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DT 28986

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 28986

Hints and tips by Kath

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BD Rating — Difficulty **Enjoyment ****

Hello everyone. This is a Ray T crossword but I didn’t think it was one of his trickier ones – what do I know? I’ve always said that I find it impossible to judge difficulty and enjoyment when I know I’m doing the hints so let’s see what everyone else thinks – please leave a comment to tell us.

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


1a        Alibi of former copper’s false, finally (6)
EXCUSE — The usual prefix meaning a former or earlier anything, the chemical symbol for copper, with the ‘S, and the last letter (finally) of [fals]E

4a        Independent criticised containing nothing special (8)
ISOLATED — Begin with I[ndependent] and follow that with another word for criticised or rebuked which contains the letter that looks like nothing or zero

9a        Strip from guy embodying Chippendales’ heart (6)
 DENUDE — A slang, mainly American, term for a guy or bloke goes round (embodying) the middle two letters (heart) of [Chipp]EN[dales

10a       Innocuous opening of House missing some members? (8)
HARMLESS — The first letter (opening) of H[ouse] is followed by some ‘members’ – these members are parts of your body

11a       Section of government ran census for lobby (8)
ENTRANCE — Our first lurker or hidden answer indicated by the first word of the clue

13a       Beer chasing further interminable spirits (6)
MORALE — A synonym for further or extra without its final letter (interminable or endless) is followed by (chasing) a kind of beer

15a       It’s forbidden being mean online, but nasty (13)
 UNMENTIONABLE — An anagram (nasty) of MEAN ONLINE BUT

18a       Long crude hint to change drawers, perhaps (13)
UNDERCLOTHING — Another anagram (to change) of LONG CRUDE HINT

22a       Put a stop to hard liquor (6)
SCOTCH — A double definition which, hopefully, doesn’t need any further hint

24a       Criminal is consumed by lying, right? (8)
 PRISONER — A word meaning lying face down goes round (consumed by) the IS from the clue and then finish all that off with R[ight]

26a       Saved by camouflage rolling in grass (8)
RELIEVED — A kind of tall grass contains (in) a reversal (rolling) of a camouflage or mask

27a       Experience again return of Wicked Queen (6)
RELIVE — A reversal (return) of a synonym for wicked or bad and the usual two letters for our Queen

28a       Possibly tick answer in usual spot (8)
PARASITE — ‘Tick’ is just an example of the answer and that’s indicated by ‘possibly’ – a word that means usual or the norm and another meaning spot or place have the one letter abbreviation for A[nswer] between them (in)

29a       Following gutted script got on and performed (6)
STAGED — Another way of saying got on, or became older, goes after (following) the first and last letters (gutted or without its middle) of S[crip]T



1d        Top journalist passes on spins (6)
EDDIES — The abbreviation for the usual top journalist, or head honcho in the newspaper world, is followed by passes on or becomes no more

2d        Understood criminal’s honest daughter (9)
CONSTRUED — The favourite criminal in crosswordland, with his (or her) ‘S, another word for honest or sincere and the one letter abbreviation for D[aughter]

3d        Weapon is excessive in video game (7)
SIDEARM — A contraction of simulation is a computer game that attempts to replicate events in the real world – no, I’d never heard of it either – this contains (in) another word for excessive or costly

5d        Go crazy getting upset (4)
STAB — A reversal (getting upset) of a slang word for crazy or a bit mad

6d        Satire of character capturing a politician (7)
LAMPOON — A character or a slightly eccentric person goes round (capturing) the A from the clue and our usual politician

7d        Article cheers Greek character (5)
 THETA— This character is different from the one in the previous clue – it’s a letter. You need an article – a definite one – which is followed by a slang way of saying ‘thank you’ or cheers

8d        Attractive person left to embrace woman in tangle (8)
DISHEVEL — An informal word for an attractive or good looking person and the one letter abbreviation for L[eft] with a woman, not just any old woman but the naughty one in the Garden of Eden, in between them to embrace

12d      Containers carrying nearly everything finding waterways (6)
CANALS — Some containers or tins containing (carrying) a synonym for everything or everyone without its final letter (nearly)

14d      ‘Abbess’ is term describing nun (6)
SISTER — The second lurker of the day, indicated by describing – she’s in the first three words of the clue

16d      Start living swallowing drink before noon (9)
BEGINNING — Another word for living or existing goes outside or round (swallowing) an alcoholic drink and the one letter abbreviation for N[oon]

17d      Beat to stir up dancing (8)
OUTSTRIP — An anagram (dancing) of TO STIR UP

19d      Illness is caught off some bugs … (7)
RICKETS — Some ‘bugs’ – little green, chirpy ones without their first letter which is the abbreviation for C[aught] in a game

20d      … bug’s kept quietly for study (7)
INSPECT — A general term for a ‘bug’ with the letter that is the musical instruction to play quietly going inside it (kept). We seem to be very ‘buggy’ today!

