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DT 29854

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 29854

Hints and tips by StephenL

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

Good morning all from a nice and bright South Devon, where mercifully we seemed to have escaped the recent storms relatively unscathed.

Today Mr T has given us a puzzle that I found a lot of fun, a decent challenge and full of his trademark wit and crafty misdirection.

All guidance was followed in providing these hints by the way!

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a    Bond part’s embracing belle periodically? Cool! (12)
RELATIONSHIP: Place a part or share (with the  S) around (embracing) alternate letters of belle and add a synonym of cool

8a    Bank clerk is cold and comparatively grey (7)
CASHIER: The abbreviation for Cold and then a word meaning greyer or more ashen

9a    Established contact fibbed about top story’s lead (7)
LIAISED: A fib or an untruth goes around two letters that could represent top or best and the first letter of Story.

11a    Frees from lavatory feeling unfinished (7)
LOOSENS: An informal word for a lavatory and a feeling without its last letter (unfinished)

12a    Small compensation returning lingerie? (7)
DRAWERS: The abbreviation for Small is followed by some compensation or a prize. Reverse (returning) the result

13a    Wise people, ushers occasionally, protecting Queen (5)
SEERS: Alternate letters of ushers go around (protecting) the Queen’s regnal cipher.

14a    Angry discontented influencer judged about sex (9)
IRRITATED: Start with the outside (discontented) letters of influencer Add a synonym of judged into which is inserted this setter’s favourite synonym of sex.

16a    Receptive sailor shipped around globe (9)
ABSORBENT: The abbreviation for Able Seaman and a synonym of shipped into which is inserted a three-letter globe

19a    Good person, with look back, streaks (5)
STRIA: The abbreviation for a good (biblical say) person is followed by a by a reversal (back) of a synonym of look as a noun.

21a    Rates a Republican wearing spats (7)
TARIFFS: A plus the abbreviation for Republican are inside (wearing) some spats or arguments.

23a    Part of lover, actually ham! (7)
OVERACT: Hidden (part of) in the clue

24a    Reportedly spot fish in vault? (7)
CEILING: A homophone (reportedly) of a verb meaning to spot plus a fish common in crosswordland.

25a    Seeking perch, perhaps flapping, losing head (7)
ANGLING: The perch here are fish. Take a word meaning flapping and remove the first letter (losing head)

26a    Bored denture set in, somehow (12)
UNINTERESTED: Anagram (somehow) of the preceding three words.


1d    Renew section of forest or ecosystem (7)
RESTORE: Hidden in the clue (section of)

2d    American measures to imprison old lags (7)
LOITERS: The American spelling of some liquid measures goes around (imprison) the abbreviation for Old.

3d    Revolving apparatus for fans? (9)
TURNSTILE: A cryptic definition. The fans here are supporters.

4d    Leered over girl looking extremely dodgy initially (5)
OGLED: A typical Mr T first letters clue.

5d    Marine worker enclosing large water barrier? (7)
SEALANT: A synonym of marine and a popular crossword worker go around (enclosing) the abbreviation for Large.

6d    Head of pin piercing bug for study (7)
INSPECT: The first letter (head of) the word pin goes inside (piercing) a bug.

7d    A sect’s cilice prepared for cleric (12)
ECCLESIASTIC.: Anagram (prepared) of the preceding three words

10d    Navigated badly, circling wretched albatross? (12)
DISADVANTAGE: The albatross here I think is one which when placed around the neck would give the solution, hence the question mark. It’s obtained by an anagram (badly) of navigated placed around (circling) a three-letter synonym of wretched.

15d    Logic of AI to learn differently (9)
RATIONALE: Anagram (differently) of the previous three words. Al is not the name of a man!

17d    Exercising brains to catch European national (7)
SERBIAN: Anagram (exercising) of brains goes around (catching) the abbreviation for European

18d    Rugby supporter keeps providing backing for lout (7)
RUFFIAN: Start with the abbreviation for the 15-man version of rugby. Add a supporter into which is inserted a reversal (backing) of a word meaning providing as a conjunction.

19d    Dexterity of sweetheart in dainty embrace (7)
SLEIGHT: Place this setter’s swEetheart inside a synonym of dainty to give a word often followed by “of hand”

20d    About lost power keeping America prepared (7)
READIED: Start with the two letters we often use to mean about or regarding. Add a word meaning lost power as an engine might and place them around (keeping) the abbreviation for America.

22d    Follow on, say, in charge (5)
SEGUE: A synonym of say goes inside a word meaning to charge in a legal sense.

Quickie Pun =  Foreign + Daft = fore and aft

No particular favourites as it was all top class. Many thanks to the Mr T and best wishes to Kath.

68 comments on “DT 29854

  1. A fairly tough puzzle with some interesting clues(4*/4*), wghjch I very much enjoyed. It had all the Ray T quirks, the sweetheart, the queen etc plus a few fresh touches i liked 3d, 24a and 8a but as I reme.ber The Rhyme of rhe Ancient Mariner, 10d must be the understatement of the century! Thanks to Stephen and Ray T.

