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DT 29777

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 29777

Hints and tips by Deep Threat

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

Good morning from South Staffs on a cloudy day with some rain forecast.

The NW corner of today’s puzzle, which is where I like to start, was the last to fall, and led me well into my *** time bracket.

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           Slow boat going to Spain, transporter that’s sunk (4)
TUBE – A pejorative word for a slow, possibly unseaworthy, boat, followed by the IVR code for Spain. The answer is a familiar word for the London Underground.

3a           Massive smash coming up with ‘Shaking All Over’? (10)
EARTHQUAKE – Cryptic definition of something which leaves the world shaken.

9a           They regularly dip and rise, first to last (4)
OARS – Another word for ‘rise’, as a glider might on a thermal, with the first letter moved to the end, giving us something regularly dipped in water.

10a         Actor Nigel changes set for a new scene? (10)
RELOCATING – Anagram (changes) of ACTOR NIGEL.

11a         Feels anger stops after this? (4,3)
SEES RED – A phrase for feeling anger, which is also a reason for a car or train driver to stop.

13a         Used by rabble-rouser, van terrorised man (7)
SERVANT – Hidden in the clue.

14a         Old coin located beside Scottish island claimed by the Spanish academic (11)
EDUCATIONAL – Put together an old European gold coin and a Scottish island associated with St Columba, then wrap the Spanish for ‘the’ around the result.

18a         Pair of idiots batting, getting knocked back and hit (11)
ASSASSINATE – Put together two instances of another word for ‘idiot’, a two-letter word for ‘batting’ in cricket, and another word for ‘knocked back (food, rather than drink)’. The definition is ‘hit’ as a hitman might.

21a         Casanova in Paris, dear, embracing what comes to hand? (7)
CHARMER – The French for ‘dear’ is wrapped round a part of the body which leads to the hand.

22a         Bishop first to eat egg on the counter, most substantial (7)
BIGGEST – The chess notation for ‘bishop’, followed by three letters which look like the alphanumeric version of ‘first’ wrapped round the reverse (on the counter) of EGG (from the clue).

23a         Out of shape Corsica don boxes, getting squeezed for notes (10)
ACCORDIONS – Anagram (out of shape) of CORSICA DON.

24a         What traditionally was carried up the hill — light when delivered! (4)
PAIL – What Jack and Jill carried between them sounds like (when delivered) a word for ‘light coloured’.

25a         Penned in doggerel, one line’s spreading sad feelings (10)
LONELINESS – Hidden in the clue.

26a         Oppose West End show? (4)
PLAY – Double definition, the first being in a sporting fixture.


1d           Turned up what thieves might hide and drop here? (4,4)
TOOL SHED – Reverse (turned up) a word for a thief’s ill-gotten gains, then add another word for ‘drop’ (as a tree drops its leaves), and you get somewhere that a thief might use as a hiding place, though it’s more likely to be one of the places that gets robbed.  I’m not convinced that this clue works properly.

2d           Dig electronic signal that’s useful for eating out (8)
BARBECUE – A verbal dig, followed by the usual abbreviation for Electronic, and the signal to an actor that it’s time to enter or speak.

Barbecue Trends for Summer 2020 | Stylus

4d           Forwards including a captain? (5)
AHEAD – A (from the clue) followed by another word for ‘captain’ or ‘leader’.

5d           Lots of money taken from you, and aboard ship  (9)
THOUSANDS – Start with an archaic word for ‘you’, then add the usual abbreviation for a steamship wrapped round AND (from the clue).

6d           Rowing, equalling travels around two rivers (11)
QUARRELLING – Anagram (travelling) of EQUALLING wrapped round two instances of the abbreviation for River.

7d           Creature lawn firm fails regularly to rub out  (6)
ANIMAL – Alternate letters (regularly to rub out) of lAwN fIrM fAiLs.

