DT 29639 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 29639

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 29639

Hints and tips by Deep Threat

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

Good morning from South Staffs on a chilly Good Friday morning.

The crossing pair at 10a and 1d, both of which seemed to me to be a little stretched as definitions, gave me a certain amount of trouble and were last in, taking me into *** territory, but otherwise this seemed to be a fairly typical Friday puzzle. Given that we have a pangram minus the X we can identify the setter as ProXimal.

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           Excellent banger at Christmas dinner, standard (11)
CRACKERJACK – For some UK readers of a certain age, the words “It’s Friday, it’s five to five, and it’s …” would be a sufficient clue. Put together an explosive trimming to the Christmas table and another word for a type of flag or standard.

7a           Reportedly, underground worker’s petty (5)
MINOR – A homophone (reportedly) of someone who works underground.

8a           Old boy seeming discontented about dog at home hiding (9)
OBSCURING – Start with the usual abbreviation for an old boy of a school. Then add the outside letters (discontented) of S(eemin)G wrapped round a pejorative word for a dog and the word for ‘at home’.

10a         Side on settee regularly getting ruffled (7)
STEWING – Alternate letters (regularly) of SeTtEe, followed by what might be the side extension of a stately home.

11a         Tradesperson not so happy to accommodate learner (7)
SADDLER – Insert the usual letter for a learner driver into a word for ‘not so happy’.

12a         Heading off some time around dusk, not fixed (5)
UNSET – Remove the initial letter (heading off) from the event which triggers dusk falling.

13a         Purple and beige urn — a potty (9)
AUBERGINE – Anagram (potty) of BEIGE URN A.

Eggplant | The Louis Bonduelle Foundation

16a         Books about advances restricting to reptiles (9)
TORTOISES – Reverse (about) the abbreviation for one of the sets of books in the Bible, then add another word for ‘advances’ or ‘goes up’ wrapped round TO (from the clue).

18a         Relaxed on British craft (5)
BLIMP – An abbreviation for British followed by another word for ‘relaxed’, giving us a sort of aircraft.

The runaway blimp has been grounded (update) - The Verge


19a         Writes in code to an anarchic group from the East (7)
NOTATES – Anagram (anarchic) of TO AN, followed by the reverse (from the East) of another word for a group.

22a         Inexperienced pair on a jury wanting tips (7)
AMATEUR – A (from the clue) followed by a verb for ‘to pair’, followed by the inside letters (wanting tips) of jURy.

23a         Restrained catching stray, if fearful (9)
TERRIFIED – Put together a verb for ‘to stray’ and IF (from the clue), then wrap a word for ‘restrained’ or ‘tethered’ round the result.

24a         Land one left to enter river (5)
ITALY – The Roman numeral for one, followed by a Scottish river with Left inserted, to give us a country or land.

25a         One making living in revolutionary circles? (11)
WHEELWRIGHT – Cryptic definition of someone who makes things that go round in circles.

The Wheelwright by Jim-Waight on DeviantArt


1d           Discuss keeping in son, as one tells all (9)
CONFESSOR – Another word for ‘discuss’ or ‘put heads together’ is wrapped round an abbreviation for Son and another word for ‘as’.

2d           Emergency procedure if trial goes wrong (7)
AIRLIFT – Anagram (goes wrong) of IF TRIAL.

3d           Weed failing to open cask with strong nuts (9)
KNOTGRASS – Anagram (nuts) of (c)ASK (failing to open) and STRONG.

4d           Deliverers of fine sprays and wines (5)
ROSES – Double definition: attachments to watering cans which create a fine spray; or wines of a particular colour.

5d           Apart from bras, underwear being sampled (7)
ASUNDER – Hidden in the clue.

6d           Aquatic creatures from river involved in slaughter (5)
KRILL – Another word for ‘slaughter’ wrapped round an abbreviation for River, giving us some sea creatures which are towards the base of the food chain.

9 things you need to know about krill and why they are essential to the  health of the ocean – Climate & Environment at Imperial

7d           Stop individual wearing very protective screen (8,3)
MOSQUITO NET – Put together another word for ‘stop’ and a word for ‘individual’, then wrap a word for ‘very’ around the result.

Lifesystems DuoNet Double Mosquito Net

9d           Pageantry moving across road for outdoor event (6,5)
GARDEN PARTY – Anagram (moving) of PAGEANTRY wrapped round an abbreviation for ‘road’.

14d         Witness bear feeding beside monarch (9)
BYSTANDER – A two-letter word for ‘beside’ and the Queen’s regnal cipher, placed either side of another word for ‘bear’ or ‘tolerate’.

