DT 28586 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 28586

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 28586

Hints and tips by Falcon

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ****

Greetings from Ottawa where we have been experiencing a rather lovely autumn although the forecast tells us that a bit of nasty weather is in the offing.

There is no doubt about the creator of this puzzle. RayT has left his fingerprints all over it. I thought it was on the easier end of his spectrum, due in large part to it being a bit of an anagram fest with eight full or partial anagrams — with a bonus thrown in for good measure. On the enjoyment front, my appreciation of the puzzle actually increased as I composed the review.

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   Skilled arrangement of melodic chaps (12)
ACCOMPLISHED — to get us off to a quick start, RayT lobs an easy anagram of (arrangement of) the final two words in the clue …

8a   Rampant suitor upset catching zip (7)
RIOTOUS — … then follows with another; this time an anagram (upset) of SUITOR containing the letter that resembles nothing at all

9a   One of actors is co-star (7)
ANAGRAM— having set the scene with the first two clues, he now asks us to identify what CO-STAR is to ACTORS; as the clue implies, CO-STAR is but one of the possibilities, RayT spares us the second

11a   Rubbish from house cut, impressing wife (7)
HOGWASH — an abbreviation for house and a cut such as 19a might inflict seizing (like a press gang) W(ife)

12a   Mess dug out producing dirty marks (7)
SMUDGES — the anagram bag is not empty yet; this time we have an anagram (out) of the first two words of the clue

13a   Dalliances and trysts embracing sweetheart initially (5)
DATES — a RayT puzzle would hardly be complete without an initialism or, if you prefer, acrostic; I must admit that I’m suffering one of Kath’s “Oh dear, what do I underline” moments

14a   Berserk gang’s oddly steady (9)
POSSESSED — this gang that pursued outlaws in the Old West is not only packing an ‘S but is itself being pursued by the odd letters of StEaDy

16a   Night-time criminal backing circle with Capone (9)
NOCTURNAL — string together a reversal (backing) of one of the usual criminal suspects, a verb denoting to move so as to face in the opposite direction, and the first name of the Chicago crime boss

19a   Weapon drunk grabs with ecstasy — not good (5)
SABRE — an anagram (drunk) of gRABS after having ingested E(cstasy) and excreted G(ood)

21a   This compiler’s power to face every charge (7)
IMPEACH — concatenate how RayT would contractually state “this compiler is”, a physicist’s symbol for power, and a synonym for every

23a   Most immature through reversing in retreat (7)
NAIVEST — reverse a three letter Latin word meaning by way of or through and settle it snuggly in a cosy retreat

24a   Poles accepting need before European flag (7)
SLACKEN — place the geographic (or magnetic) poles around the grouping of a noun meaning deficiency or need and E(uropean)

25a   Pensioner seen as cold, stern at heart (7)
OLDSTER — this informal term for a senior is lurking (at heart) in the clue; here’s a pic for Miffypops

26a   Queen in harder seat moving base (12)
HEADQUARTERS — a two-letter abbreviation for Queen (not ER this time) is ensconced in an anagram (moving) of HARDER SEAT


1d   Surrounded by stress, welcoming doctor (7)
AMONGST — a feeling of apprehension, anxiety or foreboding envelops one of the usual medical suspects

2d   Church uttered singular psalms (7)
CHORALS — a charade of an abbreviation for church (which apparently remains above suspicion), an adjective meaning spoken or uttered, and the grammatical symbol for singular

3d   Skip and arise half-heartedly, getting twisted (9)
MISSHAPEN — a verb denoting to pass over or skip followed by a synonym for occur or arise with one of its two central letters removed

4d   Jumps end of hurdle in circuits (5)
LEAPS — the final letter in hurdlE is inserted into circuits of an oval track

5d   Bronze, perhaps, is about right size (7)
STATURE — start with a work of art of which a bronze is one example (another might be a marble) and insert an R(ight) in it

