DT 29101 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
View closed comments 

DT 29101

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 29101

Hints and tips by Deep Threat

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty ****Enjoyment ***

Good morning from South Devon, where I’m supposed to be playing croquet this week, but a bad knee has consigned me to the sidelines. No pictures this week, I’m afraid.

I found today’s Giovanni pretty tricky, especially in the top half, and I still don’t understand 6a fully.

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.


1a           Ranges of instruments used by travellers (9)
COMPASSES – Double definition: ranges of abilities or skills; or something to help travellers know which direction they are heading.

6a           Star-led group — but not in the East! (5)
POSSE – I think this is an all-in-one clue describing a group of people in a Western film, usually led by the sheriff in pursuit of the bad guys – any better ideas welcome.

9a           Occupied, having good time in consequence (7)
ENGAGED Good and a period of time inserted into a consequence or result.

10a         Cruise nan organised? She may need this to travel (9)
INSURANCE – Anagram (organised) of CRUISE NAN.

11a         Everyone enters exam — I’m head and shoulders above the rest? (7)
TALLEST – A sort of exam wrapped around a word for ‘everyone’.

12a         Boxer gets cash, we hear? It’s a financial settlement (7)
ALIMONY – The surname of a famous boxer of the past, followed by a homophone (we hear) of another word for ‘cash’.

13a         This land’s danger — corrupting our acceptable means of communication (8,7)
STANDARD ENGLISH – Anagram (corrupting) of THIS LAND’S DANGER.

18a         Orders cider, getting sloshed — reverse of good man? (7)
DIRECTS – Anagram (getting sloshed) of CIDER followed by the reverse of the short form of the title given to a good or holy person.

20a         Ivy? Teacher’s pet, little hesitation! (7)
CREEPER – A derogatory term for a teacher’s pet or someone who sucks up to authority, followed by a short word expressing a hesitation.

22a         Try to stop an idiot, almost do one’s head in (2,7)
GO BANANAS – Put together a try or attempt, a verb meaning ‘stop’ or ‘forbid’, AN (from the clue), and another word for an idiot with its last letter removed (almost).

23a         Vanessa? Exceptional sort, wonderful musician (7)
MAESTRO – The second name of the violinist called Vanessa, followed by an anagram (exceptional) of SORT.

24a         Put off, animal jumps over fence initially (5)
DEFER – Some wild animals wrapped around the first letter of Fence.

25a         Took over from predecessor and made one’s mark? (9)
SUCCEEDED – Straightforward double definition.


1d           Lynx maybe is eating yellow fruit but not on plant (8)
CLEMATIS – Put together the sort of creature of which the lynx is an example and IS (from the clue). Remove the ON (not on) from a yellow fruit, and insert the remainder into the result of the first action.

2d           See animal go swinging in tree (8)
MAGNOLIA – Anagram (swinging) of ANIMAL GO.

3d           Pattern of Plymouth team (6)
ARGYLE – Double definition: a fancy pattern used for socks or sweaters; or the name of a soccer team which plays in Plymouth.

4d           Person perverted and unhappy is caught finally (6)
SADIST – Put together ‘unhappy’, IS (from the clue), and the last letter (finally) of caughT.

5d           Main contribution to art gallery? (8)
SEASCAPE – The main here is another word for the ocean, and the answer is the sort of picture of the ocean which may be found in an art gallery.

6d           Loud activity in beauty parlour? (8)
PIERCING – Double definition: an adjective for loud often applied to a cry or scream; or something which may be done in a beauty parlour to enable someone to wear earrings or other adornments.

7d           Strong drink gets some bursting, obviously (6)
STINGO – Hidden in the clue.

8d           A spot of tea in weird restaurant (6)
EATERY – A (from the clue) and the first letter of Tea placed inside a word for ‘weird’.

14d         Keeper of wine starts to drink excessively and lope gently along (8)
DECANTER – Put together the first letters (starts) of Drink and Excessively, then add a pace faster than a trot, but slower than a gallop.

15d         Lack of caution? Academy head should keep quiet! (8)
RASHNESS – The initials of the art institution known as the Academy, and a promontory or headland, placed either side of a brief command to be quiet.

16d         This writer’s given drink editor brought from overseas (8)
IMPORTED – Put together a short way of saying ‘this writer is’, an alcoholic drink from the Douro region of Portugal, and an abbreviation for editor.

17d         See this place with stream across road (8)
HEREFORD – This is an ecclesiastical see in the West of England. Put together another word for ‘this place’, and a word for the sort of crossing where a road goes through a stream.

18d         Trailed behind, being determined (6)
DOGGED – Double definition, the first having one syllable, the second two.

19d         Polish once again given snub? (6)
REBUFF – Start with another word for ‘polish’ or ‘shine’, then add the prefix for ‘again’.

20d         Huge kids’ publication — son is absorbed (6)
COSMIC – Insert the abbreviation for Son into the word for a weekly publication aimed at children, and you get an adjective relating to the universe as a whole.

