DT 29315 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 29315

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 29315

Hints and tips by Little Dorritt

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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

Good morning Solveteenies. Today’s masterclass from RayT was a complicated delight from start to finish. Each clue needing to be teased out tortuously with a satisfying sigh as the stretched synonym became obvious. Just what the doctor ordered to start the day.

[Today’s ratings are provided by crypticsue who will be interested to learn whether others found the crossword as difficult or whether it was her ability to solve being affected by the amount of crossword blog related multi-tasking she had to do this morning]

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a    Shone with cryptic decrypted showing brilliance? (12)
PYROTECHNICS It is always a pleasure when a long 1 across jumps straight into place as anagrams often do. Not so with this one which didn’t show itself until all but one of the checkers were in.  Anagram (decrypted) of SHONE with CRYPTIC 

8a    Roll over following dog’s keeper (7)
CURATOR The reverse of a roll or list follows an unkempt or aggressive dog. The keeper here may well work in a museum

9a    Bridled admitting Government’s head was in power (7)
REIGNED A word meaning bridled as in securing a horse’s bridle and other bits contains the initial (head) letter of the word Government

11a    Foreign art of old, fake French china (7)
ORIGAMI A pastime of mine as a child from The World of The Children books can be made up thus. Begin with the abbreviation for old. Add a verb meaning to fake a result. Now add a French china where an English china would be your mate. China plate – mate in Cockney rhyming slang

12a    Backing canvas held making bloomers (7)
DAHLIAS An example of what a canvas is on a boat plus a word meaning to have owned can be put together and reversed (backing)

13a    Weapon taken from ceasefire, reportedly (5)
PIECE A homophone based upon another word for what a truce is sounding like an informal term for a firearm

14a    Hip cure’s unusual including a new cover (9)
INSURANCE Begin with a word meaning with it or trendy. Add an anagram (unusual) of CURES which contains the letter A from the clue and the abbreviation for new. The cover here may be third party or fully comprehensive where the large print giveth and the small print taketh away

16a    Reptile I assume collects dung (9)
IGUANODON This reptile can be found with a three-part charade. 1. The letter I from the clue. 2. The dung found in caves from seabirds and bats and used as a fertiliser. 3. A verb meaning to assume, put on and wear 

19a    Sailor embraced by sailor around foreign capital (5)
RABAT An able-bodied seaman is surrounded by the reverse (around) of another seaman, this time a dated noun

21a    The man’s muffling noise facing good thrashings (7)
HIDINGS A word meaning that man’s contains a synonym of the word noise and the abbreviation for good

23a    Discerning piano with blue note occasionally (7)
PRUDENT The musical notation for piano is followed by a word meaning blue as with a blue comedian. This is also followed by the alternate (occasionally) letters of the word note

24a    Rejected free bank getting more unpleasant (7)
DIRTIER A three-letter word meaning to free or relieve of is reversed (rejected) and followed by a bank or layer of terracing 

25a    Identify bad smell in snake oil (7)
PLACEBO A rather stretched synonym of identify is followed by the initial letters of a bad smell issued by a person of dubious hygiene. 

26a    Remarkably racy blonde is dancing (12)
CONSIDERABLY Anagram (dancing) of RACY BLONDE IS. Both words either side of the anagram fodder could have been definitions or anagram indicators


1d    Hunger consumes ogre like a pig (7)
PORCINE A word meaning to hunger or long for contains an ogre possibly from The Lord of the Rings 

One evening in October

When I was about one-third sober

And was taking home a load with manly pride

My poor feet began to stutter

So I lay down in the gutter

And a pig came up and lay down by my side

Then we sang “It’s All Fair Weather”

And “Good Fellows Get Together”

Till a lady passing by was heard to say

She says, “You can tell a man who boozes

By the company he chooses”

And the pig got up and slowly walked away

2d    Go over some upset apple-cart erratically (7)
RETRACE The answer lies hidden within the words of the clue. Indicated by the word some. Reversed as indicated by the word upset 

