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DT 29270

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 29270

Hints and tips by Earl Tolloller

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ***

There is no food whatsoever in todays puzzle but we get two goes drinking sensible alcohol and we get to bowl at ninepins while listening to hymns, operas and a poor musical from the eighties. Tim Vine also drops in with an example of one of his gags.  It was nice to meet up with the usual suspects at THE Bridge on Saturday afternoon and to chat away about anything and everything. See you all next year.

As for the puzzle – Very Mondayish

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a    Plant imitation jewel (8)
SHAMROCK: A synonym of imitation is followed by a slang term for a large flashy jewel

5a    Some brief is called in relating to financial matters (6)
FISCAL: The answer lies hidden within the words of the clue. The word some tells us so

10a    Street band likes playing, giving pleasure (4,3,8)

11a    Withdraw religious education pamphlet (7)
RETRACT: The abbreviation for Religious Education is followed by a pamphlet usually of a religious nature

12a    Suggest operation in writing (7)
PROPOSE: The abbreviation for operation sits nicely inside a purple piece of writing

13a    Conservative with round middle is source of jokes (8)
COMEDIAN: The abbreviation for Conservative is followed by the roundest of letters and a term referring to the centre of something

15a    Business rated badly (5)
TRADE: Anagram (badly) of RATED

18a    Former monarch and husband rejected hair dye (5)
HENNA: A former queen and the abbreviation for Husband are all reversed (rejected)

20a    Get beaten by mug, be humiliated (4,4)
LOSE FACE: A word meaning to fail to win a game or contest is followed by a mug. Not a vessel but a part of one’s head

23a    Broadcasting organisation in King’s Cross, say (7)
STATION: A double definition The first being the BBC

25a    Finish with awfully sore back (7)
ENDORSE: A synonym of finish is followed by an anagram (awfully) of SORE

26a    Even leading may be child’s play (15)
STRAIGHTFORWARD: Two synonyms are required here. One for even and one for leading. I rather like the definition here which together with the answer perfectly describe Monday’s puzzles

27a    Difficult question from guy by river (6)
TEASER: This guy is not a human being. It is a verb meaning to make fun of or ridicule It sits before the abbreviation for river

28a    Short joke about English ship (3-5)
ONE-LINER: One of our two words for about is followed by the abbreviation for English and a type of large cruise liner offering ghastly Butlin’s at sea holidays. Not for me they don’t. (See page 7)

“I saw this bloke chatting-up a cheetah and I thought: ‘He’s trying to pull a fast one.'”


1d    Bribe reserve with gold nuggets, initially (6)
SUBORN: A shortened form of deputy is followed by heraldic gold and the initial letter of nuggets

2d    One representing another sister ringing old employer, perhaps (5,4)
AGENT NOUN: A person who represents the interests of another is followed by a member of a convent which surrounds the abbreviation for old. Suggestions as to what should be underlined as the definition are invited.

3d    All are crazy about English beer (4,3)
REAL ALE: The abbreviation for English together with an anagram (crazy) of ALL ARE will give my favourite drink (and raw milk) Oh the joy it brings. My favourite ever was Ruddles County when it was brewed at The Ruddles Brewery in Rutland. It was the tastiest of beers which my mate reckoned tasted like trees.  Greene Kings Ruddles Counterfeit sold today is a poor imitation.



4d    Greek character’s dropped off French wine for trainee (5)
CADET: Begin with a French white wine made at the western end of the Loire Valley from the Melon de Bourgogne grape. Now remove the twelfth letter of the Greek alphabet along with the apostrophe S

6d    Hymn trendy trio jazzed up after time (7)
INTROIT: A three part charade. 1. A word meaning trendy. 2. The abbreviation for time. 3. An anagram (jazzed up) of TRIO. Arrange as per the instructions in the clue

7d    Instrument in hermit’s place, nothing in addition (5)
CELLO: A small room that may be inhabited by a hermit is followed by the letter that looks like nothing when written as a zero

8d    Audience member somehow riles number inside (8)
LISTENER: A three-letter number (you only have four to choose from) sits nicely inside an anagram (somehow) of RILES

9d    Exclude workers in tightly-fitting trousers (3,5)
SKI PANTS: A word meaning to exclude or omit is followed y rather a lot of insect workers

14d    A hotline out of order in comic opera (8)
IOLANTHE: Anagram (out of order) of A HOTLINE will provide a Gilbert and Sullivan opera sub-titled The Peer and The Peri

