DT 29191 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 29191

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 29191

Hints and tips by Deep Threat

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BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

Good morning from South Staffs this last Friday of Summer Time.

I thought today’s puzzle was one of Giovanni’s trickier compositions, taking me well into *** time. It will be interesting to see whae others think.

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.


9a           Demure English principal (5)
PRIME – ‘Demure’ or ‘buttoned up’ followed by English.

10a         Crucial time I have after event at Sadler’s Wells, maybe (9)
OPERATIVE – Put together the sort of production found at Sadler’s Wells (or Covent Garden, or La Scala), Time, and the short form of ‘I have’.

11a         Strange quality that lucky and unlucky numbers have? (7)
ODDNESS – In fact, half of all numbers have this quality. But see Gazza’s comment at 7 below, which points out something I’d missed about this clue.

12a         Divine messenger‘s strange email gripping church (7)
MICHAEL – Anagram (strange) of EMAIL wrapped round CHurch, giving us one of the archangels.

Image result for st michael

13a         Agent wants old books put in new container (5)
REPOT – A short form of the word for a commercial agent, followed by the abbreviation for the first half of the Bible.

14a         Providing precise information on action to blind mice? (9)
DETAILING – This is what the farmer’s wife was doing to the blind mice with her carving knife.

16a         The insensibility that a crocodile has? (4-11)
COLD-BLOODEDNESS – A quality of all reptiles, not just crocodiles.

19a         Most severe state sure to be troublesome (9)
AUSTEREST – Anagram (to be troublesome) of STATE SURE.

21a         Last bit of food eaten by dogs — soft stuff (5)
CURDS – The final letter (last bit) of fooD is inserted into some low-bred dogs.

Image result for curds

23a         Very cold types in top positions (7)
ICECAPS – Cryptic definition of something found on top of mountains, or at the poles.

25a         About to go to Scottish island as one out of the rat race? (7)
RETIREE – The Latin word for ‘about’ or ‘concerning’ followed by a Hebridean island.

27a         Gladly given permit to remain unproductive (3,6)
LIE FALLOW – An archaic word for ‘gladly’, usually seen in the construction ‘I had as — (done something or other)’, followed by a verb for ‘permit’.

28a         Electrical unit established by a lake in Africa (5)
VOLTA – A common electrical unit followed by A (from the clue). The lake is in Ghana.


1d           Colleague in middle of room keeping very quiet (4)
OPPO – The musical symbol for ‘very quiet’, with the middle letters of rOOm wrapped around it.

2d           Bring an end to anger through teasing (4,2)
WIND UP – Double definition, the first being to bring an end to a debate or the affairs of a company.

3d           Stuff like food that can be served again (10)
REPEATABLE – Put together a three -letter fabric or ‘stuff’, and an adjective which describes food in general.

4d           Excited men turning up to be given employment (6)
ROUSED – The usual abbreviation for military men who are not officers is reversed (turning up) and followed by ‘given employment’.

5d           Protected with a ‘nutcase’ around? (8)
HELMETED – Cryptic definition of something which protects the head or ‘nut’.

6d           Refuse from crowd building up (4)
MARC – This is the technical term for the refuse of grape pressing, used in some cases to make a distilled spirit. It can be found by reversing (building up) a verb for ‘crowd’ or ‘stuff’.

Image result for marc drink

7d           Put new energy into troubled lives — one gets little thanks getting involved (8)
VITALISE – Anagram (troubled) of LIVES, wrapped around the Roman numeral for one and a short way of saying ‘thank you’.

8d           More than one scientist gets to go round island following old account (10)
GEOLOGISTS – Put together Old, an account of a ship’s voyage, and an abbreviation for Island, then wrap GETS (from the clue) around the result.

13d         How to get a goat to sleep? Music! (10)
ROCKABILLY – Split the answer (4,1,5) and you get what might be a way of getting a male goat to go to sleep.

15d         Divine act, I fancy, is typical (10)
INDICATIVE – Anagram (fancy) of DIVINE ACT I.

