DT 28286

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 28286

Hints and tips by Kath

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating — Difficulty **/***/****Enjoyment ****

Hello everyone. This is a Ray T crossword. It has all his trademarks – concise clues, some innuendo (plenty this week), one word answers, all the clues and answers in the Quickie are single words and anyway it’s his week. Because he divides the commentariat more than any other setter I’ve done three difficulty ratings. 2** is for the people who ‘get’ him, 3*** is for those who find him a bit tricky and 4**** is for anyone yet to be converted to his style. Please take your pick!

In the hints below the definitions are underlined and the actual answers are hidden under the things that say ANSWER so only do that if you need to see them.

Please leave a comment telling us how you got on today.

Across

1a            Sniper originally hits target, sprawling, most horizontal (11)
STRAIGHTEST — The first letter (originally) of S(niper) is followed by an anagram (sprawling) of HITS TARGET. I’ve said this so often that I’m sure you all know what’s coming – there will be a prize for the first person to finish this sentence for me, “A nice long anagram . . . “

SONY DSC

10a         Assume America in revolt with Republican getting in (5)
USURP — The two letter abbreviation meaning America is followed by a little word that means in revolt or rebellion – the two are split by (getting in) R(epublican).

11a         Some whimper for mercy seeing clown possibly (9)
PERFORMER — Our first lurker or hidden answer – it’s hiding in the middle of the clue and this is indicated by ‘some’.

istock_000005084587small

12a         Duplicate ace needed in contract (9)
REPRODUCE — Another way of saying ‘ace’, or very good at something, is inside a verb meaning to contract or become less.

13a         Initially it’s learnt in anatomy, composition of bone (5)
ILIAC — One of Ray T’s trademark clues – take the first letters (initially) of the next five words of the clue.

14a         Fathers about to be put in homes (6)
PADRES — One of the usual little abbreviations meaning about or concerning is inside a slang word for homes or apartments.

16a         Spots magistrate thundering about scrapping R.E. (8)
STIGMATA — An anagram (thundering about) of MAGISTRATE without (scrapping) the letters RE.

18a         Dangerous current spot occupied by mongrel (8)
INSECURE — Begin with another way of saying current or fashionable – this is followed by a verb to spot or notice which contains (occupied by) a mongrel or rogue.

20a         Church followers start to talk getting stick (6)
CEMENT — One of the many two letters for Church, some followers and then the first letter (start to) of T(alk).

23a         Snooze during sex is not appropriate (5)
INAPT — A snooze or doze is inside (during) an informal short word for sex or sexual attraction or activity.

24a         Rower perhaps left in ship by crew (9)
SPORTSMAN — The nautical term for left is contained in (in) the usual crossword land two letter abbreviation for steamship and this is followed by (by) a verb to crew.

26a         Bounder’s idea to pinch bottom (9)
UNDERSIDE — Our second lurker of the day – the answer is inside the first two words of the clue, indicated by ‘to pinch’.

27a         Coat’s unbuttoned revealing necktie (5)
ASCOT — An anagram (unbuttoned) of COAT’S. To quote pommers when he was doing the hints some long time ago, “I wonder what he’s doing with his coat unbuttoned”!

ascot_02

28a         Role with cabinet reshuffles in party (11)
CELEBRATION — An anagram (reshuffles) of ROLE and CABINET.

Group people with  champagne dancing at party.

 

Down

2d            End of concert, then seat in club perhaps (5)
TRUMP — The last letter (end of) concerT is followed by another word for seat or bottom.

3d            Double parking in a Ranger docked permit (7)
APPROVE — The A from the clue is followed by a ranger or a wanderer (the capitalisation here is deliberately misleading) without its final letter (docked) and contains two (double) of the abbreviations for P(arking).

4d            Mineral aggregate under pressure below empty gantry (6)
GYPSUM — The first and last letters (empty) of G(antr)Y and the one letter abbreviation for P(ressure) are followed by (below) a noun meaning aggregate or total.

5d            Mountain’s divided by burst streams (8)
TORRENTS — A mountain or hill top, with the ‘S contains (divided by) an adjective meaning burst or torn apart.

0032_vizgazdalkodas

6d            Putting aside row about nothing (7)
STORING — A row or series contains (about) the letter that looks like nothing or zero.

7d            Covert pursuit with sortie organised (13)
SURREPTITIOUS — An anagram (organised) of PURSUIT and SORTIE.

th

8d            Lord’s adjudication coming from posh member — I fume (8)
UMPIRAGEHmmm, and oh dear! Cricket! This was a new word for me. The Lord’s is the cricket ground, at least I think it must be. Start off with the letter used to mean posh or upper class, then the two letters for ‘member’ (of parliament), the I from the clue and then another way of saying fume or rant and rave.

