DT 27717 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 27717

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 27717

Hints and tips by pommers

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ***

Hola from the Vega Baja on a cold but sunny morning. Maybe I’m being a bit grumpy this morning but this RayT puzzle didn’t quite hit the spot for me so only 3* for enjoyment.  As for difficulty it should only be 1* based on my time but I was lucky to spot the two eleven letter anagrams instantly so I’ve given it 2*. I’ll be interested to hear what you make of it.

As usual the ones I like most are in blue and the definitions are underlined in the clues. Answers are hidden under the “click here” buttons so don’t click if you don’t want to see them.

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           Show fanatical holy man before judge (11)
DEMONSTRATE: A slang term used to describe someone who’s fanatical about something (5) followed by the usual holy man (2) and a word meaning to judge (4).  I know I’ve said it before but I likes it when 1a goes straight in.

9a           Attend lessons, some boring (7)
ENDLESS: It’s hidden (some) in the first two words.

10a         Outdo former wife with children, say (6)
EXCEED: The usual former wife followed by four letters which aren’t a word but if pronounced would sound like a word for children.  Not sure I like homophone clues where the letters don’t make a proper word.

12a         Ferocious female defending her pride? (7)
LIONESS: Cryptic (?) definition. Her pride are her offspring.  Is this really cryptic?

13a         Spirit of honour about to end (7)
SPECTRE: Take a word for to honour or think highly of and move the RE (about) from the beginning to the end.  Easy to fill in the answer but it took a while for the penny to drop on how it works.

14a         Direction in musical for groups of actors (5)
CASTS: One of the points of the compass (direction) inserted into an Andrew Lloyd Webber musical.

15a         Fakes the compiler’s blog contributors (9)
IMPOSTERS: How the compiler might say “he is” followed by what us lot are.

17a         Fluid mechanics causing accident (9)
MISCHANCE: Anagram (fluid) of MECHANICS.

20a         Pile of stones roughly hard, not round (5)
CAIRN: Roughly as in about. Take one of the abbreviations for about and follow with a word often used to describe something that’s hard but with its O removed (not round).

22a         Fantasise mentally, embracing return of vengeance (7)
NEMESIS: The answer’s hidden in the first two words (embracing) but this time it’s backwards (return of).

24a         Do maiden over in length of material? (7)
REMODEL: This could be to do anything over not just a maiden.  It’s DO (from the clue) and M(aiden) reversed (over) in a length of material.  I think I’ve got that right but it’s not very satisfactory so if anyone has a better idea I’ll be pleased to hear it.

25a         Clubs set out for Open (6)
CLEAVE:  C(lubs) followed by a word for set out as in go away.

26a         After a second awake, practically lustful (7)
AMOROUS: A (from the clue) followed by a short time and then a word for “to awake” without its last letter (practically).

27a         Remained top, affected to be superior (11)
PREDOMINATE:  Anagram (affected) of REMAINED TOP.  This is one I spotted instantly which is strange as I’m the world’s worst at cracking anagrams of more than about seven letters.


2d           Quits purchasing gutless League teams (7)
ELEVENS: Take a word meaning quits as in on an equal footing and insert (purchasing) an LE (gutless L(eagu)E)

3d           Phobia of old boy going to meeting (9)
OBSESSION:  Take the abbreviation for Old Boy and follow with a meeting, of a court or even musicians.

4d           Small domestic animals brought up stairs (5)
STEPS: S(mall) and some domestic animals all reversed (brought up in a down clue).

5d           Disease caught off insects (7)
RICKETS:  Remove C(aught) from some chirpy insects and you get a disease caused by a deficiency of vitamin D.

6d           In that place, catching a tragedy’s opening? (7)
THEATRE: An all-in-one.  Take a word for “in that place” as opposed to here and insert A (from the clue) and T (Tragedy’s opening) and you get a place where you may indeed see the opening of a tragedy, or a comedy for that matter.

7d           Queen record left brilliant players time for ‘Substitute‘ (11)
REPLACEMENT: This is a long charade of, wait for it . . . R(egina), an old type of record, L(eft), a word meaning brilliant, some players and T(ime).  Phew!

8d           Featuring old lino, pub’s oddly unpleasant (6)
ODIOUS:  It’s alternate letters (oddly) from old lino pub’s.  I sincerely hope this isn’t alluding to “The Green Man”!

11d         Make one’s own series on lap dancing (11)
PERSONALISE: Anagram (dancing) of SERIES ON LAP.  I’ll resist the temptation!

