DT 29758 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 29758

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 29758

Hints and tips by StephenL

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ****

Today StephenL has put his head above the parapet and tried his hand at reviewing. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I did

Greetings from South Devon

It’s not without a degree of trepidation that I’ve agreed to keep the chair warm on alternate Thursdays until the return of the lovely Kath.  

My debut coincides with a significant milestone for today’s much admired setter, it’s his 500th published puzzle in The Telegraph. Congratulations to Ray T, he’s provided us with a fittingly fine puzzle, with all his usual traits to mark the occasion. 

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought. 


1a        Most tedious exam takes a minute (6)
TAMEST:  The usual exam sits around (takes) A from the clue and the abbreviation for minute

4a        Intrude using spring within lock (8)
TRESPASS:  The spring here is a mineral spring and it sits within a lock of hair

9a        Quick way to reach rock bottom? (6)
ABSEIL:  A cryptic definition of how a climber may quickly descend the face of a rock (or any tall structure!)

10a      Veto such as accepted by state (8)
NEGATION:  A two-letter abbreviation for a synonym of such as sits inside (accepted by) a state

11a      Fine hose following back of thigh (8)
HAIRLINE:  A type of hose one might use for inflating tyres follows the final letter (back of) thigh

13a      Takes off   cartoons (6)
STRIPS:  Double definition 

15a      Stupidly argued with nude art student (13)
UNDERGRADUATE:  Anagram (stupidly) of three of the following four words

18a      Sad tidings in a pop hit (13)
DISAPPOINTING:  Anagram (hit) of the preceding four words

22a      Initially land next to snake here? (6)
LADDER:  First letter of land followed by a snake gives a place where it might be found in a board game

24a      Take part assuming little left over (8)
COMPLETE:  A verb meaning to take part in sits around (assumes) the (little) abbreviation for left

26a      Trip, near turning turtle (8)
TERRAPIN:  Anagram (turning) of  the preceding two words

27a      Spot sweetheart on American diet? (6)
LOCALE:  This setter’s usual sweetheart follows an American description (split 2-3) of a diet

28a      Unusually solitary Queen fan? (8)
ROYALIST:  Anagram (unusually) of the word following it

29a      Policemen taught to hold stick (6)
CEMENT:  Hidden in the clue (to hold). Took me a while to see this


1d        Worthless empty territory contains outbreak (6)
TRASHY: An outbreak (of spots perhaps) sits inside the first and last (empty) letters of territory

2d        Nice guys? (9)
MESSIEURS:  The “Nice” here refers to the French city….A well known ploy of this setter

3d        Professional players finally slaughtered (7)
SKILLED:  The last letter of players is followed by a synonym of slaughtered

5d        Regretted being audibly obnoxious (4)
RUED:  Straightforward homophone (audibly) of a synonym of obnoxious

6d        Skinned behind in outhouse (7)
SHAFTED:  A synonym of behind (as in a ship) sits inside an outbuilding

7d        Defence of jails in brig occasionally (5)
ALIBI:  Occasional letters of jails in brig

8d        Shady relative keeping cool (8)
SINISTER:  A female sibling sits around a two-letter word that could describe something that is cool

12d      New quarrel perhaps for reactionary (6)
NARROW:  The quarrel here is a type of projectile, used with a crossbow and it follows the abbreviation for new. My last one in

14d      Dictator worked in fine company (6)
FRANCO:  A synonym of worked sits inside the abbreviations for fine and company

16d      Mass of silver say, inside jar (9)
AGGREGATE:  Start with the chemical symbol of silver. Add a verb meaning to jar, as a nasty sound may do on one’s ears, and place it around the abbreviation of “for example” (say)

17d      One adores following after single party (8)
IDOLATER:  A word meaning following goes after the a letter representing single and a party

19d      Win quiet revolution with trouble (7)
PREVAIL:  The single letter musical instruction for quiet, followed by an abbreviation for revolution and a dated verb meaning to trouble

