DT 29514 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 29514

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 29514

Hints and tips by Deep Threat

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ***

Good morning from South Staffs where the early morning sun has burnt off the overnight mist in Stalag Boris.

I found today’s puzzle reasonably straightforward, with no obscure vocabulary and some inventive cluing.

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           Thespian having Scotch maybe, and a second unfinished (8)
DRAMATIC – The definition here is an adjective. Put together a word for a tot of whisky or other spirit, A (from the clue), and another word for a second or short period of time without its final letter (unfinished).

5a           Hike or stroll beside river (6)
RAMBLE River followed by another word for ‘stroll’.

8a           Queen, the fourth seen around capital (6)
VIENNA – Put together a Stuart queen and the Roman numeral for ‘fourth’, then reverse the result to get a European capital city. One that’s in the news for the wrong reason at the moment.

9a           If one has trouble crawling, one gets thrown out (8)
LIFEBELT – Cryptic definition of something used to help a swimmer in difficulties (‘crawling’ being using a particular swimming stroke).

10a         His raft’s ruffled sea creature (8)
STARFISH – Anagram (ruffled) of HIS RAFT’S.

Bloody henry starfish | The Wildlife Trusts

11a         Measure my hat, my shirt — occasionally back-to-front (6)
RHYTHM – Alternate letters of My HaT mY sHiRt, reading from right to left.

12a         Plant crushing diamonds is horribly audible (8)
BUDDLEIA – Anagram (horribly) of AUDIBLE wrapped round the abbreviation for Diamonds.

400+ Buddleia ideas in 2020 | butterfly bush, plants, shrubs

13a         Trust former spouse to go to court about gym … (6)
EXPECT – The usual former spouse and an abbreviation for ‘court’, placed either side of the school lesson known as ‘gym’.

15a         … wife appearing in film for defence? (6)
LAWYER – A thin film or stratum with Wife inserted, giving someone who may appear for the defence in court (the ellipsis … showing a reference back to the court mentioned in the previous clue).

18a         Wrongly enter a quantity in litres: PA’s slip-up (8)
TRESPASS – Hidden in the clue.

20a         Time gone by end of sentence (6)
PERIOD – Double definition, the second being a punctuation mark.

21a         Separate from delta, is island in the Med? (8)
DISCRETE – Put together the letter represented by Delta in the NATO alphabet, IS (from the clue), and a Mediterranean island, legendary home of the Minotaur.

23a         Still showing this writer’s instant irritability (8)
IMMOBILE – Put together another way of saying ‘this writer is’, an informal word for an instant, and another word for irritability derived from a bodily secretion.

24a         Old, in a bedsit perhaps, keeping one’s head above water (6)
AFLOAT – A (from the clue) and something of which a bedsit may be an example, with Old inserted.

25a         Jumble, half of it dumped by viewpoint (6)
TANGLE – Remove half of IT (from the clue) and add a viewpoint or opinion.

26a         Drop-in centre for woolly-headed types to get clean (5-3)
SHEEP-DIP – Cryptic definition of something used to protect sheep from pests.

Sheep handling: Care is the key when opting for dipping - Farming  Independent


1d           Seedy venues using fliers that will get one in for nothing (5)
DIVES – Start with some birds (fliers) often used as a symbol of peace, then replace the letter which looks like a zero or nothing with the Roman numeral for one.

2d           Islander giving way to woman on Saturday? (3,6)
MAN FRIDAY – This islander was a companion to Robinson Crusoe.

3d           Gathering at resort I meet about four or five? (7)
TEATIME – Anagram (resort) of I MEET, wrapped round AT (from the clue).

4d           Cruelty of century-old queen wrapped in fiery cape (4-11)
COLD-HEARTEDNESS – Put together an abbreviation for ‘century’, OLD (from the clue), another word for ‘fiery’ wrapped round the Latin abbreviation for ‘queen’, and a cape or headland.

5d           Let go again, possibly, boxing European guy in the ring? (7)
REFEREE – A possible word (2-4) for ‘let go again’, with European inserted, giving us the third person in a boxing match.

6d           Bather, swimming, needs energy to do this? (7)
BREATHE – Anagram (swimming) of BATHER followed by Energy.

7d           I’m visiting large country houses, making valuations (9)
ESTIMATES – Some large country houses (and their surrounding land), with I’M (from the clue) inserted.

12d         Writer of dance score (9)
BALLPOINT – A formal dance meeting, followed by another word for the score in certain card games, or a unit of the score in other games.

14d         Daily trim that keeps things tidy (5,4)
PAPER CLIP – Another word for a ‘daily’ news organ, and a verb for ‘trim’ (a hedge, perhaps).

