DT 29208 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 29208

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 29208

Hints and tips by Kath

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BD Rating — Difficulty ***Enjoyment ****

Hello everyone. I’m fairly sure that this crossword is by proXimal if only because, apart from the ‘X’, it’s a pangram and that’s his trademark. I found it tricky in places but maybe not quite as much as some of his. There was a high number of anagrams – I made it eight but I’m not always very good at counting!

Please leave a comment telling us how you got on today.

In the hints the definitions are underlined and the answers are hidden under ANSWER so only do that if you need to see one.


1a        Support composer giving out unknown previous compositions (8)
BACKLIST — a verb to support or endorse is followed by the surname of a Hungarian composer and pianist – remove (giving out) one of the letters that can be used as a variable or unknown in maths  

5a        Shelter a year in overcrowded neighbourhood (6)
ASYLUM — the A from the clue followed by an overcrowded area or ghetto which contains the abbreviation for Y[ear]

10a       Rocking tunes — love absurd musical (6,9)
SUNSET BOULEVARD — an anagram (rocking) of TUNES LOVE ABSURD

11a       Incident is put on record; old editor to retire (7)
EPISODE — begin with an old record played at 45 rpm, the IS from the clue, the abbreviation for O[ld] and, finally,  a reversal (to retire) of the abbreviation for an editor

12a       Spot that woman’s instruments (7)
ZITHERS — a slang word for a spot, originally from the US, is followed by a way of saying that something belongs to that woman

13a       Jibe about backward Nordic girl (8)
 JENNIFER — a synonym for jibe or make fun of contains (about) a reversal (backward) of someone who comes from one of the Nordic countries

15a       Disgust of outcast getting knocked back (5)
REPEL — a reversal (getting knocked back) of an outcast or a pariah

18a       Inform banks in West to drop charges (5)
RATES — a verb to inform or betray is followed by the middle two letters of w[ES]t – the ‘banks’ or edges have been dropped – this took me ages to sort out – dim!

20a       Wrongly form pies to be cooked with mash (8)
MISSHAPE — an anagram (to be cooked) of PIES and MASH

23a       Reportedly recognised bad smell near overturned baby (7)
NEWBORN — a homophone (reportedly) of recognised or identified, a bad smell coming from someone who hasn’t had a shower recently, and a reversal (overturned) of the two letter abbreviation for near

25a       Foul seafood covering meal left by me (7)
SQUALID — some seafood – they have ten tenatacles and are lovely when cooked properly (and like rubber when overdone) – containing (covering) the last two letters of [me]AL – left by ME

26a       Politician‘s period in power little welcomed by nurse (7,8)
FOREIGN MINISTER — a period in power of a monarch and a word that can mean small – skirts or cars – go inside (welcomed by) a synonym of a verb to nurse or take care of

27a       Once more arrange holiday destination (6)
RESORT — a prefix meaning once more or again and a synonym of arrange or put in order

28a       Humiliated criminal agreed to go in two days (8)
DEGRADED — an anagram (criminal) of AGREED is contained in (to go in) the abbreviation for two D[ays] – one at the beginning and the other at the end



1d        Vehicle on pavement edge clipped street performer (6)
BUSKER — a large vehicle used as public transport and the first three letters of a four letter word for the edge of a pavement (clipped)

2d        Sure trick provided to lift depression (9)
CONFIDENT — a verb to trick or cheat and a reversal (to lift) of a synonym meaning provided or on condition that and finally a depression or crater

3d        Now idle, resolved to do this? (3,4)
LIE DOWN — an anagram (resolved) of NOW IDLE

4d        Occasionally used scabbard with English sword (5)
SABRE — the odd letters (occasionally used) of the third word of the clue are followed by the abbreviation for E[nglish]

6d        Top salesman’s first with consumer (7)
SWEATER — the first letter of S[alesman], the abbreviation for W[ith] and a consumer or someone having a meal

7d        Say farewell the French way (5)
LEAVE — the word for ‘the’ in French is followed by an abbreviation for a way or a road, often a wide one with trees

8d        Doctor styled scruffily in humble fashion (8)
MODESTLY — one of the many two letters for a doctor is followed by an anagram (scruffily) of STYLED

9d        High over a road, small birds of prey (8)
BUZZARDS — a high or a kick is followed by the A from the clue and the two letter abbreviation for road and then the abbreviation for S[mall]

14d      Absorbed by Iron Maiden number, I like Maiden (8)
FEMININE — the two letter chemical symbol for iron, the cricket abbreviation for M[aiden] the ‘I’ from the clue and a number – I admit that I got into a muddle trying to untangle this one and I’m not sure I’ve got it right now but I know that someone will tell me if I haven’t!

