DT 29920 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 29920

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 29920

Hints and tips by Deep Threat

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BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

Good morning from South Staffs where a bright sunny morning is lightening the gloom caused by the news from the East. No pictures or music today, as we’re off to the NEC to the caravan show for the first time in two years.

The parsing of 7d held me up for a good while, not helped by difficulty in solving the crossing 12a, and those two pushed me well into *** time.

In the hints below, the definitions are underlined. The answers are hidden under the ANSWER buttons, so don’t click if you don’t want to see them.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a           Interrupted by a military policeman, get away clean with this? (7)
SHAMPOO – An instruction to, for example, a stray animal is wrapped round A (from the clue) and the abbreviation for a Military Policeman.

5a           Hails from Portugal, getting lifts (7)
PRAISES – The IVR code for Portugal, followed by another word for ‘lifts’.

9a           BBC informally dropping a release (5)
UNTIE – Remove the A (dropping a) from the informal name for the BBC.

10a         Rogers ice dancing? Ginger’s among these items in store (9)
GROCERIES – Anagram (dancing) of ROGERS ICE.

11a         Writer’s articles still read aloud (10)
STATIONERY – The generic word for the paper, pens, etc used by a writer sounds like (read aloud) a word for ‘still’ or ‘unmoving’.

12a         Alpha Centauri’s heading about space (4)
ACRE – The first letters of Alpha Centauri, followed by the Latin word for ‘about’ or ‘concerning’.

14a         Comic hero’s endless treks around shops (12)
SUPERMARKETS – Remove the final letter (endless) from the superhero who’s allergic to kryptonite, then add an anagram (around) of TREKS.

18a         Doctor telling niece to get dope (12)

21a         Maintain castle (4)
KEEP – Double definition, the first a verb, the second a noun for the central part of a castle.

22a         Talks round object that’s thrown by boy this person’s caught (10)
DISCUSSION – A flat round object thrown in athletic competition, followed by another word for ‘boy’ wrapped round the pronoun for ‘this person’.

25a         Historic ship in a collection of books (9)
IMPORTANT – A verb for ‘ship in’, followed by the abbreviation for one of the collections of books in the Bible.

26a         Ringing grandma, that is pointless (5)
INANE – The Latin abbreviation for ‘that is’ is wrapped round an informal word for ‘grandma’.

27a         Oh, put back present one’s held unwillingly (7)
HOSTAGE – Reverse (put back ) OH (from the clue), then add a verb for ‘present (a play, for example)’.

28a         Premier needs upper-leg examination, repeatedly missing starting time (7)
HIGHEST – Put together another word for the upper part of the leg and another word for ‘examination’, then remove the initial T(ime) from each part.


1d           Indoor sport crowd (6)
SQUASH – Double definition, the first being a racquet sport played in a confined area.

2d           Wrong item for smokers hotel’s put out (6)
ASTRAY – Remove the letter represented by Hotel in the NATO alphabet from a receptacle used (if you’re lucky) by a smoker to deposit the burned remains of a cigarette.

3d           Vicar with debts, in work steadily until now (10)
PREVIOUSLY – Put together the short form of the title given to vicars and other clergy, and a short term for ‘debts’. Then wrap a word for ‘work steadily (at one’s trade, for example) around the result.

4d           Publication or article about golf (5)
ORGAN – OR (from the clue) and an indefinite article, placed either side of the letter represented by Golf in the NATO alphabet. Private Eye was often referred to in the magazine as ‘Lord Gnome’s —–).

5d           Show schedule (9)
PROGRAMME – Double definition, the first being a term for a show on the TV.

6d           Hotshots, ones in suits (4)
ACES – The suits are in a deck of cards, and this is a term for the ‘ones’.

7d           Substitutes in comic game where bottom’s shown first (8)
SWITCHES – Put together another word a comic or entertainer and a game played on a 64-square board. Then move the last letter (bottom) to the beginning.

8d           Tension afflicts US ‘pens’ — edgy jails (8)
SUSPENSE – Hidden in the clue.

13d         Preparation of stuffing that keeps duck cold (10)
PROCESSING – A word for ‘stuffing’ or ramming into a container is wrapped round a cricketing duck and the abbreviation for Cold.

15d         Dispense with Chanel, I’m in a teenager’s clothes (9)
ELIMINATE – Hidden in the clue.

16d         Funny itch — silk can make one sensitive (8)
TICKLISH – Anagram (funny) of ITCH SILK.

17d         Office worker squeezed by in street, going over cracks (8)
ATTEMPTS – A synonym of ‘in’ and the reverse (going over) of the abbreviation for ‘street’ are placed either side of a word for a non-permanent office worker.

