DT 29309 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 29309

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 29309

Hints and tips by Kath

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BD Rating — Difficulty ***Enjoyment ****

Hello everyone – I don’t have the faintest idea who set the crossword today but it definitely wasn’t Ray T. I really enjoyed it and found it difficult in places.

Please leave a comment telling us 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        Female arts graduate backing the learner (6)
THELMA — begin with ‘the’ from the clue and follow that with the letter displayed on cars driven by L[earner] drivers then finish off with the two letters for an arts graduate

5a        Greedy pig, not very good, harsh (8)
GRASPING — remove the first two letters from pig (not very good in a religious sense) and follow what’s left with another word for harsh or croaky

9a        High-church type acting, affected with alcohol (5-8)
ANGLO-CATHOLIC — an anagram (affected) of ACTING and ALCOHOL

10a       Lost colour, with need to be changed (8)
WHITENED — an anagram (to be changed) of WITH NEED

11a       Make connection with mug at Oxford? (4,2)
DIAL UP — a synonym for what ‘mug’ is a slang term followed by the little word meaning studying  ‘at Oxford’

12a       Men wanting a not-half clever person to give advice (6)
ORACLE — the two letter abbreviation for members of the armed forces not holding commissions, and the ‘A’ from the clue are followed by the first three letters (not half) of CLE[ver]

14a       What could be mooniest feelings (8)
EMOTIONS — an anagram (what could be) of MOONIEST

16a       Weapon something frightening almost? I’m having it locked up (8)
SCIMITAR — the first four of a five letter adjective meaning frightening or alarming (almost) contain (locked up) the ‘I’m’ and ‘it’ from the clue

19a       Pleasant information I presented to US gangster? (6)
GENIAL — a synonym for information, facts or data, and the ‘I’ from the clue are followed by (presented to) the first name of crosswordland’s favourite US gangster

21a       Keeps away from keen son, concealing love (6)
AVOIDS — another word that means keen or eager and the abbreviation for S[on] contain the letter that looks a zero or a ‘love’ score in tennis

23a       New unit established by Welsh woman in African city? (8)
TUNISIAN — an anagram (new) of UNIT followed by (established by) a woman’s name most common in Wales. I had trouble with this although I’m pretty sure it’s right – where does the ‘city’ come from and why the question mark? Have I missed something?

25a       Odd men out, sirs sadly taken amiss (13)
MISUNDERSTOOD — an anagram (sadly) of ODD MEN OUT SIRS

26a       Port boozer knocked back after ten, getting drunk (8)
ENTREPOT — an anagram (getting drunk) of TEN is followed by (after) a reversal (knocked back) of someone who drinks a lot (boozer)

27a       Sailor returning home, good sailor (6)
RATING — a reversal (returning) of one of the usual little words for a sailor, another little word meaning home, or not out, and finally the abbreviation for G[ood]



2d        Girl in early race — that’s the girl? (7)
HEATHER — an early race, one of which there can be several before the final, and then a way of saying belonging to ‘the girl’

3d        Entertaining match? (5)
LIGHT — a double definition – the second is a spill or a taper

4d        A spot in which you’ll see navy chaps dressing up (9)
ADORNMENT — begin with the ‘A’ from the clue and follow that with a spot or a mark which contains (in which you’ll see) the two letter abbreviation for the navy and some chaps or blokes

5d        Terrible greed that consumes an important person (7)
GRANDEE — an anagram (terrible) of GREED contains (that consumes) the AN from the clue

6d        A Greek character proved ultimately to be a pest (5)
APHID — the ‘A’ from the clue and the twenty-first letter of the Greek alphabet (Greek character) are followed by the last letter (ultimately) of [prove]D

7d        Everyone housed in home, one with a name and in classical style (9)
PALLADIAN — an informal word for a home or a flat contains (housed in) a synonym for everyone or each person, then follow that lot with the letter that looks like a one, the ‘A’ from the clue and finally the abbreviation for N[ame]

8d        Against upsetting performance in part of church service (7)
NOCTURN — a reversal (upsetting) of a little word meaning against is followed by a performance or an act

