DT 29244 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 29244

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 29244

Hints and tips by Deep Threat

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty *Enjoyment ***

Good morning from South Staffs on the third day of Christmas.

No French hens from Giovanni today, but a very gentle crossword which may, if the Quickie pun and appearance of the setter’s alias are to be believed, be a farewell offering from Don Manley. If it is, then thank you for all the Friday challenges, and I look forward to tackling the work of your successor or successors.

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.


6a           Social difficulty with mum and boy meeting decent chaps taking time (13)
MALADJUSTMENT – Put together a short word for ‘mum’, another word for a boy, some decent chaps (4,3) and Time.

8a           Author of ‘Yellow Spring’ (6)
ORWELL – The heraldic term for ‘yellow’ followed by a spring of water.

Image result for george orwell

9a           Boat that’s smart with name of island group (8)
TRIMARAN – Another word for ‘smart’ or ‘neat’ followed by some islands which guard the entrance to Galway Bay.

Image result for trimaran

10a         Something disturbing? Notice nothing (3)
ADO – A short word for a commercial notice followed by the letter which looks like a zero or nothing.

11a         Burden beginning to worry crew (6)
WEIGHT – The first letter of Worry followed by a rowing crew.

12a         Dogs making row interrupting church service (8)
MASTIFFS – A row or argument with a eucharistic service wrapped around it.

Image result for mastiffs

14a         Notice eccentric character at the end of short drama (7)
PLACARD – Remove the final letter (short) from another word for a drama, then add an eccentric character.

16a         A crime rocking a country (7)
AMERICA – A (from the clue) followed by an anagram (rocking) of CRIME, followed by the second A (from the clue).

20a         Dame’s pet let loose, running out of control (8)
STAMPEDE – Anagram (let loose) of DAME’S PET.

Image result for stampede

23a         Stop rude sister needing wings clipped (6)
DESIST – Remove the outer pairs of letters from (ru)DE SIST(er).

24a         Side no good — what it won’t get? (3)
WIN – Remove the abbreviation for Good from a word for the side portion of a football pitch or a stately home.

25a         Like bees in sun initially getting hot (8)
SWARMING – The first letter (initially) of Sun, followed by ‘getting hot’.

26a         Attack route towards city centre, say? (6)
INROAD – Split the answer (2,4) and it could be a description of the way towards a city centre.

27a         Our delight not wavering, giving end-of-year message (4,3,3,3)
RING OUT THE OLD – Anagram (wavering) of OUR DELIGHT NOT. A seasonal message, but possibly something more from our setter?

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


1d           Travel in France — US soldier getting cold is hypersensitive (8)
ALLERGIC – The French verb for ‘to go’ followed by the usual American soldier and Cold.

2d           One impressed by false image, I had nothing subsequently (8)
IDOLATER – Put together the short form of ‘I had’, a letter which looks like a zero, and another word for ‘subsequently’.

3d           Traditions of border location? (7)
CUSTOMS – Double definition, the second being official checkpoints at border crossings.

4d           Sheds garments making journey aboard ship (6)
STRIPS – Another word for a journey, with the usual abbreviation for a steamship wrapped around it. No, I’m not putting a picture up for this!

5d           English friend entering province of Asian country (6)
NEPALI – Put together English and another word for ‘friend’, then wrap the initials of the province which is part of the UK but not of Great Britain around the result.

6d           What could make remote wall rot in fort (8,5)
MARTELLO TOWER – Anagram (could make) of REMOTE WALL ROT, giving us the name of a type of fortification erected during the Napoleonic War to guard against French invasion.

Image result for martello tower

7d           See Cardiff install mostly new safety measure for pedestrians (7,6)
TRAFFIC ISLAND – Anagram (new) of CARDIFF INSTAL(l) (mostly).

13d         Restriction that denies team a 24 (3)
TIE – This word for a restriction also denotes a game result which is neither a loss nor a 24a for a team.

15d         Spring sees the uprising of a snake (3)
ASP – Another word for a spring of water, with the A rising to the top.

17d         Twelve using power to restrict awful din (8)
MIDNIGHT – Anagram (awful) of DIN, with another word for ‘power’ wrapped around it.

18d         Californian can, maybe! (4,4)
REST ROOM – The answer is an American euphemism for the ‘can’, ‘smallest room’, ‘loo’ …

19d         Fresh group of spectators in a stir once (7)
NEWGATE – Another word for ‘fresh’ followed by the term used to describe the paying spectators at a match, giving us a former London prison, now the site of the Old Bailey

21d         Jolly type from India diving into French river (6)
MARINE – The NATO alphabet letter represented by India is inserted into a river in France, which flows into the Seine from the east.

