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DT 29417

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 29417

Hints and tips by Xenathon of Athens

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BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

Good Morning from the heart of Downtown L I. As usual I have no idea who might have set today’s puzzle but it sure ain’t Mr T as his alter ego El Beamio is on Toughie duty today and the Quickie puzzle has more than one word per clue. I found this a bit like a RayT puzzle in that it was a testing solve with some clues needing teasing out carefully.

The wearing of a mask whilst reading this blog is not compulsory but may be advisory.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a    One mostly horrible meeting one in prison who doesn’t fight? (8)
CIVILIAN: Begin with the letter that looks like the number one. Add a four-letter adjective meaning extremely unpleasant minus its last letter. Again add the letter that looks like the number one. Wrap a slang term for prison around what you have.

5a    Duty of sailor if meeting head of fleet (6)
TARIFF: Begin with a three-letter word for a sailor. Add the word if from the clue. Add the first letter of the word fleet

9a    ‘A superior and thunderous character,’ journalist wrote (8)
AUTHORED: Start with the letter a from the clue. Add the single letter word used long ago to denote superior. Add The Norwegian God of Thunder. Add a senior journalist

10a    Vehicle to fondle, something that can move magically? (6)
CARPET: Initiate proceedings with a popular vehicle which most of us drive. Conclude proceedings with the sort of fondle not allowed in swimming pools. The answer has been fitted to our landing and stairs today.

11a    Cloth around light forming a sort of decoration (7)
GARLAND: A scrap of cloth is reversed and followed by a verb meaning (of an aircraft) come to ground

12a    Trick by unwanted surfer endlessly achieving dominance (7)
CONTROL: A short verb meaning to trick is followed by a nasty and troublesome internet surfer who has had his end removed

13a    Components of clues one fits in, I’d fancy (11)
DEFINITIONS: Anagram (fancy) of ONE FITS IN ID. Good luck if you are trying to make wordplay from those letters

16a    Party people about to meet hosts offering drinks (11)
REPUBLICANS: Our usual short prefix meaning about is followed by those stalwarts of society who unselfishly dedicate their lives to the service of others in taverns throughout The United Kingdom. God bless them one and all.

21a    Work involved in transporting paintings etc. in compartment (7)
CARTAGE: My last one in and no surprise. A generic term for paintings sits inside a rather stretched synonym for a compartment. Maya Anjalou might have called her book I know why the compartmented bird sings. Nicolas Compartment might have won an Oscar for his role in Leaving Las Vegas. John Compartment might have written 4 minutes and 33 seconds of silent music

22a    Raw note (7)
NATURAL: A double definition. The second not being a note musically (I hope)

23a    News incorporates four of these critical comments (6)
POINTS: Taken individually, each of the four letters that make up the word news represent North East West and SOUTH. The answer is what these are on a compass 

24a    Funny tales etc. featured in what’s seen on the box (8)
TELECAST: Anagram (funny) of TALES ETC

25a    Number of US soldiers in retreat making an impression (6)
SIGNET: One of only four numbers with three letters is followed by the abbreviation for a number of regular army members from the American army. The whole lot needs to be reversed (in retreat)

26a    Witness attending examination in front of soldiers (8)
ATTESTOR: A short word meaning attending something is followed by an exam. This is followed by the abbreviation for the other ranks in an army


1d    Accusation that’s made by 5 (6)
CHARGE: As usual when a number appears in digital form within a clue it refers to that answer within the puzzle. Here it is a synonym of the word Tariff which also means an accusation

2d    Participants in democracy strove for change (6)
VOTERS: Anagram (for change) of STROVE

3d    Man presenting stars with something aromatic (7)
LEONARD: These stars are those of the horoscope. Choose any one of twelve and add an aromatic plant that you have probably never heard of also known as spikenard

4d    A boss, frequently I’m ending with employee earlier than expected (5,2,4)
AHEAD OF TIME: A five part charade in its correct order. Do as the clue says, split your letters as per the enumeration, smile smugly to yourself. 1 The letter A from the clue. 2 The boss, big cheese, head honcho or wife. 3 A short word meaning frequently (used by Wordsworth describing lying on his bed in Daffodils) 4 I’M. Yup just lift it straight from the clue. It’s a gift from the setter. 5 The last letter or ending of employee.

