DT 28723 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 28723

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 28723

Hints and tips by Falcon

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

Greetings from Ottawa, where spring has finally made its long-delayed appearance. I found 15a rather poignant as Canada has suffered more than its share of such events lately.

There is no disputing the paternity of this offspring which has all the characteristics we have come to associate with RayT.

In the hints below, underlining identifies precise definitions and cryptic definitions, and indicators are italicized. The answers will be revealed by clicking on the ANSWER buttons.

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


7a   Minimise part played embraced by bounder, actually (8)
UNDERACT — today’s first lurker gets into the act early (embraced by) boUNDER ACTually

9a   Well this could be rich! (6)
HEELED — “well” and the answer (represented in the clue by the pronoun “this”) together form a colloquial term meaning “rich”

10a   This compiler succeeded twice, creating difficulty (4)
MESS — how the compiler might objectively refer to himself succeeded by two instances of S(ucceeded); the later being an abbreviation one might find in a chart of royal lineages

11a   Losing time tailing bent criminal that’s elusive (10)
INTANGIBLE — remove (losing) T(ime) from [t]AILING BENT and form an anagram (criminal) of what remains; a reasonable argument could also likely be made for ditching the second T rather than the first

12a   Reportedly stirred the female heart (6)
CENTRE — this sounds, especially when spoken by a Cockney, like a colloquial way of saying “put her into ecstasy

14a   Chamber due to become sacrosanct (8)
HALLOWED — a chamber, perhaps one where concerts are performed, followed by a word denoting due or payable

15a   Sad seeing jerk purchasing Sun vulgarly, perhaps (6)
TRAGIC — an involuntary jerk or twitch encompasses (purchasing) a vernacular term for the Sun and newspapers of its ilk

17a   Steamy European rubbish exposed vice (6)
EROTIC — string together E(uropean), rubbish or nonsense, and vICe having discarded its covering (exposed)

20a   Gets excited with single accepting male’s jewel (8)
GEMSTONE — start with an anagram of GETS, append a synonym for single, and finally insert M(ale) into the foregoing

22a   Exchange with Simpson say, facing Queen (6)
BARTER — the most famous member of the animated Simpson clan is followed by the customary symbol representing Her Majesty

23a   Straying, sailor helping to keep direction right (10)
ABERRATION — an able seaman and a portion of food wrapped around a cardinal point of the compass and R(ight)

24a   Stuff made with cold butter? (4)
CRAM — a charade of C(old) and a pushy animal

25a   Opposite of stiff drink pulled unevenly (6)
SUPPLE — a Northern English word for drink and the odd letters of PuLlEd

26a   Outline in coarse pants (8)
SCENARIO — an anagram (pants) of the two central words of the clue


1d   Painter estimated to possess importance (8)
INTEREST — having started the across clues with a lurker, let’s repeat for the down clues paINTER ESTimated (to possess)

2d   Shortened county  borders (4)
BEDS — double definition; the first being the shortened name of an English county, the second being borders one might find in their garden

3d   Hate rodents eating nearly everything (6)
MALICE — rodents (reported to have lost their tails) take in a synonym for everything (which has also lost its tail)

4d   Fabricator of wicked articles? (8)
CHANDLER — long before there were LEDs, this craftsman supplied the replaceable components of our lighting fixtures

5d   Roughly chop tile, about to lift chopper (10)
HELICOPTER — an anagram (roughly) of CHOP TILE sitting on a reversal of a short Latin word denoting about or concerning

6d   Boot that is holding up properly (6)
WELLIE — a Latin abbreviation denoting ‘that is’ sitting under a word meaning properly or competently gives a short name for a long boot

8d   Little tense, impatient to go under (6)
TITCHY — the grammatical abbreviation for tense and a common term for impatient or eager

13d   Record in sort of music vault heard (10)
TRANSCRIPT — a homophone of a genre of electronic music and a vault where remains are laid to rest (I’m sure if I tell you that the music genre is a more melodic offshoot from techno and house, the answer will immediately come to mind!) I was going to insert a video but 1:31 turned out to be 1 hour 31 minutes. Besides I was torn between Uplifting trance, Psychedelic trance, Vocal trance, Goa trance, Tech trance, Hard trance, Acid trance, Dream trance, Progressive psytrance, Eurotrance, or Balearic trance.

