DT 28669 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 28669

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 28669

Hints and tips by Falcon

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

Greetings from Ottawa where the temperature is well above freezing, it has been raining, the snow is melting, and flooding is starting to be a concern in parts of the region.

There is no doubt about the creator of today’s puzzle as RayT has left his fingerprints all over it. I thought it to lean toward the easier end of his spectrum and I raced through most of it, although the southeast corner gave the brain cells a bit more of a workout. The innuendo – what there is of it – is rather subdued today.

I did note that a lot of words involved in today’s wordplay seemed to be walking an S on an apostrophe like a dog on a lead.

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   Method’s restraining bad actor’s interchanges (12)
RECIPROCATES — a method or procedure (used in the kitchen perhaps) together with its accompanying S go round an anagram (bad) of ACTOR

8a   Eastern sculpture, perhaps, bird in clay (7)
EARTHEN — a charade of E(astern), the work of a sculptor (or a painter), and a domestic fowl

9a   Flash last of Big Issue (7)
GLITTER — last letter of biG and a group of offspring sharing a birthday

11a   Country beginning to launch airline (7)
LIBERIA — the first letter of Launch and Spain’s flag carrier

12a   Catching nothing with snooping around (7)
NOOSING — the letter that looks like a zero inside a synonym for snooping or prying

13a   Pierced one’s skin (5)
CUTIS — a synonym for pierced (or — for that matter — slit, sliced, or severed) followed by the Roman numeral for one and its companion S

14a   Crew’s seizing stern of pirate ship and holds (9)
POSSESSES — a crew that might have done the dirty deed pictured at 12a (together with its trailing S) surrounds the last letter of piratE and the usual steam ship

16a   Compact cars brief condensed for cabinet members (9)
MINISTERS — a once-British (now German) compact car followed by a shortened synonym for brief and concise

19a   Initially earnest, agog, great enthusiasm rising (5)
EAGER — it would not be a true RayT without an acrostic clue whose solution is given by the initial letters of the underlined words

21a   Idiots rolling in, dancing twist (7)
NITWITS — a reversal (rolling) of IN followed by an anagram (dancing) of TWIST

23a   Concentrate more facing court (7)
EXTRACT — another word for more or additional and the shortened version of court one might see on street signs

24a   One obsessively follows speech in sermon, half cut (7)
STALKER — spoken words in the leading half of a SERmon

25a   Return tennis stroke with assistance before love game (7)
DIABOLO — start with a high overhead tennis shot and another term for assistance or help; then reverse the lot and stick a nil tennis score on the end

26a   Freezing environment in wild for rare tiger (12)
REFRIGERATOR — an anagram (wild) of the last three words in the clue


1d   Pieces of Cheddar are bitten eating this? (7)
RAREBIT — hidden in (pieces of) the three words in the middle of the clue [the definition is provided by the entire clue which has wordplay (marked with a dashed underline) embedded within it]

2d   Interior’s covering explosive fuses (7)
COHERES — the interior (of an apple, perhaps) together with its tag-along S conceals High Explosive

3d   Long drink contains very soft fruit (9)
PINEAPPLE — a synonym for long or yearn precedes a drink (that really is a long drink – as opposed to a short drink) that contains the musical direction for very soft

4d   Old worked keeping in good heart, say (5)
ORGAN — O(ld) and another word for worked or functioned around G(ood)

5d   Fat detective assuming a position (7)
ADIPOSE — a short senior police detective taking upon himself the A from the clue and a model’s position

6d   Trouble filling hospital department’s needs (7)
ENTAILS — a word meaning to cause pain or trouble goes between the usual hospital department and its attached S

7d   For each upset select man changing substitutes (12)
REPLACEMENTS — a reversal (upset) of a word meaning for each followed by an anagram (changing) of SELECT MAN

10d   Queen on the up, meaning distribute record (12)
REGISTRATION — a reversal (on the up) of Her Majesty’s regnal cipher, a word denoting general meaning or main point, and a term meaning to distribute in fixed amounts

15d   One pays to purchase useless underwear article (9)
SUSPENDER — one [who] pays or is profligate with their money acquires possession of the abbreviation for useless or unserviceable

17d   Fertiliser can’s rising cost (7)
NITRATE — a reversal (rising in a down clue) of a can one might have in one’s pantry followed by a per unit charge

18d   One posts squad leader on watch (7)
STICKER — the leading letter of Squad on an informal name for a watch (based on the sound it makes)

19d   Competitor in event ran tiredly (7)
ENTRANT — hiding in the last three words of the clue

20d   Beauty shown by heartless girl French love (7)
GLAMOUR — the word GirL with the interior letters (heart) removed plus the French word for love

22d   Slump includes credit squeeze (5)
SCRAG — another word meaning to slump or hang down wrapped around CR(edit)

Podium positions today go to 26a, 5d, and 15d with the gold medal awarded to 5d. Now off to watch our Canadian women battle the Americans for the gold medal in hockey.

