DT 29351 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 29351

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 29351

Hints and tips by Kath

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BD Rating — Difficulty **Enjoyment ****

Hello everyone. I think this was probably the most straightforward Ray T crossword that I’ve ever done – I was all hyped up for it to be a really tricky one like a couple of weeks ago and then it wasn’t! Most of Ray T’s trademarks  are here today – very short clues, a smidgeon of innuendo and, having been absent for a few weeks, the Queen has made a return and been let out of isolation – I wonder if she knows something that we don’t – I wish, as I’m sure you all do! Anyway, I always say that I find it impossible  to judge both difficulty and enjoyment when I know I’m doing the hints so maybe you will all disagree with me.

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

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


7a        General French refusal to arrest a European … (8)
NAPOLEON — the French word for ‘NO’ (refusal) takes in (to arrest) the A from the clue and an Eastern European

9a        … reportedly arrests Europeans (6)
CZECHS — a homophone (reportedly) of some other Eastern Europeans

10a       Fool could make love in bed (4)
COOT — a baby’s bed containing the letter that looks like a zero score (love) in tennis

11a       Seeming old and wise taking time (10)
OSTENSIBLE — the one letter abbreviation for ‘old’ is followed by a synonym of wise or level- headed which contains (taking) the abbreviation for T[ime]

12a       Slow blast with Queen in comeback (6)
RETARD — a very mild swear word such as blast and the two letters for our Queen are reversed (in comeback)

14a       Occasional record with one disco dancing (8)
EPISODIC — an old kind of vinyl record, and the letter that looks like a one are followed by an anagram (dancing) of DISCO

15a       Cuts back almost everything getting wind (6)
SPIRAL — a reversal (back) of a verb that means cuts, as in makes a recording, and the first two of a three letter word meaning everything

17a       Hollow and irritated about Republican (6)
GROTTO — a slightly slangy way of saying irritated (3,2) or finally went too far, containing R[epublican]

20a       Liberal vote for keeping Conservative in charge (8)
ECLECTIC — a synonym for vote for, or choose, contains (keeping) the abbreviation for C[onservative] and is finished off with the two letter abbreviation for I[n] C[harge]

22a       Modicum of egotism or selfishness (6)
MORSEL — the first lurker or hidden answer indicated by ‘of’, I think!

23a       Group pleased to accept free gin (10)
CONTINGENT — another word for pleased or satisfied contains (to accept) an anagram (free) of GIN

24a       Composer being artistic created harmony initially (4)
BACH — the first letters (initially) of the middle words of the clue

25a       Suit warms up around summer’s end (6)
HEARTS — a synonym of warms up which contains (around) the last letter (end) of [summe]R

26a       Beginning to strip, strip off frock (8)
SUNDRESS — the first letter (beginning to) of S[trip] is followed by another way of saying ‘strip off’ or take off your clothes



1d        Lady finding singles in pubs (8)
BARONESS — a lady, one with a title – a synonym of pubs or taverns contains (in) a synonym of singles or small numbers

2d        Rifle is also left raised (4)
LOOT — a reversal (raised) of a synonym of also or as well as and the abbreviation for L[eft]

3d        Get the next round in! (6)
RELOAD — don’t get too excited – no-one’s buying you a drink! This round is ammunition

4d        Search bank becoming poorer (8)
SCANTIER — a synonym for search, as in read through something quickly rather than tear the house to bits because you’ve lost your keys (again) is followed by a bank or level

5d        Chopped hot recipe holding large chopper … (10)
 HELICOPTER— an anagram (chopped) of HOT RECIPE contains (holding) the abbreviation for L[arge]

6d        … hot dish is cold, it’s said (6)
CHILLI — a homophone (it’s said) of a synonym for cold or a bit nippy

8d        Mesh covers the woman’s bottom! (6)
NETHER — a mesh or tangle is followed by (covers) a way of saying ‘the woman’s’ or belonging to the woman

13d      Terrible meal in tray is nourishing (10)
ALIMENTARY — an anagram (terrible) of MEAL IN TRAY

