DT 28974 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 28974

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 28974

Hints and tips by Kath

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BD Rating — Difficulty **Enjoyment ****

Hello everyone. There’s no doubt at all in my mind that our setter today is Ray T. As words of encouragement to those of you who find his crosswords tricky I’ll just say that I found this one to be at the very gentle end of his range of difficulty so please go into it with an open mind and have a go – good luck.

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

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


7a        Anonymous salesmen behaving improperly (8)
NAMELESS — An anagram (behaving improperly) of SALESMEN

9a        Turned in something educational (6)
HINGED — The first lurker or hidden answer of the day – it’s in the middle of the last two words of the clue

10a       Outfit includes new tie (4)
KNIT — An outfit or some equipment which contains (includes) the abbreviation for N[ew]

11a       Moon’s rather complicated, not hard for this person (10)
ASTRONOMER — An anagram (complicated) of MOON’S RATHER leaving out the abbreviation for H[ard] (leaving out hard) – I always have trouble trying to decide what to underline as the definition in this kind of clue

12a       Reportedly, underground workers could be little ones (6)
MINORS — A homophone (reportedly) of some people who dig underground hunting for coal or gold (or other things too but I can’t quite think of any at the moment)

14a       New arrivals giving screams on hospital wing? (8)
ENTRANTS — One of the most overworked hospital wings or departments, if only in crosswordland, is followed by a synonym for screams or lets rip verbally.

15a       It’s surrounded by blood, swelling (6)
GOITRE — This swelling is in the neck and is one of the symptoms of an overactive thryroid gland – you need a synonym for blood which contains (surrounded by) the IT at the beginning of the clue

17a       The man’s upset, in trouble revealing bottom (6)
BEHIND — A reversal (upset) of how you would say ‘the man’ goes inside (in) some trouble or a spot of bother

20a       Rule present covering this compiler’s back (8)
DOMINATE — Rule here is a verb, as is present – a synonym for present or give contains (covering) a reversal (back) of how the compiler would say ‘he is’

22a       Beneath going after small part (6)
SUNDER — An archaic or poetic word for ‘part’ – the abbreviation for S[mall] is followed by (going after) a synonym of beneath or below

23a       Bug with a giant nose twitching (10)
ANTAGONISE — This bug isn’t a beastly bitey stingy one and neither is it a verb to listen in to conversations – it’s to rub someone up the wrong way and it’s an anagram (twitching) of A GIANT NOSE

24a       Pose in front of beach and sunbathe (4)
BASK — The first letter (front) of B[each] goes before a verb to pose – as in question rather than sit for an artist

25a       Boot that is following fit (6)
WELLIE — A synonym of fit or healthy is followed by the two letter abbreviation of the Latin for ‘that is’

26a       Innuendo perhaps is never too outrageous (8)
OVERTONE — An anagram (outrageous) of NEVER TOO



1d        Eager to grasp essence of big picture (8)
PAINTING — Eager or impatient contains (to grasp) the middle letter (essence) of [b]I[g]

2d        Safe bet Queen’s found in Court (4)
CERT — Our Queen’s regnal cipher goes inside (found in) the two letter abbreviation for court

3d        Flower parts ultimately put in rings (6)
PETALS — The last letter (ultimately) of [pu]T is contained by (in) a synonym for rings, as a bell might. Any excuse for a picture of my favourite flowers is better than none!

4d        Check choke and accelerator (8)
THROTTLE — I think this is a triple definition

5d        New product from pub? Cheers! (10)
INNOVATION — A synonym for a pub or hotel is followed by a word meaning cheers or applauds

6d        Chance men take to some degree, giving stick (6)
CEMENT — A hidden answer (to some degree) – it’s in the first three words of the clue

8d        Wise man keeps sober. That’s me! (6)
SETTER — A wise man or someone who can predict the future contains (keeps) the two letter abbreviation that means sober or not drinking any alcohol

13d      Old friend purchases outfit, fashionable at first (10)
ORIGINALLY — The one letter abbreviation for O[ld] and a friend, or someone who’s on your side, contain (purchases) a synonym for outfit (a different one to the one used in the clue for 10a) and a little word meaning fashionable or modern

16d      ‘About a Boy’, occasionally read and debated (8)
REASONED — A bit of lego going on here – begin with some commercial jargon that means ‘about’, add the A from the clue, follow those with a boy or a male offspring and finish the whole lot off with the alternate letters (occasionally) of rEaD

