DT 29112 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 29112

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 29112

Hints and tips by Falcon

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

Greetings from Ottawa, where a cold, wet spring has given way to a hot, steamy summer. To cite Billy Wilder, “Some Like It Hot” and for those like myself who do, July has been ideal.

I expect that the puzzle was set by proXimal whose puzzles always present a challenge to me. I was looking for a pangram but the puzzle comes up one letter short. I do recall at least one other occasion where a puzzle was similarly short this very letter. That puzzle was set by either proXimal or X-Type (with the missing letter giving a clue to the setter’s identity).

Perhaps I am badly out of practice, but this puzzle was almost too hot to handle. It took me twice my usual solving time even using some electronic aids (which I try to refrain from doing). There were certainly a lot of “Doh!” moments with pennies dropping all over the place. Thank you to the setter, whoever you may be, for an intense workout.

In the hints below, underlining identifies precise definitions and cryptic definitions, and indicators are italicized. The answers will be revealed by clicking on the ANSWER buttons.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought of the puzzle.


1a   Very big on Greek’s starter of fine food (11)
GASTRONOMIC — a word denoting so big that it exceeds the bounds of our planet follows the initial letter of Greek; the answer is an adjective

7a   Merchandise for channel (7)
PRODUCT — join a word meaning for or in favour of and a channel or tube carrying secretions in the body

8a   Scam kind partner (7)
CONSORT — a scam or swindle followed by a kind or type

10a   Killer clown seen twice at home (8)
ASSASSIN — two instances of a stupid person preceding the customary term for ‘at home’

11a   Tool chest untidily covering yard (6)
SCYTHE — an anagram (untidily) of CHEST around Y(ard)

13a   Removed from case, crude blades (4)
OARS — strip the initial and final letters (case) from a synonym for crude or offensive

14a   Son and duchess enter four-wheeled conveyance (10)
SKATEBOARD — a charade of S(on), the familiar name of the Duchess of Cambridge, and a verb meaning to enter (a railway coach, for instance)

16a   Independent outsiders from Nice broadcast in Arab state (4,3,3)
ONES OWN MAN — the outer letters of N(ic)E and the past tense of a word meaning broadcast (used in relation to seed, for example) are embedded in a country on the Arabian peninsula

18a   Selection of dishes from Middle East unknown by English (4)
MEZE — string together the abbreviation for Middle East, an algebraic unknown, and E(nglish); I don’t know about the English, but this selection of dishes was certainly unknown to this Canadian

21a   Figure that’s hungry polishing off seconds (6)
THIRTY — a synonym (metaphorically) for hungry after eliminating (polishing off) S(econds)

22a   Competitor if in last gets irritated (8)
FINALIST — an anagram (gets irritated) of IF IN LAST

24a   Dog is cross; oddly ideal (7)
SPANIEL — a verb meaning to cross or traverse and the odd letters from IdEaL

25a   That person’s far from cool garment (7)
SWEATER — a double definition; the first being a description of someone perspiring (perhaps someone like myself facing a deadline and making painfully slow progress!)

26a   Learner needs to know this advanced method coed designed (7,4)
HIGHWAY CODE — concatenate an adjective meaning advanced or intense, a noun denoting method or style, and an anagram (designed) of COED


1d   One’s got beef and game cobbler, finally (7)
GROUSER — a game bird and the final letter of cobbleR

2d   Crowd  that takes place in court (6)
SQUASH — a double definition; the first a verb meaning to confine, the second a game played on a court

3d   Having second thoughts about hiring Kent criminal (10)
RETHINKING — an anagram (criminal) of HIRING KENT

4d   Surreptitiously take  chip (4)
NICK — a double definition; the first a verb, the second could be either a verb or a noun

5d   Vehicles from 60s, sadly basic (8)
MINICABS — “60s” denotes not a decade, but the abbreviation for a much shorter interval of time measured by a watch rather than a calendar; follow this with an anagram (sadly) of BASIC

6d   Line in raita or chutney from South European country (7)
CROATIA — this lurker comprises a line of letters hidden (in) and reversed (from South in a down clue) in rAITA OR Chutney

7d   Tap for noise playing these (11)
PIANOFORTES — I see this as a semi-all-in-one clue where the entire clue provides the definition in which the wordplay [an anagram (playing) of TAP FOR NOISE] is embedded

9d   Innovator initially tests revolutionary design on dog (11)
TRENDSETTER — line up the initial letters of Tests and Revolutionary, a design or goal, and a type of dog

12d   Composer‘s verse in melody on air (10)
STRAVINSKY — V(erse) contained in a melody or tune preceding (citing Chambers 21st Century Dictionary) “the space above and around the Earth, where birds and aircraft fly”

15d   Shoving elbow catching good person, not a jot upset (8)
JOSTLING — a verb meaning to knock or nudge slightly wrapped around both the usual good person and the reversal (upset) of a word denoting ‘not a jot’

17d   What covers stone over a plot’s head? (7)
EPITAPH — this is a true all-in-one clue in which the entire clue is both wordplay and definition; as wordplay, we have a short exclamation used to request that a question or remark, etc be repeated that is wrapped around the stone from a fruit such as a cherry, the letter A from the clue, and the initial letter (head) of Plot

19d   Record is mounted European officer’s letter (7)
EPISTLE — link together a sparsely-populated phonograph record, the word IS from the clue, and a reversal (mounted in a down clue) of E(uropean) and an abbreviated army or navy officer

20d   Manage OK with Dame Lively (4,2)
MAKE DO — an anagram (lively) of OK DAME

23d   Fine blue stream (4)
FLOW — F(ine) and blue or depressed

As favourite today, I will go with 17d — which I only realized was an all-in-one while writing the review.


