DT 29733 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 29733

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 29733

Hints and tips by Big Dave

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ***

The Kiwis are away this week so I am stepping in. Fortunately there was nothing too tricky in this, yet another excellent Wednesday puzzle.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a    Socialist symbol Gerald Ford at the outset smashed (3,4)
RED FLAG: an anagram (smashed) of GERALD F[ord]

5a    Cheeky pet in the arms wriggling? (7)
HAMSTER: an anagram (wriggling) of THE ARMS

9a    Furore attached to explosive prankster’s article (5,4)
STINK BOMB: a furore followed by (attached to) an explosive device

10a    Ex-boozers keeping wine, not started, in vessel (5)
AORTA: an organization for ex-boozers around (keeping) a fortified wine without its initial letter (not starting)

11a    Feathered layer initially needed with a plant (5)
HENNA: a feathered egg-layer followed by N[eeded] and the A from the clue

12a    Final candidates keel over after strong drink (9)
SHORTLIST: a verb meaning to keel over preceded by a strong alcoholic drink

13a    Blow, shattering blow, causes depression (9)
PUNCHBOWL: a blow with the fist followed by an anagram (shattering) of BLOW

16a    Key locks office (5)
CHAIR: a musical key followed by some locks or tresses

17a    Intolerant person to leave in short while (5)
BIGOT: a two-letter word meaning to leave inside a short while (IN A ***)

18a    Mike’s conscious about refined feelings (9)
SENTIMENT: the letter represented by Mike in the NATO Phonetic alphabet with an adjective meaning conscious around it

20a    Crowd in Georgia presented with Wagnerian cycle? (9)
GATHERING: G(eorgi)A followed by a Wagnerian cycle (3,4)

23a    English head retired in German city (5)
ESSEN: E(nglish) followed by the reversal (retired) of a headland

25a    Stop at sea beginning to assist Titanic (5)
AVAST: A{ssist) followed by an adjective meaning titanic

26a    White gypsum and basalt are mixed (9)
ALABASTER: an anagram (mixed) of BASALT ARE

27a    Raise tax — millions lost in fight about that (7)
ELEVATE: a tax inside a fight without the M(illions)

28a    Scientific statement the more complicated (7)
THEOREM: an anagram (complicated) of THE MORE


1d    Fruit became more fashionable (7)
ROSEHIP: a verb meaning became more followed by an adjective meaning fashionable

2d    Maybe Hamlet’s pronounced stoop? (5)
DEIGN: sounds like (pronounced) Hamlet’s nationality

3d    Willingly enjoy field sports? (4,1,4)
LIKE A SHOT: could at a stretch mean to enjoy a field sport

4d    Earn exclamation of disgust (5)
GROSS: two definitions

5d    Evil creature walkin’ painfully without energy (9)
HOBGOBLIN: a verb meaning walking painfully without the final G, as in walkin’, around a two-letter word meaning energy

6d    Intended poor end to act (5)
MEANT: an adjective meaning poor followed by the final letter of (end to) [ac]T

7d    Stop unpleasant characters going topless in gallery (9)
TERMINATE: some unpleasant characters without their initial letter (going topless) inside an art gallery

8d    Cleric astride American nuclear device (7)
REACTOR: a cleric around A(merican)

14d    Bargain: found one in smart sale at the finish (9)
NEGOTIATE: a three-letter word meaning found and I (one) inside an adjective meaning smart and followed by the final letter (at the finish) of [sal]E

15d    Crashing into beast like mule? (9)
OBSTINATE: an anagram (crashing) of INTO BEAST

16d    Raw vice exploding around me? (5,4)
CRIME WAVE: an all-in-one clue where an anagram (exploding) of RAW VICE goes around ME from the clue

17d    Important match for Lions? (3,4)
BIG GAME: two definitions

19d    Time after time, an odd display of temper (7)
TANTRUM: T(ime) after T(ime) AN and followed by an adjective meaning odd

21d    Run in next race (5)
EXTRA: hidden (in) inside the clue

22d    Tissue transplant is hard work (5)
GRAFT: two definitions

24d    Instrument from India encased in lead (5)
SITAR: the letter represented by India in the NATO Phonetic alphabet inside a leading actor

Just right for a muggy day like today.

The Quick Crossword pun: creche+coarse=crash course

104 comments on “DT 29733

  1. This was one of those puzzles which left me both fuming and bruised. Two blank squares. Two, measly, pathetic little white squares, laughing at my inability to fill them in.

