DT 29896 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 29896

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 29896

Hints and tips by Deep Threat

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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

Good morning from South Staffs, and Happy Birthday to Big Dave’s blog, which is now a teenager:

One or two less common words slowed me up somewhat in finishing today’s crossword, but all of them could be worked out from the checkers.

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           Pour tea drink over flyer (2,6)
BE MOTHER – An alcoholic drink wrapped round a flying insect, producing a colloquial phrase for being in charge of the teapot.

6a           Assistant‘s job to keep record (6)
DEPUTY – A job or task wrapped round an abbreviation for a type of gramophone record.

9a           One beginning gallop energetically, but not all (6)
OPENER – Hidden in the clue.

10a         Clumsy and sluggish tackling ten exercise classes (8)
INEXPERT – Put together the Roman numeral for ten and school exercise classes, then insert the result into a word for ‘sluggish’.

11a         Revolutionary urge with several revolting (8)
GRUESOME – Anagram  (revolutionary) of URGE followed by another word for ‘several’.

12a         Soft fruit dropping on common (6)
MELLOW – Remove the ON from a type of large fruit, then add a word for ‘common’ or ‘base’.

13a         Peculiarity of noisy cry as I’d roused (12)
IDIOSYNCRASY – anagram (roused) of NOISY CRY AS I’D.

16a         Turning sickly in cup, a yellowish-brown soup (12)
MULLIGATAWNY – Reverse (turning) a word for ‘sickly’ and put it inside a large cup. Then add A (from the clue) and a word for ‘yellowish-brown’.

19a         Have beef joint after whiskey (6)
WHINGE – The letter represented by Whiskey in the NATO alphabet, followed by a type of joint which allows the joined pieces to move relative to each other.

21a         Board cut here, paring edges (8)
TRENCHER – A cut in the ground followed by the inside letters (paring edges) of hERe, giving us an old word for a board or platter.

Trencher (tableware) - Wikipedia

23a         Unity in company hour before commotion returned (8)
COHESION – Put together an abbreviation for ‘company’, an abbreviation for ‘hour’, and the reverse (returned) of a word for ‘commotion’.

24a         Annoying liars oddly ignored by monarch (6)
IRKING – The even-numbered letters (oddly ignored) of lIaRs, followed by a male monarch.

25a         I follow after father leaves (6)
FRISEE – An abbreviation for ‘father’ used in writing the form of address to a priest, followed by a phrase (1,3) for ‘I follow’ or ‘I understand’, producing some salad leaves.

Frisee Information and Facts

26a         Plant western doctor inserted in nose (8)
SNOWDROP – Put together abbreviations for Western and ‘doctor’, then wrap a word for ‘nose’ or ‘pry’ around the result.

Snowdrop | The Wildlife Trusts


2d           Show right way to trade (6)
EXPORT – A shortened form of the word for a trade show, followed by an abbreviation for ‘right’.

3d           Scrap spring not opening (5)
OUNCE – Remove the first letter (not opening) from the sort of spring that a cat may make on a mouse.

4d           Agonising hard over stick for shooting in golf (9)
HARROWING – Put together an abbreviation for Hard, the sort of stick which is shot out of a bow, IN (from the clue) and the letter represented by Golf in the NATO alphabet.

5d           They attack people on horseback surrounding area (7)
RAIDERS – A generic term for people on horseback wrapped round an abbreviation for Area.

6d           Graduate regularly neared elevated ambition (5)
DREAM – Put together the letters after the name of a senior Arts graduate and alternate letters (regularly) of nEaReD, then reverse (elevated) the result.

7d           Usually turned up in criminal payroll (9)
POPULARLY – Anagram (criminal) of PAYROLL, wrapped round the reverse (turned) of UP (from the clue).

8d           One’s unhurried love is put into cake (8)
TORTOISE – Put together the letter that looks like a love score at tennis and IS (from the clue), then wrap a German word for a rich, usually multilayered, cake that is filled with whipped cream, buttercreams, mousses, jams, or fruit around the result.

13d         Is first to like Scandinavian name for Brits, perhaps (9)
ISLANDERS – Put together IS (from the clue), the first letter of Like, and a Scandinavian first name, equivalent of ‘Andrew’ in English, to get a description of people living in Britain.

14d         Dodging mice, oxen bearing wide somewhere in America (3,6)
NEW MEXICO – Anagram (dodging) of MICE OXEN, wrapped round the abbreviation for a wide in cricket, producing an American state.

