DT 29889 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 29889

  • Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 29889

Hints and tips by StephenL

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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

Good morning from a gloriously sunny South Devon, where the daffodils in my front garden have reared their heads, always a welcome sight.

I found today’s puzzle on the tricky side but as ever great fun.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a        Shock from Conservative in chosen path (11)
ELECTROCUTE:  Start with a (relevent) synonym of chosen. Add a path or direction into which the abbreviation for Conservative is inserted

10a      Writer reflected in someone’s bibliography (5)
IBSEN:  Hidden and reversed (reflected in) in the clue

11a      Sat in bow, nervously embracing a sailor (9)

BOATSWAIN:  Anagram (nervously) of the preceding three words plus (embracing) A from the clue

12a      Footprint Rover trailed catching lone wolf (9)
INTROVERT:  A well disguised lurker (catching)

13a      Temper iron, not using right equipment initially (5)
INURE:  First letters (initially) of the preceding five words

14a      Changed direction using diplomacy, we hear (6)

TACKED: A homophone (we hear) of a synonym of diplomacy gives a nautical change of direction

16a      Decline of a gent, oddly in condition (8)
STAGNATE:  A from the clue plus the odd letters of GeNt inside a synonym of a condition or situation

18a      Some aggro under stand for game (8)

ROUNDERS:  Another lurker (some)


20a      Time off in bay? (6)
RECESS:  Double definition, the first often used to describe the temporary closure of parliament

23a      Greek character seen in water colour (5)
SEPIA:  A 2-letter Greek character is surrounded by (seen in) a large body of water

24a      Messiah takes over Queen singer (9)

CHORISTER:  Insert the abbreviation for Over into the title given to Jesus (takes over) and add the 2-letter royal cypher

26a      Former treasure, right raver (9)
EXTROVERT:   We have the diametric of 12a here. Start with the usual short prefix meaning former add a store of valuable things and finish with the abbreviation for RighT

27a      On river sits large bird (5)

OUSEL:  The abbreviation for Large is added to a Yorkshire river

28a      Naughty sprite let go mischievous spirit (11)
POLTERGEIST:  Anagram (naughty) of the following three words

2d        Musician could produce record for the audience (5)

LISZT:  Homophone (for the audience) of a synonym of a record or menu gives a Hungarian musician/composer well known in cockney rhyming slang. I’ll say no more

3d        Prisoner executed getting pardon

CONDONE:  The usual short form of a prisoner plus (getting) a synonym of executed or completed

4d        Stones namely covered by Strokes (6)
RUBIES:  The two letters that can mean namely or “that is” are inserted into (covered by) a synonym of strokes. Ignore the capitalisation, it’s not the band

5d        Abstinence having caught rash accepting sex (8)

CHASTITY:  Start with the cricket abbreviation for Caught. Add a synonym of rash (not the spots but an adjective) and insert this setter’s favourite synonym of sex

6d        Burdening trial’s opening with questioning (7)

TASKING: Initial letter (opening) of Trial plus a straightforward synonym of questioning

7d        Impartial test desired in crashes (13)
DISINTERESTED:  Anagram (crashes) of the preceding three words

8d        Settled charge around university is steep (8)

SATURATE: Steep here is a verb. A synonym of settled as in rested and a charge or price are placed around the abbreviation for University

9d        Lunatic inanely curses for nothing (13)

UNNECESSARILY:  Anagram (lunatic) of the following two words

15d      Strange sweetheart’s after cold pancakes (8)

CRUMPETS:  A synonym of strange or odd follows the abbreviation for Cold. Add a term of endearment or sweetheart in the conventional sense, not forgetting the S

17d      Dearest father purchases cut diamonds (8)
PRICIEST:  A religious father goes around (purchases) some diamonds minus (cut) their last letter

19d      Old pitch support overturned game (7)

DIABOLO:  Start with the abbreviation for Old. Add a synonym of pitch as a verb and some support or help. Reverse (overturned) the lot to give a game I’d never heard of, apparently known as Chinese yo-yo

21d      Example of first person in record book (7)

EPITOME:  A first person pronoun is inserted between an old record played on a turntable and a large book

22d      Medical officer is opening, holding court (6)

DOCTOR:  An opening goes around (holding) the abbreviation for CourT.

25d      Occasionally, then, site’s revealing stretches (5)
TESTS:  The occasional letters of ThEn SiTeS

In a very strong field my winners are 12 & 24 across plus 4, 5, 15 & 17 down. Which ones floated your boat?

