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DT 29086

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 29086

Hints and tips by Mr K

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BD Rating  -  Difficulty *** Enjoyment ***


Hello, everyone.  While today's grid fill proceeded smoothly for me, I did have to check a couple of answers and ponder the last parse. So, the puzzle ended up feeling about average for difficulty.  I look forward to reading what everyone out there thought of it.  I also look forward to hearing from the setter if they happen to be reading.

In the hints below most indicators are italicized, and underlining identifies precise definitions and cryptic definitions.  Clicking on the 42 buttons will reveal the answers.  In some hints hyperlinks provide additional explanation or background.  Clicking on a picture might enlarge it or display a bonus illustration.  Please leave a comment telling us how you got on.



1a    More crooked and possibly better at being kept in the dark? (7)
SHADIER:  I interpreted possibly here an indication that liberties are about to be taken.  With that in mind, I suppose that the answer's meaning of "more sheltered from light" might be read as "better at being kept in the dark"

9a    Normal  type of flag (8)
STANDARD:  A straightforward double definition

10a   Reply obtained from letter I posted (7)
RIPOSTE:  Lurker.  The answer is obtained from some of the remainder of the clue

11a   No -- crazy is the beginning of mind wandering (8)
NOMADISM:  Put together NO from the clue, a synonym of crazy, IS from the clue, and the first letter of (beginning of) Mind

12a   Screen type that's part of donor's contribution? (6)
PLASMA:  An obsolete type of TV screen is also a component of the contribution made by a blood donor

13a   Prince possibly not coming back for this dance (10)
CHARLESTON:  The prince who should one day be king is followed by the reversal (coming back) of NOT from the clue.  Not sure what 'possibly' is doing here

15a   Fast-running water: such a tedious thing (4)
BORE:  Another straightforward double definition.  The River Severn famously hosts a fine example of the fast-running water thing


16a   Direct tax for part of policeman's job (5,4)
POINT DUTY:  Direct or indicate is followed by a type of import tax

21a   Friend finally cries having left girl (4)
ALLY:  When first I downloaded the puzzle at 2am UK time to solve it, this clue read 'Initially sad to leave girl's partner (4)'.  Not too long after that, when I downloaded a second time to create the blog, it had changed to the version shown above.  Not sure why it was changed, especially at 2am, but both clues have the same construction: The answer is obtained from a five-letter girl's name with the last letter (finally…) of crieS  [or the first letter (initially) of Sad] deleted (having left/…to leave).  I wonder which version will appear in the newspaper?

22a   Wrapping up love-token, in a place where the match might happen? (6,4)
BOXING RING:  Wrapping up or packaging followed by an item of jewellery used as a token of love gives a place where a sporting match might happen

24a   Dig up former partner: strong smell emanating initially (6)
EXHUME:  Join together the usual former partner, a slang word for a strong unpleasant smell, and the first letter (…initially) of Emanating.

25a   Scrap fish in sort of pudding (8)
DUMPLING:  Scrap or discard is followed by a four-letter fish often found at the end of an answer

27a   One who flies, American's in particular part of airport (7)
RUNAWAY:  One who flies or absconds is the single-letter abbreviation for American inserted in an essential part of an airport

28a   Missing milk? It could be thrown into yon drain! (3-5)
NON-DAIRY:  The answer could be anagrammed (thrown) into YON DRAIN, so it must be an anagram of those letters

29a   Sudden eruption -- and, reportedly, what might stifle it? (7)
ATISHOO:  An imitation of the sound of a sneeze is a homophone (reportedly) of what one might use to stifle it



2d    Hand-me-down: what next in line might use for clothing? (8)
HEIRLOOM:  Fuse together the next person in a line of succession and a machine for making cloth

3d    Men in depots kneaded bread? (8)
DOORSTEP:  Some usual military men inserted in an anagram (… kneaded) of DEPOTS

4d    Pulling out, seeing tense resistance in challenging surroundings (10)
EXTRACTING:  The abbreviation for grammatical tense and the physics symbol for electrical resistance are together contained by (in ….. surroundings) challenging or difficult

