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DT 29286

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 29286

Hints and tips by Deep Threat

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

Good morning from South Staffs. A bright start to the day in the lull before the next storm blows in.

Plenty of misdirection in today’s puzzle, so a certain amount of lateral thinking was required, and I solved it in a time which was on the border between my ** and *** times.

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           Knocked off game, having urge for food (7,3)
POACHED EGG – The game here is of the furry or feathery kind. A word for ‘knocked off game’ followed by ‘to urge’.

Image result for poached egg

6a           Burlesque outfit with small opening (4)
SKIT – An abbreviation for Small followed by one’s outfit or equipment.

9a           Senior officers facing fanatic — hairy hard case, soft inside (7)
COCONUT – To instances of the abbreviation for a commanding officer, followed by someone who is very keen on something.

Image result for coconut

10a         Dump where 4×4’s taken, changing directions (7)
OFFLOAD – In the case of most 4×4 vehicles, this is where they are seldom taken, but with the Right replaced by Left.

12a         Treatment misrepresented as hippy theory (13)
PHYSIOTHERAPY – Anagram (misrepresented) of AS HIPPY THEORY.

14a         Strong drink from Spain with pretty wrapping papers (8)
ESPRESSO – To get this strong but non-alcoholic drink, start with the IVR code for Spain, then add a two-letter word which could act as an adverb like ‘pretty’, wrapped around a generic term for the newspapers.

15a         The woman with no ring in love gets put off (6)
SHELVE – The pronoun for ‘the woman’ followed by L(o)VE (from the clue) with the ring-shaped letter removed.

17a         Upper-class, boarding public transport? A shock (6)
TRAUMA – Put the letter which signifies ‘upper-class’ into a public transport vehicle, then add A (from the clue).

19a         Row initiated by father on edge (8)
FRONTIER – Put together the abbreviated form of ‘father’ used as form of address for a priest, ON (from the clue) and a row of seating in a grandstand or theatre.

21a         Informed of weekend ball, go crazy (13)

24a         Nature scenes, peculiarly English (7)
ESSENCE – Anagram (peculiarly) of SCENES, followed by English.

25a         Vow the Parisian frames is love (7)
IDOLISE – A two-word (1,2) phrase which may be part of a vow, followed by a French definite article wrapped around IS (from the clue).

26a         Miss ending after missing beginning (4)
LOSE – Remove the first letter from a word for an ending, as in ‘—– of play’.

27a         Party host’s timely order to give guests present? (10)
ATTENDANCE – If you split the answer (2,3,5) you could have an instruction when to start a particular form of entertainment.


1d           Best tool (4)
PICK – Double definition: the best of a bunch; or a digging tool.

2d           Officer in police operation undercuts Capone, offering diluted booze (7)
ALCOPOP – Put together the shortened first name of Mr Capone, a familiar term for a police officer, and an abbreviation for ‘operation’.

3d           Sweet thing but thick-skinned for starters (8,5)
HONEYDEW MELON – Cryptic definition of a type of fruit often served as a first course with dinner.

Image result for honeydew melon

4d           Spot check about the compiler? Most ridiculous (8)
DOTTIEST – A small spot followed by a word for ‘check’ wrapped around the pronoun for the compiler of the crossword.

5d           Golf disaster, filling in the holes? (5)
GROUT – The letter represented by Golf in the NATO alphabet, followed by a disastrous outcome to a battle or contest.

Image result for grout

7d           Stuffing for tortilla won kudos — that’s upset pedant (4-3)
KNOW-ALL – Hidden in reverse (that’s upset) in the clue.

8d           Cuddlesome companions turn stomachs after time (5,5)
TEDDY BEARS – Put together an abbreviation for Time, a turn in a stream or current, and ‘stomachs’ or ‘endures’.

11d         Family butcher’s business? (5,3,5)
FLESH AND BLOOD – A metaphorical expression for one’s close family, which is also what a butcher deals with in the course of his business.

13d         Exit toll (5,5)
DEATH KNELL – Cryptic definition of how one’s exit from this life may be marked.

16d         Realistic fertile blossoms covering uniform (4-4)
TRUE-LIFE – Anagram (blossoms) of FERTILE wrapped around the letter represented by Uniform in the NATO alphabet.

18d         Spurs soar after developing boxing exercise (7)
AROUSES – Anagram (after developing) of SOAR wrapped around (boxing) a verb meaning ‘exercise’.

