DT 28765 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 28765

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 28765

Hints and tips by Kath

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BD Rating — Difficulty ***Enjoyment ****

Hello everyone. Although today’s crossword is missing a few of Ray T’s trademark clues I’m sure it is one of his. I thought it was very much in the middle of his range of difficulty but, as I know I always say, I find it impossible to judge both difficulty and enjoyment when I know I’m doing the hints so I’ll be interested to see how the rest of you found it.

In the hints the definitions are underlined and the answers are hidden under the bits that say ANSWER so only do that it you need to see one.

Please leave a comment telling us how you got on today.


1a        Pretty dull blokes start to try flattery (12)
 BLANDISHMENT — Pretty in this clue means moderately so we need a word that means a bit dull or uninspiring – follow that with some blokes or chaps and finish off with the first letter (start to) of try


8a        Turn up heat and run off (7)
UNEARTH — An anagram (off) of HEAT and RUN

9a        Mate by employing skill with knight (7)
PARTNER — A short Latin word meaning by or through contains (employing) a synonym for skill or talent and the one letter chess abbreviation for knight

11a      Tempted brood to accept tailless bird (7)
SEDUCED — A word that means brood or issue in the sense of children contains (to accept) the first three letters of a four letter bird (tailless) – lots to choose from but this one quacks and likes swimming

12a      Labour leader facing confused Tories hangs around (7)
LOITERS — The first letter (leader) of Labour is followed by (facing) an anagram (confused) of TORIES

13a      A small bird is livid (5)
ASHEN — The A from the clue, S(mall) and then a female bird

14a      American ‘rock’ includes ‘roll’ in profusion (9)
 ABUNDANCE — Begin with A(merican) and finish off with a synonym for rock or move to music – in between those two you need a roll, a bread roll

16a      Some finesse? Let’s attempt to turn vulgar (9)
TASTELESS — Our first lurker or hidden answer indicated by the word some – just to complicate things this one is reversed (to turn)

19a      Somewhat modish and rather trim initially (5)
SMART — A Ray T special – the first letters (initially) of the remaining words of the clue

21a      Relatives like to go around free (7)
AUNTIES — A little short word meaning like or in the same manner contains (to go around) a synonym for free or loosen

23a      Writer’s old volume follows inspection, we hear (7)
CHEKHOV — The abbreviations for both O(ld) and V(olume) follow a homophone (we hear) of inspection or examination

24a      Literate English smutty about sex (7)
ERUDITE — Begin with E(nglish) and follow that with smutty or risqué which contains a colloquial term for sex

25a      UFO crash site, alternatively returning balloon (7)
ROSWELL — A reversal (returning) of an alternative followed by a verb to balloon or inflate – I only know this site in New Mexico of a USAF crash in 1947 from crosswords – who says you don’t learn stuff from doing them?

26a      Dine out and tip in change showing autonomy (12)
INDEPENDENCE — I’m only saying this lot once – begin with an anagram (out) of dine and follow that with some change, the kind that you might keep in a purse or a pocket – that contains (in) a synonym for a tip or an extremity



1d        Thickness of book perused by author, essentially (7)
BREADTH — The one letter abbreviation for B(ook) is followed by perused or scanned and finished off with the middle bit (essentially) of auTHor

2d        Maybe Ugandan affair’s first lover keeps almost fertile (7)
AFRICAN — The first letter (first) of A(ffair) is followed by a lover or devotee which contains most of (almost) a synonym for fertile or lush

3d        Dry heated ingredients turning dry (9)
DEHYDRATE — An anagram ( ingredients turning) of DRY HEATED

4d        Flower part is close protecting head of plant (5)
SEPAL — A verb to close or fasten contains (protecting) the first letter (head) of P(lant)

5d        Wedded male commonly pestered … (7)
MARRIED — M(ale) is followed by a synonym of pestered or badgered without its H (commonly) – it makes a nice change for there to be no mention of a cockney or the East End of London

6d        … old lady, enthusiastic in buff (7)
NANKEEN — An old lady – your Mum or Dad’s mother – is followed by a synonym of enthusiastic or eager

7d        Support coach upset with worker, one in bother (12)
SUBSTANTIATE — A reversal (upset) of a public transport vehicle or coach is followed by another way of saying bother or fluster which contains (in) a worker insect and the letter that looks like a one

10d      Particularly clever type is wrong (12)
RESPECTIVELY — An anagram (wrong) of CLEVER TYPE IS

15d      Loose salt seen in shifting dunes (9)
UNSECURED — Salt here is a verb meaning preserve – a synonym for that is contained in (seen in) an anagram (shifting) of DUNES

17d      Star’s unwanted touch? (7)
SUNBURN — This is what happens when you stay outside too long on a hot day – oh dear – I knew it would be tricky to give a decent hint for this and I was right.

