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DT 29865

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 29865

Hints and tips by 2Kiwis

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

Kia ora from Aotearoa.

Just a few sleeps now until Christmas. We have 13yr old  grandson Sam and his good friend Ben staying with us for a few days. We will be taking them back to Wellington tomorrow and will stay there for a family gathering on Christmas Day.

Seasons greetings everyone.

Another enjoyable Wednesday puzzle that again had us head-scratching in several places.

Please leave a comment telling us how you got on.


1a     Root and branch ultimately is harder — so chopped up (11)
HORSERADISH : The final letter of branch is followed by an anagram (chopped up) of IS HARDER SO.

9a     Urban landscape features line a politician puts up (9)
LAMPPOSTS : L(ine), ‘A’ from the clue, a Member of Parliament and then puts up or publishes, on Facebook perhaps.

10a     See 11 Across (5)

11a & 10 Across     Festive fare of stewed bean curd, say (6)
BRANDY SAUCE : An anagram (stewed) of BEAN CURD SAY.

12a     Inexperienced volunteers full of energy may find drink (5,3)
GREEN TEA : The colour associated with inexperience then volunteer soldiers surround E(nergy).

13a     Plasterer’s requirement rejected in Isleworth (6)
TROWEL : A reverse lurker, hiding in the clue.

15a     Person missing beat seen to be confused (8)
ABSENTEE : An anagram (to be confused) of BEAT SEEN.

18a     Turkey for one in unique dish, like Marley perhaps (8)
SPECTRAL : Start with a unique dish featured by a restaurant and replace its Roman numeral one with the IVR code for Turkey.

19a     The majority of officer classes? (6)
GENERA : Remove the last letter from a senior army officer.

21a     Harangue Thai bride, furiously rejecting hotel (8)
DIATRIBE : An anagram (furiously) of T(h)AI BRIDE with the H(otel) removed.

23a     A sailor concerned with rejected list of mistakes (6)
ERRATA : From East to West we have ‘A’ from the clue, a three letter sailor and then the two letter ‘concerned with’.

26a     The very best computer, without hesitation, is sent back (5)
CREAM : Again from East to West we have a computer from Apple containing a two letter hesitation.

27a     Shout about barren ground giving fruit (9)
CRANBERRY : Shout or yell surrounds an anagram (ground) of BARREN.

28a     Order gift containing new one that’s always there (11)
OMNIPRESENT : An Order of Merit and a gift that might be from Santa contain N(ew) and Roman numeral one.


1d     Swimmer using shed to hold a party? (7)
HALIBUT : A shed or simple building surrounds ‘A’ from the clue and the three letter abbreviation for the political party that Gladstone belonged to.

2d     Person who’s graduated after short steps? (5)
RUMBA : A spirit that could be referred to in a bar as a short, and then a Bachelor of Arts.

3d     Suitable exercises cut out in old books (9)
EXPEDIENT : Two letter physical exercises and cut out or expire are surrounded by a prefix meaning old and biblical books.

4d     Section of church seeing primate embracing son (4)
APSE : A simian primate contains S(on).

5d     Chase cool writer (8)
INSCRIBE : Cool or trendy and then a writer who might be a medieval clerk.

6d     Speed of Virgin must be topped (5)
HASTE : Remove the first letter from a word that could describe a virgin.

7d     Sign of maturity suppressed by most of journalists (7)
PRESAGE : Remove the last letter from a word for journalists generally and follow this with maturity or oldness.

8d     It may be seen in discreet aid for viewers (8)
SUBTITLE : Discreet or circumspect contains ‘It’ from the clue.

14d     Note found in Aida’s works? (8)
OPERATES : One of the notes of the sol fah scale is surrounded by what Aida is an example of with its ‘S.

16d     River crustacean the French must find dreadful (9)
EXECRABLE : A river that flows through South West England, then a marine crustacean and the French definite article.

17d     Pointed remark on island prison and tower (8)
BARBICAN : String together a pointed remark, then I(sland) and a slang word for prison.

18d     Oddly spied people up for a drink (7)
SIDECAR : From South to North we have a people or nation and the alternate letters from the word ‘spied’.

20d     One may examine vacuous lady visiting Santa in trouble (7)
ANALYST : An anagram (in trouble) of SANTA contains the first and last letters of lady.

22d     R could be a womaniser! (5)
ROMEO : the word used in radio communication for the letter ‘R’.

24d     Concede most of hunger is south of area (5)
AGREE : Hunger or gluttony without its last letter follows A(rea).