8d           Fraction of this clue plus this letter? (6)
EIGHTH – Write out the number of this clue, then add the letter of the alphabet which corresponds to the clue number.

12d         Officer is stern over alarm I’d set off (4,7)
REAR ADMIRAL – Another word for ‘stern’ or ‘back’, followed by an anagram (set off) of ALARM I’D.

15d         Static charged particle going about small entry (9)
INSERTION – Put together another word for ‘static’ or ‘unreactive’ and an electrically-charged particle, then wrap the result around the abbreviation for Small.

16d         Americans enjoy this wretched dance  (8)
BASEBALL – Another word for ‘wretched’ or ‘low’, followed by a formal dance event, giving us a version of rounders enjoyed by Americans and a good many others.

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17d         Fifty per cent of adults add up in the mind (8)
MENTALLY – A word for the people who make up about half of the human race, followed by ‘add up’.

19d         Dash off to see son perform in pool? (6)
SCRAWL – An abbreviation for Son, followed by a swimming stroke.

20d         Tintin’s naughty knees-up? (6)
CANCAN – Nothing to do with Hergé’s creation! Take another word for ‘tin’ and double it to get Offenbach’s work.

22d         Where deposits build up both sides of the Nile, say (5)
BANKS – Double definition, the first relating to deposits of money.

The Quick Crossword pun PASS + TENTS = PAST TENSE

64 comments on “DT 29777

  1. Wow, now that was hard. That took me *****+ time. I gave up a couple of times, but came back to it. I honestly thought I was going to have to resort to electrons, but, phew, I reached the summit.

    Whoever the compiler was, s/he and I are from different planets. I managed to parse every clue except 3a. I gave the silver medal to 26a but the outright winner of COTD was 20d.

    Thanks to today’s challenger and to DT.

  2. And might I just add that I admire the athleticism of the young ladies at 20d. Performing those stunts wearing such heavy costumes cannot have been easy!

  3. Tough but superb. North West took ages to unravel, but every clue there was a gem. As good as they were, along with 8d, I think they were pipped at the post for top spot by the brilliant 20d, back page clue if the week for me.
    Many thanks to the setter (I presume it’s Zandio) and to DT for the top notch entertainment.

  4. A few easy ones to start with but then hit a wall, however eventually managed to get most with 3a, 11a, 21a, 17d & 20d being my favourites.

    Thanks for the hints which helped me get the ones I couldn’t get and to the setter for a lot of very good clues.

  5. A really tough puzzle for me and , like DT , it was the Enigmatic clues of the NW corner that held me up, finishing in 3* time. After a very slow start I dozed off and, upon waking, five minutes later, it seemed to go in more easily. If i am unsure of a clue, I pencil in a question mark next to it and, at one point, 14 out of the 28 clues had one. Idid feel satisfied that I finished it but had to check a lot of clues in DT’s hints so 1.5* for enjoyment from me. Thanks to DT for the hints and to the compiler for their efforts.

  6. Really tough but so satisfying to complete unaided.
    Most required checking letter(s) before resolving, though.
    Last in 16d which is really inexcusable!
    Many thanks to Zandio and to DT for the colourfully illustrated review.

  7. I thought this was rather heavy going but it is Friday. At least I finished it. No use trying today’s Toughie. It’s an Elgar and the clues look even more convoluted than ever!

  8. A bit of a head scratcher not helped by, for example, having all the letters required for the 23a anagram clearly identified in the clue but still mis-spelling the answer – ***/***.

    Candidates for favourite – 21a, 25a, and 8d – and the winner is 21a.

    Thanks to Zandio(?) and DT.

  9. Try the toughie – I’m worn out with the cryptic today. ****/** As has been mentioned, the northwest held out the longest. On first pass, I got all the way to 19d before I came up with a single answer! Thereafter, it was little by little with a nap in between. 20d favourite. Thanks to all.

  10. Goodness me that was a struggle. I only managed about half a dozen to start with but very slowly teased it out. COTD 20d – I even resorted to looking up the chemical symbol for tin but when I got 25a I had the DOH moment. Still cannot see what 26a has to do with play. ***/*** for me. Thanks to the setter and DT. Had a quick look at the Toughie but like JB when I saw it was Elgar gave up before I started. I shall look at the blog when it appears as the puzzle looks rather interesting.

      1. Fortunately “we” don’t … Spurs get to visit Palace, while “our” faltering & nervy bunch of underperforming slackers are likely to have the stuffing ripped out of us by Norwich. Norwich! Not something I thought I would write even a month ago. Sometimes it’s tough being a Gooner.

        1. Oy Mustafa, poor old Norwich need all the help they can get – they are up with the big boys this season and not doing very well.

  11. Like DT I always try to start in the NW corner but in this instance it was the last to fall, I also think that 1d did not really work.
    Ia provided the D’oh moment and 20d elicited a smile.Liked the surface of 16d
    Certainly the hardest back pager for a long time and it provided great satisfaction on completion, going for a ****/****.
    Thanks setter for the fun and DT for the pics.

  12. I found this very hard, but quite brilliant 👏👏👏 Didn’t understand 15d; having read Mr Threat’s hint it was quite obvious, so thank yous to him and to Zandio.

    1. Didn’t start – only got one answer, an anagram and I used e-help for that! I feel so thick, maybe I’m getting too old for this game.

  13. That was a testing exercise but such good fun with which to do battle particularly so in the SE. Initially wanted to use half of adults word in 17d and slow in the uptake on 16d so nearly bunged in an easy dance. Outstanding Fav was 20d with 11a running up. TVM Zandio and DT.

  14. Hard. Very hard indeed. I just could not tune in to this one at all and turned to DT for help very early in the proceedings.

    Thanks to the setter and (especially) DT.

    1. Oh Mr Z you really had me on the NW corner, along with several others I see! What a cracker of a puzzle, what sort of mind comes up with 20d?

  15. It must have been some sort of inverse process for me as, after staying up all night watching tennis, I found this reasonable Friday fare. For some reason I was tuned to the setter’s wavelength and completed without any help in ** / *** time. As others the NW corner’s clever clues held me up longest.
    Reading other’s comments has raised my fun factor to **** plus another * for the sense of achievement
    So many clues that appealed 1d really worked for me but 8d was my COTD with 21a R/U.
    Thank you to Zandio and DT for the thought processes.
    Re the tennis. To me any sport when played with apparent consummate ease by someone with abundant talent is beautiful to watch. Whether she becomes champion or not I thank Miss Raducanu for the pleasure of watching her over the past couple of weeks.

    1. Yes a very sleepless night thanks to the exciting Ladies Singles Semis and now we have the lovely prospect of the two teenagers doing battle in the Final tomorrow and in the meantime there is today’s Men’s Doubles involving three Brits. Thank goodness for Amazon Prime. 🎾 🇬🇧🤞.

      1. I often wonder if I should shell out for Amazon Prime, but then we think that we barely manage to watch the things we record let alone opening up lots more ‘stuff’. Perhaps if we ever get down to watching in the daytime!

        1. I appreciate Prime giving me next day delivery on all my Amazon orders of which I have quite a lot and apart from that I use it for viewing some sport not covered by BBC, ITV, etc. e.g. U.S. Open Tennis and it costs only something like £75 p.a.

  16. Solved this one in a slightly “jet-lagged” condition after staying up to watch the tennis from NY.

    A really enjoyable puzzle. Thanks, Setter.

    Beaten only by the Tintin clue. Thanks, Deep Threat, for the explanation!

  17. 20d my last one in and undoubtedly the clue of the day, if not the month. Quite brilliant. The whole puzzle was a delight to solve, as we have come to expect from this compiler: he has set the bar pretty high admittedly. Great fun.

