DT 29555 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 29555

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 29555

Hints and tips by Kath

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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

Hello everyone. I don’t think that I’ve ever been the ‘hinty person’ on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day before now. Normally it would be appropriate to be “terribly jolly” and “Ho Ho” and lots of good wishes to all for a “wonderful Christmas with your families and friends” etc etc but somehow that doesn’t seem quite right this year so I’ll leave it at that. I hope you all have the best possible few days given the current problems and let’s hope for better times to come in 2021.

Right – now on to the Thursday Ray T crossword. I enjoyed this one very much and thought it was probably somewhere in the middle of his range of difficulty, although I did have my moments with a few of the clues.

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.


7a        Charged vote for costly cut (8)
ELECTRIC — elect or choose is followed by another word for costly or lavish without its final letter (cut)

9a        Ordinary gathering using speech (6)
ORALLY — the abbreviation for ordinary and then a gathering or demonstration

10a       Each male getting hairdo (4)
PERM — for each is followed by the abbreviation for M[ale]

11a       Famous fabulous Beetle car, Disney’s first (10)
CELEBRATED — an anagram (fabulous) of BEETLE CAR and the first letter of D[isney’s]

12a       Gambler giving raise (6)
BETTER — I think this is a double definition – the first is a noun and the second a verb

14a       Offended and demonstrated accepting fine (8)
 PROVOKED — demonstrated, or shown to be rather than marched in protest, contains (accepting) a couple of letters that mean fine or satisfactory  

15a       Express carries publicity for follower (6)
 SHADOW — express or demonstrate contains the abbreviation for some publicity or a commercial

17a       Dye from one doing pants (6)
INDIGO — the letter that looks like a one is followed by an anagram (pants) of DOING

20a       Submarine inside founders easily (8)
UNDERSEA — the first lurker or hidden answer of the day which is indicated by ‘inside’ – I don’t imagine that I was the only one to spend ages hunting for a kind of boat

22a       Wood from tree stump (6)
LUMBER — a double definition, I think – the first is some split or sawn logs (which the BRB says is north American) and the second is a verb meaning to land someone with doing something that they’d prefer not to

PS Just to add to my original hint –  lumber and stump can both mean walk in a stiff, heavy and clumsy way

23a       Loneliness being isolated on ground (10)
DESOLATION — an anagram (ground) of ISOLATED ON

24a       Loads or tons, say, initially (4)
LOTS — the first letters (initially) of the remaining words of the clue

25a       Follow line purchasing Queen follow-up (6)
 SEQUEL — follow or understand and the one letter abbreviation for L[ine] go round a two letter abbreviation for Queen

26a       Eccentric US president having tirade about Republican (8)
ABERRANT — the abbreviation of the first name of a 19th century US president and a tirade or some angry talk contain (about) the abbreviation for R[epublican]



1d        The answer isn’t this stupid! (8)
CLUELESS — I’m not sure how to do a hint for this one but the last word is not an anagram indicator – I did spend ages thinking that it was

2d        Racket as raincoat’s lifted (4)
SCAM — a reversal (lifted) of the abbreviation for a raincoat, with the ‘S

3d        Stallholder possibly more vulgar, we hear (6)
GROCER — a homophone (we hear) of something that is more vulgar or smutty

4d        Almost suspect nut makes some money (8)
DOUBLOON — a verb to suspect or have misgivings about without its final letter (almost) is followed by a ‘nut’ or an informal word for an eccentric peson

5d        Trauma is no different for hospital (10)
SANATORIUM — an anagram (different) of TRAUMA IS NO

6d        Everybody, say, on European border … (6)
ALLEGE — a short word meaning everybody or everything, the two letter abbreviation for say or as an example and, the one letter abbreviation for E[uropean] – I don’t really quite understand this properly but I think it’s something to do with the ellipsis – I’m certain that someone with a better knowledge of grammar will do better than that . . .

