DT 29824 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 29824

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 29824

Hints and tips by Miffypops

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

Good Morning. It’s a Thursday Puzzle. Enough said. 

As the year heads towards its close the blog heads towards its thirteenth  birthday. Last year’s birthday bash was cancelled for obvious reasons. What are your thoughts on a birthday bash early next year?

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


9a        Can’t stand content in kebab — horrendous! (5)
ABHOR: The answer lies hidden within the words of the clue as indicated by the words content in

10d      Hound intrinsically adorable (9)
PERSECUTE: The answer needs to be split 3,2,4. The  3,2 is an adverb that means intrinsically. The 4, is a synonym of the word adorable

11a      Food occasionally dreary? This soup’s rich (7)
CHOWDER: The alternate letters of the word dreary follow an informal noun meaning food

12a      Spoons bent right back (7)
SPONSOR: An anagram (bent) of SPOONS is followed by the abbreviation for right

13a      Test sanctimonious man God spared (5)
PILOT: A two letter often forgotten word used regularly in crosswordland to denote sanctimonious is followed by a man that God that God spared in The Holy Bible

14a      Images from deceptive musical artist (9)
SIMULACRA:  An anagram (deceptive) of MUSICAL is followed by a Royal Academecian

The simulacrum is never that which conceals the truth—it is the truth which conceals that there is none. The simulacrum is true                    John Baudrillard

16a      Ban United playing with status that’s questionable (15)

19a      Gold box Rubbra emptied for ensemble (9)
ORCHESTRA: The gold  heraldic tincture is followed by a large box and the outer letters of the word Rubbra. What on earth is a Rubbra? Do we need to know?

21a      Ascetic at last departing for Ruhr location (5)
ESSEN: If you are reading this, a mystic ascetic Jewish sect from the second temple period that flourished from the second century BCE to the 1st century CE need their last letter (E) removing to leave the German city you have as your answer but don’t know why.  Just like me

23a      French King having way with Queen in revel (7)
ROISTER: The French word for King is followed by an abbreviation for a way or thoroughfare and the usual two letters that denote our wonderful queen

25a      Prepare endlessly and study in China (7)
DRESDEN:  A word meaning to prepare (oneself with clothes or a meal with garnish) loses its last letter and is followed by a study or lair. The China here is a type of porcelain

27a      Insect, bird and fish (9)
COCKROACH:  A male chicken is followed by a red finned freshwater fish

28a      Genesis performing selected songs? (5)
ONSET: A two letter word meaning performing is followed by a list of works to be performed


1d        Agent dealing with Charlie? Derrick comes up short (4)
NARC:  A Derrick (on a ship perhaps) is reversed and loses its last letter (comes up short)

2d        20 Down & 7 Down   Unattached Welsh spy to suspect lovers on boat (3,3,3,3,5-3)

3d        Good cider brewed on board (10)
CREDITABLE:  An anagram (brewed) of CIDER is followed by the board we eat

4d        Republican coming in sees games (6)
SPORTS: The abbreviation for republican needs inserting into a word that means sees

5d        Controversial diarist: Mister X? (8)
CROSSMAN: This diarist was the MP for Coventry East. The answer, when split 5,3  is some sort of cryptic definition

6d        Bricks on top of outbuilding (4)
LEGO: These children’s plastic building blocks can be made up by joining the name for the on side in cricket to the top or initial letter of the word outbuilding

7d        See 2 Down

8d        Scene of disturbance in bar with enraged drunk (4,6)
BEAR GARDEN: Anagram (drunk) of BAR and ENRAGED

13d      Disney’s dog naughty outside clubs for wealthy elite (10)
PLUTOCRACY:  A dog drawn by the Disney studios is followed by the abbreviation for clubs and a synonym of the word naughty or sexually titillating

15d      Saw what might be done easily (4,4,2)
LAID EYES ON: Anagram (what might be) of DONE EASILY

17d      Endless problem with cricket club in court: here’s brief (8)
SUCCINCT: A problem of a mathematical nature needs its last letter removing. The abbreviations for cricket club and court follow separated by the word IN from the clue

