DT 29543 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 29543

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 29543

Hints and tips by Kath

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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

Hello everyone. Today is a Ray T Thursday crossword and either I’m having “one of those days” or it’s a fairly tricky one. Please leave a comment telling us which of those it is and 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.


1a        I can’t forgive terrible shouting (12)
 VOCIFERATING — an anagram (terrible) of I CAN’T FORGIVE

8a        Label old American ‘heartless‘ (7)
CALLOUS — a verb to label or give a name to something is followed by O[ld] and the two letters that can mean American

9a        Robber baron’s beginning with purchasing outfit (7)
BRIGAND — the first letter (beginning) of B[aron] and another word for ‘with’ or ‘as well as’ have a synonym of outfit or equipment between them

11a       Foliage irritation with sweetheart on meadow (7)
LEAFAGE — an irritation or something boring that needs to be done and the middle letter or heart of swEet follow (on) a meadow or a field

12a       Cracked glass in making marks (7)
SIGNALS — an anagram (cracked) of GLASS IN

13a       Seeing that transgression is followed by Church (5)
SINCE — a transgression or wrongdoing followed by one of the umpteen two letter abbreviations that mean Church

14a       Painter facetiously assuming physical connection … (9)
INTERFACE — a lurker or a hidden answer which is indicated by assuming (I think)

16a       … from clear change largely constraining Raphael? (9)
ARCHANGEL — . . . and here comes another one – this time it’s indicated by the last but one word of the clue

19a       USA without Trump’s lead provides satisfaction (5)
SATES — another way of referring to the USA without the first letter (lead) of T[rump]

21a       Outfit isn’t wet, surprisingly (7)
TWINSET — an anagram (surprisingly) of ISN’T WET

23a       Most inferior tarts covered in mould (7)
ROPIEST — some tarts or filled pastry inside (covered in) mould or decay

24a       Applaud taking Queen piece on board (7)
CHEQUER — a verb to applaud vocally contains (taking) a two letter abbreviation for Queen

25a       Boasting from supporter with trouble accepting victory (7)
BRAVADO — the supporter is one of the usual crosswordland ones – it’s a piece of women’s underwear and it’s followed by some trouble or a bit of a disturbance – between the two  you need the one letter abbreviation for V[ictory]

26a       Cross river docked by container ship (12)
CANTANKEROUS — a metal container (used to preserve food) and a kind of ship (used to transport oil) and then  the first three letters of a four letter river (docked or cut)



1d        Criminal is proud about evil (7)
VILLAIN — a synonym for  proud or conceited contains (about) another word for evil or bad

2d        Psalm uttered in church service finally (7)
CHORALE — uttered or spoken goes inside (in) one of the two letters for church and the last letter (finally) of servicE

3d        Concentrating, not eating around middle of Lent (9)
FASTENING — another way of saying ‘not eating’ for some reason contains (around) the central two letters (middle of) lENt

4d        Raiment often being exhibited with state openings (5)
ROBES — the first letters (openings) of the first letters of the first four words of the clue, and then (with) the first letter of S[tate]

5d        Provoke Pooh’s friend admitting Roo’s first (7)
TRIGGER — the bouncy stripey friend of Winnie the Pooh contains the first letter (first) of R[oo]

6d        Falls once more over uncovered trap (7)
NIAGARA — a reversal (over) of the word that means once more is followed by the middle letters (uncovered) of tRAp

7d        St Cecilia sect almost converted minister (12)
ECCLESIASTIC — an anagram (converted) of ST CECILIA SEC (sect almost)

10d      Pass reduced commotion about parking permission (12)
 DISPENSATION – begin with a verb to pass or no longer exist without its last letter (reduced) and follow that with another word for a commotion or something that has caused a bit of excitement which contains the one letter abbreviation for P[arking] – thanks to Gazza and to CS – I spent ages turning this one upside down and inside out and I still couldn’t work out why

15d      Smashing ball or tee is not bad (9)
TOLERABLE — an anagram (smashing) of BALL OR TEE

17d      In clubs, date catching the man’s fancy (7)
CHIMERA — the one letter abbreviation for C[lubs] in card games and a date or an age contain a way of saying ‘the man’

