DT 29122 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 29122

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 29122

Hints and tips by Mr K

+ - + - + - + - + - + - + - +

BD Rating  -  Difficulty ** Enjoyment ****

Hello, everyone, and welcome to another Tuesday.  One of the great things about blogging on Tuesday is that with at least four setters compiling puzzles for that slot you're never quite sure what midnight will bring.  Today's puzzle certainly hit the heights for me.  I noted very smooth surfaces, no obscure vocabulary or general knowledge requirements, some nice misdirection, and several smiles during the solve in this exquisitely crafted puzzle.  Setter, if you're reading, please comment below to take a bow.

There was some discussion in last week's blogs about solving times and difficulty ratings.  It got me thinking about doing another survey on readers' experiences with a particular puzzle – solving time, aids used, difficulty rating, etc.. Is there interest out there in participating in a survey like that?  What else should be asked? (For example, I'm curious about what readers consider to be their 1* solving time). 

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

 

Across

1a    Cracking surrounds that, strangely, could be stunning (12)
BREATHTAKING:  A synonym of cracking contains (surrounds) an anagram (… strangely) of THAT

9a    Where ships are, mostly (2,3,4)
IN THE MAIN:  Taken literally, the answer could describe where ships are found

10a   Minimum of gaiety in terrible, sad song (5)
DIRGE:  The first letter of (minimum of) Gaiety is inserted in terrible or dreadful

11a   Friend adjusted part of camera (6)
FINDER:  An anagram (adjusted) of FRIEND

12a   Wine to drink in, blow it! (8)
CLARINET:  A type of red wine containing (to drink) IN from the clue

13a   Colour  likely to run? (6)
YELLOW:  The colour associated with cowardice

15a   Records go in work of art (8)
TAPESTRY:  Some recordings not on vinyl or CD are followed by a go or attempt

18a   Moderated part of articles, often edited (8)
SOFTENED:  The answer is hiding as part of the remainder of the clue

19a   Instructions to trim edges at the front (6)
ORDERS:  Some edges or verges with their first letter deleted (to trim … at the front

21a   Priest's possible vow to repair a bicycle (8)
CELIBACY:  An anagram (to repair) of A BICYCLE

23a   Male  lumberjack (6)
FELLER:  This informal word for a man could, cryptically, also describe what a lumberjack is

26a   Material containing nitrogen from a bodily organ (5)
RENAL:  Material or actual containing the chemical symbol for nitrogen

27a   Problem with vision has arisen, yet to be corrected (9)
EYESTRAIN:  An anagram (… to be corrected) of ARISEN YET.  The picture is static, not animated.  More like it here

28a   New charity baked something sweet for a special occasion (8,4)
BIRTHDAY CAKE:  An anagram (new) of CHARITY BAKED.  This is what happens when the shop takes decorating instructions literally

 

Down

1d    Insect going underneath cheese for a moment (7)
BRIEFLY:  An insect comes after (going underneath, in a down clue) a French cheese

2d    A number under three finally put away (5)
EATEN:  A from the clue and a number between nine and eleven both come after (under, in a down clue) the last letter of threE (three, finally)

3d    So touchy, second to go under the judge (9)
THEREFORE:  After a synonym of touchy or painful has the abbreviation for second deleted (second to go), it's placed after (under, in a down clue) both THE from the clue and an informal word for judge or umpire

4d    Duck taking drink on lake (4)
TEAL:  A morning drink is followed by (on, in a down clue) the map abbreviation for lake

5d    Relatives terribly regal in play (4,4)
KING LEAR:  Put together one's relatives and an anagram (terribly) of REGAL

6d    Lowest point where drain needs repairing (5)
NADIR:  An anagram (… needs repairing) of DRAIN

7d    Dark-haired female animal circling land (8)
BRUNETTE:  An animal or beast containing (circling) land or capture

8d    Nobility recorded item under leadership of Gladstone (6)
GENTRY:  An item recorded in a list, perhaps, comes after (under, in a down clue) the first letter (leadership) of Gladstone

14d   Saver, 50% off lion and cougar, say? (8)
LIFELINE:  One half (50% off) of LIon and the type of animal which cougar defines by example (cougar, say?)

