DT 29872 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 29872

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 29872

Hints and tips by Deep Threat

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

Good morning from South Staffs on the last day of 2021. Some Scots colleagues I worked with were always insistent that one should not wish anyone a Happy New Year until the clock had struck midnight, so I’ll save my greeting until next week.

1a took me longest to solve in today’s crossword, taking me into a typical Friday solving time.

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           Elf’s conceivably sober (4-11)
SELF-DISCIPLINED – We start with a reverse anagram. The first word of the answer is the anagram fodder, the second is the indicator, and ELF’S in the clue is what you could get from following through.

9a           Commission supporting church services working group (4,5)
TASK FORCE – Split the answer (4,3,2) and you have a commission or chore, a word for ‘supporting’ or ‘in favour’, and the initials of the Church of England.

10a         Nothing the same — it must be spring (5)
OASIS – The letter which looks like zero or ‘nothing’, followed by a phrase (2,2) which means ‘the same’ or ‘unchanged’.

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11a         Wreck of canoe found in this? (5)
OCEAN – Anagram (wreck) of CANOE, giving us the place where we might find such a wreck.

12a         One’s distinctly square and ready to snap (3,6)
BOX CAMERA – Cryptic definition of a simple photographic device.

Brownie Box Camera No. 2

13a         You’re welcomenever! (3,2,3)
NOT AT ALL – Double definition, the first metaphorical, the second literal.

14a         Exec on newspaper in flux, heading to the left or to the right (6)
EDITOR – A flux or flow of water is reversed (heading to the left) and followed by OR (from the clue) the right way round (heading to the right).

16a         Delicacy of candelabra I vacuumed round (6)
CAVIAR – Hidden in reverse in the clue.

How a Russian power plant almost wiped out the world's finest caviar fish |  The Independent | The Independent

18a         Resort had ample illumination (8)
HEADLAMP – Anagram (re-sort) of HAD AMPLE.

22a         Conductor making return went by bus? (9)
ELECTRODE – This conductor conducts electricity. A word for ‘return (to office)’ is followed by ‘went by bus’.

23a         Essential oil container, perhaps holding essence of mustard (5)
VITAL – The middle letter (essence) of musTard is inserted into a small container which may hold oil.

24a         Thorn witch cut occasionally as stimulant (5)
TONIC – Alternate letters (cut occasionally) of the first two words of the clue.

25a         Unqualified batsman’s fate in both innings? (3-3-3)
OUT-AND-OUT – If a batsman has been dismissed in both innings of a Test match, he could be described as this.

26a         Red Cross? (6,3,6)
HAMMER AND SICKLE – Cryptic definition of the crossed implements found on the Soviet flag.


1d           Group with sad record (3,4)
SET DOWN – A group or collection followed by another word for ‘sad’.

2d           Sleuth’s confused, being most dense (7)
LUSHEST – anagram (confused) of SLEUTH’S.

3d           The sure thing? (8,7)
DEFINITE ARTICLE – Another word for ‘sure’ or ‘fixed’, followed by another word for ‘thing’ or ‘object.

4d           Suspect BBC’s real game (8)
SCRABBLE – Anagram (suspect) of BBC’S REAL.

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5d           One gets stuck in, reaching a peak (3,3)
ICE AXE – Cryptic definition of a piece of mountaineering equipment.

6d           Artist making idol in advance or newly modelled? (8,2,5)
LEONARDO DA VINCI – Anagram (newly modelled) of IDOL IN ADVANCE OR.

7d           Young knight with a bouquet (7)
NASCENT – Put together the chess notation for a knight, A (from the clue), and another word for ‘bouquet’ (not one of flowers).

8d           Melancholy broadcast praised (7)
DESPAIR – Anagram (broadcast) of PRAISED.

15d         Abandoned action to limit very French uprising (8)
DESERTED – Reverse (uprising, in a Down clue) the French word for ‘very’, then wrap another word for an action or exploit around the result.

16d         Cook’s endless hostility over one’s fast (7)
CHEETAH – The chief cook in a restaurant, minus the last letter (endless), followed by the reversal (over) of a word for ‘hostility’, giving us a rapid animal.

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17d         Country doctor that’s injected one guy from the south (7)
VIETNAM – The Roman numeral for one is inserted into a type of doctor, followed by the reverse (from the south) of a word for a ‘guy’.

19d         Aboard boat, couple run to see landscape? (7)
ARTWORK – Put together another word for a couple and the cricket abbreviation for Run, then insert the result into the sort of boat that Noah built, to get something which may be a landscape.

