DT 29403 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 29403

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 29403

Hints and tips by Mr K

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BD Rating  -  Difficulty ** Enjoyment ***

Hello, everyone.  It's Tuesday again and unsurprisingly we have a pretty standard Tuesday puzzle.  No idea who might have set this one.  Any suggestions?

In the hints below most indicators are italicized, and underlining identifies precise definitions and cryptic definitions.  Clicking on the answer will be here buttons will reveal the answers.  In some hints hyperlinks provide additional explanation or background.  Clicking on a picture will enlarge it.  Please leave a comment telling us how you got on.



1a    Changed modus operandi and failed to protect single female (8)
MODIFIED:  The abbreviation for modus operandi is followed by failed in a permanent way containing (to protect) both the letter that looks like one (single) and the abbreviation for female 

5a    Punched, as criminal might be (6)
CUFFED:  More specifically, as a criminal just arrested might be.  When being photographed with police officers, posing  with your hands behind your back is perhaps not the best idea

9a    Government intended to dismiss a financial report? (9)
STATEMENT:  A synonym of government is followed by a synonym of intended minus its A from the clue (to dismiss A)

11a   In favour of wearing an item of protective clothing (5)
APRON:  A short word meaning "in favour of" contained in (wearing) AN from the clue 

12a   Approximately nothing for a country (6)
CANADA:  Follow the two letter Latin abbreviation for approximately with an informal Americanism meaning nothing 

13a   Teapots damaged with hole in -- they could be chipped (8)
POTATOES:  An anagram (damaged) of TEAPOTS containing the round letter (with hole in

15a   Support PM at once with manic reforms (13)
ACCOMPANIMENT:  An anagram (reforms) of PM AT ONCE MANIC 

18a   Cross-country running finally leaving Nina tolerating exercising (13)
INTERNATIONAL:  An anagram (exercising) of NINA TOLERATIN[g] minus the last letter of running (running finally leaving …

22a   First  novel (8)
ORIGINAL:  First because it hasn't been seen before and novel because it hasn't been seen before 

23a   Race to tee off before work (6)
GALLOP:  To tee off or annoy comes before the usual abbreviated musical work

26a   Head working and working to take over Independent (5)
ONION:  Two copies of a short word meaning working or operating sandwiching (to take over) the single letter for independent.  The 26a is a US publication responsible for leaking this

27a   Get rid of characters in hotel -- I'm in a temper (9)
ELIMINATE:  The answer is hiding as some of the characters in the remainder of the clue 

28a   Observe religious education with biblical book (6)
REMARK:  The abbreviation for religious education is followed by a book in the New Testament 

29a   Handlers of matches concerned with fire -- see rioting after one's dropped (8)
REFEREES:  Follow a usual short word meaning "concerned with" with an anagram (rioting) F[i]RE SEE minus the Roman one (after one's dropped)



1d    One blowing their own trumpet? (8)
MUSICIAN:  The answer is not, for example, a person commenting about how they find all the crosswords easy or boasting about wonderful they are.  No, the answer is literally what a person playing a trumpet defines by example (?)

2d    Doctor at home following adult's bleed (5)
DRAIN:  Link together abbreviations for doctor and adult, and follow that with the usual short word meaning at home.  Could have done without being reminded of aneurysms

3d    Delivery at no charge does often matter initially (7)
FREEDOM:  A word meaning "at no charge" is followed by the first letters (… initially) of the next three words in the clue

4d    Flat race possibly unfinished (4)
EVEN:  All but the last letter (unfinished) of what a race defines by example (possibly)

6d    A Parisian welcoming a fight in the dark (7)
UNAWARE:  The grammatical article A in French (Parisian) containing (welcoming) both A from the clue and a synonym of fight 

7d    Often got upset about king left behind (9)
FORGOTTEN:  An anagram (upset) of OFTEN GOT containing (about) the Latin abbreviation for king 

8d    Is husband following desperate character to get pastry? (6)
DANISH:  IS from the clue and the genealogical abbreviation for husband are both following a Desperate comic strip character

