DT 29956 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 29956

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 29956

Hints and tips by Deep Threat

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BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

Good morning from South Staffs on a bright but cold morning. The wind of the last couple of days seem to have abated, so I can tie back the rose bush which blew off the wall.

Much of today’s crossword was straightforward for me, but the crossing answers at 1a and 2d gave me some difficulty, pushing me 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           Take advantage of carbon used with advanced body part (4,2)
CASH IN – Put together the chemical symbol for carbon, an abbreviation for Advanced, and part of the body found in the lower leg.

4a           Writing back, a bit bored, I put something sillier (8)
STUPIDER – Hidden in reverse (back a bit) in the clue.

9a           Reluctant taking part in a song (6)
AVERSE – A (from the clue) followed by a section of a song.

10a         European, entering bar, secures comfy seats (8)
BEANBAGS – Another word for ‘bar’ or ‘prohibit’ wrapped round European, followed by another word for ‘secures’ or ‘lays claim to’.

12a         They make snacks I stored in plastic beakers (8)
BAKERIES – Anagram (plastic) of BEAKERS wrapped round I (from the clue).

13a         Win over million after son divides loot brought back (6)
DISARM – Another word for ‘loot’ or ‘break into’ wrapped round an abbreviation for Son, then the result is reversed and Million added at the end.

15a         Ingredient Saga reader mixed with rum (8,5)
DEMERARA SUGAR – Anagram (mixed) of SAGA READER and RUM.

18a         Old characters that could make a thousand and nine mix (5,8)
ROMAN NUMERALS – What do you use to make 1009 look like MIX?

20a         Wine store in which salt is kept? (6)
CELLAR – This word for a wine store is also the container where the salt is kept on your table.

22a         Woolly I pressed should be separate (8)
DISPERSE – Anagram (woolly) of I PRESSED.

24a         Crossing mountainside, lies back — returning, went down fast (8)
ABSEILED – Hidden in reverse (crossing … returning) in the clue.

25a         Grab drink after rest is consumed (4,2)
SNAP UP – Another word for ‘drink’ is wrapped round a brief sleep or rest.

26a         More than one bird rolls to take in oxygen (8)
ROOSTERS – The chemical symbol for oxygen is inserted into some rolls or registers.

Rice Paper - Roosters - Napkin Shop

27a         Producing, say, wheat beer to keep pub in turnover (6)
ARABLE – Reverse (in turnover) another word for a pub, then wrap another word for ‘beer’ around it.


1d           Sitting oddly in car, maybe boy’s in a mood (6)
CRABBY – Alternate letters of CaR mAyBe BoY’s.

2d           Country rock, some say, Sixties youth flipped over (9)
SHEIKHDOM – This is a generic word for a particular sort of Middle Eastern country, by reference to its ruler. Start with a homophone (some say) of a word for ‘rock’ or ‘shudder’, then add the reverse (flipped over) of a member of a Sixties tribe – the ones who wore sharp suits and rode motor scooters.

3d           Performer using popular guitar action with talents I developed (15)
INSTRUMENTALIST – Put together a two-letter word for ‘popular’, a way of playing a guitar, and an anagram (developed) of TALENTS I.

5d           Someone doing up shoelaces and belt? (4)
TIER – Double definition, the second being a level or rank (of seats in a stadium, perhaps).

6d           One helps writer make a point (6-9)
PENCIL SHARPENER – Cryptic definition of a tool used to mend the business end of a type of writing implement.

7d           Medic with a degree seen in theatre (5)
DRAMA – One of the abbreviations for a medic, followed by A (from the clue) and the letters after the name of a senior Arts graduate.

8d           Woman that’s stood up might set about Romeo (8)
ROSEMARY – Another word for ‘stood up’, followed by a conditional verb like ‘might’ wrapped round the letter represented by Romeo in the NATO alphabet, giving us a woman’s name.

11d         Titanic is docked after transport — it’s a tight squeeze (4,3)
BEAR HUG – Another word for ‘transport’ or ‘carry’, followed by a synonym of ‘titanic’ minus its last letter (docked).

This weeks Blog Post Hugs | Teddy bear pictures, Teddy bear hug, Cute teddy bears

14d         As that’s expanded, it’s poisonous (7)
ARSENIC – A poisonous chemical element for which As is the symbol.