16d         De Niro part almost recast for ‘Doom‘ (9)
PREORDAIN: Another anagram (recast) of DE NIRO and PAR (part almost).

18d         Start to sew more extensive piece of embroidery (7)
SAMPLER: S (start to Sew) followed by a word meaning more extensive.

19d         Consort with hard American group (7)
HUSBAND: H(ard) followed by two letters for American and then a group as in pop group.

20d         Satisfaction from varying in bed (7)
COMFORT: Anagram (varying) of FROM in a child’s bed.

21d         Raised in brood, nightjar’s covered (6)
INDOOR: It’s another hidden reversal (raised in, in a down clue) and it’s backwards in brood nightjar.

23d         Second squad showing enthusiasm (5)
STEAM: S(econd) followed by a squad.

We seem to have had a bit of an animal theme in the piccies today. Purely accidental I assure you but it makes a change from racing cars and boats.
No stand out favourite for me today but, if pushed, I’d probably go for 13a or perhaps 5d.

The Quick Crossword pun: meant+hurl+list=mentalist

104 comments on “DT 27717

  1. I am a very happy bunny today in spite of the horrible weather here in London. There are not many better feelings than waking up, realising it’s Thursday, turning the paper over, after a momentary groan on seeing a full page advert folding open the inside back page, and seeing relatively few words in the clues for the cryptic crossword with only single words in the clues for the quickie. A cursory glance at the cryptic clues reveals, yes, Her Majesty is there plus a mention of lap dancing for good measure! It’s a Ray T day! Hooray!

    1.5*/4*. I found this at the easier end of the maestro’s spectrum, but still wonderfully enjoyable.

    As a fan of both Queen and The Who, I was delighted by 7d, which I thought was a great charade with superb surface reading. There are several very clever anagrams and some cunning hidden words (good luck, Kath!). I thought 12a was a bit tame, but my favourite could probably be any of the other 27 clues. My short list is 17a or 11d (both exquisite anagrams) or 13a (which took me the longest to understand the wordplay).

    Many thanks to Ray T and to pommers.

    1. I’ve found one thing even better than that – receiving a tax rebate from HMRC whhhooo hoooo

    2. How can one be a fan of both Queen and The Who? Pop pap from the former and brilliance from the latter.

  2. Definitely on the easier end of the RayT spectrum based on the time it took me. A fun solve nonetheless, so 2*/3* from me too. Thanks to pommers and RayT

  3. Well I finished a Ray T today and on the whole thoroughly enjoyed it. I did wonder about 22a which is how I normally refer to Ray T!
    Not sure about steam for enthusiasm but thought 13a and 5d very clever.
    Shame about the falling white stuff, another cancelled golf day, will have to stay in and do some cooking for tomorrow’s dinner party assuming the guests can get through the snow.http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_cry.gif

    1. Sorry forgot my manners, thanks to Ray T for providing a puzzle I can do and to Pommers for explaining 20a.

  4. */***
    A mostly enjoyable romp. Some moments of humour from the master with 11d making me laugh.

    However 9a and 3d left me feeling cold. How is 3d a phobia and 9a is just not cryptic? Am I missing something here?

    Can’t complain because a RayT is a thing of joy to brighten a dark morning.

    Many thanks to RayT and to Pommers for the brilliant blog. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_good.gif

    I have 9 clues in the Toughie and I may have invented one of them. No more I say.

    1. I wondered about 3d as well but Collins has this for obsession:-

      (psychiatry) a persistent idea or impulse that continually forces its way into consciousness, often associated with anxiety and mental illness. It also has phobia in the list of synonyms so I guess it’s OK, just about.

      For the non-cryptic don’t you mean 12 across?

      1. I looked it up too and got that, but somehow it doesn’t fit. Hey ho! :-)

        I did mean 12a. Cheers Pommers.

      2. phobia does the trick but seems ott, not sure I understand RayT’s choice of the word. Fear or Passion would have made a more readable clue?

  5. A couple in the bottom half slowed me down, but otherwise fairly straightforward today.
    Many thanks to RayT, and to Pommers (I also cogitated over 24a).

  6. No time to look at crossword, hints or comments yet but just thought I’d pop in quickly to say hello all and thanks so much to pommers for taking over hints, at pretty short notice, on a day when I should have been doing them – you’re a star and very much appreciated – http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_rose.gif to you.
    Hopefully back later but http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_unsure.gif

  7. Nothing too startling south east corner slowed me down, still seem to get fixated by some clues.
    Many thanks to pommers for the help, and RayT for a little amusement.