13d      Official order given to young lady in vehicle (9)
COMMISSAR — a common four wheeled vehicle contains (in) a two letter ‘order’ and a word for a young or unmarried woman

15d      Fixer of musical instrument is getting particular note right (9)
ORGANISER — a musical instrument often seen in a church is followed by the ‘IS’ from the clue, a musical note and the abbreviation for R[ight]

17d      The first person to turn up in Irish town, someone from the distant past? (7)
CAVEMAN — a reversal (to turn up) of the objective form of the pronoun ‘I’ (first person) goes inside (in) a county town in Ulster – I had to decide on the answer and then look up the town which I’d never heard of – there are an awful lot of them

18d      Once again deal with hiding place (7)
RETREAT — a synonym for deal with or attend to is preceded by the two letters that mean you’re doing it all over again

20d      A gang operating in ditch (7)
ABANDON — the ‘A’ from the clue, a gang or group and the little word that means operating or not switched off

22d      Dawn gets boy out of bed, we hear (5)
SUNUP — a homophone (we hear) – of a boy or a male offspring and a little word meaning out of bed

24d      Sturdy person like George or David maybe on strike (5)
STOUT — a two letter abbreviation for what George and David are examples of (maybe) is followed by a synonym for ‘on strike’

I liked 5 and 16a and 4 and 13d.

The Quickie Pun:- SERVER + WRIGHT = SERVE HER RIGHT Oh dear – I wonder what she’s done!

98 comments on “DT 29309

  1. Starting with the Acrosses, it took until 21a to solve the first of them so I thought this was going to be a real struggle but with steady progress, requiring the use of the white space on my sheet of paper for only one clue, successful completion was achieved at a fast canter – ***/****.
    A couple of Hmms – 9a (although it is in the BRB) and 23a.
    Candidates for favourite – 27a, 13d, 15d, and 20d – and the winner is 20d.
    Thanks to the setter and Kath.

    1. My mother always claimed to be a 9a and I often wondered what the exact definition was!

      1. Smells and bells and a dislike of women are the chief characteristics. And of course elaborate dresses. Sorry vestments.

        1. New term for me too but I Googled it and it was there. Beam is the toughie setter.

  2. No, I didn’t think it was a Ray T either, Kath. It was fairly tricky and a good challenge, although I foun some of the clues a bit wordy and over-complicated (2.5*/3*). I liked 26a and 16a but had never heard of 8 , apart from the concert item, which is spelt with a final e. Probably because I’m not Roman Catholic. Thanks to the setter and to Kath for the hints.

  3. I just thought something in Tunisia is Tunisian, e.g. a Tunisian Hotel, but I wasn’t sure either. Thanks for the hint for 4d .. It helped me get ‘dent’ out of my mind.

    1. Still thinking about that while in the shower .. ‘something in Tunis’ is what I meant. Never mind.

  4. I also enjoyed this and didn’t find it too taxing.

    I needed help to parse 5a, although I knew it had to be correct.

    Many thanks to Kath and the setter.

    PS Kath, in 23a the first 5 letters are the city and the whole answer is someone from that city or in this case ‘in’ that city. That’s how I read it anyway, someone far cleverer than me might come up with something different

    1. I think we need someone cleverer!! I can see what you’re getting at (well, sort of) but where is the Welsh woman? :unsure: I give up!
      Where’s Gazza when we need him?

      1. I’m not Gazza but I’d parse 23a as an anagram (new) of UNIT plus SIAN (the Welsh woman)

      2. I’m not really sure what the problem is. If ‘in Paris’ is Parisian then ‘in Tunis’ is Tunisian.

        1. I was just being completely dim – got the anagram, the Welsh woman and the answer then ground to a halt because all I could think was that Tunisia is a country not a city. Oh dear and :roll: and :oops:

        2. Sian is the Welsh lady. Don’t understand why this is a problem?
          if you live in Tunis which is a city you are one.

  5. You’re not wrong Kath…..
    Can’t seem to get up a head of steam & seems to me as tough as I can remember for a while.
    Into ****time and still 8 shy but will persevere & resist a peek at your review.

