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DT 29008

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 29008

Hints and tips by Mr K

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BD Rating  -  Difficulty *** Enjoyment ****


Hello, everyone, and welcome to Tuesday.  Today we have a delightful crossword from the Telegraph Puzzles editor himself, who goes by Mister Ron here on the back page (not to be confused with the generic Mysteron or Mr Ron that we use for unknown setters).  I found lots of entertaining penny drop moments in this puzzle, in large part due to some skilful misdirection by our setter.  Lots of smiles means an above-average enjoyment rating.

In the hints below most indicators are italicized, and underlining identifies precise definitions and cryptic definitions.  Clicking on the buttons will reveal the answers.  In some hints hyperlinks provide additional explanation or background.  Clicking on a picture will enlarge it or display a bonus illustration.  Please leave a comment telling us how you got on.



1a    Tempt nerd with a fizzy Moselle, perhaps (10)
DEPARTMENT:  An anagram (fizzy) of TEMPT NERD A.  The answer is something that Moselle is an example of (perhaps)

6a    Help sailor meeting death on a regular basis (4)
ABET:  A usual sailor followed by alternate letters (… on a regular basis) of DEATH

9a    Caught four roaming around island (5)
CORFU:  Follow the cricket abbreviation for caught with an anagram (roaming around) of FOUR

10a   Some anger at Iona legend's reasoning (9)
RATIONALE:  The answer is hiding as some of the remaining characters in the clue

12a   Dodgy  drunk? (5,3,5)
UNDER THE TABLE:  A double definition.  The first a phrase meaning surreptitiously and typically illegally, the second a slang expression for being drunk

14a   Something precious your old boarding mates ruined (8)
AMETHYST:  An archaic (… old) form of your is inserted in (boarding) an anagram (ruined) of MATES

15a   Advantage in both hands for record-holder (6)
LEDGER:  An advantage in a competition is sandwiched between abbreviations for each of your hands

17a   Bring about  result (6)
EFFECT:  A double definition, the first a verb, the second a noun

19a   Actor seen in a quiet South American city after detectives turned back (8)
DICAPRIO:  After the reversal (turned back) of some usual detectives comes A from the clue, the musical abbreviation for quiet, and the shortened name of a South American port

21a   Maybe they fix statement (13)
PRONOUNCEMENT:  Join together what “they” is an example of (maybe…) and fix or glue

24a   Lacking military vehicles to guard hospital is unappreciated (9)
THANKLESS:  An adjective that could mean lacking military vehicles containing (to guard) the single letter for hospital.  My internet search for pictures for this clue turned up a page claiming that the ringtail cat is North America’s most unappreciated mammal.  That must be wrong.  I very much appreciated visits by this one

25a   Set up Arctic explorer's boat to face east (5)
FRAME:  If you are anything like me, at this point in the puzzle you bunged in the answer from the checkers and a guess at the definition.  That choice meant that to face east was probably telling us to attach E[ast] to four letters that would be the boat.  In that way I learned today the name of the boat used by several Artic explorers.  That Wikipedia page describes an ingenious approach to reaching the North Pole that I did not know about before this solve, so I’m glad to have met this clue

26a   Ring when wife leaves bank (4)
HEEL:  Deleting the abbreviation for wife from one of the many synonyms of ring (in the sense of a round object) gives a word that means bank or lean

27a   Bitterness concerning posted soldiers before end of conflict (10)
RESENTMENT:  Concatenate the usual short word for concerning, posted a letter, the most generic synonym of soldiers, and the last letter of (end of) conflicT


1d    Swimmer upset space cadet to some degree (4)
DACE:  This swimming creature is hiding (… to some degree) in the reversal (upset, in a down clue) of the remaining characters in the clue

2d    What's pleasant-smelling for a smoke (7)
PERFUME:  Stick together a word meaning “for a” and a synonym of smoke

3d    How hands move all the time? (5,3,5)
ROUND THE CLOCK:  The answer is a phrase that means all the time or continuously.  The rest of the clue helps us to identify the correct synonym by telling us that the answer also describes the motion of some hands that tell time

4d    Losing heart, wed girl in famous ship (4,4)
MARY ROSE:  Another word for wed has its middle letter deleted (losing heart) and is followed by a very English girl’s name.  Click here to read about the famous ship, plan your visit, buy tickets to see it, etc.

