DT 29273 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 29273

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 29273

Hints and tips by pommers

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty ****Enjoyment ***

Hola from the Vega Baja where we’re having an unseasonably warm spell of weather.  It got up to 21°C yesterday and it’s forecast for 23°C over the weekend.  Not usually this warm in January so I guess we’ll have to pay for it next month.

I may be wrong but I get the feeling that we might have a new setter today as the style of this puzzle didn’t ring any bells with me at all.  Maybe I just wasn’t on the wavelength but I found it a tricky little rascal. There’s a few gimmes and a few anagrams to get a start but then there’s other clues made of sterner stuff. It will be interesting to hear your take on it.

As usual the ones I liked most are in blue.  The definitions are underlined in the clues and the answers are under the “click here” buttons so don’t click on them unless you really want to see the answer.  Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a           Bill is welcome? Do this to show it! (4,2,3,3)
PICK UP THE TAB:  I think this is trying to be a cryptic definition of what you do when you’re quite prepared to pay the bill.  It doesn’t quite work for me so if anyone has a better explanation please come forward.

9a           Work at back of company in small enclosure (4)
COOP:  The usual work after (at back of) the usual company.  This is one of the gimmes I mentioned.

10a         What may help little person to see fairy’s garment (9)
PERISCOPE:  It allows you to see over the top of things. Split it (5,4) and you’ll get an ecclesiastical garment belonging to a fairy.

12a         Like some verse coming from this writer’s biro? (6)
IAMBIC:  How the writer might say he is followed by a make of ballpoint pen.  Apparently the 100 billionth of this brand of ballpoint was sold in 2006. I wonder how many they’re up to now!

13a         Bird hard for country person to bag (8)
PHEASANT:  Insert (to bag) an H(ard) into a country person.

15a         ‘Common‘ Arabs maybe seen wandering about (5,5)
HORSE SENSE:  “Common” is an abbreviation of a term meaning good judgement or level headedness.  The answer is another term meaning the same and it’s what Arabs are an example of (maybe) followed by an anagram (wandering about) of SEEN.

16a         Issue of the day, say, being gone over (4)
EMIT:  What a day is a unit of, hour or minute would have done just as well, reversed (being gone over). This was my LOI as I had children in mind for the issue.

18a         State of irritation? Blow! (4)
HUFF:  If you’re in one of these you’re irritated and it also means to blow or puff.

20a         Celebrity’s vehicle makes one deeply impressed (4-6)
STAR STRUCK:  Split the answer (5,5) and you’ll get a lorry owned by a celebrity.  Very similar wordplay to that in 10a.

23a         A ranter’s ridiculous reports (8)
NARRATES:  Anagram (ridiculous) of A RANTERS.

24a         Hostile African country with guns regularly seen (6)
MALIGN:  An African country followed by the alternate letters from GuNs.  I took longer than I should on this because I assumed that it would be the US from guns that would be required.  Well, it seemed more likely than the GN, d’oh!

26a         What comes out from English master meeting people (9)
EMANATION:  E(nglish) followed by a Masters degree followed by (meeting) some people, not race but the other one.

27a         Someone leaving is energetic type (4)
GOER:  Double definition.

28a         Helpful folk reforming parish system (12)
SYMPATHISERS:  Anagram (reforming) of PARISH SYSTEM.


2d           One fairly quietly spoken may be spoilt (8)
IMPAIRED: The letter that looks like a number one followed by the musical notation for fairly quietly and finally a word meaning spoken or broadcast.

3d           Military item of clothing? Some fake piece (4)
KEPI:  A lurker.  It’s a military cap hidden in (some) fake piece.

4d           Chaps surer to go wrong as those looking for a deal maybe (10)
PURCHASERS:  Anagram (to go wrong) of CHAPS SURER.

5d           Soldier is impetuous, turning up to entertain us (6)
HUSSAR:  Take a word for impetuous and reverse it (turning up in a down clue) and then insert (to entertain) the US from the clue.

