DT 29178 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 29178

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 29178

Hints and tips by ShafT

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ****

WooHoo. It’s Thursday. It’s Seven O’clock. It’s a RayT puzzle. The regular bloggers are unavailable. I’m standing In. Woohoo. Blogging heaven. Heigh Ho. Let’s go

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a    Old adult in vain working without energy (12)
ANTEDILUVIAN: Doncha just love it when one across just falls into your lap. I wish it had. I could see working as an anagram indicator but the word numbers didn’t add up. Oh well move on quickly. There is no point staring at a clue. On the second pass I had the start letters to 2d and 4d so the anagram sort of solved itself. Still too many letters until I realised that the word old was the definition and not part of the wordplay so – Anagram (working) of ADULT IN VAIN which surrounds or includes the abbreviation of energy


9a    Conservative girl’s single with ring, almost pure (9)
CLASSICAL: Begin with the abbreviation for Conservative. Add an endearing term for a girl. Add a single in cricket or the letter that resembles the number one. Now add most of a word meaning to ring using a telephone. Very often with a RayT clue you just have to do as you are told.

10a    Laziness of hotel pursuing vacancy (5)
SLOTH: This vacancy is an allotted place in an arrangement or scheme such as a broadcasting schedule. It is followed by an abbreviation of Hotel as used in the IVR code

11a    Sailor in pit finding Davy Jones’s locker? (6)
SEABED: Our regular abbreviation for a seaman (able bodied in case you are interested) sits inside a perfectly viable synonym of pit where a pit is the stone of a fruit

12a    Place in a loft, strangely very high (8)
FALSETTO: A word meaning to place sits nicely within an anagram (strangely) of A LOFT. The answer sits high on the list of words your blogger detests. Mostly because it is used to describe the singing in the worlds worst pop pap song ever in the history of worst pop pap songs.

13a    On reflection regretted taking to diversion (6)
DETOUR: Reverse a word meaning regretted and place it around the word to which your setter has very kindly gifted you

15a    Getting cute? (8)
FETCHING: A double definition. Cute is what attracted Saint Sharon to me at the beginning of our relationship. Perfection was what I saw.

18a    Officer agitatedly enrages troops to begin (8)
SERGEANT: Golly bongs. I bunged this in from the checkers without parsing. Now I see that it is an anagram (agitatedly) of ENRAGES followed by the initial letter of Troops

19a    Old politician fine after work, retiring (6)
POWELL: The politician remembered for his ‘rivers of blood’ speech can be found by reversing the abbreviation for a musical work and adding a word meaning fine or healthy

21a    Case occasionally contains container for drink (8)
CHAMPERS: The odd numbered letters of the word case contain a container. There are lots of containers to consider. Think of the one which Fortnum and Mason sell at Christmas

23a    Some fantasies taboo in sleep (6)
SIESTA: The answer lies hidden within the words of the clue as indicated by the word some

26a    Shower reportedly govern (5)
REIGN: A homophone of a weather event which sounds like what the queen does

27a    Catch bout involving start of bilious indigestion (9)
HEARTBURN: A three-part charade. To catch audibly followed by a stretched synonym of a bout which includes the starting letter of the word bilious

28a    Do French wear pants from now on? (12)
HENCEFORWARD: I do like a nice anagram with a funny indicator. Ticks all round. Anagram (pants) of DO FRENCH WEAR.


1d    Suspect copper’s arrested by brilliant old copper (7)
ACCUSED: The chemical symbol for copper and the S from ‘S is surrounded by an adjective meaning very good. The abbreviation for an old copper coin finishes the answer nicely

2d    Oddly tribal, real headdress (5)
TIARA: The odd numbered letters of two of the words in the clue provide the answer

3d    Shame on getting into argument (9)
DISREPUTE: Another answer bunged in because of the definition and the checkers. A two-letter preposition meaning on sits inside an argument or disagreement

4d    Crazy being caught inside lavatory (4)
LOCO: The name given to the smallest room contains the abbreviation for caught

5d    Endlessly disgusting drink provided by local? (8)
VILLAGER: Begin with a synonym of the word disgusting minus its last letter. Now add a disgusting drink which I suspect is made from donkey’s urine. Just how this drink became mainstream is beyond me

6d    Fools amorous advances removing top (5)
ASSES: Find a word meaning amorous advances (not made at women in glasses according to Dorothy Parker) and remove its first letter

7d    Do time with form getting remorseful (8)
CONTRITE: Begin with a term meaning to do or to swindle. Add the abbreviation for time. Now add a word meaning form as in a social custom, practice, or conventional act.