NHS health and safety chiefs ban 'dangerous' metal paper clips | Metro News

16d         For instance, queen with two kings in hand (7)
WORKMAN – Something or which ‘queen’ (or ‘mother’) is an example, with the Latin and chess abbreviations for ‘king’ inserted, to produce a factory hand.

17d         Diner we befuddled — with this? (3,4)
RED WINE – Anagram (befuddled) of DINER WE.

19d         Make a serf of medieval sneak-thief that’s lifting hides (7)
ENSLAVE – Hidden in reverse (lifting) in the clue.

22d         Opium trade regularly brought over gorge (3,2)
EAT UP – Alternate letters (regularly) of the first two words of the clue, read from right to left (brought over).

The Quick Crossword pun CHAR + LEAD + RAKE = CHARLIE DRAKE

A somewhat dated reference:

89 comments on “DT 29514

  1. What an absolute delight this was especially after yesterday’s somewhat below par offering, smooth clever and cryptic. My page is littered with ticks and picking three from them isn’t easy but I’ll go for 5&16d plus 9a.
    Good to have the higher ratings number on the right again, 3/4.5*
    Many thanks to the setter, I’d be surprised if it wasn’t Silvanus and to DT for the entertainment. ,

    1. Hi Stephen,

      Thanks for the thought, but not me, I’m afraid. That should narrow down your options!

      1. Well it doesn’t have the traits of a proXimal so I guess we’re looking at Zandio! Excellent puzzle nontheless.

  2. This was fairly straightforward, with a few more tricky clues, particularly in the NW (2*/3*). I likes the reverse lurker at 19a and the forwards lurker at 18a. However, the clue of the day was 4d, which was delightfully complex. Thanks to DT for the review andto the compiler

  3. I can only agree totally with DT. . . . nice and strightforward, good entertainment and nowt too obscure. Thanks to both he and today’s setter. Now for some autumnal rose pruning.

  4. Amother excellent crossword, a really good variety of clues. Last one in 23a, 4d took some sorting out with many scribblings and jottings. In the lockdowns I have started baking my own bread, quite successful so far. The dogs disgraced themselves by charging around in the river in Boscastle. Nothing like the smell of damp dogs in the car!
    Many thanks to DT and setter.

    1. Are you actually kneading it yourself? If so well done, too much muscle power involved for me! I (or rather my lovely machine) have been baking our bread for a number of years now and it is delicious.

      1. Trouble is that home baked bread is a bit too delicious and my will power is somewhat weak!
        Hope you’re being a ‘good’ patient, Daisy?

      2. Yes kneading by hand, got to kep the old hands and arms supple. By the way todays out of the oven, friends called result blackberry jam and bread all gone. oooops wrong arrow pressed

    2. Yes kneading by hand, got to kep the old hands and arms supple. By the way todays out of the oven, friends called result blackberry jam and bread all gone.

      1. I did pottery for many years and I think that did my hands in eventually! I have my own special mix of strong white, wholemeal, seeded white and seeded malted flour plus large knob of butter and two tbsps. of milk powder. Oh yum yum.

    3. Ooh, I can smell it from here. One of the most divine scents of all, baking bread. And Jane is right, it just tastes too good and you have to eat it all.

    4. I remember feeding bread to the trout from the river bridge by the Riverside Inn some years ago. My son and I stayed at the inn when we went for a short November break walking the North Cornwall footpath. I also remember the Cobweb – it was a great pub to eat and drink in.

  5. A slow start for me today, but once I got going it all fell into place quite quickly, I liked 4d also the reverse lurker at 19d, 26a brought a smile and my COTD is 2d.
    Thanks to DT and the setter.

  6. 2.5*/4*. This made a not too taxing but very enjoyable end to the crosswording week.

    I might have stretched to 5* for enjoyment but for the American answer to 20a (even though, very surprisingly, it is not attributed as such in the BRB).

    I put “Lifebuoy” in for 9a as one of my first answers and immediately put a tick by it. However, although the actual answer is good, I don’t think it is quite as good as my original choice. Once it had been ruled out as a potential favourite, that honour went to 1d, with 16d running it close.

    Many thanks to the setter (Zandio?) and to DT.

  7. Enjoyable although as I solved this post-Elgar, my brain was obviously in recovery mode so I did take a bit longer than the previous commenters seem to have done.. I did write RD by 20a, even though as he says the BRB doesn’t recognise it as American, and my favourite clue was 2d

    Thanks to the setter and DT

  8. Certainly a lot more approachable than yesterday’s offering, but I was still left with 2 to go after *** time. 9a and 5d were the culprits. I would normally bow my head and say ‘fair enough’ but I’m afraid I don’t like either of those two clues.

