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DT 29842

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 29842

Hints and tips by StephenL

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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

Good morning from a blue skies South Devon, a perfect late Autumn day.

In all the time on the blog I can count on the fingers of one hand how many times I’ve been disappointed with a Ray T puzzle. This was not one of those occasions, I thought it a cracker though tricky in places with some cunning misdirection.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a Craving return of Queen brilliance (6)
LUSTRE: A craving or sexual desire is followed by a reversal (return) of the royal cipher.

4a Examples one’s seen in record books (8)
EPITOMES: Start with one of the usual vinyl records, add some “weighty” books and place the result around the letter that looks like the number one.

9a Slowly in trouble suppressing a grunt (6)
ADAGIO: Split 1-2 some trouble goes around (suppressing) A from the clue and a nickname for a GI

10a Inspector with cut rejected by Underground worker (8)
EXAMINER: A reversal (rejected) of a verb meaning to cut severely is followed by the usual underground worker.

11a Cry wolf in account (8)
ENTREATY: Here the wolf is not a howling canine but a verb meaning to eat quickly. It goes inside an account in the sense of a record.

13a Swamp could produce nugget containing gold (6)
MORASS: A synonym of nugget goes around the heraldic symbol for gold.

15a Curious pelting rain? Get over it! (13)
INTERROGATIVE: Anagram (pelting) of the following four words.

18a Stunned, noting a mature reasoning (13)
ARGUMENTATION: Anagram (stunned) of the following three words

22a Automatic drive? (6)
LIBIDO: A cryptic definition of the (sex) drive within us all to varying degrees

24a Tries again facing front of Eurostar train (8)
REHEARSE: A verb meaning tries (in a court) again precedes the initial (front) letter of Eurostar.

26a Assuming expert struggled tackling Mastermind’s final (8)
PROVIDED: Assuming here is a conjunction. A three letter expert is followed by a synonym of struggled placed around (tackling) the final letter of Mastermind.

27a Standard one wants to outlaw? (6)
BANNER: A flag that could whimsically describe someone in favour of a veto

28a Aversion of sadist as terribly controlling (8)
DISTASTE: Hidden in the clue where the indicator, I think is the word controlling

29a Attacks England overcome by defeats (6)
BESETS: The abbreviation for England sits inside a verb meaning defeats, in the sense of gets the better of.


1d Laboured conduct over discontented European (6)
LEADEN: A four letter verb meaning conduct or  control goes before (over in a down clue) the outer letters (discontented) of European.

2d Beginning to embrace left is unforeseen (9)
STARTLING: A straight forward synonym of beginning goes around (to embrace) the abbreviation for Left.

3d Dress cleavage is gripping sight (7)
RAIMENT: A synonym of cleavage as in a split goes around a verb meaning to sight, as one might a gun

5d Stuffing work up, bearing a cross (4)
PAXO: Place a reversal (up) of the usual two letter work around (bearing) A from the clue and the letter that looks like a cross

6d Vault over line, a fair game (7)
TOMBOLA: The vault here is not a jump but a crypt. Follow it with the abbreviations for Over and Line and A from the clue

7d Ray cheers supporting worker (5)
MANTA: An informal two letter word meaning cheers or thank you goes below (supporting in a down clue) one of the usual workers

8d Worried seeing sweet son upset (8)
STRESSED: A sweet one has after the main course and the abbreviation for Son are reversed (upset)

12d Shed reportedly used for lavatory, commonly (6)
THRONE: A clever homophone of shed as a verb gives us an amusing name for a lavatory.

14d Fellow consumed finding present (6)
DONATE: A fellow at a university is followed by a synonym of consumed (think food)

16d One caring about illiteracy (9)
IGNORANCE: Anagram (about) of the preceding two words.

17d Everybody in work exercise day ran (8)
GALLOPED: Place a synonym of everybody inside a two letter synonym of work. Add some physical exercise and the abbreviation for Day.

19d Crazy time around capital of Ibiza island (7)
MADEIRA: Start with a word meaning crazy or bats, add a long period of time and insert into it the capital of Ibiza.

