DT 29904 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 29904

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 29904

Hints and tips by pommers

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BD Rating – Difficulty *Enjoyment ****

Hola from the Vega Baja where the noise of the diggings continues.  It’s been going on for a month now but at least they’re not right outside my house any longer.

The usual Monday fare today but I thought at the easy end of the spectrum.  I got ten of the acrosses and then all of the downs on first pass so * it has to be.  It will be interesting to see how you all got on with it.

As usual the ones I liked most are in blue.  The definitions are underlined in the clues and the answers are under the “click here” buttons so don’t click on them unless you really want to see the answer.  Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a           Extremely reprehensible landlord one who voted for Trump? (10)
REPUBLICAN:  Start with an RE (extremely ReprehinsiblE) and follow with a word for the landlord of your local.

6a           Have a wager against a Greek character (4)
BETA:  Another word for a wager followed by the A from the clue.

9a           Mandarin, endless stream, a curate translated (10)
BUREAUCRAT:  A Scottish stream without its last letter (endless) followed by an anagram (translated) of A CURATE.  This clue would have been easier if I’d known how to spell the answer!

10a         Good sense shown retaining original of Russian legal document (4)
WRIT:  Take a word for good sense or nous and insert (retaining) an R (original of Russian).

12a         Work hard to get a new advertising phrase (6)
SLOGAN: A word meaning to work hard followed by the A from the clue and an N(ew).

13a         More rum for visitor (8)
STRANGER:  This visitor is also a word meaning more rum as in more odd.

15a         King, or fine British author (6,6)
GEORGE ORWELL:  The name of six kings followed by the OR from the clue and then a word meaning fine or healthy.

18a         Computer place in centre, neat if in need of refreshment (8,4)
INTERNET CAFE: An anagram (in need of refreshment) of CENTRE NEAT IF.  Indeed it would be a neat place to go if you were in need of refreshment!

21a         Herb that may be found in most of NE Spanish region (8)
TARRAGON: This herb is also the name of a Spanish province located in Catalunya but without its last letter (most of).

22a         Refuse to accommodate husband’s party (6)
THRASH:  A word for refuse, as in rubbish, has an H(usband) inserted (to accommodate) to give a party or bash.

24a         Facts involving large valley (4)
GLEN:  Insert (involving) an L(arge) into a word for some facts or information.

25a         Mate in capital hugging daughter in top spot, perhaps (10)
PALINDROME:  Another word for a mate, the IN from the clue and a European capital city are all placed around (hugging) a D(aughter) to get a word for what TOP SPOT is an example of.  Here’s another example – “Dennis and Edna sinned”.

26a         Combat vehicle‘s brown and khaki, primarily (4)
TANK:  A shade of brown placed around a K (Khaki primarily).

27a         British want to protect the old scoundrel (10)
BLACKGUARD:  A charade of B(ritish), a word meaning a want or need and then a word for to protect gives an old word for a scoundrel.


1d           Sturdy vehicle showing decay externally (6)
ROBUST:  A vehicle used for public transport is inside a word for to decay (showing . . . externally).

2d           Standards concerning minister (6)
PARSON:  Standards, on a golf course perhaps, followed by a word meaning concerning.

3d           Attend American sanctuary to withdraw (4,1,7)
BEAT A RETREAT:  The first word of the answer could be split (2,2) to give a phrase meaning to attend.  Then you need an A for American and the final word is a sanctuary or den.

4d           Popular Chinese island (4)
INCH:  The usual two letter for popular followed by an abbreviation of Chinese.  I’ve always though these two letters were Switzerland but apparently they can be China or Chinese in American English.

5d           A tap losing pressure — reach with some difficulty (2,1,7)
AT A STRETCH: Take the A from the clue, TAP without the P (losing Pressure) and then a word for a reach.  Split it all (2,1,7) to get the answer.

7d           Rex is inside eagerly brewing tea (4,4)
EARL GREY:  R(ex) inserted into (is inside) an anagram (brewing) of EAGERLY.

