DT 29148 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 29148

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 29148

Hints and tips by pommers

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BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

Hola from the Vega Baja where summer is continuing, although the forecast for the next few days looks a bit iffy.  Still it’s pretty hot and sunny and the moment so I’m not complaining.  I’m not sure what to make of this puzzle.  I got eight of the acrosses and ten of the downs on first pass but of those eighteen answers fifteen of them went in the right hand side, which was completely full, but the left hand side was nearly empty.  The remaining answers put up something of a fight before revealing themselves so it’s ** for the right and **** for the left so *** on average.  I don’t know who the setter is but whoever it is has a liking for charades and thinking up original anagram indicators.  I enjoyed the tussle and had a few good penny drop moments.
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           Fabulous son in south-east of country (11)
SENSATIONAL:  Start with two letters for South East and then a word meaning of a country, a native of it perhaps, and insert an S(on).

7a           Company behind brief for surface protector (7)
COASTER:  The usual company followed by a nautical term for behind but without its last letter (brief) gives the posh word for a beer mat.  A sneaky one. I spent far too long trying to put the company behind a word for brief, d’oh!

8a           Studied South American country’s education (7)
PERUSED:  A South American country (don’t forget the ‘S) followed by an abbreviation of education.

10a         Feverish strain, jammed in shopping centre (8)
MALARIAL:  Start with a shopping centre and insert (jammed in) an operatic strain or song.

11a         Garment when reversed, reportedly not right (6)
SARONG: A two letter word which can mean when is reversed and followed by four letters which aren’t a real word but if pronounced would sound like (reportedly) a word meaning not right.

13a         Rank rodent close to hole (4)
RATE:  Rank as a verb.  It’s a rodent followed by an E (close to holE).

14a         Boastfully misrepresented my old times (10)
IMMODESTLY:  Anagram (misrepresented) of MY OLD TIMES.

16a         Wide part of foot caught by light immobilising device (5,5)
WHEEL CLAMP:  A charade of W(ide), a part of the foot, C(aught) and a word for a light as in source of illumination.

18a         Furniture one’s removed from capital city (4)
SOFA:  Remove the I (one) from the capital city of Bulgaria.

21a         Mass celebration around a Mediterranean resort (6)
MALAGA:  Start with M(ass) then a celebration or party but it’s reversed (around) and finally the A from the clue to get a city and resort on Spain’s Costa del Sol.  This is another sneaky one where I spent quite a while trying to put a celebration around the A from the clue, d’oh again!

22a         US agent carrying large relative showed off (8)
FLAUNTED:  Take a slang term for an FBI agent and insert (carrying) an L(arge) and a female relative.

24a         Ravenous itinerant dropping skinned rat in a stew (7)
NERVOUS:  Anagram (itinerant) of RAVENOUS but without the A (dropping skinned r(A)t).  Don’t think I’ve ever seen itinerant used as an anagram indicator.

25a         Illegally bring in small vessel, finally evading all police (7)
SMUGGLE:  A charade of S(mall), a vessel that you might drink coffee from and then the last letters (finally) of evadinG alL policE.

26a         Occasionally sitting in the veranda nonchalantly (4,3,4)
EVER AND ANON:  This one’s a lurker hiding in (sitting in) the last three words.


1d           Ruined castle inhabited by king’s shade (7)
SCARLET:  Anagram (ruined) of CASTLE with an R (king) inserted (inhabited by).

2d           Turned up brown uniform on character (6)
NATURE: A common crosswordland word for brown is reversed (turned up in a down clue) followed by the letter represented by the word uniform in the phonetic alphabet and then two letters for on or about.

3d           Diarist of Roman emperor leaving out head spy (6,4)
ADRIAN MOLE:  This is the diarist created by the author Sue Townsend. He’s the Roman emperor who built a wall to keep the Scot’s out of England but without his first letter (leaving out head) and then a spy.  I was a bit stuck here because Samuel Pepys didn’t fit.

4d           Rascals regularly hid my post (4)
IMPS:  Alternate letters (regularly) from the last three words of the clue.

5d           Told elevated cleric about time with a bishop (8)
NARRATED:  Told as in told a story.  Take a man of the cloth and reverse him (elevated in a down clue) and put him around T(ime), the A from the clue and a two letter abbreviation of a bishop.