16d   Seriously premature, where chicks are being nursed (9)
EARNESTLY:  A synonym of premature has a place where chicks are found inserted (… being nursed) in it

17d   On time, trains transported container? (3,5)
TEA CHEST:  Before the physics symbol for time comes trains or educates

18d   Home Counties remedy, safe (6)
SECURE:  Cement together the usual abbreviation associated with the Home Counties and a synonym of remedy

20d   Medical device empty say, call nurse at last (7)
SYRINGE:  Concatenate the outer letters (empty …) of SaY, call on the telephone, and the last letter of nursE (nurse, at last)

22d   Spicy dish eaten by cannibal, Timothy! (5)
BALTI:  The answer is hiding in (eaten by) the remainder of the clue

24d   Source of yarn a shopping centre used up (5)
LLAMA:  A from the clue and a shopping centre are joined and reversed (used up, in a down clue)

25d   Star  element (4)
LEAD:  A double definition to finish.  A dense chemical element is also the star or principal in a play, for example

 

Thanks to today’s setter for a most enjoyable solve.  On the podium today I had 15a, 3d, 7d, 14d, and 24d, all sitting just a notch below 21a, my favourite clue in this fine puzzle.  Which clues did you like best?

 


The Quick Crossword pun:  HOOT + TURN + ANNIE = HOOTENANNY


90 comments on “DT 29122
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  1. I agree that 21a is an outstanding favourite this morning. The whole puzzle was a delight from start to finish and a perfect example of a crossword that can be fairly straightforward but hugely entertaining and enjoyable,

    Thanks to both Misters involved in today’s production.

  2. Thanks to the setter (I wonder if it’s Chris Lancaster?) and to Mr Kitty for the review and hints. I enjoyed this one very much, I agree that the surfaces were good. Just needed the hints to parse the last three letters of 3d. Last in was 16d. I liked 17&23d and 23a, but my favourite was 21a. Great fun, was 2*/4* for me.

  3. Perfectly balanced and fairly clued enigma today which was a joy to solve. Lazily bunged in a couple of semi-parsed clues viz. 3d and 7d. Liked surface of 27a. Thank you Mysteron whoever you may be and MrK.

  4. Tricky for me with some head scratching required for completion at a gallop – **/**.
    Silvanus’ repetition radar will have blown several fuses over the overuse of ‘under’ in the Downs, especially if the ‘disguised’ underneath in 1d is included. I wonder what Prolixic would say if this was a Rookie puzzle.
    11a was disappointing – a camera with a viewfinder not a finder.
    Thanks to the setter and Mr K.
    P.S. The Dada Chalicea Toughie was much more enjoyable for me.

    • That’s strange Senf . . . The Toughie in my paper is by Chalicea, not one of Dada’s puzzles. Btw, I loved today’s back page cryptic, most enjoyable. Many ‘smile’ moments during my solving. Thank you setter & Mr K.
      Your latest survey suggestion gets the thumbs up from me, Mr K. :-)

      • Well, at 01:30am UK time, the DT Puzzle site listing said Dada, now it says Chalicea and Dada is shown for next Tuesday. So, the Chalicea Toughie was much more enjoyable for me.

    • Hi, Senf. I agree that repetition is best avoided, but I’m not sure that out here it is quite the sin that it is in Rookie Corner (which is as it should be, because a goal of RC is to instill good habits). I once blogged a puzzle on a different day that used “up” as a reversal indicator in four of the down clues. Only me and one other poster even seemed to notice.

  5. Agree wholeheartedly a lovely crossword 😃 **/**** plenty of clever clues but easily solvable 👍 Favourites are 1a and 12a Thanks to Mr K and to the Setter. Special thanks to Mr K for selecting a fine photo of the American Green-winged Teal rather than our more common (Eurasian) Teal 😉

      • I make it a male Eurasian teal, the blue winger looks very different. Jane or Kath (I can’t remember which, like me, is the birder) can confirm.

          • The white bar showing on the left hand side in the picture is diagnostic – definitely a green-winged Teal. It is a N. American species but has become quite a regular across W. Europe and is certainly now assumed to be breeding in the UK.

