DT 28334

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 28334

Hints and tips by Falcon

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

Greetings from Ottawa where the weather is acting like a yo-yo — bouncing from one extreme to the other. Overall, I suppose the averages may be normal but we never seem to have an “average” day. A mathematics professor once explained the concept of average as being like a housewife with her head in the freezer and her rear in the oven. On average, she is comfortable.

Despite the absence of the Queen, this does seem to be a RayT puzzle. Perhaps the bug that confined Her Majesty to quarters over Christmas has made a return. There is an initialism clue which is fast becoming yet another trademark of RayT and a fair bit of mild innuendo. However, when one digs beneath the surface I didn’t feel that the construction of the clues was quite as inspired as one normally sees in his puzzles. Still, it was an enjoyable solve nevertheless.

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.

Across

7a   He plans to destroy and abort use violently (8)
SABOTEUR — anagram (violently) of ABORT USE

9a   One disposed of sweetheart’s fabulous bride (6)
ISOLDE — string together the Roman numeral for one, a word denoting disposed of for consideration received, and the heart of swEet to get a bride and lover (of different men) in Celtic legend

10a   Go off to catch male show (4)
POMP — to go off (like a champagne cork perhaps) around M(ale)

11a   Desire to Parisian is strange … (10)
ASPIRATION — anagram (is strange) of TO PARISIAN

12a   … urge of French guy beginning to decline? (6)
DEMAND — a charade of a French word meaning ‘of’, a guy or chap, and the initial letter of Decline

14a   Greek character, famous, returned and set off (8)
DETONATE — first you string together the seventh letter of the Greek alphabet and an adjective meaning famous; then you reverse the lot (as instructed by the word “returned”)

15a   Ships with reels spinning (6)
SLOOPS — reverse (spinning) reels on which the guys at 26a (but not those at 12a) might once have been wound

17a   Look thoroughly? That’s an astronomer (6)
LOWELL — an archaic exclamation for “Look!” or “See!” followed by an adverb signifying thoroughly, properly, or carefully give us an American astronomer who popularized the belief of there being canals and thus life on Mars

20a   Head of badger emerging, blinking (8)
BLOOMING — the initial letter of Badger and a verb denoting emerging (out of the fog perhaps) produce a mild oath

22a   Extraordinarily remote heavenly body (6)
METEOR — anagram (extraordinarily) of REMOTE

23a   United get trained differently (10)
INTEGRATED — anagram (differently) of GET TRAINED

24a   Small old house in London area (4)
SOHO — S(mall) O(ld) HO(use)

25a   Row ship across lake (6)
SERIES — the usual Crosswordland ship surrounding one of the Great Lakes

26a   Thus guy embracing one, getting friendly … (8)
SOCIABLE — a charade of a shorter way of saying thus and a guy that might support a communications tower is wrapped around a Roman one

Down

1d   … stops to embrace single second lady (8)
BARONESS — another word for stops or prevents envelops the smallest cardinal number and all this is followed by the abbreviation for second

2d   Stroke trophy containing nothing (4)
COUP — some silverware awarded for athletic prowess contains a letter that looks like a zero

3d   Sailor getting stuck into wine produces delay (6)
RETARD — one of the usual sailors gets into the wine (and its definitely not a Riesling)

4d   ‘Potter’ bilge holds up book (8)
LIBRETTO — reversed (up) and hidden (holds) in the first two words of the clue

5d   Military group good to go in Africa perhaps (10)
CONTINGENT — G(ood) is embedded in what Africa (or Asia) is an example of

6d   Clever commercial rubbish grabs one (6)
ADROIT — a short commercial message followed by some nonsense wrapped round a Roman one

8d   River areas possibly indicating danger spots initially (6)
RAPIDS — the initial letters of the words forming the definition

13d   Sorry self-importance rejected in Capitol after reshuffle (10)
APOLOGETIC — self-importance or personal pride is reversed or turned back (rejected) inside an anagram (reshuffle) of CAPITOL;

16d   Flower originated beneath quiet border (8)
PRIMROSE — a musical symbol denoting quiet, a border, and a verb meaning originated (as might be applied to a stream)

