DT 28478 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 28478

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 28478

Hints and tips by pommers

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ****

Morning all and welcome to another RayThursday.  It was a game of two halves for me.  I went through the across clues and only got four of them so I thought I might be in for a fair old struggle.  Then I went through the downs and got all but three so with all those checkers in place the puzzle just sort of rolled over and wanted its tummy tickled.  It was a bit of fun while it lasted but I’m sure some of you will have had a different experience.

It’s a typical RayT in many ways, a couple of lurkers, an initial letters clue, some Sun models, an excited girlie  and Her Majesty showing up but it’s got more than the usual number of anagrams. I make it six clues involving an anagram in one way or another which I know will please some of you. 

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.


7a           A penetrating despair about the next world? (8)
PARADISE:  Insert (penetrating) the A from the clue into an anagram (about) of DESPAIR.  This was one of the four that I got on first pass.

9a           Independent contract with Sun models (6)
IDEALS:  Nothing to do with topless girls (shame) but models as in things to look up to or follow.  Start with I(ndependant) then a contract and finally S(un).

10a         Hard going by single file (4)
HONE:  H(ard) followed by single as in less than two.

11a         Refraining from need to carry can (10)
ABSTINENCE:  A need or lack with a can inserted (to carry).

12a         Seed finally winning serves taking new balls (6)
DANCES:  Start with a D (seeD finally) followed by some winning serves in tennis and insert (taking) an N(ew).  Nicely topical in view of what’s going on in SW19.

14a         About time to reverse having runs on banks (8)
TERRACES:  Start with one of the usual two letters for about and a T(ime).  Reverse these as instructed by the clue and follow with a word for runs or running competitions.

15a         Amercian wrench never releases odd items (6)
YANKEE:  The first word should, of course, be AMERICAN.  Start with a wrench or pull and follow with the even letters (releases odd items) from nEvEr and you’ll get your Amercian who might be a New York baseball player.

17a         Empty emotion in Sin City in Italy (6)
VENICE:  Take out (empty) all the middle letters from E(motio)N and insert (in) what’s left into a sin to get the City in Italy with all the canals.

20a         Telling lie going back into clink (8)
RELATING:  A word for a lie, not fib but the other one (4), is reversed and inserted (going back into) a word for a clink as in a sound.

22a         Country is able to plug middle of dam (6)
CANADA:  The country that had its 150th birthday at the start of this month is a word for “is able”, followed by a plug or some publicity and then an A (middle of dAm).

23a         Scream after voice gets altered (10)
VOCIFERATE:  Anagram (gets altered) of AFTER VOICE.

24a         Very last offer for sale (4)
VEND: V(ery) followed by the last of something.

25a         A taste one’s acquired for rodent (6)
AGOUTI: A (from the clue) then a French word for taste and lastly an I (one’s acquired). 

26a         Mad Hatter, heartless even, shows menace (8)
THREATEN:  Anagram (mad) of HATTER followed by the first and last letters (heartless) of EveN.


1d           Wood a swine’s cut into heaps (8)
MAHOGANY:  Start with a word for heaps, as in a lot, and insert (cut into) A (from the clue) and a swine or pig.

2d           Naughty sweetheart proposed? (4)
BADE:  Naughty followed by the middle letter (heart) of swEet.

3d           Very important things, aiding life support initially (6)
VITALS:  The first letters (initially) of the other words in the clue.

4d           Excited girlie wearing fine English lacework (8)
FILIGREE:  Take an anagram (excited) of GIRLIE and around it (wearing) put F(ine) and E(nglish.

5d           Mission leading to manoeuvres round end of battle (10)
DELEGATION:  Anagram (manoeuvres) of LEADING TO around an E (end of battlE).

6d           Start of cool look with revolutionary hat (6)
CLOCHE:  C (start of Cool) followed by the usual two letter look and then crosswordland’s favourite revolutionary.

8d           Some otters at zoo may be artificial (6)
ERSATZ:  A lurker.  It’s lurking in (some) otters at zoo.

13d         Catching criminal before mark promises to pay (10)
CONTAGIOUS:   Catching as a disease might be catching.  Start with one of the usual criminals, then a word for mark or highlight and finally the letters for some promises to pay.  Crossword setters would have a much harder time without these promissory notes!

