DT 28526

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 28526

Hints and tips by pommers

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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

Morning all and welcome to RayThursday and a rather violent thunderstorm.  Yep, throwing it down here which is certainly not in this weather forecast https://www.eltiempo.es/almoradi.html .

Anyway, to the puzzle.  I quite enjoyed it but I won’t be at all surprised if some of you complain about stretched synonyms and generally being on a different wavelength. I’ve gone for ** difficulty because I found the left hand side pretty straightforward (*) but the right hand side fairly tricky (***) so on average ** it is. Was it just me or did others find it so as well?

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           Present licence taking in account one’s sweetheart (12)
CHARACTERISE:  Take a word for a license and insert (taking in) the usual two letter abbreviation of account and follow with I’S (ones) and an E (swEet heart).  Isn’t the use of sweetheart to indicate an E getting a bit long in the tooth?

8a           Extravagant old gentleman sent back dish (7)
RISOTTO:  Start with three letters for extravagant or way too much, then O(ld) and finally a form of address for a gentleman and then reverse the lot (sent back).  Apparently it’s because the Romans brought this dish to southern Spain that we now have paella.

9a           Revolutionary artist with brush tip spoils icon collection (7)
TOOLBAR:  Start with the usual artist, then a B (Brush tip) and finally some spoils as in the spoils of war and reverse the lot again (revolutionary) and you’ll get a collection of icons on a computer screen.

11a         Teacher losing last resistance for European student (7)
TRAINEE:  Take a word for a teacher which has two R’s (Resistance) in it and remove the last one and replace it with E(uropean).  For one horrible moment when I had T-A—E I tried to invent the word TEACHEE as someone receiving teaching!

12a         Short-term trendy cut involves energy (7)
INTERIM:  A charade of the usual trendy or fashionable and a word for a cut, of your hair perhaps, has an E(nergy) inserted (involves).

13a         Flash around river reveals fish (5)
BREAM: A flash or ray of light is placed around R(iver).

14a         ‘Relate‘ being bold to break up a heartache? (9)
APPERTAIN:  Bold as in cheeky is placed inside (to break up) A (from the clue) and a heartache or at least an ache.

16a         Nudge holding a balance (9)
REMAINDER: Insert (holding) an A into a nudge or cue and you’ll get a balance as in what’s left over.

19a         Part initially revolving or turning over rapidly (5)
ROTOR: This part, of a helicopter perhaps, does indeed revolve and its also the first letters (initially) of the last five words of the clue.

21a         A torrent going over round grand American falls (7)
NIAGARA:  A (from the clue) and a torrent are reversed (going over) and placed around G(rand) and A(merican).

23a         Use former wife’s intrigue to keep single (7)
EXPLOIT:  The usual former wife and an intrigue have I (single) inserted (to keep).

24a         English Literature First for snob (7)
ELITIST:  The abbreviations of English and Literature are followed by a shorthand way of writing first.

25a         Caught in final leg, rowed briskly (7)
ALLEGRO:  A lurker. The musical term meaning briskly is hidden (caught in) the other three words of the clue.

26a         Excellent time raced before finish in track (12)
TRANSCENDENT:  Start with T(ime) and then a word meaning raced and after that take a word for a track or spoor and insert (in) a word for to finish or the final bit of something.  Easier to solve than explain!


1d           Rogue wearing suit is 21, maybe (7)
CASCADE:  One of the usual rogues is placed inside (wearing) a suit but this suit is a lawsuit and not something you wear.  Not keen on clues that you can’t really solve before solving another.

2d           Best could be one of worst (7)
ANTONYM:  Sort of cryptic definition of the word describing the relationship between the words BEST and WORST.

3d           Terrible idea so far previously mentioned (9)
AFORESAID:  Anagram (terrible) of IDEA SO FAR.

4d           All performers express disapproval on sex being raised (5)
TUTTI:  A three letter word expressing disapproval, not BOO but another one, is followed by a reversal (being raised in a down clue) of the usual euphemism for sex.

5d           Bird identified by crows? (7)
ROOSTER:  Cryptic definition of a bird that crows in the early morning.

