DT 29170 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 29170

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 29170

Hints and tips by Mr K

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BD Rating  -  Difficulty ** Enjoyment ***

Hello, everyone, and welcome.  Grey and drizzly here, making this a good day to stay inside and solve crosswords.  Today's puzzle features at 14a Phil Anderson's winning entry in the clue-writing competition from the April edition of the Telegraph Puzzles Newsletter – congratulations Phil!  That fact suggests that this puzzle might be the work of Telegraph Puzzles Editor Chris Lancaster.  Perhaps he'll drop by later to confirm [4pm edit:  I'm told that it is indeed one of his].  I found it less challenging than his recent Tuesday puzzles, but still most enjoyable. 

In the hints below most indicators are italicized, 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 will enlarge it or display a bonus illustration.  Please leave a comment telling us how you got on.



1a    Awful strain in the lead up to politician's passing (10)
TRANSITORY:  An anagram (awful) of STRAIN comes before (in the lead up to) an informal name for a Conservative politician

6a    Wrong men seen in empty tenement (4)
TORT:  Some usual soldiery men inserted in (seen in) the outer letters of (empty…) TenemenT

9a    Criticise pianist's somewhat dark tone (5)
SEPIA:  The answer is hiding as part of (… somewhat) the first two words of the clue

10a   Scotsman caught wearing tech firm's device (9)
APPLIANCE:  A Scottish forename and the cricket abbreviation for caught are together contained in (wearing) a US tech firm who, for example, make the tablet most often used to read the blog

12a   Manufacturer regularly signed American apprentice (13)
INDUSTRIALIST:  Concatenate alternate letters (regularly) of sIgNeD, an abbreviation for American, and a synonym of apprentice

14a   Beast bound to appear after intermittent rain at sea (8)
ANTELOPE:  To bound or leap follows (appears after) alternate letters of (intermittent …) rAiN aT sEa

15a   Married rogue in trouble remains here (6)
MORGUE:  Follow the single letter for married with an anagram (… in trouble) of ROGUE

17a   Reader who may vote, being 27 (6)
LECTOR:  A word for a person who may vote is modified as the answer to 27a instructs

19a   Admit accepting end for bank (8)
GRADIENT:  Admit or concede containing (accepting) end in a final way

21a   Understanding to reduce the weight of chaps admitted by hospital department (13)
ENLIGHTENMENT:  Join together a word meaning "to reduce the weight of" and some chaps or fellows.  That lot is then inserted in (admitted by) a usual abbreviated hospital department 

24a   Just tell one student to hide answer (9)
IMPARTIAL:  The fusion of tell or communicate, the Roman one, and the letter indicating a student driver contains (to hide) the single-letter abbreviation for answer

25a   Criticise tourists on vacation? Rubbish! (5)
PANTS:  Criticise harshly is followed by the outer letters of TouristS (tourists on vacation, interpreted here as after being vacated or emptied).  The answer is an informal word for rubbish

26a   Physician to ignore court opening (4)
DOOR:  A physician has the map abbreviation for court deleted (to ignore court)

27a   Lacking guidance, Liberal released criminal before start of sentence (10)
LEADERLESS:  Link together the single letter for Liberal, an anagram (criminal) of RELEASED, and the first letter of (start of) Sentence



1d    What's the point of some animals? (4)
TUSK:  A cryptic definition of pointy bits possessed by some animals

2d    Choose a quiet spot (7)
APPOINT:  Cement together A from the clue, the musical abbreviation for quiet, and a spot or position 

3d    Random glances could become source of gossip (13)
SCANDALMONGER:  An anagram (… could become) of RANDOM GLANCES

4d    Strange patterns in part of church (8)
TRANSEPT:  An anagram (strange) of PATTERNS

5d    Grave message supported by queen that's more mature (5)
RIPER:  A three-letter abbreviation seen on headstones is followed by (supported by, in a down clue) the Latin abbreviation for Queen Elizabeth

7d    Being a swine, by the sound of it? (7)
OINKING:  Making a sound like a pig

8d    Sent matter for analysis to find cures (10)
TREATMENTS:  An anagram (for analysis) of SENT MATTER

11d   Unusually poor gent aimed to become cheerful (2,1,4,6)
IN A GOOD TEMPER:  An anagram (unusually) of POOR GENT AIMED.  The answer isn't given explicitly in Chambers or Collins, but it is listed in the Shorter Oxford English Dictionary

13d   Lag first to find completely live deer (4,6)
FALL BEHIND:  Chain together the first letter of Find, a synonym of completely, live or exist, and a female deer