9d            Put off due to rain, spectator moved (13)
PROCRASTINATE — An anagram (moved) of RAIN SPECTATOR

procrastinate-procrastination-273921_335_247

15d         Ring road’s shortly to circle area’s dumps (8)
DISCARDS — A ring or circle is followed by the abbreviation for roads (shortly) and contains (to circle) the one letter for A(rea)

17d         Reputation of hog with energy eating remains (8)
PRESTIGE — This hog is a noun and he has four legs, big ears and a curly tail – he contains (eating) the remains or leftovers and is followed by (with) E(nergy).

19d         Clubs with old band covering Queen set (7)
COTERIE — Two abbreviations to start off with – the one for C(lubs) and another for O(ld) – and then a band or fastening which contains (covering) the two letters for our Queen.

21d         Former partner reportedly stalked in passage (7)
EXTRACT — The usual two letters for a former partner, be it husband, wife, lover or whatever, is followed by a homophone (reportedly) of stalked or shadowed.

22d         Exhibitionist rose up flashing (6)
POSEUR — An anagram (flashing) of ROSE UP – nothing like as naughty as it sounds, but that’s Ray T for you!

'You shouldn't call them 'perverts', it's considered offensive.'

25d         Tough male with a cut, not keeping quiet (5)
MACHO —The one letter for M(ale), the A from the clue and then a verb to cut or hack without its final letter, ‘P’ (not keeping quiet, or the musical instruction to play quietly).

I liked 13 and 26a and 17d. My favourite was either 23a or 22d – not two favourites – just that I can’t quite make up my mind.

The Quicke Pun:- HATTER + TENSION = AT ATTENTION

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91 Comments

  1. JonP
    Posted December 1, 2016 at 11:02 am | Permalink

    I was certainly on wavelength for most of this but a few held out for a while in the SW corner.

    Thanks to Kath and RayT – I pick the 2* option for difficulty and 4* for enjoyment.

  2. Rabbit Dave
    Posted December 1, 2016 at 11:06 am | Permalink

    2*/4*. I like Kath’s concept of variable degrees of difficulty depending on how well attuned you are to the setter’s wavelength, but where will this end?! 5* difficulty the morning after a boozy night out?

    Inevitably as a Ray T aficionado I really liked this. I particularly enjoyed the topicality of the interlinked 10a & 2d and the innuendo of 23a & 22d. I’ll go along with Kath’s fence sitting and say my favourite is either 23a or 22d.

    A question with my pedant’s hat on – can you modify “horizontal”? Surely it either is or it isn’t – a bit like “unique”.

    Many thanks to Ray T and to Kath.

    • Senf
      Posted December 1, 2016 at 11:42 am | Permalink

      RD – to answer your question. Yes, you can if you are a crossword compiler. It is probably needed here to indicate the superlative ending of the answer.

    • Jose
      Posted December 1, 2016 at 11:47 am | Permalink

      RD. 1a: I’m not sure that horizontal is quite in the same league as unique when it comes to being absolute/definitive. The BRB Thesaurus lists horizontal as a synonym for straight and that’s probably (just about) enough to justify it in the clue, but whether it’s a precise definition is possibly open to debate.

      • George
        Posted December 1, 2016 at 12:01 pm | Permalink

        I have seen vertical poles I would describe as 1a – but then this is a RayT crossword, so we have to endure things like this.

  3. bifield
    Posted December 1, 2016 at 11:09 am | Permalink

    Not as bad as some of his but I quite enjoyed the tussle. Thanks to RayT and to Kath for the review.

  4. Graham
    Posted December 1, 2016 at 11:11 am | Permalink

    I struggled with this one & would put it in the ***/**** rating. A couple of new words at 13A & 16A, and my favourite goes to 1 A as I had fun making words from the anagram material.Many thanks to the setter & to Kath for her review.

  5. dutch
    Posted December 1, 2016 at 11:30 am | Permalink

    Lovely puzzle, great surfaces throughout (e.g. 10a, 28a, both hiddens 11a & 26a, 24a, 27a, etc etc. – and that’s before looking at the downs). A joy to solve.

