DT 29481 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 29481

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 29481

Hints and tips by Mr K

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BD Rating  -  Difficulty ** Enjoyment ****

Hello, everyone.  Today has brought us another excellent Tuesday puzzle.  Quite a few insertions on offer, but there's nothing wrong with that.  I have my suspicions about the identity of the compiler.  Since they've been known to comment, we might see later if my hunch is correct. 

In the hints below most indicators are italicized, and underlining identifies precise definitions and cryptic definitions.  Clicking on the answer 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    Oscar sitting down to eat cereal (7)
OATMEAL:  Oscar in the NATO phonetic alphabet with a (2,4) phrase that could mean “sitting down to eat” 

5a    Where one lives a little in Panama? (7)
HABITAT:  A phrase meaning "a little" inserted in what Panama defines by example (?

9a    Deception about a Trojan Horse's cover (9)
CAPARISON:  Wrap a scam or deception about both A from the clue and a well-known Trojan 

Horse wearing a caparison

10a   Singer in a wooded hollow heard (5)
ADELE:  A from the clue with a homophone (heard) of another word for a wooded hollow.  There really is only one way to illustrate this answer.  The video is guaranteed to produce big smiles


11a   Make shorter using a spanner? (7)
ABRIDGE:  In crosswordland a flower, especially when followed by ?, can be something that flows.  Here we're asked to put something that spans after A from the clue 

12a   Cosmetic mum used to conceal a blemish (7)
MASCARA:  An informal synonym of mum containing (used to conceal) both A from the clue and a blemish from a wound 

13a   Showing lust for instance, I send lady nuts (6,3)
DEADLY SIN:  An anagram (nuts) of I SEND LADY.  The for instance indicates that the definition is by example.

Pleasure garden, according to Google

16a   Country sport: run length around area (5)
RURAL:  Follow the abbreviation for the game at which New Zealand is quite good with the cricket abbreviation for runs and the single letter for length on either side of (around) the single letter for area 

17a   In leading clubs one creates talking point (5)
TOPIC:  In between leading or best and the playing card abbreviation for clubs put the Roman one 

18a   Democrat joining secret group gives service (6,3)
DINNER SET:  Link together the single letter for Democrat, secret or private, and a group or collection 

Crossword plate

21a   Piano phrase rewritten maybe (7)
PERHAPS:  The single letter for piano with an anagram (rewritten) of PHRASE 

22a   Deadlock that is about politician and idiot (7)
IMPASSE:  The Latin abbreviation for "that is" containing (about) both a usual abbreviated politician and another word for idiot 

25a   Old servant one Muscat native? (5)
OMANI:  Put together the single letter for old, a male servant, and the Roman one.  Another definition by example (?

26a   Return incomprehensible motel menu (9)
EMOLUMENT:  An anagram (incomprehensible) of MOTEL MENU 

Protest slogan projected on Trump's hotel in Washington DC

27a   Light inside regularly seen in time before Easter (7)
LENIENT:  Alternate letters (regularly) of INSIDE are inserted in (seen in) a period in the Christian calendar that comes before Easter 

28a   Flat-bottomed vessels in Devon river region (7)
EXPANSE:  Put some flat-bottomed cooking vessels in a Devon river 



1d    Where one grows fruit or vegetable (7)
ORCHARD:  OR from the clue with a leafy green vegetable 

2d    Some dire potations served up for boozer (5)
TOPER:  The answer is hidden in the reversal of (some … served up, in a down clue) the remainder of the clue 

3d    Leading lady looking hot strayed from path (5)
ERRED:  The leading lady in the Commonwealth is abbreviated and followed by the colour associated with looking hot 

4d    Silent criminal with shilling takes advice (7)
LISTENS:  An anagram (criminal) of SILENT with the single letter for shilling

5d    Game where suspense comes at the end? (7)
HANGMAN:  A cryptic definition of a word game   

6d    Restaurant serving fish topped in cheese (9)
BRASSERIE:  A brightly-coloured marine fish minus its first letter (topped, in a down clue) inserted in (serving … in) a soft white cheese 