6d    Hostile to profits made in heartless act (7)
AGAINST: A synonym for profits sits inside the outer letters (heartless) of the word act

7d    Fashionable character actually appearing (2,6)
IN PERSON: A word meaning fashionable is followed by a word meaning a character. The answer is how live acts were billed many years ago

8d    Big record about a person who has given up hope? (8)
FATALIST: A word meaning big when discussing a directors salary perhaps precedes a record or catalogue of items. The two words are separated by the letter A from the clue

12d    Policy to restrict men — no it can’t, unexpectedly (11)
CONTAINMENT: Anagram (unexpectedly) of MEN NO IT CAN’T   The following illustration belongs to the hint for 7 down  

14d    Rules for conduct given quiet respect somehow (8)
PRECEPTS: The musical abbreviation for quiet is followed by an anagram (somehow) of RESPECT

15d    Celebrate around recreation ground — with fireworks doing this? (8)
SPARKING: The recreational facility is a wide open green space that may contain swings and slides. To celebrate is to lift ones voice and make musical sounds with the voice. Arrange as per the instructions within the clue

17d    Small animal or insect imbibing fizzy drink (7)
BEASTIE: A honey making insect sits around a sickly fizzy alcoholic substitute for champagne

18d    Offended about article giving words of derision (2,5)
SO THERE: A word meaning offended or hurt sits around an article

19d    Knight presents English bishop with a set of holy books (6)
ERRANT: The abbreviation for English is followed by the abbreviation for a Right Reverend Bishop. This is followed by the letter A from the clue and the abbreviation for the final part of the Bible

20d    Top worker to criticise manager ultimately (6)
SLATER: A word meaning to criticise is followed by the final letter of the word manager. The result is a roofer described by what he might cover a roof with. When roofers start to cover roofs with dinner plates I will still refuse to eat my dinner off a piece of roof

Quickie Pun: Terry +Tories =territories

82 comments on “DT 29417

  1. Another puzzle for me where I became bogged down in the NW corner. The rest of it was pretty straightforward with some careful thought, and the anagram count helped me get a foothold. 19d was my favourite.

    Thanks to our mystery setter and MP.

  2. Yes enjoyed it and loved Miffypops definition of Feet – based on experience I think – and great music clips.

    1. I liked this a lot, although I am not sure about the use of nards in crosswords. Cotd for me was 1a, and overall **/****.

  3. What a strange puzzle, with some bizarre clues beginning with 1ac, but which I ended up enjoying for the most part. Xenathon of Athens is absolutely right about teasing out some answers, and so doing just that led me to a fairly fast finish and some really unusual clues: 9a, 18d, and 20d. Thanks to X of A (who apparently is a true fictional nom-de-plume) and today’s sometimes wacky setter. ** / ***

  4. I thoroughly enjoyed this quirky puzzle that I thought had a different feel to it (Donnybrook perhaps). The parsing of 11a wasn’t obvious so thanks to MP for clarification but apart from that it all came together nicely. Loads of good clues, I’ve ticked 9,12(something contemporary) and 23a plus 17& 20d for special mention
    Many thanks to the setter and to MP for the top notch entertainment.

  5. Very enjoyable at just the right level for me. My fav clue was 1a. Last in was 4d as the aromatic plant was unknown to me.
    Much better than the Quickie which has words that I have never heard of before, had to admit defeat on that one.
    Thx to all

  6. The north west corner held me up too. 3d and 11a were bung ins because I couldn’t come up with anything else. I still don’t see where “something aromatic” comes into 3d. Anybody?? The explanation for 11a just about works for me. I thought there might be some mysterious cloth called garand around L for light! Other than that, a reasonably straightforward puzzle. I liked 20d but favourite 12a. ***/*** Thanks to all.

    1. Hi Greta
      Nard is an aromatic plant…(no me neither!)…was thinking along exactly the same lines as you re 11a!

      1. A nard is a substance made from aromatic plants and applied to the skin.

    2. The Himalayan Spikenard Plant has a spicy aromatic smell. It’s name is shortened to Nard in some places. If the setter had squeezed In the letters ODAVINCI together with the final letter N he would have a more recognisable answer and a great number of anagrams to choose from. But then we’d have had to squash lots of letters into the final square To start 13 across which would not work. I haven’t really thought this through have I?

      1. I am very surprised at you woolly thinking – bring a mate of Socrates and Plato I thought some of their clear thinking would have rubbed off. Just a thought.

      2. I can find no “Xenathon of Athens” anywhere in Gk history. I really was curious that I had somehow missed one of those great Greeks!

