DT 29253 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 29253

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 29253

Hints and tips by the nomadic Mr K

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BD Rating  -  Difficulty ** Enjoyment ****

Hello, everyone.  My first blog of 2020 is being written in a location not far from Sal Tlay Ka Siti.  Today’s delightful crossword reminded me of how I felt when I first started solving cryptics a few years ago and the penny drops came thick and fast.  I found within this puzzle a lot of original twists and turns that made for a very enjoyable solve.  I do hope that our setter will drop in later to take credit for it. 

I just noticed that there was a long thread on yesterday’s blog about mnemonics for hard to spell words.  That got me wondering if there’s one for remembering how to spell mnemonic?  Anyway, as a physicist I suppose I should point out that the one about I before E except after C has been disproved by science.

In the hints below most indicators are italicized and precise definitions are underlined.  Clicking on the answer buttons will reveal the answers.  In some hints hyperlinks provide additional explanation or background.  Clicking on a picture might enlarge it.  Please leave a comment telling us how you got on.



1a    Buzz off, as may granny? (3,7)
GET KNOTTED:  This invitation to buzz off describes what granny, reef, clove hitch, etc. do

6a    I don't know the way up the mountain (4)
PASS:  A quiz show synonym for “I don’t know” is also a way across a mountain range 

9a    Father with new femme fatale (5)
SIREN:  Follow a horse father with the single letter for new

10a   Country festival hosting United team, surprisingly (9)
GUATEMALA:  A generic festival containing (hosting) both the single letter for united and an anagram (surprisingly) of TEAM 

12a   Acted or played with style (3,4)
ART DECO:  A well-disguised anagram (played) of ACTED OR 

13a   Honey -- might this attract bees? (5)
PETAL:  A bee-attracting colourful part of a flower is also a term of endearment, and hence a synonym of honey 

15a   As embracing Goneril finally, her father very attentive (3,4)
ALL EARS:  AS from the clue containing (embracing) both the final letter (finally) of Shakespearean princess GoneriL and the full name of her father the tragic king 

17a   Male bird caught by kangaroos, terrified! (7)
ROOSTER:  The answer is hidden in (caught by) the remainder of the clue

19a   Suspend player for a game (7)
HANGMAN:  Put together another word for suspend and a male player in a sports team 

21a   No taser involved in crime (7)
TREASON:  An anagram (involved) of NO TASER 

22a   Italian city mainly industrial, like another Naples originally (5)
MILAN:  The initial letters (… originally) of the remaining words in the clue 

24a   Poor editing aroused emotions, perhaps? (7)
IGNITED:  An anagram (poor) of EDITING 

27a   Gabon upset by charge for water in Australia (9)
BILLABONG:  An anagram (upset) of GABON followed by a charge or fee.  The answer is an Australianism that appears in the lyrics of Waltzing Matilda

28a   Bring up some light for the audience? (5)
RAISE:  A homophone (for the audience) of some beams of light 

29a   Score century inside the ground (4)
ETCH:  The single letter for century is placed inside and anagram (ground) of THE 

30a   Ruling  colony (10)
SETTLEMENT:  A double definition.  This answer went straight in because eight of its twelve appearances in the past three years of Telegraph Cryptic puzzles have been as the last answer in the grid.  Perhaps that’s because the E’s and T’s that it provides as the final letters of the intersecting down answers present the setter with many choices for those answers?



1d    Cut in housing a shame (4)
GASH:  The answer is hidden in the remainder of the clue 

2d    Sailor boy wearing waterproof cloth (9)
TARPAULIN:  Concatenate a usual sailor, a male name, and a short synonym of wearing 

3d    Group I found in middle of winter (5)
NONET:  What I represents as a Roman numeral is inserted in (found in) the middle letters of wiNTer 

4d    Wild thing in gaol initially secured by lock (7)
TIGRESS:  The first letters (… initially) of In Gaol contained by (secured by) a long lock of hair 

