DT 29395 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 29395 (Hints)

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 29395 (Hints)

The Saturday Crossword Club
Hosted by Tilsit

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

Greetings from downtown Warrington. Today’s Saturday Prize puzzle is quite topical and may well hit some headlines. There’s a convention in some puzzles, most notably the Times, that living people are not featured in their puzzles, with the exception of The Queen. So, 30 across is rather a nice clue and a nice tribute. And 3 down is also rather topical!

Overall, for me, a slightly challenging puzzle with the answers having to be teased out. I’m guessing one of our Mysterons is out to play today.

Remember the naughty step is back in play, and you don’t want to go there. And the pictures may well be a subtle (or less than subtle) hint to some of the clues.

As is usual for the weekend prize crosswords, an assortment of clues, including some of the more difficult ones, have been selected and hints provided for them.

Most of the terms used in these hints are explained in the Glossary and examples are available by clicking on the entry under “See also”. Where the hint describes a construct as “usual” this means that more help can be found in The Usual Suspects, which gives a number of the elements commonly used in the wordplay. Another useful page is Wolves in Sheep’s Clothing, which features words with meanings that are not always immediately obvious.

A full review of this puzzle will be published after the closing date for submissions.

Some hints follow.


1a Cheat to start puzzle (8)
We start with a word for cheat plus one meaning to start something. Put together they reveal something meaning puzzle.

5a Player is wearing tight boot (6)
A particular player can be found by taking IS, which wears (i.e. has around it) and anagram (tight, as in drunk) of BOOT.

10a Take shells from water, anxious, and see fish (6)
The name of a colourful fish can be found by taking the outer letters (shells) of three words in the clue.

12a Bill in close-fitting jacket for performance (6,3)
The name for a type of stage performance is found by putting the abbreviation for a bill and putting it inside the name of a type of jacket worn by men in the past.  And here’s the best example I could find.

16a Glorious under the Linden tree? (7)
The Latin word for under, plus the other name for the Linden tree gives you the required word.

21a Have quick look in either direction (4)
A palindrome for a word meaning to look.

24a United supporters returned in chaos (5)
A word that is actually an acronym is found by taking an abbreviation for United and one for supporters and reversing them.

28a Not fair when superior virtually eclipses career (8)
Someone who is not fair may be this! Something meaning superior to, minus its last letter, goes around a word meaning to career.

30a Singer‘s very nearly changed name (4,4)
The name of a singer who was sadly in the news this week is found by taking the abbreviation for very, adding an anagram of nearly, and adding an abbreviation for name. R I P to a lovely lady and here’s to a life well lived.


1d Scoundrel in American intelligence finds bug (6)
The name for an insect is found by putting the name for a bounder inside the abbreviation of the US intelligence people.

3d Four, five, all regularly seen in college (5)
The alternative letters (regularly) of three words in the clue give you the answer, which is another topical clue in the light of another of this week’s news stories.

7d Not really a problem one can sleep on? (8)
A cryptic definition that defines the sort of problem affecting me at the moment. Hence this blog was written at 04:30.

11d Love but no husband for this regretful lady (4)
The name for a lady who, in song, has lots of regrets is found by taking the symbol for love (in tennis) and adding the word THIS without the abbreviation for husband.

15d Looking embarrassed, protects Maoists (3,6)
How you appear when embarrassed, plus a word meaning protects gives the name of some staunch supporters of The Chairman.

17d Mean 50s lout shut away (8)
A word meaning shut away is found by taking a word meaning mean, as in an adjective, and adding the name for a 1950’s hooligan.

23d Dragon, mostly green, captured by Welshman (6)
A name for a mythical dragon is found by taking the heraldic name for green, minus its last letter (mostly) and placing a Welsh name around it.

26d Bird over new atomic plant (5)
The name for a type of plant that produces a dye is made up of that of a bird plus the abbreviations for new and atomic.

Today’s Music is from a much-missed singer taken far too early and it may give you an extra nudge…

The Crossword Club is now open.


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The Quick Crossword pun: diner+sore=dinosaur

Last week I posed you some questions from the Quiz Grand Prix I was running on the day.  Here they are with the answers clickable underneath.