16d   Solitary one criticised about love (8)
ISOLATED — start with a charade of a Roman one and a colloquial term meaning criticised; then inject a nil tennis score as appropriate

18d   Plant which could make cat smile (8)
CLEMATIS — an anagram (which could make) of the final two words of the clue

19d   Strives to support live groups (6)
BEVIES — strives or struggles for advantage follows a word meaning live or exist; although especially and originally groups of women or girls, the term is also applied to flocks of larks, quails or swans

21d   Element of English spirit around British isle (6)
ERBIUM — a charade of E(nglish) and a naval spirit into which is placed B(ritish) and the abbreviation for isle or island

22d   Being into Netflix, gorges entire seasons initially (6)
BINGES — it would not be a true RayT without an initialism or acrostic clue; As a definition, I would say that the entire clue applies to the behaviour of many people upon activation of their Netflix subscription; as wordplay, take the initial letters of the first six words in the clue

24d   Bed covering a blanket (4)
COAT — tuck the letter A into a child’s bed

From among a plethora of worthy candidates, I have awarded podium spots to 12a, 17a and 4d. And the winner is 12a.

Quickie Pun:  RAYS   +   DELL   =   RAISED HELL

88 comments on “DT 28723

  1. Great to have this blog make a timely appearance today. It was a super puzzle which went very well in the East but the West was a slightly different story. Not up on the Simpsons so 22a was a bung-in and also 21a as not au fait with elements. Not too keen on the use of abbreviations like 6d. 4d was Fav. Very many thanks to both RayT and Falcon (to whom sincere sympathies on recent 15a incident in Toronto). 👍🏻👍🏻

        1. Thanks Gazza – not one of the best – no wonder I couldn’t come up with an answer in spite of saying it out loud several times!

          1. You left off the last letter of your usual alias so the comment went into moderation. I assume this was by mistake so I’ve edited it for you.

    1. Thank you Angellov,

      The impact of events in Toronto is heightened as the country is still dealing with the aftermath of the devastating incident in Saskatchewan.

      1. Somehow Canada appears to be such a peaceful country, these things seem to be doubly disastrous as they are so unexpected. I hope Canada doesn’t become like us, we are almost immune from shock now.

  2. When the coin finally hit the floor with a resounding thud, 4d became my favourite for the day. I was constantly misreading the clue so, despite the answer being obvious, I could not parse it correctly until the ‘doh’ moment. Overall I thought this was at the trickier end of the setting spectrum, but very enjoyable, and solving it left me with a sense of achievement for a job well done, so 3* /4* for me.

    Thanks to Ray T and Falcon. The incident in Toronto is becoming all too familiar around the world unfortunately.

  3. A really good fun puzzle with a huge penny drop moment when we got our last answer, 4d, sorted.
    Checked the clue word count of course.
    Thanks RayT and Falcon.

  4. Any clever people out there who can remember if a Simpsons cartoon reference has ever been used before? I must admit this was a bit of a struggle for me & required the assistance of several hints. Many thanks to the setter & to Falcon for his much needed review.

