DT 29375 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 29375

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 29375

Hints and tips by Kath

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating — Difficulty ***/****Enjoyment ****

Hello everyone. Here we go again, another Thursday and we’re now in the middle of week ten of lockdown, in case you’ve all lost count – at least we’ve got a Ray T crossword to cheer us up. I thought this was a fairly tricky one but I’m not very good at judging that when I know I’m doing the hints.

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

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


1a        Vertebrae keeping you reportedly horizontal (6)
SUPINE —  what all the vertebrae in your back form goes round (keeping) a homophone (reportedly) of you

4a        Cheers holding in extravagant rolling rear (8)
BUTTOCKS — a verb meaning cheers or encourages, often followed by ‘up’, contains (holding in) a reversal (rolling) of three letters that mean extravagant or too much

9a        Deny detective’s private (6)
DISOWN — one of the many abbreviations for a detective, with the ‘S’ is followed by private or exclusive

10a       Clash pressing sweetheart about sink (8)
DISAGREE — another word for pressing or urgent and the middle letter or heart of swEet contains (about) a synonym of sink or wilt

11a       Twisting a lever to lift (8)
ELEVATOR — an anagram (twisting) of A LEVER TO

13a       Psalm spoken by Church (6)
CHORAL — an abbreviation for church is followed by an adjective meaning spoken or vocal

15a       Special tonic pacifies condition (13)
SPECIFICATION — an anagram (special) of TONIC PACIFIES

18a       View daring nudes, not dancing, removing nothing! (13)
 UNDERSTANDING — an anagram (dancing) of DARING NUDES NOT without the O (removing nothing or the  letter that looks like a zero)

22a       Hard part’s admitting addict’s head for addictions (6)
HABITS — the abbreviation for H(ard) and a part or a piece, with the ‘S contains (admitting) the first letter or head of A[ddicts]

24a       Labour’s opening with brilliant tax cut (8)
LACERATE — the first letter or opening of L[abour] and a synonym of brilliant or top-notch are followed by tax or charge

26a       Lesson of love in practice following you French (8)
TUTORIAL — the French word for ‘you’ is followed by a noun meaning a practice or dummy run which contains (in) the letter that looks like a zero or a love score in tennis

27a       Case ignores hip position (6)
STANCE — a case or an example without its first two letters which mean fashionable or ‘hip’ (ignores hip)

28a       Really sharpens ends of tool facing yard (8)
HONESTLY — a verb that means sharpens or polishes and the first and last letters (ends) of T[oo]L are followed by the abbreviation for Y[ard]

29a       Pressure put on to get stuffed! (6)
PADDED — the one letter abbreviation for P[ressure] is followed by a synonym for ‘put on’ or supplemented



1d        Wet turf covers hole (6)
SODDEN — a piece of turf or grass is followed by (covers) a hole or a lair

2d        Group’s on speed, occasionally crazy (9)
POSSESSED — this group – don’t forget the ‘S – is likely to be seen on horseback chasing the baddies in a Western film and it’s followed by (on) the alternate letters of SpEeD

3d        Deny going round women’s prison (7)
NEWGATE — a synonym of deny or reject contains (going round) the one letter abbreviation for W[omen]

5d        One is out of shape lacking force (4)
UNIT — another way of saying ‘out of shape’ or not able to run very far or fast without getting out of ‘puff’ without the the middle letter which is the abbreviation for F[orce] (lacking force)

6d        Pain in mouth cut windpipe (7)
TRACHEA — a slang word for ‘mouth’ without its last letter (cut) contains (in) a dull sort of pain

7d        One European sacked from job as health worker (5)
CARER — a job or profession has two E’s in it – just remove one of them (one E[uropean sacked). This one wasn’t half as complicated as I tried to make it!

