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DT 29753

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 29753

Hints and tips by Deep Threat

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ***

Good morning from South Staffs, where the sun is shining as I write. Triskaidekaphobics beware!

It will be interesting to see what the commentariat makes of today’s puzzle. For me it was not unduly difficult, but I suspect that ‘wavelength’ may come into it.

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           For instance, pottery vessel displayed by husband and I (10)
HANDICRAFT – Put together an abbreviation for Husband, AND I (from the clue), and another word for a vessel or boat.

6a           Wag Club? (4)
CARD – Double definition: a witty person; or something which may be a club, diamond, heart or spade.

9a           Well-worn article about study local’s following (10)
THREADBARE – Put together another word for ‘study’ and another word for a ‘local’, then wrap a definite article around the result.

Threadbare, Splits, Tears | The Oriental Repair Co | Edinburgh & London

10a         Maybe Cornish area will be welcoming to store (4)
STOW – An indication of the geographical location of Cornwall wrapped round TO (from the clue).

12a         In the habit of playing duets with nothing on (4,2)
USED TO – Anagram (playing) of DUETS, followed by the letter which looks like zero.

13a         Hack admitted to dance of seven veils (8)
ENVELOPS – Anagram (dance) of SEVEN, wrapped round a verb for ‘hack’ or ‘cut’.

15a         Granted a recording, about 17 (12)
ACKNOWLEDGED – A (from the clue) and a recording medium wrapped round another word for the answer to 17d.

18a         Fascinating stretch cover (12)
SPELLBINDING – A stretch of time, followed by another word for the cover of a book.

21a         Clear a chessboard, taking great pains? No, little ones (8)
EARACHES – Hidden in the clue.

22a         Wander with son, ugly little fellow (6)
STROLL – An abbreviation for Son, followed something which, depending on your mythology, can be an ugly little fellow, or a large silicon-based life form.

The Colorful History of the Troll Doll | Innovation | Smithsonian MagazineMountain troll | Harry Potter Wiki | Fandom

24a         The old lady one’s hurt (4)
MAIM – A familiar word for ‘the old lady’, followed by another abbreviated way of saying ‘one is’.

25a         Put an end to sock fluff (6,4)
STRIKE DOWN – Another word for ‘sock’ or ‘hit’, followed by another word for ‘fluff’ or ‘feathers’.

26a         Appreciates accommodation (4)
DIGS – Double definition: some ancient slang for ‘appreciates’; or an informal word for some furnished accommodation.

27a         Sneaky boxing final — punch in the middle is dirty (10)
SLATTERNLY – Put together another word for the final one (of two) and the middle letter of puNch, then wrap another word for sneaky around the result.


1d           Bath, not the best place to have ice cream? (3,3)
HOT TUB – Cryptic definition of a type of communal bath which could be seen as a less than ideal container for ice cream.

Enjoy Your Hot Tub Amid Pandemic - Master Spas Blog

2d           Ratty‘s boat kept in hideaway capsized (6)
NARKED – The boat built by Noah is inserted into the reverse (capsized) of an animal’s lair or hideaway.

3d           In technique, I fancy, arresting copper shows incoherence (12)
INARTICULACY – Put together IN (from the clue), another word for ‘technique’ or ‘skill’, I (from the clue), the chemical symbol for copper, and an adjective describing a type of fancy fabric.

4d           Colour is arguably absent, oddly (4)
RUBY – Alternate letters (absent, oddly) of aRgUaBlY.

5d           Part of military uprising, with general all over the place (3,3,4)
FAR AND WIDE – Reverse (uprising, in a Down clue) the initials of one of the UK armed services, than add another word for ‘with’, and another word for ‘general’ or ‘unrestricted’.

7d           While tough, Hal gets beaten (8)
ALTHOUGH – Anagram (gets beaten) of TOUGH HAL.

8d           Blue team reveals limitation (8)
DOWNSIDE – Another word for ‘blue’ or ‘sad’, followed by another word for ‘team’.

11d         Two presents to wrap plus tons in various places (4,3,5)
HERE AND THERE – Two examples of a word for ‘present’ (as in ‘not absent’), placed either side of another word for ‘plus’ and the abbreviation for Tons.

14d         Subordinate in police dept to go on hire, topless (10)
INCIDENTAL – Put together IN (from the clue), the detective department of the police force, and another word for ‘hire’ minus its first letter (topless).

16d         Distinguished parade meets Eisenhower, partly getting held up (8)
ESTEEMED – Hidden in reverse (partly getting held up) in the clue.

17d         Left before winning scholarship (8)
LEARNING – An abbreviation for Left followed by ‘winning’ or ‘gaining’.

19d         Cut down consuming to hit factory in America (6)
MOTOWN – ‘Cut down (like grass)’ wrapped round TO (from the clue).

