DT 29118 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 29118

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 29118

Hints and tips by pommers

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty *Enjoyment ***

Hola from the Vega Baja. I’m pretty sure that today’s puzzle is from RayT but it must rank as the easiest he’s ever produced.  I have to give it only one star for difficulty because I got twelve out of the sixteen across clues on first pass and then every one of the downs.  The unsolved four of the acrosses then just filled themselves in without much thought.  Hey ho, I suppose you’re all going to tell me how hard it was but I can only call it as I see it.

As usual the ones I liked most are in blue.  The definitions are underlined in the clues and the answers are under the “click here” buttons so don’t click on them unless you really want to see the answer.  Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a           European Union supporter seizing opening at last (10)
EVENTUALLY:  Start with the two letters for the European Union and then a supporter and insert (seizing) an opening or aperture.  This was one of the ones I missed on first pass.

6a           Get oxen advancing, driving initially (4)
GOAD:  The first letters (initially) of the other words in the clue will give you something you may use to get your oxen to advance.

9a           Swollen, we hear, producing bellyache (5)
GROAN:  This bellyache or moan sounds like (we hear) a word meaning swollen or got bigger.

10a         Huge riots turned out to be justified (9)
RIGHTEOUS:  Anagram (turned out to be) of HUGE RIOTS.  Here’s some brothers of that ilk . . .

12a         Archaic old university undecided about wife (7)
OUTWORN:  O(ld) and U(niversity) followed by a word meaning undecided with W(ife) inserted (about).

13a         Confuse with candid clues occasionally (5)
ADDLE:  Alternate letters (occasionally) from cAnDiD cLuEs.

15a         Dissent could become most derogatory (7)
SNIDEST:  Anagram (could become) of DISSENT.

17a         Place grand in small bet for brag (7)
SWAGGER: Start with S(mall) and then a word for a bet and insert (place . . . in) a G(rand).

19a         Dodgy dealer purchases minute gemstone (7)
EMERALD:  Start with an anagram (dodgy) of DEALER and insert (purchases) an M(inute).

21a         Leaves goalie sprawling after final’s start (7)
FOLIAGE:  F (Final’s start) followed by an anagram (sprawling) of GOALIE

22a         Destitute family put into street (5)
SKINT:  Take the usual two letters for street and insert the usual three letter family.

24a         Flash skin of pectorals showing muscles (7)
TRICEPS:  A flash, as in a very short period of time, followed by PS (skin of PectoralS).

27a         Programme of actors with bad cast (9)
BROADCAST:  Anagram (cast) of ACTORS BAD.

28a         Reportedly hatched offspring (5)
BROOD:  This offspring sounds like (reportedly) a word meaning hatched or plotted.

29a         Language is blunt, losing head (4)
ERSE:  A word for blunt or abrupt without its first letter (losing head).

30a         Drinking red I entertained, taking part (10)
INGREDIENT:  A lurker hidden in (taking) the first four words.


1d           Queen perform accordingly (4)
ERGO:  The usual two letters for HM followed by a word which can mean perform in the sense of function.  So here’s a bit of Queen performing . . .

2d           Save from rising waves? I’m on ocean (9)
ECONOMISE:  Another lurker hidden in (from) the last four words but it’s backwards (rising in a down clue).

3d           Conviction that if overturned doesn’t change (5)
TENET:  This conviction or srticle of faith is a palindrome so it stays the same if overturned.

4d           Bearing left one takes off here? (7)
AIRPORT:  A bearing or demeanour followed by a nautical word for left.

5d           Member’s accepting consequence for fictions (7)
LEGENDS:  A member, not an arm but the other one, followed by the S from the clue with a consequence or result inserted (accepting).

7d           Egg-shaped egg, empty (5)
OVOID:  The letter that looks like an egg followed by a word meaning empty.

8d           Crush pepper finally in food consumed (10)
DISHEARTEN:  Some food, or perhaps the vessel it’s served in, followed by a word meaning consumed with an R (peppeR finally) inserted (in)

11d         Labour dawdle assuming a victory (7)
TRAVAIL:  Nothing to do with a political party but labour as in work.  It’s a word meaning to dawdle or lag behind with the A from the clue and V(ictory) inserted (assuming).

14d         Seeming ordinary, sober around time (10)
OSTENSIBLE: O(rdinary) and a word meaning sober or equable placed around a T(ime).

16d         Ecstatic former partner stopped missing husband (7)
EXALTED:  The usual two letters for an old partner followed by a word meaning stopped but without the H from the beginning (missing Husband).  A slightly unusual meaning of this word but it’s in the dictionary.

18d         Good chap’s sound for Prime Minister (9)
GLADSTONE:  G(ood) followed by a young chap (don’t forget the S) and then a sound or even a colour give a Liberal Prime Minister from the latter half of the nineteenth century.

