DT 27849 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 27849

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 27849

Hints and tips by Kath

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating — Difficulty **Enjoyment ****

Good morning all. My nightmare has finally happened. We have more than our fair share of power cuts – ever since I started doing the hints I’ve wondered what I’d do if the two co-incided. Yesterday at about 5.00pm the electricity went off – apparently a tree came down in the woods behind our house. To cut a very long story very short our power was restored at 1.30am. This is a Ray T crossword – I don’t think that doing it on husband’s iPad by candlelight added much. I thought it was fairly straightforward for one of his but I’m sure that some of you will disagree.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.

The answers are hidden behind the bits that say “Click here” so only do that as a last resort.


1a            Primarily short and stout? Indeed (6)
STUBBY — The first letter (primarily) of S(hort) is followed by a word meaning stout or a touch on the rounded side.


4a            The old lady’s bag about to create carnage (8)
MASSACRE — An affectionate term for your old lady or your Mum with the ‘S, then a word for a bag or pouch and finish off with two letter abbreviation that mean about or concerning.

9a            Last return of Queen chap penning single (6)
REMAIN — The two letters for our Queen are reversed (return of) and then a chap or bloke containing (penning) the letter the letter that looks like the Roman numeral for one (single).

10a         With look inside, madly dashed for great deal (8)
SHEDLOAD — An anagram (madly) of DASHED containing (inside) a two letter archaism meaning look or behold.


12a         Extra drink opening involves sailor getting plastered (8)
MORTARED — A word for extra or additional contains (involves) one of our usual sailors and is followed by the first letter (opening) of D(rink).


13a         Cut new flower (6)
SEVERN — A verb to cut or divide is followed by the abbreviation for N(ew) to get this river that rises in Wales and flows to the Bristol channel. More like Upton-IN-Severn when it’s like this.


15a         Vital hip damage straddling fences (13)
INDISPENSABLE — Right – I hope everyone’s concentrating here. Begin with a short word that means up-to-date or hip (and is nothing to do with a large joint). Follow that with another word for damage or handicap which contains (straddling) some fences or enclosures.

18a         Dismiss United with resident team playing (13)
UNDERESTIMATE — An anagram (playing) of U(nited) and RESIDENT TEAM.

22a         Constructions assembled in rough natural stone initially (6)
CAIRNS — A Ray T special – take the first letters (initially) of the first six words in the clue.


24a         Theatre craft even occasionally produces wit (8)
REPARTEE — Begin with an abbreviation for a theatre, follow that with a word meaning craft or skill and end with the alternate letters (occasionally) of EvEn.

26a         With spade, hole almost prepared for plant (8)
ASPHODEL — An anagram (prepared) of SPADE and the first three letters (almost) of HOL(e).


27a         More drunk but upright after party (6)
DOPIER — Start with the usual crossword land two letters for a party and follow them with a noun meaning an upright or pillar.

28a         Sum being ’round about’ (8)
ENTIRETY — A being or individual contains (round) the two letter abbreviation meaning about or concerning. This one caused me a few problems.

29a         Bum support covers horse, it’s said (6)
BEGGAR — A verb to support or carry contains (covers) the two letters that sound like (it’s said) what a small child might call a horse. One of those ‘oh dear’ – easier to solve than hint answers.



1d            Pinch middle of muscle on bottom (6)
SCRUMP — This kind of ‘pinch’ means to steal something, usually apples. Begin with the central two letters (middle) of muSCle and follow them with a word meaning bottom or backside.

2d            Single man, ruder possibly, maintaining ego (9)
UNMARRIED — An anagram (possibly) of MAN RUDER containing (maintaining) one letter meaning ego or self.

3d            Criminal gang fencing fake (7)
BRIGAND — A gang or group of people around (fencing) a verb to fake or fiddle.

5d            Pain from stomach eases (4)
ACHE — A hidden answer (from) – it’s in between the third and fourth words of the clue.

6d            A post promoted on board creating grief (7)
SADNESS — The A from the clue and a reversal (promoted) of a word meaning post or dispatch are all inside the two letters that we associate with a large ship (on board).

7d            Bay containing large aromatic bud (5)
CLOVE — A bay or inlet around (containing) the one letter abbreviation for L(arge).