15d         When arteries may get clogged up? (4,4)
RUSH HOUR – Cryptic definition, where the arteries are main roads, not blood vessels.

17d         Two Greek characters involved in case of this disease (7)
TETANUS – The outside letters (case) of ThiS are placed either side of the names of two Greek letters, producing a nasty disease also known as lockjaw.

18d         Shelter repaired late on (4-2)
LEAN-TO – Anagram (repaired) of LATE ON.

20d         Send away text files, both unprotected (5)
EXILE – Remove the outer letters (both unprotected) from tEXt fILEs.

22d         Put in liquor barrel, son’s left to get plastered (5)
CAKED – Remove the abbreviation for Son from a word for ‘put in barrel’, and you get plastered, but in mud, not alcohol.

The Quick Crossword pun STAY + CAKE + LAME = STAKE A CLAIM

91 comments on “DT 29896

  1. Firstly, and most importantly, a very Happy 13th Birthday to this wonderful site, with heartfelt thanks to Big Dave for sharing his baby with us all. Daily use of the site has become an indispensable way of life for so many of us.

    We have a very fitting and really enjoyable puzzle from Mr 4X to mark the occasion. My rating is 2.5*/4.5*.

    I don’t think I have come across 25a before, which was my last one in. It fell into place by following the well-disguised definition and instructions, and finally checking my BRB to confirm that the word does exist.

    With plenty of choice for a podium selection, I am going to settle on 1a (great definition), 16a (splendidly revolting surface) & 15d (excellent CD).

    Many thanks to proXimal and to DT.

    1. I echo RD’s first para. As a lurker for the past 4 years, I have learned so much from everyone involved on this site on a daily basis. As RD says, this site is now an indispensable way of life and provides so much fun. Happy birthday Big Dave and heartfelt thanks for your creation. Also, huge thanks to Miffypops for his recommendation the other day on digital subscriptions. Telephoned the Telegraph this afternoon and reduced my annual subscription payment from £174.30 to £55.00 with no loss of all I need. DT very obliging, plus a refund. Additionally, more thanks I think to Daisygirl who recommended ‘Glucosamine with Emu Oil’ gel some time ago for arthritis. Wouldn’t be without it, nor any friends/family to whom I have gifted. And now we have Wordle. Another huge thank you to all.

  2. I made heavier weather of this than necessary, I thought, once solved. So pleased to hear it was the work of ProXimal with whom I usually struggle. Completely agree with RD re 16a, not sure I’ll ever have that again! Thanks to ProXinal, Deep Threat and to Big Dave for the hard work he, and all of the bloggers, has put into building this community for 13years :).

  3. Happy Birthday to the blog almost as essential to my daily routine as the first cup of tea of the morning, and thanks BD for all the tremendous work you’ve put in over the years.
    As for the puzzle, very enjoyable indeed, a double dose of the X man, with yesterday’s Toughie and this one which I felt was bordering on that territory so ideal for a Friday.
    Unusually for a back pager it took me two sittings but loved it, with 1&19a plus 8d being on my podium, 1a possibly being clue of the week for me. Great stuff.
    Many thanks ProXimal and DT for the top notch entertainment.

  4. I’m afraid I was one short, 25a, I am pretty sure I have never seen the word before. My **** time was not helped by my mis-spelling of 13a, leading to a delay with 8d.

    Many thanks to the setter and DT.

      1. Me too. Yes, it was an anagram so no excuse, but I can’t tell you how many times my cockiness and arrogance (sure I know it, why check) gets me into trouble and I still can’t learn my lesson. I’m so mad at myself.

    1. Me too on 25a, but also on 21a, both words I’ve never heard of and soon to be forgotten 🥴

  5. Very tough I felt. Solved unaided (I don’t count checking a word obtained from the wordplay as “aid”, more confirmation) it caused much staring at blank spaces and sudden spurts of inspiration. Although I had heard of trencherman I had not heard of a trencher and, like RD 25a was new.
    Also concur with RD on his choices for podium places.
    Thanks to proXimal and DT.
    Happy anniversary to the site. Thanks to BD starting it and for all the work over the years that has gone into making it so pleasurable for many of us. Also to the team of contributors for their considerable efforts to make it all happen.
    Wordle in 5 today

  6. A magnificent puzzle to celebrate the 13th anniversary of this august site. I thought hard at ****/**** with some fabulous clues including 1 and 19a and 4d. I somehow dredged up the rather obscure 25a from the back of my mind and that was my LOI. With thanks to DT and the setter.