1. Which famous British writer, who died in 2000, was one of the three inventors of the airmail glider, which played a significant role in WW2?

Barbara Cartland!

2. The Perry Index is an index of which collection of stories that were written (some say collected) during the 6th century BCE by a slave and storyteller in Greece?

Aesop’s Fables

3. The Chinese manufacturer Flying Pigeon is best known for the production of what?


4. Which organisation founded in 1941 by Kurt Hahn and Lawrence Durning, that aims to help young people push their boundaries through outdoor activities and challenges? Its first school was in Aberdyfi in Wales and its name derives from a nautical expression that refers to the moment a ship leaves harbour?

Outward Bound

5. Which European capital was destroyed by an earthquake in 1755?


6. Who famously received a diary as a 13th birthday present on June 12 1942?

Anne Frank

7. Debrecen is the second-largest city of which European country?


8. From the Greek ekdusis meaning shedding, the word ecdysiast coined by HL Mencken is a fancy (and harder to pronounce) word for what specific type of performer?

Striptease Artiste

9. CCD (Colony Collapse Disorder) decimates populations of which creature?


10. The River Danube empties into which sea?

Black Sea

11. Which winner of eight Wimbledon singles and doubles titles was born in Wiesbaden, West Germany, in 1959?

John McEnroe

12. Which country musician lends her name to a hand in poker consisting of a straight with nine as the high card?

Dolly Parton (9-5)

If you got more than three of these right, you should be quizzing more seriously!



102 comments on “DT 29395 (Hints)

  1. It appears that those responsible for the app still haven’t got Chris Lancaster’s memo. Not that I’m bothered, I already have a pen. 😎

  2. When they said things might slowly return to normal, I was rather hoping for the chance to get my hair cut rather than finding the crossword had been moved to the inside back page of the paper :(

    A fairly typical Saturday puzzle – no particular favourites – so thank you to the setter and Tilsit

    1. Hope you’ve already booked your appointment CS?
      Hairdresser slots will be like loo rolls, I’ve assumed, for the next few weeks. A friend of mine is trying to find out whether her health spa booking in July will be honoured. I think it might be but, just like health farms of old, you can go, but there won’t be any food…….

      1. I’ve been cutting mine for almost a year now, as I have never found a hairdresser Over here I liked enough to go back to more than twice. And we got some clippers for himself, I do the back of his head and he does the front and back. Looks just as good so money saved.

  3. I enjoyed this quite a lot.
    My favourite was 11d and many thanks to Tilsit, whom I hope is much better, but doesn’t that YT clip put you on the naughty step? :lol:

  4. Completed in the bath. Both bath and crossword very relaxing. Favourites 10a and 18d. Don’t quite understand 13a and 14d, but my answers must be right. Thanks to setter and Tilsit.

    1. 14d completely eluded us too!

      Thanks to Mr Ron, Tilsit and BD – we are starting to enjoy the comments almost as much as the puzzle.

      Mr and Mrs T

  5. Thanks to Tilsit for the hints and for the chance to see the brilliant Kirsty McColl.
    The details and links to crosswords elsewhere relate to last Saturday, not today.

  6. Moat of the clues in this puzzle were pretty straightforward but there was a handful lf awkward ones which just took me into 3* time for difficulty (3* for enjoyment too). My favourite clue was 10a but I was a bit mystified by the wording of 5a, although the answer was clear. The synonym used in 27a bothered me too. I’ll say no more as I don’t want to end up in the naughty corner. Thanks to the setter and to Tilsit for the hints. Glad you are feeling better now.

  7. 3*/3*. I found this a pleasant and nicely challenging puzzle without a single hmm or raised eyebrow until I reached 24a, my last one in, which is an American acronym.

    My favourite of course was 6d. We rabbits are easily led astray.

    Many thanks to the setter and to Tilsit.

    1. It was last in too RD & as the penny dropped felt sure you would disapprove. Though I had heard it before needed Mr G to refresh my memory.

