DT 29279 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 29279

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 29279

Hints and tips by Kath

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BD Rating — Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

Hello everyone. I didn’t quite know what to expect today but I don’t have much doubt that this crossword was set by Ray T – it doesn’t have all his trademark clues but I think there are enough of them to be fairly convincing. I was very slow to get going and found it tricky to begin with but generally it was probably somewhere in the middle of his range of difficulty.

Please leave a comment and let us know how you got on today.

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


1a        Drop item put out in readiness (11)
PROMPTITUDE — an anagram (out) of DROP ITEM PUT

10a       One provides handle worker turns with hesitation (5)
NAMER — a reversal (turns) of a worker or labourer followed by one of the usual crosswordland hesitations

11a       Breakdown out in Iran, unfortunately (9)
RUINATION — an anagram (unfortunately) of OUT IN IRAN

12a       Stamp out Ecstasy spread around clubs (9)
ERADICATE — the one letter abbreviation for E[cstasy] and then a synonym for spread or disperse which contains (around) the abbreviation for clubs in a game of cards

13a       Cap put on say, turning icy (5)
GELID — a reversal (turning) of the Latin abbreviation for say, or for example, is followed by (put on) a cap or top

14a       Leave from son in monarchy (6)
RESIGN — the abbreviation for S[on] goes inside a synonym for monarchy or empire

16a       Poke single lass getting reckless (8)
PRODIGAL – another word for poke or nudge is followed by the letter that looks like a one (single) and a slang word for lass or girl

18a       Hedonist a bit inhibited by ‘hedonist’s complaint’ (8)
GADABOUT — the A from the clue and a bit or a small amount go inside (inhibited by) a complaint which is associated with someone who ‘overindulges’ in, among other things, alcohol

20a       Pool perhaps by the empty cell (6)
GAMETE — some lateral thinking is needed here – pool, in this case, isn’t a puddle or something that people swim in – it’s just an example which is indicated by ‘perhaps’ – that word is followed by the first and last letters of T[h]E

23a       Initially tribal object tribe exalts mystically (5)
TOTEM — one of Ray T’s specials – the first letters (initially) of the remaining words in the clue

24a       Calm, catching cold in a bit (9)
SCINTILLA — another word for calm or restful and quiet contains (catching) the abbreviation for C[old] and the ‘IN’ from the clue – finish that lot off with the ‘A’ from the clue

26a       Rejected sweetheart can start to get offensive (9)
REVOLTING — a reversal (rejected) of a sweetheart or ‘significant other’ is followed by a container like a ‘can’ and the first letter (start to) of G[et]

27a       Never rained off and on? Strange! (5)
EERIE — the alternate letters (on and off) of the first two words of the clue

28a       Forward motion as prisoners go free (11)
PROGRESSION — an anagram (free) of PRISONERS GO



2d        Dance is almost pathetic after drink (5)
RUMBA — the first two letters of a three letter word that means pathetic or not very good follow (after) a drink – a spirit made from fermented sugar cane

3d        Reported missing before noon (7)
MORNING — a homophone (reported) of a word that means ‘missing’ or ‘grieving’

4d        Tense intensity containing end of nuclear menace (6)
THREAT — the abbreviation for T(ense) is followed by a synonym for intensity or ardour which contains the last letter (end) of [nuclea]R

5d        Labour over English tax for deodorant? (8)
TOILETRY — deodorant is just an example of the answer which is indicated by the question mark – a word that means labour or work very hard followed by (over) the abbreviation for E[nglish] and a synonym for tax or test

6d        Pulled round finally in tatters (7)
DRAGGED — the last letter (finally) of [roun]D is followed by another word for in tatters or in holes and shabby

7d        Questioning or tearing apart Conservative (13)
 INTERROGATORY — an anagram (apart) of OR TEARING is followed by an adjective that means Conservative or right wing

8d        European Union move set up for exchange (8)
DIALOGUE — the abbreviation for E[uropean] U[nion], a move or a turn and another word for set or placed are all reversed (up) – phew – that one took me for ever to sort out

9d        Complete and utter lad dancing with a nude (13)
UNADULTERATED — an anagram (dancing) of UTTER LAD and A NUDE

15d      Tranquilliser is vet’s idea getting doctored (8)
SEDATIVE — an anagram (getting doctored) of VET’S IDEA

17d      Blowing, polish up fiddle (8)
BURSTING — a reversal (up) of another word for polish or buff is followed by a fiddle or swindle

19d      Incompetent builder’s front more common in Essex? (7)
BUMBLER — the first letter (front) of B[uilder] is followed by how someone from Essex might pronounce another word for more common or lowly. I’m not quite sure about this one so if anyone has any better ideas please say so

21d      Assert casting upset gripping performer (7)
ACTRESS — a ‘lurker’ or a hidden answer which is indicated by the word ‘gripping’ – it’s hiding in the middle of the first two words of the clue but just to make things more difficult it’s also reversed which is indicated by ‘upset’

22d      Dell found in wood in glen (6)
DINGLE — . . .  and just when I thought I was safe from the dreaded lurkers here comes another one – it’s indicated by ‘found in’ and the answer is hiding in the last three words of the clue

25d      Slow left on fantastic ship (5)
LARGO — the one letter abbreviation for L[eft] is followed by (on) a ship from Greek mythology

I particularly liked 10 and 18a and 3d. My favourite was 26a.