  6. 3*/1*. I didn’t enjoy this at all. We seem to be continuing the Thursday “back-page” see-saw, up one week down the next.

    Today’s setter has assembled quite a collection of females and males, but fortunately for my blood pressure none were what I would describe as nebulous. However 22d is an unindicated American word.

    At least we’ve got a Beam Toughie today.

    Thanks to the setter and to Kath.

      1. I know it does, but in my opinion it’s wrong on this occasion (and confirmed by Collins on-line).

        1. I agree RD, I’ve only ever heard that expression coming from an American. We tend to use ‘rise’ rather than ‘up’. I didn’t much like it either

          1. I wasn’t very keen on 22d either – an Americanism or not I wanted it to be 3, 2 with a hyphen but I’m not very good at interpreting the ‘squiggles’ in the BRB so don’t really know.

    1. I seem to recall having this discussion before, only “…downer” instead of “…up”. Wonder how many more times we’ll try to hash this out again!

  7. There was certainly a different ‘feel’ in todays puzzle and it contained a wide spectrum of clues from the write in to the difficult.
    Overall I agree with Kath on a ***/****.
    Last in was 1a which I needed all the checking letters , particularly from 4d.
    Most enjoyable,29a was a new word , or one I had forgotten.
    Liked the surface of 6d and 7d.

  8. Got this alone and unaided but it took me a long while.
    Failed to parse 23a, 26a 7d and 8d but they had to be what they were….well not being a church person of any denomination, 8d was a bung in followed by a look up.
    So, I think a well done for me today.

    Thanks to the setter and to Kath.

  9. My advice to anyone would be to skip this and go straight to the Beam Toughie. Not my cup of tea at all I’m afraid, dated and lacking in humour with some clumsy surfaces.
    Thanks to the setter and to Kath for the excellent blog (I’m pleased you enjoyed it!)

  10. I tend to solve in about my 4* time on a Thursday and today was no exception. No idea who set it – it did seem while I was solving it to be an odd mixture of clues/solution words.

    Thanks to Kath and whoever set the crossword

  11. I didn’t enjoy this at all, a real grind from start to finish. */****.
    The puzzle is still jumpy.

  12. This wasn’t exactly a barrowload of laughs but agreeably testing as was the Quickie. 1a was last to fall – I had been tempted to use the Australian woman (alternative spelling). 4d and 20d were almost Favs. Would be interesting to identify the setter to whom thank you and likewise to Kath. The prospect of cruciverbal camaraderie on BD’s blog is cheering as we golden oldies are officially advised to stay at home. 🤒.

    1. I do agree with your last comment. The blog is something to cheer us up whilst self-isolating. I have been lying low for a week already in deference to my other half, who is taking immuno- suppressant drugs and is very vulnerable.

  13. Not for me I’m sorry to say but at least we have, as RD commented, a Beam Toughie as consolation.

    Thanks to our setter and most definitely to Kath for lightening the mood.

  14. Hi Kath. I parsed 23A as an anagram of unit (new unit) and the Welsh name. I think the question mark is because the answer can be a person or thing from the country or the capital city of that country.

  15. A grind from start to finish for me I’m afraid although that’s not necessarily due to the quality of the crossword. Finally got to within 2 vowels of an unaided finish ( the e & o in 26a ) albeit in an eternity. Had never heard of of an entrepôt before but after all the effort getting there am a little disappointed I failed to spot the reversal of toper.
    16a was my favourite today and 1a also took an age thinking of female names ending ma – not a name you here very often nowadays & from memory Bob’s wife in The Likely Lads…..
    Thanks to all.

  16. I managed this with the help of only two of the hints. I also hesitated to write in the answer for 23a having arrived at it the same way as others – mixed up UNIT with the Welsh girl SIAN – but it did not feel right. Favourite clues are 18a, 7d and 20d.