    Many thanks Kath for the splendid review and thank you RayT

  6. Miffypops
    Posted December 1, 2016 at 11:32 am | Permalink

    Thank you Kath for your usual entertaining blog. I envy your Thursday spot Thank you RayT for one of the best puzzles of the year. As usual I got a few on the first run through and a few more on the second but then each and every one of the remaining clues needed teasing out of its shell. The anagram at 7d took a lot of sorting out as I could not get away from the incorrect superstitious (I know, I know. Use a pencil) but once it was solved the remaining clues fell quite quickly. Every clue a joint favourite. With reference to 22d our resident Downtown LI flasher has been thinking of retirement but has decided to stick it out for another year.

    • Mark
      Posted December 1, 2016 at 11:50 am | Permalink

      Regarding your flasher, RayT not the only one to produce innuendo this morning…

  7. Senf
    Posted December 1, 2016 at 11:33 am | Permalink

    Given that I completed this very enjoyable puzzle within the time limit for maximum points on the web site I am giving it */***.

    Two candidates for favourite – 14a and 19d. And, the winner is 19d, an oldie but goodie with Ray T’s ‘trade mark’ reference to HM.

    Thanks to Ray T and Kath.

  8. Mr Kitty
    Posted December 1, 2016 at 11:35 am | Permalink

    I still feel nervous when embarking on a RayT solve because I never know how it’s going to turn out. That feeling worsened after the first pass through the acrosses yielded only one and a bit answers. But the downs were more friendly, and then with a few checkers in place I began to get tuned in and it all came together in the end.

    So many great clues today it is hard to know where to start. Loved the two well-disguised lurkers 11a and 26a, especially because both were spotted only after guessing the answer from the checkers. I admired the smooth construction of 20a, 23a, 5d, and 14a, where I fell into the trap of initially writing in some fathers leaving a three-letter gap in the middle for the rest of the wordplay. I didn’t know 8d was a real word until today, although I’d always felt that it should be (along with commentage, bloggage, etc.). My favourite today was Her Majesty’s 19d (which reminds me: if our recent new contributor ElizabethR is reading the blog today I’m sure RayT would appreciate a comment from you – he’s a huge fan).

    Many thanks to RayT for the fun, and to Kath for her most excellent blog. Great pictures today.

    • Rabbit Dave
      Posted December 1, 2016 at 11:44 am | Permalink

      I agree with you about 8d. In 62 years of playing and watching cricket I have never heard of it. My first thought when I had worked out the answer was that it might describe Jimmy Anderson’s reaction when an LBW shout is turned down.
      :wink:

      • Mr Kitty
        Posted December 1, 2016 at 12:20 pm | Permalink

        :good:

      • silvanus
        Posted December 1, 2016 at 3:15 pm | Permalink

        Add me to the list too regarding 8d. I’d be amazed if anyone uses the term nowadays.

  9. Mark
    Posted December 1, 2016 at 11:47 am | Permalink

    Thanks for the review, Kath, and, of course, to RayT.

    I liked the construction of 24a and 23a made me smile. 18a and 24a are both lovely. 13a is a new word for me and I suspect Ray T had filled in the verticals and was left with three unpromising letters to work with. I can’t imagine it’s in regular use – but am very willing to be corrected by any bone enthusiast out there. (My collie doesn’t count.) (Or spell, for that matter)

    1a is a nice anagram but I feel slightly pedantic, too. The answer could, surely, also be defined as ‘most vertical’.

    COTD, for me, is 26a. As Kath said, concise and cheeky.

    • Kath
      Posted December 1, 2016 at 12:32 pm | Permalink

      First of all, oh good, another collie enthusiast – I bet yours can count and spell – ours certainly used to talk! They’re so wonderful.
      13a is in regular use in the medical world. It’s an adjective that describes the ilium which is a wide bone fused with a few other bits. When someone has appendicitis the pain is in the right iliac fossa – in other words in the pit or depression formed by the bone.

      • Mark
        Posted December 1, 2016 at 2:09 pm | Permalink

        Thanks Kath. I knew someone here would set me straight. Or horizontal…

        Not like a word I found in another puzzle recently – callipygian – which I defy anyone, even a beautician or a plastic surgeon, to use regularly!

        I was probably being unfair to the dog – in order to make the obvious quip. He can certainly tell the time – well, mealtimes anyway. Named Flash for the white stripe down his head and because, when we first put him down on the ground having purchased him, he was off like one!

        • Jose
          Posted December 2, 2016 at 11:31 am | Permalink

          Callipygian (and pulchritudinous too) are both words I used to use regularly about 25 years ago. I had a beautiful girlfriend then and used the words often to describe her, but wouldn’t tell her what they meant (I think she thought I might be mocking her). After a few weeks she looked them up in a dictionary and was very pleased with what she found. A right feather in my cap, that was. Phew!