5d    Brushed-up hair, yours and my charm (7)
ENAMOUR:  The reversal (brushed up, in a down clue) of the hair on the neck of a male lion is followed by an adjective meaning “yours and my” 

7d    Expect a burden for the listener? (5)
AWAIT:  A from the clue and a homophone (for the listener) of a burden or load 

8d    Shopping centre in hurry to provide terms and conditions? (5,5)
SMALL PRINT:  A shopping centre is inserted in hurry or dash 

11d   Retired copper perhaps, heading for exit, set off (7)
EXPLODE:  Link together a short word meaning former or retired, a slang word for a policeman, and the first letter of (heading for) Exit

14d   Story to cover in short, not too complicated? (10)
FATHOMABLE:  A story or legend containing (to cover) all but the last letter (short) of a (2,4) phrase that we often meet here clueing “in” 

16d   Remain at odds over a nation (7)
ARMENIA:  An anagram (at odds) of REMAIN is followed by (over, in a down clue) of A from the clue 

18d   Revised time twice altered in road trial (4,5)
TEST DRIVE:  An anagram (altered) of REVISED TT [TT being two copies (twice) of the physics symbol for time]

20d   Offensive sound around bomb after shelling? (7)
NOISOME:  A loud sound is wrapped around bOMb with its outer letters deleted (after shelling

21d   Mean to catch on very soon? (7)
TONIGHT:  Mean or stingy containing (to catch) ON from the clue 

23d   Colour I call 'smeared' (5)
LILAC:  An anagram (smeared) of I CALL 

25d   A crowd, they say, dispersed there (5)
THREE:  An anagram (dispersed) of THERE 

26d   Accomplishment walkers discussed? (4)
FEAT:  A homophone (discussed) of parts of the body used for walking 


Thanks to today’s setter for a very enjoyable solve.  The presence of so many great clues in this puzzle made it impossible to pick a favourite.  Highlights for me included 12a for its cleverly disguised anagram, the smoothness of 19a and 29a, the well-hidden lurker in 1d, the reversed use of Usual Suspects in 3d and 14d, and the clever definition in 25d.  Which clues did you like best?


The Quick Crossword pun:  NUKE + HASSLE = NEWCASTLE

67 comments on “DT 29253

  1. Great one today , *****, full of ingenuity and smiles . Difficult choice but will go for 1A as favourite .
    Thanks Mr K and well done to the Setter , more please .

  2. What a cracking good puzzle for a damp Tuesday morning. I can only echo our blogger’s thoughts about the overall quality of the clues. Trying to pick a winner is virtually impossible, but I will go for 25d for its brevity.

    Congratulations to our setter for a fine crossword and many thanks to Mr K for an equally good blog.

  3. Wow, I thoroughly enjoyed this very originally and imaginatively clued puzzle. Six months ago I wouldn’t have been able to solve it but this blog has taught me so much, though still loads to learn.
    I wasn’t able to parse 15a but it had to be, and that along with my LOI, the pesky but very good 26d were my only problems.
    Hard to pick a podium so I’ll go the amusing 6a and the clever 25d as joint favourites.
    2.5/ 4*
    Many thanks to the setter and to Mr K for his usual meticulous review.

  4. 2.5*/4*. Medium-ish difficulty and very enjoyable. I would have given more than 4* for enjoyment except for the vague boy in 2d and the grammatical error in 5d, which should read “your and my …”

    25d was my favourite with 1a & 26d also on the podium.

    Many thanks to Messrs R & K.

    P.S. I can recommend today’s Toughie from our very own Silvanus.

    1. In a cryptic clue/answer, is a boy with the four-letter name ?A?L really all that “vague”?

  5. Thanks to the setter and Mr Kitty for the review and hints. A very enjoyable puzzle, not too tricky, full of humour, and very well clued. Favourite was 11d, which made me laugh. Was 2*/4* for me.

  6. That was a delightfully lighthearted load of fun. So many ingenious clues that it ‘s hard to select an overall Fav but I particularly liked 1a, 15a and 11d. Thank you Mysteron (wonder who you are?) and MrK.

