DT 28064 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 28064

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 28064

Hints and tips by Falcon

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

Greetings from Ottawa and Happy St. Patrick’s Day to all Irish readers — even it you are only Irish for the day. In Ottawa, the April showers have made an early appearance and the snow banks are rapidly receding. In Canada, we have already changed over to Daylight Saving Time; thus for a few weeks we are only four hours behind the UK and I get a later start on the puzzle (and must therefore work further into the wee hours).

Today’s puzzle from RayT contains an interesting mix of clues. I started off at a very quick pace but soon ground to a crawl. I was then left with one clue whose parsing totally eluded me though I had the correct solution. The penny did eventually drop — but only after an agonizingly long delay.

In the hints below, the definitions are underlined. The answers are revealed by clicking on 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.


7a   Come round admitting affair’s suggestive (8)
REDOLENT — to give in or change one’s position around an affair (a party not a tryst)

9a   Reluctant female wearing a sack (6)
AFRAID — F(emale) inside A (from the clue) and a verb meaning to pillage

10a   Mature to split with sweetheart? (4)
RIPE — to split or tear followed by the middle letter (heart) of swEet

11a   Old tackle popular with partner at first (10)
ORIGINALLY — a charade of O(ld), another word for tackle or gear, the usual replacement for popular, and a partner (in a military venture, perhaps)

12a   Cried having sharp implement stuck in bottom (6)
BAWLED — a pointed tool in the bottom of a body of water

14a   Chatted, never to hold back rivalry (8)
VENDETTA — our first lurker today; hidden (hold) and reversed (back) in the first two words of the clue

15a   Increase almost two plus one divided by four (6)
THRIVE — the Roman numeral for four inside the sum of two plus one with the final letter removed (almost)

17a   Direct order constrains minister (6)
RECTOR — our second lurker, hiding in the first two words of the clue

20a   Tree animal got about after losing tail (8)
MAGNOLIA — anagram (about) of ANIMAL GO(t) with the second word in the fodder losing its final letter (tail)

22a   Flowers thus oddly found by borders (6)
TULIPS — the odd letters of T(h)U(s) plus the rims of some craters; it will not be long until Ottawa is abloom with these flowers

23a   Defect from Left, dummy! (10)
LIMITATION — L(eft) plus copy or counterfeit

24a   Sail on air, rising initially (4)
SOAR — the initial letters of the first four words in the clue; I suppose one might arguably stretch the definition to include the entire clue; after all, if one were not to rise initially, one would never get off the ground

25a   Possibly have a bite about six? Delightful (6)
DIVINE — one of several possible synonyms for ‘have a bite’ containing the Roman numeral for six

26a   One practically starkers flashing around centre of arena? (8)
STREAKER — anagram (flashing) of STARKER (STARKERS with the final letter removed (practically)) containing the middle letter (centre) of arEna


1d   Enveloped in clothes, it antagonises timid (8)
HESITANT — yet another lurker, concealed in three words in the middle part of the clue

2d   Measure function on used heart (4)
DOSE — another social function (intersecting with the one in 7a) sits on top of the middle letters (heart) of uSEd

3d   Flash subordinate? (6)
SECOND — double definition; a short period of time and an assistant at an early morning meeting



4d   Organised church’s ringing support raised rapture (8)
RADIANCE — a verb meaning organised or conducted and the abbreviation for the English state church surround (ringing) a reversal (raised in a down clue) of a verb meaning to support or assist; despite having the correct solution, it took me nearly as long to parse this clue as it did to complete the remainder of the puzzle

5d   Fancy man learnt strangely love comes first (10)
ORNAMENTAL — a nil score in tennis followed by an anagram (strangely) of MAN LEARNT

6d   Cut of meat? Stuff the thing, they say (6)
FILLET — sounds like (they say) FILL (stuff) IT (the thing)

8d   Pinch first woman after tense welcome (6)
THIEVE — string together T(ense), a brief greeting, and Adam’s mate

13d   Sit and angrily squirm creating inflammation (10)
LARYNGITIS — anagram (squirm) of SIT and ANGRILY

16d   Hamlet character? (8)
VILLAGER — cryptic definition of the resident of a small community

