DT 29674 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 29674

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 29674

Hints and tips by Kath

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating — Difficulty ** Enjoyment ****

Hello everyone. No doubt that this is a Ray T production as it has almost all his trademark clues. I didn’t think it was one of his more difficult crosswords but let’s see others found it.

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        Substitute with mission to keep record (6)
DEPUTY — an old kind of vinyl record that has two tracks on each side and is played at 45rpm goes inside (to keep) a mission or goal

4a        Set off ambush reversed in action (8)
DEPARTED — a synonym for an ambush or a surprise attack is reversed and contained in an action or achievement

9a        Soldier’s opening door for lookout (6)
SENTRY — the first letter (opening) of S[oldier] is followed by a door or a way in

10a       Wins playground game, we hear (8)
CONQUERS — a homophone (we hear) – a game played by children sounds like wins or defeats – I shouldn’t think they’re allowed to play that game these days in case they hurt themselves

11a       Officer material with barnet oddly cut (8)
SERGEANT — some thick tough material is followed by the even letters (oddly cut) of bArNeT

13a       Occasionally veils a Hindu god (6)
VISHNU — the odd letters (occasionally) of the middle three words of the clue

15a       Crooked impostor has me for change (13)
METAMORPHOSIS — an anagram (crooked) of IMPOSTOR HAS ME

18a       Certain to be clean isn’t bad (13)
INCONTESTABLE — an anagram (bad) of TO BE CLEAN ISN’T

22a       Still husband has strong exterior (6)
THOUGH — the abbreviation for H[usband] goes inside another word for strong or resilient (has strong exterior)

24a       Brave nobleman in iron shackles, gutted (8)
FEARLESS — a British nobleman is contained in (in) the chemical symbol for iron and then finally the first and last letters (gutted) of S[hackles]

26a       Place incredibly loaded with hidden gold (8)
ELDORADO — an anagram (incredibly) of LOADED contains (hidden) the heraldic term for gold – I had a bit of a dither about what to underline as the definition with this one – I still am . . .  

27a       Taste is rancid swallowing a volume (6)
SAVOUR — rancid or unpleasant contains (swallowing) the ‘A’ from the clue and the abbreviation for V[olume]

28a       Flag ship carries Queen (8)
STREAMER — a kind of ship contains (carries) the one letter Latin abbreviation for Queen

29a       Thin imbibing first of miracle cure (6)
REMEDY — a word that describes a sound that is thin and piping contains the first letter of M[iracle] (imbibing first of miracle)



1d        Stop in Antipodes is terrific (6)
DESIST — the first hidden answer today indicated by IN

2d        Widespread hysteria taking over crowd (9)
PANORAMIC — hysteria or alarm contains (taking) the cricket abbreviation for O[ver] and a verb to crowd or stuff

3d        Harry is wrong about soldiers (7)
TORMENT — a legal term for a wrong contains (about) some uncommissioned soldiers

5d        Greek god is angry when upset (4)
EROS — a reversal (when upset) of the Greek god of love gives a word meaning angry or resentful

6d        Former politician remains controlling left (7)
ASQUITH — the remains (from a fire) containing left or gave up

7d        Some advocate ether for their extraction? (5)
TEETH — the second lurker or hidden answer today indicated by the first word of the clue

8d        Detective’s men reportedly providing cover (8)
DISGUISE — one of crosswordland’s favourite detectives, with his ‘S, is followed by a homophone (reportedly) of some men or chaps

12d      Perhaps one could be less sensitive (6)
 NUMBER — the second word of the clue is an example of the answer which could also be a word meaning less sensitive or less able to feel

14d      Squirm beside sweetheart embracing Romeo (6)
WRITHE — beside or accompanied by is followed by the middle letter or heart of swEet and contains (embracing) the letter represented by Romeo in the phonetic alphabet

16d      Dock worker to deserve getting fired (9)
STEVEDORE — an anagram (getting fired) of TO DESERVE

17d      Male resists changing fancy woman (8)
MISTRESS — the one letter abbreviation for M[ale] is followed by an anagram (changing) of RESISTS

