DT 29424 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 29424

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 29424

Hints and tips by Deep Threat

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

Good morning from rainy South Staffs.

We have a pangra missing X this morning, so we may deduce that the setter is ProXimal. A reasonably challenging puzzle which went well into my *** bracket.

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           Leaves collector of footwear to go round Orient (3-8)
TEA-STRAINER – A popular sort of casual or athletic footwear wrapped round another word for the Orient.

Double handed tea strainer - Tea strainer

7a           Base, a garage emptied to make some film (7)
FOOTAGE – Put together the base of a column or statue, A (from the clue), and the outside letters (emptied) of GaragE.

8a           English menagerie in hostelry returned for revelry (5-2)
BOOZE-UP – Put together English and another word for a menagerie, wrap a hostelry round the result, then reverse (returned) the whole construction.

10a         Mostly be the boss with quiet restraint (5)
LEASH – What a boss has to do, with its final letter removed (mostly), followed by an instruction to be quiet.

11a         Party guest and husband are on parade (5,4)
MARCH HARE – Another word for a parade, followed by Husband and ARE (from the clue), giving us one of the guests at a tea party attended by Alice.

ALICES MAD-TEA PARTY, 1865. Alice joins the March Hare, the Hatter ...

12a         Men having abandoned male faults, accepting good standards (7)
ENSIGNS – (m)EN (from the clue, minus the abbreviation for Male), followed by some moral faults wrapped round Good.

14a         Allow call (7)
ENTITLE – Double definition: to allow something by virtue of a right or privilege; or to give a name to something.

15a         Spirit drink with last of asparagus spears (7)
IMPALES – A mischievous spirit followed by an alcoholic drink and the last letter of asparaguS.

18a         New way up emerging (7)
NASCENT – An abbreviation for New, followed by the way up or the climb.

20a         Space between posts is tough loam ground (9)
GOALMOUTH – Anagram (ground) of TOUGH LOAM.

21a         Abandon small clique after changing sides (5)
SCRUB Small, followed by a clique or society with its L changed to R.

22a         Desired some time home in retirement (7)
YEARNED – A period of time followed by the reverse (in retirement) of an animal’s home.

23a         Cater for five kiddies with odd breaks (7)
PROVIDE – The Latin word for ‘for’ and the Roman numeral for five, followed by alternate letters of kIdDiEs.

24a         New York district overlooking old shady business (5,6)
DIRTY TRICKS – Anagram (new) of Y(o)RK DISTRICT, leaving out the abbreviation for Old.


1d           First month in group upset dependable people (7)
TROJANS – Reverse (upset) a verb meaning ‘group’ or ‘arrange’, and wrap it round the short form of the first month of the year. You get the people of an ancient city.

2d           Packed whiskey when going in a hospital (5)
AWASH – Put together the letter represented by Whiskey in the NATO alphabet and another word for ‘when’. Then put A (from the clue) and Hospital either side of the result.

3d           Other people crossing river really capsized vessel (7)
THERMOS – Wrap a pronoun for ‘other people’ (the ones who are not ‘us’) around River, then reverse (capsized) a two-letter word which can be used adverbially like ‘really’ and add it to the end. The result is a brand name for an insulated vessel.

Thermos Mondial Flask

4d           Inn some time occupied by cabbies (7)
AUBERGE – To get this French inn we put a long period of time around the name of a modern ride-hailing service which is not popular with traditional cabbies.

5d           Mobile phones, yet for novices (9)
NEOPHYTES – Anagram (mobile) of PHONES YET.

6d           Portray time with outmoded punishment monarch served up (2-5)
RE-ENACT – Put together Time, a form of punishment once wielded by schoolteachers, and the regnal cipher of our monarch, then reverse (served up) the result.

7d           Making change in career with hesitation (11)
FALTERINGLY – Another word for ‘career’ or ‘run fast’, wrapped round a word for ‘change’.

9d           Now, expert is smart (11)
PRESENTABLE – Another word for ‘now’ (not the past nor the future) followed by a word for ‘expert’ or ‘skilled’.

13d         Nervously ring model one digs (9)
GOLDMINER – Anagram (nervously) of RING MODEL.

[arve url=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BjBQQbz3x34″ /]

16d         Doctor account with a record to raise bill (7)
PLACARD – Put together the abbreviated title of a doctor, an abbreviation for ‘account’, A (from the clue), and a vinyl record, then reverse (raise) the result.

17d         Gooey seafood disheartened guy (7)
SQUIDGY – A variety of seafood which often resembles rubber bands, followed by the outside letters (disheartened) of GuY.

