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DT 29176

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 29176

Hints and tips by Mr K

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BD Rating  -  Difficulty ** Enjoyment ***

Hello, everyone.  I thought that the top of today's puzzle was fairly gentle, but I found that things became more interesting when I reached the bottom.  Overall, I rated it a bit below average for difficulty and about average for enjoyment.  I, and the thousands of lurkers who will visit the blog today, look forward to reading what everyone else thought of it.

In the hints below most indicators are italicized and definitions are underlined.  Clicking on the ɹǝʍsuɐ buttons will reveal the answers.  In some hints hyperlinks provide additional explanation or background.  Clicking on a picture might enlarge it or display a bonus illustration.  Please leave a comment telling us how you got on.



1a    Carpeted  under the table (8)
HAMMERED:  A double definition.  Under the table from too many alcohols

5a    Busts -- they slow you down, we hear (6)
BREAKS:  A homophone (we hear) of devices that slow a car, for example

10a   Naive doctor enthusiastic about operation day (15)
UNSOPHISTICATED:  An anagram (doctor) of ENTHUSIASTIC containing (about) an informal contraction of operation and followed by the abbreviation for day

11a   Dangers from cures limiting hospital (7)
THREATS:  Cures or heals containing (limiting) the abbreviation for hospital

12a   Complaint made by artist embraced by every European (7)
EARACHE:  The usual artist contained by (embraced by) a synonym of every, with the single letter for European then appended

13a   Associates Charlie with leg caught in fishing equipment (8)
CONNECTS:  Concatenate the letter represented by Charlie in the NATO phonetic alphabet, another name for the leg side in cricket, and the cricket abbreviation for caught inserted in some fishing equipment

15a   Hold up  pen (5)
STALL:  A double definition.  The pen might contain animals

18a   Unhappy at university clique (5)
UPSET:  A word meaning "at university" is followed by a clique or group

20a   Out of date medicine that is valued 50% off (8)
MEDIEVAL:  Join together the abbreviation for medicine, the Latin abbreviation for "that is", and one half (.. 50% off) of VALUED

23a   Tramp stumbles around atomic base (7)
TRAIPSE:  Stumbles or falls contains (around) the single letter for atomic, and that's all followed by the letter that represents the base of the natural logarithm 

25a   Honourably short time to recover (7)
MORALLY:  Stick together an informal word for a short time and recover or come together in support of something 

26a   Open basic cell to criminal? One might (6,9)
POLICE CONSTABLE:  An anagram (criminal) of OPEN BASIC CELL TO.  The wordplay overlaps a definition formed by the entire clue, making this clue a semi-all-in-one

27a   Simply starts to eat alternative snack items -- like yoghurt (6)
EASILY:  Initial letters of (starts to …) the remaining words in the clue

28a   Dessert came with rice, strangely (3,5)
ICE CREAM:  An anagram (strangely) of CAME RICE



1d    Regularly visits relatives to support husband (6)
HAUNTS:  Some female relatives follow (to support, in a down clue) the genealogical abbreviation for husband 

2d    Quiet after Greek character digs for fungi (9)
MUSHROOMS:  Assemble a Greek letter that sounds like a cat, an interjection requesting quiet, and digs or lodging 

3d    Describe former lover? Unattractive (7)
EXPLAIN:  A usual word for a former lover and unattractive or unembellished

4d    Leaves site to work around ten (5)
EXITS:  An anagram (… to work) of SITE containing (round) the Roman ten

6d    Indicates the Queen's pulled up trousers (7)
RECORDS:  The usual Queen is reversed (pulled up, in a down clue) and followed by an informal word for trousers derived from the fabric of which they are made

7d    Greek somewhat ticklish? Somewhat (5)
ATTIC:  The answer is hiding as part of (… somewhat) the second and third words of the clue.  Read about the answer here   

8d    Naughty nude lady's wanting adult at once (8)
SUDDENLY:  An anagram (naughty) of NUDE L[a]DY'S minus (wanting) the single letter for adult 

9d    Hair in two different directions -- daughter's worried (8)
STRESSED:  A lock of hair is contained by (in) two points of the compass, and that lot's then followed by the genealogical abbreviation for daughter

14d   Move closer with Mercedes stuck in traffic (8)
COMMERCE:  An instruction to move closer contains an informal contraction of Mercedes (with Mercedes stuck in)

16d   Benefit expert at one's disposal (9)
AVAILABLE:  A verb synonym of benefit with an adjective synonym of expert 

17d   Many pull item out (8)
MULTIPLE:  An anagram (… out) of PULL ITEM 

19d   Steaming out of river's current (7)
TOPICAL:  Steaming or very hot has the map abbreviation for river deleted (out of river) 

21d   Volatile rodent found in Morecambe, perhaps (7)
ERRATIC:  A rodent contained by (found in) a first name which Morecambe defines by example (perhaps

22d   College cracked my clue (6)
LYCEUM:  An anagram (cracked) of MY CLUE 

24d   Book ultimately missing conclusion (5)
ATLAS:  A (2,4) phrase meaning "ultimately" with its last letter deleted (… missing conclusion

25d   Ludicrously busy chap in charge (5)
MANIC:  Follow a chap or gent with the abbreviation for in charge 


Thanks to today’s setter for a fun solve.  My list of favourites included 5a, 26a, 1d, 9d, 16d, and 24d.  Which clues did you like best?