6d           Small airline serving part of Russia (7)
SIBERIA:  S(mall) followed by the flag carrier airline of Spain, which merged with British Airways in 2010.

7d           Drunk on pub terrace displaying beer belly? (12)

10d         Earn more until cut changes salary (12)
REMUNERATION:  Anagram (changes) of EARN MORE UNTIL but without the final L (cut).

15d         China working on replica (9)
PORCELAIN:  Anagram (working) of ON REPLICA.

17d         This person fronts a bank, getting richer (7)
MEATIER:  Two letters for “this person” and then the A from the clue and a bank, of seats in a theatre perhaps.

18d         Roman perhaps flipping great penetrating translation of Latin (7)
ITALIAN:  The two letters for great or top quality are reversed (flipping) and inserted into (penetrating) an anagram (translation) of LATIN.

19d         Check Queen record oddly unlisted (7)
REPULSE:  The single letter for Queen followed by an old type of record and then the alternate letters (oddly) of UnLiStEd.

20d         However tense, meditation is the answer (7)
THOUGHT:  A word for however followed by T(ense) gives a meditation

22d         Cheers up endlessly minute garret (5)
ATTIC:  Cheers as in thank you is reversed (up in a down clue) and followed by a word for a minute or short period of time without its last letter endlessly).

Favourite for me was 2d closely followed by 7d, for the mental image it produced, with 20d filling the podium places.  At least it’s stopped raining and the sun’s come out to play

Quick crossword pun:     DEAR     +     LEAD     +     ALLEY     =     DILLY-DALLY



  1. crypticsue
    Posted September 7, 2017 at 11:04 am | Permalink | Reply

    I’ve been trying to send Brian thought waves to say ‘start with the Downs’ but I don’t suppose even if they worked, he’d change his usual view of Mr T Thursdays

    Despite the tricky Acrosses, I’d agree with 2* difficulty

    Sunny here now – we’re promised rain later

    Thanks to Mr T and Mr P

  2. spindrift
    Posted September 7, 2017 at 11:09 am | Permalink | Reply

    taking pommer’s opinion that using “sweetheart” to indicate the letter E is a tad passé then i have the same viewpoint about using the word “fashionable” to indicate the word “in”.
    Good puzzle & review. Thank-you both

  3. Rabbit Dave
    Posted September 7, 2017 at 11:12 am | Permalink | Reply

    2*/4*. Great stuff from Mr T with all his usual hallmarks. 9a was my favourite and last one in, with 2d, 4d & 20d coming into serious consideration.

    Many thanks to Ray T and to pommers.

    • Mary
      Posted September 7, 2017 at 12:26 pm | Permalink | Reply

      9a my last one in RD!!

  4. Angellov
    Posted September 7, 2017 at 11:21 am | Permalink | Reply

    Another pleasurable start to the day – thank you RayT. Thanks also to pommers although I did manage on my Jack Jones apart from stupidly having needed help to identify relevance of 21 in 1d and to parse 5d. South yielded ahead of the North. Several in the frame for Fav including 9a, 2d, 4d and 7d. 👍

  5. Young Salopian
    Posted September 7, 2017 at 11:33 am | Permalink | Reply

    2d was my last one in and my favourite of many quite tricky clues this morning. I am one of those who enjoys a Ray T challenge, and this certainly was one. I will put 3*/4* in the honesty box and give a big thank you to Mr T and to pommers for his review.

  6. SB
    Posted September 7, 2017 at 11:40 am | Permalink | Reply

    I found this very tricky and some clues very tenuous as despite getting the answer it took your excellent review to explain why for some of them. Roll on tomorrow’s!

  7. Attila the Hun
    Posted September 7, 2017 at 11:51 am | Permalink | Reply

    The NW was the last to be filled in, the rest fell quickly into place.

    17a in the small crossword (28,526) was one of those clues with two different spellings for the answer, and the varying letter wasn’t a checking one. If it’s permitted to say, for those who complete the crossword on paper, it’s the noun form. At least the iPad version tells you when the completed puzzle is incorrect, and such “errors” can be identified and addressed. I won’t say “corrected” because the verb form is as correct as the noun form.

