DT 29800 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 29800

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 29800

Hints and tips by Miffypops

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

Good Morning. Just occasionally as I wander through my time here as a reviewer of crosswords I ask myself ‘What did I do to deserve this’ Today is such a day. Read into that whatever you may.

Today’s puzzle has the hallmarks of a Giovanni puzzle. Little known words, a religious reference, tight wordplay, fair definitions. All of which led to a steady solve but I didn’t find much satisfaction in doing so. Heigh Ho as they say, life goes on

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought


9a        Heartless custom associated with India or another country (5)
HAITI:   A settled or regular tendency or practice, especially one that is hard to give up, loses its central letter. The abbreviation for India follows

10a      Schemer recruiting criminal about to be found out (9)
INTRIGUER:  An anagram (criminal) of RECRUITING minus the Latin abbreviation for about. As per the instruction ‘about to be found out’

11a      Member of family in trouble, right to be locked in (7)
BROTHER:  A synonym for trouble needs the abbreviation for right to be inserted

12a      Good ‘uns getting angry — one’s been fired (7)
GUNSHOT:  Begin with the abbreviation for good. Add the letters UNS which are in the clue as a gift from today’s setter. Add a three letter word meaning angry. The only one that makes a word when added to what you already have

13a      Animal‘s extreme idleness (5)
SLOTH:  One of the seven deadly sins is also an animal

14a      Dread terrible wickedness when reckless person appears (4-5)
DARE DEVIL: An anagram (terrible) of DREAD is followed by a word meaning extreme wickedness

16a      Wit’s formula, so sad, spouted with one passing away? (6,4,5)
FAMOUS LAST WORDS:  An anagram of WITS FORMULA SO SAD minus the letter I (one passing away) I’m not sure which is the anagram indicator or where the definition lies

19a      Chaps in the wrong newspaper boss harassed (9)
TORMENTED:  Place some fellows or chaps inside a wrongful act or an infringement of a right. Append our usual newspaper boss

21a      A broken bit in tall building (5)
SHARD:  A double definition The tall building stands near London Bridge and Borough Market. You can pay as little as £25 per person to visit the viewing platform near the top of this building or simply visit the Aqua bar for free and spend the money you save on a round of drinks. It’s not quite as high but it’s high enough with 360 degree views. Here is the view from the gents. We are not likely to be overlooked are we boys?

23a      Feeling badat rock bottom? (4,3)
LAID LOW: A double definition which hasn’t amused or impressed me

25a      Frenzied female in charge full of bluster (7)
FRANTIC:  The abbreviations for female and in charge contain a verb meaning bluster, a tirade possibly

27a      Expert finds more faults, sadly — nothing missed (9)
MASTERFUL:  Anagram (sadly) of MORE FAULTS minus the letter O (nothing missed)

28a      City children (not just one of them) outside old university (5)
ROUEN:  Remove the singular word child from the word children in the clue. Insert the abbreviations for old and university to find an obscure French place where one of the top ten things recommended to do is go elsewhere and explore its surroundings


1d        Trainee hangs round hospital? That’s fishy (4)
CHUB: An inexperienced person surrounds the abbreviation for hospital. The inexperienced person could be learning his trade as a journalist

2d        Kipling’s boy has on old garment (6)
KIMONO:  Rudyard Kiplings poorly schooled orphan boy is followed by the word on from the clue and the abbreviation for old

3d        What domestic arsonist may do? One gives a warning (10)
LIGHTHOUSE: Split 5,5 what an arsonist might do to a home to set it afire

4d        In a row, angry, after inconclusive result (6)
TIERED:  The colour of anger sits after a word used to describe the result of a drawn game

5d        See great new items of furniture (8)
ETAGERES:  An obvious anagram (new) of SEE GRATE will lead us to some items of furniture apparently. Items of furniture nobody has ever heard of. However the plural tense of the clue did suggest that the letter S would be at the end of the word and so gave a bonus helpful checking letter to 16 across