18d      A sailor reported storm (7)
ASSAULT — a homophone (reported)

19d      Mobster thus managed to enter post office (7)
SOPRANO — a little word meaning thus or like that is followed by the two letter abbreviation for P[ost] O[ffice] which goes round (to enter) another word for managed or organised

20d      Protection for most extreme members? (7)
TOECAPS — the members here aren’t anything to do with politics – they’re parts of your body – the very end bits (extreme)

22d      City of Italy in fashion (5)
TURIN — a verb to fashion or make contain the IVR code for Italy

There are too many good clues to pick out any particular ones (and anyway I’m seriously running out of time!) so which ones did you like best?

The Quickie Pun:- SACK + RAY + BLUR = SACREBLEU


121 comments on “DT 29543

  1. Thanks Kath, though I found this at the easier end of Ray-T’s spectrum. Getting 1a and 8d straight away was a big bonus.
    Biggest hold up and LOI was 20d.
    Is 24a a form of draughts?? I played draughts against my mum as a child and she never let me win once!! Must explain why I am such a psychological mess! On a similar vein, The Queens Gambit on Netflix is superb.
    Applause for Ray-T as well as Kath.

    1. 24a. I think the game being refenced here is Chinese chequers – the pieces being called “chequers”. I might be wrong, though.

      1. You are right, Jose. The pieces for Chinese Chequers are called chequers.

        The American name for Draughts is “Checkers”, and I don’t know but would assume that their playing pieces for this are called “checkers”.

        1. There is a pub in the next village to me called the Chequers and it’s sign is a draughts board. I’m not sure what we can draw from that. Pun intended.

          1. Another definition of “chequer” is a pattern of different coloured squares and also any one of the individual squares in such a pattern. The Chequers pub sign is a generic representation of such coloured squares – in the form of games board. That’s how I see it…

  2. What can one say about this…I thought it was superb. Not particularly diificilt, probably the fastest I’ve ever solved a Ray T, but very entertaining. The long perimeter clues were excellent (though 1a is not a word you see every day of the week) as where the lurkers but I’ve chosen 19,23&25a as they made me laugh.
    Many thanks to Mr T and Kath for the entertainment.

  3. 2*/5*. What Stephen L said plus a mention for the groan-worthy but excellent Quickie pun.
    Many thanks to RayT and to Kath.

  4. I found this one tricky too (3*/3.5*), Kath and failed to parse 10d, although I bunged it in since it couldn’t be anything else. There were two good lurkers and I really liked 16a. The long anagrams were very testing too. My COTD was 26a, which was great fun. I wasn’t so keen on the synonym in 3a and thought 19d a wee bit weak too . So a bit of a mixed bag. Thanks to Kath for the hints and to Ray T for a good brain workout.

    1. Chris, I pondered for a while about 3a before deciding it was OK, e.g. “she was fastening her attention on …”

      1. I think you can also fasten your gaze on something which is a reasonable synonym of concentrate but My initial thought was much the same as yours, Chris.

  5. I too found that early solutions to 1a and 7 and 10d helped to make this an easier than sometimes RayT although still just in *** time. 26a stumped me for a while – I must get bigger alarm bells for when I see the word dock to remember to shorten as this common setter’s river would then have appeared a lot easier. Extremely enjoyable and clever. Thanks Kath. Thanks RayT.

  6. I can say this Ray T put up a fight for me! But I usually find his puzzles difficult so that’s not a general indication of difficulty at all. I spotted the lurker in 16a straightaway but for some reason missed the one in 14a for quite a while. 5d made me smile as did 19d (still got a boxed set of that series on DVDs somewhere) but I’d nominate 26a as favourite. Needed Kath’s hints to understand 11a – I couldn’t see the irritation part at all. ****/*** Thanks to all.

  7. I often struggle with RayT, but this one was right up my street. Favourite clues were the lurkers of 14a/16a. Thank you RayT and Kath. Thanks too to whoever recommended Richard Osman’s book “The Thursday Murder Club”. I had some real, laughter out loud moments reading it.

    1. I agree with everything Florence said. And I’m looking forward to the next Thursday Club book, as well as the next Thursday RayT.

