DT 29197 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 29197

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 29197

Hints and tips by Deep Threat

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BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

Good morning from South Staffs this All Saints Day, a grey and drizzly one.

I took a little while to get started on today’s Giovanni, but things then began to fall into place and there was a steady solve.

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           Super present from creepy pupil in New York (3,5)
BIG APPLE – Another word for ‘super’ and a traditional present for teacher give us the name familiarly applied to New York.

5a           Tot by sea in Brittany in holiday season (6)
SUMMER – To tot or add up, followed by the French for ‘sea’ (not the Breton for ‘sea’, which would spoil the wordplay!).

9a           Disgraceful riot soon breaking out — university steps in (9)
NOTORIOUS – Anagram (breaking out) of RIOT SOON with University inserted.

11a         Leading quartet of Cavaliers missing in rolls (5)
LISTS – Remove the first four letters from another word for the Cavaliers in the English Civil War.

12a         Sleep needed by relations — some linen must be provided (6)
NAPKIN – A short sleep followed by a generic word for your relations.

13a         Wonderful king embraced by chum gets to soften up (8)
MACERATE – Put together another word for ‘wonderful’ and the Latin abbreviation for king, then wrap another word for a chu, or pal around the result.

15a         Player on bench that’s got diminished is farmed out elsewhere (13)
SUBCONTRACTED – The short form of the word for a player in a sports team who is not one the starting line-up, followed by ‘diminished’ or ‘reduced’.

18a         Transformation of construction firm — hurt’s been nasty (13)

22a         Like teacher, editor and social worker featured in illustration (8)
PEDANTIC – Put together an abbreviation for ‘editor’ and one of the usual social insects, then wrap a shortened word for an illustration around the result.

23a         Water flowing in street in the morning — engineers brought in (6)
STREAM – Abbreviations for ‘street’ and ‘in the morning’, placed either side of the initials of a regiment of engineers.

26a         Old Roman spies given new name under cover (5)
CINNA – The acronym for the US spy agency wrapped around New Name. The result is one of the conspirators who assassinate Julius Caesar in Shakespeare’s play, or his namesake, a poet who is set upon by mistake by the vengeful mob. When he protests that he is a poet, not a conspirator, they kill him for writing bad verse.

27a         Wacky quality of sentimentality combined with shortage of subtlety (9)
GOOFINESS – A three-letter word for sticky sentimentality, followed by a word for ‘subtlety’ missing its last letter.

28a         Fruit in cold drink son removed (6)
CHERRY Cold followed by a fortified wine minus the abbreviation for Son.

29a         One who changes sides, finding fault with common soldiers (8)
DEFECTOR – A fault in manufacture, followed by the usual soldiers who are not officers.


1d           African queen maybe entertaining 999? (8)
BENINESE – A social insect which has a queen, wrapped around another way of looking at 999.

Image result for benin bronze

2d           Rose in journey on male beast (3,2)
GOT UP – Split this (2,3) and you have ‘journey’ and a male sheep.

3d           One about to enter Iberian FC entrance (7)
PORTICO – The Roman numeral for one and the Latin abbreviation for ‘about’ or ‘approximately’ are inserted into the name of a Portuguese football team.

Image result for portico

4d           This could be Anita the writer, ladies and gentlemen! (4)
LOOS – This familiar word for rooms found with ‘Ladies’ or ‘Gentlemen’ written on the door is also the surname of a writer.

6d           Most horrible whopper punching guts naughtily (7)
UGLIEST – Anagram (naughtily) of GUTS wrapped around a whopper or ‘pork pie’.

7d           Composer’s sister said to be in ruin (9)
MISHANDLE – If the composer of Messiah was Mr ——, then his unmarried sister would be Miss ——, and that’s a homophone of another word for ‘ruin’.

8d           One of 11 misbehaving in resort (6)
ROSTER – Anagram (misbehaving) of RESORT, producing an example of the answer to 11a.

10d         Quiet and initially wild like a sorcerer? (8)
SHAMANIC – Put together an instruction to be quiet, the first letter (initially) of And, and a word for ‘wild’ or ‘extremely busy’.

14d         Splendid Scottish university, one taken over by English (8)
STERLING – Start with a Scottish university city near the site of the battle of Bannockburn, then replace the first instance of a Roman numeral for one with English.

16d         Party offering drinks facility? Then get canned, drunk! (4,5)
BARN DANCE – Somewhere to be served a drink followed by an anagram (drunk) of CANNED.

17d         A moister ground arises from spray (8)
ATOMISER – Anagram (ground) of A MOISTER.

19d         Form of entertainment that’s loud and dishonest (7)
FUNFAIR – The musical symbol for ‘loud’ followed by ‘dishonest’ or ‘unjust’.

20d         Emergency set-up, product that sells quickly (7)
HOTLINE – Originally a top-level communication system between the leaders of the USA and USSR during the Cold War, this could be split (3,4) into a word which can mean ‘most wanted’ and a word for a product or range of products.