20d Sex charge embracing sweetheart? Say again! (7)
ITERATE: This setter’s favourite synonym of sex and a charge (for fixing Terence’s boiler maybe) go around (embracing) swEetheart.

21d Suit warms up around summer’s end (6)
HEARTS: A verb meaning warms goes around the final letter of summeR.

23d Ducks catching nothing and drops the ball (5)
BOOBS: A synonym of ducks as a verb goes around (catching) the letter that represents nothing or nil.

25d Behave excessively, administering thrashing initially (4)
BEAT: A typical Mr T first letters (initially) clue.

Quickie Pun: pier+ridges=peerages.

Well that was great fun. In a very strong field 12d takes the honours for me.


105 comments on “DT 29842

  1. Mr T at his best, and ‘straight in’ with HM, perfect for a Thursday – ***/****.

    A minor Hmm on 7d. I have always thought that the name of the fish was the two words of the answer and the definition.

    Candidates for favourite – 1a, 4a, and 5d – and the winner is 5d.

    Thanks to Ray T and to Stephen L, and continuing thoughts for and best wishes to Kath.

  2. It’s RayT Thursday, which means two things: we are in for a treat of a crossword; and we especially miss Kath.

    I found today’s puzzle at the easier end of RayT’s spectrum except for the interlinked 22a & 23d, my last two in, which took quite a time to unravel. Overall my rating is 3*/4*.

    My podium choice is 26a, 27a & 12d.

    Many thanks to Ray T and to SL, who continues to do an excellent job in Kath’s absence. Best wishes too to Kath.

  3. Big apologies for the late post. I had the puzzle done in good time but had a lot of trouble uploading it. Many thanks to BD for his help in that respect.

  4. A difficult puzzle for me but I managed it with some e-help. I cannot say I enjoyed it that much despite there being some fine clues such as 12d.

    Thanks for the thrashing, Ray T and also to SL for the hints.

    All good wishes to Kath.

  5. Ray T in a less than benevolent mood for me. Took **** time to unravel but it was a very enjoyable and satisfying journey getting there. I guess this might divide opinions though
    Like SL COTD was 12d, it brought a smile. I guess that defines my sense of humour.
    Thanks to Ray T as usual, & StephenL for parsing of my LOI, 9a, got the ado but not the US fictional character.
    Hope Kath pops in later her post last week made my day.

  6. I found this top-rated puzzle harder than today’s Toughie, but that just made the satisfaction of completing it even sweeter. All our compiler’s considerable strengths were on display, with 12d coming out on top of the pile.

    My thanks to Mr T for a cracking crossword, and to SL.

  7. I found this very tough. I didn’t get 3D due to a stupid misspelling of 1A, and 12D eluded me.

    Many thanks to Ray T and Stephen L.

  8. I loved this but it took ages for me to get a foothold. I was stuck on the lavatory one for ages – even got the husband involved who was no help at all. 28a is a lurker which SL indicated. No blue skies here, drizzly and very cold. No particular favourites but thanks to the setter and SL.

  9. I found this to puzzle to be difficult,not on my wavelength, especially the SW corner.
    Assumed the ‘grunt’ in 9a was a GI as the definition was obvious-one to remember.
    Favourite was 22a, 12d made me smile.
    Going for a ****/***.

  10. Tough but fair. ***/*** 12d took ages to work out. I can’t recall coming across 18a as a noun but I checked and it is. It sounds to me like something George Bush the second could have invented. No real favourite and hello to Kath. Thanks to all.

  11. I thought that this was one of Ray T’s trickier efforts (which took me longer than the Kcit Toughie).
    As Beaver says I think that ‘grunt’ in 9a is a slang term for a US infantryman.
    I was surprised to see E used as an abbreviation for England in 29a as neither Chambers nor Collins supports this (Spain would have done the trick).
    My favourite clue was 12d.
    Thanks to Ray T and StephenL and here’s hoping Kath looks in later.

  12. Really needed to take a breather after this one. Even the two long anagrams at 15a and 18a didn’t yield easily. My top spot goes to 12d, with 22a and 6d in close contention. And 5d raised a smile, too. Thanks to Ray T for a splendid workout, and to Stephen L for the tips.

