DT 29823 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 29823

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 29823

Hints and tips by 2Kiwis

BD Rating – Difficulty *** Enjoyment ****

Kia ora from Aotearoa.

1pm is our puzzle solving and blogging time now that both NZ and UK have adjusted clocks. Not that it makes a lot of difference to our routine.

A slow start again for us in the NW corner but we picked up speed as we went along.

Please leave a comment telling us how you got on.


1a     Members of family regularly seen in pieces (7)
PARENTS : Pieces or portions contains the second and fourth letters of ‘seen’.

9a     Poor menials must eat old wheat concoction (8)
SEMOLINA : An anagram (poor) of MENIALS contains O(ld).

10a     Gathers Queen is beset by obligations (7)
MUSTERS : Her Majesty’s regnal cypher is inside things that definitely need to be done.

11a     Food found by sailor after panic? (8)
FLAPJACK : A panic that might cause arm-waving, then one of the many names for a sailor.

12a     Welcomes politicians with time for North (6)
GREETS : Eco-politicians have their N(orth) changed to T(ime).

13a     Oily product in nut tree scattered across Portugal (10)
TURPENTINE : An anagram (scattered) of IN NUT TREE contains the IVR code for Portugal.

15a     Look for regular meeting-place, missing area (4)
HUNT : A regular meeting place where you might possibly find a ghost loses its A(rea).

16a     Separates chips (9)
SPLINTERS : A double definition. These chips might get under your skin.

21a     Bond is back, welcoming ‘Vote leave‘ (4)
EXIT : The reversal of a bond or link contains the letter used when casting a vote.

22a     Give unrestricted access to study group during worship (10)
DECLASSIFY : Worship, or treat as a god, contains a school study group.

24a     Temple — a party space rejected! (6)
PAGODA : String together in reverse order ‘A’ from the clue, a two letter party and a space to avoid when getting off a train.

25a     Ultimately lose weight, getting room for eating dessert (4,4)
ETON MESS : The final letter (ultimately) of lose, a heavy weight and then a room for eating, often military.

27a     Go for one accountant with line of sight (7)
OPTICAL : Go for or choose, the Roman numeral one, the abbreviation for a chartered accountant, and then L(ine).

28a     Taking the lead from Republican in looking (8)
STARRING : Looking intently contains an extra R(epublican).

29a     Easily destroyed dossier penetrated by tabloid (7)
FRAGILE : A slang word for a tabloid newspaper is inside a dossier or record.


2d     Sign of fish tank needing base to be changed? (8)
AQUARIUS : Start with a fish tank and change the last letter.

3d     Requests variable rent and food (8)
ENTREATS : An anagram (variable) of RENT and an informal word for food generally.

4d     Goes and covers roof and gates (10)
TURNSTILES : Goes, or opportunities to play, and then covers roof with a particular product.

5d     Breeze along full of enthusiasm (4)
ZEAL : A lurker, hiding in the clue.

6d     Token working in support of military takeover (6)
COUPON : A word from French for a military takeover, then a short word for working or in operation.

7d     ‘A’, for instance may be six-time African despot (7)
VITAMIN : Roman numeral six, then T(ime) and an infamous Ugandan despot.

8d     Journalist on leave finally in New York cab (7)
HACKNEY : An informal word for a journalist, then the last letter of leave is inside the abbreviation for New York.

11d     Female censors upset about international art of public debate (9)
FORENSICS : Start with F(emale), then an anagram (upset) of CENSORS contains I(nternational). (This definition of the answer was new to us and needed a BRB check.)

14d     Abrasive remedy developed with no end of blood daily (5,5)
EMERY PAPER : An anagram (developed) of REME(d)Y with the last letter of blood removed, and then a daily like the Telegraph.

17d     Such a ship may be ageing so badly (3-5)
SEA-GOING : An anagram (badly) of AGEING SO.

18d     Tweet may get time in prison and summons (8)
BIRDCALL : A slang word for time in prison and then summons or cry out.

19d     Unfavourable notice on output of poet (7)
ADVERSE : A notice or poster and then a general word for poetry.

20d     A source of bacteria in European circus performer (7)
ACROBAT : ‘A’ from the clue, then a European who would formerly have been a Yugoslav contains the first letter of bacteria.

23d     Value diamonds found in a swamp (6)
ADMIRE : The bridge players’ abbreviation for diamonds is enclosed by ‘A’ and a swamp.

26d     Evil king’s ruin (4)
SINK : An evil or misdeed and the chess notation for king.

We thought we had a pangram today but discovered that we were one letter missing. Wonder if this has any significance.