    And after applying a few electrons, I am forced to kick myself relentlessly; reminding myself over and over that for nearly thirty years I plied my trade as a medical engineer.

    Apart from that, this was a steady solve, finished (nearly) in **/*** time.

    Many thanks to the setter and BD.

    1. 25a lives in my memory because of an ild British comedy film (a Carry on film I
      Think) in which a nautical officer played by Kenneth Williams I think, shouted “25a behind”.

  2. An enjoyable crossword with a few tricky ones to keep us on our toes (2.5*/4*). There were a few unusual synonyms and some excellent misdirection as in 13a my COTD. I must say, I also enjoyed the play on words in little 2d, the temporarily baffling fruit in 1d and the cunningly worded 15d. Many thanks to the compiler and to BD for the hints.

  3. Enjoyable stuff and just right for a Wednesday. Love a pint of 5d so that gets my vote today.

    Thanks to BD and today’s setter.

  4. Cracking puzzle, setter take a bow. I thought yesterday was good but this tops it.
    Difficult to choose a podium but if forced I’ll go for the all in one at 16d along with19d plus 20a but top spot for is 4d because it made me chuckle.
    Many thanks to the setter and to BD for the top notch entertainment.

  5. Great clues today the answers to some of which whilst obvious and I wrote in I wasn’t always entirely sure why until further reflecting on the written answer. I too enjoyed 2d which although not difficult was neat so that gets my COTD. Fell off climbing yesterday and got a mention on Ken Bruce at about 10 past 10 this morning which has made my day!

  6. I kind of enjoyed this one. It had a fresh feel and some solutions that, even though I had heard of them, didn’t know the precise meaning … I only knew of 13 as the name of a pub, 5d as some sort of fantasy creature and 25 as a piratical term. Does anyone actually say that these days?
    I failed to enter 4d and racked my brains to find a word C*O*S, which vaguely fitted the clue, until I realised that I had inked the downstroke of the G into its neighbouring black squares …wot a twit!

    Thanks to BD and our setter.

  7. I first stared at the top four clues across with nothing happening, so I went to the bottom and worked my way up (that’s what all aspirants for success are told to do, isn’t it?), and that’s when I discovered what a terrific puzzle this one was. It took me a while but I got there in the end, happily and even gleefully. Really enjoyed this, especially 12a, 13a, 20a, and 17d, but my COTD is the amusing 9a. Cheers to Big Dave for the hints, and thanks to today’s setter, who reminds me a whole lot of Jay. *** / ****

    1. Hi Robert, I replied to your kind comments on yesterday’s page so won’t repeat them as you can easily find them.

      1. Hi, Corky. On the strength of your enthusiasm, bolstered by some rave Amazon reviews, I just ordered a set of the first six Mick Herron books, and I look forward to reading them–once I have finished Monte Cristo, that is. The most recent American novel that I have read and can recommend, perhaps with a few reservations, is Nathan Harris’s The Sweetness of Water. It’s his first novel, set in Georgia in the immediate aftermath of our Civil War, and I found it riveting, with unusual and gratifying perspectives on race and the nature of…well, the natural world, for one thing, and so much more. I loved it.

        I need to re-read Orwell and Highsmith, both personal favourites. I’ve read all of Le Carre, many of them twice. So good to chat with you again.

  8. 2*/4*. Thus was light and great fun although it didn’t feel like a Jay production to me.

    One very minor point is that I would have thought 3d should say “… field sport?” not “sports?”

    With lots of goodies to chose from my shortlist is 9a, 25a & 5d mainly because they are all lovely words.

    Many thanks to the mystery setter and to BD.

  9. A very enjoyable puzzle this morning. No obscurities or specialist knowledge required. **/**** It took me a moment to sort out the aa in 10a, my last one in. A clever little clue. Favourite 5d. I’m not sure if this is a Jay production. I have been wrong before. Thanks to all.

  10. Can’t claim responsibility for this one, though I would have been delighted if I had produced it!

    1. Thanks for popping in Jay, I deliberately didn’t attribute this excellent puzzle to you, let’s hope the actual setter reveals him/herself.

    1. Does anyone know why the Toughie has the setter’s name there, but the back page cryptic doesn’t?

  11. Agree with RD. Didn’t feel like one of Jay’s to me either. In any event a super puzzle that I made a complete horlicks of – I’m blaming this infernal heat & a lack of a good night’s sleep rather than mental ineptitude for my addled brain. Completed in *** time only to be greeted with the dreaded incorrect message & couldn’t be bothered to pore through it so pressed reveal mistakes. Sadly it wasn’t a fat fingered typo at fault but 2 wrong entries, neither of which had any remote relationship to the wordplay. Bunged atria at 10a & rate as the second word at 16d, both immediately corrected. Plenty of excellent clues of which 9&20a plus 5 (agree Jonners it’s a good pint),16,17&19 were the picks for me.
    Thanks to the setter & BD.

