DT 29227 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 29227


Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 29227

Hints and tips by Deep Threat

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ***

Good morning from South Staffs on a dark, damp December morning, with the prospect of Christmas shopping to come.

There was nothing too difficult for me in today’s Giovanni, though the long anagram in 5d took some untangling.

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           Scottish king seen as dull mug (6)
DUNCAN – A dull brown colour followed by a metal mug give us the name of the king of Scotland who is murdered in Macbeth.

Image result for duncan macbeth

5a           Maiden, one facing emotional pressure as ‘the other woman’? (8)
MISTRESS – Put together the cricket abbreviation for a maiden over, the Roman numeral for one, and ‘emotional pressure’.

9a           Wild ape, grunter in exciting tale (4-6)
PAGE-TURNER – Anagram (wild) of APE GRUNTER.

10a         A modern miss collecting pounds for charity (4)
ALMS – A (from the clue) and the form of address for a woman which does not disclose her marital status, placed either side of the Latin abbreviation for pounds sterling.

11a         Free from grime when brought into class (8)
DEGREASE – Another word for ‘when’ inserted into a word for ‘class’ or ‘rank’.

12a         Numbers crazy about fruit (6)
DAMSON – Put together an abbreviated way of writing ‘numbers’ and another word for crazy, then reverse (about) the result to get a tree fruit.

Image result for damson

13a         Think as timid type that’s lost love (4)
MUSE – Remove the letter which looks like a love score at tennis from the name of a small furry animal which is traditionally timid.

15a         Community member, mostly horrible, wanting drink in pub? (8)
VILLAGER – Remove the final letter (mostly) from another word for ‘horrible’, then add a type of beer.

18a         Displaced people creating ado with Paris wrecked (8)
DIASPORA – Anagram (wrecked) of ADO and PARIS.

19a         Things that can kill animal in retreat (4)
GATS – Reverse (in retreat) the type of animal seen in The Monarch of the Glen to get a slang word for firearms.

21a         Bird, old and cold, grasped by an animal doctor (6)
AVOCET – ‘An animal doctor’ is ‘- —’ (1,3). Insert Old and Cold into the result.

Image result for avocet

23a         I exist concealing endless desire, one appearing to be unreal (8)
ILLUSIVE – Put together a four-letter word for ‘desire’ or ‘passion’ minus its last letter and the Roman numeral for one. Insert the result into another way of saying ‘I exist’.

25a         English people of fashion in college (4)
ETON English followed by the French word for ‘people of fashion’ gives us the public school near Windsor which is the alma mater of many politicians and aristocrats.

26a         Direction taken by sailor? One makes a bit of a meal of it! (4,6)
MAIN COURSE – This part of a meal consists of two words: the first of then can also refer to the sea; and the second to a direction or route.

27a         New tiro, learner within day working with skill (8)
ADROITLY – Put together an anagram (new) of TIRO and the letter indicating a learner. Then wrap an anagram (working) of DAY around the result.

28a         Planet faced with onset of deadly shortage? (6)
DEARTH – The first letter (onset) of Deadly, followed by the name of a planet in our Solar System.


2d           Superior wise person demonstrates customary style of language (5)
USAGE – the letter indicating ‘upper-class’ or ‘superior’ followed by a word for a wise person.

3d           Gloomy church always getting smaller in number (9)
CHEERLESS – Put together an abbreviation for CHurch, a poetic word for ‘always’, and ‘smaller in number’

4d           Something sweet making aunt go crazy (6)
NOUGAT – Anagram (crazy) of AUNT GO.

Image result for nougat

5d           Variation by mule — this being awkward? (15)
MANOEUVRABILITY – Here we have a sort of reverse anagram. The answer (this) when anagrammed (awkward) gives us VARIATION BY MULE.

6d           Go across step half missing on rickety ladder (8)
STRADDLE – The first half of STep followed by an anagram (rickety) of LADDER.

7d           Field with only half the Spanish football team (5)
REALM – Start with a famous Spanish football team (4,6), then remove the final 5 letters.

8d           Thus male has no time for self-denial, being languid (9)
SOMNOLENT – Put together another word for ‘thus’, Male, NO (from the clue), and the period of fasting which precedes Easter.

14d         As one outside home, very unlike welcome guest (9)
UNINVITED – another way of saying ‘as one’ wrapped around ‘(at) home’ and Very.

16d         Possibly a sugar, not something bitter (9)
ANGOSTURA – Anagram (possibly) of A SUGAR NOT.

17d         One opposed gets to induce scorn (8)
CONTEMPT – If someone supporting something is ‘pro’ then someone opposed to it may be ‘—’ (3). Then add another word for ‘induce’.

