DT 29378 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 29378

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 29378

Hints and tips by Falcon

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty *Enjoyment ***

Greetings from Ottawa, where the weather has done an about turn. The week past was like mid-July but the weekend has been more like early April and the week coming up is shaping up to be more of the same. In fact, 25a almost perfectly describes the meteorological situation here — although, thank goodness, we have not received any of the answer to that clue.

Today’s offering from Campbell was done in record time. In fact, I think I spent as much time solving the Quick Crossword as I did the Cryptic.

In the hints below, underlining identifies precise definitions and cryptic definitions, and indicators are italicized. The answers will be revealed by clicking on the ANSWER buttons.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought of the puzzle.


1a   Electrician put on board (6)
SPARKS — insert a word meaning to put, place, or position (especially a vehicle) into the abbreviation for steamship (the cryptic device “on board” denoting ‘contained in SS’); the answer is a common nickname for an electrician

5a   Engineers track access (8)
RECOURSE — the usual military engineers followed by a racetrack

9a   Truthful in flat (2,3,5)
ON THE LEVEL — double definition

10a   Gang from Cheshire town on the radio (4)
CREW — a gang of made up of several of the athlete from 22d sounds like a town in Cheshire

11a   No thanks required by count, last off, so don’t mention it (3,2,3)
NOT AT ALL — line up the NO from the clue, a short way to say thanks, and a count or reckoning with its last letter removed

12a   Equally calm, lake close to city (6)
EVENLY — a synonym for calm often used to describe temperament, L(ake), and the final letter of citY

13a   Prejudice shown by British international — when? (4)
BIAS — abbreviations for British and international followed by a word meaning when

15a   Collaboration from me at sporting function (8)
TEAMWORK — anagram of (sporting) ME AT and a word meaning to function or operate

18a   Everyone taken in by most of band’s blatant publicity (8)
BALLYHOO — a synonym for everyone contained in (taken in) BY followed by a band or ring with its final letter removed

19a   Stake in Victorian tearoom (4)
ANTE — a poker stake is hiding in the final two words of the clue

21a   A part of poem’s hostile (6)
AVERSE — the A from the clue and a bit of poetry

23a   A short indication of approval heard for puzzle (8)
ACROSTIC — the A from the clue followed by two syllables that sound like (heard) short or irritable and a teacher’s mark of approval

25a   Wintry weather at present, after first sign of spring (4)
SNOW — a word denoting at present following the first letter of Spring

26a   Garland given girl having tea at home (5,5)
DAISY CHAIN — a charade of a girl with a flowery name, tea, and the usual ‘at home’

27a   Accept members carry weapons (4,4)
BEAR ARMS — accept (as in accept blame) and some anatomical members

28a   Head, copping it, taken aback, is to serve a prison sentence (2,4)
DO TIME — a head (one that I always think of as hairless) containing a reversal of IT


2d   Horse in handicap, in touch (5)
PINTO — the horse will be spotted hiding in the final three words of the clue

3d   Listens during actual dummy run (9)
REHEARSAL — to perceive (sounds) with the ear contained in actual or genuine

4d   Fruit, no end, for ruler (6)
SULTAN — a raisin without its final letter

5d   Rebels turn on sign (15)
REVOLUTIONARIES — a 360 degree turn precedes a sign of the zodiac

6d   Copper left — trial date coming up, getting close (3-2-3)
CUL DE SAC — a chemists symbol for copper, L(eft), and a reversal (coming up in a down clue) of a trial presided over by a judge and D(ate)

7d   Relative having soiled article removed (5)
UNCLE — a synonym for soiled with an indefinite article removed

8d   Suspect something’s wrong — let alarms off (5,1,3)
SMELL A RAT — anagram (off) of LET ALARMS

14d   One name put forward beforehand (2,7)
IN ADVANCE — a Roman one, N(ame), and put forward or make progress

