DT 29638 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 29638

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 29638

Hints and tips by Kath

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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

Hello everyone. After yesterday was a surprise non-Jay Wednesday I wasn’t too sure what (or who) to expect today but there doesn’t seem to be much doubt that this crossword was set by Ray T – it certainly feels like one of his.

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

Across

1a        Catch husband, say, scratching head and reversing (6)
ENTRAP — a general term for a husband, wife, mate “significant other” etc etc  indicated by say, or for example, without his (or her) first letter (scratching head) – then reverse the whole thing (reversing). Then there was a slight problem which I didn’t notice when I was doing the crossword or even until I had an email from CS (thank you) – the ‘husband say’ scratches his tail before he’s reversed. Oh dear – not a good start to the hints – apologies.

4a        Rude devil right to embrace guy (8)
IMPROPER — a little devil or a sprite and the the abbreviation for R[ight] with a guy or a cord used to steady something between them (to embrace)

9a        Begs, seeing hints on page (6)
PLEADS — the abbreviation for P[age] is followed by some hints or clues – not the ones here but more likely the kind seen in an episode of ‘Morse’ when he thinks he’s on to something

10a       Hardworking boss promises to pay (8)
STUDIOUS — a boss or protuberance followed by the usual crosswordland promises to pay

12a       Sensible putting a boy in bulrush cover (8)
REASONED — a boy or a male offspring goes inside (in) a kind of bulrush

13a       Rush job (6)
CAREER — a double definition

15a       Vital spies blend in, adapting around America (13)
INDISPENSABLE — an anagram (adapting) of SPIES BLEND IN and the one letter abbreviation for A[merica]

18a       Show people confined by record contagion (13)
ENTERTAINMENT — a general term for male people contained in (confined by) a verb to record or log and another word for contagion or contamination

22a       Feebly cheers this compiler, literally gutted (6)
TAMELY — a slang way of saying thank you or cheers is followed by how the compiler could refer to himself and the first and last letters of L[iterall]Y (gutted or with nothing inside it

24a       Struggle to accept Labour’s leader is perfect (8)
COMPLETE — struggle or fight containing the first letter (leader) of L[abour]

26a       Breaking toe, cries inside (8)
ESOTERIC — an anagram (breaking) of TOE CRIES

27a       Minister in bother about religious instruction (6)
PRIEST — another word for a bother or a nuisance contains (about) the two letter abbreviation for R[eligious] I[nstruction]

28a       Match official’s new skill backing new signing? (8)
TRANSFER — a match official, with his “S”, the one letter abbreviation for N[ew] and a skill or talent – then twiddle the whole thing back to front (backing)

29a       Sound of more impressive kitchen utensil (6)
GRATER – more impressive or larger is a homophone (sound of) this kitchen utensil – we use one of these – when our Elder Lamb was little she used to ask for ‘up and down cheese’

 

Down

1d        Anger following English politician’s rule (6)
EMPIRE — a synonym for anger or annoyance follows the one letter abbreviation for E[nglish] and the two letter one for a politician or a M[ember] of P[arliament]

2d        Possibly shrink from believer grabbing cuff (9)
THERAPIST — a believer (in a God) contains (grabbing) a short word to cuff, or slap lightly

3d        Terminator, perhaps, with immodesty firstly in bar (7)
ANDROID — a synonym for with, or as well as, is followed by a bar or a strut which contains (in) the first letter of I[mmodesty]

5d        Dull sweetheart for partner (4)
MATE — another word for dull or not shiny and the middle letter, or heart, of swEet

6d        Ruddy crude stand-up initially does sketch again (7)
REDRAWS — ruddy, in colour rather than as a mild expletive, and a synonym for crude, as opposed to refined,] are followed by the first letter (initially) of S[tand-up

7d        Quietly got up to give tedious speech (5)
PROSE — the letter used as the musical instruction to play quietly and another word for got up

