DT 29806 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 29806


Hints and tips by StephenL

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

Good morning from an unseasonably warm South Devon where the days are getting shorter but not it seems any cooler.

Ray T has given us another fun puzzle that I thought quite tricky in places but all fairly clued in his usual concise style.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a        Support for capital punishment? (7)
GALLOWS:  A cryptic definition, the support is a structure used in a form of capital punishment.

5a        Element illuminated with current in buzz (7)
LITHIUM:  A three letter synonym of illuminated is followed by a bee like buzz placed around the single letter measure of an electric current.

9a        Strangely bluer and almost cloudlike (7)
NEBULAR:   Anagram (strangely) of the following two words minus the last letter of the second word (almost)

10a      Grand girls producing spectacles (7)
GLASSES:  The abbreviation for Grand is followed by some girls

11a      Smooth singer’s first with rubbish Queen (9)
SANDPAPER:    Here smooth is a verb not an adjective. Start with the first letter of Singer, add a conjunction meaning with, a three letter synonym of rubbish and finally Her Majesty’s royal cipher

12a      Binge shows playing repeats every evening, initially (5)
SPREE:  The first letters (initially) of the five words following the definition

13a      Use vision, including nose oddly for feeling (5)
SENSE: A verb meaning “use your vision” goes around (including) the odd letters of NoSe

15a      Dress up bride with more fussing (9)
EMBROIDER:   Anagram (fussing) of bride and more

17a      Gloomy clutching one’s small sack (9)
DISMISSAL: Here the sack is not a bag but the loss of a job. A synonym of gloomy goes around (clutching) the letter that looks like a one, the S from the clue and the abbreviation for small

19a      Crown in charge of subject (5)
TOPIC:  A synonym of crown meaning “peak” is followed by the two-letter abbreviation for In charge

22a      Resign on account of work (5)
FORGO:   A three letter synonym of “on account of” is followed by a word meaning work in the sense of function

23a      Quiet about Conservative, popular, facing a scrap (9)
SCINTILLA:  An adjective meaning quiet is placed around the abbreviation for Conservative, a two-letter word meaning popular, followed by (facing) A from the clue

25a      Excluding tips, this compiler’s misleading (7)

EVASIVE:  A four letter synonym of excluding is reversed (tips) and is followed by IVE ( this compiler’s)

26a      Trails fugitives, the fourth absconding (7)

RUNWAYS: Take some fugitives or escapees and remove (absconding) the fourth letter

27a      What supports new bloomers? (7)
TRELLIS:  The bloomers here are flowers, the definition a structure that could support them

28a      Checks after covering of safety procedures (7)
SYSTEMS: The outer letters (covering) of SafetY are followed by a word meaning checks in the sense of curbs


1d        Famous volume opening for group (7)
GENESIS:  A double definition, the famous volume being the bible, the opening being the its first book. The group once featured Peter Gabriel

2d        The French veto against Asian country (7)
LEBANON:   A French definite article is followed by a veto and a two letter word meaning physically in contact with

3d        Men on dock and deck (5)
ORLOP:  Some military men are followed by a verb meaning to dock or cut

4d        Vessel, part sunken, holds up unsupported (9)
STRAPLESS:  Hidden in the clue and reversed (holds up)

5d        Raise grand drink (5)
LAGER:  Take a synonym of grand and reverse it. (raise in a down clue)

6d        Rapture seeing sunset finally passed pool? (9)
TRANSPORT:   Start with the last (final) letter of sunseT,  add a three-letter synonym of passed plus a word of which pool is an example

7d        Sun with dire rubbish covered (7)
INSURED:  Anagram (rubbish) of sun and dire

8d        Man who reportedly needs other people? (7)
MASSEUR:  Here “needs” is a homophone (reportedly) of a word that describes the action of this man

14d      Telegraph line? (9)
EDITORIAL:  The solution could describe the line taken by the Telegraph (or any other newspaper)

16d      Game bird is all dressed (9)
BILLIARDS:  Anagram (dressed) of the preceding three words

17d      Left in revolt change course (7)

DEFLECT:  The abbreviation for L(eft) goes inside a synonym of revolt
18d      Top water-sport expert? (7)

SURFACE:  Split 4-3 this could whimsically describe someone who is an expert on the waves

20d      Examine china dish missing lid’s top (7)
PALPATE:  Here “china” is not a ceramic material but an informal or Cockney term for a friend. Add a type of dish from which the first letter of lid is removed. (missing lid’s top)

