DT 29104 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 29104

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 29104

Hints and tips by Mr K

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BD Rating  -  Difficulty *** Enjoyment ***

Hello, everyone, and welcome.  This week I felt that we’re back to near average difficulty and enjoyment.  I particularly liked the smooth surfaces on several of the clues.

The new blog theme necessitated by the site upgrade has now been in use for just over a week.  BD has been tweaking it to work well on computers, tablets, and phones.  It’s challenging to optimise the site’s appearance in the absence of feedback, so BD would like to get your thoughts on the new theme via a brief survey.  Thanks in advance for helping to improve the site.

Click here to open the survey in a new window.  Press the Finish Survey button at the bottom to submit your answers.

In the hints below most indicators are italicised, and underlining identifies precise definitions and cryptic definitions.  Clicking on the answer!! buttons will reveal the answers.  In some hints hyperlinks provide additional explanation or background.  Clicking on a picture might enlarge it or display a bonus illustration.  Please leave a comment telling us how you got on.



1a    Knowing a lot about springs? (4-8)
WELL-INFORMED:  The answer could, whimsically, also mean knowing a lot about sources of water

9a    Speech after a daughter makes love (9)
ADORATION:  A rather formal synonym of speech comes after both the A from the clue and the genealogical abbreviation for daughter

10a   Mars travels around Jupiter's core (5)
RUINS:  Some travels, perhaps in a car, containing (around) the middle letter (…’s core) of JupIter.  Mars is capitalised here only because it’s the first word in the clue

11a   Secret  contents (6)
INSIDE:  A double definition, the first an adjective and the second a noun

12a   Over day, Leo eats old Cheerio (6-2)
TOODLE-OO:  Over or excessively and the abbreviation for day are followed by the clue’s LEO that contains (eats) the abbreviation for old

13a   Dirty  like a maggot? (6)
GRUBBY:  A double definition, the second a bit whimsical

15a   Turn up trouser for New Yorker? That's frivolous (8)
FLIPPANT:  Put together a synonym of “turn up” (a playing card, perhaps) and the American equivalent (… for New Yorker) of trouser

18a   Frenchman said to be quietly spoken (8)
MUTTERED:  The single letter abbreviation for a French mister is followed by said or stated

19a   Change direction of plunger reaching middle of cistern (6)
DIVERT:  Put together something that plunges into water or through the air and the middle letter of cisTern

21a   Modern Times issue initially rejected supplement (8)
ADDITION:  Stick together the Latin abbreviation indicating a year in modern times, and an issue of a publication minus its first letter (… initially rejected)

23a   American, prettier and smarter (6)
ACUTER:  Glue together the single-letter abbreviation for American and prettier or more adorable

26a   Proportion of allowance cut (5)
RATIO:  An allowance or quota has its last letter deleted (… cut)

27a   Somehow creep into foyer (9)
RECEPTION:  An anagram (somehow) of CREEP INTO

28a   Lovely net Ben weaves kind-heartedly (12)
BENEVOLENTLY:  An anagram (… weaves) of LOVELY NET BEN



1d    Wife given a strange craft ... (7)
WEAVING:  The genealogical abbreviation for wife with an anagram (… strange) of GIVEN A

2d    ... equipment for it appears (5)
LOOMS:  The answer is also equipment used for the answer to the preceding clue

3d    Impossible to catch, trendy German car brand's topping the French (9)
INAUDIBLE:  Concatenate the usual word for trendy or fashionable, a make of German car, the first letter of (…’s topping) Brand, and a French word for “the”

4d    Counter  balance? (4)
FOIL:  If this is a double definition, the first is a verb meaning to counter or frustrate and the second is a noun for something that serves to set off something else and provide balance.  But I’m not certain about that interpretation and I welcome your suggestions

5d    Irregularly run article on my old pants (8)
RANDOMLY:  Assemble the cricket abbreviation for run, a grammatical article, and an anagram (… pants) of MY OLD

6d    Chopped deer with rabbit's head — that's messed up (5)
ERRED:  An anagram (chopped) of DEER and the first letter of (…’s head) Rabbit

7d    Learned form of elite art (8)
LITERATE:  The answer is an adjective.  It’s found as an anagram of (form of) ELITE ART

8d    Leading company? (6)
ESCORT:  A cryptic definition of somebody who might accompany you as a guide

14d   Now the responsibility of court (2-2-4)
UP-TO-DATE:  A (2-2) phrase meaning “the responsibility of” is followed by court or woo

16d   Rule head teacher's announced (9)
PRINCIPLE:  A homophone (…’s announced) of a head teacher

17d   Means to help about mine (8)
RESOURCE:  Cement together the usual short word for about or concerning and a synonym of mine in the sense of Big Dave’s Mine of Useful Information

