DT 29214 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 29214

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 29214

Hints and tips by pommers

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ****

Hola from the Vega Baja where life is slowly getting back to normal after the flood.  We have a plasterer coming today to repair the walls now they’ve dried out and then we can start to install the new furniture. Kitchen was ripped out yesterday but won’t be replaced until next week so I think quite a lot of meals in the local bar over the next few days.

As to the crossword I’m pretty sure it’s a RayT production as all the signs are there.  It was a lot of fun but gets the third difficulty star because of the NE corner which caused me a bit of trouble for some reason.  I think it was the flash car that threw me for a while. I’ll be interested to see what you guys made of it.
As usual the ones I liked most are in blue.  The definitions are underlined in the clues and the answers are under the “click here” buttons so don’t click on them unless you really want to see the answer.  Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


7a           Castle I’d destroyed and fortresses (8)
CITADELS:  Anagram (destroyed) of CASTLE ID.  Nice easy one to get you started.

9a           Measures springs without pressure (6)
OUNCES:  These are avoirdupois measures and they’re springs as a cat might make but without the P(ressure).  They’re also one of crosswordland’s favourite cats.

10a         Return of Queen with nearly perfect material (4)
REAL:  The usual Queen reversed (return of) and then a word for perfect, as in complete, but without its last letter (nearly).

11a         Help when yours truly goes after second position (10)
ASSISTANCE:  Start with a two letter word meaning when and then an S(econd). Follow this (goes after) with the perpendicular pronoun (yours truly) and finally a position or attitude.

12a         My group showing bodice (6)
CORSET:  Here MY is an exclamation of surprise.  Take another one and follow with a group of people.  You really didn’t expect me to pass up this photo opportunity did you?

14a         Flash car saving energy as well (8)
MOREOVER:  Two letters for a flash or short period of time followed by a make of car that was once made in the UK with an E inserted (saving Energy).

15a         Merkel, perhaps not entirely relevant (6)
GERMAN: Angela Merkel works in this clue but it could equally have been Sebastian Vettel or Boris Becker.  You need a word for relevant and remove the last letter (not entirely).

17a         Appetite about left one’s husband (6)
RELISH:  Two letters for about followed by L(eft), the letter that looks like a number one, the ‘s from the clue and finally H(usband).  I like clues like this where you simply build the answer as you go through the clue.

20a         ‘Abdabs’, in theory, partly due to this? (8)
ABSINTHE:  It’s a sort of all-in-one lurker.  The strong drink that is reputed to cause mental problems (abdabs) is hiding in (partly) the first three words of the clue.

22a         By the sound of it pinches nerves (6)
STEELS:  Nerves as a verb as in prepares oneself for something dangerous. It sounds like (by the sound of it) a word meaning pinches or thieves.

23a         Possibly need a term embracing new love? (10)
ENDEARMENT:  Anagram (possibly) of NEED A TERM placed around (embracing) an N(ew).

24a         Jeer Republican philistine (4)
BOOR:  A word meaning a jeer or to show disapproval followed by R(epublican).  I have to wonder if this clue is a reference to the current occupant of the White House. After all he is a republican philistine.

25a         Confusion finding gold in abundance (6)
MORASS:  A word for an abundance with heraldic gold inserted.

26a         Lunatic charged head of Government in fact (8)
DERANGED:  A word meaning charged or moved quickly and a G (head of Government) inserted into a word which can just about be taken to mean fact.  Not sure about this so any thoughts from you guys would be welcome.


1d           Persistent criminal caught by lying occasionally (8)
LIFELONG: A word for a criminal inserted into (caught by) the alternate letters (occasionally) from LyInG.

2d           Contact accessing land line initially (4)
CALL:  First letters (initially) of the first four words.  I suppose a Ximenean purist would say that the word CALL is doing double duty but it works for me.

3d           Temporary housing housing a northern resident (6)
TENANT: Take a piece of temporary accommodation and insert (housing) A (from the clue) and N(orthern).

4d           Does honestly understand (8)
CONSTRUE:  A word meaning does, as in swindles, followed by a word meaning honestly or correct.

5d           Crazily go insane at seeing needle (10)
ANTAGONISE:  Anagram (crazily) of GO INSANE AT.

6d           Short break precedes prompt recovery (6)
RESCUE:  A word for a break or respite without its last letter (short) followed by a prompt as an actor may get.

8d           Seed oddly identical to another seed (6)
SESAME:  Alternate letters (oddly) from SeEd followed by a word meaning identical.

13d         Chaplain, perhaps one in Army? (10)
SERVICEMAN:  This is a word for someone in the army or other of the armed forces and it could also be a cryptic definition of a clergyman.