  8. Spook
    Posted September 7, 2017 at 11:54 am | Permalink | Reply

    Quite a little brain teaser last one in for me also 9a, pondered over this for some time even going back to Russian icons,triptychs etc etc.
    I try to get the long clues first doesn’t always work but certainly helps.
    Thanks to Pommers and RayT

  9. Hoofityoudonkey
    Posted September 7, 2017 at 12:01 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Today was a success, in that I solved 7 clues, which is 7 more than two weeks ago.
    These remain a total mystery, hopefully Paul in the Guardian will be my usual fall back.
    Thanks Pommers for the hints and Ray for the bamboozement.

    • Miffypops
      Posted September 7, 2017 at 12:32 pm | Permalink | Reply

      I find Paul to be tough but very enjoyable

      • Hoofityoudonkey
        Posted September 7, 2017 at 12:34 pm | Permalink | Reply

        Yes, but much easier than a Ray-T puzzle, hope the holiday is going well. Currently about 36° here in Morocco.

      • crypticsue
        Posted September 7, 2017 at 12:45 pm | Permalink | Reply

        Both of you may have problems today then as the Graun has an Enigmatist (Elgar) themed anniversary special

        • jane
          Posted September 7, 2017 at 1:17 pm | Permalink | Reply

          What a truly terrifying thought!

          • crypticsue
            Posted September 7, 2017 at 1:20 pm | Permalink | Reply

            He’s in the FT as well
            I’m a happy bunny – I wonder if he’ll be this Friday’s Toughie setter too

            • jane
              Posted September 7, 2017 at 1:38 pm | Permalink | Reply

              I suspect that he might well be – must be overdue by now.

              • Posted September 7, 2017 at 5:58 pm | Permalink | Reply

                And so he is.

                • stanXYZ
                  Posted September 7, 2017 at 6:19 pm | Permalink | Reply

                  Yes! Indeed?

                  Elgar – Toughie no 1879?

                • jane
                  Posted September 7, 2017 at 6:27 pm | Permalink | Reply

                  I could be frightfully busy doing something else tomorrow – not quite sure what as yet, but it could take all day.

          • Hoofityoudonkey
            Posted September 7, 2017 at 2:05 pm | Permalink | Reply

            I solved more clues in 10 minutes of Elgar’s puzzle than I did in two hours of Ray-T, it’s a great, themed, crossword

  10. jane
    Posted September 7, 2017 at 12:18 pm | Permalink | Reply

    I suspect that those who struggle with Ray T may well have issues with this one – Brian was uppermost in my mind during this solve!

    Gave myself some trouble by trying to fit an extra ‘r’ into 7d – silly girl, it wasn’t in the fodder – and was slow to get 9a but no other problems to report.

    Whilst I take Pommers’ point about sweetheart, it is one of the trademarks I would be sad to see go – same goes for the mention of the alter ego at 13a and the inclusion of HM.

    Podium places today going to 9a plus 7&20d with many others jostling for places.

    Devotions to Mr T and many thanks to Pommers for the blog.

    • jane
      Posted September 7, 2017 at 12:29 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Forgot to add – the twinkly-eyed leprechaun in the Toughie slot is good fun as well.

      • Rabbit Dave
        Posted September 7, 2017 at 1:03 pm | Permalink | Reply


    • Brian
      Posted September 7, 2017 at 3:36 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Strangely enough I did manage to complete this one with a lot of electronic help but I am still puzzled by 1a. What has Present got to do with Characterise?
      The BRB is no help and Mrs B and I are both at a loss.
      Very difficult as always with a Ray T and very little enjoyment, just a determination not to be beaten.
      For me ***/*
      Thx for the hints.

      • pommers
        Posted September 7, 2017 at 3:53 pm | Permalink | Reply

        Present as in a presentation.

      • Jose
        Posted September 8, 2017 at 11:03 am | Permalink | Reply

        B. Characterise as: present, depict, portray, represent, describe, etc. is fine.

    • Merusa
      Posted September 7, 2017 at 4:49 pm | Permalink | Reply

      But I always add an extra “r” into 7d, what’s more, I always pronounce it thus!

