DT 29996 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 29996

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 29996

Hints and tips by KiwiColin

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

Kia ora from Aotearoa.

Just one Kiwi in the blogging chair this week. Carol is away gallivanting with a group of very long term friends.

I notice that the Toughie is by Logman so this delightful, tricky in places, puzzles is almost certainly not by Jay.

Please leave a comment telling us how you got on.


1a     Ghost in Hampton wandering about (7)
PHANTOM: An anagram (wandering about) of HAMPTON.

5a     Company in rush to cause suffering (7)
SCOURGE: A rush or sudden out-pouring contains the abbreviation for company.

9a     Here in France many trees have disappeared, they say (7)
ARGONNE: A homophone (they say) of a phrase that could equate with ‘have disappeared’.

10a     Vagabond unconscious by shed (7)
OUTCAST: A three letter word for unconscious and shed or dispose of.

11a     One wears this, also shabby, repulsive pants? (9)
HALITOSIS: The Roman numeral one is inside (wears) an anagram (shabby) of THIS ALSO.

12a     Playwright quietly leaving Bury (5)
INTER: Remove the first letter from the name of a prominent 20th century playwright.

13a     On vacation, Ronnie Barker to make comeback? (5)
RECUR: The first and last letters (on vacation) of Ronnie and a disreputable dog (barker).

15a     Runner in flawed research without oxygen (9)
RACEHORSE: An anagram (flawed) of RESEARCH contains O(xygen).

17a     ICBM in 60 seconds going behind island (9)
MINUTEMAN: The time unit equal to 60 seconds and an island in the Irish Sea.

19a     Don’t talk about fate and sin (5)
SLOTH: The two letter instruction to not talk surrounds fate or destiny.

22a     See! That catches animal! (5)
LASSO: An all in one clue with the answer being something that catches. An equine beast of burden is inside another word for see often associated with ‘behold’.

23a     Casually announced guide for driver? (9)
CHAUFFEUR: A somewhat dodgy homophone (casually announced) for ‘guide’ or demonstrate and ‘for’.

25a     In two ways, wonder about attendant (7)
STEWARD: Two different abbreviations for thoroughfares contain the reversal of wonder or amazement.

26a     One horrible fella keeps maiden in disrepute (3,4)
ILL FAME: Roman numeral one then an anagram (horrible) of FELLA contains M(aiden).

27a     Farm workers start to trade in dye (7)
PIGMENT: Farm workers who might tend sties and the first letter of trade.

28a     Foul where old team breaks common sense (7)
NOXIOUS: A word from French for common sense contains O(ld) and a cricket or football team.


1d     Who might steal eggs — and cook them? (7)
POACHER: An all in one double definition.

2d     Virtuous coming in to arrange licence (7)
ANGELIC: A lurker hiding in the clue.

3d     European in marquee establishes principle (5)
TENET: What a marquee is a type of contains E(uropean).

4d     Ace crossing lake and medium whirlpool (9)
MAELSTROM: A word from Italian for a usually musical ace contains L(ake) and finally M(edium).

5d     Notices container aboard steamship (5)
SPOTS: A container that may be used for cooking is inside a steamship.

6d     Saint in love with wealth gets exotic birds (9)
OSTRICHES: Start with tennis score love, then abbreviation for saint and another word for wealth.

7d     Nuclear power source unstable at core on river (7)
REACTOR: An anagram (unstable) of AT CORE plus R(iver).

8d     Muse of ill repute last to leave (7)
EUTERPE: An anagram (ill) of REPUTE and the last letter of leave.

14d     Underlying reasons to limit beer supply? (9)
RATIONALE: Split the answer 6,3 to get the limit to beer supply.

16d     Can it go on spreading? (9)
CONTAGION: The whole clue is the definition. The wordplay is an anagram (spreading) of CAN IT GO ON.

17d     Wimp gets the most out of work (7)
MILKSOP: Gets the most out of or exploits ruthlessly and a two letter artistic work.

18d     Obtains inside information given rise in savings (4-3)
NEST-EGG: A slang word for information surrounds a synonym for obtains. All this is reversed (given rise).