3d    Restrained about blunder if frightened (9)
TERRIFIED A word meaning restrained, by rope perhaps, contains a verb meaning to make a mistake and the word IF which our setter has presented as a gift

4d    Worried about being visibly embarrassed (5)
CARED The Latin for about is followed by the colour of embarrassment

5d    What might rule out a couple? (7)
NEITHER A cryptic definition meaning not of the one nor the other of two people or things

6d    Commit criminal offence accepting gaol initially (7)
CONSIGN A three- letter word for a criminal is followed by an offence against God which contains the initial letter of the word gaol

7d    Fantastic meal, cod and chips, carried out (12)
ACCOMPLISHED A rather neat anagram (Fantastic) of MEAL COD CHIPS

10d    Lecture detectives over position protecting Queen (12)
DISSERTATION The plural of the abbreviation of Detective Inspectors is followed by a place or position in society which surrounds the regal cypher of or dear queen

15d    Appears strange embracing nude, oddly smooth (9)
SANDPAPER Anagram (strangely) of APPEARS surrounds the odd numbered letters of the word nude

17d    Thunder God controlling weather (7)
UNDERGO The answer lies hidden within the words of the clue as indicated by the word controlling

18d    Spoils musical covered by empty numbers (7)
NANNIES A stage and screen mawkish musical (It is a girl’s name) is surrounded by the outer letters of the word numbers

19d    Core supporter upset supporting Republican rubbish (7)
RHUBARB Begin with a core or centre. Add the reverse (upset) of a garment that supports breasts. Place what you have underneath the abbreviation for republican 

20d    Beer producer close to employing right container (7)
BREWERY A two-letter word meaning close to contains the abbreviation for right and a large container 

22d    Game’s up seeing fiddle? (5)
STRAD A game with small hand-held arrows thrown at a numbered board will, when reversed, give the shortened word for a very fine violin 

[arve url=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4C0SwKcKOtI” /]



104 comments on “DT 29315

  1. All over in ***/**** time. I thought this was a bit hard going with some elements of Toughie land. One of my last in was 12a, which is my COTD.

    Many thanks to RayT and MP.

  2. From today’s Letters Page

    “My wife and I have both found the Telegraph’s Quick Crossword harder in recent days. Is this a strategy by the compilers as we who are self-isolating have more time on our hands?”

    1. I normally read the paper before doing The Codeword The Quickie and the The Cryptic. As I was out by 8.15am I didn’t read the paper yet. Thanks for adding the Quickie Pun.

    2. I agree. I take increasingly longer to complete it. The puns of the past few days did not leap out at me as they usually do.

  3. I thought this was an absolute cracker. Took me a while to get the hang of Mr T but persevering with a few Beam puzzles has been really fruitful. As per usual there were some very “unobvious” synonyms but the brilliant wordplay (and a few checkers) led you to the solution.
    Podium contenders included 5,6,17 (brilliant lurker) and 19d.
    3.5/ 5*
    Many thanks to MP, will enjoy the review later, and of course to Mr T

  4. Excellent, thanks to Ray T and MP.

    12,16, 25 a brutal.

    17d I had Thor in my head which didn’t help matters

    ****/*** from HK.

  5. This was great fun, the topper for a week of really superb, intellectually invigorating puzzles, and maybe the most satisfying Ray T puzzler I’ve ever had the considerable pleasure to work. Once I solved the four long border clues, everything–even that cretaceous critter–fell into place. And it’s always a treat having miffypops shedding light upon the Ray T largesse, and even though I didn’t need his hints today, it’s so nice to see that Little Dorrit has finally been released from Marshalsea. I am so tempted to give five stars twice, but I actually finished in ** time. Favourites (wow, how to choose?!): 19d, 15a, and 16a (COTD) ** / ***** Thanks, by the way, for so many of you responding to my question yesterday: to wit, what are you reading and any tips for me? So I’ll invite more of you to join the book club, if you’d be so kind. We’re coping over here in Charleston, but the numbers in our state are rising exponentially.