The Quickie pun:- MOATS + HEART = MOZART

60 comments on “DT 29279

  1. 3*/4*. A typically enjoyable and nicely challenging RayT despite Her Majesty getting the day off.

    As a lifelong sufferer of “hedonist’s complaint”, thankfully alleviated with a daily tablet, I can assure people that it is incredibly painful and nothing whatever to do with hedonism. Nevertheless 18a gets my vote as favourite, with 26a & 3d joining it on the podium.

    Many thanks to RayT and to Kath.

    1. I agree. It is not known as “The king of diseases and the disease of kings” for nothing. Incredibly painful.

  2. I agree with Kath and RD, this was indeed a little more challenging than normal but very enjoyable.

    My last two in were 8d and 13a and those two really took a while to fall.

    No particular favourites, but I liked the four long ones round the edges.

    Many thanks to Kath and Ray T

  3. I found this at the tougher end of a Ray T, almost a Beam. No particular favourites although I can’t wait to see what Brian has to say about 1a :)

    Thanks to RayT and to Kath

  4. I didn’t find much of a problem today, but was slow getting the top sorted, until I used some electrons to get the anagram at 1a; not a word that comes readily to my mind. That gave me the start I needed to finish the rest off in **/*** time. Having full or partial anagrams for all four long answers on the edges certainly helped it along.

    COTD 24a and thanks to RayT and Kath.

  5. I thought this was a bit of a Beam masquerading as a Ray T and a bit of electronic help was needed. However, very enjoyable as usual with this setter.
    I particularly liked 24a and 8d (spent a lot of time thinking of a different kind of exchange but the wordplay finally came to my rescue).
    However top spot goes to 18a as it was humorously clued and it’s such a great word that deserves to come back into common usage.
    Many thanks to Mr T and to Kath for a top review.

  6. Challenging certainly, but very doable. I found it was one of those puzzles where I put in the answer then worked out the rationale afterwards on several of the clues. Good fun though, and rewarding to complete. I wouldn’t argue with our blogger’s choices for my podium.

    Thanks to Ray T and Kath.

  7. Horses for courses,I found this the most straightforward backpager of the week so far, still enjoyable though.

  8. I found this enjoyable puzzle to be straight forward today with no obscurities and logical cluing, a **/**** for me.
    Like RD I too have been a long time sufferer of the 18a complaint and take the one a day pill-which works for most of the time!
    Difficult to name a favourite ,liked 1a for its rareness and 25d for the surface.
    The quickie pun brought a smile.
    Thanks all.

  9. I not sure I have used the term before in discussing a Ray T puzzle but, for me, this was a curate’s egg. A slow start but once I got going I was somewhat surprised that I had completed it at a typical Ray T gallop – 2*/2.5*.
    Favourite – a toss-up between 24a and 25d – and the winner is 24a.
    Thanks to Ray T and Kath.

  10. This was one of Ray T’s trickier offerings(**/****) but cthere were some very clever clues and I found it quite enjoyable. I liked 16a, 20a, 24a and 19d. Thanks to Ray T for a very absorbing puzzle and to Kath for the hints.

  11. 1a isn’t a word that readily comes to mind but it had to be the answer. Having checked, I still don’t understand 20a.I can see the gamete/ cell connection but where is the empty pool?

    1. Pool is an example of the first four letters of the answer and it’s the ‘THE’ that’s empty – ie it’s the first and last letters without anything in the middle hence ’empty’.

  12. After a reasonable start I found today a bit tougher going in places & had to check the definition for 13a. Thanks to all.

  13. Very enjoyable and on the whole I found it not overly difficult managing to finish in under *** time. Having said that 13a was a new word to me but obvious from the wordplay and my last clue in was predictably 20a where it took me a while to come up with a four letter synonym for pool. Can’t say I’ve ever heard 1a used before either.
    Many thanks to Kath & the setter.