20d      Perfect rogue on cruise (7)
IMPROVE:  A three-letter rogue sits on a verb meaning to cruise or roam

21d      Squire gently embracing Queen? (6)
REGENT:  Hidden in the clue (embracing) 

23d      Foreign bowler in local match (5)
DERBY:  The bowler here is not Jimmy Anderson but a hat, and the American name for it gives a word that describes a game between local teams

25d      Starts to settle into the seat (4)
SITS:  A typical Mr T first letter clue

Many thanks to MP for his encouragement and technical assistance in uploading the blog

Quickie Pun Fear + Lawful = Feel awful. So would I if I’d had to invent 500 quickie puns

125 comments on “DT 29758

  1. Mainly straightforward **/*** with a couple of good lurkers in 29a and 21d. The inventive 22a gets my COTD. Although 12d was obvious I needed StephenL’s hints to understand the second and third letters. I got the answer right for the wrong reason! Thanks to him on his excellent debut and the setter for a *** enjoyable puzzle.

  2. Welcome to the blogging team, Stephen

    Congratulations to Mr T on his milestone crossword – something achieved with far fewer words than most other setters. I found this one quite tricky (Beam with anagrams) and my favourite was 22a

    1. A lot of people marvel at the brevity of his clues. But, I think they need to be careful what they wish for as the shorter the clues, the fewer red herrings, blind alleys and pitfalls there are which is something I miss as I love the challenge of trying to avoid them.

      Seven or eight words seems an ideal length. More and more of his are four or five which, more often than not, means you are searching for a synonym. If synonym fests are your thang then fair enough. I prefer the occasional one.

      A high proportion of his clues are so short that it’s making the solve so much easier than before.

      Ray T is a truly superb compiler and I look forward to the fortnightly fixture but not as much as I used to.

      Huge congrats on reaching the milestone.

      1. Wot he said – other than the bit about them being easier, as I couldn’t finish it. I def struggle a bit with this setter. Congratulations to him for his 500. I’ll keep trying.

    2. That was a bung in for me and I still don’t get the board game, snakes and ladders abbreviated to just ladder? A bridge too far for me.

    3. CS. Please, is 22a an “all in one” clue? The whole clue is a description of the answer and contains hidden word-play also. Or do I have it wrong again?

  3. A fairly average Ray T puzzle (4*/3*) with some old standards at the top, a fair few extended synonyms, the Queen, a sweetheart and some rather puzzling clues in the SE corner. I liked16d and COTD 2d, a subtle variation on a cryptic definition we have had before. Thank you to Ray T for all the fun cryptic puzzles over the years and to our ‘deb’ reviewer SL a hearty ‘Well done’.

  4. 24ac little left gives you the letter L
    17d is idolatEr synonymfor after. No indication of sounds like

    1. And thank you StevenL for your debut blog. For giving up your time to help others understand how cryptic crosswords work.

  5. Firstly well done Stephen for throwing your hat into the blogging ring. I’m sure that there’s no need for trepidation. Still sporting the bruises from a lengthy tussle with his Toughie of last week I set out determined to exact revenge. Fast out of the stalls it was a strong gallop through both the NE & SW but suddenly came under pressure with 3 required in each of the remaining quadrants. Eventually staggered home but the pennies took an embarrassingly long time to drop. Am sure we’ve variations of 2d before so heaven knows why that took so long & 9a could hardly have been more obvious. It also took an age to think of the right 4 letter synonym for cruise. Anyway a very enjoyable puzzle as always from the master of brevity & many congratulations on reaching such a significant milestone.
    Thanks both.

  6. Congrats to RayT on clocking the 500 mark. Here’s to the next 500! 2 well concealed lurkers and a double dose of Queens. Got stuck in NW corner by putting in monsieurs, but 9a came to my aid. Favourite was 15a -typical RayT. Also liked 2 and 22 and many others. Thanks to the master for brightening a pretty dull morning.