16d      Filled up tape with old broadcast (9)
POPULATED — an anagram (broadcast) of UP TAPE and OLD

17d      Managed to be overwhelmed by frets about relocation (8)
TRANSFER — a synonym for managed or organised goes inside (to be overwhelmed by) an anagram (about) of FRETS

19d      Note books on hire are regularly getting dirtier (7)
SOOTIER — a note from the tonic scale and some books (of the bible) are followed by the regular letters of the fourth and fifth words of the clue

21d      Transport firm collecting gold fabrication within hour (7)
HAULIER — the two letter abbreviation for H[ou}R contains (collecting) the chemical symbol for gold and a fabrication or a fib

22d      Loved a party with wine (6)
ADORED — the A from the clue and the usual little word for a party are followed by a kind of wine

24d      Oriental vessels crossing river for factory (5)
WORKS — these ‘oriental vessels’ are used for stir frying and they contain (crossing) the abbreviation for R[iver]

25d      Bird from east with legs aloft (5)
SNIPE — the abbreviation for E[ast] and a slang word for legs are all reversed (aloft)

I particularly liked 1, 10 and 13a and 9d.

The Quickie Pun:- SIGH + BURP + HUNK = CYBERPUNK  Needless to say I’ve never heard of this and, having looked it up, I can’t say that I’m terribly sorry!

53 comments on “DT 29208

  1. I did have to battle with this one, not helped by writing a P that looked like an R in 15a which made getting 16d difficult. Having then solved the Zandio Toughie, I’d venture that today’s crosswords were in the wrong envelopes – well they were for me anyway

    Thanks to Mr X and Kath

    1. Aren’t we all different. I could not get one answer to the Toughie, yet sailed through today’s back-pager.

  2. Yes, I’d agree with your choice of setter Kath – seems logical. A nice crossword to start off a dreary Thursday here in Shropshire with good clues and neat surfaces. Not too taxing, but difficult enough to keep up the interest in the solve. No outstanding favourite clue – just good fun.

    Thanks to P for the puzzle and to Kath for her review.

    If you still need some more crossword solving after this – the Toughie is eminently do-able with 5a making an appearance as well.

  3. Not a straightforward run through today, but help given with plenty of anagrams including my favourite film popping up in 10A. Also the odd giveaway clue (27A) helped towards completion. Also the bold use of a Z as a starter helped the pace improve. So a ***/*** for me.
    Good luck to Montenegro tonight at soccer, still want an England win, but hope this small proud historical country is not humiliated.
    Thanks to Kath for some clear hints and no giveaways

  4. I found this quite tough, but a very enjoyable challenge. 3*/4* for me.

    Many thanks to proXimal, and to Kath for the explanations (btw I was also slow to understand how 18a worked).

  5. 3*/4.5*. I’ve said this before and I’ll probably say it again, I love the current Thursday “back-page” regime alternating between RayT and proXimal – they have very different styles but both are setters of the highest order.

    You are not dim, Kath. Parsing 18a took me ages and pushed my time up above 3*.

    23a was my favourite, with 13a, 9d & 14d just getting pipped at the post. I’m an Iron Maiden fan too.

    I thought Mr X was being rather mischievous with two of his anagram clues, one of which contained three potential anagram indicators and the other four!

    Many thanks to proXimal, this was great fun, and to Kath.

  6. I do enjoy Mr X’s puzzles and I agree with Kath that this was not as tricky as his can sometimes be. Thanks to him and Kath for the blog. My podium selections were 18a, 19d and 25d (which made me laugh).
    It’s rather odd that not only does the answer to one of the clues also appear in the Toughie but the wordplay for the two clues is very similar.

  7. Hard to see past 23a for my COTD. Overall this was certainly tricky in places but the wordplay as always with this setter was spot on. Time-wise, 18a was also my undoing.

    Thanks to the X man for a terrific challenge, and well done to Kath for unravelling it for the blog.

  8. Another very enjoyable Thursday puzzle in which looking for the X-less pangram only occurred to me as I was writing my last one in, completed at a gallop – 2.5*/3.5*.
    My favourite – 21d.
    Thanks to proXimal and Kath.

