DT 27909

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 27909

Hints and tips by Falcon

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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

Greetings from Ottawa where we are in the midst of a late summer heat wave giving us July-like conditions. No complaints from me on that score.

There are no complaints on the puzzle either. It is RayT at his naughty best. Please leave a comment to let us know how you found it.

If you click on any of the areas showing ‘Click here!’ you’ll see the actual answer so only do that as a last resort.


1a   Insane races in movement that started in Italy (11)
RENAISSANCE — an anagram (in movement) of the first two words of the clue produces a cultural movement that started in Italy in the 14th century

9a   Spacecraft‘s whole during landing (7)
PIONEER — place a single unit inside a landing where a ship might tie up

10a   Rather lacking front, one enters casually (6)
AIRILY — insert a Roman one into an adverb meaning rather or to some extent from which the first letter has been removed

12a   Monk left Church backed into subterfuge (7)
RECLUSE — start with a charade of L(eft) and the abbreviation for the state church in England; then reverse this and position it inside a plan intended to deceive or trick

13a   Rock idol talked unevenly (7)
STARTLE — another name for a music or movie idol followed by the odd-numbered letters of TaLkEd

14a   Act incorporates leader of Staines massive (5)
POSSE — put the initial letter of Staines inside a verb denoting to behave in an exaggerated or artificial way so as to draw attention to oneself; the resulting group spends their time hanging out in British nightclubs when they could be pursuing outlaws in the Old West

15a   Rudeness that is concerning undergarment (9)
BRASSIERE — a simple charade of effrontery, the Latin abbreviation for that is, and a preposition meaning with regard to

17a   Hip and radius encased in plaster addition (9)
INCREMENT — the usual suspect for hip or fashionable followed by the mathematical symbol for radius embedded in a synonym for plaster

20a   Lead covers chimney vertically (5)
PLUMB — the chemical symbol for lead encases a Scottish chimney

22a   Finished even if admitting resistance (7)
THROUGH — the symbol for electrical resistance is inserted into a conjunction meaning even if or despite the fact that

24a   Vessel provided in plant by company (7)
COASTER — a flowering plant following a small company produces a vessel that does not stray far from shore

25a   Sailor provided force for excise (6)
TARIFF — a charade of one of the usual suspects for sailor, a conditional conjunction, and a physicist’s symbol for force

26a   Prolific work provided around university (7)
OPULENT — a short musical work and a verb denoting provided temporarily (as by a library) surround U(niversity)

27a   ‘Enterprise’ warped circling Sun leaving dot (11)
INTERSPERSE — here’s one for the Trekkies; an anagram (warped) of the starship into which one inserts S(un) produces a verb meaning to to scatter or insert something here and there


2d   Perform with former wife and sweetheart? Sweet! (7)
EXECUTE — the usual suspect of a former wife, the middle letter of swEet, and a word meaning likeable or charming; despite a rather salacious surface, there is not much action beneath the covers I’m afraid it seems they are playing charades

3d   Nice beer, a lager almost drunk (9)
AGREEABLE — an anagram (drunk) of BEER A and most of LAGE(r)

4d   Starts to seal exterior around raw salmon (5)
SEARS — in this all-in-one clue the solution is formed from the initial letters of the last five words in the clue

5d   Showing one’s behind in these? (7)
ARREARS — a cryptic definition of an amount on a statement showing that one is behind in their payments; interestingly, by accident or by design, not only can one behind be seen in the solution but what surrounds it is one E short of another behind

6d   Author makes pass, and French posted on note (7)
COLETTE — a mountain pass, a French conjunction, and a musical note

7d   Improperly get  to the point (11)
APPROPRIATE — double definition; easy once one figures out where to split the clue

8d   Makes speech: ‘Sins may conceal love’ (6)
VOICES — love of the tennis variety immersed in immoral, evil or depraved activities

11d   Queen permanently blast and boom (11)
REVERBERATE — the short abbreviation for Her Majesty, an adverb denoting permanently, always or continually, and a verb meaning to scold someone severely

16d   Eat rich stews including fine vegetable (9)
ARTICHOKE — an anagram (stews) of EAT RICH around an adjective denoting fine or quite satisfactory

18d   Villain beat taking current for hanging (7)
CURTAIN — start with a villain or scoundrel; then add a colloquial verb meaning to beat (often someone’s hide) into which the symbol for electrical current has been injected

19d   English last to accept American transient (7)
ELUSIVE — E(nglish) and a verb meaning to continue to exist around an abbreviation for American (as an adjective)

20d   Case of painful fever and small afflictions (7)
PLAGUES — the outer letters (case) of PainfuL, an old term for a burning fever, and S(mall)

21d   Married, the heart gets twisted — no longer hitched? (6)
UNTIED — start with a word meaning married, then interchange the two middle letters to get a word meaning no longer connected

23d   Feels weight of newspaper the man’s carrying (5)
HEFTS — HE’S toting a pink newspaper …

There is a lot to like in this puzzle. Among those I especially liked were 1a, 27a and 11d. Of course, the risqué surface reading of 2d could not but catch my attention. However, I will go with 5d as my favourite.

The Quick Crossword pun: bore+sun+over=bossa nova


  1. 2Kiwis
    Posted September 17, 2015 at 8:18 am | Permalink

    We found this one tricky, quite a bit more than average difficulty for us. Although we had the correct answer from the wordplay, we had never heard of the band in 14a. When we now Google it, it is not surprising that it is not part of our ‘must listen to’ repertoire. All the RayT signature characteristic are here and heaps to keep us chuckling.
    Thanks RayT and Falcon.

    • 2Kiwis
      Posted September 17, 2015 at 8:43 am | Permalink

      Been thinking about 14a since writing the above and still can’t understand how “massive” fits the definition.http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_scratch.gif

      • gazza
        Posted September 17, 2015 at 9:19 am | Permalink

        According to the BRB massive is a slang term for a street gang.

        • KiwiColin
          Posted September 17, 2015 at 9:47 am | Permalink

          Thanks Gazza, I had not picked that up. And now that I have read through the BRB meanings of the answer, can, at a stretch, see a synonym. Pushing it a bit maybe but not the end of the world as the wordplay was pretty straightforward.

        • Heno
          Posted September 17, 2015 at 12:50 pm | Permalink

          Yes, Ali Gee once did a sketch on the Staaines Massive.

      • Michael
        Posted September 17, 2015 at 11:30 am | Permalink

        ..me too – see comment 11 below!

        • Michael
          Posted September 17, 2015 at 11:34 am | Permalink

          ahh – should really read the comments fully – Ali G’s ‘Massive’ is his ‘Posse’ – this is all ‘a bit down with the kid’s’ though isn’t it?

          ‘Old fogey’ of Bishops Stortford http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_cool.gif

      • Una
        Posted September 17, 2015 at 5:24 pm | Permalink

        It passes me by too.

      • Vancouverbc
        Posted September 18, 2015 at 1:24 am | Permalink

        I too couldn’t connect the answer to massive so everything came to a halt there. Otherwise I liked this puzzle albeit a challenge. Thanks to Falcon for the explanations and the setter for a real challenge. ****/***.

