DT 28382

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 28382

Hints and tips by Falcon

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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

Greetings from Ottawa where we are enduring what hopefully will prove to be the last frigid blast of winter. A day or two ago, we were basking in temperatures in the mid-teens. Today the mercury has plunged with a wind chill factor approaching -30° C.

I notice that yesterday the 2Kiwis were commenting on the upcoming change in time in the UK. Unfortunately, Canada has already changed to Daylight Saving Time which means that until Britain does likewise, we are only four hours behind you rather than the usual five hours — and I get access to the puzzle one hour nearer to midnight than usual. Oh well, things will soon be back to normal.

There is no doubt that today’s puzzle is from RayT. I thought it matched the usual enjoyment level that we have come to expect from his creations but I found it to be a bit on the more difficult side with a handful of clues pushing it into four-star territory. It will be interesting to see how others found it. There were also several cases where I had to look up words to confirm that they really were synonyms — and while I had to concede that they were, a few of them certainly seemed to stretch meanings to the limit.

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

1a   Action for each soldier in army (11)
PERFORMANCE — a preposition denoting for each is followed by a general term for a soldier inside a general term for an armed service

10a   Bare grip holding plug over wireless (5)
RADIO — gRIp stripped of its outer letters (bare) embracing a short commercial notice precedes the abbreviation for a division of play in cricket

11a   Working empty parable into sermon (9)
OPERATIONParablE drained of its interior letters (empty) is placed inside a formal speech, of which a sermon might be an example

12a   Risks limits tackling drive round the bend (9)
ENDANGERS — extremes or limits grasping or tackling a word meaning drive around the bend or make irate

13a   Rock and roll, largely old hat for soldier (5)
SHAKO — a synonym for rock and roll with the final letter removed (largely) followed by O(ld)

14a   In due course catching hot fever (6)
LATHER — a word meaning at some time in the future containing H(ot)

16a   Give up? It could be far worse (8)
FORSWEAR — an anagram (could be) of FAR WORSE

18a   Concrete enclosure containing chamberpot (8)
CORPORAL — a North American pen for horses or cattle encircles a small British chamberpot

20a   Rabble rose and got toffs abruptly guillotined initially (6)
RAGTAG — the initial letters of the six words in the middle of the clue

23a   Follow sign with sweetheart sent to the back (5)
ARISE — the heart of swEet is moved to the back of the first sign of the zodiac

24a   Gold one found inside quiet tomb (9)
MAUSOLEUM — a chemist’s symbol for gold and an adjective denoting one and only are placed inside of a colloquial term meaning silent or not speaking

26a   One cleans material turning round less (9)
LAUNDERER — a reversal (turning) of a word meaning material or tangible is wrapped around a synonym for less (than) or short of

27a   God of sex in reflection — bronze (5)
TITAN — a reversal (in reflection) of a two-letter word for sexual intercourse followed by a verb meaning to darken the skin by basking in the sun

28a   Pugnacious in ring, one chap grabs rope, gutted (11)
BELLIGERENT — a telephone call comes before a Roman one and a bloke holding a disembowelled RopE

Down

2d   Need to get drunk before day is over (5)
ENDED — an anagram (to get drunk) of NEED preceding D(ay)

3d   Stalk fluid snow leopard (7)
FLOUNCE — FL(uid) and the usual cat that so far appears to have avoided suspicion

4d   Little marsupial nourished and covered (6)
ROOFED — a short name for a jumpy Australian beast and a verb denoting having taken in sustenance

5d   Hatred is over and almost dissipated (8)
AVERSION — in this anagram, the indicator is dissipated and the fodder consists of IS OVER plus AN[d] with the final letter removed (almost)

6d   Cold airhead absorbed by the man’s body (7)
CHASSIS — C(old) followed by an idiot or airhead inside a possessive pronoun denoting belonging to the man

7d   Precious peace Liberal shattered embracing Republican (13)
IRREPLACEABLE — an anagram (shattered) of PEACE LIBERAL into which is inserted R(epublican)

8d   Bond afire about plucky M’s successor (8)
LIGAMENT — an adjective meaning on fire or burning surrounds a term meaning having plenty of fighting spirit and the letter following M in the alphabet

9d   Support of United in recent game on ground (13)
ENCOURAGEMENT — an anagram (ground) of RECENT GAME ON into which one must place U(nited)