  13. Did better on this than yesterday’s, but defeated by 12d of all things🤷‍♂️. Not helped by misspelling 19d ,ie instead of ei, needed the hint for 29a. Well into **** time ,but I’m happy with that as it’s a RayT . Thanks to all.

  14. A few pauses for thought along the way this morning one of which concerned the 9a ‘grunt’ which I didn’t know. Having asked Mr Google I learn that it has a connection to The Simpsons – something I would never watch.
    Happy to join others in nominating 12d for the top spot and I also rather liked 4a.

    Devotions as usual to Mr T and thanks to Stephen L for the review. A shout out to Kath for when she hopefully pops in.

    1. Grunt is a slang term for an American soldier, not sure where the connection to the simpsons comes in, and I must admit I have watched it and found it amusing, and I know little things please little minds before anybody else says it😁.

    2. There is a connection between “grunt” and The Simpsons … but I don’t think it’s relevant to this clue: the first time the writers wanted Homer Simpson to sound frustrated by something, they put the vague instruction “(annoyed grunt)” in the script and left it to voice actor Dan Castellaneta do something. He chose to vocalize this as a sound which is now typically rendered ‘d’oh!’.

      Since then, the writers have often wanted Homer to say “d’oh!” (it’s become a sort-of catchphrase), but they continued the tradition of writing it as “(annoyed grunt)” in the scripts, only now indicating that very specific sound. They even reference this in places like episode names, for instance in the Mary Poppins pastiche entitled ‘Simpsoncalifragilisticexpiala(Annoyed Grunt)cious’ (which is still pronounced close to how the original would be, not how it’s written).

      Hope that helps!

      And talking of things that are irrelevant, here’s the link to the song Imago, from the album also called Imago that I mentioned yesterday, by Beccy Owen.

      1. Thanks, Smylers. I just entered ‘gi grunt’ into Google and it was all Simpsons ‘stuff’ that came up. Hadn’t appreciated the reference to American soldiers.

      2. Personally, I’d prefer to know the difference between those two cave formations than any amount of Simpsons trivia. But, to each his own…..

    3. Meant to say – I hadn’t realised that 5d is known universally but none of our overseas commenters have mentioned it so I suppose it must be. Hope the family of that butcher in Eccles are still reaping the benefits!

      1. I think it would be a stretch to say that 5d is universally known. I am certain none of my friends/neighbors would know of it. And after almost 40 years I had forgotten it.

        1. I’d call it parochial in the extreme, however, it is a Brit crossword and it seems familiar to the Brits here. I think it’s the equivalent of our StoveTop, an essential part of our Christmas feast, heavily tarted up.

            1. Is it? I tart it up Jamaican style, sausages, Scotch Bonnet and herbs (not ‘erbs) in heavy use!

        1. It is available at our local village store but I prefer to make my own. I use it if in a hurry and that is not often these days.

          In fact, talking of our local village store, when supermarkets were running out of everything during lockdown our village store had plenty. We didn’t broadcast the fact. 🤫

          1. I don’t understand why anyone uses 5d when it is so easy to make your own – known under a different name in our house since a very small No2 son declared that ‘save an onion’ was his favourite!

            1. Absolutely! My mother used to make a big dish of S&O stuffing every year for Christmas and Boxing Day dinners. I loved the crust bit – the top half inch that was firmer and more crunchy than below. Delicious!

              *Best to make it in a shallower receptacle with a larger surface area – you get more of the crusty bit!

              1. The photo was from some years ago – now I make a smaller amount in a smaller shallower dish

          2. I’m glad you’ve mentioned it being available in your local store. I guess many of these comments have come from people living abroad, but that famous stuffing brand has been going for decades and is to be found on the shelves of many supermarkets and smaller food shops all over the UK. Just sent off my LOLLIPOP effort – fingers crossed!

      2. Well, I had never heard of 5d, but the clue was fair enough for me to solve it. I then googled the thing and realised that it was a British product that probably could be found on specialist shelves over here…so I just let it go at that.