16d         Rampant great penning dime novel (8)
EPIDEMIC:  Take a word for great, often applied to films starring Charlton Heston, ad insert (penning) and anagram (novel) of DIME.

18d         Hazard sitting butt on needle (8)
ENDANGER:  Start with a word for needle, as in annoy, and before it (sitting . . . on in a down clue) a word for butt as in the finish of something.

19d         Shocked seeing bag has tea inside (6)
AGHAST:  The second lurker is hidden (inside) in bag has tea.

21d         Ample individual getting comeuppance? Pooh! (6)
ENOUGH: A word for an individual is reversed (getting comeuppance in a down clue) and followed by an exclamation of disgust.  Never seen this as a reversal indicator before but I guess it works.

22d         Endless game to capture Queen for so long (6)
CHEERS:  Take crosswordland’s favourite board game and remove the last letter (endless.  The insert (to capture) the usual two letters for Her Majestry.

24d         Reportedly horrible medicine container (4)
VIAL:  This container sounds like (reportedly) a word meaning horrible.

A lot of good stuff but 24a was favourite for its elegant simplicity and I’ve got 6d and 12a joining it on the podium.

Quick crossword pun:    HYMN     +     URGENCY     =     EMERGENCY

61 comments on “DT 28478

  1. Quite enjoyed this Ray T puzzle, but despite looking at ‘Agouti’ for an age, I still couldn’t justify it. So beaten today, but thanks to Mr T and to Pommers. It was nice to be reminded of ‘Cheers’.

  2. 3*/4*. This proved to be a slowish but steady solve and was very enjoyable as ever from Ray T. 12a was my favourite.

    Many thanks to Ray T and to pommers.

  3. Felt that I had a good day today as virtually a R and W, my parsing seemed to be spot on ,can’t really quibble with Pommers **/****.
    Excellent cluing throughout, thanks Mr T, and Pommers for the pics . Never visited 17a,loved the Dirk Bogarde film and the Mahler music- maybe one day.

    1. Like Symphony no 5, but have never seen the film. I might check it out one day now that you’ve jogged the memory.

      1. Try his second and third symphonies. The second in particular will change the way you think about life in general. Magnificent and powerful.

        1. I have the 2nd (Resurrection?) – as I recall it involves an awesome crescendo. The third is now on the shopping list!

    2. Simon Rattle conducted some great Mahler stuff at Warwick Arts Centre some years ago. Perfection

      1. Mahler is a bit heavy for me, us Millwall fans are of a very delicate disposition!!

  4. I only managed to solve 25a because I knew that the French for taste is “gout”. A tool I have never seen before in crosswordland. Nevertheless very enjoyable.

    1. My French isn’t that good so I guessed 25a from -G-U-I and looked up the middle bit.

    2. I think the French phrase “chacon a son gout”(each to his taste) is occasionally used in this country

      1. Think it’s ‘chacun’ which if I turn the clock back 45 years = “each (one)”

  5. For topicality 12a is my COTD in this very enjoyable Ray T puzzle. The rodent apart, which had to be and is a little familiar from the depths of my memory, this was a very solvable crossword with a modicum of effort. So many thanks Ray for the tussle. Thanks too to pommers for the blog. 2*/4*.

  6. Pretty straightforward for a RayT.
    No stretched synonyms and plenty of simple charades to unfold.
    Thanks for the workout and to pommers for the review.

  7. I found this puzzle fairly straightforward but I didn’t know the rodent or the French word so had to look up the latter to get the former.

    Thanks to pommers and RayT **/****

  8. Completed this at a fast canter, but, apologies to Ray T, not very enjoyable as I needed to thumb the LRB quite a lot – **/**.

    Candidates for favourite – 11a, 22a, and 28a – and the winner is 22a – well it would have to be wouldn’t it.

    Thanks to Ray T and pommers.

  9. No difficulties today. I have never come across 23a either in conversation or on the printed page though the adjective is commonplace. Am I right in thinking clink is slang for jail in America? Not that this is relevant to solving or parsing 20a.

