DT 29243 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 29243

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 29243

Hints and tips by Kath

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BD Rating — Difficulty ***Enjoyment ****

Hello everyone. I hope you all had a very good Christmas Day and are about to enjoy Boxing Day,  whatever you’re doing and whoever you’re going to be doing it with! I’m now going to try to get some hints done while the rest of the house is still asleep, in other words in peace and quiet. I’m sure that the setter today is proXimal with his trademark of a pangram minus the X. That helped me with a few answers when I realised that I still needed a ‘J’ and a ‘Z’.

In the hints the definitions are underlined and the answers are hidden under ANSWER so only do that if you want to see one.

Please leave a comment telling us how you got on today. If you feel like it you could also tell us a bit about your day yesterday – I always like a bit of chit-chat!  


1a        One caught intercepting award for examination (7)
MEDICAL — the letter that looks like a ‘one’ and the ‘crickety’ abbreviation for C[aught] are contained in (intercepting) an award given at sporting events

5a        Fish container I note flipped over (7)
HALIBUT — start off with a container such as a bath or a vat, follow that with the ‘I’ from the clue and finish it off with a musical note, one that is more commonly spelt with just two letters, I think – then reverse the whole lot (flipped over)

9a        Small beside six-footer, a delivery-man (5)
SANTA — the abbreviation for S[mall], an insect (six-footer) and then the ‘A’ from the clue

10a       Set up company with new person (9)
CONFIGURE — the usual two letters for ‘company’, is followed by N[ew] and then you need a person or a character. I tried to make this an anagram for a while but that wouldn’t work.

11a       Gave written consent in bank with defeatist manner (10)
RESIGNEDLY — another way of saying gave written consent goes inside (in) a synonym for bank or depend on

12a       Lie back with fine punch (4)
BIFF — ‘lie’ here isn’t a verb meaning recline, it’s a porky-pie so reverse him (back) and finish it off with the one letter that means ‘fine’ when talking about lead pencils

14a       Naturalist close to Greta Thunberg too nervous (12)
ATTENBOROUGH — the last letter (close to) of [Gret]A is followed by an anagram (nervous) of THUNBERG TOO

18a       Shell from Costa Rica, ordinary to ignore in sightseer’s drawer (12)
CARICATURIST — the first and last letters (shell from) of C[ost]A, Rica from the clue and then a synonym for a sightseer or visitor without its second letter which is an ‘O’ (ordinary to ignore) – sorry everyone, that all sounds a bit convoluted

21a       Card player’s net assets oddly going missing (4)
EAST — the even letters (oddly going missing) of the third and fourth words of the clue give you a Bridge player whose partner is West

22a       Trustworthy, senior to directors (5-5)
ABOVE BOARD — two synonyms here – the first is one for senior or higher and the second for the bosses of a company

25a       Turning over headwear before measuring (9)
CAPSIZING — begin with some casual headwear and follow that with another word for measuring or assessing the height and weight of something or someone

26a       Call up the night before to gain permission (5)
EVOKE — a short word meaning the day and night before an occasion, such as Tuesday was this week,  contains (to gain) a slangy way of giving permission

27a       Tongue brought back to prepare oneself with meal (7)
YIDDISH — a reversal (brought back) of the three letter abbreviation for preparing or doing something yourself, such as painting and decorating (and with a bit of luck not falling off ladders or chopping off your fingers and toes) is followed by a meal or a plate of food

28a       Constant fiddling with lenses worn by daughter (7)
ENDLESS — the one letter abbreviation for D[aughter] goes inside (worn by) an anagram (fiddling with) of LENSES



1d        Suffering long way on south-eastern railway (6)
MISERY — the ‘long way’ is a beastly busy motorway which goes ‘upwards’ from London – it’s followed by the abbreviation for south-eastern (from the clue) and finished off with the usual two letter abbreviation for a railway

2d        Diamonds disappear, five removed from German neighbour (6)
DANISH — the one letter abbreviation for D[iamonds] in a pack of cards is followed by a synonym for disappear or go out of sight without its first letter which is the Roman numeral for five (five removed)

3d        No good in breaking each nail — try another way (6,4)
CHANGE TACK — the abbreviations for N[o] and G[ood] are contained in (in) an anagram (breaking) of EACH and then you need a synonym for a nail, a little one, I think.

4d        Money making constant part of temptation (5)
LUCRE — the one letter for C[onstant] (in maths) goes inside (making part of) a four letter temptation or seduction

5d        Part of cycle lane, hard ground comprising bitumen, primarily (9)
HANDLEBAR — an anagram (ground) of LANE HARD and (comprising) the first letter (primarily) of B[itumen] – phew, that was a bit of a mission!

