DT 29058 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 29058

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 29058

Hints and tips by Falcon

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BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

Greetings from Ottawa, where spring is struggling to emerge. It has been one of the coldest and wettest springs on record and many low-lying riverfront properties are submerged (so 16d is rather timely). Meanwhile vast areas of Western Canada are in flames. The new normal seems to be that nothing is normal.

I found today’s RayT puzzle about average in both difficulty and enjoyment. Most of the telltale characteristics are present, with the exception of his sweetheart and the innuendo does appear to have been reined in (does he allude as much in 3d?) — although I did manage to crack a smile over the man struggling with his fly.

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.

7 CIA names criminal one forgets (8)
AMNESIAC — anagram (criminal) of the first two words in the clue

9a   Circles round radius segments (6)
ORBITS — line up the round letter, R(adius), and a synonym for small pieces or segments

10a   Vessel beginning to heel in drink (4)
SHIP — plop the initial letter of (beginning to) Heel into a very small drink

11a   Strangely enticed, rise practically shameless (10)
INDISCREET — anagram (strangely) of ENTICED and all but the final letter of (practically) RISe

12a   Commonly the man has strain over fly (6)
TSETSE — start with how a Cockney would pronominally state ‘the man has’ followed by a strain or stressful situation; then flip the lot (over)

14a   Strikers crossing balls ultimately clinching contest (8)
FORWARDS — string together a river crossing and the final letter(ultimately) of ballS; now wrap this around (clinching) an armed conflict

15a   Watery grave one’s escaped (6)
SEROUS — a synonym for grave or solemn from which the Roman numeral for one is removed (escaped)

17a   Conceals guts losing a pound (6)
BELIES — guts or spare tyres from which one of the two Ls (pounds) is removed (losing a pound)

20a   A large scrap seen in motor programme (8)
CALENDAR — start by assembling the A from the clue, L(arge), and a scrap or remnant; now load the lot into a motor vehicle

22a   Written  in Reading Gaol, perhaps (6)
PENNED — double definition; the second denoting confined in Reading Gaol or any other institution of incarceration

23a   Consort with unorthodox trainers in further education (10)
FRATERNISE — anagram (unorthodox) of TRAINERS inserted into the abbreviation for further education

24a   This compiler’s describing Queen, pure and simple (4)
MERE — how the setter would objectively refer to himself embracing Her Majesty

25a   Wipe exterior of shoe covering smell (6)
SPONGE — the outer letters (exterior) of ShoE surrounding a bad smell

26a   Petty theft’s first followed by sacking (8)
TRIFLING — the initial letter (first) of Theft followed by a sacking or pillaging


1d   Witness turned up to admit politician bears stresses (8)
EMPHASES — reverse a verb meaning to witness or observe; insert into the result the usual politician and a verb denoting bears or possesses

2d   Spy that could go either way (4)
PEEP — here we have what I like to think of as a precise definition embedded in a cryptic definition; the latter part of the clue does not provide a second independent route to the solution but rather it provides cryptic elaboration concerning an attribute of the solution; namely, that it is a palindrome

3d   Occasionally rein in disgusting male (6)
VIRILE — place a regular sequence of letters (occasionally) from ReIn in a word meaning wicked or disgusting

4d   Understand criminal’s regret accepting time (8)
CONSTRUE — T(ime) separates a criminal (together with the trailing S) and a word meaning regret

5d   US president, Republican, helping oversight (10)
ABERRATION — A US president renowned for his honesty [obviously a historical reference], R(epublican), and an allowance of food

6d   Go to ruin supporting a non-drinker (6)
ATTEND — a word denoting ruin (as in “meet one’s ___) follows (supporting in a down clue) the A from the clue and the abbreviation for an abstainer

8d   Order fish provided by chippy finally (6)
CODIFY — string together a marine food fish, a short conjunction denoting provided or in the event that, and the final letter of chippY

13d   Circle taking exercise can start to emerge thinner (10)
TURPENTINE — place a verb meaning to go round in a circle around the abbreviation for physical education; then append a can one might find on the pantry shelf and the initial letter of Emerge

16d   Flounder’s easily keeping submerged (8)
UNDERSEA — a lurker hiding in the first two words of the clue

18d   Directing series about deserted Emmerdale (8)
STEERING — a series or succession containing the initial and final letters of EmmerdalE; I presume we are expected to interpret ‘deserted’ to be synonymous with ‘vacated’