18d      Design’s altered comprising last of designer clothing (8)
DRESSING — An anagram (altered) of DESIGN’S which contains (comprising) the last letter of [designe]R

19d      Sheep low endlessly around Ireland? (6)
MERINO — Spanish sheep bred for their fine wool – the first two letters (endlessly) of a three letter word that means ‘low’, as in the sound a cow makes, go around (around) the poetic name for Ireland

21d      Measures ricochets blowing top (6)
OUNCES — A synonym for ricochets or springs back without its first letter (blowing, or getting rid of top)

22d      Sweated beginning to take exercise (6)
SEEPED — Something that is the beginning of most things that grow contains (to take) a two letter abbreviation for exercise or training

24d      Hits ball and takes serve initially (4)
BATS — The first letters (initially) of the middle four words in the clue

I particularly liked 23 and 26a and 4 and 8d.

The Quickie Pun:- WAR + TUG + HATE = WATERGATE

Until I twigged that the pun was a three word one I thought it was:- WAR + TUG = WART HOG – oh dear!

68 comments on “DT 28974

  1. Interestingly I found it at the trickier end of the Ray T Thursday spectrum – I even got on better starting with the Downs

    Same usual entertainment – so thank you to him and Kath

  2. 3*/4*. It’s Thursday and single word answers with lots of white space surrounding the clues can only mean one thing – it’s RayT day.

    I found this nicely challenging but not overly difficult and, as a devoted RayT fan, I really enjoyed it. Many thanks to him and to Kath.

    My favourite was 4d with its neat TD, and 24d deserves a special mention too.

  3. Yes, certainly one of his more easily solved puzzles – good fun even so. No real stand out clues, although I quite liked 23 across & 8 down. Funny to see 25 across again so soon after its recent appearance. Thanks to RayT and Kath.

  4. This was probably the shortest time a Ray T has ever taken me to solve. Still enjoyable though, and that. thanks to all.

  5. I thought that this was very gentle for Mr T – thanks to him and Kath.
    My favourite was 23a.

    Did anyone else think that 24a didn’t quite work and would be better with ‘Pose on …’ rather than ‘Pose in …’?

    1. That didn’t occur to me, but that sort of thing never does – you’re probably right though as you nearly always are. :smile:

    2. Yes – I also thought that 24a did not work. If B were an abbreviation for beach, then it might have worked.

    3. Thank goodness you said that, Gazza. I’m very loath to criticise Mr T but I did think he’d perhaps got it wrong with 24a.

    4. Agree with all about 24a. Although I an loath to believe Ray T has made a mistake. But it could be an age thing, he is one letter older than me after all !!

    5. Good point Gazza. I just assumed that b was an abbreviation for beach, but it’s b equals front of beach…… I wonder if Ray T will explain?

  6. Apart from a pause at 22d, which was my last one in, this was all quite straightforward.

    Many thanks to RayT, and to Kath.

  7. I thought that this puzzle was the bet of the week so far for enjoyment and a ***/**** for me.
    To my mind 24a was ‘the wrong way round’ and should have said On front of beach pose and sunbathe-am I being pedantic?
    Took a while to parse last in 19d.
    Difficult to find a favourite, liked the surface of 11a and 23a.
    Thanks to setter and Kath for the pics.

  8. This took me slightly longer than the last few RayT offerings and I didn’t enjoy it as much. I tutted when I finally twigged 22d – too much of a stretch for me. Many thanks to Kath and RayT

  9. Just a couple of head scratchers but Ray T in beign mode I thought. Very enjoyable & however gentle,always satisfying for me to solve an RT without hints.
    Thanks to Ray T and Kath.

  10. So nice to get a Mr T puzzle – we don’t get enough of them these days. Just my opinion of course, before anyone shouts at me!
    I did have the same doubt as Gazza over 24a – it’s so rare for this setter to be less than spot on with his clues.

    Top three for me were 26a plus 5&8d.

    Devotions to Mr T and many thanks to Kath for the blog. I hope the dog in the 19d pic was extremely well-behaved!

  11. I think Jay and RayT swapped hats this week …

    Managed to make things difficult for myself in a couple of places, though. I won’t tell you how long it took me to see 9a!

    Still being half asleep when I solved this, I managed to just see the necessary part of 24a twice without noticing that the clue doesn’t work. An unfortunate oversight, but easy to miss.