8d        Kept cool (8)
RESERVED — a double definition

11d      The man’s transgression finding answer in sackcloth? (7)
HESSIAN — this needs to be read as ‘ the man is’ and it’s followed by a synonym for a transgression or a wrong which contains (in) the abbreviation for A[nswer]

14d      Change euro in new French region (7)
REUNION — an anagram (change) of EURO IN and the one letter abbreviation for N[ew]

16d      Most hostile piece, Queen, used in check (9)
BITTEREST — begin with a piece or a part of something and follow that with another word for a check or a trial which contains (used in) the regnal cipher for our Queen

17d      Feeling excited, that is, not without love (8)
SENTIENT — a slightly out of date word for excited or rapt, the two letters that are the Latin abbreviation for ‘that is’ and the first and last letters of NoT (not without ‘love’ or the zero score in a game of tennis)

19d      Waves from posh cars, commonly (7)
ROLLERS — a slang way (commonly) of referring to some very posh cars is also some big waves landing on a beach

20d      Temper originally consuming Caligula? (7)
EMPEROR — the one and only lurker or hidden answer today – it’s hiding in the first two words of the clue and is indicated by the third

21d      Guide chaps on mountain (6)
MENTOR — some chaps or blokes are followed by a mountain or a rocky outcrop

23d      Money made on one’s large account principally (5)
MOOLA — the first letters (principally) of the middle five words of the clue

25d      Resistance providing last of vaccine for pandemic (4)
RIFE — the one letter abbreviation for R[esistance], providing or on condition that and the last letter (last) of [vaccin]E

I liked 18a and, even though I’m fed-up with the whole subject, the topical 25d.

The Quickie pun:- FAIR + REEK + ACHE = FAIRY CAKE

160 comments on “DT 29638
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  1. Another great puzzle from Ray T and most enjoyable. Having said that, one has defeated me and that is 25d. I simply cannot make sense of it even with the checkers in place. Plenty of good clues all of which are candidates for the podium but I will nominate 1a as my COTD.

    Many thanks Ray T for an enjoyable challenge and thanks to Kath for the hints, which I will now read and see if I can make sense of 25d.

    Great Quickie pun as well.

    1. There are two two-letter words in your penultimate sentence. One of those two-letter words can mean provided and should help with 25 down. And no I didn’t come late to computers

      1. Yes, I see it now, MP. Thank you. Sorry I thought you were late to computing. I obvious misread your post about now using the iPad to do the crossword. :grin:

        1. After many years on a desktop and never using a laptop the move to the iPad was interesting to say the least. I made a decision to do all of my work and planning on the iPad when we moved into our new house. That included using it for the blogs. It’s not been easy which is why we had no illustrations occasionally. I’m getting there though.

      1. I believe pandemic to be an adjective rather than a noun. Covid has been referred to as a pandemic as a shorthand way of saying that it is a pandemic infection i.e. across the whole of people rather than endemic meaning within a specific population .
        Does that make sense? I found it difficult to express!

  2. Hello again everyone – this just isn’t my day. I was about to publish this just few minutes before 11.00 and our internet decided that it didn’t want to play any more. Anyway it all seems OK again now but all my pictures have disappeared. :sad:
    I’ll try putting them in again now unless it could be better to quit while I’m winning!

      1. Is there somewhere I can make a plea not to put in pictures? Most of them give the answer away instantly and so there’s no point even reading the hint. I only ever check hints as a last resort as I don’t want to see the answers in the pictures. I know you bloggers all go to a great deal of trouble to find them and I don’t wish to sound ungrateful but not only are they not necessary, they really detract from an otherwise great and helpful blog. Rant over!

        1. Of the eight pictures in today’s hints I agree that two of them give the answer away so that leaves six that don’t – by my reckoning that’s very far from most.