  8. I didn’t find that too difficult – but getting the long anagrams at 1a 7d helped. I liked the two lurkers in the middle. The Queen was in 24a but not her usual cypher. Thanks to Kath and Ray T
    Time to take Mama Bee shopping, toughie later

  9. Outclassed today. Lots unfinished at the end of teabreak. All fair now Kath’s shown the way but I think this is one I’d never have got to the end of unaided. Then again had I spotted the pair of hiddens those checkers might have made all the difference! It beat me but I loved 26a – I fell into all the traps.

  10. Unlike earlier commenters I found this slightly trickier thank many Ray T compilations but no less entertaining. His remarkable conciseness and brevity in clue-writing never ceases to amaze. To that end I like 26a as a favourite.

    Thanks to Mr T for the fun and to Kath.

  11. I had a very good night’s sleep last night, which would explain my **/**** score I think! Agree that getting 1a and 7d helped get off to a good start. Thanks to RayT and Kath!

  12. I found this puzzle quite difficult ,especially the SE quadrant, last in was 10d and like Kath I had trouble with the parsing.
    Last in and my favourite was 19d ,I was juggling the three elements forming the charade but needed 19a to give me the first letter of 19d which did the trick.
    Going for a ***/* ****, not one of my better days but a cracking crossword from Mr T.

  13. I’m with you, Kath, found this quite a tricky little number, especially the parsing of 10d.
    1&26a came out on top here – delicious words – and I have to mention 19a if only for the smile it will bring to Robert’s face!

    Devotions to Mr T and many thanks to Kath for the review – something of a late night for you I would imagine!

  14. Nothing much to hold up the solve once a few chequers went in. Parsing was another matter. Accept the stretch and move on. Too much thinking addles the brain. I couldn’t sort 10 down out but it had to be what it was from the checking letters. Both the first and last words could be considered for the role of definition which didn’t help. I do like a RayT Thursday. Especially when I’ve scored front row centre tickets to a Van Morrison gig at The Barbican in York. Thanks to RayT, Kath, The Barbican box office, The BBC programme schedulers (for putting on three St Trinians films this week so far. The Lavender Hill Mob today) and Saint Sharon for being there

    1. You are very lucky as I only have ROK and ITV 3 at present in my new abode. I am up to date with the Archers and very much so on Morse Lewis and Poirot….

  15. Very difficult for me, especially in the SW corner. Eventually had to throw in the towel and look up 26a .
    Missed the second lurker but bunged in the answer anyway .
    Totally failed to parse 10d …another bung in.
    But, I did enjoy the bits that I could do and it took my mind off the cold……boiler is on the blink and the Man (well Men, they’re hunting in pairs today) is taking quite a while to sort it out…there’s a fair amount of teeth sucking going on so I expect that it may involve a second visit. Sigh….
    Thanks to Kath and to RayT.

  16. Beaten me I’m afraid. I couldn’t parse 10d or 22d. I had TOENAIL for 20 which ruined 26a.

    My biggest beef would be 2d. Psalms do not have to be sung and 2d does not have to be a psalm.

    Thanks to Ray T and Kath.

  17. Glad to see that some found it quite easy as I didn’t want to boast about the time it took me to complete.
    Didn’t need to look twice at a clue before solving it, which is very unusual for me.
    Unlike the toughie where I am still stuck on a couple but shall now wait for CS to post her review.
    Thanks to RayT and to Kath.

  18. We found this quite straightforward for a Ray T but helped by getting 1A & 7D immediately. **/**** with 26A raising a smile.

  19. The incomparable Mr T rules again, but I managed to stay with him all the way, though 10d (my LOI) held me up a bit and pushed me into 2.5*. I do enjoy the brevity and conciseness of his surfaces, as well as the wit and catchiness of his solves. Especially liked the two lurkers, and for a change, the ellipsis helped me catch both (I don’t usually see the connections). Amusing quickie pun too! Thanks to Kath for the review and to Mr T for the fun. 2.5* / 4*

    Another doable Toughie today, but trickier than the week’s earlier ones.