  15. Took me too long trying to make the obvious anagram at 28a before I noticed it was a lurker.
    Great misdirection makes it my clue of the day.
    And there were many other great clues in this puzzle.

  16. I thought this was the most difficult back page crossword for some considerable time – I’d have called it a very difficult Beam Toughie with anagrams

    Without wishing to upset the ‘devoted’, quite a few of these extremely terse clues would have confused people in the pub if they were used in conversation

    Thanks to Mr T and StephenL

  17. Lust, sexual desire, grunt, libido, sex drive, tries again, embrace, cleavage, stuffing, sex charge, embracing sweetheart, behave excessively! Anybody got a bucket of cold water? :-)

    1. I’m clearly past it as I never even noticed that lot…
      Did reply to you yesterday albeit a day late.

  18. Ah, the blog has appeared over here, at last, in various degrees of completion, I see. Many thanks to StephenL for all of his efforts. The illustrations have now entered the scene, and I love the one for 22a, which took me hours–I actually took a nap after being blocked on 22a/23d–to decipher. My 22a is clearly in need of some kind of renewal. Top clues for me: 22a, 12d, 11a, & 4a. A special shout-out to Kath, thanks again to StephenL, and the usual kudos to Mr T. ***** / ****

    It’s a chilly Thanksgiving morning here in Charleston, 38F (3.3C), but the sun is shining, the birds are singing, and the mashed potatoes have been made.

      1. Thank you, Merusa! I hope that your day down in Miami is a glorious one. It has warmed up to 62Fhere, still a bit chilly for your taste. And thanks to John, too.

  19. I thought this was a cracker & right up there with Jay’s puzzle yesterday. Did this at 2.30 in the morning unable to sleep with my painful back & surprisingly found it a breeze. Well certainly compared to his chess themed Toughie last week. I’d always thought the term ‘grunt’ originated during the draft for the Vietnam conflict as I seem to recall it featuring quite a lot in Oliver Stone’s Platoon. My only parsing problem was with 17d as I didn’t read the wordplay properly & had op as work so hadn’t a clue where the G&E came into it. Another vote for 12d as COTD with 4,22&26a in the mix for podium consideration.
    Struggling with Kcit’s Toughie which I started in the waiting room at my osteopath’s surgery. The other week I was doing a puzzle in the dentist’s reception waiting to get the tombstones polished & scratching my head trying to work out a long anagram the MP way & lo & behold it was oral hygienist so it was no wonder 10a was one the first one in.
    Thanks to Ray T & Stephen plus TTFK (Thurs thoughts for Kath)

      1. Thanks. The golf on my recent jaunt to Malaga was somewhat spoilt by back spasms. I can mitigate the constant pain with relief but it’s bloody difficult to swing a club if you don’t know when the next spasm is coming. I had an air shot on the tee of the signature hole on one of the courses & my playing companions fell about laughing. Ironically my first game since coming back was a couple of days ago & played really solidly but have paid for it since. Anyway hoping to sod off to Orlando for a bit of sunshine golf in early December so he’d better sort me out fast.

        1. I sympathise. It is the spasms from my back problem that prevent me playing. When they come in the downswing it causes you to jerk upwards – result air shot or massive top.
          Hope it is sorted before Orlando. My last visits there I should have played Tavistock & Lake Nona. What courses and facilities. Recommend you try a meal at Nona Blue (owned by McDowell) if you haven’t eaten there already

          1. Ouch. As someone suffering with a lower back pinched nerve I sympathize. Just about any movement can set it off. Hope you recover in time to play golf.

          2. Suspect Tavistock & Lake Nona a bit out of my price range. I have played Bay Hill though & dumped at least 5 balls in the water. Having birdied the par 5 16th I hit the bunker short of the par 3 17th having just cleared the water & there was an alligator basking on the edge. Stuck 2 in the drink on the last to finish. The caddie was pulling his hair out.

    1. You have my sympathies regarding your back, Huntsman. Mrs. C. suffers terribly with hers. Hope things improve for you soon.