18d      Show impatience with one in examination class (8)
TUTORIAL:  An exclamation used to show impatience disapproval or annoyance is followed by a spoken examination which contains the Roman numeral for one

20d See 2 down

22d      Cruel person, miserable, is repentant ultimately (6)
SADIST:  A short word meaning miserable. The word IS from the clue. The ultimate letter of the word repentant

24d      Revolutionary band in Lebanese port (4)
TYRE:  The revolutionary band that surrounds a wheel and grips the road is also the name of a port

26d      Crackers — or what you’ll need them for? (4)
NUTS: A cryptic definition of an implement used to open a type of foodstuff

Quickie Pun Foot + Bawler = Footballer


90 comments on “DT 29824

  1. A top class ***/**** effort possibly from RayT I think. 14a was a new one on me but easily guessed from the cross checkers. I thought the well concealed anagrams in 12a and 15d excellent. 5d was very clever but my COTD is 10a. A great puzzle with thanks to Miffypops and the setter.

          1. I should be more attentive. Ages ago Kath told me how to recognise RayT but I have forgotten. I think Giovanni has a bit more GK than RayT so I am getting the drift a bit. The legacy of being an old Balliol twit methinks. Just read your hints. Excellent! Almost more entertaining than the setter’s efforts!

    1. 14a new to me too & last in. Even with the checkers scope surely to reverse the first two vowels – either sounded as likely as the other to me anyway

  2. Thank goodness for long train journeys. I needed a lot of time to work that through. The Anagram at 15d only revealed itself post solve and I went all Shropshire lad for the diarist rather than the clearly obvious Xman. Enabled by putting prosecute in 9a. All in all, feels like one of those when you want to say, you think this is bad you should see the other guy.

  3. I thoroughly enjoyed this challenging puzzle, it really made me think but every clue was fair and well-constructed (2.5*/5*). There were some lovely anagrams in 14a and the 2d,20d,7d combination, my COTD. 21a was a nice geographical clue and the lego type clues at 10a and 13d were also great. It took me a while to dig out who the diarist was in the fluff at the back of my brain but it was a good cryptic definition. Thanks to MP for the hints and to the compiler.

  4. Overall very enjoyable. You know with this setter you’re always going to get a couple of unusual words/dated references but with the exception of 21a which I bunged in, they were fairly clued here.
    Today’s ticks go to 28a plus 6&18d but runaway winner is 10a.
    Many thanks to Giovanni and MP for the fun in the South Devon sun.

    1. Oh, definitely keen on the birthday bash. Will be nice to see some new faces and reacquaint myself with the ones I met last time, hopefully including Kath.

  5. I for one found this extremely challenging and I am amazed I finished it. I had to read MP’s hints to find out how I got there as a couple were really complete guesses. When I first looked at it in bed this morning I only managed to fill in two. Anyway thanks to the setter and MP. Booster jabbed arm still extremely painful a week later.

    1. You might want to get that arm checked out. After my second shot, my arm was still red (and spreading) and very hot. My doctor said it was probably infected, and gave me antiobiotics.

  6. Thanks Miffypops – spot on about 21a and I do wish I’d paid more attention to positions in cricket. Will I ever be any good at cryptic crosswords without this knowledge (of which I have almost no interest). I enjoyed this crossword so thanks to setter too.

  7. Well, you were quite right MP about 21a – I had no idea why it’s the answer other than it’s a town in the Ruhr. I felt pleased with myself for working out the answer to 14a, a word I have never heard of, but Google confirmed. I didn’t fully understand 6d either. Quite a work out. ****/*** Favourite 5d. Managed to dredge him up from some dark recess of my brain. Thanks to all.

  8. If there is a Birthday Bash, I would certainly try to come — it’d be lovely to meet you all, after hanging around this blog for a few years. But equally, if others are more hesitant about going out and meeting up, it’d be quite understandable if the consensus were not to have one.