8d    Crowd seeing band covering Queen (6)
THRONG: Insert the abbreviation for Regina (queen) into a narrow strip of leather or other material, used especially as a fastening

14d    Reptile quietly hiding in ground (8)
TERRAPIN: The musical notation used to signal quietly sits comfortably inside a stretch of land

16d    ‘Messiah’ embracing love about uplifted singer (9)
CHORISTER: The name of the messiah surrounds (embracing) the letter that looks like the love score in tennis. This is followed by the reverse (up in a down clue) of our regular two-letter term for about

17d    Playful in a French resort, nearly uncontrolled (8)
ANARCHIC: A word meaning playful or cunning sits inside the letter A from the clue and three quarters (nearly) of a French Riviera resort

18d    Protected spot protecting dirty dog (6)
SECURE: To spot as in to espy surrounds a three-letter dirty dog or scoundrel. Ones password should be thus. I was told that a password should have eight characters so I chose Snow White and the seven dwarfs

20d    Scholarly Shakespearean character study rejected (7)
LEARNED: A Shakespearean character is followed by the reverse (rejected) of a room used for study. There are quite a few Shakespearean characters. This one was a king with three daughters

22d    Coppers partially open cell (5)
PENCE: If in doubt look for a lurker. If the clue offers no direction look for a lurker. The answer lies hidden within the words of the clue as indicated unusually by the word partially

24d    Solid container using bottled air initially (5)
SCUBA: Use the initial letters of the first five words of the clue

25d    Caught with a very strong drink served here? (4)
CAFF: Really? What an awful word. Like most words with a hard C. The abbreviation for caught is once again used. It is followed by the letter A from the clue. The words very strong indicate the double use of the musical notation for loud or with strength

A typically fine Thursday puzzle.

The Quick Crossword pun: sane+tall+buns=St Albans

65 comments on “DT 29178

  1. Much to my surprise I completed it faster by far than a usual RayT. Whether due to increasing skill (admittedly unlikely), the new coffee machine, or it being a bit easier, only time will tell. Many thanks for the hints to MP, and to RayT for the enjoyment.

  2. I loved this and found it more accessible than yesterday’s because there was a little more low hanging fruit enabling a foothold. Being picky I thought 4d and 25d were slightly weak but the rest top notch. Only hold up came from having “becoming” for 15a which held me up on 16d
    I particularly liked 5d and the 23a lurker but runaway favourite for me today was the brilliant 21a.
    3*/ 4.5*
    Many thanks to Ray T and a rejuvenated MP for a super puzzle and review.

  3. Apart from wanting to put ‘becoming’ for 15a, this all fell into place very nicely.

    Thanks to all.

        1. I am also in the becoming club! I did not care for 4 d and 25 d but much enjoyed the cheery review. My thanks to all.

    1. Me too. Then struggled to find a singer or an unusual name for Messiah starting with O…

  4. Well, after yesterday’s debacle, I was glad to be able to just work through it without any major hiccups (or is it hiccoughs?). The SE was again the last to be completed, with 16d being one of the last in, despite the fact that I was one for nearly 50 years, (often singing 12a), and am a fully licensed 24a. Sigh.

    Many Thanks to RayT and ShafT.

  5. This took me longer to complete than a RayT normally does so towards the trickier end of his spectrum as far as I’m concerned.

    Thanks to MP and RayT 3*/4*

  6. This was a delightful start to the day the completion of which I was sorry to reach however we have beautiful sunshine so a bit of al fresco physical exercise is now called for. Top half went in ahead of most of the South. It’s a pity setters these days tend increasingly to turn to colloquialisms viz. 21a, 25d and even the rubbish word in 28a clue. Had forgotten Davy Jones’ locker as in 11a. Thank you RayT and MP particularly for providing a little night music.

    1. I agree re 21a and 25d, they seem a little, per Brian, sloppy – okay, I know, they’re in the BRB, still don’t like them.

