DT 29415 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 29415

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 29415

Hints and tips by Mr K

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BD Rating  -  Difficulty ** Enjoyment **

Hello, everyone, and welcome to Tuesday.  Perhaps it's the heat or the lockdown affecting my mood, but this puzzle did not do a lot for me.  While it had some good clues, several felt a bit weak, IMHO.  Please let me know if it's just me thinking that. 

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 or display a bonus illustration.  Please leave a comment telling us how you got on.



1a    Pale  protestor (6)
PICKET:  A double definition, with pale referring here to part of a fence 

4a    Restrained having sat back and broken flute (8)
TASTEFUL:  SAT from the clue is reversed (back) and followed by an anagram (broken) of FLUTE 

10a   Getting this upset may cause bother (5-4)
APPLE-CART:  A cryptic allusion to an object found in a figure of speech describing the creation of confusion or bother

11a   Cruise ship's tarry? Not good! (5)
LINER:  A synonym of tarry or hang about has the single letter for good deleted (not good) 

12a   Top performer in 11, maybe, one seen in pool (3,4)
SEA STAR:  The answer is a creature possibly seen in a pool of seawater.  It might also describe a top performer or artiste working on the answer to 11a

13a   Join after Tory mistake (7)
CONFUSE:  A synonym of join comes after an abbreviation for the Tory party 

14a   Meal without starter situated inside (5)
INNER:  An evening meal minus its first letter (without starter

15a   Things with points, small, lacking point (8)
NEEDLESS:  Pointed sewing tools are followed by the clothing abbreviation for small 

18a   Goes away slowly, like blind mice? (5,3)
TAILS OFF:  The answer could, whimsically, describe the state of the three blind mice of nursery rhyme fame.  Or of Manx cats … 

20a   Current car? (5)
TESLA:  A mildly cryptic definition of a brand of electric car.  Click on the photo to see its "cat mode" 

23a   Court official sees Jack absconding from prison with strike over (7)
BAILIFF:  The playing card abbreviation for Jack is deleted from (absconding from) a synonym of prison, and the result is inserted in a strike or blow (… with strike over

25a   Charge to go up, then down (7)
AIRFARE:  A cryptic definition of the charge for a type of travel

26a   Former president seen in mob -- amazing! (5)
OBAMA:  This sorely-missed president is hidden in (seen in) the remainder of the clue 

27a   Record of queen, perhaps, with a chap who helped with king's speech (9)
CATALOGUE:  Link together what queen (or tom) define by example (perhaps), A from the clue, and the Australian speech therapist who helped King George VI overcome his stammer 

28a   Invoice north-west town, we're told, for fruit (8)
BILBERRY:  Homophones (we’re told) of an invoice and of a town in Greater Manchester 

29a   Cross hotel yard with injured bird (6)
HYBRID:  Chain together the letter represented in the NATO phonetic alphabet by hotel, the single letter for yard, and an anagram (injured) of BIRD 



1d    Tulip, say, spoiled garment (8)
PLAYSUIT:  An anagram (spoiled) of TULIP SAY 

2d    Leader of school committee held by murderer (7)
CAPTAIN:  The abbreviation for a school committee involving parents is contained by (held by) a biblical murderer 

3d    System where 'first past the post' wins: choose by word of mouth (9)
ELECTORAL:  Choose as used in the surface reading of the clue is followed by an adjective meaning spoken or by word of mouth 

5d    Official threat condemned in church statement? (7,2,5)
ARTICLE OF FAITH:  An anagram (condemned) of OFFICIAL THREAT

6d    Hook giving thanks to half of capital (5)
TALON:  An informal word of thanks is followed by half of the capital of the UK.  By way of illustration, here's a photo I took in Alaska.  Amazing birds 

7d    Nuns playing with fur in charity events (3,4)
FUN RUNS:  An anagram (playing) of NUNS FUR 

8d    The French run the German food store (6)
LARDER:  Put together a French word for “the”, the cricket abbreviation for run, and a German word for “the”

