DT 29285 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 29285

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 29285

Hints and tips by pommers

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ***

Hola from the Vega Baja where the unseasonably warm weather continues.  Normal service is forecast for next week though so I’m enjoying the warmth while I can.

I don’t know the setter of today’s puzzle and the style felt unfamiliar so perhaps we have another new setter.  It’s not too hard and there seem to be a lot of anagrams or partial anagrams so I know a lot of you will be pleased.  There’s quite a bit of chestnutty stuff and a couple of definitions that don’t quite work for me but overall I quite enjoyed 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           Professional US magazine highly esteemed, grew rapidly (12)
PROLIFERATED:  A charade of an abbreviation of professional, a four letter American magazine (not Time but the other one) and a word meaning highly esteemed.

9a           District gets prize, but not the first one (4)
WARD:  A district used in council elections is a prize but it’s lost the A from the beginning (not the first one).

10a         Claims of Yorkshire town in need of hotel (9)
ARROGATES:  A spa town in N. Yorkshire without the initial H (wanting Hotel).  Not a common word but fortunately for me I’ve seen this wordplay more than once before.

12a         Start with nothing at home — get equipment installed (6)
ORIGIN:  Take an O (nothing) and the usual two letters for home and insert (get . . . installed) a word for equipment.

13a         Reading University agent about to spill the beans (8)
PERUSING:  Start with U(niversity) and an agent or salesman and reverse them (about) and follow with a word for to spill the beans or confess.

15a         Criticise this set, unorthodox believers in divine nature? (10)
PANTHEISTS:  A word for to criticise followed by an anagram (unorthodox) of THIS SET.

16a         Language to get rid of when seen as heartless (4)
ERSE:  A word for get rid of or rub out has its central letter removed (heartless).

18a         Uninspiring side, second to finish (4)
TAME:  Take another word for a side, as in a cricket XI, and move the second letter to the end (second to finish).

20a         Saint troubled when joining in religious feast, showing dislike of ceremony (10)
PURITANISM:  Anagram (troubled) of SAINT inserted into a Jewish religious feast. According to Collins it’s a Jewish holiday, the Feast of Lots, celebrated on the 14th day of Adar, commemorating the deliverance of the Jews by Esther from a general massacre plotted by Haman

23a         River traversed by solitary person who lives near the Thames? (8)
LONDONER:  Start with the river that runs through Sheffield and around it (traversed by) put a word for a solitary or hermit.

24a         One of the unpaid trainees? Bury has any number (6)
INTERN:  The usual term for to bury followed by the letter denoting any number.

26a         Celebrity, showing no interest, we hear? That’s right (9)
STARBOARD:  A celebrity followed by a word which sounds like (we hear) a word meaning showing no interest.

27a         Old measure established by British inventor (4)
BELL:  An old measure of approximately 45 inches is placed next to a B(ritish) to get the chap credited with the invention of the telephone.

28a         Troubled Penny toddles around, showing hope is lost? (12)
DESPONDENTLY:  Anagram (troubled) of PENNY TODDLES.


2d           What tells you to stop getting led astray — with proper protection (3,5)
RED LIGHT:  An anagram (astray) of LED has a word meaning proper or correct placed around it (with . . . protection) and then it’s split (3,5).

3d           See promotion offering lots (4)
LOAD:  The usual two letter word meaning see followed by the usual two letter promotion or publicity.

4d           I rant terribly when sat on by police? Definitely (3,7)
FOR CERTAIN:  Start with an anagram (terribly) of I RANT and before it (sat on in a down clue) put another word for the police and split it (3,7).

5d           Artist gets disease — it must be something eaten (6)
RAGOUT:  The usual artist followed by a painful disease which causes joints to swell, often in the toes.

6d           Cheaper attire falling apart after short time (7)
TATTIER:  T (short Time) followed by an anagram (falling apart) of ATTIRE.

7d           Greediest man involved in quarrel (12)
DISAGREEMENT:  Anagram (involved) of GREEDIEST MAN.

8d           Part of speech in which nothing initially is ruled out (6)
RATION:  A speech from which the initial O (nothing) has been removed (ruled out).  Hands up those who were trying to find something to take an N (Nothing initially) out of.

11d         Army capturing Greek character with 21 suffering put in 9? (12)
HOSPITALISED:  A word for an army (4) placed around a Greek letter (2) followed by an anagram (suffering) of the answer to 21 down gives a word meaning to be put in the answer to 9 across, not the council area but another meaning of the word.  I’m not keen on clues like this as you can’t really solve it before you have 9a.

