DT 29661 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 29661

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 29661

Hints and tips by 2Kiwis

BD Rating – Difficulty ** Enjoyment ****

Kia ora from Aotearoa.

It has been a busy week in NZ. School holidays as well as Anzac Day commemorations. We have had several visits from most of our family and two of our granddaughters brought a whole bunch of their friends to spend a night in our bach. Lovely to see them all.

Really enjoyed solving this one which was right at the top of our 2** difficulty range.

Please leave a comment telling us how you got on.


1a     Drink gallon where plastered member might be? (3,5)
GIN SLING : The abbreviation for gallon and a 2,5 phrase indicating where a recuperating arm (member) might be found.

5a     Commentator’s spotted a spinner? (6)
SPIDER : A homophone (indicated by commentator’s) of spotted or ‘saw a’.

9a     Character suffered in flight (8)
AIRBORNE : Character or mien, and then suffered or put up with.

10a    Put on stone — no spring chicken! (6)
STAGED : St(one) and ‘no spring chicken’ or ‘past ones best-by date’.

12a     Professional put through paces showed dissent (9)
PROTESTED : The three letter short form of professional and then a word meaning put through paces or ‘checked out’.

13a     Girl in wicked love head over heels? (5)
OLIVE : Reading from right to left (head over heels) we have wicked or sinful, and the tennis score love.

14a     Bottomless river with source in Pennines (4)
DEEP : The fourth alphabetically named river and then the first letter of Pennines.

16a     Butcher came with the broad-bladed knife (7)
MACHETE : An anagram (butcher) of CAME and THE.

19a     Creature, two miles in, breaking limb (7)
LEMMING : A lower limb surrounds M(iles), M(iles), and ‘in’ from the clue.

21a     Quick mole devouring rook (4)
SPRY : A mole working for MI6 perhaps and the chess notation for rook.

24a     Corn one put in puzzling place (5)
MAIZE : A puzzling place like the famous one at Hampton Court contains the Roman numeral one.

25a     Lively arena band gives Indian accompaniment (4,5)
NAAN BREAD : An anagram (lively) of ARENA BAND.

27a     Stand being overdrawn after voyage (6)
TRIPOD : A voyage or journey and then the two letters on your bank statement when you are in the red.

28a     Female in metallic fabric not good for ex (3,5)
OLD FLAME : A 4,4 glittery metallic fabric loses G(ood) from the beginning and this surrounds F(emale).

29a     Announced wrong charge for structure of sentence? (6)
SYNTAX : A homophone (announced) of a wrong or indiscretion and then a charge made by a governing body.

30a     Hollow tree in southeast is plane (8)
SPITFIRE : A hollow or depression and an evergreen tree are enclosed by the abbreviation for southeast.


1d     Doctor accepting blame needs a brandy (6)
GRAPPA : A doctor in general practice encloses blame or responsibility and finally ‘A’ from the clue.

2d     Slender point on missile (6)
NARROW : One of the cardinal compass points and then a missile fired with a bow.

3d     Jazzy solo with echo not tight (5)
LOOSE : An anagram (jazzy) of SOLO and the phonetic alphabet echo letter.

4d     New on street, work without break (3-4)
NON-STOP : String together N(ew), ‘on’ from the clue, St(reet), and an artistic work.

6d     Panda and cat playing with polar bear’s tail (6,3)
PATROL CAR : An anagram (playing) of CAT, POLAR, and the last letter of bear.

7d     Whacked like boxer? (3-5)
DOG-TIRED : This boxer is quadrupedal.

8d     Judge in long grass rescued (8)
REDEEMED : Long grass with a hollow stem contains judge or consider appropriate.

11d     Woman, going topless, man expelled from garden (4)
ADAM : Remove the first letter from a word borrowed from the French for woman.

15d     Brew infused with Australian fruit upset writer (5,4)
EMILE ZOLA : Working from the bottom (upset) we have a three letter alcoholic brew which contains the two letter slang abbreviation for Australian and then a citrus fruit.

17d     Plant in changing climate succeeded (8)
CLEMATIS : An anagram (changing) of CLIMATE plus S(ucceeded).

18d     Lambs bite lions? What’s in their hearts? (8)
AMBITION : An all in one clue. The wordplay comes from the first three words of the clue lacking their first and last letters.

20d     Some climbing on Everest vanished (4)
GONE : A lurker, hiding in the clue.

21d     Order placed in shop — husband missed seafood! (7)
SCALLOP : Another word for order is inside the word ‘shop’ once H(usband) is removed.

22d     Asian one having Geordie friend over? (6)
NEPALI : The geographical area of England associated with Geordie and a three letter friend are on top of (over) Roman numeral one.

