DT 29240 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 29240 (Hints)

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 29240 (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    Tinker a little, using starter only after car’s repaired (6)
The A from the clue and the initial letter (starter only) of L[ittle] preceded by (after) an anagram (repaired) of CAR’S

4a    They take you out on your birthday (8)
… birthday being the actual day you were born not an anniversary thereof

11a    After reforming, turn out educated or self-taught? (9)
An anagram (after reforming) of TURN OUT followed by ED(ucated)

12a    Bizarre, retiring somewhere in California — blunder by you and me? (7)
A two-letter Californian city, a blunder and the pronoun for you and me, all reversed (retiring)

13a    Meadow pipit’s home with the most slender dimensions (7)
A meadow is followed by the home of a pipit

17a    Club in Milan shifted painter to rendering (14)
One of Milan’s top football clubs is followed by an anagram (shifted) of PAINTER TO

24a    As spy at GCHQ eats, twit occasionally drops food (9)
Drop the odd letters (occasionally) from the first six words in the clue

26a    Paper from Paris wraps a sparkling drink (8)
A French newspaper (2,5) around the A from the clue

27a    Commercial about poet’s inspiration was funny (6)
a two-letter commercial around a poet’s inspiration


1d    Think twice about Bible class with son falling behind idiots (8)
A Bible class and some idiots are followed by S(on)

2d    University dons huntin’ marine creature (3,6)
U(niversity) inside (dons) a verb meaning hunting, without its final letter

6d    Slough‘s moderate Tory followed by fifty plus (7)
A moderate Tory (from the days when such people existed!) followed by the Roman numeral for fifty and a word meaning plus

7d    Dash or run to be involved in the day victory came twice (5)
… the day victory came is the day celebrating the end of hostilities in Europe after WWII (and you need two of them)

9d    Official ghost writer’s boss should be charitable (6-8)
An adjective meaning official or communal followed by a ghost and the boss of a writer on a newspaper

15d    Outbreaks of movie star Moore appearing in films like Exodus (9)
The first name of a female movie star whose surname is Moore inside a word that describes films like Exodus

18d    Made of clay, shell-like article held up by knight (7)
One’s “shell-like” and the definite article followed (held up) by the chess notation for knight

19d    Acorn with slight mutation arising, my word, that’s initially important (7)
Swap a couple of letters in acorn and add the reversal (arising) of MY to give a word that is made up of the initial letters of other words

22d    Nebulous body, fighting between two sizes (5)
Some fighting goes between two clothing sizes

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: whiled+read+pander=wild red panda

56 comments on “DT 29240 (Hints)

  1. Very slow start but then steady progress with a fast finish . My COTD 4A . Lots to admire today .
    Thanks to everyone .

  2. Nice to see four 14 letter clues – an opportunity for multiple words, although not many today. Enjoyed this – a 2*\3.5*. Liked many clues 15D, 26A. But loved 4A, really had to think about that one as I just couldn’t see it at first. Thanks to all.

  3. Sorry got better things to do with my time than waste it on puzzles like this. For those who like this sort of very tricky crosswords, enjoy.
    Now off to battle with M&S.
    Thx for the hints

    1. Better things to do??? Maybe, but M&S can’t be one of them! See later post for my thoughts.

    2. Can you not accept that this is a matter of wavelength and learning from our peers in this group. Can truthfully say that this was my quickest only solve, albeit a day late, without aids. Only one that caused me to pause for thought was my last one in 19d.

  4. This was quite time consuming **** and mildly enjoyable (***). The long 14 letter clues were quite good as were 4a and 24a. However, 19d was very convoluted and the surface read was quite rough and unpolished. Thanks to BD for the hints and to the compiler.

  5. A curate’s egg with only a few good parts and plenty of Hmms, completed at a gallop – **/**.
    The 15d ‘Moore’ is not the first one I would think of and the 16d ‘O’Connor’ . . .
    4a raised a smile.
    Thanks to the setter and BD.

  6. To use the setter’s own word, I found this one quite bizarre as I was solving it. Perhaps it’s down to the phraseology he/she uses – the answers are clear enough in retrospect.

    Thanks to Mr Ron and to BD for the club – wonder what delights the NTSPP will have in store for us today?

  7. 2*/2*. I found this a bit of a curate’s egg and rather underwhelming overall. I liked 4a with a nod to 9d.

    Thanks to the setter and to BD.

  8. Unlike RD and Senf, I found this quite difficult. A blimmer, to use a local expression. Thought 4a exceptional and in my opinion, 19d. Enthralling puzzle. 4.5*/5*. Thanks to all.

