DT 28454 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
View closed comments 

DT 28454

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 28454

Hints and tips by pommers

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

Hola from a warm and sunny Los Alcazáres and welcome to what I’m pretty sure is a RayThursday.  All the signs are there, short clues, initial letters clue, a lurker, a reversed lurker, stretched synonyms and Her Majesty making an appearance but somehow it seemed to lack the usual sparkle so perhaps it’s merely an imitation.  I thought it was a little on the tricky side but that might just be me suffering from last night’s curry and red wine.

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 so don’t click on them unless you really want to see the answer.  Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a           Detective’s set to pen ‘Queen’ monograph (12)
DISSERTATION:  Start with the usual two letter detective, the S from the clue and follow with a word which can mean set as in place or put into position. Into that lot insert (to pen) the usual two letters for the Queen. Here’s a detective just for Kath . . .

8a           Mature of French against passion being rejected (7)
EVOLVED:  Take the French word for OF followed by a single letter meaning against and some passion and reverse it all (being rejected).

9a           Mistake from English sailor capsized in drink (7)
ERRATUM:  Start with E(nglish).  After that you need one of the usual sailors reversed (capsized) and inserted into (in) a drink said to be popular with said sailor.

11a         More vacuous European politician leading bank (7)
EMPTIER:  A charade of E(uropean), two letters for a politician and then a bank, of seats in a theatre perhaps.  A vacuous European politician? Perish the thought!

12a         Artful dodgy videos, done inside (7)
DEVIOUS:  “Done” in this clue has the meaning of socially acceptable or proper – the done thing.  You need the single letter meaning the same and insert it into (inside) an anagram (dodgy) of VIDEOS.  The answer is a good description of the clue. The anagram and answer were pretty clear but it took me a while to figure out where the extra letter came from.

13a         Utensil initially cuts out rubbish, emptying russet? (5)
CORER:  This utensil is the first letters (initially) of the other words in the clue.

14a         Proposed and celebrated embracing bird (9)
NOMINATED:  You need a word for celebrated or famous and insert (embracing) one of the several spellings of a talkative bird.

16a         Small argument facing head’s inflexibility (9)
STIFFNESS:  A charade of S(mall). an argument and a head or cape.

19a         A little cayenne pepper over pasta (5)
PENNE:  A lurker hiding (a little) in cayenne pepper but it’s reversed (over).  Spooky! We’re having a pasta dish flavoured with cayenne pepper for dinner tonight.

21a         Due to receive manuscript leaks (7)
INFORMS:  A phrase (2,3) meaning you’re due something followed by the abbreviation of manuscript.

23a         Woolly from one adjacent catching a cold (7)
INEXACT:  Woolly as in not quite right.  It’s the letter that looks like a number one followed by a word meaning adjacent with A (from the clue) and C(old) inserted (catching).

24a         Rolled back estimate for recount (7)
NARRATE:  Recount a story not the votes in an election.  Take a word which might mean rolled and reverse it (back) and then a word meaning estimate or judge.

25a         A partner with uglier exterior in buff (7)
AMATEUR:  A (from the clue) followed by a sexual partner and then UR (UglieR exterior).  I’m not sure that buff and the answer are strictly synonyms. Surely a buff is an enthusiast or expert but isn’t necessarily the answer.

26a         Care of Bond’s boss, hands Bond opening (12)
COMMENCEMENT:  This is another charade. Start with the abbreviation of Care Of, then James Bond’s boss, then some hands or workers and finally a word meaning bond as in glue or stick together.


1d           Pipette seen in operation for each succeeding doctor (7)
DROPPER:  Start with one of the two letter doctors and follow (succeeding) with the usual operation and a word meaning for each.  Back in the day I used to sell the ones in this picture!

2d           More cunning hoarder keeping vice half hidden (7)
SAVVIER:  Think of a word for a hoarder as in someone who doesn’t throw anything away and insert (keeping) two of the letters from VICE (half hidden).

3d           Nude dancing career involves new stamina (9)
ENDURANCE:  Anagram (dancing) of NUDE followed by a word for career as in move fast with N(ew) inserted (involves).

4d           Daughter’s trailing dainty material (5)
TWEED:  D(aughter) placed after (trailing) a word meaning dainty.

