DT 29399 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 29399

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 29399

Hints and Tips by Kath

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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

Hello everyone. A Ray T Thursday. I found it pretty difficult but a couple of silly mistakes early on, the scarcity of anagrams and the very hot weather probably contributed to that feeling so I’ll wait to see what everyone else made of it – could be that I’ve got it totally wrong. I’ll just do the hints and then I’m off to find a nice cool stone to crawl under.

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

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


1a        Order inflicted on a private (12)
CONFIDENTIAL — an anagram (order) of INFLICTED ON A – a nice long anagram all the way across the top is such a good start but somehow I missed the anagram indicator – mistake number one

8a        Old politician understood America (7)
TACITUS — a synonym for understood or implied followed by one of the usual abbreviations for America

9a        Passion is more extreme in EastEnders (7)
FERVOUR — how a Cockney or someone from the East End of London would pronounce a word that means more extreme or more distant

11a       One is agile on top of Cairngorms? (7)
CLIMBER — start with the first letter (top) of C[airngorms] and follow that with another word for agile or supple

12a       Approaching north-east, approaching a group (7)
NEARING — the abbreviation for N[orth] E[east], the A from the clue and then a group or a gang of people

13a       Initially lord is entitled governing enslaved subject (5)
LIEGE — the first letters (initially) of the middle five words of the clue

14a       English appear revolutionary, blocking scheme for workers (9)
EMPLOYEES — the one letter abbreviation for E[nglish] is followed by a reversal (revolutionary] of a synonym for appear or give the impression of being which goes round (blocking) a scheme or a ruse

16a       Soil is improving containing mineral spring (9)
 BESPATTER — another word for improving or recovering contains a mineral spring or a health resort

19a       It’s tossed about, about bowled over (5)
CABER — begin with the two letter Latin abbreviation for ‘about’ and follow that with a reversal (the second about from the clue) of another abbreviation that means over or concerning and the ‘crickety’ abbreviation for B[owled] – as soon as I got this one I knew I was going to get in a muddle with the hint

21a       Indignation seeing cleaner at home pocketing grand (7)
CHAGRIN — a cleaner or someone who cleans other people’s houses for them and the usual little word meaning at home go round (pocketing) the abbreviation for G(rand)

23a       Smoke getting fag out (7)
EXHAUST — I think this is a double definition – the second meaning tire

24a       Hearing sounds echoing, circling valleys finally (7)
SESSION — a reversal (echoing) of some sounds or things that can be heard contain (circling) the last letter (finally) of valley[S]

25a       Problem bar got overwhelming prohibition (7)
EMBARGO — the only lurker, or hidden answer today – it’s indicated by ‘overwhelming’

26a       Listless setter in nude, unusually (12)
UNINTERESTED — an anagram (unusually) of SETTER IN NUDE



1d        Drug company staff keeping current (7)
COCAINE — begin with the usual two letter abbreviation for company and follow that with another word for a staff or a walking stick which goes round (keeping) the physics symbol for (electric) current

2d        Celebrity, possibly impotent (7)
NOTABLE — split 3,4 this could mean impotent or can’t do

3d        Partisan from Gunners it turned out (9)
INSURGENT — an anagram (turned out) of GUNNERS IT

4d        Small river rises around France (5)
ELFIN — a reversal (rises) of the longest river in Africa contains the IVR code for F[rance]

5d        Rent trouble for twister (7)
TORNADO — another word for rent or ripped is followed by some trouble or a spot of bother

6d        Worry since immorality brought up by sweetheart (7)
AGONISE — begin with a synonym for ‘since’ or ‘from that time’ and follow it with a reversal (brought up) some immorality or something very naughty then finish it off with the middle letter or heart of sw[E]et

7d        Rod needs to catch live rising fish (12)
STICKLEBACKS — I hope you’re all concentrating as I’m only saying this lot once! Start with a rod or a pole and follow that with another word for needs or doesn’t have which goes round (to catch) a reversal (rising) of a synonym for live or exist – phew, I needed lots of checking letters before I could even begin to make any sense of it

10d      Record is arresting to criminal, arresting one (12)
REGISTRATION — an anagram (criminal) of ARRESTING TO which takes in (arresting) the letter that looks like a one

15d      Go on exercise with engineers taking part (9)
PERSEVERE — the usual crosswordland two letter abbreviation for exercise and another two letter abbreviation for some military engineers – in between (taking) you need a verb that means part or separate

