DT 29321 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 29321

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 29321

Hints and tips by The Mad Hatter

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ***

Good morning from the ghostly quiet of lockdown L I. Where not a creature is stirring as I write. No schoolchildren, no walkers, no horse riders, nobody fetching the daily paper. It’s blissfully quiet. Long may it continue.

Today’s puzzle fell into place as ever. Stick at it and all should be revealed. It was not as hard as last week’s RayT which had a solver friendly grid giving us most first letters. On a less solver friendly grid last Thursday’s puzzle would have qualified as a true Toughie.  It’s not a RayT this week so those of you with a morbid fear of RayT puzzles should be alright.

My solving process.

Read through all the across clues putting in what I can.

Read through the down clues putting in what I can. The checking letters from the across clues are of help.

Repeat until finished taking note of extra checkers with each pass.

This way I familiarise myself with all clues by re-reading at each pass.

I do not dwell over single clues. If it means nothing I move quickly on.

Should you require help, here are todays hints and tips

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a Bed lad made up in bag for pig (10)
SADDLEBACK: This modern British breed of domestic pig can be found hiding in a bag possibly used to store potatoes which also contains an anagram (made up) of BED LAD

6a It’s quiet in typical museum (4)
CALM: The answer lies hidden within the words of the clue indicated by the word in. If all else fails look for a lurker

10a Bill embraced by leader of China in region of that country (5)
MACAO: Place the abbreviation for a type of Bill inside a leader of China. One who died when ABBA were at number one in the charts with Dancing Queen. This chap once said “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step” Bear that in mind when attempting to solve Cryptic Crossword Puzzles or indeed any daunting task

11a Getting hold of top mathematician (9)
CAPTURING: Begin with a verb meaning to top or outdo. Add a geezer who worked at Bletchley Park and died listening to Doris Day’s Secret Love. The number one single at the time

12a Smooth sorceress with no time for quick snack? (8)
SANDWICH: A word meaning to smooth as one might with the surface of a piece of wood is followed by a sorceress minus the letter T, the abbreviation for time

13a Map-makers engaging chaps producing signs (5)
OMENS: The initials of the organisation that makes maps used by walkers in Britain contains (engages) a synonym of the word chaps

15a Fellow at the entrance about to provide label with ID (4,3)
NAME TAG: The chap who checks your ticket on arrival at a concert or sporting event can be reversed to make an identification label

17a Baseball player in jug (7)
PITCHER: The name given to the chap who throws the ball to the batsman in Baseball (rounders) is also the name of a large jug

19a Nelson maybe making short speech after end of skirmish (7)
HORATIO: Admiral Lord Nelson’s first name can be found by placing a short speech after the final letter of the word skirmish

21a One without false ideas about top people (7)
REALIST: A regular crosswordland word for about is followed by what is clued as top people. Split 1,4 they comprise of the people most prized for their celebrity. They are very busy at the moment having appeared at 10 across in yesterday’s Toughie.

22a Travel wearing metal cross (5)
TIGON: This crossbred animal can be found by placing a verb meaning travel inside a silvery white metal with the atomic number 50

24a Animal and I getting round in vehicle for holiday (8)
VACATION: Begin with an animal. Add the letter that looks like the number one. Add the roundest of letters. Place what you have inside a vehicle. The animal and the vehicle are similar to the boys, girls, men, women and rivers used every day by our esteemed setters. There to make us think.

27a Restaurant making money by lake (9)
BRASSERIE: A slang term for money sits next to one of The Great Lakes

28a Competent maiden making comeback as songstress (5)
MELBA: A synonym for competent together with the abbreviation for maiden (an over from which no score is made in cricket) is all reversed (making a comeback) to give the name of an Australian operatic songstress who died listening to Cab Calloway’s Minnie The Moocher in 1931

29a Aims to finish before start of supper (4)
ENDS: The easiest clue of the week. A word meaning the finish is followed by the initial letter of the word supper

30a Being afraid about the cover bird has been given (10)
FEATHERING: A word meaning being afraid of surrounds the word the which has been gifted to us by the setter.