16d   Streaky bacon on top with rind already oddly missing (8)
BRINDLED:  Assemble the first letter of Bacon (bacon on top, in a down answer), RIND from the clue, and the even letters (… oddly missing) of aLrEaDy

18d   Song drunk plays in company (7)
CALYPSO:  An anagram (drunk) of PLAYS inserted in an abbreviation for company

20d   Agreement of new number during summer in France (7)
ENTENTE:  The abbreviation for new and a number between nine and eleven are together contained by (during) the French word for summer

22d   Rubbish outing supported by European (5)
TRIPE:  An outing or journey followed by (supported by, in a down clue) the single-letter abbreviation for European

23d   Unchanged part of Christmas Island (2,2)
AS IS:  The answer is found hiding as part of the remainder of the clue


Thanks to today’s setter for a fun solve.  Highlights for me today included 9a, 25a, 26a, and 3d.  Which clues did you like best?


The Quick Crossword pun:  POPE + HURRY = POTPOURRI

104 comments on “DT 29170

  1. Just nicely challenging. Top half came in ahead of the bottom. Suppose 7d is in fact a verb and IMHO 1d is also a bit iffy. No Fav. Thank you to whomever the setter may be and to MrK.

          1. Thanks Gazza. Silly me but that figures because these days I seem to have to fill in name and email nearly every time I post a comment – wish I knew why.

            1. Hi, Angellov. If you close your browser and reopen it, and then visit the site home page at http://bigdave44.com, do you get the message at the bottom of the screen about accepting the privacy and cookie policy? Even if you have accepted it before?

              If that always appears it probably means that your browser is not storing cookies, which could also explain why you have to enter your name and email every time.

              1. Thanks MrK. No I don’t get a message re Privacy and Cookie policy with my Google Chrome searches however this time it does seem to be OK. Fingers crossed 🤞
                P.S. BD please feel free to erase all my above messages which are tedious for other bloggers.

                1. The remembering of email address and blog name is handled by the browser, so if the browser was configured to delete history, cookies, etc. at the end of each session you’d be asked for those details when you returned. But in that case the site would also ask you to accept the cookie policy in that box that appears at the bottom of the page. So it’s a mystery to me. Fingers crossed that it stays fixed.

  2. I agree with your rating of **/*** Mr K. I thought this was going to be more difficult than it actually was. Curiously it was the sort of crossword, where I had to do a lot of reverse engineering. I could see what the answer was meant to be and, only when It had been lightly pencilled in, could I see the rationale behind parsing it. My favourite clues were 21a and 13d. So thank you for the hints and thanks to the setter.

  3. 1.5*/3*. This was light but fun.

    16d was a new word for me but easily derived from the wordplay. I’m not keen on 11d simply because the answer seems to be such an odd phrase and one I have never heard used. Unusually I am going to choose an anagram as my favourite – 3d.

    Many thanks to the setter (CL?) and to Mr K.

    1. RD, I agree with you on 11d – OK with a 4 letter word at the end of the expression rather than the 6 letter word used in the answer.

      1. I also hadn’t heard of 11d, which is why I verified that it’s listed in at least one of the major dictionaries. It has appeared in the Telegraph a few times, in contexts that suggest it’s rather old-fashioned. See, e.g., here and here.

        1. I worked in an office complex in the late 80s/early 90s and the MD was a rather grumpy devil. Every morning his secretary would turn up and ask something like: “Is his Lordship in a good temper today?”

    2. I knew 16d from the poem Pied Beauty, by Gerard Manley Hopkins, in which he writes of “skies as couple-coloured as a ……. cow.”

      1. I didn’t know about that poem, so thanks for that comment, SL.

        The poem and a reading of it can be found here.

      2. I remember that poem from A Level English, over 50 years ago.. Sprung rhythm was his forte.

    3. I don’t know why, but words/phrases the intelligentsia find odd are quite commonplace to me. I find nothing strange about 11d. I’ve never seen a 16d horse, that’s new, but 16d cows and dogs are quite common. In Jamaica they pronounce it “bringle”!

  4. I must have been bang on wavelength today so it’s a 2/4* for me. My only reservation is 11d where the I’ve not heard the last word in relation to good, only bad. Other than that ticks all round including 10 and 25a plus 20d (having a French partner helps) and my COTD 18d.
    Quickie pun worth a shout too.
    Many thanks to the setter and to Mr K for their parts in the entertainment.

  5. I liked the 17a/27a combo although the neatness of the 3d anagram ran them close. I agree that this does look like the work of our editor with a good clue mix and plenty of humour. Overall this was pretty straightforward with good clueing making even the odd obscurity completely solvable.

    Thanks to CL, if it is indeed he, and Mr K.

  6. Quite gentle for a Tuesday puzzle with no need to use any of the white space on my printed sheet, including solving the anagrams without writing the material in a circle. Completed at a gallop – 2*/3.5*.
    Favourite – I’m resisting the temptation to nominate an anagram and am selecting 13d – hard to beat a four part charade in seven words.
    Thanks to CL(?) and Mr K.
    P.S. The Chalicea Toughie is quite doable. BD might have to use the F-word in his review. I will opt for suggesting it could be in the wrong envelope.

  7. I couldn’t say how long this took me, as it was solved in two stints, it felt like a *** time.

    1d and 13d were my last two to go in, and they therefore get my votes for COTD.

    Many thanks to the compiler and Mr K.

  8. Fun but I have never heard the second half of 14a used as a synonym for leaping, I always thought it was a kind of running motion especially in reference to animals eg a wolf would ***e.

    1. Hello, Whiskeyjack. That’s the definition that first came to mind for me as well. But the dictionaries do support the required synonym:

      Chambers has as the definition of that word: intransitive verb 1.To run with a long stride 2.To leap

      Collins has: verb1.(intransitive) (of a person) to move or run with a long swinging stride
      2.(intransitive) (of four-legged animals) to run with a regular bounding movement
      3.To cause (a horse) to canter with a long easy stride or (of a horse) to canter in this manner

  9. Found this very challenging, needed almost all the excellent hints. I don’t know what all the trouble was about 11d. Perfectly normal expression I would have thought. It’s in my BRB. I thought that 16d related to cows only, because of poem. Thanks Mr K for hints and to setter

  10. It seems, given the spelling, 11a Scotsman was an Englishman. Although I confess to unusual sensitivity on the point being a two “eyed” man.

  11. I am glad to see someone owns up to writing anagram letters in a circle – I got the impression that practice was frowned upon! I do it regularly. I was not happy with 7 down, I put in a word beginning with ‘h’ which threw me on 6a. Also was bemused by that word for rubbish at 25a I am obviously out of date. So thanks for putting me right on that. Sun shining in Cambridge and washing on line, so far so good.

    1. I always write my anagrams in a circle. Had no idea it was frowned upon, how silly. Great puzzle today. 16d new word for me too. Thanks to all.

      1. Writing anagram fodder in a circle is standard advice found in several books because it works. I don’t know who has been frowning on it, but I can’t see any justification for it. Everyone should just do whatever makes solving the puzzle satisfying and enjoyable.

      2. No frowns here.
        If I can’t solve an anagram directly from the clue, the method which I find works well is to write the fodder in a block with three letters per line, taking care to mix the letters up a bit.

    2. I frequently write anagram material in a circle, except for today as I commented above, and feel no shame when I do so, but, yes, there are some who frown upon the practice. Perhaps they consider it the first step on the slippery slope to using an on-line anagram solver.

    3. When I used to blog Rufus puzzles I niggled about the high number of anagrams used. I also commented that I never write anagrams out but solve mentally. I think my comments got taken to mean that writing out anagrams was a form of cheating. That was never what I meant. Before I got an iPad I almost always wrote the letters out. Now I never do. So circle away to your hearts content Daisygirl. Nobody minds at all.

    4. No frowns here either, it’s entirely up to you how you solve your crosswords
      I have been known to scribble a little circle of jumbled letters, if only to cross off the letters already in place; it can help to place likely vowels and consonants

    5. I always write anagram letters down even when the answer is pretty obvious – not that I’m organised enough to do them in a circle, let alone doing them in a block of three per line.
      I’ve been caught out too many times by not writing them all down.
      Some people will tell you that it’s ‘cheating’ but I don’t think that you can cheat yourself.
      I’d get that washing in if I were you . . .

    6. I do the same if I can’t see it straightaway. As I understand it, there are no rules and certainly no one should be frowned upon.

    7. I, too, always write anagrams in a circle – I’ve been doing so since I got the suggestion in 1974! 🙃

  12. A **/*** for me as well and enjoyable too. 1a and 12a my favourites. Thanks to setter and Mr K.

  13. Very mild, but quite enjoyable. I can’t understand all the fuss about 11d, I’ve heard that phrase many times before. 1.5* / 2.5*

  14. Just enough to stretch the aged brain cells, completed in fairly good time just the one cafetierre, although soon to be changing to a more tech brewing method. Thanks to Mr K and setter.