8d           Behind everybody, nevertheless (5,3)
AFTER ALL:  A word for behind or following followed by a word for everybody.

11d         What may be wanted after a night on the tiles destroyed her good faith (4,2,3,3)
HAIR OF THE DOG:  Anagram (destroyed) of HER GOOD FAITH.

14d         Public brawlnobody’s charged (4-3-3)
FREE FOR ALL:  Double definition.

16d         Model intoxicated? Take no action (3,5)
SIT TIGHT:  The first word means to model or pose and the second is a slang term for intoxicated or slightly drunk.

17d         Naval doctor describing head of terrifying fish (8)
STURGEON:  What the doctor on a naval ship is called around (describing) a T (head of Terrifying).

19d         Some worship a god at temple (6)
PAGODA:  A lurker hiding in (some) the next four words.

20d         Screen student in cast (6)
SHIELD:  Take a word for cast, as in thrown, and insert (in) an L for student.

23d         Leaders in Dallas Invitational set course record (4)
DISC:  First letters of (leaders in) the next four words.

I thought all these clues were very good and it would be unfair to pick out just a few.  Therefore the only ones I’ve put in blue are the ones on my podium with 18a on the top step.

Quick crossword puns:

Top line:          BRED     +     SOURCE     =     BREAD SAUCE

Bottom line:     PURSER     +     VEER     =     PERSEVERE

Third pun:        EYE     +     SACK     +     KNEW     +     TUN     =     ISAAC NEWTON

96 comments on “DT 29904

  1. Another fluffy puzzle for a Monday. ‘Sex at noon taxes’ is another 25 across. Thanks Pommers and thanks Campbell

  2. A very enjoyable start to the week.
    As usual I missed the middle pun…which is a cracker!

    Thanks to Pommers and to the setter.

  3. Very enjoyable while it lasted, and as ever on Monday, wittily and cleverly compiled. Two observations, the synonym at 22a is very dated and do 18a still exist?
    1a got us off to a great start, I liked the clever 2d but top spot goes to 25a, good stuff.
    Many thanks to Campbell and Pommers for the fun.

    1. I think the whole world is now almost an 18a – all pubs restaurants and pavements seem to be jammed with people gawping at their phones! I haven’t seen a café with screens in a while though so fair comment. I wonder if the typical youth walking across a zebra crossing whilst so gawping and without looking up to see if anything is coming has right of way under the new rules and no obligation to take any care at all?

      1. Even worse are young mums with a child in a pushchair with their face on their phone and not their small child.

        1. Yes I agree. Not a care in the world for the little dear in front shoved into the traffic. Probably desperately booking their next tattoo nail or hair do! Bah!

    2. Is 22a dated?

      That’s depressing as I often use it.

      My twilight years are fast approaching, I fear.

    3. I think 18a will always be needed by extortionists, kidnappers and other ne’er-do-wells for their IP address

    4. I suppose 27a is everyday language in South Devon is it?

      Don’t think George Orwell is still writing either

  4. Once again on a Monday we are gently eased into the cruciverbal week. Lots of fun clues with surface of 1a particularly appealing. Thank you Campbell and pommers.

  5. Enjoyable. 22a and 20d held me up and 21a was a bung in. 25a gets my vote today. Thanks to Pommers and today’s setter.

  6. I’m with jonners for 25a being COTD even though it’s an old favourite. A very gentle easing into the week I thought */***. Probably a precursor to tougher challenges lying in wait!

  7. Ageee with Pommers on a */**** ,and the puzzle being at the easy end of the Monday spectrum.
    Nothing obscure and a good variety of cluing.Last in was 25a and the checking letters gave it away, a fine example and my favourite to boot.
    Missed the middle pun but 2 out of 3 aint bad according to Meatloaf !

  8. Our regular Monday setter feeling very kind this morning with this comfortable but enjoyable puzzle. Like others I liked 25a the best. Brilliant middle pun too.

    Thanks to Campbell and of course pommers.