18d   Frequent exercise, then had food with glowing exterior (8)
REPEATED — one of the usual exercises and a verb meaning ingested food (not the one that appeared in 25a) all inside the colour that might describe glowing embers

19d   Boys losing heart for women of refinement (6)
LADIES — Scottish boys with the middle letter (heart) removed

21d   Nearly completely over bird’s defences (6)
ALIBIS — a word meaning completely with its final letter removed (nearly) sits atop a wading bird found in the warmer regions of the planet

22d   Frozen plain fish, not quite dry inside (6)
TUNDRA — a common food fish with a truncated version (not quite) of the word DR(y) inside; this frozen plain is widespread in Canada, although perhaps not as frozen as it once was

24d   Small container used for medical test (4)
SCAN — S(mall) and a container traditionally made of tin

I noted that the Crosswordland Hospital seems to be unusually busy today with a fair amount of heart surgery (10a, 2d and 19d) and a considerable number of amputations (15a, 20a, 26a, 21d and 22d) taking place in today’s puzzle. A fisherman’s favourite catch is surely the one that put up the biggest fight, so on that basis 4d must top my list.

The Quick Crossword pun: shallow+combs=Sherlock Holmes

85 comments on “DT 28064

  1. My usual problems with this puzzle. Why is 23a a defect? It could just as well be a boon.
    Why is 16d a character rather than a resident or inhabitant?
    To say 4d is anything to do with rapture is to me a stretch.

    While I finished this puzzle it was with the usual head shaking.

    3*/1* for me.

    1. G. 23a: Limitation = defect (synonyms from BRB Thesaurus).

      16d: Bit of simple misdirection. Setter has used “Hamlet Character” to encourage the solver to get confused thinking about characters from the WS play, instead of a straightforward village resident.

      4d: Radiance = rapture (synonyms from BRB and Collins Online Thesauruses).

      1. Well, you seem to have a different BRB than I. There is no mention in my BRB about radiance being a synonym for rapture. Radiance is the emission of rays from a point or surface in my BRB – with which I would agree. But I am not going to complain further.

        1. BRB (11th Edition)

          radiance = the state of being radiant

          radiant = … glowing; shining; with happy emotion, lit up, beaming

          Being in a state of happy emotion certainly sounds like rapture.

        2. George + Falcon. Radiance = rapture. Direct synonyms: page 814, BRB Thesaurus (4th Edition) and also in Collins Online (Thesaurus Section). Was just trying to help – it’s all there in black and white:


          1.= happiness, delight, pleasure, joy, warmth, rapture, elation, gaiety

  2. I thought this was toughie level – combination of hard wordplay and hard definitions (e.g. increase for 15a, frequent for 18d, etc). Does make it a satisfying solve. I thought the 3 hidden clues were excellent.

    24a must have been intended as an &lit (all-in-one) with the whole clue as the definition, just because the wordplay covers the whole clue leaving no alternative for the definition. I like it, but I like the brilliant all-in-one at 26a even more. A clever and fair puzzle with stretching definitions – many thanks RayT and Falcon for the excellent blog

  3. 25ac. Perfect perfect perfect. What more can I say except. Just like me. Thank you RayT. Thank you Falcon for providing the hints so many will need. The grid will cause headaches.

  4. I thoroughly enjoyed this puzzle and found it to be fairly taxing. This was after I’d completed the toughie first (by mistake) – I solve on an android tablet and must’ve clicked on toughie instead of this puzzle, as when I came to check the blog it made no sense initially. So try the toughie today (took me less time than this).

    Thanks to Falcon and RayT ***/****

  5. Thinking cap definitely required today but it was an enjoyable work-out. NE corner last to go in and that not helped by having reticent for 1d leading to yelled (without parsing it) for 12a – thanks for bailing me out Falcon. TVM RayT for an entertaining crucuverbal session. 16d Fav. ***/****.

  6. I just cannot get my head round this setter.
    Would have got nowhere without the hints, so am one of Miffypops’s ‘so many’.
    Many thanks to Falcon.

  7. Well finally completed this dreadful puzzle with lots of electronic help and the hint for 2d. As is usual with a Ray T very little enjoyment to be had for one hell of a lot of effort.
    At least that’s over now for another fortnight.
    Thx for the hints.

