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DT 29028

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 29028

Hints and tips by Falcon

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

Greetings from Ottawa, where we enjoyed a sunny and warm spring day yesterday. However, a heavy rainfall warning has been issued for the next couple of days. With the ground still frozen and consequently unable to absorb the downpour, there is danger of flooding.

The puzzle is not a RayT creation. As he has been alternating in the Thursday slot with proXimal recently, if I had to hazard a guess as to the identity of the setter, I would have to go with the latter — but it would certainly be no more than a guess.

After a very quick start, my progress slowed markedly. The puzzle took me to the upper boundary of 3-star difficulty — if not beyond — but was a very enjoyable solve.

In the hints below, underlining identifies precise definitions and cryptic definitions, and indicators are italicized. The answers will be revealed by clicking on the ANSWER buttons.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought of the puzzle.


1a   Meeting prisoner about to breach boundary (10)
CONFERENCE — start with one of our usual prisoners; then add a short preposition denoting about or concerning inside a boundary meant to contain farm animals, for instance

6a   Something milky-white obtained from coco-palm (4)
OPAL — the first lurker of the day is hiding in the coconut tree

9a   Somehow train sloth for races (10)
TRIATHLONS — an anagram (somehow) of the second and third words in the clue

10a   Queen goes between bishop and king, idiot! (4)
BERK — Her Majesty’s regnal cipher occupies a position between the chess symbols for bishop and king

12a   Clobber good listener (4)
GEAR — G(ood) and an organ of hearing

13a   Manoeuvre layers of rock and stone (9)
STRATAGEM — layers of sedementary rock precede a precious stone

15a   Best year to relocate plants (3,5)
BAY TREES — an anagram (to relocate) of the first two words in the clue

16a   Total agreement part of run is onerous (6)
UNISON — the second lurker of the day spreads itself across the last three words in the clue

18a   Unwelcomely occupy island home with fine interior (6)
INFEST — a one-letter abbreviation for island followed by the sort of home favoured by our feathered friends holding the designation found on pencils having fine leads

20a   Regrets delving into work, this writer’s terrible (8)
GRUESOME — start with a synonym for regrets inserted into a verb meaning work or function; then append a pronoun by which the setter might objectively refer to himself or herself

23a   Directed to enter crackers aisle for must-have item (9)
ESSENTIAL — a word meaning directed or transmitted contained in an anagram (crackers) of AISLE

24a   Pirate‘s fourth child? (4)
KIDD — If the first child is *** A, and the second is *** B, then what is the fourth one?

26a   Maybe Cameron’s leader dismissed as mad (4)
AVID — As the Queen of Hearts would have said “Off with the former PM’s head!”

27a   Instability of boss drunk with wine hugging empty barrel (10)
WOBBLINESS — start with an anagram (drunk) of BOSS with WINE; then wrap the result around the outer letters of B(arre)L (what’s left after emptying the contents)

28a   Flier reprinted regularly (4)
ERNE — a regular sequence of letters drawn from the word rEpRiNtEd

29a   Abused whiskey and wine, consumed inside (10)
MALTREATED — start with a type of whiskey; then follow with a chaser consisting of a type of wine into which you have placed a synonym for consumed or ingested


1d   Animals in shed with raised temperature (4)
CATS — find a word meaning to throw off or shed; then (this being a down clue), move T(emperature) up the stack until you have a word denoting a number of animals

2d   An upcoming surgeon, after one year, shows inexperience (7)
NAIVETY — start with a reversal (upcoming) of AN; then add an animal doctor following the Roman numeral for one; finally append Y(ear)

3d   Full of initiative, come on stage with pressure mounting (12)
ENTERPRISING — string together the following: first, how the arrival of an actor on stage is noted in the script; second, the symbol used in physics to represent power; third, an adjective meaning mounting or increasing

4d   Recruited eldest in cooking (8)
ENLISTED — an anagram (cooking) of the two middle words in the clue

5d   Kind of yellow  grass (6)
CANARY — a double definition; the first a shade of yellow, the second a North American mobster term for one who “sings” to the police

7d   Promises plasma’s first over fifty inches (7)
PLEDGES — a charade of the initial letter of Plasma, the Roman number for fifty, and a verb meaning inches or moves slowly by small degrees

