DT 28929 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 28929 (Hints)

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 28929 (Hints)

The Christmas Saturday Crossword Club

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A Very Merry Christmas from all at Big Dave’s Blog

As is usual for the weekend prize crosswords, an assortment of clues, including some of the more difficult ones, have been selected and hints provided for them.

Most of the terms used in these hints are explained in the Glossary and examples are available by clicking on the entry under “See also”. Where the hint describes a construct as “usual” this means that more help can be found in The Usual Suspects, which gives a number of the elements commonly used in the wordplay. Another useful page is Wolves in Sheep’s Clothing, which features words with meanings that are not always immediately obvious.

A full review of this puzzle will be published after the closing date for submissions.

Some hints follow.


1a    American chemical company taken in by staff person on the fiddle perhaps (8)
Not an American chemical company, but a two-letter abbreviation for American followed by a British chemical company inside (taken in by) a verb meaning to staff

5a    House’s top storey left out, contrarily (4)
The reversal (contrarily) of a storey without the L(eft)

9a    People farming small-scale little vegetables and animals (8)
Some little vegetables followed by some members of the animal kingdom (remember that not all animals are mammals!)

11a    Grand bit of cricket attended by neither head of state? (8)
G(rand) followed by a period in a game of cricket and a word meaning neither

14a    Discovered one in a hundred will offer charity, say (10)
A word meaning discovered is followed by I (one) inside the A from the clue and a score of a hundred

22a    Resoundingly haughty king’s dropped out, university’s admitted (6)
To get this adverb meaning resoundingly start with an adjective meaning haughty, drop the Latin abbreviation for Rex (king) and insert (admitted) U(niversity)

23a    Cabinet‘s award going to ‘Shakespeare in Love’? On the contrary (8)
A three-letter award is followed by a word often used to describe Shakespeare not inside but , on the contrary, outside O (love)

27a    Crooning about tango is creating irritation (8)
A verb meaning crooning around the letter represented by Tango in the NATO Phonetic alphabet


2d    Without wishing, fast watch rudely gets stuck around five (6)
This verb meaning to fast involuntarily (without wishing) is derived from a verb meaning to watch rudely around (gets stuck around) he Roman numeral for five

4d    Scientist whose research needs looking up (10)
A cryptic definition of a scientist whose work involves looking up at the sky

6d    First to get over splintered railing (8)
O(ver) is followed by an anagram (splintered) of RAILING

7d    UK ministry, talking shop with its counterparts, will meet volunteers in spring (8)
A two-letter abbreviation of one of the main UK ministries followed by an international organisation with which it deals, some volunteer soldiers and IN from the clue

8d    Cultivating grass in Crosby? (8)
An easy clue, but an opportunity to include a seasonal video! – put a type of grass inside the name by which crooner Crosby is known

13d    What’s needed for 1 part of refrain — strum enthusiastically! (10)
Hidden (part of) inside the clue is what is needed for a 1 Across

15d    Putting coat on, yearns for old-fashioned measurements (8)
A type of warm coat is followed by a verb meaning yearns

20d    Hip and excellent island state (6)
A hip or fruit followed by the abbreviations for excellent and I(sland)

21d    Going up, for instance, from French border (4)
The reversal (going up in a down clue) of the Latin abbreviation of “for instance” and the French for “from”

The Crossword Club is now open.

Could new readers please read the Welcome post and the FAQ before posting comments or asking questions about the site.

As this is a Prize crossword, please don’t put any ANSWERS, whether WHOLE, PARTIAL or INCORRECT, or any ALTERNATIVE CLUES in your comment. If in doubt, leave it out!

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The Quick Crossword pun: peat+Earp+Anne=Peter Pan

48 comments on “DT 28929 (Hints)

  1. Completed in a reasonable time . 5A last in but , although answer seemed obvious , needed to read the hint to reveal the logic .
    Enjoyable even though some clues are wordy but 3D , my COTD , is excellent .
    Thanks to everyone

  2. A nice not-too-taxing puzzle with mostly very good clues giving a pleasing solve. Favs: 9a, 14a and, for the humour, 18a. 2.5* / 3.5*

  3. A late night slowed me up a little this morning, so I cannot be sure whether this was really quite tricky or if it was just me trying to get my brain into gear. Either way, I thoroughly enjoyed the challenge and have to pick 18a as my favourite for the childish giggle it produced upon solving it.