7d    Reference work the man has in house (9)
THESAURUS:  A pronoun contraction for "the man has" inserted in an astrological house 

8d    Digital projection tempered elation (7)
TOENAIL:  An anagram (tempered, as in adjusted) of ELATION

Faces projected on trees

14d   Relate where American forward in torment (9)
APPERTAIN:  The single letter for American is followed by forward or cheeky inserted in torment or agony 

15d   Well-paid vicar let loose outside university (9)
LUCRATIVE:  An anagram (loose) of VICAR LET containing (outside) the single letter for university 

17d   Cover on the bed? (7)
TOPSOIL:  A cryptic definition, where the bed is not the type you sleep in 

18d   Advisers ultimately in moral decline (7)
DESCENT:  The final letter (ultimately) of adviserS inserted in a synonym of moral 

19d   Physician upset in racket harmful to health (7)
NOISOME:  The reversal (upset, in a down clue) of a usual abbreviated doctor inserted in a racket or undesirable sound

20d   Time pressure on in playhouse (7)
THEATRE:  Cement together the physics symbol for time, pressure or duress, and a usual word for on or concerning 

Cat casting at a theatre

23d   Round left in quiz (5)
PLUMP:  The single letter for left inserted in a verb synonym of quiz (vigorously) 

24d   Polish  acting family (5)
SHEEN:  An American family of actors is also a synonym of polish (not Polish)

Martin Sheen in "The West Wing"


Thanks to today’s setter for a fun solve.  Highlights for me today included 5a, 9a, 17a, 28a, 6d, 7d, 8d, and 20d.  Which clues did you like best?


The Quick Crossword pun:  BOO + BEE + PRISE = BOOBY PRIZE

81 comments on “DT 29481

  1. A very smooth progression, from top to bottom. I didn’t know the answer at 9a, but quite obvious from the word play, we’ve had the Trojan previously. I couldn’t quite parse 27a, I didn’t see where all the letters came from. And I didn’t know the family at 24a, the bike-rider had another E, I think. All over in **/*** time.

    COTD 20d, for me. Many thanks to the setter and Mr. K.

  2. A pleasant romp through an enjoyable puzzle (2*/3.5*) was my opinion of this morning’s backpager. I really liked the misdirection in 9a, which was my favourite clue and quite liked 14d too. Many thanks to Mr K for the usual enjoyable review and to the setter.

  3. Entertaining puzzle that I initially thought was going to be tougher than it turned out to be with the benefit of a few checkers.
    I needed Mr K to explain the parsing of 6d though the solution was obvious and had to check the Muskat native and 9a cover.
    Favourite was probably 22a though I liked the partial homophone at 10a (loved the video)
    Many thanks to the setter and to Mr K for the entertainment.

  4. A very comfortable and pleasant solve this morning that went in very smoothly. Picking a favourite from such a quality grid is difficult but I will go for 9a.

    Thanks very much to our Tuesday setter for the fun and to Mr K for his usual informative review.

  5. Very, very good Tuesday puzzle, a bit tough for me in the SW (because I misread the enumeration in 13a, thinking it was one word, anagrammed; also with 17d, my LOI), but I recovered myself in 3* time and thoroughly enjoyed the solve. Some really outstanding clues on the podium: 9a, 14d, 7/18/19d (3-way draw!). Nice to see the activist-actor paterfamilias at 24d too. Thanks to Mr K for all the feline frolics and to today’s crafty setter. 3* / 4.5*

    1. Really enjoyed yesterday’s 2 Graun puzzles – for my money the Quiptic was marginally the trickier of the two.

        1. Did you have a bash at the Pasquale cryptic today? Buoyed by my success in the Toughie I went straight to it imbued with false confidence & got beaten up badly. Needed 3 reveals to finish but at least I’ve learnt what you folks call a quail, which I’m unlikely to forget…….

  6. 1.5*/4*. A light delight for the second day running. This was really good fun and my podium comprises 9a, 22a & 6d.

    Many thanks to the setter and to Mr K.

  7. No problems today, other than needing to check the fish; there is also a lesser known fish that begins with the letter b rather than w.

    Thanks to the setter and to Mr K.

