DT 29230 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 29230

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 29230

Hints and tips by Mr K

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BD Rating  -  Difficulty ** Enjoyment ****

Hello, everyone.  Another Tuesday brings another time zone for me and another setter for us back-page solvers.  This week’s fine puzzle was created by the setter known on the Toughie pages as Donnybrook.  I thought it was a delightful combination of smooth surfaces, clever cryptic definitions, nice misdirection, and a generous helping of humour.  In a word (or two), it’s the cat’s meow. 

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



6a    Entertainer in revolt quits dancing (13)
VENTRILOQUIST:  An anagram (dancing) of IN REVOLT QUITS 

8a    Jokes from expert succeeded (6)
CRACKS:  An informal adjective meaning expert is followed by the genealogical synonym of succeeded 

9a    Artist in decline — depression causing this? (8)
RAINFALL:  Link together the usual artist, IN from the clue, and a synonym of decline 

10a   Bitter perhaps in General Election (3)
ALE:  The answer, which is defined here by example (… perhaps),  is hidden in the remainder of the clue 

11a   Care about church ground (6)
MINCED:  Care or disapprove containing (about) the abbreviation for the Church of England 

12a   Unusual cave rite showing imagination (8)
CREATIVE:  An anagram (unusual) of CAVE RITE

14a   Admires refurbished weapon (7)
SIDEARM:  An anagram (refurbished) of ADMIRES 

16a   Speaker's parentage in dispute (7)
DISSENT:  A homophone (speaker’s …) of a word meaning parentage or ancestry

20a   Light flickers? (8)
SWITCHES:  A cryptic definition of devices that make electric lights flick on and off 

23a   Cattle worker departs with rambler (6)
DROVER:  Put together the single-letter train timetable abbreviation for departs and a rambler or wanderer 

24a   Handle finally attached to copper pot with this (3)
CUE:  The last letter (… finally) of handlE is attached to the end of the chemical symbol for copper 

25a   Bullfighter to bash in back (8)
TOREADOR:  TO from the clue is followed by a bash or party that’s inserted in a synonym of back 

26a   Dog runs from mine worker (6)
COLLIE:  Delete the cricket scoring abbreviation for runs from a mine worker 

27a   On border, welfare is perk (6,7)
FRINGE BENEFIT:  After (on) border or periphery comes welfare or assistance



1d    One going round on this bike? (8)
UNICYCLE:  A type of bike that has only one rotating object in contact with the ground 

2d    Campaigner less refined without it (8)
CRUSADER:  An adjective meaning “less refined” containing (without) the abbreviation for what “it” can signify in a person 

3d    Coleridge renouncing identity excited painter (2,5)
EL GRECO:  An anagram (excited) of COLERidGE minus the abbreviation for identity (… renouncing identity).  Read about the painter here


4d    Son folded sheets for landowner (6)
SQUIRE:  Glue together the genealogical abbreviation for son and a printing term meaning (according to Chambers) four sheets of paper folded together to make eight leaves 

5d    Film about F1 maverick (6)
MISFIT:  Film or haze containing (about) both F from the clue and the Roman numeral for one 

6d    Author American state predator quoted (8,5)
VIRGINIA WOOLF:  The full name of a state on the east coast of the USA (the one where this blog was prepared, as it happens) followed by a homophone (quoted) of a predator said in fiction to do a poor impersonation of a grandmother


7d    Tell agents I've upset preacher on box? (13)
TELEVANGELIST:  An anagram (upset) of TELL AGENTS I’VE 

13d   Blockhead starts with amazingly silly speech (3)
ASS:  Initial letters of (starts with …) the remaining words in the clue 

15d   Line used in smear campaign (3)
ARC:  The answer is hidden in (used in) the remainder of the clue 

17d   Unseemly dent nice when repaired (8)
INDECENT:  An anagram (when repaired) of NICE DENT 

18d   Take stock? (8)
SHOPLIFT:  A cryptic definition of a particular criminal offense 

19d   Credit to ace writer (7)
ASCRIBE:  The playing card abbreviation for ace with a writer or copyist 

21d   Which letter is doubled in dissertation? (6)
THESIS:  The final word of the clue is the definition while the entire clue is wordplay.  The solution split (3,1,2) answers the question posed by the clue

22d   Tried God with AA for treatment after hospital (3,1,2)
HAD A GO:  An anagram (for treatment) of GOD AA comes after the single-letter abbreviation for hospital 


Thanks to Donnybrook for a fun solve.  Top clues for me included the topical 10a and 15d, 20a, 24a, 18d, 21d, 22d, and the Quickie pun.  Which clues did you like best?