    1. I’m working my way through Marsali Taylor’s Shetland-based crime stories. I’m using the Overdrive app on my tablet where, providing you have your library card and pin number, you can ‘borrow’ up to 9 books at a time. Trouble is they don’t have all the series so I may have to venture out to the local library and borrow some actual books in order to read the whole lot. Good crime novels and the chance to learn some Shetlandic too which may come in handy one day if we ever venture that far north

      1. Hello, crypticsue! Glad to hear about Marsali Taylor, whom I haven’t read, but I have read Ann Cleeves since my only visit to the Shetlands (I spent a storm-tossed night in my cabin, on the ferry from Aberdeen to Lerwick, in April of 2004). I just Googled M Taylor, notably her biographical and writing details (what a website!), and she is now on my list of TBRs. Many thanks. On that trip, I spent three days fighting the ferocious wind in and around Lerwick but enjoyed my stay and had a peaceful return to Aberdeen. It was my last visit to the UK–two terrific months on BritRail (and ships galore) doing islands (Scilly, many Hebrides, and Shetland) and cathedrals and making nostalgic returns to places I’d loved for decades. Oh yes, and some great West End theatre. Until arthritis took charge of my travels, I spent a few years after that extended UK trip travelling to Central and South America and Canada. Now (today) I dare not leave the house: we in our 80s have been told to ‘stay home, don’t leave the house’.

        PS: I must tell you that in the past year I have re-read all of P D James’s Dalgleish mysteries. What joy!

        1. The last book I read was Kristin Hannah’s The Great Alone but my right eye has deteriorated so much I now find it hard to read. I have a Fredrik Backman on my Kindle I want to read, I’m hoping I’ll gradually adjust and be able to read again.

          1. Good afternoon, Merusa. I read Hannah’s The Nightingale a few years ago and really enjoyed it but haven’t gotten to The Great Alone yet. Thanks for the cue. Sorry to hear about your right eye; I now order Large Print copies when they’re available, but not many are. Sounds like the news from Jamaica is generally good. Things just get grimmer and grimmer up here in the Carolinas: 10 more reported cases in SC since yesterday. I can’t leave the house, though I do pick up the newspaper from my front yard early in the a.m. How our lives have suddenly metamorphosed, though maybe yet not as badly as Gregor Samsa’s!

        2. The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse by Charlie Mackesy is what I’m reading at the moment

          1. Just speaking with my friend in Wales and she recommended it. I’ve got it on Kindle and I’m hoping I can enlarge it.

          2. Thank you, MP (aka LD, etc), for enlightening me so amusingly over the years. Yours seems to be quite the Renaissance life, even when you might have had a few too many to suit Mrs MP (just kidding). I remember your joy when Dylan won the Nobel, much to the chagrin of us stuffy English professors; I’ve since gotten over it. Your chameleonish identity on the blog keeps us all guessing, and your poem today (never taught that one in my classes, alas) sent me laughing to Google to find the author. TBTMTFATH seems to be selling well on both sides of the Pond. I must add it to my TBR list. You do enrich our lives, you know. Hope you and your pub are managing to cope in these fierce days.

            1. Announcement of the 2016 Nobel Prize in Literature to Bob Dylan, presented by Professor Sara Danius, Permanent Secretary of the Swedish Academy, on 13 October 2016. “He can be read and should be read, and is a great poet in the English tradition”.

              Glad to hear about enrichment. I do try.

      2. You can also get the BorrowBox app which allows you to borrow audiobooks from your local library providing you have a library card

      3. Thanks for the tip re Marsali Taylor, will also be adding to my Books to Read list. I too have read all the Ann Cleeves editions, and look forward to trying these.

      4. Try watching What the Helly Aa on Youtube if you are interested in Shetland culture. The accent, almost unintelligible in the older generation ( the bus driver is the nearest you get here) has been ironed out a lot in the younger generation by exposure to television. Rose’s late father was the only child of seven to leave the islands, so lots of Shetland relatives! 😀

    2. Robert I’ve just finished reading Olive Kitteridge once again. Elizabeth Strout writes beautifully – Pulitzer Prize winner & well worth a read in the unlikely event that you’re not familiar.
      Ps love Charleston & the Ocean course at Kiawah certainly makes into my top 20 courses played.