  20. Nicely testing exercise which was helped on its way with solving of 1a and 7d (thanks to some gizmo help). Not sure 21d is an ‘outfit’. Tried for a while to use criminal as indicating anagram in 1d. Top fashion city in Italy was first thought for 22d as turn didn’t seem to indicate fashion. Fav was 6d. Thank you RayT and Kath.

  21. I think I made a bit of a mistake today; I started this puzzle at a gallop over breakfast and decided to do of it 50% if possible before doing ‘something useful’ in the kitchen and then completing the rest over lunch. Sadly, by lunchtime my brain must have seized up as I found the remaining 50% twice as difficult as I had the first. Happily all solved now, but I have to confess to checking Kath’s hints for a couple – namely 20 down (couldn’t make up my mind between ‘cap’ and ‘nails’) & 17d, I word I knew and had entered, but I hadn’t come across that meaning before. In all a pretty satisfying solve, as RayT puzzles always are for me. 16 across has to be my favourite, but only because I got the word before I’d read the clue – just lucky I suppose. Thanks to RayT and Kath.

    1. I too do useful things in the kitchen. Well I suggest things for dinner and tea (lunch and dinner).

      1. And a very important useful task it is too :-) One of mine this morning was to make and freeze our Chrstmas stuffing, ready to use on Christmas Eve. (none of yer packet stuff here, ;-) )

        1. I use the packet stuff and tart it up with hot Italian sausage and veg. My crew loved it, can’t do those things any more!

          1. Mine’s almost like a meal in itself with so many ingredients in it. I purposely make far too much so we can use the odd portion from the freezer during the months following Christmas. I make my own bread sauce too – from a recipe handed down to me from my great grand mother. Her recipe dates back well into the 1800s and states that rather than boiling the onion and cloves in milk and throwing the onion away afterward, one shoud finely chop the onion, boil with the cloves and then add your breadcrumbs to the milk and onion mix, with a knob of butter and a drop of cream. Leave the cloves in until just before serving lunch, removing as many as possible first and season to taste. Sorry, I didn’t mean to start a cookery class. :-) :-) :-)

            1. I used half-and-half cream and steep the onions, masses of garlic, Scotch Bonnet pepper, cloves, fresh thyme and rosemary. I use the freshest and softest white breadcrumbs at the last minute. I’m going to miss all that, for the first time I’m going to be alone for Christmas. Better safe than sorry!

              1. Thanks Merusa, I’ll have to try that version for sure :-) Have a great Christmas despite not being with your folks – hopefully Christmas 2021 can be a really wild occasion for us all.

  22. Like most others I found this relatively straightforward once the several easier clues were in for checkers, **/**** for me. A Few good long anagrams like 1a and 7d always helps things along!

    I too found some of the parsing a bit tedious to work out when the solution seemed fairly obvious, eg 19d.

    COTD for me was the lurker in 16a, brought a smile to my face as being appropriate for the time of year!

    Thanks to RayT and Kath

  23. As some others, I found today’s Ray T a little on the difficult side but it surrendered after much head scratching. 1a and 7d went in straight away so I thought I was in for a straightforward solve. Never make assumptions, Cowling! I struggled from then on. Not sure the answer to 12a is a mark but what do I know? Plenty of clues to like but my COTD is 5d be cause it reminded me of happy childhood tales.

    Many thanks, Ray T and thanks to Kath for the hints.

  24. Now I know what it is like to go ten rounds with Tyson Fury for this was the crossword equivalent – yet I was determined to hear the bell at the end of the final round and somehow survive to collapse in the corner.
    An excellent crossword but it has drained me of all energy and now I feel my only recourse is to follow Lola’s example (she is snoozing away, as usual).

    This has been a red letter day here. Well, not just red but all colours. For the last couple of days my printed-out crossword has been so faintly printed that I needed extra lighting to be able to read it. Then, yesterday evening, Amazon, that great tax-paying charitable organisation, turned up with two new ink cartridges. I feel rewarded as I have come to the aid of Mr Bezos for he needs every penny as we know.
    In the words of Johnny Nash – I can see clearly now, the ink has come.

    Thanks to Ray T and Lovely Kath.