43 comments on “DT 29112

  1. ProXimal always leaves out the X so I assume this was him. Not as tricky as some of his crosswords.

    Thanks to Falcon and Mr X

  2. 3*/4.5*. I do like the alternating combo on Thursdays combo of proXimal and RayT. They have very different styles but both are consistently excellent. Today’s highly enjoyable challenge is without doubt the work of Mr X – almost a pangram, just missing an X!
    There were a handful of clues where it was reasonably easy to come up with the answer but for which the parsing took quite a bit of unravelling.
    Many thanks to proXimal and to Falcon.

  3. I too found this difficult ( ***/* for difficulty and enjoyment). For once, I noticed the developing pangram and thought of ProXimal , since the X was missing. Thank you Falcon for the hints to 16a, 25a and 12d, which I had bunged in but not completely parsed. I did particularly enjoy 1d and the anagram of 7d. I thought 16a was very clever too, once I caught on to the middle bit, after reading tge hints. Thanks to Proximal for the mental gymnastics.

  4. All went swimmingly until I reached the SW corner where I spent quite some time parsing 15d and 16A, going for a 3.5/4*
    Thanks to Falcon for the 60s explanation which eluded me in 5d.
    The puzzle was certainly well clued and a rewarding solve.
    Thanks setter.

  5. Looking for the last missing two of a pangram (J and X) helped me complete the few remaining in the SW, but 15d was still a bung in (as was 13a) so thanks to Falcon for the parsing of those two. Reversed and top ‘n tail synonyms. Hey ho.

    Podium places to 14a, 16a and 9d. ***/**** for me. Thanks to Setter and Falcon.

    Stay cool today everybody!

  6. Funny, I found this much easier than yesterday’s puzzle. Still don’t really understand 16d. My Kindle had 16a as 3,1,3,3 and then I switched to the paper which made more sense. Anyway thanks to all

    1. As there is no 16d, I am not sure if you are confused about 16a or 15d (so will provide parsing for both).

      16a {NE (outsiders from NicE) + SOWN (broadcast)} contained in (in) OMAN (Arab state)

      15d JOG (elbow) containing (catching) {ST (good person) + reversal (upset) of NIL (not a jot)}

  7. As others have found, it was the parsing rather than finding the answers that took up much of my time – particularly with 15&17d.

    Favourite here was the 12d composer.

    Many thanks to proXimal for another excellent puzzle and to Falcon for the review – enjoy the sunshine, I’m off to determine whether I can possibly fit inside the fridge!

  8. I had the grid filled in *** time, but the parsing took a little longer. In fact, I needed the hints for 5d and 9d (design=end?).

    I had heard of the dishes in 18a, but where from, I don’t know.

    Many thanks to ProXimal and Falcon.

    1. My knowledge of the dish comes from dining at an exceptionally good Greek restaurant in Manchester – maybe you’ve been there?!!

      1. Jane, despite living 8 miles from the city centre, I haven’t eaten there in the last 10 years.

        However, I did visit Greece, once, about 15 years ago!

        1. I visited Greece some 14 years ago an enjoyed some delicious 18a. Perhaps you remembereating some too?

      1. Very rewarding puzzle today, managed in two sessions with the exception of 16a and 15d. Thanks for the options for design as I had the answer, sure it was right, but could not see why.

  9. I thought this crossword was a bit of a curate’s egg; there were a few clues that were immediate and others where the grey cells had to really work. Great fun to do regardless. In keeping with today’s weather 25a is my top clue.
    Thanks to proXimal, and to Falcon for the review.

  10. I had a lot of difficulty with this one. Favourite was 14a would never have got it without Falcon’s hint. Was thinking about the wrong duchess. 17d tricky made even trickier by reading plot as pilot. Thanks Falcon for excellent hints also to setter of course.

  11. I thoroughly enjoyed this, even the double definitions were excellent. I found it slightly easier (parsing apart) than yesterday’s and more fun. I’d never heard of 18a but was gettable from the wordplay. Virtually every clue, with the exception of 1d (a horrible word that you don’t hear these days) was worthy of a podium but I’ll go for 14 and 25a plus 2d.
    Many thanks to the setter for a brilliant puzzle and to Falcon for a first rate review.
    Lovely sea breeze here on the SW coast tempering the heat. Stay cool.