15d   First of tenors leading Queen without end (8)
TERMINUS — a simple charade of the first letter of Tenors, the regnal cipher of Her Majesty, and a word colloquially meaning without or more formally denoting with the subraction of

17d   Flash artist in Globe — top coverage for Scotsman (8)
BALMORAL — a short period of time and the usual suspicious artist are discovered together in a spherical object

19d   Lover duelling covers behind (7)
OVERDUE — today’s first lurker lies hidden (covers) in the first two words of the clue

21d   One takes up a drug, checking temperature right (7)
ADOPTER — A (from the clue) precedes a colloquial term for a drug (especially one taken or administered illicitly) which is restraining (checking) T(emperature) and all of which is followed by R(ight)

22d   Timbuktu, a region including nomadic people (6)
TUAREG — a nomadic people who usually inhabit the Sahara find themselves instead hiding in the first three words of this clue

25d   Picked public school, one hears (5)
EATEN — a verb meaning consumed food (although, in this case, not very much) sounds like the most popular public school in Crosswordland

As my favourite clue, I will go with 17d and the award for most stubborn clue goes to 21d.


The Quick Crossword pun: sinned+roam=syndrome


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105 Comments

  1. 2Kiwis
    Posted March 23, 2017 at 6:19 am | Permalink

    Yes we agree that this one was quite a lot trickier than RayT has been giving us lately. The two long anagrams in 7d and 9d both put up more of a fight than we expect from anagrams and a couple of definitions, eg 18d had us bead scratching. Good fun as ever from this setter and of course we counted the number of words in the clues to make sure he did not exceed his self-imposed limit of eight.
    Thanks RayT and Falcon.

    • Ian kirk
      Posted March 23, 2017 at 11:15 am | Permalink

      Did not enjoy this one. Clues very obscure and tenuous.

      Ian

      • Posted March 23, 2017 at 12:13 pm | Permalink

        Welcome to the blog Ian

        • Miffypops
          Posted March 23, 2017 at 12:40 pm | Permalink

          Hello from me Ian. RayT at his very best.

      • Baker
        Posted March 23, 2017 at 3:25 pm | Permalink

        Absolutely agree – if people want an obscure crossword, try The Toughie in the middle pages!!

  2. Rabbit Dave
    Posted March 23, 2017 at 9:27 am | Permalink

    5*/3*. Crikey that was tough and it felt as if there were even more (over)stretched synonyms than usual for Ray T. Nevertheless I enjoyed the considerable tussle.

    I had never heard of the pot nor either of the hats before which slowed me down a lot.

    I wonder what Brian will make of this.

    Many thanks to Ray T and to Falcon.

  3. bifield
    Posted March 23, 2017 at 9:35 am | Permalink

    This puzzle pushed me to my limit today,a lot of head scratching before the penny-drop moments. A thoroughly enjoyable solve this morning. Thanks to Ray T and to Falcon for the hints.

    • jean-luc cheval
      Posted March 23, 2017 at 5:19 pm | Permalink

      Good to see you bifield.

  4. JonP
    Posted March 23, 2017 at 10:13 am | Permalink

    I agree that this was at the harder end of the spectrum. It took me a while to get going and the last few clues took a long time to fall.

    Thanks to Falcon and RayT 3.5*/4*

  5. fran
    Posted March 23, 2017 at 10:55 am | Permalink

    What a toughie ? In the wrong place perhaps , but enjoyable nonthetheless , A real wake up call after the offerings over the last few days . Needed hints for 8d , having put in ” salvo = salvation army soldier ” in 13a ; the dance part was sal(sa) I know hardly R &R . So many tricky clues ,so difficult to pick a favourite but 18a, 3d and 17d stood out .Not keen on 25d or too many long anagrams .****/*/***. Thanks to Falcon and Ray T.

  6. Roy Bastin
    Posted March 23, 2017 at 11:15 am | Permalink

    Far beyond my level. I usually enjoy the DT cryptic but not at that level.
    Is he a regular setter? I say he as you use a male name in your piece.

    • Posted March 23, 2017 at 12:18 pm | Permalink

      Welcome to the blog Roy

      Not only is Ray T a regular setter, found here on alternate Thursdays, but he is a favourite of those, including myself, who enjoy a challenge rather than a write-in. Keep trying and I’m sure you will find his puzzles get easier to solve.

