DT 29004 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 29004

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 29004

Hints and tips by pommers

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ***

Hola from the Vega Baja where spring must have sprung because the swallows have returned from their winter vacation. Hopefully they will have brought some good weather with them.
I’m not sure what to make of this puzzle. I started off in fine style with eight of the acrosses and then ten of the downs so was thinking it was going to be a breeze but after that it was a bit like running into a brick wall.  Still, I got there in the end with a few penny drops and a bit more damage to the tea tray.  I’ll be interested to hear what you thought of it.

As usual the ones I liked most are in blue.  The definitions are underlined in the clues and the answers are under the “click here” buttons so don’t click on them unless you really want to see the answer.  Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a           Bully‘s identification concealed by pal (10)
INTIMIDATE:  Two letters for identification or your “papers” inside (concealed by) a pal or someone close to you.  I’m always happy when 1a goes straight in.

6a           Behold king on the throne (4)
LOOK:  King in chess notation placed next to (on) another informal word for the throne as in the porcelain in the smallest room.  Spent too long thinking king would be an R, d’oh!

9a           Become red-faced running after felons (7)
CRIMSON: A two letter word meaning running or working after a slang term for felons.  I don’t think I’ve ever come across this word for felons but it’s in the dictionary and it was fairly obvious once the checkers were in.  Anyone else remember this album cover?

10a         Undoing curse, monarch’s saviour (7)
RESCUER:  Anagram (undoing) of CURSE followed by the usual two letters for Her Majesty.

12a         German man, a gem, enthusiastically covering staff organisation (3-10)
MAN MANAGEMENT:  The best lurker for quite some time.  It’s hidden in (covering) the first five words of the clue.

14a         Mother of that woman pens line for composer (6)
MAHLER:  Take the usual mother followed by a word for “of that woman” and insert (pens) an L(ine)

15a         In freezing cold, the Parisian is graceful (8)
BALLETIC:  Start with a slang term for freezing cold and insert (in) a French (Parisian) definite article.

17a         Wish rack to be adapted for passenger vehicle (8)
RICKSHAW:  Anagram (to be adapted) of WISH RACK.

19a         Husband feeding dog endless grot, deep-fried food (6)
CHURRO:  Insert (feeding) an H(usband) into a word for a dog and follow with the centre letters (endless) of gROt.  This is a Spanish deep fried snack and it’s very nice either sprinkled with sugar or dipped in chocolate sauce or even both! My favourite on a Saturday morning at Almoradi market.

22a         Immediate tension as aunt cooks (13)

24a         Wary guys edge, both half-cut, to cross a road (7)
GUARDED:  Take the first two letters (both half cut) from GUys and EDge and place them around (to cross) the A from the clue and an abbreviation of road.

25a         Inn‘s ingredient used for moussaka not popular (7)
AUBERGE:  This is a French inn and it’s the main ingredient of mousska without the usual two letter word meaning popular.  I’ve a feeling we’ve had this clip before but I like it so here it is again.

26a         Reduced rustic wooden frame (4)
YOKE: A word for a rustic or country bumpkin without its last letter (reduced).

27a         Be involved, plastic destroys marine habitats (6-4)
OYSTER BEDS:  Start with an anagram (plastic) of DESTROYS and insert (involved) the BE from the clue


1d           Burn Dorothy’s nemesis, abandoning the West? (4)
ITCH:  This is burn as in have a desire for something.  It’s the nemesis of Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz without the W(est).

2d           One restricted by President, hard to gain success (7)
TRIUMPH:  Insert (restricted by) the letter that looks like one into the current US president and follow with H(ard).

3d           Wrongly hear, and drum is sent — it’s rum! (13)
MISUNDERSTAND:  Anagram (it’s rum) of AND DRUM IS SENT.

4d           Hiding upset at home, share out rejection (6)
DENIAL:  The usual two letter word for “at home” is reversed (upset in a down clue) and inserted into (hiding) a word for share out, a pack of cards perhaps.

5d           Go on a path leading to decline (4,4)
TURN AWAY:  Another word for a go placed before (on in a down clue) the A from the clue and a word for a path or direction.

7d           Sumptuous duck starters in pub until time of fasting (7)
OPULENT:  The letter representing a duck in cricket followed by the first letters  (starters) of Pub and Until and then the time of fasting that we’re in at the moment.

8d           A top hacker organised strike from Japan (6,4)
KARATE CHOP:  Anagram (organised) of A TOP HACKER.