    1.   Thu 28 Feb 2002   Telegraph Cryptic 23678   Who killed the Simpson boy and got the drinks? (9)
        Sat 3 Dec 2011   Telegraph Cryptic 26726   Mrs Simpson allowed to set up message (8)
        Wed 5 Aug 2015   Telegraph Cryptic 27872   Mrs Simpson’s horse swallowing George’s crown! (5)
        Sat 13 Aug 2016   Telegraph Cryptic 28192   Australian city requires sound of laughter cut by half on part of The Simpsons (6)
        Fri 4 Jun 2010   Telegraph Toughie 366   Simpson admits deficiency in magic (5,3)
        Wed 11 May 2016   Telegraph Toughie 1601   Release bar on Simpson perhaps ditching American husband (7)
        Fri 13 Apr 2018   Telegraph Toughie 2003   Musical Mr Simpson heard by fair maiden shunning heartless sisters (8)
      1. That would appear to be a search on the word Simpsons. What about Bart, Lisa, Maggie and Marge. Moe and Barney deserve a spot in crosswordland too.

          1. I would like to see more personalised avatars. It is easy to set up. See the FAQs number 22.

  5. An excellent puzzle from Ray T. A good challenge, great clues, very enjoyable and with a feeling of achievement when completed. Too many first-rate clues to pick a favourite. 3.5* / 4*

  6. Thanks to Falcon for the early blog.

    Needed it to explain “sort of music” in 13d. Never heard it and never heard of it before.

    Favourite: 4d Wicked, innit?

  7. Got there eventually but had to resort to my trusted on line dictionary.
    Finished with a great sense of achievement and full of admiration , yet again , to the wicked mind of Ray T.
    My wife is thankful for me being kept quiet for longer than normal .

  8. Quite a difficult solve today and the parsing needed lots of thought. Last in was 23 across and the solution became apparent once all the checking letters were in but it took me ages to unravel the clue-never mind.
    Excellent puzzle and a 3.5*/4* for me.
    The anagram indicator in 26a was the subject of debate only last week , failed to spot this for a while as the solution again was apparent !-maybe next time.
    Liked the surface of 11a.
    Thanks to Falcon for the top class pics.

  9. Gave up on this one today.
    Way above my paygrade.

    Glad the rest of you enjoyed it.

    Thanks to Falcon and to the setter.

    1. Someone else often used that phrase ” Well above my paygrade ” , but he doesn’t seem to post much now .

      1. Still here but I don’t post much these days as I got fed up being shot at by some of the pompous trolls that are on the blog.

  10. I did really badly which I ascribe to flu induced stupidity and perhaps because I often struggle with Ray T.
    I liked 22a among others .
    Thanks to all concerned .

  11. I was on wavelength today and didn’t find much to hold me up.

    Thanks to Falcon and RayT */****

  12. The Toughie is easier than this.
    As ever, the best thing about a Ray-T puzzle is that it is 2 weeks before there is another.
    Ta for the hints.

  13. Very enjoyable puzzle. Needed the hint for 12a! 4d was excellent – the doh moment that a few of us have experienced with this clue is a brilliant feeling. I got 13d but have never heard of that music. 9a was pretty good. Thanks Ray T & Falcon.

  14. A good puzzle, but effectively beaten by 19d. I’m not surprised people are talking about a huge ‘penny drop’ moment with 4d – great clue though. Thanks to all involved today.

    1. I was too was beaten by 19d. Also beaten by 4d and despite Falcon’s hint still don’t understand the answer. Is the dotted line under the whole of the clue in the hints an indicator of something? I have a feeling that I’m going to feel very humble when my query is answered.

      1. Hi Scousegit,

        The dotted underline indicates that it is a ‘cryptic definition’ rather than a ‘precise definition’.

        1. I have enough trouble remembering to underline definitions without having to differentiate between different sorts and use different types of underlinings.

  15. Blooming excellent. It took me twice as long as any other puzzle this week and them some. Ta to all.

  16. 4* / 4.5*. This was very tough but very enjoyable. 4d was a new meaning of the answer for me. 17a was my favourite.

    Many thanks to RayT and to Falcon.

  17. An excellent puzzle, like others I found the left-hand side, particularly the SW corner, much trickier than the rest.

    My ticks went to 11a, 4d and 22d. Sir Linkalot will shudder at the second appearance this week of the anagram indicator in 26a.