16d         Broadcaster is keen to poach star (8)
ASTERISK:  This star used to denote difficulty and enjoyment in this post is hiding in (to poach) the first three words.

18d         Holy opening to Heaven admitted (8)
HALLOWED:  H (opening to Heaven) followed by a word meaning admitted or even permitted.

19d         Count of French prison beginning to despair (6)
DEPEND:  Not a noble or even a tally but count as in rely.  The >French word for of followed by an American slang word for prison and finally a D (beginning to Depend)

21d         Report on soldiers in Welsh city (6)
BANGOR:  The report of a gun followed by two letters for enlisted men gives the city that’s on the other side of the Menai Strait from where Jane lives. 

22d         Instruments from India employed by idols (6)
SITARS:  Take the letter represented by India in the phonetic alphabet and insert it into (employed by) a word for idols, in films perhaps, and you’ll get some instruments that do indeed come from India.

24d         Strip is reportedly censored (4)
BAND:  This strip sounds like (reportedly) a word meaning censored or vetoed.

There’s a lot of great clues here and there could have been even more blue than there is but my personal favourite was 20a with 22d and 13d up there on the podium.

Quick crossword pun:        NOTE     +     RUMPS     =     NO TRUMPS

63 comments on “DT 29214

  1. I don’t think I’ve ever done a Ray T quicker despite a rather unhelpful grid. A terrific puzzle, thoroughly enjoyed here. Slight reservation about the synonym for 22a but other than that brilliant stuff. My favourites were the two fabulous lurkers with the podium completed by 14a, but ticks all over the place.
    Many thanks to Pommers and to Ray T for the entertainment.

  2. Me too with the flash car (obviously a Lexus) and 4d Doing honestly and understanding. As usual a blast of a puzzle from RayT . Thanks to pommers for the review. We also have plastering work and a kitchen to fit but it is all coming together nicely now. Thanks to RayT for the mental workout.

  3. I agree with pommers’ assessment of 3*/4* for this excellent RayT offering although my main hold-up was in the SE corner.

    I was puzzled by 20a as I didn’t know it’s reputation as a catalyst for the “abdabs”.

    I don’t normally pick an anagram as my favourite, but today 5d gets the accolade.

    Many thanks to RayT and to pommers.

  4. Agree on the difficulty but a ***\***, as few smiles from the clues or answers to brighten up a cold windy day here on the North bank of the Thames Estuary today. Thanks to pommers for some clear hints.

      1. Good location – I get too much sun on this side. So curtains often drawn till late in the morning

  5. I had some difficulty seeing ‘all’ as ‘perfect’, but did like 20a. Overall, about the right level for a Thursday I thought. Thanks to all.

  6. I agree with Pommers that the NE corner was a hold-up but, after that was sorted, it came together quite quickly (** for difficulty. Unlike the other correspondents, I did not enjoy this as much as I usually do with a Ray T Thursday puzzle. Whilst Id and 14a were great clues, some of the others were unusually clunky for a Ray T crossword (e.g. 26a). So only ** for enjoyment today. Thank you, Pommers, for the review, I’m glad the flood damage is getting sorted out. Thank you to Ray T also.

  7. As others have said, it was the NE corner that pushed this into *** time for me. The pairing of 4d and 14a needed outside help.

    I’m not sure why, other than I live the word, but 24 made me smile and is COTD.

    Thanks to RayT and Pommers.

  8. I don’t usually think in terms of stars however I entirely agree re ***/****. No problem in East but there was a pleasant challenge in the West. 15a is a bit sweeping – my first thought in fact was around the Duchess of Sussex. Bunged in 14a. Unaware of the 22d meaning of employed. Thank you RayT (?) and pommers (so glad the drying-out process is progressing well).

  9. Apart from the dubious perfect in 10a an enjoyable puzzle My favourites were the two lurkers both of which made me smile.

  10. 26a I was held up for some time by this clue, as I can’t see “deed” as a synonym for “fact”. Can anybody explain this?

    1. I may be wrong, but when lawyers say “before or after the fact”, do they mean before or after the deed was done?

  11. A very nice but not too demanding workout. Like some of you others, I have my doubts about 10a. I liked 13d and 16d but will go for 14a for the gold medal. Not sure whether 10a gives you the abdabs or makes the heart grow fonder?

  12. A little more challenging than some recent RayT Thursdays, especially in the NE – ***/***.
    Favourites – the two lurkers.
    Thanks to RayT and pommers.

  13. Nothing brightens my day more than a puzzle from Mr T and, like Pommers, I put ticks all over the place whilst solving this one.
    With a great effort of will, I narrowed it down to a top three of 20a plus 4&5d.

    Not sure when the 21d song was written but believe me, you wouldn’t want to spend an entire day in Bangor!

