DT 29980 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 29980

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 29980

Hints and tips by Deep Threat

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

Good morning from South Staffs where we have a sunny start, but rain forecast later.

The parsing of a couple of today’s clues gave me some amount of headscratching, but I enjoyed the overall result.

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           Boxer‘s big tummy? (12)
MIDDLEWEIGHT – The definition is a category of boxer. Split the answer (6,6) and you have a description of what might cause a big tummy.

9a           Blooming drag to go west from the centre (7)
OUTWARD – Another word for ‘blooming’, as in ‘the roses are —‘, followed by the reverse (to go west, in an Across clue) of another word for ‘drag’.

10a         Port in Spain — have to keep right following learner (2,5)
LE HAVRE – Put together the usual indication of a learner, the IVR code for Spain, and HAVE (from the clue) wrapped round Right, giving us a port in France.

Le Havre | History, Geography, & Points of Interest | Britannica

11a         Singing challenge in middle of ‘Mikado’ excited Korea (7)
KARAOKE – The middle letters of MiKAdo, followed by an anagram (excited) of KOREA.

12a         Lobby to acquire vintage bag (7)
HOLDALL – Another word for a lobby in your house, wrapped round another word for ‘vintage’.

13a         River business lacking endeavour (5)
INDUS – Another word for ‘business’, especially heavy manufacturing, minus a word for ‘endeavour’.

14a         Steward, soldier and medic hosting party (5-4)
MAJOR-DOMO – An army officer and the common acronym for a military doctor, placed either side of one of the usual crossword parties.

16a         Used in rolling Plasticine gel, ethylene’s effective on a screen (9)
TELEGENIC – Hidden in reverse (used in rolling) in the clue.

19a         Mother stuffing turkey, maybe — this one’s tough (2-3)
HE-MAN -A short word for ‘mother, inserted into a female turkey or chicken.

21a         Wound oozed after shove (7)
RAMBLED – The definition is a verb in the past tense. Start with a word for ‘shove (forcibly)’, then add ‘oozed’ (as a wound might).

23a         Cooler loft with central extraction is radical (7)
FANATIC – A device which cools you by moving air around, followed by another word for a house loft, minus its middle letter.

24a         Hymn and carol he orchestrated (7)
CHORALE – Anagram (orchestrated) of CAROL HE.

25a         Remember watch, say (7)
OBSERVE – Triple definition, the first being to remember a special occasion – such as keeping the Sabbath.

26a         Country with two capitals where our people may be represented (6,6)
UNITED STATES – The two capitals are the capital letters at the start of each word of the answer. Put together, those capital letters could be read as a word for ‘our people’.


1d           Went for a drive in limo — tore downtown (7)
MOTORED – Hidden in the clue.

2d           Ministry’s juniors and seniors with incorporated company (7)
DEACONS – This word for junior clerics is constructed by wrapping some senior clerics (leaders of cathedral chapters) around an abbreviation for ‘company’.

3d           Romeo breaks down in embrace of the French staff (6,3)
LADIES’ MAN – Start with one of the forms of the French definite article, add an informal word for ‘breaks down’ (of a machine), and finish with a verb for ‘to staff’.

4d           Some Brits oddly skipped this clue — two upset (5)
WELSH – Remove the odd-numbered letters (oddly skipped) from the fifth, sixth and seventh words of the clue, then reverse (upset) the result.

5d           Popular, healthier gadget some patients use (7)
INHALER – Another word for ‘popular’, followed by another (somewhat archaic) word for ‘healthier’.

The Scary Side Effect of Using Inhalers You Need to Know About | The Healthy

6d           Try and eat earlier (4,1,2)
HAVE A GO – The first word is another word for ‘eat’, as in ‘—- your dinner’. Put the second and third words together and you have a word for ‘earlier’, as in ‘three days —‘.

7d           Separate up by Tesco’s entrance — scrap heavy carrier (4-4,5)
FORK-LIFT TRUCK – The first word is another word for ‘separate’, as one road might separate into two. The second word is a synonym of ‘up’, where ‘up’ is used as a verb, as in ‘up the ante’. The third word is made up of the first letter (entrance) of Tesco, followed by another word for a scrap or brawl particularly familiar to rugby fans, where a highly regulated form is an integral part of the game.

Homepage - Fork Trucks Ltd

8d           Posh bore with CD that’s entertaining crashed net once (4-9)
WELL-CONNECTED – Start with the sort of bore that goes into the ground in search of water or oil. Then CD (form the clue) is wrapped round an anagram (crashed) of NET ONCE.