  14. I thought this on the tougher side a 4/3*. Lots of nice clues such as the lurkers in 21D and 22D – having had the usual ‘one’ lurker in 22D I wasn’t looking for another – so 21D held me up – wouldn’t you just know it two consecutive lurkers – now there’s guile. Felt 10A was a bit clunky and there were some rarely used words such as 13A and 20A, but not as funny as yesterday’s ‘innit’ that has been stuck in the ear as an ear worm. That’s how we speak here in Southend-on-Sea. Nice to see another Essex insult today in 19D – not just the ‘umble’ – but also the ‘incompetent builders’ – too near the truth I’m afraid – hope to see incompetent Essex football team in tomorrow’s to complete the hatrick of truths about this now inglorious seaside town..
    Thanks to all

  15. Just a thought, but I wonder if anyone else has noticed the increasing use of “hesitation” (without more) in cryptic clues to indicate ER or UM. The device appeared today (at 10A), and was, I think, also used in yesterday’s puzzle. This usage is seemingly at odds with the guidance given in Chambers XWD Dictionary, where “er” and “um” appear not under the heading of “hesitation” but under that of “expression of hesitation”. I agree with Chambers, as the test of whether “er” or “um” could legitimately replace the word “hesitation” in a sentence does not appear to me to be satisfied. I think “sign of hesitation” or something similar is required. Anyone agree?

    1. I agree with you, Harold. The BRB gives the following definitions:
      – er: interj expressing hesitation
      – um: interj used by speakers when momentarily hesitating or in doubt

      However, to “um and ah” is defined as “to hesitate, esp when speaking”, but it would be rather challenging to build that into a crossword clue.

  16. Very enjoyable and I must differ from most in that I found it quite straightforward, at least when I discovered what 13a meant!
    I think Ray T must have taken delivery of Giovannis weird word dictionary!
    Not sure about the Essex clue, at least not for the inhabitants of Chelmsford and Saffron Waldron.
    Thx to all

  17. Had to leave the house this morning before the blog was posted but enjoyed solving this one with my morning coffee. I was a bit lazy when it came to working out the 7d anagram so finished up with the wrong ending until 26a set me straight.
    Don’t think I’ve previously come across 13a and 1a hardly trips off the tongue!

    Top marks here went to 26a & 3d with a mention for the amusing Quickie pun.

    Devotions as always to Mr T and many thanks to Kath for the blog.

  18. No surprise that l found this difficult but with help from you very enjoyable.Thankyou.l had put the wrong ending to7d despite very clear cluing and accordingly struggled to get 26a.l had also spelt 24a wrongly despite knowing what 17d must be.Still much to learn but great fun trying.

  19. It was a case of coming down to earth today after so much fun yesterday but surprised myself by getting there in the end after quite a struggle. So silly that it has become politically incorrect to refer to 21d. Had to confirm 13a and 20a. Thank you RayT and Kath.

  20. I had the eureka moment eventually. I presume pool is the game followed by the empty the, i.e te?

  21. Thanks to Kath for helping me out here. I finished in about *** time but needed help in unravelling several of my answers. In addition needed a dictionary to confirm several more answers. This reduced my enjoyment to *** overall

  22. I found this very difficult (almost a ProXimal) 😟 ****/*** needed hints for 20a & 17d 😳 Favourites 7 & 25d 😃 Thanks to Kath for her comprehensive blog, couldn’t have been easy! and thanks to Ray T. I notice that there are a lot less comments than normal, I assume they are still all out there doing battle😜

    1. The fewer comments may be because for some reason if one googled “Big Dave 44” (as I usually do) the 29279 Cryptic didn’t come up whereas googling “Big Dave 29279” produced it.

  23. Found this pretty tricky, last ones in 13a and 8d. In fact had never heard of 13a. But really enjoyed it all the same so thanks to all.

  24. I was at my most pig-headed today and was determined to solve, which I did with copious help from the internet and google. It was a battle, but there were some really five-star answers.
    I liked 22d, isn’t that a lovely word to describe a lovely place. I liked 13a as I always think it doesn’t sound like it is! I agree with everyone who said that 1a doesn’t roll off the tongue, I needed e-help to solve that anagram.
    Thanks to RayT and to Kath for unravelling not just a few, 19d??

    1. Yes – I was a bit ???? about 19d. I assume that people who live in Essex are first cousins to Cockneys – ie they don’t pronounce their H’s – but don’t really know if that’s right – no-one seems to have come up with a better idea.

    2. I too love 13a, Merusa. Hope your DT problems from yesterday are solved. Since I’m here, let me thank Ray T and Kath for an invigorating puzzle and top-notch clues. My last one in, for some strange reason, was 12a, and my overall assessment: **/****. Glad to be back among you all. Bloody awful weather here in Charleston as I write, with tornado alerts and watches all over the state, as well as GA and NC. 35 mph wind just now, and down go my camellias!

