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DT 29046

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 29046

Hints and tips by pommers

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

Hola from the Vega Baja where summer has arrived for a few days at least.  Nearly 30°C yesterday and going to be hotter today apparently.  For mid-May that’ a big “phew”.
Anyway, to the puzzle.  This one has to be a RayT as all the signs are there, including some stretched synonyms that are just about this side of breaking point.  Overall I thought it was a tricky little rascal and nearly went for **** difficulty but there are a few gimmes and two long anagrams to give plenty of checkers so it worked out OK in the end.  I quite enjoyed the tussle though and I’ll be interested to see what you all reckon to 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           Justify former suggestion to pen Sun’s leader … (6)
EXCUSE:  The usual two letters for former, usually former spouse, are followed by a three letter suggestion or tip with S(un) inserted (to pen).

4a           … Sun accepts also end of naked model (8)
STANDARD:  Start with what the Sun is an example of and insert (accepts) a word meaning also and then finish with a D (end of nakeD).  I think I’d better refrain from illustrating the naked model.

9a           Small, dark and bright (6)
SUNLIT:  S(mall) followed by a word meaning dark or without light.

10a         Seams seen in short stockings? Goodness! (8)
HOLINESS:  A word which can mean seams is inserted into (seen in) a generic term for stockings but without its last letter (short).  Now you didn’t think I’d pass this one up did you?

12a         Learning to be saucy following diet? (8)
LITERACY:  A word meaning saucy or blue after a slang term for diet as in low-calorie.

13a         Deliveries, reportedly, for docks (6)
BERTHS: This word meaning docks in a harbour sounds like (reportedly) a word meaning deliveries of babies.

15a         Abrupt decline, possibly becoming erratic (13)

18a         Worried, I got nervier at questioning (13)
INTERROGATIVE:  Anagram (worried) of I GOT NERVIER AT.

22a         Related a passage including start of novel (6)
AGNATE:  Related by descent from a common male ancestor.  It’s A (from the clue followed by a passage or entrance with N (start of Novel) inserted (including).

24a         Conservative facing constituent crony rejected nonsense (8)
CLAPTRAP:  Start with a word for a constituent, as in component rather than a voter, and a crony or mate and reverse them (rejected).  At the front of that lot (facing) put a C(onservative)

26a         Magnificent until group covers Queen (8)
TOWERING:  A word for until and a group, as in a section of a political party perhaps, are placed around the usual two letters representing the great grandmother of Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor.  What a splendid name! Presumably after Archie Gemmill and Harrison Ford..

27a         Company, commonly the man’s company, right? (6)
ESCORT:  Commonly here means drop an H so you need a word for “the man is”and drop the H then follow with the usual company and a two letter abbreviation of right.

28a         Name of church started around mid-century (8)
CHRISTEN:  This is to name, probably in a church, and it’s an abbreviation of churchfollowed by a word meaning started around a T (mid cenTury).

29a         Tough as iron facing one’s gutless temerity (6)
FEISTY:  The chemical symbol for iron followed by the letter that looks like 1 and the ‘s and lastly TY (gutless T(emerit)Y).


1d           Yale is broken with little effort (6)
EASILY:  Anagram (broken) of YALE IS.

2d           Make do on street without sharp turning (9)
CONSTRUCT: A three letter word for do, as in cheat, followed by the usual two letters for street.  Put that around (without) a word meaning sharp or terse but it’s reversed (turning).  Took me ages to twig the definition here.

3d           Support for rider’s foot wearing spur? (7)
STIRRUP:  This support is indeed a support for a rider’s foot.  However the rider’s foot is actually its last letter (R) and around it (wearing) is a phrase (4,2) meaning to spur or agitate.

5d           Inordinately large instrument (4)
TOOL:  A word for inordinately or very followed by L(arge).  I spent far too long looking for a musical instrument, d’oh!

6d           Most open new undergarment clothes top (7)
NAIVEST:  N(ew) and an undergarment around (clothes) two letters for top as in very good.

7d           Prevent state terrorism’s source (5)
AVERT:  The usual crosswordland word for state, which is never used in everyday conversation, followed by a T (Terrorism’s source).

8d           Blow from behind is astern (8)
DISASTER:  A lurker. It’s hidden in (from) the last three words.

11d         Speech elongated keeping level (7)
ECHELON:  Another lurker lurking in (keeping) the first two words.  Seems to me a bit odd to have lurkers in consecutive clues.

14d         Practically excellent friend for ever (7)
FINALLY:  A word for excellent without its last letter (practically) followed by one of the usual four letter friends, not mate this time but the other one.

