DT 29136 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 29136

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 29136

Hints and tips by a mostly dried out pommers

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ****

Hola from a rather soggy Vega Baja.  No, I’ve not signed the pledge (as if I ever would) but I have dried out a bit.  In the early hours of yesterday we had over four inches of rain in about two hours so everywhere was more than a bit moist.  At least the weather has since returned to normal service and both me and the village have (mostly) dried out. It don’t rain here very often but when it does it’s best to batten down the hatches and make sure the drains are running free.
I don’t know who today’s setter is but he or she has provided us with a very nice puzzle with more than a usual number of cryptic definitions.  It’s not too tricky and there a few anagrams to give you a start if you need it. I really enjoyed it so I’ll be interested to hear your views of 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           Paignton obliterated, arousing emotion (8)
POIGNANT:  Anagram (obliterated) of PAIGNTON.  I do hope that Paignton hasn’t been obliterated. It’s quite a nice place really.

5a           Guiding light to join Tories? (6)
BEACON:  Split the answer (2,1,3) and you have an instruction to join the Conservative party.

9a           Very old and wise person circling pitch (5-3)
STONE AGE:  Put the usual wise person around the pitch of a musical note perhaps and split it (5,4).  I’ve only just noticed that “note perhaps” would indicate an anagram of NOTE which would give you the pitch

10a         One first in but rarely last out? (6)
OPENER:  Cryptic definition of the first batsman to take guard in a cricket innings.

12a         Focal point in long poem with short introduction (9)
EPICENTRE:  A word for a focal point commonly applied to earthquakes.  It’s a word for a long poem or film followed by an introduction without its last letter (short).

13a         Finest in comparative literature (5)
ELITE:  Its a lurker hidden in (in) the last two words.

14a         Long piano in conservatoire at last (4)
PINE:  P(iano) followed by the IN from the clue and then an E (conservatoirE at last).

16a         Servant keeps donkey in corridor (7)
PASSAGE:  Insert (keeps) the usual donkey into a young servant.  Why did I waste a lot of time trying to put the donkey in a corridor to get a servant? The wordplay is quite clear.

19a         Seaman loves convoluted excuse (7)
ABSOLVE:  A two letter seaman followed by an anagram (convoluted) of LOVES.

21a         Wimbledon winner, English, on roll (4)
WADE:  Start with a slang term for a roll of banknotes. Put an E for English on the end of it and you get the last English Wimbledon singles winner way back in 1977.  This is quite clever as English is there to give the E but it could also be a part of the definition.

24a         Personage finally opening show (5)
EVENT:  Personage finally is, of course, an E so put an opening on it to get a show.

25a         Festival holds purpose for Walford resident (9)
EASTENDER:  A purpose or aim inside (holds) a festival of the Christian faith.

27a         Hero outlaw guarding cash machine (6)
BATMAN:  Take a word meaning to outlaw or veto and put it around (guarding) your Automated Teller Machine (cash machine).

28a         Old Yankee traps park-keeper in hothouse (8)
ORANGERY:  O(ld) and the letter represented by the word Yankee in the phonetic alphabet are placed around (traps) a keeper of a National Park.

29a         Cleaning item badly rusted (6)
DUSTER: Anagram (badly) of RUSTED.

30a         Sane?  Completely so! (3,5)
ALL THERE:  Double definition.


1d           Drawing up as telephone rings (6)
PASTEL:  Another lurker hidden in (rings) the middle three words.  For no discernable reason this was my last one in.

2d           Rich Irish forged coin (6)
IRONIC:  Abbreviation of Irish followed by an anagram (forged) of COIN.

3d           Relative close to collapse in French city (5)
NIECE:  Put an E (close to collapsE) in a city on the French Riviera.

4d           The late shift? (7)
NIGHTIE:  A cryptic definition of the shift a lady might wear in bed.

6d           Non-stop news boss communicated (9)
EXPRESSED:  A non-stop train followed by the usual newspaper boss.