  2. Domus
    Posted September 17, 2015 at 8:21 am | Permalink

    I finish these crosswords most days, But not today. 5 and no fun

  3. Miffypops
    Posted September 17, 2015 at 8:42 am | Permalink

    About five passes and only six answers are in. There may be trouble ahead.

    • Hilary
      Posted September 17, 2015 at 8:15 pm | Permalink

      Set it to music and someone will sing along. Perhaps Fred and Ginger?

      • Franco
        Posted September 17, 2015 at 9:22 pm | Permalink

        Whatever happened to Fred and Ginger on this blog?

        They used to appear on Fridays!

        • Jane
          Posted September 17, 2015 at 9:38 pm | Permalink

          According to Mr. Google they’re currently running a coffee shop in Kings Langley, a dancing house in Prague and a company manufacturing dog beds and accessories. Maybe they’re a bit too busy to have time for crosswords?

  4. crypticsue
    Posted September 17, 2015 at 9:06 am | Permalink

    It is a rare day that I leave the inside back pager and move on to the Toughie but I gave up on the NW corner of this having spent a time I’d normally spend on a middling toughie trying to sort this out. Once I’d completed the Toughie and came back and finished off the remaining ones in this.

    Thanks to Ray T – could this be a Beam in the wrong envelope, or just me having a really bad morning?? Thanks to Falcon too.

  5. JonP
    Posted September 17, 2015 at 9:20 am | Permalink

    I really enjoyed this puzzle and didn’t find it too tricky but I think I was able to get on the setter’s wavelength fairly quickly. Thanks to Falcon and RayT 2.5*/4.5*

  6. happy days
    Posted September 17, 2015 at 9:32 am | Permalink

    I quite enjoyed the solve. Maybe I’m being fussy, but I thought the word “provided” three times in a row, (24,25 and26a) looked sloppy

  7. Hanni
    Posted September 17, 2015 at 10:19 am | Permalink


    Good grief. RayT at his trickiest for me. Never heard of 14a so just bunged it in. If I’ve heard of the Scottish chimney then it slipped memory so just bunged that in and checked later. 2d..also a guess.

    However once I figured out 2s it became my favourite clue.

    Think I’ll leave the Toughie until my brain has stopped hurting.

    Many thanks to RayT and to Falcon for a great blog.

    I’m not sure how…but I’ve caught the 2Kiwis cold.

    • Kath
      Posted September 17, 2015 at 1:45 pm | Permalink

      I’ve caught the Kiwis cold too – well, haven’t got a cold but have got a really sore throat, and I just don’t get sore throats. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_sad.gif

      • Hanni
        Posted September 17, 2015 at 1:54 pm | Permalink

        Pesky germs. Horrible isn’t it.

        Tea and sympathy all round. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_rose.gif

        • Kath
          Posted September 17, 2015 at 3:54 pm | Permalink

          Hope you feel better soon – not sure about the tea though . . . http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_unsure.gif

          • Hanni
            Posted September 17, 2015 at 4:15 pm | Permalink

            You too. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_smile.gif

            There will be a batch of hot toddies made later!!

    • Miffypops
      Posted September 17, 2015 at 3:34 pm | Permalink

      Lang may tour lum reek

      • Hanni
        Posted September 17, 2015 at 4:00 pm | Permalink

        Mòran taing MP.

        Your holiday has rubbed off on you.

  8. Graham
    Posted September 17, 2015 at 10:19 am | Permalink

    I found this the toughest back pager for many a year, after several reads through only had three answers,definitely not on the same wavelength today can’t even blame last nights beer as I only had two cans of lovely speckled hen.Thanks to Falcon who is in a different league to me.?

  9. geoff
    Posted September 17, 2015 at 11:01 am | Permalink

    Still don’t know what BRB is!

    • crypticsue
      Posted September 17, 2015 at 11:03 am | Permalink

      It is a FAQ so have a look there.

    • Michael
      Posted September 17, 2015 at 11:20 am | Permalink

      Big Red Book = Chambers Dictionary

  10. Jaycat
    Posted September 17, 2015 at 11:26 am | Permalink

    Today, I got four inserted myself then had to use all the hints to get the rest. It was a learning day with even the hints providing things which needed looking up and learning as new words, “ague”, “lum” etc.

    Completely undoable and way above my paygrade but not without some enjoyment, my first 5+* /2* ever.

    Thanks to setter and Falcon (without who I would be very lost and dejected today!)

    • Miffypops
      Posted September 18, 2015 at 12:20 am | Permalink

      And you Jane have far too much time on your hands

  11. Michael
    Posted September 17, 2015 at 11:27 am | Permalink

    14a is a bit of a mystery to me – as I understand it ‘the Staines massive’ is a reference to the Ali G character who refers to it as his ‘posse’ etc etc – BUT ‘act’ can be ‘pose’ plus the leader of ‘Staines’ ie the ‘s’ all add up to ‘posse’ – BUT again there is no way that ‘posse’ means ‘massive’ – am I missing something?

    Cheers ‘Mystified’ of Bishops Stortford http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_wacko.gif

    Edited: As you were – I understand it now – ‘down with the kid’s’ stuff!

    • Falcon
      Posted September 17, 2015 at 12:00 pm | Permalink

      According to Oxford Dictionaries Online, massive is an informal British term (Oxford-speak for slang) for a a group of young people from a particular area with a common interest in dance music and a posse is a group of young people who socialize together, especially to go to clubs or raves.

      This was my last one in. All very confusing for a lad from the colonies when one bit of British slang is used to define another. However, it would appear these terms are not all that well-known even in the UK.

      • Tstrummer
        Posted September 18, 2015 at 1:38 am | Permalink

        I beg to differ. If I know it, so do most others. Posse has been around for at least 20 years in this meaning, Ali G was famous for his Staines Massive. It’s the best clue for ages and made me grin widely – and I’m an old fart

  12. Jane
    Posted September 17, 2015 at 11:34 am | Permalink

    1a went straight in and I thought it was going to be a benign Mr. T today – how wrong can one be!!!
    All sorts of problems in the NW corner and never did quite make the leap from massive to posse, despite the wordplay being right.
    What an enjoyable fight but surely worthy of the Beam envelope?
    4*/4.5* for me (.5* deducted for 14a) with plenty of contenders for favourite. I’ll just mention 15a,5&11d and go along with Hanni for 2d as the winner (at least, I think she meant 2d!).

    Devotions to Mr. T and thanks to Falcon for the blog – I reckon you probably had as much fun looking for 15a pics as Gazza did yesterday with deshabille! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_wink.gif

    • Falcon
      Posted September 17, 2015 at 12:05 pm | Permalink

      There are definite perks to blogging RayT puzzles http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_smile.gif

      • Miffypops
        Posted September 18, 2015 at 12:22 am | Permalink

        Dearie Dearie Me

    • Hanni
      Posted September 17, 2015 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

      I did mean 2d…http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/icon_redface.gif

      That’s bad even for me. I know we all get a/d mixed up from time to time, well I do, but to come up with a new one?

      2s? S for sideways clues?

  13. dutch
    Posted September 17, 2015 at 11:53 am | Permalink

    I missed the Staines reference in 14a (thanks Michael), and I didn’t see what massive could be so I looked it up in brb to find gang, which provided the answer.