  7. I echo the very heartfelt and positive sentiments expressed above by my fellow commenters, who, although we have never met, feel like old friends. If any are missing on a day to day basis I always come back later to check up on them.

    As for this great puzzle, there is not much to add, other than to co-nominate 1a as COTD and pass on my thanks and admiration to proXimal and also to DT.

  8. Happy Birthday and huge thanks to Big Dave. I was a lurker for about seven years and now a ‘contributor’ for about three years.

    I found this rather hard and needed a few tips from The Splendid DT, but I did enjoy solving the ones I could unravel.

    Today’s crossword soundtrack: The Sugarcubes – Birthday

    Thanks to the setter, Big Dave, and The Splendid DT.

  9. Difficult to tune in today,lots of head scratching!
    Filled in the right hand side then eventually the left,last in was 1a, my D’oh moment and a brilliant favourite, followed closely by 15d,excellent cluing throughout ,25a was new to me,needed the checking letters.
    Happy aniversary indeed,many thanks to our setter and DT for the pics ,like Naz going for a ****/****

  10. proXimal a little more challenging than usual with, for me, a new variety of salad leaves and a NW corner that was last to fall even though I knew the fourth X was in there somewhere – ***/****.

    Candidates for favourite – 1a, 23a, 13d, and 15d – and the winner is 1a.

    Thanks to proXimal and DT.

  11. I am about to complete my second year as a member of this brotherhood and sisterhood of extraordinarily kind, talented, and wonderful people who have welcomed me in such generous ways. Congratulations and many thanks to Big Dave for this daily manna that, to echo Stephen, has become essential to my life and has added worlds of meaning to my locked-down existence over here. Today’s brilliant puzzle is just one more reason for my thanksgiving. I toiled toward the end, with 25a new to me (but very fairly clued) and 21a, my LOI, a fortuitous bung-in. I thought that 1a was a brilliant opening (I have always loved that expression) for the glories that followed, especially 16a, 4d, & 19a. Loved this puzzle! Thanks to DT and proXimal for all of the pleasures that both of you have given me. *** / *****

  12. A great test today from a top-notch compiler.

    Just a quick point of order…

    How do we know that a 8d doesn’t hurry?

    Just because they are slow, compared to us, they could be sprinting all the time, like Alice’s mucker, White Rabbit, for all we know.

    (you know it’s a great shout)

    1. Hi, only making comments at the moment, but could not resist! Holiday near Dubrovnik, look and garden, with 8″ high walls bordering the edges! Because the lady kept a pair of breeding tortoises! !! One lawn as the crib, babies well confined and under trees and plants. Adults not! Adults all over garden, walks climbed very quickly! Poolside crossed at great rate to get into vegetable patch! Slower on the way back!! A great week of tortoise education! Our landlady said she tried bigger walls but adults never failed to get over, so she concentrated on the youngsters who were more vunerable!! They lived her cake!!!

    2. G273. I was going to respond but after 4 minutes, 37.89 seconds of deliberation I’ve decided not to.

    3. Oh, go on, I will then. Yes, tortoises, when pursued by a predator, can move surprisingly fast. The’ve been recorded reaching speeds of between 30 and 40 FPH!

      *Don’t forget, my comments are sometimes not altogether serious and might contain daft (but friendly) humour/sarcasm.

      1. Like it, Jo South East. Like it.

        I love the irony of the five letter word at the end of carapace.

        1. I was just wondering if you though that 30 – 40 Feet Per Hour (not MPH) could be considered fast?

          That was supposed to be my attempt at “humour”. But I guess everyone thought it was just an unintentional typo!

          1. No, Jose, I realised what you meant. I had 2 tortoises for 50 odd years and can confirm that they can move quite speedily when they have a mind to. When we moved from a walled garden where they enjoyed complete freedom I felt it unfair to keep them confined so they were re-homed which upset me terribly but that was best for them. As they were both male I think they may have been more than a bit pleased to find lady tortoises!

            1. That’s interesting, M. I don’t really know anything about tortoises, but I have seen them scurrying about on TV programmes. Whatever subject you mention on this blog, there’s always someone who knows a lot about it!

