DT 28196 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 28196

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 28196

Hints and tips by Falcon

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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

Greetings from Ottawa where we have been — according to one’s outlook — either enjoying or suffering through a hot, dry, sunny summer. I place myself firmly in the former camp. However, over the last week or so we have received a few heavy rainfalls which should please the farmers.

Today’s puzzle is unmistakeably a RayT creation. I would say that it sits toward the lower end of both the difficulty spectrum and the innuendo scale. Nevertheless, solving it proved to be an enjoyable — though shorter than usual — exercise. I do note that RayT seems to have taken a page from Giovanni’s book with several archaic or obscure terms making an appearance today.

The definitions are underlined in the clues and the answers can be revealed by clicking on the ANSWER buttons (so please don’t click if you don’t want to see the answer).

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought of the puzzle.


1a   Smouldering leaves catching fire (5)
INGLE — an archaic or dialect word for fire is lurking in the clue

4a   Attire dishevelled by supporter upset referee (9)
ARBITRATE — an anagram (dishevelled) of ATTIRE follows (by in an across clue) a reversal (upset) of an item of supporting attire

9a   Behaviour of French, more disagreeable reportedly (9)
DEMEANOUR — the French word for ‘of’ followed by a couple of syllables which sound like (reportedly) more disagreeable

10a   Aquatic creature‘s fiercer blowing top (5)
OTTER — remove the initial H (blowing top) from a word meaning fiercer or more intense

11a   Rubbish bin’s first put in car port (7)
GARBAGE — place the first letter of Bin in a place where one might park a car

12a   Sun possibly turning a bit old (7)
TABLOID — an anagram (turning) of the final three words of the clue

13a   Tech company techie’s opening small program (6)
APPLET — Big Dave’s least favourite tech company followed by the opening letter of Techie

15a   Craves food after detailed written description (8)
ENTREATS — a colloquial term for food following a written description that might be found in a log book without the final Y (detailed; i.e., the tail cut off); crave is used in an archaic sense meaning to ask for politely or to beg

18a   Tit’s head emerged from egg covered in straw (8)
THATCHED — the first letter of Tit and a verb meaning emerged from an egg

20a   Fine performer creating part (6)
FACTOR — the abbreviation for fine found on pencils and a performer on stage or screen

23a   Settled with a devil, almost devilish (7)
SATANIC — a charade of a verb denoting became calm or stable, the A from the clue, and a name (often accompanied by the word ‘Old’) for the devil with the final K removed (almost)

24a   Old politician kept in loop? That’s sporting (7)
ROMPING — O(ld) and the abbreviation for an elected politician inside something circular in shape

26a   Slow fabulous ship on west side of lake (5)
LARGO — Jason’s ship following (on in an across clue) the initial letter (west side) of Lake

27a   Simple men tend to purchase gadget (9)
IMPLEMENT — lurking in (to purchase) the first three words of the clue

28a   Finish United’s competition gaining new stamina (9)
ENDURANCE — a synonym for finish or complete, U(nited), and a competitive event (the 100 metres perhaps) wrapped around N(ew)

29a   Smooth character in empty suavity (5)
SILKY — place a word meaning type, kind, class or character between the first and last letters of SuavitY


1d   Bitter gin and ‘It’ drunk around mid-morning (9)
INDIGNANT — an anagram of GIN AND IT which one garnishes with the middle letter of morNing

2d   One plays start of Metal Gear excitedly (5)
GAMER — an anagram (excitedly) of the initial letter of Metal and all the letters of GEAR

3d   Sweetheart scoffed about chap getting discharge (7)
EMANATE — start with the middle letter (heart) of swEet and a synonym for scoffed or devoured; then insert another word for chap

4d   Brilliant time embracing very ordinary bird (6)
AVOCET — a three letter word meaning brilliant or excellent and T(ime) wrapped around V(ery) and O(rdinary)

5d   Singer‘s block on single about sex (8)
BARITONE — block could be a noun meaning a solid mass of hard material or a verb meaning to obstruct or impede; in any event, place it before (on in a down clue) a word meaning a single unit and insert a colloquial euphemism for sexual intercourse

