DT 29241 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 29241

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 29241

Hints and tips by The Innkeeper (there is no room at the inn)

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BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

Merry Christmas Eve Eve to – Our puzzles editor Chris Lancaster, Big Dave, all of my fellow bloggers, all of youse who comment every day, all of youse who comment less regularly, all of youse who look at the blog but never comment.

Oh dear. I got the Christmas decks from the loft and found a present I had wrapped for Saint Sharon last year but forgot to give her. I cannot give it to her this year. It’s in the Biffa bin now. It was a kitten.

After taking a delivery at 6.00am this morning I started this puzzle and found it a tad harder than usual for a Monday. I drifted off to sleep with it half done and woke later to finish off quickly and wonder what had troubled me earlier.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a Switch positions from time to time (2-3-3)
ON-AND-OFF: This switch is a noun, not a verb. A light switch maybe with two positional settings.

5a Bright cold bar (6)
CLEVER: Begin with the abbreviation for cold. And a rigid bar resting on a pivot, used to move a heavy or firmly fixed load with one end when pressure is applied to the other.

10a Carry out what is required, as haulage firms do? (7,3,5)
DELIVER THE GOODS: Well I suppose this is a double definition. Haulage companies will do this. Local couriers are not so good at it.

11a Receive cut in advance with enthusiasm (7)
EAGERLY: A verb meaning to receive without its final letter (cut) inside an adjective meaning advance, as in advance warning

12a Get back about demand for payment (7)
RECLAIM: Our usual crosswordland word for about is followed by a formal request for payment

13a Section of coastline there, also heavenly (8)
ETHEREAL: The answer lies hidden within the words of the clue as implied by the words section of. One of my last ones in. The clue offers no instruction. If all else fails look for a lurker

15a Animal and large bird seen by river (5)
LEMUR: The abbreviations for Large and River are separated by an Australian bird

18a Hard leaving small community for capital (5)
PARIS: This small community is usually linked to a church. Remove H(ard), its last letter

20a Waste getting fancy wigs to be seen during ball (8)
PIGSWILL: An anagram (fancy) of WIGS sits comfortably inside another name for a ball, not a dance. A spherical ball kicked about by children and childish adults

23a Sword nicked by young woman (7)
CUTLASS: A synonym of nicked is followed by a word meaning a young woman

25a The French stable worker makes space (7)
LEGROOM: Begin with the French word for the, add a stable worker.

26a Queen consort, during Belfast tour, reread novel (9,6)
FLAUBERT’S PARROT: The last Queen Consort of Henry The Eighth is surrounded by an anagram (reread) of BELFAST TOUR. The result is a novel by Julian Barnes

27a Light in attic, and leaky! (6)
CANDLE: The answer lies hidden within the words of the clue indicated by the word in

28a Canine found next to railway could be mine (8)
COLLIERY: A breed of dog sits before the abbreviation for railway.


1d Lots of food? Not for starters (6)
OODLES: Begin with a type of food made from unleavened dough which is rolled flat and cut, stretched or extruded, into long strips or strings usually cooked in boiling water, sometimes with cooking oil or salt added. Remove the first letter (Not for starters)

2d A breather after climbing a high rocky hill to find reptile (9)
ALLIGATOR: Begin with the letter A from the clue. Add reverse of the breather used by fish. Add a second letter A from the clue. Add a high rocky hill.

3d Several English, assorted (7)
DIVERSE: Add the abbreviation for English to a synonym of several

4d Conflict involving old offensive (5)
FORAY: Begin with a synonym of the word conflict. Insert the abbreviation for old

6d Serving US soldier in one’s pub is only to be expected (7)
LOGICAL: Insert the usual abbreviation for an unranked American soldier into another word for your favourite drinking den

7d One’s played Shakespearean heroine (5)
VIOLA: This Shakespearean heroine from the play Twelfth Night is also a musical instrument

8d Herb garden enthralling the old lady (8)
ROSEMARY: I’m stumped with this one. I can see an endearing term for your mum inside another word which leads me to a herb which is also my eldest daughters name. I cannot see how the surrounding word is a garden. It only defines as a string of beads used for counting prayers. [You’ve got it – the six-letter alternative spelling of a type of garden goes around your mum.  BD]

9d Fielder curt with member (5,3)
SHORT LEG: This cricketer can be found by a synonym of the word curt followed by a member or one of your limbs

14d International show certain to get publicity (8)
EXPOSURE: A four-lettered international show is followed by a synonym of the word certain

