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DT 29077

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 29077

Hints and tips by Deep Threat

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BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

Good morning from soggy South Staffs, where the rain continues to fall.

I found today’s Giovanni to be quite tricky, the top half in particular taking some time to crack, with 7d the last one in.

In the hints below, the definitions are underlined. The answers are hidden under the ANSWER buttons, so don’t click if you don’t want to see them.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


8a           Cable‘s attempt to influence (4)
COAX – Double definition: a sort of electrical cable sometimes seen with a hyphen; or a verb meaning ‘attempt to influence’ or ‘persuade’.

Image result for coax cable

9a           Poor person acting as king let off (3)
HAM – Remove the LET from the end of the name of a Shakespearean king (one who’s dead before the play starts, but appears as a ghost to his son of the same name).

10a         Sent packing, using the fourth itinerary (6)
ROUTED – Another word for ‘itinerary’ followed by the letter which could indicate that it was the fourth choice.

11a         Stop to have a break, having crossed river (6)
ARREST – A (from the clue) and a break or pause wrapped around an abbreviation for River.

12a         Undemanding job could be nice, sure! (8)
SINECURE – Anagram (could be) of NICE SURE.

13a         Helpful disposition diverted to dangerous ends (4-11)

15a         I had to be immersed in plant life of place, US location (7)
FLORIDA – The short form of ‘I had’ is inserted into a generic word for the plant life of a place, to get a US state.

Image result for florida

17a         Bishop more foolhardy and more arrogant (7)
BRASHER – The chess notation for a bishop followed by ‘more foolhardy’.

20a         Like ghost, can act mysteriously, in a desperate hurry? (7,3,5)
AGAINST THE CLOCK – Anagram (mysteriously) of LIKE GHOST CAN ACT.

23a         You’re welcome? Never! (3,2,3)
NOT AT ALL – Double definition: a metaphor used to deflect thanks or praise; or a literal denial.

25a         Possible component of meal that doesn’t matter (6)
TRIFLE – Something you may have for pudding is also something to small to consider.

Image result for trifle

26a         Mo awarded the silver medal? (6)
SECOND – A synonym of ‘mo’ denoting a short period of time, which is also the position which earns a silver medal in Olympic competition.

27a         I disapprove of that teacher putting 18 off (3)
TUT – A teacher, particularly one who teaches a single pupil, with the letters denoting the answer to 18d removed, giving us an expression of disapproval.

28a         Band‘s sound (4)
RING – Double definition: a wedding band, perhaps; or the sound of a bell.


1d           Jack gets a thumbs-down from us as a writer (6)
JOURNO – Start with the abbreviation for Jack found on a playing card, add a three-letter word for ‘from us’ and a two-letter word for a ‘thumbs down’, and the result is an informal word for someone who writes for a newspaper.

2d           Old lover not devoid of affection is one to reach out (8)
EXTENDER – The usual old or former lover, followed by ‘not devoid of affection’ or ‘not tough’.

3d           Remote part of Scotland has all dads suffering with thinness (8,7)
SHETLAND ISLANDS – Anagram (suffering) of ALL DADS and THINNESS.

4d           Military hospital involved in upsetting matter, vehicle accident (5-2)
SMASH-UP – Reverse (upsetting, in a Down clue) the word for the matter found in an infected wound, and wrap the result around the sort of American military hospital which was the title of a film and a long-running TV series.

5d           Where Africans were once trained to fear teenagers (6,4,5)
ORANGE FREE STATE – Anagram (trained) of TO FEAR TEENAGERS, producing the name of a former Boer republic which is now part of South Africa.

Image result for orange free state

6d           Scottish king finally boarded a French vessel (6)
DUNCAN – Put together the final letter of boardeD, the French for ‘a’ and a metal vessel or container, and you get Macbeth’s predecessor as king of Scotland in Shakespeare’s Scottish play.

