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DT 29866

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 29866

Hints and tips by StephenL

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ****

Good morning from a wet but mild South Devon. Firstly, it’s my final blog before Christmas so I’d like to take this opportunity to send season’s greetings to all who contribute to this site, I hope each and every one of you has a lot of fun.

As for the puzzle I found our esteemed setter in mostly benevolent mood but one or two did need teasing out. For me though a superb puzzle, with a cringe worthy Quickie Pun to top it off.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


7a    One rants madly, booming (8)
RESONANT: Anagram (madly) of the preceding two words

9a    Gold pieces forming circles (6)
ORBITS: The heraldic symbol of gold and some (small) pieces

10a    Before end of game, bolt naked (4)
BARE: The bolt here is a noun and it’s followed (before end of) by the final letter of the word game.

11a    Do go on about Queen favourite (10)
PERPETRATE: A verb meaning to talk at length (go on) is placed around (about) our usual two letter Queen and a cute synonym of favourite.

12a    Almost finish in Sin City (6)
VENICE: A synonym of finish without its last letter (almost) goes inside a sin. The capitalisation is there to mislead you.

14a    Praise a piano break including Liszt’s first (8)
APPLAUSE: Start with A from the clue, add the abbreviation for Piano and a short break into which is inserted the first letter of Liszt.

15a    Person recounting at the bank? (6)
TELLER: A cryptic definition of a bank employee, the recounting being narrating or describing perhaps.

17a    Drain’s ideally trapping contents (6)
INSIDE: Hidden in the clue (trapping)

20a    External protection for animals’ young? (8)
MARSUPIA: Another (mildly) cryptic definition of the devices animals such as kangaroos have to protect their young.

22a    Pine perhaps missing one award (6)
CONFER: The pine here is not verb but a tree. Remove the letter that looks like the number one to give a synonym of award as a verb.

23a    Brutality of pose with prison shot (10)
OPPRESSION: Anagram (shot) of POSE and PRISON.

24a    For section ofChurch sin doesn’t begin (4)
APSE: A sin or temporary fall from grace without its first letter (doesn’t begin)

25a    Last coffee before mid-afternoon (6)
LATTER: A milky (some would say insipid) coffee goes before the middle letter of afteRnoon.

26a    Fantastic plane, the jumbo! (8)
ELEPHANT: Anagram (fantastic) of the following two letters


1d    Degenerate is modest about these days? (8)
DECADENT: An adjective meaning modest or fair goes around (about) a two letter Latin abbreviation which could mean these days.

2d    Advance care of yours truly (4)
COME: An abbreviated form of “care of” followed by a first person pronoun (yours truly)

3d    Front of Sun with busty model (6)
SAMPLE: S (front of Sun) followed by a synonym of busty or plenty.

4d    Posh menu unusually plain (8)
HOMESPUN: Anagram (unusually) of the preceding two words, gives a lovely word meaning plain or unsophisticated.

5d    Obtain rare elements finding anomaly (10)
ABERRATION: An anagram (finding in the elements of) of OBTAIN and RARE

6d    Start to seriously rubbish American prestige (6)
STATUS:. The first letter (start to) of Seriously followed by some rubbish and a two-letter abbreviation of United States

8d    Two seafarers producing battle-axe (6)
TARTAR: An old-fashioned nickname for a member of the Royal or Merchant Navy is repeated (two) to give a grumpy female. I’d never come across the solution in this context.

13d    Mad about opening of live sensuality show (10)
ILLUSTRATE: An adjective meaning mad or annoyed goes around (about) the first letter (opening) of Live and a synonym of sensuality.

16d    Former partner virtuous accepting huge revelation (8)
EXPOSURE: The usual two letter former partner is followed by a synonym of virtuous or untainted into which an abbreviation for huge is inserted.

18d    Service all the same with vacuous nag (8)
EVENSONG: Start with a two word phrase meaning still, or all the same and append the outside (vacuous or empty) letters of NaG.

19d    Practically insane sweetheart making pass (6)
RAVINE: Remove the final letter (practically) of a word meaning mad or crazy and add this setter’s usual swEetheart. A laugh out loud moment for me.

21d    Take part of a spy, reportedly (6)
APPEAR: A from the clue and a homophone of spy as a verb.

22d    Prominent criminal is over trouble (6)
CONVEX: The usual three letter convict is followed by a verb meaning to trouble or annoy.

24d    Pain from ailment could hurt, even initially (4)
ACHE: A nice easy first letters (initially) clue to finish with.

In a very strong field my top spot goes to 13d.

A big thanks to MrT for all his puzzles and very best wishes to Kath.

The Quick Pun: Know + Wide + Ear = No idea.