6d        Set learner with support (4)
LAID — the letter shown on a car to warn other drivers that someone hasn’t yet passed their driving test (in other words someone who should be given plenty of space and treated patiently) is followed by a synonym for support or assistance

7d        Some layabout I question to find shop (8)
BOUTIQUE — our one and only lurker or hidden answer today which is indicated by the first word of the clue

8d        Parts of newspaper in Welsh decoded after time (8)
TWELFTHS — a daily newspaper (the pink one) is contained by (in) an anagram (decoded) of WELSH – that lot is preceded by (after) T[ime]

13d      Cold gent upset with penny lolly in cracker (10)
CRISPBREAD — start off with the one letter for C[old], follow that with a reversal (upset) of a title for a gent, or a respectful way of addressing one, then the one letter abbreviation for a P[enny] and last of all a slang word for ‘lolly’ or money

15d      Make attempt to tuck into chutney after top’s removed (9)
ESTABLISH — a colloquial word for an attempt, or a bash or crack at something, goes inside (to tuck into) some chutney or pickle without its first letter (top’s removed)

16d      Shrill South American native starts to call help, yelling (8)
SCREECHY — the abbreviation for S[outh] is followed by a member of a native American tribe – finish that off with the first letters (starts to) of the last three words of the clue

17d      Temporary accommodation had scrap strewn about (8)
CRASHPAD — an anagram (strewn about) of HAD SCRAP – I didn’t know this word and that, combined with missing the anagram indicator, meant this one took me too long

19d      Sweet-talk head of casting over a part — Juliet, not Romeo (6)
CAJOLE — the first letter (head) of C[asting] is followed by the ‘A’ from the clue and then a part or a character in a play which begins with the letter represented in the phonetic alphabet as ‘Romeo’ – just swap that letter with the one represented as ‘Juliet’ in that alphabet

20d      Reptiles they don’t take away (6)
ADDERS — these reptiles are poisonous snakes – they don’t take away, or subtract, instead they do the opposite. Oh dear – that’s a trashy hint but I can’t think of a better way of putting it

23d      The latest coming up: European Union and government (5)
VOGUE — the abbreviation for E[uropean] U[nion] and the abbreviation for government are all reversed (coming up)

24d      Antipodean island small, it’s said (4)
KIWI — two homophones (it’s said) – the first is of a small island or reef and the second of small or tiny

Lots of good clue including 11 and 12a and 15 and 16d. I thought 14a was a clever anagram. I also rather liked 24d – maybe my favourite!


50 comments on “DT 29243

  1. Ooh- first on. Enjoyed this, but a bit taxing so I agree with the marks.
    Lovely day yesterday with family and repeating at chez nous today. Will need a nice easy solve tomorrow, methinks!
    Happy Boxing Day to all.

  2. 15d came close to being my favourite but the clever and topical anagram at 14a takes my top spot. The usual enjoyable excellence from the X Man to cheer up a drab Boxing Day morning.

    Many thanks to ProXimal and to Kath for her early posting.

  3. Sorry, did not like this one. I took ages to get going and, once I did, progress was too slow. I did, however, enjoy 19d so this is my COTD.

    Grateful thanks to the setter and Kath.

  4. 4*/4.5*. This took me a long time to complete. I am not sure if this was because it was tough or due to the excesses of yesterday (or perhaps a bit of both). Either way it was great fun from the master of the X-less pangram.

    17d was new to me – what an ugly word.

    I have had to be harsh to cut my podium choices down to three, and making the short list are: 9a, 14a & 24d.

    Many thanks to proXimal and to Kath.

  5. Unusually (especially for a Thursday), I managed to complete this without any hints or letter-revealing — I think the first time I’ve ever managed that on a Thursday, so this one definitely chimed with me more than typical. Thank you, proXimal.

    And thank you, Kath, for explaining the couple I’d got without quite understanding why.

    14a is so impressive. Happy Boxing Day, everybody.

  6. For me, this was an absolute peach of a puzzle, a great start to my Boxing Day. My only slight problem was the “card player” as I don’t play Bridge but was easy enough from the wordplay and checkers.
    Impossible to pick a single favourite but 14a will take some beating for invention and topicallity. Loved 18a too.
    Many thanks to ProXimal and to Kath for a splendid blog. Happy Boxing Day to all.

