DT 28538 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
View closed comments 

DT 28538

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 28538

Hints and tips by Falcon

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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

Greetings from Ottawa where summer has finally arrived. Temperatures are nudging 30° C and the skies are virtually cloudless. This weather is typical of mid-July, not mid-September. Mind you, I am not complaining but just enjoying it while it lasts.

Today’s puzzle is definitely from RayT. I raced through about half the clues like a hot knife through butter. Just as I was beginning to think that this was going to be something unheard of – a RayT puzzle with a one-star difficulty level, I suddenly struck a brick wall. The remainder of the puzzle demanded intense effort to tease out. As half the puzzle was one star and half was four star, I’ve settled on three stars as an overall rating.

This puzzle is a bit of a milestone for me as I have now been contributing reviews to this site for seven years. While I am not entirely certain how many reviews that adds up to, I would guess that it is in the order of 80-some reviews.

The definitions are underlined in the clues and the answers can be revealed by clicking on the ANSWER buttons (so avoid clicking on them unless you really want to see an answer).

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought of the puzzle.


1a   Postman’s endless list on round (6)
PATROL — your pre-schooler’s favourite postman drags behind him an endless list (not one that goes on forever, but rather one that is truncated prematurely)

Postman Pat

4a   Flag, out of lust and ardour (8)
STANDARD — our first lurker of the day makes an early appearance

9a   Beginning to seem bothered? (6)
SCARED — string together the initial letter of Seem and another term for bother or worry (about); I would say that this is an all-in-one clue in which the entire clue is not only the definition but also the wordplay

10a   Substitutes with obligations to secure record (8)
DEPUTIES — obligations or responsibilities envelop a somewhat brief musical compilation

12a   Style, say, wearing English cut (8)
ELEGANCE — an ancient Roman’s concise way of expressing ‘for example’ dons a charade of E(nglish) and a verb denoting to perform a surgical procedure

13a   Speechless that trendy’s admitted to flash (6)
MINUTE — an adjective meaning speechless or silent welcomes the introduction of a usual suspect for popular or trendy

15a   Terrible ham promises to change (13)
METAMORPHOSIS — an anagram (terrible) of the three words at the centre of the clue


18a   Revolting to-do in France about European Union (13)
CONFEDERATION — an anagram (revolting) of the second, third, and fourth words of the clue incorporating E(uropean); this is the sort of union of which Canada is an example

22a   This compiler’s practically impenetrable? Not true! (6)
MYTHIC — start with the possesive pronoun that the compiler would apply to himself; then append a colloquial term describing one not capable of receiving intellectual ideas from which the final letter has been removed (practically)

24a   Absolute ‘catch’ allowed sweetheart to embrace male (8)
COMPLETE — a concatenation of a word meaning to catch or arrest, a synonym for allowed, and the heart of swEet are wrapped around M(ale)

26a   This dish is wrong, I will answer (8)
TORTILLA — a wrongful act followed by a contracted I WILL and an abbreviated A(nswer)

27a   It’s vital to check explosive fuse (6)
COHERE — the innermost, central, essential or unchanging part surrounds the designation for a H(igh) E(xplosive)

28a   Left  endorsed again? (8)
RESIGNED — a double definition; the first denoting having voluntarily surrendered one’s source of income …

29a   One having punt  improved (6)
BETTER — … is closely followed by another double definition, the first of which denotes one who voluntarily surrenders their pay packet at the race course



1d   Badger exterminator gutlessly follows nuisance (6)
PESTER — the outer letters (gutlessly) of ExterminatoR follow an annoyance or nuisance

2d   Reputation bound to rise about small shopkeeper (9)
TRADESMAN — start with a charade of a synonym for reputation and a word meaning to move energetically; then reverse this (rise in a down clue) and wrap it around S(mall)

3d   Emote too much giving account in public (7)
OVERACT — the abbreviation for AC(count) inside open or public

5d   Terribly winsome, excessively endearing, just for starters (4)
TWEE — the initial letters (starters) of the first four words in the clue; I think the entire clue can be considered to be the definition