9d    Old government department right to lock up shouting sergeant-major? (7,7)
WARRANT OFFICER:  A former government department now incorporated in the MOD is followed by the single letter for right and wrapped around (to lock up) some shouting or a tirade 

16d   Really healthy Republican friend (9)
LITERALLY:  Follow an advertising adjective meaning low in calories or fat or alcohol with the single letter for Republican and a friend or supporter 

17d   This could produce oil from river and deep sea, possibly (8)
RAPESEED:  The map abbreviation for river is followed by an anagram (possibly) of DEEP SEA 

19d   Girl's a massive pain (7)
ABIGAIL:  Assemble A from the clue, large or massive, and pain or trouble

21d   Walk unsteadily with celebrity carrying bomb around (7)
STAGGER:  A celebrity encountered in 12a containing (carrying) the reversal (around) of a slang word for bomb 

22d   Engross sailors or bishop (6)
ABSORB:  Cement together some usual sailors, OR from the clue, and the chess abbreviation for bishop 

24d   Silly of son to leave crackers (5)
INANE:  The genealogical abbreviation for son is deleted from (to leave) crackers or crazy


Thanks to today’s setter.  My top clue today is 19d.  I also thought that the Quick pun was above average.  Which clues did you like best?


The Quick Crossword pun:  SOUP + HUM + ANNE = SUPERMAN

90 comments on “DT 29415

  1. Two or three really weak clues aside I quite enjoyed this. I thought 5d one of the best examples of that type of clue I’ve seen for a while and I loved the “fluctuating” charge at 25a. Also liked 10&18a plus 24d. The accompanying illustration to the hint for 19d was somewhat better than the clue!
    Many thanks to the setter and to Mr K for the entertainment.

  2. A pleasant Tuesday outing with some rather odd clueing, in places, but on the whole enjoyable while it lasted. I liked 1a,18a, and 9d. Thanks to Mr K for parsing 23a for me after I drew a blank, even though I had the right answer. New to me: 7d, 28a–but both solvable from the clues. Thanks to today’s setter and to Mr K, whose illustrations are always uniquely his own. ** / ***

  3. Sorry, I have to disagree with Mr K. I thought there was some really clever clueing. Particularly 1a, which seemed brilliant when the penny finally dropped, it being my last in. Also 25a, another penny-drop moment. Not so keen on 27a. ‘Queen’ was stretching it, I thought. And I couldn’t remember the chap’s name. Nor did I remember the slang term in 21d. But got them all with the help of checking letters and some electronics. Except for 18a where I had ‘falls’ for the first word. Silly me! All in all just the right amount of challenge to make for an enjoyable crossword. Thanks to setter and Mr K, who must have an enormous collection of cat pictures to suit every occasion. Loved the 29a one!

  4. I fairly rattled through this before coming to a halt in the NW corner. Having completed it, I cannot see why I was held up. 2d, 19d and 25a were my favourites this morning.

    Thanks to both Misters.

    1. I’m having a very busy day cleaning out my fish pond, so the easy option today is simply to agree with YS, and not for the first time.

      I would just add that the second part of 28a certainly isn’t a homophone for me.

      Thanks to Mr R & Mr K.

      1. RD
        Re28a An East Lancastrian might say Berry football club was berried earlier this year.

  5. This was one of those 7d. 15a and 18a amused. 27a is a bit too clever by half. Thank you Mysteron for this and the nicely testing Quickie and thanks also to MrK for being there in case of need.

  6. Exactly the same as YS – 4 in the NW took the same time as the remainder. Reasonably enjoyable but nothing to write home about – no particular favourites although I appreciated the 2d penny drop moment. Thought the Quickie pretty tricky today & liked the pun.
    Thanks to the setter & to Mr K.

  7. A rather mixed bag for me but I think I enjoyed it rather more than Mr K seems to have done. I didn’t know – or had forgotten – the ‘bomb’ in 21d and the ‘current car’ held me up for a while but otherwise quite plain sailing.
    Podium places went to 1,10&18a plus 5d.

