DT 29614 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 29614

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 29614

Hints and tips by Kath

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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

Hello everyone. A typical Ray T crossword – probably not as difficult as he can be but I think it had almost all his trademark 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.


1a  Corporation at airing, soon being broadcast (12)       
 ORGANISATION — an anagram (being broadcast) of AT AIRING SOON

8a        Staggering fish caught by crew (7)
REELING — a long slippery fish goes inside (caught by) a crew or a gang

9a        Detectives are liable for stretch (7)
DISTEND — some of our usual detectives are followed by another word for liable to [or likely to rather than financially liable]

11a       Marine creature circling large water barrier? (7)
SEALANT — another word for marine or aquatic and a very small insect (creature) have the abbreviation for L[arge] in between them (circling)

12a       Second mate’s checking empty icebreaker screws (7)
SPIRALS — start with the abbreviation for S[econd] and follow that with a mate or a friend, with his ‘S, which contains (checking) the first and last letters (empty) of I[cebreake]R

13a       Pleasant cradling head of endearing relative (5)
NIECE — pleasant or genial contains (cradling) the first letter (head of) E[ndearing]

14a       Ace to grill a fresh snapper? (9)
ALLIGATOR — an anagram (fresh) of A[ce] and TO GRILL A

16a       Complete tool (9)
IMPLEMENT — a double definition – the first is a verb and the second a noun

19a       Minx acting dreadfully, awfully mature initially (5)
MADAM — the first letters (initially) of the other words in the clue

21a       Appeal from centre attacker (7)
ENTREAT — the only lurker or hidden answer today – it’s indicated by the word ‘from’

23a       Endlessly make point holding old spear (7)
HARPOON — to make a point – not in the sense of sharpening a pencil but to keep repeating the same thing over and over again (4,2) then put the abbreviation for O[ld] into it (holding)

24a       Attempt to comprehend elderly affliction (7)
TRAGEDY — a synonym for elderly or old is contained in (to comprehend or take in) an attempt or a bid

25a       Clear identification entering competition (7)
 EVIDENT — a competition or a match contains (entering) the two letter abbreviation for some official identification

26a       Gossip live about soap sketch (12)
BLATHERSKITEthis is one of those that I’m only going to attempt once – start with some soap (the frothy stuff rather than the tosh on the TV) and follow that with a sketch (a humorous send-up, not a drawing) and then put that lot into a verb to live or exist (about) – phew – and with a bit of luck you’ll end up with a word that you’ve probably never heard of anyway



1d        Control over Queen wearing crown (7)
OPERATE — the one letter ‘crickety’ abbreviation for O[ver] is followed by a synonym for crown (of the head rather than the ornate thingy that someone important might wear) then put the regnal cipher of our Queen inside it (wearing)

2d        Face of single male taken by beauty (7)
GRIMACE — a verb to pull a face – the letter that looks like a one (single) and the abbreviation for M[ale] are contained by (taken by) another word for beauty or appeal

3d        I harm gent suffering hallucination (9)
NIGHTMARE — an anagram (suffering) of I HARM GENT

4d        Terribly upset overturning drinks (5)
SODAS — a little short two letter word meaning terribly or very is followed by a reversal (overturning) of another word for upset or unhappy

5d        Relishing a bite after end of fast (7)
TASTING —  the last letter (end) of [fas]T is followed by the A from the clue and a bite or tingle

6d        Ham open employing a can-opener? (7)
OVERACT — open or plain to see contains (employing) the A from the clue and the first letter (opener) of C[an]

7d        Gift yours truly intended without a misgiving (12)
PRESENTIMENT — a gift or offering of some kind is followed by a way of saying ‘yours truly’ or oneself and a five letter synonym of intended or planned without the ‘A’ which is its middle letter

10d      Tell apart aims with indirect shot (12)
DISCRIMINATE — an anagram (shot) of AIMS and INDIRECT

15d      Somehow they lack small openers (9)
LATCHKEYS — an anagram (somehow) of THEY LACK followed by the abbreviation for S[mall]

17d      Danger of veil covering sex with female (7)
PITFALL — a veil or a shroud contains (covering) a slangy way of saying ‘sex’ and the one letter abbreviation for F(emale)

