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DT 29913

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 29913

Hints and tips by Stephen L

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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

Good morning everyone from a sunny South Devon where it’s been a case of “storm, what storm” he says smugly. All could change tomorrow however.

Anyway our esteemed setter has given us a cracking puzzle today that I found not too taxing but a lot of fun.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a        Socialist accepting ordinary politician is played (6)
ROMPED:  The usual colour associated with the left goes around (accepting) the abbreviation for Old and a Member of Parliament.

4a        Crushed lime acts to produce plant (8)
CLEMATIS:  Anagram (crushed) of the following three words

9a        Dandy purchases ancient city office (6)
BUREAU:  An old fashioned synonym of dandy as a noun goes around (purchases) an ancient Middle Eastern city.

10a      Special mess fighting resistance in ruin (8)
WARDROOM:  The mess here is a place for officers to eat aboard a warship. A 3-letter word relating to fighting is followed by a synonym of ruin (often followed by the words “and gloom”) into which is inserted the abbreviation for Resistance. My last one in.

11a      Toadyism succeeding in empty fealty (8)
FLATTERY:  A synonym of succeeding in the sense of coming after is placed inside the outer letters (empty) of FealtY

13a      Grassy things found by small borders (6)
SEDGES:  The abbreviation for Small and some borders

15a      To err in public turning honest (13)
INCORRUPTIBLE:  Anagram (turning) of the preceding four words

18a      Imaginary spy with cig and alcohol drunk (13)
PSYCHOLOGICAL:  Anagram (drunk) of SPY, CIG and ALCOHOL

22a      Cleric frocked in correct ordination (6)
RECTOR:  An excellent lurker (in)

24a      Indifferent doctor about to take over (8)
MEDIOCRE:  Start with an informal term for a doctor or medical practitioner. Add a preposition meaning about. We now need to insert (to take) the abbreviation for Over in the correct place.

26a      Back in profit I repaid drink (8)
APERITIF:  Another good lurker, this time reversed as indicated by the words “back in”

27a      After work one ingested sedative (6)
OPIATE:  Follow the usual 2-letter short form of work with the letter that looks like the number one and a straightforward synonym of ingested

28a      Really pious embracing retreat (8)
HONESTLY: Here really is an exclamation. A word for pious goes around (embracing) a retreat in the sense of a place to rest

29a      Rabble gutted, having wind for feast (6)
REGALE: The outer letters (gutted) of RabblE plus a  rather topical word for a strong wind.


1d        Queen upset over expert snub (6)
REBUFF: The regnal cipher of our wonderful queen is reversed (upset) and followed by an expert or a nerd perhaps.

2d        Ethics taking time, being human (9)
MORTALITY:  Insert the abbreviation for Time into some ethics or virtue.

3d        Flexible sweetheart in charge, grabbing behind (7)
ELASTIC:  This setter’s swEetheart and the abbreviation for In Charge go around (grabbing) a synonym of behind.

5d        Legendary King left with listener (4)
LEAR:  The abbreviation for Left and a listener which is attached to the side of your head.

6d        Description for most bananas? (7)
MADDEST:  Forget the fruit, here bananas means crazy. Need I say more.


7d        It’s tiny, hardly obscuring naked girl initially (5)
THONG:  A first letters clue that serves nicely as an extended definition.

8d        American term for term? (8)
SEMESTER: Two different meanings of the word term here, the first in the sense of a word, the second a period of time.

12d      Read occasionally and count, occasionally (6)
RARELY: The occasional letters of ReAd plus a synonym of count in the sense of depend upon.

14d      Duff note held by instrument (6)
BUNGLE:  The abbreviation for Note is placed inside (held by) a musical instrument associated with the military.

Here’s one of the best bands of the Eighties.

16d      Old battle helmet? (9)
BALACLAVA:  This battle which took place within the Crimean war is also the name of a head covering not seen very often these days.

17d      Tackle a very quiet fish (8)
APPROACH:  A from the clue, the musical instruction to play very quietly and a fish quite popular in crosswordland.

19d      House passes on hugging old yobs (7)

HOODIES:  Start with the abbreviation for HOuse. Add a word meaning passes on in the sense of departing this mortal coil. Insert between the two (hugging) the abbreviation for Old. Not sure the definition is strictly accurate but it certainly has associations.

20d   Lame round of applause supporting Conservative (7)
CRIPPLE: A word that could describe some (gentle) applause goes under (supporting in a down clue) the abbreviation for Conservative.