84 comments on “DT 29866

  1. 2.5*/5*. It’s RayT Thursday which is always good news, and this was a particularly fine example of his craft.

    My crowded podium comprises 11a, 12a, 25a & 13d.

    Especially on a Thursday, our thoughts turn to Kath, and very best wishes to her for her continuing recovery.

    Many thanks to RayT and to SL.

  2. Yes Stephen – wet and windy here in Plymouth as well. I thought this was going to be a write-in *, then drifted into ** time and nearly hit *** time scratching my head over my last one in 20a which I guessed correctly but it’s a new meaning for me. The anagrams helped although I found 4d difficult to see and my COTD was 13d which I thought very well constructed. *** on the enjoyment scale with thanks to the setter.

  3. I didn’t find this puzzle particularly ben3volent and spent as much time filling in the SW corner as did the rest of the puzzle (4*/2*). At lest learned a new word in 20a, two new words really because I had to look up the singular and plural. 18d was the best clue in my book. Thanks to the compiler and to Stephen for rhe hints, there were a few I couldn’t parse.

  4. I am with Chriscross, quite a head scratcher – 3.5*/3.5*.

    Candidates for favourite – 12a, 6d, and 8d – and the winner is 8d – it always reminds me of the roles played by Peggy Mount.

    Thanks to Ray T and to Stephen L and thoughts as always for Kath.

    1. Peggy Mount, what memories! When I went to live in London in the early 1960s, fresh out of the colonies, all wide-eyed and bushy tailed, I went to see Romeo & Juliet with Peggy Mount as the nurse, and a promising young actress as Juliet, Judy Dench! I was hooked, I’d only read Shakespeare as a lesson in school, all of a sudden he came to life. I still remember it so well.

  5. The cruciverbal challenge really has become a daily rite so much so that all else ‘to be done’ is put on hold in the meantime. A sluggish start today but gradually all enjoyably fell into place. Had forgotten 11a ‘go on about’ however wonder if “do” is needed in the clue. Nicely enigmatic clues but no special Fav. Thank you RayT and StephenL. Season’s greetings to you both and indeed very warm Thursday greetings to Kath🎄🌈🍀.

  6. A terrific puzzle this morning from the master of brevity, full of his trademark humour and skill. 12a was a perfect example of his art, and was deservedly my COTD, followed by 19d.

    Thanks to Mr T for this and all his contributions this year; thanks, too, to SL for his fine review; and finally, best wishes to Kath as she continues her recovery.

  7. Just above average Ray T difficulty for me but thoroughly enjoyable with nothing contentious( although 20a a new word).
    11a gets my COTD.
    Thanks and season’s greetings Ray T and StephenL.
    An especially warm greeting to Kath & family with best wishes for the New Year bringing continued improvements

  8. Well it’s a very disappointing DNF unaided for me. No problem up north but the south was like wading through treacle. Eventually got it down to 20a & 19d, got the hump & sneaked a peep at the hint for 20a which I didn’t need to read as the pic was enough. Knew full well what I was looking for at 19d but couldn’t for the life of me come up with the correct truncated synonym for insane. Lost patience & reached for the thesaurus (didn’t help that I hadn’t twigged the right definition context either) so what was a laugh out loud moment for Stephen was an audible expletive from me. Super puzzle with a whole host of elegant & wily clues.
    Thanks to Ray T for providing such high quality puzzles in both slot, Stephen for stepping into the reviewer’s slot so ably & lastly TTFK.

  9. Benevolent? Not to me. This one took quite a lot of head scratching although, looking back through it, I’m not sure why. ****/*** Favourite 13d. I wonder how Kath got on? Thanks to all.

  10. No problems encountered until I hit the SW corner where 20a had me fooled for quite some time.
    All the expected fun and games from this setter and I awarded podium places to 12a plus 4&6d.

    A festive helping of devotions to Mr T and thanks to Stephen for the review – best of wishes to you both and also, of course, to our beloved Kath.
    PS Stephen, the answer to 16d needs a tweak when you have chance.

  11. Tricky. Very tricky, with Devon and Cornwall proving to be particularly difficult to conquer. Caused myself huge problems by chucking in ‘nearly’ at 12a. The obvious ‘n’ and Early is a city in Texas. Duh!

    Today’s crossword soundtrack: The Ronettes – Sleigh Ride

    Thanks to Ray T and Stephen, and a big Thursday/Christmas cheer for The Lovely Kath

    1. Thanks for the sleigh ride, Terence, nice to see the golden oldies popping in to put us all in a festive mood.

    2. Loved this, my favourite Christmas soong, and love it’s namesake from Lieutenant Kije

      1. I love Troika! It conjures up the exact cold winter atmosphere of a sleigh ride through the snow with bells jingling. I can hear the horses’ hooves pounding as I write.