1d Sport needing money getting nothing (4)
SUMO: An amount of money is followed by the letter that looks like the symbol for nothing

2d Eloquent speaker turning red with malice (9)
DECLAIMER: Anagram (turning) of RED with MALICE (remember this word. You will need it soon)

3d Silent actor excited Dolly (5)
LLOYD: An anagram (excited) of DOLLY will lead to a star of the silent screen, first names Harold Clayton. Mungo Jerry’s Baby Jump was playing as he passed away. It had just replaced Clive Dunn’s grandad at number one

4d Throwing poor actor out of former county town (7)
BUCKING: Find an old shire county and remove the last three letters of its county town. These three letters are also used to describe a poor actor

5d Old police sergeant involved in church work — retired from here? (3,4)
COP SHOP: The initial letters of old police sergeant sit inside the abbreviation for church and are followed by the abbreviation for opus (work) Put together and split 3,4 we get an affectionate term for where an old police sergeant may have worked

7d Female with spite putting male off (5)
ALICE: This female can be found by removing the abbreviation for male from a word meaning spite (see 2 down)

8d Law officer right to be included among ‘wise men’, say (10)
MAGISTRATE: Begin with a four-letter word for the three wise men of the orient. Add a word meaning to say or express something clearly which contains the abbreviation for right

9d What one likes, but another one would be very different! (3,2,3)
CUP OF TEA: What one likes would appear to what most solvers drink during the solve. This is used to express a complete difference to something else. Elgar Toughies? Not my 3,2,3.

14d Cutlery may be so negotiable (2,3,5)
ON THE TABLE: The place where cutlery is set out is also used to describe a deal as set before another and ready for negotiation

16d Big female bird with a head buried (8)
TITANESS: A small bird that is a regular garden visitor with the letter A from the clue capped off with a geographical headland or promontory

18d House I head — I love upsetting common folk (3,6)
HOI POLLOI: 1,2,3 – – 4,5 Once I caught a fish alive 6.
1 The abbreviation for house. 2. The letter I from the clue. 3 A dialect word meaning one’s head. (Definition number 2 in my online dictionary) – – 4. The letter I again from the clue. 5. The letter that looks like the love score in tennis. 6 reverse the letters at stages 4 and 5 (upsetting)

20d Penny’s face maybe when old boy introduces poetry (7)
OBVERSE: The abbreviation for old boy is followed by some lines of verse. Coins have two sides. This which in the UK shows the monarch and is often known as Heads and the reverse which might show anything and is known as tails

21d Most naughty one in run on street (7)
RACIEST: The letter that looks like the number one sits inside a competitive run which sits on the abbreviation for street. Naughtiest here might be most ribald

23d Van may have this protection behind (5)
GUARD: Another word for Van which begins with Van needs a form of protection to complete it.

25d Pet avoiding river in Greek valley (5)
TEMPE: This pet is not of the domestic variety although it can be a domestic or a fit of pique. Remove the abbreviation for river. I assume what is left is a Greek Valley. I’ll look it up for you.

Yes here it is

26d Group‘s joke entertaining any number (4)
GANG: This group of wastrels can be found by putting the letter denoting a mathematical unknown into a type of joke

Quickie Pun: track+terse=tractors (Everybodies two year old grandsons favourite word)


73 comments on “DT 29321

  1. A nice friendly Thursday puzzle – thank you to the setter and to the Mad Man in a Hat.

    Like MP, the Quickie Pun made me think of small sons and grandson and granddaughter – and I bet we weren’t the only ones.

    1. We’re having facetime on line with Henry (3)& George (1) but they cannot understand, obviously, why they can’t come & play in Nanna & Ganna’s garden. So sad but needs must. Keep safe everyone.

      1. Hey Spindrift. Nice to see you again. I remember well the arrival of your first grandchild after your very sad year. They are very special aren’t they.

        1. Special? More like magic! I forgot to mention our granddaughter Julia, also 1 year old but she lives with her mum & dad around the corner so we see her most days albeit a crouch away (a crouch being named after Peter Crouch who is 2 meters tall).

      2. We’ve just had a lovely video chat using Messenger. I think we will be doing a lot of that over the weeks to come.

  2. A bit of a mixed bag (***/***). There were some really good clues like 1a, 11a and 22a. On the other hand, some were quite poor, like 5d, 18d and 10a. It was also quite General Knowledge heavy, although I managed to find my way through those clues. So it took alittle longer than usual and was not as wnjoyable as Thursday’s puzzles normally are. Thanks to the setter and to MP for the hints. Although I didn’t need them this time , it is reassuring to check.