21d      Taxing English following cut (6)
SEVERE:  The abbreviation for English follows a synonym of cut (off)

23d      Source of cash bank laundered (5)
CLEAN:  The initial letter (source of) Cash plus a synonym of bank as a verb.

25d      Settled up for ring (4)

DIAL:  A word meaning settled as in horizontal is reversed (up) to give ring as a verb.

Quickie Pun:  Wee  + Jab + Awed = Ouija Board

My top three are 28a plus 12d along with the Quickie Pun.


100 comments on “DT 29913

  1. I agree with SL’s **/**** and what a great puzzle. Initial thoughts were this looks tricky but the NW fell pretty easily and the rest oiled by long anagrams fell into place. Whilst not the most difficult I was amused by the precociousness of 7d. Thanks SL and the setter.

    The wind is just starting to whip up a little over Plymouth Sound…..

  2. 1.5*/4.5*. This seemed very light for RayT but as enjoyable as ever.

    I didn’t know “duff” could be used as a verb, but I see it can in a golfing sense.

    Special mention for the Quickie pun.

    Many thanks to RayT and to SL. Best wishes to Kath.

  3. Enjoyable crossword – perhaps not as head-scratchy as a ‘normal’ Ray T Thursday.

    Calm in Surrey, but hatches and cat flaps are on standby to be battened down.

    Today’s crossword soundtrack: Todd Rundgren – A Dream Goes On Forever

    Thanks to Ray T, Stephen L (Aztec Camera – great choice) and very best Thursday wishes to The Lovely Kath

    1. I only saw Todd Rundgren once. Hot Tuna. Todd Rundgrens Utopia. Lynyrd Skynyrd. 10cc. The Rolling Stones “Allo Knobworth. Sorry we’re late but you can sleep tomorrow”

    2. It sounds like a bad atorm, Terence. I’ve just moved some stuff out of the garden into the garage, lest it blow away in the 80 mph winds. Better to be sfe than sorry.

  4. A relatively straightforward puzzle for a Thursday but enjoyable nonetheless. I would agree with SL on 2*/4*. 14d as a verb was unknown to me too but gettable. Thanks to SL for the hints and to the compiler.

  5. It took a while for my brain to get into gear last night, but I thoroughly enjoyed this pleasant Ray T gem. I especially liked 28a, 12d, & 16d, which I did Google to be sure I remembered it correctly (how could I forget the Tennyson poem, right?). Thanks to Stephen L for the review and Mr T for his succinct & tidy clueing. *** / ****

    I think I’ve recovered from my Micawber-inspired mania and rants of yesterday, and I handled today’s Toughie in a calm & dignified manner. And finished without any outside help!

    1. Good morning Robert. I smiled at your comments yesterday. I often smile at comments on this blog.

  6. Not the trickiest nor one of his corkers but still enjoyable. I was puzzled by 6d which doesn’t appear particularly cryptic to me. Thought the lurkers nicely disguised & liked the surface reads at 2d&28a.
    Thanks to RT & SL

    1. Yes, I rather thought that about 6d. I suppose the surface misdirection is designed to lure the reader into thinking of a word that decribes most bananas – bent or yellow or something. But I can’t think of a 7-letter one …

  7. All of RayT’s usual hallmarks were on show today. Very enjoyable it was too.
    Those hallmarks are: His crosswords only ever have single-word answers; clues are never more then seven words long; they normally contain (at least) one acrostic or initial-letters clue, a reference to The Queen or Her Majesty, and use of the word ‘sweetheart’ to indicate the letter E. Some definitions are a tad stretched; and, finally, one or more clues may contain mild innuendo. As if that isn’t enough, Ray’s Quick Crosswords only ever have single-word clues.
    Thanks to StephenL and to RayT

    1. How can a definition be ‘stretched’, MP?

      Surely, it’s either a definition, and therefore in a reference book, or it’s not.

      I’m not sure Raymundo would want to have that reputation.

      I’d’ve thought ‘Rarely used’ is more accurate.

      1. Synonyms in my world can be stretched. I’m quite happy for synonyms not to be stretched in your world

        1. I don’t agree for a second.

          ‘Stretched’ implies dodgy/dubious/not accurate/pushing it or, as many people on this blog love to say, ‘hmm’.

          It’s a negative term. Of course it is…..in anyone’s world.

          People need to be so careful when summing up a compiler’s style. Don’t forget what Zandio said just before Christmas where he considered changing his alias because of this.

          1. You’re not wrong, G273. I harped on for years about “stretched” being used – gave up yonks ago. You’ll never get anywhere with it. But feel free to take up the baton!

