DT 29655 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 29655

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 29655

Hints and tips by 2Kiwis

BD Rating – Difficulty *** Enjoyment ***

Kia ora from Aotearoa.

  The big news here this week has been the opening of the trans-Tasman travel bubble. This means that people can once again travel in either direction between Australia and New Zealand without any requirement for 2 weeks quarantine. A big step back towards normality and has made the tourist sector in NZ, which has been severely affected by restrictions, breathe a sigh of relief. Fingers crossed that it is going to be sustainable.

We found this one quite tricky and are a bit suspicious that it is not by our regular Wednesday setter Jay.

Please leave a comment telling us how you got on.


1a     Putting on record one caught in affair (6)
FILING : An affair or illicit liaison contains an extra Roman numeral one.

5a     Event that sees career on fire? (4,4)
SACK RACE : Fire or discharge from employment and career or travel at speed.

9a     Politician offering terms ripe for negotiation, including car (5,8)
PRIME MINISTER : An anagram (for negotiation) of TERMS RIPE contains the iconic small car.

10a     Detective must abandon vague feeling (8)
INSTINCT : Remove the two letters for a detective inspector from within a word meaning vague.

11a     Touch judges ultimately finding glasses (6)
SHADES : A touch, nuance or suggestion, and then the final letter of judges.

12a     Checks energy releases (4,2)
LETS GO : An archaic meaning of checks that is still used by tennis umpires, plus energy or vigour.

14a     Work practice that’s relatively favourable (8)
NEPOTISM : A cryptic definition of a practice that originated historically with preferential papal appointments.

16a     A client upset about right type of music producer (8)
CLARINET : An anagram (upset) of A CLIENT contains R(ight).

19a     Cruel destiny imprisoning the first-born (6)
ELDEST : A lurker, hiding in the clue.

21a     Prison guards work party on board (6)
SCREWS : A word for a work party is inside (on board) the two letter abbreviation for a steamship.

23a     Local team in split (8)
RESIDENT : A split or tear contains a synonym for team.

25a     Illusion loads of praise must shatter (5,8)
FOOLS PARADISE : An anagram (must shatter) of LOADS OF PRAISE.

26a     Embellish, rather, if being adopted (8)
PRETTIFY : A word meaning rather or somewhat contains ‘IF’ from the clue.

27a     Bloke reportedly producing natural water feature (6)
GEYSER : Bloke reportedly gives a synonym for a slang word for a man.  ( This gave us all sorts of problems as we pronounce the answer with the first syllable, not whole word, being a different homophone for ‘bloke’.)


2d     Influence of heartless figure pierced by nail (7)
IMPINGE : A small nail is inside another word for a figure or representation without its central letter.

3d     Plonker‘s wild riposte oddly ignored (5)
IDIOT : Alternate letters found in two words of the clue.

4d     Callow youth or environmentalist with hooter (9)
GREENHORN : The colour associated with an environmentalist and a car’s warning device.

5d     What might accompany crackers list lad keeps? (7)
STILTON : A lad or male offspring contains list or be on a lean.

6d     Shouts as male discharged from offences (5)
CRIES : Remove M(ale) from within illegal acts.

7d     Pulled back from area of ground covered in grass (9)
RETRACTED : A stalky grass surrounds a patch of land.

8d     Consortiums offering vehicles fitted with phone (7)
CARTELS : A three letter abbreviation referring to a phone is inside automobiles.

13d     Dealt with roots due for treatment, needing time (6,3)
SORTED OUT : An anagram (for treatment) of ROOTS DUE which includes T(ime).

15d     Media pack finding old service provider (5,4)
PRESS GANG : A general word for journalists and a pack or mob.  The service that was being supplied with ‘volunteers’ was the navy.

17d The devil’s bunch regularly occupying prisoner (7)
LUCIFER : The second and fourth letters of bunch are within a term for a long-stay prisoner.

18d     Inclined to cry about R number based on three … (7)
TERNARY : ‘R’ from the clue and N(umber) are inside a word meaning inclined to cry.  (Something new we learnt today)

20d     … because R before end of June is genuine (7)
SINCERE : A synonym for because or as a result of, then ‘R’ from the clue again, and the last letter of June.

22d     Something fishy in South American greeting (5)
SUSHI : The abbreviation for south, then the two letter usual abbreviation for American and a short friendly greeting.

