DT 29220 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 29220

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 29220

Hints and tips by pommers

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

Hola from the Vega Baja.  Well, things have moved on a bit.  We now have wardrobes fitted and the guys have started on the kitchen about an hour ago so we might get a bit of normality by the end of next week.

It may just be the hammering and banging going on that caused the problem but I found today’s puzzle a tad on the tricky side.  I’m pretty sure it’s a proXimal production as it felt like his work while I was solving and it’s turned out to be a pangram without an X, which has become a bit of a trade mark for him.  I really enjoyed the 28a and hope that you all do too.

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.


1a           Give lots of time for courses (8)
PASSAGES:  A word meaning give or hand over followed by a long time, not eras but the other one.

5a           Bags containing new crisps perhaps (6)
SNACKS:  Some bags, for coal perhaps, with N(ew) inserted (containing).

9a           Tike hints about being playful (9)
KITTENISH:  Anagram (about) of TIKE HINTS.

11a         Soup‘s good! Idiot ignoring starter (5)
GUMBO:  Start with G(ood) and then an idiot without his first letter (ignoring starter).

12a         Fine knight pointed projectile (6)
NARROW:  The chess notation for knight followed by the pointed projectile fired from a bow.

13a         Dancing in Disney animation? (8)
WALTZING:  Disney’s first name followed by some animation or energy.

15a         They might get close for old-school computer game (5,8)
SPACE INVADERS:  A term describing people who stand too close to you is also a very old computer game.  This computer game is so old it was probably played by Noah!

18a         Denizen of rocky shores or beach (9,4)
HORSESHOE CRAB:  An anagram (rocky) of SHORES OR BEACH.  This is the best &lit I’ve seen for quite some time!

22a         Tick found around very big desert is bloodsucker (8)
MOSQUITO:  A tick, as in a short period of time, is around the two letters for very big that are usually used in clothing sizes and a word meaning desert as in leave.

23a         Roughly, allowance is split (6)
CLEAVE:  A single letter for roughly or approximately and a word meaning allowance as in permission.

26a         Experienced person that’s horrible must retire (5)
LIVED:  A word for a horrible or evil person is reversed (must retire).

27a         Nightingale, perhaps, tires from flying (9)
REFORMIST:  This nightingale isn’t a bird but Florence.  What she was (apart from being a nurse) is an anagram (flying) of TIRES FROM.

28a         Oddly, thugs use leek in fight (6)
TUSSLE:  The alternate letters (oddly) from THUGS USE LEEK.  Strange mental image conjured up by this clue.

29a         Worry about nothing ancient predicted (8)
FORETOLD:  A word meaning worry, which is also a sea mist, about an O (nothing) and then a word for ancient.


1d           Dog exercise class — family pet seen regularly (8)
PEKINESE:  Two letters for an exercise class followed by the usual family and the alternate letters (regularly) from PET SEEN.

2d           Rodent is climbing instrument (5)
SITAR:  A rodent followed by the IS from the clue but all reversed (climbing in a down clue).  As we had this instrument in the puzzle I blogged last week I may as well use the same photograph.

3d           Area people raised with single plant (7)
ANEMONE: A(rea) followed by some people reversed (raised in a down clue) and the word meaning single.

4d           Impressive characters in winkle-pickers (4)
EPIC:  A lurker.  Its characters (letters) are hidden in the last two words.

6d           Near match for garment (7)
NIGHTIE:  An old-fashioned word for near followed by a match, of the FA cup perhaps.

7d           Foreign minister, male admitted to racism so stupidly (9)
COMMISSAR:  Not a “Foreign Minister” as Dominic Raab is but literally a minister who’s a member of some foreign governments, especially the former Soviet Union.  It´s an anagram (stupidly) of RACISM SO with M(ale) inserted (admitted to).  I like the definition here.

8d           Small cat is gloomy (6)
SMOGGY:  Gloomy because there’s air pollution.  It’s S(mall) followed by a slang word for a cat.

10d         Something worrying that man and Aztec horde, all discontented (8)
HEADACHE:  Two letters for that man followed by the outer letters from AnD AzteC HordE (all discontented).

14d         Designer catalogue abridged (8)
INVENTOR:  A catalogue as in list of contents without its last letter (abridged).

16d         Sides have reconciled; they form bonds (9)
ADHESIVES:  Anagram (reconciled) of SIDES HAVE.