16d      ‘Surprise!’, like host in broadcast (8)
ASTONISH — a little word meaning like or similar to is followed by an anagram (broadcast) of HOST IN

18d      Lover castigated about being dull (8)
OVERCAST — the second lurker or hidden answer, indicated by about – it’s hiding in the middle of the first two words of the clue. This one took me ages to see and was my second to last answer – I went all round the houses before I saw it

19d      Sailors consumed by ship’s propellers (6)
SCREWS — a general term for the people working on a boat rather than specific ones – it’s contained in (consumed by) the usual two letter abbreviation for S[team] S[hip]

21d      Anger from sticky situation trapped by credit (6)
CHOLER — an archaic word for anger – a tricky situation or a bit of a spot are contained in (trapped by) the two letters for credit  

22d      Old lady can start to say prayer (6)
MATINS — an affectionate term for your ‘old lady’ or your Mum, a can or container and then the first letter (start to) of S[ay]

24d      Supporter first to bring up insult (4)
BARB — one of the usual crosswordland supporters – some underwear worn by most women – and the first letter (first to) of B[ring] are reversed (up)

I ‘liked’ lots of the clues today so just a few are 10, 17 and 26a and my favourite was 18d


72 comments on “DT 29351

  1. I started off really well and the first two thirds just flew in. Then I came to a grinding halt and the last 3 or 4 took ages to get the hang of. Very enjoyable though BUT can still only see one clue at a time on my Kindle! I must be the only person having this problem. Hurrah managed to get a Tesco delivery at 8am for 17 May. Tried at 12.03 am and there was nothing but success at last! Thanks to the setter and Kath.

    1. I can’t believe it takes so long for your grocery orders! Mine is delivered in two hours, the last time it took 40 minutes from clicking to place my order to having my groceries on the floor of my front hall.

  2. I’m so glad I persevered with RayT’s crosswords, as there was a time when I thought I’d never get to grips with him. I absolutely loved this one – not a single gripe.

    My last two in were 17a and 18d.

    I can’t pick a favourite, there are just too many to choose from.

    Many thanks to Kath and RayT

  3. 3*/4.5*. Very enjoyable! RayT seems to be working to a new maximum limit of seven words per clue and it’s good to see Her Majesty back at work again.

    I tried to get started in the NW corner as usual but failed to get going. The next three quarters went in smoothly in what would have been par for my 1* time but I was then back struggling with the NW again which took quite a lot of persistence to crack. 3d was my last one in.

    My long shortlist of candidates for favourite is: 7a, 9a, 11a, 20a, 24a, 26a & 3d.

    Many thanks to RayT and to Kath.

  4. A tricky grid with some tricky clues , this was a shoot from the hip puzzle for me, most enjoyable and good fun all round, wrote down a **/****, glad Kath agreed!
    Last in was 3d when the penny dropped.
    Interesting parsing in 17 across but ok.
    Liked the surface of 7a, favourite 11a.
    Again a cracking crossword , thanks all.

  5. Found this quite difficult. Didn’t see the lurker in 18d, and didn’t get 17a which would have given me the “o” to start it. 10a – I put “l” (first letter of love) in cot to give clot. Therefore, 1d which should have been easy, resisted all my attempts to solve it. Straightforward with the benefit of Kath”s hints, but I really struggled. Fun though

  6. Found this a bit of a thrash up in the NW so a ***/*** for me: I realised I was a clot having inserted that in 10a mistaking L for O as the love guidance. The Baroness made me realise the error of my ways after much head scratching. Failed overall though as I had to correct 21d as never heard of that word and desperately placed cooler as that was all I could think of….

  7. The well-disguised lurker at 18d was my LOI, although I really should know by now that if all else fails, look for a lurker. So many top clues this morning that picking one is very difficult, but I did enjoy 3d. I found this a pretty friendly Ray T but, like all top compilers, the fun and enjoyment is not reduced one bit.

    Thanks very much to the aforementioned and to Kath.