  6. Great puzzle but tricky in places. Found 3d difficult – still don’t really understand it. COTD 7d – lovely pussypic!. Last in 19a, couldn’t get right edges. Thank you Mr.K and setter.

    • A synonym for “so” is the answer. You should have got the first two 3 letter words. I guess it is third one which stumped you like me and several others. You have to take “s” off a word for touchy. Not very obvious to me anyway!

  7. I thought this was excellent and, like Heno, I wondered whether the hand of our puzzles editor could be detected.
    21a was certainly a worthy winner today but I laughed the most over the male lumberjack who probably comes under the heading of ‘oldie but goodie’.

    Many thanks to our setter and to Mr K for the blog and illustrations. The 27a vision problem example put me in mind of those Magic Eye books that were so popular some years ago and it was fascinating to see the pie chart detailing how the famous bard disposed of his characters. Sad to note that the most favoured method is the same as the one currently plaguing our streets.

    Quite happy to partake in the survey you suggested, Mr K, although my solving times probably only fall into two categories – a) that was fine b) crikey, that took a while. Perhaps those of us whose lives are no longer ruled by the clock have no reason to actually time ourselves?

    • I got briefs for 19a too, although there was no way to parse it and couldnt parse the end of 3d either. It’s niceto know that I am not the only one.

  8. 2*/4*. This was not too taxing but very enjoyable with accurate wordplay and smooth surfaces throughout.
    21a was my favourite, with 15a, 23a, 3d & 14d battling it out for the other podium positions.
    Many thanks to Messrs R&K.

    P.S. Mr K / BD, the Home link has disappeared from the top menu. If there is no technical reason for its removal, could it be replaced please?

  9. I think I did this in 1* time Mr K but can’t tell you without breaking a rule. It took me longer than yesterday which I also considered to be well within 1* time especially when I remembered I caught the train 25 minutes after I thought. You will have to let us know how we can answer your questions and divulge information to you. I thought an excellent puzzle and hints which I did not use save for a couple of parsings. 13a which I should have been able to parse and 3d. Last three in were 15a 16d and 19a in that order. Lots of favourites all or most different from Mr K so I’ll choose one each way – 23a and 16d but 14d pretty awesome too

  10. Yep, a fine puzzle which I too suspect is the work of Mr Lancaster. Like Senf, and being a photography enthusiast, I had only ever come across viewfinder or rangefinder, so thanks for looking it up Jane

    I would be happy with another survey Mr K though I suspect the solving times would pretty much match the ‘how many puzzles do you solve per week’ results, but I might be surprised
    To nail difficulty ratings once and for all would be a good thing. Not sure how you’d go about it, but it would be interesting to see what types of clue are favoured and the criteria ie what makes the ideal clue; surface, simplicity, misdirection, amusing cryptic definitions, hidden in plain sight (d’oh!), puns, unusual meanings, chop n change clues etc. Perhaps an example of a memorable favourite clue? Views on obscurities in the clues or the answers? How much GK is acceptable to most? Just some suggestions

    Many thanks to Mr Ron and Mr K for the blog and yes, *and a bit / ****

  11. Reasonably straightforward but hugely enjoyable. Most of you seem to have liked 21a the best. I don’t particularly like anagrams so I’ll agree to like it but won’t give it top billing. My favourites were 3d, 16d and 20d in no particular order. Off to the Toughie now, barring interruptions.

    Yes, Mr K, I’d be interested in that survey.

  12. A very enjoyable crossword (****) of moderate difficulty (**). It had a good selection of different types of clue with anagrams, a lurker and double meanings and I agree with Mr K that it is good to have a puzzle that depends so little on GK. I particularly liked 1a and 16d. Thanks for the hints. I had two bung-ins, one right and 19a, which I couldn’t completely parse. Thanks to the setter also.

  13. Those of us (OK, me) who struggle with the crossword can only be impressed by the skill and confidence of the other bloggers. How I’d like to use words like moderate difficulty, reasonably straight forward, not too difficult. Sadly eventually I finished the NE, NW and SW corners but the SE corner remained a mystery until Mr K came to the rescue.
    Thanks Mr K and the setter for my daily dose of frustration!

