DT 27987

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 27987

Hints and tips by Falcon

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

Greetings from Ottawa where we have been experiencing some very unseasonable weather – more like mid-October than mid-December. People are actually still golfing. Perhaps our weather is now shipped via one of the airlines and was delivered to Vancouver by mistake.

Could this be a second RayT in as many weeks? As I was solving the puzzle, it did not strike me that it was a RayT creation but perhaps that is because I was not expecting it to be one of his as he set last week’s puzzle. Moreover, Her Majesty fails to make an appearance and there is a minimum of innuendo. However, the clues in the Quick crossword are all single words and some of the synonyms and definitions are stretched to the breaking point or beyond.

As this is my last appearance before the holiday season let me wish everyone a Very Merry Christmas and the Happiest of New Years.

In the hints below, the definitions are underlined. The answers are hidden under the ‘Click here!’ buttons, so don’t click if you don’t want to see them.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought. You can also add your assessment by selecting from one to five stars at the bottom of the post.


1a   Memory of crime scene in bombing (12)
REMINISCENCE — an anagram (in bombing) of CRIME SCENE

8a   Authorities vocal about carbon emissions discharged (7)
ORACLES — wrap a synonym for vocal or spoken around the chemical symbol for carbon and then append E(mission)S after having emptied (discharged) it; these authorities are experts rather than persons holding power

9a   Proposition regularly spurned by girl (7)
PREMISS — a regular sequence of letters from sPuRnEd followed by the title applied to a girl or unmarried woman; the use of the alternative British spelling held me up here for a considerable period of time

11a   Part of Beaverbrook in a war’s campaign (7)
OKINAWA — lurking in (part of) the clue is one of the major battles fought in the Pacific in World War II

12a   Rubbish resistance by centre turned supporter (7)
RHUBARB — lego time; a charade of the symbol for electrical resistance, the centre of a wheel, and a woman’s undergarment the wrong way round

13a   Abandon maidenly fluttering ditching man (5)
YIELD — an anagram (fluttering) of (ma)IDE(n)LY with MAN removed (ditching)

14a   Good chaps with sound Prime Minister (9)
GLADSTONE — more lego; line up G(ood), another name for chaps or blokes, and a sound of a particular pitch

16a   Get allies to restore order (9)
LEGISLATE — an anagram (to restore) of the first two words of the clue

19a   One gives name in entrance (5)
DONOR — N(ame) inserted into a means of entry (to a room, for instance)

21a   Capital is firm following endless alarm (7)
BELFAST — an adjective denoting solidly attached after an audible alarm with its final letter removed

23a   Target centre, one touching gold perhaps (7)
BULLION — another lego construction; connect the centre of a target, the Roman symbol for one, and a preposition denoting touching or in contact with

24a   Opening to escape canopy top in plane, alternatively (7)
EJECTOR — a rather torturous all-in-one; for the wordplay, start with E {opening (initial letter) to E(scape)}; then follow this with C {C(anopy) top (initial letter)} placed inside (in) JET (plane); finally append a conjunction used to indicate an alternative; the entire clue also provides the definition – though I seriously doubt that it is one you will find in the BRB; note that the solution is an alternative spelling to the more common British term (thus likely explaining the appearance of “alternatively” in the definition) [thank you Kitty for pointing out that the spelling used in the solution is, in fact, the common British one]

25a   Vault over line facing a fair game (7)
TOMBOLA — get your lego out again; string together a vault (one in which a corpse may rest), the symbol for a cricket over, L(ine) and the A from the clue

26a   Mean time retained in stir (12)
INTERMEDIATE — an anagram (in stir) of TIME RETAINED


1d   Learn about answer and stupid lies (7)
REALISE — I hope you haven’t put away the lego; we need a preposition meaning about or concerning, A(nswer), and an anagram (stupid) of LIES

2d   Bird‘s fat under rising batter (7)
MALLARD — a reversal (rising in a down clue) of a verb meaning to thrash or batter floats on top of cooking fat

3d   Regrets again with lots to turn over (9)
NOSTALGIA — an anagram (to turn over) of AGAIN and (with) LOTS

4d   Smashing beer, half cut after drink (5)
SUPER — the latter half of (be)ER after a drink in Northern England

5d   Sights French tower say, by Seine’s left bank (7)
EYEFULS — a homophone (say) of a Paris landmark followed by the initial letter (left bank) of Seine

6d   City‘s elegance gone (7)
CHICAGO — string together synonyms for elegance and gone or past to find a midwestern American city