16d         Ordered top grub to eat while here? (9)
GASTROPUB – Anagram (ordered) of TOP GRUB wrapped round (to eat) another word for ‘while’. The whole clue describes the definition.

17d         Motorway goes in curve, shock! It’s somewhere to slow down (8)
ARMCHAIR – The symbol for a motorway is inserted into a geometric curve, then the shock found on your head is added.

19d         Race relations (6)
PEOPLE – Double definition, the second being an upper-class way of describing one’s relatiions, as in ‘my —— have a place down in Gloucestershire’.

21d         Cowboy chucks this girl with zero support (5)
LASSO – This word appears for the second day running (6d in yesterday’s Toughie). Another word for a girl, with the letter which looks like a zero added at the end.

23d         One is cried but 5 may be heard (4)
TEAR – This product of weeping sounds like the answer to 5d.


55 comments on “DT 29956

  1. 2.5*/4*. This was another in a long line of high quality Friday puzzles to enjoy with one clue providing a déjà vu moment following yesterday’s Toughie.

    I wasn’t sure about “relations” being a synonym for 19d but the BRB gives “close relatives” as one of many definitions. I must say I’ve never found 10a particularly comfortable, but I guess they must be for some folk.

    My podium comprises 18a, 27a, 6d & 14d; and I will give a special mention to 15a as a nice anagram.

    Many thanks to the setter (Zandio?) and to DT.

  2. I thought this was mainly light, and good fun throughout, a very typical Zandio (I’d be amazed if it wasn’t) back pager.
    21d came up in yesterday’s Beam Toughie, interesting to see the difference/similarity in the clueing.
    My podium contenders are are 27a plus the linked 5&23d along with 14d but top spot goes to 2d.
    Thanks to the aforementioned setter and DT for the entertainment.

  3. Absolutely loved your description of the operative part at 6d, DT, and also the illustration of 11d. Parsing 14d eluded me. I wasn’t sure how “plastic” was asking me to solve an anagram but will make a note to store it for the future. Thought this a good puzzle with a good smattering of shoeins and headscratchers. Thank you Mr/Ms compiler and DT for help.

  4. How comforting to ignore the impossible Toughie and settle to a doable puzzle. I suppose my COTD is 15a. A “sweet”anagram!

  5. Enjoyable throughout.
    Last in, 1a and, stupidly, 1d.
    18a brilliant.
    So, ***/*****
    Many thanks, Zandio and DT.

  6. Bottom half first today as nothing obvious happened as I viewed the NW corner.
    A steady solve and some excellent cluing, thanks to DT for the ‘mix ‘explanation in18a.
    Liked the reverse lurker in 24a and the surface of 27a.
    Favourite was 14d-helps being a chemist!
    Going for a ***/****

  7. Lots of Friday fun. Huge clang when the penny dropped on 24a. My favourites were 18a, 6d and 14d. Thanks to today’s setter and Deep Threat.

  8. Surprised to see this rated as *** as I managed it unaided, first time this week I’ve done that. Yesterday was my worst day and I didn’t even have Brian to back me up😂. Plenty to eat today, somewhere to eat it and even places to relax afterwards. Thanks to all.
    Wordle in 5

      1. Sorry if I’ve jumped on your bandwagon, but you know what they say about imitation.

        1. I don’t have any bandwagons. You are most welcome to share my love of food and drink in puzzles

  9. Took me a while but I got there in the happy end. Really enjoyed this one, especially 2d, 11d, 18a, & 10a, my LOI. It’s been a good week for backpagers and Toughies, until Elgar today, which I barely scratched, alas. Thanks to DT and today’s setter. *** / ****

    Left the house yesterday for the first time since 16 Dec 21, doubly masked, with cane and Jimmy’s support, got my taxes done (and came out ahead!), returned home to classical music, & then watched some of the Masters and three baseball games on Opening Day. Slept like a baby last night.

    1. Congratulations on your perigrinations. That fresh air is good stuff, even if breathed through a mask.

  10. Apparently I am not a “Zandio person,” if it is indeed one of his productions. A bit of a grind and not much fun, not helped by a word that I dislike intensely in 16d – 3*/2.5*.

