DT 29292 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 29292

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 29292

Hints and tips by Deep Threat

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ***

Good morning from South Staffs on another damp, grey day.

I thought that today’s puzzle was pretty straightforward, so it will be interesting to see your views.

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           Game Carol plays with sister regularly (8)
LACROSSE Anagram (plays) of CAROL, followed by alternate letters (regularly) of SiStEr.

Image result for lacrosse

5a           Walks stiffly when final cricket ball has been delivered (6)
STUMPS – This word for a stiff and heavy gait is also the term used colloquially for close of play in a cricket match.

9a           Cruel, like an ungrateful Frenchman? (9)
MERCILESS – An ungrateful Frenchman wouldn’t say ‘thank you’. So we have the French for ‘thank you’ followed by a suffix used to indicate an absence of the word before it.

11a         Cat attracts extremely unusual VIP (5)
MOGUL – A familiar word for a cat followed by the first and last letters (extremely) of UnusuaL.

12a         Rejection of Conservative road leading to decay (3,3)
DRY ROT – Start with a 4-letter word for a Conservative, add an abbreviation for ‘road’, then reverse the result to get this fungal disease of wood.

13a         At sea, no rating is clueless (8)
IGNORANT – Anagram (at sea) of NO RATING.

15a         Stop messing about and switch to TV quiz? (3,2,3,5)
CUT TO THE CHASE – The first two words of the answer mean ‘switch to’ in cinematic terms, the last two are the name of a quiz show currently on ITV, where a set of strangers have to work as a team to answer questions and keep ahead of a pursuit from a professional quizzer.

18a         Hint leg’s injured, limiting team lacking individual awareness (13)
ENLIGHTENMENT – Anagram (injured) of HINT LEG, wrapped around a description (3,3) of a football team with one player missing.

22a         Broadcast managed to fill times on vacation with German (8)
TRANSMIT – Take the middle letters out of TimeS, replace them with another word for ‘managed’, then add the German for ‘with’.

23a         Cover for head schoolteacher at centre of town (6)
TURBAN – Take the middle letter (at centre) of schoolTeacher , then add a word for ‘of the town’.

26a         Child pens first letter on back of Easter card (5)
TAROT – The first letter of the alphabet and the final letter of EasteR, with another word for a small child wrapped around the result.

27a         Food pigs hate scattered across interior of sty (9)
SPAGHETTI – Anagram (scattered) of PIGS HATE wrapped around the middle letter (interior) of sTy.

Image result for pig spaghetti

28a         Plant in orderly system (6)
COSMOS – Double definition, the first being a garden flower, the second another word for the universe.

Image result for cosmos flower

29a         Brief displays of theatrics, something John McEnroe used to do? (8)
PLAYLET – Split the answer (4,3) to get something that John McEnroe (or any other tennis player) would do after a service which hits the net but still lands in court.


1d           Ineffectual person, this writer the French avoid locking up (4,4)
LAME DUCK – One of the forms of the definite article in French and a word for ‘avoid’ or ‘dodge’, placed either side (locking up) of a pronoun for ‘this writer’.

2d           Dash, heading off for meal (5)
CURRY – Remove the first letter (heading off) from a word for ‘dash’ or ‘scamper’, to get a spicy meal from the East.

3d           Banker occasionally sorry adding international name above old firm (7)
ORINOCO – Put together alternate letters of sOrRy, an abbreviation for International, an abbreviation for Name, an abbreviation for Old, and an abbreviation for COmpany. The banker is then revealed to be a South American river.

Image result for orinoco womble

4d           Raise favourite son to get degree (4)
STEP – Put together another word for ‘favourite’ and an abbreviation for Son, then reverse the result.

6d           A fair kind of lottery? (7)
TOMBOLA – Cryptic definition of the kind of lottery typically found on a stall at a garden party or church bazaar.

7d           Cambridge college speaker’s sentimental (9)
MAGDALENE – The pronunciation of the name of this Cambridge college, which is not as spelt, is a homophone (speaker’s) of a word for ‘sentimental’ or ‘weepily drunk’.

8d           Hail leads to significant accumulations, lasting until temperatures ease (6)
SALUTE – The initial letters (leads) of the last 6 words in the clue.

10d         Prudence comes from a municipality depressed by decline (8)
SAGACITY – Put together another word for ‘decline’ or ‘droop’, A (from the clue), and a large town or municipality.

14d         Embarrasses fellow endlessly, then smiles (8)
CHAGRINS – Remove the final letter (endlessly) from a word for a fellow or bloke, then add ‘smiles broadly’.