  12. Another eXcellent Thursday puzzle. Thank you proXimal and Falcon
    Hot? It’s only 37c here, but beginning to warm up

  13. Excellent puzzle – thanks to proXimal and Falcon. As others have said the Thursday twosome of proXimal and Ray T make it a day to savour.
    I ticked 1a, 25a and 17d but my favourite (for the inventive use of 60s) was 5d.

  14. Enjoyed today’s puzzle 😃 **/**** so often on a Thursday I am left bewildered 😳 Many favourites but if I have to “plump” they are 14a & 16a 😜 Thanks to Falcon and to the MisterX 🤔

  15. I finished the whole of the left hand side, then the right hand side, but like some others, I needed the parsing for some of my bung-ins . Many thanks setter and Falcon.

  16. Cooo…. new website. I like it, Ithink.
    Stuck in a hotel in Riyadh where it’s 45 degrees outside. Crosswords seemed a good plan. I liked this one. Had it all correct but the app still says something amiss. Thanks to Falcon for the confirmations and parsing today. 3*/3*

  17. As with the weather, “whew” … a real challenge, thank you! But assumed somehow that 7a was “freight” and that slowed me down even further.

  18. Quite a few clues eluded my dull brain today. I was pleased that Falcon used metaphorical in his comments on 21a. Perhaps illusion would be a better analogy. Glad to see the new PM was welcomed in 10a.

    Thanks to Falcon and the setter.

  19. Difficult for me this one and I needed a lot of help. I always seemed to have one letter too much or too little. I did like 14a.

    Thanks to all.

  20. Finished but only with the help of a couple of hints. Not my favourite, too many contrived clues for my taste and the use of Line for a lurker indicator is in my opinion very poor.
    Never thought i would say this but i much prefer a Ray T on a Thursday now.
    Thx for the helpful hints.

    1. B, 6d. I think “in” is the lurker indicator – the line of letters for the answer can be found reversed (from South, since it’s a down clue) “in” (or within) the 3rd, 4th and 5th words of the clue.

  21. In having completed this puzzle I looked at it & asked why I found it so difficult, answer was simply I had difficulty in parsing most of the clues. Once again this was at the edge of my pay grade for difficulty, but was a very enjoyable solve.
    Thanks to proXimal & Falcon for direction & assistance.

  22. Completed ‘sans hints’, and for a **** puzzle, I should be happy, but ultimately there were too many lucky ‘stabs’ at the answer. This left me a bit flat, but looking forward to going through some of the parsing.
    I have no problem with tough puzzles. Today I had the time to spend, but I have often thought that it would make sense for the really tricky back pagers to appear on a Monday when there is no Toughie.
    Thanks to Proximal for the challenge and Falcon for unravelling.

  23. Needed the answer to 7d as this was a new word for me. I realised what the anagram was, but it didn’t help.

    I also needed the hints for 16a and 12d to explain what I had solved. Maybe the heat and humidity melted my brain a little…

    ****/*** for me. Thanks to Falcon and the setter.

    1. Pianoforte is the original name for piano.
      Like omnibus/bus or telephone/phone

  24. We found this one more challenging than usual for a back page puzzle and had quite a lot of head scratching to do with several of the parsings. Finding the ‘all but’ pangram confirmed for us who the setter is. Lots of very clever clues here and much appreciated.
    Thanks proXimal and Falcon.

  25. Nowhere near as much fun as yesterday’s super challenge but I battled through in stops and starts over a busy day and finally made the grade. Expecting a pangram tried but obviously failed to use an ‘X’. 16a hung fire until the end and had to resort to a bit of help there as with parsing 5d bung-in. Fav was 12d. Thank you proXimal and Falcon.

  26. Only just finished this after several stabs. Needed hints to parse 9d and 16a but out and out favourite is 5d, genius! Thanks to ProXimal and kudos to Falcon for getting it done in time to publish the review 👏👏👏

  27. Catching up on crosswords this week so did this on Friday. A really excellent puzzle from the X Man, thoroughly enjoyable and pleasantly testing.

    Thanks all.

  28. Also tried to finish this one today and failed miserably.
    Needed at least half the hints.
    No fun for me.

    Thanks to Falcon and to the setter.

  29. An excellent puzzle, quite challenging and very enjoyable – I’d be very happy to have one of these every other Thursday. Fav: 18a – a fair way to clue an obscure (certainly to me) word. 3.5* / 4*

  30. Thank you X. I got 15d quite quickly, but couldn’t fully understand it, indeed the ‘not a jot’ still seems unfair because of the usual meaning. Ho hum.

    1. MR, 15d. But doesn’t “not a jot” usually mean “not at all” or “none at all”, giving NIL (reversed) in the answer?

  31. Felt like a toughie to me. I’m on a relaxing two week staycation so time was not an issue. It took 3 sittings over 2 days to complete but I enjoyed the challenge. I was looking for an X in the last few but now realise why it didn’t appear.
    Thanks to all.

  32. 4*/4*….
    liked 18A “Selection of dishes from Middle East unknown by English (4)”

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