DT 29500 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 29500

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 29500

Hints and tips by 2Kiwis

BD Rating – Difficulty ** Enjoyment ****

Kia ora from Aotearoa.

New Zealand adopted an MMP voting system (Mixed Member Proportional) in 1996 and at every election since then our government has been a coalition of two or more parties. At these latest elections the party led by Jacinda Ardern has gained enough seats that they can form a government without the need for coalition partners. We’ll find out in a couple of weeks whether they will choose to do this. For me (Colin) it was a fascinating fortnight being part of the process during the election. Now it is back to the usual retirement routine and blogging the Wednesday puzzle at the ‘proper’ time.
We thought Jay was quite gentle on us this week and he has given us an excruciatingly groan-worthy Quickie pun.

Please leave a comment telling us how you got on.

Across

1a     Pale, sickly and sluggish, full of talk essentially (6)
SALLOW : The two central letters (essentially) of talk are inside a word meaning sluggish.

5a     Secure simple task covering line (6)
CLINCH : A simple task or sinecure contains L(ine).

10a     Sign of tooth decay not caught (5)
ARIES : Remove the cricket abbreviation for caught from the start of a word for tooth decay.

11a     Sway and come in shaking (9)
DOMINANCE : An anagram (shaking) of AND COME IN.

12a     Column on paid performer’s sketch (7)
PROFILE : A three letter paid performer and a column or vertical row.

13a     Forgoes key cuts (7)
ESCHEWS : A key that is found on a computer keyboard, and then cuts, usually with an axe.

14a     Encourage mimic seen outside theatre at first (9)
STIMULATE : The first letter of theatre is inside mimic or assume a false appearance.

17a     Disguises query in case of mistakes (5)
MASKS : Case of mistakes gives us its first and last letters. These are around a verb meaning to query.

18a     Try relish (5)
TASTE : A double definition. ‘Try’ here is have a sample.

19a     Gets the better of tutors ordered to accept second degree (9)
OUTSMARTS : An anagram (ordered) of TUTORS surrounds S(econd) and the degree that comes after a Bachelor of Arts.

21a     Enlightenment provided by commercial transport in troubled Iran (7)
NIRVANA : An anagram (troubled) of IRAN surrounds a light covered commercial vehicle.

23a     Meat that could be cooked for stag party? (7)
VENISON: Stag in the clue points us to this type of meat.

25a    Groundbreaking victory that’s overwhelming? (9)
LANDSLIDE :  The answer is used in two senses in the clue. First literally and then figuratively. ( We found this one straightforward to solve but hard to write a hint for.)

26a     Part of drill by soldiers in revolution (5)
ORBIT : Lowest ranking soldiers and then the part of a drill that is held by the chuck.

27a     Stumbles across parking and drives off (6)
REPELS : Stumbles or staggers contains P(arking).

28a     Bands of elite forces protecting the girl (6)
SASHES : The three letter acronym for an elite military force contains a female personal pronoun.

Down

2d     Friend shot after friend from Paris (5)
AMIGO : A French word for friend and then a shot or attempt.

3d     Exhaustion of girl with it due for treatment (9)
LASSITUDE : A word for a girl and an anagram (for treatment) of IT DUE.

4d     Club offering women slight advantage (5)
WEDGE : W(omen), then another word for a slight advantage.

5d     Manage to accommodate millions with temporary accommodation that’s satisfactory (9)
COMPETENT : Manage or successfully deal with contains M(illions) followed by temporary accommodation traditionally made of canvas.

6d     Greek island coin redesigned (5)
IONIC : The one letter abbreviation for island and an anagram (redesigned) of COIN.

7d     University academic going from for to against such a priest (9)
CONFESSOR : Start with a university academic who is head of a department and change the first three letters from something meaning ‘for’ to something meaning ‘against’.

8d     College grounds American supporting faction (6)
CAMPUS : A faction or special interest group and then the United States.

9d     Feels sights must include extremes of Naples (6)
SENSES : Sights or notices contains the first and last letters of Naples.

15d     Coverage of Sun in race for circulation (9)
INSURANCE : An anagram (for circulation) of SUN IN RACE.

16d     A traveller mostly tells stories to find inconsistencies (9)
ANOMALIES : ‘A’ from the clue and a traveller often found in desert regions loses his last letter, and then tells untrue stories.

17d     Important opus oddly written within minutes (9)
MOMENTOUS : Minutes or less precise short times contain the first and third letters of opus.

