DT 29472 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 29472

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 29472

Hints and tips by Deep Threat

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

Good morning from South Staffs. The sun is shining, but the news continues to be grim, as the only thing the incompetents in charge of us can think of is to lock us all up again, and expect us to snitch on our neighbours by way of recreation.

Today’s puzzle is a pangram missing the X, as is the Quick Crossword, so I think we can identify the setter as ProXimal. Once I had tuned in to the setter’s style, it was a steady solve.

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           Approaching in sportswear reveals flaws (12)
SHORTCOMINGS – Something often word for athletic pursuits is wrapped round another word for ‘approaching’.

9a           Type of music depressed one singing (9)
BLUEGRASS – The colour often associated with sadness or depression, followed by one who ‘sings’ or ‘squeals’ to the authorities.

10a         Bad smell in street overhead (5)
ABOVE – An abbreviation for a type of street wrapped round a two-letter acronym for a particular type of bad smell.

11a         Dull not having alcohol over bit of cereal (6)
DREARY – An adjective which describes somewhere where the sale of alcohol is prohibited, wrapped round part of a cereal plant.

12a         Plan escape needing to return after school (8)
SCHEDULE – An abbreviation for ‘school’ followed by the reverse (needing to return) of another word for ‘escape’ or ‘evade’.

13a         Material X subsumes fellow, oddly (6)
TEFLON – Write out in full the number represented by X for the Romans, and wrap it round alternate letters of FeLlOw.

15a         Craft gin trade to show rise (8)
GRADIENT – Anagram (craft) of GIN TRADE.

18a         Maybe Bonnie but not Clyde getting life term (8)
GIRLHOOD – Split the answer (4,4) and you get what could be a description of Bonnie Parker but not of her male partner Clyde Barrow. As one word, the answer describes a phase in the life of any woman.

19a         Announced confectionery for sets (6)
SUITES – A homophone (announced) of some items of confectionery which applies to sets of furniture or connected rooms in a hotel.

21a         Pretended to eat mushroom and swallowed (8)
ACCEPTED – ‘Pretended’, as a thespian might, wrapped round a variety of mushroom.

23a         Direct training after a second-rate game (6)
ABRUPT – Put together A (from the clue), a letter indicating ‘second-rate’, the initials of a fifteen-a-side football game, and the initials of some physical training.

26a         Scoffed being defeated, losing billions (5)
EATEN – Remove the abbreviation for Billions from another word for ‘defeated’.

27a         Tanks being clear sign to involve leader of military (9)
AQUARIUMS – A sign of the Zodiac wrapped round the first letter of Military, producing some glass-sided tanks.

28a         Incredibly confused laymen with no help (12)
PHENOMENALLY – Anagram (confused) of LAYMEN and NO HELP.


1d           Help check text of plot within trial (7)
SUBEDIT – Another word for a case at law, wrapped round a garden plot.

2d           Move mules — both stripped part of plant (5)
OVULE – Remove the outer letters (both stripped) from (m)OV(e) (m)ULE(s).

3d           Flying beast got hermit agitated (5,4)
TIGER MOTH – Anagram (agitated) of GOT HERMIT.

UK moths: nine of the most colourful and distinctive | Natural History  Museum

4d           Old ox rising fine (4)
OKAY Old followed by the reverse (rising) of a Himalayan ox.

5d           Anxious in short time on river (8)
INSECURE – Put together IN (from the clue), a short form of a short period of time, and a Yorkshire river.

6d           Virtue of good people (5)
GRACE Good followed by a people or ethnic group.

7d           Record start of diet? Count me out! (8)
DOCUMENT – The first letter (start) of Diet, followed by an anagram (out) of COUNT ME.

8d           Deny soldiers about to intercept aircraft (6)
REJECT – The initials of a regiment of engineers, followed by a type of aircraft wrapped round a Latin abbreviation for ‘about’ or ‘approximately’.

14d         Some paralytic or effectively keeled over showing savagery (8)
FEROCITY – Hidden in reverse (keeled over) in the clue.

16d         Criminal Mafia boss hiding ingot under carpet (4,5)
DRUG BARON – Put together a small carpet and another word for an ingot, then wrap a Mafia boss round the result.

17d         Tip off pro: create conflict between opponents (8)
FOREWARN – The English word for ‘pro’ (in a debate), followed by two bridge opponents placed either side of an armed conflict.

