DT29360 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 29360

Hints and tips by pommers

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ****

Hola from the Vega Baja where the lockdown is being eased a little from today.  I’m in no rush to go anywhere though as it doesn’t mean the virus is any less dangerous, it just means they have room for me in the Intensive Care Unit at the Hospital Vega Baja.  I’ve been there before with lung problems, as some of you may remember, and I do not want a repeat experience.

Today’s crossword is pretty straightforward.  I got eleven of the acrosses on first pass  and all but two of the downs.  There’s enough anagrams for those that like them and two are fourteen letters each so if you crack them there’s plenty of checkers available.

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           Ride taken round Honshu principally, by inscrutable person (6)
SPHINX:  A ride in a car put around H (Honshu principally) followed by the single letter meaning BY, as in a piece of wood being 2 by 4.

4a           Bad fire in branch (8)
OFFSHOOT:  A word meaning bad or rotting followed by fire, as in fire a gun.

10a         A dry, mostly freezing, upper room (5)
ATTIC: Take the A from the clue followed by the usual two letters for dry, as in being a non-drinker.  After this you need a word for very cold without its last letter (mostly).

11a         Significant  worker, one having special skills (9)
OPERATIVE:  Double definition.  The last four words of this clue aren’t really necessary.

12a         Prune others spreading, indefinite number (7)
SHORTEN:  Anagram (spreading) of OTHERS followed by the single letter for any number.

13a         Uncomplaining, study portable shelter (7)
CONTENT:  One of the usual words for study, not den but the other one, followed by a portable canvas shelter.

14a         Fight adversary misguidedly creating work throughout the night (9,5)
GRAVEYARD SHIFT:  Anagram (misguidedly) of FIGHT ADVERSARY.

17a         Held one’s gran if upset, conciliatory words being required (2,4,8)

21a         News coming back about old soldier (7)
TROOPER:  A word for a piece of news is reversed (coming back) around (about) an O(ld).

23a         Stuff at sea it polluted (7)
SATIATE:  Anagram (polluted) of AT SEA IT.  Unusual in that AT SEA is normally an anagram indicator, not the fodder.  Had me fooled for a moment.

24a         Love a speech introducing Democrat (9)
ADORATION:  A from the clue followed by another word for a speech with a D(emocrat) inserted (introducing).

25a         Percentage of quota cut (5)
RATIO:  A quota or allowance without its last letter (cut).

26a         Legacy of millions missing from retreat (8)
HERITAGE:  Take a word for a retreat where a recluse or eremite might live and remove the M (millions missing from).

27a         Cool customer, initially wearing tartan (6)
PLACID:  Take a C (Customer initially) and around it (wearing) put another word for tartan cloth.


1d           Celebrity on mixed gins — Leo, perhaps (4,4)
STAR SIGN:  Another word for a celebrity followed by an anagram (mixed) of GINS.

2d           Stew at ball? A delicate matter (3,6)
HOT POTATO:  Take a stew from Lancashire, follow it with the AT from the clue and the letter that looks like a ball and split it all (3,6).

3d           Item worn with audacity ahead of match (7)
NECKTIE:  A word for audacity, often preceded by “brass”, is followed by a word for a match of football perhaps.

5d           Language used before preparing something for the salad? (6,8)
FRENCH DRESSING:  A European language followed by a word for preparing or arranging. How strange, we had this answer in yesterday’s puzzle.

6d           Constant  check (7)
STAUNCH:  Double definition. Constant as in reliable.

7d           In abeyance round Mediterranean resort (2,3)
ON ICE:  The round letter followed by a resort in the south of France all split (2,3).

8d           Deal with Yankee, making pact (6)
TREATY:  The word for deal which is only ever used in crosswords followed by the letter represented by the word Yankee in the phonetic alphabet.

9d           A lot of possibly unproductive activity  travelling between places? (5,3,6)
TOING AND FROING:  Double definition.  At first I put in GOING AND COMING, which didn’t really sound right as it’s usually the other way round, and it rather made a mess of 21a, d’oh!

15d         Extraordinary worker having sparkling wine in football club (9)
FANTASTIC:  One of the usual workers and the usual Italian fizzy wine are placed inside (in) the abbreviation of Football Club.