17d      Finish off final performance for old actress (7)
SWANSON — if you remove the last letter (finish off) of a word that means a final performance you should end up with an old (a very old) actress whose first name was Gloria

18d      Impeach a government, reportedly (7)
ARRAIGN — a homophone (reportedly) of a government or a time in power

19d      Live together in cold house, upset slightly (7)
COHABIT — begin with the abbreviation for C[old] and follow that with a reversal (upset) of the two letter abbreviation for HO[use] – finish off with another way of saying slightly or just a little (1,3)

20d      Vague British tempted to welcome Queen (7)
BLURRED — the one letter abbreviation for B(ritish) and another way of saying tempted or enticed which contains (to welcome) the one letter Latin abbreviation for Queen

22d      For now, nobody accepts the speed of light (5)
NONCE — nobody or not a single person contains (accepts) the maths and physics symbol for the speed of light

I liked 16a and 2 and 19d. I think my favourite was probably 7d

The Quickie pun:- FIBRE + RIG + AID = FIRE BRIGADE

129 comments on “DT 29399

  1. I too thought it was at the trickier end of the Ray T back page spectrum – and I don’t think it was just the heat when I solved it first thing this morning either.

    Thanks to him for the crossword and Kath for the blog

  2. A terrific Ray T to kick off the day. So much to enjoy and a delight to solve. I had a sticky start but then picked up the pace. Of many fine clues I liked the evergreen 17d and 16a.

    Thanks to the aforementioned and Kath.

  3. 4*/4.5*. Very challenging and very enjoyable.

    It was quite a struggle to pick a favourite from such an excellent selection but I’ll go for 2d.

    Many thanks to Ray T and to Kath.

  4. This again nearly made into my stinker category having read through and come up with only a couple of starters. However 1a gave me a foothold on the little devil. The old light bulb moment kicked in, although I still needed some hints to complete. The BRB & Roget have also assisted. Favourite 8a. This was definately the hard end of Ray T crosswords, but if they were easy where would the challenge be.
    Friends coming over for homemade wine tasting, i forsee a hangover.
    Many thanks to Kath and RayT.

    1. Oh dear. Home made wine can be lethal. I remember being very happy on carrot wine. Good luck

  5. It’s Ray T at his obscure best. I found it difficult to unravel too. I didn’t spot the anagram in 1a until I’d sorted 3d which was also initially a missed – by me anyway – anagram. I couldn’t get conscription out of my head for 1a. I’ll blame the heat too! 24a was the last in. It took a while for the penny to drop. I was too focused on “echoing” which doesn’t seem to have much to do with the answer at all. Favourite 7d. Tremendous, if convoluted, clue. Thanks Kath. I certainly needed a few explanations. And thanks Ray T for a very twisty work out.

  6. I thought Mr T had upped the difficulty level a notch or two today but still as enjoyable as ever. 8&16a were new words to me but were sympathetically clued so had no problems.
    I loved 1, 2 & 17d but my clear favourite was 9a, which was both clever and amusing.
    Many thanks to Mr T and Kath for the entertainment.
    Off for a dip in the sea before every square inch of sand is covered!

  7. The fourth successive completion without external help, probably bodes badly for tomorrow, but we will see.

    All done in **/*** time, but I too was unable to fully parse 7d & I didn’t know the poetic meaning of 22d. I would have been a half star quicker, but the two long anagrams, 1a & 26a, eluded me for a while.

    My COTD has to be 23a, only because it references one of my many sins.

    Thanks to Ray T and Kath.

  8. Mr T being a little tricky today but no less enjoyable for that – just a good workout for the old grey matter.
    I rather liked the soil improver in 16a but my favourite has to be 7d, which reminded me of the hardworking Spineless Si on Springwatch!

    Devotions as always to Mr T and many thanks to Kath for the review – hope you found the cool stone you were seeking out.

  9. If nothing else this enforced lockdown has encouraged us to buy a paper, so that we are now completing crosswords in real time rather than back in 2007!
    Really liked this puzzle, but didn’t get 22d without a bit of help! Thank you!

  10. Oh dear! I found this quite tricky. Only eight solved on first run-through. Then needed lots of electronic help to complete. Ended up with many question marks indicating uncertainty. But Kath’s explanations confirmed them all, so many thanks.

