DT 29495 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 29495

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 29495

Hints and tips by Kath

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

Hello everyone. A Ray T Thursday – quite a few of his trademark clues are missing but I’m still sure that it’s one of his.

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 need to see one.

In this day and age of ‘health and safety’ I have put in a picture of a flashing light so please be warned if for any reason you don’t like them. 


1a        Dress on street giving flash regularly (6)
STROBE — a sort of dress or gown follows (on) one of the abbreviations for street

4a        Positions sculptor’s head cutting into sculptures (8)
STATUSES — the first letter (head) of S[culptor] goes inside (cutting into) another word for a sculptures

9a        Fight excess swallowing small single (6)
RESIST — excess or what is left over containing (swallowing) the abbreviation for S[mall] and the letter that looks like a one, or single

10a       Work period cut one’s minute hope (8)
OPTIMISM — the usual abbreviation for a musical work is followed by three of a four letter period or duration and then the letter that looks like one, with the ‘S and finally an abbreviation for m[inute]  

12a       Bar overturned before charge at the back (8)
DORSALLY — a reversal (overturned) of a bar or a pole is followed by a charge or attack

13a       Stands? Hard in wellies, perhaps! (6)
BOOTHS — some long waterproof footwear containing (in) the abbreviation for H[ard] as in a pencil

15a       Vague tirade with eminent lunatic … (13)
INDETERMINATE — an anagram (lunatic) of TIRADE and EMINENT

18a       … natter with eminent lunatic provides amusement (13)
ENTERTAINMENT — an anagram (lunatic) of NATTER and EMINENT

22a       In agreement negotiating is done (6)
ONSIDE — an anagram (negotiating) of IS DONE

24a       Inflexible end delivered (8)
STUBBORN — an end of something such as a cigarette or the bit remaining after tearing off a cheque is followed by another word for delivered or arrived

26a       Tweeted about husband becoming excited (8)
THRILLED — tweeted or chirped containing (about) the abbreviation for H[usband]

27a       Spot, we hear, to find fish (6)
PLAICE — a homophone (we hear) of a spot or site

28a       Ecstatic feeling from, perhaps, Odyssey (8)
RHAPSODY — a lurker or a hidden answer which is indicated by the third word of the clue

29a       Idiots accepting leader of Tories’ qualities (6)
 ASSETS — some idiots or ninnies going around (accepting) the first letter (leader) of T[ories]



1d        Outhouses housing right bits (6)
SHREDS — some outhouses or huts containing (housing) the abbreviation for R[ight]

2d        Inhibition of one in holiday rave (9)
RESTRAINT — a period of time on holiday or not at work is followed by rave or let rip verbally which contains the letter that looks like a one

3d        Bird is damaged lying on a road (7)
BUSTARD — a synonym of damaged or broken is followed by (lying on) the A from the clue and the abbreviation for road

5d        Splutter over getting clues (4)
TIPS — a reversal (over) of a word that means splutter or talk rather inconsiderately in a splashy way

6d        Foreign capital excursion on oil rig, occasionally (7)
TRIPOLI — an excursion or outing is followed by (on) the odd letters (occasionally) of OiL rIg

7d        Broke surface on top of tapioca (5)
SKINT — another word for surface or covering is followed by the first letter (top) of T[apioca]

8d        Abuse me sternly employing academic term (8)
SEMESTER — the second lurker or hidden answer indicated by the word employing

11d      Rubbish celebrity practically pocketing shedloads (7)
FLOTSAM — a four letter word meaning celebrity or stardom without its last letter (practically) goes round (pocketing) ‘shedloads’ or large amounts of something

14d      Hard old lady with Italian sweetheart (7)
GRANITE — an old lady, not your Mum this time but even older than she is, with the abbreviation for Italian and finally the middle letter or heart of [sw]E[et]

16d      Hires out a buggy getting permit (9)
AUTHORISE — an anagram (buggy) of HIRES OUT A – I don’t think I’ve ever seen this as an anagram indicator before – I quite like it!