14d         Tiny worker, one going round in circles (6,4)
MINUTE HAND:  This one is going round in circles on a clock face.  It’s a word for tiny followed by one of the usual workers.  I tried LITTLE for the tiny part but it rather made a mess of 20a, although it fits with both 15a and 23a so I was pretty sure of it for a while.

17d         Cold girl — one starts to beguile all lovers as man-eater (8)
CANNIBAL:  C(old) followed by a girl’s name (3), the letter that looks like one and finally the first letters (starts to) of Beguile All Lovers.

19d         Servants providing repasts around Belfast etc. (7)
MENIALS:  Belfast etc is a reference to Northern Ireland. Around the two letters for the province put some repasts.

21d         More than one model is accepting contract (6)
IDEALS:  Take the IS from the clue and insert (accepting) a word for a contract as in what we left the EU with.

22d         Volume repeatedly deficient? That’s a mistake (6)
BOOBOO:  Take a word for the type of volume that you find in a library and remove the last letter (deficient) and then repeat it.

25d         Deity offering bold sign oddly missed (4)
ODIN:  Remove the odd letters (oddly missed) from BOLD SIGN to get a Norse god.

I haven’t got a stand-out favourite today but worth a mention are 13a, 26a and 17d.

Quick crossword pun:   PURSE     +     WADERS     =     PERSUADERS

79 comments on “DT 29285

  1. I wasn’t sure about the setter either – I started off solving the Acrosses flowing quite nicely but slowed down after that and finished in a time that was a lot more than 2*.

    No particular favourites but I will say if you solve this and then go on to the Toughie, you’ll definitely experience a bit of deja vu!

    Thanks to the Mysteron and Pommers – chilly with waves of rain here – I think they are preparing us for Storm Dennis at the weekend :(

  2. 3.5*/1.5*. Funny how opinions can differ. Having read pommers’ preamble, I feel as if I have solved a different puzzle to him!

    Although the cluing was accurate, I didn’t find this much fun and I am sorry to say I found it a bit of a slog. 15a & 20a might have been lifted straight from a Friday puzzle in 2019 and we even had a dodgy homophone (doubtless fine for some) and a vague girl.

    My favourite was the Quickie pun.

    Thanks to the setter and to pommers.

  3. An interesting puzzle with an unfamiliar flavour to it (2*). A new compiler perhaps? Thank to whoever set it as I found it most enjoyable(4*). I liked 11d,1a, 10a, 15a and 26a but there were lots of good clues. Thanks to Pommers for the hints. Carry on making hay while the sun shines. We are battening down the hatches for another storm.

  4. I felt with a few of the clues that I was solving a Giovanni puzzle, but I have no idea who set this.
    A bit of a mixed bag, but some I liked. 2*/2* for me.

    Thanks to setter, and to pommers.

    1. I had the same ‘Giovanni feeling’ especially when solving 15a and 20a.
      I thought the puzzle was pretty good. My podium entries were 13a, 5d and 14d.
      Thanks to whomsoever and pommers.

  5. I’m not really sure what I made of this one. I finished it, but I don’t really think I can say I enjoyed it.

    10a was a new word for me but I got it from the checkers and wordplay then I looked it up.

    I wasn’t keen on 20a. My last one in was 27a and I originally put in the wrong measure but couldn’t parse it so guessed it was wrong and when I got the message that I had something wrong I knew it had to be that, so revisited it.

    I liked 26a and 2d.

    Many thanks to Pommers and setter

  6. We both enjoyed this one, and like the previous comments we both felt it was a new setter. A satisfying solve, but not a strenuous workout.
    14d was a difficulty, frustrating 20a until we realised the other perfectly acceptable answer. Thanks to all.

  7. I found this quite hard, **** for difficulty but satisfying,
    Three new words for me which I constructed correctly from their clues.
    Many thanks to the setter and to pommers.

  8. A bit of a mixed bag for me, felt it was on the whole enjoyable but somewhat spoiled by a couple that involved convoluted surfaces, (11d, terrible clue on every level) plus a couple of relative obscurities (15 and 20a).
    I also did wonder if Giovanni had slipped in unannounced?
    The plusses outweighed the niggles though and I quite liked the partial homophone at 26a, the clever 13a plus 2, 14 and 22d.
    Many thanks to the setter and to the admirable Pommers for making it sound so easy.

  9. Struggling with this — after one pass I just have 2 acrosses, 3 downs, and a general feeling I’m doing this 28a.

    I’d been looking forward to Beam being on Toughie duty today. Not because I’ll attempt that Toughie, but because I rarely get far with a Ray T backpager, so I was hoping it’d be a setter I could get on the wavelength of. Ah, well.

