DT 29205 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 29205

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 29205

Hints and tips by Ferdinand the Imposter

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BD Rating – Difficulty *Enjoyment ***

Good morning from the rain sodden heart of Downtown LI where The River Itchen has broken its banks and formed the occasional but beautiful Lake Itchington. Water levels are falling but more rain is forecast so all things crossed

Click on picture to get full size image

Today’s puzzle is another where you will be rewarded by doing as you are asked or told. For those wondering what a surface is. Read the first three clues. They all stand as sentences in their own right and could be said aloud without those within earshot thinking you are odd.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


5a    Choral music singers delight staff (4,4)
GLEE CLUB: Synonyms of delight and staff will provide you with your answer

8a    Disapprove of old unpredictable popes (6)
OPPOSE: The abbreviation for old and an anagram (unpredictable) of POPES

10a    Marvellous, very amusing detailed material (6)
FABRIC: A word meaning marvellous which was shortened and popular in the 1960s is followed by a word meaning highly amusing minus its last letter (detailed)

11a    Mostly bad-tempered note (8)
CROTCHET: The first eight letters of a nine-letter word meaning irritable provide a note having the time value of a quarter of a semibreve or half a minim, represented by a large solid dot with a plain stem.

12a    Widespread stick for military advisers (7,5)
GENERAL STAFF: A word meaning widespread (like the strike of 1926) is followed by a synonym of stick. Last seen in the clue for 1 across

15a    Work schedule in bistro, taxing (4)
ROTA: The word in tells us that the answer lies hidden within the words of the clue

17a    Challenged about feeding my old man (5)
DARED: A regular crosswordland word meaning about sits within a word commonly used for your father

18a    Walking aid, article found in church (4)
CANE: the form of the indefinite article used before words beginning with a vowel sound sits inside the abbreviation for the Church of England

19a    Unreasonableness shown by Irish supporter about quota (12)
IRRATIONALLY: An abbreviation of Ireland and a supporter (a state formally cooperating with another for a military or other purpose) surround an allowance

22a    Ready money in strong bag brought back by husband (4,4)
HARD CASH: 1 A synonym of the word strong. 2 A bag, often within the human body written backwards (brought back) 3 The abbreviation for husband


24a    Willing to participate, worker readily available (2,4)
ON HAND: A word meaning willing to participate is followed by a manual worker

25a    Quickly getting in a large car (6)
SALOON: The letter A from the clue and the abbreviation for large sit inside a word meaning quickly or immediately

26a    Snakes, excellent specimens (8)
RATTLERS: A double definition. These poisonous snakes can shake their tails to make a noise


1d    Has news of English vehicle (6)
HEARSE: How one gathers news audibly has the abbreviation for English attached. Apparently now we have a third means of disposal

2d    British want to include ‘ER’, a TV series (10)
BLACKADDER: The abbreviation for British. A need or deficiency. To include or append to. Her Majesty. Do as the clue asks.

3d    Very very indifferent (2-2)
SO-SO: A repeated use of a word meaning very

4d    Precise remedy (8)
SPECIFIC: A double definition. The second being rather dated

6d    The Parisian soon ringing editor put under pressure (6,2)
LEANED ON: Begin with the French word for the. Now place a word meaning soon around the abbreviation for editor

7d    Investor receiving money, as one exchanging favours for mutual advantage (13)
BACKSCRATCHER: A financial supporter has an informal term for money inserted. The informal term for money is in my online dictionary so it will certainly be in whichever dictionary you use

9d    Troublesome situation weak characters raised (4)
STEW: Reverse a term for weak people to find a difficult situation. As the rest of the puzzle only offers us one small boiled sweet I feel our setter has missed an opportunity to feed us a wholesome meal in this clue. We go hungry for want of a different definition

13d    Also short of rum, et cetera (3,2,5)
AND SO FORTH: The first word of our answer means also. The following two are an anagram (rum) of SHORT OF

14d    Witty remark about eastern passenger ship (3-5)
ONE LINER: A word for about is followed by the abbreviation for eastern. A passenger ship follows this

16d    Sweet and sour delivery (4,4)
ACID DROP: A taste meaning sour is followed by a word meaning a delivery made by a roundsman for instance. This is the only edible thing in this crossword

20d    A ploy to detain Hamlet, initially for a brief period (6)
AWHILE: My last one in. We begin with the letter A from the clue. We then need to find a word meaning a ruse and insert the initial letter of the word Hamlet.

21d    Silence head of administration, slightly crazy (4)
GAGA: A means of silencing is followed by the letter A

23d    Spots some in open carriage heading north (4)
ACNE: The word in suggests that the answer lies hidden within the words of the clue. The words heading north tell us that in a down clue it is reversed. Happy hunting

Quickie Pun:

Top line: czech+aboard=chequerboard

Bottom line: brewed+mayor=brood mare but also look at the down pairs from 5 down and 6 down – probably unintentional but they made me smile


60 comments on “DT 29205

  1. I’m sorry, Mr/s Compiler, but this wasn’t fair on a Monday morning.

    For a start, what a dreadful grid. So many starting letters left unchecked. I got just over half way through when I ground to a halt and had to use help. Oh dear.