    Many thanks to our Saturday setter and to BD for a festive blog.

  4. I found this to a bit of a curate’s egg. The style of the clueing seemed quite different to the regular back page setters and I struggled to get on “wave length”.

    Thought there were some very clever clues (1a, 14a, 25a, 26a – COTD for its simplicity) but also some clunky/convoluted surfaces (7d, 17d). Not a fan of the use of “animals” in 9a although it seems well-accepted in Crosswordland.

    5a was a bung-in and I needed the hints to parse (and reveal a clever clue). LOI: 20d (another nice clue).

    Many thanks to the setter and to Big Dave for the hints.

    1. Modern word for those who bully on the internet set about an old word for the reversed (“over”) gives type of moving bed popular in hospitals.

      1. Well done for taking a stab at the hint, LROK. I wrote the hint but chickened out through fear of the though-police and excommunication.

        1. I assumed the Christmas spirit might allow a little leniency.

          Thought of you when the Millwall fan “amateur” official finished up officiating at the Den.
          Have a good Christmas

            1. On track to have the new handicap system ready for 2020
              At least you haven’t wasted the GDP of a small country on managers & players like MU.

  5. Like bjs, I thought that his was a curate’s egg which, for me, required some head scratching to complete at a fast canter – ***/**.

    A little difficult to identify a favourite, but 10a did cause a smile.

    Thanks to the setter and BD.

  6. Yeah! Snow, fairy lights and THE Christmas song – thank you, BD.

    Not a lot of festive fun in today’s puzzle – just 18a that rather amused.

    Thanks to Mr Ron and to BD for the club and the Christmas wishes. All the very best to you as well.

  7. Thankfully not a walk in the park Prize Crossword. I enjoyed solving this one,
    26a was my favourite for its simplicity.
    Thanks to the setter, and to BD for the hints and Christmassy bits.

  8. Not easy but very clever puzzle. Needed a lot of thought and a couple of the hints to complete this one. Very enjoyable.
    Thx to all

  9. Got there as others have said a curate’s egg but a pleasant one overall.
    Thanks to setter & BD for festive starterr. Christmas wishes to you and yours.

  10. Another curate’s egg vote from me. Some excellent clues, but also some ‘clunky’ clues.
    25a was my loi and my favourite.
    This week has seen a superb set of puzzles, yet a suprising dearth of seasonal clues.
    Thanks BD and Mr.Ron.

  11. Thoroughly enjoyed the puzzle this morning and the ice on the lake has vanished (Massachusetts is in the mid fifties).

    In our day, “curate’s egg” was used as an insult with an almost sarcastic attempt to be polite on the surface. It was especially used to insult without causing insult, since the victim thought it was some form of praise.

    Has the definition really changed that much in 50 years? Or are we all just becoming more polite?

    Mr & Mrs T

    1. My original “curate’s egg” comment certainly wasn’t meant as an insult – and I hope that none was taken. I simply wanted to say that I found the clues to be wide-ranging – some excellent, some a touch clunky.

      As I’ve written before, I take my hat off to anyone who can set a cryptic. I know I certainly couldn’t.

      1. Nor was mine “good in parts” was my intention in fact the good far outweighed the bad so I guess, as usual, I could have expressed myself better.

        1. It is certainly strange how language evolves, here in the US there seem to be many words that although initially used incorrectly, become so popular that their meanings change.

    2. Would you believe it, Miami was in the mid-50Fs this morning as well! I have the heat on … I hate this cold.

      1. Yes and we are going into the 40s tonight, so my big orchid, with three budding stems right now, is going to get covered with a towel tonight….

  12. What a lovely puzzle. I started it last night and confidently put in 1a and I was completely wrong. I had xxxxxxx on the brain. That threw me so I went off to make some sausage rolls and mince pies.

    After waving hubby off to work I started again. I did manage to get almost all of it done but definitely needed your help to fix my 1a error. Like others, I did have a silly school girl giggle at 18a.

    We are sort of having Christmas dinner tonight Because Long Suffering Hubby is working for the next 5 days.
    Youngest son and his wife and now ex sister in law and her new husband who are lovely friends. Tom helped LSH to redo the roof on our dome home, no easy feat, and also helped rebuild the deck. Sorry, I digress. I do that. A lot.

    Happy Christmas from a geodesic dome home in rural Ontario.