5d    Oil's too much, love! (4)
OTTO:  Cement together an informal abbreviation for too much and the letter that looks like a love score in tennis.  The answer is a fragrant essential oil made from rose petals

6d    It's dangerous, worldwide organisation having strongbox (6)
UNSAFE:  The two-letter abbreviation for a well-known international organisation is followed by a strongbox

7d    Save one's thanks for person serving drinks (7)
BARISTA:  Concatenate save or except, the Roman numeral one with its S from the clue, and a short word of thanks

8d    Strange fellows having first bit of trouble in scrap (7)
ODDMENT:  Assemble another word for strange, a common word for fellows, and the initial letter of (first bit of) Trouble

11d   Almost a disaster -- the gin ran out (4,5)
NEAR THING:  An anagram (… out) of THE GIN RAN

14d   Smart clothing genius assembled with lout (6,4)
LOUNGE SUIT:  An anagram (assembled) of GENIUS LOUT

17d   Coverings that could make a shy mask? (8)
YASHMAKS:  The answer can be anagrammed into (that could make) A SHY MASK, so the answer must be an anagram of those letters

18d   Lead quietly, getting over bad back (8)
PLUMBAGO:  The musical abbreviation for quietly preceding (getting over, in a down clue) low back pain.  The answer is an old-fashioned term for graphite, of which pencil leads are made.  While researching the answer, I was surprised to discover that from the mid 16th century England had a 100 year monopoly on pencil manufacture because Cumbria had the world's only known source of graphite with the characteristics needed for pencil-making

19d   Standing and helping to hold book (7)
ABIDING:  A verb synonym of helping contains (to hold) the single-letter abbreviation for book

20d   Inspect former atomic explosive device (7)
EXAMINE:  Assemble the usual short word for former, the single-letter abbreviation for atomic, and a device usually designed to explode on contact

20d [app version of clue]  Inspect cut up explosive device (7)
EXAMINE:  The reversal (up, in a down clue) of cut or remove, followed by a device usually designed to explode on contact

23d   Poor ailing animal (6)
NILGAI:  An anagram (poor) of AILING.  Where would setters be without all those antelopes blessed with unusual names?  You can read about today's antelope hereFor future reference, there's an extensive list of antelopes and near relatives here.  Can anybody come up with a good clue for MUNTJAC? 

26d   Geek spotted in diner, dribbling (4)
NERD:  It's another lurker to finish.  Our geek is hiding in (spotted in) the remainder of the clue


Thanks to today’s setter for a fun solve accompanied by lots to eat and drink.  My favourite clue today was 11d.  Which clues did you like best?


The Quick Crossword pun:  HOES + PIPE + BANNS = HOSEPIPE BANS

83 comments on “DT 29086

  1. I agree that 11d was the COTD. Very amusing. As for the whole puzzle, it was a delight with a couple of new words I bunged in and checked afterwards. In fairness the wordplay was solid enough so no complaints.

    Thanks very much to both Misters.

  2. I had a few difficulties with the clues NW corner , which eventually fell into place, and had to look up the spelling of the animal. I’m afraid 29a left me completely stumped and thank you to Mr K for clearing that one up. So *** for difficulty and *** for enjoyment. My favourite clue was 18d and 16a was highly commended.
    Thank you to the setter.

  3. On first read through I thought this was going to be a lot tougher turned out to be. Not quite a sheep in wolf’s clothing but with a few checkers in it all came together quite smoothly though 5d was a bung in and I needed a tiny peek at the hint for 29a, grrr!
    I liked 1a (even with the reservation expressed by Mr K) 11 and 25a but my COTD is the excellent 7d.
    Many thanks to the setter and to Mr K for his well explained and illustrated review.
    Incidentally the newspaper version of 21a is as it is in the review.

    1. Hi, Stephen. Belated thanks for the info about the newspaper version of 21a. I missed that sentence on my first pass through the comments.