      1. Hello, Huntsman: Yes, I loved Olive Kitteridge when I read it a few years ago and have a copy of Olive, Again in a fast-growing stack of books to read. (I also loved Frances McDormand as Olive in the TV mini-series not long afterwards.) I didn’t find My Name Is Lucy Barton as profoundly sensitive a read as Olive K, but there are such things as a Woman’s Novel, I think, that reveal just how much we male mortals have yet to learn.

        Glad to hear you’re a Kiawah golf course fan and that our fair city is also high on your list. When all of this virus madness is over, please return–if you can–and if I’m still here, we can enjoy a brew or two on the 19th hole. Remember this invitation!

    3. I thoroughly recommend the Inspector Bill Slider series by the wonderfully named Cynthia Harrod-Eagles. They are well written with lots of humour and many great puns.

      1. I also recommend any book at all written by the wonderful Laurie Graham – all absolutely brilliant

        1. Sadly I have just had an email from Gloucestershire libraries to say all Gloucestershire libraries are closing from 23 March.

          1. I think ours in Palm Beach county are going to from March 24. They haven’t announced it yet, but they have stopped allowing books to be put on hold, and I was told to pick up mine by that date. But we will have access to ebooks from the library. No time my preference, but a good second choice.

      2. Thank you, Gazza, for the word about Cynthia Harrod-Eagles (yes, great handle) and her Slider series. I’ve not read her at all. (The Insp Rutledge series and all of P D James’s Dalgleish books–re-reading her was one of my great pleasures this past year–have kept me going lately.) But I’ve just added C H-E to my TBR list. Anything with ‘many great puns’ is bound to tickle my fancy. Some sleuthers can be so joyless. By the way, I always enjoy your contributions to the blog–hints, comments, etc. You’ve come to my rescue many times–for both the Cryptic and the Toughie!

  6. I’m really pleased I managed to get through this. I was only disappointed in myself half way through when I pressed the submit button instead of save when the telephone went off, and I was told I had half the answers wrong. I have to say that doing the crossword on the iPad has speeded me up, as I can’t stand seeing the clock tick away. It doesn’t half put you under pressure. My computer was returned last night, so from tomorrow, I will be printing the crossword off again. 12a was my favourite clue. Many thanks to RayT, and the new Thursday reviewer.

    1. The iPad is a great boon to me Florence. I can read my writing on an iPad. Also because I don’t have paper and pen to hand I never write out part answers or anagram fodder. It’s all done with my head and my index finger. The scrolling problem doesn’t bother me much. I just flip to and from the sudoku and it stops for a while.

  7. Ray T at the top of his game this game this morning. Delightfully awkward in places, the whole puzzle was a delight from start to finish. Difficult to pick a winner, but I did like the admirably concise 22d and 5d. With all of the clues having no more than seven words this was a masterclass in setting.

    Thanks to Mr T for the challenge and to MP.

  8. A complex and intriguing puzzle with some excellent misdirection (**/*****). It was most enjoyable, particularly the 4 long anagrams( I liked 10d). Other great clues were 5d, 17d and 19d. Thanks to Little Dorritt and Ray T. I recommend the Meditations of Marcus Aurelius, which is available translated into English. It gives a few good pointers on how to remain stoical in a crisis.

    1. What a coincidence. I was re-reading The Spiritual Teachings of Marcus Aurelius (by Mark Forstater) last night. The fly cover says it’s available as a talking book as well. May I suggest that the World needs a new look at how we all operate in Life.

      P.S. Crossword was fun.

  9. A bit trickier puzzle today but not very enjoyable – some factual errors in some clues and very poor synonyms in others. 3*/1* for me today.

