DT 29125 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 29125

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 29125

Hints and tips by Deep Threat

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BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

Good morning from a wet South Staffs.

A tricky puzzle from Giovanni today, with 27a my last one in. It took so long for the penny to drop that I went well into *** time – though, as usual, once the parsing was clear, it was difficult to see why there had been a problem. I was a bit surprised to find the Don using the same anagram indicator in two consecutive clues (11a and 13a): perhaps a late editorial change?

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           Country ousting English, having love for dictator (6)
FRANCO – Remove the English from the name of the country just across the Channel, and replace it with the letter which looks like a love score at tennis, to get the name of a former dictator of another European country.

Image result for general franco

4a           Workers leaving factory maybe requiring no intervention (5-3)
HANDS-OFF – Another word for factory workers, followed by a word for not being at work.

9a           Coaches make exceptional effort, first to last (6)
TRAINS – Start with a word for ‘make exceptional effort’, then move its first letter to the end.

10a         A beating is embarrassing (8)
ABASHING – A (from the clue) followed by a beating or thrashing.

11a         Nasty grub eats last of the root crop (5,4)
SUGAR BEET – Anagram (nasty) of GRUB EATS and the final letter of (th)E.

Image result for sugar beet

13a         Etonian nasty, but not to woman (5)
ANNIE – Anagram (nasty) of E(to)NIAN, removing the TO (not to, from the clue), giving us a woman’s name.

14a         Troublemaker in South Africa given lowly accommodation, eating humble pie (4-9)
SELF-ABASEMENT – Wrap the initials of South Africa around a supernatural troublemaker, then add some low-level (below ground-floor) accommodation.

17a         Trick admitted by home team deem to be ‘thoughtless’ (13)
INCONSIDERATE – Another word for ‘(at) home’ and another word for a team, placed either side of a word for ‘trick’. Then add another word for ‘deem’ or ‘judge’.

21a         Apple had to be consumed by First Lady? (5)
EATER – The regnal cipher of our Queen (first lady), wrapped around ‘had (food)’, giving a generic term for apples which don’t need to be cooked or made into cider.

23a         Acrobat sounding a bit like a level-headed chap? (9)
AERIALIST – The answer is the sort of acrobat who performs on the high wire or trapeze. The level-headed chap is someone not given to flights of fancy. A (from the clue) and the level-headed chap give us a sort of homophone of the answer.

Image result for aerialist

24a         Put ban on drinking place, one cold and vile (8)
BARBARIC – Put together ‘ban’, a drinking place, the Roman numeral for one, and Cold.

25a         Like an ancestor occupying hovel in Ealing (6)
LINEAL – Hidden in the clue.

26a         Doctor, say, admitting second offence — something saucy (8)
DRESSING – Start with an abbreviation for ‘doctor’, then add the two-letter Latin abbreviation for ‘say’ or ‘for example’. Then put together Second and a moral offence, and insert the result into the ‘say’ bit of the first construction.

Image result for salad dressing

27a         Bad guy, Greek character held to be a pest (6)
CAPSID – A badly-behaved or immoral man wrapped around a three-letter Greek letter, giving us a garden bug which eats your plants.

Image result for capsid bug



1d           Naughty thief’s obsession (6)
FETISH – Anagram (naughty) of THIEF’S.

2d           A gin Alec’s drunk as a painkiller (9)
ANALGESIC – Anagram (drunk) of A GIN ALEC’S.

3d           Authority is unenthusiastic about odd features of nature (7)
CONTROL – Another word for ‘unenthusiastic’ or ‘not warm’ wrapped around the odd-numbered letters of NaTuRe.

5d           Trader offers designer’s latest little piece with passion in a very old city (11)
ARBITRAGEUR – Put together the last letter (latest) of designeR, a little piece, and another word for passion. Then place the result between A (from the clue) and an old Biblical city in Chaldaea. The whole is a financial trader who exploits differences between markets, looking to buy cheaply in one and sell for a higher price in another.

6d           Bad condition of seaside deplorable (7)
DISEASE – Anagram (deplorable) of SEASIDE.

7d           Stars in prayer when actress finally goes astray (5)
ORION – Remove the final letter of actresS from an old word for a prayer, and we get the name of a constellation visible throughout the world.

Image result for orion

8d           Fanciful ideas getting agents into outbursts (8)
FIGMENTS – The agents (1-3) are those working for the US Government, specifically for the FBI. Wrap some outbursts of temper around them.

12d         Scrutiny of old French friend leading state (11)
EXAMINATION – Put together the usual prefix for ‘old’ or ‘former’, the French word for ‘friend’, and a state or country.

15d         Decorative features I said should be put on ships (9)
EYELINERS – A homophone (said) of I, followed by some large passenger ships.

