DT 29789 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 29789

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 29789

Hints and tips by Deep Threat

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BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

Good morning from South Staffs with a cloudy start to the day.

Today’s puzzle took me just into my *** time, but writing the hints for some of the clues took me longer than usual – there were several where getting the answer was not particularly difficult, but explaining the parsing was trickier. It will be interesting to see what others make of 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           How some spell broomstick? (10)
WITCHCRAFT – A cryptic double definition to begin with. The ‘spell’ here is a verb for using magic, and the answer is a system which uses magic. Split the answer (5,5) and you have something which could describe a broomstick, again in the context of magic users.

6a           Poles briefly following trendy locals? (4)
INNS – another word for ‘trendy’ followed by the abbreviations for the geographical poles. The locals are places, not people.

9a           Doctor is required in absence of water (7)
DROUGHT – An abbreviation for ‘doctor’ followed by ‘is required’.

10a         Electrical item used in garret pad Amazon sent round (7)
ADAPTER – Hidden in reverse (sent round) in the clue.

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12a         Explicit gesture about French from part of magazine? (7,6)
GRAPHIC DESIGN – Here we have another word for ‘explicit’ or ‘in pictures’ and another word for a sign, placed either side of the French for ‘from’. The definition is ‘part of magazine’, but could well, in my view, be better described as part of the production process of a magazine.

14a         Ready for a rendezvous with it (2,2,4)
UP TO DATE – A phrase (2,2) meaning ‘ready for’, followed by a romantic rendezvous.

15a         Watch, maybe offering bottle (6)
TICKER – The definition is Cockney rhyming slang for ‘courage’ or ‘nerve’, and could also be a part of the body which beats regularly, like a watch.

17a         What’s still carried by nomadic alpacas from the East? (6)
PLACID – Hidden in reverse (from the East) in the clue.

19a         All pearl clusters aligned (8)
PARALLEL – Anagram (clusters) of ALL PEARL.

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21a         Unenthusiastically using a fraction of 15, apparently (4-9)
HALF-HEARTEDLY – An adverb which suggests that only part of the answer to 15a is in use.

24a         Oddly glum — so shy, dumpy plain Jane should do this? (5,2)
GUSSY UP – Alternate letters (oddly) of words 2 to 4 of the clue, giving some dated slang for ‘smarten up’.

25a         Freezing oldie runs about, getting caught in two places (3-4)
ICE-COLD – Anagram (runs about) of OLDIE, with two separate insertions of the cricket abbreviation for ‘caught’.

26a         Retreat from sierra getting web coverage (4)
NEST – Another word for ‘web’ wrapped round the letter represented by Sierra in the NATO alphabet

27a         What I make from the Telegraph! (5,5)
PAPER MONEY – The ‘I’ here is the setter, who gets paid for his or her efforts by the Telegraph, and the answer could be a way of describing this pay.


1d           Midweek, briefly takes the plunge (4)
WEDS – The answer is what someone who ‘takes the plunge’ is doing, and is also an abbreviation for a midweek day.

2d           Conviction however is followed by time (7)
THOUGHT – Another word for ‘however’ followed by an abbreviation for Time.

3d           Spaced out, also very arrogant (4,3,6)
HIGH AND MIGHTY – Put together another word for ‘spaced out (on drugs)’, another word for ‘also’, and a word like ‘very’ used as an intensifier.

4d           Chatters restlessly, seeing some Turners? (8)
RATCHETS – Anagram (restlessly) of CHATTERS.

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5d           Reportedly genuine item that circulated in Paris (5)
FRANC – This word for the former French currency sounds like (reportedly) a word for ‘genuine’ or ‘open’.

7d           Wally has choice split hairs (3-4)
NIT-PICK – Another word for the sort of person sometimes called a Wally, followed by another word for ‘choice’.

8d           Season and turn over food (6,4)
SPRING ROLL – One of the seasons of the year, followed by what you do when you turn over in bed.

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11d         Nation’s ideal Kentucky whiskey, possibly containing Ecstasy (8,5)
AMERICAN DREAM – The common abbreviation for the drug Ecstasy is tucked into a phrase (8,4) which could describe Kentucky whiskey, or another alcoholic short made in the USA.

13d         Start early — bound to go before hunt, e.g., set out (4,3,3)
JUMP THE GUN – Another word for ‘bound’ or ‘leap’, followed by an anagram (set out) of HUNT EG.

