DT 29223 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 29223

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 29223

Hints and tips by Kath

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BD Rating — Difficulty **Enjoyment ***/****

Hello everyone. Brrrr – it’s nippy in Oxford this morning! No, it’s not Thursday but Miffypops is busy today so I’m doing the hints instead of him. I thought this was a very enjoyable and fairly straightforward way to start the crossword week with no real problems – all very nice short clues and only a couple of anagrams.

In the hints the definitions are underlined and the answers are hidden under the ANSWER buttons so only do that if you need to see one.

Please leave a comment telling us how you got on today.


1a        Spiv with detailed plan, lout recalled (4,3)
WIDE BOY — the one letter abbreviation for W[ith] and then a plan or a thought without its last letter (detailed) – the second word is a reversal (recalled) of a synonym of lout or oaf

5a        Publisher entertained by very French companies (7)
TROUPES — the three letter abbreviation of a publisher of educational books goes inside (entertained by) the French word for very

9a        Further bit player (5)
EXTRA — a double definition

10a       Head of family, perhaps, could make protest about curtailed hearing (9)
 MATRIARCH — a verb to protest or demonstrate  contains (about) four of a five letter synonym for a hearing or a lawsuit

Greenberg, Mabel; The Matriarch; Birmingham Museums Trust; http://www.artuk.org/artworks/the-matriarch-34007

11a       Yellow River associated with unknown disease (10)
CHICKENPOX — another word for yellow or cowardly is followed by a two letter Italian river and then one of the letters used to mean unknown in maths

12a       Oscar after Henry’s ring (4)
 HALO — the abbreviation for the name Henry is followed by the letter which is represented by ‘Oscar’ in the phonetic alphabet

14a       Coming from the sea, unexpectedly (3,2,3,4)
OUT OF THE BLUE — an expression which is used to mean unexpectedly could sound like someone emerging from the water – hmmm – I thought this would be difficult to hint properly

18a       Tense, working to seal one fault (12)
IMPERFECTION — a grammatical tense and a little short word meaning working or in operation contain (to seal) the letter that looks like a ‘one’

21a       Attendance good at start of event (4)
GATE — the abbreviation for G[ood], and the AT from the clue are followed by the first letter (start) of E[vent]

22a       Writing about it, girl becomes unpredictable (3-3-4)
HIT-AND-MISS — a synonym of writing or script contains (about) the IT from the clue and then another word for a girl or unmarried woman

25a       Watch first batsman? Quite something (3-6)
EYE-OPENER — a verb to watch or observe is followed by what people who know what they’re talking about call the first batsman in a game of cricket

26a       Tree, thinner on top having been pollarded (5)
ALDER — another way of saying ‘thinner on top’ or having less hair without its first letter (having been pollarded)

27a       Hold back substitute (7)
RESERVE — a double definition

28a       Ladies’ group — function we run for a man on his own, perhaps (7)
WIDOWER — the two letter abbreviation for a women’s group known for their cakes and jam making (I’m not even sure if it still exists), is followed by a function or party, the WE from the clue and, finally, the ‘crickety’ abbreviation for R[un]



1d        Young woman crossing river shows strain (6)
WRENCH — a slightly derogatory word for a young woman contains (crossing) the one letter abbreviation for R[iver]

2d        Arrest Greek character during row (6)
DETAIN — the seventh letter of the Greek alphabet (character) goes inside (during) a row, as in lots of noise rather than a quarrel

3d        British want to protect the blighter (10)
BLACKGUARD — the one letter abbreviation for B[ritish] is followed by a want or absence and then finish off with a synonym of protect or keep watch

4d        Country’s desire to have Middle East involved (5)
YEMEN — a synonym of desire or longing contains (involved) the abbreviation for M[iddle] E[ast]

5d        Fit to bust, tart somehow gets revenge (3,3,3)
TIT FOR TAT — an anagram (bust) of FIT TO is followed by another anagram (somehow) of TART

6d        Fail to include old Cambridge seat of learning (4)
OMIT — the one letter abbreviation for O[ld] is followed by the three letter abbreviation for a university in Cambridge, Massachusetts. If there’s anyone who does cryptic crosswords who hasn’t ‘met’ this one before then it’s worth remembering – it comes up a lot.