Here is the modern version of the answer

6d        Omen of wickedness — there’s little good in it (4)
SIGN:  An offence against divine law contains the abbreviation for good

7d        Drink up and hang around for a piece of cake (8)
PUSHOVER: A three letter word meaning to drink is reversed and followed by a word meaning to hang around as Sir Christopher Cockerell’s machine did on Ramsgate beach when I was just a little boy

8d        Treated cruelly in short conversation — upset about it (10)
BRUTALISED: A four letter word meaning conversation needs to lose its last letter. Surround this with a rather stretched synonym of the word upset. Remember the checkers are your friends

13d      Flames apt to get out of control? Colliery finally introduced ____! (6,4)
SAFETY LAMP:  Anagram (to get out of control) of FLAMES APT plus the final letter of the word colliery. An all in one clue

15d      Not up? But you may be up if you are here! (10)
DOWNSTAIRS: In a two storey building where you might be if not upstairs. The clue suggests that if you are here you are up from your bed

17d      Most convivial male monarch, one in repose (8)
MERRIEST:  The abbreviation for male. The regnal cypher of our dear queen. The letter that looks like the number one. A synonym of the word repose. Place the number letter inside the repose

18d      Wicked woman posing Spooner’s question about existence (4,4)
LOTS WIFE:   What’s life given the Spooner treatment. I always ignore clues with the word spooner in them and fill in what the checkers suggest. They are the marmite clues much maligned in the comments

Two guys are pushing their carts around the grocery store when they collide.

One guy says to the other, “Sorry about that. I’m looking for my wife, and I guess I wasn’t paying attention to where I was going.”

The other guy replies, “That’s okay, it’s a coincidence. I’m looking for my wife, too. I can’t find her and I’m getting a little desperate.”

The first guy says, “Well, maybe I can help you find her. What does she look like?”

“Well, she is 21 years old, tall, with red hair, blue eyes, long legs, and is wearing a crop top and a  short white mini skirt. What does your wife look like?”

The other guy replies, “It doesn’t matter, let’s look for yours.”

20d      Pollute narrow passage (6)
DEFILE: A double definition the first being more obvious. The second, a noun is defined thus. A steep-sided narrow gorge or passage (originally one requiring troops to march in single file)

22d      Dramatically represent a cold solicitor (3,3)
ACT OUT: The letter A from the clue is joined by the abbreviation for cold. Together these meet up with a solicitor, a seller of tickets on the black market perhaps

24d      Rod very briefly disappearing with nasty look (4)
LEER: A rigid bar which rests on a pivot needs the abbreviation for very removing

26d      Insincere talk when philosopher is given a hearing (4)
CANT:  The answer is a homophone (is given a hearing) based upon a philosopher who possibly said this of Big Dave’s crossword site

Quickie Pun Lights + Which = Light switch


104 comments on “DT 29800

  1. A steady struggle top end **/**. Thank you Miffypops for explaining the obvious 8d which I got but didn’t understand. Thought the anagrams in 10a and 16a tricky and had never heard of the guessed 5d. COTD the clever 28a. With thanks to the setter.

  2. I’ll put today down as a learning experience. Enjoyed in retrospect thanks to MP’s hints. No favourite clue but 28a is my hint of the day!

  3. That was a real snorter and I’m not surprised MP is laid out with an ice pack on his head. My brain hurts too. Some of the clues were really clever and I got some satisfaction out of finishing this puzzle but it was too difficult to be deeply enjoyable (3.5*/3*). 16a was my COTD bot 18d and 15d were close runners up. Thanks to MP for the hints and to Giovanni for a stiff challenge.

  4. Quite enjoyable, I thought there was some clever and smooth wordplay on show here.
    Of course, I’d never heard of the evil woman but worked it out from the Spoonerism (nice to see the good Reverend making a rare visit to the back pages) or the item of furniture at 5d which I thought a poor clue.
    I did like several others though particularly 14&27a plus 7d but my favourite was 10a as it’s a clever clue and the title of an excellent Crowded House album which I think Terence should add to his playlist.
    Many thanks to Giovanni and to MP, loved the guys in the supermarket joke!

