DT 29782 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 29782

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 29782

Hints and tips by StephenL

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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

Good morning from South Devon, where we’ve been enjoying the hint of an Indian Summer. Long may it continue.

One of the things I’ve found when doing these reviews is that it’s harder to gauge the enjoyment level than when simply solving but Mr T rarely disappoints on that score and I thought today no exception. The South West took me into 3* time

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


7a        Master this compiler’s Queen after solve (8)
DOMINEER:  Start with a two-letter synonym of solve, add a possessive pronoun and the usual abbreviation for Her Majesty

9a        Reluctant States facing end of rule (6)
AVERSE:  A formal synonym of states plus (facing) the final letter of rule

10a      Flatten pasture with first cut (4)
RAZE:  Here pasture is a verb without its first letter (first cut). The solution is often followed by “to the ground”

11a      Reckless Cinders it turned out embraces sweetheart (10)
INDISCREET:  An anagram (turned out) of CINDERS IT contains the “E” from sweetheart

12a      Pupil is tensely taking heed (6)
LISTEN: Hidden in the clue (taking)

14a      Hoarding gold is tax free (8)
EXORCISE:  Start with a tax or a levy and place it around (hoarding) the heraldic symbol for gold

15a      Tough, gutless, steals pounds (6)
THROBS:  The outside letters of tough (gutless) plus a synonym of steals

17a      Spots small containers keeping ale’s head (6)
STAINS:  Start with the abbreviation for small, add some containers placed around (keeping) the initial letter of ale

20a      Menace afterwards includes right mess (8)
THREATEN:  A four- letter adverb meaning later goes around the abbreviation for right and a stretched synonym of mess

22a      Psychotic first killer America briefly rejected (6)
MANIAC:  Start with the biblical first killer, add a two-letter abbreviation for America (briefly) and reverse (rejected) the result

23a      Reform as term in Dartmoor detains ringleader (10)
MASTERMIND:  A brilliant lurker (detains)

24a      Stunner from beach almost bares everything initially (4)
BABE: The first letters (initially) of four of the words in the clue

25a      With offence clear, turned around game (6)
TENNIS: A reversal (turned around) of an offence and a synonym of clear as in after tax perhaps

26a      Ship about beginning to raise flag (8)
STREAMER:  A type of ship goes around the initial letter of raise


1d        Puritan Mass said first (8)
MORALIST:  The abbreviation for mass, a four-letter synonym of said and the three letters that look like first

2d        Remain US President without end (4)
BIDE:  The current incumbent of the White House without the last letter

3d        Kind of good in African republic (6)
BENIGN: The abbreviation for good sits inside a West African state

4d        Key from old man’s Golf, say (8)
PASSPORT:   The “Golf” is not a car! Start with a short word for your dad, the S from the clue and an activity of which golf is an example (say)

5d        Gutless traitor in backlash for withdrawal (10)
RETRACTION:  The outside letters of traitor (gutless) are placed inside a synonym of a backlash

6d        Idiots accepting Democrat’s backing for capital (6)
ASSETS:  One of crosswordland’s favourite idiots goes around (accepting) the final letter (backing) of Democrat

8d        More embarrassed, even when upset (6)
REDDER:  The comparative adjective of a colour one goes when embarrassed is a palindrome (even when upset)

13d      With pure intent, changed, getting thinner (10)
TURPENTINE:  Anagram (changed) of PURE INTENT

16d      Lock supports barring support (8)
BUTTRESS: A lock of hair supports (under in a down clue) a three-letter conjunction meaning barring or except

18d      Meanders after quiet walks, unsteadily (8)
SHAMBLES: A synonym of meanders is placed after the usual two letter instruction to be quiet

19d      Hostile to comics’ vacuous buffoonery (6)
ANTICS:  The usual four letter preposition meaning against as in “not in favour of” is followed  by the outside letter (vacuous) of comics

21d      Pranked seeing house brought down (6)
HOAXED:  A two letter abbreviation for house then the past tense of a verb meaning to cut or bring down

