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DT 29669

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 29669

Hints and tips by Deep Threat

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

Good morning from South Staffs on a sunny May morning.

I found that a certain amount of lateral thinking was needed to get on our setter’s wavelength this morning. It will be interesting to see what others think.

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           Cool quality of most aircraft wings? (14)
UNFLAPPABILITY – Cryptic definition. This could be said to be what characterises aircraft wings, by contrast with birds’ wings.

9a           Twisting in Bengali’s net, unusual thing for eating (7)
UTENSIL – Hidden in reverse (twisting) in the clue.

10a         Had a tramp cooked up drug taken by old rocker? (7)
TRUDGED – Anagram (cooked up) of DRUG, inserted into a 1950s youth gang.

11a         Maybe steak-and-kidneys and veg on the counter (4)
PUDS – The definition here is straightforward enough – the short form of the word for some examples of a dish involving steak and kidney. I think the wordplay is intended to say that if you reverse the answer you get a vegetable which would go with them, but that does not work.


12a         Shattering exercises to unwind (10)
STRAIGHTEN – Anagram (exercises) of SHATTERING.

14a         Check about mother’s stay (6)
REMAIN – The check you may use to control a horse, wrapped round a short word for mother.

15a         Funds for the old writer, one being housed by offspring (8)
PENSIONS – A device used for writing, followed by some (male) offspring wrapped round the Roman numeral for one.

17a         Changed sides and caught foxtrot instead of tango (8)
DEFECTED – To get this word for ‘changed political allegiance’ we start with a word which could men ‘caught’ by the CID, then replace one example of the letter represented by Tango in the Nato alphabet with with the letter represented by Foxtrot.

18a         Straightforward command (6)
DIRECT – Double definition, the first an adjective, the second a verb.

21a         Recognition of pupil a Tory arranged (10)
POPULARITY – Anagram (arranged) of PUPIL A TORY.

22a         Look after husband’s personal growth (4)
HAIR – An abbreviation for Husband followed by a look or mien, giving us something that many of us had far too much of as a result of lockdown.

24a         Some deliveries friend sent back come together (7)
OVERLAP – A set of cricketing deliveries, followed by the reverse (sent back) of a word for ‘friend’.

25a         Figure hoarding 1,000 diamonds gets stabbed (7)
PRICKED – The figure a trader is asking for is wrapped round an abbreviation for 1,000, and followed by an abbreviation for the diamond suit in a pack of cards.

26a         Unfortunately HR miscast comedians — they’re employed only once a year (9,5)
CHRISTMAS CARDS – Anagram (unfortunately) of HR MISCAST, followed by another word for comedians or witty people, giving us a seasonal product.

Christmas cards and reciprocity: What it means for brands


1d           Mum’s curry — poetry on occasion, one assumes! (7)
USURPER – Alternate letters (on occasion) of the first three words of the clue, giving us someone who assumes a position of power he or she is not entitled to.

2d           Right to be utterly liberated? (7,2,6)
FREEDOM OF SPEECH – Cryptic definition involving a play on the meanings of ‘utter’, so that ‘utterly liberated’ becomes ‘liberated in uttering’.

3d           A majority of capital raised in addition  (4)
ALSO – A (from the clue) followed by the reverse (raised) of a European capital city minus its last letter (majority).

4d           Royal house — time for Charlie to show appreciation? (6)
PALATE – Start with a place where a king or queen might live, then replace the letter represented by Charlie in the NATO alphabet with an abbreviation for Time, giving us an appreciation of, for example, fine wine.

5d           Grass and booze covering food carrier (8)
BETRAYER – An alcoholic drink wrapped round what you use to carry food away from a cafeteria counter, giving us what someone who is a grass in criminal slang is acting as.

6d           Lie about going to clubs perhaps in smart gear (6,4)
LOUNGE SUIT – Another word for ‘lie about’ or ‘relax’, followed by what clubs, diamonds, hearts or spades can be described as.

Hadley Lounge Suit - Suit Hire TDR Menswear Birmingham

7d           Drunk guy maybe, pedestrian performer who looks about to drop off? (9,6)
TIGHTROPE WALKER – Put together another word for ‘drunk’, the sort of guy which holds your tent up, and another word for a pedestrian.

8d           Heart-throb‘s song and dance go wrong, getting upset (6)
ADONIS – Another word for ‘song and dance’ or ‘fuss and bother’, followed by the reverse (getting upset) of ‘go (morally) wrong’.

13d         Cut a plant, they say it’s tasty (10)
PICCALILLI – This word for a pickle or relish sounds like a phrase (4,1,4) for ‘cut a (flowering) plant)’. Mustard and cauliflower are usually involved.

piccalilli | George Cusick, taxi driver, driving instructor, student.