          1. I agree Steve – the order doesn’t seem right – it tells you to remove the head and then reverse. What am I missing?

            1. It wasn’t particularly aimed at you Kath – more the blog in general (I just mentioned it today because you mentioned the pictures.) I just find the pictures really unhelpful in that they’re too helpful! If you’re stuck on one clue and then when you look at the blog the picture gives it away you feel like you’ve cheated whereas if you just read the hint you can at least kid yourself that you worked it out yourself.

              1. Know where coming from. If I’m completely stuck I now tend to use the puzzles website for a letter reveal as the first port of call for fear that there will be a pic that gives the game away. Have always thought the beauty of this site v 225 is that you’re not just presented with the answer & the explanation (mind you I’m often too thick to understand the clue & need further guidance). Having said all that though the pics & clips are invariably well selected & do add to the review.

        2. On no, awful idea. They are the only hints I allow myself to use, until I get desperate that is. But usually they are all I need to get me moving again. And no delightful Mr K pictures? That does not bear thinking about.

        3. The blog would be a poorer place without the pictures and the music. It may not suit some but you cannot please everybody . I occasionally have a look at Fifteensquared the equivalent site for The Grauniad Cryptic and think the explanations and comments are boring in comparison to BD.

        4. Oh no, please don’t lose the pictures, they’re half the fun of the blog! Today’s dog at the psychiatrist’s a case in point … we are suckers for a terrible joke 🙂🙂

          1. Looks like I’ve been outvoted on the pictures! Maybe I should modify my plea to ask if the pictures could be a little more – well cryptic?!

  3. A really enjoyable Ray T puzzle with Her Majesty and a sweetheart (2.5*/4*). I love a geographical ckue and 14d filled the bill. 17d had great misdirection and was ny joint COTD with 26a which was a very cunning synonym. Thanks to Kath for the hints and to Mr T.

  4. This was one of those puzzles where all my initial hunches from the wordplay proved correct so consequently all very smooth and enjoyable for me.
    Podium places go to 10a ,2d and the topical 25d with a special mention to 26a as it’s such a great word.
    2/4.5*
    Many thanks to Mr T (Mr Consistency) and Kath for the top notch entertainment.

    If I’d been blogoing you’d have had a double dose of The Jam….The 16d Pill & That’s 18a.

  5. A very enjoyable puzzle, where I became held up in Kent in the manner of a Lithuanian truck driver post-Brexit, but then after noticing what should have been obvious with 20d, I conquered the region.

    The vet called my lovely neighbours and said that next week they would like to see some photos of little Lola’s previously troublesome paws, nose, and ears, and subsequently to see her ‘face to face’ to consider a reduction in steroids.

    Today’s crossword soundtrack: Joni Mitchell – For The Roses (Joni sur Jeudi)

    Thanks to Ray T, and Lovely Kath.

      1. So far – no interest at all in exploring anywhere beyond the couple of rooms she has taken over. We will ask the vet (next week) if it is ok yet for me to take her outdoors and see how she takes to it.

        1. Perhaps she connects the problem she had with her nose and paws with the outdoors. Is it possible she did explore somewhere that started all of this? She is obviously wary of going back out.

  6. A lovely example of a Ray T puzzle, full of fun, misdirection and all sparingly clued. 2d was my favourite with 11d as runner up.

    Grateful thanks to Mr T and to Kath. Belated thanks, too, to Chris Lancaster for his well-received puzzle yesterday.

  7. About average Ray T I thought. Solved at meandering pace but no great hold-up along the way. ** / **** for me
    2d my COTD (the dog in Kath’s cartoon could come & join Biggles) but could have been a number of others.
    Think that the reverse & scratching head are the wrong way round in 1a. I must be missing something as I trust Ray T’s knowledge above mine (with ample justification).
    Thanks Ray T and Kath. The puzzle and the review are as cheering as the weather – beach walk with Biggles in the su sunshine beckons….

            1. Having been slightly confused, like every one else, I wondered if an error crept in, when 1a was printed. It would work better as “Catch, husband, say, scratching head ‘after’ reversing. It was the only way I could get a sensible answer.

