DT 29609 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 29609

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 29609

Hints and tips by Deep Threat

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

Good morning from a bright, sunny South Staffs. Still another seven weeks (at least) before I can get a haircut: I’m beginning to feel like that Australian sheep which was featured this week!

Rescued Australian sheep freed from wool weighing 78 pounds | Reuters.com

It took me a little while to get on the setter’s wavelength for this puzzle, but once a few answers had yielded some checkers the rest began to flow.

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           Dismiss Parisian from law officer’s team, lacking heart (6)
DEPOSE – The French for ‘from’ followed by the sort of team the sheriff puts together in a Western to chase the bad guys, but without its middle letter.

4a           Staff, unusual weapon clutched by maiden queen (8)
MANPOWER – Anagram (unusual) of WEAPON, placed between the cricket abbreviation for a maiden over and the Latin abbreviation for a queen.

9a           Beads twisted or perhaps about right (6)
ROSARY – Reverse (twisted) OR (from the clue), then add another word for ‘perhaps’ or ‘for example’ wrapped round Right.

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10a         Royal family member, this one’s brother’s son (8)
PRINCESS – A somewhat circular clue. The itle of the brother of the answer, plus the ‘S (from the clue), plus an abbreviation for Son.

12a         Liquid he canned and improved (8)
ENHANCED – Anagram (liquid) of HE CANNED.

13a         Revolutionary communist, idiot that could ignite something (6)
TINDER – The usual communist is followed by another word for an idiot, then the result is reversed (revolutionary).

15a         What the setter could offer for Poles? It leads to disaster (8,5)
SLIPPERY SLOPE – This is a sort of reverse anagram – a way the setter might clue the word ‘poles’. The first word of the answer is one which could serve as an anagram indicator, and the second makes up the anagram fodder, so is an anagram of POLES.

18a         Magic vehicle carrying Santa to France with bit of help (7,2,4)
SLEIGHT OF HAND – Put together Santa’s means of transport, TO (from the clue), the IVR code for France, and a bit of help, as in ‘lend a —-‘.

20a         Get drinkers’ club to welcome non-drinker in (6)
ATTAIN – The initials of the organisation for drinkers who want to stop is wrapped round the abbreviation for someone who doesn’t drink, then IN (from the clue) is added.

22a         Aircraft witness simply reported (8)
SEAPLANE – Start with another word for ‘witness’ and another word for ‘simply’ or ‘clear’. Then find a homophone (reported) of those words which is a type of aircraft.

Seair Seaplanes Fleet – Luxurious and Newest Seaplanes

24a         Slow arrangement for Elton after horrible din (8)
INDOLENT – Anagram (horrible) of DIN followed by an anagram (arrangement for) of ELTON.

25a         Impress trendy whisky-maker no end (6)
INSTIL – Another word for ‘trendy’ or ‘popular’, followed by an essential piece of kit for making whisky, minus its last letter (no end).

26a         Elton rocks, hosting the broadcast TV event (8)
TELETHON – Another anagram (rocks) of ELTON, wrapped round an anagram (broadcast) of THE.

27a         Monotonous hill — turned back, as something dangerous in wood (3,3)
DRY ROT – Another word for ‘monotonous’ or ‘boring’, followed by the reverse (turned back) of the sort of hill found on Dartmoor, for example.


1d           Ventured to admit time was flying (6)
DARTED – Insert an abbreviation for Time into another word for ‘ventured’ or ‘risked’.

2d           First-class mail should have this now! (9)
POSTHASTE – Split the answer (4,5) and you have another word for ‘mail’ and what should be (but usually isn’t) the speed of delivery when you pay first-class rates. As a single word the answer means ‘now’ or ‘immediately’.

3d           Wallflower becoming less wild, lacking nitrogen (9,6)
SHRINKING VIOLET – Another word for ‘becoming less’ followed by a word for ‘wild’ minus the chemical symbol for nitrogen.

5d           Skilled aviator goes over river as some land (4)
ACRE – A term applied to a top fighter pilot, wrapped round River, to get a measure of land.

6d           What one may resort to when there’s no point in solving (6,9)
PENCIL SHARPENER – This is a cryptic definition. Those who solve this puzzle on paper, and don’t write in the answers with a pen, may need to employ this from time to time to mend the point of their chosen implement.

7d           Oddly rejected, oddly evil, we will head north and flourish (5)
WIELD – Alternate letters (oddly rejected) of oDdLy EvIl We, read from bottom to top (head north, in a Down clue).

8d           Kept cool (8)
RESERVED – Double definition: ‘kept’ or ‘saved’ a seat; or of a cool character.

11d         Rest should contribute half of table tip servers raised (7)
RESPITE – Hidden in reverse (should contribute … raised) in the clue.

14d         Flirted, messed about! (7)
TRIFLED – Anagram (messed about) of FLIRTED. The whole clue is the definition.

16d         Leotard’s divertingly worn by male artist (3,6)
OLD MASTER – Anagram (divertingly) of LEOTARD’S, wrapped round Male.

17d         One writing lines, say, is twiddling pens (8)
ESSAYIST – Hidden in the clue.

19d         In France she is in training, being a little round (6)
PELLET – The French for ‘she’ is inserted into an acronym for physical training.

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21d         Young man with charisma rising and rising, then falling (5)
TIDAL – Put together a word for ‘young man’ and a word for ‘charisma’, then reverse the result.

23d         Free party for peacekeepers? (4)
UNDO – The acronym for an international peace-keeping body, followed by one of the usual crossword parties.

The Quick Crossword pun FLINTS + TONES = FLINTSTONES

82 comments on “DT 29609

  1. 2.5*/4.5*. We are blessed to have three exceptionally fine setters for our delectation every Friday in Zandio, Proximal and Silvanus. Their styles are very different, but they are all able to produce puzzles which are nicely challenging and great fun. Today I have the feeling that it is Zandio’s turn.

    If have counted correctly, 11d doesn’t quite work as the reverse lurker is less than half of the fodder so perhaps the wordplay should say “some” not “half”?

    I enjoyed unscrambling the clever 10a, and this earns of my crowded podium places where it is joined by 15a, 20a, 6d & 7d.

    Many thanks to Zandio and DT.

    1. Re 11d “half” can mean “incomplete” so in the setter’s defence I reckon it does work RD!

      1. 🤔 I’m not convinced, Stephen. I agree that “half-done” can mean “incomplete” but if you substitute “half” in the clue by “incomplete” that doesn’t make sense.

    2. I think it is half if you measure the distance rather than count the letters.

      Using a scan of today’s printed puzzle in a graphics application, a box drawn around “table tip servers” is 126 pixels wide on my screen, and “e tip ser” comes out at … 63 pixels. I didn’t cheat on that, honestly!

      (Obviously if you’re solving this online, it will depend on the exact fonts used on your device. The printed version is the only one that can be canonical for typesetting purposes.)

      So well done to Zandio for such precision in working out the exact width of each character and space in the font The Telegraph uses for their crosswords when cluing this one …

      1. I admire and congratulate you on the reasoning Smylers (ever appeared on “Only Connect”?) but think if I had to use that logic to parse a clue I just wouldn’t get anywhere.

  2. Doggone it, this got away from me. I was working steadily through it, in a strange spiral pattern but got flummoxed in the centre. 11d and 15a were the culprits. The two checkers that I had in 11d were of little use, the clue itself meant nothing, and 15a was a mystery altogether.

    With the help of e few electrons, the very cryptic answer to 15a was revealed, but this still didn’t help with the last one.

    4a gets my vote for COTD, with many thanks to the setter and DT.

  3. Light but super good fun with only the NW and the parsing of the somewhat convoluted 10a causing any slight pause for thought.
    Loads to like but I’ve whittled the podium down to 9&20a with top spot (and clue of the week for me) going to the brilliant 3d.
    Many thanks to the setter (got to be Zandio) and to DT for the entertainment.

  4. If this was Zandio, as RD suggests, that is probably why it took me so long to get on wave length. Once I had a start, things speeded up, although it was quite tricky (3*/3*). The best clues, from my point of view were the long ones, 3d, 16d and 18a. 18a was well put together and amusing and I laughed out loud at 6d, when the penny finally dropped. It took me a while to parse the second part of 3d, although it couldn’t be anything else. I did think it was a bit strange to use the term drinkers’ club but I can see how it fitted in with the clue in 20a. Thanks to DT for the hints and to the compiler.

  5. Tricky today. This took me a while to get into. ***/*** 10a is a bit convoluted and 11a I still can’t make sense of although both had to be what they are. Both 15a and 18a held me up but they are very good clues. Favourite goes to 3d. Thanks to all.

  6. Gentle and enjoyable. Opened with 12a and then sped south then back up with slight delay for 10a but all the checkers made it what it was. Thanks to Setter and DT for a 1.5*/4*

    Today’s Toughie is remarkably friendly in places and there is a special clue for Miffypops in 5d. What foresight Elgar has!

    1. The last time a comment along the lines of ‘remarkably friendly’ encouraged me to have a bash at Elgar I stared at the bloody thing for about 20 mins unable to answer a single clue…..
      Still nothing ventured

      1. Having run out of alternatives, I took Elgar to accompany me on the exercise bike this morning and – wonder of wonders – finished up with a completed grid. Happy to confess that there are a handful awaiting assistance from Dutch on the parsing front but the increased heart rate obviously did the trick!

        1. I had a 2 minute scan & went to the Graun where the Cher clue wins my award for smile of the week once the penny dropped. May pluck up the courage & have a look this evening.
          Well done incidentally – parsed or otherwise a filled Elgar grid is not to be sneezed at.

  7. The most enjoyable of the week. Lots of fun at just the right level of difficulty for me. The sun is out and the garden is calling. Play nicely children and I will se you all on Monday

  8. Like others spent some time getting nowhere then the East fell into place & finally was left with 15a and 11d. The penny dropped with 15a though the answer came first then I parsed it. Think slippery a seldom-used anagram indicator but clue is very clever & my COTD. Although I also liked the lurker in 17d.
    Parsed 1a by de PO (police officer) se (side (team) without middle) thanks to DT I now see there was a much better, ie what the setter intended, parsing .
    Thanks to setter and DT for the entertainment and enlightenment respectively.
    Lovely sunny day up here too. Solar panels probably generating enough to charge the milk float.

  9. Hello, compiler here. Thanks for the analysis and discussion. I’m sorry to say I’m with Rabbit Dave on 11d. I think I was somehow misled by the fact that it falls halfway through the phrase. I guess it should say “about half” or “nearly half”. Apologies! Have a good weekend.

    1. Thanks for popping in and confessing! I’m glad I can still count. :wink: Thanks too for a lovely puzzle, it was a joy to solve.

    2. Thanks for paying us the visit Zandio, and the honesty.
      Enjoyable solve just about the right level for a Friday I thought.

    3. I was going to comment further down but as you have popped up to claim ownership I will simply say that this was a delight to solve, first clue to last. 3d was my absolute favourite, although in fairness I could have picked virtually any one of them.

      Many thanks to you, Zandio, and to DT.

    4. I didn’t even notice it but easily remedied by making the server singular and job done. Lovely puzzle, liked 15a and 18a. I began to wonder if it was Elton’s birthday? Many thanks.

    5. I don’t pop in regularly as , if I did , I would often find myself repeating my previous comments and/or duplicating other bloggers . However , I cannot resist the opportunity to congratulate a Setter for a brilliant puzzle .
      Thank you Zandio . Well done DT , of course .

  10. Well this was a great relief after yesterday.
    A very enjoyable puzzle. Difficult but just difficult enough for me.

    Thanks to the setter and to DT for unravelling the ones I knew had to be what they were but was unsure why.

    Beautiful day up here today. Mild and sunny. Looks like the walk is on for this afternoon.

    1. Weather same up here Ora. Beach walk with Biggles later. Mild enough for a dip ( him not me of course).

  11. Lovely end to the week. Pretty straightforward & a brisk solve in just over ** time despite thinking after the first quick run through that it was going to be tricky. The debate over 11d & Smyler’s explanation is far too erudite for the likes of me – happy to instantly spot the reverse lurker & move on. 3 long uns at 15&18a plus, best of all, 3d make it onto my podium with the rather sneaky 10a just missing out. We have a beautiful sunny day here in Harpenden that’s just crying out for a game of golf but a walk over the course imagining glorious shots (bit like air guitar) will have to do. Today’s albums from 1973: Goats Head Soup (Stones) & Goodbye Yellow Brick Road (Elton)
    With thanks to Zandio & to DT

    1. Always have your best rounds in your head H. Though “Air guitar” suggests Air shots”, not the best shots to imagine!
      Was looking forward to watching the men’s Home Internationals at Royal Dornoch in mid-April but they have been cancelled again.

  12. 6d was a brilliant clue but for most of the others life is too short to try and work out the wordplay. Just find the definition and solve the puzzle. I am sure the wordplay is very clever but time was limited this morning.
    With that caveat I rather enjoyed solving this one.
    Thx to all

  13. Like DT it took a while to get on the setters wavelength then a steady solve , excellent diverse cluing throughout with a fair amount of deception -going for a ***/****, last in was 21d ,glad that I had the checking letters.
    Favourites 15a 18a and 3d, thanks setter for the best puzzle of the week.
    Like RD I too surrender RE Smylers pixels and 11d- worse than football’s VAR!