16d         Doddering eccentric, pierced and tattooed (head only) (8)
DECREPIT – Anagram (eccentric) of PIERCED, followed by the first letter (head only) of Tattooed.

17d         Having forgotten odd bits of Byron, lip-reads, inverting order (6)
DEPLOY – Alternate letters (having forgotten odd bits of) BYrOn LiP-rEaDs, read from right to left (inverting).

19d         Lectures this person’s held in markets (7)
TIRADES – A pronoun for ‘this person’ inserted into some markets or deals.

20d         Increased touring to Italy, a paradise (6)
UTOPIA – A word for ‘increased’ is wrapped round TO (from the clue), then followed by the IVR code for Italy and A (from the clue).

23d         Musical item is set in Washington (4)
DISC – IS (from the clue) inserted into the letters found after ‘Washington’ when referring to the US capital.

The Quick Crossword pun MARX + SANDS + PARKS = MARKS AND SPARKS. Overseas solvers may need to know that this is a familiar corruption of the name of a chain of stores

72 comments on “DT 29669

  1. Excellent puzzle, not one for the purists I suspect, with some less than smooth surface reads but great fun nonetheless.
    I had to work slightly harder in the East than West but about average difficulty for a Friday.
    A plethora of podium contenders, highlights for me were 10&22a plus 6,13&16d (great word) but top spot goes to 7d…brilliant!
    Many thanks to the setter (if be surprised if it wasn’t Zandio) and DT for the entertainment

      1. It does actually, by moving the s from the back to the front you fit the Counter part of the clue

        1. I’m with DT, I think it is an error, counter usually means backwards. “Counter-clockwise”.

        2. It doesn’t work Bob as “on the counter” is a reversal indicator. Don’t take it from me, the compiler himself has admitted such at comment 22.

  2. I will have to admit to a single failure. 13d was never a resident in my store-cupboard. In fact, I thought it was quite revolting. Each to their own.

    COTD for me is the Quickie pun, but a podium must go to 12a for a 10 letter anagram.

    Thanks to the setter and DT.

  3. Good fun, with the long entries providing handy starting points. My favourite is 13D’s plant cutting (another food answer — maybe that’s all it takes for me to like a clue?).

    Thank you to the setter (Zandio?), and to Deep Threat for explaining a couple I hadn’t quite worked out: I’m so bad at seeing anagrams that I hadn’t spotted that “shattering” contains all the same letters as 12A even once I had the answer!

    Have a good weekend, everybody. Here in West Yorkshire we now have a mayor for the first time, but we won’t find out who it is till Sunday.

  4. 2*/4.5*. I found this to be a very enjoyable but not too difficult puzzle, which bears the hallmarks of Zandio including a few slightly strange surfaces.

    As DT says, I don’t think 11a works as “on the counter” doesn’t mean cycling.

    With lots of excellent clues to pick from, my favourite was 7d.

    Many thanks to Zandio and to DT.

  5. It was good to finish this but its indirect clueing made electronic help far too essential with what checkers I had managed. Some good clueing but many far too obtuse for me. Of the ones I solved before taking to electronics 26a and 2d deserve honourable mentions.

    Good to see, if weather forecasts are correct, that from Saturday night we can be free of frost making sowing and planting out worthwhile. Vegetables are going to be in short supply this year I would think.

  6. Very enjoyable puzzle – thanks to setter and Deep Threat.
    The only way I can get 11a to work is to take ‘on the counter’ to mean ‘going anticlockwise’ starting at the last letter but that’s a bit of a stretch.
    My ticks went to 6d, 7d and 13d.

  7. No problem down south but a bit of head scratching up north. Matters not helped by my usual disregard for the wordplay which led to initially not swapping out the C for the T at 4d & bunging in the wrong synonym for 10a (anyone else go for the rockers who sang Wild Thing?). Once corrected that left 1a&d with the across only solved once the fairly obvious wordplay device in the down dawned on me. Other than 11a, which I don’t understand at all, all correctly parsed. Another vote for 7d as pick of bunch & a note to self to buy a jar of 13d which I’m partial to & haven’t had in a while. A nice end to the week & very enjoyable.
    Thanks to the setter (agree Zandio probably) & DT.
    PS a rather nice Brendan in the Graun for those wanting more but, like me, daunted at the prospect of facing the rigours of Elgar.