18d         One of the also-rans is realist? (2-5)
NO-HOPER – Double definition: a competitor with no chance of winning; or someone with no dreams for the future.

19d         Insects beneath organ — flies, indefinite number ignored (7)
EARWIGS – An organ of the body, followed by another verb for ‘flies’ with the algebraic symbol for an indefinite number removed.

Earwig Bites: 6 Common Symptoms, 5 Treatment Steps & 6 Useful ...

21d         Cool selection of cakes to ice (5)
STOIC – Hidden in the clue.


107 comments on “DT 29424

  1. Well, that was a change from the previous puzzles this week. I really didn’t think I was going to get to the finish line without some help. But, perseverance paid off and I got there in the end. In terms of time, I should have checked the calendar before I started, because I’m not sure how many days it took me.

    I would have been quite happy to award this **/*** as a Toughie. I did finish without help, so my criteria mean that I can only offer ****/*****.

    LOI was 4d. I still think using furrin words is a bit of a cheat. (And I am not sure that cabbies would count those people amidst their ranks).

    Many thanks to the setter and to DT.

  2. 3.5*/5*. What a belter of a pangra from Mr No X to finish an absolutely splendid week of back-pagers. We’ve been really spoilt this week.

    There was a lot of competition for podium places, and eventually 1a, 11a & 24a made the cut.

    Many thanks to proXimal and to DT.

    1. Can I piggyback your comments as I agree word for word?

      Thanks to the X Man and DT.

  3. I decided quite early on it had to be Mr X – struggled for a while and then all fell into place in a nice Friday time

    Thanks to him and DT

  4. Super duper puzzle, 1a has to be clue of the week, with 11a not far behind.
    I managed to get a foothold in the SE and worked my way steadily if unspectacularly around for an unaided finish, completely missing the pangram in the process.
    As well as the aforementioned, I liked 8&18a (lovely word) plus 7&18d. There’s a nice song by Chris Rea called 4d if anyone’sinterested.
    Many thanks to ProXimal and to DT for the top notch entertainment.

  5. A great challenge from ProXimal. Just right for a Friday and similar to yesterday’s RayT in that it required a lot of thought. More of the same please. Thanks to all

  6. Wow. I really struggled to finish this proXima brain-teaser, taking longer than I can remember for a Friday puzzle in a long time. But what a splendid workout it was. On my first pass, I had solved only two clues (4, 19d), but slowly some clarity set in, and 3.5* later, I almost shouted ‘Hooray!’. And so I will now: HOORAY! Big posers that held out to the end: 7a/7d; 20/22a. But the podium medals go to 24a (no Times Square there!), 1d, 16/17d (a tie). Thanks to proXima and to D.T., whose hints I’ll read now. 3.5* / 4.5* (don’t like 2d, too amorphous)

    12,523 new Covid cases in S Carolina this week. We’re the 7th most stricken state today (in cases per 100,000)

  7. I’d be embarrassed to admit how long it took me to get going but once 18a&d at least got me in motion it was a reasonably sedate solve in a fraction over 3.5* time. Completely missed the x less pangram but not sure spotting it would have made much difference. I’ll second RD’s podium selection & as 24a was my last to fall I’ll award it top spot. A great way to complete a good week of back pagers.
    Thanks to ProXimal & DT

  8. Well I finished the puzzle, with difficulty and a few that I couldn’t parse. As is usually the case with ProXimal’s convoluted clues, there was a lot of guesswork and reverse engineering. On the positive side, it was good exercise for the brain. My rating was for this one was ****/**. As far as 21d is concerned, the answer to the clue doesnt seem to provide a convincing synonym for cool, although I’m sure it’s probably in the BRB.Thank you to DT for the helpful hints about parsing and to the compiler.

    1. I agree. Having to guess the answer and then unravel the clue does not make for much enjoyment for me. Particularly when I am able to parse the clue but the synonyms are so obscure that I find them impossible to work out before guessing the answer (“career” = “fly”?). I would like to know how the real experts out there manage.

  9. Completely baffled, my brain must have atrophied overnight. ProXimal must live on another planet. He won, hands down. Fortunately tomorrow’s another day. Still, Liverpool are League Champions so it’s not all doom and gloom.

    1. I agree completely. Having mastered Dada and getting so much better with Ray T, ProXimal never fails to defeat me.

    2. Ditto! Sadie says whoop-whoop, silly old bat will have to spend the rest of the day spoiling her instead of tearing her hair out.

