DT 29653 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 29653

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 29653

Hints and tips by pommers

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ****

Hola from the Vega Baja where our lockdown continues.  It’s not too bad really as bars are open until 1800 and shops can open up to 2000 so it doesn’t really affect pommette and I as we rarely go out in the evening.  I’m more for a good lunch followed by a siesta and then a veg-out in front of the telly. The main problem for us is that the borders of Communitat Valenciana remain closed so we haven’t been able to visit our apartment since last October as it’s in the neighbouring community of Murcia.  Still, the measures have had some good effect and Valenciana has the lowest infection rate in Spain, some say the lowest rate in Europe.

Not much to say about the puzzle that I haven’t before.  It’s another example of what has become our normal Monday fare.  However, there’s a couple of clues with slightly complicated wordplay and more than the average number of clues involving anagrams.  I thought it more enjoyable than usual so it’ll be interesting to see if any of you agree.

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


1a           Wood  sounds good to me (4)
DEAL:  Double definition.  It’s a kind of wood and also a word you might say to indicate someone’s offer is acceptable.  It took longer than it should for the penny to drop on this one.

3a           The old lady mugs up on remarkable person’s greatest work (6,4)
MAGNUM OPUS:  The usual two letters for your old lady, as in mother, followed by an anagram (remarkable) of MUGS UP ON.

9a           Former PM heading off for retreat (4)
LAIR:  The guy who was Prime Minister at the turn of the century without his first letter (heading off).

10a         Crossing ford, big toe gets broken (10)
FOOTBRIDGE:  Anagram (gets broken) of FORD BIG TOE.

11a         Blunder involving Irish beast (7)
GIRAFFE:  Insert (involving) the two letter abbreviation of Irish into another word for a blunder.

13a         Preposterous yarn inspired by red fox (7)
REYNARD:  Anagram (preposterous) of YARN inserted into (inspired by) the RED from the clue.

14a         What can be won at rugby? Nonsense written about Lomu’s first cap (6,5)
TRIPLE CROWN:  This can be won by one of the Home Nations in the Six Nations rugby tournament.  You need a word for nonsense around (about) an L (Lomu’s first) followed by a word meaning to cap or put the finishing touch to a series of events.

18a         Outfit for a woman? Sure, tourist abroad (7,4)
TROUSER SUIT:  Anagram (abroad) of SURE TOURIST.

21a         Port auction: no bottles right? (7)
SALERNO:  This port’s in Italy.  Start with another word for an auction and the NO from the clue and then put that lot around (bottles) an R(ight).

22a         Taking the most pessimistic view, a team’s leader before defeat (2,5)
AT WORST:  A from the clue and a T (Team’s leader) followed by a word meaning to defeat.

23a         Fan in seat, wriggling about so (10)
ENTHUSIAST:  Start with a word meaning so, as in “like that”, and around it (about) put an anagram (wriggling) of IN SEAT.

24a         Hope portion of stew is hot (4)
WISH:  A lurker hiding in (portion of) the last three words.

25a         Mean person in nick, fenced-in area, extremely nasty (10)
PINCHPENNY:  A word meaning to nick or steal followed by a fenced-in area where animals are kept and finally NY (extremely NastY).  I don’t think I’ve come across this term before but it was fairly obvious from the checkers and wordplay.

26a         South, down in card game (4)
SNAP: S(outh) followed by the sort of down you would find on the cloth of a snooker table.


1d           Emissary from East, on stage during meeting (8)
DELEGATE:  E(ast) and another word for a stage, of a journey perhaps, inserted into (during) the sort of meeting you might have with your girlfriend or boyfriend.

2d           Pollutant from a sewer enveloping capital of Caribbean island (4,4)
ACID RAIN:  A (from the clue) and a word for a sewer or waste pipe placed around (enveloping) a C (capital of Caribbean) and an I(sland).