Quickie Pun Truce + Tory = True Story


121 comments on “DT 29889

  1. 2*/5*. What a great crossword week this is turning out to be. Today we have RayT absolutely at the top of his game with all his hallmarks on display.

    My top three were 23a, 5d & 21d.

    Many thanks to RayT and to SL. Very best wishes to Kath too. Here’s hoping she’ll pop in to see us later.

    P.S. For crossword addicts looking for more, there is an excellent Silvanus Toughie today.

  2. Quite a handful this ***/**** but very well put together. I liked the well printed reverse lurker in 12a, and thought 1a my LOI and 4d both tremendous. The latter gets my COTD. The numerous anagrams helped to oil the wheels throughout. With thanks to Stephen and the setter from an equally sunny Plymouth.

  3. I thought this gem by Ray T was absolutely wonderful, with not a dud in the grid. Ticks all over the place, with 24a, 4d, 5d, 8d, & 21d leading the pack. The game was new to me but cleverly clued. Many thanks for his crisp review to StephenL (‘Great stuff’, SL!) and kudos to Mr T. 2.5* / 5*

    But not to be outdone is today’s unusually friendly Toughie by Silvanus, which I joyfully finished late last night.

    1. Hi Robert, continuing on books ; you have probably made up your mind on the Rebus books by Ian Rankin. If it’s favourable then you should try, if you haven’t already, the the Laidlaw trilogy by William McIlvanney. They are even a touch grimmer Scottish detective novels than the Rebus but Rankin hails them as an inspiration. He has just published a new Laidlaw from notes found after McIlvanney’s death. I would be interested in your thoughts. Corky.

      1. Not of Robert’s standing but read Rankin’s completion and felt it fell between two stools somewhat unsuccessfully.

      2. Sorry I’m so late replying, Corky and LROK: To my mind, Rankin has set the contemporary standard for his genre. I’ve read them all, of course, and look forward to every new Rebus instalment. I also enjoy his end-of-year newsletter, which, in his typical way, masterfully directs us to other worthy writers, musicians, and artists in general. I haven’t read McIlvanney but am sure to do so now. My problem these days? Time! I feel that I’m rushing against the clock (and when will I get to re-read all the great works of literature that I spent a lifetime enjoying, huh?!). Cheers, Corky and LROK.

  4. I can only add my admiration for a magnificent puzzle that was pleasingly testing and a joy to complete. No particular favourite as the whole grid is worthy of praise.

    My thanks to Mr T and to SL.

  5. Always psyched up for a Thursday puzzle.
    Today’s is Ray T at his best.
    Never disappoints.
    In *** time, last in 5d.
    Many thanks indeed Ray T and thanks to StephenL, especially for the Stones.

  6. I found the top half to be quite difficult and the lower half a steady solve,going for a ***/****
    Agree with RD that this has been an excellent crossword week.
    Failed to parse last in 13a, nevermind, thanks SL.
    Hard to pick a favourite,liked the charades 19d 16a and 24a.
    Many thanks to our setter and SL for the music.

  7. What a great week for back page puzzles. I really enjoyed this one. A little tougher than usual so a I allowed myself a smug smile upon completion. Thanks to StephenL and RayT. The Toughie by Silvanus is excellent as usual

  8. Yippee – it’s dream team week with Ray T on the ‘almost’ back-page and Silvanus bringing us the Toughie!
    Took a while to see beyond my first thought for the ending of 1a, despite knowing full well that it didn’t gel with the definition but no other hiccoughs to report.
    Top marks went to 1,12&23a plus 21d.

    Devotions as always to Mr T and many thanks to Stephen for the review.
    A shout out to Kath, hope she pops in later.

  9. I found this a little tougher than some. 20a was pencilled in as LEAVES but of course, I couldn’t find anything ending V for 8d so I had a caffeination break and rethought it. I wondered about the antonyms in 12 and 26a but RayT clued them beautifully.
    21d my favourite today but a long list of other contenders is a sign of a satisfactory puzzle.
    Thanks to RayT and StephenL and best wishes to Kath too.

  10. For me, more of a head scratcher than usual from Mr T but just as enjoyable – 3.5*/4*.

    Favourite – a toss-up between 26a and 17d – and the winner is 26a.

    Thanks to Mr T and Stephen L and continuing thoughts and prayers for Kath.