    I seem to be having a reasonable run this week – it won’t last. :grin:

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

        1. I agree – what 18a and what is it that happens quite frequently – mystified of Oxford!

  17. Whew, what a tough one–difficult in places but quite fair, the first one I’ve finished and parsed completely since Monday’s puzzle. Took me into ***time because of those ‘girls’ at the top. 26a gets my vote for COTD with close runners-up at 7d and 16a. Many thanks to Kath and the setter, whoever he is. *** / ****I/2



  18. Not my cup of tea today. I used to look forward to Thursdays and Sundays… at least we still have Jay on a Wednesday!

    Thanks to the setter for the puzzle, and to Kath.

  19. The north west corner held me up for ages. Hard work today and not especially enjoyable. Too many poor clues in my opinion. 3d and 22d being good examples. I don’t equate “light” with entertaining and “sunup” is an American made up word as far as I’m concerned! It doesn’t feature in my ancient Oxford dictionary which demonstrates my point. Favourite 17d.

  20. I enjoyed this because I managed to finish it. I think Sian Is the Welsh girl’s name in 23 across. Many thanks to Kath and the setter.

  21. Had to dig deep for some answers today and needed the hints for a couple particularly 11a as I would never have associated mug with dial, dial with face yes, plus, (pedantic moment) imho to dial up is only part of the process of calling or ringing someone. Does anyone still use this type of phone.

    Thanks to the setter and for the hints

    1. Dialling up is what we used to call the connection of one computer modem to another……..a long time ago now, but still a bit more recent than actual dials on phones.
      How did we ever stand it? Especially with 999. People were just more patient then.

    2. Yes I do = got exactly the same one on my bedside table although like me it is getting slower to turn now it is so old.

  22. I missed out on yesterdays blog, suffice to say yesterday went into my stinker pile.
    So today made a nice change although I struggled with 26a finally resorting to hints thanks Kath.
    Thanks again to Kath and setter.

  23. I’m quite new to these crosswords , although I’m gradually picking up the methods of solving . I can usually get around 30% of clues on my own ,the balance coming from your explanations . Today I couldn’t solve a single clue on my own and had to look at the answers on six clues . Very difficult for me today

    1. Welcome from me too – stick with the blog and before you know it you’ll be able to finish more than you can’t. Please keep commenting.

    2. Welcome to the blog. Stick with it sometimes all becomes clear and sometimes it is as clear as mud.

    3. Yes, welcome to the blog. I have been on here for just over a year or thereabouts. Like you, Michael, when I joined I rarely completed a crossword despite loving the challenge. In the year I have been on here, I now finish most days and my enjoyment of crossword puzzles has increased greatly. The blog has helped me tremendously and you will find everyone will help out. I didn’t even know what parsing was before I joined.

  24. I struggled a bit with this one but got there in the end. 11a is a bit passé now isn’t it? Does anyone ‘dial’ any more? I used to enjoy the dial swinging back to 0.

  25. Quite hard today but illuminating. I must admit to thinking 26ac was something you ate or drank. So I assumed it must be a type of port! Good thing I looked it up to check.

  26. Oh dear, I got through this, but it was my longest solve in ages. Well done Kath for reviewing it. Many thanks too setter. It challenged the old grey matter.

  27. I always find it difficult to judge difficulty/enjoyment when I know that I’m doing the hints – I seem to have gone a bit askew today.
    Some of you seem to have had trouble with the 1a female. As soon as I got the second letter it was the first one I thought of – my Elder Lamb and her partner had a cat with that name. HE , it’s a long story, was the biggest and soppiest cat I’ve ever known and lived to a ripe old age. His brother was called Louise – another long story!

    1. I’m now worried about the two cat chaps with girls names, Kath.
      I’d always be thinking that they should have “ passed” together, over a cliff, in a convertible. Glad to hear at least one got to a good age, though.

      Other 1a’s that come to my mind:
      Ms Barlow – who was in Corrie in the days when I used to watch it, and played Dolly in dinnerladies, which I still watch often.
      Ms Ritter – famous US film actress
      Mrs Furness – a lady friend of Edward VIII, when he was then the Prince of Wales.

  28. Just popped in to say I couldn’t care less about today’s Cryptic (albeit I completed it in fair time despite being held up by initially bunging the obvious but wrong first word in for 9a), because …

    I am now the very proud possessor of THE pen, for Prize Crossword 29,299.

