DT 29012 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 29012 (Hints)

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 29012 (Hints)

The Saturday Crossword Club
Hosted by Tilsit

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Greetings from Warrington.

Had a lovely day yesterday celebrating the 40th anniversary of the first puzzle by our very own Elgar.  A small group of us gathered at a very nice pub-restaurant in York and toasted Mr H’s achievement.  Yesterday’s post does give you a chance to tackle that first puzzle, set when he was a mere stripling at the age of 15.  There is a picture of the gathering in there as well and I feel sure a certain other lady will share some too.

It’s the last Saturday, and the boss is off to market, so I’m here to guide you with some hints for today’s challenge.  If pressed, I would guess today’s puzzle is by our long-standing Mysteron.    Some lovely penny-drop moments, and just about the right level of difficulty for a Saturday puzzle.  Lots of favourite clues to make you smile and overall, a good workout.  The grid is slightly less helpful as there is only one entry into each section.  I have provided a hint to each of those.


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.


1   Spreads river across five docks (8)
Take the name of one of the longest rivers in Scotland (or Wales!) and wrap it around the abbreviation for five.  Add a word meaning docks, as in removes and you get something meaning spreads.

9   Lists gobbling duck and other fowls (8) 
Some lists ‘gobbling’ the number/letter used to indicate a duck in cricket

10  Missing parts of muscular body found by hospital dept (6) 
Take a slang name for a part of the upper torso and place it before the abbreviated name of a department in a hospital to give a word meaning missing.

14  Stake European thrust into sentry and swore. (10) 
Inside the word for a sentry goes the name for a (financial) stake and the abbreviation for European.

18  The still small voice opposed to logical observation? (10) 
One of my favourites today.   Although the whole thing could also be said to define the clue, part of it is the indication of how it’s made up and there is a definition.  A word meaning against goes before something that could be defined as logical observation.

22  All-round entertainment mostly about America (6)
 A form of entertainment that could be said to be in the round is revealed by taking most of a word for around, plus an abbreviation for America.

25  Novel artily involving the Queen should be well-read (8) 
Inside an anagram of artily goes an abbreviation for Her Maj to give a bookish word.

27  Disturbed and elderly, eating junk after lunchtime? (8)
Something meaning elderly goes round a word meaning rubbish (as in antiques) which itself follows an indication of a time just after lunch.


2   Olive largely gets stitched up in fiddle (6) 
Take most of the first word and rearrange it and place before in and you get a fiddle.

4   Light fabric items designed to go over jumpers (10) 
A clever cryptic definition for something used by people who do some high-rise jumping!

6   Writer with showy jewellery having little taste (10)
A word for something that writes goes before a 21st-century word for showy jewellery to give a word meaning having little taste.

13  Hopelessly aspiring to be seen around court working as a lawyer (10) 
Mix up the word aspiring and place it around the abbreviation for court to give something that means working as a lawyer.

15  Dish, ceramic, for cooking wraps around the East (3,5) 
Newspaper version – Energy put into shaping of ceramic dish
Although this conjures up images of tagines, etc., you are looking for something more home-grown.   An anagram of ceramic goes around the abbreviation for East {Energy for newspaper version] and gives a type of food.

17  Busy, as ladies often seem to be …. (8)  AND

20  … blank, as gents often are!
To solve both of these clues you need to think in the same way.  Half of each clue is a cryptic description of words associated with a particular place!

21  Visit source of Scottish river (4)
 A word for a visit is revealed by taking the first letter (source) of Scottish and adding the name of a (Scottish) river.

Now as Mr Burns would say, fly my pretties fly! Enjoy your weekend!

The Crossword Club is now open.

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The Quick Crossword pun: nigh+Agra+fools=Niagara Falls

59 comments on “DT 29012 (Hints)

  1. Tilsit has it I reckon, about the right level for a Saturday, with plenty of wit/fun. (I did like 4d). Have a good weekend all.

  2. I thought this was very good, with quite a few pretty tricky clues causing some head-scratching and good enjoyment. 17d, 19d, 20d: these 3 are linked by ellipses (certainly in the paper), I can see why 17 and 20 are linked but why is the intermediate 19 linked also. Is it just for continuity? Can anyone tell me without getting into hot water? I’ve probably missed something obvious (not for the first time). Favs: 1a, 9a, 4d, 8d. 3* / 4*

  3. Very clever this one – the right mix of ‘easy’ and not so…

    Thought for a while I was not going to finish it – but did in the end!

    One of the best Saturday puzzles for a time.

  4. Hi again – re both link ellipses for 19 – not sure, unless it’s a mistake of course.

    My only guess, (and would this be okay in crosswords?) is that it is not a link for THAT clue, but showing that the link really applies further along in the clues?

  5. By the way, I’ve just had a look at the 40th Anniversary photo, and the greyhound or lurcher is remarkably like ours. Probably of no interest to anybody else I’m sure, but I just had to comment!