5d    Top this -- that could be great (5)
NOTCH:  Prepending TOP to the answer (top this) yields an adjective meaning great or first-rate 

7d    Speak up in support of head getting somewhere comfy to sit (7)
BEANBAG:  The reversal (up, in a down clue) of a speak or chatter comes after (in support of, in a down clue) an informal for your head

8d    Rioting there today and a long time ago? (3,4,3)
THE YEAR DOT:  An anagram (rioting) of THERE TODAY

11d   Transport cafe onto thief, seemingly (2,3,4,2,2)
ON THE FACE OF IT:  An anagram (transport) of CAFE ONTO THIEF

13d   Son drinks something sticky that's delivered by rep (5,5)
SALES PITCH:  Fuse together the genealogical abbreviation for son, some beery drinks, and a sticky substance that might come from the distillation of tar

16d   Parasites seen fighting one allowed to serve (8)
LICENSEE:  Some wingless, bloodsucking parasites are followed by an anagram (fighting) of SEEN

18d   Pay for 'mature' film? (7)
FOOTAGE:  Amalgamate an informal word meaning pay for (the bill) and a verb synonym of mature

20d   Artists copy the nine-to-five (3,4)
RAT RACE:  The usual artists and a way to make a copy

22d   Relative, naive, acted oddly (5)
NIECE:  The odd letters (… oddly) of NAIVE ACTED

23d   Examine  river in Hampshire (4)
TEST:  A double definition.  Information about the Hampshire river here, if you didn’t know him


Many thanks to Mister Ron for a very enjoyable solve.  I ticked many clues today, including 6a, 15a, 26a, 2d, 4d, 5d, 8d, and 18d.  I have the excellent 21a, 2d, and 18d in a three-way tie on the top of the podium.  Which clues did you like best?


The Quick Crossword pun:  PLEASE + SCAR = POLICE CAR

52 comments on “DT 29008

  1. Although I found this quite tough and it took me longer to finish it than it usually does (****), I did get considerable satisfaction and enjoyment (****) from completing it, as the clues were intricate and testing. As Mr K says, the misdirection is particularly good, so thanks to Mr Ron. Thanks to Mr K too for clearing up a few points. I know much more today about Polar exploration than I did yesterday!

  2. Merci Messieurs!

    Quite a bit of head scratching this morning. ‘Bean’ for ‘head’ definitely didn’t help the scratching in 7d…

    18, 20d pick of the bunch for me

  3. I hadn’t heard of the ship in 25a, and didn’t really like the contruction of 5d, but apart from those I quite enjoyed this, completed in *** time.

    Many thanks to Mister Ron and Mr. K.

  4. I agree with TQ, some head scratching required for very enjoyable completion at a fast canter – 2.5*/3.5*.

    Favourite – a toss-up between 21a and 3d – two 13 letter clues with a total of 10 words between them!

    Thanks to CL and Mr K.

  5. Fast start , slow finish with 7D my favourite and 25A , last in , needing some research .
    Enjoyed the many challenging clues with plenty of smiles of satisfaction .
    Thanks misters K & Ron .

  6. A very nice puzzle this, with excellent and a little above average difficulty clues giving an enjoyable solve. Just the type of crossword the rookie setters should try to produce with their first few efforts instead of attempting to create the most difficult/arcane Stinker or Toughie-type puzzles imaginable. 10a: funny how just having a capital I in the middle of the lurker makes it so much more difficult to spot! I guess MP had no difficulty getting 16d? Favs: 14a, 25a, 11d and 18d. 3* / 4*.