Update – Ray T ‘popped in’ to clarify the 6d clue at about 2.00pm

It should read, “Everybody, say, on European state” so the definition is “STATE”

8d        … check arresting a border leader (6)
CALIPH — the two letter chess abbreviation for check contains the A from the clue and a border or a rim

13d      Talk about one’s holidays? (10)
TRAVELOGUE — I can’t really add anything to the clue – the answer is exactly what the clue says

16d      Sob sadly over story about Conservative interference (8)
OBSTACLE — an anagram (sadly) of SOB is followed by a story or some fiction which contains (about) the one letter abbreviation for C[onservative]

18d      Suggestion of lover to necessitate blankets (8)
OVERTONE — another hidden answer indicated by blankets

19d      Old man can start to appreciate film (6)
PATINA — an affectionate term for your Dad or your old man, then ‘can’, as in a container rather than is able to, and, finally, the first letter (start to) of A[ppreciate]

21d      Relations with pleasant son involving sweetheart (6)
NIECES — a synonym for pleasant or agreeable and the one letter abbreviation for S[on] contain (involving) the middle letter or heart of swEet

22d      Stay that is missing from corset? (6)
LINGER — a general term for something of which corset is just an example has the two letter Latin abbreviation for ‘that is’ at the end of it  – just remove those two letters (that is missing) – I wonder if anyone wears corsets these days?

24d      Fat boy eating last of dinner (4)
LARD — a young boy or a youth contains (eating) the last letter of [dinne]R

Lots of good clues – I’ll leave you to pick your own – that’s a bit of a euphemism for ‘I have to do a few useful bits and pieces now’!

The Quickie Pun:- MINT + SPIES = MINCE PIES

121 comments on “DT 29555

  1. Reasonably straightforward for a Ray T, except for 6d which was easy enough to assemble from its constituent parts then I had no idea how it equates to the definition (with or without the ellipsis). Completed at a fast canter – ***/****.
    Candidates for favourite – 9a, 26a, 3d, and 22d – and the winner is 22d.
    Thanks to Mr T, Kath, and whoever unscrambles 6d for us.

    1. I took this at face value. The all for everybody and the ege as how edge for border sounds. Not too sure.

  2. Hmmm. Not sure about 6d either. I think the answer refers to the “, say,” part of the clue.

  3. Another winner from Mr RayT all solved in good time. Thanks to the setter and thanks to Kath who is rightly down in the dumps. It’s Christmas Day here on our own in Barrel and another Christmas Day tomorrow in Oswaldtwistle. We have a Beef Wellington with the beef wrapped in a treacle sauce and bacon and pastry prepared by Tony from Coventry’s Gourmet Food Kitchen. Merry Christmas to all who are involved in anyway with this blog.

  4. Must have been one of his easier ones as I finished without any electronic help although I needed the hints to explain my answer to 4d. A distinct lack of any Christmas clues today which was disappointing.
    I seldom enjoy Ray T puzzles but this was an exception although there were no smile clues.
    Still its Christmas Eve at a difficult time so not the occasion for any carping. I am just grateful to still be around to do crosswords when so many have fallen by the way.
    On the bright side it is snowing in Northumberland!
    Merry Christmas to all

      1. Must be me, I thought it was obvious! OMG don’t tell me I am beginning to think like Ray T! That’s one mind I definitely do not want to be inside, he has a weird way of looking at life.

  5. I had “better” for 12a. It’s seems appropriate and fits the checkers of the intersecting clues.

  6. 4.5*/4*. I found this at the difficult end of RayT’s range, but no less enjoyable than usual.

    I came here hoping for some enlightenment about 6d as I too have no idea how either “border” or “border…” can be the definition. I’m also not convinced by the definition “stump” in 22a.

    When I first looked at 1d, I thought the answer might be “question” but happily I didn’t put that in. After the penny dropped this became my favourite, with 3d & 22d joining it on the podium.

    Many thanks to RayT and to Kath, and my good wishes to one and all for the best Christmas you can have in such difficult (some might say unprecedented) circumstances.

        1. I think I mixed up my sports and piece of equipment; that’s what happens when one tries to have an inspirational thought while driving to the supermarket to be there for when it opens at 6:00am on Christmas Eve morning.
          To unconfuse everyone. especially myself, ‘swinging the lumber’ is baseball slang for swinging the bat.

