DT 29200 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
View closed comments 

DT 29200

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 29200

Hints and tips by Mr K

+ - + - + - + - + - + - + - +

BD Rating  -  Difficulty ** Enjoyment ****

Hello, everyone.  I've just had the unusual experience of having the clocks go back two Saturdays in a row.  Perhaps that's why I've been feeling a bit out of it lately.  However, I am pretty sure that today has brought us a fine puzzle.  I found that the grid filled smoothly, with a few answers awaiting parsing at the end after being obtained from checkers and identifying the definition in the clue.  It turned out that those last answers came from some original and amusing wordplay that earned a 4* enjoyment rating from me. 

In the hints below most indicators are italicized, and underlining identifies precise definitions and cryptic definitions.  Clicking on 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.  Please leave a comment telling us how you got on.



9a    Diving equipment found in southern republic (5)
SCUBA:  Follow the single letter for southern with a republic in the Caribbean

10a   Appear so excited about love in TV drama (4,5)
SOAP OPERA:  An anagram (excited) of APPEAR SO containing (about) the letter resembling a love score in tennis

11a   Tree to come down in Californian city (7)
OAKLAND:  Put together the tree that makes acorns and "come down" as an aircraft does

12a   Weapon to pass over French island (7)
MISSILE:  To pass over or omit is followed by the French word for island 

13a   Former partner works to return bonus (5)
EXTRA:  The usual former partner with the reversal (… to return) of some works made using paint, for example

14a   Standing  wave? (9)
PERMANENT:  A double definition.  Standing or enduring, and a treatment that makes waves in hair

16a   Polonaise in G finishing brilliantly (6,9)
FRENCH POLISHING:  A reverse foreign language clue.  We sometimes see in wordplay constructions like "German approval" indicating the letter combination JA.  Here we want a (6,6) phrase in that vein that describes the foreign word POLONAISE.  Follow that phrase with IN and G from the clue to get the complete answer

19a   Cheapskate with talent for being wretched (9)
MISERABLE:  Put together a cheapskate and talented or with talent

21a   Match  not serious (5)
LIGHT:  A double definition.  A match that ignites stuff

23a   Knight, limber, might be more agile (7)
NIMBLER:  The chess symbol for knight with an anagram (… might be) of LIMBER.  The amazing Molly Tuttle has some very agile fingers…


25a   Agreement achieved with three tens, minus tips (7)
ENTENTE:  Remove the outer letters (…, minus tips) from the fusion of three copies of TEN

27a   Tea with fool we prepared in sad story (4,2,3)
TALE OF WOE:  An anagram (prepared) of TEA FOOL WE 

28a   Obvious poverty traps (5)
OVERT:  The second word in the clue hides (traps) the answer 



1d    Ducks circling small lake in city (4)
OSLO:  The letter that looks like the score corresponding to a duck in cricket is placed on either side of the clothing abbreviation for small and the map abbreviation for lake 

2d    This might go down well! (6)
BUCKET:  …and return full of water 

3d    Island commander packing angry wound (10)
MADAGASCAR:  A military commander in the Ottoman empire sandwiched between (packing) a synonym of angry and a wound or the mark left by one 

4d    Exhausted and exploited at university (4,2)
USED UP:  Exploited or employed with the usual short word meaning at university 

5d    Something soothing said in royal residence (8)
BALMORAL:  Link together something comforting or soothing and an adjective meaning said or spoken

6d    No American has common sense (4)
NOUS:  NO from the clue and an abbreviation for American. 

7d    Disease in fruit announced twice (8)
BERIBERI:  Repeated homophones (announced twice) of a type of fruit 

8d    Drunk after drink is unassailable (10)
WATERTIGHT:  Drunk or inebriated comes after the plainest drink

13d   Fat fee mine when dressed as woman (10)
EFFEMINATE:  An anagram (when dressed, as in prepared) of FAT FEE MINE

15d   Obtain soul renewed with this? (10)
ABSOLUTION:  An anagram (renewed) of OBTAIN SOUL.  The wordplay is embedded in a definition formed by the entire clue, making this a semi-all-in-one clue 

17d   Complete costume for classical musicians (8)
ENSEMBLE:  A double definition.  Both are collections of things that go together 