            Ps. I’ve got a new nickname for you: Gordogmatic273. Does it fit? :-)

            1. Love it!

              As long as people are aware that using the word ‘stretched’ may upset/niggle/irk (great word) compilers then they can crack on.

              I think people like it as it’s an alliteration and who doesn’t love one of those bad boys.

              I obviously don’t speak for any of our setters. Being ‘dog’matic, maybe I should.

              I know, I know.

              1. Can’t say that it’s ever occurred to me that stretched/tenuous was likely to offend. I shall use less obvious henceforth.

                1. Lovely stuff, H.

                  None of us like change but it’s the way forward.

                  I reckon some people will start to use it more because of my hopeless campaign.


                2. It’s not so much to do with causing offence, it’s more to do with not being factual. To me, “stretched” implies bording on or fully invalid. In most cases “unfamiliar” would be a more accurate term than “stretched”.

                  1. Completely agree.

                    As long as everyone knows that it’s inaccurate then I’m a happy camper. A compiler wouldn’t like to be known as having incorrect definitions.

              2. Every year a telephone directory was delivered to our house and I spent an age crossing out the names and numbers of those people we didn’t know. I don’t have to do that anymore. The task will now be replaced by my crossing out every adjective in my dictionaries

                1. I’m disappointed MP, I always took you as a very resourceful chap. It must have been a very laborious/tedious yearly task – all that ruddy crossing out! But what did you do if you subsuquently befriended new local people and needed their name and number in your directory – uncross them out? A much more efficient system would have been to merely write down all the names and numbers of the people you knew in a notebook (which you could easily add to) and just chucked the directory straight in the bin without even looking at it. Hope you find this retrospective advice useful, especially if telephone directories make a resurgence! :-)

              3. Every year a telephone directory was delivered to our house and I spent an age crossing out the names and numbers of those people we didn’t know. I don’t have to do that anymore. The task will now be replaced by my crossing out every adjective in my dictionaries

      2. I think that cruciverbalism is a word game (emphasis on game) We are just playing with words, and if we didn’t have the latitude to “stretch” the rules a bit it would be less fun and a mere technical exercise. I recall a recent Chalicea where I defended a slightly stretched (or rarely used ) synonym and she thanked me on behalf of other setters.

      3. I must agree with Miffypops on this one. I’ve being doing these since the late 60s, and synonyms can most definitely be stretched, as several were in today’s puzzle.

        1. But what does “stretched” mean? To me, it implies bordering on or fully invalid. If you research these “stretched” synonyms/definitions they are nearly always valid – usually just unfamiliar/rarely used associations.

            1. That’s all very well MP, but we are discussing the blatant/automatic and incorrect/inaccurate use of “stretched”, “tenuous” and the like – which occurs very often. There’s a perfect example at #9 below, where it is claimed that a “tenuous” synonym has been used – but It’s absolutely nothing of the sort!

  8. I had 10a as my last one in too. and I needed to check that 29a was a feast, 6d gave pause for thought too but the rest tripped off my pencil with relative ease.
    Nice work for a Thursday.
    Thanks to Stephen L and Ray T
    ( I seem to have slipped into moderation ( in posts if not alcohol consumption – any ideas?)

    1. I can’t see why you were in moderation last night, but I’ve rescued the two comments you made then

      1. Thanks – Last nights posts were trivial and it may have been my fault as I changed my Avatar

    2. 29a – perhaps that is because it a not a feast but to feast (verb). Can I join pedant’s corner now please.

  9. Really enjoyed that and it didn’t tax the grey matter (that which remains!) too much. Last in was 10a as took while to rumble the rather tenuous ruin “synonym”. My Fav was skimpy 7d. TVM RayT and StephenL.

  10. Mr T in very benevolent form this morning, I thought, with an amusing and light challenge. Even without the low word count, sweetheart and Queen clues, I think another of his “tells” is the inclusion of an item of lingerie!

    1.5 / 3

    Many thanks to Mr T and to SL.

  11. Another outstanding crossword from Ray T(hursday).

    If you need to remember that 16d was in the Crimean War….

    PC Plod picked up a 16d at the scene of a robbery, saying….‘‘Allo, allo, allo. There’s been a crime ‘ere.’’

    Courtesy of our chivalrous chum, Sir L.

  12. I enjoyed this very much and solved the puzzle with hardly any head scratching at all. Almost unheard of for me for a Ray T. Spent too long looking for an anagram for 6d before the penny dropped. 10a was my last one also, but my favorite was 24a. Many thanks to Stephen L and to Ray T for the easy ride.

  13. I was clapping myself on the back for completing my second RayT unaided, only to find I had 12d wrong, I had reroll, another of my made up words🥴. At least I understood most of it which is unusual for me with RayT. Thanks to all.

