DT 29870 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 29870

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 29870

Hints and tips by 2Kiwis

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

Kia ora from Aotearoa.

We’re back home again after being with family in Wellington for Christmas. A special time. Our New Year will be much quieter as there will just be the two of us here at home.

Whatever you have planned to welcome in 2022, enjoy yourselves.

Once again we had a few head-scratchers scattered through the grid.

Please leave a comment telling us how you got on.


1a     Defender must hold line — sees areas of potential danger (5,5)
BLACK SPOTS : A football defender contains L(ine) then sees or notices.

6a     Light mainly needed for metal band (4)
TORC : Remove the last letter from a flashlight.

10a     Excuse from politician sitting in first-class (5)
ALIBI : The two letters indicating first class surround a politician of the party Gladstone belonged to.

11a     Come down to earth, a little depressed (5,4)
TOUCH DOWN : A little or a tad, and then depressed or low.

12a     A judge in Chelsea perhaps without shoes (8)
BAREFOOT : What a Chelsea can be a type of surrounds ‘A’ from the clue and a football judge.

13a     Extent of leak by head of security (5)
SWEEP : The first letter of security is followed by leak tears perhaps.

15a     Daughter wrong on question one — sitting pretty! (5,2)
QUIDS IN : String together the two letter abbreviation for question, Roman numeral one, D(aughter) and a wrong or misdeed.

17a     One may vote in English reader (7)
ELECTOR : E(nglish) and a reader, probably in a college or church.

19a     Cover not needed for smartest relations! (7)
AUNTIES : Start with a synonym for smartest or most stylish and remove the first and last letters.|

21a     Mysterious burial chamber with rich interior (7)
CRYPTIC : A burial chamber is followed by the two central letters of rich.

22a     Looking at, for example, protecting dark part of Chinese symbol (5)
EYING : Half of a familiar Chinese symbol is enclosed by the two letters signifying ‘for example’.

24a     Clothing line worn by a lover troubled by son (8)
OVERALLS : An anagram (troubled) of A LOVER contains L(ine) and finally S(on).

27a     Leaving fine leg antagonised will be awkward (9)
INELEGANT : A lurker hiding in the clue, indicated by ‘leaving’.

28a     Find out king’s name (5)
LEARN : A fictional king from Shakespeare and then N(ame).

29a     Listeners will have time for right food (4)
EATS : A substitute clue. Start with ‘listeners’ and replace the R(ight) with T(ime).

30a     A backward view of troublesome reports etc (10)
RETROSPECT : An anagram (troublesome) of REPORTS ETC.


1d     Dress up and lay it on thick (4)
BRAG : The reversal (up) of a general word for dress.

2d     I’m in a state, seeing spirit (9)
ANIMATION : ‘A’ from the clue and then a state or country contains ‘IM’ from the clue.

3d     This should cut knot, with partner losing weight (5)
KNIFE : The abbreviation for ‘knot’ as a maritime speed is followed by a marriage partner with W(eight) removed.

4d     Record crush (3,4)
PUT DOWN : A double definition. Crush or denigrate.

5d     Administrator is bound to be heard here occasionally (7)
TRUSTEE : A homophone of a word meaning bound or tied up, and then the second and fourth letters of ‘here’.

7d     Australia working with energy and gas (5)
OZONE : A two letter slang abbreviation for Australia, then a word meaning working or in operation and E(nergy).

8d     Collusion of sanctimonious blue supporting Tories (10)
CONSPIRACY : An abbreviation for members of the party described as Tories, then the two letter sanctimonious and blue or salacious.

9d     Innocently hurry in case of call on unknown (8)
CHASTELY : Hurry or rapidity is surrounded by the first and last letters of call and finally, one of the letters used as a mathematical unknown.

14d     City look cheerful as soldiers must be accommodated (6,4)
SQUARE MILE : A facial expression showing cheerfulness surrounds a Latin word for ‘as’ or ‘in the capacity of’ and engineering soldiers.

