DT 29717 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
View closed comments 

DT 29717

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 29717

Hints and tips by Deep Threat

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ***

Good morning from South Staffs on a cool, cloudy morning.

I found the top half of today’s puzzle trickier than the bottom, but overall not particularly difficult.

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           Top individual, leader of gang (6)
CAPONE – A verb meaning ‘to top’ followed by an individual, giving us the surname of a famous gangster from Chicago.

Al Capone's Lost Treasure and Why It Was Never Unearthed - Den of Geek

4a           Field marshal whose targets are rather woolly? (8)
SHEEPDOG – Cryptic definition of something used to round up sheep.

Welsh sheepdog most expensive in world after selling for £27,100 | Metro  News

10a         Upper-class snake caught finally as killer down under (1-4)
U-BOAT – Put together the letter indicating ‘upper-class’, a strangling snake, and the last letter (finally) of caughT, to get something which lurks under the surface of the sea.

11a         Habit into which one might slip when retiring? (9)
NIGHTGOWN – Cryptic definition of what you might wear in bed.

Exclusive: Harvey Kurtzman's Marley's Ghost character designs. Plus: An  exclusive holiday playlist | SYFY WIRE

12a         After crashing: ‘Leave, ET — get uplift!’ (7)
ELEVATE – Anagram (after crashing) of LEAVE ET.

13a         Pride of person who detests being given uniform on two occasions (7)
HAUTEUR – Start with a word for ‘person who detests’, then insert two instances of the letter represented by Uniform in the NATO alphabet.

14a         Offensive video maybe about a band of electricians? (10,4)
INSULATING TAPE – Put together another word for ‘offensive’ and the material on which a VHS video was recorded, then insert A (from the clue) to get a sticky band or strip used by electricians.

17a         Stressful situation — one shouldn’t let off steam (8,6)
PRESSURE COOKER – A metaphor for a stressful situation, or a means of preparing food in a sealed vessel.

21a         Bit of music — not the first time it’s done with a hook (7)
CROCHET – Remove the first instance of an abbreviation for Time from a musical note, to get this handicraft.

Guide To Yo-Yo Crochet | Yarnspirations


23a         In Paris, the routine article is put over as genuine (7)
NATURAL – Put together a French definite article, another word for ‘routine’, and an English indefinite article, then reverse (put over) the result.

24a         Model bored wearing campaign’s clothes (9)
WARDROBES – Another word for ‘campaign’, plus the ‘S from the clue, wrapped round an anagram (model) of BORED.

25a         Family Golf giving dull sound (5)
CLANG – An extended family followed by the letter represented by Golf in the NATO alphabet.

26a         Gasped out loud: maybe dog’s set about duck (8)
SIDESTEP – A homophone (out loud) of another word for ‘gasped’, followed by the reverse (set about) of what a dog (or cat) may be, with the ‘S from the clue.

27a         Do escape church (6)
FLEECE – ‘Do’ here means ‘cheat’. Put together another word for ‘escape’ and the initials of the Church of England.


1d           Raw fuel that could make you cheeky, breaking wind (5,3)
CRUDE OIL – Another word for ‘cheeky’ or ‘impolite’, with a verb for ‘wind’ (rope, perhaps) wrapped round it.

2d           One pretends one owns a chair (9)
PROFESSOR – Double definition, the second being the holder of a chair at a university.

3d           Significant number held up party game … (7)
NETBALL – Reverse (held up) a cardinal number, then add a dance party.

Spreading the netball bug across the UK - The Regenerative Clinic

5d           … in which it helps to have this arrogance? (4-10)
HIGH-HANDEDNESS – The literal meaning of this phrase for ‘arrogance’ is helpful for players of the game in 3d.

6d           Nutters arranged to get put in charge (7)
ENTRUST – Anagram (arranged) of NUTTERS.

7d           Motored from Kiev or Dusseldorf, heading north (5)
DROVE – Hidden in reverse (heading north) in the clue.

8d           People who might make grand arrival? (6)
GENTRY – An abbreviation for Grand, followed by an arrival.

9d           Strong cider best until tipsy (14)

15d         Hot rod features — one’s unreadable (5,4)
POKER FACE – A rod that’s hot because you’ve stirred the fire with it, followed by another word for ‘features’.

16d         What comes before play in pool — urge to swim (8)
PROLOGUE – Anagram (to swim) of POOL URGE.