8d            Risk of grenade exploding holding end of pin (8)
ENDANGER — An anagram (exploding) of GRENADE around (holding) the last letter (end) of piN.

11d         Extract from newspapers is Times’ last (7)
PERSIST — . . . and a bit like buses that turn up together here is another lurker or hidden answer – it’s hiding in the middle of the third, fourth and fifth words of the clue.

14d         ‘Firm‘ detectives caught in act (7)
DECIDED — The three letter abbreviation for one of the better known police departments are inside (caught in) an act or achievement.

16d         Sighing, supporter accepts England weakness (9)
BREATHING — Begin with the usual crossword land ‘supporter’ ie a piece of underwear worn by women which contains (accepts) the one letter for E(ngland) and follow that with a weakness or fondness as in, “He (or she) has a bit of a ***** about it”.

17d         Tea in small bag’s secure (8)
PURCHASE — An informal word for tea is contained in (in) a small bag for carrying coins.

19d         Hate being charged before endless tribunal (7)
RANCOUR — Begin with another way of saying charged or hurried and follow that with a word meaning a tribunal or hearing without its final letter (endless).

20d         A sailor brought up detached shellfish (7)
ABALONE — The A from the clue is followed by a reversal (brought up) of one of the two letter crosswordland sailors and then follow that with a word meaning detached or solitary.


21d         Alarm producing time lapse (6)
TERROR — The abbreviation for T(ime) is followed by a lapse or mistake.

23d         Load carried north in boat up Nile (5)
INPUT — Just when I thought I was safe – here comes another bus!! Our third hidden answer of the day (carried) and this time, just to complicate things, it’s reversed too (north) in the middle of the seventh, sixth and fifth words of the clue.

25d         Left in flutter seeing strip (4)
BELT — A nice simple one to end up with. A flutter or gamble around (in) the abbreviation for L(eft).

I liked 12 and 28a and 1 and 3d. My favourite was 19d.

Quickie pun (Dub)+(Hulk)+(Lick)=(Double click)

82 comments on “DT 27849

  1. Now I really am going to http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_cry.gif
    I’m sorry this is so late. I will never set it to a time to “let itself off” and then go out again – must have done something wrong – really not fit to be let loose.

    1. Oh Kath please don’t feel bad. We all appreciate the effort you put in to blogging for us. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_rose.gif

      Glad you have power back. Ours went out yesterday for no obvious reason but quickly came back after half an hour.

      Now to review this tricky crossword.

      1. Oh dear. I was the one who taught you how to do that too! Let me share some of your guilty feeling. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_rose.gif

        1. Thank you but you really don’t need to share the guilt – I almost certainly did something really dim. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_sad.gif
          Not sure that I’ll ever trust “it” or me again though! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_unsure.gif

  2. Started slowly and then fizzled out altogether. I can never get into this man’s puzzles. Even when I complete them I don’t enjoy them. Should have looked at the Toughie instead…

  3. I thought I’d finally got the measure of this setter and had settled down to some tough but enjoyable solves. But this one had me beat! Thanks for the clues, Kath as I needed more than I care to admit!

    1. Me too. Not only did I need too many answers for comfort, but many answers went in with no idea why!

  4. ***/****

    I found this very tricky in places. The anagrams went in OK but I struggled with the rest. Not my day. 23d was a guess as I couldn’t unravel the wordplay at all, thanks to Kath for spotting the reverse hidden. Gosh I find them hard. I did see 11d and 5d though!

    2d was another bung in and hope moment.

    Got there in the end, and very happily too. Smashing stuff as always.

    Favourite is the rather lovely 22a.

    Many thanks to RayT and to Kath for a brilliant blog.

  5. Thanks for the hints. I got 16d but couldn’t work out why. At 27a, I didn’t know dopy was synonymous with drunk. Thank you for the lovely photo of asphodel – it grows wild in my Valencian garden, flowering in early spring.

  6. Many thanks for the review Kath. I hope I don’t annoy you if I say I really liked the three buses: 5d, 11d and 23d, I thought they were all quite clever.

    2d (single man…) involved a short deliberation on whether the “I” was going to come from “single” or “ego” with a choice of definitions, but decided to play it safe..