  7. This was going pretty well until 16d I really needed the hints (thanks Kath) but I always thought that the Cree were native North Americans. Ho hum. Still an excellent crossword for Boxing Day.
    Thanks to Kath and setter

    1. You’re right – the Cree came from Montana and parts of Canada – you needed the S(outh) followed by the American native (Cree) – very effective misdirection, I’d say!

    2. The clue is doing its best to mislead you. The South gives you the S. The natives are just ‘American’

  8. I thought that this was rather tricky but very enjoyable – thanks to proXimal and Kath.
    My ticks went to 14a, 7d, 8d and my last answer and favourite 24d.

    The last word of 3d is not part of the anagram.

    1. Thanks Gazza
      :oops: mental block/stupidity with 3d – I’ll see if I can edit the hint without blowing the whole place up!

      1. :phew: done it and we’re still here!
        Apologies to anyone who was confused by my original (and wrong) hint for 3d

  9. As usual, with ProXimal, I found this awfully difficult and the clues far too convoluted at times. It was very time-consuming (****) and not very rewarding in terms of enjoyment (*). Perhaps I am a bit drained after dealing with the excited grandchildren yesterday, which was most enjoyable. Hope you are all enjoying Christmas as much as we are. Thanks to Kath and ProXimal.

  10. I had my usual problems with proXImal and indeed took what I’d consider to be a toughie time (in fact just a smidge longer than today’s toughie.

    Nice to have the crossword on the back page of the paper for a change

    Thanks to him and Kath. We are waiting for number 2 son and his girlfriend to arrive from Dublin so that we can all be together for the first time for ages

  11. The usual excellent puxxle from Mr X. All went in reasonably smoothly except I was stumped by 24d – trying desperately to justify either Fiji or Bali. I came down reluctantly on Bali as a pretty poor homophone for barely=small. My winner today is 8d. Hope everyone has had a great Christmas.

    1. Hi Ray – I was also in Fiji for quite a while once the checkers were in place, shame that the answer wasn’t there!

  12. I found this one quite tricky and it almost took me into 4* time to complete.

    Last one in was 8d – I can never spell that word confidently… fortunately I hardly ever need to use it!

    Thanks to proXimal, and to Kath.

    1. How’s this for the spelling of 8d, Jezzaroony?

      …and at the **ELF** hour, an ELF appeared.

  13. Think I’ll go along with RD and blame my slowness on a combination of difficulty and yesterday’s excesses – but it was a lovely bottle of pink gin that my younger daughter bought for me and it didn’t taste very alcoholic! Anyway, I simply had to celebrate Kath’s wonderful news – that’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it!
    I was very slow to get 18a plus 8&24d and – as usual – hadn’t realised that this was from the X man so no help there.
    Liked so many but I think the clever 14a came out on top with 24d close behind.

    Thanks to proXimal and to Kath for sacrificing her Christmas night sleep, although she was possibly too excited to sleep much anyway!

  14. An outstanding Thursday cryptic puzzle. Just right for this solver. I am happy with the mix of toughness that we are served up each week. Thanks to Proximal for the workout this morning. we are open all day and hoping for an early night. Saint Sharon is looking for new stuff for our new house. Although I will be consulted we will end up with what The sainted One decides. We have a lot of stuff to get rid of, any advice with that Kath?

  15. Another eXcellent Thursday offering from proXimal.

    I was another one who spent a long time looking for an Antipodean island in 24d.

    Thanks to Kath for the review.

  16. Much too wordy and convoluted for me. And very difficult too ; *****/*. Felt as if I had done a few rounds with Ken Buchanan (who he? Ed) by the time I got to the blog to find how half the clues were worked out.

  17. Hard work today – but after too much wine yesterday and a homeless person asleep on my doorway this morning, not me :-) (he is now in a cell at Southend police station charged with criminal damage) – lucky to get to the magical black and white squares today. Fluffed 24D as I could not decide whether it was Fiji or Bali so peeped at the hint.. thanks Kath – a 3.5*/3.5* for me.

  18. I found this a challenge at first – only one down clue solved in the first pass. Things improved tho’, with a welcome LOL when the penny dropped for 20d. ****/** for me. Thanks to Kath and ProXimal, Season’s Greetings to all.

  19. Crikey what a struggle that was…..
    The south west corner was impenetrable until I lost patience and used electronic help to solve the 17d anagram and then the remaining ones slowly revealed themselves. 18a was my last in and even that took a while – maybe still alcohol addled from yesterday’s excesses.
    I’ll now need a few hints for the parsing.

