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DT 29076

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 29076

Hints and tips by pommers

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ****

Hola from a not very summery Vega Baja. I thought summer had well and truly arrived after four days of over 30°C temperatures but then yesterday I had to get my long trousers out of the wardrobe again.  Apparently normal service will be resumed by tomorrow.
I’m not sure who today’s setter is but if it’s proXimal then he’s definitely turned the wick down after his last couple.  I really sped through this one and it very nearly came out as just a one star difficulty.  It will be interesting to see if you all agree or whether I was just on top form this morning.
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.


5a           Sale items from two Biblical figures (3,3)
JOB LOT:  Each word of the answer is a figure from the bible.  One had patience and the second one’s wife got herself turned into pillar of salt.  I’m always a happy bunny when the first across clue goes straight in.

8a           My poor dog’s nose! (8)
GOODNESS:  Anagram (poor) of DOGS NOSE.  Reminds me of an old joke.

9a           Rascal, reportedly troubled, becomes stuck (7)
IMPALED:  The usual rascally child followed by some letters which aren’t a word but if pronounced would sound like (reportedly) a word for troubled or was ill.

10a         Mission appears in article by the French medic (5)
ALAMO:  This is the famous mission at San Antonio, Texas where Davy Crockett and Jim Bowie were killed. It’s an indefinite article followed by a French definite article and finally one of the several two-letter medics.

11a         Fish and fruit only (5,4)
LEMON SOLE:  A citrus fruit followed by a word meaning only or alone.

13a         Muddle involving right one in complex romantic situation? (8)
TRIANGLE:  Take a word for a muddle or mix-up and insert (involving) an R(ight) and an I (one) to get a ménage a trios.

14a         Redo it with revision this boss may require? (6)
EDITOR:  Anagram (with revision) of REDO IT.

17a         Unbeatable service from an expert (3)
ACE:  An unbeatable service in tennis is also a word for an expert.

19a         Loathe having to leave hospital, being worried (3)
ATE:  Remove (to leave) an H(ospital) from a word meaning loathe.

20a         British arrive at Split (6)
BREACH:  B(ritish) followed by a word meaning to arrive at gives a word meaning split, which is falsely capitalised in the clue.  Here’s the Split with the capital S . . .

23a         Seaman to stray with the drink (8)
ABSINTHE:  The drink that only ever turns up in crosswords is a charade of one of the usual sailors, a word meaning to stray or do wrong and lastly THE from the clue.

26a         Drunken Biondello reveals pedigree (9)
BLOODLINE:  Anagram (drunken . . . reveals) of BIONDELLO.  For those, like me, who didn’t know Biondello is one of the characters in Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew.  Here’s Prince Edward in the role.

28a         Trunk route located in China or Taiwan (5)
AORTA:  This main route for blood in your trunk or torso is lurking (located in) in the last three words of the clue.

29a         Popular sauce is sent back, being dry (7)
INSIPID:  Dry as in lacking spirit or boring. Start with the usual two letter word for popular and after it you need a word for a sauce or relish and the IS from the clue but they are reversed (sent back).

30a         Having no idea — not like our solvers! (8)
CLUELESS:  A cryptic definition of a word which certainly doesn’t apply to solvers of this puzzle, they have 32 of them.  One of those that’s easier to solve than to hint.

31a         Evil urge for a rotter (3,3)
BAD EGG:  A word for evil or not good followed by a word meaning to urge or spur on.  The answer’s the one on the right . . .


1d           Horrified scallywag has turned to bottle (6)
AGHAST:  Another lurker.  It’s hidden in (to bottle) scallywAG HAS Turned.

2d           Star sailor buckled under pressure (7)
POLARIS:  Start with P for pressure and follow (under in a down clue) with an anagram (buckled) of SAILOR.  Here’s a missile of the same name . . .

3d           One to be out all night? Most unlikely! (9)
INSOMNIAC:  Cryptic definition.  Once you twig that to be out means to be fast asleep than all will become clear.

4d           Each to secure three points in addition (2,4)
AS WELL:  A word for each has three compass points inserted and is then split (2,4).  Last time this came up it was something to do with a toff methinks.

5d           Tremendous international winger? (5,3)
JUMBO JET:  A cryptic definition of a very large (tremendous) intercontinental (international) aircraft (winger).

6d           Bold self-confidence seen in orchestra section (5)
BRASS:  This section of an orchestra also means cheek or money in Yorkshire.

7d           Miss ‘done with fashion’ (8)
OVERLOOK:  A word meaning done or finished followed by a fashion or appearance.

