me too RayT.

  38. Chris
    Posted December 11, 2014 at 7:35 pm | Permalink

    I really enjoyed this. It is just at the level that takes me lots of effort to do almost every clue, but with just enough steady progress to keep going to the end. The sense of achievment is boosted by finding that I am not alone in finding this the hardest puzzle for a while. 4*/5* for me, and many thanks to RayT for his unfailingly high standard. (And I am still awestruck by Kath managing to solve this under time constraints and do an excellent blog as well!)

    • Kath
      Posted December 11, 2014 at 7:48 pm | Permalink

      Thank you very much for your compliment but please don’t ask (I know you weren’t) about time constraints and general timing – it’s all a bit trial and error! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_unsure.gif

      • Chris
        Posted December 11, 2014 at 8:04 pm | Permalink

        Trial possibly but no errors that show.
        I would hate to do crosswords I knew people were waiting for but remain very grateful there are people here who don’t mind regularly doing just that!

  39. Angel
    Posted December 11, 2014 at 9:25 pm | Permalink

    I came to this late today and found it quite challenging but really enjoyed the exercise. Many thanks indeed RayT and also Kath on whom I relied for 7d which was not helped by missing the anagram indicator for 12a. More fun with the Quickie pun! ****/****. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_smile.gif

  40. Salty Dog
    Posted December 11, 2014 at 9:32 pm | Permalink

    Some very easy clues, and some requiring application of the little grey cells. On balance, so close to 3* difficulty as makes very little difference, and the same for satisfaction. I too was tempted by the Wooster-esqe 11a, but in the end plumped for 9a, which made me smile. I confess to putting 3d in without fully unravelling the clue, so am grateful to Kath for the explanation. Many thanks to Ray T for the pleasure afforded by this puzzle.

  41. Tstrummer
    Posted December 12, 2014 at 2:14 am | Permalink

    Phew! This was a bit of a struggle, but an enjoyable one. 13a was my last one in and took much head scratching and I only got it after finally realising that 1d couldn’t possibly be ‘subsume’. Many thanks to Kath for the splendid review and pics, and to RayT who needs to ignore the likes of Brian and keep up the excellent work. Thanks to him, my brain is now fried – thank goodness I don’t have to work tomorrow, just pitch up and receive a reward for 20years’ loyal service to the world’s greatest newspaper. 3* enjoyment tonight! but 5* difficulty for me. Maybe I’m getting too old for all this

  42. Don1991
    Posted December 12, 2014 at 7:23 am | Permalink

    Just got round to this this morning. I’m glad I had it left over from yesterday to soak up a bout of insomnia. Went ‘bing’ wide awake at 0430 and that was that!
    Having solved 1a I thought this was going to be a shoe in. That thought lasted about 30 seconds more. Not many more ‘write-ins’ and the rest had to be chiselled out. Solving time puts this in 4* territory for me. 3* for enjoyment (or is that relief at finishing).
    I’m in the ‘Y’ club for 18a, I didn’t even consider an ‘E’.
    Joint faves were 3a and 27a.
    Thanks for the entertaining review Kath and to RayT. Between you and 3 cups of tea I’ve managed to make it through to Chris the paper boy slipping the DT through the letterbox. I think I might have a quick first run at today’s toughie.
    Cheers me dears.

  43. Ginny
    Posted December 12, 2014 at 8:53 pm | Permalink

    Well got there but had to go to hints for 10a, 19a and 14a, got wrong port for 26a and electronically saved time on 27a and 28a. Found it hard but enjoyable, and was more than glad of those particular hints. Many thanks to Kath and setter.