    I also liked 12a (extra drink…) and the 22a acrostic (first letter puzzle), which reads nice and smoothly unlike some we’ve seen recently, and 17a (tea in small bag’s..) which also has a nice surface reading

    Many thanks RayT and Kath

    1. No – you don’t annoy me at all. I have to admit that I really liked the three buses too! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_smile.gif

      1. Why are men like buses? No – my answer is not the traditional one. It is however not suitable for the blog, so you will have to ask me at the next meet :).

  7. Posting time should be like solving time.
    It doesn’t really matter when it’s online as long as it’s before the published solutions.
    I like RayT with his short and concise clues.
    13a and 2d are my favourites.
    Thanks to Kath and to RayT.

  8. Thought this the most difficult of the week so far and a***/*** for me, SE corner held me up and i had a d’oh moment with1d as I was once nearly nicked at grammar school in the act of pinching the headmasters apples! clever and some quite difficult wordplay today- liked28a-last in, thanks Kath for the blog, loved the shedload,can’t get into my garage any more- need a big skip.

  9. Thanks Kath for posting , despite all the obstacles.I think I would have had a meltdown, and candle wax on the I-pad.
    I liked 2d, 21d, 24a and others.I thought 16d was an annoying clue. It makes sense in terms of crossword conventions , as Kath explained very clearly, but sighing and breathing are hardly synonyms, although maybe it was last night for Kath.
    Thanks to all concerned.

    1. All the candle wax ended up on my hand – it hurt as it was quite hot but probably preferable to its going all over husband’s iPad – that would have been a real oh dear! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_negative.gif

  10. As usual for a Ray T Thursday, didnt find this easy, but got there in the end. Didn’t quite see why 29 was correct, so thanks to Kath for explaining it. Lots of good clues, and favourite is 17d. ***/*** for me.
    Thanks to Ray T and Kath for going to all the trouble to help us all, after all the power cuts etc.

  11. Really needed your help today, Kath, so thank you SO much for overcoming such obstacles…. You’re brilliant! I didn’t help myself with 17d, probably because I got really smug that I’d thought of using the Cha word to help, but then added an ‘R’ to the end of it (thinking that was how it’s spelled) so couldn’t form a word to fit D’oh http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_wacko.gif anyway finally got to the end with your hints. Many thanks to the setter as well as Kath. Having planted strawberries instead of tomatoes this year, am dismayed by the local thug – a squirrel – who has snaffled every single one of them. Bah! But he’s looking well on that (& our bird food, as our squirrel baffler only kept him baffled for about 30 seconds).

  12. I know that we are not allowed to swear so may I please say ‘something’ Thursday, why oh why do I aways come unstuck on Thursday? Sincere thanks to Kath for overcoming all her vicissitudes to provide some much needed help.I was even defeated by the anagrams. Thanks also to Ray T. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/smiley-phew.gif

  13. What a nightmare for you, Kath – well done indeed for struggling on by candlelight. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_rose.gif

    A lovely puzzle from Mr. T that gave me a couple of anxious moments.
    12a – I knew the noun but not the verb – same goes for 1d (scrumpy but not scrump).
    21d took far too long, for no apparent reason!
    19d was the last one to fall having gaily put in ‘estimate’ for 28a.

    Really liked 1,10&24a – favourite is 15a. 2*/4* for me.
    Devotion as ever to Mr. T and a big, big thank you to Kath for ‘services above and beyond’! Loved the pic for 1a. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gif

  14. What more could I want? A lovely sunny day, a RayT backie [on the back, even] and a Kathanalysis. Favourite has to be 29 which was my last one in and so clever. Also liked 1 4 13 18 24 8 11 20 and 21. Are there any left?
    Thanks to Ray for a fine puzzle and to Kath for sorting all her power problems out.

  15. ***/****. Very enjoyable solve if a little tricky in parts. I really liked 24a and 20d. Thanks to the setter and Kath for the review which for me was perfectly timed http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_good.gif

  16. I have no wish to brag but I cannot remember the last time I completely failed to finish a DT puzzle. This one foxed me to the extent that I managed less than half without any help from Kath. I will have to mark it ****** to reflect my frustration and dislike of the structure of some of the clues. Thursdays are not usually a problem so maybe it is just me being pathetic and not on the setter’s wavelength. Well done Kath for finishing it.