12d         Slippery character from somewhere else (3)
EEL:  A third lurker is hidden in (from) the last two words.

15d         Diligent cadet died after training (9)
DEDICATED:  Anagram (after training) or CADET DIED.

16d         Country songs sent up having limp content (3,5)
SRI LANKA:  Take some songs and reverse them (sent up in a down clue).  Into them you now need to insert a word meaning limp or lifeless  (having . . . content).

18d         Relaxing? It’s terrifying! (8)
CHILLING:  Double definition.

21d         Brown  belt (3)
TAN:  Another double definition.

22d         No substitute for an appetiser (7)
STARTER:  The first course of a meal could also be a person who isn’t a substitute as he was in the teams original line-up.

24d         Large bird goes after black dog (6)
BEAGLE:  Start with B for black and follow with a large bird of prey and you’ll get a dog.

25d         European Alps formed eastern pass (6)
ELAPSE:  E(uropean) followed by an anagram (formed) of ALPS and finally E(astern).

27d         Love, delightful, temporarily put aside (2,3)
ON ICE:  Start with O (love), follow with a word meaning delightful, or at least pleasant, and split (2,4).  For no other reason than I like it . . .


Quite a bit of blue today but that just shows they don’t have to be hard in order to be enjoyable.  My favourite was the rather amusing 8a with 14a and 30a up there on the podium.

Quick crossword pun:     WHEY    +     STAY     +     SHUN     =     WAY STATION

55 comments on “DT 29076

  1. I too wondered about ProXimal as the setter – there isn’t an X in the solutions which is always a sign – but I found it at the Thursday end of the difficulty spectrum so it probably was him.

    Thanks to the setter and to Pommers – I’m not sure about long trousers, we are all looking for thigh waders here – 27mm of rain in a very short time yesterday afternoon and the clouds are quite dark now :(

    1. We have topped 100mm since Monday. I cannot remember such a sustained onslaught in the twenty one years we have lived here.

  2. Thoroughly enjoyable and as straightforward as they come this morning. Plenty of good clues of which I liked the chestnutish 5a the best. This was a great example of a comfortable solve that did not reduce the fun or enjoyment as a result.

    Thanks to our setter and pommers.

  3. Like Pommers, I whip ped through this puzzle in just about 2* time, but thoroughly enjoyed the clues. Thanks to the setter, I can’t tell if it’s ProXimal. If it is, this puzzle is different in style to the others. My favourite clues were 5a, 13a, 23a and 16d but there were lots of other good ones. Thanks to Pommers for the blog- it’s freezing cold and raining like Noah’s flood is about to be repeated, here.

  4. Not a lengthy solve but enjoyable with precise cluing , liked 2d,5d and 10 a-the mission eventually clicked.
    Around a **/*****-LIKE Pommers considered a * for difficulty a 1.5 would have been pedantic!
    The quickie pun sounded right for a change,
    Thanks Pommers for the blog now I know who 26a was-have already booked to see the play at Stratford later this year,could come in useful.

  5. Very gentle for a Thursday (another back to front week?) assisted by a sprinkling of oldies but goodies for completion at a gallop – **/***.

    Stand-out favourite – 30a.

    Thanks to the setter and pommers.

  6. Nice fluffy, whimsical puzzle. I can’t see this being a ProXimal, the other X maybe. I thought the pun was ‘weigh’?

    Clouds beginning to break up over the South Downs and it’s getting brighter.

  7. I look forward to proXimal on alternate Thursdays and, like pommers, I can’t believe this was by him – if it was then he’s not just turned the wick down he’s blown the flame out. I thought that this was exceedingly gentle but pleasant enough.
    My favourite clue was 16d. Thanks to the setter and pommers.

    PS Isn’t it time the 24d clue was put out to grass?

  8. Pretty easy but very enjoyable. Rather too many anagrams for my liking. Favourites 5a and 30a. In my currency we have had 2 inches of welcome rain here in N Norfolk. Off to Porto on Saturday, fingers crossed for some sunshine. Thanks to all.

  9. Thought this was quite an easy but pleasurable puzzle – managed to complete it in xxxxxxxx

    1. Hello Penny. It is blog policy not to give solving times as it might put off newer or slower solvers.

  10. I always look forward to the Thursday puzzle, which normally requires a little thought; this was probably one of the most straightforward I have seen on a Thursday.

    Thanks to setter, and to pommers (our customary blue sky is lacking in Valencia as well today).

