DT 29263 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 29263 (Hints)

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 29263 (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 from Big Dave follow.


1a    Perfectionist‘s fine American pickle (7)
F(ine) followed by a two-letter American and a pickle or predicament

5a    Unevenly coloured 25 dish: no cover on top? (7)
A dish that is 25a followed by an adjective meaning with no cover on the top of the head


9a    Hands down, it’s a revolution! (9)
A not-very-good cryptic definition of “a sideways somersault with arms and legs extended” as Chambers puts it

12a    Hormone from kidneys — there’s a row about that (9)
An adjective meaning from the kidneys goes inside the A from the clue and a row or noise

20a    Failing to supply a bouquet? (9)
A weak cryptic definition of an adjective meaning having no smell

25a    Criminal eats King Edward, initially cooked thus? (5)
An adjective meaning criminal around (eats) K(ing) and the initial letter of E[dward]

27a    Canal’s entrance in eastern Lahore collapsed (7)
E(astern) followed by an anagram (collapsed) of LAHORE

28a    Revolutionary soldier given no wine shunned (7)
The reversal of an American soldier is followed by NO from the clue and a type of wine


1d    Part of spoof actually for real (7)
Hidden (part of) inside the clue

2d    Paddy right to enter bar (5)
A fit of bad temper is derived by putting R(ight) inside a verb meaning to bar or prevent

5d    Quietly coming upon exotic arboreal creature (5,4)
The musical notation for quietly followed by an anagram (exotic) of ARBOREAL

7d    One backing search for swimmer (9)
A word meaning someone who backs a theatrical production is followed by a verb meaning to search

8d    River claims dwelling: is it international climate warming? (7)
Put a river famous for its jolly miller (There was a Jolly Miller once, Lived on the River …) around some temporary accommodation

16d    Protestant marching from mountains in state (9)
Put some mountains inside a Middle-Eastern state

19d    Cut grass hides bird without tail (7)
Some grass goes around a waddling bird without its final letter (tail)

24d    Previous leader in monastery (5)
Two definitions

With a puzzle like this it’s difficult to decide for which clues to provide hints – I’ve done my best but please remember I am only the messenger!

The Crossword Club is now open.

Could new readers please read the Welcome post and the FAQ before posting comments or asking questions about the site.

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!

Please read these instructions carefully – they are not subject to debate or discussion. Offending comments may be redacted or, in extreme cases, deleted. In all cases the administrator’s decision is final.

If you don’t understand, or don’t wish to comply with, the conventions for commenting on weekend prize puzzles then save yourself (and me) a lot of trouble and don’t leave a comment.

The Quick Crossword pun: ardour+snails=hard as nails

72 comments on “DT 29263 (Hints)

  1. A very straightforward but enjoyable puzzle (**/****), which was a great relief after yesterday’s struggle. My favourite clue was 5d, a good 3xample of misdirection. Thanks to BD for the hints and to the setter.

  2. I agree with Chriscross that this was very straightforward, no holdups. Last two in in the top left for no particular reason other than that I needed the checkers.

    Many thanks to BD for the early blog and the setter,

  3. I found this relatively easy – the top half was completed quite quickly and then the bottom half gradually fell into place. 28a made me groan.

    I never cease to be in awe at the ingenuity of the compilers. 13a was very impressive.

    1. Steady start to the weekend completed without help, result, well for me anyway.


      Thanks to the setter and fingers crossed for an Amazon voucher!

    1. Excellent crossword, thoroughly enjoyable if not overly taxing. I especially liked 20a, 5a and 26a, all clever and very well clued.
      I see the DT has still not fixed the prize puzzle email link. Can it really be that difficult??
      Thx to all

      1. DT are conducting end user testing of their new digital app at the moment. They expect that to take a week but I’d expect four weeks or more. Then they need to fix all the bugs that the user group finds and package it up for release. So you might not see anything for a couple of months at least.

          1. I was turned down when I applied to test it. 40 years in IT starting as a programmer and finishing as a project manager!

      1. Ah – think I must have seen the updated pic as I was just about to reply to Brian and tell him that he was wrong. I’m glad that I waited to tell him off!

    2. I don’t want to land in hot water, but I believe “skewbald” is specific but the answer is not and can include the pic. Is there anyone who can say?

      1. Hi Merusa, my BRB suggests it’s the other way round, ie the picture’s right while skewbald is not specific. Can’t be more specific on a Saturday but I think you’ll understand.

  4. That was a lot of fun so I was sorry when it ended. There were a couple of sticking points in the NE but they soon succumbed. Initially considered Latin for 17a. 14d clever but the delivery was new to me. A trio of Favs – 5a, 20a and 26a. Thank you Mysteron and BD.

  5. Really enjoyable with lots of amusement and cleverness . It would be wrong of me to single out one clue as a favourite .
    Congratulations to the Setter and thanks to BD .

