DT 29764 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 29764

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 29764

Hints and tips by Miffypops

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BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

A tricky offering from Giovanni today.   Fortunately most of today’s obscurities have wandered off to the Quick Crossword puzzle

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought


1a        Bone in fish — meal putting me off (6)
CARPAL: Firstly, catch your fish. An oily freshwater fish from the family Cyprinidea. Add the letters from the word meal after the word me has been taken away

5a        Country singer returned offering a few notes maybe (8)
CASHBACK: Begin with an American male country singer who always dressed in black. Add a synonym of the word returned to find a facility offered by retailers that is becoming rarer as we forward thinking people embrace a world without physical currency

9a        A reason for empty chairs in our country? (5,5)
BRAIN DRAIN: The chairs here are proffesorships (is that a word?) Your answer was first used in the 1950s to describe the exodus of highly educated people to other countries for higher remuneration

10a      Scottish poet, not the first, to make pots (4)
URNS: Scotland’s best known poet needs the first letter of his surname removing

11a      Strip of metal or wood to chuck outside (8)
FLASHING: This strip of metal which prevents water ingress can be found by placing a type of tree inside a verb meaning to chuck or throw something

12a      Game with helpful person endlessly offering set of rules (6)
RUBRIC:  The initials of the world’s finest team sport are followed by by a word which might describe somebody as a good egg minus its last letter

The rules according to Miffypops 

Rule one. There are no rules

Rule two. If in doubt, see rule one

13a      Bridge partner of North facing censure (4)
SPAN: The abbreviation for south is followed by a word meaning to criticise

15a      It’s certainly not helping mother, getting old (8)
DAMAGING: Begin with a word for ones mother where ones father is a sire. Add a word meaning growing older as are we all

18a      Asian fellows taken in by heretic (8)
ARMENIAN:  A three-letter word for fellows or males sits inside a word meaning a heretic. This word is not defined in my online dictionary

19a      Plant knocked over in dark office (4)
OKRA: The answer lies hidden within the words of the clue as indicated by the word in. It is reversed as indicated by the words knocked over

21a      Trick needed with very good sea food (6)
SCAMPI: A word meaning to con or swindle is followed by a word meaning very good. Possibly an abbreviation of the word pious

23a      Close friend — solitary, it’s said, facing position of defeat (4,4)
SOUL MATE: A homophone (it’s said) of a word meaning alone is followed by a word describing the end of a game of chess where defeat is the only result

25a      Pollution maybe from industry (4)
DUST: The answer lies hidden within the words of the clue as indicated by the word from

26a      Odd bits of old material specially fashioned for customer (6-4)
TAILOR MADE: An anagram (specially) made up of the odd numbered letters of the word old plus the word MATERIAL

27a      We will be not half embarrassed and polite (4-4)
WELL BRED:  A contraction of the phrase we will is followed by half of the word be. This is followed by the colour of embarrassment 

28a      Polish or north European language being heard (6)
FINISH:  A homophone of a very Northern European country might also describe the surface patina of an object 


2d        Sound coming through the mouth? Through the ear! (5)
AURAL:  The word meaning of the mouth sounds very similar to the word meaning of the ear. You have a choice here. Try the one with five letters

3d        Power one observed in catty type leading a new church (9)
PUISSANCE: The letter that looks like the number one sits inside an informal noun used for a cat. This is followed by the letter A from the clue and the abbreviations for new and the Church of England

4d        Boy‘s story probed by a theologian (6)
LADDIE: A Doctor of Divinity sits comfortably inside an untruth or fib

5d        Heads condemning wrong decided on a new course of action? (7,4,4)

6d        Unhealthy group erred, from what we hear and see (8)
SYNDROME: Begin with a homophone of a word meaning erred. Add a See, Diocese or Bishopric in Italy (Is there such a thing as a Poperic?)

7d        Something indistinct and black that may be on book’s cover (5)
BLURB: Something that cannot be seen clearly is followed by the abbreviation for black. The answer is the advertising on a books cover

8d        Deliverer of goods tricks uninformed worker needing dispatch (9)
CONSIGNOR: Begin with a four-letter word meaning tricks. Ad a word meaning uninformed or unaware minus the insect worker at the end

14d      You’d want me in an emergency? I’d let you down! (9)
PARACHUTE: A cryptic definition of a necessary part of a skydivers equipment

16d      One fellow helping another at an American match (9)
GROOMSMAN:  The American equivalent of our best man at a wedding

17d      Cleric involved in secret sin immediately shown up (8)
MINISTER: The answer lies hidden within the words of the clue as indicated by the words involved in. It is reversed as indicated by the words shown up