  11. Oh dear, I am going to buck the trend; I almost feel that I solved a different puzzle. Two weeks ago I wrote ‘Mr T appears to be mellowing, another straightforward and very enjoyable Thursday puzzle’ and I can only repeat that today. Completed at a gallop – **/****.
    Candidates for favourite – 11a, 24a, 4d, and 15d – and the winner is 11a.
    Thanks to Mr T and Kath.

  12. Definitely tricky (4*/4*) but on the whole enjoyable. I liked 7a and 8d but wasn’t keen on the extended synonyms in 3d and 4d. It’s very hot here in Oxfordshire but there is a gentle breeze out here in the countryside. I don’t envy those of you in a big city. Thunderstorms are forecast tonight. We have already had a water outage due to a very large water main burst so I hope we dont lose power in the storms. Thanks to Kath for a few explanations and to Ray T.

  13. An enjoyable but testing exercise so a ***/**** pour moi. I was lucky to see the fish in 7d with only 2 checkers which gave me a boost although I struggled for quite a while with 16 ac for some reason. Thanks to RayT for a quality puzzle and Kath for her analysis. A good temporary diversion from the heat in Devon.

  14. During a mercifully (for my sanity and anger management) brief spell with VCACITF, I introduced the FBI to “nonce”, but not in the sense of time … other than that we all wished ‘nonces’ were serving.

  15. Wow that was too hard for me on such a hot day – good to see others thought so too. Can’t say I enjoyed it much. Just glad to finish it.

  16. The best Ray T in ages for me–so many delightful surface-reads, so many witty clues, and so much humour, to boot. Twice I’ve laughed out loud this week–with “Here’s Y” (yesterday, was it?) and today’s 9a. I’m getting better and better with my Cockney, the furver I go with crosswords. Having Norma Desmond in a crossword always cheers me up (“I AM big, it’s the pictures that got small!”), Maybe a bit tougher than some Ray T’s but I did manage a ** finish, thanks to sussing out the long answers quickly. 7a was new to me but it was easy and fun to decipher. Big-time winners today: 9a, 17d, 16a tied with 8a (glad he can understand us). Thanks as always to Kath and to one of our great wordsmiths, Mr T. ** / *****

    I do have a sea close by to dip in, but unlike Stephen L, I can’t get there because of the lockdown. Enjoy your dip for me, S.L. Yesterday’s new cases in S Carolina were the highest number since the pandemic began.

    1. Robert
      Strange Texas, Arizona & Florida also had large numbers yet the virus isn’t supposed to thrive outdoors with lots of UV. Wonder if that is because people probably spend much less time outdoors than they do in air-conditioned malls then get back into their air conditioned behemoths.

      1. The NYT reports that it’s because most of these new cases refuse to wear masks and social-distance. It’s the politicising of a communicable disease that is the main culprit.

    2. I did enjoy the swim thanks, hopefully your opportunity will come soon Robert.

  17. Ray T with clogs on today. Needed electronic help for 7d (& thanks to Kath for sorting me out with why). Couldn’t get codeine out of my mind for 1d (not familiar with the hard drug scene is my excuse). Got there in the end & was hugely satisfied when I did.
    Thanks to Ray T & Kath for the entertaining and informative review.
    Having endured geographic isolation up here we now prepare for caravan/campervan city to arrive en masse early next month. Dog walks on Dornoch beach in almost splendid isolation will become a thing of the past.

    1. Oh, you are up there, aren’t you? I had to google to see where Dornock is; I never got farther north than Inverness (twice). So sorry I didn’t go on.

      1. We have a small site a mile down the road & that is not opening until next year.
        The big sites on the beaches in Dornoch & Embo are gearing to open as soon as possible it looks like..

    2. I had codeine for 1d too, and struggled with 22d as well! Tremendously enjoyable solve, though! I’m just a trifle envious reading about all your wonderful weather – I’d intended to be in the UK for the (Northern) Summer, but COVID-19 put paid to that! Here in NZ we had our shortest day on 21st of June, and the weather usually gets colder after that – and the Met Service promised us a warmer Winter! At least the COVID blips seem to have been rectified – I hope the human trials for the Oxford vaccines are successful. Many thanks to Ray T, and to Kath for the hints – and to everyone else for the comments! I don’t feel quite so far away when I’m on this marvellous site! 🙃

  18. I found it tricky too , bu immensely enjoyable.
    It wasn’t the heat as it’s simply perfect here not hot.
    I’m going off to be tested for the dreaded this afternoon , no real symptoms just persistent breathlessness and slightly low O2 levels.
    I really liked 11a, 2d, 7d and many others.
    Thanks to Kath for the blog and Ray T for the fun.