  14. I really enjoyed this puzzle. After a really slow start I got into after getting 15A,
    Don’t really get 10A and the last man standing was 11D.
    Bit early for a Margarita but never mind, it’s a lovely day here in Bucks.

  15. Like others, I found this took some time to get into. Definitely a put it down, do something else and pick it up kind of solve. Still it was delightful once I got going. I thought the lurkers were very well hidden. Lots of excellent clues such as 10a, which took me a while to work out. I eventually twigged the relationships. 3d came to me in a flash of inspiration. I was just looking at the clue and the answer suddenly came to me without effort. Maybe it was dragged out of the deepest recesses of my mind. However, my COTD has to be 6d, which was excellent.

    My grateful thanks to Zandio for the challenge and to DT for the great hints.

    Clouding over a little here in the Marches.

  16. A bit of a very enjoyable head scratcher for me although I did not have to use any of the white space on my printed sheet – 3.5*/4*.
    The very enjoyable candidates for favourite – 15a, 18a, 22a, 3d, and 6d – and the winner is the homophonic 22a.
    Thanks to Zandio and DT.

  17. Loved today’s Zandio, especially all of the long ones, though 6d seemed more like a corny riddle–corny but cute–than a cryptic clue. Took me a while to get moving on this one, but when the brilliant 3d shied away from the darkness of my mind, I was well on my way to a crowded podium: 3d, 9a, 20a, 18a, 11d, 15a. Thanks to DT and to Zandio. 2.5* / 5*

      1. I sent him an email yesterday but haven’t heard back as yet – will let you know when he gets in touch.

    1. I’ve been wondering about John as well. Thanks for getting in touch with him, Jane. I hope he and his family are well.

  18. Think I’m getting to enjoy this setter’s puzzles more as time goes by, perhaps I’m making a better job of getting onto his wavelength!
    Plenty to enjoy in this one although I wasn’t very keen on 10a.
    Podium places dished out to 15&18a along with 2&6d.

    Thanks to Zandio and to the shaggy DT for the review!

  19. After a (somewhat) slow start the penny dropped and the SW corner went in very smoothly. From there on, it was a really pleasant Friday puzzle, enough of a challenge to get the old grey matter working and enough checkers to help with solving the others, particularly once the 4 longer answers were in place, all of which I found delightful clues.
    Therefore COTDs 15a, 18a, 3d, 6d and the very clever 20a.
    Many thanks to DT and Zandio for a cracking end to the week!

  20. Enjoyable, but it pushed me to the boundaries of my crossword skills, such as they are. As has been said above, once one found some of the key, longer answers it enabled enough checking letters to meander (no galloping here) through the rest.

    Lovely weather. H is still in recovery from a recent procedure and can’t walk very far at all, but I am going to brave the outdoors and get some exercise and fresh air, as I have barely been outside all week (disgraceful, I know).

    Today’s crossword soundtrack: Joan Armatrading – The Very Best Of…

    Thanks to Zandio and DT (the latter, particularly, for helping me understand the parsing of a few today)

  21. That was fun, although it did take a while for me to get my head around 7d. Thanks to Zandio and to Deep Threat.

  22. Most enjoyable, some good anagrams, one or two broad smiles and the sun shining. Can you really believe it is March next week? One sixth of the way through the year – glory be, I’ll be writing Christmas cards soon. Thanks to Deep Threat and to Zandio. Did anyone watch Lucy Worsley’s programme on The Blitz? In an interview she commented that there are very few people left who can testify to the raids on London. It occurred to me that I can so I think I might sit down and record my memories. Certainly I remember my mother bringing me home on the tube and being appalled by the people sleeping on the platforms. The smell!.

    1. I think you should write it all down, Daisygirl.
      Those memories are precious.

      I watched Lucy Worsley’s programme and thoroughly enjoyed it….so yah boo sucks to the critics.

  23. Thoroughly enjoyed this and completed it in good time last night pre-sleep/blog!
    Seem to be on the right wavelength more & more these days – suppose the more we practice (and absorb the excellent hints and explanations in this great blog) the more attuned to the setters we become…but it is still very satisfying to finish one of these challenging puzzles.
    Thanks indeed to Zandio and to DT for today’s blog & hints…but a wider and genuine ‘thank you’ to all the setters and contributors for the welcome entertainment and mental workouts!
    Cheers! 👍

  24. Great puzzle so many thanks to Zandio. But having said that I have to thank DT for his excellent analysis which sorted out how I should be parsing the some of the clues.

