DT 29692 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 29692

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 29692

Hints and tips by Miffypops

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

Good Morning from our capital city where Saint Sharon and I stayed last night after watching Sir Van Morrison play a blisteringly good set at The London Palladium.

My fellow Thursday blogger Kath commented yesterday for the first time since her stroke. You can read her good news at DT 29691 comment 32.

Kath’s husband Chris writes  “Kath is making good progress but with ups and downs. She can do everything for herself but tires very easily. Sadly her main challenge is word finding: it is as you can imagine pretty frustrating for her, though it is improving. She would very much like you to say hello to her crossword companions”

I found today’s puzzle to be quite a teaser. About half went in easily and gave checkers which helped the job along. A stubborn few took a lot of thought but fell in the end

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought


1a        Repair on outside of a church is put at risk (7)
MENACED:  A verb meaning to repair something sits outside the letter A from the clue and an abbreviation for the Church of England

5a        In high spirits, having got full pay organised (7)
PLAYFUL: Anagram (organised) of FULL PAY

9a        Troublemaker existed for revolution (5)
DEVIL: A word meaning existed is reversed to make a word matching the underlined definition

10a      Cast showing absence of life (5,4)
DEATH MASK: This cast is a likeness in wax or plaster of a persons face made after their demise. How grotesque is that?

11a      A tin recycled in cunning mechanical device (10)
CANTILEVER: An anagram (recycled) of A TIN sits inside a synonym of cunning

12a      Slanting southern gardens (4)
SKEW: The abbreviation for southern is followed by one of London’s most famous gardens

14a      Ablest two fit to engage in intellectual competition (6,2,4)
BATTLE OF WITS: Anagram (to engage in) of ABLEST TWO FIT

18a      Attlee was involved with reform (not half!), establishing this (7,5)
 WELFARE STATE: An anagram (involved) of ATTLEE WAS and one half of the word REForm

21a      Time to do something? Sensitivity needed (4)
TACT: The abbreviation for time is followed by a verb meaning to do something or take action

22a      Getting rid of the female guarding one — worrying about that (10)
CASHIERING: A female pronoun sits around the letter that looks like the number one. A word meaning worrying (in a nice way) sits around that

25a      Growth of the furniture industry? (9)
HORSEHAIR: A cryptic definition of an organic equine stuffing  used in the manufacture of furniture many many years ago

26a      Place on Italian coast with very big island to the west (5)
OSTIA: The clothing tag meaning very large is followed by the reverse of a small island on The River Thames or its tributaries

27a      Row when there’s less than complete observation of instructions (7)
RUCTION: The answer lies hidden within the words of the clue as indicated by several words in the clue which I am certain have never been used to suggest a hidden word before  

28a      Daughter wearing a kilt’s dancing somewhere in Scotland (2,5)
ST KILDA: Anagram (dancing) of A KILTS surrounds the abbreviation of Daughter


1d        I’d come out to see doctor maybe (6)
MEDICO: Anagram (out) of ID COME

2d        No archdeacon wants a form of worship lasting days (6)
NOVENA: Begin with the word no from the clue. Add the shortened name of an archdeacon such as Bede. Add the letter A from the clue

3d        Everyone stuck in city (nearly all) — notice a yen to pack up (4,2,1,3)
CALL IT A DAY: Place a word meaning everyone inside three quarters of the word city. Add the shortened form of a notice or advertisement. Add the letter A from the clue. Add the abbreviation for Yen. I don’t understand why the setter lost the letter Y from City but then had to clue another letter Y at the end

4d        Trick with which Venice’s magistrate entertains Duke (5)
DODGE: The chief magistrate of Venice between 726 and 1797 surrounds (entertains) the abbreviation for Duke

5d        Elect an MP to be manoeuvred into position (9)
PLACEMENT: Anagram (to be manoeuvred) of ELECT AN MP

6d        Teach yourself? Involves feeling some pain (4)
ACHY: The answer lies hidden within the words of the clue as indicated by the word involves. I know this is cheesy but who really cares

7d        Canterbury pilgrim with tale is outspoken, having left home (8)
FRANKLIN: One of the Pilgrims who went to worship in Canterbury and told tales along the way can be found by placing a word meaning outspoken, honest or direct in speech before the abbreviation for Left and a word meaning at home