    • Miffypops
      Posted March 23, 2017 at 12:44 pm | Permalink

      Hi Roy. This is RayT at his very best. A couple of years ago I used to have a tough time with his puzzles taking an age to solve them. More recently I have seen the light and usually solve in reasonable time. As for today ……

      • LabradorsruleOK
        Posted March 23, 2017 at 1:17 pm | Permalink

        Roy,
        I echo the above. The setter I still find at my limit sometimes. Today was especially tough & I needed the hints to explain a couple of “it can only be that – but why” answers.
        I just kept reading the explanations & things started to become clearer. As MP says persevere is all the 9d I can offer

        • Merusa
          Posted March 23, 2017 at 3:51 pm | Permalink

          Ditto! I wonder if I’ll ever master his puzzles.

  7. Toadson
    Posted March 23, 2017 at 11:39 am | Permalink

    Needed a few hints to finish this in the time I had, but probably the best (and hardest) of the week. A bit of practise at a slightly higher level, if you like. Sweetheart appeared again, and thought 6 and 19d showed typical Tay T humour. There was a VW car called the Tuareg, which Top Gear didn’t think much of, and so referred to it as the ‘toerag’. Well it used to make me laugh anyway. Thanks to all.

    • Toadson
      Posted March 23, 2017 at 5:26 pm | Permalink

      For ‘practise’ read ‘practice’ ??

      • Rabbit Dave
        Posted March 23, 2017 at 5:50 pm | Permalink

        Definitely!
        :good:

        • Toadson
          Posted March 23, 2017 at 6:39 pm | Permalink

          Aha .. I thought you might have spotted that RD!

  8. Wahoo
    Posted March 23, 2017 at 11:49 am | Permalink

    I thought this was excellent. Good range of type of clues. Putting two “empty” the word clues next to each other helped with 10 and 11a. And 26a and 15d were clever alternative synonyms for less/without.

    Had to check the military top, which was my last one in.

    Overall ***/*****. Thanks to Ray T and Falcon for the hints which, obviously, I didn’t need last night!

    Hard to pick a favourite but 6d comes near the top of the list.

    Re time zones. Here our clocks never change so we wait for the Uk movements.

    • Toadson
      Posted March 23, 2017 at 12:24 pm | Permalink

      I drew an arrow linking 10 and 11 too. I wonder if they were put next to each other deliberately?

  9. Kath
    Posted March 23, 2017 at 12:02 pm | Permalink

    I agree that this was trickier than the usual Ray T and I’d say 3*+ a bit for difficulty and 4* for enjoyment.
    I was slow with all four of the long answers round the outside even though two of them were anagrams.
    I don’t think I’ve met the 17d Scottish hat and I’d forgotten the other (13a) hat – might have forgotten the first one too.
    It took me ages to get the right kind of concrete in 18a.
    I do think that it helps to know the trademarks of the setters – not sure I would have got 20a if I hadn’t been on the lookout for one of those.
    I liked 13 and 20a and 8 and 22d. My favourite was 24a.
    Thanks to Ray T and to Falcon.
    Like RD I wonder what Brian will have to say about this one! :unsure:

  10. pete
    Posted March 23, 2017 at 12:03 pm | Permalink

    Way way above my pay grade unfortunately. I couldnt even manage to get half way. For me, this was one of the hardest ive ever encountered for the telegraph. Even with the hints, every clue seemed to be extremely complex. Hoping for something more to my liking tomorrow. I have the greatest respect for Falcon for unravelling this puzzle.

  11. Beaver
    Posted March 23, 2017 at 12:11 pm | Permalink

    All seem to agree that this puzzle had a hint of the toughie about it, I agree that the parsing was ‘challenging ‘ and not for the novice.
    Found myself guessing the solution from the checking letters and then working out why !
    When I tuned in the puzzle steadily unravelled and overall was a ***/**** for me.
    Thanks falcon for the pics, hard to choose a favourite, as I like charades am going for 17d.

  12. Michael
    Posted March 23, 2017 at 12:14 pm | Permalink

    Phew, that was tough – I needed the blog for quite a few – 13a was a new word to me.
    Very tricky!

  13. Spook
    Posted March 23, 2017 at 12:42 pm | Permalink

    What a stinker Nuff said.
    Thanks to Falcon and Ray T.

  14. sabrinastar
    Posted March 23, 2017 at 1:03 pm | Permalink

    Quick Crossword = ‘********’.