  10. Having set the alarm to go out & forage for fresh veg at the crack of dawn (not a carrot to be found by mid afternoon in Harpenden yesterday) I battled it out with this beast over breakfast mission accomplished. As usual with Ray T it’s never easy but I found this particularly hard going though I don’t feel quite so inept if CS rates it **** for back page difficulty.
    Eventually got there in just under ***** time having been held up on 5d & 12a, my last two in, for an age. Neither of the 2 long anagrams (1 & 26a) jumped out at me for some reason (pen & paper required) & must confess to needing Mr Google to confirm the spelling for 16a. 1d & 19d were my pick of the clues today. Thanks to all.

  11. Really great puzzle.
    Every clue a thorough going mental workout.
    Too many excellent ones to single one out.
    Certainly **** for difficulty and five for enjoyment.
    Many thanks, Ray T and Little Dorritt for the review but very satisfying not to have needed it.

  12. Great fun although some of the synonyms are stretched to breaking point and beyond. COFD 12A. ****/****

  13. Really liked this one, for once managed to do it without electronic help. Strange thing with my tablet version, it has a prize crossword ‘Submit’ box under it, doesn’t work obviously.

    Thanks to Ray T for brightening up a drizzly Devon morning and to MP of course.

  14. Wow, that was tricky! Ray T at his best. The old grey cells have not been stretched as far for a while. I admit I needed help with a few but the enjoyment was great. No real favourites but I did like 12a and 5d.

    Grateful thanks to Ray T and to Little Dorritt for the hints.

    I did like the Quickie Pun today,

    Supermarket shelves gradually emptying here now and we are limited to three of each product. This is, of course, the policy in most supermarkets. However, today I saw a family of four each take a basket and go in different ways. Each bought the required limit of each product. They then went to separate checkouts and walked away with four times the restricted amount.

    Keep well, everyone.

    1. At my local Lidl, I was pleased to see the staff talking to each other via headsets and spotting people who had bought huge trolleyloads doing the same again.

      Now in work till 11 doing lots of train related things – refunds mainly and rebooking journeys.

      Lots of crosswords in my folder to sustain me.

  15. Is this a prize crossword as I too have a submit button on an iPad version with no check mistakes option available.

    1. You’ve changed your alias which is why you went into moderation

      Definitely not a prize crossword

  16. That was terrific fun and just nicely challenging. The 16a reptile is less familiar than a shorter named one. The 19a supporter is a bit hackneyed. So many great clues that I can’t single out a Fav. The Quickie pun only just rings true. Thank you very much RayT and MP (always good to see Tommy Cooper again).

  17. Well, we only got five of the acrosses so that make them **** difficulty but we got twelve of the downs so that was ** so overall I guess *** is about right, with **** for the fun.

    Thanks to RayT and the Dickensian one.

  18. This definately took extra head scratcing today, it was one of thise put down do something pick up hAve a doh moment and carry on.
    Our small local shops seem to be quite well stocked at the moment. I went to Turo in search of pasta, not a thing. However local shop had got in a sack with a fill your own container, luckily they were also selling containers, now thats enterprise.
    Perfectly happy to stay isolated, facetime and skype work well keeping in touch especially grandchildren.
    Thanks to Miffypops and RayT

  19. I suspected this was a Mr T compilation as I had only 2 in after the first run through which made it more of a challenge. My weakness in Mr T puzzles is often identifying the key word/s. No particular favourites just very satisfying to get there with only a couple of hints and confirmations.
    Many thanks to MrT and MP

  20. Slightly more difficult than usual. I like a challenge and must admit today only had three in on first read through.

  21. I found this very difficult and it took me ages in two sittings. Great feeling of achievement when I’d finished. Generally hard for me to get on Ray T’s wavelength. Easy to over think the answers.

  22. Found this one very tricky and had to rely heavily on the excellent hints. Loved the poem and the Tommy Cooper clip – why was it in Dutch? Thanks setter and MP.

  23. Very satisfying to finish this puzzle and only need the blog to parse s couple of my answers. Thanks to MP and Ray T. Now back to the chain saw.