8d        Similarly funny in the manner of one in double act? (8)
LIKEWISE: Split 4,4 The clue describes someone similar to Eric Morcambes partner in a long forgotten double act from the middle of the last century

13d      Out of trouble, being unable to receive calls (3,3,4)
OFF THE HOOK: A double definition one describing an unconnected telephone receiver and one cleared of an allegation

15d      By contrast, the little knight may have an advantage (4,5)
THEN AGAIN: Begin with the word the from the clue, a gift from our benevolent setter. Add the chess notation for a knight or horse. Add a word which when split 1,4 might suggest an advantage

16d      Time to meet sorceress with hesitation — one may be nervous (8)
TWITCHER: The abbreviation for time is followed by a female member of a coven and a two letter hesitation, not um. The other one

17d      Thrilling, being able to be switched on? (8)
ELECTRIC: A double definition. The second being the type of power that flows after a switch is switched from off to on

19d      Greek character nicked sawn-off weapon (6)
PISTOL: A letter of the Greek alphabet is followed by a a word meting nicked or pilfered minus its last letter

20d      Car leaving Nicaragua crushed lizard (6)
IGUANA: Anagram (crushed) of NIcarAGUA 

23d      Instruments producing one sort of note, first to last (5)
HARPS: A note other than a flat needs its first letter moving to the back

24d      Priest very briefly appearing in garland (4)
LEVI: The abbreviation for very sits inside a Hawaiian garland

Quickie Pun  Blows  + Tears  = Below Stairs






86 comments on “DT 29692

  1. Didn’t contribute yesterday as I was out and about. So before I tackle today’s puzzle, I just wanted to wish Kath a belated Happy Birthday, great to see her back on here.
    For what it’s worth at this late stage, I thought yesterday’s puzzle was a cracker, hoping today is up to the same standard.
    Hopefully back later to comment.

  2. The most enjoyable puzzle this week (so far anyway). There was a nice mixture of anagrams, cryptic definitions, GK etc , which was very much to my taste. As MP said, there was, however, a tricky corner in the NW. The lurker at 26a was great and 22a was really well disguised, while the crypric definition at 10a was wily my COTD was 11a however. Spoilt for choice really. Thanks to MP for the hints, I had to check a few and thanks to the compiler.

  3. You always know what you’re going to get with a Giovanni puzzle. Some
    Religious/dated references & general knowledge which requires checking.
    Very little that couldn’t have appeared in a back pager 50 years ago.
    Accepting that, this was quite enjoyable though wasn’t keen on the morbid 10a or 25a (I doubt it’s still used in furniture these days). Did like several others though including 1,9&14a plus 25,19& the clever 23d, my COTD.
    Many thanks to The Don and to MP, enjoyed the Oasis clip, one of their better offerings.
    Best wishes to Kath too, we’re all rooting for you.

  4. I quite enjoyed this crossword – there were places where I wasn’t sure it was the work of Giovanni and then others where it definitely had to be him. I didn’t need to look anything up either.

    Thanks to Giovanni and MP

  5. A tricky puzzle today ,sitting on an old victorian baloon backed chair stuffed with 25a-most apt.
    Last in was the 22a charade ,needed the checking letters.
    Some excellent clues, liked 13 and19d not heard of the 7d pilgrim but the cluing was spot on.
    Somewhere around a ***/*** for me-thanks to our setter and MP for the pics

  6. Can’t find the set list or a review anywhere. Glad to hear he was on good form. Hope the set wasn’t too overloaded with stuff from the latest release. How long did he play for ?

    1. The usual ninety minutes. A wonderful St Dominic’s Preview. In The Garden and Ballerina at the end before BEG and GLORIA.

      Blue Funk
      Deadbeat Saturday Night
      Magic Time
      Have I Told You Lately
      Days Like This
      Big Lie (with Chris Farlowe)
      Hey Mr Deejay (with Chris)
      Sometimes we cry
      Broken Record
      Cleaning Window
      Brown Eyed Girl

        1. In my case, last seen at the mistral club in Beckenham. He did a much better version of “out of time” than the Stones. This blog is like memory lane. Van’s “Ballerina” is probably my all time favourite.