23d     Stick lands regularly at this spot (6)
ADHERE : The second and fourth letters of ‘lands’ and a word meaning at this spot.

26d     Be leader in fashion with Italian suit (5)
BEFIT : ‘BE’ from the clue, the first letter of fashion and then the abbreviation for Italian language.

We particularly liked the goings-on in the zoo with 6d.

Quickie pun    knot    +    red    +    harm    =    Notre Dame

71 comments on “DT 29661

  1. This was progressing well until I had about six left, and then it ground to a crawl. Five were eventually teased out of hiding, but I think 9a added a full * to my rating.

    Finally completed in ****/***** time, this was one of the hardest mid-week puzzles I can remember, for me at least. The SW corner was my undoing, not having heard of the writer (insert GK moan here) didn’t help.

    Thanks to the setter (Jay?) and the 2 Ks.

  2. There were some cunning misdirects in today’s puzzle: I led myself astray with Police Car for 6d for a while and was desperate to get Pet or Hen backwards into 22d before seeing the more obvious solution. I also found it tricky to pin down the anagram in 6d. All this palaver nudged me just into *** time. COTD 29a – easy but amusing. A satisfying solve so **** on the happiness scale. Thanks to our setter and hinters

      1. Ape – a post prandial review reveals that our Police Car confession was subsequently offered by many of our peers. I shall sleep easier now for knowing that I may not be the total idiot I originally felt I was. I wonder who the accomplished setter was? Looks like 60/40 Jay odds at present. Will he or she reveal him/herself I wonder? The night is still young………:

        1. I’m a late addition having been taken for a ride in a police car. Never queried it until I could not get the connected clues.

  3. After a couple of weeks where I felt Jay was not at his best, I thoroughly enjoyed today’s challenge. I got off to a sluggish start and there were several that held me up until the penny dropped. I am so pleased I got 18d as I often miss this type of clue and so COTD for me. The NE corner held me up as kept wanting to write in police car for 6d but which was not parsing. Obvious when I finally figured it out. Thanks 2ks for explaining 13a and to Jay for another sterling Wednesday.

  4. Really liked this cracking puzzle, some tricky diverse cluing with top notch charades like 15d,19a ,6d and my favourite 22d which brought a smile, plaudits for the surface of 25a.
    Going for a **/**** as per the 2K’s- thanks for the pics. spot on quickie pun too.

  5. I really didn’t get on with this puzzle. It took me quite a lot of time to finish it and was not all that enjoyable (3*/1*). I had to reverse engineer a lot of clues, three of which I couldn’t parse and had to resort to Danword for one clue. At one point, I almost gave up because it was a bit of a chore but, being stubborn, got there in the end. I can’t believe this is Jay, whose clues are normally so smooth and elegant. Thanks to the Kiwis for some much-needed hints and to the compiler (sorry, it just wasn’t my cup of tea).

    1. I concur, Chrisscross. By the way, I made a late-night comment (on yesterday’s blog), just in case you haven’t seen it. I was all wrapped up in opera togs yesterday!

      1. I read your comment this morning, Robert. I went to bed early yesterday, feeling rather tired, after a busy day. I wasn’t sure about writing a reply in yesterday’s blog and waited for you to comment today. What a fantastic experience. I’m filled with envy. We used to visit Covent Garden and also English National Opera productions often, when I lived in London. I’ve never been lucky enough to meet my idols. We have seen some great opera productions in Oxford, my nearest city, since we moved to Oxfordshire. My husband sang tenor and myself alto in a local choir, and our musical interests turned to performing in the classics, Mozart’s Requiem, Vaughan William’s Sea Symphony with Oxford Symphony Orchestra and massed choir performances of The Messiah and Verdi Requiem at the Royal Albert Hall among others.

  6. I don’t know who set this but I do know that I enjoyed it, thought it was excellent, quirky and cryptic.
    I thought 14a slightly stretched but ticks all over the place including 9,29&30a plus 1,11& 26d.
    Many thanks to the setter for a top notch puzzle and to our friends Down Under.

  7. Another excellent Wednesday puzzle; whether it was by Jay, CL or AN Other it was extremely enjoyable with a good clue mix and some fun to be had along the way. I think 25a just gets my nod for COTD as it read so well.

    Thanks setter, and of course the 2Ks.

  8. 2*/4*. I enjoyed this with the possible exception of 7d, which I thought fell a bit flat. I had a lot of ticks with 29a, 1d, 6d, 11d & 26d fighting it out for podium places.

    Many thanks to the setter and to the 2Ks.