The Quick Crossword pun:  SEOUL + ERIC + LIPS = SOLAR ECLIPSE

96 comments on “DT 29230

  1. What a thoroughly brilliant puzzle. Of many fine clues, 21d stood out as my favourite. If there have been any finer clues this year I would be surprised. I wonder how many solvers thought of our last Mr Speaker when they looked at 16a? Great stuff.

    Thanks to Donnybrook and Mr K.

  2. I dont often leave a comment on here, but had to remark on todays puzzle. This has to be one of the best this year, especially 21d, a brilliant clue. Many thanks to the setter.

  3. Very nice puzzle a 2*/4.5*. Some enjoyable clues, 6D,18D and 21D was excellent. Many thanks to Donnybrook and Mr K

  4. I thought this was an absolute cracker. I’ve had a go at a few of the setter’s Toughies and found them just a touch too difficult to fully appreciate but certainly appreciated this. I was helped by the four long perimeter clues all virtually “jumping out at me”, which gave a decent foothold and helped with some of the trickier options.
    23a was a new word but guessed it from the checkers and wordplay.
    I loved 20a (though I suspect it’s a bit of an old chestnut), the clever and concise 24a and the satisfaction of the penny drop moment provided by 18d. Favourite was probably the excellent homophone 16a or the quite brilliant 21d.
    Many thanks to Donnybrook and to Mr K (I needed your help parsing 25a) for their excellent works.

  5. I certainly thought of our last speaker too, once the penny dropped. It was the only clue to hold me up but my favourite in the end I thought the clues were well-written and entertaining. So its 1/2* for difficulty and 4* for enjoyment. Thank you Mr K for the hints and thanks to the setter.

  6. 2*/4*. This had a refreshingly different feel about it and I really enjoyed it (despite not wishing to be reminded of our last Speaker!)

    I presume 7d is a uniquely US term as I can’t think that it would ever be used in the UK. However, I haven’t got my BRB to hand to check it.

    With lots of excellent clues to choose from, my podium comprises 9a, 18d & 21d.

    Many thanks to Donnybrook and to Mr K.

    1. I think they have channels for these people in the US. If you’re old enough to remember Billy Graham, you’re on the right lines!

    2. Hi, RD. For the answer to 7d, the BRB says “esp in US”. But not exclusively, so I’d say that the clue is OK.

    3. Every time I think of 7d, I start to twitch and the bile starts bubbling up. I don’t think I should say more.

      1. HBO has a mini series about a televangelist type of family, comic fiction, but they are portrayed just as I always suspected… and not in a good way.

        1. When I think of 7d, I think of Joel Osteen and his ilk, ripoff artists and so smarmy with it. And remember Tammy Faye? I could go on and on. I’ll probably land up in jail with my mouth.

          1. I spent some time looking for pics to illustrate 7d, thinking that there must be something amusing out there on that topic. But I had to abandon the attempt because everything I found just made me sad or annoyed.

  7. I found this to be most enjoyable. A silly spelling mistake with 7d resulted in 23a being my last one to go in.

    I liked 20a, 18d and 21d.

    Thanks to Donnybrook and to Mr K.

  8. Quite the easiest I have done for some considerable time. Finished in an easy * time. I just seemed to be on the right wavelength.

    21d has to be COTD.

    Thanks to Donnybrook and Mr K.

  9. How nice to have a puzzle with a completely different feel about it. Stupidly the abbreviation in 2d passed me by hence it was a bung-in as equally stupidly was 16a. Have never come across 7d but it had to be. My Fav was little 24a. Altogether this was great fun – thank you MrB and MrK.

  10. Well, this was a treat on a gloomy morning. Thanks to the setter and Mr K. My podium selections coincide with those of several other commenters, i.e. 16a, 18d and 21d.

  11. Wow !

    I thought 24A was going to be my COTD then along came 21D .

    Thanks Mr K and congratulations to Donnybrook ( may your Christmas wish come true )

  12. What an absolute joy this was and I agree with everyone that 21d is an absolute cracker of a clue and is now in my list of favourites. I was held up for a while by 18d because I could not stop thinking of cattle. I nearly finished without resort to the hints but 8a held out for some reason. As is usual, the hint made it all clear.

    Many thanks to the setter for a very enjoyable puzzle and to Mr. K. for the hints.

  13. Well looks like I’ve been outed, so hello!

    Thank you for the blog and comments. It’s obviously nice to hear when you guys think it’s cutting the mustard, and (usually :-)) very helpful to get feedback when you think it’s not.

    Thanks again
    Don E. Brook

    1. Welcome to the blog, Donnybrook.

      Thank you so much for commenting and for providing such a wonderful puzzle to solve and to blog. I hope that we’ll be seeing many more from you in this slot.