    1. I used to fight with RayT and report to this blog. Just like the childhood scraps I could lose but I could never give up. Now we just toy with each other. Not as much fun at all

    2. Terence, I also get my cartridges from Amazon. I have an HP printer and the cartridges cost a fortune, I pay about £25 and they are meant to do 480 pages. I get nothing like that, 100 if I am lucky. I got hold of a techie person at HP and he talked me through printing off a report and said I had done about 480 pages OVER 4 years and at least 10 cartridges! I’ve been told this is typical of HP and it would be cheaper to get a new printer as they are pretty inexpensive now.

      1. I have an HP printer and get the cartridges on contract for £1.99 a month. They read when you are running low and send some more. It made me realise what a rip off cartridges are because these fit in the printer but are larger and hold far more ink that the ones you buy.

    3. I think Mr Bezos could find his way to our door blindfolded, or at least his delivery elves could. I know his company is not very popular with some, but it has been a godsend during this pandemic, as we have been able to keep ourselves supplied with hard to find items, plus those where we would otherwise have to fight away through a crowded to store to purchase.

      1. I’m with you Lizzie! Added to the pandemic, I can no longer drive and Bezos is my lifeline, from dog food to Kindle to laundry detergent and more! Amazon is a Godsend.

    4. I have a HP printer so this is all very useful information and I will look into it tomorrow.
      Thanks everyone!

  25. A typical Ray T with some excellent clues. Felt very pleased to get the two lurkers.. remembering the tip if the clues don’t make a lot of sense or seem unduly complicated ..they are most likely to be thus. ***/**** Thank you sir; Favourites 6d and 26a; Just couldn’t work out the why of 10d, but it was the only word it could be, so thanks Kath el al for making sense of it. I have another hmm which means I may clash with Kath again regarding 11a . Nowhere in the BRB , Google or any other of the crossword aides can I find FAG equating with irritable/irritation. To me an irritation is something that you can’t ignore where a fag is something so dully and dreary its best ignored if you can. This was a stretch. Needless to say the only blank on my grid was the 6th letter of this answer- hence why I’m irritated!!!

    1. Every fag is irritating. I can’t stand to see them in real life or on the TV. Awful things that need consigning to the dustbin that is all history.

    2. Kath is just a tad on the 26a side today so probably best not clashed with!
      The BRB (well, mine anyway which is 11th edition) says, among other things, “a tiresome piece of work; drudgery;”
      I reckon that’s a fair enough description of an irritation.

      1. OK you win again! I’m always 26a across according to my wife, but i know when to wave the white flag

  26. Really enjoyed this. Just 2d left and decided to go off and do something else and then it popped in quite easily. Never spotted the lurker and wondered how I got the answer. Thank goodness the electronic version is back working again. With my washing machine getting stuck before the spin cycle yesterday, still got mountains of soaking washing hanging round the bathroom. Mr M suggested asking a neighbour if I could just spin my clothes in their machine but I thought it would be a bit of a cheek! Thanks to Kath and the setter.

  27. Not as difficult as many Ray T puzzles I have reported on rather sourly. Finished without the hints but needed Kath to parse some. But a good day when I can come to Big Dave’s crossword blog with a Ray T finished.

    Thanks to Kath and Ray T.

  28. We just got completely hung up on 18d as I was convinced it was ABS so many thanks Kath for sorting me out. I am always happy with anagrams and the nice long ones were a great help. I went to see Mr Edwards the knee surgeon yesterday Kath and he is very pleased that I have obviously been doing my exercises! He went through the X-rays with me and told me the knee would last for 20 years ……..! But will I?

      1. It is doing very well thank you, this graft has taken and we are giving it the fresh air treatment. His poor head looks like a patchwork quilt – a good thing he is tall! The lovely Gary came to do our hair today and I reckon he deserves a medal for facing up to George’s scalp.

    1. Well done – glad to hear that the knee is doing so well, or that you’re doing so well with the knee. I wonder what Mr Edwards said about doing the splits . . .

  29. Sorry, sorry – I didn’t say thank you to Ray T and Kath for the entertainment. I hope our friends in America are keeping safe, I don’t like the latest figures.