16d         Heavenly body of a bodybuilder? (8)
ASTEROID:  The A from the clue followed by a drug that builds muscle mass gives you a heavenly body.  There’s belt of them between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter.

18d         Stop after snake makes for pitch (7)
ASPHALT: A word for stop after the snake that did for Cleopatra gives the sort of pitch found on a road surface. She was only a road mender’s daughter but she sure liked her asphalt!

19d         Misprint in literature on period of history ending in turmoil (7)
LITERAL:  Abbreviation of literature followed by a period of history or a long time and finally an L (ending in turmoiL).

20d         Join a church following a tense time (6)
ATTACH: A (from the clue) and one of the two letter churches are placed after (following) the other A from the clue and T(ense) and T(ime).

22d         Love dreary perfume (5)
ODOUR:  The letter for love in tennis followed by a word meaning dreary.

I think favourite was 18d as it raised a smile when I remembered the old joke.

Quick crossword pun:   SHRILL     +     ANCHOR     =     SRI LANKA

The two bottom line answers are ORDEAL and MEAGRE but if they make a pun I can’t see it.

74 comments on “DT29360

  1. Quite straightforward, nothing to scare the horses. Wasn’t 5d in yesterday’s? 2*/2* from me. Thanks Setter & pommers.

  2. Mainly very enjoyable but I do have a couple of hmms. As Pommers says 11a would have been far better as ‘significant worker’ only, and although I fully parsed it I thought 19d a strange clue as the solution was virtually staring at you in part of the wordplay.
    Other than that good fun with podium places going to 3, 7 and 16d.

    1. Oops, how rude of me. Many thanks to the setter and to Pommers for the fine puzzle and blog

  3. Yes, an enjoyable canter. And talking of coincidences the predilections of the roadmender’s daughter appear verbatim in today’s equally enjoyable 603 win a prize puzzle.
    With thanks to setter and Pommers.

  4. Very enjoyable **/*** and Pommers comments very entertaining. Thanks to both.

  5. A very Monday-ish offering with old friends, moments of deja-vu and anagrams galore

    Thanks to the setter and Pommers – I see that you can now go and stand outside your local bar but as you say, given your previous problems, I’m not sure I’d risk it.

  6. Apart from the two slightly iffy clues already mentioned above, this was a really fun way to start the solving week. 1a was my favourite until I solved 16d. A bitterly cold wind may curtail our exercise regime today unfortunately.

    Thanks to our setter, presumably not Campbell unless I am misreading the missing second Quickie pun, and Pommers.

    1. Speaking from personal experience this morning – you’ll go half the normal distance, get almost blown over twice, have to avoid branches falling from trees and be delighted to find that the house seems really cosy when you get back

      1. At least I had the wind behind me pushing me along on the return leg of my circular walk but my trusty fleece jacket made a reappearance.

  7. I agree with you. Pedantic to the last but a “significant worker” in 11a doesn’t necessarily have special skills! I didn’t entirely see the point of 19d either. Favourite 18d. 3d definitely worth a podium place too.

  8. Enjoyable Monday puzzle done in the bath – just the right amount of time for a good soak and brain exercise. Favourites 27a and 2d. Can’t access the Sunday puzzles, so was not aware of the 5d repeat.
    Thanks to setter and Pollers.

  9. A gentle start to the week with all done, dusted & fully parsed inside ** time. The 2 long anagrams at 14&17a leapt out which helped matters enormously. No real favourites today but still enjoyable.
    Thanks to the setter & to Pommers

  10. 2*/3*. This made a pleasant start to the week. 11a seems to win the prize for attracting the most comments so far. Collins online defines the answer when used as a noun as “a worker, especially one with a special skill”, but I am a bit more baffled by “significant”. In what context would you use the answer to mean this? To be fair Collins again does list “significant” as one of the adjectival meanings, but it just doesn’t feel quite right to me.

    My favourite was 18d, and not just for giving pommers the excuse to include the amusing joke.

    Many thanks to Campbell and to pommers.

      1. Hmm. Thanks pommers, but I’m still not entirely convinced that they are synonymous.

        1. RD
          Jose Mourinho was a great manager, was being the operative/significant word…..ie the word you want to draw attention to.

          1. Thanks Stephen. I think what I am struggling with is that personally I would always use “operative” and never “significant” in that context.