17d      Journalist is on drink (8)
REPORTER — one of the abbreviations that mean on or concerning is followed by a dark brown malt liquor

19d      Strains to produce puzzles (7)
RIDDLES — strains here is a verb that means sifts

20d      Undoing blouse embracing masculine clot (7)
EMBOLUS — an anagram (undoing) of BLOUSE which contains (embracing) the abbreviation for M[asculine]

21d      If not overcast, taking top off (6)
UNLESS — overcast or cloudy without its first letter (taking top off)

23d      Streak in street with breeze rising (5)
STRIA — the abbreviation for street is followed by a reversal (rising) of a breeze or slight draught

25d      Sort of immunity is caught, reportedly (4)
HERD — a homophone (reportedly) of caught or picked up by your ears

Lots of good clues so I think I’ll leave you to tell us which ones stood out particularly today.

The Quickie pun:- BORES + JOIN + SUN = BORIS JOHNSON I suspect this will split the commentariat!

89 comments on “DT 29495

  1. I enjoyed today’s puzzle 15a and 18a were my first ones in 28a I thought was a great lurker but my COTD 11d **/****
    Thanks to Kath and the setter.

  2. Mr T at his friendliest today I thought. I particularly liked the 15 and 18a combo. Our setter is almost down to six word clues now. Quite remarkable.

    Many thanks to Ray T and to Kath.

  3. A quite tricky but hugely enjoyable Ray T today I thought. I had to check 23d but it was sympathetically clued and that was my only problem, although I took far too long to spot the rather unusual anagram indicator in 16d.
    I particularly liked the 28a lurker, 12a &11d (great word) but joint top places go to 21d and the super smooth anagram at 22a.
    Many thanks to Ray T and Kath for the 18a.

  4. The last few clues took forever to find and took me into 3* time for completion, with 4* for enjoyment. I liked 28a and thought 25 d was quite wily, though, goodness knows, I should know all about it by now! Many thanks to Kath for the hints and to Ray T for another enjoyable puzzle.

  5. A quite gentle Ray T but still very enjoyable. My last two in are also my top winners: 11d, 12a–followed by the 15/18a pairing. Thanks to Kath for the hints and to Mr T. 2* / 4*

    A slightly tougher Toughie today but still doable.

  6. Thoroughly enjoyable mental workout, perhaps a bit gentler than usual Ray T.
    So, ** and a half / *****
    Got stuck on 12a until the penny sort of with spelling help, dropped.
    Many thanks Ray T and Kath for the review.

  7. It must be at the the easier end of the Ray T spectrum simply because I could do it! **/**** I liked the lurker in 28a and I really wanted 3d to be buzzard. Favourite is 11d. Thanks to all.

  8. I sailed through this today although had to construct 20d and then check. I liked 15a/18a but my pick was 21d. Thanks to the setter and Kath.

  9. Sorry Kath, I’m here under false pretences not having a crossword yet. Just waiting about, and I wanted to ask if any of our avid readers have come across Dorothy Dunnett, Lady Dunnett was wife of the editor of The Scotsman. She is pure Marmite, I love her but have only ever met one other person who shared my taste.
    She wrote the most wonderful, meticulously researched books – a set of 6 books The Lymond Chronicles set in the mid 1500 s then a prequel, 8 books The House of Niccolo. They go from Scotland to Paris, all across Europe to Istanbul, Russia, back to London, Africa etc, high romance, arcane language, star crossed lovers, political intrigue, as I said like it or loathe it,Marmite. But they would be my desert island choice. She also wrote modern whodunnits which I don’t get on with. Well covered in Wikipedia and she has a fan club! Died 2001. I would just love to know if anyone else likes her books! That’s all, folks. Enjoy your crossword I’ll look at it tonight.