20d      Single old females escape for adventure perhaps (3,3)
RUN OFF: What a single is an example of in cricket followed by the abbreviation for old and two abbreviations for female

22d      Maureen is on phone — somewhere for overnight stay needed (5)
MOTEL:  A diminutive form of the name Maureen is followed by a diminutive form of a telephone

24d      Fusses, there being a list of upcoming jobs? (2-3)
TO DOS:  A double definition. The second being best left unfinished to avoid additional tasks being added


Quickie Pun Take off + Hence = Take offence. Somebody stole our front gate last night. Right in front of me. I didn’t say anything in case he took offence



68 comments on “DT 29764

  1. I found this very difficult to start with. I think only three or four each of the across and down clues fell on the first pass. But as I progressed, more and more answers came, but I was certainly not on the setter’s wavelength and gave up trying to parse all my answers. A full grid was achieved in **** time, so now I need to check the hints to see why my answers were right. Assuming they are!

    Many thanks to the setter and MP

  2. A tricky ****/*** with some complex but ultimately fair clueing. 16d was a new word for me and COTD 6d. The cricket allusion in 20d eluded me for a time. Thanks to our hinter and Giovanni if it was he.

  3. This was heavy going but once a few checkers went in the more obscure clues became more easily to guess and the parsing could then be reverse engineered (3.5*/2*). I did get some satisfaction from finishing it and working out the parsing but enjoyable is not really a word that I’d use to describe this puzzle. Testing, demanding intellectual exercise perhaps. The best of the clues for me was the 14d cryptic definition. Thanks to MP for explaining the parsing. I had a fair few clues with question marks next to them, which had to be checked. Thanks to Giovanni for a worthy challenge.

  4. I found this quite tricky, thank goodness for the checkers particularly in the North. Still, it was all fairly clued so no complaints.
    Runaway clue of the day for me was the very clever 6d, with the reverse lurker at 17d and the DD at 24d making up the podium.
    Many thanks to Giovanni for the workout and to MP for a top blog.

  5. A tricky offering. You ain’t kidding or was that ironic understatement Miffs? At one point I feared I was done for with half a dozen to go & actually checked to see if I was doing the Toughie. In the end coffee number 3 kicked in & finished in just over ***** time & though yet to read the review reckon they’re all correctly parsed. I knew 3d from showjumping but had to confirm it’s meaning here. 6d&12a were my last 2 in & pleased I resisted the temptation to reveal the checker as they were both good clues & very satisfying when the pennies dropped eventually. COTD has to 5a but big ticks also for 9,23,27&28a plus 3,6&17d.
    Thanks to Giovanni & MP.

    1. I, too, was familiar with 3d from showjumping but had to look up the meaning for power. Strange leap from power to, I think, three consecutive jumps, maybe I’m wrong.

  6. Tricky. ***/*** At first pass I thought I could look at it all day and get nowhere. It gradually fell into place. I did manage to work out the reasonings with the exception of 18a. I had to google Arian to discover who he was! A tad obscure for me. Favourite 5a. Did we ever discover whether or not yesterday’s puzzle was a Jay? Thanks to all.

  7. Wow, this was a dilly and a doozy, but I managed to finish it alone and unaided, and for that I am quite joyful since I often find Giovanni beyond my means. The NE corner reaps all the honours from me today, with 5a (my LOI), 6d, 12a, and 15a my top four. Most enjoyable even though it did rather wear me down at the end. Thanks to MP and to Giovanni. *** / ****

  8. Like others I found this extremely tricky and like Huntsman above 6d and 12a were my last in. Didn’t help that I misspelt the first word of 23a and put sole in before realising my mistake. Strange puzzle as some of the clues like 25a and 22d were really obvious. I think my COTD is 8a followed by 5a. Anyway thanks to Giovanni and Professor MP.

  9. ‘pon my soul – this is a tricky one. Very grateful to the man in the pink suit for enabling me to get going again after coming to a complete halt about halfway through. Solving 5d was the ultimate breakthrough enabling me to struggle home.

    Today’s crossword soundtrack – BBC Test Match Special (despite one of the commentators driving me bonkers).

    Thanks to Giovanni and Prince Miff.

  10. Back to front.
    Answers in first, parsing second.
    Spot on apart from checking the odd spelling.
    5a and 23a brilliant.
    So, ***/****.
    Many thanks to the setter and to MF.

  11. I’m afraid I gave up halfway through and resorted to the hints. Far too difficult for my grey cells and, consequently, a bit of a slog and zero enjoyment. Mind you, I did like 9a and this is my COTD mainly because I didn’t get many more.