16d Men upset about the Spanish book on our former PM (9)
MELBOURNE: An anagram (upset) of MEN surrounds the Spanish word for the, The abbreviation for book and the word our from the clue. Apparently this geezer was once our Prime Minister

17d Definite remedy (8)
SPECIFIC: A double definition. The second part is now archaic

19d Pasta meal in health centre, good dish wife ruled out (4,3)
SPAG BOL: Begin with a health resort. Add the abbreviation for good. Now add a round deep dish but minus the abbreviation for wife. The result is a shorter version of a popular Italian meal

21d What a gundog might do fetching bird? (7)
WAGTAIL: What a dog might do when excited (3,4) makes a bird when spelled out in full

22d Ridiculous myths involving one place where metal is worked (6)
SMITHY: An anagram (ridiculous) of MYTHS contains the Roman numeral for the number 1

24d School exercise (5)
TRAIN: A double definition

25d Rope also tight round head of stallion (5)
LASSO: Anagram (tight) of ALSO which surrounds the initial letter of the word Stallion

Quickie puns

Top line: strait+fore+wood=straightforward

Bottom line: Not this week folks. Better luck next time


61 comments on “DT 29241

  1. An interrupted solve but I didn’t find it that tricky. Thanks to the setter and the innkeeper

    Our grandson didn’t know we were coming for Christmas and although very surprised when he opened the door, when we said we’d followed a star to the west and was there any room at the inn, informed us that they did have a spare room which we could use !

  2. I agree this a little harder than recent Mondays but well worth the effort. I have never heard of the novel in 26a but have it as my favourite mainly because we went to Sudely Castle in October wherein can be found the remains of said consort, the only queen buried in a private English home.

    Thanks very much to our setter and to MP for another entertaining blog.

  3. Fairly steady progress – but last one In was 26A. Had never heard of it but checked ‘GoodReads’ and found it had 114 editions since 1984, so I’m not as literate as I thought, but I am American, so that’s my excuse, we only read coffee table magazines 😁. A 1.5/3* for me. Thanks to TI and setter.

    1. I have a (possibly vague and unreliable) recollection that Julian Barnes’ novel has appeared before so it might be worth trying to remember it especially as it is a ‘perfect’ 15 letters.

  4. Took me a little while to get going but once I did I finished with a fair wind, and found it a very pleasant puzzle. Wasn’t sure about one of the synonyms for 17d but our blogger has explained this. I thought the two lurkers were excellent and I also particularly liked 1d and the amusing 25a.
    Many thanks and Merry Christmas to the setter and to MP, whose reviews have been a pleasure to read.

  5. Lol @ last year’s Christmas present, I wonder how many folk might believe you Mr Innkeeper :-) A pretty ordinary Monday puzzle which for me was completely spoiled by the awful 19d & the (to me at least) obscure 26a. I can only wonder how many of us has actually heard of this novel and how many needed to resort to Google to find the answer. Otherwise a pleasant start to the week, my candidates for favourite including 20a & 25a, plus 21d. Thanks to our setter and also Mary and Joseph’s host.

    1. I always believe the Innkeeper. Wasn’t there a Christmas turkey that he had plucked and stuffed and the only thing Saint Sharon had to do was catch it and kill it?

  6. Well, I’m definitely in a bad mood for the rest of the day. Mondays’ crosswords are, enshrined in common law, supposed to be an easy start to the week.

    11a was a bung in, but no amount of head-scratching allowed me to parse it. 16d I had never heard of, and had to resort to Mr. G.

    As for 19d, I have never seen that abbreviation on any menu that I have used. Perhaps an indication that the answer was slang or ‘colloq.’ would have been in order.

    That brings me to 26a. A novel short-listed for (but didn’t win) the Booker prize 35 years ago? Oh come on!

    I am going out for a walk. I may be some time.

    1. As a long-term lurker and sometime poster I can only agree with MalcolmR.
      I may join you on the long walk

    2. 19D was a bung in for me as my wife was actually preparing it as I was trying to solve the clue!!

    3. 19d: Oh, it’s a shortened version of the other regular thing! I was going to say I’d never heard of it, wotta lotta baloney!

  7. So pleased with myself, finished while drinking a cup of coffee and long before the hints and tips arrived. Can I promote myself from a beginner now? Thanks to all!

  8. Not too much of a challenge but enjoyable. Never heard of the novel and needed research for that one. Thanks to BD for explaining 8d which I just couldn’t see this morning but it was a bit of a foggy start to the day after weekend festivities as a prelude to the main event. Thanks to setter and Mp.

