DT 29938 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 29938

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 29938

Hints and tips by Deep Threat

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

Good morning from South Staffs, where after a foggy start to the day we have a beautiful sunny morning.

Today’s puzzle is a pangra missing the X, so presumably a ProXimal production. It took me just into *** time to solve, but that was at the end of a tiring day, so I may not have been fully up to speed.

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           Concentrate again, female in course resolved (7)
REFOCUS – Anagram (resolved) of COURSE with Female inserted.

5a           Considered act to protect club (7)
DEBATED – Another word for an act wrapped round the sort of club used in cricket or baseball.

9a           Church beside mostly dim wood (5)
CEDAR – The abbreviation for the Church of England, followed by another word for ‘dim’ minus its last letter (mostly).

Cedar Trees: Your Guide to These Aromatic Softwoods - The Dirt Doctors

10a         In worry, turned back before clash (9)
INTERFERE – Put together IN (from the clue), the reverse (turned back) of another word for ‘worry’, and a poetic word for ‘before’.

11a         Amazing pub by path male individual recalled (10)
PHENOMENAL – Put together another word for a path or narrow road, Male, and another word for an individual. Reverse (recalled) the result, then put an abbreviation (as seen on Ordnance Survey maps) for pub at the front.

12a         Bring forward last of huge barrels (4)
VATS – Start with another word for ‘huge’, then move its last letter one place forward.

14a         You heard chatting about heartless fool that’s not complimentary (12)
UNFLATTERING – The letter that sounds like (heard) ‘you’, followed by another word for ‘chatting’ or ‘gossiping’ wrapped round the outside letters (heartless) of F(oo)L.

18a         Writer of wills clear or intricate (5,7)
LEWIS CARROLL – Anagram (intricate) of WILLS CLEAR OR.

Lewis Carroll — Google Arts & Culture

21a         Hit shuffle, skipping first of songs (4)
CUFF – Another word for ‘shuffle (the feet)’ minus the first letter of Songs.

22a         Plank from stump drilled audibly (10)
FLOORBOARD – Another word for ‘stump’ or ‘defeat in argument’, followed by what sounds like another word for ‘drilled (a hole)’.

25a         Ecstasy playing piece to capture knight in contest (9)
ENCOUNTER – The common abbreviation for the drug Ecstasy, and a token used in game play, placed either side of the chess notation for a knight.

26a         Character enthralled by unusual phantom (5)
ALPHA – This Greek character is hidden in the clue.

27a         Calmed and rested entertaining journalist before another (7)
SEDATED – Another word for ‘rested’ (after standing, perhaps), wrapped round the usual crossword journalist, with another such journalist added to the end.

28a         Hold and sup rum, gripped by broadcast (7)
SUSPEND – Another word for ‘broadcast’ is wrapped round an anagram (rum) of SUP.


1d           Directions from playing field, that is including parking (6)
RECIPE – A short form of the word for a public playing field, followed by the Latin abbreviation for ‘that is’ wrapped round the abbreviation found on a sign advertising car parking.

2d           Following identification, understand restless person (6)
FIDGET – Put together an abbreviation for Following, the acronym for some identity papers, and another word for ‘understand’ or ‘grasp’.

3d           Crumbled tacos rot in drawer (10)
CARTOONIST – Anagram (crumbled) of TACOS ROT IN. This drawer is one who draws funny or satirical pictures.

MATT Funny Greeting Cards - Humorous Cartoons | Comedy Card Company

4d           Take measurement, encircling base (5)
SEIZE – A clothes measurement (as in ‘that’s just your —-‘) wrapped round a logarithmic base.

5d           Critic‘s rubbish conveyed upset (9)
DETRACTOR – Put together another word for ‘rubbish’ and another word for ‘conveyed (in a vehicle)’, then reverse (upset) the result.

6d           Empty drinking establishment close to collapse (4)
BARE – A drinking establishment followed by the last letter (close) of collapsE.

7d           Topical item chat sorted out (8)
THEMATIC – Anagram (sorted out) of ITEM CHAT.