20d         Don’t cover up a letter that was held by 6 Down? (7)
PALETTE – Hidden in the clue is something that the answer to 6d may have used.

21d         Somewhere in South America, got eaten by snake (6)
BOGOTA – GOT (from the clue) with a type of snake wrapped round it.

The Quick Crossword pun KNOW + BELLE + PRIES = NOBEL PRIZE

89 comments on “DT 29872

  1. I thought this was top notch and puzzle of the week for me. Slowish start but fast finish until a couple in the NE took me just into 2* time.
    In a very strong field I’ve awarded New Year’s (Eve) honours to 10&25a plus 3,15&16d.
    Many thanks to the setter for a great puzzle and DT for a likewise review.
    Ps….”batsman” in 25a has now been banished and replaced by the gender neutral (but very inelegant) “batter”. Tut tut setter!

        1. Was a woman what is wrong with batsman. When taking meetings I never minded being the chairman. Chairwoman sounds more like the cleaning lady and I certainly not approve of Chair.

        1. I’m afraid batter is descriptive of a type of pudding, often called a Yorkshire pudding, and will always temain so for me. To use it to describe a cricketer, male or female os risible.

          1. My Grandmother, a Yorkshire lass, always told me that a good Yorkshire pudding was made by angels. However, I think making a good England cricket team is beyond even angels.

            1. The rot started when they stopped the Gentlemen v Players match.
              The coach keeps on about taking positives from the defeats. The only positive (other than Covid tests) is that it is on BT so literally I am not losing any sleep over it.

          2. CC
            To me batter is what fish come in when bought from the chippy. Lovely dark golden brown and crunchy

          3. Oh Crisscross, I so agree. Your response is perfect. I am fed up with all this nonsensical changing of names.

    1. I was always proud to be the ChairMAN – thank goodness I never got called a Chair , I would have exploded.

    2. And what is the objection to calling one who wields a bat a batter. Crimbo yesterday, batter today. English is an interesting language, full of surprises. I love it

  2. 2.5*/4*. This was great fun to finish the year, and I would guess it was the work of Zandio.

    I got off to the worst possible start with 1a, having written straight in my immediate thought of “self-controlled” only to find an empty square at the end of my answer. :-( However all’s well that ends well and I got the right second word after I had a few checkers in place.

    The brilliant 26a was my favourite.

    Many thanks to Zandio and to DT. Many thanks too to CL for his selection of three of the best setters around for us to enjoy every Friday. They have very different styles but one thing in common – supremely good puzzles!

  3. Gentle fare for a Friday, I thought – but very enjoyable nonetheless.
    My favourites were the four long clues.
    Many thanks to our setter and DT and a happy new year to you all.

  4. Found this tough but doable although there were a few (like 1a) where the light bulb moment was the parsing not the answer. Thank goodness for getting a couple of the longer clues early.
    About right for Friday I thought.
    1a gets COTD with 16d close. Once saw a very emaciated mother with 2 cubs to feed run down a poor antelope, incredible speed.
    Thank you to setter and DT for the analysis and review

  5. A mixed bag of clues in this puzzle, which was moderately enjoyable (2*/3*). There were some enjoyable anagrams, the best of which was 6d. The cryptic definitions at 1a and 26a weren’t immediately obvious but fell into place once I had the checkers. However I couldn’t parse 9a and14a, so thanks to DT for the hints. Thanks to the compiler.

  6. I too needed all the checkers before the 2nd part of 1a revealed itself. 19d was a bit devilish too – I had OUTLOOK in mind and couldn’t see past it for a while. 26a gets the nod from a long list of ticks for its simplicity.
    Thanks to Deep Threat and setter and a happy new year to everyone.

  7. Add me to the checkers required for 2nd part of 1a club. Enjoyable solve, 19d gets my vote. Thanks to DT and today’s setter.

  8. What a wonderful puzzle to end the year. 12a caused me problems as did 5d – I couldn’t get “ice age” out of my mind. Solving was helped by getting the long ones early. Plenty of great clues and I have stars all over the paper but my favourite two are 16d and 10a with the latter being my COTD.

    Thanks to the setter for the fun and also to DT for the hints.

    Happy New Year to you all.

  9. A very enjoyable and straightforward puzzle to end the year (Toughie still to go of course). 25, 26a and 4d comprise my podium finishers. Great fun.

    Thanks to Zandio and DT.

  10. Put me down as another who struggled with the second word of 1a until a few checkers appeared.
    12a made me smile and I quite liked the wordplay of 14a although the answer was fairly obvious from the outset.
    Favourite was 3d.

    Thanks to Zandio(?) and to DT for the review and all the others he has furnished us with this year.