6d   Nettles, green as could be? (7)
ENRAGES — an anagram (could be) of GREEN AS

7d   Canine training? (12)
ORTHODONTICS — a cryptic definition of the field of study pursued by someone who works on your canines (and your molars)

10d   Motorway’s approach over Yorkshire river leads to accident (12)
MISADVENTURE — start with the road that leads from Leeds to London (including the ‘S), add on a noun meaning coming or approach (or a religious observance that is fast approaching) and a river in Yorkshire

15d   Odds on usurer heard to show richness (9)
SPLENDOUR — the abbreviation for the final odds on a horse before the race begins followed by a couple of syllables that sound like someone who grants loans; at least it would sound thus to those of you who happen to speak with a non-rhotic accent

17d   Sweetheart in America giving copper a peck, foolishly (7)
CUPCAKE — the symbol for the chemical element copper when combined with an anagram (foolishly) of A PECK gives an American term of endearment

18d   Spontaneous, like king in nude, flashing (7)
UNASKED — place a conjunction meaning in the manner that or like and an abbreviation for king found on playing cards inside an anagram (flashing) of NUDE; thereby exhausting today’s supply of anagrams

19d   Vertebrae containing ends of dorsal rod (7)
SPINDLE — inject the first and last letters (ends) of DorsaL into what the vertebrae collectively constitute

20d   Gasps, about to get in public swimming pool (7)
BREATHS — a short Latin word meaning concerning or about is immersed in a public swimming pool popular in ancient Rome

22d   One believes in Ganesh, indubitably (5)
HINDU — one could consider the entire clue to be the definition as the religious adherent lurking in the clue would unquestionably believe in Ganesh

With so many good clues to pick from, it is difficult to single out a few for special mention. I did like the interesting 9a , especially after realizing while writing the review that two clues of this ilk provided a lead-in to it. Kudos to 8a and 18d for raising a chuckle. The lurker in 22d is cleverly hidden beneath a surface that could itself be the definition which might cause some to miss it entirely. But for top pick I’ve fallen for the smooth American sweetheart at 17d.

59 comments on “DT 28586

  1. Turning to the back page and seeing single word clues and answers in the Quickie together with lots of white spaces in the clues to the Cryptic means it’s a RayT Thursday – hooray!

    This one was 2* / 4* for me – very enjoyable at the easier end of Ray T’s spectrum. 25a was my last one in and, in my opinion, is an unindicated Americanism. A couple of online dictionaries agree with me, but I have to admit my BRB doesn’t.

    I particularly liked 11a & 12a, which are both lovely words and Falcon’s picture for 11a is great, and, like Falcon, I enjoyed the humour in 8a & 18d. 7d was my favourite.

    By the way, Falcon, “castor” is an anagram of “actors” but I don’t think that’s the one you are referring to … :wink:

    Many thanks to Ray T and to Falcon.

    P.S. Now for the Samuel Toughie.

  2. A lovely Ray T that left me with a smile on my face after I’d finished solving it.

    Thanks to him and Falcon too

  3. Great puzzle. Thank you Ray T from Ray S. **/****. Lots to like; particularly, 11a, 9a, 3d and 17d, with first place to 7d. Now for the Toughie!!.

  4. Lots to like here. I also like the way Falcon flouts convention and posts early. 17d would have had a picture of the actress who played Joni Cupcake in Happy Days. My daughter who graces my current avatar is named Joni. We always called her Joni Rhubarb

  5. I, too, would nominate either 9a or 7d as the COTD from this very enjoyable and fun-filled Ray T puzzle. It was testing enough to push up the enjoyment element, but fairly clued throughout to make it a comfortable solve, so 2* /4* for me. Although I did not time it, it felt like the Quickie took a little longer to solve, which is often the case.

    Many thanks to Ray and to the early bird.