4d           By oneself in plant around noon (5)
ALONE:  A plant called Vera placed around N(oon)

5d           No nonsense shown over one old American film (9)
NOTORIOUSListen very carefully, I shall say this only once . . .   You need the NO, from the clue, followed by a reversal (shown over) of a word meaning nonsense, the letter that looks like a number one, O(ld) and finally the usual two letters for American. If you can stitch that lot together you’ll get the title of a Hitchcock film.

6d           Slightly drunk warden, silly clown (5-6)
MERRY ANDREW:  A word meaning slightly drunk or tipsy followed by an anagram (silly) of WARDEN.  The second one that I’d not come across before.

7d           Hawker, one using a bike, we hear (6)
PEDLAR:  This word for a hawker sounds like (we hear) someone riding a bicycle.

8d           Consistent  stable (6)
STEADY:  Double definition.

12d         Fine everyone over collapse (4,7)
FALL THROUGH:  F(ine) and the usual word for everyone gives you the first word.  The second word is an American term meaning over or finished.

15d         Reptile, ice-cold or otherwise? (9)
CROCODILE:  Anagram (otherwise) of ICE COLD OR.

16d         Newspaper piece about support artist raised (8)
GUARDIAN:  One of the DT’s rival newspapers is what the word piece can mean in American slang placed around (about) a reversal (raised in a down clue) of a word meaning to support or help and the usual two letter artist.  Slightly surprised that the DT allows it’s rivals to appear in the crossword.

17d         Falsely incriminate diminutive figure during drink (6,2)
STITCH UP:  Start with a word meaning to drink and insert (during) a word for a diminutive figure or small person.

19d         Pleased, mostly, breaking out (6)
ASLEEP:  Out as in unconscious.  It’s an anagram (breaking) PLEASED but without the final D (mostly).

20d         Author, British, tense visiting French city (6)
BLYTON:  This author of children’s books is B(ritish) followed by T(ense) inserted into (visiting) a French city located on the confluence of the rivers Rhône and Saône.  I only put the accents on as I can do it very easily with my Spanish keyboard.

22d         Crime of penniless member of the clergy? (5)
ARSON:  The crime of setting fire to things is a clergyman without his initial P (penniless).

Today I think 3a was probably favourite with 5d and 16d up on the podium.

Quick crossword pun (top line):     WRIST     +     REIGNED     =     RESTRAINED

Quick crossword pun (bottom line):   TOTALLY     +     CLIPS     =     TOTAL ECLIPSE

99 comments on “DT 29653

  1. It could be because I got little more than four hours sleep last night, but I found this tough.

I didn’t get the homophone in 1a, didn’t know the word at 25a, nor the film at 5d and the phrase at 6d.

    The whole thing took me a full **** time, ridiculous for a Monday. Oh well, time to paint a fence, I think.

    Many thanks to the setter and Pommers.

  2. Although there were one or two clues that I didn’t particularly care for, I thought this was a very well crafted puzzle. Accentuating the positives 14&23a plus 17&19d stood out for me.
    Many thanks to Pommers and Campbell for the entertainment

  3. This was one of the most enjoyable Monday puzzles I have done for a long while. It was not altogether straightforward, particularly in the SW, but the clues were well-written cunning and well-balanced and could be found using the word-play. I liked the geographical clue at 21a nd the intricate reference to a rival aat 16d. 25a was amusing but COTD was 3a, where I almost got misdirected into trying to make another word fit the clue. Many thanks to Pommers and to the compiler.

  4. Solved alone and unaided and after a bit of thinking understood all of the clues.
    I seem to be getting a little better at understanding Campbell….probably famous last words.

    Off to the dentist now for the 5th time in 14 days after my ‘difficult extraction’ …at least things are not quite so painful now. Thank goodness for the distraction of crosswords.

    Thanks to Campbell and to Pommers.

