DT 29390 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 29390

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 29390

Hints and tips by Falcon

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

Greetings from Ottawa, where the meteorological roller coaster continues. The past few days have been a bit on the chilly side with overnight temperatures dipping to near frost range. However, the coming week is forecast to have daytime temperatures soaring to as high as 30 degrees Celsius.

As I often find with puzzles by Campbell, I got off to a quick start but soon bogged down. There followed a period in which each solution was teased out with considerable effort. Then, once enough checking letters were in place, it became a sprint to the finish.

When it came to the Quickie pun, I did have to send out an SOS to the other side of the world and the 2Kiwis graciously came to my rescue. I was done in once again by the British R. Never in a million years would I have deduced that answer.

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   Representative in Capitol I harassed (10)
POLITICIAN — anagram (harassed) of the middle three words of the clue

6a   Victory by good side (4)
WING — string together a victory or success and G(ood)

9a   Mathematical symbol: short symbol written by scholar (5)
SIGMA — a truncated synonym for symbol followed by a scholar with an advanced degree in the arts

10a   Put back in control, say (9)
REINSTATE — the sort of control that one might exercise over a horse and a word meaning say or utter

12a   Thoughtfulness of Charlie on team, helping (13)
CONSIDERATION — a charade of the letter represented by Charlie in the NATO phonetic alphabet, ON from the clue, another term for a team, and a fixed allowance of food

14a   Form of acting, extremely original in show once more (4-4)
ROLE-PLAY — the initial and final letters of OriginaL contained in a verb denoting to view something (such as a video clip) again

15a   Stick with a present containing diamonds (6)
ADHERE — the A from the clue and a response at a roll call surround a playing card suit

17a   Musical piece from ‘Chess’ on a tape (6)
SONATA — hidden (from) in the final four words of the clue

19a   Game course allowed to be included (8)
ROULETTE — a synonym for allowed inserted into a way or course

21a   Rib uncle being clumsy with item of cutlery, fork-like utensil (8,5)
RUNCIBLE SPOON — an anagram of the first two words of the clue followed by an item of cutlery

24a   A gorilla playfully trapping tail of short reptile (9)
ALLIGATOR — A from the clue plus an anagram of GORILLA wrapped around the final letter (tail) of shorT

25a   Blow in bursts with old verve (5)
GUSTO — a sudden strong rush of wind followed by O(ld)

26a   Band when inside say nothing (4)
SASH — a two-letter synonym for when contained in an admonition to be quiet

27a   Husband, Alf, after cap for his wife? (6,4)
BETTER HALF — H(usband) and ALF from the clue following a verb meaning to cap or surpass


1d   Qualify? I don’t know (4)
PASS — double definition; the first, a result achieved by one who knows the answers to the questions on an exam; the second, a response from a quiz show contestant who doesn’t know the answer

2d   American soldier in pub reasoned correctly (7)
LOGICAL — the usual American soldier hanging out in a neighbourhood drinking establishment

3d   Hobby‘s starting point, oddly (13)
TRAINSPOTTING — anagram (oddly) of the middle two words in the clue

4d   Church dignitary in a line following king, maybe (8)
CARDINAL — assemble a king found in a pack, the IN and A from the clue, and L(ine)

5d   Come up a slope (5)
ARISE — the A from the clue and an upward slope

7d   Fancy goods initially imported by island state (7)
IMAGINE — the initial letter of Goods contained in I(sland) plus a northeastern American state

8d   New sleeping-place mostly occupied by English commando (5,5)
GREEN BERET — new or inexperienced followed by most of a sleeping place on a train or ship holding E(nglish); this headgear is symbolic of soldiers on both sides of the pond

11d   Gossip once grand slam broadcast (13)
SCANDALMONGER — anagram (broadcast) of the middle three words of the clue

13d   Angry, anglers about a critical point (10)
CROSSROADS — a synonym for angry followed by anglers (or gear that they use) enveloping the A from the clue

16d   Pole bowled over with vigour, dismissing first one (8)
BOWSPRIT — abbreviations for B(owled), O(ver), and W(ith) followed by a synonym for vigour or energy with the first instance of the Roman numeral one removed

