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DT 29082

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 29082

Hints and tips by Falcon

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BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

Greetings from Ottawa, where we are having a few days of summer-like weather. Let’s hope it lasts as spring was pretty much a washout — in more ways than one. The weather was cold and wet and the rivers were at record high levels. Anyone with low-lying riverfront property was under water.

I got off to a very fast start with today’s puzzle from RayT and thought I might set a new speed record. However, the fast pace did not last and I became bogged down. In the end, the puzzle was completed in a typical three star time. I did think that the puzzle had a bit of a US ‘flavor’.

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   A grand country welcoming current fad for farming (12)
AGRICULTURAL — begin by stringing together the A (from the clue), G(rand), and an adjective denoting country or pastoral; then insert (welcoming) a physicist’s symbol for electric current and a fashion, craze or fad (likely not the first meaning to come to mind)

8a   Joke about suffering, having run out of wedding? (7)
NUPTIAL — reverse (about) a type of joke; then add the type of suffering that is often accompanied by a tribulation having removed (out) the cricket abbreviation for runs

9a   Excuse sailor only capturing Victory’s leader (7)
ABSOLVE — the usual able seaman is followed by an adjective meaning one and only wrapped around (capturing) the initial letter of Victory

11a   Breathe out, it’s healthy (4,3)
HERB TEA — an anagram of (out) BREATHE

12a   Demanding former partner, single, meeting bloke (7)
EXIGENT — a charade of the usual former romantic interest, the numeral that would signify single to the Romans, and a bloke or chap

13a   One’s vertical in flight (5)
RISER — a cryptic definition of a component of a flight of stairs

14a   Nervous laugh, terrified about massacre (9)
SLAUGHTER — a lurker hidden in (about) the first three words of the clue

16a   Turn, oddly reluctant to meet striker’s first crosses (9)
TRAVERSES — link together the odd letters of TuRn, a synonym for reluctant, and the initial letter of Striker

19a   Very American, ace composer (5)
SOUSA — a short adverb meaning very or extremely, another term for American, and the letter that appears on the aces in a pack of cards

21a   Biographer of old boy, flipping plump! (7)
BOSWELL — reverse (flipping) the abbreviation for old boy then add a verb meaning to cause something to increase in size (although I can’t think of a single instance in which the two verbs could be applied in relation to the same entity one would plump a pillow; an influx of refugees would swell the population)

23a   Yellow  bird (7)
CHICKEN — a double definition; the first being a slang term for afraid

24a   Promised to employ Democrat (7)
ENGAGED — concatenate a verb meaing to hire (someone) and the abbreviation for a member of the US Democratic Party

25a   Stomach a stench with day trapped in gents (7)
ABDOMEN — start with the A from the clue plus a stench arising from poor personal hygiene wrapped around D(ay); then add some gents or blokes

26a   Power boxing oddly wielded for boxer (12)
MIDDLEWEIGHT — a synonym for power or force encapsulating (boxing) an anagram of (oddly) WIELDED


1d   Aims of American agents to protect Republican … (7)
ASPIRES — A(merican) plus undercover intelligence officers surrounding the abbreviation for a member of the US Republican Party (RayT carefully gives both parties equal time)

2d   … list of names including Independent Party (7)
ROISTER — a list of names and work assignments containing the abbreviation for a politician with no party affiliation (making the party reference in the surface reading a bit of an oxymoron)

3d   Jose’s pal locates somewhat upset founders (9)
COLLAPSES — our second lurker of the day; this one not only hidden (somewhat) but also reversed (upset) in the first three words of the clue

4d   Let establishment and start earning initially (5)
LEASE — RayT’s customary initialism or acrostic clue; the wordplay is provided by the entire clue (specifying the initial letters of the first five words in the clue); one might consider the first word in the clue to be a concise precise definition or one might look on the first five words of the clue as being a more verbose descriptive definition; perhaps, with enough effort, one might even shoehorn the word “initially” into the descriptive definition

5d   Delivery company branch shows economic recovery (7)
UPSWING — the abbreviated version of the name of an American multinational package delivery company (not FedEx, the one with the brown vans) followed by a branch or arm (within an organization) having its own distinct views and character

6d   Mile in excellent fast time leading to illness (7)
AILMENT — begin by piecing together the Lloyd’s Shipping Registry notation for excellent and the ‘fast time’ just before Easter; then insert M(ile) into the result

7d   Each tribunal prepared to be cruel (12)
UNCHARITABLE — an anagram (prepared) of the first two words in the clue

10d   Again failing to start, with internet spoiling fun (12)
ENTERTAINING — an anagram of (spoiling) [a]GAIN with its initial letter removed (failing to start) and INTERNET

15d   Companion to a case is confused (9)
ASSOCIATE — anagram of (confused) the middle four words of the clue

17d   In short attack, say something pointed (7)
ASSEGAI — the Latin abbreviation for say or for example contained in (in) a synonym for attack from which the final letter has been removed (short)

18d   Sweetheart joined and came out (7)
EMERGED — the customary RayT sweetheart (the middle letter [heart] of the word swEet) followed by a word meaning to join or unite

19d   Part of leg, mine, in knees-up (7)
SHINDIG — the lower part of the leg and a word meaning to excavate

20d   A French male’s restrained outside: that’s rough (7)
UNKEMPT — a French indefinite article followed by M(ale) inside a verb meaning to restrain or cause something to remain in a certain position

22d   Projection of Liberal superiority (5)
LEDGE — the abbreviation for a member of a non-US political party followed by a quality or factor which gives superiority over close rivals

Today, I have awarded podium positions to 13a, 25a, and 17d with the laurels going to 25a for raising the biggest smile.


