DT 29919 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 29919

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 29919

Hints and tips by Miffypops

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

Once seen it cannot be unseen. 6 down. 4 down. 5 across. Could this be true?

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a        Constricted by muscles tightening? (7)
CRAMPED:  We begin with a double definition the second often being suffered by superfit football players towards the end of a match

5a        Artist very good company, embracing fool (7)
PICASSO: A three part charade. 1. A two letter term meaning very good. 2. An abbreviation of company 3. A fool. Arrange as instructed by the wording of the clue

9a        Figure fractionally over the line? (9)
NUMERATOR: As we from Coventry learned on our first day of primary school the denominator lies below the line when a fraction is written out. This clue is asking for the name of the figure that lies above the line which we also learned on the same day. If I remember correctly, The Periodic Table, The Kings and Queens of England and Breaking and Entering were some of the subjects also studied on that first day

10a      Laugh out loud about chap occasionally seen in pub (5)
LOCAL: The abbreviation for laughing out loud sits around the alternate letters of the word chap. It is now ten years since David Cameron signed off texts to Rebekah Brookes with LOL thinking it stood for lots of love.  Being down and dirty with the kids is an asset when solving cryptic crossword puzzles. It opens up an exciting new way of using the English language which surprises and delights. Long live the continual evolution of our wonderful global language

11a      Cool to check out music genre (5)
INDIE:  A synonym of the word cool is followed by a word meaning to check out of life itself as we will all do at some time in the future

12a      Eternal punishment in the Netherlands? (9)
DAMNATION:  Split 3,6 how the Netherlands might be described using the number of water barriers in the country

13a      Serious transgression? It’s normal, possibly (6,3)
MORTAL SIN: Anagram (possibly) of ITS NORMAL

16a      Doctrine in poem Roman Catholic rejected (5)
CREDO:  Append a lyric poem to the abbreviation for Roman Catholic and reverse what you now have

17a      Male in central parts of Spain missing Cornish pasty (5)
ASHEN: Place a male pronoun inside the central letters of the words Spain, missing and Cornish

18a      Scots head after a role in discriminatory system (9)
APARTHEID:  Begin with the letter A from the clue. Add a word meaning a theatrical role. Add a Scottish word for your head which actually appears in the dictionary

20a      Very old man needs time to follow a TV show (4,5)
SOAP OPERA:  A four part charade. 1 a short word meaning very 2 The letter A from the clue 3 A word for your father 4 A long and distinct period in history. We are now in the Anthropocene age which will be the last to be named by mankind

23a      Wander around island, finding NZ native (5)
MĀORI: Reverse a word meaning to wander as indicated by the word around. Add the letter that looks like the number one

25a      Egyptian god carries a stone for devotee (5)
RASTA:  The letter A from the clue is followed by the abbreviation for stone. These three letters sit inside an Egyptian sun god and form a member of a group that has formed its own highly individual dialect of the English language

26a      Keen-eyed alumnus with lackey (9)
OBSERVANT: An alumnus is an old boy. Begin with the abbreviation for old boy and add a lackey attendant or retainer

27a      Festering meal in time brings complaint (7)
AILMENT: An anagram (festering) of MEAL IN is followed by the abbreviation for time

28a      What might be Granite City? (7)
TANGIER: Anagram (what might be) of GRANITE


1d        Rook determined to see bear out (7)
CONFIRM: A word meaning to rook or swindle is followed by a word meaning determined or unyielding

2d        Trained ace, this writer’s one who manages paper! (5)
AIMED: The abbreviation for ace and the contraction of I am (this writer’s) is followed by the newspaper chief that we seem to meet in every cryptic crossword we solve. I’m a bit sick of the fellow following me around and wish that he would just do one

3d        Shattered replica — no Ming items? (9)
PORCELAIN: Yet another anagram (shattered) of REPLICA NO. The Chinese made this stuff while Europeans made glass which we polished into lenses and placed into frames allowing our scholars with failing eyesight to work for many more years than their Chinese counterparts. Our civilisation advanced. Theirs didn’t.

