DT 29581 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 29581

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 29581

Hints and tips by pommers

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ***

Hola from the Vega Baja where we’re having some unseasonably warm weather, which is a welcome change from the cold snap we had a couple of weeks ago. 22°C forecast for today and as high as 27°C by Friday, I might have to get my shorts out!

Today we have the usual Monday fare.  Elegantly clued and not too difficult.  A nice start to the crosswording week.

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.


5a           Be hooked by new form of match play (7)
MACBETH:  Take the BE from the clue and insert it into (hooked by) an anagram (new form of) of MATCH and you’ll get Shakespeare’s Scottish play.

7a           Short talk with Irish president (5)
CHAIR: A word for an informal talk without its last letter (short) followed by two letters for Irish.

9a           Office  desk (6)
BUREAU:  Double definition.

10a         Refuse move out of order (4,4)
TURN DOWN:  A word which means a move for the worse but its two halves are reversed (out of order).

11a         Range of skills of reporter I trained on ‘Echo’ (10)
REPERTOIRE:  Anagram (trained) of REPORTER I followed by (on) the letter represented by the word echo in the phonetic alphabet.

13a         Conceited, one in delivery vehicle? (4)
VAIN:  The letter that looks like the number one inserted into (in) a delivery vehicle.  It doesn’t matter how fast you drive along the motorway, you always get overtaken by a white one!

14a         Poem in book with title you’ll be upset about (6,3,4)
LITTLE BOY BLUE:  Start with a B for book and around it (about) put an anagram (upset) of TITLE YOULL BE.

16a         Piece of furniture, as yet unfinished (4)
SOFA:  A phrase (2,3) meaning as yet without its last letter (unfinished).

17a         Several ads in resort for sauce (5,5)
SALSA VERDE:  Anagram (in resort) of SEVERAL ADS.

19a         Apache chief in rocky region west of Missouri (8)
GERONIMO:  Anagram (rocky) of REGION followed by (west of in an across clue) the abbreviation of Missouri.

20a         Belief unacceptable across India (6)
NOTION:  A phrase (3,2) meaning unacceptable placed around (across) the letter represented by the word India in the phonetic alphabet.

22a         Difficult stage round Egypt’s capital (5)
STEEP:  Another word for a stage or leg placed around (round) an E (Egypt’s capital).

23a         Perplex indefinite number on benefit (7)
NONPLUS:  The letter representing an indefinite number followed by the ON from the clue and then a benefit or bonus.


1d           Runs through one area of land (4)
ACRE:  R(uns) inserted into (through) the playing card with a face value of one.

2d           Target of ridicule in genuine denial (8)
REBUTTAL:  The target of ridicule or a joke inserted into (in) a word meaning genuine.

3d           Panic about cans, initially in short supply (6)
SCARCE:  A word meaning to panic or frighten placed around (about) a C (Cans initially).

4d           Variety, fit for all to see, survived over in valley (10)
VAUDEVILLE:  This is variety as seen on a stage.  It’s the letter used to indicate that a film is fit for everyone to see and a reversal (over) of a word meaning survived or existed inserted into (in) another word for a valley.

5d           Computer accessory‘s second purpose (5)
MOUSE:  A two letter word for a second or short period of time followed by a purpose.

6d           Empty talk by swell high-flier? (3-3,7)
HOT AIR BALLOON:  A phrase (3,3) meaning empty talk followed by a word meaning to swell or grow larger.

8d           Green mask and whip (7)
RAWHIDE:  A word for green or uncooked followed by a word meaning to mask or conceal.  Spot the very young Clint Eastwood . . .

12d         Additional clothing for fielder (5,5)
EXTRA COVER:  This is a fielding position on a cricket field and it could be read to mean some additional clothing.

14d         Beast inhabiting Mali — one’s spotted (7)
LIONESS:  A lurker hiding in (inhabiting) the last three words of the clue.

15d         Yankee being paid in yen (8)
YEARNING:  The letter represented by the word yankee in the phonetic alphabet followed by a word meaning being payed.

17d         Mean of secret agent framing Philby, say (6)
SKIMPY:  A secret agent placed around (framing) the Christian name of the traitor Philby.

18d         Right to interrupt sleep? Rubbish (5)
DROSS:  R(ight) inserted into (to interrupt) a slang term meaning to sleep.

21d         Kiosk failing to open? That’s hard to believe (4)
TALL:  A kiosk or stand on a market without its first letter (failing to open).

My favourite today was 15d with 19a and 2d on the podium.

Quick crossword puns:

Top line:     BOAR     +     BULLS     =     BAUBLES

Bottom line:     BARRE     +     BELL     =     BARBEL  or BARBELL

95 comments on “DT 29581

  1. A perfectly normal Monday morning crossword. All done and dusted in ** time. Apart from the sauce in 17a which I hadn’t heard of but was obvious from the fodder, all parsed without a single ‘Umm’.

    COTD 23a. Just a light dusting of snow this morning. Beautiful sunshine now; time for a walk before lunch.

    Many thanks to the setter and Pommers.

  2. Light (in both content and quantity) but very good fun as usual on Monday.
    I’ve highlighted 23a plus 2&17d as worthy of mention with top spot going to 4d.
    Many thanks to Campbell and Pommers on an absolute beauty of a day on the South West coast.

    1. Ps Pommers
      I parsed 10a as a move/turn (a go) plus out of order/down (the network is out of order/down)

  3. Pretty straightforward Monday with no hold ups, wanted to put salad cream in 17a but couldn’t parse.
    4d my fav with 5a and 23a on the podium
    Thanks to Pommers and the setter.

  4. I’m greeny blue with envy and cold, Pommers, its minus 3 C here in Oxfordshire. This was a pretty straightforward puzzle and I seemed to be on wavelength and finished in 1.5* time. It was quite enjoyable and I particularly liked 5a, which was well disguised and 19a, a good anagram. I’d never come across the synonym for whip in 8d but the wordplay helped and thanks for the reminder of the ancient TV series, which I used to enjoy. Thanks also to the compiler.

    1. 8d was my last in & I immediately thought of Jake & Elwood’s rendition in the Blues Brothers.

    2. Luckily I was watching an episode of said tv programme when doing this last night so 8d was not the challenge it would otherwise have been. Programmes then had such memorable theme tunes unlike current ones.

  5. An enjoyable puzzle but I did need the excellent hints to explain 10a,11a,4d and 21d. Never heard of the sauce in 17a and I thought 7a was somewhat weak. My fav was undoubtedly 19a but MiD for 12d. England seem to be doing their best to let the Sri Lanca’s win the test but I too would not like to bat against their spinners on a day 4 pitch in that part of the world where winning the toss is so important.
    Thx to all

    1. I hear that, when Bairstow hit a six, it landed in a bucket of whitewash and had to be replaced from a selection of balls with a similar amount of wear.

      1. That’s the trouble once you let limited-overs players into the test team: they have to paint the ball white to feel at home.

  6. No difficulties or obscurities today. **/*** I liked 12d and 23a but the top spot goes to 4d. I hope Lola is enjoying the sunshine. Thanks to all.

  7. 22C! Sounds like heaven!

    1.5*/4*. Lovely Monday fare as usual with 4d my last one in and favourite closely followed by 12d.

    The Test Match in Sri Lanka (which has turned almost into a head-to-head contest between Joe Root and Lasith Embuldeniya) was on a bit of a knife-edge but it’s looking now as if England are edging to victory. 🤞

    Many thanks to Campbell and pommers.

  8. I loved the misdirection in 15d. 17d I had to google as I couldn’t remember his first name. Not straight away. It can take me two days to recall someone’s name if I haven’t heard it for me a long time. Typical Monday fun as always. Thank you setter and Pommers. I can’t believe you might get your shorts out. I’m off to get ski wear to build a snowman. No idea where I’ll get the coal from. I’ll have to improvise. Carrots are in large supply.

    1. A friend of mine yesterday made a snow lady with ivy for a long scarf and an upturned flowerpot with a fern frond stuck in the top for a hat.
      Fit for Royal Ascot I thought…. although the scarf and the hat were the only things she had on…

      1. The snow lady sounds delightful Bluebird. Sadly we had to abandon our efforts this morning. Wrong sort of snow would you believe.

  9. Elegantly clued gentle start to the week with yet another crickety clue to keep DG happy. All over in ** time with no real favourites though I did like the 5a&d clues. Lovely & sunny today so will need an extra long walk to compensate for yesterday’s inactivity. Today’s albums Wavelength (Van) & Who’s Next (The Who)
    With thanks to Campbell & to Pommers

    1. Great music choice, Huntsman. In particular, Won’t Get Fooled Again is as good as it gets.

    2. It might please you to know that I got that straight away just from the clue, which is as it should be!

      1. Tell you what DG with the amount of cricket clues recently (what’s happened to all the flowers ?) you’ll be able to cope with a guest slot on Test Match Special soon……
        If you’re feeling peckish & have a sweet tooth Rookie Corner is worth a visit

  10. As Pommers says, this was a nice and gentle start to the week but enjoyable nonetheless. Fun to see some less usual terms for anagram. My only hesitation stupidly was in explaining the all to see in 4d. Great to hear Jane Birkin again in 23d – fit for all to hear?! Thank you Mysteron and Pommers.

  11. Nice straightforward Monday puzzle. I will pick 2d by a nose from 17d as my fave today.
    Thanks to Campbell and pommers (who needs to check out 9a in the rookie)

  12. The normal crosswording excellence for a Monday morning. No hold ups or obscurities, just tight, concise clues, with 5a my COTD. Great fun.

    Many thanks to Campbell and pommers. Send us some of your warmth please.

  13. As Stephen L, I parsed 10a the same way but I suppose it works both ways.
    The poem in 14a was new to me but easily guessed.
    Favourite a toss between 19a and 15d.
    Thanks to our Monday setter and to Pommers for the review.

    1. I always thought it was a nursery rhyme which I suppose is a type of poem but, either way, it’s easy enough to figure out.

      1. I have never thought of it as a poem. It is not something you would find in a poetry book. I was trying to think of well-known poems so it took me some time to unravel it. I was also thinking of other words for poem such as verse and ode! I do not think it would have been giving too much away if the clue had used the word rhyme instead of poem.

  14. Nice puzzle.
    I was held up by 7a and 8d by entering craic and cowhide….but soon sorted them out.
    Thanks to the setter and to Pommers.

    Beautiful day here very sunny but cold.

  15. Re: 8d
    As a kid in the 60s I had the theme tune on a 45 & used to play it on permanent repeat on my parent’s gramophone (it was something to do with lifting the drop lever). Happy days!

  16. A very Monday-ish puzzle but very enjoyable. The theme tune of 8d is now my ear worm of the day.

    Thanks to Campbell and Pommers – 22 degrees sounds wonderful. We just had to cut our walk short as, despite the lovely sunshine, parts of the road surface were so icy as to make continuing dangerous

  17. Another nice canter into the week, although I needed hints for 20a and 22a, just could not seem to sort out. Favourites for me 17d and 2d. Lovely day here in NC I am making the most of it as I suspect we are in for a change with a shift in the wind. Off for a Social distance dog walking with friends on Bodmin Moor.
    Many thanks to Pommers and setter

  18. Very typical Monday fare with nothing to cause real problems. Bunged in salad for the first word for 17a, seemed so obvious from the fodder so SE corner held me up. Still done (just) in 2* time.
    Liked the simplicity of 7a, my COTD.
    Today should give quite a few the satisfaction of an unaided solve, Campbell sets at so consistent a level.
    Thanks to Campbell and pommers. I noted the Vega Baja got a mention in the DT last week saying how the change in Spanish law & Brexit will put us on a par with the likes of Russia when property buying there (& quoted the number of Russians who had bought there recently).
    We are currently half your temperature (taking 2 as one half of 22) ) at least the sun is trying to help & the wind isn’t too chilling.

  19. A very pleasant start to the non-work week. One of those where, with the low clue count and the low word count, I had to check that I had printed the Cryptic and not the Quickie. Completed at a fast gallop – 1.5*/4*.
    Favourite – a toss-up between 2d and 15d – and the winner is 2d.
    Thanks to Campbell and pommers.

  20. Perfect for a Monday Puzzle. Solved quickly before a walk in the snow across the fields to my nearest Rugby Club, Hinckley. Will we ever see live Rugby Football again. Or a gig. I’m missing both. Home now with a milky hot chocolate and cognac before lunch. That girl spoils me. Thanks to Campbell for the puzzle and to pommers for splitting 23 across 3,4 to justify his musical choice and for his musical choice at 8 down. It too reminded me of Jake and Elwood

  21. Always think it’s the sign of a good puzzle when there is such divergence in the choice of favourites.
    Handed out my own podium places to 7,16&20a plus 6&15d.

    Thanks to Campbell for the Monday fun and to pommers for the review and the very appropriate clips – used to love watching Rawhide and have certainly giggled guiltily over Je T’aime many times in the past!

  22. Another excellent Monday crossword 😃 **/**** Favourites 12d & 15d 🤗 (also liked 8 & 17d) nice misdirection in 7a, on first run through I was sure “craic” was the answer 😳 Thanks to Pommers and to Campbell from a very cold East Anglia where despite the sunshine we still have a covering of frozen snow 🥶

  23. Late to everything today due to the highs and lows of sport. I saw England through to victory in the Test Match (how lucky we are to live in the era of Root, Buttler, Bairstow, and Anderson!), and then I pondered the sad affair of Frank Lampard and my beloved Chelsea FC. Probably the right decision at the right time, but still hard not to feel a touch of melancholy about it.

    Lola continues to perplex me. She is eating well and is content, but this business of not venturing out of this room for over two weeks is troubling me. She sees the vet on Thursday and I hope we may be assured she is still recovering, or it is the effect of her medication.

    Today’s soundtrack: A Girl Called Eddy – Been Around.

    Thanks to Campbell for an excellent puzzle, and to pommers as always.

    1. I wonder what odds you’d have got not that long ago on Arteta lasting longer than Frank. Amazing how quickly things turn round. Sad to see such such a great club servant get the bullet

    2. Perhaps Lola associates leaving the room with going to the vet? Does that trip upset her?

  24. Another lovely Monday start to the week. I agree with everyone at ‘2’ about the parsing of 10a. By far the best clue I thought was 5a which was so clever but I also liked the misdirection at 15d. I too wanted salad cream at 17a until I remembered the green sauce. Thanks to the setter and to Pommers. We are going to attempt a walk now in the glorious sunshine but as Sue warns, I fear it might be too slippery for us. We had booked a slot at the local Tip for 10 am to dispose of 5 bins of tree pruning, but we couldn’t get the car door open it was so cold.
    Did you notice in the DT yesterday that Lila as a pet name has greatly increased in popularity this year. Is this due to the Terence influence?

    1. I went to take the kitchen waste skip out to empty it into the compost bin and it was lethally slippery in the garden, not to mention the fact that one of the compost bins was frozen shut. No walk for me today as my balance isn’t wonderful and I don’t want to break any more bones.

  25. A trickier puzzle than normal for a Monday methinks. 2.5*/***
    Found the clues not terribly clear to get the intended answer. A bit confusing in the trying to parse them. No hints used but Google helped a tad.
    Not a favourite one for me.
    COTD are 5a, 11a, 14a, 6d & 8d with winner 14a

    Thanks to setter and pommers

  26. Enjoyable Monday puzzle with honourable mentions for 5 and 23 across , and 4, 12, and 15d, but my favourite is the clever 22a.

    Thanks to Campbell and Pommers for a very satisfactory Monday lunchtime.

  27. A * for difficulty but enjoyable all the same with concise clues and an unusual layout. Thank you Campbell and Pommers

  28. I really enjoyed this one, with its dramatic variety (5a, 4d), little-seen cameos (14a, 19a), and general novelty (15d, 17d). I even managed to answer 12d with some degree of certainty, though I really don’t know the crickety details (like perhaps a tenth baseball player slotted between centre-and-right fields?). I think my COTD is the simple but cute 5d. Campbell seems to be sporting a fresh bag of tricks today, and I thank him for the pleasure. Thanks too to Pommers, whose review I always enjoy. ** / ****

  29. My goodness, I solved this so quickly it made my head spin. I only had to refer to BD’s Mine to get the crickety 12d. Why don’t we ever get “silly mid on”, I love that, don’t know what it means, but very apt for cricket. I also put “salad” as the first word in 17a but 15d sorted that.
    I liked lots, I think fave is 19a, that was the name of Megan’s (yellow lab) husband, provided some gorgeous pups.
    Thank you Campbell for all the fun, and pommers for his hints and tips.

  30. What a lovely start to the week, so many great clues hard to pick a favourite. I am not a football fan but can one of you learned chaps, or even chapesses, tell me why they fire the manager when the team have a bad run? It’s the players who are not doing their job properly, especially on those wages, but the poor old manager has to walk the plank. Although I don’t watch football I do sneakily look to see how Norwich are doing as they are my local team but don’t tell Mr Manders! Thanks to the setter and Pommers whose climate sounds wonderful just now.

    1. Sadly the days of the likes of Alex Ferguson and Arsene Wenger are long gone. The owners just want to make as much money as they can with no loyalty to the club, the players, and the fans, not that many players show much club loyalty either.

      Roman Abramovich has been the owner of Chelsea since 2003 since when they have had 12 managers. I suppose the managers take the view that they can earn a great deal of money in a short period of time before getting fired. It’s another world, and not a pleasant one either.

      1. The whole of football stinks of filthy lucre and I for one can’t wait until the bubble bursts – maybe it just has
        Won’t have anything to do with the wretched ‘game of ponces’

      2. Remember the story the late Tommy Doherty told of his days at Preston North End.
        This in the days when pro footballers were on £10 a week and played football, because they loved it.
        Doherty played with the great Tom Finney, & found out that though the team had reduced wages in summer Tom Finney was on £10 a week year-round. He went in and asked the manager why this was, to receive the reply ” Because Tom’s a better player than you”. To which Doherty replied “Not in summer he is not”.
        I grew up to appreciate football in that era and it is sad to compare what goes on today with then.
        Sky’s money, and sensationalist approach , where even the routine is fantastic and players get man of the match for simply trying for 80 minutes has corrupted the game beyond redemption.
        Still the reds’ win on Sunday still gave a little pleasure.

    2. The manager is responsible for the players and team tactics. A headteacher of a school put into special measures is either sacked or falls onto his sword.

      The manager cannot say publicly each week how his players are rubbish or he will in football parlance lose the dressing room. Lampard’s sacking was inevitable. Next to go should be Steve Bruce at Newcastle the most useless manager currently working in both the EPL and the EFL. Remember you heard it here first.

      1. And we should get Nicolas Anelka in Hyeres.
        The rich guy who put Toulon Rugby Club back to stardom has set his eyes on our very very small football club.
        If he injects as much money as he did for the rugby, we could very well be in the first division in a couple of years.

    3. Manders
      The 20 or so players are all on contracts. So is the one manager. Also although the (best) managers are on millions a year, the players are often on millions more. Obviously getting rid of the manager is much cheaper.
      What with compensation for loss of contract and another job down the line (or a cushy number as a TV pundit) plus the big salary they get I find it hard to feel too sorry for the managers

      1. Thanks for all your answers, this has obviously hit a nerve for which I apologise but it is heartening to hear how it used to be. Perhaps/hopefully it will eventually enter a better phase. It is so unfortunate that young people look up to some very unsavoury people whose morals are disgraceful.

  31. Finished all but the second part of 12d where, as usual, the cricket reference was unknown to me. Thanks to Pommers and to Campbell for a v nice puzzle, except 12d, and for the abundance of B’s in the Quick.

    1. How come I never see the obvious until it is pointed out to me? Too busy checking for a third pun I suppose

  32. A very pleasant puzzle today, just falling at 7a and 10a. Having the wrong second word made 8d impossible, although I didn’t know rawhide was a whip. Associated in my brain forever with the young Clint. I also tried to make salad cream work in 17a. Thanks to setter and Pommers for a very enjoyable solve today.

    1. P.S. Just finished today’s bonus 640 cryptic. Thoroughly recommend. Many of you will be able to do at a gallop, as I did manage to trot unaided to the finish line. I did have two bung ins, 8d which was a guess as a new word for me, and 15d which I did verify afterwards as being correct, but why it is, completely baffles me. But was definitely enjoyable over lunch. Thanks to setter. Loved it.

            1. No, I’m the one who should apologize! I completely missed that, very clever Jepi. Are we still friends?

  33. Enjoyed today’s puzzle but delayed by having the wrong answer in for 7 across. I also wanted to put salad cream in for 17 across but realised it was an anagram. I’m sure the latter was in either the Quickie or the Saturday General Knowledge puzzle during the last month?
    Many thanks to the setter and the 2 Pommers.

    Terence, I think BusyLizzie could well be right about Lola associating her trips out of the room with going to the vets! Good luck on Thursday.

  34. Quite late today so it’s all been said as it always has been by this time.
    No problems apart from getting started – don’t know why but that took a long time.
    My favourite was the 14a anagram which I’ve heard of but never read – I’d always thought it was a nursery rhyme that had passed me by – it’s not and it is very sad.
    Thanks to Campbell and to pommers.
    Still really cold in Oxford and little patches of snow around – my Nan always said that as long as there was anything left it was waiting for some more to join it.

    1. The only version I’ve ever heard, which seems topical today, was in the lyrics of a reggae song;

      Little Boy Blue on the burning deck
      Playing a game of cricket
      The ball rolled up his trouser leg
      And stumped his middle wicket

    2. My Mum and my big sister used to sing this to me

      There was little Jack Horner and Bo Peep too
      The Old old woman who lived in the shoe
      And everyone knows, the question arose
      Who made Little Boy Blue?
      They awoke the King’s horses and went to look
      Through all the pages of each picture book
      Though everyone tried, they couldn’t decide
      Who made the Little Boy Blue
      In the wood Red Riding Hood said she’d tell them if she could
      Humpty Dumpty on the wall was about to tell when he had his fall
      Then the little Miss Muffet confessed she knew
      And told the story that’s old as it’s new
      His love she had spurned and now you have learned
      Who made the Little Boy Blue

  35. I’m going to put in a word for the quickie which was a Blooming Brilliant Bonanza of Bs! Maybe because it’s Burns night Thanks to Campbell for lunchtime fun with this.

  36. This is perhaps different to most of t6he above comments. I only got to the puzzle at 7pm and decided on a totally
    rigid approach. First, I would see what across clues I could solve (noting a few possibilities as I went). No peeking at the down clues as I did so. After a first sweep across, same procedure for the down clues. After four sweeps both across and down, all completed!
    OK, this was an experiment and sometimes part way through a sweep I could spot an answer for the next sweep, but refrained from entering it. Is this method the full answer to crosswords – I don’t claim so! But I do think that it lets the brain have a short time to consider possibilities. I might try it again. Or I might prefer my usual approach-scan everywhere, and if I can spot an answer-bung it in! Best wishes to all.

  37. I agree with the consensus above including never heard of 17a. Favourite was 5a. Thanks Campbell and Pommers. Been away from the house for three days and stupidly turned my central heating off. It’s been on for five hours now and it’s still not very warm. That’ll learn me.

  38. Thank you Campbell and Pommers. I thought this was tricky although I did not need the hints. I was held up in the NE but once I got 4d (I never thought of that sort of variety) I moved on to get the others with the checkers. 14a took longer than it should as I never thought of a nursery rhyme. I got the rest from the letters once I had the first word. Favourites 2 4 and 5d.

  39. I seem to be out on a limb here. I found it both difficult and not that much fun. I’d never heard of rawhide meaning whip and cricketing clues just irritate me as I’ve said before. I finished it with help from the hints but it wasn’t satisfying and even less so when I discovered everyone else found it easy. Better luck tomorrow I hope. ****/**

  40. Just right for this rusty solver to squeeze in at the end of the day. I started badly (messing up 1d) but then managed the rest without trouble. Thank you Campbell and Pommers.

    I particularly liked 15d’s currency, 20a’s unacceptable, and 17d’s clever combination of Philby and what he did.

  41. A very enjoyable cryptic for me today and I felt that I understood what is meant by being on the right wavelength- at last. However I totally lost the plot by putting in salad cream for 17 across and it took a while to unscramble. Thanks to Campbell and to Pommers who I needed to check that my answers were unbelievably correct! Also meant to say that the snow and ice remain in my part of Surrey and far too slippery for my usual walk.

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