  5. Took a little break from the rookie to have a go at this pleasant crossword.
    The clown was also new to me.
    Never know if 22a ends with an E or a T but 17d put me right.
    23a favourite.
    Thanks to our Monday setter and to Pommers for the review.
    Nice to put the accents on the rivers. Now you just need to put the letters in the right order.

  6. 2*/4*. This was light with all the usual Monday fun.

    Like pommers, I was delayed by 1a when I spent far too long looking for a non-existent homophone. 6d was new to me, and it occurred to me that one rarely sees 16d spelt correctly. :wink:

    3a was my favourite.

    Many thanks to Campbell and to pommers.

    1. Is that not because the paper in question years ago was famous for its printing errors? George took the paper when I first me him and we (my family) always called it the Gaudrian to annoy him.

        1. My father used to read the grauniad and frowned upon my reading the telegraph which he considered to be a Tory rag!

  7. A bit tougher than usual for a Monday puzzle. I needed the hints to understand 20d and missed the weapon in 16d. Thank you for those. I initially thought 3a was “master” something but quickly saw the error of my ways there. 6d was a new one to me. All round, a pleasant diversion this morning. **/*** Favourite 5d. Thanks to all.

  8. I found this a bit tough for a Monday but I made it in the end. I made matters worse by putting in a wrong letter in 3A.
    I have never heard of a 6D or a 25A. Neither have I read 20D for about 50 years which would be about the time 5D came out.

  9. Gentle kick-off to the week with North flowing and South not far behind. 5d bunged in as I was unfamiliar with film – Hitchcock never my scene! 3a Fav. Thank you Campbell and pommers.

  10. 6d was also a film starring Danny Kaye. Got stuck in the SW until the penny dropped at 21a. Thought it a little tougher than a usual Monday. 3a favourite. Ta to all.

    1. I remember going to see that film ….a Saturday matinee donkeys years ago.
      No recollection of what it was about , but the name stuck with me….and it has finally proved useful.
      Strange thing, memory.

  11. Enjoyable Monday fare with three clues that needed the checkers in place – 1a plus 5&6d. The wood just hadn’t occurred to me, the film and the clown I simply didn’t know.
    Favourite was 3a.

    Thanks to Campbell and to pommers for the review.

  12. Typical Campbell for me. I just can’t quite finish Monday without one corner giving difficulty. Today it was the SW. 2.5* time & *** fun factor.
    Nice start to the week though with mostly solid cluing. 8d more suited to Quickie and never heard of the term in 6d which I had to check. Came up as a 50’s Danny Kaye film.
    COTD was 25a. Guess being a Lidl rather than a Waitrose shopper means it applies to me.
    Thank you Campbell and pommers for the usual Monday entertainment

    1. I bought a Lidl Donkey from Aldi and an Audi from Lidl. Thank god for M&S. They keep the riffraff out of Waitrose

      1. There is a further factor keeping this riffraffian from Waitrose, the 182 miles it is to the nearest branch in Stirling! (Lidl is 9).

        1. I travelled 322 miles to Stirling to see Bob Dylan at Stirling Castle some years ago. Great concert. Freezing rain and cold winds all night. The date July 13th 2001. Welcome to a Scottish summer

          1. Well travelling 322 miles to see Bob Dylan does not compare to travelling 182 miles for a pound a sausages, MP. 😁

    2. I also use Lidl rather than Waitrose so I’m a 25a too. Waitrose is OTT in price and no better quality. I love Lidl 3 fish roast which you can cook from frozen and they do by far the best Muesli anywhere.

      1. Tell you what Manders Waitrose is cheaper than my local CoOp on a surprising number of things – who’d ’ave thunk it.

      2. I agree about Waitrose in terms of poor VFM, but they do send fabulous carrier bags. They’re big, strong and transparent – you can turn them upside down and use them as garment covers to stop dust settling on all the clothes we’re not wearing at the moment. We’re alternating deliveries between them, Sainsbury’s and Ocado (for the M&S products). Ocado will recycle its bags and give you money back for them, but Sainsbury’s won’t send any bags, which is a pain on the doorstep.
        When visiting the stores I used to use my own bags, which I’ll be glad to get back to.
        Most of all, I miss Aldi, especially the non-food section in the middle, which is just a blast.

