DT 29186 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 29186 (Hints)

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 29186 (Hints)

The Saturday Crossword Club

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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    Water bird, one that’s in decline (6)
Two definitions

4a    Gusher’s output providing energy — strong power source (8)
E(nergy) and the musical notation for strong or loud followed by a power source

9a    American coming to the forefront of most unusual book (6)
Start with a word meaning most unusual and move the A(merican) to the front

13a / 17a    Enjoy an innings of torment after being dismissed very quickly (4,1,3,3,2,4)
This is made up from a three-word phrase meaning to enjoy a cricket innings, OF from the clue and a place of torment – the latter two preceded by a cricketing adjective meaning dismissed

How else could I illustrate this answer than with one of the very best pop records ever made!

20a    Looks to the future with pacy attack (4-8)
An adjective meaning pacy followed by those footballers who make up the attack

24a    State of excitement that’s less half-hearted! (5)
Start with a word meaning less (ouch! said this pedant) and remove half of the middle letter (half-hearted)

29a    Roman soldiers, say, suffering fate of victims in Colosseum? (6)
The Latin abbreviation of say / for example is eaten by a carnivorous animal suffering the fate of (some) victims in the Colosseum

31a    Craftier character on radio (6)
Two definitions – the second one being a character in a long-running radio soap


1d    Cooked bird — I ate a mouthful (8)
An anagram (cooked) of BIRD I ATE

2d    A fluke perhaps in HQ of the Red Devils? (8)
Split as (4,4) this could be the home of the Red Devils, and I don’t mean that of an overrated football club

5d    Weapon the army endlessly redeployed in bloomer (12)
An anagram (redeployed) of THE with most of (endlessly) ARM(y) inside a bloomer

7d    One line of mathematicians with popular appeal (6)
I (one) and what could be a circle, ellipse, parabola or hyperbola – guess who did a Mathematics degree!

8d    Character in middle of manic state? (6)
The middle letter of [ma]N[ic] followed by a verb meaning to state

11d    Beating champion ice-hockey team? (3,2,3,4)
Find out how many players there are in an ice-hockey team and you are well on the way – by the way beating is a noun

16d    Escaped criminal, not English, holding women (5)
Start with a posh word for a criminal, drop its E{nglish) and inset W(omen)

22d    Miscellaneous collection of biblical characters (3,3)
Combine two biblical characters (one known for his patience and the other for the fate that befell his wife)

27d    River to cause erosion (4)
We end as we began with a double definition

The Crossword Club is now open.

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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: penny+tench+eyrie=penitentiary

90 comments on “DT 29186 (Hints)

  1. Poor start to the day, could only improve! Digital edition included a zero score for last Saturday, and a Puzzles section with no puzzles! What was I to do all day? Had to content myself with watching England thrash the Aussies ( c’mon Ireland, next) by which time a reload corrected the Puzzle omission. Now a perfect day.

    1. Did you apply the update? I had the same problem, went back to ‘Editions’ and everything was fine. Except that the whole puzzle slows after about half way, as it has for a couple of weeks now. Comments to the DT digital team go unanswered and inactioned! Not sure if I’ll be able to submit for my prize, I couldn’t last week.

  2. A bit of a stinker really! I had to give up on the north-east corner as I couldn’t get a single clue to break it, but managed to complete the rest in **** time. a lot of effort for relatively little enjoyment (*), I’m sorry to say. Thank you to BD for enlightening my ignorance on the content of a mathematics degree and for several useful hints for parsing. Thanks to the setter. It was a noble effort and I’m sure some folk will enjoy this puzzle.

    1. I got the maths bit, but my BRB does not give ***** as an abbreviation of ***** section, so I thought that was a bit stretched.

  3. Was it just me, or have others found this one to be more Toughie-like? It certainly made me think a lot harder than recently, but I enjoyed the challenge. 22 down made me chuckle (I suppose Brian will hate it though) Love 13/17 across and 11 down too. Thanks to today’s setter and TSCC.