21d      Body of church unchanged welcoming Son (7)
CHASSIS:  The two-letter abbreviation for church is followed by a term (2-2) meaning unchanged into which (welcoming) the abbreviation for (S)on is placed

23d      Gets rid of    outhouses (5)

SHEDS:  Double definition

24d      Looks after the Yorkshire borders (5)

TENDS:   Split 1-4 how someone from Yorkshire might describe some borders

Quickie Pun Docked + Urge + Heckle = Doctor Jeykell










84 comments on “DT 29806

  1. I’m with StephenL on ***/****. I’m afraid although I parsed I did not fully understand 25a or 24d so thanks for the explanation. My COTD was 18d – one of the easier clues but rather clever. Thanks RayT for the fun.

    It’s misty and a little nippy in Plymouth hopefully clearing soon.

  2. Another excellent Ray T from his top quality production line. Our blogger sums up my feelings accurately in his preamble, so I shall simply agree with him. Trying to pick a favourite is so difficult but I shall stick in my pin and up comes 18d.

    My thanks to Mr T for the fun and to SL.

  3. A subtly challenging puzzle with superb misdirection and some really wily clues (3*/4*). I enjoyed it more in retrospect than in the actual filling in of clues. I think it was Jane who said something similar yesterday. I enjoyed the misdirection in 11a and 8d and thought 18d quite amusing but 23a was my COTD. Many thanks to Stephen for the hints and to Ray T for another fine puzzle wwmith well worded clues.

  4. 2*/4*. Typical RayT in every respect and very enjoyable as always, even though I wouldn’t describe pool as a sport. I struggled for a while to parse 25a until the penny finally dropped.

    My podium comprises 11a, 18d & 24d.

    Many thanks to RayT and to SL.

  5. Like Chriscross my appreciation of this tricky little blighter, which edged me into *** time, increased reading back through it after completion. Succinctly & fairly clued as usual it was enjoyable without being up there with his best, for me anyway. I thought 1&27a plus 14d only mildly cryptic. Last in was 25a & like RD the parsing penny took a while to drop. I’ll plump for 11,23&26a along with 1,18&24d as my podium contenders.
    Thanks to Ray T & the Devon dipper

  6. A good puzzle, but – and breaking ranks here – not, I felt, quite up to the usual RayT standard. Nice and tricksy, nothing strange, no arcane ‘general’ knowledge required, and rather more straightforward than on first scan seemed would be the case. Never really feel that 2d is in Asia (let alone its near neighbours on or close to that seaboard) and while 25a had to be what it was, I needed SL’s parsing.

    Hon. mentions to 8d, 20d and 24d; COTD for that wonderful red herring, 21d.

    2.5* / 2.5*

    Many thanks to RayT and to SL.

    1. Lebanon has been part of the Middle East since at least world war 2 time. I suppose it’s technically in Asia. It’s all a bit blurred in that region!

      1. Yes, I know they are. Technically. Constantinople being the gateway to Asia and all that. But that does not make Israel, Lebanon, Syria, Iran, Iraq, Saudi & the UAE etc “feel” part of Asia to me. Middle East, yes; Asia, no.

        1. Yes, it is a bit confusing for sure. Descriptions of the Middle East area vary – some include Egypt, but I’d say that was decidedly in Africa.

  7. I notice the pun in the quick crossword is there today, I got

    I notice the pun at the top of the quick crossword isn’t there today. I got Docked, Urge, Heckle. Doctor Jeykell, not sure how to spell that one!

  8. Bottom half was a real struggle so definitely 3*. I’m still not sure where the first 4 letters of 25a come from. 25d stumped me as a new word though I should hav got it from the parsing.

  9. A typical Ray T puzzle completed at typical Ray T pace with a few pauses for thought, such as is 2d really in Asia, of course it is, and a Hmm on 27a – 2.5*/3.5*.

    Candidates for favourite – 5a, 26a, 3d and 18d – and the winner is 18d.

    Thanks to Mr T and Stephen L

  10. Mirroring RD, I spent quite some time figuring out how 25a worked and queried ‘pool’ as a sport – although I guess our compiler had used up his ‘game’ allocation on 16d!
    Top three for me were 28a plus 18&24d.

    Devotions as always to Mr T and thanks to Stephen L for another excellent review. A big ‘Hi’ to Kath in the hope that she pops in later.

    1. J and RD. Pool is a classification of “cue sports”, though in the BRB it is called a “game”.

  11. A typical Ray T crossword – I did like the ‘famous volume opening’ in 1d but wasn’t a fan of 27a.

    Thanks to Mr T and Stephen

    Before I get on to BT, can I just ask if anyone else is having trouble logging on to their BT email this morning??