19d      Atmosphere with English spirit lifted country (7)
NIGERIA — another word for atmosphere or mood, the one letter abbreviation for E[nglish] and a clear spirit often drunk with tonic water – then turn the whole lot upside down (lifted)

20d      Pub anger leads to assault (7)
BARRAGE — a pub or place where alcohol is bought and a synonym for anger or fury

21d      Very large quarry for hawk (6)
OSPREY — the two letters used to mean very large are followed by another word for quarry, as in something being hunted rather than a hole in the ground

23d      Command of royal decree exempts royals initially (5)
ORDER — the first letters (initially) of the middle five words of the clue

25d      Border, say, of French brought up (4)
EDGE — a reversal (brought up) of say, or as an example, and the French word for ‘of’

The Quickie Pun:- NOTE + RED + ARM = NOTRE DAME

102 comments on “DT 29674

  1. I sailed round the crossword in an anticlockwise direction and hit a reef in the top right hand corner! That became a bit of a struggle mainly because I couldn’t get 10ac I’m not entirely happy that conquers is a synonym for wins.
    Anyway finally worked it all out without assistance. Overall good fun.

  2. Straightforward fare for a Thursday at */*** with lots of long helpful anagrams and a smattering of lurkers to assist. I wasn’t quite with the use of mission for the relevant part of the answer in 1a but there you go. COTD 6d for its nice construction. With thanks to RayT if it is he and Kath for her hint work.

  3. Brilliant!
    The skill to clue with such economy and still provide meaningful and often witty surfaces can’t be overstated. I thought 2&6d were perfect examples of the art. Another thing I like about Mr T is that he’s gloriously Un-PC…17d made me laugh out loud.
    Many thanks to Ray and to Kath too for the entertainment

    1. Me too. There’s probably a law against using this description of the answer these days.

      1. Didn’t you know? Mrs, Miss, Ms, Mistress, Madam are all sexist shackles invented by men to subjugate ladies, er, women, er, females, er, those who identify as non-male.

        1. Does that mean the male equivalent, gigolo, is also non-pc?

          This cannot be.

          1. Madness.

            If they want that argument, then, to be consistent, a princess should be called a prince.

  4. A thoroughly enjoyable RayT puzzle, which had all of his signature features. My only complaint is that it was over too quicky (1.5*/4*). I quite liked the 10a homophone, yhe long anagrams at 15a and 18a ansmd the politician at 6d but my COTD was the cleverly constructed all in one clue at 13a. Many thanks to Kath for the hints and to RayT for the beat puzzke of the week so far.

  5. I got through in ** time. The long anagram at 15a held me up for a while, and was also thrown by the parsing of 2d.

    Many thanks to the setter and Kath.

  6. The usual high quality and concise clueing from the master of brevity this damp morning. 15a was a terrific anagram but my top clue was 6d. Nothing too difficult but a very rewarding and enjoyable solve.

    My thanks to Mr T for the fun and to Kath for a fine blog.

    1. Brevity indeed – 30 clues, 168 words at an average of 5.6. Think that’s the lowest I’ve seen. Genius

  7. A very enjoyable Ray T. Concise clues as usual. Favourite 19d because it was nicely put together. Thanks to all.

  8. RayT is still my favourite back page setter but he seems to get easier by the week. That’s what seven years of blogging puzzles does to you. Great clues. Lots of laughs along the way. What’s not to like? Thanks to both Raymond and Kath for the puzzle and blog. The Toughie today is doable. By that I mean solve about a third and then bung in words that fit the checkers and wait for Gazza to explain the whys and wherefores

  9. Wit, concision, tautness, tightness–all of the usual attributes of Mr T’s charms and talents as a compiler! Nothing like him anywhere else in crosswordland. The entire NE quadrant is my composite COTD, but the rest is equally beguiling, especially 22a & 12d. Thanks to Kath for the always enjoyable review and to Ray T for his excellence. ** / *****

    It’s 45F degrees here in semitropical Charleston, very chilly for a mid-May morning, and I’ll long for this come August. The norm for this date is 68F.