7d        Easy to carry — piano or desk? (8)
PORTABLE — the abbreviation for ‘piano’ as a musical instruction and the OR from the clue are followed by a desk or a bureau

8d        Vessel more willingly boarded by companion (8)
SCHOONER — another way of saying ‘more willingly’ or would prefer contains (boarded by) a two letter abbreviation for C[ompanion] of H[onour]

13d      Used to agree with husband too (6-4)
SECOND-HAND — a synonym of agree or back, the one letter abbreviation for H[usband] and finally another synonym of too or as well as

15d      Duty of Bede, I suspect, in ordinary northern church (9)
OBEDIENCE — the one letter abbreviation for O[rdinary] and the abbreviation for N[orthern] and one of the two letter abbreviations for church contain an anagram (suspect) of BEDE I

16d      Man, humorist in play (4,4)
KING LEAR — a man (on a chess board) is followed by a 19thC writer, most famous for his limericks

17d      Very clean, unlike a leopard? (8)
SPOTLESS — I can’t really think of a good way of providing a hint for this – hopefully no-one will need one!

19d      Fungal growth, slight on endless sheep (6)
MILDEW — a synonym of slight or subtle is followed by (on) most of (endless) a female sheep

20d      One taking a lot of interest in ancient city, certain to be impressed (6)
USURER — this interest is financial – the usual crosswordland ‘ancient city’ contains (to be impressed) a synonym of certain or definite

23d      A quarrel about right marker (5)
ARROW — the A from the clue and a quarrel or tiff contain (about) the abbreviation for R[ight]

24d      Box blows over (4)
 SPAR — a reversal (over) of blows or hits

I particularly appreciated 5 and 7d. My favourite was either 11a or 17d.

Two Quickie puns today:-

The top row:- MISS + TICKLE = MYSTICAL

The bottom row:- SINGER + POOR = SINGAPORE

54 comments on “DT 29223

  1. Several very enjoyable clues 1A, 16D, 13D etc. A **\**** for me. Thanks Kath, it’s a beautiful day down here in Southend, quieter without the whole of the East End of London descending on us – as they seem to do in the Summer months.

  2. Going for a **/*** today, straightforward well clued start to the week and good fun.
    Liked the surface of 28a.
    No real favourite-. 17d amused

  3. Another good one . Will pick 11A as my COTD just ahead of a few others .

    First frost today on the banks of the Severn in South Wales but now glorious sunshine and a balmy 6C .

    Thanks Kath and well done to the Setter .

  4. Enjoyable start to the week, and yes Kath, the Cambridge/MIT thing is worth remembering. I noticed the absence of any lurkers today – I wonder how unusual that is? Anyway, thanks to all.

  5. A fairly straightforward (**) and enjoyable (***) Monday puzzle. A few clues in the NE held me up momentarily but then all fell into place. I liked 11a, 18a and 8d. It’s chilly near the Downs in south Oxfordshire too. Ideal weather for window cleaning. Thanks for the hints Kath and thanks to the setter.

  6. Comfortable start to the week, welcome after yesterday’s battle.
    Nicely clued and hinted, thanks Kath and Mr.Ron.

  7. 1.5*/3*. A light and pleasant puzzle for a Monday morning. 11a was my favourite.

    Many thanks to the setter and to Kath, nice to see you in the Monday slot.

  8. Pretty chilly here in mid-Bedfordshire too, with everything outside very frosty. Enjoying a week off paid work, today’s main job is to put up the Christmas lights up on the house. Frozen fingers are forecast (too fiddly with gloves on). I really should have done it in advance when the weather was warmer.
    In the meantime, today’s puzzle proved an enjoyable accompaniment to a mid-morning coffee.
    No real hold ups or stand out clues. 25a just edges it as favourite. 2*/3*
    Thanks to both setter and Kath.

  9. Adding to the weather updates, I’ll say that it is sunny but only three degrees here in Kent – Mr CS is carrying on valiantly with the revamp of part of the garden while I’m snug and warm indoors with the crosswords

    A nice Monday-ish crossword – our setter with the double puns seems to be a regular Monday fixture – unless of course some of the others have started doing two puns too

    Thanks to Kath and the setter

  10. A little more difficult for me than most as the NE corner held me up somewhat, couldn’t pars 1a untill finally getting 1d, so a 3*/4* from me. Thanks to Kath and setter.

  11. A gentle and pleasant start to the week. It’s a nice surprise to find Kath doing the blogging – thanks to her and our setter.
    I spent a little while wondering how I would have underlined 9a – should it be “further bit / player” or “further / bit player”?
    The clues I liked best were 11a and 22a.

    1. I would definitely say further/bit player. Player alone is not sufficient to identify the answer

  12. A very pleasant start to the work week with no need for use of the white space on my sheet of paper for completion at a fast gallop – **/****.
    Candidates for favourite – 22a (I liked the synonym for writing), 13d, and 17d – and the winner is 17d.
    Thanks to the setter and Kath.

  13. A very enjoyable start to the week. I was thrown by 1a for a while because I kept wanting to put in a different answer.My favourites of the day are 22a, 25a and 8d.