    1. Much better than my first thought: Drunken jaunt, initially might cost about a buck (7).

        1. Hi, Jose. I was actually pondering that, but I’m not sure what I could offer. And I’d have to pick a winner, which would be impossible.

          1. I was just trying to write another clue (which didn’t involve an indirect anagram) by finding a valid two-word anagram. I got JAM, and then thought I’d better not pursue it any further…

        1. Indeed. Are indirect anagrams allowed anywhere? I thought they were universally regarded as unfair.

          1. I’ve not seen one for ages, though I wrote quite a few of them in the 80s when they appeared pretty often. I still can’t see why they should be deemed “unfair” – perhaps not suitable for a back-pager, but OK for a Toughie puzzle in my book. But, then again, I’ve always been a bit of a rebel…

    2. Initially, Manchester Utd never tackled Jose…..on account he’s barking!

    3. Thanks for all those fine clues for MUNTJAC (a creature also known as the barking deer). The least I can do is provide hint-style explanations of what I think the setters had in mind. Some clever ideas on display here – clue creators who haven’t already had puzzles published in Rookie Corner (or the NTSPP) might want to consider creating a full puzzle and submitting it there.

      Gazza Horny beast’s cycling trip restricted by chairman (7)
      The letters of a synonym of trip are rotated a couple of places (cycling) and inserted in (restricted by) an abbreviation for a person who could be a chairman
      Wahoo Drunken jaunt, initially might cost about a buck (7)
      An anagram (drunken) of JAUNT is sandwiched inside initial letters (initially…) of Might Cost
      LetterboxRoy Bounder to get astride Sailor? That’s not OK! (7)
      “to get astride” is followed by a usual sailor, and the letters of OK then deleted separately from the result
      Debbiedob Barking beast makes loveless climb with energy on account (7)
      A synonym of climb has the usual letter for love deleted and is followed by the abbreviation for the SI unit of energy and the abbreviation for account
      Chriscross Louisiana buck got involved with Miss Tennessee originally (7)
      I believe Chriscross has in mind an anagram (got involved) of CAJUN (from Louisiana) with the initial letters of ( …originally) Miss Tennesee
      Jose Member of Congress encapsulates crazy faction – the beast! (7)
      The abbreviation for Member of Congress contains (encapsulates) an anagram (crazy) of JUNTA (a synonym of faction)
      Stephen Lord Initially, Manchester Utd never tackled Jose…..on account he’s barking!
      The initial letters (initially … ) of the next five words of the clue are followed by the abbreviation for account

      Since Jose asked about it, the indirect anagrams employed by him and by Chriscross are generally frowned on because they require two steps from the solver to find the answer – first get the right fodder and then form the right anagram of it. That can easily become so difficult that it is unfair.

      1. Mr K, that was a good idea! Can we have a mini clue writing competition every Tuesday, please?

        * I’m sure Gazza’s clue is perfectly fine, but could you (or someone else) please explain why cycling/rotating the letters of an indirect synonym is different to rearranging the letters of an indirect synonym? I’ve seen cycle/cycling used a few times before, but always assumed in was just another anagram indicator.

        1. Hi, Jose. The clue-writing was fun, but I think every week would be too often. But the next time that a suitable word presents itself, we can do it again. In the meantime, the monthly Telegraph Puzzles newsletter has a clue-writing competition. Unlike here, it has a proper judge and a prize.

          Regarding rotation v anagram as wordplay devices, I’d say the difference is that they differ a lot in the number of possible outcomes they produce. JAUNT has four letter arrangements formed by rotation, compared to 119 possible anagrams. In terms of the number of outcomes that need to be considered by the solver, rotation isn’t so different from deleting a letter from one end of a word, or removing a set of letters from the centre of a word.

          1. Thanks, Mr K. Yes, I know about the DT monthly clue-writing competition and I started entering it a while ago. I must apologise for mistakenly asking the above question about Gazza’s clue. The question was right, but directed at the wrong clue. Since the cycled/rotated letters of the synonym of trip all are visible in the clue, there is no real “indirection” in the sense I was trying to highlight. I’m afraid impulsiveness got the better of me – I blame it on the weather!

