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DT 29801

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 29801

Hints and tips by Deep Threat

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BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

Good morning from South Staffs on a grey October day.

I found most of today’s puzzle straightforward, but was held up by an inability to see two crossing answers in the NE corner, and that pushed me well into *** time.

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           Loose favourite — French one comes first (6)
UNPICK – The French for ‘one’ followed by another word for ‘favourite’ or ‘choice’.

4a           Publicises cruise, possibly landing here? (8)
AIRSTRIP – A four-letter word for ‘publicises’ or ‘broadcasts’, followed by a word for something of which a cruise is an example.

9a           Distance made by set of clubs? (6)
LEAGUE – Double definition: an old measure of distance, equivalent to three miles; or a set of sports clubs joined in competition.

10a         May 1, lucky to be unoccupied? Very! (8)
MIGHTILY – Put together the past tense of ‘may’, the Roman numeral for 1, and the outside letters (to be unoccupied) of L(uck)Y.

12a         Son using which method to lead trial presentation? (8)
SHOWCASE – Put together an abbreviation for Son, a way of asking ‘Which method?’, and a legal trial or suit.

13a         Thrown back from seashore, lobsters dance (6)
BOLERO – Hidden in reverse (thrown back from) in the clue.

15a         Expert handling turnover in the cinema? (13)
PROJECTIONIST – Cryptic definition of the person who, among other duties, changes the reels of film in a cinema.

18a         Thickset like a St Bernard rescue dog? (6-7)
BARREL-CHESTED – A reference to what a St Bernard rescue dog in the Alps traditionally carried.

Saint Bernard Rescue Dog Cartoon

20a         Bear caught in Welsh river flood (6)
DELUGE – A Welsh (or Scottish) river, wrapped round another word for ‘bear’ or ‘carry’.

22a         Terrible event, perhaps — in fact good, strangely (3,2,3)
ACT OF GOD – anagram (strangely) of FACT GOOD.

24a         Taking a sample round, traffic it at Scene, feeling high (8)
ECSTATIC – Hidden in reverse (taking a sample round) in the clue.

25a         Lizard King mural — neat, but odd bits missing (6)
IGUANA – Alternate letters (odd bits missing) of the second, third and fourth words of the clue.

Marine Iguana - Go Galapagos

26a         Refuse to reduce volume (4,4)
TURN DOWN – Double definition, the first being to refuse an offer.

27a         Standing figures with no energy (6)
STATUS – Remove the abbreviation for Energy from some carved figures.


1d           Except when cloudy, going topless (6)
UNLESS – If it’s cloudy, there’s something which can’t be seen in the sky. Start with a word which describes that situation, then remove the first letter.

2d           One’s not at all clear or sure — a pope should clarify (3-6)
PEA-SOUPER – Anagram (should clarify) of SURE A POPE.

Fog everywhere. Fog up the river, where it flows among green aits and meadows; fog down the river, where it rolls defiled among the tiers of shipping and the waterside pollutions of a great (and dirty) city. Fog on the Essex marshes, fog on the Kentish heights. Fog creeping into the cabooses of collier-brigs; fog lying out on the yards and hovering in the rigging of great ships; fog drooping on the gunwales of barges and small boats. Fog in the eyes and throats of ancient Greenwich pensioners, wheezing by the firesides of their wards; fog in the stem and bowl of the afternoon pipe of the wrathful skipper, down in his close cabin; fog cruelly pinching the toes and fingers of his shivering little ‘prentice boy on deck. Chance people on the bridges peeping over the parapets into a nether sky of fog, with fog all round them, as if they were up in a balloon and hanging in the misty clouds.

Dickens: Bleak House

3d           Lord’s house briefly seen as nicest in the middle (6,2,7)
CHURCH OF ENGLAND – The middle letters of nicest are an abbreviation for this organisation, which could also be described as the Lord’s house.

5d           Eye part of Dublin, maybe avoiding hotel (4)
IRIS – Remove the letter represented by Hotel in the NATO alphabet from a word that describes a native of Dublin.

6d           Perhaps Plato’s classes shared opinions (6,2,7)
SCHOOL OF THOUGHT – This phrase for a set of people with similar opinions could also be a description of what Plato’s Academy taught.

7d           Articulated beams put up (5)
RAISE – A homophone (articulated) of another word for ‘beams’.

8d           Drama opening, bypassing a southern city (8)
PLYMOUTH – Put together another word for a drama in the theatre, and the opening you put food in, then remove the A (from the clue), to get a city in SW England.

5 Things Plymouth is Famous For | Visit Plymouth, Devon - YesCanDo

11d         Eastern sierra — wild scene for nature (7)
ESSENCE – Put together Eastern, the letter represented by Sierra in the NATO alphabet, and an anagram (wild) of SCENE.