  11. Enjoyable puzzle today. My fave, 5a. I didn’t know 19a could mean worried, but there you go…
    I missed the poll re the setters being revealed. I vote that they should be unmasked😜

  12. Struggled to get started so tackled the quickie. Having got my synonym spotter up and running went back and realised that once again I was over complicating matters. Finished at a steady pace once I got started. Ta to all.

  13. A pleasant cruciverbal stroll today which was smooth in the South but the North soon came on board too. First to yield was 8a which I liked and it then remained my Fav. Don’t really think of 29a component being a sauce but suppose that’s what it is. 18d relaxing seems to have become popular expression among the young these days. 19a worried me. Thank you Mysteron and pommers.

  14. Like others finished quicker than usual and enjoyed the ride .

    Last in 16D , COTD 3D .

    Thanks to all

  15. I thought that this very straightforward **/*** but I could not get 16d😟 Favourites 5a & 18d 😃 Thanks to Pommers and to the Setter 👍

  16. Not tough enough for a Thursday which is my favourite puzzle day. The sun is shining here in Downtown L I. We can’t see it for the rain clouds bit it is up there shining away. Ta to setter and Pommers in his jeans.

  17. Unusually benign for a Thursday – nonetheless, very enjoyable. Maybe a couple too many anagrams. I think I will award top spot to 5d.

    1. Definition #7 in Collins of EAT

      Informal: To cause to worry; make anxious. As in “What’s eating you”.

      Worth remembering as eat = worry is pretty common in crosswordland.

    2. “You don’t get ulcers from what you eat. You get them from what’s eating you!”. Vicki Baum.

  18. Very enjoyable but I didn’t think it was easy as everyone else seemed to.
    I was hopelessly slow and altogether dim with several in the bottom left corner which really held things up – not that I was in a hurry.
    I tried, and failed obviously, to justify ‘branch’ for 20a; couldn’t do the anagram at 26a; tried to fit the middle two letters (content) of ‘limp’ into 16d. Oh dear.
    Most of the rest of it went pretty well apart from missing the lurker at 28a – I really wanted to make it ‘torso’ but that wouldn’t work.
    Clues I particularly liked included 8a and 3 and 6d. Also 10a because it reminded me of how much I loved ‘Remember the Alamo’ by Donovan.
    Thanks to whoever set this one and to pommers.
    Still chilly in Oxford but it’s stopped raining – have just thrown one of husband’s shoes at a pesky squirrel – suppose I’d better go and see if I can find it – the shoe, not the squirrel.

    1. I also initially thought “BRANCH” for 20a. Kinda tricky when the middle two letters are unchecked.

      1. Might need it although I don’t go much on my chances with husband wandering around armed and dangerous.

        1. I find that squirrels hate chilli powder. So put it along their route round your garden. I cover planters with tulips in with chilli because squirrels eat the bulbs. If all else fails, they don’t lije water, so I have got quite handy with a supersoaker

          1. Yes – of course – I knew, but had forgotten, about the chilli stuff and the birds don’t care. Thanks for the reminder – and this is my last word on the beastly rodents before pommers gets fed-up with his blog being taken over by them and excommunicates me!

            1. I like squirrels, even though my grandad used to refer to them as tree-rats. I remember a cat of ours, Heidi, chasing a squirrel up our apple tree and very nearly catching it but the tree-rat went out on to some very thin branches and then leapt into the next tree just as Heidi dropped about 15 feet to the ground as the branch bent too much. At least she landed on her feet and walked away with a noncholent air as though nothing odd had happened :lol:

            2. I read somewhere that lion poo is on sale from London Zoo as an effective deterrent, shouldn’t be difficult to find this (ahem) on Amazon :grin:

  19. I convinced myself that 5a had to end in an S (and I apparently don’t attend enough auctions to be familiar with the phrase), so that was my last one in. The rest of the puzzle flowed pretty smoothly, though. 8a made me laugh, and I thought 29a was pretty clever.

  20. Didn’t like 19a, an expression I failed to recognise.
    Really liked 5a and 3d. I suspect they are both chestnuts but none the worse for that.
    Like Kath I, too, am plagued by grey squirrels. They will hang on the bird feeder, despite it being squirrel proof and lick it. Nasty creatures.

    1. Our squirrel[s] don’t just hang on the bird feeder licking it – they practically make faces and wave two fingers at me.

      1. Our resident squirrels take turn dangling upside down on the bird feeder (quite clever really) while the next in the queue sits on top putting the birds off.