6d           Excessively keen initially, excellent leader of men prepared to shoot (4,3)
TOOK AIM:  A word meaning excessively followed by a K (Keen initially), then the usual two letters for excellent and finally an M (leader of Men).

7d           Amazing function of device used by suspicious police (12)
BREATHTAKING:  A cryptic definition of the function of the machine you have to blow into when the coppers think you may have been drinking and driving.

8d           Yesteryear‘s class meeting important lady (6)
FORMER:  Another word for a school class followed by the usual two letters for the Queen (important lady).

11d         Pianists ignoring the bass clef? (5-7)
RIGHT HANDERS:  A sort of cryptic definition of pianist who are ignoring the bass notes played by the left hand.  This is another one that doesn’t really work for me, unless I’m missing something.

14d         Ungodly and faint-hearted person is buried in barren land (10)
HEATHENISH:  A word for a faint-hearted person or wimp and the IS from the clue are inserted into (buried in) some moorland or scrub.  I’ve not come across this term for a faint-hearted person before.

17d         More peculiar person children are taught to avoid? (8)
STRANGER:  A word meaning more peculiar or odder is also the person children are told not to take sweets from.

19d         Anger in agricultural business — one gets fired (7)
FIREARM: Another word for anger is inserted into an agricultural operation.

21d         One person supervising journalists in team? (6)
UNITED:  A word for one as in a single bit followed by the guy who supervises the journalists or runs the newspaper.

22d         Expression of surprise about a vehicle seen in the capital (6)
HAVANA:  Take the A from the clue and a vehicle and around them put an exclamation of surprise to get a capital city.

25d         Aims to finish before start of supper (4)
ENDS:  A word for the finish followed by (before) an S (start of Supper).

My favourite out of this lot was 10a, closely followed by 20a and 24a.

Quick crossword pun:     DUCKED     +     AISLE     =     DUCTILE

88 comments on “DT 29273

  1. 3*/1.5*. Quite tricky but not my cup of tea I’m afraid. There were a few good clues but rather more hmms.

    Thanks to the mystery setter and to pommers.

  2. I too decided this was a tricky one in places, that the setter’s style didn’t seem familiar and that 11d is definitely top of the list for worst clue of the year. My favourites were the same as Pommers.

    Thanks to Pommers (21 degrees sounds a lot nice than 7 with wind chill brrr – and the (possibly new) Thursday Mysteron

    1. As the pianists were ignoring the bass clef ….I put in “light -fingers”.
      Well, you can imagine what sort of problems that gave me.

      1. Just to add… any pianist knows that the bass clef is predominantly for the left hand, but in fact either hand can be used for the treble or the bass clef. Hence, why I filled in my answer as “light-fingers”. I made the assumption that one hand was missing. Not necessarily the left hand.

  3. I also took a while to get into this setter’s mindset and having finished had a feeling of vague dissatisfaction. I then came on here and read all Pommers’ comments and find he put into words everything I would have said. So thanks very much to him and apologies to the setter, as others have said before me, I couldn’t do it so I feel bad criticising.

  4. Not to my liking at all I’m afraid. Some good clues but others just seemed somewhat clunky. Had to guess at 11d because I am not a musician. 15a and 14d took took me an age and hence the time to solve was *****+. Thanks to setter and reviewer.

  5. I did not find this as tricky as some seem to have done, but there are definitely some ‘odd’ clues which spoiled the enjoyment, completed at a gallop – **/**.
    In particular, a raised eyebrow for 11d and a big Hmm for 12a – one trade name to clue another? There should be guidance for setters not to do that.
    I did like 10a, 20a, and 7d.
    Thanks to the setter and pommers.

  6. I think this was only tricky in places due to some imprecise or clunky clueing. It was rescued from being a horror thanks to several excellent clues, most of which our blogger has already highlighted. It is always little disheartening for a solver to have to bung in answers where the wordplay should lead you to the solution but fails to, such as 1a.

    Thanks to our Thursday setter and pommers. We could do with some of your warmth here in Shropshire.

