DT 29280 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 29280

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 29280

Hints and tips by Deep Threat

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ***

Good morning from South Staffs on a misty, frosty day.

One or two clues which gave me pause for thought in today’s puzzle, but nothing like the degree of difficulty we saw last week.

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           New York location that’s busy by nine, perhaps (5,6)
TIMES SQUARE – Another word for ‘by’, as in ‘multiplied by’, followed by the sort of number of which nine is an example (as are four and sixteen).

Image result for times square

7a           Home in which unopened chest’s stuck tight (7)
DRUNKEN – An animal’s home wrapped around another word for ‘chest’ or ‘torso’ with its first letter removed (unopened).

[arve url=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y5gydvllKdM” /]

8a           Progress from practice finally, after unrehearsed act (7)
IMPROVE – The short form of the word for the sort of theatrical performance where the cast make it up as they go along, followed by the last letter (finally) of practicE.

10a         Cockney’s quiet before the Queen’s attendant (5)
USHER – How the typical crossword cockney might give an instruction to be quiet, followed by the Queen’s regnal cipher.

11a         Profitable cure vital to be developed (9)
LUCRATIVE – anagram (to be developed) of CURE VITAL.

12a         Sparing space within rocky inlet (7)
LENIENT – Anagram (rocky) of INLET, with a printer’s space inserted.

14a         Dodgy American quietly infiltrating group (7)
SUSPECT – Put together a two-letter abbreviation for American and the musical symbol for ‘quietly’, then wrap a group or faction around the result.

15a         Prisoner with sensitivity is touching (7)
CONTACT – One of the usual crossword prisoners followed by ‘sensitivity’ or ‘diplomacy’.

18a         Boat docked and king carried in first-rate car (7)
FERRARI – The sort of boat you might cross a river in, with its final letter removed (docked), followed by the two letters which look like the alphanumeric rating of ‘first-rate’ wrapped around the Latin abbreviation for a king.

Image result for ferrari

20a         Overwhelm unfashionable figure (9)
OUTNUMBER – Another word for ‘unfashionable’ followed by another word for an arithmetic figure.

21a         Fuss about a section of flight (5)
STAIR – A (from the clue) inserted into a fuss or commotion, giving us one part of a flight of steps.

22a         Small winged insects covering old planes (7)
SMOOTHS – The definition here is a verb. Small followed by some, mainly nocturnal, winged insects with Old inserted into them.

23a         Weapons stock in farm our youngsters uncovered (7)
ARMOURY – Hidden in the clue.

24a         Do shake fist about cause of failure (4,2,5)
KISS OF DEATH – Anagram (about) of DO SHAKE FIST.


1d           Jerk bagging duck, with another fowl making brace (7)
TOUGHEN – This is another clue where it helps to realise that the definition is a verb. Another word for ‘jerk’ or ‘pull’ wrapped around the letter which looks like a cricketing duck, followed by a female bird.

2d           Builder regularly ignored bad knee in his address (5)
MAKER – Take the alternate letters (regularly ignored) of bAd KnEe, then wrap the way you would address a letter to a (male) builder around the result.

3d           Tolerate having grass on that garment (7)
SINGLET – ‘Grass’, as in ‘grass up’, followed by ‘tolerate’ or ‘allow’.

4d           Five siblings consuming case of choice fruit (7)
QUINCES – The word which describes five siblings from the same birth, wrapped around the outer letters (case) of ChoicE.

Image result for quinces

5d           One estimates broken spa repair (9)
APPRAISER – Anagram (broken) of SPA REPAIR.

6d           Upcoming book — this writer’s controversial (7)
EMOTIVE – Reverse (upcoming) a big, heavy book, then add another way of writing ‘this writer has’.

7d           Angry after twin’s betrayal (6-5)
DOUBLE-CROSS – Another word for a twin or doppelganger, followed by another word for ‘angry’.

9d           Vote I carry rotten fish (8,3)
ELECTRIC RAY – Another word for ‘vote for, followed by an anagram (rotten) of I CARRY.