8d        Pure polyester lingerie clothes (8)
STERLING — a lurker or a hidden answer indicated by ‘clothes’

12d      Old private detective consumed narcotic (6)
OPIATE — the one letter abbreviation for old and the two letter abbreviation for a private detective are followed by a synonym of consumed or swallowed

14d      Colour of Queen one’s turned over (6)
SIENNA — the last monarch of the Stuart line and the letter that looks like a one, with the ‘S – then reverse the whole lot (turned over)

16d      Stuck at home reading novel (9)
INGRAINED — the little word meaning ‘at home’ is followed by an anagram (novel) of READING

17d      Teachers incubate bird (8)
NUTHATCH — the three letter abbreviation of one of the unions of teachers is followed by another word for incubate or brood. I wonder if I was the only one who tried to make this an anagram of teachers with incubate as the anagram indicator?

Nuthatch Sitta europaea, perched, December

19d      Counters and equipment found in laboratory (7)
RETORTS — a double definition – counters or throws back verbally is also a piece of chemistry equipment found in a lab

20d      Top ten single Queen’s penned promoted stillness (7)
INERTIA — a letter and a number used to mean ‘top’, the ‘ten’ from the clue which contains (penned) the latin abbreviation for Queen and the letter that looks like a one (single) are all reversed (promoted) – the answer to this one was obvious but sorting it out took a while and the hint seems like a bit of a ‘dog’s dinner’

21d      Stage conclusion for story (6)
LEGEND — a stage or phase is followed by a synonym of conclusion or finish

23d      Club giving order for man facing bowler? (5)
BATON — split 3,2 this could be something said to a member of a cricket team

25d      Criminal upset getting old inside prison (4)
GAOL — a reversal (upset) of a slang word for a criminal – not con but the other one – contains the abbreviation for O[ld] (getting old inside)

Lots of good clues today so I think I’ll leave all of you to do the choosing of the best ones – in other words I’m running out of time!

The quickie pun:- MART + SATE + HUNG = MAO TSE-T’UNG

138 comments on “DT 29375

  1. I thought it friendly for a Ray T but then I wasn’t doing the blog (which I do think can make a difference pressure-wise)

    Thanks to Mr T for the crossword and Kath for the blog. Happy birthday to the much-missed Mary

    Today’s nature report is the rare sighting of a beautiful young water vole swimming across our local stream. Haven’t seen one of them for years.

        1. Welcome from me too.
          Do as BD suggests and look in the F(recently) A(sked) Q(festoons).
          In addition to what it tells you – ie which days which setter does – some of the setters have certain characteristics/trademark clues. Some people are very good at “setter spotting” and others are less so – I’m in the second category but I can spot a Ray T crossword a mile off.

      1. Welcome, Paul. I can’t look at a puzzle and say to myself that this is by so and so. All I know is that Wednesdays tend to be Jay and alternate Thursdays Ray T. with Sundays being Dada. I have no idea who other setters are until I read the blog.

        I love Kate’s “ Frequently Asked Festoons”.

        1. :roll: Sorry about the ‘festoons’! You can take your pick – you can either blame predictive text or you can say, “Kath’s past her best and needs to go to bed” which, in all honesty, is probably closer to the truth!

  2. I thought this was very hard – took me at least 3 times as long as other recent ones. I have one missing – 10a – but shall give it one more go before looking at the hints. See you later!

  3. I was quite to surprised to see how many stars this puzzle got it didn’t seem that difficult. I still don’t understand 4across even with explanation! I know bottoms up but buttocks.

    1. Maybe my hint was a bit misleading – I didn’t mean that the answer was often followed by up, I meant ‘bucks’ (cheers) was ie to buck up.

  4. Toughest for a while for me. Started smoothly enough but NE corner held out longer than it should. When things fell into place there was no real reason why.
    Lots of good clues but none stood out nor raised a laugh.
    Thanks to Ray T for a good work-out and Kath for the review. Biggles did not find the hint for 20d very edible.

  5. I found this one quite straightforward today. My last one in was 19d, where I needed google to verify the laboratory equipment existed.

    Many thanks to RayT for the enjoyable puzzle and to Kath for the review.

  6. A really enjoyable RayT puzzle a d thanks to him and allthe other setters for cheering us up in these trying times. I found that I finished it in 2** (average) time and gave it 4* for enjoyment. There were a lot of good clues and it’s hard to pick favourites but I liked 2d and 24a. Thanks to Kath for the hints, beautifully explained as ever. Doing the review must be quite stressful as one tend to get panicky when unable to get a start. Then it’s even more difficult to think it through! Keep safe and well everyone.

