DT 100007

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 100007

Hints and tips by Deep Threat

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

Good morning and Merry Christmas from South Staffs on a damp grey morning, with the promise of more rain to come. But the turkey’s in the oven, the family has gathered, and small grand-daughter is anxious for the present distribution to start.

A gentle seasonal offering today, not from the usual Friday maestro (Giovanni told us the other day that he was not doing the Christmas Day crossword). So thanks to today’s setter for a puzzle which should be doable even after Christmas lunch. Though having said that, I’ve found some of the parsing to be more tricky, even where the answer is obvious.

In the hints below, the definitions are underlined. The answers are hidden under the ‘Click here!’ buttons, so don’t click if you don’t want to see them.

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           Fancy Argentine Christmas fare (9)
TANGERINE – Anagram (fancy) of ARGENTINE.

Image result for tangerine

5a           Father to irritate in return – he won’t be celebrating Christmas (5)
PAGAN – A short word for father followed by the reversal (in return) of a verb meaning to irritate or harass. He won’t be celebrating Christmas, but may celebrate the midwinter solstice or similar.

8a           Geezer, once sober, drunk – Christmas spirits transformed him (8,7)

10a         Santa’s spritely helper (3)
ELF – Mildly cryptic definition of one of Santa’s helpers.

12a         They’re just nominal attachments for the present (6)
LABELS – They have the recipient’s name on, and they’re stuck on parcels.

Image result for christmas parcel label

13a         Rev counter used in annual service? (5)
ALTAR – This is the holy (reverend) table or counter used in a church service. I really don’t like this clue very much: it doesn’t work properly for me.

14a         Tree lights in part that may be electric (3)
EEL – Hidden in (in part) the clue.

18a         Transport for a holy man or fool (3)
ASS – Double definition, the first being the animal ridden, for example, by Jesus on his entry into Jerusalem.

20a         Wise Man that’s tucked into the turkey (4)
SAGE – … usually with an admixture of onion.

21a         Takes out fruit eaten at Christmas (5)
DATES – Double definition. The first being where two people go for a tête-à-tête.

Image result for dates

22a         An oral Christmas greeting under the mistletoe (4)
KISS – Not very cryptic definition of what traditionally happens under the mistletoe.

23a         Found in lager, it improves wine (3)
AGE – Hidden (found) in the middle of lAGEr.

25a         Bird that may be stuffed with mincemeat at Christmas (3)
PIE – This bird brings sorrow on its own, or joy in pairs.

Image result for magpie

27a         Bird to tidy up? No, down! (5)
PREEN – Verb describing the act of a bird tidying its plumage (down).

29a         Christmas-time may be the main issue (6)
SEASON – The part of the world known as the main, followed by some issue or progeny.

30a         A capital paper decoration at party time (3)
HAT – ‘Capital’ refers to the head. Something paper worn on the head at a party.

Image result for sad man party hat

35a         Seasonal song that has a haunting effect for 8a  (1,9,5)
A CHRISTMAS CAROL – Title of the work in which 8a appears.

36a         Slip and you could fall into it (5)
ERROR – A slip, lapse or mistake.

37a         It’s on the cards you’ll get these for Christmas (9)
GREETINGS – A message commonly found in Christmas cards.


1d           One’s ancestors provide a Yuletide decoration (4)
TREE – One’s ancestors are one’s family —-.

2d           This present on the tree for the embroiderer? (6)
NEEDLE – These are present on the tree, and will presently be all over the carpet. A different form may be used by embroiderers.

3d           Still, the snow was on the Feast of Stephen (4)
EVEN – How did King Wenceslas like his pizza? Deep pan, crisp and —.

4d           Holly helping to make domicile Xmassy (4)
ILEX – Hidden (helping to make) in the clue.

Image result for ilex

5d           Large number in strange capers which go round the tree? (7)
PARCELS – Anagram (strange) of CAPERS wrapped around the Roman numeral for fifty.

6d           Complain, seeing the bird (6)
GROUSE – Double definition, the second being a game bird which, famously, also appears on the label of a brand of whisky.

7d           Christmas verse taken from book (4)
NOEL – Remove the Verse from a work of fiction.

9d           The highlight of the Nativity (4)
STAR – Split the second word (4,5): it’s up in the sky.

11d         Picture a winter diversion of children (5)
SLIDE – Double definition, the first being the sort of picture viewed on a projection screen.

12d         It’s held to be illuminating by carol-singers (7)
LANTERN – Mildly cryptic definition of the traditional source of light for a band of carol singers.

Image result for carol singers images

15d         Departure point for the Magi (4)
EAST – The point of the compass from which the Wise Men were said to come.

16d         Publication, one for wise men (4)
MAGI – Short form of the word for a periodical, followed by the Roman numeral for one.

17d         American party drink? (3)
TEA – The American party was held in Boston in 1773.

18d         Tree is displayed in a small enclosure (5)
ASPEN – Put together A (from the clue), Small, and an animal enclosure.

19d         Winter sport runner of various kinds (3)
SKI – Hidden in the clue.