    1. Your comment on 10d made me laugh so much! I thought of the answer fairly quickly, but dismissed it for a while, thinking just the same thing…

  2. A decent challenge, with my last two clues taking much more time than they should have done.
    I tried to convince myself that perhaps diapers were an obscure form of lingerie as “s” and “repaid” reversed seemed to make some sense! You just never know with our friends over the pond!!
    I also question whether “streaks” in 19a should be singular rather than plural?
    Good Thursday fun.
    Thanks to Mr T and StephenL.

    1. With my Latin O-level (failed) the answer to 19a ‘looked like’ a plural but the BRB considers it to be singular with an ‘e’ added for the plural so perhaps the definition should be ‘streak.’

      1. Reassuring to know someone else who failed ‘O’ Level Latin but nevertheless it does come in useful now and again and I agree with you that the clue should read “streak”.

    2. I put in the baby’s lingerie as well justified, I thought, by the question mark.
      Thanks to Mr T and SL.

    3. Definitely agree – should be streak. From my O level Latin (passed, to my amazement and, I suspect the teacher’s) the plural should be striae. Interesting that I could spell it in Latin whilst my spelling in English leaves more than a little to be desired (which can add a certain challenge to crosswords at times)

  3. 2.5*/4.5*. This was a Thursday delight from our master of brevity.

    Many thanks to RayT and to SL. Also best wishes as ever to Kath.

  4. A fine example of Mr T at his best, although I did have quite a large Hmm over the equivalence of 12a’s definition and answer but perhaps Mr T is more of an expert than I am in that field – 2.5*/4.5*.

    Candidates for favourite – 11a, 24a, and 6d – and the winner is 11a.

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

    1. S, 12a. I was just wondering, are you suggesting the the answer isn’t lingerie/underwear or that there’s no “example of” indicator?

        1. Lingerie is women’s underwear/underclothes/nightclothes. The answer is an old-fashioned term for men’s underpants or women’s knickers. My gran used to say: “Winter’s drawing on so it’s time to get my winter drawers on”. Mind you, I doubt they’d have looked like those pink ones above.

          1. *Lingerie isn’t always necessarily slinky, diaphanous or mega-seductive. Preferable though, obviously.

  5. RD’s concise appraisal above says it all. I would add that my favourite clue was 14a.

    My thanks to Mr T and SL. The Toughie is well worth a stab today.

  6. I did try hard to fit ‘call me Al’ into 15d – I’m guessing our blogger may have gone down the same route!
    No other problems to report and I’d probably put 24&25a on the top of the pile.

    Devotions as always to the master of brevity and thanks to Stephen L for the review – you might want to revisit your answer to 7d.
    Big hugs for Kath if she pops in later.

    1. I did go down that route Jane and Al seems to have found his way on to the end of 7d, he’s now been banished.

  7. All over in **/*** time. I find it very annoying when 1a is the last in, it sure slows things up. I can’t see the problem with 12a, i put the answer in immediately.

    19a reminds me that I should look up the cricket score. Interesting piece in the Sports section, decrying the Aussie coverage on BT Sport. I have recorded it, but perhaps trying to watch it might just put my blood pressure up.

    Many thanks to Ray T and SL.

  8. I had to work hard but it was very enjoyable to solve. No obscurities (hurrah!) but I hadn’t previously known, or recalled, 19a.

    Yesterday, I received, from a Local Authority, a badly written letter, related to my mother who died in June. The opening line is ‘Dear Deceased’. The envelope was addressed to ‘Mr Deceased’.

    Today’s crossword soundtrack: Neil Young & Crazy Horse – Barn (Neil and cohorts on sparkling form)

    Thanks to Daisy for her lovely tales of Soho. It feels less hospitable these days, Daisy!

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

  9. I did find this a bit of a challenge but got there in the end with the help of a few hints. I had stars by far too many clues to be able to single out one for my COTD. All clues were well constructed and the Quickie pun was a delight.

    Many thanks to Ray T for the fun and to SL for the much needed hints.

    1. If you need to write a letter into the black squares Tippex is useful. Welcome to the blog

  10. A well crafted puzzle that was a delight to solve. Starting 26 across with the letters DIS wasn’t my best move but immediately sorted. Thanks to SL for the review and to Mr RayT for the challenge. I agree that the Toughie is good fun today

  11. A fourth straight day of masterful backpagers for me, and Mr T on his usual top form. I also tried ‘diapers’ briefly, but quickly realised it was a stretch too far. I’m curious: In what context other than STC’s Ancient Mariner does the albatross figure as a 12d? (I know that in golf it’s quite an achievement.) I’ll settle for 10d, 24a, & 25a for top prizes today but they’re all pretty much winners. Thanks to StephenL and Mr T. ** / **** Regards to Kath!

    Much to my utter delight, I finished the Toughie all by my lonesome.

  12. Another fine offering from the consistently good Ray T. A reasonable challenge and very enjoyable. Can’t pick a fav. 3*, 4*.