4d        Not the most modern   saw (5)

DATED:  A double definition, the second being the past participle of what we used to do before Tinder and the like

5d        An obsession that keeps one going to matches? (9)
PYROMANIA: A cryptic definition of an arsonist perhaps. The matches in the clue are meant to be struck

6d        Liverpudlian songstress not well in California (5)
CILLA:  Place a word meaning not well or poorly inside the abbreviation for California to find a long forgotten singer from Liverpool much loved by the makers of cheesy television programmes

7d        Wise man admits relic damaged in desecration (9)
SACRILEGE:   One more anagram (damaged) of RELIC sits inside a wise man often seen together with prophets and seers

8d        Men network and party in Floridian location (7)
ORLANDO: These men are the ordinary ranks. The network is a local area network. A party is a do. The Floridian location is for others. Not me

14d      Catches held in serious practice session (9)
REHEARSAL:  Catches with the ears. Place this word inside a synonym of serious true or genuine

15d      Second headland attack — one takes blame (9)
SCAPEGOAT: Begin with the abbreviation for second. Add a headland or promontory. Add a term split 2,2 which means attack

16d      Vessel crossing river — atomic boat (9)
CATAMARAN:  Place a vessel like a tin around a West Country river and the abbreviation for atomic

17d      Answer American test when student leaves country (7)
AUSTRIA: The abbreviation for answer and the initials of the United States are followed by a test minus the abbreviation for learner. Yesterday Cryptic Sue bemoaned typing the word abbreviation so many times. I’m grateful for predictive text which means I only have to type the letter A for the word abbreviation to be offered up

19d      Vagrant wrapping foot in towel? (7)

DRIFTER:  Place yet another abbreviation, this time for foot inside a word that describes what a towel is based upon what a towel does

21d      Make pompous speech no-one admires? (5)
ORATE:  Begin with a letter that represents zero. Add a word meaning to admire or assess favourably

22d      When position brings advantage (5)
ASSET:  A synonym of the word when is followed by a synonym of the word position or place or put down

24d      Aleppo man in houses of some Arabs (5)

OMANI:  The answer lies hidden within the words of the clue as indicated by the word houses

Quickie Pun Halley + Gaiter  =  Alligator


71 comments on “DT 29919

  1. I thought this was a delight with plenty of smiles and scratching of the follicles. The SW corner held out the longest for no real reason other than nothing gelled for a while. Then 17a and 25a revealed themselves and the others just dropped in. Favourites are 15d and 19d with my COTD being 12a.

    Grateful thanks to the setter for the fun and to MP for the hints.

    Cold with snow flurries and a returning wind in The Marches.

    Wordle in 5. :phew:

    1. In 6 for me. Feared my first failure beckoned despite 3 letters correctly placed after 3. Have started to overthink it by influenced by what words that won’t be so familiar over the pond

      1. Yes, I think more about US spelling now, Huntsman. That and trying to think about what is “unwoke”.

        1. I think we are less likely to have words ending in RE. I got one in the wrong place first try. Two in right place second try. I’d used all but one verb so thought that was likely so got it in the 3rd attempt. Good news is that SUN and Daily Mirror readers will know this word.

      2. Bet you felt a bit of pressure – amazing when there’s nothing on a failure (except loss of face)!

    2. Wordle also in 5 for me … but the children (7 and 9) playing together solved it in 4. This is only the second time they’ve Wordled, and it’s the second time they’ve beaten me!

    3. I said a few weeks ago that I would only report if I got it in two. Well today I did for the first time.

      1. With a screen name such as mine I am ashamed to say that it took me to my fifth attempt to work out the word, but at least it keeps my run going.
        Once again a superb Thursday puzzle with no real hold ups. Last in and possibly my favourite clue was 18a, but really there were too many to list them all. My thanks to our setter of the day and to MP.

        1. PS, for some strange and unknown reason, when I click on my Shropshirebloke avatar picture, I seem to be renamed as Shropshirechap – why might this be so? I have never knowingly called myself that.

      2. You obviously didn’t use WHIZZ as a start word like I did. Nil points as was my second word. The third attempt gave one letter in the wrong place. Flying by the seat of my pants as usual

  2. Light and enjoyable. I have plenty of ticks including 12a (which has chestnut written all over it)&17a plus 1d but my definite favourite was the super 11a.
    Many thanks to the setter (I’d be surprised if it wasn’t Giovanni) and MP for the fun, the latter in particular for sparing us a clip of the dreadful 6d.