18d      He or I could be one (7)
ELEMENT — treat the ‘He’ and the ‘I’ as scientific abbreviations – in other words don’t do what I did and bung in ‘pronoun’ in a very confident way

19d      Spoil one purchasing can for cocktail (7)
 MARTINI — spoil or impair and the letter that looks like a one contain (purchasing) another word for a can

20d      Takes risks with sweetheart about love, see (7)
DIOCESE — takes risks as in  “***** with death” contains the letter that looks like a love score in tennis (about) and then finish off with the middle letter or ‘heart’ of swEet

22d      Reportedly season providing herb (5)
THYME – a homophone (reportedly) of a season or period

I liked 26a and 17d and I think my favourite was probably 23a

The Quickie pun:- QUEUE + BRUTE = CUBE ROOT


90 comments on “DT 29614

  1. I agree with Kath that this was a fairly friendly Ray T this morning, but the quality and enjoyment was as good as ever. Tight, concise clues as always make his puzzles a delight to solve, and I particularly liked 26a; such a lovely word although new to me.

    My thanks to Mr T and Kath.

  2. A thoroughly enjoyable Ray T special (2*/4*), with some great anagrams, the best of which were 14a and 15d. 18d and 11a were good for misdirection but my COTD was 26a and congratulations to Kath for her superb hint for that clue. It’s a lovely word but not easy to explain. Many thanks to both Kath and Ray T.

  3. If there’s one setter I can guarantee to be on the wavelength of its Ray T. As Kath says, a typical Mr T puzzle, in other words first class.
    I thought the surface read for 16a a bit racy for the DT, and I don’t think I’ve ever come across either 26a or 7d but the wordplay virtually walked you through them.
    Podium places go to 11a plus 18&20d with top spot going to 23a.
    Many thanks to Mr T and Kath for the top notch entertainment.

  4. Never heard of 26a, but I thought that 18d was excellent. Good fun and thanks to both.

  5. 26a was my last one in and held me up for a while. As Kath says, it’s a new one to me but I eventually unravelled it as she describes. Other than that, this was a pretty gentle offering from Ray T. ***/*** Favourite 23a. Thanks to all.

  6. Thankfully, no four-letters today, which I often find quite difficult. However, many thanks to Kath for parsing 18d, which I’d bunged in but not confidently; clever, clever…

  7. With the first pass only yielding four I thought this was going to be one of those days.Suddenly things fell into place & in the end only the SW corner gave problems.
    Needed electronic help for 26a my LOI. A word that now might enter the ginger whinger’s vocabulary I guess.
    COTD was 18d, nice to get some science occasionally. The answer brings to mind Tom Lehrer setting the 92 (then known) 18ds to a G&S tune:

    Thanks to Ray T and Kath for the entertaining review.

    1. Yes 26a could go in the Ginger Whinger Glossary under ‘B’ next to Banana Republic.

  8. Loved the puzzle today.Great to learn a new word.Just needing an opportunity to use 26a now.Thanks to setter for an enjoyable start to yet another grey day.

  9. Agree with all that has been said above. I used to find Ray T puzzles difficult but now I look forward to them. I have never heard of 26a either but what a fantastic word. Definitely one to remember. As usual there are many great clues such as 23a and 17d but, like others, my COTD is 18d.

    Many thanks to Ray T for a fun solve and thank you, Kath for the hints. Have you heard from John B?

  10. Well, this one stretched me rather. Got there in the end, with (as many have also noted) 26a being a new word to me.

    Dashing off now to drive H to her pre-assessment prior to next week’s procedure/operation.

    Lola is ok – I’ve ordered one of those donut cat collars that was recommended here some time ago (due to arrive today). This is to try and stop little Lola fiddling with her paws, as I can see she is making them much worse by ‘grooming’ them. The vet (some time ago) advised against, but the neighbour and I agree that it surely can’t do any harm, as her condition has worsened since the rather vague advice was given.

    Thanks to Ray T, and Lovely Kath.

    1. Terence,
      The donut collar possibly won’t be very effective with paws, especially front paws. However it is worth a try & certainly won’t do any harm.