22d      Navy follows method to get contemporary (6)
MODERN:  A synonym of method is followed by an abbreviation for our marine forces

24d      Horror of supporter with extra time (4)
BRAT: This compiler’s favourite supporter is followed by the abbreviation for time

The splendid 23a takes the honours for me today with a nod to the pun

Quickie Pun.  SECT + SUP + HEAL = SEX APPEAL



94 comments on “DT 29782

  1. I enjoyed this Ray T crossword, which had well-constructed clues, which were pretty accessible and had the usual trademarks of the Queen and the sweetheart. The lurker at 23a was a great clue, as was the anagram with superb misdirection at 13d . However the geographical clue at 3d was my COTD. Many thanks to Stephen L for the hins and to Ray T. Regards t Kath and I hope you are making good progress.

  2. Ray T seldom disappoints and this was another delightfully tricky-in-places example of his style of setting; concise clues, innuendo and clever misdirection. I agree that the brilliant lurker at 23a was the COTD, quite superb.

    My thanks as always to Mr T and to SL for his review.

  3. NW corner held me up the longest. I went through every American President I could think of including the present one but I was pronouncing him ‘bead’ – it was only when I had the checkers that the penny dropped and then I felt so foolish. Had the new fibre optic broadband fitted yesterday – now the phones don’t work so that’s progress! Thanks to the setter and SL.

    1. You weren’t alone there Manders. I mentally trawled back over a 100 years trying to think of 5 letter presidents but for heaven knows what reason started at Trump. The penny only dropped when I got 7a.

  4. 3.5*/4.5*. I found this tougher than usual for a Ray T Thursday but as enjoyable as ever.

    I didn’t know that “pasture” in 10a could be used as a verb, which I confirmed in my BRB. I also needed my BRB to find out that “mess” is an archaic verb for to “eat”.

    I’ll go along with the consensus and choose 23a as my favourite.

    Many thanks to Ray T and to Stephen, who continues to do a great job sitting in for Kath. And, last but not least, warmest wishes to Kath, hoping that you are improving day by day.

  5. Thanks for the write-up StephenL
    I haven’t slept much, but the apostrophe in 19d is bugging me – probably just me being dim or tired or both
    Perhaps I am just dismayed at seeing the answer parsed as **** ** :smile:
    Many thanks to RayT

    1. If it was apostrophe s the vacuous critic would be cc whereas s apostrophe leaves you with cs – hope this helps, if I am right of course!

      1. Hello Manders, I hope you are keeping well
        Possessive apostrophe would be comic’s, plural just comics – I don’t get the implied plural possessive comicses (I know that’s not a word, but do you see what I mean?)
        If the apostrophe is possessive, then it would be the outer letters possessed by comic, CC; if the apostrophe means IS, then it doesn’t make sense at all

        1. You are absolutely right LbR! There is no need for the apostrophe at all. I will wait with you to see who pops in with an answer.

          1. I can’t see a problem. The surface needs the possessive apostrophe as it is referring to the vacuous buffoonery of the comics.

            1. But that word is the plural, comics
              Here we have comics’ where the apostrophe means possession of plural comics
              There is no such word as the grammar fails, no?

              1. LBR. You (and others) have got me nonplussed! To help me get my head round this, can you please explain the difference between (there are 2 comics who are both poor at comedy and each own a bicycle):

                1. The comics’ vacuous buffoonery.
                2. The comics’ bicycles.

                Much obliged!

                1. “The comics’ bicycle” would also be ok if there was one bicycle shared by both of them! 🙂

              1. Quite. I have just marked a dissertation in which the delegate continually used its’, which is not plural. In fact its’ does not exist. I agree that it should be comics but see my post below. I may be in no position to comment! :grin:

                1. Over here, Steve, ‘it’s’ means only ‘it is’ or ‘it has’; in American grammar, no possessive pronoun has an apostrophe. “Every dog has it’s day” would be considered erroneous. Just a comment about something that has interested me over the years. May I congratulate you, by the way, for your lovely dahlias?! Meant to the other day.