    1. Never without 13 down. Often homemade. Piled onto a cheese and warm homegrown beetroot sandwich is heavenly. Keep some nice cider handy to wash it down

      1. The sandwich sounds delicious, but I would have to be blindfolded as the juxtaposition of the acid yellow and the vivid beetroot would conjure up a particularly livid bruise, if not other biological images best not described.

          1. Oh, please! I remember mince and pasta, mud and worms. Children are such savages.

            1. Yes, we were little horrors. I remember that Garibaldis were ‘dead fly biscuits’.

    2. Whilst I can’t stand 13d, I do agree that the Brendan in the Graun is well worth a solve

  8. Tough puzzle today. Managed to finish but failed to understand fully quite a number of clues. Some very stretched synonyms and over complex clues. Not one for me I’m afraid, very little fun just a bit of a slog. Been a bit of a curates egg week, the first 3 were excellent but yesterdays and today very much less so. This one in particular should have been saved for a Toughie.
    Thx for the hints

    1. No idea who the setter is but the Quickie has got some pretty dreadful clues as well as in Desert’=‘Sands’

  9. Yes, if ‘on the counter’ means counterclockwise, 11a can work. It was my LOI. Earlier, the NE held me up for some time, especially those fine duds in 6d, but once I unravelled 12a, the logjam finally broke–but by then, I was already into **** time. Nonetheless, I really enjoyed the challenge, and thought that this was the week’s toughest and best of the Cryptics, but with some terrific solutions: 1a, 7d, 21a, 13d, 17d, and 23d. Thanks to DT and today’s setter. **** / *****

  10. If it is Zandio, that explains why I found it hard going, but, surprisingly not such a slog as most of his puzzles (3*/3*). I got great satisfaction out of managing to finish it unaided, albeit with a few that I couldn’t parse, but it wasn’t necessarily enjoyable. There were some good clues. 1a was a good cryptic definition, the anahram at 12a had great misdirection, whilst the lego ckue at 7d was well done but COTD for me was the reverse lurker at 9a. Thanks to DT for the hints and to the compiler (Zandio?).

  11. This ***/*** offering was great fun with the NE proving to be the most time consuming and 5d being my last one in. Being an aviator I cringed slightly at the solution to 1a since of course they are and need to be otherwise they would snap off in turbulence! My COTD was 13d which made me laugh and 8d was very clever. Thanks to Deep Threat and the setter.

  12. Thoroughly enjoyed this one and agree that the surface reads would suggest Zandio although the humour points me in a rather different direction.
    Plenty to consider for the podium but I’ve settled for 1a + 2&13d.

    Thanks to our setter for the fun and to DT for the review and the snippets of G&S.

  13. Workmanlike solve, dithered at times.
    13d made me laugh. Thought 7d brilliant clue.
    So, ***/*****.
    Many thanks to the setter and to DT for the review.

  14. Like a legendary football match, another puzzle of ‘two halves’ – not too many problems in the South but quite a few problems in the North – ***/***.

    Candidates for favourite – 2d, 13d, and the QP – and the winner is the QP!

    Thanks to the setter, I wonder if today’s will unmask her or his self, and to DT.

  15. A lot of lateral thinking required. ***/** Thanks for the explanation of 25a. It had to be but I couldn’t get the order of why right. 11a is still a bit of a mystery. Some good theories offered but none really work to me. The north east took the most time and I spent too long working out why the answers were indeed the answers – 22a is a bit iffy – for it to have been a particularly enjoyable exercise. Favourite 7d. Thanks to all.

  16. Oh you clever people! I found this really tough and had to use your help above a lot.

    1. You’ve changed your ‘proper name’ for an alias

      Both should work from now on

  17. I needed help with three clues so my run of unaided solves has come to an end. Nevertheless, a thoroughly enjoyable challenge with a lot of head scratching. As far as 11a is concerned , I took “on the counter” to mean the vegetable was reversed. With 26a, I had the first word immediately but the second eluded me for ages for some unknown reason. I had the second word in 7d as “dancer”, which threw me off track for a while. I cannot see what the answer to 4d has to do with appreciation because the word has always meant something else to me having been a dentist. Plenty of good clues such as 1a, 2d and 6d but my absolute favourite and COTD is 13d.

    Many thanks to the setter and to DT.

    The Quickie pun was good.

  18. Well, yes and no……..
    Some of the clues were fun; 1a made me laugh, a bit like a cartoon Jumbo-pigeon trying valiantly to take off.
    12a was a good anagram I think we’ve seen before.
    Some were a bit annoying, but I think the counterclockwise 11 can also work clockwise, if you write the letters like the proverbial clock with P at 12, U at 3, and so on. Then you start spelling from 9 o clock…….yes, a terrific waste of intellectual energy.
    I did once perform in Utopia Ltd as one of the saronged and garlanded ones. I cannot learn G&S lyrics, or deliver them, especially at that speed, so I tend to give up and write them on the back of a fan, or similar.
    Thanks to DT for 3 or 4 hints on the East Side and to our setter for a bit of a slog.