  7. A pretty standard puzzle from Ray T I thought – thanks to him and to Kath for the excellent blog (I do look forward to the ‘Kath on Thursday’ show).
    18a seemed rather confusing – the nudes can’t be very daring if they’re removing nothing!
    I was rather frightened by the rather nasty 6d illustration – do you mean to say we’ve all got one of those inside us?
    Top clues for me were 4a and 2d.

    Penblwydd hapus to the much-missed Mary.

    1. Thanks Gazza – sorry about the 6d illustration – it was the least unpleasant that I could find.
      The scariest picture was to illustrate the 3d prison – such a scary looking place that I decided not to use it.

      1. I actually think the picture is rather beautiful as I often do with anatomical illustrations, or those electron microscope images of fauna and flora generally. No wonder Alan Turing was so turned on by the mathematical beauty of flowers, once you find the logic and purpose of structures..

        I’ve just discovered that someone in my family was a doctor at the Royal Chest Hospital in City Road in the early part of the C20 century. That was in the days when TB and industrial asthma were rife and imaging techniques crude. At least now with Covid19, we’re discovering processes of inflammation at a microscopic level.

    2. Hey Gazza, long time no see, you were such a big help to me when I started my cryptic journey and we had great fun along the way, me, you, Dave and Gnomey … I’m sorry I don’t get online these days and miss the banter and laughs … thanx for the birthday wishes 👍🏻😘

  8. From memory easier than last week’s Ray T but completion still just edged into 4* time due to 19d & the NE. Enjoyable as ever with lots of good clues – I particularly liked 1a & 3d. Heeding yesterday’s advice from WW I even twigged the 8d lurker almost immediately which made a change. Wasn’t aware of the chemistry kit so that parsing eluded me.
    Thanks to Ray T & to Kath for the review.
    Ps found the Quickie tough today & liked the pun.

  9. Pleased with myself after finishing unaided. 28d went in last as a guess as I couldn’t make the clue fit.

    I particularly enjoyed today’s Ray T offering.

    With thanks to Kath

    I think I’ll go sit in the lockdown sun ….

  10. I found this pretty straightforward, and hugely enjoyable, giving Mr T his usual artistic licence regarding unobvious synonyms!
    My biggest problem was parsing 20d, which I eventually justified.
    Lot’s of great clues as ever with this setter, I’ve ticked 1,4 and 24a for podium places.
    Many thanks to the aforementioned setter and to Kath for a great review

  11. Happy birthday, Mary
    I wonder if you’ll call in – you quite often do on your birthday.

    1. Thank u Kath I’m late calling today, big 70, hectic day even in lockdown … love the flower

  12. 3*/4*. A typical RayT puzzle which was nicely challenging and a lot of fun. I had most difficulty sorting out the NE corner.

    I would have said that the answer to 11a is an American term.

    Once again picking a favourite is quite tough from such a good selection, but I’ll settle for 2d.

    Many thanks to RayT and to Kath. Happy Birthday, Mary – where are you?

    1. Hi RD nice to see u and thanx for the birthday wishes, I’m still doing the crosswords, just don’t get online keep meaning to, loved all the fun and banter in the past 👍🏻🤣

  13. I knew this had to be Ray T because, to me, a lot of the clues were quite obscure. I needed the explanations for 6d – couldn’t figure out where mouth came in. 27a hip = in, possibly in the 1950’s. I’d never heard of a retort as a piece of laboratory equipment so my answer was a bung in. It may be my general ignorance on things scientific but I have never come across this word in this context. I really wanted 24a to be laxative but I couldn’t make that work! Not sure what rate has to do with tax either. So many thanks to Kath and to Ray T for a tricky puzzle.

    1. My mum used to say “shut yer trap” to me when she wanted me to be quiet …. maybe a British regional thing ?? :)

      1. My mother used to say” Where’s the common sense God gave you”?

        As a young child of about four, I thought I had been born with no “common sense” and I fretted for ages trying to find some. 🥺

        1. Other comments like “Shut your cake-hole” and “I’ll give you a thick ear” …. lol

          1. The one that really terrified me was “Just you wait until your father gets home”.

          2. . . .and “If you two don’t stop bickering I’ll bang your heads together”, to me and my sister.

