DT 29706 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 29706

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 29706

A full review by Rahmat Ali

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This puzzle was published on 19 Jun 2021

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

Greetings from Kolkata. A really challenging Saturday puzzle from the setter yet enjoyable. I rejoiced in solving insofar as in writing thereafter a full review on it for your kind perusal and feedback.

One and 1000 as part of the clue of 24a prompted me to brush up my existing knowledge of the Roman numerals and the letters 1 (I), 5 (V), 10 (X), 50 (L), 100 (C), 500 (D) and 1000 (M) came, seriatim, to my mind. But what followed thereafter was something new for me. I learnt from the net that the letters A, B, C and D do not appear anywhere in the English spelling of any number from 1 to 99, the letter D comes for the first time in 100 (hundred), the letters A, B and C do not appear anywhere in the spelling of any number from 1 to 999, the letter A comes for the first time in 1,000 (thousand), the letters B and C do not appear anywhere in the spelling of any number from 1 to 999,999,999, the letter B comes for the first time in 1,000,000,000 (billion). Sadly, the letter C does not appear anywhere in the spelling of the entire English counting. But here in India, there is a consolation. We have 1 (one), 10 (ten), 100 (hundred), 1,000 (thousand), 1,00,000 (lakh), 1,00,00,000 (crore) etc. So, the letter C comes for the first time in a crore which is equal to 10 million.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a    Distortion according to interpretation (10)
PERVERSION: The Latin word PER (according to) and VERSION (interpretation) in a charade, leading to the definition of a noun denoting corruption of the original course, meaning or state of something.

6a    Go, having emptied salt — salt! (4)
STAB: Having removed the inner letters (having emptied) of S[A][L]T followed by the two-letter abbreviation of able-bodied seaman AB (salt), arriving at the definition meaning an attempt to do something

9a    Seductive invitation to approach (4-6)
COME-HITHER: Double definition; the first an adjective meaning flirtatious, inviting or enticing, especially in a sexually provocative manner is cryptically arrived at through the second a noun, being another expression for the definition and also meaning an enticement or allure

10a    Empty rhetoric, that’s a blow (4)
WIND: Double definition; the first one, an insincere or exaggerated talk, is cryptically connected to the second one, its synonym and also meaning insincere, pompous or boastful talk, meaningless rhetoric or declamatory

12a    Had not revealed such wealth (6)
UNTOLD: Double definition; the first being not narrated, not informed, not counted or innumerable is cryptically connected to the second being the indescribable feature of an abundance of valuable possessions or money or plentiful supplies of a particular resource

13a    He might fall for actor (8)
STUNTMAN: A person employed to take an actor’s place in performing dangerous feats or stunts which might include falling from a high altitude is cryptically described to probably fall into oblivion despite those perilous feats, which might help the actor, in the process, to rise in his career and status and acquire fame and opulence

15a    Losing water to make ice first, it’s a way of preservation (6-6)
FREEZE-DRYING: A process of removing water from a product is preceded by (first) a verb meaning to make ice – subliming the ice directly to vapour in a vacuum, also called lyophilisation, is meant for preservation or storage of a substance

18a    Butcher’s bill that’s used by couples? (5,7)
JOINT ACCOUNT: This could be a butcher’s bill for a joint of meat, but is actually a bank or building-society account held in the name of a couple

21a    Contract to restore a convent (8)
COVENANT: An anagram (restore) of A CONVENT

22a    Endless quest organised at home for sparkly thing (6)
SEQUIN: An anagram (organised) of QUES[T] without the last letter (endless) followed by IN (at home) in a charade

24a    One leading 1000 very good warriors (4)
IMPI: The Roman numeral I (one) coming first to or before (leading) another Roman numeral M (1000) and the abbreviated colloquial form of pious PI (very good), leading to the name of a body of Zulu or other South African native armed men

25a    Tiny foolish person stopped short, a Dickensian (6,4)
LITTLE NELL: LITTLE (tiny) and NELL[Y] (foolish person) without the last letter (stopped short), leading to the fictional character of the 1841 novel ‘The Old Curiosity Shop’ by Charles Dickens

26a    Lady’s incomplete pattern (4)
NORM: NORM[A] (lady) as a female name of Germanic and Romance origin without its last letter (incomplete)

