DT 29746 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 29746

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 29746

Hints and tips by Miffypops

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

Today we have a delightful puzzle from RayT. A setter held in high regard by many solvers and feared by many more. Today’s puzzle is not as harsh as some by RayT. My advice as always is to stick at it. Perseverance should bring its own reward

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought. 


1a        Changing usual partner is miraculous (12)
SUPERNATURAL:  An anagram (changing) of USUAL PARTNER. Dontcha just love it when one across throws itself at you

9a        Poor dog with appendage possibly docked (9)
CURTAILED: An aggressive and unkempt dog is followed by how one might say that such a dog has an appendage which he might occasionally wag

10a      Note finally held in own pitch (5)
HEAVE: A verb meaning to possess or own contains the last letter of the word note

11a      Regulations of frontiers without opening (6)
ORDERS:  The frontiers between countries need their first letter removing

12a      Old lady regretted backing state (8)
GRANDEUR:  This old lady is your mums mum. She is followed by the reverse of a word meaning regretted

13a      Perfect control embracing female sweetheart (6)
REFINE: A form of control used by a horse rider embraces the abbreviation for female. What you now have is followed by the central letter (heart) of the word sweet

15a      People seen, at last, working (8)
COBBLERS:  A cryptic definition of those who ply their trade by working at a last

18a      Came out depressed after fine (8)
FLOWERED: A synonym of the word depressed follows the abbreviation for fine to give a word meaning came out as a bud might do

19a      State beds for deliveries (6)
BIRTHS:  Beds on board boats sound like deliveries of babies

21a      Massive decrease in fossil fuel (8)
COLOSSAL: A decrease (as opposed to a profit) sits inside a caboniferous fossil fuel

23a      Socialist leader threw Right over (6)
CASTRO:  Begin with a word meaning threw. Add the abbreviation for right and the cricketing abbreviation for over to find a cigar smoking leader of a country in the north Caribbean Sea

26a      Weapon, long and narrow, cuts enemies initially (5)
LANCE: The answer comprises of the initial letters of five consecutive words in the clue

27a      Delay sailors eating eats (9)
TARDINESS: The dated and informal plural noun for sailors (especially in crosswordland) sits around a verb meaning  eats dinner in a restaurant

28a      It’s cooler in Alaska, maybe (12)
REFRIGERATOR: Ray T has taken this cooler all the way to Alaska in order to suit the spelling the checking letters have provided him with. Any other American state would have done but I suppose Alaska is the coldest state and allows for amusing wordplay. Now I wonder if Noah Webster was responsible for the difference in spelling? 

RayT has taken the six-letter item that we use for cooling our beer and wine to Alaska where it is commonly known by the longer 12-letter word that gives us the answer. Here is a photo of ours today. Note the healthy Orange Juice with bits


1d        Support victim being picked up (7)
SUCCOUR:  A word meaning assistance and support in times of hardship or stress sounds like (being picked up) a word meaning a gullible or easily deceived person

2d        Old man embarrassed getting peeled (5)
PARED:  An informal but endearing term for ones father is followed by the colour of embarrassment 

3d        Bottom line leading to change (9)
REARRANGE: A word often used to describe ones bottom is followed by a line of similar items often those for sale in shops

4d        Strong beer, holding bottle opener? (4)
ABLE:  A type of beer with the opening letter of the word bottle inserted

5d        Weaker person could be unusually grounded (8)
UNDERDOG: Anagram (unusually) of GROUNDED. It’s surprising how often the weaker person prevails. Sutton United v Coventry City 1989anyone? Watch and smile

6d        Possibly bleached, like chicken (5)
ASHEN: A two-letter word meaning like is followed by a female chicken

7d        Window when framed by putty? (8)
CASEMENT: A two-letter word meaning when sits inside a type of putty or any soft glue that hardens upon setting

8d        Tries purchasing top of trouser suit (6)
HEARTS:  Tries as in listens as a judge might. Insert the top or initial letter of the word trousers. The suit is one found in a pack of playing cards

14d      Messing around time for minor (8)
FOOTLING: What should be an obvious synonym for the word messing sits around the abbreviation for time. It wasn’t obvious to me and became my third to last one in

16d      Officer rose, say, accepting one good promotion (9)
BRIGADIER: A type of dog rose surrounds the letter that looks like the number one. The abbreviation for good and a promotion or advertisement