6d   Feed rhinos digested, eating stripped cud (7)
NOURISH — an anagram (digested) of RHINOS ingesting cUd after the outer letters have been removed (stripped)

7d   Nice farewell? (5)
ADIEU — how your hostess in Nice (or Paris) is likely to bid you farewell

8d   Husband is persevering holding in spread (8)
DISPERSE — our second lurker is concealed in the first three words of the clue

11d   Holidaymaker under canvas finally getting to frolic (7)
SCAMPER — a holidaymaker follows (under in a down clue) the final letter of canvaS

14d   Duplicity of crooked senator (7)
TREASON — an anagram (crooked) of SENATOR

16d   Most fervent following and support (9)
SINCEREST — a charade of an adverb meaning from that time onwards and a prop or support

17d   Sword wound around one hand, cut (8)
SCIMITAR — the lasting evidence of a wound holding a Roman one and a colloquial term for hand from which the final letter has been removed (cut)

19d   Leaving former wife single can start to grate (7)
EXITING — link together the usual former wife, the Roman one again, a can from the supermarket shelf, and the initial letter of (start to) Grate

20d   Pick up mischievous child on prowl (7)
IMPROVE — a mischievous or annoying child followed by a verb meaning to roam or prowl

21d   Incredibly remote object seen in space (6)
METEOR — an anagram (incredibly) of REMOTE

23d   Times oddly covering Queen titles (5)
TERMS — the odd letters of TiMeS provide shelter for Her Majesty; as the definition, titles is used as a verb in the sense ‘designates’

25d   Run away from sound of insect (4)
FLEE — sounds like a creature that performs under the Big Top – or perhaps Little Top

Flea Circus

RayT’s puzzles are always well-crafted but today I found the surface readings to be exceptional. The two lurkers were very well concealed under smooth surfaces and the initialism was outstanding. I very much liked the two lengthy entries at the heart of the grid and will give a nod to 18a as my clue of the day.

The Quick Crossword pun: war+tough+all=waterfall

70 comments on “DT 28538

  1. 3*/4*. I really enjoyed this and, as Falcon found, a lot of the answers went in quickly but some took a lot of teasing out taking my total time up to 3*. 9a was my last one in and I agree with Falcon’s assessment that this was an “all-in-one”. 18a was also my favourite.

    Many thanks to Ray T and to Falcon.

  2. I got much further than normal (about half way), for a Ray-T (normally I get about 3 answers).
    Much of it is unfathomable at my level of expertise from the wordplay, so done very much like the quick crossword, having tried to guess the definition.
    No favourites, thanks to Falcon, I enjoy going through the hints, and Ray-T, luckily Ray-T always clashes with Paul in the Guardian.

  3. I thought the long anagrams were quite brilliant this morning, and have a tie between 15 and 18a with the latter getting the top accolade. This was certainly a good challenge, with, as Falcon said, the parsing taking longer on occasion that the solving. Overall 3*/4* from me, with many thanks to Ray T and Falcon.

  4. Definitely in **** range for me. I needed help on 12a, 22a & 27a.

    Can we start a campaign to get our scribble area back in the paper version? I understand the benefits of having it sponsored, but when the ad fills the whole space, we’re left with no room to scribble, and I needed a lot of scribble room today!

    Many thanks to Falcon and Ray T.

  5. This was a puzzle of two halves – one 1* difficulty and the other 3.5* difficulty. It ended up taking about 3 times longer to solve than Tuesday’s (which is a good thing, I might add). I love these Ray T puzzles – they’re always a good, and often a significant, challenge. Cryptic crosswords are supposed to make you think long, hard and deeply – you don’t get 80% R + W
    puzzles from this guy. However, we’ve got both “sweetheart” and “queen” again in this one – but I’ll let him off! 3*/4*.

  6. Completed at a canter on a definitely Ray T Thursday. Very enjoyable – 2.5*/3.5*.

    Favourite – 17a.

    Thanks to Ray T and Falcon.