    1. Whenever I lose Saint Sharon in a supermarket I just start talking to the prettiest girl I can see. The sainted one soon turns up to spoil the fun. Not that I spend any time in supermarkets I might add

      1. I’m still trying to fathom out exactly how 16a works! Like you, I can’t see where wordplay ends and definition begins.

  5. Really enjoyed todays puzzle needed a vocabulary lesson for 5d and 3d had me thinking of the same Darwin Award. Thanks to MP and setter

  6. Another joyful cruciverbal challenge (naturally if it was indeed a DG product). SE corner hung fire longest. Lots of crafty clues from which 28a stood out for me. Thank you to whom it may concern as setter and MP.

  7. Thursdays puzzles are usually tricky these days,
    Re MP’s blog, the seventh letter in19a is T so the third letter in 18d cannot be S- am I missing something ?.
    10 across and 5d were new words for me and the stretched synonym for upset in 8d is confirmed in my Chambers.
    A bit of a struggle today, some strange parsing-going for a ***/*** as per MP

    1. MP has got the wrong wife – he needs the one in the Book of Genesis who turned into a pillar of salt after turning back to look at Sodom

      Well there had to be at least one ‘religious’ clue to keep Brian grumpy, didn’t there?

    2. I suspect you need an anagram of the second word in 18d as it seems you may have it. (As per Dave’s Comment No. 9 which I have only just read).

      1. For the record I incorrectly put in Late in for the first word of 18d, as ArtHur Askey once said-THATS YOUR LOT!

  8. Oh come on! That was awful. Obscure words – never heard of the shelving. Poor pun/ Spoonerism ( and I love puns) and contrived wordplay from start to finish. A real drudge. Luckily I had plenty of time to spend on it but would hate to do one of these regularly.
    .*****/* would be generous.

  9. I just thought it was a typical Giovanni – I’m sure that we’ve had 5d more than once before too – it took me the usual time for one of his crosswords

    Thanks to Giovanni for the crossword and MP for the blog

    PS: Fans of our old Sunday setter will enjoy his Brendan crossword in today’s Graun

    1. Welcome to the blog

      I would image that, as several of us have told MP this, he’ll now change the hidden answer

  10. Although Spoonerisms usually raise my hackles, I must admit that I thought 18d was the COTD and made me cringe at the same time. I thought that ‘downscaled’ in 15d made a lot of sense until I realised that the city in 28a was one of Monet’s favourites (the cathedral, anyway) and one much ‘loved’ by Emma Bovary (and one of my loves too). Great fun. Thanks to MP and DG. *** / ****

    My Boston Red Sox beat the NYYankees the other night and today face the Tampa Bay Rays in a seminal 3 out of 5 series. Go, Sox!

  11. Your spelling of intriguer is slightly wrong at 10 across as it needs to coincide with 7 down`s answer

  12. Didn’t quite enjoy that. Had to reveal a couple of clues, which I couldn’t get even after reading MP’s hints
    The reveal at 10a has a misspelling ( the e&u should be transposed)
    Some nice clues but a few too many stretched synonyms and a couple of obscure words ( 5d, 10a in particular)
    Hopefully the Toughie will be a bit more friendly 😬

  13. I’m pleased to see that I am not alone in not having enjoyed today’s offering. I have never heard of 5d and 10a and I thought 23a made no sense. Not an enjoyable pastime, I’m afraid but I did like 28a.

    Thank you to the setter for the drubbing and huge thanks to MP for making sense of it.

  14. I didn’t think this puzzle was too bad! **/*** I needed MP’s hints to understand the answer to 28a. Thank you for that. I still don’t “get” 8d. The answer is the definition of the first two words of the clue but I can’t find a short conversation in there. Favourite 16a. Liked the supermarket joke, MP. I like the “crowded house” album too. Definitely one for Terence’s playlist. Thanks to all.

