DT 100004

Daily Telegraph Christmas Day Cryptic No 100,004

Hints and tips by Deep Threat

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ***

A Happy Christmas to you all from South Staffordshire, where the family have gathered, the turkey is browning nicely, and the sprouts have not been boiling since November!

We have a suitably festive theme in today’s puzzle, which is probably set by Rufus. I found the left hand side of the grid easier than the right, with the SE corner the last to be finished.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought. You can also add your assessment by selecting from one to five stars at the bottom of the post.


1a Festivities involve five in lively dances (6)
{ REVELS } The Roman numeral for five inside some Scottish or Irish dances.

4a Sacrifice queen in near future — or present (8)
{ OFFERING } The usual abbreviation for the current monarch inside a noun for ‘near future’.

9a Look for a goose (6)
{ GANDER } … a male goose.

10a Show party promises to be endless (8)
{ MANIFEST } The promises that political parties issue before elections, minus the last two letters (endless).

12a Principal boy embraces dame at last (4)
{ LEAD } The last letter of dam E inside a synonym of boy.

13a Party fun with birds? (5)
{ LARKS } Double definition.

14a By oneself for Noel, sadly (4)
{ LONE } Anagram (sadly) of NOEL.

17a The Christmas tree gets stolen perhaps, as carol starts (3,5,4)
{ THE FIRST NOEL } Charade of THE (from the clue), a type of tree commonly used as a Christmas tree, and an anagram (perhaps) of STOLEN.

20a Members of the services at Christmas (12)
{ CONGREGATIONS } Church rather than military services (except for the Salvation Army, perhaps?). A nice piece of misdirection.

23a Greeting that you may get in winter (4)
{ HAIL } Double definition.

24a Party is about right, being tasteless and offensive (5)
{ BRASH } Another word for a party wrapped around R ight.

25a Form of decoration that has grown over the years (4)
{ TREE } Cryptic description of a common item of Christmas decoration.

28a Fool moans about festive occasions (8)
{ WASSAILS } A three-letter fool inside a word meaning moans gives these old rural festivities.

29a It all depends on the turkey (6)
{ WATTLE } ‘Depends’ in the sense of ‘hangs down’ – a dangly bit of the turkey.

30a Party member who went to pot (8)
{ DORMOUSE } The party is the Mad Hatter’s in Alice in Wonderland.

31a Grow something to eat for Christmas dinner (6)
{ SPROUT } Double definition. We’re having ours with chestnuts and bacon bits.

1d Control toboggan rising in speed (8)
{ REGULATE } An Olympic toboggan reversed (rising in a Down clue) inside a word for speed.

2d Grape producers without label to mark their years (8)
{ VINTAGES } The plants on which grapes grow wrapped around (without) a word for label, to give a term for the years when the stuff made from grapes was made.

3d The last of the wine (4)
{ LEES } This seems to be a straight definition of what’s left at the bottom of the bottle.

5d Unconcealed urge to get an original Christmas gift (12)
{ FRANKINCENSE } An adjective meaning open or unconcealed followed by a verb meaning to urge or incite, giving one of the gifts brought by the Three Wise Men at the first Christmas (or Epiphany if you want to be pedantic – but it’s still within Christmastide).

6d Mince pie, cold, can be impressive (4)
{ EPIC } Anagram of PIE and C old.

7d Diamonds — a Christmas present — found in freezer (6)
{ ICEBOX } A slang term for diamonds followed by an archaic term for Christmas present.

8d Get together and tuck in (6)
{ GATHER } Double definition.

11d Party fare provided by wise man going round America with car (7,5)
{ SAUSAGE ROLLS } A wise man (who might know his onions!) around one of the abbreviations for America, followed by a posh car.

15d Call from Whittington’s companion? (5)
{ MIAOW } The noise made by the creature which traditionally accompanies Dick in the pantomime.

16d Serve up a drink fit for a king (5)
{ REGAL } Reverse (serve up ) a drink often associated with louts in the popular press.

18d Party animal turns up for a noted textbook (8)
{ LIBRETTO } A political party followed by a river-dwelling mammal reversed (turns up). The definition is a slightly cryptic one for the words of an opera.

19d During the Christmas season ten will get drunk — most improper! (8)
{ INDECENT } A short version of writing when Christmas occurs followed by an anagram (drunk) of TEN.

21d What about Edward revealing how White Christmas ended? (6)
{ THAWED } Anagram (about) of WHAT followed by a short form of Edward. Nothing to do with the film or the song!

22d Skiers may provide one to be seen under the mistletoe (6)
{ KISSERS } Anagram (may provide) of SKIERS.

26d Turn up gas ring for pudding (4)
{ SAGO } Reverse (turn up ) GAS and add a ring-shaped letter. This gives the answer to the Christmas cracker joke “How do you start a pudding race?”

27d The bearer of pantomime spirit? (4)
{ LAMP } Where the genie was trapped until Aladdin rubbed it.