  9. 4a was my last in and therefore COTD. Pretty straightforward on the whole and completed steadily in ** time.
    25a was a bung in though and whilst I’m confident it’s the correct answer I’m not entirely sure why.

  10. Despite a slow start I enjoyed today’s offering. Nothing clicked after reading it through about five times then 4a hit me between the eyes. After that, it all began to fall into place, albeit slowly and a few hints being needed. I have no real favourites today but 15a, 25a, 18d and 19d get a mention.

    A most enjoyable puzzle and better, to my mind, than recent Saturday challenges.

    Grateful thanks to the setter and to BD for the hints (at least, I assume it to be BD as no name is given).

  11. I would guess that the very thought of shopping on the Saturday before Christmas has clouded your thinking, Brian. Please look at the crossword again, because it really is not as difficult as you have implied, in fact IMHO it is really one of the easiest puzzles we have been presented with in a very, very long while. 4 across is a real cracker and my favourite clue. So much to enjoy in this puzzle, which certainly gave me a lot of pleasure. I wont list all my favourites, otherwise I could mark pretty much all of them. A real ‘boster’ as they say in these parts. Thanks to the setter and to (presumably) BD.

    1. Fascinating how people’s views on different crosswords vary so very much . And it is definitely BD – his avatar appears at the top of the post

          1. Yes indeed. The calculator was called a CURTA. The company had a very clever advertisement in the form of a sum CURTA + SAVES = HOURS. You had to assign the letters to different digits so that the sum was correct. Not easy!

            Loved the crossword today. Clue 4a was one of the best for ages. Thanks to setter and BD

        1. And there was me thinking it was some kind of posh angler’s reel ;-) Btw CS, I hadn’t even looked at the avatar before posting my ‘thoughts’. :-)

  12. I am in the tricky camp, I certainly cant 16d the comment from our correspondent from Shropshire, above. Shows how different our wavelengths are.
    4a jumped out at me straight away, which was a great help, and I thoroughly enjoyed the challenge and feel quite chuffed to have completed. Just as well as my weekly humiliation is due tomorrow.
    Thanks to the setter and BD for the hints and everything else.

  13. I was slow out of the starting blocks but then I got the hang of things and really enjoyed the challenge which was a welcome diversion from things Christmassy. Initially toyed with two other movie stars for 15d. Fav was 26a with 4a and 2d alongside on the podium. Many thanks Mysteron and BD.

  14. Having got M&S out of the way early and mr Daisygirl of your a rugby lunch, it was nice to sit and relax with the crossword and in tune with others I liked 4a. Our big annual bash tomorrow night so have to clear the decks now.

  15. It is strange how people react differently to the same puzzle.simply I found this to be one of the very best that I have completed without needing to look at hints.fullof challenge and humour which was certainly better than sitting outside M.andS.

  16. Well I am in with the “very tricky” fold. This has taken me three attempts, and I must have been well into ***** time. (Not helped by my neighbour’s alarm going off for half the morning.)

    The clues seemed very ‘wordy’ to me, I don’t recall that this is a usual compiler’s style.

    I didn’t know that meaning of Slough. Last one in was 4a, so it has to be my COTD.

    Thanks to all.

  17. Agree with Brian. Three on first sweep. No more on second so no go. I’m sure the hints would help but no point in the sense of every clue but three. Nothing to be gained and no sense of achievement. Out to the local market town for a cream Swiss Roll to deliver from the darkness.

  18. I didn’t enjoy this very much. In several clues a potentially interesting decomposition of the answer produced awkward and verbose wordplay or a weak surface reading (e.g. 19d, 22d). I did like the clever and original 4a, and 8d and 20d produced smiles. Thanks to the setter and to BD.

    1. My thoughts entirely. I never like answers that are so nebulous that I daren’t write in what I think is the obvious answer until I get all of the checkers – like 22D Neither do I like answers that are all too obvious with the checking letters but then take a lot of parsing to work out why. I much prefer to feel that I have worked out the setter’s intent from the clueing.

  19. Yes, as I posted yesterday, thank goodness we are all different! You see, I found this just right at ***/*****. I have asked Father Christmas for a book of puzzles like this! It had a bit of everything. I think those who didn’t enjoy it probably were distracted by the stress of seasonal preparations. How can M&S be more important than a prize crossword ( even though I still can’t submit them except by screenshot/ email)?

  20. Late coming to this one today. I found it quirky but perfectly solvable once I had got into the setter’s mindset. 4a was an excellent clue, and my favourite by a mile.

    Thanks to the Saturday setter and BD.