16d    Get to know when sure (9)
ASCERTAIN: A regular substitute for the word when is followed by a word which means absolutely sure

17d    Musical group that’s needed for board meeting? (5,3)
CHESS SET: A best forgotten musical from the eighties is followed by group of similar items or like minded people. The answer is used to play a board game

19d    Stupid offence, one committed by an employee at the start (7)
ASININE: A moral offence together with the letter that looks like the number one sits inside the word AN from the clue. All of this is followed by the initial letter of the word employee

21d    Wild about editor’s form of government? (7)
FEDERAL: A word meaning wild typically referring to once domesticated animals has the abbreviation for editor inserted.

22d    Guide showing king round centre of Aden (6)
LEADER: A tragic Shakespearean king sits around the central letters of the word Aden

24d    Main artery forming part of that road heading north (5)
AORTA: The answer lies hidden within the words of the clue. The words part of tell us so. The words heading north tell us that it is reversed. The words main artery take away the need to read any further into the clue.

25d    Petite female engulfed by rising river (5)
ELFIN: We had a river earlier at 27 across which only asked for the abbreviation of the word river. In this clue we need an actual river. Not a titchy river like the Itchen here in Long Itchington. We need the worlds longest river which we stand on its head (rising) and insert the abbreviation for female. I was once one of these

The Quick Crossword pun: rain+beaux=rainbows

56 comments on “DT 29270

  1. A very 26a Monday for me, easily completed in */** time, with just the NW offering any resistance. I haven’t heard the term in 2d before, I am darn sure we didn’t have those when I went to skool.

    I love the pic of the wide-necked bottle in 3d, MP. I’d forgotten about those!

    Many thanks to the setter and MP.

  2. Definitely 26a – a fairly average back pager presumably not set by the man with two puns as we only have one today

    Thanks to the Monday Mysteron and whoever MP is channelling this week

  3. I whipped through this pretty quickly but found it quite enjoyable (*/***). The NW was a little trickier and the best clue was 1d. Thanks to the noble provider of the hints and the compiler.

  4. I agree with a rating of **/***. A nice puzzle for a nice sunny day here.
    I think the E from English is required to complete the beer in 3d.
    Thanks to setter and to MP.

  5. Certainly Monday and not too challenging even for me.Whilst 2d. Was obvious l had never heard of it.Thankyou to setter and M.P.

  6. This is another fine start for the week, even at quite an advanced age learnt some new words 5d and 2d, thanks to Roget. Lots of clues to like but favourites for me 9d and 12a. Many thanks to Miffypops and Setter.

  7. I’ll go with the others – a 26A giving a 1.5/3 for me.7A was a new word for me but being an opera fan 14D was also 26A (not that we purists count G&S as true opera ;-). Thanks to MP and setter.

    1. You’re right re G&S but I still love them all; must find my copy of 14d and play it again.

  8. Gentle and reasonably enjoyable but no stand out favourite. I actually found Umber’s offering in the Rookie more enjoyable.
    Thanks to Mr Ron and MP.

  9. I like to think I know a pronoun from a preposition but I’d never heard of a 2d…but guessed from the wordplay. Needless to say I hadn’t heard of the opera either but that was obviously clued. The pedantic in me thinks 9d would read better as “Excludes worker in tightly fitting trousers”….but I may be wrong!
    No particular favourites, pretty 26a.
    Many thanks to the setter and to MP for his usual fun review.

  10. Quite a 26a puzzle to start off the back-pager week. Nothing to set the nags off to the hills in a mad frenzy – but I confess to checking my answer for 2d as I can’t for the life of me remember having heard of (or used) the term before. So, another one for the grey matter vault that I’ll probably fail to retrieve at any point. No ticks by any of the clues today I’m afraid.

    Thanks to the Monday Mr Ron for the puzzle and to the elfin one for his review.

    It was good to meet up with friends on Saturday – an enjoyable day :smile:

  11. Nothing to write home about but a pleasant enough challenge with the SW being last to fall. Not sure about 14d G & S product qualifying as opera. 2d new to me but it had to be. No Fav(s) today. Thank you Mysteron and MP.

  12. 2d underline is “employer”. Example work becomes worker and employ becomes employer when turned into agent noun

  13. Unlike others I found this a wee bit trickier than recent Monday offerings. Completion took a shade over *** time chiefly due to being unfamiliar with both 2 & 6d + the 10a anagram taking an age for the penny to drop. No particular favourites today.
    Thanks to MP & to the setter. Now back to the 6 remaining clues in the SE corner of Sunday’s Dada prize crossword…….

