DT 29050 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 29050

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 29050

Hints and tips by Mr K

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


Hello, everyone.  Today we have the pleasure of solving another puzzle created by Telegraph Puzzles Editor Chris Lancaster.  It lives up to expectations, with smooth surfaces and some excellent misdirection leading to a succession of penny drop moments.  In addition, it features at 16d Michael Lloyd-Jones’ winning entry in the January Puzzles Newsletter clue-writing competition (you can sign up to receive the informative monthly Telegraph Puzzles Newsletter at https://www.telegraph.co.uk/newsletters/homepage/).

In the hints below most indicators are italicized, and underlining identifies precise definitions and cryptic definitions.  Clicking on the the answer will be here buttons will reveal the answers.  In some hints hyperlinks provide additional explanation or background.  Clicking on a picture will enlarge it or display a bonus illustration.  Complaining about the cats is a waste of time.  Please leave a comment telling us how you got on.



1a    Mail chief of police initially over small criminal matters (10)
POSTMASTER:  Concatenate the first letter of (… initially) of Police, the cricket abbreviation for over, the clothing abbreviation for small, and an anagram (criminal) of MATTERS

6a    Be 4, part of 10? (4)
SAIL:  The answer is defined as “be” followed by the answer to 4d.  It’s found hiding as part of the answer to 10a

9a    Wrong one of two writers succeeded (5)
AMISS:  The surname shared by father and son English writers is followed by the genealogical abbreviation for succeeded

10a   Attacker regularly causes trouble with worker (9)
ASSAILANT:  Put together alternate letters of (regularly…) CAUSES, trouble or sicken, and the usual worker insect

12a   Crucial to keep gang looking good (13)
PREPOSSESSING:  Crucial or urgent containing (to keep) a gang assembled by a sheriff in a western movie, for example

14a   Cross-country finished with win (8)
OVERLAND:  Join together finished or completed, and win or capture

15a   Unusually gifted person always on the move (6)
FIDGET:  An anagram (unusually) of GIFTED

17a   Not very well-built hotel, blue on the outside (6)
SKINNY:  A small hotel offering food and accommodation inserted in a short name for a shade of blue (blue on the outside)

19a   American overrules first love in calling for time off (8)
VACATION:  The single letter for American replaces (overrules) the first occurrence of the usual single letter for love in a synonym of calling or mission.  The answer is, as neatly suggested by the word play, an Americanism

21a   I unhappily permit poser to accept one's mistakes (13)
IMPROPRIETIES:  I from the clue with an anagram (unhappily) of PERMIT POSER containing (to accept) the Roman numeral for one

24a   Assumption, not new, upset an element (9)
POTASSIUM:  An anagram (upset) of ASSUMPTIO[n] minus the abbreviation for new (…, not new) gives one of my favourite chemical elements

25a   Jog naked around front of garden (5)
NUDGE:  A synonym of naked containing (around) the first letter of (front of) Garden

26a   Food found in two rivers (one short, one Welsh) (4)
RUSK:  The two rivers to be assembled are the map abbreviation for river (one short) and a particular river in Wales (one Welsh)

27a   Emptied brandy with lager when drunk, as a rule (2,3,5)
BY AND LARGE:  Chain together the outer letters (emptied…) of BrandY, a synonym of with, and an anagram (… when drunk) of LAGER



1d    Criticise adopting student's scheme (4)
PLAN:  Criticize or slate containing (adopting) the usual single-letter student or learner

2d    Dot finally finishes drink (7)
STIPPLE:  Follow the last letter (finally …) of finisheS with a generic alcoholic drink

3d    Various men upset with local issue (13)
MISCELLANEOUS:  An anagram (upset) of MEN LOCAL ISSUE.  I think this pic bears repeating

4d    Observe reportedly natural energy in a boat? (8)
SEABORNE:  Join together a homophone (… reportedly) of a simple word for observe, an adjective meaning natural or innate, and the physics symbol for energy

5d    Conservative quitting stops moderates (5)
EASES:  Stops or ends minus the single-letter abbreviation for Conservative (Conservative quitting)

7d    Wonderful description of Grace? (7)
AMAZING:  The answer is an adjective that prefaces “Grace” in a well-known song

8d    Making a suit? (10)
LITIGATING:  A cryptic definition.  The suit is a legal action.

11d   Iranian plot is strangely stirring (13)
INSPIRATIONAL:  An anagram (… strangely) of IRANIAN PLOT IS

13d   Rows involved trendier person in church? (10)
WORSHIPPER:  An anagram (…involved) of ROWS is followed by an informal synonym of trendier

16d   Soprano has articles about Les Mis's opening in rep (8)
SALESMAN:  The single letter abbreviation for soprano is followed by two grammatical articles sandwiching (about) both LES from the clue and the first letter of (…’s opening) Mis

18d   The compiler's favourite American drive (7)
IMPETUS:  “The compiler is” from the perspective of the compiler, favourite or preferred, and an abbreviation for American

20d   Trendy drink, we hear, for one in the know (7)
INSIDER:  The usual short word for trendy or fashionable, followed by a homophone (…, we hear) of a fermented apple drink

22d   Wet and bright? Not at first (5)
RAINY:  A word meaning bright or clever has its first letter deleted (not at first)

23d   Give up returning some decorative boxes (4)
CEDE:  And we have a lurker to finish.  SOME DECORATIVE is hiding (boxes) the reversal (returning) of the answer


Thanks to Mister Ron for most enjoyable solve.  In a long list of ticked clues 14a, 15a, 25a, and 2d stood out for me.  Which clues did you like best?