17d      Carafe of French nectar drunk (8)
DECANTER: The French word for of is followed by an anagram (drunk) of NECTAR

18d      Superficial account found in dossier (6)
FACILE: The abbreviation for account lies inside a synonym of the word dossier

20d      Trail taking opposite directions back (7)
SPONSOR: The trail laid by an otter perhaps surrounds (taking) two opposite sides. Choose from the following. Left and right. East and west. North and south. There are more opposites but those are enough for today

22d      Panorama is understood to be broadcast (5)
SCENE:  A homophone clue as indicated by the word broadcast. A panorama sounds like a word meaning understood

24d      River Dart ultimately divided (5)
TRENT: Begin with the final letter of the word Dart. Add a word meaning divided, riven, cleaved, torn asunder or cleft

25d      Potential Prince in haze about Queen (4)
FROG: For our English solvers a haze or mist surrounds a Queen or Regina. For our Scottish solvers a Haar surrounds a Queen or Regina

Quickie Pun Laud + Buy + Run = Lord Byron



104 comments on “DT 29746

  1. The top half of the crossword was solved while I was reading the clues on line as the printer slowly printed off the grid. The bottom half was trickier but all solved in a good time for a Ray T

    Thanks to Mr T and Mr MP

  2. Cracking Ray T puzzle that I loved from start to finish, sharp innovative cluing throughout with one or two stretched synonyms thrown in for good measure but no quibbles at all MP. Tricky but still had it done well before my sea swim in the rain.
    I have a whole host of medal contenders including 18&27a plus 1,6&25d but gold goes to 15a. Great stuff.
    Many thanks to Mr T and to MP for a top puzzle and review.

    1. A stretched synonym doesn’t exist. It’s either a synonym or it’s not. If you have an issue with one, then you need to take it up with the reference books that define them.

      ‘Rare’ or ‘Not oft used’ is the way forward.

      1. The language constantly evolves. It can be argued that the English language is organic. If the word stretched becomes used enough times in reference to oft used or rare synonyms it will be added to the dictionary. We cannot take it up with the reference books because once published they are out of date. Suck it up and move with the times boomer

        1. My point is that when people say that a synonym is stretched they are criticising the compiler which is harsh as it’s in the reference book.

          I know you’re a bit out there Miffs but your last line is most bizarre.

          1. I take it that they are complementing the compiler for his/her ability to find an unusual synonym. It can make a straightforward clue more difficult and produce better surface reads. Often with amusing effect. My last line? Just shows how the language is constantly changing. It does grate somewhat with me (you might have noticed) when people who profess to like language so much complain about the smallest change.

            1. Complimenting? I think not.

              Complain about the smallest change?

              Your six shooter is in overdrive.

              This is all very odd behaviour, MP.

              Let’s move on.

      2. The language constantly evolves. It can be argued that the English language is organic. If the word stretched becomes used enough times in reference to oft used or rare synonyms it will be added to the dictionary. We cannot take it up with the reference books because once published they are out of date. Suck it up and move with the times boomer

  3. After 1a went straight in on the first reading, I thought I was in for an easy day. Ha! Things soon slowed down after that. In the end, I was left with 5 to go in the SE after **** time. The use of electronics got me 28a, but I didn’t think that is a cooler in Alaska, the dictionary tells me otherwise. I thought my first guess of “Penitentiary” was a better answer.

    Anyway, that was enough for me to swiftly fill the rest in. Now, can we start getting some wickets?

    Thanks to the setter and MP.

    1. Very nice crossword. Rattled off top half with 3 or 4 tricky clés later. Might just make more the 2*
      Agree with Malcolm R on penetentiary. Which was my first entry

      1. I like penetentiary better too but resisted putting it in. Enjoyed the grid though.

  4. This was a really enjoyable puzzle, with a sting in the tail for me, in the SE corner, where I found it hatmrd to even get a start (4*/5*). Some of the best clues were in this part of the crossword. The best clues, for me, were 9a, 14a, 27a and 25d. There was a great combination of misdirection and really witty clues. Many thanks to MP for the hints. I do agree with you that perseveverance is the key to Ray T puzzles. So thanks to him for a thoroughly enjoyable crossword.

  5. Another cracker from Mr T, right on my wave length ,one new word 14d, not a problem with the checking letters in place! .A ***/**** for me
    A wide range of cluing, two favourites,28a for the surface and last in 25d a touch of genius here.
    Thanks to MP for the pics, especially for the top rate Quickie Pun.

