DT 29650 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 29650

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 29650

Hints and tips by Kath

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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

Hello everyone. I might be having a goofy day but I found this Ray T crossword a bit more difficult than his last few have been. We’ll see what everyone else thinks.

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.

Across

1a        Has his order changed for condiment? (11)
HORSERADISH — an anagram (changed) of HAS HIS ORDER – a nice long one just to get us started (and to lull us into a false sense of security)

10a       Sat on back of bronco here? (5)
RODEO — another word for sat is followed by the last letter (back) of [bronc]O

11a       Dirty look threatening after nightclub (9)
DISCOLOUR — a nightclub, usually one with music that’s too loud and lots of flashing lights, is followed by another word for a threatening look or one of impending doom

12a       Hideaway in Channel Island, period without technology (9)
HERMITAGE — a lesser known small Channel Island and a period of time with the two letter abbreviation for technology in between them

13a       Small instrument for cutting (5)
SHARP — S[mall] is followed by a large stringed instrument

14a       Something tasteless or dull getting eaten initially (6)
STODGE — the first letters (initially) of the remaining words of the clue

16a       More cutting on board making tapas? (8)
STARTERS — more cutting or acidic goes inside (on board) the usual two letter abbreviation for a S[team] S[hip]

18a       Queen maybe describes this compiler’s band (8)
REGIMENT — the ‘Queen’ this time is just an example (maybe) – she could be a Prince or other temporary ruler – how the compiler would say he is goes inside that word (describes)

20a       Fly in jet set section (6)
TSETSE — a lurker, or hidden answer which is indicated by ‘in’

23a       Singer’s note for the audience (5)
TENOR — a homophone (for the audience) of some paper cash

24a       Sense a battle with European head (9)
AWARENESS — this is one of those “if you do as the clue says you won’t go far wrong” – begin with the ‘A’ from the clue, then a battle or conflict, the abbreviation for E[uropean] and finally a head or cliff

26a       Millions laugh, talking about Blitz (9)
ONSLAUGHT — the second lurker or hidden answer indicated by ‘about’

27a       Old actress learning name (5)
LOREN — learning or wisdom followed by N[ame]

28a       Unusually a pretty cold old reptile (11)
 PTERODACTYL — an anagram (unusually) of A PRETTY COLD – even with all the letters handed to me on plate I had to check the spelling

 

Down

2d        Frontier without British arrangement (5)
ORDER — a border or a boundary minus its first letter

3d        Loading goods finally using tug (7)
STOWING — the last letter (finally) of [good]S followed by using a tug or pulling

4d        Perhaps Titian nude for sketch again (6)
REDRAW — ignore the false capitalisation of ‘titian’ – it’s being used as an adjective here – follow it with nude or unclothed

5d        Cobblers possibly tense standing up (8)
DESSERTS — these ‘cobblers’ are nothing to do with shoes or anything else that anyone is thinking of – they’re puds or ‘afters’ with fruit and a topping a bit like a crumble – so you need a general term for what they are which, if reversed, (standing up) are a synonym for tense or uptight – oh dear – I knew this was the one that would be tricky to do a decent hint for!

6d        Sopranos broadcast missing a ‘godfather‘ (7)
SPONSOR — an anagram (broadcast) of SOPRANOS without (missing) the ‘A’

7d        Score with men helping around box (13)
ORCHESTRATION — the abbreviation for some soldiers who don’t hold a commission and a helping or portion with a large box between the two

8d        Most faithful perplexed about lock (8)
LOYALEST — another word for perplexed or baffled containing (about) a type of lock or key

9d        It’s vital to keep team winning (13)
PREPOSSESSING — a synonym for vital or urgent contains (to keep) a team of people most often seen in Western films

15d      Found Iron Age building employing spades (8)
ORGANISE — an anagram (building) of IRON AGE which contains (employing) the abbreviation for S[pades] in card games

17d      Risk tip on needle (8)
ENDANGER — a tip or a point followed by a verb to needle or irritate

