DT 29250 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 29250

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 29250

Hints and tips by Deep Threat

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ***

Good morning from South Staffs. Happy New Year to one and all.

I’m reasonably sure that today’s puzzle is by a new Friday setter, so it will be interesting to see whether he or she makes an appearance. The puzzle itself was quite straightforward.

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           Efforts to have men eat chives for digestion (12)
ACHIEVEMENTS – Anagram (for digestion) of MEN EAT CHIVES.

8a           Carry out guillotine? (7)
EXECUTE – Double definition, both being verbs, the second being a definition by example.

9a           Modified ginger beer comes first — about time (7)
ALTERED – Start by finding another word ‘ginger’ as a hair colour. Put another word for beer in front of it, then insert Time.

11a         Substance secreted in drawers to maintain cover-up? (7)
ELASTIC – Cryptic definition. The drawers here are undergarments, and the answer is hidden in the waistband to stop them falling down.

12a         Competitors from London area that is holding blokes back (7)
ENEMIES – Start with the compass point indicating where in the country London can be found, add the Latin abbreviation for ‘that is’ wrapped around some blokes, then reverse (back) the whole thing.

13a         Rage of nurse when Romeo’s invited in (5)
TREND – ‘Rage’ here is as in ‘all the rage’. Insert the letter represented by Romeo in the NATO alphabet into another verb meaning ‘nurse’.

14a         Vehicle to take breaks in (9)
SPACESHIP – Cryptic definition. This is a vehicle which could be used to navigate the breaks between words in a piece of text.

16a         Some heads of state seem agitated about newspapers (9)
EMPRESSES – Anagram (agitated) of SEEM wrapped around a general term for newspapers.

19a         Freight drivers’ club is taken over by function (5)
CARGO – Reverse (taken over) the three-letter acronym for an organisation which represents motoring interests, then add a verb meaning ‘function’.

21a         Request directions before outing? (7)
ENTREAT – Two compass points followed by what an outing may represent for, say, the Sunday School pupils taken on it.

23a         Elaborate, but formerly the opposite, apparently (7)
EXPLAIN – The definition is a verb. To get to it start with a prefix meaning ‘former’ or ‘formerly’, then add an adjective which means the opposite of ‘elaborate’ (as an adjective).

24a         Waiter and cook to join firm, missing hotel opening (7)
STEWARD – Put together a means of cooking meat and/or vegetables in a single pot, and a word for ‘firm’ or ‘unyielding’ missing the first letter of Hotel, to get a waiter on board a ship or train.

25a         Some claim a gin expands figure (7)
IMAGINE – Hidden in the clue.

[arve url=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YkgkThdzX-8″ /]

26a         Hip, say, niece damaged restricts golf sharpness (12)
INTELLIGENCE – Put together another word for ‘hip’ or ‘with it’, another word for ‘say’, and an anagram (damaged) of NIECE with the letter represented by Golf in the NATO alphabet inserted into it. I started by thinking that the answer was going to be an anagram of the first three words of the clue plus G. I bet I wasn’t alone!


1d           Eager in rough after putting a five to make par (7)
AVERAGE – A (from the clue) and the Roman numeral for five, followed by an anagram (in rough) of EAGER.

2d           Disturbed by a late visitor? (7)
HAUNTED – This visitor is late because he or she is no longer of this world.

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

3d           Gym implements (9)
EXERCISES – Double definition, the second being a verb.

4d           Cancel Times, going to Spain (5)
ERASE – Another word for ‘times’ or ‘periods’, followed by the IVR code for Spain.

5d           Exert reforms this person trails as radical (7)
EXTREME – Anagram (reforms) of EXERT, followed by ‘this person’.

6d           Eurasian hut designed to limit risk when rambling (7)
TURKISH – Anagram (designed) of HUT, wrapped around an anagram (when rambling) of RISK.

[arve url=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HMjQygwPI1c” /]

7d           There’s always more, apparently, to be seen going round the still (12)
NEVERTHELESS – A phrase (5,4) which could define ‘always more’, wrapped around THE (from the clue).