18d   Town merry-go-round? (3-5)
PUB-CRAWL:  A cryptic definition of the process of going around a town making stops to get merry 

20d   Team in the Spanish square (6)
ELEVEN:  A Spanish word for the is followed by square or settled 

22d   Butcher's  bird (6)
GANDER:  Another double definition.  Butcher's is used here in its Cockney rhyming slang sense

24d   Spoils from Waterloo taken (4)
LOOT:  The answer is hiding as part of (from) the remainder of the clue 

26d   Ezra losing heart, Eliot worries (4)
EATS:  Stick together the outer letters (… losing heart) of EzrA and the initials of the Eliot who wrote a fine book about felines 


Thanks to today’s setter for a fun solve.  Today I liked 14a, 16a, 25a, 28a, 4d, 8d, 15d, 18d, and 22d.  If I had to pick a favourite it would be one of 16a, 25a, or 18d.  Which clues did you like best?


The Quick Crossword pun:  PURR + SEVERE = PERSEVERE

59 comments on “DT 29200

  1. I had 80% of this done in no time whatsoever but the last few (mostly the parsing of 3d and 14a) took a little while to tease out.
    I thought 22d rather colloquial and the anagram fodder in 23a very similar to the definition but other than those I really enjoyed it.
    Top of the podium for me was 5d, closely followed by 16a and 18d. 2*/3.5*
    Didn’t 25a appear yesterday by the way?
    Many thanks to the setter and Mr K for their excellent works.

    1. Yes, though yesterday’s 25a was part of a longer phrase (involving a fruit drink that needs diluting).

    2. Hi, Stephen. I once looked at the statistics of answers being repeated on consecutive days (or in the back pager and the Toughie on the same day). The rate is actually slightly lower than one would expect for answers selected from the language at random, because the editor sometimes intervenes to prevent it. Purely by chance we expect on average one answer repeated every week and about eight repeated in any three week interval (the analysis is here).

  2. That was great. NE corner last to yield. A couple of nit-picking quibbles – the 13a works synonym seems a bit broad and in 3d surely it’s the angry wound packing the commander rather than vice versa. Stand-out Fav was 16a with 1d running up. Thank you Mysteron and MrK.

      1. Slightly more appropriate if you say pack ‘out’ but IMHO the commander is packed (wrapped/boxed) by angry wound. 😏

    1. Hi, Angellov. When parsing 3d, I decided that a phrase like “the people packing the room” justified it.

        1. Sorry Angellov, I’m confused. I thought that you were objecting to “A packing B” being used to indicate “A inside B”. Since, for example, people packing a room are inside the room, I don’t see a problem with that construction and with the clue as written. What am I misunderstanding?

          1. I think ‘packing’ can mean either filling or holding, that’s the ambiguity. Similarly ‘following’;
            ABC the C follows (comes after) AB, but A also follows (is at the back of, behind or to the left of) BC, so B follows both A and C in a sense
            ‘Language is not an exact science’, as Mr Watts frequently told me at the Howard Academy

            1. Well done LR! You’ve highlighted, in one comment, 2 ambiguous (certainly to me) constructions that have been bothering me for years – especially when I’ve tried to explain them to my goddaughter! As you say, in cryptic clues “following” can mean behind/tailing/dogging but also in front, as in following-on/later/after (in time or order/sequence). I had a friend years ago who often liked to say when departing, especially after a drink or two: “Follow me, I’m right behind you”.

              Another anomaly concerns insertions/containers, which are similar constructs but have a subtle difference. Why do some lists explaining “clue types” describe insertions but don’t mention containers and others describe containers but don’t mention insertions?

              1. Indeed. Good luck explaining cryptics Jose – most people I know just think I’m in a wibbly-wobbly world of my own, so nice to know I’ve got company :smile:

              2. I’m having a hard time accepting that following (and for consistency before and after) can be used both ways like that. Would “Drink after drunk is unassailable” be an equally acceptable way to clue 8d? (ignoring the nonsense surface of course). Could a setter really get away with using “I before E” to clue EI in an answer?

                I looked in my database for clues where A following B is used to clue AB, but gave up searching after the first 200 examples all had it clueing BA. Can somebody provide examples of newspaper clues that use it to clue AB?