    1. Hope you don’t have it. It’s time this virus gave up and went home. Good luck.

  19. You just have to have respect for those puzzles which take ages but which you eventually finish without needing to look anything up. I took a long time to get started and, needing checkers, I dodged around all over the place – not my usual method.
    I particularly like it when I find words that have been lurking in my brain for most of life and hardly ever taken out and looked at, like 7d.
    16d was slightly naughty, but if you are going to spray wet dirt over someone, then you do need a particular word to describe it……..

    I confess to knowing only the more downmarket version of 22d…… which I’m supposing is pronounced differently to the “proper” word? Does anyone hear actually say that in their everyday life?
    Many thanks to Ray T and to Kath for the effort, for which she is entitled to a long cool rest for the remainder of the day.

    1. Chris Cross or Jane will probably know the answer to the origin of the word nonce. I have a distant recollection that it was used by Chaucer. “For the nonce” meaning occasion. It’s several centuries out of date anyway!

        1. I think I remember seeing it in Chaucer, when I did A level English. I can’t remember which tale–it was over 50 years ago. I’ll see if I can find my copy of the Complete Works of Chaucer.

          1. It’s in the Prologue to the Canterbury Tales l.379 “A Cook they hadde with hem for the nones”. It means for the occasion/ the time being in this context

        2. Thanks both – I did look up the origin…..but I still wondered whether anyone still used it in everyday life….?

          I might start saying 16a……… “Oh dear, I see your legs have been 16d’d. Was it a driver with no manners, in a hurry?Luckily, I have a spare pair of tights In my bag.”

          1. Hi, Bluebird. It gets used in the field of computer security: some systems are designed that to communicate with each other they use a different code each time, and a code (basically a random password) created for just one use is called a nonce.

  20. What a delightful way to spend a very hot sunny morning. It probably took me three times as long as anyone else, but a great challenge. Now with all this extra time on our hands my husband is even beginning to enjoy it, and was so pleased to answer 7 down. My favourite was 18 a. Not often a Ray T gets completed without any help but AT LAST success. Thank you Ray T and Kath and all the worldwide bloggers who make this such an interesting. Site.

  21. The right hand side went in fairly quickly so I thought that Mr T was being rather kind to us today. However, I struggled with the left hand side. 24 a was the last one in, and was a bung-in. I couldn’t work out how the definition was related to the answer, until the penny dropped. It related to a court. I have been baking all morning. Definitely the wrong day to be doing it. Many thanks to RayT and to Kath. Belated birthday wishes to Daisygirl. Hope you had a lovely day.

    1. Thank you Florence. I had a lovely day unlike today which is too hot and sticky and with two Zoom meetings and a visit to the Hall to discuss the placing of hand sanitizer. Thought I was supposed to be retired! It a wonder I found time to get this delicious (ooh, I’ve got some scones left!) crossword done – the two long anagrams were a great help. Does anyone catch 7ds in a jam jar any more? Thank you setter and Kath in hot Oxford from Daisy in Very Hot Cambridge.

      1. Ah, yes, of course you live in Cambridge. In a fairly recent crossword we needed a ‘see’ and you said the only one you could think of was the one where you live – I was going to give you a hint (Exeter was the one we wanted). Had I been able to remember where you lived I could have given you a rough idea of which direction you needed to go!

  22. I have to admit that Ray T beat me today. I could only finish it with help from the hints so not an enjoyable experience. A very good puzzle but way above my ability. Either that or my brain has been fried. Hot weather and myself have never got on. I put it down to being born in January 1947 during one of the worst winters ever.

    I thought the Quickie pun was good.

    Many thanks to Ray T for, to me, a hard challenge and also to Kath for the hints I heavily relied on.

  23. Great puzzle, thank you!

    I only got muddled for awhile by 9a fervour? or further?
    Everything else was tricky but fun again thank you

  24. A pleasantly taxing divertissement completed in the comfort of a North-facing kitchen – too hot in West Sussex to venture outside – I’ll leave that to mad dogs and Englishmen😅. SW had most challenge. Too lazy to fathom the parsing of 19a and 7d although both were obvious bung-ins. My Fav was the giggle-worthy 9a. Thank you RayT and Kath.

