DT 29413 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 29413

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 29413

A full review by crypticsue

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment **

A Saturday Prize Puzzle that divided opinions on the day as to whether it was or was not a difficult solve.

I didn’t find it that difficult but it did make me grumpy. If you weren’t a solver who works their way down the Across clues and then down the Downs, and then types the draft review almost straight away, you might not have noticed that this was a Saturday Prize Puzzle with lots of ‘insertion’ clues (I understand from a nice man who knows a fair bit about these things that they are the easiest clues to write) which makes for tedious solving and blog writing – sorry Saturday Mysteron but that’s how it is

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a    Self-confidence to increase after guy is put in class (10)
CATEGORISE – EGO (confidence) RISE (increase) goes after CAT (a slang term for a man, guy)

6a    Red Prince regularly seen in something like ‘War and Peace’ (4)
EPIC – The regular letters of rEd PrInCe – although the way the clue reads, you’d almost think you had to select some regular letters from War and Peace

9a    District accommodating new stadium (5)
ARENA – AREA (district) ‘accommodating’ N (new)

10a    Trace vice worker on land from report (9)
SCINTILLA – A homophone (from report) of SIN (vice) TILLER (worker on land)

12a    A dim ponderous criminal’s usual method (5,8)
MODUS OPERANDI – An anagram (criminal) of A DIM PONDEROUS

14a    Being poorly nourished catches a temperature — unlucky (3-5)
ILL-FATED – ILL FED (being poorly nourished) ‘catches’ A (from the clue) and T (temperature)

15a    Involve England’s top two lower-order batsmen (6)
ENTAIL – The ‘top two’ letters of ENgland and the TAIL (how lower-order batsmen are described)

17a    Very important reading matter for children engrosses son (6)
COSMIC – COMIC (reading matter for children) ‘engrosses’ S (son)

19a    Dubious bishop in sporty car, well-padded means of transport (5,3)
JIFFY BAG – IFFY (dubious) and B (bishop in chess notation) inserted into JAG (sports car)

21a    Getting completely drunk with Directors, here’s a place to dry out (8,5)
DRAINING BOARD – DRAINING (drinking something completely) BOARD (directors)

24a    Note exposed billet-doux as work of fiction (9)
NOVELETTE – N (note) and a lOVE LETTEr without the outside letters (completely exposed)

25a    Raise army to besiege island (5)
HOIST – HOST (army) to ‘besiege’ I (Island)

26a    Viking saga entertained Danes to a certain extent (4)
EDDA – Hidden in entertainED DAnes

27a    One creates drama from predicament besetting wife in Scottish town (10)
PLAYWRIGHT – PLIGHT (predicament) into which is inserted (besetting) AYR (Scottish town) which has the abbreviation for Wife inserted into it


1d    Talk about Panama perhaps (4)
CHAT – C (circa, about) HAT (Panama perhaps)

2d    The runs — sickness to do with raised temperature (7)
THERMAL – THE (from the clue) R (runs) MAL (sickness)

3d    Chase an ignorant lad around (5,8)
GRAND NATIONAL – An anagram (around) of AN IGNORANT LAD

4d    One putting up a fight about close relative (8)
RESISTER – RE (about) SISTER (close relative)

5d    Cut corners in bypass round motorway (5)
SKIMP – SKIP (bypass) goes round M (motorway)

7d    Dad eating ordinary fast food from Italy (7)
POLENTA – PA (dad) ‘eating’ O (ordinary) LENT (fast)

8d    Angry, I cool off in the head’s study (10)
CRANIOLOGY – An anagram (off) of ANGRY I COOL

11d    Give humiliating punishment to errant fathead cruelly (3,3,7)
TAR AND FEATHER – An anagram (cruelly) of ERRANT FATHEAD

13d    Feature of ‘Saturday Night Fever’ — The Clash? That’s not right (5,5)
DISCO DANCE – DISCOrDANCE (clash) without the R for Right

16d    Political pundit confused by Lib Dem (8)
DIMBLEBY – An anagram (confused) of BY LIB DEM

18d    Looked round very deprived (7)
STARVED – STARED (looked) ’round’ V (very)

20d    Waiting to pick up diamonds, a feature of bridge (7)
BIDDING – BIDING ‘to pick up’ D (diamonds)

22d    Girl that is missing somewhere in South Africa (5)
NATAL – NATALie (girl) without (missing) IE (that is)

23d    Group covering Beatles’ centrepiece — Let it be (4)
STET – SET (group) covering the ‘centrepiece’ of beaTles

5 comments on “DT 29413
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  1. On the hints post I said this was my favourite ever Saturday puzzle. My enjoyment of crosswords seems to be based on having several clues that I really liked, and it doesn’t really bother me what the rest of the clues are like (too repetitive, ‘unfair’, near-impossible, requiring specific knowledge, whatever).

    Possibly that’s because it’s so rare for me to finish a crossword without help that I expect not to be able to solve a handful of clues, so that doesn’t really spoil it for me. But I can completely see why for others enjoyment of a crossword involves the absence clues they found poor or impossible or repetitive, regardless of how fun the best clues are.

    I’m with Rabbit Dave in generally not liking clues which involve conjuring up a name with no other information (there’s so many to choose from!), but 22d was better than most: even without any crossing letters we knew the exact length of the name and its last 2 letters, and the crossers were in helpful positions.

  2. We enjoyed this crossword. It set us a bit of a challenge with a smattering of misdirection thrown in. Must be a ‘Marmite’ sort of crossword. Thanks to the setter, hint deviser and reviewer, not to mention the very excellent, ever improving blog.

  3. Just found this old one. Agree 80% was fine. Slowed up by misspelling playwrite – doesn’t help being dyslexic. Few new words – stet or Edda before. 10a was favourite – also a new word

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