    Many thanks to the compiler and DT.

  9. I made a bit of a pig’s ear of this one but got there in the end. Can never remember how to spell the last bit of 12a correctly, initially had the wrong first 3 letters in for 4d & took an age to twig 9a. Eventually all sorted & agree this one was a very pleasant Friday solve, free of obscurities & reasonably straightforward to parse. 9,23&26a together with 4&14d stood out for me. Hoping to see a comment today from Robert.
    A very accessible Nutmeg cryptic in the Graun today for those, like me, who find Elgar impenetrable.
    Thanks to the setter & to DT.

        1. Thank goodness you popped in, Robert, we’ve been worried about you. Thought perhaps the Trump/Biden circus had inflicted irreparable harm…….

  10. Unusually for me a morning start. I was left with four which I solved in this order 16d 23a 5d and 11a. I am glad I persisted without help. I got the plant at 12a but missed the anagram. Favourites 9 21 and 26a and 4 12 14 and 16d. I like the word at 21a which is often misunderstood or misspelt or both even in quality papers. Thank you setter and DT. I shall now relax to look at the hints and further comments

  11. A sparkling puzzle to accompany a beautiful Shropshire morning. Some terrific clues of which 9a stood out for me. Enjoyable, fun and nothing obscure. What’s not to like?

    Many thanks to Zandio, if it is indeed he, and to DT.

  12. Fairly straightforward today. **/*** The answer to 20a doesn’t sit well with me. We can have a “free period”, a “period drama” or a time span in history but we don’t have a full stop! Sorry, Robert. And please check in today, by the way. Anyway, it entertained me well enough. Favourite 2d. Thanks to all.

    1. Hi, Greta. Just checking in for now. There’s a periodicity in all things, I surmise.

  13. I enjoyed this a lot, especially after yesterday’s horror which I gave up half way through. I got the plant OK but had to look up the spelling but failed to spot it was an anagram. Thanks to the setter and Deep Threat on this very cold but sunny day

  14. Slow start then smooth progress just into *** time with NW corner last to fall.
    Probably a little straightforward for a Friday for some but nothing to dislike & lots to like for me.
    9a gets my COTD
    Thanks to setter & DT for the review.

  15. I seem to have solved a different puzzle to those who have commented so far. For me, this was a not much fun stinker, with loud groans for 9a and 5d, among others, completed at a canter – 3.5*/1.5*.
    The only good thing going for it is that this week we actually seem to have had the ‘correct’ progression of difficulty as this week has gone on. So, perhaps the SPP tomorrow will be quite ‘friendly,’
    Thanks to the setter and DT.

    1. Me too, the diffence being I could solve yesterdays, but had to give up 3/4ths of the way through this. Wavelength, tired brain, I know not. Just couldn’t get to grips with today’s puzzle

  16. I found some of the parsing quite difficult and a ***/*** for me,
    the double meaning of last in 20a eluded me -I note that RD claimed an Americanism,
    Favourite was 9d when the penny dropped and gave me the F for 5d which I was struggling with at the time.
    Excellent quickie pun
    Anyway enjoyed the solve and contemplating the toughie, best look who the setter is first!

  17. Got off to a great start then ground to a halt but a bit of perseverance took me to the finish. I agree that it was more fun than yesterday but it was not a walk in the park for me. I struggled with 11a because I forgot that measure has another meaning and I had the wrong spelling for 12a, which threw me off the scent for a while. The lurker at 18a was very well hidden but my COTD goes to 1d.

    Many thanks to Zandio, if he is the compiler and thanks to DT for the hints.

    Great Quickie pun today. I remember seeing him being accidentally knocked out on television.

    1. Charlie Drake was a huge star in the early 1960s. The clip has caused me to recall that I went to watch him at the London Palladium around Christmas in a show called The Man in the Moon. They went off the usual pantomime formula that year.

  18. A real curates egg for me, parts were excellent and others were not. 2d is a classic marmite clue and I fall into the absolutely hate it camp needing as it does a real leap of faith. Surely the diamonds in 12a should be singular? 1a fooled me as I have never seen thespian used as an adjective before, to me it is a noun.
    Odd one to classify really, on the whole enjoyable but 2d made me hate it!!
    Hey ho!
    Thx for the hints

    1. I don’t like Marmite but 2d was my favourite clue today. Good thing we’re all different.
      Thankyou all.

      1. Marmite on toast hits the spot for me. I was introduced to it by a friend I shared a flat with while at Guy’s studying dentistry,
        He told me the trick to loving it was to spread it very thinly, which I always do.