37 comments on “DT 29082

  1. It’s a red-letter day for us crossword addicts with a Petitjean Toughie and a Ray T back-pager. The latter is not actually on the back page but it is definitely a Ray T composition despite the absence of Her Majesty – has she perhaps been given the day off to go to Royal Ascot? I found this at the easier end of his spectrum but up there with his best in terms of enjoyment. My rating is 2*/5*.

    The hardest part comes in picking a favourite from so many excellent clues, but I’ll settle for a very crowded podium comprising 11a, 19a, 25a, 3d & 4d.

    I did think 25a included more than just the stomach but I see the BRB gives “belly” as one of the meanings.

    Many thanks to Ray T and to Falcon.

  2. Good , clever well constructed offering giving satisfaction and enjoyment on completion .

    My favourite , for its simplicity 11A .


  3. It was***/**** for me. The first round yielded onle a few answers, particularly in the W half. Perseverence kept it going, though it was like pulling teeth (thank you for reminding me of my dental appointment). There were, however some really great clues, 1a, 26a and 10d being my favourites. So thanks to Ray T. Thanks also to Falcon for the hints. I felt the same as you about the verb in 21a.

  4. Good stuff as expected. Not sure I’d heard of 21a or 17d, but the parsing was straightforward enough to work out. I do think the 4d idea could, dare I say it, do with a rest – it’s such a giveaway. A ** / *** for me.

    Many thanks to RayT for the entertainment and Falcon for the blog.

  5. A fun-time was had today which started well in the North and then moved seamlessly southwards. The 13a lurker escaped me for a while as did 5a delivery company. I agree with Falcon re 21a plump synonym. 6d fast seems to put in regular appearances these days. My Fav for its smooth surface was 5a. Patted myself on the back for fathoming the Quickie pun! TVM RayT and Falcon.

  6. Apart from a couple in the SW (21a,17d) that I didn’t know but got from the checkers and the wordplay, and the help I needed in parsing 8a I had relatively few problems with this for a Thursday. No particular clue jumped out for me but I did like 11a for the surface and well incorperated anagram indicator
    Apart from “sweetheart” it didn’t feel like an obvious Ray T to me but I’ll thank him and Falcon for his excellent review.

  7. I found this offering quite straightforward and had it finished in an easy ** time. At no point did I have to divert to the Quickie to give myself a break, so it must have flowed well.

    25a was last one in, because I always forget that particular bad smell.

    Thanks to Ray T and Falcon.

  8. Made a note of **/*** on completion , although not hitting the heights of yesterdays puzzle this still very enjoyable with a good mix of clues.
    Liked 20d, in fact all the charades were excellent.
    Thanks to setter and Falcon.
    Had a Jay on the peanuts this morning , right outside the window a beautiful bird-a first for me!

  9. I was thinking the other day we haven’t seen ‘assegai’ for a while, and here it is, complete with the Charlie Drake record! (I remember seeing it for the first time in s Saturday puzzle some years ago, and BD used the same recording). Anyway, thanks to all.

    1. I thought the same about 17d, not seen for a long time, but it came to me immediately – miracle.

  10. I usually struggle with mister T but found him in a benign mood today. My only quibble is with 11a. I’ve only known it with al after the first word. Ta to all.

  11. Definitely gentle for a Ray T, completed at a gallop – **/****.

    Favourite – a toss-up between 3d (I spent some time wondering who Jose was) and 19d – and the winner is 19d.

    Thanks to Ray T and Falcon.

    And, the PJ Toughie is absolutely delightful!

  12. Our setter at the top of his game, I thought, with a wonderfully enjoyable and pleasantly thoughtful puzzle. As others have commented, almost too many fine clues to pick a winner, but I will go for 11a with an honourable mention for the rekrul at 3d.

    Thanks to Ray T for a fun challenge, and to Falcon.

  13. Found this a very enjoyable puzzle. First thoughts were that it looked tricky but it became a steady solve and no real problems to distract except we are part of a group of circa 30 passengers on the River Douro for a week. The stunning scenery is certainly a distraction. Can definitely recommend. Thanks to all.

  14. Well, I completed a Ray T, that is always a red-letter day.
    Unlike our delightful Jay, getting the answer is not that hard, unravelling why it is the answer is mighty hard.
    I agree, 11a takes the cake for its simplicity.
    Thanks to RayT and to Falcon for sorting out the “why” for me, e.g. 26a!

  15. In retrospect, why did I struggle?
    For me a ***and a half for difficulty.
    Brilliant clueing, too many to single out one.
    Many thanks Ray T and Falcon for the pleasantly illustrated review.

