DT 29488 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 29488

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 29488

Hints and tips by 2Kiwis

BD Rating – Difficulty ** Enjoyment ****

Kia ora from Aotearoa.

Advance voting in our General Election has now started so one of us (Colin) is working as an electoral officer, issuing votes. This makes us several hours later than usual getting on to putting the blog together but still plenty of time to get it all done before publishing deadline.

There is a ghost theme (one that you don’t need to know to solve the puzzle) that is symmetrically placed in the grid and easy to find. Something we don’t often see on a Wednesday.

Please leave a comment telling us how you got on.


1a     Spoilt children ask me around in the morning — this is symbolic (6,3,6)
HAMMER AND SICKLE : An anagram (spoilt) of CHILDREN ASK ME which includes the two letters signifying before noon.

9a     Open in advance (7)
UPFRONT : Split the answer 2,5 for a phrase meaning in advance.

10a     Purge lists seen in church (7)
CLEANSE : Lists or tilts to one side is inside the Anglican Church.

11a     Go red after short excursion and flag (9)
TRICOLOUR : Remove the last letter from an excursion or journey and then a word meaning go red or blush.

12a     Small pale creature (4)
SWAN : S(mall) and a synonym for pale.

13a     Lies bound to be rejected outside European Commission (6)
DECEIT : The abbreviation for European Commission is inside the reversal of bound or fastened with string.

15a     Let a student know without ceremony? (8)
INFORMAL : A word meaning let know followed by ‘A’ from the clue and the student driver letter.

18a    So, I’m dressed in new lace underwear! (8)
CAMISOLE : An anagram (dressed) of SO I’M is inside an anagram (new) of LACE.

19a     Drink, for example prior to backing call for meal (6)
EGGNOG : The two letters signifying for example and then the reversal of the instrument traditionally used to summon people for a meal.

22a     Go berserk and scream (4)
RIOT : A double definition. Scream is used figuratively for something very amusing.

23a     University working with means of lifting national standard (5,4)
UNION JACK : The three letter abbreviation for university, then a short word for working or in operation and a means of lifting, possibly a car.

26a     Anthem a girl used to keep bearers of gifts (3,4)
THE MAGI : A lurker, hiding in the clue.

27a     Therapist‘s regret returning after service (7)
MASSEUR : A church service and the reversal of a word meaning regret.

28a     Brilliant beaches — makes an effort to include parking and flag (5,3,7)
STARS AND STRIPES : Brilliant or a leading light, then beaches defined by what usually covers them and then the letter indicating parking is inside a word meaning ‘makes an effort’.


1d     Searched around area inhabited by ghosts (7)
HAUNTED : The abbreviation for area is inside another word for searched.

2d     Civvies leaving unit fuming on the way back? (5)
MUFTI : A reverse lurker hiding in the clue.

3d     Unfortunately one comes across one making savings (9)
ECONOMIES : An anagram (unfortunately) of ONE COMES contains the Roman numeral one.

4d     Legal case resulting from instruction to shoot (6)
ACTION : When shooting for a movie this is one of the instruction words that starts things going.

5d     Belief is lacking in discretion, possibly (8)
DOCTRINE : An anagram (possibly) of D(is)CRETION once ‘is’ from the clue is removed.

6d     Times will support oddly viable mountain dweller (4)
IBEX : The letter used to signify times arithmetically follows the second, fourth and sixth letters of viable.

7d     Mostly benevolent western sultanate imprisoning second family member (9)
KINSWOMAN : Remove the last letter from another word for benevolent, then S(econd) and W(estern) is followed by a sultanate in the Middle East.

8d     Enduring being outside with no vote (7)
ETERNAL : Start with a word meaning outside and remove from it the letter used when casting a vote.

14d     These days may be more frequent before the start of autumn (6,3)
COMMON ERA : A word meaning more frequent or more often encountered and then the first letter of autumn.