    1. Hi Daisygirl. I’m lockeddown and hiding in my house right now. We just passed 290,000 deaths in the US and there have been 1,297 so far today (according to CNN at 1:53 pm here in Charleston). Hope Merusa, BusyLizzie, and others over here are all right–and the rest of you wherever you are. Good news about your knee, DG.

      1. In the news today, my little town just north of the airport has the dubious distinction of having the highest percentage of cases in S. Florida. I’m keeping a low profile but have to visit the ophthalmologist tomorrow.

        1. Just stay safe all of you. I am having a real tussle with DD2 (dirty daughter two) who cannot understand why we are reluctant to join them on Christmas Day. Her mother in law, sister and brother in law will be there which is three households and the latter two are working. Having got through this horrible year, is it now worth taking a risk just for a few hours? We don’t think so.

          1. Definitely not. Tell them you’ll see them at Easter – that’s what we are telling people

            1. I agree, we’ve been through so much, why risk it now? This is the first Christmas ever that I’ll be spending alone, but I think it’s worth it.

  30. Typical Ray T offering. I managed 3/4 and understood less than half, about par for the course for him.
    Tricky and no fun.

  31. Great Thursday puzzle nice to get the place back to normal after a few alterations. Every bit a Ray T puzzle her Majesty made an appearance and some nice anagrams to get ones teeth into. I have a nice set of doggie paw prints in a bit of the new path!
    Many thanks to Kath and RayT.

  32. Just a quick note to say thank you to everyone and though I still have a long way to go with today’s crossword 5d really made my day, full out loud giggle. :-)

  33. All was well until I got to 26a. Could not get it even with all the checkers. Got it with Kath’s excellent hint. I was just not on the right wavelength. The others did not bother me even 20d which I got on first glance. I could not parse 22d, a city I’ve been to so did not insert until I had all the checkers. Favourites 19 23 24 and 25a and 6 and 20. Thanks Ray T and Kath

  34. Hello again, everyone,
    I seem to have screwed up the difficulty rating today – apologies.
    I never time myself but rely on what I feel like while I’m actually doing the crossword and when it’s finished – I enjoyed this very much but felt like a piece of chewed string by the time I’d done it.
    Going by the comments I’m definitely odd one out today apart from a very few people. Oh well – can’t win ’em all.

    1. No apology needed, Kath. The stars are a subjective view, you found it tricky therefore the ***/**** rating is fine.

        1. I love it when the blogger gives it more stars than I would have done. Makes me feel clever! There’s nothing worse than really struggling over one abs then finding the blogger gave it one star!

          1. I’m glad you feel clever but spare a thought for the blogger who now feels a bit on the dim side! :sad:

  35. 4/4. Tricky Thursday but very rewarding. 20d LOI but plenty to enjoy on the way. Thanks to Ray T and Kath for the hints.

  36. A quick comment before a well deserved soak in a hot bath after a pleasant round of golf where the temperature dropped markedly on the back nine & was chuffing cold at the finish. Solved, parsed & most importantly accessed early this morning without any undue difficulty which is always a plus for a Ray T. 19d was my favourite for no other reason than the series is one of the true masterpieces of modern television & Tony a truly appalling creation.
    Thanks to Ray T & to Kath, who I can’t imagine is ever 26a.

    1. Huntsman

      Was lucky enough to borrow a box set earlier in the year……in time for the lockdown before last to be precise. I watched 2 episodes a night from start to finish. What a brilliant series. Couldn’t put it down so to speak .

      Got a feeling you play golf in Harpenden? Berkhamsted? I play little bit nearer to London ….sandy lodge. Playing tomorrow, weather willing

      1. Sandy Lodge is a super track & great for winter golf. You’re very fortunate. Excellent closing par 3. Was a member at South Herts for 20yrs but currently unattached though keep a h’cap via Luton Hoo. Play most of the Herts courses – Porters Pk, Hadley Wood, Ashridge, Berkhampsted, West/South Herts my favourites of those that aren’t the really big bucks

  37. Found this Thursday offering hard as well as yesterday’s. ****/**** for this one today. 19a last in as was the whole right side.
    Clues to like are 24a, 25a, 4d & 5d with 24a winner and 5d runner up.
    For me I found some of the clues a stretch to get intended answer even with the hints provided thus I found this on the hard end of Ray T’s puzzles.