  7. I’ve been following you and your commentators for some time and have noted the different approaches of the various setters. (And commentators :) Some seem to have a literary background and those I find hugely enjoyable and often laced with humour.

    Today’s finds me disappointed and out of sorts, with CAFF and especially LOCO as examples. LOCO seems to be just lego.

    Oh dear! Clearly I am liverish and should be confined to barracks!

    Keep up the excellent work! (And you setters!)

        1. Ethan just wants to go to school with his big brother Harrison. He went to the bookshelf all by himself. I just had to take the photo. He looked so cute

  8. I enjoyed this puzzle (****) and would have completed it in ** time if it weren’t for the NE corner, where I got in a bit of a bind before the penny dropped. I liked the two long anagrams, 1a and 28a and 12a, once I saw the light. Thanks to the ecstatic MP for the review and to Ray T.

  9. A fine friendly Ray T puzzle for a lovely sunny morning. My only hold-up being the aforementioned ‘becoming’ problem

    Thanks to Ray and MP

  10. a lovely enjoyable crossword but 25d in a distinguished gentlemans newspaper, whatever next!

    1. As you will have seen above, the lady readers of the quality newspaper don’t like it either.

  11. Glad you enjoyed your Ray T review MP. A local pub where the owner takes pride in keeping Timothy Taylor’s landlord says he wants to cry when grown men come in asking for pint after pint of lager. There’s no accounting for taste. I did like the ‘all in one’ element to a couple of clues today.

    1. Our lovely local pub had a landlord some years ago who refused to stock the drink in question and told anyone who asked for it exactly what he thought of it (and by inference, them!)

      1. Very good CS. Another pub not too far away has all the staff wearing ‘no mobiles or tablets’ on their shirts. If somebody even glances at their screen they are asked to put the offending item away or leave!

  12. A good well crafted puzzle which I enjoyed very much (****) and not too difficult. (***) Typically RayT with a good selection of clue types, I particularly favoured 16D My thanks to MP and RayT

  13. Finished alone and unaided! Hurrah!

    Needed help with some of the parsings, though.

    Thanks to RayT and to Miffypops.

  14. As our blogger says, if in doubt with a Ray T puzzle just do as you are told and the answers will come. 23a and 5d both vie for my top spot this afternoon. Great fun.

    Thanks to MP and Ray T for the challenge.

  15. Very disappointing to be in the “becoming” club as otherwise would have found this a breeze (once I’d found out what Davy Jones’s locker was). Thanks to Ray for a fun solve and to Shaf? (🤷‍♀️) for fun explanations. Delighted to see my fascinating home town in the quickie pun.

    1. Hello Celia. I was in a hurry this morning and forgot to attach the quickie pun to the blog. If I had remembered I was going to illustrate it with a picture of your town

  16. I found this horrendous compared to yesterday’s puzzle. Indeed I’ve finished nearly all since returning from hols a couple of weeks ago but this completely stumped me. Never heard of 1a. Any thanks to all and hope for a better day tomorrow. Probably healthy to be brought down to earth sometimes!

  17. Greetings. I visit Big Dave’s marvelous site often for help with wordplay, both before and after solving clues. Certainly preferably without seeing the solution! Had to do it for 1a today. I knew the “answer” but it’s spelled in different ways and my weakening brain refused to consider the given answer because of the root word (Noah’s activity). I even gave a shot at 2 and 3 e’s but not the answer. I’ll have to do with English spelling confusions for the pleasure of crosswording. Thanks a lot BD and cheers to all helpers and solvers.
    PS: It gives just a tiny bit more pleasure not being my native language

  18. Done it. I don’t usually have this much trouble with a Ray T but it took me much longer than usual to solve. So it’s either me or it was at the harder end of his spectrum. Juding by most of the comments above, it is me. Enjoyed my struggle immensely, though.
    I couldn’t bring myself to write in the answer to 25d until the end.
    Pants seems to be becoming a regular anagram indicator these days.
    I think I will have 19a and 16d as my joint favourites today.

  19. I am afraid I plough a lonely furrow as I found ( as nearly always with Ray T) very difficult 😳****/** Favourites 21& 23a. Big thank you to MP (much needed today) and of course to Ray T 🤗 As an ex Serviceman of 38 years I never can reconcile officer with sergeant 😬

    1. I have a smilar problem until I remember a police seargent is an officer. Benn caught like that before!

    2. Quite right, better half tells me you don’t have to salute a sergeant, ergo not an officer. And I too always find Ray T’s puzzles very tricky, today being no exception.