    1. I have no idea what 45F is, but conversely I do know what 68F is. Does anyone else do low temperatures in Celsius but high ones in Fahrenheit?

      1. Yes! How bizarre is that?!

        Great puzzle. I thoroughly enjoyed the solving of it. Sorry to be late on parade, I’m always a day behind, which is why I rarely post a comment.

  10. An enjoyable romp today although couldn’t see the men in 8d for ages. I hope they have caught the horrendous person/s who destroyed the osprey nest in Wales recently – what an awful thing to do – someone should use the chainsaw to cut off their bits! Thanks to the setter and Kath.

    1. I don’t think the Wildlife Trust is short of volunteers for that job, Manders! The ospreys are still around and will hopefully accept one of the alternative nests that have been constructed. 24/7 monitoring will be in place but how sad that it has proved to be necessary.

      1. There’s something strange going on in this world, can’t we even leave the birds alone? And happening in Wales! Puhleese!

        1. Curious coincidence for those who solve in the newspaper. The answer to 21d appears very prominently in the same page

          1. Given that 21d’s are very much in the news at the moment maybe it’s not a huge coincidence.

      2. I spent a wonderful fortnight babysitting ospreys in Inch Marshes in Scotland many years ago.

  11. Excellent cluing by the master, some top notch surfaces like 26a my favourite ,a */**** for me.
    Full marks too for the Quickie pun ,thanks to Kath for the blog pics.
    Having a go at the Serpent later!

  12. 2*/5*. As fine an example of RayT’s art as you could wish to find, and one which was even briefer than usual. All the clues, except for one seven word one, were only six words or fewer, and, as others have mentioned, he manages that with concise, witty and meaningful surfaces. Bravo!

    Favourite? All of them.

    Many thanks to RayT and to Kath.

  13. Light, fun, amusing, and over all too soon. Just enough anagrams – one more would have been one too many – but so clever (esp. 15a and 17d). Lots of ticks, particularly enjoyed 1a,24a,6d,8d,12d,19d and 21d, but my COTD is 2d, which just reads so smoothly and made me laugh.


    Many thanks to Ray T, and to Kath.


  14. A fabulous Ray T puzzle, which I finished unaided. For 2d I couldn’t get “pandemic” out of my mind despite the fact it did not have enough letters. It’s what I call a “block word” because it sits in the mind and blocks all other words from appearing. It disappeared once I solved 11a. Two very good anagrams at 15 and 18a that needed a few checkers before they revealed themselves. Too many good clues to go for a favourite but, if pushed, I would go for 8d.

    Many thanks to Ray T and to Kath for the hints, which I will now read.

    1. Steve – it’s called retroactive inhibition (or interference), where new learning interferes with the retention of old memories. Given that we’ve had this going on for more than a year, it’s not surprising than any longish word beginning with ‘pan’ and ending in ‘ic’ will have the ‘current’ term jumping about shouting “Look at me, look at me”.
      You and me both……

    2. I like the term “block word” as it exactly explains what often happens to me when crossword solving. And I also got fixated on pandemic even though I could see it didn’t work.

  15. The usual high quality Ray T production. At the easier end of his spectrum & whilst I wouldn’t quite rhapsodise about it quite as much as some it was very enjoyable. 15a was my pick because front & back were both potentially definition/anagrind if, like me, you didn’t read the clue fully.
    Thanks to Ray & Kath
    Ps hadn’t realised 17d was now deemed non PC – surely the polite term for bit on the side or a goomah if you’re watching The Sopranos.

    1. I was interested to read the other day about the PC challenges the French are facing with their use of gender. For example:
      mes amis : means my group of male friends
      mes amies : means my group of female friends
      – if you want to refer to a group of male and female friends, the convention has been to use mes amis even if there is only one male in the group.

      The solution proposed by the woke brigade is to create a new hybrid form mes ami.e.s to be used in every case. Hmm… Apparently the authorities are saying “non” to this idea.

      1. I wonder how long it’ll be before the full stop is abolished because, you know, it’s so final, rather than being, well, transitional, like a semi colon or a colon or a hyphen.

