DT 29836 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 29836

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 29836

Hints and tips by crypticsue

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

A nice Thursday back pager – although I was expecting to solve a crossword set by Giovanni, I’m not entirely convinced that this is his work, what do you think?

Miffypops was expecting to blog this crossword today but received sad news of the death of a close family member earlier this morning. I’m sure you will join me in sending condolences to him, his sister,  Saint Sharon, and the rest of the family.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a    Looking after oldies good? It is with carer being special (10)
GERIATRICS The abbreviation for Good and an anagram (being special) of IT IS with CARER

6a    Something starchy in this pudding (4)
SPUD Hidden in thiS PUDding

9a    Result of golf club disturbance? (5)
DIVOT A cryptic definition of a small piece of turf dug up by the head of a golf club during a stroke

10a    Change in class of people with non-binary gender? (9)
TRANSFORM Split 5,4 this synonym for change could relate to a class of non-binary gender people

12a    Travel to and fro with one out to offer friendly greeting (4,9)
GOOD AFTERNOON Another word for travel and an anagram (out) of TO AND FRO with ONE

14a    Cardinal maybe going round part of church showed sign of life (8)
RESPIRED A word meaning of a scarlet colour (cardinal maybe) going round part of a church

15a    Epsom’s leading character, say, repeatedly backing a horse (3-3)
GEE-GEE The ‘leading’ character of Epsom and the abbreviation meaning ‘say’ reversed (backing) twice (repeatedly)

17a    Power and honour in short supply ahead of conflict (3-3)
PRE-WAR The abbreviation for Power and a truncated honour

19a    Bishop treated badly, looking ‘tired’? (8)
BATTERED The chess abbreviation for Bishop and an anagram (badly) of TREATED

21a    Provisions for those who stop having to pay (7,6)
PARKING METERS Coin-operated machines for people who stop and leave their cars in designated places

24a    Number by river meeting arts benefactor, a big noise (9)
POTENTATE Our favourite Italian river, a number and the benefactor who funded several art galleries which now bear his name

25a    Passengers finally emerging from hit vehicle (5)
TRUCK The final letter of passengers coming away (emerging) from part of a verb meaning hit

26a    Rolling in it is preposterous (4)
RICH Having lots of money or an informal way of saying preposterous

27a    Like a mob being controlled with strange instrument (10)
KETTLEDRUM Like a mob being controlled followed by a synonym for strange


1d    People of great esteem, elevated in status, do good (4)
GODS Hidden in reverse in statuS DO Good

2d    Artist taking very very long time effects destructive action (7)
RAVAGES The usual abbreviated artist, the abbreviation for Very, and a very long time

3d    Aha, I run riot, excitedly accepting thanks as a dictator! (13)
AUTHORITARIAN An anagram (excitedly) of AHA I RUN RIOT ‘accepting’ an informal interjection of thanks

4d    Goes back over sporting events, having retired earlier (8)
RETRACES Some sporting events go after (having … earlier) an abbreviation for retired

5d    Effortlessly move a little son into his bed (5)
COAST A (from the clue) and the abbreviation (little) for Son go into his bed

7d    Presumably not favouring short stretch (7)
PROLONG If you weren’t favouring short you’d be XXX XXXX

8d    I’m undone, I’d fancy, and fading away (10)
DIMINUENDO An anagram (fancy) of IM UNDONE ID produces a musical term meaning letting the sound die away

11d    Rate the setter ‘fantastic’ for providing a form of entertainment (6,7)
STREET THEATRE An anagram (fantastic) of RATE THE SETTER

13d    What can help plotter to get things written down (5,5)
GRAPH PAPER Some squared paper useful for a ‘plotter’

16d    The way dad joins chaps entertained by medical specialist (8)
PAVEMENT An informal word for a dad joins some chaps, the latter inserted into (entertained by) a medical specialist

18d    Unreliable traitor held by top lady in charge (7)
ERRATIC A traitor ‘held’ by the regnal cipher of our current ‘top lady’ and the abbreviated way of saying in charge

20d    One could make you securer (7)
RESCUER An anagram (make) of SECURER

22d    From what we hear, certain horses eat in the field (5)
GRAZE A homophone (from what we hear) of the colour of certain horses

23d    Glide or slide over top of mountain (4)
SKIM A verb meaning to slide goes over (in a Down solution) the top of Mountain


87 comments on “DT 29836

  1. Boy that was hard! I haven’t used Danword for about a year but I had to today for 27a. A pity really because it was an excellent clue with all elements present to be able to solve it. I just wasn’t on wavelength. Despite the struggle, I did have a couple of favourites such as 10a and 16d with the latter being my COTD.