18d   Last of batsmen, positive around leg stump (7)
NONPLUS — the final letter of batsmeN and a word meaning positive sandwiching another name for the leg side of a cricket field

20d   SI unit spelt differently — ampère in this country (7)
TUNISIA — anagram (spelt differently) of SI UNIT followed by A(mpère)

22d   Loose-limbed, Italian male after end of drill (5)
LITHE — the final letter of drilL, the abbreviation for Italian, and a male personal pronoun

23d   What may appear just before one gets to hotel? (4)
GOLF — cryptic definition of the entry before hotel in a listing of the NATO phonetic alphabet

Being partial to cryptic definitions, I will award honours today to 23d.

Quickie Pun (top row): BLEW + BREEZE = BLUEBERRIES

Quickie Pun (bottom row): WHOLLY + WEAK = HOLY WEEK

74 comments on “DT 29390

  1. I agree with Falcon with my favourite also being 23d. 18d was a close runner-up. This was a terrific start to the crossword week, with just the right amount of difficulty coupled with enjoyable solving.

    Thanks to Campbell and Falcon.

  2. I didn’t think this was the usual “Monday gimme” and concurr with Falcon’s ratings. I wasn’t keen on 16d but I liked a lot of the others.
    21a jumped out at me as I remember my late grandpa using one, much to the fascination of us kids!
    Podium places go to 27a plus 1&7d, with 13 &18d in contention.
    Many thanks to the setter and to Falcon for a top review

    1. I never knew it was a real thing, only in Lear’s imagination that the owl and pussycat used on their honeymoon! You learn so much here.

      1. Too true Merusa. I was sure I had read somewhere in the dim and distant past that it was made up.

  3. I liked the anagrams in this puzzle but the clues were a mixed bag: some very well-thought out and precise, others not so good **/***. I had to adopt my reverse engineering method of getting a few checkers in, guessing what word would fit in, then trying to work out why. My favourite clue was 21a. Thanks to the setter and to Falcon for the hints

  4. A thing of beauty, today’s Campbell–or so I thought, as I rather bounced around the puzzle doing the easier clues first, saving the tougher ones, like 21a, 27a, and 8d, for later. And so it worked out fine for me. Podium winners: 18d, 16d, and 21a. Most enjoyable, with thanks to our Ottawan reviewer and to Campbell. ** / ****

  5. 2*/4*. I found this very enjoyable and mostly reasonably straightforward with a couple of answers at the end needing a bit of teasing out.

    18d was my favourite.

    Many thanks to Campbell and to Falcon.

  6. I’m surprised to read the comments made so far, as I found this crossword Campbell at his most friendliest ever.

    Thanks to him for the enjoyable crossword and to Falcon for the blog

  7. A very gentle and enjoyable puzzle to kick off my week.
    The one I liked the most was 18d.

    Many thanks to Campbell and to Falcon.

  8. The clues were thoughtful with hints of misdirection in several of them. Notably 18d, 27a and 23d. My last one in was 16d and gets my favourite vote, closely followed by 23d. I couldn’t work out the why of 7d so thanks for the explanation. I was looking for an island state and came up blank! The US state and I for island passed me by although the answer itself couldn’t be anything else.

  9. Things went swimmingly until I got to 16d, as I have never heard of such a pole.It’s hard to guess a word you never heard of.
    Luckily I had enough letter hints to solve it.
    Thanks to Falcon and Campbell.

  10. I found this relatively straightforward but very good fun.Knowing my weakness it is probable that l just missed the bits that others found to cause some difficulty.Thanks to all.

  11. The angry anglers were last to fall here in this enjoyable Monday puzzle.
    Top three for me were 21&25a – delightful words, along with 1d.

    Thanks to Campbell and to Falcon for the review.

  12. Not as much enjoyment as I usually get from a Monday Campbell with a few Hmms, with the biggest one being saved for the ‘upper’ Quickie Pun, completed at a gallop – 2*/2.5*.
    Candidates for favourite – 26a, 27a, and 23d – and the winner is 27a.
    Thanks to Campbell and Falcon.