18d   Cloakroom staff blocking hotel escape (8)
LOOPHOLE — a common name for what may euphemistically be called a cloakroom and a rod or staff surrounding what hotel represents in the NATO phonetic alphabet

19d   Stones showing range with group making comeback (6)
AGATES — a kitchen range followed by a group of related people or things

21d   Hold out underwear that is taken off (6)
LINGER — remove a Latin abbreviation from the end of some sexy underwear

22d   Doctor seeing I’d come around (6)
MEDICO — anagram (around) of ID COME

24d   Direct route following sun (4)
SWAY — S(un) and a route or road

There were lots of nice surface readings among the clues in the puzzle and I especially enjoyed the two instances where the surface reading spread across a pair of clues. While no clue really jumped out at me demanding to be number one, as my favourite I will go with 13d. This clue conjures up images of events south of the border although, for the life of me, I don’t know why as the details all seem to be wrong – the person whose image it evokes works out of the White House, not the Capitol; there has scarcely been time to complete the deal, let alone have a reshuffle; and there has certainly been no evidence of self-importance being rejected.


The Quick Crossword pun: lodges+sticks=logistics


86 Comments

  1. 2Kiwis
    Posted January 26, 2017 at 8:36 am | Permalink

    We were talking about our summer weather yesterday and it seems to be a similar pattern to what you describe as your yo-yo winter weather Falcon.
    Plenty for us to enjoy in this typical RayT puzzle. We’ll go with 4d as our favourite as we explored all sorts of ‘Potter’ possibilities before the penny-drop moment of how the clue actually works.
    Word count checked as usual and all in order.
    Thanks RayT and Falcon.

  2. Rabbit Dave
    Posted January 26, 2017 at 8:56 am | Permalink

    3*/4* from me for a typically very enjoyable Ray T puzzle despite Her Majesty having the day off. The NE corner was the last to fall with 9a & 4d my last two in.

    I’ll go for 18d as my favourite with 4d hard on its heels.

    Many thanks to Ray T and Falcon.

  3. Angellov
    Posted January 26, 2017 at 9:07 am | Permalink

    In case of need it’s always so good to have Falcon on hand bright and early (for us). East went in first then West was a slightly different kettle of fish. I failed to suss out ’emerging’ in 20a and didn’t parse 9a although answer was obvious with help of the crossers. Past experience made me at first suspect 16d had something to do with a river. Got the wrong astronomer for 17a (unparsed!). 18d raised a giggle and hence probably Fav. Many thanks RayT and Falcon.

  4. JonP
    Posted January 26, 2017 at 9:32 am | Permalink

    Enjoyable as ever from RayT. Most of this went in quickly but I was held up briefly with 9ac until the penny dropped.

    Thanks to Falcon and RayT 1.5*/4*

  5. Spook
    Posted January 26, 2017 at 9:53 am | Permalink

    I found this quite tough got hung up on 20a and for some reason 5d. Searched through astronomers and eventually found answer, so I suppose a bit of a cheat.
    No favourites but a good workout.
    4/4 for me. Now off for a blowy cliff walk
    Thanks to Falcon and RayT

  6. Toadson
    Posted January 26, 2017 at 10:32 am | Permalink

    An enjoyable Ray T with the ‘sweetheart’ device again. Ta to all.

  7. Pene
    Posted January 26, 2017 at 10:48 am | Permalink

    Liked this crossword but love your blog!

    • crypticsue
      Posted January 26, 2017 at 11:27 am | Permalink

      Welcome to the blog

    • Miffypops
      Posted January 26, 2017 at 11:55 am | Permalink

      Welcome to the madhouse Pene

    • Kath
      Posted January 26, 2017 at 1:53 pm | Permalink

      Welcome from me as well – it’s always nice to hear someone say that they love the blog – we all do too. :smile:

  8. bifield
    Posted January 26, 2017 at 11:03 am | Permalink

    A bit tricky today but an extra cup of coffee soon sorted that out. A good mix of clues making for an enjoyable start to the day. Thanks to Ray T and to Falcon for the review.