6d   Plunder lifted, apart from display of icons (7)
TOOLBAR — start with a reversal of a verb meaning to sack or plunder; then add a preposition meaning apart from or except for

7d   One beginning to ascend to Saturn, perhaps (9)
ASTRONAUT — a semi-all-in-one in which all but the first word factors in the wordplay; the initial letter (beginning) of Ascend followed by an anagram (perhaps) of TO SATURN

8d   Socialist supporting Queen is messed up (5)
ERRED — the colour that identifies socialists following (supporting in a down clue) RayT’s trademark regnal cipher for Her Majesty

14d   Rendered &npsp;insensible with drink (9)
PLASTERED — double definition; the first denoting to have applied a coating to brick or stone

16d   Active agent accepts true-blue line (9)
SPRIGHTLY — an espionage agent wrapped around an adjective meaning staunchly loyal and L(ine)

17d   Backlash created by an erotic novel (8)
REACTION — an anagram (novel) of AN EROTIC

19d   Profile criminal preceding visit (7)
CONTOUR — one of the usual criminal suspects and a sightseeing visit

21d   Ace compiler’s not so rambling (7)
AIMLESS — the letter appearing on an ace in a deck of cards, how the setter of the puzzle would contractually express “compiler is”, and an adverb denoting not so or to a smaller extent

22d   End of leg split on exercise producing infection (6)
GRIPPE — the final letter of leG, a verb meaning to split or tear, and an abbreviated period of exercise for school kids

23d   Work out seeing overly large veins engorged initially (5)
SOLVE — the intial letters of five words in the clue provide your mission statement; this type of clue has become another hallmark of RayT

25d   Pine to follow one’s dream (5)
IDEAL — a piece of pine (or fir) following the Roman numeral for one

My podium finishers are three clues with very elegant surface readings — 1a, 15a, and 17d with the gold medal going to 17d.

The Quick Crossword pun: tote+leak+lips=total eclipse

78 comments on “DT 28196

  1. An ideal start to the day, just the right balance for me. Thanks to setter and to Falcon for the blog.

    1. Not a vintage RayT puzzle in my estimation, I thought there were too many containment/insertion clues. Some very clever lurkers however.

      My favourite was 14d.

      Many thanks to Mr. Terrell and to Falcon.

  2. Enjoyable as always from this setter. I found it to be roughly in the mid-ranges of the RayT difficulty spectrum.

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

  3. Well, we had a reversed bra and the Queen today, but I thought this was the gentlest Ray T for some time. It isn’t often on a Thursday that I think ‘I might buy another paper later’. Thanks to all involved as usual.

    1. No need to buy another paper – you can get the Guardian, Independent and FT puzzles free on line.

      1. Will look into that thanks Sue, saves spending 40p on the ‘I’ for a 5 year old puzzle from the Independent! (I don’t always finish them, but regard it as good ‘training’).

  4. 2*/4*. Great stuff as usual from Ray T. 14d struck a chord and is my favourite today – a DD with a perfect surface.

    Many thanks to Ray T and to Falcon.

  5. Always good to have tipsters from across the Pond because you are with us nice and early. Don’t always cope with RayT but today he only presented me with a couple of hiccups and Falcon got me through those – thank you. 13a new one on me and likewise that meaning of 15a. Being a bit of a Luddite 6d didn’t occur to me. Presume 22d is used en anglais. Have just celebrated a big ‘0’ birthday but just managed to avoid getting 14d so that has to be Fav. Thank you RayT for being a little more benign than usual. ***/***.

  6. All the usual much-loved Ray T trademarks and, yes, perhaps on the more benign side although the IT references caught me out as usual. Finally twigged 6d but had to look up 13a as I’ve never heard of it!
    Plenty of choice for the podium but I’ll settle for a top three of 18a plus 6&14d.

    Devotions to Mr. T as always and many thanks to Falcon for the review – first time I’ve seen a pic of an American Avocet.

  7. Enjoyable puzzle, got stuck on a couple in the SE corner. I dont understand 21d and 24a seems a bit tenuous to me. Particularly liked 7d and 23a. 3*/3* Many thanks to Ray T and to Falcon for the hints.

