DT 29124 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 29124

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 29124

Hints and tips by Kath

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BD Rating — Difficulty ****Enjoyment ****

Hello everyone. Hmmm – I’m not sure if it’s one of those ‘just me’ days or if this really was tricky. For two reasons I’m almost certain that it’s by proXimal – the first is that, as far as I know, his main trademark when setting is that it’s a pangram apart from the letter X (which it is) and the second is that I always find him really difficult (which I did!)

In the hints the definitions are underlined and the actual answer is hidden under ANSWER.

Please leave a comment telling us how you got on today.


1a        Jets parking in the open aboard ship (6)
SPOUTS — The abbreviation for P[arking] followed by a little word meaning ‘in the open’ go inside the usual two letters for a S[team] S[hip]

5a        Moved coal into site (8)
LOCATION —  An anagram (moved) of COAL INTO

9a        Traveller’s support worker in Amazon, perhaps (10)
BACKPACKER — A synonym for support or second is followed by a worker in Amazon – maybe someone who gets parcels ready to be sent out

10a       Recognised audio version of novel (4)
KNEW — A homophone (audio version) of novel or original

11a       Battered cod wasn’t wretched (8)
DOWNCAST — An anagram (battered) of COD WASN’T – a bit difficult to know which was the anagram indicator and which was the definition in this one

12a       Restricted eastern vessel if coming west (6)
FINITE — The abbreviation for E[astern] a vessel, or container, and the IF from the clue are all reversed (coming west)

13a       Regularly provided help, never pointed weapon (4)
EPEE — The even letters (regularly provided) of the third and fourth words of the clue

15a       Electronic help to resolve: insect that might be African (8)
ELEPHANT — Start with the abbreviation for E[lectronic], follow that with an anagram (to resolve) of HELP and finish off with a small insect

18a       Sports equipment bowled unduly leftwards in lapse (8)
FOOTBALL — The ‘crickety’ abbreviation for B[owled], and a reversal (leftwards) of another word for ‘unduly’ go inside a synonym for lapse or decline

19a       Boy going round yard snooping (4)
NOSY — A reversal (going round) of a boy or a male offspring is followed by the abbreviation for Y[ard]

21a       Country of pronounced beauty and calm (6)
BELIZE — Two homophones (pronounced) here – the first is one of a beauty or good looker and the second is for calm or restful

23a       Smooth tongue of Parisian backfiring (8)
POLISHED — An eastern European tongue or language is followed by a reversal (backfiring) of the French word for ‘of’

25a       Crack gadgeteer well-versed about foremost of instruments (4)
QUIP — This ‘crack’ is a short witty retort – begin with the chap who was responsible for James Bond’s gadgets (gadgeteer) and follow that with well-versed or in the know which contains (about) the first letter (foremost) of I[struments]. This one caused grief – quite a lot of it too – the answer had to be what it was but it took me ages to see why – I was almost on the point of ‘callling in the troops’ to explain it to me.

26a       Hold off undoing treat, reward Romeo’s left (5,5)
TREAD WATER — An anagram (undoing) of TREAT REWARD without the letter in the phonetic alphabet indicated by ‘Romeo’ (Romeo’s left)

27a       Allow one day to gather one hundred plants (8)
LETTUCES — A synonym for allow or permit is followed by the abbreviation for a day in the week (the one that follows Monday) which contains (to gather) the Roman numeral for one hundred

28a       Really, it is always thus (4,2)
EVER SO — Another way of saying ‘it is always’ or permanently is followed by a little word that means ‘thus’ or in this way



2d        Greek dish unfinished, starter of olives (5)
PLATO — A five letter dish or bowl has its last letter removed (unfinished) and is followed by the first letter (starter) of O[lives]

3d        Some drunk in destitution is most cruel (9)
UNKINDEST — A ‘lurker’ or a hidden answer which is indicated by the first word of the clue

4d        Insect initially sucks croup on horse (6)
SCARAB — The first letters (initially) of S[ucks] and C[roup] are followed (on) by a breed of horse

5d        Quickly enjoy appreciative audience (4,3,8)
 LIKE THE CLAPPERS — A slang or informal way of saying very fast – another way of saying enjoy or take delight in is followed by what an audience could be called – oh dear – this is one of those times to quit while I’m winning . . .  

