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DT 29615

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 29615

Hints and tips by Deep Threat

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

Good morning from South Staffs on a cloudy March day.

Most of today’s puzzle went in fairly quickly, but I ran into a block with 6a, my last one in, which took me into *** time.

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           One might give curls to bust, capturing Pliny’s head (8)
SCULPTOR – An all-in-one clue, where the whole clue gives the definition, but we have an anagram (bust) of CURLS TO wrapped round the initial letter (head) of Pliny.

BBC Radio 4 - In Our Time, Pliny the Younger

6a           Wound line returned sound (6)
LESION – An abbreviation for Line followed by the reverse (returned) of another word for a sound.

9a           Maybe clock frames black and wooden (6)
TIMBER – One of the functions of a clock or stopwatch, wrapped round an abbreviation for Black.

10a         Hammer-wielder cleaves chests (8)
THORAXES – The Norse god who wields a hammer, followed by another word for ‘cleaves’.

11a         Incautious having wine and pork pie before run … (8)
CAVALIER – Put together a Spanish sparkling wine, what ‘pork pie’ is the Cockney rhyming slang for, and the cricket abbreviation for Run.

Painting by Hals- The Laughing Cavalier

12a         … start to study unopened red wine (6)
SHERRY – The first letter of Study, followed by a red colour (or red fruit) minus its first letter (unopened).

13a         Swine problematic for dated government body (5,2,5)
BOARD OF TRADE – A male pig followed by an anagram (problematic) of FOR DATED.

16a         Bird moves gradually, quietly in distress (5,7)
HEDGE SPARROW – Put together a verb for ‘moves gradually’ and the musical symbol for ‘quietly’, then wrap a verb meaning ‘distress’ around the result.

Dunnock (or Hedge Sparrow). | Maybe not as exotic as some, b… | Flickr

19a         Sending communication to team occupying one of the choppers (6)
FAXING – The Roman numeral for the number of players in a cricket team is inserted into a word for a tooth (one of the choppers).

21a         Lovers receiving gold, diamonds and booze (8)
BORDEAUX – The French word for some male admirers wrapped round the heraldic term for ‘gold’ and the abbreviation for the diamond suit in a pack of cards.

2019 Bordeaux Vintage Wine Review: Balanced, Rich, and Energetic - Bloomberg

23a         Exactly identify amount of fluid collecting in river (8)
PINPOINT – Put together IN (from the clue) and an Italian river, then wrap a liquid measure used in pubs (I seem to remember!) round the result.

24a         Was down south to find vehicles (6)
MOPEDS – A verb for ‘was down’ followed by South.

25a         Ill-tempered figure has succeeded for first time (6)
SHIRTY – A cardinal number has the first instance of the abbreviation for Time replaced by the abbreviation for Succeeded.

26a         Again hearing tyre needs replacing in call (8)
RETRYING – Another word for ‘call (on the telephone)’ wrapped round an anagram (needs replacing) of TYRE.


2d           Most interesting bit about capital city? Vote (6)
CLIMAX – Put together a Latin abbreviation for ‘about’ or ‘approximately’, a South American capital city, and the mark traditionally made on a ballot paper to indicate your choice of candidate.

3d           Certain stars removed from star billing upset (5)
LIBRA – This constellation is hidden in reverse (upset) in the clue.

Libra Constellation | LoveToKnow


4d           Ends period at home, too short (9)
TERMINALS Put together an academic period, ‘at home’, and another word for ‘too’ or ‘as well’ without its final letter (short).

5d           Former Communist hiding service in Revolution (7)
RETIRED – The usual Communist wrapped round the reverse (in revolution) of a religious service.

6d           Luddites used to wreck these towers (5)
LOOMS – Double definition, the first being a piece of General Knowledge, the second a verb for ‘towers (over)’.

7d           Worry in Midlands county raising character from Oz (9)
SCARECROW – The short for of the name of a West Midlands county is reversed (raising), and wrapped round another word for ‘worry’.

8d           Countermand order I’ve set in motion (8)
OVERRIDE – Anagram (set in motion) of ORDER I’VE.

13d         Rollercoaster beginning to buckle, one gripped tight (3,6)
BIG DIPPER – Put together the first letter of Buckle, the Roman numeral for one, and an anagram (tight) of GRIPPED.

