DT 29154 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 29154

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 29154

Hints and tips by Kath

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

Hello everyone. I thought this was a jolly difficult Ray T Thursday. He seems to have thrown all his tricks at us in one day but maybe it’s just me. I look forward to hearing how everyone else got on with it so please leave a comment.

In the hints the definitions are underlined and the answers are hidden under ANSWER so only do that if you want to see one.


1a        Memory concerning small fuss around clubs (12)
REMINISCENCE — start off with a little word that means concerning or about, follow that with small, or short if you’re talking about a skirt – then you need a synonym for a fuss or a tantrum which contains (around) C[lubs]

8a        Isolated, practically abuse a Republican (7)
INSULAR — another word for abuse verbally,without its final letter (practically), is followed by the A from the clue and R[epublican]

9a        Possibly fast opening to accident black spot (7)
ABSTAIN — begin with the first letter (opening to) of A[ccident], then the one letter abbreviation for B[lack] and, finally, a spot or a mark

11a       Gentleman sent back German dish (7)
RISOTTO — a reversal (sent back) of a word that means a gentleman is followed by a common first name of a German male

12a       Damage with ruler leaving bruise? (7)
MARKING — to damage or harm is followed by a male ruler

13a       Dish is gone before end of tea (5)
PASTA — a synonym for gone or over is followed by the last letter (end) of [te]A

14a       Former sweetheart purchases sink with new device (9)
 EXPEDIENT — begin with the usual little prefix that means former or earlier and follow that with a word meaning a ‘sweetheart’ or someone you’re fond of – that word contains (purchases)  a synonym for sink or dwindle and N[ew]

16a       Clash of European knight facing noble Queen (9)
ENCOUNTER — the abbreviation for E[uropean] and the one letter abbreviation for knight in chess are followed by a noble person equal in rank to an earl – finish that lot off with the two letters for our Queen

19a       Coarse fibre backing left unaltered (5)
SISAL — L[eft] and two little tiny words that mean unaltered or as it was previously – then reverse the lot (backing)

21a       Displays English plants round front of church (7)
EVINCES — the abbreviation for E[nglish] is followed by some climbing plants which contain (round) the first letter (front) of C[hurch]

23a       Move from seat catching play about pariah (7)
OUTCAST — a verb to move from a seat of power or kick out contains (catching) a reversal (about) of another word for play or take the role of

24a       Pentagon losing power prepared for duty (7)
TONNAGE — an anagram (prepared) of PENTAGON without its first letter (losing power)

25a       Sailor only eats American seafood (7)
ABALONE — one of the many two letter abbreviations for a sailor is followed by a one letter abbreviation for A[merican] and then a synonym for only or singly or unaccompanied

26a       Moving camp with enlisted moving (12)
DISPLACEMENT — an anagram (moving) of CAMP and ENLISTED



1d        Supports taking lives in battles (7)
RESISTS — some supports or trestles containing (in) a synonym for lives or exists

2d        Dad’s Army idiot initially fired into raised target (7)
MILITIA — another word for a target or purpose is reversed (raised) and it contains the first letter (initially) of I[diot] and a synonym for fired or set alight

3d        Retreat admitting quarrel is most biased (9)
NARROWEST — a cosy retreat or refuge contains a quarrel or a square headed missile fired from a crossbow. This was ever so much easier once I realised that the ‘quarrel’ wasn’t the middle three letters of the answer!

4d        Army in battle covered by sergeant-major (5)
SWARM — a battle or fight goes inside (covered by) the two letter abbreviation for S[ergeant] M[ajor]

5d        Guaranteed king will get followed around (7)
ENSURED — the one letter Latin abbreviation for a king (or queen) is contained in (around) a synonym for followed or came after

6d        Moan, article examined reportedly for poison (7)
CYANIDE — a homophone (reportedly) of a moan or an audible exhalation of breath, a two letter indefinite article and then another homophone of examined or looked closely at

7d        Perhaps spin doctor Premier’s dispatched (12)
MISREPRESENT — an anagram (doctor) of PREMIER’S is followed by a synonym for despatched or transmitted