  14. A thoroughly enjoyable puzzle from Mr. Thursday with a number of smiles particularly the cheeky 3d and 7d. Putting “repast” into 29a stopped the SE corner for a while. A case of bunging something in without considering the clue fully – a thing I really should stop doing. My COTD is 11a.

    Many thanks to Ray T for the fun. Huge thanks to Stephen L for the hints of which a couple were needed.

    I thought the Quickie pun was very good.

    Lovely day here in the Marches so a long walk beckons much to Hudson’s delight.

    Wordle was a “phew”.

    1. It was a phew for Saint Sharon who had four out of five letters on her second go. I started with ONION and got it in four

      1. I had four letters in correct places for goes 4 and 5 leaving me with choices for the 6th go.

            1. I was 5 but I had wasted a go which is always annoying. Much easier than recent ones but also easier to fail due to the number of options

          1. As well as sharing initials we have a shared wordle experience today – guess 3 4 and 5 all had 1 2 3 and 5 green.

      2. Not my best effort today, just passing the post on my sixth attempt. But at least I got there.

      3. Did wordle in 4 today much better than my poor effort at the crossword. Thanks to setter & SL

    2. I’m no expert on these things, but I always thought that 7d’s were a lot less voluminous than that in the photo. :-)

  15. Enjoyed 12d, I’ll bet in real life Mr T is a witty man. Nothing too difficult except 10a and I fairly whizzed through his QC which never happens. Thankyou Stephen for excellent hints.

  16. Like our reviewer, I found 10a held out until the end and there was a definite ‘tea tray’ moment when it finally yielded.
    Our setter perhaps not in such playful mood today but I did smile over the imaginary spy and the lame round of applause.

    Devotions as ever going to Mr T and many thanks to Stephen for the review.
    PS Hope Kath pops in later, it was nice to read her brief comment yesterday – confirmation that she’s still keeping an eye on us all!

    1. Yes, I’m still keeping an eye on everyone.
      I do notice that people “go off on” whatever it is!! I gave up (eventually) my unequal fight about not allowing people to have more than one favourite in a comment – a favourite is superlative and there can’t have more than ONE.
      I’ll shut up now . . .

      1. You’re back! I’ve been looking for you. I love that you keep an eye on us, and that you still try to fight the good fight for favourites, I don’t think you’ve given up at all. Your fun and gentleness are greatly missed.

  17. I had to check that was a Ray T before posting my late comment, as I found him in fairly friendly mood for a Thursday. All his usual neat and concise clueing was there, just not as tricky as usual. Still hugely entertaining though, with 10a leading my list of favourites.

    Thanks to Mr T for the challenge and to SL.

  18. Well once again I surprised myself by tackling this Ray T. puzzle without any hints other than two. Found this a fairly easy solve today. This puzzle was 2*/4.5* for me.
    Some tricky clues as always from him, but some fairly straightforward ones too. Candidates for favourites today include 10a, 18a, 28a, 6d & 16d with winner ,(with a chuckle), 6d.
    Well hidden lurker in 26a too, I thought.

    Thanks to Ray T and StephenL

    Wordle in 6 with so many options for the one letter I had wrong 4 times

  19. My nemesis was feeling benevolent today but I am not complaining as I thought it was a super puzzle.
    So many good clues it is difficult to find a favourite but if pushed I would go for 1d. I thought 19d referred to the item of clothing rather than the person wearing it but what do I know!
    Thx to all esp to Ray T whose puzzles I usually struggle to complete (or even understand on occasion).

  20. Thoroughly enjoyed this – as I enjoyed yesterday’s offering but as I did not tackle it until 3 .a.m. I did not
    bother to post. I love the word shufti. Several stars for Mr. T today, nice anagrams which are always
    an asset, 15,23 and 25a and 8 (I thought of Robert) and 12d. Wordle in 4, I wish I had made a note of all the words
    used from when I started! Lunch at The Rupert Brooke in Granchester with some girl friends and as the lads went to the village
    pub – no cooking tonight. I am waiting for Eunice to arrive, no doubt she will wreak havoc (two five letter words)
    in the garden and we shall be busy clearing up the debris at the weekend. Lie low, everyone. Thanks to Mr. T
    and StephenL and very best wishes to Kath.

    1. I’ll add wreak and havoc to my list of start words. I’ve only been to Grantchester once when Coventry Rugby Club plays Cambridge. What a lovely village with some very nice pubs

      1. Deep meadows yet, for to forget
        The lies, and truths, and pain? . . . oh! yet
        Stands the Church clock at ten to three?
        And is there honey still for tea?