    Many thanks to RayT and to Falcon.

    1. You are indeed correct, my ‘Argent bottom’; I did initially squirm.

      On reflection, however, Ray T is clearly down with the kids with his name….Jessie J, Bobby V, Katy B…etc.

      He’s so “Street”.

  18. Weird or what! Managed to complete this and found it no tougher than yesterdays even though it took a lot more effort to finish. Electronic use and the BRB helped and found half the clues straightforward the other half difficult. Two words I’m not familar with in today’s puzzle 19d my last in and 21d, the penny never dropped for 4d until I’d got the answer, then the light came on. Always struggle with a Ray T puzzle so pleased to have finished without using the blogs hints. Some bungins, yes.

    Clue of the day: Thought 14a was the star.

    Rating: 4* / 3.5*

    Thanks to Falcon and Mr T.

  19. 4d held me up for a long time before the penny dropped. Nice puzzle and easiest my toughest of the last seven days.

  20. I found this decidedly tricky, but a lot of fun. The NW was the last area to be filled because having found one lurker I did not expect to find another in the vicinity. Hard to pick a favourite, but if pushed I’d go for 25a. Thanks to RayT for the entertainment and to Falcon for the explanations and illustrations (no worries about 18d – the more the merrier)

  21. Like Ora, way above my pay grade and needed Falcon’s hints for at least eight clues. I’m not sorry, I have a lot to do today so am happy to have the extra time.
    Thanks to RayT and Falcon, especially for the pic at 18d.

  22. Well, I finished it in the end, after about four visits. I know we aren’t supposed to give solving times, so I’ll just say it was less than a day.

    The only reason I can think it was such a struggle, was that I was kept up late last night by a visit from some hobgoblins from the Wychwood.

    Many thanks to RayT and the Falcon.

  23. Found this to be at the ‘Beam’ end of Mr T’s spectrum – but none the worse for that. Just needed a bit more brain power. Like the majority of the comments, the NE corner was last to give up it’s answers with 4d being the last one in – D’oh!

    Nice to see a bit of riskiness (nudge, nudge) back in some of the clues. So thanks to Ray T for the puzzle and to Falcon for his review.

        1. Who knows. I think I am charging my mobile phone that day. It is not a Big Dave event. While open to all it is primarily to do with The Times setters. What has that got to do with me? I will charge my phone.

  24. Trademarks all on show today in this Ray T production that was perhaps towards the tougher end of his spectrum.
    12a caused a bit of tooth-sucking here and I wasn’t familiar with the music genre in 13d. Having seen the list of video clips from which Falcon could have chosen, I’m extremely glad that he decided to give it a miss!

    Took far longer than it should have done to come up with the synonym for ‘strives’ in 19d and – as others have mentioned – had to wait for the penny to drop with a loud clang over 4d.

    4d takes the laurel wreath here with a mention for 5&17a.

    Devotions to Mr T and thanks to Falcon for an excellent blog.

  25. Missed the lurkers so got off to a bad start! SE corner was no probs ( I’m a Simpsons fan) Needed hints for 7a & 9a and 1,4, and 19 down. Did someone say something about pay grades? I concur. Good fun and thanks for the hints.

  26. Sorry have to admit defeat, needed help 😰 with al least a half dozen suspect the meaning of 4d is in the BRB but I have always associated it with a ship supplier Thanks to DT & Ray T 🍷🍷

  27. Like many I struggled with this but got there in the end with several bung-ins (incl 4d) that I needed the blog to understand. Definitely the trickiest of the regular back-page setters although I found this marginally more approachable than previous offerings.

    As a novice, would someone be able to explain what the hallmarks of a RayT puzzle are (other than short clues – 8 words or less?)?

    Thanks to the setter and to Falcon.