      1. Not so. It is a double definition

        Wood from tree = noun

        Stump = verb second definition in Chambers thesaurus. For cricket BRB specifies plural

  7. A typically concisely-clued puzzle from the master of brevity. A long list of ticks, but I will select 22d as my particular favourite. 6d has me stumped too.

    Many thanks to Mr T and to Kath and a very Happy Christmas to you both from a sunny Shropshire.

  8. This was a slow tease out the answers kind of Ray T for me. I don’t understand why lumber = stump. Somewhere in the world, possibly! 25a held me up for a while looking for the usual er for her majesty in there somewhere. The lurker at 18d was well disguised but my favourite is 26a. ***/*** Thanks to all. I’m not sure what sort of seasons greetings are appropriate – tomorrow will be the first time I’ve ever spent the day alone so embrace the experience is the answer to that, I suppose. At least I don’t have to prepare a massive lunch for an army. And many thanks to the setters and bloggers who have all done a great job in keeping spirits up during this awful year.

    1. Sorry about 22a – I had been going to add a bit to the hint but forgot – just as I obviously forgot to put the actual answer under the ‘click here’ bit in 12a.
      Stump and lumber can both mean to walk heavily and clumsily.

  9. This seemed even more sparingly clued than usual and for me very tricky indeed, in fact I didn’t complete it as I had “better” for 12a…to me it’s “better” than the solution.
    Also not convinced about 22a plus 13d (not very cryptic) along with the already mentioned 6d. All in all it lacked a bit of the usual Mr T sparkle in my opinion.
    I liked 1d, which I took to be a double definition along with 22d the best.
    4.5/2.5 *
    Many thanks to Ray T and to Kath and seasons greetings to one and all who contribute to the blog .

  10. Agree with RD on border 6d and stump.22a
    With regard to 12a, Kath’s definition says ANSWER on my screen! which is obviously incorrect( better for me)-help required please
    Apart from the above a difficult entertaining back pager and a ****/**** for me.
    liked 9a and 4d,

  11. A testing puzzle, which made me think a bit but that’s all too the good (3*/4*). There were 2 good lurkers at 20a and 18d and 26a was nicely confusing but my favourite ckue was 1d (that’s me usually). Many thanks to Kath for the hints and to Ray T. Have a peaceful Christmas and let’s hooe 2021 inproves as it goes along.

  12. Having galloped away from the field over the past two days, I did a Devon Loch and dived into the turf with this one. I completed 2/3rds, and had some unparsed ideas or two or three others, but then stopped completely.

    Electrons had to be utilised to jump start my effort, but I really don’t know why. Other than 6d, all the clues seem reasonably fair. Obviously, my ‘wavelength pills’ have stopped working.
    Many thanks to Mr T., Kath and to every correspondent in this forum, the Best Christmas you can manage, and a much Happier New Year.

    1. Completely agree with Malcolm R – my wavelength pills have also gone awol. I didn’t enjoy this at all and for the first time in simply ages did not finish, in fact had about 4 to go. When the hints came in didn’t understand some of the answers either, especially 6d. The fact that I am still suffering from a severe bout of food poisoning doesn’t help. How I will cook Christmas lunch I have no idea when I can’t even abide the smell of toast at the moment! Enjoy tomorrow everyone, at least we are not stuck in lorry courtesy of the spiteful Monsieur Macron.

      1. The ironic thing about Macron’s decision is that there will be very few Brits in the queue and loads of French. At least they will not be discomfited by the toilet arrangements.

      2. The residents of Dover have been unable to leave their homes because the whole town is gridlocked. (My daughter lives there) She says most of the stranded drivers, all of whom are Macron’s fellow Europeans, have placards in their cab Windows saying foxtrot Oscar Macron. He’s popular. Lots of the residents have been taking the drivers hot drinks and food so the Christmas spirit is there somewhere.

        1. Thank you, Greta, for the snippet of information about the poor lorry drivers who are stranded – I’ve been thinking about them a lot and am really pleased to hear that they’re being helped by local residents.