18d         Wasp he researched gathers in fields (7)
SPHERES – Hidden in the clue.

19d         Jewel keeps winking, perhaps it’s a kind of illusion (7)
OPTICAL – A semi-precious stone wrapped round an involuntary movement such as winking or blinking.

20d         Small animal looks discontented? Looks very discontented! (6)
SCOWLS – Put together an abbreviation for Small, a farm animal, and the outside letters (dis-contented) of L(ook)S.

22d         Had a row with a communist — nothing starting it (5)
OARED – Put together the letter which looks like a zero, A (from the clue), and the colour associated with a communist, to get ‘had a row (in a boat)’.

The Quick Crossword pun TENOR + CROSS = TEN ACROSS

102 comments on “DT 29717

  1. I struggled to get a foothold today, perhaps like DT it was a north/south divide, but gradually pennies began to drop. All completed in *** time.

    I know 14a as “-tion” rather than “-ting”, which held me up for a while, and I think the nearby 13a is a new one for me.

    COTD has to be 10a.

    Many thanks to the setter and DT.

  2. This was a definite *** for me with lots of very clever misdirects such as thoughts of Australia in 10a and arguments in 22d. Many contenders for COTD but the intricate 26a just about wins that accolade for me. A **** enjoyment rating. Thanks to Deep Threat and the setter.

  3. Cracking puzzle to end the working week.
    Top clues for me,10, 26&27aplus 2d.
    Many thanks to DT and setter for the top notch entertainment.

  4. An enjoyable Friday crossword, perfect for a warm sunny morning (particularly as we haven’t had many of those lately)

    My favourite was 4a

    thanks to the setter and DT

    1. You’re lucky Sue with having “a warm sunny morning” in Kent while we in West Sussex have no sign of either but then again it is Wimbledon fortnight!

      1. It is our turn to have a change from misty and dreary. I believe we are back to rain at the weekend ;(

    2. The day in Shropshire began a bit misty but soon cleared and became quite warm and, eventually hot and humid. Not that I minded because it gave me the opportunity to cut the buttercups and daisies. Rain is forecast for tomorrow so I was pleased to get that out of the way.

  5. I reckon *** too. It was bottom Left for me that raised it form **. I agree with malcomR on 14A

  6. Like Malcolm, at first I thought “Uh-oh” but eventually it all became clear. I thought this was a wonderful crossword – in particular 4a raised a smile.

    Yesterday, I spotted that little Lola’s problem with her nose was returning (she has been steroid free for two weeks), so she went to the vet first thing this morning. She is back on the steroids and she may now have to remain on them for life. If they fix her problem, then that is fine. The side effects are that they make her somewhat vague and withdrawn, but at least she should survive for a while yet. Cats, dogs, horses – they’re a never ending source of worry!

    Today’s crossword soundtrack: Joni Mitchell – Miles Of Aisles

    Thanks to the setter and DT, and all the very best to The Lovely Kath in case she reads this.

    1. Poor Lola, still in the wars. We all send her lots of love. You could have added children to your list causing never ending worry. In fact, I think we are programmed to worry!

    2. I’m so sorry about Lola, that’s such bad luck. Our family here is sending all good wishes to her.

    3. Pets are a never ending source of worry, Terrance but also a never ending source of friendship, joy and love. If Lola needs steroids, she needs steroids. So what if they make her a bit vague? She will be happy and the vet can always adjust the dose to find the minimum that will suit her.

      Give her a pat from Hudson! 🐶

  7. Difficult to get going with this one and I needed help to get me over the finish line. However, it was a most enjoyable workout with many good clues. I liked 4a and 15d but my COTD is the short but sweet 10a. I was trying to fit in everything to do with the Antipodes.

    Many thanks to the setter and to DT for the hints.

  8. I too found this very difficult to get into, particularly the NW corner, which I left intil last. The clues were very clever and there was lots if guesswork and reverse engineering to work out the meaning of the clues. It wasn’t really my cup of tea but things progressed more rapidly as more checkers went in and the 9d anagram was good. 5d was a good clue but I didnt realise the significance of the parsing until the penny dropped for 3d, almost the last one in. I finished in 2 5* time with a 3* for enjoyment rating, more from the satisfaction of finishing it than pure pleasure. Thanks to DT for the hints and to the compiler.