6d        Not worried about a heartless official (8)
CAREFREE — The two letter Latin abbreviation that means ‘about’ is followed by an official in a football game without his middle letter (heartless)

7d        Kite’s wings parting to beat makes us delighted (5)
TAKEN — The first and last letters of K[it]E go in the middle (parting) of a verb to beat or thrash

8d        Suggestions from open individuals (9)
OVERTONES — A synonym for open or evident is followed by another word for individuals or singles

14d      Way bats reproduce (9)
PROCEDURE — An anagram (bats) of REPRODUCE

16d      Gives swimmer greeting (9)
HANDSHAKE — Gives or passes to someone is followed by an edible fish (swimmer) which is a bit like a cod


17d      Graduate in charge brings in 25 grand (8)
MAJESTIC — The two letter abbreviation for a graduate of the arts and another two letter abbreviation for I[n] C[harge] contain (brings in) a synonym for the answer to 25a

20d      Gunk from mishandled glue’s covering daughter (6)
SLUDGE — An anagram (mishandled) of GLUE’S goes round (covering) the abbreviation for D[aughter]

22d      Enter president’s home moved to the north (5)
INPUT — The Russian president – put the last couple of letters of his name at the beginning (home moved to the north)

24d      Female animal, ravenous, emptied containers (5)
EWERS — A female sheep is followed by the first and last letters (emptied) of R[avenou]S

I thought this was a really good crossword but I still think that it was difficult. I particularly appreciated 9, 21 and 25a and 14d. My favourite was 5d. I also liked the Quickie Pun.


61 comments on “DT 29124

  1. Mr X really has fitted beautifully into the every-other-Thursday slot. I thought that this was an excellent and very enjoyable puzzle – thanks to the setter and Kath.
    My top picks were 9a, 5d and 6d.
    I had most problems with the Quickie pun because I’ve never heard of the answer.

    1. Lucky you – some of us have been stuck with an earworm since solving the Quickie pun

  2. When four answers went straight into the top left with very little cogitation I thought this was going to be an easy solve. Well I was wrong, the rest took the normal amount of thought and was extremely enjoyable for that.

    I think my favourite is 15a, but it could be 5d.

    Very many thanks Kath and setter

  3. It definitely was very tricky ,Kath. It wasn’t just you. I managed to finish it but in twice the average time so it was **** for difficulty for me. I quite enjoyed the brain exercise but felt that some of the clues were too wordy. This enhanced misdirection but hindered comprehension so enjoyment was only ***. I liked 5d and18 a best. Thank you, Kath for helping me parse my 2 bung- ins (7d and 22d). Thank you to ProXimal for a very challenging puzzle.

  4. I thought it was tricky to get started but then once I got going… mind you it is Mr X so that’s to be expected – I thought the ‘Greek dish…’ in 1d was excellently misleading – took a while for the drachma to drop on that one

    Thanks to Mr X for the crossword and Kath for the blog

  5. Liked 5D , however , some other clues were over complicated in my opinion . Glad to finish but did not enjoy particularly .

    Thanks to all .

  6. If I had noticed that it was nearly a pangram, I miught have persevered with the SW corner, rather than giving up and coming here for some assistance.

    Overall rating **** from me.

    Thanks to ProXimal and Kath.

  7. Certainly pretty tough but doable, albeit there were a few bung-ins with parsing afterwards. I think I have to go with 5d as my favourite, although there were cleverer and more complex clues that stood out. Almost too difficult to be genuinely enjoyable.

    Many thanks to the X Man and well done to Kath.

  8. A steady solve for me today and I made a note of **/**** following completion.
    Some teasing parsing ,must admit that I failed to parse 25a-thanks Kath.
    Last in was 21 across, good job I had the checking letters to assist-brought a smile.
    Going for 9a as my favourite as it was cunningly misleading.

  9. Quite a packed podium here with 9,15,21&25a plus 6d all jockeying for position. Way out in front is 5d which really made me laugh.

    Many thanks to proXimal for the fun and to Kath for a great blog – very impressed that you knew about the Quickie pun but, having listened on YouTube, I’m rather glad that I didn’t!

  10. The top half positively flew in for me but the bottom, particularly the SW took a lot more head scratching. 17d was a bung in as I didn’t equate the 25 in the clue to 25 across. I don’t know whether that’s naughty or me being thick, probably the latter! Loved the rest of it though with podium places going to the brilliant 5d along with 9a and 16d…..4*/4*

    Many thanks to proXimal and to Kath for a super review.