        I also love Patum Peperium or “Gentleman’s Relish”, which I pick up from Fortnum and Mason’s whenever Mrs C and I stay at the RAF Club.

        1. I have Marmite for breakfast every morning, I buy it from amazon in 600g tubs.
          I also get Gentleman’s Relish on amazon, I have just a taste left. There is also a Poacher’s Relish but I’ve never tried that.

  19. Not sure why but there’s something about this setter’s compilations that I don’t find easy to gel with – not overly difficult when he’s in back-page mode but slightly dissatisfying.
    However, 26a raised a smile so gets my vote today.

    Thanks to Zandio (?) and to DT for the review.

    1. Hi, Jane. Started reading the Moyes novel earlier this week but, for obvious reasons, had to put it aside for a bit. I’ve been in dark, deep seclusion for three days but hope to return to the blog this weekend. Thanks for your concern in my absence. I’m all right, I think.

      1. It will be good to see you commenting again but take as much time as you need, Robert. Just wanted to know that you are basically OK.

  20. A definite *** for me – a funny mixture of the fairly straightforward and slightly obscure I thought. Almost like there were two setters!! ** for enjoyment as those I found obscure irritated me. Must have got out of bed on the wrong side today.

      1. Chris
        Not often your options are thrown so that might lead to belt. Also the checker “t” sort-of gave the game away for me!

  21. This took me a bit longer than normal due to several distractions. The NE was last to fall as I put lifeboat into 9a. If I was struggling in the sea, I want to be saved by something more substantial than the answer to 9a, although looking at it, I think a lifeboat is lowered rather than thrown out. 2d, 14d and 16d all take podium places. Not sure which order. Thank you setter and Deep Threat.

  22. I am glad there seems to have been some concern about yesterday, I thought it was just me as I was thoroughly off colour. I am waiting for a call back from the clinic as I’m not awfully sure everything is right since the clips came out. However, much more approachable crossword today and I finished it but was grateful for DT’s parsing of one or two. I liked 26a and 1d, 20a and 25a last ones in. Lovely sunshine here in Cambridge but freeeezzzzing.

    1. Sorry to hear you are feeling off-colour Daisy. It’s always best to check with the clinic if you are not sure. I had to go back for re-dressing of my last hip operation as it was bleeding a bit. A couple of steri-strips and a new dressing put it right but it was frightening at the time. It’s freezing here in Oxfordshire too, though I did wrap up warm to tidy the garden for the winter.

    2. Sorry you feel something is not quite right with the knee, Daisygirl. It is early days, though and, as nurse Kath told me after my recent bout in hospital, at our age it takes longer to feel better and recover. How right she was!

      Give it time.

      I do hope you are not in as much pain as you were before. 😫

  23. I enjoyed this, particularly 9ac and 3dn. Not so sure I could explain 2dn. It was obviously the answer but the blog doesn’t reveal much. What am I missing?

    Thanks to setter and DT

    1. I was wondering about 2d as well.

      I can’t see what “giving way to woman on Saturday?” has to do with the answer, but we must be missing something since others have said that it was their favourite clue.

  24. Mixed views, it seems, on today’s puzzle. I found it great fun – completed in two bites, as my day/night, asleep/awake lifestyle is upside down due to my obsession with following the US election.
    I have been glued, mainly, to CNN with Wolf Blitzer and the gang, but I have also flipped across NBC, ABC, CBS, and Fox. As I write this, Mr Biden is a snip away from the magic 270. I will be delighted if (when) he is named as the next President.

    Thanks to the setter and DT.

        1. Oh, I do so agree, Robert! Most presidents who realise they are beaten concede gracefully and congratulate the opponent but not if your name is Trump. I will say no more for fear of breaching the rules of the blog.

          1. Apparently, Steve, that which you agreed with has been edited out of my comment. Unless you were agreeing with all of those asterisks!

  25. Not much fun for me I’m afraid. Too many unsolved before I came here for enlightenment 🙂. Nevertheless thanks to setter and hinter, I could perform neither of these roles.

  26. An excellent puzzle after wrestling with 2d – guessed the right solution but no idea why even after reading through the hints! Anyway, thank you setter and DT

  27. I am in the lovely puzzle today camp. It was only spoiled by the fact that I spilt coffee all over the printout before I started. The grid looks like a crossbreed of a black white and brown cow! I feel obliged to pick the 12a bush ( popular with butterflies and BEES)
    When writing the fodder for the anagram at 10a I accidentally created a rude word so I crossed it out and had another go and came up with another!!
    LOI 16d gave me the most grief, was the queen ER? and another 2 R’s or K’s for the kings and when I saw the definition I groaned
    Thanks to DT and setter.
    Not looked at the Elgar yet but if it is “vanilla” as Dutch mentions I will have a stab at it.