    I haven’t looked at the hints yet (except to confirm that the few answer I’ve got are correct). Pommers, thank you for the tip about there being lots of anagrams — I’ll go looking for some more. And I’m sure I’ll be back later (or possibly even sooner) making use of your hints.

    For 28a, can anybody explain what “around” is doing there? It can’t be the anagram indicator, because “troubled” is doing that. (And it can’t be that PENNY and TODDLE have separate anagram indicators, because their letters are intermingled.) Ta.

    1. I think it is there to help the surface Smylers. Thanks for your help the other night. I did manage to open what you sent. I still haven’t received it from the DT though. By the way I much preferred the times when I only had a few answers in after several passes and each clue had to be tortuously squeezed out over several hours. The feeling of satisfaction if I managed to finish was wonderful. Now I start these puzzles expecting to finish them. It’s not as much fun and the blame lies jointly with Big Dave and Saint Sharon who have never discouraged me from carrying on with my weekly blogs.

    2. I think that 28a is trying to imply that the troubled Penny is toddling around despondently because she’s lost all hope but it’s one of the bits that doesn’t quite work for me.

      1. Wouldn’t the clue work better without the first word, then around would become the anagram indicator?

  10. The little hand joined in for a short while. Solved both 16 and 18 across but couldn’t parse either so thanks to Pommers for that. Solved 11d from the Army and the Greek character and then used it to validate 21d. It’s a chillaxing day today. So I’m on the sofa with yesterday’s Samuel Toughie and today’s Beam. If I knew how to use the TV I’d make it perfect with episodes of The Simpsons.
    Thanks to the setter for a lengthy workout

      1. Would Angellov get me out of moderation? – apologies but these days I frequently have to fill in my name/email address and I must have committed a typo.

  11. I appreciate that to construct a suitable clue it is sometimes necessary to resort to using some GK, but I really dislike these clues that have such obscure GK that ordinary mortals like me cannot solve it without some digital help. 20a and 10a were of this ilk. Surely the very definition of GK is that it is “General” and not “Specialised”?

    Shame as there were some good clues like 26a which made me smile.

    For me a ***/**

    Nevertheless thanks to Setter and Pommers, I certainly do not have the skills to do what you do!

  12. There are a few commenters with whom I am normally in full agreement, but not this morning. I enjoyed this once I had started to think along the same lines as the setter. 13 and 26a share the top of my podium today. 20a taught me more than I ever need to know about Jewish feasts. Whether I shall remember it or not is open to conjecture.

    Thanks to our setter and to pommers.

    1. It must be a Shropshire thing, as I totally agree with my fellow county-man. 10a was a new word learned and 20a broadened my knowledge of world religions. 14a was my personal favourite. An enjoyable solve, which also had me wondering if Mr Manley had some input today. Thanks to both setter and Pommers.

  13. As is frequently the case, Mysteron’s bark was worse than the bite. Didn’t parse 18a or 10a except by presuming an apostrophe.
    Belfast etc. = NI in 19a is a bit flimsy and 11d was certainly convoluted/cryptic. Didn’t know old measure so bunged in 27a. Would be surprised to learn this was a DG product. Thank you Mysteron and pommers.

  14. Definitely a curate’s egg for me with several Hmms completed at a gallop **/**.
    Amongst others, the enjoyment spoilt by the obscure religious feast in 20a – when our esteemed blogger has to write an essay to explain it there is not much else to say.
    Like others I solved 11d before solving 21d.
    14d was my most liked even with its air of familiarity.
    Thanks to the setter and pommers.

  15. I got off to a good start but gradually slowed down once the head scratching started. I got there in the end with the help of hints for 8d (yes, I did try looking for a part of speech from which to remove nothing) and 12a. The latter was a case of not seeing what was right before me.

    Still, a very enjoyable puzzle. No real favourites but I did like 10a, 13a, 1d and 4d. Also, 5d gets a mention because I used to suffer with that particular disease.

    Grateful thanks to the setter and to Pommers for the hints.

  16. *** for difficulty today but managed to finish it with help from Pommers. Liked 10 across best of all. What a good word it is for putting people down who think they know what you think or imply. ” You may infer all you like but do not dare to arrogate to yourself the knowledge of what I implied.”

  17. Interesting , but a bit of slog . I seemed to be left with lots of 4 letter clues to parse at the end : grrr ! and failed miserably on two of them . I’m not sure whether I enjoyed this ? I’ll sit and reflect on it . Thanks to pommers and the setter .