21d         Man providing a union with information before end of strike (6)
EUGENE – Put together the initials of a political union the UK is supposed to be leaving, an informal word for ‘information’, and the last letter of strikE.

The Quick Crossword pun JUNO + WATT = D’YOU KNOW WHAT?

49 comments on “DT 29101

  1. Thanks for the hints and the rating of **** makes me feel a lot better. Had to get your help for the NE corner but the rest fell OK.

    1. And I seem to be able to post again so whatever gremlins BD has been struggling with,for me at least, the effort has been worth it. Thank you.

  2. I didn’t find it that tricky – about the usual time for a Giovanni – I too wondered about 6a but would agree with DT’s thoughts upon it I reckon there’ll have been a bit of grumpiness in the rabbit hutch this morning ;)

    Thanks to DT – hope the knee improves soon – and to Giovanni

    1. In the hutch today it seemed just like a regular Friday. I liked 6a but I didn’t like 8d.

  3. I agree with your comments , hope the knee improves .

    Re 6A , the latter part indicates it is a Western/ Cowboy term .

    My COTD 20A .

    Thanks to everyone

  4. This puzzle continued with a higher difficulty rating than the usual Friday solve and a ***/*** for me.
    After a slow start in the NW corner I speeded up and finished with a flourish in the SW corner.
    It raised a smile when I finally parsed 6a which has to be my favourite.
    Has anyone else noticed the plethora of deck shoe sails everywhere-had to buy a pair.
    Anyway thanks all and needless to say anticipate a thrilling cricket final

  5. 6a and 6d were my final entries and were both candidates for my favourite clue. I think DT is spot on with his interpretation of the answer to 6a. Overall I found this a very comfortable solve with no real delays and thoroughly enjoyed the challenge.

    Thanks very much to DG and DT.

  6. Very enjoyable puzzle today. The NE corner defeated me otherwise unusually for me I finished it. Thanks to all concerned. Oh that 13a was more in evidence today, or am I being old fashioned & showing my age? 82.

  7. This was quite tricky and just ran me into 3* time for difficulty. Thank you to DT for the hints, particularly 6a,6d and 22a, which I bunged in. There were no outstanding clues so 3* for enjoyment. I quite liked 5d, 17d and 23a. Thank you to the setter also.

  8. More Giovanni fun with a bit of help required in the NE mainly due to drawing a complete blank on 6a and consequently 6d. Not sure why I’m is needed in 11a. Delay with 8a as weird is spelt differently in my book. Double use of union in 21a a bit unimaginative. Thank you Giovanni and DT.

  9. A very pleasant end to the work week, completed at a gallop – **/****.

    One of those puzzles where not much progress appears to being made and then, just like that (to quote Tommy Cooper), it’s done. No problems with the double unches as I didn’t realise they were there until I was entering my LOI – 5d.

    Candidates for favourite – 9a, 11a, 17d, and 20d – and the winner is 9a.

    Thanks to Giovanni and DT.

  10. Great puzzle today – I too was stuck on 6a and 6d. I do this on my Kindle Fire and I can ask it to reveal any mistakes without giving the answer. Very useful if a spelling is in doubt or the answer looks iffy as in 7d which I had never heard of. Thanks to all. Now to tackle the Toughie! Thanks to all.

  11. I grumbled a few times solving this, and the double unches didn’t help. I did smile at 11a and 8d.

    During the solve I thought that the “star-led” bit in 6a was direction towards a celebrity’s entourage (e.g. https://www.thezoereport.com/culture/taylor-swifts-model-friends) and the “not in the East” an additional prod to think of something associated with Westerns. But I like Beaver’s interpretation that the star is worn by the sheriff or marshal leading the group – that may well be what the setter had in mind.

    Thanks to the setter and to DT for the blog. Hope that knee heals quickly.

  12. Thanks Giovanni and DT – an enjoyable and steady solve although I guessed at a few and went to the hints to work out why the answer was correct 😏 A pleasant end to the week. 6D caused a bit of a problem and 6A was one of the guesses 😉

  13. As seems the norm, 6a and 6d last in. Otherwise I found this a lot gentler than yesterday. No real favourite. Ta to all.

  14. I was trotting along like an English XI against the Australians, but then got stumped three times in the NE corner. 6a, 6d & 8d had me running for the hints. Sigh.

    I’ll give it **** because of those three.

    Thanks to the Don and DT.

    1. Have you tried Samuel Smith’s special 7d? I thought of your beer preferences when that one went in.

  15. Cannot believe I got through this one , but I did.
    Only a tiny bit of electronic help needed, so I must be improving.
    Thanks to DT and Giovanni.

    Hope I can post on this site as have been unable to for weeks now.🤐

  16. Butch and Sundance split up from all the other fugitives who scatter, ahead of the finest 6a Mr Harriman can buy.

    Butch: So how many of them are following US?
    Sundance: All of ‘em…..
    Butch: What’s the matter with THOSE guys?

  17. 2*/2*. Nothing here either to frighten or to excite the horses, although I did like 6a. 8d is an unpleasant word which somehow gets a mention in the BRB.