16d     Is Her Majesty supporting Hammond perhaps for manager? (9)
ORGANISER : The instrument of which Hammond is an example, then ‘IS’ from the clue and Her Majesty’s regnal cypher.

17d     Fancy international reference ignoring leader (8)
ILLUSION : Start with a word meaning reference or suggestion and replace its first letter with I(nternational).

18d     Copper charges people helping barmen in Ireland (7)
CURATES : The chemical symbol for copper and then charges or fees. (We had to check on this one in BRB).

20d     Fine skills must underpin good racing vehicles (2-5)
GO-KARTS : In the order they appear in the answer we have G(ood), the two letters meaning fine or acceptable and a synonym for skills.

21d     Literature problem raised in sort of test paper (6)
LITMUS : The three letter abbreviation for literature and then the reversal of a mathematical problem.

24d     Left a clean plate at the dump, occasionally (3,2)
ATE UP : Alternate letters from three words in clue.

25d     Authorisation in advance (4)
PASS : A double definition. The advance is of the amorous kind.

Quickie pun    polled    +    answer    =    pole dancer


106 comments on “DT 29488

  1. An easy to spot theme in a nice friendly Jay crossword

    Thanks to him and the 2Ks

    Even if you think you can’t solve a Serpent Toughie, there is at least one clue that should provide a bit of deja-vu ;)

  2. Jay returning to friendly mode in this lovely semi themed puzzle that went in very smoothly for me although the SW took a bit of teasing out.
    I thought the double definitions were good, liked 15a& 17d but runaway favourite for me was 14d.
    The enumeration of 24d is incorrect in the printed version
    Many thanks to the three birds for the entertainment.

  3. A quirky puzzle today but I really enjoyed it and agree with 2 K’s **/****.
    Liked the surfaces of 19a and 1a, my favourite was the last in lurker in 26a,I tried all sorts of unsuccessful parsing before the penny dropped!
    Surely 24d should have been(3-2) not (5)?
    Anyway thanks to our setter and 2K’S for the pics.

        1. I only get a copy of the paper on Saturdays – I do miss it but travelling a couple of miles each way to be depressed by the majority of the news once I’d paid a fortune for the paper made me stick to the print-outs from the Puzzles site for the other six days of the week

  4. Enjoyed Jay’s flag-waving routine today. SW last to give in mainly due to having wrong solution for 22a. No wonder I didnt suss 24d. 5d and 6d Favs. Thank you Jay and the 2Kiwis.

  5. I enjoyed (4*) this Jay puzzle, which I finished in just over 2* time due to a few hold-ups in the SW. I liked the theme and 1a was one of my favourite clues. I was puzzled by18d ( thanks to the 2 Ks for help understanding that) but also liked 7d and 16d. Thanks to Jay and the 2 (1?) Kiwis.

    1. Welcome to the blog

      The error in the newspaper version has been mentioned by other commenters

  6. It’s Wednesday, completed at a gallop – **/*****.
    Candidates for favourite – 15a, 1d, 4d, and 16d – and the winner is 15a.
    Thanks to Jay and the 2Ks.

  7. The top half of this went in without problem, but the bottom took some time. Was there really any need to reference Irish barmen in 18d? An unneccessary use of GK as far as I am concerned, the clue could easily have referenced the CoE or even a museum. I didn’t manage to correctly parse 17d or 25d, and the aforementioned error at 24d didn’t help.

    Still, a completed grid in *** time, thanks to Jay and the 2Ks.

        1. At the end of the entry for Curate in the BRB it states it is an assistant barmen in an Irish bar.

          1. Steve, I am not denying that, I am saying that that is unneccessary GK, and that a reference to the CoE should not upset anyone as that is in the BRB, as the main definition.

              1. I always thought the assistant barman was a ‘potman’, presumably because he collected the empties and washed them?

    1. Totally agree Malcom re 18d. Surprisingly for Jay, I thought this was unnecessarily obtuse.

  8. I enjoyed this a lot. At first glance I thought it was going to be very tricky but it all went in very smoothly. Never heard of the Irish barman. Lots to like though so thanks to all.