    Thank you Mr Lancaster, and I’d raise a glass of cheer to Big Dave and all here if only I could fight my way to the wine rack through the mountain of toilet tissue and hand gel. 🤣

  29. What a strange puzzle today. I had 23a penned in from the start, but couldn’t parse it. Still can’t, as I can’t see a Welsh woman’s name in there? Clearly I am not on wavelength today. Just two left to do, but only as I already looked at several hints. Putting aside, and might try again later. Thanks to setter and to Kath, a real genius for solving this one.

      1. Thanks, I thought that was an Irish name. But isn’t the “s” already in the answer from Tunis?

        1. Yes, but no, if you see what I mean!
          We start off with an anagram (new) of UNIT and then follow it with the blasted Welsh or Irish girl’s name so that the whole thing means ‘in African city’ – just as Gazza’s response to my plea for help cites ‘in Paris’ as being ‘Parisian’.
          Hope that helps and thanks to Gazza for making me see the light!

  30. Well I enjoyed it while it lasted. Over a lunchtime pint. Loved the ladies at 1ac and 2d both well clued and easily solved. The Welsh girl only lives two doors away. Thanks to the setter (you can’t please everyone) and thanks to Kath.

  31. No great surprise that l struggled with this.I see that lam not alone.Needed much help from Kath but with that really quite enjoyed it.15 and 13 d were my favourites .I had not realised that 8d was a service ,only knowing it as a musical form.Special thanks to Kath for would have got nowhere without her help.

  32. Slow and steady but not so many in on first pass. Struggled with the parsing of 5a and also with the fact that 22d wasn’t 3-2. Hoping for more enjoyment from todays toughie. Thanks to all.

  33. Off wavelength today I’m afraid; found this a slog except for the surface of 27a which amused me, and was glad when it stopped. Thanks Kath for being there for 11a and for unravelling 7 and 8d. And thank you to the compiler – I did like your quickie pun (but couldn’t finish the crossword).

  34. I completed this after breakfast and before going out for the day so have only just got round to commenting. I cannot remember much about this one, other than I had a very slow start but then a rapid acceleration. It certainly lacked sparkle, nor was there much to make me smile. That said, time spent doing a crossword is rarely wasted.

    Thanks to our setter and Kath.

  35. I’m with Senf on this one. I was nearly through the acrosses before solving anything, but I seemed to get on wavelength and then it became easier.
    I didn’t know 26a, once I had the checkers I had to look it up.
    I’m quite familiar with the churchie things, no problems there.
    I see our weapon at 16a is back, been gone a long time.
    I liked working out 7d, so that’s my fave.
    Thanks to whomsoever for the fun and to Kath for unravelling a couple for me. Lovely sunshine, I’m off to the pool.

  36. We were slow getting a start in the NW but once we did get a toehold it flowed smoothly enough. We did wonder while we were solving if it might be from our erstwhile Friday setter as several of the clues reminded us of him.
    A pleasant solve.
    Thanks Mr Ron and Kath.

    1. Oh – our erstwhile Friday setter hadn’t occurred to me – I do see what you mean, a bit, but I’m not sure he would ever have done 22d unless he’s in disguise and trying to fool us all. :unsure: I wonder if we’ll find out later . . .

  37. Just finished while listening to our president talking to the nation about that damn virus.
    Quite a few girls in this crossword.
    Good thing that the only Welsh one I knew was the right one.
    Enjoyed the solve.
    Preferred it to the toughie.
    Thanks to the setter and to Kath.
    I think that our president just gave the green light for the European Bank to print some cash.. Bring it on my friend.

  38. Thanks for the hints Kath! Afraid I had a sneaky look at a couple of the answers….blooming hard work today and not that enjoyable for me. Maybe the brain cells were battered from what seemed like a full gale on the Lancashire coast this afternoon!

  39. Holy smoke, where did that one come from!
    The bottom half was just about ok, the top half completely beyond me.
    Well done to Kath for deciphering all that!