18d         Minor injuries as goat feeds (6)
GRAZES – I think this is meant to be a double definition, but it doesn’t work, because a goat is a browsing animal. Substitute ‘sheep’ or ‘cattle’ in the clue and it is a double definition.

20d         Content day is finally empty (7)
SATISFY – The definition is a verb. Put together the short from of a day of the week, IS (from the clue), and the outside letters (empty) of F(inall)Y.

22d         Copper keeping home initially hampered nick (5)
PINCH – The initials of a rank in the police force are wrapped round ‘at home’, then the first letter of Hampered is added on the end.

24d         Common bugs curable regularly (5)
USUAL – Alternate letters (regularly) of the second and third words of the clue.

25d         Vessel carrying article to north island (4)
GUAM – Wrap a drinking vessel round an indefinite article, then reverse (to north) the result to get a Pacific island.

The Quick Crossword pun WHISK + EAGLE + AWE = WHISKY GALORE

81 comments on “DT 29472

  1. That was one of the most satisfying crosswords I have completed in years. A smattering of acrosses followed by most of the downs, but oh boy, did the rest take some work.

    I made it in the end without help, but it took me a full ***** time. 18a & 18d were the last two in, and I struggled with the spelling of 28a, but I am afraid that the COTD goes to the Quickie pun again.

    Many thanks to proXimal, I assume it is one of theirs, and to DT.

  2. 2*/4*. My last 2 in were 18a and 18d too. Excellent crisp surfaces with nothing longer than 8 words. Favourite 4d, very simply expressed.
    Thanks to both setter and DT

  3. Quite a demanding crossword puzzle but then Proximal’s puzzles usually are. I found it a bit of a slog but eventually finished it unaided, which is a win situation for me on a Friday (***/***). There were lots of very clever clues but 1a was the funniest. I found 5d rather puzzling as the solution could be either an upward or a downward slope but oerhaps that’s just geographical nitpicking. Tha k you to DT for the review and to Proximal. Having had a good mental workout, a long walk was in order ( Mens sane in corpore sano).

    1. Ooh a great one for me. Like others I thought it would be a stinker but I managed to get it all done without any electronic help. Lots of great clues – many aha moments.

  4. I enjoyed gradually coming to terms with today’s wordgame. N W was last to come on board. 9a and 21a Favs. Thank you ProXimal and DT.

  5. Third fine crossword on the bounce to finish the working week. 1a went straight in and then it was a steady if unspectacular solve to the finish. I’d only heard of 18a with the first syllable “child” but it was easily gettable from the checkers and the canny wordplay.
    I particularly liked 12a and 7d for their very clever and misleading surfaces and they along with the aforementioned 1a make up my podium
    Thanks to DT and ProXimal for the entertainment.

    1. Meant to thank DT for clearing up where the ‘opponents’ came from in 17d…..and re Gazza’s comment on 10a, I initially read it as ‘overheard’ too. Quite bizarre.

  6. Thanks to proXimal for a proper Friday-level cryptic puzzle and to DT for the review.
    I hadn’t twigged the flaw in 18d so thanks to DT for separating the sheep from the goats.
    I stared perplexed at 10a for ages since I’d read the last word as ‘overheard’ and was looking for a homophone – do’h.
    My podium selections were 9a, 18a and 16d.

  7. Brilliant. The best proXimal yet for me, though I’ve been working them less than a year. Such clever compoundings and insertions and reversals, and such 6d. Hard to choose just a few winners, but here goes: 18a, 1a/1d, 13a, 16d, & 25d. A puzzle really sure of itself, and thanks to our reviewer DT (whose musical selections I’ll listen to now), and many thanks to proXimal for the enjoyable challenge and deep satisfaction. 2.5* / 5*

    Lacking two answers in today’s Toughie….but today’s quickie pun doesn’t work for me (phonic differences with the third word)

  8. At first glance I thought this was going to be a stinker but it all went in surprisingly well. However 18a, 17d and 27a held me up for as long as the whole of the rest of the puzzle.. I thought the plural of aquarium was aquaria but perhaps it can be both. A really fine and enjoyable puzzle so many thanks to all for a pleasurable hour. Does anyone know how to find out the code for a car radio – my car has been off road in our garage for a couple of years and I can’t remember it?!