  15. A few learning points as I trudged through this. 23a was a bit strange. Thanks to setter and MP.

  16. There’s a typo in the answer to 10a, the penultimate and antepenultimate letters are the wrong way round.

  17. Thanks to Giovanni and to Miffypops for the review and hints. I just couldn’t get on the right wavelength. Never heard of 10a, 5&20d. Needed the hints for 10,16,19,21a and 3,5,7,8,17,18,20d. Favourite was 6d. I think this should have been a Toughie. Was 6*/1* for me. Not much fun at all.

  18. Phew… that was a trek and a half. I get the feeling with 5d that the setter was cornered and was overcome with joy at finding this word. It can’t be an A rated crossword when one requires a word that is unknown by a sizeable number of us. That aside the rest of this puzzle was achievable even though the clue for 8d was a bit stretched. Ah well…

    My next task is to clean out the boot of the car where a two pint carton of oat milk decanted itself in unknown circumstances. A life of pure hedonism.

    Today’s crossword soundtrack: Crowded House – Intriguer (as suggested by Stephen L, and playing as I type this. Enjoying it very much)

    Thanks to the setter and The Miff plus big Thursday love to The Lovely Kath

  19. Agree a tricky one today, especially the NW corner for me. Thanks for the hints especially 10A, 5D

  20. My mother used to say if you can’t say anything good about something . Don’t say anything at all. However that is a comment in its own right.
    So thanks to Miffypops for the explanations on some of the more, obscure clues.

  21. Really enjoyed this challenging puzzle, despite bunging in the correct answers to 10a and 8d, and having to come here for MP’s kind parsing to understand why they are what they are!

    Ticks to 13d and 15d, while 28a came very close to being my COTD ony to be pipped to the post by the quite superb 18d – unusual for me because I usually dislike Spoonerisms with a passion.

    3* / 4*

    Wunderbar, so thank you to the Don (if ’twere he) and to MP for the parsings/review.

  22. Way out of my league in the main. Politeness stops me giving my opinion of 5d.
    As for the rest, a bit of a learning experience thanks to the excellent hints.
    Not a back pager for me at all. No fun at all.

  23. Not just tricky. No fun at all. Spent more time employing my electronic helper than thinking and I spent a lot of time thinking.
    Thanks to MP and setter.

  24. Thanks Miffypops – needed you today. Loved the story about the girl in the supermarket – that really made me laugh.

  25. Another fine G production. Good clues, a decent challenge and very enjoyable to solve. Fav: 18d – I’m rather partial to a good Spooner clue, but one a week is probably enough. Does anyone know, exactly, how to correctly parse 16a please? 3*, 4*.

    * Must get on now – my etagere, I mean what-not, needs a good dusting.

      1. Is it not just an anagram indicated by ‘sad’ with the straight bit being ‘spouted with one passing away’ in which the words ‘with one passing away’ perform the additional duty of getting rid of a letter from the anag. fodder?

        1. Sorry I just realised those letters don’t add up. OK then so ‘spouted’ is the anag. indicator I guess, which would mean it also performs double duty.

        1. I thought that but I’m scared to suggest all in ones in case I get found out on a Canadian crossword blog

        2. Does that make it an &lit? The whole thing (sort of) describes/defines the answer and there is wordplay in there that leads to the answer too. All a bit muddled, though.

  26. I usually agree with MP especially of the delights of St Mawes. I agree with his money saving idea of the view from the Shard. In fact, I enjoyed a very nice gin and tonic – enjoyed all the more as I had not paid to take the lift. I do not agree about Rouen, however, which is a fine city. Some good clues14 19 and 21a and 3 7 and 15d. 5d has an air of desperation about it. An étagère is better placed in the salons of Rouen. I’m confessing to putting Late Wife in 18d for no better reason than I forgot Lot’s wife. Thanks Giovanni if it is you and MP of course for explaining those I could not parse to the best of his ability.