    Thank you for the hints, Miffypops; I loved the way you phrased the hint for 22a. (I haven’t attempted this crossword, and probably won’t have time to do so, but I enjoyed reading the hints anyway.)

  9. 14a and 5d beat me.
    I might have worked out 5d if I had got14a should have tried an anagram checker before going to Miffypop’s hints.
    Other than that, a very good Thursday work out.
    I struggled more with the Quick Crossword today 🤔

  10. 2d was an early write-in and I only realised it was an anagram on re-reading the clues post-completion … and since I utterly dislike clues with answers that bounce around a grid like an errant ping-pong ball, my opinion of the puzzle was not initially favourable, although there was so much quality and such wonderfully smooth clueing that I finished with a feeling of satisfaction on the completion of an enjoyable challenge. Felt the phrasing of 21a was a little odd – I knew Essene and Essen, but the instruction appears to be to remove a ‘t’, which delayed me a while.

    10a, 23a, 1d, 5d and 24d all great clues and my COTD goes to 13a – a real Doh! moment when that penny dropped.

    2.5* / 3*

    Many thanks to the Setter and to MP – though happily no recourse to the hints was required!

  11. Most enjoyable. I did not know the word at 14a but it was gettable from the clue. I am amazed at the number of ways 19a can be clued – I seem to come across a new one on a regular basis. I wasn’t too sure about 1d having never used that spelling. 26d reminded me that I need to find some walnuts because there is a dearth around this neck of the woods.

    Many thanks to Giovanni for the fun and to MP for the hints.

    I would be up for a birthday bash if it were held not too far away from the Welsh Marches.

    Big hello to Kath!

  12. Lovely puzzle from The Don this morning that I thought was just a tad trickier than his normal grids. 1 and 6d were my last ones in, with the latter earning top spot on my podium. The excellent multi-clue anagram is also worthy of an honourable mention.

    Thanks to Giovanni and MP.

  13. What an enjoyable puzzle. It certainly stretched my anagram solving ability. It has been a great week so far.

    Many thanks to the setter and to MiffyPops, particularly for explaining 21A.

  14. Well I didn’t find this difficult at all (1.5*/3*) – I knew the unknown words which were, in any case, all fairly clued. I will say that I didn’t bother to see if the anagram in 2/20/7d worked – the definition and the fact that I’d got the The and the O made it a write in. I don’t see what the problem with 21a is either? I also wondered whether I ought to email Brian and warn him about 13a and 21a.

    Thanks to Giovanni for the crossword and MP for the blog. As with all things travel related, I’ll be waiting until much nearer the middle of January to make a decision about going to Little Venice for a birthday bash, even though it would be lovely to see everyone again.

  15. Some days the crossword is a complete mystery to me. And this is one of them.
    Time to look at kiddies corner to see if there’s a puzzle for me there.
    Thanks to MP for shedding light in my darkness

    1. Don’t worry it’s a Giovanni. To solve his you need a knowledge of all thing weird and religious as well as being a member of the MCC. He is very much marmite and has a very odd mind.

  16. Loved today’s puzzle – thanks to Giovanni and to MP for the Jewish sect and the cricketing assistance – somehow I feel I’ll remember the former but am forever doomed to forget the latter.
    Meeting up is a terrific idea – count me in!

  17. To paraphrase Sir Alex Ferguson. “Crosswords……B****y hell.” I knew 14a and yet I was completely flummoxed by 10a, because I kept reading the clue as a whole, instead of breaking it down.
    13d favourite. Ta to all.

  18. tricky but doable eventually. 10A last one to fall, that synonym of intrinsically escaped me again. Hopefully, it will be burned into my synapses for a while now.
    I missed the cricketty bit of 6d but bunged it in until MP parsed it for me.
    13d and 23a share the top step. 23a reminded me of Blackadder (the Third)and 13d because of the quote “If Mickey is a mouse, and Donald is a duck, and Pluto is a dog, What on Earth is Goofy”
    Thanks to MP and Giovanni.
    I am all for a meet up if Mama Bee is ok.

      1. I would dub you “Ralph Roister Doister” if I didn’t know I was misgendering you. Thanks for reminding me of the incomparable Flanders and Swann.

