DT 29173 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 29173

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 29173

Hints and tips by Deep Threat

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

Good morning from South Staffs on a damp, grey morning.

I found today’s Giovanni to be at the harder end of his range, with a good deal of (not so) General Knowledge required. The crossing pair at 24a and 18d were the last two to fall, and I was close to awarding **** for difficulty.

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           Doris cavorting by couch, undressed (8)
DISROBED – Anagram (cavorting) of DORIS followed by another word for a couch.

6a           Office worker is pretty stupid, about to be sacked (6)
TYPIST – Anagram (stupid) of IS P(re)TTY, with the Latin word for ‘about’ or ‘concerning’ removed (sacked).

9a           Limit damage produced by drink (6)
MARGIN – Another word for ‘damage’ or ‘spoil’ followed by a distilled alcoholic drink.

10a         Set of books this writer wrapped in paper in tasteful style (8)
DAINTILY – The abbreviation for one of the sets of books in the Bible and a pronoun for ‘this writer’ are put together and are wrapped in a word describing papers such as the Telegraph, Mail or Express.

11a         Lover makes soldier lament no end (8)
PARAMOUR – An airborne soldier followed by another word for ‘lament’ minus its final letter.

12a         Thin little girl with musical instrument (6)
DILUTE – The definition is a verb, and is what you might do to a concentrated liquid. A short from of a girl’s (or princess’s) name is followed by a mediaeval stringed instrument.

13a         Left in desolate place with little money, engineers building for community (6,6)
HEALTH CENTRE – Insert Left into a desolate place such as the one where the three witches greet Macbeth, then add a small US or Euro coin and the initials of the usual regiment of Engineers.

16a         Nasty ice on side bed — problem in the earliest garden? (12)
DISOBEDIENCE – Anagram (nasty) of ICE ON SIDE BED, giving us the fault which got Adam and Eve thrown out of the Garden of Eden.

19a         Getting rid of top motorsport group (6)
FIRING – Two letters which look like the alphanumeric contraction of the top level of motor racing – the one where Lewis Hamilton is currently top of the pile – followed by a group or conspiracy.

21a         Periodic times making us sad yet resolved (8)
TUESDAYS – Anagram (resolved) of US SAD YET.

23a         Giving party attended by group of people (8)
DONATION – One of the usual crossword parties followed by a political or ethnic group of people.

24a         Tree illuminated, one at back of church (6)
LITCHI – Put together ‘illuminated’, the last two letters (back) of churCH and the Roman numeral for one, giving us an alternative spelling of the Chinese fruit tree which is the source of the dessert often served in Chinese restaurants.

Image result for litchi

25a         The Parisian coming to Chichester maybe as a tenant (6)
LESSEE – To solve this clue it helps to know that Chichester is the seat of a bishop. Then we can put together the French plural definite article and a word for a bishop’s area of responsibility.

26a         Grounds under water? (8)
SEDIMENT – Cryptic definition of the sludge found at the bottom of a coffee cup or a river.


2d           Scotsman outside wicked African city (6)
IBADAN – Another word for ‘wicked’ with a typically Scots name wrapped round it, to give a city in the south-west of Nigeria.

3d           One sort of music or another introducing Georgia (5)
RAGGA – Put together the sort of music played by, for example, Scott Joplin, and the abbreviation for the state of Georgia, to produce another musical genre, described in the BRB as ‘a type of rap music, developed from reggae and influenced by dance rhythms’.

I looked for a clip illustrating the answer, but the comments on the ones I found said they weren’t really the answer, so here’s a bit of the wordplay instead:

4d           A boy gone mad having received very encouraging message before journey (3,6)
BON VOYAGE – Anagram (mad) of A BOY GONE with Very inserted

5d           Philosopher performed, having rushed up (7)
DIDEROT – Another word for ‘performed’ of ‘carried out’, followed by the reverse (up) of another word for rushed. This produces an 18th-century French philosopher known for his work on the Encyclopédie.

Image result for diderot

6d           Made an effort, being weary, a bit confused inside (5)
TRIED – Another word for ‘weary’ with two of the inside letters swapped over.

7d           Favourite uncle somehow hiding a bad temper (9)
PETULANCE – Another word for a favourite followed by an anagram (somehow) of UNCLE with A (from the clue) inserted (hiding a).

8d           Loner thus wanting literature, a couple of lines? (8)
SOLITARY – Put together another word for ‘thus’, an abbreviation of ‘literature’, A (from the clue) and an abbreviation for the form of transport which runs on a couple of (parallel) lines.

13d         Yobs lashing out about nothing repeatedly (9)
HOOLIGANS – Anagram (out) of LASHING, wrapped around two instances (repeatedly) of the letter which looks like a zero.