    My thanks and admiration to Zandio for a fine puzzle, and thank you, too, to DT.

  18. That was tough but far better than yesterdays offering. Some lovely clues in 3a and my favourite 8d😀.
    Missed the lurker in 25a, grr!
    Very enjoyable puzzle that took some effort but was well worth it.
    Thx to all

  19. I agree with MalcolmR. Had to really force a change in approach to get this done but once I managed it, the puzzle was really enjoyable.

  20. Very challenging and almost there with only three in the se corner beating me but still chuffed for a Friday puzzle. The second reference to ‘army’ clues in a week made me smile. Had all the checkers in for 2d so had to be the sausage burner but failed to parse without reference to the hints.
    Thanks to DT and the setter

  21. I thought this was excellent. Very good clues, a decent challenge and an enjoyable solve. I was mostly happy with 1d because with standard cryptic clues I don’t think that the clue surface necessarily needs to relate literally to the answer, it’s the wordplay that must trigger the answer. I think the ? is hinting that the answer might be where a small-time criminal would stash their booty until disposal. But there is something slightly iffy, though I can’t quite put my finger on it. Fav: 20d. 3.5*, 4*.

  22. Always know who was the setter when you read through the clues and precious few of them make much sense! Nevertheless, there were some goodies to be found – 9a & 8d hit the spot here.

    Thanks to Zandio and to DT for the review.

  23. Very challenging and extremely satisfying puzzle. I too was held up in the NW and needed a nudge from DT’s hints to get moving, at which point all four remaining clues fell in seconds.

    Some quite wonderful clueing, all scrupulously fair. HMs to 11a, 25a and 12d; COTD to the quite superb 20d.

    Many thanks indeed to Zandio, and to DT for the review.

  24. I thought this was another brilliant crossword, my paper is littered with stars. 14a,18a,21a, 7,15 and 20d got the biggest exclamations. When we read the clue for 20d we both said well, we know nothing at all about Tintin so that’s a non starter. Then later on, a PDM. Bliss. Many thanks to Zandio and Deep Threat for explaining 2d

  25. Oh joy! Finished a very tough NYT and an even tougher but splendid Zandio back-to-back last night, all on my own, with a great sense of satisfaction. 2d, 1a, and 20d all locked in a three-way tie for the Gold, with the rest of the grid full of honourable mentions. I thoroughly enjoyed the mano-a-mano event, too. 1d was my LOI and I gave a shout when it landed. Looked briefly at the Elgar, decided I was done for the night, and cashed in my chips. Thanks to DT and Zandio. *** / *****

    An unexpectedly torrential tropical storm named Mindy suddenly swept across N Florida and into our SC Lowcountry and flooded downtown Charleston yesterday. Who knew?!

  26. It’s been a fair while since a backpager defeated me. It was the NW corner that did for me. I’m glad many of you had trouble with it too. 8d is my favourite today. Thanks DT for a couple of much needed hints and thanks Zanio for the challenge.
    I’ve managed 3 answers in the Toughie so far but, seeing it’s Elgar, I shall go down with the ship with that one as well, I expect.
    Watched the tennis at a sensible hour this morning. Didn’t she do well !!

  27. 3*/3.5*. Three quarters of this fell into place quite quickly, but the NW corner proved quite problematic taking my time up to 3*. A selection of odd surfaces is a clear indicator that this was the handiwork of Zandio, and some seemed even more strange than usual. I did enjoy the puzzle overall although I didn’t much like 3d and I don’t think that 1d quite works.

    20d was my favourite and this more than made up for my slight reservations.

    Many thanks to Zandio and to DT.

  28. I found the same thing with this puzzle as DT did, in that the NW was the trickiest to finish. ***/*** for today.
    Favourites today 3a, 8d, 19d & 20d with winner 8d

    Thanks to Zandio and DT

  29. Struggled with the NW….had to resort to the hints for 2d as that’s not how I spell it.

    Thanks to the setter and to DT

  30. The combo of 1a and 1d, both of which are rather obscure, along with 9a, made this an unfinishable puzzle for me. Glad I didn’t spend more time thinking, as I’d never have got them.