  18. A bit of a curates egg today, somewhere around a **/***.
    Failed to parse 18a-thanks Pommers, and originally, like others, put in the old dance for 27a until the penny dropped.
    Straightforward apart from these.
    Favourite was 11d as it was different and I like clues which involve other clues.

  19. A real mixed bag of very tricky clues and some nice ones. I did like 22a, 26a and 23a. I thought 21d, 3d & 2d very poor indeed.
    Two new words in 27a and 10a at least new to me. Far too religious for my liking.
    Thx for hints

  20. Was expecting something tougher for Thursday but at least I learnt a new word courtesy of 10a. Favourites were 13a and 26a. **/** for me. Thanks to all.

  21. My stomach dropped when I read Pommers ( or BD’s) difficulty rating…..I got into all sorts of trouble with this, for the same reasons.

    I insisted on little hand, which completely prevented me from getting 20a, even if the Jewish festival wasn’t unknown to me (apart from the Eugene Levy film which I remembered after reading the hint).

    I didn’t know the 4 letter language or the claims synonym.

    I eventually got 11d, but not before writing it all down. It was more like one of those GCHQ logic teasers, and rivalled the computerised fol-de-rols of our new car……….another degree level seminar still underway and requiring telephone calls to the dealer “Why IS there a stop/start error message flashing on the infotainment screen? Why do we even have a word called “ infotainment”?

    All in all, at least a 3* for me.
    Never mind – thanks to Pommers and to the tricksy setter.

  22. Thanks to the setter and to Pommers for the review and hints. I agree that it was a real mixed bag. On the first pass, I only got a couple of answers. Then managed to get some headway in the lower half. Eventually whittled them down to 8d & 20a, the latter being the last one in. Had never heard of the Jewish festival. I liked the surface of 2d. Favourite was 14d which made me laugh, a real penny drop moment. Was 4*/2* for me.

  23. Hmm, curate’s egg was what came to my mind. But as usual, grateful to all for the entertainment and head scratching, keeping the old brain cells working.

  24. I think I enjoyed this. It was a steady solve but maybe a short of entertainment – for me, anyway. Can’t pick a favourite today.

  25. I rather thought the setter might be Dada given the multi part clues and my inability to get a foothold anywhere. Like many other comments (and the same for Dada) there was no enjoyment here which rather means the exercise is pointless.

  26. Oh well, a real mixed reception today. I had vaguely heard of the Jewish feast but that’s probably a dim memory from when I was at university and shared a house for a couple of years with a Jewish guy, who incidentally ended up being Best Man at my wedding. The language is worth remembering as it turns up in crosswords quite often (if you want obscure language look at today’s Toughie!) and it’s a useful string of letters.

    I too thought about the Don as setter (because of the obscurities) but somehow it just doesn’t feel to me like one of his. Perhaps the setter will drop in to claim responsibility.

  27. Not much to say that hasn’t been said – a bit dull – with a few tricky ones. 28A didn’t work for me either, not the best, but filled in the time on a wet day. A 2/1.5* for me. Thanks to Pommers.

  28. Yuk! 5* for convolutedness (I have checked, it is a word) and minus 1* for enjoyment, imvho. Apologies to Mx Setter, & thanks to pommers.

  29. Well I found this an enjoyable & fairly tricky challenge which I completed unaided in ****time. I wonder if I was the only one to spend an eon trying to fit Time into 1a & needless to say 20a was a bung in.
    Sorry to hear the weather back home is so ghastly – the only storm brewing in sunny Joburg was my mounting irritation with another misdirected shot on the golf course…..
    Thanks to the setter & Pommers.

  30. Can’t say that this one ‘floated my boat’ seemed to be lacking any fun element. Ah well – each to their own.
    I did fall into the 14d trap which made 20a difficult – our setter obviously didn’t learn how to tell the time the same way as many of us did!

    Thanks to Mr Ron and to Pommers for the review – am I right in thinking that the singer of the 23a clip was a member of The Monkees?

    1. Well spotted! The track was on his first album (published in 1965 so before the Monkees) which was imaginatively titled “David Jones”.

    2. By that stage he was known as Davy Jones and was one of the Monkees. He passed away a few years ago.

      1. I believe he was a) in coronation street as Ena Sharples grandson b) an apprentice jump jockey before he found stardom

    1. Hi Hoofit – ‘of Yorkshire town’ equates to Harrogate’s as in Harrogate’s residents

    2. Sorry – dereliction of duty. Completely forgot to mention the S. Mea culpa – I won’t do it again until the next time I do.

