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DT 28909

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 28909

Hints and tips by Falcon

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BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

Greetings from Ottawa, where winter has set in early — although we have been granted a brief reprieve with temperatures hovering around the freezing point.

Today’s puzzle is from RayT and it contains most — if not all — of his signature clues. The innuendo may be scaled back a notch but he manages to get in at least one pointed political dig.

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 Break to take secretary for dinner, say (6)
REPAST — a period of relaxation around an abbreviated alternative title for a secretary

4a Lust and ardour’s about normal (8)
STANDARD — a lurker hiding in the first three words of the clue

9a Better person to steer boat (6)
PUNTER — a double definition with the first being one who plays the odds

10a They work up past top of tight pants (8)
TROUSERS — place a word that might be used to describe those who work up crowds with stirring speeches after (past) the initial letter (top or beginning) of Tight; top meaning beginning as in “top of the hour”; pants would appear to be used in the American sense

12a Good hand is shipshape (8)
STRAIGHT — a double definition with the first being a good hand in poker

13a Deserter hiding in oddly clear hollow (6)
CRATER — a murine deserter hiding in the odd letters of ClEaR

15a Mingled molecules, as in liquid (13)
MISCELLANEOUS — an anagram (liquid) of the three words at the centre of the clue

18a One new copper accepting hollow tale’s true (13)
INCONTESTABLE — string together a Roman one, N(ew) and a low-ranking police officer; into this place the the first and last letter of TalE (hollow tale)

22a Resurrect former buzz with sweetheart (6)
EXHUME — a charade of the usual former wife, husband or lover, a vibrating sound, and RayT’s hallmark sweetheart (the heart or middle letter of swEet)

24a Old lady’s right tantrum taking one in matrimony (8)
MARRIAGE — a charade of a common term for one’s mother, R(ight), and a fit of anger containing a Roman one

26a Hazard seen in rough and green … (8)
ENDANGER — an anagram (rough) of the final two words in the clue; in the role of the definition, hazard is used as a verb

27a … local putting green round tee (6)
NATIVE — green or inexperienced encircling the letter T

28a Doubt American power’s constrained by wisdom (8)
SUSPENSE — a two-letter abbreviation denoting American and a physicist’s symbol for power are placed inside a common variety of wisdom; a timely political observation

29a Puzzle‘s unusual meaning when noun’s omitted (6)
ENIGMA — an anagram (unusual) of MEA(n)ING having omitted N(oun)



1d Rest made progress snatching record (6)
REPOSE — a term meaning made progress (as a team moving up the league standings) wrapped around a record containing only a few tracks

2d Extensive frenzy purchasing old stuff (9)
PANORAMIC — a frenzy or overpowering fear surrounding (purchasing) O(ld) and a verb denoting to force more contents into a container than will comfortably fit

3d Sort of spots around middle of neck (7)
SPECIES — spots or observes containing the middle letters of nECk

5d Farmer’s opening furrow, turning sod (4)
TURF — link together the opening letter of Farmer and a furrow or deep track in soft ground; then turn the whole lot over

6d One turns, endlessly spinning particle (7)
NEUTRON — an anagram (spinning) of ONE plus TURN(s) with the final letter removed (endlessly)

7d Bond perhaps, a smart chap (5)
AGENT — the A from the clue and a stylishly-dressed man

8d Upset from revolting desserts I devoured (8)
DISTRESS — hidden (from) and reversed (revolting) in the last three words of the clue

11d Trump’s first covered taking First Lady’s stole (7)
THIEVED — the first letter of Trump followed by a past participle meaning covered or concealed embracing the First Lady (Adam’s mate, not Donald’s)

14d Rubbish celebrity almost pocketing loads (7)
FLOTSAM — a synonym for celebrity or renown missing its final letter (almost) containing (pocketing) loads or a large number or amount

16d Choosing to save time working (9)
OPERATING — a word meaning deciding between several possibilities containing (to save) a historically significant period of time

17d Similarity seen with silk pants (8)
LIKENESS — an anagram (pants) of SEEN and SILK

19d One standing, hoping to have a seat? (7)
NOMINEE — a cryptic definition of one running for election

20d Stop strong drink taking a pledge (7)
BARGAIN — to stop or prevent and the strong drink known as mother’s ruin containing (taking) the A from the clue

21d Former Spanish capital (6)
PESETA — cryptic definition of the Spanish monetary unit before the introduction of the euro

23d Cloaks made of skins (5)
HIDES — double definition; a verb and a noun

25d The woman’s husband, the Queen’s (4)
HERS — H(usband) plus Her Majesty’s regnal cipher and its accompanying S

My top three picks are 10a, 28a, and 8d with 10a emerging at the top of the leader board.