    1. I loved the Lymond series -have read them several times. Great book. I wasn’t so keen on The Niccolo series. Haven’t read any others of hers.

      1. Same here. The Lymond ones were a favourite, Niccolo not so much. He didn’t seem a very sympathetic character, so it was hard to care what happened to him.

        As to the crossword, I was not on the wavelength today, though I liked the long anagrams and the lurkers.

    2. I haven’t read any of the Lady’s works, DG, but you sure have whetted my appetite. It’s my favourite century.

  10. Relatively straightforward but fun to solve. I did have to confirm 23d. Top marks to 25d which has a certain currency to it, followed by 21d.

  11. I found myself wide awake at midnight so did the only possible thing – pottered downstairs and undertook the crossword. It is the first time I’ve ever done this – rather satisfying to solve in the quiet atmosphere with just the desk lamp illuminating the page.

    Continued best wishes today to Daisy and George.

    Thanks to Ray T and Kath.

    1. …..it is almost a routine with me -wake at 1or 2 mind racing, downstairs for a finger of scotch, a look at the stars (if any are showing), back to bed to do the crossword on my iPad and then back to sleep….

  12. One of those days where 3/4 completed in under ** time then SE took me * on it’s own. As always couldn’t see why after finishing.
    10a COTD nice to be reminded of the word – not much of it about at the moment.
    Good fun solve with no real problems that weren’t of my own making.
    Thanks to Mr T & of course Kath for the review, required reading as always.

  13. All went well once I’d accepted the anagram indicator in 16d and been persuaded that buzzard wouldn’t work for 2d.
    Biggest ticks to those I thought had the best surface reads so I went for 5,7&25d.

    The usual devotions to Mr T and many thanks to Kath for another of her excellent reviews.

    1. I was stuck with buzzard for 2d as well, Jane. I didn’t put it in because it was obviously incorrect but I couldn’t get it out of my head.

      1. Me too, although it seemed wrong! Then the penny dropped and for some reason it came to me. Wasn’t it the great …..?

    2. Buzzard was also my first thought but he just didn’t really want to play so I told him where he could go.

        1. Buzzard was my first thought too, but coming from Wiltshire I realised immediately the correct answer. The birds were reintroduced to Salisbury Plain quite recently.
          Some well disguised lurkers today, thanks to Kath and setter.

      1. They are mewing overhead as we speak. So high I can hardly see them. Soaring for soaring sake

        1. Are you talking about bustards or buzzards? We get the latter and usually hear them well before we see them. I didn’t know the former did much mewing.

      2. Knew Bustard as lived in Wiltshire in early 70’s & there was talk to re-introduce them onto Salisbury Plain. Answer made me wonder how it went. Must have been a b*stardq of a job as it didn’t happen until 2008! Ridiculous how we acquire our obscure GK.

  14. I am going to buck the trend because I found this quite a difficult one from Ray T. However, in no way did it detract from the enjoyment and I have quite a number of favourite clues. 13a 15a and 18a are worthy contenders for a place on the podium but My COTD is the delightful 13a. I was held up by the fact I put the answer to 28a into 26a. It sent me on a search for words that cannot possibly exist.

    Many thanks to Ray T, who gave Her Majesty a break today, and also to Kath for the excellent hints.

    The Quickie pun was brilliant. One of those that slowly dawns as the words are repeated over and over.

  15. Took me a while to get going and I’d forgotten it was Ray T week until I reached the sweetheart in 14d – I finished in a 2.5* time just like Kath – I never thought of a buzzard as I realised what the damage was straight away

    Thanks to Mr T for the crossword and Kath for the blog

  16. As ever a perfect Thursday puzzle and a perfect Thursday blog. Both very enjoyable. The sun is blazing away here in Barrel with deep blue sky and fluffy cotton wool clouds (Simpsons clouds) Its so nice I had a crab sandwich in the garden for lunch. It can’t be long until beer o clock. Thanks to RayT and to Kath

  17. Very enjoyable crossword, **/**** for me. Got a bit tied up with 1d, which I incorrectly entered as sherds (alternative spelling of shards in the BRB). That of course got me into trouble with 9a which took a bit of sorting and ended up as my LOI, although it’s not a difficult clue! Favourites, 15a & 18a, which I thought were a very clever pair. Thanks to Mr T and to Kath.