  3. I too noticed 2 & 7d with a raised eyebrow. 18d took longest to parse, quite complicated. Quite a few gimme starters in the four corners
    Not too taxing and a little mundane **/** for me
    Thanks Setter and Threat

  4. I would have reversed the star rating. To me, three star for difficulty and two for enjoyment. Some straightforward, but some unsatisfactory.
    25d. Pet? Don’t get it. (And never heard of the Greek valley) . 5d. Not his best clue for me.

    1. Re 25d…I think the pet refers to temper. Possibly a shortening of petulance. Only in crosswordland!

      1. The usage is from the 16th century and the origin is unknown… but doesn’t everyone know the phrase about someone being “in a pet”?

      2. I loved it 😃 since my return to Lockdown Land I have been unable to complete a puzzle but today Hurrah! **/**** 🤗 although surely it is not a Ray T Production 🤔 Favourites 22a and 27a

    2. Richard, you might enjoy Keats’s “Grecian Urn”, in which he wonders about some images on the urn: “What leaf-fring’d legend haunts about thy shape / Of deities or mortals, or of both, in Tempe or the dales of Arcady?”

  5. Reasonably entertaining but nothing special. East fell in first. Stupidly was trying to use ham elsewhere in 4d. The different aspect of 9d failed to occur to me. Didn’t know the 25d valley or 22a even though the metal was obvious. Fav was 11a. Oh dear the sun is shining beautifully and I need to wait in to receive a food parcel.

  6. A couple of new words that were entirely solvable through the wordplay did not reduce my enjoyment of this puzzle; some of the surfaces were a little clunky which did. 12a was my favourite.

    Thanks to our setter and MP.

  7. I’m going with the mixed bag.
    18d was beyond complex though the solution was obvious, 3 and 28 across are ancient though were obtainable from the wordplay and I didn’t care for 25d. On the plus side I really liked 19a, the smooth 21a and 14d .
    3/ 2.5*
    Many thanks to the setter and to MP for his usual great blog. (The image at 24a is not something I’m going to be able to “unsee” for a while)😁

    1. You can blame Saint Sharon for that picture (There are worse) I swam naked in The Fairy Pools on The Isle of Skye. That was the towel she mischievously took along for me.

  8. Normally approach Thursday with some trepidation but found this to be friendly.Held up by 22a where lshould not have been and by 25d for which will forgive myself.Not sure if you are saying this is Ray T but hope it is as that would give me great satisfaction .Whoever the setter l enjoyed ir.Thankyou.

    1. RayT
      Only uses single word clues in The Quick Crossword
      Only uses whole word answers in The Cryptic Crossword
      Nearly always uses Her Majesty The Queen in one clue
      Nearly always uses the word sweetheart to clue the letter E
      Nearl always has an acrostic clue
      Nearly always uses a bit of innuendo
      Uses very stretched synonyms

      It’s what comes from living in Paris

  9. Well I thought this was a cracker and am a little surprised that others were underwhelmed. Having said that I gave up and pressed reveal for 25d where needless to say I’d never heard of the Greek valley & was nowhere near arriving at an answer from the wordplay. As for the parsing of 18d – fuggedaboutit…… On the other hand I really enjoyed 4 & 5d and 10, 11 & 22a.
    Thanks to all.

  10. Since I’ve been unable to check the actual individual word and letter in this android version of the crossword, my solving ability has improved. Whereas before I was impatient to get the answer and often tried the odd word I now actually read the clue. So the two unknown words in 22a and 25d were solvable but the only Greek valley I can find is called valle del templi. Thanks for hints. **/****

  11. Mixed bag time for me as well. Nothing to send the nags running off to the hills but perhaps some of the clues were a tad clunky. None too happy with 5a and I think that 22a should have a question mark at the end of the clue. My favourite of the day is 15a – brought a smile to my face for excellent construction and definition.

    I hope that you are all well and those that aren’t are being well looked after. Hopefully normality(?) will soon return.

    Thanks to the Mr Ron for the puzzle and to MP for his amusing blog (What are you doing here on a Thursday? I thought I had my days mixed up)

    1. Pommers and Falcon organised a coup de’tat and ousted me from Monday. I locked Kath in the cupboard under the stairs last week and have now done two Thursdays running. When Kath’s husband Chris realises she is missing I’m sure she will reappear bright eyed, bushy tailed and raring to go.

  12. On the whole an enjoyable puzzle with the exception of 22a which was just plain ridiculous. Don’t mind words i haven’t heard before but bizarre words are daft. Somewhat spoilt it for me.
    Thx for the hints.