  13. Was I ever 1d on 1d!! I stared and stared at it, went through the alphabet (like a child, on my fingers), and finally just left it blank. Mr T got me today. But his usual concision and brilliance must be saluted, so Merry Christmas, Ray T, and a special Thank You and my best wishes to Kath for her enlivening and heartwarming reviews all year long. I know it’s cold comfort right now, but I do want to wish everyone else the best Christmas possible.

  14. I did not find this straightforward but, nevertheless, it was enjoyable. I had to resort to the hints for a few. A pity it did not have a Christmas theme but I suppose that depends on whether the crossword editor has one to hand. Not sure about 6d as are others and 12a has been discussed. I am sure it’s an old chestnut (roasting on an open fire?) but my COTD is 1d.

    Many thanks to Ray T, Kath for the challenge and hints. A very Merry Christmas to all involved in the production of this fabulous blog and let us hope for a much better New Year.

  15. Very taxing – like Denis Healey on steroids.
    By Jiminy, I needed Kath’s hints for quite a few today – in particular, and maddeningly, 20a.
    Like many have commented, the understanding of 6d is a mystery.

    Very chilly in Tier Four today; little Lola has chosen to curl up on the sofa and who can blame her?

    Today’s soundtrack: Jennifer Warnes – Famous Blue Raincoat.

    Thanks to Ray T, and lovely Kath.

    1. I’m always happiest when Leonard Cohen is wearing the Famous Blue Raincoat. Was solving at four in the morning the inspiration for the song?

  16. First time in a fair old while that a Thursday cryptic puzzle has lived up to its ‘difficult’ reputation, or at least for me it did. Can’t for the life of me understand 6d, although the answer cannot be anything else than what it is. 1d is quite brilliant and my favourite clue today, closely followed by 4d & 19d. An enjoyable workout over a nice coffee laced with whisky and solved after all the perishable shopping had been done – even managed to buy a few bunches of daffs for Mrs SB, which is a Christmas tradition I first began in 1971, when it was our first Christmas as Mr and Mrs. Thanks to RayT and Kath and Happy Christmas to everyone out there in Crosswordland. Let’s hope for a happier and healthier 2021.

      1. Me too :-) Their brightness always brightens a dull day for me and they bring the promise of Spring. Btw, I met an old friend this morning, who despite now living in Shropshire was born and bread in Barwell – he was the first one ever I heard it referred to as ‘Barrel’, despite me living not a million miles away in Hinckley many moons ago.

        1. When we first moved to our present home we marvelled at our first sight of our spring daffodils. The postman came while we were looking at them and said, “Yes lovely but in a few days the wind will come and knock them all over”.

          He was right.

  17. I found this one a little trickier than normal, although that’s probably due to having opened the bar a little earlier than normal (well it is Christmas, and Valencia is one hour ahead of the UK…….).
    Many thanks to RayT and to Kath. Feliz Navidad from Spain.

  18. At the trickier end of Ray T’s spectrum but still a backpager. Add me to the list of people confused by 6d

    Thanks to Mr T and Kath

  19. I really wanted dear old ‘Herbie’ to have a part to play in 11a but ’twas not to be. Then I was stumped by 22a but Kath’s explanation answers that one – as for 6d, it would seem that none of us has a satisfactory answer as to why it is what it has to be, hopefully Mr T will pop in later and lighten our darkness!
    1d was my favourite with 22d a close second.

    Christmas devotions to Mr T and many thanks to Kath for this and all her other enjoyable reviews of 2020 – very best of festive wishes to both of you.

  20. I’m really glad that it’s not “just me” being completely dim and that everyone seems to have had trouble with 6d but it would be really nice if someone could bail us out.
    Last ditch attempt – where’s Gazza when we need him? If anyone knows he does.

    1. He doesn’t. I really have no idea what the definition is in 6d. I came here hoping to find out but everyone seems to be in the same boat.
      Many thanks to Ray T for his puzzles through the year and to Kath for her sterling work in explaining them. Happy Christmas to all.

  21. I managed to get somewhere close to Ray T’s wavelength today but still needed help with a couple from the blog (ta) and thought the lurkers were well concealed. Note to self, ‘read the clue carefully’.
    Mrs 2P teased out the place where many of us will end up if the pubs do not open soon!
    Many thanks to Ray T and Kath.