    1. I came so close to putting monsieurs, when I had an epiphany and remembered that the French don’t just add an “s”.

  7. An enjoyable puzzle again today. I had some hmm moments but these were dispelled after I had finished and reading the hints, 22a being one of them as I hadn’t thought of the game. 2d was good too but I think we had it quite recently. Last one in was 27a which held me up for a bit. Well done Mr T for the milestone and to Stephen for a great blog. Can we have some summer weather please?

  8. Many congratulations today to Mr. RayT (and Beam!) – and thanks in advance for today’s puzzle which I will look at later on. Thanks also to StephenL for filling in the gap left by the lovely Kath (hope she is continuing to get better).

  9. Congratulations to Mr T on reaching an auspicious milestone and well done indeed to Stephen L for an extremely professional debut review – Kath will be proud of you.
    All the usual fun and stretched synonyms we’ve come to expect from this setter and 11a fooled me until very near the end of the solve.
    Liked the simple 3d and smiled at both 22&26a.

    Devotions as always to Mr T and thanks again to Stephen L for the review – look forward to ‘seeing’ you again in a fortnight assuming that today’s foray into reviewing hasn’t put you off the whole idea!

      1. How does one get to the Carnegie Hall of crossword blogging? Practice, practice, practice!

      2. Tell me about it! I’ve done a couple of ‘shared’ reviews over the years and when it came to it I was terrified – so many knowledgeable folk in the BD gang and you don’t want to make a fool of yourself………….

  10. A bit, almost a lot, of a headscratcher – ****/****.

    Candidates for favourite – 8a, 24a, and 16d – and the winner is 16d.

    Thanks to Ray T and well done to StephenL on your first blog, thoughts and prayers for Kath continue.

  11. Congratulations to Ray T on reaching the milestone and welcome to our new blogger StephenL who’s done an excellent job with his first blog.

    I thought that there might be a Nina to celebrate the occasion but I can’t find anything. My ticks went to 22a, 27a and 20d.

  12. 2*/4.5*. What a superb puzzle to accompany the amazing achievement of 500 DT back-pagers! And this one had a reduced maximum of six words per clue! Many congratulations and thank you, Mr Terrell. With lots of very good clues to choose from, 15a was my favourite.

    Thank you too to StephenL, and a warm welcome to the blogger’s chair. Your concise review is a worthy complement to the concise puzzle! Very well done.

  13. Ray T to a “t” I thought. Congratuations on reaching 500, and thanks for giving me so much pleasure over the years.
    Congratulations on an auspicious debut to Stephen L. Keeping Kath’s chair warm with style and simplicity. Anyone in the dark about any clue would have found enlightenment in the excellent review. I echo Jane’s sentiments re Kath
    Found the puzzle 2.5* difficulty & 4* fun factor.
    My experience was the polar opposite of Huntsman, NE & SW corners completed, then SE & finally NW.
    COTD was the lurker at 28a which took an age to see.

  14. Well done Stephen L. Well done Ray T. too. Thanks for the explanation, Stephen, of 27a. I was torn between locate and locale and couldn’t see the reasoning for either so it was a (correct) guess. I wasn’t too sure about 12d because I thought a quarrel was the thing that contains the arrows rather than the projectiles themselves but it couldn’t be anything else. The lurkers were well hidden. Favourite 24a with a nod to the plural French guys. Hope your recovery is going well, Kath. No offence intended to Stephen but it would be great to see her back.

  15. Re: RayT ‘s grid today.
    Still at it, and as always enjoying the grid.
    Congratulations Ray on 500.
    Please, more well hidden sweetheart lurkErs
    Well done.
    Best wishes
    Bangalore King

  16. I’m still going here in Brisbane therefore I have bypassed the blog. The Bangalore King tipped me off about Ray’s 500th offering so I thought I’d get a congratulatory post in. So many thanks ‘Mt T’ for 500 excellent offerings. Also, to StephenI for the debut blog, which I’ll read later. Cheers Flyingfox 🦇

  17. A double thank you and congratulations to Mr T for another excellent puzzle off his production line, and to SL for having the courage to have a go at blogging it. Well done to you both.