    Intersting – so here the wordplay surface provides a clue to the definition – and this is not an all-in-one – so this is nice fun and games unless you need it to solve, in which case it’s double duty. Here, I don’t think you need it to solve, but how about 1a? Here “movement” is a pretty strong clue towards the definition, but it is the anagram indicator! If you can solve this clue from the definition without “movement” all is fair. However, I think “it started in Italy” is very loose, so is “movement” doing double duty? perhaps it’s ok, since once you solve the anagram, “it started in Italy” makes sense and the clue would also have been solvable with a different anagram indicator. Is there a name for these clues with internal hints? It’s playful, anyway.

    I liked 9a (spacecraft), 13a (“Rock idol”), 27a (Enterprise warped), 3d (for many reasons), 4d (all-in-one acrostic – though it reads a little clunky), 5d (show one’s behind), 7d (“improperly get”) and 21d (married with a twisted heart)

    Many thanks Falcon for the review and RayT for the fun

    • Falcon
      Posted September 17, 2015 at 12:20 pm | Permalink

      I had similar thoughts regarding “movement” in 1a. As for 14a, I eventually tracked down the British slang meanings for “massive” and “posse” (see Comment 11). To me, Staines was just a town in Surrey that gave up its first letter for the cause. Ali G Indiahouse and Da East Staines Massiv and Da West Staines Massiv (note no “e”) is something that I had never heard of until it was raised in the comments here.

  14. pete
    Posted September 17, 2015 at 11:57 am | Permalink

    Didn’t get very far today. Not happy with some of the answers, particularly 9, 10 and 14a

  15. Heno
    Posted September 17, 2015 at 1:01 pm | Permalink

    Thanks to Ray T and to Falcon for the review and hints. I started with 1a, then ground to a halt. Managed to get 27a, and a few others on the first pass. Came back to it, and got some more. Made a mess of 14a, had pose and inserted an R for the capital letter of Staines, doh. That stopped me getting 8d, but I was still left with 4d,which I missed the initial letters, I normally see these straight away. Had never heard of the author in 6d, although it was fairly clued. Also needed the hints for 10&13a. Favourite was 20a. Was 4*/3* for me. Having a nice walk over Kenwood, clouding over a bit, but still quite pleasant.

  16. Bluebird
    Posted September 17, 2015 at 1:15 pm | Permalink

    Fiendishly clever.

    Anyone who rates this as 3 or less has my admiration.

    It was the NE not the NW corner which did for me, as well as taking far too long to get the top and bottom anagrams (27a had mostly Es Rsand Ss….eye strain).

  17. Gwizz
    Posted September 17, 2015 at 1:22 pm | Permalink

    I liked this crossword, yes it was well tricky and featured (for me) a few wobbly moments and ‘bung-ins’ but eventually it all made sense. My fave was 23d just cos it’s a lovely sounding word! 3/3* overall.
    Oops! Sorry Bluebird!
    Thanks to Ray T and Falcon for his review.http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/smiley-phew.gif

  18. Kath
    Posted September 17, 2015 at 1:43 pm | Permalink

    Blimey! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/smiley-phew.gif Definitely a Beam in the wrong envelope. 4*+ for difficulty and the same for enjoyment.
    This has taken me ages – really very glad that it was a Falcon day for the hints.
    I love a long anagram right across the top to get going on – only I couldn’t do it quickly today – don’t know why – just couldn’t.
    I only had two answers after reading all the across clues through once but got a few more than that with the down clues.
    14a was a total mystery – looked up the answer in the BRB which didn’t help much – rather stupidly never thought to look up ‘massive’ as well.
    I liked loads of these – 13, 15 and 17a and 2 and 5d. Tempting though it is to have one of the ‘naughty’ clues as favourite I’m going to go for 7d which I thought was brilliant.
    With thanks to Ray T – really glad that you’ve found your ‘naughty hat’ – and to Falcon – really glad it was your day.
    Want to look at the Micawber Toughie but need a lie down first.

  19. Heinz
    Posted September 17, 2015 at 1:50 pm | Permalink

    Not much joy today either with the puzzle or my puny efforts. ****/*. Three or four shoo ins and the rest a struggle to the death. May take up jigsaw puzzles instead.

  20. Brian
    Posted September 17, 2015 at 1:50 pm | Permalink

    More fun watching paint dry.

    • Heno
      Posted September 17, 2015 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

      Don’t worry, it’s your mate tomorrow :-)

      • Brian
        Posted September 17, 2015 at 5:41 pm | Permalink

        And I am so thankful for that ?

    • Irene
      Posted September 17, 2015 at 2:49 pm | Permalink

      I found it hard going today, with last in 14a which I didn’t understand until I was educated here about gang culture which is not my thing.

  21. Salty Dog
    Posted September 17, 2015 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

    Completed in 3* time, but it sure felt tougher. 3.5* for pleasure, but most of that came under the same heading as that derived from stopping banging your head against a wall. Some clever clues, though, of which my pick was 11a. Thanks to Ray T and Falcon.

  22. Robin Newman
    Posted September 17, 2015 at 2:56 pm | Permalink

    hints definitely needed today

    thought 2D, 5D(& hint), 27A & 21D very clever

  23. Graham Wall
    Posted September 17, 2015 at 3:03 pm | Permalink

    I thought I was doing so well this week.I started doing the puzzles again last Sunday after quite a long break and Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday saw me getting back into my stride. I attributed it to my being on holiday and being stress free. Then comes this offering. I have run into a brick wall. Solved 3 clues and that was it. turned to the blog for succour. Thanks to Falcon for putting me out of the misery I was in. This puzzle brought back the stress but then there is always a bottle of cheeky red to have tonight and the rugby cometh on the morrow!

  24. Shropshirelad
    Posted September 17, 2015 at 3:30 pm | Permalink

    A couple of leaps of faith required today with much reading through BRB to confirm synonyms. Definitely not one of Ray T’s usual Thursday offerings – is that because the puzzle’s behind the back page and progressing towards the toughie on page 26? Like a few others, got stuck in the NW corner but it eventually coughed up the answers. I’ll go for 17a as my (one and only, Kath) favourite.

    Thanks to Ray T for the puzzle and Falcon for his review.

    • Kath
      Posted September 17, 2015 at 3:52 pm | Permalink


      • Shropshirelad
        Posted September 17, 2015 at 4:03 pm | Permalink


  25. John C
    Posted September 17, 2015 at 4:02 pm | Permalink

    Only 3* for difficulty from Falcon !? I shudder to think what 4* or 5* might be like.

    I find Thursday’s crosswords to be the most difficult. I rarely, if ever, get onto Ray T’s wavelength, but like others this one left me floundering. I struggled through the RHS. Later if found ways into the LHS, but needed the hints for 14a

    ****/**** for me.

    • Kath
      Posted September 17, 2015 at 7:38 pm | Permalink

      Just in case it’s the slightest bit of comfort to you I can usually get onto Ray T’s wave-length without too much trouble but I really found this one very difficult.

      • Hilary
        Posted September 17, 2015 at 8:21 pm | Permalink

        I bet that comment cheered a lot of people up, I certainly felt better after reading it. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_rose.gif

  26. Dave B
    Posted September 17, 2015 at 4:27 pm | Permalink

    *****/**. Not fun. Will now try the toughie, which I hope will be easier than the back pager.

  27. Maeve
    Posted September 17, 2015 at 4:35 pm | Permalink

    I found this very difficult and would never have finished it if it were not for the 2 Kiwis’ excellent hints and tips, particularly 14a. Took me back to the days of my youth and Saturday matinees at our local cinema – nothing but cowboy films in those days. 4/4* for me.