      • Jose
        Posted September 8, 2017 at 11:09 am | Permalink | Reply

        Yes, me too! I still can’t pronounce protRuberance properly, even though I know there’s only two Rs.

  11. Mary
    Posted September 7, 2017 at 12:25 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Hi pommers, must admit a 3* for me, I needed lots of electronic help to finish it and needed your explanation for 22d, just couldn’t see it, I always spell 10 down wrong with the N and M in the wrong place so that didn’t help!! thanks for hints, weather here not great either, its just started raining … again!!!!!

  12. Miffypops
    Posted September 7, 2017 at 12:30 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Another winner from RayT. Solved at a steady pace with lots of amusement. We are now traveling by train from Glasgow to on one of the worlds prettiest rail journeys. Last night I had mussels as a starter and mussels as a main course. More shellfish tonight I hope.

  13. Senf
    Posted September 7, 2017 at 12:30 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Completed at a fast canter, but I have to admit that there was some electronic assistance at the end – **/***.

    I didn’t ‘get’ the ‘icon collection’ part of 9a to start with but I have now groaned loudly as the penny has dropped while composing these notes (before lights out last night).

    I had exactly the same thought as pommers on inventing a new word for 11a, thankfully the checker from 2d ‘saved’ me.

    I think I have to go for the lurker in 25a as my favourite.

    Thanks to Ray T and pommers.

  14. Ora Meringue
    Posted September 7, 2017 at 12:57 pm | Permalink | Reply

    I am definitely getting better at these , if slowly.

    I managed most of the South part, but had to resort to the electronic aid for 1a 14a and 2d…and foolishly missed 5d for ages.

    I feel I am slowly winning, though…and definitely now enjoying RayT more.

    Thanks to the setter and to Pommers.

    Very wet up here in Scotland…cool too.

    • Miffypops
      Posted September 7, 2017 at 1:00 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Wave if you see me

      • Ora Meringue
        Posted September 7, 2017 at 7:33 pm | Permalink | Reply


  15. Jen
    Posted September 7, 2017 at 12:58 pm | Permalink | Reply

    I started at breakfast time and struggled to find even one answer! Things improved rapidly at coffee time and I managed to complete it but could not think why the answer to 1 across was as it is, so very grateful to Pommers and setter.

  16. bonkersconkers
    Posted September 7, 2017 at 1:33 pm | Permalink | Reply

    The bottom half plus up-the-sides went in fairly quickly, but the top sector needed a fair amount of deep thinking on my part! However, the drawing teeth operation was partly due to noise emanating from low-flying aircraft from our neighbours in the U.S. miltary (anyway, that’s my excuse for verging on a **** rating on this one). In a lighter vein – I do believe that 15d has come up recently, thus spotted early on. At the other end of the spectrum,1a is surely a refugee sneaking in from Toughie grade? Nevertheless, the latter has to be the favourite on account of my having eventually cracked this hard-boiled egg without recourse to any form of cheating. Aren’t I clever! Nice puzzle. Nice to see Brian Jones in the hints.

  17. Magichatuk
    Posted September 7, 2017 at 1:37 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Very enjoyable if a bit of a struggle at times. A few too many insertion type clues for my taste.

    Have to say 7d is my stand out clue for weeks – brilliant. Hats off to the setter for that one.

    Thanks to Pommers for the clues today as I did need a couple of them.

  18. ejl
    Posted September 7, 2017 at 1:50 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Brian is not the only one to dislike Ray T crosswords, although i managed 3/4 of this without any help i don’t think i would ever have got 1ac. Thank you Pommers for the hints

  19. PLR
    Posted September 7, 2017 at 2:00 pm | Permalink | Reply

    I agree with Pommers’ rating of this crossword and like RD 9d was both my favourite clue and the last one in. I also liked 8a and 2d.

  20. Dr M
    Posted September 7, 2017 at 2:38 pm | Permalink | Reply

    A typical. Ray t production which was entertaining, especially performed in conjunction with the test match. Always find his puzzles easier for some reason whilst multi-tasking!

  21. Jezza
    Posted September 7, 2017 at 2:56 pm | Permalink | Reply

    I just crept into 3* time on the clock with this one, but 4* for enjoyment factor.
    Favourite clue for me was 9a.