10d         Sad Mr James, funny fellow, being stood up then engaged (12)
DISAPPOINTED – Reverse (being stood up) the first name of the late Mr James (the Carry On actor, not the author and critic), then add another word for ‘engaged’, as in ‘taken into employment’.

Image result for sid james

15d         Reacting to a new wave the Queen’s introduced (9)
ANSWERING – Put together A (from the clue), New, and another word for ‘wave’ or ‘sway’, then insert the Queen’s regnal cipher.

17d         Arrangement of unknown number starting with sound of tiny feet (7)
PATTERN – The sound said to be expected when the arrival of a child is on the cards, followed by a mathematical unknown number.

18d         Hike up fell — leave, as toe’s oddly getting cut (7)
ELEVATE – Alternate letters (oddly getting cut) of fElL lEaVe As ToE’s.

19d         Officer‘s hat strap one’s broken (7)
CAPTAIN – A sort of hat followed by ‘to strap’ or ‘beat’ with the Roman numeral for one inserted.

20d         Admire Ali’s electrifying boxing effect (7)
REALISE – Hidden in the clue.

22d         Heartily pitied boy raised with regular comings and goings (5)
TIDAL – The central pair of letters (heart-ily) of pitied, followed by the reverse (raised) of another word for ‘boy’.

The Quick Crossword pun PUNK + CHEW + ASIAN = PUNCTUATION

57 comments on “DT 29250

  1. I did not find this as straightforward as our esteemed blogger, as several of the clues needed more head-scratching than usual. Probably a wavelength thing. That said, I enjoyed the challenge, with 7d and 23a my favourites.

    Thanks to our Friday setter for the challenge and to DT.

    1. Although I completed the puzzle I did so in spite of the clues, rather than because of them. Some horrible surface reading and, I feel, liberties taken with anagram indicators and the like.

      Incidentally, I started filling the puzzle grid for Umber 004 (hopefully 003 will be Monday’s Rookie) with SALOPIAN as a promise to a friend who moved to Shropshire last year.

  2. Welcome from Southend on the eve of WW3😳. A good surface read and an enjoyable puzzle, liked 14A, 26A 23A in this 2*\4* crossword. Thanks to DT and the new setter – a great start.

  3. About **/*** for me and it flowed fairly well clockwise. Even with the presence of the queen it does feel like a new setter. Thanks to he and DT. Podium places to 19a, 23a and 7d, the last one being the winner.

    By the way DT, I took 14a as being “breaks” one word and “in” other word ( as in 26a for example). Probably wrong.

    Thanks to setter and DT.

  4. At first I thought this one was going to be much more of a challenge than it turned out to be, but by darting here, there and everywhere around the grid they gradually began to fall. When I was finished I was surprised to see that it was more or less my normal Friday time.

    I needed DT’s assistance in parsing a couple of my answers – 19a and 18d, so many thanks for that.

    Thanks also to our new setter, bit of a relief that it wasn’t totally beyond me.

  5. 2*/3*. We’ve got one setter who never uses Xs, and now it looks as if we’ve got another one who likes lots of them!

    Like DT, I spent quite a time trying to make an anagram of hip, say, niece + G for 26a. I parsed 14a the same way as Wahoo.

    Many thanks to Mr Neuron and to DT.

  6. Like YS I also found this a tad trickier than DT & laboured unaided to completion in a shade over *** time. No particular favourites today although 2d made me smile. Thanks, as ever, for the hints.

  7. Made steady progress through this. Liked the misdirection on 26a spent quite a lot of time trying to make a hipsaynieceg anagram work until the penny dropped with the checkers. Bunged 11a in and needed the hints to parce. Enjoyable thanks to the setter and hinter

  8. A pleasure to have a more light-hearted tenor than recent days to today’s exercise which was fun to solve with the East beating the West to it. 11a amused but 7d was Fav with 2d running up. It’s reassuring if this setter is to be the permanent Friday successor to DG who has given so much entertainment. Quickie pun foxed me as I had bunged in wrong 9a. Thank you Mysteron and DT.

  9. Looks as though you were far from alone with the would-be anagram, DT, count me in with everyone else!
    No particular favourite today but I did wonder whether 1a in the Quickie was a clue to the setter’s identity?