18d      Building of French erected providing formality (7)
EDIFICE — A reversal (erected) of the French word for ‘of’ and then a conjunction that means providing or in case of and, finally, an informal word for formality

19d      Cowboy’s hat? Put it back, boy! (7)
STETSON — A printing term that means ‘put it back’ or ‘leave it as it was’ is followed by a boy or a male offspring

20d      Within reach, I eventually succeed (7)
ACHIEVE — The second lurker (within) – it’s hiding in the middle of the second to fourth words of the clue

22d      Reportedly caught sight of landscape (5)
SCENE —A homophone (reportedly) of caught sight of or noticed

I particularly liked 1 and 14a and 17d. My favourite was 19d.


52 comments on “DT 28765

  1. Often find it difficult to get on Ray T’s wavelength but if this was his I am surprised as I really enjoyed the challenge. A couple of Fav surfaces – 12a and also 17d once the parsing penny had dropped. Thank you RayT (?) and Kath.

  2. I agree with Kath’s ratings. My only real hold up was that I thought livid meant red/blue as in a bruise, but the office dictionary confirms that it can be greyish too.

    Thanks to Kath for the explanations and Mr T for the crossword

  3. Perhaps I am having a slow day, but this struck me as a Beam Toughie (with anagrams) in Ray T’s clothing, but it was as ever for his puzzles very enjoyable so I’m going for 4* / 4*.

    Many thanks to Ray T and to Kath.

  4. Agree with Kath’s ***/****, nearly every clue required careful parsing, one of those solves when the solution went in and then you had to work out why! .Last in was 23a because initially I had spelt the author with the h before the k !
    Nice d’oh moment when the penny dropped for 25a.
    So many excellent clues, so no favourite today . Thanks Kath for the picks and setter for the fun.

    1. My last one in was 20d – because I spelled the author with a ‘ck’ in the middle…

  5. No problems with this one except for trying to find somewhere to gain a toehold. Once that was achieved the puzzle was a steady solve for me.

    Thanks to Kath and RayT **/****

  6. Like RD, I thought this was at the upper end of Ray T’s scale – it will be interesting to see what those who always struggle with his wavelength made of it.

    7d was the last to fall for me – I had the ‘worker’ in my head but needed the checkers in place before the rest came together.
    5d put me in mind of Hoofit, I do hope that the sun is shining in Croydon for him and his bride.

    Top spots awarded to 1a & 19d.

    Devotions to Mr T and many thanks to Kath for the blog – hope that goldfish made it OK!

  7. Contrary to RD and Jane, I found this one to be at the easier end of the RayT range, unusual to see Her Maj not making an appearance though.

    My podium trio comprised 26a, 10d and 19d.

    It was good to catch up with Rabbit Dave at The Oval yesterday and see England shrug off their recent defeat to Scotland, albeit against a second-string Australian bowling attack that still managed to cause them a few problems.

    Many thanks to Mr Terrell and to Kath.

  8. An excellent puzzle from Mr T, as usual and expected. Great clues, a good challenge and very enjoyable. Too many good ones to pick out a favourite. 3.5* / 4*

  9. I think I would agree with ***/****, but as Jon mentioned, we struggled for the first few minutes to get a toe hold, but once we were in, it was finished quite quickly.

  10. After reading through Kath’s intro and most of the other comments, I was beginning to think that I must have solved a different puzzle until I got to silvanus’ comment; I found this reasonably straightforward, quite enjoyable and I finished it at a gallop – **/***.

    Favourite – a toss-up between 14a and 16a.

    Thanks to Ray T and Kath.

  11. I really struggled with the top half, but the bottom half went in fairly easily, then I progressed counter-clockwise (Widdershins?) until only 13a was left. I certainly didn’t know that meaning of it.

    Complete in ***/**** time, many thanks to Ray T and Kath.

  12. Clever lurker in 16A which took me ages to see !
    Liked the idle politicians in 12A.
    Many Thanks to Ray T and Kath.

  13. Slow to start, but went in steadily once I’d solved a few. 2.5*/4*. Very enjoyable. Honourable mention for 25a but top spot goes to 14a for me.

  14. Virtual earthquake of innuendo here – definitely high on my Laughter Scale. I made pretty good progress with this puzzle until inserting ‘induced’ at 11a. Fav probably 18d, on account of clever construction. I should also mention the welcome visit from the little green men at 25a. :mrgreen:

    1. Yes I was foolishly in the “induced” camp as well. Hardly the obvious answer is it?

  15. Well, I did not realise this was a RayT puzzle as it did not seem to be his style to me. Where’s the Queen today? Did I miss it?

    Anyway, it was quite straightforward for me.

  16. I’m going against the grain on this one, perhaps spoiled by the previous two gems. I didn’t think the clues were as well constructed or concise and were difficult to parse. Plus should you really be required to know quite obscure facts such as 25a?
    Did like 14a though
    Thanks to setter and the very knowledgeable Kath.