16d   How things stand with second wife wearing two hats? (5,4)
WHAT’S WHAT — abbreviation for with followed by the abbreviations for second and wife sandwiched between two instances of HAT

17d   Piece of equipment that could make mum more embarrassed (8)
SHREDDER — an admonition to be mum or quiet followed by the comparative of an adjective denoting embarrassment

20d   Under pressure, ready for a change, said Grace? (6)
PRAYED — anagram (for a change) of READY following (under in a down clue) a physicists symbol for pressure

22d   One in eight perhaps bank on Queen (5)
ROWER — a bank (of seats, perhaps) and Her Majesty’s regnal cipher

24d   Turn of phrase used in papers on the Isle of Man (5)
IDIOM — papers such as a birth certificate and the abbreviation for the Isle of Man

The honours go to 23a as it held out the longest.

Quickie Pun (top row): BARBER + QUEUE = BARBEQUE

Quickie Pun (bottom row): SHYER + HOARSE = SHIRE HORSE

97 comments on “DT 29378

  1. This was a good start to the week and a satisfying solve. I was held up slightly by putting in the wrong first word in 27a. No real favourites but I did like 18a, 23a and 26a.

    Grateful thanks to the setter and to Falcon for the hints.

    Happy birthday, Shropshire Lad.

  2. An exceedingly solver-friendly crossword, perfect for Mondays and newcomers to the art of cryptic crosswords.

    Thanks to Campbell and Falcon and Happy Birthday Shropshire Lad

  3. A pleasant and gentle start for the week, with some cleverly crafted clues, especially 20d, so thank you setter. Needed parsing help with several clues, so thank you Falcon.

  4. With the glaring exception of 23a this was about as straightforward as a cryptic crossword can possibly get, but still good fun. I particularly liked 8 and 16d.
    Many thanks to Campbell and to Falcon for the entertainment.

  5. Bit like a chocolate bar – enjoyable while it lasted but finished far too quickly to be fully satisfactory. Initially sticking in T instead of W as the first letter for both words in 16d meant that, unlike Falcon, I just missed out on my fastest ever finish.
    With thanks to Campbell & Falcon.
    Ps – Vulcan in the Graun is a little more challenging though similarly benevolent

    1. I was trying to think of an analogy but could only think of a rude one. I’m with you on the Ts and the Ws, but got there once I tried to fill in linking clues

  6. A pleasant puzzle and quickly completed (*/****). Thanks to Falcon for the hints. The mousetrap illustration was timely, since I have just found a tiny juvenile woodmouse in the humane trap in my kitchen cupboard. Off to the Ridgeway to re-home it in one of the clumps of trees in a minute. Thanks to the setter and my favourite clue was 26a . Keep safe and well everyone.

    1. Saint Sharon insisted on humane mouse traps. Forgot to check them and found mice either humanely starved to death or humanely drowned in their own urine

      1. A friend of mine humanely baked one mouse by putting a humane trap in a drawer under the oven. These are woodmice which occasionally infest our garage. It seems only tiny ones can get into the cupboards, where, to their disappointment, the flour is all in lock and lock containers.

    2. Our previous house backed on to woods and our nearest neighbours were plagued with squirrels, as we were. They used to eat all the bird food ( the squirrels, not the neighbours) so the neighbours used to catch them in humane traps and take them to huge woods a mile or so away. At one stage I said, “But Nick, don’t you realise how many squirrels there are here – do you really think removing the odd one is going to make a difference?” He said, “Oh, I think word will get round amongst the population”! :roll: Did make me laugh though . . .

  7. Totally agree a nice start to the week 😃 */*** Favourites 16 & 17d 👍 Thanks to Falcon and Campbell 🤗

  8. Nice, gentle start to the week. I liked the anagram at 8d. I usually don’t like having to guess a name, as in 26a, but once I’d worked out the “tea at home”, the name was a given. Many thanks to Campbell and to Falcon. Felicitations Shropshirelad. Enjoy your day in the best possible way.