    1. Hi Manders – it’s usually on a card in the log book, but if the battery has long since died, the default 0000 may work, or Google your specific model for the default/reset code

      1. Thanks LBR but I don’t have any zeros to key in. I’ve also lost the log book so will have to send away for another but I don’t think there is anyone actually working at the DVLA so it may take some time!

  9. An enjoyably good challenge to end the work week, completed at a fast canter – 2.5*/4.5*.
    I decided that it was the work of proXimal when I found some of the less ‘frequent’ letters (J,K,V,W, and Z) and the X turned up in one of the clues (13a); perhaps the latter is going to be one of his ‘signature’ features.
    Candidates for favourite – 9a, 13a, 16d, and 17d – and the winner is 17d.
    Thanks to proXimal and DT.

  10. An excellent crossword to complete the week and a ***/**** for me.
    Favourite was 18a when the penny dropped for the 4,4-loved the film ,Liked the 16d charade. I wanted to somehow fit Taurus into 27a until the real sign dawned.
    Last in was 25d which took a while because of the vessel parse -never mind,
    Again thanks to our setter and DT for the blog, just to finish off in style the Quickie Pun was top draw.

  11. I decided it was proXimal when it was taking me the time I’d expect for a Friday crossword to complete the grid, and then I checked the letters to make sure

    Thanks to him and to DT

  12. Excellent puzzle near to my upper solve limit, as I expect on Friday. On edge of **** time but top marks for enjoyment.
    COTD for me was 16d
    Thank you to Proximal & DT. Confess I had to look up the difference between browsing and grazing. Reminded yet again that if the General in GK is a rank, I have Private Knowledge.

      1. Well, so did I. Googled ‘browsing vs grazing’ and learned a lot more than I knew. I failed to notice the 18d issue at the time I was solving the clues.

  13. 1a got me off to a smiling start but a fair bit of concentration was required as the solve progressed. I’m still pondering what sort of alcohol would be good to pour over cereal – any ideas?
    I wish that 18a was a ‘life term’, sadly we all have to grow out of it!
    21a was another that made me laugh as it evoked memories of the first time No.2 daughter brought her then boyfriend (now husband) to stay for a week. I must have given him several meals that contained mushrooms and it was only much later that I discovered he can’t abide them so was just swallowing without chewing. He doesn’t stand on ceremony so much these days!
    Plenty of contenders for favourite but I rather liked the simple 6d.

    Thanks to proXimal and to DT for the review.

          1. Agreed – corn flakes are awful fake food, despite what the smiley packet says
            Eating the box is probably better for you

    1. So we have Parsnip soup and Cranachan on the menu today?
      Think I’ll stick to a fish finger sandwich with hummus

    2. I’d go for Bailey’s on porridge………..with extra cream and Demerara (completely counteracting the health benefits…)

  14. 3*/5*. What an excellent puzzle this was.

    Once again I can’t argue with Gazza’s podium selection of 9a, 18a & 16d but virtually every single clue was a gem.

    Many thanks to proXimal and to DT.

    P.S. We have just received our supermarket home delivery. The driver apologised that our order for 8 loose parsnips could not be fulfilled but said they had been able to substitute prepacked parsnips for the same price. We weren’t too concerned by this but then we discovered that they had supplied 8 kgs instead of 8 parsnips. Parsnip soup anybody?

    1. That reminds me of last Christmas. We had given the order to our butcher for the capon etc and it included 6 cocktail sausages. When the order came I thought the bag was a bit heavy. When I looked they had delivered 6 kilograms! They would still be in the freezer now if it had broken down and we lost all the food.

      1. My daughter-in-law accidentally ordered 6 large bunches of bananas instead of 6 bananas. The whole extended family had to help eat them before they went brown and I made a few banana and lime cakes

        1. According to the DT the reason that sherry is in such short supply is cos everyone was putting it in the banana cakes at the beginning of lockdown?!

          1. Not guilty. My recipe is a fat free cake made with mashed banana, raisins, yoghourt and lime juice added to plain flour and baking powder. Very healthy. Apart from lime flavoured glace icing.

        2. When bananas get too ripe, whizz them with Kefir milk and freeze. You now have banana ice cream without all that sugar and “stuff”.