11d         Appropriate investing fortune in the right military aircraft (7,6)
STEALTH BOMBER: Listen very carefully I shall say this only once . . . You need to start with a word meaning to appropriate or nick.  After that you need the THE from the clue and an R(ight). Put that lot together and insert (investing . . . in) a word meaning a fortune as in “it cost a fortune” and once you’ve got all that together you need to split it (7,6) to get the military aircraft.

13d         In smug-faced fashion, lips upturned on royal (10)
SMIRKINGLY: Some lips or edges are reversed (upturned in a down clue) and placed on a word meaning royal or like a royal person.

16d         Routine of dad playing with toy over a year (3-2-3)
DAY TO DAY:  Anagram (playing) of DAD with TOY placed around (over) the A from the clue and the abbreviation of year.

18d         Cavalryman mounted donkey in turn to the side (7)
COSSACK:  Another word for a donkey is reversed (mounted) and placed inside (in) a word which could mean to turn, a hat perhaps, to the side.

20d         Save and put ball back into play (7)
RESERVE:  Split (2,5) this would be a phrase which might mean to put the tennis ball back into play.

21d         Youngster actually gets name for capital of Chad (6)
INFANT:  Take a phrase (2,4) meaning actually or really and change the C (capital of Chad) into an N (gets N(ame) for) and then put it together as one word.  For one horrible moment I thought I was supposed to know what is the capital of Chad but then the penny dropped.  For those interested it’s called N’Djamena and here’s a piccy of its Avenue Charles de Gaulle . . .

23d         Stupid to cut short studies (4)
DENS:  A word meaning stupid or thick without its last letter (cut short).

Some nice stuff here but my favourite has to be the topical 27a with 21d and 11d on the podium.

Quick crossword pun:     HIKE     +     WALLET     +     TEA     =     HIGH QUALITY

49 comments on “DT 29004

  1. Definitely a curate’s egg which required a little bit of head scratching for completion at a gallop – **/**.

    Favourite – 12a – as pommers says above, one of the best lurkers for quite a while, spread across five words of the clue.

    Thanks to the setter and pommers.

  2. Tough but enjoyed with the simple yet elegant 6A favourite .

    11D was obtainable but the parsing was not easy

    Thanks to everyone .

  3. I decided fairly early on that this was probably the work of Mr X but I got on better than I usually do with some of his, finishing in a reasonable time for a back pager)

    I’d agree about the lurker being very good and also 27a

    Thanks to the setter and to Pommers

  4. 3.5*/4*. I agree with pommers about the extraordinary range of difficulties to be found in this puzzle. A lot of answers went in almost instantly but several put up quite a fight taking me overall quite close to my 4* time. Nevertheless I enjoyed it a lot and I suspect it is the handiwork work of proXimal.

    I’ve never heard of 19a but the answer was obvious from the clue and checkers, and I needed my BRB to confirm that 9a could be used as a verb.

    27a was my favourite with 6a, 12a & 24d jostling for podium positions.

    Many thanks to the setter and to pommers.

  5. I found this quite tricky, not helped by writing in ‘take’ as the first word of the 5d answer (thinking that ‘decline’ could mean the result of a subtraction). That, of course, made 10a impossible so I had to revisit 5d.
    The clues I liked best were 12a, 27a and 11d.
    Thanks to the setter (Mr P?) and pommers.

  6. A very nice puzzle with good clues providing a reasonable challenge and plenty of enjoyment. Not heard of 19a before. I’ve ticked 15a, 19a, 25a, 27a, 11d. 3* /4*

    1. * Incidentally, after entering an answer, I always underline the definition on my sheet and for 2d I only had “success” underlined, thinking it was the noun. I assumed that the H(ard) was added on (to gain) at the end. But on checking the review, I see that you take the H (for hard) straight from the clue and the 3-word definition is verbal. Hope that makes sense? That’s what I find most helpful/interesting about these excellent reviews (I don’t use them for hints/tips).

  7. Another fine crossword from the setters, I tried all ways to get an anagram out of 12a but after some time discovered the lurker a true doh moment. Even at an advanced age you learn something every day, as was the case with 19a.
    Favourite 18d and 9a.
    Thanks to Pimmers and Mr X.

  8. I particularly liked the lurker today, and needed the hint for 19a. And yes, I know the album cover – in fact I was listening to ‘Larks’ Tongues in Aspic’ not so long ago (a remarkable cover version by Dream Theater as it happens, but I digress!) Anyway, thanks to the setter, and to Pommers for the entertaining blog.

  9. This one put up more of a fight than I was expecting, but it was a very enjoyable challenge.

    Lots of ticks of approval on my print-out.