  40. Got there in the end without help but it was no walk over. Many thanks to all.

  41. Yes a Thursday tester for sure & I struggled, particularly with the second half ( first half in 2 time).
    Thanks to setter & Kath for review & guidance

  42. A strange puzzle, for me at least in that the first clue I could solve or even begin to understand was 14 across. Little more inspiration until well into the bottom half and so I began to think I’d be well and truly beaten today. I decided to work from the bottom up, starting with 24 down and amazed my self by filling the bottom half virtually at a gallop. Once 4 & 5 down went in the remainder became something of a doddle. So no complaints from me, having finished well before Kath’s hints hit the internet. I have no idea who the setter might be, but my thanks to him/her for a fun workout. Thanks to Kath too. Btw, my favoutites today were 7d, 20d & 26a.

  43. Well I enjoyed it because I managed it without books, electronic help, or hints and answers. Quite a time as busy with the chain saw this morning and out on the Yorkshire Moors for most of the afternoon. Liked 16a and 7d. My thanks to Kath and the setter who I hope will grace the puzzle again soon. To be able to solve and parse each clue is s wonder to treasure.

  44. Considering how clever and talented the setters are, I feel bad when I criticise a particular crossword, but in this case I feel criticism is deserved.

    I am not religious but still have a good knowledge of things related to religion. 9a and 8d are to me specialist religious words. I also despise the world pi in crosswords. This is a mathematical term to me. Outside of crossword land, I’m sure nobody has used this term outside of mathematics for centuries.

    And relax… Thanks to the setter and Kath – kudos to you for unravelling this beastie.


    1. Sorry to be a pedant but it’s not pi but the Greek letter phi, I think. I’m not a mathematician but I’ll put in a good word for pi, it’s a wonderful number!

      1. Haha, sorry to out-pedant you but pi isn’t a number, since it never resolves it can only ever be an approximation

  45. :phew: I think I’ve pretty much had it for today so off to bed soon.
    Thanks very much to our setter and to everyone who left a comment.
    Night night all and sleep well – I think I will, or would if the wind wasn’t still so noisy. :yawn:

  46. I’m in the the “yesterday’s was a stinker and some of today’s clues weren’t much better” camp, 9a, 2d, 22d and in particular 26a being the best/worst examples. Apart from that it wasn’t all bad. I didn’t have a problem with 1a, it was the likely lads one that sprang to mind for me. Hard to pick a favourite though all much of a muchness or off the wall. Thanks to the setter anyway and Kath.

  47. Just finished- lie in day today. It amused me to read that so many people struggled with ‘sunup’. Obviously none of you watched interminable cowboy programmes and films in the 1960s. Personally I hated them and it was only years later that I realised it meant ‘sun is up’! Enough of the nostalgia. Thanks to Kath and setter.

    1. Not really. Setter had a choice here between the City and the Country and chose the City.

  48. NW proved to be a problem for me – needed most of Kath’s hints to complete, but solved the rest steadily! Thanks to Kath, and the setter. 🙃

  49. Only got round to tackling this one yesterday (Fri) afternoon, but well worth some belated praise. I thought it was excellent; good clues, a toughish challenge and very enjoyable. I don’t agree with any of the nit-picking criticism in the foregoing. 3.5* / 4*

  50. I don’t suppose anyone is still looking at this but I have plenty of time on my hands so will write to myself. I found it whilst clearing out old papers. Had not attempted it before. Perhaps I was busy or looked at it and thought it was hard. Interesting solve for me as nothing jumped out at me. However I started in the SE which slotted in nicely, followed by the SW, then NW and lastly NE. My last two were 5a and 8d. I knew 26a but not 22d which I got from the letters. 9a was easy once I got the first O. I had been looking for an anagram meaning someone who was an alcoholic or drunk. I am not one but it is well-known being high Anglican. Not RC but nevertheless the ones who like incense and psalms rather than shaking hands and clapping. Sian caused me to think about Welsh, Scottish and Irish names. I always find it embarrassing when an English couple call their child such a name but mispronounce it! Thank you setter and Kath. I only needed the parsing for 5a. When going through the complaints I found that almost always they were a result of the solver misunderstanding or misreading the clue and therefore unjustified. For the avoidance of doubt I am not the setter and do not know him or her!!!

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