    2. The acronym allegedly resulted from a game played by two military radio operators who took five letter code groups as acronyms and assigned ‘Humerous’ phrases to them. The other code groups allegedly sent in the message with 🤐 (and their invented expansions) were:
      CSIAM : Colonel Smith Is A Moron
      OTILA : Our Tent Is Leaking Again
      IHTDA : I Hate The Damn Army
      🤐 : 🤫

      History does not recall what they made of the final two groups: “DWXBR POOPO”, although the latter seems rich in possibilities.

  8. Just 11d remained blank for me, after **** time. I didn’t know the song, I was presuming it was a biblical reference. I do think that an obscure song from nearly 70 years ago is a little unfair.

    As Doguern says, the parsing of 13a eludes me. I was a little surprised that the setter was allowed such a rude reference as 24a.

    Thanks to all.

    1. I would suggest to Doguern and you that a visit to the dictionary might prove enlightening

      1. Agree, the current day dictionaries give its meaning as a word, rather than as the acronym we golden oldies remember, and the younger folk probably never heard. Nothing to get upset about.

    2. It may be 70 years old but is still an iconic song and frequently played. You could say We’ll Meet Again is 70 years old but still well known.

  9. Hard for me today, couldn’t get going at all but some topical references so 4/4 *

    I thought these crosswords must be submitted and approved a week in advance or so to meet editorial deadlines.

    Big Dave et al do you have any insight?

    Thanks to T and setter

    1. Probably a lot longer than a week – I tested some last month which will appear elsewhere in August and early September

  10. Most of this puzzle was plain sailing with a few more thought provoking clues. Thank you Tilsit for the explanation of 28a. I couldn’t see the “why” of that at all and was hoping you’d include it! It’s a bit of a stretch. I was surprised to find the acronym in 24a though it does describe our current situation quite well. Favourite 18d. Simple but effective. Thanks to all.

  11. As a fan of Cole Porter & Ella Fitzgerald really enjoyed 11d, gave me a real lift! ***/****

  12. Its not a Prize Puzzle if you are doing the electronic version . It will even give the solver the answers and confirms if it is correct when complete. Despite this I thought it was an excellent puzzle. My favs were 16a (had to look up the poem) and 24a (relieved to see the hints didn’t show what the initials stand for).
    Given that’s it is not a Prize Puzzle any explanation of the correct answers to 22d and 13a would be appreciated, the wordplay has got me foxed.
    Thx to all

    1. Don’t understand CS instructions to consult the dictionary for 13a, the answer is obviously to the first two words in the clue but inserting the answer into the BRB does not appear to show ref to a monkey.

      1. Look up the third word in the clue to see how it might relate to a homophone (caught) of your solution

        1. I think I see what you are getting at but why is ‘caught‘ a homophone indicator? Anyway surely it should be ‘monkey around’ or ‘monkey about’ not just monkey.

            1. If you come from Brisle (Bristol) that clue does not work. I very rarely get the sounds like clues except as bung ins

        2. Thank you, doh, the penny’s dropped at last. However, why does caught signify a homophone, please?

          1. Catch can mear to hear something. As in ‘Did you catch that?’

            Hence ‘caught’ is now one of the crossword chestnut phrases to indicate a homophone.

  13. Pleasantly diverting and topical for a Saturday morning. Nothing too taxing, with 3d my favourite. Thanks to our setter and Tilsit.

  14. I found this quite a tussle particularly in the South and needed some help with a few e.g. 10a, 24a and 23d. 4d raised a grin. Can’t believe that at my ripe old age I had to bung in 10a. Thank you Mysteron (Ed?) and Tilsit.

  15. Thought this was going to be a doddle after a large number went in on the first read through but the inclusion of a few trickier ones slowed things for me. I’m in the unable to parse 13a club (despite dictionary) & even with Tilsit’s explanation I’m struggling to find the jacket in 12a but the answers to both were obvious. Overall I found this very enjoyable with 10a & 18d amongst my favourite of the clues.
    Thanks to the setter & to Tilsit for the review.
    Ps lovely to see the marvellous KM singing 11d though Nat King Cole’s rendition is my favourite version of the song with Gregory Porter doing a fine version in his tribute album.