    1. You’ve often explained answers to me when I can’t see the reasoning and explained very succinctly so you’ll be a natural at this venture.

  18. Beyond my reach rather, and thus a struggle – but an excellent crossword, of course.
    I held myself up for an eternity by chucking in ‘Frenchmen’ for 2d until it became clear that I was aboyer le mauvais arbre.

    Today’s crossword soundtrack: Stephen Stills – Manassas

    Congratulations to Ray T, and huge thanks to Stephen L.

    All the very best to the Queen of Thursday – The Lovely Kath

  19. Oh dear for me this was a return to the bad old days of Ray T puzzles. Weird words such 10a and incomprehensible clues.
    Shame as I thought I was beginning to get to grips with his offbeat style. Too difficult to be in any way enjoyable.
    Thx for the hints

  20. Enjoyable puzzle. Too hasty in inserting ‘Frenchmen’ in 2d and slow to spot the lurkers in SE corner.

  21. Thanks Stephen, and congratulations to RayT. I forgot the “if all else fails try a lurker” rule, so was baffled by the two forming the SE corner. It’s a ***/**** from me.

    1. Exactly the same for me! Kicked myself (virtually) when I got the first lurker, and it still took a while to see the second one.
      Thanks to Ray T and to Stephen!

      1. Add me to the missed the lurkers list…felt such a twit when I read the blog. Doh!

  22. Wot larks! Tremendous puzzle. Thank you and congratulations to Mr T on hitting the D’th milestone in such fine style: thank your for the pleasure, enjoyment, challenge and frustration you have meted out over the years as back pagers and Toughies. Reasonably straightforward although, as with others here, I was held up in the SE with the wonderful lurker being so cunnngly concealed and a penny dropping with an almighty clang when for the umpteenth time I re-read 20d.

    COTD 22a by some distance.

    2.5* / 4*

    Well done and thank you also to StephenL for the review.

  23. Terrific puzzle but I did need help mainly because I was in the middle of being discharged from the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham. Various folk kept interrupting my concentration! Liver biopsy was fine. There is no sign of rejection, thank goodness. The consultant said as she left before my discharge, “We are going to keep your liver going for as long as you need it”. In other words, I will never die because of liver problems. Something else will get me.

    Anyway, enough of that. I would rather know about Kath and our other blogs members who are not well.

    As for the puzzle, I loved it but in all the turmoil, I cannot recall much about it. I will be back on track tomorrow.

    Many thanks to the setter and StephenL for the hints, which I will read later.

    1. Good to hear your encouraging news. I can imagine your day certainly has been something of a brouhaha!

    2. Good news indeed, Steve. That’s one potentially lethal eventuality you can cross off the list!

    3. Great news Steve. Couldn’t have been more positive.
      I know only too well how hard living with uncertainty can be sometimes.
      Bet Hudson will notice the spring in your step!

    4. Excellent news. So pleased you are doing well and will be back in the kitchen in fine fettle (what is a fettle?)

  24. Bit on the late side today, cracking puzzle from Mr T, a steady solve until I reached the SE corner which took as long as the rest put together ,last two in were the lurkers, cleverly placed by our setter ! congratulations for the 500.
    Top draw cluing ,favourite was 27a.
    Thanks to Stephen-how is Kath?

  25. I am an avid reader of the blog , whose comments are always, helpful, amusing and always interesting. From dogs, cats, covid, cricket etc. I seldom comment but today I must comment and give congratulations to RayT on his achievement. Would that I had managed to finish all 500 but that is certainly not the case. Congratulations too to our new blogger Stephen whose hints were very succinct. We still think with affection of Kath and wish her well.