      1. I really hope the skin specialist helps Lola.

        One of our cats, now long gone, had an allergy, the symptoms of which were very broken and what must have been very itchy skin over her eyes. She absolutely tore the skin to bits there . When we discovered what she was allergic to…..it was fish….removing all fish or fish derivatives from her diet did the trick. (Our vet said that it was usually a dietary thing and advised us how to do an exclusion diet.) The allergy appeared out of nowhere…she had been eating the food with fish in it for years then suddenly itchy itchy itchy.
        I say this in an attempt to be encouraging…..poor Lola’s problem may be easily solved once a proper diagnosis is arrived at.
        Well, I say easily solved….I spent more time than I like to remember in supermarkets staring at the ingredients of cat food making sure there were no fish oils or derivatives in them.
        All the best to her and hopefully not long now before things get better for the poor wee soul. (And you.)

        1. We once had a cat that would only eat fish. In Coventry. As far inland as you can get. Frankie the fish eating cat. Expensive

  11. 2*/5*. This was what we have come to expect every second Thursday – a great puzzle and a great blog. Many thanks to RayT and to Kath.

    As for most others who have commented so far, 26a was a (splendid) new word for me but you just needed to follow the instructions to get to the answer.

    Unlike others, my favourite was 7d.

    P.S. Starting to get a bit worried about John Bee’s absence. Here’s hoping he is OK.

    1. So am I RD. Not typical at all. Hoping he will be safe and well in a hotel in Harrogate just like Agatha Christie eating takeaway scones from Betty’s. I know he still works, so more at risk than most of us, and then there’s his dear old mum. We do get anxious about fellow contributors when they go missing, especially those we know from the gatherings.

      1. It’s so kind of people on here to notice who’s missing. I add my best wishes to John and his Mama.

        Sadly Bettys are completely closed at the moment, even for takeaway fat rascals from the shop.

  12. Loved doing todays puzzle but I was well beaten by 26A.
    I can’t wait to gat back to the pub and use it on a few people I know.

  13. Isn’t 26A a wonderful word! Thought 18D was very clever and my favourite.
    Thanks to Ray T and Kath.

  14. It’s obviously just me then. I haven’t found this easy at all. I’ve struggled to fill in the top half, but I need a break. Thought that I would check the comments, but most seem to have found this one ok. I’ll try to come back to it later after I’ve done a bit of my couch to 5k. In the mean time, if I don’t come back, thanks to the setter and Kath.

    1. Find out where your nearest Park Run is Florence. You should be just about ready when they start up again.
      It is a great motivator to keel doing 5ks even if your time seems slow. Mrs LrOK started them after she retired having never run other than for a bus. She has now done over 300!

      1. Thanks LrOK. I’m impressed with Mrs LrOK. Today I jogged the same distance as yesterday, but knocked ten minutes off my time. I’m going to try and build speed up first, then take the distance further.

    2. It’s not just you I found this really difficult. Just not fun unfortunately. I’m just not on this setter’s wavelength! Thanks for the hints.

  15. Not as friendly as his last offering but a lot better than most. As always with a Ray T, I start at the bottom and work upwards.
    Often with his it’s a question of trying to work out the definition then fitting the wordplay around it. He and Jay remain my least favourite setters but i am trying hard to get on their often bizarre wavelength.
    Thx for the hints to explain 6d and 17d but my fav was 6d, very clever, nice to see a scientific clue.
    Thx to all

  16. Apart from one of the Acrosses, I am sure you know which one, a friendly and very enjoyable Ray T puzzle – **/****.
    Candidates for favourite – 2d, 17d, and 18d – and the winner is 18d.
    Thanks to Ray T and Kath.

  17. What an honest straightforward set of clues from Ray T this morning. My first reaction was a presentiment that this was going to be a dreadful morning for me. But no ; careful reading of the clues, which is absolutely necessary with Ray T revealed all as he was being very friendly today. 7d was an excellent clue which followed the rule of reading carefully exactly. Honourable mentions as well to the questionable taste of 17d and 16a (perhaps it’s my mind), the v.g. anagram at 10d, and the lucid cueing of 11 and 12a. If only Ray T could always be this helpful.

    Thanks to Kath for her hints which confirmed my readings.