  8. Funny isn’t it, I found this to be a trickier than average Ray T. I had the first dozen or so in in no time but then every clue seemed to take a lot of head scratching finally leaving me with 21d which I just couldn’t get without electronic help. Also couldn’t parse 17a, didn’t think of enumerating the ‘r less’ word 3-2. Still a bit stretchy in my opinion.
    Lots to like as ever with Mr T including the terrific lurker at 18d, the lady at 1d, the General at 1a and the nicely cryptic 3d.
    Many thanks to Ray T and to Kath for the entertainment.

    1. Just reading the review. Not sure that I understand the reference to “making a record” in 15a? I saw the obvious synonym of tear or slash. Can someone put me out of my misery?

      1. Stephen, in geek terminology to “rip” a CD is to copy from it, say, to your hard drive.

      2. Although I am aware of the term I doubt that I would have thought of it in this context.

      3. I am so not a geek – I’m the original ‘technotwit’ about all of it but my husband uses the word ‘rip’ when he’s pinching stuff from our Lambs.

        1. I was a clot too.

          My posts seem to be moving at randon I thought I posted this with Nas’s comment

  9. Apart from 3d, 12a and 17a this was pretty straight forward but 8 needed electronic help for those three(**/****). It was very enjoyable and I particularly enjoyed 5d, 18d and 26a. Thanks to Kath and Ray T. Keep safe and well.

  10. A bit tough for me today–could not come up with anything for 17a (don’t care for the solution as given, either) or 3d, for some reason. Got electronic help–one letter each–for those two but then finished in ** time. Not the most satisfying Ray T for me but did like 11, 20, 23,and 16a–nice lurker too. Thanks Kath and Mr T. ** / ***

  11. I’ve always found Ray T puzzles quite tricky. Half of it was straightforward but the other half, the n.w. corner in particular, took a lot of head scratching. No real favourite.

  12. Love Ray T crosswords but (to coin MP’s phrase for a sod of a clue in Tuesday’s Toughie) golly bongs I found this difficult. Can’t remember an occasion before when I’ve ever finished the Graun (recommended for light relief) substantially quicker than a DT back pager.
    Off to a poor start with clot first in at 10a which kind of set the tone and despite the presence of a few gimmies every answer seemingly had to be tortuously teased out. My final two, 3d & 12a took ** time on their own. To cap it all completion flagged as incorrect so I revealed mistakes to identify the offending K as the 4th letter in my 21d bung in. I then clocked it from the wordplay though it wasn’t a term I’d seen or used before.
    Anyway all that’s due to my inadequacy. A super crossword full of challenging clues with 11 & 20a among my favourites.
    Thanks to Ray T (need a lie down now) & to Kath for her excellent review (despite the palpable deflation on reading the first sentence)
    Ps anyone else struggling to make sense of the pun ?

      1. Kinda thought that RD but it’s a stretch.
        Not sure they ever bettered that debut album or indeed that song.

        1. I agree with the debut album being their best. Sultans is getting boring now. It’s the obvious go to choice for Dire Straits as Bo-crap is for Queen. Surely with a little imagination other tracks could be chosen.

        2. I love DS too and agree they started high but I do have a fondness for Telegraph Road. rediscovering the stuff Mr. Knopfler did with Chet Atkins is a delight too.

  13. Words will not do justice to this corker of a puzzle. I loved it from start to finish. I rapidly sailed through about half of the clues and then slowed to a halt over two pairings. 12 across and 3 down. 17 across and 18 down. Got them eventually with the lurker last to fall. Oh dear. Thanks to RayT for the tussle. Thanks to Kath for the review, especially the witticism at 3 down and the vignette of your chaotic life with the house key search at 4 down. We have just dropped a parcel off at my daughter’s house. Harrison and Ethan came to the window to see us for the first time since lockdown I’m going to have to change my avatar.

      1. They were so happy to see us both Merusa. Ethan’s face was full of smiles for all the ten minutes we were there.

  14. An enjoyable puzzle which went smoothly until I came to a grinding halt at 12a and 21d, which I never did get. Not surprising as I did not know the 21d word.
    Favourites 11a, 20a and 5d. Least favourite 17a.
    Couple of welcome downpours for the garden today. The only problem is that the lawn is getting as long as my hair!