18d     Snarl, seeing no good in story (6)
TANGLE : A story or narration contains the two letters signifying no good.

20d     Worsen a tendency to expose politicians (6)
SENATE : A lurker, hiding in the clue.

22d     Man for example found under a corridor (5)
AISLE : What man with a capital M is an example of follows ‘A’ from the clue.

23d     Struggles to accept western opinions (5)
VIEWS : Struggles or contests contains W(estern).

24d     Fur buyer’s source in auction (5)
SABLE : What an auction is an example of surrounds the first letter of ‘buyer’.

Our biggest tick goes to 7d today.

Quickie pun    leave    +    hair    +    pull    =    Liverpool

57 comments on “DT 29500
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    1. As always your definition of gentle and mine is somewhat distant but probably quite right that it should given the gulf in our abilities. :-)

  1. 1.5*/5*. It doesn’t have to be tough to be good, and this was exceptionally good.

    7d was my favoruite too.

    Many thanks to Jay and the 2Ks.

  2. Another fabulous Wednesday offering from Jay that I didn’t find quite as gentle as our esteemed bloggers. I have to admit that 10a was a bung in but other than that the only problem I had was the trying to fit double M into 5d and the parsing of
    the fabulous 7d, which was a nice penny drop moment when I worked it out.
    Impossible to pick a podium so I’ll mention theQuickie Pun as it works even better when pronounced in the nasal Scouse accent.
    Thanks to the 3 birds.
    3/4.5*

  3. I agree with the Kiwis. A benevolent Jay today – but good fun. The lurker at 20d is well disguised and 14a, my last in, is very clever. Favourite though is 7d. I had to read the clue twice to understand where we were going with that. **/**** Thanks to all.

  4. Another enjoyable crossword from Jay, which was fairly gentle (2*/4*). Like others, I liked 7d, which was quite wily, but 25a and 5a were also pretty good. Thanks to the Kiwis for the hints, especially the parsing of 13a, where I was hung up on a musical key. Thanks also to Jay for an entertaining puzzle that brightened up a soggy Autumn day

  5. Amid all of the horrors and indignities of life these days in this nightmarish world, Jay the master compiler is one sure ray of enlightenment (loved 21a) and comfort, even if such a balm lasts for only a few blessed minutes. Like others before me so far, I think that 7d is the COTD but I also liked 13, 11, 19, & 25a. Gentle, genial, and generous puzzle. Thanks once again to the Kiwis and to Jay. **/*****

    Terrific Toughie today.

  6. Another vote for 7d as the pick of the clues, though it was my only hiccup in an otherwise swift solve of this gentle Jay. Always pays to read the question properly so that you don’t get into an 18d with your pros & cons.
    Thanks to Jay & the 2Ks

  7. Whenever I pop up to muse upon how tricky I found a puzzle, I notice most other contributors comment on how easy it was! Like Brian I found this less than the breeze that most of those above reported…
    However, Jay continues to be the master and I enjoyed solving this very much – though I needed the 2Ks’ hints for a few.

    My car went for a service and MOT yesterday. It needs some rather expensive work done on it, and I am awaiting the word from the garage on whether the repairs are covered by the warranty. So I am typing this with all fingers and toes crossed, which is not easy I can tell you.

    Thanks to the excellent Jay and the ever helpful 2Ks.

  8. I’ll sit on the fence, and give it *** for difficulty. It should have been **, but 12a & 13a kept me going far longer than they was really necessary. They are my COTD today.

    Many thanks to Jay and the 2Ks.

  9. If you want to make a crossword puzzle more difficult for yourself, put in a wrong answer as I did when first solving 19a – I confidently entered ‘obstructs’, which made sense to me with the anagram I’d concocted, but made no sense once I began reading other clues. Having realised the error of my ways, I soon got back on track and finished quite quickly all considered. As usual a well crafted Jay puzzle with too many favourites to list them all, but having tripped at 19a, I have to make it my COTD. Thanks as ever to Jay and to the 2Ks.

  10. I, too, thought 7d was a terrific clue, and the whole puzzle was right up there among Jay’s best, and that is saying something given the consistently high standard he attains every Wednesday.

    Many thanks to our avian friends.

  11. Perhaps not in my top ten of Wednesday puzzles but Jay does set the bar so high for himself.
    Top two here were 11a & the simple 4d.

    Thanks to Jay and to our 2Ks for the review. It will be interesting to learn of the decision reached by Jacinda’s party – do you have a preference?