14d         Expand chest, prepared to limit time on run (7)
STRETCH – Anagram (prepared) of CHEST, wrapped round abbreviations for Time and Run.

16d         Disgruntled six-footer follows quarry entering pub (9)
INDIGNANT – What you do in a quarry is inserted into another word for a pub, then an insect (six-footer) is added on the end.

17d         Bottom in Eton, I prepared to be disciplined (8)
OBEDIENT – The bottom of a river or the sea is inserted into an anagram (prepared) of ETON I.

19d         More than one standard is about trade (6)
IDEALS – IS (from the clue) wrapped round another word for ‘trade’ or ‘bargain’.

21d         Runner-up? Nearer being a non-starter (5)
LOSER – Remove the initial letter (non-starter) from another word for ‘nearer’.

23d         Compete with conviction (4)
VIEW – Another word for ‘compete’ or ‘struggle’ followed by an abbreviation for With.

The Quick Crossword pun DINER + MIGHT = DYNAMITE

55 comments on “DT 29801

  1. A very typical Zandio puzzle I thought, which on the whole I found good fun, though maybe not one for the purists.
    My top three were the succinct 27a&23d plus the clever 6d with a nod to 18a&2d as they made me laugh.
    Many thanks to Zandio (If it is he) and DT.

    1. Thank you for the Crowded House suggestion, Stephen. Lovely album – now stored in my ‘Favourites’ folder.

      1. You’re very welcome Terence. I’m always happy when someone genuinely enjoys my recommendations.
        Crowded House are one of my very favourite bands.

  2. I needed help with a couple but otherwise a very enjoyable puzzle with a great satisfaction factor. I made things difficult for myself by dividing 3d into 7-2-6 and spent ages trying to find a foreign church along the lines of “Churcio de *g*a*d”! (Note to self – check the words of the answer have the correct number of letters).

    Plenty of clues to like today such as 4a, 9a and 16d but my COTD is 18a.

    Many thanks to Zandio (?) for the fun and DT for the hints.

  3. 2*/4*. This was good fun and almost certainly the handiwork of Zandio.

    I wasn’t keen on 15a and I don’t understand why Scene has a capital S in 24a.

    My choice of top clues was 9a, 3d, 6d & 23d.

    Many thanks to Zandio and to DT.

  4. Enjoyable crossword – I needed help in Northumbria. 4a and 10a to be precise. I’m further grateful to DT for a few explanations.

    Breaking news – I had jam with my toast today. Strawberry ‘No Bits’ by Hartley’s.

    Today’s crossword soundtrack: Talk Talk – Natural History

    Thanks to the setter and the ever reliable DT.

  5. Rather over complicated wording spoilt my enjoyment in some of the clues in this puzzle, which was a bit of a long- winded slog (3*/ 2.5*). I did find some satisfaction in finishing it and thought the cryptic definitions at 6d and 18a were very fine. Thanks to DT for the hints, which I needed with the clues that I couldn’t parse. Thanks to the compiler (Zandio I suspect) too.

  6. A breeze after yesterday’s more difficult puzzle. The longer answers seemed to write themselves in. Lots of fun to be had but the surface read of 24 across doesn’t sit well. Thanks to the setter for the puzzle and to DT for the blog.

  7. A tough solve today for a back pager especially the NE corner, thought that 10a was a bit iffy.
    Took a while to get the first word in 6d then the rest of the corner fell into place.
    Favourite was 19a for originality .- thanks DT for the pic.
    Going for a ****/***.

  8. That was really enjoyable with just enough bite to present a satisfying challenge. NE delayed me a little. Fav 6d but that afterwards joined by bung-ins, 10a (sory Beaver!) and 3d, with the benefit of DT’s parsings. Altogether a great cruciverbal week which hopefully will conclude with more of the same tomorrow. Thank you Zandio and DT.

  9. A most enjoyable Friday puzzle, finished in good time–backpager of the week for me. 6d, 23a, 8d, and 12a get my top nods, but there’s not a dud in the grid. Thanks to DT and today’s setter. **/****

  10. I had the same problem as Terence in Northumbria. Those two clues took me as long as the rest of the puzzle. ***/*** I don’t understand why there is a capital S in scene in 24a either. Favourite 6d. Thanks to all.

  11. I’m in the “not very enjoyable” camp today, I’m afraid. I came up just one short in the end, after **** time. Two or three others were bung-ins.

    Contrary to what has been said above, the NE gave me no bother at all! It’s good to be different.

    Thanks to the compiler and DT.

  12. The rather clunky 24a aside, this was a rewarding solve with some fine clues, pre-eminent of which was my favourite, 3d.

    My thanks to Zandio for the fun and to DT.

    I see Elgar is lying in wait in the Toughie slot.