  14. I thought this was spot on. Enough challenge but nothing obscure. I was slightly held up by a spelling mistake in 2d (which I still can’t figure out how I managed). Many great clues made me smile but as 10a was my last in, it gets today’s vote from me. Thanks to Kath and Ray T.

  15. Two of my favourite things on my Wednesday – my first golf outing of the year and a Ray T puzzle completed at a fast canter – 2.5*/4*.
    Candidates for favourite – 28a, 17d, and 21d – and the winner is 17d – the North American White-breasted variety is one of my favourite birds.
    Thanks to Ray T and Kath.

      1. That’s lockdown for you. The only thing I know about what day it is is the fact it has a Y in it.

      2. When Senf solves it in Canada (just after midnight on our Thursday) it is still Wednesday!

          1. Was the golf completed at the same pace? Hope you enjoyed it with your new WHS handicap.

            1. As it was the first outing of the year and the first time I had held a golf club in nine months or so, it was very much a practice round with quite a few mulligans!

              1. My first outing I lost 5 balls in 9 holes. Fortunately, I had the foresight to take out practice balls!!!

              2. Senf,
                So that’s page 1 of the excuse book taken care of.
                I think your handicap will be a little lower under the new syste. Will be interested to know how it goes down
                Do you not always have a close season by you where you always have a winter layoff?

          1. Me too but I’m just glad to hear that presumably if Senf has been off spoiling a good walk then at least his poor horse has had a well deserved rest.

  16. A really good Ray T puzzle pretty straightforward, 20d was easy to put in, but, parsing it was not easy(thanks to Kath), also 7d and 10a were last in, once I got 7d, 10a fell in.
    Fav clue 4a **/****
    Thanks to Kath and Ray T.

  17. Always a treat to get a Mr T puzzle and this one didn’t disappoint. For some reason, it was 24a that took me the longest time to work out and 2d put me in mind of the old TV series ‘bewitched’ – used to really enjoy watching what happened when Samantha twitched her nose!
    The idea of the ‘extravagant rolling rear’ made me laugh and my favourite was probably the teachers incubating a bird.

    Devotions as always to Mr T and many thanks to Kath for the review – I didn’t envy you the task of explaining 20d!
    Happy birthday to Mary – please pop in to say hello to us all.

  18. I thought this was a fairly typical Ray T in the sense that the answers were straightforward but it seemed to take longer, so you’re left with a slight feeling of inadequacy.
    I’ve put it down to the lengthiness of his clues – quite a few options available. Compared with the shortness of his Quickie clues, which took me as long as the Cryptic.
    24a was my LOI and favourite, because I just didn’t see the workings till I’d put it in!

    Re 17d, I didn’t try to use teachers as the anagram fodder, because I already had the U, but I felt certain that there was a rare bird as an anagram of incubate, but what would I do with Teachers? Then the penny dropped…
    Thanks to Kath and Mr T.

    1. I think that may be the first time ever someone’s referred to Ray T’s clues as ‘lengthy’

        1. As CS says Ray T goes in for short clues – I think he limits himself to a maximum of seven words with the occasional eight word one – it’s one of his trademarks and one of the others is that all the clues and answers in the Quickie are single words.

          1. Yes, that‘s kind of what I meant. Any clue with more than one word in it will be automatically be longer than his quickies. That was me trying and failing to be funny……

            I’ve got used to his one-word quickie clues, but I never knew that his ‘shortish’ back pagers were a trademark. I can barely identify the compilers as it is.
            It set me wondering how much briefer Ray T’s clues are than other setters’?
            I did a quick compare with the Guardian’s clues for the last three days and most of them there were 6-7 words with the occasional 8-9 and some of 4-5.
            Having said that, one of the things that is admirable about his clues is that they are elegant with no superfluous items, which is something about which people complain. The defence is that it makes the surface flow better, but he seems to manage very well without.

  19. RayT was in his most benevolent mood today. 2 nice juicy anagrams across the middle to get going and a different Queen for a change. Only one lurker which was unusual. Favourite has to be 4 followed closely by 10 and many others. Thanks to RayT and to Kath for the rear view!