7d           Fellow consumer? (8)
CANNIBAL:  A cryptic definition of someone who eats people.

8d           Invaders in North or South Yemen deposing leader (8)
NORSEMEN:  A charade of N(orth), the OR from the clue, S(outh) and finally (y)EMEN (deposing leader)

11d         Sea  bass (4)
DEEP:  Double definition.  All becomes clear once you twig that the word BASS is pronounced as BASE in this clue.

15d         Bad military command makes you nervous (3,2,4)
ILL  AT EASE:  A three letter word for bad or unwell followed by a military command to relax.

17d         Where one relaxes over many pints? (8)
WATERBED:  No, not your local but somewhere that you can sleep on top of very many pints of liquid.  I always thought  this would be two words or at least hyphenated but no it is one word.

18d         Answer SOS to protect finest building material (8)
ASBESTOS:  A(nswer) and the SOS from the clue around (to protect) a word for finest gives a building material. I don’t think this stuff is used nowadays.

20d         Eve’s initial place of retreat? (4)
EDEN:  Eve’s initial is an E so follow it with a place of retreat or a study to get the place where you would find Eve initially, before she got chucked out after the episode with the serpent and the forbidden fruit.  Very nice all-in-one methinks.

21d         Layabout was on line after time (7)
WASTREL:  WAS from the clue followed by T(ime). After that you need two letters for on or about and an L(ine).

22d         Stick heard to shatter — brittle at the end (6)
ADHERE:  Anagram (to shatter) of HEARD followed by E (brittlE at the end).

23d         Sock design Gayle modified about right (6)
ARGYLE:  Anagram (modified) of GAYLE placed around (about) an R(ight).

26d         He painted birds heading to the south (5)
ERNST:  Start with some seabirds and move the first letter (heading) to the end (south in a down clue) to get an artist.

A lot of really nice clues here but my favourite is the excellent &lit at 20d.  Up there on my podium are 21a and 4d but there’s a lot of other great clues so I won’t be surprised if you all pick different favourites.

Quickie pun:     TRAY    +     DUE     +     NEON    =     TRADE UNION

46 comments on “DT 29136

  1. A standard Thursday offering, in my opinion, solved in *** time. No real standout clues, but I did like 10a. I don’t know the painter in 26d, so he was the last one in.

    Many thanks to the setter and Pommers.

  2. My biggest problem today was picking a favourite but will go for17D which gave the biggest smile .

    Last in 11D .

    Thanks to everyone

  3. 2*/3.5*. Light but good fun all the way. It should be proXimal’s turn this week on a Thursday but this didn’t feel to me like one of his puzzles and, in any event, there is an X in evidence.
    Battling it out for my choice as favourite are 5a & 7d.
    Many thanks to Mr Ron and to a damp pommers.

    1. It didn’t feel like a proXimal effort to me either. I believe that Paul Bringloe (aka Donnybrook) sets some of the Tuesday and Thursday cryptics so perhaps it was he.

    2. After the information, given in his profile article last Thursday, that he sets some Tuesday and Thursday back pagers, I am going with Donnybrook for today’s.

      1. Shamus has been known to do Thursdays but I don’t think this is one of his. I’m not familiar enough with Donnybrook’s style (or Neo in the FT and Tees in the Indy) but he’s my bet for today too.

        1. I thought it was perhaps a bit light-hearted for Donnybrook but, in fairness, I’m only familiar with his Toughies.

  4. I solved this so long ago this morning that I had to look at the paper to see what I thought about it.

    I’d agree with RD that it didn’t feel like a Mr X production, but whoever set it, it was enjoyable

    Thanks to the Thursday Mysteron and to the hopefully much drier Pommers – I’d agree with 20d for favourite

  5. I usually struggle with the Thursday puzzle but today it was all plain sailing, my favourite was 7D which raised a smile. Many thanks to the setter & Pommers for his review.