        1. We have deliveries from both Sainsbury’s and Waitrose and I have to admit I don’t see a huge difference in prices. Sainsbury’s will not use carrier bags but the do use cardboard boxes, which mount up in the dining room until I can get time to flatten them all and put them out on recycling day. For Waitrose deliveries, we leave bags in the porch and the delivery man fills them for us. Waitrose delivery men are always polite and helpful whereas some Sainsbury’s delivery men can be quite surly.

      3. When I moved to Germany, my local shop was a Lidl (pronounced Leeeeedl!) – and, like all British women, I walked around,
        looked at the prices (far too high), and went home. Then, I realised that I had to pay their high prices if we wanted to eat.
        In the meantime…………………I think our supermarkets got greedy……so Lidl overtook them.

  13. I found this difficult for a Monday and I am pleased to see I am not alone. I have never heard of 6d and I could understand my answer for 28 until I saw the hint. Once understood I wondered why I had missed it. My COTD is 9a because I would like to behead him! :smile:

    Many thanks to Campbell for the challenge. Thanks, also to pommers for the hints.

    1. A little harsh maybe – but a bit of sadistic dentistry a la Olivier on Hoffman in The Marathon Man might be in order. Can’t say I was ever a great admirer of Major & couldn’t abide Brown but at least they haven’t feathered their nests like Blair & sadly Cameron.

  14. Very pleasant start to the week. There were elements in this one that made it slightly trickier than the usual Monday fare. I can’t say I was familiar with the meanie at 25a but the wordplay was clear. 6d was my last in & only got it when I realised I needed an M & not an S on the end of the first word in 3a (another instance of more haste less speed & look at the wordplay) Never heard of the clown (or the Danny Kaye movie of the same name) & magnums are good fizz or red or those tasty ice creams (mint my fav)
    14,21&23a were my pick of the clues today. Also liked 5d as it’s one of my favourite Hitch films with the marvellous Leopoldine Konstantin stealing all the scenes that she’s in.
    Thanks to Campbell & to Pommers.

    1. Re the M ice creams, have you not tried the Double Gold Caramel version?
      It might as well be heroin.

          1. “I used to do that Chinese thing with needles”
            “Nah heroin”
            Gotta suck it and see or spend your life wondering

  15. As pommers said in his preamble ‘another example of what has become our normal Monday fare.’ **/****

    However, I did have a couple of Hmms. I had to confirm that Lomu (14a) was a person and that 5d was indeed a film and it turns out that it is two films – the 1946 Hitchcock one and a 2009 one about an American rapper – neither of which I had heard of, so thank goodness the answer was obvious from the checkers.

    Candidates for favourite – 11a, 1d, and 2d – and the winner is 11a.

    Thanks to Campbell and pommers.

      1. I am really proud of myself for getting 14a all on my own whilst george was making the coffee. I must be turning into a sporty type! (George makes the coffee because the Bible tells him to. Hebrews. )

    1. Lo U, a person? You couldn’t miss him. He’s about the size of a London double decker bus! NZ rugby?

    1. I can’t see it. unless it’s the second and third words on line three.

      Anyway, thanks for all the Monday entertainment.

    2. Many thanks for the challenge today, Campbell. Must admit I can’t see the third pun but I have started to look for it each week.