10d   Very hot drink picked up -- I cry out, almost (8)
TROPICAL:  The reversal (picked up, in a down clue) of a fortified wine is followed by I from the clue and all but the last letter (almost) of a synonym of cry out

14d   Horror film includes a good trap? (8)
CARRIAGE:  A horror film based on a Stephen King novel contains (includes) both A from the clue and the abbreviation for good


16d   Opinions  stick (9)
CRITICISM:  Opinions or analysis and stick or finding fault 

17d   Fast boats caught by ripples at sea (8)
CLIPPERS:  The cricket scoreboard abbreviation for caught with an anagram (at sea) of RIPPLES 

19d   Pub in the right to get less stout (7)
THINNER:  Another word for pub is inserted in THE from the clue and the single letter for right stuck on the end 

20d   Picture that is about mother on alcohol (7)
IMAGINE:  The Latin abbreviation for "that is" is wrapped about both an informal word for mother and the alcohol known informally as mother's ruin 

21d   Integrity from working within specific time (6)
HONOUR:  A familiar short word meaning working or operating is inserted in (within) a unit of time

24d   Holiday? Pack one's bags (5)
LEAVE:  A double definition.  The first is a noun and the second a verb 

25d   Awful person staining cloth, by the sound of it (4)
DIRE:  A homophone (by the sound of it) of a person who stains cloth 


Thanks to today’s setter.  No standout favourites for me this week.  I did not find a lot of opportunities for feline illustrations in this puzzle, but fans of cat pics and entertaining prose might appreciate Kitty's fifteensquared blog on Saturday's Indy puzzle by Gila, which is both fun and more accessible than his Telegraph Toughies.  The puzzle is available for free here.  Just like on BD, it is never too late to comment over there, so feel free to do so if you enjoyed your visit. 


The Quick Crossword pun:  INN + TOO + MINES = IN TWO MINDS

89 comments on “DT 29403

  1. 1.5*/2.5*. An undemanding curate’s egg for me today.

    There were two of what I consider to be American terms in 12a and 23a. Collins agrees but Chambers does not. The latter seems to consider more and more of these acceptable. ☹

    “Working” to mean “on” was working overtime, making three appearances in two clues. Using it twice in 26a was fine but it was a shame that it cropped up again in 21d.

    For me, I don’t think 1d works as a cryptic definition.

    On the plus side, I particularly liked 5a, the very topical 11a, 15a, 26a & 29a.

    Many thanks to the setter and to Mr K.

    1. 12a is not American, it’s Spanish but used in America as in many places in America Spanish is a first language, e,g., Miami.

  2. A slightly underwhelming puzzle for a Tuesday, I thought. About average for difficulty, it lacked a certain sparkle. I thought 1d was a particularly weak clue, and like our blogger I failed to find a favourite.

    Thanks to both Misters.

    1. This felt like it was an unfamiliar compiler. It had some good clues like 14d and 17d. However like RD is a good example I was not keen on 12a which contains either an unindicated Spanish word or American slang depending on how you look at it. There were also some over-extended synonyms which I foun irritating. So it’s 2* for difficulty and 3* for enjoyment. Thanks to Mr K for the hints and the unknown compiler.

  3. Fairly sped through this enjoyable puzzle until I came to 25d. Took me ages to solve this one. Agree with RD above, too many uses of ‘working’. All in all though good fun. Stay safe everyone.

  4. I thought this was quite straightforward but a couple of nice “twists in the tail” just upped the enjoyment level half a point for me. My only problems were parsing 12a and my LOI the pesky 25d, which was a ‘go through the alphabet’ job.
    I particularly liked 5, 23& 29a plus 17d.
    Many thanks to the setter and to Mr K for the entertainment.
    Ps re the picture @5a, there’s an excellent article by the very smart Douglas Murray in today’s middle pages.

  5. I too stumbled on 25d, but the rest more straightforward than I expected. Rain at last today – thank goodness – so no golf but the garden needs it badly. Thanks to both.