  9. dutch
    Posted January 26, 2017 at 11:20 am | Permalink

    The astronomer and the reverse hidden, which i thought was clever, were my last ones in.

    I confused myself by misreading instructions a couple of times, e.g. ‘good to go’ i first thought meant get rid of G, and ‘blocking hotel’ I imagined as going inside hotel.

    I liked 20a and 26a (also for the ellipses to 1d)

    many thanks Falcon and RayT

    • Falcon
      Posted January 26, 2017 at 1:54 pm | Permalink

      Like you, my initial inclination was to remove a G at 5d. And at 18d my first take on blocking was to plug a drain by stuffing something inside it. However, what we need is the sort of blocking manoeuvre that the police might use to prevent a vehicle from fleeing by surrounding it on all sides with cruisers.

  10. Graham
    Posted January 26, 2017 at 11:25 am | Permalink

    Nice one today. ***/***.
    Nearly put Lovell (the radio astronomer) in for 17a but held out as I did for 24d wanting to put star in! Got them both in the end – the last 2 in. The lurker at 4d nearly got me too.
    Thanks all.

  11. Senf
    Posted January 26, 2017 at 11:28 am | Permalink

    Even with a second round of toasting the immortal memory, compared to the last three days, the completion of this puzzle slowed down to a canter – **/***.

    I needed electronic assistance for my last one in (10a); although, having solved it, it should not have been necessary. There was also more thumbing of the Small Red Book than so far this week.

    Candidates for favourite 9a, 15a, and 16d; and the winner is 9a.

    Thanks to Ray T and Falcon.

  12. neveracrossword
    Posted January 26, 2017 at 11:32 am | Permalink

    The well-disguised lurker held me up for a while – otherwise straightforward but enjoyable. I’m afraid that volatile weather patterns are becoming the norm. When we were in Spain in October, we were roasting. They have since had severe floods, followed by snow.
    Thank you, Falcon and RayT.

  13. pete
    Posted January 26, 2017 at 11:33 am | Permalink

    An enjoyable offering from Ray T, not too difficult but for me the hardest of the week so far. The NE corner was the trickiest for me, took a while for the penny to drop for 4d. Favourites were 4d and 17a. 3*/3* Many thanks to Ray T and Falcon.

  14. Expat Chris
    Posted January 26, 2017 at 11:42 am | Permalink

    Mixed blessing…an extremely early and not exactly welcome start to my day meant that I had time to tackle the cryptic and the toughie in one sitting. Happy this was a Ray T! 4D and 9A were the last two to fall, in that order. For me, 7A and 4D came out tops. Thanks to Mr. T and Falcon. We’re having the same weather fluctuations as you down here to your south. Very cold winds and rain a couple of days ago and a sunny 71F yesterday.

  15. Miffypops
    Posted January 26, 2017 at 12:01 pm | Permalink

    Good fun as usual on a Thursday. finished off rowing a ship across a lake to find a reverse lurker. Nice to see the words string together used in the hint for 14ac. Thanks to RayT and also to Falcon for the blog. Rather them than me in the picture for 8d.

  16. Jane
    Posted January 26, 2017 at 12:19 pm | Permalink

    Obviously, I loved it. Got held up for a while by the 10a ‘going off’ and, having lived for quite a few years in the shadow of Jodrell Bank, struggled to get beyond Sir Bernard for 17a.
    Difficult to place any clue above the others but I think 18d just scrapes in front.

    Devotions to Mr. T and thanks to Falcon for the review.

    Mr. T – still clinging on to the slim chance that you’ll surprise us all on Saturday. It’s not as though we’re expecting you to jump out of the cake or anything……….
    Anyway – isn’t it about time you checked up on the state of Her Majesty’s health?

  17. JohnBUK
    Posted January 26, 2017 at 12:41 pm | Permalink

    We didn’t see the lurker at all! Had all around it and came up with an answer and checked on Google to see if there was any link between Potter and opera – apparently there is a Harry Potter opera going the rounds. Felt that was a bit obscure so checked here before kicking ourselves for missing the more obvious method. Mrs and I enjoyed this puzzle.

