DT 29742 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 29742

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 29742

A full review by Rahmat Ali

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This puzzle was published on 31st Jul 2021

BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

Greetings from Kolkata. A fairly difficult Saturday puzzle from the setter, yet modestly enjoyable. I once again feel happy to present to you a full review of it for your kind perusal and valuable feedback.

The superlative degree of the adjective ‘happy’ as the consequence of ‘exposures’ of three words in the clue of 1a provided me with some sort of happiness, while the answer of 13a took me down memory lane and I proceeded to reminisce my very own moments of mourning at different stages of my life. Obviously, the periods of mourning had been variable; I recollected that I had mourned the death of those very close to me for a longer period than the death of those not so close. Mourning is a sorrowful event and customs and traditions followed by mourners differ from place to place. Soon, I could recollect a question on a different breed of mourners that came up in a quiz competition in which I had participated some three decades back. They were the keeners or professional singing mourners of Ireland, who were remarkable for their funeral lamentations. They would mourn over the dead body for days and sometimes even take part in funeral customs as per an ancient tradition that ultimately died out in that country in the 1950s due to the influence of the Catholic Church, which deemed the practice as inappropriate and even families engaged in keening started to regard it as a backward-thinking culture. The prevalence of age-old custom of hiring moirologists or professional mourners by the relatives of the deceased person exists in some parts of the world even to this day. In our country, particularly in the state of Rajasthan, we have the ‘rudaalis’ or the female professional mourners, who sell their tears for a living and who, as opposed to males, are considered suitable for displaying their emotions of griefs. I further learnt from the net that the ancient Egyptians also hired female professional mourners who were prohibited from having any children themselves. In ancient Rome, the professional mourners were only for the wealthy class who would hire large number of such mourners. In China, however, it’s still an important status symbol to show the community that a large crowd participated in the funeral. Crying or displaying emotion in public is socially not acceptable except in mourning in that country. Hence, China’s celebrated professional mourners involve in otherworldly crying, along with dancing acts and karaoke numbers, blending ancient tradition with modern Chinese society.

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1a Shape epic jests, all exposed as most joyous (8)
HAPPIEST: [S]HAP[E], [E]PI[C] and [J]EST[S], all uncovered or without their outermost letters (all exposed)

5a Stable condition without English in command (6)
STATIC: STAT[E] (condition) without the abbreviation E (English) followed by a two-letter abbreviation i/c or IC (in command)

9a Renovated retreads checked (8)
ARRESTED: An anagram (renovated) of RETREADS

10a Hush-hush religious education in cult (6)
SECRET: A two-letter abbreviation RE (religious education) as in school is seen inside (in) a system of religious belief or SECT (cult)

12a Some cruel destiny for first-born (6)
ELDEST: Hidden inside or part of (some) cruEL DESTiny

13a Grieving for break of day, we hear (8)
MOURNING: A homophone (we hear) of MORNING (break of day) as heard by the audience

15a Unpleasant person in bother over weird pet (7)
REPTILE: RILE (bother) is placed around (over) an anagram (weird) of PET

16a Passable trade show (4)
FAIR: Double definition; the first meaning just good enough to be acceptable or satisfactory and the second referring to an exhibition at which businesses in a particular industry promote their products and services

20a Passion! She’s undressed with naked mate (4)
HEAT: [S]HE[S] disrobed or the outermost letters stripped (undressed) and followed by (with) uncovered [M]AT[E] or the outermost letters removed (naked)

21a Trimming fruit mostly during start of growth (7)
PRUNING: A plum preserved by drying and having a black, wrinkled appearance or PRUN[E] (fruit) with most of its letters (mostly), followed by IN (during) and the initial letter (start) of G[R][O][W][T][H], leading to the definition of making something neat of the required size or form by cutting away irregular or unwanted parts

25a Jailbird and French cop facing tense clash (8)
CONFLICT: A slang term for a prisoner or CON (jailbird) and a slang term for a policeman in France or FLIC (French cop) having in front (facing) the abbreviated T (tense) in a charade

26a Go and make amends (6)
REPAIR: Double definition; the first meaning to set off for a place, especially in company and the second referring to compensate for or make good the damage

28a Dawdle and pretend to be ill with mum absent (6)
LINGER: [M][A]LINGER (pretend to be ill) with MA (mum) out (absent)

29a Furnishes quality shop with lines finally lacking (8)
DELIVERS: Delicatessen in its short form DELI (quality shop) having beside (with) VERS[E] (lines) with its last letter (finally) unavailable (lacking)