  6. The usual tight, concise clueing and gentle humour makes any Ray T puzzle a highlight of the crosswording week, and this was our setter bang on form. 15a was clever, but my top clue was 25d.

    My thanks as ever to Mr T and to MP for his comprehensive blog.

  7. Joyous. An absolute delight from start to finish. A Ray T puzzle really is something to which I look forward with great anticipation in the knowledge that a cracker almost always awaits.

    Almost every clue raised a smile or chuckle, and almost each merits special mention, but to be a tad more discriminating I shall limit the Hon. Mentions to 13a, 15a, 19a, 14d and 16d, with COTD going to the quite brilliant 25d.

    1.5* / 4.5*

    Many thanks indeed to Ray T, and to MP for the review.

  8. A delightful Ray T puzzle today. The usual brevity of the clueing in sharp contrast to the wordy style of Django’s Toughie which is also great fun. I can’t say I thought much of 28a but liked all the rest. 1a led me play Ben E King’s ************ Thing Pt 1 very loud so vies for favouritism along with the marvellous 25d.
    Thanks to RT & MP – think you’ll find we were the 5d in 87 Miffs – a better choice of clip surely. I still grimace at the memory..

    1. I have to limit the number of times I hurt Big Dave’s feelings so no mention of the 1987 cup final today. Sutton were not even in the football league when they beat us. Their supporters will still be smiling at the memory

  9. Great puzzle which I found tricky in places. 15a was my favourite.

    Thanks to Ray T amd MP.

  10. Enjoyed this a lot and finished in quite good time. However, I must be dim because I cannot see what Alaska has got to do with 28a. It was a bung in for me and I do not understand MP’s reasoning at all. Anyway thanks go to him and Ray T for a delightful puzzle today. Due to lack of pollinators for my veggie plants I’m having to try and do it myself and feel a bit self conscious about playing with plants’ bits.

      1. I’m sorry, the shortened version might have an extra D in it, but the long version doesn’t in any version of English as far as I am aware. What am I missing?

        1. Isn’t the second word in the clue the American name of the answer? That is how I solved it. Nothing to do with different spellings. Perhaps I am wrong?

          1. I always thought an American cooler (apart from prison) was an insulated box you put beers into with ice, but the dictionary says they will use the word for any device that cools, including the “ice-box”.

        2. I had always understood that ‘fridge’ was an adaptation or shortened version of the brand name Fridgidaire, an early manufacturer, and that ‘refrigerator’ is the correct term.
          Many thanks to RayT for another most enjoyable puzzle and to Miffypops for the help.

          1. I too thought that fridge was a contraction of Fridgidaire but a google check reveals that the company name is actually Frigidaire which is still plying its trade around the globe.

    1. I have had a rethink after reading the above comments and amended my hint. I’ve also included a picture which is of no help whatsoever

            1. No, I was just overwhelmed by having to deal with all the defrosted food from the freezer
              because the delivery men were so late getting here and then found to my disgust having
              spent all that money that an ice tray is not included! Just in bad-tempered mood, Merusa!

              1. My icemaker croaked two days after the warranty expired, I refuse to mess with ice trays, so I bought a tabletop icemaker. It’s perfect, even better than a built in.

  11. This week’s best puzzle for me, but not unusual for such acclaim to go to Ray T. His surfaces, his wit, his fresh clueing–the unusual high standard he has set for himself–are seen throughout this delightful grid. (All of those qualities are replicated in his Quickie too.) I laughed out loud with my COTD 25d, and also enjoyed 6d, 15a, 18a, 27a, & 16d. 19a was my LOI. Thanks to MP for the review and Mr T for the pleasure. ** / *****

    1. I owe you a thank you for recommending the Peter Robinson books. I am lucky that our library carries them all, including in large print format, so I am really enjoying making my way through them. It is even more enjoyable as I can easily picture Alan Banks and Annie Cabbot having seen all TV episodes to date.

      1. I’m glad you’re enjoying them. Can’t wait for the next one. I always look forward to the times when Banks manages to spend time in his cozy nest, listening to his favourite music, drinking his preferred brew, far away from the madding crowd. Somehow, it tranquillises me as well. I’ve never seen the TV adaptation, however.

  12. I’m annoyed with myself that I could not work out three clues. I used the hints and wondered why I had struggled with them. I had totally forgotten that particular word for a window and why I could not get 18a and 23a is a mystery to me. Other than those, it was a very enjoyable puzzle with some terrific clues. I particularly liked 15a and 21a but my COTD is 27a.