  9. This gentle exercise was off to a helpful start when 5d went straight in thus providing across leads right down the centre of the puzzle.
    1a was a bung-in as I failed to parse. 23a caused a pause for thought. My Fav was 17d. Thank you Campbell and Falcon.

    1. Oh dear I’m sorry – I guess it’s the spelling of my name causing the problem – thought BD had said both spellings would work. Anyway I will try to stick to one “l” in future hopefully with my original avatar.

        1. Apologies for another typo which wouldn’t occur if I didn’t have to keep typing in my Name/Email these days.

          1. Hi Angelov – I have a text document on my desktop where I have typed email addresses, name & address etc so I can just past in and be sure it is correct
            Hope that helps

              1. Ooops… erm, I spilt some wine on my keyboardd so some letters stick, Guv’nor, honest

  10. A very gentle start to the working week. Nothing taxing and over very quickly. Favourite has to be 18a because it’s such a silly word! This covid sufferer is plodding along. I’m hoping Tilsit is doing the same. It’s a long haul. I’d be interested to know if huntsman’s 86 year old neighbour can taste red wine yet! That would be something to look forward to. Thanks to all.

    1. Not as yet but whisky is better apparently though no point in a good single malt – any old blend will do.
      Keep plodding & stay cheerful

    2. Glad to know that you’re doing OK even though still symptomatic. This, too, shall pass, keep plodding.

      1. Get well soon Greta. Some ailments take longer than others. I can recommend a good tawny port, when your taste buds re-awaken.

    3. Agree. Completed most quickly but Ballyhoo got me, although I have heard the word.

      23a if, like me, have never heard the word acrostic before the clue is very difficult to unpick ……

  11. 1*/3*. This was my second light and fun puzzle today following our very own Shabbo’s excellent debut puzzle in the Indy this morning.

    I’m not convinced by “sporting” as an anagram indicator, and I gave a little hmm to 26a.

    16d was my favourite.

    Many thanks to Campbell and to Falcon.

    P.S. Happy Birthday, Jim. We don’t seem to be hearing much from you these days. Hope you are OK.

  12. Fast indeed, although 1a is not a ‘common name’ for an electrician over here in Apocalypse USA, and it took me a while to remember it. 16d is quite clearly the COTD for me, and I also liked 18a and 15a. A nice start to the week, with thanks to our other Canadian host, Falcon, and to the setter. * / ***

    1. Here’s why the Twain shall never meet: Der Gropenfuhrer thinks the Dems are inciting the rioting, I think it’s the right-wing MAGA hats who are. Our mayor says that about 25% arrests are out-of-towners, and I think they are the ones who are egging on our black community to violence.

      1. Sounds about right to me , Merusa. I met some rather scary right-wingers at a family wedding in Pennsylvania a few years ago, all of them Trump supporters.

  13. A very gentle start to the non-work week, although 16d did cause me a small amount of bother, completed at a fast gallop – 1.5*/3.5*.
    Candidates for favourite – 18a, 5d, and the aforesaid 16d – and the winner is 16d.
    Thanks to Campbell and Falcon.

  14. Very friendly and a speedy solve this morning. Enjoyable enough while it lasted, with 8d my COTD.

    Thanks to Campbell and Falcon. And many happy returns to my Shropshire neighbour.

  15. Short but sweet. However, I got to the end and found I had spelt ballyhoo wrongly. My mistake for not checking the parsing. That is the only problem with these clues – there is a temptation to shove in as you know the answer but miss out on the parsing. I had the same issue with the Ws in 16d. Resolved itself when the checker did not fit. Wasted time by trying to put 10a into the 9a slot which extended my solving time slightly. When I found the right place the answer was obvious. Liked 24d – very simple when you know that ID and IOM are frequently used abbreviations. Nice light relief after the weekend’s offerings which were sound but more taxing. Thanks Cameron and Falcon.

  16. I too broke my record solving time with this puzzle, and by quite a margin too. Still enjoyable though.
    Thanks to both Campbell and Falcon.

