DT 29074 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 29074

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 29074

Hints and tips by Mr K

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BD Rating  -  Difficulty ** Enjoyment ***


Hello, everyone.  We have a fun puzzle today, with the difficulty level returning to somewhere near the Tuesday average.  As is usual on a Tuesday our setter is unknown.  If he or she happens to be reading, it would be great to see a comment from you so we know who to thank.  If you haven't posted here before, just make up a pseudonym for your blog name so we know what to call you (Mister Ron is already taken by our editor).

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



1a    & 12 Shock reduction with teams going after diminutive defender (5,4,3,5)
SHORT BACK AND:  The definition here is cryptic.  Find the answer by putting some sports teams after both a synonym of diminutive and a football player who's a defender

9a    What's good for a stretch? (7)
ELASTIC:  A cryptic definition of a property of things that are stretchy

10a   Hit dog biting daughter (7)
COLLIDE:  A sheep herding dog containing (biting) the genealogical abbreviation for daughter.  There's a railway bridge in North Carolina where the clearance is just 11 feet 8 inches. The website 11foot8.com catalogues the fate of truck drivers who ignore the flashing signs and other warnings on the approach to the bridge

11a   Journey about in empty tank (4)
TREK:  The usual about or concerning inserted in the outer letters of (empty…) TanK

12a   See 1 Across
SIDES:  See hint for 1a

13a   Sweet  game (4)
POLO:  A double definition.  The sweet has a hole in the middle

16a   The setter's test is better (7)
IMPROVE:  A contraction of "the setter is" from the perspective of the setter is followed by test or show

17a   Tease actor mentioning clothes (7)
TORMENT:  The letter sequence formed by the second and third words hides (… clothes) the answer

18a   Love sitcom somehow related to fluid movement across borders? (7)
OSMOTIC:  Put together the letter that looks like a love score in tennis and an anagram (somehow) of SITCOM.  Kudos to our setter for defining a scientific word accurately.  Click here to read more about it

21a   Man cuts loose somewhere private (7)
SANCTUM:  An anagram (loose) of MAN CUTS

23a   Dangerous and definitely not fair (4)
UGLY:  The opposite (definitely not) of fair or beautiful

24a   Small, dopy, heartless and wimpish (5)
WEEDY:  Link together a Scottish word for small and the outer letters (… heartless) of DopY

25a   Second working orbiter (4)
MOON:  Join together a second or brief instant of time and a short word meaning working or operating

28a   Initially see Nick eating a vegetable (7)
SPINACH:  The first letter (initially) of See is followed by steal or nick (the capitalization is misdirection) containing (eating) A from the clue

29a   Furniture for ministers (7)
CABINET:  An item of furniture is also the collection of ministers assembled by the Prime Minister

30a   Determination of agent to reverse dismissal? (12)
PERSEVERANCE:  The reversal (… to reverse) of a short word for a sales agent is followed by dismissal or dissolution



1d    Have a drink containing fish for a change (5-2)
SHAKE-UP:  A three-letter word for "have a drink" containing a fish that's a bit like a cod

2d    Can't stand going naked to make a vow (4)
OATH:  A word meaning dislike intensely or can't stand has its outer letters removed (… going naked)

3d    Touching diplomacy on French island (7)
TACTILE:  Diplomacy or discretion followed by (on, in a down clue) the French word for island

4d    Old article about one part of hospital (7)
ANCIENT:  Concatenate a grammatical article, the single letter Latin abbreviation for about or approximately, the Roman numeral for one, and a usual hospital department

5d    Something green seen heading north in Turtle Lake (4)
KALE:  The answer is hidden reversed in (seen heading north in, in a down clue) the remainder of the clue

6d    Order to stop din that's offensive (7)
NOISOME:  The abbreviation for the Order of Merit inserted in (to stop) din or racket

7d    Quit in revolt about taking on southern performer (13)
VENTRILOQUIST:  An anagram (about) of QUIT IN REVOLT containing (taking on) the single letter for southern

8d    Remove the bad meat contained in a stew (13)
DECONTAMINATE:  An anagram (in a stew) of MEAT CONTAINED

14d   Kick hard and stall (5)
BOOTH:  Kick or hoof with the pencil abbreviation for hard

15d   Joke quietly before row (5)
PRANK:  Cement together the musical abbreviation for quietly and a row (of taxis, perhaps)

19d   Uneasiness of some Asians, we hear (7)
MALAISE:  A homophone (we hear) of people from a country in SE Asia

20d   Reportedly tick off playwright (7)
CHEKHOV:  This Russian playwright sounds a bit like (reportedly) the fusion of a synonym of tick (a box, perhaps) and off

21d   Tipple that's suitable for a non-driver (7)
SIDECAR:  A cocktail popular in crosswordland is also a motorcycle accessory that accommodates a non-driver

22d   Hammer Tory regularly supported by lightweight? (7)
TROUNCE:  The odd letters (…regularly) of ToRy with a fraction of a pound

26d   Almost dated graduate? (4)
PASS:  All but the last letter (almost…) of dated or old-fashioned

27d   Former pupil last to condemn consuming a small port (4)
OBAN:  The abbreviation for a former male pupil and the last letter to condemN containing (consuming) A from the clue. Read about the small (pop. 8500) port here


Thanks to today’s setter for a fun solve.  Clues that I particularly liked this week were 16a, 21a, 2d, 8d, and 26d. Which clues did you like best?