  18. All completed, except one, in *** time.

    I’ll let you guess which one.

    Thanks to Mr T. and Kath.

  19. Sorry, using old tablet and forgot 1945 probably. Don’t lose it please or I will lose the will to live.

  20. Thank you Ray and Kath. Loved the mischievous 16a and the witty 23a but failed at the two 17d’s of 11and 28a, other than that, I thought this most enjoyable.

  21. A bit tougher than the first 3 this week, but very fair clues. 26a appeared around Christmas somewhere, so this is only the second time I’ve come across it. Took a few minutes to remember though! 2.5*/4* for me.
    Thanks Ray T and Kath

  22. I did get slightly side-tracked by the very obvious ‘marine creature’ that appeared in 11a and have to admit that I’d not heard of 26a – what a strange word!
    Quite a gentle puzzle from our setter today but as enjoyable as ever, think my favourite was the staggering fish at 8a.

    Devotions as always to Mr T and many thanks to Kath for the nicely illustrated review.
    PS Sorry to report that despite sending two emails I haven’t heard anything back from John Bee. I do hope that he and Mama Bee are OK – we get so worried in these troubling times.

    1. Me too Jane. See my reply to Rabbit Dave above. Is Bee John’s full surname or a nom de plume? I did find a John Bee on Facebook but it was devoid of any identifying information.

  23. I have actually managed to finish a Ray T puzzle without any help. I did get stuck on 26a for quite a while, but got there in the end. Many thanks to Kath and Ray T. I guess his next offering may be a bit harder.

  24. Straight through, top to bottom solve, and quite wonderful. Haven’t seen 7d in some time, anywhere, but have always loved its nuanced possibilities. I thought 26a was primarily British in origin but apparently it’s North American in source and usage. With his taut and clever surfaces, this is a Ray T quite in his element. Top clues: 15, 20, & 7d. Thanks to Kath for the review and to Ray T for the brilliance. ** / ****

    Excellent Toughie today too.

    1. Like Jane, I have also emailed John Bee but have received no reply from him. I am most concerned.

  25. Lovely crossword – thanks to the setter and to Kath for the hints.

    I can remember using 26a as a child so possibly a Yorkshire word though bits of it sound Scottish as well.

      1. My online dictionary says it’s of Scottish origin and was adopted by Americans in the 18th century during the American War of Independence, from a song called Maggie Lauder, which the Americans liked.

  26. Well, I did finish (except I put blathersnipe for 26a) and by then I lacked the will to look it up. Congratulations to Kath on rooting that one out.
    Talking of that, I did feel as though Mr T, perhaps aided by Mr Cowling, had been rooting around the canals of my left temporal lobe, so many Ns and Ts were there to juggle. I was doing something visually creative and kept having to go from one to the other, just to give each hemisphere a rest.
    Congrats to RayT – it was clever, but I got a bit fed up with it by the finish.
    Sounds as if most people enjoyed it!

    1. I admit to thinking of Blathersnipe first as a relative of the guttersnipe!

  27. Ah – I love Ray T crosswords. They’re so clever. I seem to be on his wavelength so finished this one without electronic help (apart from my husband bunging some in). I’m not normally a fan of words no one’s ever heard of but I managed 26a from the wordplay and all the letters I already had. Clue of the day was 18d which I wanted to be pronoun but the actual answer was so much better. Thanks to everyone. **/*****

  28. The brisk walk/jog I did before lunch obviously helped the old grey matter. I managed to finish the crossword straight off, and now wonder why I’d struggled with it earlier. 26a I had heard of before. My old boss used to use it when I lived in Sheffield for a couple of years. Not about me, but about another woman in a department full of women. She always knew what was going on, and delighted in spreading gossip. I made a point of not telling her anything I didn’t want to go around. Back to the puzzle, 18d was my standout favourite. Thanks again to all.

