DT 29771 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 29771

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 29771

Hints and tips by Deep Threat

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ***

Good morning from South Staffs, where heavy cloud cover continues to make things gloomy.

The presence of four Xs in today’s crossword suggests that the setter is ProXimal, who has given us a puzzle which I found quite accessible this morning.

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           Copper and cleric’s fight for prime arena location (9,3)
DIRECTORS’ BOX – Put together the abbreviation for a senior detective, a beneficed clergy person (with the ‘S from the clue) and a verb for the sort of fight that happens with gloves on in a ring.

Tottenham 3-0 Manchester United: Dele Alli, Toby Alderweireld and Erik Lamela on target as Spurs keep Premier League title hopes alive with stunning victory at White Hart Lane | Daily Mail Online

8a           Representative for unknown figures (5)
PROXY – The Latin word for ‘for’ followed by two algebraic unknowns.

9a           Strains on exterior of cherry trees (9)
CYPRESSES – The outside letters (exterior) of C(herr)Y, followed by another word for ‘strains’ (think of olive oil or wine).

Vincent van Gogh - The Cypress Tree and Flowers, 1889 at Kunsthaus Zürich - Zurich Switzerland | Van gogh art, Van gogh paintings, Vincent van gogh paintings

11a         Is plum off? I have rash (9)
IMPULSIVE – Anagram (off) of IS PLUM, followed by the short form of ‘I have’.

12a         Measure space rock that’s out of the ordinary (5)
METER – Remove the abbreviation for Ordinary from a space rock.

13a         ‘They’re divine’ — some obsessed dog-lovers reflected (9)
GODDESSES – Hidden in reverse (reflected) in the clue.

16a         African native bringing foreign money into centre of Chad (5)
HYENA – The central letters of (c)HA(d) are wrapped round some currency from the Far East.

Animals: Spotted Hyena

18a         Confessed wearing dress to need front scrubbed (5)
OWNED – Start with a word for ‘wearing dress’, then remove the first letter (front scrubbed) to get a word for ‘confessed’ (especially when followed by ‘up’).

19a         Maybe the French Open and US are to be rearranged (9)
EUROPEANS – Anagram (to be rearranged) of OPEN and US ARE.

20a         Part of helicopter shelled from hill (5)
ROTOR – Remove the outer letters (shelled) of (f)RO(m), then add a Devon hill.

22a         We with a self-confidence gaining new convert for hostile use (9)
WEAPONISE – Put together WE and A (from the clue), and a word for self-confidence wrapped round an abbreviation for New.

25a         Withdrawing from holy place after sacrificing the last monarch (9)
SHRINKING – Remove the last letter from a word for a holy place, than add a (male) monarch.

26a         It holds writer back being useless (5)
INEPT – IT (from the clue) is wrapped round the reverse (back) of a word for something you write with.

27a         Home designer revamped housing by following pointers (5,7)
INDEX FINGERS – Start with a two-letter word for (at) home, then add an anagram (revamped) of DESIGNER wrapped round the symbol for ‘(multiplied) by’ and an abbreviation for ‘following’.

Index Finger Images | Free Vectors, Stock Photos & PSD


1d           Came by doctor and Pope upset with row (7,2)
DROPPED IN – Put together an abbreviation for doctor, an anagram (upset) of POPE, and a row or loud noise.

2d           Regularly ignored droopy tail of Rex? (5)
ROYAL – Alternate letters (regularly ignored) of dRoOpY tAiL.

3d           Feat cutting 101 plants (5)
CACTI – A feat or deed inserted into the middle of the Roman numeral for 101.

Cactus Mix | Van Meuwen

4d           Teacher dismissing of supporting work one dictates (9)
OPPRESSOR – An abbreviation for the Latin word for ‘work’, followed by a university teacher with OF (from the clue) removed.

5d           Second mate’s at sea in boat (9)
STEAMSHIP – Put together an abbreviation for Second, an anagram (at sea) of MATE’S, and a word for ‘in’ or ‘trendy’.

6d           Attack is concerning group (5)
ONSET – Another word for ‘concerning’ or ‘about’, followed by another word for ‘group’.

7d           Spa gets in poolside bouncers (12)
SPRINGBOARDS – Another word for ‘spa’ followed by ‘gets in (a car, perhaps)’, giving us some things to bounce on at the edge of a swimming pool.

10d         We might reckon on these picnic blankets (12)
SPREADSHEETS – A picnic or feast, followed by something that goes with blankets, giving us a computer tool for reckoning up lists of numbers – something you may Excel at!