7d   ‘Word’ for Mac but not Linux? (12)
MONOSYLLABLE — a category of word which includes ‘Mac’ but not ‘Linux’

10d   Underground taken from nearest urban settlement (12)
SUBTERRANEAN — an anagram (settlement) of NEAREST URBAN

15d   Made bitter perfect, judged imbibing beer’s head (9)
ACERBATED — start with an adjective meaning excellent; then add a verb meaning judged or assessed into which the initial letter (head) of beer has been placed

17d   Ship‘s grand age with everybody on board (7)
GALLEON — the solution starts with G(rand) and ends with a long period of time; in the middle (on board) is another word for everybody

18d   Shock found the French being supportive (7)
STARTLE — a verb meaning to found or establish is supported (in a down clue) by a French definite article

19d   Top lifted on girl creates embarrassment (7)
DILEMMA — reverse (lifted in a down clue) a removable cover and place it atop a girl’s name

20d   Report receiving medal in offensive (7)
NOISOME — the report here is the sound made by a gun; wrap it around the abbreviation for a dynastic order established in 1902 by King Edward VII

22d   Mostly the drink producing monotonous drone (5)
THRUM — most of TH(e) with a chaser of the naval drink of choice

As my favourite clue, I will go with 19d (forgiving what I consider to be an overstretched definition) with honourable mention to 15d and 19d.

The Quick Crossword pun: sane+hum+awe=say no more


  1. Domus
    Posted December 17, 2015 at 7:52 am | Permalink

    25a. One “l”.

    • crypticsue
      Posted December 17, 2015 at 8:37 am | Permalink

      Thank you. Now corrected.

  2. 2Kiwis
    Posted December 17, 2015 at 8:56 am | Permalink

    We also were not expecting a RayT puzzle this week and were rather surprised to find this one with all the characteristics of one of his, including the clue word count, the only exception being the absence of Her Majesty. The decision we came to was that we have been treated to a Christmas bonus of an extra RayT puzzle to enjoy. We had to check out the unfamiliar spelling of 9a but had worked out from the wordplay what it probably had to be. Last one in was 15d which needed all the checkers and a bit of pondering. Thought that 7d was very clever and gets our vote for favourite. Good fun.
    Thanks RayT and Falcon.

  3. JonP
    Posted December 17, 2015 at 9:14 am | Permalink

    I’d go for this as being a RayT creation based upon previous comments – it certainly ‘felt’ like one while / whilst (never sure which one to use) solving it.

    Enjoyable puzzle with thanks to Falcon and RayT **/****

  4. Rabbit Dave
    Posted December 17, 2015 at 9:48 am | Permalink

    Despite Her Majesty having been given the day off, I’m as sure as I can be that we have been treated to another Ray T puzzle today. Jane, what did you say yesterday? “Don’t worry if rain stops play tomorrow, Brian – it isn’t a Mr. T day.” Predictions are dangerous. Please remember Tony Blair’s statement, often quoted (by me), “I don’t make predictions. I never have and I never will”.

    This was definitely a puzzle of two halves for me. Unusually I found the top half R&W, but the bottom half proved to be much more of a challenge. Overall my rating is 2*/3.5*. I’ve dropped half a point for enjoyment simply because I thought 24a was uncharacteristically clumsy. I agree with the 2Ks in making 7d my favourite.

    Many thanks to Ray T for an excellent puzzle and to Falcon for an excellent review.

    • Jane
      Posted December 17, 2015 at 12:12 pm | Permalink

      Ah well – even if it wasn’t Mr. T (and I’m not as convinced as you are) it was sufficiently like one of his that Brian would doubtless be cursing and swearing! Hopefully, the weather in his part of the world is rather better than it is here and he went out to play golf instead.

  5. Paso Doble
    Posted December 17, 2015 at 10:16 am | Permalink

    Very pleasant way to start the day. 2.5/3 for us. Thanks to Ray T and Falcon for an excellent review. And here’s one for Miffypops (10d) …….


    • Miffypops
      Posted December 17, 2015 at 10:40 am | Permalink

      Not convinced that Dylan is singing here. A strange version. The film is OK. Allen Ginsgerd is the geezer with the stick. Donovan helped with the flash cards. The location at the back of The Savoy Hotel is much the same now as it was then nearly 50 years ago. Definitely not Bobs vocal. Even Saint Sharon agrees

      • Paso Doble
        Posted December 17, 2015 at 10:57 am | Permalink

        We are sure that you and Saint Sharon are right. We think it was sung by some geezer called Reggie Leydens. If so, a very good impersonation but there really is something that doesn’t quite click with the vocal. Reggie is in tune.