    1. I have always assumed that the rookie puzzles have to be Toughie level or the experts will complain that they are too easy. A shame as if they were easier more people (including me) could attempt them.

      1. “Rookie puzzles have to be Toughie level”. That’s not an assumption I’ve ever had. I didn’t know there were any stipulations/expectations about the difficulty of Rookie Corner puzzles. Is there? I reckon that (true) Rookies, with there first efforts on here, should concentrate on writing good, solid, medium-difficulty, valid clues (like the ones above) with no flaws at all. Otherwise, Prolixic with be soon running out of words in his Italics Store! Also, they will be engendering bad setting habits that will be hard to shake off later on.

      2. Jose is quite right Hoofit, Rookie setters who try too hard are generally advised to turn the heat down and concentrate on eliminating errors and refining their surface reads.

        As we all know, relatively mild puzzles can still offer plenty of fun if craftily composed. That’s, I think, what most setters aim for, since level of difficulty is largely arbitrary anyway.

  7. Thanks for the write-up, and I should mention that one clue in the puzzle isn’t my own work; the winning clue from the first puzzles newsletter clue-writing competition features in this puzzle. Congratulations to John Felton!

    To pre-empt the inevitable questions, you can sign up for the newsletter here:


    To do so, you need to register as a user on the Telegraph website; this is completely free.

  8. A really enjoyable and challenging puzzle his morning. So many fine clues to mention, but the terrific 21a gets my vote for favourite. Like many others, the boat was a bung-in but I will log it away for future reference. Good lurker too.

    Thanks CL and Mr K.

  9. Pleasant enough. North more straightforward than the South. Liked parsing of 6a. 1d swimmer new to me, I think, as were the head synonym in 7d and the boat in 25a. Made life difficult for myself by initially having the same first and third words in 3d. Will be interesting to know which was John Felton’s clue. Thank you Messrs. Ron and K.

  10. Thanks for a very enjoyable puzzle. Too many outstanding clues to select a favourite but 21a sticks in my mind.

    Didnt know the second boat but it was an obvious bung in so thanks for the link to the history there, very interesting!

    Thanks to CL and Mr K for the pleasure this puzzle gave.

  11. I did know the 25a boat but had, of course, forgotten it until after I’d worked the clue out from the wordplay and there it was staring at me! What ingenuity those old explorers possessed.

    Took me a while to remember the right Moselle but no other problems to report.

    Top two here were 21a plus 18d.

    Thanks to Mister Ron and to Mister K for a great blog.

  12. Very enjoyable and went in reasonably steadily. Lots of good clues but my favourite was 3d with honourable mentions to 13d and 18d.

    The Toughie was solved in quicker time than this back pager today.

    1. The Toughie was completed betwixt ordering and receiving Dinner. Saint Sharon kept talking to me too. I could have finished another between finishing dinner and receiving pudding. Always slow here but the food is excellent and the company is fine when she shuts up

  13. A great puzzle, as Mr K said with some nice penny drop moments (5d being a prime example). It’s hard to choose podium places amongst so many quality clues but I’ll go for 11d, 10a and 18d as my COTD. I wouldn’t normally choose an anagram and a lurker but I thought both were outstanding 3*/4.5*
    Many thanks to CL and to MrK for the top notch entertainment.

  14. An interesting and entertaining crossword, thanks to Mr Ron. A couple of “Doh” moments and some guesswork when my logic meter failed to work.
    Thanks also to Mr K entrrtaining as usual

  15. Really enjoyed this but like Mr K I bunged in what I thought was the answer to 25a without having a clue about the boat. So I have learned something today.
    Apart from that and my last in 5d I found this quite straightforward but rather elegant. My fav was 8d.
    Thx to all

  16. Once again another entertaining and most enjoyable puzzle, although I too have to admit to ‘bunging in’ my answer to 25 across, as indeed I did with 26 across. Parsing of which necessitated my checking with Mr K’s hints. I’m hoping to have enlisted another fellow puzzler to the blog after a chance meeting and conversation this morning with one who hitherto was unaware of BD’s CB. Thanks to today’s setter and Mr K.