    1. Surely it isn’t a bizarre word but a bizarre animal?? A bit like its friend, the liger. They are both in the BRB

      1. Agree CS. I took a long time to get it that I thought my 23d must be wrong. I then parsed it. When I checked it I kicked myself as of course I had heard of this and its counterpart. I had just failed to spot that sort of cross!

  13. Even though it lacked the sparkle and tightness of a Ray T puzzle, I thought today’s was pleasantly enjoyable, all the way down to the SW corner, which held me up a bit (22a, 23d). (I’ve only encountered 22a once or twice before and that was in a DT Cryptic; I assume, however, that I really exists.) No real aha! standouts though I rather liked 11a and 30ac, which I’ll call the COTD. Thanks old Mad Hatter and the setter. *** / ***

    1. Yes, though Schopenhauer or Camus might argue that I don’t really exist (see the typo just now), I DO, at least for the moment. I meant of course to say that I didn’t know that 22a exists.

  14. Despite needing help with a couple, I found this quite enjoyable. Not being au fait with the porcine world, I could not get 1a despite being able to parse the clue. No stand out clues today for me although I did like 28a.

    Many thanks to the setter and to The Mad Hatter. Thanks also to Miffypops for giving us an insight into RayT.

    Stay safe. Stay well.

    1. Perhaps it’s included to aid the surface but also supposed to mean beneath or below the bird in a down clue
      Otherwise superfluous, I agree

  15. Agree with MP today **/***. Great start with 1a but top half took some time before bottom half fell into place quite quickly. Unlike others, my COTD was 22a. Thanks to setter and MP.

  16. Just for the record: 4d Buckingham was the ‘former county town’. Buckinghamshire is still a county and Aylesbury is the county town. Very bored waiting in hospital for minor op and been told last on list so a little grumpy! 😀😷

  17. Morning! (here), I see what you mean about stick too it. So many times I thought I am never going t get this but in the end I did except for two which I needed to peek and would never have got them without you.

    The powers that be have just announced our area is under a state of emergency but apart from saying the parks are closed gave no further information as to what a state of emergency means. It is very quiet but I wouldn’t agree that no creatures are stirring, at least on our property, we live on an acre of land surrounded by acres of Crown land that made up of heavily wooded areas, scrub and brush and some marshland with a lake behind us about 200 yards away. The creatures are stirring all right. They are courting, tweeting, chirping, foraging, bonking and generally having a grand old time.

    Sending best wishes to everyone.

  18. Most of this went in reasonably quickly for me…..until the Greek valley that I had never heard of and the cross which I had heard of but couldn’t puzzle out the clue.
    Didn’t much like the large lady at 16d either…but that was probably because I’d forgotten that use of ness.

    Thanks to the setter and to Miffypops .

  19. The Mad Hatter what online dictionary did you use to find the dialect word for head = poll, enjoyed the puzzle though.

    1. I don’t know much about online dictionaries but my BRB has head as one of the definitions of poll

    2. Google

      noun: poll; plural noun: polls; plural noun: the polls
      the process of voting in an election.

      a person’s head.

      1. sorry just posted blank answer. Yes not common but I think of a poll as a head count in voting etc

  20. Didn’t know the Greek valley but remembered the hybrid in 22a.
    30a was my last in and favourite.
    Thanks to the setter and to MP.

  21. Not too tricky today although it seems to have taken me ages – probably because, like everyone else, I’m totally out of routine which always upsets the applecart.
    Never heard of the 3d silent actor or the Greek valley and it took too long to twig the right kind of ‘cross’ in 22a.
    I haven’t counted but there didn’t seem to be many anagrams – not much scribbling all over the place.
    Some nice clues – I think my favourite was either (please note the ‘either’) 11 or 12a.
    Thank you to whoever set this one and to the Mad Hatter.
    Back to the garden and the sun, specially as everywhere I go in the house has someone already in it.

  22. I’m a bit surprised nobody has mentioned your intro MP : “” It’s blissfully quiet. Long may it continue”

    You may think that but I suspect you’re in quite a small minority. I think you were joking but not sure this is the right time

    1. I live in a village and run a pub. I am enjoying the peace and quiet. The extreme quiet. I like it.

      1. Yes I get that. It was the “long may it continue” I was referring to. I like peace and quiet too. But I wish it would end tomorrow and millions of people could get their normal lives back.