17d         Refused assent, journalist supports article (8)
OBJECTED:  The usual two letter journalist after (supports in a down clue) a word for an article or thing.

19d         Travelled on horseback, hugging a French lake, making circle (7)
ROUNDEL:  A word meaning travelled on horseback, or even a motorcycle, around (hugging) the French indefinite article and finally L(ake) will give you the sort of circle seen on RAF aircraft.

20d         Make bigger space with lager ordered (7)
ENLARGE:  A space that’s half the size of an em followed by an anagram (ordered) of LAGER.

21d         Charm a smuggler with last place in boat (6)
AMULET:  A (from the clue) followed by a slang term for a drug smuggler and then a T (last place in boaT).

24d         First person in before noon, work friend (5)
AMIGO:  Start with two letters representing the morning (before noon) and a word meaning work or operate and insert (in) the single letter for first person.

25d         Do answer father with love (4)
AFRO:  Do as in a hairdo.  It’s A(nswer) followed by the abbreviation for father as in priest and then an O (love).

Some splendid stuff here but my favourite has to be the great all-in-one at 18a. Also up there on the podium are 8d and 27a. 

Quick crossword pun:   PURR     +     LEAKING     =     PEARLY KING

60 comments on “DT 29220

  1. 3*/4.5*. This was a nicely challenging and very enjoyable offering from our X-phobic Thursday setter.

    I didn’t know that tyke could be spelt tike, and it took me a while to understand the right nightingale. 18a was my favourite.

    Many thanks to proXimal and pommers.

  2. A really enjoyable (****)puzzle from ProXimal, so thank you for that. It was quite tricky in places and took me just into *** time, although that may be because I was trying to unload the tumble dryer at the same time. 13a, 27a and 8d were all great clues but the best one was 18a. as Pommers has said. Thanks for the hints, Pommers. I’m glad the flood damage is being sorted out

  3. Friendly for Mr X (well I thought so) so much so that I didn’t realise it was him until I’d nearly finished and realised what was missing. Thanks to him for the crossword and Pommers for the hints – 13a was my favourite

      1. Kath, I struggle mightily with proXimal, I felt that as I was able to finish this, it must be on his benign side! Believe me, I was uphill all the way!

  4. As I put the J into 17d, I began to think pangram, but on realising I had XYZ missing, I also suspected proXimal. The Y&Z completed the NE for me, and there it was, complete in *** time.

    Many thanks to all.

  5. An entertaining puzzle requiring no arcane knowledge. 15a brought back memories of wasted hours and 13a made me smile.

  6. The relatively gentle week continues. I did like the crab, the space invaders and the ‘walt zing’. Thanks to all.

  7. Some very inventive and clever clues which exercised the grey matter much more than in previous days this week, so, for me, **** for difficulty.
    Very enjoyable.
    Many thanks to the setter and to pommers for the nicely illustrated review.

  8. For the first time ever I recognised that we had a pangram, albeit the ‘X-less’ variety, before completion which helped me with 13a!
    A very enjoyable puzzle completed at a gallop – 2.5*/3.5*.
    Favourite – a toss-up between 13a and 25d – and the winner is 13a.
    Thanks to proXimal and pommers.

  9. Got myself a bit tangled up with Disney which gave me problems in the NE corner and I needed a checker in place before 25d became clear. As usual, I didn’t register the almost pangram!
    18a gets my vote for favourite with a mention for the Quickie pun.

    Thanks to proXimal and to Pommers – pleased to hear that life is slowly returning to normal.

  10. I have to break ranks with previous commenters and say that I found this decidedly tricky, the trickiest back pager I can remember for quite a while, needing a bit of electronic help to finish it. I got myself into a mess in the NE where I had “sombre” for 8d (S plus a “cool cat”) only realising it was wrong when 13a became apparent!
    Very satisfying though, podium places go to 10d plus 18 and 29a.
    Many thanks to proXimal and to Pommers for their excellent works.

  11. A ******** for me. Enjoyable and amusing.Some nice clues 13A, 18A, 28A, 8D. A near perfect puzzle for my amateur level. Thanks to Pommers – there must be an enormous amount of work in laying out these hints on such a regular basis. I have shadowed this site since it started (was it 2009?) but have only started commenting since my retirement. So a special thanks to BD and all the regular hinters and contributors for bringing such a great site into the world. There is nothing like it.