    1. Clever crossword – relieved I got some benefit in 18d from struggling through Ulysses by James Joyce earlier this year.

  9. The ghost theme helped enormously once 1a was solved and I did have to laugh about the Irish barman – wouldn’t surprise me if the gentleman concerned actually holds dual posts! Maybe that’s not such a bad idea?
    Apologies to Stephen L but I hate the 14d expression, wish ‘they’ would stop messing about with our traditions……..
    Quite liked 13&15a but my favourite was the Quickie pun.

    Thanks to Jay for another enjoyable puzzle and to our 2Ks for the review – hope your excellent leader gets re-elected.
    PS To those of you who recommended The Go-Between – I’ve just finished the chapter about the cricket match, quite brilliant.

  10. I struggled today with this offering from Jay but in a good way. For me it required more head scratching than normal but I got there in the end. I did not know that particular definition of 18d but I will store it away for future reference. I did spot the flag theme. My COTD is 19a with 7d coming a close second.

    Like Jane, I do not like the expression at 14d and I never use it.

    Many thanks to Jay and to the Two Ks for the hints.

  11. An excellent morning’s entertainment and up there with the best. Always love how Jay is so economical with his surfaces. I managed to parse everything apart from 25d as missed the “Pass”. 8d my favourite as it took me ages to twig why the answer fitted the clue. Definitely piglet’s brain a bit slow today. Also wanted to put in rant initially as again slow to pick up the meaning of scream. Always delighted when I do get the answer as very seldom is there any ambiguity which is not something you can say about all compilers. I love Wednesdays for Jay’s Cryptic and the Kiwis for their explanations.

  12. Lotta flags. Lotta spectres. Great puzzle – I missed the lurkers, of course, until the very last minute; and I had never heard of 18d in that context. A handy piece of knowledge which I will have forgotten by tomorrow morning.

    Oh – I found the quickie very trickie today, and it has taken me an hour to ‘get’ the superb pun.

    I have put off using our new electric hedge trimmer, with the excuse of the weather, but I’m going to give it a go today as the sun is shining. I’ve never used one before so if I am never heard from again, you’ll know the cause. I will probably be under the ivy somewhere.
    Thanks to Jay and the two Ks.

    1. I wonder what Lola will make of the hedge trimmer? Where are the spectres in today’s puzzle? I saw the flags but not ghosts.

      1. Well the allusions to the spiritual or an afterlife seem to all be down clues (the flags are all across) 1, 5, 8, 17(ish) 18, 25.

    2. Wear a face covering if you are trimming ivy, it can be quite toxic/ irritating. And keep Lola well away – though I guess the noise will do that.

  13. Nice friendly puzzle. Must admit I missed the reverse lurker in 2d but the answer was obvious if you had ever served in HM Forces.
    I too had took up the Irish barmen, something new learned today.
    Thx to all

  14. Having spent too long on the Toughie (unsuccessfully so far, alas), I took a long break, as the Internet did too, and began reading Bryson’s Thunderbolt Kid (absolutely perfect for me just now as the divisional playoffs in the world of baseball are well underway–thanks again, John Bee, et al!). Oh yes, lest I forget: another magnificent Jay Wednesday, with the best quickie pun in a long time. Enjoyed his unusual themed grid and thought the lurkers were especially adroit. Favourites: 5d and all the flag clues (why not?). The Irish ‘helpers’ were new to me too. Thanks to the Kiwis and to Jay, whose glory gets brighter and brighter. 2* / 5*

    Thanks for all of the supportive comments yesterday.

  15. Another typically superb Wednesday puzzle, this time themed to increase the fun. I will pick 1a as my favourite because it went in straight away and kick-started the whole crossword. Now for the Toughie……..