    • Miffypops
      Posted January 26, 2017 at 12:50 pm | Permalink

      Hi John. When all else fails look for a lurker. If a clue makes no sense at all look for a lurker. Not that this advice helps when the lurker is reversed.

  18. Bluebird
    Posted January 26, 2017 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

    After the initial “gulp” of looking at the grid, it turned out to be zesty and lovely!

    The reversed lurker was my favourite.
    I’m assuming the Maths professor has been disposed of by the wife….maybe he’s in the freezer?

    Thank you Ray T and Falcon.

  19. Brian
    Posted January 26, 2017 at 1:26 pm | Permalink

    OK it was a Ray T but for the second Ray T running I thoroughly enjoyed it.
    Had to look up,Lowell but the rest of the clue made it solvable. Some v clever clues in 1d, 14a, 20a and 6d. Probably helped that I found the anagrams quite quickly.
    Once had to sit through Tristan and Isolde with an old flame, that was many hours of my life I will never get back even if I did leave at the interval with a headache. Just not my thing, give me a Blues gig any day.
    Thanks to all inc Ray T.

    • shropshirelad
      Posted January 26, 2017 at 4:10 pm | Permalink

      Are you sure that you are well Brian? Two enjoyable Ray T’s in a row – the mind boggles :wacko:

  20. Beaver
    Posted January 26, 2017 at 1:43 pm | Permalink

    Difficult solve for me today, unfriendly grid did not help ! On review looked much easier.

    Anyway going for a ****/**** as it was entertaining with no outlandish words.
    Thought 17 a was going to be Lovell after Sir Bernard ,until I checked the right solution with W for V
    Failed to parse the reverse lurker in 4d , but bunged in the right answer- thanks Falcon.
    Out to a nice Italian for my birthday treat tonight- cheers all.

    • jean-luc cheval
      Posted January 26, 2017 at 4:37 pm | Permalink

      Many happy returns. Enjoy your night out.

  21. Young Salopian
    Posted January 26, 2017 at 1:44 pm | Permalink

    I finished this in 2* time/difficulty but have to add an extra star for the time it took to parse a couple of the trickier clues, so 3*/4* from me. 18d was terrific but I will go for 4d as my COTD. Cold, grey, colourless (let’s not go there) in the Marches this afternoon, but thanks to Ray T for bringing some light and colour to a dull day, and to Falcon for his review.

  22. Dottie
    Posted January 26, 2017 at 1:44 pm | Permalink

    It took a while but managed in the end. Quite glad that others too found some clues difficult – thought my brain had gone into hibernation because of the heavy frost here. I too missed the lurker at 4d for quite a while and only got 9a once I’d sorted that out.
    Favourite 18d which didn’t come easy but worth the effort.
    Thanks to Falcon and setter.

  23. Kath
    Posted January 26, 2017 at 2:07 pm | Permalink

    I loved it – would anyone really expect me to say anything different?
    I didn’t think that it was Ray T at his trickiest but doing the Thursday hints for his crosswords quite often has got me into his way of thinking so I do have an advantage.
    For no obvious reason – dim, probably – 25a was my last answer having spent far too long trying to put an ‘L’ into it somehow.
    Just for once I found the only lurker quite easily.
    I liked the linked clues – 11 and 12a and 26a and 1d.
    I also liked too many others to mention them all so just a few are 17a and 6 and 19d. For favourite I’m torn between 10a and 18d.
    With thanks to Ray T and to Falcon.
    Might try the Toughie as it’s too 20a cold to do anything that involves going outside.

  24. Woolgatherer
    Posted January 26, 2017 at 2:27 pm | Permalink

    All was well until 4d – which I decided obviously had “rot” in the middle meaning bilge. Thanks Falcon, for the hint that finally put me out of my misery! And well done to Mr T especially if that bit of misdirection was intentional. Very enjoyable.