  19. What a humdinger of a puzzle! I thoroughly enjoyed this, knew all of the exotic allusions, and parsed everything (I think)–all in just under *** time. Those ascetics are NYT regulars, and the diarist, though not immediately familiar to this American, was quite gettable from that clever clue. (I later googled him to be sure, and then remembered him from The God That Failed, which he edited.) Although I’m an anti-Disneyite, I’ll opt for 13d as my COTD, with 13a and 14a fleshing out the podium. Many thanks to MP and to Giovanni. 2.5* / 5*

    A good, challenging Toughie today.

  20. An absolutely excellent puzzle from G! Great clues, a toughish challenge and a very enjoyable tussle. 14a was a new word for me but was readily gettable from the well constructed clue, a few minutes tinkering with the anagram part and a Google check to confirm. I’ve ticked 50% of the clues and will pick 10a as my favourite. 3.5*, 4.5*.

  21. I’m sure some of you are aware that carthorse is an anagram of 19a but ‘Chest roar’ has to appear in a clue one day.

    V happy when I spotted it a couple of years ago.

    A most excellent crossword from The Don with a couple of new words to add to the list plus a historical figure or is it an historical? Hmm…

    I do find it strange that we say a history lesson but an historic moment. What’s all that about?

    Loved the 20 letter anagram. Great fun.

    1. I was told it depends on where the stress falls in the H-word. So a HIStory lesson, but an hisTORic event. Is it aspirated and non-aspirated aitches perhaps?

      1. I get why, for example, we say an honour but the first syllables of history and historic are pronounced the same.

        I’d be surprised if the pronunciation of the second syllables decides whether it’s a or an as it’s too far down the word to make a difference.

        Surely the moment has gone?

        For that reason, I say a historic moment but many people say an.

        1. Gordon, I hadn’t thought about this until reading your comment but I realise that I say “a history lesson” and “an historic event”.

          I have just recorded myself saying both (how sad is that!) and listened carefully to each. There is a subtle difference in the way I pronounce the first syllable with a stronger H for history and a softer H for historic. I have no idea why that should be the case, but, as we know from homophone debates pronunciation is a very personal matter, and so it’s horses for courses. For those who pronounce the first syllable of both the same with a more definite H, it makes sense to precede them both with “a.” For those like me, who articulate the first syllable of the two words slightly differently, switching using “a” in one case and “an” in the other helps the flow.

          1. Thank you, RD.

            It is an interesting one and nothing sad about you recording it; I applaud it.

            I’ve just said them a few times, desperate to pronounce historic the same way as your good self but I just can’t hear it.

            It’s most certainly a case of horses for courses or should that be orses for courses.

            Oh, stop it.

          2. Thanks for that, RD. I can always rely on you to point out correct grammar and I’ve learnt so much.

  22. Superb puzzle that took some unravelling. Couldn’t parse 22ac and didn’t really look hard enough for the parsing of 6dn. My COTD 5dn.

    Thanks to Giovanni and MP for the explanations.

    Just brought home the first 200 litres of Extra Virgin … the aroma is wonderful and this year the yield good. Normally I would expect 18% at this time of year but I was pleasantly surprised with 19.5%😎.

    Oh, and weather is wet so Spike is back in to help me solve.

  23. 3/4. Enjoyable puzzle with 14a needing a search to check my assumption. I didn’t like 1d but that was my only reservation. Thanks for explaining 21a which had to be but why? 10a was my favourite – brief and perfectly formed. Thanks to the setter and MP.

  24. This puzzle took some time to decipher for me today. ****/****
    Cluster for favourites include 13a, 19a, 2d & 15d with winner definitely the 2d set of words
    Unknown words for me in 14a and 23a and had to google for 5d as not familiar with MP’s that far back
    in time.

    Thanks to Giovanni and mp for hints

  25. An excellent cryptic puzzle, especially the long anagrams, but just a slight query re the Quickie pun – not sure that “bawling” is quite the same thing as “sobbing”.