  9. Didn’t exactly dash through this but pressed on regardless and finally made it. 26a was on the tip of my tongue but it hung fire until last in spite of having all the crossers. Abbreviations such as 19d seem to have become de rigueur these days but IMHO are out of place in “quality” newspaper puzzles. 2d was a bung-in and then became Fav with hint assistance. Thank you Mysteron and MP.

  10. Nothing too startling but 26a was new to me. Enjoyable but like Christmas lunch, over too soon. Thank you to the Setter and for the review as always. Time for a glass of port. 🤫

    1. 16d very famous Victorian PM, a great fave of Herself, got him into hot water about a Lady-in-Waiting, I believe her name was Flora Hastings. Big scandal at the time, when LIW were political appointees. I think I’ve got it right!

  11. I really can’t work out how solvers who normally find puzzles easy then find the ones I find easier than usual more tricky. Today was such an example. Had it all tied up with a Christmas bow on before the blog went off. Usually turn up having found the puzzle a **** or ****** and see all the usual names telling us there was nothing to scare the quadrupeds. And when it is as quickly finished as today then there is little pleasure.

    And a merry Christmas to all fellow bloggers and to our helpers and of course all the setters who give us such pleasure through the year.

    Always find a *** is the most enjoyable as it has posed quite a few difficulties but they were overcome.

    1. Hi Corky – I think it’s entirely a ‘wave length’ thing regarding how easy or hard a puzzle is to different people and publications. Give me a ‘Dada’ Toughie and i’m fine – give me a ‘Paul’ in the Gruan and I struggle :smile:

  12. A most enjoyable solve today with clues dropping in nicely. Managed all of it apart from having to use one of the hints. Lovely to see the word for “several” being used in 3d. I used to write a newsletter for a badminton club and used it in one edition only to come under fire from members telling me there was no such word. I stuck to my guns and, eventually, a more erudite member came to my defence and explained the meaning to everyone. This makes 3d my COTD.

    I did not like 19d – kept trying to put “bog”.

    Grateful thanks to the setter and the Innkeeper.

  13. Not too difficult(**) and moderately enjoyable (***). Like many others, I gave a hmm at 11a and 19d but deally liked 26a. I realised what it was from the checkers but had to reverse engineer the parsing. Merry Christmas to everyone and thanks to MP and the setter.

  14. I am pleased with myself because I have managed to finish this. Many thanks to Miffypops and the setter.
    Also wishing everyone a happy Christmas.

  15. Too hard for me I’m afraid, not a good start to the week. Gave up after 10 minutes staring at a blank grid.

  16. Oh dear. 1a totally obvious – but not until I read your tips. Many thanks and Happy Christmas.

  17. I also found this one a bit trickier than most Monday crosswords.
    I enjoyed it a lot and thought there were some unusual clues – several made me laugh.
    The style felt unfamiliar and I spent ages hunting the second Quickie pun that wasn’t.
    26a took some sorting out even though the answer was fairly obvious – probably not obvious unless you’ve heard of it though.
    19d is always called precisely that in our house.
    I liked the two lurkers and 19 and 21d. I think my favourite was 8d.
    Thanks to the setter and to MP.

  18. Another cracking puzzle to start the week no real hold ups but thanks to Roget and hints all completed in a timely manner.
    Thanks to setter and the Innkeeper. A happy and peaceful christmas to you all.

  19. Thanks to the setter and to Miffypops for the review and hints. I found this very tricky, needed the hints for 11&26a and 4d. Managed to get 16d from the wordplay. I don’t like GK in Cryptics. Favourite was 15a, was 4*/2*for me.

  20. If this really is a *** difficulty rating, I am jumping up and down for joy, having solved completely unaided, except for 26a. Having never heard of Julian Barnes, never mind never heard of this book, I couldn’t work it out even with it being an anagram. Will definitely remember it for future puzzles. Thank you very much to setter and to Miffypops for helping me finish. Yesterday was a good solve too, but got to it too late to comment. Suspect I was on the right wavelength today, or else the tart cherry juice is waking up my brain cells 🍒

  21. I managed this all my own self but I did have to check a few here. I too had a question about the consort but a faint bell over the book title and the fact that it was an anagram made it a bung in.
    The old PM was LOI and joined his contemporary North from the other day.
    Apparently 19d is never served that way in Bologna – the meaty tomatoey sauce can be served with other types of pasta but never spaghetti. I don’t know why this is as plain unsauced pasta tastes the same whatever shape it is.
    6d drove me to play a bit of Supertramp’s Breakfast in America (The 6d Song)
    Thanks to the Innkeeper and setter have a good one to everyone else here.

