DT 29239 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 29239

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 29239

Hints and tips by Deep Threat

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BD Rating – Difficulty *Enjoyment ***

Good morning from South Staffs on yet another damp, grey day. This will be my last posting before Christmas, so the compliments of the season to you all.

We have a pangram with a seasonal theme from Giovanni this morning – nothing too obscure, though the devout atheists among us may wish to differ. The Quick crossword was another matter – teasing out the right-hand side took me longer than solving the Cryptic.

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           Christmas spruce hiding one little girl (six) (8)
NATIVITY – Another word for ‘spruce’ or ‘smart’ wrapped round the Roman numeral for one and a short form of a girl’s name which is also the Roman numeral for six, giving us the name of the religious feast celebrated at Christmas.

Image result for nativity scene

5a           Animals in police cars (6)
PANDAS – Double definition, the second being the name familiarly given to small police cars with blue bodywork and white doors some 50 years ago.

Image result for panda car

9a           No more beer provided by business person (8)
EXPORTER – The prefix for ‘former’ or ‘no more’, followed by a dark ale.

10a         Fruit one of five children brought to church (6)
QUINCE – The name for a child born as one of five at the same time, followed by the initials of the Church of England.

Image result for quince

12a         Dreadful woe — I’ll hide away (3,3)
LIE LOW – Anagram (dreadful) of WOE I’LL.

13a         Maybe watch moth consuming material? (8)
REPEATER – This is the name of a type of mechanical watch, which sounds the hour at the press of a button. Split (3,5) it could describe a moth dining on the corded cloth seen more often in crosswords than in the real world.

[arve url=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CZxo-fXscxg” /]

15a         Man remembered on Boxing Day taking walk with female (7)
STEPHEN – Another word for ‘walk’ followed by a female bird, giving us the name of the saint whose feast is celebrated on Boxing Day (think of Good King Wenceslas looking out).

[arve url=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l4MWOpEXe5w” /]

16a         Almost 12? Sleep (4)
DOZE – Remove the final letter (almost) from another way of saying 12.

20a         Girl to wed, having given heart away (4)
MARY – Remove the middle letter from another word for ‘wed’, and you get another 1a theme name.

21a         Decorator with fluid in recreation facility (3,4)
ICE RINK – Split this (4,3) and you have a (cake) decorator and a writing fluid.

Image result for ice rink

25a         Getting better sports ground finished before end of January (8)
RECOVERY – Put together a short name for a sports ground, another word for ‘finished’, and the last letter of JanuarY.

26a         Gangster, old-fashioned fellow in hidden part of room? (6)
ALCOVE – The first name of an old Chicago gangster followed by an old-fashioned word for a fellow or chap.

28a         Encourages good health! (6)
CHEERS – Double definition: a verb for ‘encourages’ or ‘heartens’; and a toast.

29a         Server tries to move round — was seen going outside (8)
WAITRESS – WAS (from the clue) wrapped around an anagram (to move round) of TRIES.

30a         Cupid’s companion, one in a hurry (6)
DASHER – Cupid here is one of Santa’s reindeer in The Night before Christmas. The answer is another, and could also be someone in a hurry.

[arve url=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p46XbyC_5ao” /]

31a         Explored something growing maybe, having crossed bridge (8)
SEARCHED – A piece of a plant which has the potential to grow, wrapped around a feature of a bridge or viaduct


1d           Requirement with second half of tale — one mustn’t lose the thread (6)
NEEDLE – A requirement or necessity followed by the last two letters (second half) of taLE.

2d           Person dumping waste who may help 29 (6)
TIPPER – This word for someone disposing of waste (legally or illegally) could also be someone providing one of the sources of income for the woman in 29a.

3d           Extremely short opening for drink (8)
VERMOUTH – Remove the final letter (short) from a synonym of ‘extremely’, then add an opening (in the face, perhaps) to get this aperitif.

Image result for vermouth

4d           Part of forest re-examined — something growing therein? (4)
TREE – Hidden in the clue.

[arve url=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xww_oaafCBA” /]

6d           What’s entertained us — dame cavorting (6)
AMUSED – Anagram (cavorting) of US DAME.