                1. It’s the logic we were debating, not the convention
                  ‘How dare you fart before my wife!’
                  ‘Sorry, I didn’t realise it was her turn’
                  Not necessarily related, but funny

                2. Mr K. Yes, of course your database search will show that result – because that is the usual convention – but there are exceptions. I’ll post it next time I encounter one. But we are talking here about the reasonable logic used by everyday members of the public who like to do cryptic crosswords regularly but aren’t experts and don’t necessarily know all the conventions/nuances of clue-setting (and that will encompass a huge majority of solvers).

                  Clue answers are all just linear sequences of letters/words. These letters/words can precede or succeed each other in the answer, depending on the word-play. There is an ambiguity, with some solvers I know, regarding follow/following.

                  With 8d for instance, my goddaughter logically maintains that both the constructs would be correct (ignore the surfaces):

                  Drunk following (later in the sequence) drink = watertight.
                  Drink following (behind, tailing) drunk = watertight.

                  She’s right, isn’t she?

                  1. PS. This ambiguity only applies to follow/following, not to “after” or “before”. I before E wouldn’t work (obviously) for EI, but doesn’t I following E = EI? Purely logically, I mean – I probably wouldn’t expect a setter to use it (maybe in a Toughie?).

  3. What a brilliant and enjoyable puzzle. Not too difficult but beautifully clued. I thought 16a was the outstanding clue of the day from several worthy contenders.

    Thanks to both Misters involved in today’s production.

  4. 1.5*/5*. This was a light delight with a brevity of cluing which makes RayT’s seem verbose. I absolutely loved it.

    My podium is overcrowded, comprising 16a, 25a, 6d, 18d & 22d but many more came into consideration.

    Many thanks to Mr or Ms Ron, please step up and claim ownership of this masterpiece. Many thanks too to Mr K.

  5. Agree on a 2*/4*, an enjoyable puzzle. A couple of good charades (I think that’s what they are called) in 5D and 8D and nice to see the preAristotelian word (from the Iliad) popping up in 6D.
    I may have misread, but the 4th word in 17D looks redundant. Lot of fun – now it’s back to the T20 cricket..
    Many thanks Mr K some nice pictures, especially 10A

    1. Hi, Chris. 17d would certainly work without “classical”, but since not all groups of musicians would be described by the answer I felt that it was OK to include it to introduce symmetry into the wordplay. Glad that you liked the pics.

  6. I loved this! Not too difficult, and very interesting clueing. It’s so difficult to choose a favourite but it’ll have to be 16a – as an aspiring pianist I was trying to be too clever. Also 15d and 22d. So much to smile about. Thank you very much.

  7. I’m currently enjoying a week off work and being able to do the crossword over a relaxed morning coffee instead of as an accompaniment to an often hurried lunch break.
    I found today’s puzzle much more fun than yesterday’s, with no irritating (if you don’t know it) GK requirement.
    15d gets a mention in dispatches, but 16a was my standout favourite clue today.
    Thanks to Mr K and the setter for the entertainment. 2*/4* from me.
    My next task is to try my hand at making green tomato chutney with what remains of this year’s crop from Mrs O.

  8. Today all I can do is agree with the previous sentiments. I really enjoyed that, finished in **/*** time, with 18d my last in.

    COTD has to be 25a, which I think is quite brilliant.

    Many thanks to the setter and Mr.K.

  9. A very good example of a Tuesday cranial workout completed at a gallop 2.5*/3.5*.
    Candidates for favourite – 14a, 3d, and 18d – and the winner is 3d.
    Thanks to the setter and Mr K.

  10. Many thanks to Mr. K for the parsing of 16a – have never knowingly come across that explanation of that solution before.
    And of course thanks to the setter for a thoroughly enjoyable puzzle.

  11. Nice easy and amusing crossword ( though I must confess to putting the wrong bird in 22d, because it fitted 😳) **/*** Favourites 3 & 5d 😃 Thanks as always to Mr K and to the Setter

      1. I had the wrong bird too for a while and tried unsuccessfully to make a connection with “butcher” before the penny finally dropped. Not entirely related, but a butcher bird is also the name for a shrike. Thanks to setter and Mr. K for the jaunty hints.