Quickie pun    ardour    +    snails    =    hard as nails

63 comments on “DT 29823

  1. Just about perfect for the mid-week challenge with some help from starting with going Up the Downs – 2.5*/4.5*.

    Candidates for favourite – 1a. 10a, 25a, 29a, and 4d – and the winner is 4d.

    Thanks to Jay and the 2Kiwis.

  2. Excellent from start to finish and hugely enjoyable.
    I liked plenty but have singled out the pun along with 11&28a plus 7&20d. However top spot has to go to 21a.
    Many thanks to Jay and the 2Ks for the fun in the crisp early morning Devon sun.

  3. A fairly pleasant crossword with a few head scratchers, which made it difficult to get into (3*/3*). The best of the clues were 11a and 18d but there were no really outstanding nominees for COTD. Thanks to the Kiwis for the hints and to the compiler.

    1. At last, one that I can solve this week before going to BD for help. Many thanks to 2 Kiwis for your comments.

  4. I am one star less on both counts than our antipodean friends at **/*** for this enjoyable Weds solve. I agree with Stephen L on the COTD being 21a. Spent quite a while on 10a in trying to fathom the obligations synonym before the penny dropped. With thanks to the setter.

  5. 3*/4.5*. I agree with the 2Ks that the NW corner of this excellent puzzle was by far and away the hardest part. I would have awarded 5* for enjoyment except for the awful “eats” being used as a noun in 3d.

    I also got held up slightly by 18d as, at that stage, I was only missing a W from a possible pangram and I spent quite some time trying to justify “windfall” as the answer before the penny finally dropped and I discovered it wasn’t a pangram after all.

    Picking a favourite was also a struggle with so many good clues to pick from, but finally my choice is 21a.

    Many thanks to Jay and the 2Ks.

  6. Another excellent puzzle and right up my street, top draw cluing throughout,
    Favourites were the charades 23a and 11a for the surfaces.Not a bad/iffy clue in sight, well done setter.
    Last in and a new synonym for me was 11d.
    Going for a **/****.Thanks to 2K’s for the pics.
    Quickie Pun spot on too.

    1. Re 11 Down, I was surprised to see this. It is used extensively in the US for high school debating clubs/societies. Often a group will go up against another high school in a challenge debate. The class is Forensics

        1. I believe the debating context in an Americanism (as Paul’s comment would tend to suggest), but I must be getting soft as I chose not to mention it this time!

          Incidentally Collins agrees with me but Chambers doesn’t.

  7. Light, enjoyable while it lasted, and a fun mental workout as the coffee cooled down. Tackled from the NW downs clockwise through to the NW acrosses, but the hold-ups were only brief – like many today I suspect, I was looking for a pangram towards the end, only to fall one short. Smiled broadly at 21a, and ticked as “Hon Mentions” 10a, 13a (good surface read and answer), 22a, 18d and 23d, with 25a my COTD for the surface read and amusingly combined clue and answer.

    1.5* / 3*

    With thanks to Kay and to the 2Ks

  8. Heaven knows why because I don’t think this was particularly difficult but I made heavy weather of this one – the obvious took an age for the pennies to drop. I too was distracted by a search for the elusive W. Another vote for 21a as pick from a number of quality clues in what was a thoroughly enjoyable puzzle.
    Thanks to Jay & the 2Ks

  9. The NW was my last quadrant to yield, with 10a my LOI, and so I’ll pack the podium with those clues, willy-nilly. I also liked 22a, 21a, and 7d. I was quite sluggish responding to this little gem after staying up quite late last night. See below. Most enjoyable as usual for Wednesday. Thanks to the Kiwis and Jay. *** / ****

    Hooray! The Atlanta Braves won the World Series last night beating Houston 7-0! It’s been 26 years since Atlanta last won this esteemed trophy.

    1. Sorry Bobby but I’m with Lisa Simpson who said “ You made me love baseball. Not as a collection of numbers, but as an unpredictable, passionate game, beaten in excitement only by every other sport”

  10. I also had to check the BRB for the definition of 11d but other than that I solved and parsed alone and unaided. It did take me quite a while, though.
    But every cloud has a silver lining as they say and it helped pass the time as we live through the Great Gas Meter Saga. Our gas meter got stuck. I noticed it yesterday morning and spent the day yesterday trying to report it. I eventually got to speak to a human just after 5pm, by dint of pretending I wanted to become a new British Gas customer. (I wish I had thought of this subterfuge earlier and commend it to everyone.) The Man was booked and came at 8:15 this morning . He changed the meter but had to send for another Man as he said there was a problem with the gas pressure. Then he left …..but before he did he turned our gas off. So, after a chilly wait, another Man duly arrived and is still here doing checks having found nothing wrong …..but he has just turned the gas back on , so we are starting to warm up.
    I fear this may run and run.
    ‘Twas on a Monday morning the gas man came to call…..’

