DT 29680 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 29680

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 29680

Hints and tips by Miffypops

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty ***  – Enjoyment ***


These flowers were delivered to Merusa yesterday ‘With love from all at Big Dave’s Crossword Blog’ note the Hookah Pipe to the right of the photo which caused Merusa so much embarrassment when she looked it up in Google with an incorrect spelling

Giovanni appears to have wandered off stateside during this puzzle. He has hobnobbed with a pipe smoking outcast from society, worn spats, dodged an alligator in The Gulf of Mexico and rekindled his love of 1980s Rap music. Perhaps that has led to an easier puzzle for us to solve.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a        Unorthodox denomination of revolutionary church in street (4)
SECT: Two abbreviations start us off today, one of which is reversed and sits inside the other. They  are abbreviations of The Church of England and street 

3a        Good impersonators mouthed expressions (5)
GAPES: The abbreviation for good is followed by the plural of a primate, the use of which, as a verb,  is synonymous with copy or mimic

6a        Cut? Listen to expert in the surgery (4)
DOCK: The answer here is a homophone (listen to) of an expert medical practitioner. Actually an abbreviated medical practitioner. Bugs Bunny’s favourite name for any random person

8a        Novel character making one laugh first off — something fruity by Nordic citizen (11,4)
HUCKLEBERRY FINN: This most vivid and wonderful literary character from the American Deep South can be found by removing the first letter from a word meaning to laugh quietly and adding a juicy fruit plus a native of Finland

9a        Window  opener in hospital (6)
LANCET: A double definition. What the expert in 6 across might use to make an incision is also an arched window

10a      Go-between to admire when resolution has been established (8)
MEDIATOR: A rather clever anagram of TO ADMIRE with an unusual indicator (when resolution has been established)

11a      Extra money collected by painter (estimated) (8)
INTEREST: The answer lies hidden within the words of the clue as indicated by the words collected by

13d      Desperate situations increase in Civil Service (6)
CRISES: Place a word synonymous with an increase into the abbreviation for the Civil Service 

15a      It sounds like toothy reptile spat? (6)
GAITER: A shoe or overshoe extending to the ankle or above sounds like an informal noun describing a reptile similar to a crocodile

17a      Happen to regret accompanying space traveller (4,4)
COME TRUE: Split 5,3 a word meaning to regret follows a space traveller, a celestial object consisting of a nucleus of ice and dust and, when near the sun, a ‘tail’ of gas and dust particles pointing away from the sun

19a      Artist in river gets attire to reduce risk of getting soaked (8)
RAINWEAR: A three part charade. A Royal Academician joins the word in which is a gift from the setter. Together they are followed by the name of a river. Which river? The only one that suits the long definition at the end of the clue

21a      Drink litres — our getting drunk without measure of intelligence? (6)
LIQUOR: The abbreviation for litres and a anagram (drunk) of OUR surround the abbreviation for intelligence quotient 

22a      Naughty Adam’s a charmer — ah, terribly, terribly crazy! (3,2,1,5,4)
MAD AS A MARCH HARE: Anagram (naughty) of ADAM’S A CHARMER AH. The definition and the enumeration will be enough for some of our solvers

23a      Pollutes a planet (4)
MARS: A double definition. The second being the only planet with four letters

24a      Agreement to finish early — something to enjoy (5)
TREAT: A formally concluded and ratified agreement between states needs its last letter removing 

25a      A specialist in education is lying (4)
ABED: Begin with the letter A from the clue and add the abbreviation for a bachelor of education



1d        Retirees finally relaxing, making money no more (9)
SCHILLING: The final letter from the word retirees plus a word for relaxing that became popular in the early 1980’s after its use in the song Rappers Delight by Sugarhill Gang and the song Zulu Nation Throwdown by Afrika Bambaataa provide the old Austrian unit of currency. It’s nice to know that Giovanni was once down and dirty with the kids on the street

2d        Clown — crazy person, a fair attraction? (7)
COCONUT: The circus ring name of Nicolai Poliakoff OBE is followed by a word describing a crazy person to reveal an item which may be won at the fair

3d        A big beast stars (5,4)
GREAT BEAR: A synonym for the word big and an ursine animal make the name of a group of stars in the night sky

4d        Appropriate having terrible temper to keep quiet (3-4)
PRE EMPT: An anagram (terrible) of TEMPER surrounds the musical notation for quiet

5d        Bit of rubbish in hut (the tiniest bit) (5)
SHRED: The initial letter of the word rubbish sits inside a hut that you might find in a garden