8d   Fancied grabbing short time with editor, having similar outlook (4-6)
LIKE-MINDED — start by wrapping a verb denoting fancied or was attracted to around an abbreviation (short) for a (relatively short) period of time; then append a short editor

11d   Cutter in fleet Yanks repaired (7,5)
STANLEY KNIFE — an anagram (repaired) of the middle three words in the clue

14d   Destroy article covered in oil, better to be replaced (10)
OBLITERATE — an indefinite article encased in an anagram (to be replaced; i.e., the letters to be placed in different positions) of OIL BETTER

17d   Training on little part for tool (5,3)
DRILL BIT — some repetitive training precedes (on, in a down clue) a noun denoting a small part of something; To my mind, the solution is not a tool but merely a “part for [a] tool”; however, the dictionaries say I am wrong and so I bow to higher authority. My first inclination was to mark the definition as “part for tool” with the second element in the charade being merely “bit” used as a modifier as in a bit part in a stage or screen production

19d   Make  way (7)
FASHION — double definition; the first a verb meaning to form or create, the second a noun meaning manner or style

21d   Scrap noted thrown around vacant dorm (7)
ODDMENT — an anagram (thrown; formed as is pottery) of NOTED containing (around) the exterior letters of D(or)M (the interior letters having vacated the premises)

22d   Girl served up popular fizzy drink (6)
NICOLA — a reversal (served up, in a down clue) of a synonym for popular or trendy followed by a fizzy drink, perhaps the one that things go better with

25d   Exhausted American feds abandoning borders (4)
USED — an abbreviation denoting American followed by the interior letters of (f)ED(s) — the borders (exterior letters) having been discarded or abandoned

With so many fine clues to choose from, it is a challenging task to single out a few for special mention. I did like the incongruous image conjured up by 9a. 24a and 1d were my last ones in and the sounds of the pennies dropping surely must have reverberated across the Atlantic. For my clue of the day, I have chosen 27a which I think typifies many of the clues in this puzzle — well-crafted with very smooth surface readings.


58 comments on “DT 29028

  1. A rather gentle offering for a Thursday I thought. Is it a RayT? I’m not so certain. Lots to like today and good fun too. No standout favourites, but 8d, 22d, 26a, 29a all appealed. Thanks to one and all.

  2. I thought it was Mr X in friendly mode – my particular favourite was 24a

    Thanks to Falcon and the setter

    I can’t think why, on a beautiful warm and sunny day like today, you’d want to be indoors solving crosswords but if you do, the Firefly crossword in the middle of the paper shouldn’t cause you many problems

  3. 4*/4*. Thursdays have become one of the highlights of the crosswording week for me with alternating puzzles from Ray T and proXimal who provide a weekly dose of excellence but with very contrasting styles.

    I assume today’s fine offering with its smooth surfaces was penned by proXimal. It was certainly challenging with 5d my last one in, but I did enjoy it and found it very rewarding.

    24a gives me the chance for a bit of nostalgia:

    It’s not easy to nominate a particular favourite from such a good selection and 20a, 27a & 29a are battling it out for my podium positions.

    Many thanks to proXimal (I hope!) and to Falcon.

      1. I took 23a to refer to the biscuit aisle in a supermarket.

        I agree that 21d is a bit of a stretch but could just about be interpreted as seeing some rubbish on the floor in an otherwise empty dormitory (but I’m not sure I’d like to argue that one in court!)

        1. I’m baffled by your references to 23a and 21d. Surely in the former ‘crackers’ is an indicator and has nothing to do with biscuits and in the latter dorm is there to provide the ‘d’ and the ‘m’. Or am I missing something?

          1. Hi Angellov,

            The discussion regarding 23a and 21d concerns the surface reading of the clues while you are focusing on the cryptic devices in the clues. Cryptic crosswords supposedly simulate the “intelligence world” where one can transmit secret messages embedded in otherwise innocuous text. To the average person the message conveys some mundane meaning, but to the intelligence analyst it conveys quite a different meaning. However, if the surface reading is not “smooth” and the cryptic devices stand out like a sore thumb, the message is not very effective in meeting its objective.

            1. I am probably an “average person” but I expected it was the surfaces that bugged you. I do however have to say on that basis one could object regularly about numerous clues. My late husband was in SOE so I probably have absorbed from him a bit about the transmission of secret messages!