  6. Unlike yesterday this was a bit of a tussle for me 14d baffled me for a long time as for some reason did 2d must be my mental block. Favourite for me 29a as it was the first in.
    Thanks to MrK and setter

  7. For me, another example of a Monday puzzle on a Tuesday exemplified by two long horizontal anagrams in the middle to give plenty of checkers, completed at a fast gallop – 1.5*/3*.
    I liked the answer for 12a but I didn’t think much of the clue!
    Candidates for favourite – 28a, 6d, 10d, and 20d – and the winner is 6d.
    Thanks to the setter and Mr K.

  8. A **/*** today.
    As Mr K says , a typical Tuesday puzzle-middle of the road for me.
    I note RD’s comments on the Americanisms, 12a was new to me ,I was familiar with the 23a ‘ tee off’ usage.
    Thanks to Mr K for the pics,5a made me smile, liked the surface any way, also that of 13a.
    Ready for the toughie.

  9. I thought that this had the feel of a new setter to me, and I enjoyed a great deal of it. As R Dave said, and I agree, 1d seems a bit weak (would ‘elephant’ have been also?), though I see nothing particularly American (or slangish) about 12a, as two above have mentioned. My favourites were 5a (I first had ‘mugged’ until 7d wouldn’t work), 3d, and 14d (my COTD). Thanks to Mr Kitty and the setter. ** / 3.5*

    And “So we beat on, boats against the current….” (with apologies to FSF)

    1. ‘You’ve been through all of F Scott Fitzgerald’s books. You’re very well read it’s well known.

      1. Well, yes I have, miffypops, but that’s not why I quoted from ‘TGGatsby’.

    2. Hi Robert,
      The second part of 12a is definitely an import from your part of the world. Mr Google describes it as ‘informal – North America’ which is fair enough and probably more politely put than I would have done!

      1. Well, it is Spanish. And we do include Mexico as part of North America, technically, so in that case, all right. Thanks, Jane.

        1. I thought about it and agree with Jane. It is Spanish, but now adopted by America. It’s like saying something like faux pas is Britspeak now.

          1. Whether it is American or Spanish I know not, but I have never heard of it. The answer was what it had to be but I had no idea whatsoever how I got there.

    3. Robert, totally agree on 1d, and not just because I had penned in elephant. The correct answer hardly seems cryptic IMHO.

      1. When I had M_S as the first 3 letters, I was convinced it was Mastodon. Weak clue IMHO.

    4. Certainly elephant was the idea I had too. As a synonym for someone who plays the trumpet I was looking for something must more specific.

  10. Some quite entertaining clues. 5a and 8d come to mind. Nothing particularly outstanding and 14d took me a while to figure out even with all the checkers – last one in. Oddly, I’ve just finished reading Stephen King’s latest book of short stories so the film should have occurred to me earlier. 16d was quite clever. Not the most obvious definition of stick. Favourite 17d. Thanks to all. Not a scooby who the setter might be!

  11. A gently engaging walk in the park via the North at first. Not being up on horror films 14d was a bung-in. In line with several earlier comments 25d was last to go in as I looked for awful person – d’oh. 1d weak cryptology IMHO. 5a including the associated pictorial hint raised a grin. Thank you Messrs. Ron and K.

  12. Also thought this had a very Monday-ish feel to it with nothing demanding. That said I did like 5&13a plus 14d. With the latter I was reminded of going to see De Palma’s movie with my first girlfriend & she jumped in her seat as the hand emerged from the grave in the final frame with the result that the contents of her drink was deposited in my lap.
    Thanks to the setter & to Mr K.

    1. I jumped out of my skin too. Saint Sharon never flinched. I don’t think I will be watching it ever again. It’s not a very nice film is it? Give me Mary Poppins Returns any day

        1. And me, freaked me our, that and the bit when ‘mother’ shows herself in ‘Psycho’

    2. A similar thing happened at the cinema watching Jaws, when a dead face suddenly appeared in a porthole. Richard Dreyfuss jumped (well, as far as you can jump when scuba diving) and so did 80% of the audience……and in my memory there were children there. Can that be true?
      Where I was staying only had a shower, which was good because I didn’t want to go in a bath for days afterwards. Seems pathetic now.