  8. 2*/5*. This was a splendid example of RayT at the top of his game, with succinct, cunning, witty clues throughout.

    My podium today comprises: 18a, 2d, 11d & 25d.

    Many thanks to Mr T and to Kath.

  9. Agree with the bloggers so far ,a challenging puzzle from Mr T and a **/*** **** for me,
    The charades were exceedingly good today like Mr Kiplings cakes -as per the quickie pun !
    Last in was 1a and it provided the D’ oh moment when I eventually parsed it-unlike yesterdays ‘barman’
    Favourite was 2d and could have been any of many others .Thanks Kath for the pics especially the terminator 2.

  10. A steady solve. I didn’t comment on yesterday’s but I didn’t think it was a typical Jay puzzle. Who was the compiler? 28a held me up for a while because I couldn’t get linesman out of my head and that didn’t work at all with 17d. I also ran through a lot of French provinces in my head before I realised it was that far flung outpost in the Indian Ocean in 14d. ***/*** No particular favourite today. Thanks to all.

      1. Thanks, Kath. I thought there were a handful of clues that didn’t work in the way Jay’s generally do. Each part of a Jay clue provides a part of the answer frequently.

  11. A steady and enjoyable solve, with a few head scratchers but nothing obscure.
    Favourite was 28a, a good example of follow the word play, et voila.
    Thanks to RayT and Kath (loved the cartoon for 2d).

  12. After what was turning into a topsy-turvy crosswording week stability has returned! A Ray T Thursday with Kath in the blogging chair, thank goodness. 2.5*/4*.
    1a turned into a bit of a bung in with the three checkers in place as the instruction to remove the first letter seems to precede the instruction to reverse.
    Candidates for favourite – 10a, 25a, 7d, and 17d – and the winner is 10a.
    Thanks to both of the aforementioned Ray T and Kath.

  13. A meandering pace solve for me also. A slight hiccup with bunging in FT instead of WS at the end of 6d which caused issues with 15a but soon spotted. 14d was last in for me & solved from the wordplay without knowing the island. 1a was simply the removal of the R & reverse it but having read the review I’m clearly missing something. Am sure I’m being dense as per but don’t understand the spider pic. No real favourites today but as usual found it solidly clued throughout & very enjoyable.
    Many thanks to Ray T & to Kath

    1. Huntsman – 1a is a bit of a problem and it’s really all to do with the order in which the clue tells you to do things – you’re not missing anything. I didn’t spot it but CS did. As far as being dense about the picture is concerned, you’re not – as Stephen L says the pic is just illustrating the answer because the spider is caught.

      1. Surely a spider cannot be caught in its own web, Kath? It is waiting for something to come along and be caught so it can add it to the larder.

        1. No, no, no, SC. That species of spider in the pic is the one that, when stuck in another spider’s web, doesn’t struggle or panic but remains still and calm, without damaging the structure. So, when the web’s owner returns it will be fooled into thinking that it’s mistaken and clear off. Anybody knows that! :-)

      2. Believe it or not I googled a husband spider & found myself (huntsman) tucking into a Pygmy Possum – revolting.

  14. I did worry that the husband in 1a was scratching the wrong part of his anatomy until CL cleared it up for us and I would think our revered editor had a slight smile at 27a!
    Unusual to see our setter slip in a biblical reference but that’s what occurred to me with 12a.
    Top three for me were 18a plus 2&11d with a special mention for the Quickie pun.

    Devotions of course to Mr T and many thanks to Kath for the review – really liked the cartoon at 2d.

    1. Can you explain the bit about CL clearing it up for us? I don’t understand the clue (or Kath’s hint explanation)

      1. I think Jane mixed up CL – he’s Chris Lancaster who’s the crossword editor – and CS who is CrypticSue and plays a big part on this blog. She emailed me this morning having spotted a bit of a pig’s ear with 1a.
        In a minute I’ll see if I can compose a clearer hint for 1a unless someone else would like to have a go at it – now there’s a challenge . . .