      1. Ray T may live in France but he’s as English as you or me. Well, me anyway – don’t know about you!

    1. B. But surely all that effort is the enjoyment. What fun is there in doing an easy cryptic crossword? :-)

      1. I think most people get fun out of completing easy ones , particularly if one is a relative novice .People who like only toughies have a choice everyday. Struggles aren’t all they are cracked up to be particularly if the effort doesn’t produce the goods , although I admit everyone likes to crack a good clue or two or three .Endorphins rule ok !!

      2. Sometimes the clues are works of art, or very funny, and hence a joy to solve even if they are easy.. It’s why we score both difficulty and enjoyment.

  8. I had similar trouble parsing 4D because I was looking at it as 1-3-2-2, so I was left with ida. Otherwise, no problems. I know it was him but it didn’t feel much like a Ray T to me without HM and with very little cheeky innuendo. Enjoyable, though. Thanks to Mr. T and to Falcon.

  9. Slow progress but got there eventually.
    Definitely verging on toughie territory.
    Needed the review to parse 7a.
    Loved 15a.
    Thanks to RayT and to Falcon for the review.

  10. Slow progress but got there eventually.
    Definitely verging on toughie territory.
    Needed the review to parse 7a.
    Loved 15a.
    Thanks to RayT and to Falcon for the review.
    Happy St Patrick’s day and Happy birthday to me.

    1. Bon Anniversaire!

      I hope that the “restaurateur” does not have to do the washing-up this evening.

  11. Brilliant – I loved it. I agree there were some tricky bits so 3* difficulty and 4*+ for enjoyment.
    Spent too long trying, and failing, to justify ‘wailed’ for 12a – dim.
    I missed the hidden and reversed answer in 14a and the hidden 17a but did manage to catch 1d before it caught me.
    I missed the anagram indicator in the magnolia tree – how did I do that? ‘About’ is surely the most obvious indicator – oh dear!
    4 and 18d took me ages.
    The 22d frozen plain took a while too – I knew the word but it just wouldn’t pop in to my head.
    I couldn’t possibly write down all the clues with little red blobs – there are just too many. A few of them are 15 and 26a and 6 and 16d. Haven’t quite decided on a favourite yet.
    With thanks to Ray T for such a great crossword and to Falcon for the hints and pics.

  12. In a way I am glad I could not get onto the Site until just now because it gave me time to reflect on the puzzle. Last night I didn’t find it enjoyable at all – finished in about 3*** time, but found some of it to be a bit strange.

    Reading it again his morning it doesn’t seem so bad! Like ,say, 3d – last night I thought, blimey that’s stupid, and this morning I thought, well it’s pretty clever really!

    I gave up trying to parse 7a last night, so many thanks Falcon for the explanation.

    And thanks to Ray T.

  13. I thought this was excellent today; too many good clues to pick one favourite – more of the same please!

    Thanks to RayT, and to Falcon.

  14. Tried posting earlier but it failed. I won’t write a long comment in case it fails again, but great puzzle, quite tough, 3.5*/4* with thanks to R at at and Falcon.

  15. This one took far, far longer than a normal back-pager, so I’m fully in agreement with Dutch and Jean-Luc that it’s closer to Toughie standard. I got there in the end though without resorting to any clues, which made the solve extremely satisfying even if most of my afternoon was spent on it!

    With the difficulty level cranked up, it took a while to get on to Mr. Terrell’s wavelength, but I had no issue with the fairness of any of the clues, it was an excellent test for the little grey cells. My favourite nomination goes to 15a.

    Many thanks to Ray T and to Falcon.

  16. A much trickier Ray T crossword than of late – but thoroughly enjoyable nonetheless. I think the only clue that I didn’t like was 3d but the rest were fine.

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

    The Toughie is also very enjoyable and is by Shamus – probably due to today’s celebrations. It’s no harder than this puzzle.

    1. Shamus is called Shamus because Philip Marlowe (Shamus/Sleuth) likes to use detective related aliases. A Shamus is an old US slang xpression for a detective.

      1. Philip Marlowe (with an E) is the name of the fictional detective created by Raymond Chandler and he lives in Shamus Town (allegedly Los Angeles). Our Philip Marlow (no E) has borrowed the location as his alias.