  14. Never heard of an agent noun either and thanks to Richard Morris for the explanation. Other than that a gentle workout for a Monday as is usually the case.

  15. An enjoyable solve today although I did need to check the hints for a couple. Nevertheless, a most enjoyable Monday challenge. My COTD is 17d mainly because it made me go through a list of all the musical groups I could recall – great diversion. Also, an honourable mention for 21d.

    I have never heard of 2d either. I had parsed the answer but did not believe it so it went in when I had all the pointers. Thanks to Richard, I now have a new fact in the database of the grey matter. Actually, I seem to have a dim distant memory of being told about it at school.

    Many thanks to the setter and the ET for the hints.

    Shrewsbury came back from 2-0 to hold the great Liverpool to a draw! Anfield, here we come! Go you Shrews!

  16. Another puzzle encouraging me to think I may not be reverting to childhood yet. But then …. It seems 2d is a linguistic term rather than a good old English grammar term we were driven through at school in the 50s and 60s.
    No favourites today as I was so amazed at knowing the answers I couldn’t think about the cleverness or otherwise of the clues.

    Thanks to ET and the setter.

    I will believe I’m not reverting to childhood when I complete a Dada, a Giovanni, and a Ray T in a week.

  17. I found this a gentle introduction to the week although I wasn’t familiar with guy as a verb in 27a.

  18. Did better with this than I have been doing recently.
    Thanks to Miffypops and to the setter

  19. This would have been */*** had it not been for the NW which turned it into 1.5. I thought I had 4d but would not insert until I had all of the checkers. Last ones in all down clues 1 2 and 4. I did not know 2d and was interested to read the explanation. Now makes perfect sense. I had 1d in the back of my head but had to dig deep for the first three letters. Thanks MP for the parsing of 4d. I could only think of Mouton Cadet which was clearly wrong. Lucky the synonym of trainer was easy to spot. Favourites 16 21 and 22d. Thanks Setter. I will have to go back to yesterday’s Dada which was certainly not 26a but more of a 27..

  20. Put in chess men for 17d but couldn’t think of a 15 letter child’s game beggining with M. So had a Rethink!

  21. 2d and 6d were pencilled in until I checked the blog and it turns out I was correct. Thanks to Earl for the blog and Richard for reminding me of English lessons of yore. the rest was 26a although I tried to justify C(L)ARET as a French wine sans trainee but couldn’t find the Greek to drop! I would recommend a look at Umber’s latest rookie too.
    Thanks to MP and setter.

  22. Lovely start to the week **/**** 😃 I know that it was 26a but lots of answers made me smile 😜 Favourites were 1a and 2d 🤗
    Thanks to the Setter and to MP

  23. Nothing to frighten the horses today except for 2d which is 19d!!
    Did like 1d and 10a however.
    Thx to all

  24. Enjoyed this immensely! Which means it was within my scope of solvability!
    I didn’t know 2d but very well clued; the understanding was a little harder. I also didn’t know the musical, I don’t imagine it was a huge hit.
    Fave was 14d, but 10a runs close behind. There was lots to like.
    Thanks to our Monday setter and the Earl for his entertaining review.

    1. I’m sure you would know some of the music. I Know Him So Well sung as a duet by Elaine Paige and Barbara Dickson very famous. The musical was written by one of the Abba chaps and Tim Rice.

      Thanks to all for a good puzzle. Me too had never heard of 2d.

  25. An agent, literally, is one who performs an action. So presumably an agent noun is a grammatical term for someone who performs an action.

  26. I thought this was very difficult, 2d and 1a eluded me.
    Never on wavelength with this at all, struggled all the way.
    Thanks all

  27. Started this at lunchtime then had to dash off to Addenbrookes halfway through. Driving home 1a suddenly hit me and when I had put it in everything fell into place. Very satisfying. Many thanks to all. PS my husband is very superior about grammar but 2d foxed him! Not in any of our reference books. However, Alexa knew!

  28. I’d never heard of Earl Tolloller before today. I had to google him. It said he was a “ brainless and stuffy” character. I don’t believe for one minute that that’s a fair representation of Miffypops. Your pseudonym helped me with 14d though as it made the anagram rather easy to work out. Many thanks to the setter and to MP. I trust that everyone has recovered from the birthday bash. I am slowly recovering from Burn’s Night.