        • Miffypops
          Posted December 17, 2015 at 11:52 am | Permalink

          And there we have it. Dylan’s voice may sound odd, his phrasing may be eccentric but never out of tune

  6. Young Salopian
    Posted December 17, 2015 at 10:18 am | Permalink

    Whoever complied this excellent puzzle, and the discussion so far targets Ray T, it was a joy to complete. Certainly not easy, and a couple, notably the favourite 7 down and my last one in, 8 across, had me scratching my head until the lightbulb moment. 2.5*/4 reflects my efforts in solving this little gem. It certainly cheered up a dull and drizzly morning in the Marches.

    Many thanks to the setter and Falcon for the review.

    • Stone Lee
      Posted December 17, 2015 at 10:57 am | Permalink

      As predicted a North South divide in the weather today – sun trying to break through in the SE. Agree with your favourite (7d) but this was a *** difficulty for me today. Not one quarter went in easily.

      Thanks to setter and Falcon for an excellent review.

  7. Jose
    Posted December 17, 2015 at 10:42 am | Permalink

    Wot, no pictures of naked ladies like the other week! I guess we’ll have to make do with just a leather-clad one.

    But thanks to setter and Falcon anyway.

  8. George
    Posted December 17, 2015 at 10:48 am | Permalink

    I actually found this puzzle very enjoyable – so I am not sure about it being RayT! Fairly easy for a RayT too, I would have thought. I am very doubtful that this was by RayT as I am not in the least annoyed with it. I know, that has to be a first.

    I have absolutely no complaints about this one.

    */**** for me

  9. neveracrossword
    Posted December 17, 2015 at 10:49 am | Permalink

    Like YS, 8d and 7a were my last in. Fairly gentle on the whole.Thank you Falcon, setter – and Paso Doble for the Dylan number – a welcome antidote to all the carols around at this time of the year.

  10. Kitty
    Posted December 17, 2015 at 10:51 am | Permalink

    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you too, Falcon :) .

    I was actually disappointed to find a RayT puzzle today. This is because I’ll be in more need of one next week. I will certainly need one the week after, but have a horrible suspicion that there may now be two whole weeks without a single Beam of sunshine http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_cry.gif.

    As for the puzzle, like RD I found the top half very soft and gentle. Most of the rest didn’t feel much harder (still stiff enough to be enjoyable) with a bit on the W side prolonging the fun.

    Re 24a, I thought the answer was the more common term this side of the pond, so the “alternatively” as part of the definition prevents this from being a flawless all-in-one. Still clever though.

    I loved 7d. Shining brilliance.

    Many thanks RayT and Falcon.

    • Falcon
      Posted December 17, 2015 at 12:14 pm | Permalink

      Hi Kitty,

      I will defer to your judgment regarding which spelling of 9a predominates in the UK.

      My comment was guided by the entry at Oxford Dictionaries which shows premise (British also premiss).

      • Kitty
        Posted December 17, 2015 at 12:27 pm | Permalink

        Hi Falcon. I’m with you on 9a, where I wasn’t familiar with the alternative spelling (not that it was a problem). My comment was about 24a, which we call an ejector seat, not an ejection seat.

        • dutch
          Posted December 17, 2015 at 1:00 pm | Permalink

          or ejection seat..(brb)

          I agree with kitty, an almost wonderful all-in-one, slightly weakened by “alternatively”

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

            Argh – sorry Dutch! I totally misunderstood your comment earlier for the simple reason that I utterly failed to notice that I hadn’t written “ejection seat” which is what I meant. For reasons unknown my fingers typed “ejecting” without consulting my brain. I edited it when I noticed, but of course that left the first bit of your reply not making sense. It is very annoying when someone does that so I just wanted to clarify here.

        • Falcon
          Posted December 17, 2015 at 1:06 pm | Permalink

          I obviously should not post replies before having my morning coffee. i confused your comment with that of someone else who had commented on the alternative spelling at 9a.

          Regarding 24a, I can’t explain why I wrote that as I know very well (from past puzzles) that you say “ejector seat”. It is those of us on this side of the pond that say “ejection seat” (not “ejecting seat”). Had my comment been true, it would have been good justification for the wording of the clue. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/icon_redface.gif

          • Expat Chris
            Posted December 17, 2015 at 1:48 pm | Permalink

            I’m your side of the pond, Falcon, and I’ve not heard of ejection seat. Must be a Canadian thing, eh?