  8. Ah yes, the dreaded RayT puzzle with questionable clues again. 25a does NOT mean ‘open’ except in a very abstract way, but this is the poor type of clue I expect from RayT I think is a shame that to make a puzzle more challenging, far fetched synonyms are used. But then, I appear to be alone in my criticism of RayT puzzles.

    I would rate this one as 3*/2* – not as quite as disappointing for me as some RayT puzzles.

    1. I am with you George. about 25a and Open (what ?) , a poor clue and last one in. Less trouble than usual from RayT the obscure ! Still I enjoyed this offering and finished it relatively quickly ; for a thursday **/***

      1. The trouble is that most people think RayT is wonderful, and I’m sure he is, but we find him very difficult, so he’s not our favourite setter. I’m also not keen on answers relying on the 50th definition of a word in the BRB, and we do get one or two of those. Anyway, grump over, we did find this a little easier than usual so thank you to the setter and to Pommers.

    2. I’m afraid I disagree. Surely if you cleave a melon, you could say that you’ve opened it. Not obscure in my book. The clue was fairly set too.

      1. I agree with Heno. If my recollection of Greek mythology is correct, the goddess Athena was born by cleaving Zeus’ skull with an axe, following which she leapt out fully clad in armour. I think that is a fairly convincing demonstration of opening something.

    3. Like you my heart usually falls when I see a Ray T on a Thursday but the last couple have been doable although I doubt he will ever be my favourite setter, that honour will always belong to Giovanni. There is just something about the way Ray T constructs his crosswords that I find tricky and usually very irritating but he is a bit like Marmite, you either love his puzzles or hate them!

  9. Today should be the day for Ray T phobics to overcome their fears, as Brian has already demonstrated. Even the five step charade in 5d should be easy enough to follow.
    I agree with pommers that it lacked some of the usual sparkle and with Hanni that 12a was an uncharacteristically weak clue. 1.5*/3*
    The question now is whether to risk my good mood on a Giovanni Toughie. Watch this space…

    1. Rick, it is worth having a look at today’s Toughie. Whilst I can’t call it gentle, it is a Giovanni after all, I have seen scarier. I’ve gone from having 9 clues in to having 9 clues to go! God only knows what 4d is about though. I shall wait for the blog on that one!

      1. Will probably be told off for discussing another crossword on this particular blog but for 4d think French. Garlic and parsley butter sauce on a steak. Miam miam.

      2. I have 4d, he said smugly!
        I agree it’s not too terrifying, with the usual sprinkling of obscure words and one of the less celebrated American Presidents – typical Giovanni really.
        I got called away with it half done as the OH’s car wouldn’t start (computer said No) and have come back to finish it off. Down to the last three now (literally as they are all at the bottom) so will break for lunch and hopefully crack it afterwards.

  10. I’m out to lunch soon, well some people would say I’ve been out to lunch for years, but I’ll be back later. Play nicely children http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_wink.gif

  11. Quite liked the hidden words today, very clever, in particular 9a (attend lessons) and 22a (fantasise mentally). I liked 15a because it felt like it was about us (compiler’s blog contributors), and I liked the innuendo and using “from” for the anagram in 20a (satisfaction from varying…).

    12a (female defending her pride) did little for me, and I didn’t feel good about 24a, which I think must be parsed as in the review ( the alternative would use O from over but that doesn’t quite work), but the definition wasn’t at all clear to me, would seem a rather specific example..

    I made life hard agin by entering thereat into 6d, silly of me and soon corrected.

    Many thanks Ray T and pommers for review

  12. I thoroughly enjoyed today’s offering – and of course, we al get a mention in 15A ! TBH the quickie held me up longer than the cryptic although that is often the case for me. 13A was pretty obvious once the checking letters were in, but the why took a bit of working out. Think I’ll go for 5D as favourite today as it made me chuckle.

    Still no snow in the BS31 area

    1. Incidentally, today is International Nutella day (apparently). One has to ask why, and what do those with nut allergies do to celebrate it and why oh why oh why can’y we have an International Hobgoblin Day, Young’s Special day, Adnam’s Ghost Ship day etc ?

  13. Thank you Ray T for another enjoyable puzzle – I agree with previous comments that it is one of your less taxing challenges ! ( I find them all difficult, but in varying degrees http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_wink.gif ) Thanks Pommers for the review and hints – I did need your explanations for a couple of answers.