  7. This was a bit of a hooligan, I got held up in SW corner 15 and 17 down. Once I had a look at the hints 17d was a doh moment. 15d also for the same reason. I just couldn’t get 14d then anagram head clicked in. Nice anagram at 12d.
    Thanks to MP and mystery setter.

  8. Took a bit of effort to lick this into shape but made it. NW was my sticking point not helped by having put 2d solution into 1d. Surprised 17d is a dictionary word. Fav was 12a. 3d bunged in as the aromatic plant was a new one on me. Thank you Mysteron and MP.

  9. This took me the same time to solve as the Beam, and this one seemed the more difficult of the two, although I’d agree with BD’s 3* rating for difficulty. We’ve had the plant before but don’t ask me when or where

    Thanks to the Thursday Mysteron and the Greek chap

    1. When and where have we seen the plant before? Any chance you could send El Bemios Toughie please. I’ve arranged for my hard copy paper to be delivered to a neighbour.

  10. Gosh, that was hard! Well, it was for me anyway. I’m afraid I needed too much help for it to be enjoyable but this is not the fault of the setter. I simply could not get a toehold and gave up. I’ve never heard of the aromatic plant and I could not see the cloth in 11a.

    Thanks to the setter for beating me and many thanks to the author of Anabasis and Hellenica for the hints.

    1. Are you a dentist by any chance? You seemed inordinately interested in my teeth yesterday!

      1. Sorry, Daisygirl. Yes I am although Covid-19 has forced early retirement because I’m over 70 and have had a liver transplant. Actually, I’m an endodontist (I did root canal treatment) and your symptoms seemed to be in my field.

        1. Any chance you live near Cambridge? (just joking) I am not convinced this tooth is ok despite the X-ray. Why would it hurt?

          1. Exactly. A healthy tooth doesn’t hurt as a rule. You are entitled to ask for a second opinion if you wish.

  11. I am very grateful to our Greek friend for his help but I still don’t understand 23 across, actually it’s just dawned on me as I composed this post assuming that the answer is synonymous with ‘critical comments’. Will someone please confirm.

  12. Not straightfodward for me. A stumble rather than a stroll into mid 3* time . As others NW corner held me up & needed help to finish with 11a a bung-in. Never heard of the plant in 3d, my LOI. Using a little known plant (in this house anyway) to get to just a “man” is a poor clue IMHO.
    There were many good clues though, with 9a my COTD.
    Thanks to setter & XoA. I will look up the relevance later. Have used the Lego finding devices

    1. Agree. Far too difficult and cryptic for most. “Nard” . Really……..

      I don t think the idea is that most solvers need to resort to loads of hints to get anywhere near completion.

      If they were all like this I d give up.

      Quickie was also not what it says on the tin…..

    1. I have been doing Telegraph crosswords for more than 40 years (!) and I thought this one was awful.

  13. Rather a tricky little puzzle in the west, although the east was quite straightforward (3*/4*). I needed help for 23a although it was one of my favourite clues in the end. I could have kicked myself when I thought of all the children whom I’ve taught the mnemonic ‘ Naughty Elephants Squirt Water’ to remember the compass points. I thought 4d and 1a were also good clues. Thanks to Xenophon and the setter.

  14. Completed in a simple *** time, except for 3d, not knowing the aromatic plant.

    I think we have had discussions in the past about the use of first names as answers, not fair in my book.

    Thanks to the setter and MP.

  15. Well I thought this was hard going especially the NW corner which others have commented on. Agree with Malcolm R above re the use of names. Never heard of the herb but bunged in the answer anyway. Don’t think I really enjoyed this much, some rather odd clues but thanks to the setter and Miffypops.

  16. I enjoyed this, the time spent on fizzy drinks and aromatics pushed me into *** time with the latter requiring some internet research. Like others I also researched whether garand might be some obscure material before the penny dropped. Favourite today was 1a. Now off to pick cournichons from the allotment before tackling the toughie. Thanks to today’s setter and MP.

  17. 22a – Natural IS music related as it happens (according to Google).

    Natural notes are the notes A, B, C, D, E, F, and G represented by the white keys on the keyboard of a piano or organ.

  18. I approach Thursdays with some trepidation .This was unusual in parts but good fun.l would not have got 23 a without Greek help but will remember that for the future.Going to clean out my Augean stables,garage,this p.m. so wonder if M.P. can lend me Hercules for this task.Think my knowledge of Greek myth may be a bit away.Thanks to all.