          2. My ‘Like it’ comment as acknowledging it. It was funny.

            Who doesn’t love a bit of Cardinal Jo humour.

  13. It seems after yesterday’s very tough Toughie followed by this back-page beauty proXimal is determined to put us through our paces in no uncertain fashion. Perhaps he’ll go a bit easier on Sunday. Just sneaked in under **** time though my last in, 21a, took 2 stabs as I initially had the answer ending in S until I twigged the wordplay – wasn’t familiar with what it was either. I did know the leaves at 25a surprisingly. Loads of ticks for me – 1,16&26a along with 4,8,15&22d the ones that stood out.
    A very happy birthday to the site & to all who contribute to it & make it what it is. Can only heartily endorse the sentiments already expressed.
    Thanks to proXimal & to DT.
    Ps Wordle in 3 today – pure fluke

  14. An excellent Friday level puzzle to celebrate the blog’s birthday, hard to believe there was a time before it was even born!
    I did trip over a few that took a while to work out,12a being one, and I still have a problem remembering that ‘revolutionary’ can be an anagram indicator as well as pointing to a reversal.
    My top clues mirror those mentioned by RD – 1&16a plus 15d but there were plenty of other contenders.

    Thanks to the X-man aka proXimal and to DT for the review and for your years of service to the site. Your efforts continue to be very much appreciated although hardly reflected in the rate of pay!

  15. Happy birthday, BD!
    A challenging puzzle, but all fairly clued and very satisfying to solve.
    25a and 21a were new to me.
    Clue of the day to 1a for the penny drop moment.
    Thanks to Proximal and DT.

  16. I found this one very hard. Slogged through (almost ) to the bitter end when the Frisee got me.

    Thanks to the setter, to Deep Threat and of course to everyone associated with this wonderful resource. I would certainly have given up on cryptics long ago if it did not exist to keep me straight and what a loss that would have been to me.

      1. We have it here and I can’t remember what it’s called, but I think it may be curly endive.

        1. Frisee is it’s French name, We used to buy it in a market in Versailles. It was always expensive but we loved it.

  17. Happy Birthday to the site, many thanks and congratulations to Big Dave and all the contributors.
    So, proXimal again, with a Sunday toughie to come – we’re being spoiled! Thanks for a top-notch puzzle, and to DT for review. Like others, 25a was new for me – I also needed Chambers to check 21a. 1a deservedly receiving plaudits, 15d a super cryptic definition, but favourite for me was 19a.

  18. A very Happy Birthday to the blog and all who give up their valuable time to help us mere mortals get to grips with cryptic crosswords. I bless the day I found the blog because it has helped my solving skills and has become part of my daily routine.

    As for today’s puzzle, I found it a bit tricky but managed it with a few hints. Still, there was plenty of head scratching and did moments to make it fun. Too many good clues to pick a favourite but, if pushed, I would go for 23a.

    Many thanks to the setter, whom I believe to be proXimal. Thanks also to DT fr the much needed hints.

    I failed with Wordle today so back to the beginning.

    I wonder if this chap is on the naughty step. :grin:

    1. Started Wordle with a complete miss (despite putting two vowels in), 2nd attempt I got three letters in the wrong place, 3rd attempt fluked the right answer. so a lucky 3 for me today.

  19. An early showing by me, seeing as I’ve been outed, anyway. Just wanted to say Happy Birthday to the site and thanks to BD – as one of the early (old?) NTSPP graduates, I am very grateful for the site’s existence – and also now, as a Telegraph setter for the feedback.

    Thanks to DT for the review and to commenters for comments. See some of you on Sunday.

    1. Thanks for popping in and for the latest in a long line of excellent puzzles that you have provided us with. I just checked back and found what I think is your NTSPP debut in February 2012 (NTSPP 105) under your alter ego eXternal, which was a few months before I found the site.

      It was received with acclaim by the very few commenters (5, excluding Big Dave and yourself!) which seemed to be the norm in those days. The site has grown like Topsy since then.

      P.S. My use of that of phrase does not mean that I condone slavery in any way, shape or form.

      1. Your comment made me go and look up NTSPP 105. There was a very prescient comment from Qix “I think that eXternal is going places…”.

  20. A Happy Birthday from me too – a wonderful site that has helped me so much. A couple in the NE held me up a bit but all in all good fun. I knew frisee from the super farmers markets in France. Some of them are huge and will last us a week in salads, the frisee not the market. Thanks to ProXimal for the fun and DT for the hints. Wordle in 4 today. Love the cat at 18 above!