  7. A few difficult ones – a few clunky ones (10A) not as satisfying as yesterday, for example – so a 2/2 for me. Thanks to Pommers and setter

  8. Sorry to say that the very loose definitions in the likes of 1a & 11d rather put me off this puzzle and I didn’t find much elsewhere to redeem it.
    At a push, I’d name 20a as the best of the bunch.

    Apologies to our setter and thanks to Pommers for both the blog and the musical accompaniments.

  9. Amazing for me to finish a Thursday and l loved every bit of it.Unlike everyone else l thought 11d was a very helpful clue giving many starts. Thankyou to the setter and to all who have helped me get to this point.

  10. Really enjoyed this puzzle, right on my wavelength!

    COTD 1a, loved the quirkiness of it. Very closely followed by 10a which made me laugh for the mental image it created.

    Thanks to setter and Pommers

  11. 11d and 12a are definitely suspect as clues go! Other than those, it all fell into place quite quickly. 14d took a while and I liked 22d for no particular reason. No idea about the setter but then I seldom do.

  12. This does seem like a new compiler. I found it sufficiently challenging and very enjoyable (**/****). I liked 10a, 20a and 7d but also 11d, a reasonable clue considering which hand one uses to play the lower notes in the Bass clef on a piano. Thanks to Pommers — hopefully it’s not wet and warm. Thanks also to the compiler.

  13. Pommers certainly got the short straw with this one.
    I needed a fair bit of electronic help and some inspired guesswork to complete it.
    To me 15a in particular, plus 12a and 11d are bordering on bizarre. To be fair I did like 20a, 26a plus my COTD, 2d. Overall, rather disappointing.
    Many thanks to Pommers for sorting it all out and to the setter for the test.

    1. Agree with ‘short straw and thanks’ to Pommers – he should have been enjoying the weather, not indoors faffing about with this.

      UK is dull, dull, chilly-ish and also dull.

    2. Not the short straw. I would have enjoyed the challenge of blogging this puzzle. I just love it when fellow bloggers ask can anybody do Thursday for me.

  14. An enjoyable puzzle today, I was expecting tougher stuff on a Thursday. Favourites were 20a and 11d. 1a didn’t quite work to my mind.

  15. Didn’t think much of that, generally. There were some clever ones but more than offset by some that were just plain silly, I’m afraid.

  16. I managed to complete the grid in *** time, but had to come here to check that some of the answers were right. 14d is a horrible word, and I didn’t know the ‘faint-hearted person’ either.

    I didn’t like 19d, because half the answer is given in the clue, couldn’t it be ‘one gets shot’? Or is that poor grammar?.

    Almost certainly a new compiler, and a refreshing approach, if I might venture.

    Thanks to Mr Ron and Pommers.

    1. 19d – That’s exactly what I thought, especially since using “shot” as the synonym works pretty well on the surface.
      A little bit lazy in the context of the whole puzzle.

    2. Yes, 14d was silly. I’ve heard of “wet hen” meaning hysterical, but not the second word meaning cowardly….I’m sure it’s all in the BRB somewhere, though.

      Also, I reckon you’re either a heathen or not – like someone being described as “ pregnantish”…….

      1. I was surprised to find hen meaning a faint-hearted person in the BRB. I presume that it’s related to chicken meaning cowardly?

        1. I guess so.
          Are there any wildlife experts out there who can let us know about the relative bravery attributes of fowl, or indeed any creatures?
          It’s a bit judgemental, isn’t it?

  17. I struggled womanfully and got there in the end, with a break at the gym, perhaps all the downward dogs sent blood to the brain.
    I liked 1a , 12a , 10a and 20a.
    Thanks to all concerned.

  18. I actually sailed through this in one go more or less, but with a vague sense of dissatisfaction. I too think that regularly see should be 2 and 4, not 1 and 3 – that is oddly seen. But hey ho, goodness knows what sort of fist I would make if constructing a crossword. I think you are all 7d.