  7. That was tough after the last two days. Managed all bar two (eventually) but …. 22a was impossible once I decided “ME” was the compiler (never mind the possessive) and 27a even with the clue I just couldn’t see till i clicked on the answer. Oh dear! Yet another win for the compiler. Thanks to Falcon for illuminating my darkness and the compiler for making my grey matter earn its bread.

    1. Thanks Dave for giving me the opportunity and especially for your patient coaching as I struggled with a few Briticisms in the early years.

      1. A bit of coaching from me Falcon. Your hint for the anagram at 18ac only uses seven of the thirteen letters needed. You know how I love anagrams. Well done on reaching seven years of blogging. As for your summer, the sun is always shining. Sometimes we just cannot see it. Thanks for your time. MP

  8. A great Ray T crossword – no doubts about the setter today.
    I agree with others who found a fair bit of it reasonably straightforward and then ground to a halt with the last few.
    9a was also my last answer.
    I missed both the lurkers for a ridiculously long time – nothing new there.
    15a was tricky as both the first and last words of the clue could be anagram indicator or definition and it took a while to sort out which was what.
    I liked 24a and 7 and 17d. My favourite was 22a for its almost defensive surface reading!
    With thanks to Ray T and to Falcon – love the pics for 26a and 19d.

  9. I would love to join in the crossword and comments but cannot access the online crossword – I’m in Italy – because of an advert to join Telegraph subscribers. Not a relaxing holiday as it’s so frustrating
    Telegraph Customer Service have not responded.
    Anyone else had this problem?
    Any suggestions?

    1. If you subscribe to a Virtual Private Network (VPN) – (I use Private Internet Access (PIA) which costs around $40 a year (or you could try for a month first for $7) – you can select to access the internet via a London server – I’m pretty certain that will make the Telegraph think you’re in England. I used this while I was in Germany recently. You can reconnect to an Italian server afterwards if necessary. A VPN also has other benefits, it encrypts all your traffic and makes you anonymous to the web.

  10. An enjoyable challenge today; a Ray T crossword that was gentler than usual for sure.
    I liked 15a bestest, and overall 2.5/3.5*
    Thanks to Mr T, and to Falcon for the review.

  11. That was nice to see that old weapon again in 17d. Probably THE obscure chestnut of the century.
    The top left corner was last to yield and couldn’t get “rocketman” out of my head in 2d. That Trump is really something else.
    Fave 22a.
    Thanks to RayT and congratulations to Falcon for all these reviews. But mind the 7 year itch. Hope that you carry on a bit longer.

    1. You’ve no idea how much I appreciate your remarks about Chump. My fear is always that people will get inured to him, we need to keep reminding ourselves how dangerous he is. Sorry Dave, you may now block me.

    2. Ditto to what Merusa says above, except I think a chump is relatively harmless and this guy is positively scary and causing concern for most of us here across the pond.

  12. I agree wholeheartedly with Falcon, a puzzle of 2 halves. Had to have the help of Falcon for half a dozen at the base of the puzzle, very enjoyable nevertheless thank you Ray T and Falcon.

  13. I wasn’t convinced by 9a, but loved the rest.

    Agree that 18a was tops, but 11d and 22a generated bigger smiles.

    My last two in were 27a and 22a.

    Thanks to RayT and Falcon. Congratulations on seven years of BD bloggage!

  14. Got very little after the first pass but the two long anagrams came to my rescue and gradually everything fell into place. Until one of the regular hinters explained it to me recently I did not know what surface meant with reference to clues. If I have understood her right dare I say that most of these clues have smooth surfaces. Thank you Falcon for your sterling work and I hope to be around to felicitate you on the tenth anniversary of your blog.

    1. Thank you PLR

      God willing, we will celebrate that event in three years.

      And, yes, you seem to have grasped the concept of a smooth surface.

  15. I enjoyed this one, but also not convinced by 9a (I left that one uncompleted with only the checkers in place).

    My favourite for its surface was 21d.