  21. Happy birthday to the blog. As is ysual with Proximal’s puzzles, I made heavy weather of this one, which I started before my hospital appointment and finished ( apart from 25d ) when I got home (5*/2.5*). It was difficult and a bit of a slog but 13a and 16a were quite good fun. Thanks to DT for the hints, which I neded for 25d (I’ve never heard the word used in that way before). Thanks to Proximal.

  22. A fine Fri puzzle. Good clues, a decent challenge and an enjoyable solve. I’ve ticked a few and will select 26a as my favourite. 3.5*/4*.

  23. Happy Birthday BD, I too am very grateful for the insights and help offered by the daily blog and I am sure it has helped my solving ability and certainly increased my vocabulary.
    Today, although a DNF for the want of three, is a good result given that when I first looked at a back pager, a Friday, or Thursday for that matter could have been written in Hungarian. I was thrown by bunging in an ear issue for 17d that fits the t and s borders until Mrs 2P doubted that this was a disease.
    Still a very enjoyable challenge and thanks to DT and proXimal.

  24. Happy Birthday BD blog. Sorry to say this was a DNF by a long way. Couple of new words for me but mostly wavelength difficulties. Thanks for all the help needed today DT.

  25. Good workout today starting with a smooth run in the North followed by slower progress in the South. 21a and 22d beat me so had to seek help. 1a and 15d (once I abandoned any blood association!) were joint Favs. Have always known 25a as a form of endive not to be mistaken for chicory although the two/three are often confused. Congratulations, heartfelt thanks and all good wishes for many happy returns of today BD 👏🍾🌹.

    1. Welcome to the blog

      Now you’ve de-lurked, I hope you will come back and comment on future crosswords

  26. I reiterate what many have said, many thanks to Big Dave, all the setters and other contributors. The main reason I buy the Telegraph is the crossword (not the toughie) . If I don’t get to spar with the back pager I get withdrawal symptoms . My mood is definitely upbeat when I’ve completed it . Looking forward to all the challenges before the next birthday .

  27. A DNF for me on 21 and 25a, also needed a couple of hints. I don’t mind having words I haven’t heard of , I just wish I could remember them🤪. I wouldn’t 19a at finding this 24a as I am 10a and 12a. Thanks to BigDave on this sites birthday, it’s been a big help to me. Thanks also to DT and proximal.

  28. Gratifying to construct correctly two new words, 21a and 25a.
    Hard but very satisfying to complete unaided.
    So, ****/*****
    ProXimal’s are always a joy.
    Many thanks and to DT.

  29. For me the most incomprehensible crossword for some time. 90% of the clues made little or no sense at all as far as I was concerned.
    Yesterday and today mark new lows in the standard of DT puzzles for me. In case you wondered I completed it without understanding why the answers were what they turned out to be.

    1. Brian, your comment reminds me of those from Barrie 13 years ago.

      Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose?

  30. A difficult but ultimately satisfying puzzle for me. I can see why some people might have struggled, but this was well-wrought, and a rewarding if somewhat lengthy solve!

    Thanks setter and Deep Threat, and MHR to the now teen site.

  31. I second all those wonderful plaudits to Big Dave and his blog, a 13th birthday is certainly something to celebrate. I don’t think we will ever truly know what this site has meant to so many, particularly at this time of pestilence. Speaking for myself, it has been something to look forward to in the morning, opening up my world to beyond the four walls, to something more than a TV set!
    I found this proXimal very tricky and I needed e-help a lot, but it’s been a lot of fun along the way. I missed three, natch 25a, but I’m ashamed to say I missed 1a, a term my mother used all the time. Well, I may have missed it but it’s still my firm fave. I liked 16a and 19a as well. All in all, a winner for a birthday present.
    Thank you proXimal for the fun and DT for you help unravelling some, 13d eg.
    Wordle in 5

  32. Held up in NW until that “ah” moment for 1ac. A new meaning for board at 21 ac was my LOI, but it couldn’t be anything else.

    Happy birthday to the blog and thanks to BD and all the bloggers.

    Also thanks to proXimal for a fine crossword which had me on pangram watch until the X appeared.

  33. Late to the game due to too many meetings. Found this quite tough going in places. Happy birthday to the blog, and thanks to DT and proXimal.