6d           Cry after the Parisian’s attack without restraint (4,3)
LASH OUT:  Put a word for to cry or yell after the feminine French definite article and split (4,3).

7d           Female shooters arrived with harsh warning (11)
CAMERAWOMEN:  These female shooters are shooting pictures.  A charade of a word meaning arrived, followed by a word meaning harsh or uncooked and finally a warning.  It was the penny finally dropping on this one that opened up the left hand side for me.

9d           Stroke and massage podgy dad with gel (5-6)
DOGGY PADDLE:  Anagram (massage) of PODGY DAD with GEL.

12d         Made regular deals with minor criminal (10)
NORMALISED:  Anagram (criminal) of DEALS with MINOR.

15d         Ring found in sink quietly put on ear (8)
PLUGHOLE:  The musical letter for quiet placed on a slang term for the ear. LOI due to its rather elusive definition.

17d         Blow up general in conflict (7)
ENLARGE:  Nothing to do with dynamite or inflating but blow up a photograph perhaps. It’s an anagram (in conflict) of GENERAL.

19d         Figure running to span court with ace shot (7)
OCTAGON:  A word meaning running, as your washing machine may be running, around (to span) the abbreviation of court, A(ce) and a word for a shot or attempt.

20d         Toast with superior gold colour (6)
AUBURN:  Start with a word meaning toast or singe and before it (“with superior” in a down clue) put the chemical symbol for gold.

23d         Like Ibiza on vacation, or far bigger place? (4)
ASIA:  The word you had meaning when in 11a this time has its other meaning of like.  Start with that and follow with IA (IbizA on vacation).

Quite a bit of blue but my favourite was 24a, for the mental image it created, with 7d and 15d on the podium.

Quick crossword pun:     PRY     +     FAT     +     CHOKE     =     PRIVATE JOKE

54 comments on “DT 29148

  1. This tricky little blighter was ***/**** in difficulty but only **/*** for enjoyment for me. There were some excellent clues like the lurker at 26a and some anagrams. However, I found a number of clues over-complicated and would agree with Pommers about 7a, 21a and 24a.Thanks to P for the hints and to the setter.

    1. Agreed, really struggled to get into the mind set for this one so relied heavily on the hints (thank you Pommers). In the end too much of a struggle to be all that enjoyable.

    2. I agree wholeheartedly with crisscross and whiskey jack. For me too many obscure clues. Needed one hint from Pommers, 7d, and my word finding app for some others.
      Not too enjoyable.
      Thanks to Pommers for the hints

  2. I thought this was a splendid puzzle – for me the most enjoyable for a long time.
    It is not often I would award 5* for enjoyment, but today is one of those days.

    9d gets my vote as favourite purely for its surface read, and the smile that ensued.

    Thanks to setter and to pommers.

  3. Slow start , fast finish for me with a few answers parsed in retrospect . Enjoyed the journey especially 15D and 7D .

    Thanks to Setter and Pommers .

  4. I’m with Jezza in the splendid camp, lots to enjoy here. Some straightforward starters (17d, 4d, 13a) then progressively more difficult – perfect
    Probably helped having seen itinerant used in that way before. Hard to pick a fave, but I’ll plump for 24a’s most excellent surface

    Thanks setter and pommers

  5. Tantalisingly tricky, have learnt a few new anagram indicators.
    Some brilliant clues, eg 15d
    Long time to get really started, then sped unaided, spelling check apart.
    So **** for difficulty, five for enjoyment.
    Many thanks to the setter and to pommers for the attractively illustrated review.

  6. Clever and very enjoyable. The setter clearly likes Legos but that helped get on wavelength. 21a and 25a parsed after being bunged in. Special mention for 1a, 3d, 7d, 15d and 20d. Just about 2.5* time and 4* for enjoyment. Thanks to setter and Pommers. I too tried to get Co at the end of 7a for too long. “Behind” was a bit like “heading” in 10a a couple of Sundays ago.

  7. Like pommers my progress in the RHS was smooth but the LHS was a different kettle of fish but all’s well that ends well. Would quibble a bit with 1a, 7a and 23d. Bunged in 11a thanks to wrong coming immediately to mind although failed to suss when reversed. Fav 15a. Thankyou Mysteron and pommers.