  13. A great start to the week. I thought 9a and 23d were neat but my COTD is 13d.
    Thanks to Campbell for the challenge and to Falcon for the hints.

  14. I tackled todays puzzle with my daughter’s four coloured Bic biro. 19 clues went in green ink assigned to my first pass, 4 in blue for my second, 3 in red for my third and two in black for my fourth and final pass. The top half was mainly green, SW was the most multicoloured quadrant, 23d was my last in and gets my vote today. 2*/3* with one of the entertainment points reflecting the fun I had with the biro. Thanks to Campbell and Falcon.

  15. Getting the first two across right away helped a lot. I found it straightforward apart from 16d, which I just didn’t know despite all the checkers in place.
    I also enjoyed a lot of the clues – the worst I can say is there were more anagrams and lurkers than ideal ( and I never say that….) maybe there weren’t and I’m just going doolally.
    22d was my favourite.

  16. All was going extremely well until I got to 21a. I worked the answer out from the clue, but then questioned the “fork-like utensil”. As a child, I often asked my mother to recite “The owl and the pussycat”. I asked her what 21a was, and was told it was an item of cutlery with holes in it. It made sense, because the poem was one of Edward Lear’s nonsense poems, and there was nothing more silly than trying to eat mince with 21a. I have believed that ever since. Today has come as a shock. I have to rename said items of equipment in my kitchen drawer. Maybe not. On further research, it seems that Edward Lear may have invented the word himself, and also talked about a “runcible hat” . If it was a hat with holes in it, that too would be nonsense. Maybe the word itself can refer to anything that is a bit silly. Anyway, I still enjoyed your crossword Campbell, so thank you. 23d was my favourite. Many thanks too Tilsit.

    1. I have always thought the same, Florence and for exactly the same reasons. I understand the item we thought was 21a is actually “slotted”. Learning this will not change the habit of a lifetime, though – I will always call such an item a 21a.

      1. Thank you Steve. I don’t feel quite so silly now. I did google what I was supposed to call the said cutlery with holes in it, and as you mentioned, it came up with slotted or skimming. I too will continue to call it what I’ve always called it. At least in my own house.

  17. I found this slightly trickier than the usual Monday fare, but nonetheless very enjoyable. Completed whilst waiting for Mrs Doguern to complete her shopping in the newly re-opened shops. Favourite must be 23d for cleverness. Loved the illustration for 16d. Don’t know how you all find such interesting and often amusing illustrations! Thanks to Campbell for setting and Falcon for explanations.

  18. Unlike Jonners a poor first pass then a slow but steady plod. 16d was LOI. (Falcon, I can’t understand reference to Roman numeral 1 in the hint). ***/*** for me.
    COTD 3d, as it brought back memories of annual trips to Crewe, Derby & Howrich works in the middle 50’s. Hope I didn’t look quite so nerdy as the guy in the picture!
    Thanks Campbell and Falcon for the review.

    1. You remove the first ‘I’ (Roman numeral for one) from a synonym of vigour

      1. I think LROK probably did what I did – I had ‘esprit’ instead of ‘spirit’ as the synonym for vigour.

        1. Kath
          Great minds and all that (except mine isn’t)
          I did exactly that and removed the first (an e) rather than an i.
          Nothing wrong with either parsing to me.
          Thank you Kath
          I did not see the “spirit” route as you probably didn’t the ” esprit”.
          Thanks for pointing it out.

  19. Thought that this was really enjoyable with the right proportion of enjoyment and head scratching for me. 16d required some working out but once I got spirit for verve and removed the first “I” it revealed itself. Many thanks to Campbell and to Falcon for producing excellent hints under pressure.

  20. An enjoyable puzzle – trickier than a usual Monday, I feel. Needed help with two – 9a and 16d, both of which were new words to me.
    The neighbours’ cat is sleeping amongst the remains of the wallflowers.
    Lovely calm day in Surrey.

    1. Seems that the neighbour’s cat no longer belongs next door, you might as well accept that you own a cat! Sounds a lovely cat!