22d         One wanting journalist’s article travelled north to collect it (6)
EDITOR – Start with a word for ‘travelled’ (on horseback, perhaps), reverse it (north, in a Down clue), then insert IT (from the clue).


76 comments on “DT 29244

  1. I thought I was in trouble when I had completed precisely none of the top half, but as soon as I got some in lower down, results began to flow. The unhelpful grid does us no favours, but in the end it was done in *** time, with just a check on how to spell those damn forts. They seem to be a crossword-land favourite, but I can never remember them. I don’t think we have any on this side of the country. That’s my excuse anyway.

    Many thanks to the Don and DT

    1. That’s exactly how I found it. We’re knee deep in the things being near the south coast

  2. Another great puzzle for a dreary day here in Shropshire. I enjoyed the solve with just the right amount of lightbulb moments and head scratchings. No particular favourite clue today but I did like 1d.

    The Quickie pun was cracking and if it does signify the retirement of the setter then I thank him or her and wish all the best.

    Many thanks to DT for the hints.

    PS – Great to have the puzzle on the back page now the Christmas adverts have ceased.

    1. The Friday setter – Giovanni or Don Manley – is definitely a ‘him’ rather than a ‘her’.

      1. In which case, please consider “her” redacted, Mr. Manley and thank you for all the enjoyment. :good:

  3. Several trip wires here that slowed things down. E.g. stuck on 5D as I looked, but could not find, an Asian country – then I noticed the ‘of’ – so I am now looking for an inhabitant of country – that’s easy. Enjoyable 2.5*3.5*. Thanks to DT and Don

  4. I’m shattered. I’m only just gaining confidence in these things and have found this morning’s very difficult indeed. To then see it is given a * rating fir difficulty makes me lose all hope. Raters, please be careful with us newcomers.

    1. Welcome to the blog Vanessa

      The blogger can only assess a puzzle from their own experience – difficulty is subjective anyway. What you are asking is like telling schoolchildren they have all won in order not to upset their feelings.

    2. Don’t be despondent Vanessa. Deep Threat has been blogging puzzles by this setter since Long John Silver had two legs and Captain Flint was an egg. Fridays puzzles are a cinch to him hence his rating. The bloggerati will be much more interested in your views on the puzzle and what you found easy or hard.

    3. I totally agree with Big Dave and Miffypops, Vanessa. I too felt a bit daunted by all the comments at first but then I realised that all comments matter, even my own paltry offerings. The more I have used the blog the better I have become. This is down to the more experienced members who have been only too happy to afford me hints and tips. So, please stick with us and let your comments be heard. You are most welcome and do ask questions if there is something you are unsure of.

      1. It would be better if the blogger doing the hints refrained from rating the difficulty. It is after all very subjective and very off putting to newbie solvers. As for me I just find it an irritant.

        1. That’s what we have been doing on this blog since it started. Ignore it if it irritates you so much, because it isn’t going to change.

          1. We can’t wait to read the comments after we have finished a puzzle. We too struggled at first taking more than a day to finish, now it is usual to finish in 1 to 2 hours. We still consider ourselves beginners, but if you read all the comments you’ll find you’re not alone with your thoughts.

    4. Please don’t get discouraged, let alone shattered. I’ve been doing cryptic crosswords for a very long time and I always find Fridays the most difficult of the week. I think how difficult you find a particular crossword is more to do with whether or not you’re on the same wave-length as the setter. It’s also to do with lots of other things – interruptions, other ‘stuff’ going on around you and generally how you’re feeling on any particular day.
      This is a brilliant blog and has lots of very knowledgeable, experienced solvers – everyone is friendly and more than willing to help. If you don’t understand something then all you need to do is ask and someone will reply, usually within a very short time. Crucially, no-one here will ever make anyone else feel small/stupid/dim or whatever you’d like to call it – I know as I’ve been all of those things many times over the years!

      1. You aren’t on wavelength on Friday and I miss out on Thursdays when you sail through them. Everyone is different.

      2. Oh yes, I always struggle on Thursdays, and am constantly in awe that you manage to solve and blog the hints on those days.

    5. Vanessa, do not worry, I’ve been doing Telegraph cryptic for years, some I’m on the same wavelength and some not and it depends on what i’m feeling like. Leave it for couple of hours and go back. You’ll be surprised.