21d         Drug I accept will work, getting rid of torment finally (6)
IPECAC – Anagram (will work) of I ACCEP(t) after removing the final letter of tormenT.

Image result for ipecac

24d         Woman associated with garden books as part of festival (5)
EVENT – The woman who lived in the Garden of Eden, and the abbreviation for the books in the second part of the work in which she appears.

25d         It’s nothing, darling! (4)
LOVE – Double definition: a zero score in tennis; or a term of endearment.

The Quick Crossword pun MOULT + TEASE = MALTESE

62 comments on “DT 29197

  1. 7d didn’t quite work for me, and I took a fair bit of time finishing off the NE corner. Otherwise this seemed to be a typical Giovanni with a smattering of GK to upset a few of our fellow commenters. I will pick 1d as my favourite.

    Thanks to The Don and DT.

  2. I thought this puzzle was difficult and just about every solution was hard work, the cluing was certainly different with a few obscurities, I can’t say that I enjoyed it but pleased that I at least completed it.
    Going for a ****/**
    Thanks DT for the pics !

  3. I found this quite difficult (****/***) but that may be because I am having a bad reaction to my flu jab! 26 d, (I believe he was Julius Caesar’s father in law) was a bit obscure and I didn’t know the writer in 4d. The whole NE corner took a long time to sort out. I liked 22a and 1d but overall it was not as enjoyable as the usual Giovanni offering. Thanks to DT for help in parsing a few and to Giovanni.

  4. A definite head scratcher with, for me, several obscurities such as 26a and 21d, and I won’t mention 11a – ****/**.
    Probably a wrong envelope day.
    But, I did like 15a.
    Thanks to DG and DT.

  5. What we expect from Giovanni on a Friday – two of my email correspondents thought it trickier than usual but I’ll disagree and say I found it a slight smidge less difficult than some of his back pagers (incidentally it is actually a back pager today which makes a very nice change) – thank you to him for the crossword and DT for the blog

    Once you’ve had a go at the Toughie and any other puzzles you normally try in the DT, if you pop over to the Guardian you’ll find Virgilius with his ‘Brendan hat’ on with a splendid themed crossword

    1. Thanks for the info 😊.
      Haven’t missed one yet.
      Philistine is another one I keep under surveillance.
      His July prize is so far the best crossword I have solved this year.

  6. A first class puzzle (3*/4.5*) for me; some excellent surface reading 1D, 4A and others,19D simple but clever.

    Thanks to DT for some clear hints

    1. I hadn’t noticed the bottom line of the Quickie – Giovanni is certainly not 23a today – I know that he started setting crosswords when he was very young – perhaps it’s the anniversary of his first crossword? Just a thought . . .

            1. It sounded quite plausible to me too or I’d have kept my big mouth shut, just for once.
              Now I wonder who set this quickie and is 23 and 24a. Whoever he or she is then Happy Birthday! Here are some flowers for you :rose:

  7. After spending ***** time on this, I found I was nearly 2/3rds of the way through. Really not my cup of tea.

    I haven’t resorted to outside help yet, but if 26a is what I think it is, I suspect I may need plenty.

    Thanks to all.

    1. After a solid lunch, I had another go. Googling my guess to 26a told me I was right, which meant I certianly didn’t know the anagram at 21d.

      That completed the NW and SW, but only half of the rest. Looking at the hint to 7d, I decided I had had enough and gave up. That answer is not a synonym of ruin (according to the BRB). This should definitely have been in a Toughie slot.

  8. I can’t believe I’m saying this on a Friday, but I didn’t enjoy this one much at all. I thought a couple of synonyms were a bit stretched. I finished it but needed DT for a few parsings. Never mind, you can’t win ‘em all.

    Many thanks to all

  9. It was hard work, but as always with DG, you wonder why you made heavy weather of it afterwards. 1d was the hardest, followed by 27a.

    I did need DT’s help with the second half of 27. Neat! As I was trying to enter a possibly non-existent word with one fewer letter……

    Thanks to both.

  10. Very hard work.
    Still, straining mentally is good for you.
    Certainly **** and a bit for difficulty.
    Thanks Giovanni and DT for the review.

  11. I just gave up, couldn’t get on to the setter’s wavelength and it became a chore rather than enjoyment.

    Hardly ever have to give in like this so *****/* from me.

    Thanks anyway, thinking up these clues and hints must have been a challenge!

  12. I gave up too – something I almost never do – can’t remember the last time.
    I found it very very hard work and not a bundle of laughs – I would never have got 7d.
    Thanks anyway to Giovanni and thanks and admiration to DT for sorting that lot out.

    1. I’m glad you gave up! I found this unbelievably difficult and also gave up. Never done that before in 50 years ( off and on ) of DT crosswords. Must be having a seriously thick day because I barely understood the answers when I checked.

    2. I nearly gave up too, something I haven’t done in six and a half years!
      Sometimes, if I don’t understand the clue, I don’t understand the hint either. Very strange.
      I got enough out of the hints to finish it but found it dull and didn’t enjoy it at all.
      Thanks to Giovanni. Look forward to seeing you on strictly tomorrow 😎
      Thanks also to DT.