  10. Slow to get going today but steady progress once underway and found this to be an excellent puzzle a notch more difficult than most-going for a ***/****.
    I thought 1a was going to be merchant until the down clues went in and I saw the light.
    1a is employed every morning for Betty’s Yorkshire variety!
    Favourite was 3d which misled me nicely followed by 24a which took a while to parse.
    Last in was 21-A new meaning for cool?

  11. 4*/5*. The best puzzle of the week for me. It took me a while to get going, and then it was a slow crawl to the end. I enjoyed every moment of it.

    Many thanks to ProXimal and to DT.

  12. Tough going today and certainly needed to check the answers against the hints because I had serious trouble working out the why of quite a few of them. Didn’t notice it was an X less pangram either. Not that it would have been any help. 4d was a bit sneaky as there’s no indication that the inn is a foreign one and uber drivers aren’t cabbies. Even the anagram at 20a took a while to decipher. I’d quibble over the use of entitle meaning allow in 14a. Not the same thing at all in my book but acceptable in crossword land – barely! Favourite 11a. ****/** I did wonder who the setter was – proximal in sadistic mood. Thanks to all.

    1. Your membership of a club entitles you to enter it.

      Your membership of a club allows you to enter it.

      1. Membership confers entitlement. You may not be allowed if, for example, you are ignoring the dress code! Not quite the same thing.

      1. This might depend on where you’re from. Round here, the vehicles that queue up at taxi ranks are typically normal-shaped cars, with phone numbers on for booking them. So we tend to say “taxi” for conveyances that others may feel should properly be described as mini-cabs.

        And some of the stickers on the side say ‘Uber’, in place of a traditional mini-cab operator’s logo. I doubt any of the drivers bother to describe themselves as having 2 jobs — part-time as a cabbie and part-time as an Uber driver.

  13. I thought that this was the trickiest back-pager for some time but a very enjoyable exercise and well worth the effort to complete.
    My ticks went to 11a, 2d and 18d.
    Thanks to proXimal and DT.

  14. Am I the Lone Ranger who found this very difficult and only managed to complete half the clues without the hints. Having decided to march past I gave up and looked at the hints, for which many thanks . Thank you also to the setter who has delayed my listening to the cricket!

    1. Not at all Jen. I was just like you. Needed the hints so you and I am sure many others are part of a desperado gang.

    2. No Jane, you’re not the Lone Ranger. I am definitely in the same club. Didn’t get a single one on first reading. Just looked at picture clues so far. The answers are then obvious. From Dada on Sunday to Ray T yesterday, it’s been a great crossword week, then I ground to a halt today. I just can’t figure out where ProXimal is going with his clues. A *****/* for me.

      1. Sorry Jen, just noticed iPad changed your name for me. It is so helpful…. not.

    3. I only managed four answers on my first pass. Then I needed a number of hints in order to finish on my own. Once I’d read a few hints, my mind seemed to tune in to the setter’s wavelength.

      Many thanks to setter and DT. Difficult to have a single COTD because so many were excellent.

    4. I agree. Having to guess the answer and then unravel the clue does not make for much enjoyment for me. Particularly when I am able to parse the clue but the synonyms are so obscure that I find them impossible to work out before guessing the answer (“career” = “fly”?). I would like to know how the real experts out there manage.

  15. I must have been on the right wavelength as I found it pretty straightforward. Many great clues to pick from but since it’s Friday I’ll go for 8a. Thanks to proXimal and DT.

  16. Definately not straightforward but satisfying when, eventually, I got there. Enjoyed a cuppa to celebrate – made with tea bags not a 1a (do many still use them I wonder?) so it gets my COTD. Many others close behind.
    Thanks to Proximal for the thorough work-out and DT for review and making sense of 24a for me. Clip for 13d showed just how many participated in the Gold Rush – amazing.

      1. I have one too, used regularly with loose leaf Gunpowder Green, Keemun and others.

    1. Still remember the first cup of tea I ever made – not sure what age but pretty young. My grandad asked if I knew how to make one (we were watching the cricket) & I confidently assured him I did. He declared the finished product rather weak which was little wonder as I’d put the instructed 3 spoonfuls of loose tea in the kettle.

      1. As a newly wed I did the same thing when trying to impress friends with a pot of real coffee. I spooned the whole beans into the pot, and poured on boiling water …

    2. LrOK
      An innocent enough question but it could be the equivalent of lighting the blue touch paper! I use both tea and coffee bags for convenience.