    6. Your’e not alone Vanessa, I really struggled with this one, but gradually filed it in (a short nap in the middle always helps) but until you get really fluent in “telegraphese” it’s always hard. My last one to solve 18d made me smile

    7. Don’t give up Vanessa. I have been doing these before the Internet was invented, and I definitely did not find this a one star difficulty, quite tricky in fact. Conversely, sometimes when it is rated three star difficulty I sail through. Difficulty is all in the mind of the beholder. So don’t let the rating put you off. And remember that those who comment first are usually those who complete at a gallop, and later on you will find us stragglers passing the post.

  5. A nice straightforward puzzle, a welcome challenge after yesterday’s struggle. I gave ut **/****. I liked 6a, 8a, 5d and 17d but it was hard to choose among so many good clues. Thanks to DT and Giovanni.

  6. A thoroughly enjoyable offering today which I completed steadily in ** time. The chief difficulty was coping with the intermittent bug that seems to infect the iPad edition causing the clues to annoyingly scroll up & down at random (anyone else experiencing the same?) 18d was the last in & as it took a while for the penny to drop was my COTD.

    1. Try deleting the app completely and then downloading it again. That may sort the problem. It happens to me after ios updates. Make sure you know your subscriber number first.

      1. I find just moving from the cryptic to the quickie and back again sorts it out temporarily. However, I agree its very annoying, I had to reload 17 times today! The DT seems to be making no attempt to solve it despite numerous emails. I think they are trying to move us all to the Puzzles site which is of course a paid site!!

        1. Touch wood, I don’t have any of the access problems you mention, but I do subscribe to the Puzzles site, so that alone probably justifies the cost.

  7. I finished this without making use of the hints. Overall, I enjoyed it but took *** to complete so I’m giving it **/***.

    Having only started the DT crossword since retiring in April, I’m starting to identify the types of clues more easily and I’m generally completing half to two thirds of most crosswords without help.

    1. I’ve edited your comment to remove the solving time. We try not to talk about those except in very general terms.

  8. Reasonably straightforward for a Friday puzzle, assisted by some oldies but goodies (12a and 7d in particular, I think) completed at a gallop (just) – 2.5*/3*.
    Candidates for favourite – 11a, 3d, and 19d – and the winner is 11a.
    Thanks to Mr Manley and DT.

  9. Solved during a wakeful period at silly o clock. The quickie revealed an instant surprise with the pun. More surprises with the next two clues and a second pun on the last line. The last across clue of the Cryptic may also be leading us to the reasonable conclusion that Don Manley is retiring from the weekly Friday slot. If so Thanks Mr Manley for the weekly treats and obscure words.

  10. Fairly straightforward, obscurity-free and the usual Friday fun, with 18d my clear favourite. If this indeed The Don’s final Friday offering, then a big thank you to him for all the entertainment over the years. Thanks, too, to DT.

  11. Just the fort that caused something of a struggle here although it’s doubtless put in a previous appearance.
    If the Quickie pun is to be believed then I send my condolences to devotees of Mr Manley’s back-pagers – I know how I would feel if a similar message were to appear on a Mr T Thursday!

    Thanks to DG and to DT for the blog. That was certainly a very smart 9a shown in your accompanying picture!

  12. Managed to fairly zoom through this one today even while watching the Test Match. Toughie has brought me down to Earth again though!..Favourites were 8a and 21d.

  13. Glad you all think this was Giovanni in a benign mood, i found parts of it jolly tricky esp the bottom left. I don’t get 25a, why should ******* be hot, surely that’s the last thing it is. Don’t see why 26a is attack. Surely making this is just making progress. Sorry to say i found this way below his usual high standard . Having said that I did like 8a.
    Thx for the hints for explaining some of the answers.

    1. B. 25a: “Getting hot” = warming. 26a: In military terms, an “inroad” can mean a hostile attack or raid.

  14. A mildish-average difficulty puzzle from the consistently good G, solved comfortably and steadily on the bus over the Cat and Fiddle. Nice clues and an enjoyable solve. I’ve ticked a few and will pick 8a as my favourite. I had a few minutes left on the bus, so decided to do the Quickie. I got the first 5 italicised across clues, worked the message out and then shuddered at what it could mean! Is this really the end of G on the back page? That would be a great shame as, for me, he’s the best there is. 2.5* / 3.5*

    * Maybe he’ll pop in later to let us know?

    1. Can’t agree with the one star for difficulty, my own fault, I usually start with the shortest lights, but couldn’t get 24a or 13d, and put the right 3 letters, but in the wrong order, for 15d. Once I got going it was a romp home but a very slow start. Thanks G & DT. **/*** imho. (oops, posted in the wrong place! Any chance of moving it pls?)