  7. I agree with others that this was an entertaining and well clued puzzle. I needed Mr. K to explain my answer to 18d as I kept wanting to make it an anagram of “time twice” which didn’t work once I had 21a in. I can’t see what my problem was now as it’s obvious – I must have developed a blind spot.

    Too many good ones to pick a favourite, but perhaps if I’m pushed – 1a.

    Many thanks to the setter and to Mr. K for his (as usual) entertaining blog.

  8. I thought that this was an excellent puzzle, pitched at just the right level with lots of humour. Thanks to the setter and our nomadic reviewer.
    The only downside in my view, other than RD’s quibble about the grammar in 5d with which I agree, is that 10 anagrams are too many. The Telegraph used to have guidelines limiting the number of anagrams to 6 per crossword but these now seem to have fallen by the wayside.
    My podium selections were 1a, 8d and 25d.

  9. A very pleasant and enjoyable Tuesday puzzle completed at a gallop – 2.5*/3.5*.
    Candidates for favourite – 1a, 8d, and 25d – and the winner is 1a.
    Thanks to the setter and Mr K.
    Ditto to RD’s PS on today’s accessible, and dare I say somewhat quirky, Silvanus Toughie.

  10. A very good puzzle with lots to admire. My favourite was, like others, 1a with 3d and 27a as runners up. Water is certainly something our Australian friends need at the moment.
    Referring to Mr K’s mnemonic, science does not disprove it: in full it is “ I before E except after C when the sound is E”. Nevertheless, thanks to him and to our setter.

  11. **/****. Splendid puzzle finished in my home office at daft o’clock because of jet lag. My favourite from many good clues was 25d. Thanks to all.

  12. I do like a humorous puzzle and this one elicited many smiles along with some fine examples of the art of setting.
    Podium places galore but I guess that 1a set the tone and deserves top marks.

    Thanks to our setter – hope you pop in – and to Mr K for another excellent review.
    What a good day in crosswordland with this joyous ‘back-pager’ followed by our own Silvanus in the Toughie slot – it doesn’t get much better than that!

  13. Fully agree that this was a well clued offering that despite being pretty straightforward was nevertheless a thoroughly enjoyable solve. Loved the first two across but 15a was my COTD having studied it many years ago for A Level English.

  14. Quite a lot of anagrams, but despite that, a very enjoyable puzzle. 2*/4*.

    Many thanks to the setter, and to Mr K.

  15. A nice puzzle. Very enjoyable and a 3*\4* as it took some to solve. Liked 6A and 11D. Thanks to all.

  16. Didn’t notice about the anagrams but thought there were a lot of homophones.
    That didn’t deter me from enjoying this great crossword.
    Favourite is 25d.
    Thanks to the setter and to Mr K for the review.

  17. Agree with all of the above, a super puzzle if a little quirky in places. Best clues for me were 1a and 11a. Took quite a while parse the ’in’ from 14d which was probably the weakest clue today.
    Thx to all

    1. Totally agree Brian. 14 d was one of the poorest clues I have ever encountered. Overall quite easy but unenjoyable.

      1. Welcome to the blog, Tony.

        Why do you think that 14a is a poor clue? The wordplay and definition are both accurate, and the surface reading is OK.

        1. Yes Mr K, I absolutely agree with you. 14d is an excellent clue – and it just goes to show that opinions are very different from technical facts.

  18. Good afternoon, Mr K, and thank you for your splendid blog.

    Mnemonic is a class misspell – as is mispell (oh, I had to) – people often pronounce it ‘menomic’.

    As you know, the prefix ‘a’ is used for meaning opposite, eg atypical and asymmetric. Amnesia (lose your memory) is therefore the opposite of memory, ie lose the a. So, the mne of amnesia, which you know as it’s sounded out, begins mnemonic. The rest is straightforward (if it isn’t then let me know)

    A mnemonic is a memory aid and, ironically, you don’t pronounce the m (for memory).