    The Second Sleep by Robert Harris is relevant at the moment and Ann Cleeve’s new North Devon detective is a great new character in The Long Call and I look forward to more in the series.

    1. I read the new Ann Cleeve’s new detective book last week and, like you, am looking forward to more in the series. My brother and his family used to live in Barnstaple so it was nice that I was able to picture all the places in the book

      1. For light reading I like the Roy Grace detective series by Peter James. The fact I feature in one of them has nothing to do with it. :whistle:

      2. I’ve read that Cleeves has left Shetland for Devon, and so now I must follow her to Barnstaple (which I briefly visited in, gasp, 1972) on my way to or from Tintagel. I’m getting all kinds of juicy tips on my reading for the next millennium. Thanks.

      3. Yes, we lived in Appledore and then Bideford for nearly ten years. Have been back my times. Lost our deposit on a cottage in Appledore as we booked for Easter week with one of our daughters and family. Still if we are still about in a couple of years we may go back again.

    2. Thanks, Corky. Botn Cleeves (aha, a new detective) and Harris (whom I don’t know) are on my TBR list.

  24. Way above my pay grade, so much so, I had to check the top of my printed sheet to make sure I hadn’t printed the Toughie by mistake. Only 5 solved before I had a look at the picture hints. Thanks MP. Off to see what’s available in the stores today, and will have another go at this one later. By all accounts, you have it tougher at home right now, we seem to lag behind by a couple of weeks. Although schools in Florida did close starting last Monday.

  25. Nicely challenging puzzle, with several favourites – 11a, 7d, 22d – but less happy about 12a, 14a, 24a, 25a, 5d, 17d (couldn’t get Thor out of my mind, especially being a Thursday). 12a and 19d were bung-ins, and needed the parsing explanation, for which many thanks.

  26. Super crossword. Concise, smooth clues, and a lot of misdirection. Some really delightful clues. My last two in were 12a and 5d. I eventually battled my way through it all but there were hardly any gifts. Among my favourites were 8a, 12a, 17d (brilliant lurker), and 19d. I did think a couple of the synonyms were really pushing it but otherwise it was a thoroughly enjoyable solve. Thanks to Ray T for the mental workout and to Little Dorritt for the hints.

  27. Got there but not without a bit of head scratching in places. Very satisfying puzzle and a 7d feeling at the end. Favourite clue today was 20d. Thanks to all.

  28. My local library has increased the number of items which we can borrow to 20, because, they say, stockpiling books is a much better idea than stockpiling toilet rolls! Also they have added 18,000 audiobooks to their free RB Digital service (which also provides access to many magazines and newspapers, including the Telegraph).

  29. Not surprisingly l found this difficult and needed the hint at 16 a.l think they are lizards rather than reptiles although lam not sure what the difference is.I have found all the crosswords this week to be excellent with this one being the one with most head scratching.I will need to look at the hints to fully parse some of this.Thankyou to all.

  30. I don’t read anything apart from this wonderful blog and my local newspaper but it takes less time than solving a couple of clues.
    Took as long as the toughie today.
    Thanks to RayT and to MP.

  31. Every clue was, as said above, a real intellectual workout.
    Astonished that I finished this stinker, although some of the clues stretched accuracy to breaking point.
    Nevertheless, I still had astonishing fun completing.

  32. I found 29315 unbelievably difficult . I had to look at the answers on six of the clues . Being relatively new to solving cryptic crosswords , I found most of the clues very difficult to unravel

    1. Welcome to the world of RayT. MB. He is the bane of some people’s crosswording lives and the cream on top to others. I used to fight battles to finish a Thursday RayT and indeed it was a four-letter answer eluding me for weeks that led me to this site. I relish his puzzles now. Perseverance and Big Dave will see you through.

    2. Even I am starting to like RayT. Considering I used to get nowhere with his puzzles, that is remarkable. This blog helped greatly.

  33. A typical RayT with 4 longies round the outside to get started. A couple of nice lurkers and many lovely clues of which I really liked 16 and 23. Thanks to Ray for a great isolationist workout.