14d         Doctor Anne cured patient suffering (9)
ENDURANCE – Anagram (doctor) of ANNE CURED.

15d         Crooked, extremely slick partners above suspicion (4-5)
SKEW-WHIFF – Put together the outside letters (extremely) of S(lic)K, a pair of bridge partners, and a suspicion or odour of something.

17d         Testers set up cutting tool with pit workers (9)
EXAMINERS – Reverse (set up, in a Down clue) a tool for cutting or chopping, then add some people who work in a pit.

21d         Wind engulfs island city abroad (5)
TURIN – A verb for ‘wind’ is wrapped round an abbreviated Island to get the English name for this Italian city.

23d         High Street store contracted Northern Gas (5)
ARGON – Remove the final letter from (contracted) this High Street catalogue store, than add Northern to get an inert gas.

24d         Venture from old wood (5)
OPINE – An abbreviation for Old followed by a softwood. The definition is a verb for ‘put forward (a view or suggestion)’.

The Quick Crossword pun REIGN + BOAT + ROUT = RAINBOW TROUT

76 comments on “DT 29771

  1. All completed in *** time with all clues parsed, 20a being the last. In fact, 20a can have my vote for COTD.

    Many thanks to the setter and DT

  2. What an absolutely brilliant puzzle, no doubt whatsoever as to the setter of this one. I actually filled it in quite quickly but teasing out the last two or three parsings took me just above 2 time.
    My top three are 1&16&25a.
    Many thanks to ProXimal and DT for the top notch entertainment.

  3. 2*/4.5*. An excellent puzzle from Mr 4X with my only slight difficulty being 27a which was my last one in.

    I’m at The Oval where England have already lost a wicket but the sun is trying its best to break through.

    Many thanks to proXimal and to DT.

          1. Hmm. Yes, a good recovery so far, but it can all change in the blink of an eye. Restarting after lunch in a couple of minutes.

  4. I needed the hints for a couple but then it is Friday so the puzzle is supposed to be a little more on the tricky side. Still, a good week for me with most clues parsed and solved. I have never had a week when I needed help for only 5 clues so a PB for me.

    This puzzle was most entertaining until I hit the last few. I didn’t really understand 27a and even with DT’s explanation it took a while for me to see it. A bit too convoluted for me. Also, I have always used a different spelling for 12a – the answer is the American spelling to me. No real favourites, just happy to get over the line.

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

        1. To me is part of the beauty of the crossword that setters legimately use words that are not the common use of a word.

  5. Made very hard work of this one for some reason & it took me into Toughie time to complete & fully parse. Despite knowing full well I was needing the trademark X in each quadrant it still took me an age to twig my last in at 27a. Thought the 4 long peripheral clues all good but my top 3 would be 19&22a with best of all 15d.
    Thanks to ProXimal & DT
    Ps 8 answers in & already struggling with Osmosis so either it’s tough or my brain is on vacation.

  6. A terrific puzzle to end the working week, which was delightfully tricky in places to increase the enjoyment. Some excellent clues of which 27a and 15d were my favourites.

    Thanks to proXimal and DT.

  7. I found rhis heavy going and some of the clues in the SE seemed rather wordy and over complicated but I got it done in 3* time, albeit with a sigh of relief. There were some quite good clues like 1a (alrhough my husband had to tell me what it was), the reverse lurker at 17a and my favourite, 7d. As for enjoyment it was a bit of a curate’s egg so 2.5* for me. Thanks to DT for the hints and to the compiler for their efforts.

  8. One of those puzzles which I enjoyed more with hindsight than at the time of solving when some of the surface reads felt a little odd.
    Struggled to get the second part of 15d which delayed the penny dropping over 27a, the last one to fall.
    Top honours going to 25a and the Quickie pun.

    Thanks to proXimal and to DT for the review.

  9. I probably made heavier weather of this than I needed to especially on my LOI, which was also my 4th X which sort of helped, 27a – ***/****

    Candidates for favourite – 25a, 27a, 10d, and the Pun – and the winner is the aforementioned 27a.

    Thanks to proXimal and DT.

  10. This took some figuring out. ***/*** I spent too long trying to think of an African national before I realised we needed an animal in 16a. 22a as a verb sounds American to me but fair enough, I suppose. Favourite 10d. Thanks to all.

  11. Found it very difficult to get onto the right wavelength but when I did it was most enjoyable. Being an (apostrophe should be in the right place or don’t use it at all) person, I have a whinge. In the on-line version 1a is clued 8’1, 3. The picture says it all, the apostrophe is in the wrong place. The Directors’ box is for all the directors who probably aren’t there anyway. Whinge over. Thanks to proXimal and DT.