    Thanks to Giovanni and to DT.

    1. Ditto that RD – except unfortunately I’m not keen on 6a
      Thanks to the Don and DT from me too

  18. First contribution, challenging but pleased to get 3/4 in before requiring hints/reassurance.
    Would never have got 18d as my digital copy read sullen instead of determined, hey ho.

  19. Enjoyed this crossword, only needed hints for clarification. “Big Dave” is my daily lesson. Ta

  20. Needed help from electronic sources and then from DT. Thanks to DT and setter. 20a my favourite.

  21. I don’t know whether to be disappointed or relieved. Really struggled yesterday so relieved to find this relatively easy, but disappointed as it was over too soon!
    Initially put go bonkers for the across one!

  22. ****/****. Tough but enjoyable. The NE corner was last to yield because of 6a and 8d both of which I got but thought they were a little contrived. Thanks to Giovanni and DT.

  23. If 6a had been 6 letters SUNSET made sense. Overall good going but took longer than normal

  24. Hadn’t come across 7d before today and spent far too long dreaming up a loud activity in a beauty parlour – otherwise no problems to report.

    Thanks to DG and to DT for the blog. Sorry to hear that you missed out on your croquet – could that be what caused the bad knee in the first place?

  25. Like a lot of us today, found the NE corner was a bit troublesome. Spent ages thinking 6a was CASTE, and had to resort to DT’s hints. Definitely a 4* today – not helped by the fact I was looking after next door’s dog who kept wanting to go put and play which broke my concentration several times.

    Your 6a hint was pretty much spot on DT, but if it helps – “star led” refers to a Sherriff (who of course wears a star), and not in the east is Western, which is you where you will find of posse.

  26. Tiny brain here, the one who usually struggles to solve anything, but, would you believe it, very little held me up today. I put 6a right away but erased it when I got to 6d, where I wanted it to start with “f” for loud, but eventually I sorted it.
    I enjoyed this, except I agree with the rabbit about 8d, don’t like the word. I’d never heard of 7d either, but it had to be.
    Thanks to Giovanni and to DT for his hints, hope knee is better soon.

  27. 6a = posse. absolutely!
    Not in the East (so, in the West)
    The sheriff (the star) leads

    1. Welcome to the blog David

      I thought that “not in the East” was saying that the star-led group was not the magi/wise men

  28. As others I got stuck on 6a and d and thank DT for the hints that got me over the line. My local brewery do a winter special 7d but you need to be wary of having too much as it is lethal in even quite small doses. It gets my vote for COTD.
    Thanks to Gio too for the brain test.

  29. 6a was my favourite once it dawned on me that galaxies had nothing to do with it.
    8d… what a horrible word!
    Otherwise no real problems and a nice way to finish the working week. If I did of course…
    Thanks to Giovanni, and to DT for the review.

  30. You all eventually ( I think) understood 6A with its Wild West connection. I chose ‘not in the east’ to contrast with the biblical wise men, who we normally think of as being led by a star in the east, So much for my feeble joke!

    1. I’m afraid it took Mr. Google to inform me that a 6a can be “a body of men summoned by a sheriff to enforce the law” – one lives and learns!

    2. I didn’t get it.
      Well done Sir; though I do respect that praise from a menial is no more worthwhile than criticism from an idiot

  31. Very much enjoyed this one. Big thank you to Giovanni and Deep Threat. Hope the knee is better soon. Husband suffering likewise, but just given ok to be able to fly home for holiday next week. Phew!
    I must be finally getting on Giovanni’s wavelength (and Dada’s too), and was relieved to be able to solve this after my abysmal attempt yesterday. Hadn’t heard of 7d, must be new to the UK since we left in 1982. Also huge thanks to Big Dave for getting the site up and running and love this new format, very readable. A very good crossword day.

  32. Steady workmanlike solve on this above average Giovanni, parts were tricky but those hold ups added to its enjoyment.
    Thanks to the Don & DT for review/hints

  33. I fairly flew through this with 5d as first in. Did not notice the double unches but explains why I did not get 6d with the checkers. Like almost everyone however I was floored by the NE which is a shame after such a quick run. I thought of two alternatives for 6a neither of which I could parse. The wrong one being Oasis (the group/band). Good to hear from Giovanni. I had also thought of the Three Wise Men and hearing of his explanation I thought this was clever on a number of levels – especially the link with Star and the sheriff. I got 8d eventually although like others do not like the word. Gave up on 6d – on reflection I should have persisted but it is harder going through the alphabet with a double unch. I will nominate 1 and 22a and 1 and 3d with 14d highly commended.

  34. Hi,

    In 1a, “compass” is the range of notes that can be produced by a musical instrument. So: ranges of instruments/used by travellers.

    Completed at a canter. Thanks to DT & G.

  35. Agree with everyone about 6a. and thus 6d, 8d was relatively easy for me though I too hate the word.
    What on earth is an “unch” or a double “unch”

  36. 3*/4*………..
    liked 22A “try to stop an idiot, almost do one’s head in (2,7)”

Comments are closed.