16d         He’s engaged by stars to produce book (9)
THESAURUS – One of the signs of the Zodiac wrapped around HE (from the clue) to get a work of reference often used by crossword setters and solvers.

17d         Visiting America, listen out for useful devices (8)
UTENSILS – Anagram (out) of LISTEN, with a common abbreviation for America wrapped around it.

19d         State of the loo’s dreadful! (7)
LESOTHO – Anagram (dreadful) of THE LOO’S.

20d         Somewhat indecent and arrogant to change starter (7)
NAUGHTY – Change the initial letter (starter) of a word for ‘arrogant’ to get a word for something mildly indecent (or describing a badly-behaved child).

21d         Still overjoyed after giving up The City (6)
STATIC – Remove the postcode for the City of London from the front of a word meaning ‘overjoyed’.

24d         Wash two articles previously black (5)
BATHE  start with an abbreviation for Black, then add an indefinite article and a definite one.

25d         Bar banter (4)
RAIL – Double definition: a bar to hold on to; or noisy interaction in a social setting.

The Quick Crossword pun PURR + SEA + FEAR = PERSEVERE

89 comments on “DT 29292

  1. For a Friday, I had this done and dusted in ** time, with just 28a holding me up, as I am somewhat ignorant of Central American flora. 15a was a bung-in, as I hadn’t heard of that TV show.

    COTD has to be the mighty 18a.

    Many thanks to The Setter and DT.

    1. As you will see from comments below, 28a is a common garden plant in the UK, easy to grow and needs very little attention.

  2. 3*/4*. Fridays are now providing us with quite a diverse range of back-page puzzles, with only proXimal being identified from time to time as the setter. However, this doesn’t feel like one of his and, in any event, he is the author of today’s Toughie.

    I really enjoyed this as evidenced by the number of ticks on my page. It was nicely challenging with the bottom half taking me longer than the top half to complete. I only needed my BRB to check the plant in 28a.

    15a is one of my double ticked clues, and the TV quiz involved is my favourite of that genre. Other double ticks were awarded to 9a, 29a & 21d, with 19d getting the biggest laugh and accolade as my favourite. The Quickie Pun deserves a mention too.

    Many thanks to Mr Ron and to DT.

  3. This was pretty straightforward until I got to the SW corner, where a few tricky clues took me into *** time for difficulty. It was moderately enjoyable (***), although this compiler’s clues are sometimes rather convoluted for my taste. I liked the geographical clues. Thanks to DT for the hints and to the setter.

  4. Like Chriscross at #3, I sailed through this in a reasonable time only to become stuck on my final three in the SW corner. So many fine clues, including the witty 19d and my last one in, 26a, but my favourite was 21d. An honourable mention, too, for 18a. A thoroughly enjoyable and rewarding solve.

    Thanks to our Friday setter and to DT.

  5. A most enjoyable solve with some excellent surfaces like 5a and19d.
    Going for a **/*** ****
    Favourite was 18a as I thought the ten men was clever. Also 9a amused.
    Planted a pot of 28a last summer and they were very effective.-the same colour as DT,s pic-are there any other varieties?
    Ready for the rugby weekend , rain permitting.

    1. 28a come in a variety of colours – we tend to go for the dwarf variety as they are less prone to falling over in the strong winds we have here

  6. Well no wonder I couldn’t parse my answer to 1d. It fitted the crossing letters and the definition perfectly but was a little rude for The Telegraph, I thought – involving a nickname for Richard.

    “Tantrums” for 29a seemed good for a while too – until it was obviously wrong.

    Thanks to DT for the correct answer to 1d and to the setter for a fun crossword.

    1. Well, I did eventually get 1d without coming here, but the first seemingly obvious answer had to be wrong (although I wouldn’t put it past the Observer Everyman to use it) as this is such a decorous organ (DT).
      I’m exceedingly ashamed of myself for clinging on to my first thought, but I bet I’m not the only one.

      Thanks to DT ( the other one).

  7. I had a great time solving this one, my only disappointment being the lack of an Enya clip to accompany the hint for 3d!
    Particularly liked the way our setter gave us an easy entry point at 1a and then cranked up the difficulty as the puzzle progressed.
    Extremely packed podium here with 9,11,15&27a plus 7,16,19&21d all jostling for position. I think the ungrateful Frenchman just has the edge because he made me laugh (apologies to JL!).