    • Jane
      Posted September 17, 2015 at 6:51 pm | Permalink

      It wasn’t an easy one, Maeve, but I’m proud of you for battling on and making good use of the 2Ks efforts. Ray T has a quite unique style that takes a bit of getting used to, but you will find his wavelength in time (only Brian resolutely refuses to!).
      Be prepared to do some ‘looking-up’ tomorrow – it’s the turn of Don Giovanni and he often slips in a few obscurities that send us all scurrying to the reference books.

      • Falcon
        Posted September 17, 2015 at 7:10 pm | Permalink


        I thought you, of all people, would have got your birds right.

        • Jane
          Posted September 17, 2015 at 7:23 pm | Permalink

          And so I should, Falcon – mea culpa. Put it down to battle weariness from the Micawber and rest easy in the knowledge that I seem to have become the founder member of the ‘loopy’ club. Membership is rapidly increasing and will soon overtake that of pedants’ corner. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gif

    • Kath
      Posted September 17, 2015 at 7:46 pm | Permalink

      Please don’t feel discouraged. Lots of people find Ray T Thursdays (he sets the crosswords on alternate Thursdays although, just occasionally, it all goes a bit wrong) the most difficult of the week. He is definitely an “acquired taste” and to understand his puzzles you need to get onto his wave-length. Once you do that you will appreciate his brilliance. He is definitely one of my favourite setters.

  28. Outnumbered
    Posted September 17, 2015 at 4:38 pm | Permalink

    Agree with Kath, this felt more like Beam than RayT. A real slog but got there in the end. ****/***

  29. Una
    Posted September 17, 2015 at 5:31 pm | Permalink

    I thought it was just me , feeling very tired as the new school year begins, but reading through the comments, it clearly wasn’t.
    Clues I really disliked included 14a, 25a, 26a,and 5d.
    I liked 17a, 22a, 11d, 2d.
    A slog.

  30. mre
    Posted September 17, 2015 at 5:33 pm | Permalink

    Good afternoon all.

    Too tricky for me this one. First pass produced just five solutions. Second pass only one! It was then at least twenty minutes before lighting upon the solution to 17a and I also found 16d, 21d and 24a before losing the will to continue.

    I question the point of this level of puzzle for a back pager which is, when all said and done, essentially intended as a pastime. Would I have finished had I batted on? Perhaps. Would it be worthwhile spending so much time on it? Almost certainly not.

    Update. A quick scan of the comments suggests I’m not on my own today…

    In happier news it looks like the school holidays must have finished as there are some decent films on Film 4 again.

    • Brian
      Posted September 17, 2015 at 5:44 pm | Permalink

      You are echoing what I have been saying for a long time. The back page is no place for crosswords of this level, that is the purpose of the Toughie and the sooner the crossword management at the DT wakes up to that simple truth, the happier we will all be. The experts can revel in wracking their brains to their hearts content whilst we mere mortals can enjoy a pleasant pastime. Come on DT WAKE UP!

      • mre
        Posted September 17, 2015 at 6:01 pm | Permalink

        It’s possible I was a tad below par today but I maintain that the back page puzzle should be doable in a reasonable time without having to lug Chambers to the caff…

      • Hrothgar
        Posted September 17, 2015 at 6:29 pm | Permalink

        Must disagree most wholeheartedly.
        Really look forward to Thursday’s back page.
        Please, DT, keep it there.
        Over and out.

        • Brian
          Posted September 17, 2015 at 7:25 pm | Permalink

          So why not put these tricky Ray Ts in the toughie slot?

      • Jane
        Posted September 17, 2015 at 7:00 pm | Permalink

        Oh dear, Brian, not AGAIN! ‘the happier we will all be’ is quite simply not true – many of us love Ray T puzzles but are not necessarily top drawer solvers.
        There are plenty of times when I feel like carping about DG’s use of obscurities but that doesn’t lessen my appreciation of his craftsmanship.
        I’m sure you said a while ago that you were abandoning Mr. T days – why do you still torture yourself if you hate them so much?

        • Brian
          Posted September 17, 2015 at 7:24 pm | Permalink

          I am not specifically referring to Ray T puzzles which I know most of you like. My point is the degree of difficulty with respect to the back page. Surely you agree that the role of the Toughie is to provide challenging puzzles? If that s the case why do back pagers have to be equally difficult. This just gives two puzzles for those who like challenges and nothing for those of us who do not wish to enter for Bletchley Park. All I am asking for is a level playing field.

          • Jane
            Posted September 17, 2015 at 7:36 pm | Permalink

            I think that brings us back to the question of wavelengths, Brian. There have been several DG’s plus some from Shamus and PJ that I personally thought belonged on the Toughie schedule, but you invariably seem to vent your spleen on a Ray T day. Maybe time to back off a little?
            As for the question of which puzzle goes where – I very much doubt that anyone could possibly come up with a magic formula. One man’s meat and all that?

            • Brian
              Posted September 17, 2015 at 8:13 pm | Permalink

              That’s a little unfair. I have been referring to this issue for some time and certainly not on just Ray T days. My point today is not aimed at Ray T but at the degree of difficulty.
              On another level I will never back off with respect to Ray T crosswords which I absolutely loathe.

              • Miffypops
                Posted September 18, 2015 at 12:30 am | Permalink

                And that Brian is why I listen to Bob Dylan and Tom Waits whilst others put up with Queen (dreadful) and Abba (Clever but irritating) Ray T stretches my ability in a more satisfying way than any other regular DT setter. The read and write setters offer a smug self satisfaction but self praise is no praise.

                • pommers
                  Posted September 18, 2015 at 12:35 am | Permalink

                  Well said MP (apart from the bit about Queen).

                  • Miffypops
                    Posted September 18, 2015 at 1:20 am | Permalink

                    Pop pap

                    • Tstrummer
                      Posted September 18, 2015 at 1:46 am | Permalink

                      My current favourite quotation: “The world is a hateful place and bad writing is demeaning the quality of our suffering”
                      Tom Waits

    • Kath
      Posted September 17, 2015 at 8:02 pm | Permalink

      From my advantageous position on the fence here – I’d like to point out that it’s a very high fence so I can really see most of what’s going on – I find myself agreeing with a lot of what’s been said.
      I love Ray T Thursdays, as most of you already know, but I know that lots of people find them tricky – today’s was, in my opinion and clearly lots of others too, an extreme example and might have been better as a Toughie.
      I think that any crossword that CS admits to finding tricky is, by definition, a Toughie.
      I will always love Ray T crosswords so thanks to him, again, and to Falcon for sorting it all out, and huge relief that it wasn’t my day for doing the hints.

      • Miffypops
        Posted September 18, 2015 at 12:37 am | Permalink

        And even more relief that it was not me in the chair Kath. I often smile about the night me and pommers drew you in. I got piece of cake Mondays and you got Oh My God Thursdays but we made them our own. I liked a comment from TS some time ago that just as you can learn to recognise a setters style so you can learn to recognise the bloggers styles. I love your honesty which coupled with your wit makes your blogs a delight to read. Thank you for accepting our invitation.