  4. Hells bells that was hard! Finished but only with the help of the hints for the top left corner.
    All a bit of a slog when they are this tricky. Not sure enjoyment is the right word but satisfying to see all the squares completed.
    And for the second week running iPad users cannot enter the contest as the software is still b.g…ed!
    Come on DT sort this out, you have known about this problem for weeks now.
    Thx to all

      1. Yes I know but it’s up to the DT to sort out their site. Can’t expect Apple to debug against every newspaper column in the world.

        1. No Brian; quite the opposite – you can’t expect the DT website to accommodate every faulty operating system (update) and/or device.
          There is standard code that works across all browsers and operating systems, the problems you are experiencing are down to your hardware and software, not the site; just Google it and you will see millions of results from frustrated users such as yourself

          1. I’m not sure if it is Apple’s operating system. I am still running on iOS 9.3.5, because my iPad’s sooooo old it can’t be updated.
            I had to wait for a Telegraph update to allow me to access the puzzles and I can not submit my entries.

      2. I found it harder than usual – exercised the brain more. Loved the Meatloaf video, all five minutes of it. I once had to sit through a Meatloaf concert with my son because my husband who bought the tickets was ill. That went on a long time too!

    1. Hi Brian ,
      Last Saturday , on sending in my entry , nothing seemed to happen as the submission prompt returned whereas the good luck acceptance was normal . However , as the solution today shows full marks , the entry must have been successful .

  5. A tough one.
    Turned off tv to avoid hearing rugby score but knew I would not succeed (older members will remember the Likely Lads episode). Oh well after reading the comments I now know 😊. Never mind I will not tell my wife – I may hint that England lost – just for fun.

    11D my favourite hint and favourite clue

    1. Just wait for the semi, it is likely to be true then. By golly that was not a rugby match, more a massacre of the Irish.

  6. Well, that woke me from my Saturday morning lethargy. Plenty of lateral thinking required and – yes, BD, I did check on the ice hockey team (with my fingers crossed!).
    Very much enjoyed the solve and awarded podium places to 10,20&24a plus 18&22d.

    Thanks to our setter and to BD for the club. Also, many happy returns to our much-missed Girl Tuesday – enjoy your special day.

  7. Quite hard to get into it but managed to cross the finish 🏁 line unhurt.
    Liked the construction in 10, 24 and 29a.
    Thought 18d was a bit weak.
    Thanks to the setter and to BD for the Saturday club.

  8. I agree, tough. I managed all but two without help, 7d and 15d, a bit too much GK needed for those two.

    Of course, all the other GK needed for this crosswrod was OK – because I knew it!

    Thanks to the setter and BD.

    1. My Kindle is fine except it was displaying last weeks solution instead of today’s puzzle. Can’t fathom the maths one. Altogether too difficult today, 4 left. Not particularly enjoyable.

  9. I despair. I have been a Telegraph Subscriber since 1990 and Saturday’s Crossword was always a tad easier than the rest of the week. I have had a brain scan: there are no holes or tumours, so it can’t be a medical reason why the recent offerings of setters leave me so lacking in pleasure. I chanced on Big Dave a while back and try not to avail myself of answers which I might normally expect to solve. Today I am finding the puzzle too clever by half. As I don’t watch cricket or know/enjoy half of the terms which setters are incorporating I am stumped. I do know the meaning of that one.

  10. I as a scientific pedant would like to say that the power source at 4ac is at present just a figment of someone’s fertile imagination.
    Hopefully one day ….but not yet!

  11. I found that difficult but/and enjoyable – I found the quickie quite difficult too – must be me!
    As I’m always saying I love a crossword with anything that makes me laugh and there were several answers that did that today.
    5d took a long time – I was trying to make it a complete anagram instead of a partial one – not saying any more for fear of the naughty corner.
    Strictly speaking 12a is different to spots but it probably doesn’t matter in a crossword.
    I didn’t know 19d but it wasn’t too tricky to work it out and look it up.
    Lots of good clues clues – 10 and 13/17a and 2 and 11d (once I’d looked up how many were in an ice-hockey team. My favourite was 29a.
    Thanks to the setter and to BD.