    Many thanks to the setter and to Kath.

    1. I was thrown for the opposite reason. Wanted to put in the right answer but could not parse the first word.

  14. Hello from a cold but sunny Cornwall. A nice start to the week . Many good clues but 28a my favorite Thanks to setter and all at Big Dave – Now I have a choice – make lace or do housework – No Contest!!!

  15. What a nice surprise to see Kath on a Monday, although it will doubtless throw me out of synch for the rest of the week!
    I rather enjoyed this one, particularly liked the apt use of ‘pollarded’ in 26a.
    Podium places went to 11a plus 5&17d.

    Thanks to our setter and to Kath for the well illustrated review.

  16. Another cracking start to the week with very little to scare us. Many, many great clues. It was crisp and sunny in North Cornwall earlier but clouding over now. Thanks to Kath and setter.

  17. .A pleasant and painless kick-off to the week which was welcome after a weekend of being completely out of sync with the setters. South fell to ahead of the North. Not being a chess player “man” in 16a seemed rather sweeping to me. I particularly liked the surfaces of 11a, 21a and 6d (that seat of learning always springs readily to mind as I worked for another organisation headquartered in that Cambridge). Thank you Mysteron and Kath.

  18. Still slogging away at this one but enjoyable just the same and I needed the distraction. Massive snow/ice/rain/back to snow again has hit our area. Alan was up at 4.30 to just snowblow tyre tracks to get him out of the driveway, the bottom is where the snow plows going by pile up, not complaining they clear the actual road to get to work :-) It was flipping cold over the weekend but because it is snowing it is warmer, a relative term as my fellow Canadians on here will tell you. There were 400+ accidents in Toronto. Huge 30 to 40 car crash near Kingston which is not far from us, sadly one death and many injured. Sorry Big Dave I am digressing again. I think might have to install an extra naughty step. One for miscreants who don’t obey the rules about clues and another for people like me who tend to wander off at a tangent!

    Back to the crossword, I suspect the fact that I got 1a straight away probably shows my age, for me it is a combination of Del Boy (Fools and Horses) and Flash Harry (St. Trinians though I didn’t see it when released, I’m not quite that old)!….. ooops digressing again…ok veering back, 5d was a bit of a giggle :-)

    1. I firmly believe in ‘it’s too cold for it to snow!’ So, when it does snow it must be warmer.

  19. I thought this was mild and unremarkable, favourite a toss up between 5 and 13d
    Many thanks to the setter and to Kath (I needed your help to fully understand 16d though the answer was obvious) for a somewhat, I suspect, easier review than normal.

  20. Although I know the expression, being of a certain age, I do wonder where 1a came from.
    Don’t worry about digressing Carolyn. I was Skyping with my daughter yesterday. She lives north of you, near Collingwood, and the ice rain they were experiencing sounded quite frightening.

    1. Thanks, yes though we are used to this every year it rarely comes in such large amounts of all different types in one go. Our eldest drove on the 401 yesterday and he said it was crazy the way people were driving and not adjusting for the conditions.
      I think the expression for 1a come from wheeler dealers during one of the World Wars…..perhaps because they kept things hidden under their coats? That’s just a guess.

  21. Agree with other commentators. Enjoyable light solve. Came unstuck with 3d as I was sure the answer was Blackbeard – one meaning of “to protect” being beard. I spell and pronounce the right answer with two Gs in the middle. Came to my senses when the first word of 14a had to be what it is. Favourites 5 22 and 25a and 17 and 20d. Thanks setter for the fun and Jath for enlightening me with the parsing of 1a. Note to self – never forget the abbreviation for “with”.

    1. The abbreviation for ‘with’ is one that I’ve only recently got used to remembering and, even though I thought I’d finally caught on and wouldn’t forget again, it jumped up and bit me today for far too long!

    2. On reading the clue I immediately thought of the answer but could not understand the “plan” bit, completely missed the “with” abbreviation. You’d think I’d have learned by now!

  22. 1.5/4. Enjoyable start to the week. Favourite was 17d although I thought there were a few others that were good. I generally like short clues and this puzzle was a great example. Thanks to the setter and Kath.

  23. Completed this early this morning. Not too much trouble although my last two in (11a and 3d) took longer than they should have done. All in all enjoyable.

    Many thanks to Kath (nice to see you in the Monday slot) and the setter.

  24. I really enjoyed this, but shot myself in the foot yet again. While solving 11a I said hello to our Italian river again, came up with the answer and promptly wrote in something else – yes, senility is setting in. This made the NE corner very difficult, but I eventually got it sorted.
    Fave was 1a, but many others could have qualified, a lovely puzzle.
    Thanks to our setter and to Kath for subbing for M’pops and giving us such a fun review.