8d           Arrange some time for equestrian event (8)
DRESSAGE – Another word for ‘arrange (a shop window or a theatre set, perhaps)’ followed by a long period of time.

13d         Sweets start to descend in stomach in denim trousers (5,5)
JELLY BEANS – Start with another word for ‘stomach’, move its first letter to the end (start to descend), then wrap the usual word for denim trousers around the result.

How Are Jelly Beans Made? | Wonderopolis

15d         Sent paperwork to give guidance about fleet at sea (9)
LEAFLETED – Anagram (at sea) of FLEET, inserted into a word for ‘give guidance’.

16d         Gets dirty book and relaxes, missing out intro (8)
BLACKENS – An abbreviatio0n for Book followed by a word for ‘relaxes (tension)’ minus its first letter (missing out intro).

17d         Deceitful act few do suspect (3-5)
TWO-FACED – Anagram (suspect) of ACT FEW DO.

19d         Flier is publication oddly prized (6)
MAGPIE – A short form of a word for a monthly or weekly publication, followed by alternate letters (oddly) of PrIzEd.

magpie - Wiktionary

20d         Former king in European conflict invading Germany twice (6)
EDWARD – An abbreviation for European, followed by two examples of the IVR code for Germany, with an armed conflict inserted.

23d         Revolutionary Japanese game about small monsters (5)
OGRES – Reverse (revolutionary) the name of a Japanese board game, then add the Latin word for ‘about’ or concerning’ and an abbreviation for Small.

24d         Stop bedcover shifting left (4)
QUIT – A padded bedcover with the abbreviation for Left removed.

The Quick Crossword pun JAW + JELLY + HUT = GEORGE ELIOT

52 comments on “DT 29938

  1. It has been a great week for cryptic crosswords so far and today’s was no exception. A most enjoyable solve despite needing Mr G for a couple. Plenty of good clues to exercise the brain not to mention the fingers as they scratched the head. I liked the short ones especially 12a and 24d. My absolute favourite and COTD is 13d. All this and a wonderfully groanworthy Quickie pun made for a pleasant interlude over the morning coffee.

    Many thanks to the setter for the fun and to DT for the hints.

    After a misty start we have pleasant sunshine in The Marches today.

    Wordle in 2.

  2. 2*/5*. A splendid X-less pangram to finish the week.

    It was a shame about the horrible “verbing” in 15d but it is in the BRB so fair game for the setter.

    My podium comprises 11a, 5d & 13d.

    Many thanks to proXimal and to DT.

  3. Had to read quite a few clues before getting one but then it all meshed in nicely at ***/***.
    Lots of cunning clues and I particularly enjoyed 14a, 27a and as SC has commented 13d and that gets my COTD. Thanks to DT for his amusing hints thankfully not needed but much enjoyed and Proximal if it is he for his X-less endeavours.

  4. Although ittookme a long time to finish this puzzle, it was more enjoyable than most Friday puzzles (4*/3.5*). I particularly liked the 3d anagram, 10a and cunning version of a Spoonerism 13d. Many thanks to DT for the hints and to the compiler.

    1. Yes, I thought that 13d was a kind of Spoonerism, Chris rather than DT’s explanation. However, both work.

  5. A perfect end to a splendid week of cruciverbalism – 2.5*/4.5*.

    Candidates for favourite – 14a, 25a, and 2d – and the winner is 14a.

    Thanks to pro__imal and to DT.

  6. I can only echo those earlier commenters who have talked of this being the latest in a week-long list of top puzzles. I always enjoy this setter’s style, and today I thought he was on top form, with the clever 13d being my favourite.

    My thanks to proXimal and DT.

  7. A joyful puzzle joyously finished by me in surprisingly good time last night, following the most brilliant pun in a long time in the quickie. 13d clearly the runaway COTD for me, with 5d and 18a jockeying for spots on the podium along with gobs of others. A sparkling X-less gem, I thought. Thanks to DT and proXimal. 2.5* / 5*

    My doctoral thesis was on Jaw-Jelly-Hut, and bless her heart, she finally makes it to cruciverbal stardom.