  25. I had three stabs at this little devil. But hard and fair so ****/***. Some very clever stuff.
    If you think it’s hot in the UK you should try it in Mallorca. Even after 15 weeks of gradual acclimatization since being stranded here by the lock-up (down) in mid-March it really is an airless roaster today, with no prospect of thunderstorms on the horizon.
    But perhaps the end is nigh – another ‘flight’ home looms next week. Please don’t cancel it again, Easyjet!

  26. Highly enjoyable and a bit trickier than usual for the back page. 24a was my favourite. Thanks all.

  27. This was way beyond my current ability. I reached about halfway up the mountain but then had to rely on Kath to provide the crampons to reach the summit.
    No paperweights required on a blisteringly hot and torpid day. Lola is asleep at my feet under the garden table. I do feel for her; it must be like wearing a fur coat in a blacksmith’s forge.
    Thanks to Ray T and Kath.

    1. I found Thompson wrapped round the porcelain of the loo pedestal – it must have felt cool!

      1. Very sensible of Thompson – I’ll pass the tip on to Lola.
        Happy (belated) birthday, Daisy!

  28. To my surprise l found this easier than the quick.Finished without help except for 22 d where l had forgotten the rather old word.A great puzzle and blog.Thankyou both.

  29. Beaten by about five of today’s clues which, given it’s a RayT is pretty good for me, needed Mrs 2Ps help for the actress. Time to put some cold ones in the fridge, might be a ‘holiday’ type of opening time this afto.
    We have an outbreak of COVID positives in the south of Leicester so back to self isolation for us.
    Thanks for the challenge and the help

  30. Just for the record, c is any constant, not necessarily the speed of light – which is not even a true constant unless in a vacuum (which is a theoretical impossibility)
    In a black hole light has a theoretical minus value. Don’t think about that for too long if you value your sanity

  31. Oh dear – don’t confuse me any more – I only crept our from under my shady stone to see what was going on here and now look what you’ve done! :unsure:

      1. Oh good – always glad of some company when I don’t ‘get’ something – it cheers me up no end. :smile:

  32. Another enjoyable but challenging RayT with his usual touch of whimsy. The lack of well spaced anagrams meant it took a bit longer to crack. My COTD candidates 9 and 11a, but my winner is 17d. I had enough letters to figure out 23a, but thanks Kath for the second meaning. Not an expression used in Oz or that I’ve heard in my travels to the UK. Thanks Ray and Kath🦇

  33. Well, I made heavy weather of this but got there in the end. Missed most of the anagram indicators which didn’t help.
    Also got fixated on codeine for 1d……says something about me I suppose….but, that messed up 8a, which was further messed up by my thinking of Tacitus as a historian rather than a politician……but I am wrong about that.

    As I said, it all got sorted out in the end but I had to resort to the electronic gizmo for 1d…..which now seems so clear to me. So no hurrah for me today but I will allow myself a ‘good effort’ as it is a RayT day.

    Thanks to the setter and to Kath.

  34. As a relative newcomer that was difficult but got down to needing just the one hint for 24a so thanks to Kath for that. The two long anagrams at the top and bottom certainly helped me to get into the flow. I did not know the alternative meaning to 22d compared to its current usage in our language – only got that word from the clue and then looked it up.
    Favourites were 14a and 7d and 21a for no other reason than just liking the word!
    I have been an occasional solver for a few years but the fascination has recently taken hold even to the point of downloading archive puzzles and so increasing my understanding of the individual style of each setter and get better at recognising the key to unlock a clue.
    I noticed some friendly discussion recently about the content of some comments on here but I, like many I suspect, enjoy the expanded info adding to a more colourful blog than just a plain explanation of a clue – I hope it continues.

    Thanks to the setter RayT and Kath for explanations.

  35. I thought this was enjoyable from start to finish, 7 & 10 down as well as 21 & 23 across were among my favourites, 16 across was a new word for me, thank you as always to Ray T and Kath.

    Stay safe everyone

  36. I have to admit that 22d had me stumped. Only ever heard that word used in prison, and for a totally different meaning. Thanks all.

    1. Welcome from me too. I have to confess that I’ve never heard of that word with the ‘other’ meaning and had to look it up.