17d         Son (10) enthralled by foreign song — he did this? (8)
LISTENED – Put together Son and the number 10 as a word, then wrap a German song around the result.

18d         Old poetry, lines put out with too much hype? (8)
OVERSELL – Put together Old, another word for poetry, and the plural abbreviation for ‘lines’.

20d         Projects worth millions finally abandoned (6)
THROWS – Anagram (abandoned) of WORTH and the last letter (finally) of millionS.

22d         Artist sitting on bank on very few occasions (6)
RARELY – The usual crossword artist, followed by a verb meaning ‘bank’.

24d         A vessel not properly closed? (4)
AJAR – A (from the clue) and a pot or vessel.

26d         Not all appreciated a mouldy cheese (4)
EDAM – Hidden in the clue.

The Quick Crossword pun STEW + DENSE = STUDENTS

58 comments on “DT 29191

  1. I agree that this was at the trickier end of Giovanni’s setting spectrum but it was still, in my opinion at least, eminently solvable and well worth the challenge. My favourite clue was a toss up between 14 and 16a with 14a just nicking it.

    Thanks to The Don for cheering up a very soggy Friday, and to DT for the blog.

  2. There were some very cunning clues here and it took me into *** time too. However, I found it quite enjoyable (****). Thank you to Deep Threat for enlightening me on the parsing of 3d, where I fell into the trap of putting reheatable. Thanks to Giovanni. I particularly liked 14a, 27a and 13d.

  3. 4*/1.5*. Parts of this were very tricky and I didn’t find it much fun at all with lots of “hmms” marked on my page. However it’s good to see that others have enjoyed it more than me.

  4. Definitely at the tricky end of the Friday inside back page spectrum.

    Thanks to Giovanni and DT

  5. Certainly struggled a bit today – but some nice ones 12D, 27A. Being American we would call 4D crosswordese (typically vulgar of our lazy version of English); but a nice clue about the sacrifice made for my favorite tipple, and a common name for another stronger, but nice, tipple.
    Thanks for the hints and shots Deep Threat.
    I think 26D must be near the top of Mr K’s database?

  6. Really enjoyed this but somehow it didn’t feel like a DG product. 10a event is not first that comes to mind at Sadlers Wells but perhaps that dates me! 24a is certainly a chestnut. “Soft stuff” in 21a is a bit obscure. 1d bunged in but new to me and not keen on use of “stuff” in 3d. Too many goodies to select an outstanding Fav but 14a, 27a, 5d and 13d all stood out. Thank you Giovanni and DT.

  7. I found this very tricky, very cryptic and very much a mixed bag. I had a couple of bung ins (one of which, 3d, turned out to be incorrect) and also needed a couple of hints.
    On the downside I didn’t like 8d where surely it would have been better to use the plural rather than “more than one”, 11a which was quite frankly odd, along with 6 and17d. That said I thought 14,16 and 25a, plus my joint COTD, 2 and13d were clever.

    Many thanks to G and to Deep Threat for your sterling work in unravelling it.

    1. I thought that 11a was odd as well but I presume that the clue is saying that the words ‘lucky’, ‘unlucky’ and ‘numbers’ all have an odd number of letters.

      1. Thanks for your feedback Gazza, much appreciated. Also, I now see that the wordplay wouldn’t work for 8d if the plural had been used so apologies to Giovanni for that.

      2. I assumed that in number theory 13 is a “lucky number” (in fact, all the lucky numbers in this theory seem to be odd ones) and 13 is of course the famous unlucky number. I thought these lucky/unlucky “numbers” might be the 2 referred to in the clue? But now I’m not so sure…

        1. Tricky, I at first thought these were Euler’s lucky numbers – but then considered that 7, the universal lucky number in the bible and 13, the universal unlucky number in the bible were the oddness both lucky and unlucky referred to…

  8. Really struggled to get into this and even with the hints from DT could not understand some of the more obscure parsing eg 13d.

    However, good to stretch the “little grey cells” so thanks Giovanni!