20d         Alight from French TGV? (7)
DETRAIN:  The French word for FROM followed by what the TGV is an example of, not an acronym but what the TGV really is.  My favourite acronym is TLA which stands for Three Letter Acronym!

21d         Fried food is healthier? That’s about right (7)
FRITTER:  A word for healthier or in better shape with an R(ight) inserted (that’s about . . . ).

23d         Single babes losing heart for stars (5)
IDOLS: The letter for one (single) followed by some babes as in attractive girls without the middle letter (losing heart).

25d         Put in military unit, journalist receives medal (5)
EMBED:  This is a word meaning to assign a journalist to an active military unit.  It’s our usual two letter journalist placed around a medal or honour.

26d         Rise in current is correct (4)
EDIT:  This is a current of the sea but it’s backwards (rise in a down clue).

Not sure about an outright  favourite today but the three on the podium are 1a, 10a and 21a.

Quick crossword pun:     SELL     +     FUSS     +     TEAM     =     SELF ESTEEM

40 comments on “DT 29118

  1. 1.5*/3.5*. I agree with pommers that this was at the easier end of RayT’s spectrum, but nevertheless I very much enjoyed it.
    It’s a pity in 27a that the second part of the answer appears in the clue and I think that 20d is a ghastly word although it is in Chambers.
    1a was my favourite and I loved the video accompanying 1d.
    Many thanks to RayT and to pommers.

  2. It was easy and I’d agree with you, Pommers, on the rating. It was enjoyable, with some clever lurkers. My most enjoyable clues were 28a and 9d. Thanks to Ray T and to Pommers for the hints.

  3. I too think it was easy for a RayT but that’s speaking as a regular dissector of clues for Big Dave’s site. The constructs that used to be a mystery to me are now as clear as crystal. To the ‘normal’ man in the street this will be more difficult. Thanks to Pommers for the review. The clip for Unchained Melody is fine but I cannot and will not listen to the clip at 1d. Their hits never floated my boat at all. Thanks to RayT for the fun. What used to be a day long battle is no longer so.

    1. I regard myself as a “normal man (woman!) in the street” but as was the case for you, the distinctive MP, I too found this to be plain-sailing.

      1. Lying here in my Whipps Cross hospital bed, I was quite pleased with my completing this. An average Ray T I thought………

        My ratings are as those of Jon P,

        Don’t get kidney stones y’all !
        Severest pain.

  4. I’m not always on RayT’s wavelength but today was a different matter and I agree with all previous commentators that this was a straightforward cruciverbal exercise aided by chestnuts, anagrams and lurkers. North went almost straight in then the South soon fell into line. Can’t believe It took me a while to realise 30a and 2d were both lurkers. Liked surface of 20d (RD’s ghastly word!). Thank you RayT and pommers.

  5. Good puzzle – thanks to Ray T and pommers.
    My top clues were 1a, 12a and 24a.
    Like Rabbit Dave I thought that 27a was very odd with the anagram indicator making a second appearance as the last part of the answer. Even Homer nods, as the saying goes.

  6. A fine example of ‘doesn’t have to be difficult to be enjoyable’ although I was a bit slow on the uptake with 1a and, for some reason, 8d.
    Agree with RD’s comments about 27a & 20d but, unlike him, it was the 10a video clip that appealed here!

    Podium places as per Pommers’ choices – 1,10 & 21a.

    Devotions to Mr T and thanks to Pommers for the review.

  7. I didn’t find this as easy as earlier commenters, mainly because I was listening to the test match at the same time which always slows me up. Apart from the rather untidy nature of 27a, this was a very enjoyable romp through crosswordland. The rekrul at 2d was my favourite.

    Thanks to Ray T and pommers.

  8. I can only agree with Pommers, completed in * time, mostly at first pass.

    18d was last one in, so I’ll make it my COTD.

    I’ve got the Quickie pun, but I’m struggling to work on downwards. This might take longer than the cryptic!

    Many thanks to all.

    1. I know what you mean about the quickie – with a cryptic I know when I’ve twigged an answer, with the quickie I have to virtually solve the lot in my head before I write anything in

  9. Once I got going I almost (for me) steamed through this crossword. I t was good fun and the two lurkers at 30a and 2d unusually for me were my favourite clues.
    Thanks to Ray T, and to pommers for the review and the Queen clip.

  10. How strange! I romped through the Toughie and really struggled with this. Perhaps it’s not a good idea to try to do 2 crosswords sequentially but judging by the posts, many of you do just that. Clever.

  11. Not as much fun as the previous days. 27a last one in because I was positive I was missing something. 1a favourite. Ta to all.

  12. As a relative novice, I choose to check my answers every now and then with the online “reveal mistakes” facility. This provides reassurance that I’ve not gone totally astray – or highlights my errors, whichever is appropriate. When I grow up (oops, at 56 I may have left it too late) I want to be like Miffypops and be able to approach a cryptic crossword with that incisive clarity of vision denied to the “normal” man in the street!
    I had to use the error checker to confirm my entry for 27a – I’d thought I couldn’t be right having used so many of the clue letters in the answer. But there it was.
    Lots to smile about, top spot to 21a for misdirection (happens to all goalies, I suspect), and the cleverly concealed lurker at 30a.
    Like many other commenters above, I do not like the word that appears at 20d. It shouldn’t even exist in my view; I’ve never been known to decar, or debike, after all.
    Rant over, back to the cricket.