    1. Jane. Having been working in the election process for the last couple of weeks I have got into the habit of not expressing any opinions on political decisions. I’ll stay sitting on the fence re the outcome of the possible coalition talks. Colin. :smile:

  12. Yesterday we had a Monday puzzle on a Tuesday, today we have a Monday puzzle on a Wednesday. A very enjoyable Jay puzzle completed at a fast gallop – 1.5*/4.5*.
    Going up the Downs got me off to a very good start.
    Candidates for favourite – 23a, 27a, 7d and 8d – and the winner is 7d.
    Thanks to Jay and the 2Ks.

  13. Average Jay for me. Always with him I always find one quarter harder than the rest. This time it was the NE with the excellent 7d holding me up. 11a I knew was an anagram but until I reverted to the “wheel” method I just couldn’t see it. (Sorry MP with crosswords, like golf, ultimately its not the how that matters but the result).
    7d my COTD, as Huntsman muddled up my pros & cons & initially had a “Robert Clark” as my answer.
    Thanks to Jay for the test, a pleasure every Wednesday & 2Ks for the review. It will be interesting to see how well a majority government works for you.

      1. Yes I had professor in 7d.
        Also I was reminded of SC for 10a.
        Noticed the comments on baseball last week. I used to live in Cardiff
        You may not know but British baseball (slightly smaller diamond & underarm pitching) is still played there and was very popular for over 100 years with internationals against England played until a few years ago (attended by 10,000+ crowds in the early 1900’s). Apparently baseball took off when US team toured in the 1880’s. The first Baseball World Cup (as opposed Series) in the 1930’s Britain won. The MLB didn’t let their players play.

        1. Well, shame on MLB! No, I didn’t know about the Welsh games, and thanks for enlightening me. Last night, the L A Dodgers showed their considerable mettle by outslugging the Tampa Bay Rays 8-3 in the first game of this year’s iteration of the World Series. It’s been a strange, plague-altered, truncated ‘season’ for my favourite sport, but MLB has managed, most admirably, to keep things going even when a number of matches were re-scheduled because of the virus.

          1. Since 2006 as I now learn there has been the World Classic which the MLB players do play in. There have been 4, as you may know. Japan has won 2 & US one. Amazingly the Netherlands has come 4th (out of 16) twice. Mrs LrOK half Dutch but didn’t they played baseball.
            Next one scheduled for 2021 in Florida.
            LA seem to have developed a consistent team. Is it based on pitching or batting strength?

      1. I admit my fallibilities MP. I took your suggestion & have found my “on sight” solving of anagrams has improved no end. 11a I just couldn’t see so resorted to pencil out of frustration.

        1. I always used a pen for anagrams in the days before we bought our iPads. Almost never at all now. It has surprised be that I see them so quickly now. The clear lettering helps. My handwriting is a mess

  14. An excellent offering from Jay but I must admit I didn’t find it as straightforward as others seem to have done. After the first pass, I only had about five solved and none gave a first letter to another clue. Because of my erstwhile profession, 10a went in straight away. I agree that 7d was a great clue and the lurker was very well hidden but I don’t have a COTD today.

    Thank you to Jay for the tussle and to the 2Kiwis for the hints. I agree with you that the Quickie pun is groan worthy!

  15. My only mistake was to put “pallid” in at 1a, leaving me with “dodge” for 4d. It was obviously wrong, so I then had to realise the clue was golf based. All then fell into place.
    Like the rest, I think 7d deserves the podium.
    The Quickie pun was good wasn’t it?

  16. First we had Beatlemania. Then we had Rollermania. Now we have Jacindamania. Whatever next? Thanks to Jay for a very entertaining puzzle which I thought took ages but really didn’t take much longer than usual. Thanks to the 2Ks for their usual high level blog. The Quickie Pun got no further than a very weak Lever Pull for me. I knew it was wrong but forgot all about it with the excitement of a visit to Lakeland and the garden centre with Saint Sharon.

  17. I was otherwise engaged yesterday, otherwise I would have joined in with the entertaining “first car” conversation. I won’t, because it’ll be like cold porridge, but it’s great that we all have such vivid and detailed memories, whilst being a bit hazy about recent quite dull motoring info. No more need for boots full of water, fuel, oil and rags, funnels, whole eggs etc…….
    I did both Quickies and cryptics this morning…….thanks to the setters, Mr K and the “ birds”.
    I liked the words plinth and clinch……and see we had two tangles.

    Good luck to Daisygirl today. Maybe you’re conscious?