                  1. RC. Possessive pronouns don’t have apostrophes in English grammar either. “Every dog has it’s day” would be a schoolboy error over here too.

                  2. “It’s” means the same over here as well, Robert.

                    Thank you for the congrats on my dahlias. The foot wide blooms have gone over so I did a bit of dead heading. There are plenty of flower buds developing so I’m hoping for more large blooms.

              1. The grammar of the surface seems correct to me too. The buffoonery (single) applies to multiple comics so the apostrophe is correctly placed after the s…🤔

  6. A bit of a stretch beyond my skill level so much gratitude to Stephen for some prompts.

    Thanks to Ray T and Stephen L and of course a fond wave to The Lovely Kath

  7. Ray T at his sparkling best with smooth surfaces as ever.
    Careful reading was required to tease out each technique being used.
    I will go with the flow and nominate 23a as my COTD. Very neat.
    Thanks to Ray T and to Stephen.

  8. A difficult puzzle set in a difficult grid-right up my street!
    Its Thursday again and some Toughie standard clues in parts. Going for a ****/****
    Favourite and last in was 14a, nicely misleading, a close second was 22a for the surface with a special mention for 13d. .
    Thanks to Steven for the apposite pics and our setter for the enjoyment.

  9. 3 in the NW & 3 in the SW took me into Toughie time with this one so for me it was at the trickier end of Mr T’s spectrum though given the time it took me to twig POTUS maybe it was just a case of me being even dimmer than usual. Another vote for 23a as COTD since it took me a very long time to twig it. I also took a while to parse 20a & that one along with the downs at 5&16 can fight it out for podium spots.
    Thanks to RT & SL & as ever Thursday thoughts for Kath.

  10. More of a challenge than some of his recent puzzles but Mr T at his very best – ***/****.

    Candidates for favourite – 8d, 16d, and 19d – and the winner is 16d.

    Thanks to Mr T and to StephenL, with continuing special thoughts for Kath.

  11. As is often the way, I could simply write ditto beneath RD’s comments – definitely at the somewhat trickier end of Mr T’s repertoire, same things needed to be checked with the BRB and another vote for 23a, with a :smile: for the Quickie pun.

    Devotions to the great man and many thanks to Stephen L for the review.
    Thinking of Kath on ‘her’ day of the week, I do hope she’s continuing to improve.

  12. First of all, my regards to Kath. I hope that she is progressing well. I thought that this was another superb Ray T teaser, with all of his classic trademarks, and a total delight. Like others, I swooned over 23a but my podium choices are 4d, 21d, and 14a. Thanks StephenL for another great review (I too thought the pun quite good) and to Ray T for the pleasure. ** / ****

    Finished the sparkling Toughie but needed some electronic boosters to do so. We’re getting some of the remnants of the tropical storm Nicholas as it moves eastward along the Carolina coast–rain mostly, a bit of wind.

  13. Very enjoyable with SE only sticky patch. Not sure whether 24a is necessarily a stunner – used in sweet talk yes or as infant of course. That 20a mess synonym is new one on me. Unusual to have the abbreviation for America as per 22a. Several great surfaces with 1d standing out for me. Quickie pun amused. Thank you RayT and StephenL.

  14. I was not able to look at this crossword this morning for various reasons. One was the fact I did not sleep last night. This caused the second problem – I overslept. I then had to start marking dissertations and I think this and the lack of sleep conspired to dull my faculties. If I don’t do the puzzle first thing before anything else, I struggle and today’s Ray T was no exception. My brain refused to get into gear and I needed help with far too many clues.

    Still, I agree with COTD being 23a. I did wonder at the political correctness of 24a but then it is Ray T and I couldn’t give a fig for political correctness and “woke”.

    Many thanks, Ray T – it was me not you. Thanks also, StephenL for the much needed hints.

    Yes, a great pun today.

  15. Late on parade as maximising the last fair weather in Devon for a while. Climbing at Chudleigh first thing then started today’s Ray T on the Cawsand Ferry from the Barbican and just finished in the Cross Key’s Inn. A delightful trip and a delightful crossword. All good clues today ***/**** except I thought the pasture/graze link a bit iffy in 10a. Isn’t graze a verb and pasture a noun? I expect I am wrong. Thanks to StephenL and our great compiler.