19d      Waspish matron fussing round head of department (7)
MORDANT — an anagram (fussing) of MATRON with the first letter (head) of D[epartment]

21d      Varnish the woman will put on account (7)
SHELLAC — a short way of saying ‘the woman will’ followed by the abbreviation of account

22d      Starved, destined to eat last of scraps (6)
FASTED — a synonym for destined or doomed contains (to eat) the last letter of [scrap]S

25d      Almost doesn’t start in good time (5)
EARLY — almost, or as good as but not quite, without its first letter (doesn’t start)

I particularly liked 12 and 24a and 4 and 5d. My favourite was 9d.

The Quickie Pun:- DARED + LEASE + INN = DEADLY SIN

116 comments on “DT 29650
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  1. Pretty standard fare for a Thursday, I thought. I get three-quarters of the way through it and grind to a halt. It was the NE that stumped me today.

    However, after another cup of tea and a bit of head scratching, I managed to complete it without recourse to the siren of electrons. All over in **** time.

    9d was my last in, and is therefore my COTD.

    Many thanks to Ray T and Kath.

  2. I made a hash of this resulting in a ***/* experience. I foolishly decided 6d was sinners (sopranos are singers less the g sounds like sinners and they were bad boys) so then took ages not getting the across clues before realising my error. I then struggled with 15d for a while. Thanks to everyone involved but this was a bit of a disaster for me and I’ve only myself to blame

  3. I found this one quite hard work (3.5* for difficulty). There were some good anagrams and some clever clues, my favourite being the lurker, 26a. However, there was much more guesswork and reverse engineering of the whys and wherefores than I would normally expect to do in a Ray T crossword. For that reason, since I don’t find it enjoyable to solve clues that way, I’ll give it 2* for enjoyment. Thanks to Kath for the review and to Ray T for the puzzle.

  4. I’d never heard of the Channel Island in 12a but with checkers what else could it be, and I had to check the “look threatening” synonym in 11a otherwise not quite plain sailing but problem free.
    Podium places go to the terrific lurkers 20&26a plus 6&7d
    3/3.5*
    Many thanks to Ray T and Kath for the entertainment

          1. And, I meant to say that it is usually associated with a clue which has something to do with ‘isolation’ or an ‘isolationist.’

  5. I found his a bit harder than a normal Ray T, if there is such a thing, but no less enjoyable. His trademark concise clueing was excellent, and 7d was my top choice out of many possibles. The lurkers, too, were great examples of the type.

    My thanks to Mr T for an excellent puzzle, and to Kath for her fine blog.

  6. An engaging solve with no unfathomable problems. N E held out longest. Think 19d parsing is rather loose (vital and team) and I failed to identify more cutting in 16a. 28a spelling was helped by letter rearrangement. Thank you Ray T and Kath.

  7. Very challenging indeed for this boy, and I too, did not know the Channel Island.

    A very elderly relative has a care package where ‘carers’ come into her home. I cannot tell you the stress we have all been under in recent weeks due to the terrible behaviour and inadequacies of the ‘care’ company. I sincerely wish that nobody else’s relatives go through this. We have a meeting with Social Services tomorrow to try and find a new care company. Sorry to sound off but I am letting off steam here!

    Today’s crossword soundtrack: The Band – Music From Big Pink

    Thanks to Ray T and The Lovely Kath.

    1. I’m sorry you’re having such trouble with care companies. I’ve had similar experience. It may be worth contacting your local Age Concern to see if they have any recommendations.

      1. Sorry to hear of your problems with elderly care. It doesn’t always work well either in their own home or in care homes, in my experience. I can endorse what Greta said about age concern. They are really helpful. You’re already doing the really important stuff, which is monitoring the care provided.

    2. Sorry about your troubles Terence. Concerning enough to have a relative that needs care, when the care becomes a concern in itself it must be significantly more stressful, especially at present. Hope you get some satisfaction tomorrow.