  13. Excellent puzzle if a little trickier than usual. My fav was 7d which was a real groaner but i also liked 14d as a clever clue. Not sure about 13a, didn’t really work for me, the wonderful bit was all very woolly.
    Thx to all

  14. A really excellent puzzle from the consistently good G. Great clues, a pretty tough challenge and a very enjoyable solve with a sense of achievement at the finish. Fav: 7d. 4* / 4.5*

  15. Today I seem to be the antiRD.
    Really enjoyed it.
    Maybe a lack of cryptic clues helped.
    Favourite 10d.
    Thanks to the Don and to DT for the review.

  16. A good challenge today, particularly in the NE. I spent some time trying to justify LIERS for 11a. Penny dropped at the same time as 7d. Not sure about wonderful and ace unless I’m missing something. Hadn’t come acroos 21d before. Joint favourites 7d and 27a. Toughie is a satisfying solve today.

    1. RS. The adjective (colloq/informal) “ace” = excellent, very good, first-rate, marvellous, wonderful, etc.

  17. For your information — just for once today, it isn’t my Quick. Regarding the cryptic, at least I can keep some of the people happy some of the time!

    1. Thanks from one of the happy ones! The last few did take me a long time, though. Thanks too to DT, whose explanations I needed for 3 or 4 of my answers.

  18. Can’t believe this. Having completed the Toughie I’m completely overwhelmed by this. Have struggled to complete less than half. I’ll just give up and read the hints.

  19. Waaay beyond my Ken. I solved five, one of those, 18a, I used electronic help for the anagram.
    I’ve thrown in the towel, there’s no hope that I’ll be able to finish.
    Thanks DT for solving this for me, you must have massive brain power!

  20. Not sure about the puzzle today. It was certainly do-able – but I didn’t derive a great deal of satisfaction in doing so. Ah well.

    Thanks to DG and DT for their work.

  21. Dear, oh dear! How did that get into the back page?
    I am normally fairly clueless over the Friday crossword, but today I was utterly clueless. I did not give up on this, it gave up on me!
    Anyone who can complete this, to quote Kipling “you’re a better man than I am gunga din”.
    Thanks all.

    1. HYD, having yesterday paid a fascinating visit to Bateman’s, Rudyard Kipling’s erstwhile home, I was amused to read your Gunga Din quote.

  22. I usually enjoy Fridays. This one was not at all to my liking. I thought my general knowledge was relatively good but I have never heard of 21D. My 91 year old father tells me it was once in common use but before my time. I’m 58! Thanks to setter and reviewer.

  23. We found this trickier than usual but that did not detract from the enjoyment. A cross between a chuckle and a groan when the penny dropped for 7d.
    Thanks Giovanni and DT.

  24. This was difficult 😳 ****/*** I needed help with 11a & 7d 😬 7d was very clever but “in ruin” is a little strong for mishandle 🤔 Any way favourites were 4d & 5a and I learnt two new words at 21d & 26a ( though I doubt if I will remember them!) Thanks to DT and to Mr Manley for looking in to tell us he is not 60 and to admire the havoc wreaked this rather damp November 1st 😉

  25. This was just about over my pay grade, I seemed to struggle to get a grip on some of the clues.
    Definitely required DTs assistance tonight, so many thanks to you. Also to Giovanni for a true Friday test.

  26. If this puzzle was something I bought over the counter, like a bunch of bananas, I would be returning it and asking for a refund. Partly my own fault, as I always get to Friday’s puzzle late in the day, with little time left for pondering, but Giovanni really was much tougher than usual today. First in was 9a, but only because it was an anagram. Not a word I associate with disgraceful. Thank you Deep Threat for hints, very clever man to solve today’s challenge. Hopefully the crossword gods will provide something a tad easier tomorrow.

  27. I thought this puzzle was a bit tricky in places, but fairly clued throughout
    Not my favourite style; I prefer the puzzles DM sets which are less esoteric and more ‘clever wordplay’ driven
    Thanks for calling in Don and thanks to DT for the review

  28. I’m reassured to find that I am by no means alone in having seriously struggled with this and ultimately being defeated by it. Oh dear, very sad as DG Fridays are usually far and away my best day of the week but this was an absolute nightmare. Hope next Friday we will be back to DG fun-time. Thank you DG and DT. 😢

  29. Thanks to Giovanni and to Deep Threat for the review and hints. I couldn’t do this to save my life. Needed the hints for 11,12,13,22,26,27,28a and 1,7,8,10,19,21d. Also managed to get 20d wrong, which made 27a impossible. I’m afraid I didn’t enjoy any of it. Must be the hardest back pager I can remember.

  30. I could spend forever and not solve this one. I often struggle with Giovanni but never had a chance here.

  31. Well, it took two days, but solving was (only just) achieved without resorting to the excellent hints. Others have indicated that the slog was not wholly worth it but the challenge to complete very cryptic puzzles is probably why the DT crossword has so many fans – apparently.

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