    Many thanks to the setter for the challenge and to CS for the hints and for stepping in. My sincere condolences to MP and his family.

    Heading up to the North Yorkshire Moors for ten days so no idea if I will have an internet connection. If I disappear for ten days that is why but rest assured I will be sampling superb Yorkshire ale and food!

    1. Enjoy your trip, Steve – there is so much to see and do up there, I am sure you will have a good time.
      A trip on the NYM railway is one I would recommend with a stop in Whitby for fish and chips!

      1. I will definitely be visiting Whitby, John. My family lived there for decades so it is my spiritual home. A trip to The Magpie will be on the cards and their fish shop, The Whitby Catch to get some mussels. I love the NYM but not sure it will be open at this time of year.

        If I have internet, I will try and post some pics.

  2. I thought this pretty tough but good at ****/***. I was able to complete 25d but needed crypticsue to tell me why. So thanks to her. I enjoyed the well hidden anagrams in 1a and 20d. Very clever. However my COTD is 23a which I found amusingly cryptic. With thanks to the setter, and of course condolences to Miffypops on his family’s loss.

  3. I thought The Don gave us an enjoyable puzzle today. As ever with this setter a couple of unusual words but fairly clued so no complaints.
    I liked the double definition at 26a and the succinct 23d but my top spot goes to 7d.
    Many thanks to Giovanni and CS for the entertainment and my best wishes and condolences to MP.

  4. Like Steve, I found this very difficult indeed and needed help to complete it.

    I’m very to sorry to hear the news of The Miff’s family member. All best wishes to him, Saint Sharon, and the family.

    Thank you to the setter and Cryptic Sue. A rousing cheer to The Lovely Kath

    1. Terence
      I take it Lola has put all her problems behind her and settled back into her contented, pampered feline lifestyle .

      1. LROK – thank you very much for asking. Lola has a check up with the vet tomorrow morning. They said they wish to see her before dispensing any more steroids (which have helped so much in thwarting the previous issues she suffered). The steroids do cause minor side effects but nothing that really affects her way of life too much. Other than that she has best lifestyle of any cat, ever, I suspect!

        1. Over the years we have had at least half-a-dozen that would severely contest the BLE title!

  5. Right on my wavelength today, a cracking puzzle all round a **/**** for me.
    Favourite was 17d for the word play.Liked 9a also!
    First time the word for ‘mob control’ has provided part of the definition to my knowledge.
    Lots of my favourite charades eg 24a and 16d.
    Thanks to our setter and CS for the pics

  6. I gave up with five left which pushes it into **** territory for me. I’m not complaining as the rest of the puzzle was excellent, and I always struggle to finish on Thursdays.
    I had ‘trike’ for 24A, which I think is an equally good answer.
    Thanks to the setter and to Crypticsue for the blog.

    1. I’m puzzled by your reference to 24a (I presume you mean 25a). Trike could work from the wordplay but doesn’t fit with the checkers so how could it be an “equally good answer”?

      1. Stephen, clues like that often give me problems. I see a perfectly valid answer from the wordplay first then use the letters from that as checkers for other words. Confirmation bias then sets in as you are convinced your valid but wrong answer must be right.

        1. I take your point LROK and I know what you mean but when I saw the comment I was expecting an alternative solution that conformed to wordplay, definition and checkers, which of course the setter will endeavour to avoid at all costs.

  7. An enjoyable gallop this morning, and would have been on for a 1* time had I not written the 8d answer in the spaces for 13d. Grrrrr!