        • Jane
          Posted September 18, 2015 at 12:46 am | Permalink

          Kath will doubtless be far too self-effacing to accept your accolade, MP, but I whole-heartedly agree with you – her blogs are a delight. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_good.gif

        • pommers
          Posted September 18, 2015 at 12:46 am | Permalink

          Mondays are not a piece of cake for me. I find them tricky and pommette gets most of the work done. Best day for me was Wednesday where, with Jay, you know what’s coming but Thurs is a day to keep one on ones toes. RayT or ????

  31. silvanus
    Posted September 17, 2015 at 5:37 pm | Permalink

    I was gratified to discover that I wasn’t alone in finding this extremely difficult – for me it was one of the hardest DT back-pagers of 2015.

    I very rarely attempt the Toughie, but I can’t imagine that it was harder than this. It begs the question of The Telegraph, why call one of your puzzles a “Toughie” if your back-pager is even harder? Or did you put this one in the wrong category?

    I don’t normally struggle with Ray T puzzles and usually enjoy them, but this one was different. The right-hand side was tricky, but eventually yielded, but (rarely for me) I had to resort to a couple of Falcon’s hints to release my complete logjam on the left-hand side.

    Like others, I found the use of “provided” in no less than three successive clues extremely disappointing, I had never heard of the chimney in 20a, and I though some of the definitions were rather loose. Unless I’m mistaken, isn’t 6d a case of “definition makes wordplay” too ?

    Sorry, Ray T, not one of yours that I will remember with any great pleasure. Huge credit to Falcon for deciphering everything so well.

  32. Franco
    Posted September 17, 2015 at 6:12 pm | Permalink

    I spent most of the time looking for a RayT special “hidden” clue … still haven’t found it.

    I wonder why?


    • Kath
      Posted September 17, 2015 at 8:04 pm | Permalink

      Oh – you’re right.

    • Miffypops
      Posted September 18, 2015 at 12:40 am | Permalink

      I missed hiesignature starting letters clue at 4d. last one in for me yet it is a construct he uses weekly some times more than once. Bugger!

      • Heno
        Posted September 18, 2015 at 11:14 am | Permalink

        I missed it too.

  33. Hrothgar
    Posted September 17, 2015 at 6:27 pm | Permalink

    Thoroughly enjoyable.
    This lies in the absolute struggle to complete.
    Very satisfying.
    Too many excellent clues to single any one out.
    Many thanks, Ray T and Falcon for the tasteful review.

  34. Kitty
    Posted September 17, 2015 at 6:33 pm | Permalink

    I’m surprised so many people struggled so much with this one. Admittedly, it took me a long time, but I’d put that down partly to tiredness and mostly to having made the mistake of “updating” to the new Telegraph app without looking at the deluge of 1* reviews – that’ll teach me. It’s so unresponsive and laggy as to be virtually unusable and almost unbearable. Warning to other tablet users: unless you are gasping for the codeword, do not switch to the new app! Oh – and still no Toughie on that either.

    (Speaking of Toughies, I shall get hold of today’s shortly and solve on paper. Nice and responsive, paper. Also, it won’t lose my answers. If I get annoyed, it will tear with a nice satisfying sound and feel – and if I get really annoyed, it is combustible. However, I am expecting fun and joy.)

    So, it was a painful solve, but I thought it an excellent puzzle – and since I eventually got there without any cheating of any kind I definitely can’t call it a mis-filed Toughie.

    I expected that some people would have trouble with 14a. I fell into the opposite trap: because the surface suggested the answer, I didn’t expect it to actually be that meaning of massive.

    We’ve had that chimney before a few times. I know because that’s the only reason I knew it.

    My favourite has to be 2d, with 3d and 5d runners-up.

    Thanks to RayT and Falcon. Lemsip to those who need it.

  35. Miffypops
    Posted September 17, 2015 at 6:46 pm | Permalink

    got there in the end. Slowly and painfully which is just how I like my doses of Ray T. $d was the last on in. It took an age to realise what the “Starts” referred to and Ray t often uses that construct.. The anagram at 27ac needed a pencil to solve. Thanks to Ray T for the puzzle and to Falcon for the review. Darius Brubeck Quartet tonight and lots of beer.

    • Jane
      Posted September 17, 2015 at 7:06 pm | Permalink

      What? You and your $d, Hanni with her 2s – I hereby nominate both of you for membership of my ‘loopy’ club, the formulation of which was suggested by TS last night (or, rather, very early this morning). http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_wacko.gif

      • Miffypops
        Posted September 17, 2015 at 7:26 pm | Permalink

        As in Sears & Roebuck or $ears & Roebuck

        • Jane
          Posted September 17, 2015 at 7:44 pm | Permalink

          Not accepted by the board, MP. Your nomination still stands. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_cool.gif

          • Hanni
            Posted September 17, 2015 at 8:46 pm | Permalink

            Is there a common entrance exam? What are TS’s criteria as I can’t find his post. Though the one about the kebab will haunt me for awhile.

            I quite like the idea of sideways clues. MP seems perfectly normal to me. I think Pommers and SL might be suitable candidates.

            • Jane
              Posted September 17, 2015 at 9:17 pm | Permalink

              There is absolutely no entrance exam (common or otherwise) – the entire concept is based on coursework i.e. a review of past ‘blunders on the blog’.
              Anyone may make a nomination which will, in due course, receive the consideration of the arbitrator – a senior representative of a highly regarded UK institution (aka TS). Any appeals regarding membership should be addressed to him c/o the late night club and his decision is FINAL (he especially requested the capital letters as he’s sick to death of the Times editor having exclusive rights over final decisions).
              Trusting that the above answers your question,
              Yours etc.

              • Hanni
                Posted September 17, 2015 at 9:45 pm | Permalink


                I think my record speaks for itself. Unimpeachable in every aspect. I’m particularly proud of my attention to detail, for example I’ve never missed a naked harpist. Knowingly.

                I’ve never thanked the wrong bloggers or invented words or completely and utterly got a and d mixed up.

                I’m also the proud inventor of sideways clues.

                I therefore do not qualify and withdraw my application.

                YOURS Hanni

                • Jane
                  Posted September 17, 2015 at 9:59 pm | Permalink


                  Since one may not nominate oneself, it thereby follows that one may not withdraw. I regret to inform you that this oversight on your part will weigh heavily against you in the consideration of your past performance.

                  Yours respectfully,

              • Kitty
                Posted September 17, 2015 at 9:54 pm | Permalink

                I’m gratified to see that nobody has nominated me. It is obviously because I’m not loopy, and not because I’ve just slipped under the radar as is my speciality.

                I’m not loopy! Wahoo! I shall tell that to the friend who has called me Loopy (among other things) since we were at school together passing each other silly notes in Maths and German.

                • Jane
                  Posted September 17, 2015 at 10:01 pm | Permalink

                  I have to inform you that a nomination for your good self has in fact been placed by an overseas client who wishes to remain anonymous.
                  Yours etc.

                  • Kitty
                    Posted September 17, 2015 at 10:05 pm | Permalink

                    Me and my big mouth. Gets me into trouble time and again http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gif.

