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DT 29546

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 29546

Hints and tips by pommers

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ***

Hola from the Vega Baja where the summer still continues to hang around.  We had 25°C last Friday which is very unusual for December but it’s a bit chilly this morning.  Overcast as well but the forecast is for improvement as the morning goes on.

I found today’s puzzle at the easier end of the Monday spectrum and nearly gave it a star less for difficulty.  There are a few chestnuty bits and gimmes as well as five anagrams so I don’t think many of you will have had any trouble getting a foothold.  There’s a couple of more complicated clues so ** is probably about right.  As usual I’ll be interested to hear what you all though of it.

As usual the ones I liked most are in blue.  The definitions are underlined in the clues and the answers are under the “click here” buttons so don’t click on them unless you really want to see the answer.  Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a           Unfit  bent and twisted? (3,2,5)
OUT OF SHAPE:  This is a phrase meaning unfit which could also mean bent and twisted.

6a           Employed American press chief (4)
USED:  The usual two letters for American followed by the usual boss of a newspaper.

10a         The French female writer heading west for Asian republic (5)
NEPAL:  The French definite article, but the female version, followed by a thing used for writing and then the whole lot is reversed (heading west).

11a         Heed  military order (9)
ATTENTION:  Double definition.

12a         Passage from ‘North and South’ included in feature (7)
TRANSIT:  Take a word for a feature or attribute and insert (included in) an N(orth) and an S(outh).

13a         Gangster in house, different mould (7)
HOODLUM:  The usual two letter abbreviation of house followed by an anagram (different) of MOULD.

14a         Candid talk in centre — listen with child outside (5-2-5)
HEART TO HEART:  Start with a word meaning centre or core and follow with a word for a young child with a word meaning listen inserted  (with child outside).  Split the result (5,2,5).

18a         Memorable song from Sam, yet Bogie’s furious (2,4,4,2)
AS TIME GOES BY:  Anagram (furious) of SAM YET BOGIES. 

21a         Broken spades on ground (7)
SMASHED:  S(pades) followed by a word meaning ground which is usually applied to ground potato.


23a         Use one, about to dish up outside (7)
SERVICE:  Take the letter that looks like a number one and the single letter for about or approximately and around them (outside) put a word meaning to dish up or wait on.

24a         Aim always, it’s said, to make an industrious effort (9)
ENDEAVOUR:  The usual three letter word meaning aim followed some letters which aren’t a word but if pronounced would sound like (it’s said) a word meaning always.  Here’s one for Kath . . .

25a         Entertain a goddess, one of nine (5)
AMUSE:  The A from the clue followed by a Greek goddess, one of nine sisters.  Daughters of Zeus and Mnemosyne, the nine are Calliope, Clio, Erato, Euterpe, Melpomene, Polyhymnia, Terpsichore, Thalia, and Urania

26a         Over-sentimental message abridged (4)
TWEE:  A message sent on social media without its last letter (abridged).

27a         Scathing, series probing a hospital department (10)
ASTRINGENT:  Take the A from the clue and three letters for a hospital department and insert a word for a series, of racehorses perhaps.


1d           Highly decorated knight coming in to make a speech (6)
ORNATE:  The letter for knight in chess notation inserted into (coming in) a word meaning to make a speech.

2d           Film best bowler, perhaps (3,3)
TOP HAT:  The first word of the answer can mean best and the second is what a bowler might be an example of (perhaps).

3d           Second eleven winning after comprehensive instruction given by captain? (4,5,5)
FULL STEAM AHEAD:  This is an instruction which might be given by the captain of a ship.  Start with a word for comprehensive or complete and after it put an S(econd), then another word for an eleven or side and finally a word which can mean winning or up.

4d           Pick up basket lying across hotel mat (6,3)
HEARTH RUG:  A word meaning to pick up as in listen followed by an obscure word for a gardener’s basket with an H(otel) inserted (lying across).  I’d not come across this basket before.

5d           Tar, substance sealing top of carriageway (5)
PITCH:  Take a word for substance or gist and insert (sealing) a C (top of Carriageway).