    1. I put sherds instead of shreds and it raelly held me up in the NW corner. Hey ho, that’s what makes crosswords so absorbing.

  18. I am fast coming to the conclusion that Ray T crosswords on Thursdays are my nemesis. I just could not get going. In light of thst posting now. I will go for a long walk over the cliffs sit diwn in the evening and have another crack.
    In advance thanks Kath and Ray T for giving me a touch of brain ache.
    Stay safe everyone in these troubled times.

      1. Thanks Steve certainly won’t. Never walk the cliffs in gale force winds. Looking for a great sunset.

  19. Must have been a very very very easy Ray T as I managed to finish it. Thank you Ray T for throwing this scrap to those of us who really struggle on alternate Thursdays. Thank you to Kath for proving I hadn’t done a John Gielgud.

    Pity about the awful Quick crossword pun.

      1. I was going to ask that too – I don’t have the first idea what a ‘John Gielgud’ is – if it is rhyming slang it isn’t one that I’ve ever come across before.

        1. Many years ago I played Ariel in the Tempest at the Old Vic with John Gielgud playing Prospero. Every day in the rehearsal room during tea breaks and idle moments Sir John would sit quietly doing the Times crossword. Sometimes he would complete it and put it aside within 20 minutes or so. Everyone was terribly impressed. The Times crossword was, in those days, the toughest nut in the bowl.

          One afternoon after this had been going on for some weeks, one of the cast idly picked up the great man’s paper – he had finished for the day and had gone off to the Garrick Club or somewhere to meet Sir Ralph or someone. Suddenly the actor who had been looking at the paper gasped and showed us the crossword. It was indeed all filled in, but apart from one or two correct answers the rest were just words that happened to fit the spaces and had no bearing on the clues. Needless to say none of us confronted Sir John with the discovery and he continued to complete the Time crossword every day with consummate ease.

          I offer this not as a luvvie dropping names and theatrical anecdotes, but as a frustrated Guardian crossword-doer.
          Michael Feast

  20. That was enjoyable plain sailing with top filled first with the exception of 12a which hung fire for a while as did buggy in 16d. 15a and 18a contributed greatly to the painless solve. Had to look up 23d. Thank you RayT and Kath. Think perhaps I will refrain from commenting on the Quickie pun except to say it does depend a bit on pronunciation.

  21. 2*/4*. I found this a typically enjoyable RayT puzzle at the easier end of his spectrum.

    It’s quite a challenge to pick a favourite from such a good selection but I’ll settle on the clever 15a/18a combo.

    Many thanks to RayT and to Kath.

  22. Another excellent puzzle today so thanks to all. Hadn’t heard of 4a. Thanks Daisy, have now got scrabble on my Kindle but my machine doesn’t do ‘tactics’ so I win all the time. It also gives me rotten letters most of the time – I hardly ever get an E.

    1. I’ve had Scrabble on my iPad ever since we were in Oz four and a half years ago and stayed with an old flat mate of mine in Adelaide – it’s a good thing that we are in such different time zones . . .

  23. Another great RayT and as always a clear set of explanations from Kath, 4a threw me as I could not get legal positions out of my mind – 22a is my COTD

  24. Yep, that was OK.
    My LOI was 12a and was omitted, not because of MP’s “don’t waste ink”, but because I didn’t get it. I always forget that synonym of bar and wanted an E at the end .(..charge at the back? ….yes, well). Thanks to Kath. I never get these military terms and I think this particular one has been around a bit lately, so more fool me.
    I liked the 15/18 “combo”.
    I’m grappling a bit with the Toughie, but it’s losing out to Autumn garden tidying as it’s such a pleasant day.