        1. Thanks, Florence — it was only seeing your reply the following day that made me spot the “Chinese Burns” in Earl’s comment.

          No idea how I cope with crossword clues.

  29. I’m with Hoofit on this one. Even though most of it was 26a I’d never heard of 1d,2d or 6d and struggled to parse 4d and 13a so if that’s completely 26a I’m a Dutchman. Having said that that I did get all the answers from the clues and I did enjoy the challenge. We have different sorts of skittles in Leicestershire, table skittles where the balls are cheese shaped and long alley where the balls are barrel shaped. Every day’s a school day. Favourite 3d because that’s what I drink and 10a because that’s what I do on a Wednesday evening. Many thanks to the setter and MP.

  30. P.s. nice to get a visit from Vivian Stanshall and Neil Innes et al. If you want a laugh Google Neil Innes protest song. Genius.

  31. Unlike most people, I found this at least a *** for difficulty.

    Never heard of 10a, 1d, 2d, 6d, 14d which didn’t help. The synonym for guy in 27a was also new to me. 7d – I always thought a prisoner would inhabit a cell, rather than a hermit.

    Over 25 years of doing the DT cryptic crossword and I can still have half a dozen new words/phrases etc. in one crossword.

    Apart from needing the hint for 27a, I managed to solve everything else even if I was nonplussed on several clues until I saw the hints.

    Still an enjoyable crossword. Thanks to all.

  32. Thanks, Earl, and the setter: completed with just a few revealed letters, a little electronic assistance, and checking some answers in the hints above before committing to them.

    I liked the musical group in 17d, and my favourite (possibly controversially) was 2d.

    I learnt 2d from Susie Dent’s frequent mentions of it on Countdown when declining a contestant’s word. For instance, there’s the verb ‘to hint’, so one might use ‘hinter’ for ‘one who hints’ — but, it turns out, the dictionary used doesn’t list many 2ds, and when checked ‘hinter’ it isn’t in. Repeat for various other 2ds contestants try in other episodes, and soon Richard Whitely was labelling any 2d as “risky”.

    Slightly different to Richard Morris, I’d underline “employer, perhaps”, as it’s a definition by example: ‘employer’ is merely an example of a 2d.

    Conversely, I’d never heard of 1d, but the wordplay was pretty insistent it must exist. And there was another wine in 4d which I didn’t know even once I’d got the answer (so thank you to Earl for providing the grape details for looking it up).

    One of my favourite Tim Vine jokes was in the middle of his set when he silently reaches into his pocket, pulls out a bin bag (the kind you put in your kitchen bin), points at it as it drifts towards the floor, then just says 28a (as two words). The perfect minimalist (and self-referential) gag.

  33. Hmmm – not that 26a for me today – got seriously held up in the top left corner.
    Before I go on at length about the crossword I need to apologise to anyone who was anywhere near me on Saturday at the ‘do’ at the Bridge House – BD, CS, Weekend Wanda, shropshirelad, Heno, MP, DT and Mrs DT and anyone I’ve missed out – I’m now bug ridden (just a cold but quite a snotty one) so sorry from me when you start sneezing – it’s all my fault. :rose:
    I’d never heard of 1 or 2d so didn’t have any starting letters for that corner.
    I always forget about the 10a expression.
    I thought it was a slightly strange mixture of the very 26a and a few rather less so.
    Did like 18a.
    Thanks to today’s setter and to MP.
    I spent ages trying to find a second Quickie Pun. :roll:

  34. Have not enjoyed this at all. What happened to gentle Mondays with some wit and sparkle? Found this turgid, and much harder than many recent Toughies. Rufus? Much missed! It comes to something when our Helper cannot parse a clue as per 2d.

  35. I’d not heard of 2d, either – must be a new expression since I read English at uni in the early 60s! But otherwise enjoyable – thanks to all!

  36. Do we need the concept of an agent noun? I think not. Where do we go to have phrases stricken from English?

    1. It’s a pattern in England that the word somebody who does X is (often) ‘Xer’: shop — shopper; commute — commuter; catch — catcher; build — builder; swim — swimmer; and so on.

      Given that concept exists, it’s reasonable for linguists to want a label for it. Why do you object to the existence of a niche word, for those who find it useful?

      Maybe people who have need for the term should use it themselves but not tell anybody else? Then it’d be a secret agent noun …

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