15d         I point and yell being unsettled (9)
ITINERANT – Put together I (from the clue), one of the points of a fork, and another word for ‘yell’.

17d         Giant makes public views vocally (7)
OUTSIZE – Another word for ‘makes public’, followed by a homophone (vocally) of a word for ‘views’ or ‘looks at’.

18d         Facing genius penning volume on golf (7)
BRAVING – The notable feature of a genius is wrapped round an abbreviation for Volume, and followed by the letter represented by Golf in the NATO alphabet.

20d         Cast having hour in drag (5)
THROW – A two-letter abbreviation for ‘hour’ inserted into another word for ‘drag’ or ‘haul’.

21d         Shed yet to receive power for tool’s lead (5)
SPILL – Start with a word meaning ‘yet’ or ‘however’. Remove the T (tool’s lead) and replace it with an abbreviation for Power.

The Quick Crossword pun BRIDGE + ITCH + OWNS = BRIDGET JONES

83 comments on “DT 29639

  1. Well, that was one of the toughest back-pagers I can remember. Now, this might have been because I was awake at an ungodly hour and started solving it at 0-dark o’clock, but it took me well into ****/***** time.

    After the first pass, I had less than half complete, and then I slowed down. Cracking the four edge answers was the turning point, and although I had never heard of 3d, its name has a likeness to a weed I do know. My only ‘um’ was at 12a, a word that doesn’t appear very often in my speech.

    As it was a pangram without the X, I assumed it was a ProXimal offering. Many thanks to them and DT.

    (Did anyone else spend far too long trying to make the Quickie pun “Bridging loans” ?)

    1. What a great puzzle. Some super clues and a little to provoke the grey cells. Thoroughly enjoyable and thanks to the Setter and for the review.

  2. I found this to be a tad more tricky than recent Fridays but very enjoyable.
    I had the East in in no time but the West proved a tougher nut to crack, giving me my PDM of the week when I finally saw 7d, aided by being on pangram alert.
    Podium places go to 4,7&14d
    3.5/4 *

    Many thanks to ProXimal and to DT for the entertainment and a Happy Easter to all.

  3. I couldn’t finish three of the clues in the SW and it took me an awful long time to do the rest (******/**). Really this was more like a Toughie than a backpager for me and not all that enjoyable. Perhaps I should avoid Friday crosswords in future. Thanks to DT for the help in the hints and to the compiler.

    1. I’m coming round to considering banning Friday, maybe use the Monday bonus and save it for Friday.

  4. 5*/4*. :phew: I found this extremely tough overall particularly on the LHS, but persistence paid off and it proved to be very rewarding.

    Many thanks to presumably proXimal and to DT.

    1. I am delighted to report “my” robin’s chicks have hatched, which is a lovely start to the Easter weekend.

      1. Thrilled to hear the news of your chicks. My bluetit has been furiously feathering her nest over the last two days so we are awaiting the first egg to appear.

  5. My iPad confirmed that my completion was correct but the parsing of some answers needing checking with DT’s hints for explanations. As usual, I did not spot the missing X .
    I agree with MR that this was difficult.
    Many clues , in my opinion , are too contrived yet , although I did not enjoy the solving , I was pleased to finish in a reasonably time .
    Thanks Proximal for the challenge and to DT , of course .

    1. Could you either define ‘too contrived’ or give an example of what you mean please. Surely every clue is contrived by definition of the word cryptic.

  6. I thought that this was an excellent Friday back-pager – tricky, yes, but with every clue fair and not an obscurity in sight.
    My podium contains 22a, 5d and 14d.
    Thanks to Mr X and to DT for the excellent review.

  7. Tough to the point of almost conceding defeat but left it and came back to it later and managed somehow to complete it. I did start this at dark o’clock like Malcom. Clearly not a good idea on Fridays. ****/** It became a case of fill in the answer and then work out why. Not the most enjoyable exercise. Anagram indicators seem to be getting more obscure. 12a is a bit odd. Not a word in my common vocabulary although I’m sure it’s in umpteen dictionaries. I did like 4d which is a clever double definition so favourite today. Thanks to all.

  8. Tough but fair would be my opinion of today’s offering from the X-less one.
    I rather liked the guy making a living in revolutionary circles and the protective screen but my favourite was the Quickie pun.

    Thanks to proXimal and to DT for the review.

  9. 10a – even looking at the answer I still don’t get it. Please can someone explain the link between the verb current tense of stewing and the adjective or past tense “ruffled”?