    Many thanks to Friday’s Mr Ron and to DT for the review.

    1. Apart from the haunting song she sings over the end credits of the first part of The Lord of the Rings trilogy, I was not familiar with Enya’s work. Having looked for the song relating to 3d, I have to say that I agree with Merusa’s Mate Max in this case.

  8. No idea about who set this but I did enjoy the solve. Nice and friendly with clues to make you smile. My favourite was 9a

    Thanks to the setter and Deep Threat

  9. A great deal of fun to be had here and a very satisfying solve. Fridays are becoming a day to look forward to. Thanks to our setter and to Deep Threat for the review and for avoiding Enya.

  10. I am wondering if this is the work of Mr Lancaster? Not being particularly good at getting on his wavelength, today was no exception. But what a cracking clue at 18a! Thanks to DT for hinting those unsolved in the NE corner and for pointing out the very simple parse for 8d.

  11. Finished but not a pleasant offering except perhaps for 9a. 1d and 26a are clumsy and don’t see why ‘depressed in 10d.
    Far too wordy and tricksy for my taste. Come back Giovanni, all is forgiven.
    Thx for the hints to explain some of the intricate wordplay.

        1. Isn’t it funny, how people remember him so long after his heyday. I always liked him, he was/is so charitable and made tennis exciting.

          1. Goodness, Merusa – you do surprise me. I used to look upon him as a spoilt brat who gave tennis a bad name!

            1. He was a bit of a spoilt brat, but from his early pro days, he set up a charity for underprivileged boys to attend his very upper-class school, and he personally followed them to make sure that they did well. I liked him a lot, the tantrums were just added colourfulness.

      1. I think it’s horses for courses with cryptic crossword puzzles, Jepi. Whilst not so unimpressed as Brian, I found the wordiness of some clues in this puzzle rather unappealing. I prefer the elegant and concise clues like those of Ray T on Thursday.

    1. I agree the parsing of 1d isn’t exactly obvious but the clue isn’t clumsy, and 26a I’d describe as concise, elegant and clear.

    2. Brian, I can’t make up my mind whether you are taking the mickey or simply just plain stupid. Your comments ruin the most enjoyable of puzzles. Do us all a favour and concentrate on puzzles in the Sun. Surely they are likely to be right up your street.

  12. What a quality puzzle, I loved it. Loads of ticks but favourite has to be 14d, such a great sounding but sadly underused word. For a similar reason 10d makes the podium, along with the amusing 11a. Cracking Quickie Pun too.
    Many thanks to the setter and to DT (who is the only reviewer who never comments other than on his designated day?) for their excellent works.

  13. Just enough food for thought which made for a fun solve. North came first with the South slower particularly the SW corner where I see I wasn’t alone in coming across a hurdle or two. Presumably John McEnroe still does 29a. I agree with RD re his Favs but I think after all 9a and 29a tie for my top spot. Thank you Mysteron and DT.

  14. Sorry but I did not enjoy this at all. I realise this puts me at odds with the majority but that is just the way it is. Mind you, I am perfectly prepared to acknowledge there were some very clever clues. I just could not get on the right wavelength.

    Ah well, tomorrow is another day! :grin:

    Many thanks to the setter and to DT for the hints (Like Jane, I would have liked to have seen Enya)

  15. I would go for very straightforward for a Friday backpager and very enjoyable completed at a gallop – 2*/4.5*.
    Candidates for favourite – 15a, 22a, 3d, 7d, and 10d – and the winner is 22a.
    Thanks to the setter and DT.

  16. Excellent puzzle and not too demanding, except 28a foxed me and I bunged in CASTOR as in the castor oil plant. Top marks to 9a for me.

  17. A brilliant puzzle, tops of the week for me so far. I was held up a bit in the SW corner by the flower but then ‘orderly system’ came to the rescue and I remembered the cosmos I loved seeing in Costa Rica (I think it was there) a few years ago. My floral laggardness, along with 16d (very clever that) holding me up a bit, pushed me into *** time, and my favourite is 29a, but like Uncle G, I wished it had been ‘tantrums’! Crackerjack puzzle. ***/***** Thanks to Mr Ron and Deep Threat.

  18. Not too demanding but with some great clues. 9a and 18a were joint winners of my clue of the day. 2*/4*. Thanks to all.

  19. What a splendid puzzle. I’ll give it **/*****.

    Fav was 18a with 1a and 9a on the podium but there’s a lot of great stuff to pick from. The 1a game is a regular in crosswords which always surprises me as it’s very much a minority sport in the UK. Bigger in the USA and Canada I believe.