16d         Appearing now and then in role before interval (4-4)
PART-TIME – Another word for a role on stage, followed by another word for ‘interval’ or ‘period’.

18d         They show places salt-filled sea is rising (7)
ATLASES – SEA (from the clue) is wrapped round SALT (from the clue), then the result is reversed (rising).

20d         Dancing won lady’s surrender (3,4)
LAY DOWN – Anagram (dancing) of WON LADY.

22d         Principal record husband set in motorists’ club (5)
ALPHA – Put together the abbreviation for one of the varieties of gramophone record and an abbreviation for Husband, then wrap the acronym for one of the UK motoring organisations around the result.

23d         For instance, going round Germany Yankee becomes tense (4)
EDGY – The Latin abbreviation for ‘for instance’ is wrapped round the IVR code for Germany, then the letter represented by Yankee in the NATO alphabet is added.

The Quick Crossword pun WILDE + HOARSE = WILD HORSE

58 comments on “DT 29789

  1. What a wonderful puzzle. 5d defeated me for some reason but the rest was a delight to solve. Just the right balance of straight forward and head scratcher clues. I have not heard of 24a but it was easily gettable from the clue and the BRB confirmed the answer. I had no end of ticks against clues such as 1a, 12a and 27a but my absolute favourite and COTD is the deceptively simple 11d.

    A great way to finish the cross wording week and my thanks to the setter. Grateful thanks are also due to DT for the hints.

  2. This one suited me for some reason so */*** with only 24a giving me a slightly raised eyebrow since although the answer was clear I hadn’t heard of the phrase before. I thought 5d very good. Thanks to DT and the setter for a pleasant solve

    1. I think I’m recalling correctly, I seem to remember a cartoon during the war called Jane, she had a boyfriend Georgie and was always having to 24a for him. You might not be old enough!

      1. I think the phrase arose from a female tennis player, who wore frilly knickers under her tennis outfit, which were christened gorgeous gussies. Hence gussied up.

  3. Very light end to the week (completed well before my morning sea swim) but as ever with this setter, good fun. I thought when doing it that if would be trickier to write the hints than solve though.
    Hadn’t heard of 24a but was very sympathetically clued though not sure the surface would pass muster in these PC days.
    Favourite the 15/21a combo.
    Many thanks to Zandio I presume, and DT for the fun in the sun.

  4. Found this hard at first but fun to tackle. Unraveled nicely once got going.

    Thanks for the hints and to the setter.

  5. I wholly agree with Steve C, a ‘wonderful’ puzzle, especially 1a, 11d, and 24a, which is something my mother used to loved to do. Terrific fun all the way down to 25a. Finished in fast time for a Friday, for me, so thanks to today’s compiler and to DT for the review, which I’ll read now. ** / ****

    Autumn is truly here in Charleston as the temperature tonight has plummeted into the 50s for the first time in months!

  6. What a delicious piece of cake. Only 24a delayed me a bit but eventually bunged in. Fav 11d. Many thanks Mysteron (look forward to knowing identity as am hopeless at guessing) and also to DT.

  7. It took longer to buy the paper because of the queue at the local petrol station than it took to solve. A lot of fun whilst it lasted. Thanks to today’s setter and DT.

    1. Of course Jonners what is so annoying is that there is in general no shortage of fuel at all. But the toilet roll hoarders from lockdown 1 will all be filling up unnecessarily and then – there will be! The human condition can be annoying at times.

      1. Agreed, it was clearly panic buying although thankfully stocks of the DT did not seem to have been affected.

  8. I managed to get well through this before having to dash off for a pre-booked swimming session. The two clues I had left to solve were 24a and 27a. Once I’d realised what to do with 24a I got the answer, but had to google it to check. I hadn’t heard of it. I so wanted to put “daily paper” into 27a early on in the solving, but resisted until I had more checking letters. Thank you setter and Deep Threat.

  9. A straightforward, steady solve. I haven’t heard the 24a expression for donkey’s years so I think it’s passed out of use. **/*** Favourite 11d. Not sure how many of our stateside friends are living that at the moment. Thanks to all.

  10. I found this excellent puzzle more straight forward than the usual Friday offering,well clued throughout.
    1a made me smile ,favourites were 12a for originality and 11d for the surface-24a was a new americanism-made a note.
    Going for a **/****.
    Thanks to DT for the pics and our setter for the best puzzle of the week.

    1. Never heard 24a used over here in the US, but thankfully did recall it from my younger days in England.

  11. Very friendly for a Friday but most enjoyable while it lasted. I haven’t heard the expression in 24a for many a long year.

    Thanks to the setter and DT

  12. Much of this felt rather “meh” and while I have a few ticks following completion, I found this a well-crafted but rather mundane crossword with which to end the backpager week. 15a could only be what it was, but I still have no idea what the slang term is that might link the answer with courage – would appreciate any enlightenment someone may offer, please?

    24a new to me, and one I sincerely doubt will make it into my daily vocabulary.

    HMs – 27a, 3d, 11d & 18d. COTD – 1a.

    2.5* / 2*

    Thank you to the Setter, and to DT.

    1. Re 15a…I don’t think there is a term, I just think the solution is an informal synonym of heart/bottle/courage used particularly in the SE perhaps.

    2. Thank you both – while familiar with ticker/heart/courage, from DT’s comment I was mistakenly looking for a direct slang equivalent of bottle to ticker, not going from bottle to courage to heart to ticker.

  13. 2*/4*. Light and fun on a Friday with a few dodgy surfaces. It must be Zandio.

    I’ve never heard of 24a but it was fairly clued (although our Jane may not agree :wink: )

    21a was my favourite.

    Many thanks to Zandio and to DT.

  14. A very pleasant cruciverbal challenge – **/****.

    Candidates for favourite – 1d, 7d, and 18d – and the winner is 18d.

    Like RD, I thought Zandio so thanks to him and DT.

  15. Perhaps I’ll contrast it with a go at the Friday Toughie, which will doubtless result in the darkening of very few white squares.

  16. Contrast Alexander it was not at all straightforward for me as I struggled with the longer answers. Still a very satisfying, fun solve *** & **** .
    24a my “new word/phrase of the day”
    Is the Telegraph really so old fashioned that it pays setters in 27a?
    Agree with Senf re COTD, 18d.
    Thank you to setter and DT.
    Like the Matt cartoon which unfortunately could be grimly prophetic.

    1. I missed your reply yesterday. It was the Cotswold Club in Chipping Norton. Relatively recently refurbed as a typical golf & spa hotel. The course, was a bit like a Campbell puzzle – not overly challenging but interesting & good fun.

  17. Terrific puzzle – no Turkish dynasties or Japanese art forms, thus a real winner for me. I had not heard of 24a but it was easy to figure out.

    Today’s crossword soundtrack: Everything But The Girl – The Language Of Life

    Thanks to the setter and DT

  18. Very enjoyable a relatively mild for a Friday. Like others, I had never come across 24a but it had to be what it had to be from the cluing. Lots ticked, but I ‘ll give 1a and 11d joint top spot with 12a taking the bronze.

  19. Two or three in this one that didn’t ‘feel’ quite right to me so I’m guessing the compiler was Zandio.
    24a was something of a guess, based on the ‘gorgeous’ American tennis player who wore lacy undies on court.
    No particular favourite to mention today.

    Thanks to Zandio and to DT for the review.

  20. This was by far the easiest puzzle of the week. Solved this on Thursday night in the fading sun we had for the first full day of Autumn. Enjoyed it immensely tonight.
    */***** is my rating.
    Favourites include 1a (that made me laugh), 21a, 27a (another chuckle).1d, 7d & 13d with winner 27a and runner up VERY close behind 1a.
    Thoroughly enjoyed this one.

    Thanks to Zandio and DT

  21. Just to say I contacted DT customer services on line (subscriptions team) to ask if I can use my vouchers on the Isle of Man. I had an immediate acknowledgment and a reply a few minutes later to tell me that I can. I thought this was very good service. Information on line only says available at most outlets in the UK, and did not mention the Isle of Man.

    1. My vouchers still go to Long Itchington where they either benefit our very generous and helpful newsagent or whosoever she gifts the paper to. My paper lands on my iPad and Saint Sharons iPad during the night ready for the morning. The subscriptions office have recently been emailing me to say I could gift an online paper to a friend or relative and I gave that away to RupertB yesterday via yesterday’s blog. One subscription, four happy people

        1. No it isn’t which is why I specifically asked the DT as otherwise I would have left the vouchers with my husband. It is a self-governing British Crown Dependancy. It has its own parliament, legal system, postage stamps, coins and notes. It is also not a member of the EU. Residents’ passports are issued as “British Islands Isle of Man”. The UK is however responsible for defence. I shall know more when I’ve been there next week.