5d           Tory leader, over hard split, prospered (7)
THRIVEN:  Start with a T (Tory leader) then H(ard) followed by an archaic word for split or torn and you’ll get another archaic word for prospered.  The current Tory leader has done anything but prosper recently!

6d           To stop shaking takes second in nudist colony (7)
OUTPOST:  Take an anagram (shaking) of TO STOP and insert (takes) a U (second in nUdist).

7d           Altering course, sniper produces echo (12)
REPERCUSSION:  Anagram (altering) of COURSE SNIPER.

10d         Calamity Jane finally after varmints due to blow (12)
MISADVENTURE:  Anagram (to blow) of VARMINTS DUE with an E (JanE finally) on the end (after).  There you go Jane, your favourite setter has put you in a clue.

15d         Team acts badly protecting single champ (9)
MASTICATE:  Nothing to do with those such as Rafa Nadal but champ as in chew. It’s an anagram (badly) of TEAM ACTS with I (single) inserted (protecting). 

17d         Flames gather over my dead body (7)
INFERNO:  A word meaning gather or understand followed by the actual meaning of the phrase “over my dead body”.  Perhaps a last minute edit was in order after yesterday’s tragic event but unfortunately it might have required a major re-write as the answer seems to be the only word that fits the checkers.

18d         Weapon male provided, raised holding butt (7)
FIREARM:  Start with M(ale) and a two letter word meaning provided and reverse them (raised in a down clue). Into that insert (holding) your butt.

19d         Member of clergy putting counselling service under pressure (7)
PRELATE:  P(ressure) followed (under in a down clue) by the marriage counselling service.

20d         Most local cuisine a restaurant protects (7)
NEAREST:  A lurker.  It’s hidden in (protects) cuisine a restaurant.

22d         Back  authoritarian (5)
STERN:  Double definition.

Not so much blue this week.  My favourite was 19a with the dancing nude and Bond’s boss on the podium.

Quick crossword pun:     HYMN    +    URGENCY    =    EMERGENCY


50 comments on “DT 28454

  1. 2.5*/4*. Great stuff from Ray T with all his usual trademarks.

    Lots of candidates for favourite with 17d taking first place (in spite of its very unfortunate timing) closely followed by 21a & 26a.

    Many thanks to Ray T and to pommers.

  2. Not my cup of tea , I agree it lacked sparkle .Thanks for explaining 17 and 26 because even though the answers were obvious I couldn’t quite see the whole clue particularly the ” no ” in inferno . Liked 2d and 25a **/***/** .Thanks to setter and pommers .

  3. P. 25a: Not only is buff not “strictly a synonym” of the answer, it’s more of an antonym – isn’t it? I’ve checked in the LRB and SOED but my BRB is at home, so I’ll delay any definitive comment (after all, it is a Ray T and he’s rarely wrong).

    1. The first definition of the answer to 25a in my BRB is “enthusiast” which is also one of the definitions of “buff”.

      1. Thanks for that, RD. I suppose you’d have to get up very early in the morning to get one over on Ray T!

    2. In Collins they don’t come up as synonyms either way round.

      However, buff is defined as “an expert on or devotee of a given subject” and definition four of amateur is “a person who is fond of or admires something” so it sort of works. Just RayT’s normal stretching of things.

      Strangely def three of amateur is “a person unskilled in or having only a superficial knowledge of a subject or activity” so it is also an antonym. :unsure:

  4. Sitting waiting for repair work on my chariot, this one provided welcome entertainment. No problems with the last one in being 26a and laurel leaves hung around 17d.
    Garage man says the unpleasant pong that builds up with aircon can be fixed with a liquid product which cleans and de-pongs in about 30 mins. We shall see.

  5. Must be a wavelength thing but I found this pretty straightforward although 26a held me up as I’d convinced myself it began with ‘m’ and ended in ‘vent’. Clever clue and gets my vote for COTD.

  6. No pain today but precious little to amuse. Failed to parse done=u in 12a. 13a Fav once I twigged significance of Russet. NW last to fall. Thank you RayT and pommers.

  7. Best solve of the week so far for me, going for a ***/****.
    Some nicely misleading clues like 23a and 15d added to the enjoyment., in fact excellent cluing throughout.
    Favourite 1d which took a while to unravel and Pommers excuse for the 4d pic-sounds like a plea by the defence!