            1. I saw them several times at the Free Trade Hall in Manchester. Sadly neither the FTH or Keith are with us any longer.

            2. I thought it might have been a triple definition – can’t operative be a synonym of significant? e.g. “He is usually in a good mood, the operative word being ‘usually’.”
              Maybe that’s stretching things though.

  11. Enjoyed this start to the week.

    Unfortunately I will insist on spelling 1a with Y instead of an i which makes parsing impossible.
    I don’t know why, but there it is.

    Thanks to the setter and to Pommers.

    Stay safe, whether alert or at home.

      1. Given the old playground joke it still made me smile whichever way one chooses to spell it!

  12. There was lots to smile about this one. I liked the synonym for dreary in 22d. I know a couple of people who come into that category. A similar word Is “dreich”, but I’m not sure if I have seen that in a DT crossword. Many thanks setter and Pommers. My husband has told me that it’s very cold and windy outside. I’m really not bothered about finding out. My adult sons have asked if there is any cake left. No, there is not. That will keep me busy this afternoon.

  13. A gentle start to the week but enjoyable with it. 2d was my favourite with honourable mentions to 1a and 15d. Share earlier thoughts on 11a and 19d. Thanks to Pommers and today’s setter.

  14. Pleasant enough except for the abundance of anagrams. 1, 10 and 11a were all bung-ins due to my being slow in the uptake. Quick solution of 14a and 5d (thanks to yesterday) made for a helpful start. Liked the Quickie pun. According to RD thanks are due to Campbell and pommers.

  15. A fun puzzle, with some great anagrams (good if you like them) but it didn’t last long enough (1*/3.5*). I liked 1a and 2d but was puzzled by 11a like everyone else. I spent a few minutes trying to make a triple definition but wasn’t convinced. Thanks to Pommers. I think you are wise to sit tight with this virus. We would do so even if we weren’t obliged to shield until June 1st (at least). Thanks to the setter. Keep safe and well everyone.

  16. An enjoyable start to the week with some well crafted anagrams. My favourites; 14a as I’ve done more than my share over the years, 21a and 16d. Thanks to the Setter and Pommers🦇

  17. Couldn’t get into my stride with this one, I’m afraid. Maybe the bitterly cold wind and the fact the Aga has decided to shut down just when it is needed have slowed down my brain. Anyway, I had to resort to electronic help to get going, which is not a good thing to do at the start of a puzzle. However, I persevered and got there in the end and, I have to admit, there were some good clues today such as 10a and 23a ( good diversion) but my COTD is 18d.

    Many thanks to the setter. Thanks, also, to Pommers for the hints and The Nice, who later morphed into Emerson, Lake and Palmer.

      1. Yeah – Keith Emerson but groups used to morph freely. I suppose, if I were to be accurate I should have said that The Nice contributed to ELP. :good: :smile:

  18. Lovely start to the week 😃 ***/**** Favourites 7d (which held me up for quite a time) & 18d 🤗 Thanks to Pommers for the very nice blog and of course to the Setter 👍

  19. Gentle start to the week with 14a being my fav. Not too sure about the ref to X in 1a, seems a bit weak.
    Thx to all

    1. Brian, the X is a reference to multiply. E.g. multiply 10 by 4.

      Bad day at the office for me today, but completed with a bit of help from Pommers.

      Thanks all👍

  20. A pleasant start to what used to be the work week completed at a fast gallop – **/***.
    A couple of Hmms raised by 1a and 11a.
    Favourite 15d.
    Thanks to the setter and pommers – I think you are safe in assuming that there is no ‘bottom row’ Quickie pun.

  21. A fair enough start to the crosswording week although that salad accompaniment has been rather done to death recently and – having already solved the weekly on-line puzzle – 18d was a definite case of deja vu, even the clue was identical!
    Like others, I had my doubts about 11a having special skills but I’m sure there are those who will be pleased to hear it.
    The audacious garb for a match made me smile so gets my vote today.

    Thanks to our setter and to Pommers for the blog – eclectic music choices today!

  22. Lots of clever clues in today’s enjoyable puzzles, which I finished in good time, though it would have been faster if I’d not mistaken ‘prime’ for ‘prune’! Got it right anyway, and thought these were the best clues of the day: 1a, 18d, and 16d (COTD for me). Thanks to Pommers and today’s setter. ** / ****

    1. Well, I meant one puzzle, though when I think about it, the Quickie took almost as long as the Cryptic, and it too was enjoyable. Nice pun too.