15d         Knave, loud sort, agitated very cool character (4,5)
JACK FROST – Another word for the knave in a suit of cards, followed by the musical symbol for ‘loud’ and an anagram (agitated) of SORT.

17d         Burlesque item lit up by old nurse with nothing on (7)
LAMPOON – Put together an item which may be lit when it is dark, the letter which looks like zero or nothing, and abbreviations for Old and Nurse.

18d         Cavalier‘s horse jumping everything, over time (7)
GALLANT – Another word for a horse is wrapped round a word for ‘everything’. Reverse (over) the result, then add Time.

19d         ‘Phone home!’ offering top part with small alien (7)
HANDSET – Put together the first letter (top part) of Home, another word for ‘with’, an abbreviation for Small, and the usual film alien.

20d         University taken in by corrupt master for ages (7)
MATURES – Anagram (corrupt) of MASTER, with University inserted.

22d         Alarm seeing daughter study (5)
DREAD – An abbreviation for Daughter, followed by ‘study’ (at university).

The Quick Crossword pun EYE + FAULT + OUR = EIFFEL TOWER

88 comments on “DT 29980

  1. Super, smashing, great. 19d gets my vote today. Thanks to DT and today’s setter.

  2. That will go down as the toughest DT puzzle I have ever finished! Very clever clues but it really stretched me to my limit.
    Satisfying to complete but very little fun, it was just too hard.
    No favs as my brain is hurting too much.
    Thx for the hints (which I didn’t use but probably should have done).

  3. A very typical quirky and enjoyable Zandio (I feel) production that had me working a bit harder than is normal for a back pager, with 7d and the clever 9a holding out longest.
    I liked 1&13a and thought 21a&2d very smart too. Good stuff.
    Many thanks to our setter and DT (particularly for explaining my biffed 26a) for the Friday fun.

  4. I got off to a flying start with 1a and 1d going straight in, but things got a bit tougher after that. A most enjoyable end to the week, however.
    Thanks to our setter and DT.

  5. Whew! Blood, toil…but much joy here! It took me a while to get there but I did finally finish with, of all things, the Romeo clue my LOI (beautifully misdirected by ‘breaks down’!). Took a bit of finagling to parse 7d, not knowing the rugby term exactly but a cognate term came to the rescue. No backpager this week has given me more pleasure than finishing this one, with 24a,16a (great rekrul), & 2d topping the list, though I could easily pick another trio. Thanks to DT and today’s canny setter. **** / *****

  6. A bit of a grind to get this one finished – 3.5*/3*.

    If the setter is one of the Friday triumvirate then it is probably a Zandio production. But, I don’t think that I am willing to risk any of my five bob today.

    Candidates for favourite – 10a, 12a, and 22d – and the winner is 22d.

    Thanks to the setter and DT.

  7. A properly challenging end of week backpager, requiring plenty of lateral thinking and head scratching. Tremendous puns, groans (19a), stretched and/or unfamiliar synonyms, all very clever and entirely fair. Some great red herrings to lead the solver astray – the intros to 10a, 21a, and 3d in particular spring to mind. 7d (my LOI) and 8d shared my COTD spot, with Hon Mentions to 10a, 16a (wonderful lurker), 23a, 3d, and 4d.

    3.5* / 4*

    Many thanks to the setter and to DT.

    1. JB was superb last night. Highlight for me was The Ballad of John Henry that went, at one point, all Great Gig in The Sky with one of 2 excellent backing singers & with Joe playing the theremin.
      Quite agree re Beth Hart. Seen her a few times & love the 3 collaborations with Joe plus Live in Amsterdam.

      1. Totally envious. Delighted he was in good form – I wonder if the two evenings will be turned into another live album? I can listen to Beth Hart endlessly (Live At Paradiso, “Am I The One” is a huge performance), a truly incredible voice, and their partnerships are sublime.

  8. 3*/4*. This proved to be a very enjoyable end to the crosswording week with 19d my favourite. It was nicely challenging and a lot of fun in spite of a few surfaces which I couldn’t make much sense of.

    The definition for 26a was clever but I didn’t understand at all the relevance of “our people”, so thanks to DT for the explanation.

    Many thanks, presumably to Zandio, for the entertainment.

    1. There is no intention to show the answers, and on my browser (Firefox) they are hidden as usual. There seems to be a problem with some browsers, but I don’t know the answer.