  26. Must be something to do with my frame of mind but I didn’t ‘get’ this at all and I have thrown in the towel. Thank you anyway RayT (congrats on 500) and particularly to StephenL for guiding me to the finishing-line (good luck with your new undertaking).

  27. Oh dear. In my rush to read StephenL’s explanation of 12d I went straight to his hints and being first on hadn’t picked up on RayT’s quincentenary. I therefore humbly and belatedly offer my congratulations and repeated thanks to this superb setter who gives us all so much pleasure.

  28. Had to work hard on my last three, 10a,11a and 27a.
    Most enjoyable throughout.
    So, ****/*****.
    Many congratulations to Ray T, and thanks for today’s gem and thanks to StephenL.

  29. An excellent puzzle from Mr RayT today. To have had 500 puzzles published is a fine achievement well done. I did find it a tad trickier than usual but that was entirely my own fault. I did not see the two well hidden lurkers until quite close to the finish. For some unknown reason the short acrostic clue also eluded me. Thanks to RayT and to StephenL for lightening my load and writing a fine set of debut hints

  30. Well done to StephenL, I needed a couple of explanations and they were given very clearly. I too only got the lurkers close to the finish. Well done also to RayT on 500 excellent puzzles.

  31. Brilliant!!
    Hearty congratulations to Mr T on his superb achievement with another succint, but excellent, challenge.
    The SE lurkers were my last in – eventually the penny dropped for both!
    Thanks also to StephenL for a great debut with his blog ‘n hints.

  32. Hello everyone,
    Two congratulations today – firstly to Stephen L on his first blog and well done – they didn’t put you off then? Only joking . . .
    Thanks to Ray T for all the crosswords he sets alternate Thursdays – how lucky I’ve been as the “hinty person” quite often.
    Did manage a few answers today but it still feels like a different world – I don’t understand how your brain just suddenly seems to say, “No, I won’t – I used to enjoy that silly stuff but not any more – you can forget that etc etc,” I’m rather hoping or assuming that my brain remembers what it needs to do things when it needs it eventually – the question is how long it will take!
    Oh well – that’s enough of my rambling for today and see you all soon,
    Thanks to Ray T and again to well done to Stephen,

    1. Nice to hear from you Kath and pleased to hear of your continuing recovery.
      Thanks for your kind words, the experience hasn’t put me off but I, like everyone else on here, will be happier when you’re back in the chair.

      1. Glad to hear you are still trying the crossword Kath. My husband’s brain injury (due to encephalitis not a stroke ) affected his memory for language/ names/ words. It just took time and patience to recover and lots of frustrating moments. Keep looking for the light at the end of the tunnel.

    2. You must be improving, Kath, that’s the most you’ve written to us in a long while. Keep going – a girl like you doesn’t give in without putting up one heck of a fight!

    3. Kath, welcome to my world, my brains always been like that🤪. I hope you recover soon, little steps, little victories and I’m sure you’ll soon be back in the hot seat🤞.

      1. So lovely to hear from you, Kath.
        Keep on keeping on…..you clearly are making good progress .

        All the best!

    4. I’ve just stopped mid walk in Hertfordshire countryside to read some further comments (& have a crafty cigarette) and delighted to see that you’ve popped in & posted. Encouraging to know that you’re having a look at the puzzles & that you’re making progress whatever the pace of it. As others have said every other Thursday will always be your day. Keep in touch

    5. How lovely to hear from you, Kath. Please keep on improving and get back to us just as soon as you can. We all miss you.

    6. This has been a banner day, Steve’s debut, RayT’s 500th, Steve C’s great health news, and now a visit from Kath with an upbeat comment that is so hopeful. Our cup runneth over, happy days.

    7. Kath.
      So good to hear from you and that you are progressing. It is so pleasing to read your “ramblings”. All power to you and your flock.