  15. Managed this “all my own self” as Kath might say which is a pity if as hinted I have started to get the hang of Giovanni just as he hangs up his BRB. 3 nice long anagrams got me going but 6a gets my fave today probably because it wasn’t an anagram.
    LOI 18d – an execrable phrase. Who on earth would go there for a rest!? 23a was an anagram before I realised it was a lurker.
    Thanks to DT and the Don

  16. If this is to be indeed Mr Manley’s farewell he’s done it in a very graceful manner and with a puzzle that is characteristically Friday.
    I get the impression he could set these in his sleep anyway!
    I didn’t find it quite as straightforward as DT (I never do) but I quite liked 18d plus the linked 24a/13d.
    Many thanks to G and to DT for the entertainment.

  17. I agree with Vanessa, I placed a handful of answers in and stopped to save the rest for the lunchtime attempt but needed the hints. Never heard of the Napoleon fort, perhaps a little easier than the usual Friday standard but still in the region of *** difficulty for me.
    Thanks and HNY to all

  18. Oh no!! I love DG’s puzzles with their obscurities and references to ancient times. Thank you so much, Mr Manley, for the Friday entertainment, I shall miss feeling smug on the rare occasions that I have completed one unaided (unlike today when the tower eluded me). Good luck in your future ventures ♥️

  19. I thought this was about average difficulty for a Friday but was very slow to get going.
    General chaos going on around at the time I was doing it probably wasn’t helpful.
    The four long answers round the outside could have been useful had they given us some starting letters (I couldn’t do them for ages anyway!|)
    I have ‘met’ the 6d tower before but just couldn’t remember it.
    I think my favourite was probably the 12a noisy dogs in church but I also quite liked the 18d American loos.
    If this really is Giovanni’s last Friday crossword I should think he’ll probably call in later to say so, and to check that we were smart enough to have interpreted his message correctly!
    Thanks to him, anyway, and to DT.

  20. Not too tricky for a Friday, and lots of enjoyable, clever clues.
    I shall be sorry if this is Giovanni’s swansong. Initially, I hated his crosswords, but as I have got better, I have learnt to enjoy them very much. I think that newcomers to this art just find them tricky. I certainly did.
    If it is goodbye to Giovanni on a Friday then someone has big boots to fill.
    Thanks Giovanni and DT.

  21. Farewell, Mr Manley.

    The very long innings in the Friday DT Cryptic spot has been much appreciated by many (but not by all).

    Is Bradman also retiring to the pavilion?

  22. I’m not always on wavelength with Giovanni but I am most of the time, like today, I sailed through this. I did find it much more than one * for difficulty. I shall miss his puzzles. We’ll probably get another complex setter, then I’ll be out of the loop Thu, Fri and Sat. Oh well, maybe I’ll find something more constructive to do, like clear out all the closets in this house of 40+ years of clutter.
    I didn’t know 6d but solved it from the anagram and having the checking letters, then googling.
    I liked it all, maybe 12a has the edge.
    Thanks to Giovanni, I’ll miss you, maybe you’ll guest from time to time, and many thanks to Deep Threat for his review.

  23. A pleasant solve that all went together smoothly for us. Luckily one of our team remembered 6d from a previous crossword.
    Thanks Giovanni and DT.

  24. Mmmm I found this difficult today, but managed to complete with the help of the blog. Even so I enjoyed it, I still consider myself a novice and probably will do for a long time 🤪
    One thing though, I didn’t understand 19d. A stir ?
    Anyway thanks to all.

  25. Thoroughly enjoyed this crossword, as indeed I’ve enjoyed all of the Don’s crosswords over the years, obscurities and religious references included! Many thanks to him, and best wishes to all.

  26. Oh no, can it really be true that my Fav setter is hanging up his hat? If so, I will miss you terribly DG. As usual on a Friday this was a load of fun and a welcome change after yesterday’s ordeal. Can’t pick a Fav as there are too many nicely testing clues from which to choose. Thank you for so much fun DG (au revoir I hope) 😥🌹 and also thanks to DT.

  27. Forgive me, as I’m still reasonably new to the blog, but, if it’s okay to put one star for difficulty, saying you found it easy, why can’t you put a time?

    Doesn’t the ‘playground’ comment by Big Dave apply to both of the above, ie ‘’ I found it easy, you didn’t. Deal with it’’….or am I missing something?

    Apologies, if it’s the latter.