The Quick Crossword pun:  BUY + THE + WEIGH = BY THE WAY

52 comments on “DT 29176

  1. 4.5*/2.5*. Was this a wrong envelope day? A few answers went in quite quickly, but I found it a tricky blighter and I never really felt that I had got onto the setter’s wavelength.

    Thanks to Mr Ron for the challenge and to Mr K.

      1. And me. A very strange puzzle, and unnecessarily tough IMHO. For example 7d, a Ancient Athens dialect, must have missed that at school. There were numerous other clues the setter could have given to arrive at the answer. And I’ve never heard of 1a meaning carpeted? Oh well. Thanks Mr K, But needing too many hints and not finding much fun in this one, so giving up.

  2. This seems to have been one of those puzzles that was a different experience for each person. I would agree with your rating of **/***, Mr K but I found the North East more difficult than the rest and would have rated it * for difficulty without the clues there, My favourite clues were 3d and 22d. Thankks to Mr K for the hints and to the mystery compiler.

  3. A rather unremarkable puzzle for me – other than that the first 15 clues, and 25 in total, start with the definition **/**
    I would not be able to walk down the stairs pictured @1a!
    Thanks to setter & Mr K

    1. Hello, LbR. I wondered if solvers would notice how many clues here start with the definition. I didn’t spot it while solving, but it became very apparent during the underlining stage of blog preparation.

  4. A curate’s egg without a lot of sparkle completed at a gallop (just) – ***/**.
    No outstanding favourites although 5a and 21d did raise smiles.
    Thanks to the setter and Mr K.

  5. I found this quite tricky, a little too much concatenation for my liking so needed Mr K’s help in parsing a couple, 23a and 16d (quite clever!)
    In a slightly uninspiring field, I liked 9,16 and 21d. 4/2*

    I enjoyed the clip of The Bangles, though not necessarily for the quality of the song, so thanks to Mr K for that, the explanations and of course to the setter.

  6. an enjoyable straightforward puzzle though i spent some time looking for an anagram in 23a and discovering that caught was the only bit in the fishing equipment in 13a.
    cheers to Mr K for including one of my favourite bits of Monty Python in his hints.

  7. I enjoyed this but finally needed Mr K’s excellent hints to answer 23a. I do not ever consider e as a base, so well done to both him and the setter. Many thanks to you both.

  8. Fine in the East but a bit more troublesome in the West. Not sure about 1a or 16d. Bunged in wrong word for 14d which made life difficult around there for me for a while. No real Fav candidates but liked surface of 27a. Amazing the different contexts which you can find for your moggy friends, MrK, viz. 24d! Thank you Mysteron and MrK.

  9. Thanks to our setter for the fairly straightforward puzzle and to Mr K for the review. I thought that there were a few smileworthy clues – 1a, 5a and 21d.
    It can’t be a coincidence, can it, that the answer to 23a is the word that has to be clued in the October clue-writing contest in the Puzzles Newsletter?

    1. Hi, Gazza. I had the same thought about 23a. But it’s probably just a coincidence, like the answers repeated on consecutive days that solvers sometimes notice. That clue for 23a also didn’t feel to me like the work of our editor.

      1. Yes – or the word may have stuck in CL’s mind when he was preparing today’s puzzle for publication.

  10. A few sticky ones in the bottom half slowed me up, otherwise this was a fairly comfortable solve. Unusually I liked an anagram, 26a, for my COTD. I had forgotten about the natural logarithm letter employed in 23a.

    Thanks very much to both Misters involved today.

  11. Having started on the across clues, I thought I was going to be in hot-water today, but the down clues almost fell in of their own accord, letting me get the whole thing finished in ** time.

    I can’t remember the last time we had a 12 letter word as part of anagram fodder, I’m impressed!

    Thanks to the setter and Mr.K.

  12. This one didn’t really flow for me, more a case of solving in fits and starts. Thought the 10a anagram was clever but my top three comprised 26a along with 3&21d.

    Thanks to Mr Ron (does Gazza’s comment point us in the direction of our esteemed editor?) and to Mr K for his quality blog which I always look forward to reading. Love the catlas and was very relieved to note that the stairway had a handrail running along both sides. 1a or not, that carpet could be responsible for a lot of accidents!

    1. Hi, Jane. Thanks for that. When solving, I didn’t have this pegged as a CL creation. But he’s certainly capable of creating puzzles covering a wide range of difficulty levels, so who knows? Perhaps he can confirm or deny your speculation?

  13. Thanks to the setter and Mr Kitty for the review and hints. I found this a bit unusual, in that I completed the bottom half, then really struggled. I then checked the blog to make sure that I had the correct answer for 16d (and I did), I inadvertently glanced at Mr Kitty’s preamble…. That it was easy. Then when back to the puzzle and finished it without any trouble. Was 3*/3* for me, favourite was 26a.