  9. As always on Monday, some amusing and witty clues, though I have never heard of a party being called a 22d, though what else could the solution be? (Google offered only a reference to the font ‘Thrash Party’ and the Urban Dictionary could find no reference to ‘thrash party’ at all, so it must be a particularly special form of UK slang. I note that SL above says that it is quite dated.) Except for that oddity, I really enjoyed the puzzle, finishing in fast time, with 25a, 15a, & 18a on the podium, and (need I say it?) all mean-spirited 1a’s relegated to oblivion. Thanks to pommers and Campbell. 1.5* / 3.5*

    1. Obviously RC you meant to refer to 22a rather than 22d which is well-known slang to me as is bash!

    2. OK: The Free Dictionary offers [#8] ‘informal: a party or similar social gathering’. Sorry. I meant 22a, obviously.

    3. We also call a party a bash Robert. If you drop down the features box above and click on Gallery you will find photos from past Big Dave Birthday Bashes. We are a handsome bunch

    4. As it is reported, “the 1a never met a war they didn’t like, they must be all licking their chops now” in great anticipation!

  10. Very smug as a relative newbie to the cryptic crossword world to have solved this solo without any recourse to Big Dave! 2d took me ages to get but it appeared after a good ponder.

    22d also flummoxed me but couldn’t fit anything else!

    1. Well done Tom. I think 2d held out longest for me, hence me putting it on the podium, a fine clue.

  11. Great start to the crossword week. From a long list I will pick 9a as my favourite today, but an honourable mention to the middle pun which leapt out at my while searching for a third pun.
    Thanks to Campbell and pommers.

  12. 1*/4.5*. This was very light but no less enjoyable for that. It made a delightful start to the crosswording week.

    The hardest part was in picking a favourite from such a good selection. I’m going for 3d closely followed by 25a.

    Many thanks to Campbell and to pommers.

  13. I thought 3 down a good clue – perhaps an easy solve but good nonetheless. And, of course, 25a. All over quite quickly (for me) and now no excuses about cleaning the car!

  14. I was delighted with this! After the disaster which was the Sunday Telegraph Toughie no 2 by Robyn, it was bliss to actually understand and solve the clues. We all need moments like this.
    I liked 1a. I bet this caused some reaction in our American friends!

    1. I too really struggled with Robyn yesterday, I kept on worrying at it and now have it all except 14a. I have been all through the possibilities in the dictionary. Grrr.

  15. Reckon pegging the middle pun harder than completing either of the 2 Campbell puzzles. I didn’t. Another vote for 25a in the gentle back-pager with mentions for 3&11d. His bonus cryptic slightly trickier for me as it required confirmation of 3 things I was unfamiliar with. As ever all very enjoyable.
    Thanks to Campbell & Pommers.
    Wordle in 5

    1. Re the bonus: 15a, 20a, … & 11a? Just curious. Again this week, I preferred the bonus to the regular one. Very nice Quiptic today, by the way.

      1. 2 out 3 Robert (11,12&20a).
        Yet to look at the Graun’s 2 today as still the NTSPP & Rookie Corner to tackle. I loved yesterday’s Everyman but could make neither nor tail of Saturday’s prize puzzle.

    2. The letter reveals only seem to work intermittently for me. it usually ignores me when I click on the little pencil thing but if I save and exit the puzzles site and re log in it MAY allow a reveal.
      on the online cryptic I had another demonstration which topless gave another supporter, that rendered the Russian girl undiscoverable.

  16. Just want to say thanks to setters and bloggers for their real contribution to maintaining sanity throughout the Covid thingie! Enjoyed today’s puzzle, a nice gentle start to the week on a sunny (at the moment) day. Liked15A.

  17. It’s Monday :good: It’s Campbell :good: The reverse experience to Huntsman with the weekly on-line prize puzzle – 1.5*/4*

    Candidates for favourite – 13a, 15a, and 25a – and the winner is 13a.

    Thanks to Campbell and pommers.

  18. A very enjoyable start to the week from Campbell with the usual plethora of great clues. I loved 25a for the massive penny dropping and this is my COTD. I also liked 16d because it got me thinking of the various words used for being drunk. Where I grew up (Grimsby) we used to say “He was kaylied.” Failed to solve the author, to my shame because I had all the checkers.