6d        Pessimistic sort of believer hiding accomplishment (9)
DEFEATIST: One who believes in the existence of a supreme being surrounds an accomplishment or an achievement that requires great courage, skill, or strength

7d        Trick performed brings excuse (7)
CONDONE: Two synonyms are required here. One for trick and one for performed

12d      New sensation for Europeans (9)

13d      Firm understood to be sacking leader colluding in crime (9)
COMPLICIT: The short word for a firm or company is followed by a word meaning understood or suggested but not directly expressed minus its first letter (sacking leader)

14d      Leader making a sharp point (9)
SPEARHEAD: This leader split 5,4 might describe the pointed end of an ancient weapon

16d      A learner meeting a couple of graduates somewhere in America (7)
ALABAMA: 1. The letter A from the clue. 2. The abbreviation for learner. 3 The letter A from the clue 4 a Bachelor of Arts 5 A Master of Arts

17d      My herb in a floral arrangement (7)
CORSAGE: A three-letter word meaning my or blimey is followed by a culinary herb often used with thyme to flavour a stuffing mix

18d      What’s good in a crumble? Nonsense! (7)
RHUBARB: The thick reddish or green leaf stalks of a cultivated plant of the dock family, which are eaten as a fruit after cooking and which I detest with a passion is also a noun meaning very simply, nonsense

20d      Faithful old lover has to behave (5)
EXACT: Our regular two-letter old lover plus a word meaning to behave in a way or manner specified 


Quickie Pun Razor + Glass = Raise a glass    (of any alcoholic beverage and toast the success of Big Dave’s Crossword Blog)


102 comments on “DT 29680

  1. I managed a home run, seeing as we are Stateside, for the first time for a few days. All complete in **/*** time, with no clues marked up for further investigation.

    Many thanks to Giovanni and MP.

  2. Giovanni in very benevolent mood this morning I thought, giving us a light and fun puzzle.
    As ever with this setter there were a couple of things I had to check (the Austrian currency and the believer in 6d) but both were very sympathetically clued.
    I’ve ticked the 6a homophone plus 17& 22a along with 13d as podium contenders.
    Many thanks to setter and MP, off to get my jab soon.

  3. The setter’s (DG?) bark was worse than their bite and it soon all came together nicely. My Fav was 1d. Thank you DG (?) and MP.

  4. Just popping in to explain my absence…
    H is my partner. Her father died yesterday. He was 89. He was taken ill in the early hours of Saturday and an ambulance took him to hospital, but he deteriorated very quickly.
    Obviously, there is lots to do and much support to be given. I’ll be back here in a few days. Love to everyone.

    1. I’m so sorry to hear of your bereavement, Terence. My thoughts are with H and yourself.

    2. So sorry to hear of H’s father’s passing, Terence. Condolences from across the Pond.

    3. So very sorry to hear your news, Terence. Take good care of H – she’ll need your support.

    4. I am so sorry to hear of H’s father, Terrance. Mrs. C and I are thinking of you and H and we send our condolences. Take care.

    5. Like our bloggers so far very sorry for you both , I’m sure you will be back soon to try to get back to your routine.

    6. Terence, I’m so very, very sorry to hear your news. Please give my condolences to H, it must be a sad time for her, and sudden. Love to you both.

      1. Whoever has to fix this, I’m so sorry. I thought I changed it yesterday, I was in such a fog yesterday I could have done anything! I’ve just changed it again, I hope it sticks.

    7. It doesn’t matter how old you are, it is hard to lose a parent – my sympathy to you both,

      1. Condolences from me too. I ran out of parents a few years ago, I still miss them.

  5. Another fairly pedestrian solve & failure to quickly see the obvious in what was a super crossword. The 2 long uns did jump out immediately which helped matters & there was a pleasing absence of anything obscure. Big ticks from me for a number of lovely clues – 8,17&19a together with 1,2,6,13&17d were my picks. I see the footwear at 15a makes an appearance in Beam’s Toughie also, where my progress is predictably slow. Looking forward to an afternoon of doing sod all & hopefully watching Rory get off to a good start down the road from Robert.
    Thanks to the setter (DG) & to MP.
    Ps lovely flowers & a nice thought from those involved.

    1. There’s a kind of triumvirate of local favourites here, Huntsman: Rory, Dustin Johnson (local boy from the Upstate), and Jordan Spieth. I’ll of course be watching, up the road from Kiawah.

    2. Hopefully the wind will place a premium on shot making and ball control today as opposed to conditions that suit the shut your eyes & smash it brigade.

