DT 28777 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 28777

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 28777

Hints and tips by Falcon

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

Greetings from Ottawa, where temperatures that have been slightly cooler than normal are about to soar just in time for Canada Day on Sunday. Weekend temperatures are forecast to reach the mid-30s (Celsius) with the humidex hitting the mid-40s. Time to jump in a lake, methinks.

I experienced a very slow start — always a worrying situation for a blogger — on what proved to be a very enjoyable puzzle from RayT. However, once I had established a foothold, I was able to make rather rapid progress and finished within a normal time. The northeast did put up some spirited resistance but soon succumbed.

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.


1a   Cross empty gallery to take seat (6)
GRUMPY — the first and last letters (empty) of G(aller)Y grasping a derrière

4a   Perfect female, wild (8)
FLAWLESS — string together F(emale) and a word meaning lacking respect for authority

9a   Lose track of dispatch on motorway (6)
MISLAY — a word meaning to dispatch (in the sense of to send one to meet their maker) follows (on in an across clue) Crosswordland’s most popular motorway

10a   Salt rib concerned with seasoning (8)
TARRAGON — a charade of one of the usual seafaring suspects, a word meaning to rib or tease, and a preposition denoting concerned with

12a   Proust, it gets translated better (8)
OUTSTRIP — an anagram (gets translated) of the first two words of the clue

13a   Bride bristled accepting rubbish (6)
DEBRIS — a lurker hiding (accepting) in the first two words of the clue

15a   Stolen cabinet is damaged, for sure (13)
INCONTESTABLE — an anagram (is damaged) of the first two words of the clue

18a   Opinionated and terribly vague trite man (13)
ARGUMENTATIVE — an anagram (terribly) of the last three words in the clue

22a   Do translation of French mock exam’s opening (6)
DECODE — a charade of a French preposition meaning ‘of’, a slang term meaning to mock or parody, and the initial letter (opening) of Exam

24a   Stand without warning shout and put wood back? (8)
REFOREST — a stand or support goes round (without or outside of) a warning shout on a golf course

26a   Escort man working to protect Queen (8)
CHAPERON — a bloke and a word meaning working or functioning surround (protect) Her Majesty’s regnal cipher

27a   Rewarding, if tedious, to keep skilful (6)
GIFTED — the second lurker of the day, hiding (to keep) in the first three words of the clue

28a   It’s standard having a lot put on tick? (8)
PARASITE — a performance standard (on a golf course, for instance) followed by (having … put on) A (from the clue) and a lot or location

29a   Catches vehicle finally, the final vehicle? (6)
HEARSE — a word meaning catches (a snippet of conversation, perhaps) and the final letter of vehiclE


1d   Frolic in punt, we hear (6)
GAMBOL — sounds like (we hear) to punt or wager

2d   Alarming seeing one in gents put out (9)
UPSETTING — the Roman numeral for one inserted into an anagram (out) of GENTS PUT

3d   Unattractively artificial snap capturing conclusion (7)
PLASTIC — an informal term for a photo containing a synonym for conclusion or end

5d   Look, a new mortgage? (4)
LOAN — an archaic exclamation meaning Look! or See! followed by A (from the clue) and N(ew)

6d   Closest direction to circle inlet (7)
WARMEST — a cardinal direction around a coastal inlet

7d   Lug around say, turning impatient (5)
EAGER — the part of the anatomy colloquially known as a lug wrapped around a reversal (turning) of a Latin abbreviation signifying say or for instance

8d   Wicked lapse is end, almost (8)
SINISTER — a charade of an ecclesiastic lapse, IS (from the clue), and the first three letters (almost) of TER[m] (end, of a pregnancy)

11d   Appealing with turn to bat (7)
WINNING — W(ith) and a batsman’s turn to bat in cricket a division of play in a baseball game; thank you to all who pointed out the error (which was the result of carelessness rather than ignorance on my part)

14d   Calm about beginning to locate cut (7)
RELAXED — concatenate a preposition meaning about or with regard to, the initial letter of Locate, and a verb in the past tense meaning ‘cut’

16d   Tower guard‘s exploit with sweetheart consumed by drink (9)
BEEFEATER — an exploit or achievement accompanied by RayT’s ever-present sweetheart immersed in a fermented beverage

17d   Expert reportedly beat golfer’s measure of skill (8)
HANDICAP — the first part of this charade sounds like an adjective meaning expert or clever, especially in performing manual tasks; the second part is a verb denoting beat or exceed (a previous performance)