    1. No – I don’t think we should need to know obscure things like 25a but I do think that it was ‘gettable’ from the clue so it’s fair. It’s one of those where, if you don’t know it, you make a guess, look it up and then try to remember it for next time which is the real challenge.
      PS I’m not very knowledgable at all but it’s nice to know that I can, occasionally, fool people into thinking that I am!

      1. Thanks for the reply Kath. I take my hat off to you and your fellow reviewers for not only knowing all the answers but seemingly effortlessly being able to parse them. I’ve learned a lot from you in the art of cryptic crossword solving.

  17. Finished before hints/blog appeared but , due to shopping safari , commenting now without reading proceedings. Favourite 17d , enjoyable clues with quite a few smiles . A slow start but , by getting some of longer answers was greatly helped . However , the parsing was often retrospective . Rating ***/***.Thanks to everyone

  18. Started off really well with most of top half going in okay but came to a halt at the bottom half. Really found the SW corner tricky and needed Kath’s help with last in 25a got the answer but never heard of it? Thought today’s puzzle was excellent from Ray T a real good test, as I usually struggle with his puzzles so delighted to have completed albeit with a bit of help. Thoroughly enjoyed and pleased to be more on this setters radar. Liked the anagrams they certainly gave a foothold in helping me to complete.

    Clues of the day: 1a / 6d

    Rating 4* / 4*

    Thanks to Kath and Mr T

        1. Me who should apologise – it’s your blog after all.
          Thought you might be out mowing lawns, watering plants etc.!

  19. Very enjoyable puzzle from RayT as usual. A toss up between 12 and 20 for clue of the day. 2 nice long anagrams at 3 and 10 to get started. 2 great lurkers today as well. Thanks to RayT for lots of fun.

  20. A late start for me today again but not because of work but a day out in San Severo buying wine and having lunch. Had to use Thesaurus a little and last one is 16ac but I didn’t see the lurker until I came here. I liked 19d.

    Thanks Kath and RayT

  21. Thanks to Ray T and to Kath for the review and hints. A good puzzle today, not too tricky. Lots to smile about. My favourite was 16a, took a while to realise it was a reverse lurker. Was 2*/3* for me.

  22. Evening all. Many thanks to Kath for the elucidation and to all for your comments, as always.


  23. Really good fun all the way through. We did know the place in 25a so no delay with that one. We checked the clue word count of course.
    Thanks RayT and Kath.

  24. A few of these took a little thought, and there were one or two where I was a little shaky on the wordplay, but I still managed by a miracle to finish in say */** time. Finally getting the hand of this RayT lark. ;-) Last in 7d which fell into the latter camp.

  25. Although I made a few mistakes in this one (see above) , which then made it impossible for me to solve ofher clues, I am actually quite pleased with myself for my efforts today.

    When I started reading this blog I could not do Ray T’s puzzles for toffee, but now I can usually solve more than half of the clues unaided and very occasionally can finish them. And now that I am a bit better at them , I really enjoy them.
    So……thanks to Ray T and to Kath for the blog

  26. Nice challenge from Mr T; certainly had my little grey cells in a tizz. Once I ‘got in’ down at the bottom of the grid everything started to open up and I eventually finished in a rush. 17d was my top clue.
    Thanks to Ray T, and to Kath for her excellent review.

  27. Thank you, Ray T, for another brilliant crossword and to everyone for their comments.
    I need to be at Heathrow by about 5.45 am – very excited as I’m going to meet a very old friend who lives in Oz – so, early though it is, I’m off to bed in a minute.
    Night night all and sleep well.

  28. An enjoyable puzzle from our Queen fan – albeit they were missing. Lots to like with good lurkers and his other trademarks. Liked the clever 17d and was frustrated trying to fit ‘uncles’ into 21a.

    Thanks to Mr T for the enjoyment and to Kath for her excellent review. You really must have a word with the setters Kath- I haven’t seen an opportunity to post a pic of our dear old John Thaw for some time.

  29. First Ray T I’ve managed to complete unaided and like Ora, the blog has been invaluable. Only 6d needed confirmation so must have been rattling around in there somewhere. Thanks to Ray T and Kath.

  30. No-one seems to have queried the solution to 13ac. It was a fairly obvious solve, but we didn’t write the answer in for some time, as we couldn’t see how ASHEN could mean LIVID. Did anyone else hesitate over this one? Thank to the setter and to Kath.

    1. RayT is known for stretching a synonym here and there, particularly when setting for the Toughie slot. Usually a query like yours needs a visit to the dictionary to find that it is indeed correct according to meaning 23 way down the list. I tend to just accept the vague similarity. Others do their research. If you care enough the BRB is your starting point. Usually a comment like this would draw a few replies but as it’s now tomorrow you might not get much.

    2. I’m sure I and the others who commented at thread 2 about this are ‘someones’ but ….

  31. One of the toughest backpagers I can remember. Thursday became Friday before I broke the tape ! A good workout.
    I’d go with ****/****.

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