      1. I’ve also looked at Microsoft Edge and the browser on my Android phone. Answers are hidden in both cases.

    2. Hi Dominic. Could you please let us know what device you are using and which browser you are using. That might enable Big Dave to identify and correct the problem. I’m on an iPad viewing through either Safari or Google. The answers are covered. Your bloggers set the spoilers to hide the answers and can preview the site to check that all is as it should be.

  9. Have started late in the day and finding it a bit of a struggle so far but will have to leave it until later to go and help a friend make sandwiches. Thankfully non of the above have revealed any of the answers. Thanks to all.

  10. A great Friday treat. Right up my street. Thanks to the setter for the brain stretch and thanks to DT for explaining 26 across. I might have stared at that forever and a day. A rather you than me clue. I wonder if any newcomers will post to show their intelligence by stating correctly that Le Havre is in France not Spain. I do like it when that happens. Here’s one from a couple of years ago

    1. Strangely I read this clue differently. I bow to you as you have taught me much, but it made sense to me as port being the definition. I thought the Spain reference was the E . Forgive my impertinence, but I really have gained much knowledge from you. Seriously though I do thank you for your help over the years I have been struggling

  11. Printed the puzzle out late last night and finished it off over my morning cuppa. 7D and 9A were my last two in, and I needed the blog for the parsing of 26A. Happy to have completed without hints. Favorites are 14A and 19D. Thanks to DT and the setter.

  12. Great puzzle, although I thought 18D was a bit suspect — isn’t “gallant” actually the *antonym* of “cavalier”?

    1. Andy, one of the definitions for cavalier in Chambers is: 2a “A gallant or gentleman in attendance upon a lady as her escort …”

    2. Yes, I had a hard time justifying gallant as cavalier. Only thing I could think of was that an actual Cavalier was probably gallant. If someone is cavalier though, doesn’t seem to equate.

  13. This was a cracking puzzle which I thoroughly enjoyed – thanks to the setter and DT.
    I ticked 16a, 2d and 17d but my favourite was the superb 26a.

  14. Deary me! I thought we made a meal of yesterday’s puzzle, but we far outdid ourselves today. The right half went in fine and we were six clues from the end in a comfortable ** time, but then we stared that those final clues for what felt like a week and a half before an injection of inspiration hit one of us. Indeed, I even got the thesaurus out for the first time in a long time.

    For me, I’m afraid our difficulties on the left side rather marred the enjoyment, so only ** on that score today (and I feel mean saying that as I’m sure the fault both yesterday and today lay with misfiring brains at our end, not with the setters).

    1. I’m with you Gayle. The East was a breeze but I had to succumb to hints for 21, 26a and 17d. Given recent discussions, I too am opting to blame wavelength issues at the user end.

  15. The answer buttons seem to have been missed off, the answers are automatically shown?

    1. Welcome to the blog Rob.

      Please see comment #9 above, perhaps let us know what browser you are using.

      1. I’m using a first generation iPad Air with the default Safari browser. This has only happened in the last week or so, prior to that the answers were hidden.

        1. Hi Rob. Can you try a reboot of your iPad and see if the answers remain uncovered please.

          1. Hi Miffypops, I’ve just done that, no change I’m afraid the answers are still uncovered.

  16. I felt this was a lack lustre but difficult offering against the, to me, impossible Elgar. ( I’ve learnt the hard way that he is not for me). I had to fight with it so no real pleasure in the solve. COTD probably 1a.

  17. I’m afraid I did not find this at all enjoyable being too much of a slog for my tiny brain to cope with. For the first time in ages I threw the towel in – there are more important things to be getting on with than a puzzle.

    Thank you to the setter but this was not my cup of tea. Thank you to DT for making sense of it for me.

  18. Quite a mixed bag for me – some clever entries, a handful of tortuous clues and a few decidedly odd surface reads.
    From the ones I enjoyed, 1&14a came out on top.

    Thanks to our setter and to DT for the review.

  19. Found this a bit of a grind but that’s not a criticism of the merits of the puzzle rather my struggle to solve it & parse the answers. Eventually finished in just shy of **** time & like Robert 3d was last in. The wordplay got me to 14a (never heard of) but was nowhere near parsing 26a – too clever by half for the likes of me. Top 3 – the downs at 7,15 & 19.
    Thanks to the setter (Zandio presumably) & to DT for explaining 26a
    Wordle in 3

  20. A tricky little Friday puzzle I thought for this week. Did this Thursday night so no hints available, but took me into 3.5* time anyway.
    A few clues quite hard to fathom, especially 10a as I can’t figure the parsing or mis-direction. A few chestnuts in this puzzle too.
    Favourites today include 1a, 14a, 21a, 4d & 15d with winner 15d.
    1a & 19a made me laugh and don’t think I have ever used the word in 16a either.