  6. Nice Saturday fare. I had some doubts about 8d but I think I have it straight in my mind now. 26a was my fave today. Thanks to BD and setter.
    Enjoy the Birthday Bash Next weekend. The closure of Kings Cross has prevented my attendance this year but will make every effort to attend another.

  7. Just the ticket after the trauma of yesterday’s Toughie – straightforward without being overly easy. An enjoyable solve in a shade under ** time with 26a my pick of the clues. Thanks to BD & to the setter

  8. 1.5*/3*. Light but enjoyable fare for a Saturday.

    I don’t think I’ve ever heard of 13a specifically, although I have often enjoyed its smaller relative.

    8d was my favourite with 20a & 26a joining it on the podium. 26a is a very good cryptic definition unlike the slightly iffy 9a.

    Many thanks to the setter and to BD.

    1. 13a – they’re known by a slightly different name in the West Indies, don’t know about the US. I had to look it up when I couldn’t make the anagram work.

  9. Like all the other commenters – a straightforward yet enjoyable puzzle. A 1.5/3.5 for me. Thanks to all.

  10. Not much I can add to earlier comments, other than to endorse their views. 5 and 26a were my co-favourites but 9a was ghastly.

    Many thanks to our setter for the fun and to BD.

  11. Compared to recent Saturdays, quite gentle with an appropriate amount of head scratching for completion at a gallop – 2*/3.5*.
    Candidates for favourite – 20a, 26a, 28a, and 7d – and the winner is 26a.
    Thanks to the setter and BD.

  12. Pleasant enough but not my favourite Saturday puzzle by a long way.
    The ending of 13a was new to me and required consultation with Mr Google, so much that I apparently didn’t know about the spiny lobster et al!

    No particular favourite but thanks to our setter and to BD for the club.

  13. A wonderful start to the crosswording week and I agree with all that has been said. It was most enjoyable and made up for yesterday. My COTD is 5d with an honourable mention for 26a.

    Many thanks to the setter and to BD for the hints, which I did not need today – unusual for me – but I did like reading them.

  14. Straightforward but likeable. Favourite clue 8d. Often dined on 13a while on holiday but 28a Octopus. Thank you setter and BD.

  15. Mostly all been said, but a very enjoyable accompaniment to our lunch in the Cambridge sunshine (well, in the conservatory not outside!). I was unhappy about 17a, should there not be an ‘h’ there somewhere? I liked 16d and 26a. Thanks to BD and the setter.

    1. Re:17a, there’s no need for an ‘h’; the BRB gives the expression under the second entry for the second word.

  16. Straightforward for a Saturday crossword with some interesting clues accompanied by a few rather off ones. 26a and 14d made me smile. Thanks to Big Dave and the setter. A good start to the weekend. Now to check the home made leek and potato soup with leeks just pulled screaming from the ground.

  17. For once completed except to check here and there, but not sure how 11a was justified. 12a was the favourite, with 14d close second. I can now finish off a few weekend jobs. Many thanks to BD as usual, and the setter of course!

  18. What a pain! I transferred my answers onto the DT puzzles site and found I got 12a wrong. I prefer my answer to that of the compiler 😒

  19. What a great start to my weekend. Thanks to setter and Big Dave. Very enjoyable, as I was able to complete without help. Favourites were 9a, 26a and 27a. Did struggle for a while with 13a as not familiar with that name. Thankfully I am not a 26a.

    1. Unfortunately for the past couple of years I have been a 26a! However I learn fascinating stuff from the World Service, almost worth the licence fee on its own except, at the moment, I don’t have to pay it. I’d almost pay up to not listen to the Today programme however! Bring back Brian Redhead and John Timpson, the professionals.

      1. Sadly not possible as they are both deceased. I stopped listening as soon as all the Brexit nonsense started but have recently recommenced.

        1. I find the problem is Weekend Wanda the presenters now, without exception, ask a question and then continually interrupt the person answering. They are often insufficiently intelligent on the subject. Actually Sarah Smith is quite refreshing, but the others are ghastly. You can probably guess I am now a ‘closet’ listener and just shout at my radio! The joys of being older and grumpier! I’ve taken to starting the DT crossword in bed first thing and then I don’t pay too much attention to the radio.

  20. Seemed rather straightforward for a Saturday puzzle. Rather too many anagrams and lurkers for my taste. I bet the spiny lobster is delicious though! I now understand from the above why I can’t send the puzzle in, very annoying. Thanks to all.

  21. One of the easier Saturday puzzles, although l needed the anagram at 13a. as l had not heard of the answer.Agree totally with Manders about World Service and recent Today presenters.

  22. Most seem to be agreed on favourites. I thought it very enjoyable. My favourites 5 20 and 26a which seem to be very popular. Do not share BD’s disdain of 9 and 20a. I like this sort of clue. Admittedly my gymnastic skill does not allow me to know whether the former is factually correct. Just realised I have 16a incorrect after one of the commentators pointed out there are two which fit.