20d     Wearing nothing old, Lear’s daughter leaves for season? (7)
OREGANO: The letter that looks like zero and O(ld) surround one of King Lear’s daughters.

21d     Exploit quality of rocks but not diamonds? (7)
HARNESS: Remove D(iamonds) from inside a quality associated with rocks.

23d     Younger son, rotter, extremely efficient (5)
CADET: A rotter or bounder and the first and last letters of efficient.

24d     Mendelssohn‘s turbulent life and times? (5)
FELIX: An anagram (turbulent) of LIFE and the maths sign for times.

Quickie pun     Suffolk     +     eight     =     suffocate


90 comments on “DT 29996

  1. Well, I’m not sure how to rate this one either for difficulty or enjoyment. Two things are certain: it was not a Jay puzzle, and it was bizarre, so I am going to guess that it is the handiwork of NYD.

    I didn’t know the ICBM in 17a, the specific meaning of the answer for 23d, or the muse in 8d. I am thankful that the setter, when faced with the crossing letters for 8d, resisted the temptation to choose an obscure muse rather than the appalling “eaterie”.

    Needless to say, the homophone in 23a doesn’t work for me, but I can see how it can for others.

    I think 13a is a step too far. Either a cur or a barker can be a dog, but I don’t think a cur can be a barker.

    The definition for 11a was my favourite moment.

    Many thanks to the setter and to half of the 2Ks.

    1. Sorry, I meant ‘resisted the temptation to choose the appalling “eaterie” and settled for an obscure muse’.

    2. Please forgive my ignorance, but what’s the problem with 13a in the context of a cryptic puzzle? Surely dog and barker are both synonyms of cur, just as cur/dog are of barker, and cur/barker of dog. It’s not a matter of “either” cur or barker can be a dog, since surely “both” cur and barker can be / are dogs?

      1. Life’s too short MG. Bung it in and move on. I just take it as read that some other bod has okayed it and I’ll only look silly if I challenge something and am proven wrong

      2. Mustafa, your comment caused me to do some investigation. I had always thought of “cur” and “dog” as being alternative contemptuous expressions for a man who is a scoundrel, and had never come across the use of “cur” for a canine. So, for me, “cur” and “dog” were only synonymous in the context of humans, who don’t (normally) bark like dogs. Having consulted my BRB, I stand corrected!

        1. I thought I hadn’t encountered the word ‘cur’ until I started solving crosswords, but I recently discovered I was wrong when we watched the 1980s animated series Dogtanian with our children. For those who haven’t seen it, it’s The 3 Muskateers retold as animals — and Dogtanian uses the insult ‘cur’ on other dogs that are behaving badly.

          So apparently I had heard ‘cur’ as a child. I don’t know that I would’ve thought to associate it with dogs, though: with all the characters being played by talking animals, it isn’t clear that anything they say is dog-specific.

          Here’s a link which may or may not work: I’m currently in the middle of jury service, and YouTube appears to be blocked on the court wi-fi: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WMv4VaxTmmE

        2. RD, I have to get involved with this one! I’m simply astounded that you, and others, have never encountered the word “cur” meaning a canine/dog.

          From the BRB. Cur: a worthless dog, of low breed.

          From Collins Online Dictionary. Cur: an unfriendly dog, especially a mongrel.

          1. I once blogged that description of a cur with the words ‘aren’t they all’ Be interesting to find that blog and read the comments again.

            1. From DT 29477:

              1a Damned awful dogs set on journalist (6)
              Click here!: Aggressive and unkempt dogs (aren’t they all) are followed by our usual leading journalist. What fun to throw a curve ball in at one across as he lights the fuse and stands well back


      3. MG, you are 100% correct. Who on Earth has not heard of a “cur” being a dog/canine?

        1. Before today, SL and I for starters, and I bet we are not the only ones … :wink:

            1. Mine too! If any of the six Labs that have shared our life misbehaved in anyway I always called them curs. Even they knew it was not a good thing for a dog to be called. 🐶

      4. The transitive principle: if a = b and b = c, then a= c. I conbarker Mustafa.

        1. Crosswords don’t necessarily follow algebraic logic, GD. Take for example:

          Argument = Row
          Row = Line
          Argument ≠ Line

          1. RD. That particular example is correct, but the algebra in question here is A = B = C. Or barker = cur = dog.

              1. I was merely pointing out that the principle proposed by G+D, and correctly shown to be unreliable by yourself, isn’t the one that applies here (you both refer to it). The simpler statement A = B = C means that all 3 elements are the same/equivalent/synonymous – barker = cur = dog.