    3. I”m sorry about your troubles Terence. Concerning enough to have a relative that needs care, when the care becomes a concern in itself it must be significantly more stressful, especially at present. Hope you get some satisfaction tomorrow.

    4. Big Pink. The house that is impossible to find. It is not on the road suggested by its address. It isn’t in the area suggested by its address.

    5. Sorry to hear of your troubles, Terrance. I hope you can get some results and I endorse Greta’s suggestion re Age Concern.

    6. So sorry to hear of your problems with care, Terence.
      I have been there and it is awful. Good luck with your meeting with Social Services.
      I too agree with the suggestion about contacting Age Concern.

    7. I am at a loss to know how these type of carers live with themselves. Such an important job, which clearly should not be done by anyone without the right ethics and personality. We have a cousin, now retired, who was so excellent in her work that she was sought out by previous patients to tend to them privately after she retired.

    8. I think you have every reason to “sound off” – good luck with the Social Services tomorrow – I really hope you get somewhere with them.

  8. Quite tough today bur really enjoyed the challenge and concur with Kath’s ***/****.
    Last in was 14a, unsure if it ended in E or Y as I thought it was a double meaning which did not quite fit -thanks Kath for the parsing!
    Cobblers was new to me-or maybe forgotten -liked the reversal.
    I found the long clues 7 and 9d difficult.
    Favourites 12a and 8d and the surface of the excellent 28a.
    Top Quickie clue too.

  9. For a Ray T puzzle, this came together for me well. I had the most trouble with the food in 5d and 16a. 5d, in particular, is ingenious – once I’d dismissed other forms of cobblers. Very concise clues. **/**** Favourite 9d. Managed a beer on the beach yesterday – perhaps this sharpens the brain. It’s as good an excuse as any. Thanks to all.

    1. I disagree, Greta, about 5d. Cobblers are not necessarily desserts. The first one I can remember having was a lamb cobbler. This was the clue that prevented me from completing the crossword.

      1. True, Vince. I remember having beef cobbler as a kid so they are not always desserts. Neither are ice creams always sweet. Bacon ice cream, anyone?

      2. Not necessarily desserts certainly, as you say but can be. Peach cobbler for example. I was thinking more of cobblers as “rubbish” or “shoe Menders”!

  10. Typical Ray T I thought. Like others NE corner held out longest.
    I was amazed to know there was a Channel Island that was unknown to me (a comment on my ignorance).
    Some brilliant clues as suggested by Kath, but the two lurkers 20 & 26a appealed with 20a just my COTD.
    Thanks to Ray T and Kath for the review.
    Missed Merusa for the last few days especially yesterday as I know Jay is her favourite,. Hope all OK

    1. I’ve been in touch with Merusa who is out of action at the moment. She’s promised to update me later so I’ll report back. In the meantime, a few positive thought waves wouldn’t hurt

      1. Whatever has caused her to be out of action, she has my good wishes and I look forward to hearing from her again.

      2. Thank you CS, you had obviously noticed too.
        I had emailed earlier with good wishes if all not well.

      3. I’m also in contact with Merusa, and she unfortunately was taken to hospital recently, but hopes to be home soon. I know she is anxious to get back to her furry family and to getting back to crossword solving.

      4. Thank you, CS, for letting us know about Merusa. I send her my very best wishes and look forward to her return very soon.

      5. Thanks for letting us know, CS. Please send positive thought waves from all of us when you are next in touch with her.

      6. Please add my good wishes and positive vibes going on their way to Merusa – I suspect she’ll be more worried about her four-legged ones than she is about herself.

        1. Thank you everyone for your kind wishes. I’ve got a compression fracture in my back and start PT tomorrow. The therapist just brought in my brace, it looks and feels like medieval jousting armor. Can’t type any more, I have to do this flat on my back. Love you all.