    Many thanks to Ray T for a great puzzle – a pity three kept me away from an unaided solve. Thanks to Miffypops for the hints.

    1. You might consider following this chaps example Steve. Where was the hurry for completion?

      1. No hurry, MP but I like to get the puzzle done and dusted in the morning because there’s lots of other things to do. :grin:

    2. Every time I think of that word for window I think of poor Sir Roger Casement! I thought he was hard done by.

  13. Found this quite tough & took well into *** time. Enjoyed the gentle fun in most clues so typical of Ray T for me.
    NW corner last to fall held up by 7d and the clever 15a.
    25d gets my COTD though.
    Thank you Ray T & MP for the excellent review.
    15a took me back to my very young days going to the shop watching the cobbler repairing & making clogs.

    1. The cobblers last has stumped people before. I’m sure that it will do so again. It was the subject of much debate in one of my early blogs

  14. Very nice crossword. Rattled off top half with 3 or 4 tricky clés later. Might just make more the 2*

  15. Haven’t looked at the cryptic yet but wanted to put in a word for the brilliant quickie pun! Mad, bad and dangerous to know!

  16. Another excellent puzzle from Ray T. About average difficulty, very good clues and an enjoyable solve. Fav: 16d. 3*, 4*

  17. Right at the frontiers of my ability, so I scraped home yet enjoyed the challenge very much. I guessed 28a and then checked with The Miff why it had to be what it is, if you see what I mean.

    Today’s crossword soundtrack: Sky commentary of the Test Match (a depressing companion today).

    Thanks to Ray T and Miffo – very impressed with your 28a with the exception of the one bottle of the devil’s liquid.

    1. Oh well spotted Terence! That is the brand I use, green lid. But I understand there is now an embargo on the subject. How is Lola? We haven’t heard much about our mascot lately?

  18. What a lovely puzzle! We finished it without help – I put a star beside 15a and 19a and 25d, so clever. I liked 18a which reminds me that my Campsis is blooming, very spectacular but it is drowning out my thornless blackberry. Many thanks to Ray T and MP whose taste I have to admire.

  19. I don’t mean to hog the photo slot but can someone clarify for me – I went into the greenhouse and as I was watering the cucumbers out of the pot hopped this dear little fellow which I suspect is a toad rather than a frog? We do not have a pond. He is about 3” long.

      1. Well, I didn’t notice him and I watered him and he seemed to hop out of the pot onto the shelf but he then sat there for a long time in fact I have just been out to check and he has not budged. I have a feeling toad. I do hope he is alright.

          1. He looks like the illustration of a Common Frog (Rana Temporaria) in my Field Guide, which I have taken with me on many school trips (there’s always a kid who wants to know what something is).

              1. I meant that Daisy’s little fellow looks like a Common Frog, not the big warty guy in your picture, which I hadn’t seen when I wrote the above.

              2. Are your bufos as poisonous as ours are? I panic when I see one in my yard, I’ve had to rush to the vet with one of the dogs too many times for comfort! The cane toads are also dangerous, but much prettier than the bufos.

                1. Ours are poisonous, Merusa but not by that much. However, I wouldn’t want Hudson to pick one up. They can cause intense salivation and foaming at the mouth and a great deal of stress to a dog.

                  1. One of the saddest cases was a friend of mine walking her dog on the beach, a fisherman had discarded a puffer fish and her dog picked it up. The dog started salivating immediately and was in pain, he took off into the sea and just swam for the horizon, disappearing before they could get a boat to try and catch him. Can you imagine the shock.

                    1. That is terrible! How sad. I admit to watching Hudson avidly and if I see him chomping on some tasty morsel I ask him to bring it to me, which he does. So far, no toads!

                2. Our Labrador used to catch one in his mouth, and then gag and spit it out. Per our veterinarian’s instructions, we had to immediately flush out his mouth with the garden hose. The toads used to love to hang around in our front porch, as the light attracted lots of tasty insects. So every night, as we opened the door for the bedtime walk, it was the lunge, spit and hose routine. He never learnt that it was not a good idea. Luckily he was a big dog, as the bufo poison can be fatal for smaller dogs.