19d   Some Mozart is testing for musician? (6)
ARTIST — this lurker is hiding in the second, third and fourth words of the clue

21d   Gruff sailor on Channel seizing power (6)
ABRUPT — an able seaman followed by P(ower) mired in a channel on a muddy road

22d   American author’s beat, almost rhythmical (6)
POETIC — the author of ‘The Raven’ followed by all but the final letter of a verb meaning to beat [like the organ in one’s chest]

24d   Principally Muslim African land, inland (4)
MALI — the initial letters of the final four words in the clue; this truly is a full &lit. or all-in-one clue in which the entire clue is both wordplay and definition as the population of this land-locked African country is 90% Muslim

I found it difficult to single out clues for special recognition as none really stood out from the crowd for me. I will put 11a, 12a and 13d on the podium with the nod going to the smile-inducing 12a.


I must say, a true challenge for my North American ear.

41 comments on “DT 29058

  1. Greeting to Ottawa from Crete . We are both early on parade today .

    I had to struggle to complete this one as some of the parsing was difficult to grasp , nevertheless , enjoyed the challenge .

    My COTD 25A which gave a big smile of satisfaction when realised .

    Thanks to everyone especially Falcon & Mr T .

    1. In my case, it was very late on parade the previous day. Then I forgot to schedule the release of the review before pressing publish. It was one of those cases where you realize your mistake before you even release the key.

  2. 4*/4*. I found this a tricky but very enjoyable offering from the master of brevity.

    22a was my favourite.

    Many thanks to Ray T and to Falcon.

  3. This was a *** for difficulty and enjoyment for me too. Thanks to Falcon for help with parsing my two bung-ins, 12a and 14a. I enjoyed 15a,17a, 26a and 5d but found a few synonyms, whiich were a bit tenuous. Thanks to Ray T and commiserations to Falcon on the dreadful weather in Canada. In contrast, it has been a dry spring in Oxfordshire and we are already hosing the garden. All down to climatic variation, no doubt

    1. A friend is currently visiting England and updating me regularly on the progress of his tan. England, a sun destination — who knew!

  4. Is it a Ray T? Is it a Beam? Parts of it are back page and others are definitely Toughie – so I’d call it on the border between one and the other

    Very enjoyable so thank you to the double-hatted setter and Falcon

  5. I chipped chipped chipped away at this and got within a couple (12a and 3d) of completion then frustratingly ran out of patience and resorted to the hints. Just a couple of points
    The synonym for 3d is very stretched (masculine or manly ok)
    22d…is there a case for a “nebulous author”
    Still, an enjoyable solid, if not spectacular solve. 4*/3*
    Many thanks to Ray T and to Falcon for his excellent review.

  6. A bit tricky but very satisfying from one of my favourite setters.

    Thanks MrT and Falcon

  7. I’ve never heard of the word in 15A,had to look it up in a dictionary(a real,not electronic book) 7A was my last one in,but only because I couldn’t remember it!!Thanks to Falcon and RayT

  8. Definitely a bit short on innuendo today but I did smile over the apparent reference to our setter’s adopted homeland in the way the Quickie pun needs to be pronounced.

    Favourite was 23a for reasons which I refuse to disclose with 14a a close second.

    Devotions to Mr T and many thanks to Falcon for the blog – loved the pic for 20a!

    1. In my case, it was not the French pronunciation of the solution that was problematic but the British pronunciation of the fodder.

        1. Here GEAR is pronounced as a single syllable with the R sounded rather than the British pronunciation of two syllables with the R not sounded.

          1. A large number of people in the UK pronounce our Rs correctly like you, Falcon – so the pun didn’t work for me.

  9. A nice challenge today. Plenty of good clues. I couldn’t parse 12a, so thanks to Falcon for the hint. My joint favourites are 13d and 22d.

  10. *****/**. I found this very difficult and not particularly inspiring. Nevertheless thanks to Ray T and Falcon – without your hints I would never have finished. We already have watering restrictions in BC and our fires are yet again caused mostly by idiots rather than nature.

  11. Way beyond my ken. At first I started off at a gallop, to plagiarize Senf, in the NW and SE corners, then a sharp whoa!
    I must get other stuff done so have thrown in the towel and visited the hints. I’m ashamed to say that, even with the hints, I still failed with most and had to click on the answers.
    My fave was 22a, but my fave pic (natch) is 5d.
    Thanks to RayT and to Falcon for his much needed hints.

  12. 1 down a correct bung in but understand neither clue nor hint?? What am I missing??