  12. I didn’t get on with this at all needing (again) far too many hints so no real fun for me.

    I did like the Quickie pun. :grin:

    By the way, Stephen, the answer to 16d appears as “E”. Apologies if this has already been pointed out. (I only mention it because it’s one I haven’t got).

    Many thanks to Ray T for the thrashing and to SL for the much needed hints. Merry Christmas to you both and, of course, to Kath.

  13. The SW did me in finally. Like others, I just sat bewildered over 20a, 19d, and 21d. Had to use my electronic Siri to help me out with three letters. Strangely enough, 22a and 22d pleased me most of all; I often hear a different drumbeat, I know. But I do love Ray T’s puzzles and look forward to his Thursdays. I’d like to thank StephenL for his blogs this year, a masterful job! I do hope that Kath is doing better and will join us today. Merry Christmas, Stephen, Kath, and Mr T.

    1. I was a bit confused by 19d, I thought the answer was a hindrance and not a pass! I just bunged it in in the end on the basis that it has to be – then I looked it up in the thesaurus, shudda/orta done that in the first place.

  14. I found this a little tricksier than normal. The 22 across and down combo held out for a while for no reason at all. Criminal and trouble are two simple synonyms and the removal of the letter I from a pine tree has been seen before. Maybe I’m too excited about the forthcoming visit from Santa Clause. Thanks to StephenL and RayT. Thanks also to Bob Dylan (Christmas In My Heart) and The Harry Simeone Chorale (Sing We Now of Christmas). The soundtrack to my Christmas period

  15. Bit of a head scratcher and DNF
    Had to reveal 20a and 22d from StephenL’s hints and only guessed at 8d
    13d was my favourite today closely followed by 11a

  16. I had a similar experience to others today.20a 19d became a bit of a stumbling block. I even struggled to see some of the obvious (in retrospect) anagrams. These are my failings not Ray T’s or SL’s.
    I am not a fan of the coffee in 25a either It is not coffee IMO but a hot milk drink with little else.
    Thanks to Ray T for a year of puzzling to his high standard and Thanks to SL for decrypting them for me and of course best wishes to Kath.

  17. I had the same problems as everyone else which took me into **** time. Some very clever clues but no particular favourites. This is a really bumper year for unfranked cards – David laughs at me but I must have saved about £15 and counting. I don’t feel at all bad about it as a second class stamp is about 13 shillings in proper money. Anyway thanks to Ray T and to SL for explaining my bung ins, 21d for instance, got the answer and had no idea why.

    1. Each I unfranked card we had Manders , had a biro line through the stamp – so I haven’t been so lucky!

        1. I’ve often wondered about that because you could accidently do it yourself. I do wonder if anyone has had to pay up on my behalf as I guess they would be too embarrassed to tell me. I used to try and lever the stamp off but have found that soaking them in hot water is perfect! Try it everyone and save some money.

          1. I just cut them out and sellotape them to the new envelope. I also get a magazine delivered that I’ve never ordered and don’t want. I use the envelope to send a couple of magazines to a former employee. No problems there.

  18. An enjoyable puzzle from Mr T – thanks to him and StephenL for the review. I erroneously wrote the answer to 18d into the 16d place which caused a few headaches in the SW until I realised what I’d done.
    The clues I liked best were 12a and 3d.
    Here’s hoping that Kath drops in later.

  19. Found this quite tricky today with lots of head scratching. 3.5*/3* for me.
    Couple of iffy/“hmm” clues in my mind in this one that don’t quite make it.
    Favourites include 9a, 26a, 3d & 22d with winner 26a

    Thanks to Ray T and StephenL

  20. I didn’t think Ray Ts clues could get more impenetrable but todays has proved me wrong. I managed to finish by either looking for the definition or just by letter substitution. His puzzles continue to confuse and irritate me.
    Not been a good week for me, nothing apart from Monday to enjoy.
    Thx for the h8ntd

  21. Grrrrr. Typed all this once and lost it. Précis- boiler not working despite 2 vista this week and big leak under sink, kitchen covered with very wet contents of cupboard. Message left with plumber. Fed Up. Walked out and left it to do flowers accompanied by organist practising for Midnight Mass. Somewhat soothed but stuck on several clues in puzzle, I shall come back to it. In the meantime many thanks to Setter and Hinter and Happy Christmas from Tiny Tim.


    1. Poor you, DG. That’s not what you need at any time but especially in the run up to Christmas. I do hope you can get it sorted quickly.