    1. Lying in wait is a good description for Elgar today. Very difficult to tease out in places, even quirky , to use one of Senf’s terms. Enjoy.

  13. 4a&8d pushed me into ** time in what was a fairly straightforward solve & agree with Miffs that it was indeed a breeze after yesterday & for me the Wed puzzle. 18a was my clear pick of the clues.
    Thanks to Zandio & to DT.

    1. Just read the review & 3d gets the vote as my pick now DT has explained it to me. Had forgotten I’d bunged in & moved on.

  14. If this be Zandio, I found it not as much fun as usual. I needed DT’s hint to unravel 3d, thank you v much. Didn’t understand Zandio’s instructions in 24a but found the answer anyway.

  15. Not a lot of fun and a bit of a head scratcher for me, perhaps lingering effects of Giovanni ‘conditioning’ my brain yesterday – 4*/1.5*.

    Probably the first time that I have ‘bunged in’ a 15 letter answer so special thanks to DT for explaining 3d.

    Favourite – a toss-up between 1d and 16d – and the winner is 16d.

    Thanks to Zandio and DT.

  16. A most enjoyable brow-furrower this morning, a good warm-up exercise for the later challenges of the Elgar and Times puzzles. Slowish to start, but the last half fell swiftly. Agree with RD above that the capitalising of Scene in 24a appears unnecessary, but otherwise thought this was a good, fair, and very tightly written puzzle.

    Quite a few ticks today, with Hon. Mentions going to 9a, 10a (wonderful red herring, & v witty), 13a (great surface), 18a, 2d, 3d and 7d, but my COTD has to be the super 6d.

    2.5* / 3.5*

    Thank you to the Setter, and to DT for the review.

  17. Not my favourite puzzle of the week but then I rarely gel with this setter’s style.
    Best clue for me was the straightforward double definition at 26a.

    Thanks to Zandio and to DT for the review – enjoyed watching Jayne and Chris again.

    1. I have no idea why, but whenever I hear Bolero, I think of a caravan of camels crossing a desert!

  18. Enjoyed this a lot. My biggest hold up was trying to turn the pictures with the hints into pictures of cats – nothing seemed to work – obviously! Thanks to Zandio and DT.

  19. A nice puzzle to end up the non-work week with. */**** for today. Nothing troublesome or quirky or even obscure. Just a nice straightforward puzzle with a few chuckles strewn about. Always feels good when one doesn’t need the hints.
    Favourites 15a, 18a, 22a, 2d & 8d with winner 15a … as it was my first in. Great clue!
    Lots of good clues throughout.

    Thanks to Zandio and DT for the hints today.

  20. Hello, compiler here. Thanks very much for the conversation and the analysis. I write most of my clues in cafes (or at least, I sit there trying to write clues). Sometimes one of the other regulars will ask me what answer I’m trying to clue, and I get them to say the first thing that comes into their head. I can’t pretend it helps much. But when I offered ‘Barrel-chested’, a guy called Charlie said: “Barrels always make me think of St Bernards.” So thank you to him. Have a great weekend.

    1. Good of you to pop in, nice anecdote and a top puzzle as usual, thanks Zandio.
      I’m off to the nearest cafe to see if I can get some inspiration for the Telegraph Newsletter clue writing competition!

  21. Excellent puzzle, well clued and very enjoyable to solve. Such a relief after yesterdays stinker! Please DT save these Giovannis for the Toughie.
    The only clue to hold me up was 8d which I needed the hints to understand the wordplay which was perhaps a little clumsy.
    Thx to all

  22. Rather distracted as getting ready for a long drive to the SE which still has fuel problems so didn’t settle to this as I should. After all, with an Elgar Toughie where is there to go but the back page! I think I liked the St Bernard best.

    1. There’s a pretty decent Paul (Dada) puzzle in the Graun if, like me, you’ve given up on Elgar.

  23. I started to panic after the first five across clues but 12a got me going and all became clear. Thank you Zandio for some good mind gym and DT for explaining 3d.

  24. Well that was a relief after yesterday. Didn’t find it easy and required some hair pulling, but answers eventually presented themselves. I was totally misled on 3d, chasing the wrong definition. And couldn’t get brandy out of my head for 18a. Thanks to Zandio and Deep Threat. Waiting in for second visit from dishwasher repair man. Machine is very temperamental, takes at least 3 tries to start, and doesn’t switch off when finished. On his first visit it performed perfectly throughout his visit of course. Evil machine.

  25. I solved this by being dead on wavelength with the long clues and finding words with the checkers and bunging them in. It’s been one of my quickest solves but needed DT’s help to unravel not a few! I didn’t find the NE particularly hard. My likes were 18a, 3d and 6d. A real treat after yesterday’s swimming in molasses.
    Thank you Zandio, and huge thanks to Deep Threat for explaining so many.