7d           Party people in charitable activity (8)
DONATION – One of the usual crossword parties followed by a people or state.

8d           Sirs here supply preprandial tipples? (8)
SHERRIES – Anagram (supply) of SIRS HERE.

Image result for sherry

11d         Cleric has played lyre in merry-making (7)
REVELRY – The short form of the title given to s member of the clergy, followed by an anagram (played) of LYRE.

14d         Peter’s quaking outside front of castle — there’s something spooky (7)
SPECTRE – Anagram (quaking) of PETER’S wrapped around the first letter of Castle.

17d         English doctor hurried to be given a welcome (8)
EMBRACED – Put together English, one of the sets of letters which may be found after the name of a doctor, and another word for ‘hurried’.

18d         Biscuits? They’re exceptionally good (8)
CRACKERS – Another word for biscuits, especially the hard dry ones for eating with cheese, or American ones. Metaphorically applied to something very good, especially a joke (think of the late Frank Carson).

Image result for cream crackers

19d         Home dull, nothing right? I may help blow up balloons (8)
INFLATOR – Put together a word for ‘at home’, another word for ‘dull’ or ‘not lively’, the letter which looks like a zero or nothing, and Right.

22d         A bit of carol making one hostile (6)
AVERSE – A (from the clue) followed by one of the subdivisions of a carol or song.

23d         Man to joke, having held record (6)
JOSEPH – ‘To joke’ or ‘engage in banter’ wrapped around the letters denoting a gramophone record intermediate in length between a single and an LP. This gives us another 1a theme name, the husband of 20a.

24d         Being terribly sedate, gets leg pulled (6)
TEASED – Anagram (terribly) of SEDATE.

27d         Wise man maybe in picture I brought out (4)
MAGE – Remove the I from the front of another word for a picture, to get the singular form of the alternative name given to the Three Wise Men who turned up after the 1a with gold, frankincense and myrrh.

[arve url=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HIedUioo_Jk” /]

The Quick Crossword pun BURNER + DEBT = BERNADETTE

70 comments on “DT 29239

  1. 1*/2*. Nothing to frighten or to excite the horses in this pangram but nice to see the little girl suitably qualified in 1a.

    I’m not sure what “what’s” is doing in 6d. Wouldn’t “US dame cavorting entertained” work?

    Thanks to Giovanni and to DT.

    1. 6d. Your clue does work, but I think G has contrived the surface to split/disguise the fodder by doubly separating it with a dash and two lines of text.

  2. Some nice clues today, loved 30A as it took me some serious thinking. A 2*\4* for me.
    Thanks to DT and Giovanni. A great start to the day.

  3. Well lo and behold, it’s Friday and I thoroughly enjoyed this very pleasant puzzle. The only slight obscurities were very generously clued though I did need electronic help for 13a.
    5a is a bit of a blast from the past but a nice one. I particularly liked the 29a/2d combo plus 21a and 7d but there’s only going to be one favourite today, for entirely personal reasons, 15a
    Many thanks to G and to DT for the entertainment.

  4. A nice friendly pangram, just right for a busy morning – it has some quite nice joined up solutions across the grid too – for example, I wonder how 5as would present a 1a? Not to mention the fact that I’ve just been through the Christmas books to find some to read to my granddaughter and there is one where 30a had 31a (for Rudolph)! My favourite has to be 15a as we’ll be with our 15a on Boxing Day

    Thank you, and seasons greetings, to both DT and Giovanni

    1. A moth being an insect that eats material. Rep being the material and added to that eater for moth. Rep is an old fashioned, hard wearing, ribbed material that doesn’t seem to be about any more.

      1. 13a is a fine clue! The moth is the “rep-eater” – it’s the solver’s job to suss out the 3-5 split. The setter’s job is to cleverly imply/hint it.

        1. Jose… With respect, I’m fully aware it’s the solvers responsibility to “suss out” the split. I was merely pointing out, as a separate issue that the hint needed a tweak. My reason for not liking it is that it uses a rather obscure cloth to partially clue a rather obscure watch.