  19. 7d was my clear favourite from this hugely entertaining and rewarding puzzle. I made slightly harder work of it than necessary looking for harder answers than I actually needed to complete the grid. In the end it proved to be straightforward enough with just that pesky 11a sticking out like a sore thumb.

    My thanks to Zandio, if it is indeed one of yours, and to DT.

  20. I wasn’t getting very far with this one but I put it down while I hung out my first load of washing, and when I returned, everything gradually fell into place

    My favourite has to be 10a because my friend and I are so fed up of going on one of two walks every day for over a year, that we now refer to them as a trudge, plod or similar (we are gradually working through a list of synonyms)

    Thanks to the setter (I too thought Zandio) and to DT

  21. Hello all, compiler here. Oh dear, sorry about 11a. I wish I could say it was cunningly cycled but it was supposed to be a reversal. I’ll get my coat. Have a good weekend.

    1. I actually saw nothing wrong with 11a, Zandio but I seem to be in the minority. I had more of a problem with 22a. Great puzzle, though so many thanks to you and for dropping in.

      1. Thanks for letting us know, Zandio. I thought it was just me being even denser than usual.

    2. Thanks for dropping Zandio and “owning” your error, (some might say howler!) at 11a, needless to say it didn’t compromise the overall enjoyment of the puzzle, which was great fun.

        1. I have to confess I didn’t notice it wasn’t spud backwards I just put it in and never looked at it again until I read the blog. Bottom of the class for me then.

    3. Thanks for the great puzzle, Zandio. Even with the gaffe at 11a, I gave you 5 ***** for enjoyment, though it took me 4 **** to finish. And thanks for dropping by and apologising; it takes integrity to do so.

  22. I started the crossword very early this morning but had to break away to go for my second vaccination. No drama to match the first jab, and all was relatively efficient and friendly.
    I had left the crossword with the Northumberland area unfilled and when I returned I cracked 10a and then could see the obvious with 8d which was the last one to go in. I, too, am perplexed by 11a.

    Thus, with the excuse of the vaccine, I am now able to slouch on the sofa all afternoon.

    Today’s crossword soundtrack (in two bites) Paul McCartney – Paul Is Live

    Thanks to the setter and DT.

  23. 4 “whys” for me (thank goodness for this site!) but nevertheless a very enjoyable work out. Now that Zandio’s revealed him- or herself it all makes perfect sense! Thank you all!

  24. Oh my goodness that was hard work Zandio! We managed it after an enormous amount of sideways thinking and some ‘it’s got to be but I don’t know why’s. Some really brilliant clues and some very hard to winkle out. All this talk about 11a – I must go back and read your hints DT because I think I may be wrong!

  25. An interesting and entertaining puzzle. Solved nothing until 14a and thought it was going to be a stinker. Then the first word of 2d, followed in short order by the rest.13d and 7d my favourites. OK some of the synonyms were a bit tricksy but this is crosswordland. I did not particularly like 1a as most if not all plane wings have flaps. **/****

  26. Bit late on the puzzle today as putting together a boxed patio heater,needless to say the instructions were pathetic and some of the screws were ‘welded ‘to the framework and took ages to free-after this the crossword was a release.
    On scanning the NW corner nothing much happened so I tried the shotgun approach and gradually all fell into place.
    Some tricky parsing and excellent cluing ,ended up with last in 26 which I thought was 5/9 not 9/5 which did not help, must be my high stress levels, never mind liked so many clues and favourite ,as per Jane, was13d followed by 1a must have taken Zandio ages to come up with the surface.
    Cracking Quicky Pun and thanks to DT for the pics-going to save Elgar for another day.

  27. I found this tricky and straightforward in equal measure, about right for a Friday then. Favourite was the anagram of the week 12a. Thanks to Zandio and DT.

  28. Another head scratcher but got there in the end. 9a stumped me for ages as I was looking for some kind of food, silly me. Have just watched this poor man reverse the entire length of our lane in a gigantic lorry to deliver our parcel as he couldn’t turn into our lane from the other end. Amazing driving as he only had about a foot to spare on each side. It was so tortuous I offered him a whisky but he accepted a cup of strong coffee. I hope my neighbour doesn’t spot that he is missing a number of branches off his tree. Thanks to Zandio and DT.