  12. Read hint from BD very carefully. Note he is pedantic about “less”. And it is the middle of that word (pedants hate it being used for less) that is halved. I can’t say more Kath as BD is watching.

    1. Thank you – I sort of know exactly what I’m after but am still missing it. I know that BD (and others too) are watching.
      I’m beginning to think that it’s what the middle bit looks like rather than any numerical value – oh dear, oh dear, oh dear!

      1. The middle letter of the answer if doubled (imagine using a mirror) will produce another letter.

        1. Thanks Heno – I suspect a mirror might just complicate things but I’ve pretty much got there now – not sure I like it.

  13. As everyone else has said, this was tough, but at least I could reverse parse the clues once I’d guessed an answer!! 😂

  14. Far too hard for me today. Didn’t enjoy what I did much either.
    Just not my day.

    Thanks to Big Dave and the setter.

  15. Yup that was a tough one, but not as bad as a hard toughie.
    As it was a trudge for me I cannot score that too highly either.
    Thanks to setter & BD for a comprehensive review & guidance.

  16. Thanks to the setter and to Big Dave for the hints. Wow, that was tough. Needed the hints for 7&8d and electronic help for 10a. Favourite was 24a. Was 4*/3* for me.

  17. After a day of picking it up and putting it down finally completed, this one is firmly in my stinker list, even getting the longer clues was no help. Thank goodness for the BRB and thesaurus.
    Thanks to setter and BD

  18. With only 8 answers penned in, I am giving this a pass today. Much too hard, and too much to do. Didn’t enjoy this at all.

  19. PAX! Yes, I’m shouting. Way beyond my capabilities, my tiny brain didn’t understand half of it. Of the ones I did solve, 22d was my fave. I’m off to do more productive things.

  20. Having managed three days so far this week without needing to come here for help, I really. struggled with today’s puzzle but managed to complete it. Still can’t submit from the app so emailed the DT Digital Services team.

    Many thanks to BD and the setter. This was the hardest one for many a week. I found 24a exceptionally hard and guessed in the end. Took some time to work out my answer was correct so, in hindsight, BD’s hint is accurate.

  21. Waking up to a Toughie and hints more cryptic than the clues so no respite there, Parliament a complete mess and the then the wife dumps you in Basingstoke while she does things wives do for over half a day you know you are having a bad day

  22. Found this really tough – needed lots of BD’s clues to complete – again this week I am unable to submit – what’s going on? Thanks to BD for he hints.

  23. As others before me have intimated, this was something of a struggle to complete with one or two yet to be fully parsed. I did like 2d, but overall the effort taken to finish it did not equate to much enjoyment; satisfaction at doing it, yes, but not a lot of fun I’m afraid.

    However, appreciating the skill in compiling these puzzles, I still offer my thanks to our setter for the considerable challenge and to BD for hints.

  24. I was completely out of sync with today’s challenge and in fact found little pleasure in the solving of it. The South eventually went in after much aggro but the North was a different kettle of fish and I needed much assistance. Too many quibbles to list individual clues and only near Fav was the simple 28a. Thank you to the harsh setter and BD.

  25. Slow on parade today due to the missing puzzles on the iPad edition this morning , watching the rugby then out to lunch .
    My wife and I were pleasantly surprised to see an update of the DT with puzzles on return . I eventually finished the cryptic crossword much later than my wife doing the other crossword , codeword and sudoku , much to her amusement .
    Pleased to finish but…….

  26. Based on my solving time, this certainly fell into DT Toughie territory. I’m not sure this type of puzzle is correctly pitched for the DT Saturday slot as I’d expect to solve the Times’ Saturday puzzle in roughly the same time as this took me, but that is merely a subjective observation.

