DT 28741 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 28741

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 28741

Hints and tips by pommers

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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

Hola from the Vega Baja and welcome to a RayThursday.  This puzzle will probably cause the usual split in opinions as it’s a classic RayT. It has all the usual idiosyncracies and it’s full of stretched synonyms and off-the-wall definitions.  I enjoyed it a lot but thought it a bit of a tricky little rascal. I only got four of the acrosses and six of the downs on first pass and it took me longer to finish than I’ve spent on a DT back pager for ages.  I’ll be interested to see if that’s just me having an off morning or whether it really is a misplaced Beam Toughie.

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           Clash in nightclub hop involving rockers’ leader (11)
DISCORDANCE:  Start with a night club followed by a hop, as in what you might do in said night club, and insert (involving) an R (Rocker’s leader)

10a         Head of state’s miserable track record (5)
SPOOR:  S (head of State) followed by a word for miserable or not very good will give you a record of the track taken by someone over a piece of ground.  I like the definition here.

11a         Banker perhaps more extravagant keeping home (9)
FINANCIER:  Take a word for more extravagant or more ornate and insert (keeping) the usual two letters for home.

12a         Try to catch seafood with small shell-shaped instruments (9)
CASTANETS:  These are instruments used by Spanish dancers. You’ll need a phrase (4,1,3) which describes what you might do in order to catch some fish and follow it with an S(mall).

13a       Teeming part of sea was hostile (5)
AWASH:  A lurker lurking in (part of) the last three words.

14a         Awards zero marks? (6)
OSCARS:  The letter that looks like zero followed by some marks or signs of old injuries.

16a         Fancies changes pocketing a grand (8)
VAGARIES:  A word meaning changes or alters with A (from the clue) and G(rand) inserted (pocketing).

18a        Steer vehicle over Interstate opening (8)
NAVIGATE:  Start with a delivery vehicle and reverse it (over).  Follow with an American abbreviation of Interstate and then an opening, into your garden perhaps.  I’ve never come across this abbreviation before but it’s pretty obvious and it’s in the book.

20a         Brilliant time with Queen’s family (6)
LITTER:  Brilliant as in has light shining on it followed by T(ime) and the usual two letters for the Queen.  This was my last in and it took ages before the penny finally dropped. You probably heard me bashing my head with the tea tray.

23a         Initially little animal resting, virtually adult (5)
LARVA:  First letters (initially) of the other words in the clue.   I’m not sure that this really works.

24a         Former cab company worker getting rich (9)
EXUBERANT:  Nothing to do with loads-a-money. It’s rich as in lavish or effusive.  Two letters for former followed by a cab company (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uber) and then the usual insect worker.

26a         Feeling excited, blokes consumed by computing? (9)
SENTIMENT:  A rather old-fashioned word for excited followed by some blokes inserted (consumed by) into two letters for computing or Information Technology.

27a         Middle of state hit by old battle (5)
ALAMO:  A (middle of stAte) followed by a crosswordland word for hit which never gets used in real life and finally O(ld) gives you the battle where Davy Crocket got killed.

28a         Flooding a lot? These could be useful (11)
WELLINGTONS:  A word for flooding often applied to tears followed by a word meaning a lot or loads gives you something useful in a flood.  At first I thought this was just a rather iffy cryptic definition but then I suddenly spotted how the wordplay works and did some more damage to the tea tray.


2d           Stars, single, sold out (5)
IDOLS:  The letters that looks like number one (single) followed by an anagram (out) of sold.

3d           Pirate‘s reportedly bawdy song (7)
CORSAIR:  This pirate sounds like (reportedly) a bawdy song.  Seasoned solvers will think this is a bit of a chestnut but it’s still a good clue.

4d           Angry about female being sacked (6)
RIFLED:  Take a word meaning angry and and put it around (about) an F(emale).

5d           CIA names suspect one might forget (8)
AMNESIAC:  Anagram (suspect) of CIA NAMES.

6d           Stop farewell musical performance (7)
CANTATA:  A slightly American word which can mean to stop followed by an informal way of saying goodbye.