  19. Hm. Thought this was quite good. Only failed with 12a. I can only associate this word with pentameter. I’ve no idea what it means, nor do I care very much.
    Ps not terribly happy with 12d.
    Thanks to both

    1. Ooh Bob. The iambic pentameter is a delight for all to enjoy. It might have been an idea for my schoolteachers to have spent some time on it instead of trying to hit me with sticks

  20. Found this really taxing but enjoyable. I rather liked 11d. Unfortunately accidentally hit the button that set Frank Sinatra off. I cannot stand him, to me his voice is very slightly off key the whole time and really grates. Anyway thanks to all for the puzzle.

    1. Sinatra has a unique way of phrasing the lyrics, sliding from one word to the next. An acquired taste, probably.
      But off-key – never. He had a perfect ear. Just my opinion, of course….

      1. I agree Bluebird. Some people just don’t know how to listen. But I’m with Manders for completely different reasons. It was the likes of Sinatra and Co that I escaped from when The Beatles and The Rolling Stones came along. Then of course Dylan

        1. Well, I was born in 1950, so I guess I’m not dissimilar to you and many others on here. My taste is wide, ranging from classical C16-C20, through 1930s blues, jump-jive swing band stuff, 60s R&B. My view is our “hearts” and maybe “loins” are always going to ping with what we heard when we were aged 13-20.
          I suppose a lot of 50s standards are in my head courtesy of the piano stool contents, musical parents and uncles and the radio growing up. I wouldn’t say I was a fan as such, but it’s just “there” and voices can be appreciated for what they are. Playing and singing in a number of bands and big ensembles over the years exposes you to a lot of stuff which sticks……..
          And almost everything from the last couple of decades…….which doesn’t.

  21. What a dreadful offering today. 11d must be the nadir of DT clues. Managed about half then gave up because there was just no enjoyment. Hope we don;’t see this setter again.
    Thx for the hints

    1. C’mon Brian, criticise the puzzle by all means, but getting personal a la the penultimate sentence is not on.

    2. Is it true? Is it kind? Is it necessary? If the answer to any one of these questions is no, then don’t say it. Brian, your comment fails upon all three.

  22. Thanks to the setter and to Pommers for the review and hints. Not my cup of tea at all. There were some good clues though. Favourite was 12a. Was defeated by 14d, the meaning of part of it gives a whole new connotation to my blogging name! Also needed the hints to parse 10,16a & 2,11d. I didn’t think much of 19d as fire was in the clue & was also part of the answer. Perhaps “discharged” could have been the final word of the clue? Was 3*/2* for me.

  23. The bass clef clue was quickly got if you’re a musician, but otherwise is so weird, you’d have to wait until you had most of the checkers in place before guessing.
    Not everyone does puzzles top to bottom or across clues before down clues.

    Apart from the obscure military headwear, the tragic firearm and the piano clue above, it was reasonable, but left me feeling slightly uncomfortable at the end. I’d still like to see a bit more from this setter, though, as the outer “long” solutions were quite good fun.

  24. *****/*. Very tricky and not very rewarding. I got 14d but only by use an electronic tool which confirmed this was the only word that fits the checkers. I will check later in the BRB the origin of the faint-hearted person. Thanks to Pommers for the hints and explaining the more obscure clues.

  25. I liked much of this quite tricky crossword (e.g. 1a, 10a, 20a and 7d (no Oxford comma for me!)). I do have one gripe (not 11d which, whilst not the strongest clue, was OK). and that was 13a. We seem to see “country person” (or similar) as “peasant” very frequently (Mr K could, probably, tell us how often) and, given its derogatory connotations, it makes me uncomfortable. I know it’s in the BRB and Collins with this meaning but there are many words in both that we would never see in a crossword. I am sure there are plenty of other ways in which the answer could be clued – e.g. “Worker has odd phase before getting the bird”. Oh well, rant over! By the way, I live in a town.