  8. I was slightly diappointed by this as Thursdays have become a “centre of excellence” recently and I felt today’s fell a tad short.
    To me some of the wordplay was a little contrived and bitty and in general I’m not a fan of lego style cluing. Maybe I’ve become used to the concise style of Ray T on Thursdays. Having said that I loved 9d and the delightful lurker at 26a. I needed the hint for 3d so thanks to Pommers for that and for the rest of his excellent review, and thanks to the setter too.
    3.5/ 2.5*

  9. have to agree a splendid puzzle. last one in was 26a as haven’t heard the phrase before, favourite was definitely 15d.

  10. A definite ***** for enjoyment from me – can’t recall the last time I had so much fun with a back-page solve.
    Not going to try to pick a favourite, it was all simply 1a.

    Many thanks to our setter – please pop in to claim ownership of this one – and thanks to Pommers for the review.

  11. This seemed to be ‘about right’ for a non-Ray T Thursday and was very enjoyable with a minimum of head scratching – 2.5*/3.5*.
    I am not sure if I have ever come across 26a before, or if I have it was a long time ago (and that is much more than several years in my case).
    Candidates for favourite – 15a, 3d, and 15d – and the winner is 15a.
    Thanks to the setter (can’t help thinking of Donnybrook after his profile article a couple of weeks ago) and to pommers.

  12. 3*/4.5*. I found this quite tricky but immensely enjoyable with lots of amusing surfaces, particularly 24a & 9d.

    In addition to those two clues, 16a & 7d made it onto my podium.

    I echo Jane’s plea for the setter to pop in and claim ownership of this excellent puzzle. Many thanks to whomever it is and to pommers.

  13. I thought this was absolutely delightful. So much to smile about, especially the mental image conjured up by 9d! Other favourites (there were many) included 7a, 25a and 16a (I had the answer in my head but had to ask husband to remind me what that big yellow thing was called), 3d and 15d.
    Many thanks to setter and Pommers, to whom I referred for a couple of points of clarification.
    For fans of tragedy, see the news story about 32000L of gin spilled in an accident on the M6 today – nobody was hurt so we can laugh.

  14. Another slow starter but then a fairly rapid whizz through once I got on our setter’s wavelength. The podium is too crowded to nominate a favourite today. Great fun and hugely enjoyable.

    Many thanks to the X man if it was indeed he, and to pommers.

  15. I’m in the splendid camp. Slow to start but gathered pace as I filled in some of the blanks. 15d made me laugh. Also worthy of mention are 24a and 3d with 7d taking the top spot for me.

  16. What an excellent crossword! Great fun to solve although it took me a while to get started for some reason. Once under way everything seemed to fall into place quite easily. The lurker in 26a was my top clue.
    Thanks to the X-man, and to pommers for the review.

  17. Managed about half then gave up. Very clever I’m sure but too far above my pay grade.
    Too wordy and hard to be much fun.
    Thx for the hints

  18. Gosh this was a tricky one. Interesting though. Had to rely heavily on Pommers excellent hints. Favorites were 3d and 7d. Thanks to all concerned.

  19. Found it too difficult to get on the setter’s wavelength today. Too tired from three days of heavy gardening to try more than half heartedly. But I can see from all the comments that it was a good puzzle. Thanks Pommers for your hints and answers.

    1. Hi, Corky. If you’re looking for an easier solve, I can recommend giving today’s Toughie a try! (I really enjoyed it, and made more progress with than a typical back-pager.)

  20. Not that tricky but very enjoyable – thanks to Mr I Set Crosswords without an X in them – and Pommers.

    Just lately we’ve had a few crosswords where the across solutions make wonderful phrases – and this one has several which made me smile

  21. I had this completed , all bar two answers, when I had to come here for help. I was convinced that 7a was “CHAMBER” (Company behind brief), which stopped me getting 2d.

    Thanks to the setter and Pommers.

      1. I’m guessing Malcolm was thinking of a group of people who support the work of a barrister. Doesn’t fit the rest of the clue though, as far as I can see.

        1. Spot on, Owdoo, it was just the rest of the clue that was the problem!

          Did you know that ‘Owdoo’ in Dutch means ‘Goodnight’?