    1. All 3 versions “sing” to me and I feel for Gregory Porter having to wear that hat in hot weather.

  16. Very enjoyable and a little more challenging than some recent Saturday Prize Puzzles, even with a sprinkling of oldies but goodies, completed at a gallop – 2.5*/3.5*.
    It would have been 4* for enjoyment but, for reasons stated by others, 24a caused a half star to be deducted.
    I had to wonder if the appearance of the wonderful lady in 30a was pure coincidence or some rapid editing made possible because of the checkers in the 4 down clues.
    Candidates for favourite – 16a, 2d, 7d, and 22d – and the winner is 7d.
    Thanks to the setter and Tilsit.

  17. Encountered a few tricky ones along the way but enjoyed solving this one.
    Podium places went to 25a plus 4,11&22d – they all raised a smile.

    Thanks to our Saturday setter and to Tilsit for the review.

  18. Breezed through 90% but the last few made it the toughest for some time. Hints needed (& the not-so-subtle memory jog for 11d) to parse 3 or 4.
    Like most had never heard of 24a.
    Thanks to Mysteron and Tilsit for hints. What was the poker hand by the way? I did look next day but couldn’t see answers.

        1. In london a ‘Dolly Parton’ is a pair. “I’ve got a dolly of aces”

  19. I am quite impressed with the speed in which the topical clues have appeared. Even more so if the whole puzzle was constructed around them, but I suspect it was a nifty bit of editing by or at the request of C.L. I am in the same 13a camp too but the explanation makes sense now. A local river made me doubt my 21d until the parsing revealed itself.
    Let’s not make a federal case of whether this is a prize puzzle or not and enjoy what the DT provides.
    Thanks to tilsit and setter. I am sure the former will be along to edit the bits from last week after his deserved nap.

    1. please edit the answer to 7d from the comment above. I haven’t time for the naughty step today!

  20. Another pleasant Saturday solve. A number of COTD candidates. I’m giving it to 19a. Thanks to setter and Tilsit for the insight and clips🦇

  21. Unlike some, I found 24a quite good and funny (and yes, American), but my choice clues today are 16a, 15a, 17d, and 18d. The west side went in quite quickly, but several on the east held me up a bit and pushed me into *** time, especially 28 and 13a. Delighted with the anagram in 30a, as I was with its subject: Auf Wiedersehen! A really enjoyable Saturday puzzle. *** / **** Thanks to Tilsit, who I hope is doing well now, and to the setter.

    What a 24a this country I live in has become: today, the DoDo in DC has threatened ALL protestors who demonstrate in Tulsa, where his P T Barnum Show takes his ill-advised rally.

  22. The FT puzzle appears to have come out from behind the paywall. Today’s is by MUDD.

    1. Some of last week’s blog got left behind when this week’s hints etc were added. I’ve taken the liberty of correcting the number of the crossword at the top of the post and removing the information about last week’s crosswords to avoid further confusion

      1. Sorry about that – a busy morning which started wth the plumber fixing a leaking radiator meant that I was too hasty in putting it all together.

  23. A bit of a struggle for me but got there in the end. Unlike others, I did understand the answer to 13a and that does not happen often. There were many good clues and it is difficult to pick a favourite but 12a and 18d entertained. I was surprised to see 24a.

    Many thanks to the setter for a good challenge and to Tilsit for the hints. I hope you are now fully recovered.

  24. Good puzzle and finished in good time. Have never heard of 24a and was rather taken aback to read the definition in my dictionary! How can this be a prize puzzle when my Kindle gives me the answers if I ask for them? I haven’t looked at the answers but feel I can’t submit the puzzle under these circumstances. Puzzle Editor, can you sort this? Many thanks to the setter and Tilsit.

  25. Any chance 13a is to do with the mystery monkey that evaded capture for 4 years there?

  26. I managed to work out the answer to 24a from the clue, but didn’t know if it was a real word or not. I was shocked when I googled it. I agree with Tilsit. Some of the answers had to be teased out. Thanks to all.