    1. G. I think the pun is fine. Sobbing and bawling both mean to cry loudly, don’t they? Bawling more often referring to a baby/toddler crying noisily.

  26. I’ve been watching this blog without commenting for quite a while and find it very useful. Today is the first time I’ve commented. Miffypops wonders what a Rubbra is (19a). As a musician, I can confirm that Edmund Rubbra was an English composer 1901-1986.

    1. Thank you Ian. The words in the clue ‘Rubbra emptied’ suggested the letters RA. I neither knew nor cared who or what Rubbra was nor did I need to know. As you have enlightened me I’ve had a listen as I drove home.

  27. I’ll go along with tricky but doable. Needed hint for 14a, and doubt I’ll remember it. Had forgotten about 5d, but Peter reminded about his articles in the Sunday papers. Thought 15d was a bit of a stretch. I did get 21a, but for the wrong reasons. 19a was my COTD. If this was a Giovanni puzzle, then I am quite pleased with my results. The birthday bash sounds lovely, and wish I could get over to meet you all. Still not ready to get on a plane yet, but you never know. Thanks to setter and to Miffypops.

  28. Re MP’s comment on 19a, Edmund Rubbra was a British composer who lived from 1901 to 1986. His inclusion in this clue is therefore very appropriate.

    1. We don’t need to know anything about Rubbra. Just that we need the letters RA. I’m often surprised where contributors are happy to go in search of an answer after being misled by a setter

      1. Miffypops asked the question and now seems to be criticising me for answering it. It seemed to me that the unwitting insult to Edmund Rubbra needed to be addressed.

    2. G. MP is not wrong in asserting that knowledge of Rubbra isn’t required to solve the clue. But as you say, his inclusion is appropriate as it contributes to the general musical theme of the clue/answer (but only if you knew he was a composer in the first place). I can’t see any problem with you commenting to provide the germane information – so keep up the good work.

      1. To be fair, I thought along the same lines as MP and had absolutely no idea that there was such a musician and wouldn’t have thought to even look in a million years. All knowledge is useful. I’ll try to remember it.

  29. As usual with a Giovanni puzzle, I found this a bit of a slog but persevered and got there in the end. The NE corner held me up, not least due to 14a – a new word for me – but once I’d got that one the remaining few fell into place, last one in being 10a. Many thanks to Giovanni for the challenge and, of course, to MP.

  30. Really unusual and stretched me to the limit with 10a as my cotd – thank you Setter and MP

  31. I found this puzzle quite difficult but most enjoyable with a new word (which I will never remember 🤔) at 14a so ***/**** Favourites 11a, 13 & 17d. Thanks to MP and to Giovanni 😃

  32. Good grief – I’ve never seen anything like this in my life – never, never, never!!
    In other words I wasn’t really terribly awfully keen today!
    Thanks to Giovanni and to MP.

    1. Giovanni can be pretty obscure at times, I was just lucky that I was dead on wavelength and knew the biblical references. I love when you show up on Thursdays, knowing you’re there is such a treat.

        1. Hooray. Lovely to hear from you as always, Kath. A Thursday without you is not a proper Thursday.

        2. Nice to hear from you Kath. What a shame, it wasn’t an enjoyable puzzle for you today. Better luck next time. It could be a Ray T.

  33. This was tricky in parts, but I really enjoyed the solve. I solved the pea-green boat in an instant, I missed the anagram, but the answer just shouted at me, loved it and it was my fave as it gave so many checkers. I didn’t get 1d, I bunged in 6d, and 14a was new to me, so what, the rest made up for it. After some abysmal failures this week, I feel maybe the brain is still intact.
    Normally I find Giovanni out of my league but this was so much fun, maybe I won’t be so scared of him again, so thanks for the fun. Thanks M’pops for explaining some of the more obscure (6d e.g.).

  34. Challenging but do-able, though I needed a letter hint for 6d – somehow the cricketing terms never spring into my mind!….I particularly liked 10a….