    7d) Money=Scratch?
    20d) Ploy=Wile?
    26a) Excellent specimens? Really?
    19a) Is that the correct part of speech?

    I am sure that the answer to all of these will be “Yes”, but not in my world.

    Begrudging thanks to all.

    1. Totally agree. A very unfriendly grid with an extremely difficult puzzle. Needed hints very early.
      Zero fun for me.

    2. Mostly agreed. I went to the thesaurus for help with 20d and they show wile=ploy, but I really can’t think of an instance when I would use them interchangeably.

  2. Good morning everybody

    Haven’t posted for ages. 20d foxed me and I couldn’t rationalise 26a.

    Agree with comment #1 in great part. Perhaps I’m just annoyed with myself for not completing such an ordinary puzzle.

  3. Bit of a mixed bag for me. 19a doesn’t work as surely the answer is an adverb and the definition is a noun?
    Anyway thanks to MP and the setter for the amusement.

      1. Ignore that – don’t know how it happened!

        19a. I thought they were both nouns. Maybe the “shown” isn’t part of the definition but merely a part-link (shown by) to the word-play?

          1. If the answer ended in “ity”, it would be a noun. This answer is definitely an adverb and doesn’t fit the clue.

            1. V. Yes you’re right, of course. Due to being nearly out of time and trying to multi-task on the computer, plus not actually having obtained the puzzle till yesterday (Tues), I mistakenly thought the answer did end in “ity”. I soon realised when I checked later in my BRB. I was also a bit thrown/befuddled by “shown” being underlined as part of the definition. Never mind, all sorted now.

  4. No problem with either the grid or the clues. I thought it was pretty straightforward if perhaps lacking a bit of sparkle. 1d gets my vote today for the picture in the blog.

    Thanks setter and MP. Good luck to all those watching the river levels.

  5. I too found this puzzle somewhat irritating and for similar reasons to Malcolm R. I would give it **/*** for difficulty because parsing was very tricky and ** for enjoyment because of the over extended synonyms. 2d was a reasonable clue as was 12 a but there was little to write home about otherwise. Thanks to Ferdy for the hints and to the compiler.

  6. Great puzzle, I do like head scratching.
    Surprised the word for money was problematic for some.
    Workmanlike to completion, for me, say, *** for difficulty.
    Many thanks to the setter and to Miffypops for the review.

  7. Sorry I didn’t enjoy this at all. Never heard of Glee Club – I must be a grumpy old bat today because it sounds just plain silly. Agree with Michael above, some very weird and obscure clues.

    1. Glee Club is a well known term for small choirs singing a modern repertoire, but it does date from the 40s/50s in the US. Now made more recognisable by the musical TV “Glee”.
      The new versions of these sort of choirs (especially in the UK) are called Community Choirs, popularised on TV by Gareth Malone. They’re more inclusive than other choral ensembles, with a no-audition policy and modern music. Very popular and quite a money-spinner for those running them.

        1. Not on a weekday – because the Saturday and Sunday puzzles are prize puzzles, the rule is that you don’t give any solutions etc or alternative hints on those two days. It is the reason the ‘hints’ on those days are just hints – no indication of the actual solution is provided

  8. At least an improvement on the weekend’s offerings but somewhat lacklustre. I agree with StephenL and MalcolmR re 19a being noun/adverb synonyms. Don’t remember previously seeing unpredictable as anagram indicator viz 8a. Was pleased when this challenge came to an end. Thank you Mysteron and MP.

    1. You are right. I would have illustrated that with Joni Mitchell singing Coyote. I have tried to alter it whilst Saint Sharon is driving. I haven’t done very well have I?

      1. As I don’t either have to drive or be a passenger in a car for another hour, I’ve sorted it out for you.

          1. Please not liver and onions – my least favourite thing in the world, thanks to a horrible school dinner experience over sixty years ago – it was the only thing my mother who made us eat everything up on our plate, excused me from eating, so traumatised was I by the experience.

  9. For some reason I remembered 5a from a previous crossword not too long ago and from then on steadily solved the puzzle, checked remedy in 4d and came up with the answer ,which meaning was new to me-26a similarly and the money within 7d !
    Liked 14d- reminded me of Titanic.
    Going for a **/*** on account of the obscurities.
    Re the quickie pun-what about ‘brood mare’ for the bottom line!

  10. An enjoyable start to the week 😃 **/*** (if I can solve it, I like it 😉) Favourites 2 & 7d Thanks to the Setter and and to Ferdinand the Improbable 😳

  11. I think the clues were straightforward and elegant, but the perceived difficulty was down to the nature of the grid, coupled with slightly too many synonyms and slightly too few anagrams. Some people are walking thesauruses and some like the encryption and manipulation of letters – horses for courses.