            • Shropshirelad
              Posted September 17, 2015 at 9:56 pm | Permalink

              Why pommers and me? http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_unsure.gif

              • Hanni
                Posted September 17, 2015 at 9:58 pm | Permalink

                You know fine well why. And quite frankly I’ve not forgiven you yet for calling me epicurean. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_wink.gif

                • Shropshirelad
                  Posted September 17, 2015 at 10:05 pm | Permalink

                  Sorry, I meant Sagittarian http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_scratch.gif

                  • pommers
                    Posted September 18, 2015 at 12:33 am | Permalink

                    I think I last had that with a Bolognese sauce.

                    • Miffypops
                      Posted September 18, 2015 at 12:43 am | Permalink

                      My elder brother told me my star sign was cunnilingus. Way before i was old enough to know bettter.

            • pommers
              Posted September 17, 2015 at 11:17 pm | Permalink

              Me? http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_wacko.gif

              • Hanni
                Posted September 17, 2015 at 11:23 pm | Permalink


                • pommers
                  Posted September 18, 2015 at 12:30 am | Permalink

                  Was the naked harpist that bad? Anyway, “loopy” just about sums me up. Just ask pommette, she’s lived with me for over 40 years so should know by now. Actually loopy isn’t how she normally refers to me.

                  • Hanni
                    Posted September 18, 2015 at 12:46 am | Permalink

                    No. I’m just amazed I didn’t spot her. The picture was great. I’d quite like to meet her. So long as she can actually play a harp.

                    I don’t care for the term loopy.

                    I like Pommette. She sails in circles.

                    • pommers
                      Posted September 18, 2015 at 12:50 am | Permalink

                      Not when I’m on board.

                    • Jane
                      Posted September 18, 2015 at 12:53 am | Permalink

                      Please address any complaints re: the term loopy to your resident sommelier.
                      Yours etc.

                    • Hanni
                      Posted September 18, 2015 at 12:58 am | Permalink

                      Pommers you spoil all the fun. To this day I can’t figure out how she did that in a Laser. Skill leaps to mind. Pommette is my sailing idol.

  36. Nick the Greek
    Posted September 17, 2015 at 7:12 pm | Permalink

    Thought this was quite hard. Didn’t manage 14a or 5d and a few of the others needed a leap of faith.

  37. Angel
    Posted September 17, 2015 at 7:21 pm | Permalink

    Yes indeed this was a veritable struggle but i got by “with a little help from my friends”/electronic aids. 23d new one on me – tried to settle for hefty – and also, not being Scottish, hadn’t heard of the chimney in 20a but found this – Santa Claus is cumin, He’s cumin doon the lum, Ye better pit the fire oot, In case he burns his bum! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_wacko.gif
    Thanks RayT for another tester and Falcon for helping me to close out. ****/**.

  38. pommers
    Posted September 17, 2015 at 7:31 pm | Permalink

    Defeated by RayT http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_negative.gif

    Well, not fully defeated as we could see the answer to 14a had to be POSSE but had absolutely no idea why. We solved the puzzle over lunch in a bar Murcia where we had no interweb and a request for a BRB would have been met with a fair degree of confusion. So, it was defeated in that I don’t consider a puzzle fully solved unless I can parse every answer.

    Rest of it was brill and even 14a became clear when I got home and looked in the BRB. 15a might be favourite in view of the photo opportunity offered – wish I got clues like that when I’m blogging..

    Thanks to RayT and to Falcon.

  39. RayT
    Posted September 17, 2015 at 7:51 pm | Permalink

    Many thanks to Falcon for the review and to all for your comments. All read and much appreciated.


    • Jane
      Posted September 17, 2015 at 8:26 pm | Permalink

      Hi Mr. T – thanks for dropping in as usual. In light of the comments, may I ask whether you make the decision as to whether a puzzle should be a Beam or a back-pager or is that out of your hands?

    • Hilary
      Posted September 17, 2015 at 8:30 pm | Permalink

      Thanks for dropping by you just be fascinated by the range of comments for your Thursday masterpieces, sadly I am a very junior apprentice but I aspire to greater heights and hope that one day I will finish a Ray T crossword all by myself.

    • Hanni
      Posted September 17, 2015 at 8:49 pm | Permalink

      Thanks for dropping by. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_good.gif

  40. Hilary
    Posted September 17, 2015 at 8:35 pm | Permalink

    Never heard of 14a and required ginormous amount of electronic help. Off to lie down with ice pack on head. On these occasions I wish I could have a stiff drink. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/smiley-phew.gif

    • Hilary
      Posted September 17, 2015 at 8:37 pm | Permalink

      Thanks to Falcon without you I would still be chewing my pencil over 14a, thanks also to Ray T.

  41. Richard
    Posted September 17, 2015 at 9:09 pm | Permalink

    Having lurked here for a while, I thought I’d pop my head in (on the off chance that anyone still reads comments at this time of night) to express my delight that, in my early forties, I am considered “down with the kids” for not having a massive issue with 14a. In fact, I was thrown to start with because I was looking for misdirection that wasn’t there.
    I often take a little longer with Ray T’s offerings, so today’s, whilst slightly heavy going, was no harder than usual – solid 3* – and certainly easier than some from that week of seemingly misplaced toughies we had recently.
    Thanks to Falcon and Ray T, and to all of you for keeping me entertained and enlightened on a daily basis.

    • Posted September 17, 2015 at 9:22 pm | Permalink

      Welcome to the blog Richard

      It’s not that late!

    • Hanni
      Posted September 17, 2015 at 9:23 pm | Permalink

      Welcome Richard.

    • Jane
      Posted September 17, 2015 at 9:26 pm | Permalink

      Hi lurker! Believe me, ‘early forties’ puts you well down with the kids for a lot of us on here! It’s always nice to welcome some new ‘kids’ on the block – especially good for us more senior members to get a younger person’s take on some of the clues.
      Keep ’em coming. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_good.gif

      • Miffypops
        Posted September 17, 2015 at 9:47 pm | Permalink

        Nobody is as young as me.

        • Kitty
          Posted September 17, 2015 at 9:49 pm | Permalink

          That’s because you are only allowed to have a birthday when you’re good!

          • Kitty
            Posted September 17, 2015 at 9:50 pm | Permalink

            P.S. Welcome from me too, Richard :) .

    • Richard
      Posted September 17, 2015 at 9:45 pm | Permalink

      Thanks for the welcome, folks. Off to bed with a mug of cocoa now …

      • Miffypops
        Posted September 17, 2015 at 9:51 pm | Permalink

        Now that comment puts you well and truly in with the oldsters Richard.

      • Richard
        Posted September 17, 2015 at 9:57 pm | Permalink

        Forgive me. I couldn’t resist. It may have been a little tongue in cheek.

        • Jane
          Posted September 17, 2015 at 10:13 pm | Permalink

          COCOA?!!! Don’t you read the papers? We oldies are the front runners in the ‘too much alcohol’ brigade.
          Botheration – can’t get the lid to fit on the recycling box again http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_smile.gif

        • Shropshirelad
          Posted September 17, 2015 at 10:26 pm | Permalink

          Welcome to the blog Richard. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_bye.gif

          As you’ve been lurking for some time, you’ll already have realised that there’s a sane group (mp, pommers and myself) and a slightly dysfunctional group of the fairer sex who have an obsession with alcohol. Take care what you say http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_whistle3.gif

          • Hanni
            Posted September 17, 2015 at 10:35 pm | Permalink

            Coming from a man that camped in a closed bar at Edgbaston. Hmm. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_wink.gif

            Come to think of it I have no idea what wines I should be drinking at the weekend?