    Many thanks to RayT, and to pommers for the review (and for not sending la tormenta further up the coastline in my direction).

  22. Proper Charlie
    Posted September 7, 2017 at 3:27 pm | Permalink | Reply

    I did finish the puzzle this morning but was most grateful for Pommers’ hints for the parsing of 5d and 22d. Am not ecstatic about 17d’s answer being a synonym for ‘richer’ but no doubt it is there in the all-important Chambers which I haven’t yet got. Enjoyed the eventual doh moment for 9a. Usually the last ones in are the most enjoyable but that didn’t apply for me today. Favourites were 9a, 14a and 7d.
    Following Irma’s progress is proving a worrying distraction – those poor people and animals.

  23. Gwizz
    Posted September 7, 2017 at 3:41 pm | Permalink | Reply

    I had to struggle a bit before this one finally came together. I just wasn’t in tune today I guess. Anyway I eventually finished with 7d and 23a being the standout clues for me. Favourite is the former. 3/3* overall.
    Thanks to Ray T, and to pommers for the review

  24. silvanus
    Posted September 7, 2017 at 4:24 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Extremely tricky in places, but something would be amiss if alternate Thursdays were anything less!

    I really liked “icon collection” in 9a, although my two favourite clues today were 5d and 7d, a superb surface as well as an image I suspect everyone has witnessed at one time or another.

    Many thanks to Mr Terrell and to Pommers.

  25. Dr_Bob
    Posted September 7, 2017 at 4:53 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Lovely crossword with some splendid clues. 9a was my stand out favourite. I’ll agree with the **/**** rating.

  26. Merusa
    Posted September 7, 2017 at 5:01 pm | Permalink | Reply

    As is normal, struggled with this, though I did complete more than I usually do; I only had four unsolved, 1a was one of them. Had to use gizmo far too much.
    Outstanding Fave was 9a, but I liked 7d as well.
    Thanks for RayT, and mucho gracias to pommers for his help completing.

  27. Posted September 7, 2017 at 5:10 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Thursday’s cryptic always seems to be on a different wave length to me. I always think it is by someone different.

    • Posted September 7, 2017 at 6:03 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Welcome to the blog, Veronica.

    • Miffypops
      Posted September 7, 2017 at 6:16 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Hi Veronica. Click on the FAQ banner at the top of the page to see who the daily setters are. This a RayT Rat Terrell puzzle. Always tricksy

  28. Florence
    Posted September 7, 2017 at 5:17 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Struggled with this one on and off all day. 22d was the last one in. Thanks RayT and Pommers.

  29. Posted September 7, 2017 at 5:45 pm | Permalink | Reply

    I thought this to be above average difficulty – well, it seemed to take me longer than usual anyway, though it’s hard to say as I solved it al fresco while surveying the local wildlife. I do agree with the enjoyment rating given by pommers. My last in by some margin were the long ones across the top and bottom. My favourite is 9a, with 5d coming second.

    Thanks to RayT and pommers.

  30. Jaylegs
    Posted September 7, 2017 at 6:34 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Sorry but I did not enjoy this but managed with assistance i.e. 🍺🍺 to complete it hurrah 🤗 ****/** I did not rate the phrase in the Quicky either 🙁 Favourites 11 & 12a
    Thanks to Ray T 😬 And to Pommers for his explaining!

  31. RayT
    Posted September 7, 2017 at 6:57 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Evening all. Many thanks to pommers for the decryption and, of course, to everybody else for your observations.


    • jane
      Posted September 7, 2017 at 7:05 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Good evening, Mr T. Great puzzle today – many thanks.

  32. BusyLizzie
    Posted September 7, 2017 at 7:18 pm | Permalink | Reply

    A strong ***/* for me today. I did do better with the down clues, but needed the hints on too many overall to be an enjoyable exercise. Didn’t like 1a at all, I did think of present = gift before I thought of present = display, and Thesaurus didn’t suggest characterise either. Too many stretched clues for me, but then I might just be too tired and ratty from another day of getting ready for the b….. Hurricane.