            • Falcon
              Posted December 17, 2015 at 2:05 pm | Permalink

              I rely heavily on five dictionaries (three British and two American).

              Both American dictionaries (American Heritage and Random House) list only “ejection seat”.

              Chambers lists “ejector seat” with “ejection seat” shown as being the US version of the term.

              Both Oxford Dictionaries and Collins English Dictionary list “ejection seat” as the primary term with “ejector seat” as an alternative.

              Therefore, based on a majority vote of British dictionaries, the “alternatively” found in the clue would appear to be justified.

              • dutch
                Posted December 17, 2015 at 3:07 pm | Permalink

                well done! – i tend to (over)rely on just brb.

              • JohnY
                Posted December 18, 2015 at 3:28 pm | Permalink

                Just as an afterthought that presumably nobody will see being a day late, someone very close to me, who maintains said devices for a living says it’s ejection seat and that you’re on a fizzer if you use the ejector word. They have this down as the term use on the western side of the water. I suppose one wouldn’t care what it was called so long as it worked (at the right time).

                • Falcon
                  Posted December 18, 2015 at 5:55 pm | Permalink

                  Bloggers have no excuse not to see a comment, no matter how late, as we get an email notification of them.

            • Mr Kitty
              Posted December 17, 2015 at 3:51 pm | Permalink

              I’m also in the US, and “ejector” seemed natural to me. Perhaps that’s because it resonates with the American translation of Meccano, which is “Erector Set”?

              • Brian
                Posted December 17, 2015 at 4:38 pm | Permalink

                Please God NO, not over the holidays, I couldn’t stand a Ray T spoiling the holidays. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_sad.gif

                • F1lbertfox
                  Posted December 17, 2015 at 7:48 pm | Permalink

                  Brian’s letter to Santa.
                  Dear Santa Claus, For Christmas, please would you bring me some nice simple cryptic crossword puzzles that have no nasty religious clues in, no words that I have never heard of before or don’t know the meaning of and most definitely no clues that require any general knowledge that isn’t generally known by me. Please Santa, also no clues that I would deem to be poorly constructed or difficult for me to follow. Would you please strike that horrid RayT from your presents list – I think he deserves to receive only reindeer poo, cos, cos he’s a nasty crossword compiler and I don’t like his crossword puzzles at all. I’m not sure whether I’m overly keen on Rufus and Giovanni or not, so you’d best strike them off your list as well.
                  Love to Mrs Christmas and all the elves,
                  Love and kisses, Brian xx

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

                  • JonP
                    Posted December 17, 2015 at 9:18 pm | Permalink

                    Haha! Made me chuckle – but logic dictates that Brian must now be a reformed character with regards to RayT’s puzzles due to his overwhelming success today…

                    • F1lbertfox
                      Posted December 17, 2015 at 11:28 pm | Permalink

                      Heh heh heh – leopards and spots come into mind ;-)

          • Doug
            Posted December 20, 2015 at 9:40 am | Permalink

            The Martin Baker website (martin-baker.com) use the term ejection seat and they invented the device

  11. Angel
    Posted December 17, 2015 at 11:15 am | Permalink

    Just not my scene but pressed on regardless. Paper covered in written workings for all the anagrams, etc. (Doubtless those were just up your street Kath. Forgive my “cheating” MP). I’m not 100% convinced this is in fact a RayT but if so TVM to you or to whomever else and also Falcon – it’s always good to have your timely hints although they were only needed today to confirm/parse a couple. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/icon_neutral.gif

    • Miffypops
      Posted December 17, 2015 at 11:53 am | Permalink

      Not cheating Angel but Iac and 16 ac were jumpoutatcha answers.

      • judetheobscure
        Posted December 18, 2015 at 1:58 pm | Permalink

        For some ;)
        Others just find it quicker to just lay out the letters as a visual aid.

  12. pete
    Posted December 17, 2015 at 12:08 pm | Permalink

    Although I managed to get most of the answers without any help, I have to agree with Angel, this was not my cup of tea.I was getting answers by the straight clue without managing to work out the cryptic definitions, all at bit too complex for me.

  13. Jane
    Posted December 17, 2015 at 12:08 pm | Permalink

    I’m not sure about this one. The word count’s right for a Mr. T and there’s a bit of innuendo but I’m still not convinced. I certainly started out thinking it was one of his but the further I got the less convinced I became. No appearance by HM (although that has happened previously) but I counted 6 anagrams, which would be unusual for him. Doubtless we will find out later in the day when he either does or doesn’t pop in!
    Sticking points for me were 24&26a plus 7&15d – all of which took time to unravel. Leader board shows 7&19d.