  17. After painting the bathroom ceiling yesterday afternoon I gave it a second coat first thing this morning instead of doing the crossword. I then painted the gents loo. Is my penance complete Jane? (The loos will need a second coat). Itsy bitsy progress all day long whilst looking after Harrison. Still seven to go. There have been seven to go for ages. I need a lightbulb moment. Well done on this one Kath. Watching the tennis too. Crickey these lasses can whack a ball about.

    1. I do love you, M’pops, you never fail to give us a huge guffaw when we need it!


    2. Yes – you’ve done well on the penance front, MP, but I have the uneasy feeling that the next misdemeanour is probably just around the corner. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gif

      1. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gif It just doesn’t work does it – he says these terrible things and then retreats into his hair shirt.
        Only joking, MP! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_rose.gif

  18. Thanks to Ray T and to Kath for the review and hints. Well done Kath I’m glad you managed to overcome all the obstacles. I needed the hints for 1a, could only think of stumpy. 12a,thought it meant drunk. 15a,couldn’t make head nor tail of it. 28a,I had it as estimate. 3d I had no idea. I got 23d but thought it was in punt with an n missing. Favourite was 22a, was 3*/3* for me. Lovely day in Central London, great views from the top of Parliament Hill.

  19. I found this really, really hard, leaving undone far too many answers, and most of the answers I did get were a mystery why. Can’t wait to see Brian’s post!
    In any case, thanks RayT, not your fault I’m thick.
    Kath, I am soooo impressed; disadvantages of no electricity and an incomprehensible puzzle, you “done good”!

  20. Well I am glad a lot of people seemingly better than me have said this one was tricky. I got a lot of right answers but I couldn’t see the parsing for the life of me. I usually have the same problems with Ray T so I shouldn’t be surprised.

    Kath, sorry to learn about your problems in doing the hints!!, I can’t use my Ipad to do the crossword because it says it needs flash player? How do you do it on yours please?. I was surprised you only rated this a 2 for difficulty I would give it a 3+ and 3 for enjoyment. Thanks for your welcome hints.

    Never heard of 26a, liked 28a the best but some very strange links and parsing leave me cold on most of the answers. Thanks Ray T for the challenge!


    1. There are loads of free crossword apps for iPads.
      If a paid up subscriber to the DT’s puzzles, the crossword can be included in the app.
      My app is an American one, free.

      1. Thanks for that, I am paid up but any clues as to the name of your American one?

        1. Mine is from standalone.com.
          If you go to the App Store and do a search on ‘crosswords’ you will get lots of Apps showing.

    2. The only times that I’ve ever done the crosswords on an iPad (you’re probably right in that it’s iPad – I know nothing!) have been when we’re away. I find doing them really tricky unless it’s on paper. How did I do it last night – I haven’t a clue but it was the only way that it was going to get done and husband got the crossword and plonked it in front of me – it’s his iPad/Ipad – he can do techie stuff but he can’t do crosswords!

  21. Right – time for a quick rethink. Having read all the comments I’ve probably completely screwed up the difficulty rating. Everyone seems to have found it tricky. I suspect the only reason that I didn’t is that by the time I got round to doing it there was so much adrenaline whizzing around that I might even have stood a chance on the centre court against Serena Williams – there again . . . http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_unsure.gif

  22. Got there in the end but what a struggle , I didn’t understand 16d until I read the hints , same for 17d although I can see it now, it was my last one in and I was pretty punchdrunk by then. Always a pleasure to finish Thursdays crossword but not always a pleasurable solve (if you know what I mean) ***/***
    Thanks Kath for some much needed explanations .

  23. I enjoyed this RayT puzzle (as I pretty much always do) and found it to be pretty tricky (as they usually are from this setter). I’ve changed my star rating times recently due to a slow but quite steady improvement in solving times. So with that in mind and based on the fact that star ratings are arbitrary I’d go for ***/**** but last week or so it would’ve been **/**** based on solving time . Thanks to Kath for the wicked review (geddit?) and RayT for another excellent puzzle.

    1. Yes – I geddit – I’ll just go and run the blisters on my hand under the tap again! I’m joking – not a mark to be seen but I do like to make a fuss . . .