24d     Parched, welcoming first-class supplier of milk (5)
DAIRY : Parched or arid contains the two letter first class.

Quickie pun    hole    +    jaw    +    roan    =    hold your own

75 comments on “DT 29655

  1. Needed a little bit of electronic help with this one and sorry to say did not enjoy it much. Seemed more like a Toughie to me in parts. But maybe I am just grumpy (still) today.

    Thanks to the 2 Kiwis and to whoever the setter is. I too suspect that it is not Jay today.

  2. Either the migraine that I woke up with affected my performance or Jay had upped the difficulty level a touch as I found this quite tricky in parts, with some excellent misdirection.
    Last one in was 18d, a new word for me but obtainable from the wordplay once all the checkers were in.
    Where to start on podium contenders, maybe the very clever 11a along with 14&19a plus 5&20d.
    Many thanks to the three birds for the usual top notch Wednesday entertainment

  3. I was cracking on with this, ready to finish in a ** time, when I was halted by four, non-connected clues. Steady work got me three of them, but the fourth eluded me, even though I had parsed the clue correctly. 11a was the culprit, I just couldn’t see it. 10a took a while as I was intent on having the detective at the front. I don’t think I know the word at 18d and the answer to 26a is a horrible word.

    Many thanks to the compiler and the 2Ks.

  4. I needed the 2k’s to parse 2d. I too found this less enjoyable for a Wednesday Backpager. A couple of the clues were not as crisp as I expect if this is a Jay puzzle. Cheers setter and 2 k’s

  5. I too found this quite tricky, and I kept getting the feeling that this does not seem like a Jay puzzle. I did manage to finish it–in **** time, however. It wasn’t so much a matter of misdirection in the clues that held me up as it was the off-centred definitions, and certain assumptions that seemed rather arbitrary, as in 11a and 5d and 2d, which was my LOI. Or perhaps it’s just a wave-length thing. I did enjoy 14a, 20d, and 15d. Thanks to the Kiwis and today’s setter. **** / ***.

  6. 2*/3.5* for a light and pleasant puzzle.

    I would have said 4d was an American word, but Chambers doesn’t agree.

    15d was my favourite with a mention for the linked 18d & 20d.

    Thanks to the setter and to the 2Ks.

  7. Happy Birthday to Her Majesty, Big Dave and Libellule

    Thanks to Jay (if he was the setter, I thought there was a touch or two of the Lancaster about this one) and the 2Ks too

  8. Took a while to get going then a steady solve ,a wide range of clues provided by Jay and a ***/**** for me today.
    Last in was 12a, favourite was 26a followed by 15d.
    Thanks to 2K,s for the picks and setter for the enjoyment.

  9. Nice and pleasant. Had to check my constructions for 4d and 18d.

    5d was my favourite. A cracking clue.

    Thanks to today’s setter and the 2Ks.

  10. It took me a while to get used to the style of clues here (possiblynot Jay) a d with the good level if misdirection it took just over 2* time to finish. I’d give it 3* for enjoyment. There were some good clues. 25a was a good anagram with a novel indicator, 18d was a new word to me too but COTD was 2d, which was very clever. Thanks to the compiler and to the Kiwis for the hints..

  11. Surely this isn’t Jay? Overall, very tricky. 18d was a new word to me.

    Lola is fine, her nose has improved in the last few days, and she is now venturing outside for slightly longer periods each day (today – nearly an hour). There is a new photo of her, as my icon/picture.

    Today’s crossword soundtrack: Beach Boys – Pet Sounds

    Thanks to the setter and the two Ks.

    1. Thank you so much for the new photo, Terence. Lola looks to be in fine fettle – a great testament to all the TLC she’s received.

      1. What a lovely photo, Terence. Lola is looking bright-eyed and beautiful. Well done you and all concerned in her diagnosis and recovery.

    2. Ah, how lovely to see Lola looking hale and hearty and, my goodness me, those eyes just melt the soul?

      Great to have our lady back to health. Well done to you, Terrance and the whole of Team Lola. :good:

    3. A lovely pic of a much more cheerful Lola – I’m glad that she’s going outside again.
      She looks very like one of our fifteen kittens that we had over five months from two sisters – no – we weren’t irresponsible cat owners and it’s a very long story.
      The ‘Lola-look-alike’ ended up going to my sister and she was called Dot because she was a tortoiseshell and had a black spot on the top of her head.