The Quick Crossword pun:  LIE + BRIE + BUCK = LIBRARY BOOK

44 comments on “DT 29050

  1. I missed the obvious in 6 across and pondered long and hard over several. A really absorbing puzzle, which all considered I finished in reasonable time (for me that is). I particularly liked 1a, 13d and 12a, but my COD goes to that wee four lettered one in 26a. Nice one Mr L. Thanks Mr K as well.

    1. As many have said, this was right up there for back-page difficulty.
      I did complete it, though half a dozen were guessed with crossed fingers, needed the excellent hints to verify those.
      Thanks to setter and Mr.K.

  2. It took me a long time to get into this one and I was well into *** time when I finished it. There were lots of great clues and the old brain got a good workout. My favourites were 1a, 19a, 3d and 13d. So many thanks to CL for a very absorbing puzzle (****) and to Mr K for setting me straight on 4d, where I had the first 3 letters correct but had a alternative ending. Liked the cats!

  3. Very nice puzzle. Not too tricky. I particularly liked 1a, 26a, and 13d with top spot going to 17a.

    The Toughie was easier than this one today!

  4. This was hard. Having romped through the Toughie I did not expect to spend so much time on my word search hoping for inspiration. If it wasn’t for the anagrams I doubt I would ever have got started.
    A new compiler takes time to get used to I suppose. Better luck next time.
    So, if anyone else is struggling, go look at the Toughie!

    1. I’m usually highly sceptical of comments on the relative difficulty of the day’s back pager and Toughie. However in this case I think JB has some justification in that the latter is not out of the reach of us mere mortals and is definitely worth a go.

  5. I really enjoyed this, thought it was very skillfully clued with the possible exception of 19a and 16d which were bung ins for me.
    I’m betting there’ll be a wide selection of favourites, always the sign of a quality puzzle. I liked 25a for its simplicity and surface along with 22d and the smile inducing 15a. …3*/3*

    Many thanks to CL and as usual to Mr K for his explanations.

  6. Quite enjoyable, just the right amount of head scratching for a Tuesday for completion at a gallop – 2.5*/3*.

    Candidates for favourite – 26a, 18d, and 23d – and the winner is 26a.

    Thanks to CL and Mr K.

      1. Me too at first. “Bound” like “vim” or “verve”. Completely stupid of course.

      1. I put ‘seagoing’ in, ‘go’ = natural energy and the ‘in’ from the clue but I was fairly sure it was wrong because I couldn’t see where the ‘g’ came from. Whoops. Thanks to the setter and Mr K.

    1. Me too … haven’t finished yet but have to go out, will finish later. Struggling a bit, I’ll have to revisit 4d.

    2. Yes, I did too and, since this is ‘confessions corner’, did anyone else have ‘barge’ for 25a? Seriously unhelpful until 20d, which had to be what it was, sorted me out. :roll:

  7. 3.5*/4*. I really enjoyed this. It was nicely challenging with nothing to frighten the horses and a lot of fun.

    My podium comprises 14a, 25a & 13d, but many other clues earned ticks too.

    Thanks to CL. Thanks too to Mr K, especially for the pictures which I particularly look forward to on Tuesdays.

  8. Unexceptional but a pleasant enough challenge. Failed to identify the two writers so bunged in alias which was no problem as it didn’t affect any crossers. Took a while for the 26a penny to drop. 16a soprano abbreviation a new one on me. NW corner held out the longest. No Fav. Thank you Mr. Ed and MrK.

  9. Tough but a very good puzzle thank you 19a really threw me I could not stop thinking about a commonwealth country north of 🇺🇸 !

  10. Game of two halves. Bottom (where I started and progressed quickly northwards) easier than some in the top. 2d and 9a last ones in. Overall, ***/***.

    Best puzzle from the last five days or so?

    Some great clues. I’ll make 26a my favourite just above many others. Thanks to the Editor and Mr K.

  11. A fine puzzle – I didn’t guess it was CL but now I understand why I enjoyed it so much. Always like our Ed’s puzzles. Thanks to him and to Mr K

  12. ****/****. Four stars for difficulty as I was being particularly thick in trying to parse several (correct as it turns out) bung-ins. I liked 1a because it misled me for ages and then the penny dropped with a loud clang. Thanks to the setter and Mr K.

  13. Thank you for the name-check, Mr K. (Like Stephen @5 I found 16d to be a bung-in!)

    Favourite clue, WORSHIPPER. Reminded me of the in-fighting I’ve seen when a modern new vicar takes over.