    1. In 21d, the wordplay is A (ace) + IM (compiler’s) + LESS (not so; as in “not so difficult”).

      The IM comes from “I’m” (a contraction of “I am”) based on “compiler’s” being a contraction of “compiler is”. The compiler is the person creating the puzzle and so would refer to himself in the first person.

  8. Standard Ray T, completely incomprehensible and a waste of good newsprint!
    Well that’s my opinion anyway. Looking forward to Friday’s Giovanni.

    1. Even a rabbit like Thumper, in Bambi, knows that “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say nothing at all”.

      I’m sure I’m not the only one who is exceedingly bored with this fortnightly vitriole. Some of us have similar views about Friday’s back page puzzles but we keep them to ourselves.

      1. Well said Dave, I totally agree. I have my own likes and dislikes, but I keep my dislikes to myself, and try not to make negative comments. What’s the point? All the setter’s light up our lives, so why not be supportive? If they make the odd error, which can sometimes happen, we can comment, but why not do it positively. I really appreciate all that the setters do for us.

          1. I have decided that such comments are sad and reveal the inadequacies of the author and not the setter. If I was frequently in a minority of one I would consider taking up a different hobby.

      2. I agree 100% – childish, groundlessly negative and inordinately pejorative comments like the ones above are a ruddy disgrace! Especially when they are made about, certainly for me, the best back-page setter on the DT. I’d be very happy to have a Ray T every day!

        1. I don’t agree.
          Negative criticism, provided it is well-reasoned and objective is fine. Otherwise this blog will turn into a sycophantic love-in.
          However, subjective comments like Brian’s are pointless and unhelpful. Why is it ‘incomprehensible”?? Reasons??
          I managed to finish and I am a complete novice.

          1. HIYD. Who don’t you agree with – me or Brian? I don’t understand your comment – should it be attached to his or (mistakenly?) directly to mine? If the latter: I agree that well-reasoned, objective negative criticism is fine (I didn’t say otherwise), provided it is done with respect, politeness. I agree that comments like Brian’s are pointless and unhelpful (more or less what I said originally). Also, Brian said it was “incomprehensible”, not me – so you’ll have to ask him to explain that.

            1. It was in response to a general comment that only positive criticism should be tolerated. It was to no one in particular.

              1. No probs, just a minor misunderstanding. By the way, I also very much agree with your comment about the blog possibly becoming a “sycophantic love-in”. I’m all for some friendly, robust debate (about crosswords) but you have to be careful – there are some very knowledgeable, experienced people on here and you can soon get shot down in flames if you don’t get your facts right!

    2. You did make me laugh here Brian, but I reckon you have a mental block as regards Ray T. 1a is fairly clearly a ‘hidden in the clue’ answer. 20a is quite do-able, 29a is fairly clearly something within ‘sy’, ‘sweetheart’ gives you an ‘e’ to start off with, 7d has plenty of hints in the clue, 17d is fairly clearly an anag, and 25d is fairly standard fare. Loads of ways into this puzzle today.

  9. Well, I am getting better at this crossword game, but slowly. I know this because I was only left with 6 answers to get before resorting to the electronic aid and the hints.
    I comfort myself a little that I do not think I would ever have got 6d or 13a.
    I am so computer-unsavvy that the only icons I could think of were religious ones.

    Enjoyed the bits I could do very much and am encouraged by my efforts today.

    Many thanks to the setter and to Falcon for the hints.

    1. Keep at it Ora, we were all beginners once and there is all the friendly help you need on this site.

  10. Ray T at his most benign today, but still well-constructed and enjoyable. Just to be different, 26 across was my favourite.

    2*/4* overall, with many thanks to the aforementioned and Falcon for an excellent review.

  11. Firstly a **/*** for me , I think 13a was a new word ,but not sure these days and 24a was a nuance of what I thought it meant. Remember going to a pub called the Romping Donkey near to Knutsford for some real ale-takes me back.
    Liked 22d, not a word you often see, reminded me off the Peter Sellers Goon Gryptype Thinne ! is he Falcon’s man on the couch in the 22d pic ?