  31. Yes I can’t work out the final letter either for 10a !? Found this to be a tough solve even **** but clever clues once worked through

  32. First read through produced no answers in the acrosses and my heart sank, but the downs were kinder. This was major tricky for me, I had to use far too much e-help for my taste.
    I never did solve 8d or 21d. As is usual for me, the religious clues, 15a and 20a in particular, were no problem. I also found that I’m unable to spell 17d, didn’t know I needed two “ens”, maybe I’ll remember.
    Fave was 14d, followed by 10a ‘cos I learned a new word.
    Thanks to our setter and to pommers for sorting out that lot.

    1. The usual “galloper” has actually claimed another gallop today !
      I didn’t think anybody would be galloping today, but seems I was mistaken !

      1. Well, whatever the weather, we can usually expect “completion at a gallop”. One day, I hope to rise to A-Level status; that said, the daily DT crosswords – and this column, are always good fun.

  33. Not for me.
    I can’t create crosswords so I won’t say any more than that.
    Thanks all.

  34. 10a is the type of clue we love to hate as the GK required is so parochial. The hint does not explain where the final S comes from but guess it is from “of Yorkshire town” indicating a possessive. The Jewish feast was new to us and caused some delay too.
    Certainly took us longer than 2 star solving time.
    Thanks Mr Ron and pommers.

  35. Quite enjoyed this.
    Liked the construction in 18a and ticked 12a and 4d.
    The latter really made me laugh.
    Thanks to the setter and to Pommers for the review.

  36. A hard solve for me today with a few mistakes that made it even harder.
    Thanks to setter and Pommers for review.

  37. I feel a bit like a petulant teenager (sadly that was a long time ago… being a teenager, that is!) but after too many minutes staring at this and with only five answers, I decided I couldn’t be bovvvvered!! Thanks to Pommers for the review and the setter but sadly this one is off to the recycling bin!

  38. This was tougher than an average back pager, I’d say 3.5*. Reading the comments, most rated it three stars or above, with several abandoning ship early in the proceedings ! Only one commenter doing a Frankie Dettori impression. Two stars really would be for the elite. Mind you, I always say we’re doing a broadsheet cryptic crossword, it should always be challenging, or at least thought provoking.

    Thanks for the hints, and to the setter for the challenge.

    1. I rated it two stars. That reflects my solving time. I am not going to say how long that time was, but for example… if one star were to represent x amount of time, then I solved the puzzle within a 2x time frame. Each x could be 10 minutes, 30 minutes, or 1 hour etc. I never specified what the parameters were.

    2. What Jezza said, although I have revealed my X in private conversations with several people on the blog and will tell you if you ask.

      1. I’m getting nearer to CrypticSue times which are ridiculously short..But sometimes……….Oh dear

  39. Can’t say I found this one to be much fun. Too much GK thrown in, and split clues are my pet peeve, when they are part anagram and part synonym, or a name. I spent my early years by the Thames in Twickenham and Richmond and have never thought of myself as a Londoner, although I believe both are regarded as part of London these days.

    I put a smiley face by my favourite clues as I work through, and sad face for those I’m not fond of, and sadly the sad faces outweighed the smiley ones. But just my humble opinion. Thanks to Pommers and to the setter. Hope none of you are affected by Storm Dennis.

  40. I too put little hand in for 14d and couldn’t for the life of me see why it was wrong which of course made 20a unsolvable. I needed the hint for 20a to show me the error of my ways but I wouldn’t have got 20a without the hint even if I had put the right answer in! I had to Google “feast of lots” to get the the answer. Who’s ever heard of that if you’re not Jewish? Hmmph. As I’m in full hmmph mode I’m not going to nominate a favourite. Thanks to all concerned.

  41. More like a *** puzzle to me. Hard to get on the setters wavelength I thought. Agree too, as others have said, 15a & 20a new to me. 10a a bit of a stretch and agree that the 11d type clues are (or can be) frustrating to solve. Nonetheless, liked 26a, 2d, 4d & 14d for my favourites.
    Thanks to setter and Pommers

  42. Not enjoyable. Agree with Bizzie Lizzie. Gave up. Hate part anagram part synonym sounds like add a bit of a clue not yet solved. Setter trying to be too clever by half. Remember subscribers pay for the privilege of pitting their wits against the compiler but I am getting tired of the lack of enjoyment. I forsee a cancellation coming ul.

  43. Not enjoyable for me though I accept it will have appealed to some. One of the worst aspects of 14d is that second hand fits the clue better than the answer and until you have checkers there is no way of knowing. I agree with several others that specific knowledge should not be required to solve even the most tricky puzzle. In my book 10, 20 and 27a are not in any way GK. I think the rating given by the reviewer indicates they are wired very differently to me.

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