20d         Having a position in power, subsequently lambasted (6)
PLACED – An abbreviation for Power followed by another word for ‘lambasted’.

22d         Piece of poetry from somewhere in Switzerland, unfinished? (5)
CANTO – remove the final letter from one of the political divisions of Switzerland and you get a section of a long poem.

24d         Call and sink into chair maybe after six (5)
VISIT – The Roman numeral for six followed by ‘sink into chair’.

The Quick Crossword pun BLISS + TERSE = BLISTERS

48 comments on “DT 29227

  1. This was quite slow work (***/****) and I couldn’t get 12a at all so thanks to DT for the very clear hint. I also got the checker wrong in the first word of 26a so I struggled with that too. It was not tremendously enjoyable (***) but passable, with no outstanding favourites. Thanks to Giovanni.

  2. I made hard work of this, a 3*\2.5* for me. Not many smiles but maybe that’s just the weather, we really feel the wind here 200ft above the river on the cliffs at Westcliff-on-Sea. I liked 8D, 20D, but was relieved to finish it as I didn’t think I would. Thanks to Mr K and setter.

  3. Such a great week so far of cruciverbal puzzles and today’s made for yet more joyful solving. 25a fashion a bit obtuse. 19a firearms new to me. Had to concentrate to get spelling of 5d. 26a and 8d joint Favs. Thank you so much DG and DT.

    1. I agree with 25a being a bit obtuse. I put the answer in not knowing why, but it was the only college that fitted. Still scratching my head about 5d too. Favourite has to be 26a. Thanks to DT for shedding the light.

    2. The fashion has been here several times with a mention to Georgette Heyer every time, but it seems to be so elusive. When I remembered it, I tried to think of a mnemonic to nudge my memory next time.

  4. I rather liked this and managed to complete it without hints, although I did appreciate help afterwards with parsing. 23a is a new word for me. 26a was my favourite clue, and 9a represents my least-favourite job at a concert. I thoroughly enjoyed the video clip.
    Thanks to Giovanni and DT for brightening a dull and wet day.

  5. A reasonably benign puzzle from Giovanni this morning. 5d was clever and took some unraveling, but my favourite was 21a. All in all an enjoyable solve.

    Thanks to The Don and DT.

  6. Sigh, I’m afraid I have to give myself a Fail. All done except 19a. The reason for this is that I had spelled 16d wrongly.

    Dammit, dammit, dammit.

    Thanks to The Don and DT.

  7. An enjoyable puzzle. I am surprised how often 19a turns up, it being a term not heard outside American gangster movies of the mid 20th century.

  8. Very friendly for a Friday but an enjoyable solve – the ‘modern miss’ in 10a made me smile

    Thanks to Giovanni and DT

  9. Another nice solvable puzzle **/*** 😃 Favourites 21a (of course) & 17d 👍 Thanks to DT and to Giovanni, must confess to being held up by putting “gnus” in 19a 😳

  10. A little bit of a head scratcher, especially 5d, for completion at a fast canter – 2.5*/2.5*.
    Candidates for favourite – 5a and 8d – and the winner is 8d.
    Thanks to Dg and DT.

  11. Enjoyable and a few clever teasers I thought. 11a was my favourite and was also the last in. Not mentioning anagrams today. Thanks to Setter and for the review of course.

  12. very enjoyable and managed to finish without help – even worked out the answer to 5d but couldn’t and still can’t see how it has any relevance to the clue!
    Many thanks to DG and DT for 2 excellent jobs

  13. I thought this lacked a bit of sparkle with very little in it to get the cruciverbalist juices flowing. 25a had to be what it was but I’ve never heard of the French word for fashion (shouldn’t it be indicated?), ton to me is the second person singular determiner.
    I quite liked 13a and 26a.
    Many thanks to G and to DT for the entertainment.

  14. It took dome time to get a grip on this one, 5d helped but I found it quite tough compared to earlier in the week. Still enjoyable though and enough to give the brain a workout. Thanks to DT and Giovanni.

  15. An enjoyable puzzle, but am I the only one who thinks that this was not by Giovanni? I just doesn’t seem to be his style. Maybe I am wrong.
    Like Sue, I loved the modern miss.
    Ton is in the BRB defined as “fashion or people of fashion”. A rather outdated term, more regularly seen these days in crosswordland than in the real world.

  16. A rueful smile for 28a & 17d but I found this to be somewhat 3d.
    Enjoyed listening to the ‘boating song’.

    Thanks to DG and to DT for the review – don’t think I’ll be investing in one of those 9a devices!

  17. A **/** for me but I am feeling like a Duncan today. Some half smiles but no calling to the wife to read a clever clue out.