    1. I’ll probably forget some but just a few of Ray T’s trademarks are, as you say, short clues; when he can find his naughty hat some clues sound quite risqué but the answers aren’t; he almost always includes an answer that is made up of the initial letters of the clue, as in 22d today; more often than not Her Maj gets a look in and the clues and answers in the Quickie are always single words which means you can glance at the Quickie and know instantly whether it’s one of his or not.

    2. Short clues (8 words as a maximum)
      Single word answers
      Mention of the queen
      Usually some innuendo

      When he sets a Toughie under the pseudonym Beam you have all the above plus a total absence of anagrams.

    3. A stretching of synonyms. Or you could say an excellent command of the intricacies of the English language.

  28. I saw the blog before I downloaded the paper this morning then failed to find time to look at either until after work. Definately the hardest of the week. First stumbling block was I forgot what BD said only the other day about pants being used as an anagram indicator so I made a mess of 26a. LOI was 12a and I concur with Jane re. her dental vacuuming. 4d needed the hints and blog comments to push the penny over the edge.
    Is there a north south divide over welly/wellie?
    No matter as the clue guided me to the spelling required.
    20a 21d joint faves here.
    Thanks to Falcon and Ray T.

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


  30. As always a terrific Ray T crossword.
    I got completely stuck on my last four answers which took ages and I’d almost given up – they were 9 and 12a and 4 and 19d.
    Too many good clues to mention particular ones but perhaps 12a was my favourite, and last.
    Thanks to Ray T and to Falcon.

  31. Just glad my life did not depend on me solving this unaided today, or I would be pushing up the daisies. Got there with Falcon’s help, thank you. Favourite is 4d as a clever clue, despite the fact that I never got beyond the wrong type of wicked. Well I wanted to bung it in from the checkers but even then I couldn’t see how it worked, duh. Have to try to remember that use from now on. 21d was a new word for me. Something learned so the day is not a waste,

  32. If you remove the 2nd and 8th letter of 4d you will see what they make.

    It has the same Latin derivation as ChanDELier.

    “Careful, Rodders. Careful…..”

    1. All this french reminds me of when Del wondered what was french for Duck a’l’Orange.

      Del One of my most favouritist meals is Duck à l’Orange, but I don’t know how to say that in French.
      Rodney It’s canard.
      Del You can say that again bruv!
      Rodney No the French word for duck is canard.
      Del Is it? I thought that was something to do with the QE2?
      Rodney No that’s Cunard. They’re the ones with the boats and what have you. The French for duck is canard.
      Del Right lovely jubbly. Right, so how do the French say à l’Orange then?
      Rodney A l’Orange!
      Del What, the same as we do?
      Rodney Yes
      Del Oh dear, it’s a pity they don’t use more of our words innit eh?

  33. Quite tricky I thought in places. I staggered over the finish line in about ***/**** time, even if solving later than usual. Last in 19d.

  34. Also caught short on the 4d – definitely a kick-yourself answer if there ever was one! That’s where I crept into the 4* grade.
    Sorry about the late post (and can we please hear a bit more from Brian?).

  35. You can rely on a Ray T puzzle to turn your brain inside out on occasions!
    Great crossword with 4d being top clue once the penny dropped.
    4* entertainment and a relief to complete!
    Thanks to Ray T, and to Falcon for the review.

  36. Thanks to Ray T and to Falcon for the review and hints. I enjoyed this one, but found it a bit of a struggle. I had “besets” for 19d, but thought it was wrong. Needed the hints to correct it. Also needed the hints for 21d, despite being quite good at chemistry, I’d never heard of it. Also needed the hints for 2d, I thought it might be “rims”, like a short county Antrim. Favourite was 4d. Great puzzle. Was 4*/3* for me.

  37. The last post, I expect. Woe, woe and thrice woe. But at least I learned some new words.

  38. perserverence paid off-was surprised to finish
    too many good clues to choose

      1. Thanks.
        I should clarify that I only started solving on Monday evening, not Thursday when the puzzle was published !

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