  15. Sailed comfortably through most of this and then hit the proverbial brick walk with 12&17a plus 3d taking as long as the rest of the puzzle. I also had a debate with myself over the last letter of 11a.
    3d won my admiration and my favourite was 23a – surprised that nobody else seems to be up for free gin!

    Devotions as always to Mr T and many thanks to Kath for the review.

  16. I found this to be on the hard side but I did mange to complete it albeit with a little electronic aid for a few. I have never heard of 21d so another word in the vocabulary. I’m sure we had 14a recently. Anyway, so many good clues it is difficult to pick one as my COTD but, if pushed, I would go for 3d.

    Grateful thanks to RayT and to Kath for the hints.

    I did think The Quickie pun was stretching it a bit but it could be nothing else.

  17. For a Ray T, very straightforward except for 17a and 18d which slowed me down to finishing at a gallop – 2.5*/3.5*.
    Candidates for favourite – 20a, 23a, and 8d – and the winner is 20a, although I would accept free gin any time.
    A big Hmm on the Quickie pun.
    Thanks to Ray T and Kath.

  18. I thought this was Ray T at his best. Nice well constructed clues that need a bit of lateral thinking without being too obscure. Probably too easy for the Ray T aficionados but I enjoyed it. Last in was 17a which took a bit of sorting.
    Thx to all

  19. Didn’t find this straightforward after pro mising start. Seemed to sort of lurch from corner to corner.
    Pretty sure 19d appeared earlier this week with a very similar clue.
    The outstanding lurker 18d perfectly describes the weather up here today and is my COTD.
    Thanks to RayT and Kath. I needed hint & RD’s addendum to parse 15a.

    1. Should refresh before posting SL’s comment was not posted when I logged in

  20. Thanks to Ray T and to Kath for the review and hints. I enjoyed this one very much, but found it very tricky in places. Needed the hints for 11&17a and 3d. Pleased to say I wouldn’t have thought of all three ever. 8d made me laugh, I liked 7&20a, but my favourite was 12a. Was 3*/3* for me.

  21. Another tricky little devil, much putting down and picking up again I always find it difficult to identify favourite clues but today it must be 1d. It reminded me of a landlady many moons ago who was known as the General. A lady of great quality who knew how to run a pub.
    Thanks to Kath and RayT, Kath for shedding light on my darkness fir I needed a couple of hints and again RayT for keeping the grey cells going.
    Stay safe everyone and of course keep well.

  22. Difficult one for me.
    Needed help for 12a, 15a, 17a and even 11a.
    Should have got 11a and possibly, at a stretch 12a
    15a ….have never heard of rip meaning to record or even cut meaning to record (too old )
    17a ….would never have unravelled in a month of Sundays…..have to say that it ‘got to’ me quite a lot, especially as I have never considered a grotto to be a hollow.

    Thanks to the setter and to Kath.

  23. Another lovely puzzle although I am not too sure about 10a. I don’t think I have ever heard anyone called a silly old coot but I have led a sheltered life.
    However, there was a lot to like and it is always good when 1a goes in on the first pass. ( Actually 17a was a bit iffy too!)
    Thank you everyone. Went to sleep in the bath last night and the toughie fell into the water – ooops.

    1. It was quite common to call people a silly coot. You hardly ever see it coot these days so perhaps that’s why the expression isn’t in regular use any more

  24. Definitely a “classic” RayT and hugely enjoyable.
    Can’t believe I spelled 9a right from the start.
    7a made me think of LbR as the Napoleon is the name of the Maori Wrasse.
    The only word I didn’t like was 12a. I remember when I was living in the UK that this term was used to describe people suffering from a certain handicap.
    Favourite is the terrible meal in tray in 13d.
    Thanks to RayT and to Kath.

    1. I can see what you mean about 12a but hadn’t thought of it – it’s OK here as it’s a verb to slow (down) or delay.

  25. Bit of a struggle for me today after putting clot in for 10a, but we got there in the end thanks to Kath. Fav clue 17a so a ***/****
    Thanks again to Kath and Ray T.