    1. Exactly the same thought occurred to me but at least we’re now graced with an apostrophe online

  12. A proper Friday puzzle like the old days, I found it quite difficult but very satisfying and a ***/**** for me.
    Solved whilst watching the absorbing cricket-envy RD at the Oval !
    D’oh moment when I twigged the African native, favourite was the complex 27a.
    Thanks DT for the picks and our setter.

  13. As usual when almost everyone says what a breeze they find a crossword, I struggle in the manner of an England opening batsman. I needed several prompts from Deep Threat to complete it. I did like 10d.

    Today’s crossword soundtrack: The cricket on Sky, whispering away in the background.

    Thanks to proXimal and DT (especially the latter, today!).

  14. Found this a slow but steady solve which took a little getting into. Fairly clued and nothing obscure. – so its just my brain
    27a my COTD with 13a close (lurkers I like).
    Thank you proXmal and DT

  15. Excellent puzzle which required thought and some clever clues. I especially liked 10d and 7d. Wasn’t that keen on 25d and although solvable from the definition I can’t help feeling that life is too short to work out the wordplay for 27a!
    Thx to all

  16. I made slow bur fairly steady progress with this. Finished without help in *** time but with **** entertainment.
    27a was my COTD with 13a R/U (I like lurkers).
    Thank you proXimal and DT.

  17. I made heavy weather of this to begin with but it soon began to unravel. SE corner last to yield. Lots of great clues with 5a, 22a (my last in), 27a and 15d standing out for me. Altogether a really enjoyable solve. Thank you proXimal and DT.

  18. What a lovely crossword. I didn’t notice the 4 X’s, if I had I would have got 27a, my last in, a lot quicker than I did. Hard to pick a favourite but I’ll go for 25a. Thanks to ProXimal and DT.

  19. Excellent. Finished reasonably quickly. Needed confirmation of parsing for: 20a, missed the “from”.
    4d, missed the teacher.
    5d, does anyone use the word hip anymore.
    Ta all.

  20. Great puzzle, hugely enjoyable. I too didn’t notice the X’s and had been mentally thanking Giovanni for a super challenge!

    COTD 11a with 1a, 13a my HMs, though to be honest most of the grid is deserving of that acolade.

    2.5* / 4*

    Many thanks to Proximal & to DT for the review … though I should point out that here in Cornwall we have Tors too: they’re not limited to that next-door County of people who don’t crimp their pasties properly, and even more shamefully, put the Clotted Cream on their scones before the jam!

      1. But do you say ‘scone’ as in ‘gone’ or as in ‘stone’? For me it has to be the former (‘skon’) with butter and jam but no cream. 😉

    1. I think that Glastonbury Tor was suggested because it is probably the most heard-of tor in the UK. But a tor is just a rocky peak wherever it is located. It’s got nothing to do with counties!

        1. It is indeed! But that doesn’t affect my main points that tors (named or not) don’t just exist in the SW and that natives of English counties aren’t separate “races”.

          1. prejudice, discrimination, or antagonism by an individual, community, or institution against a person or people on the basis of their membership of a particular racial or ethnic group, typically one that is a minority or marginalized. Oh how I feel for those poor marginalised minorities in Devon, Cornwall, Yorkshire and the next village to wherever I have lived

            1. MP. You’re a good chap, you like a good joke and you do sterling work on this blog for which we are all appreciative. But when you comment, I can sometimes never really tell if you’re being serious, being sarcastic/sardonic or satirical, or just writing pure piffle (and maybe that’s how you want it?). Here, I assume that your first sentence might be serious (?), but doesn’t relate at all to friendly rivalry/banter between neighbouring counties, therefore if the whole thing is supposed to be a satirical piece it just doesn’t work. And the last sentence seems to be jokey self-deprecation, presumably for comic effect. Or maybe it’s all just to lure me into pontification? If so, that’s good because I like writing – and with my grammar I certainly need the practice.

              So, stick all that up yer jumper! :-)

    1. Hi Hoofit – I do keep up with you @Graun
      I think we’re all tickety-boo, just awaiting the return of much-missed Kath
      Hope all is well with you too

    2. Hoofs
      I hope you are well and things have sorted themselves out a bit
      Missed your banter (& the Millwall news).

      1. Thanks all.
        It’s been a tough couple of months, suffice to say that if you are a conveyancing solicitor “Your mother was a hamster and your father smelt of elderberries.” to quote Graham Chapman.
        I have done a few Guardian Crosswords on the grounds that it’s better to fail miserably on a Paul Toughie than fail miserably on a DT Monday walk in the park.
        I’m sorry to hear that the president of Ray-T fan club (Kath) is not around, I hope she is ok?
        Above all, I hope everyone is well.