  26. Worrying me that I got on well with this puzzle. Must be out of step with the real crossword cognoscenti. Thanks to all

      1. Thank goodness for Rosemary and Corky. I’ve been getting so depressed needing help with crosswords that get ** for difficulty, and this time sailed through with only having to check that I’d got the synonym for faint-hearted correctly. Many thanks to all! Ailsap

  27. I found this very difficult and not very enjoyable ****/** 😳 as a non musician I too found 11d unsolvable and I have never seen 14d which was a “bung in” nonetheless there were a lot of good clues 👍 Favourites for me were 20 & 24a. Thanks very much to Pommers for the lovely music and explanations and to the mystery Setter 😬

  28. Difficult but enjoyable. I didn’t find the clues odd or bizarre. Most cryptic clues are odd and bizarre so a few odder and more bizarre ones are not to be sneezed at.

    10, 15, and 20a, all raised a smile as did 7d. Thanks to Pommers and the setter.

  29. I quite enjoyed this, I wonder if the sublime offering yesterday made expectations rather higher today, being Thursday and fave of most here.
    I did need e-help towards the end. My first solve was 10a, then I shot myself in the foot by thinking 6d was “take” and erasing 10a. My eyes are getting so bad, sometimes it’s difficult to see some letters. I eventually brought out the trusty magnifier and read the clue again.
    I needed e-help for 4d and 14d, not bad for me, especially one rated 4*; believe me, I would never be able to solve a 4*.
    Thanks to our setter and to pommers for his fun review and music.

  30. We also found this a strange puzzle and thought it must be a new setter. Clues like 1a and several others seem to wave a stick in the general direction of the answer rather than giving a definition and wordplay. This makes for a slightly different solving experience for us. Last one in was 14d which took quite a lot of cogitation.
    Thanks Mr Ron and pommers.

  31. Nope – not a fan of today’s style of clues. As nearly everyone has said, some good clues but far outnumbered by the likes of 11d etc. Still, tomorrow is another day.

    Apologies setter – not my cup of tea I’m afraid. Thanks to Pommers for his review.

  32. Well I didn’t think this was as bad as some of you seem to have found it, hence the *** for enjoyment. I rather enjoyed some of the quirkiness and the off-the-wall definitions. I think the Kiwis got it right when they said it’s waving a stick in the general direction of the answer but I found it rather refreshing. Maybe we’ll get some more from this setter and all be able to get on the wavelength.

  33. Got within 2 of the end without help. Some good clues and some seriously sub standard ones. 11d didn’t work for me at all. Overall not worth the time it wasted. Thx to all

  34. I managed about three quarters before grinding to a complete halt. No light bulbs were lighting up so I had to use the excellent hints to help me finish. As others have said, 11d was a very definite “Hmm”.

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

  35. I found this puzzle something of a relief, as Thursday puzzles go. Had no problem with 1a or 11d as they slotted right in. Didn’t care for 27a, and 14d, does anyone ever say that? Really liked 20a and 7d. Thanks to setter and to Pommers for another enjoyable solve.

  36. I’m going out on a limb here….yesterday’s Jay puzzle which everyone raved about, I really struggled with and wondered what all the fuss was about (I’ll go and wash my mouth out with soap for such utterances!!) and today, right up my street! Really enjoyed this one and completed in a trice. And my clue of the day…yep…11d.
    Thanks to Pommers and the setter.

  37. Found it harder than the toughie.
    Never been keen on cryptic clues.
    Guessed 11d from the checkers.
    Agree with pommers’ choice.
    Thanks to him and to the setter.

  38. I’ll stick up for the setter and say I enjoyed this
    Getting out of the sailor, graduate, artist etc. conventions shows imagination and thus inventiveness in my book
    Thank you mystery setter – I suspect I know who you are, and good job CL

  39. Solved so long ago I cannot remember much about it. As always the completed grid raised a smile and I said to Saint Sharon that I really enjoyed it. But then I really enjoy most days Cryptics. The Quickie Pun was fun as I put Missed at 1ac Missed + Aisle = Misdial. Soon sorted when attacking the down clues. So maybe this setter knows more about words and wordplay than he or she has been given credit for. Thursdayish sums it up nicely. Here’s hoping for a ProXimal gem tomorrow

  40. I was on wavelength with this and completed it in a reasonable time.
    An odd crossword as there were some excellent clues and some shockers, 11d being a prime example.
    A new setter, so let’s give him a chance.
    Thanks all.