      1. Don’t ever take the kids or grandkids to the ‘museum’ there, biggest waste of £7.50 I have ever seen

        1. Thanks Dr B. HYD the Sea City Museum in Southampton was also very pricey for what it offered. Its best feature is its architecture which takes the form of a steam ship and can be seen from the outside without having to pay a penny.

  10. No problems really but took a bit too much time over it. We (or rather I) had heard of the particular rodent in question so was relatively straightforward. **/****
    Thanks to Ray T and pommers.

  11. Fairly straightforward. Well clued. Enjoyable. **/****. Having recently seen a number of 25a at a visit to Yorkshire Wildlife Park that one jumped straight out for me. Apparently they have the sharpest teeth!

  12. I enjoyed this puzzle .
    I pick 12a or 16d as best liked.
    Thanks to pommers and Ray T.

    1. I had “slog” for a long time for 10a. It seemed to make sense if the definition was ” Hard Going”. Nice bit of misdirection.

  13. I agree with 2*, or maybe a little bit more because of the pig’s ear I made of a couple, and 4* for enjoyment.
    It took me ages to untangle 14a – don’t ask me why, it’s not difficult except that I had one, or possibly two, of the R’s as ‘runs’. Dim.
    I also spent too long with 20a – started off thinking ‘clink’ was prison and then realised it wasn’t but moved on to thinking that it was ‘ting’. Dim again.
    Apart from those two I didn’t have too much trouble – even managed to catch the lurkers before they caught me.
    Oh yes – missed the anagram indicator in 7a.
    I’ve never seen ‘comeuppance’ used as a reversal indicator either but agree it works although, to me anyway, it means get what you deserve for bad behaviour – can’t actually find it in BRB.
    Thanks to Ray T and to pommers.
    Stuff to do – houseful at the weekend.

    1. PS – I liked 12 and 25a and 4 and 21d – have yet to decide on a favourite . . .

  14. Really enjoyable ***/****
    Did anyone else think”slog” for 10 across?.(hard going s+log for file).
    Just a thought.
    Bernard Burn.

    1. You’ve lengthened your alias so this needed moderation. Both varieties will work from now on.

    1. Well done Dutch. Thanks to RayT for today’s short but wonderful work out. Thanks to Pommers for the review.

  15. This has to be RayT at his kindest, I actually finished without even one swearword.
    I knew rhe rodent, we’ve had it before and was sure it was right, but for the life of me I couldn’t work out “taste”, never thought of French.
    Fave was 12a, but there were lots of others to like.
    Thanks to RayT, and to pommers for his hints, particularly unravelling 25a.

  16. On the whole I really enjoyed this puzzle but didn’t really understand 10a, why Hone for File, nothing in the BRB about file under the definition of hone. Similarly there is no reference to scream in the BRB for 23a, just speaks loudly which in no way is a scream. All rather sloppy I thought.
    Never heard off Gout before but as I don’t speak French that’s not surprising, I do wish setters would stick to English.
    Shame because the rest wS excellent especially my fav 22d.
    Thx to all.

    1. Verb, hone = file, as in “hone/file a piece of metal”, I would say??

    2. 10a: HIYD has got it right – as verbs, hone = file. 23a: vociferate = bawl, shout loudly or stridently – so scream is another reasonable synonym.

    3. 10a. Just to simply illustrate further, I often hone/sharpen my hedge clippers and hovermower blades using a file, thus hone = file (as verbs).

      1. If you use a file on your clippers, then by definition you are NOT honing them: you are sharpening them. Honing is a completely different process from filing. Filing being done with a file , whilst honing is done with …. a hone! Not synonymous at all

        1. Not so, pycoed! Hone simply means the same as sharpen. If you use a file to sharpen a blade, you are honing or filing the blade to achieve a sharp edge. See under verb synonyms below:


          sharpen (a blade).
          “he was carefully honing the curved blade”
          synonyms: sharpen, make sharper, make sharp, whet, strop, grind, file, put an edge on.
          refine or perfect (something) over a period of time.
          “some of the best players in the world honed their skills playing street football”
          a whetstone, especially one used to sharpen razors.