      1. Skye is a rescue lurcher (mostly greyhound) and similarly placid. I’m not sure about ‘sighthound’, perhaps the term should be ‘snoozehound’!

  6. Just the right amount of head scratching and fun for a Saturday. 4d and 6d were favourites. Thank you Mysteron and Tilsit.

  7. For me, this was a curate’s egg with the 17d/19d/20d ‘string’ at the extreme of oddity – ***/*.

    I did like 1a.

    Thanks to the setter and Tilsit.

  8. Perfect combination of cerebration and light-hearted fun. South beat the North to it. Made life difficult for myself in NW by failing to reverse in 9d. Began by misinterpreting relevancy of busy in 17d so bunged in wrong solution. The 17d/20d liaison amused but, in line with José, I failed to cotton onto a tie-in (if any) with 19d. Thank you Mysteron and Tilsit.

    1. I’m with you there. I can’t see how 19d fits into the run. Would someone please explain the link?
      Otherwise a toughish but very enjoyable puzzle on a beautiful day.

      1. After reading Tilsit’s reply to RD in Comment 9 I sort of get it but IMHO the threeway reading is a bit contrived.

  9. 2.5*/2*. I’m with Senf on this one with some good and some strange parts.

    19d is bizarre, not only having the unexplained ellipses but also being very long-winded. Candidates for favourite: 1a & 6d.

    Thanks to the setter and to Tilsit.

    1. It’s quite a frequent device is used in puzzles, not so much in DT puzzles. It usually works across two clues and is normally just linking the two stand-alone clues to make one sentence. It’s doing that here and giving three stand-alone clues linked into one sentence.

      One of the devices used in the PhD puzzles is a right and left puzzle where pairs of clues are made into one large clue; each stands alone but the whole clue sort of makes sense as one sentence. Your job is to sort out where the break is. They are good fun to solve.

      1. Thank you for your reply, Tilsit, which is what I thought the explanation might be, except that in this case the whole passage seems to make no sense at all:

        “Busy as ladies often seem to be acute in writing, maybe. Alternatively, there’s one’s expression when talking blank, as gents often are!”

        1. RD. I’m with you on 19d, I can’t see why it should be linked to the other 2 clues with ellipses either. Clues linked by ellipses don’t always combine to make a logical single sentence/passage, sometimes they are linked merely by a common theme. 17d and 20d could be linked by ellipses, if they were consecutive. As you say, 19d is long-winded, 3 words in it could be replaced by the simple “or”. Maybe CS will tell us on Friday that we’ve both missed something relevant?

  10. I assume it is not intended that clicking on the picture clues reveals the written answer? And looking at some previous Hints hovering the cursor over the picture sometimes also does it.

    1. Welcome to the blog

      Frequently Asked Question 9.1 will provide the answer to your question (it and many other FAQs can be found under the FAQ tab at the top of the page

  11. I particularly enjoyed this. Liked 12 18 22 and 23a and 4 and the 17 19 and 20 combo (or not). Of those perhaps 4d is top. I was left with three but concluded without hints but after searching synonyms. The three stragglers were 23a and 13 and 19d. Why I took so long over 13d I don’t know as it is what I did for half my life. Finally got 23a when I had the last checker in place. Some clues were quite subtle I think and I enjoyed the misdirections

  12. Why oh why is it always the four letter ones with all the checking letters that flummox me in the end.

    I can’t get 9d. Any clues BD?

    1. I will leave Tilsit/BD to explain 9d to you as they will doubtless avoid the NC but, as I have said above, I at first failed to face north.

    2. Looking at the clue carefully, you should note that

      In speech is an indication that this is a homophone clue
      facing north is an indication of a reversal in a down clue

      With those two statements in mind, there is a Shakespearean character who regularly turns up in crosswords. Once you have the right character and reverse his homophone, you should be left with a verb meaning wind

    3. I’ve got 9d, at the risk of being sent to Naughty Corner, it’s a homophone of a Shakespeare character backwards, north in a down clue.

  13. I sailed through all except the north east corner which took a bit of time to sort out – and, of course, no clues for that part! I do so enjoy reading the comments- thanks to all.

  14. I really struggled with this initially, nearly gave up when I seemed to get the wavelength and I was off and running. Loved it.
    I’m far too stupid to be confused by the ellipses at 19d, it was one of the few I managed to solve at the beginning.
    Fave was 18a, but I liked 1a and 9a as well.
    Thanks to our Saturday setter and to Tilsit for his hints and pics.

  15. Thanks to the setter and to Tilsit for the hints. A very enjoyable puzzle with some tricky clues. I thought the linked clues were a bit strange. 4d caused me the most difficulty, and was last in. Favourite was 26a,which made me laugh. Was 3*/3* for me.

  16. ****/**. I thought this was pretty tough for a Saturday and had to resort to lots of electronic help to finish it. Like others, I didn’t understand the 17, 19&20d connection but I did like 17&20d clues. Favourite was 4d. Thanks to all.

    1. Welcome to the blog Doug

      Are you querying Tilsit’s hint? If so I’m not qualified to decide whether or not it is anatomically correct.