  6. Not tricky and enjoyable to solve. Agree it’s probably not proXimal, the other Mr X I suspect
    Thanks to setter and pommers

  7. If only I’d got my cricket head on sooner where 10a was concerned, I wouldn’t have taken so long to twig 6d! No other problems to report and I enjoyed this one.
    Podium places handed out to 4,7,11&15d but the clear winner here was 5a. That reminds me to prompt everyone to try Beam’s 100th Toughie offering.

    Thanks to our setter (hope he pops in to take a bow) and to Pommers – trust you kept the booze dry!

  8. Perfectly pitched for me — I managed it in a couple of sessions, punctuated by breakfast, without needing to come here for any hints, which is still unusual (though I did reveal a couple of letters). Thank you setter, and Pommers for explaining the couple that I hadn’t worked out the wordplay on.

    I feel like a couple of the 4-letter words have cropped up very recently (but haven’t checked): 14a (with the same meaning as the definition here), and the first definition of 11d — but I haven’t checked, so could be mistaken.

    I initially rejected the answer to 2d as not being a synonym of ‘rich’. Anybody got a sentence where the two can be used interchangeably?

    Many enjoyable clues that made me smile. Favourites included the command in 5a and the cash machine in 27a, among many others. If I ever wrote a crossword, this is the kind of crossword I’d be delighted to get anywhere near.

    1. It’s a bit rich/ironic of Mr Trump to accuse the Danish PM of a lack of respect
      (Please don’t take this as a political comment!)

    2. Re 2d – possibly ‘it’s rich (ironic) for him to say that I am out of order when he is guilty of the same misdemeanour’?! 🤨
      (Have just read Stephen Lord’s comment – great minds think alike!)

      1. Thanks, Stephen and Angellov. To me ‘rich’ in those sentences is a criticism of hypocrisy or having double-standards, which ‘ironic’ doesn’t convey (but I’m sure you’re both right that that’s the kind of meaning the setter intended). Thanks.

        (Also, apologies to all readers here for my over-use of ‘couple’ in my original comment: 3 times in the first 3 sentences makes for inelegant prose.)

  9. I thought this was an absolute cracker, witty, cryptic and clever. Lovely to see my part of the world on the sunny South Devon coast getting a mention. Also nice to see our favourite bird making yet another appearance in 26d, which helped with digging out the painter electronically.
    I’m betting there’ll be a wide range of podium places today, always a sign of a quality puzzle.
    Mine consists of 5,9 and 21a with the excellent lurker 1d running them very close.
    Many thanks to the setter and to Pommers for his excellent and nicely illustrated review.

  10. This had an unfamiliar (newcomer?) feel about it. Would quibble over couple of clues – 1a “obliterated”, 1d (rings) and17d. After penny-drop moment 26d became Fav hotly pursued by the simply cryptic 4d. Thank you Mysteron and pommers. There is at last a distinct feeling of summer in the air in West Sussex today – fingers crossed for more of the same over the weekend.

  11. Most enjoyable, with enough to make you think. Liked 27a and 7d. Oddly enough came unstuck on 17d in spite of excellent hint. Thanks to mystery setter and the Pommers.

  12. Very enjoyable and not as tricky as yesterday’s Jay, completed at a gallop – **/****.
    Favourite – a toss-up between 28a and 21d – and the winner is 21d.
    Thanks to the setter and pommers.

  13. 7d the outstanding favourite from a large number of potential winners in this hugely enjoyable and very rewarding puzzle. I didn’t think it was too tough, the clue mix was impressive and the overall standard was very high. A real cracker.

    Thanks to the Mysteron and pommers.

  14. Did this one very late yesterday after a long day, soon after it appeared on my iPad. After a good sleep, I can’t remember much about it ‘cept that it went in fine and there were a few smiles along the way. I am going to go with RD’s 2/3.5* because I usually agree with RD.
    How’s that for a pretty useless and pointless comment!
    Thanks Pommers for the ‘Fools’ clip – great comic pairing. Thanks to our setter too.

  15. Agree on a 2*/3.5* helped on by the anagrams and one of crosswordland’s most ubiquitous clues, 22d (almost as common as Nuthatch which has been sadly absent this year).
    Enjoyed 7d and 17d…and I am off to 28a tomorrow – a lovely place in SW of London for a cup of tea..