    The ‘i before e except after c’ rule is rubbish on its own as thousands of words break the rule. However, if this line followed it….’’as long as the sound is a long e (ie ee)’’ then it’s a pearler as the list gets reduced to the following ‘Filthy Five’ high-frequency law-breakers:



      1. I can’t access it but Species is the only high-frequency one that is pronounced with a long e.

        So, the rule is a goodie if the ‘as long as the sound is a long e’ is added.

        This joyous language of ours must be a hoot for people whose native tongue is non-English.

        For example, there are 13 ways to spell the sound ‘shn’ at the end of a word. Thirteen?

        Madness, I tell you. Madness.

        1. In modern greek there are 6 ways to spell the sound “i” (as in “sit”). In ancient greek (pre Alexander the Great’s conquest of the then known world) they were all pronounced differently. Now that’s madness!

          1. There are 9 ways to pronounce ‘ough’ and 9 ways to spell the sound ij and ij isn’t one of them!

            Deep joy.

        2. GHOTI = FISH – the ‘F’ sound in cough, the ‘I’ sound in women. and the ‘sh’ sound in station.

          1. Wasn’t that GBS? He was, if I remember correctly, a proponent of Esperanto and even developed his own dictionary, called the Shavian dictionary. Quite an eccentric I believe.

      2. That’s consistent with the Chambers Android app, which returns 226 matches for the pattern *cei* and the maximum displayed number of 400+ for *cie*.

    1. Oh dear – now my brain hurts. :sad:
      My spelling is pretty good most of the time except occasionally when the letters wobble – thank you A. A. Milne.
      There are words that I know I can’t spell so I look them up.
      Simple! :smile:

      1. Not ashamed to admit I often don’t fill in the ie/ei bit of an answer until I solve the checker thinking ‘that could be an e or an i’ a bit like soduko [can’t spell that either, apparently]

        1. Is this any good for the spelling of Sudoku, Roy(al Mail)?

          Did Su do Ku in the Sudoku showdown?

          (Goodness knows who Ku is)

      1. I am here to serve, Mr K.

        You say that you will test it….are you a teacher?

        I’ve tried to look up your profile in the ‘Bleet The Moggers’ section but to no avail.

        1. Sadly I don’t have access to a class of students who could serve as test subjects. By “test it”, I meant that I will see if it helps me remember how to spell mnemonic the next time it comes up (assuming that I remember that I have a mnemonic for it stored away.)

  19. Thoroughly enjoyable puzzle and thanks to setter and Mr K.
    Brought a lot of needed smiles whilst watching England trying bowl out South Africa in the 2nd test

  20. I’ll have to rate this as very mild but quite enjoyable, as it only took about half my bus ride to solve. But I do not criticise the setter as the clues were mostly well – written, technically fine and included some good humour. I’ll pick 14d as my favourite because it stymied me for a short while – mainly because I convinced myself that the “story” in the clue had to be TALE in the answer, but it wasn’t. I do have one little nit-picking quibble with 17a. Is the “male” really necessary? Surely “bird” alone, without specifying its gender, is enough of a trigger in this unexacting lurker clue. I don’t think even novice solvers need double/belt-and-braces indicators like this. 1.5* / 3*

  21. Great puzzle. Difficult to choose a favourite so I will go with Mr K’s selection. My thanks to him and the setter who I hope will be giving us more pleasure in the near future.

  22. Very enjoyable, with a few twists and turns as Mr K says. Needed the hint to fully justify 14d. Thanks to all.

  23. Mr K. Regading a mnemonic for its own spelling, here’s how I’ve always remembered it: Spell it exactly how it sounds, and then stick an M at the front. Any use?

  24. What a joy! Hits all the right spots on a depressing day and I like quirky. **/****
    What I liked was that when I found an inroad into a corner the rest quickly followed. Favourites in order of appearance across 15,27 and down 4, 8, 11 and 25. Last three in 7d 13a and 11d in that order. Thanks setter. Please expose yourself. Thanks Mr K for further amusement.