  21. I didn’t get many at first pass, but when I returned with my second coffee everything fell into place, with just a couple of hints to complete. 4a was my first in, we had a lovely one for our first daughter. Definitely on wavelength for this setter, unlike a lot of Saturdays. Thanks to setter for an enjoyable puzzle, and to Big Dave for the hints. Last in was 25a for which I did have a total mental block. Now if Dada can be as kind tomorrow, it will be a great weekend.

  22. I didn’t think I was going to finish this but it gradually fell into place after much head scratching….so I’m in the tricky camp too. Some clues were quite clever but overall not hugely enjoyable for me. Thanks to the setter and BD.

  23. I could see nothing on the first time through but then cracked one and built up such momentum that for me this was completed in record time!
    May I wish a Happy Christmas to all Big Dave’s bloggers – you’re great company.

  24. Slow start but steady progress until the NE – took ages for 4a to click. Brilliant!

    A word to Brian: you don’t get better unless you have a go at the difficult ones!

  25. Slightly bemused by the negative reactions to this. I found it to be on the easy side, and enjoyable throughout.

  26. As usual, I found this enjoyable in parts and ‘stuck’ on others, often those without hints. After getting the odd hint I found the extra letters gave me the answers and the ‘doh’ moment…!
    There were some excellent clues eg clever anagrams 5d and jokey ones like 26a.
    Many thanks to BD as usual, and the setter – think -this time next week – Christmas will be a year away!!! Enjoy it folks!

  27. Late start this morning due to the annual invasion of grandchildren (Love them) by the time porridge and blueberries consumed, washing dressing etc…. had managed about three clues. Hearty walk in local quarry and lunch about six done. Thereafter an afternoon at Sleeping Beauty panto still only six. The lady of my life took the little ones back to their nests and footie on telly. Still six done. Only just managed to complete just now. Remaining clues managed to relax and amuse me through the evening so very enjoyable puzzle. Or was that the Malbec? Lots of favourites including the popular 4a. Thanks to all.
    Anyone know how dinosaurs managed to get into Sleeping Beauty?

    1. Anything can happen! Hope not to burst your bubble but it’s all just pretend. 😂😂😂My grandson loves dinosaurs. Can’t see the appeal myself. My nephew is doing a phd in them. Who knew?

  28. Needed a bit of electronic help. Like everyone else, COTD has to be 4a with 24a a close second.
    Did my big shop on Thursday so have been able to relax today. . Luckily our BP service station has a really excellent mini market for anything I’ve forgotten. There’s bound to be something.
    Happy Christmas everyone!

  29. 3 down – no one above appears to have mentioned it – I know I’ve got the answer, but for the life of me I can’t get the construction – I can see the last month
    therein, and that’s about all !! I thought this an excellent puzzle, although very hard, 4a would have been my first in, but couldn’t quite believe it , so I left it until it had to be the only answer.

    1. There are two abbreviations used in 3d and the word ‘to’ from the clue – does that help?

      1. thank you for your response, crypticsue. I think I’m having a senior moment – I was so pleased with myself for completing what I thought was a very difficult puzzle – from what you’ve told me I’ve only the first two letters yet to understand – from the clue “academy runs up” suggest reversing them, was the word “royal” missing from the clue ?

  30. Apart from the well-noted fact some people found this easy, others hard, I can also throw into the mix the glaring difference between the North and South. Coming from Yorkshire, no self respecting White Rose person would be seen dead in M and S, Christmas or otherwise. 4A definitely the clue of the day. Found myself sitting after 40 minutes with four answers filled in and 3 more lightly. Finally, with 9d in place, the rest took a mere ten minutes. Oh for the help of a single letter in some clues…
    Now to hibernate with my coal and log fire and wish for it to be December 27th. Not a “Scrooge” by any means, merely a non-celebrant who refuses to contribute to the commercial Nativital Insanity. Scrambled egg on toast for lunch next Wednesday.

  31. A slow start, but once I got going and with a little help from the blog , got there in the end.
    4a was my first answer, but didn’t put it in at first as I wasn’t sure I was right. Although I got 16d I don’t understand it.
    Quite enjoyable once I got going.
    Thanks to the setter and to BD

  32. 1a straight in, followed by 1d and the wonderful 4a which I got after only a moment’s hesitation. 13 26 and 27a other favourites with 2 6 and 18d. Only one I did not parse before answering was 24a. 19d was last one in but easily doable with the checkers. This is my ideal crossword. I believe you have to think outside of the box and follow your inspiration. For me 1*/5*****. Thanks setter and BD for confirming parsing.

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