  4. For me this was the best crossword of the week, brilliantly clued with nothing obscure or dated. My only problem was parsing 1d and not spotting the anagram indicator in 14d so struggled to parse that too, though the answer was obvious from the checkers.
    29a was my COTD closely followed by the humorous 10a and the subtle and clever 19D.
    Many thanks to the setter and to Falcon for his excellent review (but surely you could have found a better Nicola!)

  5. I, too, managed to complete the puzzle but inthe upper side of *** time and it eas an enjoyable struggle at ****. There was some superb misdirection here and I particularly enjoyed 5d and 19d, although most of the clues were excellent, so it’s hard to pick a few. Thanks to the setter and to Falcon.

  6. Didn’t think I’d ever be reconciled to not having a Mr T puzzle every week but this Thursday combo with Mr X is proving to be a very enjoyable alternative.

    24a was the last to fall and takes the gold star today.

    Many thanks to Mr X and to Falcon for the blog. Virtual Easter eggs heading your way!

    1. I agree wholeheartedly with your sentiments regarding the duo of Mr T and Mr X.

      I shall virtually enjoy the promised Easter eggs.

  7. If in 22d one assumes the alternative definition of ‘fizzy drink’ then is there a case for MIMOSA as a solution? According to my digital BRB, a Mimosa is the American name for a Bucks Fizz. It does not, however, appear in my recent print edition. Funny old world.

      1. You are right of course.I have just looked again, and the fairies have now put it back . . . or I must get new spectacles.

    1. No doubt there is a case based on “fizzy drink” or even “popular fizzy drink” as the definition. But, of course, the solver would be left scratching his or her head in frustration trying to explain the wordplay.

  8. Quite tricky, beautifully crafted and hugely enjoyable. Some very elegant and clever clues, with, I suppose, 24a coming out at the top of the pile. Great stuff for a sunny Thursday.

    Thanks to our setter, who seems to have been outed as proXimal, and to Falcon.

  9. Pleased this wasn’t too challenging as have lots of Easter stuff to do. Will I never learn and cease bunging in without rhyme or reason as per 29a where I had wrong first three letters which in turn stymied 22d (was looking for girl’s name ending in “i” – apart from ‘Heidi’)! I fancied 8d. Thank you RayT and MrX.

  10. If the Thursday puzzle is supposed to be the most challenging of the work week puzzles this must be the exception that proves the rule because this very enjoyable puzzle was completed at a fast gallop and the proscribed term came to mind – **/****.

    Candidates for favourite – 10a (I haven’t heard that word for a while), 2d, and 3d – and the winner is 2d.

    Thanks to proXimal, if it is indeed he, and Falcon.

    1. Agree with Senf, very mild for a Thursday. Rather too many anagrams for my liking but having said that, it was an enjoyable puzzle. Now off to mow the lawn. Thanks to all.

    1. From which ancient language does Tdursdat come from Ray? 😉😉 Only kidding, we all hit a wrong key or two from time to time. 😂

        1. I wondered if it was from ‘Avestan’ from yesterday’s Giovanni Toughie, lol. :-)

  11. Excellent puzzle today that was a pleasure to solve. My only gripe was with 26a unless i am misreading the clue. Avid is not mad according to the BRB, it means greedy and is best demonstrated in the reaction between an antigen and antibody.
    Thx to all

      1. I’m just looking forward to the day when Brian can give wholehearted approval to somebody’s crossword puzzle totally gripe free! Or compile the perfect cryptic puzzle himself for the rest of us to solve.

        1. It would be impossible to produce a puzzle, which was perfect for everyone, we are all so different. It’s what makes this blog so fascinating!

          1. I can’t remember when I first contributed, but I’ve been here – both as lurker and contributor for quite some time now. During that time I seem remember reading more gripes, niggles and moans than plaudits from you. I usually skim through the blog to read your appraisal first before I see what others have written. Quite entertaining some days :-)

    1. Funnily enough, this was my last in, as I would never equate avid with mad either.

  12. Oh no, the only clue I couldn’t fathom was 24a. I couldn’t see the wood for the trees. I knew the pirate, I didn’t know where the “fourth” fitted in. Talk about a penny drop moment. I was uncertain about the setter. I thought that it was a bit easier than a RayT, but it had “Queen” in one of the clues, which I thought was a RayT trademark. Enjoyable puzzle. Thank you setter and Falcon. Looks as though we are in for a glorious weekend.