    2. Welcome, Grahame. Which prison were you in? I was in Shrewsbury for two years.

  37. ****/****. Tricky Ray T puzzle but very enjoyable. Started quickly with a friendly anagram at 1a and continued at pace until I got to the SW corner where 22d and 24a held me up for ages. My favourite was 9a which brought a chuckle. Thanks Ray T and Kath for the review. Our provincial medical leader, Dr Bonnie Henry, has become something of a rock star. Not only has she directed the public with clarity, she has also caused some designers to create shoes and jewellery to reflect her style. The latest thing is T-shirts bearing her now famous (at least in BC) phrase “Be calm, Be kind, Be safe” where all proceeds will go to food banks. And the Vancouver Aquarium is about to reopen carefully – thank goodness.

  38. I usually print out the crossword at midnight and knock it out before bed, but today I had to leave a corner unfinished (I blame trying codeine, cocaine would have seen me finish it). At lunchtime I had another chance to look at it and as someone has mentioned above, an ideal crossword is one that stretches the brain but doesn’t try to bamboozle and this fitted the bill. Thanks to the setter and to Kath – don’t beat yourself up so much, your hints are entertaining and if you get something wrong I know that one of the serial posters will jump in and correct it. Being amusing is much better than being smart! ;)

  39. Good grief….. the curse of Ray T is finally broken! At long last, I finished a Ray T puzzle without the help of Kath, I even quite enjoyed it!
    Living quite close to the Lake District, I’m a frustrated 11a at the moment. It doesn’t seem quite right to visit until lockdown properly ends. I think some of the locals are feeling a bit imposed upon, which is fair enough.
    Thanks to Ray T and Kath (even though you weren’t needed today!!!)

    1. Congratulations, Mike! Hope you get to do some 11a-ing soon.

      (And, yes, I realize that appending ‘ing’ to the answer to 11a doesn’t produce something found in the dictionaries; it’s a word I made up for just this one-time use …)

      1. Thanks Smylers! It’s a bit of a joke with my 11a-ing buddies, it’s been the driest and sunniest Spring we’ve had for many a year and the Lakeland Crags and Fells would have been lovely….but not going climbing is a small price to pay if it keeps everyone safe. It will probably start raining next week and not stop for the rest of Summer!

  40. Way beyond my ken, but, then, RayT usually is. I used an anagram solver to get 1a and 26a in the hopes that I would get a foothold but it didn’t help much. I managed most of the east side, and, of course, I solved 17d! That is also my fave, being old helps sometimes.
    Thanks to RayT and to Kath for solving it for me. Off to the pool to try to keep limber.

  41. One of the nastiest Ray Ts puzzles for a long time. Def not to my taste in any way shape or form.
    Thx for the hints

    1. I’m sure we’ve had this kind of ‘conversation’ before, probably many times, but I really fail to see how a crossword can be described as ‘nasty’. It hasn’t bitten you or caused you any hurt or harm at all.

        1. Ray T is not scary! He sets a challenge abiding by certain rules such as Including our Queen and no clues more than 8 words etc.

          Occasionally, like today, he gave a real challenge and a few, including me, could not rise to it. That doesn’t make him scary.

          It makes me admire him.

      1. Doh. Poor Brian ! Do you think we could gently suggest that Brian subscribes to The Puzzler or some such ?

        1. Leave Brian alone! If he sees a spade he does not call it “a garden earth turning apparatus” 😎

  42. One off the toughest Ray-T’s for a bit, but hugely enjoyable and satisfying to finish.
    Some of them took considerable head scratching to work out.
    I love Sunset Boulevard so 17d came easily, my mum recently confessed to falling in love with William Holden after watching it.
    I was surprised to see 22d, around here it has a far more unpleasant second meaning.
    Thanks to Kath for the great blog and Ray-T for the challenge.

  43. Nothing to do with the puzzle, I’m afraid so please redact if not acceptable.

    Recently, someone mentioned on this blog a cream (emu?) that he used for painful knees. I have searched and searched for the post but cannot find it. Mrs. C. has very sore knees and when I told her about the cream she said she would like to try it. Anyone remember the name?

                1. The original suggestion was sent to me for my AGONISING knee. I did look it up and am very tempted to try it but my consultant warned me (admittedly back in March) not to take any unprescribed drugs prior to surgery. And as I am sitting on the edge of my chair waiting for The Call I don’t want to muddy the waters. But otherwise, I’d go for it.

        1. I buy direct from the manufacturer in Rugeley, Staffordshire. The product works wonders – for me at least.

        1. Thank you, John. I have ordered some for Mrs. C. We will see how it goes. 👍

    1. My Mum used to swear by green lipped mussel something or other – I used to get them from Holland and Barret for her.
      As far as posting things in Comments goes I never notice things there but maybe that’s one of those ‘just me’ things.