  8. I found this a bit trickier than others, but eventually solved alone and unaided. Needed help with parsing 16a…..sports again!…..so a well done day for me today.
    Not keen on clues like 10a and 24d……but that’s just a personal preference….

    Thanks to the setter and to Mr K.

  9. Plain sailing today although had to check actors in 24. 11a and 5d get my vote. Thanks to the setter and Mr K.

  10. Lots to like in this fairly straightforward Tuesday solve, completed in marginally over 2.5* time. The main hold ups were the 17d/27a combo and lastly the 3d/9a pair, where like Malcolm the horse blanket was new to me but thankfully gettable from the wordplay. Plenty to choose from but I’ll opt for a podium of downs at 6,7&14 with 22&28a narrowly missing out. Weather gloomy & autumnal so looks like a day for domestic chores though they can always be delayed by the Toughie & the Graun cryptic.
    Thanks to the setter & to Mr K for the review.

  11. Curiously, I did exactly the same as Robert with 13a and so wasted a bit of time trying to make a one word answer out of a two word clue! I did have to check the answer to 9a because it’s a new one to me although it couldn’t be much else from the checkers. **/***
    Favourite 6d. Thanks to all.

  12. Another great Tuesday puzzle that was a joy to solve. Lots to like in it so it is difficult to pick a favourite but 1a, 7d and 17d get a mention. I didn’t know the word at 9a but I do now.

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

  13. No hassle today but plenty to like. North fell first. Having once lived very happily near Newmarket for 20 years am ashamed to admit was unfamiliar with 9a. 5d and 17d joint Favs. Thank you Messrs. Ron and K.

  14. Most enjoyable Tuesday fare from both setter and blogger. I liked the simple 1&24d and will give top three places to 9a plus 5&6d.

    Thanks to our setter and to Mr K plus his felines. I had seen the 10a clip previously but it still made me laugh!

  15. A fine example of a very enjoyable Tuesday puzzle completed at a gallop – 2.5*/4.5*.
    Favourite – a toss-up between 17d and 20d – and the winner is 17d.
    Thanks to the setter and Mr K.

    1. Really enjoyed it Steve – right up my street with 2d superb once the penny dropped. Just over a bit quicker than I’d anticipated so no excuses for delaying the housework

      1. I managed to complete it before the hints were published so feeling hugely chuffed! I agree about 2d – all falls into place once you stop thinking about quills!

        Not sure about Giovanni tomorrow but I will give it go.

    2. The NE corner of Chalicea’s Toughie held me up a bit, too, but 2d takes the Gold, running away.

  16. Agree with Mr K’s opening comment 😃 **/**** Lots of favourites but the best are 5a & 18a plus 6d and 17d 🤗 A Big thank you to Mr K and to the Setter

  17. A superb puzzle – thanks to setter and Mr K.
    The large number of different clues praised in the comments above testify to the enjoyment factor.
    I’ll submit 9a, 13a, 5d and 17d as my selections.

  18. I thought 14 down was complicated enough to hike the difficulty level by a notch. Similarly with 28a.
    Thanks to all concerned.

  19. Mostly straightforward but never come across 9a & was slow to parse. Got there in the end taking me into *** time.
    Very pleasing solve on a not good day for me.
    COTD 9a
    Those not heard of acting family could do worse than spending the next couple of months watching West Wing. In my view one of the best TV series produced in the US.
    Thanks to setter & Mr K for cat pics. & the accompanying review of course.

      1. Thanks Steve & Robert it hasn’t. Tomorrow is another day as they say. (Then it turns out to be just the same).

        1. Whoa, LBROK! That sounds like you are somewhat down. I hope not but, if you are, you know we will all do our best to rally round.

          Stay safe and well.

    1. I agree. Martin Sheen and Rob Lowe gave such powerful performances in TWW, one of TV’s best-ever dramas. Hope your day improves, LROK.

  20. Frustratingly I fell off the horse at 9a – despite riding regularly in my younger days I had not come across this word.
    Otherwise it was a steady 18d to the finishing line.
    Weather forecast is grim after today so we are taking the opportunity for a bracing walk this afternoon, ahead of the Spurs v Chelsea match this evening (usually a ‘lively’ affair).
    Come on Chelsea!
    Thanks to the setter and Mr K (whose name always makes me think of Sgt Pepper).