      2. Apologies, Furlinda, I should have said CS – as in crypticsue. If you look at Kath’s hint she says that it was an email from CS that alerted her to the fact that the husband is ‘scratching’ the wrong part of his anatomy. The answer is a reversal of a ‘husband’ for instance minus his last letter.

        1. Thanks Jane but I still don’t get how the clue works in that case? It is it just wrong (can’t be though!) How is the last letter indicated in the clue – as you’re not instructed to reverse it until after you’ve been told to scratch the head (which is the first letter)?

          1. That’s the whole point – the clue doesn’t work because the wrong part of the anatomy is being scratched. The more this ‘conversation’ goes on, I feel someone ought to pop out and get the poor chap some soothing ointment, whichever part of his anatomy needs scratching

          2. I am absolutely with you Furlinda, I put the answer in but still think that it is the last letter which is removed.
            I’m very befuddled!

        2. Jane. Yes, that is the (ostensible?) intention, but are the instructions in the clue the wrong way round? Please explain, because I’m far from sure. Thank you.

  15. Well I managed this doing the web page version on the iPad. Not an easy feat! The DT does not allow Puzzle subscribers to log into the app for puzzles only. A bit naff (are you listening Mr Lancaster?). The web page version is just so awkward to use.

    Anway very much enjoyed this puzzle. Nothing to difficult.

    Thanks RayT and Kath

  16. Another solidly enjoyable Thursday with Kath and Ray T. I went bottom-to-top in my solving, ending up with 1a, whose top-or-bottom instruction kept me bemused for a while. Top clues: 17d, 14d, and 25d. Thanks to Kath and Ray T. ** / ***

    What a wickedly tough Toughie (for me, anyway)–still three to go….

    1. You’re doing better than me. I’m 5 shy & struggling. Maybe we’re both 8&11a /20&23d s.
      You must have been in your element with Brendan’s puzzle yesterday.

      1. Yes, I was. In my element. Virgilius always delighted me when he was our regular setter with the DT, and as Brendan, he just won me over again.

  17. Ray T puzzles are always the highlight of the crossword week. This was up to the usual standards with one exception – I still don’t understand 1a (why isn’t it tail? Does “reversing” mean you have to switch both the word and the meaning??) I also couldn’t get 25d without the hint. I initially put in bite but couldn’t see any connection to a pandemic! 28a gets my clue of the day award. Many thanks to Ray T and Kath.

          1. To remove the head so that the answer is correct the word needs to be reversed first and the clue does not say that. Unless, of course it refers to the head of the word no matter which way it is facing.

            1. Oh and best wishes to you for tomorrow. I hope all goes well. :good:

              As for 1a see Janes. final comment at #14.

            2. You’ve got a point, but sometimes I think the head/tail can be reversed in their usage. Perhapsan expert will come in onthis. Where are you Miffypops?

              1. I replied to this but it went in a comment above (about the pictures) for some reason. Anyway thanks for your attempts to explain it – I can only see it working if (as SW suggests) you can use the word “head” to imply either end – but seems a bit of a stretch to me.

              2. Many a cricket captain has wished heads & tails could be reversed when they have called wrong SW!
                Echo SC’s comment re tomorrow.

                1. What a mare’s nest. I bet Kath will be needing a large gin and tonic long before the sun is over the yardarm.

                    1. I just decided there was a mistake in the clue. It happens occasionally. If Ray T wants to put us straight that’s fine

  18. Although I see most thought this on the gentler side of RayT, it didn’t quite suit me. I failed I’m afraid! I didn’t have the presence of mind to think outside the box in terms of the French region in 14d, which I should have really having been there on hols a few years ago! Feeling a bit of a failure I also gave up on 16d although having looked at the hint and answer all was obvious. I don’t think it appropriate for me to score difficulty if unfinished but I did enjoy it so *** for that. How can you not enjoy a RayT? Thanks to Kath for the hints and for perseverance with her publication hurdles. Well overcome👍

  19. Nothing to write home about but made the grade in the end with extra thinking required in the NW. 22a cheers always rankles. Enjoyed fathoming 18a. Thank you RayT and Kath.