  16. Thanks to Ray T and to Falcon for the review and hints. A very enjoyable puzzle, but quite gentle for a Ray T. I liked the misdirection in 1d, I was looking for the CIA for a while. Got the delivery company in 5d, but struggled to get the last four letters. 3d was very good, a well hidden reverse lurker, but my favourite was 19a, which made me laugh. Last in was 26a. Was 2*/4* for me.

  17. Very nice puzzle at the easier end of Ray T’s spectrum. Jose convinced me that there must be a bit of Spanish in there somewhere till the penny dropped. So I will make 3d my favourite today with honourable mentions to 5d and 20d.

  18. Not quite as enamoured with this one as my fellow commenters. I took a little while to get a grip in my customary starting point of the SE corner. Then swept clockwise with the only hold up being quite a long one as I researched our biographer and his famous subject.

    Thanks to Falcon and RayT – **/***

  19. Ray T 1 Jaylegs 0 😳 Found this very difficult ****/** 😟 Thanks to Falcon for much needed explanations and music and of course to Ray T. Favourites 21 & 25a

  20. Went through top half at a fast trot but slowed to a walk in SW. 16a 17d and 18d came in a flash of inspiration after a caffeine injection. Overall a satisfying solve. Thanks to RayT and Falco Subbutteo for the hints that helped with our wonderful hobby.

  21. Very good from Ray-T, and at the easier end of his spectrum.
    Too many good clues to single out any one in particular, a master at work.
    Thanks to Falcon too.

  22. Aaaargh! I must be out of practice as I found this a tricky one especially the SW corner where I needed hints and reveals. My favourite was 4a which was both straightforward and very clever from the setter! Thanks to all

  23. The trouble with all this ‘real life stuff’ is that it gets in the way of crosswords – oh dear!
    I enjoyed this – how could I possibly not enjoy a Ray T crossword – but I think he’s lost his naughty hat – I hope he finds it.
    I missed both the lurkers for far too long and was very slow to get the second bit of 5d.
    I spent ages wondering who Jose was in 3d – our Elder Lamb is Josepine but is always called Jose.
    Never heard of the 21d biographer and I only know 17d because of Charlie Drake.
    I liked 1 and 11a and 19 and 20d.
    Thanks to Ray T and to Falcon.

    1. I too spent ages wondering about 3d but I was thinking about the Mexican fireman whose twin sons were called José and Hose B

  24. What is the world coming to. A RayT puzzle that contains a multi-word answer (11a) —– unheard of!
    Clue word count is still all in order though.
    Excellent fun that went together smoothly for us.
    Thanks RayT and Falcon.

    1. I looked at the enumeration of 11a … and said to myself … “definitelely not a RayT Cryptic”.

      How wrong can one be?

      Wonder if Mr K can find any other RayT Cryptics with multi-word answers?

      1. Hi, Stan. That’s a challenge because I don’t have back-page setter information in my database. I could look for Thursday puzzles with a single multi-word answer and see if RayT claimed any of them. Maybe over the weekend.

  25. Evening all. My thanks to Falcon for the analysis, and to all for your comments. I’m pleased that most of you enjoyed it.


  26. What a stunner! For me this crossword ticked every box. The first pass indicated I could finish a RayT in record time, wrong as usual,,, it took me into 3* time, but 4.5* for total enjoyment and pleasure.
    I liked virtually all the clues but 12ac 16ac &3d were stand out.
    This puzzle was a definite Irish 19d!
    Many thanks to RayT & Falcon for the review.

  27. A good puzzle that I found to be on the easy side, which isn’t always the case with RayT’s offerings. 17d was an answer I was surprised to see in a Telegraph back pager, obscure as it was, though perfectly gettable from the wordplay of course.

  28. I surely can’t be last today! Absolutely excellent puzzle, hard enough to make one think but all gettable clues. (If that’s a real word). Too many favourites to list. Many many thanks to RayT and Falcon for hosting the blog.

    1. No you are not but I had to walk round London to find a DT. At my sixth attempt I found a shop with one left. The downside was that the shop, a Nisa, did not accept my voucher so I’ve paid twice. The DTs are always in short supply – when every other paper is on the shelves.

  29. Completed on return train journey today. Very enjoyable. Not as swift as yesterday but mostly swiftly solvable when a few checkers in. Only one I did not know was 17d. Favourites 3 and 19d and 23a because it was obvious what I was looking for but not so obvious to find. I had no problem with 21a as first two letters obvious and I knew of the biographer. Thank you Ray T and to Falcon for the pointed thing which is now in my memory bank

    1. I think the telegraph is not on sale or return like other papers, hence they are always the first to run out. I also think they will reimburse you for unused vouchers, although I haven’t always bothered.

  30. This was quite mild for a Thursday! Very enjoyable but dare I say it? Perhaps over a bit too soon…..
    14a was my top clue.
    Thanks to Ray T, and to Falcon for the review.

  31. 3*/4*….
    liked 25A (stomach a stench with day trapped in gents), and the entertaining hints & tips.

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