  11. There’s been a few cryptics as the free daily puzzle recently which has been nice for me (I only get the printed paper on Saturday nowadays) and for this one I had a day off and could settle to it after brunch, sitting (indoors) in the sun, what could be nicer! Particularly as I managed to finish in one sitting – after getting some early across clues on first read through and thinking it would be easy, I soon slowed to more of a walking pace then to a crawl over the line after cracking 8A to finish off some linked gaps in NE. Very satisfying solve, many thanks to setter and blogger (though for once I didn’t need any hints or solutions, yay!). I liked the 12A/26A linked solutions!

  12. Top notch. Had to confirm exactly what the 19d game was (not what I thought) but an otherwise straightforward solve. MP & RD have mentioned what a great week so far for puzzles & last week was terrific also so by my count it’s at least 11 excellent back-pagers on the bounce. 5d my clear favourite today.
    Thanks to RT&SL.

  13. A wonderful Ray T over my morning coffee at Booka, the award winning independent book shop in Oswestry. Perfect for my 75th!

    Ray T was on form and, for once, I was on wavelength. Terrific clues galore with lots of pennies falling and forehead slapping going on. The lurker at 12a was extremely well hidden – so much so that I forgot Miffypop’s rule and tried every which way to solve it. I had ticks all over the paper again but stand out clues for me were 23a and 5d with the aforementioned 12a being my COTD.

    Many thanks to Ray T for the fun and to StephenL for the hints, a couple of which I needed.

    Sunny day here in the Marches if a little cold.

    Wordle in 2.

            1. My 1st 4 were all wrong which conditioned my second line so you can’t discount that attempt.
              My final score was 3.
              I think the important statistic is the length of the run without a fail.
              I am currently at 8.
              Reported as 3, 8.

            2. Yes, I suppose that’s right. As LOK suggests, even if your first guess is all wrong it still helps because at least you know up to 5 ltetters that can’t be in your second guess. I’m stating the obvious, really…..

            1. I did well with first word, got three of the letters, one being in the right place. Very happy birthday.

                1. Happy 75th Birthday, Steve. I will be sharing the same number in March. Where has the time gone to?

                  Whilst on the subject of bookshops have you visited Aardvark Books at:

                  The Bookery
                  Manor Farm
                  Brampton Bryan
                  Herefordshire SY7 0DH

                  Well worth a visit if in the area. Closed on Mondays.

                  1. Many Happy Returns Steve. I shall be joining the three quarters of a century brigade in August. Time flies when you’re having fun!🥳🥂

                    1. Thank you, Chris. I will raise a glass to you in August. So far I have found 75 to be much the same as previous years! 🤣

                  2. Not visited yet, Hilary but we hope to go to Hay on Wye sometime to browse. We could look it up then.

                    Thank you for my birthday wishes. Mrs. C and I have had a great day.

    1. Happy Birthday, Steve, and I applaud your choice of venue for your morning coffee – how I wish I still lived within reach of my favourite independent book shop. Mind you, I always spent a small fortune whenever I visited and by the look of the email from Scottish Power informing me by how much they plan to increase my monthly direct debit, perhaps it’s just as well my visits have been curtailed!

      1. Booka is a fabulous place, Isn’t it, Jane. Also a rather dangerous place because you want to buy loads. I like murder mysteries( currently reading the Michael Brady books by Mark Richards set in and around Whitby) and I found “Snow” by John Banville. It’s set in Co. Wexford and takes place in a mansion while snow falls steadily. I couldn’t resist it but it is my birthday! Mind you, I could well end upon not liking it but if I don’t give it a go… :grin: Thank you for your good wishes.

        1. Not the same fabulous place, Steve. My haunt was SimplyBooks in Bramhall, Cheshire but when I moved to Anglesey that became a habit of the past. They do, however, issue newsletters and offer deliveries so I’m still somewhat hooked!
          They run book club meetings in the shop and every book they sell has a critique written by a member of the club written alongside it. Perfect for introducing folk to authors they may not have previously come across.

          1. SimplyBooks looks like the same kind of place as Booka. Great to see independent bookshops thriving.

    2. Happy birthday from me also, I reached that magic number last month. It still surprises me when asked how old I am.

    3. Is that 75th birthday, Steve? Happy, happy birthday to you, you’ve got some way to catch up!

  14. This began as quite a simple task, but then I began to slow. A phone call then caused a hiatus whilst I stripped to the waist and dug out the contents of a blocked drain with my bare hands. My arm was numb with cold after just 5 minutes.

    A hot shower and giant cup of tea allowed me to resume solving, and I finished in a *** time. I don’t think these nails will be the same again.