7d           Quantity carried aboard a Polish destroyer, primarily at sea (8)
SHIPLOAD:  Anagram (at sea) of A POLISH with a D (Destroyer primarily).

8d           A high explosive, and yet I’m relaxed (8)
DYNAMITE:  Anagram (relaxed) of AND YET IM.

9d           Also fascinated by article on pub acquisition (4,3,7)
INTO THE BARGAINListen very carefully . . .  Start with a word meaning fascinated by or keen on.  After that you need a definite article followed by another word for a pub and finally an acquisition.  Once you have that lot together split it (4,3,7) to get a phrase meaning also or as well.

15d         Value placed on right club official (9)
TREASURER:  A word meaning to value highly placed on an R(ight).

16d         Spare the criminal, producing a list of his crimes? (3,5)
RAP SHEET:  Anagram (criminal) of SPARE THE.

17d         Sit astride rider’s seat holding both ends of tether (8)
STRADDLE:  Take the seat used by a horse rider and insert (holding) a T and an R (both ends of TetheR).

19d         Quiet nursing home, very small (6)
MINUTE:  A word for quiet or unable to speak placed around (nursing) the usual word meaning home or at home.

20d         Agent put away copy (6)
REPEAT: The usual agent or salesman followed by a word for put away as in consume.

22d         Waste beginning to deter Arctic explorer (5)
DROSS:  D (beginning to Deter) followed by an Arctic explorer.  He located the north magnetic pole in 1831 and has a sea in the Antarctic ocean named after him.

Favourite for me was 18a with 3d and 9d on the podium.

Quick crossword puns:

Top line:            ANNE     +     TEETERS     =     ANTEATERS

Bottom line:      CONSENT     +     RICK     =     CONCENTRIC

106 comments on “DT 29546

  1. 1*/3.5*. A straightforward but fun puzzle as we have come to expect on Mondays although I’ve docked half-a-star for the unindicated American term in 16d.

    18a is brilliant and my favourite. 2d, 3d & 9d join it on the podium.

    Many thanks to Campbell and to pommers.

  2. An excellent Monday puzzle I thought, beautifully clued throughout. I was on for a very rapid finish but got held a up a little by a couple in the South. Had to check the basket in 4d too.
    I liked 14&26a plus 9&20d in particular
    Many thanks to the setter and to Pommers

  3. I totally agree with RD and his choice of 18a as a favourite. Quite superb.

    The whole grid was a light delight and I had no delays in completing it. As usual for a Monday, the rapid solve did not detract from the fun and enjoyment.

    Thanks Campbell for the challenge and to pommers.

  4. Definitely at the gentler end of cryptic puzzling today and very quickly done and dusted before my day’s tasks begin.Good fun and no great hold-ups, although I do admit to having mixed thoughts about 23a, which was my last in. Thanks to both setter and Pommers. PS, I’m not jealous of your late summer . . . . . much! :-) :-)

  5. A quick solve with a few interesting clues (1.5*/3.5*). I enjoyed the anagrams as usual, especially 18a, and found 9d amusing. Thanks to Pommers for the hints and to the compiler.

  6. An early start for me today, I have to have my car at the garage for a service in 2 hrs and 40 mins and it might take some persuasion to start on this minus 23 degrees Monday morning.
    Last Monday I started my comment ‘Campbell seems to have upped his difficulty a little, still very acceptable for a Monday puzzle’ and I think that the same applies this week – completed at a last Monday’s 8d – **/****.
    Favourite – a toss-up between the two long Downs 3d and 9d.
    Thanks to Campbell and pommers.

    1. I don’t really care about whether your car starts or not in -23 degrees – I’m just a bit sorry for that poor horse of yours being expected to set off at the usual gallop to complete the crossword.

  7. Enjoyed this and finished it before I finished my coffee. Can someone explain to me why 16d is not acceptable in a crossword. Thanks to the setter and for the song.

    1. I think it is because it is an American term and the fact that it is American is not indicated in the clue.

      1. Hi OM.

        If an Americanism is in common parlance this side of the pond, eg high-five, does it still need to be indicated?

        Where does one draw the line? Is it after a period of time or is it a grey area, sorry, gray area?