Image result for electric ray

13d         Judges way to turn instruments holding article (9)
EVALUATES – Reverse (turn) an abbreviation of a type of urban way or road (New York’s run at right angles to its Streets), then add some archaic stringed instruments with an indefinite article inserted.

16d         With men in Kent, overhauled computer system (7)
NETWORK – Put together an abbreviation for With and the abbreviation for soldiers who are not officers, then wrap an anagram (overhauled) of KENT around the result.

17d         Sauce from South Africa; cricketer set up company (7)
TABASCO – Put together an abbreviation for South Africa and a short form of the word for a cricketer belonging to the side which is in, reverse (set up) the result, then add the abbreviation for Company.

18d         Send on striker (7)
FORWARD – Double definition: to send on mail to another address; or a striker on the football pitch.

19d         Bug dug centrally in timber if really required (2,1,4)
AT A PUSH – Another word for the sort of bug the intelligence services might use, followed by the middle letter (centrally) of dUg, with a type of hardwood timber wrapped around the result.

21d         Steps taken from singular snake, heading off (5)
SAMBA Singular, followed by an African venomous snake with its first letter removed (heading off).

[arve url=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?reload=9&v=03aJ8qOqo2Q” /]

The Quick Crossword pun BAA + LEAK + HORN = BARLEYCORN

61 comments on “DT 29280

  1. For a Friday, I thought this was on the friendly side. No real troubles found until I had just two remaining, the intersecting 2d and 7a. Once the bulb had flickered on for 7a, then 2d was a gimmee, but parsing it took me ages.

    Still, COTD has to be 7a for me, for the brilliant use of ‘stuck tight’.

    Many thanks to the setter and DT.

  2. For a Friday, I thought this was on the friendly side. No real troubles found until I had just two remaining, the intersecting 2d and 7a. Once the bulb had flickered on for 7a, then 2d was a gimmee, but parsing it took me ages.

    Still, COTD has to be 7a for me, for the brilliant use of ‘stuck tight’.

    Many thanks to the setter and DT

  3. Not sure who the setter is for this one – if it is Mr X then the non-X pangra has more letters missing than the X. Can’t be last week’s ‘convoluted’ setter as I didn’t take that long to solve it and I wasn’t grumpy when I’d finished.

    Thanks to the setter and DT. Now out to enjoy a walk in the beautiful sunshine before this weekend’s forecast storm arrives

  4. A very enjoyable solve today in a reasonable Friday time. Just right. Clever clueing. Nice anagrams at 11 and 24ac. What’s not too like? Thanks to the setter and to DT

  5. This was quite difficult (***)due to the time it took me to guess which words might fit the letters and reverse engineer them to see which might fit the clue. I found the wordplay unhelpful, but perhaps that was intentional(?). As far as enjoyment was concerned, it was rather tedious work so ** is my rating. I haven’t a favourite clue. Thanks to DT for the hints to the 4 clues I couldn’t parse. Thanks to the compiler, I daresay it did my brain good.

  6. For me this was the best puzzle of the week, no obscurities or general knowledge, any difficulty came from clever and misleading wordplay. As MP said…”what not to like”. As a reflection I’ve added a place to my podium, and standing upon it are 7a (though in all my years I’ve still only come acroas this definition of tight in crosswordland), the clever 22a, 1d and 19d. Hard to pick a favourite but 19d I’d go for 19d!
    Many thanks to the setter and to DT for a top notch review.

  7. Just made 6d impossible by being quite sure 8a was “impulse” an unrehearsed act.
    After 3 good Toughie days, today’s offering is by Elgar. Definitely one for the aficionados and not for me!

      1. I also wanted impulse but resisted the impulse to put it in as it didn’t quite seem to work. I read the toughie earlier and got 0 that’s zero answers. I mighty give that a miss myself.

  8. I found this a very enjoyable and satisfying solve without any real delays. Some really good clues, foremost among which was the excellent 7a. 19d also worth a mention.

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

  9. Top draw puzzle for me today, I found this to be quite difficult with some excellent clueing and going for a ***/****.
    Last in was 2d,which I failed to parse-thanks DT.
    Favourites were 1a,7d and 24a for the surface,
    Thanks to setter for an excellent finale to the week ,lets hope the rugby is of a similar standard!