    Devotions as always to Mr T and thanks to Pommers for the review. Pleased to hear that your repairs continue apace and don’t imagine that either of you will object to dining out for a few nights.

    1. Perhaps Bangor was different in 1979/80?

      My friend (who used to be the landlady of the local pub) and I were only discussing yesterday about the times when Fiddlers Dram used to come into the pub on the way home from a performance and we’d make them sandwiches and they’d sing to us in return. Definitely one of the highlights we remember fondly – unlike some of the low lights we’d like to forget!

    2. The song was written about the town in Ireland, I believe. And I spent three very happy years at Bangor University.

      1. Definitely the one in Wales. At the time it was rumoured that the song was actually inspired by a day trip to Rhyl but as it has only one syllable it didn’t scan as well as Bangor. Apparantly this story angered the mayor of Rhyl more than somewhat but it was strongly denied by the band.
        We used to winter our boat in Dickies boatyard in Bangor so I know the place quite well and I think Jane is being a little on the harsh side.

        1. I think it must be quite some time since you were in Bangor, Pommers. The Dickies emporium on Beach Road is now a Watkins Jones building complex and most of the High Street is a procession of shuttered, empty units and ‘tat’ shops populated in the main by vagrants, Big Issue sellers and addicts. Sadly, that seems to be true of many of our city centres these days.

          1. Oh dear, how sad is that? I used to like winters at Dickies and the pub next door did the best steak and kidney pie ever tasted!

            1. The pub may still be there – The Boatyard? Not sure that the catering would be quite up to what you remember!
              We used to go there for our Bird Group ‘committee meetings’ but invariably ate after we got home.

    3. I’ll pop in for a change to say I really liked 4dn. Olive harvest over … 50% went to ground as I am completely organic and high winds (and lack of Labour in the early season) took their toll. So maybe now as winter draws in I will have a little more time to comment. Enjoyed the puzzle. Thanks to RayT and to Pommers for confirming my thoughts on 10ac. Sorry to hear about your flooding. We too in Puglia have experienced extreme events over the last 16 years although, fortunately, the flodding only affects our access to home. Enjoy your meals out!

  14. A friendly Ray T which is more than can be said for the very cold easterly wind and heavy mist outside

    Lots to enjoy so thank you to Mr T and Pommers – glad to hear that the house is slowing getting back to something approaching normal

  15. I’m in grumpy mode as I cannot shake of this wretched cold. As a result, while not difficult, I did not find the usual smiles that I have solving a Ray-T puzzle.
    Thanks all..

  16. Cracking puzzle today, no quibbling with Pommers ***/****,
    A steady clockwise solve for me , no particular hold ups.
    A wide spectrum of clues, difficult to pick a favourite, liked the lurker in 20a-does it make the heart grow fonder?

  17. Two very good lurkers but my favourite clue was Frau Merkel. Our setter on top form today, with my slight hold up being in the SW corner, to be different. On completion I could not see why, as is often the case.

    Many thanks to Ray T for the fun and to pommers. Good luck with the refurbishment.

  18. Found this enjoyable and fairly straightforward but checked in to see the interpretation of perfect in 10a.

  19. Just by coincidence had been talking about the phrase “Screaming Abdabs” and where it came from only this morning over tea in bed, so jaw dropped when saw 20a!

    Apparently it was a common phrase in the mid 1900s for butterflies in the tummy or other such nervous feelings. It was also the first name of the group that later became Pink Floyd!

    Very enjoyable puzzle today, tossup between Merkel and Posh Car for my COTD.

    Thanks to Ray T and Pommers.

  20. Taking my usual cautious approach with a Ray T challenge I found nothing to disturb the horses today.
    20a was my favovourite.
    Thanks to Ray T, and to Pommers for the review.
    PS. I’m sorry to keep on about the IT hiccup, but doesn’t anybody have any info?

  21. A real puzzle of two halves. The top was good, the bottom half awful.
    Needed the hints to explain my answers to 1d, 4d, 16d, 19d, 22d, 22a and 26a. For me the bottom half was back to the bad old days of Ray T, incomprehensible wordplay!
    Def not my fav even though i am beginning to appreciate his work. This was a retro step for me.
    Thx for the much needed hints.

  22. Cold grey and damp here in Gloucester. We’ve finished shopping for a long overdue return dinner invite. The shopping got us out of the house and bumping into two old friends. The floods at Maisemore have finally subsided and to top it all an excellent crossword and hints. What else could we wish for?

  23. Not sure in what part of the country anyone says abdabs but to my knowledge not in the capital of the Principality. So not a chance of getting that clue.

    Hats off to 15a and 13d which I groaned when I eventually sought help.