25d     Theatrical party in dispute (4)
CAMP : A double definition. The party in dispute is from a metaphorical comparison with military forces.

We enjoyed meeting the subtle seasonal garnishes in this puzzle with 18a taking the top spot.

Quickie pun    beast    +    wrong    =    be strong

65 comments on “DT 29865

  1. 3,5*/4*. This was very challenging in places but good fun from start to finish.

    18a was my last one in and favourite when I finally twigged the parsing.

    Is “in dispute” strictly necessary in 25d?

    Many thanks to the setter (with a little help from Nick Davies!) and to the 2Ks.

  2. Slowish start, fast finish but loved it, especially with all the seasonal references.
    My ticks go to 21&27a plus 2,6&8d with top spot shared between 18&26a.
    Many thanks to Jay I presume and the 2Ks.

  3. A challenging puzzle with some (deliberately?) Confusing clues, I didn’t find it as enjoyable as usual for a Wednesdy puzzle and ended up with a completed grid but 4 clues unparsed (4*/1*). Thanks to the Kiwis for the much needed hints and to the compiler for his efforts.

  4. The trickier of today’s two crosswords, not helped by my writing the solution for 15a where 18a should go

    An interesting mix of foodstuffs, some more Christmassy than others

    Thanks to the setter and to the 2Ks

  5. Found this quite straightforward notwithstanding some clever clues. 18a, 8d and 18d were my favourites. Thanks to the 2Ks and today’s setter.

  6. Tricky and I am sorry to say not particularly enjoyable. 18a – who are what is Marley? It was the only word that seemed to fit. If anyone is on Facebook (I am to see my neighbour’s super photos for the National Trust) please look at Cley Harbour. Our village has been lighting up Advent windows all through the village from 1 December with the last few being lit from tonight until Friday and then they will be on until 6 January. They are absolutely fantastic. There’s also a short video of Father Christmas arriving at the harbour for the Carols on the Quay. If your not on Facebook trying googling it and see what comes up, it’s worth a peek.

      1. I did briefly wonder if it was something to do with Bob and the wailers but the Dickens’s Marley seemed more appropriate for the time of year!

      2. Thanks for the explanation – not a huge Dickens fan although there are a couple I love but I have not read this particular book.

        1. Don’t worry, I was fixated on a very popular book over here, “Marley and Me” by John Grogan, a lovely true story about life with a rumbunctious yellow lab.

  7. If this was indeed a Jay production then, as I have commented before, definitely a ‘hybrid’ with his Toughie alter ego Logman. Some enjoyable head scratching required – ***/****.

    Candidates for favourite – 23a, 28a, 14d, and 17d – and the winner is 23a.

    Thanks to the Jay(?) and to the 2Kiwis.

  8. Far from certain this is a Jay production, though there was his trademark letter substitution at 18a. Either way it was very enjoyable, well clued throughout & quite tricky in places. Took me to 2.5* time to finish but failed to parse 26a. Ticks aplenty for me – 1,18, 26&28a plus 3,8,16&18d the standouts. I see we have a bonus of a Gazza puzzle in today’s delayed NTSPP slot.
    Many thanks to the setter & 2Ks
    Ps Our party of 18 to Scotland is now down to 11 due to Covid – it’s beginning to resemble an Agatha Christie novel….

  9. Some festive treats from our setter today and I’m certainly partial to a drop of 11a although I wouldn’t waste it on a 10a!
    8d was the last to fall by quite a margin so it deserves a spot at the top of the tree along with 18a.

    Thanks to Jay and to our 2Ks – best of festive wishes to all three of you.

  10. Very much enjoyed today’s puzzle, particularly as my managing it at all shows I am emerging from a festive bout of covid with at least some of my brain cells still functioning! Thanks for the parsing 2ks!!

  11. As others have already commented, three or four clues required proper interrogation.
    I took ages to parse 18a, although it is, of course, fairly worded. Just follow the instructions…!
    8d was also the last one in for me.
    Thanks to Jay and the Kiwis.

  12. I cannot say I enjoyed this because it was a struggle from the start and did not improve. I had to resort to far too many hints in order to finish so satisfaction level was low for me.

    Ah well, tomorrow is another day. :good:

    Many thanks to the setter for the drubbing and grateful thanks to the 2K’s for explaining it all. Have a Merry Christmas with your family in Wellington.