  25. RayS
    Posted January 26, 2017 at 2:34 pm | Permalink

    I really enjoyed this offering. Probably the hardest for me this week so far. So got there a little slower. Mind you I was watching the cricket from India at the same time which doesn’t help-but we did win.. Took a while to spot the reverse lurker at 4d. I liked 9a, 4d and 26a. 2.5*/4*.

  26. Paso Doble
    Posted January 26, 2017 at 2:57 pm | Permalink

    Always love a Ray T. Thanks to Ray T and Falcon. A ***/*** from us. Looking forward too seeing everyone tomorrow at the Novotel.

  27. pommers
    Posted January 26, 2017 at 3:26 pm | Permalink

    Not the trickiest RayT but a lot of fun. The backwards lurker took some time to reveal itself even though the answer was pretty obvious. Obviously having a dim day :roll:

    No real favourite but 4d, 8d and the linked clues are all worthy contenders. **/*** from us.

    Ta to RayT and Falcon.

  28. Vancouverbc
    Posted January 26, 2017 at 3:43 pm | Permalink

    Oh dear! Recent puzzles have gone so well but failed to spot the lurker in 4d, missed 9a and stupidly didnt parse 17a properly. However I do enjoy Ray T’s puzzles. Thanks to Falcon for the review which I needed. Our weather is now much better and I noticed Whitehorse in northern BC nearly reached positive temperatures. It was minus 30 a week ago 😩

    • Gazza
      Posted January 26, 2017 at 4:07 pm | Permalink

      Surely, after Tuesday, that should be Greyhorse?

      • shropshirelad
        Posted January 26, 2017 at 4:12 pm | Permalink

        Boom, boom :)

    • Jezza
      Posted January 26, 2017 at 5:16 pm | Permalink

      My house neighbour in Spain is competing next month in the Yukon Arctic Ultra; 430 miles in 13 days on foot, at temperatues that can reach -50 C.

    • Falcon
      Posted January 26, 2017 at 6:22 pm | Permalink

      Did I miss the major land grab when BC expanded its borders by annexing part of the Yukon?

      • Falcon
        Posted January 26, 2017 at 6:25 pm | Permalink

        The reference is to the post from Vancouverbc, not the one from Jezza.

  29. Killer Watts
    Posted January 26, 2017 at 4:03 pm | Permalink

    Excellent fare from the formidable Ray T. I had quite a tussle with much of it, some gentle anagrams helped. ***/**** are my ratings.
    Thanks to Falcon also.

  30. silvanus
    Posted January 26, 2017 at 4:03 pm | Permalink

    The majority of the grid yielded slowly, as is the normal custom for me with RayT backpagers, but it was great fun to piece together.

    Three clues stood out during the solve, 20d (my last one in), 18d and 19d.

    Interesting to note Brian’s Damascene conversion to liking alternate Thursday puzzles seems to be at the expense unfortunately of Jay on Wednesdays!

    Many thanks to Mr. Terrell and to Falcon.

    • Kath
      Posted January 26, 2017 at 6:24 pm | Permalink

      Yes – interesting to note Brian’s conversion – not sure that he’s ever really got along too well with Jay though . . .

  31. shropshirelad
    Posted January 26, 2017 at 4:05 pm | Permalink

    Definitely not the trickiest Ray T puzzle but a very enjoyable solve nonetheless. Over the past month or so, I have taken to looking at certain indicators in a different manner – as ‘blocking, describing, to go etc’ seem to be getting used like the term ‘without’. Not sure whether I like it or not yet – but that’s just me I suppose.

    I certainly do enjoy the initialisation clues that, as Falcon has already mentioned, seem to becoming a trademark of our setter. I haven’t seen him produce a ‘duff’ one yet and it’s good that he keeps us on our toes. I will go with 23a as my favourite of the day as the surface is smooth, makes sense and contains no surplus words or concatenation.

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

    I hope to see quite a few of you over the coming weekend and for those not attending – I hope you also have a good one. If you want peace and quiet tomorrow – avoid the 10:54 to Euston from Birmingham New Street :)

    • jean-luc cheval
      Posted January 26, 2017 at 4:39 pm | Permalink

      And the 14.45 British Airways Marseille to Heathrow.