  26. I agree with Kath. Probably the easiest RayT for a while. I remember the days of dreading a RayT, but I’ve persevered. Well worth it. I managed to get my head round all the clues on this one, with the exception of 3d, my last one in. Many thanks to RayT and to Kath.

  27. Did you all see the lovely picture of the Queen and Princess Margaret in the DT today? Wrongly captioned as “Queen Mother and Princess Margaret”. Groan…

    Says something when a Ray T doesn’t seem impossible, but only because I’ve found the last several cryptics above my pay grade and wondering if the puzzle gods have decided to up the difficulty level? I’m old school, and prefer not resort to thesaurus, google etc. just the picture hints if stuck. Hope we are still going to get some more user friendly cryptics. I am sure I am not alone in enjoyi g solving a puzzle unaided. Couldn’t solve 15a, (even with the hint, so I dunces cap again),17a and never heard of 21d. Thanks to Ray T and Kath.

    Men are here installing hurricane shutters over our glass front doors (last opening to be covered), so we’ll be ready for when the season starts June 1. Really hoping this year’s storms will respect social distancing 😉

  28. I found this very tricky and like the old lady of 22d I thought I needed divine intervention. Luckily, Kath came to the rescue. I needed help with half a dozen, and (I’m being slow-witted today) I’m still not sure about how we arrive at 17a.
    Thanks to RayT and Kath.

    1. If something irritates you, it “got to” you. Stick that around (R)epublican. Must admit, I rarely say “that got to me” these days.

    2. Irritated = Got to. This sits around the abbreviation of Republican. Oh just seen other help has beat me to it

  29. I used to find Ray T so difficult but I think recently he has become much more benign 😉 ***/**** Favourites 1a and 26a 😃 I have to agree with Brian an excellent crossword with just the right degree of difficulty thanks Ray, long may it continue. Also big thanks to Kath for her usual excellent blog 👍 and to cap it all the rain has stopped and the🌞 has come out!

  30. ***/****. This was trickier than usual but very enjoyable. I started in the NW but had to move on to other quadrants before returning at the end. I got 21d but had to look it up to confirm my answer. I was in the “clot” group until the penny dropped after much scratching of the head. Last in was 3d followed by a groan I hadn’t seen this earlier. My favourite was 18d. Thanks to Ray T and Kath for the hints.

  31. I always find RayT tricky and today is no different. I left a few unsolved in the NE and 21d, though I did know the word at 21d, so just thick as two short planks.
    Fave was 8d, of those I did solve. I didn’t solve it, but thought 3d was pretty neat.
    Thanks to RayT and to Kath for helping me across the finish line.

  32. I found most of this a steady pace solve, but the last 4 clues pushed me over time… annoying as I was aiming for a sub2* RayT solve!
    Thanks to RayT & Kath for review & direction

  33. Well I completed all but two in the NW, which is quite good for me and a Ray T puzzle. I always struggle with them, so more of a slog than an enjoyable pastime. Thanks to Kath for the hints (needed!) and Ray T

  34. I am in the fast start grinding to a halt camp today. I was a Clot at 10a and 13a,15a, 17a beat me too. I had to use Kath’s excellent hints.
    7a I saw Estonian first and had to reconsider my European. 21d was under ponsiderateration for a long time.
    Thanks to Kath for explaining a few and thanks to RayT too for stretching the brain.
    I have managed to get the key4d in the toughie but the links are proving elusive but I will persevere.

  35. 12a was my difficulty as I don’t use mild swear words so none of mine made any sense with the queen. Otherwise doable with a long struggle. Thanks to Kath and Ray T.

  36. All the usual fun from this setter and much appreciated. We did note the 7 word maximum in the clues once again.
    Thanks RayT and Kath.

  37. Thanks to Ray T for the crossword and to all of you who left comments today.
    Night night everyone, and sleep well.

  38. Had no internet connection for most of yesterday (grrr..) so belatedly just to say I enjoyed this puzzle and will now read the Comments which I note are many fewer than of late – did others have connection problems I wonder? Thank you RayT and Kath.

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