  20. The NE corner gave me fits; I finally gave up on 4a and sought a letter. Luckily, it was the ‘u’ and that broke the ice for the rest of that corner. First time in a long time I haven’t finished a Ray T unaided. Shucks. Trickier and tougher than usual for me but still quite ‘smart’ and most engaging. Top choices: 17d/28a, 4a, 10a (those last two, the last two in, most troublesome). Thanks as always to Kath for her warm, personalised review and to Mr T. **** / ****

    Sad news over here: we just topped 100,000 and the DoDo in DC whined about how ‘unfair’ it is to him. Can you believe that??!

    1. Yes.

      That’s the booby for you,
      Or tit if you prefer.
      How many innocent birds, extinct or not, can we invoke to describe him?

      Answers on a postcard.

            1. I have a Minnesota Quarter that has the state bird on. It is the Great Northern Diver, also known as …

    2. I’m getting inured to his narcissism so I tend just to shrug it off and wonder how much worse he can become. The thing that does shake me to the core is the amount of people who admire him and see nothing wrong.

    3. Did the Dodo, Tit, Loon, Booby, snipe, Godwit or Twite actually say it was unfair on him?

  21. A wonderful Ray T puzzle with just the right amount of head scratching and light bulb moments. After my abysmal efforts yesterday trying to solve Jay’s puzzle this was a breath of fresh air for me. There were many good clues and I particularly liked 22a, 24a and 6d but 26a was my COTD.

    4a had me chuckling and I have to admit to liking the picture supplied by Kath.

    Grateful thanks to Ray T for the entertainment and to Kath for the hints, which were not needed but are always read.

  22. Another great puzzle from RayT at first I thought it was going to be a real tussle but once the anagrams were sorted plus a couple og gimmies the rest followed at a leisurly pace. Favourites for me 26a and 8 down although it took me some time to spot the lurker. Another glorious day on NC is this going to turn into a summer of 76! Mrs Spook and I spent two werks cruising on the Great Ouse.
    Many thanks to Kath for the great hints, and to RayT. Keep safe everybody it cannot go on much longer.

  23. Found this very tricky in the NE. Did finish it unaided but had to look at the hints to see how I got there! Spook, we had a Broom Skipper moored just off the Great Ouse for 25 years. It was wonderful seeing the kingfishers, otters, voles and other amazing wildlife. Sold it 2 years ago as we are both so arthritic made it difficult to get on and off. Still miss Mickley Muckley, dear old boat.

  24. I was really pleased to solve this one!
    4a & 10a were the hardest for me.
    Many thanks to the setter

  25. If we could travel back an hour in time and if you happened to be in my garden, you would see me staring at this puzzle and musing to myself, “Oh my goodness, I can’t even get one of them!”
    Then after a minute or so, 26a went in and I pressed on from there with success (these are the best puzzles where you flounder and then thrive) barring two, for which I had to call on Kath’s help. They were 10a and 14d – I should have thought of both but I suffered some sort of brain freeze.
    A one paperweight day in this Surrey garden. Butterflies aplenty.
    Thanks to Ray and Kath.

  26. Always encouraging when the NW corner goes straight in and today the NE then followed suit quite quickly but the South was a little more problematic. 19d last to go in as I tried to justify returns. 4a was Fav with 5d in silver. Thank you RayT and Kath.

  27. Lovely puzzle but 1a threw me thank you to the excellent Kath and of course RayT

  28. Ray T on top form today. Maybe a tad harder than some of his but no complaints from me as it was both rewarding and challenging – the perfect crossword. 2d just gets my nod from 4a.

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

  29. Wow that was difficult! Managed all but 5 clues for which I needed the hints. Probably on the limits of my solving abilities.
    Far too tricky to enjoy, but it was a challenge to get that far.
    Thx to all

  30. Oh dear it must be me. Did not get 10a even with Kath’s hint. I think it must have been the word ending as I was looking for ce, ge, or se, rather than ee. Got all the others including the laboratory equipment despite dropping chemistry before O level. 1a was my favourite. Also liked 4a although I could not parse. Thanks Kath and Ray T. I am normally OK with his offerings but not this time. It serves me right for bragging about my quick recent solves. It also took me a long time to start. Getting the long answers helped although they took me longer than normal

    1. I also got into a terrible muddle with 10a and the other one that caused grief was 20d – the answer had to be what it was but sorting it out took ages.