    1. Rather than being a new word, 13a may be a somewhat old world in the computer world. I have not heard it in ages. Nowadays, it seems to have been shortened to only three letters.

      1. As I understand it, app is short for an application, whereas an ‘applet’ is a mini app, or a small part of an app. Is ‘app’ in the BRB yet, anyone?

        1. “App” can be found in the BRB 12th Edition on page no. 68.

          (comput) n a short form of appllcation (program).

  12. Sat in the Dingle Garden and did this – very civilised!
    Thanks to Falcon and Ray T.

  13. I enjoyed this a lot. 6D was last in and my favorite, though I also ticked 24A, 16D and 21D. I did fail to parse 7D. Thanks Ray T and Falcon.

  14. Not sure what happened to the Windows version of the blog but I am getting it in the basic format since last night.
    Still can post however but the navigation is difficult.
    In today’s RayT, the right side took a bit of teasing out.
    Though 18a was telling a very good story. Favourite for me.
    Thanks to RayT and to Falcon for the review.

  15. I think 2d was just perfect!
    As ever, thanks to the clever people behind the clues and the blog

      1. Thanks BD.
        Been a long time follower – first time poster.
        Can I just say thanks for all the much needed xword assistance you’ve given me over the year.

  16. Thanks to Ray T and to Falcon for the review and hints. I enjoyed this one very much, but was beaten by 15&29a. Needed the hints to parse 1a, my word, that was well hidden! I liked 6d and 17d made me laugh. Favourite was 23a, so clever, had Satan in it and referred to Old Nick too. Was 3*/4* for me.

  17. Thanks to Falcon and Ray T.
    We enjoyed the puzzle and would have
    finished with a glowing score if it wasn’t
    due to a spelling mistaken 3d.

  18. **/** from me. This compiler makes sense; however, as with a lot of professional sport these days, I’m left nodding my head in appreciation rather than smiling with admiration. I do like 4a, 11a, and 27a, with the last one showing particular layers of wit.

  19. The usual great Thursday crossword – they’re definitely my favourite crossword days.
    I agree with almost all of you that this was quite bit easier than the average Ray T – so much easier that even Brian should have been able to do it – oh dear!
    I missed the 1a lurker, even though we have one in our sitting room – dim – me, not the fire.
    13a and 6d caused a spot of bother but did eventually get there.
    My main problem was 15a – I thought that the ‘food’ in the clue was ‘treats’ which left me wondering what on earth the ‘written description’ was – oh dear, again!
    All good fun.
    I liked 1 and 18a and 14 and 17d.
    With thanks to Ray T and to Falcon.
    Looks as if it might rain – or is that wishful thinking?

    1. I begin to think it might be wishful thinking as I have brought things in from the garden a couple of times today but to no avail. Let’s see what the BBC has to forecast although they do seem to be better at telling us what the weather has been! I fear yet more on the Water meter will be needed this evening.

  20. Well this was a lovely start to my birthday. I completed it while having a cuppa in bed – bliss. I was definitely on the same wavelength as Ray T. My favourite was 14d and I hope to be getting towards that state later this evening. Thanks to Ray T and Falcon.

  21. I took quite a while to start today’s offering, eventually finding my way in at 23d and then working back up the grid, finishing with 1d. I’m not sure why it took so long, looking back at it, but I did enjoy the tussle. My favourite was 14d and overall, 2/3*.
    Thanks to Ray T, and to Falcon for his review.

  22. I have some sympathy with those who don’t ‘get’ Ray T. It required a considerable 28a 20a to 23d this one. Eventually got onto his wavelength.

    I wouldn’t be able to afford the time I needed to tackle one like this every day – nearly had to read the hints! Sudoko was a pig too – perhaps I’m just having a low intellectual biorhythm day.

    ***/** from me.

    1. I have a foolproof way of doing sudoku. Put the same number in every available square. Job done and less time wasted.

      1. Ha! Will try that tomorrow – should save me a few hours. Can never understand why some newspapers publish the answers next day – do Sudoku solvers really look at them ‘ oh, that’s where the 6 was’?