  33. 2Kiwis
    Posted September 7, 2017 at 7:38 pm | Permalink | Reply

    9a was also our last answer in and favourite. An enjoyable puzzle to solve and we did once again check the clue word count.
    Thanks RayT and pommers.

  34. Jon_S
    Posted September 7, 2017 at 7:39 pm | Permalink | Reply

    My first across solved was about three quarters of the way down the grid, at which point I thought I was in trouble. From then on progress was steady if undramatic, though, finishing in a low *** time. Last in was 1ac, where I had no idea how it worked, but couldn’t think what else might fit.

  35. Heno
    Posted September 7, 2017 at 8:44 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Thanks to Ray T and to Pommers for the review and hints. I enjoyed this one very much, some parts were tricky. I noticed, as did Jane that Ray T’s alter ego was in 13a, I wonder if it will become a staple like Her Maj? I liked the surface of 25a. My favourite was 5d. Last in was 19d. Took me ages to get 1&26a. Was 2*/4* for me. Great puzzle.

    • jane
      Posted September 7, 2017 at 8:53 pm | Permalink | Reply

      I think he tends to ring the changes between ‘Beam’ and ‘Ray’. I guess it would be rather difficult to clue ‘Terrell’!

      • Heno
        Posted September 10, 2017 at 12:35 am | Permalink | Reply

        Ha ha, yes.

  36. Michael
    Posted September 7, 2017 at 8:51 pm | Permalink | Reply

    I didn’t get any of the across clues on the first pass through, I got a couple of the long anagrams and slowly got into it – a bit of a struggle and some of the answers were a bit obscure but got through it – eventually!

    Off to Lords tomorrow – it looks a bit iffy from the weather point of view but after the second bottle of red I won’t be feeling any pain. My friend has got me into Hospitality so a good time is guaranteed no matter what the weather.

  37. Salty Dog
    Posted September 7, 2017 at 10:14 pm | Permalink | Reply

    This felt quite tough but in the end took only just into 2* time. I liked some clues (9a and 26a) but fail to connect 1a with “present” (even though the answer became obvious once the crosses were in). That said, l enjoyed the tussle. VMTs to Mr T and Pommers.

  38. Shining Wit
    Posted September 7, 2017 at 11:14 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Many thanks for the train journey not being so dismal.
    9a brilliant ,

    • Shining Wit
      Posted September 8, 2017 at 1:45 am | Permalink | Reply

      Sorry scrawled apace. Perhaps someone might correct the poor syntax.

      • Shining Wit
        Posted September 8, 2017 at 1:47 am | Permalink | Reply

        and this too- never start a sentence with a preposition.

  39. Owdman
    Posted September 8, 2017 at 12:07 am | Permalink | Reply

    I’m afraid I’m with Hoofityoudonkey, I’m just not on the same wavelength!

  40. jean-luc cheval
    Posted September 8, 2017 at 12:18 am | Permalink | Reply

    Usual quality from our professeur.
    Apart maybe the use of fronts in a down clue (17d). Would have preferred dominates or something of the sort.
    That’s all I have to say.
    Thanks to RayT and to pommers for the review.

  41. Jerome
    Posted September 8, 2017 at 5:37 am | Permalink | Reply

    I managed to get nicobar for 9a. Certaintly didn’t help with 4 and 5d and consequently 1a.

  42. David Kelly
    Posted September 8, 2017 at 9:40 am | Permalink | Reply

    Finally solved it with quite a lot of electronic help. Even then I needed the blog to explain 26 across😀
    Is there a problem with the comments part? After the post from Kitty, all the comments are vertical single letters. Happens quite often.

    • crypticsue
      Posted September 8, 2017 at 9:56 am | Permalink | Reply

      If you are using a tablet, once the ‘sub-comments’ to a particular comment reach a certain number they do tend to be vertical as there isn’t any more room on the tablet screen for them to appear horizontally as they do on a PC screen

    • David Kelly
      Posted September 8, 2017 at 12:35 pm | Permalink | Reply


  43. Jose
    Posted September 8, 2017 at 10:59 am | Permalink | Reply

    This was about average for a Ray T, but still excellent and above average for the norm. A reasonable challenge with mostly brief, economical clues giving an enjoyable solve. 2.5*/3.5*. As I mentioned the other week, using “sweetheart” in the clue to trigger E or a term of endearment in the answer is becoming very common and getting rather hackneyed (as mentioned by pommers, above). Could Mr K find out from the archive if it’s as frequent as some of us imagine?