    • BobH
      Posted December 1, 2016 at 2:42 pm | Permalink

      In my own little world, straight does not mean, horizontal, level or vertical. It means without bends or kinks.

  10. pete
    Posted December 1, 2016 at 11:53 am | Permalink

    Afraid I wasnt on Ray T’s wavelength with this one. I managed the right side without too much trouble, but was well and truly stumped down the left side. Many thanks to Kath for her help. A lot of very clever clues, alas a bit too clever for me. 4.5*/2* Many thanks to Ray T and especially to Kath.

  11. Young Salopian
    Posted December 1, 2016 at 11:59 am | Permalink

    Just to be awkward, I found this to be a 2.5*/4* puzzle. Lots to enjoy, and 1 across was my favourite despite reservations mentioned above. 7 down took too long to complete, mainly because of my habit of not writing down the letters to work out the anagrams. I know I am not alone in this, and it probably extends the time taken, hence the odd half star difference.

    Thanks to Ray T for an enjoyable tussle and to Kath for her very readable review.

    • Miffypops
      Posted December 1, 2016 at 1:04 pm | Permalink

      We should form a club. I think Orphan Annie does anagrams in her head too.

      • Orphan Annie
        Posted December 1, 2016 at 6:43 pm | Permalink

        I had to resort to trusty pencil for 7d because I suspected what the answer but had problem speling it. Rather than write it in and have to erase it i wrote it down first but I did manage 9d.

  12. Beaver
    Posted December 1, 2016 at 12:02 pm | Permalink

    Re Kath’s multi choice difficulty rating, difficulty is a personal concept, and I don’t rely on a ‘solve time’ but how difficult the cluing is in my opinion , taking into account my experience of crossword solving. A difficult puzzle can still be quickly solved and an easy solve can take longer- I suppose the mysterious ‘wavelength ‘with the setter is paramount.
    A read through the daily blog always results in the solvers different ratings, I suppose there are those who use a clock, and use time as the definitive criteria.
    Anyway,a 2.5*/4* for me for Mr T today and a spot on review and pics by Kath.

    • Young Salopian
      Posted December 1, 2016 at 12:32 pm | Permalink

      I agree about difficulty being a personal thing. One person’s one star is another’s three. I suppose it all depends on your average time taken. On the other hand, if you re not on the clock, difficulty becomes a perception of relative toughness which is harder to gauge. There is also an element of how you feel – alert and sharp, or sluggish, hungover or tired, plus your mysterious wavelength, the great unknown. I suspect, too, that some of us have a mental block with certain setters that means we start off the solve with a negative mindset.

      All part of the fun that is crosswordland.

  13. crypticsue
    Posted December 1, 2016 at 12:03 pm | Permalink

    I couldn’t decide whether it was me suffering with “driving to Banbury and back yesterday stiff neck” or Ray at the trickier end of the spectrum. As I solved the ‘comfy’ without any trouble, I’ve decided it is Mr T that took me into 3.75* difficulty.

    Thanks to him and Kath for their parts in my entertainment today

  14. George
    Posted December 1, 2016 at 12:03 pm | Permalink

    Quite straightforward for a RayT for me today. Maybe I am just getting more of his way of thinking? (Gosh, I hope not!)
    1*/2* for me.

  15. Ora Meringue
    Posted December 1, 2016 at 12:53 pm | Permalink

    It will be no surprise to anyone that I found this a 4* difficulty.
    Could not get the SW corner at all, then when I did with the electronic aids, needed the hints to figure out why.

    However, I consider that I am improving as I used to be unable to get any answers on a Thursday……terminal optimism here…..

    Thanks to the setter and to Kath for the much needed hints.

  16. jean-luc cheval
    Posted December 1, 2016 at 1:17 pm | Permalink

    Took a bit more time to sort out the left hand side.
    But eventually everything fell into place quite nicely.
    Some super clues.
    Ticked 23 and 24a, 15,17 and 22d.
    Favourite 22d.
    As for the question: A nice long anagram is congenial.
    Thanks to RayT and to Kath.

    • Miffypops
      Posted December 1, 2016 at 1:43 pm | Permalink

      Like it. like it. Yes I do

    • Jane
      Posted December 1, 2016 at 3:56 pm | Permalink

      Great stuff, JL!

  17. Jezza
    Posted December 1, 2016 at 1:52 pm | Permalink

    This one took me into 3* time, and 4* for enjoyment.

    All good stuff… many thanks to RayT, and to Kath for the write-up.

  18. Njm
    Posted December 1, 2016 at 2:16 pm | Permalink

    Most enjoyable! Began as 4* last night and 2* today as my tuning got onto the compiler’s wavelength. 3* overall for difficulty, 4* for enjoyment.

  19. Toadson
    Posted December 1, 2016 at 3:00 pm | Permalink

    About the right level today, good fun with plenty of ‘oo-er Missus’ moments. Thanks to Ray T and Kath.

  20. BusyLizzie
    Posted December 1, 2016 at 3:16 pm | Permalink

    Bless you Kath, definitely **** for me, and I would not have finished without your hints. I am rarely on Ray T’s wavelength and today was no exception. Never heard of 8d as a word, if I have seen 13a before I have forgotten it, and rarely see 19d, so not my best day. But I enjoyed the challenge which is what it is all about, and they can all be good days (yesterday was 😊).

  21. Merusa
    Posted December 1, 2016 at 3:35 pm | Permalink

    Imagine, I actually finished a RayT offering! Full disclosure: I needed some help with gizmo in SW corner, last one in was 14a, and one asks why? After all, when you have the answer it all seems so obvious.
    As I didn’t have much luck getting a toehold, I did get help with the anagram at 1a, then I was off.
    There was much to like, so I’m going to choose 7d as fave ‘cos I like the picture.
    Thanks to RayT, and to Kath for the hints.

    As an aside, the site seems all tikai babu now, but some people still haven’t come back.

  22. pommers
    Posted December 1, 2016 at 3:35 pm | Permalink

    I’m firmly in the 2* camp and it’s nice to see RayT back to his best after a few puzzles with little or no innuendo and very few photo opportunities. I’ll go for **/**** with 10a as favourite and 22d and 23a on the podium. I thought 10a was a very nice dig at the US president-elect :lol:

    Thanks to RayT and to Kath for the blog and a mention.

    • Merusa
      Posted December 1, 2016 at 3:45 pm | Permalink

      I still grind my teeth every time I see 2d. I don’t think I’ll ever get used to it, what a long two years it’s going to be.

      • pommers
        Posted December 1, 2016 at 3:51 pm | Permalink

        I forgot to mention I rather liked the fact that the TRUMP clue and 10a intersected.

      • Merusa
        Posted December 1, 2016 at 3:57 pm | Permalink

        I mean four years – it just gets worse.

        • Young Salopian
          Posted December 1, 2016 at 4:41 pm | Permalink

          Could be 8!

          • Merusa
            Posted December 1, 2016 at 5:40 pm | Permalink

            Go and wash your mouth out with soap!

        • BusyLizzie
          Posted December 1, 2016 at 7:41 pm | Permalink

          I got all excited when you said 2 years, thought you knew something I didn’t, darn.

      • Mr Kitty
        Posted December 1, 2016 at 6:51 pm | Permalink

        I agree. In my comment up above I originally wrote “The less said about 2d the better”. But then I took my own advice and erased that sentence.

  23. silvanus
    Posted December 1, 2016 at 3:38 pm | Permalink

    I’ve found some RayT puzzles to be harder than this one and some to be easier, so I’d put this somewhere in the middle in terms of trickiness.

    I gave ticks to 10a, 23a and 28a. Seven anagrams in 28 clues was just about ok I think. I needed to double-check 27a which I did in Collins as surprisingly I couldn’t find it in my old 1983 compact version of Chambers.

    Many thanks to Mr. Terrell and to Kath.

  24. Jane
    Posted December 1, 2016 at 3:53 pm | Permalink

    Glorious Mr. T – just right for whiling away the hours in various hospital waiting rooms (regular, routine stuff – no great drama!).
    In common with others, I didn’t know that 8d was a ‘real’ word and my impulsive answer to 7d involved not walking under ladders rather than hiding round corners.
    For once, I was caught off-guard by the lurker in 26a and I was extremely grateful that 13a was one of Mr. T’s trademark clues – apologies for lack of knowledge, Kath!

    Too many ‘ticks’ to mention but I’ll happily go along with Kath’s top two of 23a&22d.
    Devotions to Mr. T as always and many thanks to Kath for a great blog – loved your preamble and chuckled over the 13d cartoon although how sad that the remark passed is very possibly true these days.

  25. Una
    Posted December 1, 2016 at 3:59 pm | Permalink

    I’m not really a Ray T aficionado , and I find some of the quirkiness annoying such as stigmata a synonym for spots. Padre Pio had “spots ” on his hands ?
    I though both lurkers were very good and I found 14a pleasantly misleading.
    Thanks to Kath, without whom I would never have understood 2d, and thanks to Ray T.

  26. florence
    Posted December 1, 2016 at 4:17 pm | Permalink

    I managed to fill in most of the right hand side over breakfast, only having to ponder over 24a and if I should fill in yachtsman or sportsman. I had to go out, but I was confident that it wouldn’t take me long to finish when I got back. I was fooled into a false sense of security. It took me ages to complete the sw corner. I had forgotten the word for ‘the word’ in 23a, and despite coterie appearing a few times in the last couple of years, I’d forgotten that too. Still, I am a RayT convert. Many thanks for all your effort in putting together the review Kath and thank you too RayT.

  27. upthecreek
    Posted December 1, 2016 at 4:21 pm | Permalink

    RayT in superb form today with lots of innuendo, lurkery and laughs. Favourite was 2 – very topical! Also liked 8 11 14 17 19 22 and 26 to mention a few. Thanks to RayT and fellow Rayfan Kath.

  28. Vancouverbc
    Posted December 1, 2016 at 5:11 pm | Permalink

    Another splendid puzzle – they always are when i can finish them 😀 although I do relish clever clues and cunning misdirection. Struggled mostly with the SW corner but it eventually yielded. **/**** for me. Thanks to Ray T and Kath.

  29. 2Kiwis
    Posted December 1, 2016 at 5:23 pm | Permalink

    Good fun again from RayT with a generous dose of innuendo to keep us chuckling. Word count checked and found to be in order as usual. We sometimes wonder that if we stopped reporting on the word count Ray might sneak in the odd nine word clue and get away with it.
    Thanks RayT and Kath.

    • Kath
      Posted December 1, 2016 at 5:27 pm | Permalink

      He wouldn’t get away with it – you’ve got me at now – I always count! :smile:

    • pommers
      Posted December 1, 2016 at 5:28 pm | Permalink

      I usually check the word count too so no worries on that score :smile:

      • Kath
        Posted December 1, 2016 at 5:32 pm | Permalink

        What a suspicious lot we are.

    • Miffypops
      Posted December 1, 2016 at 6:32 pm | Permalink

      I only count words when there are too many of them. That is never the case with a RayT

  30. Angel
    Posted December 1, 2016 at 5:50 pm | Permalink

    Nothing special for me to write home about today but it was a pleasant enough stroll if not somewhat lacking in any outstanding Favs. Don’t think I have come across ‘thundering’ as anagram indicator before and needed help to fully parse 19d. ***/**.

  31. Gwizz
    Posted December 1, 2016 at 6:16 pm | Permalink

    Excellent fare from Mr T. 2.5/4* overall therefore. I found the RHS to be more accessible than the left. 17d, the ‘hog’ clue was my favourite.
    Thanks to Ray T, and to Kath for yet another fab review.

  32. Brian
    Posted December 1, 2016 at 6:19 pm | Permalink

    Well it’s taken me on and off about 7 hours and with an understanding of about half the clues but I have finished it. It was an exercise in sheer bloody-mindedness and has only confirmed my exceedingly low opinion of Ray T as a crossword setter which will undoubtably worry him not one wit nor jot!
    So cheers.

    • Miffypops
      Posted December 1, 2016 at 6:30 pm | Permalink

      We have waited all day for your comment Brian and that is it?

    • Kath
      Posted December 1, 2016 at 6:37 pm | Permalink

      Oh dear, Brian – whatever are we going to do with you?
      I’m sure that you’ll get away with saying how long it’s taken you even though, as I’m sure you know, it’s generally disapproved of to mention times in case it discourages others – however . . .

    • Kell
      Posted December 1, 2016 at 9:52 pm | Permalink

      How lovely it would be to have seven hours available! Alas I do not, but being a regular lurking visitor to this blog, I did thankfully remember, having struggled for an hour or so, that it is Thursday! At which point I knew why I was struggling, and why it was pointless to continue. I wish that, like the Toughies, they would give attribution to the compiler, and then I would know, as in this instance, to instantly give up. I’ve looked at the answers thank you very much, and the clues still make little sense. After the lurkers were delurked, and the anagrams solved, the rest of the grid remained blank.

      • Kath
        Posted December 1, 2016 at 10:23 pm | Permalink

        Oh dear – I’m sorry that my hints didn’t help – I wonder if you read them before you looked at the answers.
        If you want to know who sets the crosswords you should try going to the FAQ which is right up at the top. If/when you do that you will find out that Ray T (today’s setter) is roughly alternate Thursdays.
        I would hate to discourage a de-lurking regular lurker but if you persevere with reading this blog, and I mean reading the hints, you will learn very quickly – I’m sorry if that sounds patronising as it really isn’t meant to be at all.

      • Jane
        Posted December 1, 2016 at 10:52 pm | Permalink

        Hi Kell,
        I think that if you read the comments on Ray T puzzles you will find that quite a few folk who started out ‘hating’ them have gradually found his wavelength and now thoroughly enjoy them – doubtless the same is true of the offerings of various other setters. Surely we benefit from persevering with them all?
        Mind you – maybe I’ll make a personal exception in Elgar’s case…………!

      • Miffypops
        Posted December 2, 2016 at 12:21 am | Permalink

        Hi Kell. There is as much skill for the solver in deconstructing the clues as there is for the setter in constructing them. For the bloggers there is a call to explain the clue in as clear a way as possible. You say you have looked at the answers and that they make little sense. Perhaps you should also read Kath’s excellent and humorous hints. Pose questions when you don’t quite understand the hint and make progress. Help is at hand if you want it

      • Margaret
        Posted December 2, 2016 at 8:27 pm | Permalink

        Hi Kell, I’m a regular lurker too, but only because, having a full time job, I’m always late to the party.

        However, I just wanted to say that I felt exactly like you when I first found this blog. I didn’t even know a ‘RayT’ existed, but what I did know was that on regular Thursdays there was no point in my even trying the crossword and I knew it was such a Thursday within seconds of looking at the puzzle.

        However, having found this blog I now always finish a RayT and the satisfaction is always enormous. I wouldn’t say he was my favourite setter because he stretches synonyms to breaking point to my extreme annoyance.

        My advice, therefore is to persevere, both with the puzzle to get as far as you can, and then with Big Dave’s wonderful site. I promise you, it’s worth it.

        • Kath
          Posted December 2, 2016 at 11:29 pm | Permalink

          :good:

  33. RayT
    Posted December 1, 2016 at 6:32 pm | Permalink

    Evening all. Setter here, with many thanks to Kath for the decryption and to all for your comments.

    RayT

    • Miffypops
      Posted December 1, 2016 at 6:33 pm | Permalink

      You must be good if you can get seven anagrams past me without me noticing. Thanks for a super puzzle today

    • Kath
      Posted December 1, 2016 at 6:39 pm | Permalink

      Thank you so much for calling in – it is, as I’m sure you know by now, very much appreciated by everyone just as your crosswords are by most of us! :smile:

    • Jane
      Posted December 1, 2016 at 7:12 pm | Permalink

      Thanks, Mr. T – nice to ‘see’ you again.

    • florence
      Posted December 1, 2016 at 7:27 pm | Permalink

      Thank you for popping in RayT.

    • Robin Newman
      Posted December 2, 2016 at 6:46 pm | Permalink

      Nice to see the compiler commenting…..confession-I always look for Brian,s contribution..yet to try to do the puzzle as I am always a day or two late.

  34. Posted December 1, 2016 at 6:53 pm | Permalink

    I made sure to allocate more crosswording time this morning, but still had four remaining when my “if you’re not out of bed by now you will definitely be late” alarm went off. This time I chose to leave the rest until later, so had the joy (I’m being only half sarcastic, because this was a crossword worth doing twice) of filling it all in again (because the app is not fit for purpose). The whole grid went in nice and smoothly just now, with a d’oh at 8d which then unlocked 20a. Somebody who shall not be named and shamed (but who should count himself lucky that he is at a safe distance) had given me a spoiler for 15d, and that made 14a easy. I’d just utterly failed to think of the right homes before.

    Anyway, I found this RayT at his best. I laughed at 23a and also particularly liked 11a, 26a and 22d. I’ll say something about 9d later.

    Many thanks to RayT, and to Kath, whose doubtless excellent review I will read (along with the comments) after I’ve nommed the dinner which is calling to me now.

    • Mr Kitty
      Posted December 1, 2016 at 7:29 pm | Permalink

      :oops:

    • Posted December 1, 2016 at 8:00 pm | Permalink

      Review as expected. A very sneaky way of negotiating the pitfalls of assigning star ratings!

      Thanks for the 7d pic and the wry smile at 22d.

  35. Orphan Annie
    Posted December 1, 2016 at 6:55 pm | Permalink

    Lovely brain workout from one of my favourite setters, never heard of 8d but it fitted, great long anagrams which really stretched me, had to use supertoy for a few as my spelling a bit wobbly. When I get my new brain for Christmas things can only get better.
    Thanks to Mr T and Kath, probably three stars for difficulty and five for enjoyment.