    1. The Shard tip is more about alcohol than saving money. If ever the word obscure appears in my blog it is usually there to provoke comments. I’m sure Rouen is a fine city but the advice to go elsewhere was found on google

  27. Nightmare for me. Well done to Miffypops and anyone else who was able to work them all out.

  28. Tricky – as Thursday usually is for me. Needed to reveal a couple of hints to get it over the line, plus turn here to parse a couple that I did get.
    That bit of blooming furniture took a while. Doubt you find that on the Ikea website.

  29. One of those days when the backpager tests my resolve to finish even though getting there is a struggle – a bit like walking Biggles in the rain.
    Never heard of 5d got the answer to 16a but from the checkers not the clue
    Ulike Jose lways dread what’s coming seeing Spooner in a clue but today 18d gets COTD.
    A bit of a disappointment but life goes on fortunately and there’s always tomorrow (hopefully).
    Thanks to setter and MP for putting some fun into things.

  30. That was tough! Thank you setter and also MP for explaining 24d, I had the right answer but just could not see why. 18d and 25a as outstanding clues but 5d is very obscure.

  31. Disappointed that this was what was waiting for me when I got home from the hospital this morning. Was so looking forward to my breakfast and crossword. Thought perhaps the lingering effects of the sedative were affecting my solving abilities, but I see most others also found this to be a stinker today. Will hope for something more friendly tomorrow. Thanks MP for all your efforts.

  32. This was a struggle today to get going and keep going. Lots of very tricky clues and misdirection as well as trouble in the parsing.
    3.5*/*** today.
    Clues of note include 16a, 21a, 3d, 13d & 15d with winner 3d
    5d unknown to me but on the plus side I remembered 21a from a previous puzzle some weeks ago now.

    Thanks to Giovanni and MP for hints.

  33. Yes a real struggle today 😳 ***/*** a new word at 5d which fortunately was an anagram 🤗 Favourites 19 & 21a and 3d Thanks to MP for his cheerful blog and to Giovanni for an interesting and exasperating puzzle

  34. This was way beyond my poor brain, though I did know 5d, I can’t believe how many didn’t know it. What else would you call a free-standing piece of furniture with shelves? A whatnot? I think that’s an Americanism, but not sure. A Welsh dresser is far too large.
    After solving about half, my iPad kindly finished this for me, with dipping into M’pops hints from time to time.
    Thank you Giovanni, and heaps of appreciation to M’pops for unravelling that lot. I’m now about to attempt the Monday bonus puzzle, kept for situations like this.

    1. I remember my mother’s 2 what-nots in the 50s and 60s, used to display her miniature cups and saucers and other small pieces of china. I never heard anyone call them etageres then. She was forever dusting the ruddy things.

      From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

      A what-not is a piece of furniture derived from the French étagère, which was exceedingly popular in England in the first three-quarters of the 19th century. It usually consists of slender uprights or pillars, supporting a series of shelves for holding china, ornaments, trifles, or “what nots”, hence the allusive name. In its English form, it is a convenient piece of drawing room furniture, and was rarely valued for its aesthetic.

    2. I first heard of an 5d when quite young–doing the NYT puzzles–and now have several around the house, full of books mostly. I was also surprised that so many had never heard of it.

      1. Even more surprising, I was curious to know another name and my thesaurus doesn’t even have it listed. I looked in my dictionary and it lists “stand”, “cupboard” and “shelves”, but none of those are the same to my mind, so whatnot has to be it I suppose.

        1. A translation from the French étagère brings about shelf, rack, bookshelf, shelving, bookcase, etagere, whatnot. A knowledge of French helps as many English words begins with S eg stage in French start with E (plus acute accent) – étage, étable, étudient.

          1. I wish I spoke French! I learnt it at school but was never proficient and have forgotten what little I knew.

  35. Blimey, that was a struggle.
    Got there unaided.
    5d a new word which I got by testing various combinations of the letters.
    Love Spoonerisms, 18d did not disappoint.
    So, ****/*****
    Many thanks to the setter and to Miffypops.