    • jane
      Posted September 8, 2017 at 11:10 am | Permalink | Reply

      Given that it’s one of Mr T’s trademarks, it probably appears quite regularly on alternate Thursdays. I’m sure that Mr K can give you an idea of how many other setters have used the device in the recent past but you may have to wait a while – I suspect that he may be a little pre-occupied at the moment!

      • Jose
        Posted September 8, 2017 at 11:18 am | Permalink | Reply

        Why, what’s he up to?

        • jane
          Posted September 8, 2017 at 11:31 am | Permalink | Reply

          Think I’ll leave that question for him – I may be presuming too much anyway!

          • Posted September 9, 2017 at 10:50 am | Permalink | Reply

            I do allow him some time off for good behaviour!

    • Mr Kitty
      Posted September 8, 2017 at 2:17 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Hi, Jose. I’ve investigated your question. The histogram below shows the number of occurrences by year of back-page clues containing the word sweetheart. I haven’t checked that every one is clueing E, but a random sample suggests that most are. I have separated the counts into Thursdays and all other days. We see that in recent years Thursday appearances far outweigh the rest of the week, and also that RayT uses it in about half of his fortnightly puzzles.

      The big “not Thursday” peaks in 2006-2010 are almost all due to sweetheart appearing on a Tuesday, so I wonder if RayT started out setting Tuesday puzzles and then moved to Thursday in 2011? Perhaps one of the site veterans can comment.

      Clicking on the graph should display a larger and more legible version in a new browser window.

      • Gazza
        Posted September 8, 2017 at 2:31 pm | Permalink | Reply

        As someone who used to blog the Tuesday back-pagers I can confirm that in the dim and distant past Ray T and Shamus used to alternate on Tuesdays.

        • Mr Kitty
          Posted September 8, 2017 at 2:37 pm | Permalink | Reply

          Thanks, Gazza, that’s good to know.

      • Mr Kitty
        Posted September 8, 2017 at 2:35 pm | Permalink | Reply

        I want to add that even though the sweetheart device is used several times a year, I don’t object to it. I regard it, the appearance of the Queen, and the initial letter clues as being RayT signing his puzzles. I wish more of our setters would do something like that so we know who we’re thanking for the entertainment.

        • jane
          Posted September 8, 2017 at 2:40 pm | Permalink | Reply

          Amen to that, Mr K. Even the little leprechaun is defaulting on his Irish references these days.

      • Jose
        Posted September 9, 2017 at 11:44 am | Permalink | Reply

        Thank you Mr K, very interesting to see the actual statistics. I don’t seriously object to it either and Ray T is still, by some margin, my favourite back-page setter.

    • LetterboxRoy
      Posted September 8, 2017 at 3:05 pm | Permalink | Reply

      I agree sweetheart is probably over-used, but at least it is a little more imaginative than energy, new, over etc.
      It is near impossible to avoid their usage though, I would imagine.

  44. Kath
    Posted September 9, 2017 at 12:06 am | Permalink | Reply

    Far too late to add much, if anything, to what has already been said.
    I did most of this in the channel tunnel on our way to a couple of days in France, hence the late comment.
    My last answer, and the one that caused real trouble, was 9a and that one was only solved over dinner and wine and, even then, it took me ages to untangle.
    My favourite was the dreaded 9a.
    Thanks to Ray T and to pommers.

    • Kath
      Posted September 9, 2017 at 12:08 am | Permalink | Reply

      PS – I think that ‘sweetheart’ is another of Ray T’s trademarks and I would be quite sorry to see it go.

  45. Gill
    Posted September 9, 2017 at 6:25 am | Permalink | Reply

    Loved the explanations and the fact you can’t see the answer until you really need to. Thank you! This was my first real go at the crossword.

Leave a Reply, but please read the Comment Etiquette (under Comment on the menu) first. If you are asking a question, please check if it is already answered in the FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions).

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *