DT 29957 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 29957

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 29957

A full review by Rahmat Ali

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This puzzle was published on 9th Apr 2022

BD Rating – Difficulty ***- Enjoyment ****

Greetings from Kolkata. At the outset, I would like to congratulate Cephas for reaching the milestone of compiling 1500 crosswords with this Saturday one in the Daily Telegraph and wish him attain novel heights in the times ahead. At this end, I am feeling honoured to have written a review of the same that I enjoyed solving and would love to have your valuable feedback.

Joe Sixpack, the answer to the clue of 10a, made me inquisitive and I trolled the net to learn more about the American hypothetical ordinary worker. This disparaging term was first recorded in 1977. It conjured up the image of a man in undershirt and construction helmet who would down all of a six-pack or six cans or bottles of beer sold in a package in just one evening. Today, in internet slang, Joe Sixpack is somebody without particular expertise or interest in computers or the Internet. I found out that the term can also be written as Joe Six-pack or Joe Six-Pack. Joe, as the familiar abbreviation of Joseph, is colloquially used as a generic term for a lad, a fellow or a chap. But I was surprised to see poor Joe laden with so many second names and almost for the same meaning! While most of them are used as American names, some are British too! First the American ones: Joe Schmo, also spelled as Joe Schmoe, Joe Shmoe or Joe Shmo, is especially a man and typically of the working class. Joe Regular is the average, ordinary or typical person, especially a boy or man, Joe Blow is the average man or person and Joe Lunchbucket is the average, ordinary or typical working person, all of which are primarily heard in the US. While Joe Snuffy is a complete average person, typically an average American, Joe Doakes is typical or average male American citizen. Furthermore, there is also Joe Citizen, referring to an average, ordinary or typical citizen, which does not necessarily refer to a man, but is obviously for only a male if it has to be a representative of the public. And now the British ones: Joe Soap is a person who is regarded as unintelligent and imposed upon as a stooge or scapegoat and Joe Bloggs is an informal name for a hypothetical average man, where the name ‘Bloggs’ has been derived from bloc, a bloke to the East Anglican region of Britain, Norfolk or Suffolk, representing the average man on the street. And finally, even the typical, ordinary, average people as a whole is not spared of the first name Joe and one can very well guess what the public at large could be called. Yes, and there is no doubt about it, it is Joe Public!

I also learnt from the net that nail-biting, the answer to the clue of 14a, is also known as onychophagy or onychophagia. This oral compulsive habit of biting one’s fingernails is sometimes described as a parafunctional activity, the common use of the mouth for an activity other than speaking, eating or drinking! Around 30 percent of children between 7 and 10 years of age and 45 percent of teenagers engage in nail-biting. The ICD-10 classifies the practice as “other specified behavioural and emotional disorders with onset usually occurring in childhood and adolescence.” It can also be source of guilt and shame feelings in the nail biter, a reduced quality of life and increased stigmatisation in the inner family circles or at a more societal level.

AZ as part of the wordplay to the clue of 22a, took me to Geographers’ A-Z Map Company Ltd. that is the largest independent map publisher in the United Kingdom, providing cartographic services, digital data products and paper mapping publications that include Street Atlases, Visitors’ Guides, Great Britain Road Atlases and The Adventure Atlas. The company was established as Geographers’ Map Company Ltd. in London on 28 August 1936 by Alexander Grosz and moved to Kent in 1960; its ownership moving to the Geographer’s Map Trust. The iconic A-Z was added to the company name in 1970. It is now producing digital data and its product STREET is being upgraded to include full digital coverage of the United Kingdom.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a Brown medicine I swallowed (6)
SIENNA: SENNA (medicine) as a laxative prepared from the dried pods of the cassia tree having taken in (swallowed) I from the clue, leading to the definition of a deep-reddish brown colour

9a Charlie’s excited consuming a new cheese (10)
LANCASHIRE: An anagram (excited) of CHARLIE’S taking inside (consuming) A from the clue and N (new) as the abbreviation for new as NT in New Testament, arriving at the definition of a mild white cheese with a crumbly texture, made originally in the county of Lancashire

10a Joseph with some cans of beer for average man in USA (3,7)
JOE SIXPACK: A charade of JOE (Joseph) as a familiar abbreviation or hypocorism of Joseph and (with) SIX-PACK (some cans of beer) as a pack of six cans of beer held together with a plastic fastener takes to the informal definition of a name for a hypothetical ordinary working man in the United States