20d         Certain kind of Russian should avoid south of Portugal? (7)
IBERIAN – Remove the South from the description of someone from one of the chillier parts of Russia, to get someone from Portugal (or Spain).

22d         Lived and died on ridge as result of assault (5)
DWELT – An abbreviation for Died, followed by a raised ridge on the skin caused by a blow.

23d         Simple to be married before, in an old-fashioned way (4)
MERE – An abbreviation for Married, followed by an archaic (in an old-fashioned way) word for ‘before’.

The Quick Crossword pun FURRY + LICK + QUID = FAIRY LIQUID

56 comments on “DT 29286

  1. That will teach me. I’ve finding the cryptic crosswords pretty easy recently, and was getting rather cocky. I found I had to work really hard today. Fun though. Favourite clue 25a.

  2. Well, that was worthy of a Toughie slot, in my opinion. I really didn’t think I was going to finish it without help, the SW holding out until the last.

    But, perseverance paid off, and I completed the grid in ****/***** time. Some of the synonyms were a little stretched (again) in my view, but nevertheless a thoroughly entertaining puzzle. My last two in are my joint COTD at 18d and 26a.

    Many thanks to the setter and DT

  3. Both misdirection and obfuscation made this difficult (like DT I just went into *** time) and quite frustrating rather than wholly enjoyable (** for enjoyment). Thanks to DT for the hints, which helped with the 5 reverse-engineered bung-ins that I was unable to parse. No favourite clues today. Thanks to the setter.

  4. 2*/3*. I wasn’t over-enamoured with the definitions for 9a & 3d but, those aside, I thought this was a light, pleasant Friday puzzle. 27a was my favourite.

    Many thanks to the setter and to DT.

  5. Reasonably tough, but fair I thought. 18d was my final entry, 1a made me chuckle but my favourite was the topical Valentine-themed 25a. All very enjoyable and well clued throughout.

    Many thanks to our setter for the challenge and to DT.

  6. I miss DG Fridays but it’s good to still be able to enjoy DT hints. I don’t always venture into the Toughie but this was nicely testing. 9a pedant would seem to stretch synonym a bit and 10a and 27a only just work for me. 25a was Fav. Thank you Messrs. Ron and DT.

    1. Angelov, I was worried about 27a at first until I realised that the definition was “guests present” and not just “present”.

  7. I thought this was OK for a Friday backpager with a few laughs along the way like 9a, 10a and 27a. Overall **/*** for me. Thanks to the setter and DT.

    For all you romantics out there you should try today’s Toughie, if you have not already done so. 🤐

  8. I didn’t think I was going to get on with this one at all on first read through, but they gradually began to fall and I slowly got on wavelength.

    I had two possible answers for 26a and couldn’t parse either of them so chose the wrong one (the wrong kind of miss). When the iPad told me I had something wrong I changed it to the other one and that was correct, so thanks to DT for the explanation, obvious once you know.

    My favourite was 20d. Like RD I wasn’t a bit keen on 9a.

    Thanks,basso, to the setter.

  9. An enjoyable puzzle. Held up in the south east by having bones as part of one of the answers until I realised my error.

  10. A bit of a head scratcher with a few Hmms and raised eyebrows which was not that enjoyable completed at a fast canter – 2.5*/2.5*.
    Difficult to find a favourite, but I did like 25a.
    Thanks to the setter and DT.

  11. I found it quite difficult to get on the setter’s wavelength and only gained any momentum once I had quite a few checkers in. It really was a case of bunging in the definition then trying to justify it, 8d being a prime example. Looking back on it I thought it was very cryptic but quite clever, and it took longer than it really should have.
    I liked 1a and 14a as it makes a decent breakfast!
    Many thanks to the setter and to DT for his excellent review…and Happy Valentines Day to all.

  12. I thought that this was excellent. Well-constructed clues, smooth surfaces, no obscurities and a good helping of humour – what’s not to like?
    Top clues for me were 9a, 10a, 5d and 8d.
    Thanks to our mystery setter and Deep Threat.

  13. I agree with Gazza – having done a number of things since solving this crossword earlier on this morning, I can’t remember which two clues held up me almost as long as the rest put together, but they really did

    Thanks to DT and the Friday Mysteron

    Even if you think you ‘can’t do an Elgar’ with or without a theme, please do try at least 1a even if you then don’t go any further

  14. I found this puzzle to be very difficult for a back pager and harder to solve than many toughies-yesterdays for example , not on my wavelength I’m afraid.
    Has to be a****/***.
    Notwithstanding this , there were certainly some excellent clues and surfaces like13d and10a’
    Thanks to DT for the pic in 5d, a worse grouter than me!-good clue by the way.

  15. This was definitely not a walk in the park. However, it was enjoyable once the wheels started to turn. I needed the hints quite a lot today ( thank you, Deep Threat) but I was pleased to have been able to solve many under my own steam. Consequently, some of the latter constitute my favourites. They are 1a, 10a, 17a and 13d (I have rung a few of these in my time as a bellringer) but my COTD is 25a.

    Thank you to the setter and, again, DT for the hints.

    I hope Dennis is kind to you all.

  16. Quite a struggle, managed to complete, a few, like 9A didn’t work for me, but quite enjoyable. A 3/3*.

  17. I had no idea why 8d was the answer either. I could understand the t for time and eddy for turn but bears as a synonym for stomachs (as a verb) seems weak to me. 27a favourite.

  18. Hmm nasty little thing I thought. Should have been saved for the Toughie.
    No enjoyable clues but a lot of awful ones
    Thx for the hints

  19. Luckily for me I found this a **/*** unlike the stinker on the back page 2 days ago, just goes to show how differently we all see things.
    9a came to me by coincidental accident as my first attempt at 1a was coconut shy, as a knocking off game!

    Thanks to DT and the stetter

  20. A nice puzzle which was about average on all fronts and enjoyable while it lasted. I’ve ticked a few but have no stand-out favourite. 2.5* / 3*

  21. Fairly straight forward once I had the long clues in but I too was stumped by 26a and 18d and didn’t like either of them! Thanks for the explanation.

  22. I was going along OK but then the last few (5d, 10a,18d and 26a) slowed me right down to a ***/****. As a Defender driver I was mortified that 10a took so long, I got hung up on the idea of crossing a ford. Thanks to all.

  23. Yes, a little bit tricky indeed but after finishing it I did get a sense of pleasure from finishing it! I do find it interesting that some puzzles can be hard for some that I find straightforward, and others that I find mighty difficult seem to be easy for others. Just shows how different we all are I suppose.

    3*/3* for me.

  24. Didn’t quite finish but happy enough with my effort. Missed ‘blossoms’ as an anagram indicator so I was scratching around for a 7 letter word beginning T to slip U into to make a phrase 🙄

  25. It took a little while to get my brain into gear for this one. I’ve become rather lazy and must stop bunging answers in that don’t really fit. I put “alcohol” into 2d, but re-reading the clue, I should have known better. Many thanks to the setter and to DT.

  26. Yes, DT, lateral thinking definitely required with this one. I found it really difficult, hard to get on wavelength and didn’t finish a few.
    As usual, the long answers went in readily, it’s mainly those pesky four-letter answers that hold me up.
    I didn’t remember 2d, how many times must it appear for me to remember it, I must have the attention span of a gnat. Sounds awful stuff, I like my beverage unadulterated.
    Like Gazza and CS, I thought the clues were well constructed, I think the problem is my end, and I enjoyed quite a few. Fave was 8d.
    Thanks to setter and to DT for unravelling quite a few.

  27. Interesting. Only one in on first pass.
    Went for a walk on the beach in nice sunny weather
    Few more in
    Walked to the supermarket, glass of wine in the sunshine, with my husband
    Came back and finished it without help
    We’re getting a new telegraph app next week. Can the puzzles slowing down and jumping around get any worse? Probably. The sudoku is worst.
    Thanks to DT and setter.

  28. Really good fun that all went together smoothly for us. Smiles and chuckles all the way through. From the style we would guess the same setter as last Friday and, if we’re correct, suspect he will pop in soon to confirm.
    Thanks Mr Ron and DT.

  29. Just returned home after a delightful Valentine’s Day lunch out with old friends – have to say that the culinary offerings were rather more appealing than those on offer in today’s puzzle! Having said that, I really enjoyed this one and found plenty to smile about.
    Top two were probably 11&13d with a mention for the Quickie pun – I remember that one from an old joke, the punch-line of which concerned ‘hairy-lipped squid’. Great joke – or it was at the time!

    Thanks to Mr Ron and to DT for the review – bet it’s keeping you on your toes having different setters to deal with each Friday!

    1. Thank you for reminding me of the “hairy-lipped squid” joke. It’s a long time since I’ve heard it. Very funny.

  30. I couldn’t solve any on the first pass and somehow I lost interest.
    So my heartfelt congratulations to everyone who completed the puzzle.
    Did someone mention a beginner’s puzzle?
    Can’t wait!!