    2. Perhaps we could do a trade – I’ve still got a freezer full of mushroom soup from when a similar thing happened to me!
      Just don’t ask Chriscross for ideas, she’ll have you pouring Liebfraumilch into the soup………..

      1. No I’d omit the Liebfraumilch. There are some lovely recipes for Curried Parsnip Soup, however.

  15. Wow, that scrambled the brain! There was a lot of head scratching and I did have to look up the hints for a couple but, on the whole, it was a wonderfully crafted puzzle with many great clues. I loved 13a and 16d but my COTD goes to the great Quickie pun. Not quite in the league of “juicy wart icy” of the other day but very close to it.

    Many thanks to proXimal for a real mental workout and of course, to Deep Threat for the hints.

  16. A puzzle right out of the top drawer this morning with some excellent clues with lovely, smooth surface readings. I will be different and pick 10a as my COTD because of the superb misdirection. Now for the Toughie which I suspect will be my undoing as usual for a Friday.

    Many thanks to proXimal for the challenge and to DT.

  17. Not the easiest of puzzles but very satisfying to complete. Many excellent clues but my favs were 1a and 9a.
    Long time since my Latin days but is not the plural of Aquarium Aquaria? As in Bellum Bellum Bella.
    Just a minor point.
    Thx to all

  18. Like Brian, I thought it was ‘aquaria’ but it seems both are acceptable (in different circumstances).
    I found this rather a tricky one and was grateful for hints for three or four. Although it was hard, I still found it great fun.

    Lola stayed indoors last night and sneaked into the bedroom. She spent the night ‘kneading’, and purring an inch from my face. I will need a nap this afternoon to catch up. Needless to say, Lola is currently enjoying her daytime snooze – seems to last about sixteen hours…

    Thanks to proXimal and DT.

    1. Terence, have you seen the Simon’s Cat cartoons? If not do google them, they are just so accurate. Innocent little creatures that will do anything for breakfast. Our last dear chap, when the kneading, poking at the face, etc. etc. failed, would pretend to be sick – always worked because we were never sure if he was faking it or not.

    2. Lola is not alone in her nighttime activities. We had two cats whose prime purpose in life seemed to be to stop me from sleeping. From 3am on, one would walk endlessly around my head, while his brother sat on my chest, his nose level with mine, watching my eyes intently for any sign of movement. Finally, when I started to fall asleep at traffic lights when driving to work, we decided it was time to confine them to the guest room at night. Enjoy your nap 😴

    3. I think all the Latin neuter nouns have an acceptable English -ums ending: – referendums, stadiums, rostrums, podiums etc. Some say the -a suffix is somewhat affected. Nothing wrong with personal choice when either is correct, though.

      1. My preferred is -ums. Also sort of thing that could get the Times letters page into a tizzy. Who is going to start it off?

  19. Another trying little crossword I needed several hints to complete, unusually no “doh” moments. My favourite was 10a very clever.
    I am hoping that we are not heading for another lockdown, just in case off to Truro to stock up with essentials.
    Thatnks to DT and ProxImal.
    I hope everybody on crossword land is safe and healthy.

  20. I thought this was really difficult while I was doing it but can’t see why now – partly, I suspect, it was down to what I was expecting, on the same principle as being unable to do Toughies – I know I can’t do them, so I can’t.
    A cracking crossword with lots of brilliant clues.
    Like lots of you I was hunting for a homophone in 10a having misread the last word of the clue.
    Too many good clues to mention all of them but my favourite is probably 9 or 18a, or maybe 16d – oh dear – don’t know.
    With thanks to proXimal and to DT.

  21. Oh well, a ProXimal crossword. Enough said. I’ve got much better with Jay, Dada and occasionally Ray T, but I cannot get on his wavelength. Another one for the brighter folks. Might get it another shot later.

  22. I think it’s all been said – a brilliant puzzle. 1a gave me a good start and a chuckle. A steady but not rapid solve – just the way I like them. I thought 18a was particularly clever and it gets my gold medal award. Most of the rest were joint silver medallists. Well done ProXimal.

  23. First time I have been able to recognize a Proximal . Needed some help but managed most on my own. Canada had a politican years ago called 13a he could wriggle out of anything. Thanks to the setter and DT.