  16. Superb puzzle.
    Three in the NW put me into *** time.
    Funny how it took an age to get the US President.
    Many thanks indeed, RayT and StephenL, luckily not referred to.

  17. I found this the toughest RayT / Beam puzzle I’ve completed of his in a good many weeks: just could not get on to the right wavelength, when usually I tune straight in. Had it not been for the anagrams I’d have said it was a Beam in the wrong place!

    Nonetheless very enjoyable and a satisfying solve – S fell before N, the NE the last to go. 4* / 3.5*

    My Yoda COTD is 14a, overall COTD the superb lurker in 23a.

    Many thanks indeed to RayT and to StephenL for the review, which I needed to parse my (corrected second time round with the third checker) LOI, 22a.

  18. Another really good puzzle from the back-page master. Great clues, a tricky challenge and much enjoyment. Will have to pick the excellent lurker in 23a as my favourite. 4*, 4.5*

  19. All went in smoothly but for 10 across and 5 down which both stuck out for some time. They fell eventually. Perhaps the president hasn’t been in service long enough to register. Thanks to RayT for the fun and StephenL for the review

  20. A very enjoyable solve, held up a bit in the NW corner by 1a, 1d and I mused over 10a even though it’s fairly straightforward. All fits in nicely now.

    The excellent 23a and 5d were the COTDs for me. Tanks to Ray T and StephenL.

  21. Yes quite straightforward so nice on a sunny Thursday 😃***/*** Favourites 17a & 1d Thanks to StephenL and to RayT 👍

  22. Natch, it’s RayT and I DNF. I solved from 8d and 19d and everything to the east, nothing on the west except for the President. I hit a total blank and needed StephenL’s hints to finish. I thought I did quite well to do as much as that. I should have got 23a, I forgot the lurker rule, dammit. I feel I also should have got the geography clue at 3d. Fave was 14a.
    Thank you RayT and StephenL. I hope you’re doing well, Kath, you’re missed more every day.

  23. Oh dear!!
    Where is everyone today?
    I’m late today so expecting to find lots and lots of comments – whatever has happened – maybe there has been a disaster of some kind.
    Oh well – I’ll carry on.
    I don’t have lots to say as usual at the moment because I still find crosswords almost impossibly difficult – I’m still living in hope and will keep going on . . .
    Thanks to RD and to Terence and to everyone else too,
    Thanks too to Ray T and to Stephen

    1. Wonderful to hear from you, Kath. I hope you are feeling ok “within yourself” as my mum-in-law used to say. :rose:

    2. Hello from the Carolina coast, Kath. StephenL is doing a fine job while you are away, but I do hope that you’ll return soon. All the best to you.

    3. 💐 So good to have contact from you Kath and here’s wishing that crosswords will soon be on your “to do” list once more. 💐

    4. This is such a treat, a visit from Kath! Keep doing well, you’ll soon be blogging RayT again with ease! We send bushels of love and best wishes.

    5. It’s just such a pleasure when you drop in, Kath. So good to know that your determination is still strong, I’m sure you’ll be back in the blog hot seat one day. Meantime, Stephen L is doing a sterling job of standing in for you.

    6. Nice of you to drop in on “your day” Kath, everyone here is willing you back to blogging and good health.

    7. Kath,
      To me every time you post you are back. Instead of “Lovely to hear your voice” it is “Lovely to read your words”.
      One step and one day at a time is progress.

    8. A pre lights out check on the posts to see if apostrophe-gate was resolved & delighted to see your comment. Keep on staying in touch & improving

    9. Well done Kath. Onwards and upwards! Yesterday’s puzzle was a stinker. I had a sunny day in London yesterday with my only lamb. I failed to do the crossword on the journey partly because I chatted to a delightful mother and youngest lamb on the way out and was exhausted on the way back (credit card and self both!). Much love.