  22. I found this very friendly, until I got to 26a, never did get that. I had heard of the author, don’t know why. The other one I missed was 19d, I was totally at sea there. I don’t feel a failure with those two, probably won’t even remember them.
    The rest of the puzzle was very accessible, loved it all. Fave was 15a, very slick.
    Thanks to our Monday setter for the fun and the Innkeeper for his usual entertaining review.

  23. A steady solve, but my COD 26a nearly defeated me. Lots of squinting forced the letters into place, but I must admit that the novel was a new one on me.

  24. Back from a week in the warmth of Adeje & a steady solve to start the seasonal break. Never heard of 26ac & 16d so did require electronic help to finish.
    3*/3*. So in agreement with our innkeeper, to whom I extend my very best wishes for a peaceful & joyful Christmas with thanks for assistance during this year. Also thanks to setter, with all best wishes.

  25. Unlike some others I found this very straightforward and completed in a shade under ** time. The Julian Barnes novel went in on the first read through of the across clues (it was familiar though I’ve not read it) but annoyingly the PM (1832 Reform Act) was my last in & seemed to take a while despite having played a nearby golf course at Brocket Hall named after him twice this year.
    Thanks to Miffypops for enlightenment as to the parsing for my usual quota of bung ins.

  26. Very enjoyable. Favourite was 21d. Like most people, didn’t stand a chance with 26a.

    Could not parse 8d and so was releived to see that even MP had trouble. If he can’t do it, what chance for us lesser mortals?

    Loved his blog, as ever, especially the story about the forgotten Christmas present.

  27. This was a crossword of two halves for me too. I started in smokey Sydney yesterday but finished in Fiji this morning. The subconscious was obviously working while asleep. Some that had me stumped earlier were actually ‘jumpouts’, e.g. the lurkers in 13a and 27a. My favourite, 10a. I wonder if the setter was patting him/herself on the back with 5a after giving us 1a😜. Many thanks to BD and everyone involved in this excellent blog. Have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy and Safe New Year🦇

  28. Completed, apart from 26a, which was obscurity at its height, spoiling an otherwise excellent crossword.
    I completed it on the Eurostar returning from 18a, on a trip to see my lovely grandson and his mother. Paris is an utter shambles at the moment with these strikes.
    Thanks MP and CL.

  29. If one had never heard of Julian Barnes or his novel and don’t pick the right queen consort to make the anagram then 26a becomes completely unsolvable. Awful clue. Not keen on 11a,1d or 3d either. They spoiled as otherwise enjoyable crossword, it is Monday after all.

  30. Just now finished. Hard going for me. Never heard of the novel or author sorry to say and last one in having got the answer from Chambers completer. Enjoyed most of it. Thanks all and seasons greetings too.

  31. A pretty standard start to the (nearly) Back Pager puzzle week. Nothing to terrify and send the highly strung equines off to the hills for safety. I think the only one that took a bit of thought was Mr Barnes’ ‘reread’ novel – knew the answer but (for some reason) the full parsing eluded me until coffee number two of the morning. No particular stand out favourite clue for me – all in all an enjoyable puzzle.

    Ta to both the setter and the Downtown LI landlord for their input.

    I would like to take the opportunity to wish all who frequent the blog (reviewers, commenters and lurkers) to ‘Crazily scream ‘It’s myrrh!’ as a festive greeting’ (cribbed from the DT circa 2018) :cool: Have a good one.

  32. A day late as usual (always do it in the evening). 26a impossible for me, and I didn’t see the lurker.
    A little bird tells me that Spag Bol is an English invention.
    Thanks to all the bloggers for helping me get better at solving, and to the setters for providing another year’s brain exercise and enjoyment.

  33. Having got only a handful last night, I was sure you were all talking about a different crossword!!

    I finished it except 26a this morning after some serious Thesaurus work – definitely **** for me. I could see see that 26a was an anagram around the consort but having never heard of the author, let alone the book, it was always going to be impossible.
    Happy Christmas!

  34. Great puzzle. Was expecting endless references to tinsel, reindeer, Santa etc. so was pleasantly surprised to find 5d and the priest in 9a peacefully coexisting with the more conventional bishop. Happy Christmas!

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