    Thank you to him and to DT for the words and music.

  10. This proved to be a bitty but ultimately enjoyable solve for me, with the setter providing lots of clever misdirection. I actually had to put it down and come back to it an hour later in order to complete it, the first time in quite a while for a back pager.
    Podium places go to 23 and 24a plus 22d, all my “types” of clue….but 7d was clever.
    Many thanks to the setter and to DT for the review.

  11. A very enjoyable head scratcher from ?? I might be wrong, and I probably am, but it seemed to have a feel of Mr Halpern about it. 2.5*/3.5*.
    Favourite – a toss-up between 26a and 22d – and the winner is 26a.
    Thanks to the setter and DT.

    1. I’d be quite disappointed to find out that this 4.5/1* inside backpager was the work of Mr Halpern, even if he was having a very bad day when he set it

  12. I found this a tad more difficult than some, but I liked it very much. LOL at 11a. Needed DT’s help parsing 18d. Thank you DT and setter.3*/4*

  13. Like some others did not find this straight forward but , on reflection , enjoyed the solving . 11A very funny and my favourite. A few clues needed appreciation in retrospect when realisation dawned . Great pun .
    Congratulations to the Setter and thanks to DT .

  14. Enjoyable and fairly straightforward. Completed between overs. 11a my favourite because it appealed to my childish sense of humour.

  15. Got nowhere to begin with, which is unusual, so I immediately thought this might be a new setter. I had to use a hint to get started- 7d – and then it began to drop into place slowly. I took a while to get on the wavelength and I still feel I’m not there yet. I don’t know what it is about me but I have difficulty with words starting with the letter “E” and this puzzle had quite a few.

    Having said all that, it was a most enjoyable solve despite needing some hints and the occasional electronic gizmo. No real favourites today but 11a made me smile.

    Grateful thanks to the setter and to DT for the much needed hints.

  16. A fast start for me but slowed down profoundly after about a third solved. This may be due to our young nephew wanting to throw things and dig holes whilst under our care. His parents returned and I made reasonably quick progress and finished without too many problems – I fear the flowers will never recover however….

    I’d say that a couple of surfaces were a bit odd but overall an enjoyable solve.

    Thanks to DT and setter 3*/3*

  17. So not only was I fooled by 14a but also looking for the anagram in 26a. I think you are all so clever to recognise different styles of setter, why can I not be so discerning? Thanks to all.

  18. I found this one fairly straightforward and a little lacklustre. I’ve ticked 16a and 23a. 2.5* / 2.5*

  19. I was rubbish at this and consequently found it no fun.

    Thanks to Deep Threat and to the setter.

  20. I agree with Young Salopian that’s it rather trickier than the blogger would suggest but that’s the problem with an experienced solver giving difficulty ratings. It can be very disheartening. However, I did enjoy the tussle with this puzzle and esp 2d which made me laugh. Also 1d and 11a were MID. 14a and 19d esp I thought was weak and poor.
    Thx to all

  21. Started the odd letters on 18d a word too late; 🙄

    7d foxed me; pity it and 10a weren’t opposite to help with some across clues as I’m old enough to recall the Carry On films (but not Hancock!)

  22. I thought this crossword was in the middle for both difficulty and enjoyment.
    14a had to be what it was, if only because I couldn’t think of anything else that would fit although there probably is.
    I fell into the 26a anagram trap but abandoned it pretty quickly when I saw a load of letters that were just never going to make a sensible word.
    I liked 23a and 2d. My favourite, and last answer, was 11a.
    With thanks to our new setter, whoever he or she may be, and too DT.

  23. Did not enjoy as much as Giovanni’s usual Friday offerings. I doubt it was one of his because it lacked his elegance and precise cluing. A little on the clunky side but I got there in the end, albeit rather slowly.

  24. I enjoyed this, so, welcome to our new setter.
    I did get stuck in the SW, but used e-help for 24a and got going again.
    I remembered the Carry On films, awful stuff in retrospect but we all laughed and laughed! Can’t be all bad.
    Of course, I was looking for the anagram at 26a; set a trap and I’ll fall for it every time.
    Fave was 11a, really guffaw worthy, but a lot more were fave material as well.
    Thanks to our setter and to Deep Threat for his review.