  23. A pleasant **/*** and what I learned today at school mummy is that misprint can mean literal (19d). Got the answer but had no idea why it was that until I looked up the definition of misprint!

  24. Good fun today. Handy that the salad item was left on the table from yesterday. As always, puzzle completed at the garden table, and as with yesterday, it is way too cold and thus hot chocolate (indoors!) beckons.

  25. Enjoyable and doable without help means a good start to the week.Learnt something from 19d and liked the 2 long anagrams.l enjoyed the quick puzzle as well but l cannot see a bottom line pun.Thanks to setter and Pommers.

  26. Checking in late as I am having trouble with my email account as BT do not seem to like
    Yahoo any more, How do I change to something they do like? I spent four precious hours
    of my life yesterday holding on for BT help, got cut off mid call and had to join the queue all
    over again but at least I did manage to get mail back on the computer but laptop is fickle and
    iPhone impossible. As if life is not hard enough what with the virus and my knee.
    Well, that was a nice rant. Thank heavens we have the crosswords to take our minds off our
    woes. I agree with everything everyone has said. 11a was last in because I just couldn’t
    believe it was correct. Keep alert, everyone

  27. Pleasant start to the week, nothing much to frighten the horses, liked 1a and 18d. Cold and blustery here but NE wind luckily mostly goes over the top of us.
    Thanks to setter and Pommers

  28. Yes, a very pleasant start to the week with some nice long anagrams and synonyms that didn’t stretch the imagination too much.
    1a was my last one in and was puzzled by the X until I spotted that pesky little two-letter word “by” but when I twigged it instantly became my fave as it gives me the opportunity to quote some doggerel that has been with me for years;

    The sexual life of the camel,
    Is stranger than anyone thinks,
    At the height of the mating season,
    It tries to bugger the Sphinx.
    But the Sphinx’s posterior orifice,
    Is blocked by the sands of the Nile,
    Which accounts for the hump on the camel,
    And Sphinx’s inscrutable smile.

    I would credit the original author but a brief investigoogle seems he or she is equally inscrutable.

    Thanks to pommers and setter.
    Good progress with this has given me time to have a go at Bardwig’s rookie which is much more rewarding than last weeks effort which I could neither start nor comment on.

    1. Thank you, John. The doggerel you referred to is exactly what was in my mind when I replied to CS at comment 11 but – of course – I was too much of a ‘lady’ to repeat it verbatim!

  29. Late on parade after first zoom conference. Slow start but things progressed steadily with no real hold-up.
    COTD 16d & thank you pommers for publishing my photograph in the hint 💪👍
    Many will be pleased golf in England started. Wonder what Llanymynach will do, club is a member of England Golf where you can play but clubhouse and 14 /15 holes in Waled where you can’t!
    Thanks to setter & pommers for review

    1. Those I feel most sorry for are the folk who live in Wales but travel to England every day for work – what the heck are they supposed to do at the moment? Must be a similar situation for those who straddle the Scottish border although I can understand the position of those in charge of legislation for both areas as our ‘virus peak’ has only recently arrived.

    2. I played Llanymynach back in the day when golf tormented my soul. Beautiful course but my rubbish golf spoiled the enjoyment. There was one hole where the green was on a plateau and you had to lift the ball on to it. Can’t remember what par the hole was but I lifted the ball with, I think, a six iron and climbed up to the green. No sign of my ball. We all searched and could not find it. It was assumed by all that my ball had gone into the rough that surrounded the green. I had to play another ball. The first of the foursome putted and landed about two feet from the pin. The others took their turn while I waited. My putt fell short by about a yard. One of the others went to take out the pin for the first player to hole and saw my ball in the pot!

      I had holed in two.

      That’s the trouble with golf. Lots of heartache with only the occasional flash of glory.

      Rather like solving crosswords, when you think about it. 🤣

  30. Great clip of The Nice at 7d. Originally a backing group for PP Arnold, featuring the late, great Keith Emerson on organ. I saw them live several times at Langwith College University of York in the late 60’s, when I was Social Sec. Happy days indeed! Thanks for the nostalgic trip.