      2. No, no, no. Shamus is a twinkly-eyed Irish leprechaun and I won’t have it any other way!

  17. I thought this was an excellent puzzle and a joy to complete…. eventually!
    12a was my favourite and 3/4* overall.
    Thanks to Ray T and to Falcon for his review.
    Ps. I liked the quickie pun as well today..

  18. A difficult solve for me today made even more difficult by having drops put in my eyes. Struggled on all accounts. Still a couple of clues to smile about. Liked 11a and 22d. Last one in was 4d, and I completely missed both lurkers. Thank you RayT for today’s puzzle and to Falcon for the review. Very much appreciated.

  19. Good evening everybody.

    A complete mullering here with 9 (NINE) unsolved.

    First three to go in were lurkers 14,17a and 1d. Eventually left with a7 (for which I could see the answer but not why), 9,23,24 (not a ‘proper’ clue in my opinion so although the solution was fairly clear I declined to write it in in an act of unashamed militancy) and d3,4,16,18 and 21. I was at the edges of solving 4 and 21d without quite getting there.

    I wasn’t convinced this was one of Mr T’s offereings, presumably She was at Cheltenham or somesuch, but others seem persuaded. For me this was not an enjoyable puzzle.


  20. Oooh, that was a hard one. Perhaps largely down to the grid. Very RayT – immensely satisfying and lots of fun. I did have to go away and do the Toughie in the middle of things, and was begging for mercy by the SW, which took forever to crack.

    Favourites list is a bit too long to bother with. I’m all chatted out for the moment so might keep it short(ish) and leave it there.

    Many thanks to RayT and Falcon. Happy Birthday Jean-Luc.

  21. Most enjoyable puzzle from RayT as usual. Liked 12 21 and 26. Still trying to get my head round 4d which was last in but no idea why.

    1. Start with RAN (organised) + CE (church); this then needs to be placed surrounding (ringing) a reversal (raised in a down clue) of AID (support)

  22. I hope that Ray T pops in as he usually does – I think we should make it clear that there have been problems getting ‘here’ all day and so the unusually small number of comments in no way reflects on his crossword – neither does it reflect on Falcon’s excellent hints and pics.
    I had contact with Jane who says she can’t get on here at all but sends her compliments and thanks, as always, to Ray T for the great crossword.
    PS I forgot to mention that, like Gwizz, I loved the quickie pun – took me ages.

    1. Many thanks, Kath – I’ve finally managed to get here!

      Some of this was bordering on Beam territory – 4d being a prime example.
      The lurkers caught me on the hop today and I spent quite a while wondering about 19d. I had ‘lads’ for the boys and couldn’t make any sense out of ‘ie’ for ‘losing heart’. Completely forgot about those bonnie Scottish lads.

      Top three for me were 12,15&23a.

      Devotions to Mr. T as always and thanks to Falcon for the hard work on the review. I did wonder what would turn up as a pic for 26a – utmost decorum on your part!

  23. Evening all. Many thanks to Falcon for the review and to all for your comments. As always, much appreciated.


    1. As usual, thanks for popping in – it is always appreciated. Have a good evening.

  24. Wouldn’t it be nice if RayT could surprise us all by throwing in a long clue with a solution that is not a single word answer?

    Same old! Same old! It does get a bit boring!

    1. Afraid I couldn’t agree less. IMHO multi-word answers with or without long clues have become the norm in response to over use of electronic gizmos for solving wheteas in days of yore single word answers were the norm in cryptics.

    2. Sorry, Stan, but the fan club revel in Mr.T’s unique style. It really would be ‘boring’ if all the setters worked in identical format.

  25. Great puzzle but really quite tough I thought. 16d had me stumped and was a real D’oh moment when I saw the hint. ****/****

    Thanks to Ray T and Falcon.

  26. Loved it. Too many good clues to mention, the whole thing was 25a. And I spotted the hiddens.

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

    Glorious sunshine has given way to horror film fog on the moors. Fun.

  27. Thoroughly enjoyed this. Steady progress throughout, before I was left with 4 or 5 clues dotted around the grid that each took a little thought. Last in 7ac.