          1. Fair point about the hint/tweak, SL, I did jump the gun a bit there. In crosswordland I would say that the cloth is a rather, if not very, common word. And if you watch any of the many antique programmes on TV, the timepiece appears almost every week.

    2. Remember ‘rep – the material’ and ‘tent – the wine’ as they turn up more often in crosswords than in real life

  5. Half way through so far. Do any bigdave contributors know when the big DT quiz/crossword is due to be published? Thanks.

  6. A very pleasant seasonal doddle of a pangram that was completed without scaring the reindeer.

    No particular favourite but all good fun. Thanks to The Don and DT.

  7. I was doing well until I got back for coffee, re opened the iPad Telegraph app – and before my very eyes it wiped all my answers off!
    Does this happen to others or does it pick me out for special treatment? That’s twice this week too. I was enjoying it until then. (Grumble, grumble . . !)

  8. Missed the pangram as usual, I can only ‘detect’ the Thursday X-less variety, in this rather gentle offering from Giovanni completed at a fast gallop – 1.5*/3.5*.
    Favourite – 21a.
    Thanks to the aforementioned Giovanni and DT.

  9. Actually noticed the pangram today which is a first. No real difficulty but I could do without Christmas themed clues! I even thought it might be a Giovanni today and normally have no idea. I often wonder how you all know??

    1. Giovanni almost always sets Friday’s puzzles. Same for Jay on Wednesdays and Ray T every other Thursday.

      1. Thank you. Everybody seems well informed on this subject and I have noi idea! Do you think this helps? Recognising a “pangram” hasn’t helped me yet yo solve one.

    2. You could do without Christmas-themed clues?

      Surely, there musht be shome mishtake, Grrrreta?

  10. Loved it, gentle but enjoyable and to put me in the mood for the themed event. */***. Probably be 25a and hopefully 12a and 16a for me on 15a day.

    28a to all !

  11. The 5a’s seemed a little out of place in a seasonal crossword but perhaps they were rounding up the ‘party animals’!
    Thanks to DG for the puzzle and many thanks to DT for the very seasonal accompaniments to the review – shame that BD didn’t add some ‘BD site snow’ to go with it. All the best of wishes to you and Mrs DT for the forthcoming festivities.

  12. Lovely Christmas puzzle marred only by 13a which was a bit on the daft side I thought.
    No weird words today, Giovanni must have misplaced his dictionary -:)
    Thx to all

  13. What a delightful pangram today. Not only seasonal but a most enjoyable solve with only a couple of hints being consulted. My favourite clue has to be 15a because it is personal. As a child of 5, I could not spell my first name but I could spell the first four letter word and the last three letter word. I just put them together and, hey presto, there was my name.

    Grateful thanks to the setter, whom I believe is Giovanni (unlike many, I cannot tell who the setters are), and to DT for the hints.

        1. Mind you, I did have a lass work for me who was called Alrene. When I asked her how she had come about such an unusual name she told me it was a mix of her two aunts, ALison and iRENE. I thought it was just as well they had not placed them the other way round!

    1. As a child of what?

      Oh, you mean ‘5’, as in the age! I initially looked across to see what 5a was, inserted that into your sentence, and was most confused …

  14. Quick to complete, this puzzle was, nevertheless, very enjoyable (*/****). I liked the seasonally appropriate 15a and 30a. Thanks and Seasons Greetings to DT and Giovanni.

  15. Can anyone recommend a good crossword compiler programme for Apple MacBook? All the ones I have come across are for Windows.

    Sorry if this is not appropriate for the blog but I did not know where else to ask.

  16. Really enjoyed this, despite having my earlier problem.
    Many thanks to DT for the review and especially Giovanni who is both a wise man and a star.

  17. Recognising that each of us has different levels of solving skills, I wonder if I am alone in noticing that the difficulty assessment marks given by the reviewers are predominantly in the * or ** category, and usually I agree with them. But it makes me feel quite inadequate when I find one considerably harder. Today’s is a good example. I found it a bit tricky, somewhere in my ** or ***range, and was amused to find BD rated as *. I know the reviewers are all experts, but most of us aren’t, otherwise we wouldn’t need to come here! Be more gentle with us please! The enjoyment marks are more subjective, I guess.