    Many thanks to the setter, and to pommers.

  10. Good challenge with several d’oh! moments. I think I made all the errors listed above before I saw the error of my ways! 6a was my favourite once I had dispensed with the wrong letter for King…argh!
    Thanks to the setter, and to Pommers for the review.

  11. This one was definitely a game of two halves. On the whole west was easier than east and some clues in the latter took a bit of working out. Thank you to pommers for the hints and to the setter. The great mental work out inspired me to spend an hour or two in the garden for a bit of physical exertion pruning some shrubs. Too many really good clues to pick one out today.

  12. Thank you, Pommers. I also looked up the capital of Chad after trying hard to fit a C in somewhere. The surface of 19a made me laugh – our Labrador would eat endless grot given half a chance. The lurker of 12a was very elegant and flummoxed me for some while. Overall an enjoyable brain workout.

  13. Could not for the life of me get 23D. It obviously describes me as I was stuck thinking about ‘looking at ‘. I got 12A from the checking letters but couldn’t parse it. I’m obviously double 23D as did not spot the lurker at all even when I had the answer. Man thanks to all.

  14. Excellent puzzle and a nice challenge. 19a new word but derivable from the clue and checkers. 12 a was a lurker and a half – it looked all the world like an anagram to me for quite a while. 6a is my pick of the day because it appeals to my juvenile sense of lavatorial humour! Toughie time.

  15. Spent a while grumbling about having to find a German man in 12a before the penny dropped but did manage to resist the temptation to look up the capital of Chad for 21d!
    I was a little dubious about the definition at 3d but no-one else seems to be worried by it.

    Podium places went to 12&27a plus 11&21d.

    Thanks to our setter and to Pommers for the blog. Fortunately, I was unfamiliar with both the album and its cover!

  16. I’m afraid the two foreign foods in the SE corner put paid to me finishing this one. I have never heard of 19a and I have never eaten 25a. I’m afraid that my Mother’s cooking was limited to what ingredients she could get during the war. Even in the 1970’s!

    Many thanks to the setter and Pommers.

  17. Pleasantly challenging with some excellent clues, particularly the remarkable lurker at 12a. Like others, I rattled through this before hitting a brick wall which pushed out my solving time. Very enjoyable though and rewarding to complete.

    Thanks setter and pommers.

  18. I enjoyed this but found it quite tricky, which led to some satisfying “penny drop” moments (eg 8d). I needed a couple of hints for parsing, though I still don’t fully understand 1a, so thanks to Pommers for those.
    My favourite was the brilliant lurker,12a.
    Thanks to the setter and to Pommers for the excellent review, particularly for the clip of Chris Rea, who I saw far too many years ago in Manchester. Very talented guy.

      1. Thanks Pommers. I was focusing on the ID being inside “mate” (pal) and therefore couldn’t account for the first 4 letters.

  19. Definitely fun and tricky. Got 12a without seeing that it was a lurker -doh!
    watched the Chris Rea clip all the way through waiting for the most fun car I have ever owned to move.
    Many thanks to setter and Pommers

  20. “Crims” was (maybe still is) the name of a Los Angeles street gang.

    I don’t know why I know that…….

  21. I agree that it was an interesting mixture of straightforward clues and those where I wrestled for some time being unsure which part was even the ‘answer’.
    Didn’t see the anagram in 27 and kept thinking of the first word of the answer as a type of plastic………

    I also, courtesy of my fathers time in the Army, kept trying to fit Hussar into 18d. The “surrounding” word meant a lot of things before I would have considered “ turn to the side”……..

  22. I thought around a ***/*** today as some difficult parsing all round.
    Not heard of the slang word for freezing cold, assumed it had to do with the cold northern area , last in was 19a, which I had not heard of, but guessed correctly.
    A good week so far for the setters.
    Liked 11d,must admit that the plane came before the parsing !
    My favourite was 27a for it’s topical surface.

  23. Both this and the Quickie are two of the most unpleasant crosswords for a while. The cryptic as it has so many woolly contrived clumsy clues and the Quickie because so many of the answers are just not right.
    No fav or indeed for me decent clues.
    Thx for this hints to explain many of these clues.

    1. I just asked my wife what she thought of the Quickie, Brian as I rarely do it these days. Her comment was ‘nothing particularly difficult and completed in under 5 minutes’. She asked why I wanted to know, so I read your comment to her. Nuff said :-)

  24. By the way, is anyone else having problems with the formatting of the blog page? On my iPad it is very odd with no images just a lines of text.