  13. First impression was that there was no way I was going to get to grips with this but stickability paid off and ta-da I did it! Think 9a is a bit broad. Failed to parse 3d, 6d and 18a. Thanks to setter and 2Kiwis and to all three of you very best seasonal good wishes. 🎄

  14. Nice and easy does it.
    Enjoyable and satisfying to complete.
    The time taken to parse 18a popped me into 2.5 time.
    Many thanks to Jay and to the 2Kiwis for the colourfully illustrated review.

  15. Very slow progress and overall a bit of a struggle but got there in the end. *** plus / *** enjoyment.
    Like Shabbo LOI was 8d: I think it would have been fairer with “some” between for and viewers (speaking as one of the some).
    COTD 9a if only because it brings back chilhood memories of how simple musical tastes were “back in the day”

    Thnk you setter and the 2Ks, have a great family Cbristmas.

    1. George Formby, aye, that’s going back some! We used to get some comic books and they had George Formby, Arthur Askey and a host of other, I presume, music hall people. Was it called The Radio Times?

  16. Some tough cluing today, like others I had a slow start until I tuned in.
    Last in was 18d, I thought that the definition had something to do with Scrooge-or if not Bob!- making this my favourite.
    Liked the surface of 28a and the wordplay of 14d.
    Agree with the 2K’s ***/****.thanks for the pics.

  17. Haven’t started the Cryptic yet, still suffering from shock at the Pun that was created with my two (incorrect) words for 1a and 4a in today’s Quick one. I wonder if anyone else did the same.

    1. You can’t leave it in the air like that, Tumbert! What answers did you have that the pun gave you such a shock? :scratch:

        1. I had to say it a few times before I realised. :grin:

          The naughty step is for prize puzzles so you’re safe. :good:

  18. Challenging and frankly not very good as far as I am concerned. Complex clumsy clues that often made little sense and were very contrived.
    Finished but without any feeling of enjoyment.
    Not one for me I’m afraid.
    Thx for the hints

  19. It seems that I am not alone in finding this one very tricky. Took me a full ***** time to complete, but complete it I did. A couple of parsings were so tough that I didn’t even pencil them in and it took all the checkers for me to be convinced that I had been right all along.

    Thanks to Jay and the 2Ks.

    1. I was i n the sme boat with the parsing of 4 clues , Malcolm. The Kiwis’ explanations had to be read to temove lingering doubts about whether I was on the right track or not.

  20. Great Wednesday fun with some answers slow to parse. COD 8d, LOI 18a.

    Without wishing to insult a whole subspecies, I really wanted to put drummer in for 15a. Then I remembered a) this was cryptic and b) experience of one’s daughter’s ex shouldn’t colour one’s outlook too much and it’s time to move on.

    1. Well, someone had to admit to a big smile at reading your comment, GD! The evening G&T almost went over the keyboard, so I could not let it go unacknowledged.

  21. Back in the saddle again, yippee, after a few erratic days being twice thrown by Dada. I loved this puzzle, which seems like Jaywork to me, mainly because of 18a, by far my COTD, but also 8d, 27a, 26a, and 25d, which I thought was quite cute. Thanks and Merry Christmas to the 2 Kiwis and to today’s setter. ** / ****

    Finished a challenging Toughie last night but needed an electronic boost at the end to do so.

      1. Thanks, H. I’ll take a look. Hope you have a fine Christmas up in Scotland, even though your numbers have been sadly diminished. I once stayed at a grand old hotel overlooking Loch Lomond…near where you’ll be?

  22. I’ve had a quick look through the cryptic with little success……but have completed the quickie and the top four clues would make an interesting pun!

  23. We found one or two a bit of a struggle namely 18a and 8d but both were fair when parsed. Lots of stars but maybe I’ll go for 1a as I remember my beloved father crying as he grated it! Very pungent. Went to the supermarket at 8am – big mistake, it was packed to the gills. Ugh. No. More. Shopping. Today
    I have been going through the flock , it is one thing to hand them out in church and get the children to run up to the shepherds who are searching for their sheep, and quite another to hand them out in the churchyard. I fear we will not come home with as many as we took over. Visions of Daisygirl wrenching a small fluffy lamb from a screaming toddler. Many thanks to the setter and the two Kiwis – have a great antipodean Christmas.

  24. This did look quite daunting at first sight and I was well past half way in the across clues before anything dawned. From there, it was steady progress. ***/**** Not a typical Jay production if indeed it is he. Favourite 5d although 8d was ingenious. Thanks to all. Christmas plans very much up in the air as various family members in various locations have covid. It will be case of last man standing covid free on the day.