  31. Well like others I struggled with the NW corner, oh and the SE corner, the NE corner was also pretty tricky and well the SW corner was also a trial! I managed about half scattered across the board, came back and managed maybe another quarter after that it was off to the hints. Thanks to Zandio, though I now know how Miss Reducanu’s opponents must feel. I needed DT hints for sure.

  32. After a shaky start with 1a and 3a the remainder of this puzzle proved to be brilliant especially 20d, 8d and 25a. Thank you Zandio and DT

  33. A first glance through and only two solved….fortunately I still have Wednesday’s puzzle to have a crack at! I don’t think I’m that fussed about today’s but thanks to Zandio and DT anyway.

  34. This was hard work, with the NW corner putting up quite a fight. Some, such as 14a and 15d, I got from the checkers as couldn’t make hear nor tail of the clues. Having said this, I thought it was a tad easier than yesterday. Did have to look at quite a few hints, so low on satisfaction but higher on enjoyment. Thanks to Zandio and Deep Threat.

  35. Very surprisingly I managed to finish this after three hard sessions. Which is a mark of a very good puzzle I guess, although I was not impressed with 1d or 1a. And wretched for base? Hmmm. And like one or two other commentators I took a look at the Elgar toughie today and thought: that is just ridiculous. No fun at all.

  36. Finished..but a fair struggle enroute!
    Quite a challenge set by Zandio but nevertheless enjoyable, but needed DT’s blog ‘n hints for a couple of explanations (…agree about 1D!)

  37. Like others the NW was the big head scratch. 4 were left from an early morning solve & having been out all day just remembered to look at it again before lights out. 2d came straight to me, 1a&d immediately followed & 9a was then obvious having stared at them for some time before with no clue whatsoever. Super crossword with lots of very clever clues – close run thing for best of the week with Wednesday’s puzzle. Favourite was 1a.
    Thanks to Zandio & DT – will read the review tomorrow

  38. Finished last two this morning and no prizes for guessing which! I finished unaided with only the understanding of the last letter of 8d outstanding. Thanks for the hint and I realised it is a brilliant clue.Other favourites 3 14 and 24a and 2 and 17d. Thanks Xandao and DT. People should persist I think as it is rewarding. I find it odd that some resort to hints and electronics early in the morning. It is not a race.

    1. Absolutely, WW! I find it strange that some cryptic crossword enthusiasts come on here so early to say they’ve already had to resort to hints/tips or given up! I guess some people allocate a specific amount of time each day to solving and after that they’ve got better things to do. And that’s fair enough. Personally, I never read the review till I’ve finished the puzzle, and if I can’t it goes into a draw to be revisited/completed – maybe days or months later.

    2. No, not a race, I agree, but I have other interests and I need to allow time for them. I have no problem if the main interest of others is crosswording, it’s just not mine and I don’t feel I’ve got to finish every day, though I do love it when I do. I think of you struggling over your puzzle when I’m struggling with my exercises in my pool, for example, but I’d never think you’d be better doing it my way. We’re just different.

  39. Didn’t start this until this morning and nearly gave up when I couldn’t get a handle on any clues. Then I found 12d and slowly managed to make progress. Just finished it now. NW corner last held out for a while but once I had twigged 1d it all came good. COTD 14a.

  40. What a tough cruciverbial week we have had. After completing about half the clues I finally gave up from sheer exhaustion. I didn’t manage to quite finish the quickie either. Thanks to Zandio – I’m just not up to his standard of brain power, and to DT who must have done a lot of hard work. Can we have something a little bit easier next week?

  41. After several attempts still only managed 8 answers! Going to have a cup of tea now and read the hints.
    Thanks to all

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