  6. Absolutely loved this. Since I’ve been visiting this site and learned to ‘read’ RayT have become a big fan. Last one in, to my annoyance once I’d got it, was the co-star. Many thanks to all.

  7. It’s no use – can’t possibly pick a favourite so I’ll go off-piste and award the gong to Falcon’s illustration for 11a.

    Devotions to Mr T for a lovely start to the day and many thanks to Falcon for manning the hot seat.

  8. Two new words for me today – ‘initialism’ and ‘acrostic’ – what a fine puzzle, very enjoyable and quite a test. I managed about half of it last night and had another go this morning leaving only 9a outstanding, it had to be ‘anagram’ but I had no idea why? Now I get it and a genuine ‘doh!’ moment!

  9. A really good RayT crosswords I particularly liked 9a, its always good to learn new words such as 23a at advancing age you really do learn something everyday.
    Thanks to Falcon and RayT.

  10. Lots to enjoy today, so many clues made me smile, especially 8a and 7d , 9a was my last one in . Since reading this blog ( a long time before I actually left a comment) I have become more familiar with some of the setters and know that RayT will always give me some real head scratching moments, so when I finally get the answer it is so pleasing.
    Thanks to all

  11. Good fun today in spite of profusion of anagrams which are not my favourite things. 7d standout Fav. Needed help with 24a – d’oh – and probably a chestnut. Liked illustrations for 11a and also, with a bit of a blush, 3d! Many thanks RayT and Falcon.

  12. Very enjoyable, slowed down from a gallop to a fast canter towards the end partly because of assistance being needed for 7d, although I suspect that, in one form or another, it is an oldie but goodie.

    Joint favoutites favourites – 9a and 22d.

    Thanks to Ray T and Falcon.

  13. Right up my street today and a ***/****, excellent puzzle and a top class review from Falcon-loved the dog !
    Many clever clues, and thankful for the plethora of anagrams today to provide the checking letters.
    Came up with the parsing of 7d straightaway but could not quite find the correct word until the fodder went in.
    Last in was 13a when the penny finally dropped .Too hard to single out a favourite-thanks to Ray T for a credit to the compilers art.

  14. I think RayT was kind to us today with the relatively easy outsiders and 2 fine lurkers as usual. My favourite was 18 followed by 3 6 7 11 13 22 25 and 26. Thanks to Ray for a great puzzle with lots of chuckles.

  15. Thank you so much for the breakdown. I can usually work out the ‘why’ and the ‘how’ but got stuck with quite a few this morning. I agree with your comments about cupcake!

  16. I had this one under control, but a few held out long enough to push this into **** time.

    Last one in was 9a accompanied by a DOH! that could be heard in Springfield. I have been a member of a church choir for nigh on 50 years, and never heard psalms referred to as 2d. I also can’t recall Queen being shortened in that way, but it is in the BRB.

    Many thanks to Ray T and Falcon.

    1. Like you Malcolm, I have been singing in church choirs for longer than I care to remember, but have never heard of psalms being referred to in this way. Is it another Americanism? However, another delightful challenge from RayT. The 8a clue particularly made me smile. Many thanks to him and Falcon

  17. After tying my brain in knots with yesterday’s Toughie, today’s RayT came as a blessed relief. A super well clued puzzle that for me ‘hit the spot’. Some lovely chuckle moments and too many favourites to list. Btw RD and Falcon, one of the overlooked anagrams of ‘actors’ could almost fit in with the illustration given for 3 down ;-). Thanks to RayT and Falcon.

  18. A good puzzle, with the NW corner holding out to push me into *** time. Not being able to spot 7d, despite getting the drift of what I was looking for, didn’t help. Or taking too long to untangle the anagram at 1ac, for that matter.

  19. If this is the easy end of this setter’s spectrum the difficult end will be well beyond me. I got there in the end and had a few chuckles on the way. I liked 3d, 14a and both lurkers but my top clue was 7d.