    • Miffypops
      Posted March 23, 2017 at 1:58 pm | Permalink

      We might not want to know that.

    • Falcon
      Posted March 23, 2017 at 7:11 pm | Permalink

      Big Dave usually adds the Quickie Pun to my reviews but has not done so today.

      • Posted March 23, 2017 at 8:36 pm | Permalink

        I did try to add it earlier, but you left the post locked – I had to pull rank to get in.

    • Posted March 23, 2017 at 8:38 pm | Permalink

      Please read the Comment Etiquette where you will find as point 7:

      “Don’t discuss other puzzles on the post dedicated to a particular puzzle. It may spoil the enjoyment of those who have yet to tackle the other puzzle.”

  15. Miffypops
    Posted March 23, 2017 at 1:07 pm | Permalink

    A very tough puzzle today which stretched my abilities. I missed the anagram at 16ac. Couldn’t get the sign/sweetheart clue and 9d eluded me completely. Thanks to Falcon for the explanations and more thanks to RayT. You won today but I demand a return bout.

    • Miffypops
      Posted March 23, 2017 at 1:45 pm | Permalink

      9d simple. 8d was the problem.

    • Senf
      Posted March 23, 2017 at 2:26 pm | Permalink

      Ditto. It didn’t help that I put ‘ING’ on the end of 11a, that messed up 9d completely.

      Thanks to Ray T and Falcon – I really wish someone would come up with a plan that does not involve changing the clocks twice a year.

      • Rabbit Dave
        Posted March 23, 2017 at 2:40 pm | Permalink

        There is a letter in today’s DT which says:

        Sir – Next weekend the papers will, yet again, cover the arguments for and against changing the clocks. Why not just reprint articles brought out every six months for aeons past? This would give the writers of such old stories an extra hour in bed.

        :smile:

        • Senf
          Posted March 23, 2017 at 2:57 pm | Permalink

          I have a plan that, in the spring, GMT (or whatever it’s called these days) would be set ahead by 30 minutes and left there.

          Interestingly, here in Manitoba, there is a movement beginning to abandon DST (North American equivalent of BST). Our Western neighbours in Saskatchewan have stayed on ‘Standard’ time forever.

          • Rabbit Dave
            Posted March 23, 2017 at 3:06 pm | Permalink

            Senf, the time designations in the UK are still GMT and BST. When my father-in-law was still alive he always refused to change the clocks in his house until as late as possible on Sunday evening which put him out completely out of sync with the rest of the country for two days a year.
            :wacko:

      • BusyLizzie
        Posted March 23, 2017 at 5:40 pm | Permalink

        They don’t change the clocks in Arizona and they survive.

      • Kath
        Posted March 23, 2017 at 7:43 pm | Permalink

        I don’t change the clock in my car, mainly because I don’t know how to. The only time I tried I changed everything – the language, mph to kilometres per hour, and numerous other things that I can’t remember. I work on the principle that I usually have a rough idea of what hour I’m in and that it’s the minutes that matter and anyway it’ll be right again in a few months. Oh dear.

  16. jane
    Posted March 23, 2017 at 1:30 pm | Permalink

    Phew! I’m glad that others also found this one a tricky little number – I had it down as a ‘Beam with anagrams’.
    Brilliant cluing as always, although I did have a bit of an issue with 25d.
    We’ve seen the 27a god very recently, which was a help, but I did have to check the 13a hat – probably one I’ve managed to forget somewhere along the way.
    Really enjoyed the 16a anagram and my top marks went to 8d.

    Devotions as always to Mr. T and many thanks to Falcon bringing us the review.

  17. Magichatuk
    Posted March 23, 2017 at 1:30 pm | Permalink

    Far too tough for me today.
    I wonder if I will ever get on Ray T’s wavelength? Given this puzzle I very much doubt it.
    Thanks to the help from this excellent site tho, I shall persevere!

    Many thanks for the explanations today. Here’s hoping for a gentler test tomorrow.

  18. LabradorsruleOK
    Posted March 23, 2017 at 1:32 pm | Permalink

    A slap in the face with a wet fish day and to me very much at the edge of my ability. Like MP 23a beat me & needed Falcon’s hint. I am obviously not a hat expert as needed dictionary to confirm 17d and electronic help for 13a.
    It would have been enjoyable if I were a masochist but it stretched me a bit too far. I felt a sense of achievement that I didn’t give up though.
    Thanks to RayT and Falcon for the explanations. I admire anyone who can solve that AND write & illustrate such an insightful blog.