  10. I also enjoyed this non-too-taxing crossword.

    I originally put the wrong last three letters in 9d but I could see immediately that the anagram didn’t work so I had to rethink it. I’ve never heard of this fish, but it had to be right.

    Many thanks to the setter and DT

  11. 3*/3*. This was a pleasant Friday puzzle which I thought at first was going to be a wrong envelope day when I tried to start as usual in the NW corner and moved on gloomily with precisely no answers in place. Then something clicked with the next three sectors going in smoothly apart from a little hiccough with the second word of 9d. Finally, when I returned to the NW, I couldn’t see the original problem. :unsure:

    I didn’t like 8a because the unrehearsed act is such a contrived and ugly “word”.

    My favourite was 1a with honourable mentions for 7a, 24a & 7d.

    Many thanks to Mr Ron and to DT.

  12. Somewhat of a Tuesday puzzle on a Friday completed at a gallop – **/***.
    Favourite – a toss-up between 10a and 18a – and the winner is 18a.
    Thanks to the setter and DT.

  13. There were several bunged-in/unparsed clues but thankfully DT eventually came to the rescue. Initially used different second word for 9d then football team for 23a but that caused problem with 21a/d so had to think again although I had never heard of the snake as indeed was the case with the space in 12a and the unrehearsed act in 8a. Surely 16d word existed long before computers. Thank you Mysteron and DT (I miss your combination with Giovanni).

    1. Giovanni’s alter ego Bradman is in today’s FT – free on line, just search for FT crossword

      1. TVM Sue – good to know. I have made a start but have things to do so will have to return to it later. Something to which to look forward.

  14. This one was slightly spoiled for me by some rather awkward surface reads although there were some goodies to be found – 7d probably being my favourite.
    Learnt something new by asking Mr G about the Quickie pun. Turns out that it’s a small measure still used in the UK sizing of shoes – I didn’t know that!

    Thanks to our setter and to DT for the review – you’re certainly getting variety on Fridays these days!

    1. For some reason the Qickie pun reminded me of John Barleycorn Must Die, an old album by Traffic. I bought the vinyl LP in about 1970 but goodness knows what happened to it – not heard it for decades! I think I’ll see if it’s on YouTube…

  15. Nice to have a friendly enjoyable Friday puzzle after last weeks Toughie. The only one that gave me pause was 3d, another bit of vernacular that is probably an Americanism.
    My fav was 24a.
    Thx to all

  16. Nice gentle end to the week. Spent a while longer than I should have on 1a thinking of a word for busy, which therefore made it my clue of the day. Thanks to all.

  17. A slow start – especially with the suspect 2D, as I can’t say I google ‘m***r’ when looking for a person to rebuild my wall (which has been knocked down twice by vehicles), but agree with the team that this was an enjoyable puzzle a 2/4* for me. Thanks to setter and DT.

  18. Pretty straightforward with the only hold up caused by bunging the wrong 3 letter fish in 9d (eel) which then led to me sticking in the Gunners as the weapons stock in 23a. Once sorted I finished in a shade over 2.5* time.
    22a was my last in & is my COTD.
    Thanks to all.

  19. I found this excellent puzzle tricky in places, a good challenge and very enjoyable. I stymied myself for a while by recklessly bunging in AS A MUST for 19d just because it fitted the first 3 checkers already in the grid. Too many very good clues to isolate a favourite. 3* / 4*

    1. * If you enjoy the magic of improvised music and dance, then take a look at this YT video. It’s a group of young, modern professional dancers joining a street musician in a city square in Valencia. A fusion of flamenco and jazz – exhilarating!

  20. Pleasing challenge with a full house (rare on a Friday) with Mrs 2P contributing the hot sauce. Definitely a Mon/Tuesday standard.