  9. Not enough of a challenge when I know shall be unable to cope with Elgar. (Which as usual I’m not!).
    I thought that 2d works better with ‘claim’ rather than ‘pretend’.
    I flew round to the SW corner which slowed me down.

  10. I liked the diverse cluing today with some excellent cryptic definitions.
    Favourite was 14a for originality with 17a a close second.
    Going for a ***/****’
    Thanks to DT for the pics especially 4a, reminded me of the puzzle in the welch newspaper consisting of lots of sheep and you had to put a cross where you thought the dog was – a new version of spot the ball!

  11. Very satisfying solve this morning, the last answer going in as the last mouthful of (by then cooling somewhat) coffee went down. The last few clues in the NW took half as long as the rest of the grid put together, but there were smiles aplenty, quite a few 25ds as pennies dropped, and I enjoyed the range of clue types. All very fair and the equines were undisturbed.

    Hon.mentions to quite a few – 1a, 4a (loud laugh), 10a (great deception) 23a (so smooth), 26a (the construction), and 2d; my COTD goes to 27a for its surface, another loud laugh, and its appeal to my inner cynicism!


    Very many thanks to DT for the review (& the excuse to listen to Kenny Rogers), and to the Setter.

    1. No! No! No! To the Kenny Rogers. Agreed it was the 2003 England Rugby teams lucky song but please, never again

      1. Nothing wrong with Kenny when he was with The First Edition – Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Is In) a great hangover track…

  12. That was entertaining with, in contrast to DT, South going straight in but North particularly NW requiring a bit more application. Fav was 14a. Hot in 15d clue would seem to be superfluous. Presumably Daisygirl will have no problem with Quickie 14a. Thank you Mysteron and Deep Threat.

    1. Disagree about the “hot” being superfluous. Try the surface read without it, plus it cryptically describes the implement so an excellent clue.

        1. I think you’re missing the point. The “hot” rod is there to mislead the solver into thinking of a car. In addition it describes the temperature of the implement when in use, so is not superfluous.

    2. Haha. I will not rise to the bait, I’ve said no more splits pics until I am 90. Or perhaps 89.

  13. This did look quite impenetratable at first glance but it all fell into place steadily. **/*** I thought the same as Malcolm about 14a and even counted the spaces to make sure of the answer. 3d, my last one in, was a guess from the checkers and I needed the hints to explain the number part. Favourite 4a. Thanks to all.

  14. A just right for a Friday back pager. Nothing onerous or obscure. A solid solve before a day with nothing to do on my list. If I do find anything I will add it to Monday’s list which never gets looked at until Tuesday. Play nicely over the weekend children. Each and every single one of you. See you all on Monday. With thanks to the setter and to DT

  15. 2*/4.5*. This made a fairly light but very enjoyable end to the week. My podium comprises 4a, 10a & 26a.

    Many thanks to Zandio, I presume, and also to DT.

  16. I forgot to say that the Quickie pun and 10a combination was rather neat. :good:

  17. Found this tricky but got there in the end in *** time. Enjoyed the battle though
    The SW corner held out longest and 26a my LOI.
    14a my COTD with 4a runner-up.
    Thank you to setter and DT for the explanations.
    Worryingly Scotland now has Europe’s highest Covid infection rate. Three days with ever higher record numbers in the week since the Ginger Whinger said the peak had passed. The rate of infections graph is now like the North face of the Eiger even up here.

    1. Yes, LROK It is a concern. Our hospitalisation rate has nearly doubled overnight according to the local paper. I’m essentially locking myself up again for a wee while until things calm down a bit even though I am double jagged.
      At least the weather has been nice up here and looks to be again today after the haar lifts.

  18. No real problems today although I did fall into the ‘wrong ending’ trap for the first word of 14a and admit that I left the 9d anagram to work itself out as the checkers went in.
    Favourite was probably 26a with a nod to the expressive 13a.

    Thanks to our setter (Zandio?) and to DT for the review and the Kenny Rogers clip.

    1. Jane, 14a. Yes I agree, I’ve been using that stuff for over 55 years and I have never once heard it mentioned or seen it spelt like that. It should end with ON.

  19. Hello, compiler here. Thanks very much for the analysis and discussion. Hope you have a good weekend.

    1. Many thanks for dropping in, Zandio and for the most entertaining puzzle.

    2. Lovely puzzle Zandio – particularly 4,10 and 13a and 9 and 15d. How do you do it?!

  20. A slow start for me also but once I got going it all came together in a reasonable time for a Friday puzzle – 2.5*/4*.