7d           Chap only stays bonkers seeing shrink (13)

8d           Man with double trouble? (8)
BIGAMIST:  To solve this you need to know what “trouble” is in rhyming slang – (trouble and strife = wife).  This guy has two of them.  More tea tray damage!

9d           Arrangement of gold part encircling box (13)
ORCHESTRATION:  Heraldic gold and a word for part or allowance around (encircling) a large box.

15d         Chap with band playing different version (8)
COVERING:  A Bertie Woosterish word for a chap and a band on your finger gives a word for playing your own version of somebody else’s song.

17d         Ballet here almost describes ‘heavenly‘ (8)
ETHEREAL:  Another lurker. It’s in ballet here almost.

19d         Rock old lady over sex with sweetheart (7)
GRANITE:  This time the old lady isn’t your mother, she’s a bit older.  Follow her with a euphemism for sex and an E (swEet heart).

21d         One, after catching a cold, is woolly (7)
INEXACT:  Start with I (one) and follow with a word meaning after in a sequence and insert (catching) the A from the clue and C(old).  I spent ages thinking this was something to do with sheep.  Yet more tea tray abuse.

22d         Switch end, playing (6)
BUTTON:  The end of a cigarette perhaps followed by a two letter word which can mean playing.

25d         Cooking range popular once more (5)
AGAIN:  A cooking range followed by the usual two letters for popular or fashionable.

Quite a lot of blue today but my clear favourite was 28a with 8d and 12a up there on the podium.  I think I’ve ruined pommette’s best tea tray.

Quick crossword pun:     TIN     +     CUB     +     HELL     =     TINKERBELL


70 comments on “DT 28741

  1. 2* / 5*. I felt on wavelength from the word go with this brilliant Ray T offering which I think is one of his very best.

    I did have a slight misadventure with 4d putting in “mashed” as my answer before I realised the error of my ways, and it took a few moments for the penny to drop regarding “stop” in 6d.

    My favourite was 28a, but there were many more candidates for this honour.

    Many thanks to Ray T and to pommers.

  2. Like pommers I only had a few on first pass but I managed to knuckle down and got there in a reasonable time. I thought the puzzle was excellent.

    Thanks to pommers and RayT 2.5*/5*

  3. I thought this was excellent; it flowed very nicely and my only pause for thought was with my last one in, 16a, where I was fooled into looking for an anagram.

    Favourite clue – 12a.

    Many thanks to RayT and to pommers.

  4. We’re in total agreement about this one being a tricky rascal. 20a was also our last answer to get sorted and we had the same thoughts about 28a when we spotted the wordplay. Good fun that kept us chuckling right through what was quite a long solve, and then we did the clue word count just to be sure that the eight word limit had been kept.
    Thanks RayT and pommers.

  5. Absolutely excellent! A great puzzle, a pretty tough challenge, sublime clues, very enjoyable and a sense of achievement at the end. There are pedants on here who might report “padding” – 10a would work without “record” and 12a would work without “shell-shaped”. But I would regard those as valid surface misdirection enhancements (absolute brevity isn’t always better in a cryptic clue) – so there! A superb crossword, too many great clues to single out a favourite, 4* / 4.5*

    1. I’ll re-phrase that, I got carried away in the throes of eulogising – I’m getting surface padding mixed up with padded definitions. 10a is a good obscure definition; 12a is a plain, over-long (one could say “padded”) definition.

      1. You say ‘over-long’….all you are saying is he has used one word too many (shell-shaped).

        So, if anything, it’s ‘long’ not ‘over-long’, which is ironic, though I feel it’s perfectly okay to use ‘shell-shaped’.

        If a compiler uses two too many words then it may merit a comment though, again, I wouldn’t. I never criticise a clue as I am so thankful that these demi-gods exist. To pick up on one word that may not be required can’t be the way forward though you are, of course, entitled to your opinion.

        I mentioned a few months ago that it is impossible for a compiler to create 28 perfect clues.