      1. That made me think of a horrible true story. When I first started work a female client of the firm was going through an acrimonious custody case. One evening she went to see the film Nanny which I think starred Joan Crawford and Betty Davis. She returned home and stuck numerous photos of her child around the bathroom wall, got in the bath, and drowned herself.

  13. Straightforward solve at a 23a. 13a and 26a were my favourites but maybe I’m just hungry. Thanks to Mr K and today’s setter.

  14. As RD a curate’s egg but fairly straightforward.
    With 12a, 18a and 23a there was a bit of a Senfian theme perhaps.
    COTD the 4 word lurker 27a.
    Thanks to setter & Mr K for review not needed today but, as always, entertaining.
    Daughter pretty certain of two sightings of snowy owl (today was within 15′) in forest near house.

    1. Hi LROK,
      There was a piece about Snowy Owls in the DT on 23rd June and the BTO are anxious to record all UK sightings. Perhaps your daughter could try to get a photo to send into them?

      1. Jane,
        Thank you, missed that will look it up.
        They have reported to the RSPB & Wildlife Scotland.
        They are taking their phones now so hopefully they will get a picture.

  15. Quite a user friendly puzzle today. What didn’t come from the wordplay could be bunged in from the checkers. Thanks to the setter and thanks to Mr K (but not keen on the pic at 14 down). Fifteen weeks too late we have carpets in the two larger bedrooms. The time to move on is getting close.

  16. The carefully disguised (in the dead tree version) 27a caught me on the hop and I confess to leaving 14d until the checkers were in place as I’m not a fan of horror films and hadn’t ‘twigged’ the required type of trap. No problems elsewhere and like Mr K I didn’t have a particular favourite – although I did laugh at the 5a photo call and the feline in protective clothing.

    Thanks to our setter and to Mr K for another enjoyable review.

  17. Unlike most, I found this tricky and it held out a long time. I did not know the Americanism in 12a or that 26a meant head. I am old enough to remember the 8d comic strip character, in the Dandy, if I recall.

    Because I struggled, I have no real favourites but the lurker in 27a was well hidden.

    Many thanks to the setter and to Mr. K for the hints.

    Talking of Stephen King, I think the best book full of mounting tension is “Misery”.

    1. It’s a pretty gruesome story. The stand, which he wrote many years ago, has a parallel theme to our present situation with covid. One of his best novels, I think.

      1. The Stand was one of his best I agree and the background was
        chillingly like some aspects of Covid 19.

    2. I found this one tricky, but I have struggled since the loss of the other half of Groamers. Where I failed he would worry the clue until he got the answer.

  18. Nothing scare the horses but i found some of the synonyms a little stretched. Judging by yesterday and today it seems that we are on a gentler week so far after last weeks alarums.
    Thx to all

  19. I’m starting again. I put “elephant” into 1d. I then couldn’t do any more. I had to read the review to see where I’d gone wrong. I thought that I had a very valid answer.

    1. I too put elephant at 1d thinking that it would bite my bottom later. Which it did

        1. I didn’t really ever think it was elephant but it’s such a lovely word and such a lovely animal that I welcomed its friendly presence

          1. Yes, I put elephant straight in, and still think it’s a better solution. Shame it doesn’t fit anything else.

  20. Oddly, I found this more difficult than the Toughie, which I’ve just finished. Maybe it was too early in the morning. But I sometimes wonder how young solvers cope with references to the past. I was a teenager when Carrie came out and I’m in my 60s now. But I suppose it is a famous film.

  21. This wasn’t too bad once I’d sorted my earlier error. I’m not sure I needed to be reminded of the horror movie. I saw it with a bunch of friends many years ago. It gave me nightmares. I’ve avoided all horror movies ever since. I liked 12a and 13a. I still liked my original answer for 1d. Thanks to all.

  22. I raced into this and thought it was going to be a breeze but then came to a grinding halt. I knew what the answer to 12a had to be but couldn’t work it out and didn’t understand 23a either – in fact I shall have to scroll back to Mr K’s clues and do a reveal. Does gall really mean to tee off in golf? I think I am one degree under today as my knee is really bad and preventing my brain from working. I wrote to the editor today but I bet it doesn’t get published – regarding Cherie Blair’s article on domestic chores.He will say it’s that barmy old woman from Melbourn again. Never thought I would be agreeing with Mrs Blair but she is spot on here. Why is the dust any more mine than his? And when he says you should have asked me I could explode. (Poor man. You can tell I am feeling very sorry for myself ) Thank you both setter and Mr K.