  32. LetterboxRoy
    Posted January 26, 2017 at 4:14 pm | Permalink

    Right on wavelength today – very straightforward but still enjoyable. */*** for me.
    Thanks to Mr T and to Falcon.

  33. jean-luc cheval
    Posted January 26, 2017 at 4:36 pm | Permalink

    Glad I wasn’t the only one taking ages to spot the lurker in 4d. And, as Brian, only needed to check the astronomer in 17a after giving Mr Google more info as there seems to be a lot of Lowells around.
    What happened to Vince in 26a? Has he just become a plain guy? Miss him.
    Favourite has to be 18d.
    Thanks to RayT and to Falcon.
    Jean-Loo.

    • shropshirelad
      Posted January 26, 2017 at 5:05 pm | Permalink

      Hi Jean Toilet – some people who are not in the know will wonder if we’re both mad :)

    • Aunty Marge
      Posted January 26, 2017 at 6:21 pm | Permalink

      Got there in the end but had to have help with the astronomer. My knowledge of astronomers is limited to Galileo Copernicus Sir Bernard Lovell (so close) and the telly/book guy ..Carl sagan?????? Who knows ….but what i do know now is another astronomer who is American.

      One thing that puzzles me(ha ha) after all these years of lurking on this site – is – how do you know who’s set teh crossword?

      (I usually do mine online – so much easier to erase mistakes!)

      • Aunty Marge
        Posted January 26, 2017 at 6:24 pm | Permalink

        Sorry didn’t mean to post this here – not up to much on the techy front (ask Dave – or rather don’t – the truth is too painful)

        Anyway the cable does not refer to Vince but to a guy rope – i found this a bit tricky too – took me quite a while to make sense of it

      • Falcon
        Posted January 26, 2017 at 6:36 pm | Permalink

        The answer to your query about setters can be found in entry #28 in the FAQ.

  34. Merusa
    Posted January 26, 2017 at 4:48 pm | Permalink

    I finished this one so seriously doubted it was RayT, or maybe I’m just getting on wavelength? Full disclosure, I did need my electronic gizmo to get 12a – why? I have no idea, it’s easy enough when you know the answer.
    Lots to like here, 20a, 26a and 4d are worth honourable mention, but fave was 18d.
    Thanks to RayT, and to Falcon for his review.
    I do note that Brian also loved it, maybe he’s getting on wavelength as well.

  35. Omar
    Posted January 26, 2017 at 5:15 pm | Permalink

    The astronomer was (for me) obscure (ie had never heard of him) detracting form the enjoyment…..otherwise tough but do-able with some v clever clues esp the reverse lurker….***/**

  36. Ora Meringue
    Posted January 26, 2017 at 5:40 pm | Permalink

    Looks like I’m the only one here who couldn’t do this crossword for toffee and didn’t enjoy it.
    Definitely not on the same wavelength today and struggling to agree with some of the definitions.
    Fingers crossed for tomorrow.

    Thanks to Falcon .

  37. Posted January 26, 2017 at 6:14 pm | Permalink

    I didn’t think I’d left enough time for a RayT this morning, especially when I made a sluggish start, so I was pleasantly surprised to find it all fit snugly into the space available. As enjoyable and satisfying as ever. I won’t mention favourites as there are multiples.

    Many thanks to Falcon and RayT.

  38. Jaylegs
    Posted January 26, 2017 at 6:20 pm | Permalink

    Phew! Finished well before lights out 😊 Very enjoyable ***/*** Thanks to Falcon and to Ray T.Favourites 13d & 18d 🏆

  39. Aunty Marge
    Posted January 26, 2017 at 6:20 pm | Permalink

    Got there in the end but had to have help with the astronomer. My knowledge of astronomers is limited to Galileo Copernicus Sir Bernard Lovell (so close) and the telly/book guy ..Carl sagan?????? Who knows ….but what i do know now is another astronomer who is American.

    One thing that puzzles me(ha ha) after all these years of lurking on this site – is – how do you know who’s set teh crossword?