The Quick Crossword pun:  QUORN + WOOL = CORNWALL

51 comments on “DT 29074

  1. Getting the long clues fairly quickly helped greatly and will pick the combo of 1A & 12A as favourite .

    Lots to smile about and enjoyed .

    Thanks to everyone.

  2. After spotting that 7 and 8d were anagrams I had very few problems with this. 1a came up very recently I seem to recall? I wasn’t particularly impressed with two homophones on the bounce (one per puzzle is enough for me thanks, though they were good clues).
    Podium places go to 28 and 30a for their surfaces with 1d completing the line up. 2*/3*
    Many thanks to the setter and to Mr K for his usual top notch review

  3. Good fun today – as KFB has just said, ‘lots to smile about and enjoyed’. Thanks to the setter and Mr K.

  4. Pleasantly straightforward and enjoyable enough to cheer up a cold, wet and windy morning. I, too, would select the 1/12a combo as my favourite. An honourable mention as well for the Quickie pun.

    Thanks to our setter and Mr K.

  5. Gentle, flowed from top to bottom and good fun on a cold and wet morning (visiting England!)

    When I was a kid, we all had 1a/12a and “a bit off the top please”. Can’t remember the price, maybe 1/6d?

    Thanks to all.

  6. 1A took me back to my childhood in the 50s that’s all the barber was capable of doing. I enjoyed this offering which wasn’t to taxing.Thanks to the setter & Mr K for his review.

  7. That was just nicely enigmatic. East side was a bit more challenging than the West. Not too keen on ignoring an accent in use of French words as per 26d. Stupidly 6d was a bung-in for me as I failed to recognise Order. 9a puts in a reappearance. Favs were 1/12a and 28a. Thank you Mysteron and MrK. I too liked the Quickie pun.

    1. Perhaps I should withdraw my 26d accent comment as in this case the letter with acute accent is deleted for the solution. Sorry Mysteron.

  8. As per 2K’s going for a **/***, which is mostly the norm .
    Favourite was 17a as the surface was very good and I took overlong to spot the lurker !.
    Slight hold in the SW corner as I put osmosis in for 18a-should have paid more attention.
    Thanks setter for an enjoyable solve and 2K’s for the pics.

  9. Slightly less difficult than yesterday, completed at a gallop – **/***.

    Favourite – a toss-up between the 1a/12a combo and 21d – and the winner is the 1a/12a combo.

    Thanks to the setter and Mr K.

    P.S. And then there’s the most hit bridge (9ft 0in headroom) in Britain in Ely – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vpfIwCNUYr8

    1. Thanks for the link to the video, Senf. Interesting that the collision rate of about once a month is very similar to that of the North Carolina bridge.

  10. Thanks for the blog and comments so far. Guilty as charged, for the second week in a row!

    Mister Ron

    1. I had my suspicions, and the pun did make me wonder… Thanks for another nice puzzle.

    2. Thanks for owning up Chris – I obviously did not have you pegged as today’s setter. And thanks again for a great puzzle.

      Incidentally, the question I thought I was asking with last week’s survey was whether back-pagers should be presented like Toughies, with the setter identified by a pseudonym. In addition to then knowing who to credit for the puzzle, I’d like that because it’s interesting to watch the evolution of a new setter as they get calibrated and impressive to see that a setter can deliver entertainment across a range of difficulty levels and styles. A real name and biography isn’t necessary for setters who want to be anonymous.

  11. Game of two halves for me today. I was zooming along quite merrily with a laugh along the way for the 1/12a combo and 1d, then I hit the SW corner. Entered ‘DARK’ for 23a which seemed a perfect fit but it then meant that 7d couldn’t possibly be an anagram as, with all the checkers in place, there was no room for a ‘U’ to partner a ‘Q’. Needless to say, I also couldn’t dream up any likely Asians for 19d.
    At least I now know who to blame for my many over-writes – thank you, Mister Ron!

    Favourite here was 1d – I’ve seen, although never tasted, bottles of alcohol containing a snake but never one with a fish.

    A most enjoyable puzzle and an equally enjoyable blog – thank you for the latter, Mr K. Hadn’t watched that particular Monkey clip before today – excellent fun from a very good 7d.

    1. PS Invasion of family due from IOW in the early hours of tomorrow morning – staying for 2 weeks so I shall probably be AWOL from the blog during that time unless my hyperactive 2 year old grandson has hidden talents!