    Thanks to Jay and the 2Ks.

  16. Yes, another happy Wednesday! SW corner was last to fall and we also did not know the second meaning for 18d despite George spending all his school years in Belfast. I thought 26a was neat and 14d clever although I agree with Jane and Steve that I deplore the phrase. Totally meaningless. Many thanks to the Kiwis and Jay. Now do you want to hear my Big News? I had a call from the Nuffield this morning offering me a date in two weeks time for my knee!!! I’m now panicking.

    1. That is wonderful news, Daisygirl! :good: I hope it all goes well and the very best of good wishes to you.

    2. Wow – I bet you weren’t expecting that, Daisy. Fingers crossed that you actually get that knee dealt with this time!

    3. Daisy – great news about the Nuffield!

      Sound advice regarding the ivy. I wore long sleeves, gloves, a cap, and protective glasses. Lola legged it inside at the first sight of the extension cable, and she now continues to snooze on a cushion under a radiator – one of her favoured indoor locations.

      1. Great news DG. Last November when I went for the pre op assessment for my hip, I had a horrendous cough, so sucked cough sweets furiously between ‘interviews’ and somehow got away with it. I was in such a state my bp was 200/130 but they called it white coat syndrome. Anyway good luck and stay in touch via the blog. You will be in and out before you know it!

    4. So pleased for you Daisygirl. Very best wishes for a speedy and successful outcome. My sister too has been waiting ages for hip surgery at Guildford Nuffield. Wonder at which Nuffield you are due to have your surgery.

      1. Pam Whalley reminds me as I had forgotten that you live in Cambridge DG. I have much for which to thank the marvellous old Evelyn and am sure now both Nuffields are equally excellent so you will certainly be in the best hands.

    5. So pleased for you DG. My mother had her knee op done at the Trumpington Road Nuffield and the drs and nurses were excellent. My very best to you.

      1. You’ve waited long enough let’s hope your recovery is more speedy. I don’t often comment on personal issues but I’ll make an exception on this occasion. Good luck and we will ask be thinking of you.

  17. Greetings from the Isle of Mull – a couple of weeks’ R&R here and in the Highlands, assuming we don’t get thrown out by you know who. Fingers crossed! If she asks, don’t tell her where we are!!
    Six white-tailed eagles yesterday – I thought you’d be pleased, Jane!!
    A very enjoyable puzzle. Look no further for spectres, Steve. I made the same mistake. A “theme” is sometimes also referred to as a “ghost theme”.
    Struggled with the two tiddlers in the SW corner at 22a and 25d, but no complaints from me. Most enjoyable as ever on a Wednesday.
    Thanks to Jay and the Kiwis.

  18. By the way, for all dog lovers there is a gorgeous photo on page 2 of the DT of
    six very bedraggled looking working cockers. Do hope someone gave them a good towelling when they got back home (and an Aga to cosy up to).

          1. By the 60’s/70’s working Cockers were rubbish. By the efforts of numerous individuals, whom I won’t mention now, they are now as good, if not better, than a lot of Springers. I’ve toyed with the idea over the last 20 years of buying one myself. Circumstances have dictated otherwise but one day …….

  19. Wednesday at its very best.A tough walk in good weather with leaves just starting to turn and the joy of a benevolent Jay.Did not know 18 d but it could not be anything else.The Quick was challenging but fun.Thanks to all.

  20. I always enjoy my battle of wits with the setter and I found this most enjoyable, the meaning of 18 down was new to me until I searched the BRB, all in all it was time well spent.

    Thank you to Jay & The 2 Kiwis

  21. A very gentle Jay (other than the SW) solved very early today at silly o’clock. Like others the 18d barman was new to me & I completely agree with Malcolm’s point unless it’s in a Toughie. I wasn’t familiar with 14d either but here the wordplay guided you to the answer. The only other slight hiccup was in briefly having my s & e at the end of 3d the wrong way round which caused brief difficulty in the ladies undergarment department. As usual a host of quality clues of which the lovely lurker at 26a was my favourite. Not quite sure how, other than I should have been fast asleep, but the flag theme somehow passed me by as the answers were write ins.
    With thanks to Jay & the 2Ks.
    Ps Quickie harder than the cryptic & the Toughie is no pushover.