  20. Never thought i would be so pleased to see a Ray T but after yesterdays horror it was a real pleasure to solve this one.
    Please DT no more like yesterdays on the back pager, for so many of us they simply leave us with no crossword that day as those sort are only suitable for the most experienced amongst us. I include in this all offerings by Prolix.
    For this one ***/****
    Thx to all.

    1. Funny thing, I found yesterday’s quite easy and today’s a stinker! Good thing we are all different.

    2. I found both above my pay grade, and would so love a gentle day, when I can solve without any aids, hints etc. Really don’t understand why we are getting more stinkers these days, when the clever folks have their Toughie anyway. Please DT, remember your other solvers.

  21. No problems with this after yesterday’s mauling. The 1a anagram jumped out on me sitting on the loo first thing this morning, making the top half much easier.
    19a may well stump our overseas/younger puzzlers.
    No idea who to thank, apart from Ray-T. Great crossword.

  22. This must be a pretty benign RayT, I did manage to solve all but three in the SW. I cannot get on his wavelength, it flowed like molasses in winter, wotta slog. I used copious electronic help for the ones I could solve. As said above, 21a and 25d were a bit slangy.
    I solved 19a but had forgotten all about Enoch, that was ages ago, thought it was Colin and waited for the objections!
    Thanks to RayT and to ShafT for his enlightenment, I was totally at sea.

  23. Thank you RayT and the great MP who always brings cheer on a rainy day. Did not like 25d but 1a very good

  24. Managed to solve this one as I let my staff do all the work today.
    I’m now ramaging through the pile of undone crosswords from this summer.
    I enjoy crosswords.
    All kinds of crosswords.
    Thanks to RayT and to ShafT for the review.

  25. Why are ** difficulty giving me so much trouble? I found 1a obvious and that was that. Struggled all day (just finished). Having becoming for 15a didn’t help. 1a favourite just because. Ta to all.

  26. This is the best I have done with a RayT for a long while, so I presume it’s on his easier side!
    A very enjoyable puzzle where I’m learning to do exactly what the clues say & not think too much outside the box.
    Many thanks to RayT & MP for his review & direction on only 3 Clues.

  27. Not very impressed by the clue for 15a, which could equally have been ‘becoming’. This mistake spoiled 16d.

    Thank goodness for your site.

    1. Welcome to the blog

      We already have a couple of commenters called ‘Colin’ so it would be helpful if you could add something to your alias so that we can tell which one is which

  28. Evening all. My thanks to ShafT for the review and to all for your observations. Much appreciated.


  29. All the usual RayT fun and much appreciated.
    Checked the word count and thought we were going to have another 7 maximum example until we counted the very last clue which has 8 words.
    Thanks RayT and MP.

  30. Finishing the crossword before 8pm is a bit of a rarity for me – considering I don’t normally start reading the Telegraph until late afternoon – so optimistic I won’t be one of the last to comment for a change. Some interesting and challenging clues but I got there eventually – couldn’t get 11a so needed help from the blog on that one. My favourites were 1d and 28a, which took me a while to figure out as an anagram.
    Thanks to the setter and to MP/ShafT for the entertaining hints.

  31. Thanks to Kath for offering me the chance to blog a Thursday puzzle. Saying No was never an option.

  32. Better than yesterday and didn’t need the hints to finish. Thanks to ShafT and Ray T. The two long anagrams were fun but no fun in being reminded of Enoch. The only Enoch worth remembering is the enormous hammer used by the Luddites to break factory looms.

  33. Obtained yesterday morning (Fri) and solved in the afternoon, this was a fine puzzle from Ray T. Good clues, a reasonable challenge and very enjoyable. Unlike others, above, I had no quibbles with any of the clues or answers. Fav: 12a. 3* / 4*

  34. Rather late to comment on this one but I thought I would anyway – I’ve just done it.
    Thanks to MP for stepping in on a day when I should have been doing the hints.
    I admit to being in the ‘becoming’ club – played havoc with 16d.
    I drove back from Cornwall on Thursday – several hours were spent sitting beside the M4 in the rain (and a bramble bush) waiting for the AA. :sad:

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