7d           The first boy maybe to be heard in song (4)
HEIR – The answer is a homophone (to be heard) of another word for ‘song’, and describes a person (traditionally the eldest son) who stands to succeed to a throne or landed estate.

14d         Book with some English explorer (3)
SHE – This Rider Haggard novel is hidden in the clue.

16d         Record number in maths class? (3)
LOG – Th record of events kept by a ship’s captain is also an abbreviation of the type of number which appeared in the mathematical tables used before the advent of electronic calculators.

Image result for log table

18d         More than one fighter joins to capture island (8)
SOLDIERS – Another word for ‘joins’ as applied to joining pieces of metal, with an abbreviation of Island inserted.

19d         The tale about the hare that lost, say (7)
ATHLETE – Anagram (about) of THE TALE.

21d         Like all the pretty maids, fighting (2,1,3)
IN A ROW – This phrase describes the ‘pretty maids’ in the nursery rhyme or, with a different pronunciation, means ‘fighting’ or ‘having an argument’.

[arve url=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n1h6rht1K9I” /]

22d         Mark unknown sort of territory (6)
COLONY – A punctuation mark followed by an algebraic unknown.

24d         Due to get nothing before middle of the week (4)
OWED – The letter which looks like a zero or nothing, followed by the abbreviated form of the middle day of the week (assuming you start properly with Sunday).

The Quick Crossword pun INNER + SCENT = INNOCENT

53 comments on “DT 29077

  1. I found a lot of difficulty with this. With a family invasion inthe middle of doing it, I took4* time to complete it. Though 5d was good and there were some good anagrams, some of the clues were vague and some synonyms over extended, so only 3*** for enjoyment. Thanks to the compiler and to Senf for the blog.

  2. Some excellent anagrams this morning from Giovanni, but my favourite was the nicely concise 8a. Pleasantly challenging with no real hold-ups and fun to complete.

    Thanks to The Don and DT.

  3. All over the shop with this one. Kept wanting to put flex for 8d. 22d last in. 18d favourite. Ta to all.

      1. Flex (as in flex one’s muscles) had me as well. Isn’t the answer to 8a an abbreviation? If so (a) I hadn’t come across it before and (b) if it is, the clue gave no indication of that. Anyway, far be it for me to flex muscles with Giovanni who I hold in the highest regard. Thanks, also to DT for the hints.

    1. I tried “lead” on the grounds that it is a synonym of cable and is also, if used by a barrister, a way of influencing the answer of a witness.

  4. Finished but…..

    To many long anagrams for me today and did not like 7D , my last entry .

    Some good clues though and , as usual , enjoyed the challenge set by Giovanni .

    Thanks to DT .

  5. Apologies to Deep Threat and many thanks for the blog. It’s been a confusing sort of day so far, so I thanked the wrong person.

  6. ***/*** for me. Liked the long anagrams to get a good foothold, also liked 27A – a complicated construction for such a short answer.

  7. Excellent puzzle and reasonably straightforward. I had flex in for 8a for a while, which didn’t help. Nice when the penny dropped. Like KFB 7d was last in, but unlike him, I will make it my favourite today. Takes all sorts, doesn’t it?

  8. Tricky, and a few bung-in’s, thanks for the explanations.
    I failed on 1d. The clue is ‘Jack gets a thumbs-down from us as a writer (6)’, so why would ‘no’ be after the ‘our’?? Beginners question no doubt, but it would help me in the future.
    Thanks all.

  9. 1d and 8a were my last two in. As did other commentators above, I could not see past flex for 8a for a while.

    Thanks to Giovanni, and to DT.

  10. I too struggled with this, nearly finished in **** time, but needed just two hints, namely 8a (yes, I too had flex) and 1d, a word which I think is used little outside its own trade.

    Many thanks to the Don and DT.

  11. An enjoyably tricky end to the work week completed at a gallop – ***/***.

    No obvious favourites, but 21d raised a smile.

    Thanks to Giovanni and DT.