18d   Small section of wartime agreement (6)
MEAGRE:  The answer is hiding as a section of the remainder of the clue

20d   Cruelty that's ultimately necessary in radio (7)
TYRANNY:  The last letter (ultimately) of necessarY is inserted in an old and informal name for a radio receiver

22d   Poet laboured over right figure of speech (5)
TROPE:  An anagram (laboured) of POET containing (over) the single-letter abbreviation for right

24d   Checker's favourite plot device (5)
TWIST:   A plot device used in novels, plays, films, etc. is also an activity popularised by Chubby Checker

25d   Noise chosen to hide reverberation (4)
ECHO:  The role of the first two words in the clue is to hide the answer


Thanks to today’s setter for a fun solve.  We love it when setters comment, so if you’re reading please consider posting below.  Top clues for me included 18a, 21a, 14d, 18d, and 24d.  Which clues did you like best?


The Quick Crossword pun:  DUBLIN + SIGHS = DOUBLE IN SIZE

55 comments on “DT 29104

  1. This took me longer than usual to complete (***) and, even then, I was still unsure that I had parsed some clues correctly. So many thanks to Mr K for help with 12a, 21a and 17d. I found some of the clues rather vague, which meant that I had ro resort to guesswork or reverse engineering (finding a word that fit and then trying to see how it fit the clue). Not as enjoyable as some puzzles, therefore(**). However, I did enjoy the 1d and 2d combination and 10a so thanks to the setter.

  2. I found the South went in a lot easier than the North where I have to admit needing a couple of hints in the NE (12a and 8d, which I thought had to be a double definition). 21a was also a bung in.
    I liked 1a along with 3, 5 and 14d. As Mr K said, I think 4d is strange as the two words in the clue are virtually synonyms anyway. 3.5/3*
    Many thanks to the setter and to Mr K for his excellent review

  3. Finished in an OK time with a few pauses and smiles on the journey .

    24D brought back pleasant memories so is my COTD.

    Congratulations to the Setter and thanks Mr K ( will do the survey next )

          1. Brilliant puzzle with lots of short and elegant clues. Reminded me of some of the Sunday puzzles set by Virgilius which I always thought were the best.

  4. I needed a bit of help with 12a, never having heard the second part of that phrase; I’m more used to ‘pip’. I was quite surprised to find it in the BRB.

    I, too, was perplexed by 4d. I can’t offer any more than Mr K has said above.

    Thanks to him and the setter.

  5. I was a bit slow on the uptake with 10a plus 4&24d – absolutely no excuse for missing dear old Chubby who then made my top three along with 14d. and the Quickie pun. How refreshing to see the device in the 1/2d combo used correctly!

    I’m assuming from Tilsit’s comment that Miss Navy was responsible for this one so many thanks to her – I hope she pops in later to say hello.

    Thanks also to Mr K for the blog and particularly the illustrations for 9a.
    Off to complete the survey now.

  6. 2*/4*. This was great fun and how nice to see elipses used properly! I’m not sure I like the sound of 6d but I can’t fault the clue.

    I think 4d is fine. The second definition of the answer in the BRB includes: “anything that serves to set off something else”, e.g. his brawn was the perfect foil for her brains.

    Lots of goodies here from which to choose a favourite, but I’m going for 10a with 14d & 24d hard on its heels.

    Many thanks, Lucy, good to have another puzzle from you. Many thanks too to Mr K.

  7. 5d solved today’s challenge. 12a didn’t initially occur to me as have never read/written it before. Am with MrK in being unsure about 4d. IMHO 2d only just parallels 2d – I had bunged in ‘looks’ unparsed. IMHO 6d is hardly a messed up synonym. Fav was 18a with 14d running up. Thank yous to MrK and Lucy to whom “welcome back”. 💐.

  8. I started off at a cracking pace! However, it did not last and I was soon bogged down with 10a, 12a, 15a, and 4d. There were others that took me some time but these four had me stumped until the very last. My favourite was 14d.

    Thank you to all concerned, especially the setter who managed to give the right amount of head scratching.

  9. Terrific fun and a good, enjoyable challenge. I really enjoyed 10a for its simplicity and misdirection. My last entry was 5d.

    Thanks and well done to Navy and to Mr K.

  10. Just right for a Tuesday, with the first Toughie of the week waiting in the wings, completed at a gallop – **/****.

    Favourite – a toss-up between 1a and 16d – and the winner is 1a.

    Thanks and well done Lucy and thanks to Mr K.

  11. I agree with Mr K’s ***/***.
    I found the upper half more difficult than the lower half,12a was a bit laboured,10a was nicely misleading. had to check that 4d was a double meaning-as usual it was !
    I liked the SE corner 24 brought a smile as did 20d,22d did not ring a bell.
    Overall a teasing solve-thanks to all.