  35. After yesterdays super puzzle I feel like we are being punished today. Why are Thursday puzzles so difficult and incomprehensible?
    Save these for the Toughie people.
    Thx for the hints

  36. Very late to this after a day out golfing (frozen stiff – bovril & sherry or a whisky mac needed). Might have known it was The Don because it was a helluva struggle for a stagger over the line in **** time & to be fair not unaided either as last in (14d new to me) took two stabs at getting the vowels in the right order. 1d&21a were both bung ins & (as a Coventrian) I’m ashamed to say I got Dick the diarist muddled up in my head with Tony Crosland (same party at least). Can’t say it was my favourite back page puzzle of the week so far but that is no reflection on its quality – like today’s track more my inability to navigate my way round it with any semblance of competence.
    Thanks to Giovanni & Miffs – on double duty again.
    Ps I do wish the Telegraph digital puzzles would (as the Guardian & Indy do) automatically move when filling in answers to clues spread over a number boxes such as the lovers on the boat (2,20&7d) – would have stopped me filling in the 20d part in 22d.

  37. This wasn’t a wavelength issue for me today but rather I appear to be in a different universe altogether.

    Quite possibly the most demoralisingly difficult crossword I can remember.

  38. Thanks to Giovanni and to Miffypops for the review and hints. For once, I thoroughly enjoyed this Giovanni puzzle. I really struggled at first, but the breakthrough came when I solved the triple down clues, the penny eventually dropped. At one point, I had the wrong ending to 13d, but corrected it, enabling me to get 27a. I also had letters 2&3 wrong in 10a, corrected that, which let 5d go in to complete the puzzle. I liked 8d, and had two possibilities for the fodder, I wonder if Giovanni had designed it, or whether I had it wrong? Favourite was 6d. Was 4* /4* for me.

  39. A late solve for me whilst watching West Ham throw it away!
    I did thoroughly enjoy this tussle. Lot’s of excellent clues many of which needed perseverance to get the pennies to drop. Not often that anagrams are well hidden but 12 and 15 certainly were. Last one in was 14a, new to me
    Many congratulations and thanks the setter – Giovanni if it is you.

  40. Where are the americanism police today? surely 1d is one, is it not?

    good challenging puzzle for me.

    thanks all

  41. This turned into a bit of a slog for me, mainly in the NW. I couldn’t make a word up for 14a even with most of the checkers that seemed reasonable and I’d dismissed the anagram for the same reason so used electronics, I hate doing that. 5d with all the checkers I guessed an answer, Googled and found a diarist called Hermann Pressman. I couldn’t parse it obviously but put it in anyway. So dnf. I thought 25a was obscure too. I’m assuming Charlie in 1d is some sort of drug. Favourite was 2d etc. just because it got me off too a good start. Thanks to Giovanni and MP.

  42. Finding all puzzles are difficult at the momen but am finding this one almost completely incomprehensible but I will persevere. Couldn’t find the radio let alone the wavelength.
    Probably time for a sabbatical as Robert would say.
    Thank Giovanni and MP.

      1. Taylor
        Thanks I’m sure it will (probably).
        Another hour now got three soul destroying.

  43. I’m with you all the way. You keep going, Gram.

    MP, you are a great guy who brings a lot of fun to the blog. Your humour is top notch. Grumpiness doesn’t become you.

  44. I got some of this puzzle quite quickly but a lot went over my head…..the toy bricks and the diarist for example….and I had forgotten the religious sect, though it comes up from time to time so I shouldn’t have.
    So, not a great day for me.

    Thanks to the setter and to MP

  45. Miffypops and Big Dave – yes please for the Birthday Bash. I have been frequenting bars for some time and so far no mishaps. MP I even braved the Bohella Bar last week and lived to tell the tale.

  46. Well Xword was different. I’m a day late of course. I’m always late getting the paper (save for last week when my little helper ran every morning early to the St Mawes post office). Favourites 10 12 and 23a and 5d. Merci beaucoup Giovanni and Miffypops. No hints needed save for parsing after the event but dictionary came in useful. Sad to say I never gave Rubbra a thought. I just emptied him!

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