  16. I enjoyed this, the wordplay allowed the answers to be found, meaning that I just had to confirm via Google the wood, the port, the film and the clown. I fell for the homophone misdirection in 1a, making it my LOI.
    My favourites were 3a, 13a and 22d.
    Thanks to Campbell and to pommers

  17. I too suffered with the ‘never heard before’s’ and the film was a bung in but otherwise an enjoyable solve. Got stuck with the wrong PM (the younger) and former as in previous girl/boyfriend which didn’t work with the correct answer for 1d.
    Thanks to Pommers and Campbell

  18. Thank you Campbell and Pommers. With regard to accents eg on Rhône and Saône it is easy with IPhone. I just switch to French keyboard. Not only does it have the accents but automatically inserts them. I knew 25a and always assumed it came from Shakespeare. Apparently not although (depending where you look) it is apparently from Middle English. Only problem for me was NE. I did not know 6d (definitely archaic) and compounded the problem by misspelling 3a my first one in, and also the fox. I got it in the end without need for hints but glad to read them and comments so far. Favourites 14a and 17d.

  19. Far be it from me to blame a setter (rather than myself, the weather, or how much sleep I had), but I don’t think this belonged on a Monday, although I wouldn’t be surprised to see it on a Thursday or, previously, a Friday.
    Also, I never “Hmmm”, but today I’m near to it. 13a had one of the clue words in the answer, 8d had a dodgy surface for a double definition. There were 3 or 4 rather obscure GKs, although I had no problem with the Hitchcock film and 16d, although gettable, mystified me as to the surrounding word. That’s not all, but it’s making me a bit grumpy.
    Apologies to the setter and thanks to Pommers, but I’d never give this a 2*.

    1. I think the word that is given in 13a “inspired” (inhaled) the mixed up other word so it works for me. :smile:

      1. Yes, Steve, it’s cryptic, as well as a misdirection, but it’s still the same word seen in both clue and answer. I’m never keen on that, even when it’s a preposition, like ‘on’ or ‘for’ etc. Just my thing.

  20. A nice puzzle to start the non-work week, although I tackled this on Sunday pm in my part of the world.
    Very solvable and rate this 1.5*/****. Lots of great clues to pick from for favourites including 13a, 14a, 21a, 25a, 16d & 17d.
    9a, 16d & 21a made me chuckle. Hard to pick a winner but I pick 25a

    Thanks to Campbell and pommers

  21. A tricky Campbell indeed, with (as others have noted) a few ‘never heard of before’ including 6d which I shall now use at every opportunity.

    All good here – Chelsea are in the Cup Final; H had her second jab on Saturday with minimal side-effects; and Lola…
    Lola suddenly decided from Friday she wishes to go out every day now – only for a little wander around but this is a big step forward. This week, the vet is going to review the steroid use but we suspect she will remain on them as the tip of her nose is, stubbornly, refusing to heal completely.
    In that other tricky situation – a different care agency is due to take over during this week and we hope that leads to a change for the better for the (very) elderly relative.

    Today’s crossword soundtrack: Legacy of Laurel Canyon (a Spotify playlist)

    Thanks to Campbell and pommers.

    1. Good news all round! Clever old Lola, she was just waiting for the sunshine. She’s no fool.

    2. What a relief to have Lola actually wanting to spend time outside. Do please let us see another photo of her ‘ere long.

      1. Soubds like a bit of warmth and sunshine have done the trick for Lola, Terence, praise be!

  22. Gardening has taken over my life at the moment so thank goodness for Campbell on a Monday. Quick sweep a breakfast got the first half in and the same after lunch did the rest.

    Thanks to Campbell, Pommers, and Merry Andrew. To the first two for no mystification, the latter for being what it had to be given the checkers.

    Surprised to see BJ commenting on the proposed Super League as I thought greed was the raison d’etre of the Tory Party.

    1. Yes and don’t get caught, Matt (I could have chosen any one of a number of politicians, except perhaps Dianne Abbot, as she’s not even bright enough to cheat)

      1. It seems to me that greed is be the ‘raison d’etre’ of a fair proportion of folk, Corky, irrespective of poltical affiliation.