    1. Oops I forgot to thank Kath! Sorry! and the setter. These days when I go shopping for groceries I still keep trying to think and walk at the same time and forget half of what I was going for and as we live a long way from the shops I feel like a right twit every time. I am trying to do better and also stop typing and thinking at the same time which is increasingly disastrous. Sorry Kath, thank you.

  25. Late in this today but enjoyable. NE proved the most elusive for me and 3d was a new word which was the last in. A good way to spend the darkest part of the year. Have had to factory reset my tablet so hope I recall my nickname correctly.

  26. Another nice start to the week 😃 **/**** I really enjoy Mondays, I am probably pushing my luck 😬 but I am going to give three favourites 11 & 26a and 3d. Thanks very much to Kath and to the Setter! Is it the same one every Monday 🤔

    1. You’ve definitely pushed your luck and picked the wrong day to have multiple favourites!
      I can see that the big stick is going to have to come out again so that I can wave it on appropriate occasions. Oh dear and :negative:

  27. Another deadly weekend in the south of France with enough rain to last us until next year. My thoughts are with all these people who spent the week cleaning up their houses only to have to do it all over again.
    Today’s crossword was a nice distraction from these awful news.
    Only held up in 16d and 18a. Thought the first word in 16d was Stag as the first letter of 18a could have been T for tense.
    Thanks to the Monday setter and to Kath for the review.

    1. It seems the whole world is out of sync with disasters everywhere. Floods or fires, California praying for rain, too much of it in France, not enough elsewhere. Who was it who said climate change is a hoax?

  28. Enjoyable Monday puzzle. Favourite 11a. Regarding 28a, yes Kath Group still exists and is flourishing! Thanks to Setter and Kath.

  29. Thanks to Kath for standing in today whilst I got on with things at our new house. We had a plasterer, two flooring chaps (great fun to work with) a plumber, our builder and myself and Saint Sharon competing for space. All we wanted to do was done in time for a delivery of two large settees, a coffee table (which will never see coffee on it) and two mirrors. As for the crossword, it was solved as I watched a beautiful sunrise this morning. I thought it was a super Monday puzzle. Thanks again to Kath who remembered the second pun and thanks to the setter.

    1. Thanks for the thanks – I was very pleased to have been of use and am glad that you’ve had what sounds like a very useful and productive day.
      And, yes, – I did manage to remember that it was Mr Two-Pun-Monday even though I left myself a reminder in very large writing!

    1. Please don’t mention the ‘D’ word but I hope your visit was OK.
      I’m off there tomorrow having either ditched a filling or lost a chunk of tooth. Hate it! :sad:

  30. Lovely Monday offering solved in fits and starts at work and after, but satisfactory throughout. The biggest laugh was realising the significance of the anagram indicator for 5d. 20d was a goodun too.
    Thanks to Kath for the hints and good luck to MP for the building work. Thanks to the setter too.

  31. Frost in my garden in South Leicestershire all day. Spent most of the day trying to find and replace the fuses that were blown in my 4×4 after going into a quagmire up the the axles and ripping the trailer socket off, why do they have to hide the fuses? Lots to like today. Favourite 3d. Many thanks to the setter and Kath.

    1. Be glad they put them in a slightly less accessible spot. Many many many moons ago Alan worked as a sales rep and had a company car, we got taxed to bits for it but that was another story. Anyway it has an alarm system, understandable as it was not our car but if one of our cats jumped on the flipping thing while it was parked in our driveway the alarm would go off. BUT worse still, if it rained because the fuses were at the top very near the edge of the bonnet they would kind of flip on and the alarm would go on. So he would be driving around the Powys, Shrewsbury, Telford, Birmingham area where it does tend to rain a couple of times a year, all of a sudden the alarm would just go off and people would assume he was a ‘plain clothes’ police car (not sure what the real term is) and pull over or panic and start to speed up. He would be so embarrassed and at the next available chance he would pull over in the driving rain and try to stop the flipping thing and in the end was trying to take every fuse out to get the thing to stop.
      For Big Dave, back on topic, I am still a long way from completing this one but I don’t mind. I usually get there in the end.

  32. Thank you to the setter for a good crossword and to everyone who has commented today.
    Night night everyone and sleep well.

    1. Night Night Kath and thank you as always. I like this family, many people ask me to explain the crosswords and I do and they say ‘That’s nuts!’ and then I come here and I know that it’s them, not us! LOLOLOL

    1. Hi Robin,
      Just to let you know that some of us do read your comments – well done to you for continuing to post them no matter how late they may seem to be to the rest of us. They often make me look again at previous puzzles that would otherwise be forgotten – I loved the use of ‘pollarded’ in this one.

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