            Serendipitously, another clue, in a similar vein (19a in DT 29,088), cropped up just 2 days later and that is an exact paragon of the clue I meant to ask about. Here the answer is (effectively) an anagram of an indirect synonym of saddle in the clue. None of the letters of the answer are visible in the clue. But, as you say, rotating the letters gives few possibilities, whereas rearranging many or all of the letters (as an anagram) can give (only theoretically) many more possibilities. As you point out, there are 119 possible “anagrams” (theoretically) of the word JAUNT, but only one of them is a real word – exactly the same as if you merely rotated letters. But you have answered my question satisfactorily – so now I can explain it better to my goddaughter (26), who’s asked me twice about this very thing in the past 12 months.

            1. Also, with a rotation, once you have a single crossing letter, that ‘fixes’ where all the rest of the letters have to go. Whereas with an anagram, a single letter only gives you that letter and the rest could still (theoretically) go anywhere.

              1. Good point, Smylers. If the rotated word sits deep inside the answer you may also need to identify where the word wraps, but there still won’t be many possibilities to consider.

            2. Hmm, Jose, not sure I buy that argument because in your clue JUNTA must be anagrammed into UNTJA, which isn’t a real word.

              While rotation wouldn’t have worked with JUNTA, instead of the indirect anagram perhaps one could find wordplay to indicate that the synonym of faction needed the J moved to the right? That would be legal because there are only four possibilities to consider (and you’ve also helped the solver by indicating that the synonym they seek contains a J).

              1. Good point, Mr K. I suppose that the word JAUNT has only 1 anagram – the other 118 are all just random, meaningless combinations of the 5 letters. I think I’ll relinquish my case for indirect anagrams (for now).

  4. No real problem today with the exception of the NW where progress slowed a bit. 5d was bung-in and 23d new one on me. 29a raised a giggle and I also liked 18d. Thank you Mysteron and MrK.

  5. I would agree with a *** rating. I managed to fill the grid, but didn’t know the words at 5d and 18d. The answer to 3d was always known as a ****stop in our household.

    Your query about 21a, the clue above is the one in the paper. I’m guessing it was changed because “Initially sad to leave girl’s partner” should result in an extra ‘s’ being appended to the answer.

    Thanks to the setter and Mr.K.

    1. Hi, Malcolm. Thanks for the information about which clue appears in the print version. I believe that the “Initially…” version would also work with the ‘s expanded as “is” in the cryptic reading.

    1. PS 13a I think that since ‘Prince’ does not necessarily mean ‘Charles’ it is a definition by example – ‘possibly’.

      1. Wouldn’t that be t’other way round — using “Charles, possibly” as a definition by example of ‘Prince’?

        Using ‘Prince’ to clue ‘Charles’ seems to me like using ‘fruit’ as a definition to clue ‘nectarine’ — a nectarine is a fruit; Charles is a prince.

        Anyway, I enjoyed this, with 22a being my favourite.

        Oh, and for 12a, did you know that LED is also a type of screen, and that the letters ‘LED’ appear in ‘PLEDGE’, which is a type of contribution with 6 letters, and which crosses with the ‘L’ as the second letter? Obviously there’s the ‘P’ and ‘GE’ still to be accounted for, but if I try hard enough …

  6. I was also held up in the nw corner and on reflection can’t understand why. 29a favourite. Ta to all.

  7. NW corner a hold up for me too. Got there in the end.
    Very enjoyable crossword.
    Just watching England’s bowlers getting smashed around the park, favourites?? I don’t think so.
    Thanks all.

  8. A Monday puzzle on a Tuesday! Completed at a fast gallop, with assistance from some oldies but goodies, including, I think, the 23d antelope – **/***.

    Candidates for favourite – 16a (do the boys in blue do that any more?), 11d (it would be (not almost) a disaster if the gin ran out), and 20d – and the winner is 16a.