      1. I also had the wrong bird, being convinced that it was a Butcher Bird…..but it is not!

  12. Really enjoyed this after yesterday, no obscure general knowledge needed.
    Lots of fine clues, the work of CL?
    A couple of parsings to check.
    Thanks Mr.K and Mr. Ron

  13. What a delightful puzzle – even though I did have a fight to parse the clever 16a.
    First place definitely goes to 18d with 16a plus 15&20d joining it on the podium.

    Thanks to our setter (please pop in) and to Mr K, who may or may not know what time it is! That young lady can certainly play the guitar.

  14. I can’t say I found this one easy. Quite a few clues took a bit of working out. 18d and 23d were favourites. Many thanks setter and Mr Kitty.

  15. Lovely puzzle with favourites of 16 across. Thanks to Mr K , only for once I did not need your assistance but I love to read the blog,
    And am happy to see the bloggers have recovered from Saturday’s rugby. Thank you to the setter.

  16. I agree that it was a very neat, satisfying puzzle. I thought the clue for 25a very clever, though it is a word that keeps cropping up. 22d made me laugh, very funny. Thank you all.

  17. I found this a very mild puzzle, the gentlest back-pager I’ve seen in many a while, taking up only half my regular Tuesday bus trip (of undisclosed duration). But I complaineth not, the clues were technically first class and it was enjoyable enough while it lasted. Favs:16a, 25a, 18d. 1* / 2.5*

  18. is the first half of the Quickie pun in honour of Mr K? The setter presumably knew it would be published on a Tuesday.

    And I see another feline reference has crept into the explanation of 26d!

  19. Wotta delight, a treat from start to finish. I agree with RD, the brevity is impressive.
    I thought 16a, 25a and 15d stood out, but in this gem, how can a girl choose a fave?
    Thanks to setter, oh please, let us know who you are, and to Mr. K, the pic at 10a is priceless.

  20. I’m late on parade today and can only agree that it was an entertaining and enjoyable puzzle (**/****). Favorite clues were 3d with th synonym for commander packed in between those for angry and wound and 16a– very sly. Thanks to Mr K for the hints and cat picture and to the setter.

  21. **/****. Fairly straightforward but very enjoyable. Favourite was 25a. Thanks to the setter and Mr K.

  22. I think my completion time for this one is a record for me, but though it was finished quickly I really enjoyed it.

    22d was my last one in and I also toyed with the wrong bird but couldn’t parse it, then the penny dropped with a loud clang.

    Many thanks to the setter and Mr. K

  23. Best puzzle in a long time **/****. Excellent clueing, plenty to raise a smile and in agreement with others about no incredibly obscure general knowledge. The good work of the setter and Mr K making it a delight. Thank you both.

  24. Prompted by RD’s comment above we did a clue word count and yes it does comply with RayT’s self-imposed limit of no more than eight words per clue. Well spotted.
    A most enjoyable solve with 16a taking top honours for us.
    Thanks Mr Ron and Mr K.

  25. After an awkward miserable day this puzzle was an utter delight to solve, funny, interesting & at just the right level to dissolve most of my angst.
    2*/4.5* favs 18ac & a Royal 5d
    Many thanks to our setter & to MrK for his review

  26. Note to Setter: Brilliant puzzle today, thank you! Completed totally unaided and not even a peek at the hints until afterwards. Definitely **** enjoyment level for me today as this rarely happens. Thanks also to Mr K as I did enjoy looking at the pictures and was amused that lots of us put in the wrong bird at first for 22d, until I realized the setter was not talking about the meat and chops man. Probably a bit too easy for the brighter folks, but I would love more like this one.

  27. Looks like I’m having (probably) the last word again thanks to the time zone I’m in. What stood out for me was the continuation of Californian geography and borrowed French terms from DT29199. Anaheim in yesterday’s re the Disney site and just ‘entente’ today whereas it was ‘entente cordiale’ in DT29199. Another very enjoyable solve and many candidates for favourites. 15a jumped out immediately. Was that a message to us all?🤔16a and also 18d were standouts. Thanks to the setter and Mr K for adding the feline dimension🦇

Comments are closed.