    Thanks to setter and DT

  21. The answers are shown- it was the same yesterday. I pay the Telegraph each month to print off the cryptic crossword. Hope it can be fixed.

    1. Jennifer, please see the thread at comment #9 above, and let us know what browser you are using.

    1. Welcome to the blog David.

      Please see the thread at #9 above, and let us know what browser you are using

  22. Decided to take a leisurely scenic route after seeing how difficult this puzzle would be.
    Very slow and laboured progress to completion.
    A very crowded podium, 2d and 7d and 26a competing for top spot.
    Many thanks, Zandio and DT.

  23. This certainly was a bit of a slog particularly in the West but sitting in beautiful sunshine lightened the load. IMHO 9a is somewhat laboured as is 6d and even 1a too. Missed the lurker for 16a parse. Thank you Mysteron and DT.

  24. Very tricky; pushed me to my limit. It was the parsing that was difficult for me. Nothing at all wrong with the clues – just beyond my brain’s boundary in some cases.

    I may go wild and sit outside for a while this afternoon. We have had heavy duty influenza here and it has been worse, we all think, than when we had Covid. The last time I was outside the walls of this house was nine days ago. We didn’t even put the bins out on Monday such was our stupor. However, mild shoots of recovery are appearing (aided by antibiotics in H’s case). I do hope we are well enough to go and see the bluebells at Abinger before they withdraw for another year. Even more importantly, we must recover before the FA Cup Final on the 14th!

    Thanks to the setter who got my brain cells churning today, and Threat Of The Deep

  25. I have recently started doing these crosswords and so have not commented before on this brilliant site. But there is one clue – 17d – where I think an alternative parsing works and I think it merits a mention. Instead of old nurse being ON, think of Florence Nightingale as the old nurse. The first four letters are then what was lit by Florence Nightingale to which is added O for nothing and the word “on” at the end. Please forgive me if I am misunderstanding how parsing works. But if this parsing does work, 17d, for me gets promoted to my clue of the day with the imagery it conveys. By the way, I always feel the UK understates the importance of FN to statistics unlike her reputation elsewhere. Just one of many brilliant female academics that the UK pigeon holes using a non-academic label – in her case nurse.

    1. Welcome to the blog, Trevor.
      Now that you’ve introduced yourself I hope you’ll become a regular commenter.

      That’s how I parsed 17d – great clue!

    2. T, 17d. Yes, I think you’ve parsed it the same way as I did and I’m not sure the other way works as well. I assumed the word-play: item lit up by old nurse [FN] = LAMP, plus O (nothing), + ON (on from the clue). Is that what you mean?

  26. I disagree with the word play suggested for 17d. I’d suggest that Lamp arises from Florence Nightingale (an old nurse) aka “the Lady with the Lamp” which leaves the letter “o” for nothing and “on” from the clue.
    BTW I thought today’s crossword was a “stinker” so that’s for the help.

  27. I’m also suffering inadvertent exposures! Android tablet using Chrome and only in the last 24 hours. Any help gratefully received.

    1. I can’t help but I can thank you for the smile raised by the words inadvertent exposures.

  28. A difficult solve for me today with head scratching parsing.
    Took ages to fathom out 19a until thechecking letters went in.
    Favourite was 19a and Iliked the sorface of 11a.
    Going for a ****/***

  29. I only needed hints for 9a and 3d. otherwise v. enjoyable. I really love penny-drop moments – I imagine the back-room girls in my brain working on the clues I’m stuck on, then sending me a message when I least expect it!
    Thanks to all the setters and hinters.
    (PS quick shout out to Robert re: Mick Herron – I had just bought Slough House, saw Robert’s comment so bought the rest of the series. I binge -read them and now can’t wait for the latest one to be out in paperback. So thank you for the recommendation.)

    1. Patsy, glad to hear more good things about Slough House, etc. My copy of Bad Actors is due to arrive in 10 days. Corky is the one who really deserves the thanks since he led me to Herron.