    Thanks to the setter and the 2 Kiwis.

    1. I don’t normally comment, but I just had to commiserate with you and say that your story made me laugh out loud.
      Oh, and I thought today’s puzzle was very good, though I didn’t know that particular meaning of 11d. Thank you to the setter and bloggers.

    2. Full sympathies Ora. We went through this in the summer with British Gas – several visits required and we had no hot water or heating (thank goodness it was the summer) for a couple of weeks. There was a general air of incompetence about the whole saga.

    3. Also chuckled at your gas man story. I have discovered that when trying without luck to reach a service department you need to select the option for “place an order” or “subscribe”. Amazingly, there are always people available to answer your call then. You have to sweetly explain that you don’t know how you ended up with them, but could they please help?

      1. Thanks folks.

        The saga seems to be over now…but I won’t bet on it. The second Man left without telling us how his checks had gone so we presume all is well. Would have been nice to know, though. After all, with gas you want to be certain everything is OK, not just ‘hope so’ .
        At least we are warm.
        I am trying to perfect the ‘old slightly befuddled old lady voice’ for dealing with services now and I shall most certainly use the ‘I want to join up to your organisation ‘ ploy again.

  11. Came across three stumbling blocks in the shape of 7,18&20d which certainly resulted in my being left with a chilly mug of coffee but the caffeine must have eventually hit the spot. Like RD, I bristled over the term for food in 3d.
    11a made me smile, as did the Quickie pun, and my favourite was 10a – God bless her.

    Thanks to Jay and to our 2Ks for the review.

  12. The bark was worse than the bite as it soon all panned out nicely beginning with the North. Was surprised to be reminded that the tokens shown in the 6d hint continued until 1949. 9a brought to mind dreadful school meals including 9a, tapioca, sago, lumpy custard, etc. – certainly nothing like 25a! 7d was COTD and I liked the pun. Thank you Jay and 2Kiwis.

    1. I was a very small (I hasten to add) bridesmaid in 1949. Clothing coupons were definitely in operation and, if enough could be saved, begged or borrowed, clothes were in short supply. My everlasting memory is of my gold sandals. They were probably about four sizes too large and my socks were stuffed with cotton wool. On the plus side they served me as dancing shoes for several years.

  13. Like RD I too spent too long trying to make windfall fit 18d before the penny dropped. ***/*** I also went through quite a few permutations of gather and its synonyms before enlightenment dawned. Favourite 29a. Thanks to all.

  14. Enjoyable and straightforward. Would have checked 11d in the BRB if I had one. Thanks to today’s setter and 2Ks.

  15. Although this wasn’t particularly hard, I managed to make it so. It was mainly the west that gave me trouble with the worst of it in Cornwall and Cumbria. I needed a couple of hints despite having a plethora of checking letters.

    Jose – fantastic version of Wooden Ships; thank you for posting it. I saw CSN at Hammersmith Odeon (as it then was) in 1992. I thought I must take the chance to see them before it’s too late and here we are thirty years on and they are all still with us (even if Crosby is an outcast!).

    Today’s crossword soundtrack: Crosby, Stills, and Nash – Live at Hammersmith Odeon, 1992

    Thanks to the setter (Jay?) and the Two Ks.

  16. Like Terence I made this harder than it was. Maybe I was looking for things that weren’t there but i did struggle and had to resort to the hints for a couple. I have not heard 11d used in that context so something learned. Still, I was able to do the majority of it unaided and it was most enjoyable. No real favourites today, just happy to get over the finish line.

    Many thanks to Jay (?) and to the 2Kiwis for the needed hints.

  17. Super puzzle, just the right level for me. Lots of interesting clues of which my favs were 11a and 2d. Thanks for the hints to explain 11a, never really thought of these as politicians rather than just an irritant.
    Great fun so thanks to all

    1. My 11as aren’t politicians. To use an annoying word they are the second half of 3d.

  18. Another thoroughly enjoyable Wednesday and so I assume Jay is the setter. I was very slow on the parsing and so held off putting in several obvious answers such as acrobat until I had the checkers from the across clues. Not familiar with the pudding. As usual everything eventually fell into place when I had reread the clues more carefully and the 4 across clues in the NW corner finally revealed themselves. Like many 11a COTD. Thanks Kiwis and Setter.