19d         Counterfeit penny one’s given on toll (6)
PIRATE – Put together the abbreviation for Penny, the Roman numeral for one, and another word for a toll or level of charge.

20d         Canvassed idea (6)
INTENT – Split the answer (2,4) and you have someone who is literally ‘canvassed’, as in ‘surrounded by canvas’

23d         Animal taps trap (5)
CATCH – A domestic animal followed by the letters found on bathroom taps.

24d         What maths class finds in square, side by side? (4)
AREA – Cryptic definition of what you find if you multiply the length of one side of a square by the length of another.


72 comments on “DT 29920

  1. Very enjoyable indeed, this one has Zandio written all over it. A couple of the parsings required a bit of thought and and there was some nice misdirection sprinkled throughout, best of the week for me.
    I liked several but my ticks go to 10,12&14a (the surface read was excellent) plus 17,23&24d with top 7d just shading it for today’s gold. All top,top stuff.
    Many thanks one of our Friday maestros and to DT.

  2. Some cracking clues in this ***/**** offering. A great lurker in 8d and 25a and 23d both excellent. I had to ponder 22a for quite a while and this pushed me into *** time but was a satisfying solve. With thanks to DT and the setter for a good end to the week.

  3. Yes, a hugely enjoyable crossword. A handy bunch of bung-ins leaving plenty of checking letters for the more stretching clues. No obscure deities, which is always a bonus.

    Today’s crossword soundtrack: The Ukrainians – Batyar (Bigmouth Strikes Again)

    Thanks to the setter,and DT checking out the caravans. A big Thursday HELLO! to The Lovely Kath

        1. Ha! Morrissey and The Smiths: who else could make even Leonard Cohen and Nick Cave appear cheerful and optimistic by comparison?

  4. 2.5*/4*. This was light and fun, with only 7d, my last one, holding me up and taking me over my 2* time.

    I wasn’t keen on 24d, but everything else was good with 14a my favourite.

    Many thanks presumably to Zandio and to DT.

  5. Not an easy solve, this was another long-,winded Friday slog (4*/2.5*) but it kept me amused and persisted untl it was finished. The pick of the clues were 2d and the 8d lurker. Thanks to the compiler and to DT for the hints

  6. A very satisfying end-of-week backpager with which to warm up before the main cruciverbal challenge of the day! Could not parse 7d (my LOI) properly, so thank you to DT – got the answer, and thought it had to do with canes and backsides … Some great surfaces, good lurkers, nothing arcane and plenty of amusement to be had. Hon Mentions to 10a (surface), 25a, 28a, 3d and 24d. COTD to 14a.

    3 / 3.5

    Many thanks to the setter and to DT

  7. A tale of two halves. Found the North Mondayish but the South more like Friday. Good fun and a satisfying solve
    28a my COTD.
    Thanks to setter & DT.

  8. A splendid puzzle. So glad I persevered when the SW corner kept resisting my best efforts, especially with 25a and 17d, which suddenly came together, simultaneously, even while pushing me into 4* time. After the past couple of struggling days for me, I rejoiced when solving 7d, 12a & 14a in one fell swoop. Merciful guidance! Any one of those five clues could have vied to be my COTD, but I’m settling instead on 23 and 24d in a dead heat for top honours. Thanks to DT and Xandio, if it is he. **** / *****

    Thanks to LROK, Huntsman, and Merusa for your good wishes yesterday; I am a bit better today, listening now to Schubert’s ‘Winterreise’ for much needed peace of mind.

    1. Hi Robert. Glad to see you’re back on form, and thanks for your kind words to MP the other day, much appreciated.

    2. Keep well. Mr. Arthur Itis is an unkind man, the more inactive you are the more he sneaks up on you, but trying to be active is no fun. I’m so glad I have the pool. Did you try Daisy’s golden raisins in gin? Delicious but doubt any improvement in the ailment!

    3. I didn’t call in yesterday so missed your post Robert. I sincerely hope yesterday’s problems are ameliorating and you will be fully well soon. Think I am nearly ready to return to daily comments without feeling depressed about my performance every day as my skill seems to be improving unless the crosswords have been getting easier. All the best Corky.

  9. So pleased to have completed this albeit with one or two (well, 4) trips to a naughty crossword solver (22a, 13,19 & 20d). Took a while to work 3 down out and thought this absolutely banging crossword. Thank you setter and DT for confirming my bung-in at 24d.