  41. Goodness. Lots of very negative comments on here. I hope the poor setter hasn’t read them. I managed to almost finish but needed electronic help for the last few. Once I got going I found it all quite enjoyable and those unmusical people who didn’t get 11d will hopefully feel my pain with cricketing clues. To be honest any crossword without a cricketing (or rugby) clue is a good one.

  42. Need to leap to the setter’s defence for 19d – firearms are fired, shotguns are shot. Thank goodness for my boys’ grammar school education, which gave me 10a, 12a and 3d, among others. (The eagle-eyed among you will notice my non-utilisation of the Oxford comma). This was quite a brain-teaser for me, so 4*/3*. Thanks Mr/s Setter, & Pommers.

  43. What a lot of very different opinions today.
    I agree with pommers’ opening paragraph – a new setter as it obviously wasn’t either Ray T or proXimal although I admit to hunting the nearly pangram that wasn’t.
    I enjoyed it – I loved the different feel and the quirkiness although I did find it tricky and more than once I told myself that I was glad I wasn’t the ‘hinty person’ today.
    I failed on 22d – in London with the Elder Lamb and ‘her lot’ and so don’t have my ‘aids’ that have lists of capital cities and can’t do them ‘all my own self’.
    What fun so thanks to the setter, whoever he or she may be and thanks and admiration to pommers, and for the Berlin – I love it – I’ve waited ages to be able to use that to illustrate an answer such as ‘strangle’ or ‘throttle’.
    Night night all,

      1. The number of comments always goes north after the birthday bash. But as I think Pommers once said the number of threads stays much the same. Anything else is the blogsters having a natter.

  44. I think 1a “do this to show it” is reference to a computer “tab” we’re perhaps you click the tab to “do this to show it”.

    1. I had ‘jack up the tip’ which reflects my time as a waiter but certainly eliminated any chance of completing the puzzle!

  45. Interesting, definitely not easy and some eyebrow raisers. Funny how the regulars like familiarity, I suppose that’s a key part of solving cryptic puzzles quickly.

  46. Have had a busy day and then made the mistake of setting about this after midnight – phew! After putting in a few anagrams it became a slog from then on in and I finally needed some hints to complete. A quick glance at the Comments (I will read the rest tomorrow) reassures me that perhaps I am not alone in having made heavy weather of this. Thank you unfamiliar setter and Senf. And so to bed with Ol Blue Eyes in my ears …. 😴.

  47. As usual I’m a day late but I just had to say how much I enjoyed the cryptic and the quick crosswords. Obviously I wasn’t able to complete the whole crossword unaided but I had a smile from start to finish, which is definitely not the norm for me! Many thanks to pommers for extra help with the clues and to the setter. I look forward to more of your crosswords.

  48. Just got to read these comments,very disappointed with all the negative comments. All setters have their own way of clueing, just because they are unfamiliar or you dislike their style is no reason to post what must be disheartening remarks. Rant over.

  49. Posts in the middle of the night. Can’t remember that before. New blood is always needed, so well done to the setter and the DT.

  50. Although there were some nice clues (20a, 7d, 28a), there were some really rum ones, and overall this crossword was quite a struggle. The hints from Pommers were very helpful. The answers to both 1a and 11d came into my head at the beginning but in both cases I thought I was wrong, until eventually I had enough checkers to fill them in. However, I usually learn something new; in this case the synonyms required for 15a and 14d. Thank you to the setter and to Pommers.

  51. Got most of this but assumed part of 11d was ‘fingers’ , therefore 18a ‘faff’ which is an irritated feeling but then what is ‘blow’? You see my problem! As for the the word ‘hen’, have you not heard of ‘hen-hearted’? It was a word used often in my childhood.

  52. I found this fairly easy, but only by finding words that fitted the spaces! 11d did not follow. I am right handed, play the piano but don’t ignore the bass clef. I also found 14d, 12a and 15a a bit imprecise. There were some good ones. I liked 20a and 27a.

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