DT 28430 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 28430

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 28430

Hints and tips by pommers

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

Good morning and welcome to what I’m pretty sure is a RayThursday.  I thought there was some fairly tricksy stuff in this and it just crept into 3* time.  However, there are enough anagrams and a few gimmes to get you started so I think you’ll be OK.  Enjoyable stuff anyway but I bet the usual suspects will complain and the other usual suspects will think it great. You can’t win at this game!

As usual the ones I liked most are in blue.  The definitions are underlined in the clues and the answers are under the “click here” buttons.  Please leave a comment telling us what you thought. You can also add your assessment by selecting from one to five stars at the bottom of the post.


7a           Train routes are endlessly reorganised (8)
EUROSTAR:  An anagram (reorganised) of ROUTES ARE but without the final E (endlessly).  Always nice to get a fairly easy starter.

9a           Catwalk streak interrupted by posh northern women (6)
RUNWAY:  A streak, of light perhaps, has the usual letter for posh, N(orthern) and W(omen) inserted (interrupted by).

10a         Old French artist practically flipped (4)
AGED:  Take the last letter off a French artist (practically) and reverse what’s left (flipped).

11a         Rogue Hollywood guy is relentless (10)
IMPLACABLE:  A charade of a rogue (?) or at least a cheeky child followed by the city where Hollywood is and then a guy as in a guy rope.

12a         Bordeaux can’t lose at rugby, eliminating Toulouse initially (6)
CLARET:  First letters (initially) of the other words in the clue.  Excellent surface reading!

14a         Boozer in a hole, drunk before work (8)
ALEHOUSE:  Anagram (drunk) of A HOLE followed by a word for work or operate.

15a         Most sage in Kew is established (6)
WISEST:  The first of today’s lurkers is lurking (in) in the last three words.

17a         Voyage on board takes off (6)
STRIPS:  A word for a voyage or outing has SS put around it. (On board means in a ship so the voyage is in SS for steam ship).  Don’t think I’ve seen this construct for quite a while.

20a         Following hostilities, blusters for sanctions (8)
WARRANTS:  Start with some hostilities (3) and follow with a word for blusters.

22a         Three quarters welcoming united nation (6)
SWEDEN:  Three points of the compass, you have to guess which ones, are placed around (welcoming) a word meaning united as in married. It don’t help that the word for united has two points of the compass in it!

23a         Conduct dire matins when drunk (10)
ADMINISTER:  Anagram (when drunk) of DIRE MATINS.

24a         Marseille, perhaps too French in retrospect (4)
PORT:  The French word for TOO reversed (in retrospect).  Calais, Cherbourg or Bordeaux would have done just as well.

25a         Jail, or bird, ends with isolation ahead (6)
INTERN:  Jail as a verb.  Take a small seabird and before it (ahead) you need the first and last letters (ends) of IsolatioN.  Here’s one for the ornithologists among you . . . Hitting the water at that speed has gotta hurt!

26a         Excitedly greet men coming out (8)
EMERGENT:  Anagram (excitedly) of GREET MEN.


1d           Pay off a humble abode (8)
BUNGALOW:  Start with a pay off or bribe, then the A from the clue and finally a word which can mean humble and you’ll get a single storey abode.

2d           Spy person taking on M’s successor (4)
BOND:  M is this spy’s boss.  He’s a slang term for a person with N (M’s successor in the alphabet) inserted (taking on).

3d           Close second cheated, reportedly (6)
STRICT: S(econd) followed by some letters which aren’t a word but when pronounced sound like (reportedly) a word meaning cheated or deceived.  Is it fair to use homophones that aren’t real words?  I’m not sure. 

4d           Nice touch of Gold Label isn’t half cut (8)
ORNAMENT:  One of the usual two letter golds followed by a word for label or moniker and then two of the letters from ISN’T (half cut) but you have to guess which ones they are.

5d           Turning against one, getting wind up (10)
ANTAGONISE:  Anagram (turning) of AGAINST ONE.

6d           Soprano is cold-blooded for the audience (6)
CALLAS:  Maria, a famous soprano of the 1950’s, has a surname that just about sounds like (for the audience) a word meaning cold-blooded or heartless.

8d           Beginning to perform in broadcast encore (6)
REPLAY:  P (beginning to Perform) inserted (in) into a word for broadcast.

13d         Taught again to accept school’s head being aloof (10)
RESTRAINED:  S (School’s head) inserted into (to accept) a word meaning taught again.

16d         Feeling excited? That is not heartless (8)
SENTIENT:  A slang word for excited, which I think dates back to the 1960’s and the hippies, is followed by the usual two letters for “that is” and then N(o)T (heartless).