            • Shropshirelad
              Posted September 17, 2015 at 11:10 pm | Permalink

              Koru Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough from ASDA – £10 for 2. A good slurping wine.

              Also Aupouri Sauvignon Blanc from ASDA @ £5.75 is worth a look (it was on offer last week for a fiver)


              • Hanni
                Posted September 17, 2015 at 11:22 pm | Permalink

                Oh that’s brilliant, thank you.

                I’ll try both. Quite keen to try the Aupouri as I have no knowledge of it.

                As always you are a star. Goodness I owe you a few drinks!

                • Shropshirelad
                  Posted September 17, 2015 at 11:26 pm | Permalink

                  No problem – I am now off to bed (no cocoa) to build up my stamina for the forthcoming World Cup.

                  Btw – Sainsbury are doing some good deals on malt whisky if you’re interested.


                  • Miffypops
                    Posted September 18, 2015 at 12:45 am | Permalink

                    What World Cup? Have I missed something?

              • pommers
                Posted September 17, 2015 at 11:28 pm | Permalink

                You can get a fairly decent Rioja, Valdepenas or especially Jumilla around here for a couple of Euros a bottle. Vino collapso at about 1€ a litre.

                • Hanni
                  Posted September 17, 2015 at 11:30 pm | Permalink

                  Helpful Pommers. Helpful. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gif

                  • pommers
                    Posted September 18, 2015 at 12:15 am | Permalink

                    Thought you might find it so :lol:

                    • Hanni
                      Posted September 18, 2015 at 12:54 am | Permalink

                      It is. I shall go into Asda and Sainsbury’s tomorrow and ask a kind member of staff to direct me to the €1 litre of vino collapso.

                      I’ll report on my findings.

          • Jane
            Posted September 17, 2015 at 10:41 pm | Permalink

            The board notes that you have blatantly misrepresented the alcohol consumption of the three nominees to whom you refer. Evidence of this fact is readily obtainable from past comments on the BD blog.
            Please be advised that this scurrilous attempt to circumvent the proceedings of the committee will not be overlooked.

            Yours etc.

            • Shropshirelad
              Posted September 17, 2015 at 11:14 pm | Permalink


              Your communication has been noted – our lawyers will be in touch in due course..

              Yours etc


              • Miffypops
                Posted September 18, 2015 at 12:49 am | Permalink

                Lawyers? far too expensive. I have other “services” that are far more effective.

            • pommers
              Posted September 17, 2015 at 11:30 pm | Permalink


              • Jane
                Posted September 18, 2015 at 12:22 am | Permalink

                Don’t worry about it, Pommers – although your predilection for marmite could weigh heavily against you in the board’s deliberations. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_negative.gif

  42. Paso Doble
    Posted September 17, 2015 at 9:42 pm | Permalink

    Paso didn’t do this one today because Doble left the paper on the train from Hastings. She tells me that she finished about half of it and got fed up and telephone contact with me when the train was going through endless tunnels.
    We’ll try our best to finish Giovanni’s puzzle tomorrow. We might have a bit less time on our hands…

  43. Margaret
    Posted September 17, 2015 at 9:57 pm | Permalink

    I’m afraid I’m with Brian on this one. The back page should be an enjoyable work out, especially when there is only so much time you can give it. There was no enjoyment in this at all. I think I’ll just have to write Thursdays off.

    • Jane
      Posted September 17, 2015 at 10:07 pm | Permalink

      Sorry you feel like that, Margaret. I used to find Mr. T days really hard but suddenly something clicked and he’s definitely my favourite now. Maybe think about keeping going for a while?
      Meantime, keep in mind the fact that he only produces puzzles for every other Thursday – the alternative setters may prove to be more to your liking.

    • Sam Kelly
      Posted September 18, 2015 at 12:12 am | Permalink

      Well said Margaret. I always think that seeing the solution should raise a mental smile ?, rather than a feeling of, “well I suppose it must be such-and-such, let’s see how the setter can possibly make it work”.

  44. Margaret
    Posted September 17, 2015 at 10:37 pm | Permalink

    Thanks Jane, your encouragement is appreciated. I’ll have a look on Thursdays, but as soon as I see it’s Mr T, I’ll give it a miss. It’s not worth giving it the time if there’s no enjoyment there.

    • Jane
      Posted September 17, 2015 at 11:03 pm | Permalink

      Aha – you obviously recognise a Mr. T. Well, you’re almost halfway there! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gif

  45. Taggart
    Posted September 17, 2015 at 10:46 pm | Permalink

    Finally finished and on my birthday as well. First post on here but been lurking for months. Much to like today – a challenge all the way.

    • gazza
      Posted September 17, 2015 at 10:52 pm | Permalink

      Welcome to the blog, Taggart and Happy Birthday.

    • Jane
      Posted September 17, 2015 at 11:02 pm | Permalink

      Welcome, birthday boy. By the way – loved your tv series. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_good.gif

    • Shropshirelad
      Posted September 17, 2015 at 11:12 pm | Permalink

      Welcome and Happy Birthday from me as well.

    • Hanni
      Posted September 17, 2015 at 11:23 pm | Permalink

      Welcome and many happy returns.

    • Miffypops
      Posted September 18, 2015 at 12:51 am | Permalink

      Happy Birthday Taggart. I had one last Sunday and it didn’t do me any harm. I get another one in just over a year.

      • Jane
        Posted September 18, 2015 at 1:03 am | Permalink

        Laying aside the issue of why your years are apparently longer than anyone else’s, don’t count on another birthday next year. You only get one if you’ve been good and reports in from Mrs. Cobley are not looking too favourable at present. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_negative.gif

        • Hanni
          Posted September 18, 2015 at 1:10 am | Permalink

          Do tell Jane?

          • Jane
            Posted September 18, 2015 at 1:21 am | Permalink

            I’m really not at liberty to say, but how she managed to fend off those cribbage adjudicators, the RSPCA AND those incensed Scottish chippy owners is quite beyond me. I’m in awe of the lady.

            • Hanni
              Posted September 18, 2015 at 1:55 am | Permalink

              Always good to know. Well you know more than we do…RSPCA?

          • Miffypops
            Posted September 18, 2015 at 1:32 am | Permalink

            I am not sure what constitutes being good. I think that nearly finishing the kitchen refurb is good, I also think that starting the bathroom refurb was a good thing. It is nowhere near finished just like the kitchen so I started striping awful anaglypta wallpaper in the little room (not so little really). i also pulled some paper off a wall outside the kitchen and found some wattle and daub work. Its all fun you know.

            • Jane
              Posted September 18, 2015 at 1:53 am | Permalink

              That’s exactly the problem, MP. You have no concept of what constitutes being good. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_whistle3.gif

  46. pommers
    Posted September 17, 2015 at 11:38 pm | Permalink

    It seems to me that RayT is a bit of a “Marmite” setter. Personally I love both and wish those of you who don’t love them just refrain from attempting the puzzles or commenting on them in such a negative manner. If you.re not careful you’ll have me commenting on Elgar Toughies again.