19d   Insanity of crowd welcoming danger, oddly (7)
MADNESS — the odd letters of DaNgEr are surrounded by a large group of people

20d   Playing oldies I love (7)
IDOLISE — an anagram (playing) of OLDIES I

21d   Strangely, dog in street ultimately ate dull food (6)
STODGE — an anagram (strangely) of DOG between ST(reet) and the final letter (ultimately) of atE

23d   Seat could help an individual rest initially (5)
CHAIR — the initial letters of the five words in the middle of the clue

25d   Company’s time leads to charge (4)
COST — link together CO(mpany), the accompanying S, and T(ime)

From such a fine collection of clues, it is a difficult task to single out a few for special mention. However, I will give podium places to 24a, 2d and 16d with the gold medal going to 16d.

Quick Crossword pun: fitter+mince=vitamins


43 comments on “DT 28777

  1. 3.5* / 4*. A few clues at the end of this typically very enjoyable Ray T puzzle pushed my time up above 3*.

    There were lots of potential candidates for favourite but I can’t fault Falcon’s podium choices of 24a, 2d & 16d.
    Falcon, in 11d a “turn to bat” in cricket has an “s” on the end. The word with the “s” refers only to baseball. I wouldn’t want my star cricket pupil Jane getting confused :wink:

    Many thanks to Ray T and to Falcon.

    1. :oops:
      I see I’ve made a (deliberate?) mistake. The word without the “s” refers only to baseball.

      Sorry about that.

    2. I wasn’t at all confused until you launched into the explanations, RD! It hadn’t occurred to me that the word would ever be used without the ‘s’.
      Come to think of it, it’s a very odd expression – I wouldn’t want to try to justify it to an English language learner.

      1. In cricket terminology, “innings” is singular and plural. In baseball, “inning” is singular and “innings” plural. (Grudgingly) I have to admit that the latter seems more logical, but what has logic got to do with language?

        1. I’m sure I’ve heard Sir Geoffrey say “inningses” on Test Match Special.

          Maybe Yorkshire dialect (or too much to drink at lunch).

    3. Sorry for the careless error. As I wrote the review, I just presumed that the clue would be dealing with cricket — should have reread the clue (or, rather the solution to the clue) more carefully.

      The matter is further compounded by the fact that the terminology really does not apply to baseball where an inning is a division of play but a turn to bat is an “at bat”. (It is possible for a player to have more than one at bat in a single inning.)

  2. Did not take too long to complete , enjoyed so ***/*** from me .
    Favourites 28a and 29a with the latter giving a grim smile !
    Thanks again .

  3. Great to have hints available early to assist with some parsings. Otherwise today’s task was OK with the East presenting a few pauses for thought. Pic seems to be popular abbreviation these days – not sure about it. Favs 24a, 29a and 7d. Thank you RayT and Falcon.

  4. Everyone knows I love Mr T Thursdays and today was no exception. All the usual trademarks present and correct and just enough stretched synonyms to keep us on our toes.

    So many contenders for podium places but I did have a particular fancy for 4a.

    Devotions as always to Mr T and many thanks to Falcon for the blog – don’t think I’ll be considering the third option!

  5. What a brill puzzle, one of rayt’s best for some time methinks. **/***** from me.

    Many thanks to RayT and Falcon.

    P. S. If you like lurker clues have butchers at Paul’s puzzle in today’s Grauniad. There’s a 15 letter lurker!

  6. As I live and breath, I have actually finished a Ray-T crossword unaided and without chewing the carpet in frustration. More scarily I did not find it too difficult. I had assumed it would be ranked with *, to my surprise if has ***!!
    I actually enjoyed it too, though some of the synonyms needed a trip to the BRB. The Guardian has lost a bi-weekly subscriber!!
    Favourite clue was 17d as mine keeps going up.
    Thanks to Ray-T and Falcon.

    1. Married life is obviously suiting you, Hoofit – although it’s perhaps not doing much for your golf!

  7. An archetypal RayT I thought. If I’d been blogging in pommers’ style there would be a lot of blue, but I’m something-or-othered if I can pick a favourite.

    Many thanks to RayT for providing more sunshine, but of a type which doesn’t burn, and to Falcon for the blog.

    (Re the 29a options, I’d quite like to be made into fertiliser. May as well be useful at some point in my existence … )

  8. The bath water had gone quite cold by the time I had finished this, but finish it I did.

    My last one in was 8d. Wasn’t absolutely sure that it was really wicked, and couldn’t see the parsing of the end, thanks to Falcon for the explanation, and to Ray T. for a **** puzzle.