  27. After my complete failure yesterday this was a pleasant surprise, most enjoyable. Lots of great clues and it woukd be difficult nominate an outstanding one. I am looking forward to next weeks challenges. Looking at some of the comments I am glad that I have the paper. I trued the electronic version but after waiting for 40 minutes for it to download I decided life was to short.
    Thanks to Tilsit an setter. Tilsit I hope you are recovering still.

  28. Thanks for a nice puzzle with some topical references which are quite impressive at short notice! I did like 11d and 12a but a number of very clever clues. I don’t know how you do it! I had to look 24a up in the dictionary and like others was surprised – I might toss it into the conversation and astonish my grandsons. When Jeremy was small, I was overseeing the teeth cleaning when he said ‘Mummy makes me clean my teeth with soap’. I told him not to be silly and of course Mummy wouldn’t do that. ‘Oh yes she did’ he replied ‘when I called William a ———‘
    (I later had to ask my husband what that was!)

  29. Solved alone and unaided and enjoyed this very much. Thank you for the song clip. It’s one of my favourites.

    Add me to the list of folks who could not parse 13a…..all sorted out now thank you.
    I was also a bit shocked by 24a …..I knew it but did not think it would make the DT crossword.

    Thanks to the setter and to Tilsit…..hope you are feeling a lot better now….but do try to take things slowly for a while yet.

    Keep safe everyone.

  30. ***/****. Romped through this until I got to the SW corner which took me longer than the other 3 quadrants together. My favourite was 16a. Such a well constructed clue. Thanks to the setter and Tilsit.

  31. Like vancouverbc, I was swanning along until I got to the SW. I needed to get the hint for 17d to get going again. As always, when I had the answers I wondered what was so hard about that!
    I have been using 24a forever and had no idea what the acronym was, now I can’t use it again, bah humbug.
    Loved it all, overall quite friendly. I remembered our fish at 10a.
    Fave was 11d by a country mile. Our lifts here are made by 11d and every time I get in one I start humming the song to myself, can’t keep a tune so have to be careful not to sing out loud.
    Thanks to our Saturday setter, I loved it, and to Tilsit for helping me to cross the finish line.

  32. One of those that I found really difficult while I was doing it and can’t see why now.
    Think I’m just grumpy, :sad: and a bit dim today.
    I confess that I needed the help to understand why 13a was right, which it had to be.
    I liked 25a and 22d because they were as near as anything has been today to making me laugh.
    Thanks to the setter and to Tilsit.

  33. I am a long way from done which is perfect for this incredibly hot Saturday. BTW what we get here in Ontario you get in the UK and Europe a day or 2 later.
    Merusa I too used that for a long time before understanding what it meant. I still use it though. :-) The cat used to give me a quizzical look, perhaps she knew what it meant. I miss the cat so much. And the dog who died years ago. Daft as a brush that dog, lovely with it. I think I’d like that on my grave. Lately we have been considering getting a dog or cat but I read something today that just so horrified me that it will be a cat. Apparently a plane landed in Toronto with 500 (! yes 500) puppies in cargo, dozens of which were dead. I don’t want in any way to contribute to possible puppy mill operations, rescue dogs here are generally large we need something smaller. Sorry to have whittered on as usual. BigDave feel free to edit!
    Thanks to setter, BD, Tilsit (keep getting better we need you) and everyone here.

    1. Puppy farms are terrible, Carolyn. We have had six labs and all have come from registered breeders. Our latest, Hudson, came from a farm in Shropshire but the farmer did everything by the book and registered with the Kennel Club.
      Dogs from puppy farms are bred in terrible conditions and have all kinds of problems. All such places should be be shut down.
      Find a reputable breeder and get another dog. It may cost you quite a bit more but you will know the puppy has had a good start in life.
      A house is not a home without a dog. Who else would look at you adoringly as you struggle with the crossword?

  34. Quick romp home. Favorite 7d.

    Second week running, not a prize crossword on the iPad. The app is still terribly slow after all these months. It’s like the NHS tracing app. If the DT cannot fix it in house, why don’t they get some professional help?

    1. Slow in what way? There is an odd “stutter” the first time one flicks right to left from a Pictorial section header, but otherwise the latest version ( seems faster and more stable. Obviously, YMMV.