  17. Definitely at the less difficult end of the RayT spectrum, but all of his usual trademarks were present.

    Like Young Salopian, my favourite, for its topicality, was 12a. A pity that Konta’s run has come to an end, although over the last couple of rounds I had lost count of the number of times she had overhit her opponents’ baseline, so perhaps her good fortune finally ran out.

    The somewhat bizarre mental image conjured up by “artificial otters”, in 8d, reminded me of another disappointing zoo experience when the establishment in question had just one animal, a dog. It was a Shih Tsu ;-)

    Many thanks to Mr Terrell and to Pommers.

    1. Yes, sad about Jo Konta, but it’s just unfortunate that she was up against Venus in the semi. I think that Venus is one of the best, much better than Serena in my opinion. Certainly more graceful!

  18. I usually struggle with a RayT crossword, but not today. A fairly comfortable ride.Favourite clue was 22d.

    Thanks pommers for the review.

  19. I initially thought that 25a is a bit cheeky…Gout = Taste (in French- no indication in the wordplay), but it’s in the BRB, so fair play to Ray-T for that…Sadly that was the only one I could not get.
    Apart from that, an unusual occurrence in that Ray-T and I got on fine. It must be a very easy one!!
    6d was a new definition for me
    4d was a new word for me, but a helpful anagram otherwise I would have been all at sea with that
    22d will go down as favourite as I am off to the 20/20 at the Oval tomorrow where that may be the most used word of the evening.
    Thanks Ray-T and Pommers

  20. **/***. A game of two halves for me also but based on an easy northern half and for me a more difficult southern half. 12a was my favourite as it was topical and misleading. Thanks to Ray T and Pommers for the review.

  21. A very quick comment before we head off to catch our ferry and it looks like it will be sailing.
    Excellent fun as usual. Word count all correct too.
    Thanks RayT and pommers.

    1. We’re on the ferry now. Conditions marginal but at least we are sailing. The next few hours could be “interesting”.

        1. Nearly in the Sounds now. We’ve had much rougher crossings than this one despite all the dire warnings. Now to see how icy the roads are.

  22. A very gentle, but quite enjoyable, puzzle: 1*/3*. 17d was my favourite. Ta to Mr T and Pommers.

  23. I kept telling myself that this couldn’t possibly be a Friday crossword and then I realized that was in fact Thursday. What a relief! Most enjoyable though and my last one in was the lurker at no 19. So that also is my favourite cause it was so well disguised.
    3/3* overall.
    Thanks to RayT, and to Pommers for the review.

  24. And please be aware that 15a is often used as an insult… and has many meanings here in the colonies:

    To foreigners, a Yankee is an American.
    To Americans, a Yankee is a Northerner.
    To Northerners, a Yankee is an Easterner.
    To Easterners, a Yankee is a New Englander.
    To New Englanders, a Yankee is a Vermonter.
    To Vermonters, a Yankee is a Flatlander.
    To Flatlanders, Yankees suck.

    (derivation: somewhere between EB White and Ben & Jerry)

  25. Evening all. Many thanks to pommers for the decryption and to everybody for your comments.


  26. Edging into *** for difficulty over here, but I do get the feeling I’m a little off form at the moment. 25ac I vaguely knew, 23ac I didn’t. Enjoyable as ever from RayT. :-)

  27. Oh well Ray T beat me yet again, although I was encouraged by Pommers comment that he only got 4 of the across clues on his first pass. I got 3 so felt quite good. But I fared not much better on the down clues, and was very thankful for Pommers hints. Loved the yankee definition from Tantalus. Will have to remember the agouti for future use. Hope to do better tomorrow.

  28. This was about average for a Ray T, but still excellent. Just one minor gripe: using “sweetheart” in the clue to trigger E in the answer (2d) is a right old chestnut and becoming rather hackneyed, but most setters still use it pretty often. 3*/4*.

  29. Thanks to Ray T and to Pommers for the review and hints. A very enjoyable puzzle, but quite gentle. Just needed the hints to parse 25a, which was last in. 8d was one of my Dad’s favourite words. My favourite was the topical 12a. Was 2*/4* for me.

  30. My first time here, very nicely laid out ‘how to solve’ without giving away the answers. Thank you!

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