  18. Another great puzzle from G, it took my entire bus ride, plus a bit more, to solve. Excellent clues, a nice challenge and very enjoyable. How anyone can rate this below 2.5* for difficulty is beyond me! Too many good clues to pick out a favourite. 3* / 4*

  19. */***. Short and sweet. My favourite was 7d as the clue is so precise. Had to check on the spelling of 5&16d. 19a was new to me but it had to be. Thanks to Giovanni and DT.

  20. On the whole I really liked this puzzle but I’m afraid some of the clues left me a bit cold. 19a Gats as a slang word for guns? New one on me (I do dislike slang terms in crosswords, very sloppy way for the setter to get out of a corner usually, very much beneath someone as proficient as Giovanni). 25a not a bit of French that I have heard of before. 20d I know lambasted but laced I thought was what one does to ones shoes or to peoples drinks!
    However, small problems in an otherwise pleasant solve.
    Thanks to all

  21. I also found this a bit 3d – no smiles, let alone laughs, and lots more than 2* difficulty for me.
    I don’t see what the ‘pub’ in 15a adds to the clue.
    Spent too long trying to get CH into 22d – I’d forgotten about the Swiss divisions but could remember the IVR which wasn’t very helpful – that was my last answer.
    Even with alternate letters in I gave up on the big long 5d anagram – life’s too short.
    Thanks to Giovanni and to DT.
    I’ve just remembered that I didn’t have time for the Wednesday crossword so I’m about to do that now. Oh good!

      1. Just done it – you’re right – loved it, as I always do Jay’s crosswords.
        Had I not sworn allegiance to Ray T a very long time ago Jay would be my favourite setter, but don’t tell anyone else!

  22. I finished this OK but I didn’t really enjoy it much. I did it on my Kindle so I could ask if I made mistakes. I hadn’t but I couldn’t see the answers some of the time even though they were right. Now good to read the clues and hints to see how I got the answers! Thanks to all. New hip settling in now but still on the painkillers

  23. A steady solve with nothing too unusual for a change! Giovanni obviously has his ‘gentle’ hat on today. 5d floated my boat once I had remembered how to spell it.
    Thanks to the Don, and to DT for the review.

    1. Adam, the first MAN did a nice MANOEUVRE on OUR EVE.

      OEUVRE is alternate letters of OUR and EVE.

      It may not work for some but it works for me.

  24. Must defend the setter’s 19a – I happen to own a very old air pistol of the same name, extremely common amongst early-teen boys of a certain age. I could probably spit further than it would chuck a pellet. 2*/4* for me. Too many good ‘uns to mention. Thanks to setter & DT.

  25. Mostly o.k. but like many others I suspect struggled with5d and 19a .Enjoyed several with 15a being my favourite although I still cannot see where the pub comes into it.Thankyou for for an excellent blog.

  26. A little tricky for me, eventually using electronic word search for 5d. I thought the anagram was the 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th words, so failed miserably with that. Nothing else really caused too much angst.
    However, I did like quite a few, 10a getting fave status and 8d close behind.
    Thanks to Giovanni and to Deep Threat for the fine review.

  27. Interesting to read yesterday’s comments about the ‘wavelength’ and Ray-T puzzles, some, like me, ‘get’ them, some don’t. Giovanni is the same for me. His puzzles are, to be frank, a total mystery. When I read the hints (with the exception to 5d which is completely unfathomable), I don’t understand why I consistently struggle. Stll there is always next week, if it was not for an incomprehensible ‘Paul’ in the Guardian on a Friday, I would head there.
    Thanks to Giovanni and DT.

      1. …and is excellent, as is usual for Nutmeg; proXimal also presents a great challenge today – really enjoyed it
        The Times is a bit of a b****r but nicely tough and satisfying
        Today’s back-pager is much of a muchness in my opinion, as RD has previously noted
        Perhaps Mr K can do a poll on favourite setters and crucially, why?

  28. I enjoyed this one today far better than I did yesterday’s. As has been said above some of the clues were a bit obscure and I had never heard of 19a. It is now, hopefully, in the memory banks. My favourites of the day are 1a and 10a both of which raised a smile.

    Grateful thanks to the setter and to DT for the excellent hints.

  29. 5d alone made this a **** – even the hint had made me none the wiser. 8d has to be a pretty obscure word for most people. Also, as it has been well over thirty years since I read any Waggle weapon books, 1a required the answer as the hint didn’t help me. Can for a mug is new to me. 16d was also new and required Google to confirm my guess.

    Apart from the above, still managed to enjoy this Friday crossword and did better than I normally do. ****/***

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