      2. Then there are those who consider that the word ‘Amen’ is non-PC and have started using ‘Awomen’ when a little simple (by simple, I mean Google) research would show that is a ‘borrowed’ Hebrew word meaning ‘Truth’ and not related to gender at all.

        But, it’s fun watching and listening to these fanatics metaphorically ‘tying themselves in knots’.

        1. What’s worse is the people in positions of power who are too frightened to ignore them in case they are then labelled un pc😡

      3. The French could have a field day with this nonsense when you consider everything is either masculine or feminine. They’ll have to create a new category for the transitioning/not sure and all other assorted Arthur’s or Martha’s. The mind boggles.

      4. Surely the solution is just to feminise all the endings? Women will be happy and men can’t complain because they’ll be getting a taste of their own medicine.

  16. Ray T in fairly straightforward mood today, just what was needed to brighten up a damp dreich day. Seem to remember that 10a came up in reverse recently. Having got the “eria” I then thoughtlessly bunged in “Algeria” for 19d so 18a took ages before I came to my senses. Like Manders 8d, my LOI held me up too, taking me nearly into *** time but ***** enjoyment.
    COTD is 15a but it could have been any one of a dozen
    Thank you Mr T and Kath for the succinct review.
    Not many sightings of the 21d yet up here sadly.

  17. Ray T at his very best! But, he does seem to have developed a ‘gentle’ side, perhaps he could give some advice to Mr H for Sunday Prize Puzzles. **/*****.

    Candidates for favourite – 2d, 14d, and 21d – and the winner is 21d.

    Thanks to Ray T and Kath.

  18. Short & sweet. I’m always impressed by such concise clues. Thanks to Kath and Ray T.

  19. Splendid crossword. I was delayed in the Northumberland region until I had the ‘q’ from 10a; then 6d fell into place and all became clear.

    Strange day here in Surrey; one minute we have rather heavy rainfall, followed minutes later by feeble sunshine. I was hoping to undertake a little gardening to help shake off the angst of last night’s bewildering defeat to the Gooners of North London.

    Today’s crossword soundtrack: The Temptations – Psychedelic Shack.

    Thanks to Ray T and The Lovely Kath.

  20. I can never quite get to the end of a Ray T crossword unaided but very enjoyable nonetheless. Regarding the comments about 17d,
    Mrs 2P and I have a 30 year old Mercedes which is known as the mistress and she was preceded by a 40 year old Mercedes who was known as the old lady, sadly she succumbed to the rust virus, hence the younger model.
    Thanks to Ray T and Kath

    1. I’ll be honest and say that sometimes I’d rather have two 35 yr old Italians than one 70 year old Brit.
      I’m referring to cars, obviously! What else?

  21. This looked really hard at first but once I got started it had very doable and fair clues, quickest i have ever finished, and finishing is still rare for me, so very happy!!. */**** . CoTD 6 or 8d – that whole corner held me up a little. My last one in was 12d which is silly of me as i think I saw a similar clue last week.

  22. Definitely more straightforward than a ‘normal’ Ray T – could this be because more than half of the across clues and several of the downs require something to be inserted into something else? There are also a couple of very ‘old friends’. I did really like the all-in-one 26a

    Thanks to Mr T and Kath

    1. Ah – that sounds to me as if I should have carried on dithering for a bit longer and gone for underlining the whole lot as the definition.

  23. A master class in the art of ‘less is more’ and most enjoyable it was. I do wish that more of our compilers would follow suit but no doubt there are some solvers who prefer long, complicated clues.
    It would be churlish to name a favourite but I will give a special mention to 21d, magnificent birds.

    Devotions as always to Mr T and many thanks to Kath for the review – nice to see the dream team together again.

  24. Thanks RayT for another great puzzle and Kath for the hints. I think 12d is brilliant

  25. Well, it was all fab, once I got the Q in the north east and two answers sprang out from their cage.
    Thanks to Ray T and to Kath.