  34. Hmmmmm….a four star for difficulty Ray T puzzle…..way beyond me, I’m afraid. Only managed half a dozen clues before admitting defeat. Yesterday’s toughie looks easier, so I’ll have a bash at that.

  35. What a waste of time and space putting something this difficult on a back pager, shameful!
    Zero fun. Is someone at the DT having a bad day and decided to take it out on us?

    1. It couldn’t have been that difficult – even I finished it with no assistance!

    2. I suppose a crossword can only be judged by how one finds and understands its clues, but personally I didn’t find it to be that unfriendly – possibly one of RayT’s more gentle offerings. It was certainly far less obscure than many of his Thursday puzzles have been. I will admit to laziness by using an anagram solver for 1a, but the rest went in without a huge amount of head scratching. Most enjoyable and for an all too brief a time distracted me from the depressiveness of all the virus news. Thanks MrT and thanks to Little Dorritt. Here’s hoping all my fellow solvers stay healthy and Coronavirus free.

  36. Just finished, but only with Miffypops help. Otherwise it would have been filed in the round bin. Definitely one for the clever people. Never heard of 16a, although we have lots of the shorter named ones here. Thought 12a was pretty good.

  37. Thoroughly enjoyable Thursday puzzle that all flowed smoothly for us with plenty of chuckles along the way.
    Checked the word count of course and noted the maximum was seven once again.
    Thanks RayT and MP.

  38. This was a red-letter day for me. Firstly, I didn’t turn on the TV to get the news when I got up, consequently there was nothing to make me feel like the clappers of doom, and I didn’t listen to the news until noon.
    Secondly, I think for the first time I actually finished a RayT puzzle; full disclosure here, with copious use of e-help.
    I hadn’t heard of the reptile, only the ones we have here, and 18d was a new one on me – oh, just seen it, okay but a bit strange.
    Fave was 12a, such lovely flowers.
    Thanks to RayT and to Little Dorrit for the hints and pics.

    P.S. Jamaica had their first case about two weeks ago and they closed that little island down toot sweet! It looks like they controlled it, fingers crossed. I’ve got lots of friends in isolation. They were lucky that they had examples to follow and used the information.

  39. Evening all. My thanks to Little Dorrit for the analysis and to everybody else for your comments. I’m pleased that most of you enjoyed it.


    1. Thanks very much for popping in. I really enjoyed this puzzle and couldn’t decide on a single favourite with 1a, 16a, 25a, 5d & 19d all coming into consideration.

    2. Good evening, Mr T. Didn’t find this one as difficult as our blogger forecast and there was certainly a great deal to enjoy.
      The ‘fantastic meal’ really made me smile.
      Many thanks for the puzzle and for popping in to check on us.

    3. I found it your most energising and satisfying puzzle yet, Mr T. Thank you so very much. I’m new to the blog (even though I lurked for over four years) and two of you, Jay on Wednesday and you, every other week or so, challenge me in ways that almost make me feel young again. I’m almost 82.

    4. Thank you for your consistently testing puzzles, Mr. T. There was a time when I couldn’t understand a single clue you wrote, but I persevered and now I absolutely love the challenge. Today’s was a little more difficult than of late, but no less enjoyable. The penny drop moments are priceless.

  40. I enjoyed this and, for the first time I can remember, found it easier than the rating.

    Frustratingly, for quite a while, I dismissed the actual answer to 5d as I didn’t think it made sense. Still not convinced it does…


  41. Thanks to Ray T and to Little Dorritt for the review and hints. I did find this tricky, but not overly so. Managed the bottom half first. The key to me cracking the top half was suddenly getting the answer to 1d, which led to me solving 1a and so on. Last in was 6d, favourite was 16a. Cracking puzzle from Ray T. Was 3*/4* for me.