  29. My son has piano lesson on Fridays so I have to wait in the van for an hour. Light bulb. Do the x word while I wait listening to stevie ray Vaughn. Oh dear, only got 26a. I knew Byron was alternate but still didn’t get it.
    Just when you think you are getting the hang of it, one like this is printed. Respect to Dave.

  30. I don’t know if I was just having a good day, but I found this puzzle quite easy, having not been able to finish yesterday’s. It was very satisfying to pop in the last solution on a Friday puzzle! Not something I do very often…

  31. I did 3/4 of it ok, which is pretty good for me but took a couple of wrong turns so north east corner and 25a defeated me. 7d my cotd though i didn’t get it until i looked at the hints. Never mind, thanks to the setter, and to deep threat – and i learned a few new ( to me) conventions and tricks. Great to see someone suggest this should be a toughie, made me feel i should have a go at them occasionally 😀

  32. I’ll admit I found this difficult. I struggled unsuccessfully with the Elgar Toughie this morning. Such a waste of time, I’m never on his wavelength but hope springs eternal.
    I therefore expected this to be a doddle when I picked it up this afternoon and was sadly disappointed. Obviously my glass of wine, which I enjoyed with lunch sitting outside at the local pub, was a glass too far!

  33. This entertaining puzzle was full of great clues (too numerous to list) but several needed some assistance to solve but then d’ohs followed. Struggled trying to account for veg in 11a so good to have your comment Zandio – editing oversight? Thank you Zandio and DT.

  34. A good workout for the little grey cells. Took ages to work out 1a as I put ‘potlager’ in as 5d, fits all checkers bar the first and makes sense from the clue.

    Thanks to Zandio and DT

  35. Anyone else having problems getting the puzzles to work on the iPad? This is the second day I have not been able to get onto them. Just a blank page ! Very frustrating! Can anybody suggest what I can do. I have reloaded the app but that did not work.

  36. Another much like yesterday for me. A number of clues that had very stretched synonyms and a lot of overly complex clues. Not a good solve today 3.5*/*** Solved top to bottom in two sittings. Candidates for favourites include 1a (that came to me as I puzzled about it on the dog walk early this morning), 10a, 28a, 5d & 23d with 1a being the winner with 28a runner up.
    11a, 16a & 22a all made me smile as I got them.

    Thanks to Zandio &DT

  37. Oh dear, oh dear! Not a hope – there’s nothing wrong with the crossword – it’s just me.
    Thanks to Zandio and respect to anyone who managed this, specially to DT who not only managed it but did hints too.

    1. I agree with you, Kath. It never ceases to amaze me that our esteemed bloggers, yourself included, can solve every puzzle and then write the hints within what seems to be a few hours. I can only wonder at such expertise.
      We are all extremely grateful that they can do so.

  38. I’ve come to this late today and have a different clue for 11a but still can’t make it quite work :(

    1. Oooh, well spotted, Alison. For the benefit of anybody else who only has the original clue, 11A on The Telegraph Puzzles website has been updated to read: “Maybe steak-and-kidneys and veg, seconds coming at the end (4)”

      In terms of making it work, take the 4-letter vegetable (the clue cleverly using “veg” to mask the difference between “vegetable” and “vegetables”) and move the letter that is also the abbreviation for seconds (as in the unit of time, not second helpings) to the end of the word.

  39. Didn’t get to this until lunch time, by which time I’m so filled with anticipation of doing the puzzle, that it is a big let down when I can’t. Can’t do it unaided I mean. Couldn’t get on wavelength. Again. Not helped by the non reversal at 11a, forgetting about those 6d suits, and 4d threw me. Was convinced I had printed the Toughie by mistake. Ho hum. Fingers crossed for a better result tomorrow. Thanks to Zandio and Deep Threat.

  40. Completed alone and unaided but needed help with a lot of the parsings.
    Bit of a slog for me today I’m afraid.
    Thanks to DT and to Zandio

  41. I also had a problem with 11a as Steak and Kidney are PIES not puddings from where I come from!

    1. Surely original was/is boiled steak and kidney in suet pastry i.e. pudding?

  42. Initially hated it because l couldn’t get round the setter’s mindset, then got a bit of a head of steam with 7D but overall it drove me demented. I could retrofit the answers for a few – eg Adonis and Utopia – but not from the tortuous clue setting.

  43. As CS, I left the half filled grid last night as I came to a standstill and the rest fell in this morning.
    Noticed something was wrong with 11a and glad the matter has been now sorted.
    Lovely charade in 7d.
    Thanks to Zandio and to DT.

  44. Got there – except 11a wouldn’t parse hence dropping in to find out where counter came in. Very good of Zandio to explain. Much appreciated.

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