    This was enjoyable enough, but I too, highly recommend the excellent NTSPP which would’ve made much more sense to occupy the DT Saturday slot.

    Thanks to BD and setter 4*/3*

  27. Well beyond me today.evenwith your help I could not complete.Glad that I was not alone.Nevertheless thank you.

  28. A very difficult puzzle which was only finished thanks to having to use the hints. Electronic aids useful too. Liked 20a and 28a and 2d. Even so too much of a struggle to provide enjoyment. Thanks to setter and BD for the hints.

  29. Very late on parade today, having gone out immediately after watching the excellent rugby.

    I thought this was very tough and not much fun. I’ll take a breather now and tackle the NTSPP later.

    Thanks to the setter and to BD.

  30. Satisfaction? Yes, I completed it with the only assistance being the Thesaurus in double my normal Saturday time. Enjoyment? No, sorry. Anyway, thanks to all involved.

  31. Luckily, I was far to busy to look at this until tonight.
    I spent half an hour, filled about a quarter of the grid, and went to the hints, I gave up with seven unsolved.
    The funniest part is I must have been drunk a few weeks ago to think I volunteered to help with the hints next year…I should co-co…
    I usually get further with the Toughie.
    Thanks BD for the hints, some of which I didn’t understand, and the setter.

    1. Think of a synonym for most unusual and transpose the first two letters. The answer is not the sort of book that has pages but is part of a process. Am I the only person who can’t get 10a? I have an answer for 8d but not sure if correct as gives me an unlikely last letter for 10a.

      1. As with Gill, 9a puzzled me considerably. (All other answers are in place!) The hint from Weekend Wanda has not helped at all!

        1. Welcome to the blog, JMG.
          BD has given a good hint for 9a (book can be a verb as well as a noun!).

  32. 8d isn’t very complicated and BD has done a hint for it so I’m going to leave it alone!
    10a – I suppose the definition is ‘not this’ – in other words a sports official would not be appropriately dressed if he was like this. You need the A from the clue and the abbreviation for a sports official inside (wearing) some footwear that WOULD be appropriate. Hmmm – not sure how helpful this is?!
    Good luck!

  33. In 35 years, I don’t remember struggling quite like this. But, being tenacious, I just completed it, albeit with a couple of guesses which seem correct. Before this, I thought Le Mans was the only 24 hour challenge ! *****/*. Has to be 5 stars for difficulty.

  34. Extraordinarily difficult. Managed – after two days, to complete it without hints. But sometimes one wonders if it’s worth martyring oneself. And, interestingly, the style and complexity of some of the clues defeated electronic help.

    1. The martyrdom is justified only by the satisfaction of overcoming such a fiendish puzzle. That’s all. As you’ll see immediately above, I suffered a Le Mans, but got there in the end.

  35. It’s Monday afternoon and I think I will have to give up on this one. Feeling particularly dim as I can’t even understand a lot of BD’s hints.

    1. I’m a 35 year man, this was among the toughest I’ve come across. A good feeling to complete it, but a huge effort went in.

  36. Very tricky and I needed lots of hints and electronic help but I liked the creativity of many of the clues and had many a d’oh moment once I’d got them. I thought 24a was particularly clever.

  37. Better late than never!
    Like most I found it difficult after several clues lead me astray- eg 9a
    Even BD found it tricky I believe, without him I wouldn’t have finished -thanks as usual. Even 3d was my last one…Doh.
    Needed the ‘blodger’ a few times (that’s the white stuff in a stick) Started well in SW corner…
    May be next week will be less of a challenge.

  38. I did put a comment but it didn’t load up -pity…very difficult but I did finish thanks to BD,and sent it in.
    As often l was last in!

  39. The Saturday crossword is supposed to stretch the mind but give one a feel good factor once completed. This week just left me feeling miserable!

  40. Didn’t really enjoy that, eventually understood some of the hints, then wouldn’t allow me to submit it!! Android!!

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