    • Don’t worry, SJ, we’ve all been there, done that, and return there on a fairly regular basis! You just need to battle on, go with the flow and enjoy your occasional victories.

    • Hi, S-J, and thanks for that honest account of your solve. It’s certainly not just you who struggles with the crosswords. I know that there will be hundreds, if not thousands, of readers out there nodding their heads in agreement with your comment. The early commenters are naturally going to be those who were able to solve most of the puzzle easily. One reason I’m thinking about another survey on solving experience is to provide some reassurance on that point. Last time I did one, the majority of solvers took more than an hour to solve the puzzle and 90% of solvers used some kind of aid to find the answers and/or parse the clues. Only a small percentage of blog readers are managing a fast unaided solve.

      • Hi Mr K – I think ‘early commenters’ also encompasses those who are no longer constrained by the demands of getting to work, sorting out children etc. and also the night owls (and overseas contributors) who have DT subscriptions and can access the puzzles from midnight onwards.
        Perhaps there needs to be a question in the survey that sheds some light on that?

        • You’re right Jane, there are so many permutations. For myself, I’m in bed fast asleep at midnight after my quota of Famous Grouse, the last thing on my mind is a crossword!

        • When I began solving DT crosswords, I nearly gave up after the number of times I struggled for hours getting nowhere, only to read “another easy * stroll”, assuming I was just thick. Luckily I didn’t give up and have got to good level thanks to this site. As a consequence I never assign stars to a puzzle.
          Stick with it SJ.
          P.S. I’m probably still thick though.

      • Thanks everyone. No longer disheartened.
        Onwards and upwards to tomorrow’s challenge which I expect to complete in record time!

      • Thanks for those words of wisdom and comfort Mr K. Very consoling for those of us who rarely see a puzzle solved without aids of all the types available. When we do it is a cause for celebration. I can’t remember the last celebration I had but then I am well past retirement age.

        • Hi, Corky. I believe that what you’re describing is the experience of most solvers of these puzzles. Blogs like this get around 6000 views on the first day, so those commenting here are a tiny fraction of the site readership. I suspect that those who had an untroubled solve are more likely to post about it than those who turned to some form of aid.

          Perhaps a few readers in that category can delurk today and tell us about their experience with the puzzle?

  14. Another enjoyable solve. 3d fell into place but I wasn’t sure how. Thanks Mr K for the
    explanation. The only complaint came from my wife who loves cats and enjoys looking at the cat pictures and short videos. Only one picture of a cat in 🐱 today’s blog. My favourite, therefore, 14d, Li + Feline. 🦇

      • Many thanks Mr K. The monkey 🐵 in 11a was cute though. Looking forward to starting today’s in a few hours. I’m in the GMT + 12 time zone (mostly) so I get a good head start😜. Cheers 🦇

          • Actually Fiji Mr K. I work out here for 18 days and back to Brisbane (or the Gold Coast) for 12 my days off each month. My wife, a retired fashion designer, comes with me most of the time. She comes in very handy for the ‘coarse material’ type of clues. On the subject of NZ, my surname is the namesake of the town where I think the Two Kiwis live on the Manawatu Coast. I became a fan of cryptics many years ago while living in Hong Kong (21 years there). I found the Times which appears in the South China Morning Post too hard. It’s still a very good day for me if I solve one of those. I switched to the Hong Kong Standard which carries the DT. These crosswords are about two weeks behind the UK and sadly not numbered. I stumbled across the Big Dave blog when I googled a clue for help. It’s an excellent web site and all of you do a fantastic job. Best regards, FF

            • Thanks for sharing that interesting history, FF. It turns out that I know your namesake town in New Zealand.

              (You went into moderation because you inserted your real name in place of your screen name. I’ve changed it back because I wasn’t sure if that was deliberate.)