24d         Large ice formation? Not quite, out East (7)
GLACIER – An all-in-one clue. Anagram (formation) of LARGE IC(E), but with one of the Easts removed.

26d         OT character who’s among bravest heroines (6)
ESTHER – Hidden (among) in the clue

27d         The wine that’s left (4)
PORT – It’s only left if you’re at sea!

28d         No part exchanges for this Christmas customer (6)
PATRON – Anagram (exchanges) of NO PART.

31d         Christmas food for a king in church (4)
CAKE – A (from the clue) and the chess notation for a king, inside the initials used for the Established Church.

32d         Character dragged up at this time of the year? (4)
DAME – A character in a seasonal entertainment who’s traditionally in drag.

33d         Reindeer tail cut to a point (4)
SCUT – A point of the compass followed by CUT (from the clue).

34d         Popular winter sports range (4)
ALPS – A range of mountains popular with winter sports enthusiasts.

The Quick Crossword pun WIN + TURK + OATS = WINTER COATS


  1. crypticsue
    Posted December 25, 2015 at 11:06 am | Permalink

    Merry CHristmas and thank you to Deep Threat for the blog.

    I’ve an inkling as to who today’s setter might be so it will be interesting to see if they turn up and claim it as their own work. Thank you to them anyway. I enjoyed solving the puzzle with Mr CS – I’ll convert him from number puzzles to crosswords yet.

    Now to check the turkey and then start the Toughie. I’m leaving Elgar for after lunch/thisevening/tomorrow … or however long it takes!

  2. Young Salopian
    Posted December 25, 2015 at 11:06 am | Permalink

    My heart sank when I saw another themed crossword. Clever of course, but a bit obvious which took the fun out of it for me. 1.5*/2* as a result. Now I’ve done it, we can get on with Christmas. Must be time for a glass soon? Thanks setter and DT for seasonal help.

  3. Colmce
    Posted December 25, 2015 at 11:13 am | Permalink

    Thanks DT for the review and to the setter for a splendid seasonal puzzle.

    Happy Christmas to all involved in these blogs.

  4. Michael
    Posted December 25, 2015 at 11:29 am | Permalink

    It’s one of the few benefits of being an insomniac that it gives you plenty of time to do these puzzles, I’d taken the dog out and done all the Telegraph puzzles before there was any signs of life from the rest of the family.

    I enjoyed this and found it pretty straight forward, like most of the puzzles this week it was over all too quickly – the only one I had trouble with was 32d and I had to seek help with that one!

    My dear old Mum would have been 90 today, I was thinking about her this morning, people tell you that after five years loss gets easier, well it was six years on December 1st since she died and it doesn’t get any easier – Christmas is great but there’s other things that are more important!

    That’s enough maudlin thoughts, time to get the show on the road and concentrate on the rest of the family.

    Good wishes to all! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_good.gif

  5. overtaxed
    Posted December 25, 2015 at 11:40 am | Permalink

    Merry Christmas to all the setters, hinters and bloggers on this great site. Special mention to B D for organising it all.
    Not the hardest puzzle, but enjoyable nevertheless. Many thanks to DT, the setter and the Telegraph team. Now off to enjoy the festivities.

  6. Kitty
    Posted December 25, 2015 at 11:44 am | Permalink

    Exactly what I was expecting today, and I would put money on who brought us this. I’m glad it wasn’t too difficult because most of my brain cells are otherwise occupied. The rest are soon to be marinated in alcohol, but I will probably still attempt the (single!) Toughie a bit later, in between playing with the niece and nephews and trying to avoid being licked by the non-human animal.

    With thanks to many people’s favourite setter and extra special thanks to Deep Threat for being on blogging duty today. And of course, BD for always being there.

    Merry Christmas everybody. May Santa bring forth from his sack all that your hearts desire.

  7. Una
    Posted December 25, 2015 at 12:03 pm | Permalink

    I think 13 is the most awful pun ever, among a good many others.

  8. Jane
    Posted December 25, 2015 at 12:09 pm | Permalink

    Managed to get my hands on this one, courtesy of one of our lovely bloggers (thank you, Kitty!) and just had time to whizz through it before leaving for my Christmas jolly.
    Yes, there were a few iffy clues (13a for one) but – hey, it’s Christmas.
    32d gets my vote.
    Many thanks and festive wishes to our setter and grateful thanks to DT for sparing the time to bring us the blog. Port only left at sea? No, no, no – port is always passed to the left at the ‘best’ tables!
    Loved those Famous Grouse adverts. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_good.gif

  9. spindrift
    Posted December 25, 2015 at 12:19 pm | Permalink

    Merry Christmas everyone! Strange Christmas here at Spindrift Towers as it’s the first time in 32 years we have not had one or both sons here so it’s me & Mrs S only today.

    Thanks to DT & setter.

  10. Senf
    Posted December 25, 2015 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

    A very Happy Christmas to all, a ‘Wet’ Christmas on this side of the pond on the East Coast of the USA with spring like temperatures and thunderstorms. Thanks to BD and all the hinters for their help through the year, and the setters for the puzzles. Two ‘open’ answers on this one,13a and 32d; I agree with DT on 13a and a real ‘doh’ on 32d.