    8. 💐Terrific to hear from you Kath. Keep on keeping on. We eagerly await your return. 💐

    9. So happy to hear from you Kath, and that you seem to be making progress. My brain often refuses to cooperate, usually with anything it doesn’t like. I did really well with maths in school, especially in accounting class, but give me anything like calculus and road blocks go up.

    10. Kath, you are my favourite blogger. I absolutely loved your hints. Couldn’t understand them half the time but you always made me laugh. Keep going.

      1. I’ve already said nice to hear from you, and it is, I didn’t say keep on getting better. You will recover.

    11. Hi Kath, great to hear from you again. Keep on going with your recovery, I’m sure you’ll be back soon.

  33. It’s Thursday, it’s RayT and I’m confused, situation normal then😁. I enjoy a good tussle even if I get thrashed , so thanks to all.

    PS. I did manage about 3/4 of them.

  34. I thoroughly enjoyed this Ray T compilation. It’s interesting to see how different people struggled with different parts of this crossword today. It was the NE – 6d and 10a – that sent me to Stephen’s hints.
    Having quite recently joined this blog, I’m bemused by the comments of some that, from time to time, disparage the efforts of our compilers. We see complaints that crosswords are too easy, or too difficult, contain too many anagrams or too few, that clues are too brief or too wordy, or we see complaints about individual clues. Personally, I prefer not to see solutions that require abstruse general knowledge. However, to paraphrase Evelyn Beatrice Hall I’ll defend to the death the compilers’ right to do as they see fit!
    I read articles that predict that artificial intelligence will sometime soon replace the need for human crossword compilers.
    I’m quite sure that many compilers do make use of AI in compiling their grids today. And why not? However, cryptic clue writing surely is an art not a science. As crossword aficionados, or cruciverbalists if you prefer, I think we all recognise that the different styles of clue writing make our challenge of completing a grid ever more rewarding. I, for one, am in awe at the skill and artistry that all our compilers show in their clue writing, and ever grateful to them for providing our daily entertainment and exercise of our grey cells.
    So Ray T, I salute you for your mammoth effort of entertaining us 500 times. May you and your fellow compilers continue to demonstrate your artistry to us for many years to come.

    Thanks also to StephenL for today’s excellent review.

  35. Lovely to hear from you Kath and may you continue on your road to full recovery. We do miss you!

    Many congratulations to Ray T on his 500th. As usual, I found it quite a challenge in places and didn’t quite get all the way but I’m getting your wave-length!

    Congratulations also to Stephen L what a mighty task you have undertaken. Good Luck though I think you have done an admirable job!

    Just waiting to hear from the hospital if I can collect my husband. Dropped him off at 7.15 this morning for a gallbladder op. Fingers-crossed as Jack the Russell hasn’t come away from the front door all day. Missing his master!

    1. Good luck to you and your husband. Hope his gall bladder op is as successful as mine was. Keyhole surgery so a really fast recovery time and no more of that awful pain

      1. Thank you for your comments which I have only just seen. Everything went quite well. Apparently the surgeon found a small hernia below the stomach so removed that at the same time. They kept Bill in overnight because of his age and low oxygen level. Managed to pick him up at 4pm (kept waiting for meds).

    2. Hilary,
      Hope all went well amazing what they can do “through the keyhole” these days

      1. Thank you for your kind comments. As you will see in my reply to Ora all has gone OK. Bill has one slightly larger hole out of the 3 where the hernia has been removed. Truly amazing what can be done via ‘keyhole’.

    3. Oh dear, so many people needing treatment, it’s a dangerous world !
      Best wishes to everyone who is in poor health. Keep doing the crosswords……..

  36. Did well on this one until I ground to a halt in the SE. Could not see the lurkers until I read the blog.

    Congratulations and thanks to RayT on his 500th crossword. Quite an achievement.
    Well done and thanks Stephen L for a most excellent blog.

    1. Hi Ora
      Watching the golf today from Carnoustie & the person interviewing the players looks ridiculous wearing what looks like a waterproof jacket and a winter weight bobble hat! It’s not that bad down by you surely?