      1. Thatch,
        It was out of genuine interest. I presumed there would be those of our number who still brewed tea the old way
        I remember as a kid we used to get the little boxes of Hornimans tea & then had strainers or single spoons with holes in. When tea bags started to become popular Mum always used to say the stuff in them was floor sweepings so wouldn’t touch them!

  17. A very enjoyable end to the (non-)work week. I recognised the existence of the X-less pangram before completion but that did not really help completion at a fast canter – ***/****.
    ProXimal’s knowledge of the phonetic alphabet was noted.
    Candidates for favourite – 12a, 15a, and 18a – and the winner is 15a.
    Thanks to ProXimal and DT.

  18. A real challenge today, never thought that I would finish it, at least it didn’t go into the stinker pile. Today s bit of a milestone 70th birthday, party with friends tonight.
    Thanks to DT and setter

  19. One of those puzzles we couldn’t finish without cheating ( ie using the iPad to check for errors) and when we did, we were left feeling foolish and thick rather than intrigued and informed, as we sometimes do even when the puzzle has been difficult. We struggled to understand several of the synonyms. Still, the setter clearly entertained most people, so thanks to both setter and DT.

  20. Tough but enjoyable. Another of those puzzles esp from this setter where I find that ignoring the wordplay and just going by the definition is far less confusing. One can then go back and unravel the wordplay some of which I have to say is very clever such as 1a and 5d and also my last in 24a which needed the hint to unravel.
    Thx to all

  21. A steady solve once I’d rid myself of the notion of Imelda Marcos playing a part in 1a!
    Some nice touches of humour from our setter which always add to the enjoyment and make it difficult to pick out winners. Eventually settled for awarding podium places to 1,11&18a plus 17d.

    Thanks to proXimal and to DT for the review and the miner’s song.

  22. The most difficult of the week for me and one with which I struggled. I couldn’t finish without the hints but have to admit it was a great puzzle. I thought 1a was a terrific clue as were many more.
    Thank you, proXimal but you beat me. Thanks, DT for the much needed hints.

    1. Steve, I was too late to mention it yesterday but learning that you collected cribbage boards, I ‘inherited’ a couple of home made ones rather nicely made in mahogany when I cleared my mother’s house. I have always wanted to play Crib, but although we were big card players in our family none of us every played that. Mentioning this when playing cards back in January our partners said they played and would teach us. I reached round to the desk and pulled out the two boards to show them and as I did so I noticed on the back in little brass nails my great, great grandfather’s initials. I had never noticed them before and it actually moved me to tears!

  23. Phew, can’t believe I made it but should have known we would pay for the easy rides so far this week. It was well worth the effort though and I enjoyed it a lot. East beat the West to it. Bunged in 24a as failed to realise the why for. 13d and 16d (including DT’s captivating yo-heave-ho video) were Favs. Many thanks proXimal and DT.

  24. Pretty tough but enjoyable. I spent some time with Imelda Marcos in 1a and also trawled through New York Districts for 24a. Thanks to setter and DT for the invaluable hints.

    1. I also fell into those traps but chuckled when 1a fell into place and had all the checkers for 26a with the correct answer as an option but miffed I missed the anagram. Otherwise an excellent challenge.
      Thanks to DT and the setter

  25. Got very stuck in the LHS. Eventually gave in and looked up 7d in the electronic gizmo…..and I can safely say that I could have stared at that clue until doomsday without coming up with the answer. Once entered, though, the rest of the answers on that side swiftly fell into place.
    So…..quite a challenge for me today, but pleasurable when the fog cleared. Didn’t like 4d as there was no indication that it was a foreign word (and a bung in for me, not being acquainted with Uber drivers).
    Glad I didn’t throw it away……it was close…

    Thanks to the setter and to Deep Threat .

  26. On the harder side of ProXimal’s range and I needed a hand from DT. I proceeded 7d for a while but had to resort to a hint for the last few. 16d was the last in – I knew what I had to put together but so many records and doctors to work through it took a while and a hint for that penny to drop. Glad to see 5d didn’t start with Noob as my first thought. 18a and 21d faves here.
    Thanks to DT and ProXimal

  27. I found this very tricky as I did yesterday’s puzzle 😳 ***/*** I must confess to finding ProXimal along with Ray T really difficult tests🤔 My Favourites were, both drink related: 8a & 4d 😉 Big thanks to DT and to ProXimal

  28. 1a is my clue of the week beating some stiff competition thank you ProXimal and DT for an enjoyable *** challenge

  29. That was HARD! You have to imagine the word ‘HARD’ written in the largest font known to mankind. I had to call on the assistance of Deep T. more times than I care to count. It might be because it’s Friday, or because I had a busy morning but, my word, this one left me bamboozled.
    Lola has a new hobby. After I have brushed her so she looks both angelic and regal, she finds the dustiest part of the garden and rolls round for a few minutes in the grimiest particles she can locate. She then strolls back to me as if requesting I inspect her great achievement. Cats!