  10. I found today’s back pager by ProXimal to be on an equal footing with today’s Toughie by goodness knows who (The list at the side of the blog has disappeared). Both were extremely enjoyable and made for a sigh of satisfaction upon completion. Thanks to Deep Threat for the blog. I hope the younger solvers can repress their giggles at the illustration for 13 across. Thanks ProXimal who was very close to beating me today. Happy Easter to one and all who use this site. The feast of Saint Cadbury is upon us. Rejoice and be glad in it

      1. And so it is, but like Ruby Tuesday the name ‘comes and goes’ Now you see it. Now you don’t’ Big Dave moves in mysterious ways his wonders to perform

    1. It took my younger generation to explain the aubergine. Who knew? Apart from you obviously!

  11. I thought this was a medium difficulty puzzle, with a lot of multi-format clues, but also a few bungs, where the why of it could be understood retrospectively and nothing left at the end to complain about. I liked the SW corner especially. One of my great grandfathers was a wheelwright (and undertaker). I think the latter part might have been confined to the transport element of the proceedings.
    Thanks to Proximal and to DT for the picture of the krill – I don’t think I knew what they look like up close. Muesli for whales. I often wonder if seafood eat any vegetation? Rambling now.

  12. An old fashioned back- page Friday ‘ Toughie’ with some very difficult parsing in my view.-7d/16a for example.-and the left hand side particularly as RD says.
    Going for a ****/*** .
    Favourite was 1a followed by the excellent charades 23a and 15d. last in was 10a and the D’oh moment when the side dawned
    Thanks DT for the pics- having a well earned break before the toughie-maybe.

  13. Tough as old boots for me, with vertical split. East side OK but West a real ba****d. Two sittings & into **** time plus needed e help for 16a just me being mentally as slow as the reptile (plus it never crosses my mind that it is a reptile).
    Might well have a mixed reception although it was about what I expect on a Friday.
    No real favourite, but always wanted one as a kid so 16a gets the nod.
    Thanks to ProXimal and DT for the review.
    Enjoy your Easter everyone.

    1. I never think of them as reptiles either. I thought the “books about” meant the Old Testament x2 with rises for advances but the entire puzzle tied me up in knots for long enough anyway!

  14. Very tricky indeed. I was held up in the south east – the Kent and Essex areas, particularly with the two 18s, 24a, and 15d.

    Sadly, we cannot make our usual visit to Lambourn on Good Friday, for obvious reasons, so we shall go out for a bracing walk and leave little Lola in charge.

    Today’s crossword soundtrack: Thomas Tallis – Lamentations.

    Thanks to ProXimal and DT, of course.

  15. A real head scratcher but as enjoyable as ever for a proXimal Friday back pager – ****/****.
    Candidates for favourite – 1a, 8a, and 23a – and the winner is 23a.
    Thanks to proXimal and DT.

  16. I needed the hints to check a number of my answers but my verdict on today’s offering is tough but enjoyable. It was fairly clued although a good deal of head scratching was needed. Putting “skewing” in 10a threw me for a while. Why on earth I thought that was the answer I have no idea. I then tried to make “braceur” into a word for 22a because I just could not get “brace” out of my head for “pair”.

    COTD for me was 12a along with the Quickie pun.

    Grateful thanks to proXimal and DT.

  17. Not my idea of a good time particularly with regard to the West. Only vaguely heard of 1a programme but gather it was revived at 5 minutes later time. Some parsings let me down including 12a (I wrongly bunged in 4d using different second letter),19a, 22a and 3d. My Fav was 4d. Beautiful sunshine here in West Sussex but jolly chilly – 48F on a West-facing wall. Thank you proXimal and DT.

    1. Sorry, first “4d” in my Comment should be erased – parenthesis refers to 12a.

  18. Loved this. Tougher than usual I thought but it all came together albeit slowly in places. Thanks to the setter and DT.

  19. 19a. I can’t remember seeing archaic as an anagram indicator, before. Can anyone explain?

      1. Oh, silly me! I must have still been half asleep when I first read the clue. Once the word was in my head, that’s what I saw each time I looked at it.

  20. Hard enough without taking up too much of the morning. 14d favourite, 12a LOI.
    I’ll save the toughie for this evening, otherwise no gardening will get done!
    Thanks DT and the setter

  21. No fun at all. How old is this setter? some of the clues were form the ark!
    Did most of it with my crossword device in my hand.
    Thanks to DT and proximal. I’m sure he did his best and I know its horses for courses.