  10. Well thought out puzzle today, diversely clued.
    The SE corner took as long as the other three put together, several D’oh moments as the definitions fell.
    The clever 24d was my favourite followed by 14a, agreed with NAS with the 8d lurker, going for a ***/****
    Enjoyed the quickie and the pun.

  11. Do you know – I was wondering why this didn’t feel like a Thursday crossword….

    Rabbit Dave tells me it is Friday today and that could be the answer to my puzzlement.

  12. Must just be me then. I thought it pretty tricky & was just shy of **** time at completion. Not my favourite puzzle of the week but still plenty to like. I always smile at the context of 4 down & recall past proclamations from Gnome Towers. Picks for me – 1,14&18a plus 15d.
    Thanks to the setter (Zandio) & to DT.
    Wordle in 5 – after 4 I thought they wouldn’t would they & they did. Maybe MP will get it in 1

    1. Agree with Wordle. My fist 2 words didn’t like any of the 8 letters. It got a bit selective after that.

    2. It is on my list of start words but not for today. One day maybe I’ll get it in one but it will be down to a coincidence if I do. My first two guesses gave no letters at all. The third gave one letter in the wrong place and the only word I could make fit gave me the answer in 4 thanks to the number of letters I could discard.

          1. Me too. Mrs LrOK consistly completes in one fewer than me. A situation I accept with equanimity (and if you believe that…..).

  13. Not a lot of fun for me – I think the global gloom is having an effect on me and my cruciverbal capability – ****/**.

    Hmms for 12a and 24d – space is not the first synonym that would spring to mind for 12a and, like RD, I just wasn’t keen on 24d.

    I did like 27a and 6d.

    Thanks to Zandio and to DT.

    P.S. Meanwhile, given their well known sporting competitiveness, looking forward to watching the new patron of the RFU hosting the patron of the WRU at Twickenham tomorrow. I wonder if they will travel together or separately.

  14. Despite needing the hints for one or two this was a pleasant puzzle to while away some time over the morning coffee. It took a while to get into it but it soon began to motor before coming to a full stop with the ones I eventually had to look up. As usual, once the hints were checked I wondered why I hadn’t got them. I wondered also how many in other lands would know the nickname of the BBC. I thought the reference to a certain dancing lady in 10a was very neat and I loved the indicator for the terrific lurker in 8d. The lurker at 15d was also well hidden. My COTD is the compact 23d.

    Many thanks to the setter, whom folk believe to be Zandio, for the fun and to DT for the welcome hints.

    Sunny in The Marches although the breeze has a bite to it. Still, a long walk with Hudson beckons.

    Wordle in 5.

    1. Hi, Steve. I’ve known the BBC’s nickname for some time but working these puzzles has reinforced that. We (at my house) watch BBC World News/America over here as much as CNN or other news channels. Right now, the news is grim and bleak and very sad.

      1. Indeed it is, Robert. As a letter in the DT today stated “For the Rhineland read Crimea, for Czechoslovakia read Ukraine.

        Anyway, no politics, however grim, on BD.

      2. Robert, I want to chat with you about this but dare not, too political. Can you ask the powers that be for me email?

        1. Yes. Would MP or anyone else who does the blog send me Merusa’s email address? I would appreciate that kindness very much. Is this sufficient as a formal request?

  15. Great puzzle. Just when I thought it couldn’t get better I got to 20d, 23d and 24d all of which made my podium. Thanks to DT and today’s setter.

  16. Just to be awkward, I really liked 24d, but my favourite was the excellent 14a. Overall this was pleasingly challenging with enough testing clues to make it interesting. Great fun.

    Zandio seems to be the name in the frame from earlier commenters so thanks to him and of course DT.

  17. This Friday puzzle was a little trickier today I thought. For me was 2.5*/3.5* considering I had no hints/blog on Thursday night. Overall a nice puzzle, but took some thought and a few head scratches.
    SE was last area in.
    Candidates for favourites include 9a, 26a, 2d, 5d & 20d with winner 9a

    Thanks to setter and DT

      1. Me too but very strange. I got no letters at all on the first two attempts having used all the vowels but one. On the third attempt I got every letter and in the right order.

  18. I only seem to do the back pager on a Monday but when Elgar is doing the Toughie on a Friday I have learnt not to even start with it. I’ll leave it to the few who enjoy him. However I really enjoyed this today. Not easy. Like a Tuesday toughie. Too many smiles to mention. Glorious weather here in Suffolk. Sowed my tomato seeds in response. Many thanks to setter and DT

    1. The lovely weather extends to South Cambridgeshire although it is still cold. The garden is full of colour and snowdrops abound. I’m not sure I have room in the greenhouse for seeds, it is still full of geraniums etc.