Quickie Pun: cissy + fuss = Sisyphus

50 comments on “DT 28909

  1. 3* / 3.5*. Very enjoyable but I’ve docked half a star for the unindicated Americanism in 10a. Apart from that, this was a typically excellent Ray T puzzle. Many thanks to him and to Falcon.

    1. I didn’t see this as an americanism I grew up in the northwest of england (before the big influx of Americanisms into the language)and ‘pants’ was the usual term for trousers. You had short pants as a real youngster then progressed into long pants as you got older which for most of us was when you were nearly at the end of primary school probably around aged 9 or 10. What most people consider ‘pants’ refers to now, were called underpants because they went under your pants.

      1. An interesting observation. i have noticed that when the English spoken in Scotland and Northern England diverges from that spoken in Southern England, Canadian English is usually aligned with the former — likely due to the large number of immigrants who came to Canada from that area.

  2. A very enjoyable and moderately straightforward puzzle this morning. I was misdirected by the 26/27a combo which had me grasping for golfing terms, and my favourite was the lurker at 4a.

    Thanks to Ray T and Falcon.

  3. A very nice puzzle – not too difficult, but a steady challenge. I especially liked the 26a and 27a combination. Also the well-hidden (from me anyway) reverse lurker in 8d. 21d had me thinking for a while until the penny dropped. I like Ray T puzzles – thank you. Toughie time now.

  4. Relatively mild for a Ray T puzzle, but still a little above the general norm. A reasonable challenge, excellent clues and very enjoyable. 10a: I see no reason for a US indicator here – this is very common knowledge in the UK and indicators shouldn’t be used gratuitously. Too many ticked clues to pick a favourite. 3* / 4*

    1. PS. Just to clarify, my comments about 10a are an indirect response to #1 above and in direct support of the setter deciding not to include the indicator.

  5. Took me a little while to find a start point but flowed well after that with the exception of the 15a anagram which held out until I had all the checkers in place.

    So many clues ticked but perhaps 8d produced the widest smile.

    Devotions to Mr T and many thanks to Falcon for the blog.

  6. A quick question .. when doing the puzzle on line on a laptop, does anyone know how to get both the grid and the clues to appear on the same screen without constantly scrolling up and down? I was hoping to be able to reduce the (font) size but can’t see a way. Thanks.

  7. A good work out for me today . A well crafted and crafty crossword with too many excellent clues to pick a favourite .
    I expect the comments to vary ..
    Thanks to everyone .

  8. Thanks to Ray T and to Falcon for the review and hints. I enjoyed this one very much, but needed the hints for 12a, and 2&3d. I liked 10a, but my favourite was 5d. Was 3*/4* for me.

  9. Re pants……..

    I rather liked that he used this twice in the clues; once as a synonym for the answer (10) and once as an anagram indicator (17).

    Other than some rather elastic synonyms – is a bargain really the same as a pledge? Is endanger(V) the same as hazard either as verb or noun? – which I don’t object to in principle, but which can slow you down, I thought it was a good challenge – and no obscure answers.

    1. I don’t believe bargain and pledge are too much of a stretch. A bargain is a contract or agreement and therefore a commitment. A pledge is a solemn promise and thus also a commitment.

      I wasn’t familiar with hazard as a verb (other than in the expression “to hazard a guess”). The BRB defines it as to expose to chance; to risk; to venture; to venture to say or utter; to jeopardize.

  10. Two sittings & needed hints for 27a and 29a but really enjoyable hard (for me) fair test. Took much too long to see 18a . A “tough-end” Ray T. didn’t blow me away unlike the wind here in S. Wales.
    Thanks to Mr T and Senf for needed hints. Never knew flotsam included the ship itself, learn something every day, (also forget something every day for me).

    1. The fact that flotsam includes the ship was also a revelation to me. I had to consult the dictionary after finding the picture.

      1. Including the ship! New one on me also. I wonder if jetsam would also include whoever threw the stuff off, then?

      1. My error, apologies to Falcon – I read the hints and saw Ottawa so just thought “Canada Senf”. Old age my only excuse.

  11. Just my cup of tea. It took twice as long as it should because Saint Sharon wanted to know it I wanted to move to ‘somewhere near Egremont’ Ta to all

  12. What is today’s quick crossword pun? I cannot get the hidden answers to work And for the life of me I cannot figure out what it is
    Thank you in advance

  13. Lovely puzzle today – didn’t notice the lurkers till I read the comments above. Can someone tell me the pointed political dig as I didn’t spot it. Thanks to all.