14d         Set against a ledge, wobbling (9)
CONGEALED – A short form of a word for against (usually contrasted with ‘pro’) followed by an anagram (wobbling) of A LEDGE.

15d         Oil’s nice possibly as a sort of lubricant (8)
SILICONE – Anagram (possibly) of OIL’S NICE.

17d         Designs inside temporary accommodation (7)
INTENTS – Another word for ‘inside’ followed by the sort of temporary accommodation found on a campsite.

18d         A line of language? (6)
HYPHEN – Cryptic definition of the horizontal line used to link two words or two parts of a word which has overflowed on to the next line.

20d         Beef good and ready to eat (5)
GRIPE Good followed by ‘ready to eat’, as a piece of fruit might be when it is in this state.

22d         Dope beginning to disturb a stomach (5)
DATUM – The first letter (beginning to) of Disturb followed by A (from the clue) and a familiar word for the stomach.

The Quick Crossword pun PENNED + DENNIS = PENDENNIS

72 comments on “DT 29173

  1. 4*/1*. I’m sorry to say that I found this a real slog. I hope others will have enjoyed it.
    Thanks to all.

    1. With much respect to our esteemed setter, I’m afraid I have to agree. Possibly the least entertaining pun of the year to boot

      1. But is the pun answer the novel, the physician or the castle? Surely not the castle – that’s over the border in Cornwall!

    2. I never cease to marvel at the differences. Yesterday was such a slog for me, a total mystery, but it was thoroughly enjoyed by those amongst us I consider to have super IQs.

  2. I didn’t do so well on the first pass with only eight clues solved. From there it was a slow solve with each pass offering up another couple of answers until enough checkers were there to assist with the final few stubborn clues. I have enjoyed every puzzle this week. Thanks to Giovanni for today’s workout and thanks to Deep Treat for the review. I would listen to the clips but Mr Morrison is singing and it would be rude to interrupt him. Play nicely over the weekend folks and I will see you all on Monday

    1. Knowing a tiny bit about your declared tastes, I’m guessing you refer to Van not Jim…….

  3. I did give it **** for difficulty and largely because I spent a large amount of time seeking help with 24a and 18d from the BRB etc to no avail. The rest was reasonably challenging and enjoyable, so *** for enjoyment from me too. Thanks to Falcon for the hints to 24a and 18d. Thanks to Giovanni for an interesting exercise, I haven’t consulted that many difference reference works for ages.

  4. I started off thinking it would be tricky but ended up in about the right time for a Friday inside back pager – looking at the solutions, I do wonder why the 6a was 1a ;)

    Thanks to Giovanni and DT

  5. Many thanks to Giovanni for restoring some sanity to the DT backpager after yesterdays indescribable offering.
    Couple of comments: never heard of the Philosopher but the word play was good and the music in 3d was new to me. 21a caused a problem needing knowledge of the C of Es bishoprics, not something I as a practising atheist would be aware of but I’m sure the churchgoers amongst us knew.
    My fav was 23a, very clever.
    Thx to all

    1. B, 25a. I’m an atheist but I don’t “practise” it – it’s just there naturally! If G uses an ancient city and the word “maybe” in a clue it’s pretty likely that “see” is going to be in the answer.

      1. As a practising Jesus I think you should be ashamed of yourself. One of my favourite two books was featured today in 10a, but even so I have to admit to needing help, NOT COLLUSION!, on this one – last in. Sorry about the 18d there.
        I thought it was tough. Tough. I thought it was tough. I had never heard of the philosopher but worked out the word through pure genius. I feel sorry for the dems who may be attempting this. LOSERS!
        Thanks to Giovanni for the reminder that 21a is my next technology lesson. I’d have been right up the pole.
        19a is my favourite, of course

        As you were


        1. No, I’m not ashamed of myself at all and I’ve no prblem with you practising whatever you like – it’a a free country!

  6. Thanks so much for the tips. I found this hard and thought 24a a bit of a swindle. For some strange reason I usually find Friday easier than the rest of the week – definitely not today

  7. I always like a Giovanni and this was no exception. After a slowish start, it all fell into place quite nicely. Three new words, 2d, 3d and 24a but both capable of being solved from the clues, which I like. I like some general knowledge content, just seems to add an extra domension to a puzzle, but that’s just me. Cannot pick out a clear winner from good all-round bunch.