20d         Quiet Yankee eats fast enough (6)
PLENTY – The musical symbol for ‘quiet’ and the letter represented by Yankee in the NATO alphabet are placed either side of the Christian fast in the period before Easter.

23d         Hand is covered by foot (4)
FIST – An abbreviation for ‘foot’ is wrapped round IS (from the clue).

The Quick Crossword pun ROAM + MEN + RODE = ROMAN ROAD

60 comments on “DT 29753

  1. Not my wavelength at all. In my book, that was worthy of a mid-week Toughie. Took me ages to get going and after ***** time I was still only half way through. When I have to resort to electronics to finish half of a crossword, I just put it down and forget it.

    Now then, can our bowlers get some wickets before lunch?

    Thanks to all.

  2. Found this to be a tricky ***/*** with 19d being my last one in never having thought of that genre as a factory really. Lots of well constructed clues and some nice lurkers with my COTD being 1a although by no means the trickiest. Thanks for your commentary Deep Threat and to our setter today. Quite a hard week all in all.

  3. A very typical Zandio puzzle I thought. On first read through I went the whole of the across clues without an entry but the downs came to my rescue.
    I don’t think I’ve every come across 3d before but had enough checkers to confidently enter it and see the wordply.
    My ticks go to13 &22a plus 6,11&19d
    Many thanks to Zandio (I’d be amazed if it wasn’t he) and DT for the fun.

    1. This was definitely a puzzle where wave-length was important and it took me an awfully long time to find it, which is not unusual with me, when Zandio is the compiler (5*/2.5*). The clues, as is often the case, were convoluted so that the correct definition was well disguised (not so much misdirection as being submerged in excess verbiage!). The best clues were 9a, 15a and 18a. Thanks to DT for his explanations of a couple of bung-ins and thanks to Zandio for his efforts.

  4. Like DT, I didn’t think this was overly difficult, especially on a Friday. Lots to enjoy and a new word (fairly clued) to learn at 3d.

    Thanks to Zandio and DT

  5. 2.5*/4*. Very enjoyable, not too challenging, and almost certainly the handiwork of Zandio.

    19d was my last one in and gets my vote as favourite thanks to the cleverly disguised definition.

    Didn’t we have a debate recently about the use of card suits in the singular form? I think it’s OK and in any event the ? might be enough to satisfy the doubters.

    Many thanks to Zandio and to DT.

    1. Previous debate or not, I think having the capital C and ? make it quite OK in this clue – and at the bridge table one bids suits in the singular, not plural, at the 1-level.

      1. 6a is OK – there’s no mention of “suit” in the clue, it’s just a reference to a single playing card – a club. An individual card from the suit (a set of 13 cards) of clubs. This time, bridge-playing terminology is required to justify anything.

    2. 6a is fine, there’s no mention of “suit” in the clue. It’s a reference to a single playing card – a club. Suits may be bid/referred to in the singular in the specific terminology of bridge-playing but in general a card “suit” is only known in the plural.

  6. Whether it’s wavelength or, for 15a and 27a, the checkers, made it for me in the “not too difficult for a Friday but very enjoyable” camp. About 2*/4*. COTD for me 19d for penny drop moment.

    Thanks to setter and DT.

    Great pangram toughie by Elgar today with some amazing clues.

  7. Another excellent and very enjoyable puzzle off the Zandio production line. 2d was my last one in and favourite. About to drive down to London as we have tickets for the test match tomorrow, so unlikely to attempt the Elgar.

    Thanks to Zandio for the fun and to DT.

  8. Quite a steady solve although 19d did waylay me for a while despite it being something of an old chestnut in a slightly different guise.
    Top three here were 13&18a along with the afore-mentioned 19d.

    Thanks to Zandio and to DT – very enjoyable blasts from the past in the music clips!

  9. A nice Friday puzzle. Add me to the “delayed by 19d” club.

    Thanks to today’s setter and DT.

  10. Certainly not my wavelength today, as I fought for almost two-thirds of the clues with this excellent – and for me highly technical – puzzle, comfortably taking me into 4* time. Generally smooth surfaces and clever punctuation meant I kept misreading the clues – splendid deception. I thought the two lurkers were artfully hidden. 19d my LOI.

    Hon. Mentions to 15a, 27a, 11d and 14d, with 2d my COTD.

    4* / 3*

    Many thanks to the Setter/Zandio for a good mental workout, and to DT for the review.

  11. Back to front.
    Put the answers in then parsed them.
    All present and correct, Sir.
    Funny, that.
    But still a hard slog.
    Loved 19d..
    So, ****/****
    Many thanks Zandio and thanks DT.