    Thanks to the setter and Mr K.

  9. The SW was a corner of ‘ings’.

    The picture for 25a was more of a ‘duff’ in my book…….?

    My favourite was 29a.

    Thanks to Mr K.

    1. Hi, Bluebird. The 25a pic came from the BBC. I’m not familiar with that form of pudding, but I could imagine that there are regional variations.

      1. Oh yes, there’s lots of regional, and national, variations.

        In my world, dumplings are little things that are popped into a stew, or else steamed in a colander so that they can be served with golden syrup……

        A duff is a big thing wrapped in a cloth and steamed or boiled, usually a sweet.

        By heck, we put away a lot of this stuff in the 50s, courtesy of my Grandmother, who lived to be 93.
        I expect it would nowadays be regarded as a heart attack on a plate.

      2. Not sure if it was my Scottish grandmother pulling my leg but she always said the Clootie Dumpling was so called because it was traditionally boiled in the “Pudding Cloot” of the best endowed woman of the house.
        With age I think it more likely that the brasierre got its nickname from the pudding rather than the other way round but as a child I was most impressed by the size of the desserts that Grandma Bee served!

  10. The online version gives the clue for 20d as “Inspect cut up explosive device”, a little different from that cited by Mr K above, so I was glad of the help.
    Nice straightforward puzzle (I must remember other ranks, with reference to 3d). 11d was my favourite although the thought makes me shudder.
    Thanks to setter and to Mr K. Loved the coffee cup picture!

    1. Hi, Debbie. Thanks for the info about 20d. By “online version”, do you mean one of the tablet/phone apps? The version I used is from the online Telegraph Puzzles site. I’ll add a hint for the alternative clue.

      1. Sorry for the late reply. To clarify, I access the Daily Telegraph on my iPad and do the crossword (well, try to) on there.
        By the way, as a relative novice (I only started this daft obsession on 1st Jan) I am so delighted that you actually gave hints for my muntjac clue. You’ve really made my day!

  11. A nice, gentle, fun-type puzzle which was solved on a bus journey and was enjoyable enough. There were some nice clues and I’ve ticked 7d and 11d. But I was disappointed with 9a (ultra-straightforward) and 21a (the answer appears in the clue within the word immediately following the definition – never a good thing!). 2* / 3*

    PS. Mr K, 21a: they should have left the clue as originally, not least for the reason I’ve just given above.

  12. A good, challenging puzzle.
    Had to check my answers for 5d. and 23d.
    29a. made me smile!!

    Thanks to Mr. K.

  13. Very enjoyable puzzle ***/*** 😃 Favourites 27a & 3d 😜 Thanks to Setter and to Mr K especially for explaining the why’s and wherefores of 5d and 18d 🤗PS also enjoyed the boring video clip 😬

  14. Re 20d – are the first 3 letter of the answer the reverse for a synonym of cut?

    1. Welcome to the blog, 3stabmcnab, and thanks for commenting. I also parsed the alternative version of 20d like that. I’ve added a hint for it.

  15. I’m early today due to the abysmal weather. 5d appeared in toughie 2250 last week, I hadn’t heard of it until then, and 7d few weeks ago. Had to check 18d & 23d, apart from that I had no real problems. Favourite was 17d. Thanks to Mr K and setter.

  16. All went well with a slow purposeful solve until the NW corner which held out for quite some time.
    But that did not stop me really enjoying this cleverly clued poser, which also reintroduced me to a few forgotten words.
    Thanks to MrRon & MrK for review.

  17. Forgot to say, I liked this puzzle, 26d made me chuckle in particular.

    Thanks to setter and Mr K for a great blog. The 7d coffee made me snigger like a schoolboy, 11d vid scared something out of me and the 27d witticism will be repeated, ta.

  18. Well that was fun. I spent a bit too long on 10a. I missed the lurker again and thought that the answer was an anagram of “letter I.” Silly me. 11d was my favourite. Many thanks to the setter and to Mr Kitty.