      1. PS – the kitten was called Dot and had a black spot on the top of her head – my sister is called Jane and doesn’t have a black spot on her head! :roll:

  12. I could quite easily be persuaded that this wasn’t a Jay production, I certainly had a couple of hiccups along the way. Main culprit was 12a where I had ‘sees to’ for quite a while despite being unable to justify it and the unknown 18d which I did have to check with the BRB.
    I did enjoy the solve but it didn’t ‘feel’ quite right for Mr Wednesday.
    Favourite was 15d followed by 5&14a.

    Thanks to today’s setter and to our 2Ks for the review. I think we’ll all be holding our breath as restrictions are gradually eased – the thought of any more lockdowns is too dreadful to contemplate.
    Many happy returns to BD and all good wishes to Her Majesty.

  13. I started in the conventional manner, by reading the across clues in order (that’ll learn me …) and by half way, hadn’t started. It all came good in the end. Like Chriscross I thought 25a was a great anagram,14a gave me an out loud laugh, as did the bloke producing the natural water feature but my favourite was the crackers accompaniment.
    Thanks to the Kiwis – I’m not sure if I should be assuming 3 birds, but good for the setter anyway.

    1. BTW, it was nice to see a PM who is female with tidy hair, instead of a bloke with mad hair.

  14. The clues didn’t have the usual Jay flow about them. 18d was new to me also but, as Stephen L. says, it’s doable from the checkers. My last one in. I spent a while trying to include some form of hostelry into 23a before that penny dropped. A lovely anagram at 25a but my favourite today is 15d. ***/*** Thanks to all.

  15. 15d leapt out as my favourite early on in the solve and stayed there; 25a deserves an honourable mention for the smooth surface. Overall a very enjoyable puzzle and not too taxing.

    Many thanks to our setter, be you Jay or CL, and to the 2Ks.

  16. Like MalcolmR I too came unstuck with 11a despite correctly parsing it. For some reason I simply couldn’t come up with the definition synonym & the fact that I was trying to think of a 5 letter one for the wrong type of touch didn’t help matters. In the end I lost patience & went to thesaurus with a degree of irritation &, on seeing the fairly obvious answer, an almighty d’oh. Like other 18d was new to me but the wordplay was clear & I couldn’t see what the first bit of 12a had to do with checks but otherwise all ok. It didn’t seem like a Jay production to me either (hope someone will confirm) but I enjoyed it nevertheless. The downs won the day for me with 2,5,17 & best of all 15d my pick of clues.
    Thanks to the setter & to the 2Ks

  17. Definitely a head scratcher with no help by going Up the Downs to start so I will go along with the ‘this may not be a Jay’ thoughts. ***/***.

    No stand out favourites, but I did like 5a and 15d.

    Thanks to the setter and the 2Ks.

  18. I found this somewhat easier than yesterday’s puzzle but again raced through to come to a grinding halt with several in the bottom half left to do. Made some yummy soup with asparagus ends and came back to the puzzle and slowly came together. 18d a new word for me too. 26a last one in as I kept trying to make an anagram of ‘rather if’. Despite having both jabs feel incredibly hesitant of mixing with other people – is anyone else experiencing this? It’s as if the doom-mongers have taken over. Thanks to the setter and 2 Kiwis.

    1. Having had my jab last Friday, with no sore arm this time and only a minimal headache as side effect, I feel very reluctant to venture far. My ‘ extremely vulnerable ‘ husband had his on Saturday and we both feel we want to wait at least the 2 weeks it takes for the vaccine to take full effect.

    2. I also tried to make an anagram out of “rather if” and, no, Manders you are not alone in feeling hesitant about mixing with people.

    3. Hesitancy entirely understandable & probably sensible for the time being. Me too with the rather if blind anagram blind alley……

    4. Manders
      I too have had both jabs but still get a little irritated when people do not keep the 2 metres. For me I don’t know how long it will take.
      I keep telling myself Covid is, for me now like ‘flu. I am going to have to have a jab every year but if I get it I am likely to feel like I do if I get flu but it is unlikely to be fatal. I never thought about distancing in respect of ‘flu so why now should I for Covid? Still get the feeling though. There’s nowt so queer as folk as Mum said.

    5. We had our second shots in February, but it hasn’t changed our habits, still masking and social distancing. It’s going to take time before we can relax I think. We’re still not permitted to play team bocce, so I guess when that restriction is lifted we will feel more at ease.

      1. Like all of you I too am hesitant about mixing even though I’ve had both jabs some weeks ago. Why do people think that hanging a mask below their nose is ok? Today’s offering has some difficult clues. Thanks to the kiwis & setter. Lots of good wishes to HM on what is a sad time for her.

  19. I agree that this did not feel like Jay. Not only that, I struggled with it so enjoyment was diminished somewhat. I agree with MalcolmR that 26a is a horrible word and I cannot for the life of me parse 11a. No stand out favourites for me although I did like 5a.

    Thanks to whomsoever the setter is and many thanks to the 2 Kiwis for the hints.

    1. Steve, re 11a I can’t see your problem?
      A synonym of (a) touch as in a small amount plus the final letter of judges giving an imformal name for sunglasses.

      1. Ah, I put the last letter of “judges” at the front! I then couldn’t see what the abode of the devil had to do with it.

        1. Steve
          Did you solve it before you had any checkers like we had to? Humble souls like me spent silly time just staring at 9 blanks waiting for some sort of divine inspiration.
          Why it came to me as I started to doze off I don’t know.
          Lovely sunny day here so off for 5 mile beach walk with Bigsey if we can get in the car park.

          1. Strangely enough, LROK it came to me immediately. I think it’s because of the post grad marking I do. The APA referencing system is used by the university and it states that when a citation is within brackets the conjunction is “&” but when it is in the main body of the text it is “and”. Delegates are always mixing the two up and I spend a lot of time correcting them. It is a short step from “conjunction” to “joiner, I suppose.

            Not such a good day here but Huds has had his walk. Unfortunately, the farmers have ploughed the fields right up to the hedgerows leaving no track to walk on.

  20. Found this one tough even for a Jay (if it was). Had heard of 18d but didn’t really know meaning so had Mr Wiki to help. 80% took ** time then last 4 clues took another * on their own.
    Satisfying solve but lacking a lot of fun for me. LOI was 11a which I associate only with sunglasses so a stretch for me.
    Nothing stood out so no COTD.
    Thanks to setter and the two K’s. Glad normality is returning – your “abnormal” seems to have been much more “normal” than ours has been. However as they say in sport – you make your own luck.

  21. South came first. 5a a touch (or is it a shade?) too clever. 5d surely that kind of crackers is US word. 18d new to me. My Fav 14a. Will be interested to know who setter was as wavelength was hard to locate but eventually there was fun to be had. Thank you Mysteron and 2Kiwis.

      1. Touché Greta but apart from that I have to admit it wasn’t until I lived for a while in US that I heard other biscuits for cheese (e.g. water biscuits, Bath Olivers, etc.) referred to as crackers and indeed sweet biscuits known as cookies.

        1. Ooh – Bath Olivers – love them. Unfortunately in our family a ‘Bath Oliver’ ended up having a new meaning when my eldest nephew was called Oliver!

    1. We always have crackers with our cheese and we are not in the US. Cream Crackers, snack crackers, cheese crackers, savoury crackers. We are all crackers here. I must admit on first visit to USA Graham Crackers was a new one.

  22. 11 ac did for me but nothing wrong with the clue. Overall a good crossword that stretched the grey matter, but I kept on thinking “is this Jay?”.

    Thanks to setter and 2Ks.

  23. Having struggled yesterday this was a much steadier solve, with plenty to like.
    I nearly gave up on 11a but it finally came to me.
    Favourites are 5a, and the double-header of 18d and 20d.
    Thanks to the setter and the Kiwis whose hints I needed to understand 12a

  24. 18d…ternary! New word for me! Otherwise**/*** but it took a while!
    Yesterday’s puzzle I could not access… big Dave site not trusted. Anyne else have any problems?

    1. Welcome to the blog

      If you read the comments posted yesterday evening, you will see that there was a problem with the blog’s host site

    2. BD’s (Big Dave’s) site is always trusted as far as I’m concerned! Just occasionally it has a little hiccough that’s all and it’s certainly not his fault.

  25. A rather enjoyable lunchtime puzzle, with thanks to the setter whether or not it was Jay, and to 2Ks for the review.

    A fine mixture of technical clues, smooth surface reads and plenty of penny-dropping moments. As with most who have commented, 18d was my LOI. A number of ticks afterwards, so it’s difficult to pick a favourite – 14 & 19a, 2, 8 and 15d are all up there, but I think 25a for the polish and smooth read.