    I particularly enjoyed 23a and 26a, and was impressed by “About a Boy” in 16d. The biggest laugh award goes to 8d. Lovely!

    Thanks to RayT and Kath.

    1. Didn’t do the crossword yesterday but might have a go later based on what you’ve said. And yes, ‘re a son’ was good.

      1. Without wishing to discourage you from doing yesterday’s, I feel like adding a disclaimer. I’m not sure anyone should do anything based on what I say, Toadson!

  12. Medium difficulty I thought for a Ray T Thursday. A slow start but then it all came together quite nicely. The excellent lurker at 6d was my LOI and my favourite clue was 15a.

    Thanks very much to the aforementioned and to Kath for a fine blog.

  13. After I had completed this one at a gallop, I wrote ‘Ray T on an off day?’ However, it was very enjoyable, except for the little bit of furrowed brow over 24a, and just what I needed after a very busy day – **/****.

    Favourite – a toss-up between 17a and 5d.

    Thanks to Ray T and Kath – it must be your ‘gentlest’ puzzle to blog for a long time.

  14. A surprisingly gentle puzzle for Thursday. I too found the syntax of 24a confusing and the synonym in 22d a bit of a bridge too far. The lurker at 9a was my favourite. Thanks to Kath for the blog and Ray T or should I say 8d.

  15. This week continues to run smoothly. No major stumbling-blocks but plenty of pleasure. Many hospitals with an ??? Department would doubtless like the luxury of being accommodated in a whole Wing as per 14a. 24a a bit dubious and not keen on 24a or 25a. Fav was 8d. Thank you RayT and Kath.

  16. An enjoyable puzzle, as usual from Ray T. One of his milder ones, methinks. Joint winners, 9a and 4d.

  17. Well honestly I did not think that it was a Ray T 😳 especially as I completed it and it is still daylight 😜 **/**** Favourites 4, 5 and 8 down 🤗 Sorry Kath I could not make up my mind, thanks a lot for the blog and many thanks to the the Setter 😉

  18. I winced when I saw the grid with 14 unchecked starting letters but the only one to cause any hold up was 20ac. With only 28 clues to solve it is no wonder that you all solved it so quickly. Thanks to the fluffy Ray T and the indomitable Kath

    1. Welcome to the blog Stueyshed

      Apart from sort of fitting the last two words in the clue, I can’t think of any reason why you would waste time on that answer.

  19. Well, it might have been mainly fluffy, but like a Tunnocks Teacake or a moon pie it still had a few crunchy bits at the bottom, especially the SE, which took me over the 2* level. Bunged 22a – only know the associated term.

    Thanks to Kath for the explanations.

      1. No, and it’s not green either!

        It’s American and they just can’t make cheese that isn’t ghastly.

  20. Corker of a puzzle, Kath may have rated it as 2* but still took me into 3* time but 3.5* enjoyment. Enjoyed it all so no particular favourite.
    Thanks to Kath & Ray T.

  21. Definitely not at the gentler end of a Ray T. I found it tricky and not very enjoyable at all. I have learnt to deal with some of his puzzles but they are still a bit too out there for my taste,
    Thx for the hints.

  22. ***/***. I found this tougher than it seems for many. 8d made me smile and 21d gets my vote for COTD. Thanks to all.

  23. Hints much needed today, but enjoyable. Thanks to Kath for her excellent guidance. Favourite clue was 17a. Most difficult for me 13d.

  24. Top in quicker than the bottom. Last one in 22a and could not parse that one. Thanks Kath for that. Some free gifts from Ray T so thanks for those e.g 2d especially with Her Majesty being in attendance at Court. 23a and 8 and 16d my favourites

  25. Knowing this was a RayT day, I printed off the Grauniad in order to have something to do over breakfast, but you’re dead right, Kath, a very benign RayT. I actually completed it, even with the dodgy synonyms. I had so many bung-ins, but they were all correct! So thanks for the unravelling, Kath.
    I’ll save the Grauniad for Sunday.
    Thanks to RayT and to Kath for her help.

  26. As usual I found Ray T as difficult as ever and I begin to think I’ll never get better. Hey ho but thank you Kath

    1. With an Evelyn Carver- you share my Mums name Joan. I don’t know what Mum would have made of RayT but she nearly always finished The Daily Mail puzzle. Welcome to the blog.

  27. 22d caused a bit of hesitation until we twigged the synonym for beginning but over all we found it a smooth solving experience. All the usual fun from this setter and much appreciated.
    Word count checked of course.
    Thanks RayT and Kath.