    1. Mostly but not always a number written in full (twenty five) is a number. A number written digitally (25) refers to a clue. Mr Lancaster told me that.

  11. 4*/5*. I found this very challenging but absolutely brilliant. My last two in were 25a & 22d. It took me ages to remember the gadgeteer and to realise that we were not looking for an American president.
    My favourite was 5d with 9a & 14d joining it on the podium.
    Many thanks to proXimal and to Kath.

  12. I got through this one fairly quickly, with a minor delay at my last four in the SW, which were 25a, 17d, 22d, and finally 21a.

    Thanks to proXimal and to Kath. 2*/3* for me.

  13. I didnt find it particularly difficult and it did have some old chestnuts like lettuces backpacker and epee. Perhaps i have been doing the crosswords for too long, anyhow it was a pleasant solve and did bring a couple of happy smiles upon the penny dropping for some of the clues i had a good laugh with the clappers and thanks for parsing the football i just bunged it in because it wad so obvious but i would not have twigged unduly = TOO thanks again kind regards to all!

  14. You’re certainly not alone with this one Kath. Personally, I found this crossword puzzle to be the most taxing back page cryptic I have ‘solved’ in many a long month. 25 across defeated me completely (far too clever for me) 7, 8 ,17 & 22 also gave me cause to struggle today. That all said, I’m not complaining. It was good to have a greater challenge for my aging brain; nice to have the need to think a bit harder than I usually do on a Thursday. No one favourite, but a really good challenge. Thanks to the setter and to Kath.

  15. This was an excellent tricky challenge. Lot’s of good clues and penny-dropping moments. My favourites were 18a, 21a, 25a, 2d, 5d, 7d, 8d and 22d. That’s quite a haul. Top spot to 25a – Q was brilliant. Nice one Mr P.

  16. Recent lurker but really enjoyed today’s puzzle. Favourite was 5d. Got the right answers for 25a and 17d but wasn’t entirely confident as to why.

    Have only recently taught myself how to do Cryptic using this site and not sure what the timings are for difficulty ratings but it took about *** mins.

    1. Welcome to the blog, RichV.
      I’ve edited your comment because we don’t quote solving times. The difficulty ratings are the blogger’s subjective view and are there to provide a view of the relative difficulty compared to puzzles on other days.

    2. An all evening/early next morning job for me. I didn’t get 4d without Kath’s help. 18a I had, but can’t parse even with the hint. (aside from ‘bowled’).

      So, a virtual toughie, ****/**.

      Thanks to Kath and setter.

  17. Thanks to setter of an eXcellent puzzle
    Don’t want to start another ‘greygate’, but an epee is not pointed
    Thanks Kath

    1. I know we’ve had this discussion before but Chambers defines it as “a sharp-pointed, narrow-bladed sword without a cutting edge …” and the ODE describes it as ” a sharp-pointed duelling sword, used with the end blunted …”.

      1. Chambers online & Collins Big Blue Book – a sword with a narrow flexible blade, formerly used in duelling, now, with a blunted end, used in fencing
        Strictly speaking it’s not a weapon either: an instrument or device used to kill or injure people, usually in a war or fight – Chambers
        Fencing does not involve any killing or harming

        Knew I should have kept me gob shut :grin:

    2. Maybe, although it doesn’t have a point, it is pointed (at someone)? If I were Mr P that would be my story and I’m sticking to it.

      1. If I pointed a ruler at you, that would mean the ruler was ‘pointed at you’ in the verbal form, not the nounal form of ‘having a point’

        1. At a stretch that could have been a verbal form. Also, if we use the ‘never’ a second time it would be a never pointed weapon. Fun this, isn’t it?

  18. Just completed the Quickie and seen the pun. If I’d done that at the time of my earlier comment, would have upped the enjoyment level to the maximum 5*. Brilliant pun, brilliant band, thanks once again proXimal.

  19. I didn’t find this too difficult provided you found the ‘clue’ and ignored the complex wordplay. However, I thought 25a a ghastly clue needing huge leaps of faith to parse the dreadful wordplay. Did like 9a and 18a.
    Thx to all

    1. Hi Brian, Of course you have the right to your opinion about 25a, but I though it was quite ingenious. Not much fun if you’re not a James Bond fan though.