  23. Most of my thoughts have already been expressed. I also was thinking big fizzy bottles at 3a but everything else fell into place eventually so many thanks to Campbell and Pommers. You sound like a soap manufacturer – or am I thinking of Proctor and Gamble? Anyway – got to try and find third pub now, I find the quickie really hard!

      1. Predictive text 🤭. I did of course mean Puns but I would settle for a nice friendly pub.

  24. Great entertainment as always for a Monday, with 3a the clear winner for me as COTD. Any obscurities were very gettable from the wordplay; anyway, it is good to learn new words, even if I will never use them.

    My thanks to the three punner and pommers.

  25. Found this tough, especially for a Monday, and didn’t enjoy it. I could have sat here all day, but would never have solved 6d or 25a, and 14a, being Rugby related. I was completely on the wrong track with 3a. Never mind, I will have a go at 652 instead later. Thanks to Campbell and to Pommers.

  26. I would comment on the puzzle but having completed it before 7.00am I can’t remember much about it. Thanks anyway to pommers and Campbell

  27. Another enjoyable Monday gem by Campbell. Took me the longest to work out what the definition was in 16d, but I got there finally. I knew the clown and the movie, thanks to having been a member of movie-buffdom all my life. Thanks to pommers and to Campbell. ** / ****

  28. Real curates egg. The top was on the whole a well constructed puzzle but the bottom was a horror with weird words such as 25a and 6d. Strange crossword.
    Thx for the hints

  29. I spent too long on 1a wondering whether the wood was oak/ okay ?, and 6d was lost on me completely. Never heard of it. I have a tick against 11a, so that’s my cotd. Thank you setter and Pommers.

    1. Yes, I had the oak/okay in mind and also thought it might be a homophone but the penny did eventually drop with a clang you may have heard.

  30. 2* / 3* An enjoyable puzzle, some unfamiliar words/phrases (25a, 6d) that could be little else once the checkers were in place, and, all-in-all, a pleasant start to the week’s decrypting. Slowed briefly by my brain instructing one thing but my hand filling in the first name of a late lamented Mastermind presenter … error only realised after trying to make any word of the pattern “S.r.y” mean “slightly drunk”!

    Thank you to Pommers for the review (and Pink Floyd), and to Campbell.


  31. In the (in)famous words of the Boomtown Rats….I don’t like Mondays! I just can’t get on Campbell’s wavelength. I’m sure I’ll get there one day but not today. Thanks to Pommers and Campbell….enjoyed the quickie and its puns, if not the cryptic.

  32. Apart from 1a, I rather enjoyed this. At first I thought it was going to be a slog, but gradually worked through and even got the answers that were new terms to me (3a, 6d). I’m also so used to spelling the PM in 9a with the a and i the other way round had to correct myself…

    Also not keen on the synonym for defeat in 22a, but hey ho, still didn’t detract from the enjoyment.


    Thanks to all.

  33. I’m in the “never heard of the archaic clown in 6d” camp this evening but it was fairly clued and just had to be the answer. Hadn’t heard of 25a either, more familiar with the words reversed and er added. Favourite was 16d, clue that is not newspaper, dreadful rag. I’ll bet even Jeremy Corbyn thinks it’s a bit left wing. Only been to the pub once and got thoroughly cold so I’m not going again until it warms up or they let us go inside. Thanks to Campbell and Pommers.

  34. Apart from 1a which I had to look up the answer (never heard of the wood) – I got all of this up to the SE corner when I had to resort to electrons. I’m not a huge fan of words and phrases I’ve never heard of even though I managed to get them with the checkers. ***/** Thanks to Campbell and Pommers.

  35. Okay, so 1A had me going for some time…because ‘okay’ sounded both good to me and also something made of oak! 🤦🏼‍♂️
    Oh well, it didn’t hold me up for too long…still think ‘okay’ might be a better answer!😜
    Thanks anyway to Campbell for the challenge, and to Pommers for the blog ‘n hints.

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