  16. I don’t have the first idea who set this one but don’t think it was proXimal, if only because of 6d.
    I thought it was a really good crossword and enjoyed it very much.
    It sounds as if I found it more difficult than the rest of you did – I didn’t get in a pickle with the top left corner – just didn’t get anything – for ages.
    1a had to end in ‘ing’ didn’t it? :roll: and 1d was my last answer – dim!
    With 28a I spent far too long trying to think what ‘old Yankees’ were called – maybe they weren’t called anything and it didn’t matter anyway.
    Too many good clues to pick out any in particular but I might as well have a go so 12a and 11, 15 and 17d.
    Thanks to the setter and to pommers.

  17. Flew through 3/4 of this but stumbled over the birdy painter and I inexplicably dismissed the right answer for 22d.
    As predicted lots of great clues and I can’t pick even a podium full.
    Thanks to pommers and setter.

  18. As I usually struggle mightily on Thursdays, it was such a pleasure to find this. It wasn’t easy, just right.
    I never did solve 17d, I even tried my word search which revealed nothing. That was really clever.
    My fave was 5a, nice guffaw there, with 7d following closely.
    Thanks to our kindly Thursday setter, and to pommers for his hints and pics.

  19. Pleasant puzzle for an afternoon in the sun on the South Hampshire coast. Thought some of the clues were well crafted liked 12ac 21d & 8d.
    No complaints here… thanks to setter & Pommers for review.

  20. Fun to do, right in my comfort zone. Best for me was 10a, nice to get a cricketing clue during a test match.
    Thx to all

  21. Completed at a steady trot but needed hint for 17d, felt a bit silly when the penny dropped! Great fun, thanks to setter and Pommers. 🙂

  22. Nice challenge. All has been said really, so I’ll just nominate 5a as my top clue and say thanks to the setter, and to pommers for the review.h

  23. Very much enjoyed this one, despite not knowing the cricket answer or the bird painter. Thanks to setter and Pommers for the hints. Not that I know anything, but don’t think it is ProXimal as I usually have to throw in the towel early on his puzzles. Probably liked 25a best.

  24. 1d took much longer to come to light than it should have done. Thought there was some clever misdirection in some of the clues. 22a for example where as soon as we saw the word HEARD in the clue, started looking for a homophone when in fact it was anagram fodder.
    Much appreciated and enjoyed.
    Thanks Mr Ron and pommers.

  25. Nice puzzle, **/****, though I was stumped by only 7d, so needed the hint. To be fair, I doubt I’d have got this one without the hint.
    Thanks to setter and Pommers.

  26. I really enjoyed this, I thought I might just finish it off without resorting to the blog but stumbled on 7d due to me assuming that the ‘fellow’ in clue meant that it started with ‘co…’ Also my favourite!

    An early finish for me, hence a rare contribution!

    Thanks to pommers and the setter…..whoever you are. 😉

  27. Most went in easily, but the last few cryptic Def’s eluded me and needed a look up so ***. Enjoyed the puzzle nonetheless.

  28. Not only have I started on the day it was set but I’ve finished on the day I started. To be fair I often haven’t started by now. Super crossword, easier than Mondays (I was with the “I’ve done easier toughies” school of thought not the 1*). Lots to like about this one though, favourite? 30a. Many thanks to the setter and Pommers.

  29. That was super – really enjoyable with lots to smile about. I hadn’t heard of the artist, but every day’s a school day so I know now. Favourites (difficult to choose) were 7d (brought about a real belly laugh) and the excellent lurker at 1d. Many thanks to the mystery setter for restoring my confidence – I usually feel quite thick on a Thursday – and to Pommers for the hints and the Only Fools clip.

  30. Oh well, no word from the setter which is a shame. Whoever they are I look forward to more from them as this was pretty good by anyone’s standards.

    Off to bed now so see y’all in a couple of weeks.

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