  14. Well, I’ve done it but I’m a bit unsatisfied – quite a few of the answers baffled me, even after reading the blog’s ‘explanation’ I find them a bit tenuous to say the least.

    Ah well, onward and upward – tomorrow is another day! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_negative.gif

  15. Was slow to notice that 11d was an anagram. Do’h as everyone says. Specially as I wasn’t sure about 20 and 24a for which I had the right answers but were not very clear to parse properly.
    The rest fell in quite easily and I suggest bloggers to have a go at the toughie from the Don. It is very light.
    Favourite today is 13a.
    Thanks to RayT and to pommers for the entertaining review.

  16. Apart from initially putting ‘thereat’ for 6d -it seemed to fit ,all went smoothly-NE corner last in ! thanks Pommers for the ‘pet pics’ very amusing, trust Mr Hamilton doesn’t do cryptics as 14a might make him spin out if control. Remember seeing the original in London-brilliant. Agree with a**/*** and did enjoy it.

    1. Put me down as another one who originally thought ‘thereat’ was the most likely of the two possible solutions to 6 down.

  17. I cannot remember finishing a RayT puzzle on my own (well, maybe just once) let alone finish one before the hints are circulated. Well, I did today. Has the world gone mad? Many thanks to RayT, even if you are getting a bit soft, but I did thoroughly enjoy the puzzle and many thanks to Pommers whose hints I did not need today but I am sure that they contain his usual sparkling wit

  18. 21d. I still don’t like this type of clue. “Indoor” is written backwards, but not raised, in the clue, as it is, obviously, written horizontally and not vertically. Compare this with 4d., which I do, agree with, where “s” and “pets” have to be written upwards in the grid to provide the answer.

  19. Didn’t like this one at all. I thought the clues, in general were strained, and were often convoluted with tenuous surface reading. Some stretched dictionary definitions to the limit. Still, I guess it was certainly cryptic! Each to his own… and this wasn’t for me! Much admiration to those who found it straightforward; I have a long way to go! ***\*

    1. Agree wholeheartedly, tenuous was the word that struck me about this puzzle – a couple of examples – since when has ‘steam’ meant ‘enthusiasm’ or ‘cleave’ meant ‘open’ – not to my taste! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/icon_twisted.gif

  20. It’s remarkable how divergent the views are today !

    A tremendous puzzle, I thought, possibly not quite hitting the heights of last Thursday’s, but coming remarkably close indeed :-)

    Delightful clueing, especially 16d, 26a, 2d and my personal favourite, 5d. The only one I failed to understand initially was 20a, but I got the answer nevertheless. Those being picky with 25a are being incredibly churlish.

    Thursday is definitely the day not to miss for maximum entertainment.

    Congratulations to the setter and Pommers.

  21. Well, I enjoyed it. I agree with others that it wasn’t the hardest of RayT’s offerings, but I still found it stiff enough to be satisfying, especially in the lower half. Never quite got the parsing of 13a, and took a while to figure out some in the SE, but other that that everything slotted together nicely.

    I liked how we got a mention in 15a :). Lots of very entertaining clues, my favourite being 26a, with 11d runner up and 20d taking bronze. How boringly predictable I am…

    My thanks to pommers and RayT.

    1. A bit disappointed with RayT’s lack of Double Entendres today. But Kitty seems to have provided them? LOL!

  22. For a change I had time to finish todays crossword during the day. Didn’t like 24a. Although I had the answer I still don’t really understand it.
    5d was my favourite. Only had to seek electronic help with 18d. Many thanks for your assistance.

  23. The only good thing I can say about this crossword is that I finished it before ‘tuning in’ to the blog. I thought yesterday’s was poor with its two foreign phrases, but today’s was really most uninspiring. I normally enjoy RayT puzzles, but this one really did disappoint.

  24. Thanks to Ray T and to Pommers for the review and hints. A nice puzzle from Ray T, a bit on the gentle side. Favourites were 5d&15a which may be about this site? Perhaps Ray could let us know? Last in was 25a, was 2*/3* for me.

  25. ***/*** I just feel happy to have finished a”Thursday” un-aided, though the blog had tos supply some of the reasons, thanks pommers ;)

  26. I kind of liked this crossword which sounds like I’m damning it with faint praise I know.
    Most of it went in quite easily but the lower half was not quite so satisfying in that I thought 24, 25 and 26a were a bit out of context somehow. Maybe it is just me having an off day, so I will adopt Michael’s mantra just this once…
    Thanks to Ray T and Pommers for his revue.