          1. All my best Merusa. Virtual flowers, fruit, choccies and a bottle of Highland malt.
            Get well soon, Sadie et al will be missing you (but no doubt being pampered by someone else)

  11. I was thinking it was pretty straightforward for Ray T and rushed through anti-clockwise (just the way it went) and then pulled up short in the NE corner, same as others. Neither was I a big fan of 8 and 9d, the first of which I considered but thought wasn’t the right spelling and the second of which I failed because I hadn’t thought of that Butch Cassidy type team (the man in the white hat).
    Sundance: How many of ‘em are following us Butch?
    Butch: All of ‘Em!
    Both: Who are those guys?
    Anyway Mr T is forgiven for including 28a. It may not be original, but he clues it in 6 words.

    Thanks to Kath.

  12. 3*/4*. All the usual fun from Mr T. I found the top half much harder than the bottom but it was all very enjoyable.

    I was surprised when I saw the checking letters for 16a that our esteemed setter overlooked the opportunity to use “starkers” as his answer.

    My favourite was 12a with its very appropriate surface, closely followed by the two long clues: 7d & 9d.

    Many thanks to RayT and to Kath.

  13. Needed the excellent hints for 5d 11a and 9d. And think I could have looked at the crossword until doomsday and never got there. So, not my finest hour.

    Thanks to the setter and to Kath.

      1. Peter gets his fourth crown next week, all during Covid. God bless the dentists and their hygienists. They truly are in the front line, up close and personal you might say. At much more risk than any GP.

  14. Excellent stuff from our setter with just the threatening look holding me up for a while.
    Plenty of ticks awarded and the final medal winners were 26&28a plus 9d.

    All the usual devotions to Mr T and many thanks to Kath for the nicely illustrated review.
    PS Lovely puzzle from Micawber over in Toughie land.

  15. Definitely more tricky than recent Ray T Thursdays but as enjoyable as ever – 3.5*/4*.

    Favourite – a toss-up between 5d and 7d – and the winner is 5d even though it generated a huge groan when the tea tray sized penny dropped.

    Thanks to Mr T and Kath.

  16. Mr T at the harder end of his puzzle library and he was without his sweetheart. I started off well but, like others, I soon ground to a halt. It was hard going from then on for me and I did resort to Kath’s excellent hints here and there. Fabulous lurkers at 20a and 26a. 5d produced a huge groan once the solution revealed itself and this is my COTD.

    Many thanks to Ray T for the head scratching and to Kath for the hints.

    I thought the Quickie pun excellent and suitably groan worthy.

    I also hope Merusa is ok.

  17. Enjoyable puzzle.
    Got through it quite quickly but in two goes – got about half completed and went out for a walk.
    Completed unaided except for 9d where I had to look at Kath’s hints to get the team
    Different method for me today. I went backwards through the across clues first as 28a jumped out at me as soon as I looked at the paper.

  18. Chugging along nicely until derailment in the NE. 5&8d plus 11a were the leaves on the line. Frustration got the better of me & revealed the 5d/11a checker & only then did the right cobbler dawn on me. Eventually realised the definition for 11a wasn’t the first 2 words & abandoned my fruitless search for a 4 letter synonym for threatening to tag alongside the slightly stretched one for the nightclub. Last in was 8d which took an embarrassingly long time to get & is a very clumsy word. Think I had come across the Channel Island before but had forgotten it & must confess I’ve always thought wrongly that 19d meant something slightly different. Agree that this was probably a good bit tougher than the standard Ray T but, as always, was very enjoyable. Top & bottom were nice anagrams & the downs at 7&9 plus the lurkers were excellent too however COTD for me was 6d for the clever misdirection (NAS wasn’t alone with sinners).
    With thanks to RayT & as ever to Kath.
    Ps Today’s soundtrack: Shoulder To The Wheel (Raurri Joseph)

  19. Excellent as always. Put me in the rather difficult set. I thought this was on a par with today’s Toughie so well done and thanks to Kath for taming it and sorting it out. Thanks also to RayT.