          1. Actually, I meant the military term “sally”……..
            …as in a military sortie.
            I know the whole answer to the clue means “ on the back of”. I’m sure I didn’t express myself very clearly. It was a meandering sentence.

  25. Thanks to Ray T and to Kath for the review and hints. A super puzzle from Ray T, very enjoyable. I messed up totally by putting “sherds” for 1d, I thought that was the answer rather than mixing up the letters, anyway that made 9a impossible. There were a couple I’d never heard of in 20&23d. I liked 7 &17d, but my favourite was 1a. Needed 10 hints to finish. Was 4* / 4* for me.

  26. While I enjoyed this puzzle, I cannot claim to have found it light or easy, as I always struggle on Ray T days, some more than others. Today I needed too many of Kath’s hints for my liking. Didn’t know the bird at 3d, have only ever heard 22a said, and thought it was two words, and 23d held me up. At least I got 20d, although I had only seen the “ism” version before. Also didn’t realise “buggy” was an anagram indicator in 16d. So learnt a lot today. Thanks to Ray T, and in awe as ever of your solving skills Kath.

  27. A nice Thursday puzzle, can’t believe that it is a Ray T 🤔 ***/*** Lots of clever clues but 3d and 21d are my selection 😃 12a & 23d were new words to me 😳 Thanks as always to Kath and to the Setter

  28. Well I’m one of very few who thought this was trickier than usual. Lots to like though. Needed to look up 20d and really liked the lurker in 28a. Thought 15&18a were very clever anagrams. Thanks to Ray T and Kath for the hints.

  29. I was another guilty of the “sherds” which made the NW impossible.

    COTD 28a, brilliant lurker.

    Many thanks to Ray T and Kath.

  30. Late on parade to day due to an excellent round of golf in the sunshine of the NE.
    A fairly gentle Ray T i thought (it must be as I could understand the clues!).
    My favourite was def 13a, clever clue.
    Very enjoyable and about my standard.
    Thx to all

  31. An enjoyable solve today that was tricky in some spots. Right side completed first with the two long across clues solved, then the left side with the SW area last to complete. 25d was the last in when the penny-dropped moment happened.
    Rate this 2.5*/****
    Clue favourites today 1a, 10a, 13a, 7d & 25d with winner 25d
    Quite topically appropriate these days and should have clued in quicker on the winner.

    Thanks to Ray T and Kath

    1. Oh – what a shame. I think I’d probably agree that it wasn’t Ray T’s most sparkling effort but I certainly didn’t find it flat – I think we’re all feeling a bit flat/grumpy/generally ***** off at the moment.

    2. Could you expand, L J? I don’t think I have ever said a puzzle is not enjoyable without saying why.

      Up to you, of course but it would be good to know the reasoning behind your judgement. 😎

  32. Like Brian late on parade after a day of golf at South Herts where the sun mostly shone & I kept the same ball which is always a bonus. Agree that it was mostly straightforward for a Ray T production but still took me into *** time though 40% of that was spent on figuring out letters 4,6 & 8 of my last in, which was 12a. Must admit to writing in the answer to 28a without clocking it was a lurker & what a super one too. I was slightly surprised by the clueing at 15&18a due to the repetition of the anagram indicator because I thought that sort of thing was to be avoided or at least that’s what I’ve understood from some of the critiques of the setters in Rookie Corner by the experts but maybe I’ve got that wrong. 20&23d were also new to me but easily gettable from the wordplay. 11d my favourite today for no other reason than I think it’s a lovely word.
    Thanks to Ray T & as ever to Kath for the review.
    Ps Hoping D&G had a successful day.

  33. Definitely a friendly RayT, I finished it but had a couple wrong. I needed copious e-help, I solved this with the speed of a 25d of tortoises. It’s also my fave, mainly because of Kath’s pic, gorgeous herd!
    Thanks to RayT and to Kath for helping to unravel some ??? synonyms.
    Hope Daisy and George are doing well, good wishes to them.