  44. Very late to the discussion today. Busy with things that took much longer in the heat perhaps.
    I thought that this was a brilliant puzzle even though I got stuck on a couple of clues. I couldn’t get my head around 24a which I discovered was literally necessary and I’d never heard of 22d. It’s always good to learn new words, though. Many thanks to RayT and To Kath for ending my frustration.

  45. Evening all. Many thanks to Kath for the decryption and to everybody else for your comments.


    1. RT
      Thank ypu for the work-out.
      Could you please add a rating number so one of number can just go straight out and enjoy 18 holes for his daily enjoyment .

    2. Many thanks for popping in and for providing us with such an enjoyable puzzle.

    3. Thanks for checking on us, Ray T. I thought this one of your finest puzzles ever. Were you born with such whimsy? I’ve not been feeling very well today–like Daisygirl and many others on this blog, I suffer from agonising arthritis, but your puzzles take me out of myself, at least for the nonce. So thank you.

    4. Thanks for popping in, Ray T. Your puzzles frustrate and delight me in equal measure. Great stuff.

  46. My brain is cooked perhaps even overcooked. I got about 2/3rds of this at work and will study the hints for the rest.
    I did manage to get the 1a anagram eventually but I put the answer for 1d in 2d and today of all days I forgot my preferred propelling pencil and had to resort to ink. The puzzle is a mess. I found Rays queen ok but plenty left to do after supper.
    thanks to Kath and Ray T

    1. I also put 1d in the space for 2d – it really scuppered that corner for a very long time – wonder how that happened – I blame the heat – we’re not used to it and it stops us thinking straight.

  47. A late post once again. Completed all bar 2 early this morning (14a & 22d) in reasonable time & agree with those who thought this was at the trickier end of the Ray T spectrum. Went back to it after golf & a long snooze (much needed after 3 hours plus in this heat) but couldn’t get either without Kath’s help so forced to chalk this one down as the first DNF (unaided) for quite some time. Lord only knows why I couldn’t get the former but the 22d meaning was new to me. Quantity offering, as ever, with my podium comprising 7d and 9&16a.
    Thanks to Ray T for the entertainment & for popping in & to Kath for the review – hope you enjoyed your cool stone. By about the 14th hole I was aiming for the shaded parts of the fairway off the tee irrespective of whether that was the best strategy for the hole……….

  48. With 9 unsolved before I read Kath’s hints, that is a very good day for me with Ray T’s puzzles. 1a went straight in, and I thought I was in with a chance. Last in was 22d, no surprise. I sound 9a particularly hard, as I was trying to think of a Cockney expression for passion. Feel bad for you all suffering in the heat. We’ve had some trips home during heatwaves and people always expect us to be used to it, coming from South Florida, which is not the case at all. Need to go and make another batch of homemade coffee ice cream, decaf of course. It keeps getting eaten…

  49. We took ages to get our first toehold but once we were under way it flowed a lot more smoothly.
    Great fun as ever.
    Checked the word count and had to get to the very last clue to find one that had the maximum of 8 words.
    Thanks RayT and Kath..

  50. I found this very difficult indeed. Spent hours 6d-ing over it before finally admitting defeat and consulting Kath’s excellent hints. Even then it took some time to finish. So thank you, Kath – and Ray T for the challenge. I’m now going to give my brain a rest in front of the television.

  51. Thank you, Ray T, for the crossword and for calling in.
    Thanks also to all of you who have left comments.
    Off to bed now even though it’s too hot to go to sleep – it’s still 23C in Oxford.
    Night night everyone and sleep well.

  52. Thanks to Ray T and to Kath for the review and hints. A very difficult but enjoyable puzzle. I needed the hints for 14a, but for some inexplicable reason, I had written tornada, for my answer to 5d. Perhaps I was influenced by 9a :-) Favourite was 25a, took me ages to spot the lurker. Was 4*/4* for me.

  53. I have just realised (for realised read googled) that today’s puzzle 29399 is a prime number. Any guesses when the next one will be prime?

  54. 3*/3*……
    liked 21A “indignation seeing cleaner at home pocketing grand (7)”

  55. Took me ages to get the last 2 in 9a and 6d.
    I thought the latter started with As for since.
    Thanks to RayT for the challenge and to Kath for the review.

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