    Thanks to Ray T and Kath for the needed hints to get through the puzzle.

  38. This must surely have been at the easier end of the Ray T spectrum, as I was able to complete all but two. I’m usually left grumbling on Thursdays, but not today. I needed hints for 24a and for 17d. 1a leapt off the page at me so that helped. Really enjoyed today. Thank you Mr T, and to Kath for helping me finish.

  39. Evening all. Many thanks to Kath for the unravelling and to everybody else for your comments.


    1. Were you a Dixon of Dock Green fan Ray T ? Very enjoyable today. .Many thanks to you and Kath .

      Hard work for me, so I’m with you re difficulty Kath.

    2. Good of you to pop in as always, Mr T. Hope the current restrictions in France aren’t going to prevent you from seeing your son over the festive season?

  40. Breezed through this in one star time for me. Only hold up the parsing of the first two letters of 10d. I never cease to be amazed how different people find the difficulty level different on different days. I reckon there’s a PhD on wavelength theory for somebody out there. Thanks all.

  41. We agree with Kath’s difficulty rating. Starting off with TOENAIL for 20d did not help our cause. All the usual fun from this setter.
    Clue word count with a maximum of 7 once again.
    Thanks RayT and Kath.

    1. Oh and :phew:
      You’ll never know how pleased I was to see your comment – was beginning to feel a bit like Billy-no-mates on the difficulty level.
      I really found it tough so very pleased to have a spot of company.

    2. I had TOENAIL as well and that made 26a even more difficult.
      An enjoyable puzzle, but I do have one query – which part of 26a tells us that the docked river needs to go to the end of the solution?

  42. Can’t quite work out why we find the ‘more difficult’ crosswords easy but really struggle with the ‘easy’ ones!! Does anyone else have this problem?😀

    1. I’m sure lots of people have this problem – it is, as always, all to do with wavelength, and wavelength covers so much – I could go on at length but, just for a change, I won’t.

  43. I’m so late on parade today, I’ll have to read the comments later!
    I actually finished a RayT, albeit with much e-help and I had to use an anagram solver for 1a, but with much enjoyment. It’s a good thing I reread what I write, I called our illustrious setter RatT. Sorry, corrected PDQ.
    I did need your help, Kath, to unravel a few, some were bung ins.
    I presume 19a was our RayT being a bit naughty! It’ll be interesting to see if anyone commented when I get to read the comments.
    Thank you RayT, lots of fun, and to Kath for her hints and tips.

  44. I found this nicely challenging and I would agree with your assessment of difficulty Kath! I had no idea how the answer to 19d could be what it is but Google enlightened me. And I was slightly misled by 22d ‘cos the answer seemed so obvious and it was! An enjoyable workout, thanks to Ray T and thanks to Kath for the blog.

  45. Great challenge today. Came up short by a couple of clues (in the SW), but enjoyed the rest of it. Spent far too long trying to make an anagram of of Pass reduced at 10 d, before the penny dropped.
    4d was excellent – very clever.
    Thanks to Ray T and Kath.

  46. I managed to finish this unaided. Dinner will a bit late but I wanted to get through it while I was on a roll. I couldn’t parse a couple of them without the hints but all in all a great fun crossword. I was definitely on the right wavelength today.

  47. I’m sure I made harder work of this than I should have as I struggled to get on wavelength, but, hey ho! I got there. As usual hard to pick a favourite but I’m going with 18d with 10d as runner up. Thanks to Rayt and Kath.

  48. Another late effort from me today after a busy day sorting our biz tax stuff with the accountant. I was surprised having read the comments above how some the answers came to me. Completed in ** time and enjoyable ****. I’d go with 24a as favourite.
    Thx to Ray T and Kath.

  49. I seem to have left my brain somewhere as I couldn’t get a single clue today.

    My worst result in over 25 years.

  50. No point really in commentating at this late stage as it’s all been said,
    RayT usually defeats me so, as I finished this one, I think he must have been in a softer mood,
    I loved the Quickie pun.
    Rewatching The West Wing. Now that was a brilliant series, in some ways far ahead of its time,

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