      1. There was eventually a pop-up message to say that they were having problems with BT mail but it all seems to be working fine now – touch wood

  12. A struggle today so I’ll give it 4* for difficulty.
    I agree with Reggie, many of the clues in the bottom half confused me but I liked 21D (once I had solved it) to become my COTD.
    Many thanks to RayT and to SL

  13. Thoroughly enjoyable and satisfying.
    Some answers stretched my parsing abilities to the limit, eg 25a.
    So, ***/*****
    Many thanks, indeed, Ray T and thanks to StephenL

  14. The most difficult back pager for a while for me and like C sue agreed, as usual, that 27a was’iffy’
    The bottom half seemed ,or actually did, take ages to parse, nevermind I enjoyed the puzzle.
    Favourite was last in 26a followed by 1d for its surface, I believe they are on tour.
    Going for a ****/****.Thanks to SL for the pics-especially his ‘surface’

  15. I struggled somewhat with the SW corner, which pushed me into *** time, but on balance I found this a typical Ray T offering, with outstanding clues at 11, 23, 26a; 8 & 20d–and a draw for CsOTD between 25a (which took a while to parse) & 18d. My regards to Kath on her day, with thanks to the Devon Dipper for the review and to Mr T for the pleasure. *** / ****

    Doctor Jekyll also gets a Gold Star for the Quickie pun.

  16. A bit of a struggle in places but enjoyable, nevertheless. 18d foxed me for a long time. I could see it had something to do with surfing but nothing would click. SL’s excellent hints helped me out with it. Like others, I’m not too keen on 27a but my absolute favourite and COTD is 21d.

    The Quickie pun was great, I thought.

    Many thanks to Ray T for a great challenge and to Stephen L for the most welcome hints.

  17. A real struggle for me, but a good learning experience. I leaned heavily on Stephen’s tips to get me to the end.
    Like Robert, I very much enjoyed today’s pun.

    This week I’ve whizzed through this book. Not a huge fan of Nirvana, and I like rather than love Foo Fighters, but I find Dave Grohl a fascinating person. His autobiography is an absorbing read, beautifully written (if you don’t mind the occasional ‘f’ word!), and confirms Dave Grohl as the nicest chap in rock music.

    Thanks to Ray T, and Stephen. Big shout out to The Lovely Kath

    1. Yes – I thought that a bit tenuous – unless we are both missing something! I suppose you may run past something to pass it……

    2. Run = pass in the sense of to move or pass by/over: He winced as he ran/passed his hand over his bruised ribs.

  18. Tough Ray T for me especially the South (with SW last to fall).
    Well into *** time but **** fun.
    14d took e help to see but very clever & my COTD but could have been several others.
    Thank you RayT and StephenL for the review that helped explain a couple of entries. With the hints for 16d should “following” not be “preceding”?
    I’m sure Kath will look in today. Best wishes Kath, hope the recovery continues.

  19. What’s the pun in the quick crossword? I’ve got “Docked”. “Need”. “Heckle”. Something wrong?

  20. Thanks for the hints SL. I couldn’t understand the why of 25a or 24d. ***/*** Favourite 21d. Best wishes to Kath. As always, I ‘d have loved to have seen your hints for this! I enjoyed those as much as the puzzle. I’ve no idea how any of you do it. Especially with Ray T’s. Thanks to all.

  21. Really challenging for me today as Ray T productions usually are, but still enjoyable.
    Re the hint for 13a should the underlined keyword be ‘feeling’ as for me ‘use vision’ provides the bulk of the answer?
    Thanks to SL and RT

    1. I would agree that feeling is the 13a definition as ‘use vision’ provides three letters of the answer.

  22. A very nice puzzle from Ray T, best one of the week for me. I’d say about medium difficulty for him, but compared to all back-pagers a tad above average difficulty. Generally fine clues, a decent challenge and an enjoyable tussle. Fav: 23a. 3*, 4*.

  23. I liked the Quickie pun … I was disappointed that Sweetheart only appears today in the Quick, not the back-pager. But I’m sure she’ll soon be back in her rightful place.

  24. Agreed, an entertaining puzzle. Liked 18d and 23a. Knowing little of clouds, 9 a had me scratching my head. Luckily the clue was kind.

  25. Thanks for everyone saying hello to me – hello to all of you from me too. I still haven’t forgotten just what a long time I read the blog every single day – still miss it so badly.
    Thanks to StephenL and, of course, to Ray T

    1. Lovely to see you, Kath. You are much missed, especially on Thursdays.
      All the best for your continued recovery.

