DT 29855 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 29855

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 29855

Hints and tips by Deep Threat

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ***

Good morning from South Staffs where the sun is attempting an occasional appearance through the clouds.

I completed today’s puzzle quite quickly, hence the ** marking, but probably didn’t fully parse one or two clues until I was writing these hints, so perhaps another * should be added.

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           Little goldfinch regularly guarded by parent (7)
MODICUM – Alternate letters (regularly) of gOlDfInCh, with a female parent wrapped round the result.

5a           Court frees at last silly opportunist (7)
CHANCER – Remove the final letter of sillY from the name of the division of the High Court which was lampooned in Bleak House.

“Never can there come fog too thick, never can there come mud and mire too deep, to assort with the groping and floundering condition which this High Court of Chancery, most pestilent of hoary sinners, holds this day in the sight of heaven and earth.”

9a           Complete change of opinion concerning performer (5-4)
ABOUT-TURN – Another word for ‘concerning’, followed by a word for a performer or his/her act on the variety stage.

10a         Text Mark about visiting Tom? (5)
CARET – The Latin word for ‘about’ or ‘concerning’ is inserted into a creature whose male is often known as Tom. The answer is a proofreader’s mark indicating an omission, and its name is the Latin word for ‘is lacking’.

Caret Symbol Transparent | PNG All

11a         Inverted box, essential to trap rodent (7)
MUSKRAT – Reverse (inverted) the box which Harrison Ford and others were pursuing when it was lost in the 1980s film. Then insert the result into another word for ‘essential’ (as in ‘that’s a —-‘).

Muskrat – Wildlife Illinois

12a         Oriental flower fills small space (7)
EASTERN – The smaller space used by printers is wrapped round a flower such as a Michaelmas Daisy.

13a         US President, loser with vote collapsing (9)
ROOSEVELT – Anagram (collapsing) of LOSER and VOTE.

It's time for historians to reassess FDR - Los Angeles Times

16a         Believe compliance is occasionally ignored (5)
OPINE – Alternate letters (occasionally ignored) of the second word of the clue.

17a         Satisfied about books for choral composition (5)
MOTET – Another word for ‘satisfied’ or ‘achieved (a target)’ is wrapped round the letters denoting one of the sets of books of the Bible.

18a         American abandons broken eBay-traded toy (5,4)
TEDDY BEAR – Anagram (broken) of EB(a)Y TRADED, without one of the abbreviations for American.

21a         Geordie great inspiring British sport (7)
NETBALL – The geographical indication of where Geordies are to be found, followed by another word for ‘great (of height)’ wrapped round British.

22a         Giving autographs, player team has acquired (7)
SIGNING – Double definition: the act of giving autographs; or a term used, especially in football, to denote a newly acquired player, referencing the contract that the player has attached his or her autograph to.

25a         Hug cold student having drunk gin (5)
CLING – Put together an abbreviation for Cold, the usual letter indicating a student or learner, and an anagram (drunk) of GIN.

26a         Getting on for ninety perhaps? (9)
EUPHEMISM – This is a definition by example. If you describe someone of ninety as ‘getting on’ rather than ‘very old’, you are using the answer.

27a         Extremely brave team succeeded as well (7)
BESIDES – Put together the outside letters (extremely) of BravE, another word for a sports team, and the abbreviation for Succeeded.

28a         Canon agonising to maintain figure (7)
NONAGON – A geometrical figure is hidden in the clue.

Nonagon transparent PNG - StickPNG


1d           Army man runs country (7)
MYANMAR – Anagram (runs) of ARMY MAN. Given the state of that country, the clue is also an all-in-one.

2d           Refuse sleep when crossing river (5)
DROSS – Another word for ‘sleep (rough)’ wrapped round an abbreviation for River.

3d           Provide food, grub Pole is lacking (5)
CATER – Start with the grub which will turn into a butterfly or moth, then remove the word for ‘pole’ or ‘column’ to get the answer.

4d           Police officer that is after rise (7)
MOUNTIE – A rise in the ground followed by the Latin abbreviation for ‘that is’, giving us the familiar name of a North American police officer who , by repute, will ‘always get his/her/their man/person of indeterminate gender’.

5d           Arrogance from Tory-held constituency reportedly (7)
CONCEIT – One of the usual short forms of Conservative, followed by a homophone (reportedly) of another word used to describe a Parliamentary constituency.