        On a lighter note…What did the Spanish firefighter call his two sons? Jose and Hose B.

        Like Big Dave, an oldie but a classic.

        1. Sir L. I was just pointing out (certainly not “criticising”) that 10a and 12a would both still work with shortened definitions, but they wouldn’t necessarily be any better thus – before any pendants on here complained about “padded definitions”. I’m a big fan of setters using obscure, cryptic or even over-long definitions instead of plain/obvious/transparent ones. By “over-long” I mean longer than is absolutely necessary, but I suppose just “long” would suffice. This setter is my favourite and for me the best back-page compiler and I’m sure he’ll not translate my comments as criticism.

        2. PS. Pointing out a mere technical observation does not constitute a criticism or complaint, especially when delivered with supplementary clarification. But I will concede that my comments may sometimes be a little clumsy or a tad ambiguous – so no hard feelings, old chap, it’s just a bit of a friendly debate. Toodle-pip!

          1. I’m gutted you didn’t respond to my Spanish firefighter joke. I was very happy with it.

            I don’t agree that 10a works just as well without ‘record’.

            ”Head of State’s miserable track” is not a good clue. All it can mean is the head of state has either written a bad song, has a shoddy athletics facility or a neglected thoroughfare .

            With ‘record’ it makes sense.

            I agree that looking at each word ‘record’ has nothing to do with the meaning of ‘Spoor’. If that’s the case, then say that the clue doesn’t work at all as ‘record’ is superfluous even though without it the clue doesn’t make sense.

            I also like the clever observation by RT that you can have shell-shaped castanets which are therefore linked to seafood. If you take out ‘shell-shaped’ it weakens the surface read as ‘instruments’ could mean scientific ones, tools or something else.

            (Substitute ‘Critique’ for ‘Criticise’, btw)

            Go with the flow, Jose baby. Go with the flow….

            1. Yes, absolutely – you’ve just elucidated the very point I made in the first place! I initially said that the clues would work with shortened definitions but the longer ones used were “valid enhancements” and that “absolute brevity isn’t always better in a cryptic clue”.

              10a: The clue would work OK without “record” but, as you say, I agree that it works better with it. 12a: This one is a little more subjective I think. “Shell-shaped” does give the clue a consistent seafood/sea theme, but with just “instruments” it is debatable that the surface is “weakened” – you could argue that the surface is given added misdirection for the reasons you mention (ie the instrument could other than a musical one) which might make the clue harder to fathom, which is exactly what you want from a cryptic clue.

              Don’t forget, smooth surfaces are desirable and usually better, but are not obligatory – clues with surfaces that make no literal sense at all are fairly common in these back-pagers.

              So, at the end of the day, we seem to be in general agreement? So what are we both harping on about?

            2. PS2. You did have me doubting myself about “over-long” or, strictly speaking, overlong. It is in the dictionary and means “too or excessively long”. I just thought I’d mention it…

              1. Gosh. You’re not a lawyer, by any chance?

                I’ll be brief….

                10a does not work without the word ‘record’ (see above).

                But, you obviously disagree.

                Let’s move on….

                1. 10a does work without “record”, but the clue is better with it. As I said above, surfaces do not have to make absolute literal sense. It’s not a case of me “disagreeing”, it’s a case of me reporting a fact.

  6. A top banana puzzrle. RayT at his very best. A joy from the slowish start to the tortuous end. Reference 27ac. We always pronounced the hit with a P on the en as in “Lamp him one” It was cryptic solving that taught me that I had been wrong for so long. Thanks to Pommers for the review. Thanks to Ray T for the entertainment. Dresden Dolls tickets on sale today.

    1. Lamp is a slang version of lam – very common in my neck of the woods. It’s always been “Lamp him one” round here.

        1. Maybe it’s related to another genteel expression from my youth in the 60s: “I’m going to knock his headlamps out!”. :-)

  7. Extremely enjoyable with lots of “doh” moments. Took me double the amount of time than yesterday so has to be a 4* for difficultly and 4.5 * for enjoyment.