  28. As Punch used to say “Now that’s the way to do it!”. Great puzzle with the right mix of easier and trickier clues, none obtuse. Thanks to setter and Deep Threat. Very enjoyable and enjoyed it a lot. Huge relief after yesterday.
    Are kids still allowed to watch Punch and Judy these days? Didn’t turn us into horrible people.

  29. ***/***. This was a real mixed bag for me. Some very neat clues (e.g. 11a) but 9a spoilt it – the answer could have been either …..belt or ….. vest. Thanks to the setter and DT for the review. I’ve spotted we had a raccoon visit overnight and torn up the grass on the kerb side. They’re looking for bugs under the grass but make a real mess although they carefully dig up the grass which I will be able to roll back flat. Once returned to normal a good coating of chilli powder might deter a repeat.

  30. I found this very tricky ****/*** 😳 When completed at last it was difficult to see why 🤔 Plenty of favourites 1a, 9a, & 14d Thanks to DT for explaining my “bung ins” and to the compiler whoever owns up to it 😬

  31. I found this very tricky but doable. I got stuck halfway through and needed a hint to nudge me on my way again.
    There was a lot to like but too many bung ins for me, so much appreciation to DT for unravelling them.
    I thought 2d was clever, but fave was 12a. I’ve tried to grow it so often but we’re just too hot. When going by train to Wales, I was so envious of the damned thing growing like weeds by the train tracks.
    Thanks to Zandio (?) for the fun and to DT for his help.

  32. Very enjoyable and ideal for my Friday – agree about 4d. Thanks to setter and Deep Threat.

  33. Contrary to CS, solving the Elgar opened my mind and didn’t encounter any obstacles in this crossword.
    Liked “the fourth” in 8a.
    24a was a bit sad I felt.
    Thanks to the setter and to DT for the review.

  34. We found this quite tricky to solve and as enjoyable as ever. Tried several of the options available for the second part of 9a before we settled on the right one.
    Thanks Zandio and DT.

  35. A much nicer and friendlier puzzle than yesterday’s offering. Nice way to wrap up the week. **/**** with lots of great clues.
    Favourites for today include 9a, 25a, 29a, 2d & 12d with winners being 9a/2d

    Thanks to setter & DT

      1. Thanks, Angellov, but I’m being obtuse – I still don’t get it. Why is it a woman on Saturday but a man on Friday? What has a woman got to do with Saturday?

  36. I found this harder than some and easier than others did, which must mean I’m improving. I too was confused by 2d, is there a Girl Saturday? Any road up I got it. Favourite was 8a. Thanks to the setter and DT. 😁

  37. I have excuses for finding this one incredibly difficult, the main one is that it’s probably Zandio by the sound of it and I always find him almost impossible.
    My other excuse is a very long walk round a local RSPB reserve this afternoon and I’m tired – oh, and out of routine too as I usually do crosswords in the morning.
    I really just popped in quickly to see how our US crossword mates were doing.
    The other reason for calling in was to say how much 26a made me laugh.
    Thanks to whoever set this, I think, and thanks to DT too – how that was a 2* difficulty I can not see.

    1. I found this very tricky, Kath, not a walk in the park by any means. At least I could do it!

  38. Along with Senf, ChrisH, Jane et al this didn’t appeal to me and IMHO was nothing compared with Giovanni’s fun challenge yesterday. My main problem was having hard instead of cold in 4d which delayed the North. Missed use of Thespian as adjective in 1a (and likewise defence in 15a). 20a perhaps not obvious to Brits wheras Quickie pun possibly not obvious to non-Brits. In 24a is the presumed synonym for bedsit necessarily valid I wonder. 16a a bit far-fetched. Thank you Mysteron (Zandio?) and DT.

  39. I’m probably going against the grain here, but, although this took me less time than yesterday’s, I can’t say I enjoyed it very much. There were one or two where the answer was obvious but the clue was over-clever/obscure (e.g. 3d) or just not satisfying (e.g. 22d – is the answer really to ‘gorge’?). My last one in was 16d – the answer was obvious in the end (i.e. nothing else would fit) but I didn’t know that ‘for instance, queen’ was code for ‘woman’ (really?). Hey-ho, you live and learn.

    At least the weather has been really nice in Colchester (UK) today – my sweet pea seedlings are coming on well.

  40. All went really well until SW corner – finally got 26d for wrong reason and then all fitted except for getting 23a wrong – used t not b! Now I can start Saturdays

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