    1. I once had a horse called Hercules but I sold him to Albert Steptoe

  19. Once again many thanks to all for providing our lunchtime entertainment. I didn’t know 3d and none of my books on herbs knew him either. But of course I trust the setter implicitly. I really liked 17d. Good news this morning younger grandson passed all his exams with flying colours (advanced physics) despite family problems and can resume Uni next term. Still no chance he can take all his stuff from our spare rooms though or resume responsibility for Thompson. Still any good news is good news. 👏

  20. Reasonably enjoyable after completing unaided in ** time. Unfortunately could not parse 1a, 3d. Managed to get my head around the rest. Quite few interesting clues. Thanks to whichever Greek you are today and the quirky setter. How about some Babylonian gods next time in the name of equal representation.

  21. Natural notes are notes that are not sharps or flats. So the scale of C Major is all naturals.

    Nard is mentioned in chapter 12 of John’s gospel where Mary anointed Jesus’ feet with ointment made from nard.

    (I specialise in answers beginning with ‘N’ 😏)

    Quite a difficult one today which I managed to finish on my own but I’m glad the hints explained the reasoning behind some of the answers.

    1. Thanks for the Gospel reference. It’s a well-known passage and clearly I have heard the word several times before, even though I had no recollection of it.

      Checking if any modern translations have changed it to something else (which, unsurprisingly, The Message has), I discovered it’s still in the latest NIV (2011). But where NIV has “took about a pint of pure nard”, the UK edition of NIV has “Mary took about half a litre of pure nard”!

      Apparently somebody thinks those of us in the UK would, despite being fine at knowing about nard, struggle with that obscure foreign measure known as the pint.

      1. I can’t get my head around walking into my local for half a litre of John Smith’s.

        The ESV refers to “about a pound of expensive ointment”. Just wait until we have to ask for beers by weight!

  22. I found this to be a real struggle/slog but I did like 5,10, 23 across, on the downs 2 & 6 down, I discovered a new meaning for 25 across and had never heard of 17 down used in that form, thank you to the Setter and to XOA.


  23. First in was 13a, followed by a paltry few others. Rest might as well be in Russian. Clearly above my pay grade. Will try again later when brain might wake up.

      1. I think your Greek made the system think you were spam so you went into moderation

          1. So it is. Don’t forget I only looked at your comment on its own waiting to be rescued

  24. Thanks to the setter and to The Man with Many Names for the review and hints. I enjoyed what I could do, but found it very tricky. Got the right hand side ok, but needed the hints for 1a,3&17d, and to parse 11a. Had never heard of 21a, but got it from the checkers and the wordplay. Favourite was 13a. Was 4*/3* for me.

  25. **** time for the north west and ** for the rest. I thought 23a was very clever. Thank you setter and MF

  26. I thought this was an interesting mix of clues, some straightforward and some not. I’ve a feeling that 11a and 6d have appeared in the recent past. I spent quite some time unravelling the bottom left corner but got there in the end. The answer to 15d reminds me of clogs, and to 17d of haggis. I liked 22a – I think n*t*r*l is the opposite of an accidental note in music – but my favourite clue is 18d. Overall very enjoyable. Thanks to the compiler and to X of A for the entertaining hints.

  27. Got off to a good start before grinding to a complete halt in the SW corner which required some help from XOA, for which many thanks. My problem was that there were so many clever clues – 1a, 9a, 13a, 3d, 18 and 19d which I had to work hard to solve that I couldn’t believe that 21a, 23a and 25a were so straightforward and tried to overthink them. Definitely quirky but enjoyable, nonetheless so thanks to the setter for an enjoyable challenge.

  28. The NW corner held me up in the end, needing e-help to finish. Being able to solve 11a and 2d kept me going, even so, I bunged in 3d and it was wrong, putting in an animal rather than a man. I prefer animals so it’s no wonder.
    The rest was kinda friendly but a bit odd. I think 17d is a Scots word. Fave was 23a.
    Thanks to our setter and to XofA for helping to unravel some of the answers.

    1. M.
      You will never change your spots. 😊
      On a political note doesn’t look like the setters have seen your avatar. 16a is the second mention for the GOP in the laast few days. Nothing for the other lot in months that I can remember.

  29. :phew: Up in Sheffield with my sister for a couple of days so lots of busy stuff – completely worn out!
    And :phew: to the crossword too – I found it jolly difficult – brain not really in gear at all so I’m very pleased it’s not my turn to be the hinty person.
    I got completely stuck with lots of the left side, mainly the bottom corner that side.
    I haven’t decided yet on a favourite clue – run out of brain power and no longer capable of thinking at all, let alone sensibly.
    Thanks also to MP aka Xenathon of Athens.