  3. I agree with Miffypops’s rating though hadn’t spotted the Cilla romance! Started slowly but as so often happens the cross checkers enabled a speedier conclusion. I though 20a a good example of the many well constructed clues and that gets my COTD. With thanks to M and the setter. You

  4. The isual convoluted clues from this compiler. I find the easiest way is to
    isolate the definition, guess the answer using any checkers and then figure out the parsing (3*/3). 5a and 8d were quite good but 12a was a bit groanworthy. Thanks to the compiler and to MP for the hints.

  5. Rather Mondayish, I thought.
    Nevertheless, very enjoyable to complete.
    So, */****
    Some very neat clueing eg 8d and 18a and some highly amusing eg 12a
    Many thanks to the setter and to Miffypops.

  6. Benign for a Thursday and good fun – plenty of smiles, and no, MP, it cannot now be unseen – big smiles, even a LOL! Hon Mentions to 11a, 12a, 17a, and 18a, COTD to 5d.

    2.5 / 3

    Many thanks to the setter and to MP

  7. You just never can tell. Unlike yesterday when I really wasn’t on the wavelength, today’s crossword went in with almost no trouble at all, though I’m still not sure about the explanation for 17a. Many thanks to Giovanni and MP.

    1. I couldn’t think of another word with the checking letters of 17a, I even checked it with a word search and that was the only answer, and I still didn’t write it in because I didn’t “get” it. I’m left with a DNF because of that.

      1. If you say pasty with a hard ‘a’ Merusa it no longer means a pie, but someone with a complexion like paste. Does that help?

  8. Plenty of clever clues in a reasonably gentle puzzle that was a welcome distraction from appalling world events. Tops for me was 11a with ticks for 9,12&18a along with 5d. Last in was 17a – bit of head scratch to peg the definition & not entirely sure I fully understand the parsing. After reading about Roger Squires following his 90th & the tribute puzzles MP’s pic for 20a reminded me of one of his clues – Bar of soap (3,6,6)
    Thanks to the setter & MP

    1. Place a male pronoun (he) inside the central letters of the words Spain, missing and Cornish A S and N.

      1. I’m clearly being thick Miff. I got the A & N central letters + the pronoun but totally disregarded the missing. Another instance of read the bloody question properly.

  9. It wor a lorra lorra fun as she would have said. It was an odd one for me though as I solved all the right (eastern) half straight away without needing to work it out eg 15d. Favourites 1, 9, 12 and 17a and 5 14 and 15d. Thanks Setter and MP.

  10. IMHO a bit lacklustre. If this was a DG product I am surprised because, if so, my Fav setter has let me down today. NW was last square on board. Liked check out in 11a but have not heard of that music genre. Fav 5d. Thank you DG (?) and MP.

  11. What an enjoyable crossword! A couple of times I thought that I was going to need to Miff’s hints but I kept going and completed the challenge.
    18a and 25a are my favourites.

    For today’s crossword soundtrack, I can’t beat Miff’s clever placement of Dave Edmunds’ relationship to 4d.

    Thanks to the setter, and, indeed, The Mighty Miff

  12. Having put the other hand at the second letter of 1a it’s not surprising it didn’t make sense. 17a was tricky and I still don’t understand the Scottish head, otherwise enjoyed this immensely, especially 5a. Thanks to DG and MP.

        1. Celia
          I have lived up here over 2 years now but to try & relate a spelling to how the Scots pronounce a word is still beyond me.

  13. The top NW held me up for a but.
    Clear blue skies here despite hailstorms forecast.
    COTD has to be 5d
    I was surprised my winning Wordle word was recognised in the US.

    1. We’ve had several hail showers here inSouth Oxfordshire today. There was so much hail that it looked as if there was snow lying outside on the ground . The temperature being down in the 30’s meant that it has stayed there looking quite pretty in the sunshine

  14. A pleasantly straightforward and rewarding puzzle for a breezy Thursday. Lots to enjoy, including my favourite, 12a. It felt like one of The Don’s so thanks to him and MP.

    1. Light and enjoyable as others have said, but I came by today to fully explain 17a, before coming across what is probably one of my favourite songs of all time, so thanks to MP. Thanks also to The Don, if it is he.