  24. We both looked at 10a when we had a few checkers and had worked out the definition was ‘great deal’ and come up with an answer that is only 2 letters away from the correct one and thought “even Ray would not use that”. He hadn’t. Pleased to see that you used the NZ abalone or Paua shell for your pic with 20d. A really good fun puzzle with heaps of trademark innuendo.
    Thanks RayT and Kath.

    Very early morning here and we just about to head off for a week so this is a request for a leave pass. Behave yourselves while we are away. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_bye.gif

    1. You nearly put what for 10a?!!! Really, 2K’s – the thought never crossed MY mind. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_whistle3.gif

      1. Hehe. That actually didn’t occur to me. I did think it could be ‘shipload’ at one point before I saw the anagram. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_unsure.gif

      2. Not sure that we know how the Kiwis brains work – Jane, you missed their picture of frogs playing “leapfrog”! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_scratch.gif

      3. I constructed the answer before the similarly-spelled synonym could cross my mind, so I can plead not guilty to that one. And Kath, you will recall that the Kiwis pled their own innocence regarding that froggy picture :).

        I have been reminded of a favourite card game we used to play as students. Shed is the clean version of its name: a contraction of two words which were supposed to describe the loser. So much fun, but I can’t remember the rules now. Or much of what I learned in my studies either. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_wacko.gif

  25. This one was difficult with a capital “d” and for a long time I had only managed to complete the NE corner alone.

    Slowly the SW corner yielded, then the SE, and finally the NW (last one in was 12a).

    So many potential favourites amongst the delicious surfaces in evidence, but I’ve gone for 24a.

    Many thanks to RayT and to Kath.

  26. I did get all the answers but didn’t know why for several so many thanks Kath for your explanations. I always find Thursday’s puzzle tricky but usually get there in the end even if I’m not sure how!

    1. Welcome from me too – how difficult, or not, you find the crossword is all to do with whether or not you’re on the right wave-length. Well done for getting answers to everything. Please keep commenting. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_smile.gif

  27. Well done Kath for being so good with RayT’s crosswords. We can’t do them at all, so we really don’t enjoy them much. Anyway, thank you to the setter and to Kath.

  28. So good to see so many others sharing my view of Ray T crosswords. They should ALL be confined to the Toughie where the experts can indulge themselves and leave the back page to the rest of us.

    1. Quite.

      I advance 27a in the case for the prosecution. I have a crisp fiver ready for anybody who can provide evidence of this usage.

      1. I really don’t agree about Ray T’s crosswords – I love them, I always have and probably always will. I do think that because he often uses definitions that are not always the first that spring to mind his solvers have to, to use a really irritating expression, think outside the box, i.e. laterally, a bit more than is sometimes necessary with other setters.
        I have to say that I was a bit doubtful about 27a so am not in the running for the fiver! It seemed to work and the BRB – the Chambers Dictionary, so called because it is a B(ig) R(ed) B(look) – does give ‘stupefied’ as one of one of its definitions of ‘dopy’ so I reckoned that it was OK.

        1. It comes back to the old wavelength thing. I love Rufus on Mondays, I just click with his puzzles. I don’t have the same comfortable feeling with the RayT puzzles, consequently, perhaps I don’t try as hard.

  29. Definitely one of RayT’s trickier backpagers. I got there in the end, but it took some time. ***/****

  30. Still struggling on. Thank you so much for the hints Kath. I am only half way through, but determined to finish. Yesterday, I knew the answer to one of the clues was Tiger, but thought that it was too obvious and didn’t put it straight in. Decided I wouldn’t make that mistake today. Looked at 29a and immediately put in ‘saddle’. Laughing at myself yet again. I did manage to put 23d straight in,so it’s not all doom and gloom. Looking forward to finishing sometime this evening, but now watching the cricket highlights, so could take a while.

  31. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yahoo.gif
    Very late today after a horrifying early start so I couldn’t get started until this evening. However it was well worth waiting for! Apart from 28a which held me up for a while this was at the easier end of Ray T’s spectrum but none the less enjoyable for that. My rating is 2*/4.5*.

    Many thanks to Ray T and to Kath for blogging as well as ever even in such adversity.