  27. Enjoyable puzzle today but not one of our favourites. Had a bit of trouble with the south east corner. Thanks to Pommers for the review, we entirely agreed with your comments. Thanks for the tip-off Jean-Luc, we’ll give it a go.

  28. That was a good lunch (hic!).

    We seem to have had a Marmite puzzle today judging by all the comments. I agree some of the defs are stretching it a bit, which was why I only gave it *** enjoyment, but the wordplay was mostly petty good. I should have stuck with * for difficulty though.

  29. I finished this in good time, but a lot of answers were bunged in with M’pops rule and needed pommers’s hints to know why, e.g. 26a, 20a, and a couple of others.
    I am on the side of enjoying this and thank RayT for it, and, of course, pommers for his explanations.
    Fave? I think that’s 15a but there were others that merited mention.

  30. Hi – another one of the 15a’s checking in!
    Well, it was a Mr. T day so of course it was a good one, although perhaps not one of his best? I’ll go along with Pommers on the ratings and the best clues except that I would also give a mention to 7d, which was probably my favourite.
    Took a little while to get the parsing for 20&25a and smiled at the usual innuendos which we’ve come to expect from Ray T. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_wink.gif

    Many thanks, Mr. T http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_rose.gif and also Pommers for stepping into the breech and for the ‘ah’ pictures. Kath will probably not be sorry to have missed out on having to deal with the hidden words! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/smiley-phew.gif

    1. Yep, 7d was pretty good and was my last in. I guessed it from the def and checkers and then spent a min or so deconstructing it to get to the charade.

  31. Well I liked it and that is all that matters. Nearly but not quite needed a pencil for the anagram at 16d after I decided PERDITION had the wrong letters.

  32. After yesterday I emerged from cupboard under stairs because I had used up last tissue. Thanks to Ray T for confusing me and Pommers for explaining things, honestly I did have the right answers but my poor little brain could not understand why. Lovely anagrams but 15a made me giggle so that has to be my favourite. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/smiley-phew.gif

  33. Muchas gracias to pommers for the review and to all for your comments. As interesting as ever!


  34. I didn’t find it especially easy, but liked 5d and also 20d. It’s rare for me to not like RayT clues but I thought 12a unworthy of his skill, indeed hardly cryptic. And personally I prefer clues to reflect uses of words that are sometimes used in that sense and so I am not keen on 3d despite the BRB. So 4*/ 3* today. Many thanks to pommers and the setter.

  35. ***/**** – really enjoyable mainly because I could do it http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_good.gif I did need Pommers (to whom much thanks) to explain my bung in at 20a. To the setter, a first rate puzzle with some stand out clues – 26a, 2 & 21d.

  36. Back again – just about.
    This was more than 2* difficulty for me and I agree with 3* enjoyment.
    Most of the answers weren’t too tricky to get but working out why for some of them was what took me the time.
    I ended up with 13, 20 and 24a which I didn’t understand – probably should have done, but I didn’t.
    I missed all the hidden answers – doesn’t seem to make much difference to me whether they’re going forwards or backwards – I still miss them.
    I liked 14 and 15a and 5d.
    Thanks to Ray T and more thanks to pommers.

    1. Don’t worry Kath, 13 and 20 were the two tricky ones today and I wasn’t sure about 24 – see exchange of comments with RayT above

      1. Oh good – seriously suffering from scrambled brain syndrome. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_unsure.gif
        I did see the exchange of comments which cheered me up a bit.

  37. Well I must have been wearing my Missus Thickie hat today, as I didn’t manage this at all well. Missed the hidden words too, which usually I seek out very keenly as they are safe fill ins. So rather a miserable outcome, but I appreciated being put so firmly back in my Beginner’s Box, so thank you Ray T for the tussle, and to Pommers both for clarifying why my 20a was correct, and for the “Aaaahhh” pic for 4d. Not that Poppy would approve of such closeness…

  38. Good fun again for us. All the characteristics that we have come to expect from this setter and yes, we did check the word count in the clues as usual. 15a was our favourite. Reckon that today’s pics just about break all records for cuteness.
    Thanks RayT and pommers.