  14. Stared at this for some time this morning only filling in a few. Then it suddenly all came together. A nice puzzle. Favourite 8dn.

    Please can anyone explain the elipses in 26ac and 27ac?

    1. Today, the ellipses merely extend the surface reading across the two clues (which both have a golf context). When read together, the surface reading tells of a ludicrous situation in which “… an inexperienced (green) local (presumably employed by the golf course) has placed the green round the tee.”

      On rare occasions (but not today), ellipses will actually extend the cryptic reading across the two clues, allowing one clue to reference an element found in the other clue.

      1. Thanks for the blog Falcon and also the explanation. Elipses have always baffled me but perhaps this will help.

        Thanks also to RayT

      2. Actually I have just noticed an example of elipses in Paul’s Prize crossword (27675) that is a variation, but makes far more sense of the usage to me.

  15. Did not like this very much and had too many “bung ins” ***/** ☹️ But still got a result 😬 Which is good for me on Thursday 😳 Favourite 9a & 14d. Thanks to Falcon and to Ray T

  16. ***/****. Very enjoyable and tricky in parts. I liked the reversed lurker and 10&18a. Thanks to Ray T and Falcon.

  17. Super entertainment for a Thursday. Many thanks to Falcon for the hints (just scraped through without needing them today) and to Ray T. I am constantly blown away by the brilliance of the setters. All Hail to you all!

  18. Thanks to Falcon for the hints which were needed to solve and understand the final third. Thanks too to Ray T for the mental workout. 28a had me wondering if Mr Henderson was about to make an appearance too.

  19. Interesting to read all the comments about straightforwardness as I contacted a friend this morning to say “me or Mr T in the wrong envelope” ? “wrong envelope for sure” was the reply so it definitely wasn’t ‘just me’ – the puzzle inside the paper was a pussy cat in comparison

    Thanks to Mr T and Falcon

    1. Oh good – a relief – definitely wrong envelope day for me too but, having just read the comments so far I thought it was a ‘just me’ day instead.

  20. I found this to be a relatively straightforward solve which is, for me, very unusual on a Thursday! I liked the 1a/ 1d combination.
    Thanks to Ray T and to Falcon for the review.

  21. Enough of a stretch to be interesting, without ever feeling unachievable, and good fun. Perhaps this is about the right level for future Sundays? Thanks to all.

  22. Really good fun and much appreciated. We did wonder whether 12a could be a triple definition, good = honest = straight.
    Thanks RayT and Falcon.

    1. Good = straight was also my starting point. When I couldn’t account for hand either on its own or in combination with shipshape, I had to conclude that hand had to join up with good. However, I didn’t twig to the poker connection immediately and tried to force fit “good hand” into some other context — such as carpentry perhaps.

  23. Evening all. Thanks to Falcon for the decryption and to all for your comments. Much appreciated.


  24. I know I am in for a bit of a struggle when it is a Ray T day, and today was no exception. Even when I get the answers I sometimes didn’t have the confidence to pen them in, without checking the hint first. His clues are not tough or obscure. Positive this is a wavelength thing, as Ray T always comes up with an answer that is not difficult to fathom, just that I fail to go in that direction. Stupidly, I was stuck on copper being metal so that held me up in 18a. But I got quite a few unaided, and was quite proud of 1a, so perhaps I am getting better at his challenges. But now I need to get back to decorating the Christmas tree.

  25. Tricky or what? Glad to see that, although most people didn’t find it so, I wasn’t the only one.
    At one point I didn’t think I was going to be able to finish it and I was saying quietly to myself (there wasn’t anyone else here) “thank goodness you’re not doing the hints today”.
    Lots of these caused trouble for me and now I’m really not quite sure why – they just did – even 21d and I’ve seen variations on that numerous times.
    Oh well – a very enjoyable crossword however difficult I found it so thanks to Ray T and to Falcon.

  26. A good puzzle, on the tricky side. More like **** for difficulty here, with much of that spent in the NW corner.

  27. Kath says she didn’t think she was going to be able to finish. Far from that I didn’t think I was going to get off the ground at all but then suddenly hey presto I was off and a few brief sessions over the course of the day produced the whole caboodle. Whew! 😅. NE corner was last to go. Missed the lurker in 4a and needed help to parse 2d. Not sure The chap as in 7d is always smart! I personally don’t have any problem with pants for 10a. 26/27a merger just makes Fav.

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