  22. Lovely Jay special today. I enjoyed the theme and learned about Irish barmen too. LOI was 17d I couldn’t decide if I was swapping an A for an I or Vice Versa but I will excuse my dithering by quoting the MP maxim of not wasting ink/pencil/pixels on the last clue.
    I am jealous of Shabbo and his Eagles, The family Bee hail from the Isle of Mull and I still have the family bible (in Gaelic) in a box by the telephone. Lots of history on Mull too The spanish armada lost a ship in Tobermory Harbour and there are still a few spanish names in the area descended from rescued sailors. Duart Castle in the south is home of the Clan Bee and Ben More is one of the best off mainland Munro’s. Younger “readers” (or their parents more likely) may also be interested that Tobermory is better known amongst pre-schoolers as Balamory – “What’s the Story in Balamory?”. and a cracking Malt Distillery in Ledaig

    Thanks to Jay and the Kiwis

    1. I loved the history lesson. The Spanish Armada found its way to Mull? I must go and read up on that.

      1. I didn’t know about the Spanish Armada being in that area until I started reading Ann Cleeves Shetland series, in which she talks about a shipwreck and Spanish sailors ending up in the islands. Her lead detective is Jimmy Perez, a descendant of one of those sailors, according to the plot. It is also a BBC series which I think PBS picked up in the past.

        1. I have read (and seen) some of her Vera Stanhope books because they are set in Northumberland where Mama Bee is from but I will Look out for the Shetland ones now I have seen a couple of the Jimmy Perez series, With Douglas Henshall but will look out for them now

  23. Typical Jay for me. 3/4 in 1* time then SW took 2* on its own.
    Always enjoyable to solve Jay puzzles, although I felt this was a little lacklustre compared to recent weeks. There were, with seemingly, a lot of clues involving removal of letters.
    14d a modern term is a solution looking for a problem to me.
    Thanks to Jay & the 2Ks

  24. 2*/4*. Another joy from Jay. My only comments are those made earlier about Irish bar assistants and the wrong enumeration for 24d.

    My favourite was the Quickie pun.

    Many thanks to Jay and the 2Ks.

  25. Thanks to Jay and to the 2 Kiwis for the review and hints. I enjoyed this one very much, but found it very tricky in places. Managed to guess 1a, which helped with the mini theme. Needed the hints for 17d,22a and 25d. The last two meant my downfall was decided by the curse of the decidedly dastardly double definition! I thought 26a was a good lurker, but my favourite was 19a. I can remember being in a guest house in Sandown IOW many years ago where they rang the gong at mealtimes. Was 3*/3* for me. 24d is enumerated as (5) in the actual newspaper.

  26. An easier Jay puzzle this week as opposed to last week. **/**** with no real hold ups. SW corner last area to complete with 22a last in.
    Some nice clues including 19a, 2d, 14d, 16d &18d with winner 16d and 2d runner up

    Thanks to Jay and 2K’s

  27. Morning all.
    When solving, I had the feeling that work had followed me home with the first word in the quickie pun and then the vote reference in 8d. Interesting to note that the instructions on ballot papers here say to use a tick to indicate one’s choice. Some people had been confused that using an X meant they were rejecting that option. However when it comes to counting votes as long as the intention is unambiguously clear any mark is acceptable. Another nice fine Spring day should entice the voters out again today.

  28. A nice friendly Jay Day! I had a problem with two pesky four-letter words, 22a and 25d; I bunged in 22a and it was wrong, I drew a blank at 25d.
    I had to look up 18d in the dictionary, fave was 13a.
    Thank you Jay, you never disappoint, and thank you 2Kiwis for the help.