    1. Honest guys, on the pics it was only when I was looking for something for the sampler that i realized what I had done http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_unsure.gif

  39. Completed the puzzle except for 13a – for some reason put thereat for 6d instead of theatre satisfied that it meant in that place, silly me. So was at a loss with s?e?e?e. Too clever a clue for me! Got 24a but did not understand it. Thanks to Pommers for the review and to Ray T for this enjoyable puzzle.I liked 5d and 1a. So for me it was 2*/3*.

  40. A couple of sticky moments but it all fell into place in reasonable time. 24a was my last one in but like pommers I was dubious until the online submission pronounced it correct.
    2*/3* for me.
    Thanks to both Ray T and pommers.

  41. Pretty straightforward but not unamusing: 1*/3*. I quite liked 8d. I’ll stay out of the pro or anti Ray T debate and limit myself to thanking him for this brief diversion from the cares of the day. And thanks to Pommers, too, of course.

  42. Got it al except 25. Where do find vleave meaning clubs. Wrong tense, wrong meaning. Get a grip

    1. The definition is OPEN! C is clubs, set out from somewhere is to LEAVE = CLEAVE. If I cleaved an orange with a chopper it would be open. Where’s the problem?

      1. You have the good taste and manners of a Victorian granny. If it had been me, I would have let ‘er rip. Good on yer mate, your restraint is to be commended.

        1. I was going to say ” if I cleaved your head with a Samurai sword” but thought better of it.

        2. Merusa – I’m a great pommers fan but I’d never go so far as to say that he had the good taste or manners of a Victorian granny! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_scratch.gif

        3. Merusa – pommers has never been know for his restraint. He must have been in good mood today!

    2. Don’t you worry Gerry Fergus, It’s only a bit of banter.
      Everybody on this blog is really lovely.
      They are there to help with solving our daily puzzles, and I sometimes posted some right stupid comments because I didn’t get a clue, even after revealing the answer.
      Keep posting. I look forward to your next publications.

  43. I am a big Ray T fan. As far as I am concerned he never disappoints. I thought this one was maybe a tad easier than usual but nevertheless enjoyable. So thanks to him for the fun and to Pommers for the review.

  44. Well I just couldn’t get to grips with this one at all particularly in the SE corner where I needed a lot of your help Pommers – TVM for that. I’m glad to see I’m not alone in my antipathy. Thank goodness tomorrow is another day and another cruciverbal challenge. Thanks RayT – you obviously pleased a lot of people and you can’t please all of the people all of the time! ****/*. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_negative.gif

  45. The SE corner was my last in held up by the refusal of the anagram at 16d to give up its secrets. Once in the rest fell quite quickly. Thanks of course to Ray T and thanks of course to pommers. Thanks for the mention

  46. I love RayT puzzles, but I found this one unusually difficult. Maybe it’s because my working day began at 9am and ended at quarter past midnight and my brain feels like that Djokavitch bloke has been using it for serving practice, or a haggis that has been pummeled with a baseball bat. Finally struggled across the line in 4* time – not even London Pride could spark the grey cells into action, despite repeated attempts. But thanks Ray, it’s me, not you. And thanks to Pommers for the review.
    PS What’s happened to Brian? A Damascene conversion … (Spellchecker tried to make that “do obscene”, but I’ve grown out of that).

  47. someone put me out of my misery, please. Still don’t get 20a, inspite of extra clue above. This would have been my first answer in, as the only word I know for a pile of stones is this. But the cryptic bit – I understand C for about , but leaving “O” out of “airn” ?

      1. molto ta, Big Dave – I feel extremely foolish, when it’s so obvious. Combination of Brain Fade and Senior Moment !! Almo Stabaldi

  48. I am among those who enjoyed this RayT puzzle. Easier clues do not necessarily mean they are less fun. My fave was 13a, followed by 5d, 1a, 12a (because it is a feline (which Pommers has illustrated beautifully)), and 26a.

    I was * time for most of this crossword. I had the correct answer to 20a, but couldn’t parse it, so am most appreciative of Pommers’ and Big Dave’s explanations. I spent a long time pondering about 24a, and then the penny dropped. My assessment for the puzzle is **/****.

    Many thanks to RayT for the enjoyable puzzle and to Pommers for the enjoyable and thorough review.

  49. Still don’t understand 20a. Maybe I’m being a bit thick. Could you explain more fully preferably in words of one syllable. Thanks

    1. A pile of stones is a CAIRN. CA is the abbreviation for the Latin word circa meaning about, roughly. IRON can be used to mean hard and here you need to remove the O (round)..

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