DT 29086 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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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
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  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. 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. 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…

    1. 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 ap