    I’m not keen on either Rufus or Giovanni but for the most part I keep such thoughts to myself. Would that others do likewise.

    BTW, pommette has a downer on Jay but keeps it to herself.

    • Sam Kelly
      Posted September 17, 2015 at 11:51 pm | Permalink

      Why don’t you approve of people commenting negatively (if it’s justified, of course)? Sometimes Ray T is downright wrong, which spoils my enjoyment. Harumph again!

      • pommers
        Posted September 18, 2015 at 12:11 am | Permalink

        Too many people comment negatively, not just on RayT’s puzzles (but he seems to bear the brunt), without giving any sort of reason. Don’t slag off just because you can’t do it. If there’s something you think is wrong then certainly say so but if it’s just a general “not on the wavelength” then what’s the point. If every day there was an easy puzzle I’d soon be bored, a bit of a challenge now and then sparks up the grey cells.

        Re your comment #47, Collins has prolific as a synonym of opulent it’s OK by me. I’ve already said my piece about 14a, it appears that you, like me, are not up to date with modern slang. Tough on both of us.

        It’s a bit late at night here and I’m a bit grumpy so apologies if I’ve upset you but I stand by what I’ve said.

  47. Sam Kelly
    Posted September 17, 2015 at 11:40 pm | Permalink

    I’m tempted to do something else on a Thursday because Ray T and I don’t share a wavelength. Examples: 14a. What the..? And 26a: Opulent (“Possessing great wealth, affluent.”) is supposed to mean the same as Prolific (“Producing offspring or fruit in great abundance”). No it doesn’t. Harumph!

  48. Miffypops
    Posted September 18, 2015 at 12:58 am | Permalink

    If you had all played as much Hangman as I have you would solve crosswords from checking letters and parse backwards.

    I have said many times that solving the quickie will hone your skills at the cryptic.

    Recognise the definition, bung it in, job done. All setters can be be beaten Wordplay is exactly what it says “PLAY” what more fun can you have with letters?

  49. Tstrummer
    Posted September 18, 2015 at 2:10 am | Permalink

    Weill, I liked it a lot and enjoyed a typical RayT challenge. Took two pints and more tobacco than my gynaecologist would approve, but got there in the end. The thing with Ray is that there are seldom any gimmes to get one started, and the anagrams are always tricky (even MP had to resort to a pencil, if only to prove that he can write and not just poke an iPad). But that’s the point of his puzzles, which generally result in penny-drop moments galore and frequent forays into the dictionary to find definition 17 of a word that you never knew meant what it means. I love all that. 14a is my favourite clue by a distance, although there were lots of others to cherish, too many to mention as I am very tired after a 20-hour day. VMTs to RayT for the exertion and to Falcon for blog’n’ brassieres.
    AOB: the loopy corner, which is down the bottom of the garden by the compost heap, is rapidly filling. Most of you seem to qualify for entry. The highlight this year will involve a WWE-style tag wrestling match between, in the blue corner, Jane and Pommers and, in the red corner, Brian and MP. SL will provide the refreshments. Advance tickets on sale now. Goodnight.

    • Jane
      Posted September 18, 2015 at 2:20 am | Permalink

      Have been waiting with eyes propped open with matchsticks for your return, TS. I am delighted to see that you have accepted your nomination for the post of adjudicator of the loopy corner and apologise most sincerely for the ‘in absentia’ nature of the proceedings thus far.
      All further nominations will be filed neatly on your bedside table for perusal at your leisure.
      Your faithful servant, etc.

  50. Jo Yoong
    Posted September 18, 2015 at 3:03 am | Permalink

    Very tough. Did not get 14A and 20A. Vertically is ‘Plump’? Had no idea. Also 24A. Do not think a coaster can be called a vessel.

    • Falcon
      Posted September 18, 2015 at 3:13 am | Permalink

      Vertically is PLUMB (not PLUMP), PB (chemical symbol for lead) around LUM (Scottish word for chimney).

      A coaster is a ship used to carry cargo along the coast from port to port (and thus is a vessel).

      • Jane
        Posted September 18, 2015 at 12:15 pm | Permalink

        Hi Falcon,
        Only noticed late last night that the undergarment being worn by the lady you pictured is priced at 10m dollars! I presume that such a price tag means that the buyer gets to keep the girl as well? Either way, it rather puts six million dollar man into the shade.

        • Falcon
          Posted September 18, 2015 at 1:25 pm | Permalink

          Keep the girl … one can only dream http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_wink.gif

          I’m afraid I don’t have the wherewithal to test your theory — but I might be able to spring for the $295 replica.

          The “bonus” that comes with it — while no Candice Swanepoel — is not bad either.

  51. JohnWill
    Posted September 18, 2015 at 12:00 pm | Permalink

    This one had me thinking. I like a crossword which makes me think. Unlike Monday’s which I dashed off in *******

    • Posted September 18, 2015 at 12:07 pm | Permalink

      Welcome to the blog John

      Discussion of actual solving times is strongly discouraged and will usually, as here, result in your comment being redacted. We do not wish to discourage slower solvers.

      • JohnWill
        Posted September 18, 2015 at 12:13 pm | Permalink

        Oops sorry! I definitely fell into the latter category for yesterday’s puzzle!

  52. candida
    Posted September 19, 2015 at 10:56 am | Permalink

    Reading the blog is very useful as a benchmark-I was glad to see that lotsof others found this hard. I gave up.Sometimes the Toughie seems easier than the back page! I was a bit dismayed to see pics of women in underwear in this blog, having stopped looking at the hints when they are written by certain people who have a preference for showing many pics of women in various states of undress,supposedly to illustrate a clue. Having previously mentioned my distaste, I was pleased to see that there were less of them, perhaps co-incidental.Here’s an easy one- what do the initials DOM stand for?

    • Franco
      Posted September 19, 2015 at 11:25 am | Permalink

      The Document Object Model (DOM) is a cross-platform and language-independent convention for representing and interacting with objects in HTML, XHTML, and XML documents. The nodes of every document are organized in a tree structure, called the DOM tree.

      I very much doubt that any of the bloggers could illustrate this with a picture of a semi-clad lady!

      But you never know!

      • Jane
        Posted September 19, 2015 at 12:38 pm | Permalink

        I don’t know so much, Franco. I can think of quite a few opportunities in that direction! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_smile.gif

      • Falcon
        Posted September 19, 2015 at 2:10 pm | Permalink

        Don’t tempt me. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_wink.gif

  53. jean-luc cheval
    Posted September 19, 2015 at 3:06 pm | Permalink

    14a was my last one in too and only understood after reading the blog.
    The queen was very small today.
    Nice to see 6d.
    Thanks to RayT and to Falcon for the review.

  54. Posted October 18, 2015 at 4:02 pm | Permalink

    Let me chip in albeit belatedly as we are behind here in Kenya by a few weeks in DT puzzles, it was a tricky Ray T but hugely satisfying, in fact l completed the NW the next day.5d was vintage Ray T as l smiled at such ingenuity.Could l please see a pic of this maestro?