    The generous dollop of straightforward long anagrams provided lots of checkers, the lurkers were beautifully hidden, and the clues read very smoothly, providing lots of smiles through the solve. No arcane knowledge required, but I did think 9a was rather out of place – nothing very cryptic about it, and I thought the clue strangely weak in an otherwise strong field.

    Lots of HMs, winnowed down to 14a, 21a, 7d, and 16d, with COTD to 27a – great surface read.

    1.5* / 3.5*

    Many thanks to the setter (surely not the Don?) and to CS for the review, condolences to MP/SS and their family.

  8. A solid ***/**** The medical person had me confused for a while in 16d – I always forget animal doctors. I also thought 21a was going to be parting something and couldn’t get that out of my head. Enlightenment dawned eventually. Like Nas I needed CS’s hints to understand 25a although it couldn’t be anything else. Greta work out. Favourite 7d. My condolences to MP and the family. And hello to Kath. Thanks to all.

  9. Enjoyable, reasonable puzzle but, perhaps, with some iffy surfaces (**/***) Podium places to 12a , 21a . Thanks to setter and CS.

    I was a little surprised that the DT, in these days of culture wars, wasn’t worried about 10a and getting complaints from the likes of, well shall I say, “Fourteen pounds Max, say, pressure set (9)”

  10. Tough indeed but quite fair and most enjoyable (like the Quickie, which took me forever, especially that ‘shy’ one). 16d, 21a, & 13d edge out a number of contenders for the podium. 24a was my LOI (a ‘big noise’?), which still seems quite a stretch to me. Thanks to CS for stepping in for MP, to whom I send my deepest condolences, and thanks to the setter, who does resemble Giovanni in man ways, but I’m no good at that kind of detection. 2.5* / 4.5*

    1. The quickie took me ages too. Especially the ‘shy’ word which I know in French to mean wild or disorderly so this meaning was news to me.

  11. My rating today is 2*/2* for a puzzle which wouldn’t either excite or frighten the horses.

    There were a few odd surfaces and I’m not sure why “tired” in 19a is in inverted commas.

    26a was my favourite.

    Thanks to the setter and to CS for stepping into the breach.

  12. I found this tough too, partly due to a retinal migraine, which developed as I was doing the puzzle. I found the cryptic d2finitions rather oblique butit was satisfying, if not actually enjoyable to finalky finish it (4*/2*). Joint COTD’s were the two musical ones, 27a and 8d. Many thanks to CS for stepping into the breach to do the hints and to the compiler. My sympathies to Miffypops and family at this difficult time.

  13. Found this difficult to get into but then things progressed fairly smoothly. *** all round
    Even though there were too many cryptic clues for me, one of them, 21a gets my COTD.
    Thanks to setter and CS for the review. Nice to see the correct term used in the hint for 9a.
    Condolences to MP & family.

  14. What a struggle! Getting the wrong answers for 22d and 23d did not help me. Once I sorted those out, 27a materialised in front of my eyes.

    A bit too difficult for me to have enjoyed it much, but thanks to the setter anyway, it’s good to be stretched sometimes Thanks also to crypticsue for the untangling.

  15. A smooth ride (for once) **\**** for me. COTD would be 10a but for the iffy synonymising of non-binary with the opposite of cis.

    1. Is it iffy? If I’m not mistaken only some trans people are non-binary, but all non-binary people are trans, so the question mark means the clue can be read as a definition by example (a non-binary class could be a trans form like a French class could be a European form). Other setters elsewhere have been slapdash with these terms, but I think this clue gets it right.

      1. I’m not convinced all non binary people are trans. Trans people identify with the opposite gender whereas non binary don’t identify with either gender. That is my understanding at least.

        I also agree with GD and considered the use of trans and non binary as synonyms as iffy.

        1. I haven’t got a Clue what non binary means. The binary system as I know it ha something to do do with numbers.

          1. Good point – I suspect a large percentage of the population would agree.

            I think I will identify as non octal… 😉

        2. Interesting, bananawarp. My understanding was that trans is an umbrella term describing anyone whose gender (or lack thereof) is different from the one they were given at birth, which would include non-binary people. Having googled it a bit, I wasn’t quite right, as not all n-b people consider themselves trans, but since some do I _think_ the clue still works if you read the question mark as indicating an example?