  17. Lovely puzzle. Thanks to Mister Ron, and to Mr K for the hints. Favourites were 14a and the smile-inducing 21a.

  18. Huge enjoyment! It took as long to solve the SW corner as the rest of the puzzle.
    I never did get 25a, unforgivable really as I’ve been to the museum in Oslo and seen the damned thing. Dumb or what.
    Fave is 14a, my birthstone, runnerup 18d, but there were so many choices.
    Thanks to Mister Ron for the fun and Mr. K for the hints and pics.

  19. Thank you Mr Ron and Mr K. I really enjoyed this puzzle and as the hints and tips hadn’t arrived when I sat down with my coffee I did it all by myself!! First time ever … Don’t feel quite such a newbie today. 😉

  20. ***/****. This was a very enjoyable solve with quite a lot of googling required to confirm my bung in at 25a. My favourites were 12, 15 & 21a with the latter getting gold. Thanks to the setter and Mr K.

  21. Quite tricky today but very enjoyable. Lots of clever clues.
    Last in was 18d and fav.
    Thanks to the setter and Mr K.

  22. Not sure about 5d as a back page clue and hadn’t heard of the boat in 25a, I have now, I googled it. Other than that no real hold ups but enjoyable. Favourite 12a. Thanks to the setter and Mr K for explaining 5d.

    1. 5d was my last clue to parse. I thought at first that it was a cryptic reference to something being “a 5d above”. Then the penny dropped.

  23. I agree – a very nice puzzle and I too, did not know about the 25a boat but bunged in (as the saying goes) what was
    the logical answer. I had not realised that Mysteron was an unknown quantity!

  24. Nice puzzle from Mr Ed. I took longest in the SW and also confess to only finding out about the boat after the event. I even looked at lists of arctic explorers and toyed with Fuchs even though it didn’t fit with checkers.
    Thanks to CL and Mr K for the informative blog and the usual high standard of cat pics.
    I will elect 16d my fave not that any of us know any parasitic landlords! 😋

    1. It sounds like we were all in the same boat (sorry couldn’t resist), googling 25a. That’s reassuring!

  25. That was a nice challenge for a Tuesday crosswords as often they are just a wee bit too gentle for my taste. 25a of course was a bung-in; yep! something new learned.
    Favourite was 1a.
    Thanks to Mister Ron, and to Mr K for the review and pics.

  26. One of our team had remembered the boat for 25a so no problems there. A good fun solve.
    Thanks Chris and Mr K.

  27. An enjoyable solve. Thank you Mr Lancaster and Mr Kitty. I was away from home yesterday and couldn’t get a DT anywhere. I was glad to find one this morning before returning home.

  28. Was slow to get a foothold today, and almost gave up. Then tempted to sit outside with a cappuccino and brain kicked back in. Didn’t know the 25a boat, nor the swimmer in 1d, and hadn’t heard 12a being applied to drunkenness. GK letting me down. Thanks to Mister Ron and Mr K for fun and help.

  29. Cracker of a puzzle tonight, really enjoyed it. Slow start but picked up the pace as the clues went in, I really liked 21ac but all proved to be good, 3*/4.5*
    Thanks to Mister Ron & Mr K for all their hard work.

  30. Didn’t know the boat, like most, but loved the crossword.
    Thanks Misters Ron and K.

  31. Perhaps this will be the time I successfully sign up and am able to thank the setters and unlockers of difficult clues.

    And it is. So many thanks to the important people on this site and perhaps especially to Big Dave for setting it up.

    I am a novice despite my age.

  32. Doing this a day late. Just back from a cruise off the coast of Norway (no, thankfully, not that one!} so 25a was a doddle.

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