  19. ***/***. Had to check 5&23d but otherwise fairly benign. 29a was my favourite but 1a was a bit of a stretch. Thanks to the setter and Mr K.

  20. I usually save the crossword for my bedtime reading but just completed it in record time for me while waiting around for someone. So**/**** for me. Liked the joke about the non-jumping house and the near thing video.
    Thoroughly enjoyed. Thanks to all.

  21. Good fun, only needed to use electronic help for 29a, made me giggle. Once I had the checking letters for 23d, it was easy enough to google that there was such a creature.
    I also needed to ascertain that 5d was an oil, it couldn’t be anything else.
    I remember visiting UK in 1949 and being roused out of bed before dawn by my parents in order to see the Severn 15a. Can you imagine the excitement, an 11-year-old hick from Jamaica seeing that?
    Fave was17d, long time since we’ve had that one.
    Thanks to our setter and Mr. K for his great review.

    1. Oh dear! Phoebe cat just came in with one-foot long green lizard, which got loose and is under the sofa in the Sitootery! Do I run or stay put?

        1. In a word, NO! I’m scared to go in there now. At least it’s not a Cuban anole.

          1. I had to look him up. Does not sound like something you’d want in the house: “… it has a strong bite and many small, sharp teeth”

            1. They’re mean, mean, mean, and I’ve had several in the house from time to time.

  22. Got there in the end, apart from the ailing animal, which I’d never heard of. I got the answer to 18d but only know it as a plant, so a new meaning for me. Disappointed not to see any cats, Mr K, but thanks to you and the setter.

    1. Thanks, Sarah. There’s usually a cat or two lurking somewhere. Try clicking on the 11d animation.

  23. Enjoyed this apart from a few stumbling blocks. 1a, 29a, 5d and 23d. Never heard of the oil nor the animal, so my ignorance, and also never seen 29a actually written out before. Otherwise, a good exercise today. Thanks Mr K and setter.

  24. A good fun puzzle and a good fun blog. A couple of answers in the NW were the last for us to sort out and we had to check on the antelope in 23d.
    Thanks Mr Ron and Mr K.

  25. Plenty to chew on and drool over today. That was a fun solve that I managed without recourse to the hints but I did have to check my BRB for the cloven hooved one. I have spent some time trying to clue the Muntjac but failed to come up with anything half as good as those above.
    Thanks to Mr K for the hints and pics, thanks to the setter as well.

  26. Thanks as always for the comments – mostly good! For those who didn’t know 5Dn, it’s an alternative to “attar” – and it also helps, when cluing – sometimes – that it’s a European first name. The “beast” at 23Dn was less well-known: but hey, that’s how you improve your vocabulary! I’m glad that some of you liked 26Dn: I have a mental image of such a geek… Another outing soon – X-Type

    1. Thanks for commenting, X-Type, and thanks for providing a great puzzle to solve and to blog. Looking forward to your next one.

  27. That was a nice challenge! It didn’t take overly long to complete but it was necessary to keep the grey cells busy. 29a was my favourite.
    Thanks to X-type, and to Mr K for a great review.

  28. Better late than never:

    Dog without race, books card (not King) – the little beast (7).

    And I liked 29a best!

  29. Thanks to the setter and Mr Kitty for the review and hints. A very enjoyable puzzle, with quite a few teasers. Had not heard of 5d & 23d, but managed to get them from the wordplay. Favourite was 3d. Was 3*/3* for me.

  30. Thanks so much for a wonderful crossword and brilliant tips from Mr K, which I needed! Such a wonderful way to start the day- I’m a day behind. I laughed out loud reading the blog.

    1. Glad you enjoyed it, GH. The commentariat was just excellent today. Thanks to everyone who posted above with their thoughts on the puzzle, amusing anecdotes, reports on local goings-on, banter, and quality clues for muntjac.

  31. 3*/4*…..
    liked 11D (almost a disaster — the gin ran out)….relieved that the deer escaped !

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