  12. Completed the RHS without managing any on the left. Stupidly 1d held me up as its such an obscure fruit – is it actually a fruit?. Also thought the second word of 17d was cats for a while. Years ago in the Etosha game reserve in Namibia, had to get out of the car to answer the call of nature. My travelling companion unkindly took a photo of me and when the photos came back, about ten feet from me was a lioness almost completely concealed and camouflaged by the long yellow grass! Mind you we were in a Triumph Herald soft top so even having the top up would not have provided much resistance. Anyway I digress, great puzzle and thanks to the setter and Big Dave.

    1. The rosehip is indeed the fruit of the rose. Obviously, not one that us humans would normally eat.

      1. Really? I remember having rose hip syrup as a kid and rose hips make quite a passable wine.

        1. *As kids, we used to split rosehips open to get the seeds out and then sprinkle them surreptitiously down the back of people’s necks – just as good as itching powder!

        2. My mother used to put the syrup on semolina pudding when we were poorly. Goes very well but not easy to find.

  13. I got nowhere with this one on the first pass and not much further on the second. I decided to go and pick peas, shell them, blanch and freeze. I then looked at the puzzle again and it began to reveal itself albeit slowly. I liked 5a because it took me a while to works out which words were the anagram. 5d reminded me that I had a 5d Ruby in the fridge so thanks to the setter for reminding me. I remember buying 9a as a kid but I don’t suppose they are available now. Like Huntsman, I had “rate” as the second part of 16d and didn’t see that it did not fit the clue.

    Anyway, despite a very slow start, it was a very enjoyable puzzle. Many thanks to the setter for the fun. Thanks, also to Big Dave for the hints and for stepping in.

    1. 5d in the fridge never! Drink a lot of it but we never drink English beer and ale cold.

  14. I found this one hard going, but battled through alone and unaided. Definitely needed BD’s help with the parsing of 14d which had to be what it is. I’m not keen on all in one clues as I always think I am missing something, so 16d didn’t float my boat. Other than those 2, enjoyed the fight.

    Thanks to the setter and to Big Dave.

    1. Having got the checkers for 14d, it was so tempting to enter ‘nightmare’ as this used to be true of the Selfridges July sales – thank goodness the lugging of many bags back to Marylebone is no longer part of my life. Although I sometimes miss those big yellow bags …

  15. A very pleasant mid-week challenge which I didn’t think was a Jay so thanks to him for confirming that – 2.5*/3.5*.

    Candidates for favourite – 12a, 5d, 8d, and 17d – and the winner is 5d.

    Thanks to the setter and BD.

  16. I am biting my nails in frustration! Our local sell-all shop had a refrigeration malfunction during the night and is still closed!
    George has been over four times since 7.30 and it is still firmly shut, with all our newspapers inside. Grrr. Do I really want
    to get in the car and drive down to Tescos to get a paper? Oh dear, I may have to. Especially as I wrote to the editor
    yesterday and just for once he might not have said ‘bin that silly old woman’ from South Cambs as is his usual wont.

    1. In the on-line letters ‘page’ there is nothing that could be attributed to (your words) a ‘silly old woman’ from South Cambs.

      1. I merely felt compelled to point out to the Editor that my mother always said never entirely believe a man who speaks
        with his hand over his mouth – you are not getting the true story!
        I would love to know just how many letters they receive each day! Hundreds, maybe thousands. So I guess four letters
        during the course of a lifetime is not bad going, although nothing like the achievement of you people who win crossword clue prizes.
        Respect (as they say).

        1. I don’t see it there Daisy, but there is a comment under the column re the latest BBC Cummings interview when someone said exactly that.

    2. You can print them off FOC using Pressreader.com Enrol with your local library ticket numbers.

    3. I have heard of hot news but not cold news. South Cambridgeshire must be a strange place.

  17. Only real problem was entirely of my own making. Had all the checkers in place before even looking at the clue for 14d and once you’ve seen ‘nightmare’ it becomes very hard to dislodge it from the old brain!
    Favourite here was 12a with 18a sliding into reserve position.

    Enjoyable puzzle from our mystery setter so thanks to him/her and thanks to BD for doing stand-in duties. Hope the 2Ks are enjoying themselves.