    Many thanks to the setter and DT.

    1. Yes, the 1a game is much ‘bigger’ over here, especially at the university level. It’s popularity with setters is probably based on its letter content and ease of clueing.

  20. Couldn’t complete a single clue on my first pass. Started with 1a and the NW corner fell into place then the NE corner. The bottom half gradually got completed with the aid of some hints. The anagrams weren’t that obvious so that made it more challenging than usual (normally they’re very easy to spot which I’m not keen on).

    Definitely **** for enjoyment. Thanks to the setter and DT for the hints.

    Still waiting for the iPad update to the Telegraph to be released – it was announced last weekend.

    1. The first update is rubbish. We need another. We found today’s cryptic harder than usual – but mostly because we can now see the battery going down even as we read the clues! It kinda stops our brains working. And needs putting right. We didn’t get the flower clue but we’re not gardeners either!

  21. A pig of a puzzle – would never have completed it with your help DT;
    many thanks. Hopefully tomorrow’s prize puzzle setter is kinder to folk non to bright – like me.

  22. I really enjoyed this although to begin with I thought it was going to be a little piglet.
    Never heard of the 15a TV quiz and the 18a anagram took longer than it probably should have done – (and didn’t quite see where the team came from – dim, and thanks DT.)
    I think 9a was probably my favourite but also have to mention 28a if only because I love them.
    Thanks to the setter and to DT, specially for avoiding the tedious Enya (sorry, Jane).
    Off to do cooking – entire family here for the weekend as it’s husbands birthday next week.

  23. Many thanks to Deep Threat for his decryptions and to everyone who has taken the trouble to comment, I hope that the identity of today’s setter will come as a pleasant surprise.

    When I began compiling puzzles, it was always my ultimate goal to have my puzzles appear one day on the back page of the Telegraph (or inside back page!). Today I am delighted and immensely proud to have achieved that ambition.

    I hope that those who attended the Birthday Bash in January will forgive me for keeping this a secret but a) I didn’t have a publication date at the time and b) I hoped it would create more of a surprise if regular bloggers and solvers did not have any prior notice.

    I’m indebted to Chris Lancaster for inviting me to become a member of the back page team, and for his support in making today happen. I’m very glad that the overwhelming majority of comments were positive, one day I may even win over Brian too! Hope to be back soon.

    1. Congratulations! One of the things I enjoyed about the puzzle was the lack of ‘obviousness’ around the anagrams. It moved the puzzle from a * to ** in difficulty level.

    2. You’re welcome back any time as far as I’m concerned, Silvanus, regardless of which page you appear on. Quite an elite team you’ve joined!

    3. Many thanks for popping in, Silvanus. It’s always very welcome when setters do so. Many thanks too for a superb puzzle, hopefully the first of many.

      I never thought that Brian would ever appreciate RayT’s puzzles but he seems to have done so. I feel sure that in time he will come round to liking yours.

    4. Just like to add my congratulations on a fine puzzle, the most enjoyable of the week for me. Considering the previous two setters were Jay and Ray T that’s quite something.

    5. Just want to add my congratulations, Silvanus. I did not get on with your puzzle but there were some great clues. I hope you come back so I can try and get on your wavelength.

    6. Oh – how lovely – I’m so pleased. :good: and a :rose: from me for a great crossword and a great achievement. Well done.

    7. Well done indeed. Don’t worry about winning over Brian. The day you do that you will probably have got something wrong!

    8. Congratulations from me also. A thoroughly enjoyable challenge which I seemed to find a wee bit trickier than some others. As is often the case my lack of knowledge of plant varieties meant I needed the hint to complete. Lots of great clues of which 9, 15 & 18a were my favourites.

  24. A pig of a puzzle – would never have completed it with your help DT;
    many thanks. Hopefully tomorrow’s prize puzzle setter is kinder to folk non too bright – like me.

  25. Nice solve, although SW corner a bit tricky. 3/4*. 29A a favourite- although I think the hint meant to say (4,4) rather than (4,3). Thanks to DT and setter.

  26. ***/****. Splendid puzzle! A game of two halves for me. The top went in quickly but I slowed down to get a trickier second half. Some clever clues. 9&18a and 16d raised a smile. Thanks to Silvanus and DT (by the way, 29a is 8 letters).