  26. A nice gentle Ray T that was very enjoyable. The only one to cause a real problem was 14d, just couldn’t see the wordplay for ages.
    Thx to all

  27. I always approach Ray T’s offerings with trepidation and seldom manage more than half, today was different, all done except 1a, and I even understood some of the clues. So thank you RT for giving us a gentler puzzle this week ,and to Kath as always for the hints.

    1. He’s probably feeling a bit lightheaded. I had the same sensation myself yesterday, after visiting the hairdresser and having 5 month’s growth of hair thinned out and styled. Bliss.

  28. What a pleasant surprise, had to check the Calendar to make sure it wasn’t Monday😳 **/**** Favourites were 8 & 20d 😃 Thanks to Kath and to Ray T

  29. Definitely not a Ray T as I finished it without help of any sort.

    On another tack it has been enjoyable watching the house martin’s returning to their nest in the gable underneath the ridge cap and giving it a good clean and refurbishment. Also it was fun to watch them see off some swallows who thought they might move in.

    Thanks to the unknown setter and Kath.

    1. I think it definitely is a Ray T. As the self-confessed world’s worst setter-spotter (think I’ve just invented a tongue-twister) he is the one I can spot a mile off.

      1. Kath,
        I dispute your claim to fame but defer to you as the Ray T expert
        My first port of call on Thursday is the Quickie, if there are only one word clues its odds on it is going to be Ray T. Add then his other trademarks (including no two word answers in the backpager) and today becomes an absolute dead cert.

  30. A doable Ray T, who’d have thought? Started off thinking this was yet another Thursday mission impossible, but pleasantly surprised when everything began to fall into place. Not that I didn’t need a few hints to pass the finish line, but very enjoyable nonetheless. Last in was 14d, with 24a taking COTD position. Thanks to Ray T and the admirable Kath for the hints.

  31. Stressful day so far doing battle with the NHS who telephoned me at 5 a.m. to tell me one of my blood tests was high. All quickly sorted later with cardiologist (private) who said “no panic”! After all that my mind was not fully on the cruciverbal job so got off to a very slow start until the North gradually fell into place followed eventually by the South. Anyway altogether I much enjoyed the diversion. Thank you RayT and Kath.

    1. Poor you – what a stressful start to the day. What on earth is the NHS doing ringing anyone at 5.00 am – a ridiculous time for anyone to ring anyone else unless it is extremely urgent, and even then it could surely have waited a couple of hours. I do hope you told them what you thought of them, in the most polite way possible of course.

      1. Yes Kath, I’m somewhat exhausted now. The call came from a Doctor on 111 who had been passed the result by the hospital analysing the blood tests. Her call which was 2 days after tests had been taken is apparently called a “welfare check” (presumably to check I was still alive!). I gather if I hadn’t answered the telephone call they would have sent an ambulance! I did express disapproval of the system but in the present climate did slightly bite my tongue. Not exactly the best way to handle a cardiac patient! What a system.

  32. Ah yes I enjoyed this very much (but not as much as City winning the league—supporter since ’66 BTW). Even finished by 4pm, work abandoned as I got stuck in.Thanks to the setter for been ‘gentle on my mind’. Humble query—is a soldier with three stripes an officer?

    1. Nick, in the army corporals and sergeants are considered as Non-Commissioned Officers (NCOs).

  33. I did it, I did it, I did it!! Whoop, whoop. I did have electronic help, but that’s to be expected.
    Fave 21d.
    Thanks RayT and Kath for the hints and unravelling,

      1. ‘Resurgas’ Merusa. Out of hospital and not just good as new but better than ever!.

    1. That makes two cats that got the cream this week M.
      Great to have you back.

  34. I don’t think I enjoyed this as much as yesterday’s and it took me a bit longer. Favourites 4 9 10 24 and 28a and 3 8 14 and 21d. I am surprised I circled so many. I too was tempted by Algeria at 18d but saw the light. Nothing in particular held me up and I required no aids. I enjoyed Kath’s hints after the event so thanks to her and Ray T.