  9. I didn’t find this too difficult last night although three in the north east pushed me into ** time.

    Surely, a mortgage is not a synonym for a “****” in 5d, rather it is a type of security for a “****” or indeed for any type of financial, or indeed other, legal obligation. Despite that little gripe, I thought the whole thing was most enjoyable. ****

    Thanks to Ray T and to Falcon.

    Hope all in the UK are enjoying the sunshine – it looks almost as hot there as it is over here.

  10. Unlike most of you I have an above average dislike of Ray T crosswords and this was no exception. I got about 3/4 done but then gave up and when i look at the answer for 8d i’m glad i did.

  11. I concur with Kitty’s opening sentence, a very archetypal RayT puzzle will all the usual familiar trademarks. Extremely enjoyable to solve.

    Standout clue for me was 29a.

    Many thanks to Mr Terrell and Falcon.

  12. **/****. Right up my street. Very enjoyable puzzle with not too many stalls. Favourites 4&29a. Thanks to Ray T and Falcon. Grandchildren to the aquarium today where the sea otters will be the stars I suspect.

  13. Thoroughly enjoyable, got on his wavelength well today. So much better than last Thursday dreadful offering. My favourite was what I am often accused of being – 1a. MiDesps for 29a, 10a and 11d.

  14. I made hard work of today’s challenge. I just wasn’t in tune for some reason. However I finally finished and obviously I have to nominate 1a as my top clue.
    Thanks to Ray T, and to Falcon for the review

  15. A Ray T completed even though it was on the tougher side for me. Thank goodness for plenty of long anagrams to get a good foothold. SE corner the main stumbling block with last in 24a not really sure about that clue but managed to parse it and it was correct. A good puzzle with some excellent clues and as usual with me and a Ray T some obscure one’s as well. Mainly on his radar today though.

    Clues of the day: 10a / 24a

    Rating: 3.5* / 4*

    Thanks to Falcon and Mr T

  16. Ray T puzzles are always a challenge for me and this was no exception but (I think) I’m getting better. As I get better they are becoming more enjoyable, how strange!
    I didn’t spot the 13a lurker but had the answer as it almost works as an anagram of Bride (bristled) accepting (s) rubbish?
    Thanks to all.

  17. Thank you Ray T and Falcon for a great puzzle 29a made me smile as I did the puzzle after a morning funeral!

    1. Hi Sophie

      Welcome from me as well.

      The use of the word “sweetheart” in clues is one of a number of distinguishing marks associated with RayT’s puzzles — along with the customary reference to the Queen, the use of single-word clues in the Quickie, a bit of innuendo, and a few others. While these are well-known to regulars on the blog, they would understandably be a mystery to new arrivals.

      Newcomers should never hesitate to ask questions when such references appear. The regulars here are a very friendly lot and, as you have discovered, someone is sure to come quickly to your aid.

  18. This late in the day I think it has all been said. A terrific Ray T production at the trickier end of his setting spectrum, and 3* /4* for me overall. Loved the lurker at 13a.

    Thanks to Ray and Falcon.

  19. I usually have trouble getting on the wavelength with Ray T, and this was further compounded by a intensely sore throat, obviously the start of a nasty head cold, caught from Mr BL, which he undoubtedly caught on last weekend’s flight home. Oh the joys of flying. In my next life I want to be able to afford first class seats. But I digress.

    Did enjoy this puzzle, but could not have finished without Falcon’s hints, thank you. I could have stared at some of the clues all day without the penny dropping, and I am going to blame on the aforesaid head cold.

  20. Excellent puzzle and much appreciated. Checked the clue word count too of course.
    Thanks RayT and Falcon.

  21. Evening all. Many thanks to Falcon for the decryption and, of course, to everybody else for your observations.


    1. Hi Mr T – good to see you. Tell the truth now – which sport were you thinking about for 11d?

  22. A fun puzzle that was solved slowly if steadily. Last in was 14d that threw me for far too long, especially as I’d worked out the first half ages ago.

  23. Found this one hard, so no hurrah for me today.

    Enjoyed the bits I could do, though.

    Thanks to RayT and to Falcon

  24. Another excellent puzzle from Ray T with great clues, a good challenge and very enjoyable to solve. 3* /4*

  25. Three ticks for the final vehicle (29A) and the initial seat (23D).
    3.5*/4* for the puzzle.

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