        1. I don’t think that is planned, but another Tuesday setter is going to be compiling some of the Saturday puzzles.

    2. Thank you for an enjoyable and fun challenge. I look forward to solving more of your backpagers in due course. But beware – you have set your bar pretty high!

    3. Are you really Don E Brook? I thought you lived in Donnybrook Australia and wondered if you knew my cousin? !

    4. Yes indeed, Hello and Welcome PB and I for one very much look forward to more of the same or should that be similar?

  14. Anther brilliant crossword, I found this particularly entertaining lots of fine clues and a few anagrams to get you started. Apart from a spelling mistake in 6d all went smoothly. No real favourites but 4d was quite amusing well to me anyway.
    Thanks to setter and to Mr K for the hints.

  15. A most enjoyable puzzle which did not present any problems or need any of the (copious) white space on my printed sheet for completion at a fast gallop – 1.5*/4.5*.
    Candidates for favourite – 26a, 27a, and 18d – and the winner is 18d.
    Thanks to Donnybrook and Mr K.

  16. Could have saved myself a bit of time had I not assumed that I could spell the author’s surname and the capital of S. Korea – but what a fine puzzle from our setter.
    Top spot goes to 21d with 16a & 18d close behind it.

    Many thanks to Donnybrook and to our globe-trotting Mr K. Lovely to see my favourite 6a at work and thank you for the info on ‘quire’ – never really thought about its meaning.
    Kath will be a happy bunny again today!

            1. Hello Angellov. It girls are universal. But I can’t recall ever encountering SA in the real world.

    1. Ah got it…new for me so one to remember.
      Great crossword today…16a homophone does not work for me.
      Thanks all.

      1. That phenomenon where you realize the answer as soon as you post or email a request for help is known here as “Gnome’s Law”, after prize puzzle blogger Gnomethang.

  17. Thoroughly enjoyable with some great clues in 9a, 20a and 19d especially. My only problem was fully parsing 8a, not very comfortable with crack for expert but probably just me.
    Many thanks for this crossword.

  18. It occurred to me that with regard to 5d, there was a film called the misfits and maybe the setter had this in mind as well as ‘mist’ the cast were also misfits !
    Anyway some tricky cluing, especially the SW corner and a ***/**** for me.
    All seem in agreement for a change that it was a cracker and thoroughly entertaining. 21a was almost a unanimous favourite
    Thanks to Mr K for the pics- how was the cat trained ?

    1. Hi, Beaver. The cat’s humans say in the caption for the video on YouTube that “In this video our 2 year old cat whiskey jumps to shut off the light switch. As much as I would like to pretend that I was able to teach our cat to turn off the lights, this is something he started doing on his own. It started as him just jumping at the wall and pushing off resembling cat parkour, but then once he found the light switch he started targeting that instead.”

  19. How absolutely brilliant! So many great clues and the four long sides on the grid gave a nice skeleton to work from. Favourites include 9a, 1d, 22d, and above all, 21d. Please, Donnybrook, give us more!
    Many thanks to Mr K – it’s always good to have confirmation.
    I have to admit I still don’t get 2d – am I being dense?

  20. I agree with everyone else- what a nice accompaniment to a bowl of hot soup in wet and windy Cambridge. Favourites were 18 and 21d but oh, what a horrid word is 7d!! Who would use it?

  21. A fairly mild puzzle with very nice clues and certainly enjoyable enough. I’ve ticked a few but will mention 21d. 2* / 3.5*

  22. Have to agree with everyone that today’s puzzle was marvellous and a welcome breath of fresh air to our puzzling week. Thank you to Donnybrook and Mr K for such great pleasure. Like most of our posters I thought 18d and 21d were brilliant

  23. Greetings BD, and the whole marvelous site, users and helpers. I logged on {to check the parsing for 2d (umm??)} as I usually do. Couldn’t get in till I used a VPN. Are you sanctioning me BD? Et tu? :)
    Crosswords which I bet a certain president can’t solve should not be so restricted!
    Lot of respect from Iran.

    1. Hi Shahriar Bader,
      Rest assured that neither BD nor anyone else on this site would place sanctions on a commenter from anywhere in the world – all are welcome here.
      However, beware of falling foul of the weekend Prize Puzzle rules – that could definitely see you landing in hot water!

  24. **/*****. Christmas came early with this gift of a puzzle. Like many others, I thought 21d was outstanding. Thanks to Donnybrook and Mr K.

  25. Nice puzzle for a miserable day! No real problems with 20a being my fave.
    Thanks to Donnybrook, and to MrK for the review and pix.

  26. Thanks to Donnybrook and Mr K.
    I had the answer for 16a pencilled in the margin but a touch of Gnomes Law stopped me from putting it in. I too absolutely loved 21d and explained to a colleague at work why it was such a brilliant clue. Lots to love here as can be seen by the wide range of faves.