    Many thanks to Mr. Setter and also to Falcon – a very happy Christmas to you.

  14. Spook
    Posted December 17, 2015 at 12:15 pm | Permalink

    Pretty tough for me, struggled with 15d but got there in the end.Favourite clue 14a if I had spelt 1a correctly I’m sure that NW would have been easier.
    Whoever the compiler may be many thanks and thanks also to Falcon. Still there were also those Doh moments.

  15. Angela K-M
    Posted December 17, 2015 at 12:33 pm | Permalink

    For once we managed to complete a Thursday puzzle with no help! Not very exciting and 24A was a terrible clue :)

  16. dutch
    Posted December 17, 2015 at 1:12 pm | Permalink

    Interesting puzzle today – quite a collection of old friends as well as a smattering of very nice clues. I loved “carbon emissions discharged” in 1a and “mostly the drink” in 22a.

    I thought the definitions for 26a and 19a might be a little stretching, but they are in brb and chambers thesaurus, respectively.

    I liked the all-in-one (24a), though, like kitty, I thought it suffered a little with “alternatively”

    I ticked loads. 13a (nice construct and surface), 19a (one gives name in entrance, simple elegant surface), 16a (again simple and elegant surface, great anagram), 4d (I probably just like the smashing beer), 7d (clever, my last one in), 10d (brilliant anagram, smooth surface)

    Many thanks setter(?), and many thanks Falcon

  17. stanXYZ
    Posted December 17, 2015 at 1:24 pm | Permalink

    A very nice Quickie pun.

    Nudge! Nudge! as Eric Idle once said.

  18. Beaver
    Posted December 17, 2015 at 1:53 pm | Permalink

    Another tricky puzzle, not far off a ***/***, took a while to solve 7d and didn’t help when initially I had it ending in ‘bic’, wasn’t sure until the last clue 24a became apparent . Enjoyed the surface reads generally ,12 a caused a smile .Thanks Falcon for the blog/pics ,thought Miss Peel might make an appearance

  19. Expat Chris
    Posted December 17, 2015 at 1:54 pm | Permalink

    Not too taxing overall, but enough of a challenge in places to make it enjoyable. 6D is my pick, not because it’s a particularly good clue but because those few words exactly describe the sad state of the city these days. Thanks to the setter, whoever it is (I’m in the not sure camp) and to Falcon.

  20. Michael
    Posted December 17, 2015 at 2:01 pm | Permalink

    Quite tricky but finished without outside assistance – plenty of nice anagrams, a couple of good lurkers – the Quickie Pun didn’t appear on my iPad but I assume it’s the well-known Monty Python phrase referred to in 17 above – umm a bit of a step that one!

    Been for another tooth implant this morning (that’s two now!), Dentistry is truly fantastic nowadays, the anaesthetic has worn off and I feel fine, going to have a baguette for lunch – no problem!


    • Angel
      Posted December 17, 2015 at 6:22 pm | Permalink

      Dentistry may be “fantastic” but IMO also fantastically expensive. My comment is loaded as I await fitting of an inlay (glorified filling!) tomorrow. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/icon_lol.gif

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

    Right on the 1/2* cusp in terms of difficulty, and 3* or maybe a smidgen over for enjoyment. I too had doubts over the spelling of 9a, although it was obviously the answer being sought. I liked the anagram indicator in 1a, so will go for that as my favourite clue.

    • Falcon
      Posted December 17, 2015 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

      I am rather intrigued by your comment that the Seafires are “in US Navy service” as the photo shows them (as well as Avengers and Fireflies) on the deck of a British aircraft carrier, the HMS Implacable..

      • Salty Dog
        Posted December 17, 2015 at 5:55 pm | Permalink

        Falcon – you’re the only one quick enough to spot my glaring error before I edited it! I can only plead that l was deceived by the bars fore and aft of the fuselage roundels, and didn’t spot that there were no stars in between. Actually, my original misapprehension led me to research Seafires in US Navy service, in the course of which I found a copy of the Implacable flight deck picture! I might also – had I taken time – have spotted the British destroyer astern of her. Note to self: look at least twice before going off in auto…

  22. Kath
    Posted December 17, 2015 at 2:50 pm | Permalink

    Definitely a Ray T – 1a raised suspicions as soon as I read it – this must leave a big ? dangling over the setter for Christmas Eve.
    Just as wonderful as ever, with or without much innuendo – 2* difficulty and 4* for enjoyment.
    7d and 8a caused trouble for me and even when I got 8a I needed Falcon to explain the last two letters – dim.
    Like others I’ve never met 9a with that spelling.
    I liked 21a and 5 and 6d. My favourite was 7d, eventually.
    With thanks to Ray T, and Happy Christmas to him just in case this is his last crossword before Christmas.
    Thanks also and Happy Christmas to Falcon.