  15. I thought this was fairly straightforward although, yet again I was slow to get going – whatever’s the matter with me at the moment?
    I agree with 2*/3*.
    Quite a few anagrams, not that I’m complaining about that.
    I think I might have a minor complaint about 1d – my first thought was ‘horn’ which would have really messed up that corner – didn’t put it in though!
    I liked 21 and 24a and 2 and 7d. I think my favourite was probably 13d.
    Thanks to the setter and to Mr K.

    1. I second your minor complaint about 1d – you really had to rely on the crossing letters before writing in the answer. As well as your horn it might have been fang or claw.

  16. Struggled with a few clues today and resorted to hints although I do resist the temptation until I have given a clue thorough thought. 8a and 26a did not come to me. 13d and 27a were my favourites.

    Did anyone see the letter in the Letters Page regarding crosswords?

    Grateful thanks to all concerned.

    1. Thanks for the pointer, Steve. I used up my one free Telegraph Premium article to find that the letter in question nominates as a favourite Telegraph clue this masterpiece from DT 24634 (07/18/2005):

      It is used for shelling before the soldiers go in (3,5) EGG SPOON

      It’s almost certainly a Roger Squires clue because exactly the same clue appeared four months later in a Rufus puzzle in the Guardian.

      1. I thought it a great clue but not the best I have come across. Could this be the start of a raft of “favourite Telegraph clues” in the letters page?

        I hope so. :smile:

      2. A brilliant clue but my all time favourite still remains from ‘Drop the dead Donkey”
        Answer: scrambled eggs.

        1. Hello, Brian. The GEGS clue is amusing in hindsight, but I think the lack of a definition would make it challenging to solve in a real cryptic puzzle. What do you think of “014? (6,5)”

  17. I find with anagrams, writing from middle adding letters either side in a line, mixes them up so you can’t see original words. Works for me

    1. I often write the letters in a circle. Not come across anyone who thinks this wrong. Surely any method that solves a clue is legitimate? Some anagrams leap out at me but others need some jiggling about and writing the letters, in a different order, often clears the mind. I think the key is to jumble the letters up and however that is done is fine.

      As John Lennon sang “Whatever Gets You Through the Night”.

      1. Speaking of writing letters – I’ve been trying to make you a member of the Joint Association of British Implantologists but it would appear that there is no such organisation. I give up!

              1. Yes, indeed, but you asked me which part of a particular answer I thought was applicable to your profession, that’s what I’ve been trying to work out! Having to tread carefully as it was a prize puzzle and I’ll be sent to the naughty corner with no cake if I overstep the mark before the full review gets published.

    2. I usually try and solve anagrams in my head (it often takes a very long time) but if I do have to resort to writing them down I write them in 2 rows in alphabetical order – vowels at the top and consonants at the bottom. Goodness knows how I ever started doing that but I always have – I think maybe it’s what my mother did. Thoroughly enjoyed this puzzle – thanks to CL and MrK – loved the naughty cat photo.

  18. It put up a good fight, but I got there in the end. Like one other comment above, I have never heard of pants = rubbish, and didn’t find it in the thesaurus either? Guess it is a new use of the word. It is so annoying when you have 3 letters of a 5 letter word and still can’t come up with the answer. Of course I ran the alphabet, and pants did work, but I didn’t put it in until I read the hint as I was sure it couldn’t be right. Silly me. Thanks to setter and Mr. K.

    1. We’ve had this a couple of times lately, must have been when you were swanning yourself on that cruise! I remembered it but didn’t like it any better today. How is it used? “That’s a load of pants” doesn’t sound right.

      1. Since pants are considered somewhat unsavoury – ‘That’s just pants’ as in something you don’t want to see or experience, rubbish
        ‘What a load of …’ would be a different word :smile:

    2. Hi, Lizzie. I feel like we’ve seen pants a few times recently as an anagram indicator, but I’m not sure that I can trust my memory. I’ve added a link in the hint to the entry in Collins dictionary that explains this Britishism.

      1. Pants = rubbish has been around for a few decades, but I always assumed it hailed from your side of the pond. Apparently not!

        1. Hi, Jose. In the US, pants (as a noun) always means trousers. I’m sure that I learned the rubbish interpretation in the UK.

  19. Pretty straightforward **/*** 😃 Favourites 1a & 11a Thanks to Mr K and to the Setter 🤗 I thought that it was an interesting comment that in Crossword land we Sassenachs spell Ian without the extra “I” that is normal for Scotsmen. Well done in the 🏉🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿🏆

  20. Very pleasant and relatively mild one today. I was hoping for an illustration for 25a, because I am juvenile at heart. I liked 13d and 19a the best. 1d was a clever clue, but unfortunately not solvable without checkers–too many alternatives, as has been mentioned above. The Toughie is about the same level of difficuly as this back pager today, for anyone who’s interested..