      1. MP. You seem to be a music buff, can you please help me with some info. Do you know the name of the band that Charlie Higson’s son plays in? I heard a track by them on the radio a couple of years ago and it was very good, but never noted their name. Cheers!

  7. I’d also like to wish Kath a belated happy birthday and add my good wishes for a full recovery soon as I’ve been on the missing list for a couple of days. Grandchildren, wall to wall. Not sure they’re all mine but they seem to think so! A tricky puzzle in parts but as MP says, workable from the checkers. I couldn’t see why 11a was the answer although it was staring me in the face so thanks for the hints, MP. Favourite 7d. Who knew Chaucer’s tales would ever come in useful. Thanks to all.

  8. Such encouraging news about The Lovely Kath – great to hear!

    I enjoyed this crossword but did get stuck for a couple around Surrey and Kent – 22a and 26a to be exact, even though I had all the checking letters. Miff’s hints got me over the line.

    “Don’t worry,” I said when the gardener withdrew during Covid, “I can take it on. I’ll enjoy it and it isn’t so much…” Gawd, what was I thinking? My poor knees.

    Today’s crossword soundtrack: Top Hits Of 1975 (Spotify Playlist)

    Thanks to the setter and Miffo, living it up in the big city.

      1. Lovely! The Compleat Angler, perhaps (with the ‘back to earth’ view of the graveyard on the opposite bank).

          1. You are making me sad. The second year we are missing Henley unless they manage to
            pull something together in August, but when you think of all the international crews who usually
            take part – where will they be? We always used to stay at The Compleat Angler until it became
            so expansive and George having his watch stolen was the last straw

            1. Daisy The last time we visited The Compleat Angler, just before lockdown 1, we were a little bit disappointed as it felt a bit run down and uncared for… I had to keep searching for staff when we wanted drinks or food.

          2. Looks lovely! I know it, but have never been inside. Having now seen they have a decent vegan menu, we will probably give it a go one of these days.

    1. One of the reasons for moving to our house was that all the outside is taken care of for us. A life long gardener, I thought I would be content with dealing with the potted plants on my porch and back patio. It wasn’t long before I dug up first one of the flower beds, and then another, and completely replanted them to my liking. They look much better, but now of course they are my responsibility. I just couldn’t leave well enough alone. Never mind the knees Terence, they will get used to it. It’s all good for your muscles 😊.

  9. That’s the second appearance for GC this week. My poor recollection of the Canterbury Tales tripped me up in Donny’s Tuesday Toughie so was pleased to remember 7d tale though the wordplay was pretty obvious. I found the south much trickier than the north in in what was a laboured but very enjoyable solve. Though I had no particular favourites I felt the crossword oozed quality from start to finish & I’ll agree with Chriscross that it’s my pick of the week thus far.
    Thanks to Giovanni & to MP (thanks for pointing out Kath’s post which I’d missed – great to see)

  10. I sailed through this until I didn’t. I came to a halt with six to go. I puzzled over them for ages but nothing would come so I gave in and looked at the hints. I would never have got 26a because the island was unknown to me. I agree with Beaver regarding 7d – the cluing was great. I liked 10a and 13d but my COTD is 19d. I enjoyed the anagrams as well now that I seem to be getting better at them since I decided to refuse to use anagram solvers.

    We have a perfect Thursday pair with Giovanni and RayT. All we need is Kath back to complete the party. Thanks for the update from George, MP.

    Many thanks, Giovanni and thanks to MP for the hints.

    1. Yes, hope you are back soon Kath. My husband’s encephalitis attacked the part of his brain governing short-term memory and words. He sends his best wishes and says that the brain really does create new pathways after injury and to keep plugging away. Strangely, he found doing the quick crossword and other puzzles helpful.

  11. I stared at 25a until I finally gave up and went electronic. I still don’t get it. But I’ve always had trouble with Giovanni, though I did enjoy most of this one, especially 14a and 18a. Thanks to MP and to Giovanni. **** / ***

      1. Thanks, MP. I got that one; it was 25a, the furniture clue that still baffles me.

        1. RC. You still baffled? Horse hair is still used (more common years ago) in traditional upholstery for stuffing chairs and sofas.