  29. Very much like the last 2 days inasmuch as the bulk went in pretty easily & then I ground to an emergency stop. Today it was with 7d & predictably 26a. With the former I’m pretty sure I’ve not encountered this one before & while the wordplay ought to lead you there pretty quickly the word just didn’t look right to me & I looked it up more in hope than expectation. Certainly never heard of 26a & what a wonderful word it is too. I cottoned on to the wordplay construction but was lacking the 9th&11th letters because I was focused on the wrong type of sketch – ended up cheating & looking up sketch synonyms so can’t claim an unaided finish. Pick of the clues for me from another quality crossword were 17,18 & 20d. Today’s albums: Moving On (The Nimmo Brothers) & Museum of Heart (Dave Alvin)
    Thanks to Ray T & Kath
    Ps To paraphrase Blackadder NS was as slippery as an eel coated with copious amounts of Vaseline at yesterday’s enquiry. Even though I can’t abide her (or him) there was no denying a pretty accomplished performance.

  30. Loved this puzzle. At first I thought it was going to be quite tricky but it slid in fairly easily in the end. Isn’t 26a the most marvellous word! Thanks to Ray T and Kath. If Merusa comes in today please tell me the website you bought the Pecks Anchovette from as I can’t find one that cheap. When it arrives let me know what you think, Yum Yum!

    1. I found it at the US amazon, amazon.com. Mine is due to arrive on the 12th. If you order from our amazon, you’re going to pay shipping costs which can be quite expensive.

      1. Thanks Merusa, my tastebuds are now working overtime! So hope it meets your expectations😁

  31. Enjoyed this one and particularly Kath’s rendition of 26a – a treat to read and no I had never heard of the word before. 20d was a Doh moment.

  32. Kath correct me if I’m wrong but think your pic at 19d is Joanne Whalley who we don’t seem to see much of these days. She starred in some of the best TV of the 80s – Bob Peck’s daughter in Edge of Darkness, the nurse in The Singing Detective & Ingrid in A Kind of Loving.

    1. That’s brought a smile to my face on two counts, Huntsman. Eric Clapton’s soundtrack to Edge of Darkness and Joanne Whalley in The Singing Detective. 🙂

  33. Having had a break for a few days, locally I might add, mainly taking dogs on the bits of coast path we have ‘t walked its good to be blogging again. After a lay off it was difficukt to get back in the swing. A RayT is just what I needed. As usual a couple of Doh moments, as for 26a totally baffled, so thanks to Kath forbthe hints, but Instill didn’t get it. Still at 70 ypu still learn things definately one for the pub quiz.
    Once again thanks to Kath and Ray T.

  34. I’m with the majority on the very enjoyable front. Most went in very easily due to getting three out of the four long answers straightaway. No prizes for guessing which one took a soak in the bath with plenty of lather. Never heard of it but very achievable. Unlike Brian I do find Ray T’s can be solved from the excellent word play. The NE was the last to fall and the last two 12a and 4d. Favourites 24 and 26a and 6 7 28 and 22d. Some of Ray T’s clues can be a little racy or risqué but I can’t find anything of that nature in 16a. Obviously led a sheltered life!

  35. Thank you RayT for providing such excellent Thursday afternoon entertainment and Kath your explanations of 26a and 18d are brilliant!

  36. I found this cleverly tricky with most clues falling – even the unknown 26a which finally fell to Kath-type reasoning – but had to look it up to check. But stupidly defeated by 20d. I obsessed with trying to make ‘dares’ work and did not even notice the last word of the clue ‘see’. Even when I did notice it, I totally forgot the ecclesiastical meaning of the word. Ho hum! Still learning! Thanks to Kath and setter.

    1. See if you can remember that See Hereward. The answer will either be Diocese or will end with the letters ely. Ely being a diocese

  37. I solved this just after 7.00am this morning and have had a full on day since. The consequence is that I cannot remember much about the puzzle except that I bunged Pronoun in for 18 down before the tool at 16 across scotched that one. Thanks to RayT for the puzzle and to Kath for her review and her kind words this morning. Saint Sharon has gone to Oswaldtwistle for a few days. I have made myself a Moroccan fish stew confirming , as I regularly tell Saint Sharon, that cooking is just warming things up. The Toughie was quite tame mostly too

  38. Very enjoyable crossword today.
    Managed it all except for 26a…but Mr Meringue came to the rescue…..though he says it should be spelled with a Y not an i……pedant!
    Lots of lovely clues.
    I also confidently and proudly entered pronoun at 18d until I saw it couldn’t be.