  27. Well done, Silvanus, I loved it. North was very straightforward and was solved in good time, but I slowed down in the south.
    There were so many to like, some were bung ins and I needed DT’s hints to unravel, e.g., 18a and16d.
    McEnroe made me laugh, I love the 28a, huge guffaw with the ungrateful Frenchman – I just can’t name a fave. Even the obscure TV show at 15a was very solvable.
    Thanks Silvanus and Deep Threat for the fun today.

    1. The “obscure” TV show The Chase is a quiz hosted by the excellent Bradley Walsh. It airs in this country every week day at 5 pm with Celebrity editions often at weekends.

  28. What a surprise the comment #24 was. Congratulations Silvanus.
    Our last one in, and only after quite a lot of head scratching, was 28a.
    An excellent puzzle that we thoroughly enjoyed.
    Thanks Silvanus and DT.

    1. Funnily enough I did better with yesterday’s toughie than this.

      I would never describe the universe as orderly and plants and cricket are my weaker areas of knowledge.

      Congrats to silvanus on your first back page.

      Not sure how this has ended up as a reply…

  29. Brian is definitely doing better than me. I wonder if others are put off commenting when, after struggling to complete the top half, are only able to solve the odd clue below & then discover it is only a 2 star.!!!!
    Would never have got 18a or 20d, & didn’t think 14d could be plural, but see it is “Scrabbacceptable”. Perhaps I have to accept that brain power falls in one’s late 80s !!!! (Have I got the apostrophe correct?) – but think how many crosswords I have done/attempted. Missed 2 easy anagrams y’day & couldn’t even think of “harem” when boring friend about it today. Will any late octogenarians still coping, please check in, & how old are you, Brian?
    Thanks for much needed hints.

    1. Many of us are dismayed by the star ratings, but don’t be disheartened. We have our own solving abilities, and can rate the puzzles in our own way. Today, for example, I rated it a **** for difficulty, as it took me all flaming day, but I was very satisfied to finish it, with two bung ins which fortunately were correct.
      Seems like a number of solvers thought this a three star. If one solver claims to have galloped through without a problem, there are others who have been thrown from the saddle before being trampled by our mount. p.s, I’m in my 50s and have been at this since 1984.

    2. Not late 80s, early! I understand what you’re saying, some days I simply cannot get a word to come to light from this tiny brain, even though I know it well. Just soldier on, it’s still fun, even if you don’t complete it.

  30. Enjoyed this. I too had Castor at 28a, and found the bottom harder. Parsing of the head gear eluded me, I’m sure the centre of the schoolteacher has come up before, must remember it!!

  31. Quality quality quality,,, need I say more. Enjoyable testing but solvable with application of thought.
    Grateful thanks to setter & DT for review & deciphering a couple of clues that enabled me to complete it.

  32. I’ve had a busy day today collecting someone from the airport, so I’m rather late finishing this one. What can I say but “pure delight”. Top spot goes to 9a. Many thanks to Silvanus and DT.

  33. I’m not a linguist by any means, but I loved 9 across. Lot’s to like in this puzzle after a long tiring drive home from West Sussex. Thanks to the setter for some good fun and to DT. Just wishing that Brian would keep all his negativity to himself.

    1. We always look for Brian’s comments with interest. He’s clearly a bit black and white in his views but it’s become part of the fun of reading these comments to see if he loves or hates a particular crossword – I say don’t take it too seriously. Like Mr McEnroe, he adds a bit of spice to a dull day.

  34. A plod and fairly joyless. Just not to my taste, and a big contrast to yesterday’s wonderful RayT.

  35. Thanks to Silvanus and DT for an enjoyable solve with help needed in parsing the last few. 9a my favourite.

  36. Excellent and for me the gold star goes to 7d with silver and bronze to 16 and 21 d. Last one in was 29a but another good one. Not so keen on 28a as I did not know the plant and bunged in Castor. Thanks DT for helping me with the parsing I missed including school(t)eacher. Look forward to the next one Sylvanus. Take Brian’s criticism as a compliment.

  37. Well I found this one a bit annoying! Got completely stuck on 28 across and what do i grow every year………. Cosmos! Think I need to get to sleep.

  38. Thanks to Silvanus, congratulations on being on the back page team. I enjoyed it very much, but found it very tricky. I hadn’t heard of the second meanings of 5,28a & 7d. Also needed the hints for 29a & 16d. Favourite was 12a. Thanks to Deep Threat for the review and hints. Was 4*/3* for me.

  39. Don’t know if anyone else picked it up but the answer to 29a should be in the plural ie. PLAYLETS.

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