    Never heard of the chap in 15d, and took ages over 20a, the stop in 6d was also a problem but got there in the end.
    8d was favourite.

    Thanks to Ray T and pommers.

  8. One of the best crosswords for some time,quite how you classify thegreats I’m not sure, maybe wordplay, anagrams or the sheer variety of clues.
    Many thanks to RayT and of course Pommers. How will RayT follow this one.
    Favourites 8d and 24a.

  9. Set off at a gallop ,went into a trot and then stopped abruptly at last one in 16a which took me as long as the rest put together to solve- and then I wasn’t sure !- thankfully I was correct.
    Have to go for a ****/****.
    Plenty to smile about like 20a,28a and 8d.
    Glad everyone seemed to rate it highly.
    Thanks all.

  10. Definitely on the tricky side for me with quite a lot of head scratching required which slowed me down to a canter – ***/***.

    Favourite – a toss-up between 18a and 9d.

    Thanks to Ray T and pommers.

  11. Top puzzle – thanks to Ray T and pommers. My favourite was either 28a or 8d – the latter reminded me of Arachne’s great clue which (from memory) was:
    Two Dutch blokes (9)

  12. Top drawer stuff from my favourite setter – a 14a to him for this one.
    Last in for me was 16a – like Jezza, I spent far too long looking for an anagram that wasn’t there!

    Favourite was the man with double trouble with a mention for the pirate’s bawdy song.

    Devotions aplenty to Mr T and many thanks to Pommers for an excellent blog.

  13. I’ve been doing this crossword for years and visiting Big Dave since I discovered it a year or so ago but never felt moved to comment before.

    Today was different. This puzzle is so outstanding, one of the best – if not the best – I can remember and so I want to add my praise to that of others.

    At first I thought it was a walk in the park but then….. it was completed in the end with the help of the Pommers on a couple of clues and missing answers when revealed were so clever. Thank you.

    1. Welcome to the blog

      Now you’ve de-lurked, I hope you’ll comment again in future

  14. Interesting how different everyone finds a crossword – I thought this the friendliest Ray T production for some time – one way I can tell is how neat my writing in of the letters is

    Thanks to Mr T and to Pommers for the blog

  15. I was about to have a moan about the ratings on the blog, which nearly always seem to be about 2 or 3 stars for difficulty. Then we got today’s puzzle, which I agree was a good 3-4 star, although I can see below that we are, as always, different. I struggled with a lot of the eastern side, but it was clever and mostly enjoyable.

    I didn’t know if this was just me ( Mr “Stats” Kitty might help if he has time…) or there really has been a bit of stagnation in the last couple of months. I think it’s important to use the full range of ratings, just for the fun of it. I also mean that there should be really easy and really difficult puzzles on the back page, even though it’s subjective, for the sake of beginners and solvers who might not have time to go to the harder puzzles.

    Can anyone tell me whether they think the ratings for the backpager and the toughie “overlap”? That is, would a 2 star Toughie be equivalent to a 5 star backpager (not that we ever seem to have one)?

    1. It was never intended to be a branch of Rocket Science, but I would say that a 5-star back=pager would be about 3/4-star as a Toughie.

    2. I find that there is a great variability in the difficulty of both Back page and Toughie puzzles – or maybe that is just my acuity on the day I work on one!

      It is not that uncommon for me to find a Toughie that is easier than the back pager.

      I do usually finish the back pager without too much difficulty but then the style of the setter can make quite a difference. I have had to get used to the RayT style of puzzling as I do not find it as intuitive or as satisfying as other puzzles.

      Then there are Toughies that fall easily and others that are totally baffling!

      1. Yes, welcome to the blog, Paige.
        I think most people will agree with you. Who knows what changes our ratings from day to day? Could be sleep, or caffeine or steroids………..

        I think your experts will usually rate most back page puzzles at 2* because they can cope very easily, but don’t like to seem big-headed by using 1*. Occasionally they’ll use 3* when it takes them a bit longer.
        BD suggested that there was more overlap between the back page and Toughie than I thought, but I never have time, at my level, to do both, especially in the summer months. Maybe I’ll give the T a go at the allotment during the increasingly frequent sit-downs I need.