  22. Afternoon all. Many thanks to Kath for the decryption and to all for your comments. To put you all out of your misery, I think that I meant to write ‘state’ rather than ‘border’ in 6d! Anyway, everybody have as good a Christmas and New Year as you possibly can.


    1. Thanks for dropping in, Ray T. I must be thick today as I am still not sure about 6d but no worries. Have a very Happy Christmas and a better New Year and thank you for keeping us entertained on alternate Thursdays.

      1. No, you’re not being thick.
        Ray T means that the clue to 6d should have been, “Everybody, say, on European state ” rather than “Everybody, say, on European border ” In other words the definition is now ‘state’ not border and allege is state.

        1. Oh, thanks, Kath! I now see the significance of “state”. The Christmas eve lunch of baguette and baked Camembert must have dulled my brain (not to mention a glass of Katy cider!).

    2. Thank you very much, Ray T – that could just have driven me, and everyone else, completely mad.
      A Happy Christmas to you, Sir, and thank you for all your amazing crosswords.

    3. Thanks very much for popping in and for all your excellent puzzles throughout the year. Thanks too for your confession regarding 6d to put us out of our misery.

      Merry Christmas and Happy New Year (if possible).

      1. Merry Christmas and thank you for all the absorbing puzzles. Looking forward to more cunning clues in 2021.

    4. Thank you, Mr T. I think you can be forgiven seeing as it’s the season of goodwill and all that!
      Hope you manage to get some enjoyment from Christmas Day, no matter how muted the celebrations may be.

  23. Managed to finish a Thursday Ray T whilst watching the regular hail/sleet showers flash through North Yorkshire. Still in Tier 2 along with Cumbria but not for much longer if those in the NE, West Yorkshire, and Hull and East Yorkshire continue sneaking over our borders which are extensive.

    If it wasn’t for ‘border’ 6d would be one of those clues where the solution is the clue itself. 1d is my favourite today but with an honourable mention for 15a.

    Season’s Greetings to all those fellow posters who provide enjoyment beyond the solving of the puzzles.

    And to those who provide the blog ; and to those who set the puzzles.

  24. Question on Facebook to Chris Lancaster from Colin Bradley
    Will there be new Puzzles available tomorrow on the Puzzles Website please?
    Reply from Chris Lancaster
    Hi Colin; yes, a full set of new puzzles tomorrow — Cryptic, Quick and Toughie crosswords, Codewords, Sudoku, etc, etc. There’s also Elgar’s annual Double Toughie Crossword.

    Digital subscribers will also get new puzzles in the Edition App.

    Hope that helps!

  25. I, too, was confused by 6d, and scanning everyone else’s mystification was making me beginning to think it was going to be left up in the air when I came across Ray T’s explanation. So I can rest easy now. I always like Ray T’s puzzles and can normally complete them reasonably easily. Probably means there is something wrong with me! Is 13d cryptic? 1d was my COTD>

  26. Thanks to all at Telegraph Towers for another year of crosswords, and all the setters too, especially Ray T today – Thanks for clarifying 6d
    Thanks to all the bloggers here at Big Dave’s especially Kath today
    one of my 21d is coming for dinner tomorrow though I am sure she wouldn’t want to be described as a 1d 21d Clueless Niece
    1d 16d and 4d were my podia today.
    Christmas dinner has been collected from Mr Tommy Banks posh restaurant – we are having Sourdough Bread with Welsh Cheddar Custard and a smoked salmon starter, Turkey Ballotine and trimmings and a choc fondant with root vegetable mince pies.
    Niece and BF are not militant veggies but prefer an alternative to Turkey, so they can choose from ricotta parcels and a nice nut roast from M&S with an alternative raspberry and prosecco pannacotta.
    we will be mainly drinking a Walker Bay Pinot Noir from the Hemel -en- Aarde Valley (Heaven on Earth)
    I hope everyone has as good a Christmas as possible when all that is done with I will be raising a glass of Benromach peat smoked whisky to everyone here.