  19. Workmanlike to conclusion.
    Last in 10a which just kept me in ** time.
    Thought, though, this clue contained a word which was a bit stretched.
    But, who am I, Heaven forbid, to challenge the BRB.
    Many thanks to the setter and to the 2Kiwis.

  20. Eats as a plural noun seems to have jarred a little. It is listed as such in online dictionaries like Collins, Cambridge and Oxford Learner’s, plus others maybe. But I can’t find it in the BRB or the SOED. Personally, I have no problem with it – maybe that makes me a bit of a philistine?

      1. Could you tell me what BRB stands for please? The closest I get with a search is The Royal Library of Belgium!

        1. Big Red Book – the ‘informal’ name for Chambers Dictionary (on account of its red covers).

      2. That’s interesting, CS. I do own an old BRB (published 1993, no Edition number stated) and it’s not listed as a noun in that. So, since then they’ve included it for a period and now decided to omit it. Strange, that …

        1. Omit it? It is the Revised 13th Edition which, as far as I am aware, is the most recent dead tree edition, published in 2014. I was once told that there was going to be a 14th Edition but that seems to have been ‘dropped’ in favour of on-line activities.

        2. It’s in the 13th (latest) edition – the same entry as CS describes above for the 12th edition.

          1. By George, you and Senf are right! I’ve just checked again in the 13th and found it. And it’s in my old BRB too! A senior moment, I’m afraid. Thank you both.

            1. Looks like I started something there! Thanks for the info Senf – another of life’s small mysteries solved. 🥴

  21. Hurray for Wednesday – it’s Jay day! Loved this puzzle – lots of fun clues and just the right amount of brain stretch. As usual with Jay, difficult to pick out a favourite clue – 11a came close as it’s popular in our house but top prize goes to 21a for all sorts of reasons 😉. Many thanks to Jay and the 2Kiwis.

  22. Found this a bit of a struggle today. Was on lookout for pangram as I got 5d early, but it was not be. ***/**** today. NW was the last area to fall with 10a being last in.
    Clues for favourites include 10a, 11a, 16a, 27a & 7d with winner 11a
    25a gave me a chuckle

    Thanks to the 3 birds for puzzle and hints

  23. Very enjoyable although not a quick solve for me. Thanks Jay and 2Ks although I managed even the parsing all by myself. It is interesting as we are divided in what we found difficult and which clues we favoured. Here are mine. Winner is 7d followed by 25a and 2 4 and 8d. My sticking point was definitely in the SW where 22a 20d and 28a were the last three to fall. I spent far too long looking up sources of bacteria and somewhere to fit an E for European. Luckily 19d was an easy one or I might have been tempted to start with Un.

  24. Morning all.
    We agree with Gazza that the double U in the answer to 2d must be the missing link for the pangram. And the answer is my (Colin’s) star sign.
    Wonder how many other people had only heard of 11d in relation to crime science. Let that be today’s (or more correctly for us, yesterday’s) learning experience.

  25. Nothing new to add here. I struggled a bit in NW 10a LOI. 11d learning moment too. I expected a pangram and came to the same conclusion as RD, why did the setter not go for WINDFALL in 18d.
    I did like 20d as it didn’t use the usual European.
    And I do have an epic British Gas story but I won’t bore you with the details, I will just offer my sympathies to Ora.
    Thanks to Jay and the Kiwis – whose ration book did you use?

  26. Quite tricky for a Wednesday 😳 ****/**** Favourites are 11a, 8 & 18d 👍 Thanks to the 2xKs and to Jay

  27. So the next time I meet my neighbour, who used to be a forensics analyst, I will ask him if he was adept in the art of public debate. I am sure he will look at my like I am barking…. Didn’t know the pudding either. COTD goes to 7d. Always love a good laugh. I’ve now realized why I often struggle when others find a particular crossword straight forward – it’s because I am not allowed any caffeine! Well sounds like a good excuse anyway. Thanks to setter and 2Kiwis.

  28. Well, i found that a bit of a challenge – in a good way. Thanks to the setter and our Kiwi chums.

  29. I’m surprised Eton Mess is not known by everyone. I am sure it is a dessert which features regularly on the cryptic crossword menu.

  30. I’m in the “I made harder work of this I should have” camp this evening but that’s usual for a Wednesday for me apart from last week’s brief hiatus. I’ll grudgingly award cotd to 10a. Thanks to Jay, it had to be him, and 2K’s.

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