  16. I am in the classic camp as very enjoyable , difficult yet rewarding . 20a was also my last one , simple really yet misleading .
    Lots of favourites and marvelled at the skill of RAY T , CAPITAL FELLOW .
    Thanks to everyone .

  17. Huge admiration from me too, I didn’t find it too tricky, but it was immensely rewarding.

    My top three were whittled down to 7d, 15d and 25d.

    Many thanks to RayT and to Pommers.

  18. I’m not commenting much at the moment but this was such a brilliant crossword that I just had to pop in to say so.
    I had a spot of bother with the 6d ‘stop’ and, like others, spent a long time thinking 16a was an anagram.
    Also got stuck for ages with 20a.
    So many good clues today – 1, 12 and 28a and 3 and 7d, and lots of others.
    With thanks to Ray T for brightening my day, and to pommers too.

    1. Far from it.

      I think you’ve just sown a seed for a great clue though I’m impressed that you’ve got time to talk about a crossword when you’re going to a Trump-free hooly of all hoolies at the weekend.

      A mate said to me that maybe Thomas Markle isn’t going because the groom’s dad isn’t.

      How we laughed.

  19. Classic RayT, loved it. All went in nicely bar 16a, 20a & 8d last in – D’oh! Fun pun too. Lots to like, 28a amused in particular.

    Many thanks to MrT and to pommers

  20. I found this one very tricky and had to resort to electronic help for the last 4 ( all in the east side)…so no hurrah for me today. Very enjoyable nonetheless and it was reassuring to see that folks on here found it tricky too.

    Thanks to the setter and to Pommers.

  21. I am very much in the ‘trickier than usual’ camp this afternoon. I did, however, get that warm glow of achievement on completion which is a good sign for me. Overall this was 3.5* /4* with 8d my favourite, mainly because the answer reminds me of the old joke about it being a large Italian fog.

    Thanks to Ray for the considerable challenge, and to pommers.

  22. As always, I found this decidedly tricky, however, as I only had three unsolved, I feel I must be getting better.
    Fave was 12a, with 24a runner up; I use the cab company all the time.
    Thanks to RayT and to pommers.

  23. Strangely for a Ray T I found this tricky but not as difficult as a lot of Ray T puzzles. Had a quick go, went away for a couple of hours came back and somehow it all came together quite nicely. A bit shocked actually when I saw the rating on the blog to have finished it. Really enjoyed it and for once on this setters wavelength. A red letter day for me today hope it continues in a fortnights time? Last in 16a. Lots of great clues with so many to pick a favourite from.

    Clues of the day: 1a / 9d

    Rating: 3.5* / 4.5*

    Thanks to Pommers and special thanks to Mr T

  24. As always, a puzzle for the little grey cells to get excited about. Great fun and surprisingly, over sooner than I expected. 24a was my top clue.
    Thanks to Ray T, and to Pommers for the review.

  25. I didn’t find this as difficult as previous RayT puzzles, or perhaps I’m just starting to get on the right wavelength and enjoy them more. 22d made me smile, but I also liked 8d and 28a. Thank you Pommers and RayT

  26. I usually find RayT puzzles pretty tricky, so was pleased that I managed this one needing only a couple of hints. Favourite was 8d as it raised a chuckle. Now recovering from 21d – made my brain hurt!

  27. Enjoyed this tremendously but had to wait for the blog to discover what 8d and 20a were. Had ganaches for 16a = Some sort of anagram of changes and a!!!! Have not blogged recently as mourning my petit frère who died three weeks ago. A great puzzle indeed. Hesitating between 1a and 9d for favourite. 3*/4*. Going back to Billingshurst at the end of this month. Have been to Jean-Luc’s restaurant several times – recently refurbished and looking great. Love the mur végétal…

    1. I did exactly the same thing, getting “ganaches”!

      All unraveled when I got “bigamist” in the down clue and realised it couldn’t work. Was kind of disappointed, thinking I’d found a clever use of “fancies”…🙂

      I found this tricky in places but full of brilliant clues. Overall a very high quality puzzle.