    2. The cat is probably sleeping off the “lunch” that was perched on the wallflowers

  21. Not too tricky and a nice start to the week.
    23d was my last one and I got in a bit of a muddle with 8d although the first word was clear.
    For no obvious reason the 1a anagram took a while.
    I liked 21 and 25a and 8, 18 and 23d. My favourite was 1d.
    Thanks to Campbell and to Falcon.
    A rather daunting pile of ironing to do :sad: and then Rookie corner as a reward when I’ve done it. :smile:

  22. Agree fully with you Falcon. Wife and I headed off with a sprint and gradually got worn down until in the end we were relieved to put the final answer to bed! We felt shattered! Struggled mainly with 13d, 27a and 23d. Took a while to parse 8d.
    Thanks to all as usual, off for a lay down now – round of golf this morning and then this at lunchtime.

  23. I am worried about Terence’s neighbours- don’t they look after their cat? He/she seems to spend an awful lot of time chez Terrence. And poor Florence has had her childhood understanding of a runcible spoon shattered. So much to worry about. But a very nice start to the Crossword week thank you – I am always delighted to have anagrams. I have to say fur would fly if anyone referred to me as George’s better half or vice versa come to that. Dreadful phrase. Thanks to all

    1. I agree with you about ‘better half’ and ‘other half’ isn’t any better. I don’t know about you but I always reckon I’m a whole person all on my own!

      1. Too true, even if some of the parts don’t work so well any more. And I’m thinking of my knee, before you jump to conclusions! It was supposed to be done on 23rd March.

          1. Yup. Every morning. But whether I shall be able to do it after the operation is a different matter.

      2. Oh dear, I use it a lot. Have never minded it when about myself, a compliment I think 🤔

        1. Don’t take any notice of me, BusyLizzie, I should not have been so opinionated in public. OF COURSE we know we are the better halves, it just goes without saying.

    2. Regarding the hint, who could remember Alf’s wife’s name without help? I wracked my brain without getting anywhere near it!

  24. Unlike several commenters above I found Campbell’s bark worse than his bite today but all’s well that ends well. My one and only 21a gets used regularly for chutneys and pickles – very practical. The silver drawer also contains several other ‘museum pieces’ like a sugar sifter spoon, child’s pusher, butter pat fork, etc. – all very nostalgic! Anyway many thanks AS and Falcon for a fulfilling challenge.

  25. Great start to the week I was lucky and fairly flew through it. Nice to have a good start to the week as it prepares ypu for the pissible struggles to follow(maybe)
    I liked 8d in brought back so mamy memories, where did they go. Hoping for some decent rain as garden parched.
    Thanks to Falcon and Campbell.

  26. I agree with the *** rating, I liked 12,17, and 21, a different start to a Monday but a nice one, Thank you to Campbell and Falcon but I had a penny drop moment when I solved 17 across.


  27. Great puzzle, roaring start then ground to a semi-halt, then a good mental workout to an unaided conclusion.
    So, *** difficulty.
    Often wondered what a 16d was, restaurant near me called that.
    Many thanks to Campbell and Falcon for the review.

  28. Finished this sitting in the car outside the doctors, waiting while Mr BL has his appointment- they are only letting patients inside right now. Hoped crossword would distract from the south Florida heat, it has a bit. Thank you Campbell for a very enjoyable and doable puzzle, only foiled by the cricket clue. Thanks to Falcon, my pace was similar to yours.

  29. Found this Monday a puzzle a breeze. Finished it with no hints in 1* time. Everything just clicked except 23d that just wouldn’t come to me without using the hint. Some nice clues here including 14a, 18a, 21a & 11d
    No real favourite today.

    Thanks to setter & Falcon

  30. Solved alone and unaided, but found it decidedly tricky.
    Could not parse 9a …and doubt I ever would have without help.
    Couldn’t parse 8d either but the hint makes it clear. It is a very long time since I have slept on a train.
    So, no hurrah today.

    Thanks to the setter and to Falcon.

  31. ***/***. More difficult than Monday usually is. Lots went in quite quickly but then I was slowed up by 6&13d. Thanks to Campbell and Falcon.