    Candidates for favourite – 14a, 27a, 15d, and 19d – and the winner is 27a.

    With the appearance of multiple Vs and Ws and the twice used K I did start to think an X-less pangram but, as proXimal was on Toughie duty yesterday, I decided that was most unlikely.

    So, thanks to Zandio and DT.

  21. Lots of clever misdirection in today’s terrific puzzle. A steady and enjoyable solve for me, with 10a, 26a, 4a, and 24a topping the man outstanding clues. Many thanks to DT and today’s setter, who seems to be Zandio. ** / ****

    Two-thirds of the way through the Elgar, and I hit the wall with a big, fat 25a. Ouch.

  22. Well, I got through this alone and unaided but it was a struggle and I needed a lot of DT’s excellent hints to unravel my answers. I think I can say with confidence that I would never have been able to parse 26a as the homophone is so impossible for me. I had to resort to repeating it aloud several times.

    Thanks to the setter for entertaining me for quite a long time and to DT .

    Liked the Quickie pun and its refernce to 10a.

  23. Best puzzle of the week – loved it especially 4a. Got the long ones very quickly which helped. SW corner held me up the most. Last one in 26a. Rain held off for our WI strawberry tea yesterday and sun out today but chilly. Thanks to Zandio for an excellent tussle and to DT for showing how I got there.

    1. So pleased your WI meeting was able to take place. We are hoping to hold our first ‘real’ meeting this month. Are you taking part in the cakes for the NHS on Monday?

  24. Excellent. Super wordplay. Looked impenetrable which was disheartening after my bad day yesterday. I started at the bottom right and found to my surprise that I quickly inserted the whole of the righthand side. I agree 14a is better known to me with different ending. However I already had the N in the right place and it would not have parsed with the other ending. Last three in 17 and 1a and 26d. I did not fully parse the last one and not among my favourites. Favourites 4, 10, 17 and 27 and 2, 8, 15 and 19d. Much thanks to setter and DT. I’m pleased I persevered without the hints or other aids. Was it Mary who used to say perservated?

        1. Me too. We had a “Mary” pop in the other day and wondered if it was her.
          I’m also missing Kath a lot, send lots of love to her and good wishes for her recovery.

          1. Me too regarding Kath. If you are looking at the blog, Kath, lots of love to you and please know that we all miss you.

  25. Found this Friday puzzle a real pleasure to tackle. */**** today. No hints required either! Even better.
    Filled grid top to bottom with 26a last in. New word in 13a that was easy enough to suss out. Favourites for today are very hard to pick … so many, but 10a, 14a, 18d & 20d are up there, with 14a winner. Like the paired clues too of 3d & 5d … they were good!
    Liked the misdirection in 4a, 11a & 15d.

    Thanks to setter for a pleasant solve and DT

  26. O the whole a nice puzzle with a clever clue in 14a which my favourite. Unfortunately it was rather spoilt by two rather poor clues in 24a and 26a, neither of which read well I thought.
    Thx to all
    ***/***(**** if the two clues above were removed).

  27. It seems to have been almost universally popular today, a nice end to the week and I didn’t have to look up anything. 1a was last one in and I was tempted to enter Cardigan for 4a but I think he was an Earl not a Field Marshal. Think of us on Sunday folks, I love my garden so much and although it is by no means perfect or large or unusual I feel quite protective of it. I hope I don’t get too many of Miffypops dire comments quoted earlier in the week! Thanks to Zandio and Deep Threat.

    1. I hope you enjoy your opening on Sunday Daisygirl. I am a recent convert to gardens and taking an interest in my own garden. I visit what I can and I have even dead headed some roses. I am off on an outing to Ely on Sunday as one day trip out of several to replace a Covid-aborted short holiday. I only wish I was going to be near you so I could come and admire your garden.

      1. I too have become more involved with the garden since lockdown forced my retirement, Wanda. I now dead head my roses diligently and what a difference it makes! I’m also very keen about composting and have a very special ingredient to help it along. 🌹

    2. I’m sure that most of your visitors will appreciate your garden, even if it’s not perfect. In fact they will probably be able to relate to it more. I wish we were near enough to be able to come.

      Crossword had some clever misdirections, especially 4a.