  8. Exactly as Dr Bob with same COTD.
    5d with Tory leader & hard split is clearly Brexit inspired. Unfortunately our Prime Minister appeared anything but.
    Thanks to Ray T and pommers for review. To the Thursday reviewers all, thanks for giving me the key to solving (and enjoying) Ray T.

  9. Not the best from RayT but then again I made a slight hash of NW corner, still I found it quite taxing. Never heard of 5d although after some deliberation and much doodling thrashed it out.
    Off to Pompey this weekend for a reunion so hangovers aweigh.
    Thanks to Pommers and RayT.

  10. **/*** – very enjoyable, and completed at a canter, although I needed to wait for pommers hints to understand the parsing of 26a and 17d.

    Not sure about the setter, I think there might be a Ray T impersonator on the setting team.

    Favourite 1a.

    Thanks to the setter and pommers.

  11. Well I found it as sparkly as usual, despite being somewhat hot and bothered.

    Found N harder than S, but had more fun in the latter. So what of my professing to like 16a? :unsure:

    My favourite, while agreeing about the timing, is 17d.

    I smiled at Jane’s namecheck in 10d. I thought 16a clever and liked the champ (15d).

    Many thanks to RayT for the ray of sunshine which can be enjoyed without any need for sunglasses or sunscreen, and to pommers for the good work of analysis and commentary.

  12. Well, I was hoping for something a little – but not too much – more difficult than Tuesday’s and Wednesday’s, and this was it! Needed the blog to explain the extra letter in 12a (forgot about the ‘u / non-u’ thing). Enjoyable, if not as amusing as some Ray T puzzles, though it must be hard to keep that up all the time. Ta to all.

  13. I found this quite tricky but got there in the end so ***/**. What irritates me though is the random use of initials of words like H in 5d ans S in 16a. Anybody got a view on this? Thanks for the review but i only needed one hint.

    1. Most of the setters use standard single letter abbreviations, can’t see what’s wrong with that.

    2. Heno’s quite correct and you just need to remember them. These two are fine as S comes from Small in clothes sizing and H from Hard in the grading of a pencil lead.

    3. I have no problem with this sort of thing. If it were not for devices like these there would not be such a thing as a cryptic sentence. Of course, they can be quite hard to spot and provide some lovely surfaces.

  14. Thanks to Ray T and to Pommers for the review and hints. I thoroughly enjoyed this one, I took my time, and it gradually fell into place. The right hand side was completed first, followed by the SW & NW corners. Last in was 2d. I thought 13a was very clever, but my favourite was 1d. Was 3*/4* for me.

  15. A steady solve .5d is a bit surprising , I had thrived until it just didn’t fit.
    2d is my favourite.
    Thanks pommers and RayT.

  16. Hm! how extraordinary. I found yesterdays difficult. Today a walk in the park. However I needed the explanations for 17d and 26a. Clearly RayT suits my way of thinking. Thanks to Pommers for the review.
    Off to sunny Wales tomorrow to sample the brews and catch up with old friends from Oz and other parts of the UK. We have a week together so most of the Ales will be tried, not forgetting a bottle of sherry for the ladies.

  17. Pax! I couldn’t complete this one, just can’t consistently get on RayT’s wavelength.
    The left-hand side went in a treat, but had too many holes on the right. I found I was using the gizmo far too much and that’s no fun.
    Like Una, I had “thrived” in 5d, past tense as in “prospered”. I forgot about “relate” in 19d.
    I liked 26a, but fave is 12a – miracle, remembered “u” for “done”.
    Thanks to RayT, and much gratefulness to pommers for helping to complete this.

  18. Usual tricky Ray T challenge which took two sittings to complete. Still don’t agree that Buff is a synonym for Amateur, not in my copy of the BRB and understanding the U in 12a needed the hint.
    Don’t think I will ever enjoy a Ray T puzzle but I am learning to do them. They are a bit like toothache, painful but a relief when they are over.
    Thx to all

  19. Not a great fan of Ray T but knew it was him as soon as an initial read through only produced two answers 😩 Still I did manage to finish with a couple of “write ins” ***/*** Still it was a proper Thursday puzzle 😬 Favourite 26a with 9a close behind Thanks to Pommers for the blog and to Ray T for bringing me down to earth! 😉 Had not come across 5d before (that I remember) 🤔

  20. Agree with Toadson – I enjoyed the slightly tougher challenge today which required a good deal of thought to parse.
    Quite a few to like, but top spot goes to 26a – a nice one to unravel. ***/****

    Re 25a – I would expect and amateur enthusiast to know plenty more than your average Joe on a subject, so yes, ‘buff’ is good for me.
    Many thanks to Mr T and to Pommers for the review.