  19. pommers
    Posted March 23, 2017 at 1:46 pm | Permalink

    I agree a tad trickier than usual but for me it is RayT at his best with synonyms really squealing. ***/**** from me with 24a as fav.
    Last in was 6d because i was convinced that if sweetheart is an E then airhead was going to be an A – d’oh!

    Many thanks to RayT and Falcon .

    • jane
      Posted March 23, 2017 at 3:10 pm | Permalink

      Good to know that I wasn’t alone in being fooled by the airhead!

  20. Shropshirebloke
    Posted March 23, 2017 at 1:52 pm | Permalink

    For me this has to be one of the best back page puzzles for quite some while. Plenty to think about without being impossible to solve. It took more time for me to solve than most have recently. Really good fun, with too many favourites to pick just the one. Thanks to RayT et al.

  21. LetterboxRoy
    Posted March 23, 2017 at 2:12 pm | Permalink

    We’ve had easier toughies, very tricky. 15d fave.
    Many thanks to Mr T and to Falcon for the review.

  22. Vancouverbc
    Posted March 23, 2017 at 2:40 pm | Permalink

    *****/****. Lots of head scratching but enjoyable. Not helped by 23a which I’d worked out and then inserted the sign rather than the answer so 19d became a real struggle. I also had to check the synonym in 2d although it had to be correct. Thanks to Ray T and to Falcon for the review and in particular explaining 17d. D’oh!

  23. hoofityoudonkey
    Posted March 23, 2017 at 3:47 pm | Permalink

    I have not looked at it yet, I am now terrified having skimmed the blog.
    Where’s Brian?? Not hanging somewhere after attempting this, I hope…

    • Merusa
      Posted March 23, 2017 at 4:09 pm | Permalink

      I await Brian’s post with bated breath!

    • Senf
      Posted March 23, 2017 at 5:22 pm | Permalink

      With a number of people ‘wondering’ about Brian, five bob says he will be a ‘no show.’

      • jane
        Posted March 23, 2017 at 7:43 pm | Permalink

        Think you’re in debt, Senf!

        • Senf
          Posted March 23, 2017 at 8:57 pm | Permalink

          I will pay up on January 27th, 2018 at you know where!

          • jane
            Posted March 23, 2017 at 10:31 pm | Permalink

            You’re going to make the journey again, Senf? That really is dedication – most impressive.

  24. Merusa
    Posted March 23, 2017 at 4:07 pm | Permalink

    Crikey, that was tough, and I was left three clues light. I didn’t get 18a, 23a and 19d, but the latter I should have solved. Wasn’t it pommers who said, if all else fails, look for a lurker?
    I knew both the hats and the nomad, so those helped a lot. This was a huge slog, and I thought I was beginning to “get” RayT; so disappointed.
    Thanks to RayT, and to Falcon, your unravelling of the SW corner is “bigly” appreciated.

  25. Una
    Posted March 23, 2017 at 4:16 pm | Permalink

    A couple too many obscure military hats and a number of other quibbles.Harder than the Toughie , at least to get started.

    I liked 28a, 20a 14a and 16a.

    With thanks to Ray T and Falcon.

  26. silvanus
    Posted March 23, 2017 at 4:19 pm | Permalink

    The usual slow coaxing out of the answers in common with other alternate Thursdays, although this one took much longer than average, but I still found it immensely rewarding as well as entertaining. The only stretched synonym for which I struggled initially to make a convincing case was “stalk” in 2d, but I eventually found it as an option in the Collins English Thesaurus. Nice to see there our favourite crossword cat – apart from Kitty and Mr. Kitty of course – making yet another appearance.

    My two favourite clues were 8d and 25d. I’m also interested to see if today’s puzzle has tested Brian’s recent conversion to the RayT cause!

    Many thanks to Mr. Terrell and to Falcon.

    • Merusa
      Posted March 23, 2017 at 6:01 pm | Permalink

      See Senf’s post at 23. I fear he may be right. Five Bob? A long time since I heard that.

  27. upthecreek
    Posted March 23, 2017 at 4:35 pm | Permalink

    RayT in fine form as usual. 2 nice long anagrams in 7 and 9 together with the lurkers in 19 and 22 gave me a good start. Favourite was 18 [ long time since we called the pot that] and also liked 1 4 5 6 8 13 17 and 20. 21 took ages after the rest. Thanks to the Master for brightening a pretty dark wet and windy day.