  6. I didn’t find this that gentle, in fact it was rather a slog and not the most enjoyable Giovanni puzzle I’ve ever done. However, I did finish it and it was a good challenge (3*/3*). 22a was COTD, with 6d as runner-up. Thanks to MP for the hints and to Giovanni for another challenging puzzle.

  7. Not had time to look at todays crossword yet.

    On Monday (DT29677 #20), Terence posted a thought provoking comment about being lucky to be alive, and savouring each day as they enjoyed a walk in Abinger Roughs.

    Mrs Davidbev and I echoed those sentiments as we appreciated a breathtaking display of bluebells in the nearby Hatchlands Park.

    This is extra poignant following the note about H’s bereavement. With thoughts to her and Terence.

    1. That post was very touching indeed and as a sheer coincidence, I went to see a 40 hectares field full of poppies in my town.

      1. J-L, what a gorgeous spectacle presumably all captured via drone photography.

        1. Probably Angelov,
          We all heard of that field in town and a lot of us went to see it.
          I see that the video has only been posted 6 days ago.
          I’m sure there will be plenty more soon.

  8. I am in agreement with CC. Not the easiest for me either although the bottom half went in a lot quicker than the top. ***/*** I would have been well advised to have paid more attention to the punctuation in 4d instead of trying to find a two word answer. On the other hand, punctuation doesn’t always have huge relevance in crossword clues. I didn’t know 9a across was a type of window. As my last one in, it was a bit of a guess. It took me ages to spot the lurker in 11a too. Favourite 8a. Thanks to all.

  9. I found I was solving this while waiting for the printer to grind into action so I’d say it was straightforward both for a Giovanni (if him) and a Thursday.

    Thanks to the setter and the flower organiser :rose:

  10. More benevolent than usual but still a nice, tricky Giovanni. The surfaces make today’s podium even richer than usual, something I don’t always comment on, but today’s really caught my fancy, especially with 25a, 17a, and 22a. Lots to enjoy. Thanks to MP and to Giovanni. ** / ***

  11. Oh dear, I just do not get on with Giovanni and today was certainly no exception.
    Struggled through with only a little electronic help, but definitely needed lots of help with the parsings…..then wondered why I had had so much trouble.
    Need to do more Giovannis I guess.

    Thanks to MP and to Giovanni.

  12. On the gentle side for a Giovanni Thursday I thought. Nothing overly contentious nor too stretched. Took mid ** time with **** enjoyment.
    Liked the simplicity of 12d it gets my COTD with 13d close behind.
    Thank you to Giovanni & MP for both the review and the flowers for Merusa, such a kind thought we all would echo.
    My entry for pedant of the week/month/year, MP . Re the hint for 23a, all the planets have four letters it is just some have more.. 🤔

  13. As Miffypops says, Giovanni has gone retro today. I wonder how many younger solvers will know the clown because is certainly from the past. We had 1d recently but clued in a different way. I thought the anagram at 22a was clever but my COTD is 21a.

    My thanks to Giovanni for the trip down memory lane. Grateful thanks to Miffypops fro the hints. The flowers are lovely and I laughed out loud at what Merusa looked up on the interweb. :grin:

    I see it’s Beam on Toughie duty so I might have a look. I sometimes get on quite well with a Beam puzzle.

      1. Ooops, Sorry, GJR! I only said that because I remember him from my childhood and he seemed old then. I now realise he died in the 70s!

      2. Coco The Clown died when you were five years old. I was nineteen and do remember him along with Carlie Cairoli. I’m sure I saw Coco The Clown at Blackpool Tower Circus when I was very young

        1. I definitely saw Charlie Cairoli.
          Blackpool Tower Circus was so exciting when they slid back the floor and there was water underneath….
          They also had wild animals in there.
          And the way the tide went so far out and returned 6 feet up the promenade wall.
          So dramatic – pity it rained so much.

    1. I’ve always found clowns rather sinister. I remember being taken to Billy Smarts circus as a child and not enjoying it at all ….

  14. For the last few days I’ve taken one look and thought ‘very tricky’ but slowly I manage to work my way through. I kept thinking the second word of 8a was going to be Dane which didn’t help. I didn’t know 9a was a window. All in all good fun so thanks to Giovanni and MP. Cold and miserable here unlike the lovely day yesterday.