30a Frustrated father embracing female (6)
DASHED: The colloquial term DAD (father) covering (embracing) SHE (female) as referring to a girl or woman leads to the adjectival definition meaning feeling or expressing distress and annoyance resulting from an inability to change or achieve something

31a Changing sides, beggar becomes more hopeful (8)
BRIGHTER: A colloquial term BLIGHTER (beggar) has L or left changing to R or right (changing sides)


1d Better to accept European doctor (6)
HEALER: Healthy or HALER (better) to take inside (accept) the abbreviated E (European) of the EU or the European Union

2d Show off in heaven: one’s missed out! (6)
PARADE: The place where the blessed dead go or PARAD[I][S]E (heaven) having I’S or IS (one’s) omitted (missed out)

3d Firmly maintained orderly tidiness (8)
INSISTED: An anagram (orderly) of TIDINESS

4d Volte-face of moderates creating fuss (4)
STEW: A downward-clue reversal (volte-face) of a derogatory term in politics for the conservatives or WETS (moderates), leading to the definition of a state of mental anxiety or agitation

6d Letters from oldest heir showing what belongs to them? (6)
THEIRS: Part of or hidden inside (letters from) oldesT HEIR Showing

7d Phrase in advanced student final (8)
TERMINAL: A charade of TERM (phrase), IN from the clue, the abbreviation A (advanced) and the abbreviated L (student) as reflected in L-plates for learner drivers

8d Reportedly see a Conservative without, say, class (8)
CATEGORY: A homophone (reportedly) of C (see) as heard by the audience is followed by A from the clue and TORY (Conservative) serving as a cover to (without) EG (say)

11d Going around primarily seeking little water bird (7)
GOSLING: GOING from the clue embraces (around) the first letters (primarily) of S[E][E][K][I][N][G] and L[I][T][T][L][E], arriving at the definition of a young goose

14d Environs of ancient region captivate (7)
ATTRACT: The surroundings (environs) or outermost letters of A[N][C][I][E][N]T followed by an area of land or TRACT (region)

17d Thwarted southern drudge called the shots (8)
SHACKLED: A charade involving the abbreviated S (southern), HACK (drudge) and LED (called the shots)

18d Income from grannies at work? (8)
EARNINGS: An anagram (at work) of GRANNIES

19d Irritating uncovered dangers in golf (8)
ANGERING: [D]ANGER[S] as undressed (uncovered) or having its outermost letters removed, followed by IN from the clue and G (golf) as in NATO phonetic alphabet

22d Bit of gear you might have a hand in (6)
SLEEVE: Cryptic definition of part (bit) of garment (gear) that wholly or partly covers a person’s arm arriving at from the fact that you might or might not have a hand inside it, depending on whether or not you are wearing that garment

23d Entrap criminal, one with issue (6)
PARENT: An anagram (criminal) of ENTRAP, leading to the definition of a father or mother of a person

24d Rubber ages Queen (6)
ERASER: A charade of ERAS (ages) and ER (Queen) as the abbreviation for Elizabeth Regina

27d Tolerate ill-mannered type (4)
BEAR: Double definition; the first a verb meaning to endure, especially with patience or to put up with and the second a noun meaning a rude, rough or uncouth person

Despite being a sort of difficult puzzle, it had several impressive clues that I enjoyed such as 1a, 15a, 20a, 21a, 31a, 1d, 4d, 6d, 8d, 11d, 18d, 19d and 22d, but 25a was par excellence. Many thanks to the setter for the puzzle that provided some entertainment and to BD again for the encouragement. Looking forward to be here again. Have a nice day.

10 comments on “DT 29742

  1. Thanks, Rahmat. Unusually, I can still recall solving this crossword, and your explanations make everything sound much clearer than it felt on Saturday/Sunday!

  2. Thank you, Rahmat Ali, from the setter. Your introductory paragraph on mourning was intriguing, especially in these times when ‘mourning’ immediately after a death has become an ‘event’ we participate in on-line unless we can be in the tiny group allowed at a ceremony. I do appreciate all the work that goes into carefully solving and reviewing these puzzles.

    1. Thank you so much, chalicea, as your appreciation has come to me as a colossal encouragement. I enjoyed a lot solving your puzzle and thereafter writing the review.

  3. 3*/4*…
    liked 18D “Income from grannies at work? (8)”

    bit puzzled by 22D “Bit of gear you might have a hand in (6)”….unless I have bought a shirt several sizes too large my hands are well outside the sleeve ??

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