16d     Singular sort of English affliction (8)
SHINGLES : S(ingular) then an anagram (sort of) of ENGLISH.

18d     Tease a little bit, upset, having lost book (9)
TITILLATE : An anagram ( upset) of A LITTLE (b)IT once B(ook) has been removed.

20d     Amount charged for holding silver in stock (7)
STORAGE : Stock or hold in reserve contains the chemical symbol for silver.

21d     City street full of good humour? The opposite! (7)
CHESTER : A word for good humour contains ST(reet).

23d     Still at home — finally leave for appointment (5)
INERT : The two letter at home and then the last letters of three words in the clue.

25d     Book found by a sailor travelling north (5)
ATLAS : ‘A’ from the clue and the reversal of a familiar word for a sailor.

26d     Join fool for audition (4)
KNIT : A homophone of another word for a fool or silly idiot.

Quickie pun    goes    +    Tories    =    ghost stories

106 comments on “DT 29870

  1. I found this a bit tricky but got there in the end. My head is slightly sore from the scratching I’ve given it. There were some clever clues that gave satisfaction when solved. One such was 9d. 14d puzzled me – I got the “look cheerful” part but not the “soldiers must be accommodated” bit. My COTD is 12a because the misdirection had me searching London boroughs.

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

  2. 2.5*/4*. This was just right for a midweek back-pager. It was reasonably light and good fun, although the use of 29a as a noun makes me cringe and it was a pity that one word of the answer to 11a was included in the clue.

    With lots to like, 1a, 10a, 12a, 21a, 5d & 8d earning double ticks.

    Many thanks presumably to Jay and the 2Ks.

    1. “Down” appears more than once! Perhaps 11ac would be better clued as “land a little depressed”?

        1. Me too and it held me up as I was convinced that it wasn’t correct to use the same word so I was looking for alternatives. Thanks to the 2 Kiwis for helping me out.

    2. Or ‘Return to Earth’ would seem about right ? Cracking crossword though, a 4 star difficulty for me.

  3. After a few Yuletide days off I found this very steady and pleasant at **/*** with nothing particularly taxing. I thought both 14d and 15a rather good. With thanks to the setter and our Antipodean friends.

    Having got a few letters in our paper this year I was pleased also to be in the annual volume of unpublished letters this year called Wake Me Up When It’s All Over, and amused that Waterstones are already selling it at half price!

  4. Tough today. Needed some deep thought on occasions which together with some awkward synonyms makes for a difficult solve.
    I really don’t understand why ‘leaving’ in 27a is a lurker indicator.
    Altogether a rather clumsy puzzle. Not my favourite.
    Thx for the hints.

      1. I just read it as some letters leaving the phrase = elegant = awkward, although I hadn’t one across that direction before either

      2. G273 and B, 27a. It’s a lurker indicator because the clue is telling you that the answer is being directly withdrawn from (or leaving) the 3 donor words, 2 – 4 .

              1. I’ll go by any name but I think I prefer Huntsman’s sobriquet. Mind you, that appeals to my ego. 🤣🤣

          1. My strategy is to abbreviate sobriquets on here, not lengthen them. Especially ones like this:

            Carolyn in a geodesic dome home just outside Marmora ON

            I copy/pasted that, obviously. :-)

              1. I’m a cricketer (amateur) and us cricketers, well, certainly ones my age, love to nickname (shortening or lengthening) though not as much as the old enemy do (Grrr, btw)

                They love it!

                1. See this from DT28595:

                  November 28, 2017 at 11:22 am
                  SL. See my Senf limerick on DT 28354, #2.

                  Sir Linkalot
                  November 28, 2017 at 12:54 pm
                  Like it.

                  Forgive me, as I’m sure you’ve heard this one a zillion times but, just in case…

                  What did the Spanish firefighter call their twin boys?