  22. Another in the list of dreadful puzzles for this week. Stretched definitions, loose synonyms and complex wordplay.
    So many poor clues its difficult to pick them out but 10a, 18d and 17d were the worst as far as i was concerned.
    I’m just thankful that yesterday’s Ray T was so good.
    For me ****/*
    Thx for the hints

    1. I’m with you, Brian, that was a candidate for the Toughie puzzle.
      I don’t have time to spend all day on a crossword.

  23. Very tough for me but I finished quite gleefully even though pushed into **** time. Had trouble parsing 16a and 3d and can’t say that I enjoyed the journey as much as I have the others this week, but the clueing was fair, and proXimal is always out there on a limb of his own for me. I liked all four of the perimeter clues best of all. Thanks to DT and proXimal. **** / ***

  24. Today’s comments have reassured me about our varying strengths at solving. So many have remarked that it was more difficult or tougher than usual so this makes up for the days when the comments contain the phrases another masterclass from XYZ or a superb example of XYZ at their very best. On many of those days all I have had is a masterclass in befuddlement or found XYZ to be doing their best at bewildering me.

    Today was not easy, none of the puzzles are easy but I didn’t wonder if I should not renew my puzzle subscription which has often been the case. So I will excuse the masterclasses and the superb examples and consider that on some days I am more on the setter’s wavelength than many others even if the static of age makes me slower.

    25a, 1d, and 14d all deserve honourable mentions but the cheeky 5d is my favourite today.

    My thanks to DT and Proximal for a cheering workout.

  25. :phew: very difficult – I think I enjoyed it but will take a while to recover.
    I never did get 10a and guessed 1d but couldn’t see why so probably counts as didn’t get that either.
    Didn’t spot the X less pangram but I never do.
    I’ve never heard of the 3d weed – assume it’s related to couch grass which is a pain.
    Both 18’s took for ever as did 24a.
    I liked the four long answers round the outside – think my favourite was 7d.
    Etc Etc – maybe I’d better go and do something in the garden – still really cold in Oxford – the wind is arctic but at least the sun has come out now.
    Thanks to proXimal and to DT.

  26. The only word I can think of is fiendish! Complicated, involved and yet well crafted so thank you Proximal. I gave up after my best efforts so thanks Deep Threat for putting me out of my misery on 3d (I don’t do horticulture so they are always guesses for me but this one I couldn’t quite get to) and 17d. As I didn’t finish I can only say I found it somewhere north of *** but it was a great challenge for someone with my limited faculties so enjoyment factor *** too. I think I’ll go and play tiddlywinks to recover!

  27. I found this one to be as tough as it gets. Couldn’t make 10A, 7D or 1D.
    I didn’t even think that 12A was a word.
    Many thanks for the explanations, I shall now mix myself a strong Margarita and recover.

  28. The RHS went in pretty easily but the LHS took a lot more thought. I didn’t know that 12a was a word but I bunged it in anyway. I’ve had a go at the Toughie during my enforced 1.5 hours on the bed after lunch and managed one whole corner – now see it has several stars for difficulty so had better give up now. Thanks to the setter and Deep Threat

  29. Someone earlier commented that this was tough but fair, which I think sums up my feelings. There were several excellent clues, of which 7d proved to be my favourite. It was one of those puzzles where completing the grid gave a strong sense of satisfaction and reward.

    My thanks to proXimal and DT.

  30. I’d be very grateful if anyone has a remedy for brain freeze after this one, I’m glad it is at the end of the week (working?) rather than the beginning, otherwise I wouldn’t be able to carry on. I suppose that, being a holiday, maybe it was meant to keep us going for the whole weekend. If anyone finished this one over a cup of coffee, I respect you. Thank you setter for the challenge and Deep Threat for the review. I will now go into the kitchen and relax and bake nice goodies as a reward.

  31. Didn’t enjoy this one at all. It would fit better in the Toughie slot. In fact, having enjoyed doing the cryptics for 40 years, and with a bit of unexpected free time, I did have a go at a couple of Toughies this week. Was pleasantly surprised that, while not finishing, I did quite well. Certainly better than I did today. The answers to this one today seem very loosely connected to the definitions. Sorry, not my cup of tea. Thanks to proXimal and to Deep Threat.

  32. Very hard alright. Like some one else I got some answers but needed the hints to explain. 7d defeated me as did 10a (not sure I get it yet). But thanks to setter for providing a tough challenge. As a former RC I understand 1d to be the one who hears rather than tells. But that’s a very minor quibble and I could be wrong anyway.