    Enjoyed this crossword, but firmly in 3* difficulty territory for me. Hard to concentrate, perhaps, with the rumours that incoming flights to UK from Spain are likely to be quarantined, which will discourage airlines restoring schedules even more. Will we ever get back to Blighty? Stuck since 10 March.

    1. My son-in-law has been ‘promised’ a seat on a BA repatriation flight from Barcelona on 23rd May but he is out in Spain working and has a wife on IOW who is due to give birth on 14th June so perhaps he counts as something of a priority case? He has certainly been advised that he will have to go into quarantine for two weeks on his return to the UK.

    2. My, my John. I was in Langwith in the late 70s. Loved it, and the college was very special; we even walked on water and imposed a unilateral 200 mile no fishing limit on the campus lake (I think in reference to the ‘Cod Wars’). My daughter is currently in her second year there, alas in Vanburgh. Even more alas, our physical Langwith has been subsumed into Derwent, although the college has risen again as a brand new entity on the new campus. Happy days indeed!

  31. Pleasant start to the week. 18d was fav due to Pommers joke. Thanks to him and the setter. Another glorious day today and a little more gardening in store.

  32. I agree with most today that this was a good fun puzzle, without too much difficulty.

    The kind of body depicted in the picture for 16d, however, is far from heavenly in my opinion. Revolting, more like.

    Many thanks to Pommers and the setter.

  33. I enjoyed this – got far more answers than is normal for me on the first read through of all the clues.
    We used to call 14a nights – as nurses I’m not sure 14a would have given a great impression or any confidence to our patients! :unsure: and :negative:
    I was slow with 1a – always forget that ‘by’ often means ‘x’ in crossword land – one day I’ll remember.
    Like lots of others of you the last four words of the clue for 11a made me leave it for a while and have a bit of a think.
    I liked 10 and 27a and 9 and 18d.
    Thanks to whoever set today’s crossword and to pommers – I certainly remember when you were in ITU – very long time ago.

    1. I hadn’t given any thought to the ‘other’ meaning of working through the night but you’re quite right, Kath, wouldn’t fill those poor patients with any confidence!

  34. Thanks to the setter and Pommers for the review and hints. Nice start to the week, which I found quite tricky, but I think this was because my mind is on other matters. Favourite was 26a, which I’d seen before. Last in was 1a. Was 3*/3* for me.

  35. Very friendly today, thoroughly enjoyed. I’ve done enough of 14a in my life, missed the anagram but it just had to be.
    Like pommers, I couldn’t get coming and going out of my mind, I used e-help to get that one.
    Lots to like, maybe 15d takes the top honours with 2d for honourable mention.
    Thanks to Campbell and to pommers for his review, keep well and safe.

  36. My first answers were scattered all over the grid today.
    Didn’t know that meaning for misprint either.
    Like Heno, 1a was last in.
    Fared better with DT No 603 and Anto in the Graun.
    Thanks to Campbell and to Pommers.

    1. Did you understand 13 and 25 across in Anto’s puzzle? Both great clues.

      1. I did – don’t understand what all the fuss was about over there with 25a
        Bet Hoofit wasn’t best pleased though

        1. I would expect you to get 13 across LBR. I wondered if JL-C would. 25 across is another matter altogether. I doubt I would have sorted it on my own.

          1. Hi MP,
            I did have to check the Football ref in 13a but the Formula in 25a was parsed without any problems.

  37. As usual most things have already been said by the time I get here, but hey ho it saves me having comment further. Pleasant crossword, favourite 2 down. Thanks to the setter and Pommers.

  38. An enjoyable challenge today, with SW corner going in last. Was surprised to see 5d as we had that yesterday, and seen 8d a couple of times recently. Never did understand 19d, but bunged it in anyway. Thanks to setter for a very enjoyable puzzle and to Pommers. Yes, we’re not going to be the first to rush out, waiting to see how things pan out over the next couple of weeks. Fingers crossed everyone can get back to work and things can normalize before we get much older.

  39. As for “A lot of possibly unproductive activity travelling between places? (5,3,6)
    Click here!: Double definition. At first I put in GOING AND COMING, which didn’t really sound right as it’s usually the other way round, and it rather made a mess of 21a, d’oh!”
    I did excatly the same :-) and d’oh indeed. Otherwise a very pleasant solve which I began in bed late last night – fell asleep and finished this morning. Thanks to the setter and to you Pommers as well.

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