        1. It’s no problem. I was wondering if you knew the criteria.

          I’ll ask Big Dave at another time as I think this blog has passed.

          1. I don’t think there are any criteria as such – it depends whether or not you accept the fact that today’s English is full of words that might once have been considered ‘foreign’

        2. 16d. The clue is fine as it is. Complaining about/mentioning common, unindicated Americanisms is OK, but only a personal opinion – it ain’t an official statement.

          1. Thank you to you both.

            That clears it up as some of the gang often highlight that there’s no mention and I wondered if it’s a boo-boo by the compiler and it’s clearly not.


  8. Really enjoyed today’s crossword.
    18a favourite clue by a long chalk.
    Thanks to the setter and to Pommers.
    Dreich day up here, but not as cold as it has been. Sadly, despite the ministrations of the Gas Men, the boiler remains stubbornly on the blink…..sigh…

  9. Standard Monday fare, all over in */** time. I only know 2d as a show rather than a film, and “Show best bowler” would have worked just as well, I don’t suppose many of us remember the film being released. Or is that me being a curmudgeon? My last in was 26a, as I don’t send that sort of message.

    I also spotted a couple of TV programmes, 18a, 24a, and also 20d. There may be more, I’m not much of a TV viewer.

    Many thanks to Campbell and Pommers

  10. Nothing unduly taxing about today’s puzzle. Just an enjoyable diversion this morning. */*** How on earth do you know all the names of the 25a, Pommers? I rather liked 27a but favourite has to be 18a. Thanks to all.

    1. Mr Google told me the names of the goddesses. The ones I can remember are Erato and Clio as they turn up in crosswords from time to time.

    2. On his last album Rough And Rowdy Ways, Bob Dylan mentions Calliope in his song Mother of Muses

  11. Extremely enjoyable not least as it enabled my fastest solve to date so I am well chuffed. */***** (if we are allowed a five star!)
    My favourite was 12a for some reason. Thank you very much setter and Pommers.

  12. Campbell did us proud with an enjoyably gentle start to the week. Quite a lot of multi-worded solutions which take a bit of extra fathoming. 16d new to me perhaps ‘cos it’s a US term. Like Malcolm R and for same reason the little 26a was my last to go in. 3d Fav. Thank you Campbell and pommers.

  13. I didn’t find this as straightforward as others but maybe the fact I fell yesterday and am bruised all over had something to do with it. I thought this was an excellent puzzle with some good clues. Like others, I liked 18a but my COTD is 22d for its simplicity. Even so, it took me an age to sort it out. We have just watched the episode of Morse where he reveals his name. Lewis’s reaction of “you poor sod!” was priceless.

    Many thanks to Campbell and pommers.

      1. Thanks, Terence. I have bruised ribs and these prevented my sleeping last night. Mainly it’s my pride that’s hurt. Being 6ft 4inches ( well probably 6ft 3 inches today) it’s a long way down.

      1. I recommend 4 paracetamols, gin and Dubonnet at 11am, which worked for me in a hotel room in the French Alps after reaching there with a broken elbow.

        1. A wheat filled microwaveable hot pad is very soothing if you can’t sleep, Steve, especially if it’s had lavender mixed with the wheat. I’m very clumsy but am being careful when I go for a walk as there are such a lot of wet leaves underfoot. I don’t want to fracture my right femur to match the left one, which is just recovering now

          1. I am also being extra careful as we have a 90 year old friend who fell, indoors on carpet, and broke her right femur. She underwent surgery, then three weeks into residential therapy, an X-ray showed that the bolts and plate had separated from her leg. So she had to have the surgery repeated. Ouch. Thankfully she is one tough lady and made it through, and started the therapy all over again. One doctor did tell me years ago that most of us don’t fall and break a bone. A bone breaks and then we fall.

        2. Arnica for bruises – it works a treat. Poor you – falling shakes you up so. I was told the medics allow you two falls a year before they start to worry?