  33. Definitely a tricky puzzle again today. 3.5*/**** Overall a good puzzle with satisfaction for each clue solved. Did the top in 1.5* time but slowed greatly in the bottom half. It took me a long time to figure out the parsing for my last two in, 19a & 17d. Was completely driving me crazy at 17d when the penny finally dropped with a thud! This is my clue of the day for that reason. Other candidates include 1a (Yes, I am one of those who well remember Leslie Crowther and Peter Glaze on that show … a Friday “must see”), along with 18a, 4d & 21d.

    Thanks to proXimal and DT for a fun Good Friday solve

  34. Completed at a steady pace.
    Most enjoyable and satisfying.
    So, ***/*****
    How is it possible to live so long and not know an 18a?
    Still, able, without much difficulty, to construct the answer.
    Many thanks ProXimal and DT for the nicely illustrated review.

  35. Found it on par with the toughie also.
    Left hand side being the hardest.
    Hopefully 7d won’t be needed this year as the town’s efforts in eradicating these little blighters seem to be working. Hardly got stung lately.
    Thanks to Proximal and to DT.

  36. I haven’t commented before but I found this puzzle was so tricky that the satisfaction in solving it was greater than usual

    1. Welcome to the blog, JZ. Now that you’ve broken your duck I hope that you’ll become a regular commenter.

  37. Surprisingly in view of the comments so far, the top half went in quickly then I came to a halt and needed several clues. I tried to find a reverse lurker at 19a. I think this was hard but fair and enjoyable for a Friday. COTD 7 d. Thanks to DT and the setter.

  38. I commented elsewhere that the Toughie was relatively tender, before reading the above comments, most of which indicate that my analysis probably has wide support. I found this very tricky and a long, hard slog.
    ****/**, the reverse of my marks for the Toughie.

  39. Not my cup of tea at all today. I only managed about five clues on the first go-round and realising I wasn’t going to get many more I resorted to the hints (some of which I still had to reveal the answer for) to finish it off. I really hate clues involving trying to work out about three synonyms plus the name of a river, then take some letters off then reverse these letters and then put this word around the whole thing, possibly while standing on your head. I liked 25a. The best type of clue in my opinion. *****/** Thanks to ProXimal (I usually find his crosswords easier than this) and DT for the hints.

    1. Best description of a cryptic crossword clue that I have ever seen. May I use it please?

  40. Sorry but this was most disagreeable 🙁 *****/* as I have said many times before why is it on the back page 🤔 Thanks to MP and to proXimal

  41. Wow, that was right at the limit of my capabilities, and required two sittings either side of a round of golf.
    East went in OK, but it was not until the penny finally dropped on 7d that I could get through the West.
    Satisfying that my perseverance paid off, but not the most fun crossword.
    Thanks to DT and the setter

  42. Waaay beyond my abilities! I gave up with only the NE corner done and one or two others. I probably could have done more but it was too much like hard work, I had the river, one left, how on earth did I miss that.
    It doesn’t matter, I had a bash at the Brendan, also tough but enjoyable. I also like it when so many others get enjoyment.
    Thanks proXimal, and, of course, Deep Threat for the answers – Mr. Egghead!

  43. Too hard for this bear of little brain, so not much fun either. Oh well, at least the sun is still shining. Thanks to DT for the tips, actually, I’m just going to look at the answers!

  44. Quite a slog with the last few clues taking as long as the rest of the crossword.

    Old enough to remember 1a on TV, but I doubt anyone has used this word to mean excellent since the 18th century. 😉

    Pleased to have completed without needing the hints although 17d was a bung in.


  45. A nice level of challenge and a thoroughly enjoyable solve.
    Thanks proXimal and DT.

  46. Took two sittings with a lengthy stretch between the two, so overall time for solving 9.5*. Certainly tougher than usual, but that’s not a bad thing as it sharpens the solving tools. Thanks to ProXimal , DT and fellow bloggers.

  47. Just got round to the blog – very late on parade. The most difficult puzzle for a while and despite solving about 75% it was utterly unsatisfying. Nevertheless thanks to ProXimal for the effort no doubt expended in constructing this and DT for the review and explanations.

  48. I do like puzzles that seem impossible but eventually they become possible. I did have to check Big D to understand some of today’s answers though!
    Adding a bit of explanation to 10a, think of a winged armchair and apply that to the side of a settee.

  49. I’m afraid this is way above my pay grade, and I just gave up after managing about ten, and looked at the answers in Saturday’s DT. Thanks to all for the effort involved.

  50. 4*/3*….hints appreciated !
    liked 25A ” One making living in revolutionary circles? (11)”

  51. Finally finished this two days later. Really tough but what a great feeling when it is successfully done. Needed the hints though to understand two or three of the clues even though I got the correct answer.

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