18d         Ushering English Queen into do (8)
STEERING:  E(nglish) and the usual Queen inserted into a word for do as in con.

19d         Plant taken by taste, oddly, for fly (6)
TSETSE:  You need a word for to plant (3) and insert it into TSE, the alternate letters (oddly) of TaStE.

21d         Passionate artist’s over depression (6)
ARDENT:  Reverse (over) the usual artist and follow with a depression.

22d         Dishes out some appetiser vessels (6)
SERVES:  Dishes out your lunch perhaps.  It’s lurking (some) in appetiser vessels.  Hands up those who looked for an anagram (out) of DISHES, d’oh!

24d         Call sweetheart after rift, upset (4)
PAGE:  Start with a reversal (upset) of a rift or space and then an E (swEet heart).

As usual there’s some good stuff but my favourite was 24d with 12a and 7a on the podium.


75 comments on “DT 28430

  1. 2.5*/4*. A mixed bag of difficulty today from Ray T with some clues R&W, some proving very challenging, and others at various points in between those extremes.

    I keep forgetting what Hollywood translates to even though it crops up fairly often, but the penny eventually dropped. I couldn’t fully parse 25a, bunged it in and needed the review to understand the wordplay.

    9a created a very amusing image and gets my vote as favourite.

    Many thanks to Ray T and to pommers.

  2. Quite a bit of head scratching, but very enjoyable, completed at a slow canter – 2.5*/3.5*.

    Favourite 2d.

    Thanks to Ray T and pommers.

  3. I do not complain about RayT puzzles any more. They are what they are and I have learned to handle them even if I do still grunt quite a bit at some of the clues. I usually find them less enjoyable than many other creations by other setters, it is true.

    I was not concerned about homophones such as in 3d – more concerned that the answer to the clue doesn’t mean ‘Close’. But that is typical of RayT.

    1. The answer and CLOSE come up in Collins thesaurus as synonyms of each other under the secondary meaning accurate, exact.

    2. Ray T must use the Small Red Book as one of his reference books because close and the answer are in each other’s listings.

      1. Just because it is in a dictionary does not mean that it is in common usage. But this is RayT all over. I would also argue that Close does not mean Exact or Accurate either. 2.9 is close to 3.0 but hardly exact or accurate.

        Unfortunately, often, presumably, to make crosswords more testing we get these type of synonyms but that is why I also find such puzzles less enjoyable than others. This is totally subjective, I know, and just my opinion and my love of precision, (which also does not mean accuracy)

        1. 3d: Strict = close is fine. Close is given as a definition for strict in the SOED and rigorous is listed as a synonym for both strict and close in the SRB. If a word is listed in the 3 main dictionaries, it is valid for use in a cryptic clue – the fact that it is not in common usage is the fault of the general public, not the dictionary publishers.

          1. No accuracy is not the same as precision. An example – Fred fired 10 arrows at a target and they all grouped closely together at the top of the target. This was very precise shooting as they were all grouped together. They were also very inaccurate as they were not near the centre of the target.

            They are very different.. Precision relates to repeatability whereas accuracy relates to the true value.

            But I am not going to argue semantics further other than to say if the meaning of words broadens it reduces the clarity of communication which is the prime purpose of language.

            1. But you are merely giving subjective opinions. I’m researching dictionaries and thesauri and reporting facts – I’m not voicing any opinions.

        1. You example illustrates my point. Close being near to but not precisely so. Paying close attention to means paying attention but allowing some variance. Paying XXXXX attention to means exactly following the rules. There is a difference is one of magnitude.

  4. In the time I had, I was beaten by a couple today (which is good). Resorted to help in order to see ‘Eurostar’. Liked the bod/bond thing. thanks to all.

    1. Funny – I had trouble with the 7a anagram too. I thought it was just me being stupid and bad at anagrams, so it’s heartening to have you and Jane for company. Thanks!

      1. Count me in with the 7a anagram – the answer is a great way of getting to France but I was looking for a verb. :roll:

  5. Needed clues for a couple and generally found this to be a hard grind . Nothing to get me excited in this . ***/* Thanks to pommers . As you said, you can’t win . ” another man’s meat etc “

  6. Lovely friendly Mr T thank you to him and Pommers

    7a made me smile as under our office travel system, bookings for these trains come under ‘flights’ :scratch:

  7. I think that today’s puzzle was difficult, especially the NE corner.
    Logically worked out the charade for 4d ,but could not equate this with ‘nice touch’-still cant !
    Thanks Pommers for parsing 11a,it was the only logical solution with the checking letters in place-thought it may have had something to do with Mr Gable-never mind. Liked 22a and 6d which you either saw or did not.
    Going for a ***/****.