    Many thanks to RayT, and thanks and congratulations to Falcon for his continued blogs.

  16. OK – you can all have a good laugh. Even with the first letter in place, I forgot the flipping postman AGAIN!

    First class puzzle from Mr T and ticks are littering the page – 15,18&22a plus 2,3,7,14,20&21d. In fact, there was only 9a that didn’t quite make the grade.
    Favourite has to be 22a – reminded me so much of Brian et al!

    Devotions as always to Mr T and many thanks to Falcon – I really must pass on the 19d pic to various folk. As JL said, please don’t get the 7 year itch – we love your blogs.

  17. I solved this last night before going to bed, so the details now seem a little hazy, but I remember that I enjoyed it a great deal and that I also had that puzzle of two halves feeling. I share the general ambivalence about 9a, and I wanted to quibble that 21d are only seen once they leave space and enter the atmosphere, but I suppose that’s close enough for crosswordland. Thanks to RayT for the solving pleasure and to Falcon for a fine blog with some great illustrations. Congratulations on your seventh anniversary.

  18. Always a pleasure doing the RayT crosswords, so thank you to him; and thank you Falcon for your 7 years (and indeed all the other bloggers for all the work, wit, and expertise so much appreciated).
    My favourite was 8d for such a clever concealment, joint second place to the funny 22a and brilliant 18a.
    I didn’t feel quite right with 9a because it felt wrong using the very similar meanings of ‘bothered’ twice in one clue. But that’s just me!

  19. Well there’s a surprise, a Ray T I could both complete and enjoy! I just needed the hint to explain 2d. Some v clever clues such as 22a and 25 d but my fav was 17d.
    For me **/****.
    Thx to all.

    1. If my memory serves me vaguely well and without searching the comments from recent RayT blogs, I’d suggest that you are something of a convert with regards to Mr T’s puzzles….?

  20. It seems I’m firmly in the minority, but I didn’t think this was RayT at his best, as normally I would tick at least three or four of his clues, and today only the outstandingly good 18a received one. Very-well crafted, however, and the usual slow teasing out of the clues always guarantees a sense of satisfaction upon completion.

    Thanks to Mr Terrell and to Falcon, and congratulations on your anniversary.

  21. Thanks to Ray T and to Falcon for the review and hints. I enjoyed what I could do, but found it very difficult. Needed the hints for 9,12,22a&16d. Missed the lurker in 8d, but guessed the answer. Also guessed 2d. Favourite was 17d, was 4*/3* for me.

  22. In the beginning I wasn’t convinced this was RayT as I was solving it rapidly, then, like Falcon, I got stuck. I never did solve 9a or 27a, and I’m not surprised that I missed 9a.
    I liked 18a and 17d in particular.
    Thanks to RayT and to Falcon for the hints, and the pics!

  23. About ** for difficulty here, though there were a few clues along the way that I thought would never fall, 1ac (my LOI) chief amongst them. Yes, I guessed who the postman was (I’ve spent too long being forced to watch kids’ TV), but the second half of the clue, well, that didn’t want to fall. 15ac is one of those words I can never spell.

  24. NW corner prevented a zippy solve but thanks go to Falcon for help with 12a, 27a, 2d and 5d plus 9a on which I’m not at all keen. Missed the 8d lurker. Overall compellingly original and nicely taxing. Can’t pick a Fav but enjoyed several surfaces.
    Thank you RayT for much pleasure.

  25. Another great puzzle from the King of Lurkage. RayT always includes hidden words and this helps to get started [if you can find them]. So many good clues but my favourite has to be 22, followed by 4 for the surface reading. Thanks to RayT again- but what happened to the innuendo?

  26. A good work out for the brain today. Last one in was 27a with a little help from Falcon’s clue (Thank you).

  27. Good evening everybody.

    Best back page puzzle I’ve seen for a while. White flag raised with just 27a unsolved and I’d not have got that if I’d have carried on for another week.

    Couldn’t see the whole logic for 2d and not entirely convinced by 9a and 13a but otherwise all fine clues I thought.