                  Hose A (Jose) and Hose B.

  5. Clipped along nicely until coming to a bit of a halt in the SW. Headscratching ensued. Illumination started with 15a the first letter of which unlocked 14d and voila all done. Great Wednesday and still on holiday fun.

  6. As so often happens, first impression was that there was no way I was going to come to terms with today’s challenge but somehow I made it having enjoyed the exercise. East was easier-going than West. Down in various guises seems to be a bad penny today. I agree with RD that 29a noun is ghastly – nibbles likewise! My Fav was 15a. A bit vague on parsing for 5d, 8d, 14d and 23d.

    1. While I got 8d, I too struggle with the parsing. Where does the “two letter word for sanctimonious” come from?

      Few answers dropped in on the first pass, so I thought it would be unbreakable without help. Slowly the mist lifted and, with some hard work, it came together.

      A challenge but great fun. Thanks to setter and the Kiwis.

      1. Welcome to the blog, Dryden.
        “Pi” (short form of pious) means sanctimonious. It’s worth remembering because it comes up a lot.

            1. Thank you for the explanation and for the welcomes. I confess to lurking on (in?) the blog for years. Over that time there have been several “hmmmm” moments but many, many more “oh I see!!!” moments. Belated thanks to all contributors for the education.

  7. Fabulous puzzle (even given the return of the “dreaded” 29a, ahem), Jay on top form impossible to pick out favourites as it was all so good but if pushed 1215&21a plus 5&21d.
    Many thanks to Jay and the 2Ks for a year of excellence.

  8. Unlike RD, I found this a bit too tough for a backpager (4*/2*). Whilst many of the clues were very clever, there was more slog than fun involved, particularly in the bottom half. 12a was quite a good clue and the best of a rather over-complicated bunch. Thanks to MrK for the hints and to rhe compiler.

  9. Towards the end I assumed this was a pangram and derailed myself by looking for a word with a J in it. I spell 22a with an additional ‘e’, so dismissed the obvious solution and sought an alternative spelling of I-Ching with a J in it, which wasted a bit of time. Once I’d abandoned that quest, it all fell in very nicely.
    My favourite was 14d.

  10. I’m glad to read that I wasn’t the only one who found this puzzle quite the challenge at times.
    14d and 22a are my favourites ( I think I can have 2 favourites if I want to ).
    Warm and windy here.
    Thanks to the Kiwis and Jay.

  11. As is often the case, my favourite clue was one of the more concise and simple ones, without a great deal of deconstruction needed: 10a. I add my voice to those who already mentioned the ghastly 29a, and noted the unfortunate use of part of the answer in 11a. Those small gripes aside, this was terrific fun and a most enjoyable solve.

    My thanks to Jay, if it is indeed he, and of course to our antipodean friends.

  12. I had to have two read throughs before I could make a start on this one. I can’t say I found it easy. I had to check 11a as I didn’t think a word in the clue would be used in the answer, although the answer was obvious. I have to confess that I didn’t know that particular spelling for 6a, and had to check it. I’ve always used ‘q’….not that’s it’s used often. 21a was my favourite. Thank you setter and 2ks.

        1. G, from Wiki:

          From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
          A torc, also spelled torq or torque, is a large rigid or stiff neck ring in metal, made either as a single piece or from strands twisted together. The great majority are open at the front, although some had hook and ring closures and a few had mortice and tenon locking catches to close them. Many seem designed for near-permanent wear and would have been difficult to remove. Torcs are found in the Scythian, Illyrian,[1] Thracian, Celtic, and other cultures of the European Iron Age from around the 8th century BC to the 3rd century AD. For the Iron Age Celts, the gold torc seems to have been a key object. It identifies the wearer as a person of high rank, and many of the finest works of ancient Celtic art are torcs. The Celtic torc disappears in the Migration Period, but during the Viking Age torc-style metal necklaces, now mainly in silver, came back into fashion.[2] Torc styles of neck-ring are found as part of the jewellery styles of various other cultures and periods.