  28. Tough solve for me today. Threw in the towel for 4d and 14a! Definitely more of a toughie than a standard backpager. Favourite was 16d. Did I enjoy it I ask myself, not really. I suppose I was peeved not to be able to finish it, however long it took me. Better luck tomorrow! Loved the quickie pun though…

  29. 16d – Is there an added bit of cryptology that ‘Hamlet’ and ‘Villager’ are both makes of cigar???

    1. Hard to know what to say about that!!
      A great challenge for the experts, but isn’t that what the Toughie is for??
      I enjoyed going going through the hints, the only problem was the Mrs. asking me why I was constantly shaking my head!!
      Many thanks for the hints, I can take my frustration on a golf ball tomorrow morning!!
      Thanks to the setter too, at least I got further than I would have done a few weeks ago.
      Hopefully I can back the winner of the Gold Cup tomorrow by way of compensation.

  30. Blimey O’Reilly.
    This was tough.
    Got there eventually, without above hints.
    Spent far too long on the SW corner.
    Some really brilliant clues eg 15a, 4d and 16d.
    Very many thanks to the setter and to Gazza.

  31. Very clever and entertaining clues today, much head scratching needed. Ray T certainly makes us work hard for the final solve. Thanks to him and Falcon for help with parsing.

  32. I made rather heavy weather of this, but looking back on the completed puzzle I can’t really see why. Anyway, 3*/3* is about right for my money. I liked 21d. As others have observed, some of the definitions seemed rather a stretch, but that’s a perfectly fair tactic – it should teach us to read all of the dictionary entry, not just the first bit. Thanks to Ray T and Falcon.

  33. A proper Thursday puzzle, I did not stand a chance ****/** 😳 Because I could not understand it ☹️ I cannot say that I enjoyed it Big thank you to the Falcon for his assistance and to Ray T for producing a puzzle that had me flummoxed 😫
    PS my emoiticoms have disappeared and the answers are no longer hidden 😥

  34. We laboured over this – but got there in the end! Many thanks for Ray T for a real challenge and to Falcon for the blog. We agree with others that this one really did venture into Toughie territory and give it a ****/****.

  35. for the last two days the “blanking out” of the answers has been missing which spoils the fun. Help with understanding the clue is one thing but being given the answer immediately is quite another! can this be remedied, please?

      1. My answers aren’t blanked either (as others say, for the last couple of days I think). I primarily use Firefox but also have IE8 and Chromebrowsers – same on all of them. Having ‘security certificate’ issues the last couple of days too.

    1. my answers are not blanked out if you work out what to do about it please let me know.

  36. Thanks to Ray T and to Falcon for the review and hints. I enjoyed the struggle, but had to resort to the hints for 9a,3&4d. Pleased to say that I wouldn’t have got any of them. Favourite was 15a. Very difficult but enjoyable. Was 4*/3* for me.

  37. A great cryptic from Ray T – by far the best back-page setter. 12a was very amusing – schoolboy humour at its best. I’m still tittering at it now. Quite difficult and very enjoyable: 3*/4*

  38. HELP! I am a wobbly novice at cryptic puzzles and have (I think) made some progress in the last year with the help of this site. However this week I haven’t been able to access the site without the answers being on full display instead of having their removable masks in place. I am a sad IT novice and wonder what I have done/should have done to ensure that I can’t see the answers while pondering the extra help with the clues – frequently required.

    Sorry to have to ask but can anyone solve this for me?

    1. Welcome to the blog, Jack.
      A few others have reported this problem. BD is investigating. Until we understand what’s happening (and work out how to fix it) I hope that it won’t affect your enjoyment of the site too much.
      Could you tell us which Operating System and browser (with version numbers if possible) you are using?

  39. Very late to this, as is often the way, but couldn’t let it pass without expressing my enjoyment of it – and my jubilation at finishing it without any help, except for the explanation of 4d. I’ve historically found RayT’s the most difficult of the week. So 3*/5* from me. Favourite is 7a.

  40. I completed this puzzle without assistance except for 3d. Couldn’t see the reason why ladies was an answer. I saw lads but couldn’t work out the i and e. Never thought of laddies. Hamelet character was my favourite .

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