  28. I might have granted this one a 2*, but for dragging badly on the last two – of which 27a remained uncompleted even after sneaking a look at Falcon’s hints. The penultimate 16d proved in the end to be a pair of slightly stretched synonyms just slippery enough for me to resort to a stint of alphabet-hacking. Today’s favourite couldn’t possibly be any other than 22a. Great puzzle.

  29. Thought that I was doing really well at first, but just couldn’t get my head round some of the clues. Thank you RayT and thanks too Falcon for your excellent review, and for all the years you have helped us out.

  30. Evening all. Many thanks to Falcon for the analysis and to all for your observations. As always, much appreciated.


  31. A stiffish 2*/3.5*. The SE corner held me up a bit until the solution to 27a suddenly occurrred to me. I liked 18a and 17d. Ta to Mr T and Falcon.

  32. Thoroughly enjoyable as usual. I found this a straightforward solve for the most part, being held up briefly in the bottom half of the puzzle.

    Cheers to Falcon and RayT 1.5*/4*

  33. Another cracker puzzle from RayT. We enjoyed it all with 9a being our last one in. Clue word count checked of course and all in order.
    Thanks RayT and Falcon and congratulations on reaching your milestone.

  34. As many others have said, a puzzle of two halves and I did much better than usual for a Ray T, but definitely needed Falcon’s hints to pass the finishing post, thanks! Didn’t help that I couldn’t spell 15a, have always said it without the second O…

  35. Thank you to all for your good wishes on the occasion of my seventh anniversary in the blogger’s chair. During this time, I have learned much about many aspects of British life — geography, history, sports, and language to mention a few. Writing the review adds a whole new dimension to the puzzle. When solving a puzzle, one can always just “bung in” the answer but one can hardly just “bung in” a hint (although I expect that Miffypops may take issue with that statement).

  36. Maybe the record of previous long lurkers has inspired two 8 letter ones today. Elegant to have them touching hands!

  37. I was going well until I had only 9a and 27a left. I needed Falcon’s help with both because they were, in my view, extremely dodgy – even for RayT (with whom I rarely see eye to eye). Congratulations to Falcon for seven years’ solid service to all our benefits and here’s to many more. Thanks to Ray, if only for the splendid 18a.

    1. Ts. Yes, 9a is probably a bit dodgy but 27a is a fine, straightforward, valid cryptic clue. As in: It’s vital (CORE) to check (or contain, restrain) explosive (HE = high explosive) = fuse (or unite, meld, cohere, etc). Giving: CO(HE)RE.

  38. Very unusual for me. I was left with two lone clues. 22 and 27a. I was relieved to see that it was the same for many bloggers. Normally I will be stuck with a corner and once one goes in the rest follows. This time even with the checkers I was hopeless. I did not know the word for 22a but think I could have fathomed it had I not been trying to start with Me. 27a was a mystery. The nearest I could get was Cohese which I thought was a word. I do not understand the problem people had with 9a. S + cared seems straightforward to me. I may have dreamt it but I thought we had seen it before. Thanks Ray T – good workout for the brain, and Congratulations Falcon on the anniversary.

  39. Brilliant puzzle. Top right and bottom left went in with little trouble. Bottom right yielded after some head scratching, but I had to sleep on the top left and got there this morning. I liked 1a, 9a and 27a with 1a being my favourite. ****/*****. Nice one Mr T.

  40. Dare I comment? I too felt it was a puzzle of two halves. Got all but 27a before reading this. Don’t see what all the fuss is about 9a, parses fine and the solution is as close to “bothered” as the solution to 2d is to “shopkeeper”. In fact closer. To me the solution to 2d means someone who practises a skill, an artisan or some-such. But then, if we were wealthy back in the twenties our big house would have a special entrance for them, or their boys! 7d, the French person saying this doesn’t really expect you to be coming back! 1d I spent ages thinking of other words for exterminator to “gut” before realising I was overthinking it.

    Overall, a real tough one for me, as I am just an amateur really.

Comments are closed.