  12. Very enjoyable puzzle for me, not too taxing but enough to be interesting. Found 23a perhaps a little weak but 9a and 13a were good.
    Thanks to Pommers for including a wonderful picture of that glorious aircraft, no guns but at that speed who needs them!
    Thx to all

  13. Thanks to ProXimal and to Pommers for the review and hints. A very good puzzle, with lots to make you think. I manged the top half ok, but was coming to a halt with the rest. I realised it was probably a ProXimal puzzle before I started, as it was Ray T last week and the quicky had some multi word clues. By this time I was missing J, F, W, Z. Got 17d to lose the J, then had an F in the fodder for 27a. Last in was 13a which took up the W & Z. Never before has a near pangram helped me so much. Favourite was 18a. Was 3*/4* for me.

  14. I had a problem in the NE corner as the anagram of crisps is scrips which are small bags. Took me a while to admit I was wrong.

    I see the Toughie blog is now online. Off to see how I’ve fared.

    Glad Pommers is almost back to normal.

    1. I came up with “scrips” as well but found the definition to mean coins issued by companies to their workers when normal currency was not available such as in remote mining towns. They could use them to buy goods from the company shops. Must admit I did not check the BRB.

  15. A definite *****/***** for me. Quickly realized the possibility of a pangram, or at least an X-less one, but it was a struggle and a pleasure to complete. 23a last one in.

  16. Was it a coincidence to have 19d caught by the crossfire of Pommers 22a pic ?
    One of those puzzles where I guessed the solution then solved the parsing-eg18a and15a.
    Anyway its the result that counts and a **/**** for me, inventive cluing throughout and no obscurities and lots of fun.

  17. ****/****. Very enjoyable but not a walk in the park for me. The looming pangram got me a toehold with 13a. 18a was my favourite closely followed by 15a. Thanks to Proximal and Pommers for the review.

    1. Hi Greta. You’ll find the answer in the FAQ page using the link at the top of the page. It’s the seventh item in the list.

      1. When I clicked on the underlined what is a pangram nothing happened. but if you scroll down to item 30 in the list it tells you that a pangram is a puzzle that uses all letters of the alphabet at least once. I recall a magnificent monthly prize puzzle by Phibs that had 4 quarters each of which was a pangram.
        ProXimal the assumed (pretty certain it is he) setter is known for pangrams missing the X.

      2. Thank you. I would never have thought to look! And as for Nina….. Who knew? Apart from all the super solvers on this blog, obviously.

  18. Got the dance only after consulting the hints. and 14d was a director/y which made a mess of the old school computer game. It only made one checker in the game wrong. I was working on a variation of Snake the ancient nokia phone game but couldn’t make anything fit until Pommers put me on the right lines. loved the puzzle too and agree 18a is brill.

  19. I always find proXimal very difficult, so being able to solve all of it, albeit with copious electronic help, means it must be very benign.
    Putting “scrips” in 5a caused me no end of trouble, and knowing nothing about computer games, except “patience”, meant that I was slow to get 15a.
    My fave was 27a, one of my first in.
    Thanks to proXimal and pommers for our entertainment.

  20. Found this one to be a tad hard so knew it was courtesy of the X-man. Notwithstanding, some characteristically clever clues especially 13a 18a (once I’d looked up ‘denizen’) and 20a. Gratitude to Pommers for explaining why 24d wasn’t ‘Iamgo’.

    1. Ah thanks Celia, I’m not the only one that looked up denizen! I’ve just finished googling pangram too….

    2. The Buster comic had a page called Fishboy. Denizen of the Deep. Education is the knowledge you have when everything you have been taught has been forgotten

  21. Yet more good fun even without my sussing that it was a pangram – afraid I don’t usually look out for them. Thought around tick/bloodsucker in attempt to justify 22a. Use of “do” on its own in 25a jars a bit and 24a “work”? My Fav was 13a which should have pointed me in direction of a proXimal pangram. Many thanks to setter and hinter for providing a fun time. Pommers, I do hope the reparations will soon be successfully completed – what a hassle for you.

  22. Our last one in, despite being an anagram, was 27a and we did need all the checking letters before we saw it. Really good fun from a setter who we now always look forward to.
    Thanks proXimal and pommers.