          1. Jose, thanks for the note. No, I can’t say I’m baffled any longer, but I still find the wording of the clue rather odd…but then again, this is a cryptic puzzle, innit? With the checking letters H-R-E- – – – at one point, you’d have thought I’d have seen the light! Not so, alas.

      2. I thought it was any river, I’ve learnt something new today. Thanks M’pops.

        1. I thought it was any island in a river too but being a Londoner by birth the Thames always comes to mind first. Mp is probably recalling some youthful misadventures on Eel Pie Island.

          1. Oh my word, Eel Pie Island in the 50’s was something else! In those days, before the bridge was built, you went across to the island
            on a chain ferry. George’s Rowing Club is housed on the island.

        2. M. You thought right! An ait (or eyot) is a small island, especially a river island. The are several named aits in the river Thames and its tributaries, so MP isn’t necessarily wrong.

  12. Enjoyable but tricky, so much so that I needed to uncover the answer for 22a and so am probably the first to notice the answer was misspelt – oh the joys of not being able to parse the clue properly!

    1. I don’t know whether there was an error under the click here button for 22a and someone’s corrected it but I can’t see anything wrong with the solution provided by MP

      1. I put it right Sue. Then my mussels arrived so I didn’t thank Sim for notifying me that it was wrong. I should have known when the expected word didn’t automatically suggest itself after the fifth letter. One of the joys of using predictive text is only having to type half of most words in

      2. Just to make my post clear, I wasn’t complaining about MP’s clue but my failure to be able to solve it without having to reveal the answer :)

        1. No misunderstanding here Sim. There is always an error or two in my blogs. I’m glad of the chance to correct them.

  13. Definitely **/*** for difficulty today but nevertheless enjoyable and I thought the anagrams were good.

    Started this about 11ish and just returned as we were invaded by family.

    So thanks to Giovanni and Miffypops. Must now get into the garden and try to catch up after doing family things since last Saturday.

  14. George was off at his Lad’s Lunch at The Dolphin so I had the paper and pen to myself. I thought a 16d was a bird watcher
    but I suppose might be nervous as well if watching eagles. Or male swans. I did not have any problems until I got to 22a
    and needed Miffypops to clarify, but the hints were a help and I didn’t have to do a reveal. 8d made me smile and 12a. Many
    thanks to the setter and to MP on this glorious day, just as sunny as yesterday but with a breeze. I do sympathise with Terence –
    when we left 6 acres at the farm to downsize here the garden seemed tiny. We proceeded to add a large extension reducing the garden
    even further. What we did not realise was that as we shrink, so the garden grows larger. Thank goodness we have our little pocket dynamo
    and George can still cut the grass.

  15. To misquote I found this fairly easy until I didn’t. Got the hiering of 22a but assumed the the female was “her” so had to cheat. I’ve never heard of either of the islands so failed again, a bit much to have two obscure lumps of real estate. I’ve never read Pilgrims progress so 7d was worked out from the rest of the clue. You only see horsehair on The Repair Shop.

  16. All was going very well until the SW corner and five or six held me up for ages. My face is very very slowly subsiding (the doctor said the chemicals in the Vitamin E cream probably caused it). However it was quite difficult to see my feet without bending right over and I fell 4 steps from the bottom of the stairs carrying the laundry basket which was very stupid of me. D was getting the papers thank goodness as he would have been livid. Quite shaken and I think I may have broken by large right toe as its black and agony. I don’t think they do anything for toes so I shall have to just suck it up. My neighbour who was a dermatologist said the sandpaper effect of my skin at the moment is the body’s way of dealing with the impurities – yuk. Couldn’t go to WI today as I would give the old ladies a fit. Anyway, thanks for everyone’s concern and thanks too to the Setter and MP.

    1. Manders! Fell down the stairs? Please take more care of yourself! You have my sympathy with regard to the toe because I broke one last year and it is no fun. Here’s a rose for you. :rose:

        1. Manders – some tips from my many hacks on avoiding accidents at home (or outside):
          1. Never come downstairs without holding onto at least one handrail.
          2. If you can’t hold any item without using both hands, come downstairs backwards and move the “burden” down one step at a time in front of you.
          3. Do as I do – throw all the washing downstairs and retrieve it after descending (see 1 and 2 above).
          4. Never go on stairs wearing just socks and never install staircases that are just wood. Never go on spiral staircases.That’s just craziness.
          5. Ideally go upstairs using at least three limbs, like a dog, cat, monkey or small child.
          6. If I hear you have hurt yourself again through craziness, I will send someone round to detain you.