  12. Unlike DT I found this puzzle quite difficult and at least a *** -probably a ****.
    Anyway eventually completed it while watching the cricket, an enjoyable solve, going for a ***.
    Favourite was 19d, liked the surface, followed by 18a.
    Thanks setter and DT-waiting for a few wickets to fall !

  13. One of those puzzles where I had to keep looking at the top of my printed sheet to make sure I had not printed the Toughie by mistake, definitely a wavelength problem today – ****/**.

    Favourite – a toss-up between 21a and 20d – and the winner is 20d.

    Thanks to Zandio and DT.

  14. I’m afraid I gave up. Not at all enjoyable for me and felt more like a Toughie.

    Thanks to the setter for the beating. Thanks, also, DT for the heavily relied on hints.

  15. Some slightly odd clues such as 27a but on the whole a great improvement on yesterdays dreadful offering.
    Both 1a and 1d were excellent clues I thought. On the whole tough but enjoyable for me.
    Thx to all

  16. I have to say, reading the comments so far makes me wonder if we were doing the same crossword. I found this fiendishly difficult and failed to finish for the first time in living memory. Most frustrating!

    1. I almost gave up but realised that it was a puzzle by Zandio, Yvonne. Ive found by experience that I have to let the more complicated clues sink in, whilst I fill in the few that are easily accessible. It seems to all fall into place suddenly at some point after that. Today’s puzzle had fewer easily accessible clues than most of Zandio Friday puzzles and it took a long while to get any checkers in to help me. So fiendishly difficult for me too Yvonne.

  17. A struggle and a half for me. I’m grateful to DT for a hint or two which finally got me going. I enjoyed 19d though.

    There is a cricket commentator on Test Match Special who drives me doolally because she says “As…” when describing every ball bowled.
    For example: “Twenty minutes to lunch then, as Moeen comes in and bowls…” or “Some ominous looking clouds overhead there Michael… as Wood sprints in…”
    Once one becomes aware of her verbal tic, one can’t stop listening out for it.

    Today’s crossword soundtrack: A cricket commentator saying, “As…”

    Thanks to the setter and DT.

  18. Hello all, compiler here. Thanks for the discussion and analysis. Hope you have a good weekend.

    1. Good of you to pop in to post a comment, and thank you for another in a long line of lovely puzzles.

    2. Thank you for popping in, Zandio, always much appreciated. I get on much better with your puzzles these days although I still reckon you can be guilty of producing some fairly ‘iffy’ surface reads at times!

    3. Thanks for the exceptionally fine puzzle, Zandio, wonderfully clued. Hope you have a good weekend too.

    4. Thanks Zandio for an excellent workout. I particularly liked your very well disguised (from me at least) lurker in 22a and 1 d certainly raised a chuckle

  19. Phew! I thought I was never going to get going and then once off found it very heavy going. SE was biggest challenge mainly due to hitch with 19 and 20d. Not sure whether 21a are necessarily little although not over a “great” area. 5d was unparsed by me. Thank you Zandio and DT (triskaidekaphobia played its part today – perhaps we should now look out for that word in future crosswords!)

  20. Enjoyed and found harder than wed or thurs, such that I needed to turn here for a couple.

  21. Took ages to get into this. SE held out for some time but got there in the end but quite a slog though. Thanks to Zandio and Deep Threat.

  22. I think I had one solution I was sure of after my first pass Across, and I began to despair, but then, voila!, my brain cells became energised, and I was on my way to a triumphant finish. 2d is not exactly new to me but a rare–and very aptly descriptive–term of how I first felt last night, and 3d is a wonderfully expressive word I may have seen only once or twice in my lifetime. 1a, 13a, 18a, 27a are all squeezed onto the podium, with many wannabes jockeying for awards. Thanks to DT and to Zandio for the enjoyment. *** / ****

    1. I just noticed that Maggie Hempstead’s wonderful new novel, Great Circle, is on the Booker Longlist. I am about two-thirds of the way through and enjoying it immensely. For one thing, it’s about aviation, aviators, and the desire to soar on one’s own terms; for another, it’s about two different people a hundred years apart who are fascinating examples of such a manifest destiny. Amazon has just chosen it the best book, so far, of 2021. The two best books I’ve read (both by American authors, surprisingly for me) this year–The Sweetness of Water and Great Circle–should be available in the UK for those interested.

  23. Frankly I thought this puzzle with some really odd clues that made very little sense.
    For example 12a, 21a, 24a, 27a & 17d and I’ll stop there.
    Parsing was awful, and it was just not a good solve at all.
    Just NOT my cup of tea today.
    To finish on a good note I did like 6a, 9a, 10a, 22a & 20d

    Anyway thanks to Zandio. No hints used as I solved what I did on Thursday evening, but thanks anyway to DT for his blog.