    1. It don’t think it means tee off in golf Daisygirl. I think it means to annoy or irritate.

    2. Daisygirl Daisygirl Daisygirl. For thousands of years woman have happily looked after their men. To change things now would be like allowing pure English to evolve and grow. Ok by me. But there are people out there who won’t allow it at all

  23. I found most of this quite straightforward 😃 until “foundering in the SW”. So ***/*** Favourites 9a & 17d 👍 Thanks to Mr K and to the Setter whom I know not 🤔

  24. Thanks to the setter and Mr Kitty for the review and hints. A nice puzzle with some good clues. Overall a nice mix of clue types, but I wasn’t keen on 1d. I thought 12a was amusing and original , but definitely an Americanism. Liked the lurker in 27a. Quite a few doubles definitions, last in was 16d. I liked 14d,but my favourite was 19d. Was 1*/3* for me.

  25. This was just right for a wet afternoon after the weekly shop this morning. It contained just the right amount of challenge for me, for which I was grateful. It took me ages to work out 27a and then when I finally got there, it was only to see the answer staring at me in the clue! I must learn to look for lurkers. Thanks to both the unknown setter and to Mr K for the hints (which weren’t needed but which I enjoyed).

  26. This was a nice solve and enjoyed 1, 15,18 across as well as 14 and 20 down no real COTD, of to toughie land and thank you to the setter and Mr K.

    Stay safe everyone

  27. I, too, initially packed my trunk and said goodbye to the circus with 1d, but swiftly erased it after getting 12a and seeing the error of my ways. Many seem to disagree but I enjoyed this puzzle – it is set at my level, which is not terribly advanced, for sure.
    There were a couple of questions yesterday about why I persist in sitting at the garden table, in grim weather, to undertake the cryptic, with the implication that life would be easier if I sat inside. This is very true but I do absolutely love being outdoors; I enjoy being in the garden and watching the changing seasons, and now I am in my mid-sixties (65 yesterday) I try and cherish every moment of joy from life. I truly don’t mind rain or a bit of chill if I have shelter,
    Today, Lola (for the first time in weeks) settled down inside on a sofa, while I took my place at the garden table. A sort of damp feel in the air, but lovely to sit among all the flowers which are now coming into full bloom.
    Thanks to the setter and Mr K.

    1. Happy Birthday for yesterday. Don’t rush to use that new bus pass. They won’t let you on without a mask!

    2. I was only teasing you know! I admire your grit and perseverance in the face of pesky breezes – we get them here in Cambridge straight from the Steppes. You are so right – those of us lucky enough to have gardens are enjoying them to the full. I sometimes think mine is THE most beautiful garden ever and cannot best to think of leaving it or what someone else would do to it. Happy birthday for yesterday, another Cancer the crab like me.

    3. Happy Birthday Terrence, enjoy the garden. Wish it was cool enough to do that here.

  28. **/***. First sitting was slow but this morning I sailed through. How strange? Thanks to the setter and Mr K for the review. The aquarium is open again for predefined ticket times, masks, a one-way system and a time limit on your visit. My visit starts at 11:50 – can’t wait.

  29. Mostly straightforward but it took me a while to sort out the bottom left corner. 16d turned out to be the key. The answer to 12a had to be what it was but I didn’t know the word for nothing used here. It took me a while to solve 27a: I think the strategically placed hyphen took my eye from the answer for quite some time, so I’ll make that my COTD. Thanks to the compiler and to Mr K for his review.