      1. I didn’t have the right glasses on and kept reading stillness as ‘silliness’.
        That stumped me till the end.

  31. Nice crossword, I have started to look forward to Thursday 😳 **/*** Favourites 3 & 17d Favourite illustration must be 17d but….. 4a deserves a mention😉 Big thanks to Kath and to Ray T

  32. I continue to try, but I still don’t get why most people seem to love this setter’s puzzles. Most of it is fine, but then there always seems to be something which is frustrating and takes the edge off the enjoyment. Take 4a for example. Not only does the surface seem nonsensical, I’d argue that bucks is not “often followed by up”, but that it must be followed by up for it to be a valid synonym of cheers and therefore on its own it doesn’t work. I struggled with 10a too, another clunky surface, and 20d was rather convoluted to parse even though, as Kath said, it had to be what it is. I always find RayT’s quick crosswords harder than the other setters too, it always seems to be the 5th or 6th synonym that occurs to me which is the correct answer. I suspect our brains are simply wired differently.
    I’ll keep trying.
    Thanks to all

    1. Agree about 4a. I have seen “bucks up” as in cheer up, but sadly that did not spring to mind, as I am more familiar with “bucks the trend” as in go against.

  33. I could not get going on this or as I say “I had to much to dream last night” thank you Ray T and Kathy

    Stay safe everyone.

  34. This one took me ages. It felt like a real battle, just when I thought I had RayT cracked. Perhaps doing loads of baking today and dashing off to check ovens didn’t help, so I lacked concentration. Many thanks to all. I do appreciate all the effort everyone puts in.

  35. Should have clocked in after lunch when we had finished another lovely crossword except for 10a and 4a which stumped us, but had to attend a Zoom
    meeting with Rotary Wives. How lovely to have an appointment in the diary again! Our diaries used to assume giant proportions as we checked them
    every night to see what the next day held – how busy we were! Now we just watch the daisies grow – which is better than pushing them up I guess.
    Thanks to everyone.

    1. Very nice avatar but looks painful! Can’t be because you’re smiling. :smile:

    2. Well done sorting your avatar Daisygirl. It’s easy to change whenever you want to.

  36. Like others it took me a while to get going and the top right took a while to sort out. The answer to 5d is what I said to myself when I solved the clue. The cheers part of 4a stumped me until I checked out the synonym: a new one for me, always thought that’s what a horse might do if you’re unlucky! I spent ages trying to justify silver as the answer to 14d but couldn’t see where lv might come from. Favourite clue 16d – sums up the current situation perfectly. Overall, most enjoyable. Thanks to the compiler and Kath.

  37. *****/***. NW and SE went in sharpish but the rest was very challenging. Couldn’t finish without help. Thanks to Ray T and Kath.

  38. Nice Ray T today. Like others, I started slowly but then they fell into place leaving just a couple that needed a hint. 4a was one and 21d another.Thanks to Kath for explaining these and Thanks to Ray T too.

  39. Thoroughly enjoyed this one this morning as always on a RayT day. Like Angelov above, I also tried to justify returns for 19d and since I’d never heard of the equipment, that made as much sense to me as the actual answer. However when at the end my iPad told me I had something wrong, I guessed it was that so had to rethink it.

    Many thanks to RayT and Kath.

  40. A challenging puzzle in many areas today. Found in a lot of the clues I felt the answer I had was correct, but parsing some of them required looking at the hint to make the penny drop causing some Ah’s and Oh’s and the occasional Duh!!. 10a was one of the clues as was 17d to name just two. Last area to complete was SW. Overall rating ***/***
    No real favourites today but did like16a & 25d

    Thanks to Ray T and Kath for the great hints.

  41. Found this one tough, as I usually do with Ray T.
    Got completely stuck in the NE corner and had to use the electronic gizmo.
    Enjoyed what I managed though.