  20. I did notice the difficulty in 1a, but I wouldn’t have mentioned it, for fear of Mr T having a clever way of having done it, which the expert commenters on here would explain. So, not just me then…..
    Otherwise I went from bottom to top and needed a couple of cheatings.
    I never did get 25 (I put rise) or 14 (never would have got that even with checkers and the anagram fodder) so thanks to Kath for that.
    Today’s surfaces were just exceptional, even for an exception like Ray T. Does he have crystal ball?
    Looks like a chilly Easter, another one to put in the waiting room…..when will be the big family and friends celebration I wonder?

  21. Ray T, 1a. Considerable confusion seems to exist regarding this clue. Are the instructions in the clue the wrong way round? Please explain – in the simplest of terms. Thank you.

          1. It has attracted a great deal of discussion – but none of it definitive! That’s why I’m asking the setter.

            1. Please, give it a rest. The poor guy got it wrong, that’s why he is confused, scratching his head or his bottom, but he shouldn’t have been doing either whilst reversing – very dangerous.

              1. In a sennight it will not be Ray T, which is a shame because I have never known a clue cause so much discussion. :good:

      1. No no no Kath. Don’t cry! It’s all part of life’s rich pattern. I don’t think there is one of us
        who would care to take on that job, even on one day a week.
        We all love you.

          1. You’re doing an excellent job, Lath in very trying circumstances but I know you must have had plenty of practice with that as a nurse. By the way I really enjoyed the pictures.💐👍

      2. No don’t cry!! It’s only because Ray T is the crossword master so I can’t believe he would have made a mistake. Just trying to get to the bottom of it. I see he popped in but didn’t leave an answer so it will remain a mystery.

  22. My best ever Ray T attempt with tips required for only 2, the use of the word ‘from’ in 2d completely sent me down the wrong path, Very clever. Secondly I did not know the French region, nonetheless well chuffed.
    Many thanks to Kath and Ray T.

  23. Got there in the end except for 25d where I missed the ‘providing’. As in past weeks a struggle with only nine going in over a quick breakfast, a further six over a quick coffee, five after lunch and the rest by electronics. So not really enjoyable but an improvement on previous weeks.

    Thanks to Kath and to Ray T who needs to work hard like Jay to get on my wavelength.

      1. Maybe it it an April Fool’s joke? I can just imagine the mischievous Ray T giggling at the thought of stimulating commenters on here into writing things like “scratching his tail”.

      2. Speaking again of April 1st has anyone read the article on page 5 about Barnard Castle erecting a statue to Dominic Cummings? Please, perleeze tell me that is a leg- pull? If not I shall be forced to increase my consumption of gin.

        1. Must admit I took it at face value at first. I didn’t check the name of the person requesting the statue – Olaf Priol. Ho hum.

  24. Yes of course, it is April Fool’s Day – but I understand that the magic only lasts until midday. There is an April Fool in the Royston Crow saying that Melbourn is adopting the ‘e’ like the Australian city. That has gone down like a lead balloon in the village as we are all fiercely proud of the fact that we are the Bourn on the River Mel and nothing to do with the Derbyshire Lord. Australians come here and stand by the signpost hiding the lack of an ‘e’.
    Lovely crossword RayT despite 1a and me not being able to fathom out 25d (thank you Kath) but I don’t seem to be on my own here.
    We watched all the episodes of TERROR which was so well filmed and acted, a definitely terrifying story of the search for the north west passage but what, oh what was all that business with the hound of the Baskervilles bounding around?
    Cheer up Kath, break open your Easter Egg a couple of days early and get a chocolate rush. Forget about all these silly bloggers, we’ve got too much time on our hands!