  9. Grumbles my way through this one but should know by now that this setter doesn’t ‘float my boat’.
    27a did raise a smile so thank you for that, DG, and many thanks to DT for the review. So, that’s what 13d sounds like!

    1. Meant to say ‘grumbled’ but we seem to have lost the ‘edit’ facility.
      Also, having to input my name and email with every post (since yesterday).

  10. I’m with RD, tricky and not much fun with some head scratching required for completion at a fast canter – 3.5*/2*.
    Favourite – 14a.
    Thanks to DG and DT.

  11. Certainly difficult to get going today with random solves all over the place as I sought to get some checking letters in, has to be a ***/**** for difficulty, as for enjoyment , I was pleased to finish it.
    I wondered what the blog might think as a whole the verdict seems to be a ‘marmite’ of a crossword.
    I’ll leave it at that and look forward to the rugby !

    1. Don’t hold your breath, we’ve drawn the worst ref in world rugby who hates every rugby player but especially the English ones.

  12. 7d. Surely “new” is unnecessary in this clue? The answer means to give life to or stimulate. “New” suggests to me that the prefix “re” is required.

  13. 13d was a great clue, unfortunately that’s where the enjoyment started and finished.
    I am pleased others enjoyed it, I didn’t, but as ever, respect to Giovanni for the thought and effort that goes into the compilation.
    Thanks to DT for the hints, I don’t want to be around for a **** rated DT crossword!

  14. Nope, not my cuppa either. I struggled through to get about 3/4 done, but the rest remained blank. Came here for confimations of a few guesses, but then gave up.

    I would usually uncover more and more answers until I could complete it, but with this one, I felt I just couldn’t be bothered.

    Sorry to all.

  15. Please, would a kind someone send me the puzzle. I don’t know why, the Telegraph says all my log in details are wrong – the ones I’ve been using for ages. Why me, oh Lord!

    1. I tried to get onto the puzzles site to get the crossword for you but I keep getting a 502 Bad Gateway Message (whatever that is)

      Please can someone else try and send the puzzle to Merusa

  16. Not the easiest Giovanni but I still loved it esp my favourite 14a which made me laugh. Not sure about 6d which was my last in and struggled a bit with 20d although not quite sure why.I realise that like Ray T Giovannis puzzles are a bit Marmite but I usually love them.
    Thx to all

  17. Absolutely excellent from G! Great clues, a good challenge and very enjoyable. Too many ticks to isolate a favourite. 3.5* / 4.5*

  18. Oh dear, the rain must have dulled my thought processes as I found this very difficult and needed a lot of help. But Giovanni is a great compiler so I must keep working at them. Unlike your other contributors I I did not like 13 down but 25 across brought memories of sunnier days in Scotland. Many thanks Giovanni and Deep Threat.

  19. I found this a tricky little number, but I had quite a few penny drop moments. I loved 14a, 13d and 5d. I scribbled ‘recyclable’ and ‘consumable’ into the margin for 3d before I finally got the right answer. I also tried to turn up lots of different men in 4d before I realised the obvious. Many thanks to Giovanni and to DT.

  20. A puzzle of two halves for me. The bottom half gave me no trouble at all: the top half held much more of a challenge. All enjoyable. Not sure about Sadler’s Wells and opera, but I suppose thay must do some opera as well. I ended up with reheatable for 3d, in desperation. Not a patch on the correct answer! I, like some, had 11a but wasn’t certain why exactly. I liked 14a, 27a and 5d with top spot going to 13d.

  21. Found this easier than yesterday for some reason. Some good clues – especially 23a and 13d. 14a the most amusing. Thanks to DT and the Don.

  22. A puzzle of two halves… I think it’s all been said in previous comments!
    Thanks to Giovanni & DT for his review & valuable assistance

  23. 10a Sadlers Wells for opera? Dance and ballet yes. Currently even hip hop. Coliseum or ROH of course but Sadlers Wells? When? Am I missing something?

    1. Yes. Before the war I believe there was an opera company working out of Sadlers Wells. But not not now. Before my time even.