        1. Mr. Google tells me the “********** is a segmented muscle at the front of the abdomen between lower ribs and pelvis”. That info led me to research how to acquire a six-pack – think I’ll pass on that one!

        2. I’m here now, finally, and after a busy day and then having a big battle with the crossword!
          I hate to disagree with Tilsit as he stood in while the Head Honcho went to the market but I would say that the ‘muscular body’ in 10a is definitely in the lower torso.

  17. Great start to the weekend not too easy but eminently solvable once I got into it.
    Some lovely clues with 4d COTD for me.
    I wonder if Mysteron linked the clues thinking “This will give them something to talk about on Big Dave!”
    Thanks to setter & Tilsit. Just shows there were precocious setters around 40 years ago. Perhaps there is a “crossword gene”. If there is I haven’t got it!

  18. Late on parade today having driven down to Devon for a week. Like others I found this an odd mixture of the very good and the slightly odd. Nevertheless the good clues outnumbered the dodgy ones with 1a, 4d and 6d sharing my podium.

    Many thanks to our Saturday setter and to Tilsit.

  19. Needed several visits to finish the crossword due to rugby , rain , sun , meals and scrabble interruptions .
    The rain in Spain falls mainly in Madeira .
    Good challenge , a mixture of good and not so good clues with 9D holding out the longest .
    Thanks to everyone .

  20. Yeah – back up and running after two days with no blog access. Apparently I needed whitewashing or something along those lines!

    I’m in the ‘curate’s egg’ camp with this one but I did particularly like 18a & 4d.

    Thanks to Mr Ron and to Tilsit for a very good blog.

  21. First pass revealed little so I put it down and went shopping. On my return and with a few caffeine injections it slowly came to light. I did like the 17d 20d combo (and didn’t see what 19d needed the elippses for other than linking 17 to 20)
    Thanks to Tilsit for the explanations and Mysteron for the test.

  22. Lovely puzzle, enjoyed. Three quarters flew by, and then the NW corner took rather more teasing out. The ladies / gents clues raised a smile.

  23. Well that was a strange one, half the clues fell in & the other half were a bit of a struggle, but I still found much to enjoy. Tougher than recent Saturday puzzles which caught me out.
    3*/3* thanks to our Saturday MrRon & Tilsit for assistance.

  24. I give in!! I seem to be the only one who found this really, really really difficult.
    It’s taken me ages and there were times, lots of them, when I didn’t think that I’d finish it.
    My last problem was sorted by husband who, while cooking supper at the same time, pointed out that I didn’t know my Russian for ‘definitely’ – I did wonder why anyone would drink my 26a – but that scuppered my 17d.
    I still don’t ‘get’ how 19d is connected to 17 and 20d . . .
    Quite a few double unchecked letters and not many anagrams contributed to the level of difficulty for me.
    Good fun, I’d say, but definitely jolly tricky.
    Lots of good clues but need supper and wine so badly now that I’ll just leave it at that.
    Thanks very much to today’s setter and to Tilsit.

    1. As I said, I nearly gave up, but found the wavelength just in time – still tricky but doable.

    2. I was totally lost with this,might as well have been written in Swahili. Thank god someone else found it difficult.

  25. Fun. Inventive. Carefully crafted. Perfect prize material with a whiff of controversy. Fun… did I say fun? Much enjoyed by this solver.
    ***/**** with most admired clue being 18a. There were three other close contenders though.

    From ‘Bored-in-Vegas’ (you can’t get anything decent to eat here)

  26. Like Kath above , I found on the harder side .26a for example , I bunged in the answer and then worked out why .Having been an avid fan of The Man From Uncle helped .
    1a was definitely tricky and the solution to 8s was not the first word that would come to mind for Liberty .More like taking a liberty .Hope I’m not in trouble now .
    Lots of good clues and , again like Kath , most definitely wine o’clock now .
    Thanks to Tilsit and the setter .

  27. First pass I got 4 answers. I then stared blankly for ages with no spark coming. I’m sure it’s a wavelength thing and I wasn’t on it! Then in the south east corner I got a couple of answers then filled the rest in. Then the same in the south east followed by North East then same in the north west. Favourite? 23a mainly because I can’t see why I didn’t get it straight away. Thanks to the setter and Tilsit for hosting the blog.

  28. I did look in briefly on Saturday without comment, but did find it difficult- I wondered how Big Dave (in the event Tilsit) would be able to work out the hints! I did need the advice for a couple and then managed to get on the wavelength- but how odd was it..! Having said that there were a few excellent clues eg 23a and 1a. Thanks to all!

  29. The best puzzle for ages. On par with the one that the Daily Mail published a while back, hailed as the most difficult crossword ever.

  30. 4*/2*….
    liked 13D (hopelessly aspiring to be seen around court working as a lawyer).

  31. Didn’t pick this one up till yesterday and have been slowly chipping away at it. So many good clues. Thanks to setter.

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