    • Gazza
      Posted December 17, 2015 at 3:19 pm | Permalink

      Last year we had a Rufus puzzle on Christmas Eve so perhaps we’ll have another this year.

  23. från
    Posted December 17, 2015 at 3:10 pm | Permalink

    9a held me up ; 24a was pathetic and last one in. Thank you Falcon for the explanation , I just guessed it was an ejector apparatus and ignored the clue which was ponderous to the extreme. Also found 7d and 15d difficult , spent a lot of time thinking of alternative computer languages for 7d ! This offering kept me on my toes and was easily the most difficult of the week so far Just to redress the balance , liked 13a , 4d and 10d , even 15d once I had solved it.
    Thanks to Falcon ****/**

    • Heno
      Posted December 17, 2015 at 3:34 pm | Permalink

      Thanks to Ray T and to Falcon for the review and hints. I’m sure it’s a Ray T, even though the Queen is missing. Quite straightforward except for the NW corner. Only 6 anagrams including partial, was all I counted. Two new words in 9a&15d, managed to solve via the wordplay. 2d made me laugh, but my favourite was 7d, great misdirection. Last in was 8a, and 11a was well hidden. Was 3*/3* for me. Just getting dark already in Central London. Roll on spring!

  24. pommers
    Posted December 17, 2015 at 3:15 pm | Permalink

    I’m in the RayT camp too. All the indicators are there except Her Majesty. **/*** from us. 5d was probably favourite.

    Thanks and Merry Christmas to both RayT and Falcon in case we don’t see either of you again before the festivities.

  25. Vancouverbc
    Posted December 17, 2015 at 3:51 pm | Permalink

    ***/***. A fair challenge and enjoyable. Favourites were 12a and 6&7d. Thanks to the setter and Falcon. By the way, our weather yesterday was stunning admittedly a short break in a series of stormy onslaughts from the Pacific.

  26. Merusa
    Posted December 17, 2015 at 3:59 pm | Permalink

    I am in the “definitely NOT RayT” camp. I had no real problems with this and only missed 15d. I usually tear my hair out with his puzzles, and today I’m all serene and calm, having enjoyed this immensely.
    Fave was 7d, very clever.
    Thanks to setter and to Falcon for his review. Have a very Merry Christmas.

  27. mre
    Posted December 17, 2015 at 4:10 pm | Permalink

    Good afternoon everybody.

    A joint effort today and completed fairly readily with only the last four or so putting up a fight. Not sure I’d have completed this one on my own so I’ll say four stars for difficulty. Favourite clue was 7d.

    I’m not very knowledgeable about these things but from the clues I solved I didn’t think it seemed like one of Mr T’s puzzles.


  28. Brian
    Posted December 17, 2015 at 4:35 pm | Permalink

    No way this is a Ray T, firstly as has been said her majesty is missing and secondly I finished it over breakfast! It wasn’t easy I grant you but had a couple of lovely clues in 7d and 23a. Mind you some of the clues were word enough to be his ie 12a and 3d.
    Thx to all.

    • Jane
      Posted December 17, 2015 at 7:57 pm | Permalink

      Well there you go, Brian, we were both fooled! Just goes to show that it’s only when you definitely know it’s a Ray T that you think you can’t do it/won’t enjoy it. Food for thought?

  29. silvanus
    Posted December 17, 2015 at 5:01 pm | Permalink

    Interesting to see how the “definitely Ray T” and “definitely not Ray T” camps are nailing their respective colours to their masts! I’m in two minds – there are signs that it could be him, but equally there are indications to the contrary.

    If it is a Ray T production, I don’t consider it one of his best. I found the left side much trickier than the right, but thought quite a few definitions were at the obscure end of acceptability. Favourite of the day was 5d, with 7d a close second.

    Many thanks to the setter and to Falcon.

  30. Gwizz
    Posted December 17, 2015 at 5:03 pm | Permalink

    I’m in the ‘undecided camp’ because it just didn’t feel like a Ray T.
    It was alright I suppose, but it didn’t float my boat particularly. I quite liked 6d for the same reason given earlier by Expat Chris.
    I’ll give it a 2/3* overall.
    Thanks to the setter… and to Falcon for the review.