  13. I found myself struggling with about half a dozen to go & feared I might not finish so, like Chriscross, I thought it on the trickier side for a Ray T back pager. 1,16&24a along with 3&10d would be my picks.
    Thanks to RT & SL & of course TTFK.

  14. Considering this is a Ray T and I nearly always have troubles with wavelength it was pleasant to solve this with no hints this week. Just seemed to fall into place, with the SW my hold up area taking me from 1>5* to 2* time with 4* for enjoyment.
    Candidates for favourite this week include 9a, 11a, 24a & 15d with winner 11a

    Thanks to Ray T and StephenL for hints

  15. A not-so-benevolent Ray T for me but a fun satisfying solve in *** time and **** enjoyment.
    Lots of good clues with 3d my favourite.
    Thank you for the work-out RT and SL for the hints.
    Just the sort of Ray T puzzle that might have prompted an “Oh dear” from Kath. Hope all going well down there in Oxfordshire.

  16. Most unusual for a Thursday, rattled through this in * time.
    Correctly constructed 22d, a new word for me until I realised its root.
    Enjoyable and satisfying.
    Many thanks Ray T and StephenL for the review.

  17. After a lovely visit to Minsmere started this over a bowl of soup for lunch. Final two held me up for longer than the rest of the puzzle. Very enjoyable so thanks to all. The soup, by the way, was Tide Ford Organics Lentil, Spinach and Dahl – beyond delicious!

    1. Minsmere is o e of my favourite RSPB sites. I’ve never visited in winter though. It was crisp and cold with blue skies here in Oxfordshire until the rain set in mid afternoon. I hope you had the same sort of weather on the east coast.

      1. Yes we did, but not much to see today. Astonishingly ran into a fellow committee member from Glaven Valley Art Society in the car park also staying in Aldeburgh. Small world

  18. I found this tricky but enjoyable and satisfying.

    Took me quite a while to sort out Al in 15d but I got there in the end.
    Thanks to RayT and StephenL and hello to Kath.

  19. Way beyond my capabilities, with only a dozen or so solved, I now have to get ready for a doctor’s appointment. For the last half hour I’ve been tormenting my poor brain, trying to think when I would use “ashier” to mean more grey; my hair is getting ashier as the years pass?
    Thanks RayT for making my hair go ashier, and much gratitude to StephenL for unravelling that lot.

  20. An excellent *** puzzle with 3d as a touch of genius … and 22d is a new word for me. Thank you RayT and StephenL

  21. Oh dear it’s that man again with one of his puzzles with weird clues that when you get the answer it makes little sense.
    Even with the hints I cannot understand 10d, 18d and 22d. 19a is a new word to me.
    Very little fun as are most Ray T puzzles, mainly a tedious slog. Occasionally he does produce one that makes sense but it is a rarity.
    Thanks for trying to explain these impenetrable issues from a mind that I think probably belongs in a Neil Gaimon novel.

  22. Evening all. My thanks again to StephenL for the analysis and to all for your comments. Also, ‘mea culpa’ for ‘stria’! Not forgetting my best wishes to Kath, of course.


    1. I might not be able to solve your offerings, but I always appreciate that you take the time to say howdy!

    2. You’re always a challenge for me, but as I did solve most unaided today, I found that very satisfying.

    3. A very late ‘good evening’ from me, Mr T – have been enjoying a boozy afternoon with a couple of friends!
      Thoroughly enjoyed your puzzle as usual and I can promise you that I did solve it pre-wine!

  23. That did nothing for me and I struggled. I wasn’t keen on 1a, 19a, 3d, 5d, 19d and 20d. Last in was 1a which could have provided several useful checkers. 7a is a new one on me but that didn’t hinder a bung-in. 25a is clever and was also my Fav. Thank you RayT and StephenL and another big hello to Kath 🥀.

  24. I think my brain may have atrophied. I made far too much of the fish based clues. More wine is needed.

    A good puzzle though.

  25. Can’t believe I mostly solved a Ray T puzzle unaided. Before I looked at the blog I was sure it wasn’t one of his, so really pleased now with my efforts. COTD for me was 3d, with 19a holding me up the longest. Thanks to Ray T and StephenL for unraveling the knotty ones.

  26. Found this one very tricky 😬 ****/*** Favourites 21a, 24a & 25a 😃 Thanks to Stephen and to Mr T 👍

  27. 24a defeated me today. Not a use of vault I have ever heard of, but it would seem I’m on my own in that respect.

    Otherwise a challenging and enjoyable solve.

    Thanks to all.

  28. Having struggled with a couple of Rayt’s last few offerings I was definitely on wavelength today, not that I didn’t have to do a bit of head scratching mind you. The plural in 19a passed me by, I didn’t do O-levels let alone Latin. Favourite was 12a. Thanks to Rayt and SL. Even my predictive text is still missing Kath.

  29. Not doing well this week and today is no exception.too many words I haven’t heard of,, and 24a does not compute, vaulted really means that🥴, and I did see Angellov’s comment above. South east corner was the hardest for me. Anyway I enjoyed the challenge so thanks to all.

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