  12. OMG the toughest and for me the worst Giovanni ever. It would be easier to list the clues I did understand. I am normally a great fan of his elegant puzzles but this was just no fun at all.
    Been through their hints which at least made some sort of sense except for 19d, don’t see the connection between a hare and an athlete!
    Given it up as a bad job!
    Def one for the more experienced setters.

  13. Well, for me one of the toughest back pagers for a while, three quarters were solved in a reasonable time but I took ages over the final half a dozen clues.
    The last one in 7d came as I drove to work- also picked up some fresh asparagus !
    A ****/***-can’t wait for a *****.!
    Liked 27a. a difficult parse, not heard of 1d,again a difficult parse.
    At least we finally have a game of cricket.
    Thanks all for the punishment.

  14. Very enjoyable puzzle today (once I had changed flex to the correct answer!!!). Favourites were the clever 10a, 1d and 7d. Thanks to setter ***/**** for me

  15. Thanks to Giovanni and to Deep Threat for the review and hints. I enjoyed this one very much, started with the long anagrams and the short three letter answers. Managed to whittle it down, my last in was 7d, but I was defeated by 1d, would never have thought of that. Favourite was 27a. Was 4*/3* for me.

  16. I was another flex so I got held up on that corner. Can anyone – ah, I have just read the notes, I couldn’t understand 27a link to 18d but now I see. Just shows how valuable your hints are – I would be chewing over that all afternoon. I didn’t really see the relevance of the 19d clue- would you call the hare an athlete? Anyway. Done. Many thanks and Cambridge is DRY.

    1. No I was looking for something to do with fable or moral. Thinking more about the hare’s complaisance rather than athleticism. Gave up on it but would probably have solved the anagram if I had solved 27a.

  17. A very nice puzzle from G, mostly solved on the Cat and Fiddle road with the last few trickier ones picked off at home after lunch. I also initially had FLEX for 8a. Good clues, a reasonable challenge and a very enjoyable solve. Favs of a good bunch: 15a, 1d, 18d. 3* / 4*

  18. I’m feeling smug today as I got 8a right first time. Apart from that, I have no reason to be smug as today’s Giovanni was really hard! I did thoroughly enjoy it, though, and thought the 3-letter words particularly clever. One thing puzzles me – the connection between 27a and 18d – why would OR denote the military chaps of 18d?
    Thanks to Giovanni, and to DT for the valuable hints.

    1. OR or Other Ranks of 18d – fix it firmly in your memory banks as it turns up more regularly than most bus services

  19. Some definite toughie clues, unfortunately clustered in the NW corner and making it difficult to cope with 13a ( if I’d spent a bit longer wrestling with all the letters of what was the most likely indicator and the constituent words) I’d have been faster.

    The naughtiest was 27a – firstly a synonym of teacher, then knowing the answer to another clue, then finding a synonym of that answer, then subtracting it from the original synonym……..oooh matron!

    Thanks to my favourite compiler and DT.

    Not a gallop for me, or indeed anything you could do on a horse. More like a stroll after you’ve sprained your knee.

  20. I was with the majority with flex for 8a. Never heard of coax or co-ax in that connection. I thought I must be looking for a writer’s name for 1d. Despite knowing some over many years – and having heard them called some names – this was a new one on me. Needed the hints therefore for those two. Also for 19d and 27a. Favourites 9a and 7 and 18d but apart from that not a lot of joy for me today. Thanks setter and hinter.

    1. I think journo is a relatively contemporary reference, I’ve seen it a lot recently, usually used in a mildly derogatory manner, perhaps in the way one would refer to tabloid journalist.

  21. When the long anagrams don’t solve immediately you know it’s going to be a slog. And it was! I got there eventually and surprisingly did not fall into the ‘flex’ trap. 7d appealed to me so that is my top clue.
    Thanks of course to Giovanni, and to DT for the review.