  30. An excellent puzzle. Great clues, a decent challenge and very enjoyable. Fav: 19d, 3.5*/4.5*.

  31. The answers are showing (unconcealed) on my Samsung tablet using Chrome. However on my Motorola Android phone (Chrome) and my PC using Firefox they are hidden.
    Hope this helps

  32. Enjoyed this puzzle although I had to try and parse a few of the answers to see if the BRB agreed. 2,7, and 19d all tied for favourite.

    Thanks to DT and our setter for plenty of enjoyment and brain exercise.

  33. I also needed the hint to parse 26a but apart from that I has no problems except for looking up 16a to make sure it was a real word. Good fun though. Favourite was 3d. Thanks to the setter and DT.

  34. The answers are showing, am using Safari on an IPad.
    Definitely a Friday puzzle. Can’t see how the answer to 21a equates to wound. Need help to finish. Thanks to setter and DT.

      1. Thanks CS, although I had the answer correct was thinking of the wrong wound!

  35. Hello, compiler here. Thanks very much for the analysis and discussion. I’ve only had a quick glance so far — I won’t look properly until late tonight in case someone has given the result of the first stage of the Giro d’Italia in Hungary. Today’s finishing point, Visegrad, means a lot to me as it was the setting for my late wife Catherine’s favourite photo of her, at the castle overlooking the Danube. Have a great weekend.

  36. I really enjoyed this although stumbled at 8d as I misread it as 9 and 4 and it took ages to spot my mistake. Thanks to Zandio for popping in and to DT. Thank goodness no painters tomorrow as its like living in a goldfish bowl – v embarrassing trying to find a loo without a cheery painter saying ‘hello’!

  37. Just the right difficulty level for a Friday.
    Very enjoyable solve.
    Thanks to Zandio and to Deep Threat.
    Nice to see even deeper threat.
    All my love to the both of you and hope you will be able to travel to France again soon.

  38. Why have you changed it so the answers are immediately visible?? You used to have to “click here” to see the answer
    Please go back to doing that. I used the blog if I was stuck on a clue to give me a helping hand not to see the answer !!!

    1. If you read the earlier comments you’ll see that a number of people are having the same problem, which is nothing to do with the way we set up the blog posts. Hopefully Big Dave might know how to fix the problem, although it will be difficult as only some people are suffering in this way

  39. Eventually!!!

    Had to keep leaving and coming back, finally completed by 17:00.

    Favourite was 14A…as I’d never heard this phrase before and had to look it up…after I’d got the clue, of course! 😉

  40. A great challenge to end a rather wonderful day, as we were fortunate to be at New Road Worcester where new England captain Ben Stokes broke all kinds of records hitting 161 runs including 17 sixes. Astonishing power. As for the crossword, a thoroughly entertaining challenge with some tricky clues to get the grey cells working. 19d my top clue.

    Thanks Zandio for the fun, and to DT.

  41. Not a bad crossword but I found quite a few difficult to parse 🤔 the phrase “ more by good luck than good judgement comes to mind” 😬 ***/*** Favourites 19a and 15d 🤗 Off now to the Quicky to find out what 8a is all about!Thanks to Deep Threat and to Zandio

  42. Why have you printed the answers instead of keeping them covered.
    This has happened yesterday and today.
    Susan Jenks

    1. If you’d read the other comments on this blog post, you’ll see that this is only happening to some people and we don’t know why

  43. I knew it was Zandio! And I loved it.
    I know we are not suppose to publish times in case it puts newcomers off but this won’t.
    It took me just over 6 hours
    Thanks to Zandio and DT

  44. This was a two sitting puzzle. A bit beyond me really, but I persevered and used more hints than I care to, as I was determined to figure out the whys and wherefores. Some I had, such as 6d, but was reluctant to pen in. Tried for ages to make 7d start with back door, and push as part of 21a. Thanks to Zandio for the mental exercise and to Deep Threat for the needed hints.

  45. Well it could be my 91 year old mum popping down for three days en route Cornwall for a weeks hols but this one stretched me right to the limit. Hardest I have ever found one but extremely satisfying. 19d the best and 26a the huge head scratcher. Thanks for the challenge setter and for your super commentary DT. My first ******/*****

  46. Pleasantly surprised when checking the answers to find that I had them all correct-needed the hints to understand the parsing of several though, for which Thanks.
    Liked 26A “Country with two capitals where our people may be represented (6,6)”

  47. Can the answers return to being blacked out so that the hints can be used to solve the clue?

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