                  1. My learned commenter, I’m afraid that your “not necessarily” doesn’t absolve you from discussing the inapplicable principle proposed by G+D just because you explained that the said inapplicable principle is unrelaible. :-)

  2. I thought this was quite challenging, clever and cryptic with some nicely disguised definitions, appreciated more on going over it after completion to confirm my initial thoughts on the parsings.
    I can’t decide if I love or hate 11a so the podium places go to 22a plus 16&18d with 14d, my last one in taking top spot. Good stuff.
    Many thanks to the setter and the single K for the entertainment.

    Had my first sea swim of the year this morning, bracing to say the least 😱

  3. Nicely clued and straight forward ,an enjoyable puzzle .
    Last in was 9a-a lucky guess in my case!
    Favourites were 21d and the ‘all in one’ 16d, liked the surface of 25a.
    Going for a **/****-thanks to setter and KC


  4. A most enjoyable puzzle, to which I warmed steadily as the grid filled. Started largely in the SE, while the last pair were again in the NW. With 32 clues I felt we had good value for money today. My only quibble is with 17a where I felt the island was behind the 60 seconds, not the other way round. Otherwise straightforward and no mastery of the arcane requried.

    Hon Mentions to 20 & 21d, 11, 19, 23 & 25a, with COTD to the simply wonderful 9a – misdirection, great homphone, a silk-smooth surface-answer combination, and all impeccably fair: one didn’t need to know the area to get the answer.

    2* / 4*

    Many thanks to the Setter and to the 2Ks

    1. Mustafa, 17a is an example of what might be called “crossword setter speak”. It needs to be read as 60 seconds followed by (by implication) island going behind.

    2. Mustafa…some might say one of the Muses and Lear’s daughter plus knowing the nickname for the acronym ICBM qualify as “knowledge of the arcane”

      1. ;-) Granted, SL. I posted last year about how Cryptic Crossword GK can be somewhat like an irregular verb …

        I think that clue requires pretty basic, every-day, general knowledge.

        You think that clue requires fairly specialist general knowledge.

        They think that clue requires abstruse, arcane and obscure special interest information known only to those few souls who have been inducted into the ninth degree of an unholy Cult.”

  5. I found this very difficult, and sadly unappealing. 9a – seriously? Oh well, off to the Toughie. Thanks Setter and KiwiColin.

  6. Got there unaided, lazy spell – checking apart, in 2* time.
    So many brilliant clues, eg 13a, 25a, 14d and 17d.
    Many back to front insertions ie word first then parsing.
    Many thanks to the setter for the enjoyment and thanks to the 2Kiwis.

  7. A bit easier than most. 9a rather obscure and 23a very hmm homophone.
    11a very clever and favourite.
    Very enjoyable so thanks to setter and single Kiwi, not to mention BD for constant background help.

  8. I’d agree with Colin’s “delightful but tricky in places” for a crossword which took slightly longer than I’d expect on a Wednesday. No problems with the muse in 8d – they appear regularly in crosswords both cryptic and GK and so I committed them to memory a few years ago

    Thanks to the setter – I’d guess NYDK – and to the lone Kiwi

  9. This took me longer than today’s Toughie. I came to a full stop with eight to go so I spent some time deleting emails. When I returned the last eight almost wrote themselves in. A tricky but very entertaining puzzle. More of the same please. I see that The Daily Telegraph has jumped onto the back of the ‘let’s invent a new word puzzle game’ I’ve read the instructions and have no idea where to start. It all looked a little messy to me. Life is too short and I’m not sure how much I have left. Thanks to today’s setter and the lone Kiwi. I hope Carol enjoys going around from one place to another in the pursuit of pleasure or entertainment. I may try a bit of that myself this afternoon