          I have many other tips, mostly involving fire……..

            1. Wow Bluebird, some amazing tips, thanks so much! Will try and be more sensible in future😀

          1. Mrs. C. wholeheartedly agrees with you, Bluebird especially throwing the washing downstairs. 👍

    2. I broke my big toe some years ago (someone I was helping with some work dropped a ladder on it, another silly accident). A&E x-rayed it then suitable bandaging. But beware, mine went septic after a while which made it all the worse.
      Good news on Kath, hope you are reading all our good wishes and look forward to you joining us again soon.

    3. My word, you poor thing – you are in the wars. Try and be kind to yourself for a few days.

  17. Got around half of this ok and then slowly a few more, but then ran into a grinding halt, with bits missing in each quadrant. Really needed the hints today, and still struggled with a few, found it harder than some toughies I have tried recently. Not my day, but thanks to the setter for the education, and thanks especially for the hints and explanations today on the blog.

  18. Enjoyable, light and straightforward, but with far more anagrams (9? Nearly one in three clues.) than I like to see in a puzzle, the result being that despite a couple of parsing delays in the south (22a & 25a) this was a surprisingly swift tea-break, the mug still quite hot and half full. Time left over to start the Toughie!


    Many thanks to setter, and to MP for the review.

  19. Are there two setters who go by the name of Giovanni? The one who used to set Friday crosswords was superb, the clues were always elegant and above all solvable. This setter is a million miles from that. His puzzles are incomprehensible in the main and are zero fun. 2d is a classic example, an obscure word with very poor wordplay.
    I found this tricky to the point of Toughie level at its worst.
    Thxx for the hints

  20. I am a returnee to the DT and the cryptic crossword, and am really enjoying them. A bit out of practice but can feel my brain sharpening up day by day. I have yet to try the Toughie!!
    Many thanks for the hints by which I am re-learning all the old ways of cracking the cryptic, and all the comments

  21. I found this one tough, but battled through to the end alone and unaided, so felt very satisfied with myself.
    Probably not satisfied enough to try the Toughie, though. Don’t want to lose the glow.

    Wasn’t here yesterday so missed Kath’s post….delighted to hear that she is doing well and able to post…and belated many happy returns to her.

    Thanks to Giovanni and to MP

  22. As is normal for me with Giovanni puzzles I found it was tricky and the clues for many were hard to parse. 3.5*/*** my rating for today. Clues I liked include 11a, 28a, 13d, 15d & 19d (last in). Winner goes to 28a with 13d runner up.
    New word was 2d and unknown island(s) for 26a for me.
    Used too many hints for my liking but I have come to expect that with Giovanni. Maybe one day I’ll twig to his brainwaves.

    Thanks to Giovanni and MP for hints

  23. I was encouraged when I found the top half to be doable without help, only needed to confirm the pilgrim. I think we did Canterbury Tales in Lower Fourth, far too young to hope for any retention. I started having problems in the south, 22a, 25a and 27a were all unsolved. I would never have got 22a, way beyond me. I liked a lot, hard to choose a fave, maybe 20d. My young lady has a pet one who has his own chateau with windows and bushes.
    Thanks Giovanni, and to M’pops for helping me to finish.

  24. My last three in , 22a, 25a and 15d took as long as the rest, with 15d becoming my favourite once I twigged. Thanks everyone.

  25. I enjoyed today’s offering though needed help from Miffypops with 22a. Early on I put dwarf for 9a so that slowed me down until I saw the error of my ways.

    Many thanks to Miffypops (who certainly seems to be enjoying himself along with St Sharon) and to the setter.

    Manders please take good care. I’m not a medic but do remember reading that a broken big toe can affect your balance! Thanks to George, Kath’s husband for keeping us updated and I hope you didnt burn the midnight oil with any late night dancing.

    1. It does, Hilary. I had half of my left big toe amputated about two years ago, it played havoc with the other toes. They had to take over the work and I stumbled a few times.