        1. How could anyone forget that. I still remember my visit to Grantchester in the 1960s when I lived there, visiting the church that we had read about at school!

  21. Very enjoyable and amusing. Definitely tickled my fancy. Best fun for ages. I got 10a without difficulty. My last one in was 24a probably because three of the four checkers were vowels and there are different nuances for indifferent and therefore a variety of synonyms. Favourites 9 and 10a and 6 12 7 and 16d. No hold up with the latter. I have fond memories of the boy next door who wore a grey knitted one for school. Thanks RayT and Stephen.

  22. I usually struggle on Ray T days, and today was no exception, despite many finding this light or benevolent. I sometimes wear a 19d on a rare cold day here, does that make me a yob? Oh dear. I’ve been here so long I had forgotten 8d is an American term, and not used in England. Had 11a at first pass but couldn’t justify latter = succeeding, but when I checked the hints saw that it is right. At the risk of upsetting anyone, I did find that a weak synonym. Thanks to Ray T for another grey cell challenge and to StephenL for the hints.

  23. What a lovely and so clever a crossword with many amusing clues 🤗 a spelling mistake at 18a meant it took a while to solve 19d 😟 so ***/***** Favourites 10a, 28a and 16d 👍 also 7d 😬 Thanks to Stephen L and to Ray T, not so long ago I used to dread Thursday but nowadays I look forward to it! 😃 Long may it continue

  24. I was so surprised this was, in fact, a RayT, I fairly sailed through the north, then struggled in the SE but got there with e-help. I could only solve one in the SW and needed StephenL’s hint to get going again. Typical RayT, stretched synonyms galore, as 3d as they come; yes, M’pops, you’re dead right. I had Monday’s brawta on hand just in case, but I didn’t need it. Fave was 1d.
    Thanks RayT, I did it, with help but I got there. I needed your help StephenL so much appreciation. Wordle in 3.

  25. Apart from a couple of spots of spelling (to me) it wasn’t too tricky.
    Thanks to Ray T and StephenL.

    1. Hello, Kath, from across the sea. Every time I pick more than one favourite, I think of you and worry a bit.

  26. Thursday’s joy.
    Perhaps rather benevolent today.
    Last in 17d. a resounding duh when solved.
    So, **/*****
    Many thanks, indeed, RayT and thanks StephenL for the nicely illustrated review.

  27. Most enjoyable crossword for ages, thanks Mr T! Just the right level of difficulty, some clever clues, the usual Ray T humour, what’s not to like. Thanks to Stephen for the hints.

  28. I’m in the ‘synonyms can be stretched’ camp this evening but Rayt is always correct even if it’s out of modern usage. I expect it so I’m always on the lookout. Great fun as usual. Favourite was 14d. Thanks to Rayt and SL. I didn’t post yesterday as I had to go to Spalding to pick up a dog trailer I bought on Ebay, I don’t need it but it was cheap and I’ll use it sometimes, then did an arduous zoom quiz with my girlfriend. Most of the questions would have been ruled out of Mastermind for being too difficult, I got 2/20. That’s my excuse anyway, I finished it this morning.

  29. I enjoyed this puzzle very much. Was held up for a short while in the bottom right corner but got there alone and unaided in the end.

    Thanks to the setter and to StephenL.

    After storm Dudley seemed to pass us by…very little if any damage, a lot of rain, but nothing extraordinary, we are now awaiting Eunice. So far again thankfully nothing much. We haven’t had any snow here at all yet, though it is forecast. Long may this state of affairs remain. Mind you, I like snow, as long as I don’t have to go out and do something in it.
    Makes everything look so pretty and clean and sparkly.

  30. I was preparing to hit the sack in my time zone before BD came out but I have to commend ‘Mr T’ on his excellent offering yesterday. I’m reviewing the comments as I enjoy a morning coffee. Ray didn’t supply us with his usual amount of anagrams but some well crafted insertion and addition clues more than made up for that. Numerous COTD candidates but I liked 7 and 12d. LTGI was 10a, it took me a while to move on from ‘headroom’ which was clearly wrong. Thanks Stephen for the extras and of course to RayT.🦇

  31. Morning all. Apologies for being very late on parade, but my thanks to StephenL for the decryption and to all for your comments.


    1. Better late than never sir! Thanks for popping in, much appreciated, and for another superb puzzle.

    2. Thought you’d deserted us, Mr T, relieved to see that it’s not so!
      Another puzzle in your own personal style and a delight as ever, thank you so much.

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