  18. For me Jay is never easy but he always has a few easier clues to draw me into the spiders web and get me started. Then I have to finish almost no matter how long it takes. Afterwards I always enjoy the mastery of Jay’s Wordplay.
    Thanks 2 Kiwis too – interesting voting system – I never knew.

  19. A lot to like in this puzzle but 7d could well get clue of the week. Thanks to the 2Ks but a word about Other Ranks. These include are all ranks except those that are commissioned. Thus WOs, RSMs, CSMs, to name but a few. As a Private for a time I would never had suggested that one of the above were members of the lower ranks. And nor would any other private or corporal. There would have been a long term serious response which would have made your life hell as long as the senior NCO was based were you were.

    Thanks to the 2Ks and to Jay for another gem.

  20. Overall a friendly challenge with a host of neat clues including 13a, 25a, 26a and 7d. SW corner was last to give way. 10a new to me. My thanks to all the birds.

  21. Splendid crossword while it lasted which wasn’t very long today. Not very original but I’ll go for 7d as COTD as well with 13a a very worthy second place.

  22. Thanks to 2Kiwis for the much needed help with today’s challenge from Jay. Hats off to all of you who found it gentle or straight forward. I’m only half done, and still scratching my head. In accordance with my self imposed rule, I have only looked at some of the picture hints so far. Will have another stab later over lunch but suspect I will need more help. So far, my COTD is 3d.
    Still raining here in soggy South Florida. Gardner just came to give me a quote to lay some turf, enlarge a flower bed etc. All work we would have tackled ourselves a couple of years ago, but not sensible now with our shared shoulder and hip tears. Old age is proving expensive.

    1. Happy to say that everything fell into place over lunch, and couldn’t see why I made heavy weather of this earlier. Again, thanks to Jay for yet another enjoyable puzzle.

  23. As usual enjoyed the Wednesday Jay puzzle and actually got around to doing it in daylight ( or greylight today). Last in 13D and 7A. Just couldn’t see them for ages. Thank you to all.

  24. I never find Jay as easy as the majority ***/*** 😬 I was held up in the NE everyone’s favourite 7d caused me trouble 😳 My Favourites were 4d & 10a 😃 Big thank you to Jay and to the 2x Ks

  25. A gentle Jay puzzle for midweek that was **/**** for me. Definitely had some clues that required some digging to get the answer to show itself. NW last area completed with 10a last in.
    Clues for favourites include 10a, 19a, 27a, 4d, 7d & 17d with winner 7d and 10a runner up

    Thanks to Jay and 2K’s

  26. Morning all.
    Rather unusually for a Wednesday, when there is often a wide range of opinions on which clue gets the gold medal, there looks to be pretty good agreement that 7d fills the spot for this week. It was certainly the one that stood out for us.
    Forecast is for a brilliant fine day coming up here so no excuse for not doing lots of outdoorsy things.
    Cheers.

    1. Thanks for the Blog and to Jay. I wanted to use the 3 letter University Academic in 7d which held me up a little. As the Weather here is less promising, I’m off ‘Zwifting’ indoors and wondering how soon this word will make it to the Dictionaries across the World.

  27. Parts of this one trickier than I first thought, but finished it steadily after my initial “doh” moments.
    3*/4* favs were 7d &14ac
    Many thanks to Jay & 2KWs for review
    Stay safe everyone!

  28. All was fine until I got to to 20d. It took me ages to realise that it was a lurker. 16d was my favourite. Thanks to Jay and the 2Ks. I do hope that Daisygirl is doing fine.

  29. A lovely Jay Day for me! I find myself on his wavelength most days. I don’t think I find any crossword easy, just some that are less difficult! I finished it earlier and then had grocery delivery drama which diverted my attention for a while.
    I join in the 7d faves, isn’t that so clever! I give 21a points as well.
    Thank you Jay and 2Kiwis for all the fun. I so hope Daisy is going well.

  30. Not that easy for me today either but then Jay always has a couple of little sneaky ones that hold me up at the end.
    A hellishly busy day and completely worn out now.
    I can’t work out how I was so dim with 7d which was such a good clue – won’t go into detail – too embarrassing.
    23a sounds a bit cannibilistic to me.
    Thanks to Jay and to the 2k’s.

  31. 7d was top of my leaderboard too, with 25a as my reserve. For some reason 18a took a while as did 27a. It was the drives off that foxed me as I was thinking either of a car driver or a golfer. I wanted to put Outstrips for 19a but obviously could not parse fully. Managed in the end without resorting to the hint. Thanks Jay and 2Ks.

    ;’..

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