  23. Amazing, I finished without help except for 23a hint, thanks Pommers. Forgot all about the one letter version for approximate. So very much enjoyed, even more so if this is a proXimal as I usually struggle with his, almost as much as I struggle on Ray T days. So thanks to proXimal for providing an enjoyable Thanksgiving puzzle.

    Glad to hear the Pommers household is returning to normal.

  24. Took a lot longer than usual but given a big fail on yesterday’s toughie I was determined to complete. Last to go in were 13a, 23a and 17d. Favourite clue for me was 22a which took a while but I smiled when I filled it in.

  25. I too thought this was excellent. I normally struggle with ProXimal but today I didn’t. Too many favourites to single one out. Many thanks to ProXimal and Pommers.

  26. This kept me entertained over lunch. 15a brought back memories of many teenage hours wasted on an Atari 2600 games console. Well not really wasted; it was fun at the time.
    With all the references to a “pangram missing the X”, which of course means it is not a pangram at all, can I venture to suggest a new term for days like this: a ProXigram?
    Thanks to all.

  27. A very relaxed solve with no problems encountered. 27a was my top clue. Thanks to the X-man, and to pommers for the review.

  28. Thursdays is just about my favourite day now, Proximal comes up with exceptional wordplay.
    I spent far too long trying to find a Disney film for 13a, got there in the end.
    Thanks all.

  29. I did this little gem this morning before going to Birmingham for lunch followed by a concert at Symphony Hall. Despite a lousy journey back due to ongoing roadworks, rush hour traffic and heavy rain, I remembered to come on the site to thank the X Man for a cracking puzzle and to pommers for the blog.

  30. I have to keep reminding myself,,, answer the question & you get the answer to the clues!!
    Took a while to get round the grid & I did have some doh moments but I found this puzzle cracking & well worth a round of applause 👏👏
    I echo heartily comments made by Chris Rich , it has enhanced the pleasure of crossword solving to belong to a blog/group with such input,,, a big thanks to you all, especially to BD for the efforts he puts into the running of the site.
    Fabulous proXimal many thanks & to Pommers for a great reviews

  31. Really glad you all seem to have enjoyed the puzzle as much as I did. I was within a whisker of giving ***** for enjoyment (something I don’t think I’ve ever done before) and now I rather wish I had. It was worth the 5th star just for 18a.

    1. Once, and only once, did I give a 5* enjoyment for a crossword – it was quite soon after I’d started doing the hints with you – it was a Shamus and one of the answers was ‘jumpy’ – it was an across clue about 2/3rds down in the middle!! How funny to remember that but it’s just how my brain does things . . . .

  32. I always love, but always have trouble with, proXimal crosswords and today’s was no exception.
    Had I been the ‘hinty person’ today I would have gone for a 4* difficulty but I wasn’t! :phew:
    A terribly slow start with hardly any answers going in straight away then things improved but only a bit.
    This one has taken me a very long time.
    My last answer was 25d – oh, that kind of do! :roll:
    I really enjoyed it all particularly 11a and 21 and 25d – my favourite was the ‘small gloomy cat’ – made me laugh.
    Thanks to Mr X man and thanks and admiration to pommers – glad that stuff is improving for you.

  33. Thought 25d was incredibly vague! only got it because of the abbreviation and already had 29a. Apart from that, relatively straightforward. Favourite was 27a ,as I scratched my head for a moment on that one!

    1. Welcome to the blog Webby.

      25d is a bit vague, but fair I think. It’s a long time since I last saw DO as a reference to HAIRDO but I have seen it used before and the not as good as it once was memory served me very well today.

  34. What an enjoyable crossword – not least because just for once I managed to finish it without referring to the blog! Last in was 13a – I was just about to give in when it clicked! My favourites were 8d – very amusing as a cat owner (or rather he owns me!😄) and 10d for the imaginative construction which made me smile.
    Thanks to proXimal and pommers.

  35. A very enjoyable puzzle today which I found difficult in the NE corner especially but plenty of lovely clues – 22a, 18a, and 8d. Thanks to the setter and to Pommers.

  36. Very Thursdayish. Totally brilliant. Surely the best day of the week. Ta to all. I’m with you Pommers on property matters. We were not flooded so I suppose ours is a renovation whilst yours is a restoration. Either way once the stripping back is done everything else costs money.

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