6d           Additional individual abetting criminal (9)
ACCESSORY – Double definition: an additional piece of kit; or someone guilty of abetting a criminal before or after the fact of the offence.

7d           Time Clare trained to be nun (9)
CARMELITE – Anagram (trained of TIME CLARE.

8d           Defensive unit errors somewhat upset followers (7)
RETINUE – Hidden in reverse (somewhat upset) in the clue.

14d         Leaves behind old-fashioned sports kits (9)
OUTSTRIPS – Another word for ‘old-fashioned’ or ‘not in fashion’, followed by another word for the sports kits worn by teams.

15d         Sadly sergeant and daughter becoming alienated (9)
ESTRANGED – Anagram (sadly) of SERGEANT, followed by an abbreviation for Daughter.

17d         Taxi, iconic vehicle around Bristol originally (7)
MINICAB – Put together an iconic small car first made4 in the 1950s, the Latin abbreviation for ‘around’ or ‘about’, and the first letter (originally) of Bristol.

18d         Bank staff, they cannot keep secrets? (7)
TELLERS – The people who count out cash in a bank could also be people who don’t withhold information or gossip.

19d         Stand up floppy cleaning implement (7)
DUSTPAN – anagram (floppy) of STAND UP.

20d         Detailed army unit diet programme (7)
REGIMEN – Remove the final letter (de-tailed) of an army unit.

23d         Naive politician (5)
GREEN – Double definition (or is it only one?!). someone who is naïve or inexperienced; or an irritating, sanctimonious politician who wants to take us back to the Middle Ages.

24d         Omitting small line carving cake decoration (5)
ICING – Remove the abbreviations for Small and Line from the front of a word for ‘carving’.

The Quick Crossword pun REIGN + BEAU = RAINBOW

57 comments on “DT 29855

  1. This was almost “Ray T Lite”. The first thing that struck me was the brevity of the cluing, with a maximum word count of six, with quite a few coming in under that.
    I found the puzzle quite gentle with only the last two or three needing teasing out from the wordplay.
    26a was my last in and gave a nice PDM when I twigged it, and the clever 11a reminded me of a lovely old song by the band America but 5a was my favourite.
    Thanks to the setter (didn’t seem like on of the usual suspects) and DT

  2. A thoroughly enjoyable puzzle, with a nice variety of clues (3*/5*). My favourite clue was my last in, 26a, which puzzled me for a bit. Honourable mentions go to the geographical clue at 1d an the lovely reverse lurker ar28a. Many thanks to DT for the hints and to 4he compiler.

  3. I found this a bit trickier than StephenL at ***/***. I got but didn’t quite understand 26a. Having read the excellent hint I do see it and knew it was something like that but thought it slightly stretched if perfectly legitimate in hindsight. Both 5a and 5d bought a smile: the former as I am a retired solicitor and the latter was great so gets my COTD. The anagram in 1a was well concealed. Thanks to the setter.

  4. A splendid end to the work week, a perfect tune-up for a weekend of Prize Puzzles (plus the NTSPP) – 2.5*/4*.

    Zandio last Friday, neither of proXimal’s ‘trademarks,’ and smooth surfaces so I am going to suggest that this is a Silvanus production.

    Candidates for favourite – 9a, 12a, 4d, and 5d – and the winner is, well it has to be, 4d.

    Thanks to Silvanus(?) and to DT.

  5. 1.5*/5*. Light but perfect! Super-smooth surfaces, lovely clueing, good fun. Despite the uncharacteristic ultra-brief clueing, this must surely be Silvanus’ handiwork.

    I have ticks all over my page, and my favourite of an overall excellent selection is 5d.

    Many thanks to Silvanus and to DT.

  6. Thanks DT & setter, a super puzzle – another with 26a as both LOI and COTD.
    (Re Greens – whether or not you agree with policies, compare behaviour / professionalism / sincerity of Caroline Lucas with [insert name of MP from pretty much any other party but one, rather high-up, in particular] and I’ll take arguably mildy “irritating, sanctimonious” over “corrupt, venal, dishonest, lazy” any day)

    1. You forgot their Masters degrees in muck-raking and mud-slinging, Fez. Much more media attention has been paid to those than to a small boy being abused and finally murdered by his father and step-parent in thelast week. The Fourth Estate has an idd set of priorities.