    I like puzzles I can rate ***/*****, but I understand that not everyone would want that.

    1. Take no notice of the subjective ratings, John – it’s a well-trodden discussion, we have even talked about doing away with them altogether in the past
      If you take on DT back-pager, Toughie, Graun, Times, Indy etc puzzles every day you’d expect a pretty high standard of solving ability given time
      Having said that, we all suffer/enjoy the wavelength thing; sometimes a good reception, sometimes not so good
      The important bit is your own enjoyment and satisfaction at your own level – no commenters are here to brag or demean

  18. If I can solve it I love it **/*** 😳 Favourites 13a and 23d 🤗 Thanks to DT for the explanations and the seasonal music. A Happy Christmas to all participants in the blog as I am off on my travels (or not) as we have to pass through SWR country! 🍷

  19. That was fun! Thank you, Giovanni. And thank you, Deep Threat, for the hints and explanations — only a couple needed today, though I didn’t get 13a even with the hint. (I hadn’t heard of either the type of material or the watch.)

    30a took me too long to realize. I’m pretty sure my 5-year-old would’ve got it far faster!

    I was impressed by 20a and 28a, and 22 made me smile. My favourite today was 16a.

  20. A very mild puzzle from the great G, with generally benign clues giving an enjoyable “fun” solve. 1.5* / 2.5*

  21. Enjoyable, because obviously on the same wave length. I am never on the same wave length with Thursday’s setter. Thank you for the help and Happy Christmas to all

  22. Enjoyed this, though did have some hold ups in the SE. I’m ashamed to say 23d the last in, surely, considering the theme and pangram, I should have solved that on first go through.
    My Dad had a 13a carriage clock, so that was one of my first in.
    I did like 15a and think that’s my fave but a lot of others could have worked.
    Thanks to Giovanni and to Deep Threat for the review and music.

  23. A stroll today, which is unusual for a Friday, and welcome after yesterday’s mauling…A pity in a way, as there is no Toughie available on a Friday (at least for me!!).
    I didn’t notice that this was a panagram until I read the blog, typical. I am surprised that there was some muttering about 13a, I think clues that are a bit off the wall are a welcome change from the standard cluing techniques.
    I am hoping that it will stop raining soon, football is looking doubtful for the second sunday running.
    Thanks Giovanni and DT.

  24. After almost total failure yesterday good to find one thatI could do.put an I as last letter of 27d. whichever made 31a. difficult but then able to solve 31a. so discovered the singular form of Magi.Good to still find things at advanced age. Seasons greetings to all setters and bloggers.

  25. Morning All. Fairly straight forward Yuletide theme from Gio. Bit of Google help was required to confirm St Stephen’s feast and the names of Santa’s reindeers. One of Crosswordland’s favourite materials has been getting a workout lately. 13a is therefore a favourite but I was thinking of old TV shows before the penny dropped. Other favourites: 9a and 22d. A few chuckles along the way too. So thanks Giovanni and DT🦇

  26. Phew – I made heavy weather of that but did manage to get there in the end. For me the seasonal theme meant the well-liked DG tone was lacking and I felt a few clues were almost too clever by half. “Man” appeared in clues in at least three different guises.
    Can’t understand 27d – sage perhaps but surely singular of magi is magus. 18d = biscuits but are they necessarily ‘exceptionally good’, cracking possibly. Look forward to a return to the familiar Friday fun next week. Thank you Giovanni and DT.

  27. Very late getting to this today, but did enjoy very much. Thanks to Giovanni for a benevolent puzzle (one that did not make me feel stupid), and to Deep Threat. COTD was 16a, very clever with the misleading 12 in it, leading me to try to connect it to the answer in 12a, but the penny eventually dropped.

  28. Managed to get on the setter’s wavelength almost immediately. Hence an enjoyable hour to completion. Thanks to the setter and reviewer. I shall be busy between now and the 25th so a Merry Christmas to you all.

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