  34. Took the dead tree with me to York and left the paper behind in a coffee shop ( Not Betty’s this time :( )
    Came home and finished the NW corner which gave me a bit of gyp. having the fodder to 13a helped me spell it less idiosyncratically. Re. 21a I was also in York at the time the Jorvik Viking Centre was being developed and did a vox pop with someone from Radio York about the Viking habit of eating from bread-like plates that were really Trenchers. never forgot it.
    Thanks to proXimal and Deep Threat.
    and a very happy birthday to BD and everyone else I have got to know here as a lurker, absentee and regular commenter alike.

    1. I thought trench as in plate etc came from French, I learned, when I bought bread in France, was to ask in my bad French ‘tranché silver plate’ to get it sliced. We Brits used it, for instance, in a tranche of shares’ .

      1. Yes, you are correct, it does come from the French and is actually a wooden plate or board. The Vikings in York used a bread-like board, (more like a ships biscuit) but it served as a Trencher.
        Our current favourite loaf usually comes with a thick end slice and I will fight for it whenever Dippy bread is available.
        Dippy bread?? for those of you who don’t know what I mean, it’s when you have been cooking a joint of beef and you dip bread into the fat/juice left in tray/pan then eat it. writing that doesn’t sound too nice but it is one of my fave foods ever

        1. As ever, I’m late to comment but couldn’t help but agree with your use of dippy bread.
          My mother always made extra gravy with stews or roasts and soaking it up on the plate, at the end of the meal, was almost our ‘dessert’. The best parts of the meat are in the juices, which was used to make the gravy (of course).
          All three of my children love it too and are now introducing it to my five grandchildren. In fact, I made a venison meal for my youngest’s birthday this week. We nearly ran out of bread! And I have enough gravy left for a lunch. 😋

          P.s. thanks to BD for creating this site and to everyone who contributes. My love of puzzles has been so enhanced by learning how to solve them.

  35. A very Happy 13th Birthday to the blog from this long-time but very appreciative lurker. The consistent ingenuity and wit of the setters is quite remarkable and it is always a great pleasure to read the comments of the contributors after tackling the crossword. I also want to point out the coincidence of having San Diego clued in yesterday’s backpager (my residence for the past 26 years) after moving from Sri Lanka – which was clued in Tuesday’s backpager. I will probably have to wait another 26 years before they are both clued again in the same week!

    1. You’ve changed your alias since your previous comment a year ago. Both aliases will work from now on.

  36. I really struggled with today’s puzzle and had to resort to a good half of the hints. But it is Friday and I’m not too downhearted. Many thanks to Proximal and DT.

    I will just reiterate my sentiments on the Birthday page. Happy 13th Birthday to Big Dave’s site and Many Happy Returns. Such a wonderful site and very much appreciated. My crossword skills have certainly improved as a result of my daily visits. Love the bloggers comments and really feel that we are one big family!

  37. Thanks to Big Dave for the blog and happy birthday! Always a joy to read how others got on and the experts for their hints and tips.
    As for the crossword, I gave up after struggling through the bottom half and in the words of Kevin the teenager, ‘I couldn’t be bovvered’ with the top half! I’m afraid I don’t get on with Proximal’s puzzles.

  38. I found this a tough slog. Like a lot of people here, I discovered a new salad leaf.

    Happy birthday – all the best for the coming year.

    1. You’ve expanded your alias since your previous comment in 2016. Both varieties will work from now on.

  39. Happy birthday to Big Dave’s site, and a huge thank you to all those who are willing and clever enough to put out the hints for us, each and every day. I always loved tackling the DT cryptics, starting long ago when there was only the dead tree version, and the Internet was yet to be invented. I struggled along for years, from when our girls were toddlers. Years later, after I retired Peter mentioned one morning that he had noticed a site I might want to take a look at, called Big Dave’s. Like many others, this is now a fixture of every day, every breakfast time, and a big part of my routine. Thank you!

    Today was a pleasurable challenge, with two new words to try to remember, 21a and 25a. I even managed to spell 13a in the right order without help. I slowed half way through, and then a few hints got me back on track, and it was a steady solve to the finish line. Thanks to proXimal and DeepThreat. Another great day in crossword land.