    Thanks to our setter and to Mr K – so pleased to see your feline friends back although I felt rather sorry for the cross little chap at 29a!

  8. I found this a bit scrappy. Some great clues, 18a, 9d and 5d. I didn’t know the slang for bomb but it couldn’t be anything else so needed the explanation. Not keen on 27a – it’s a bit contrived and where does the queen come into it? Had to check google for sea star and was surprised to find it’s a star fish! A new one for me. 1a doesn’t make a lot of sense to me – a picket fence as a pale? Paling conceivably. Favourite is 19d. Mainly because it describes my namesake granddaughter well! Thanks to all. **/** No fault of the compiler, it just didn’t suit me today.

        1. The pale was a fence around Dublin. Beyond the pale originates from this meaning outside the boundary.

    1. Agreed. Ok for those who may have experience of some of the hooks on these but to me as a relative newcomer it was completely impossible…. “cat” : “egg”. Like code words in a secret society!
      I usually get between 50 to 100% completed but no more than half a dozen or so clues on this one.

  9. Same as Doguern, YS, & Huntsman NW corner took me near to 3* time. I don’t think I will be the last
    Some quite weak clues but a number of good ones balanced things out for me.
    COTD 2d
    LOI was 1a. Having been involved in safety duty in two miner’s strikes cossed many 1a lines way back when.
    Thanks to setter & Mr K glad the work schedule allowed more time to compose a “standard” review.
    Could CL please pass on birthday wishes to someone who has kept a smile on my face, almost daily over the last weeks: Matt

      1. P
        Did my stnts mainly at Penrhiwceiber & Celynen North & South.
        Remember having to sound the hooter at midnight on New Years eve at PK.

  10. This was a crossword of two halves, first read through gave me most of the grid, once the long ones had gone in was pretty straightforward.
    Thanks to MrK and setter

  11. Glad you said that Mr K. Like you, felt several of the clues really weak, particularly Airfare. Have never heard of a Sea Star in my life!

    1. You’ve changed your alias so this comment needed moderation. Both aliases will work henceforth.

  12. I thought this was a good puzzle although it took I struggled with a few before the penny to dropped. It took me a while to see queen in 27a and I had forgotten the word for bomb in 21d. I liked 25a and 28a but I do not have a COTD today.

    Many thanks to the setter and Mr. K for the hints. I’m pleased to see the cats back although the “starred” dog gets my vote.

    Stay safe everyone.

    1. I felt sorry for the dog – I hope it didn’t get a reaction from the star fish.

        1. Me too – he didn’t look very happy about the whole business either. Put me in mind of this awful habit some folk have of making their dogs wear clothes.

          1. Some dogs love wearing clothes! I had a Maltese once, found him in the canal, and he would go berserk when I brought out his sweater on a cold day. He would dance and wiggle so much I could hardly get it on!

  13. A Curate’s Egg for me and perhaps a little more challenging than usual for a Tuesday puzzle – completed at a gallop – 2.5*/2.5*.
    Candidates for favourite – 15a, 18a, 27a, and 9d – and the winner is 9d.
    Thanks to the setter and Mr K.

  14. I found some of the clues to be what I mentally call “tangential “, in that it is only by association of two quite separate ideas. For example , Tesla is not a current , he invented the Alternating Current but he himself is not a current.Similarly , picket fences are often painted white and white is pale, but picket is not a synonym of pale.
    I liked 2d and 27a.
    Thanks to Mr Kitty and the setter.

    1. Hello Una – pale is another word for a fence post as is a picket, and Tesla is the brand name of Mr Musk’s electric cars so a ‘current’ car could be a Tesla
      Apologies if I have misunderstood you

      1. That makes a bit more sense , I’d forgotten about ” beyond the Pale , Pale of settlement ” etc.I still think Tesla is stretching it though.