    Although focused on a different type of puzzle, have any of you been watching the Sudoku solving videos posted by Mark Goodliffe (who i’m guessing Big Dave, Crypticsue and some others may know) and Simon Anthony, operating under the banner of “Cracking the Cryptic”? They’ve had some mainstream media coverage recently and have become something of a lockdown internet sensation. My other half can’t believe I would spend half an hour watching someone else do Sudoku, but I’m really enjoying them!

  17. Enjoyable and relatively easy although I would have thought Sparky would be a single electrician and sparks plural? Also struggled with ballyhoo.

    1. You left off your surname when putting in your ‘alias’

      Sparks is quite a common way of referring to an electrician

      1. Sparks is not a common name here for an electrician, however, my cardiologist who put in my pacemaker is known as a sparks.

  18. Certainly didn’t detain me for long but was nevertheless an enjoyable romp.
    I’ll go along with Greta and nominate 18a as favourite because of its silliness.

    Thanks to Campbell and to our Canadian raptor for the review.
    Please do consider giving our own Shabbo your support for his debut in the Independent today – another BD Rookie to make the grade.

      1. From me too. Good to see a Big Dave alumnus on the podium, especially at the top.

        1. Thanks to all three of you for your kind words and many thanks in particular to my test solver, Jane, and to BD for providing such a wonderful platform for rookies.

          1. I thought the word economy was worthy of particular mention, well done Shabbo – all you’ve got to do now is keep up the standard
            Isn’t that the hard part?

            1. I have just finished it, Shabbo. I needed help with a few but I got between 80-90% unaided. There were some great clues with just the right amount of head scratching. It’s a great puzzle. Well done. Wish I could compile but I fear it is beyond me.

              1. A fear without rational foundation Steve, why the hell not have a go?
                Can’t hide behind ‘Hard work never killed anyone, but why take a chance’ forever :smile:
                It would be interesting to see and I’ll volunteer to test solve for you, how’s that?
                Carpe Diem!

                1. Wow! Now that is an offer I cannot refuse. I would love to have a go but I cannot run a compilation programme on my MacBook. I often try thinking of clues for various words or phrases but I fear they are not that good. I’m not sure either if I could fill a grid without ending up with one or two clues for which there are no (sensible) words that fit.
                  :scratch: :scratch: :unsure:

                  1. Is there a Macintosh version of Crossword Compiler or WordWeb?
                    The program only runs on Microsoft Windows. However you can run the program on a Mac if you have a Windows running in a virtual machine (such as Virtual Box, VMware Fusion or Parallels Desktop): this works very well, almost as fast as running it on a Windows machine. VirtualBox is free, and you can get free Windows virtual machines to try from Microsoft (or buy a second-hand Windows CD on e.g. eBay).

                    (Above is from the crossword compiler FAQ page)

                    The basic version is very good at filling in sensible words around the grid. but cluing them is harder!

                  2. Crossword Compiler (Windows) does auto grid fill, you set the difficulty level of the vocabulary you want to use, plus some other very useful tools
                    Mac versions are crap; why not buy a basic cheap auction website laptop, delete all the crap off it and use the ten puzzle trial free version of CC – you’ll be surprised how fast it runs when you take out all the stuff you’re not going to use
                    PS I’m a techie and refuse to work with Macs

                    1. Interesting you will not use a Mac. So, all the companies that do, including the one I work for, use them merely because Apple are better at advertising?

                      I have an old PC in a cupboard somewhere that has crap on it. I’ll seek it out.

                    2. Having just looked on eBay, a reconditioned PC is relatively cheap. It would be better than my very old Hewlett Packard.