        1. Our squirrels hang upside down on the bird feeder and the pigeons, the ones that are eating all my veggies, wander around underneath eating all the bits that the squirrels shake out – I give up!!

          1. There are plenty of squirrel proof feeders about Kath.
            Then you get the pleasure of seeing the grey rat slope off hungry.

            1. Our feeder used to hang from the bottom edge of a conservatory roof and we have watched the squirrels swing the feeder to and fro until it unhitched and then they would drag it up over the roof – must have taken some thought and indeed physical effort! 🐿 😡.

  21. As one of the slower solvers, I thought this Thursday offering was on the friendly side, right on wavelength.
    I had no problem with 16d, I can’t think of any other country 3/5, lots of cities though.
    I liked so many here, hard to choose a fave but I think 8a was most giggle worthy.
    Thanks to our setter, much fun, and to pommers for his review.
    We’ve been having rain coming down in stair rods, the pool is overflowing. We get nice sunshine in the mornings, but the afternoon thunderstorms are terrifying.

  22. For some reason I found this a little bit lacklustre, it felt a lot more like a Friday puzzle than a Thursday one. I liked the well disguised lurker 1d along with 3 and 27d. 8a was mildly amusing but 29a was a bit stretchy to me.
    Thanks to the setter and to Pommers for his first class review

  23. Thanks to the setter and to Pommers for the review and hints. I enjoyed this one, but found it very gentle, can’t believe it was ProXimal. Too straightforward. I thought at one point, it may have been a double pangram, but it was not to be. Favourite was 4d. Was 2*/3* for me. Where has Summer gone 😭

  24. Expecting a bit tougher but still a lot of fun. 16d and 3d my faves today but all pretty good clues. The food offerings today were a mixed bag. Not sure I would eat Eel and Lemon Sole especially if poached in Absinthe and served with a bad egg, seems a bit insipid to me.
    Thanks to pommers and setter.

  25. Very enjoyable puzzle over with slightly too quick, good clues with lots to smile about,,, for some reason I tuned into the setters wavelength perfectly (more luck than skill methinks)
    2*/4* favourites 5ac 23ac & 13ac.
    Much thanks to setter & Pommers for review.

  26. Interesting crossword. Last one in 16d. Liked 5a. Pondered much over 26a because I couldn’t think of a synonym for pedigree. Thanks to setter and Pommers. It must be great to see the sun

  27. Oh dear, looks like I’m the only one – with the possible exception of Kath – who found this tricky. Perhaps the damp has set into my brain. With lots of help from Pommers (thank you) I got through it. Loved 5a – I’m fairly Bible-fluent but haven’t lived in Crosswordland long enough to spot the obvious. Also liked 11a very much.
    Going off now to polish my one remaining brain cell and sulk. There’s always tomorrow.
    Thanks to the setter.

  28. Like others, a benign challenge today, but most enjoyable. I agree with others who observed how high the standard of cluing is.
    As a 3d, I trust that no other bloggers suffer from this horrible affliction.
    Thanks all.

  29. Was this Thursday? Gosh, I wouldn’t have known from this crossword! Over much too soon but great fun while it lasted. 5a was my favourite.
    Thanks to whomever (surely not proXimal?), and to pommers in his jeans for the review.

  30. We have been treated to some really fun puzzles this week and this was no exception. Loved 3D and10a particularly. Struggled a little with fully parsing 10a and 29a so thx for the hints for clearing those up.
    Thx to all

  31. Really good fun to solve such well crafted clues. It felt like a proXimal puzzle to us and we did not doubt that until we looked on here. Perhaps he will make a confirming comment soon.
    Thanks Mr Ron (proXimal) and pommers.

  32. As I suspected it looks like it wasn’t proXimal today. He’s usually popped in by now to claim responsibility. Shamus perhaps but his clues are usually a bit longer than these and a bit trickier. These are of a RayT length, but I don’t think it was he as there are none of his usual trademarks apart from the lurkers.

    A new setter on Thursday perhaps.

    Anyway, g’night all.

  33. Swift after supper solve but none the worse for that. Brilliantly worded clues. 5a was straight in after which I worked my way around the right hand side in double quick time. This was followed by SW. a pause then with eye lids drooping when NW held out on me with virtually no way in. As soon as I got one the rest followed almost as swiftly as the rest. I see most of us are agreed about quality, time, and favourites. Thanks.

  34. 3*/5*…..
    liked 5D (tremendous international winger?)…took rather a long time to twig though !

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