  15. I agree, an exquisitely crafted puzzle, indeed. I loved it and only needed help to unravel 7d – of course, “net” means land when fishing, missed that.
    Another puzzle giving trouble finding a fave, but 14d tickled me, maybe ‘cos of the cats.
    Thank you setter, I’d love to know who you are, and thanks to Mr. K for his usual fun review. I’ll go with the survey, though I my guess is that I’ll rather “up” your solving times.

  16. Big thanks to Setter for providing this very enjoyable puzzle. Just needed one hint from Mr K, 3d, mainly because I never figured out the definition. Otherwise all my own work today, so very happy. The perfect level for this solver.

  17. I completed this before leaving the house this morning and have had to have another quick look to remind myself. I had the same comment about the camera part as others but accept it’s in the BRB.

    I needed Mr. K to parse the last three letters of 3d for me and once he had, unlike him, I did not like it. I would note equate touchy with sore.

    Apart from those I really liked it and finished in reasonable time.

    I look forward to your survey Mr. K. Thanks to you and the setter.

    • Hi, Margaret. I wasn’t wild about touchy = sore, which is why in the hint I gave painful as another synonym. Chambers does list touchy under its definitions for sore, which makes the equivalence legal in crosswordland.

  18. This crossword was almost slick; everything fell into place so smoothly.
    14d was my favourite clue.
    I have to say that I agree with Hoofit. Doing a crossword against the clock is not my idea of fun, so I stopped giving time indications ages ago!
    Thanks to the setter, and to Mr K for the review and picture show.

      • If it helps, I always tackle the crossword last thing at night, polishing off the queries the following morning. If I may say – with a little lack of modesty, I rarely need hints. Thus, I guess – from reading the daily comments, that most solvers are racing against their personal clock.
        Another great puzzle, where answers have to be contrived in order to understand the clue!

  19. Very much enjoyed this puzzle – only really held up by 15a and 19a, which I resorted to help with. Like others not keen on the camera part, in spite of it being in the BRB but loved 21a and 16d. Thanks to the setter and Mr K. I’d be interested in your survey, Mr K. I’ve been doing this crossword every day for quite a lot of years and it still almost always takes me hours (sometimes days), usually over several sessions, so it’s quite difficult to tell exactly how long. PS I also loved 14d.

    • Hi, Sarah. We learned from the last survey that some solvers like to spend as long as it takes to get as far as they possibly can without using any aids, whereas others will turn to aids much earlier to get the solve completed quickly. There’s no right approach of course – we’re all different. In my view, the only thing that matters is that solving, however you do it, is rewarding.

  20. Great puzzle, picked it up several times during the day, however needed the hint for 3d for last one in. Lovely anagram at 21a!

  21. Another vote from me for the brilliant 16d. Great puzzle but couldn’t figure out the ore bit of 3d by myself. Thank you to all concerned.

    • Hi, Celia. The ORE bit in 3d was the last parse that I worked out. Sore is not an obvious synonym of touchy, and my first thought that the O was either “touchy second” or “second to go”. It was only after that approach went nowhere that I started thinking about whether ORE could be a word with S deleted. I suspect that I’m not alone in being misdirected like that.

  22. Finished relatively quickly this morning and would be interested in a survey showing timings for completion plus methodology and/or habits of approach .

    My joint favourites 21A & 23A .

    Thanks to everyone.

  23. A superb exercise in crossword setting tonight, congratulations to our setter!
    21ac a favourite & 1ac to note.
    I’m always interested in timings of fellow solvers & as a one who does struggle on occasions I would be happy to hear what our more accomplished bloggers regard as standard for each time segment.
    2*/4.5* for me tonight ( I nearly always do the crossword after dinner)
    Many thanks to setter & MrK for his review.

  24. Hooray!!!!
    For the first time ever, I managed to finish the crossword with no help, ( well OK needed help with just one clue), just me, my dictionary and my trusty thesaurus.
    Think I’ll have a glass of wine to celebrate!

  25. I enjoyed this one. Re the illustration to 28a where the baker must have been told “to put
    nothing on the cake”, I have a story that I hope will amuse you. the company I worked for many years ago
    was hosting a golf day. The supplier of golf balls-which were to be a gift to the invitees – was instructed
    “Put the Company Logo on Them”. Many dozens of golf balls arrived, each stamped “The Company Logo”.
    The red -faced event organiser then had to make clear what the company’s logo was and all was well on the day.
    The same organiser thus had a supply of golfballs each labelled “The Company Logo” which he is still using
    some 40 years later.