    I was very pleased to solve 15a and 18a without hints but my favourite today is the very simple but clever 19d.

    Thank you DT for unravelling those clues I could not parse. The sound of pennies dropping has given me quite a headache.

  25. I can only agree with the consensus. For me best crossword of the week. I parsed 1a the same as LROK but DT’s is probably more elegant. Favourite was 21d simple bit effective. Many thanks to Zandio and DT.

  26. After yesterday, this was a joy. No obscure words or phrases, just clever clueing. Thanks to both for an excellent puzzle and hints.

  27. I found this quite tricky in parts, my excuse is the strange yellow orb in a blue sky 🌞 😎***/*** Favourites were 9 & 22a and 21d, always handy to have a 9a to hand when landing in a 22a 😳 Thanks to DT and to Zandio, always nice when the Setter drops by 👍

  28. Found this a tricky puzzle to get going and first in was 16d. Took a while for me to build on it but with a couple of hints I used, gradually built the bottom and then moved up the grid NE being last in. 2.5*/**** my rating today. Some clever clues as well as some head scratchers too. Liked 18a, 25a, 2d (a good chuckle!), 3d & 6d with my winner being 18a … a great clue.

    Thanks to Zandio and DT for hints.

  29. I’m not one of the clever solvers, it would take me all day to complete it so I’m calling pax with just the east solved.
    I bunged in 10a, my head is still spinning after reading DT’s hint, I think I get it.
    I did enjoy what I solved, 6d good for a guffaw, but 4a and 18a are my faves. I have a life and I must get on with other stuff.
    Thank you Zandio, I’ll keep trying to crack your code, and huge thanks to DT for helping me fill in the blanks. Pool time!

  30. I found this to be a bit of a stinker in terms of difficulty but my husband managed to get some of the longer clues which meant I could finish it with just a few electrons to help out in a couple. I was disappointed to miss the lurker in 17d as they’re my favourite clues. ****/**** Thanks to Zandio and DT for unscrambling some of the more obscure ones.

  31. I’m going against the flow here, I fairly sailed through yesterday’s puzzle but can’t seem to do this one for love nor money! I’m sure it’s a brilliant puzzle…if only I could work out the answers! Thanks to Zandio and DT

  32. I know when I’m beaten and I was well and truly beaten today – have gardened and been for a walk but had my life depended on doing this crossword I’d be six feet under.
    I absolutely loved 3d – brilliant.
    Thanks to Zandio and to DT.

  33. I’ve been having reasonable success with Zandio’s puzzles, but not today alas. I found it harder than yesterday. Possibly because we headed off after a quick breakfast to our annual medical checkups, shopping and visit to elder daughter, and didn’t start solving until mid afternoon. Obviously not prime thinking time. I thought 6d was going to be Roget’s Thesaurus, and would not have got the right answer as I always use a pen for solving. Going to give up as the day is getting away from us. But at least our doctor, a lovely man, prescribed painkillers for Peter’s shingles nerve pain so he can get some relief. Thanks to Zandio for the challenge and to Deep Threat for the hints. Hoping for something more up my street tomorrow.

    1. I can’t believe he’s still got the shingles, he’s had it for two or three weeks now! Here’s wishing speedy healing, that’s rotten luck.

  34. 4*/4*….nothing woolly about the hints, which was just as well as I needed them….
    liked 6D “What one may resort to when there’s no point in solving (6,9)”

  35. Thoroughly enjoyed this crossword, despite needing the hint for 19d.

    Massive amount of satisfaction in getting 6d which lead to solving several others. Clue of the day though for me was 15a – fabulous!


  36. Really enjoyed this puzzle but had to sleep on 15a and 11d before the light dawned, metaphorically and actually. I am still confused by the discussion on 11d parsing. There are four letters either side of the lurker – ‘tabl’ and ‘vers’ so why is the reference to half incorrect?

    1. I can reply to my own question now I have fully woken up and realised that it is difficult to get half of 15 letters.

  37. Finished at last, but with quite a lot of electronic help. Most amazing was Mr. Th’s inspiration for 15a, without knowing the length of the words and only knowing two of the letters. It certainly helped me along the stony path. Many thanks to Zandio for an excellent piece of brain exercise and to DT for excellent hints. Best clue 6d.

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