  42. Notwithstanding the comments from the palpably clever people above, my expectations as a working man are different. 15 or 20 minutes of delightful fun like yesterday’s fantastic Jay offering are a great mood boost in difficult times. Perhaps this was aimed at the self-isolators but had no place in my life or the back page. Sorry Ray T, binned in the first five minutes as it substantially lacked the effort over reward factor. Congratulations to those who had the time, patience or intellect to stay the course. Thanks all

  43. Sometimes I struggle with a crossword and am disheartened to find it rated 2 star. Today it seemed quite straightforward so good to get something right for a change.Never thought it would come up as a 4 star rating for difficulty. Thanks to all for such a good start to the day.

  44. I’m in the “RayT’s brilliant and I’m on his wavelength” camp. Yes it was hard but doable. I got 16a straight away as I had heard of it and having dung in the middle which wasn’t going to be s**t made it straightforward. Many good clues to choose from for favourite but I’m going for 10d. I would have finished this earlier but I fell asleep BEFORE my dinner and any wine having spent the afternoon fruitlessly trying to dig a hole, through what seemed like concrete, in my garden to bury dear old Taz, my second oldest spaniel, who died yesterday a week shy of his 14th birthday. I gave up after 3 hours having got no more than 18″ down. I’ll bury him on the shoot. Any road up many many thanks to RayT and MP/LD.

    1. Sorry to hear about your dog Ah but. Great to solve a puzzle in the first place. Great to beat personal best times. Great to fill half a grid upon the first read through and proceed to a satisfying finish helped by half a grid of checking letters More satisfying to solve about three or four on the first read through and struggle through the solve Speed is not always required

  45. Blimey! That was definitely ***** for difficulty. Finished it but required some teasing out over a long time! The hardest back pager for ages.

  46. Like others, found this a bit of a struggle, especially to get going. 19a & 22d were unknown words to me so several things I learnt today.
    Good brain stretcher though for another sunny day. COTD for me were 1a, 9a (groan) & 7d.
    Thanks to Ray T and MP

  47. Too late, too tired and far too much else going on.
    I started this one a while ago after supper and after everyone else in our house had gone to bed.
    I confess that I didn’t get very far – I will carry on tomorrow, given the chance.
    Well done to all who did this and thanks to Ray T and to LD aka MP.
    Night night all,

  48. I wonder – is there more to crossword solving than just getting on the setter’s wavelength?
    Yesterday, I struggled and was frustrated to read that others found the puzzle easy.
    Today’s puzzle was genius in its construction – for some inexplicable reason, completion was faster than Senf’s regular gallop!

  49. *****/******. Yes a full house! Would give more if allowed. So many great clues. – keep ‘em coming Ray T. Took me two long sessions, but in locked down Mallorca there’s not much else to do. This section of the paper and reading your blog is helping to keep me sane.
    The techies this week have managed to insert yet another bug – I may have missed earlier comments, being so busy here- but we now have lost the capacity to check our answers in both the cryptic and quick puzzles, and are invited to submit as if they were Prize competitions. Forlorn hope that this may be progress towards final ironing out and restoration to normality of pre-Apple updates. Fat chance I suspect!

  50. Took a long time to get started as I struggled with 1 ac and 7 dn anagrams, very enjoyable as it eventually fell into place

  51. I treated this one as a tutorial, reading each hint with the answers exposed.

    It seems that this morning’s may also be a tutorial! Nothing filled in yet and no idea where to start.

  52. Both my quick crossword and the cryptic have submit buttons and no option to highlight the mistakes.
    Perhaps the crossword team can self isolate and fix the problems!
    Difficult puzzle for me but used the hints as a learning experience.
    Thanks for the hints and to the setter

  53. Very late, as is my wont these days it seems…
    Cracking crossword, looking forward to checking a few parsings.
    Thanks all

  54. 3*/4*…..
    liked 22D ” game’s up seeing fiddle? (5) “…
    and a mention for 1D ” hunger consumes ogre like a pig (7) ” because Little Dorritt’s ditty made me laugh.

    1. You’ve changed your alias since the last time you commented (back in 2016!!) – both will work from now on

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