  11. Phew, that was really enjoyable and a welcome relief after yesterday’s slog. IMHO 5d is only just acceptably cryptic but 10a, 25a and 21d certainly made up for it. Thank you Mysteron and DT.

  12. By the way does anyone know if there’s been a newsletter this week as I haven’t received one? If so, can someone please forward it on to me.

  13. I thought that this was a top-rate puzzle to end the year. Thanks to the setter and to DT for his review (and for all his excellent reviews throughout the year).
    I’m looking no further than the top and bottom rows for the pick of the clues.
    Today’s Toughie is Micawber’s customary end-of-year puzzle – I thoroughly recommend it.

  14. Hello all, compiler here. Thanks for the analysis and discussion. I third Gazza’s recommendation of Micawber’s end-of-year Toughie. Have a good weekend.

    1. Thank you for popping in, Zandio and for today’s puzzle, which was immensely enjoyable, and all your puzzles in 2021. A very Happy and Healthy New Year to you and your loved ones.

    2. Many thanks for all the pleasure (and headaches) you have given us this year to take our minds off the misery that was 2021! Best wishes for 22.

    3. Many thanks for popping in and for all the entertainment you have provided us with throughout the year.

      I agree about today’s (not too tough) Toughie, but does your comment mean that your favoured position in the cricket field is Third Man? :wink:

  15. A very nice Friday puzzle. Good clues providing a middling challenge and much enjoyment. Plenty of ticks but no stand-out favourite this time. 3*, 4*.

    *I was well and truly thwarted attempting one of my favourite walks this morning. After a couple of hundred yards the footpath goes straight through a farmyard, enclosed on each side by buildings and at each end by gates/fences with stiles. The yard was completely full with a huge flock of large sheep, all with enormous curly horns! I wasn’t about to wade through that lot – I turned back…..

    1. PS. A big, heartfelt, thank you to BD, all the bloggers/reviewers and anyone else who helps in the background. And, thank you to all the setters too.

  16. A good end to 2021’s puzzles.
    Got the 4 long clues quite quickly which helped set the tone. The answer for 20d was a bung in because I didn’t see the well hidden lurker until I looked at the hints.
    I think there is a bottom line pun in the quickie – a shout out to those that delivered our Christmas cards.
    Happy New Year to all.

      1. Ah – I missed that – must be going ‘letter blind’ – and I’ve not even started the New Year snifters yet 😅

  17. A curate’s egg to end the year for me. It seems to be more difficult for me to get onto Zandio’s wavelength each time one of his puzzles is the Friday selection. ****/***.

    No stand out favourites but 10a raised a smile.

    Thanks to Zandio and DT. Bonne année!

  18. After trying desperately hard with yesterday’s Elgar this morning – and failing once again, I thought that this one was a doddle by comparison. In my view it was possiby the best back pager of the week. Great fun and most entertaining.

  19. By the way, Deep Threat, you are quite correct. I have Scottish blood in me and, as a child, was always told that you did not wish anyone a Happy New Year until New Year’s Day.

    1. I am not aware of any Scottish connections in our family, but my family (all bred south of Watford) always used to observe “first footing” on New Year’s Eve when my Uncle was sent out on the stroke of midnight to knock on our neighbours doors and wish them a Happy New Year. I think it was something to do with a tall, dark stranger being lucky? He was tall, and had a dark quiff of hair, so he got the job every time. Don’t imagine anyone who had gone to bed early was too pleased!

      1. I come from a Sassenach family too BL but well remember a tall, dark male first footing it annually at midnight across the threshold of our house bearing gifts of coal (for warmth), bread (for food), coins (for prosperity) and a wee dram (for good cheer).

        1. Yes you did. As I was tall and dark haired, I always got thrown out just before midnight armed with a lump of coal.

  20. A gentle puzzle to end the year with. Northeast last area in for me. 2*/3* for me today.
    Favourite candidates today include 10a, 12a, 13a, 22a & 4d with winner13a

    Thanks to Zandio and DT
    Here’s hoping for a better 2022 but realistically I think we will still be in this mess next Christmas too.

  21. What a nice finish to the Cruciverbal year. 20d was sheer genius and I liked 10 and 12a and all the rest as well. Many thanks to Deep Threat for explaining 9a I could not get Test out of my head. Another miserable NYE. I shall get my Angus sash out and have a drink or three and remember all the wonderful years gone by when we always had fantastic fancy dress parties. I remember one when a rather sober gentleman came in an ordinary sweater and we chastised him for not dressing up (the theme was opera) he insisted he was in costume, pointing to the embroidered AA on his jumper. ?
    Carmen. I have already thanked Zandio and I send best wishes out into the great beyond to all the familiar pseudonyms.