    P S still waiting for Santa to acknowledge my order for brain.

    • BusyLizzie
      Posted December 1, 2016 at 7:49 pm | Permalink

      That’s because he is still busy making mine…

  36. Jon_S
    Posted December 1, 2016 at 7:51 pm | Permalink

    A ** for the RHS, *** for the NW, and **** for the SW. ;-)

  37. Michael
    Posted December 1, 2016 at 9:10 pm | Permalink

    I did the long anagrams ok but struggled and struggled and struggled some more – glad to finish it and can’t say I reallly enjoyed it – but hey-ho tomorrow is another day!

  38. Organum
    Posted December 1, 2016 at 9:52 pm | Permalink

    2*/4* – bliss!

  39. Sam
    Posted December 1, 2016 at 10:08 pm | Permalink

    Note to self: do something else on Thursdays because Ray T and I don’t share a wavelength. E.g. what is the word “thundering” doing in clue 16a?

    • Kath
      Posted December 1, 2016 at 10:33 pm | Permalink

      Sam – I can only wonder if you bother to read the hints. I imagine that you don’t as if you did you would know what ‘thundering’, or even ‘thundering about’, is doing in 16a.
      Could I suggest another ‘note to self’ for you? Try the crossword first of all and do what you can. When you get stuck read the hints for the across clues and see if they help you to get the answers – if they don’t then look at the answers. Having done that with the across clues have another go at the downs. Just keep going like that. By the way, I do agree that wavelength is very important.

  40. Kath
    Posted December 1, 2016 at 10:51 pm | Permalink

    Knackered now and need to go to bed soonish.
    Night, night, sleep tight and mind the bugs don’t bite – they shouldn’t be a problem as it’s probably too cold for them.

  41. Tstrummer
    Posted December 2, 2016 at 1:46 am | Permalink

    Hmmm. Finished in 2* time, which is a bit of a triumph for me with Ray. And I even enjoyed a handful of the clues but – as nearly always on alternate Thursdays – I struggled to enjoy the experience. I find Ray’s puzzles a bit like going to the dentist: I always feel better when they’re over, although this was less of a root canal without anaesthetic than some. Thanks to Kath for giving us her time, energy, wit and wisdom, and a nod to Ray for entertaining the majority of BD’s commentariat even if I still feel a bit numb. 2*/2*

  42. Heno
    Posted December 2, 2016 at 10:13 am | Permalink

    Thanks to Ray T and to Kath for the review and hints. I normally “get” Ray T’s puzzles, but I found this very difficult, but also very enjoyable. Got completely stuck in the SW corner, and looked at the definitions for 18,26a,16,17,19d. Then managed to solve 17d, got 15&19d from the hints, and had to look up 18&26a. Can’t believe that I missed the lurker in 26a, well hidden Ray T. Favourite was 22d. Was 5*/4* for me. Great puzzle.

  43. Jose
    Posted December 2, 2016 at 10:55 am | Permalink

    About average for a Ray T but mostly excellent, concise clues. Again, he’s displayed his penchant for “one-words” with only single-word clues in the Quickie and only single-word answers in the Cryptic – maybe this is to be a permanent feature? Best of the week so far and very entertaining. 3*/4*.

    • 2Kiwis
      Posted December 2, 2016 at 9:38 pm | Permalink

      Single word answers have been a feature of RayT cryptic puzzles for as long as we have been doing them. That is the first thing we look to for confirmation that it is one of his.

      • Jose
        Posted December 3, 2016 at 10:56 am | Permalink

        Ray T has been known to use more than one-word answers in his Cryptics (I’ve just been looking at one featuring two dual-word answers) but nearly always, as you suggest, they are single words only. To be sure it’s a Ray T it’s best to look at the Quickie which, as far as I know, is always one word clues.

  44. Jose
    Posted December 2, 2016 at 11:06 am | Permalink

    Kath, my contribution to the quiz is: “a nice long” anagram is CONGA LINE. Though admittedly, not as good, as clever or as early as J-LC’s. What’s the prize, by the way?

  45. hoofityoudonkey
    Posted December 2, 2016 at 9:45 pm | Permalink

    Very late in the day due to a Christmas do last night, God, I hate that gassy lager!!!
    Lovely offering from Ray-T, I really like his puzzles now.
    I still needed a couple of hints to stagger across the line.
    Manky thanks for the hints, Kath and to Ray-T…now to Friday.