DT 29060 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 29060

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 29060

A full review by crypticsue

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This puzzle was published on 25th May 2019

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

A very difficult solve –it took me twice as long as an extremely ‘hard’ backpager so I’d really like to award it 8* for difficulty.  

I had only solved about a third when I toyed with giving up altogether but I knew that at least one, if not two, of my fellow bloggers were likely to send me requests for assistance, so I carried on to the end. I was wise to do so as I did help the hint giver on the day and also received a request earlier today (Thursday) from Gnomethang whose ‘one- hour piece of work’ in Skegness turned out to be much worse than expected and there was no chance he’d get home in time to prepare and post the blog, let alone enjoy a visit to the seaside.

Having used the online ‘print’ version of this crossword to create the template for this review, it is clear that people who solved the puzzle using that version rather than the ‘clues crammed into the available space’ version on the inside back page of the newspaper had a considerable advantage, as the quite wordy clues were there given enough room to be read properly. I have therefore decided that next time this setter appears, I will abandon my beloved newspaper version and print the crossword off on a piece of A4 and see if that makes any difference.


Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a    Part of old ensemble having drink before tango (7)
DOUBLET – DOUBLE (drink) T (Tango in the NATO Phonetic Alphabet)

5a    With bar next to major road, carbon leads to tirade (7)
POLEMIC – POLE (bar) MI (M1 major road) C (chemical symbol for Carbon)

9a    Way son shrinks gets experts recommending changes? (7,8)

10a    Opening time? (4)
SLOT – A long narrow opening or a regular time in, for example, a television schedule

11a    Frost on icebox preserves fizz (5)
TONIC – Lurking in (preserves) frosT ON ICebox

12a    Having nothing on, relative in strip running round room (4)
DADO – DAD (relative) has O (nothing) ‘on’ or added at the end

15a    Snag that actors can see behind the scenes? (7)
SETBACK – Actors looking behind the scenery would see the SET BACK

16a    Kind of shop good garden centre’s missing (7)
GROCERY – G (good) ROCkERY (garden) missing the K in the centre

17a    Sat simmering after explosive verbosity (7)
BOMBAST – An anagram (simmering) of SAT goes after BOMB (explosive)

19a    Player‘s rush to get beer? (3,4)
FLY HALF – FLY (rush) HALF (a pint of beer?)

21a    We hear some animals miss making mischief (4)
MINX – A homophone (we hear) of some MINKS (animals)

22a    Tray’s warped, being in wood? (5)
SATYR – An anagram (warped) of TRAYS

23a    Navigator won’t get one cook up (4)
PLOT – PiLOT (navigator) without the I (won’t get one)

26a    Posed around in Lord’s about time food gets knocked back — 25    would call this home (5,10)
SAINT PETERSBURG – SAT (posed) ‘around’ IN (from the clue) followed by T (time) inserted into (about) PEERS (lords) and then a reversal (knocked back) of GRUB (food) – a fifteen word clue squeezed into its place in the newspaper which needed time to solve, more time to parse and then a bit of a lie down 

27a    Idea to adapt track and slowly fade out (3,4)
DIE AWAY – An anagram (to adapt) of IDEA followed by WAY (track)

28a    Expect witness to follow warning (7)
FORESEE – SEE (witness) to follow FORE (warning)


1d    After changing sides, tenor and soprano taking openings and refrains (7)
DESISTS – An anagram (after changing) of SIDES followed by the openings of Tenor and Soprano

2d    Sneaky, as most female athletes are essentially? (15)
UNSPORTSMANLIKE – as most female athletes are essentially – although you never hear of anyone being (un)sportswomanlike

3d    Vegetable naval base raised (4)
LEEK – A reversal of KEEL base of a (naval) ship

4d    Struts, oddly missing foot-warmer — it makes you clump (7)
TUSSOCK – The even letters (oddly missing) of sTrUtS followed by a SOCK (foot-warmer)

5d    Parking close, or near (7)
PENDING -P (parking) ENDING (close)

6d    Calm group of students in uniform? On the contrary (4)
LULL – On the contrary indicating that U (Uniform in the NATO Phonetic Alphabet) is in L L L (a group of three learners or students)

7d    They help people relax — also purr, conceivably, as a result (7,8)
MASSAGE PARLOURS – One of those clues!! If you MASSAGE (or conceivably) make an anagram of) ALSO PURR you get the word PARLOURS

8d    Porridge that’s like a bit of trifle, orally (7)
CUSTODY – Porridge being a slang term for a prison sentence – this sounds like (orally) CUSTARDY (like part of a trifle)

13d    Passage where there’s a lot of barging (5)
CANAL – The second part of the clue being a cryptic definition of a type of passage where you’d find lots of barges

14d    Took in ruins, admitting yen to see capital (5)
TOKYO – An anagram (in ruins) of TOOK ‘admitting’ Y (Yen)

17d    Artist’s inspiration is sleeping, apparently stupefied (7)
BEMUSED – MUSE (artist’s inspiration) is in BED (sleeping apparently)

18d    Dead-end drama (7)
TRAGEDY – A cryptic definition of the sort of drama where there’s likely to be at least one death

19d    Insect, sort of flea, one’s seen in a book (7)
FLYLEAF – FLY (insect) followed by an anagram (sort) of FLEA

20d    Blubber over half of visitors arriving after one is weary (7)
FATIGUE – Both the definition and the solution are, for the purposes of this clue, verbs. FAT (blubber) over GUEsts (half of visitors), the latter going (arriving) after an I (one)

24d    Cook using pot makes one worry (4)
STEW – Verbal double definitions

25d    Powerful man buried in crypt’s a Romanov (4)
TSAR – Lurking (buried) in crypTS A Romanov

8 comments on “DT 29060

  1. Yes, this took longer to solve (in the dead tree) than any other Saturday puzzle I can remember but I enjoyed the challenge. Loads of penny-drop moments and nothing is actually that fiendish, just well disguised.

    Held up slightly by 1a – surely it could just as well be singlet? Also thought beer = half was a bit weak.

    Thanks for the review CS

  2. Thanks for confirming a few parsings for clues which were not covered in the hints on the 25th.

  3. Thanks Sue, the first crossword in have ever thrown the towel in on.

  4. – and here am I thinking ‘Is it me?’
    Clearly not! In fact, I’m feeling quite smug that I did as well as I did without help!
    Favourite clue 8d – I love wordplay.
    Least favourite 6d – I haven’t even completed it, even after reading the solution.
    Pleased to have done as well as I did and as one who likes to solve with a pal from time to time (well, two brains are often more than twice as powerful as one!) wondering how well we might have done together.
    Thanks to the fiendish setter and to Crypticsue for explanations.

  5. Is this a record only four comments??

    Very enjoyable puzzle. Got just 9 entries on the first reading. On the seventeenth reading we had about half. But one by one the dandy references fell. The short ones mislead us the most. We think that the early Dadas were diff 5* and this one for us a 4, with 3 for satisfaction, if not necessarily enjoyment.

    Or was it Beano?

    Late comments as we’re working through old downloads. Thanks to all.

  6. Thanks for this, CS, I was totally defeated on four clues which weren’t in the hints. I’ve not done so badly on a crossword since the last time I tackled an Elgar Toughie! All fair, though, and thanks to the setter – I’d love to know who it was.
    Probably far too late but your explanation of 22ac has gone awry…

    1. Never too late – not least because there’ll be a link to this review when Falcon reviews the crossword for the Canadian National Post when the crossword appears over there in a few months’ time. Thank you

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