10d      Caught with the lights on changing outside attire (12)
NIGHTCLOTHES — an anagram (changing) of THE LIGHTS ON which contains (outside) the one letter ‘crickety’ abbreviation for C[aught]

15d      Punch from barkeeper for a teetotaller (9)
PERFORATE — the first lurker or hidden answer of the day which is indicated by ‘from’ – it’s hiding in the second to the fifth words of the clue

17d      Wine consumed by Bacchian tippler (7)
CHIANTI — and another one – this time it’s indicated by ‘consumed’ and it’s in the last two words of the clue

18d      Open can’s pull almost broken (7)
UNCLASP — an anagram (broken) of CAN’S PUL[l] (almost)

19d      Sweetheart anxious with one’s elevated position (7)
SITUATE — the middle letter (heart) of swEet, a synonym of anxious or stressed and the letter that looks like a ‘one’ with the ‘S – now tip the whole thing upside down (elevated)

20d      Deal maybe once each in game (7)
SEAPORT — this ‘Deal’ is nothing to do with a game of cards and neither is it a kind of wood – put the two letter abbreviation for each inside (in) a general term for a game – most of them seem to involve a ball and a lot of running around.

22d      Originally stone tablet erected, looking ancient (5)
STELA — the first letters (originally) of the rest of the words of the clue

Lots of good clues today including 11 and 19a and 3 and 15d.

The Quickie Pun:- HANDS + SEW + LOW = HANS SOLO  Thanks to Gazza, CS and MP for this as I really couldn’t make any sense of it at all

83 comments on “DT 29154

  1. Agree about level of difficulty. First read through I almost gave up. Thank the Lord for the Big Dave hints.

      1. Probably the most difficult for a very long time but such a sense of satisfaction in finishing it

  2. You are correct Kath. That was difficult. Great fun though. Thanks to Kath and to RayT for a corker of a puzzle.

  3. Struggled but finished although a few clues “fitted” then parsed . My COTD 15D , none so blind than those who cannot see .

    Yet to read Kath and expect adverse comments from some .

    Thanks to the Setter .

  4. 4.5*/5*. :phew:
    That felt like a Beam Toughie with anagrams, and I absolutely loved it. The LHS went in relatively easily but the RHS, particularly the SE corner, was another kettle of fish entirely.
    22d was a new word for me, and my joint favourites were 15d & 20d.
    Many thanks to Ray T and very well done to Kath for unscrambling it all.
    I’m off on holiday this afternoon, British Airways willing. Be good and “see” you all in two weeks.

  5. Definitely **** for difficulty for me too, Kath. There were the usual Ray T extended synonyms to confuse me. I missed the lurker at 15d, getting a type of punch called Parsonage instead, which didn’t parse. I couldn’t fathom 19d at all. So only *** for enjoyment this time. Thank you very much for the hints, Kath, which were well explained as always. Thanks to Ray T; 6d was the runaway favourite.

  6. This one is firmly in the stinker pile, pretty challenging, needed lots of hints.
    Thanks to Kathand RayT.

  7. Agreed that was very difficult indeed and took me far, far longer than normal. As is often the case with RayT, I thought a few of the synonyms were stretched, but as soon as I get into the mindset they start to fall. On the whole I enjoyed it. 22d was also a new word for me. My last one in was 6d.

    Thanks and well done to Kath and thanks to RayT.

  8. Definitely more of a Beam than a Ray T

    Thanks to him and Kath

    PS I quite liked the way the two clues after the quick pun summed up the ‘pun’ character

  9. Have to say that my devotion wobbled slightly midst solve but it all ‘came good’ in the end – despite an obsession with a poisoned chalice throwing me off track for a while where 6d was concerned.
    The hidden 15d is my choice for today.

    Thanks for today’s Beam, Mr T and many thanks to Kath for the review – I didn’t envy you one little bit!

  10. This one took me a while to find a foothold, and I was just over my 3* time limit when I finished it off.
    Favourite clue – 20d.

    Thanks to RayT and to Kath.