    Thanks to Ray T and StephenL.

    1. Oh dear, MalcolmR, you have just reminded me that I have a blocked drain to deal with!

      1. Talking of drains, I haven’t got a blocked one, but have to install a new one. I acquired a bungalow last year and the rear and gable footpaths both slope to a low point on the rear corner. When it rains heavily, a huge puddle develops and it takes about 24 hours to disperse. I need to install a drain gulley at the corner with a pipe under the garden to a manhole about 3 metres away. When it gets a little warmer and drier, that will be my first biggish project of the year. I’m actually quite looking forward to tackling it.

    2. A spate of blocked drains today. I have had one to deal with too. It must be all those leaves clogging them up.
      I have a hooky thing that appears to have fallen off a fire engine – it has a bit of red hose attached to a long hook. I guess they use it to get cats out of trees. I however find it most useful at clearing the leaves out of our drain.

      1. Our local guy has a rod with a camera on it and can see the blockage. When he sees what it is he has a rod with a circular saw on the end to cut through it.

        He has had to deal with many country drains!

  15. Another fine puzzle from Ray T, somewhat above average difficulty for a back-pager. Great clues, a reasonable challenge and very enjoyable. Favourite of an excellent bunch: 5d. 3.25*/4*.

  16. For a RayT I did quiet well, only had two wrong, 19 and 21d. Not as obscure as his normal offerings, one day I will get his measure ( hopefully). Thanks to all.

  17. An excellent puzzle and unusually for me, a fine result considering I normally struggle with a Ray T production, no new words today and Mrs 2P came to the rescue with the devilish game!
    Thanks to Stephen L and to Ray T

  18. RayT always makes quite a demand on my thinking cap but it’s usually worth the effort and today was a case in point. NW hung in there until last. 27a also held fire due to using alternative spelling Fav was 5d. Thank you RayT and StephenL.

  19. Apart from inputting the wrong word at 1a and being baffled by 8d and 12a, found this not too tricky. I thought the surfaces of the clues were pretty wonderful. Thank you Ray, and Stephen.

  20. Found this a very tough puzzle, but then again I find Ray T. a tough taskmaster most weeks. For me today I was a DNF on 4 clues and rate this 4*/3*
    Didn’t help that 27a & 19d were new words for me on top of it all.
    However, there were some clues I liked and gelled with like 1a, 8a, 24a, 3d, 15d & 22d and no favourite but top 2 had to be 1a & 22d … very clever both of them.

    Thanks to Ray T and StephenL

      1. Wordle in 4 for me. Not so good as yesterday which was 3 and quicker. It is only my third day. First day I got nothing!

  21. Thank you, Stephen, for the hints; I used 4, after failing to finish it by myself. Though that’s far further than I normally manage with a Ray T puzzle, so it still feels like a success.

    I knew 19d, but thought it was a toy rather than a game.

    12a is one of the ones I didn’t get, and is probably my favourite given it’s lurking so well it managed to stay hidden from me.

      1. Yes, you (and the setter, and the dictionary) are correct. It’s just I hadn’t encountered it used that way before, considering it more like a yo-yo or juggling clubs that somebody may perform some tricks with, rather than a contest with scoring or winners or something. It seemed to fit, so I looked it up, found it, and learnt something!

  22. Is anyone else having difficulty accessing this site? I can’t open it from the email today but have to go to the main site – any suggestions? Another great puzzle today so thanks to all.

    1. I have had 2 emails today and get a 404 on one of them but I get in eventually like yourself.

  23. Rarely have I had so much fun scratching my head. Many thanks to SL, RayT and many happy returns SC.
    I bet The Strokes wish they could have been the next Stones. As it is their debut Is This It? turned out to be aptly titled. What a great clue.

  24. Phew, that gave the grey matter a good workout, there is life in the old dog yet!
    Why is ‘Strokes’ capitalised in 4d? Seems very odd and unconventional?
    Lots of great clues, I was pleased to get 19d, as I had never heard of the definition but worked it out from the wordplay.
    Thanks Stephen and Ray-T.

    1. Hi Hoofit
      Setters sometimes use “false capitalisation” to mislead us and trick us into thinking of a proper noun. If, as in this case it’s compatible with the surface (there is a band called The Strokes) then it’s ok and not unconventional.