  9. Another Wednesday puzzle that seemed to me rather un-Jaylike, except perhaps for 28a and 1a. The general, expected spark and crispness of a Jay offering just seemed missing to me, though I did enjoy the solve, which I rather breezed through–at one point hoping for a pangram. I noted, however, that the Kiwis awarded 4* for enjoyment, so I must be missing something here. Ah, well, chacun a son gout. Thanks to the Kiwis and Jay (I assume). ** / ***

    One of the best Toughies in a while, I thought–fresh and different.

    1. Hi Robert
      Knowing you are a fan of West Wing, have you seen “The Trial of the Chicago 7” yet?
      Sorkin’s script is brilliant for me. Even though faction if if only 30% true it is not exactly your justice system’s finest hour .
      Also I was very surprised at the acting of Sacha Baron Cohen. That he had a leading part nearly put me off watching as he is not my cup of tea usually.

      1. I replied to your Toughie post to Robert late last night. Thought the script was excellent & SBC’s performance far exceeded my expectations. Frank Langella great, as ever.
        Today’s Toughie will be a stroll in the park for you after mastering that one yesterday.

        1. Hi, Gentlemen. I haven’t had the pleasure of seeing ‘Chicago 7’ yet, but Sorkin usually works wonders, and I look forward to seeing it. SBC has never been a favourite of mine, but I’m always willing to change my mind. A propos of acting excellence in general, I must tell you both that right now Kate Winslet has totally won my heart–and the critics in this country–for her performance as a small-town policewoman in HBO’s ‘Mare of Easttown’ (American TV, Sunday nights). The first two episodes are absolutely brilliant. The best TV I’ve seen in many a moon.

          1. Equally impressed Robert. She’s always good value. Remember being very impressed by her film debut in Peter Jackson’s Heavenly Creatures & thinking she’d do ok. Fair to say she has.

  10. I thought this was a terrific puzzle, best for ages. I also wanted to put police car but as I already had 13a realised it was wrong. Far too many excellent clues to name just one, Having not managed a single Toughie yesterday have so far managed about half today. Thanks to the setter for this enjoyable puzzle and the 2 Kiwis.

  11. Curiously, in view of what some of you have said, I thought this was a very typical Jay puzzle. I’d recently retread “germinal” so the author at 15d came easily to me although I did need the hints to understand the reasoning, so thank you for that. A good mixture of clues. **/**** Favourite, my last one in, 29a. Thank to all.

  12. About normal Wednesday standard for me. Can’t tell a Zandio from an X-type so could be anyone.
    NE corner again gave problems. Like Kiwiman had “police car” spent too much time trying to justify the middle Inside “polar”. When the penny dropped the rest fell into place quite quickly.
    Finished up in *** time with *** enjoyment
    28a gets COTD.
    Thanks to setter and the 2Ks for the review.

  13. That was a fun-time with just enough challenge. I found NE most demanding. Several goodies from which I have selected three acrosses – 1, 5, and 16. Thanks for the entertainment Jay and the 2Kiwis for being there in case of need – I in fact appreciated your explanation of my 13a bung-in which had passed me by. Quickie pun is amusing.

  14. Since his recent Wednesday absence we’re now all doubting whether it is indeed a Jay production & I did too. Tricky in places & not helped by bunging in my first thought at 6d thus delaying 10&13a. Nicely clued throughout with another appearance for the 15d writer. No clear favourite but plenty to like.
    Thanks to Jay (?) & the 2Ks

  15. Lovely puzzle. Fell into place very nicely quarter by quarter. I don’t generally like clues that are authors or poets, but 15d was vaguely in my memory bank and enough direction provided to dredge it up.

    Thanks to today’s setter and the 2Ks.

  16. Just about right for a mid-week challenge – 2.5*/3.5*.

    Candidates for favourite – 1a, 28a, 30a, and 4d – and the winner is 1a, go easy on the ice please.

    Thanks to the setter, like others I am not convinced that this is by Jay, and to the 2Kiwis.

  17. I very much enjoyed this puzzle. It was a solid 2* for me, with a lot of temptation to fill in the answers at the same time or slightly before seeing the why of it…..not exactly bunging. One or two needed working out in reverse, like 5a, 15a and 30a, but they had to be what they were. I didn’t know 1d was classed as a brandy – I assumed it was one of those generic spirit digestives.
    Thanks to the setter and the Kiwi Two.

  18. Put me down as another who couldn’t resist trying to justify ‘police car’ for 6d – no doubt exactly where our setter intended us to falter!
    Unlike RD, I rather smiled at 7d but no stand-out favourite to mention.