27a    Powerful teacher first is obstinate (10)
HEADSTRONG: A charade of STRONG (powerful) with HEAD (teacher) preceded by or placed earlier (first)


1d    Get better vehicle (4-2)
PICK-UP: Double definition; the first a verb meaning to improve gradually or to gain strength bit by bit cryptically leading to the second definition of a noun being a small van or truck with low sides

2d    Distant unfinished roadside building about to start (6)
REMOTE: MOTE[L] (roadside building) with its last letter removed (unfinished) and the abbreviation for the preposition regarding RE (about) placed earlier or to begin with (to start)

3d    Raising the spirits of excited Thai relaxing (12)
EXHILARATING: An anagram (excited) of THAI RELAXING

4d    Place in bedsit establishment (4)
SITE: Part of or hidden inside bedSIT Establishment

5d    Too much of article included in open work (4-3-3)
OVER-THE-TOP: The definite article THE (article) is taken inside (included in) OVERT (open) followed by the abbreviation for opus number used to denote one work of musical composition from many or OP (work)

7d    To be one, this administrator must have two others (8)
TRIUMVIR: This calls for the Latin word, literally meaning one man of three, each of whom is in the same office or government or sharing supreme power in an association called the triumvirate (from Latin trium virōrum or formation of three men), that originated in ancient Rome, basically meant for any political ends, for instance, the First Triumvirate was the alliance among Pompey, Crassus and Caesar while the Second Triumvirate was among Octavian, Antony and Lepidus

8d    Teasing good for youth, presumably (8)
BADINAGE: Literally taken the other way round as bad for the aged or elderly person, that is, BAD IN AGE (good for youth, presumably), leading to the definition of a noun meaning a banter or a light playful talk

11d    Breach in border intended to be announced (12)
INFRINGEMENT: A charade of IN from the clue, FRINGE (border) and MENT as a homophone of meant (intended) to be heard by the audience when spoken (announced)

14d    Yours truly playing clarinet in commercial (10)
MERCANTILE: Used by a speaker to mean himself or herself, ME (yours truly) followed by an anagram (playing) of CLARINET

16d    Removal of European, the first person in France to get fresh tonic (8)
EJECTION: The abbreviation E (European) as in E numbers or codes for substances for use within the European Union and the word for the first person singular, I, in French, JE (the first person in France) to have beside it (to get) an anagram (fresh) of TONIC

17d    Instrumentalist going round station trapping serpent (3,5)
PIT VIPER: A player on a pipe or a PIPER (instrumentalist) embracing (going round) ITV (television station), leading to the definition of a member of a group of snakes including the rattlesnake in Eurasia and the Americas, distinguished by the presence of a heat-sensing pit organ located between the eye and the nostril on both sides of the head that enable them to detect prey in the dark

19d    Tex moving round posh party in formal wear (6)
TUXEDO: An anagram (moving) of TEX about (round) U (posh) followed by a feast or celebration DO (party), leading to the definition of a suit of formal evening clothes including a man’s dinner jacket

20d    Take out ad in support of peacekeepers (6)
UNPLUG: A piece of favourable publicity promoting a product, event or establishment or PLUG (ad) giving support to (in support of) UN (peacekeepers) placed first, leading to the definition meaning to disconnect an electrical device by removing its plug from a socket or to remove an obstacle or blockage from something

23d    No end of room for horses (4)
STUD: Barring the last letter (no end) of STUD[Y] (room) as an enclosed space devoted for the purpose, actually or ostensibly, leading to the collective noun of the definition kept primarily for breeding

1a, 13a, 18a, 5d, 7d, 11d, 16d, 17d and 20d were among the clues that I liked, but 8d was the most favourite. Thanks once again to the setter for such a challenging and entertaining pangrammatic puzzle covering some excellent cryptic definitions and to BD for the encouragement. Would love to be here again. Have a nice day.


4 comments on “DT 29706

  1. Your comments about the letters that don’t appear in English counting depend upon which version of English you are using.

    A appears in British English (the proper version) in “one hundred And one”, but not in the American “one hundred one”.

  2. 3*/3*….
    liked 7D “To be one, this administrator must have two others (8)”….
    Thanks to the setter and RA for the blog & pictures.

    1. Thank you so much, RobinNewman, for your words of encouragement on the review.

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