  32. Well I’m with Crypticsue,I’ve been busy today and I’ve just picked up the paper.
    No difficulty at all,a 1*/2* at most.

  33. Enjoyed this but found it quite difficult 🤔 ***/*** Favourites 2d & 10a 🤗 Thanks to Falcon and to Campbell 👍

  34. Great puzzle with only a little help needed. Very enjoyable. Fav 23d.
    Thanks to Falcon and Campbell

  35. Another disjointed day, so many interruptions, but I found this really friendly so maybe that’s the answer, do the puzzle in fits and starts.
    I’m not a maths person so didn’t know 9a, I got it only by getting 3d. I missed the anagram and only got that by the checkers. We’ve had that so many times I can’t believe it was my penultimate solve.
    I liked lots, super puzzle, but I think fave has to be 21a, love the word. I think 23d deserves a mention.
    Thanks to Campbell and to Falcon for his usual fun review.

  36. I managed this all by my self but left a couple of them to parse fully when I got home to the hints 16d was one and I had the right answer but needed the nudge to see the way.
    Thanks to Campbell and Falcon.

  37. What on earth is a 16d? Yes, now I know, but – despite the excellent clue – I drew a blank. Otherwise great fun. Gracias a todos.

  38. I’m in the “I’m just not on the same wavelength as Campbell” camp this evening. Nothing new there then. On completion i could see it wasn’t quite as tricky as I made it seem. Favourite was 10a because it took so long to get it and really obvious when you have. Thanks to Campbell and Falcon.

  39. This was **/**** until I got to 16d when it became ****/**. Not a criticism of the crossword, more my frustration when I can’t solve the final clue.

    At the risk of being a pedant, the US Green Berets are not commandos, even though they are elite troops. That distinction lies with the British Royal Marines and commando trained British Army personnel.

    21a gave me the most satisfaction in solving. Thanks to all.

    1. Re: commandos

      I expect you are far more qualified to judge this than I. I can only go by what I read in the dictionary (which admittedly cannot always be taken as gospel).

      According to the BRB, a commando is “a unit of a special service brigade, especially the Royal Marine Corps”; or “a person serving in such a unit”.

      This would seem to allow the possibility that other countries can have commando units. I’d be interested to learn how Chambers got it wrong (or how I am misinterpreting Chambers).

  40. 13d and 16d took as long as the rest of the crossword.
    Good challenge for a Monday, now one of the toughest days of the week.
    Thanks all.

  41. Thanks to Campbell and to Falcon for the review and hints. I enjoyed this one, but found it quite tricky, especially the bottom half. Favourite was 21a. Was 4*/3* for me.

  42. Very pleasant start to the week for me too.
    Busy restaurant and nice crossword.
    Good old Alf Garnett.
    One of the first show at the Duke’s was Ducking Out with Warren Mitchell. 1982 I think.
    He used to live down a street just after the Spaniard’s Inn from the other day.
    I was only up the road at N° 14 Hampstead Lane. Shared a cab on a couple of occasions.
    Good Norf London boy he was.
    Thanks to Campbell and Falcon.

  43. My latest ever completion (almost) of a DT back pager. All over in 1.5* time until 16d. Double that time & I’d eked out the last 5 letters from the wordplay but not letters 1 & 3 & needed the hints – never heard of such a thing. Tougher than recent Mondays & enjoyable with 23d my favourite.
    Thanks to all.

  44. Well that took me three attempts and then I had to give up and turn to Falcon for the answers to 4 down and 16 down. Still none the wiser but overall I’m pleased to have done so many by myself. Many thanks to Falcon and the setter.

  45. Another excellent ‘reverse’ crossword, one where you have to guess the answers in order to understand the clues.

    1. Depends also on the day. Sometimes the brain is inexplicably out of tune; perhaps the Rioja is to blame.

  46. We really enjoyed that puzzle and had the same experience as other commentators – off at a brisk trot then had to put my mental horse out to pasture for a while then came back to complete the SW corner. I had no problem with 16d but had only 13d left to do for the last several hours before it finally popped into my head. Thanks to Campbell and Falcon from sunny New Jersey.

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