    1. Had the same thought on 8a Manders. Once I twigged the right Nordic country the answer became very obvious

  15. A solid ** difficulty.
    Some very novel clueing, eg 9a and 10a
    Many thanks, Giovanni and MP for the review.

  16. Some of this flew in swiftly, others took longer to crack (as it should be, I guess); a satisfying puzzle to complete, but strangely little to chuckle over or particularly enjoy this time given the pleasure I usually derive from Giovanni’s puzzles. 6d my COTD.


    Many thanks to Giovanni and to MP.

    1. Unfortunate typo. Should have read 2.5*/2* – I’m not quite that ungenerous!

  17. A steady solve with LOI being 9a, as a bit of an educated guess. Like Manders I didn’t know that was a window and wasn’t certain on the surgical instrument either.
    I thought we had a surplus anagram indicator at 22a, as the first terribly could also serve that purpose, but I see that MP includes both the terriblys (terriblies?) in the definition.
    I quite liked both 11a & 1d for the surface reads.
    Thanks to all

      1. MP and GJR, 22a. I assumed that this clue included a rare (or, indeed, unheard-of) double indicator. Naughty seems to be the anagram indicator for “Adam’s” = MAD AS, the first “terribly” is the A.I. for “a charmer – ah” = A MARCH HARE and the second “terribly” is part of the 2-word clue definition. Can this be so?

        1. I say that because one intensifying adverb in the definition is perfectly adequate. Perhaps G, my favourite setter (creep, creep), could pop in later to explain?

        2. Which I could understand if there were some surplus words between the words required for the anagram fodder, but there aren’t.
          So I think MP has it right, or the setter has made an error. But then what do I really know, the people who come up with these crosswords day after day are geniuses in my book.

          1. These setters are very keen on clue brevity, so why use a 3-letter definition when a 2-letter one is more than adequate? Also, using 2 indicators is a good way of introducing more confusion/mystery into the clue. But I merely surmise – I probably know less than you!

            1. I’m inclined to agree with you Jose, I think there are two indicators, the first one (naughty) tells us to make an anagram of Adam’s and the second (terribly) the rest of the fodder. Otherwise one “terribly” would be redundant and also the solution appears in the corresponding order…surely not a coincidence. Who’d be a hinter!

  18. Not entirely straightforward but there have been a lot worse from our friend.
    I did have to look up 9a, I thought of the answer, but had no idea of its being a window……..
    A few ended up being parsed afterwards, mainly because you couldn’t resist bunging (8a clearly led by the second name).
    I liked 15a and 25a.
    Thanks to “whoever” for sending Merusa the lovely flowers…
    Thanks to G and MP today.

  19. Some lovely clues today but am ashamed to say that as a retired teacher I needed help for 25a. Must try harder. Thanks to Giovanni and MP

  20. A tad late today as I had to take the old Ducati for an MOT, weather terrible , took an age to warm up.
    Anyway a pleasing puzzle with a wide range of clues and a **/*** for me, liked 8a for its novelty and the 22a anagram.
    Favourite was 17a,a nice surface.
    Thanks to MP for the pics,especially 16d-not heard this for a while.

    1. Bob Dylan included in his live sets a few years ago. That’s where I know it from

  21. First scan and I thought oh dear another stinker (or words to that effect) but perseverance and a tad of electronic help saw me through. I hope the specialist in education had got clean sheets.

    Thanks to Giovanni and Miffypops.

  22. Relatively straightforward */***, with only hold up being rather stupidly putting dice in 6a without thinking (obviously!) 17a favourite. Had a feeling of well-being when completed so thanks to setter – can it really be Giovanni? and Piffymops for the hints.

  23. This late in the day there is not much I can add other my commiserations to Terence and his family, and my thanks to The Don and MP.

  24. And to think Giovanni was once my favourite setter. Not any more if this is anything to go by, way out of my league.
    Thx for the hints

    1. Absolutely. Now Dada is your favourite. And that makes me very happy 😊.

  25. Yes a very enjoyable solve and even learned a new meaning at 9a 😳 **/*** Favourites 17 & 19a and 1d 😃 Thanks to MP and to Giovanni 👍 Enjoy the golf, I think John Daley is wearing my pyjama bottoms 🤔

  26. This puzzle went together from bottom to top. Needed a few hints on the top half. Last in was 9a so is one of my favourites today. 2.5*/***** Considering it was a Giovanni offering I did much better than is normal for me with his puzzles. Was overall a good clued puzzle for me. COTD include 6a, 8a, 22a (first in), 7d & 13d. Winner for me is 22a followed by 6a … but there were many great runners up.

    Thanks to Giovanni and MP for the great hints.