  20. You have a day off & I find my brain has gone to Christmas pudding… or that’s where it’s hiding!
    Challenging but enjoyable from our X rated setter,,, I gained access via the down clues,,,, 17d totally new word until 2 weeks ago when my daughter announced her friends house was being used as said site,,,, ooh I didn’t want to own that residence 😮😫
    Grateful thanks to proXimal & Kath for guidance & review… wishing all who contribute a continued happy holiday.

  21. Just finished today’s Toughie and, while quite a challenge, I found it quite entertaining. Just goes to show that there is no knowing how the brain will respond to any given puzzle. Maybe if I had tackled today’s back pager later in the day my brain might have been in a better gear and I would have enjoyed it more.

  22. Yet another in a long line of recent tough puzzles. Very little fun, just a tedious slog. Never got the hang of proximal puzzles.
    Thx for the hints

  23. Having successfully solved the last proXimal I had hopes of repeating that today. Alas, not to be. Thanks for the hints Kath, but throwing in the towel as I don’t have time to devote to this today, as I am cooking Boxing Day dinner for 8, and need to deal with a frozen bird that is stubbornly refusing the defrost, plus make and chill my Mocha Trifle.

  24. Thanks to ProXimal and to Kath for the review and hints. I enjoyed what I could do, but found it impossible. Needed the hints for 10,18a and 6,8,16,17,24d. Not much fun, maybe my hangover didn’t help. Had never heard of 17d. I knew 10a began with “con” but couldn’t figure figure 😁. Favourite was 14a. Was55*/2* for me.

  25. I think I am getting puzzled out either that or the ruby dum port is addling what few brain cells remain. Either way, I found that a bit of a struggle and had to resort to hints and a word search for LOI 10a. I did like 14a a very apposite anagram.
    Thanks to Kath and ProXimal.

    Do you know the Bishop of Norwich? I do and he was a bugger at passing the Port!

    1. I still say Norwich or Burma to Saint Sharon when I call to say I will be home soon. What fun

  26. Nothing on the first couple of passes apart from 1d. Finally got a toe hold in the SE corner. After that I was on the right wavelength. 14a brilliant and favourite. Ta to all.

  27. We should hide our heads in shame. We were doing this in a bit of a rush and just bunged in FIJI for 24d. :oops:
    Good fun once again from our X-man.
    Thanks proXimal and Kath.

  28. I didn’t do very well with this. I’m abandoning ship here, have too many more fun things to do.
    I did enjoy what I did do, which was about half, and fave was 14a, love his TV shows.
    I find proXimal’s puzzles very convoluted, I’m totally confused by the time I read the clue – I appear to have the attention span of a gnat, so not your fault proXimal.
    Thanks anyway, and many thanks to Kath for unravelling that lot. Isn’t 6a a flat fish?
    Sadie and I Uber-ed to dine with friends and had a super time. Sadie was on best behaviour.

  29. For once, and it doesn’t happen very often, I was on the same wavelength as our esteemed setter. I’m sure I’ll be all at sea on his next one. Lots of good clues but the star on top of the Christmas tree has to go to 24d. Many thanks to proXimal and Kath. I didn’t spot the “X”less pangram.

  30. Thank you to proXimal – assuming we’re right – and to everyone for the comments.
    Night night all and sleep well.

  31. Good night to you too Kath.
    This didn’t take more time than usual and had to read the review from our beloved Oxford resident.
    Noticed the near pangram from 7d and 19d but didn’t need to write down the alphabet to solve it all.
    Thanks to Proximal and to Kath.

  32. I simply couldn’t begin to get to grips with this and am blaming yesterday’s overindulgence but I somehow feel it would not have been my scene anyway. I am however reassured to find I am not alone in having found it very heavy going. I in fact threw in the towel and heaved a sigh of relief. My enjoyment came from merely reading the hints. Thank you proXimal and Kath.

  33. Most unenjoyable. Had to resort to Big Dave to get some of the most convoluted clues. I hope for a more entertaining puzzle on 27th. Thanks for the efforts of the code breaker on Boxing Day.

  34. Catching up from Boxing Day.
    Very difficult, I needed a few hints to keep going…
    Thanks Kath and Proximal

  35. I agree with Corky. ** for enjoyment and ***** for difficulty. I took this with me to Disneyland Paris and now I’m home it’s time to put me out of my misery. Took ages to get going and needed the hints on several. 8d far too convoluted. 11a none too clever. I liked 14a.

  36. Been on my shelf and came back to it on lockdown.
    Finished it except for Danish which I needed the hint. One of the most enjoyable ones I have done…..

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