  24. A challenging puzzle for today. Ray T seems to get harder every time. ***/****
    SW was last to fall today.
    Favourites 15a, 23a, 5d & 24d with winner 23a … well hidden.
    24d made me laugh.

    Thanks to Ray T and StephenL for the hints … and I needed a few today.

  25. A few more thoughts on 19d:

    1. The surface grammar/punctuation are correct.
    2. To work, both the surface and word-play need the plural possessive: comics’
    3. 2 dogs share a kennel, so the dogs’ kennel. Is that implying the non-word “dogses”?
    4. Even if you know nothing about punctuation, the clue is clearly telling you remove all the middle letters of comics’ – as it simply/plainly appears in the clue.

    Right, I can relax now …

    1. The apostrophe seems to generate so much heated discussion perhaps the Government should adopt it as an alternative energy source!
      All good fun though.

    2. They has? The Romans they do go home? The Footballers’ Association?
      Dog’s kennel says either one dog and its kennel, or the kennel of the plural dogs
      So dog’s kennel is fine, but not dogs’ kennel

      1. LBR. Thank you for replying – you seem to be clued-up on the nuances of punctuation. But I’m more nonplussed than I was before! I assume you are saying that The Footballers’ Association is incorrect? (is “Footballerses” implied?). I’m willing to understand (and so are others, no doubt), so could you please give an example of a plural possessive where s’ would be correct.

        Also, if I merely wrote “dog’s kennel” how would the reader know if it was a singular or plural possessive? And if I wanted the reader to be 100% sure (just using an apostrophe) it was plural, how could it be done?

        Some people are already confused by the “conventional” use of apostrophes and after reading this blog page they’ll probably give up altogether!

      2. Strangely enough, there was a feature on the Today programme this morning discussing the use of “it’s” and “its” ; also “was” and “were”. One guy was saying “It is perfectly okay to use “We was going out” while the other, a professor, was steadfastly sticking to the other (correct) usage of “We were going out”.

        1. SC. I’m certainly with you regarding “were”, but introducing it’s and its into a general discussion about plural possessive apostrophes is muddying the waters somewhat – neither of them apply. It’s is just a shortened version of it is/it has and its is already a possessive pronoun and never needs an apostrophe. I was just wondering, after reading the full bog and hopefully getting a decent night’s sleep, have you changed your mind about comics’ in 19d? Be interesting to know!

      3. LRB. You’ve not obliged with any further evidence/explanation. I don’t like untied loose ends, so I’m happy to conclude that my comments at the top of this thread are correct. I’ll leave you with this, c/p directly from an official source:

        Charity number: 1150458

  26. Too hard for me today – had it been a rainy day I might have persevered. But the sun had got his hat off and the Hertfordshire countryside proved a bigger draw. 35 miles, on my bike including a cafe stop with a mate. A shame as this was a good crossword – and many thanks to Stephen who also spells his name with a ph – if only we could synchronise harder crosswords with bad weather. I suspect others may have similar calls on their time when the weather is good – walking, gardening……

  27. It’s Thursday, it’s Ray T, it’s going to be a tussle. Nothing different this week, except it is now StephenL standing in for Kath & not the vacating MP (no not Dominic Raab).
    Enjoyed the exercise completed in just about *** time with two or three where the answer came before working out why (eg 10a, 20a). That there were 3 “gutless” clues spoiled things a bit for me so *** fun.
    23a, a superb lurker, gets my COTD
    Thanks Messers T and L.

  28. Lovely crossword today….I did very well for me up against Ray T and only needed help with one…unbelievably the anagram at 11a. Just could not get it , didn’t have any checkers so gave in and used the anagram solver…..then the rest all fell gradually into place.

    Thanks to RayT and to StephenL.

    Beautiful day here ..warm and sunny.

  29. I thought I was beginning to get the hang of Ray T crosswords, but that notion got shot pieces today. I’m in the DNF group. This felt more like a Toughie to be honest. Hats off to those who could figure it out. Thanks to Ray T and Stephen L. Just so happy anyway to see Kath dropped in today.