  22. Well, well, every day I read how easy peasy the puzzle is, and I struggle like mad. Today I fairly sailed through this, until I got to the NW corner. I never did get 1d, also had flex in 8a, which I changed from lead.
    For once I’m going to comment negatively on 1d, I think it’s an abbreviation without indication. Before anyone tells me to look in the BRB, I did, but I still think it’s an abbreviation.
    I liked the long anagrams, which I solved without help!
    Thanks to Giovanni and to DT for the hints and pics.

    1. M, 1d. J is a listed/recognised abbreviation for Jack, the playing card. And “Jack” is the indicator in the clue. What further indication do you require? Does that info help?

        1. Collins Online has Jxxxxo: an informal word for jxxxxolist. Does that make it an abbreviation or just a slang word? I’m not sure…

      1. When I saw the answer, I understood the J for Jack, particularly in bridge, then the “our” and “no”. My quibble is the unindicated abbreviation. Thanks.

        1. Yes, I’ve been thinking about this over the weekend – I’m always intrigued by the nuances of semantics. Initially, it never entered my head that you might be referring to the answer being an abbreviation; therefore I assumed it was the J. I would suspect that for the answer to be, strictly/technically, an abbreviation it would need to be spelled “journa”. Journo is listed as an informal/slang word for journalist, not specifically an abbreviation. But, for all intents and purposes, it acts as one – so I half agree with you. Expert/specialist advice required!

          1. I’m no expert Jose, but it isn’t an abbreviation, it’s merely a shortened form – same as typo for example (typographical error?) which is commonplace.

            It’s an abbreviated form of a longer word, no quibble about that, but it’s a word in itself in the dictionary, so only abbreviated in the sense of a shortened colloquial version of the root word, not in the grammatical sense.

            That’s all you get for tuppence :smile:

            1. LR, that’s not bad for tuppence! Thanks for the explanation – i’ll go with that.

  23. Hardest puzzle of the week for me. I had to be very workmanlike & just plain slog my way through,,, whilst the long anagrams were clever I found them difficult to solve & I did not like the long winded 13ac.
    4*/3* still had its enjoyable moments though.
    Thanks to Giovanni & DT for review & direction.

  24. The NW corner was where we got held up too and had us head scratching for quite some time before we decided that FLEX just had to be wrong. An enjoyable solve.
    Thanks Giovanni and DT.

  25. After completing yesterday’s puzzle at something of a breeze, I enjoyed the tussle with this morning’s Giovanni. 7 down confounded me for ages, but the only other real problem was of my own making, having for some inexplicable reason written a C instead of an S to begin 12 across. Once my error dawned the remainder followed quite quickly. Favourites included 8a, 9a, 10a, & 7d as it was the most awkward to for me to see. I don’t like the word at 1d at all, but there ya go. Thanks to both Giovanni and DT. A most enjoyable solve.

  26. I was so proud of myself for remembering that the Brits call cables flex. Oof! Walked right into that trap.
    Lots of stuff that was new to me: 1d, 5d, 12a, the dessert referenced in 25a, and a new definition of “matter” in 4d (eww!).

  27. Well it started well with the long anagrams and the gimme clues. Then it became a right slog to get the last few. Ta to The Don and The Threat. It’s the weekend and I’m advised not to comment so play nicely children and somebody will be here to blog Monday’s puzzle. Who knows who?

  28. Giovanni Fridays are usually my favourite day of the week but not so today. This solve left me completely cold. IMHO it is full of far-fetched and cumbersome clues particularly in the North where I stumbled badly. Certainly no Fav and too many iffy clues to mention. Thank you Giovanni (but not as effusively as usual!) and Senf.

  29. Coming in late. Puzzle OK except for both 8a and 1d being abbreviations. Without that information it’s no wonder the NW corner was a slog.

  30. Thanks Big Dave. I’m a newbie to cryptic crossword and your breakdown of the clues/definitions are helping me to understand this mysterious world!

  31. 4*/3*……………
    liked 8A (Cable‘s attempt to influence), as I thought that it probably was meant to have a political connotation.

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