    1. And me. Even though I didn’t have all the checkers it had to start with “night” I convinced myself, having dismissed ” mare” I had “club” then “wear” & “time”.

  18. Hardly any sleep in spite of fan running all night but rustled up just enough concentration to cope with this mildish exercise with SW holding out longest. 24d would seem to be rather broad. My Fav podium contains 20a, 5d and 19d. Thank you to Mysteron and to the gaffer for standing in with hints.

  19. Thanks Big Dave, Jay and all commenters. I am responsible for today’s cruciverbal criminality.

    I’m glad this has proved an enjoyable diversion for you, as it is too warm to be bamboozled without recompense. A really great day too for having one’s recently discovered rotten soffit replaced, which is what’s going on here right now. Hell, the new car can wait. I didn’t really need one anyway.

    Don E Brook

    1. You can see from my comment #4 what I thought of the puzzle, great stuff. Thanks again.

      I wouldn’t like to be up a ladder in this heat, heights make me sweat at the best of times!

    2. Thanks for calling in and owning up. As a solver in the first circle of cruciverbal hell I needed Big Dave’s help with parsing but the puzzle was a fine challenge.

    3. Thank you, NYD, for a most rewarding, satisfying and amusing grid – it was very much appreciated.


    4. I’m always happy when I write NYDK at the top of the page while I’m working my way through the crossword and it turns out I am right. My favourite has to be 5aThanks to you and to BD

    5. Thanks for the great puzzle, NYDK, and for joining us. When I said (in my earlier comment) that your handiwork today reminded me of Jay, that was just about the highest compliment I could give such a fine compiler.

    6. Forgive me if this anagram of NYD has been called before but does Dr Nooky Nob pass muster or is it a bit too ‘Ooo, matron!’?

      Apologies, if it’s the latter.

  20. An enjoyable puzzle, I too was reminded to pick up some 5d Gold for when the sun is over the yardarm later. Oddly enough, ‘avast’ was in the FT crossword with almost identical clueing yesterday, as well as a couple of references to the Ring Cycle.

  21. Needed Big Dave’s help with the parsing of quite a few so a *** difficulty for me but the quality of the clues was challenging but excellent.13a and 4d my favourites.

    Thanks to Big Dave for the help in parsing and to NY Doorknob for a great puzzle.

    1. Wa¼s missing yesterday
      So a belated welcome back Corky.
      Thought of you with the England Italy final.

      1. Thank you LROK. Yes my wife and children are always offended by my support of Italy but I think England are an improving team with a good future as long as Southgate learns to gamble a little.

  22. A most satisfying and enjoyable solve – grateful thanks to the Setter and to BD for the review. Podium places to a number of clues, none of which succumbed to Covid during their passage to the competitive field: 16a, 20a, 1d, 14d, 22d, with my own COTD being 5d – lovely clue, and generated a chuckle.

    2* / 3.5*

    A query, please: I keep seeing references to a monthy DT puzzles newsletter but have failed signally in my attempts to find out where one may sign up for it. I don’t have a full DT subscription, only to the DT puzzles site, but I can find nowhere there to scratch this itch.

    Could anyone tell me where I should be looking please, or even better, paste a link?

    Many thanks in advance!

      1. Thanks, Steve – fingers are crossed, but that seems to have worked. Some newsletters are evidently (and quite reasonably) only available to full subscribers, but not this one, at least!

    1. This week’s Just-for-fun challenge is CENTRAL HEATING and closes at 9am on Friday. Just email your clue (with the subject line CENTRAL HEATING) to the address below and include a brief explanation of your clue. Hopefully, they should then send you all future Puzzles Newsletters. You could also try adding a PS with your clue requesting them:


      1. Thank you Jose, I may just do that, if the sign-up I’ve attempted does not work.

      2. I am sure you have submitted a great clue for Central Heating, Jose. I have sent in my meagre offering but I doubt I will match my win of a couple of weeks back.

        I look forward to seeing you in the honours. 👍

        1. No, I haven’t sent a clue yet. Can’t get enthused this week – must be the weather. If you won the other week, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t win again. It’s a global competition and open to anybody from novice solver to expert setter/solver. It’s good fun and worth having a shot at, I reckon. Good luck!

  23. Thank joy NYD and BD for such an enjoyable puzzle and clear explanations – I really liked 16d as a somewhat rare all-in clue that had me thinking for ages and ages

  24. A nice Wednesday puzzle with no real hangups. 1.5*/**** Completed this starting in NW and went pretty much clockwise. Some good clues in this puzzle that lead to misdirection too. Favourites today include 10a, 12a, 5d, 17d & 24d with 5d winner.