  24. At first read through I thought this was going to be very difficult. After an hour or so I agreed with my brain and having only got one half of the clues came here to reveal my incompetence.

    A very chastening week for puzzling although it could be my brain becoming demented.

    Thanks to DT for the necessary hints and to Zandio for making me query my sanity.

  25. **** tough for me. In the end bloody-minded persistence got me over the line. Needed e help for 27a but otherwise OK, finally.
    Made me realise my level of incompetence too much for more than 3* fun factor.
    21a a nice lurker gets y COTD.
    Thank you Zandio & DT.
    Should go back to bed as it’s. Friday the 13th.

  26. Thanks to Zandio for a perfect Friday puzzle that was right up my street. An excellent tussle with many smiles along the way. As someone who had his 13th Birthday on Friday 13th the number nor the date hold any fears for me. Out to The Gourmet Food Kitchen tonight. Coventry’s No 1 foodie experience. Play nicely for the weekend boys. I’ll see you all on Monday

  27. Definitely couldn’t get on the right wavelength for this and had to use so much electronic aid I felt ashamed! Did manage to complete it without reverting to the blog, but it was “How didn’t I see that?” every time the penny dropped. Can’t blame it on the date but my excuses are recovering from difficult back surgery, waiting painfully for gallbladder surgery in 3 weeks time – and moving house next week!! I rest my case and hope the Toughie is easier. Many thanks Zandio and DT.

  28. The first read through yielded worrying little so another struggle looked inevitable. As it turned out however it was a bit like a ferocious looking barking dog who ended up wagging his tale then rolling over to have his tummy tickled & a steady solve in *** time ensued early this morning. Plenty of ticks for me – 1,9,18&27a plus 2,3,19&20d stood out for me.
    Thanks Zandio & to DT.

  29. Very, very tricky puzzle. I did finish with e-help, but found it all very nebulous and strange. I was way off wavelength and solved mostly by checkers, I am so grateful to DT for explaining how the answer was arrived at. Natch, I used the other ending at 3d, just thought it was me being dim, e-help gave me the other ending. Glad I’m not the only one who never heard of it. I did rather like 11d.
    Thanks to Zandio for the offering and to DT for the unravelling – oh, yes, and for the Kenny Rogers, someone I’ve actually heard of.

  30. Phew – that was a bit sneaky. Deffo a wavelength problem for us. But we got there eventually. 4* difficulty as we got really stuck in SW corner.
    pommers thought Detroit for 19d but didn’t say anything – wish he had as I would have got the answer a lot sooner.
    Thanks Zandio and DT for the hints

  31. Tricky for me today, but I did manage to finish it alone and unaided. Needed help with the parsings though.
    Thanks to Zandio and to Deep Threat

  32. Oh dear. Zandio defeats me again and Deep Threat comes to the rescue like a cold drink after a curry.
    19d didn’t read “factory” to me and not quite sure re 10a. 27a among those that defeated me. Hey ho, every day’s a school day.

    1. You don’t need a cold drink after a curry, P + S. You need a raita of yoghurt, onion and cucumber but I liked your analogy. 🥵

  33. Another day with two Toughie offers, instead of one Toughie and one regular Cryptic. Seems to be the pattern this week, and one which would not have enticed me to become a DT puzzle fan. I was not only not able to get on wavelength, I think I was on a different planet. I can sometimes manage a Toughie, but this was tougher by far. Disappointing and hoping for something a bit more user friendly tomorrow. Thanks to Zandio, and to Deep Threat for the very necessary hints, although I gave up early on.

    1. You and me both, BL. I know that the Friday backpager is usually trickier than the rest of the week but they are usually doable. To put a Toughie in its place, especially when Elgar is on Toughie duty, is a bit below the belt. Just my opinion, of course and my comments are absolutely no reflection on Zandio.

      I agree with you that a newcomer would take one look and never look at a cryptic again.

      1. I’m in BL’s camp too, that makes at least three of us. A sort of chimera, you keep grasping trying to catch the sense of the clue and it keeps slithering away from you, leaving you with your brain writhing!

        1. My brain sure writhed and here’s me thinking crosswords are supposed to be fun! 🤣

  34. What a difficult crossword week this has been with this one the hardest of all. Each day I have just given up and looked at the answers, because there were so many unfinished clues that there wasn’t time to search through the hints. Anyway thanks to the clever setters who defeated me each day and to the bloggers who were able to do all the parsing.

  35. Just finished this, can only surmise I must be on the same wavelength as Zandio only 3d stopped me a bit and 27a knew the answer but missed the punch line so found it difficult to parse👍

  36. Very hard but I loved it: gave the brain a work out and reminded me of early days when the words read to me like sentences rather than a set of instructions. Were Martha and the Vandellas lip synching to a different song entirely?

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