      1. I assumed the answer included a four letter tree and the letter for oxygen. I didn’t see the play on words.

        1. I did too, but had a rethink when you said there was another option. That is when I realised we were looking for a five letter tree.

    1. I agree re acceptance of 9a and 20a and indeed there are several bloggers who like me chose the latter as a Fav but to each his/her own!

  23. Hugely enjoyable Saturday offering. The only thing I had to look up was 13a after I had made a word using my checking letters and the anagram letters. It looks French, but so did the word I knew. Off to do a bit of googling!
    I’m choosing 17a as fave, made me smile, but 26a was pretty close.
    Thanks to our Saturday setter and to BD for his hints and pics.

  24. Thoroughly enjoyed today’s – by which I mean I finished it on the Saturday rather than having to sleep on a few remaining clues and finishing on the Sunday. 17a last in


  25. I enjoyed this ! Having a heavy cold , I needed something doable.
    16d and 27a are among my best liked.
    Thanks to all concerned.

  26. A steady solve for an enjoyable entertaining puzzle with some good clues.
    Favs 12 & 20 ac
    Little more to add.
    Thanks to setter & BD for review

  27. :phew: What a week hence the long time since I last commented.
    I think it’s all been said by now – I was quite glad of a not-too-tricky one – I’m out of energy and needed something that didn’t rock the confidence too much.
    I enjoyed it – lots of fun clues – I must have seen similar to 9 and 26a before but they both took me a while. Dim, or what?
    I don’t have the energy to go back to the crossword to find the clues I particularly enjoyed so I’ll leave it at that and wish everyone a lovely evening and a very nice long sleep, which is what I need (after supper and wine of course!) Hurray! :smile:

    1. You are certainly not dim! I think it depends on how your mind works (your meaning all of us not just you personally), and that can change from day to day. Those two were straight in for me. 14d was also pretty obvious although I confess I have only been able to parse fully since I read the reference to cricket in these comments.

  28. I’m three quarters down my bottle of wine Kath so I’m ahead of you or maybe you don’t venture that far. I agree with the consensus about the puzzle seemed spot on to me. Hard to pick a favourite but I’ll go for 14d just to p**s off the non cricketers, I got it straight away, get into it, it”s great. Many thanks to the setter and BD.

  29. Very enjoyable, only hold-up was questioning around spelling for 12a, which then affected 8d. But good fun…

  30. Lovely! If I had to choose a favourite, it would be 14d, but many, many smiles today! Thx to all. 😋

  31. The easiest I’ve found a crossword in months — completed it in a single session, without internet access (sitting in a church hall kitchen, while the 7-year-old is in his ballet lesson).

    So thank you to the setter for pitching it perfectly: it’s a nice feeling to accomplish it. And thank you to Big Dave for explaining the first part of 7D.

    1A is my favourite. Additional comments will have to wait till after the deadline.

  32. All good until I got stuck in the south east corner although I’m not entirely sure why. I didn’t understand the parsing of 14d until I resorted to google. I really hate cricketing terms. I’ve never followed the game and have no interest in it so it’s annoying that crossword compilers all seem to be avid fans. On the upside I thought 9a was great – maybe those who didn’t like it understand my pain over cricket clues?

  33. Nice to have an easier one for a change. I got 14d but only appreciated the cricket term after reading above – drag. Not good especially as I’m watching the test match!

  34. One clue in this puzzle also appeared word for word in The Times prize puzzle of the same day. Strange

  35. Well this was easier than today’s that’s for sure! Fun to do and for once I’ll pick a fave and that is 14d.
    Thanks to the setter, and to BD for the hints.

  36. Woohoo! Started yesterday evening and finished in the car this morning with stinking hangover, oops, I mean fresh eyes (I wasn’t driving!). I’ll admit I had to cheat a bit to get 7d and I needed the hint for 16d. I got 8d from parsing “River claims dwelling” but I can’t see why it fits the clue. Likewise 15d- my dictionary doesn’t include the answer as a word. Favs were 17a and 5a. Thanks setter and hinter!

    1. An unusually good one for me, although I seem to have made the same error as a few others with 16a! Very enjoyable as well, however, there are two parsings I can’t get my head around; 7- the first half and 22- the reference to Son. I am assuming I have them right of course…

      1. Look up your first bit of 7d in the dictionary. You could also look up the first letter of 22d in a list of abbreviations!

  37. 2*/3*…..
    liked 8D ” river claims dwelling: is it international climate warming? (7) “

  38. I obtained and solved this one yesterday (Tues) and it wasn’t at all bad for a Sat Prize or even a general back-pager. 2d, is this a sheer coincidence or the (very early) winning clue in the DT January clue-writing competition? 2.5* / 3.5*

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