  20. For me this week has been a cruciverbal treat so far and RayT carried that on today. NW was heaviest going for me. In the end only real hiccup was 29a which beat me. Wonder whether 5d stuffing/dressing is available in USA – if so today’s the day for its use – anyway Happy Thanksgiving everyone including especially BD for all the fun you continue to give us. As quid pro quo for 5d perhaps the 9a grunt is more familiar to our transatlantic bloggers than to we Brits. Thank you RayT for a fun-time and StephenL for hinting. Thursday greetings to Kath 🍀.

  21. Another cracking puzzle from the King of Brevity! Excellent, concise clues providing an enjoyable and challenging solve. Impossible to select one favourite from this great set of clues. 3.5*, 4.5*.

    *Anybody worried about “surfaces” – remember that many of those people having conversations in pubs may well be half/fully cut, so their literary comprehension will be somewhat compromised.

  22. I found this very hard and threw in the towel with four to go. Not helped by putting in ‘coots’ for 23d which could only be half parsed (starts [C]aught,O[nothing]). Needed electrons to crack 15a and 18a. Too tough for me. (I look forward to Brian’s comment!) ****/**

  23. As is usual for this fortnightly puzzle, I found this very hard and a little frustrating as not able to easily twig onto Ray T. wavelength … even more so today.
    4*/3* for me today. Quite the struggle.
    Word in 3d not in my regular vocabulary for daily usage so took a while to figure it out.
    Favourite clues 1a, 9a & 5d with 5d clear winner.

    Thanks to Ray T and StephenL for the many needed hints today. Doesn’t make for a good solve when I needed so many hints, but that’s the way it goes sometimes.

  24. Definitely Ray T at his trickiest, and the few answers I got unaided didn’t really fit the clue for me, even though they were right. Not going to waste any more of this Thanksgiving Day on this. Way above my pay grade. Hello to Kath if you’re looking in. Thanks Ray T and StephenL.

  25. The day got off to a bad start when I dropped coffee grounds over the kitchen. I cleaned this mess up moaning about my need for caffeine but as soon as I ground a fresh batch I chucked that on the floor too! When I got to the puzzle with coffee I was grumpy and frazzled so I struggled a bit with this. I needed Steve to nudge me along the right lines of quite a few,
    Thanks to Steve, best wishes to Kath and thanks to Ray T who got the better of me today.
    As well as all the salacious terms Jose noticed I saw Bra twice in the unches – I think we should put Bromine in Rays T :)

    1. Look on the bright side, at least you can manage to get down on the floor and clean it up 😊.

  26. Evening all. My thanks to StephenL for the decryption and to all for your comments. Best wishes, of course, to Kath.


    1. Thanks for popping in, a stiff challenge and a stonking puzzle.(appreciated even more when going through it at leisure)
      Of course best wishes to Kath from me too.

  27. I often suspect this setter is playing to a limited gallery of highly accomplished puzzlers which is fine up to a point. But it is a strange situation when a puzzler of average ability like me finds the toughie much more accessible!

  28. I found this a tough challenge but a fair one all the same and I got there in the end. Last one in was 29a – obvious once I’d solved it! Favourite today for me had to be 19d – the answer being a place very dear to my heart. Many thanks to RayT and to StephenL.

  29. I think RayT has exceeded himself with obscurities today, I gave up early on. Please intelligentsia, do not get cross with me, this is not a complaint, I’m glad that so many have enjoyed this so much. I’ve had a steady run of really enjoyable puzzles lately, I knew that the fun would soon done! Wonder what tomorrow will bring? Codewords here I come.
    Thank you RayT and much appreciation to StephenL for solving this for me!

  30. Thoroughly enjoyable throughout.
    22a and 23d put me, alas, into **** time.
    Splattered with gems, loved 9a.
    Many thanks, indeed, Ray T and StephenL

  31. Very demanding but good for the old brain thank you as always Ray T, I thought 12d was a marvellous clue (but not 5d as a brand name?). Thanks also to StephenL and hope all is well with Kath

  32. Well – blimey – tricky or what? :phew:
    The DVLA still won’t let me drive so until I have all this extra time I’m not going to grumble about how long xwords take – actually, I’m fibbing – I’m desperate – I want my car!
    This was about the most difficult Ray T that I can remember.
    My Dad told me the reason for the 9a ‘grunt’ – I think I’d better keep it to my self in case he was right.
    I didn’t know the nasty stuff at 5d people ever really ate!!
    Thanks to Ray T for such a great crossword and to everyone here on the blog – you all keep me going.