  12. Third attempt at a comment. Gremlins ate the first two attempts. A very enjoyable (****) puzzle but over too soon. Thank you to CL. I particularly liked 1a/12a, 18a, 7d and 20d. Thank you for the blog, Mr K. I’ve seen a London bus wedged under a low bridge, but never a lorry going at speed.

    1. Chris, re the lost comments, you could try refreshing the page in your browser before you enter your comment.

      Glad you liked the video. According to the web site, they now have height sensors on the approach road that light up the flashing “over height” warning sign and turn the facing traffic light red to ensure drivers see it. But even that strategy doesn’t work – some truckers run the red light and consequently increase the damage to their vehicles.

      1. Thanks. I’ll try refreshing the page next time it happens. I wonder sometimes how drivers who run red lights manage to obtain and keep a driving licence. I watched one recently drive straight through a red light at a push-button zebra crossing, just as the mum, who had pressed the button started to cross with her toddler in a buggy!

  13. Not too difficult and not too easy either – very enjoyable.
    Liked Jane and KFB I started off with ‘dark’ for 23a.
    I was slow to get 13a and 14d – don’t know why.
    I missed the 17a lurker for ages so nothing new there.
    No other major problems.
    I liked 28a and 1 and 20d. My favourite was 24a.
    Thanks to Mr Ron and to Mr K.
    It’s cold and wet again – or still, not sure which – and the blasted pigeons have eaten all my lettuces and 28a.

  14. I managed to obtain this one and solve it on the same day as its blog, which is rare now as I only collect my DT puzzles on Tues and Fri (3 on each day). I tackled it on a cold, wet and windy bus ride over the Cat and Fiddle road from Macclesfied in Cheshire to Buxton in Derbyshire. It was mild cryptic, with nice clues and enjoyable enough. I was held up for a little while by the SW quadrant, but it soon succumbed. 1.5* / 3*

    * I’ve recurrently viewed that 11′ 8″ bridge website for quite a few years – amazing how so many drivers miss all the warnings!

    1. PS. Mr K, 21d: well done for expertly underlining the whole clue with a dotted line because it’s all a cryptic definition and double-underlining, with both a dotted and a solid line, the precise definition. Now, that’s something I couldn’t achieve in a month of Sundays!

      1. After thinking about 26d some more, I decided that it can be parsed as definition plus wordplay. So I’ve removed the fancy underling. I expect there will be a clearer opportunity to use it before too long.

        1. Who’s this “fancy underling” you’ve removed? Does that mean you’ve sacked a posh assistant! :-)

          * Sorry, I just couldn’t resist that one…

  15. A bit early for me I know but it seemed to work as I sailed through it with just enough difficulty to make me think. Excellent. Favourites were 1 & 12a,28a and 30a. Many thanks to CL and Mr K.

  16. Super puzzle from the editor today.
    Lots of favourites.
    Still clearing up the mess from yesterday’s downpour.
    Sadly all the Little Ringed Plover nests on my local patch got washed away. Lapwing’s also. Makes you want to cry.
    Thanks all.

    1. Such a terrible shame about the nests, Hoofit, we don’t have many of either species to start with – particularly not the Little Ringed Plovers in my neck of the woods.

    2. Oh dear, I’m so sorry. I hate when disasters happen to our little birds. Will they nest again, or is that done for this year?

      1. No, that’s it unfortunately. It was going to be a good breeding year as well.

  17. Thanks to Mister Ron and to Mr Kitty for the review and hints. A very entertaining puzzle, lots to smile about. No real hold ups. Favourite was 8d, because of it’s very good surface and misdirection. Needed the hints to parse 30a. Was 2*/4* for me.

  18. Quite enjoyed this offering. Speed of completing a puzzle is no longer a concern for me. Had a difficulty factor of ** and enjoyment of *** I was thrown by 6D as I always understood this adjective to relate to smell rather than sound. Thank to setter and Mr K

      1. Thanks Jane. Yes I have looked again at the hint but was was originally thrown by the reference to din which sidetracked me. The clue is well constructed and works. A clever artifice by the setter.🙂

  19. Thank you, Mr. Lancaster, this was top of the pops for me.
    I enjoyed this whole puzzle, how on earth to pick a fave? Though the 1a/12a combo deserves special mention, a lot of others were smile worthy too.
    Thank you so much, and the review by Mr. Kitty, a banner day for me.

  20. Really enjoyed this one 😃 Thanks Chris **/*** Favourites 19d & 25a 😜 Thanks also to Mr K, really enjoyed the monkey 🤗

  21. Thanks, Chris and Mr K — this made for a fun train journey back from last night’s Puzzled Pint.

    My favourite was 3d, which seems to be different from everybody else’s.

    1a/12a is the wi-fi password in our barber’s.

    Thanks for both of those videos: I’m a big fan of Nina Conte, but hadn’t seen that clip before. And the bridge video was both more entertaining and interesting than I expected.

  22. Most enjoyable. Proud of myself for getting 1& 12 A. Thanks to the setter and the explanations

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