        1. Make that three then. After my NTSPP last weekend I couldn’t really not join the club. I think GK is a bit like Marmite 😂

  8. I thought this was the usual Friday’s curate’s egg. Enjoyable but slightly let down (in my opinion of course) by relative obscurities such as 2d, where the ubiquitous “Scotsman” makes yet another appearance, 6d, and 22d where the synonym is very dated. I did enjoy others though with the clever 18d, and my COTD 11a (what a great word) foremost amongst them.
    Many thanks to Giovanni and to DT for his excellent review and in particular for the parsing of 8d.

  9. Points awarded here for the surface reads of 6&19a plus 13&20d but it was the video clips that really put a smile on my face. The deadpan expression of that 6a and the theme tune from one of my favourite films – most enjoyable.

    Thanks to DG and many thanks to DT for brightening the mood on a very wet day.

  10. It appears that our Friday setter is the Marmite compiler of the week, eliciting praise and lack of enjoyment in equal amounts. I am in the former camp, enjoying the challenge of using the excellent wordplay to discover new words. 18d was my particular favourite this morning, with 11a a close second.

    Many thanks to The Don and DT.

  11. Found this harder than yesterday. Too much general knowledge required. 8d favourite. Ta to all.

  12. Agree it was curate’s egg – and how long before that expression gets lost in the mists of time? I found it rather hard going but – after today’s Toughie – at least the number of unknown words was minimal.

  13. Found this good fun and smiled when the penny dropped in 18d. Hadn’t heard of the philosopher before. All in all a slow but steady solve. Thanks to all.

  14. I really enjoyed this one. I started in the NW corner and worked my way round anti-clockwise with no problems. Many thanks to Giovanni and Deep Threat.

  15. Slow and steady describes my approach to solving this puzzle too. I don’t mind the occasional obscurity as long as it is solvable from the wordplay. 18d held out the longest but elicited a groan when the penny dropped.

    In my 55 years on the planet I have never seen or heard the word “dope” used in real life in the context that it so often is in crosswordland.

    4*/3* for me.
    Thanks to the Don for the Friday mental workout and DT for the blog.

    1. You don’t often here “dope” in real life, that’s true. My 92 year old mother still sometimes calls me a “dozy haddock”! Have you heard that one?

    2. I seem to recall ‘dope’ in the sense of ‘information’ being used in the sort of wartime stories (Biggles and the like) which I read as a boy: but then I’m older than you!

      1. Apparently dope in the sense of information originated in horse racing. A whisper from the stables telling a gambler which horses were being drugged was potentially worth a lot of money, so dope came to mean knowledge that drugs had been employed. This led to its being used for information about racing in general and later broadened still further.

  16. A bit too obscure to be totally enjoyable for my taste, but what a wonderful surface in 13a!
    Thanks Giovanni and DT.

  17. An excellent puzzle from G, which I only half did on the bus and finished at home over lunch, so it must have been quite tricky. Great clues, a good challenge and very enjoyable/satisfying. I’ll pick 14d as a favourite of a very good/excellent bunch. 4* / 4.5*

    *In 6d, G has helped inadvertently to solve the “without issue” – if you use some pretty axiomatic logic and a bit of reverse engineering. Here, G has used “inside” (=within) to indicate the rearrangement of 3 letters within a 5 letter word thus: T(***)D. This clearly displays that crossword answers (as linear collections of letters) have an “inside” and an “outside” – and that is very obvious to us all! It therefore follows that “without” (= [simply] outside, BRB) can be used as a containment indicator for letters on the outside (of other letters on the inside) of the answer – as they clearly provide linear containment.

      1. I think Jose is referring to an ongoing discussion regarding the use of ‘without’ for either ‘outside of’ or ‘inside’ – personally, I’d just avoid using it at all!
        ‘Following’ is another one. ABC – is C following (coming after) AB or is A following (behind, reading left to right) BC? :wacko:

        1. Let me throw in ‘outwith’ too. In common parlance north of the border.

          Sort of means ‘outside’….
          I doubt any setters use it, but await correction from the experts.

        2. “There is a Green Hill faraway, without a city wall….”
          It seemed appropriate for a Giovanni Friday 😎

  18. Giovanni presented a bit more cause for thought today than usual but it was none the worse for that and I enjoyed the exercise. SE corner held me up where last to yield were 24a (never heard of that version)
    and 18d (would quibble a bit with that clue). Took a while to work out 13a. Have never seen a performance of the typewriter so was amused to see Martin Breinschmid’s masterly percussion rendition and Scott Joplin’s jazz piano was also nicely nostalgic. Thank you DG and DT.

  19. BD, just for info – the top banner, including the Home – Site Map buttons, has started scrolling again instead of remaining fixed in position.