  24. ***/***. Struggled with a couple of these and needed Pommers help to explain my bung-in’s (e.g. 10a). Employed Miffypops advice for 20a (if all else fails look for a lurker). Thanks to Ray T and Pommers.

  25. I loved this puzzle and seemed to be right on Ray T’s wavelength today. Just needed Pommers’s hints to confirm parsing for 10a and 26a. My last in (and favourites, I think) were the two lurkers at 20a and 16d. The icing on the cake was Fiddler’s Dram – I don’t think I’ve ever actually seen them before. I thought of the song when I solved that clue – it brings back many happy memories (I’ve probably still got the single). So, many thanks to Pommers for that – and the hints – and glad to hear that things are beginning to get back to normal after the floods. Big thanks too to Ray T for a super puzzle.

  26. I thought I was getting on RayT’s wavelength, but, no, so far off I missed about half – steels = nerves? Really?
    Strangely, the only corner I completed was the NE, 14a a bung in.
    Fave was the abdabs, but 4d was close to it.
    Thanks to RayT and to pommers. I’m so glad you’re getting back to normal.

  27. Our last one in was 14a. Tried hard to get a German brand car in as we had M _ R at the start of the answer.
    Really good fun and very enjoyable to solve.
    Checked the clue word count of course and all in order.
    Thanks RayT and pommers.

  28. Little more to say than has been said.
    3*/4* as enjoyable a RayT as ever
    Thanks to RayT & Pommers for ever helpful review & direction

  29. Disappointing puzzle today. I too thought I was getting the hang of Ray T’s challenges, but this one told me he is above my pay grade, or just not on my wavelength. For instances, I could have sat here all day and never figured out I needed the way a cat springs in 9a, and never heard of abdabs in 20a. Also a corset is not a bodice, and although I am sure it is in the BRB, I would never have come up with the answer to 1d. As I said, above my pay grade.

    Best part of the puzzle for me was the great comment from Pommers in 24a. Perfect!

    Glad to hear that the house is slowly coming back together after your nightmare flood.

  30. Evening all. My thanks to pommers for the analysis and to all for your comments. Much appreciated.


  31. Not read the other comments but when on earth was a Rover a ‘posh car’ in the seventies it was BL and afterwards a joke!! Crosswords are a funny old antiquity! Enjoyed the rest Thanks all

    1. Nothing in the clue to suggest that it was a ‘posh’ car, Jumbo. Pommers’ hint reveals that the ‘flash’ is the first couple of letters followed by a make of car containing ‘E’ for energy.

      1. Hi Jane, understand the parsing of the clue but Ray T’s surfacing, I think it is fair to say, has a leaning towards blending the surface with the clue thus the allusion was flash (Mo) or on my terms Posh. Rover you/RT are quite right was a make of car, fortunately not for some considerable time.

  32. We seem to be being spoilt by a lengthy run of quality xwords . I found it quite difficult so ****_**** for me. Top spot 1d

  33. As usual the comments are nearly as interesting as the crossword. I didn’t find this as challenging as some did but challenging enough. It’s absence that makes the heart grow fonder. Favourite 13d for its obscurity. Many thanks to RayT and Pommers.

  34. I found this Ray T at the tricky end of his general range of difficulty – also came to grief with the quickie.
    As always on Thursdays I loved the crossword.
    My problem was the bottom left corner (can’t do points of the compass – right and left are enough of a challenge for me).
    I was too slow to spot the two lurkers but, eventually, thought they were really good ones.
    What a good crossword but a late night and a busy day has made me a bit on the slow side!
    So many good clues among which were 24a and 4, 8 and 13d. My favourite was 20a.
    With thanks to Ray T and to pommers.
    Need supper, oh, and wine, NOW

  35. From the sublime to the cor blimey for me, today!
    I’m in complete agreement regarding 10a – needed Pommers’ hint to explain this.
    There in a Rover 75 around the corner from my house, which I covet – lovely looking car! Is it really rubbish? :-(
    Thanks to all!

  36. Thanks to Ray T and to Pommers for the review and hints. A super puzzle, that I found to be of moderate difficulty, until I got near the end. Needed the hints for 15&25a and 1,13,21d. This was frustrating because I knew how 1a & 25d worked, but just couldn’t get the synonyms. But the other 3 were a complete mystery. Favourite was 20a, great lurker. Was one of my Dad’s favourite sayings, that someone had the screaming abdabs. Was 4*/3* for me.

    1. Definition #2 from Collins:-

      a disordered or muddled situation or circumstance, esp one that impedes progress

  37. no one appears to mention 25a – does the answer given really mean confusion – would never have got that in a month of Sundays ?

  38. Obtained Friday morning and solved in the afternoon. A cracking puzzle from Ray T, with too many good clues to pick a favourite. A decent challenge and very enjoyable. 3.5* / 4*

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