    1. Torch without the last letter as a light is what I thought although I would use the que spelling too.

      1. That’s how I saw it, Greta. But I still use “torc” for the bangle and “torque” for the rotational force. It comes from having been an endodontist when the handpiece (drill) had to be set to a certain torque value.

        1. I think the link between torque as in torque wrench and torque/torc the bangle or necklace is “twisting”. Torque is a rotational/twisting force and torques/torcs are often constructed by twisting strands/wires of metal together in a decorative manner.

    2. I have a fair bit of scrap gold. I’ve got all I need to melt it down but don’t know whether to cast rings for my daughters and son in law or make a torc. The torcs all look so nice but very complicated. Heigh Ho. It may never happen and if anything does it’s anybody’s guess as to how good the end result will be. Spring is on its way and that’s where the madness begins

      1. Melting point of gold is over 1000C so you will need some pretty good kit MP.
        Then you may well have to master the lost wax process to create the castings.
        All well within your compass no doubt.

  13. Oh, the things I have forgotten or just never knew: Chelsea (boot), ‘sitting pretty’ (15a), the ‘City’ (14d)! This American needs to return to Merrie Olde and take some refreshers. If this is a Jay gem, then I’m a bit surprised to see the word ‘down’ not only repeated in a clue but used twice in the answers, but then, Homer (they say) nodded now and then. I did manage a finish at the end but only because I had to ‘reveal’ some letters in the SW. So, while I slogged through it, I also admired it greatly. Thanks to our Kiwi friends for their always enjoyable hints (and Happy New Year to Colin and Carol!) and many thanks to our Wednesday maestro for the yearlong pleasures and challenges. ***** / ****

  14. I managed a completed grid in **/*** time, and soon even had all the parsing sorted. I didn’t know the Chelsea in 12a, and looking at them on-line, I can’t see myself wearing them any time soon.

    Many thanks to Jay and the 2Ks.

      1. They seem to be coming back in. My daughter bought my son-in-law (aka her husband) a pair for Christmas. She also bought him what looked like a shorter version of a crombie.

  15. Most enjoyable despite having the same reservations as RD mentioned regarding 11&29a. 5d was the last to fall and I dithered for a while over the parsing of 19a – had a different meaning of ‘smartest’ stuck in my head.
    Top of the tree here were 12,15&21a plus 21d with a nod to the simple but effective Quickie pun.

    Thanks to Jay and to our 2Ks – a very happy New Year to all three of you.

  16. For me Jay on a Wednesday continues to be a ‘hybrid’ with his Toughie alter ego Logman – ***/****.

    Candidates for favourite – 21a, 9d, and 14d – and the winner is 14d.

    Thanks to Jay and the 2 Kiwis.

  17. This was a bit of a “cut and come again” crossword. I think over the morning I was on the third brew before I got to the end. I had parsing doubts about a couple of bung ins but as usual, the 2 K’s cleared my doubts.18d was my last one and became my favourite when the penny dropped. I did like 14d although unparsed, I do buy my coffee beans from them when feeling particularly 19a.

    Thanks to Jay and 2 K’s and a Happy New Year to all.

  18. An enjoyable puzzle though, like others, I thought it odd that the second word of the 11a answer appears verbatim in the definition.
    My ticks went to 12a, 3d and 5d.
    Thanks to Jay for the puzzle and for all his enjoyable puzzles through the year and thanks to Colin and Carol for the last of their excellent reviews of 2021. A Happy and Safe New Year to all three.

  19. Just one of those days I suppose, but in my entire history of Big Dave-ness (approximately ten years lurking, two or three participating) I have never relied on the hints as much as today. I needed copious help from the Two Ks.

    Anyway, re: ‘Light mainly needed for metal band’… here’s a metal band not being very metallic.

    Thanks to the setter and the 2Ks.