      Thanks to Zandio and DT

    3. I am sure all will be well on Sunday, DG. Please post pics for those of us who would love to be there. 👍

  28. A thoroughly enjoyable puzzle for a lovely Shropshire afternoon. 4a was my clear favourite, bringing back memories of our own beautiful border collie many years ago.

    My thanks to Zandio and DT. Think I will have a crack at the Elgar now……

    1. Welcome from me as well, Percy Bill! Hope to hear more from you. 👍

  29. An enjoyable puzzle rather upset by 2d and 26a. 2d was me just not getting it, until all the checkers were in and then I had to think about it. Pretend is at the lesser used end of the synonym list for me. As for 26a I was completely fooled by trying to make an anagram of dogs, set and duck (o). Personally the homophone used here is to exhale slowly in a sad manner, whereas Gasp means to inhale quickly to catch one’s breath, completely different in my opinion. Lots more to enjoy though as previously mentioned. Thanks to all.

  30. Glad others thought the same as I did – I made harder work of several clues through the setters clever misdirection. The last one in was 10a – I was stuck somehow on the idea of something Australian. Very enjoyable.

    1. Not easy, not difficult. I feel fairly ambivalent l about it.
      Thanks to whoever recommended the film finding your feet. We watched it last night and really enjoyed it.
      Thanks to Zandio and DT

  31. Very cryptic but satisfying when I eventually cracked it 😳 ****/**** Lots of favourites 4, 10 & 14 across and 18d 😃 Thanks to DT and to the Compiler 👍 My only gripe is that every Friday I battle away and on going to the blog find ** for difficulty 🙁

    1. Well that is the star rating from the blogger, Jaylegs and I would expect them to find puzzles easier than we mortals. Personally, I never bother with star ratings.

      1. As I don’t start the puzzle until late in the day, I read the comments first and guess the difficulty rate from them, it’s really very useful so thank you to all the commenters.

  32. Went very well as Elgar managed to open my chakras.
    Reading the blog, I didn’t know that 14a should be Insulation rather than Insulating.
    Thanks to Zandio and to DT.

  33. I usually find Zandio trickier than this, not that I found this easy by any means. I really enjoyed it, even though I had a couple of bungins that I couldn’t unravel at all, e.g., 26a, I was sure it was wrong, it just fit! I needed all the checkers for the anagram at 9d. Australia didn’t occur to me at 10a, now I wonder why not.
    There was so much to enjoy, I liked 13a and 17a, but fave hands down was 4a, field marshal indeed!
    Thank you Zandio for the fun and DT for the explanations!

  34. Tackled this morning pre a day out golfing. The south was certainly trickier than the north, which flew in far quicker than is usual for me with Zandio, but it was still done & dusted in under 2.5* time. Great end to the week & lots of fun. 4a the clear pick for me ahead of 13a & 15d.
    Thanks to DT & Zandio

  35. Re 22d, this is the first time that I have ever come across the word “oar” being used as a verb. You don’t “oar” a boat – you row it.

    1. So you have learned something new today. That’s what doing crosswords does for us.

  36. Late on parade today, with usual Friday schedule plus some extra errands in case Hurricane Elsa does become our problem early next week. Fingers crossed it weakens to at least Tropical Storm status. But glad to be able to finish this one today, albeit with some help from Deep Threat, thank you, and also thank you to Deep Threat.

  37. Oh dear! The difficulty of trying to feed one’s dogs, cook ones dinner and watch two football matches whilst doing a crossword make me realise my limitations in the multi-tasking department. For the most part I faired quite well until the NE corner held me up. As far as the football goes the first match was played by teams that no-one left in the competition should fear especially in a penalty shoot out, in the second I was thrilled by Italy’s inventiveness and skill until they reverted to type in the last 20 minutes. Feigning injury and diving to waste time when they could have played the way they were and won anyway. I hope they lose their next match, but I doubt they will. Any road up favourite was 21a, I know the musical note but I must find out what it’s value is and what it means. I’ve no idea. Thanks to Zandio and DT.

  38. Found this a bit of a struggle but got there in the end, first one I’ve finished unaided this week although I needed the hints to explain my bung ins. 4a got a hmm from me as I have never heard of them ,or what they do ,referred to as field marshal, but you live and learn. Once again I missed the significance of the … in 5d so was confused by “ in which it helps” so that was another bung in. Thanks to all😁.

  39. 3*/4*….
    liked 4A “Field marshal whose targets are rather woolly? (8)”

Comments are closed.