        1. Not forgetting Henry the horse, who dances a waltz. Oh and of course, the Henderson will be there and they will dance and sing.

    1. Ha, brilliant Terence, I’ll never see Mr K in the same light again. Apparently Lennon didn’t care for the song, but I think it’s a gem and one of the highlights of the album.

  21. A very satisfying puzzle on a day which is as different as possible from yesterday weather wise. I do like the word caparisoned – I always think of it when I drive past huge lorries and see the tassel-like ties holding down the tarpaulins. I think they look like mediaeval jousting horses arrayed in their splendour. I know we never talk about times but we did actually move onto the toughie before we finished our lunch and it looks a promising solve. I particularly liked 26a.
    I shall return to it in the bath later. Thanks for the kitties and to the setter.

  22. A very steady solve for me 9 across was a new word for me, my favourite was 20 down, all in all a very enjoyable crossword, my thanks to the setter and to Mr K, onwards to the toughie.

  23. This was another super puzzle with no particular hold ups. Some clever clues. Glad I got the washing done yesterday, pouring and cold today! Am watching Escape to the Country as its in my county of Norfolk. I love seeing places I know. Penelope Keith covered my little village of Cley In her series of coastal places a couple of years ago. She got the giggles tellng how the Vicar of Stiffkey got eaten by a lion while holding a service sitting in its cage! Thanks to Mr K and the setter.

    1. Oh we know Clay-Next-The-Sea, what a delightful place to live. And, of course, you take the brunt of the Russian weather before it gets to Cambridge!

      1. Living in Cley is like being in The Archers crossed with The Vicar of Dibley! I had no idea about the shenanigans in a small village but I love it.

    2. Loved that series – in fact, I love everything that has Penelope Keith in it! I do remember the tale of the Vicar of Stiffkey.

    3. Is Escape to the Country anything like Escape to the Chateau? I found that by accident and love it. Are there any other ones like that I should look for?

      1. No, Merusa, its not the same at all ETTC is about people looking to move to a country property. It’s only interessting if you know the area and most of the people have pots of dosh. I also love Escape to the Chateau and came across it by accident. Dick and Angela are an extraordinary couple, both extremely talented in their own way and come across as very gentle and kind hearted. I have good friends in SW France who have done something similar but not so grand but have turned a run down farm into something amazing. We dog sit for them every year – well someone has to do it!

          1. Merusa, it’s one of the best home shows on TV, but sadly it is on the BBC and we can’t get it over here. House Hunters pales by comparison. Although you can get episodes others have downloaded onto UTube. PBS airs so many great programs, but for some reason they have never bought Escape to the Country. And BBC America also doesn’t air it. You can’t watch the BBC unless you pay the license, and they won’t let us buy a license. Silly really, as I’ve heard so many expats say they would gladly pay the license fee.

  24. I cannot believe I got stuck on 3d until the penny dropped. A great big Duh.
    Most enjoyable.
    Many thanks to the setter and to Mr. K for the nicely illustrated review.

  25. I agree this was a very good crossword.
    I’m probably the only person who really dislikes the 10a singer but I love Graham Norton so that was OK.
    The two that held me up the most were 17a and 2d – not getting the answers but sorting out the ‘why’. Dim.
    24a took a while – the only acting family that I could think of was the Foxes.
    Top clues for me today were 9 and 25a (had to look up Muscat) and 1 and 6d. I think my favourite was 28d.
    Thanks to whoever set this one and to Mr K.

      1. The only thing I know about her was when someone evil shot people at her concert in Manchester, I think I’m right, I seem to remember that was a singer who sounded like a wooded hollow!

        1. I think that was Ariana Grande whose concert it was. I only remember because I thought she was extremely brave to do a concert later as a kind of remembrance of the occcasion.

      2. She does screech and everything she sings makes me want to slit my wrists!! But I still like Graham Norton – he’s funny and quite gentle, I think anyway. Oh well, whatever!