      1. I have to agree with you CC. I have never ever wept for someone I have never met like I did for that poor dear little boy asking to be loved and to be fed. Heart breaking.

        1. Totally agree. I care about that poor boy a million times more than whether or not a party was held at Number 10.

        2. Agreed Manders. I cried for that little boy all the way across the pond, what sort of people would do that? I presume they’re locked up and will be forevermore, I’ll continue sticking pins in their effigies.

          1. Sadly, they didn’t get whole of life sentences. The step-mother I believe got around 26 years minimum, the father 21 years.
            Lucky for them we don’t have capital punishment.
            My God, that poor lad, engulfed by evil, may he rest in peace, I’m deeply saddened by this case.

      2. Have never shed so many tears as over that. I was at Millwall last Saturday where there was a minutes applause, Arthur was a Blues fan, who we were playing. Grown men in tears all around me.

        1. Looks like most grounds had the applause, 6th minute. Actually the Aston Villa fans were chanting “We love you Arthur, we do….”,
          Absolutely heartbreaking.

  7. What a difference a day makes – that was a lot of fun. N E slowed me down a bit. Forgetting 10a mark I struggled to try and justify an ‘a’ for fourth letter. 26a Fav with 5d running up. Thank you Mysteron and DT.

  8. A most enjoyable Friday puzzle – thanks to the setter and DT.
    The juxtapositioning of 13a and 18a was neat considering that 18a was named after the older 13a.
    My ticks went to 26a, 27a and 2d.

    1. Was 2d not the name of the band in The Archers many moons ago, comprising Ed Grundy, Jazzer McCreary & Fallon Rogers?

  9. Gentle and benign for the end-of-week backpager, enjoyable while it lasted. Steady and swift solve AC from NW. Concise and smooth clues. What’s not to like?

    1.5* / 2.5*

    Many thanks to the Setter and to DT.

  10. Not difficult and quite enjoyable but it would be nice one day to finish a DT puzzle and understand all the clues.
    I needed the hints to explain my answers to 11a, 21a, 26a and 12a which is a new term to me.
    I totally missed the reverse lurker in 8d which annoyed me, I hate missing these ‘free’ clues.
    Not my best but certainly not my worst .
    Thx to all

  11. Gentle, concise and smooth. I think it has all been said. I liked 5d for its topicality, but 26a wins the day. Some excellent lurkers too.

    Thanks Silvanus and DT.

  12. What has ‘irritating, sanctimonious…Middle Ages’ got to do with a generic member / politician of a ‘Green’ party? I ask this as a foreigner who knows very little about individual party members. I don’t see how the clue accommodates all of that invective. Anyway, just asking.

    Enjoyable Friday puzzle, with nicely succinct clues. The NE held me up a bit and pushed me into *** time. 6d and 10a were my last two in, all at once. Favourite: 26a. Thanks to DT and today’s setter. *** / ***

    1. The Green Party are very much a minority in Parliament – they have one Member. She is Caroline Lucas: kindly, well-spoken, passionate. She seems to be a very pleasant person, who sometimes can sound a little sanctimonious when speaking in the public arena.

    2. Just popping in to read but must comment on the Greens. What concerns us is that what the Greens propose will reduce the poor and lower income families to standards of living not seen in the last 200 years. The cost of going all electric is phenomenal. Two examples :

      first, parts of the UK have been without electricity for over 10 days with little or nothing done to help them. Those who only have electricity will have had no power for heating or cooking ;

      second, we have had many days this autumn when the wind hasn’t blown, the sun hasn’t shone, and the ebb and flow of tides has been gentle. On these days the contribution of renewables has been around 20% with the rest being provided by coal and oil fired power stations.

      The big problems are how to store electricity so it can used when renewables are not doing their stuff and how to prevent outages like to the ones we have just seen. Of course nuclear is not much of an option as it leaves future generations with toxic waste. Sellafield, the former Windscale, is now out of commission but it will take, according to their own scientists, 100 years to completely decommission. And it remains a target for terrorism.

      I believe that climate change is real and action is urgently needed but the actions of the greens in support of their views is both sanctimonious and harmful to the less well off in society. Sort the problems out noted above and then shut down fossil fuel production and use.

      1. The practical problems are huge, but from economic perspective its only relatively more harmful to the less well off if the better off aren’t prepared to share/relieve the burden.