    1. Love the menu! I shall be having a frozen Turkey dinner with Ambrosia rice pudding for afters. I’ll be on my own, just replenished Famous Grouse x6, I also have a few wines on hand to choose from. I didn’t think enough in advance to order a Christmas pud!

    2. What a wonderful Christmas meal! I am cooking Beef Wellington. This will be accompanied by hassleback potatoes, fresh leeks from the garden, pigs in blanket and a velouté sauce. I haven’t decided on the wine yet. We don’t do dessert but cheese and biscuits will be accompanied by either damson gin or blueberry brandy both of which are home made.

  27. Delighted to hear there will be puzzles tomorrow to help those of us living alone to pass the day once our zoomed church service is over. Wishing you all a happy Christmas & a better 2021 despite the uncertainties of covid & Brexit.

  28. Did anyone else notice similarity between 26a of the cryptic and 23a of the quickie? Still – the lurker in the Quickie was Christmassy!
    Late doing crossword today, due to watching Christmas Carol, all filmed in my neighbour’s houses!

  29. Another cracking RayT puzzle like many others I was confused by 6d and as Ray said “state” would have been a bit of a gimme, still great entertainment.
    Will be having virtual Christmas dinner with daughter and grandchildren, they were coming down to Cornwall for Christmas but Covid put paid to that. Still it meaabs we canhave a second Christmas later in the new year. Let us all hope that 2021 is much better for all.
    The dogs have already sussed out doggie treats under the tree!
    Thanks to Kath and Ray T.
    Have a good Christmas all,

    1. We daren’t put doggie treats under the tree. Not only would the treats be gone on Christmas morning but all the other presents would have been “opened” to make sure nothing had been missed.
      Biggles sends Christmas grr-eetings to all contibutor’s pets (especially Hudson, Sadie & not forgetting Lola). May you all be spoiled & allowed to over-indulge over the festive period.

      1. Thank you Biggles, and Sadie sends Happy Christmas wishes to you, Hudson and Lola. Our pets are the only ones who benefit from lockdown, they have our attention and company 24/7, and love it.

      2. Hudson says thank you to Biggles but could he send over food parcels rather than Christmas greetings? Far more practical. No? Ok, Merry Christmas, Biggles. 🐶

  30. An enjoyable Ray T for me today, some slotting in right away on first scan. Glad I wasn’t alone in scratching the head on 6d, just kept looking at it – grateful for others comments above and Ray T. I will go with 22d as my favourite.
    Thanks to Kath and Ray T
    Seasons best wishes to all T

  31. Silly me. I was hoping for an early Christmas present from Ray T, but it was not to be. I’m about half done which is good for me, but need to get moving now, so might get back to this later. Well done to “hinty” Kath. Happy Christmas to one and all. It will be a quiet one here, sharing with family via FaceTime hopefully. Good luck to those affected by Storm Bella.

  32. Greetings to everyone and enormous thanks to all the setters and hinters who have kept us sane this year. The crossword has been our one
    constant, something to look forward to and take our minds off the b——awful situation we are all in. Thanks also to all the contributors to this
    site, I feel I have made friends all around the globe (well, almost). It is very heartwarming.
    Today was another joy, like many others I thought 1d was priceless but was baffled by 6d. I don’t quite know what to do with myself today, we would
    normally be in the midst of our live crib with a real baby and donkey, George as the Innkeeper, the church full to bursting with families clamouring to see the tableau and searching for the forty or so toy sheep I hide around the church. Then home for a rest and supper before going back for the Midnight Mass – now cancelled. Ah well. Chin up, everyone, tomorrow is just another day!

  33. ****/****. Tricky in parts and needed the hints to some of them to complete the grid. Thanks to Kath and Ray T. Looking forwards to seeing the grandchildren, albeit on FaceTime, showing us what Santa brought.

  34. Thanks to RayT for his brilliant efforts to keep us laughing in such a terrible year. Two nice lurkers as usual and the Queen has a new guise for a change. My favourite was 1d which was also the last in after much racking of brain. Also liked 2 3 4 11 14 15 22a 22d and 25. Compliments of the season to all , especially Kath who always seems to be on RayT duty!