  8. Another enigmatic gem. Always pleased to have someone else identify the pangrams (Afraid I pass the buck!) but then that’s usually too late to be of assistance to me as per today. Three (28a, 5d and 23d) were fairly obvious if unparsed. Fav was 14a. Quickie pun raised a giggle. Thank you so much proXimal and DT(beautiful sunshine in W. Sussex too).

  9. A most enjoyable and proper Friday Backpager of a puzzle. Plenty to challenge cruciverbalists: cunning clue constructions cleverly contriving to confuddle.

    Wanted 8d to be equipage, which slowed me down, and 12a was my LOI, getting the answer but not the parsing until reading DT’s blog … resulting in a real Doh! moment. Such good clues throughout it’s almosy invidious to select any in particular for special mention, but Hon Mentions to 20d, 25a and 18a, with COTD to 5d for the lovely smooth surface of the clue and answer.

    3* / 4*

    Many thanks indeed to the setter and to DT

  10. With the rest of the grid completed, I was completely stuck on 10A for the longest time…until I realized I’d transposed two letters in 4D! Morning fog outside and brain fog inside. 13D gets my vote today. Thanks go to the setter and DT.

  11. For me the toughest of the week but solvable by definition if not always the wordplay.
    Thx for the hints to explain 10a, 11a, 12a, 21a, 22a and 23d. In each case my answers were correct but the wordplay eluded me.
    Thx to all

    1. The Wordle is strictly speaking wrong today as according to the dictionary it requires something else to be correct.
      Having said that I got it in two more by luck than judgement.

      1. Wordle in 3. I suppose there is a little thing mising, but I wouldn’t have a clue how to provide it using my laptop keyboard even if I wanted to.

  12. A lovely slow solve this morning and lots to float my boat. Thanks to ProXimal for the tussle and thanks to Peter for the amusement within the blog. The muppets clip reminded me of the day a couple of years ago when we took our grandson Harrison to see Dippy the Diplodocus in Birmingham. We were on the train home when I played that clip to him and what seemed like the whole carriage joined in singing along to the whole song. A joyful memory

  13. Tricky parsing today and some difficult charades made this an challenging solve.
    15a was a new word for me and last in was 12a which provided the D’oh moment.
    Favourite was13d followed by 11a.Going for a ***/****
    Another excellent puzzle week -now for the cricket!

  14. Speedy start, I thought it was going to be read and write, but then the SW slowed me a little. 13d gets my vote. Thanks to proXimal and DT.

  15. Well, it has all been said. Delightful and a super week. Needed your help DT for 16d otherwise I liked 14,18 & 22a and 3,13,17 & 20d. Glorious sunshine is making me sleepy, the glass of red didn’t help, might just have a nap. Thanks to ProXimal and DT.

  16. I completed this splendid puzzle before an operation in Derriford Hospital so can’t remember a lot about it other than it was very entertaining with any difficulty coming from the craftiness of the wordplay.
    14a plus 13&16d were all smilers but could have mentioned several more.
    Many thanks to the ProXimal and DT for the fun and distraction.

      1. Thanks Chris and thanks Robert, much appreciated. No operations are pain free but I’m fine.

  17. Solved whilst ferrying drinks to the central heating engineer to keep him ‘sweet’ whilst carrying out the annual service on the gas boiler – every little helps!
    10a caused me a few problems as I wouldn’t equate the answer with ‘clash’ but once I’d spelled 4d correctly the answer was what it had to be.
    Top two for me were the nicely constructed 2d and the playful 13d. As others have commented, the latter was ripe for a remark from the famous Reverend!

    Thanks to proXimal for a good end to the week and to DT for the review.

  18. Excellent! Best puzzle of the week for me. Fine clues. a good challenge and much enjoyment. Fav: 11a. 3.5*/4.5*.

  19. Well, I finished this unaided but had to wait for the hints to understand how I got there, a bit like Brian. In fact in the first half hour only solved two so thanks to the setter and DT. Wordle in 4 and Quordle in 7.

      1. It usually takes me 9 but this time I solved 3 by the 6th go and had 2 letters of the 4th but in the wrong order so it was just a guess!