  26. Nicely challenging puzzle today with the north-west corner holding out the longest for me. Once I understood the parsing, 3d became my favourite clue. I’ve been dabbling with some of the Toughies recently but it sounds like an Elgar one could be a bit beyond me at present! Many thanks to Zandio and to DT.

  27. On the other hand I found this a lot more difficult than yesterday’s offering 😳 Needed some guidance to complete ****/*** 😬
    Favourites were 18 and 20 across 😃 Thank you to Deep Threat ( much needed today) and to Zandio

    1. I found it harder than yesterday’s too. You’re not alone. I can’t seem to get on Zandio’s wavelength.

  28. I’m afraid I’ve thrown in the towel on this one….I just can’t see my way into it at all. I always seem to struggle with Zandio. Thanks for the answers DT, I’ll have a look later.

  29. I seemed to mislead myself with some of the clues, some were clunky in my humble opinion.
    That took me into 4* time, but affected my enjoyment.
    So 4*/3* for me.
    Best wishes to everyone.
    Thanks to DT for review & setter for the challenge.

  30. Perfectly straightforward until it wasn’t, if you started at the bottom that is. I didn’t really get 19d or 15a for that matter and need the hint to parse 3d. Maybe I’ve been a bit distracted the last couple of evenings having managed to rip the front wing off one of my 4×4’s yesterday having only got it back on the road, after 10 months, 2 days previously. Off road, obviously, in treacherous conditions I was crossing a narrow culvert when my back wheel slipped into a deep rut, slewed me round and threw me into a sturdily built sluice gate. The truck came off second best. On the plus side if I hadn’t hit it I’d have been in the River Soar. Hey ho! Life goes on. COTD was 18a. Thanks to Zandio and DT

        1. The DUKW is a six-wheel-drive amphibious modification of the 2+1⁄2-ton CCKW trucks used by the U.S. military during World War II and the Korean War.

          1. When I was a kid they used to have one on Blackpool (?) beach giving pleasure rides driving down the beach straight into the sea.
            Remember it was better fun than the donkey rides!

  31. Certainly not a breeze for me but more straightforward than yesterday.
    As with others NE (Sutherland, the true NE of our island, is over 200 miles North of Northumbria by the way Greta) last to fall.
    18a my COTD.
    Took a time to spot 24a which I thought a good reverse lurker that did not need the “extra” obfuscation of the capital.
    Thanks to Zandio & DT for the review.

  32. It was a Monday afternoon in November and already growing dark, not because of the lateness of the hour ‐ it was barely three o’clock ‐ but because of the fog, the thickest of London pea‐soupers, which had hemmed us in on all sides since dawn – if, indeed, there had been a dawn, for the fog had scarcely allowed any daylight to penetrate the foul gloom of the atmosphere
    Fog was outdoors, hanging over the river, creeping in and out of alleyways and passages, swirling thickly between the bare trees of all the parks and gardens of the city, and indoors, too, seething through cracks and crannies like sour breath, gaining a sly entrance at every opening of a door. It was a yellow fog, a filthy, evil‐smelling fog, a fog that choked and blinded, smeared and stained. Groping their way blindly across roads, men and women took their lives in their hands, stumbling along the pavements, they clutched at railings and at one another, for guidance.
    Sounds were deadened, shapes blurred. It was a fog that had come three days before, and
    did not seem inclined to go away and it had, I suppose, the quality of all such fogs – it was menacing and sinister, disguising the familiar world and confusing the people in it, as they were confused by having their eyes covered and being turned about, in a game of Blind Man’s Buff.
    It was, in all, miserable weather and lowering to the spirits in the dearest month of the year.

    Susan Hill. The Woman In Black

    1. Coincidentally pea souper and bolero both bring back memories. The young Jayne Torville was always on the ice at the old Nottingham Ice Stadium. Long before the pairing with Christopher Dean and no-one could have predicted 1984. In Notts.we had our fair share of pea-soupers. In Lower VI we could do the usual on games afternoon or choose from others. I chose ice skating as being the least strenuous. One afternoon there was a message over the tannoy telling us gals to go home immediately. There was no natural light in the Ice Stadium so had no idea of what was waiting outside. I got lost so many times on a less than 10 minute walk which I thought I knew like the back of my hand. Scary, I just caught the 3.15 bus which was the last to leave that day to my village.

      1. I can remember the smogs in Coventry of the late 1950s and 1960s before the smokeless fuels act came in to being. Now I get annoyed if I smell the slightest hint of cigarette smoke.

  33. Another head scratcher, although I did in the end manage to finish unaided. Quite a number of answers were guessed at by the checkers (and hopefully correct) with no idea of the parsing, which I will look at next. Not very enjoyable. COTD 2d, which is quite a good description of the puzzle. Thanks to Zandio and DT.

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