  21. Hate to disagree with you, Pommers, but this one sparkled for me – perhaps just bias or maybe it was the name check!
    I did have a question mark alongside ‘buff’ but it seems to be OK and I was another who took a while to justify the ‘u’ in 12a.

    Thought 13a was cleverly constructed to maintain a plausible definition in the surface read and my other ticks went to 26a along with 17&22d.

    Devotions to Mr. T as always and many thanks for the name check (even though it was doubtless not deliberate!) and thanks to Pommers for the blog – enjoy your pasta tonight.

  22. Only held up by having a ‘d’ at the end of 5d. I quite enjoyed this puzzle. Thank you Pommers, and thank you too RayT. I have been really busy in the garden all day, and it is now wine o’clock. Perhaps a small G&T to start.

  23. A steady solve but this one did not really sparkle for me. Unusual; I normally find Ray T’s puzzles good fun. Perhaps it is just me… 19a was my favourite and 2/3 overall.
    Thanks to Ray T, and to Pommers for the review.

  24. I’m with Jane, I thought this had as much sparkle as normal, and I’m not especially a RayT devotee. The answers needed the customary slow coaxing out, but I found it as rewarding, if not more so, than usual for an alternate Thursday.

    My top three were, in solving order, 26a, 6d and 15d. “Over my dead body” for “no” in 17d, was a clever touch, a pity for it to appear so soon after yesterday’s tragedy as RD and Pommers have rightly mentioned, but such coincidences are not unknown in crosswords.

    Many thanks to Mr. Terrell and to Pommers.

  25. Quite a tussle this afternoon but cracked it in the end. I agree that 17d was outstanding although you would need a heart of stone not to think immediately of the tragic events in Kensington. That aside, this was a hugely enjoyable puzzle and worth the head-scratching. 3*/4* from me overall, with many thanks to Ray T and pommers.

  26. Evening all. Many thanks to pommers for the review and to all who left a comment.


    1. Hi Mr. T – good to ‘see’ you, as ever. It would have been great if you’d even pretended that the name check was for me but, not to worry, you remain my favourite setter!

  27. Just finished this, all on my own-i-o so am purring tonight, after a bad week cross-word wise . Top l.h. corner had me foxed for a time as I didn’t know the word “monograph”, despite toiling over one for my BA many, many decades ago, in that age of hand-writing and typing ; )
    **/**** and thanks again to Ray T

  28. Broadband problems meant that I could access the blog only now. Once again I find myself out of sync with the blog’s ratings. I found this reasonably straightforward and among the several clues I liked were 1a and 26a.

  29. On the easier side for a Thursday, maybe a **, with some time spent working out how to spell 1ac. Who would have known 5d is really a word?

  30. Not a fan of archaic words in clues (5 down) when a perfectly regular word would do (though admittedly make 14a more difficult to provide an answer for).

  31. Very late here – busy day – a bit knackered now but could’t resist doing a Ray T crossword.
    Even allowing for the above I didn’t find it too tricky.
    I was a bit dozy about 1a and 26a – no real excuses for those.
    I admit to starting off with the wrong last letter for 5d – didn’t really concentrate and bunged it in but 14a sorted that out.
    I agree that 17d was really unfortunate timing – a good clue but bad timing – no-one’s fault, least of all Ray T’s.
    I liked 19a (hope you had nice supper tonight, pommers) and 21a and 3 and 19d.
    Thanks to Ray T and to pommers.
    Off to bed – really tired – my car is full of junk that I’ve brought back from Elder Lamb’s house and not looking forward to sorting it all out tomorrow.

  32. Waiting here in Orlando to board the plane back to Gatwick. I’d agree with pommers’ ratings as usual.

    Thanks to RayT and pommers.

    Sad of Florida (long distance relationships are tricky) x

  33. The usual tussle between me and Ray, but I found it a fair and rewarding challenge. So well done to Ray and the spice-loving (curry followed by cayenne pasta?) Pommers 2*/3*

  34. This was about par for a Ray T, but still significantly better than most back-pagers. It was a good challenge with excellent, concise clues – very enjoyable. 3.5*/4*.

Comments are closed.