    Thanks to Kath for the review and hints and to RayT.

  42. Nothing new here, no success at first, then I used e-help for the long anagrams in the middle and got going.
    In the end I was using way too much e-help, so I used Kath’s help for the last four in the NE.
    I have no idea why I find RayT’s puzzles so difficult but I do, even if I get the answer I don’t have the why.
    I did like 2d and 17d, they’re amongst the few that I solved on my own.
    Thanks to RayT and to Kath for bailing me out in the end.
    Wishing you a very happy birthday, Mary! We miss you.

  43. Solved a lot of this before I had to look at Kath’s hints, so being it is a Ray T, I am quite pleased with myself. I would not have got 4a or 10a if I sat here until the cows come home. The long anagrams were a great help in getting me going, particularly as they jumped off the page at me. I’m not going to assume that I am finally getting on Ray T’s wavelength, not yet at least. Thanks of course to Ray T and to Kath, in awe that she can solve his challenges and do the blog for us all.

  44. Defeated again my Mr T! Time to water the garden and then have a beer. Thanks to Kath for the hints and tips.

  45. Mostly enjoyable and some nice clues. I made good progress until I got stuck with four clues in the NE corner at the end. LOI was 4a, which I put in as I had four checkers and thought that must be the answer. Had there been an ‘up’ in the clue, that synonym would have been fine, but as it was, I did not care for that clue.

  46. Evening all. My thanks to Kath for the decryption and to all for your comments.


    1. Hi
      Good of you to pop by as usual, and thanks again for another superb puzzle.

    2. Thank you for the crossword, and for calling in and good night to you, Monsieur Ray T.

    3. Well, RayT, you bested me today with ‘buttocks’ (bottoms up, though!) and ‘disagree’, but I’ve been on your wave-length for some weeks, if not months, and so I concede a slight defeat, but I’ll be back with gloves on (how many mixed metaphors can I squeeze into one sentence?) and look forward to our next round. (I can’t ‘do’ 7-word sentences.) Thanks for joining us.


  47. I do enjoy the fortnightly tussle with RayT. It is always a bit of a challenge but less so as the years go by and his tricks become more recognisable. What used to be all-dayers are now solved over the morning tea. I miss the all day tussle but that’s what this blog takes away from you. Thanks to Kath for her very personal review and thanks to my favourite setter.

  48. I’m in the “hard but fair” camp today. I assays look forward to a RayT Thursday, today was no exception. Hard to pick a favourite amongst so many but I’m going for 4a, Kath’s picture just pushed it over the finishing line. Many thanks to RayT and Kath, particularly for the picture.

  49. I am sorry, everyone but I have to ask! I may be setting myself up here but, what the heck!

    Who is Mary?

    1. A lovely lady who lives in Wales. She used to post every day, I looked forward to them. I don’t know why she stopped but I still miss her.

    2. As Merusa says Mary was one of the very early people on the blog – she was here even before I was which is a very long time ago. She lives in West Wales, not sure where, and had two Basset hounds called Angel and Shadow. She was really good fun and there were some quite lengthy bits of ‘blather’ that could go on well into the night.

      1. PS – She was really good at getting words just a little tiny bit wrong such as “perservation” when she meant perseverance and lots of others which I can’t quite remember now – as I said earlier, I’m well past my best and need to go to bed!

        1. Hi Kath glad they’re keeping you hard at it, does anyone get sent to the naughty corner thes days 🤣🤣

          1. Hi Mary,
            Hope your 70th was fun, even in lockdown.
            Naughty corner is only opened up and operational on prize crossword days and there aren’t any of those at the moment.
            Glad to see you and thanks for calling in.

  50. Thanks to Ray T and to Kath for the review and hints. I enjoyed this one very much, but ran out of steam at the end. Needed the hints for 4&10a. Wouldn’t have got either in a month of Sundays. Favourite was 6d. Was 4*/4* for me.