          1. Fair point. I agree the clue works, but by the strictest of definitions the clue is still slightly iffy. I think most people were able to parse the solve. Therefore I don’t think this clue detracted in any way from an excellent crossword.

    1. I only noticed the significance of your comment once I read the paper and saw her obituary.

      Her book was a godsend prior to the Internet and I owe her a great debt of gratitude. Firstly in enabling me to progress as a cruciverbalist, and secondly in helping make sense of otherwise infuriatingly obscure answers to clues.

      RIP Anne R Bradford.

    2. I saw it online a few days ago and am equally moved as bananawarp. Her books have helped many into crosswords and I will be replacing my current copy when the new edition comes out.

  16. I made heavy weather of this but did manage to find my way through the fog in the end. I too was surprised that 10a passed muster. Forgot controlling word in 27a so this was a bung-in. Favs 15a and 21a. Once again I failed to find setter’s wavelength so perhaps it wasn’t the Don who used to be my Fav setter. Thank you to whom it may concern (DG?) and CS. My sincere sympathies to you MP and your family in your sad loss.

  17. After struggling to complete yesterday’s ** rated, I found today’s much more friendly. 21a favourite. Ta to all.

  18. Danced about the grid somewhat to complete this one and found the setting style a little 18d.
    9,21&27a raised a smile.

    Thanks to our setter (presumably DG) and to CS for stand-in duties. MP doubtless has many calls on his time at this sad juncture.

  19. Found this, and the quickie, mucher harder than yesterday but struggled to a successful conclusion.

    Many thanks to CS for stepping in at the last minute. Commiserations to MP at a most difficult time.

  20. I found this quite difficult to say the least. I had to give up with 5 left to do as my Kindle seems to have given up the ghost and I really couldn’t be bothered to fill the whole thing in on the dead tree version. In truth I am not sure I would have finished unaided but I enjoyed the challenge while it lasted. ‘Escape’ games keep my entertained for hours on my Kindle and I downloaded a new one yesterday which is very complicated and I’ve only solved 2 of the 4 quarters and I suspect I will have to delete it for the old machine to work properly again. Anyway thanks to all and condolences to MP and his family.

  21. I was so slow on the uptake with this one it was embarrassing so put it down with less than half complete in *** time. Finished it at the second look at a respectable pace though 16d&21a, my last 2 in, took a fair bit of head scratching. An excellent puzzle in my view & full of good clues. 1,9,21&27a plus best of all 16d my big ticks. Off to the Beam Toughie where hopefully the brain functions better.
    Thanks to the setter & to CS. Condolences to MP & family & Thursday thoughts also to Kath.
    Ps Thankfully back to normal after 2 days of feeling completely wiped out after my booster jab. Hoping JB feeling likewise.

    1. Thanks, Huntsman, I feel a lot better today took me 3 days but I am a bit of a nesh softie, I took the puzzle to bed with me and a large malt (Talisker Skye),
      expecting to fall asleep as soon as I started. When I awoke this morning just a few in the SW had eluded me (25a and 27a) I thought 27a was an anagram for a while. The holdouts didn’t survive the first brew of the day and I could get down to the laundry.
      Thanks to the setter (it felt adequately Giovanniish to me but I’m no judge of these things), and Sue. Condolences to MP and family, Thursday thoughts also to Kath.

  22. Firstly, to get my thoughts in the correct order: many condolences to MP and his family. Something we all have to go through and it never gets any easier. I wish you all well.

    As for the puzzle, a bit of a mixed bag for me, but overall I enjoyed it and had no problems with the solve apart from a couple of twitchy eyebrows over clues already mentioned. 26a and 13d were terrific co-favourites and really stood out from the rest.

    My thanks to our setter and CS.