  25. Hardest of the week but got there with a few sticking points. Last in and least favourite was 8d. I do hate it when all the checkers are vowels. Also had trouble with 13a but having told myself to look out for initial letters a couple of days ago I forgot. Also took a while to get the mischievous spirit. Favourites 12 16 and 23a and 4 5 15 and 21d. Thanks Mr T and StephenL.

  26. Another excellent brain teaser. Some really good lurkers, and I liked the linked clues altogether first class. Many thanks Ray T and Stephen L for the hints. It is SO cold here, is it because I am less active or is it the blood thinners? I have so many layers on I can barely move. My raisins in gin are plumping up nicely, I am looking forward to starting the treatment! Best Thursday wishes to Kath.

  27. I found this on the tricky side, but I will blame it on residual effects of the numbing agent I received yesterday. Had to smile at 12a and 26a being in the same crossword. But needed too many hints today so low on satisfaction. Thanks to Ray T and StephenL. Best wishes to Kath if she is looking in.
    Thanks also for the well wishes I received yesterday. I was told to expect possibly 1-2 days before the steroid kicks in, but touch wood, not experiencing any side effects.

  28. I’m bucking the trend here, not unusually I found this beyond me. Full disclosure, I’m in a foul mood today as, for the third time in a year, the Telegraph tell me that they can’t find my subscription. I’ve learnt that I don’t have the backbone to fight the gremlins in the DT, so I just subscribe again; I’ve given them my annual subscription on 29th May, 11th November and now 20th January. Yesterday I had my antivirus programme try to con me out of $90, it cost me $40 to get the Geek Squad in India to sort me out; it saved me $90 but still cost me money. At this rate I’ll be left with none. And then I get this puzzle as a reward for my triple annual subscription! It makes you want to give up.
    Rant over, back to my hole under the rock.

      1. I didn’t really perceive this to be one of Ray T’s finest either, Merusa. It was very tricky and, whilst I completed it, there were 3 clues I couldn’t parse (4*/2*). The best part was the two big anagrams at 7d and 9d. A bit of a alog. Thanks to Stephen and Ray T. I don’t know why but I’ve only just been able to connect with the blo. All I could get was the ‘ Big Dave is aleeping message.

  29. OMG ITMA! The usual impenetrable clues interspersed with definitions that make sense.
    As always I found this far more difficult than most of you and far less enjoyable. Life’s too short for a typical Ray T crossword.
    Thx for the hints

      1. That’s a first MP – I don’t think that I have ever seen the words “happy” and “Brian” in the same sentence before. ;-) ;-)

  30. All good fun today but difficult – it’s taken me for ages but that doesn’t matter.
    I admit that I haven’t yet caught onto all this malarkey Wordle stuff – oh well – do I care – probably not!
    Thanks to Ray T and to StephenL.

    1. Great to hear from you, Kath. Don’t worry about Wordle – I’ve managed to avoid it quite successfully thus far!

    2. Lovely to hear from you Kath. I have struggled with today’s offering and needed to resort to too many Hints. I haven’t even looked at Wordle yet. Step at a time. Take good care.

    3. Kath, I’ve decided that there’s not enough time in my 72-hour days for a Worldle, though I’ve been so tempted. How are things in Oxford? Greetings again from the Carolinas where we are told that an ice storm is possible here along the S Carolina coast by Friday night. I do hope not.

  31. I also found this tricky 😳 Though the two long anagrams on the vertical edges were a great help 😃 ****/*** Favourites 23 & 27 across. Thanks to Stephen L and to Ray T

  32. Surprised myself as everything went smoothly.
    Only took a couple of tries for the spelling of 9d.
    Thanks to RayT and to StephenL for the review. I believe it’s the first time I comment on your blog. Welcome to the chair.
    A very very happy birthday to Mr Cowling.

  33. My wife looks at me oddly when I say with a smile that it’s Rayday, as if I’ve finally forgotten which day of the week it is! But I know what I mean.
    Today’s pleasure had all the usual trademarks, including the saucy 5d, royal 24a and one of his various sweethearts in 15d. Many thanks, Ray T. (and SL for the hints and Stones clip).

  34. Having admitted that I found the toughie harder than most earlier, I’m going to puff my chest out and say I found this more straightforward than most. I’m not sure how that works. Best crossword of the week imho. Top notch. Favourite was the brilliantly disguised lurker in 12a, my last in, I had the answer before I spotted it. Many thanks to Rayt and SL.

  35. 4*/4*…..
    liked 28A ” Naughty sprite let go mischievous spirit (11) “….
    & 12A ” Footprint Rover trailed catching lone wolf (9) “…my LOI

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