    1. 1. Solve the crossword (no black square or bars; every row and column is a word and every square crosses), ignoring the coloured squares. I found this straightforward on Monday, but learnt some new words yesterday and today.
      2. Use the coloured squares as though your across answers were Wordle guesses, and fill in the (unique) word at the bottom that matches those: carry green letters straight down, and bung the yellow ones elsewhere, then fill in any gaps with whatever makes a word and doesn’t use any white letters.

      If anybody wants to have a go, it’s PlusWord.

      1. Thank you Smylers. After reading that I’m going for a pint. I’ll give the puzzle to Nurse Ninepence and she can work it out and show me later.

        1. The reason given for terminating the EV is that it isn’t possible to make the puzzle interactive. I doubt that is really true and I think they would be better to find a computer geek who can keep their existing puzzles available, while he is at it he could sort out the ludicrously complicated subscriptions across the app the puzzles site and the actual paper.

          1. EV has gotten a reprieve – will continue to appear though only in printed edition

      2. I think the word begins with S but, assuming my answers are correct, I can’t make head not tail of the other letters. :scratch:

        1. Having read Smylers comment, agree with Miff, life’s too short for another puzzle! Why has St Sharon suddenly become Nurse Ninepence?!

          1. Not suddenly Manders. She’s been Nurse Ninepence for longer than she has been Saint Sharon. The bitch troll from hell is much more recent

        2. Yep: S first, and you should have 3 other letters (all consonants) which need re-arranging into the other positions. The 5th letter you need hasn’t appeared anywhere in the crossword, but given the 4 letters you’ve got are all consonants, you can guess it’s a vowel. And it can’t be any of the vowels that appear in the crossword, because they are all in white squares, so don’t feature in the answer.

          Hope that helps.

          (Sorry if this is too late for you to see it, but apparently the judge frowns on it if we get out laptops out while actually in court, even for visiting puzzles sites that are nothing to do with the case!)

  10. Enjoyable solve although I did need to check a few of my constructions which were thankfully correct but beyond my GK. I have similar reservations regarding 13a to others.

    My favourites were 27a and 28a. Today’s toughie is well worth a look for those that have made it this far.

    Thanks to today’s setter and the 1K.

  11. Despite the reservations of others, I thoroughly enjoyed this somewhat quirky puzzle. 11a was undoubtedly the clue of the day, and I also liked 24d and the surface of 15a. The homophone did not work for me either I’m afraid.

    Thanks to our setter and KC.

  12. Quite tricky but interesting and most absorbing. I liked 28a, 24a, 17a and,11a but, like RD,wouldn’t fathom the homonym in 23a, though the answer was clear once the ch3ckers went in. 20d was one I did manage to parse, although it didn’t make a lot of sense as the answer is used to season and doesn’t fit with season as a verb. Otherwise there were lots of nice anagrams to enjoy. Thanks to the lone Kiwi for the hints and to the compiler (NYD is a strong possibility I think.

  13. I’m with RD on this one – definitely bizarre and most likely to have been penned by NYDK. Probably just as well for our setter that he wasn’t restricted on how many times he could use the word ‘in’!
    Couple of things I didn’t know – the ICBM and the specific definition of 23d, which rendered the SW corner somewhat tricky and the last to fall.
    Top three here were 27a plus 14&16d.

    Thanks to NYDK (?) and to Colin K for the review. Hope Carol is enjoying her ‘girlie’ time.

  14. A very enjoyable ‘not a Jay’ Wednesday puzzle, although, for reasons discussed by others, 13a generated a Hmm – ***/****.

    No problems with 17a – somewhat of an oldie but goodie I think.

    Candidates for favourite – 1d, 6d, and 14d – and the winner is 1d.

    Thanks to NYDK(?) and the lonesome Kiwi.

  15. A bit too bizarre for me and I didn’t enjoy it one bit. 15a did not work for me at all as a homophone and 9a and 8d are not part of my existence. As Miffypops says, life is too short and I’m not sure how much I have left.