  23. Not too bad except for 8d which is a new term to me. The top was good but the bottom was a lot more challenging. Must say I always thought 27a was two words.
    All in all an OK crossword but at least we were spared a Ray T at his most disingenuous.
    Thx to all

  24. Took a while to get this puzzle rolling, but eventually things started to click. ***/*** for today.
    Clues for favourites 15a, 17a, 21a, 7d & 16d with winner 21a
    15a made be smile as did 9a & 7d
    Enjoyable puzzle for a dull Thursday morning as we continue to have major issues in the Vancouver and surrounding areas east of us. Lots of flooding still and many farms under water with cattle and chicken farms in dire straits as are the animals too. Many animals deceased … initial numbers estimated at 2000 at least, but will undoubtedly rise. State of emergency has been declared for British Columbia. All a part of climate change and the world changing.

    Thanks to Giovanni and CS for the hints.

    1. Oh dear, I’m so sorry to hear. I know I’m a bit strange, but I always mourn the loss of animals, they have no choice.

  25. Not my cup of tea. Can’t sit for long due to pinched nerve so patience is a little short anyway. Clearly I am not on wavelength today. Sympathies to MP and Saint Sharon. Thanks to setter and CrypticSue.

    1. Same here! I’ve had a v good run the last few days, but this one popped my bubble! Always seem to find Thursday’s puzzle hard 🤔 but enjoy it nonetheless 😉

  26. After a visit to the magnificent Royal Botanical Gardens of Edinburgh this polished off a perfect day, thank you setter for a **** puzzle that stretched me to the limits without being unfair. Sincere sympathies to Miffypops and family, and thanks to Cryptic Sue for explaining 27a – I got it … but could not understand why!

  27. Condolences to Miffypops and his family for their sad loss.
    I managed the crossword without having to use this site but was interested to see how others managed it. It did take me most of the afternoon though !

  28. Way beyond my capabilities, only a handful solved, of those fave was 15a with 8d for honourable mention. I’d never heard of kettle used like that. We’d had such a fun run until yesterday, I knew our luck would run out.
    Thanks to our setter and to CrypticSue for explaining it all. Deepest sympathies for dear M’pops and Saint Sharon and their family, always so sad when you lose a family member.

  29. One moment you are singing and the next you cry with pain. This morning my friend and brother in law Bob Thompson died quite suddenly. Saint Sharon and I have spent the day with my two sisters and a sister in law. Thank you for all of your kind messages and thank you to Crypticsue for holding the fort at such short notice

    1. So very sad to hear this, MP. Wishing you, Saint Sharon and all relatives strength, courage and resilience in the difficult times ahead..

    2. Thinking of you all M’pops, a sad occasion made sadder by the unexpectedness of your loss. I send love to you, Saint Sharon and all your family.

  30. Nice crossword with some good clues 😃 ***/**** had a problem with 5d as I had the wrong ending to 1a 😟 Favourites were 13 & 22d Thanks to Sue and to the Compiler and condolences to MP and family

  31. An enjoyable and challenging solve today.

    I spent an inordinate amount of time on 21a before the penny dropped.

    I also needed the hint to see why 17a was what it is and kicked myself for being so daft.

    COTD was 27a.

    Thanks to all.

  32. Really enjoyed this. Definitely a wavelength thing. For some reason I was right on it today. LOI 27a when I recalled the mob control technique.
    9a and 21a took the podium for me with 11d in top spot.
    Many condolences to you Miffypops.

    Thanks to the ‘fantastic’ setter and Crypticsue for the review.

  33. 3*/5*….tricky quickie so approached the cryptic with foreboding, but found it not so bad….
    liked 27A ” Like a mob being controlled with strange instrument (10) ” amongst others.

  34. Hi all … we get the DT crossword in our daily newspaper, about ten weeks after its original publication, so everyone will have forgotten about it by now! Nevertheless, a couple of queries, if someone would oblige … 1a – GERIATRICS why is the definition “looking after oldies” when geriatrics are surely themselves oldies? … 27a – KETTLEDRUM this is a complete mystery to us; is there perhaps a (slang) verb “to kettle”, meaning “to control a mob” (if so, it’s not known here on the southern coast of Africa). Anyway, thanks for the great site.

    1. Hello! “To kettle” means exactly what you have described – it’s used especially in connection with police officers in crowd control situations (not necessarily mobs!) and has caused some controversy. People are essentially obliged to go where the police want them to go. On “geriatrics” I think it refers here to the medical speciality rather than the elderly per se. HTH!

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