    My thanks to the setter for trouncing my ego and thanks to MP for restoring my sanity.

  12. As others have said, tough but reasonably fairly clued. Just over *** difficulty and quite satisfying for me. Got the “sinned” bit in 6d but couldn’t see the see so thank you MP.
    LOI & biggest penny-drop moment was 9a so gets my COTD.
    Thank you to Giovanni (following MP’s attribution) and everGreen (even though retired) MP. for a rare alcohol-free review.

  13. One of those ones that is quite straightforward if you ignore the wordplay and just go for the definition. I thought 14d was a clever clue but 20d was very poor. I agree about 18a, where on earth does the heretic come in? I always associated 3D with equine competitions (never my favourite when I was competing, too far to fall for horse and rider).
    Strangely enjoyable even with the religious overtones.
    Thx to all

    1. Corky explains. If you google arian as I did, you’ll find the full definition of the heresy.

  14. First impression was daunting but gradually DG’s artful touch came through. NE last corner to yield. 6d unhealthy group rather tenuous. My Fav 9a. Thank you Giovanni and MP.

  15. I know it’s the wrong time but I am asking the NHS for a brain transplant when a person of professor or greater intellectual powers is unfortunately killed while in full possession of their faculties. Giovanni and Ray T on Thursdays fully illustrate my need of it.

    For those foxed by 18a the heretic is Arius and the heresy he propounded was that Christ actually was the Son of God as he was begotten by the Father in time and was not co-eternal. Not I think a great heresy and given how it is nearly impossible to understand or explain the Trinity it seems a good way round the problem. Calvin’s explanation of the Trinity is rather like Hawking’s Brief History of Time in that you go along quite happily for a few pages and then suddenly realise you have missed something important and no matter how much rereading you do you cannot find the missing key

    As for the puzzle, I conceded early and used the hints. I cannot find a favourite as one is bewildered by the puzzle but thanks to Giovanni for at least reminding me that most heretics provided a more sympathetic reading of Christianity than either Augustine or Calvin.

    Thanks to Miffypops for his excellent hints as usual.

  16. I think a toughie has migrated to the back page with this one, a most unusual puzzle as Brian got on with it by the sound of it. Well done MP for sorting this out , far beyond my feeble brain. Thanks to the setter,please go a bit easier on us next time🤪.

  17. What a stinker. Got there in the end but disappointed I had one wrong. I never queried sling for chuck. I struggled most with NE and 8d and 5a were last ones in. I think this would put off a newbie. Favourites 9 and 12a. The latter took a long time but pleased when I got there. Down favourites 2, 14 and 16. Gold medal goes to 14d. Thanks Giovanni and we’ll done MP for sorting it out!

  18. Enjoyed this puzzle from Giovanni – thought I was grinding to a halt in the SE but suddenly the penny dropped with the chap assisting at the American ‘match’…
    Thanks as ever to MP for today’s blog ‘n hints – great pic of a cheery lady for the 23A clue…Saintly Sharon perhaps?

  19. Found this Thursday offering from Giovanni this week a pleasant solve and no real difficulties. **/****
    Solved this puzzle east side first then west with SW last area finished.
    Clues to like include 13a, 21a, 5d, 14d & 22d with winner 14d
    New word for me in 3d

    Thanks to Giovanni and MP

  20. Very tricky and needed MP’s help to explain 6d (I always seem to miss ‘see’) but got there in the end and felt that was quite an achievement. Thanks again

  21. Still struggling with this one. Enjoying it though. It’s just that my head seems particularly woolly these past few days or weeks.
    Here in Ontario we are apparently into a fourth wave though it is not too bad in our immediate area. I thought I was off the hook for blood tests but now I am told I must have another MRI which means another arm emptied of blood. The lady on the phone reeled off a ton of questions including two that made me laugh out loud, they have my notes so know how old I am. She asked if I might be pregnant, I said that if I am she can call the Guinness Book of Records, and then asked if I have any bullets or shrapnel in my body. I said ‘Not to my knowledge.’ I understand she has to ask everyone those questions but it just struck my funny bone :-)
    Right, back to the puzzle…… got the bottom bits OK but the top half is just blank, like my mind. I do have a bit of an excuse, I am also watching The Repair Shop.

    1. My husband was asked if he might be pregnant when he went for his shingles shot ….

      1. That’s hysterical! Thanks, you just made both of us laugh out loud.

      2. I once met a woman in a pub in Holmfirth who was an author and reckoned she had written a novel above a pregnant man (and she had, I checked!). She went on to relate that the publisher was to rush the release date forward to coincide with the publicity generated by a chap in America who was indeed pregnant and shortly to give birth. The book is titled Fecundity!. (The ! is part of the title, not my exclamation).