  20. Canine training lead me on a merry dance until the penny finally dropped. It was my last clue but I had completely forgotten the othe canine. D’oh! Will I ever learn? Probably not truth be told….
    Excellent crossword with some great clues. I’ll go with 7d as my favourite because it did have me going. 2/4* overall.
    Thanks to Ray T, and to Falcon for the review. What year was the gig poster from?

  21. Either I’m getting better at decoding the Ray T, or else the puzzles are getting easier. I suspect that we are seeing fewer stretched synonyms these days. Having said all that, I feel a bit disgraced at having guessed the answer to 9a whilst failing to see the obvious connection. Can’t see any reason to disagree with Falcon’s rating. Favourite: 24a – a cleverly constructed clue. The 25a lurker was neatly concealed. Thanks to all concerned!

  22. Good afternoon everybody.

    Elegant puzzle if mostly straightforward. Favourites were 1d, 7d, and 11a. Last in was 13a though I failed properly to see why when I wrote it in!


  23. In a hurry today bunged in hindquarters for 26 across as a good guess but of course incorrect. Held me up with 17 down when I wanted to put in cookies. Not a good day for me but thanks for the hints and Ray T.

  24. Enjoyed doing this very much.

    Not so lo g ago I hardly got any answers to Ray T’s puzzles, but managed this one completely unassisted. Very satisfying and thanks mainly to this blog.

    Thanks to Ray T and to Falcon.

  25. One of the most enjoyable RayT puzzles in recent memory, the innuendo factor seemed to be cranked up slightly more than usual, 8a was hilarious with 18d not far behind! My other ticked clues were 9a, 7d and 17d.

    Interesting to note that, apart from four squares changing colour, today’s grid was identical to yesterday’s. I hope that Giovanni will not disappoint tomorrow and round off a vintage series of backpagers with another cracker.

    Many thanks to RayT and Falcon.

  26. Well, blow me down and call me Charlie! This was a RayT? I don’t believe it, I actually finished, I’d forgotten it was Thursday. Full disclosure, I did need gizmo for a couple.
    The NW corner held me up, but getting 7d helped a lot, fun clue, but my fave was 11a, if only for Falcon’s pic.
    Thanks to RayT, still not sure it’s one of yours, and to Falcon for his hints.

  27. Heaps of chuckles to accompany the solving process. Exactly what we like to see in a puzzle.
    Thanks RayT and Falcon.

  28. Hard work as ever with a Ray T for me, just not on the ball with him, although managed to finish it somehow?

    Clue of the day 10d read that one ok, so that’s why!

    3.5 / 3

    Thanks to Falcon and Ray T

  29. Evening all. Many thanks to Falcon for the decryption and to everybody else for your comments. Always appreciated.


    1. Always a treat to know setter has dropped in to read the blog.
      I used to struggle, but I now look forward to your puzzles, they have taught me a great deal.
      Thanks for all the entertainment over the years, and long may it continue.

  30. Well Ray T usually beats me and today was no exception, needed several hints to finish, thank you Falcon. 1a went straight in and that is always a bad sign for me. Did better after a second coffee and good walk.

  31. I don’t post very often but I was so pleased to see the appreciation of Ray T. When I first started looking at the blog years ago, when miffypops and I were both youngsters going to the festivals, Ray T was often greater with groans and oh no’s it’s him again. I always loved him and found his puzzles great fun, witty hard and enjoyable. Great to see so many also think the same.
    Ps have seen everyone on the poster used in the hint and met a few as well!

  32. Another excellent crossword from the great Ray T! Lovely tight/concise clues, a decent challenge with some head-scratching and very enjoyable. 3* / 4*.

  33. I know I am late to post but we had visitors yesterday. I really enjoyed this puzzle, I am beginning to understand a little of the way Ray T constructs his crosswords which Is quite different to other setters. I wonder if Terry Ptratchet is his favourite author as they both have the knack of looking at things from one step to the left of most of us.
    Thx to all

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