The Quick Crossword pun: more+tiff+eyed=mortified

65 comments on “DT 28669

  1. RayT had his easy hat on today.. The long clues round the outside soon went in and there were 2 nice lurkers as usual. I think 15d was the best followed by 1d 5 14 15 19d 21 and 26. Thanks to Ray for the enjoyment.

  2. A super early hints posting! Thank you Falcon and also Ray T whose succinct clueing always impresses! I was the other way round from Falcon in that I got the SE corner in first and then did a fair bit of head scratching. 15d was fun and 22d was new to me. All good.

  3. I took thought this at the easier end of the Ray T spectrum. Thanks to both him and Falcon, to whom commiserations for the ice hockey result

    PS Happy Birthday Mr Squires xx

    1. Thank you Sue,

      I am still a bit blurry-eyed. The game started at 11:00 pm our time and with the extra overtime period and shootout did not finish until after 2:00 am.

  4. A very comfortable early morning solve with nothing too obscure or overly demanding. This was a good example of a straightforward puzzle that still entertained, so 2* /3.5* from me with 21a my favourite.

    Thanks to Ray T and Falcon.

  5. I’m in a minority of one so far as I thought that some parts of this, particularly on the RHS., were verging on Toughie territory. It was however very enjoyable, as ever for a RayT puzzle. My rating is 4* / 4*.

    There were plenty of candidates for favourite, and my choice is 15d followed by 5d.

    Many thanks to RayT and to Falcon.

    1. I did start off ‘thinking of Brian’ but finished in a very reasonable time for a Ray T.

      There was a discussion about yoyos v 25a earlier in the week, plus those who know me well will know which clue I smiled at most

      1. I only got five answers on the first pass, and struggled after that. Not easy peasy in my book…

    2. You’re not in a minority. I had a really slow start with this one. So slow to the point of me looking at the review for 1a. I then managed to chug my way through the first half, but had a race to the end. Perhaps I should have persevered a bit more with 1a. Thank you RayT and Falcon.

  6. All very satisfying and plenty of podium places handed out – the Eastern sculpture, dancing idiots, rare tiger’s home, fat detective and useless underwear all making the grade.

    Devotions to Mr T and many thanks to Falcon for the bog. Interesting grave marker at 12a!

  7. Some head scratching required to complete this at a fast canter. A few clues/answers where parsing was more difficult than solving (I think I said that a week or so ago on another puzzle) which impacted on the enjoyment – **/**.

    Favourite – a toss-up between 25a and 3d.

    Thanks to Ray T and Falcon.

  8. Well it’s me and Rabbit Dave, putting this in the tough category today. This took me well into ***** time, but I did finish without the use of electrons. The overall meaning of 22d is new to me.

    I don’t think I can pick a COTD.

    Many thanks to Ray T. and Falcon.

  9. I thought this was the hardest of the week so far but not necessarily (now that the quality of the puzzles seems to be improving) the most enjoyable. Still good stuff though. Thanks to all.

  10. Bit of a slow start in my usual NW corner but soon accelerated and going for a **/****.
    Lots of imaginative surfaces like 26a and 25a. I could go on but sufficient to say thoroughly enjoyable and well clued setter and thanks to Falcon-loved the Boot Hill ‘headstone’.

  11. As I’ve blogged a fair number of RayT’s puzzles over the last few years I think I’m on his wavelength by now so I found this one relatively benign and would give it ** for difficulty. Pommette, on the other hand, said it was a right tricky little rascal and went for ****. Enjoyable though so let’s go for ***/*** overall.

    Favourite has to 5d with 1a and 19d on the podium.

    Thanks to RayT and to Falcon.

  12. I agree with RD and MalcR. This was a tad above average for a Ray T, toughish in parts, and well above average for the general back-pager. There were many great clues, my favourite being the brilliant 9a followed by 5d, 7d and 10d. I didn’t know that the 22d answer meant squeeze (as in “wring” I assume). A sublime puzzle! 3.5* / 4*.