  23. Every day is a school day. I learned a lot of geography about Greece and the far east. is 16d a greek god too? Quite a few birds pigs big cats and other pets too. Just a measly sandwich to eat 14d.
    Thanks to the man with a price on his hat (10/6d in this style) did you choose today’s pseudonym before you did 7d?
    Thanks to setter too.
    I am confined to barracks until 6th April and keeping mum under control and self-isolated will be harder than any crossword

    1. Unless anything topical gets in the way the pseudonyms are set way in advance by a little known app. Next weeks is Hmmmm! Now where on earth did that come from?

  24. Hard going in places today. No never heard of the Greek valley either. Favourite 12a.

  25. Nice uncomplicated crossword makes a change for me on thursdays, late today as spent loads of time in garden. Now 6 bags of rubbish to get collectec or it bonfire time?
    Thanks to Miffypops and setter

  26. I couldn’t get my head round 22a,28a or 25d, and needed the review. Does the Great Gatsby need a new pair of pink trousers I wonder? Many thanks to the setter and to Miffypops.

  27. I really enjoyed this puzzle. It evolved nicely from the first scan through when I couldn’t spot any easy clues, to finding a couple that popped out at me, then getting into the setter’s style and answers starting to flow between the checkers.

    Like others, struggled with 25d, never come across the word before. 11a foxed me because I associate the man with computers and cryptography rather than maths – my mistake!

    Thanks to setter and MP

  28. I really enjoyed this. Needed the hints for two, 4d and 5d, but no crying over that; the answer for 5d is awful, I won’t even try to remember it. I should have solved 4d, need to pay attention.
    Coincidentally, I had to look up Tempe, Arizona just a few days ago and remembered the Greek bit. I see nothing wrong with 22a, that’s what they’ve been called for quite some time.
    My two top of the pops are 12a and 30a, don’t know which is fave.
    Thanks to our Thursday setter and to the Mad Hatter for his fun review and helping me across the finish line.

    1. P.S. read today that gun sales are soaring here, are people planning to shoot the virus to death?

        1. And bread flour and pasta – when did the UK become a nation of bakers? I feel slightly hard done by as I’ve made bread all my life and we almost never buy it apart from the occasional baguette or a sourdough (but husband and the Younger Lamb both make that too).
          Oh well – onwards and upwards, I suppose, if only because that’s all we can do. Grrrr to it all.

          1. That’s the problem Kath. Now they’ve got it they won’t know what to do with it. Friend of mine is trustee of working windmill charity. Within five days they sold all their large stock of flour and have taken delivery of new stock for when they can start milking again.

  29. This was not my 9d today. Started off not too bad, but after I had half filled it was a bit strange, too many bizarre or rarely heard words. Would not have been able to finish without Miffypops hints, so thanks. Our roofers were no show on Tuesday and Wednesday and have now promised to do the small roof repair on Friday. Apparently they are short staffed as quitting because of virus fears… didn’t know it could be lurking up on our roof tiles.

  30. We found we had to work quite hard to get this one sorted with a couple of bits of GK like 25d that we had to check.
    A pleasure to solve.
    Thanks Mr Ron and MP.

  31. A mixed bag of a solve tonight… a bit quick quick slow without the feet movement.
    Thanks to setter & MP for review.
    Enjoy that tea party!

  32. Thanks to the setter and Miffypops for the review and hints. Totally beyond me, needed 7 hints to finish. Favourite was 10a. Was 4*/2* for me.

  33. Made hard work at this, and more than ** assigned by the experts, but what’s new?
    A mixture of easy clues and very tough clues.
    Still, got there in the end, which was a victory for where bloody-mindedness.
    Thanks MP and the setter.

  34. Very enjoyable. Ran through quickly this morning apart from three which I got in the end with no checking save for looking up Greek valleys. This one popped up first so didn’t have to search through hundreds. I had forgotten that meaning of pet. My fault not the setter’s. I was thinking of small animals or what was a regular pass time for lovers who were not self isolating. Until I had the M I had Cilla in mind for the songstress. Rather like the ballerina Pavlova, Melba had a dessert named after her. 23a however went straight in but silly me I was thinking of the guard’s van. Thank you setter and MP. I am surely in the vanguard today.

  35. 3*/4*….
    liked 12A ” smooth sorceress with no time for quick snack? (8) “

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