  27. This was, indeed, the cat’s meow, Mr. K. When last did we have a puzzle with such universal raves.
    Like Jane, spelling the name of the author who advocated for a room of one’s own was tricky, had to look it up as I remembered it was a bit different.
    I’m reluctant to choose a fave out of this brilliant lot, but 21d was really very special.
    Thanks to Donnybrook and to Mr. K for his usual fun review. Tomorrow it’s Jay, my cup runneth over.

  28. We’ll have to add our plaudits for this thoroughly enjoyable puzzle. Agree that 21d is the pick of the bunch.
    Thanks Donnybrook and Mr K.

    1. So glad you were not affected by the volcanic explosion but I do feel tremendous sympathies with your nation and the visitors. What a disaster.

      1. Thanks for thinking of us Merusa. We’ll be saying a bit more on this when we do our blog later today.

  29. A true contender for inclusion as a top puzzle of the year… this was superb, had everything.
    To Donnybrook: return when you can & grateful thanks for this stunner,,, thanks also to MrK for review.

  30. Coming into this late today as newsagent had no newspapers! Disaster. Tried to do the online version on my telephone but gave up as far too awkward. Only looked at it at 4pm and found it a gentle jog but enjoyable. Interesting day at British Library looking at historic newspaper records. Thanks to Setter and Reviewer.

  31. Oh I so enjoyed this puzzle, mainly because I only needed the blog for a couple of clues. Also having read the comments I now understand 8a, which baffled me , although I guessed the answer. Brilliant clues with 21d my fav.
    Thanks to donnybrook and MrK.

  32. It’s all been said by now but thank you Mr K for the great hints and it is so good to welcome Don E Brook as a backpage setter; long may it continue!

  33. Today’s DT cryptic No. 29,230 was a joy to solve and I hope for more of the same from Paul Bringloe.

  34. I must have my thick head on today. 70% of this went in fairly smoothly but the rest just flummoxed me. I mean cmon now flickers/switches. But enjoyed the challenge so thanks to setter and hint man.

  35. Brilliant crossword and great blog and essential hints from Mr K as always – many thanks. Does the person who writes the cryptic crossword also do the quick crossword. I always start with the quick crossword and love the pun/ puns which always raise a smile. They are always so unique- just like the cryptic crossword. Many thanks

  36. Thanks to Donnybrook and to Mr Kitty for the review and hints. A super puzzle, with some very clever clues. Really enjoyed it. Needed the hints for 11a, just couldn’t get the definition. Also needed the hints to parse 25a. Favourite was 21d. Was 2*/4* for me.

  37. Great puzzle today – haven’t posted on here for many a year now as I tend to complete the crossword in the evening when I’m far too late to be relevant. Have been moved to comment today on the the wonder of 21d – sublime!

    1. Thanks for re-emerging to comment. It really is never too late to do that – the blog has readers in time zones all over the world (and night owls in the UK), so comments will always have an audience whenever they are posted.

  38. What a treat from Donnybrook here today, just my cup of tea, ta very much. Thanks for the hints Mr K, which I am so happy to say I didn’t need, as even the few holdouts solved themselves after painting a couple of door frames. Guess brain had to have something to do. Had a good laugh at 18d. This really was a true cryptic puzzle. May we have many more.

  39. I have nothing to add, other than joining the mob praising both this crossword in general and 21d in particular. Thank you, Donnybrook, and Mr K.

  40. Like others I loved this puzzle and my favourite was also 21d – brilliant! Many thanks to Donnybrook and to Mr K, whose hint I needed to parse 25a. Loved the light-switching kitty.

  41. Late though it is, just want to add my devotions to Mr DE Brook. Nothing original to say other than I really enjoyed this masterpiece – especially 21d. Thank you, too, Mr Kitty 😺

  42. Amazeballs! Definitely 21d to be shortlisted for clue of the year. Has it been seen before. My second favourite was 24a. Loved the grid. I too had a problem with parsing 2d. I always thought “it” was a euphemism for sex rather than sex appeal. Speed and overconfidence caused me to make an error. I confidently inserted Twitches for 20a. It is unusual to see so many comments apart from very tricky puzzles and also unusual to find no dissenters. Thanks Donnybrook. More of the same please and thanks Mr K for putting me right on 20a.

      1. The Times recently had a similar device:
        Can’t remember exactly but it was along the lines of ‘What’s occurring most frequently in assistance for relative (3)’
        S IS

        1. Thanks, Roy, that’s interesting. I don’t have puzzles from The Times in my database yet and I only solve the Telegraph puzzle, so I didn’t know about that one.

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