21d      Playmate runs in buff … (6)
FRIEND — Buff here isn’t a colour, a verb to polish or a slang word for starkers – it’s an enthusiast or expert and it contains the one letter abbreviation for R[uns]

23d      … one gazes lecherously, even rudely initially (5)
OGLER — The first letters (initially) of the remaining words of the clue

25d      Regular taking a pew? (4)
SEAT —Regular or unvarying containing (taking) the A from the clue

Lots of good clues to pick from today – I think I’ll go for 15a (a good anagram) and 16, 19 and 23d


51 comments on “DT 28986

  1. On the wavelength immediately as no serious holdups today but enjoyable .
    No outstanding favourites but lots to admire .
    Thanks to everyone .

  2. Another fine puzzle from Ray T. Good clues, a good challenge and very enjoyable. Favs: 24a, 28a, 7d, 8d. And with 8d – please, please spare us from mentioning/nit-picking about another 3-letter (with 2 checkers) “nebulous” woman. That simple/useful device has been popular with setters for decades, and it ain’t going anywhere. 3.5* / 4.5*

    1. I agree Jose. I am bored by the mini craze for pointing out unindcated Americanisms and nebulous men/women. Those phrases belong with ‘read and write’. In the bin.

      1. As there is no longer a “Like” button, I will also say Hear! Hear!

        Completely agree with Jose and Miffypops.

    2. Nebulous rivers… would that be an oxymoron? Probably not if the state of the Thames is anything to go by.

  3. Nothing no too tricky here in my opinion, just an enjoyable solve to be had. I agree with Kath’s assessment.

    Thanks to Kath and RayT

  4. That was a veritable walk in the park but none the worse for that. I just needed help with parsing 3d. Joint Favs 10a and 21d. Thank you RayT and Kath. Clever Quickie pun.

    1. Some amusing comments so far, and a pleasant puzzle, but (like yesterday) took a while to get going. I did like the ‘loon’ at 6d. Thanks to all.

  5. Am I the first to break cover and admit that I found this trickier than earlier commenters? Great fun though, with plenty of excellent and typical Ray T clues. 19d was my pick of the bunch.

    Many thanks to Ray for the challenge and to Kath for an enjoyable blog.

  6. Many thanks, Kath for the hints. I needed your help to parse a couple.
    I was surprised it was a Ray-T, as it was reasonably simple and lacked some Ray-T’s sparkle.
    The use of ‘dude’ in 9a made me think of the film, the big lebowski.
    Thanks also to Ray-t.

  7. You might be the first to break cover, Young Salopian, but I’m close behind you. The grid was really four mini-crosswords. I got the NW and SE corners quite easily, two long anagrams helped. However, the rest was a struggle for me.

    I will admit that I gave up with two to go, and resorted to the hints, rating **** from me.

    Many thanks to RayT and Kath.

  8. I thought that there was some tricky parsing today and overall a ***/**** for me today .
    Thanks Kath for the unravelling of 3d-new to most of us I think.
    I liked ‘interminable’ in 13a, took a while to get it !
    As others have said a fine puzzle as was yesterdays-look forward to tomorrow.

  9. Gentle but enjoyable. Agree **/****. Needed Google after bunging in 3d to understand the video game. 5d last one in as I spent too long trying to think it was a double definition ending in Y. Stupid I know, but it was late last night!

    Thanks to Ray T and to Kath for your usual excellent commentary.

  10. Always a pleasure to see Mr T on parade – another very enjoyable offering from him.
    Just the video game that was an unknown but easy enough to get from the wordplay and then check on afterwards.

    Top of the pile for me were 10&15a.

    Devotions to Mr T and many thanks to Kath for a very fine blog.

  11. Gosh that was tough. Not so much the crossword but because this was solved whilst puppy sitting our 3-month-old Vizsla. Like making love in a hammock – definitely not the easiest way. Interspersed with doing our training-class homework, leaping up every few minutes to rescue some precious item from destruction.

    Great puzzle though and I would say an extra star for difficulty above Kath’s assessment. Some sly synonyms in this grid like 21d, 4a and 5d. Like 26a and 19d.
    It was clear the best strategy was to bag the big across anagrams and let it flow from there. It did flow and I enjoyed it a lot. Thanks Ray T and Kath. Is that selfie in your hint to 8d? ***/****

  12. I liked 3D. Sim City is one of the few video games that I have ever played. It had an educational side to it which I liked. A nice puzzle today but The Quickie took longer. Ta to all

  13. 3.5*/4*. I found this quite tricky in parts but it was still the usual high quality offering from Ray T despite one of my favourite setters letting me down slightly with 8d which could so easily have been avoided (except of course for his self-imposed 8 words per clue limit) by using “first lady”. As others have said, the video game in 3d was new to me too.

    Quite tricky picking a favourite today but I’ll settle for 19d with mentions for 15a & 18a

    Many thanks to RayT and to Kath.