    Thanks to Jay (?) and to our 2Ks for the review. Those grandchildren of yours must be very glad that you have the bach!

    1. Jane, thanks so much for the tip of the Vitamin E Cream. I’m putting it on 3 or 4 times a day and it’s certainly making a difference. I don’t think the dent will go away though. A friend has just returned our metal detector and I showed her my ‘wound’. She was horrified at the size of it but I think its looking quite good now – thanks again, what a useful site this is!

      1. I’m glad it’s helping, Manders – I know a few people who have had good results from using it, including my own No.2 daughter. The ‘dent’ should also become less noticeable over time but you may well always have a small reminder of the fateful day.

  19. Found this very difficult and had to resort to the excellent hints of the 2 Kiwis. So there was little enjoyment to be had which was a pity because I think I would have quite a few clues worthy of a mention.

    Many thanks to the 2 Kiwis and the setter.

  20. A good challenge and an enjoyable solve. I thought Jay’s trademark was clues of 7 words or less, so assume this is not him as it contains three 8 word clues.
    5a and 18d get joint COTD from me.
    Thanks to the setter and the Kiwis.

  21. Terrific puzzle – like many others I pencilled ‘police’ in at 6d which left me in handcuffs for a while until I saw the light.

    I overslept this morning, which displeased Lola greatly. She gave me a thousand yard stare as I made her breakfast. A few miaows were heard as she informed me of her displeasure.

    Today’s crossword soundtrack: The Byrds – Fifth Dimension

    Thanks to the setter (is it Jay?) and the two Ks.

  22. I thought this was very difficult.
    My heart always sinks when I see the word ‘character’ in a clue as it can have so many synonyms/alternatives, so 9a defeated me.
    I thought the puzzle was very un-Jay like too, devoid of any humour of which Jay’s puzzles usually abound, so devoid in fact, that it could have been a Giovanni effort.
    Thanks both.

  23. I too was in the police car for a while although it made 10a and 13a impossible. However I suddenly saw the light. I really liked 1a (though it is too early to have one) and 18d as well so it was a pleasant solve for us. 9a was last one in. 30a took some working out! Many thanks to the Kiwis and the setter. I don’t know what has happened to dress sizes, both the dresses I bought yesterday were a size 10. One fits perfectly the other is enormous and I think a 6 would fit. The trousers were a 12. That means I have to flipping well go back and change it, when will we be allowed to try things on again? Moan over it was actually nice to be in a shop and not ordering on line.

      1. Actually I rather hope she gave him the pilchards he’d requested and cooked something far more ‘yummy’ for herself!

    1. Daisy, regarding the pilchards, if I asked Peter what he fancied for dinner he would definitely say baked beans. But I never ask him, and he never asks what’s for dinner. I am lucky in that he is always devours whatever I serve, probably because he can’t cook at all and could spoil frozen peas.

      1. BL
        Everybody who cooks them spoils frozen peas. They should only be used as a cold compress to reduce swelling then re-frozen.

  24. Agree with the 2K ratings, very enjoyable although I assumed that ‘suffered’ meant ‘bound’ for 9a. Thank you Jay and 2Ks

  25. On first review looked hard but I started in SE and progresses through SW and most of NW steadily to NE corner. Yes Police car too. Clues surprisingly straightforward in parts such as 23d and 26d. A really good crossword for somebody getting into cryptic crosswords with such a range of levels and misdirections. Thanks Jay and Kiwis.

  26. I enjoyed this puzzle, although I made it unnecessarily difficult by first falling into the police car trap, had refereed for 8d and wrote 28a answer in 30a. And I’m not a drinker, making 1a and 1d unfamiliar to me. I can’t eat anything spicy, so no Indian food, but I do love 25a. All making moving forward impossible until I succumbed and looked at the hints. LOL at 27a and 29a. Thanks to setter and 2Kiwis.

    Having been offered the choice of downloading the new DT app and linking it to my puzzles subscription, I just wonder if I will still be able to print the crosswords if I do that? That is the sole reason I pay the additional puzzle subscription. Sent a message to DT enquiries but their response says they “are not able to reply to every email”. Perhaps Chris Lancaster can answer this question, if he should happen to see this?

  27. Once again for the second Wednesday this was trickier than normal, I thought. Didn’t seem like a Jay offering. Hard to get going today. SE came first then hit and miss all over the place. **/****. New word for me in 1d and same with the answer to 15d, unheard of.
    1a & 29a made me smile.
    Clues of note include 19a, 21a, 27a, 6d & 7d with winner 19a and 6d runner up.