    1. DG
      In answer to your question the medical issues both went as good as could be expected thanks. Experts happy that the thing is in remission (whispered in case I wake it up).
      Again thanks for the good wishes

    2. We had to give up on Terror because we couldn’t understand a word. In fact we have a friend in Australia who always turns on subtitles when watching TV series from UK. A pity really because it looked good. Mind you, I’ve read the book so know the story.

      1. I agree. We’re having to watch with the subtitles which I think means you can “see” the acting but it’s better than the dialogue being drowned out by the creaking ship/howling wind etc. Nul points to the sound editor.

  25. Poor Kath you have my sympathy and I for one find your hints veryuseful even with the pictures, so please keep using them. Thanks to the setter and Kath

  26. At last! I knew if I waited long enough a puzzle would come along this week that made sense and was enjoyable. For me the puzzles this week were not to my taste at all but this Ray T was superb.
    Thx for the hints
    ***/*****

  27. I always have to work extra hard on Ray T puzzles, but they are always fair and well constructed. Last in was 25d, and I really need to remember 13a, it has come up more than once recently. 1a was an enigma. Solving 15a was a big help in getting started. I’m not fond of the 29a utensil, usually manage to grate my fingers as well. Thanks to Ray T and of course to Kath. Thanks for going the extra mile and including the pictures.

  28. ***/****. Enjoyable puzzle with a few head scratching moments – not least 1a which I bunged in anyway. 25d also took far too long to resolve even with the checkers. 15a was a self inflicted wound as I messed about with US until A emerged as a better option and only then to be temporarily held up because I misspelt the answer. Tiresome. My favourites were 13a and 8d for their brevity. Thanks to Ray T and Kath – especially for your patience with a number of the comments.

  29. I found this puzzle today from Ray T. a fair bit of a tussle to get through. Definitely a trickier offering today from him that took me to 3.5*/**** overall. Took a long while to get a foothold in the top half that was completed west to east and I found the same sort of pattern at the bottom. 11a took a long time to come to light for me. No real favourites today but I did like 16d and 19d.
    Like others, 25d defeated me even with all my checkers in place.

    Thanks to Ray T and Kath for helping me along the way with the hints.

  30. As usual, a couple of new synonyms for the memory bank such as inside for esoteric in 26a and taint for contagion in 18a.
    Thanks to RayT and to Kath.

    1. Just in case you’re being mislead ‘esoteric’ is ‘inside’ as in ‘secretive’, ‘private’, ‘mysterious’ etc rather than nice and dry ‘inside’ when it’s chucking down with rain.

    1. Hi Ray T, thanks as ever for a great puzzle 👍
      …but we need to know if are you area ‘head’ or a ‘tail’ scratcher, or was 1A just a little April Fool that we all fell headlong into! 😜
      Anyway, like many others, I always thoroughly enjoy your puzzles…keep up the good work!
      Cheers!

  31. Really enjoyable puzzle. I found the mistake funny too. Or was it misprinted….
    Thanks Kath and Ray T
    **/****

  32. Thanks to Ray T and to Kath for the review and hints. A super puzzle from Ray T as usual. I didn’t think too deeply about 1a, so just bunged in the answer. Having read the blog, it does seem a bit odd. 20a was a great lurker. 18a a good lego clue. 2d made me laugh and I liked 28a, but my favourite was 17d. Was 3* /4* for me.

  33. A quick comment from me to sort a few things out before I go and sit on the sofa with a glass of wine pre-supper.
    I think that the vote for pictures is almost unanimous – how anyone makes a picture ‘more cryptic’, which was one suggestion, remains a mystery to me and anyway it’s BD’s blog and we’ve always had pictures – ask him!!!
    I also think that the problem with 1a is still a mystery and will remain so – it’s a crossword – they’re meant to be fun rather than something that causes a load of angst – setters are not infallible and sometimes they make a mistake.
    Finally, for the moment anyway, you all need to realise that Ray T does always leave a comment but that doesn’t mean that he replies – a few of us strongly suspect that it’s an automatic ‘thingie’, which is very nice of him but . . . .
    Back later, probably – well, certainly before I go to bed.