16d         Insect runs around top of orange plants (9)
BEETROOTS:  An insect followed by a word for runs, at a pace somewhere between Senf’s canter and walk, with an O inserted (around top of Orange).

17d         Great acting performed about return of Private Ryan? (8)
GIGANTIC:  Great as in very large.  It’s an anagram (performed) of ACTING around (about) what Private Ryan was an example of but he’s backwards (return of).

19d         End dimensions’ limits admitting time slows down (7)
RETARDS:  Another word for end or stern and the outer letters (limits) from DimensionS with a T(ime) inserted (admitting).

20d         This compiler’s exercise catching innocent in deadlock (7)
IMPASSE:  How the compiler might say he is followed by one of the two letter exercises with and innocent (?) inserted (catching).  Not sure about the innocent bit so perhaps someone will enlighten me as to how it works.

21d         A year taking course leads to indifference (6)
APATHY:  A (from the clue) and an abbreviation of Year around (taking) a course or track.

23d         More current needs electricity with extra resistance initially (5)
NEWER:  First letters (initially) of the other words in the clue.

25d         Single, going round clubs in the past (4)
ONCE:  A word for single around a C(lubs).  This is also the Spanish for eleven and is the name of a popular lottery here.

A lot of blue today but favourite for me was 2d, for its very well concealed definition, with the short and sweet 9a and 10a on the podium.

Quick crossword pun:     INNS    +     SITE     =     INSIGHT

38 comments on “DT 29046

  1. 4*/4*. That was tough but very good indeed! 22d was my last one in and a new word for me. Everything else eventually yielded to persistence.

    My favourite today was 10a, and battling it out for my other podium positions were: 15a, 27a, 2d & 3d.

    Like pommers, I’m not quite sure how “innocent” relates to “ass” in 20d. You certainly get some remarkable results from Googling the words together.

    Many thanks to Ray T and to pommers.

  2. Tricky indeed, but very solvable. I thought this was Ray T at his most inventive, and thoroughly enjoyed the challenge. Plenty of good clues to pick a winner, but I will emulate our blogger and go with the excellent 2d.

    Thanks to RT and pommers.

  3. Pommers – thanks and agree with your comments .

    Got there but slow to start then steady progress with some parsing in retrospect. Enjoyed the challenge .

    Thanks Mr T , excellent again

  4. This was seriously challenging and almost edged into **** for difficulty. There were more of the over-stretched synonyms than usual and fewer more accessible clues. I liked the lurker at 11d and 28a, 22a a d16d. It was most satisfying to actually finish it. Thanks to pommers. I had to condirm the parsing on a number of clues. Thanks to Ray T also.

  5. I thought it was a Beam in Ray T’s clothing – it certainly took me more time to solve than today’s Toughie and over four times as long as Tuesday’s Dada (which wasn’t that long but you get the idea)

    Lots to enjoy as per usual so thank you to Mr T and Mr P

  6. Looking at the comments above perhaps I should have gone for **** difficulty :yes:

  7. I agree with CS that it’s difficult to see what differences there are in difficulty and types of wordplay between this back-pager and a typical Beam Toughie (other than the obvious lack of anagrams in the latter).
    I enjoyed this one – thanks to Mr T and pommers.
    My ticked clues were 24a (for the political satire?) and 2d (for the well disguised definition).

    1. I found this one more difficult than a typical Ray T back pager but about right for a Beam

  8. Our setter in 29a mood today, I thought!
    Took me quite a while to ‘twig’ 2d and to parse 3d so those take podium places alongside 9&10a plus 1d.

    Devotions as always to Mr T and many thanks to Pommers for the blog – bet you found it hard to resist including a pic for 4a!

  9. This has to be the most difficult back page cryptic for a long time and a ****/**** for me.
    I initially had interrogation for 18a which made last one in 16d mission impossible until I checked the anagram!
    Thanks to Gazza for the ass explanation.
    Hard to pick a favourite ,liked 6d.
    Thanks to Pommers for the blog pics, guess which was my favourite.

  10. I needed help in the South West to finish this and still haven’t fully parsed the rest. I’ve come across several far gentler toughies, and wonder if this really was suitable for a back pager, all be it in the Thursday slot. Having said that, there were several clues that I liked, the two well hidden lurkers along with 9a, 20 and 21d.
    A few too many stretched synonyms for the usual Ray T enjoyment level too.
    Thanks to Mr T and a heroic Pommers for sorting it all out.