    1. If you go for the Tramadol option Steve it does nothing for your crossword solving abilities but it’s a nice feeling of spaced out pain free befuddlement.
      Hope that you’re not too sore – my ribs took a good couple of weeks to ease

      1. I broke two ribs falling into my own wheelie bin! I was trying and trying to reach a piece of paper I had thrown away by accident and suddenly, whoops, I was in. God it hurt, but it was more awful because the builders opposite saw what happened and were doubled up with hysteria. So I do sympathise Steve, but really all you can do is wait for bruises to heal. I’m the other end of the height debate at 5’3″ and had some difficulty getting out.

        1. I think I would too if I went in headfirst. Isn’t it horrendous that others will laugh at misfortune? I remember erecting a tent in Brittany in the pouring rain and high wind. The people sitting in a nearby caravan were roaring with laughter at my struggles. I actually hit my thumb with the mallet and blood poured out but I was darned if I was going to let them see it and carried on. Thankfully, they left the next day otherwise there could well have been “mots”.

    2. Sorry to hear about your fall – when I first read your comment I wasn’t sure whether it was an actual a**e about f*c* or just a fall as in couldn’t do yesterday’s crossword – now I know. Witch Hazel is the answer, that and regular Paracetamol – two, four times a day at as regular intervals as possible – ie two spaced six hours apart, but I think you already know all that.
      Glad you laughed at the ‘poor sod’ bit in Morse but hope that the laughing didn’t hurt your ribs.

    3. Sorry to hear of your fall Steve, I too struggled
      First DNF today (3 in SE corner) for many a long time. Nothing wrong with the puzzle with some lovely clues.
      Didn’t need help from pommers’ hints as I could parse the clues just couldn’t see the right words through the mental fog. Probably not a good time to be trying to find wavelengths when the radio doesn’t work!
      Thanks to Campbell & pommers for the hints.

  14. A nice way to ease into the non-working week and no hiccups to report.
    Podium places here went to 18a plus 1,2,3&9d.

    Thanks to Campbell and to pommers for the review. The Smash advert always reminds me of a week’s caravanning holiday years ago with a school-friend when we ate Smash and tinned hotdogs every night!

    1. I’d never heard of ready made mashed potatoes, then a friend in England told me she doesn’t cook and buys mashed potatoes from Marks! Now I’ve heard everything.

  15. The basket at 4d was also new to me in an otherwise gentle trouble free & speedy solve & parse. Had a small wager on RD commenting on 16d. The 3 long ones at 18a, 3&9d were my picks of the bunch in a pleasant start to the week.
    Thanks to Campbell & to Pommers.

  16. My brain went dead, for some reason, on that Polish destroyer, but I found the rest of the puzzle gentle and quite enjoyable. Thanks to pommers and to Campbell. ** / ***

    RIP John LeCarre’.

      1. I actually finished every one of them–read them all, MP! They are all lined up on a special shelf–some within box sets.

        1. I have read them all too. Apart from the “Smiley” novels, I’d recommend “The constant Gardner”.

      2. Only his last one, which I decided to have a stab at. I just could never get lost in his books.

    1. Have you read “The Pigeon Tunnel” Robert?
      The writing is both fresh and fantastically opinionated.

      1. Having now re-read all the George Smiley books in the past couple of years, I think it’s time for me to read Mr Cornwell’s memoir, and so thank you, Bluebird, for reminding me about The Pigeon Tunnel. It’s now on order.

  17. Nice start to the week. I enjoy Campbell’s puzzles – they are always clever but understated, with no rough edges.
    18a was ingenious – definitely my COTD – there should be a generic word for that type of anagram (maybe there is?)
    The basket in 4d was new to me, too.
    Thanks to Campbell and Pommers

  18. A cheery start to the week. I add my congratulations, to those of many others above, in relation to 18a.

    No-one in this world loves Paul McCartney more than me, but… I have been sent a copy of his new album to review (released this coming Friday).
    I’m now up to track eight of eleven… errr… oh dear…! It is… different…

    Thanks to Campbell and pommers.

    1. I’ve just looked at the album on Google and read the lyrics to ‘Lavatory Lil’, one of the tracks. Utter rubbish, unless I’m missing something there?