  11. A tough but fair and enjoyable puzzle. Favourite was 6d least favourite was 14a where i thought the answer a stretch for the definition.

    1. I made it 3 homophones for 6d and reportedly covered the moan, the article and a synonym for examined.

  12. Hmm – perhaps I should start solving Beam Toughies as I had very few problems with this one and completed it in an average Thursday time for any setter (which would be at a gallop) – 2.5*/3.5*.
    Favourite – a toss-up between 16a and 15d – and the winner is 15d.
    Thanks to Ray T and Kath.

  13. For my level of ability I found this a touch too difficult to be truly enjoyable, but there were some terrific clues providing a lot of clever misdirection and penny drop moments. Even with three of the long perimeter clues in (I didn’t like 10d) I struggled to make anything like quick progress. I needed a couple of Kath’s excellent hints in the South East and still don’t understand 20d (can the word “each” be represented by ea??) Also in 6d there are two homophones when the clue really only indicates one? Any clarification will be very welcome.
    My favourite today was the terrific lurker 15d.
    Many thanks to Ray T and Kath for your sterling works.

    1. With 6d I do see what you mean but I think we just have to say that we’re playing ‘hunt the homophones”. Does anyone else have any thoughts on it?
      I wasn’t totally happy about the ‘ea’ in 20d either but it is in the BRB as a recognised abbreviation.

      1. Thanks for your feedback Kath. Good to know that I hadn’t missed anything blatantly obvious and that you shared at least some of the reservations I had.

      2. I would go along with two homophones separated by one of the indefinite articles in 6d, which means that the first one could be unindicated. I hope Chriscross comments again (original comment at number 11) to explain the homophone of the article.

      3. I think that since the answer is one homophone of the three words collectively, the fact that the middle word is literal doesn’t really matter

      4. 6d – The homophone indicator (reportedly) seems to be only applicable to “examined”

        There seems to be no homophone indicator for “Moan” … the end of my grumble/moan.

        Thanks to RayT (aka Beam) and a big Thank You to Kath … Hope you were not up at Silly O’Clock providing us with the hints.

        1. ‘Finish one joint’ said writer (7)
          The ‘said’ is not indicating that only the ‘joint’ is a soundalike, it’s all three preceding words together, surely?

  14. Around a ***/**** for me, There were a lot of clues today where I put in the solution then worked out the parsing! 23a for example.
    Did not equate the 14a definition with device-no doubt it will be in some reference book.
    Most enjoyable ,right up my street.
    No real favourite-too many top clues to pick from.
    Quickie pun amused.

  15. Amazingly I completed it all except for the SE corner where I failed to help myself by putting in dresses in 10D. Note to self complete the anagrams correctly.
    Lots of unusual synonyms like 24A. I got the anagram correctly then promptly dismissed it. How could the answer be the measure of a ship? Eventually Chambers put me right.
    A definite 4*/4* for me.
    Thanks to MrR and Kath.
    Here’s hoping tomorrow’s isn’t such a brain teaser

  16. Glad not to be alone in finding it difficult, and I needed several bits of electronic help (including to find the 15d lurker – but what a great clue that was). Many thanks to Kath and Mr T.

  17. Crikey, if it weren’t for Kath I’d have only managed about 4 clues. This was well above my level of ability. However, with help I was able to complete it and have learned from the experience.
    I was amused to find Deal in the SE, where it belongs.
    Thank you.

    1. Unless, of course, you are trying to use your mobile phone, when you’ll find that you are actually in France

  18. A tough Ray T, enough said. Only got half a dozen, looked at 7 across hints, so very low enjoyment level. Above my pay grade, can’t spend any more time on this today, especially with a few obtuse and strange answers. Thanks to Kath, and congrats to those bright enough to finish this one.

  19. Another fine puzzle from the master of lurkage. Its a toss up between 7 and 15 for favourite. 4 nice long anagrams as usual to get going. Many thanks to RayT.

  20. Not in my pay bracket at all. About five clues solved before looking at the blog and realising that I am a humble clerical officer among many Chief Executive Officers. Perhaps I will stick to the concise. Thanks to Ray T (Thanks????) and to Kath for translating the unparseable.