  30. Got over halfway but then struggled. Turned to Miffo for help with a couple and got back on track. Not too impressed with the aromatic plant. It’s an assumption, but I suspect 90% of non-botanists would never have heard of it.
    Late on parade today due to delivery of a massive television which we then ‘tried out’ with the cricket and became engrossed. Luckily Mrs Terence is a devotee of cricket and football. An ideal partner.
    Thanks to setter and MP.

  31. I am in the left side harder than the right camp too. particularly 3 and 17d. I slapped my forehead and groaned when the wee timorous one leapt from my brain. I have a spare L for 15d too.
    Thanks to XoA and setter for helping.

  32. Hi all
    New to the forum and cryptics and read your comments every day. I use a thesaurus… Is this cheating? I also still don’t understand 11a? What has light forming got to do with coming to ground? Thanks all for daily fun and keeping me occupied during lockdown.

    1. Welcome to the blog.

      Using reference books isn’t cheating at all

      11a is a reversal (around) of RAG (cloth) followed by land (light being another word for landing on the ground)

    2. Welcome Lockdown. Absolutely no way is it cheating to use a thesaurus. We all want to solve a puzzle unaided but only the elite can do that. Stick with the blog and you will learn loads.
      Hope to hear from you again. 👍

    3. The rules. The rules. The rules.
      Rule One. There are no rules
      Rule two. If in doubt. See rule one.
      Solve and be satisfied. Fill the grid.

  33. 3d was our last one in as the aromatic plant took a while to come to mind. Also initially read ‘around’ in 11a as a containment indicator instead of a reversal one.
    Pleasant solve.
    Thanks Mr Ron and MP.

    1. It took me a while to see the reasoning behind 11 across. A lovely clue in my opinion. I was also under a time constraint of my own making. Wether to put the letter N or the letter P in 3 down also made me think but Lenny is a man and a leopard is a cat so the answer was obvious but why?

  34. I’m in the same camp as John Bee. it’s almost if the crossword was compiled by two different people, one side perfectly straightforward the other with overly difficult toughie standard clues. A bit of a slog if I’m being honest. No favourite. Thanks to both setters and also MP.

  35. No offence to the setter, but this was not my cup of tea at all.

    *****/- for me.

    Completed less than half and then resorted to the answers as I’d lost interest.

  36. All this fresh air on the golf course is getting in the way of crosswords. Just completed & quite enjoyed it I think. No problems in the east but the west (both north & south) was a different matter, Mr G required to confirm the 3d plant, failed to parse 11a fully & for my last in, 17d, couldn’t think of a 4 letter fizzy drink other than cola until 23a supplied the T checker. All added up to a fairly pedestrian solve in 3.5* time.
    Thanks to the setter & MP/XoA (enjoyed the music)
    Ps looking forward to the Beam Toughie & must say thoroughly enjoyed Tuesday’s Dada one tackled last night a day late.

  37. Well, I definitely agree this was a ***/*** puzzle. SE went in first followed by random hits all over and the last to finish up was SW with 23a last in. Struggled with the parsing on some clues, but did like 5a, 9a, 16a, 25a, 4d & 18d. Overall winner 16a for its simplicity closely followed by 25a.

    Thanks to setter and Miffypops

  38. Late again.
    That was a strange mix of clues. RHS relatively straightforward, LHS a bit of a fiend, I needed some of MP’s hints to find the back of the net.
    Thanks to MP and to the setter.

  39. Very reassuring to this latecomer to read all the comments. It was just the NW for me which ground me to a halt. Used the clue for 1a which I may have got had I persisted especially as I had the V. Got 11a but could not parse. Could not make any sense of 9a but as Chris Tarrant used to say “It’s only easy when you know the answer”. Thanks MP for invaluable help. Judging by the comments, whilst admiring most of the puzzle, I am surprised that NW was not tweaked by the editor.

  40. I needed above-average assistance with this one. Usually I don’t know any wine mentioned in crosswords (Who knew there were so many?); today was a step further in not even spotting it was a wine that was required.

    I liked 2d (democracy) and 1d (reference to 5d), but my favourite was Miffypops’s hint for 16a!

    1. Asti short for Asti Spumante sparking wine from Italy. Used to be big over here as a cheap alternative to champagne but in recent years had been overtaken by Prosecco. These cheap sparking wines seem to go in and out of fashion. Cava seems to be having a bit of a revival having been looked down upon for some time

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