  25. Agreed, a very friendly puzzle for this cool, sunny day. My only holdup was in the NE corner, 11d and 13a we’re both bung ins; never heard of “plod” for copper and can’t imagine what I’d think if someone called me “petal”!
    Fave was without doubt 1a, but 27a is also due honourable mention, lovely word, say it again!
    Thanks to you setter for the fun and Mr. K for unravelling a few for me.

      1. Aha, I’m only slightly acquainted with Enid Blyton. She wasn’t on our radar in Jamaica so my only knowledge of her was peripherally as an adult!

        1. Plod is a fairly general colloquialism for a PC. I’ve never read the Noddy books – in fact I didn’t know it came from Blyton.

  26. Another enjoyable puzzle, either I’m getting better or we’re being spoiled ! However as with Walkerbob 14d was un 14d to me too.
    Favs for making me chuckle 1a and 6a
    Thanks to the setter and Mr K

  27. 14d was our last one to get sorted as we convinced ourselves that ‘story’ had to give us ‘tale’ until we could not make that work.
    A really good fun puzzle for us.
    Thanks Mr Ron and Mr K.

  28. A very enjoyable puzzle for a drizzly Tuesday evening that cheered me up no end.
    I found this at the level (for me) that was intriguing but solvable with application,,, yea!!
    Many thanks to setter & MrK for review

  29. Sitting in an LA hotel room doing this one with our Son doing it simultaneously in the UK and communicating about it by Whatsapp (The wonders of the modern world). Having just finished in the NE corner, I wrote to hime that this was a great example of how a puzzle need not be hard to be entertaining
    I awarded it a **/*** before changing that to **/****

    Thanks the ray of light that is our setter today and to Mr K (also a ray of light) who’s comments I completely agree with.

  30. Oh – this was one that I found more difficult than everyone else did, by the sound of it.
    We have a house full of people, dust, mess and NOISE (yes – I’m shouting otherwise I can’t hear myself think – that’s my excuse for finding it trickier than the rest of you) – maybe we should have put up with our old bathroom! :sad:
    With the benefit of hindsight (and now all blissfully quiet) this wasn’t too tricky and was hugely enjoyable.
    My favourite was 1a but there were lots of other good clues but my brain is full of dust so . . .
    With thanks to the setter (I suspect X-Type) and to Mr K.

    1. X-Type? Surely not, I think I had huge problems with him last time. I’m getting forgetful.

  31. Late again but I agree with the almost unanimous appreciation that this puzzle has earned. It took a little while for the last few pennies to drop but 14d and 26d fell eventually, 14 with a grin and 26 with a doubt as to what was the definition and what was the homophone.12 a and 21d share my podium today with a close pack of most of the rest of the clues just behind.
    I am going to have a go at Silvanus’ Toughie where I have just had biggest laugh of 2020 with 16a what a delightful anagram!
    Thanks to Mr. K and setter for a cracking blog and puzzle today.

  32. Very enjoyable puzzle! A good spread of anagrams (full and part), lurkers and homophones opened up the grid. Many favourite candidates but I’ve gone for 1a and 25d. 🦇

  33. One of the drawbacks of commenting late is that it has all been said before. Favourite 1a. Thanks to the setter and Mr K.

  34. I enjoyed this and found it quite challenging. My only complaint is about 11d, plod in my opinion is pejorative and is unnecessary.

    1. Hi, Please don’t concern yourself I am an explod and very proud of the fact. Solved the clue with wry smile and moved on.
      Yes my name implies ex navy. I’m that too, but don’t take offence at the inferences to tar either.

  35. This was my kind of puzzle. Really enjoyable and a perfect accompaniment to morning coffee. Can’t believe the lack of support for 27a I just love the word, and how the clue got there well I chuckled which at that time of that morning coursed a couple of eye brows to raise. Thanks to all and Mr K for filling in a couple of “ I know it is but”s.

    1. I think the kids would say OMG Spellchecker malfunction. It would CAUSE some spelling tests!!!!

    1. Yes, Mr K and my goodself bagged a double-strike in the December competition, snatching bronze and silver!

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