  20. Couldn’t get 9d and got Dessert wrong – I was thinking of dissent – standing up to, etc. I did think of cobbler as in pudding, but forgot the American version. Other than that it was a very enjoyable solve.

  21. Great lurkers and like others I was caught out by 5d for ages. Really enjoyable puzzle so thanks to all. Having completed the Toughie yesterday I was pretty chuffed until I was told it wasn’t really a Toughie at all. Collapse of small party, as Mama used to say. Our Art Society ring all the members not on the internet once a week, just to keep them in the loop. Its my turn this week to do the ringing – I’m getting amazingly good at waffling for half an hour or so about absolutely nothing happening. In fact I would give myself ***** for content and ***** for endurance.

  22. Just didn’t have the vocab for this. Clueing was fair just but couldn’t recognise what I was aiming for too often. The pudding came up in one of the Times puzzles yesterday but it still beat me today!

  23. Thank you Kath for the hints. Only had 10 solved after two sweeps so admitted Ray T is too clever for me this and most weeks. Thanks to Ray T for a cerebral car crash today.

    No favourites as I am just pleased to get back in the garden chastened and no wiser.

    1. I’m just pleased to get in rrom the garden, having finished a job I started yesterday, mowing the lawns and edging them with the half moon. I’m aching a bit and must now take my other half for a haircut. I think he’ll have to get an estimate!

      1. As for me all those years having to look presentable wearing a tie and tidy hair I’m just letting it grow. It’s longer now than in the late 60s before being presentable became an issue. I like the way it’s curling up over my collar.

        Another long day in the garden finishing in time for a late tea. Tomorrow to Stamford to met Daughter number one and her two children to have lunch and exchange items we have been unable to post. It’s about half way between our two homes. Stay safe stay cool.

      2. I’m back in the garden now and have mowed the moss and started to trim the edges. I think tonight’s frost could be the last so I’m taking a chance on sowing seeds and first earlies this weekend.
        We’re watching repeats of Downton Abbey at the moment so I am tempted to say “What’s a weekend?”

  24. Ray T at his most tricky. Could only manage about half before calling it a day.
    Way above my pay grade. Very little fun.
    *****/*

    1. Just had a look at the rest of the clues that I couldn’t see and don’t understand most of them. I do wish the DT would save these for the Toughie where they belong.

  25. Another challenging puzzle from Ray T!
    I got stuck at the end by the two NE ‘foodie’ clues – 5D & 16A – and needed Kath’s kind assistance to complete – many thanks! 👍
    Nevertheless, an enjoyable solve – hats off to Ray T for the anagram construction of 28A – that was a challenge in itself to spell correctly😜
    Cheers!

  26. I got on quite well until the top RH corner and 9d was my last in. I had to look at Kath’s Hints and the sheriff’s
    men told me what I needed to know. Did not care for 8d. In the good old days when George went out to rotary dinner every Tuesday my secret supper would often be smoked salmon on brown bread and butter spread with 1a. Oh yum. 13a was a nice clue, had to go all through oboe, viol, tuba etc to get to the harp. I offered to put up some people for a friends wedding (we live right opposite the church) and when they arrived the wife was a harpist complete with harp she was going to play at the wedding. Getting it into the house was a nightmare and she insisted on having it in her bedroom although I said it would be safe in the hall. When I look back at my life I seem to have had a lot of hurdles to overcome! Character building? Many thanks to the setter and dear Kath.

  27. 3/4. A taxing puzzle with a few ah-ha moments. My favourites were 12a (mainly because of the island that few will recall) and 5d. Thanks to Ray T and Kath.

  28. The usual Thursday head scratcher. Although I did get off to a good start, I was soon knocked down. Never heard of second word in 11a, and like Kath, I could not spell 28a, even with all the provided letters. I don’t think 27a would appreciate being referred to as “old actress”. Lovely lady. Haven’t had a 5a cobbler since we sailed across the pond, so wasted time thinking all things shoes. Overall a strange mixture of clues. Thanks to Ray T and Kath, and hoping Merusa will soon be back commenting.