  21. Mustangs don’t open up another can of worms. At our Dahlia Day on Sunday 12 of us round a couple of tables watched each other like hawks to see the jam/cream procedure with a good deal of argument after as you may imagine! But it seems we are mostly agreed that this was an excellent workout today, many thanks to ProXimal and Deep Threat. The sun is shining, we are unveiling our new defibrillator at the Hall this evening, all is well. Let’s be optimistic!

    1. I am a day late in completing your excellent ***/**** puzzle as although I bought the DT yesterday I have only just been able to put pen to paper. What a brilliant set of clues so many thanks Proximal and for popping in.

  22. After staring at a blank grid for a few minutes I found that a few pennies started to drop, then I ploughed through unaided and enjoyed the challenge. Last one in for no good reason was 19a and my favourite was 8a – a lovely succinct clue. Many thanks to ProXimal and to DT.

  23. I found this quite straight forward so never for a moment did I suspect that it was ProXimal 😳 had I done then I would not have spent a week trying to figure out 27a 🤔 ***/*** Favourites 16a & 22a 😃 I don’t want to put the “mockers” on it put we here in the East are having a 🌞 afternoon. Thanks to Deep Threat and to ProXimal

  24. Not my cup of tea today, kept thinking I had printed the Toughie by mistake, but then I can almost never get on the same wavelength as proXimal. Only five answers in on first pass. Most of the rest were achieved despite the clues, with additional help from the picture hints. Thought some of the definitions were a bit weak, I.e. 4d and 12a. This was at least a *** difficulty for me. Thanks to Deep Threat.

  25. A typical Saturday offering today I thought 2.5*/**** with some clever and mis-directing clues amongst the rest.
    Favourites today 1a, 26a, 1d & 10d with winner 1d.

    Thanks to proXimal and DT for the great hints

      1. Oops!
        Minding our grandchild this week and days were changed from normal routine, so I am out of whack this week!
        Yes, indeed it is Friday here too!

  26. A very enjoyable struggle. Last in was 22a, a clever clue so my COTD.
    Like others I found the parsing more difficult than the solving for several clues. Needed the hint to parse the in for trendy in 5d.

    So thanks to Proximal and DT

  27. I work my way down the across clues, then up the downs…just my way.

    Today I got all the way down and up as far as 17d before I got an answer…so it sure was tricky for me.
    Things slowly got better and I eventually got most of them in without assistance…so a difficult one for me.

    Thanks to the setter and to DT

  28. Another day swimming in molasses! I used too much e-help and when I did get an answer, failed to get the “why”. My English teacher aeons ago taught us that turning a noun into a verb by adding “ise” was a serious no-no, but I suppose weaponise is in regular usage now. I did learn a new word looking up gasses for 23d in BD’s magic mine of information, “semordlinaps”, very clever BD. I have no idea what the High Street store is, a bit parochial that.
    There were some good clues that amused, loved the reverse lurker at 13a and the last monarch at 25a.
    Thanks proXimal for the testing, and huge appreciation to DT for unravelling that lot.

  29. Again late on parade due to travelling. I prefer solving crosswords early in the day when my brain is fresher; managed this OK but think I’ll leave the toughie until tomorrow. I have been driving the Defender around the Welsh countryside and had forgotten just how heavy the clutch is. All that to the side, this was an excellent puzzle. Thanks to DT and proXimal.

  30. Very late on parade today. Local charity golf day, with 3 course dinner etc. Nuff said! I thought this straightforward enough, but trickier than the ** rating. ***/**** For me.
    The toughie will have to wait til tomorrow.
    Regards and thanks all.

  31. Couldn’t get on with this at all, only managed to complete about half of it before resorting to the hints. Confused myself by having white as the second word in 15d which didn’t help. Thanks to all.

  32. Only started late yesterday and then finished unaided this morning, last one in was 27A even though i had spotted that it must have an X in it. I found the crossword to be one of those where I struggled to get some of the answers but then when i looked back at the clues I wondered why they had taken so long.

  33. Needed lots of hints for this one so ending my recent good run of unaided completions. I have always found Proximal difficult,so it’s back to normal! No complaint, just a wavelength thing I think. Enjoyed the struggle & the blog as always.
    Thanks to all.

  34. Very late today reading hints and comments. Crossword finished before lights out last night. I really enjoyed the solve. Last one in 27a which was my absolute favourite. Many thanks Proximal and DT

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