    No stand-out favourites but 6d did raise one of the few smiles.

    Thanks to the setter anyway and to DT.

  11. This one took me to 3.5* time to finally solve with 40% of that time taken up on 11d, my last in & which stubbornly refused to yield. 4a seems a particularly clumsy word to me as I’d say more ****** rather than ******er. Top 2 for me 2d&18a both of which are excellent clues & with ticks for 10,13&27a plus 3,6,8&11d.
    Thanks to Zandio & DT.
    Wordle in 5
    Ps I’d definitely plump for 17d over 10a – the latter comfortable enough but the trial of getting up again isn’t worth the effort.

    1. We try not to use the word at 4 across and do our best to deter the youngsters from using it. Particularly when directed at a person. Just sometimes though, I’m very tempted

  12. First thought was ‘This is going to be tricky’ but apart from a couple, things dropped nicely into place. I did struggle to fully understand 11d and 13a which were cryptic in the extreme. Although I needed the hint to explain 14d it was a brilliant clue.
    My fav was 3d.
    Thx to esp for the hints

  13. Found myself struggling for a while to start with, and the first third took much longer than usual – just could not get on to the setter’s wavelength this morning. The rest fell much more swiftly, but for me this could well have been an early-week Toughie rather than a backpager. Hon Mentions to 14d (think that was in the Times the other day?), 2d and 17d, with COTD to 18a.

    3.5 / 3.5

    Many thanks to the Setter for a very rewarding challenge (I was thinking Proximal but am probably wrong) and to DT

  14. Took me a while to get on setter’s wavelength and then again, like Senf, this setter is not really my scene. Today too many anagrams plus some rather tortuous surfaces. Was unaware of symbol for 14d but bunged in. On basis of 15a almost anything could qualify as ingredient. 6d was only possible Fav. Enjoyed Hank Marvin in 3d hint. Thank you Zandio and DT

  15. I took ages to do this and needed some electric help to finish. Also needed DT’s help with some parsings.
    So, not the most enjoyable puzzle of the week for me.
    6d raised a smile and I really liked 18a.

    Thanks to the setter and to DT.

    I have found all of this week’s puzzles a step up in difficulty. Is it just me or has the cold up here frozen my synapses?

    Thankfully no snow , but the blossoms on the damsons and the greengages had just appeared when tne weather turned, so looks like not many fruits to come from them…..which is a shame. I think they are at the limit of their range here, so I should be grateful we get any fruit I suppose.

  16. Hoorah a nice solvable crossword to end the week 😃 ***/**** though after completion I needed the blog to explain some of the parsing 🤔 Favourites were 26 & 27 across and 1 down. Thanks to Deep Threat & Zandio 👍 Off to watch “Tiger on a roll” rather than Tiger Roll 🏇 who is not in the Grand National this year 😟 Have a sunny weekend

    1. I’m no fan of Tiger but thought his performance yesterday was nothing short of remarkable. I thought he’d no chance of making the cut but now find myself desperately hoping he does

      1. Likewise here: no fan of Tiger but hope he makes the cut. The big star for me yesterday (and to our local newspaper’s sports editor) was the great Tom Watson, who had to put up with Nicklaus and Player and their usual immodest ways.

        1. Now he is a class act. The manner in which he dealt with his near miss in The Open at Turnberry (I’ve never forgiven Stewart Cink) aged 59 was pure sportsmanship – something conspicuously lacking with Mr Woods.

  17. Solved in three sittings due to stuff Saint Sharon wants to do, bless her little cotton socks. Still very enjoyable though. Just off the wall enough to add interest and difficulty. I’ll keep on poking around at 14 down but I’m sure I will need DTs help eventually so I’ll thank him for that now. Also thanks for the ‘Down in Demerara’ song which we did indeed sing in our infant and junior schools. As for Hank Marvin, I’m glad the music moved on and evolved but even gladerer than the musicians did so too. Thanks to the setter. I enjoyed it all

  18. An excellent crossword for this Friday with no real hold-ups at all. 2*/4.5*
    Some wonderful clues in this including my favourites 18a, 25a, 1d, 2d, the 5d/23d pair & 17d with the winner by a country mile being 2d. Very, very clever clue and well executed. Took me a while to figure the parsing but it was a great PDM when it did drop!
    I would pick 18a as a solid runner up.
    Very enjoyable and a fun solve on my Thursday evening on what has been the warmest day of 2022 so far for us on the West Coast … 20 Celsius

    Thanks to setter and DT

  19. Thank you, DT. Though 14d was obvious via the checkers, I was stumped as to why! Clearly, I need to do a refresher course on the periodic table! South Devon wet. But my beloved husband can stop fretting over whether the new rose bush is getting enough water…!