  30. Another puzzle in similar difficulty range to Monday’s offering, but I found it a little tricker. Had to resort to 3-4 hints to get the penny to drop on several clues. **/**** for this puzzle. SE corner was last to go in with 29a last in. Candidates for favourites include 5a, 13a, 28a 8d & 14d with 8d the winner. Reminds me of the comics I read as a child when we lived in the UK

    Thanks to setter and Mr K

  31. A perfectly ‘pleasant’ crossword but nothing that stood out for me – not tricky, apart from a couple of answers that held me up, but nothing that made me laugh either.
    I agree that 23a is an Americanism but I’d call the ‘non-americanism’ in 12a a Spanish word.
    Both the long anagrams across the middle took me a while as did spotting the 27a lurker, just for a change.
    Elephant didn’t even occur to me for 1d which is probably just as well.
    I know nothing about horror films, deliberately, and didn’t care much for the 14d picture. :sad:
    I liked 16 and 17d.
    Thanks to the setter and to Mr K.

  32. After a day of mowing lawns this was just what l needed.Monday on a Tuesday but with some good humour and an even better blog.Thanks to setter and Mr.K.Also thanks to some of the other participants the banter was good to see.

  33. Well, I enjoyed this, so there! Very friendly and cheerful. The only help I needed was my last one in, 29a, who knows why, nothing tricky about it.
    Fave was 17d, that’s what we called our airplanes in PanAm, dear departed PanAm.
    Thanks to our setter and to Mr. K for his hints and pics, particularly the daily briefing, but I loved them all, natch!

    1. Ah, so sad, the loss. My first two overseas flights were TWA and PanAm, in the 60s / early 70s, and PanAm had such graceful, elegant hosts and hostesses. Were you on one of my flights, I wonder?

      1. I wasn’t air crew, strictly ground crew at the airport. I joined in MBJ on 3rd September 1957 and worked with them for three years when I went to live in London. I worked with BEA (known as the flat-earth society) in reservations until 1965 when I returned home and rejoined PanAm until they suspended service during the “troubles” in 1976. I then joined National Airlines in Miami, PanAm bought National, and the rest is history. I was actually on the phone with a passenger when they came and cut us off, we’d gone bust. Sad day!

  34. Well I found that a bit tricky, started well then came to a stop. Thanks goodness for the hints, at least I can see how to work them out. Still learning.
    Thanks to the setter and MrK

  35. I found it on the tricky side, with some very strange clues. Guess a wavelength thing, if I thought about it long enough I could sometimes see where the setter was going. But gradually lost interest as day is getting away from me here. Thanks to setter and Mr K.

  36. 1*/ 3* for me today, found it a bit of a breeze for once – I agree that 1d lacked a little cryptic quality. But thought there was some gems here also. Mrs SK’s favourite was 13a and mine is 29a . Many thanks to mystery setter and Mr K

  37. Oddly, I am finding this much harder than last Sunday’s Dada offering.
    Still have 8 to go and completely stumped.

    1. Got there in the end, just had a dim day.
      Not sure I enjoyed it though.
      Thanks all.

  38. I didn’t find that as easy as some. I put it down several times and had a go at the toughie. and vice versa. each time I came back a few more dropped until it was done. I have just noticed the 14th row is U S E R N V R I wonder if that is a hint that the setter is a supporter of the Royal Navy Volunteer Reserve?
    Thanks to Mr K and setter. Potatoes and onions are ok in their place but make mine a Danish 🥐

  39. I found this fairly straightforward, but not as easy as some and not as difficult as others. I couldn’t parse 12a as I’d never heard of that word for nothing and it’s highly unlikely I’ll ever use it myself in the future. I’m not of the opinion that a crossword has to be mind wrenchingly difficult to be enjoyable, yesterday’s being a perfect example. Any road up favourite has to be 5a many thanks to the setter and Mr K.

  40. I got stuck last night but woke up and immediately slotted in a dozen answers or so. It was then quite simple to finish it off although I laboured over 16d for an age – don’t know why. Many thanks to the setter and to Mr K.

  41. Late on parade again. If there is still anyone out there…Still don’t get 26a despite Mr K’s illustration. Not many chuckles along the way with this one but thanks to the setter and Mr K🦇

  42. Didn’t enjoy this very much, and defeated by the SW. So thanks for the hints Mr K.

  43. 3*/2*…..
    quite liked 11A “in favour of wearing an item of protective clothing (5)”

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