  13. My first thought was that Ray T had gone back to his ‘bad’ old ways. Indeed MrsB took a look and stalked off saying she had better things to do. However, perseverance paid off and I managed to start then it gradually fell into place with some electronic help. Not familiar with the terms in 12a and 13a and certainly never heard of Diabolo before.
    Not my favourite Ray T but certainly not his worst.
    For me ***/**
    Thx to all

  14. I seem to have developed a habit recently (not by choice) of starting in the NE and going clockwise, finishing up at the “start” in the NW. This puzzle was no different with 1a and 2d being my last two in.

    Quite a few smiles along the way and slightly longer than average solving time for me, so a ***/*** rating.

    26a and 1d are mentioned in despatches but 5d wins the medal as my CotD.

    Thanks to both Ray and Falcon

  15. Completed three quarters in good time then got held up in the NW corner. Favourite clue was 15d. I am also not familiar with the meaning of squeeze in 22d. Thank you to the setter and Falcon.

    1. The synonym for squeeze was also new to me. As Jose has suggested above it means ‘to wring the neck’. It can also mean ‘to hang’ so an interesting companion clue to 12a.

  16. I found this difficult and some of the clues too convoluted for what laughingly passes as my brain although I did manage to struggle through to the end. That of course impacts on the enjoyment so ****/** for me with COTD 25a. Many thanks to Mr T and Falcon.

  17. In terms of difficulty this was an average Ray T puzzle for me. Enjoyable stuff, as indeed all the puzzles have been this week. 15d my favourite.thanks to Ray T and falcon

  18. **/***. It all went well until the NE corner got me pen sucking. I got there in the end but quite a bit of retrospective parsing to understand my bung ins. Thanks to Ray T and Falcon. Light snow this morning but more forecast. Can’t believe the hockey result but we should wear the silver medal with pride and inspire our youngsters to do better.

    1. The women certainly have nothing to be ashamed of. These two teams are so evenly matched that either could win on any given night. When it comes down to a shootout, one might as well flip a coin.

  19. Got through without assistance. Reasonable start but I was left with 1a and most of the NE. Once long one in rest followed with 5d which I did not know being the last. Sorry to say I did not circle any favourites. However thanks are still owed. I did not sleep well and amazed to see the hints pop up so early here in UK.

  20. I’m with the minority who found this rather tough – to get going with, anyway. Once I got a few and onto the wavelength the rest went in relatively easy. A very satisfying solve. Thank you Ray T. ***/*****. Too many good clues to enumerate fully. I think I might have to single out 8a, if pressed.

  21. Thanks to Ray T and to Falcon for the review and hints. What a brilliant puzzle, a joy to solve from start to finish. I couldn’t get much at all at the top. Solved it as follows SW, SE, NE, NW. So many good clues, too many to mention. 1d was very well hidden, 25a good misdirection,. Last in was 2d. Favourite was 9a. Was 3*/4* for me.

  22. Today I’m in the mostly straightforward camp. I particularly enjoyed 8a, 14a, and 24a. Thanks to RayT and to Falcon.

  23. Definitely on the hard side , although the bottom half fell very quickly .Needed help on 8a , I tried in vain to make an anagram out of eastern ! Grrr Is 17a really a word ? No reply needed !! Cutis = pierced ? Agreed with R D top left aka toughie territory ****/** Thanks to Falcon without whose help I would never have finished and Ray T

    1. No cutis does not = pierced. Cutis is skin which is underlined in Falcon’s hint as the answer. Cut = pierced and is = one’s.

  24. Thought this was a hard grind, as ever for me and Ray T just not on his radar. Completed with a little help but not with much joy or fun but that’s the way it is. Good for all you that found it a breeze, well done. At least didn’t get held up on 15d there’s a smile in that somewhere. Anyway that’s the beauty of crosswords always a new start tomorrow.

    Clue of the day: 15d

    Rating **** / **

    Thanks to Falcon and Mr T.

  25. Interesting to see that this one seems to have divided the commentariat in terms of difficulty, I’m in the “slightly less tricky than average” camp.

    My favourite, mostly for its surface, was 26a. I liked too the neatness of having all the four twelve-letter solutions around the edge of the grid beginning with the same two letters.

    Many thanks to RayT and to Falcon, and a very Happy Birthday to Rufus.

  26. Frustrating today, Can anyone make a sentence where “interchanges” can replace the answer to 1a? Some good clues and some where the time taken was not rewarded. And 9a…..is that an “issue”?

    1. Well it is a synonym for interchanges but I cannot recall seeing interchanges being used in this way. There are better alternatives if one is looking for a synonym for the answer. Did not jump out at me as a clue. I do not have a problem with issue. As I recall it is not infrequently used in crosswords to mean offspring although I think more usually of the human kind.