    1. Don’t give up on the crossword, just give up on this compiler. On a Thursday I have a go, and if I’m getting nowhere, I come here to find out who the setter may be. If it’s this compiler, I throw the paper away and look for something more pleasant to do. No point in staring pointlessly at the clues when they’re this tortuous! Crosswords are supposed to be fun.

      1. I agree with you that crosswords are meant to be fun – who cares how long they takes as long as you’re lucky enough to have the time – it’s not a race.
        I don’t agree with what you said about this setter. He’s not easy and he’s a law to himself but he’s wonderful and really worth persevering with.
        Please keep trying – just look at Brian as an example of a convert – it’s not so long ago that he hated alternate Thursdays, ie Ray T days, but now he’s fine with them, most of the time – just maybe not today!

        1. Heartily endorse. They used to be a complete mystery to me, but I persevered, now I really enjoy them (this excepted).

  21. Definitely a WED as far as I’m concerned. Took an age to get into but was well worth it in the end. I’ll go with 15d as my favourite of the day – even though I was looking for a lurker on the first read through (well hidden sir).

    Thanks to Mr T and to Kath for her review – rather you than me :smile:

  22. *****/***. This was a real challenge for me. The LHS went in reasonably well but I really struggled with the rest. Thanks to Ray T for a really tough workout and to Kath for the needed hints and explanations.

  23. For me, not a back pager, and not an enjoyable solve, felt much of the clueing open to challenge. Definitely for the retired market. Sorry

  24. A bit of a slog but it did come together in the end with SE last to give in. 22d new to me. I’m obviously being thick but can’t see where Dad’s comes into 2d. Can’t believe I failed to identify port in 20d. 6d was Fav with 9a runner-up. Thank you RayT and Kath. Quickie pun baffled me in spite of saying words out loud numerous times.

    1. Dad’s Army refers to the Home Guard (and the TV comedy series) which were the 2d in the second world war

      1. CS, I of course know all that but my point is that 2d is a military force not necessarily Dad’s.
        My original version of this response to you and Kath disappeared.

  25. I agree that it was a terrific challenge .
    6d was my favourite .
    Is any else aware that “In a Yellowhammer ” is an anagram of Orwellian Mayhem ?

  26. Well i finished it but understood about half. Much was completed by seeing what word would fit and then trying desperately to parse the clue. Far too difficult to be in any way enjoyable but it was satisfying to compete it. This is definitely one that should have been in the Toughie envelope.
    Thx for the hints

  27. Very surprised that so many seemed to struggle with the Quickie pun. Obviously not Star Wars fans. Try googling Millenium Falcon. Mrs Bs favourite film character.

  28. Well, Kath, my admiration for your unravelling of this lot knows no bounds. I did solve ten clues with copious e-help, then threw in the towel and resorted to your hints. I did know 22d, one of my first in, so I think that proves I’ve got a stone-age brain.
    Back to the real world now and into the pool for exercises.
    Thanks to RayT, I’m glad so many enjoyed it, and grateful thanks to Kath for the brilliant hints.

    1. Thank you – just please don’t ask how long it took me! Actually, although I know we don’t discuss solving times here for risk of discouraging others, I’d probably get away with telling you all as it couldn’t possibly discourage anyone.

  29. Thanks to Ray T and to Kath for the review and hints. Took me all day, on and off, but was finally beaten by 6&19d. Favourite was 22d. Was 4*/4* for me.

  30. Well completed it but what a stinker.
    I don’t have access to the toughie so don’t know what it’s like but this one is how I imagine it.
    Thanks to Ray T and Kath.

  31. Good grief that was tough! Many thanks Kath for the hints and tips, couldn’t have finished this one without you! Pleased to have finished but not sure how.

  32. Wow, that was a corker! Took me ages and at one point I found the left hand side was complete but the right hand side was empty.
    Most strange. However a breather and a coffee and completion was achieved. I think I enjoyed it; 19a was my favourite.
    Thanks to Ray T, and to Kath for the review, as well as my respect!