  31. Framboise
    Posted December 17, 2015 at 5:09 pm | Permalink

    RayT’s or not RayT’s, this was a very enjoyable and doable puzzle. 2*/4* with 7d as favourite, so clever – chuckled to myself when I cracked it.. Many thanks to setter and to Falcon for his review.

  32. Sheffieldsy
    Posted December 17, 2015 at 6:41 pm | Permalink

    This one went at a nice pace for us with no real hold-ups, so we give it 2.5*/3*. There’s a lot of discussion above about the use of ‘alternatively’ in 24a (which was our favourite clue). Does every word in an all-in-one clue have to do double duty? We treated it as being there simply to provide the final two letters of the answer. Are we, then, too simplistic?

    Thanks to Falcon and the setter, whoever that may be!

    • Falcon
      Posted December 17, 2015 at 8:59 pm | Permalink

      Here is my understanding:

      In order for the clue to be a true all-in-one (or &lit. in more formal terms), all words in the clue must be included in both the definition and wordplay (or, as you put it, do double duty). If not all of the words are involved in both aspects of the clue, then strictly speaking it is a semi-all-in-one (or semi-&lit.), although I do seem to recall some of those commenting here describing such a clue loosely as an all-in-one.

      If all of the words in the clue are involved in the definition but only some of them are in the wordplay, then the clue would be what a former blogger, scchua, would term a WIWD (wordplay intertwined with definition). On the other hand, if all of the words in the clue were involved in the wordplay but only some of them formed the definition, then the clue would be a DIWW (definition intertwined with wordplay).

      • Miffypops
        Posted December 18, 2015 at 12:11 am | Permalink


        • Falcon
          Posted December 18, 2015 at 3:31 am | Permalink

          If all else fails, bung it in http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_smile.gif

  33. RayT
    Posted December 17, 2015 at 6:59 pm | Permalink

    Evening all. Many thanks to Falcon for the review and to all who left a comment.


    • Kath
      Posted December 17, 2015 at 7:11 pm | Permalink

      As always, thanks for ‘popping in’.
      My confidence in being able to spot one of yours from several miles away has been restored.
      Happy Christmas to you and thank you for all your brilliant crosswords. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_good.gif

    • Jane
      Posted December 17, 2015 at 7:53 pm | Permalink

      Hi Mr. T. Oh dear – I really wasn’t sure this was penned by your good self. Please accept my grovelling apologies.
      On the upside – Brian got through it perfectly well, simply because he doubted it was one of yours!
      Damnation – I was really looking forward to spending Christmas Eve in your company and now I guess it’s unlikely. Or is it?

      If we don’t see you again before the big day – wishing you a very Merry Christmas and many thanks for all the enjoyment you’ve given us this year. See you in January at the birthday party. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gif

    • Angel
      Posted December 17, 2015 at 8:18 pm | Permalink

      Wonder why (apart from the absence of HM) several of us were fooled into thinking this wasn’t one of yours RayT. Somehow it had an unusual ring about it! My apologies anyway. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/icon_redface.gif

    • stanXYZ
      Posted December 17, 2015 at 9:14 pm | Permalink

      I knew it was RayT.

      Her Maj always goes to Sandringham for her Xmas holidays – hence a no-show in today’s DT cryptic puzzle?

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

        I like that idea, Stan! As to whether you’re right or wrong – only Mr. T can answer, but I reckon it will make him smile. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gif

  34. Una
    Posted December 17, 2015 at 8:28 pm | Permalink

    All was going swimmingly until I got to 7d, which completely flummoxed me. 8a was similar , I’m afraid.
    I liked 5d, 14a and many others.
    With thanks to Ray T and Falcon.

  35. Florence
    Posted December 17, 2015 at 10:49 pm | Permalink

    Thank you Ray T for a delightful puzzle, and to Falcon for the review. 24a threw me, not helped by putting in ‘monosyllabic’ for 7d. Feel a bit cross with myself for that. So close to finishing a Ray T without help. Perhaps next year. May even clean out the kitchen drawer in readiness so that every time I pull out a pen it actually has some ink in it.