  31. Must say 3d is a very poor clue. Could be anything edible . 9a wasn’t much better.
    Impressed with the long 12a and 21a anagrams
    Think my favourite clue is the one about the cuddlesome companions of 8d
    Dennis is on the way. Batten down the hatches!

  32. Classic Friday teaser at a moderately difficult level that came together in fits & starts.
    This kept me entertained from start to finish.
    Many thanks to setter for this head scratcher & to DT for review & guidance

  33. I found this one quite tricky but unlike yesterday’s which I gave up on, I felt inspired to finish this one! Once I had twigged 1a (my clue of the day), the rest seemed to fall into place. Curiously, the answer to 13d came whilst listening to Berlioz’s Symphonie Fantastique, which seems only right! Thanks to DT for the blog and the setter for an enjoyable puzzle.

  34. I’m with Gazza and CS and absolutely loved it although I bet it took me longer than it did them.
    Unlike Gazza and CS I made a total pig’s ear of it – as a ‘hinty person’ I’m ashamed. :oops:
    I did find it difficult.
    Spent far too long trying to justify ‘tubby bears’ for 8d but that didn’t want to work.
    I got 20d but couldn’t see why – no excuses there.
    I’m assuming that the setter is proXimal but . . . ?
    Lots of good clues including 1a (yum, especially on spinach with toast) and 10a and 8 and 13d.
    As our Younger Lamb is getting married five weeks tomorrow I suppose my favourite has to be 25a.
    Thanks to the setter and to DT.

  35. PS I loved the Quickie Pun which reminded me of two things.
    The first one is a clue in MP’s Rookie corner from a long time ago which was, I think, “Fairy on the sink” (7-2 6)
    The second one was Jane’s joke, also from a long time ago, which is still possibly my favourite joke ever but is, unfortunately, too long to recite here.

  36. After a slow start I had to look at the hint for 1a, having thought about putting clocked out as the answer but realising it didn’t fit the clue. Once I put the right answer in, about 10 others filled themselves in, and rest was not too tricky at all. I must have been on wavelength. Laughed a lot at 3d and especially 13d, which gets my vote for COTD. Best Friday puzzle for a long time. No sports, and no specialized GK needed. Thanks to Deep Threat and the setter.

  37. Definitely found this hard. Took me ages to work out 25a and 18d totally defeated me.

    I found 9a straightforward. Maybe being in the army helped, but still thought it was one of the easier clues today.

    ****/*** for me.

  38. After a really slow start things started to click, but became stuck in the SW . Tried to parse “promise “at 25 across ! Very enjoyable and worth the effort. COTD definitely 13 down. Thanks to the setter and Deep Threat.

      1. Until I got the definition, I was going for ‘loathes’ for 25a; ‘oath’ framed by ‘les’.
        Sort of made sense in my head, after all it’s a thin line between love and hate! 😂

  39. For a start off I was with the “I didn’t find this too difficult camp” until I hit a brick wall. I was feeling tired, probably as a result of a lamb curry and three quarters of a bottle of red wine! After a short snooze I filled the rest in in quick order so ended up in the “I didn’t find this too difficult camp”. Funny how that happens. I thought this amusing, well and fairly clued, a bit like a RayT. Favourite 11d closely followed by 13d, others not far behind. Many thanks to the setter and DT.

  40. I had a go at the toughie earlier and I’ve never completed so many clues of an Elgar crossword, I think my record was 4 or 5, I’m waay beyond that. I’m going back to see if I can finish it without hints. In the words of Captain Oats “I could be some time”.

  41. It took me quite a while to get on the right wavelength, apart from 12a, which I got immediately. My favourites are 12 and 27a – lovely! Thanks to the setter, and DT.

  42. Completed bang on *** time. A steady unaided solve that was quicker than I expected after the first read through. 23d was my last in & took a while for the penny to drop – it’s always the wee ones that seem to cause me the most trouble. Loved the Quickie pun.
    I’ll save today’s prize crossword for some light relief after what I expect will be another ordeal on one of Jo’burg’s tougher golf courses.
    Thanks to all

  43. I agree with those in favour. Only problems in SW with 18d and 26a which I did manage without help. However did not parse the latter. Favourites 1a and 17a and 8 and 20d. Thanks setter. More please. Thank you Deep Threat for confirming all of the parsing. Glad I did not look at the photo at 1a in advance which would have confused me.

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