  40. As a superstitious person congratulations Big Dave on going into the 14th year, have grown to simply love all the blogs! This was a tough finish today because of the ‘Board’ clue …just could not get it, thank you DT and proXimal

  41. Congratulations all for keeping this place alive for 13 years!
    I found this puzzle on the tough end of the spectrum – two meals and a visit to Mr Google, but still v enjoyable.
    Funnily enough one of my early ones in, unlike many here, was 25a – “leaves”. Perhaps living in France and having those leaves for lunch today helped!
    Many thanks to proXimal for the workout and Deep Threat for the dissection!!

  42. To reiterate the birthday comments on a personal level, this blog with it’s amazing team plus the contributors, has wholly transformed my crossword solving capabilities. Thank you, thank you, thank you. I am, and will remain, eternally grateful. I started off badly getting only getting 3 answers on first pass across and down and then deteriorated, but slowly from mainly lightbulb moments things started to accelerate at the speed of an 8d to be fair, I managed to stumble across the line. I’m not afraid to make up words that fit the clue and that’s what I did with 25a, I’m amazed how often I’m right. I completely missed the 4X’s and had this down to Zandio. Thanks to ProXimal and DT

    1. Just realised that I forgot COTD which was 17d as it reminded me of dear old Buster as he had it, almost unheard of in dogs, and survived that and numerous other life threatening conditions and lived to the grand old age of 16 years.

  43. Congrats to BD and the blog on attaining its thirteenth year. I only stumbled across it some eight years or so ago, but in those eight years I have found it to be a mine of information for aiding and honing my crosswording skills. That said, today’s puzzzle as far as I’m concerned was a right bu99er. I don’t know whether the late start or my lunchtime activities dulled my brain, but it almost defeated me. Copious use of my little Seiko dictionary and DT’s hints got me through, but I claim no victory today. Thanks to setter and DT. Here’s to the next thirteen – but will I still be enjoying cryptic crossword puzzles. Who knows?

  44. Happy 13th birthday and a million thanks to Big Dave and all the people who make this site/blog so rewarding, informative and such fun. I must have been visiting since very early on (originally with a different email address) and would now be lost without it, as I look in every day, although don’t often say anything. Thanks to people here I’m now addicted to Wordle, as well as the crossword (but luckily it doesn’t take up quite so much time).
    I found today’s puzzle quite difficult and needed DT’s hints for a couple to finish, so thanks to him and to proXimal – very enjoyable despite the struggle.

  45. This was tough with some complicated clues. For me these were mostly doable without hints or other aids. Frisée was not too difficult although not immediately obvious due to the lack of accents in crosswords. I failed on 21a having tried to make a word fit by going through the alphabet. I now know why having looked at the hints. I had oaked for 22d having spent some time on the first letter. Oaked according to my on line search means (of wine) matured in oak barrel. Perfectly fits the clue I thought when I removed the s from soaked being another word for plastered. An old soak? Clearly I was wrong. However – put in liquor barrel = soaked really? Thanks proXimal and Deep Threat I needed that hint. Thanks also Big Dave. I am not sure how long ago I joined but seems like a long time.

  46. Hi all, just wanted to join in with thanking this site for being invaluable for helping me navigate styles and approaches to the DT Cryptic. As a newbie I’m now starting to get to grips, although I found this one quite hard and from reading some of the comments guess ProXimal may have something to do with that! I’m enjoying the journey. Regards on-line vs digital, I prefer the paper, although now running out of ‘veg peelings and cleaning boots’ excuses for keeping a cupboard full of old issues. Good stuff, J

  47. Congratulations to BD on the site’s 13th Birthday. Thanks too to all the reviewers. Because of this site, I’m now able to complete most back-pagers, and have quite a good stab at some of the easier Toughies. There is always something new here to learn about. Long may it continue. Having said that, I was nowhere near completing this puzzle! Thanks to Proximal and to Deep Threat for the review and hints. Needed the hints for 1,9,13,21,25a and 3&4d. Had never heard of 21a & 25a. Also didn’t know that ounce meant scrap in 3d. Favourite was 13d which made me laugh. Was 4*/3* for me. Excellent puzzle.

  48. Thanks to all who contribute to this, now teenage, site. Took a while with this, but the only one I couldn’t fathom was 1a and I seem to be alone in that. Never been a mother!?!

  49. 4*/5*…..
    liked 8D ” One’s unhurried love is put into cake (8) ”
    also the quickie pun

  50. Quite an exercise in spelling imho.
    Enjoyable nonetheless.
    Thanks to ProXimal and to DT.

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