    1. It is a very long standing convention that times are not mentioned and I am fully in agreement. The bloggers have a star rating for puzzles based on time and enjoyment which they can use if they choose. That’s the way it is and as Big Dave says above, that is the way it is staying. One of the main objects of the blog is to be a training aid for newer solvers who may be discouraged to know the solving times of some on here.

      1. But this is my point: the one star rating deflates them.

        We all know roughly what the stars mean to within 5 or 10 mins, of course we do:

        * Under 15 mins
        ** Between 15 & 30
        *** 30 & 45
        **** 45 & 60
        ***** Over 60

        Okay, to some people, 1 * means Under 7 mins and this is where the playground analogy applies, ie they are an adult walking in to a primary school playground saying they found it easy. These specimens do exist but they should keep quiet for how well they’ve done and post their times for the tougher crosswords on the market.

        The other end is people giving a 1 * rating when it took them, say, 25 mins. But, as BD says, they might as well find out where they are.

        My betting is they will be pleasantly surprised at how close they are to the typical Telegraph punter.

        Don’t get me wrong, I’m not campaigning for times to be allowed and I understand BD’s rationale behind not putting them but his ‘playground’ comment contradicts that….doesn’t it?

        1. I don’t give a hoot about how long a puzzle takes me, just so long as I finish, and ideally without any help. I quite like the difficulty rating as a general guide, and I don’t feel so bad if I struggle with a 3 or 4 star difficulty rated puzzle. In fact, I am really chuffed if I do solve those. On the odd days, like today, when a 1 star rating is given, and I find the puzzle quite tricky, I just write it off to being off wavelength.

    2. I agree with Steve Cowling – it’s not a race and it doesn’t matter how long it takes, although I do appreciate that I’m very lucky to be in a position to say that. What does matter is the enjoyment that one gets from a crossword.
      I never know how long one takes as I don’t time myself – even on the days that I do the hints I only go on how I feel while I’m actually doing it.

  28. Took a while to get onstream with this one, solved in bursts of inspiration, provided by coffee.
    3*/4* favs were the long clues & I thought the quicky pun was superb.
    Thanks to the Don & DT for review.

  29. I have mixed feelings today. I am not the greatest fan of ecclesiastical or historical references, but I have always admired and respected the understanding the Don has for creating clever and interesting clues – a true maestro of the art. I feel he has at times garnered unwarranted criticism and I sincerely hope the decision he has made is his choice, without any nudges
    He has taught me a great deal in compiling my own humble offerings as a setter for which I thank him
    Thank you also, Mr Manley, for many years of entertainment and frustration. I will miss your challenges and sincerely hope we will still see the occasional Giovanni or Pasquale creation
    Hats off to you Sir, thank you. With much respect and kindest regards, Roy

  30. I am a lurker, blogging for the first time to say thank you to Mr. Manley for many great Friday challenges. I loved this one, especially 6 and 16 down. Thanks also to the other setters and bloggers.

    1. I’m not quite sure you can be a lurker once you have broken cover and commented. Thanks for joining in. Don’t be too shy to comment again.

  31. Thank you to the setter and to Deep Threat, for providing yet another Friday challenge. I am always late to start on Fridays, and always find these tougher than usual. Nevertheless, I really do enjoy the brain workout. I had never heard of 6d, but of course better half had – we are usually at opposite ends of the spectrum on GK, which can be helpful.

  32. Thank you, Don.

    You will be sorely missed.

    I love your use of General/Obscure/Obsolete Knowledge. The GOOK naysayers would have hated the legend Ximenes’ works of art.

    How else can you learn new words? I don’t get it.

    My brother has played Scrabble for 50 years (he knows all of the 150ish two letter words – respect/loser – your call) and it hit him about 10 years ago that a dictionary should be allowed when playing ‘Mosher’ Butts’ groundbreaker. ‘’You don’t learn any new words without it!’’

    Today is a sad day and I do hope a couple of mud-checkers, referenced above, haven’t had an impact on your decision.

    You are a tremendous compiler.

    I salute you.

  33. Thanks Miffypops, I got the answer but didn’t understand where stir came into it. Now I do, thank you

  34. Who cares how long it takes to solve? The joy upon completing the grid is so satisfying!
    Thanks for all the Friday challenges Mr Manley, they’ve been terrific.

  35. I agree with the comment that being on the same wavelength is what counts. I found this puzzle very straightforward, apart from Californian cans! But when I tried a skeleton cryptic puzzle in a tabloid it took me months to be able to solve a single clue!

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