  11. I’m not sure what I feel about this puzzle. It certainly took me into Toughie time and it also wasn’t the ‘sparkliest’ of cryptic puzzles I’ve ever completed. I did complete it without the hints I’m pleased to say, but some of it was a bit like hard work. Still, as I’ve said before they’re all there to be solved and it did keep me occupied and amused for the earlier part of a horrible wet May morning. Thanks to RayT and to Pommers for today’s blog.

  12. I found this tough but enjoyable like most of the rest of you. A very nice challenge. Had to check my answer to 22a was a real word. Last in was 16d because I had sloppily put 18 across ending in -ion and not -ive. All became clear when I corrected that. I think I’ll give top spot to 12a, but there were quite a few other contenders.

  13. Goodness! (And not the 10a sort) That was a real brain workout, and I couldn’t have done it without help from Pommers, so thank you for that, and thanks to the setter.

  14. I also found this quite tricky today, finishing up in the SW part of the puzzle; my last in was 22a.

    All good stuff! – thanks to RayT, and to pommers.

  15. So pleased to see so many 4 **** for difficulty. Had to capitulate with 5 to go.
    Worst result for years.
    Thanks for comforting blog

  16. Blooming heck, that was tough. Thanks for the workout RayT. Thanks for the review Pommers

  17. Blimey, if you clever clogs gave it **** for difficulty, what chance did I have. I had two, yes two, answers at first run through, then used help for the two long anagrams to get started. Sadly, I found I was using too much electronic help and got bored, so I’ve given up.
    Thanks to RayT, not your fault I’m as thick as two short planks, and to pommers for your valiant efforts to sort that lot out.

    1. Keep trying , Merusa. I only had 5 or 6 clues at first but the more clues that fall into place, the easier it gets. Try leaving it and then having another look. Sometimes a clue will suddenly resolve because your brain has been working on it even when you are no longer looking at it. I have been attempting the back pager for 50 odd years and this one was a stonker!

  18. Never heard of 27a. and also could not get the top righthand corner sorted. Felt like a failure but perhaps this was just out of my league. Good to get the answers resolved from this web page. Many thanks to all.

  19. Evening all. Muchas gracias to pommers for the analysis and to everybody else for your observations.


    1. Good evening, Mr. T. Foot definitely off the soft pedal today but a most satisfying solve – many thanks.

  20. Whoa that was tough, quite uphill work but kept going, seem to feel more inToughie territory today.
    4*/3*. Was a 4* for enjoyment but the last few clues dragged it out a bit too much.
    But needless to say many thanks to Ray T for the workout & grateful thanks to Pommers for his review & assistance.

  21. Well my first clue answered was 5d. Without thinking I put TUBA. D’oh! Eventually I realised my stupidity and sanity returned. (Sort of).
    Certainly tricky but ultimately very satisfying to complete.
    8d was a goodie but my favourite was 16d.
    Thanks to Ray T for the mental workout, and to pommers for the review.

  22. Definitely Beamish and certainly took a few to solve.

    A highly enjoyable and cleverly constructed cranial workout.

    Thanks to pommers and RayT 4*/4.5*

  23. We certainly found this a challenging puzzle but slowly and surely it all gradually fitted into place. Enjoyable solve.
    Thanks RayT and pommers.

  24. Oh no, it has taken me forever to access BD and then my comment disappeared into the ether. I was saying something like I didn’t enjoy this too much but did win through 14d. I feel that 14d is only practically a synonym and the innocent synonym in 20d is a new one on me. As per Gwizz I tried to use tuba for 5d instrument which delayed progress in the NE. In common with RayS had to double-check my 22a bung-in and also needed help to parse 27a. Thank you RayT and pommers.

  25. Hi I had trouble accessing the site so was in a complete panic without the hints. Like some others I was floundering at first. I managed some on my own and then luckily the blog came back and the hints and explanations helped me to finish. Many thanks to pommers and Ray T.

  26. Quite tough I thought, finished in *** and a bit time. Enjoyable mind, and satisfying to finish.

  27. Far too difficult for me, and therefore no fun whatsoever. Isn’t there a place for a tough Toughie other than the back page?

  28. Great crossword. Tricky but a very enjoyable solve.

    Many thanks to RayT and to Pommers for the blog.

  29. G’night all. Sorry I didn’t go for the **** difficulty, as that seems to be the general consensus, but the two long anagrams fell rather quickly for me which opened up the puzzle. I was very close though.

    See y’all in a couple of weeks or so.

  30. 4*/4*…Thanks for the hints on this one !
    Difficult to choose a favourite but, say, 24A (conservative facing constituent crony rejected nonsense).

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