  29. Ray T really is very clever – 28 clues, 159 words (average 5.7 for those who were wondering).
    Needed some perseverance especially in NE, but very enjoyable.
    I learnt new words to look threatening and waspish, and a new Channel Island.
    So many to like but I’ll give my COTD to 26a for getting an 11 letter anagram into a 6 word clue.
    Thanks to Ray T and Kath.

  30. A most enjoyable solve. It is not often I find myself so in tune with Ray T’s wavelength, so today was a very pleasant experience and one I hope is repeated!

    Bottom half more slightly more straightforward than the top but all of it was very fair clueing, with amusing misdirection (4d), clever concealments (20a, 25a), and as usual for Ray T, mostly very smooth surface reads. CsOTD – 5d, 20a, 28a

    2*/4*,

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

  31. A splendid workout from RT.

    I just asked Sir Linkalot a way to help for the spelling of 28a and he came up with this off the top of his head which I thought was pretty good:

    PT Barnum was married to Charity. Let’s pretend her middle initial is also T.

    Adore is in the word backwards and the Y and L at the end stand for Yep and Loads. Soooo…

    Did PT ADORE CT? Yep. Loads.

    Works for me.

      1. Easier still to find the origin of the word, since background info is easier to remember than a spelling
        Ancient Greek ‘pteron’ = wing ‘daktulos’ = finger which translates into modern Latin as ‘pterodactylus’
        So all you have to remember is that it’s basically called a wingfinger :smile:

        1. Of course you need to learn how to remember the spelling of pteron and daktulos, dropping the n and changing the u to a y along the way.

          Etymology has its uses but only for a small percentage of words.

          This is why Susie Dent has teamed up with him as she says he is filling the gaps.

          I should work for him!

      2. A lot of people – probably not many on this blog – really struggle to simply remember how to spell a word. They need a strategy to lock it in to the long-term memory. Rote learning doesn’t cut the mustard, especially for people with dyslexia.

        Admittedly, this effort by Sir Linkalot is a tad convoluted but I thought it was a pretty good effort, considering he answered me within five minutes.

        1. I’m sorry if my original response sounded a bit dismissive and flippant – I didn’t mean it to be so and am pretty sure that no-one else did either. Apologies to you and to Sir Linkalot.

  32. Definitely a tricker than normal Ray T puzzle today. 2.5*/**** my rating. Clues I liked include 12a, 23a, 5d, 6d & 7d with winner 12a.
    Off to get my jab today.

    Thanks to Ray T and Kath.

  33. The RH half went in smoothly enough, with a few from the NW as well. Then I played golf for the first time in 7months. Came back to the puzzle and finished, but had to check the parsing for a couple. Not keen on 8d as a word, but I’m sure it exists.
    Thanks to Ray T and Kath

  34. My very best to Merusa!

    I thought that today’s RT special was the best work of art by him in memory, and I can’t remember ever being so firmly on his wave-length as I was last night when I finished it. I think I’ll cite the four perimeter clues as my four-way tie for the Gold today, even though there were many other contenders. Many thanks as usual to Kath for the review and to Ray T for this brilliant gem. ** / *****

    Excellent Toughie too.

  35. A Ray T that I classify as VT very tricky 😟 I found 9 down stumped me 😬 *****/*** Favourites were 26a & 7d. Tend to agree with Brian 😳 Thanks to Kath and to Ray T

  36. Must admit that, for once, I couldn’t see any stretched synonyms.
    Pretty straightforward in fact but always a pleasure to solve.
    Favourite 26a even if it shouldn’t be a laughing matter.
    Thanks to RayT and to Kath.

  37. Well I got there in the end! I struggled with the NE corner 9d being my last one in. Beautiful weather today but walk curtailed because of pain in left hip and cramp in right calf. Frustrated at not being able to get on in the garden and get up from my chair without wincing in pain. These things are sent to try us!