    2. Nice of you to pop in Kath, you have a lot of fans on here, including me. Hope you’re back for good soon.

    3. Always gladdens my heart when your name pops up on the blog – we do miss you, Kath, but Stephen is doing an excellent job of keeping your seat warm!

    4. Made my day, Kath! It’s always a bonza day when you make an appearance, you’ll soon be back.

      1. Hello Kath. Good to hear from you. Hope you are making good progress. Even if it’s slow going, each step is a building block towards full recovery

  26. An excellent puzzle from Ray T, a bit gentler than some of his but enjoyable nevertheless.
    Not too sure about the wordplay on 24d, seems a little tenuous.
    Thx to all

  27. Now that’s what I call a crossword!

    Bottom half took a bit longer than the top, but sorted it all out eventually. So satisfying.

    Thanks to RayT and to Stephen L

  28. East fell to first but overall I found the whole a bit of a grind without much light relief. 3d needed some Googling. 21d unchanged made it my Fav. I’m with Mustafa in having reservation about 2d Asian however I guess every country has to slot into one continent or another and Middle East isn’t that. Thank you RayT and StephenL.

  29. I too had my doubts about 2d being in Asia but I looked it up and it is! The Urals are the dividing line between Europe and Asia but the line moves a bit west in that area, very confusing.

  30. Evening all. My thanks to StephenL for the decryption and to everybody else for your comments. Also, very nice to hear from Kath again!


    1. Early visit by you this evening, Mr T, but always great to see that you’re checking up on us. Thank you for all the pleasure your puzzles bring.

    2. A very late response RayT so I expect no reply but if you get a minute could you shed more light for me on the 6d confusion over passed=ran a couple of us were discussing above? Your humble servant NAS

  31. Very much of a struggle in the end here. As is normal for me with a Ray T puzzle I had troubles. Top half was all good and then the bottom half was just a slog and stumped me on half dozen of the clues. Ended up 3.5*/*** (top half was 1.5*/****) for me today.
    Clues to like 5a, 9a, 27a & 4d with 27a & 4d tied for winner.
    New words for me in 23a & 3d.

    Thanks to RayT and StephenL for the hints MUCH needed in the bottom half.

  32. I’m with Angellov, a bit on the tricky side. I completed north without too much difficulty, but south beat me, I need to get stuff done and can’t spend any more time on this. Fave was 1d, but 3d gets a star for being first solved.
    Thanks to RayT for his offering and to StephenL for unravelling that lot.

      1. I emailed Daisy. She’s had a busy few days and is very tired but will be back to both crosswords and the blog soon

  33. Always challenged by a Ray T special. A few, mostly downs, just wouldn’t fill themselves in. Ran an errand and hoped brain fog would have cleared by the time I got back. But no, had to succumb to the hints, particularly for 3d and 18d. Did solve 27a, but still can’t figure out why “new” is included? Did manage 24a, knowing the Yorkshire folk often shorten the to t. Thanks to Ray T and StephenL.

  34. Thanks to Ray T and to StephenL for the review and hints. Way too difficult for me. Needed the hints for 17,22,25,26,27a and 1,3,4,14,18,20d. Had never heard of 3&20d. Not much fun at all.

  35. Not much enjoyment for me today. The SW corner largely defeated me, especially 25a. How does this compiler’s mean I’ve? Not seen tips to mean reverse the word before that I can remember. One for the memory bank.

    20d is a new word for me. Does anyone who isn’t medically trained ever use it?

    Maybe it is just me, but I think 22a is dubious at best.


    Thanks to all.

  36. Needed the hint to parse 25a. I never knew that 25d meant examine, I do now. I found it interesting that pool is a sport and 16d is a game, that’s cryptic crosswords for you. SW definitely in toughie territory although 18d has to edge out 1a as favourite as it opened up that corner for me. Thanks to Rayt and SL.

  37. I’m sorry Mr. Ray T, I had to give up after solving less than half. This was completely beyond my pay grade. Could our esteemed crossword editor provide something a little easier for the lesser mortals? Thanks to Ray T and SL.

    1. They cater to all sorts, I think the brighter sparks are entitled to their fun as well. After all, we’ve had a pretty good run so far this week. It’s unsatisfying to have a puzzle so way beyond my ken, but fair’s fair, other’s are due their day in the sun.

  38. If I have been on the right wavelength for the rest of this week, I am definitely on the wrong one for this!

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