    2. Una,
      The “pointy” stakes that make up a picket fence are known as picket pales.

  15. I thought the current car clue was weak and objected to the use of the word ‘lite’ in 16d. The clue about the sea star didn’t really seem to make sense, although I bunged it in. It was a bit of a mixed bag of a puzzle (2.5*/2*), although I quite liked 1a and 16a. Thanks to Mr K (I liked the cats) and to the setter.

  16. I’m in the Mr Kitty camp I’m afraid. Not a lot to smile about except 28a. It brought back fond memories of going into the Simonside hills near Rothbury, Northumberland to pick wild ones. Now I have to rely on bottled ones from Poland, but I can’t even get those at the minute. Sorry if this offends our dear American friends, but their blue version is not a patch. Thank you setter and Mr Kitty.

  17. Working my way through today’s puzzle, I wondered if we might be paying a visit to Harper Valley, and I wasn’t disappointed.
    I enjoyed this puzzle immensely, but of course I’m saying that as I finished it unaided. Right on my wavelength.
    Lola was a bit meowy this morning but after I strolled with her to her food bowl and encouraged her to gobble up the contents she has returned to being her usual loving but dozy self. Needless to say she is snoozing under the ivy amongst the recently chopped back wall flowers.
    Thanks to the setter (Mysteron?) and Mr K – especially for Jeannie C.

    1. Actually, as I was filling in 2d the song came on the radio. What are the chances?

  18. Not too tricky today but some of the clues were clumsy I thought such as 1a and 20a. Some clever clues for such 10a, 18a and 28a all of which made me smile.
    Needed the hints for my last in 25a, too clever for me I’m afraid. Must admit I had no idea who the Kings Speech fellow was, never heard of him before.
    Thx to all

  19. I with Senf, a curate’s egg (which appeared in a recent puzzle) for me too. Some clever clues and a few ‘hmmms’ like 12 and 20a. Re 26a, I sometimes wish the DT would adopt the Times protocol of not referring to living people, except for HM. 18a and 2d gave me a chuckle but my COTD 9d. Thanks Mr K for your usual excellent blog and the setter🦇

  20. As others have said this was a mixture with what I thought were some substandard clues like 12a and a reference to a chap (in 27a) whose name will not be familiar to many even if they saw the film.

    On the other hand I thought that the 5d anagram was clever, I liked 13a and 19d made me laugh (with a very appropriate picture as well).

    Thanks to the setter and Mr K.

  21. Not a lot to add to the comments so far. I, too, got bogged down in the NW corner even though I realised which pale I was looking for- so obvious when you see the answer! 18a, 27a and 29a made me smile and I thought that 5d and 9d were good but 16d, 20a, 12a and 25a seemed a bit too contrived to me. On the whole though, I enjoyed the tussle so thanks to the setter and to Mr K who, as ever, was there when needed.

  22. As I read through your various remarks on my effort today, I kept itching to make comments: but then, as I read on, I realised that most of you had already answered each others’ queries (eg, pale = picket; “queen” = she cat). And – as always – some of you liked some clues which others didn’t: although I have to say that some of those which didn’t rate too highly had been “edited down”, because my original clues were deemed too lengthy. Glad that most of you liked 27a and 2d (those were definitely my own, unedited ones). And I’m also pleased that the Quick pun was appreciated – I enjoyed it myself! See you on another Tuesday soon, we hope…

    1. X-type
      Thanks for the puzzle
      Also thanks for looking in and taking the time to peruse our comments & chat.

  23. Oh dear, it does seem unfair to criticise someone who cannot hit back. It kept us occupied during lunch and I have to say 27a made me laugh when I made the cat connection. One for Thompson and Lola. The multicoloured cat looks a bit like Thompson, what you might call striking. Did the Harper Valley PTA song come from the Grand Ole Opry?
    We went there once and amongst others saw Crystal Gale – she had hair down to her ankles, what a trouper. A couple with a three day old baby asked me to take their photo as it was the baby’s very first visit to the GOO. It was like being in another world!