14d         Definitely not forget after pilots picked up father (3,4,2)
FAR FROM IT – Put together the reverse (picked up) of the initials of the military service which employs pilots, an abbreviation for ‘father’, and a verb for ‘forget’ ot ‘leave out’.

15d         Left a stone erected topped with huge stone (8)
MEGALITH – Put together Left, A (from the clue) and a precious stone, reverse (erected) the result, then add (w)ITH (from the clue) minus its first letter (topped).

Alignments of Megalithic Standing Stones, Carnac, Morbihan, Brittany,  France, Europe' Photographic Print - J P De Manne | Art.com | Standing  stone, Megalith, Brittany france

17d         Judge a bishop eating snack (7)
ARBITER – A (from the clue) and the abbreviation for the honorific used when referring to a bishop wrapped round another word for a snack.

18d         Feel hot carrying heartless duke’s cargo (6)
BURDEN – Another word for ‘feel hot’ wrapped round the outside letters (heartless) of D(uk)E.

20d         Soiled golf skirt on yard (5)
GRIMY – Put together the letter represented by Golf in the NATO alphabet, another word for the skirt or edge of something, and an abbreviation for Yard.

22d         Free entry regularly accessed by politician (5)
EMPTY – Alternate letters (regularly) of EnTrY wrapped round the usual politician.

The Quick Crossword pun DOUGH + SEED + DOE = DOSI-DO

83 comments on “DT 29615

  1. 3*/5*. Yes, Stephen, three in a row!

    This was a very enjoyable puzzle from Mr 4X with which to finish the week. As seems to have been the case for me a few times this week the SW corner held out the longest. In particular, it took me a while to parse 15d, which is my favourite of a lot of very good clues.

    Many thanks to proXimal and to DT.

  2. It was the NW corner that held out for me RD. It was an exceptionally well- clued crossword, thought provoking and with cunning misdirection. I thoroughly enjoyed it and got great satisfaction, when the last clue went in (3*/5*). It’s hard to single out favourites with so many great clues but I liked 11a, 16a and 6a. The COTD for me was 21a, with its wily misdirection. Thanks to DT for the hints and to the compiler.

  3. I really enjoyed this. Took me a while to parse 15d so that gets my vote today although 24a and 25a are worthy runners up.

    Thanks to today’s setter and DT.

  4. I always thought that the plural of thorax is ‘thoraces’ but the Cambridge Dictionary says ‘thoraxes’ as an alternative.

    1. I think you’re absolutely correct but it seems anything goes now. Somehow it niggles to see that, and I’m no pedant!

  5. I agree that this was a high quality puzzle with which to finish the week.
    Difficult to choose a favourite, but I will go for 12a.
    Thanks, setter and DT.

  6. Lovely crossword took my mind off the lack-lustre English bowling, and the batting exhibition from Pant and now Sundar. 13a sounds much more important than what it’s called now. Thank you setter and to DT

  7. I thought I was going to have to record another failure, with just three to go, but I persevered, and got it completed in a full ***** time. (Although that did include the Quickie). My last in was 6d, which should have been spotted much earlier, but 15d and 25a get my votes for COTD.

    Many thanks to the setter and DT.

  8. My that was a tough crossword, helped a little by suspecting it was the X man who set it and looking for the relevant letter in each quarter. I have to admit I just couldn’t see the parsing of 15d though.
    As ever with this setter there was a plethora of cunning, clever and amusing clues, 11&24a (brilliant!) plus 14d being prime examples.
    Many thanks to ProXimal and DT for the entertainment and brain work out.

  9. Very enjoyable until I got flummoxed by 23a juat could not solve it so thanks to DT for the hints. Favourites for me 21a and 7d.
    Thanks again to DT for the great hints and to the setter.

  10. A proper old fashioned Friday Cryptic to end the week in fine style.
    Agree with RD on the SW corners this week ,took a while to parse 15d and last in 25a.
    Liked the surface of 24a-we had scooters earlier in the week!
    Going for a ***/****, thanks to DT for the pics ,remember seeing the laughing 11a in the National many years ago- more smiling really ,a face full of mischief if ever I saw one.

  11. I must be having an off day because I found this very difficult to get to grips with. ****/** My enjoyment was tempered by having to work out the why of the answers in too many instances, 12a, 21a and 25a being cases in point. Not the best clues to me. In 21a, I think either wine or city would have been a better option than “booze”. Perhaps because I wouldn’t regard a decent bottle of said wine as “booze”. However, I thought 14d was a great clue. Thanks to all.