  24. Quite brilliant. Impossible to choose a COTD. I was briefly held up by 23a, since nowadays P. E. is used to denote school physical exercises. At my school it was always P. T. Similarly the subject known by us as Divinity became R. I. and then R. E. My wife went from Cookery to Domestic Science to Home Economics though I doubt whether the latter would teach one to make a half-way decent BLT!
    Anyhow, thanks and congratulations to the compilers.

  25. Came to this late having decided on the spur of the moment to have lunch at the brilliantly named Pig & Abbott at Abington Piggots. I had halibut and asparagus 😊so of course had to come home and sleep it off, only being accustomed to a salady lunch. Flipping diuretic pills meant I couldn’t have a drink but george had fun with the Ghost. What a delicious puzzle as well! I have to say it took me a long time but hey, who’s counting. 9a was last in although I have been to the Grand Old Oprey. Particularly liked 18a and 14d. Many thanks to Deep Threat and ProXimal for rounding off my cruciverbal week. As Merusa said movingly yesterday, this site means a great deal to many of us.

    1. So sorry, it was not Merusa but Carolyn in Marmara who spoke of the importance of this site. But we alll feel the same don’t we?

  26. Thank you, ProXimal, that was superb. I didn’t spot the pangram, but the missing X is cunningly hiding at 13a in case anyone’s looking for it. My favourites were 28a, 27a and 17d which was hard but oh! so clever. Thanks also to DT whom I didn’t need to consult but read him anyway.

  27. So enjoyed the hard work in completing this excellent puzzle unaided.
    Certainly a **** difficulty for me.
    ProXimal’s unique inventiveness is a joy.
    Many thanks and also to DT for the review.

  28. Blimey, that was hard, too hard for me. I managed to solve the NW corner and a few other stragglers, then I threw in the towel. When I start using too much e-help, I tend to lose interest. I have another puzzle to keep me occupied.
    I did have a question though, my imagination is in overdrive imagining 3d as a “beast?”
    Thanks to proXimal and to Deep Threat for solving it for me.

  29. An absolute belter of a puzzle to finish off a good week & looks like there’s also the possibility of a doable Friday Toughie. Pretty tricky with 18a my last in & accounting for about 40% of my ****solving time so it gets my vote as COTD although there were many other worthy contenders.
    Many thanks ProXimal & DT for the review (the 18d error certainly escaped me)

    1. Thanks for the week’s top puzzle, proXimal! You even topped Jay this week, and that is a very high bar to jump.

  30. We both initially misread the last word of 10a as misheard. Looks like we were in good company with this. Also questioned the eating habits of goats in 18d but no delay caused by this.
    An excellent puzzle that was an absolute pleasure to solve.
    Thanks proXimal and DT.

  31. Late on parade as usual. Fabulous puzzle. Didn’t realise it was Proximal—- duh! Last in 5d, not sure why now. Too many excellent clues to pick any one in particular. Thank you to all and let’s see what the weekend brings us cruciverbalists.

  32. Looked like a impossible at first and I left it half done this morning but returning this evening several more fell into place and I was left with 27a and 25d I needed the hint for 25d and 27a fell into place. Checking the hints I realised that DT had a different interpretation for 11a. I assumed the bit of, cereal was “rea” rather than “ear” but the answer is the same!

  33. Found this puzzle in the more difficult range. REALLY tough to get it going and used a few hints off the bat. Then things
    s-l-o-w-l-y came together … very slowly. More like ****.5/*** for me today.
    A typical proXimal puzzle I find.
    Liked 1a, 18a, 27a & 20d … winner 27a followed closely by 18a

    Thanks to proXimal and DT for the much needed hints again today. That was a tough slog.

  34. Damn! Just taken delivery of a new computer and spent ages setting it up. Wanted it for various reasons but mostly to try my hand at compiling cryptics. All completed after an hour or two so I shut it down. Went to open it this evening and it wants a password. Can I remember the password? No, I can’t. I am now locked out of it. 👿

  35. Enjoyed the usually tough Friday challenge which I got through by Sunday morning. COTD for me 17d and 27a was last to go in shortly thereafter. Thanks Proximal.

  36. I keep telling my customers that we only have Goat’s cheese down here as there isn’t any grazing fields for sheep or cows so felt that 18d was a bit strange.
    It didn’t stop me from enjoying this offering from proximal.
    Just like his toughie from a week or so ago. Great setter indeed.
    Thanks to him and to DT for the review.

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