    (I usually do mine online – so much easier to erase mistakes!)

    • Miffypops
      Posted January 26, 2017 at 6:24 pm | Permalink

      Frequently Asked Questions at the top right f the page Auntie Marge

      • Miffypops
        Posted January 26, 2017 at 6:26 pm | Permalink

        Frequently asked questions at the top of the page Auntie Marge. No 28

        • Aunty Marge
          Posted January 26, 2017 at 6:27 pm | Permalink

          Ooh ta

  40. Aunty Marge
    Posted January 26, 2017 at 6:25 pm | Permalink

    Ps i love my avatar – that’s me down to a T – esp first thing in the morning when grumpy does not really come close

  41. Kath
    Posted January 26, 2017 at 6:37 pm | Permalink

    Just a quick PS before lighting fire, opening a wine bottle etc etc – all the usual preliminaries of a winter evening.
    There have been a couple of comments, Falcon and SL are the ones who spring to mind but I may have missed others, about using the first letters of words in the clue to provide the answer becoming a regular Ray T trademark (hmm – dodgy grammar there I think but I’m sure you all know what I mean).
    I think that this has been a trademark clue of his for some time.
    A while ago (don’t ask me when because I’m not clever enough to know how to go back through everything to find out) one of his which I remember was, “It’s tiny – hardly obscuring naked glutes to begin with” (7). Huge apologies if that’s not quite right.

    • Falcon
      Posted January 26, 2017 at 8:01 pm | Permalink

      Kath,

      You are correct in observing that RayT has been using the initialism style of clue long enough for it to be a long established part of his repertoire rather than an emerging trademark.

      The clue you reference was in DT 26652 on September 8, 2011 and was;

      20a It’s tiny, hardly obscuring naked glutes initially (5)

      Aside from the numeration, you pretty well hit the nail on the head.

      That is quite an amazing demonstration of recall. Now, was it the clue that stuck in your mind or the accompanying photo of Sacha Baron Cohen.

      • Kath
        Posted January 26, 2017 at 10:57 pm | Permalink

        Honest Guv – it was the clue and so what if I can’t count!
        It also reminded me of a clue that Gazza told me about some time after I remembered the Ray T one.
        Again, apologies if it’s not quite right and anyway I don’t think it was in a DT crossword so we probably can’t check it on here.
        As I remember it it was along the lines of, “Caress a thicker thong” (5)
        If it’s wrong ask Gazza.

        • Gazza
          Posted January 27, 2017 at 8:48 am | Permalink

          That one came from Toughie 416 by Firefly, Kath. The precise wording was: Fondle a thicker thong? (5)

  42. Clueless Chris
    Posted January 26, 2017 at 6:40 pm | Permalink

    Stationary on the blocked A1M and realised I had the paper in the car!
    So (thus!), I’ve had a most enjoyable distraction completing today’s puzzle. 17a was last in, but deduced it after completing all the markers.
    10a made me smile.
    Not sure when they’ll open the road again…

  43. RayT
    Posted January 26, 2017 at 6:51 pm | Permalink

    Evening all. Many thanks to Falcon for the review and to all for your comments. Always much appreciated.

    RayT

    • Jane
      Posted January 26, 2017 at 6:58 pm | Permalink

      Thanks for dropping in, Mr. T – makes a huge difference to us all.

    • shropshirelad
      Posted January 26, 2017 at 7:38 pm | Permalink

      As always – it is much appreciated when the setter pops in to say hello. Are you still not going to answer our Jane’s plea and give her a surprise this weekend?

  44. Bill Woollcott
    Posted January 26, 2017 at 6:59 pm | Permalink

    Am I the only one to have smugly pencilled in Lovell at 17 Ac but not quite knowing why ?

    • Gazza
      Posted January 26, 2017 at 7:55 pm | Permalink

      Welcome to the blog, Bill.

    • Jane
      Posted January 26, 2017 at 8:05 pm | Permalink

      Hi Bill,
      You certainly weren’t the only one – check out the previous comments!