    Thanks to the editor for the puzzle, and I hope the competition goes from strength to strength and attracts more people to the crosswords.

  14. Out before the blog was posted this morning but I did just about have time to complete the puzzle before leaving. Quite a few pauses for thought along the way – the ending of 4d and a fixation with the wrong Grace for 7d being the main problems. I was looking in Never, never land for the latter!

    Not playing favourites as there are too many to choose from so I’ll just say many thanks to Mister Ron and to Mr K for the blog. Can’t quite decide whether the feline at 6a is hanging on for dear life or feeling somewhat seasick!

  15. I’m back, on resuming the puzzle it all slotted in nicely. Full disclosure: the wrong 4d remained as “going” as I couldn’t think of the “borne” bit.
    My fave was 15a, second up was 13d, but there was much to enjoy, albeit a bit on the tough side.
    Thanks to CL for the fun and to Mr. K for unravelling 16d and the delightful cat pics, keep ’em coming!

  16. What a first rate puzzle, though I don’t mind admitting that I struggle big time with the crossword editor’s style.
    Too many favourites, is ‘s’ really an abbreviation for ‘soprano’??

  17. Thanks to Chris Lancaster and to Mr Kitty for the review and hints. I wonder if Chris is thinking of getting a setting name? A thoroughly enjoyable puzzle. I took a long time to make any headway, but was rewarded for my perseverance, by eventually unravelling it. Great misdirection throughout. Last in was 16d. My favourite was 25a.

  18. HoofIt @17, s for soprano is in Chambers. Also a for alto, b for bass, c for contralto etc.

    Heno @18, Chris Lancaster goes by the name of Samuel away from the back page.

  19. We had 4d wrong. Parsed in the same way as Scousegit above with head-scratching about the last G. A check this morning in BRB does make SEA-GOING hyphenated though, while the right answer is given as one word.
    A fine puzzle with lots of clever clues.
    Thanks Chris and Mr K.

  20. Completed in an ok time for me this morning before a trip to Glorious Chepstow racecourse in the company of some old ( definitely) friends.
    Like today ‘s offering , the horse racing got off to a slow start with a fast finish as I had 4 winners out of the last 5 races . Nice little earner but pure luck .
    My favourite clues 15A & 27A .
    Thanks CL , more please , and Mr K great , as usual .

  21. Enjoyable and not too tricky once a few were in. 16d definitely was worthy of that prize.

    1. Thanks, Jon. I think I got a bit lucky with that LES M in the middle. Maybe others didn’t spot it.

  22. I think my brains must have fried in the Lancashire sun today! I found this really hard and almost gave up….couldn’t have solved it without Mr K’s tips, thanks! Thanks to CL too.

  23. A puzzle of two halves for me, with the second half finding me in so many dark blind alleys it took me over into 4* time. I have to say 3* for enjoyment as it left me too flummoxed on occasions.
    Many thanks to CL & MrK for invaluable direction.

  24. I thought this was really tough – I’m a bit distracted at the moment – that’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it.
    It’s taken me ages but I’ve finally finished it apart from a wrong answer at 4d.
    Like Jane I had the wrong ‘Grace’ at 7d which didn’t help anything very much but 6a eventually sorted that out.
    I think it’s all been said by now – I enjoyed it very much but blimey – it was difficult.
    Thanks to everyone and night night all.

  25. This one had me well and truly beaten but enjoyed trying. Don’t understand why I can’t see any illustrations where others clearly can?

  26. Celia @26, for some reason the photos in the blog have gone now, so it isn’t just you. (They were definitely there earlier today.)

  27. Wrong brain today had to resort to the hints early doors. Just me having an off day as when I continued on it fell into place rapidly. Thanks to CL and Mr K.
    I missed the cat pics too!

  28. I do love head scratching puzzles.
    This was one, prolonged one!
    Too many excellent clues to single out one.
    For me **** time.
    Many thanks to the setter and to Mr. K.

  29. Very satisfying. Oddly though I find I had only circled one clue as a favourite 27a. I genuinely thought I would not finish unaided but I did. 16d was the last in and the only one I did not fully parse. I was looking for something theatrical. Glad it turned out not to be the name of a singer. Took me ages to get 21a and only got 22d once I had the first letter. Thanks Ed and Catman although clues catless for me too.

  30. Only did this Wednesday morning but wanted to offer my thanks to our puzzles editor for a terrific crossword and to Mr K for a fine review.

  31. This was a very good puzzle, about average (for me) difficulty with very smooth/well-constructed clues giving an enjoyable solve. No particular favourite from this excellent bunch. 2.5* /3.5*

  32. I forgot to comment….again.
    A very good crossword that made me work to complete. Favourite clues were 17a and 16d.
    Thanks to CL for the challenge and to Mr K for the review.

  33. 3*/4*…
    liked 1A (mail chief of police initially over small criminal matters) for the misdirection and the surface.

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