      1. I’m beginning to think that everyone on this site is accident prone. I hope there is someone
        put there who has all their fingers and toes and original organs!

  26. I agree, started out as very straightforward but with a few to go I ran aground 😬 ****/*** but very agreeable, needed help 15d as I was transfixed with the “Little Knight” Favourites 12a & 8d 😃 Thanks to Miffypops and to Giovanni 🤗 So nice to hear that Kath is making such a good recovery 👍

    1. Home now. I think I’ve sorted it. It looked right on WordPress but I had a little play.

  27. I was doing so well until I got to the south west corner, 22a, 25a and 26a, and didn’t spot the lurker clue in 27a. The rest was a lovely puzzle and much enjoyed. Happy to read that Kath is making some improvement, and here’s wishing her well as she works on her recovery. Thanks to Giovanni and Miffypops.

  28. Well I didn’t find this as enjoyable as yesterday, but I did manage to finish it. Like many others I was going along quite nicely until I ground to a halt on 22 & 25a, which only fell after a lot of pondering.
    Favourite was 18a.
    Thanks to the setter and MP

  29. Glad to hear that Kath is starting to recover. Happy Birthday for yesterday. I didn’t call in as we went to Chatsworth to meet the grandchildren and our daughter. It’s half way between us.
    A few tricky clues today but managed eventually.
    Thanks to Giovanni and MP. What happened to all the splendid aliases?

  30. That was an absorbing exercise but somehow differed slightly from the DG I have grown to know and love. SE corner held fire a bit.
    26a unfamiliar to me but could be fathomed. Imagine there will be some anti-GKers who will not be keen on the likes of 7d which was in fact my Fav. Thank you Giovanni and MP. (Kath, so good to have encouraging news about you – hope you will go from strength to strength 🌈).

  31. To quote myself correctly and in full “this was perfectly straightforward until it wasn’t”. Really I don’t mind being quoted or misquoted, it’s all rather fun. 😁 Obviously never heard of the port in 26a or the form of worship in 2d, as religion occupies my thoughts if not none of the time then it approximates very closely to it, however both fairly clued. As pilgrims have cropped up twice this week I decided to mug up on them as I’ve never read the book and stumbled across the answer for 7d. Apart from that no problems. Favourite was 22a. Thanks to Giovanni and MP.

    1. Forgot to say I went on yesterday’s blog to wish Kath a belated happy birthday and speedy recovery and scrolled to the bottom and completely missed that she had commented until I read MP’s preamble. Good luck to you and to George as well.

  32. Thanks to Giovanni and to Miffypops for the review and hints. A nice puzzle, I suspected the setter was Giovanni when I read 2d, then 7d confirmed it. Last in was 22a. Favourite was 11a. Was 3* / 3* for me.

  33. Firstly a very very late birthday greeting to Kath. It was very cheering indeed to hear of your progress and your own message.Here’s hoping you enjoy the lovely weather. It must have been very uplifting to see your girls. I never got on to the site yesterday as I was doing other things and I never got into the crossword. I just could not find a way in. I have not yet read all of the comments from yesterday but hope no-one was too despondent. Today is a different kettle of fish. Very enjoyable and not too much difficulty. I was just left with a few sticky ones which I did without help although I confess to checking the hints on a couple to make sure I had the right answers before attempting the clues which intersected. Favourites 11 18 and 27a and 3 4 7 8 13 and 23d. Last ones in were 25a 24d 22a and finally 15d. Thanks Setter and MP.

  34. Not really for me! Too many convoluted clues and/or obscure answers….I struggled through but somehow without huge enjoyment…..anyway, I recognise this is a minority view, so onwards and upwards, as they say….

  35. Thanks to Giovanni for a difficult but enjoyable puzzle. Also thanks to MP for hints in the SW which enabled me to finish. An excellent collection of clues with perhaps 25a COTD.

  36. Ground to a halt on this one and needed hints. I’ve found some Toughies easier. and sympathize with Brian’s comments. Full admiration of Miffypops for cracking these obscure clues. ****/**

  37. Didn’t realise this was a Giovanni and must admit that I really enjoyed it.
    Not that I don’t usually but this one tickled my fancy.
    Loved 18a and 28a for such smooth surface and relevance.
    Thanks to the Don and to MP for the great blog.

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