  28. Jaylegs
    Posted March 23, 2017 at 4:44 pm | Permalink

    Sorry I could not solve today’s puzzle 🙁 I have been a fan of the DT back pager for 50+ years and I was completely flummoxed, I admit that I do find Ray T tricky but I can normally have two three left when I look for help 😳 The Toughie is where this crossword belongs! Thanks to Falcon for his hints but there were still some I could not solve even with the hints 🤔

  29. jean-luc cheval
    Posted March 23, 2017 at 5:30 pm | Permalink

    Was on the right wavelength today but needed to write down the anagrams in my usual circles. Had to check the one in 16a as the verb was new to me.
    Almost bunged in “shooter” in 21a until the very RayT clue in 20a was solved.
    Thanks to RayT and to Falcon.

  30. BusyLizzie
    Posted March 23, 2017 at 5:34 pm | Permalink

    Not my cup of tea today. Not helped by anesthetic for out patient procedure this morning. They did warn me not to make any important decisions or sign legal documents today, but they failed to let me know my crossword thinking head would not work properly. Reassured by the tough rating and the fact that a lot of you also struggled today. Something gentler tomorrow I hope.

    • Merusa
      Posted March 23, 2017 at 6:04 pm | Permalink

      Feel better soon. No wonder you had difficulty, the stars were all aligned against you today!

      • BusyLizzie
        Posted March 24, 2017 at 2:09 pm | Permalink

        Thank you Merusa. Back to normal today (Friday)…

  31. Jezza
    Posted March 23, 2017 at 5:44 pm | Permalink

    I thought this was very good. A couple of words that needed checking, but all very gettable from the wordplay.
    2.5*/4* for me. Many thanks to RayT, and to Falcon.

  32. Owdoo
    Posted March 23, 2017 at 6:09 pm | Permalink

    This required two sittings and proved quite a distraction from other tasks during the afternoon, but eventually it was completed.
    On the plus side there were some cleverly hidden lurkers and nice surface readings, and the anagrams were not straightforward but gave lots of checkers once in.
    13a was already on my list of “words i’ve learned from the crossword”. It would have been even better had I remembered it without having to refer to the list!
    I do like a challenge but overall it felt a bit too much like hard work rather than fun. I often find with this setter that when the penny drops on a tricky clue, my reaction is not “oh yes, i see now, how clever”, but instead “really? hmm, well i suppose at a stretch that could work”. There were a few too many of these in this puzzle for my personal preference.
    4*/2* for me.
    Sorry Ray. I guess you can’t please all of the solvers all of the time, but thanks for setting the challenge, and thanks to Falcon for the review.

  33. Ora Meringue
    Posted March 23, 2017 at 6:32 pm | Permalink

    Well above my pay grade.
    Only managed to get a handful of answers.

    Thanks to the setter and to Falcon.

  34. Angellov
    Posted March 23, 2017 at 6:47 pm | Permalink

    I am absolutely not on Ray T’s wavelength today so am still struggling but reassured that others also had problems. I will persevere. 😰

  35. RayT
    Posted March 23, 2017 at 6:54 pm | Permalink

    Evening all. Setter here with thanks to Falcon for the review and to everybody else for your comments.

    RayT

    • jane
      Posted March 23, 2017 at 7:42 pm | Permalink

      Good evening, Mr. T Bet you’re smiling over some of the reactions today!

  36. Falcon
    Posted March 23, 2017 at 7:15 pm | Permalink

    Reviewer here. Been busy today, so haven’t had a chance to join in the discussion. Glad to see that I was not alone in finding the puzzle challenging. However, for me, challenging usually also equates to satisfying.

    • Kath
      Posted March 23, 2017 at 7:50 pm | Permalink

      Yes – I agree.

  37. Organum
    Posted March 23, 2017 at 7:18 pm | Permalink

    It took me a while to get going but – as always with Ray T – it was rewarding and most enjoyable!

  38. Brian
    Posted March 23, 2017 at 7:39 pm | Permalink

    Another excellent crossword, very enjoyable, not easy but worth it.
    For me ***/****
    Thx to all

    • Kath
      Posted March 23, 2017 at 7:55 pm | Permalink

      Brian – I give up – talk about an unexpected comment but well done to you. :good:
      I thought this one was going to have you throwing stuff all over the place.