          1. thanks for that, so interesting, I never knew that. In retrospect, I vaguely remember that they have their own government.

      1. Can’t you get your vouchers redirected? I trot off every day to the local Tesco or any other shop which is handy and has a stock! It is irritating that the DT is often in short supply. I do leave my vouchers at the PO when in St Mawes and have one saved behind the counter. It is now the job of the grandsons to collect!

        1. I’m happy for Gita to get the vouchers. I don’t need them and if it helps her to make a profit and keep her little shop open then so be it. She is a real benefit to the local community.

  22. Late on parade today, it’s been that sort of a day. I really enjoyed this puzzle, which was mostly straightforward and a fair sprinkling of more challenging clues. (2*/5*). It was a most enjoyable ouzzle, unusually so for a Friday. I’ve no idea who the compiler is but suspecy it isn’t Zandio. I liked 11d, good midirection there and the nively camouflaged geographical clu at 18dwas my COTD. 24a was quite familiar to me and did make me laugh, as my mother and her sister would use it often if they felt someone had overdone their outfit or makeup. Thanks to DT for the hints and to Miss Terry, the compiler, a particularly good Friday puzzle.

    1. HI, CC. Thanks to my mother’s love of using 24a for all of its droll suggestiveness, I still use it to apply to all kinds of things that need prettying-up or need to look more impressive. It made me laugh and a bit sentimental at the same time.

      1. I’ve replied to Merusa above. It was a phrase developed to describe the American tennis player Gussie Moran’s frilly panties, which were visible under her tennis dress I believe. They were called Gorgeous Gussies. My mother loved to watch tennis and knew all the older players. I started watching after we acqquired a tiny TV in 1953.

  23. Nice end to the week and nothing too tricky. The little 5d held out the longest! Thanks to the setter and DT. A large sparrowhawk flew into our kitchen glass door yesterday and probably got a severe headache as he perched for ages on the back of a garden chair staring at me morosely. A couple of hours earlier a pigeon did exactly the same thing as we were having coffee with a friend in the garden but that broke its neck – what a mess.

  24. Late in the day to comment as I completed this terrific puzzle before setting out for the Cotswolds with Mrs YS to celebrate our xx wedding anniversary tomorrow. Judging by the amount of traffic I can only assume there is nobody working today. As for the puzzle, a fair challenge and pleasantly quirky.

    My thanks to Zandio and DT.

  25. Steve C was right, a super puzzle, I was dead on wavelength. I can’t find just one to choose as a fave, though I loved 1a. Godson sometimes flies on his boss’s executive jet and he calls it the Backra (upper class) Broom! I’m guessing it’s my age but 24a presented no problems. I wonder when I’ll get another lot of fun like this.
    Thanks to whomsoever set this, loved it, and thanks to DT for unravelling a couple.

  26. The puzzle was a late & welcome distraction from the Ryder Cup. I feared the worst & we duly got a real thumping in the morning foursomes so heaven knows what the afternoon has in store. As for the puzzle I was on wavelength surprisingly quickly & completed in ** time with no parsing problems though 24a was certainly new to me. 1a &11d were the 2 standouts for me.
    Thanks to the setter for a lovely puzzle & to DT.

  27. The most straightforward crossword of the month for me which is strange as I’ve struggled with ones most found easy over the last couple of days. Never come across the phrase in 24a in my life, too young obviously, and I shared DT’s reservations about 12a. Runaway winner was 1a
    Thanks to the setter and DT.

  28. Perfect puzzle, right up my street. Made even better by Deep a threat ranking it a *** difficulty. Very enjoyable. For some reason it took me ages to tease out the first word of 12a. But everything was there for the asking in the clues. If only they were all like this one. Huge thanks to setter, Zandio?, and to Deep Threat. So happy to report I only needed the hints to verify a couple of my answers.

  29. Hello, compiler here. Very very late, but I hadn’t realised that this was ‘my’ day. It shouldn’t be too hard to keep track of alternate Fridays! Thanks for the discussion and the analysis — I’ll have a proper read now. Have a good week.

    1. When Rufus retired from the Monday slot Chris Lancaster and John Halpern alternated the gig for a few months until Campbell took in on every week. Despite Chris Lancasters best attempts at letting me know who was on each week I still managed to get it wrong more often than I ought to have done

  30. 3*/4*…
    liked 1A “How some spell broomstick? (10)”…
    also liked 23A in the Quickie “Aunts do (anag)”

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