  19. Hello all, compiler here. Thanks very much for the analysis and discussion. Chris Lancaster, the Telegraph Puzzles Editor, has kindly asked me to do this weekend’s Sunday Toughie, so I hope you’ll try that. Thanks again.

    1. Excellent puzzle, Zandio, and thanks for joining us. I look forward to Sunday’s Toughie.

    2. Thank you for a terrific puzzle, Zandio. A couple foxed me but that’s only to be expected on a Friday. I will look at your Toughie but not sure how far I will get.

      1. Could you persuade CL to make the weekend Toughies available to us digital users? After all, we do subscribe.

    3. Excellent puzzle. Sadly us poor people who do the receive the paper on the iPad. Don’t have access to the Sunday toughie even though we pay a lot for it.

  20. Some to class clues in this Friday puzzle, not that I found it easy but I did enjoy it. Hard to pick a favourite but I’ll go with 22a. Thanks to the setter and DT.

  21. So much to like here, Daisies for too many to list. 1a was a new slant on the old favourite cleaner. I can quite see why Terence is confused, it is hard to believe that another week has gone by George repeats the mantra – boiled eggs on Wednesdays and Saturdays but will still sometimes ask is it the weekend? Thanks to Zando and Deep Threat.

  22. Very nice, **/***. I think 12 across uses the straightforward alpha=a rather than a first letter, which then allows for the singular usage of ‘heading’. 24d I didn’t get at all, but it would seem I’m not the only one! Thanks Mysteron and Deep Threat.

  23. Another puzzle where I got many of the answers and then had to figure out how they met the clue requirements. I did start off well, but that usually doesn’t last long, as was the case today. Not surprised if this is Zandio, as I do have trouble getting on his wavelength. But took my mind off the dreadful world events for a while at least. Saving Wordle for later. Thanks to Zandio and Deep Threat.

  24. I could almost echo BusyLizzie’s comment above. Finished but with half a dozen had to wait for the hints to find out how I got there – 7d in particular. Thoroughly enjoyable though. Beautiful day here in N Norfolk – sun shining and birds singing – so utterly awful for those poor people in Ukraine going through a living hell. Thanks to Zandio and DT.

  25. Well I finished and enjoyed it APART from 25a and 7d, the wordplay was totally out of my solving ability and imho really rather daft.
    I was going to write something more pointed but good manners prevents me,
    Thx for the hints
    ****/*(*** if you ignore the above clues)

  26. I’m with BusyLizzie, the “whys” escaped me most of the time, I did struggle through and solve most of them. DNF with 24d and 20d. I had no idea what taps meant in 23d but now I know, that may be my fave.
    Thanks Zandio, funny old crossword, huge appreciation to DT for unravelling the mysteries.
    Wordle? Flameout, crash and burn again.

  27. Haven’t commented for a while, though I have been lurking. But had to comment on what, for me, was an absolute corker. Fairly clued and where I struggled, once the penny dropped left with a smile and a nod to the compiler’s skill. End result completed puzzle big smile and a perfectly decent excuse to start a Friday beer. Thanks to Zandio and for the hints which I need to parse 7d.

  28. NOt the hardest Friday puzzle I have ever done but I still had to think about quite a few (mainly in the south) I needed DT to give me a nudge on 17d and 24d but the rest was just testing enough.
    At times I thought we were doing Zandio’s Shopping list 1a 10a 1d 11a and a 14a to buy them in, and maybe a few ginger bickies to dunk too.
    nice lurker at 15a gets my favourite today.
    Thanks to DT and Zandio
    Here’s hoping I enjoy Sunday’s Toughie as much as this.

  29. Well I didn’t find it easy but it was a very satisfying solve, last one in was 24d which got a groan from me when I twigged it, very clever. I hear the Russians have been barred from the Eurovision Song Contest so they’ll be going home tomorrow 🥴. Miffy I was very impressed by your first day at primary school which you mentioned yesterday, tell that to the kids of today and they won’t believe you🤪. Thanks to all.
    Wordle in 4

  30. Thanks to Zanido and to Deep Threat for the review and hints. Way too difficult for me. Needed the hints for 12,22,28a and 7,13,20,23,24d. Was 4*/2* for me.

  31. Excellent Friday puzzle – best of the week in my book. Good clues, a reasonable challenge and much enjoyment/entertainment. 3*/4*.

  32. I found this quite a challenge with which I struggled over breakfast but then was to be out for rest of day so sought early assistance in order to finish e.g. parsing 19d. I liked 6d. Thank you Zandio and DT. Wishing everyone well in the precarious world in which we are currently living. 🌈💐.

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