    2. How lovely! I hope it all sorts itself out before the service tomorrow! I can’t wait to see the pics!

  22. Another great puzzle from Ray T. Fine clues, a quite tricky challenge and a very enjoyable solve. Fav: 12a. 3*, 4*.

  23. Evening all. My thanks to StephenL and to everybody else for your comments. Stay safe, and have a good one!


    1. Thanks for popping by and for yet another very enjoyable puzzle, it’s an honour for me to review them. Have a great Christmas too.

    2. Didn’t expect to see you again before the ‘big day’ Mr T, but it’s always a pleasure. Thank you for another excellent year of puzzles.

    3. Thanks for all the entertainment Mr T
      Thanks also StephenL – I’m a little further down the coast, and this afternoon was sunny and warm – I hope it’s coming your way

      1. Thanks for all the entertaining puzzles Mr T and Merry Christmas. I almost dare not wish people a Happy New Year after the last two but here’s hoping-ever the optimist!

    4. Many thanks for popping in, Mr. T. It is always appreciated when the setter makes an appearance on the blog. Thank you for your puzzles throughout the year. I have to own that they frustrate and delight me in equal measure, which makes me look forward to them all the more. Sadly, today I was frustrated but next time you could have me riding high?

      Have a very Merry Christmas.

  24. I found this hard, particularly the SW. That said the turkey is in the fridge, presents wrapped and a bottle of Calvados has appeared in the lounge. Thanks to Ray T and Stephen L.

  25. A DNF for me I’m afraid.

    I still can’t see 21d. Where does the extra P come from?

    Thanks to all.

      1. Nice to have you back LbR your absence was noted & I was about to ask again.
        Hope you are well.

        1. Yes, good to see LbR back. The other absentee that I’ve noted is Jean-Luc – I hope he’s ok.

  26. My goodness, touch wood, I think I am finally getting the hang of Ray T puzzles. Have to admit they are supremely and fairly crafted with no deep dives into GK or strange words. Well, alright, I wasn’t familiar with 20a, at least not without its “l” on the end. Thanks to Ray T for the enjoyable solve, and to StephenL. Happy Christmas to Kath if you are looking in. We all miss you.

  27. I’ll have to finish reading the comments later, I’ve got another busy day and I need to get going! I found this very, very friendly. Knowing my usual struggle with RayT, no surprise that I needed e-help otherwise I would never have solved 20a, but how clever was that? I’m nominating that as fave, my fave with no help was 26a, very slick.
    Thank you RayT for the fun and StephenL for help unravelling some. It takes so long for me to do anything, plus it was so cold this morning I was loath to leave my warm cocoon and was late getting up, so I’m off to crawl around and get things done!

    Wishing Kath a very Happy Christmas, love and continued return to good health

  28. A DNF for me today. I have less than a third of it done and lost interest. I think I could stare at the clues for another 10 years and still not solve any more.

    It feels like I have lost the ability to do crosswords recently. I certainly seem to be losing the enjoyment.

    1. It happens to all of us, bananawarp. It’s the same here. I’ve struggled recently but it will come back.

  29. Just a quick message to say thanks to everyone for the patience you put up with all my faffing around while I get my act together – it really will get there, sometime honest . . .
    I really appreciate all of you with your encouragement.
    Thanks also to Ray T for his crosswords.

    1. Hi Kath,

      We’re all proud of the way you’ve battled through your problems and delighted to see from your regular comments that your persistence is paying off. I’m convinced that you’ll be back blogging in 2022.

      Have a lovely Christmas.

    2. Yes, Kath, you will keep going, it’s in your DNA! Have a lovely Christmas with your family, keep safe and well. Love from us all.

      1. So nice to hear from you again Kath. Have a good Christmas and an even better new year. Ps my predictive text still brings your name up after Rayt’s. Let’s hope you’re back before it stops.

    3. Lovely to see you popping in, Kath, it makes us sad not to have you around.
      Hope you get to spend Christmas with the lambs and those grandchildren of yours – have a wonderful time.

    4. So wonderful to see your upbeat post, Kath. You are not “faffing around” – you are working hard to get better and I’m sure everyone on BD is behind you in your efforts. I agree with Gazza in that you will be back blogging in 2022. In the meantime, have a wonderful Christmas. 🌹

  30. I’m usually on Rayt’s wavelength but, not for the first time, today I struggled particularly in the west. Hey ho! There’s always next time. Favourite was 11a. Thanks to Rayt and SL.

  31. 20A and 19D had me stuck with this one. It’s obvious when I think about it now, but “practically” in 19D didn’t lead me to thinking it’s looking for a truncated word.

  32. 4*/4*….learnt a new word & a few synonyms !
    liked 26A ” Fantastic plane, the jumbo! (8) “

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