  24. A bit of a struggle with some across clues (1a, 12a and 20a) that
    seemed laboured, but 25a was a really good one! Thank you setter and MrK

  25. Completed this either side of a long walk.The first part was slow,the second much easier and quicker and satisfying.Must show something and l hope it is that exercise is good for the brain.I am on the side that enjoyed this with the exception of lite.Thanks to setter and ti Mr.K whose advice to be accurate rather than quick has served me well.

    1. I don’t like ‘lite’ either – if something doesn’t have any of the things that are meant to be so bad for us I would just assume that it’s bunged full of chemicals to make up for it.

    2. We get local sometimes clued as low calorie. Bring it on I say. Let the cryptic puzzle evolve.

  26. I for one quite liked that and thank Xtype for explaining that the editing might have affected some clues. My favourite today was 19d but only because I have a colleague of that name who is NOT a cruciverbalist and she Harrumphed loudly when she thought it was herself who was the massive pain! Her BF, however, wanted the printout to keep!
    Thanks to Mr K and Xtype I will resume battle with the toughie but doubt that my ability to solve Dada when not in his Sunday Best has improved significantly.

    1. It can be either protestor or protester: Chambers Dictionary gives both (maybe the US has a preference?)

  27. Again this was a steady solve for on the across 10, 15, stood out but I had to read the parsing for 20 across a couple of times to under it on the downs I liked 5, and 9 but my COTD was 19 down,

    Many thanks to the setter and Mr K

  28. I enjoyed bits of this one and was less keen on others.
    As always the enjoyment level depends on all kinds of things – wave-length, other ‘stuff’ going on, general mood, weather etc etc.
    I never did get 25a which was just plain dim.
    I thought there were some good anagrams – having never heard of 5d it took me a very long time.
    I particularly liked 10 and 23a and 19d. My favourite was 18a.
    With thanks to X-Type and to Mr K.

  29. 2/2. Not my cup of tea. Got to the end but not very enjoyable. 16d was my least favourite but I enjoyed 9d. Thanks to x-type and Mr K. Unusual for you to illustrate 19d with a couple of puppies 😁

  30. All done whilst my better half watered the allotment. Parsing 27a was educated guess work for both ends. **/** for me with 7d my favourite. Thanks to both the setter and Mr. K.

  31. It is now twelve hours since I solved this puzzle. So can’t remember much about it except the top left corner which took a bit of staring at. I always enjoy the puzzles and only know anything might be amiss when the nitpickers turn up. I rarely take much notice and I doubt that the editor or setter does either. You can’t please all of the people all of the time. I think Abraham Lincoln said that. Thanks to the setter and the blogger. I said that

  32. Some ??? here, but with a quick google managed to “get it”. I’d never heard of 7d but the anagram and checking letters helped.
    I had a problem with 17d, I used some e-help and suddenly remembered, we call that canola oil. The vibrant yellow fields!
    Glad to see my bungin at 12a was right, new to me, but that corner was my first to fall.
    There was much to like here, particularly Mr. K’s cats, but my fave has to be 26a, my hero! Sorely missed, indeed!
    Thanks to X-Type for the fun and to Mr. K for his review and pics.

  33. I enjoyed doing this puzzle: most was plain sailing. It took me a while to sort out 1a, and 1 and 2d and when I had wasn’t sure why. I liked 10 and 25a, as well as 2d but my favourite was 28a. I spent hours picking the fruit when I was young and enjoyed eating them in a pie, usually with a large dollop of cream (definitely not “lite”) . Thanks to the compiler and Mr K.

  34. In the beginning I echoed Mr K’s comments but it did getter better as I moved along. When did a star fish become a sea star? Hadn’t heard of 7d either but it couldn’t be much else being an anagram. Interesting to learn X-type that their clues are sometimes edited, so we sometimes blame them for a strangely worded clue which might not be as they had written it anyway. It was a puzzle of two halves, with another annual check up in between. Thankfully our doctors have mostly been available throughout. Strangely, the awful Florida Covid numbers are mostly those in the 20 – 34 age group, probably because they do the most socializing.