  23. The usual RayT fun. I did have to check my guess at 15a, where I had been hopelessly sidetracked by the treats on display.

    Nice lurker in 27a. I also enjoyed getting 14d, and something tickled me about 18a.

    Many thanks Falcon and RayT.

    1. Yes, Kitty – yet again same wave-length – I was so distracted by the treats that I never did understand what had to be the right answer. :roll:

  24. Very enjoyable as usual. I once had a record that stuck so I threw it out.
    Thanks to RayT for two excellent puzzles today. Thanks to Falcon for the
    hints. Thanks to Big Dave, the bloggers, all who comment nicely and all who
    enjoy the banter.

  25. I hear you loud and clear MP, I was going to let that one lie…

    Very enjoyable today, a goldilocks crossword, particularly 7d & 18a. Tripped up by 18d – I had it in my head that the word derives from ‘sprite’, so that took some thinking time. Not sure about the definition for 24a, and never heard of 22d.

    Very good indeed ***/**** for me.
    Thanks to all as ever.

  26. As usual, not on wavelength, but the good news is that I only had a few unsolved, all computer oriented, and some bung-ins that I needed the hints to understand.
    I have only encountered the 4d bird in crosswords, but it appears often enough that my pea-brain has been able to remember it.
    Fave was 18a, but I quite liked 14d as well.
    Thanks to RayT, and to Falcon for bailing me out at the end.

    1. As usual I struggled with this Ray T puzzle today, tumbling back to earth after doing great yesterday. Was quite pleased with the clues I did get though. Never heard of romping being a sport and 4d and 13a were new words for me. Thanks Falcon.

  27. Lots of fun as we expect on alternate Thursdays. Clue word count checked and all in order once again.
    Thanks RayT and Falcon.

    1. I think that we expect lots of fun most Thursdays – as I said earlier they’re my best crossword days.

  28. A very good puzzle that I seem to have found more difficult than most here, perhaps ***. I seem to have a blind spot for hidden words – 27ac was one of my last two in, and very well hidden it was too! :-)

  29. 1/2* difficulty/3* enjoyment, and I can’t really choose between 14d and 18a as favourite clue. Thanks to Mr T, and to Falcon.

  30. Thoroughly enjoyable but over far too quickly. Some lovely innuendo, especially 3d. Far too many favourites to pick just one – so I shall not put myself in peril to anger our Kath.

    Thanks to RayT for the puzzle and to Falcon for his fine review.

    Mrs SL and I are off to Birmingham tomorrow (the big city- don’t know how we’ll cope) for the weekend and the T20 Finals day at Edgbaston on Saturday. So I hope you all have a great weekend.

  31. Not overly difficult for a Ray T but the clues were excellent, sublime – a cracking cryptic! 2.5*/4*. Incidentally, 26a would still work if you changed the west to “east” and parsed the L as a simple abbreviation for Lake (which is given in Collins, but my BRB is at home). And why have I mentioned that? You tell me!

  32. I don’t expect anyone will read this as I am a day late. However I have a new plan. I don’t start a new crosswords until I finish the last one. So thanks to this blog I now finish most of the back pagers. Without any help. This may mean several sessions in between gardening, grandchildren care etc.
    PS the ” I ” crosswords varies between doable and completely ridiculous. Or is that too Brian’ish, who incidentally makes me smile.

  33. Please don’t diminish my effort, tell me this was a snorter!! Lovely to finish a Ray-T without any help!!!
    Thanks to Ray-T and Falcon. I am sure I will pay the price in a couple of Thursday’s time.
    Great C/W – fav – 9a as it is rare to get a homophone type clue!!

  34. Phew. This was hard for me. I’m glad I already had 1d because I was sure 13a was “sitcom”. I print them off from the computer and keep them in my bag so I’m often weeks behind but thanks to your hints it doesn’t matter. So much fun. Thanks again.

      1. Thanks for the welcome. My real name is indeed Margaret but since I am an artist, I rather like the typo a few people made and so one of my pen names is Margart.

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