    2. I seem to remember that the opera company D’oyly Carte had strong ties with Sadler’s Wells.

  24. Definitely a tricky one today needing the checkers first to grasp at a word and then the hint to confirm something lurking in the very darkest recesses of the brain. That’s the problem with growing old. Facts etc not used regularly gradually disappear from the mind’s eye and it takes modern technology to rediscover them. A *** with the same for enjoyment. Thanks to Giovanni and DT for reminding me of the horrors of growing old.

  25. Enjoyed this much more than yesterday’s puzzle. Thanks to all. Loved 13d. Never heard of it so good guess.

  26. I found this very tricky but I loved it 😘 ***/**** I marked 5 answers as amusing but I think that 14a, 13d and 5d take the podium 😃 Thanks to DT and to Giovanni for brightening a damp and gloomy day here in the East 🌧

  27. I loved it, very tricky, yes, but good fun. Aren’t we a mixed lot, yesterday was a no fun one for me, but others rhapsodised over it. Oh, well, I’ll keep trying.
    Remembered 6d from A Year in Provence, one of my fave books. Is there really such a word as 1d?
    I did have to visit the hints to get help in the NW and get started again.
    Lots to like, 27a and 13d come to mind, but so much more qualified.
    Thanks to Giovanni and to Deep Threat for some unravelling, 8d for one.

  28. A fairly tricky puzzle today from the Don. I put in several answers that later proved wrong! I finally completed and 13d was definitely my top clue.
    Thanks to Giovanni for the challenge, and to DT for the review.

  29. Thank goodness for this site, I found this sooo hard but nevertheless enjoyed what I could do. Giovanni seems to have a very wide spectrum of difficulty to his puzzles. I wonder how he decides which level to offer us? Thanks to DT and DG.

  30. Needed a bit of help from my friend Peter in order to finish.
    Thank you DT.
    Made a mistake the other day. It’s not All in Ones that I hate, it’s Cryptic defs.
    Thanks to the Don for the workout

  31. Definitely not my cup of tea, didn’t enjoy this at all.
    Thanx for the blog, always enjoy that 😊

  32. An enjoyable solve for us withe biggest chuckles coming from 13d, 14a and 16a. Strangely, they all involve animals in the clues.
    Thanks Giovanni and DT.

  33. No time to look at this one yesterday so just had a go now – oh dear is about all I can say but glad to find that it’s not just me!
    I did like 14 and 16a and 13d.
    Thanks to Giovanni and to DT.

  34. I can confirm that the compiler’s intention at 11ac was that the lucky number 7 and the unlucky number 13 are both odd.

    I hope to see some bloggers and commenters a bit later today in York!

    1. Thanks for that. Well, that’s my theory out the window – somehow I don’t think that this one will feature in the book of Giovanni’s greatest ever clues!

  35. Not at all proud of myself, usually I can finish, but this time needed help with three clues. Could do better.

  36. This one took me much longer than usual but some intriguing clues. I needed help with 5 and 6 down. Am I right in thinking that the DT cryptics get harder as the week progresses?

    1. Welcome to the blog – please note that when you first comment here, your comment goes into ‘moderation’ and this can take time so you need to wait, before repeating your comment several times, for one of us to ‘rescue’ you

      The DT cryptics used to definitely get harder as the week progressed, but these days, that isn’t always the case

  37. 4*/3*………..
    liked 26D “not all appreciated a mouldy cheese (4)”…..a fresh clue to the crossword cheese.

  38. Just finished Nov 20th, about right for me, never heard of 6d, anagram 19 a works, but does anyone ever use this word? Enjoyed 16a, 27 a, 15d; not heard of 1d in that context, 19d very clever. Usually work from home in Norfolk, currently on holiday in very hot Brisbane with a stack of Telegraphs, just about to finish off 29198 after losing it in aforesaid pile…thanks to DT and all setters, not clever enough to know who they are, and all wonderful comments I’ve read over the years, back to freezing Norfolk Dec 2nd

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