  30. A tough puzzle for me but enjoyable nonetheless.
    I wonder if our good setter has been a bit reckless, the answers to 10a and 11a read together made me chuckle!!
    Thanks to Ray T and Stephen

  31. First class puzzle, great to do a Ray-T puzzle for a change.
    Nothing obscure and good surfaces.
    Lovely day in London today.
    After three months of agony, it actually looks as though the conveyancers have got their act together, only six weeks too late.
    Sorry, what’s up with Kath.
    Thanks both.

    1. Hoofs sorry I did not reply to your question on the Ryder Cup.
      Someone had to be left out & how it finished up meant Harrington was left with a choice that would always be criticised by some quarters. Personally I would have left out Poulter but all could make points in his favour. Perhaps they, will give the captain a couple more picks.
      I don’t think we are good enough but, what do I know?
      Sorry to hear your problems with conveyancing. My daughter has been driven to the end of endurance by her solicitors so I have every sympathy.

      1. It’s been a nightmare, less efficient than British Rail in the ’70’s.
        Like you, I think we will struggle, pound for pound they are better than us, and on home soil.

        1. Watch it Hoofs some of us worked for BR in the 70’s (or should that be 70s?). Mind you metallurgists didn’t have much to do with timetables & train running or fares.
          If I told you what happened to my daughter you might think you have got off lightly. If they put it on TV no-one would believe it.
          As we returned from the dog walk someone arrived by chartered 8 seat helicopter at Royal Dornoch, landing their by the practice putting green – how the other half live!

      2. I make you right about Poulter v Rose. Had Westwood fallen out of the automatic spot, which looked possible at one point, I suspect Rose may have got the nod over him.

  32. Thank you RayT for the tough challenge in the NW and Stephen for clear explanations – *** difficulty for me. Kath I am sure the puzzles will get easier over time and you will get back to your usual top form!

  33. Last in was the SW for reasons best known to myself as when presented with an almost empty corner, I filled it in straight away! How does that work? I’ll go along with most others for favourite being 23a as I spent ages trying to fit stretch in there until I spotted the brilliantly disguised lurker. Thanks to Rayt and SL.

  34. As RayT, I had that Jannsen jab for covid. Just one injection but did I wait a month before going out? No way José! Good thing I have friends who let me eat in their restaurants during my short breaks.
    Feel awful having to check other people’s passe sanitaire.
    Will do the crossword later.
    Miss you all and welcome to Stephen L on the blogging chair.

  35. Didn’t enjoy this at all. Way above my pay grade. I had much of the crossword solved but needed the hints here to see why many clues were correct. Lost interest and used the answer reveal for the last few clues.

    Thanks to all.

  36. Rough day. I did finish the crossword – over a period – but found it a struggle and stubbornly would not look at the hints until
    just now at 4.15 a.m. The paper is in the bathroom so I cannot tell you which clues I starred but there were several that I thought were winners.
    It is bad enough not being able to sleep but one of our outside security lights is literally ‘on the blink’ and flashing morse
    code signals all night. We are waiting for the electrician to come but I have discovered that catching it at the right moment and
    putting in on permanently is better than having this light show which must be driving neighbours mad. George says he can fix it (he cannot)
    but I will not let him go up a ladder. Ah me. Nice to hear from Kath – Bless you. Many thanks as usual to setter and hinter.

  37. Morning all. My humble apologies for having forgotten the day of the week yet again! Anyway, my thanks to StephenL for the decryption and to all for your comments, especially to Kath.


    1. Better late than never!! Thanks again sir for a fine puzzle that was a pleasure both to solve and review.

    2. Wondered where you’d got to, Mr T. Pleased to hear that it was just the old memory playing tricks – happens to us all!
      Excellent puzzle as always, thank you so much.

  38. Well. I didn’t need to open any books to solve this great offering from RayT. Either he is improving or I am.
    Although the synonym in 11a was new to me.’
    Lovely to hear from Kath. I send her my love.
    Got a card from Framboise today. She is in England since June. Hoping to come back to Hyères very soon.
    Thanks to RayT and to StephenL for the review.

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