    Thanks to ProXimal and DT.

    1. I wonder whether you’ve tried introducing Lola to a packet of ‘Dreamies’ as yet, Terence? She may never return to your neighbours again!

      1. The lightest shuffle of a packet of ‘Dreamies’ has her sprinting along in the manner of Usain Bolt….

        1. You’re obviously learning the ropes, Terence. I’ve commented to a couple of friends that your self-professed curmudgeonly attitude towards life has been well and truly banished by your four-legged companion – good for her!

    1. So good of you to pop in, proXimal. That was definitely a work-out but most enjoyable, thank you.

    1. Somewhat tardy here, Spook, but heartiest congrats on your special day. The change in that first number always comes as a shock but it does get easier to bear after a while!

    2. Don’t worry about the 70 thing. After this one you start to forget how old you are anyway 😊

  30. I found that very very difficult – only about four or five answers after reading all the clues through once.
    It’s taken ages but I agree it was worth it, eventually.
    I guessed 24a having missed the anagram indicator – dim – is there a more obvious one?
    I think my favourite was probably 17d.
    Thanks to proXimal and to DT.
    This one has made yesterday’s Ray T feel like a leisurely swim in a river going with the current.

  31. A tough slog today for me ****/**. Not really clicking on setters wavelength and some clues somewhat convoluted. Not my favourite puzzle for this week.
    Many hints required and even then I found the parsing on some to be a struggle to work out.
    Oh, well
    1a best clue today

    Thanks to setter and DT (without whom I would never have completed the tangled web)

  32. I enjoyed working through this puzzle, with plenty to think about. I did find that with quite a few clues I was looking for the wrong definition to begin with. There were many good clues and I have chosen 24a as my favourite, with 1a a close second. Thanks to the compiler and DT.

  33. It took me a little while to get started with this one, but managed it in the end. 1a and 1d were joint favourites. Thank you proXimal and DT.

  34. This is impossible! The Toughie is much more friendly, at least I found it so. I finished that but this I’m giving up on,

  35. I agree with almost everything that has been said – a really good, HARD in large font, workout for the brain with several references to the hints. Brilliant. We went straight out after lunch for a boozy, socially distanced tea party and only just got back and finished of the last stragglers. Many thanks to all who have entertained us this week, and Happy Birthday to Spook. A snooze beckons.

  36. A relief to find others thought this a bit of a challenge! I’ve only got three answers so far and I’m not sure I’ve got the brain power to carry on….besides the cricket highlights are on! Thanks to proXimal and DT.

    1. I only had ONE answer staring at me for ages (5d – I often find anagrams fairly easy). I really began to think this is so HARD I’m not going to get any more done. However after a few bits of inspiration and much searching of the gizmo, plus a lot of help from DT when I knew I had the right answer but didn’t know why and needed him to direct me to the answer as well – I did get to the end somehow!

  37. Thoroughly enjoyable Friday level puzzle. Picked the pangra so correctly guessed the setter too. Impossible to select a favourite from so many great clues.
    Thanks Proximal and DT.

  38. I’m in the “crikey that was difficult” camp this evening, but I got there eventually so I must be improving. Finishing any ProXimal crossword is always another notch on my learning curve. Any road up me duck, as for favourite it’s going to go to ….. 8a as I haven’t had one for a while at least not in a pub but I’m going to, maybe Sunday. I owe it to myself. Thanks to ProXimal and DT.

  39. Finished a long time ago, but I remembered going ‘gulp’ on the first read through.
    Getting 1a quickly was the key, with eventually everything falling into place.
    This was the best crossword for a long time for me, wonderful cluing, as ever I had no idea it was a panagram.
    Thanks all.

  40. A real slog. So not that enjoyable for me. Ended up with four I couldn’t do at all, especially the fiendish 7d. Liked 1a – quite clever. Not so keen on 11a, 21a, and 2d. Thanks to DT. Looking forward to tomorrow. Rain forecast and family out, so I can have a quiet and uninterrupted day of crosswords and sorting out my old slide collection.

  41. A tremendous panagram …. most enjoyable. A very pleasant way to spend a Friday evening. Favourites 20A and 8A. Splendid.

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