  36. Kitty
    Posted December 17, 2015 at 10:56 pm | Permalink

    It’s really not important, but I ended up wasting a bit of time on the question of which of “ejector seat” or “ejection seat” is the more usual term in British English. Could Chambers really be correct and Oxford wrong? I was interested to find out so I did some intensive Googling and playing with numbers. This is my idea of a fun evening. I know, I know…

    Searching for “ejector seat” and limiting results to the UK, and doing the same for “ejection seat” gave about 36,000 and 45,000 results respectively. One nil to Oxford. But are those results really covering British English usage? I filtered to only include News results, reasoning that UK news sources would give a good sample of the language as used in this country. 1,050 and 356 hits at time of search. If the number of results is proportional to the number of times each term is used (there are a number of issues with this approach but I am boring you enough) then in this sample, “-or” is used about 74% of the time. Chambers is back in it.

    So I looked at 5 leading UK newspaper websites (Telegraph, Times, Guardian, Indy and FT), plus the BBC. I ran site-specific searches for each of the variants and recorded the number of hits.

    In all cases there were significantly more results for “-or” than “-ion,” with the percentage usage of “-or” ranging from the high 60s (The Times and The BBC) to over 90 (The Independent). Depending on how you average, “-or” is used over “-ion” between 77% and 84% of the time on these sites, only slightly higher than the 75% over all the UK news sources as chosen by Google.

    I am sorry for boring you. I will shut up in just a second, but will add that of course I searched this site too – and found no examples of the “-ion” variant, and comments from aviators Digby and Rufus mentioning ejector seats.

    • Falcon
      Posted December 17, 2015 at 11:07 pm | Permalink

      Awesome research, Kitty

      However, you risk being labelled even more of a pedant than myself. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_good.gif

      • Kitty
        Posted December 17, 2015 at 11:24 pm | Permalink

        Thanks Falcon!

        I’d say I’m a nerd more than a pedant, and unashamedly so. I am the latter too, but I don’t wear my pedant’s hat too boldly because I am so prone to slips that it is very risky to be too obviously a stickler http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gif.

  37. Shropshirelad
    Posted December 17, 2015 at 11:46 pm | Permalink

    I found this to be really, really tricky. I thought ‘it must be Ray T, so get on the wave length’ then I thought ‘No, it’s not a Ray T production so get on the wave length’. Nonetheless, I did enjoy it and see by the earlier posts it is indeed a Ray T puzzle – what happened to HM? (Edit – Sandringham of course – thanks Stan)

    I’ve had a long day and am posting when I really should be in bed, so I do apologise for not being in the bantering mode. Thanks to Ray T for the puzzle and Falcon for his review.

    Now off to bed and not going to mention anything about the world’s greatest lyricist / songwriter lest I upset anyone http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_smile.gif

    I’ll just let Julia Fordham help me drift off to sleep http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/smiley-yawn.gif

    PS Falcon – have a Very Merry Christmas an a Happy New Year.

    • Tstrummer
      Posted December 18, 2015 at 3:54 am | Permalink

      World’s greatest lyricist? Leonard Cohen, without a doubt

  38. Tstrummer
    Posted December 18, 2015 at 2:18 am | Permalink

    I thought if RayT almost at once. I found it ungratifyingly hard, not helped by spending two hours on four different trains (2 before even leaving the station) to do my 20-minute journey home. Southern Railways shouldn’t be allowed to run a whelk stall, never mind crucial commuter lines into one of the world’s greatest cities. My grumpiness was exacerbated by this slog of a puzzle, with only a handful of lighter moments. I hated 19d and 3d with an almost Brian-like spleen. Only 7d and 12a lightened my darkness. 7d, in fact was the week’s best clue so far. So marvellous that I’ll give Ray an extra star. Thanks to Falcon and enjoy your festive season. A grudging nod of appreciation to RayT as well. 2*/4*

  39. judetheobscure
    Posted December 18, 2015 at 2:09 pm | Permalink

    For once, I found a Ray T puzzle relatively straightforward and was on his wavelength. Hence 2*/3*.
    Maybe this explains why I liked 24a, my favourite, but I didn’t like 7d – the exact opposite of most on this forum http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_wacko.gif

  40. Posted December 18, 2015 at 5:41 pm | Permalink

    Neither “eyefuls” not “acerbated” are legitimate words in the old faithful Franklins puzzle master. I agree – stretches credulity. Merry Xmas

  41. jean-luc cheval
    Posted December 18, 2015 at 6:48 pm | Permalink

    Good lord.
    It was only yesterday and already in 6th position in the listing. Nearly couldn’t find it.
    To settle the argument over the word in 24a, it is only known as an ejectable seat in France.
    Really enjoyed the solve as it had an air of Beam rather than RayT with some typical toughie constructions like emissions discharged in 8a.
    Favourite is the homophone of the Eiffel tower in 5d.
    Thanks to RayT and to Falcon for the review.