  33. Certainly a challenge and satisfying to eventually get it all sorted.
    Clue word count all in order of course.
    Thanks RayT and Kath.

  34. All done, but little pleasure gained from an almighty slog.
    Like Brian, after a few gimmies, I gave up trying to solve the clues from the wordplay and just tried to identify the definition and solve like the quickie.
    A difficulty factor, fine for a Beam Toughie, but not a Ray-T back pager.
    Thanks Kath, for unravelling the wordplay and Ray-T, even though it was not my cup of tea, the craft that goes into if must be admired.

    1. Hoofit, you must be pretty good at this lark. Even if I spent all day at this, I would never have been able to finish, so congratulations, I’m impressed!

      1. Not really, Merusa, just a bit like Robert the Bruce with the spider.
        You have mastered Dada on a Sunday which is more than I have done.

  35. It has been said by others but I too found that quite tough and even with Kath’s help I was staring at words trying to decipher why they were right but got there in the end. Thanks to Kath and Ray T.
    I will put my tardiness down to the fact that the hygienist has given my teeth a good coat of looking at and I have to go back for the repecharge next week.

  36. I got there in the end but had to use some electronic help, though I managed to parse all the clues myself. They all seem to be difficult this week. Nobody said life is easy.

  37. With perhaps one exception we all seem to have agreed that today’s crossword was a bit of little piglet.
    Good – it’s so hard to judge the difficulty level when doing the hints – I spend a lot of time dithering. Am I on the wrong wave length – am I thinking of other things – am I just plain grumpy?
    That’s about it from me for today so thank you to Ray T for the crossword and to everyone who has left a comment.
    Night night all and sleep well – I think I probably will! :yawn:

  38. Late shift clocking on here. I’m not a Ray T convert yet, but I keep trying. There are some very clever clues in this puzzle; I just wish I could appreciate them a bit more whilst solving, rather than in retrospect as I struggle to get on the right wavelength for this setter. I’m afraid I still find the sometimes over-stretched synonyms annoying rather than entertaining. Both 19a and 22d were new to me, but solvable nonetheless. 15d gets my vote for favourite, and completely eluded me for ages but the eventual clang must have been audible from quite a distance.
    Overall, it seems an odd choice of difficulty for a back-pager. The whole thing took me way longer than I had available, but I do like a challenge and find it very hard to give up once I’ve started, so when the last one went in there was at least a good sense of achievement.
    4*/2* for me. Thanks for the challenge Ray, even though I didn’t really have time for it today, and thanks to Kath for the review.

  39. Friday’s crossword finished on the District line from Wimbledon to Mansion House. Didn’t really engage with it. Me, Friday feeling or the crossword, who knows?

  40. What a stunningly wonderful puzzle. I just about finished it at bedtime. Logged on this morning to get some help with parsing 23a (obvious when explained) and 14a. And because I always read the blog over my morning tea. My favourite was 1a which I had been struggling with all evening. The penny dropped as I cleaned my teeth. Thank you Ray T. I love the precision of your clues. And Kath for the hints.

  41. I started this late yesterday and finished it this morning. Like most others, I thought it was particularly difficult although I did get there in the end. My favourite was 20d.
    Thanks to Kath – you are so modest but brilliant – and Ray T.

  42. Finished this in bed last night. Enjoyed it very much but the bottom right held out for ages. I think my last one in was 15d – could have kicked myself when I realized it was a lurker – brilliant. I needed Kath’s help to understand 3d – I’d completely forgotten that definition of quarrel and, like Kath, was fixated on “row”. I was surprised that we had 2 sweethearts and 2 dishes (both Italian, so presumably deliberate) in the clues. Many thanks to Kath and Ray T.

  43. I did this one, in fits and starts, yesterday evening (Fri) and thought it was an excellent puzzle. Great clues, a stiff challenge and a very enjoyable tussle. 4* / 4.5*

    1. I get my DT crosswords from my neighbour, who only does the quickie. I’m catching up so have only just finished this. I found it very difficult and still don’t get some of the definitions

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