    2* / 3*

  26. Despite the expectation that this was to be harder today I found this to be 1.5*/**** Needed a couple of hints in the SW but other than that went smoothly. Clues of note 14a, 27a, 5d, 8d, 18d & 22d with 5d winner followed by 8d

    Thanks to setter and 2K’s

  27. Methinks this was intended for a Toughie slot, and definitely didn’t feel like a Jay today. I agree that 26a is an awful word, never heard of 18d, 27a just doesn’t work on so many fronts, and overall just made me quite grumpy. Happy Birthday to Her Majesty, Big Dave and our cousin in Winnersh. The latter has asked for fish and chips for his birthday dinner, and just wish we could nip over and share it with him. Thanks to 2Kiwis for much needed hints.

  28. A ** for me for both difficulty and enjoyment. 5 and 17d get honourable mentions from me. 18d was very clever but then with passive vocabulary words it’s not too difficult to find interesting ways to clue them.

    Thanks to the 2Ks and the setter.

  29. I obviously don’t know whether this was a Jay or not, any more than anyone else does – maybe the Wednesday a little while ago when it wasn’t has just made us all a bit suspicious.
    I also found this one quite tricky, specially 11a like lots of you.
    I got into a terrible pickle with 17d (dim) and managed to convince myself that the first word of the 25a anagram had to be ‘false’ which didn’t help anything at all.
    Right – that’s probably enough from me – no particular favourite but generally enjoyable, if tricky.
    Thanks to whoever did set this one and to the 2K’s.

  30. Morning all.
    Happy Birthday wishes to HM and of course BD.
    We notice that we still have not had a setter popping in to either claim or deny authorship of this puzzle. Maybe it will remain a mystery but it is nice to know.
    Still pondering why it took us so long to get the wordplay for 27a as we did know the usual UK pronunciation of GEYSER. We had even thought that there might have been an omission in the clue and it should have read “Blokes are reportedly producing natural water features (6)” . That would have worked for us as a homophone of GUYS ARE.
    All part of the fun of solving cryptic crosswords.

    1. I too remembered that the English pronounce geyser incorrectly! But that goes for lots of words!

      1. However the English pronounce words has to be correct, the clue is in the name ENGLISH.

      2. I am afraid you have that the wrong way round although I suspect (hope) you are teasing.

  31. I was stuck on two today. My brain just couldn’t unscramble 25a, so I had to use an anagram solver. I couldn’t parse 2d, but bunged in the correct answer then read the review for the explanation. The rest of the puzzle was quite fair. Thank you setter and the 2Ks. Many Happy Returns to Her Majesty, and Happy Birthday BD.

  32. Jay or not, this crossword hit the spot for my part.
    Just the right level of difficulty and some nice PDMs.
    Thanks to the setter and to 2 Kiwis for the review.
    Happy birthday to HM, BD, Libellule and Andie McDowell.

  33. It doesn’t affect the answer to 9d but the plural of “Consortium” is “Consortia”.

    1. Welcome to the blog Pedant.
      We agree with you, however BRB does give the …iums plural as a Nth American alternative.

      1. Thanks – that’s fine. But I am an Englishman who knows a bit of Latin and not a North American!

        Best wishes.


  34. Like yesterday’s, I found this very tricky and couldn’t be bothered to finish. I love Jay’s crosswords so I’ll bet my bottom dollar this isn’t him. What’s happened to the crossword this week? Last week’s were all top quality but these last two have been complete duds. ****/*

  35. There I was whizzing through this at a rate of knots until I came to a dead halt. Okay 11a just needed to be looked at in the right way and I could sort of see the parsing for 1d but I couldn’t see checks in 11a for the life of me so bunged it in anyway, it rather spoiled, for me, a rather nice crossword as I like to justify the answers at least to myself. Never heard of 18d, who has? I had the answer from the clue but dismissed it as it seemed to be a non-word until I Googled it. Well there you go. Best clue 5a. Thanks to the setter and 2K’s.

  36. Favourites 5 14 and 21a. Last one in 11a having considered all manner of drinking glasses before the penny dropped. Solved 10a but not sure why as had not thought to remove the usual detective from the answer. Solved without aids even for 18d which had to be what it was but was tedious. Not a lot to lighten the mood yesterday but do not think it is a Jay.

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