  20. A fine Friday puzzle. Good clues, a tad above average difficulty for a back-pager and an enjoyable solve. No stand-out favourite today. 3*/3.5*

  21. Sorry. Just cannot concentrate my head full of cotton wool. Nose running like a tap – not a pretty sight. At least I don’t have the cough that George has. Off to have a nap having been wiping my nose all night.

  22. Sorry this is meant to be a reply to Daisy.
    Best Get Well wishes to both you and George. Wretched Covid is certainly on the rampage. 🌈.

  23. I rather enjoyed that. Plenty of favourites but I will signal out 18a, a lovely clue solved outside York Minster staring at the resemblance to a 18a.
    (Spot the deliberate mistake) answer in a bit.
    Thanks to DT and Zandio. I see Dutch has the toughie at the easier end of Elgar’s spectrum which probably means that I may solve a couple!

    1. It was erected upside down.

      Pink Floyd may not be to everyone’s taste but this is a great song that needs listening to.

  24. Late in the day for me as running around doing things that have all come in a rush. Always find time to complete the crossword though, and this was another gem of a puzzle off the production line. 18a was my favourite by a country mile, or MDCCLX yards I think. I am sure someone will point out if I am wrong.

    Thanks Zandio and DT.

  25. I finished this unaided but yet again had to read the hints to see how I got there as in 1d and several others but thanks, I enjoyed the challenge. Wordle in 4 and Quordle in 7. Someone has introduced me to Qwordle but don’t understand the rules so will give that one a miss. Thanks to the setter and DT

  26. No problems today for me. Favourite was the splendid 18a. Thanks to the setter and DT.

  27. Failed on 11d.
    Just couldn’t see it.
    Loved 18a too but favourite is the cryptic in 6d. Probably an old chestnut to some and I shall put it in the Oldie but Goodie category.
    Thanks to the setter and to DT for the review.

  28. Hello, compiler here. Thanks very much for the analysis and discussion. Have a good weekend.

  29. A most enjoyable way to finish the week, Zio.

    I can’t split 18a and 14d.

    Both are absolute pearlers.


  30. Another one who felt this was a bit like cottonwool. Many bungins ‘cos they fit, and two wrong, which didn’t help, but really difficult to parse. Fave was 18a by a country mile.
    Thank you Zandio, I usually find yours hard so nothing different. Thanks DT for your hints, couldn’t have finished without them. I also needed a lot of help from Mr. Google! Wordle a phew at 6.

  31. This was a load of Friday class, Zandio. Special mention 18a for the simplicity and misdirection – very sweet. This was done over several sessions and I came close to using DT (thanks for being there) or crosswordsolver.com a few times. So glad I resisted: I’m basking in smug glow now.

  32. Glad I’m not the only one to make hard work of this. Once finished I’m not sure why I took so long. Some of the clues I took ages over were quite straightforward. 12a for example. Once this was solved 2d was obvious.

    Enjoyable solve and glad to have finished unaided.

    Thanks to all.

  33. Thanks to the setter and to Deep Threat for the review and hints. I enjoyed what I could do, but with 10 answers blank, had to resort to the hints. I don’t know if it was a wavelength thing, but I wouldn’t have got any of them. I liked 6d which was my first one in, but my favourite was 18a. Was 4*/3* for me.

  34. Thank you for your company this week as being isolated with Covid has prompted me to get back into doing the cryptic crossword. I needed fewer hints today, so maybe my brain is less cotton woolly than it was at the beginning of the week :-)

  35. 4*/4*…
    liked 18A ” Old characters that could make a thousand and nine mix (5,8) “

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