    2. I never use the word ‘Interchange’ as it smacks of pleonasm. I use ‘swap’ or ‘exchange’. But, if I was to put it into a sentence, it would be something along the lines of…. ‘Friends reciprocated favours’ which equals ‘Friends interchanged favours’.

  27. I always find Ray T’s puzzles tricky ***/*** 😏 Thought I had won with this one only to have the wrong answer for 22d ☹️ 13a was a new word for me, favourites 25a & 5d 🤗 Thanks to Falcon and to Ray T. Where has the day gone?

  28. I got 4 answers, 2 of which were lurkers. Ray-T’s crosswords remain a total mystery. The only positive is that thankfully they are now every 14 days.

    1. Very enjoyable to go through the hints. Two years of solving and Ray-T is the only setter that remains a complete mystery.
      Thanks all.

  29. I often find RayT difficult but seemed on the right wavelength today. NW corner was the slowest but did my regular trick of leaving it for and an hour and it filled in much better on my return. Funny how the brain works.

  30. I wouldn’t really put this one into the ‘easy bracket’ – one or two odd stretches here. Nevertheless, a great exercise in lateral thinking, as always with a Ray T.
    5* for enjoyment. Not familiar with the game (or the tennis input) in 25a – although perfectly soluble from the wordplay (plus aptly illustrated in Falcon’s hints). Well done hints and setter.

  31. I found this RayT no walkover whatsoever. I’m a great fan of his puzzles and this one gave me far more pleasure and far more to think about than any of this week’s previous three back pagers. I marked 1, 9, & 14a with 15 & 18d for special mention. I even learned a new word in 13a – unbelievable you might think for a man who spent so many years with the St John Ambulance Brigade. Thanks to RayT and also to Falcon. Now for Myops!

  32. RayT puzzles are ones that we always look forward to and he never lets us down. Plenty to enjoy and a few that had us doing some head-scratching. We checked the clue word count of course.
    Thanks RayT and Falcon.

  33. I’m in the difficult corner too. Took a good while to solve, and needed e-help to get 2a last in.

  34. After a good run of completing in a reasonable time, I ground to a halt with this one, and quickly lost heart. Never heard of a 25a diabolo, nor noosing in 12a (iPad does not like them either and keeps correcting).
    Thanks to Falcon for the much needed hints and the picture at 1d. You can get the best rarebit ever at Betty’s in York, served with their delicious apple chutney. We love it when our friends in Chesterfield take us up there for lunch during our visits with them. After our first trip, I did manage to replicate the chutney, using Granny Smith apples, as cooking apples don’t exist here in South Florida.

  35. Negligible aggro here but like Pentomino the NW did prevent an easy ride to the finish. Needed help with 2d where I had been trying to justify cohorts. The squeeze synonym (?) in 22d is new to me although I do use it if followed by ‘end’ as inexpensive cut of lamb for Irish stew. 25a was Fav. Thank you RayT and Falcon (you have obviously sent the cold temperatures to us in the UK as a very cold spell with possibility of snow is forecast for next week or more). ❄️❄️

  36. Apart from 12a which was a new word for me thanks to my trusty thesaurus on line I managed to complete this Ray T masterpiece in reasonable time for me. I cannot say I am truly confident with Day’s crosswords but at least I am prepared to try these days. I had even more of a struggle with the Quickie. Thanks to Falcon for decode and Ray T for the fight.

  37. An enjoyable, fairly straightforward solve, especially for a RayT puzzle. * time here. Last in 13ac which I felt I should have known, and maybe I half did. 25ac I’ve never encountered outside of crosswords, but have since become intimately familiar with. All good fun throughout, thanks to setter and blogger.

  38. I was not on wavelength today. With a Ray T crossword that can mean trouble! So I took an awfie long time to complete it. Which I did and the brain needs a rest now…
    1d was my favourite and even that took me a while to spot. 3/4* overall.
    Thanks to Ray T, and to Falcon for the review.

  39. Soon as I sussed 15 down I just new I had a good picture to look forward to in the blog 😁

  40. After getting rather full of myself over the last few days when I have completed the puzzles at a cracking pace and without the need for help, I came down to earth with a bang today. Only could complete about a third of it without gratefully coming here for help. Thank you Falcon and all here. I’m off to lick my wounds.

  41. After yesterday’s Toughie I am really struggling with this. Perhaps it will get easier once my morning coffe hs kicked in!

  42. Got a bit delayed in the SE as I thought 25a was ending in aido like one of those Japanese games.
    Once corrected, finished quite quickly for a RayT. No stretched synonyms. Always a plus.
    Thanks to the setter and to Falcon for the review.

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