    1. The caption suggested that it was a romantic image of a soldier just back from the war greeting his girlfriend, but I see what you mean.

  21. Thoroughly enjoyed! Thanks Mr. K for pointing out 14a as the prize-winning clue, I did it first and liked it. North was solved readily, south took a lot more thought.
    I thought 3d was very slick, so was 13d. I was slow to get 18d, silly really, as I had The Merrymen blaring on the CD player. Thick.
    Thanks to CL (?) great fun, and to Mr. K for his review and pics, 21a and 5d in particular.

  22. No problem here with either 11 or 16d – the latter probably down to the fact that I used to own a Blue-16d Afghan Hound.
    Last to fall here were 24a & 13d and my top two comprised 3&7d.

    Thanks to Mr Ed and to Mr K for the review. What a cute pic at 14a.

    1. That is a magnificent creature but what a lot of work it must have been!

      Talking about the hound!

  23. A decent challenge today, though I totally needed the hint for 1d. I was nowhere near getting that today, despite needing only two letters !

    Thanks to setter and to Mr K. **.5, ***.

  24. Enjoyable apart the SW corner which I thought was clumsy.
    One of those puzzles where you need to find the definition and ignore the confusing words surrounding it.
    Eventually managed to parse all the clues once I had the answer.
    Thx to all

  25. That was quite a challenge for me. I took a while to really get under way and then the 11d anagram resisted my efforts. However, I got there…eventually!
    Favourite clue was 26a.
    Thanks to CL, and to MrK for the review and pix.

  26. Top half in smoothly, lower half more resistant.
    Came together thanks to cracking the long clues early on.
    Thanks to setter (CL?) & Mr K for review

  27. I was doing really well on this then ground to a halt for the last few clues. Never heard of 16d, didn’t think of 1d, and couldn’t do 7d even with the clue. Particularly shameful as Old Macdonald was my children’s favourite song and we used to sing it every night for about two years.

  28. Thoroughly enjoyable solve and our tentative guess at the setter also proved to be correct.
    Thanks CL and Mr K.

  29. Anagrams … I always used to print out the puzzles … but now I do them on-line … no pen, no paper.

    It would be nice if the Telegraph could introduce the “Anagram Helper” as in The Guardian.

    1. The iPad and Saint Sharons refusal to fetch paper and pen for me led to my solving without resource to pen and paper. It gets easier with practice. They either jumpoutatcha or you wait for checkers and rely upon the definition. Easy easy for those who dare.

  30. I enjoyed this, around **1/2/***

    I’m surprised that no one has commented on the price of the Stinking Bishop in the illustration to 5d. Has cheese really crossed the £20/lb mark? Must be down South – I can’t see it selling well ‘oop ‘north – although it is delicious.

      1. I’d already translated it into £/lbs for any traditionalists – not that I’d expect any here…

  31. I have been a long time lurker in Ontario. I loved this gentler crossword, especially 14ac and 16 d. A huge thank you to Big Dave and all the bloggers for this site, which has increased my solving skills immensely.

    1. Welcome to the blog, catwhit.
      Now that you’ve de-lurked I hope that you’ll become one of our regular commenters.

    2. Welcome from me as well, and thanks for sharing your experience with the puzzle. As Gazza says, we hope that you keep commenting.

  32. Thanks to Chris Lancaster and to Mr Kitty for the review and hints. I enjoyed this one very much, I loved the fact that it was a bit offbeat. Very entertaining. Last in was 16d. Favourite was 7d, which made me laugh. I only write the anagram fodder in a circle if I can’t do it in my head. By taking Miffypops suggestion of not writing it down, I find that my anagram solving has improved. Thanks MP. Puzzle was 2*/3* for me.

  33. As Kath, I had a problem with 1d.
    Wrote “mean” as I thought it was a kind of all in one lurker with the point being the midpoint which I happily found in the middle of the last two words. Ouch! My head hurts.
    But when solving 9a I realised my error.
    Two lurkers in a row is highly improbable.
    And a third one was to be found later on.
    So quite a lurker laden crossword but very enjoyable.
    Thanks to Mr Ed and to Mr K.

  34. I would have commented yesterday but I fell asleep before I finished it. I have now. I wonder why some posts get narrower and narrower ending up one letter wide? But that’s bye the bye. Good crossword for a Tuesday. Favourite 16d a word in fairly common usage I’d have thought, I got 25a straight away too. Well done CL and Mr K.

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