    Still, thanks to the setter – not your fault I can’t do it. Thanks to the single Kiwi for showing me how it works.

    The university website is down so I can’t do any essay marking. It’s raining so the garden is out. Open a bottle of Katy?

      1. Always good to have some in for rainy days! I will raise a glass to you, MP. :good:

  16. I only enjoyed this one once completed. A hard slog for a Wednesday but some really clever clueing, with NW corner last to fall. My cotd 11a although I loved 27a as it brought to mind my grandmother Kate who used to get a …let from the …man down the lane near her every year and raise it for a half share with the butcher in town

  17. Chilly start to the day with more rain forecast for the afternoon here on the North Downs.
    As several others have posted, I found this something of an odd-ball puzzle which took a while to get my head round, needed Mr G for the muse and the French woodlands but did know the ICBM.
    However, once my grid was complete, I wondered quite how I’d taken so long to get there! Well clued throughout including several miss-directions, I have to applaud the setter’s skill.
    Thanks indeed to the setter and single Kiwi for the blog

  18. Oh my. I loved this wily, woolly, even whacky Wednesday gift–and Jay (aka Logman) to boot in the Toughie–even though I stuttered a bit in the SW niche because I couldn’t quickly place that island with respect to the 60 seconds (rather like Yoda-speak to me). Anyway, I knew the ICBM as well as all of the other GK and settled on 16d as my COTD. The Clarkie goes to 24d who composed my last piano recital piece, ‘Rondo Capriccioso’, and whose Hebrides Overture and Italian Symphony remain wonders of the classical world. Thanks to our singular Kiwi and to NYDK, if indeed it is he. 2.5* / 4.5*

  19. Not a good puzzle for me.
    Had to look up the Muse, didn’t know where to look up the French forest, could not recall the missile.
    Homophone at 23a doesnot work for me at all…..cannot see how it could work.

    Thanks to the setter and huge congratulations to the single Kiwi for disentangling this .

  20. Really enjoyed the puzzle & surprisingly found it pretty straightforward until the brick wall at 8d&9a. Like CS I reckoned it not a bad idea to learn the muses but can only ever recall 3 of them so it took a couple of stabs to arrange the fodder in the correct order. Never heard of the forest & failed to twig the homophone (Colin’s hint required) so it’s a disappointing DNF unaided. The missile was new to me & the homophone at 23a doesn’t work for me either but can’t see a problem with 13a. COTD for me was 16d with big ticks for 11,27&28a plus 14&21d.
    Thanks to the setter (reckon Donny a good call) & Colin.

    1. Hi huntsman,
      In France, we have a phrase to help in remembering all the muses but, unfortunately, it is very complicated to remember it.
      « Clame Eugénie ta mélodie, terrible et polonaise, uphonie calculée ! »

  21. Certainly more quirky than we are used to on a Wednesday. Really liked some of the clues. Going with the flow, I thought 11a and 16d were the standouts. Like others I gave up on the forest muse and missile. Note to self – research and memorize all the muses. Don’t think I’ll be able to do that for all the forests and missiles though!
    Can’t see a problem with the barker and thought the 23a homophone worked fine with the approximation indicator “casually”

    Great that we have all the talking points.

    Thanks to the setter and Kiwi Colin for his elucidation.

  22. Must have had too much sun and not half as clever as I used to think I was! I failed to guess the right anagram in 8d as it was new to me so thanks the half 2Kiwi. I managed to guess 22a which gave me some cheer although that was also new and one to be stored. My favourite was 14d because it reminded me of the boss who is still by the pool whilst I have repaired to the tender mercies of the delightful Spanish barmaids after a hard morning’s climbing at Valle de Abdalajís and need my liquid content replenished. Thank you setter for the challenge.