  26. Our biggest hold up was parsing the last part of 3d. SORE for TOUCHY was not a synonym that came to mind readily so we took the second of TOUCHY to be the O but that left us RE to be explained. Eventually the light dawned. We also started with BRIEFS for 19a. All good fun and part of the pleasure of solving cryptics.
    In regard to the proposed survey, our reservations have to do with making the process into a competition to do them as quickly as possible. We have used the analogy before but we regard it as like eating a gourmet meal. They are things to be savoured and enjoyed. A long discussion on how long one has taken to eat it is quite pointless in our view. There is so much more going for a good crossword than a quick solve.
    Thanks Mr Ron and Mr K.

    • I agree 100% with 2Kiwis’ second paragraph, in fact I have used the meal analogy myself. The difficulty ratings I use on my blogs are not based on time (because I don’t time my solving) but on a general impression of relative difficulty (relative to other puzzles of the same type, e.g. Toughies).

      • I agree with both of you and I try to assign difficulty ratings based on my feeling about difficulty relative to the average puzzle. I don’t solve with a timer running.

        The reason I’m thinking about collecting data on solving times is that some blog comments apparently suggest to many readers that puzzles are being solved unaided in a few minutes. Those readers therefore feel that if they use a dictionary or take an hour or two or more to fill the grid they are in some way inadequate. I want data to prove that they’re not.

        • That’s exactly what I thought you wanted to demonstrate, which is a good idea for the reasons you give
          In agreement with 2Ks, Gazza, Angellov and yourself Mr K

        • I think it is interesting to know what is considered a quick solve. I think we all have different ideas. Perhaps some people use the hints and electronic help. That is no fun and would not give me a sense of achievement. I often look up synonyms if one doesn’t spring to mine and also check an unfamiliar word. Sometimes I am left with, say, three clues I can’t solve. Usually if I take a break or sleep on it they come to me but not akways

          • I agree, so I’ll probably ask either what readers consider to be a quick solve or the solving time they associate with a 1* difficulty puzzle.

    • Hear, hear re the survey. Who cares about solving times or methods used. “It’s only a game” after all and surely most of us do it just for fun. 🙂

  27. I am another that doesn’t comment often and rarely has the time to finish much before late afternoon. For me this was one of the most enjoyable puzzles for a long time, lovely balance between difficulty and enjoyment As with others had trouble initially parsing 3D. Favs 12a and 20d. Thanks to all

  28. Mr K,

    Talking of solving times …

    The puzzles.telegraph site gives the Best Time for this puzzle as 1m 40s … impossible … so why bother?

    • I think the idea is to demonstrate just that; how irrelevant solving times are Stan.
      Likewise the difficulty rating, it’s a general overview opinion, not really a scientific measure of difficulty. I’m happy to disagree with the rating if I find a puzzle to be otherwise
      I don’t get why anyone would time themselves and then brag about it unless they were self-satisfying braggards
      1m 40s – my posterior

      • Exactly. I want to show that most solvers are taking much longer to finish the puzzle than some of the comments here imply, so readers who are worried by that should not feel discouraged.

        I agree with you about solving against the clock. I believe that the pleasure to be had in claiming here a “read and write” solve is boasting about it, because there cannot have been much joy in that solve.

    • Hi, stan. These days most of the cryptics have a roughly 100s Best Time very soon after, if not when, they are published. My guess is that’s somebody at Telegraph Puzzles typing in the answers from a solution and submitting them as a check that the puzzle has been uploaded correctly. 3 seconds per clue cannot be a real solving time.

      It does have the fortunate side effect of rendering futile any attempts to get actual solving times listed as the fastest.

    • I agree StanXYZ. I don’t know how it works but perhaps if you read it first and worked out the answers before switching the timer on!

  29. 2*/4*……
    COD 21A “priest’s possible vow to repair a bicycle (8)” …
    the quickie pun was a new word for me.

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