  22. Waaay above my solving abilities, could not get on wavelength, and the ones I could solve were on the left side, bar one.
    I get very mixed results with Mr. X, I either love his puzzles or find him a total mystery.
    Thank you anyway, Mr. X, and to pommers for solving it for me, though how on earth you did it is also a mystery.

  23. Thanks for the hints Pommers, I needed 7d to get me going on the LHS. The right was relatively straightforward, the left required more head scratching. I didn’t fully understand some of the answers, so appreciated your tips. Not the most enjoyable crossword for me but some clever clues, especially the lurker. Thanks to the setter.

  24. Pretty straightforward so didn’t need help. I thought 26a was a very clever run through.

    Has the setter owned up?

    1. Thank you for popping in X-man and many thanks indeed for such a fun puzzle – quite made my day!

  25. I really enjoyed this ****/***
    A very slow start and it took me ages but finished it without help
    Never heard of 26a. Kept trying to make an anagram of veranda and other words but penny finally dropped.
    Thanks to ProXimal and pommers

  26. Thank you ProXimal for a fab Xword which took me most of the day back and forth but got there in the end. Found it hard to parse 21a and 5d so thanks to Pommers for clearing those up. Like others, enjoyed 9 down the most.

  27. We’re certainly very much in the ‘splendid’ camp. A thoroughly enjoyable solving experience where every clue was great fun to work out.
    A very definite thumbs-up from us.
    Thanks proXimal and pommers.

  28. Like Pommers I found the RHS a lot easier than the LHS.
    Struggled on, though and got there in the end.
    Needed help with some of the parsings for my bung ins, though.

    Thanks to Pommers and to the setter.

  29. This puzzle was at the limit of my solving abilities… just found out it was a proXimal ,,, that’s why!
    Have not got my tuning correct for these.
    4*/3.5*. But a challenging enjoyable crossword.
    Many thanks to proXimal for the headbending & Pommers for review & direction.

  30. Struggled for a start, then made steady progress, then came to a grinding halt. At that point I decided to finish “doing” the dogs, who were waiting outside having been fed, came back in and finished in minutes. I’ve found that taking a break, even for a few minutes, helps unclutter the mind. I thought this was an excellent crossword and my pleasure rating is enhanced by finding out it was by a setter who I’ve struggled to get on on the same wavelength with before. Too many favourites to mention. Many thanks to ProXimal and Pommers for hosting the blog.

  31. Too much of a struggle to be enjoyable. Even when I got the answers I didn’t feel confident enough to pen them in (they were right per Pommers hints, thank you). Perhaps I am just marching to a different drummer, but not my cup of tea today.

  32. As enjoyable as today’s toughie.
    In fact this week has been rather good so far.
    Thanks to the DT, to the setters, to BD, pommers and all the bloggers.

  33. More of a jigsaw than a crossword we felt, too many clues involved assembling many small bits and jamming them together. Nevertheless some enjoyable clues including 8a, 11a and 15d.

    1. It was the plethora of “lego” clues that stopped me giving it **** for enjoyment. But it was a really good puzzle.

      Anyway, off to bed, where I may stay for some while as heavy rain is forecast for tomorrow. I’ll get up when it stops.

  34. I enjoyed this puzzle. I rather like lego clues and there was some clever misdirection in several of them, as highlighted in the review. 2*/4* for me. Thanks to both Mr X and pommers.

  35. (very) late on parade!

    I usually really struggle with proXimal, but oddly found this not too hard at all (apart from the item of furniture I just couldn’t think of, despite being on one whilst solving, d’uh!!). Funny old world crossword solving!

  36. Not sure about Big Dave’s hint / answer for 7a – it doesn’t work for me? He says by removing the last letter of the usual nautical term for ‘behind’ gives the later part of the answer but how does that explain why there’s an ‘s’ places in the middle of the answer?

    1. Welcome to the blog, John.
      The nautical term for behind is astern so removing the last letter gives you ‘aster’.
      Incidentally, it was pommers who wrote the hints, not BD.

  37. A very nice puzzle, this one. Good clues, a bit above average difficulty and an enjoyable solve. After decades of cryptic crosswords and a keen interest of semantics, I am rather ashamed that I’ve never heard the phrase in 26a before. Luckily, the answer was lurking right there in the clue waiting to be discovered. 3* / 4*

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