  11. Expat Chris
    Posted December 25, 2015 at 1:25 pm | Permalink

    Many Thanks, DT, for taking the time out of your Christmas Day to blog the puzzle! I quite like Christmas-themed crosswords. They put me in the spirit. This one would not frighten the reindeer and I thought it was a lot of fun. 32D was my runaway favorite. Many thanks to the setter, too.

    Two or three in the Toughie still to ponder while I stuff the bird.

    • Young Salopian
      Posted December 25, 2015 at 1:32 pm | Permalink

      There is a comment I’m sure that could be added to your last sentence but I am too polite and well brought up to do so.

  12. AndyInTheFarEast
    Posted December 25, 2015 at 2:05 pm | Permalink

    1* all very easy, apart from the reasoning of 13a in particular and a few redundant seasonal themed words in the clues. But ok because it’s Christmas and many heads will be hurting. You certainly would not want to be tackling an Ancient Greek unseen today.

  13. Merusa
    Posted December 25, 2015 at 3:17 pm | Permalink

    I enjoyed the themed puzzle.
    Warm, up to 85F here today, with sunshine.
    Fave was 32d, a real guffaw moment.
    Thanks to setter, and especial thanks to DT for spending time on Christmas morning to give us the blog.

  14. Vancouverbc
    Posted December 25, 2015 at 4:09 pm | Permalink

    Enjoyable if over too soon. Thanks to the setter and DT for the review. As Margot Leadbetter would say “Yuletide Felicitations to you all”.

  15. pommette
    Posted December 25, 2015 at 4:40 pm | Permalink

    Merry Christmas everyone from a sunny Benidorm – pommers says hi (and hic) as well.

    This didn’t tax the brain too much but that’s a blumin’ good job after our rather large and liquid lunch.
    Thanks to DT for giving up his Christmas morning to blog – and to the setter whoever you are.

    And thanks to all the bloggers who give up their time throughout the year.

  16. jean-luc cheval
    Posted December 25, 2015 at 5:36 pm | Permalink

    What a patchwork of clues today.
    I counted 42. Which meant 42 for DT to review on his Xmas. Thanks.
    The grid made it easy with all the crossers and checkers but enjoyable nonetheless.
    Thanks also to the mystery setter.

  17. 2Kiwis
    Posted December 25, 2015 at 5:40 pm | Permalink

    Lots of pesky little 4 letter words was the main challenge in this one. 32d being the one that gave us most trouble. Enjoyable puzzle. Our guess is that it is the work of our usual Monday setter but not really certain.
    Thanks Mr Ron and DT.

  18. Miffypops
    Posted December 25, 2015 at 6:46 pm | Permalink

    Merry Christmas to everyone. Please let me know when it is Monday. I am always confused at this time of year. A suitably daft puzzle today as befits the time of the year everybody’s last one in was devine. Thanks to all as usual.

  19. Eleanor Patrick
    Posted December 25, 2015 at 7:07 pm | Permalink

    All the recent themed ones have been easy but I object to 13A as it’s aomething used every week! Oh well. Much appreciated we haz a xword today!

  20. Cryptor
    Posted December 25, 2015 at 7:10 pm | Permalink

    Just right level of difficulty to squeeze between lunch, Queen and nap. 13a last in. A very merry Christmas to everyone.

  21. Kath
    Posted December 25, 2015 at 7:36 pm | Permalink

    Just squeezed enough time out of today to do the crossword.
    I thought there were a few dodgy clues – I still don’t really get 13a – bunged it in because I couldn’t think of anything else.
    I can’t see how 34a is cryptic.
    Spent far too much time trying to make 5d an anagram including N for number – oh dear!
    Just done quick clear up before sorting out more food – how can anyone be hungry again although come to think of it . . .
    The main reason for popping in is to say what a star I think Deep Threat is – hints on Christmas Day – well . . . http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_good.gif to you.
    Thanks also to the setter – not a clue about this one.

    • Kath
      Posted December 25, 2015 at 7:37 pm | Permalink

      . . . for goodness sake, Kath – 34d – there isn’t a 34a. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/icon_rolleyes.gif

      • Posted December 25, 2015 at 7:56 pm | Permalink

        You are meant to be misled into thinking the answer is about clothing not mountains.

  22. Maggie
    Posted December 25, 2015 at 8:53 pm | Permalink

    Thanks to all for this Christmas Day puzzle and hints. Couldn’t believe I hadn’t guessed it when I read the clue for 32d so I was glad to find several others didn’t spot it either – it must have been behind you ?

  23. Mary
    Posted December 25, 2015 at 9:11 pm | Permalink

    Merry Christmas from snowy Denver. Great Christmas crossword and thanks for the help – especially with 13a.

    • crypticsue
      Posted December 25, 2015 at 9:57 pm | Permalink

      Welcome Mary.

  24. Organum
    Posted December 25, 2015 at 11:36 pm | Permalink

    Yesterday’s themed cryptic felt fun but today’s, for some reason, felt humdrum. It all made sense but to me lacked the joy of the prvfious one. Can anyone explain the non-sequential numbering?