  28. Really enjoyed this. My favourite flowers too, Kath
    Thanks to Kath and Ray T
    I think I thanked him yesterday instead of Jay

  29. Thanks to Ray T and to Kath for the review and hints. A very enjoyable puzzle from Ray T, and not too tricky. Wondered if 24a was OK? 5d made me laugh, but my favourite was 25a which did the same. Last in was 22d which made me think. Was 2*/4* for me.

  30. Lovely puzzle again from Ray T. Thank you. Also thanks and greetings to Kath for the blog which put me right on 22d where I had stewed for no other reason except that it went in the available spaces!
    Very impressed by your taste in 25acs, Kath. Full length zip, leather-lined Chameaux if I’m not mistaken. Top gear!

    1. Le Chameau are the best wellies ever and last for years – mine are sheepskin lined but no zip. I’m not so self-indulgent as to buy them for myself (in view of recent discussion about the use of ‘myself’ this one is OK!) but they were a birthday present from one of our daughters – my birthday is in June and I did get a few funny looks since we were in the middle of a heatwave . . .

  31. As a beginner I found today pretty tricky and needed help from Kath (for which, thanks) to complete. 5d made me laugh when I got it, so I’ll raise a glass to the setter.

    1. Good evening, Mr T. If you’re still around, could you put us out of our misery with regard to 24a – did we miss something?

  32. I’m amazed that none of you have worked out that the ‘in’ in 24a is correct. Respect to Ray T for not mentioning it.

    One person is taking a picture of another on the esplanade and they’re not sure what the backdrop should be…..’Shall I stand in front of the pier or in front of the beach?’….’The latter as it’s a better backdrop.’

    Once the picture has been taken, they sunbathe.


    Doubt yourselves all day long. Never doubt Ray T…

        1. Welcome from me too, Dibby, and well done for ‘de-lurking’, for want of a better way of putting it.
          I’m not quite sure what you’re getting at with 24a – like you I always hesitate to doubt Ray T but I also always hesitate to doubt Gazza which leaves me feeling just a touch on the ‘stuck in the middle’ side.
          Do please keep commenting.

          1. I should have been clearer by using the word ‘pose’ in my example.

            The clue is: Pose in front of beach and sunbathe.

            ‘In front of’ is perfectly okay in the following scenario…

            A person is taking a picture of another on the esplanade and they’re not sure what the backdrop should be…..’Shall I pose in front of pier or in front of the beach?’….’The latter as it’s a better backdrop.’

            Once the picture has been taken, they sunbathe.

            1. Welcome from me too, Dibby.

              The problem with 24a is with the cryptic reading of the clue, which is what provides the instructions for assembling the answer. Cryptically, the clue reads as [the answer is] “ASK (pose) in B (front of beach) and a word meaning sunbathe”. It is hard to see how “ASK in B” can be interpreted as B followed by ASK.

              As Gazza points out, if the clue was instead “Pose on…”, then the cryptic reading would be “ASK on B”, which in an across clue would usually be interpreted as ASK after B (as in ASK stuck on B). With “on” instead of “in”, the surface reading isn’t quite as smooth, but it’s still plausible.

              Thanks to RayT for the puzzle and to Kath for the explanations and illustrations.

                1. I don’t understand your reaction. You asked a perfectly valid question, received considered responses and then threw your toys out of the pram.

                  1. You misunderstand me.

                    ”I’m outta here” as in…..I will go back to the ‘Land of the Lurker’ because I’m hiding behind a cushion, a tad embarrassed.

                    Your comment, however, is unnecessarily aggressive.

                    So, I will leave as I don’t like your style.

  33. Good crossword however gentle on the Ray T scale! I started slowly but from then on accelerated rapidly.16d was my favourite.
    Thanks to Ray T, and to Kath for her review.

  34. That’s about it from me tonight – it’s been a busy week or so and I’m ready for bed.
    Thank you to Ray T for the crossword and, as always, for calling in.
    Thanks also to everyone who has commented today.
    Night night all and sleep well. :yawn:

  35. I found this a decent challenge, quite tricky in places, with good clues giving an enjoyable solve. About average for a Ray T. 3* / 4*

  36. Slowly catching up on the week.
    Can’t believe that the lurker in 6d was my last one in…. and it took ages.
    22d took a while too.
    Thanks to RayT and to Kath.

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