  35. A really great puzzle today from Ray T. A fun solve with only one unknown word in 13a for me, but following the clue directions the answer was obvious. 1.5*/***** my rating today. Lots to like today with a few chuckles along the way during the solve.
    1a was PDM as it was last in and a clever clue.
    Lots of good clues and favourites today include 1a, 10a, 24a, 3d, 6d, 12d & 19d with co-winners being 10a & 6d

    Thanks to Ray T and Kath for the hints

  36. 12a. I see no one else has contested it but surely ‘“number” means more numb not less as the clue demands?

    1. I think the clue says “less sensitive” so “more numb” ie number is fine.

      1. I agree – if it is less sensitive it must be more number = number. Best not to overthink these things sometimes.

    1. Welcome to the blog Manda

      Please see Rabbit Dave’s reply to Nick (above)

      Incidentaly in the British Army commissioned officer ranks start at Second Lieutenant and Lieutenant, then Captain

      1. BD you took the words out of my mouth re Second Lieutenant and Lieutenant.

  37. Evening all. My thanks again to Kath for the review, and to all of you for the comments. All read and digested!


    1. Thanks for doing us the honours Mr T.
      Don’t pay overmuch attention to the “gentler” comments they could give you indigestion & if you did, give some of us very scratched heads!

    2. So it really was you. Can’t believe I finished one of yours without help. All I can say is let’s have more like this one. Thank you for coming in and commenting.

    3. RayT – I salute you for another excellent and thoroughly enjoyable puzzle! 👍

  38. ***/*****. Superb!!! Last quadrant in was the NE which took me into 3* time. 12d was my favourite as I have been caught out by this answer before. Thanks to Ray T and Kath.

  39. I could easily copy and paste Mustapha G’s comment for this excellent puzzle.
    Thanks to RayT and to Kath.

  40. Gentler Ray-T today I thought.
    Even the quickie which is usually beyond me went in fine. Even though it was not too tough, beautifully clued.
    Quite a few homophones and 10a was my favourite clue.
    Thanks Kath and Ray-T

  41. I’ve been struggling in the SW for ages. Reason? I put the letters to 17d in the wrong order and failed to notice. What a numpty! Once spotted finished in a trice. Apart from problems of my own making no real problems. I also couldn’t get pandemic out of my head. Favourite was 10a as it reminded me of my uncle Terry who, in the season, would bring a box of conkers and we’d all play for ages. He and auntie Frankie, during the school holidays, would often ‘kidnap’ me, spirit me away in the middle of the night, and I’d wake up in Hardingstone some 40 miles away. I never thought this was anything other than normal. Sadly he died aged 38. Thanks to Rayt and Kath.

  42. Right – I think that’s about it from me for today.
    Thanks to Ray T for another really good crossword, and for calling in, and to all who commented.
    Night night everyone and sleep well.

  43. Late as usual but just checking in to thank the genius that is Ray T for yet another splendid crossword. It started off badly with only about three of the across clues but then gradually fell into place. My only problem was 14d where I couldn’t think of a synonym for squirm (despite having a tub of caterpillars in my kitchen!). My husband gallantly rescued me from having to cheat. Thanks to Ray T and Kath for the hints. **/*****

  44. Very late today Kath as I felt so rotten this morning I went back to bed around 11.30! Hence doing the main crossword in the
    bath and giving the toughie a miss. Had to pop in to say what a wonderful puzzle – being in the bath I didn’t have phone or laptop
    to hand (I’m not stoopid) so I did it completely unaided helped of course by the two lovely big anagrams. Now reading through all
    the comments I’m not surprised to read so much enthusiasm for such a neat piece of work – Many thanks Ray T, far too many
    brilliant clues to pick any out. Thanks Kath for the explanations, sometimes I just put something in and then realise there are
    hidden factors I hadn’t been sharp enough to spot. Hope you and your family are well – I am desperately hoping to be able to go up
    and see my poor daughter soon! 😊

  45. Done and dusted with ho aid whatever. Although not needed, thanks to Kath for the very enjoyable hints and pictures. Fav clue 15a – the answer came to me just as I was switching the bedroom light out to go to sleep! Many thanks to Ray T for a very enjoyable puzzle.

  46. 2*/5* …..
    liked 8D “Detective’s men reportedly providing cover (8)”, & the pictures to the hints.

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