  22. I’ve risen from my sickbed to discover this wonderful, end-of-year gem from Zandio, clearly the week’s best for me. Having been felled by some apparent food poisoning earlier in the week (since Campbell’s on Monday), I struggled through the next three days’ cryptics but today’s 3d, 16d, and 9a, especially, gave me a new lease on life. So thanks to Zandio for revivifying me and to DT for the review, which luckily I didn’t need today. Happy New Year everyone! ** / *****

  23. Great puzzle to finish off 2021 – I likewise pondered a while over the second word in 1a but it all went quite smoothly in the end. My step-kids sent me some flowers for my birthday (10 days ago) via Waitrose in a box that didn’t quite fit through our letterbox so was obviously on the front door step for some time. I honestly thought they were completely dead but I followed the instructions and as if by magic they came back to life 24 hours later and are still amazing. Apparently they had been frozen Would really recommend these Waitrose flowers as they are fab. Anyway thanks to Zandio and DT for today and all the other setters and hinters throughout the year and see you all in 2022!

    1. I had some like that . Not Waitrose and I forget the name of the company. They were left on the step rather than the letter box. I too followed the instructions and to my surprise they sprang back to life and were lovely.

  24. Some tricky moments today. Favourite 26a. ***/*** A happy new year to one and all, early or otherwise. I will either be sound asleep or comatose through other means by midnight. Let’s live in hope that there is more to celebrate next year. Thanks to all the setters, bloggers and SL and Jose for always having the explanations to the mysteries of the universe. No idea how you do it.

  25. 12a, the old box brownie. I remember it well. The exciting wait to see what had developed-usually 11 out of focus and 1 with a thumb on the lens. Simple days but happy and on that note a Happy New Year to all.

  26. I too thought it was a really good puzzle to end 2021. 1a was a great clue too for which I needed DT’s clarification. Thanks to all setters and hinters for your entertaining work and help in improving my crossword skills this second year of Covid.

  27. After yesterday this was like the sun that shone in the East today ***/****😃 Favourites were 22a, 26a and 16d & 21d. Thanks to Deep Threat and to Zandio and a big thank you to everyone on the blog or involved with it in 2021 and hopefully a Prosperous and healthy 2022🤗 to all

  28. Just what the doctor ordered to see off the old year. 5hanks to DT for the blog and thanks to Zandio for the entertainment. See you all next year

  29. I’m days behind with the crossword, so can’t comment on today, but I just wanted to pop in and thank all the fantastic bloggers, compilers and commentators on this wonderful site. I don’t post very regularly but I do get to do every cryptic and read every blog albeit not always on the day. Wishing everyone a happy and above all healthy New Year. Here’s hoping that things improve all around 🙏

  30. Thanks Zandio for a great firework to see off a dreadful year. So many good clues and smooth surfaces, I look forward to all the Fridays of 2022! Thanks also to DT for explaining how I somehow managed to solve 1a!

  31. My heart sank at 1a as I thought it was going to be a really tricky puzzle. The first word was obvious, but the second eluded me. Thankfully, from then on my concerns dissipated as the clues steadily provided the answers. I paused at 14a as the answer just seemed too obvious. LOL moment at 10a. Thanks to Zandio and Deep Threat. Too early for the Scots, but Happy New Year everyone! 🎉 🎈 🎊.

  32. Now that’s more like it. A super puzzle that asks questions of the reader but makes perfect sense. Someone should send this to Giovanni as an example of what a good crossword puzzle should be. My fav was 22a, clever, elegant and requiring thought.
    Thx DT for a huge improvement over yesterdays ghastly offering.
    Thx to all

  33. Thanks Zandio for a beauty, appreciated 1a & 3d most. Thanks DT for the parsing of 20d, just glad I wasn’t the only one to miss the lurker. Nice to get an animal doctor on the first day of my retirement. Henceforth to be known as gr I suppose.

    1. I’m sure you have earned your retirement. Enjoy it. Don’t feel guilty. Make the weekends special and avoid all attempts anybody might make to get you back in the fold

  34. I enjoyed that one. I found it quite tough but some fun clues. I think my lateral thinking abilities are on the wane.

  35. My iPad has conked out, woe is me! I can’t imagine life without it. Perfect crossword, most enjoyable, I only needed some e-help in the SE. Like everyone else, I needed some checkers for the second word in 1a. Fave was 3d but there was so much to like, eg 26a.
    Thanks Zandio for the fun and DT for unravelling couple.
    I wish everyone a Happy 2022, we really need it after this miserable one.

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