    • Merusa
      Posted March 23, 2017 at 8:42 pm | Permalink

      I’ve just peeled myself off the floor, now I’ll go and make me a stiff whisky!

      • silvanus
        Posted March 23, 2017 at 9:10 pm | Permalink

        Make it a double and I’ll join you!! Absolutely amazing.

        • Merusa
          Posted March 23, 2017 at 10:01 pm | Permalink

          (Said very quietly: Why do I have this sneaky feeling that he’s taking the Michael?)

    • LetterboxRoy
      Posted March 23, 2017 at 10:23 pm | Permalink

      You are funny! :smile:

  39. hoofityoudonkey
    Posted March 23, 2017 at 7:48 pm | Permalink

    Luckily I have had far too many beers to even contemplate attempting this.
    I shall enjoy going through the hints on the train back to base.

    • hoofityoudonkey
      Posted March 23, 2017 at 8:09 pm | Permalink

      Very enjoyable to go through the hints as it confirms that these sorts of Crosswords are not for the likes of me. Life is too short.
      Thanks for the hints falcon, sorry Ray-T, I usually love your Crosswords, but not today.

  40. Jon_S
    Posted March 23, 2017 at 7:53 pm | Permalink

    A definite **** for difficulty here. All the bits were there, but they were so well disguised, often in plain site, that for too long they passed me by! For the most part no obscurities, just a very well constructed, devious puzzle. Top marks. :-)

  41. John Bee
    Posted March 23, 2017 at 8:00 pm | Permalink

    Wow that was hard! can’t claim to have really done that myself I had to have help on a lot of clues.

    I repeat the respect to Falcon and can only aspire to get good enough to solve this kind of difficulty with all the people here.

    Up to press I,ve only finished the toughie once and it didn’t seem as hard as this but maybe the paper was full of more serious news from Westminster.

    btw I live near York and work on the outskirts I am interested in coming along to the S&B in Oct and look forward to hearing the details nearer the time. hopefully I will be a better solver by then.

  42. Angellov
    Posted March 23, 2017 at 8:42 pm | Permalink

    Gosh I can’t believe I got there but I actually derived little satisfaction or fun en route. Several wrong bung-ins including selfdefence (one word!) in 1a and peoration for 11a. Not too sure about 3d and 25d. Thank you Falcon but only sort of thanks to RayT!

  43. Killer Watts
    Posted March 23, 2017 at 9:07 pm | Permalink

    Toughest back pager in many a month for me. Truthfully, I completed all bar six clues, and would not have managed the others without the hints. Brought me back to earth this did.
    Thanks to Falcon for the hints and,to Ray T, hats off to you, sir.

    *****/**.

  44. Gwizz
    Posted March 23, 2017 at 10:22 pm | Permalink

    Try again….
    Woohoo, that was some crossword! Solving time and synonyms well stretched! Great fun tho’. 4/4* overall and 24a was king for the day.
    Thanks to Ray T, and to Falcon for the review.

  45. Donaldo
    Posted March 23, 2017 at 11:18 pm | Permalink

    Tougher than the last steak I was served in a nearby pub. On a working day I hope to get half an hour to attempt the crossword; this one demanded a lot longer. Some synonyms were oblique, many letters were intertwined like the ivy in my garden. ****difficulty, *enjoyment. I don’t mind being challenged, but I at least want to enjoy the workmanship when I see the answers. This was raspberry ripple ice cream without the raspberry or the cream.

  46. Miffypops
    Posted March 24, 2017 at 12:36 am | Permalink

    Definitely not a PoP or a R&R. What chance did I have with a newly three year old asking “Grandad. How long can a camel hold its breath for?” Me “I don’t know” Grandson. “Is it five minutes”? Me. “Yes I think it is”

  47. mamasan
    Posted March 24, 2017 at 1:33 am | Permalink

    Did not get 18a. What has a corporal got to do with concrete?