  25. Still confused by the clue for one across. The last six letters are simple, and I wrote in the answer but could not fathom the first four. Could someone give me a duh moment please

  26. Thanks to the setter and to Pommers for the review and hints. I enjoyed this one, but found it very tricky. Needed to Google the Wizard of Oz to get 1d. Was completely beaten by 9a and 4d. I liked 25a, but my favourite was 21d. Had never heard of 19a, but got it from the wordplay. Was 4*/3* for me.

  27. **/***. Quite tricky in parts but got there in the end. I liked 12a and 25a. The latter immediately brought to mind Chris Rea and I wasn’t disappointed with with Pommers clip. Thanks to all.

  28. This felt a little different to the usual back-page fare and I loved it. Started out smiling at the wonderfully elegant clue for a simple word that was 6a and the solve continued in that vein. 13d was one of those delightful clues where you follow the wordplay to insert the ingredients and then the unexpected answer appears. Other highlights for me were 15a, 19a, 25a, 1d, 4d, 18d, and 21d.

    Thanks to proXimal for a great crossword and to pommers for a great blog.

  29. I’m waaay too stupid for a puzzle of this complexity, failed miserably, and proXimal has been a fave of mine in the past. Maybe I’m just having a thick day? Considering that I failed to get 19a which are sold on every street corner in Miami, it must be a thick day.
    Thanks to proXimal, not your fault I’m that dense, and to pommers for his hints and pics.

  30. A good crossword but jolly tricky.
    There were things that I didn’t know – the 8a felons and 19a – I’ll take pommers word for it that they’re nice but they look pretty beastly to me.
    2d took ages – having got its last letter I thought the president was going to be Bush – oh dear.
    I started off with ‘down’ as the second bit of 5d thereby making 12 and 15a impossible but did, eventually, sort that out.
    I particularly liked 6a and 1d.
    With thanks to whoever set this one – do we know that it was proXimal?. Thanks also to pommers – I love Chris Rea.

    A friend of a friend who lives just up the road has a cat who had four kittens ten days ago. Mummy Cat is really poorly and has been in the vet for the last three days so we now have a rota for bottle feeding the babies every four hours for the foreseeable future.

    1. Churros are really good stuff. It’s basically pancake batter extruded as about a half inch string directly into hot oil and fried for a few minutes. Then they’re chopped into about six inch lengths. At Almoradi market you get seven for a Euro, yummy.

  31. 19a was a new word for us and we started off with ‘take’ as the first word for 5d until 10a showed us that was wrong. Like others we had the correct answer for 12a before realising it was a very clever lurker. All good fun.
    Thanks proXimal? and pommers.

  32. Thanks to pommers for the review and commenters for comments. I can confirm churros are yummy; seven for a Euro sounds like a bargain.

    1. Seven for a Euro doesn’t include chocolate sauce – that’s an extra 50c and I usually give it a miss due to the ever increasing waistline.

      Apology required as I was going to go for **** for enjoyment but forgot. Sign of age and too many churros perhaps?

  33. I was doing well until the SE corner which seemed to come from a much tougher puzzle altogether. ** for three quarters, **** difficulty overall.

  34. All levels encountered here for me, from straight in to struggle right up to the end. Still not sure what to make of it, frustrating to a point . 3*/3*, for me the setter set out to 1ac ,,,, fav definitely that incredible lurker 12ac.
    Thanks to setter & Pommers

  35. I’ve done the toughie and back page in reverse order today, thinking this would be easier.
    Wrong. Having got 1a, 6a and 1d straight off I thought, mistakenly as it turned out, I’m on your wavelength me laddo! Then, having filled a few more in, I came to a grinding halt. As the level of the wine bottle lowered it didn’t get easier. I
    brought my two youngest dogs inside the house to change my mindset, it worked. I persevered and gradually got there, not helped by my inability to spell the moussaka vegetable and never heard of a 19a let alone eaten one, everyday’s a school day. No real favourites just happy to stumble over the line. I remember the song, written by Robert Frip if I remember correctly, I used to listen to it in the sixties along with back street lover by curved air. Anyway I’m starting to waffle. Thanks to the setter, which mine aren’t, and Pommers.

  36. No time these days for crosswords. Got to this one late and decided to bag all 4 long clues since they were anagrams and then the rest should fill in nicely. It did and I enjoyed it. I am amazed at some of the comments above.
    I liked it and would go with **/***

    Now for the videos which I am looking forward to.
    Thanks to Pommers and to ProXimal (I suspected you not)

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