  13. I enjoyed this puzzle although I’ve still two clues to fathom. I shall return once I’ve cleared my back yard of the debris from our worst storm in a decade. If you google white rock pier you’ll see what the storm did to that. Thanks to the setter and BD for the hints (but not the ones I need 😀)

    1. The yard is clear having filled a large green bin and six garden bags. I’ve also finished the last two clues 😎. Have a Merry Christmas everyone.

  14. I didn’t find this a particularly difficult solve but had huge difficulty unravelling the answers, e.g., 5a, 7d and others. After reading the hints, I can’t see why I had a problem. Maybe the cold.
    I liked the brevity of 26a, so that’s my fave.
    Thanks to our Saturday setter and to BD. I love the Christmassy feel to the blog, and the appearance of Bing, I’m old enough to remember him well.

  15. I enjoyed this very very much. It took me a while to get on the setter’s wavelength (as I thought some of the surfaces were a bit clunky) but once there it all came together nicely in good time. LOI (how could it be xxxxxxx xx xxxx xx xxxxxxx!!) was 22a.
    14a just pipped 11a and 7d as my favourite.
    Thanks to BD and setter.

  16. Loving the snow on the homepage – proper snowflakes not like previous years when we were left wondering if the floaters in our eyes had suddenly grown worse. Thanks BD

  17. Somehow this had an alien feel about it as, for me, has been the case on several occasions lately and some clues really seemed a bit far-fetched. The chemical company in 1a is only American inasmuch as the original British company founded in 1926 was split up, acquired by American companies and renamed. I was a shareholder! Recently there have been several word repeats e.g. 20d today. I was totally off beam with this exercise but nevertheless thank you Mysteron and also BD for the hints and your nice festive elements.

    1. Hi, I had initially thought of an American owned but really international company. But once I read the extra hint here I understood, or I think I do……. I think the American part is actually part of the word, not referring to an American company. I could be wrong of course. I am quite an expert at that. I also have a degree in general clumsiness and a PHD in getting lost, it is hereditary, my lovely Dad (RIP) managed to get me and him lost in 1960’s Harlem NY, West Hollywood, and in Barbados which is only 21 miles long and 14 miles wide at the extreme edges. As my brother said in his eulogy, nothing summed up Harry quite like ‘Oops’.

      1. Oops, how right you are Carolyn in rural Ontario – thanks. I stupidly misread the clue and am afraid I hadn’t read the hints! It is I who should have the degree in clumsiness not you! I too remember an occasion when I got lost driving in Harlem, N.Y., also in the 60’s – quite an alarming experience!

  18. Thanks to the setter and Big Dave. Very much enjoyed this challenging but nicely clued puzzle. Got held up in the south west corner but gradually it came together. 10a gets my vote for COTD.

  19. I found this to be extremely difficult, not helped by an unfriendly grid. Oh well, perhaps I’m just off form today.

  20. Started this late and brain was not really in gear. I needed the hints for a few and also found a few tricky parsings. With BD’S help I got there eventually. Saturdays of late seemed pretty easy but this was no fluffy IMO. Thanks to all and a merry Christmas too.

      1. Hmm started to reply to this and somehow managed to close the window. I haven’t had a drop of eggnog yet I promise! We haven’t been to the pictures in years, have turned into grumpy old people in that regard. Too many people talking over the film, slurping enormous amounts of pop and pop-corn and also we find the sound is either much too loud or the dialogue overwhelmed by background music. Bah humbug! Sorry!
        Generally we wait for the film to come out on TV and every now and then buy the dvd.
        Interesting to hear that M’Pops enjoyed it then. I had been a bit resistant, having seen the original in the cinema, I was 10. But I am encouraged to hear that it is not like most remakes and worth seeing. Will still probably wait until it is on TV though….

  21. Only really got going today – Christmas food shopping taking priority – how very date it.

    Clearly that put my head back on the wrong way round for 5a and 9d until 9a and 7d put me straight.

    Quite liked 14a and 23a

    Thanks to BD and setter.


  22. A bit slow yesterday, as l found it a bit tricky with BD’s hints not available on my troublesome ones, so I knew I had to work harder…Last in was 25a -had the wrong state in mind. Thanks BD as usual, and the setter, and wish happy Xmas to all our readers and those from across the waves!

  23. I’m late to the party because it’s taken me three days to solve. But solve it I have! In its entirety. Without help. Never been prouder. That’s what 3 days with the in-laws over Christmas will do for you…

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