  23. Definitely not a Jay puzzle. Rather tricky and dare I say quirky today. 3*/2.5* for me.
    Never heard of 9a or 8d, which was last in. NE was the last area completed too.
    Liked 17a, 1d, 14d & 16d

    Thanks to setter and the Kiwi on duty today

  24. What a bizarre mixture of obvious and ghastly clues. This one was weird in the extreme the nadir of which was 23a.
    Def one puzzle that I was glad to see the back of.
    Ty for the hints for explaining my answers.

  25. A cracking puzzle! Great clues, a bit quirky, a reasonable challenge and a very enjoyable solve. Fav: 4d. 3.5*/4.5*.

  26. Absolutely brilliant puzzle for me. Unlike some others (!) I thought the homophone at 9A was a fantastic spot, conjuring up the fate-in-waiting of the planet, et cetera. If it was a quirky offering, and I’m quite happy that it might have been, I didn’t notice as I encountered clue after clue of real elegance. *** and *****.

  27. 4/2. Definitely at the bizarre end of the spectrum and not particularly enjoyable. Most of the GK was ok apart from 9a (for me) which required electronic help. My favourites were 4&16d. Thanks to the setter and 1K.

  28. PS no problems here either with the CUR, and a very slightly belated thanks to Kiwi Colin and NDK/ Mysteron.

  29. Most delightful fun of the week so far. The bloody muse held me up (but I knew a cat called Terpsichore which took me most of the way) and the ICBM was vaguely familiar but needed a quick check. COTD 11a by miles for me. Many thanks to the setter and single K.

  30. Having ABLER for 23d certainly didn’t help. Needed the hints today, so farewell to my unaided streak. Enjoyed the discussion about the word cur. Ta to all.

  31. Morning all.
    I just knew when I was writing the blog that the homophones would attract the most comments. At least the added ‘casually’ in 23a does feel like an apology for stretching things a little. The slowest points in the solve for me were identifying the well disguised definition in 11a and finding the less commonly used ace in 4d. In each case it was for confirmation as checkers had led to the right answer.. Bung-ins just don’t cut the mustard when you are writing the hints.
    Hope we’ll see the setter soon who I also suspect is NYD.

  32. Again found today a bit tricky 😳 Did not help by banking on Lear’s middle daughter, whose name fitted in so nicely 😬 ergo ****/***
    Favourites were 27a, 14d & 17d 😃 Thanks to Colin and to the today’s Setter

  33. The SE defeated me, very elastic clueing for many in my opinion, more stretch than Lycra. Not one for me although many seem to have enjoyed it. Thanks to all.

  34. I enjoyed that until I stumbled in the final furlong. The French forest came to me as I was about to open Google maps and I think the TDF often cycle their on the way to the “hell of the north” pave. A couple of homophones that didn’t quite work for me, but I enjoyed the rest. Next dilemma is do I go all in on tickets to see Bruce in Dublin or wait until the UK dates are announced…. ( I will probably do both – a weekend in Dublin is always fun.)

  35. Not a lot of fun to be had with this but did get there in the end. 9a forest didn’t ring a bell so thanks MrG. Parsing passed me by for 25a, 8d and 20d. No Fav(s) today. Sort of thank you setter and KiwiColin.

  36. Didn’t enjoy this at all. Just couldn’t get on wavelength. Managed a few unaided, but day is too short to ponder further. Congrats to all those who could manage without the hints. Thanks to setter and hats off to KiwiColin.

  37. 22a slightly spoiled an otherwise enjoyable and challenging solve. This is because I am not keen on this kind of clue rather than there being anything wrong with it.

    I had no problems associating cur with barker and am surprised some of the illustrious company here did. :-)

    I did need to Google 8d as I had never heard of this muse and thought the word didn’t look right. I doubt I will need to commit this the the memory bank though.

    Thanks to all.

  38. Just could not get on wavelength for this one, my worst result for a long time. Best I can say is that I learnt quite a lot.
    Thanks to all

  39. Agree that 9a was a bit obscure as, even I, never heard of it.
    Needed Google maps to see where it was.
    What a gas!
    Joking apart, I rather enjoyed the ride and thank the setter for his work.
    Thanks also to Colin for the review.

  40. 4*/4*….
    liked 11A “One wears this, also shabby, repulsive pants? (9)”

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