    2. Brian, sometimes I haven’t a clue what you’re talking about.

      Presumably your ’clue’ is the definition?

      1. Thanks Stan – I think you’re right – I’d always wondered what Brian meant when he talked about the ‘clue’ – one day he’ll ‘get it’ – with a bit of luck he’ll read this and understand what we’re banging on about!.

  20. That made me work! Very enjoyable though with several amusing clues; notably 2d, 25a and 15a which was my favourite because of the juxtaposition.
    Thanks to proXimal, and to Kath for the deciphering.

  21. Fun done!! After the treats that started our week, I knew we’d be landing with a huge thud today.
    With much hand wringing, I managed to solve all but the SW where I said pax, so thanks Kath for helping me out.
    My fave was 5d, very giggle worthy, with an honourable mention to 15a.
    Thanks to proXimal, some good stuff today, and to Kath for so brilliantly showing us the way.

  22. Thursdays puzzles are always a treat. This one delivered in spades. Thanks to ProXimal for the puzzle and to Kath for the blog. I was on standby Kath. Ready and willing. I was pleased to see your name on the blog, there is always a smile to be had somewhere amongst your hints

    1. Funny, I’d never heard of ‘in spades’ until a Times crossword last week – any idea what it relates to or where that expression comes from, MP?
      PS Mr Brightside fine by me too

  23. Sorry but after enjoying the three crosswords so far this week I found this unbelievably obscure 😟*****/** Come back Ray T all is forgiven 😬 Thanks to Kath for all her much needed help, I still don’t understand 18a although I am sure a “doh” moment is just around the corner 😳 Surely this belongs on page 16 not the back page!

  24. Tricky, but got there unaided in the end. Some of the wordplay was a big convoluted, but fair. This felt close to a Toughie, so satisfying to finish.
    25a was a bit unfair unless you are familiar with James Bond, I am, but it took me ages for the penny to drop.
    Thanks all.

  25. Well that made my head ache! A tough challenge that brought me back to earth,,,, it may sound too obvious but as I slowly filled in the grid I got more onto the wavelength of the X man. A bit of help & I picked up speed to finish it.
    Thanks to proXimal & Kath for review & all too necessary guidance.

  26. Thanks Kath, I too found that a bit tricky. I spent too long looking at nerd or geek for the gadgeteer but your hint put me right. The long one down the middle held out til I had a full set of checkers but on reflection I wonder why. I was looking for a g in the greek and needed hint to find the specific chap in mind.
    Thanks to ProXimal too.

  27. I will remember this one for a long while. Superb! Best DT crossie for ages. 25a was my favourite today. The whole thing took a good bit longer than normal but was worth it. ****/*****
    Thanks to ProXimal and Kath.

  28. What an excellent crossword. We thoroughly enjoyed it from start to finish. All the clues that kept us chuckling have been mentioned above so we won’t list them all again. When we were part way through and recognised the level of difficulty we kept an eye on our Inbox in case there was a “Help please” email, but not required.
    Many thanks to both proXimal and Kath.

    1. Oh good – it’s always lovely to know that when I’m doing the crossword at silly o’clock – ie as soon as it’s published – that at least SOMEONE is awake and ready, willing and able to bail me out! The rest of my back-up troops – Gazza and CS – aren’t awake and I’m never sure what hours MP keeps. :smile: to you both.

    1. Thanks from me too for another super puzzle, for dropping in, and for commenting on commenters’ comments

  29. Thanks to proXimal for the crossword and for calling in.
    Thanks also to everyone for the comments – I’m glad that I wasn’t the only one who found it tricky.
    Night night all and sleep well.

  30. Finishing this on a damp morning with my first cup of coffee for the day. A very clever puzzle, amusing at times, but I must agree with those who thought some of the clues were over wordy.
    Now to tackle Friday’s Toughie. Can it be harder? Probably!

  31. My mind must be as twisted as a dutch skewer because I found this one unusually easy. I got 18a, obvious answer, but didn’t ‘get’ the logic of it. Thanks for explaining, Kath. And thanks proXimal. Should I add that a 13a is definitely more pointed than an 18a? Er, no, perhaps not.

  32. 4*/4*…..
    liked 17D “graduate in charge brings in 25 grand (8)” and 25A ” crack gadgeteer well-versed about foremost of instruments (4) “

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