11a Skipper clambered inside (4)
LAMB: Part of or hidden somewhere in the interior (inside) of cLAMBered could refer to the skipping of a lamb or guide to the definition of the African-born former England skipper, Allan Joseph LAMB who played for the first-class teams of Western Province and Northamptonshire, made his Test debut in 1982 and was a fixture in the Test and One-Day International team for the next decade, representing England at three World Cups in 1983, 1987 and 1992

12a Support circular toy (4)
LEGO: A charade of LEG (support) as each of the supports of a chair, table or other similar structure and O (circular) as a shape like that of a capital O, taking to the definition of a brand of construction toy consisting of small interlocking pieces, principally plastic bricks for constructing model buildings etc

14a Habit that’s extremely tense and exciting (4-6)
NAIL-BITING: Double definition; the second being an adjective meaning causing great anxiety or tension that leads to the first a noun meaning the act or habit of biting one’s fingernails that is most commonly noticed among the teenagers

17a Plant unknown agent in front (7)
FACTORY: Y (unknown) as a variable, unknown or yet to be ascertained quantity as used in mathematics, especially in algebra preceded by or following (in front) FACTOR (agent) as an agent who buys and sells goods on commission, guiding to the definition of a place or building where goods are manufactured

18a High-flier‘s trick (7)
SKYLARK: Double definition; the first being a noun meaning a common Eurasian and North African lark of farmland and open country, noted for its prolonged song given in hovering flight and the second a verb meaning to pass time by playing tricks or practical jokes

20a Book giving priest great joy (10)
REVELATION: The definition of the Apocalypse or last book of the New Testament, and consequently the last book of the Christian Bible, recounting a divine revelation of the future of St. John is arrived at from a charade of REV (priest) as the abbreviation of Reverend, the title of a priest and ELATION (great joy) as a feeling of great happiness and exhilaration about something that has happened

21a Eat cold cut (4)
CHEW: A charade of C (cold) as the abbreviation for cold and HEW (cut) as to cut with blows or fell or sever with blows of a cutting instrument guides to the definition of a verb meaning to use teeth to bit, cut through and grind food into smaller pieces, especially to make it easier to swallow

22a Be idle with the French gazetteer included (4)
LAZE: LE (the French) as the definite article ‘the’ in French language used with singular, masculine words having AZ (gazetteer) as a alphabetically-listed gazetteer or directory that informs about streets etc when in a big city taken inside (included), arriving at the definition of a verb meaning to spend time in a relaxed, lazy manner or to do nothing

23a Rider‘s request upset Scotsman (10)
EQUESTRIAN: An anagram (upset) of REQUEST followed by IAN (Scotsman) as a male given name of Scottish origin that means ‘the Lord is gracious’ provide the definition of a horse-rider or performer on horseback

25a States part that’s a young country (3,7)
NEW ENGLAND: The definition of a region of the Northeastern United States comprising six states of Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont, called so because it was the first part of the States where people from England, including the Pilgrim Fathers, began to settle in the 17th century, is arrived at from NEW (a young) as that which is fresh or very recently made or has become and ENGLAND (country) as a country that is part of the United Kingdom

26a Approaching a fifty majority (6)
ALMOST: A from the clue, L (fifty) as the Roman numeral for fifty and MOST (majority) as the majority of something take to the definition of an adjective meaning very near but not quite


2d Mediator flabbergasted with me: that’s excessive! (10)
IMMODERATE: An anagram (flabbergasted) of MEDIATOR and (with) ME guides to the definition of an adjective meaning too much or many, or more than is usual or reasonable

3d Endless worthless talent (4)
NOUS: NO US[E] (worthless) as having no real value or use that is without E, the ending letter (endless), taking to the definition of a noun meaning general intelligence combined with the ability to be practical

4d Princess, one in port (10)
ALEXANDRIA: ALEXANDRA (princess) as the Honourable Lady Ogilvy and daughter of Prince George, Duke of Kent and Princess Marina of Greece and Denmark having I (one) as the Roman numeral for one placed inside (in), taking to the definition of a Mediterranean port in Egypt

5d People dressed like a monk? (7)
INHABIT: IN HABIT (dressed like a monk) as dressed in official or customary dress, especially the costume of a monk leads to the definition of a verb meaning to occupy as if inhabiting or to stock with people or inhabitants