                      I will get a basic Windows laptop and give compiling a go. I have serious doubts regarding my ability but, as you say LBR, Carpe Diem! 👍

                2. As I say, I am not sure of my compiling skills and I fear they are not cryptic enough. However, what do you guys think of these? Please be kind. 😳

                  Membership fee back with club for transporter (3, 6)

                  A cooling enthusiast (3)

    1. Congrats from me too. and for the recommendation to try the Indy – another fine puzzle among the three I have tackled so far.
      Just today’s rookie to tackle but that will have to wait til after tea ( fish peas and boiled new pots tonight)

      Thanks to Campbell and Falcon for the puzzle today easy but still fun. I find that the best way to stretch a quickly solved puzzle is to keep looking back until the parsing has been done.

  19. Oh I enjoyed this so much!
    *Voice from the sidelines: “Well you always say that when you finish without seeking help!”
    Errr… yes, that is indeed the case.
    A zero paperweight day in the garden.
    Hydrangeas aching to bloom.
    Thanks to Campbell and Falcon.

      1. In the olden days that’s how we had to solve cryptic crosswords, especially when commuting to London when the only possible assistance, the dictionary was on the bookshelf at home.

        1. True. Maybe solving has become too easy in this digital age. I know you can type a clue into Mr. G and the answer will appear. I resist electronic help and would rather be guided by this blog. The internet may give me the answer but BD tells me why it is the answer.
          When I started doing the DT crossword back in the 70s, I struggled and could only await the solution in next day’s paper.

  20. Very pleasant start to the week. */***. Particularly liked 16d. Thanks to both.

  21. Definitely on the easier side of crosswords but enjoyable nonetheless.
    Thanks to Campbell for the fun and to Falcon for the review.
    Happy birthday to Shropshire Lad. Hope you’re well.

  22. A lovely crossword to solve whilst sitting by my river in the sunshine……………..
    Happy Birthday Shropshire Lad!

  23. I agree with everything everyone has said, a nice easy start for the week. Two rowing allusions for George and a garland for me – what more could I ask ? I’ve been thinking about Tilsit and Greta and do hope things are improving for you. I cannot believe we are into June, so scary. Multimillion thanks to the setters and hinters who give us something else to think about.

  24. Straight forward Monday offering. I bet the Antipodeans went straight in with Sparky for 1a which mucked up 4d, for a while. My COTD 26a. Thanks to the setter and Falcon. Great shot of the Canadian Women’s VIII.🦇

  25. There it was gone. As all have said, very pleasant for the too short time it lasted.
    Thanks to Campbell for the solve and Falcon for the review.
    Add to birthday wishes for Shropshire Lad, hope you are staying safe & keeping well.

  26. Nice enjoyable solve today. Liked 18a. Didn’t spot synonym for “put” in 1a but solution couldn’t be anything else.

  27. Delightful and very enjoyable start to the week. Last in was 23a as I spent far too long looking for a homophone for approval. This was the only one I needed a hint for, so prevents me from claiming as all my own work. Oh well never mind. Almost was. Thanks to setter and Falcon. Neighboring county was under curfew last night. Bad situation.

  28. A nice start to the week, I was on the setters wave length, as for 1A Sparks is a new term to me as I always say he or she is a Sparky, but it made sense instead of trying to find a ruler starting with y, i must admit I did not check the parsing on 18a ,16d, 24d. everything was enjoyable, TIA to Campbel and Falcon.
    Stay safe everyone

  29. Natch, I loved it! I love multiple-word answers and we had them in spades today, so thanks for that Campbell.
    Hmmm, how to choose a fave … maybe the whole puzzle! I enjoy words like 18a, and 16d worth a mention.
    Thanks to Campbell and to Falcon, particularly for his report on Ottawa.
    Many happy returns to ShropshireLad, I hope you can celebrate in some fashion.

  30. What a great start to the week, something to get the little grey cells functioning, this type of puzzle seeing answers in fairly quick time started my interest in puzzles they also give people confidence tp try more. I particularly liked 8d and 18a also 24d it just amused me.
    Beautiful day here on NC although garden extremely brown, cucumbers and tomatos looking good though, midnight watering. Late afternoon seems to be my solving time at the moment, no doubt that will change when movement eases. Keep safe everyone and Tilsit I hope you are recovering.
    Thanks to setter and Falcon.