        1. Not sure, I never checked that. But she sounded sincere about it.

          *The “above” should read about.

  22. Tuff, tuff, tuff! I needed M’pops help to finish. By a miracle, I sussed out the anagram at 5d and got it in a trice, getting a nice entré, not so the rest! I put the correct first word in 23a, then thought 20d was “one off” so changed it. Didn’t get 17d, missed the lurker … again. My fave was 9a, hotly pursued by 3d and 14d.
    Thank you Giovanni for the struggle, and M’pops for his help, I see the pink suit is getting another airing!

  23. Read the comments, looked at the crossword…thanks Giovanni but no thanks! I’ll enjoy a sunny evening’s walk on Morecambe Bay instead!

  24. When I got to 3d I knew it was time to throw in the towel. When a setter uses words not in common parlance I’m afraid I lose interest, obviously too clever for me. Particularly when sleep deprived. Thanks anyway to Giovanni, and especially to Miffypops for the hints.

  25. Well the south wasn’t too bad but the north was problematic to say the least, the NW giving way before the NW. The keys to both were 3d and 12a, who knows where I dragged those up from, a previous crossword probably. So they become my joint favourites. Thanks to Giovanni and MP.

  26. While Miffypops is obviously right about 27a, I convinced myself that the answer was the first word as described, and the second is actually less than half the letters in the word Embarrassed in order. Coincidence or what?
    But I found this a real stinker, maybe my brain addled by watching England all day.

  27. Too hard for me today. Managed the bottom half fairly quickly but needed the electronic gizmos and the hints for most of the top. So, not my finest hour.

    Thanks to the setter and to MP.

  28. The heresy completely passed me by though I guessed the answer….otherwise, hard-ish but fairly clued and a stimulating midnight work-out….thanks to all

  29. I didn’t get too far with this but I have to question calling Armenians Asian. I’ve been there and I think the entire Caucusus region thinks of itself as being European, despite being to the east of Turkey. I realise there’s a geographical argument for saying they’re in Asia but it’s not cut and dried.

    1. I had my own reservations about Armenian too. But I have learned not to question the knowledge of our setters which will be backed up by their editor.

    2. I’d agree. Purely geographically/historically it is located in Asia, but these days it is generally regarded to be politically European.

  30. Way above my pay grade today.

    The NE corner was easily on toughie territory.

    No enjoyment at all for me I’m afraid.

    Thanks to all.

  31. Just finished during insomniac session! That is all 4 this week finished before looking at the hints, my best ever run, but needed help parsing for the chair in 9a and the see in 6d. Got off to flying start when 5d anagram jumped straight out but then NE corner took a lot of midnight oil to solve. 3d favourite as just a nice word to assemble, remembered from watching some mammoth jump offs on TV. Expect my good run to end tomorrow (today now!) Fridays are usually a struggle for me, but that’s what makes cryptics so enjoyable for me.
    Thanks to all.

  32. Erm – are proffesorships the replacements for professorships after 5a has taken place (or am I just missing some witticism on the part of Miffypops)?

    I didn’t find this overly challenging, though I wasn’t aware of an “unhealthy group” definition for 6d.

    Many thanks to Giovanni and MP.

    1. Miffypops has never claimed to be anything more than a poorly schooled orphan boy. I didn’t like the look of proffessorships but the meaning was clear and I think life is too short to fuss over such things. Your comment is very witty though. I also wondered about the unhealthy groups. It’s a dirty job but somebody has to do it. Thanks for the thanks

  33. After a long struggle I had solved about two thirds of the clues, then I decided it was time to give up. Giovanni is just too clever for me but I have to admire the brilliance of his clues, so thank you and be a bit kinder to us next time. Many thanks to MP, he must have had to work very hard.

  34. It’s a long time since I’ve been so utterly stumped by a crossword. I keep going back to it and I’ve still only solved about half of it. Will keep battling on, though – I never give up! Thanks to Giovanni and to Miffypops for the hints, which I am certainly going to need.

  35. I too gave up after 24 hours of puzzling and only half done. But learned a lot from Miffypops’ hints – thanks! *****/***

  36. 5*/4*…..
    liked 14D ” You’d want me in an emergency? I’d let you down! (9)”

  37. At least, this kept me occupied for a while as I haven’t printed another crossword since.
    Really enjoyed the ride though.
    14d made me smile too.
    The unhealthy group was also new to me.
    Wasn’t sure about 18a at first as I didn’t consider them as Asian.
    Thanks to Giovanni for the workout and to MP for the entertaining review.

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