      1. Yes, I’m back, for how long? It resolved itself, but I’ve filed your hints and will try them if it occurs again. Lovely sunshine here but due for a cold snap this weekend, rain tomorrow, which we need.

  25. Good fun as ever with the last one in being 8d. I had to give a bit of extra thought to the endings of both 1a and 7d.
    Clue word count spot on as usual.
    Thanks RayT and Kath.

  26. The four peripheral anagrams were jumpatme thingies which offered a nice frame for the rest.
    I like charades but the one in 16a sounds a bit odd.
    Thanks to RayT and to Kath.

  27. Evening all. My thanks to Kath for the analysis and to everybody else for your observations. I’m glad that most of you enjoyed it.


  28. Oh boy, I am finally getting on RayT’s wavelength! Got all of these apart from two and the excellent hints helped here. Favourites are 18a, 20a and 24a.

    I really enjoyed the whole puzzle, the clues of which were entertaining. There was also just the right balance between the straightforward and the head scratching. Lightbulb moments galore.

    I have written this before reading other comments so apologies if I have repeated comments.

    Grateful thanks to RayT for the enjoyment and to Kath for the hints.

  29. I struggled through the first half then hit the wavelength & whilst not finding it easy managed to complete it ,,, but in quite a time!
    4*/3* thus it was not as enjoyable.
    Fav was 18ac as this was one of my mother’s regular descriptive!
    Thanks to RayT & to Kath for review & guidance

  30. Oh dear, another DNF. Like my efforts with the Guardian, undone by the obscurities (well they are to me), I still have no idea what the ‘pool’ clue is all about.
    Thanks Kath and Ray-T

    1. Oh dear from me too – what is DNF?
      I’ll have another go at the ‘pool’ hint – perhaps it wasn’t one of my best, in fact it almost certainly wasn’t.
      The definition is a cell – it’s a reproductive one. The ‘pool’ is just an example of something which is indicated by the ‘perhaps’ – it’s a bit like billiards or snooker American, I think). When you’ve ‘got’ that bit you just need to finish it off with the first and last letters of THE – ie without the middle letter so that the THE is empty.
      I really hope that helps.

      1. Thanks Kath, so a ‘pool’ is a type of ‘cell’? If so, I can’t find it in the dictionary.
        DNF btw is ‘did not finish’. I may not be able to do the Guardian crossword, but I am getting used to the lingo!!

        1. Hoofit – Pool [perhaps] is an example of a GAME
          The word T(h)E is emptied, ie ignore the middle letter
          GAMETE is a reproductive cell

          1. Thank you, LBR – I’m tired and I’ve now had enough. I’m going to bed soon, in despair! :sad: No-one can say that I didn’t try . . .

  31. I’m not always a fan of Ray T but did enjoy this one. I have fond memories of teaching my Grandfather how to play pool (he thrashed me!), so 20a is my clue of the day. Thanks to Ray T and Kath for the tips.

  32. Well I look forward to Thursdays and I wasn’t disappointed today. There were some words I hadn’t heard of before namely 1a,13a and 24a but were able to be worked out from the clues then checked in the dictionary and, hey ho, I’ve heard of them now. Every day’s a school day. I had heard of 20a when I was investigating Mendal’s law and genetics in general mainly to do with dog breeding, mind you I haven’t owned a bitch since 1984 but it popped into my head straight away. Favourite amongst many 8d. Many many thanks to RayT and Kath. You might have noticed I’m in a better frame of mind than I was yesterday, no hmmphs today.

  33. I didn’t come even close to getting on the setters wavelength, and this was a *****/- for me.

    Way too many obscure words in one crossword for my liking.

    1a, 13a, 20a, 24a were all new words for me.

    With the ridiculous price increase this week, I think I will buy a few DT crossword books and stop getting the physical paper. I will never migrate to the online version.

        1. But these comments are online, why not do the grid online? I’m intrigued.

          PS we loved the puzzle. Well balanced. Thanks to all.

          1. Putting a full stop after Pete sent you into moderation

            I comment on line but as someone who has solved the Daily Telegraph Cryptic for over 50 years I do prefer to use the newsprint version. Even if I was to solve ‘online’, I’d print off the crossword and use a pen to fill in the solutions. Once a paper solver, always a paper solver and I wonder if bananawarp is the same

  34. Tricky, but I get there with only the thesaurus. New words at 1a and 13a. Didn’t help my self by putting in the wrong answer for 11a, should read the anagram more closely….!!

  35. Managed most of this puzzle and found it enjoyable. 13 across defeated me and I needed to resort to this blog. Found the anagrams useful to build framework of puzzle.

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