    1. A “nice touch” added to your mantlepiece might well be a pretty little ornament.

      1. Yes, that’s a good example. The one that came to my mind was a musical ornament: a nice additional touch to a piece.

  8. No prizes for guessing which of the two kinds of suspect I am today – I thought it was great.
    I didn’t get the 7a anagram straightaway – wasn’t thinking of a specific train and my first answer was down at 17a so I was beginning to think it was going to be a tricky one today.
    Not very many anagrams – I think I made it five but maybe I can’t count.
    Like RD I always forget the ‘Hollywood’ that we needed in 11a and, again like RD, I needed the hint to untangle 25a.
    Sorting out 19d took a while too.
    I liked 9 and 24a and 2 and 24d. My favourite was 12a.
    Thanks to Ray T and to pommers.

  9. Another great puzzle from my favourite setter. About half went in easily as pommers has suggested, the anagrams and the gimmies. the remainder were teased slowly out. Just like i like them. Thanks to pommers for the review which i am about to read and thanks to Mr RayT.

  10. For some reason, I wasn’t anticipating a Mr. T today. As soon as the realisation dawned, the whole puzzle became far easier to solve which I guess must prove that we can mentally adjust to a particular setter’s wavelength.
    No problems apart from taking an inordinate amount of time to figure out the train!

    Podium places went to 9,11&24a plus 1&18d.

    Devotions to Mr. T and many thanks to Pommers for a great blog. Yes, those terns hit the water at speed but the real masters are Gannets – an incredible sight to watch. Extra Brownie points to you for putting in a pic of the only REAL James Bond!

  11. Took a long time over this. Needed the blog to fully appreciate the clever charade in 11a. Thanks Pommers.

  12. I would class this as ***/*. I somehow seem to feel that the use of proper names, 7a,2d,6d, isn’t fair. And as others have noted, some of the overall meanings are only found in the small print of the reference books.

    I could see the letters required for the anagram in 7a but neither I nor my electronic “209,000 words plus proper names” solver could find it.

    For some reason I loved 14a. Can’t think why.

    Thanks to Ray T and Pommers.

  13. I found this at the slightly tougher end of Ray’s spectrum today, and had it down as 3*/4* as, although the answers went in quick enough, the parsing of some took a little longer. Many fine clues, but I particularly liked 12a as a rugby nut.

    Thanks to Ray T for an enjoyable workout, and to pommers for an enjoyable set of hints.

  14. I always struggle with a Ray T crossword but I am slowly getting there. I needed help in NE corner.

    Favourite clues were 10 & 24a, and 2d.
    Thanks to pommers for the hints.

  15. A Ray T puzzle, ’nuff said, above my pay grade. Bottom half went in but needed Pommers help for most of top half.

  16. Very tough NE corner for which I needed plenty of help. Didn’t spot the anagram in 5d which would have made life easier. The rest was very enjoyable. Thanks to Ray T and Pommers for the hints.

  17. Got round most of this at a slow trot, before slowing up at the NE, where the excellent hints came in handy.
    Last in was 3d, had to reveal to confirm, and still slightly baffled until reading #4 by Tonto and Pommers.
    Fav 12a, which had me foxed for a while………3*/4* Many thanks to Mr T and Pommers.

  18. I’ve encountered trickier RayT puzzles than this one, but the answers still required the slow coaxing out to which one has become accustomed.

    My two favourites were 15a and 2d. “Sent” as a synonym for excited is one to log for future reference.

    In a puzzle with fewer than the average number of anagrams, it seems very surprising for the setter (or editor) to sanction the same indicator (“drunk”) to be used more than once.

    Many thanks to Mr. Terrell and to Pommers.

  19. Got hung up on the top right-hand corner and had to seek help, but a very enjoyable puzzle.

  20. Truce! A really tricky RayThursday. I had to resort to hints for the NE corner; the only one I got there was 6d.
    Fave was 12a with runner up of 2d.
    Thanks to RayT and to pommers for his help in finishing the battle.

  21. I am unable to get out and get a Telegraph today.
    I have printed off the clues and hints – can anyone give me an idea what the grid is.
    The top line across and the left line down should be enough to enable me to construct it.
    Thanks in anticipation.

    1. You have a mail which, with a bit of luck, contains an image of the grid. Enjoy.

    2. I have to do that fairly regularly; to me it actually adds a nice twist and some extra puzzling fun. Good luck!

    3. If you really want to try this? (B=Black square; W=White square)

      Top line across: (BWBWBWBBBWBWBWB)

      Left line down: (BWBWBWBBBWBWBWB)

      Good Luck!