        1. And when have the better off been prepared to share and relieve the burden. And the hypocrisy of people like Emma Thompson flying in from Hollywood for the day to support Extinction Rebellion. Also since it has been mentioned Caroline Lucas always sounds sanctimonious and never costs her ideas in real world terms. Because it is the world we are talking about.

          1. Agreed. Bojo’s latest brilliant idea regarding a cap on care home fees of £86,000 is great if your home is worth half a million plus but not very equitable if it’s only worth £150,000 or less.

  13. As RD says super smooth surfaces- particularly 18a, a pleasure to solve, last in was 5a when I eventually saw the light.
    Favourite was 26a, needed the checking letters,
    A **/**** for me.
    Thanks to DT for the lumberjack song!

  14. Very enjoyable to solve but this one led to me using every particle of my brain, and there isn’t much there to start with…
    Tip of the hat for 1d.

    Grateful to DT, as I am on so many Fridays, for I had to check the parsing of several.

    Today’s crossword soundtrack: Super Furry Animals – Zoom! (Best Of…)

    Thanks to the setter and DT.

  15. What a fantastic puzzle. I did need help for 26a but otherwise all fell happily even though I didn’t always understand the parsing. I did like 11a and 14d but my COTD is 5a, which I thought was rather brilliant. I am not too sure about 27a because I totally missed the second “s” but I loved the 13a/18a connection.

    Many thanks to the setter for the fun and to DT for the hints, one of which was needed.

    Cold and sunny here in the Welsh Marches. The birds are going mad on the feeders and that is always a sign of a cold night to come.

    1. I wish my little birds would come back to the garden. I have not refilled the feeders for about a month, last year was doing it weekly. Too many magpies, rooks and crows around – such a shame.

      1. I’m glad you mentioned the absence of gard3n birds DG. Ihave hardly filled my feeders throughout the autimn. The lastt ime the birds vanished like this, we had a really harsh winter. I wondered if they had migrated further south for the winter. Fingers crossed

        1. That’s an interesting theory, CC. I will keep an eye on our feeders to see if the birds disappear but, so far, no sign. Goldfinches, Tits Great, Blue and Coal, Nuthatches, Woodpeckers, Dunnocks and Sparrows both Hedge and Tree all gather in abundance. Not forgetting Robins, of course.

          1. We have had far fewer birds this year on our feeders – sadly don’t get sparrows at all, they are all nearer the marsh. Masses of blackbirds though, one extremely tame female that sings quietly no n stop. We do get buzzards and Marsh Harriers which is more than we saw at Minsmere yesterday. Our week here in Aldeburgh over tomorrow so back home to Cley.

  16. A very nice Friday puzzle, not unduly difficult but with fine, concise and smooth clues giving an enjoyable solve. All clues being 5 or 6 words, except two – one having 4 words and another 2. I’ll have to go for 26a (by a short head) as my favourite. 2.5*, 4*.

  17. A nice smooth puzzle 😃 ***/*** very enjoyable 🤗 Favourites 3d, 5d and 17a, thanks Deep Threat ( especially for song at 4d) and to Silvanus

  18. Many thanks to everyone for their kind comments and naturally to DT for his Hints and Tips.

    The brevity of the clues this time was more of an experiment/challenge to myself, I’m certainly not trying to steal my colleague RayT’s thunder!

    As Gazza correctly surmised (when is he ever wrong?), the inclusion of 13a with 18a was indeed deliberate, so although DT’s illustration is perfectly valid, it was actually the 26th US President (Theodore) that I had in mind.

    May I wish everyone a good week-end.

    1. Thank you for popping in, silvanus. Thank you, also, for the puzzle, which was tremendous fun. Have a good weekend yourself.

    2. Nice puzzle – thank you. Daisy stars for 5,12,18a and 5d. I was pleased to drag 10a from the dark depths of the cranium, it is amazing what is stored there!

    3. A most enjoyable puzzle. Many thanks, Silvanus.
      Impressive brevity of cluing and CoD to the excellent 26a.

    4. Thanks, Silvanus, for the fun. I loved 18a, my gravatar shows my Dad’s teddy, he was born in 1901, so teddy is a very old man!

  19. A delightful puzzle from the Friday setter who doesn’t appear often enough in my opinion.
    The anagram indicator in 19d made me smile and I must have at least 6 clues with double ticks alongside them. Maybe 5d just has the edge for me.