  25. Found this more straightforward than the usual Wednesday offering. In retrospect there were several bungins like 18a which was so obvious I couldn’t be bothered to parse it. Shame on me!

  26. Smooth clues with 8d as my cotd… and planning to use this facility extensively in a crowded house over the next few days!! Thank you Jay (?) and 2Ks

  27. Started slowly but speeded up after getting a few. Had a bit of thought required to parse some of the more obvious answers. Only one disagreement, the special usually isn’t and probably only listed on the menu because they have a few to get rid of.
    Thanks to all

  28. Late to the party today as we drove up to Chester to see my aged mother and my sisters his morning. Nervously took our LFTs last night to make sure we were safe to see her. Back in crosswordland, this was a friendly and enjoyable antidote to the overwhelming calls on the car radio for further restrictions and criticism which should surely be reserved for the wilfully unvaccinated? 18a was the pick of many fine clues ahead of 8d.

    Many thanks to Jay and the 2Ks.

  29. **/** for me and I will be surprised if it is a Jay as the clues and answers were not as crisp as usual. Also poor fare on the Toughie and so all round a rather miserable Wednesday…..

  30. Morning all.
    One of the trickinesses that we found with 18a was with the IVR code. They are not something we ever see on vehicles here and they throw us every time. That and the question of ‘which Marley’ meant quite a slow solve there.
    The strong winds we have had for several days appear to be abating and it looks like a fine day in store for Christmas which is good.

  31. First glance at the NW was fruitless so turned to the SE, and from there it was relatively plain-sailing, all the way back north again. Biffed but could not fully parse both 18a and 25d; 6a the stand-out COTD for me.

    Felt as though there were lots of anagrams and add/remove letter clues – which in particular reminds me of a relatively recent setter, but I cannot think which! Would be very surprised were this a Jay production.

    2.5* / 2.5*

    Thank you to the Setter and to the 2Ks

  32. Struggled with this one and in fact managed the wrong answer in 7d 😬 ****/*** there were some very good clues my favourites 19a & 8d 😃 Many thanks and Seasonal Greetings to the 2 x Ks and to the Setter (who I don’t think was Jay) 🤔

  33. I’m afraid this was a DNF for me, in fact, more like a “did not start” as I only solved roughly ten clues. I have a whole list of things to do and mustn’t spend any more time on this, but I wanted to wish the 2Kiwis a very Merry Antipodean Christmas. I still have Monday’s bonus so I might play with that later.
    I can’t believe this is by my fave setter, Jay, but if it is, thanks for the brain teaser. Thanks 2Kiwis for unravelling that lot.

  34. A DNF for me today. Who knew the ghosts in A Christmas Carol had names other than past, present and future? Seen various films but not read the book.

    Also needed the hint to parse 25d.

    Thanks to all.

    1. Jacob Marley was the ghost of Scrooge’s late business partner; those of past, present and future were a further three.

      Had CD been writing ACC today, he’d have managed a separate book, film, and spin-offs for each ghost, every year for four years, let alone publishing the story as a serial …

  35. Only got 10 answers at first pass. More later but needed too many clues to finish. Second Wednesday that this has been decidedly on the tricky side. Didn’t really float my boat. Thanks to setter and 2Kiwis.

  36. A nice challenge. I solved this after the Toughie which I believe might have been a bit easier. Even getting the ghost and the answer,. its parsing took me some time. I’ll make that my COTD.

  37. Late on parade here, but many thanks to the 2Kiwis for the super analysis not only today, but throughout the year; and thanks to all for your comments. Enjoy the festivities!

    1. Thank you Jay.
      We regard it as a privilege and a real pleasure to blog your puzzles.
      All the best to you and yours for the festive season.

  38. Late getting to this one. Agree with Senf regarding the setter style, should this be a Jay offering.
    Definitely tough in spots today. Liked the Christmas themed answers or even in part of the answer for some.
    My rating 3*/4* today with favourites 10/11a pair, 13a, 26a, 27a & 14d with no outstanding winner.

    Thanks to setter and 2K’s

  39. Parts of this were toughie standard, in fact harder than the toughie. I fell asleep part the way through this which indicates my enjoyment level. No particular favourite. Thanks to the setter and 2 K’s.

  40. My third attempt at this resulted in a DNF. Could only think of the dog in18a although I am aware of the Dickens one. 18d was one of my first ones in, strange to see others had difficulties with it. Thanks to all.

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