  34. Evening all. Many thanks to Kath for the elucidation and to all for your comments. Much appreciated.


    1. Good evening RayT and thanks for the challenge. I always come to the blog late especially as today was the first milling of the olives – a very respectable yield of 20.5%!

      I enjoyed the crossword although it took me a little time to get a foothold. Liked the “buggy” and the topical 25dn although I wish the topic would go away.

      Thanks also to Kath for the blog.

    2. Good evening, Mr T. Your salutation always puts me in mind of dear old George in Dixon of Dock Green. It’s so reassuring to know that you’re still on the beat even though it is only on a Thursday. Thank you for another splendid case to solve.

      1. I agree, Jane about Mr. T’s salutation. I half expect him to start talking about the crime in Dock Green and what Andy is doing. 😁

  35. Late to the party and I have to say that as always I find a handful of RayT clues impossible to parse without the helpful hints. I agree with the minority view that I found this one the least straight forward for a number of weeks, so is a ***/** I don’t enjoy entirely if I don’t have the inner satisfaction of working it all out and the why on my own. No particularly standout clues but i did like the “economy” of 15 & 18a;
    My biggest bugbear is 16d. That as an anagram indicator- I think not! I would be interested in RayT’s rationale – if we are entitled to ask? As always thanks for his Thursday brain assault course and Kath for her hints

    1. I have to confess that I liked it as a new, to me anyway, anagram indicator – I’ve only just looked up ‘buggy’ in the BRB and have discovered that it can mean crazy/informal – US slang so I reckon that it’s fine as an anagram indicator.
      I’m sure Ray T has similar rationale and, of course, you’re allowed to ask – sorry that it’s just me replying rather than the Master himself.

    2. It is an unusual anagram indicator but I found it worked. It must be difficult to think of new anagram indicators but Ray T came up with a beauty – well, at least, I’ve never come across it before and I’ve been doing this crossword for 50 years. Mind you, I rarely completed it until I joined Big Dave.

  36. A superb Ray T puzzle tonight that was easier than usual But still kept me working to fill the grid.
    Favs 15 & 18ac which flowed together very nicely
    Thanks to RayT & Kath for the hints

  37. Any one else think that sherds, bits of pottery was the answer for 1d, agrees with wordplay, fav clue, 28a, cunning red herring, didn’t see lurker until writing it in

  38. Good fun to solve with lots of chuckles along the way.
    The clue word count has a maximum of seven once again. That seems to be the norm theses days.
    Thanks RayT and Kath.

  39. Stuart, top post. Its frustrating when you get an answer to a clue that works, albeit without all of the intersecting clues. But this was definitely an oversight.

  40. 28a is my fave. In the earliest days, these guys performed these epics from memory before writing…so we have them reciting “tragedy” such as the odyssey. To manage this lurker in something appropriate was amusing. Hope he can try with the Iliad or argonautica in the future :)

  41. Thanks to Ray for another fine puzzle full of laughs as usual. My favourite was 20d which was pure RayT but there were so many good clues too numerous to mention.

  42. Apart from, as mentioned before, confidently putting sherds in for 1d and getting bogged down a bit in the south, getting one clue immediately led to several in quick succession. So no complaints, as if I ever would about Rayt. Favourite was 16d, no complaints there either. Many thanks to Rayt and Kath.

  43. Thank you to Ray T for the usual brilliant crossword, and for calling in.
    Thank you, too, to everyone else for the comments – it’s all the comments that make it fun to do the hints.
    Night night everyone and sleep well – it may be quite early but I’m off to bed pretty soon – life around here is a bit hectic at the moment, what with one thing and another.

  44. Guessed 11d correctly – still not sure what / who the star is and sadly didn’t see 16d – so can lever 😢

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