  12. Thanks to Lucy ( Navy) and to Mr Kitty for the review and hints. I enjoyed this one very much from start to finish. As soon as I got 1a, I thought it was going to be a fun puzzle. Last in was 4d. Favourite was 19a. But 20d took me back, I’d almost forgotten that term for transistor radio. Was 3*/4* for me.

  13. Good fun if a bit taxing. Last one in was 12a. couldn’t see the connection between the answer and the picture hint. Thanks to Mr K and Miss Lucy.

    1. Re the 12a pic, Cheerios are a US breakfast cereal sometimes jokingly referred to as doughnut seeds because they resemble very small doughnuts.

      1. We have them on this side of the pond too, Mr K. My granddaughters love them.

        1. Good to know. Do you have Multi-Grain Dark Chocolate Crunch Cheerios or any of the other 14 flavours of Cheerios?

          I must check out the cereal aisle next time I’m in Waitrose

          1. On the websites for Waitrose, Sainsbury and Tesco, I can only find “standard” Multigrain, Honey, Oat and Low Sugar varieties. A marketing opportunity?

  14. Nice, Navy, very nice. I wasn’t 100% with 8d, but I’ll go with one who leads a company, or one who leads while providing company. Ta to Mr K also.


  15. A lovely puzzle, solved on the bus over the Cat and Fiddle. Very nice, mostly concise clues, about average difficulty for a back-pager and a very enjoyable solve. Fav: 1d. As RD says, 1d and 2d were a cracking example of twin clues linked by ellipses (many examples aren’t this good). Excellent! 2.5* / 3.5*

  16. Nice crossword from Navy **/*** 😃 Favourites 1 & 23a Thanks to Mr K, off to do the Survey 😳 I must admit that I was much more used to the other variant of 12a but eventually the penny dropped 🤔

  17. Just had to drop in to congratulate Lucy on a very fine crossword indeed, thank you.
    Thanks also to MrK for setting up the survey and the hints and pics.

  18. I really enjoyed this, Lucy, thank you very much.
    Didn’t know the name of the radio in 20d but what else could it be?
    Lots to like, hard to choose a fave, but I think 12a qualifies for its cheekiness!
    Thanks to Mr. K for his hints and pics, particularly 9a.

  19. A good fun crossword that needed a bit of thought. 20d was my favourite.
    Thanks to Miss Lucy, and to Mr K for the review and pics as always

  20. Some of the parsing was too obscure today, so looking forward to going through Mr.K’s typically informative hints. Lots of bung-in’s.
    Countered by lots of excellent clues.
    Thanks all.

    1. Hello, LJ. Our setter is seventeen years old. I’m quite impressed that she’s been able to tailor the GK requirements to suit the average Telegraph Cryptic solver.

  21. A very well crafted puzzle that was enjoyable to boot. Bottom half flew in but I slowly ground to a halt in the top,,,, I doubt I would have ever got 12ac if not for Help from MrK.
    3*/3.5* today, 1ac ,1 & 2d taking the podium for me.
    Thanks to Navy & MrK for review & assistance.

  22. Nice puzzle today. 10a beat me I spent too long making anagrams of mars and i and then ares and i. RAISE was pencilled in for a while but Thanks to Mr K’s hints I managed to come up with the right synonym of mars without a capital. Thanks also to Navy for another well balanced puzzle and especially for 1d … 2d.

  23. Thank you to Miss Navy for a brilliant puzzle, right up my street. Thanks also to Mr K, especially for the 9a picture. Lots to like about this puzzle, starting with the smile inducer at 1a. Would like to see more cryptics like this.

  24. Very enjoyable crossword, thank you Lucy! Not sure if you are responsible for the quickie but the pun made us chuckle. Thanks to Mr K too.

    1. Welcome back, Navy Lucy! Good to see you again – I’ve been wondering if you might put in another appearance soon. Thank you for an excellent puzzle – most enjoyable. Much appreciated the working elipses in 1 & 2d. Missed the Chubby Checker reference (but got the answer anyway) and the lurker in 18d (my excuse is that it was split over 2 lines). Enjoy the summer holidays and I hope we’ll see you again before too long. Thanks, too, to Mr K – I needed a couple of your hints and explanations.

  25. I found this tricky and now that I know who set it I’m not surprised – I think I had a spot of bother with her before – good fun though.
    I did have quite a few answers that had to be what they were but I couldn’t see why – my fault rather than the clue/setter’s.
    My favourite by a very long way was 13a – made me laugh which, for me anyway, makes for a good crossword.
    With thanks and a big well done to Navy for the crossword and to Mr K for the review.
    Off to do the survey now and then to bed to see if sleep is any more possible than last night’s was – too hot. :phew:

  26. 4*/4*…..
    liked 10A “Mars travels around Jupiter’s core (5)”, even though it was my last one in !

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