    1. Am inclined to agree Greta re 21a. Sadly the decent stuff is hopelessly overpriced these days & much better value to be found elsewhere.

      1. But I think you’ll find that there is a lot of cheap Bordeaux that can be classified as booze🍷🍷🍷 …. and it’s probably made from the Puglian mountain that is regularly trucked up to France.

        A winemaker in nearby San Severo told me that they regularly ship wine made from the Bombino grapes to Champagne to make that highly protected French product. Maybe it makes it better?😎👀

    2. My thought was that if wine had not appeared twice in 11a/12a then booze would not have appeared in 21a.

    3. Agreed. Too difficult for me. After a slow start I usually finish, but not this time.

  12. A completed grid but like Stephen the correct parsing of 15d was beyond me. 21a & 18d were my last 2 in & caused most problems. With the former the penny only dropped when I realised an X was probably required & only then did I get the blindingly obvious synonym for hot in 18d. An excellent finish to a good week of crosswords. 10,11 &13a were my picks from a whole bunch of very fine clues. Today’s albums: Never For Ever (Kate Bush) & New Adventures in Hi-Fi (REM)
    Thanks to ProXimal & to DT.

  13. Definitely a Friday level puzzle from Mr 4X with several clues that took a bit of teasing out.
    No absolute favourite but I rather liked 1,13&23a.

    Thanks to proXimal for the work-out and to DT for the review.

  14. Puzzle of the week for me, by far–so, so clever that I was thrown well into **** time before I gleefully finished, with a great sense of satisfaction. I just now noticed the symmetrical placement of the Xs, so it must be the masterful proXimal at work. The SE held me up the longest, and when 14d finally fell, the rest dominoed quite nicely, with 21a and 24a in a dead-heat finish for top of the podium, closely followed by 14d, 15d, 23a, 6a, and 2d. What a splendid workout. Thanks to DT and to proXimal. **** / *****

    I also finished a Friday Toughie. Great day!

  15. Nice Friday crossword, thank you proXImal. My last one in was 6a and my favourite was 1a

    Thanks also to DT

  16. As many young people say these days – I ain’t gonna lie – I found this very challenging. I managed to get going down in the Kent corner and worked my way upwards towards Cumbria, eventually staggering over the border.

    The donut collar is working well – it is large so Lola cannot reach her paws to nibble at them. Unlike the plastic cone, she cannot see the donut ring so it doesn’t appear to be bothering her.

    Today’s soundtrack: the cricket – India v England. This did not help my concentration at all.

    Thanks to proXimal and Low Peril

  17. More of a head scratcher than usual from the 4-X man – ****/****.
    While I was horrified that he referred to my favourite wines as booze, I had to wonder if the ‘vehicles’ in 24a really are vehicles.
    Candidates for favourite – 21a, 5d, and 6d – and the winner is 21a.
    Thanks to proXimal and DT.

  18. I struggled with this and I had too many bung-ins for it to be enjoyable. Like others, I could not see the parsing of 13a but the hints did make it clear. I would never have got that one unaided. I’m afraid about 90% of clues were a struggle for me so I have no COTD.

    Many thanks to proXimal for making me see I need to pop my game somewhat. Thanks also, DT for the much needed hints.

    Now back to filling the skip we have hired to dump all the cardboard boxes and other rubbish accumulated during lockdown.

  19. I agree this was a great puzzle and although the toughest I have finished in a while a pleasure to solve. Top end ***/***** with my COTD I think not yet singled out by others but I loved the construction of 21a. A suitable end to the week. Having had my first jab on 11/2 and not having heard about my second, I decided to see if I could book it last evening and did for 29/4. Just in case others are waiting to hear and don’t know you can apply unilaterally.

  20. Having completed this puzzle I must say I found it deeply unpleasant. Far too many complex and indirect clues using stretched synonyms. Noting clever or even remotely smileable.
    The only clue I found halfway decent was 8a and that was an anagram.
    Thx for the hints

    1. Brian, I felt sure that you would love this puzzle simply because I found it tough going and not very enjoyable! It seems to be the way most often!

    2. Thank goodness I am not the only one who has found today’s puzzle to be very tough.

    1. When a tall person looms or leans over someone shorter, usually but not always in a threatening manner

      1. Or it means the weaving looms that the Luddites thought were taking away their employment so they broke them.

  21. As already said above, this was a good old-fashioned Friday puzzle. ***/**** for me. Couldn’t parse 25a, so bunged what turned out to be the right answer in. Caused a groan rather than a D’oh! when I read the hint. Fab stuff, thanks to all.

  22. Interesting mix of clues today making it ***/**** for me. 11a, 25a ,6a and 2d – 6d gets my vote with the Lancashire Mill Industry in my locale.
    Thx to the setter and DT.

  23. Enjoyable puzzle today so thanks to all. I didn’t get 12a, well I did but I didn’t put it in because I don’t regard sherry as wine, it is fortified wine, so felt a bit miffed that it was the answer. Disgusting stuff anyway! Beautiful day here in Norfolk and we had a lovely walk on the Coastal Path and saw a great white egret, haven’t seen one for years. Merusa, thanks for the info, I tried Amazon.com but they don’t ship to the UK apparently so you must live somewhere else. Extraordinary that 2 jars cost $14 in the US but £44 in the UK.

    1. Got to disagree with you on the Sherry front Manders. Emva Cream & the like is awful but there are a wonderful array of Manzanillas & Olorosos. Remember getting a case of 24 different half bottles from the Sunday Times Wine Club many years back (inspired by Frasier – ‘Sherry Niles?’) & it really was astonishing how much they varied. Haven’t touched the stuff for ages mind.

      1. I think I was put off it by my father-in-law who drank the most dreadful sherry and used to say ‘sherry D?’ to David in an awful hoity toity voice! Silly really but it brings back horrid memories, mind you I cook with it quite often.

      2. I kept thinking of Poe’s “The Cask of Amontillado”, a sherry I’ve longed to taste again since my days in the Senior Common Room at Cripps Hall, U. of Nottingham, ca 1971-72. I think it was a Gonzalez.

        1. The Cask of Amontillado was the first Poe story I read at the age of fifteen. I then went on to The Pit and the Pendulum and The Fall of the House of Usher. Brilliant tales ruined, sadly, by Hammer Horror.

      3. Oh heavens. Emva Cream! Absolutely dire. I do like an amontillado or fino occasionally. I like my Sherry to be dry.

        All else used to be known as cooking sherry with which most characters in old stories were accused of tippling.

        “Have you been at the cooking sherry, Maud? Don’t lie to me. I will know if you are”.

      1. Thanks Merusa, still can’t understand why it is so expensive here. Do let me know what you think about it when it arrives.

    2. We have a great white egret that lives on the lake behind our house (South Florida), we call him Eric for short.

    1. Me too. I kept looking at the top to make sure. And then I wondered if the DT had loaded it in the wrong spot.

      1. Yes when I am faced with what looks like a Toughie I find parsing the clues almost impossible. DT did a wonderful set of hints which I could follow but would not have found solutions without them.

  24. As normal for a Friday in recent weeks, found this one a tough slog to get through. Have trouble with proXimal’s wave length and so was 3.5*/*** for today.
    6a last in as was the the NE in general. SW was a struggle too. I found some of the synonyms a bit of a stretch for my liking.
    COTD include 11a, 19a, 23a, 13d & 14d with top clue being 23a followed by 14d.

    Thanks to proXimal and DT

  25. So cleverly and, in some cases, intricately, clued.
    Thoroughly enjoyable throughout.
    Last in 15d.
    So, ****/*****
    Many thanks ProXimal and DT for the nicely illustrated review.

  26. I can never get on proXimal’s wavelength, but today I was completely up the creek without a paddle. Congratulations to those who managed to solve this today. I looked at the picture hints, thanks Deep Threat, but still couldn’t get going. Disappointing, and feeling quite stupid right now, but other than using copious amounts of help, I think my time will be better spent elsewhere. Hoping for something more user friendly tomorrow.

    1. Whether its Zandio, Sylvanus or Proximal compiling a Friday back-pager, the clues are bound to be more callengingthan average, BL. I used to have terrible problems with Proximal’s puzzles and then, when Sylvanus started doing the Friday puzzles, I found them difficult. However, very slowly, I have got used to their style and, although I still struggle a bit, they don’t take as long. So, no need to feel stupid. It’s a wave-length thing. Zandio now…..that’s still a work in progress for me and I feel like I’m reading clues in an unfamiliar language

      1. Yes I agree you do adjust to a setter’s ways over time and I do ok with Zandio, Dada and even occasionally Ray T, but almost never proXimal.

  27. Late on parade today so nothing to add other than my thanks and admiration to proXimal for a great puzzle and to DT for the blog.

  28. Tough and not quite doable for me. I got tangled up with 10ac thinking I was looking for a surgical instrument and failed to consider chests to be the definition. Never mind the crossword as a whole was very thought-provoking and enjoyable, for me anyway.

    Liked 1a, 21a and 15d

    Thanks to proXymal and DT for a little straightening out.

  29. It may be just me but I think there are times when to describe 2d as the most interesting bit is ill advised.

    Found myself hung up with Geoff Capes in 10a, which is even more annoying in retrospect because he was a shot putter not a hammer thrower

  30. I thought that was jolly difficult – even playing “hung for an ‘X’ in each corner” didn’t really help very much.
    I never did untangle why 15a was what it had to be.
    Never mind – I enjoyed it and having had a very exciting walk with my Younger Lamb earlier it kept me quiet for the rest of the afternoon.
    Thanks to proXimal and to DT.
    Still pretty nippy in Oxford – not complaining as I’d much rather be too cold than too hot.

    1. I’m with you on the cold, Kath. I always maintain that it is easy to get warm when it’s cold than it is to get cool when it’s hot.

      1. I can’t bear wearing anything on my arms, I have to have them free otherwise I feel so uncomfortable. No, the cold doesn’t suit me at all.

    2. Me too, and I live here in hot and humid South Florida. I love piling on the jumpers when we get a rare cold snap. And there are only so many clothes you can take off when it gets too hot.

  31. 4*/4*…DT’s hints appreciated for this one !
    liked 25A “Ill-tempered figure has succeeded for first time (6)” amongst others.

    1. Thanks, proXimal, for the most challenging but also the most accomplished puzzle this week.

    2. Good of you to pop in, proXimal – that was quite a tough cookie but very well constructed, many thanks.

    3. Many thanks, proXimal but I fear it could be a while before I am on your wavelength. Still “Onwards and Upwards” as they say. I will keep trying. 👍

  32. I’m in the difficult camp, I’m never on proXimal’s wavelength anyway. When I start to use so much e-help I tend to lose interest.
    There were some standouts, I liked the NW corner, and 21a appealed.
    Thanks proXimal and Deep Threat for his hints and tips.

    1. Merusa
      I agree. I have been looking at it, and the cricket, since 7:15 am and finally got to the end with lots of electronic help. Sometimes I need the consolation that someone else found it hard going.

  33. We spotted the signature Xs quite early on in the solve and this proved to be a help. A real pleasure to work with such beautifully crafted clues.
    Thanks proXimal and DT.

  34. Failed to complete this puzzle 😟 The only thing that I got right was I guessed who the compiler was😳 Thanks to DT and to ProXimal but I think this was a Toughie 😬

  35. Thanks to the setter and Deep Threat for the review and hints. I found this almost impossible, couldn’t get on the setter’s wavelength. Needed the hints for 6,19,21,23,25a and 5,7,8,15,18d. Was 5*/1* for me.

  36. Toughest back-pager in some time. Will award ****/***, a real challenge. Great stuff !
    Thanks to all concerned.
    Could be a three day test match, beats two days, I guess.😐

  37. Together with my husband we got most of the way through but then had to resort to hints in the NE corner. I know a crossword is tricky when I have no idea how to pull a clue apart and there were several here which fell into that category. Thanks to all. ****/***

  38. Well this bear of little brain salutes all you brainy ones who completed this puzzle! I know when I’m beaten and have thrown in the towel. Thanks to DT for the answers which I’m just about to look at.

    1. So I’ve just looked at the answers and I wouldn’t have got some of them in a month of Sunday’s. Just too clever for me.

        1. Does it? All crosswords make sense to the setter but only ever make sense to those who can solve them. 😁

  39. An excellent puzzle. Completed in ** time, which for me means completed before it is time to call it a night. The SW corner was the last to go, with 23a the final answer in. 10a and 15d were my favourites. Thanks to ProXimal and Deep Threat.

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