16d         Don’s wet bottom? (5,3)
RIVER BED – The Don here is not our esteemed setter, but a watercourse.

18d         Wisdom’s maybe evident in invaders crossing the Channel (7)
NORMANS – The first word of the clue can be taken as relating to the surname of the late comic actor. Replace it with a similar construction using his first name to get the people who came over with William the Conqueror in 1066.

19d         A bishop, one about to be entertained by a distinguished artist providing coffee (7)
ARABICA – Put together A (from the clue), the chess notation for a bishop, the Roman  numeral for one, and the Latin abbreviation for ‘about’ or ‘approximately’. Then put together A (from the clue) and the letters indicating a distinguished artist who is a member of the Royal Academy and wrap this second result around the first one, to get a variety of coffee bean.

20d         Dirty home was first given a makeover maybe (6)
STYLED – The dirty home traditionally occupied by a pig, followed by ‘was first (during a race)’.

22d         Short section within winter session (5)
TERSE – Hidden in the clue.

The Quick Crossword pun PORE + SLAIN = PORCELAIN

39 comments on “DT 29125

  1. As always on a Friday this was a joy from start to finish.

    Strangely I had exactly the same experience as yesterday with the top left going straight in which made me think it was going to be a quick solve, but it actually ended up taking me longer than yesterday.

    I had never heard of the prayer, but the Thesaurus came to my rescue there as I was fairly sure I had the correct answer. When I was tentatively filling in the missing letters for 23a I thought I was making up a word but, no it was correct. I loved the misdirection in 21a – I was trying to get Eve in there somehow and I thought 15d was very clever.

    Wonderful stuff.

    Many thanks to DT and Giovanni

  2. I found this at the trickier end of Giovanni’s difficulty range – on the cusp between a really hard back pager and a Giovanni Toughie

    The repetition radar did bleep at the double ‘nasty’. My particular favourite was 16d

    Thanks to Giovanni and DT

  3. I finished this OK and 27a my last one in. I needed the hints to understand how I got at least three of the answers! 15d my favourite. Thanks to all.

  4. Held up by quite a few but got there. Took time over 8d, 23a and ages on 27a running through most of the Greek alphabet to end up with a word I have never heard of and had to check online. 5d and 7d were both a bung in, 26a took ages to parse and by the time I was nearly getting a headache, I gave up trying to parse 19d, which had to be what it was.

    Top for me were 14a, 16d and 24a; with 16d being the winner.

    Overall ***/***.

    Thanks to the Don and DT.

  5. My rating is the same as yours, DT, ***/*** for this tricky puzzle. My problems were mainly in the SE corner and that was what took me extra time to finish. I’d not heard of 5d before but found it from the wordplay with tbe aid of my recently acquired copy of the BRB. Until recently I had relied on the Oxford Dictionary and can recommend the upgrade. Favourites were 17a, 27a and 5d. 14a was good too but I didn’t get the troublemaker part. Thanks to DT for the blog and to Giovanni for the challenge

  6. I had this cracked in ** time, except for 5d and 27a, which needed the hints for me to solve. Both were new words to me, so I still patted myself on the back.

    Many thanks to The Don and DT.

  7. Tricky indeed from The Don, with 27a my final entry and the cheeky 16d my favourite. I thought this was as difficult as yesterday, with much head-scratching needed to parse a few of them which pushed out the solving time. Quite challenging.

    Thanks Giovanni and DT.

  8. 4*/1.5*. I won’t say anything else about this other than it was worth doing just for the magnificent 16d.
    Thanks to DG & DT.

  9. In contrast to yesterday’s, which I found quite straightforward, this one took me into my 4* time bracket.

    I had the correct answer to 27a from the wordplay, but I did not write it in with confidence, as my quick google search gave the definition as the protein shell of a virus (I should have googled further!).

    Thanks to Giovanni and to DT

  10. More head scratching required than usual for a Giovanni back pager for enjoyable completion at a fast canter – 2.5*/3.5*.
    Candidates for favourite – 17a, 24a, and 16d – and the winner is 16d.
    Thanks to DG and DT.

  11. Took me a bit longer than usual but I got there eventually. 23a was my top clue.
    Thanks to the Don for a good challenge, and to DT for the review.

  12. Quite a tricky one today but enjoyable, nevertheless. There were a couple that beat me and one where I had the correct answer but no idea as to why or how. This was 7D. The ones that beat me were 16D and 27A.

    There has been quite a log run now of puzzles being on the back page. Long may it continue.

    Thank you to all involved.

  13. Tricky seems to be the comment of the day and around a ***/*** for me.
    5d was a new word and the charade took a while to parse, 23a didn’t quite work .
    Last in was 16d and amused when the penny dropped and the Don revealed itself ! I agree with RD-my favourite too.Thought if might have had something to do with Bradman-brightly fades the Don.