    1. Kath
      Blog without pictures would be like chips without vinegar.
      As far as the discussion of 1a is concerned to me part the site is about learning to understand how clues work. Sometimes some of us don’t see it and reviewers & “super-solvers” (even CL & compilers) put us right. With 1a other than an April Fool thing (I think there were at least 2 in today) no-one has found an explanation. It looks like there is no rational explanation but, so what? We all solved it & the puzzle was a lovely start to the day.
      Thanks again to Ray T and you. We all know you reviewers do it for love. The attraction is that the structure of the review and often the pictures reflect the reviewer long may it continue. The popularity of the site is testament to how many people get pleasure from it.

  34. I didn’t finish, natch, the NW let me down. I ran out of time and resorted to the hints.
    I learned that 14d is still French Territory, I thought it was granted independence a long time ago.
    I rather liked 16d. Even though I didn’t solve it, 2d was good, enhanced by the cartoon.
    Thank you RayT and to Kath for solving it for me.

  35. I’m with everyone else on 1a but just put it in because it had to be the right answer. Apart from that it was crossword of the week so far, I love Rayt Thursdays. Favourite was 17d which I got straight away after I realised that the answer to 26a wasn’t coteries. Many thanks to Rayt and and Kath. Now back to the toughie which I broke off from doing to do this whilst eating my evening meal.

  36. The only clues that gave me a problem we’re 1a and 25d, otherwise a pleasant solve. Thanks to RayT and to Kath. I like the site just as it is, and look forward to the selections of pictures and music brought by the reviewers. If it ain’t broke don’t fix it.

  37. Brilliant fun…and that’s just the comments!
    Perhaps Ray T was just serving us all with a little “poison d’avril’ which had many of us scratching various extremities! 😜
    Cheers!

  38. Thanks to Ray T for the crossword and to everyone for the comments – ALL of them.
    Night night all and sleep well.

    1. Night night and apologies if my comments have made your day more stressful than it should have been. They were made in the spirit of debate not criticism – a bit like the debate about crickety clues which some
      of us (you included I think?) find annoying. I don’t usually finish the crossword till late at night so my comments usually are unread and uncommented on – I have to say I’ve enjoyed reading everyone else’s point of view on both the pictures and the infernal 1a.

      1. I nearly always pop in the following morning but usually don’t comment then as I think most will be busy with that day’s puzzle.

      2. Thanks – no apologies needed!
        I do always have a look at the blog first thing in the morning the day after I’ve done the hints so that all comments do get read.
        I don’t find ‘crickety’ clues annoying – I just can’t do them! What very little I know about cricket I’ve learnt from the blog so I do know quite a few of the terms but don’t have a clue what any of them mean.

        1. I love some crickety phrases, “silly mid on” is one, don’t know what it means, but isn’t it lovely? I always look at the previous blog to see if anyone added anything.

          1. If you get Mr Google to bring up a picture of the layout of a cricket pitch and the various fielding positions, you’ll see that the fielder in that position is standing in a very silly place indeed!

  39. I struggled through this one and eventually failed at 25d.
    Thanks Kath for the parsings and for the hint for 25d…I am sure I could have stared at that all day and failed to get it.
    Thanks also to Ray T…..I am getting better at solving him, but very slowly….

  40. 3*/3*…
    liked 2D “Possibly shrink from believer grabbing cuff (9)” & the pic of the comfortable pooch in the hint thereto.

    1. Mat is in the BRB as an adjective meaning dull. Matt is the alternative

      Once again, can we please ask that you add something to your alias in order to avoid confusion between your comments and those of Brian who has been commenting for nearly as long as the blog has been going

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