    Thanks to NYD for puzzle and BD for hints

  25. Top half quick. Bottom right slow, bottom left quick. Nice crossword except for 14d which I thought a dreadful clue as I couldn’t parse it. So the hinter came up trumps, thanks to big Dave once again. Whenever did smart become this word and as for got well I’m lost for words.

    1. Looking at the dictionary, there are more references to this meaning of smart than there are to ‘clever’

  26. Above my pay grade today. Have put aside in case all becomes clear to me after another coffee. But at least it shouldn’t generate any complaints about it being too easy.

    1. The second coffee did the trick. Only held up by 11a where I mistakenly bunged in hosta, and 14d where I thought the answer began with night…. I could see both were wrong, but once you have a word, or part thereof, in your mind it is very hard to shake it loose. Thanks to doorknob and Big Dave. At least I got there in the end.

  27. Unlike yesterday I did manage to complete this one, not very quickly and with much head slapping. I’d bunged in 2d and needed the hint to realise why it was correct ( thick or what). 1d did not immediately spring to mind as a fruit, but I remembered having the syrup as a kid so thats
    my clue of the day. Thanks for the delightful puzzle and the hints.

  28. Nice crossword but I found a little tricky hence ***/*** 😳 Favourites 13 & 20a and 17d 😃 Thanks to Big Dave and to Don E Brook

  29. Really glad you all thought this was a good puzzle. I found it very tricky especially the bottom half with clumsy clues and poor synonyms. For me a rather poor offering that was very little fun. Took two sittings to complete and many visits to the hints for explanations.
    Not one for me.

  30. I’m back with perhaps a silly question, but it’s been bothering me all day. I solved 5a with no problem but I still don’t understand what ‘cheeky’ has to do with the answer. What am I missing? Is it an expression (like you ‘cheeky xxxxxxx’) or something else entirely?

    Signed: Still wondering in Charleston

    1. Robert,I think it’s possibly because hamsters tend to stuff their cheeks with food. I could be wrong , I was once in 1964 I think🤪

    2. RC, 5a. It’s a “cheeky” pet because it’s got big cheeks (cheek pouches). A bit of a play on words, really.

    3. Could be a reference to the fact that 5a’s store food in pouches at either side of their mouths?

    4. Many thanks, everyone. I thought it might be something to do with their anatomy and habits but have never observed any hamsters at work.

  31. I always enjoy NY Doorknob’s offerings and this was a corker. There were enough “g”, “b” and “h” letters scattered about to help nudge you in the right direction. I only needed e-help with 14d, as above, I’d fixated on another answer. I find it hard to choose a fave but 5a is so adorable, maybe I’ll choose her.
    Thanks NY Doorknob for all the fun. It’s so nice to see you back at the helm BD, it’s been a long time.

  32. Haven’t posted for a while because it’s always so late before I finish but loved the puzzle today in the late afternoon sunshine. I always like Wednesdays and wondered if it was Jay but thanks to NYD for owning up! Super clues, loved the medical ones. Just about managed unaided, did wonder about ‘sports’ plural in 3 down but no real complaints! Thanks all.

  33. Found this a slow starter then made steady progress with the South West corner last to fall. I had a bit of nightmare to negotiate before I could make progress. Ran just into 3* time
    Very enjoyable and satisfying to solve so 4* fun factor.
    Thanks to NYDK for the fun & BD for the explanatory notes. What a great “bench” you have (mind you I don’t fancy Gatland having to come on for the Lions).

  34. My evening companion. He sits on the electricity pole outside the bedroom window every night and serenades his countryside.

  35. Didn’t enjoy this a great deal, no doubt a wavelength issue. 2d and 14d defeated me.

    Glad most people enjoyed this though. It certainly worked my feeble brain.


    Thanks to all.

  36. On first look I drew a blank. However turned into a splendid offering which I finished without aids. Too busy yesterday. I ringed 12 clues as favourites.
    I worry about Brian. Thanks Don E Brook and BD. I just needed to check the parsing of 14d once I got over my nightmare.

  37. 3*/4*….
    liked 12A “Final candidates keel over after strong drink (9)”

  38. Well it took me 4 days of returning to it to complete it but my perseverance paid off! I do like the satisfaction of doing it unaided, but knowing there is the safety net of the hints to refer to if absolutely necessary. 14d was the final culprit and even when I got it it took me a while to parse. Now to complete Thursday and Friday…….

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