  13. I agree with most of you, a gentle ride. I liked 21a and worried about 27a for obvious reasons. Thanks to all I enjoy reading your comments.

  14. Doubting that there is anything such as an “easy Ray T”, I surprised myself when 1a went straight in, plus a few more at first pass. 29a and 8d held me up the longest. Thanks to Ray T (but I don’t think I will ever find his easy), and to Pommers. Time to exercise the body now, rather than the grey matter.

  15. Hi – agree with all the comments – can’t see why or how 27a qualifies as a good clue – I know that the last part of the answer, means to ‘move about’ as in, the letters, but surely something like ‘involved’ or ‘result’ or ‘adjusted’ etc, would have been better!

  16. Had to remind myself what everyone above was talking about as I completed this early this morning before the blog time and, yes, agree with the comments both about the awful word at 20d and the strange wording of the clue at 27a.

    Probably my quickest ever solve for a RayT, but enjoyed it very much. Many thanks to him and Pommers.

    Love Unchained Melody, thanks Pommers

  17. As a lurker, I don’t often comment but I thought it was difficult today.
    Strange how one person’s difficult is another’s easy.

  18. Must be slipping, I found the top half a bit ‘sticky’ now it’s assembled though I can’t see why. Must be the position on the planets. Thanks Ray and Pommiers. **/***

  19. All right, since I’m Miss Contrary, I found this the most devilish in recent times. I needed hints for far too many. I thought I was getting on RayT wavelength, oh dear!
    True, I had a dental appointment and had to leave in the middle, but when I returned I gave up.
    I can’t imagine saying “snidest” or “detrain”, but to each his own.
    Fave was 10a, if only for pommers’s clip, loved it.
    Thanks to RayT and to pommers for helping me along.

    1. Not just you. I thought it was a stinker. Took me over an hour. I’m beginning to loathe the way these crossword bloggers airily say things like, ‘An enjoyable romp, with nothing much to trouble us’. Pah! I don’t always believe it, just as I never believe those who say they did a cryptic crossword in three minutes. If, like me, you’re working on the paper edition, you couldn’t even write them all in in that time.

      1. You are falling into the trap of taking other people’s solving experience to heart. Some are seasoned experts so are bound to find the DT backpager easy.
        Just do your own crossword.

        1. Amen, Hoofit. I consider myself a “seasoned solver”, been at it for 60 years plus, I just have a tiny brain and recognise it. Doesn’t bother me at all if I can’t keep up with the big guns, I enjoy hearing what they have to say.

          1. Quite right Merusa, I have been doing these for but a short time and am quite happy to still be pretty useless at it.

    1. Hi Mr T – thanks for popping in. Looks as though the majority managed this one without too much trouble but it was still a most enjoyable puzzle. Many thanks.

  20. We always look forward to RayT’s puzzles and this one did not disappoint. With 27a our first thought was that our answer could not be right as half the answer was in the clue. We think that it was a clever ‘double bluff’ from the setter and so appreciated it as such. Checked the clue word count of course and found it well within limits with a maximum of seven words.
    Thanks RayT and pommers.

  21. Very enjoyable & entertaining, clever wordplay & clues.-1.5*/4*
    Many thanks to a benevolent RayT & Pommers for review

  22. I found this quite tricky and was quite surprised to see the single star rating.

    Enjoyable solve with thanks to pommers and RayT 2.5*/4*

  23. Only just snuck in on the day. I’m with the ones who found it more difficult. Thanks to all.

  24. Thanks to Pommers for the necessary explanations and to Ray T. It’s always lovely when the setters comment too and can see everyone’s appreciation, even if it’s not everyone’s cup of tea. Personally I struggled with this ( what’s new!) but as always I enjoyed it and I always enjoy the comments. A great way to start the day – albeit the following day.

  25. I am with the minority. Earlier in the week was a walk in the park compared to this. I echo comments re 27a and 20d. I took forever to get 8d which gave me 6a. Then another tussle with 14d and the last one in 29a after I had looked up synonyms for blunt. No other hints or aids needed but, and I don’t often say this, not enjoyable for me. I usually have about eight or ten favourites ringed but not this time. Not the humour, majesty and double-entendres I associate with Ray T. Sorry!

  26. Couldn’t finish it, so needed the blog. Just googled ximenian and it raises some interesting points. I have been doing the DT crossword for donkeys years but often need electronic or blog help.

  27. I suppose I got 27a quite quickly but was loath to write in an answer that included a word given in the clue. Doesn’t seem quite cricket somehow.

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