        1. People leave the room if I dare to sing, so I can’t criticize anyone who sings well enough to make their living that way. In fact, that is top of my list for abilities I want in my next life 😉

          1. BusyLizzie, she does not sing. She strains her voice too much and screeches. Ok, she screeches in tune but she still screeches. Goodness knows what her vocal cords will be like in a few years. The only song of hers that gained my grudging approval was “Skyfall”. Otherwise, I turn the radio off the moment I hear her. She is not melodic like Rumour or Stevie Nicks. Going further back give me Ella Fitzgerald over her any day. She really does sing the blues, Taylor Gibson as does Nina Simone or Janice Joplin.

            I guess you all now know I cannot stand her! 🥴🥴🥴

    1. Never heard the woodland glade sing so am quite indifferent to her. As for Graham Norton the television or radio goes straight off in a torrent of abuse.

        1. He wasn’t bad as the Agony Uncle, not that he wrote it of course.
          Present incumbent better again IMHO.
          Yes I know it’s all a load of nonsense.

          1. Can’t stand him, a vulgar person IMHO! Went to a Ken Dodd show in Cambridge years ago. 4 hours of hilarity and no smut at all, wonderful!

  26. I loved this, lots of fun. North was much easier than south and was solved in a trice. The only one I really had trouble with was 17d, I had to resort to a word search but, strangely enough, It’s not there! Maybe they don’t have it as one word. Missing just one, I don’t think that’s so bad.
    Lots to like, that was such a pleasant solve, but I think fave was 9a, Ivanhoe and all that.
    Thanks to our Tuesday setter, hope she pops in. Of course, a thousand thanks to Mr. K, I always look forward to the pics.
    Oh, forgot to say how much I appreciated the pic at 26a, I immediately thought of him also!

  27. Needed Mr K’s help to work out 14d and to confirm 9a and generally enjoyed the blog, especially the clip at 10a (and the one that popped up immediately after it on YouTube) so thank you!

  28. Nice puzzle, the only problem I had was choosing the right alternate letters from the right word and finding a space to bung them in. for too long my pre-Easter was letter 1 and 5,6,7 I needed the hint to realise I needed letters 1,2 and 6,7. Not sure that I fully parsed 9a either. I thought it was some sort of cover but If I am honest I hadn’t spotted the Trojan.
    Thanks to setter and Mr K I loved the blog and I feel sorry for Spooner’s Manx Cat. Not the prettiest cat Mr K has ever posted but I disagree with my spellchecker, who wanted it to be a Manky Cat
    I did like 26a it was a favourite of a former boss and a guaranteed pick for Buls**t Bingo!
    Back to the toughie but I am not seeing it today

  29. The Daily Telegraph online puzzles stopped working on Google Chrome this morning, but it still works using other browsers. I have reported it.

  30. Good Tuesday puzzle rated at 2.5*/***
    No real hold ups, but some nice clues yet again including 11a, 18a, 8d & 17d with winner 11a

    Thanks to setter and Mr K

  31. This kept me busy, and I, like several others, had never heard of 9a. Despite taking riding lessons when our girls began asking for them. Quite liked it until we got to the galloping bit. And the day they gave me a huge stallion who did exactly what he wanted rather put me off the whole thing. I made rather heavy weather of this puzzle in places, including 8d and 14d, but overall quite enjoyed. Thanks to setter and Mr K.

  32. Roared through this at Senf like speed. I had to check the word in 9a as I hadn’t heard of it but obvious from the clue, anyway I’ve heard of it now. I do like the singer in 10a as she sings the blues and I like the blues. Hard to pick a favourite but I’ll go for 8d for it’s misdirection. Many thanks to the setter and Mr. K.

  33. There was a lot to like in this puzzle. Thanks setter. Thanks Mr K – hints not needed but it took me a long time to work out where the alternate letters came from in 27a. Last one in 14d which confirmed my answer to 27a. Favourites 5 11 18 26a and 19d.

  34. Messed up 18a and had Dishes Out pencilled in which was problematic.

    Never heard of 9a as have most folk I humbly suggest.

    28a. Not sure an expanse is accurately/commonly described as a region or visa versa….

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