  35. As an old soldier I liked 13a, because you could see a guardian of military law in it, and ‘monkey’ was the slang term for them used by the troops, although the homophone explanation is what decided it for me.
    Thank you to setter, BD and Tilsit.

  36. The sun finally came out after about 6” of rain yesterday, pleasing any brave tourists I am sure. A very pleasant puzzle with just a few hold ups. Thanks to setter and Tilsit. Favourite was 18a, helped by the fact that we were there for a weekend in 2018, so it did spring to mind. Didn’t know the fish at 10a, nor the lady in 11d, but that one just had to be. Agree with Tilsit on his comments re the lovely lady in 30a. My Dad was a huge fan, I think she visited the troops in Burma when he was there as a Desert Rat.

  37. I’m obviously not in a crossword mood today,I found this very tricky and not all that enjoyable. Like others, I am not convinced by 24a! Thanks to Tilsit for the hints which where needed and the setter.

  38. Enjoyable with a few I found tricky – I got the word for 24a from the clue but had to look it up to see if it was a word – and surprised with its meaning or more correctly the origin of the word! Nice link at 30a.
    I noticed there is a bit of a debate about the iPad edition having the reveal answers option as on other days of the week. Obviously this is a glitch but as I always now use the app I do not think it matters as for me the fun is to challenge yourself and not look at the answers anyway. If you really wanted to get an unfair advantage you can always find an answer on the internet (but where is the fun in that?)
    However for newcomers it is a useful learning tool – and would think it unlikely anyone would reveal the answers and submit as a prize crossword…

  39. 3*/4*……..
    liked 25A “cheerfully irresponsible friends retired in good spirits (4-5)”….
    Thanks to the setter and to Tilsit.

  40. Thank you everyone for the nice wishes. I am still feeling pretty drained most of the time and have been sidelined from work for a further couple of weeks. Although I didn’t feel particularly unwell with COVID-19, it seems to have depleted my already-dodgy immune system.

    I’ll amend the blog to include the answers to last week’s quiz in a while and will make the answers clickable.

  41. Thoroughly enjoyable puzzle. Still can’t figure out 28 across. Also had trouble with 19 across. Any hints available on that?

    1. 19a–think American city abbr. + word meaning below; 28a–think of hair, ‘not fair’. Does that help? I don’t know if that sends me to the Naughty Corner or not, but WTH.

  42. Tricky…late due to a hard day on the allotment then falling asleep.
    Needed some hints to finish.
    Thanks all.

  43. Late as usual! Had terrible trouble with 5a and 10a having misinterpreted the hints….realised they had to be amended and it fell into place -Player in 5a is not some weird foreign footballer and 10a not a word from continuous letters… -not your fault Tilsit – glad you are recovering, and pleased that Big Dave has reappeared -had me worried.
    l’m pleased I came back after a rest, to complete!

  44. The good lady former Maths teacher and I completed this puzzle in our usual 12a format, i.e. I teased out the answers to 80% of the puzzle using my classicist training and she completed the rest in double quick time using her intuition and logic skills. I had not heard of 11a before but she had. It went in last. Thanks all from steamy NYC.

  45. It’s months since I’ve had to go for a bung-in but 27a – unless anyone can help at this ungodly hour – is going to have to be just that. Some essential tips on here for what I thought was a tough but satisfying one (with the exception I’m stuck on). Thanks to all contributors and the setter. Last minute help might make my week.

    1. Oh joy! I have it! Et voilà!
      PS Which is the best online dictionary/ app to get, please? Is there one above all that’s the ‘be all and end all’? Thanks again.

      1. Chambers is the “BRB” and there is an app. However, it’s not the full version of the printed dictionary. There is also a Chambers Thesaurus app you might find useful.

        1. Hi Attila the Hun, thank you. Could you enlighten me on what ‘BRB’ stands for (especially just in case it crops up sometime!)?

  46. Well, I kept going back to this old one in the hope that I could fathom it out but finally had to give up and use electronic aids etc. Seemed different style to many with double steps of logic. Hopefully July will be an easier month!

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