  20. Like Miffypops I found this a slow solve which deepens the pleasure. Could be Covid- fog but I stared at a few of these for what seemed like hours before the sweet penny-drops. Thanks proXimal for the amazing pub and empty drinking establishment. And DT, I’m grateful for the Matt.

  21. A good puzzle to end the week with some tricky bits in there.
    Favourites include 9a, 14a, 2d & 13d with winner 2d

    Thanks to proXimal and DT

  22. Great way to fill the time in between these Cheltenham races (hooray the bookies are taking a beating today!) with 3d as my CotD – thank you proXimal and DT

  23. Very tricky for me and had to resort to hints in the NE in order to finish. A lot of answers were easy enough to get but the parsing was beyond me, so much appreciation to DT for that. It didn’t help that I had the wrong ending for 11a which held me up, I also had an incorrect 22a. All in all, not my finest hour. Fave was 13d.
    Thanks proXimal, and to DT, without you I wouldn’t have been able to finish. Wordle in 4.

  24. Super puzzle. For me it pips Jay as best of the week so far. For some reason 16d&21a, my last 2, caused a head scratch until I realised I was short of a K for the X-less pangram so all done & parsed in a respectable 2.5* time. Among many fine clues 13d the clear favourite for the clever wordplay with mentions also for 10,11&14a plus 1,2&19d. I was looking forward to a non Elgar Friday Toughie but have just glanced at Dutch’s difficulty rating & read CS’s comment so the Graun it’ll have to be.
    Thanks to proXimal & to DT
    Wordle in 4 – lost the coin toss again at 3.

  25. Top setter-spotting. Thanks to DT for the review and to commenters for comments. Good luck to those tackling Artix.

  26. What great puzzle.
    Off to a quick start and then stalled.
    For too long.
    2d and 10a were among the culprits.
    Nevertheless, pennies eventually resoundingly dropped.
    So, ****/*****
    Many thanks, proXimal and DT.

  27. I managed that in several stints and only needed a nudge for one of the pesky 4 letter words (12a – I thought of Kegs and Tuns and Pins and many barrels except the Vast one)
    As is fairly normal for a Friday I cracked this while Mama Bee was having her hair done, and as it was a nice day I was sitting outside on the park bench. I put Jelly in the pun but couldn’t quite see the answer so I was getting quite vocal in various pronunciations. Jaw Jelly HUT, JAW jelly Hut, JAW JELLY HUT, JAWJELLYHUT. the penny finally dropped when a (presumably English Literature) student on the way home from the High School shouted out “She wrote Middlemarch and the Mill on the Floss”
    A bit of a facepalm moment for sure! 🤦‍♂️
    I couldn’t quite see what happened to the first two letters of chattering in 14a before the right answer nattered in my ear.
    Thanks to DT and ProXimal.

  28. I was a long way from completing this unaided so thanks for the hints Deep Threat – from a fellow South Staffs Solver!

  29. As usual, proXimal and I are in different planets. Many of the answers went in because of the checkers or definitions, rather than the clues. Definitely tricky today, although 1a was a gift and went straight in. 15d is a very awkward word, probably only used by those used to distributing information during elections etc. Not something I would have come up with on my own. Thanks to proXimal and DT. Wordle in 3, but think Peter will have a hard time today, his cooking skills being limited to baked beans. Oh, I take that back he just got it in 5, accompanied with some muttering about “foreign words again” 😊.

  30. A real challenge for me, I completed it, but an all-dayer ! Pleased I stuck with it, very satisfying to finish.
    Thanks to setter and (thankfully unneeded) hints. ****/****

  31. Very enjoyable solve today.
    The top half went in pretty quickly, but the SW corner proved trickier.
    I persevered and all fell into place once the writer at 18a revealed himself.
    I’ll jump on the bandwagon with 13d as COTD too…

  32. It’s very annoying that all this week on every puzzle I have been stumped by one clue, todays was 21a, needed the hint for that, I had bunged in riff which makes no sense really. Once 21a was sorted 16d became obvious. Aside from that a very enjoyable puzzle, hardest of the week for me. Thanks to all.

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