    I’d heard of rattling as an adjective, but not the noun version. And I didn’t much like the de-tailed synonym in the second half of 10a.
    I take the view that the adverb of 19a is denoted by “ shown”.

    I’ll give it **/**

    Thanks to the imposter and whoever is the setter.

  12. Agree with the unpleasant grid layout. I think 5A is more commonly used in my country (US), with a wider meaning here. A 2*/2* so not the most enjoyable. Learnt new word as second definition of 26A was unknown to me – never heard that word uttered in that context here in SE Essex
    Thanks to MP

  13. Like others, I did not care for this too much. I thought 19a should have ended differently but there are not enough spaces. 4d is a very old fashioned word for a cure’

    I thought there was a bottom line pun the answer pertaining to a particular horse.

    Thank you to all concerned.

  14. Am I the only one who did cryptic 577 posted online today? What’s that about? I didn’t spot the number until I tried to check a couple of answers against the blog. On the plus side I now have another crossword to do 😄

    1. I always do the Win a Prize puzzles posted online on a Monday – I’ve even won a couple of times

    2. I do them after I’ve done the “real” one, the one with the hints. Definitely will have a go later as I have abandoned this one.

      1. Finished 577 but only about half way through 29205 – maybe I used up all my solving before starting the ‘real’ one. :(

  15. After making a bit of a dog’s breakfast of yesterday’s Dada prize puzzle, I was more than happy to get on to today’s setter’s wavelength. I have no issue with this grid pattern any more than any other, although I did tend to work on the down clues first. Completed at something of a canter, with no special favourite clues. Thanks to setter and ‘bloggist’ alike.

  16. Hearse with a wood chipper! I guess they only need one size of coffin.

    Bit of a curate’s egg in the SE corner, but the rest was Canadian bacon (with a dash of brown sauce).


    Mr & Mrs T

  17. Yesterday’s Dada challenge was easier than this odd puzzle. Just when I was hoping to lose my self in solving, while waiting for an insurance company to call us back, (but will they?) this was is disappointing. Thanks for the hints Miffypops, and hope the river stays away from you.

  18. Thanks to the setter and Miffypops for the review and hints. I enjoyed this one, but found it very tricky in places. Needed the hints for 20d, which was last in. Didn’t know this word. 19a seemed a bit strange,as was 26a. I liked 14d which was my favourite. Was 3*/3* for me.

    1. Having followed previous comments I believe that MP when hinting never gives ratings. They are added by Big D. If I’m wrong no doubt someone will tell me.

  19. Totally agree with Brian about the rating.
    When I struggle with a *, it shows that I am definitely going senile.
    I got there in the end, I did not have a problem with the grid, more the clues!
    Thanks MP and Mr.Ron.

  20. Darn it, I started to read these hints but as I started to read, I realised that it’s nothing like the puzzle I’ve done! The number of mine is 577, where did that come from? Did it and loved it, but will now print off the correct one and hope I have time to do it. I’m really getting too senile to keep going!

  21. Um, I don’t think the ER in 2d refers to Elizabeth Regina, I think it’s the Emergency Room 😬 à la the US TV series. Quite enjoyed this and completed it without needing hints but definitely didn’t do it quickly. Thanks for trying to sort out 19a for me and also to the setter.

  22. Pretty plain Monday sailing today, but 20d had me stumped for ages – I had rely on the old “put it down and come back it in a bit” trick, which worked.

  23. Having completed puzzle 577 and really enjoyed it, I found this tricky and needed lots of help. It certainly wasn’t 1* for difficulty.
    I remember how much we enjoyed 2d, wotta lotta laughs. I also liked 11a.
    Thanks to our setter and to Ferdinand for his unravelling some for me.

  24. No I didn’t find it that easy, I did try to answer the question thus the clues… still faffed it though.
    Sorry it was not the most sparkling for a Monday,,, or it may be just me with the blues!
    Thanks to setter & MP

  25. Definitely *** for difficulty and a very grudging ** for enjoyment. Thanks to Ferdinand for the hints and a passing nod to the compiler. Liked 12a and 1d. Writing of which when we lived in North Devon a couple had a funeral wagon with his and hearse on the windscreen. Of course that was in the late 70s when Shane and Tracey and the like identified the driver and girlfriend.

  26. I had the same concern as most with 19a but think it works with BD’s underscoring of the hint. Main problems for me were in SE. I put in rather than on for the first word of 24a – as in “I’m in” for willing to participate and hand for worker. That mistake made it impossible for me to get 13d especially as I missed the partial anagram. I had no problem with 5a but I did with lots of other unknown words/ synonyms. It was a first for me – I did not circle a single clue as a favourite. Thanks to all including setter. Just not my cup of tea.

  27. I didn’t really notice the grid, can just about reconcile rattler, scratch and wile but 19a is just wrong! It doesn’t make sense. You couldn’t say that someone behaved unreasonableness or that someone displayed irrationally!!

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