  15. Gentle for a Thursday but a pleasurable and satisfying solve nonetheless.
    12a my COTD
    Thank you setter and MP.
    Sunny here completely contrary to the forecast snow accumulations fingers crossed.
    Wordle in 5.

  16. That’s better … after yesterday’s disaster this Thursday puzzle was far more approachable and doable. 2*/4* today.
    Just the right amount head scratching, PDM’s and fun clues for me.
    Candidates for favourites include 9a, 10a, 5d, 6d & 14d with 4d winner. 20a & 5d made me smile.

    Thanks to setter and MP

  17. Hats off and many thanks to the setter for lots of misdirections and eventual smiles. **/**** for me. Thanks also to MP, not least for spoiling my memory of ‘our Cilla’.

  18. Recent Thursday’s crosswords have become very witty and more importantly, solvable 😳 ***/**** Favourites 12a and 5 & 15d 😃 Thanks to MP and to Giovanni 🤔 Wordle in three

  19. Most enjoyable one of the week so far – SE corner last in. Too many favourites to pick just one. Thanks to the setter and MP.

  20. 4/2. Found this a real struggle and needed lots of help from search engines and MP. Favourite was 9a. Thanks to the setter and MP.

  21. I worked my way steadily downwards today, 17a was a bit of a bung in. I had all the parts but hadn’t worked out quite how and moved on. I enjoyed 19a – I think it is pronounced Heed but spelt Heid. as to 6d 4d 5a – Technically possible as 6d was almost 30 when Picasso died but as Grandad Emm would have said “I’ll bare my bum in Binns window if it’s so.”
    Thanks to Miffs and Gio
    Cilla not a total philistine – That used to belong to her.

    1. Flippin eck! I haven’t heard the name Binns for ages. They took over the Guy and Smiths (I think) in Grimsby.

  22. Got off to a good start, but then had to continue by identifying the definitions, and then justifying my answers. Thought 12a was a very funny clue. Didn’t know the Scottish for head, so learnt something today. But hard to concentrate when a bit preoccupied with what is going on in Ukraine today. It is so very sad that, once again, one man and his ego can bring such grief and damage to the world. Thanks to setter and Miffypops for providing a distraction today. And oh dear, just scraped in in Wordle at 6.

    1. The Unmentionable said if he’d been President it wouldn’t have happened – yeah, he’d have given the green light.

  23. Another nice puzzle. Just one comment from Pedants Corner. NZ has no human ‘native’ residents.

    1. Does anywhere? (apart from Hadar Ethiopia where Lucy the oldest known human ancestor came from)

  24. Very enjoyable puzzle today but definitely one for finding the definition and ignoring the complex wordplay.
    Thx to all

  25. I found this hugely enjoyable, all very smooth without problems until I got to the NW. I nearly went in for a hint when I had my epiphany of “fractionally” at 9a, plain sailing when I got the checkers. There’s so much to like here, love the word at 5d, 12a was smile worthy, but I think fave has to be 25a.
    Thanks Giovanni for the fun, and let’s not forget M’pops for the humour! Wordle in 3, made up for yesterday’s debacle.

  26. Very late today. Didn’t do as well with Giovanni today as I usually do, “body all achin’ and wracked with pain” and horrified by the appalling news about Ukraine. Must try to focus on what’s in front of me, eh? The NW held me up forever and I finally succumbed to some electronic help. Just not a good day for me, but thanks to the ever-ebullient MP for the review and to, I assume, Giovanni. **** / ***

    1. Feel better soon! The Ukraine news just gets worse and worse, Trump and Fox just make it even worser.

  27. Excellently clued humorous puzzle.
    Thanks to setter and MP…but didn’t need the blog today!

  28. I’m pleased others found yesterday’s difficult as I gave up halfway through but completed it this morning with difficulty. Today’s was a different kettle of fish and as straightforward as they come for a Thursday. Good stuff! Favourite was 12a. Thanks to the setter and MP. Ooh Leicester City have just scored again.

  29. Many thanks to the setter for an excellent puzzle just completed after a busy day. Again! Stars by 13,17,18a and 5 & 7d. Some very nice misdirections. Golly but it is cold.

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