  32. Sorry Ray T’ but your offering today left me completely cold and I really can’t nominate a saving grace? Thank goodness Kath for your hints (particularly in NW corner) of which I had to avail myself more than I can remember ever previously having had to. Wimbledon was a welcome relief after all that especially Jamie Murray’s men’s doubles this evening. Look forward to tomorrow’s semi-finals. ****/*. Thanks anyway Ray T in spite of the hassle you caused me! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/smiley-phew.gif

  33. Two half clues to go. I have six letters to get in 15 ac which should be jumping out at me and 4 letters to get in 16d. Not read the hints yet but 1ac has no definition that I can see.

  34. Hated this puzzle….mainly because I couldn’t do it! Started off with a few clues OK and got the NE corner, then the two long across clues…then absolutely nothing. By the time I had a look at several of the hints to get going again I decided to chuck it in as it was not really a legitimate solve (in my book) if I can’t do it without the hints. I thought some of the answers were a bit dodgy…29a for instance…..horrible clue I thought. So I didn’t really get on the right wavelength at all for this. 4*/0* from me, but thanks anyway to the setter (sorry I just don’t get you!)… And to Kath for the hints. Hope tomorrow’s is more my thing.

  35. I found it hard again today, even though I was much better situated for it. Got there in the end, and very much liked the offering.

    Even the quickie was really hard for me. I detected something of an unhappy theme in that one. :(

    No stand-put favourites so I’ll go with 6d. I liked 1a too, which might have won the toss-up.

    Thanks to RayT and many thanks to Kath for coming through against the odds for all those people who needed you today. I hope it wasn’t too traumatic – at least you found the crossword nice and easy :).

    1. I know exactly what you mean about the quickie, Kitty, on both counts. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_sad.gif
      The pun took our combined effort absolutely ages – just couldn’t get the right kind of “wreck”. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/icon_rolleyes.gif

      1. Thanks for that confession, Kath – I too struggled to find word for ‘wreck’ so gave up on finding pun (though not before trying a few mutterings, making husband ask ‘what are you DOING?’) and, despite eventually getting all answers to cryptic, couldn’t satisfactorily parse 29a & 16d, so slightly in awe of your success – makes me feel better to hear it didn’t come easy to you either!

  36. Finished at long last but feel quite discouraged. Can’t believe that this was at the easier end of Ray T’s spectrum. Dreading next Thursday. Guess practice makes perfect, so I need to practise more.

    1. No – it wasn’t at the easier end of Ray T’s spectrum – I got it wrong there – apologies, so please don’t feel discouraged. Anyway, Ray T is roughly alternate Thursdays so it almost certainly won’t be him again next week. Cheer up! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gif

  37. Right – off to bed pretty soon – just a bit on the http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/smiley-yawn.gif side.
    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I’m sure, but there’s just nothing like a Ray T crossword for dividing the commentariat into two distinct camps.
    Night, night all . . .

  38. This took me into 3* time (not least because l misread “bum” as “burn” in 29a!) and l agree that it was a bit stiffer than the usual Ray T. 10a made me laugh so gets my vote for top clue. Thanks to Ray T, and of course to Kath.

  39. Found this puzzle really difficult, so a big thank you to Kath for her brilliant hints ;) ****/*** I would have failed without them :(

  40. Good old RayT, I say. Some smiles, innuendo, her maj, and all the tangential synonyms we know and love. I found it difficult, but not impossible and managed to finish without the help of Kath’s hints (BTW Kath, you’re never going to be too late for me.)
    Too many goodies vying for the trophy today, but if I had to choose one, I’d go for 13a, or 10a. 28a was my last one in after beer, tobacco and much beard stroking finally produced the answer. It could be my favourite, too.
    Great cricket all round today, watched out of the corner of my eye while working too hard – Moeen Ali really proved that he is, indeed, the beard to be feared.
    Thanks to battling Kath and, as always, to RayT for throwing down such a superior gauntlet. 4*/4*

  41. What a crossword! Just finished it 8.15 Friday with help from Big Dave! Not a very enjoyable crossword – the clues lack imagination and we still don’t understand some of them when we have the answers http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_rose.gif

  42. Somewhat late I know but I did not help myself at all by putting RANSOME for 19d. No, I don’t know either, but it certainly didn’t help the SW corner!
    Once Kath had sorted me out I did complete.
    I think Ray T crosswords are special; rarely easy but clever and always a real challenge. This one is no exception. 3/4* overall. and 15a for me, the favourite clue.
    Thanks to RayT and to Kath for a brilliant review.

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