          2. I think he is too small to have become knobbly. He is quite yellowy and I thought
            frogs were green – also we are some way from The Mel and I do not know of a
            nearby pond . On the other hand he did hop onto the shelf which is about 2″ higher than the pot
            he was lurking in. Of course, I am calling it HE but actually it is non-gender specific as far as I can tell.

    1. There are but they are so well hidden that none of us can see them. That is the measure of just how good RayT is

  20. One of those days where taking a break, leaving my brain to whirr away in the background while I lunched and then coming back worked – the four clues I couldn’t get just fell into place.

    Two COTDs today – both eluded me for a while but were deceptively simple once my break worked its magic. 15a & 25d.

  21. Top half went in like easily like babies’ thumbs into mouth. The bottom half went in like petrol into a diesel engine. A few, very few, went in then progress stalled completely. Only a session with Miffypops opened the answers to finish the puzzle which I am not sure I would have managed in the time it takes for an oak to grow to maturity.

    Time for alternative pastimes every other Thursday.

    Grateful thanks to Miffypops and whatever one says to those who give yo a thrashing every other Thursday like – I’ve grown accustomed to the pain, it wasn’t easy ….

  22. Excellent puzzle, I understood all the clues for probably the first time in a Ray T. Bit invidious to pick out any from the super clues but my favs were 28a and 16d and the best for me was 19a.
    Thx to all

  23. So look forward to these alternate Thursdays thank you RayT and yes MP I persevered to the end with 15a as my CotD and 14d last in. On looking at the illustrations and comments in this blog there’s clearly much interest in alcohol!

  24. I needed help with this. Got 28a from the checkers but still can’t see why. 15a was my favourite closely followed by 25d and 7d. Thanks to Ray T and MP.

  25. North went in smartly, but South, particularly SE was very tricky. I thought 28a pretty nebulous, even with the do over. As usual, I had to use way too much e-help in the south, even going in for a hint to get going again. Fave has got to be 25d, particularly with Daisy’s Prince showing up.
    Thank you RayT, and huge appreciation to M’pops for unravelling so much for me.

  26. Found this puzzle most definitely on the trickier side and frankly had lots of trouble with it. ****/***
    Some clues, (four at last count), I wasn’t fond of and still could not understand the parsing when all was said and done.
    Clues for favourites include 15a, 21a, 27a, 5d & 25d … with winner 25d

    Thanks to Ray T, nonetheless, and MP for much needed hints

  27. Completed this unaided but struggled with my last 3 8d, 19a and 23a.
    Thanks to RayT and to MP.

  28. A very nice solvable puzzle with plenty of good clues thanks Ray T ***/**** 🤗 Favourites were 10a & 20d thanks of course to MP the “Blogmeister” 👍

  29. Evening all. Many thanks to Miffypops for the review and to all for your comments. As always, much appreciated.


    1. Good evening, Mr T, and thank you for another excellent puzzle. Particularly liked the topical 21a and my biggest smile went to the potential prince!

    2. Thank you, Ray T for the puzzle and for popping in. A few of your clues got the better of me today but the tussle was most enjoyable.

  30. Very much enjoyed this one today. I had a hard time with 27a, and 6a. I would usually equate blanched with ashen rather than bleached. 28a went right in as I already had a few checkers. It made perfect sense to me as in the almost 40 years that we have lived here, I have never heard an American use the word fridge. They always, always use refrigerator. Thanks to Ray T and to Miffypops for helping me get past the finishing line. My old brain cells must have got a new lease of life, managing to do a Jay and a Ray T this week is quite a surprise.

      1. Jimmy and I always say ‘fridge’ here in Charleston. Used to be ‘icebox’.

  31. Power cut in Shropshire since 5pm.

    Mrs. C and I had to talk to each other!

    Power still out so I’ll save the batteries. See you all tomorrow.

  32. Despite all the modern technology when it goes wrong we resort to these. 😀

  33. I’m afraid I made harder work of this than I should have, again! Still I got there. 25d was the outstanding cotd. Thanks the Rayt and MP.

  34. Marvellous stuff!! Thanks, as ever to Ray T for another excellent challenge and to amp for a great blog ‘n hints 👍 Off to the 28A in the garage for a cold one…

  35. Very good. Missed the socialist so thanks MP for the hint. Interesting that different clues have perplexed different solvers. Often we all get stuck on same. Thanks Ray T. I got the cooler but I thought it was NA for refrigerator. Rather than the other way round. When I was young in UK we used the proper word which got abbreviated. Still, that was in the days of the omnibus! Thanks Ray T.

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