    • Tstrummer
      Posted March 24, 2017 at 1:50 am | Permalink

      It’s not A corporal, it’s an overstretched synonym for the adjective corporal, ie: solid

  48. Tstrummer
    Posted March 24, 2017 at 1:48 am | Permalink

    Hmmm. As I may have mentioned, I’m not Ray’s greatest fan, although I’ve warmed to him a bit of late. However, I thought this was a difficult slog with overstretched synonyms and tricky anagrams, which made it hard to get a foothold. I can’t remember the last time a back-pager took so long, and with so little sense of achievement upon arrival. An unpleasant end to another long and difficult day. Sorry Ray, but I’ve had more fun at the dentist. Much respect to Falcon – I wouldn’t like to have been in your shoes. 5*/1*

  49. almo
    Posted March 24, 2017 at 7:50 am | Permalink

    6d – a body is something you put on a chassis, not the chassis itself – very poor clue !!

    • Jose
      Posted March 24, 2017 at 11:17 am | Permalink

      The LRB gives chassis = bodywork, framework, frame, etc. and Collins Online: Chassis (slang) – the body of a person, especially a woman. So, the clue is fine by me.

      • Miffypops
        Posted March 24, 2017 at 11:48 am | Permalink

        Shirley Bassey, The Lassie with the classy chassis

        • Rabbit Dave
          Posted March 24, 2017 at 11:57 am | Permalink

          They don’t make ’em like this any more …

      • almo
        Posted March 24, 2017 at 12:40 pm | Permalink

        Jose – thank you for responding to my gripe ! I still stick by what I said, the illustration showed a chassis awaiting its bodywork. Who or what is the LRB?

        As a comparison, a human body has a chassis – it’s called a skeleton !!

  50. John sime
    Posted March 24, 2017 at 9:05 am | Permalink

    Too difficult for me,for a seasoned player,and not enjoyable. The puzzles should be a joy to solve not a drudge. If they were all like is I can
    would cancel the sub. John

    • Posted March 24, 2017 at 9:36 am | Permalink

      Welcome to the blog John

      The crossword solving community appreciate a wide range of types of puzzle – this setter is a favourite of many, including myself. There are puzzles and setters that I don’t enjoy, but I know that there are those who think they are great. Add up the number of puzzles that you get for a year’s subscription and it’s very good value.

      • Merusa
        Posted March 24, 2017 at 1:05 pm | Permalink

        Well said, BD.

  51. Jose
    Posted March 24, 2017 at 11:09 am | Permalink

    Absolutely excellent from Ray T and best of the week by far (which is normal for one of his). A good challenge, very enjoyable and a feeling of achievement/victory at the end. I had 4 sessions at this, finally cracking it at 11.30pm – you certainly get your money’s worth with a Ray T crossword. I’d be happy with one of these every day. 4*/4.5*.

  52. Ros
    Posted March 24, 2017 at 12:42 pm | Permalink

    What a diabolical crossword! I needed loads of help from your good selves. For me it lacked the sense of satisfaction as each answer goes in because some of the definitions were not just pushing it but were downright wrong. “Flounce” is a showy movement not a furtive “stalk” and how he gets “eaten” out of “picked” I don’t know. This is not honourable!

  53. Heno
    Posted March 24, 2017 at 3:16 pm | Permalink

    Thanks to Ray T and to Falcon for the review and hints. A very nice puzzle, but oh so difficult. Had never heard of the pot or the soldiers hat or the meanings of 8d & 18a. After spending two days on this, I still needed 5 hints to finish. Favourite was 3d. Was 5*/3* for me.

  54. David Kelly
    Posted March 24, 2017 at 4:25 pm | Permalink

    I can normally complete the Crossword sometimes with the help of the blog. However, this was far too difficult and I only filled in 9 answers. I purposely did not look at the blog yesterday because I wanted to check the answers today. Even with the answers I could not understand some of the clues.
    To me a good Crossword should have a mix of difficulty within the clues.

  55. Robin Newman
    Posted March 24, 2017 at 9:05 pm | Permalink

    Found this long on difficulty and short on enjoymenr

    Thanks for the hints

    *****/*

  56. Just Mark
    Posted March 28, 2017 at 12:07 am | Permalink

    This proved too tough for me and I had to get BD to help me out far too many times, but partly due to the use of obscure and probably inaccurate synonyms eg eaten for picked and corporal instead of corporeal for concrete unless the current COED is wrong. The same source agrees with my teaching of many years past that chamber pot is two words, it is the Germans that join all their nouns together. Having said that it is these difficult ones that have taught me how to solve cryptic clues

  57. RayS
    Posted March 29, 2017 at 8:35 am | Permalink

    Very tough for me. %*/4*. Took me until today to finish it. I had to use the blog for 7d – once in, I was able to complete. Good value.