  27. Firstly, thank you all for the flowers and well wishes, I’ve come warm and fuzzy all over. I’m getting stronger, though it’ll take some time really to get there and the vertebra to heal. I really hate the brace but I have to do it! I do suspect, rather I know, who sent the flowers, just know that you made an old lady very happy!
    I finished Giovanna, close thing though. I nearly gave up at 17d and 24a, then realised I had 13d incorrect. Once I got those, with electronic help, I was done.
    When I first scanned it hot off the printer, I solved 8a and 22a on first read, I thought what fun! The rest was a struggle, but as I surprised myself, I quite enjoyed it.
    Thanks to Giovanni for the fun and our M’pops for his usual giggles! I love you all.

    1. This blog is really extraordinary the way we all support each other – I wonder just how many other groups of people there are
      like us? Scattered around the globe, different backgrounds, lifestyles and ages, unlikely ever to meet and yet there does seem to be a strong bond. I am so pleased that you are making progress and have the crossword to take your mind off the beastly brace!

      1. I suspect not many, DG. Most blogs I have joined over the years have been nothing more than platforms for the egocentric to voice their opinions. Whenever I came across a blog I thought might be a useful was quickly dumped.

        Big Dave is the only blog I have stayed with.

    2. I wish you well Merusa and a speedy recovery. You shine so brightly in our virtual community.

    3. i had nothing to do with flowers, as you know, but very best wishes from me too Merusa .

    1. 2nd definition in my online dictionary. Verb. acquire or appropriate (something) in advance.
      That’ll do me nicely thank you

  28. Above my pay grade today, but then I never find Giovanni straightforward. I didn’t know the window, tried to make raincoat fit, couldn’t fathom 1d and overlooked the dash in 4d. Not my best effort. Not holding my breath for a gentle Friday. Thanks to Giovanni and Miffpops.

  29. Has anyone heard from Kath? I don’t remember hearing from her in the last few days?

    1. That’s a thought. Kath hasn’t been around when she usually is. I hope everything is alright. Thanks for contacting her CS.

  30. As ever with Giovanni’s puzzles, a complete mystery.
    Thanks both.

  31. Must be a wavelength thing as the solve went trouble-free.
    Had to check the window in 9a which was dragged from a distant memory.
    6d is very common in France as so many people just give up.
    For once, I knew the idiom in 22a and I am so grateful that I nominate it as my fave.
    Thanks to the Don and to MP for the review.
    All my condolences to Terence and family.

  32. Dreadfully cold here – we often share weather with Manders, but in addition today we had very
    strong winds which brought down a large branch on top of newly planted and expensive plants.
    The gardener was here this morning and everything was shipshape, now the lawn is covered
    with sawn up pieces of tree and looks a real mess. I came back from filling my car with petrol to find
    the garden full of people – fortunately kind next door neighbour George II had heard the noise and
    came round in time to stop George I from climbing the ladder to free the last bit of branch
    from the trunk. If it is not one thing it’s another. Just finished off the crossword, very clever with
    lots of lovely clues and a nice long anagram to hook on to – many thanks to the setter and Miffypops.

  33. Straightforward until it wasn’t just about sums this up, but hey ho! I got there in the end. Favourite was 6a as all the spaniels I’ve ever owned have had this procedure, I wouldn’t touch one with a barge pole that hadn’t. Thanks to Giovanni and MP.

  34. Just scraping in before the end of the day for one of my occasional late night contributions. I really enjoyed today’s Giovanni and thought the clues were very smooth. Not always the case for me with our Thursday setter. In contrast I found yesterday’s Jay, and indeed the last couple of Wednesday’s, really quite tricky, when usually I find it my favourite day.
    I thought the flowers sent on behalf of the BD bloggers to Merusa was such a touching gesture. What a lovely place to come to every day ( even if in my case it’s usually very late or the following day)

  35. I normally find Giovanni’s too tough for me but this one was quite fun and the answers gradually came together. I needed some help for 4d (didn’t spot the anagram!) and 9a which I’d never heard of (apart from the medical journal) but other than that it was all very enjoyable with some interesting clues. **/****

  36. 3*/4*….
    liked 22a “Naughty Adam’s a charmer — ah, terribly, terribly crazy! (3,2,1,5,4)”

  37. Very late in the (next) day because my internet went on the blink for several hours. I am afraid I am one of the very few who found this way above the pay grade. After struggling to do about half of the clues I am afraid I just gave up and looked at the answers.
    Anyway thanks to setter and MP for all their efforts.
    My dishwasher has just died on me so I am having to spend a lot of time learning how to do my own washing up.

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