  37. I managed most of this puzzle but need help with a couple (as per normal on Thursday 😬) ***/*** Favourites are 22a & 23d. Thanks and congratulations to Ray T and also to Stephen L. for a very good inaugural blog 🤗 and so nice to hear from Kath

  38. Definitely found this a head scratching puzzle today from Ray T. Quite tricky and hard to come to grips with in many parts today. Rated ****/**** for me today.
    9a is word I have never run across and did not know the meaning. Took me forever to find the lurkers today as well.
    SE was the last area in and needed the hints for that as well as several others. Liked 22a, 26a, 2d & 25d but no stand out winner today.

    Thanks to Ray T and StephenL for hints

  39. Love this blog, there is so much collegiate support for newcomers and those under the weather (but thankfully getting back to normal)! Congratulations to RayT but I hoped today there might have been a special celebratory clue about ‘500’ ! Thank you StephenL especially for 27a which well and truly got me.

  40. Evening all. Many thanks to StephenL for his sterling work today and to everybody else for your kind comments. I can still remember the absolute joy of seeing the first one published as if it were yesterday! Also a special hello to Kath, and it’s so good to hear that you are improving.


    1. Thanks for popping in sir, and what an honour for me to be able to provide the hints for your milestone puzzle.

    2. Good evening, Mr T, and a heartfelt thanks for all those puzzles. I wish 2003 was only yesterday – wouldn’t that be nice!

    3. Glad you popped in on such a momentous occasion, congratulations. I confess I used to wring my hands on “Ray T days”, but I have gradually got on wavelength and grown to appreciate the fairly clued challenges you provide.

    4. It was yet another great puzzle. Congratulations and we are all looking forward to the next 500.

  41. I did quite well today with this 500th RayT offering, I was very pleased. I only failed in the SE with the lurker at 21d, the American diet and perfect rogue.
    Of course, I needed our newest hinty person’s help with understanding quite a few, well done you, clear and easy to understand. First attempt and you’re already a pro! I have huge admiration for everyone involved in our entertainment, from the setter to hinter to our BD for providing the platform for it all. A heartfelt thanks to all of you geniuses! Or should it be genii? And our Kath popped in! It can’t get any better.

  42. Late today as I was ‘out to lunch’ with the Ladies Eight, George went to the Dolphin for Lads Lunch, he is now fast asleep and hurrah – no cooking this evening. Congratulations to RayT on his 500 and special pat on the back to SteveL for an excellent hinty debut. Lovely to hear from Kath too. I put a tick by 4a and 26a as they made me smile. This was in my bath this morning, a Cambridge Special. I grabbed a nail varnish pot to give you scale. They don’t normally appear until September. If you wish to live and thrive, let a spider run alive – so I had to do my upturned tumbler and piece of card trick. Yuk.

    1. Oh good, you too. We always use the tumbler and card trick and safely transport any spiders or small lizards outside.

      1. I’m running a mile away from my iPad which I have thrown out of the house. Please can we keep this blog a spider free zone?

        1. Wimp. My father hated spiders and always called on me to dispose of them which I did, just to please him but I don’t like them. They move too quickly!

      2. Amalia Cat has just brought in a ginormous great ameiva, looks like a baby alligator, and deposited it on the sitting room floor where the aide is seated. Needless to say, she is flapping in panic and I can’t move fast enough to catch it. I can just hope that my young lady comes in soon and can find it.

    2. DG. Here’s my poem about a spider, written in April this year:

      Dead Spider

      I got up to use the loo in the middle of the night,
      there was a spider trapped in the shower tray.
      I knew what to do, it’s happened several times before.

      Many years ago, the first time it occurred, I was half asleep,
      too tired and decided to rescue the wee thing later.
      I could have saved it there and then, but didn’t.

      In the morning, I went into the bathroom and it was already dead.
      Probably died of sheer exhaustion from repeated attempts
      to scurry abortively up the steep, slippery incline.