    Thanks to the setter and DT

  21. Lesson for today…
    9d – First word ‘electric’ second word must be ‘eel’…no need to check the parsing…
    23a – First letter ‘A’, 7 letters definition ‘weapons stock’, obviously ‘arsenal’…again no need to check the parsing…
    Here endeth the lesson…
    So deservedly scratched my balding pate for hours…Grrr
    Nice puzzle, not difficult, provided you don’t bung-in anwers.
    Thanks all

  22. Really enjoyed this one! All fairly and in many cases cleverly clued and just challenging enough….

  23. Reasonable puzzle 😃 ***/*** got bogged down with 6d/8a 😬 Favourites 7a & 22a Thanks to DT for the blog and to the unknown Setter

  24. Enjoyed this but didn’t find it easy. The good thing was that the easily solvable clues were scattered around, giving lots of checking letters, so many were bung ins. I found the unravelling hugely difficult, e.g., my first thought for 1a was the correct answer but I could not understand why. I bunged it in anyway and waited for the hints to know why. Another obvious one was 2d, but why?
    Fave is the quartet around the edge, certainly helped a lot.
    Thanks to our Saturday setter and to Deep Threat for his enlightenment!

  25. I enjoyed this thank you setter and DT but I had a block with 2a kept thinking part of the clue should be ‘opened’ not ‘unopened’

  26. Very enjoyable solve that took a little while to get a starting foothold. Spent time trying to work out how MASON could work for 2d until the checkers ruled that out. Despite not having the ‘almost pangram’ it did have a proXimal feeling to me but I have been wrong before.
    Thanks Mr Ron and DT.

  27. Thanks to DT for the review and to commenters for comments; X-spotters should consider the perimeter entries.

      1. I’m a poet and I know it. Hope I don’t blow it. Merusa maybe you can win the Nobel Prize For Literature just like Bob Dylan

  28. After yesterday’s Ray T. challenge was relieved to find this somewhat easier. Falling in two aforementioned traps didn’t help, but a reasonable solve, and quite enjoyable. Thanks to setter and Deep Threat.

  29. I admit to finding this very difficult but now, having seen who set it, I’ll let myself off!
    I didn’t start until late this afternoon and it took me a long time – came to the blog and the first thing I saw was a comment from proXimal which meant he had set it so I instantly went :phew: the marbles are intact!!
    I took ages to get started and even longer to finish it – I always find proXimal difficult but do enjoy his crosswords – sometimes more with the benefit of hindsight!!
    I think my favourite was 7a so that’s it from me today – thanks to proXimal and to DT.

  30. I enjoyed that. Just about the right level of Friday trickiness and some nice hints from DT helped me over the line. and Thanks to ProXimal too for a novel way to display his eXiness!

  31. Was somewhat dismayed to see a** rating, as , though I eventually completed it, I made it more of a ****.

    However, seeing the majority of the commenters sailed, flew, skated or galloped through it, I decided it was just me. (And possibly one or two others) ! Thanks to setter and hinter.


    1. Well. For me I won’t set the difficulty ratings because we are such a varied bunch. I also have no idea of how they are supposed to work. Just have a go and use whatever help you need

  32. Steady solve, not as easy as I first thought.
    Some good entertaining clues.
    Thanks to setter & DT

  33. I thought that this was on a par with yesterday’s, difficult, but not too difficult, with nothing that couldn’t be solved from the clues. In other words an absolute treat, more of the same please. Favourite amongst many 24a. Many thanks to ProXimal and DT. An absence of hmmphs from me again today.

  34. Many thanks to Jose for the dance clip from Valencia- really exhilarating,( especially at 6am )and brought back brilliant memories of my holiday there last year. Also I enjoyed the crossword and needed some help from DT so thanks all round.

  35. Having looked at the lovely photos of the birthday bash, I have a somewhat indelicate question. As most of the party goers are of a *ahem* certain age, do we know if there are any teenagers or twentysomethings out there who are cruciverbalists?….or is it a ‘dying’ pastime?🥴

    1. Mr K surveyed this amongst other things here
      ‘Navy Clues’ is a good example of a new young setter so no, I don’t think it’s going to die out as a pastime
      I can’t think of one person I have gone through a cryptic with who hasn’t become immediately fascinated

  36. 2*/3*….
    liked 14A ” dodgy American quietly infiltrating group (7) ”
    not sure how 9D is part of the XX ??

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