The Quick Crossword pun { DECK } + { ORATION } = {DECORATION }



  1. Digby
    Posted December 25, 2012 at 11:31 am | Permalink

    Hi Deep Threat,
    Hope blogging didn’t delay Christmas for too long.
    Agree with assessment – 29a last in here.
    Cheers to you & Rufus – and everyone !!

  2. Heno
    Posted December 25, 2012 at 11:35 am | Permalink

    Where is this puzzle available from? I normally do them on paper.

    • Posted December 25, 2012 at 11:47 am | Permalink

      Sorry, it’s only available to online subscribers.

  3. Trevor Davies
    Posted December 25, 2012 at 11:37 am | Permalink

    Happy Christmas to all
    I am a relative newcomer to cryptic crosswords and have found the site invaluable in getting me going. Every time i think I have cracked it, Ray T comes along.

    • crypticsue
      Posted December 25, 2012 at 11:52 am | Permalink

      Welcome and happy Christmas to you Trevor.

  4. Ann B
    Posted December 25, 2012 at 11:42 am | Permalink

    Me too

  5. Brian
    Posted December 25, 2012 at 11:45 am | Permalink

    Finished but with very little satisfaction. Very tricky with very few fun clues. A poor offering for Xmas day IMHO. Thx to Deep Threat (spelt right this time) for explaining 30a which had to be with the letters but made very little sense.

  6. crypticsue
    Posted December 25, 2012 at 11:50 am | Permalink

    took me slightly longer than the usual Rufus but then there is a lot of other stuff going on this morning !

    The Toughie is entertaining too – I am working on the double Elgar doubly Tough Christmas Toughie and may be some time!

    Happy Christmas everyone.

    • Posted December 25, 2012 at 11:53 am | Permalink

      The Double Toughie has coughed up its secrets and the blog will be available around 3:00pm.

  7. Amadeus
    Posted December 25, 2012 at 12:26 pm | Permalink

    Yup, Merry Christmas to all and many thanks to deep threat for confirming my worst fears over 29a. It would have niggled all day as I just wasn’t convinced I had it right.

  8. Posted December 25, 2012 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

    Merry Christmas everyone. I agree with the ratings today. Couple of weakfish clues but not a bad start to Christmas Day.

  9. Peter
    Posted December 25, 2012 at 1:11 pm | Permalink

    And a merry christmas to everyone. And especially BD, what would we do without his blog?
    I quite enjoyed today’s puzzle. Half was easy (for me), a third more taxing and the SE corner difficult without hints.
    Thanks to all.

  10. Senf
    Posted December 25, 2012 at 3:06 pm | Permalink

    Happy Christmas to all. I found this a little tricky, about three quarters done by lights out last night, and needed some help this morning from Deep Threat (is that BD in disguise) – so thanks to the setter and BD. Favourite was 29a.

    • Posted December 25, 2012 at 5:26 pm | Permalink

      No it’s not me!

      • Senf
        Posted December 25, 2012 at 5:42 pm | Permalink

        So I now realise having just found his bio in the list of bloggers, so thanks to DT as well. But special thanks to BD for coordinating the whole site.

  11. Only fools
    Posted December 25, 2012 at 4:08 pm | Permalink

    Completed left hand side readily,NE corner slightly less readily and SE finally .As mentioned 29a last of all for me as well .Unlike some I enjoyed it quite a lot although had to solve in fits and starts in order to maintain peace and joy in the household .
    Thanks for giving up time on this day .Feel an energetic snooze coming on .

  12. Merusa
    Posted December 25, 2012 at 4:16 pm | Permalink

    Likewise, I found SE corner very difficult and needed hints. Had to google 30a “….. In the pot” to understand why. Merry Christmas all.

  13. Jon88
    Posted December 25, 2012 at 8:47 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for the help on my last two and several ?s. At 10a, I would argue that the “endless” word is only nine letters long, and suffices to define “party promises” without needing to be pluralized.

    • Posted December 25, 2012 at 9:43 pm | Permalink

      I think you are right as the document is the promises (plural) of a party (singular).

    • Deep Threat
      Posted December 26, 2012 at 10:08 am | Permalink

      I think I read ‘party’ as adjectival, thus capable of describing either one or several parties – and since they all tend to issue sets of promises at about the same time I took it as plural. But I agree that the singular works, and removes any discussion about the extent to which ‘endless’ can refer to removing more than one letter.

  14. nanaglugglug
    Posted December 25, 2012 at 9:14 pm | Permalink

    Happy Christmas to all!! Surprisingly we found this quite straightforward…. must be the alcohol!!

  15. una
    Posted December 25, 2012 at 10:51 pm | Permalink

    thanks to all concerned. I finally found it electronically. Of course the printer is objecting to doing any work and I find it difficult to enjoy doing puzzles this way. Although it does make corrections easy .It has been a long day ,everybody said they enjoyed the fare,and they should have , as I think I prefected it by now.87 year old mother a concern. I hope you all had a rewarding together.