    Thanks to Ray T and to Kath

  39. A nice Ray T puzzle today. Took me a while to get going, but then things just fell into place 2.5*/**** Some really great, concise clueing with his trademark 7 or less words per clue. Very precise and fun to solve. Clue favourites today include 23a, 26a, 7d, 15d & 18d with winner by a country mile 26a and 15d/1d close runners up … so hard to pick one favourite today.
    Great puzzle, Ray

    Thanks to RayT and Kath

  40. Oh my goodness, a Ray T that I could actually do. Well with a couple of Kath’s picture hints, and needed her help for 26a, a completely new word for me. COTD definitely 16a, the perfect cryptic clue. Last in was 20d. Thanks to Ray T and Kath for a delightful and enjoyable puzzle. Just what I needed this morning, with a back aching from spreading 6 bags of compost manure yesterday.

    1. Thanks for telling us about that piece, Alfie. I found it really interesting.

  41. I always find RayT difficult, so nothing new. With e-help I did complete the grid but, natch, needed Kath’s hints to understand most of them.
    There were many great clues, 23a and 7d are examples, but my fave is 26a, a lovely word, never heard of it. I hope I can remember it.
    Thank you RayT for our puzzle and Kath for the review and her help.

  42. Enjoyable puzzle as we know to expect from this setter.
    Clue word count a maximum of 7 once again.
    Thanks RayT and Kath.

  43. Evening all. My thanks, as always, to Kath for the decryption, and thanks to everybody else for your comments.


    1. Wonderful puzzle, Ray T and thanks for improving my vocabulary. I usually forget new words but I doubt I will forget 26a! As someone said, I can’t wait to use it in conversation. 😁

  44. How does he do it? So much nuance in so few words! Maybe not as amusing as he can be, but a thoroughly enjoyable puzzle. And thankfully the almost compulsory silly word was hidden at the bottom where it didn’t matter. And even then was well clued – other setters take note! 18d my favourite, amongst a good crop. Once again, thanks Ray T.

  45. Thanks to Ray T and to Kath for the review and hints. Thanks for dropping in Ray, really enjoyed this one. I seemed to be on the right wavelength from the off. Had never heard of 26a, but got it from the wordplay. I started with 1a and finished on 1d. I liked 9,14,23a and 17&18d, but my favourite was 12a. The only trouble I had was with 20d, I originally had “dearest” for my answer, but couldn’t parse it, but got there in the end. Was 2* /4* for me.

  46. Great fun. Lol at 16a – I know a few complete tools! Impressed with 18d, very clever. **/**** Thanks to all.

  47. I’m in the “who would have thought there was such a word as 26a” camp this evening. I didn’t find this as straightforward as some but, hey ho! I love Rayt crosswords. Favourite was 10d, so hard to spot the anagram. Many thanks to Rayt and Kath.

  48. Lovely crossword, always a pleasure to do a Ray-T crossword and doubly so knowing Kath’s hints are to follow.
    26a defeated me as I had never heard of it and could not sort out the wordplay.
    More disappointment from India today…
    Thanks both.

  49. That’s it from me for today – I’ve officially had it and am off to bed in a minute.
    Thanks to Ray T for the crossword and for calling in – always so much appreciated.
    Thanks also to everyone for the comments.
    Night night all and sleep well.

  50. Late (last?) in…but done, eventually!!
    My last in was18D…I had the right answer but had no idea why!
    Thanks to Kath (already in deep slumbers I expect 😴) for the needed hint to explain it to my non-scientific brain…made me say, Doh!
    Otherwise, thank you to Ray T for another serious challenge…took my time, but I got there eventually!

  51. A great puzzle. Finished all but five last night, all in the SW corner then put four in this morning just leaving 26a. Finally sat down with a cup of tea this afternoon and that fell into place once I had thought of skit for sketch, though I have never heard of the answer before. When I was in Scouts in the 60s putting on a show with skits was very popular. Favourite clue was 18d, absolutely brilliant. I am sure being married to a (retired) Chemistry teacher helped me!

  52. One of the best ever Quick puns!! I laughed out loud. However, I can’t resolve a sting and a bite (5d). One’s done with a stinger and the other a mouth. Good fun crossword though.

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