  9. The top half of this (with the exception of 13a) fairly flew in but the bottom half I found much more tricky, particularly the SW. Was helped by, for once, realising it was a near pangram, especially with the aforementioned 13a. 18a was an unashamed bung in and was my first port of call on the review so thanks Kath for the explanation and a great blog too.
    Podium places go to 5a plus 9 and 21d
    3.5*/ 4.5*
    Thanks to Proximal for a fabulous puzzle too.

  10. A lovely puzzle. 13a held me up till the end until i realised we hadn’t yet had a J this being a proXimal. 19d amused me the most.

  11. I thought it must be ProXimal. I always have problems parsing a number of clues, when he is the setter. Like others, I found that the top half went in quickly and the SW corner was impenetrable, partly due to 18a, which held many of us up. So it was ***/*** for me and 1a the best of the clues. Thank you, Kath, for the hints, which enlightened my darkness over the many bung-ins. Thanks to the setter.

  12. I got there in the end without outside help, but it took me a full **** time.

    I, too, had 18a marked up for checking the parsing.

    Many thanks to ProXimal and Kath.

  13. My wife refuses to allow bung-ins so came here to find the why and how of last one in 18a. Glad to see there’s a large ‘dim’ club today!
    Many thanks to ProXimal and Kath.

    1. Well done to Mrs L for banning “bung-ins”. It’s a horrible term and they have no place in cryptic crosswords.

      1. Agreed! Since we share a printed page sometimes the only space left is the grid itself; that’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it!

  14. I also had a good start on the top half of the grid but got it into my head that the two days in 28a included Wed and that therefore the ‘broadcast’ in 16d was SOW. Threw me right off balance for a while, thanks for sorting me out!

  15. I enjoyed this puzzle, and didn’t find it tricky at all. Must be a wavelength thing, although I must admit having all the checkers in for 18a helped as fully parsing it took a bit more time.
    My LOI was 25a which would have been easier if i’d twigged it was a Mr X day.
    2*/4* from me.
    Thanks to both setter and Kath.

  16. It wasn’t 18 across that was leading to my downfall, but 24 down. I went through all the eastern boats I could think of before taking a peep at Kath’s hints. Quite a ”d’oh” moment when I realised what kind of vessel was required.. That provided the key to the bottom left-hand corner as far as I was concerned and then my puzzling was completed. 1 down was first in and then 10 across seemed to leap out of the paper at me; largely plain sailing from thereon in. A super puzzle to brighten an awful November’s morning. Thank you Kath and setter,

  17. Enjoyable stuff from the X-man. 18a was my LOI as well, a sneaky little rascal IMHO.

    No particular favourite for me as they were all good clues. ***/**** from me too.

    Thanks to proXimal and Kath.

  18. Agree with Kath on a ***/****, a solve of two halves for me with the top straight forward and the lower half a bit of a tussle.
    Last in was 13a, struggled because I thought that there was one N- never mind, a cracking puzzle with top draw clues .
    Favourite was 10a for the surface.

  19. Absolute cracker from proXimal today,,, tough but after I wrestled with it for a decent time I found it to be solvable by really reading the clues.
    I kept on wanting to write a wrong answer in 18ac which didn’t help me one bit!
    3.5*/4.5* a set of fantastic clues
    Many thanks to proXimal & to Kath for review & guidance.

  20. Agree with Beaver on the two halves of the puzzle. Found the bottom half a bit of a slog and had to resort to the hints. 18a too clever by half. Banks? Ta to all.

  21. First one I’ve done for a while, got stuck on 13a and 14d but with a bit of perservation and a little help from my electronic friends have finished!!
    Thanks Kath for blog hope you are all keeping well and avoiding all the horrible lurgies and bugs around

  22. Found this tricky ***/*** 😳 Favourites 9 & 25d with 25a 😃 I needed help with 19d a very clever clue. Thanks to Kath and ProXimal

  23. I found this a puzzle of two halves. North went in quite readily, but, oh my goodness, South was hard work. I never did get 18a nor 19d, and I had to use far too much techie stuff.
    Fave was 10a, went right in and helped a lot, but I liked some others as well. This is not meant as a gripe, just way beyond my ken, I had loads of fun yesterday that’ll keep me happy for a while.
    Thanks to proXimal and to Kath for sorting this lot out.

  24. Well I am surprised by the difficulty experienced by almost everyone on here. I managed it all excepting the parsing of 18a which I had put in as the only word with the letters I had which had any relationship at all with the words in the clue. So thanks to Kath for her help and to the setter for a puzzle I could complete. A **/**** for me. One day I will manage a whole crossword using only my own little brain.