    Many thanks to Silvanus for the pleasure and to DT for an excellent review.

  20. It has all been said. Nice concise Friday puzzle with only short hold-ups for parsing. I will pick 11a as COTD for me for a really satisfying PDM. Thanks to DT and Silvanus if it is indeed he. (oops I see he has just popped in to claim this so Thanks for a delighfully concise puzzle Silvanus)

  21. Lovely crossword this morning. Held up by 26a for a while and had forgotten the word in 10a but 9ther than that a most excellent puzzle.

    Thanks to Deep Threat and to the setter.

  22. I too wish we saw a bit more of Silvanus. His puzzles never disappoint & today’s was another belter. I wasn’t familiar with the nuns, had forgotten the text mark & didn’t immediately see the parsing of 11a but they were the only head scratches in a brisk solve in under ** time. Another vote for 26a as COTD but there were so many other excellent ones. Loved the 13/18a combo & the surface reads at 1d plus 5a&d stood out. Best of the week for me.
    Thanks Silvanus both for the puzzle, which I’m sure Ray T would be proud of, & for popping in. Thanks to DT.

  23. Firstly a message for Chris M who asked did anyone play Canasta any more? The answer is yes, until the pandemic we played every week – it is a very nice game (not as good as Bridge of course but more relaxed) Now we play sporadically. Did not get round to the crossword yesterday as we had a girls lunch at the Rupert Brooke and I came home in need of a little siesta and then was busy with Christmas cards. But today’s was a delight, 21a reminding me of schooldays. Thanks to DT and to Silvanus. Have a good weekend everyone.

  24. Nicely completed on train to Cardiff. At first glance I was mystified but some answers came thick and fast as I worked my way through. Did not get all of the parsing. Certainly not the division of the High Court with which I ought to be familiar. I also did not know the small space in 10a but easy enough to work out from the word play. I liked 1d which took me a while as I was looking for the name of an Army rank rather than an anagram. Cleverly misleading. I got the rodent without understanding the parsing. 26a was a goody but not immediately apparent. It was only when I got near to the end of the alphabet that I clicked. I put circles round 9 22 and 26a and 1, 3 and 6 d. Thanks Silvanus. It was a Corker and thanks to DT for posthumous help with some of the parsing. More please! Not far to go now. Just seen Chepstow Castle.

    1. The small space was 12a. If you are old enough and used an IBM Selectrix typewriter, you’d recognise the three spaces, el, en and em.

  25. Found this one tricky especially the top half and specifically the NE. 3*/3* today
    Several new words for me as in 17a, 2d & 7d, so no wonder the NE was a huge stumbling block. Forgot the name of the answer for 10a too.
    Found some clues a bit of a stretch to get the answer like 21a & 26a to mention just two. A little too much lateral thinking for me in this one.
    Clues I liked include 1a, 25a, 4d & 5d with winner 4d

    Thanks to setter (that I see is Silvanus as he popped in), and DT

  26. A tricky but very enjoyable puzzle, thank you Silvanus. I solved some clues without knowing why so thanks also to DT for explaining 21a and 20d .. really must remember how ‘Geordie’ and ‘detailed’ can be interpreted!

  27. I didn’t find this easy but it was very enjoyable. Last in was 26a, a bung in from e-help, and I needed DT’s help for the why. I liked a lot, 5a and 5d were both very slick, but I liked 18a best to go with my gravatar, my Dad’s teddy.
    Thanks Silvanus, I like when I can solve a puzzle! Thanks to DT for the help unravelling a few.

  28. Thank you for an enjoyable puzzle. I particularly liked 3d because I solved and worked it out without help and it made me smile. I also liked 23d because it was so satisfyingly succinct.
    Thank you for the fun and for the help.

  29. I thoroughly enjoyed this apart from 5a which I guessed the right answer early but would not have parsed it if I’d sat here from now untill doomsday and 7d which I’d never heard of and, despite all the checkers, needed electronic help to get. I’m forgetting it as I write. Favourite was 26a, not my last in by a long chalk. Thanks to Silvanus and DT.

  30. It’s all been said, but refreshing to have a doable Friday puzzle. Many thanks to Silvanus and to DT for clearing up some of the parsings. **/****

  31. A lighter Friday. Never heard of the Choral song, but gettable from the wordplay.
    Thanks both.

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