  51. Right, that’s it from me – I’ve officially had it for today and am off to bed in a minute.
    Thanks again to Ray T for the crossword and to all of you who have commented.
    Night night everyone and sleep well. :yawn:

  52. Just read through all the comments before QT on the radio – thoroughly entertaining.
    What a great blog this is.

  53. Thank you Dave once again for my birthday banners, I’m sorry I didn’t get here earlier turning 70 is hectic even in Lockdown … I promise I still do the crosswords just don’t get online as often as I should
    Thank you all xxx

  54. First clue solved when I reached 16d. Nothing before.
    Had to make my way back up and it took a rather long time.
    Thanks to RayT for the tussle and to Kath for the great blog.

  55. I’ve often wondered why the explainers refer to *** or **** time, but never tell us what those times are. To the less than brilliant cruciverbalists, like me, it would be great to have a target time to go for.

    1. I think you should set your own parameters for timing and enjoyment. Particularly timing. Then you can be pleased or disappointed without feeling superior or inferior to others. When all said and done it is only a crossword puzzle

      1. After c. 35 years of doing the DT cryptic, I’m still not sure if I’m any good at it, and it would be really good to hear how long one of the elite band of Explainers (is that the right word ?) take to complete a particular puzzle. I have rarely been disappointed by the daily brain-test. I agree with you that it’s only a crossword puzzle, but it would be good to have some sort of yardstick with which tom measure oneself. perhaps I’m too competitive !!

        1. A yardstick I tend to follow is that the puzzles.telegraph site gives time bonus points if the cryptic puzzle is solved within 45 minutes … and time bonus points if the Toughie is solved within 60 minutes. And if you’re quick … 15 minutes for the quickie.

        2. This is meant as a reply to both you and Jepi,
          Everyone who comments on this blog is discouraged from saying how long in actual time a particular crossword has taken because it could be discouraging to others, particularly if someone is new to crosswords. That is the reason that the difficulty rating is given as a number of stars. You can say how many cups of coffee or tea, or glasses of beer or whatever it took but not actual times.
          I can only speak for myself and I don’t care how long any crossword has taken me. I never time myself and, anyway, rarely do one without getting up and having a fidget and generally faffing around at the same time. I really just think that it’s a very enjoyable hobby or pastime that also has a couple of side effects – they keep your brain functioning and stop you being able to worry about anything that may be worrying you. They’re meant to be fun and not a race, even against yourself.
          That may not be the kind of response that either of you is after but it’s about as good as you’re going to get, from me anyway.

          1. Kath, I agree with everything you say … but, unfortunately, when you solve the puzzles online in puzzles.telegraph the clock is always ticking … and you are always told how long it has taken.

            Maybe there should be an option to turn off the clock?

    2. The stars relate to difficulty not time. In my opinion time is the least important aspect of solving cryptic crosswords. When you go out with friends for a pleasant meal you don’t compete to see who can finish fastest – similarly a crossword is something to savour with each clue being a little challenge which you have to try to understand fully. It doesn’t matter how long it takes as long as you enjoy the process.
      I know that some bloggers base their difficulty rating on time but I don’t – in fact I never even time myself.

    3. I never have the first idea how long a crossword has taken me to do. I know that some people who do the hints base their number of stars on their time – I just go on what it feels like when I’m doing it. I think that if you reckon the number of stars is one to five then three has to ‘feel’ of average difficulty. The only ‘hinty person’ I’ve ever asked about how long different numbers of stars mean in terms of times is pommers – he and I are in a different category altogether!

  56. Did not particularly enjoy this at all and finally had to resort to the blog. Hence my late comments. No favourites but least liked were 4a, 10a, 20d, 21d. Sorry to be negative about a puzzle which many clearly enjoyed, but just not my wavelength.

    1. I was still going until just now but had to give up and appeal to Kath for the NE corner. Enjoyed all the rest though, except 19d where I vacillated between retorts and returns. Anyway happy Friday to those still following.

  57. We found the NE corner tricky and needed Kath’s help. We see plenty of 17d’s in our street so that gets my COTD but plenty of other enjoyable ones. Speaking of flying objects… Did anyone see the Dragon fly over on the way to the space station? We are convinced we saw it here (Long Island) and have photos to prove it, but didn’t know it was visible with the naked eye. Thanks to RayT and Kath.

  58. Very entertaining-appreciated the hints in the NE.
    Liked 12D ” old private detective consumed narcotic (6) “

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