  25. Do-able, dull and dreary but without the obscurities – thought it fitted in well for a Friday!! Thanks to Setter and Blogger

    1. Don’t agree it was dull and dreary, IMHO. I found it quite entertaining once I found the wavelength.

  26. Great puzzle, some clever clueing & misdirection (26a, like everyone else!) to stretch the grey matter, 11a a stroke of genius imho. Thanks Mr/Ms Setter & DT.

  27. Thanks to the setter and Deep Threat for the review and hints. I enjoyed the tussle. Managed most of the top half with no problem, but then ground to a complete halt. I guessed 14a & 20d. Needed the hints for 12,24,26a and 6&22d. Also needed the hints to parse 19a&15d. I really struggled with this, I even missed an anagram in 6d. Favourite was 9a. Was 4*/2* for me. Perhaps I’ll get on the setter’s wavelength next Friday.

  28. Once again we pondered about who the setter might be without reaching any conclusions.
    An enjoyable puzzle to solve.
    Thanks Mr Ron and DT.

  29. Only got to this in the evening, an enjoyable solve over a glass of wine with some lovely parsing. Enjoyed 11a last one in 6d.

  30. I found this quite difficult today, and needed a fair bit of help. I must admit there were a few ‘duh’ moments when consulting the blog.
    I did enjoy it once I got going.
    Thanks to setter and DT

  31. Not often I give up on a crossword but I did this one…just couldn’t find my way into it. A number of the clues were just too complicated for my liking eg 10d and 26a. A couple did make me chuckle 2d and 11a, so thanks to the setter for that. Thanks to DT for the hints (and answers!).

  32. Well a number of differing opinions voiced previously, which camp did I fall in? Most o of them apart from the dull and dreary camp. I did feel that some of the cryptic answers to cryptic clues were bordering on toughie territory but hey ho its Friday after all. I wouldn’t know how to give a difficulty rating based on time as I never time myself, I leave that to the experts. Favourite and last in was 11a, in spite of what I said earlier, it made me smile though. Many thanks to the setter and DT.

    1. I also don’t time myself and timings are not allowed on this site. I did once get away with it when the first Sunday Dada puzzle took me 3 days. I didn’t think that would discourage anyone! 😂

  33. Challenging head scratcher that came together in fits & starts as I came onto our setters wavelength.
    A couple of clues pushed me into a longer solve time.
    Thanks to setter & DT for review.

  34. Solved steadily, but needed e-help for 4 and 7d. Caught by the anagram trap at 26a? Check!

  35. Couldn’t get on wavelength. Got a handful, and then struggled. Found a few of the answers a strange match for the definitions, particularly 12a and 14a. Not really my cup of tea.

  36. Relieved to see so many others had similar problems with this one! But I did chuckle at 11a. My thanks to DT, and the setter for an enjoyable time!
    PS: How do I alter my “name” from caps to lower case? It looks as though I’m shouting.

      1. Thank you – I entered using only the first letter in upper case today, and it was accepted! Problem solved!

  37. Did this one late at night after a glass of 61% Aberlour so that might have been why we took a bit of a scattergun approach to it, shooting bits off until it collapsed. We both liked it and thought ***/*** was about right with 11a raising the most smiles and earning COTD.

    Thanks to the new Man Friday and to DT who always seems to find puzzles easier than we do.

  38. I ground to a halt with 3 to go. Chambers Word Wizard then gave me 7d which I really should have got (Duh). I then managed 11a but had to come on here to parse 14a to confirm the answer was what I suspected though I prefer Wahoo’s parsing rather than DT’s (sorry). My favourite was 2d – my first one to solve. I’d rate it ***/***.

  39. Chiming in late now back on terra firma. The top half fell into place easier than the bottom half for me. 26a had me fooled for a while. I thought it was a full anagram rather than I partial. 11a and 7d definite favourites. Thanks to the mystery setter and DT🦇

  40. For the first time in months I’ve actually managed to complete the entire crossword. No doubt it’ll be many more months before that happens again. Very enjoyable.

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