  31. I didn’t find this quite as straightforward as most of you, but I did get it done alone and unaided.
    Needed help to parse 23a though, so no hurrah today.

    Thanks to the setter and to Falcon.

    Best wishes to all those who are unwell.

  32. */***. Pleasant start to the week. My favourite was 5d for a concise clue only one letter longer than the answer. Thanks to Campbell and Falcon.

  33. A very nice easy puzzle to start the week, with no issues at all in the solving. Nice clues and */*** for the rating.
    Favourite clue was 16d with honourable mentions to 1a, 19a & 6d

    Thanks to setter and Falcon for the entertainment

  34. For various reasons I didn’t find this quite as easy as the rest of you.
    23 and 26a and 16d caused trouble and I’m still not sure that I really ‘get’ 23a – too bad.
    I thought there were lots of good clues and 18a was my favourite.
    We’ve just had the best day for ten weeks – now that it’s ‘legal’ our Elder Lamb has been here for a few hours – lunch in the sun in the garden – I’ve missed her so much and it was so lovely to see her.
    Happy birthday, Jim, from one Geminian to another. :smile:
    Thanks to Campbell and to Falcon.

    1. Kath,
      23a parses as A (from the clue) + CROS {sounds like CROSS (short, irritable, bad-tempered} + TIC {sounds like TICK (sign of approval)}.

      Did you, by any chance, fall into the trap where I spent considerable time thinking that TIC was a “short sign of approval”?

      1. No – but I just got into a right royal muddle. I don’t think that I ever got as far as making short = cross.
        Never mind – don’t mind – it is, after all, just a crossword and one that I enjoyed.

  35. Wow, got Acrostic by eliminating any other possibility, had to look it up for the def, once I’d put it in, hahaha. Chuffed as anything, not done the DT cryptic, since my crossword mentor father, passed 4 years ago.

    1. Welcome from me, Nick. Good to have fresh input so hope to hear more from you. 👍

  36. As others have said, this was a perfect crossword for beginners of cryptic puzzles. Over in double quick time for me this morning, but no less enjoyable for that.

    Many thanks to Campbell and Falcon and happy birthday to all you Geminis.

    1. Loved this… Easy for most of you, but as a novice and I will be saying that for awhile! …. this was my standard. I did not finish it but really felt that I was not too far away at all. Days like this make me think I am getting the hang of it. Other days I can despair,like yesterday. I’m afraid I did not know what 23a meant! Should have got 18a as had most of the letters….!

  37. Just a quick comment to congratulate Jane on winning this month’s clue writing competition in the Telegraph Puzzles Newsletter.
    An excellent clue and a well deserved win.

  38. I’m in the “Ora and Kath” camp this evening. Well done everybody else who found it straightforward. I suppose most of it was, but 3 or 4 took as long as the rest put together. It didn’t help having to reply to numerous WhatsApp messages. No real favourite. Thanks to Campbell and Falcon.

  39. I did also mean to say that any crossword that has 23a in it can hardly be described as beginner friendly. I’ve only come across the word once and that was in a toughie.

  40. Much harder than Dada yesterday. The Monday crosswords are a bit of a mystery. *****/***
    I have solved easier Toughies than this.
    Thanks all.

  41. A classic example of getting onto the setter’s wavelength. Get all the wheels of Bletchley’s Enigma into the correct position, then decoding’s straightforward.

  42. New to this! Can someone please explain what ‘at home’ means in a cryptic clue? I’m referring to the ‘daisy chain’ answer. I get ‘garland’ and ‘girl’s name’ but ‘at home’? Why that phrase? Any help gratefully received – am currently arguing with a cousin who claims is something to do with a specific tea set pattern!?

  43. 2*/3*…
    liked 8D ” suspect something’s wrong — let alarms off (5,1,3) “

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