  36. A sense of achievement I suppose in grinding out an unaided finish but into **** time for the second day running though unlike yesterday I can’t say I found it a great deal of fun. Last in was 5d which, needless to say, needed Mr G’s ok for & I was also briefly in the late wife club until I twigged the Spoonerism. Top 3 for me were 16a plus 3&15d.
    Thanks to setter & in advance to Miff for his review which I strongly suspect will have more laughs in it than the puzzle.

  37. Only managed about 3/4 of this unaided but I really loved 22d. Thank you Mr Pops for sorting this all out for us disciples before 11am. How you did that and uploaded the rest of your content is beyond me.
    Thank you too to Mr Manley, I thought it was very clever.

      1. GAMELAN – it’s a traditional band in parts of Indonesia. My apologies if others have already provided this answer. Try including that word during a conversation, Celia – I challenge you :-)

    1. Blogging puzzles for nearly eight years does give one an advantage when solving. A habit of waking early helps too. The newspaper is always there on my iPad so I don’t have to wait for delivery or go to a newsagents. I always start with the code word puzzle (very easy on an iPad] then the quickie puzzle of which 2 down proved impossible today. Then the letters page, the obits and the main cryptic puzzle. This is all interrupted at 7.00 am when I shower and make the early morning cuppas. A mischievous mind and a disregard for rules helps the writing of the hints. Sometimes it flows and sometimes it doesn’t. I enjoy helping and enjoy reading the comments (mostly). I find the whole concept of this blog to be completely bonkers and a whole lot of fun. You would never know it but it does sometimes allow an outlet for my altruism. Thanks for the thanks

  38. Bit surprised when the iPad declared an incorrect completion of the Quickie – surely Haifa is an acceptable answer to 7d

      1. I too went for Haifa but the some answers incorrect message sent me to Jaffa (oh those oranges in the fifties and sixties)

        1. At the end of your great contribution there is an advert for the furniture in 5D (as per Google)

          1. I think that we all get different adverts supposedly chosen to suit our personalities. I remember a few years ago that dating agencies for mature people cropped up quite often

            1. How right you are, in this visit to Dave’s Blog the advert has changed and it is related to my recent visits to Google.

              1. I get adverts for stuff I have already bought. If I’ve just bought a new appliance I’m not going to need another.

  39. Much to my surprise, I managed to finish today’s Giovanni. It wasn’t easy and I didn’t always understand the clues. As some have commented, almost too hard to be enjoyable. I then tackled Chalicea’s toughie from Tuesday which, of course, was a delight from start to finish. Thanks for the explanations Miffypops, needed for some clues!

  40. 5d defeated me even though I had the letters. Not my favourite clue.

    As for 18d, even if I had heard of Lot and his wife, I would still not have solved this. Having googled her, I would have called her nosey or foolish, certainly not wicked…


    Thanks to all.

  41. A slow solve for me but enjoyed it – nothing obscure (for me) and great variety in the clueing, so I am part of the positive camp…

  42. I found this harder than the toughie, which I still haven’t completed mind you. Never heard of a 5d, who has. Even with my limited knowledge of the bible I got 18d as other answers don’t work as a Spoonerism and is my cotd. Thanks to Giovanni and MP.

  43. Got there in the end but not much fun except for 18d which gave me a good belly laugh! ****/***

  44. So relieved to see these comments because I thought perhaps my days of crossword solving were over and a new generation and different way of thinking were here! I completed all apart from 5d (just couldn’t make the anagram work) but felt as if I had to get on a complete new wavelength! Still grateful to the setter for taking the trouble though!!

  45. This is called a nightmare by a previous commenter, and it certainly was although I managed to finish it unaided, I don’t know how, although a lot of the parsing will have to be looked at later. I did not finish the quickie, partly because I have no knowledge of orchestras on the other side of the world and also because my brain was too exhausted to carry on. Thanks to setter and congratulations to Miffipops whose brain I think must be as exhausted as mine. I am going to enjoy reading his hints later.

  46. Just got round to this today – superb as always from one of my favourite setters. Too many clever clues to single one out.

  47. 3*/5*….
    liked 18D “Wicked woman posing Spooner’s question about existence (4,4)”….together with MP’s amusing anecdote thereto.

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