6d Pull someone across the pond (4)
YANK: Double definition; the second being a noun as an informal term for a person of the United States, who stays on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean vis-à-vis the United Kingdom, that takes to the first a colloquial verb meaning to carry, move or pull someone with a jerk

7d Greek character, after the due time, left individual collector initially concerned with this hobby (10)
PHILATELIC: PHI (Greek character) as the twenty-first letter Ø of the Greek alphabet, LATE (after the due time) as after the due, expected or usual time, L (left) as the abbreviation for left, I (individual) as the word used in mentioning oneself and the initial or first letter (initially) of C[OLLECTOR) guide to the definition of an adjective meaning of or relating to philately or the hobby of stamp-collecting

8d Bloodsucker in Rose’s place? (6)
BEDBUG: A cryptic way of arriving at the definition of a bug of temperate region that infests especially on beds or feed on human blood by treating the entire clue as wordplay from BUG (bloodsucker) as a name applied loosely to certain insects, especially of the Hemiptera and specifically to Cimex lectularius that infests houses and beds in BED (Rose’s place) as an area of ground, typically in a garden, where roses, among other flowers and plants, are grown, thus BUG IN BED or BED BUG

13d Not inclined to be honest (2,3,5)
ON THE LEVEL: A cryptic way of arriving at the definition of a phrase meaning honest, sincere or straightforward from the characteristic feature of not having a leaning or slope or making an angle with a plane (not inclined) but rather being on the plane or level

15d Cooking thus, US barman used an acid salt (6,4)
BAKING SODA: A charade of BAKING (cooking) as cooking food by dry heat without dry exposure to a flame, typically in an oven, SO (thus) as an adverb meaning in a way described or demonstrated and DA (US barman) as the abbreviation for district attorney who is a public official in the United States and who acts as prosecutor for the state in a particular district, guiding to the definition of the common name for the chemical sodium bicarbonate, NaHCO3, and is a kind of salt that is used to make baked foods, such as cookies and breads, light and fluffy

16d Their charges are usually small (10)
NURSEMAIDS: A cryptic way of arriving at the definition of employed women or girls in control or with overall responsibility or in charge of young children

19d Tense during peculiar ritual in name only (7)
TITULAR: T (tense) as the abbreviation of tense is in the course of (during) an anagram (peculiar) of RITUAL, coming to the definition of an adjective meaning holding or constituting a purely formal position of title without any real authority

20d Making a straight decision? (6)
RULING: A cryptic way of coming to the definition of either a judicial decision or making a line on a page with a ruler

23d Outsider’s advantage (4)
EDGE: A cryptic way of arriving at the definition of the outside part of a solid object or a favourable margin over a close rival in a contest.

24d Space to tie up (4)
ROOM: MOOR (tie) as to fasten a boat by attaching it by cable or rope to the shore or to an anchor is taken upwards (up) as a reversal in the down clue, taking to the definition of a space that can be occupied or where something can be done

The clues that I liked in this pangrammatic puzzle were 12a, 14a, 18a, 20a, 23a, 4d, 5d, 6d, 7d, 13d and 15d; 14a being the topmost one. Once again, tonnes of thanks to Cephas for the entertainment and to BD for the encouragement. Looking forward to being here again. Have a nice day.

7 comments on “DT 29957

  1. Rahmat, thank you for your ever informative review! And as you say, congratulations to Cephas on an extraordinary number of DT puzzles! I really enjoyed this puzzle especially as it was a pangram.
    I had completely missed the skipper as being Allan Lamb and thought it was referring to the ever bouncy spring time lambs, who are definitely fond of skipping at this time of year!
    Sodium Bicarbonate is an interesting compound….in solution in water it is mildly alkaline and not acidic but (if my schoolboy chemistry recalls correctly!) in a strongly alkaline solution it can act as an acid. Anyway, it works a treat in soda bread!
    Many good clues but as someone who lives in Lancashire 9a has to be my favourite!

    1. Thank you once again, Mikep, for finding my review informative as ever and also for sharing some of your experience in solving this puzzle. Wish you the very best in your future endeavours.

  2. It is also good as an antacid to ease indigestion, Mikep.

    Thank you, Rahmat for another interesting blog, all of which I now read avidly.

    1. Thank you once again, Steve Cowling, for finding the review interesting as also for sharing your experience of reading the blogs avidly.

  3. I got one wrong, that being 16 down.
    However the answer I came up with was Nurserants, which fitted the bill perfectly as far as I could see.
    Downed at the last hurdle.

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