    Many thanks to our lovely Kath and Ray T?

    1. Hi Hilary, to be honest I would have been happy with any of the three finalists winning Masterchef which is unusual, I generally have a favourite by that stage of the competition. OK, the winner was a bit ‘sweet’ but I guess that’s just how he is naturally. GBM is turning out well, nice to see those Welshmen getting such high scores!
      I guess I have a slight preference for Masterchef because I find it easier to imagine the flavour of the dishes, shame that nobody’s asked me taste them!
      I’ll leave the likes of Bake Off to other folk – don’t have much of a sweet tooth.

      1. Hi Jane, we enjoyed watching the final of Masterchef last night and it was a very close call. We also watched the GBM this evening and I think it’s going to be the same. Some good scores.
        Like you, not so interested in Bake Off and haven’t watched the last few series.

  38. Evening all. My thanks, as always, to Kath and to all who commented. Also, I would like to assure everybody that I do read the reviews and all of the comments, apart from the rare occasions when I forget what day it is!

    RayT

    1. A very good evening to you, Mr T and thank you for your crossword and for your visit – we never doubted that you read the reviews and all of the comments apart from when you forget what day it is. I think all that’s left for me to say is that I hope you have a lovely Friday evening!

    2. Thanks for popping in and for another great puzzle. The way I look at it, it’s a RayT puzzle so it must be Thursday!

    3. We all forget what day it is, Ray T but for some of us it has nothing to do with lockdown!
      You taxed me today but I still enjoyed the tussle. Thank you for popping in. 👍

  39. What a cracking puzzle, thanks Ray T. Hard work but worth putting in the effort. I thought the two hidden clues, 22a and 26a were especially good. Thanks to Kath for the hints and tips although surplus to requirement today!

  40. Wow. Quite a battle. Needed a break then a second sitting, when the blanks spaces finally dropped into place. One quibble with the hint for 10a – I see it as another word for ‘sat on’, not just sat, + back of bronco. Some fab clues, but the lurker at 26a gets my vote for best clue. Thanks everyone.

  41. Never heard of cobblers as a dessert – is this a regional word? Not much of a dessert person, so that may be why I was ignorant in this case.

    I guessed 9d from the limited checkers I had but dismissed it as my dictionary didn’t go to the 545th synonym for winning. 😉

    8d is an awful word and i would assume anyone using it had a poor grasp of English. Oh well, we all never stop learning.

    Thanks to all.

    1. Cobbler is a dish with crusted dumplings. It can be either a dessert or a savoury dish. Our children’s favourite was steak & kidney cobbler. Never thought of it as regional (am from Lancashire).

    2. There are plenty of savoury cobblers – you should try some. I had one last week made with chicken, mushroom and wild garlic, yummy!

  42. I love Ray T crosswords normally and this was par for the course up until the NE corner when it started to fall apart. My electronic help was no help for 8d so I has to resort to Kath’s hints (is that even a word – aren’t you most loyal?) and 5d also made me a bit miffed as I don’t eat desserts so only ever thought of cobblers as a savoury dish (and to be honest it never occurred to me anyway as I was too busy thinking of synonyms for rubbish). I hadn’t heard of lour either (I could only think of leer) so couldn’t get 11a without electrons despite having the first five and last letters. On the plus side I have been to the Channel Island and can concur that it is indeed the most beautiful, tranquil place. 14a gets my COTD. Thanks to Kath and Ray T ***/***

    1. After googling that Channel Island, I wonder how I managed to miss it in my UK-centred wanderlust–have been to the IOW, Orkney, Shetland, the Hebrides, the Scilly Islands, etc.–but somehow missed Herm. Looks like a mix of the Vales of Arcady and Eden.

    2. A long haul but I finished it unaided in the end. Thanks to setter for a very enjoyable brain teaser, and to Kath whose hints, together with all the comments, I shall now enjoy reading.

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