      Maybe shower trays should be complete with shallower slopes
      in the corners so that spiders, etc. could escape.
      Similar to the system that allows hedgehops to extricate
      themselves when stuck in the void beneath cattle-grids.

      This time, as always since then, I gently encouraged it onto
      a folded sheet of loo paper and deposited it on the window sill outside.
      Sometimes, I do it with my bare hands – it’s only a spider!

      1. Doh. Lovely words, Poor little thing. I cannot hurt them but as I said they move so quickly I would rather they did not invade my space.

        1. If you’ve got spiders you won’t have flies which are really irritating. You have to put up with the cobwebs though. My house looks like Miss Haversham’s.

    3. Arraigné du soir signe d’espoir
      Arraigné du matin signe de chagrin

      When did yours appear Daisygirl?

      Should have commented yesterday!

  43. Congratulations and thanks for a superb review, Stephen L!
    Kudos to Ray T on his 500th setting, and many thanks for joining us today and for the high quality of your puzzles over the years.
    So good to hear from Kath and to know that you’re improving. We miss you very much.

    Those two perpendicular lurkers at the end of the puzzle were my last two in–one aha! moment after another aha! moment–so they are my two CsOTD. Another splendid grid by the Thursday master. Many thanks to SL on his debut and to Mr T for the pleasure. *** / ****

  44. 3.5/4. Had to resort to a couple of hints (thanks and congrats Stephen). Generally a doable puzzle as elegant as always and even though plenty of pen sucking required. Thanks to Ray T and Stephen for the blog.

  45. What a lovely day in crossword land. A great puzzle from the master, a very helpful review from StephenL, plus a comment from Kath. My cup runneth over. I particularly liked the review as I try to limit myself to only using the picture hints and frequently they are supplied for the clues I have already solved. Not so today, so extra thank you. And of course congrats to Ray T for reaching the 500th milestone.

  46. Absolutely excellent from the great Ray T! Well-written/concise clues providing a good challenge and a very enjoyable solve with a sense of achievement at the finish. Too many very good clues to isolate a favourite. 3.5*, 4.5*.
    * And an excellent first review from SL too!

  47. Living in Canada for over 2 years didn’t help with 27a.

    I’m obviously rusty with my French as I had monsieurs for 2d. Only realised when I saw the hint for 9a. Doh!

    Enjoyable challenge nonetheless.

    Congratulations to RayT and StephenL!

    1. It was 27a that defeated me. On the positive side I now have several synonyms for diet under my belt. Thanks to StepenL and congrats to Ray T. Here’s to the next 500.

  48. Felt we had to comment today to add our congratulations to RayT on his milestone and StephenL for his excellent debut blog. Well done both.
    Also lovely to read a comment from Kath too.
    A real celebration day.

  49. Congats to RayT and SL, I knew you were above us ordinary mortals in the non hinting section of the blog. Thoroughly enjoyable as always. Favourite was 9a. Thanks again to RayT and StephenL.

  50. Thanks to Ray T and to StephenL for the review and hints. I’ve managed to complete the back pagers and Sunday for about the last eight days, but Ray T has put a stop to that 🙄 l needed the hints for 11,27&29a and 20d. I completely missed the lurker in 29a. Favourite was 4a. Was 4*/4* for me.

  51. Congratulations to Ray T on your 500th Telegraph puzzle. I found it quite tricky in places – got stuck in the SE – but very enjoyable, as usual. My favourite was 22a. Well done Stephen L on your first set of hints – I needed a few of them to explain my answers. Many thanks to both. Lovely to hear from Kath, too.

  52. Many congratulations to the brilliant RayT on his milestone and I very much look forward to the next 500 as he is my favourite compiler. I’ve been a bit out of the crossword loop over the summer and so alas today’s puzzle was beyond my pay grade but thanks to Stephen L for the hints and best wishes to everyone recovering from their various illnesses and ailments.

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