  14. Thanks to Ray T and to Kath for the review and hints. A good puzzle from Ray T, but not too tricky. Needed the hints to parse 3d, had heard of the video game. 19d made me laugh, seems like a mini Insect theme going on at the bottom of the puzzle. Last in was 26a. Favourite was 24a. Was 2*/3* for me.

  15. This was enjoyable and quickly finished, with a slight hold up in the SW corner. I realised the video game was Sim City, only because it was a favourite with the students I used to teach. It was less difficult than the average Ray T offering so thanks to him and to Kath, whose rating seemed reasonable to me.

  16. Very gentle for a Ray T. Nevertheless, very enjoyable while being completed at a gallop (almost a fast gallop) – **/****.

    The short name for a video game has been ‘borrowed’ from ‘training devices’ used, for example. in pilot training.

    Candidates for favourite – 28a, 2d, and 16d – and the winner is 16d.

    Thanks to Ray T and Kath.

  17. I think I will have to join the minority and admit I found this quite tricky. I did get there in the end but well beyond my personal target time. Very satisfying to have solved it. 18a was a laugh. In second place 28a and top spot to 19d.

  18. Incidentally, 21d: I immediately decided that buff = naked and with Runs “in” it gave the answer NA(R)KED. Luckily, this time, I curbed my impetuosity and didn’t bung it straight in.

  19. What happened here? I actually finished a RayT puzzle! No, I lie, I didn’t get 5d; unforgivable considering how many times we’ve had that. I did need a little electronic help for an impasse in the SE, I did find it hard work but I got there.
    My fave was 19d. Natch, I didn’t know 3d which was a bung in, never played a video game.
    Thanks to RayT and to Kath for help unravelling some.

    1. We must have similar thoughts on these puzzles. I too didn’t see 5d and my favourite was also 19d. A very enjoyable puzzle. ***/****.

  20. Enjoyed this, and I certainly found it easier than Jay’s yesterday! Many favourites here but I thought 14d was a neat little clue, and the two-part surfaces of 19d/20d and 21d/23d were cleverly constructed. I also appreciate the gentle bawdiness and irreverence often found in RayT puzzles that add a little lighthearted fun to the solve.

    Many thanks to RayT and Kath.

    1. I agree with you. I love Ray T’s crosswords for lots of reasons – the brevity of his clues and the innuendo particularly. I thought we were lacking some of his usual mildly risqué clues today but, like you I appreciated the two combinations – 19/20d and 21/23d.

  21. Evening all. Many thanks to Kath for the analysis and to everybody else for your comments. As always, much appreciated.


    1. Good to hear from you, Mr T – a very nice offering today, thank you.
      Wish you were still in the Thursday slot once a fortnight.

  22. Well Kath I have to be honest & tell you I found this a lot trickier. Some of the clues along with there parsing stopped me in my tracks. Some clues went straight in but about 30% took quite a lot longer, but nonetheless the puzzle as a whole was a cracker.
    3.5*/4.5* with thanks to Kath for help and Ray T for a superb workout.

  23. Only had a couple here and there on first read but spotted the two long anagrams in 15 and 18a and the one in 17d.
    Wrote the letters in circles and for a very long time there were more letters outside the crossword than inside.
    Managed to get them in the right order and the rest fell naturally.
    NE was the last corner to be solved.
    Noticed the insect theme too Heno.
    And liked the relieved/relive thingy.
    Thanks to RayT and to Kath for the great review.

  24. I thought that quite tough but enjoyable….solved whilst listening to a tribute to the late, great Andre Previn. Thanks for the hints Kath, needed them today and thanks to Ray T.

      1. That comment made me realise that I had all the right letters for today’s puzzle, but not necessarily in the right order. Explains a lot.

      2. A brilliant musician but he’ll always be remembered for ‘that’ sketch! And it’s still as funny as it ever was!

  25. I have a foot in both camps. I too found the NE and SW corners difficult, however, after staring blankly at them for ages I suddenly got one in the NE and then just wrote the the rest in, then did the the same in the SW. To me this shows what a well constructed crossword this was, get the right checkers in and after that its easy. Well done RayT. Thanks too Kath for hosting the blog. It’s not that I’m slow I just frequently start later than than others do. 🤔

  26. We’re staying with a good friend in Nelson so had access to WiFi so were able to solve and share this puzzle. Good fun. Checked the word count too of course.
    Thanks RayT and Kath.

  27. Thanks to Ray T for the crossword and, as always, for calling in. Thanks to everyone for their comments – night night all and sleep well.

  28. A fairly straightforward crossword from Mr T today. No real problems encountered with 15a as favourite.
    Thanks to Ray T, and to Kath for the review.v

  29. Late on parade with this comment. A little bit cross I did not see the veil in 26a and so this one was not completed until I read Kath’s hint, otherwise all went in smoothly. Lovely puzzle – cheers to Mr. T and Kath.

  30. 2*/5*…
    difficult to choose a favourite, but perhaps 16D (start living swallowing drink before noon).

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