  35. I started out but was totally lost, then I got to 17a and decided not to bother. Instead I solved the Monday bonus puzzle, kept on hand for just such an occasion and thoroughly enjoyed. Very Christmassy and fun.
    I’m posting in order to wish all my fellow BD community a very Happy Christmas, this too shall pass. I hope tomorrow isn’t too bad and there is much to enjoy.

  36. I seem to have turned into a lurker although I do pop in every day once I’ve finished the crossword.

    I’ve delurked today to wish everyone as happy a Christmas as they can possibly manage in these strange and stressful times.

    Thanks to all the hinty people and to all the commenters who make this blog the friendly and warm place it is on a daily basis. Thanks in particular to Big Dave for providing the forum and for keeping it up and running, often in the face of adversity and online idiots.

    As for today’s crossword, I enjoyed it thoroughly as I always do on a RayT day. It amazes me that I can even say those words as there was a time when I was convinced I would never get to grips with him. Thank you to Kath for her always entertaining words.

    Thank you to RayT for the regular challenge and for popping in today to explain 6d which I had worked out early on but didn’t fill in until it was the last clue left, as I couldn’t find the definition. I wouldn’t mind guessing that he has taken the blame for someone else’s typo as I can’t see a clue without a definition would get past the editor.

    Better times ahead everyone……

  37. Glad to see that the confusion about 6d is now cleared.
    It was the only clue that I didn’t really understand either.
    Favourite 1d followed shortly by 22d.
    Off to open a few dozen oysters as we are allowed to celebrate Xmas in small committee (no more than 6) and no curfew. So there should be my ex, our daughter and her boyfriend and my in-laws.
    Have a lovely time everyone. Keep safe.

    1. Where are my manners?
      I forgot to thank RayT and Kath for all those wonderful Thursdays.

  38. Well I found that ver tough just could see the wood for the trees. Normally I am on Ray T’s wavelength but not today. Sheer bloody mindedness not to be beaten got me there in the end in 5 * time. Helped pass the 2.5 hours attached to a drip, still staring at unanswered clues I felt like a drip attached to a drip.
    COTD was 1d
    Compliments of the season & thanks to Ray T & Kath for the pleasures you bring to Thursdays.
    Similarly to Big Dave, all the other reviewers / hinters, and all contributors for making visiting this site a daily source of delight
    For those who have wished me well I am pleased / relieved / who knows what emotion, to say that tests show the treatment appears to be doing its job, thankfully & I should be around in 2021 (unless my shielding doesn’t work of course)

    1. PS
      Like Brian we had snow last night. It has not melted so we will have a white christmas.
      Just means the drive is slippy, the solar panels are not generating & the road hasn’t been gritted. Not quite the idyllic picture painted by the song!

      1. Great news, LROK. Stay safe. Cheers to you for a good Christmas Day on your White Christmas!

        1. Thanks Robert
          Could be the Crimson Tide and the Tigers again for the title. Your defense (sorry all but it is American Football) will need to step up a gear to contain those running backs. Should be a high scoring game I think.

          1. The Tigers have to deal with Ohio State’s Buckeyes first, but another tussle with Alabama is quite possible…those formidable backs…including the quarterback. Go, Clemson!

    2. That is, indeed, good news! I’m so glad you’re responding to the treatment, keep it up. Hoping you and Daphne have a very Happy Christmas. Keep safe and well.

      1. Thank you CS.
        The support and encouragement shown by contributors and has meant a lot to me over very difficult times.
        A bit easier for us to stay safe up here than for you down in th SE Sue.
        A friend who is 90 from near Southport went for his jab then decided to go to the golf club restaurant for lunch on the way home. Three days later the golf club emailed him to say 3 people who lunched that day had tested positive. He was told he would be called for a test but hasn’t. No symptoms have developed after a week so his fingers are crossed. He won’t be lunching out again needless to say.