    2. Sorry, I didn’t register your comment about your brother before commenting. I’m very sorry for your loss.

  28. Evening all. Many thanks to pommers for the analysis and to all of you who left a comment. Much appreciated.


    1. Hi Ray, thanks for popping in. I found this tough but most enjoyable. I like your humour in the clues.

  29. Thanks to Ray T and to Pommers for the review and hints. I enjoyed this one very much, but found it very tricky. I loved the humour in 12&28a and 8&22d, the latter being my favourite. Needed the hints for 1,10,16a. Managed to get 6d, but had not heard of can for stop. Was 4*/4* for me.

  30. Tricky indeed, a **** for difficulty here, much of that in the SE corner. I think I need to go and lie down in a dark corner now. ;-)

  31. 16a was such a neat clue..but I was thinking about an anagram for some time. I’m heartened that others had the same hiccup.
    After a rubbish game of golf, this was lovely.
    I need a crossword fix and this was perfect.
    I often think of the husband in Brief Encounter.A great way to relax!

  32. I don’t often comment, but I enjoyed that so much that I have taken the trouble to return to the PC in my office and say that I thought that was excellent! Many thanks RayT, you brought many a smile to my face and, for me, that is what makes a good crossword. Still smiling about the poor chap’s double trouble. Brilliant! Excellent blog as well, Pommers. I have a spare tea tray here if you need one. Thank you both.

  33. Glad to see it wasn’t just me that found this tricky.

    One reason for sluggish brain on my part is that I have a couple of Spanish carpenters fitting a ceiling in our garage and they are extremely noisy. They have a compressor for their nail gun, a circular saw, a hammer drill and one of them likes to sing flamenco so not surprising I can’t think straight.

    Off to bed now as said carpenters will be back making noise at 0800 tomorrow.

  34. What everyone else has said, tricky but do-able. Guilty also with anagram hunting at 16a. Thanks to RayT and to pommers.

  35. Didn’t have chance to get back to this until just now, being too tricky to finish over breakfast, and having been called to ferry grandkids around. 16a stumped me, likewise 15d not having heard that term. Nevertheless very enjoyable and satisfying, with COTD definitely 8d.

  36. It seems there are more pros than cons for this puzzle but I am certainly one of the latter. I just couldn’t begin to get on wavelength and called it a day with barely half completed. Can’t remember ever having such a cruciverbal struggle with the DT. Like BusyLizzie I usually complete over breakfast but no way today and now it’s very late. Thank you RayT (with some reservation!) and pommers for being there although I decided I had too many blanks to look them all up. 😢

  37. Late on parade, but I just had to comment on this brilliant Ray T puzzle. Lots of amusing clues and a satisfying challenge to solve. From the many I would give mentions to 10a, 12a, 16a, 20a, 28a, and 22d, but my clear winner is 8d. ***/*****.

  38. I liked 24a as brings us into 21st century – moving on from broughams and the like. Some other favourites but spoiled for me by the ones I could not get. Left with 16a, 20a and 8d. Looked at the hint for 8d and then got straight away but do not think I would ever have got there alone. Nothing to lead me to cockney slang. After that I found 20a on my own. I thought of all possibilities (apart from the right one) for 16a. Not helped by the checkers apart from final S being vowels. Like others was looking for an anagram rather than a synonym. Did not feel right to me even when I got it with the hint. Overall I am with the dissidents on this one. Thanks Pommers (hope the carpenters not too noisy this morning but it will be siesta soon) and to Ray

  39. Very late on parade…. just got to this tonight.

    Thought this was the best RayT puzzle I can recall (although I’m a recent convert to the DT Back pager). Plenty of great clues especially 8d and 24a as others have noted.

    Whilst I can’t imagine I’ll ever be on wavelength it is great to have a setter with such a different and challenging style.

    (Very) belated thanks to RayT and to Pommers.

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