    Thanks to setter and 2K’s

  28. We all seem to have become suspicious – life was simple enough even for me when we knew that Wednesday = Jay.
    Oh well, whoever set this one I enjoyed it – it did have its moments but generally about average difficulty.
    The ‘police car’ that wasn’t and never could have been held me up as did the 15d author even though he had to be who he was.
    Clues that I particularly appreciated included 1, 28 and 29a and 11 and 18d.
    Thanks to the mysterious setter and to the K’s.
    What a horrible day – really cold and wet – making bread, partly because we need some but mainly to warm up the kitchen!

    1. Don’t complain about the rain, Kath, we are desperate for it here in East Anglia! If it’s going to be cold it might as well rain.

  29. I was breezing my way through this lovely puzzle until I tripped over 15d 😟 ergo ***/**** Favourites we’re 19 & 30a and 18, 22 & 23d big thanks to the 2xKs, especially for their excellent hint for 15d and of course to Jay 🤗

  30. Only got four clues at first pass but quickly got on wavelength. I resisted ‘Police’ for 6d since it wouldn’t parse, but the checkers finally solved it. 18d was my last one in, but once I had got the really clever construction, vote it as my favorite clue. **/****

  31. Finished in good time and enjoyed…for the most part.
    Agree with others in that I’d never heard of the writer at 15D – spoils the enjoyment a tad when you have to resort to search engines to find an answer even if you’ve got all the checking letters.
    No major ‘aha’ moments although my favourite answer was 25A’s anagram…gets my mouth watering thinking about a proper curry back home!
    Thanks as always to the 2Kiwis for the excellent blog ‘n hints, and our mystery setter for the challenge.

  32. Morning all.
    We also had a brief ride in a police car before getting into the correct vehicle for 6d.
    We are pretty sure that this is another Jay puzzle as it ‘felt right’ to us. Seems that we were wrong last week to doubt the authorship too. In the latest Puzzles Newsletter CL has awarded Best Clue of the Week to STILTON from last Wednesday’s puzzle and attributed it to Jay. So, apologies Jay for that and congratulations on getting the award again.
    Cold and frosty here this morning. We even lit the fire for the first time last evening. Winter definitely on the way now.

  33. Took a false trip in the police car which held up that corner but not for want of 18d which I really enjoyed (and it made me smile). Good mid-week challenge but needed your help to be sure about 9a – last one in. Thank you

  34. Very late on parade today because I had to go to Birmingham for an MRI scan. By the time I got back all thoughts of the cryptic had left me, so I have no comment to make. The same could happen tomorrow because I’m having my second cataract op at 8am.

    If I don’t tackle the cryptic in the morning it becomes lost to other things.

  35. Thank you to 2 Kiwis, first time commenting, not sure if this is frowned upon but sure that solution to 28A should incorporate a phrase for ‘not good’ that also means horse with a limp? Big Dave has really accelerated my ability with DT Cryptic which was doing well but progressing slowly since I took a subscription at the start of lockdown.
    Enjoy reading all your comments so thank you to the BD Community!

    1. With regard to 28a, the metallic fabric is GOLD LAME (with an acute accent that we don’t know how to add) so the hobbling horse is not part of the wordplay on this occasion. We have seen other clues where that wordplay has been used though.

  36. An enjoyable and satisfying solve, some cracking clues to crack, lovely constructions. Thought it was going to put up more resistance that it did in the end, with 9a my LOI.

    Ticks afterwards nex to 5a, 13a, 7d and 15d, but the laurels go to the clever and wonderfully crafted 18d, which certainly left me chuckling.

    2*/4*, and many thanks to both Setter and the 2Ks.

  37. An interesting crossword – started out difficult, got a lot easier, then ended up difficult again with the far North clues needing the hints. 18d gets my clue of the day – how does anyone come up with a clue like that?! Thanks to the setter and
    2Ks ***/****

  38. I’m in the “police car and the NE taking twice as long as the rest of the puzzle” camp this evening. Fortunately the snooker was more interesting than the NE corner. Hey ho! Onwards and upwards. Favourite was 25a thanks to the setter and 2K’s

  39. I always enjoy having a go at the daily cryptic crosswords, obviously with help from the hinters and today was no exception, other than I almost completed this one unaided. Hooray! I’ve just had my second jab and had a bit more of a reaction than my first- not a problem as I’m sure that after a couple of days I’ll be back to normal, however my knees seem to have been affected as they’ve been really painful. Has anyone else had a similar experience? I know exactly what DG means about clothes sizes at the moment. Very frustrating. Many thanks to the setter and 2K’s.

    1. Well, well well!
      Looks like we got it wrong once again.
      Thanks Donnybrook for popping in to put us right.

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