  45. Mcmillibar
    Posted January 26, 2017 at 7:06 pm | Permalink

    Tough for me and the Falcon needed to swoop in with assistance of 9a and 2d. Fave, once I got it was the REKRUL. My rating was 3-4/3 in a v chilly Vegas.

  46. Gwizz
    Posted January 26, 2017 at 7:14 pm | Permalink

    There was nothing too demanding in this crossword. I think I enjoyed it but I certainly wasn’t knocked out by it. Just me I suppose; the overcast skies seem to be gloomier than usual today.
    Anyway 2/3* overall and no real favourite.
    Thanks to RayT and to Facon for the review.

  47. Orphan Annie
    Posted January 26, 2017 at 8:08 pm | Permalink

    Absolutely loved it, only teeny weeny bit of electronic help required with spelling, struggling with eyesight waiting for new glasses which had to be redone as first lot were a disaster. Difficult to choose favourite but 4d well in contention. Thanks to RayT and Falcon. Green with envy wish I could be with you on Saturday.

    • Miffypops
      Posted January 26, 2017 at 8:26 pm | Permalink

      I have just checked. It is a round trip of 576 miles if I pick you up or 180 if I don’t

      I think that’s a sorry then

      • Posted January 26, 2017 at 9:43 pm | Permalink

        I wouldn’t count on making the return journey, Albert. ;)

      • Orphan Annie
        Posted January 26, 2017 at 9:44 pm | Permalink

        587 miles is rather a long walk even for a sprightly lad like you, as I cannot walk 587 inches thanks to my collapsing back we might be a bit late arriving.love OA

  48. BusyLizzie
    Posted January 26, 2017 at 8:13 pm | Permalink

    Always struggle with Ray T puzzles, and today was no different. Got there in the end with Falcon’s help. Afterwards I always wonder what I found difficult, it is always so easy when you read the hints. But enjoy the challenge nonetheless.

  49. hoofityoudonkey
    Posted January 26, 2017 at 8:55 pm | Permalink

    Above my pay grade..a .*** Ray-T is a * too far.
    Had to use a few hints, but enjoyed it anyway.
    Thanjs to all.

    • hoofityoudonkey
      Posted January 26, 2017 at 9:05 pm | Permalink

      Worked out the problem. Loads of reversals, and I’m useless at them

      • Orphan Annie
        Posted January 26, 2017 at 9:48 pm | Permalink

        Keep persevering, I am famous for disappearing to the cupboard under the stairs with at least one big box of tissues every time RayT was mentioned. In the end it came good and he is one of my favourite setters.

  50. Jon_S
    Posted January 26, 2017 at 10:33 pm | Permalink

    I found this a bit of a struggle – about three quarters of the grid went in quickly enough, but the rest took an absolute age. I blame the impromptu DIY that dominated part of the evening.

  51. Tstrummer
    Posted January 27, 2017 at 1:33 am | Permalink

    So here we are at about 1.30am, I’ve just completed a quite enjoyable RayT and it’s time for a quick post, then bed – and Thames Water has decided to dig up the road right outside my bedroom window using jackhammers and diesel generators. Soon I’m expecting these to be interspersed by snatches of the merry road-digger’s song. Sigh.
    On the puzzle front my last one in was 4d and I didn’t see the lurker until parsing time. So the verdict of the South London jury is 3*/3*. Many thanks to Falcon for the blog and weather updates, and to Mr T.
    Have modest and moderate fun later today and don’t worry about me, I’ll be safely wrapped up at work and won’t give you a 15th thought

  52. Jose
    Posted January 27, 2017 at 10:40 am | Permalink

    An average Ray T, so above average compared to most back-pagers, best of the week as usual, a reasonable challenge and an enjoyable solve. 3*/4*.

  53. Heno
    Posted January 27, 2017 at 11:45 am | Permalink

    Thanks to Ray T and to Falcon for the review and hints. I enjoyed this one very much. Found it quite straightforward until I got held up in the NE corner. Got there in the end. I was amazed when I spotted the backwards lurker in 4d. Last in was 5d. I liked 20a, that made me laugh, but favourite was 19d. Was 3*/4* for me.