  20. Much harder than yesterday, but little enjoyment.
    Not my favourite at all, but I appreciate the skill involved.
    Thanks all

  21. I thought this one was about average in terms of Giovanni’s range of difficulty.
    I do always struggle a bit on Fridays and agree with others about the ‘sticking points’ ie 24a and 18d.
    Not being ‘up’ in philosophers 5d was a problem but was OK once I stopped trying to find one that ended ‘nar’ – reversal of rushed.
    I’m never sure about 24a’s – when peeled they have an unpleasant resemblance to eye-balls. Yuk.
    I liked 1 and 6a and 7d and my favourite was 13d.
    Thanks to Giovanni and to DT.

      1. No – I wouldn’t – eyes are not part of general nurse training, or they weren’t when I trained!

  22. Above my pay grade so gave up.

    Reassured that others fpund it difficult.

    Thanks to Deep Threat.

  23. Thanks to Giovanni and to Deep Threat for the review and hints. I enjoyed this puzzle, but there was so much I hadn’t heard of, 2,3,5d&24a, but all were fairly clued. Last in was 10a, favourite was 18d. Was 3*/3* for me.

  24. What a contrast to yesterday’s crossword which as Brian wrote was an absolute stinker, for which I needed both hints and answers. Today’s seemed to be going the same way on the first sweep but the second revealed much by careful analysis and although needing the help of resources to hand for a small few it provided a lot of enjoyment. **/****.

    1. Sorry forgot to thank Giovanni for a challenging and enjoyable puzzle and DT for confirming my analysis of the clues.

  25. Finally finished this after far too long trying. Thanks to DT for explaining 6a and 8d. What a handsome chap 5d was. Super puzzle as always, Giovanni.

  26. Following a software upgrade (may be just coincidental) both my wife’s and my iPad are struggling with the puzzles section. The screen seems jumpy and there is a significant delay when keys are pressed. Coming out of the puzzle and returning to it cures the problem, albeit for a short time in until it returns. Any shared pain or suggestions would be appreciated.
    I found today’s puzzle a brute, but a great satisfaction upon completion. ****/***

      1. Me too! And each time I leave and return the ‘clear’ period gets shorter. I have re-installed the app on two occasions but to no avail.

    1. Ditto here. I don’t engage with the puzzle section online, although I do use my iPad to read and use the blog.

      You don’t need to to come out of the puzzle to solve the “delay” problem, however. You just need to close the keyboard (press icon) and you can then enter text as normal. You may need to do it a few times. It’s not consistent or rational.

  27. Oh boy, I did not really like this one. Started off well but soon found myself stuck. Some of the wordplay was a bit obscure for my taste. There are more lines in language than the answer to 18d and dope to me is not singular but that maybe a quirk of mine. Never heard of the alternative spelling for 24a but it has gone into the memory banks.

    As someone said above, it was a bit of a curate’s egg. The good parts were most enjoyable but the bad parts frustrating.

    Good to see a raft of favourite clues on the Letters Page!

    My thanks, as always, to all concerned.

  28. I was right on wavelength today, thoroughly enjoyed.
    I did have a couple of hiccups; never heard of 3d and, natch, put the wrong answer at first, that held up 11a. Once I got 11a, I then had to use a word search to get 3d. I also bunged in 19a, I suspected it would deal with the “infernal combustion engine”, to quote Churchill.
    I knew the philosopher, we’ve had him before and I remembered. Yay!
    My fave was 13d, my friend in Jamaica calls her animal shelter inmates by that name. Loved the Scott Joplin clip.
    Thanks to Giovanni for the fun and Deep Threat for his review and unravelling some for me.

  29. Each ‘sweep’ of the clues released a few more answers enabling me to get a hold on this crossword and hence go on to complete it.
    That was a bit wordy…
    10a although a building block clue, was my favourite.
    Thanks to Giovanni, and to DT for the review.

  30. The benefit of having to do the crossword in the evening is you get to see what people think of it… and all I can say is Wow what a variation of opinions for this one.
    For me,,, it was a well crafted & well clued puzzle that I managed to pull together inside the 3* time I set myself. Fortunately this week the GK was known, a huge advantage.
    Many thanks to Giovanni for the workout & to DT for an excellent review.

  31. Late afternoon before I could get to look at this, and sorry to say I also found it rather a slog and disappointing. My general knowledge is clearly lacking as never heard of 2d, 3d, 5d and never seen that spelling for 24a.

  32. I didn’t do this till today for various reasons, so no one is likely to read my comments……….

    I thought it was ***/***.
    But I appreciated the alternative spelling of 24 and the slightly covert anagrams, especially at 21.

    1. Please ignore/delete – found ‘dope’ explanation above (had been searching for ‘datum’ in comments)

    2. Welcome to the blog Andrew

      Glad to see you have answered your own question – we here call that Gnome’s Law, after one of our bloggers!

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