      1. In the mists of time, I remember Pommers providing the Blog without the grid?

        There ain’t half been some clever bastards on this blog

  22. I didn’t realise it was Ray t again, but that explains a lot. I’m gradually warming to Ray t , instead of grunting in irritation I merely sigh. He’ll never be my favourite setter but as has been said in this blog it is what it is. I finished his puzzle but I needed pommers excellent blog to explain some of the answers I bunged in.

  23. Thanks all.
    I swept through the acrosses on my printout but needed the grid for some of the downs.

      1. You what? Am I being dim or is this something with which my brain does not need to be cluttered? :unsure:

      2. It’s like doing one of Maskarade’s jigsaws. You get all the answers and then find where to put them in the grid.
        I often start solving from the pdf version on my screen and fill the answers in one go on the printed version. Great fun.

  24. An excellent puzzle, except , perhaps, for 3d with an assortment of letters representing a word and, maybe, 22a with all its’ compass points. Despite these, many thanks to RayT for a challenging and enjoyable crossword and to pommers whose hints were most helpful

  25. I found this quite hard, especially in the N, especially especially in the NE. Enjoyed it very much of course. Many thanks to pommers and RayT.

  26. We struggled a bit in the top half where it took us longer to catch the train than it should have, but we picked up speed in the lower half. We must have been through the Chunnel by then. We of course loved it and agree with the ratings.
    Thanks RayT and pommers.

  27. Was on the right wavelength for this one.
    No real hold ups.
    Thanks to RayT and to pommers.

  28. Tackled this in two halves – one a.m. and t’other this evening. The whole was solvable reasonably quickly apart from 7a which held out as did 3d but I do have some reservations about the latter. Fav 6d. All in all a nice challenge. Thank you RayT and Pommers.

  29. Thought this was on the tricky side, with the NW in particular holding out for a long time. 25ac was very nicely done, and was my favourite amongst many good clues.

  30. Evening all. Many thanks to pommers for the decryption and, as always, to all for your comments.


    1. Hi Mr. T – good to have you back in your Thursday slot. 7a is quite a handy mode of transport, should you ever feel the urge to cross the Chanel…………..

  31. Thanks to Ray T and to Pommers for the review and hints. I enjoyed this very much, but found it very tricky. The left hand side was completed without much trouble, then I came to a dead halt. Eventually I whittled them away until I was left with 11a and 3&8d. I needed the hints for all three, and would never have got them without. Favourite was 2d. Was 4*/4* for me.

  32. Not my favourite Ray-T. There seemed lots of anagrams and as I am hopeless at solving anagrams, it was a big struggle. I could not even get 7a (which was apparently easy) with 2 checking letters.
    Thanks to Ray-T and Pommers.

  33. Enjoyed today’s puzzle. I’m too new to this game to recognise the “signatures” of the various setters but thought there were some nice clues including 2d, 12a, 24a and my favourite (although I think I’m alone in this) 25a.

    Not sure I understand the application of practically in 10a – first time I’ve seen this.

    Thanks to pommers and the setter.


    1. bjs. 10a: the use of “practically” means almost, nearly, virtually. As in, if you almost (practically) write down the French painter backwards (flipped) you get (R)AGED. So, you’ve almost got his name backwards but not quite because the last letter is missing.

      1. PS. That should read (S)AGED, of course. I always spell Degas as you pronounce it and wrongly.

  34. My scalp is raw with all the head scratching! It started with the Quickie Pun, which I’m still not sure of and can’t find in the blog today. Am I missing something? For what it’s worth, I enjoy all the setters and their different styles, so thanks to all.

    1. I’ve now added what I think the Quickie pun is. Let me know if you have something better.

    2. The Quickie pun is at the bottom of the hints before the comments start – I didn’t get it either.

    3. I would have put the pun in if I had any idea what it was. As this is RayT, and as a Toughie setter he is Beam, the Ray of Light seems a little egocentric :grin:

    1. Good morning, mamasan. I don’t recognise your name so, if this is your first post, welcome to the best crossword blog in the universe!

      The definition for 4d is “nice touch” not just “nice”. Please see pommers’ reply to comment 8 above for a more detailed explanation.

      1. Thanks for stepping in RD. I’ve been off t’internet all morning while we’ve been connected to the new fibre-optic cable. We now get 50Mbps, YAHOO!!! :yahoo:

  35. Excellent from Ray T! Not his most difficult, but a good challenge and very enjoyable. 3d: Strict = close is quite obscure, but well done to the setter for not choosing a very obvious clue definition. Also, I thought the “indirect” homophone (are they legal?) in this clue was very original/innovative. But one tiny gripe, 24d: the use of “sweetheart” in the clue to trigger E in the answer is becoming pretty hackneyed – I solve 3 or 4 different cryptics every day and this over-used device crops up somewhere at least once a week. By far, the best one of the week, 3*/4*.

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