  19. Another monday cracker, completed well within my target time. Again 18a favourite like many others,
    Thanks to Campbell and Pommers

  20. Thought it was going to be a doddle as, like Pommers said, there were a few gimmies and old chestnuts but it took some teasing out to cross the finishing line.
    The basket in 4d was also new to me so was the solution.
    Favourite 18a. Very clever.
    Thanks to Campbell and to Pommers.

  21. I realised that 16d was an anagram but had to google the answer to check as I hadn’t heard of it. 18a and 9d were my favourites. I wonder how many of us feel 1a at the moment. I am missing not being able to go to the swimming pool. Many thanks to Campbell and Pommers. I’m not looking forward to this afternoon. The plasterer has left, but despite him being quite tidy, I still have a fine layer of pink dust everywhere which needs cleaning up.

  22. A sunny puzzle to start a sunny day. No hold ups as a shedload of the longer clues wrote themselves in. Although the longer guesses were correct, shedload wasn’t the quantity I was looking for. Thanks to Campbell for the puzzle and pommers for the review, which as predicted during the solve contained the obvious song at 18 across and picture at 24 across.
    I have been involved with this blog for seven years now. In that time many setters have clued unindicated American words or phrases and both serving Daily Telegraph Puzzles Editors have allowed them to stand. So be it.

  23. As I was filling in this fun puzzle, I wondered how many would opt for 18a as favourite. How can you not love it? I expect it’s been used a lot with a different indicator word, any of which would do just as well.

    I’ve never heard of 2d as a show, but this and most of the Astaire /Rogers movies have been on BBC iplayer for months. That one is my favourite.
    Thanks to Pommers and Campbell for a laugh (Smash) after the dentist/hygienist combo this morning.

  24. No great problems except for 23a and 19d which I thought were rather poor clumsy clues. Shame because otherwise it was a nice puzzle.
    Thx to all

  25. What a lovely way to start with week with everything flowing nicely. Tiny hold up for 7d and embarrassingly 26a…so obvious after the fact but I have never actually tweeted so it is never at the forefront of my mind.

  26. Thanks to the setter and to Pommers.
    Sadly a thin layer of cloud last night put paid to a good display of the Geminid meteor shower although I did see one or two.

  27. Thanks to Campbell and Pommers for a nice start to the week. I was a silly billy and put in out of sorts for 1a which held me up until 4d made me realise my mistake. I had no problem with 16d as we hear that a lot over here on US shows. I have to give COTD to 18a, because I love the song, but mostly because of the TV series with Judi Dench and the late Geoffrey Palmer. Such a nice plot and great chemistry that I can still enjoy watching it. I used to have one of the 4d baskets, and have been contemplating ordering a Sussex one, but the postage would be horrendous.

  28. Nice start to the week 😃 I do enjoy Campbell’s puzzles **/*** Favourites 25 & 27a 🤗 16d was new to me. Thanks to Pommers, especially for the music and of course to Campbell

  29. Good start to the crossword week. A couple I couldn’t parse without the hints (19d 4d) but a couple of real gems (3d and 9d)
    18a deserves COTD as it is one of the best anagrams ever.
    A Freudian slip put a T in 7d 😊
    Thanks to pommers and Campbell

  30. This puzzle was right up my straße, Campbell, I loved it, the perfect era for me. Fred Astaire and Humphrey Bogart, what more can a girl want!
    I didn’t unravel 5d, but I had the wrong vowel “a” instead of “i”, no wonder, what on earth does that mean?
    Fave is 18a hands down, but so much to like here. I like multiple word answers and I had them in spades today.
    Thanks, Campbell, play it again Sam, and thank you pommers for your hints and tips. Wotta treat this was!

  31. For some reason I never seem to find Campbell’s Monday crosswords quite the doddle that the rest of you do – wave length a bit off kilter I think.
    I was very slow with the bottom half which I thought was much more difficult.
    Being a bit dim today I had ‘speed’ for the middle word of 3d which did absolutely nothing for 18a until I saw what I’d done.
    Having sorted that out I think 18a might be my favourite – but then, of course, there’s the lovely 24a!
    Also liked 9d – in fact I enjoyed the whole crossword.
    Thanks to Campbell and to pommers – lovely photo of 24a!