    1. Great to hear from you, Kath. I too found this one quite tough. When I turned 80 a few years ago, I decided to give up driving, but I still miss it. Take good care of yourself and come back often.

      1. It’s great having you visit again, Kath, the reason I look forward to Thursdays. I gave up my DL a couple of years ago, very hard to do, I’ll always miss the freedom driving gave me.

    2. Hi Kath, I’m not around so much these days, but delighted that you are back online.
      I hope you are on the mend.

    3. I too found this hard and am pleased to see you calling in.
      I refuse to eat 5d too but I do make a rather nice version from first principles, even adding chestnuts and cranberries for Christmas.
      I do know what you must be feeling re the car, Mama Bee gave up her DL 4 years ago but still misses it every day.

      1. So do I. I add a raw egg and stir it into the mixture which makes it delicious. Years ago my butcher Stan gave me a recipe for beef burgers. Mince, dry sage and onion stuffing mixed together with an egg and a bit more seasoning to taste. Absolutely delicious. Like puppies sage and onion is not just for Christmas. I occasionally make it from scratch. Easy enough but not worth it for a small quantity.

    4. Kath, at least you have had a response from the DVLA even though it’s not to your liking. I applied in June to renew my licence with an August expiry and am still awaiting a response – can’t get any help from anyone in spite of spending hours holding on on the telephone. Lovely to hear from you – keep on keeping on! 🌸

  33. Still no luck getting on Ray T’s wavelength. Needed the hints for a couple today. No real favourite. Ta to all.

  34. Ouch!
    That was a tricky, Beam-like Ray-T puzzle.
    Took a while to get going, but got there jn the end.
    Ignorance = illiteracy? I’m Ignorant of many things, but I’m not illiterate. Maybe I’ve missed the point.
    Thanks both, very cold in South London.

  35. Thanks for explaining ‘grunt’ to me, Stephen. (5a) A new one on me! Finished it super-quick (for me!) – but so frustrated to know why ‘adagio’ was right!

  36. Wow, that was HARD! Took several sessions in between work stretches and still had to look up help for the last 3 clues. Thank you to the setter and the hint provider!

  37. I too found this harder than the toughie particularly in the SW but then again I wasn’t helped by my complete inability to spell 19d correctly. In frustration I decided to check the spelling. Oops! I did notice the plethora of nudge nudge wink wink references, nothing wong with that mind you. Favourite was the toilet humor in 12d. Thanks to Rayt and SL. My predictive text still come with Kath after Rayt and …..

  38. . . . PS – I haven’t given up driving – I’ve borrowed my licence temporarily – the DVLA can have it back to me as soon as they would like to have it!!!

  39. Nothing to do with crosswords but many folk on the blog talk about books. Indeed, I took up one recommendation and have recently enjoyed the Dark Norfolk series by J M Dalgliesh. Despite the style being a tad formulaic, I have enjoyed them. However, I hate poor adaptations of books and the recent TV series The Larkins made such a mockery of H E Bates’ work that I have started to reread the books to reacquaint myself with them. They remain superb.

    1. Hi Steve
      I’m glad you enjoyed these books. I proof read for Jason Dalgliesh. Any mistakes that you see must have been from before I started!!

      1. Hi, Shabbo

        There are no mistakes really. It’s just he tends to use the same mannerisms for each of his characters. Many characters “chew their bottom lip” or “form a steeple” with their hands. Not a major issue.

  40. Certainly the hardest crossword I’ve seen. I don’t think we have heard from Brian but he probably needs scraping from the ceiling.

    1. Yes, I was looking for Brian too. Maybe he’ll make mention today. I gave up early on, way beyond my ken.

  41. 3*/4*……
    liked 9A ” Slowly in trouble suppressing a grunt (6) ” …had to laugh when the penny dropped.

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