        1. We’ve been staying clear of people generally. My friend’s eldest daughter and her husband have been really ill. He’s lost over two stone because trying to eat or drink brings on the cough. She ended up in hospital with covid pneumonia. Now home with tons of different pills and instructions to do absolutely nothing for the next six weeks! Scary times indeed

        2. So happy for you that your tests show you are doing well. Your friend is probably in the clear, with no symptoms after a week. When my grandson got Covid, her doctor said it should show up in 5 days if they had caught it. They didn’t.

    3. Fantastic news, LROK! I am so pleased for you. Keep up the good work and I hope you and your family have a wonderful Christmas. Let us hope for a far better 2021.

      I have a glass of Lagavulin by my side and I am raising a toast to you and your continued improvement.

      1. Thanks Steve,
        We have at least 5 distilleries within 15 miles sadly mine will have to be a virtual glass, it always tastes perfect though.
        Biggles has a strain so is resting and will have to forego the planned beach visit. When the Turkey goes in he won’t want to leave the kitchen door anyway!
        Echo your thoughts on 2021, it must be better than 2020 surely!

    4. Great news mate – optimism for a happy 2021.
      Have a great Christmas & try not to end up on your arse when you venture out…..

      1. Thanks H,
        Problem is our drive is snow covered & about 70 yards at 1 in 4 & we don’t ski.
        Will go & grit, being careful not to exceed the safe a*** over t** ratio.

      1. Thanks Jane,
        I do nothing as I said I am just the drip on the end of the drip (good book title? Reminds me Santa brings my Rebus today – my reading habits are pretty simple I’m afraid
        Nadolig Llawen

  39. Definitely a ***/**** today with some hinting definitely need. Quite tricky in parts I thought. I filled grid top to bottom for the most part with SE area last in.
    Some clever clueing including 15a, 26a,1d, 3d & 22d with winner 1d and runner up 15a

    Thanks to Ray T and Kath

    Wishes all on this blog, all the setters and hinters a Happy Christmas and a FAR better New Year that this lousy one has been.

  40. I wish I’d come here earlier to put me out of my misery over 6d!

    Managed to finished without hints so quite chuffed to do that with a Ray T…!

    Favourite, as with others, 1d.


  41. Late to this today after a day sloshing about on the golf course but in sunny brisk weather so who cares. Read Senf’s opening comment of reasonably straightforward (well he’s often found Dada a doddle when my brain has near exploded) but then Brian pipes up with must have been one of his easier ones – I thought my iPad had got a different puzzle but later comments confirmed it wasn’t just me. As ever a very enjoyable Ray T with some very tricky clues today. 1d, 4d & 22a/d took longer than the rest. 5d was my pick because it was the best place to be in boarding school provided it wasn’t due to anything painful or potentially life threatening – a better bed, no prefects, books&comics and more grub meant: happy days.
    Many thanks to Ray T & to Kath for her reviews both today & over the year.
    Wishing all who contribute to this rather special site a very happy Christmas & hoping for a substantially better new year

  42. Tough end of Ray T’s range, I thought.
    Got there in the end, pleased to have managed it.
    Merry Christmas and a preposterous New Year to all…………🤓

  43. Thanks to Ray T for the crossword and for sorting us all out with the 6d confusion.
    Thank you, too, to all for the comments and I wish you all as good a day tomorrow as is possible given the circumstances and restrictions that we’re all living under at the moment.
    Night night all and sleep well.

  44. Thanks for all your company this trying year. Buckle up and enjoy your Christmas and let’s hope for a 2021 that will get us back to normality sometime.

  45. 1d is my favourite too – very clever. Mr. Th and I are now going to open our Christmas presents. Like HM and the Duke we are celebrating Christmas on our own, as at our age we feel it is better to treat Christmas Day like any other lockdown day in South East Wales. Our Christmas dinner will be brought
    round by our grand-daughter, and we know it will be delicious.
    Christmas greetings to all connected with this blog, which has given us much enjoyment since we first came to know about it during the first lockdown. So our thanks as well to everyone, and may 2021 be a better year for all.

  46. Finally got there with help of son who’s getting into cryptics. I don’t use electronic aids and really struggled with SW corner having made a mistake with 23d ….ing. Never mind. Hopefully my comments will appear higher up listing in a few years! BW to all.

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