    1. As no one more enlightened has volunteered the imformation Jim, I’ll do my best.
      Reverse (turned up)the word see (witness )
      Place inside it (admit) MP (politician) and has (bears). This gives the plural noun that you “bunged in”

    2. Lucky Jumbo,

      Upon reading your comment, I noticed that I had neglected to underline the definition in the clue. While I was attending to that oversight, I see that Stephen Lord has provided an excellent answer to your question…

  13. I fairly raced through the upper section and then reality paid a visit and I quickly ground to a halt. Well almost. Eventually things made sense and I completed at a fast gallop. As somebody here often says…
    Favourite was probably 13d because I was way off beam to begin with.
    Thanks to Ray T for an enjoyable tricky solve, and to Falcon for the review.

  14. Found this tough. Thanks for your help Falcon.
    Thanks to Ray for an enjoyable puzzle.

  15. Definitely at the upper end of Ray T toughies. Real sense of satisfaction finishing it. Too hard to be enjoyable. Cannot make head nor tail of 12a at all even with the hint. Not sure why the picture for 14a shows Lucy Bronze who is one of the worlds best defenders in women’s football (I would have her in my men’s team like a shot, got a kick like a mule).
    So satisfaction but little or no fun.

    1. Ok i have finally worked out 12a, an exceedingly poor clue, not all cockneys are common in any sense of the word.Mrs B is a cockney and she is certainly not common. However, she is highly offended. So much so I am having to get my own tea tonight after I explained the clue!
      So many thanks Ray T!

      1. Ray-T never mentioned cockney so don’t blame him! Get a takeaway tonight, much easier.

    2. “Commonly” indicates that we are not looking for proper upper class speech. If a Cockney were to say “the man has” using a pronoun in place of “the man”, he would say “‘e has” or contracted further “‘e’s”. “Strain” is to “test” (as “that woman is straining (or testing) my patience”). Put these together and reverse them (over) to get TSETSE (a type of African fly).

      I didn’t know who the England player is but in the photo she is up against Canada’s Christine SInclair who is rapidly closing in on the record for most goals in international competition by any football player (male or female).

  16. Took a bit of wrestling did this one as I watched my daughter playing cricket at Westbourne House, which were very hospitable .Some tricky clues that led me off the wrong way….
    I did really like 13d (the clue not the solvent) & 11ac , but many others were first class.
    Thanks duly owed to Ray T & Falcon for direction.

  17. I’m with Brian, a bit of a grind. Satisfaction on completion but not much fun.
    The bottom half was fine, the top half, well, a grind.
    12a is a Beam clue, not a Ray-T clue, hats of to anyone who did not bung that in, but sorted it from the wordplay.
    Thanks all.

  18. Evening all. My thanks to Falcon for the decryption and to everybody else for your comments. Incidentally, nowhere in the clues does the word ‘Cockney’ appear!


    1. Hi Ray see my comment above.
      Thanks for the considerable challenge.

    2. Good evening, Mr T. Interesting reply re: Cockney. I’m tempted to say ‘If the cap fits etc’ but I doubt that would go down well with Mrs B!

  19. Too hard for me today, and needed too many hints to be enjoyable. Great if you’re really smart, but obviously I am not. Thanks to Falcon for the hints, very necessary today. Oh well you can’t win them all.

  20. Our biggest hold up came from initially misspelling 11a. Once that was sorted it all flowed smoothly for us with the usual generous dose of RayT humour. Checked the word count of course.
    Thanks RayT and Falcon.

  21. Pretty tough today, and I’m usually on RayT’s wavelength! Forgot about the author and had to look him up (and I was thinking the definition was the author, not the other end!)

  22. Thispuzzle was fairly tough in places, but I did manage to complete it all under my own steam, so to speak. I thoroughly enjoyed it. ***/**** for me. My fave was 22a, followed by 12a and 22d.

    Appreciative thanks to RayT for the mental stretching and to Falcon for the excellent review with fun illustrations.

  23. I did this excellent Ray T puzzle on Friday after completing that day’s crossword. This was typically Ray T, with concise, accurate clues and plenty of fun. Great stuff, and belated thanks to him and Falcon.

  24. Excellent from Ray T. Great, succinct clues and a good challenge. 15a was a new word for me, though it probably shouldn’t have been. 3.5* / 4*

  25. 5*/2*…..
    liked 22A ( written in Reading Gaol, perhaps)..
    also the cartoon in the hint to 13D.

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