  14. Another very tricky one. Never heard of 5d, but was in dictionary. Everyone seems to swear by BRB – what is it? Liked 16d. Thanks to setter and DT

    1. What is the BRB is a Frequently Asked Question and so the answer can be found under the FAQ tab at the top of the page

  15. I’ll go along with tricky as well. A most enjoyable and satisfying solve. The Don has scored a hit, as usual. My favourites were 27a, 8d, and 20d with top spot to 16d.
    The Toughie is reasonably benign today (with a couple of exceptions) for anyone who normally avoids it.

  16. Tricky yes ***/*** but unlike yesterday a proper back pager 😃, and surprisingly all five this week actually on the back page 🤗 Hurrah! I must admit that 5d and 27a caused some trouble 😳 Favourites for me 23a & 16d. Thanks to Giovanni and to DT 👍

  17. Oh dear..not my day today.
    5d, the word needed to solve 7d, 27a…..not exactly in common parlance. Don’t see 23a or 25a around much either.

    Not a very enjoyable experience for me, I’m afraid.

    Thanks to all involved.

    1. Me too. Too many unfamiliar words, convoluted clues etc. More like a Toughie, and didn’t seem like a Giovanni puzzle IMHO. Obviously above my pay grade.

  18. Looking in while waiting to see if I’ve made a hash of today’s Toughie or not. 11a was a nice bit of misdirection while I have to admit to having been beaten by just one clue, the clever 16d.

  19. 5 down was/is a new word to me and for which I needed electronic help, otherwise I found today’s Giovanni really gentle with no great hold-ups. A very enjoyable solve with 7 and 16 down as a couple of my favourites. 20 down was my last to fall – once the penny dropped. Thanks to the Don and of course to DT, although I had this puzzle all wrapped up and put to bed well before the hints became available.

  20. I didn’t know 5d and only had a vague inkling when it came to 27a.
    Top two here were 16d and 11a.

    Thanks to DG and to DT for the blog.

  21. Yup, pretty tricky today, but doable. The NE corner held me up, then I only had 5d left that looked a strange word, I went ahead and used electronic help for that. I doubt I’ll remember it, frankly doubt I’ll ever need it again.
    I never did get 27a, like Jezza, I looked up the result of my word search and it said something about a virus, so I abandoned it.
    Without doubt, my fave was 16d, huge guffaw.
    Thanks to Giovanni, and thanks Deep Threat for your help to finish.

  22. For me it was a very typically ‘Friday/ish’ crossword.
    That means a couple of words that are new to me although today it was only one – 5d – I had heard of 27a.
    No sport or religion which are the ones that always catch me out.
    Slow to get going but it was OK once the brain was in gear.
    I miss something to make me laugh.
    I did quite like 16d but confess to needing the hint to get it.
    Thanks to Giovanni and to DT

  23. A couple of unfamiliar words that caused some delay but were both worked out from the wordplay. Like most others it was 16d that gave us the biggest smiles.
    Thanks Giovanni and DT.

  24. Much harder than yesterday, too many obscutities, another in a long line of Friday puzzles that is a complete mystery.
    Thanks all.

  25. That was a tricky one…some of the clues were fantastic in the way they misdirected you & led me to incorrect answers… which of course slowed me into 4* . Whilst this was a classic Giovanni it was for me one of his enjoyable offerings.
    Like many top half was straight in but the bottom threw me out…27ac being last one in!
    Grateful thanks to Giovanni for a cracker & DT for a great review & direction when astray!

  26. Very slow start and then not much fun along the solving way but made it in the end – quite an ordeal at the end of a busy day. North less troublesome than the South. Somehow this didn’t feel like a Don product. Found reference to 27a as a virus and interpreted that as “pest” but like Jezza didn’t get as far as the creepy-crawly. 13a a bit pedestrian. Not sure 15d are features. Thank you DG and DT.

    1. In this case you would have been helped by the capital letter Don to identify the River Don after which the penny drops. Interesting as often we are given a capital letter to confuse but in this case it helps. Perhaps more obvious to Northerners.

  27. I admit to giving up on this one. 16d however was one of my all time favourites. Spent a long time unnecessarily on 14a. Got the first word but got hung up on Awareness for the second but knew it did not fit the clue. Thought of all sorts of low accommodation including cowshed (which could have been ingenious). Bungalow was another thought but improbable. Oddly enough I built up 5d from the wordplay “Ur” being my go-to ancient city but thought the outcome so unlikely I did not check it out. Did not get 27a and glad I did not waste more time on it. Thanks to the man in 16a for the exercise and the menancing one for the parsing – especially 21a – a brilliant misdirection. Now awaiting the blog for today’s which was an unusual but much quicker solve.

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