  29. I didn’t enjoy this as much as everyone else, probably because of the 18d barman, and the odd 14d. The flag clues were an easy lead in. Thanks to Jay and 2Kiwis.

  30. OK – I give in – it really is a ‘just me day’. No-one found it tricky except me – I’m tired and did it completely out of routine – too much to do and too much to think about – totally worn out.
    That sounds as if I didn’t enjoy it – I did – I always enjoy every crossword I do and I really did enjoy this one once I’d had time to think about it.
    I think it’s all been said so I won’t bang on any more.
    My favourite was 18a because the thought of Jay in an 18a made me laugh – anyone who has met him will understand!
    Thanks to Jay and to the K’s.

    1. I found it tough too. But I find it really seems to be related to how much energy I have. On holiday I seem to breeze through but after a tough day at work I can really struggle. Got there in the end and as always worth it.

  31. Enjoyable Jay, some answers took a bit if time, esp 24d in the paper version! Isn’t 6d wrong though? Oddly viable is val….?

    1. Our thinking is that although they are not ‘odd’ letters that are used, the process of ‘take one, miss one’ can still mean oddly regardless of the starting point.

    2. I think that oddly in this case is interchangeable with alternate, Whenever I see an indicator that means alternate I write the fodder 1up 1 down and look at both the odd and even letters to see if any make sense.
      V A L
      I B E
      Time in crossword is often t so times could be tt but I am only 1 letter short of the enumeration and Times can also = Multiply which is signified by an X
      By the time my mental cogs had worked through all that the answer leapt out at me.

      (I am not trying to be patronising just explaining how this bear of little brain sees things – how does yours work?)

      2K’s explain things much more succinctly

      1. Thanks… Another deviousness to add to the memory bank! Answer jumped out, it was only later that oddly seemed odd! I can’t recall having seen it used that way before, but I might have forgotten!!

    1. Steve – BD had to go through all the ‘political’ comments yesterday and redact them all one by one
      Please don’t mention the subject again!

          1. I’m with Big Dave on this. Mild political comments are okay but yesterday’s got out of hand. I noticed none today.

            1. Taylor, as I said, I did not realise that comments yesterday got out of hand. I must have gone to bed. It is never my intention to upset folk, least of all my friends on this blog.

          2. Apologies to you also, Big Dave. It amazes me how you manage to police this blog with firmness tempered with leniency.
            I may have overstepped the line this time and for that I am sorry. I did not know that things got out of hand yesterday. However, if I feel strongly about a topic, I will comment. However, I do try to be uncontroversial and mindful of the feelings of others.
            In the final analysis, it is all about the crosswords and I still maintain that this blog is the best in the world where cryptic crosswords are concerned

  32. 3*/4*….
    liked 7D “mostly benevolent western sultanate imprisoning second family member (9)”

  33. My telegraph had 24d as 5 letters not 3,2 so totally befuddled!! Unimpressed that DT make such elementary mistakes! Must be Covid????

  34. As usual late on parade but as always thoroughly enjoyed our Wednesday setters offering. Everything said above. Found the quickie tricky. Thanks to all.

  35. I completed this with difficulty but not that much. Actually I didn’t complete it because I was left with 24d which, as mentioned in previous comments was enumerated wrongly in the paper version and therefore unsolvable, but I claim a moral victory as I got it as soon as I found out it was 3,2. Favourite was 1d. Thanks to Jay and 2K’s.

    1. This has been asked many times before so you’ll find the answer to your question here http://bigdave44.com/faq/ @no 12

      To avoid confusion with comments from our ‘long-term’ Brian, could you please go back to adding your surname to your alias

  36. It has all been said but I did enjoy this despite much head scratching. Top half stymied me for quite a while before it finally slotted in. 8d was LTGI. Enjoyed the theme very much. Thanks to all for a very smooth and enjoyable puzzle.

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