    1. I’m with you Kath, I never find Campbell that easy nor particularly enjoyable. That’s not a criticism, just that his crosswords don’t quite do it for me. Maybe it’s coming after a good Dada tussle on a Sunday, probably my favourite crosswording day of the week! Thanks to Dada and Pommers.

      1. Thank you – always nice to have a bit of company! I just don’t find his crosswords that straightforward.

  32. 2/4. Another good start to the week. 18a was such an elegant clue and anagram. Thanks to Campbell and Pommers.

  33. Think I nodded off when posting earlier. Most went in well but I got stuck and needed the hint for 7d. Just could not see it. I knew the basket despite not being a gardener. Favourites 24a and 4 9 15 and 19d. Thanks Campbell and Pommers

  34. I know I mustn’t smile but I have loved all the comments on how to deal with a fall. Both CS and I have suffered…it’s the black eyes I found humiliating!
    I was interested in 22d and found that the Rosses, uncle and nephew. explored both the Arctic and Antarctic. Well, so did Amundsen and today is the anniversary of the day he reached the South Pole ahead of Scott. I, however, am an admirer of Shackleton and having seen his grave, am always happy to raise my glass as a tribute to “The Boss“.
    Back to the puzzle. The anagram that was 18a was so clever and is my COTD.

    1. The falls must be an age thing. I have had several. The only consolation is that my bones seem to be made of rubber. The last fall 8 weeks ago resulted in a nasty gash on the shin. I have just been discharged from twice weekly visits to the surgery during which time I also needed a course of antibiotics. The difficult matter was protecting it after the steri-strips were removed. I have now got to moisturise the skin. My husband managed to equal my feat a few days later by falling down the stairs at home and damaging his shoulder. I don’t know what the answer is!

      1. Well, be careful if you are issued with a walker. I was, it fell on me and, like you, it gave me a nasty gash on my shin which meant 8 weeks of attention by the practice nurse. I was not amused!

  35. I liked this and managed to finish it relatively quickly with help from my husband. I put the wrong word in 3d which held us up a bit and the Polish destroyer made us scatch our heads a bit but we got there in the end. **/****

  36. I’m with the majority that 18a was the best and contender for clue of the year. Pitched perfectly for a Monday, a most enjoyable crossword. Many thanks to Campbell and Pommers.

  37. A fun and challenging puzzle. I enjoyed it. 18a my pick of the day.
    Shooting off at a tangent. Why do prize puzzles insist on a postal address? I use the paper version only. There is no provision on the vouchers for postal address but the paper and DT website say it should be included.

  38. Very nice, 18a is superb, I didn’t even realise it was an anagram until I checked the blog, I thought it was a cryptic definition, doh!
    Very enjoyable Monday crossword.
    Thanks both.

  39. Found that 95% of this crossword was a 1* but the last 4 or 5 in the SE took almost as long as the rest of the puzzle. Very strange. Even when the answers were entered for four of them, I simply did not get the parsing even looking at the hint.
    Overall **/**** today.
    COTD candidates include 1a, 14a, 18a, 24a & 4d with winner being 4d ( as I well remember the 4 letter gardening item word) with runner up 24a … loved the original and the prequel series.

    Thanks to Campbell and pommers

  40. The basket mentioned in 4d is very small and dainty, the sort people presenting on tv use if they
    have 4 full-time gardeners to do the rest of the heavy work…..mentioning no names……!

  41. No one seems to have picked up that not only was furious used to indicate the anagram – but that Bogie was furious with Sam for playing the song. It was his and Ingrid Bergman’s song from Paris. He had forbidden Sam to play it!. In the film he berates Sam for playing it. This was a beautiful clue.

  42. Really enjoyed this puzzle. I did about half of it, put it down, picked it up again today and finished it off pronto. Loved 18a, like other people. It’s my COTD. 20d took way longer than it should have and 7d was last to go in. I was a bit thrown off by 10a being a republic, having forgotten that it is no longer a kingdom. Thanks very much to Pommers for the Smash advert – haven’t seen that in a while!

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