  25. Looks like Mary Mary made an appearance. Long time no see.
    As most, the top went in easily and last ones were 18a and 19d.
    Spotted the near pangram and thought of Mr X too.
    Thanks for the great crossword and to Kath for the review.

  26. Certainly of more than average difficulty for us and a huge amount of fun. We guessed quite early on who the setter was and this was a big help in fitting some of the higher-scoring Scrabble letters (like the J in 12a) into the grid.
    Much appreciated and enjoyed.
    Thanks proXimal and Kath.

  27. Excellent crossword, the whole experience finished off by Kath’s great set of hints.
    This went in smoothly, until I misspelt 20a, rendering 16d and 21d impossible. A quick ‘cheat’ by an online submit showed my error, easily corrected, making the aforementioned clues’ answers obvious.
    Pleased that I now seem to have my head around Proximal.
    Many thanks all

  28. If its by who you think it is, i am not surprised it is a tedious struggle as is most of his puzzles,

  29. Not my cup of tea but his never are. Clues overly complex and over use of slang.
    Thx for the hints

  30. It’s taken me a long time for me to complete today’s xword as it appeared more difficult than yesterday’s treat. So I rate it 4*,4*. Favourites 21D and 18A.

  31. Found this at the very extreme of my ability and needed your help in SE .very enjoyable and thanks to setter and especially toKath.

  32. ****/****. The SW corner held me up for ages. Nevertheless an enjoyable puzzle. 10a needed a bit of playing with trying to separate the fodder from the anagram indicator. Thanks to the setter and Kath for the review and explaining some of my bung-ins.

  33. Thank you for the hints Kath, many of which I sorely needed. You’re definitely not dim, anyone who can solve a proXimal is a star. I quite enjoyed this one, strangely enough, but low on the satisfaction level, being as I needed several hints. Like most others, top half was easier than the bottom. Never would have got 23a, awful clue IMHO. I think I just might be getting better at proXimal puzzles, so thanks to him for taxing my aging brain cells.

  34. As with others the top half went in quickly but the bottom half stuck it out for far too long. I would question whether 10ac was a musical. I don’t remember any songs from it. Thanks to Kath for a great set of hints and thanks to ProXimal for providing something wonderful for Kath to provide hints for

  35. Didn’t get thrown in the bin but for me the very lower end of the Pleasure v Entertainment scale today. Thx all

  36. I’m off now so thanks to proXimal for a really good crossword and to everyone who’s left a comment.
    Night night all and sleep well. :yawn:

  37. Fun time in the North but then a bit more application was required in the South. Not keen on 7d and failed to parse 18d – reassuring that I’m not alone on that. Am hopeless at recognising the setters hence usually have to wait for others to do the identifying. So thanks to proXimal and Kath.

  38. My “I wonder how quickly I’ll finish this” had stalled some time before the England match started, after that I lost focus probably due to the bottle of Jacob’s Creek and the football but I got there in the end. Favourite clue 13a, I wonder what happened to her. I’ll never know. Thanks to all concerned.

  39. Now I am sure that my brain was inserted into my thick skull upside down. Bottom half presented no problems although the parsing of 14d eluded me. I stalled the bus in the NW – failing on 1a. I was convinced the composer was Bach and also toyed a while with backrest as my support. Nevertheless a great puzzle. Thanks Prolixic and congrats Kath. Does anyone else remember Shirley Abicair. She featured largely in my childhood and according to Mr Google there are no reports of her death.

    1. I remember Shirley Abicair. A small but significant part in my love of music. As was Mandy Miller.

  40. Loved it. But I had to put it down yesterday as so many of the bottom half were eluding me. But as soon as I read Kath’s remark that it was a pangram minus an X, I had a Q missing which helped me get 25a. Then I spotted I had Mishapes instead of Misshape for 20a (idiot). After that I was away and finished off quite quickly. I always like the challenge from Mr X. Favourite was 24d.
    Yesterday’s Toughie was simple by comparison.

  41. Thanks to ProXimal and to Kath for the review and hints. A cracking puzzle, lots of humour. Not too tricky. Just needed the hints to parse 26a. Started with 1d, finished with 25d.
    1a&3d made me laugh, but my favourite was 24d because I was thinking boats for ages until the penny dropped. Was 3*/4* for me. Noticed the pangram without the “X” quite early. Good fun.

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