    1. Hello, Heno. Very interesting observation about how perceptions of difficulty can influence the solve. I often feel that the “Toughie” label on the other daily puzzle makes it seem more difficult than it actually is.

      1. On the other hand, Mr K, successfully solving one of those puzzles labelled ‘Toughie’ does bring an enormous amount of self-satisfaction!

  14. In contrast to most I thought that this was a little gem , clever yet simple , which I finished far too soon earlier today . 2D being my COTD .

    Many thanks to the Setter and to Mr K although I have yet to read the hints .

  15. An uninspiring ***/* for me. The anagrams at 10a and 26a were interesting for their length and 23a for its obscurity or poor clueing. At least better than Sunday’s.

    Thanks to setter and Mr K for his helpful parsing where I had the word without understanding or the wrong word for the same reason.

  16. Apologies to the setter, but this one didn’t do very much for me today. I’m quite happy to accept that maybe it was just me not in the mood today.

  17. Back to crosswords after a mad few weekz at work. Got stuck today, especially with the NE corner, then went for a walk and upon my return, the rest fell into place. Not sure about 1A – carpeted? – and 23A was a bung-it-in. I liked 20A and 14D.

  18. I agree with Jane on this one. I had to keep starting and stopping to get through it. No real laugh out loud moment, but pleasant enough. Thank you setter and Mr Kitty.

  19. That was the strangest puzzle! A lot of gimmes interspersed with brain-frying clues, when getting the answer I had no idea why, e.g. 1a and 23a. In fact, my bung in at 1a was wrong.
    The two long anagrams at 10a and 26a were solvable without aids and opened it up nicely.
    I did like lots, 26a ‘cos the anagram fell so readily, but fave was 21d.
    Thanks to whomsoever set this and to Mr. Kitty for unravelling so much of it, and, natch, the kitty pics.

  20. Certainly a*** and a half for difficulty for me.
    20a, 23a and 6d held me up but got there eventually unaided.
    Great clues.
    Many thanks to the setter and to Mr. K for the nicely illustrated review.

  21. A real curates egg. The good parts were fine but the bad parts were really tricky.
    The only was i could finish this before the hints were out this morning was to see what words I could make with the checking letters I had then try to make the clue fit. Not a good way but symptomatic for me of a rather poor quality puzzle.
    Thx for the hints.
    Just read the hint for 23a for the explanation fo the letter e, I am speechless that the setter should think that we all have a degree in advanced maths. Appalling clue in my opinion.

    1. It was only ‘O’ Level maths when I was at school. That ‘e’, the base of natuarl logarithm, has cropped up a few times recently, if not in the DT but elsewhere.

  22. The answer we left until the very last was 1a as we were thinking of the second meaning being equivalent to ‘under the counter’ or illicit. Eventually saw the correct interpretation. That was our only real hold-up in what we found a pleasant solve.
    Thanks Mr Ron and Mr K.

  23. I thought this was very tricky, Mrs. Hoofit helped me out with the last two.
    Did not know the atomic letter or base, which made 23a very tricky, ones to remember.
    Thanks Mr.K and Mr.Ron.

    1. 23a was my last in, and I had to check with Mr K’s excellent hints to make sure I was correct. 1d my favourite today, and both the long anagrams followed closely! Loved the illustration for 24d – thanks to all!

  24. I enjoyed this but agree that the top half was more straightforward than the bottom, especially the SW corner – needless to say I needed the hints to finish off with 19d, 23a and 24d.

    Thanks to the setter and Mr K.

  25. Curates egg for me today, thought I was cracking it then hit the buffers. I found some clues awkward to parse ,,,
    3.5*/2* thanks to setter & MrK for review & direction

    1. It’s not often I spend the entire evening up to 1am solving a backpager, but had to do just that for this. A back page toughie for me, *****/*.
      Very satisfied to finally see it off.

      Thanks for the hints, needed to confirm a few doubtful efforts.

  26. Well I too found it difficult in parts but generally ok for a Tuesday with just enough naughtiness to make it amusing. I enjoyed the Bangles clip. I would like to set the record straight and categorically deny that there was anything between Susanna Hoffs and me, not even clothes. I’m was never a big fan of Rickenbacker guitars but it never stopped her playing one. Favourite 25d, obviously. Many thanks to the setter and Mr K.

  27. Just about getting in before tomorrow after a busy day in Cambridge. Everything has been said already but I have to say there was a hotel in the front at Llandudno which had a carpet very similar to the illustration. Oh boy, it was difficult to negotiate! Thanks to all for the entertainment.

  28. I found most of this straightforward but then got totally stuck in the southwest corner with 23a and 19d. Fair clues now I understand them, however.

    Thank you to the setter and Mr K’s eye-opening review.

  29. This one was about average difficulty with OK clues and quite enjoyable. I liked 20a. 2.5* / 3*

  30. Like several on here I steamed through the top half… and then came to a grinding halt in the lower half. All eventually came good, with 2d being my favourite clue.
    Thanks to the setter, and to Mr K for the review and pix.

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