    Anyway thanks to X-type, always nice when a setter checks in, and to Mr K for his excellent hints as usual.

    1. OK, this is how tiny my brain is: I didn’t know that the answer to 12a was a starfish, I really thought it was a star in the sky! Thanks for the enlightenment. I feel so dumb.

  35. Most of this puzzle was indeed a ** offering but the SE corner *really* slowed me down for whatever reason. Took almost as long to do that area as the rest of the puzzle, so stretched me to *** time, but still **** for enjoyment. Candidate clues for favourites were 15a, 20a, 29a, 8d &19d with winner being 19d
    25a last in as it took forever to figure it out.

    Thanks to setter and Mr K

  36. We found this a lot trickier than usual and were surprised to see the rating and read many of the comments. Fortunately one of our team had remembered the person required for 27a so not much hold up there. A pleasant solve for us.
    Thanks X-Type and Mr K.

  37. Mostly enjoyed this. 1a is a new meaning of pale to me and somehow I have never heard of a 28a before.

    Needed the hint for 25a because I was convinced the answer was arraign which, to me, fits the clue.

    Favourite is 9d because I am one. I was a sergeant major until last year as well.

  38. Thanks to the setter and Mr Kitty for the review and hints. I enjoyed this one, but I took a while to get on the right wavelength. Needed the hints to parse 27a, had never heard of the speech therapist. Thanks to Mr Kitty for the clip for 2d, I remember that song from my schooldays. 15a was an old chestnut, but 18&23a made me laugh. Last in was 25a, favourite was 12a. Nice puzzle overall. Was 2*/3* for me.

  39. Finished this morning. Like others, some very good clues and some, frankly, poor clues 12, 20, 25.
    Thanks all.

  40. Thanks X-Type – I like your puzzles. Thanks Mr K for parsing 18a for me. My problem is that I never use that spelling for the prison. I am definitely a gaol person. If anyone ever visits the National Museum of Justice in Nottingham (formerly the Shire Hall) which had one underneath it you will see the carved word which has been altered as the carver miss-spelt it Goal. I had no trouble with 1a and my late entry in that corner was 2d. I knew the speech therapist but took a little longer to get the Queen. I got the car but took longer to parse. I disagree with those who think it weak if you think of it as an electric car. My last one in was 5d and I spent some time banging my head against the wall when the penny dropped. Had I spotted the anagram I would have got it in two ticks because I had the first two words. Afraid I was looking for some sort of Official warning. My penultimate one in was 25a which is not at all weak when you get it. In fact it is brilliant. Therefore I, 10, 18, and 25a and 9d are favourites. The last one of those became a favourite after I understood the parsing. I think it was mainly our American cousins who had not heard of 7d but they are very popular here and I like to see some newer words and expressions.

  41. Just couldn’t get on with this,only managed to get about half the answers yesterday then tried again this morning with no luck. Thanks to the setter for the mental work out and Mr K for the explanations.

  42. I was really annoyed at 11 across. Surely the apostrophe means tarry MUST be tar-ry, adjective. Otherwise what can the apostrophe s be for? It can’t be possessive, can’t be abbreviation for is. I ruled out the meaning linger on this basis. I did get it eventually with a tut of utter disgust.

    1. Hello, Penelope, and welcome from me as well.

      In the surface reading of 11a tarry is, as you say, an adjective. In the clue’s cryptic reading, the ‘s is linking definition and wordplay in a “definition is wordplay” construction. Specifically, the cryptic reading is “(an answer defined by cruise ship) is ([a synonym of] tarry minus the single letter for good)”. In that word equation tarry can take any of its possible meanings, including linger. Hope that helps.

  43. Great slide guitar on clip for 2d. Have now got the 45 from eBay Couldn’t finish crossword though

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