    1. All RayT puzzles (or, at least, virtually all RayT puzzles) contain a Queen; however, not all puzzles that contain a Queen are RayT puzzles.

      1. Another RayT/Beam trademark is that he’ll generally give an initial letter clue for an easy way in. Such as “Starts off…”, “Starts to….” or “Initially….”. etc

        Of course, this is used by many other setters too, but combine the above with HM, some innuendo, low word count in the clues (and I think possibly, single word answers) and single word clues on the quick puzzle, then it’s a good chance it’s a RayT.

  13. A fair and sunny challenge to match the spring-like weather. Solved 18a but needed Falcon’s debrief.
    The only clue I can offer to the identity of today’s excellent setter is that he / she probably isn’t a whisky drinker.
    The Scotch variety does not contain an “e”. (29a).
    Thanks to Falcon and author.

  14. I was completely fooled by 24a. That was my favourite clue. Thanks setter and Falcon.

  15. Thursday,,, yes cracker of the week,,, found it moderately straightforward but v enjoyable
    2.5*/4* Very smooth clues read well, some needed more thinking but perfect for me.
    Grateful thanks to setter & Falcon for his review.

  16. A very nice and clever crossword and what’s more very solveable **/**** 😃 Lots of favourites but 29a & 25d share the podium. I suppose I should have chosen 5d because hopefully in 5 matches time They will be singing 🎼🐥 Thanks to Falcon and to the Setter, come back soon 😜

    1. Many thanks for popping in and for giving us such an entertaining puzzle today.

  17. ***/****. Lovely puzzle which was harder for me than for some. I ummed and arred about 22d as I wanted to insert mimosa (as it made sense) but eventually the penny dropped. Favourites were 27a, 8&22d. Thanks to the setter and Falcon.

  18. Thanks to the setter and to Falcon for the review and hints. I enjoyed this one very much, but found it very tricky. I made a right pig’s ear of 29a. Thought it was mistreated, with mist=whisky. That stopped me getting 22d. I also had 5d wrong by putting in coward, even when I corrected the latter, I still couldn’t get 9a,even though I had the fodder. I was thinking of races of people. Flexible thinking has evaded me today! Favourite was 24a. Was 3*/4* for me.

  19. This was not easy but hugely enjoyable. I hang my head in shame, I could not remember Cameron’s first name for love nor money and missed 26a. I shudda googled it but, as it was my last one, I just went to the blog. Not surprising, I’m having a problem remembering names!
    My fave has got to be 24a, one of my first solves, isn’t that clever?
    Thanks to proXimal, if I remember correctly, I found your last offering unsolvable. Thank you Falcon for unravelling 27a, which was a bung in.

  20. A surprisingly gentle solve today for me. Normally Thursday crosswords have my little grey cells working overtime. 26a was my favourite.
    Thanks to proXimal, and to Falcon for the review.

  21. If I remember rightly I enjoyed this some twelve hours ago. It took longer than a normal back pager. The whiskey had an E which threw me and I have never been a fan of fizzy drinks that taste like chemicals so the girl evaded me like so many have before. I got the ones that mattered though. Thanks to ProXimal for the challenge and to Falcon who has commented rather a lot today.

  22. On the wavelength this morning and finished quite quickly before rushing out on a family visit . Enjoyed puzzling through the clues and scanning the comments to date .
    Unlike some did not particularly like 24A and my favourite is 1D for its simplicity.
    I was expecting a comment on the etymology of 10A !!
    Thanks to everyone .

  23. An enjoyable offering that I thought was fairly straightforward. I took too long to spot the races, and to the very close to work out the yellow grass.

  24. The clue about the pirate’s family was our favourite out of a grid full of excellent clues. A pleasure to solve.
    Thanks proXimal and Falcon.

  25. Cannot remember when I enjoyed the Cryptic as much as today. Excellent clues, providing a lot of satisfaction and enjoyment. Thanks to setter, and to Falcon, for helping me finish with 26a, and the bird at 28a. Would love more like this one.

  26. Late as usual. I found this challenging but solvable except, like others, 22d which completely flummoxed me. Hey ho, you can’t win them all. Best clue for me was 24a which I got straight away, it seemed perfectly obvious to me and very clever. Thanks to ProXimal and Falcon.

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