    1. Lovely choice Terence. I saw Robert Plant and Kristina Donahue do this at Cropredy in one of their tributes to Sandy Denny

  20. A “got there in the end” puzzle which I found somewhat lacking in humour so not much fun. Well into *** time only ** / *** satisfaction.
    Thank you to setter & 2Ks.

  21. A nice Wednesday puzzle with mostly fine clues giving a reasonable challenge and an enjoyable solve. Fav: 8d. 2.5*, 3.5*.

    *11a, vey surprised to see, in a DT puzzle, nearly half the answer appearing in plain sight in the clue.

  22. At the first run through I nearly gave up. It fell into place gradually and had some nice touches. I would add my reservations about 11a. It’s distracting because I thought the answer wouldn’t be part of the clue. ***/*** I thought the toughie had more of a Jay flavour. Favourite 12a. My granddaughter wears this footwear but I won’t be buying a pair any time soon. Thanks to all.

  23. Enjoyed this a lot with a bit of head scratching. Although I finished OK, still can’t find the synonym for smartest in 19a. Can someone help? A nice diversion on another horrid, miserable cold day. Thanks to the setter and 2 Kiwis.

  24. Not too tricky but a DNF. I had to reveal 6a, as I had never heard of the word, maybe I could have guessed it from the wordplay. I though 6a was the daft one in the Monkees?
    5d took some time to drack which is ridiculous as I am one!
    Thanks both.

    1. Ah The Monkees. My favourite was Nesmith or Dolenz, one of whom passed away recently. Had 5a been Peter Tork, he could have started a Konspiracy.

  25. As RD and Jane note-too many Downs for my liking!
    Certainly difficult in parts viz the SW corner and last in 14d, took a while to parse 18a, there seems to be more clues of this type – ie the definition is revealed after the surrounding letters “cover” are removed.Like Gazza I went for Jauntiest.
    Certainly an enjoyable experience and going fo a ***/****
    Thanhs to 2K.s for the picks.

  26. Spent a while trying to avoid duplicating part of the clue in 11a before concluding that it was just a strange clue. Thanks to the setter and 2Ks.

  27. I managed to finish, which is quite unusual for me. I bunged in several right answers without really being able to parse them correctly e.g. PI in 8d and QUA in 14d so I always appreciate all the patient comments and explanations. Thanks!

  28. Impenetrable at first with only 7ac solved at first reading. So started from the bottom and worked up. A good challenge and fairly clued.

    I commented @2 about 11ac.

    Thanks to setter (Jay?) and 2Ks for another year of sound blogs. Happy New Year when it comes!😎🍾

  29. Well the Scottish air seems to have played havoc with my crossword solving skills. Reckon this was the longest I’ve ever spent on a Jay puzzle & by some margin so pleased to stagger over the line eventually. Other than the curious word replication at 11a & maybe 29a a lovely assortment of clues. Big ticks for me are 12&27a plus 8&14d.
    Thanks to Jay & 2Ks for the Wednesday entertainment throughout the year.

  30. Needed several hints to finish, otherwise would definitely have been a DNF. But not surprising for a Wednesday, whether a Jay or not. At least I remembered the English saying in 15a. A few other hold ups as mentioned above. Thanks to the setter and 2Kiwis. Feeling a bit relieved today, having decided to postpone my spinal epidurals so that I can get a second opinion. I may regret the wait, but better safe than sorry.

  31. I found this puzzle very enjoyable but quite tough. I finished it alone and unaided, but did need help with some parsings, notably 19a.

    Thanks to the setter and to the 2 Kiwis.

  32. After Pommers on Monday, it is our turn to enjoy spring like temperatures.
    Not expecting to last though.
    Must admit to bunging in 19a as a last entry and didn’t know which word had to be snipped until I read the blog (thanks Gazza).
    Thanks also to Jay and to our 2kiwis for the review.