    The middle Quickie pun evaded me but it was very well hidden and a terrific one.

    Many thanks to Campbell for the fun and to pommers for the hints.

    Failed with wordle – scored zero on first two goes.

  19. Pleasant but very gentle – if it hadn’t been for 22a, which took almost as long to fathom as the rest of the puzzle, I’d have finished in a personal record time. Favourites were 15a and 3d. Thanks to our Monday setter and to Pommers. Btw, I am now becoming hooked on Wordle too – I got today’s word at the fifth attempt.

  20. Two fairly straightforward offerings from our setter today and I greatly enjoyed both of them.
    Podium places handed out for this one to the ones I thought had the best surface reads – 1,10&27a with a mention for 15a which raised a smile.

    Thanks to Campbell and to pommers as he doubtless curses the slow progress of the ‘drilling gang’! Nice to hear the Acker Bilk piece again – my goodness, that takes me back……..

    1. There’s a gorgeous Van Morrison song called Evening Shadows on his Down The Road album – Van’s lyrics set to Acker’s music with the great man playing the solo. I’d post it if I had the know how.

    2. I won’t spoil the moment with my slightly smutty Acker Bilk joke.
      and congrats on your place in the clue writing comp.

  21. Lovely puzzle – as so often on a Monday – rather gently at my level. Completed in two halves – early this morning, then, with a break to drive to Heathrow to collect ‘the youngster’ from Arrivals, I completed it a few minutes ago.

    H was still positive on Saturday so couldn’t come to Chelsea to watch us timidly squeeze through to the next round of the F.A. Cup – but happily she has tested negative this morning. We’re hoping for a second negative tomorrow.

    Today’s crossword soundtrack: Small Faces – Tin Soldier

    Thanks to Campbell, pommers, and his pals from the roadworks team.

  22. My fastest solve ever I think, but really good clues. It is so nice not to be struggling to solve it everyday.

  23. Another great fun puzzle. 25a also my COTD. I am absolutely hopeless at the Quickie – too many possible answers. Thanks to all. Wordle in 3 today.

    1. That comment about the Quickie made me laugh, Manders, surely the same could be said of Wordle?!!

      1. Yes indeed. In fact I’m beginning to go off Wheeldle as well – some silly words e.g. “achoo” and Americanisms e.g. “labor”.

        1. You are not on the proper Wordle site – I’ve not had either of those words. The worst was favor a couple of weeks ago which I did manage. There area number of pseudo sites.

            1. I’ve not tried any of the others and propose to stick to Wordle so long as the NYT leaves it be. Have not had much crossword time at the weekend having a super time in Norwich (which I think is Manders neck of the wood). However, there’s always plenty of time for a Wordle. Got it in 3 yesterday and 4 today. Not found any odd words since I started which must have been after the one Americanism.

  24. Nothing to hold us up today. Hard to pick a favourite but we’ll go with 27a. Thanks to Campbell and Pommers.

  25. It must be Monday. Solved this in no time flat without any hints. 1*/4* today.
    Clues for favourites include 15a, 25a, 5d, 14d & 16d with winner for the humour 15a and for cleverness of clue 25a
    Smiles elicited from many … 22a, 25a, 1d, 7d, 14d, 17d
    If nothing else this was a fun puzzle to romp through and even though a R&W for the most part, nonetheless a fun solve.

    Thanks to Campbell and pommers

    1. Try the PP cryptic … it was on the same level as this puzzle and no issues. A fun solve too.

  26. A nice doable puzzle with 18,25 & 27a and 3d being starred. 17d is certainly terrifying! Are they still going to chop the bottom off the classroom doors? Why no just leave them ajar? Anyway, huge thanks to Campbell and Pommers – you sound like Soup Manufacturers. Mr Percy Vere was the name of my first car, a 1934 double de clutch Austin 7. Because you had to.

        1. My old 1972 Ford Pinto (American model) was nicknamed ‘Harold’. I was The Caretaker.

  27. Wot larks! An enjoyable if brief lunchtime stroll through Campbell’s wit and humour, to whom my thanks. Pushed to 1* time by 10a, but some lovely smooth surfaces and a nice variety of clues.

    25a my COTD by a country mile, but HMs to 27a, 14d, 16d and 21a.

    Many thanks also to Pommers.

  28. Easier end of Campbell’s spectrum for me gave a straightforward solve with few hold-ups. Very enjoyable whist it lasted though.
    27a my COTD like the word even though I don’t use it.
    Thank you to Campbell and pommers for the review (17d would have been better without the image IMHO)

  29. I enjoyed this today and got through it with no great trouble, although I took far too long solving 3a. I couldn’t think of the stream, and looking up ‘mandarin’ for some time would only result in information about luxury hotels or small oranges! Didn’t have any particular favourite, but send thanks to the setter and Pommers.

  30. A pleasant start to the week with a lot of cleverly crafted clues, favourite being 16d. Didn’t know the island in 4d, and 17d almost put me off my breakfast. Thanks to Campbell for a lot of fun, and to Pommers. Hope the noise abates soon.

  31. I successfully fought off the temptation to write in ‘deplorable’ at 1a which of course didn’t parse. Otherwise an enjoyable and accessible puzzle. Thanks Campbell and Pommers. 1.5*/****

  32. A pleasant stroll through this puzzle, although I had to google 4d to confirm it, only to find to my shame that it’s in my mother’s home county🤭. I’ve had a week off crosswords due to skiing in Bulgaria so this was a nice starter for me. Not so nice is testing positive this morning, although I only have mild symptoms, had worse colds. Thanks to all.

  33. First look before todays golf made me think it was going to be tricky. Second sitting later after a cuppa it was almost a R&W.
    Nice gentle start to the week, a relief after Dadas tough workout yesterday.
    Enjoyable for all that.
    Thx to all

  34. Just come in after a trip to Cley beach. On the way back just before the main coast road there were hundreds of birders with ENORMOUS cameras. We asked what they were looking at and was told it was a Red Breasted Goose. ‘How delicious’ I said! My comment did not go down well.

          1. I thought of your seafood platters while in Norwich for the weekend, but sadly no time to go anywhere else in the County. We did have a delicious meal at a small French restaurant called L’Hexigon.

  35. 1/4. Easy start to the week with a well constructed and amusing puzzle. 13a and 25a were my favourites with the latter winning by a short head. Thanks to Campbell and Pommers.

  36. Loved it all, right up my straße! I thought CH was Canton Helvetica as well, but I guess it had to be. I didn’t know the bash at 22a but I looked it up, never heard that. I’m not a fan of 7d, it’s like drinking eat de cologne.
    So much to like here, 15a and 25a stood out for me, but any clue could have been chosen as top of the pops.
    Thanks Campbell for the fun, and I’ve still got the Monday brawta to look forward to. Thanks pommers, particularly for the Acker Bilk.
    Wordle in 4.

  37. Another nice Monday 😃 ***/**** though only managed 50% on the Quickie 😟 Favourites 15 & 25 across and 7 down 🤗 Thanks to Pommers and to Campbell

    1. What a nice picture Manders. As it’s almost cocoa time I’ll show off with another pic I took running on Dartmoor above Wrangaton Golf Club on Weds last if I may. It got in the local paper!

  38. Nice crossword.
    Even nicer to be mentioned in dispatches in the latest DT clue writing competition. If I can’t solve them, maybe I can write them.
    Thanks all.

  39. After a couple of hectic days I finally managed to catch up with this lovely start to the week. Many thanks Campbell and the Pommers.

  40. Loved this. Some of our former contributors would have grumbled that it was too easy. I had no hold ups but I marvel at the skill of the setter which enables one to solve quickly but enjoying at the same time. Thank you so much to Campbell and Pommers.

  41. 2*/5*….
    liked 25A ” Mate in capital hugging daughter in top spot, perhaps (10) “

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