  33. We needed to Google Chelsea to confirm our answer for 12a and it took some time to think of the correct synonym for smartest in 19a. A good fun solve for us as ever and so pleased that most others appreciated it too.

  34. Once again I agree with Senf’s comments regarding Jay’s propensity to put some really tough clues in with some relatively gettable ones. Found this one slow going today at 3.5*/3* for me.
    SW last area completed, but took a long time to get this one even cracked a little bit.
    Favourites include 15a, 21a (of course!), 14d, 21d & 26d with winner 14d

    Thanks to the 3 birds and especially for the hints today.

  35. Another winner from Jay. Lots of good stuff which has led to an interesting lot of comments above. I’ll add this. Brown boots are in the ascendancy. I have two pairs and the Christmas dinner at Hinckley Rugby Club was full of men wearing them. Torcs are so beautiful. If you have any in a museum near you do yourself a favour and go and have a look at the intricate work. Thanks Jay and Logman for the fun throughout the year thank you Colin and Carol for your hints, tips, quality pictures and snippets of local information

    1. All my footwear is brown except for one pair of black shoes to wear with my suit. As I don’t wear my suit often they are still almost new.

      “Why, brahn boots!
      I ask yer… brahn boots!
      Fancy coming to a funeral
      In brahn boots!”

      Stanley Holloway

    2. These two gold bracelets, which were found by metal detectorists near Tadcaster, have been declared the first Iron Age gold jewellery ever found in the north of England.
      Iron Age Gold Torcs, a twisted gold arm bracelet

      Iron Age Gold Torcs

  36. I’m firmly in the tough camp, strange for me with Jay offerings, but I had to use too much help for my taste. Maybe it isn’t Jay? My fave was 18d, just because I like the word, it amuses.
    Thanks Jay (?), and 2Kiwis for your help to reach the finish line. Thank you Jay and Kiwis for your entertainment over the past year, it’s been tough this year and the lightness has been so helpful.

  37. I found this the most difficult puzzle for a while and needed help in the SW 14d & 19a 😳 ****/** Favourites 12a and 21d. Thanks and Happy New Year to the 2xKs and to Jay (if it was he 🤔)

  38. Thank you Jay and the 2Ks for this and for all your efforts during the year. I managed to solve without hints but found some on the left hand side quite tough. 16d and 15a were last two in. Favourites 10 12 15 and 27a and 2 and 9d.

  39. I found this quite hard and resorted to 2Kiwis excellent hints a few times in order to finish. I enjoyed 8d but didn’t fully parse it until I was reminded that pi = pious. Favourite clue was 22a, eying, that I thought was clever and raised a chuckle rather than just a s(quare)mile. Thanks to setter and to 2Ks.

    A couple of questions, if anyone is still around. I can’t find a definition on the site for the star rating system for difficulty and enjoyability, can someone point me to it. Also, on 21d, I don’t see the function of “The Opposite!”, it seems redundant to me.

    1. 21d. The clue mentions “street full of good humour”. But the answer is “the opposite” – good humour (CHEER) full of (containing) street (ST) = CHE(ST)ER.

    2. Good evening StephenGM. I’ve been providing hints and tips for many years and I don’t understand the starring system. What chance do you have?

      1. SGM
        I do use them but really they are so subjective as to be pretty useless really. However I like to compare my time with RD whom I regard as above my level of competence. He rarely goes above 2.5* when he does I think it is tough for a backpager.
        I feel, very straightforward, straightforward average, tough and very tough would be better so will use in future especially as you can make it day-specific
        I would then need to abbreviate user names to cut down on typing times of course.

    3. SGM. I don’t know if it’s “defined” anywhere, but here’s my understanding of the star rating system for difficulty/enjoyment. Both can be rated up to 5*, but it is considered churlish (or even taboo) to give a rating of 0*. So I use ratings of 0.5* up to 5* in increments of 0.5*. I think that sums it up.

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